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‘Tis The Season— To Get Sick 

by Daniela Gitlin

Bulldog having a cold


Daniela is a shrink by day, writer by night, and human all the time. She blogs at shrinkunwrapped.com
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There are lots of reasons to get the flu during the holidays, the most important being to escape the hoop-la. Seriously, just the daily round of work, running the roads with the kids, and staying married keeps the immune system on red alert.

A healthful lifestyle supports white blood cells, the soldiers of the immune system. Everybody knows exercising an hour a day and subsisting on a diet of lean protein, whole grains, fruits, veggies, nuts and berries is impossible. Studies show that sugar, alcohol and holiday shopping cuts internal homeland security to a skeleton crew.

Add holiday gatherings with far-flung family, whether beloved or behated, and the immune system’s ability to cope reaches the tipping point.  That’s when renegade viral hordes strike from a hidden base, breach your defenses, and lay waste to all vital bodily centers. Expect at least a week of shattering chills, burning-house fever and bodily fluids exiting from multiple portals.  Timing is everything. Try to get sick before the holidays. Otherwise, there’s no benefit.

Plan ahead. Decide who you’ve irritated the least, and leave that lucky person a sealed envelope labeled: In the event of my near death from flu…. Insert your last will and testament— Kidding. Insert instructions delegating your holiday responsibilities, along with recipes for ginger lemon tea and chicken soup (see below).

Ginger lemon tea does for white blood cells what kryptonite did for Superman. Research confirms chicken soup works better than penicillin. You don’t want to be sick forever. Keep slurping chicken soup and sipping ginger lemon tea till you squirt when squeezed.

Holidays and flu: these two shall pass.

Ginger Lemon Tea 
fresh ginger root, a hand sized piece
4 – 6 lemons
honey, to taste

Bring a spaghetti pot of filtered water to a boil. Peel and chunk ginger. Add to boiling water.Reduce heat, and simmer for an hour, with lid askew (to vent steam). Turn off the heat. Wash and slice several lemons into thick coins. Add to the ginger infusion. Add honey to taste. Dilute to taste.

To kick viral butt, drink hot till your back teeth float. Stores for at least a week in fridge

Easy Chicken Soup From The Bird (a.k.a Jewish penicillin)
1 whole chicken, quartered (or pre-cut equivalent)
2 carrots, peeled and chunked
4 celery stalks, chunked
one large onion, quartered
one large clove garlic, smashed
1 tsp dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1 tsp salt
a few grinds of pepper
handful chopped fresh parsley
handful alphabet, or other small, pasta

Fill a stock/spaghetti pot two-thirds with filtered water. Add all ingredients, except chicken breasts, parsley and pasta. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for an hour. Layer chicken breasts on top, cover with lid askew (to vent steam) and simmer for ten minutes. Turn on off heat. Remove chicken breasts and set aside to cool.

Remove remaining solids from the stock with a slotted spoon and discard. (All the nutrients are in the broth.) Strain the broth through mesh or cheesecloth (optional). Put pot with broth back on stovetop, and bring to a soft boil. Meanwhile, debone (if necessary) the chicken breasts and chop them into bite sized pieces. Add to the stock, along with parsley and pasta. Adjust seasonings to taste. Simmer ten minutes. Turn off the heat. Voila! Basic chicken soup!

Variations that add comfort or pizzaz:
Traditional: A fresh sauté of finely diced onions, carrots and celery, bay leaf, parsley, thyme
Greek: Juice of one lemon, 1 tsp oregano and a couple beaten eggs
Asian: a sauté of chopped fresh ginger, hot pepper, and garlic; handful fresh chopped cilantro
Kitchen sink: Fresh chopped greens and/or any veggies you have on hand, left over brown rice, chunked potatoes, herbs you like

 


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