You’re at the office, hard at work, when your cubicle-mate shows up with a fist full of tissues and a nagging cough. Cue: panic. What can you do to avoid catching contagious bugs (short of threatening to work from home until spring)?
Cook. After all, you are what you eat, so whipping something up in the kitchen that’s both immunty-boosting and inflammation-fighting can help protect you from the inside out. At least, that’s what Lee Holmes, certified health coach, yoga teacher, and author of Heal Your Gut, does when she starts to feel an inkling of sickness coming on.
Because she’s a pro, she’s devised a plan that doesn’t require holding your nose while chugging down some terrifying concoction. From vitamin C loaded nacho chips (yes, really!) to a soothing lemongrass Thai soup that will put your Seamless fave to shame, these recipes will fight the good fight all winter long.
Might be time to come up with another way to use those sick days….
Keep reading to see what nutritionist Lee Holmes eats when she starts feeling sick.
For a cold: Nachos—with a twist
Forget chicken soup—Holmes is all about snacking on nacho chips when she starts getting a little sniffly. The key here: they’re golden nacho chips. Yep, there’s turmeric in there.
The anti-inflammatory root “is good for all-around immunity, and I make my nachos with grated orange zest to get in some vitamin C, too,” she says. “Plus, the combo gives them just the loveliest color.”
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Place all the chip ingredients in a large bowl and mix with a wooden spoon to form a dough.
3. Place the dough on a clean work surface between two pieces of parchment paper. Roll the dough out until it is 1/16 inch thick.
4. Remove the top piece of baking paper and transfer the dough and bottom piece of baking paper to a baking tray. Using a sharp knife, deeply score the dough every 1 1/4 inch, then do the same in the opposite direction so you form squares. Bake in the oven for 12 minutes.
5. Allow to cool before breaking them apart. To assemble the nachos, place the nachos chips on a chopping board, and top with the remaining ingredients. Any leftover chips will keep in an airtight container for up to three days.
For a stomach bug: Ginger tea tonic
Gut problems are the worst. Luckily this is Holmes’ area of expertise, so she has a sure fix. “If you have a gut bug, garlic, ginger, and lemon in hot water is the best thing to drink,” she says. “Garlic is anti-bacterial, so it helps kill bad bacteria hanging around the gut, and the ginger is going to sooth you.”
Can’t tolerate sipping garlic? Holmes says a mixture of turmeric, ginger, lemon, and honey in hot water is a potent anti-bacterial alternative.
2 cups water
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 chucks of ginger root, grated
1. Boil water. Place garlic and ginger in water and leave covered for 15 minutes.
2. Add the juice from one lemon. Pour into a mug and drink.
For a bacterial infection: Lemongrass Thai soup
“This recipe is a kaleidoscope treasure chest of medicinal herbs and spices,” Lee says. “The plant oils of lemongrass in particular have been shown to inhibit multi-resistant strains of bacteria and yeast, making it a must-have ingredient for strong immunity.”
You’ll also find Holmes’ go-to spice in the recipe (turmeric), along with apple cider vinegar.
3 cups vegetable stock
3 1/4 inch piece of galangal, peeled and grated
2 stalks of lemongrass, cut into 2-inch pieces
3 or 4 kaffir lime leaves, torn
4 scallions, sliced
7 drops liquid stevia
1 can additive-free coconut milk
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp wheat-free tamari
1 red pepper, seeded and sliced
1 cup mushrooms, quartered
1/4 cup lime juice
Grated zest of one lime
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Cilantro leaves, to serve
1. Bring the vegetable stock, galangal, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, scallions, and stevia to a boil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for five minutes.
2. Stir through the coconut milk, vinegar, and tamari, then simmer for 10 minutes. Add the pepper and mushroom and simmer for another 5 minutes.
3. Remove from heat. Take out the lemongrass and lime leaves. Add the lime juice and zest, then puree in a food processor or blender until smooth. Serve with a grind of black pepper and garnish with cilantro.
Time to arm yourself with some more good advice: Here’s how to avoid burnout at work, and this 5-minute trick will calm your mind and gut in any situation.