My natural medical cabinet
I have always been one of those people who say ‘I never get sick, I won’t pick up the viruses from my daughters’ crèche…’ and after years as strong as an ox, I have fallen. Another victim to flu and a temperature. Whenever we get sick, we think… “It feels so good to be well”, don’t we? Thankfully, I’ve had very little fever and I’ve only had a few really bad days. Rest was of course crucial for getting better, although I’m still not free of the typical symptoms that take more than a week to clear, and I still haven’t managed to separate myself from my box of tissues.
At home, my main medical cabinet is in the kitchen, where I keep my natural allies. They save me more than one trip to the chemist. So here I am, as it couldn’t be any other way really, trusting in the power of food to beat my cold. In this post, I suggest you try three of my drinks and simple recipes that I use in these episodes of colds to help my organism to prevent and fight them. They are two cold-pressed juices and an infusion.
I am extremely lucky to have a great friend, María Antonia Rodríguez, who is an expert in nutrition and who lent me her technical knowledge for this post. I spend hours and hours with her, talking about one of the things that most interests us both: looking after our health and that of our families.
Let’s get started. We’ll begin with the cold-pressed juices. Older juicers used to cut and centrifuge the fruit and vegetables, causing oxidation and heat at the same time, both of which are enemies to vitamins, minerals and the wonderful enzymes. On the contrary, these new, smaller devices break and press the food at a lower speed, without creating heat, throwing out the fibre. Intuitively, it seems ridiculous because we have all heard so much about the wonders of fibre, but it is precisely the lack of it that means these juices barely require digestion, and in just 30 minutes, they are nourishing our cells with all their properties intact. So, the more separate the fibre is from the juice, the better. A handy tip is to buy a very fine mesh sieve and to strain the juice even more.
These juices are healing because they have an incalculable source of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and the intrinsic properties of the plants themselves. Nevertheless, there are some conditions:
– Ideally, drink it on an empty stomach, and wait at least half an hour before eating anything else.
– It is best to drink it just after making it, to avoid the oxidation that occurs through contact with the air.
– A maximum of one piece of fruit should be used, because the fruit without fibre contains a lot of sugar (fructose) and that is not what we want to give our cells. Apples are ideal for these juices.
– Put as much green in as you can; chlorophyll does wonders for our health.
On another day, we will talk about shakes with all the fibre, which also have great benefits.
Juice for beginners
If this is the first time you are making a juice that mixes fruit and vegetables, this recipe is ideal for a palate that is new to these flavours. The ingredients for 1 juice are:
– Apple, 1 or 2, depending on the size.
– Carrot, 4 or 6, depending on the size.
– Celery, 2 long stalks.
– Pepper, to taste.
Apple is considered a super food with vitamin C and A, fibre, B complex, potassium, iron and zinc. Carrot in particular has lipo-soluble vitamins, essentially A, E and K. Celery contains potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous and vitamin A and C. Pepper is anti-inflammatory, digestive and contains vitamin C.
Fruit and vegetables that are not organic are full of pesticides, unfortunately. So peeling them is the only option, but then we lose nutrients too. The debate begins…. With organic produce, on the contrary, we don’t have this problem, but it is really important to wash them thoroughly since, on account of not having pesticides to eliminate parasites, they can contain them (or their eggs, which are microscopic). Bicarbonate and apple vinegar are best for cleaning.
Juice for advanced juicers
This super green juice combines:
– Spinach, one bunch.
– Cucumber, 1 or half, depending on the size.
– Lemon, 1, ideally, with the skin, since it contains bioflavonoids.
– A piece of root ginger.
– Mint, a few leaves.
Spinach is one of the richest vegetables in protein. Rich in fibre, although in this case we won’t use it, and containing a large amount of vitamins (A, C and E, as well as vitamin K and vitamins from the B group) and minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron and omega-3 fatty acid, it is an ESSENTIAL element in our diet. An important note about spinach: it should be eaten in moderation, since it is rich in oxalates. Cucumber also contains high amounts of vitamins and minerals; it is very alkaline, diuretic and digestive. On the contrary, we can eat as much cucumber as we like. As I have told you before, lemon is one of the jewels on the crown of food: antiviral, a natural antibiotic, anti-tumour, and also highly alkaline. Ginger is a natural anti-coagulant, anti-inflammatory and analgesic; it is the ultimate digestive, it reduces flatulence and it relieves sore throats,…in short, it is another essential food item. Lastly, the mint refreshes the airways, becoming an ideal ally for the purpose of these juices.
I prepared a video to show you, step by step, how I prepare my cold-press juices. Make sure to turn on subtitles for translation.
(For those who want to know, I use an Omega juicer.)
Orientalized thyme infusion
This infusion is a classic; I grew up seeing my mother make it repeatedly every winter. I have added an Asian touch with the ginger. The ingredients are:
– A sprig of dry thyme.
– The juice of half a lemon.
– A piece of root ginger.
– A soup spoon of honey.
I have already discussed lemon and ginger above. Thyme is anti-bacterial, anti-septic, anti-microbial; the ancient Greeks even used it as incense. It is very useful for respiratory problems like bronchitis; it is expectorant. Honey is extraordinary; the quantity of enzymes, minerals, amino acids and vitamins it contains is unquantifiable. It is the nectar of plants. Taken in moderation, one teaspoon a day —on account of the sugar levels it contains—, it has many benefits for our health. But it must be unprocessed, unfiltered, pure honey. All organic honeys meet these requirements, but this is not the case for the majority of honeys sold in supermarkets.
I use my mother’s recipe for four people: pour a litre of water into a saucepan, add the grated ginger and bring to the boil. When the water starts to boil, add the thyme and cook it for a few minutes. Afterwards, take it off the heat, put a lid on the pan and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
I hope these tips help your immune system’s soldiers to get stronger.
Good luck, and mind yourself!
Photos and videos taken with Nikon D5500 and AF-P 18-55mm VR lens.