Healthy Food

Playing Hooky with Gingerbread Cookies and Jord Watches

December 13, 2016
PaleoGingebreadCookiesandJordWatch

“But Mommy! I don’t want to go to school today. I want to stay home and bake cookies with you!”

This was my favorite thing to say to my mom when I was young. It’s a Daffy Duck line from Space Jam (Everybody get up it’s time to jam now – ah, so good). Anyways, it always seemed the perfect thing to say on a cold, blustery day, when all I wanted to do was cuddle up with mom – a Christmas movie in the background, hot cocoa on the stove, and me on a step stool with electric mixer in hand, beating up the batter for a batch of Mom’s extra fudgy brownies.

PaleoGingerbreadCookieIngredients

Well, it may have taken 25 years, but last week, Mom and I did it. Actually played hooky. We shut the door on the bitterly cold weather, set work aside, put the fire on full blast, and baked cookies.

She brought soup. I bought molasses and maple syrup. We played “All I Want for Christmas” and talked tea parties and teddy bear’s picnics. And, together, we whipped up one slightly soft, slightly crispy, extra gingery batch of gingerbread cookies. Paleo, yes. But you would never know the difference.

It was lovely. And rare. At a time of the year when everything moves at break neck speed, time slowed. I know because I could see it right on my wrist. PaleoGingerbreadCookieIngredientsandJordWatch

There's something really luxurious about wearing an old-fashioned, wind-up, tick-tocking watch. This beauty was made by an artist-run, sustainably-driven company called Jord. Even my mom agreed that she'd never seen such a unique watch. Might have something to do with the fact that they're all made from natural woods like Koa, Bamboo, Maple, Walnut, and Sandalwood.

Point is, for whatever reason, this super cool watch company decided that my wrist was fit for one of their best-sellers, the Frankie.

When it arrived in the mail, I was totally in awe. Zebrawood band and a champagne face. Oooohh. Ahhhhh.

JordWatchUndertheTree

Luxury. The whole afternoon was full of it. Not in the champagne and high heels kind of way. But in the slow-moving, tea-sipping, eyes-closing as we bit into another gingerbread cookie kind of way.

Oh. And these cookies. I could write a love poem about them. I'll be the first to admit that Paleo cookies do not typically hold up to their all-purpose-flour counterparts. But these cookies are different. I swear. Soft, with just enough bite. Sweet, but not too sweet. And a little nutty.

The key is, I let somebody else do all of the recipe-testing. Time is luxury, right?

PaleoGingerbreadFrostingwithNutiva

My recipe creator and tester was Megan from the blog Detoxinista. So no, I cannot take credit for these gems. But I have no problem giving it all to her and sending you her way if you want to make a paleo cookie taste good. 

It's important that you don't skip the frosting. Delicious, yes, but also very important because it is FUN. Apparently, running coconut sugar through your Vitamix causes it to go up in smoke in one big sugar cloud. Is it weird that I wanted to stick my tongue out so I could catch a puff of it?

PowderedCoconutSugarPaleo

So please. I beg of you. Consider not just making them, but really taking an afternoon, a morning, whatever you can get so that you can enjoy the process and make your own sugar clouds. The cookies, the hookie, the time with your fam, the whole she-bang. It’s incredibly therapeutic at this time of the year.

Okay, okay. I can see the eye rolls from here coming from the busy moms who know I have no idea what stress is like until I have a house full of screaming kids to take care of while "luxuriously" lounging with my mom by the fire.

Hi guys. I give you full permission to put a KICK ME sign on my back next time you see me. But I do have something that might make you hate me less. I have a little gift for you all. Follow the link below and you’ll get $25 towards a Jord watch for your mom, dad, girlfriend, or little old you. Because we all deserve a little luxury, don’t you think?

GET $25 TOWARDS A JORD WATCH

Thank you to Jord Wood Watches for sponsoring this post. You are lovely.

JordWatchwithNutcracker

PALEO GINGERBREAD COOKIE RECIPE

Cookie Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups almond meal
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot or tapioca starch
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 Tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses
  • Extra arrowroot or tapioca starch, for rolling & cutting
  • 1 batch of Coconut Sugar Icing, for decorating

Coconut Sugar Frosting Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon Nutiva red palm oil shortening
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (not liquified)
  • 1/4 cup “powdered” coconut sugar
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot or tapioca starch
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract

Cookie Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. Pour almond meal, tapioca starch, ginger, cinnamon, salt and baking soda in a bowl and stir to combine.
  4. In a seperate bowl, combine coconut oil, maple syrup, and molasses.
  5. Pour sticky mixture into the dry ingredient bowl and mix together until a dough is formed. It should be a bit sticky – make sure there is no powder left in the mixture.
  6. Place the dough in the freezer for at least 30 minutes to help it get more firm.
  7. If you want to keep it simple and just roll them into balls or stick them into a cutout cookie sheet (no shame in the lazy way if you ask me), then skipi to step 12.
  8. Put down a large piece of parchment paper and sprinkle it with tapioca starch.
  9. Split the dough into thirds to work in small batches (I always start with one batch before I put them all in because I may want to change their thickness/timing if the first batch didn't work out like I wanted)
  10. Use a rolling pin (or if you're like me and you don't have a rolling pin, use a large bottle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, ha)
  11. Dip your cookie cutters in a little starch, then press them into your dough.
  12. If you don't have a cookie cutter or choose not to use one, roll your dough into 1-inch balls and flatten them on the parchment-covered cookie sheet. Sprinkle them with a bit of coconut sugar for good measure.
  13. Stick in the oven for 8-10 minutes. Any longer than that for my oven made them a little too crispy for my tastes. They weren't exactly burnt, but they were just crossing the line.

Frosting Directions:

  1. Toss coconut sugar in your high speed blender until it's finely ground. It will literally puff up in a cloud and have a texture similar to powdered sugar.
  2. Then, combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and use a rubber spatula to mix it and press it all together. Add a bit of water to smooth it out (just a little at a time).
  3. To decorate, scoop the frosting mixture into a platic bag and then cut the tip of the bottom of one side of the bag. If you're smart and prepared, you'll have a decorating tip. I, am neither of those things so I had to settle with a very unsteady stream of frosting pouring out onto my cookies. Thus, the very messy final product. But, hey, they still tasted amazing so I'm not mad about it.

paleoGingerbreadCookiesGreenAnthropologiePlate

 

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Healthy Reviews

I went to Italy and threw my paleo diet out the window

November 10, 2016
HealthyStaceyEatsItaly

I’m a rule follower by nature. I never skipped class in high school OR college. When I go 7 miles over the speed limit, I feel like I’m really pushing my luck. And when I decided to be Paleo a couple years back, I followed all of the “don’t eat that, only eat this” rules.

But here’s the thing. I respect rule-breakers. The little goody two shoes inside of me wants to be one because I know that, mentally, it’s a hell of a lot more healthy than being a rule-follower.

So when my husband and I decided on Italy for our honeymoon, I decided right then and there that I would break all the rules the moment we hit Italian soil.

CookingVacations_HealthyStacey

It started innocently enough with a cheese and prosciutto plate. Then I found myself reaching for the bread basket before dinner (the horror!). But by the end, I found myself housing an ENTIRE pizza. But not just any pizza, thin, crispy, saucy, cheesy, air-pockety Neapolitan pizza in Naples.

In fact, I am sorry to inform you that if you had any desire to go to Italy yourself, that it is no longer there…because I ate it. 

I ate big blocks of cakey bread topped with white cheese, red cheese, orange cheese, liver bruschetta (aka Bruschetta di Fegato), mozzarella, pecorino and goat cheese. I ate pumpkin risotto, then hazelnut gelato (then chocolate gelato and later vanilla bean gelato). Whenever the moment presented itself, I had tiramisu – tiramisu gelato, tiramisu in cups, tiramisu in bowls, tiramisu in squares, and when they were out of tiramisu, I ate crème brûlée. I gushed when croissants were brought to us on a tray at our cozy little bed and breakfast, and stuffed my face with squash blossoms stuffed with ricotta cheese. I squeeled, then drooled over pizza with ham, pizza with mushrooms and radicchio and pizza with anchovies. I "when Harry Met Sally-ed" at least twice. Once over eggplant lasagna, and the second time over lemon tart stuffed with freshly-made, sweet crunchy peanut brittle…in the same meal. 

When I needed a gut break, I had no problem finding paleo-ish fair that still felt nearly as indulgent. That’s when I found seafood salad, branzino and red snapper with a side of grilled vegetables drizzled in balsamic vinegar. I got giddy over prosciutto paired with eggplant drenched in truffle. Then found a new love for rabbit salad. I enjoyed a simple braised beef with golden potatoes dish. And later became in awe over an onion slow roasted till it became "soup." All of my health nut needs were met by sea bass in a lemon sauce, sea bass in “crazy water” vegetable broth, grilled octopus with spicy oil with avocado and plantain chips, and even an organic grocery store in Naples with aisles of food products shouting “senza glutine” and “non-OGM” (hehe, it’s backwards).

Yes, I felt uncomfortably stuffed by the end of the trip. My pants didn't fit. My thighs felt like big sausages. And to top it off, I caught a cold while we were in Montalcino so I was all stuffed up and snotty. But I was still standing. I didn't die. In fact, I lived.

I’ve gained weight since I got back. No question about it. But I am surprised to report that I kind of like it. I have this extra cushion that wasn't there before. I'm trying to think of it like a badge of honor. This new butt? Oh. Got that in Italy. 😉

If you ever find yourself going to Italy, you'll ask every previous Italian traveler you know, where they went, where they ate and what they did. I know I did. Which is why I'm going to make it easy for you and include my trip itinerary below (well, most of it – I don't need to bore you with ALL the details). 

That said, at the end of the day, my favorite finds were the ones that we stumbled upon – not the ones we went looking for.

You have to make Italy your own. So please do. But if you feel the need to start somewhere, here is my Italy…

Healthy Stacey's Italy Itinerary

Florence

We stayed here: AC Firenze (a little too far off the beaten path for our liking; it took us about 15 minutes to walk into town; it was clean and well-kept, but seemed more for the business traveler than the honeymooner)

We ate here:

La Prosciutteria (wine and a snack before dinner ended up being one of our favorite spots in the whole trip; it's teeny tiny, but has so much good energy that you don't even notice it)

ProsciutteriaFlorence

My husband's cousin's home (where we ate homemade pumpkin risotto, grilled eggplant and every meat known to man cooked over a coal-burning fire at the best restaurant in Monsummano Terme, not open to the public, hehe)

WelcomeSignFlorence

Montalcino

We stayed here: Porta Castellana Bed and Breakfast (adorable, warm, inviting, all the mushy gushy adjectives you can think of!; the owner was sweet, giving us the perfect itinerary for our stay in the beautiful little moutain town of Montalcino)

PortaCostallenaBedandBreakfast_Montalcino

We ate here:

Caffe Fiaschetteria Italiana (a historical cafe known for its famous guests includes Prince Charles of Wales, as well as Prime Ministers like Jean Chretienne of Canada, along with politicians, actors, and Italian and internationally renowned athletes – GREAT wine and waiters who know their wine like nobody's business)

CaffeFiaschetteriaMontalcino

Re Di Macchia (adorable, initmate restauraunt that was buzzing inside with locals and laughter, lots and lots of laughter; honestly, I don't quite remember what I had, but I know it was delicious)

HealthyStacey_CremeBrulee

We drank here:

Enoteca la Fortezza di Montalcino (a wine bar…in a castle! we tasted some of our favorite wines in montalcino here accompanied by a light appetizer of truffle eggplant bruschetta – absolute heaven)

EnotecaFortezzadiMontalcino

We wine-toured here:

Altesino (here, my husband and I learned everything about Super Tuscans and Brunellos on our private tour; there was a gorgeous view of the vineyards and of Montalcino in the distance)

AltesinoWinery copy AltesinoWinery

Pienza

We ate here (and wish we didn’t): La Taverna Di Moranda (weird vibe in a dark empty stone-walled room with an angry owner; the only reason we came was because the highly recommended Osteria La Porta was totally packed with no room for even two more guests; we ordered one app so as not to be rude and then we hightailed it outta there)

We made up for it here: Dopolavoro La Foce (bright and friendly with seasonal farm-to-table fare; it has its own vegetable garden across the road so you know it's fresh. A path connects the vegetable garden to the famous La Foce gardens; I had something called "onion soup" that was literally an onion that had been roasted until its insides became soupy – yum!)

OnionSoupinMontalcino

Rome

We stayed here: Rome Marriott Grand Hotel Flora (beautiful, great location, complete with a rooftop breakfast with a beautiful view of the city)

We ate here:

La Rosetta (came to me highly recommended by my dear well-travelled friend, Marta; this beauty was the first all-fish restauraunt in Rome; all locally-sourced, made to order; grilled octopus with avocado and plantain chips? yes, please! It's pretty much a Paleo restauraunt in Rome…kind of)

Octopus_LaRosettainRome

Sarafini alla Pace (my husband believes this to be the best pizza we had in Italy, while my vote is still in Naples, but I don't disagree that it was pretty frickin amazing; right in the heart of everything, great people watching if you sit outside)

Sarafini_alla_Pace_Pizza_Rome

Sapori D'Ischia (this place was literally a two minute walk from our hotel, but was such a gem; owned and operated by a very sweet family of three – the mother is the chef, the daughter is the server, and the husband is the piano player – meaning he takes periodic breaks to play a little diddy on the huge grand piano that takes up more space than the tables in this tiny and intimate eatery)

Amalfi/Positano

We stayed here: Grand Hotel Il Saraceno (it is literally a castle built into the side of the mountain; there are no words for how beautiful this city was, but I will embarrasingly admit that the view from our room actually brought me to tears – I am not exxaggerating, and no, this has never happened to me before, and may never happen again)

AmalfiCoast_GrandSaraceno_View2

AmalfiCoast_GrandSaraceno_ChampagneToast

AmalfiCoast_GrandSaracenoView1

IlGrandSaraceno_AmalfiCoast

AmalfiCoast_PoolView_GrandSaraceno

We ate here:

Ristorante Mashreq (the restauraunt in our hotel; honestly, the food didn't blow me away, but I didn't care because we had no desire to leave our beautiful castle with tear-jerking views)

Covo Dei Saraceni (Amaaaazing gelato on the dock of the bay in Positano)

GelatoinPositano

We cooked here: 

Cooking Vacations (I'm tempted to say the highlight of my trip – but there are so many it's hard to say; here is where I got to check a bullet off my bucket list – a private cooking lesson with an Italian chef in Positano; he taught us how to salt an eggplant to get out the bitterness, how a simple vegetable broth is all you need to cook a sea bass, and the best indicator of a perfectly cooked garlic – "when it's turned blonde – like me!" he says).

PumpkinRisotto_CookingVacations

CasaMeleChefRafaelo

CookingVacations_SeaBassinCrazyWater

Naples

We stayed here: Renaissance Naples Hotel Mediterraneo

We ate here: 

Pizzaria Trianon (this is where I ate an entire pizza ALL BY MYSELF and I would do it again if I could because…damn; we stumbled upon this place as an alternative to L'antica Pizzeria de Michele – the shop that was put on the map after Elizabeth Gilbert gushed about it in "Eat Pray Love"; we took one look at the line that wrapped around the block and decided to find our own "best pizza in Naples, and therefore, the world"; we were spot on with Trianon; they not only hand-made the pizzas in front of you, they were more than happy to ham it up for the camera)

PizzaDoughMaking_Trianon

PizzeriaTranonNaples

PiazzaTrianon_NeopilitanPizza

TrianonPizza_Naples

 

Big Magic Cooking + Fig & Bacon Pizza Recipe

September 21, 2016

Big Magic Elizabeth Gilbert

No time to chit chat? Skip straight to the recipe here.

I have a slight infatuation with motivational books. Whenever I am down, or in a funk, want to learn something new, or create a new habit, my knee jerk reaction is to get a book on it. Inevitably, it will always make me feel better, clearer and more in control – like I have a plan.

Oh. You’re judging me. I can feel it. But that’s okay. I figure, there are worse addictions to have. Don’t worry. I have no plans of self-motivating you guys. So just bear with me.

PaleoPizzaCrustDoughMix

Currently, I’m on my second go round of “Big Magic,” by "Eat, Pray, Love" superstar Elizabeth Gilbert. It’s composed of little mini lessons on how to live a creative life. One of my favorite excerpts reads:

Creativity is sacred, and it is not sacred.
What we make matters enormously, and it doesn’t matter at all.
We toil alone, and we are accompanied by spirits.
We are terrified, and we are brave.
Art is a crushing chore and a wonderful privilege.
Only when we are at our most playful can divinity finally get serious with us.
Make space for all these paradoxes to be equally true inside your soul, and I promise – you can make anything.

Deep, right?

Actually, the first time I read it I didn’t think so. I thought it was a little too fluffy for me. And honestly, at that point, I thought I didn’t have time for a creative life. And if I did, I wasn’t really creative enough to consider myself an “artist.”

Paleo Pizza Crust Dough Big Magic Cooking

My art, after all, isn’t poetry or oil paintings, lettering or instruments. My art is healthy food. Cooking it, researching it, eating it, sharing it, and seeing how good it makes me feel – inside and out.

Here’s the irony. The WHOLE book is all about squashing this kind of assumption. The thought that we all have to be crazy, amazing, volatile “artists” to be creative. When really, human beings, by nature, are creative beings.

Some of us just choose to express it more than others. And those who don’t, have a million excuses why. Each chapter of “Big Magic” is dedicated to combatting those excuses.

Paleo PIzza Crust Big Magic Cooking

If you are a type A, perfectionist like me, you need to read this book. It's like your permission slip to mess up, go crazy, be irresponsible and ugly and gramatically incorrect.

Reading it made me worry less about being the first, the best, and the original. And focus more on just being unapologetically myself. It made me giddy and excited to spend time with my art. Or as Gilbert calls it, “have an affair with your art.” But of all the lessons, there is one that really stuck with me.

It’s the lesson she called “Motives.” In it, she states,

“You are not required to save the world with your creativity. Your art not only doesn’t have to be original…it also doesn’t have to be important.”

I love this.

So Gilbert. You’re telling me that, when I cook, I don’t have to cure diseases? Heal guts? Get all of America to stop eating processed food?

Paleo Pizza Fig and Bacon

Wow. Freeing.

In her opinion, people don’t want to be “helped” or “saved” by your art. That’s not what art is for. It’s a personal expression of yourself.

As soon as I finished the book, I was immediately inspired to create.

Handcuffs are off. Nobody is watching. This is just for me. Do your thing, Stacey.
(Okay. I realized that by talking to myself I inched at least one dot past motivational book-reader. Sorry. Won’t happen again).

So I made something totally and completely indulgent, unnecessary and unhelpful with the most extravagant ingredients I could think of – just for the hell of it.

Here it is. My art.

Paleo-ish Fig and Bacon Pizza.

Paleo Pizza Fig and Bacon Big Magic Cooking

Paleo Pizza Fig and Bacon Big Magic Cooking

Paleo Big Magic Pizza

It's full of umami and rich fruit flavor, with a caramelly base, an herby touch and a crispy finish. It's made from gluten and grain-free ingredients (coconut and arrowroot flour crust), and topped with indulgent organic toppings. I broke the "Paleo rules" and used feta because I felt like living on the dangerous side. I probably overcooked my bacon and under-melted my cheese, but none of that mattered. It was damn delicious and absolutely beautiful in my eyes. And that's all that matters, right?

Much Love,

HealthyStaceySignature

Fig and Bacon Pizza Recipe

Paleo Pizza Fig and Bacon Big Magic Cooking

Pizza crust recipe adopted from the book, “Everyday Paleo Around the World: Italian Cuisine” by Sarah Frogoso

Yeast Mixture:

  • ¼ cup warm water
  • 2 teaspoons raw honey
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast

Dry ingredients:

  • ¾ cup almond flour
  • 3 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 2/3 cup arrowroot flour
  • pinch of sea salt

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon raw apple cider vinegar

Toppings:

  • 4 strips of pasture-raised bacon
  • ½ onion, thinly sliced
  • 4-5 figs, sliced to about ¼ inch thick
  • Handful of organic Arugula, chopped up
  • Grass-fed feta cheese, thinly sliced
  • Optional: Balsamic vinegar

Pizza Crust Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425
  2. Put the yeast ingredients into a bowl and mix together. Let them sit for about 5 minutes to activate and foam a bit.
  3. Place the dry ingredients in a second bowl and whisk to combine.
  4. Add the yeast mixture and the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix well with an electronic hand mixer.
  5. Scoop the mixture onto a pan lined with parchment paper.
  6. Use a rubber spatula to spread into an even circle.
  7. Stick your pizza crust in the oven and bake for 9-10 minutes.

Topping Directions:

  1. Turn a skillet to medium high heat and lay your bacon on the skillet. Don’t cook until crispy or burnt. As you are also going to put this back in the oven on the pizza. 5 minutes-ish should be good.
  2. Place the bacon on a paper-towel lined plate, reserving the fat.
  3. Use the fat to cook your thinly sliced onions. Again, don’t overdo it as you will be putting these back in the oven with the crust.
  4. Slice your figs and chop up your arugula.

Putting it all together Directions:

  1. Remove crust from the oven and flip over with a spatula.
  2. Add your toppings like so: 1) Lay feta in one layer across crust (note: I did not add enough feta myself so I am telling you to make a layer so you do not repeat my mistake), 2) Lay strips of bacon over feta, 3) Lay slices of figs over bacon, 4) Sprinkle chopped arugula evenly across the top
  3. Put back in oven and cook for another 5-10 minutes.
  4. Take out, drizzle a little balsamic vinegar across the top and totally and completely indulge.
  5. Now. Go make your own art.

Paleo Pizza Fig and Bacon

 

p.s. Save this baby for later and pin it. Oh! And while you're there, I would really really appreciate the follow.

Paleo fig and bacon pizza pin

Paleo Pizza Fig and Bacon Big Magic Cooking
Paleo-ish Fig and Bacon Pizza
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
2 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Paleo Pizza Fig and Bacon Big Magic Cooking
Paleo-ish Fig and Bacon Pizza
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
2 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425
  2. Put the yeast ingredients into a bowl and mix together. Let them sit for about 5 minutes to activate and foam a bit.
  3. Place the dry ingredients in a second bowl and whisk to combine.
  4. Add the yeast mixture and the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix well with an electronic hand mixer.
  5. Scoop the mixture onto a pan lined with parchment paper.
  6. Use a rubber spatula to spread into an even circle.
  7. Stick your pizza crust in the oven and bake for 9-10 minutes.
  8. Turn a skillet to medium high heat and lay your bacon on the skillet. Don’t cook until crispy or burnt. As you are also going to put this back in the oven on the pizza. 5 minutes-ish should be good.
  9. Place the bacon on a paper-towel lined plate, reserving the fat.
  10. Use the fat to cook your thinly sliced onions. Again, don’t overdo it as you will be putting these back in the oven with the crust.
  11. Slice your figs and chop up your arugula.
  12. Remove crust from the oven and flip over with a spatula.
  13. Add your toppings like so: 1) Lay feta in one layer across crust (note: I did not add enough feta myself so I am telling you to make a layer so you do not repeat my mistake), 2) Lay strips of bacon over feta, 3) Lay slices of figs over bacon, 4) Sprinkle chopped arugula evenly across the top
  14. Put back in oven and cook for another 5-10 minutes.
  15. Take out, drizzle a little balsamic vinegar across the top and totally and completely indulge.
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Healthy Body

How I Cured A Cold In 5 Days With 5 Food Medicines and No Drugs

August 25, 2016

AppleCiderVinegarforColds

I have something really embarrassing to tell you.

I, Healthy Stacey, got sick.  

I’m talking runny nose, a throat so swollen it hurt to swallow, dead tired but couldn’t sleep because I stayed up all night long hacking up a lung sick.

I know, I know. But you’re so “Healthy.” How did you get sick? (I’m imagining this in the voice of Adam Sandler, followed by “Hoobidy doobidy.”)

Well, I’ve narrowed it down to either the potentially germ-infested blanket I took from the flight attendant on my way to Mexico or the fact that I got stuck in a torrential downpour on my way to the yoga class that I couldn’t miss, and instead stayed sopping wet through every Chaturanga Dandasana.  

That’s neither here nor there. The point is, I got sick, and then I got better WITHOUT taking any drugs.

I’ve never been a big fan of Tylenol Cold & Flu, Robitussin Cough Syrup or any of the other hard-hitting OTC drugs out there. They make me super drowsy and I hate to think what other side effects they’re having on my body. Oh. And as far as I know (correct me if I’m wrong), cough and cold remedies do not shorten or cure illnesses; they just ease the symptoms along the way. But in doing so, they take a lot more processing from my liver than, say, a spoonful of raw honey would.  

So if I can reduce my symptoms in other more natural ways that don’t make me drowsy, don’t tax my liver AND actually make my immune system stronger for the future, then I’m all for it.

If you take them, I get it. No judgment. Promise. I just decided that me being sick would be a perfect opportunity to do a little self-experimenting for you guys.  

The Experiment: Kick this sucker without meds – just immune-boosting food and supplements, and see how long it takes.   

I dug a box of Tylenol Cold & Flu out of the medicince cabinet and put it on the counter. Partly as an "in case of emergency – pull this lever," but also as an extra boost of motivation. Challenge: accepted.

Here’s how it went down.

Day 1.
Throat is feeling swollen. I can feel something coming on. But it’s not full-blown quite yet. At this point I didn’t know what it was, but I knew that the first thing I needed to drink was bone broth.

Food Medicine # 1: Bone Broth

Bone Broth for colds

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Bone broth is a magical elixir. Simmering the bones of healthy animals releases nutrients and healing compounds that you could NOT get just from eating the meat.

Moreover, whatever foods you add to the broth will be better digested and absorbed into your system. So for my special Get Better Bone Broth, I added a few key nutrients also known to help immunity.

Garlic for its immune-boosting, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory effects. Ginger and cayenne because they are warming to your system and help relieve congestion.

Get Better Bone Broth Recipe:

  • 1 cup of homemade bone broth – see recipe here.
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Directions:

  1. Heat up bone broth and coconut oil (I do 1:30 in the microwave, in a mug)
  2. Mix in your sea salt, garlic and cayenne pepper.
  3. Drink up and repeat every day until you feel better (2 times a day if you’re up for it!)

When your throat is hurting, you can’t get enough liquids in your system. Not only does it feel good on the throat, it helps loosen congestion. So on this first day, I was always drinking something – whether it be broth, water or my homemade Kick In the Pants Tea made with my good friend ACV.

Food Medicine #2: Apple Cider Vinegar

Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar. It may be acidic, but it actually helps to alkalize our overly acidic bodies. A body that is more alkaline will be better at fighting off colds.

I started taking this concoction years ago when I first found out about the benefits of ACV and it’s never steered me wrong. You’ll see that I’ve used a lot of the ingredients I used in my Get Better Bone Broth for the same reasons (with the addition of lemon for its anti-viral benefits and raw honey for its antioxidant, antimicrobial, throat-soothing benefits, and because it makes EVERYTHING taste better). But this tonic is a little more accessible for those of you who aren’t quite ready to hop on the bone broth bandwagon.

Kick In The Pants Tea

Apple Cider Vinegar Tea

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar (I like the Bragg’s brand)
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • ½ freshly squeezed lemon
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½-1 teaspoon raw honey

Directions:

  1. Boil water in tea kettle
  2. Add all other ingredients into your mug
  3. Pour hot water on top and stir

Day 2.
I get a horrible night’s sleep and my throat feels more swollen the next day. I double up on the bone broth (which feels like heaven on my throat; with just one sip I feel the swelling going down and the sinus pressure easing up).

I supplement my broth drinking with Breathe Easy Tea from Traditional Medicinals. (Another favorite for swollen glands and sore throats is Throat Coat, I just didn’t have any on hand).

That night, I decided I needed something to ensure that I would sleep through the night. Enter saffron.

Food Medicine # 2: Saffron

Saffron to make tea with

You know that spice that comes with your spice kit that kind of looks like red spider legs? That’s saffron. It’s apparently the most expensive spice in the world. That's why they only give you a little bit in each jar. But the thing is, you don’t need much to get it to work. This stuff is powerful.

Yes, I already had some from a spice kit that was gifted to me so, for me, there was no cost. But I looked it up on The Spice House Chicago website, and saw that you can get it by the gram for $12.08. And a gram is plenty for this purpose.

Saffron spice is produced from the saffron crocus flower (Crocus sativus) and it is actually the insides of the flower that catches the pollen. Among its MANY other benefits (used for asthma, cough, loosening of phlegm, gas, depression, Alzheimer’s, dry skin, PMS symptoms, fertility, and more) it has also been shown to have mild sedative properties. Meaning, when you drink this stuff, and put your head on that fluffy pillow, it hits you. Or at least it did for me. I felt instantly relaxed and lulled to sleep.

After a lot of searching around the internet, I came across about nine different people all claiming that they had “the best” way to make saffron tea. So I threw up my hands and just decided to do my own thing.

Using full fat coconut milk (real milk would be even better because it has tryptophan in it, but I didn’t have that), cinnamon for its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant qualities, raw honey for its antioxidant, antimicrobial and throat-soothing benefits and cardamom (I’m sure it has benefits too, but I just thought it would taste good with it), I created “the best” Saffron Sleepy Tea.

Saffron Sleepy Tea

Saffron tea for insomnia

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup of water
  • 1 cup of full-fat coconut milk or whole milk (ideally grass-fed)
  • 7-10 strands of saffron
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon raw honey

Directions:

  1. Boil ½ cup of water in a pot on the stove
  2. Add saffron and cover pot for 10 minutes
  3. Now add milk, cinnamon and cardamom and turn heat up to medium
  4. Stir until warm
  5. Add in honey
  6. Pour into a mug and sip, repeat and go to sleep.

Day 3.
The snot tap has turned on. The swollen throat has finally released itself and the nose is running like crazy. I have a love-hate relationship with this part. I know that the release of all the fluid means that it’s all coming out and I’m on my way to getting better. But it’s still a disgusting snotty drip.

Quick Defense from Gaia Herbs

My good friend (and supplement superstar), Monica, recommends to me a product called Quick Defense from Gaia Herbs. She says it works like a charm if you take it at the onset of symptoms. A little too late for that, but I figure, it couldn’t hurt and it offered a lot of immune-boosting benefits.

Food Medicine #3: Green Drink

Green Vibrance Powder Mix

Like magic, my Green Vibrance just happened to arrive in the mail that day. I had ordered it a week or so ago as an addition to my Fertility Diet. Again, this came highly recommended to me from my supplement superstar up there. Monica recommends it to everybody she knows because of its high quality ingredients and the marked difference she feels in her energy levels when she takes it in the morning. One of her friends who suffered from a lower immunity started taking it per Monica’s recommendation and found a huge difference. In fact, it’s only when she stops drinking it that she gets sick again.

Hmmm. Fertility food AND immune booster. What is this stuff?

Well, in a really small nutshell, it’s a greens powder. But the makers of this particular product have gone to town with the types (and high concentrations) of nutrients they've packed into each scoop. Organic kale sprouts, organic broccoli sprouts, organic spirulina, chlorella, organic beet juice, organic parsley, organic spinach, organic carrot, green bean, zucchini and Rockweed sea vegetable are just the beginning. It also offers a host of other supplements to support digestion, bone strength, circulation, liver and immunity. It’s kind of like taking a multi-vitamin, a green smoothie and NZT all in one. Just kidding about the NZT (5 Gold Stars to anybody who can name this movie reference in the comments).

What I love about this, is that it takes out a lot of the thought that goes into smoothie making. I personally like to add a lot of extra boosts to my smoothies beyond the greens and the fruits. But not everybody has the money or the patience for that. Especially when sick.

Sicko Smoothie:

Green Smoothie For Colds

Ingredients:

  • 1 scoop of Green Vibrance
  • 1 inch of turmeric root
  • Dash of pepper
  • 1 inch of ginger root
  • 1 teaspoon bee pollen
  • 2 scoops of Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides
  • Frozen pineapple
  • Almond Milk/Coconut Water (I mix the two together)
  • Optional: Superfood toppings becasue it makes it fun to drink (I used my favorite Superfood Crumble from Elemental Superfoods)

Directions:

  1. Put almond milk/coconut water in a high speed blender
  2. Add in Collagen Peptides and Green Vibrance
  3. Add in remaining ingredients
  4. Pulverize until smooth
  5. Add toppings
  6. Drink up, breathe in, breath out, feel better!

Day 4.
Feeling better today. Nose is still running, but the glands in the throat feel back to normal and I can see the end of the rainbow. Last night, I did some extreme self-care. Meaning, I put all my energy into myself – and put everything else on hold.

Food Medicine #4: Homemade Soup (with a side of Self-Care)

Self-care. It's a real thing. Seriously. When you take care of yourself first, everything else falls into place.

I don't do it very often. It usually takes extreme cases like me being sick for it to happen. So I went to town. I canceled plans with friends. I slowly and gently cleaned up things that I no longer needed and replaced batteries to a clock that stopped ticking years ago. I put my favorite men on Spotify (Sinatra and Mayer) and watched girly, cheesy movies without shame. I nestled into my rattiest but softest sweat pants. And, finally, I made myself this very special soup just for me.

Dreamy Creamy Carrot Soup

Paleo Carrot Broth Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 carrots
  • 1 teaspoon ghee
  • 1 inch of turmeric root
  • 1 inch of ginger root
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/3 can of full fat coconut milk
  • 1 cup of homemade bone broth
  • Sea Salt
  • Pepper
  • Optional toppings: Crispy chicken and chopped scallions

Directions:

  1. Peel and chop carrots
  2. Saute in ghee for 5 minutes-ish, until softened and a little browned
  3. Heat bone broth up on stove, bringing to a simmer over medium heat
  4. Stir in remaining ingredients
  5. Pour in high speed blender and pulverize until smooth
  6. Add toppings of your choice (I happened to have leftover chicken that I sautéed in more ghee until it was crispy, plus a dash of chopped scallions to add a bite)

Day 5.
I feel SO much better. I literally woke up, inhaled through my nose, and clapped my hands because I could smell again! My friends, I swear, I felt better than I did before the cold even began.

I still start my day with Gaia Quick Defense and a cup of bone broth for good measure. Then make another Green Vibrance smoothie for breakfast. I stare at the Tylenol Cold & Flu that has been sitting on the counter just in case of an emergency, and stuffed it back in the back of the cabinet where it belonged. Then did a little happy dance because DAMN, I’m good.

Alrighy folks, what do you do when you get sick? Do you feel the same way I do about OTC medicine? Or are you all about it and want to prove me wrong? Bring it on. Comment below.

Much Love,

HealthyStaceySignature

p.s. The links I provied are affiliate links. But because my Amazon Affiliate account lay inactive for too long, they've kicked me out. They may work in the future, so I still feel like I should let y'all know. Hot mess. I know.

p.s.s. Pin this baby! You know you'll need it come Cold & Flu season!

Natural Cold Cures