5 Ways to Support your Immune System during CORONA-MADNESS 2020

Everyone is in a panic.

Toilet Paper, hand sanitizer and water are flying off the shelves like it’s a zombie apocalypse.

(And the media-hype fear mongers have you right where they want you.)

Fear.  It’s a powerful, tool in the hands of those who would want to control you.

CHILL.

Is it possible for a  major pandemic illness to sweep the country or the world?  Well, yes. It is possible…

Is this is the next black plague?  No.

However, it seems to be all anyone can talk about, so I’m here to share what my family is doing to avoid the the Corona Virus, Influenza, the common cold, the Black Plauge … and to keep the zombies at bay.

It’s very simple.

Keep calm & use common sense.

You don’t need more toilet paper. You need to KEEP YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEMS BOOSTED AND HEALTHY

The most important thing you can do for you and your family is support your internal health, your immune system. Yes, it’s important to wash your hands, try to avoid touching your face, etc. But if you are proactive with your health it will pay off in the long run.

I’ll break it down to 5 basic things:

  • Try to get a good nights sleep.
    •  Shut down electronics an hour before bed.
    •  Turn off your wifi before you go to bed.
    •  Diffuse (or apply topically) thereputic grade Essential Oils like Cedarwood, Lavender, Vetiver, Patchouli, & Chamomile

sleep

  • Get lots of vitamin C – Don’t underestimate this. 
  •  Eat Healthy
    • Reduce your sugar intake (and quick sugar carbs like white bread & white rice)
    •  Focus on vegetables, fruits and protein.
    • Avoid processed, junk food

eat healthy

  •  Take Elderberry Syrup (or gummies) It’s super easy to make your own!
    • Click Here for more info and my super easy recipe.

Elderberry Collage

cold bomb

And let me just add one more thing. Call it a bonus.

STOP STRESSING

Stressing about this and giving into fear will actually compromise your immune system even more. Our body and brain are in constant communication and it has been proven that psychological upsets can result in physical symptoms. Our immune systems are affected directly by our stress levels.

So take a deep breath and chill out.  The zombies aren’t coming for your toilet paper.  You just need to support your overall health and immune system.

 

Simply Perfect Crunchy Granola

Well, here we are, getting settled into our new homestead here in Alaska and life has been crazy to say the least.  We have so much work to do, spending every morning leisurely enjoying a hot breakfast of bacon, eggs and fried potatoes is nothing more than a picturesque fairytale right now.  As busy as we are, I need a few quick-fix tricks up my sleeve for breakfast and rather than falling back on store bought cold cereal, homemade granola is the ticket. Unlike the sugar-laden, empty calorie fluff from the store, (which, let’s face it, does no one any good because everyone is hungry 15 minutes later.) Hearty, homemade granola is made with healthy ingredients and will stick with you 10 times longer than that stuff with unpronounceable ingredients.
Aside from a few stove top suppers, our first experiment in cooking with my Kitchen Queen wood cook stove was some toasty, yummy homemade granola. I spent a cold, rainy Sunday afternoon attempting for the first time, to use the oven in my wood cook stove.  To be honest, there was more of a learning curve than I had expected in using said oven and after 2 hours trying to bake the stuff, we ended up toasting the granola on sheet pans on the stove top rather than baking it. It still came out great!

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Granola is one of those things that can be changed up 1,000 different ways depending on what you have on hand and what your own dietary restrictions might be. We use whole grain oats as our base then boost the nutrition value with all the yummy add-ins that take it over the top like flax, pumpkin & chia seeds and nuts.
The only downside to this recipe is that when I make it I have to make a seriously monster-sized batch because at all stages of preparing it (raw, cooking, cooked, cooling and put away in the pantry) I have greedy granola gobblers steeling it by the handful.
Hubby and kids alike can’t stay out of it.  We also love using this recipe when making trail mix by adding nuts, dried fruit and chocolate chips or candies.

For a long time my granola, while quite tasty, never held together in the big, crunchy clumps that I was looking for.  It always fell apart into individual oats, nuts and seeds which was rather disappointing.  So in order to save you from my own frustration, here are 2 simple tips for getting big clumps of crunchy granola that is the perfect breakfast cereal or trail mix base.

  1. Make sure that ALL the oat mixture is thoroughly coated with your honey/oil mixture.  (If you increase the oat/nut/seeds to more than what I have listed here, you will also need to compensate by increasing the honey mixture as well.)
  2. DON’T stir the granola while it is baking.  (This is so important.)

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Simply Perfect Crunchy Granola

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

• 6 cups whole oats
• 2 cups sliced almonds
• 1 1/2 cups pecans (chopped)
• 1/2 cup raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds) or sunflower seeds
• 2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes (sweetened is also fine but an unnecessary addition of sugar)
• 1 1/2 cup raw honey or organic maple syrup
• 1/4 cup coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
• 3/4 cup coconut oil (butter is also okay but will not yield the same crunchy results) 

  • 1 Tbl cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 Tbl cardamom
  • 2 tsp Vanilla extract
    • Optional super-seed addition
    • 1/2 cup flax seeds
    • 1/2 cup chia seeds
    • 1/2 cup water

1. In a small bowl, mix the flax & chia seeds with water and allow to soak while you get the rest of your granola mixture ready. This will produce a sticky clump of seeds that you will gently break up into large chunks and fold into your oat mixture later.
2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together your oats, nuts & pumpkin/sunflower seeds.
3. In a sauce pan, add coconut oil, honey and coconut sugar. Stir frequently while heating until just melted & combined. Do not boil.
4. Add vanilla, maple or other extract to your honey mixture.
5. Gently add super seed mixture to your oat mixture, keeping gumball sized chunks if possible.
6. Heat your honey, sugar & oil mixture over the oat mixture and toss to coat thoroughly.
7. Spread out on sheet pans (I like to line mine with silicone baking mats or parchment paper)

8. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes, rotate your pans to ensure even cooking and bake for an additional 5-7 minutes.

9. Turn off the oven and let the granola continue to toast and crisp up for up to 1 additional hour. If it is browning too much, remove it from the oven and allow to cool.
(Or if you are using a wood stove with a broken temperature gauge like me… Bake for 1 hour, then pull your baking sheets out of the oven and put them on the stove top to finish crisping up.)

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I promise that you and your family will love this, especially once you fine tune your own personal adaptations to the recipe.

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Elderberry Gummies

So, you’ve heard me talk about the endless benefits of Elderberries, and I’ve shared my favorite Elderberry Syrup recipe.

But you’ve got tiny humans in your house… and lets face it, they may not be so keen on the idea of swallowing a spoonful of some mystery flavored, black-ish purple liquid… (if they only knew just how yummy it really is.) 

Elderberry Syrup 2

 

If that is the case, or you just want to see your kids get REALLY excited about consuming a powerful, antioxidant rich, vitamin packed remedy, then these babies are just what you are looking for.  They’re cute, they’re sweet and they’re super fun to eat!  My kiddos are crazy about them.  It’s just another fun step into the world of Redeeming Comfort Food when you can take a sugary-treat like gummy candies and replace them with something like this.

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And the best part?  They are a cinch to make.  

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Elderberry

Here is what you will need:

1 cup Elderberry Syrup

1/4 cup Gelatin (Good quality)

1/2 cup Hot (not quite boiling) Water

Silicone molds (or a glass dish)

Here is what you do…

  1. Add 1/4 cup of gelatin to 1/4 cup cooled Elderberry Syrup.  Mix well to temper the gelatin.
  2. Add 1/2 cup hot water and stir until smooth.
  3. Add the remaining Elderberry Syrup and stir (once again) until smooth.
  4. *Carefully pour into greased molds or dish.
  5. Refrigerate until firm (approx. 2 hours)
  6. Take as needed (see my Elderberry Syrup recipe for dosage details) 

*I place my silicone molds on a large cookie sheet to catch any spillage and make the molds more stable while moving into the refrigerator.

Elderberry Gummies

Homemade Elderberry Syrup (Instant Pot & Stove Top versions)

Elderberries are one of my FAVORITE homeopathic resources for their immunity building, cold & flu busting power.

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It is flu season again and this year I made the mistake of running my family out of fermented goodness.  Most of the time we are able to avoid the worst of the cold/flu bugs by keeping our immune systems strong via the wonderful world of fermented veggies, bone broth, essential oils and magnesium.  This year, however, we have some big things going on and I slipped up on our normal regimen… and we caught the bug.  Thankfully, I had my stock of elderberries on hand and it didn’t take long to whip up a batch of Elderberry Syrup and Elderberry gummies.

As we all know,  there really isn’t much that can be done from a conventional strand-point for treating the common cold or a mild case of the flu.  It can be miserable to sit by and watch your kiddos go through it and not be able to do anything to fix it.  Thankfully, there ARE some homeopathic things that we can do to help them through it and Elderberry Syrup is one of those things.

Elderberries contain vitamins A, B & C, and are a potent resource of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties and immune boosting compounds.  They have been used medicinally since the fifteenth century and can be used in a variety of ways for a variety of illnesses.

Even according to WebMD “Elderberry is used for “the flu” (influenza), H1N1 “swine” flu, HIV/AIDS, and boosting the immune system. It is also used for sinus pain, back and leg pain (sciatica), nerve pain (neuralgia), and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).

Some people use elderberry for hay fever (allergic rhinitis), cancer, as a laxative, for constipation, to increase urine flow, and to cause sweating…”

Also, as stated on https://wellnessmama.com/5913/elderberries-herb-profile/

Studies have shown that Elderberries  prevent and fight at least 8 different strains of influenza.  While helping to stop production of hormone-like cytokines that cause inflammation, they also increase the production on non-inflammatory, infection fighting cytokines as much as 10 fold… Dr. Madeleine Mumcuoglu, of Hadassah-Hebrew University in Isreal found that elderberry disarms the enyme viruses use to penetrate healthy cells in the lining of the nose and throat.  Taken before infection, it prevents infection.  Taken after infection, it prevents spread of the virus through the respiratory tract.”

Since Elderberries are a berry and therefore a “food,” they can be used in countless preparations including, tinctures, tonics, syrups, gummies, popsicles and baked into muffins and breads.  My favorite go-to recipe is for this Elderberry Syrup that I am going to share with you today.

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Elderberries on there own can be pretty sour, but when paired with the right ingredients they can be quite magical.  This syrup recipe tastes great and even my kiddos come running when I announce it’s time for some Elderberry Syrup.  In this recipe, Elderberries are paired with ginger, cinnamon, cloves and honey (all of which not only make this syrup taste great, but also have their own medicinal benefits) making this a truly wonderful treat.

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And if you are wanting to bump up the infection fighting/immunity-boosting power, you can add some Echinacea and will lose none of the fantastic flavor.

(An added benefit to this recipe is that you can find all the ingredients HERE from my favorite herbal supply resource.)

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Here is the recipe.

Homemade Elderberry Syrup

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

1 cup Dried Elderberries
4 cups water
2 Tablespoons fresh or dried ginger root (or 2 tsp powder)
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon powder (or 1 cinnamon stick)
1/2 tsp cloves (whole or ground)
1 cup raw honey
1/4 cup dried Echinacea (optional but highly recommended)

Instant Pot:

  • Add all ingredients EXCEPT HONEY to Instant Pot and stir.
  • Secure Lid and set for manual pressure, 7 minutes.
  • When cooking time is up, do a quick-release and release lid.
  • Turn on saute function and simmer until liquid is reduced by about half (15 min or so- watch so it doesn’t burn!)
  • Remove from heat and either mash/strain in a wire mesh strainer or add to a French press and press out the juice.
  • Cool the juice until warm but NOT hot, stir in honey until combined. (You can add more honey to taste.)

Stove Top:

  • Add elderberries, spices/herbs and water to a saucepan and simmer VERY gently on the stove for 45 minutes to 1 hour until the liquid is reduced by half. (Watch this step closely, all burners will simmer at a different rate and yours might go much quicker than mine.)
  • Remove from heat and either mash/strain in a wire mesh strainer or add to a French press and press out the juice.
  • Cool the juice until warm, but NOT hot then add the honey, stirring well until combined.

Additional notes –

  • Store syrup in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.
  • Preventative Dosage for children is 1/2-1 tsp per day for children and 1 Tbl per day for adults.
  • If you are fighting off illness, take the normal dose every 3-4 hours until symptoms have passed.

Elderberry Collage