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By Melissa Kravitz
When your nose won't stop leaking, you can barely hear Netflix over your incessant coughing and a trip outside the house seems like a death sentence, there's only one way to cure the plague: Food. A plethora of ingredients are proven to help you feel better—perhaps better than any over-the-counter cold reliever—and soup is indeed medically proven to make you feel better when winter sickness makes everything feel bleak.
Having certain ingredients on hand for when illness hits can also help during cold and flu season.
Elizabeth Trattner is a certified gourmet chef from the Natural Gourmet Institute and a doctor of Chinese and integrative medicine. She recommends stocking up on ginger, an antioxidant that's also an antimicrobial, which kills bacteria and can also combat chills and fever; fresh garlic, an antioxidant that increases antibody production and stimulates white blood cell multiplication; and marrow-based soups, which can be purchased by the box and contain alkylglycerols, a type of fat found in our organs that boosts the body's production of white blood cells, which "protect the body against infections and immune cells that digest bacteria."
And while home cook cures may come from a box, leave it to the professionals to whip up something curative and delicious when they're too contagious to go to work in a restaurant kitchen.
Here's what chefs eat when they're sick (spoiler: lots of broth).
1. Noodle soup
Brian Shin, chef at San Francisco's bar The Snug, is "a big soup guy in general," but his love for warm savory liquids grows stronger when he's feeling sick. Pho and ramen are both sick-day go-tos, and when he can get it, a big, hearty bowl of Korean oxtail soup, called seolleongtang, is the ideal cure.
2. Pho or matzo ball soup
"Whenever I am sick, like most people, I want soup," said Nini Nguyen, culinary director of Cook Space in Brooklyn. "Pho is always my go-to when I am not feeling 100%. It is my comfort food because I am Vietnamese and I like to believe that the ingredients do help my symptoms." Nguyen said the ginger and licorice help with nausea and upset stomachs, and the salty broth helps with a sore throat and hydration. "Also, I think there's something about the hot broth that heats up your body from the inside that makes you feel so much better."
When she can't get a good bowl of pho, the runner-up is matzo ball soup. "It is just so comforting," she said.
3. Sopa de fideo
"When I was a kid I was fed sopa de fideo, a Mexican soup made with garlicky tomato and vermicelli," said Rob Valencia, executive chef of catering production at New York's Great Performances. This brothy soup is still his go-to sick-day dish, "because it makes me sweat everything out and kills anything bad in me," he said. "I feel like a new person the next day." Try this Food52 recipe.
4. (Easy) homemade broth
"My go-to when I'm weak with a cold, or even when I'm feeling one coming on, is broth—homemade," Minnesota-based chef Kristin Hamaker of meal-planning service Goosefoot said. Depending on what ingredients she has on hand, she'll make chicken or vegetable broth in her Instant Pot. "That way, I can go back to bed while the pressure cooker does the labor for me," she said. When the broth is ready, she'll sip it from a warm bowl, unadorned.
"Congee is the Asian person's chicken noodle soup for days when you're under the weather," Maiko Kyogoku, owner of New York's Bessou, said. "I grew up with one that has a dashi stock as the base with daikon and carrots." At Bessou, a brunch congee with crispy prawns and spiced peanuts on top can help New Yorkers feel better after a long night out.
6. Pasta inbrodo
"When I have a cold or the flu, the only thing I crave is food that warms my body and soul," Salvatore Marcello, executive chef of MAMO Restaurant in New York, said. "For me, that is my grandmother's pasta in brodo. In my mind's eye, I can watch my grandmother preparing it for me when I was a child."
To replicate Nonna's recipe, set a small pot of water over medium-high heat, and add a stalk of celery, a carrot, three cherry tomatoes, a bay leaf, a clove and salt, and boil for 30 minutes. Add a handful of broken angel hair pasta and cook for 2-3 minutes. When it's cooked through, serve the pasta and broth in a bowl, and add 1/4 of a squeezed lemon, extra virgin olive oil and grated Parmigiano.
"Sometimes I steer away from Nonna's tradition and add a piece of ginger to the boiling liquid," Marcello said. "This is what I like to eat when I'm sick, but to be honest, I like it so much I do not wait to be sick to eat it. This is also a perfect easy dinner for the cold winter nights. I can't imagine anything more comforting."
7. Spicy pho and molasses cookies
8. Kimchi stew
"Whenever I'm under the weather, I have Jjigae kimchi stew," Justin Neubeck, executive chef at New York's Empire Diner said, noting he just got over the flu with help from this Korean soup. "It's a Korean soup that helps everything. The spices clear the sinuses, the warmth is comforting and soothing, and the silken tofu is easy to swallow on a scratchy throat. It's perfect!"
9. Mom-inspired detox soup: The 'medicine cabinet'
When his mom was sick two years ago, chef David Rotter of New York's Boulton & Watt created a medicine cabinet-inspired (drug-free) soup recipe that combines natural anti-inflammatories with other healthy ingredients into a potion to ward off the nastiest of sniffly noses. Though the soup hasn't made it onto Rotter's restaurant menu, he shares the recipe and notes that, "With this style of soup, it will be even better the next day when all the flavors have had a chance to meld."
- 1 cup small diced onion
- 1 cup small diced carrot
- 1 cup small diced celery
- 3 cloves of garlic (sliced)
- 2 tablespoons of chopped ginger
- 2 tablespoons of chopped turmeric
- 2 medium sweet potato (small diced)
- 1 bunch of kale
- 1 lemon zested (microplane)
- 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups of sliced wild mushrooms (shiitake, maitake, oyster)
- 4 quarts vegetable stock*
- Salt and pepper to taste
In a medium-size pot, add a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, carrots, onion, celery, garlic, ginger and turmeric. Cook vegetables slowly over medium-low flame. (You don't want to get color on the vegetables.) Once the vegetables are tender, add mushrooms, kale and sweet potato and turn up the heat to medium-high. Stir until the kale begins to wilt. Add the vegetable stock. Bring to a boil and lower to an easy simmer. Allow to cook for 45 minutes to an hour until it is reduced down to 3 quarts. Add lemon zest and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.
*Vegetable stock recipe
Use all scraps from ginger, onion, celery, turmeric, carrots, mushroom stems, and kale stalks. Chop two stalks of lemongrass and add to the mix. Cover with 6 quarts of water and reduce to 4 quarts.
Reposted with permission from our media associate AlterNet.
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Global Banks, Led by JPMorgan Chase, Invested $1.9 Trillion in Fossil Fuels Since Paris Climate Pact
By Sharon Kelly
A report published Wednesday names the banks that have played the biggest recent role in funding fossil fuel projects, finding that since 2016, immediately following the Paris agreement's adoption, 33 global banks have poured $1.9 trillion into financing climate-changing projects worldwide.
By Patti Lynn
2018 was a groundbreaking year in the public conversation about climate change. Last February, The New York Times reported that a record percentage of Americans now believe that climate change is caused by humans, and there was a 20 percentage point rise in "the number of Americans who say they worry 'a great deal' about climate change."
England faces an "existential threat" if it does not change how it manages its water, the head of the country's Environment Agency warned Tuesday.
By Jessica Corbett
A new analysis revealed Tuesday that over the past two decades heat records across the U.S. have been broken twice as often as cold ones—underscoring experts' warnings about the increasingly dangerous consequences of failing to dramatically curb planet-warming emissions.
By Madison Dapcevich
Ask any resident of San Francisco about the waterfront parrots, and they will surely tell you a story of red-faced conures squawking or dive-bombing between building peaks. Ask a team of researchers from the University of Georgia, however, and they will tell you of a mysterious string of neurological poisonings impacting the naturalized flock for decades.
The initial cause of the fire was not yet known, but it has been driven by the strong wind and jumped the North Santiam River, The Salem Statesman Journal reported. As of Tuesday night, it threatened around 35 homes and 30 buildings, and was 20 percent contained.
The unanimous verdict was announced Tuesday in San Francisco in the first federal case to be brought against Monsanto, now owned by Bayer, alleging that repeated use of the company's glyphosate-containing weedkiller caused the plaintiff's cancer. Seventy-year-old Edwin Hardeman of Santa Rosa, California said he used Roundup for almost 30 years on his properties before developing non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
"Today's verdict reinforces what another jury found last year, and what scientists with the state of California and the World Health Organization have concluded: Glyphosate causes cancer in people," Environmental Working Group President Ken Cook said in a statement. "As similar lawsuits mount, the evidence will grow that Roundup is not safe, and that the company has tried to cover it up."
Judge Vince Chhabria has split Hardeman's trial into two phases. The first, decided Tuesday, focused exclusively on whether or not Roundup use caused the plaintiff's cancer. The second, to begin Wednesday, will assess if Bayer is liable for damages.
"We are disappointed with the jury's initial decision, but we continue to believe firmly that the science confirms glyphosate-based herbicides do not cause cancer," Bayer spokesman Dan Childs said in a statement reported by The Guardian. "We are confident the evidence in phase two will show that Monsanto's conduct has been appropriate and the company should not be liable for Mr. Hardeman's cancer."
Some legal experts said that Chhabria's decision to split the trial was beneficial to Bayer, Reuters reported. The company had complained that the jury in Johnson's case had been distracted by the lawyers' claims that Monsanto had sought to mislead scientists and the public about Roundup's safety.
However, a remark made by Chhabria during the trial and reported by The Guardian was blatantly critical of the company.
"Although the evidence that Roundup causes cancer is quite equivocal, there is strong evidence from which a jury could conclude that Monsanto does not particularly care whether its product is in fact giving people cancer, focusing instead on manipulating public opinion and undermining anyone who raises genuine and legitimate concerns about the issue," he said.
Many regulatory bodies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, have ruled that glyphosate is safe for humans, but the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer found it was "probably carcinogenic to humans" in 2015. A university study earlier this year found that glyphosate use increased cancer risk by as much as 41 percent.
Hardeman's lawyers Jennifer Moore and Aimee Wagstaff said they would now reveal Monsanto's efforts to mislead the public about the safety of its product.
"Now we can focus on the evidence that Monsanto has not taken a responsible, objective approach to the safety of Roundup," they wrote in a statement reported by The Guardian.
Hardeman's case is considered a "bellwether" trial for the more than 760 glyphosate cases Chhabria is hearing. In total, there are around 11,200 such lawsuits pending in the U.S., according to Reuters.
University of Richmond law professor Carl Tobias told Reuters that Tuesday's decision showed that the verdict in Johnson's case was not "an aberration," and could possibly predict how future juries in the thousands of pending cases would respond.