Six Tips for Staying Healthy & Immune Boosting Vegetable Broth

Despite the heat, fall is here and with it comes the inevitable cold and flu season. Stay as healthy as possible this year and recover more quickly when you do catch a bug with the following tips:

Wash your hands. sounds obvious, but more frequent hand washing for 20 seconds with soap is one of the best ways to stop the spread of germs.

Hands off! Be mindful of keeping your hands away from your face. Germs enter our bodies through the eyes, nose and mouth. Avoid touching our face to reduce your chance of picking up something unpleasant.

Get more sleep. A rested body is better able to fight off a virus once it enters your system and makes you less vulnerable to getting sick.

Rinse your nose. Add a netti pot rinse to your daily routine. Rinsing your nasal cavity with heated and cooled salt water flushes out virus particles that have entered through your nose and flushes any accumulating mucus which lowers the risk of infection build up. The saline is naturally anti-microbial.

Exercise. Daily, moderate exercise boosts the body’s ability to fight off illness. But be careful, all out body blasting and working to exhaustion can fatigue your body making you more susceptible to illness.

Eat yourself healthy. Citrus foods, ginger, garlic, elderberry, mushrooms, almonds and yogurt are all foods that are known for immune boosting properties. Increase the amounts of these foods in your diet during cold and flu season.

Piedmont Avenue Health Coach and nutrition Consultant, Michelle Dwyer has provided us with a recipe for immune boosting vegetable broth and offers the following tips for using it:

“When making broth to really support the immune system, add a LOT more ginger and garlic. You can also add dried or fresh shiitake mushrooms, oregano, reishi mushrooms and/or astragalus root for extra immune boosting support.

Broth is really great to drink when recovering from surgery, illness or chemotherapy. It is a great way to get nourishment for your body without putting too much stress on your digestive system.

You can add a little tamarin, Bragg’s amino acids, coconut amino acids or miso to your finished broth for a little added flavor or some coconut oil for a bit more substance.

Broth can be sipped alone or used as a base for any soup. To store leftover broth, divide among mason jars to sip during the week and freeze the rest.”

Immune Boosting Vegetable Broth


1-2 unpeeled carrots, cut into thirds

1-2 unpeeled medium onions, including peels/skin, cut into chunks

3 stalks celery, including the heart, cut into thirds

1 head of garlic, including peels/skin, roughly chopped

few inches of fresh ginger root, roughly sliced

1/2 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 sweet potato or yam with skins on, quartered

1 8-inch strip of kombu seaweed (available at Whole Foods or online)

2 bay leaves

12 black peppercorns

4 whole allspice or juniper berries (optional)

1 tablespoon quality sea salt (note: if I’m going to cook beans with the broth, I leave the salt out)

Important: Adjust the amount of ingredients to the size of your stock pot. Other vegetable choices (depending on the flavor profile you want and what you have on hand) can include mushrooms, leeks, fennel, greens, fresh herbs, parsnips, and potatoes.


  1. Rinse all the vegetables well to remove any dirt.
  2. In a large stockpot, combine all the ingredients except the salt. Fill the pot to 2 inches below the rim with water, cover, and bring to a boil.
  3. Remove the lid, decrease the heat to low, and simmer a minimum of 2 hours. As the stock simmers some of the water will evaporate. Simmer until the full richness of the vegetables can be tasted. I like to try and simmer mine for as much as 4 hours or more.
  4. Add the sea salt and stir (unless you plan to use the broth to cook dried beans).
  5. Let broth cool in pot until room temperature.
  6. Strain the stock using a large coarse-mesh strainer (remember to use a heat-resistant container underneath) and/or cheese-cloth or clean linen towel. Compost the cooked vegetables.
  7. Makes 6 to 7 quarts, depending on stockpot size.

Spicy Portugese Potato & Kale Soup (Slow Cooker Recipe)

This recipe is the epitome of what a slow cooker recipe should be: simple, healthy ingredients, super easy, hardly any prep work, and delicious! Just when I had given up hope of really loving anything that came out of my slow cooker this recipe came along and saved the day. Adapted from Slow Cooker Revolution. I hope you enjoy it, let me know if you give it a try …. #lifebalancemassage

  • 1 onion, minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2  tsp. minced canned chipotle chile in adobe (add a little more to your preference)
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 Lb. red potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 8 oz Chorizo sausage, halved and sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 8 oz. kale, stemmed and leaves sliced 1/4 inch, or half of a bag of precut kale
  • Salt (to taste)
  1. In a microwave safe bowl combine onion, garlic, oil and chipotles. Microwave for 5 minutes until softened and transfer to slow cooker.
  2. Add broth, potatoes and chorizo and salt to slow cooker. Cover and cook on low 4-6 hours.
  3. Stir in kale, cover and cook for an additional 30 minutes. Taste seasoning and add salt as necessary.

Tell Migraine Pain to Cool It

Balanced Living Tip #113
Tell that head pain to cool it – with ice

Next time you have a headache or worse, a migraine, try this trick: lay
on your back with your upper body slightly elevated and your head
supported by pillows in a quiet dark place and surround your head with
ice packs. (The flexible gel filled ones work best) Place them at the
base of your skull, across the top of your head and over your forehead
for starters, but feel free to add more anywhere that feels good.

The ice works as a vaso-constrictor to reduce the flow of blood to your
head and the cold temperature numbs the area like an anasthetic.

Give it a little time, try to catch a 15-30 minute catnap while you lay
there to allow yourself to really relax into it.

Read more about the How and Why of Ice here.


I laughed, then cried then laughed some more

In five … four … three … two … one … and breathe. April was one hell of a month. Hence my absence and overall apathy for anything other than basic needs and chocolate. I won’t get too much into it, but I unexpectedly lost someone very dear to me and that pretty much sucked. A lot.

I could carry on here about all the ways in which this has shaken me and made me sad, but I won’t. Instead I’ll give a short list of the positive things I will take away from the experience.

Here goes:

1) People don’t last forever. Even though we seem to take for granted that they do. So I’ve been telling a lot of people I love them lately and that feels good. My mailman looked at me a little funny though.

2) Most of what we get worked up about is crap. I wish I realized this sooner but will try not to get confused again. Although I am sure I will.

3) The definition of who your family is becomes much broader and much clearer in a time of crisis. And that is comforting.

4) Not “keeping in touch” is laziness.

5) Little things count.

6) Laughter does in fact make things better.

7) When people don’t know what to say or do they will feed you. And you will like it. A lot.

8) An empty seat next to you on an airplane is a joy akin to no other.

Not a very long list, but I’ll take what I can get! I’ll be back soon with something undoubtedly witty or some gourmet recipe to share. Till then I’ll be nursing my wounds with a good book, some goobers and lots of snuggles from my little guy. But not all at the same time because ten minutes to read and three-year-old don’t exist in the same sentence.



Detox Naturally

Chances are you’ve heard mention of the practice of “detoxing.” And a quick search will show you a whole host of products, programs and diets designed to help you do this. From simple teas to add to your current meals to the downright insane near-starvation diets.

But maybe you’re wondering what the detox hype is all about.

There are seven channels of elimination in the body that work together to: transport oxygen and nutrients to the cells (lungs and blood), filter toxins, waste and bacteria from the blood (liver, lymphatic systems and kidneys), eliminate waste products from our bodies (colon, kidneys and skin) and support immune function (lymphatic system). Continue reading

Why We Need Naps (or What to do When Small Creatures Are Out to Get You)

My son is out to get me. For the last few months he has been waking up two, three, four times a night. On top of that my poor aging dog (Who actually isn’t small at all) has taken to whining just as I settle into bed for the night and then the cat proceeds to circle looking for a comfortable position to sleep – which usually ends up being directly on my head. And of course they all take turns in this charming little charade so that just as one settles down, the other acts up. I don’t know what I ever did to them, but all of this leads to me feeling like the walking dead from a consistent lack of sleep. (That’s me in the picture there.)

Foggy brain, lack of concentration, feeling run-down, zero energy and snappish moods ….. oh, now I remember why getting enough sleep at night is important.

So what’s a girl to do besides loading up on caffeine and relying on the mood boost of sweet treats – both of which become an addictive cycle that is hard to break? Continue reading