Immunity Boosting Soup

Serves 3 healthy guts

Well New York, the cold has frigidly made its way here. We’ve all become heavily aware that we are always at the brink of contracting someone’s cold or flu symptoms. No matter how much the MTA asks us to cover our mouths.

I’ve recently picked up some light reading on a comprehensive guide on understanding/harmonizing energy centers. Otherwise known as chakras. There is a rule that believes that there are four energy bodies that live together to create the human organism: the ethereal body, the emotional or astral body, the mental body and the spiritual body.   The ethereal body is the closest body that resembles our physical body in shape and dimension. I’ll save in depth chakra talk for another post but essentially, I’ve gathered that our physical body (ethereal body) gives off a protective layer of rays through a porous structure that serve as a shield against germs and harmful materials entering the body and simultaneously, it serves as vital energy for the environment as well.  Chakra teachings essentially believe that “this natural protection means that a person cannot fall ill from external causes. The causes of sickness always lie within”.  Even down to your negative thoughts and emotions & lifestyle will not harmonize with the natural needs of your body to be healthy!

One of our CasiClean sisters has fallen to the clutches of the cold/flu season. Jennifer recently came back from Colombia and came back with the uglies. Although she went to the sun and fun – FUN means extra work for your body. Between the decadent foods, copious amounts of alcohol and introduction of new foods, your body works overtime. Which as you can guess, has less energy/time to keep your immune system strong.

Below is a recipe for a detox soup we recently posted on our Instagram. You can look at it as a detox soup or as a major immunity booster. It may look funky but it really made our ethereal bodies sing and shine like love at first slurp!


1 tablespoon of Ghee (clarified butter) or Olive Oil
1 large onion, chopped small
3 or 4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped small
4 cups vegetable stock (2 cups of stock and 2 cups of water to reduce the sodium)
2″ piece of ginger, minced
1 cup of cabbage, chopped
2 cups chopped curly kale
a large handful of spinach, coarsely chopped
juice of 1 lemon
fresh chopped parsley, flax oil and fresh black pepper for garnish
Salt & Pepper to taste

Optional*
We used an Ayurvedic seasoning (Ginger, Pepper, Coriander and Turmeric) dedicated to Kapha dosha types.

Heat the ghee or olive oil in a medium sized pot over high to medium heat. Throw in the onion and garlic and begin to sauté until onions are slightly translucent. Add the sweet potato and sauté until they just begin to soften. Stir in the stock and ginger and simmer for 10 minutes. We added the salt, pepper and Kapha seasoning here.

Add the cabbage and kale and cook over medium low heat for 30 minutes, covered. Once the half hour is up, stir in the spinach and lemon juice. The lemon juice is key! Trust us, it made all the difference. Ensure that the spinach wilts.

Next, puree half the soup in a blender and serve with fresh parsley and more pepper if you’d like. Enjoy it!

This recipe came from Fran’s House of Ayurveda (http://franlife.blogspot.com/2008/01/recipe-detox-soup.html). As with most recipes we try, we tend to drastically alter it to increase the flavors we’ve grown to love. Blame it on our background, but we are some mamas that love our sabor! However, if you’re looking to truly detox, we recommend Fran’s recipe for the real deal.

My Break-Up with Coffee

Let’s just come out with it now. I haven’t had any coffee for more than 30 days.  The cleanse indeed initiated this surprisingly astonishing news that breaks people’s hearts when I tell them. The faces I get are equivalent to notifying a recent breakup of your favorite couple. I can’t say I was an obsessive coffee drinker to begin with – you know the type that gets migraines if the coffee bean ceases to exist. That said, I enjoyed the coffee culture and what it had become. Living in Brooklyn didn’t made it easier – Brooklyn has perfected the art of coffee shops. Visit South Brooklyn and you will gladly agree. On average, I had 2 cups daily. But the real question was – what did my dependency stem from? I realized that I leveraged it simply to enhance my mood.

It has been an average of 2 months since my last cup of coffee.  The question you might have for me is – what has improved or changed?  Well, I don’t have a dependency on a stimulant to keep me awake.  If I feel the need for a “pick me-up”, there could be a number of things my body is trying to tell me: I need more sleep, eat a snack, drink more water or brew some tea.  One of these always settles my issue. What I’ve learned is that feeling tired is typically a state of mind, similar to being hungry all the time.  As I mentioned above, coffee drinking is also a cultural movement.  I have found that it takes other creative proposals, on my behalf, to meet up with others outside of the coffee shop scene.  It’s funny how many invitations begin with “let’s catch up over coffee soon!”

If you are thinking about letting go of coffee because you’d like to break free from the enslaving chains or want to experience natural energy – highly recommended. I did devise a list of ways you can slowly develop this shift.  Especially if you do experience the heavy side effects:

1 ) Do Not Cut Coffee Cold Turkey

As with any addictive drug, you want to lower your dependency gradually.  Here you can find one blogger who  set out a week by week plan on how to decrease your intake.

2 ) Find Your Ideal Substitute

Find the substitute to coffee that works for you.  For me, I started to drink Yerba Mate tea every morning because it scratched the itch for something warm on a cold morning.  Other alternatives are matcha lattes, green teas, chai teas and any kind of herbal tea.

3 ) Develop a Sleep Schedule

Begin to understand how much sleep your body needs.  Do you operate better on 5 or 7 hours of sleep?  What habits are keeping you up late at night for no good reason?  When you establish a sleep pattern and give your body enough sleep to restore a day’s work, it pays you back handsomely with good energy all day.

4 ) Water Please

Nobody believes me but drinking water actually can keep you from being tired as well.  Our cells love to be hydrated.   Think of yourself like a plant, we stand taller and prettier with fresh water.

Half the battle of reducing your coffee dependency is the fear of letting it go.  After that, the results speak for themselves.  It definitely feels powerful to be the individual at work that does not need coffee to enhance their productivity.  I dare you to be different!

 

Day 18 – Clarity

Each of us have a very different reason in choosing to be holistic or clean.  Let it be weight loss, healthier-looking skin, consistent energy or to simply improve our diet.  I do it for all these benefits however one of the best gifts so far is mental clarity.  The Clean Program has helped me pay attention.  Our body sends all kind of alerts and signals when enough is enough.  If I’m tired, I can feel it and automatically know I need to slow down.  Before, I’d fix that feeling with a large cup of coffee and look for inspiration to push my body.  Besides self-awareness, I also found it interesting how it applies in the social spectrum.

Experiencing nightlife on a cleanse diet is half torture and half exhilaration. This past week, I finally decided to tackle a night out with old friends.  I knew I would be out late and surrounded by drinks, tempting food and SMOKERS.   Aromas are definitely heightened. On the one hand, I’m breathing in secondhand smoke, and could smell Chinese food or Pizza every other second, especially near the 1-2 a.m. block in the LES. While on the other hand – the bright side – I felt so clear and full of energy. I was high on life.  Finally there was no room for beer goggles with the opposite sex – success!  I was drawn to those who earnestly were having a good time by conversation or dancing.  I felt vibrant and fully present.

What I could remember from previous nights (pre-clean program) there was impatience around having another drink or the horror of hooking up with someone who soberly, I would have never been drawn to.  God forbid, the nights I’ve spiraled into the trap of mixing drinks and ending my night spinning in a cab ride home.  Those are hardly fun.

It was sincerely sweet to enjoy the moment, maintain all my mental faculties throughout the night and wind up being treated to frozen mangoes and blueberries by a very good friend at the end of the night to curb my snacking urge.  It has raised the question if I will quit alcohol altogether but … I’ll save that for a future post.

P.S.  New Yorkers, you also save a lot of money!

– Stephanie

Day 6 – A dose for your own good

If you saw my last post, you might have noticed I was slowly turning into a frog with my voice.  Friday morning proved that I was officially a fallen soldier and had to call out of work.  I had lost my voice completely, felt feverish and had a mean sore throat. I wasted no time and took a visit to my local City MD. If you live in New York, you would have to agree that these new City MD establishments are kind of fantastic.  However, I have a new tale to tell because I left there a little bit surprised. This has a lot to do with what I am learning about our body’s natural ability to heal itself, the systemic issues that exist in our healthcare system and some common sense. I was diagnosed with Laryngitis which most likely was contracted from my contact with children.  He prescribed me lots of rest, fluids and four prescriptions: Ibuprofen (800 mg tablet)Magic Mouthwash Liquid, Azelastine Nasal Spray Aerosol  and Hydrocodone-Homatropine (Cough) syrup.

Out of curiosity, I asked the medical assistant, “Why do I need the 800mg Ibuprofen? Wouldn’t an Over the Counter ibuprofen be sufficient?” He simply answered, “Well this is stronger.”  In my opinion, this is a perfect example of when to self-reflect.  For the most part – a golden rule if you will – always be skeptical of the advice and information you receive.  What I am trying to get at is, sometimes your body will have to combat a sickness.  In that time, you will feel discomfort, unease and possibly some pain.  All of the above that was prescribed to me were not cures for my laryngitis.  They are simply intended to numb me through the uncomfortable process.  Not surprising since our modern American culture conditions us to believe we need to comfortably heal ourselves.  According to Eastern medicine, healing is not always an easy going process.  Not to mention that filling prescriptions is a detriment to the pocket!  If I decided to fill each prescription, I would have walked out of Walgreens with a sweet $85-105 expense.  Adding hard-earned dollars to the pockets of pharmaceutical companies. Just think about it.

Ok, so let’s talk about alternatives.  The Ibuprofen was intended to ease my discomfort.  If you don’t know, 800 mg is a large dosage, enough to ease a stallion.  My throat is in a state of inflammation and it needs the assistance of an anti-inflammatory.  If needed, I saw no harm in taking one if I felt uncomfortable but I could use the one in my medicine cabinet.  Oh and Hi! I am in the process of cleanse that is based off anti-inflammatory foods and practices that could only enhance my cause.  For the Magic Mouthwash Liquid, you could gargle fresh lime juice and salt.  This is an old school fix that my parents always told us to do whenever we felt soreness in our throats.  For the Azelastine Nasal Spray, you could use some kind of nasal irrigation device like a neti pot. This will flush out all the guck from your nasal trap.  I also learned that nasal sprays are an unexpected but common source of heavy-metal exposure. The most commonly found metal in nasal sprays is aluminum.  Ick!  As for the Cough Syrup, I went to my local health food store and asked the vitamin counter lady what alternatives she suggested. She recommended some lozenges instead by a brand called Olba’s.  So far, they’re great.

It has now been 2 days since my visit to the doctor’s and I feel tons better already.  I still have a slightly sore throat but I’m easing it with lots of Lemon Ginger tea that I make from scratch.  Let go of the teabags mi gente!  Oh, and according to my sister, I sound a little less painful to listen to 🙂

– Stephanie

Day 5 – Virtual introductions are in order

The world of Whole Foods, Fairway, Costco, Local Natural food stores such as our esteemed Perelandra in Brooklyn Heights does not come at a cheap price. Grant it with any new undertaking there is a general expected increase in spend due to new recipes and condiments however, the premium is a little higher with the Clean Program in my POV. By the way, Stephanie and I are bonafied Virgos and if you haven’t been formally introduced I am the quintessential Virgo in the family. Therefore, when the deciding question – local vs organic or farm raised vs wild caught are asked – without a doubt I am going to commit to the higher quality even if it hurts the budget and the Whole Foods Fish guy is trying to save me a few dollars by choosing farm raised. We see it as a long-term investment on our health and a commitment to the Cleanse. The fact is this has always been the goal but throughout the past 2 years, concessions have been made to meet the bills. For example, I will say one area that I will not be able to address for us during this Cleanse – and trust that I am still in the middle of my research – is the decision on a water filtration system. You see, Junger believes in pure water but Brita doesn’t fit the min requirement. In the interest of timing and the fact that a water filtration system involves “heavy duty” installation and monetary spend – I have decided this is out of scope. Our water intake for this period will consist of sparkling, seltzer; Brita filtered water, coconut and bottled water. I have taken personal note that in my future apt/home – this will be addressed.

When we began I didn’t think we were far off from the world of healthy nutrition. We were knowledgeable but made poor selections by choice, knowing the consequences. And now on Day 5 I feel as though we didn’t even scratch the surface on true nutrition. We are all well informed that we are nutritionally deficient Americans and could truly learn practices from many of our third world countries. The amount of education that I have gained from the last 2 weeks has been astounding, so much that the vegan culture seems so appealing and ultimately a goal. Evidently, our former way of eating was “healthier” then the average American diet makeup. But again who wants to be compared to that? That is not the proper benchmark. Unfortunately, this dream is harder to achieve due to the deception that we all have been victims of in the food industry, true to the American culture.

Garden_pic

I started a conversation with Stephanie (which we still have to finish) about the costs related to eating better and really began the discussion stating how are low cost families expected to reap the benefits or for that matter begin a Cleanse like the Clean Program? Call it positive thinking or side effects of the Cleanse but I woke up today hopeful that change is possible for all Americans. Yesterday, I spent the better half of the day with 90 local gardeners from Brooklyn and Queens where the representative majority includes West Indians, African Americans and Latin-Americans that live in low-income sectors of the boroughs and my conversations really empowered the fact that this change is truly possible. I spoke to a lovely lady Sabriya from the Garden of Eden in Queens and she schooled me on some naturopathic options and how she has been eating locally for decades. I also met a strong activist, Yolanda from a Brooklyn Garden near Bushwick, Jon the Baptist, that shared with me a program she is working on to teach the community nutritional recipes via an outdoor cooking space she is installing at the garden. These ladies were quickly added to my iPhone address book.

In short, there have been real gains in a matter of one week. I am grateful for this journey and experiencing it with my lil sis and looking forward to the whole month of April.

-Jennifer

Day 4 – Hey! I’m on video talking about the Cleanse.

I decided to change it up and post a video!

Excuse-me for the raspy voice. I’m feeling a bit sick but I couldn’t wait to talk about Day 1 of the actual Clean Cleanse. I talk a little about the Pre-cleanse experience and what the Cleanse actually means now moving forward.

Continuing on our path to being CasiClean!

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Sisters who aspire to live clean although we've historically been a little sucias …