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Boosting your immune system!

You don’t need to spend a fortune on immune boosting foods; interestingly the most commonly available & reasonably priced vegetables & pulses will do the trick. Think green cabbage, sweet potato, beetroot, butternut, tomato, spinach, onion, garlic & ginger! Add lemon, sour milk, turmeric, chilli, green pepper, pink lentils, brown lentils & brown rice & you have the ingredients for any number of delicious meals that won’t break the bank & will keep your immune system in good condition. The trick is to try new ways with familiar ingredients to make them appealing and create a sense of variety.

EAT ‘EM RAW: Traditional coleslaw is slathered in mayo so for a healthier version, keep the cabbage & change the dressing. Salt & freshly squeezed lemon juice make a fabulous dressing for finely chopped green cabbage. Or blend 1 cup of sour milk, 1 green chilli, juice of 1 lemon, salt & a clove of garlic. Add fresh coriander to make a wonderfully piquant, creamy dressing to pour over the cabbage. Grated raw beetroot added to this salad turns it a beautiful pink and ups the nutritional value. Sprinkle home-grown brown lentil sprouts for an instant boost.

LAYER & BAKE ‘EM:

  • Steam sweet potatoes, cabbage & butternut. Lay the steamed butternut slices as a base, then a layer of lightly steamed, shredded & seasoned cabbage & finish off with a top layer of mashed sweet potato. Drizzle with olive oil & bake until you have a golden-brown top. Serve with grated carrot salad dressed with salt, lemon juice, garlic & freshly chopped coriander.
  • Put a layer of cooked, well-seasoned brown rice on the bottom of an oven-proof dish, then a layer of fried onions & tomatoes & top with a layer of wilted spinach. Mix 1 cup of sour milk with a little olive oil, sea salt & pepper. Pour over the spinach topping, cover & bake until everything is hot and bubbly.
  • Combine equal quantities of cooked brown rice & well-drained cooked brown lentils - season well. Put a little olive oil on the bottom of an oven-proof dish, then spoon half the mixture into the dish. Chop & fry onions, tomato, chilli, garlic & ginger to make a nice hot chutney. Spoon this over the rice & lentil mix. Now put the second layer of rice & lentils. Slice fresh tomatoes to create a topping. Season with chopped coriander, salt & sweet paprika powder. Drizzle with olive oil & bake uncovered until sizzling.

JUICE ‘EM:

  • Cabbage juice? If you add the sweetness of carrots & beetroot with the pungency of fresh ginger, you can get all the immune boosting you need for the day in a cup of freshly juiced green cabbage.
  • Make beetroot your main ingredient for a cleansing juice full of goodness. Keep it sweet with apple or take it to another level by adding a peeled lemon. You can dilute 1/2 and 1/2 with filtered water, but remember to drink it as soon after juicing as possible to maximize on the vitamin C.

STIR FRY ‘EM: An excellent way to lock in the nutritional value & vitamins in your veggies is a quick stir fry. Make up a big batch of lentil sprouts & keep them in the fridge to add to dishes and salads. Start with onions, garlic & thinly sliced fresh ginger root. Reserve. Now toss the carrot sticks & cabbage in a little hot oil, add a cup of chopped spinach, then a cup of sprouts just before removing from the pan & adding to the onion mix. Season with soya sauce & roll up in a lightly steamed cabbage leaf, having reduced the thick stem. Or eat with rice noodles or brown rice.

STUFF ‘EM: Wash 1 small butternut per person, then cut in half lengthways. Scoop out the seeds. Rub with oil & bake at 200 degrees until the flesh is soft. Meanwhile, combine brown rice with any of the veggies you like, cut up small and fried with spices. Pile the mixture into the half butternuts and serve hot.

RED LENTIL BROTH: When feeling a bit under the weather, treat yourself to a spicy broth made from boiling red lentils until they have broken up completely. Add bay leaves while boiling. In a large pot place chopped onion, garlic, ginger & chilli to braise in a little oil. When the onions are transparent, add chopped tomatoes & allow them to cook down. Add the boiled red lentils & simmer gently, adding boiling water to keep the consistency thin. Season well, then pour into a large mug and sip. Santé!


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