Today’s STM feature comes from our good friend and rock star CrossFit trainer Kassandra McKenzie of CrossFit South Arlington.  Kass wrote to us earlier this week with a fabulous STM idea for those of us who are battling a winter cold or flu.  When you’re sick, all you want is “comfort food” – for us, it’s grilled cheese, tomato soup and ice cream.  But we think unhealthy food when you’re already down and out is a terrible idea – why pile even more stress on an already stressed system? Kass agreed, writing,  “I know how hard it was for me to adjust to eating good food while down with the flu, so I want to help pass the good word along to anyone who may need it.”  So Kass got to work coming up with a better solution.

Kass not only passed along her favorite recipe, she also included tips and tricks (in her inimitable style and sass) for getting you back on the healthy bus fast.  Thanks for the write-up, Kass!

Steal This Meal:  Feed a Cold

by Kassandra McKenzie, CrossFit South Arlington

Imagine this: you’re humming along your everyday life, eating Paleo and just living the dream when BAM! You’re hit with the black plague. This could be the flu, strep throat, cold, whatever — the bottom line is that you’re feeling way crappy and you want to get better ASAP.  But when you’re on a Whole30 program, you can’t rely on old-school “comfort” food like chicken noodle soup, Saltine crackers, and Sprite. So what are you going to do?!

Before you give up on your nutrition choices and feel even worse than you already do by eating poisonous things, think about what you should eat while sick – we’re talking real food.  I love making soup because it’s an easy way to cook up some veggies and meat with very little effort. The task can seem daunting at first, but I really do promise:  soup is no drama.

Easy Chicken Soup Ingredients:

  • 1-2# cubed chicken breasts, cooked (or pulled chicken from a cooked whole bird)
  • 2 quarts chicken broth (Imagine brand makes a Whole30-compatible broth, or read your labels – no added corn, rice, soy or sugar!)
  • A busload of diced/chopped vegetables of choice*
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves minced garlic, or to taste (garlic powder is also good here)
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil, or favorite cooking oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

*Traditional would be carrots and celery, but nutrient density is key when you’re sick.  I love using kale, broccoli, leeks, cauliflower, and mushrooms.  (Broccoli and cauliflower tend to absorb the salt and garlic in their “trees” – yum.)  The possibilities are endless here.

Easy Chicken Soup Directions:

  • Melt coconut oil on medium-high heat in large pot.
  • Add diced onions, cayenne pepper, and garlic and cook until onions are starting to soften.
  • Add all vegetables and continue to cook 5-7 minutes.
  • Add chicken broth and stir.
  • When soup gets to be really hot, almost boiling, add chicken and stir.
  • Turn the heat down and serve the soup hot, but not scalding

The little bit of cayenne pepper in this soup helps clear the sinuses without killing your mouth with spiciness. You can add any of your favorite herbs to this mix, as well as use any kind of meat. I’ve had great results with sausage, lamb, and turkey. You can plan ahead your next sick day by having some of these leftovers in your freezer so you can just defrost and start feeling better.

Kass’s Best Sick-y Tips

Some other things that I’ve found that comfort me while I’m sick:

  • Club soda or mineral water: The bubbles help me burp, which makes my stomach feel better. And, HYDRATION!
  • Skip the dairy:  It can make you even more snotty/sniffly/mucous-y.
  • Skip the crackers:  Try carb-dense veggies like sweet potato, butternut squash or pumpkin instead of Saltines for a queasy stomach that needs something that’s easy to digest
  • Ginger and apples:  An old cruise ship remedy to help battle nausea – fresh or pickled ginger and sliced apples
  • Broth:  Beef, chicken, veggie, all help with a sore throat, warm you up from the chills, and hydrate you
  • Real Food:  When I’m feeling up to eating something, I like to eat some of the above soup or some plain chicken breasts cooked with a little oil and salt and pepper.
  • Herbal teas:  Check out your local tea shop, Whole Foods, or grocery store and you’ll find some great teas that help soothe the throat, aid in digestion, calm, and clear up congestion.
  • Sleep:  Lots of it. I’d rather be awake for far less hours than I’m asleep when I’m sick.
  • Snuggie: Don’t you dare think that your current blanket is as good as this one whilst you’re recovering from the black plague. Try it, you’ll thank me.
  • Netflix:  Are amazing.  Tons of movies to stream on demand.
  • Someecards:  Send them by the dozen.  What else are you going to do when you’re laid out in bed?

And finally, our best tip yet…  Remember that bad food made me feel bad when I was healthy, so bad food while I’m feeling bad is a recipe for disaster.

Hungry for more?

Want more comfort food ideas that aren’t based on grains, dairy or sugar?  Check out these Whole30-approved recipes from our favorite recipe blogs.

Got a Whole30-approved soup recipe to add?  Post to comments – and pass the tissues, please.

Published by Melissa Urban

Melissa Urban is a six-time New York Times best-selling author who specializes in helping people establish healthy boundaries and successfully navigate habit change. She has been featured by the New York Times, People, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, The Today Show, and Good Morning America, and ranks #19 on Greatists Top 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness. Melissa has presented more than 150 health and nutrition seminars worldwide, and is a prominent keynote speaker on boundaries, building community, health trends, and entrepreneurship. She lives in Salt Lake City, UT.

Melissa Urban

Co-Founder / CEO

Melissa Urban is a six-time New York Times best-selling author who specializes in helping people establish healthy boundaries and successfully navigate habit change. She has been featured by the New York Times, People, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, The Today Show, and Good Morning America, and ranks #19 on Greatists Top 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness. Melissa has presented more than 150 health and nutrition seminars worldwide, and is a prominent keynote speaker on boundaries, building community, health trends, and entrepreneurship. She lives in Salt Lake City, UT.