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Monday, December 1, 2008

Better Than Chicken Soup

Greg and I tried this Immune-boosting soup recipe from Whole Foods when he had a cold and I was fighting one...seems to have worked and it was tasty too!

1 small yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, slices
1 TBsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp ground turmeric
4-8 fresh shitake mushrooms, sliced
4 cups mushroom, vegetable or chicken broth
1-1/2 cups julienned fresh kale (or chard)
1 cup butternut squash, cut into 1/4" cubes
2 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
5-6 thin slices astragalus root (optional)
juice of 1 fresh lemon
1 tsp miso paste

In a sauce pot over medium-high heat, saute onion and garlic in oil 3 minutes.  Add turmeric and mushrooms.  Saute 2 minutes.  Add broth, kale, squash, ginger, cayenne and astragalus. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool sightly, add lemon juice and miso.  Cover and let sit 5 minutes before serving.  Serves 4-6 (although Greg and I split the whole thing!)

So, what do all these ingredients do?
Garlic - particularly the compound allicin, helps optimize the body's immune system and has been shown to decrease the number of people who got a cold and its duration.
Medicinal mushrooms (shitake, reishi, maitake, cordyceps)  - contain polysaccharide compounds that stimulate the body's immune system.
Spices (turmeric, cayenne, allspice) - support the immune system and spicy foods such as cayenne or horseradish may help clear the sinuses.
Dark leafy green (kale, chard) - immune-boosting carotenoids (beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene)
Butternut squash - abundant vitamin A, which is an essential component for the production and activity of certain white blood cells.
Ginger - immune-system support
Lemon Juice - vitamin C is important in white blood cell production and healthy inflammatory response.  Taken preventively, it can decrease severity and duration of the common cold.
Miso and other fermented foods (yogurt, kefir, kombucha) contain probiotics which help the body maintain healthy levels of beneficial bacteria in the gut and intestines which is important in immune system function.

Thanks to Whole Foods Guide: Cold & Flu from which I took this recipe and information.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

New Position as Physician and Educator at the Chopra Center for Wellbeing

CARLSBAD, Calif., May 28 /PRNewswire/ --

Valencia Porter, M.D., M.P.H. has joined the medical staff of the Chopra Center for Wellbeing -- the integrative wellness center founded by world-renowned mind-body physicians Deepak Chopra and David Simon. Board-certified in both General Preventive Medicine and Integrative Holistic Medicine, Dr. Porter has an approach that incorporates many systemso f health and complementary healing. A graduate of Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, she completed a residency in Preventive Medicine at U.C. San Diego in addition to her training in Pediatrics and Child Neurology at UCLA and UCSD. She has also received further education in medical acupuncture, Ayurveda, and Healing Touch -- as well as earning a master's degree in public health.

"Dr. Porter has a unique expertise that bridges the wisdom of the Eastern healing traditions with modern Western medicine," said Dr. Chopra. "Her integrative approach fits perfectly with the philosophy and practices of the Chopra Center."

Before coming to the Chopra Center, Dr. Porter served as a physician and researcher at the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine in La Jolla, where she provided integrative care to children and adults coping with ADD/ADHD,stress and anxiety, depression, chronic pain, and weight management. Dr.Porter is currently completing a fellowship at the Program for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, where she is a Bravewell Collaborative scholar.

Dr. Porter's mind-body medical consultations are available for weekly guests of Perfect Health, daily out-patients, and visitors to the Chopra Center in Carlsbad, California. To learn more, please call 888.736.6895 or