A little over two years ago, I went to China for the first time. I was excited. I was hopeful. I was a little cautious. I searched high and low for the best travel accessories to make the hours spent in the last row of the airplane more tolerable. I packed emergency supplies of everything from Luna bars to first-aid kits. I drank my OJ, I got lots of sleep (thanks, Ambien!), and I prayed that every germ on every plane, train and automobile would steer clear of my sensitive sinuses, lest I fall victim to some weird strain of Chinese bacterium and die. Because that could totally happen. I saw Contagion.
I didn't know it at the time, but the vitamin and supplement regimen that I implemented two years ago would become the end of all my sick days. (Insert sad face here.)
Unfortunately, I have only used two since I had swine flu way back when. Yes, two. Swine flu? Yes. Two sick days in two years, with fourteen trips to China thrown in for good measure? Also yes.
Whole Foods brand Women's Food Based Multi Vitamins: 1 daily
Why? I think this is a good vitamin, with everything I need, and nothing I don't. It's also pretty cheap, and readily available. It's food based, so I don't have to worry about laboratory-created chemicals sneaking in there.
Jarrow Formulas Jarro-Dophilus EPS 5 Billion Multi-Strain Probiotic: 2-4 daily depending on how I'm feeling and/or how much yogurt I've had that day (seriously).
Why? This probiotic is shelf-stable. I do store it in the fridge at home, and take only as many blister packs as I'll need with me on each trip. Since beginning this regimen over two years ago, my stomach problems have lessened, and my immune system has clearly soared. I count this little orange box as one of life's many blessings.
365 Whole Foods Immune Support Formula: 3 daily when feeling perfectly normal, up to 6 as indicated when feeling so-so or slightly under the weather
Why? Because I like you. Just kidding. Actually, you know I do like you, that's why I'm sharing all of my trade secrets. Be forewarned, this guy is hard to swallow - literally these things are like horse pills. I'm proud to say I can now swallow three at once. It took a lot of practice, kids, but I have faith you too will one day be able to do this.
I take all three of these supplements at bedtime, or right after dinner. Please, for all that is holy, do not take these all at once first thing in the morning. Just take my word on this one.
Also, I get plenty of sleep, eat plenty of garlic and drink plenty of green juice when I can get my germy little hands on it. (And let's not forget the germ-fighting powers of a stiff drink. Alcohol kills germs. That's just a fact.)
All of that, and THIS soup:
Kill All The Bacteria Miso Soup
3 - 32oz containers Veggie Broth
2 Leeks, washed and trimmed
6 cloves Garlic
1 1/2 Tbs. Wakame Flakes
10 oz. chopped fresh Shitake Mushrooms
5 oz. chopped Oyster Mushrooms
1 - 3.5oz package Enoki Mushrooms
1 Lemon, juiced
1/2 C. Miso Paste
Sliced Scallions, for garnish
Boil broth, chopped leeks and diced garlic for 10 minutes.
Add wakame flakes, shitake and oyster mushrooms and boil for 5 more minutes.
Remove from heat. Ladle three large spoonfuls (about 1 1/2 C.) of the hot broth (trying not to get any mushrooms in the mixture) into a large container. Whisk in the miso paste until it becomes a smooth, thick liquid with no chunks (sounds appetizing, huh?)
Mix miso liquid into soup. Add enoki mushrooms and the juice of one lemon (to prevent scurvy). Garnish with sliced scallions and serve hot.
I do not know a lot about garlic or miso, but I can tell you this. The more garlic in my system, the less likely the spirits and demons and foreign bacteria bother me. Do not boil the soup once the miso has been added, as it will kill and destroy the germ-fighting powers of the miso. And if you are questioning all of the mushrooms, just know that I feel the mushrooms work in the same way the probiotics do, fighting fire with fire (or fungus with fungus) so to speak. Or fire with water. Fatal attraction. Whatever.
Do what I say and never be sick again.*
*There is no medical proof to my claims, please don't sue me when you get a cold next week. Thanks in advance.