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One of the first questions I ask patients with the cold or flu is "have you broken a sweat?" Whenever we find ourselves fighting a serious pathogen, our body reacts by raising its internal temperature in an effort to burn out the invader. The sooner the fever comes on, the quicker the pathogen is killed, and the closer we are to recovery. The breaking of a fever is an indicator that the fight is over.

It's important to understand that sweating due to an internal metabolic increase is different than sweating in the way that’s designed to cool you down on a treadmill. Gym sweat is transient, short-lived, and the energy it takes to produce the sweat leaves your internal resources depleted. Certain foods have a thermogenic quality to them and can raise our internal temperatures via how they metabolically interact with our body. There are a few steps you can take, including eating the right ingredients, to help your fever along:

 

BREAKING A SWEAT WHEN SICK IS AN EASY 3-STEP PROCESS:

  1. Eat miso soup with leeks, ginger, and garlic (see recipe below).
  2. Put on some warm pajamas and crawl under the comforter. If you're not sweating within 10 minutes, go back to step 1. 
  3. Once you sweat, it's vital to shower and put on clean clothes. You don't want to reabsorb what your body just pushed out.   

This leek & miso soup is an old herbal formula masquerading as comfort food, and it’s incredibly easy to make. The best time to eat it is in the evening when you've finally admitted to the fact you've caught a bug and have time to fall asleep after your soup sweat. 

At the beginning of each cold & flu season, roundabouts mid-October, I make this miso soup recipe and freeze it in a few different containers. That way if anyone in the house catches a case of the flu or respiratory nasties, the only prep work needed is to throw the pre-made soup in a saucepan on the stove with a lid and wait for it to warm up.  When you're sick, all you want to do is lie on the couch and whimper – the last thing anyone feels up for is making soup from scratch. Consider this recipe part of your autumn arsenal!

Bon appétit!


Leek & Miso Soup

Leeks are much larger than scallion and shouldn't be substituted.

Leeks are much larger than scallion and shouldn't be substituted.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup miso paste
  • 4 cups chicken broth (water or veggie broth works if vegetarian / vegan; however, broth is much more effective)
  • 1 large leek (click here if this is new to you)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 large piece of ginger

PREPARATION

  • After washing the leek, cut it into bite-sized slices.
  • The garlic can be crushed or sliced, whatever is easiest for you. 
  • Peel the ginger and slice thin. 

TIME TO COOK! 

  • Pour the water or broth into a large pan to bring to a low boil. 
  • Slowly stir the miso paste in one spoonful at a time until all of it has dissolved. 
  • Once the miso paste has completely dissolved, add the leek, garlic, and ginger. 
  • Allow the entire mix to simmer at a low heat for 20 minutes.  

OPTIONAL ADDITIONS

Miso is already salty so there's no need to add salt or soy sauce. I suggest throwing in a 1/4 cup of white rice along with the leek, garlic, and ginger. It's gentle on the stomach, and the natural sweetness balances the other flavors in the soup.

If you're feeling especially weak, take an egg that's been mixed with a fork and pour it into the broth right before you eat. The egg will cook into the soup and provide you with much-needed protein. 

HAVE YOU MADE THIS SOUP FOR A COLD BEFORE? DO YOU HAVE OTHER SUGGESTIONS ON HOW TO GET YOUR SWEAT ON? WOULD LOVE TO KNOW YOUR THOUGHTS OR RECIPE ADDITIONS IN THE COMMENTS BELOW!

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