Ecclesiastes said it best: to everything there is a season.  A time to live and to die; a time to grieve and to rejoice. A time to eat asparagus and a time to eat squash. There is a proper season for it all.

There is also, it seems, a season for catching colds and feeling poorly. I wish this season didn’t have to come around… ever. But I suppose colds are unavoidable when schools shove dozens of summer-d people together in tiny rooms at the beginning of each September. Such is the life of students (and parents–in general).

So, I’d like to offer you my favorite cold prevention/remedy. This soup (recipe from Nourishing Traditions) was an instant comfort food for us. The first pot we made, the first sip we took, we knew: this was a feel-better dish. It’s very simple and easy to keep most of the ingredients on hand, so that you can make it whenever you feel a hint of a cold.  I’ve even had it for breakfast a few days in a row when I’m fighting off a cold.  Haven’t been sick yet this season!

Serve it in a mug, cozied up on the couch, and take deep, relaxing breaths.

Coconut Chicken Soup

[Chicken stock is well known for its anti-viral qualities (and the better quality stock the better for your immune system!), and coconut milk has a great set of essential fats that help your body heal itself.  Lemon and ginger will help with mucus build up and are also anti-bacterial and cleansing.  The pepper flakes, as any spice-hound will tell you, are great for keeping bugs away.]

1 quart chicken stock
1 15 oz. can (whole fat–not the lite stuff!) coconut milk
juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
1/4 – 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
salt (or fish sauce) to taste
chopped green onions (for garnish)

Bring stock and coconut milk to a simmer on the stove.  Add lemon juice and ginger and stir to combine. Check flavoring and add salt if needed (I don’t recall ever needing to add salt).  Remove from heat.

Stir in red pepper flakes and ladle into mugs. Sprinkle green onions on top.

Stronger: if you want a real kick for this soup (great for healing sore throats), go with the full 1/2 tsp of pepper flakes and simmer for a few minutes while stirring.  This really brinks out the spice in the peppers. Be warned: not all pepper flakes are created equal.  Some of them have quite a kick–even in small amounts, so check intensity before adding more flakes or simmering them.

Be well.


  1. Julia wrote:

    Thank you- we’ve all been sick- I’ll make this today!!

    • renidemus wrote:

      Hope you feel better! This soup, combined with rest, lots of water, neti pot, and herbal tea have prevented quite a few colds on our end..

  2. Jen wrote:

    Mmmm…I have been fighting this nasty cold for a couple weeks, and it finally knocked me over on Tuesday. I made this tonight for dinner…mmmm. 🙂 Thanks for posting the recipe!

    • renidemus wrote:

      Yay! Hope the soup helped! I might be making some for us this evening.. fighting off my second cold of the season 😛 boo!

leave a reply