Food as Medicine

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Travis was very frustrated by a late winter cold, and wanted to know how best to feel better. It was a great way to talk about certain foods and their medicinal qualities!

First, I asked him how he was feeling – finally better! But he thought back to how he had felt in the past, and about a time he’d had a tummy bug – no fun.

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I asked him what foods he’d craved at the time, and he recalled wanting watermelon. I then gave him a little background on how past civilizations have used food as medicine, including Ancient Greece, China, and India. I thought all this info might be too dry, but he loved reading the numbers of how long ago these civilizations existed. 2000 years ago? 4000 years ago? Whoa.

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Now it was time to see if there was any truth to the claims that some foods are medicinal. We picked garlic for our research. Could it really help? Online sources seemed to back up the claim.

We tested it out with a garlic tonic: Mince 2 tablespoons garlic. Combine the garlic in a mug with hot water, a little lemon juice, and agave syrup to taste.

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Then we set out to cure his cold with a garlic bread recipe (our Bonus Bite in this month’s Raddish Kids).


  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 4 tablespoons Earth Balance butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 loaf French bread baguette
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegan Parmesan sprinkles
  1. Smash two garlic cloves; remove the papery skins and mince.Garlic Bread (3)
  2. Transfer the garlic to a bowl, along with the butter and olive oil. Microwave for about 45 seconds, or until the butter is melted.
  3. Meanwhile, slice the baguette into thick slices and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet.Garlic Bread (4)
  4. Brush evenly with the butter mixture. Sprinkle evenly with the parsley, salt, and Parmesan.Garlic Bread (5)Note: this gets a bit messy! Next time I’d line the baking sheet with foil.Garlic Bread (6)
  5. Bake at 425 degrees F for 6 minutes.

Did we feel better after eating the garlic bread slices? Hard to say they actually made his sniffles less, but his face sure had a big smile!

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Finally, we have relatives who have also felt unwell most of the winter, and decided to send along a care package of flu fighter cookies. Even better, if you have a nearby friend or neighbor who has been unwell, perhaps you can visit them with a cold-busting superfood.

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What do your kids crave when they’re sick? Please share in the comments!

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