Steamboat Springs If Susan Mead could only grow one thing while she was stranded on a desert island, it would be garlic.
Hands down, she said.
Standing in front of about a dozen people in a soup kitchen in Steamboat Springs on Thursday night, Mead, a master herbalist, touted garlic's ability to help boost the immune system.
Her love of garlic was a key ingredient to the workshop Meade hosted with Yampatika and Shelly's Soups and More that taught the audience how to make better, healthier soups in the midst of cold and flu season.
Mead proclaimed onions, garlic and ginger, staples of many types of soups, were the “Three Musketeers” for the immune system.
She added that crafting soups with local ingredients that work to prevent common ailments was a way to “be your own doctor.”
“It's not just about the flavor,” she said about soups. “It's about the medical properties.”
Soups also were identified as a good immune builder because they are relatively easy to make and can be reheated quickly.
While soups were the focus, Mead had other tips to stay healthy.
Starting to feel the onset of a cold?
Mead recommended a ginger bath and plenty of sleep to help knock the sickness from it's course.
Mead said she also travels with a small bottle of echinacea, a herb in the daisy family that is known to fight against the common cold.
Soup workshop attendee Carol Littell said the hour and a half of soup training and healthy living tips was worthwhile because it will allow her to boost her own immune system and support the local economy.
“It's a synergy,” she said.
She said she long has been interested in using food to prevent sickness and build the immune system, but it was interesting to see the concept come more and more to the forefront.
Attendees were given a brief lesson on things they can harvest in the wild that also serve as immune system boosters.
They also were taught how to use the Yampa Valley Food Co-op, an online service that brings locally grown produce and beef to your doorstep.
The proceeds from the soup event were donated to Yampatika.