When You’re Sick – Comfort Food (Home Remedies Too)

Dec 16, 2013

First off, a little update.  The Pneumonia is better.  I still feel a little weak and I get winded fast.  But no lower back aches!  That’s the one that kept me from sleeping.  But I have this cough.  I think I coughed so much around Friday that my ribs hurt every time I cough.  I mean, sore kine so I wrap my arms around my front (like in a straight-jacket) and hold my ribs when I cough.  And I sleep in about a 45° angle because I tend to cough when I lie flat.  But there is no stuffy head, no running nose, no sore throat, no sinus pressure – just a yucky feel with sore ribs.


But back to the topic: Comfort foods when you’re sick.  When I had head colds or the flu, after seeing my doctor at Kuakini Physicians Building, I used to swing to Lin’s Cantonese Restaurant at Liliha Times and have a bowl of Chinese saimin.  Maybe it was the steam from the saimin or the spices – but I used to feel better after eating it.  It was my go-to comfort food when sick.


But alas, Lin’s closed up and was replaced with Nice Day restaurant.


The day after I got sick, Paula immediately brought me Chinese saimin from Hoy Tin.  But I was in no condition to eat anything.  Somewhere during this illness, I thought that maybe some Vietnamese Pho would help.  Paula brought some home for me.  It was ono – little bit too oily for when one is sick – but I ate it nonetheless.  Didn’t help…


Paula made me chicken soup one night.  Tasted good and was nice and hot.  But it also seemed a bit too oily.  Or salty.


So another night, Paula introduced me to “okai“.  That’s very sticky, watery (but not soup-like) rice seasoned with a little bit of salt.  It’s like a rice porridge.  It was pretty bland for me.  I wanted to sprinkle some furikake on it.  Or better yet – throw in an ume.  But we don’t have any ume.  And the furikake would’ve just made it more salty anyway.  But I plan to try it again with ume.  Here’s a picture of what it looks like after this person added some shoyu.




But the ultimate Feeling Sick Comfort Food for me is: Corn Chowder.


Paula whipped up a big pot of homemade corn chowder with real bacon, red potatoes, lot’s of celery (I love celery), onions and all the love that goes in to making my favorite soup.  It hit the spot!


Oh, and liquids.  The doc said to drink plenty of fluids to remain hydrated.  For the first couple of days – I was drinking soda.  Sierra Mist to be exact.  It tasted so good going down.  Actually, anything cold felt good going when I was battling a 102° fever.  And Popsicles.  I was downing Popsicles to help cool me down.  The weird thing was that – when I was burning up and sweating the fever, after I had something cold, I’d get the chills and have to wrap up myself under the blanket.


But anyway – after one of my many doctor appointments, we stopped by the market to get more Popsicles and there was POG on sale.  I said that I like POG and Paula said to go get one (better than drinking soda).  I went through that gallon of POG in 2 days.  I’m almost done with my second gallon – and there’s yet one more just waiting for me.


POG was this illness’s drink of choice for me.


Mahalo to sally for sending me a remedy to help loosen the gala-galas.  I didn’t try it yet.  I should.  It might help me sleep better though the night.


What are your When You’re Sick Comfort food?  Does it work for you?  All the time?  Do have have special home remedies that you make to help you get better?  Share your comfort foods and home remedies with us.

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25 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. 4G
    December 16th, 2013 at 4:41 am #

    Miso soup

    For some odd reason, Lipton’s instant chicken noodle soup and Campbell’s chicken noodle soup.

    As a kid, I used to like S & S saimin, but now I prefer instant ramen – go figure.

    Glad to hear you’re getting better. Take care!

  2. 4G
    December 16th, 2013 at 4:46 am #

    Chills and fever are the weirdest things. First, you bundle up and pile on clothes. Go to sleep. Next thing you know, you’re kicking off the blanket and shedding clothes cause you’re breaking out in sweat! ;)

  3. 4G
    December 16th, 2013 at 4:48 am #

    Oh, you can add somen to the miso soup for a little more substance ….

  4. Makiki
    December 16th, 2013 at 5:55 am #

    I agree with Miso and I like to add rice for substance. For the gala-gala chest try a Vicks steam inhaler (not the travel model) from the Walgreens or Longs.

    Sounds like your best home remedy is Paula!

  5. M
    December 16th, 2013 at 6:46 am #

    Guud morning MLCers!
    Glad you are getting better!
    Chicken noodle soup, Jook and Miso soup is what I like when I’m sick.

  6. khs68
    December 16th, 2013 at 8:21 am #

    Mucinex DM (tablets or syrup) on sale at Longs now. It works to thin out mucous. Drink plenty liquids.

    I like chazuke with ume or sanbai zuke when I’m sick and no feel like eating anything. The korean seaweed soup with rice is good too.

    Get better soon.

  7. Lowtone123
    December 16th, 2013 at 9:11 am #

    Miso soup with rice and tofu does it for me.

  8. sally
    December 16th, 2013 at 9:24 am #

    Be careful when you go thru your coughing fits, you don’t need a cracked rib on top of everything else.

  9. snow
    December 16th, 2013 at 10:39 am #

    glad to hear that you’re on the road to recovery! boy, you had it bad!! :( but, paula is the best! you are very lucky. :)

    i was going to mention the same thing as sally but i was going to tell you to ask your doctor about it already. my friend had pneumonia, too (after going to the doctor weekly for a month, she still ended up in the hospital!?!) so i told her to ask about her ribs because she had been coughing a lot and her ribs were hurting. her doctor insisted that it was just from the coughing. she kept saying that it hurt so i told her to keep asking… her doctor finally had her get an xray and guess what? five (hairline) fractured ribs!! not that you can really do anything them… but she was on a heavier dose of pain medication after that.

  10. hawaiian by heart
    December 16th, 2013 at 12:27 pm #

    Im glad your feeling better uncle. I would agree it sounds like you have a real nani and maika`i wahine. Auntie Paula sounds like the perfect home remedy.

    My home remedy for congested chest is vicks vaper rub with hot compress on the chest. It sucks at first but helps later. The last time I was flat on my back sick, I had a real craving for chinese sweet n spicy soup. But like you uncle rodney my mother made a killer corn and potato soup that was also confort food. Take care Aloha

  11. dihudfan
    December 16th, 2013 at 1:44 pm #

    good to hear you feelin’ bettah!!
    my mom always made okai with the ume… worked for me
    she also made chicken noodle soup, at least that had a little more taste… drank a lot of POG too…
    a vicks rub on my chest before sleeping helped a lot…

  12. Mark'75
    December 16th, 2013 at 4:47 pm #

    In addition to miso soup, okai, and others mentioned, another good one is plain soda crackers (not salted) and 7Up…not Sprite.

  13. Mark'75
    December 16th, 2013 at 4:50 pm #

    Like 4G, bundling up helps with chills and fever. Long socks, sweat pants, sweat shirt, one or two blankets….then sweat, sweat, sweat! Gross, but works.

  14. Kage
    December 16th, 2013 at 6:08 pm #

    Glad to hear you are doing better.

    Mom used to make mushy rice, now I know it is called okai. :)
    We put ume in it as well, shoyu if neva have ume.

  15. Kage
    December 16th, 2013 at 6:10 pm #

    Nowadays I make miso soup with rice or tofu when I need something to warm me up when sick.

    Ocha is always a good thing for the steam as well as warmth.

  16. Mark Shelby
    December 16th, 2013 at 7:35 pm #

    When I am sick, or whenever. I like to make Homemade Crock Pot Chicken Soup. I put a whole chicken fryer in the crock and top it off with water, or you can use chicken broth. I slice red onion and place on top of the chicken. Then add all of the spices I like, you pick yours. I like oregano, sage, rosemary, thyme, sea salt and fresh cracked pepper, you know all the ones. I start the crock about 9pm the night before. I let it cook/boil in the crock all night long. Just before lunch time, maybe 10am, you carefully take the whole chicken out and debone it and put the meat back in, cut into bite size. Then you slice up all of the veggies you like and place them in the crock. Don’t cook your veggies all night long, they will get too mushy. I do the typical carrots, celery. Sometimes broccoli. Sometimes I even put in Bok Choy! Sometimes I even use jalapeno peppers for a little kick! They are very good for you. I always change it up. Use whatever veggies you enjoy. Ginger and garlic are very good for you, I add those also. Add more flavor with cilantro if you like it. The whole veggie idea is up to you and what you enjoy. If you put your veggies in by 10am, your soup will be done by lunch time. I use curly pasta for my noodles. Put them in last and only a little bit at a time because they will get soggy if you put too many in at once. Once it’s all cooked by noon, I eat out of this crock until way past dinner time, while it sits on Low. Then freeze the rest, for good meals later. It’s awesome! Study’s have proven that chicken soup is the best thing for you when you are sick!
    ~Carry on with your good self, Rodney!


  17. M
    December 16th, 2013 at 8:04 pm #

    No dairy products, it will make your congestion worst.

  18. Mark Shelby
    December 16th, 2013 at 8:52 pm #

    I just looked up the health benefits of Chicken Noodle Soup and found some good info. Not sure if I can post a link here. But this is fun.

    Why is Chicken Soup Healthy?
    Before chicken soup was for the soul, it was used by mothers everywhere as the best course to treat physical maladies of all types (although it’s best known to remedy the common cold). But what is it about chicken soup that makes it such a health-booster?

    Every child has fond memories of being bundled in a mountain of blankets to sleep away the latest cold, with a steady diet of soup and crackers arriving periodically on a tray.

    Is it just an old wives tale, or does chicken soup really have some magical healing properties to sooth and subjugate an array of ailments?

    Well, it’s no magic potion in this day and age, but it may as well be. Chicken soup has several properties that make it useful in the treatment of certain illnesses:
    ◾Cleansing. “Plenty of fluids” is often advised when you’re ill. A body full of attacking allergens (like a virus) and battling antibodies needs to be flushed in order to get healthy. To that effect, the abundant broth in chicken soup performs aptly.
    ◾Disinfecting. Chicken soup is generally fairly salty (with lower-sodium versions), so that when it goes down your throat it acts in much the same way as gargling warm salt water. In other words, it removes bacteria in the throat, mouth, and tonsils.
    ◾Clears sinuses. Much like other warm liquids (for example, tea), it can help to clear the sinuses with steam.
    ◾Strengthening. The lean protein in chicken and nutrients from added vegetables work to bolster your strength when your body is feeling drained of energy.

    These self-explanatory health benefits alone should convince anyone to suck down some chicken soup when they get the sniffles!

    More Reasons Why Chicken Soup is Healthy

    Studies have also shown that chicken soup affects you on a much deeper level.

    For starters, it has been shown to inhibit the production of neutrophils, white blood cells that eat bacteria and cause inflammation and mucus production (i.e. stuffy nose, sore throat, phlegm, etc.). This is important because while neutrophils kill pathogens, their antimicrobial products damage host tissues.

    Theoretically, chicken soup can also be used in this capacity in cases of asthma, emphysema, and even accidents where swelling occurs, to ease inflammation of targeted areas!

    Further, each ingredient in chicken soup has its own special healing properties:
    1.Chicken, while filling, is good for more than just a meal. It contains cysteine, an amino acid that is thought to help thin mucus in the lungs, making it easier to expel.
    2.Carrots (which contain beta-carotene) and celery (which contains vitamin C), both of which help to bolster the immune system and fight infection.
    3.Onions in your chicken soup provide the benefit of antioxidants that reduce inflammation and act as an anti-histamine.

    Besides all of the physical benefits of ingesting chicken soup, there is an added psychological reason to take it. For many people, it is either administered by a caring relative or it brings with it fond and comforting memories of home.

    Either scenario will allow a patient to relax and let the soup do its work to treat the symptoms. And really, we all know the best remedy is a good attitude and plenty of rest.

    I think I nailed all of those in my former post. Sweet! I have no idea how I just knew that! Must have been my Mom!

    Carry on with your good self, Rodney!



  19. khs68
    December 16th, 2013 at 9:20 pm #

    In New York, chicken soup is Jewish Penicillin.

  20. 4G
    December 17th, 2013 at 12:08 am #

    I don’t know if this is even helpful, but for what it’s worth:

    If you have never experienced passing out before, you have a mean feeling that you are going to pass out. At least for me, the initial reaction was that you are going to “fight” it. Wrong! You will not. From that first experience, I recall hearing myself crash to the ground. Trust me, you will lose total control and not be able to control the fall. It’s bad enough that you are going to pass out, but knocking your head on the way down is probably just as bad, if not even worse.

    My experience is that if you feel like you are going to pass out, it’s best to submit and move yourself close to the ground (kneel, lay, sit, whatever) as quickly as possible, while you still have some control.

    I think that first time, I was lucky. I think I crashed into a wall and that sort of broke my fall. My hip was kind of sore afterward, though. But, I was fortunate that I didn’t knock my head . . . . ;)

    The second time, I knelt my body down and kind of put my head down (kind of like Rod’s latest experience) and I think it prevented me from actually passing out (though I’m not absolutely sure I didn’t actually pass out) . . . . LOL.

  21. Mark Shelby
    December 17th, 2013 at 12:28 am #

    That’s right 4G. If you feel like you are going to pass out. Get your head below your heart. That’s the easiest way to remember. Then the blood goes to your head, and da lights do not go out!

    ~Carry on with your good self, Rodney

    God’s Speed!



  22. M
    December 17th, 2013 at 6:21 am #

    Guud morning MLCers!

  23. Mark Shelby
    December 17th, 2013 at 7:04 pm #

    Tanks for saying Hi….M! To all of us….MLCers. Been a slow day here…..M. But I hope Rodney is feeling much Better! We need to hear more great memories/stories from the steel trap Hawaii Memory Mind of Rodney!

  24. M
    December 18th, 2013 at 6:22 am #

    Guud moring MLCers!
    7 days till Santa comes!

  25. volleymom2
    December 20th, 2013 at 9:31 pm #

    Late on this… okai must be the chinese version of jook..? rice and water, but you take the left over turkey meat off the bones and use it with some celery leaves and salt… and shoyu to your own taste. Thats why after t-giving, always save the carcass!! Make jook!!