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My Favorite Frugal Immunity Booster

When it comes to cold and flu season, there are a lot of things we can do to help keep ourselves healthy. But, even the strongest of us can sometimes use a boost. Even though I very rarely feel off kilter at all, there are times that even I need a little help. And when this happens, I go to my favorite frugal immunity booster to kick things before they really begin.

Apple Cider Vinegar

The first and foremost ingredient in any immunity booster I use is apple cider vinegar. While I have never been a huge fan of any vinegar taste, or smell, I can tolerate this one a bit better than most others. It helps that I only need to use about 1 Tbsp of it per warm drink at a time.

Apple cider vinegar has a ton of immunity boosting properties. Some of the most potent and common are:

  • Antimicrobial due to high level of acetic acid
  • Antiviral
  • Helps lymphatic drainage
  • Helps restore a more alkaline pH
  • High in antioxidants
  • Improves circulation
  • Prebiotics that help boost microbiome immunity
  • Reduces blood sugar levels
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Thins out respiratory mucous
  • Weight loss assistance

This list of benefits is pretty darn long and shows that apple cider vinegar can really help total overall health. And when it comes to buying apple cider vinegar, you want to make sure to purchase one with the mother in it. Since the mother is the healthiest part of the apple cider vinegar, you want to make sure you have one with it. If your apple cider vinegar is cloudy then you can bet the mother is still present.

And, in addition to that, I always go organic to help avoid any potential pesticides and herbicides that might still be present. After all, those would negate the positive immunity boosting properties of the apple cider vinegar to begin with.


I may start my immunity booster out with apple cider vinegar, but that isn’t where it ends. To help complete my powerhouse, I usually add the following spices also:

  • Cinnamon
  • Turmeric
  • Ginger
  • Cayenne

I suggest starting with 1/4 tsp of each to see how you handle the effects and the taste. As not all of us are fond of all 4 of these spices. I know that I generally prefer much less cayenne and ginger than the other 2 in my drink. But, all of these are added for a specific reason to help boost immunity. These are:

  • Cinnamon is high in antioxidants, antiviral, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties
  • Turmeric is high in curcumin which is a strong anti-inflammatory
  • Ginger has many anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory benefits
  • Cayenne contains capsaicin which can help reduce inflammation and treat colds and congestion
  • Add a bit of each to your apple cider vinegar in a mug and either stir or whisk. I personally prefer whisking because I feel that it gets a more uniform distribution throughout that way.

A Touch of Sweetness

After I have my apple cider vinegar and spices, a bit of sweetness is next. The best go-to I’ve found is local honey, but you can also use organic agave instead if you prefer. When it comes to boosting immunity though, local honey is a much better option. The reason is due to the fact that local honey tends to have:

  • Antibacterial properties
  • Antifungal properties
  • Antimicrobial properties
  • Antioxidants
  • Helps heal wounds
  • Can alleviate allergies to local allergens
  • Assists with sore throats
  • High in phytonutrients

As if these potential positive side effects weren’t enough, buying local honey helps local farmers. And I am always a fan of that! I usually only add between 1/2 – 1 Tbsp to each cup of my immune boosting drink, but you can add as much as you’d like. I would suggest less is more here though because you don’t want to risk spiking your blood sugar, as that would have the opposite side effect you’re going for.

Immunity Booster Summary

Once I have all of my aforementioned ingredients, I then add boiling water from a tea kettle and stir. If you want to get really fancy, you can add an apple slice and/or use a real cinnamon stick to stir it with instead of adding cinnamon powder.

Overall, this drink costs me very little to make, depending upon which ingredients I choose to purchase. And, since it is such a powerhouse when it comes to boosting my immunity, it helps to keep me well all winter long. By doing so, I eliminate trips to the doctor for weather related illnesses and am able to keep more money, and time. I call this a winter win-win!

Have you tried a drink like this to help boost your immunity? If so, what were the results?

Easy Homemade Fried Rice Recipe


Homemade fried rice with oriental salad
Homemade fried rice with oriental salad

When working to eat healthy and still feed your family for less, it’s important to get creative and work to find ways to serve meals that everyone loves and do so in a way that fits in with your family’s targeted food budget. One of the ways we do this in The Frugal Farmer home is by writing down meal items we love to have at our favorite restaurants and finding ways to make them at home. In our quest to eat well (which for us means finding a balance between eating healthy and throwing in a few of our favorite not-so-healthy restaurant foods) but still keep our grocery budget at around $400 for our family of six, we’ve found ways to make a number of popular restaurant dishes at home for cheap.

We do this not only for regular weekly meals, but for celebratory meals such as Valentine’s Day as well. By finding ways to make restaurant dishes at home, we can save the money we would have spent on a restaurant excursion, yet still eat a special and satisfying meal.

As we work to eat primarily whole foods and stick with a largely macrobiotic diet, we are continually looking for new recipes that are healthy, flavorful, cheap and easy to prepare. One of our favorites has become this homemade fried rice recipe I put together last winter. It’s healthy, delicious and easy to make too. Many times we serve it alone, or occasionally we’ll serve it with an oriental salad, as seen in the picture here.

Healthy, Delicious and Cheap

Our local Costco sells a large bag of oriental salad for $6.99. The salad is quite similar to the Oriental Chicken Salad served at popular chain restaurants, except for that it’s sans chicken. This bag can serve our family of six for two meals, which brings the price of the salad down to $3.50 per meal. Since we buy our veggies in bulk, we can easily make the veggie fried rice for less than $1.50, bringing the total price of the meal to $5 or less.  Try it at home and let me know how you like it.

Recommended for your “Feeding Your Family for Less” library:

Homemade Fried Rice Recipe


4-6 cups prepared rice (we use organic brown rice but any rice will do)

1/8 to 1/4 c. toasted sesame oil

1/4 to 1/2 c. frozen peas

1 garlic clove, pressed

1 onion (yellow or green will work), diced

1 large carrot, shredded

1 egg, scrambled with milk

a sprinkling of soy sauce, salt and pepper to taste


In a large non-stick frying pan or wok, heat sesame oil on medium high. Add peas and onions and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring regularly. Add the carrot and garlic and cook for another minute or two. Scoot the veggies over to one side and add the beaten egg/milk mixture, tossing it until the egg is fluffy and fully cooked. Mix the veggies and eggs together, add the rice, and combine until mixed well. You can add more oil if need be at this point. Add soy sauce, salt and pepper to taste, continually mixing. That’s it!

Being quite picky about my fried rice, I’ve found this recipe most similarly emulates a good old-fashioned quality Chinese restaurant tasting rice. It’s nice to be able to serve this at home, avoid the MSG (which is nothing more than a liquid sprinkled on many Chinese and Thai food dishes) and save money as well.

For more information and recipes for the frugal meals we serve at home, click here to access our Frugal Food section.

I’d be curious to hear after you try it if you find it as delicious as we do here. Also, feel free to share the restaurant meals you serve at home as well. We’d love to hear from you!