What to Do When You Get Sick, Paleo Goat Bone Soup, And Why You Should Never Eat Campbell’s

I admit it.

I know what I did wrong. Countless meetings, preparing for speaking engagements, writing books, running my coaching community, responding to e-mails, taking care of my dog, and 19,000 other things… I didn’t get enough sleep, and I was stressed. I just overdid it.

So, for the first time in 3 years, I got sick.

Even if you eat and exercise perfectly, you’re still susceptible to sickness when you’re run down.

Sick Puppies

And I wasn’t the only one cuddling a box of Kleenex. This is a monster bug. It also got my buddy George, my right-hand man Chris, most people in Austin, and seemingly my dog.

First it was the headache. This one was so thick you could touch it. Right behind the eyes.

Then the chills and the fever. Nothing quite like waking up in the middle of the the night shivering in a pool of your own sticky sweat.

Then, of course, the stuffy nose that prohibits all air from passing but curiously shoots out comical amounts of mucus, the post-nasal drip, and the coughing-up of oddly-colored goo.

And I have to speak in San Francisco in 2 days? Sweet.

What’s the Worst Thing You Can Do When You’re Sick?

It’s astonishing what we feed ourselves, our family, and our children when we’re ill.

When I got the bug, here’s what I didn’t do. I didn’t have Campbell’s. Here’s a list of ingredients in Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup:

Chicken stock, enriched egg noodles (wheat flour, egg solids, niacin, ferrous sulfate, thiamine, mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), cooked chicken meat, water, contains less than 2% of the following ingredients: salt, chicken fat, cooked mechanically separated chicken, monosodium glutamate, cornstarch, onion powder, modified food starch, yeast extract, spice extract, soy protein isolate, sodium phosphates, beta carotene for color, chicken flavor (contains chicken stock, chicken powder, chicken fat), flavoring, dehydrated garlic.

In 7 seconds of looking at those ingredients, I see 3 different varieties of MSG, at least 3 different kinds of GMO’s, soy by-products, gluten, and plenty of non-foods.

So I suppose the thought-process goes like this for Campbell’s: “Let’s take microwaved industrial chicken, GMO’s, gluten, soy, and copious amounts of salt and feed it to sick people. Don’t worry, we’ll market it so they’ll think that it’ll actually help them get better!”

Food marketers… You cheeky monkeys.

Sports drinks like Gatorade are another staple of sickness, if the chicken soup weren’t enough.

Firstly, chugging pure sugar water isn’t good for you. Ever. But especially when you’re sick.

But sports drinks like Gatorade also contain bizarre ingredients such as brominated vegetable oil, or BVO. BVO is a chemical used as a flame retardant, but Gatorade uses it as an emulsifier.

According to What is That Ingredient?:
“bromine-containing sedatives resulted in emergency room visits and incorrect diagnoses of psychosis and brain damage due to side effects such as depression, memory loss, hallucinations, violent tendencies, seizures, cerebral atrophy, acute irritability, tremors, ataxia, confusion, loss of peripheral vision, slurred speech, stupor, tendon reflex changes, photophobia due to enlarged pupils, and extensor plantar responses.”

(Fortunately, in response to an online petition, I understand that PepsiCo may be pulling BVO from its drinks in the future. Great. I’m sure it’s replacement emulsifier will be clean as a whistle…)

What to do When You Get Sick

So if you can’t have store-bought chicken soup or Gatorade when you’re sick, what should you do?

  • Rest. Your body is telling you it needs some time off. And skip your workout for Pete’s sake.
  • Hydrate with plenty of pure water. Have some coconut water if you like. I don’t care. But if you’re in the camp of avoiding fake food ingredients, then there’s no more important time to eat and drink clean than when you’re sick.
  • Continue to eat real food. As clean as possible. Bone broths are nutrient powerhouses.

Alyson, bless her heart, whipped me up a goat bone soup. It took less than 10 minutes, but it probably halved the duration of my cold. It’s not the best tasting soup I’ve ever had, but it definitely has plenty of bug-fighting goodness and makes you feel like a (slightly hungover) rockstar.

Here’s the recipe.

Paleo Bone Soup Ingredients

Hey, that’s real food!

5.0 from 2 reviews
Paleo Bone Soup Recipe for Sick Puppies
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Deeply satisfying soup with sweet potatos, onions, carrots, and a mix of herbs.
Serves: 4
  • 2 lbs bones (I used goat bones, but marrow bones would work well, too)
  • 1.5 lbs sweet potato, cubed
  • 5 carrots, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon ginger root, chopped
  • A length of dried seaweed
  • ¼ cup nettles
  • 1 tablespoon echinacea root, cut
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 cups water (or stock)
  1. Add all ingredients into your crock pot and cook on low for 4-5 hours. Eat while cuddling under a blanket.

How about you guys? What do you do when you’re sick?

Real Food Bone Soup Ingredients


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  1. Believe it or not, I swear by using the Neti Pot. I use it religiously 2/day whenever I feel the slightest hint of a cold coming on. I unfortunately recently got the flu (first time sick in 2 years), and I never had a sore throat, and the congestion was at a bare minimum. I was feverish, of course, and very tired, but the illness was not nearly as bad as having the flu in the past.

  2. I threw the truck at my cold and it never manifested!! I did all of the following for the 3 or 4 days following the first sign of sickness–that painful spot on my throat that signals sickness is imminent!

    gargled with salt water in the morning and evening
    2 cups of homemade bone broth a day with sea salt and turmeric added (I ran out after a couple of days since the whole family was sucking it down, too)
    chicken vegetable soup with aforementioned bone broth (only for 2 days, then we ran out!)
    3-6 capsules of Cod LIver OIl/High Vitamin Butter blend
    tablespoon of acidophilus
    fermented food (kombucha, home-fermented radishes/store-bought sauer kraut)
    absolutely no sugar, wheat or alcohol in any form
    ginger-lemon tea with cardamom
    went to sleep at 8:30pm
    tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with honey in warm water in the am
    as much sun and outdoors as I could (I work, so I didn’t get a ton)
    I also had a lot of fish (sardines, salmon and mahi mahi)

    So, I don’t know what worked, or if it all worked together, but it’s the first time in a while I’ve been able to defeat a cold before it even got a grip on me!!

  3. It got me too! I got sick for the first time in a year and a half. The flu in Austin was nasty this year!
    But I ate healthy whole foods and the sickness only lasted a few days (whereas my coworkers were bedridden for about a full week).

    Thanks for the soup recipe. Looks great.

    One question: Is it important to eat easily digestible food while sick? I feel like it makes sense to allow you body to focus on ridding itself of the sickness rather than digesting food.

  4. I find that when I’m caught with my defenses down and can’t nip it in the bud- Meesha style- I have a hard time drinking water. I tend to double fist hot herbal teas and chug watered down coconut water in between naps. The fermented foods are stellar- I’ll drink a small glass of juice from my homemade fermented pickles (spicier like kim chee or garlic scape pickles is better for this application, mild like saurkraut for upset tummies).

    Five people in my family have come down with this flu in less than a week! Certainly a doozy, but luckily we’re coming over it quickly.

    • Marcella Rochon says:

      I agree with Wendy. Weird as it sounds, this works wonders! I don’t bother with measuring 5 drops; I just fill the cap and tilt it into my ear. Once the sound of a mini volcano stops fizzing and cools down, I turn my head over a towel and put a capful in the other ear.

      If I catch the cold soon enough – the first sign being a sore, scratchy or swollen throat – then I’m back on my feet in no time. Otherwise, I’m too sick to think about eating, even healthy stuff.

  5. I have a couple things I do that haven’t been mentioned yet.
    -Vitamin C at the first hint of getting a cold/flu up to 5000 mg a day.
    -Bone broth simmered with veggies, sage, oregano and rosemary (dried from the garden).
    -In the fridge I have a jar of lemon and ginger slices marinating in local honey. –A couple tablespoons in hot water makes a soothing tea.
    -And at bed time I make tea ..add a bit of cayenne pepper, have a hot bath and cover up with lots of blankets to induce fever.
    By morning I’m usually cured 🙂

  6. Just make sure if you are using a netipot you use distilled water. Do not use tap water or spring water. You could end up with a massive bacterial infection or microorganisms making a new home in your sinus cavity, eye sockets and your brain. Distilled water works well and safe.

  7. It sounds like you contracted influenza, not a cold. I know the flu shot is opposed by some…that’s fine as this is an individual choice, but I got the flu shot every year for the last several years and have not got the flu once. I have had mild colds now and then, but the flu shot does not protect from getting rhino viruses. Just a thought.

  8. Great article! I will share it with all the sickies. I don’t really want to eat goat bones though. Maybe bacon instead? Hope you’re feeling much better!!

  9. Awesome looking broth! I never think to add the extra other good stuff than the onion, but now I DEFINITELY have an idea for one of the nori sheets (or two) out of my bag of nori I bought. I’ll make the whole dang recipe, in fact. Great of you to share that you were ill, and how you got through it. Thanks for the authenticity!

  10. You’re right about half of Austin being sick, I have strep throat myself. Not fun when I’m trying to move! I think that’s why my defenses were down and I got sick. Anyway, I heard about gargling wih hydrogen peroxide and while it feels a bit odd when it fizzes in my throat, it makes sense that it would knock out some of those nasty germs. It seems to work a whole lot better than salt water to me for the pain. And homemade chicken soup using pretty much the same ingredients as the bone soup (replacing the goat bones wih organic whole chicken) and without the seaweed, nettles and echinacea (I’m allergic), is my cure-all. Works like magic for the cold-like symptoms, which have completely disappeared since I made the soup. I hope you are up and feeling beter soon.

  11. But Abel – What if you’re too sick to go to the store and get all that stuff and then make it, and then clean all that crap up? Are there any ready to eat soups that aren’t full of poison?

      • I make soup, or at least broth, ahead of time and freeze; not as good as fresh but better than store bought! Plus you can use it even when you’re not sick, maybe just after a long day at the office!

  12. Water, veggies, and more importantly sleep! Lots of sleep. Biggest thing I’ve found for getting better. Good rest will help defeat a cold better than anything else I’ve tried.

    Seriously at the first sign of a cold I block out extra time to sleep. Going to bed earlier and sleeping in if possible. If that means not working, then it means not working. Don’t be a hero and show up to work sick. Not only will you stay sick you chance getting everyone sick in your work place. No one likes the guy who’s proud he’s never taken a sick day but is coughing for 4 months out of the year.

    • Hi Ben, a Neti Pot is a tool that helps drain your nasal passages. Nettles are are plant that grow wild all over the place, but you can also find them at health food stores.

  13. Keefe Bella says:

    I make & can my own pastured Berkshire Pork Marrow stew. Easy as anything to make.

    I always eyeball this recipe, and its utterly foolproof. Works with absolutely ANY meat except seafood. I love pork, its an under appreciated meat, just my preference.

    Big hunks of large pork joints (knees, pelvis are best) in a mirepoix base (that’s equal quantities of carrots, celery and onions) , lots of salt & pepper (its amazing how much salt you lose with a fever), and whatever Tuscan inspired spices I have on hand. Add 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar to leech more nutrients from those thick joints, and after 24 hours on the stove you have a collagen loaded stew!

    I put it in 1 L jars after removing the bones and picking the marrow out with some shellfish picks and can it for a primal crash kit. It has saved me a few times already!

  14. This is great!
    Just starting to get over a cold myself, and I did all things wrong.
    Firstly, I felt sorry for myself, and as I didn’t feel like eating, I ate plenty of shit! Why!?! When I wasn’t even hungry? I didn’t listen to my body at all. I took the “opportunity” to eat candy and chips and bread… And since I was home feeling sorry for myself, I decided to work on my new showreel while I was in bed anyway. So so dumb. But I learned a lesson, cause the more I ate, and the less I slept, the worse I felt.
    So thank you!
    Next time I’m sick, I’m gonna think about these things and be better and get well sooner. =o)

  15. If there isn’t a fever: I make a ginger compress, which is good for any kind of congestion, whether in muscles, tummy, chest or head.

    Grate about 2-3 ounces of fresh ginger root into a clean cloth. Tie the ends together. Place into your largest pot, filled with boiling water and cook covered for 10 minutes. Remove the bag and use once more.

    Take the pot to the bedside, along with a wash cloth, tongs, a plastic bag, towel, warm shirt and socks. Begin the process of dipping the wash cloth into the water, wringing it out using tongs and place on your/the person’s chest. Cover with the plastic, towel and bed covers. When it begins to cool, repeat and continue until the skin is very red. Put on a warm shirt.

    Next, either pour the hot water into a basin in which to soak your feet or put your feet into the pot and soak them. The water will feel very hot because of the ginger. PUt on the warm socks. Now you’re either sweating or coughing, sneezing, etc. Ginger is one of the most potent herbs in Nature, as are all of the yellow plants (turmeric, arnica, for example). Put a piece of fresh ginger root in your mouth and go to sleep. Ginger pulls all kinds of toxin from the body. YOu may awaken with a large glob of phlegm in your mouth.

    Ginger root tea: Cook a few slices of fresh root in a small pot of water, covered for 10 minutes. Drink it straight, or add lemon/honey and drink it several times a day. It’s also very good for the digestion.

  16. Like you I very rarely get sick; But at the first sign of a sore throat
    I do what your dog probably did. Lay down and stop eating and
    drinking for 30 to 40 hours.
    Before everyone begins to protest go and do some research on
    dry fasting. The healthy cells suck up all the available water and
    the viruses and bacteria die from dehydration.
    I have tried it three times with 100% success.

  17. All of the above are fab…what I have also done in the past for my son when he was little and now as an adult when there is fever..we do the ‘cold wet socks’ tx which consists of putting on cold water (wrung out) cotton socks covered over by dry wool socks. Go to bed, by morning both pairs are dry and the fever is down.

  18. My response to illness is usually a few of the great suggestions already mentioned but one of my must-do’s which has not been mentioned is taking homeopathic remedies. In the interest of not sounding like a company rep I’m not going to mention any specifics but I use homeopathic remedies that when taken at the first sign of illness really make a huge difference. Most often I fight it off completely or if it does grab hold of me it’s short lived and mild in its severity.

  19. I have been on the paleo diet for several years now and haven’t had a cold or flu for 2 or 3 years. The diet really helps. I am allergic to soy (IgE allergy) and all of the stuff (junk) they make out of soy so I really cannot eat pre-processed food, as they hide soy in EVERYTHING. It’s even in toothpaste! Not getting sick any more is a big bonus to the paleo diet. One of my “secrets” is I use Chinese Medicine. I put diakon (Japanese for “giant radish”) in my soups all autumn / winter long. Chinese medicine says if you eat daikon you won’t catch the colds going around. I guess its true as my friends get sick but I never catch any bugs from them. Of course, my friends eat some truly awful stuff, sadly. I also add Gobo to my soup. It’s a root from a bush and contains antioxidants. You can find many healthy vegetables at the Asian store. The daikon I buy are just $0.79 a pound there. I suppose any radish would work if you can’t find daikon in your area. When you cook it, the heat goes out of it. Personally I think the Korean daikon tastes better but the Japanese ones are good, too.
    Back in November I had the post-nasal drip caused by hidden soy in the food and I used a tea made of peppermint and ginger. That will cure nose congestion or drippy nose. I think I was reacting to the soy the chickens had ate. Sadly, I am very sensitive to soy and have had contact reactions from some products / cross contamination. There are soy isoflavens in eggs now, too.

  20. I love the bone soup recipe thank you! I use Chinese herbs (I’m an acupuncturist) at the first sign of a cold. There are several formulas that if used early, can help knock it out before it gets a hold of you. Even if you’re a couple days in there are more herbs that can help – but see your friendly neighborhood acupuncturist for advice! Not all herbs are for everyone. Stay well!

  21. junaikjunaidk says:

    I have a recipe that’s hows my dad cook goat bone soup
    First boil goat bones in a mudpot in water and salt mean while you prepare a paste for seasoning.
    Garlic 2or 3,Cuminseed 1tsp,salt,spring onion 2 , white pepper make it paste by add some water
    In a pan addfew drops of oil add sliced spring onion and make golden colour add the paste and 3 cook until u get a special smell now add your boiled goat soup and bones into it and boil it
    serve with coriander leaves you can add chilly for make it more spicy.

  22. I know Andrew Saul. You interviewed him recently. His website, DoctorYourself.com has many great ideas, but the best one he told me years ago: Take vitamin C. As much as it takes. I toss down a LOT of C as soon as I feel illness coming on, usually starting with 8-12 GRAMS of powder in a glass of water, then keep adding until I’m well. I’ve taken as much as 40g per day. Sometimes your body needs that much. Most animals make their own and it’s far more (per body weight) than most humans take. Dr Saul got this from Linus Pauling who wrote the book. CAUTION: when you take this much C orally, you WILL get diarrhea, so don’t stray far from the bathroom. Don’t go to work; take the day off and sleep, even if you seem to recover quickly. I haven’t had a severe flu or cold in years and I’m an old guy with a stressful life. It works.

  23. Would it work to make the broth/soup ahead and keep some in the freezer? I live out in the sticks and hate to have to go to town when I’m sick.

  24. I’ve used pure wild oregano oil for years. When I start to feel something coming on or my wife and kids get sick I start using oregano oil. I haven’t taken a sick day in years and I haven’t been sick in years. Make sure you get the good stuff and not the stuff mixed with olive oil or something else. It comes in a little dropper bottle and is a little pricey, but it beats getting sick and paying to go to the doctor. I don’t know the science behind it, but it is suppose to be a natural virus killer.Anyway I like anything that keeps me healthy and moving.Good luck I hope this helps!

  25. Anyone have good info on use of Echinacea for people with auto-immune disorders? I have always been told not to use it because it just fires up your immune system to attack the tissues MORE, but when you are sick, is that different??

  26. Great ideas from everyone. My go to remedy when I lived by the sea was clam and mussel broth with some kelp or other seaweed tossed in. If you have some good quality Daikon and/or tree fungus, that helps too.

  27. I put 3 drops each of pure Oregano, Melaleuca, and another blend of essential oils in a capsule and down that every 3 hours until symptoms subside then 3x day for a week. Poof. Within the first 24 hours symptoms are gone. LOVE it.! 🙂

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