Immunity Boosting Recipes to Prepare You for Fall

Grand Rapids Natural Health team members Audrey Byker, Health Coach, Andrea Hop, Health Coach and Christine Schoenek, ND, have combined their knowledge to share with you two natural immunity boosting recipes to prepare you for fall & battle the back to school bugs! "With cold and flu season coming up, it's a great idea to prime our immune system to avoid those dreaded days spent in bed, sneezing and surrounded by tissues. Elderberry and bone broth are just a couple of the simple, natural ways we can boost our immune systems. With elderberries being high in vitamins A, and C, and an excellent antioxidant, they can provide our bodies with some of the tools necessary to fight infections. Bone broth is a great gut healer as it is high in glutamine.  Since 80% of our immune system is located within the GI tract, a comforting bowl of soup can become a immune boosting super food when made with bone broth!" - Christine Schoenek, ND


Superstar Immunity with Elderberries

Written by: Andrea Hop, HC

Most of us aren’t heading out to the local grocery store and coming back with a bounty of elderberries in our grocery bags, but it would be great if we did!  These tiny berries pack a potent anti-viral and anti-inflammatory punch and are perfect for helping our bodies prepare for cold and flu season. Elderberries have been used in traditional medicine for hundreds of years for the powerful benefits these tiny berries offer.  What can they do for you and your loved ones?

Immune Booster:  Elderberries have a high amount of Vitamin C and antioxidants that help your cells protect against viruses. They also contain Vitamin A and B as well as phosphorous. The antioxidants in the elderberries and in the raw honey combat free radicals which damage cells and cause aging.

Heart Health: Elderberries are packed with potassium which is a powerful vasodilator.  Your vessels will relax and your heart will not have to work as hard, therefore, your blood pressure may be lowered.

Digestion: Pastured-raised and antibiotic free gelatin is healing for the gut and contains amino acids that aid in efficiently digesting food.  Raw honey is also used for soothing the digestive system.

Not wanting to deal with leaky eyes, sniffles, coughs, sneezes, lots of used tissues flowing out of your wastebasket this year?  Then, try this recipe from Andrea Hop, Health Coach to get your immune system in superstar condition!

Elderberry Superstar Immunity Gummies

From Andrea Hop Health Coach


  • 1 C Organic Cranberry Juice
  • ½ C Elderberry Syrup (Get a Syrup that is made just from elderberries)
  • 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • ¼ C Honey (raw or local for the best health benefits)
  • 3 Tbsp Gelatin (grass-fed, pasture-raised)

Directions Mix the cranberry juice, elderberry syrup, and lemon juice together. Measure ¼ C of the juice mixture and transfer to a small bowl.  Sprinkle the gelatin on top and allow to sit for a few minutes.  Heat the remaining juice over low heat until simmering (don’t boil in order to preserve the health benefits of the honey when added), then remove from the heat.  Add the raw honey and gelatin mixture, which will be solid) and stir gently with a spoon until incorporated. Pour into silicone molds or a shallow pan.  Transfer to the refrigerator until set, about 2-3 hours. Pop out of the mold and enjoy!

Bone Broth for a little TLC this Fall

Written by: Audrey Byker, HC

It was a couple of years ago, while attending a health-coaching workshop; I discovered bone broth was making a comeback.  All through my childhood, my mom roasted whole chickens then used the carcass to make broth for soup if we were lucky enough to have leftover meat.  When sharing with my mom recently, bone broth is incredibly nourishing for the digestive tract and full of bio-available vitamins, minerals and amino acids, she replied “Ok.  And that is a new thing?” Well, no, this is not a complicated and new fad, it’s simply a nourishing tradition passed on through generations.  It’s recently become popular for reasons our ancestors may or may not have known about at the time, but research is now beginning to prove.  If you ask my mom why she made it she’d let you know it was cheap, tasted great and was good for us!  I happen to love those reasons as well.

Before giving into the temptation to purchase stock for your next soup recipe take a look at a few of the health benefits only homemade bone broth has to offer:

IMMUNE SUPPORT: Due to the bioavailability of the collagen and amino acids present, leaky gut sufferers can experience soothing and healing.  When the gut is healthy and no longer leaky, allergies, asthma, and frequent illness can lessen or disappear.

JOINT HEALTH: Collagen and glucosamine from the broken down animal joints help rebuild and lessen inflammation in your joints.

SILKY SMOOTH SKIN: Another benefit of collagen is it’s ability to increase connective tissue which makes skin appear smooth and firm (including those pesky cellulite areas).

DIGESTIVE LOVE: Through the long simmer process of breaking down the animal parts, the remaining minerals and amino acids in high concentration enter the digestive track and are easily absorbed, a welcomed soother for anyone with digestive upset or disorders.

Crockpot Bone Broth Recipe

From Audrey Byker, HC


  • 1-2 lbs Cage Free Antibiotic Free Chicken bones (meat on bones can be included)
  • 9 Cups Filtered Water
  • 2 tbsp Apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Large Organic Carrot, chopped
  • 1 Medium Onion,  peeled & chopped
  • 2 Stalks Organic Celery, chopped
  • 6 Organic Garlic Cloves
  • 1 tbsp Tumeric
  • Pink Himalayan Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • Cheese Cloth
  • Cooking Twine
  • Mesh Strainer
  • 4-6 quart slow cooker


  • Cut your veggies and place them in a double layer of cheese cloth and secure in a bundle with cooking twine.
  • Put bones and veggies into the crockpot and fill with water until covered.
  • Cook on LOW for 24 hours.
  • After an hour or so, skim whatever is floating on the top. If your meat is organic and cleaner there will be less to skim.
  • Remove top and let cool slightly.
  • Place strainer over a bowl and ladle broth into strainer to separate bones and vegetable bundle form the liquid.

To Store:

  • I like to keep some in the fridge for immediate use and the rest I freeze in mason jars for later. It keeps in the fridge for about a week and in the freezer for several months.
  • If freezing, remove from freezer several hours before using to thaw.
  • If storing in the fridge you'll notice a layer of fat will accumulate on the top. Feel free to remove or leave and stir it into the broth before heating up in the microwave. Its fat, but it's good fat!

Andrea Hop has followed her passion to pursue knowledge and understanding of how the right choices in life can nourish both the human body and soul.  Andrea has a Bachelor's in Psychology/Special Education and a Master's in Learning Disabilities, both acquired through Grand Valley State University, and she enjoyed working as a high school support teacher.  Following her passions in health, she chose to attend the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and received her Integrative Nutrition Health Coach certification. In health coaching, her goal is to guide clients to focus to improve all aspects of wellness: using goal-setting, accountability, and simple changes that can lead to profound and lasting effects on quality of life and health. To learn more about Andrea, click here.


Audrey Byker specializes in health coaching and has a background in education, whole food cooking, and supporting busy people on their healthy lifestyle journey. She received her education degree from Hope College and is a Certified Health Coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.

Audrey believes the human body knows what it needs to thrive and is constantly sending messages about what is missing. There are many forms of nourishment and each individual has different needs. Helping clients discover their potential in all aspects of health is Audrey’s passion.

Christine Schoenek, ND graduated from Oakland University where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology. She then attended National University of Health Sciences (NUHS) where she earned a Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine, graduating Suma Cum Laude and Valedictorian of her class. Christine currently holds her Naturopathic license in the state of Vermont and is a member of the Michigan Association of Naturopathic Physicians (MANP). Christine believes in the key principle of Naturopathic Medicine – the body has the innate ability to heal itself. Click here to read more.

Kelly Hassberger