Nutritional information,  Savoury

Vodka and orange duck in confinement

Vodka and orange duck

We have been in isolation for three weeks so far (we started a week before obligatory confinement was instated in France because Léo was ill.) It has been an emotional rollercoaster and so far I have been: horribly worried (when Léo was ill), hysterical with laughter (when Luc ended up in the middle of the pool on the sit-on lawn-mower), covered in fat (when I ‘broke’ our whole plumbing system in a duck fat-related mishap), a sweaty mess (chasing the horses who had done a runner when we resorted to using them as substitute lawnmowers) and, this morning, super confused when my phone suddenly converted to Chinese and my son to speaking with a Russian accent, demanding to be called Boris (wtf?).

Léo had a high fever, very low blood pressure, generalised aches and pains, an excruciatingly sore throat, night sweats and a loss of sense of taste and smell. The doctor didn’t test because he hadn’t been in any particular ‘risk zones’ (at the time there were specific cluster spots in France), but he thought his symptoms were pretty conclusive. Of course, as Covid-19 is a ‘new’ virus, I treated it as I would any virus.

A few people have asked me for suggestions of what to take, if anything, to help defend themselves against Covid-19, so here are details of how I helped Léo. This isn’t miraculous, but then nothing is against viruses — he was still quite ill for about five days — but I’m fairly certain that it reduced both the severity and the duration.

I’ve always been very interested in the chemist Linus Pauling’s extensive research on vitamin C. Linus Pauling had numerous accolades for his work, including two undivided Nobel Prizes. High-dose IV vitamin C is currently being used in clinical trials in hospitals in China, the US and Italy. Vitamin C is very safe, and has no side-effects beyond perhaps a bit of stomach acidity.

How I treated covid

At the first sign of symptoms I gave Léo: 1,000mg of vitamin C every couple of hours (vitamin C is water-soluble and the body doesn’t store it), 5,000 IU of vitamin D/day, 20mg zinc/day, 10,000 IU vitamin A/day, 100mg thiamine/day, and 1mg melatonin an hour before bed. As his symptoms eased over the next few days, I gradually decreased and spaced out the doses of vitamin C, but maintained the other supplements.

Luc and I took the same supplements, although we took vitamin C just once a day as we weren’t really sick. I felt slightly weak and feverish with the beginnings of a sore throat one day, so I took several extra doses of vitamin C and the symptoms abated within a few days.

A fever is salutary (think of it as the body’s built-in detoxifying sauna), so unless you’re at risk of seizures, I think it’s better to let it run its course. If you can avoid paracetamol and especially ibuprofen, it’s preferable. Avoid sugar (it reduces the efficacity of white blood cells) and make sure to stay hydrated. Also, if you are sweating a lot, be sure to replace electrolytes (especially potassium which viruses can deplete).

Further information:

The Linus Pauling Institute.

Dr Cheng PhD, who is overseeing clinical trials in Shanghai, China.

Similar trials are taking place in New York and Italy.

Dr Malcolm Kendrick’s advice for Coronavirus

Doris Loh, Independant Research on Ascorbic Acid and Melatonin in the context of Covid 19

Duck is something we have in abundance in Southwest France. The other ingredients are things I always tend to have in the kitchen. I used dry shitake mushrooms, but any mushrooms will do.

Recipe for vodka and orange duck (serves 6)

  • 1 duck
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seed oil
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 6 star anise
  • 6 shitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 orange, peeled and sliced
  • 4 prunes, pitted
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • Sea salt, freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Chinese 5-spice powder
  • Soya sauce (or I used coconut aminos)
  • 1 generous shot of vodka
  • 100ml chicken or vegetable stock

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Put a little sesame seed oil and the duck in a medium-sized casserole dish. Add the shallots and garlic over a gentle heat. Add the star anise, mushrooms and sliced orange on top of the duck. Add the prune to the dish and finally pour over the honey and season. When the shallots are translucide, add the vodka and stock. Cook on for at least two hours (duck doesn’t really dry out), or for longer on a lower heat.

Stay well everyone!


  • KJ

    Very pleased to hear Léo has recovered and that Luc survived his dunk in the pool. If only we could say the same for the lawn mower, oui? I read the details of what you used to fight off the malaise affecting your lad, and I wonder if one could do the daily intake of the supplements you mentioned – with the Vit C at only one dose per day – as a preventative measure? We live on the edge of a village, near a walking and bike trail, and the traffic by our garden wall is steady, all day, which indicates most of my neighbors think it’s a bloody holiday, and not the middle of a pandemic. If I did become ill, it would be because of their inconsideration and refusal to be responsible. I would like to take every precaution I can and I already take 1,000IU of D3, and 500mg of B12 daily, as well as eating vegs and drinking lots of water. Any suggestion to add to my “protective” regimen would be most appreciated.

    • The Healthy Epicurean

      I think you’ll need to start ‘putting the hose’ (as my grandmother used to say) on them! Yes you could absolutely take the same things as Luc and I took as a preventative measure (basically the same as Léo but lower vitamin C doses). Let me know if you need recommendations. As an aside, since I’ve been taking fairly large doses of vitamin C I’ve been able to stop the antihistamines that I usually have to take in the Spring. Might be of interest to you? If your vitamin D levels are not too low, you may get away with taking 2.000 IU – 1.000 is probably a bit low.

  • KJ

    I forgot to mention I am also taking 120mg of Calcium and 35mg of Magnesium, every morning, with the D3 and B12.

  • kristenannmoore

    So sorry about your scary few days! I’m so glad he’s better and you guys stayed well. Thank you for sharing your protocol~ I’m going to stock up on powdered vitamin C now.

  • KJ

    F, if you comment on this post, I will receive an email alert, and I can check to see if there are ad tag-alongs on the alert email.

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