Displaying items by tag: spring

If your car isn't already covered in a layer of pollen, it's only a matter of time.  Spring is here, along with the sneezing and watery eyes that accompany it. It's a small price to pay for warmer weather and gorgeous blooms everywhere -- but it can still be quite the annoyance if you don't keep your allergy symptoms under control. 
Thankfully, there are natural ways to ease your spring allergies that are simple to find and can bring you the relief you seek.
- Try apple cider vinegar
It's a remedy as old as time, one that really works. Apple Cider Vinegar with The Mother can assist with a host of issues, and by helping to lower inflammation in the body, it can help to quell some spring allergy symptoms that are nagging at you. 
- Make nettle leaf tea
As a natural antihistamine, nettle leaf is quite effective in blocking your histamine production. You can mix it with other herbs, like peppermint leaf, for added benefits. Take a stroll down the tea aisle next time you visit your supermarket and find a nettle leaf tea to try out.
- Restore the good bacteria in your gut
The gut has been shown to have a link to your immunity. Allergies often come about when there's a lack of balance in your gut microbiome. It could be that your good gut bacteria population is dwindling and needs a boost. Choose probiotic-rich foods such as high-quality yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, or drink kefir or kombucha daily to get your probiotics on and restore order in your gut.  Aside from eating probiotic-rich foods, find a high-quality probiotic supplement that can help you restore your microbiome. 
- Use local honey
When you buy honey that is made locally, the bees are taking pollen from the native plants in your area. That means your body starts adapting to those same allergens that have you sneeze when you see that thick blanket of pollen on your car. Make sure the honey is raw and unprocessed. You'll find local stuff at your farmer's market or health food store. Take a teaspoon of it twice a day, ideally a month before allergy season getting into full swing.
- Seek out anti-inflammatory foods
Often, the answer lies in the foods we eat. Put more fresh herbs and spices into your meals, like ginger, for example, and you'll help soothe inflammation before it has you sneezing. Green tea is another effective option, plus it gives you plenty of antioxidants which boost your health all around.
With these natural ways to ease spring allergies, you'll hopefully be able to stop and smell the roses more often.  Do you generally struggle with spring allergies?  If so, what do you typically due to kick your symptoms? Send me an email and let me know. I'd love to hear what works for you!
Published in Deanna's Blog
When the hint of spring is in the air, it's a great time to refresh your home space to welcome in the new season. One of the best ways to do that is to pay special attention to your kitchen and pantry. This is especially true if you've been a little lax on those resolutions you made on New Year's -- it's a great time to get back on track with your goals! 
Follow these 7 tips to give your kitchen and pantry a spring makeover.
1. Clear the cupboards and shelves
Start systematically through the kitchen, going through your cupboards, your pantry, and the fridge itself. You'll probably find serving dishes you forgot all about, doubles or triples of spices and seasonings, and some expired items that need to be tossed.  Take everything out one cabinet at a time and go through it.
2. Get rid of excess
Do you need ten travellers mugs to take your coffee to go? While they may be pretty, you probably don't need more than a few.  Take things like that and either donate them or store them in the garage. Give the pantry the same attention when it comes to something you're not going to use – donate them if they're still within the expiration period.
3. And if not, throw it out
With the fridge and pantry, any food you find that is expired needs to go. If you have a compost to put old produce in, great! If not, toss it. 
4. Wipe down everything
Cabinets collect dust and grunge from your cookware. Give those shelves a good cleaning and be sure they're dry. You can update the look with contact paper to make cleanup easier the next time. In your fridge, it's essential to keep good habits intact, so remove any shelves or drawers that can come out and wash them with warm soapy water. 
5. Get bins to organize better
Now for the fun part! You'll likely find that you could use a few organizing tools to make sense of your cabinets and pantry. Stop letting sauce packets fall all over the place or rummaging for spices. Countless things can make organizing your space a breeze and make you love your kitchen again.
6. Be smart about where you put your food
In the fridge, organize your food so that things that need to be used first are in the front. In your pantry, arrange things by type, like boxes and cans, for example, and then organize them in their respective sections. 
7. Create a master list of essentials
Each week, making a menu of what you're going to make helps eliminate waste. Keeping a master list of the essential things you usually keep on hand (like beans, pasta, rice, etc.) will prevent you from buying more spaghetti when you have five boxes of it or remind you that you're out of spaghetti sauce. 
With these kitchen and pantry-perfecting tips, you'll spring into better meals in no time!
Published in Deanna's Blog
Thursday, 23 March 2017 16:14

Maple syrup – a seasonal sweet treat

 
 
Enjoying the sugary sap of a maple tree is a springtime ritual for many Canadian children. During the long winter, the maple tree has the unique characteristic of producing a supply of starch that acts as anti-freeze for its roots. When the snow starts to melt, water trickles into the roots and thus begins the flow of “sugar water” that will eventually be tapped. By mid-March, after the first thaw, the sap is freely flowing and will continue flowing through April. 
 
Families who make a day of visiting the sugar bush during the annual Maple Syrup Festival can go on a nature hike through a maple grove and learn about how trees are tapped to obtained this natural sweetener. Many tree farms also have wagon rides, a petting zoo and a gift shoppe to entice and amuse visitors. Then, after working up an appetite, people can enjoy a short stack of fluffy pancakes drizzled with maple syrup from the trees they just walked past!
 
Maple syrup is not only a local food, it's a natural wonder. Going on a guided tour of a sugar bush, one quickly begins to appreciate the laborious treat that is maple syrup. Amazingly, to make one bucket of grade A or grade B syrup that's good enough to eat, 40 buckets of clear sap need to be boiled down for several hours. 
 
It's this large-scale boiling process which produces the distinctive maple flavour. Straight out of the tree, the sap itself is actually rather bland and resembles spring water, making the sweetness of the final product even more awe-inspiring. The steam pouring from the large caldrons of boiling maple sugar water drift through the woods is enough to entice anyone to the sampling table. 
 
Maple syrup is a natural and nutritious alternative to refined white sugar or honey. Teaspoon to teaspoon, maple syrup contains fewer calories than honey and is a source of zinc, calcium, iron, B vitamins, and antioxidant manganese. 
 
Maple syrup is lower in calories than honey (only 17 calories per teaspoon) because it's only 60 percent sugar. Though calorie wise it's about the same as white cane sugar, the naturally occurring vitamins and minerals in maple syrup makes it nutritional superior. It's far from being “empty calories”. 
 
Maple syrup products can be purchased in most local grocery stores in Canada or from your local farmer's market.
Published in Prevention