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Bright & Easy: 10 Recipes To Alleviate Spring Allergies

Bright & Easy: 10 Recipes To Alleviate Spring Allergies

April showers may bring flowers, but also congestion, sneezing, and itchy eyes.

When Mother Nature tortures you with allergies, relieve your worst symptoms naturally by using her best defense to your benefit. That’s right, rather than barely functioning on the chemically induced highs and lows of allergy medication, let your food be your medicine instead. Odds are, you eat a few times a day anyhow, so why not use that time to help your body naturally transition with ease. Allergens trip your immune system’s security alert causing that infamous histamine reaction anyone reading this likely knows well.

Prior to the start of allergy season in your area this Spring, be sure to include foods that are natural immune boosters and antihistimines into your meals. There are many foods that can help with this task. From fish and nuts, to fruits and vegetable, even garlic, herbs, and algae can help your body defend itself against seasonal invaders.

Here are 10 of my personal favorite recipes for a quick and easy way to feel your best this spring.

1. Berry-Good Kefir Smoothie

Berry Smoothie

    It’s alive! Kefir is yogurt’s oldest cousin. This fermented milk product is super tasty, loaded with 3 times more gut healthy pro-biotics than yogurt. It can be up to 99% lactose free for those of us who can’t handle the lactose. There are also vegan friendly options.

    These probiotics help facilitate healthy digestion. If your digestive system is backed up, your body’s response to allergens is also affected. This recipe is packed with omega 3’s, quercetin, Vitamin C, and minerals that are natural antihistamines sure to keep your immune system ready for the Spring-time battle.

    Great for breakfast, a snack, or anytime. This is one that I make several times a week all year long, but is especially helpful come allergy season.

    Ingredients:

    1-2 cups kefir, 1 cup fresh/frozen: blueberries/blackberries/raspberries/strawberries, 1 apple (quartered), 1-2 handfuls of kale, 2 tablespoons chia seeds, 2 teaspoons crushed flax seed, 5-6 ice cubes.

    Directions:

    Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour. Enjoy! Freeze any leftover to pop into the blender for a quick fix later.

    Tip: Kefir with no sugar added is best.

    2. Spicy Roasted Almonds

    Roasted Almonds

      This healthy snack is high in magnesium and vitamin E, which boost the immune system and provide inflammation reduction. Garlic is a natural antibiotic. The capsaicin in cayenne pepper helps to thin mucus, allowing the sinuses to breathe better while also reducing congestion.

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      Ingredients:

      1 cup whole raw almonds, 1 1/2 teaspoons coconut oil, 1 clove finely chopped garlic, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, add kosher salt to taste.

      Directions:

      Preheat oven to 350. Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl, until nuts are evenly and well-coated. Spread the mixture out evenly on a baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until golden. Stir/mix after about 5 minutes. Be sure not to burn your almonds. Let cool before eating. Store in an air tight container.

      Tip: For a fun flavor boost, add 2 teaspoons pf honey or 1 teaspoon of agave nectar to the mix.

      3. Miso Soup

      Miso Soup

        Miso and nori, the seaweed in this classic Japanese soup, are proven to reduce seasonal allergy symptoms. Pack them in with garlic and hot peppers if you choose. This meal packs a punch against allergy symptoms.

        There are many variations of Miso Soup. My favorite homemade soup is a variation of this easy to make 15 minute recipe.

        Ingredients:

        6 cups water, 1/2 cup chopped bok choy/escarole, 1/2 cup chopped green onion, 5 tablespoons miso paste (white, red, or both), 1 clove finely chopped fresh garlic, 1 sheet nori (dried seaweed) cut into halved strips.

        Optional: tofu, bonito, baby pinch dried crushed chili, shiitake mushrooms.

        Directions:

        Bring water to a medium simmer. Add nori first and let it cook alone for 3 minutes. Add in miso, then all other ingredients. Cook for 5-10 minutes.

        Tip: Due to their rigidity, shiitake mushrooms must be pre-softened or cooked prior to being added into the soup.

        Caution: Miso is a fermented soy product. Fermentation may reduce allergic reaction, but sensitivities can vary greatly.Those with soy allergies should be aware.

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        4. Chopped Kale & Parsley Salad

        Chopped Kale Parsley Tom And Pepper Salad

          The antihistamine and allergy combatants in this recipe are ALL of them… literally. The energy boost from the vitamin boost, along with the easing of springtime rhinitis will have you back up and moving in no time!

          Ingredients:

          2 cups chopped kale, 1 cup chopped parsley.

          Finely chop: 1/2 red pepper, 1/2 green pepper, 1/2 yellow pepper, 1 lg 3 small tomato(es), 1/2 red onion, 2 shaved carrots, 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar.

          Directions:

          Add all chopped ingredients in a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and fresh herbs to taste. Mix together. Enjoy!

          5. Tomato Salad

          Tomato salad

            Sinus headache or congestion giving you the springtime blues? The tomato, radish, and basil combination in this light, bright, and easy dish contains anthocyanins, which will reduce sinus inflammation and congestion.

            Ingredients:

            6 cups tomato medium diced, 1 cup chopped parsley, small bunch (6-10) med sized radishes quartered, 1/4 cup chopped onion, 1 chopped carrot, small bunch of basil chopped, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to taste, chive to garnish.

            Directions:

            Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix until well coated. Serve and enjoy!

            6. Broccoli Salad

            BroccoliSalad (1)

              The flavonoids in broccoli, grapes, tomatoes, and onions are a naturally antihistamine. Greek yogurt allows for healthy digestion and the filtering of allergens from the body.

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              Ingredients:

              1 Large broccoli crown (or 2 medium sized) cut into bite-sized pieces, 1 cup quartered red grapes (in place of traditionally used raisins), 1/2 cup chopped red onion, 1/2 cup quartered cherry tomatoes, 1 cup Greek yogurt, 1 tablespoon (ACV) apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon agave nectar or local honey (in place of sugar).

              Optional: 6 strips cooked bacon crumbled. For extra omega 3’s: 1/8 cup almond slivers, 3 tablespoons sunflower kernels, 2 tablespoons crushed flax seed.

              Directions:

              In a bowl, toss broccoli, grapes, onion, and tomato. In a separate bowl, mix together yogurt, ACV, and nectar/honey until consistent. Add 1-2 tablespoons of water if using honey. Once mixed, pour mixture over salad and mix thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate up to 2 hours. Overnight is best. Serve and enjoy!

              7. Grilled Salmon & Veggies

              Grilled Salmon

                The omega 3’s vitamins and minerals in salmon are more than the classic healthy meal that you know and love. This tender fish paired with asparagus will boost immunity and help combat your seasonal allergies.

                Ingredients:

                4 inch thick salmon steaks (fresh wild caught if possible), bunch of fresh green asparagus, 1-2 cloves finely chopped garlic, 3 tablespoons almond slivers, 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, coarse ground black pepper, coarse ground Himalayan sea salt (or kosher salt), juice of half a lemon.

                Optional: marinade for salmon.

                Directions:

                Asparagus: Add a drizzle of olive oil and chopped garlic to a skillet on medium heat until golden. Add in asparagus, almond slivers, salt, and pepper to taste. Make sure to stir/rotate asparagus occasionally. Cook until asparagus brightens and is fork tender but slightly firm.

                Salmon: If using a marinade be sure to let the salmon sit in it for at least 2 hours. Otherwise, coat the grill with olive oil to prevent sticking. You may choose to lightly brush fish with olive oil as well. Apply freshly ground salt and pepper to the salmon. Grill the salmon on medium heat, skin side up until it is slightly golden (about 1-3 minutes), then gently flip. Lower heat. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the fish and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes (depending on your preference).

                8. Roasted Broccoli Salad with Roasted Red Pepper Vinaigrette

                Roasted Broccoli salad with roasted red peppers

                  This entire dish is packed (almost every ingredient) with deliciously healthy food to help calm your worst allergy symptoms, delight your taste-buds, and satisfy your hunger.

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                  Directions:

                  Combine grilled chicken, red onions, roasted broccoli, halved grape tomatoes, and fresh herbs to taste with this Roasted Red Pepper Vinaigrette in a skillet for a hearty and healthful seasonal allergy fighting dish.

                  9. Coco-Nutty Spirulina Balls

                  Spirulina Balls 2

                    Dessert or medicine? Let your senses decide. Spirulina, sometimes referred to as blue-green algae, is a protein rich super-food that provides energy, increases the immune response, and significant allergy relief (of course).

                    Ingredients:

                    20-25 pitted dates, 1 cup walnut pieces, 1 cup raw or roasted almonds, 2 teaspoons Quality Spirulina Powder, 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/4 cup chia seeds, 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

                    Directions:

                    Place all ingredients (only half of the coconut) into a food processor. Mix until the sticky dough forms a ball. Roll the dough into bite-size pieces, approximately 1 inch in diameter. Roll the balls to coat them in the remaining coconut flakes. Plate and serve. Cover and refrigerate if you’re not serving immediately.

                    10. Green Tea with Local Wildflower Honey

                    Steeped Green Tea

                      Green tea has many benefits, including increased energy, weight loss, and cancer prevention. Green tea is loaded with an antioxidant phyto-nutrient called EGCG that blocks histamine and IgE (immunoglobulin E) which causes symptoms of seasonal allergies. Replace your coffee with green tea 1-3 times daily for best results.

                      Directions:

                      Steep loose leaf or bags of green tea to your desired strength. Add local honey, which can often be found at a specialty store or your local farmers market.

                      Tip: Be sure to rinse loose leaf tea 1-3 times with hot water before steeping.

                      Photo Attributions: Smoothie, Roasted Almonds, Miso Soup, Chopped Kale & Parsley Salad, Tomato Salad, Broccoli Salad, Grilled Salmon & Veggies, Roasted Broccoli Salad with Roasted Red Pepper VinaigretteGreen Tea.

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                      Last Updated on September 28, 2020

                      The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

                      The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

                      At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

                      Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

                      One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

                      When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

                      So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

                      Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

                      This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

                      Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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                      When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

                      Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

                      One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

                      Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

                      An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

                      When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

                      Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

                      Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

                      We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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                      By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

                      Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

                      While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

                      I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

                      You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

                      Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

                      When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

                      Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

                      Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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                      Con #2: Less Human Interaction

                      One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

                      Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

                      Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

                      This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

                      While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

                      Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

                      Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

                      This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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                      For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

                      Con #4: Unique Distractions

                      Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

                      For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

                      To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

                      Final Thoughts

                      Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

                      We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

                      More About Working From Home

                      Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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