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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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                      Published on November 14, 2018

                      Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

                      Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

                      With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

                      For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

                      In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

                      Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

                      Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

                      It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

                      For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

                      Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

                      Symptoms of Fatigue

                      Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

                      • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
                      • mental blocks
                      • lack of motivation
                      • headache
                      • dizziness
                      • muscle weakness
                      • slowed reflexes and responses
                      • impaired decision-making and judgement
                      • moodiness, such as irritability
                      • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
                      • reduced immune system function
                      • blurry vision
                      • short-term memory problems
                      • poor concentration
                      • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

                      Causes of Fatigue

                      The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

                      • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
                      • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
                      • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
                      • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

                      Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

                      Medical Causes of Fatigue

                      If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

                      Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

                      Anemia

                      Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

                      Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

                      There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

                      Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

                      Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

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                      This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

                      Diabetes

                      Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

                      Sleep Apnea

                      Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

                      Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

                      Thyroid disease

                      An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

                      Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

                      • Lack of sleep
                      • Too much sleep 
                      • Alcohol and drugs 
                      • Sleep disturbances 
                      • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
                      • Poor diet 

                      Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

                      • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
                      • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
                      • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
                      • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

                      Psychological Causes of Fatigue

                      Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

                      • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
                      • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
                      • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

                      How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

                      Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

                      1. Tell The Truth

                      Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

                      To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

                      Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

                      The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

                      One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

                      • How you feel
                      • What time of day it is
                      • What may have contributed to your fatigue
                      • How your mind and body reacts

                      This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

                      2. Reduce Your Commitments

                      When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

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                      If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

                      When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

                      Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

                      3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

                      If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

                      Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

                      If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

                      Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

                      Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

                      4. Express More Gratitude

                      Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

                      It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

                      Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

                      5. Focus On Yourself

                      Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

                      There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

                      But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

                      We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

                      6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

                      Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

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                      Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

                      The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

                      Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

                      7. Take a Power Nap

                      When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

                      Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

                      This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

                      8. Take More Exercise

                      The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

                      Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

                      The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

                      You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

                      9. Get More Quality Sleep

                      To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

                      Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

                      My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

                      10. Improve Your Diet

                      Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

                      Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

                      On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

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                      To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

                      Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

                      Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

                      11. Manage Your Stress Levels

                      Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

                      When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

                      Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

                      My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

                      12. Get Hydrated

                      Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

                      Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

                      If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

                      The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

                      The Bottom Line

                      These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

                      If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

                      Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

                      Reference

                      [1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
                      [2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
                      [3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
                      [4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
                      [5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
                      [6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

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