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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 July 8, 2020

                      18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

                      18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

                      The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

                      1. Understand Yourself Better

                      Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

                      Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

                      2. Keep Track of Small Changes

                      I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

                      Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

                      3. Become Aware of What Matters

                      As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

                      You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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                      4. Boost Creativity

                      The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

                      When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

                      You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

                      5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

                      A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

                      Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

                      6. Process Life Experiences

                      When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

                      Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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                      7. Stress Relief

                      In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

                      Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

                      8. Provide Direction

                      Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

                      One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

                      9. Solve Problems

                      Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

                      Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

                      When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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                      10. Find Relief From Fighting

                      Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

                      Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

                      11. Find Meaning in Life

                      Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

                      12. Allow Yourself to Focus

                      Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

                      13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

                      When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

                      14. Let the Past Go

                      I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

                      15. Allow Freedom

                      Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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                      16. Enhance Your Career

                      Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

                      Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

                      17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

                      All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

                      18. Catalog Your Life for Others

                      No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

                      We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

                      Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

                      Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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