Tag Archives: immune boosting

  1. 15 Homemade Holiday Gifts

    15 Homemade Holiday Gifts

    15 Homemade Holiday Gifts

    With the holiday closing in on us, I am sure many of you are doing the last minute gift scramble so prevalent in these final days before Christmas. Rather than throwing money at the wall and going with whatever it sticks to, instead of just grabbing another gift card from the big box stores, why not get creative and craft up some beautiful, thoughtful homemade gifts this year?

    Drop the cottonball snowmen, leave the popsicle sticks in the popsicles and leave the salt dough for the kids. Finally put away, I repeat, put away the glitter. Spread the holiday cheer with some of my favorite sweet (but sometimes savory) and simple handmade holiday gifts.

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  2. How-to Make Beet Kvass // A Cleansing Medicinal Tonic

    Tutorial Tuesdays // Tasty YummiesHow-to Make Beet Kvass // A Cleansing Medicinal Tonic

    How-to Make Beet Kvass // A Cleansing Medicinal Tonic

    How-to Make Beet Kvass // A Cleansing Medicinal Tonic

    Part of my journey towards healing my body has been transitioning myself from the standard approach to food consumption that we have all grown up with, eating whatever is served to you or whatever was around and seems right or easy – to instead being able to fully tap into my innate sense of knowing what my body truly needs in the moment and nourishing it in a much more mindful way. Most effective has been the practice slowing down and quieting my mind enough to access this intuition, not just while preparing and actually eating my food, but also harnessing this skill away from meal time – in my yoga and meditation practices. It is in these moments that I truly give myself the space the fully listen to my body and trust that deep down I know what is right.

    While this may to you, sound like the beginnings of a meditation series rather than a recipe tutorial, your instincts are not actually far off. For me, this ability to tap into my intuition first came by way of my yoga practice, then it was further developed in my meditation practice and now I find myself opening the fridge and not rummaging through for what I am craving and what sounds good, but rather quieting the chatter of my mind enough to really access the place where my body can communicate to me what it needs. I think in this busy and hectic world we have lost touch with this incredible primal ability to be so in tune with our body and it’s needs and I fear that we are missing out on the opportunity to truly nourish ourselves in a far more effective and meaningful way. Both in the food we eat, but also in the life that we choose to lead.

    Recently I was at a new moon sound healing journey, hosted by my friend Brook. As I always do, every few weeks, I showed up for myself. To give myself the much needed time and space for self care, but to also honor my healing path, my guides, and most importantly to set an intention. In my most recent journey, a few weeks back, as we lie there drinking in the healing vibes of the beautiful sound, I found myself receiving messages about what I needed more of, what I should be following and the places that my energy would be best spent. It was powerful, moving and truthfully, it was a little scary (maybe scarier is actually typing it up and sharing it with the world, though).

    While much of the messages pertained to my work with others and the new paths I am exploring in my work and as a healer, I also heard, very clearly, certain personal needs that I should explore. To receive very clear messages while meditating isn’t something new to me, but to be told what to do very loudly and very specifically in this manner, this was a first. Without boring you with of the details I will just share the part of that journey that inspired this post. The word beet and images of beets continuously appeared throughout the session. While so much was zipping past me, so many ideas, so many words and images, suddenly rising above the rest, very loudly and clearly I heard: “You need more beets” “Try a beet tonic”. I instantly was reminded of Beet Kvass, something I have tried before, but never actually made for myself.

    What is Beet Kvass

    Beet Kvass is a healing and cleansing medicinal tonic. A traditional probiotic drink, popular in Eastern Europe, Ukraine and Russia, it is the result of fermentation by friendly Lactobacillus bacteria, which gives it a briny, tangy flavor. Beet kvass has a very interesting flavor combination, that is certainly an acquired taste. A little more intense than the kombucha or sauerkraut we’ve all come to know, it’s earthy, salty, sour, a little sweet and it has that elusive umami flavor – sometimes it’s even a little fizzy.

    Benefits of Beet Kvass:

    • Rich in Probiotics
    • Dense in Valuable Nutrients
    • Excellent Liver Cleanser
    • Beneficial Blood Tonic that Balances the pH of the Blood
    • Reduces the Risk of Cancer from it’s Various Antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory Properties

    Created through lacto-fermentation, this nutrient-dense stimulating tonic is loaded with friendly probiotic bacteria and beneficial enzymes, great for intestinal health, aiding in digestion and elimination, it’s an excellent liver cleanser and along with the healthy probiotics, beet’s high levels of vitamin C make this tonic an excellent boost for the immune system. It’s also more hydrating than water, containing a collection of minerals necessary to electrolyte balance in the body. Beets also contain phytonutrients called betalains that are found in the pigment of beets and are what causes your hands to stain. These betalains help create red blood cells, making beet kvass an excellent blood tonic for alkalizing the blood. Beet kvass and beets also help to naturally cleanse the gallbladder, improve bile flow, remove plenty of toxins and promote regularity!

    Beet kvass can be drank as a tonic, straight up, it can be used in place of vinegar in cooking or in salad dressings, it’s also a great addition to soup and you can even use it in cocktail, the way you would a vinegar shrub.

    How-to Make Beet Kvass // A Cleansing Medicinal Tonic

    From Sally Fallon in Nourishing Traditions (page 610):

    This drink is valuable for it’s medicinal qualities and as a digestive aid. Beets are just loaded with nutrients. One 4-ounce glass, morning and night, is an excellent blood tonic, promotes regularity, aid digestion, alkalizes the blood, cleanses the liver and is good treatment for kidney stones and other ailments.


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  3. How-to Make Elderberry Syrup

    Tutorial Tuesdays // Tasty YummiesHow-to Make Elderberry Syrup

    We aren’t out of the woods just yet, cold and flu season is very much still upon us! Rather than going into hiding, I suggest you arm yourself. Your first line of defense being a nutrient-dense, properly prepared whole foods diet, eliminating sugar and processed foods and of course, minimizing stress and maximizing your rest and relaxation time. That said, extra boosts to your immune system, also never hurt. Elderberry Syrup is an incredible, all-natural remedy that is high in immune-boosting compounds, research (and my own personal experiences) show that it is an effective therapy for shortening the duration of colds and flus.

    I swear by this stuff, you guys! It works. I always have it on hand for the onset of symptoms, but I also take it as an immune boosting player as part of my maintenance plan during the cold and flu season and/or during high stress periods where my immune system may be more compromised. While I have loved elderberry for a long time, after attending an herbal medicine workshop here in Long Beach a few weeks ago, where we learned all about elder, I was inspired to share with you just how easy it is to make. I really enjoyed spending time learning all about elderberries, their healing properties, meditating with the plant, learning it’s history and sampling various preparations. Elderberry syrup is one of my favorite ways to receive the healing powers of elder, because of course, the sweetness from the honey is delicious and it really brings out the sweetness of the berries, but honey in it’s own right is also very healing and soothing.

    Store-bought elderberry syrups can be quite expensive and often times they contain high-fructose corn syrup, some contain food dyes, preservatives, and so on. Making your own syrup means that you not only save some money, but you also can control every ingredient used and once you make this yourself at home, you will wonder why you have ever bought it.

    Elderberries – What Are They?

    Elderberries (family Caprifoliaceae) are large deciduous shrubs or small trees native mostly to the northern hemisphere, although they have become naturalized throughout much of the temperate and subtropical regions where humans live. Elderberries or Sambucus Nigra L., have long been used for centuries by indigenous cultures to treat wounds, respiratory illness, viruses and more. Elder may have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and anticancer properties. The berries of the plant are often used for preserves, syrups and tinctures, while the bark and flowers are also useful for treating allergies, creating salves, toning the skin and more. The leaves, stems are toxic.

    Besides lots of flavonoids and free radical-scouring antioxidants, elderberries contain 87 percent of the daily value in vitamin C, and high amounts of vitamin A, potassium, iron, vitamin B6, fiber, and betacarotene. {source}

    Elderberries add a bright, tart, and delightful flavor to various foods, making it a great choice for sauces, syrups, dressings and they can also be used to make wine. I suggest buying high-quality organic dried elderberries, this is a great brand, I also recommend these and finally, this brand. You can also use dried elderberries to make a quick tea. 1 tablespoon of dried berries, to every 8 ounces of filtered water. Bring to a boil, them simmer for 15 minutes. Strain out the berries and enjoy.

    How-to Make Elderberry Syrup

    Treatment and Prevention of Colds and Flu:

    In a human clinical trial, a significant improvement of influenza symptoms, including fever, was seen in 93.3% of the cases in the elderberry-treated group within 2 days, whereas in the control group 91.7% of the patients showed an improvement within 6 days. (Zakay-Rones, 1995)

    The beautiful, deep rich purple elderberries are rich in antioxidant flavanoids believed to stimulate the immune system, reduce swelling and fight inflammation. The benefits seem to be greatest when started within 24 to 48 hours after the symptoms begin. One study found that elderberry could cut the duration of flu symptoms by more than 50%. {source}

    The anthocyanins present in elderberries are similar to those found in other deeply hued foods like blueberries, acai berries, raspberries, red cabbage, grapes, black rice and others.  These antioxidants may neutralize free radical buildup, also known as oxidative stress. Free radicals are linked to the development of a number of degenerative diseases and conditions. Free radicals are by-products of normal bodily functions and are inevitable in daily life. However, it is the delicate balance of antioxidants and free radicals that determine our state of health. {source} One laboratory study demonstrated that the anthocyanins taken from elderberries helped protect blood vessels from free radical damage, suggesting it could also be beneficial against cardiovascular disease.

    Experts think that elderberry reduces the path of flu simply by suppressing an enzyme known as neuraminidase, a proteins that enables flu to spread. Some studies also show that elderberry may have distinct ability to bind with viruses, halting their ability to mutate, change or multiply, thereby shortening the duration of illness or halting the virus before it’s effects are felt by the body.

    The antiviral components of elderberry fruit extract were tested and found to effectively inhibit Human Influenza A (H1N1 virus) in vitro, possibly by blocking the ability of the virus to infect host cells. The extract was so effective, that researchers compared it with the prescription medications Amantadine and Oseltamivir (Tamiflu). {source}

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