my favorite hot drinks for cold weather + fighting viruses naturally

 

Cold weather and “cold” weather call for hot drinks, don’t they?

So far, we’ve managed to avoid the worst of the flu bug that’s going around and I’m praying it stays that way – or at least doesn’t happen around the time I’m supposed to head to the Dominican Republic on a mission trip with two of my children.

Today I’m sharing three of my favorite hot drinks that are frequently in rotation plus at the end of the post, two of my favorite ways of fighting cold and flu viruses naturally.

 

 

Hot Lemon Ginger Cleansing Tea

For upset stomach or to help with detox, this lemon ginger cleansing tea is refreshing and soothing. I shared the recipe here in this post. Lemon boosts immunity, reduces indigestion and heartburn and soothes nerves. Ginger is inflammatory, encourages circulation and relaxes the intestinal tract which is why it helps with nausea.

 

 

 

Irish or English Breakfast Tea with Cinnamon

I’m a huge tea drinker, thanks to my English roots, and love flavored as well as black teas. But it wasn’t until I visited one of our local bakery and coffee shops that I was reminded that cinnamon with black tea is a rockstar combination. Cinnamon is inflammatory and contains antioxidants and also helps fight diseases and viruses.

There are two ways to make this: If you have loose leaf black tea, add a stick of cinnamon bark with the tea leaves while it is steeping. Or, if you’re using a tea bag, add a few dashes of cinnamon to your mug after removing the tea and stir thoroughly.

 

 

 

Green Matcha Tea

If you’ve never had matcha, it tastes like green tea (which it is!). But I like drinking it for its antioxidant, calming properties, yet it also improve energy and concentration. Occasionally, I’ll add in a splash of lime or lemon juice, but usually drink it straight up.

You can find matcha at Whole Foods or natural foods stores or you can get it here.

 

Besides these hot drinks, my favorite go to products for boosting my immunity and fighting virus are:

  • apple cider vinegar (ACV) Though I’ll occasionally sip a drink of diluted apple cider vinegar, I typically use it for sore throats by gargling with it. It’s most effective when used at the first sign of infection. If you’ve never tried apple cider vinegar before, it’s best to buy organic, raw ACV (Bragg’s is one of the brands I recommend). Cheaper, processed versions don’t have the same healing properties (and I think taste even worse LOL).

 

  • elderberry capsules Similar to ACV, elderberry capsules are best taken at the first sign of illness and are a natural way of boosting the immune system. I get mine through vitacost.com. If you want to see my other favorite products I buy at vitacost, click here to have it sent to your inbox.

 

  • essential oils My number one favorite is Thieves oil by Young Living which I get through a friend and my second favorite is Purification. I use both of these in our diffuser or apply to our skin. Another favorite for congestion is Olbas oil which usually can be found in natural foods stores. It contains a blend of oils including eucalyptus and I put it on our feet to suppress coughing, especially at night.

 

 

essential ingredient: the scoop on stevia

If you’ve been here for more than a few posts, you’ll notice that the majority of my recipes are free from any form of added sugars. Instead, I love using whole fruits (mostly dates) and stevia to do the heavy lifting of adding the required sweetness because they don’t give you the spike and crash and are more immune system-friendly.

Stevia has continued to gain traction in the food marketplace, but with it, packaging that I believe is deceptive and misleading. You might think you’re getting stevia, when you’re actually getting stevia + other sweeteners and fillers.

That’s why I decided to go live over on the wildberry press Facebook page today.

Check out the video over there or view it below – let’s just ignore the weird close-eyed video still. #goodgrief If you want the online ordering info for 100% pure stevia, don’t forget to scroll past the video.

 

Here’s the order information I referenced for easy access:  NOW BetterStevia™ Organic Zero Calorie Powdered Sweetener — 1 oz brand here. Even though it appears pricey, a little goes a looong way, and my container lasted me for several years! This link will save you $5 on your order. (contains affiliate links @ no cost to you, but helps fund this blog)

If you plan on ordering from Vitacost and want to save on shipping then you’ll also want to download my top Vitacost buys tip sheet. In it, I share the products I most often buy from Vitacost to bulk up my order. As an added bonus, the products in the tip sheet are usually cheaper on Vitacost than other online or brick-and-mortar store options! Click here to get it delivered to your inbox.

P.S. If you wanted the Spicy Sweet Pumpkin Seed recipe I referenced in the video, you can get that here.

coco’nuts’ about these products

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blueberry banana bread bars featuring fair trade coconut oil

Who else likes to check these boxes?

✅saving money
✅buying food that’s good for you
✅giving a hand up to those who need it by buying fair trade
✅sharing the secret with others

Today, I was able to do all four when I bought two of my favorite pantry essentials from Vitacost: Coconut Secret’s Coconut Aminos and Dr. Bronner’s Magic All-One Fair Trade & Organic Coconut Oil.

Yes, these are more expensive than similar products, but there are times when I feel it’s important to “vote with my fork” and pay the extra money for a good cause.

Here’s the skinny on why I shell out the few extra pesos:

coconut aminos

coconut oil

So where does the saving money part come in?

Glad you asked. 😉

These two products are available at through Vitacost.com for a better price than I can find them in local stores and are priced better or competitively with other online suppliers.

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Leng’s salad featuring coconut aminos

And here’s where saving you money comes in…if you click on this link which takes you to the Vitacost site, you will receive $10 off your first order of $30 or more. Free shipping happens when you spend $49.

What I usually do is plan in my grocery budget to make a bulk purchase so I can save on shipping. So today I placed an order for six Coconut Aminos and two jars of Coconut Oil which brought be a hair over the $49 mark. Since these are shelf stable, I won’t need to order again for several months.

Want to give it a try to make a difference in someone’s life and fuel your body with better ingredients?

Head on over to Vitacost. Then come back here and tell me what you put in your cart.

*I participate in Vitacost’s Refer-a-Friend program. If you click the link and make a purchase from them, you will get $10 off on your order of $30 or more and I will also get a $10 credit. All my opinions are my own.

a few favorite products for cleaner eating

favorite products

As I prepare to help lead the FREE 5-Day Clean Eating Challenge that starts on Monday, I thought it would be helpful to share a few of my favorite products with you with some thoughts on why I like them.*

  1. Market Pantry All Natural (just peanuts and salt, folks) Peanut Butter @ Target: This is a recent discovery of mine. Not only does it closely resemble Smucker’s All Natural PB (which is favorite of mine), but it’s cheaper. Always an extra bonus when you save an additional 5% with your Target card and when they add it to Cartwheel. I’d say that’s definitely peanut better. 😉
  2. Eden Organic Sauerkraut: This is one of the few sauerkraut brands I’ve seen that doesn’t add weird ingredients that make you scratch your head in wonder. And organic always rocks more than the conventionally grown produce, so it’s a double win. If you’re in the Cleveland area, you can find it for a better price at March’s or here’s a link to a similar brand at Vitacost. (See below for how you can save more on your Vitacost order).
  3. Coconut Secret Raw Coconut Aminos: Better than soy sauce or tamari, this is lower in sodium and, again, with very simple ingredients. Love the story behind this company. Yes, it’s a pricier alternative, but I can often find good deals online, like at Vitacost. You also should see it in the natural foods sections of most health food stores. (See below for how you can save more on your Vitacost order).
  4. Simply Nature Organic Popcorn @ Aldi: Another recent find o’ mine. Organic popcorn is a must if you want to avoid GMOs in the US and this kind by Aldi makes snacking a snap (or is that a pop?). Packing tip: On a recent mission trip to the Dominican Republic, I bag three bags of this in my suitcase. The air got squeezed out, but the popcorn was fine. Can use this as a handy and tasty shipping material if you’re packing fragile items.
  5. Spring Roll Wrappers:  I got these at Earth Fare, but have purchased other brands too. These are a fun way to present food and make them portable. These are a better alternative to egg roll wrapper which typically contain a whole slew of questionable ingredients.
  6. Red Curry Paste by Thai Kitchen: I use this in my favorite 621 Thai Dressing. Love the simple ingredients and the zing it gives to Asian dishes.
  7. Avocado oil: Another recent discovery – this bottle is from BJs since we have a membership there. Avocado oil is a must for high heat cooking as it has a higher smoke point since most other oils become hydrogenated when heated.
  8. Kitchen Basics Veggie Stock: If I’m not making my own from veggie scraps that I save and freeze, I like this brand. No preservatives and unsalted so you can adjust the seasonings to suit your health needs and palette.

If you want to see how I’ll be incorporating these into the FREE 5-Day Clean Challenge, please visit my BeachBody page, click JOIN (in orange) and sign up for a FREE account. I’ll contact you with more details from there. 🙂

*I participate in Vitacost’s Refer-a-Friend program. If you click the link and make a purchase from them, you will get $10 off on your order of $30 or more and I will also get a $10 credit.
*Disclaimer. Some of these products contain affiliate links.

friday finds: coconut oil & sunscreen

100_2153Perhaps a bit random, but I just had to share these two items as we head into the weekend…

When I posted my recipe for Calico Brownies last month, I mentioned in the Recipe Notes section where I recently found fair trade coconut oil and fair trade cocoa powder for a better price online than my local natural foods store. And in my inbox this week was an email from Abe’s Market advertising Dr. Bronner Fair Trade Coconut Oil for half price! The only thing better than fair trade coconut oil is fair trade coconut oil on sale. I’m not sure how long the sale will last, so head on over while you can. Tip:  Abe’s offers free shipping on orders over $49, so stock up on your favorite shelf stable products to save on shipping costs.

And not that you can eat it, but I wanted to share EWG’s guide to sunscreens. Because what you put on your body can be just as important as what you put in it. With school winding down and the temperatures heating up, now is the perfect time to consider how to protect your skin.

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one of my favorite pictures from our favorite vacation spot circa 2012

Several years ago, I learned that mainstream sunscreen products can be just as harmful to your health as the sun itself. Since then, I’ve made the switch to better grade suncare products. They can come with a heftier price tag, but in this case, I think it’s worth it. Abe’s Market also sells sunscreens as does Vitacost* (my other go to online source for healthier products).

100_9550*I participate in Vitacost’s Refer-a-Friend program. If you click the link and make a purchase from them, will get $10 off on your order of $30 or more and I will also get a $10 credit.