7 Natural Cold and Flu Fighting Foods

Now more than ever, it’s important to learn these natural cold and flu-fighting foods to help support your health. While I take care of my immune system year-round through diet and lifestyle, when my kids get sick or I feel a tickle in my throat I often turn to a few key foods for extra support. 

 “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” 

Isn’t it wonderful that we can eat our way into better health? We can even strengthen our immune system while enjoying delicious plant-based foods and beverages. I love that! 

 

Immune-boosting foods

Do you know why a particular food supports the immune system? The simplified version is that foods high in antioxidants, like vitamin C, E, and A help because they reduce free radical damage which can damage all cells in the body, including all of the cells used by the immune system. So, the key is to reduce the damage so the immune system can work at full capacity. 


Since there are a lot of natural cold and flu-fighting foods that support the immune system, I find it is best to pick the foods that have antioxidant power AND that I like the taste of. That way I am excited to take my “medicine”. If you missed the first post in this series about boosting your immune health, make sure you read 5 Ways to Boost Your Immune System.

Now for the fun part, I am going to share with you my absolute favorite antioxidant foods because they taste amazing to me, they are cost-effective and they are SIMPLE. I hope you find one that gets you into the kitchen to discover the healing benefits of plants.

Here are the antioxidant superstars that I prefer! 

lemon natural cold and flu fighting foods

Lemon

Lemon is packed with vitamin C and delivers around 90% of the recommended daily value – it’s like taking a supplement. That is so impressive to me. My favorite way to enjoy lemon is sipping on a warm mug of lemon water to start my day-  it is such a comfort. And an added bonus is that it preps your digestive system for breakfast. That’s a win-win. Also, you can drink it any time of the day of course, and I find that adding a few slices in my water bottle is a delightful way to get even more Vitamin C in. 

Goji Berries Natural Cold and Flu Fighting Food

Goji Berries

Goji berries are also antioxidant superstars and have been an important part of Chinese medicine for 5,000 years for good reason. They are rich in antioxidant vitamins C and E as well as B vitamins. Not only do I love that they taste great and support my immune system but they are known to be great for skin health and anti-aging. Just another reason to give them a try. 

 

I like to add these to my oatmeal or to a smoothie. I also like to make tea by adding a 1/4 cup of berries to one cup of boiling water. Let it steep for at least 5 minutes and drink the tea hot or chill to make iced-tea. Once the tea is brewed you can eat the plumped up berries…which are also a complete protein source! These are the goji berries in my pantry.

 

Ginger

I bet you have heard about how anti-inflammatory ginger is. That is because of its high antioxidant levels. Antioxidants reduce inflammation because they reduce damage. Ginger also improves circulation and soothes the digestive tract, so it is extra supportive if you have any tummy trouble. 

 

My favorite way to enjoy ginger is making tea, noticing a theme yet? I like warm, cozy drinks! I drink a mug at least once a day, or more if I am already under the weather. My kids like it too….with a spoonful of raw honey. 

morning routine mom lemon water 

Here’s how to make it: 

Cut off 2” of ginger and slice into flat slivers.

Add 2 cups of filtered water in a saucepot, plus a cinnamon stick. 

Bring to a simmer for 15 minutes. 

Strain, add in the juice of half a lemon. Sweeten with a little raw honey if needed.

 

Turmeric cold and flu fighter

Turmeric

Have you heard of golden milk? Its key ingredient is another anti-inflammatory super root –turmeric. Like ginger, its immune-boosting ability lies in its high antioxidant levels. When you consume it fresh you will want to add a little black pepper to help activate it….don’t worry, you can’t really taste it! 

In addition to being one of the best natural cold and flu-fighting foods, turmeric also has anti-cancer properties. It has the cancer-fighting compound curcumin, which has all those anti-inflammatory and antibacterial benefits.

 

Medicinal Mushrooms

Did you know that mushrooms are cancer-fighting superfoods? They are well documented to slow tumor growth and support the immune system in all of its functions. Even white button mushrooms are beneficial. But for an extra boost give some of the medicinal mushrooms, which have been in use since 3,000BCE, a try: 

  • Chaga 
  • Cordyceps 
  • Lion’s Mane 
  • Maitake 
  • Oyster 
  • Reishi 
  • Shiitake 
  • Turkey Tail 

Their anti-inflammatory properties make them another natural cold and flu-fighting food. One way I love to incorporate these mushrooms varieties is by drinking one of Four Sigmatic’s elixirs warmed up in my favorite mug. 

kombucha and goji berries

Kombucha

Kombucha is a fermented beverage that supports better gut health. That means it also supports your immune defense system! We make our own, but there are lots of good ones on the market. Look for ones low in sugar and be mindful of the serving size. I like to make a  batch flavored with goji berries, and then I eat the berries for a natural energy boost! 

This fizzy drink is full of probiotics, as the tea and sugar ferment, it creates a healthy bacteria that are good for the gut. Start with a simple one that is ginger or apple flavored. My kids love it too!

 

morning routine for moms lemon water

The best natural cold and flu fighter? Water.

Water isn’t full of antioxidants but hydration is essential for our bodies to function efficiently. Dehydration can compromise your immune system by reducing the volume of lymphatic fluid, which circulates white blood cells and cleans out toxins. Dehydration also leads to inflammation and any time we are inflamed the immune system is taxed since it is called on to do damage control. 

Perhaps there is a reason I am drawn to hot beverages with medicinal foods…after all I think our bodies know what we need and hydration is vital, especially for healthy immune function. You can eat all the natural cold and flu-fighting foods, but if you are dehydrated, your body’s immune system will still be compromised. 


Air

Not technically a food, but still so important. And here’s why.

Most of us don’t think about consuming air as we think about consuming liquids and foods, but we should. What comes in with our air affects our health and our immune system. When we breathe in toxins such as chemicals and mold, our bodies respond with inflammation which, over time, taxes the immune system. 

 

I am a huge fan of filtering my indoor air and I personally use Air Doctor. It is SO quiet and I feel so much peace of mind knowing that their filter is certified to remove mold spores (100%), smoke, dust, cat and dog dander, virus, bacteria, and pollen; and the carbon filter will reduce many VOC’s such as formaldehyde as well as many other odor/odorless chemicals.

It feels so good to support the health of my family too. I may not be able to get my kids to drink mushroom tea so knowing that the air they are breathing in is free from toxins and pollutants makes me feel like a good mom. You can get your own Air Doctor Pro and save $300 automatically when shopping with me.

Does air doctor kill the flu virus

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Now, I know even a small list can be overwhelming, so I want to urge you to pick the ONE thing that caught your attention from my list of natural cold and flu-fighting foods. What feels exciting to try AND is doable? This resource will be here for you anytime you want to add another one in, so no rush. Try what feels good to you and let me know if you have any questions. I am here for you…with a warm mug of medicine cupped in my hands.

Natural Cold and Flu Fighting Foods

This post is sponsored by Babbleboxx

National Nutrition Month Babbleboxx

March is an extra special month as it’s National Nutrition Month AND my birthday. It’s a sign I tell you! You know my passion is to educate others about how to choose well when it comes to the food you buy for your family. There are so many choices available, and sometimes it’s easier to have someone else highlight a few new choices.

Action for Healthy Kids (AFHK)

I love learning about nonprofits that help support children’s nutrition. Getting kids outside and active is so important for their physical AND emotional health. Action for Healthy Kids is a nonprofit bringing together educators and families to create healthier schools and communities, supporting the physical and emotional health of children. Through their new Take Action for Healthy Kids campaign, the organization is encouraging parents and caregivers to take 200,000 actions for healthier kids in 2020, from participating in healthy programs at your school to taking steps as a family to improve nutrition, physical activity and well- being at home.

Action for Healthy Kids

  • One in three children is overweight, or obese, in our country.
  • 76% of parents say they have improved their own habits based on something their child told them about health and well-being, which is another reason why it’s so important children learn about health and nutrition at school.
  • Joining the movement at Commit to Take Action for Healthy Kids by March 31, 2020 and be entered to win a healthy taste test kit to host a fun and tasty nutrition education activity for students at your child’s school. (valued at $175) If you do one thing for National Nutrition month, sign up for your kid’s school to win.

Beetology Juice

Beets are incredibly beneficial for our body, but so messy to cook! This versatile veggie is packed with vitamins and minerals associated with lowering blood pressure, fighting inflammation, increased stamina, detoxification support, boosting immunity, and much more. For National Nutrition Month, you just can’t “beat beets.” 

Beetology cold pressed juice national nutrition month

I love finding new ways to incorporate beets into my routine, just like in my Red Velvet Smoothie recipe. But sometimes, it’s even easier for a grab and go option that Beetology has created! Here are some of the benefits:

  • 100% organic cold-pressed juice
  • Real food ingredients, no preservatives or additives, no artificial colors or flavors

 

GOODTO GO Keto Snack Bars

One of the most common questions I get with my coaching clients is, “what’s the best snack bar?” I have to say it’s a personal choice…crunchy, soft, salty, sweet. What’s your favorite way to feel satisfied, and then we can find your perfect snack bar.

Goodto Go Keto Snack Bar

If you love a softer bar (kinda like a brownie!) then try the GOODTO GO snack bar. This bar is keto-friendly, and a quick way to eat something without a blood sugar spike.  Swap out the bagel and grab a GOODTO GO snack bar. My favorite is the Mint Chocolate and anything chocolate. 

  • They contain low net carbs (3 grams/bar), just a hint of sugar (2 grams/bar) and a whopping 13 grams of healthy fats.
  • Keto certified by the Paleo foundation
  • Non-GMO project certified

Healthy Choice Power Dressings

Salads make our table most nights as I want our kids to be very familiar and comfortable with this simple, yet nourishing side dish. One way to keep things exciting is new dressings. Healthy Choice Power Dressings add delicious flavors to your salad while keeping it healthy. These Vegetable-Powered Dressings are made with real vegetables and no artificial flavors, or soy ingredients.

  • Flavorful taste powered by a savory mix of herbs and spices
  • Powerful ingredients without any artificial flavors
  • 45 calories or less per serving (although you know I generally never look at calories)
Healthy Choice Power Dressing
As much as I love the idea of making my own salad dressings, I’m usually short on time and rushing between events to get dinner on the table. Instead, these Power Dressings are a quick alternative. For National Nutrition Month, we cannot talk enough about the importance of getting more plants on our dinner table.

 

Shipt

Shipt is a membership-based grocery marketplace, enabling the delivery of fresh foods and household essentials. You know I love delivery to help save time for meal planning. Shipt was new to meal and I am excited to have another resource to cut down on driving around to different stores. 

Shipt grocery delivery

 

I was able to order from Target and get it delivered SAME DAY. In light of current events, I focused on restocking my cleaning supplies and LOTS of hand soap. With Shipt, I also could order from my local grocery stores, PetCo, or CVS. (check your area to see what you can get delivered!)

  • Shipt is the nation’s fastest-growing online grocery marketplace. They work with leading retailers and local stores to deliver groceries via a community of shoppers and a convenient app.
  • Since its founding in 2014, Shipt has been rapidly expanding and now offers quality, personalized grocery delivery to tens of millions of households across the United States.

Get $50 off an annual Shipt membership by clicking here.

 

Dessert Hummus from Tribe Hummus

When I first shared my own recipe for chocolate hummus, no one believed there were chickpeas in there! Hummus is one of the best ways to boost your fiber and protein intake. If you are short on time, you have to try the Tribe Dessert Hummus. Plus it’s easy to pack in your kid’s lunch box too for a quick snack.

  • Each flavor has only 5g of sugar per serving
  • No artificial preservatives
  • Free from all major all allergens, including dairy
  • Non-GMO Project verified, Vegan, Gluten-Free, kosher.

National Nutrition Month Tribe Dessert Hummus

My favorite way to serve the dessert hummus is with apple slices. It’s the perfect pair, and apples are another way to get more fiber into our diet. You can also try it with bananas or celery too. Find out if your local store carries Tribe Dessert Hummus.

Happy National Nutrition Month! Think about can you do to upgrade your nutrition just a little bit each day and I promise it will add up over time.
celebrate national nutrition month

You have the power to stay healthy through the cold, flu and coronavirus season by paying a little more attention to HOW you are eating, drinking, sleeping, managing stress, and caring for your skin and house. You can boost your immune system with these simple practices, and share these ideas with your loved ones.

It’s time to share the best dairy free products I use the most in my kitchen. Making the switch to a dairy free lifestyle can feel overwhelming at first, but I’m here to make it easier. These non dairy swaps are easy to add to your own kitchen, and help make the transition easier.

When I recently read the ingredients of a particular children’s protein shake, I realized I had to share a healthy alternative to PediaSure®. A milkshake that’s marketed to parents as a healthy drink but is filled with sugar, oxidized oils, and synthetic vitamins is certainly not what I would give to my own kids. As a liquid meal replacement, there are much better options.

Emily+Roach+Nutrition+Coach+Autoimmune+Disease
This is my story of how an autoimmune disease and an eating disorder all led to my career change into health coaching.

How did I get here talking about health and nutrition to all of you? It was a bumpy road, with an autoimmune disease that kicked things off.  I think it’s worth explaining why I’m so passionate about helping women feel their best, and why I put the effort in to take care of myself.

Autoimmune Disease

For me, my health journey starts when I was three years old and I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. I was one of the first patients in the my city develop Kawasaki’s syndrome. My tiny body swelled up, I couldn’t walk, color, and play like a normal three year old. It’s like an inflammation nightmare. It affects lymph nodes, skin, and potentially coronary arteries.

I went on an aspirin therapy regimen, and remained in bed till my body healed. I blocked out that memory for many years, but it came back when I was in late elementary school.  I was followed by cardiologists for years to assess the possible cardiac damage caused by this autoimmune disease.

Things were quiet for awhile until I was diagnosed with an irregular, irregular heartbeat. That led to more tests, a diagnosis of mitral-valve prolapse, and a prescription for beta-blockers. This was at the beginning of middle school. Not an awesome time in anyone’s life, but feeling “different” was even tougher at this age. I wore heart monitors to class on occasion, and worked really hard to hide it.

I just didn’t feel good.

autoimmune disease and eating disorder

This when I felt my worst in middle school.

The beta-blockers left me feeling lethargic, despite always being athletic in the past. I was tested for fibromyalgia, which was very new at the time, and was inconclusive. As someone who loved playing tennis, swimming, and playing outside, I felt like I lost a part of me.

Over time, the beta-blockers caused horrible reflux which led me to see a gastroenterologist. Digestive issues are near and dear to my heart as I’ve been there too. I tried all the anti-reflux pills, drinks, and tablets I could find. Nothing worked. Yet no one asked what I was eating.

Eating Disorder

How did I handle that horrible feeling of reflux? Not very well. I binge ate to try to quiet the fire in my stomach. It didn’t matter what the food was, ice cream, cookies, crackers, you name it. This is when disordered eating arrived in my life. I was fifteen years old.

I started to binge and purge, thinking it would help make the reflux feelings go away. I was secretive, and clearly not in the right mindset to handle the health struggle I was dealing with.

I will forever be grateful to my mother who discovered my behavior before it went too far. As a nurse, she was pretty quick to figure out something was really off. She connected me with an eating disorder therapist who helped me learn how to have a healthy relationship with food. It took a long time to stop the urge that had become a habit everyday after school for weeks.

Misdiagnosis

My bumpy health journey doesn’t end there. I went on to get diagnosed for chosto-chondritis, which is a form of arthritis in the chest wall. The chest pain I felt for years was real, but it had nothing to do with my heart. The heart condition was a misdiagnosis, and those prescriptive pills did nothing for me but wreck my energy and confidence during those high school years. No one should have to deal with that.

With the change in medication, I felt like the weight was lifted off my chest. Literally. I complained for years of stabbing chest pain, or feeling like a brick was on my check.

Fast forward a few years and I graduated college, got married, and became pregnant. Suddenly, I couldn’t take my arthritis medicine anymore in the third trimester. I stressed. How would my body handle the pain again?

Motherhood

It was becoming a mother which really opened up my eyes to what happened to our food over the past few decades. I started reading ingredient lists, switched to organic milk, and began to make wholesome meals like the ones I grew up with. No more cheese and crackers with wine for dinner.

That medicine I was so worried about needing? I never needed it again after having my daughter and changing the way I was eating. But it wasn’t easy.

I went back to work when my daughter was just three months old and had to learn how to make dinners fast. The mad rush to leave the office, drive 40 minutes to daycare, and race home to get dinner on the table was a real struggle. There were some cereal for dinner nights and I knew there had to be a better way.

Meal Planning

What changed my confidence in the kitchen is learning how to meal plan. When I started to take the time to develop a balanced meal plan, dinner became an enjoyable experience again. I started planning slow cooker dinners, 10 minutes dinner, and even created some freezer meals.
I started this blog in 2009 to document how we were changing our lifestyle to a healthy, real food based approach. It felt good to share what was working, and I found such stress-relief in the kitchen.

However, a few years ago I struggled with a post-baby body and bad habits of too much coffee and wine. On top of caring for three little ones, we had to move out of the country for my husband’s job. Caffeine and wine became a part of a coping strategy. Those first six months of living away from home were a challenge.

It was time to make a change.

Emily.R

All these babies! Love this time, but I didn’t understand what my body needed to thrive.

Creating a new path

At the library, I started diving into nutrition books. I upped my exercise game. I cut back on the wine Monday-Friday (wait, Thursday) Things started to come together again.

I decided to go back to school to become a culinary nutrition expert at The Academy of Culinary Nutrition. I cooked new foods, immersed myself in modern nutrition, and unlearned the old ways of approaching our diet. I thought I was eating healthy buying whole-wheat pasta and bread, and organic milk. Oh my, I was so far off the mark.

Changing the way I ate dramatically improved my energy level. I think it improved my mood too. The winter doesn’t bother me as much anymore, and I have a better understanding of why our body needs so much Vitamin D. I started playing tennis competitively again after 15 years. Knee pain I had struggled with for years went away, even as I exercised more. Oh, and I dropped 20 pounds. Without dieting. Our bodies work really well when we fuel it with the right foods, and eliminate the stuff that slows us down. This is what I have learned.

All of my success comes from eating the right foods. 

Once you have one autoimmune disease, you are much more likely to develop another. I also have a very strong family history of autoimmune disease, which also puts me at an elevated risk. On the test I give my clients, I would have scored over 100+ points before I focused on a holistic lifestyle. Now I can say I’m below 60, but the family connection and previous diagnosis will always put me at risk.

The most important thing, I feel amazing.

I choose to follow a healing diet because I don’t want to go to that dark place again with unanswered health questions. The one thing we can control is our nutrition and lifestyle. I can say for sure it make a difference. Putting the effort in to eat well helps me be a better wife and mother.

Emily Roach wellness

I’ve chosen to take control of my health and I thought you all deserve to understand where I’m coming from when I give you guidance and support. Today I still face the same struggles of stress, juggling parenthood, and finding time to do all.the.things. It’s my understanding of how to take care of myself that keeps me going. One day at a time.

You deserve the education to empower yourself to take control of your own health. Today I work with clients who need the extra support and the motivation to make lasting change. I’m proof that you can come back from a health struggle and overcome obstacles.

why I became a health coach. Autoimmune disease health coach.

If you shop the grocery store lately, you are bound to have lots of questions about healthy dairy options. There is a giant wall of choices, and you need to understand the differences between conventional, organic, grass-fed, low-fat, fresh, and raw milk. It’s a hot topic in the nutrition field and I’m going to break it down for you.

healthy choices for dairy, milk and yogurt

What are the health benefits of dairy?

Milk and dairy products have been around a very long time, at least 10,000 years or more by most accounts. Fresh milk provides the following nutrients when it hasn’t been altered by pasteurization:

  • fat-soluble vitamins like calcium and phosphate
  • conjugated linoleic acid (an anti-inflammatory and healing fat)
  • balanced amounts of essential fatty acids Omega-3 and Omega-6
  • probiotics
  • complete proteins, including glutathione (another anti-inflammtory)

Feeding our babies breastmilk provides all of the nutrients above, plus natural growth hormones. We are nearly all born with the ability to process lactose, the sugar in milk, but that ability begins to decrease by age 2. About 25% of Caucasians are lactose intolerant, and 97% of Native Americans are lactose-intolerant. (1)  Despite our lactose intolerance issues, dairy is still recommended for children and adults.

baby milk healthiest options

Do we need milk for calcium?

While calcium is one of the beneficial nutrients from dairy, it’s not as readily available as the dairy businesses would like us to think. Calcium is delivered into your bones when there is a synergistic relationship between it and magnesium, vitamin K2, and vitamin D. The vitamin D added to milk after pasteurization is not well absorbed by our body. What we really want is calcium in a bioavailable form, which is found in dark leafy greens, sesame seeds, dried figs, rhubarb, and bone broth.

The second big issue with the calcium conversation is the low-fat/no-fat nonsense. If your body is in balance with the other micronutrients I mentioned, calcium needs saturated fat to be absorbed. If you eat a 0% fat yogurt, you just got zero of the calcium.

When the beneficial fat is removed from the milk, it’s replaced with carbohydrate-based fillers like cellulose, maltodextrins, gums, starches, fiber, and polydextrose. The other thing added to low-fat products is SUGAR. When you remove the fat, you remove the flavor. Added sugar is a whole other conversation, but worth noting so you skip those fruity, sugary, no-fat choices next time you are in the yogurt aisle.

Also, studies have shown there is no reduced risk for osteoporosis when drinking two or more glasses of milk a day versus two glasses per week. (2) You are better off protecting your bones by eating a plant-rich diet and incorporating movement into your lifestyle.

What’s the downside of dairy?

Conventional dairy products typically cause your body to go into a proinflammatory state. It can cause leaky gut syndrome, insulin resistance, and development of gut dysbiosis. The main goal I have when creating a healing diet is to reduce the overall inflammation levels in your body. In this day and age, our bodies are taxed by environmental toxins all the time. We can’t always control that, but we can control what we choose to eat.

As someone who creates healing diets for clients, often I work with people to eliminate dairy from their diet. Why? Eliminating dairy gives you the opportunity to see if you can reduce issues related to digestion, skin (acne/rosacea/eczema), asthma, candida, joint pain, allergies, and headaches. When you reduce overall gut irritation, you actually make it possible for your body to absorb nutrients better from the other foods you eat.

Organic versus conventional dairy?

Milk quality has improved in recent years as companies realize customers do not want antibiotics in the glass of milk they serve their kids. However, if you do not choose organic milk, you will be exposed to pesticides. They exist in the grains fed to the cows, which then goes right into the milk. The toxins actually bind with the fat in milk and they are not eliminated by pasteurization. Always purchase organic milk to avoid the toxic exposure. Remember, this applies to all your dairy products: ice cream, cream cheese, cheese, sour cream, creamer, and so on. The conventional milk used for these products is pro-inflammatory which is exactly what I teach my clients to avoid.

What happens when milk is pasteurized?

Healthy dairy options at the grocery store.

Pasteurization is the process of heating milk to very high temperatures to kill off any bacteria, or microbes, present. It came into practice in the 1800s when we didn’t have the clean facilities to gather milk on a regular basis. The demand was increasing during the time of industrialization and pasteurization allows for milk to be produced cheaply, which is what the big dairy businesses needed. Homogenized milk was the next change, where milk fat is separated so the cream no longer rises to the top. So what does this do to our milk?

Pasteurized milk has no live bacteria, compared to raw milk that may have lactobacilli present. You know, those probiotics you pay for in a bottle used to come from a glass of milk. Heat from pasteurization breaks down the proteins and fat, resulting in health-damaging consequences. The new milk creates a milk-fat soap through saponification. This creates a product that irritates your gut and can cause either diarrhea or constipation. The nutrients we want from milk, like calcium and phosphate, are now much less bioavailable and difficult to absorb. It’s about a 6-fold drop in nutrition when comparing fresh milk to pasteurized milk. (3) The amino acids are damaged with the heat and then turned into pro-inflammatory irritants, or allergens.

Where can I get healthy dairy options?

Yogurt is still the one dairy option I recommend keeping in your diet, if you are able to tolerate it. The good news is that fermentation rejuvenates the damaged proteins and makes the minerals we need more bioavailable. You want to find whole milk, grass-fed, organic yogurt in the plain variety. Skip the flavored options and just add your own raw honey or maple syrup if you need a little sweetness.

grass fed yogurt healthy dairy option

Raw milk is becoming more available across the United States, however it is still illegal to sell in Canada. To find raw milk farmers near you, head over to Real Milk to see a state by state guide. This is the place to know your farmer, visit the farm, and talk about the safety of the milk. There was a lot of scare tactics used when pasteurization came into effect at the turn of the century. As we move towards getting more food closer to the source, I hope raw milk will become widely available. What I don’t understand is why we can buy soda and cigarettes that cause obesity and cancer, but not raw milk. As a healthy dairy option, the amount of regulation against raw milk surprises me.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Dairy decisions: Why can we buy soda & cigarettes that cause obesity & cancer, but not raw milk? ” quote=”What I don’t understand is why we can buy soda and cigarettes that cause obesity and cancer, but not raw milk. “]

Spring is actually the best time to introduce yourself to raw milk as the animals will be eating fresh, growing grass. I can’t get raw milk here in Canada, but I’ve already talked to the owners of a raw milk dairy back home during my time working on a farmer’s market. They were allowed to sell raw milk cheese at the market and it was amazing!

Here’s my recommendation for healthy dairy options in order of preference:

  1. Eliminate dairy for two weeks to see how your health may improve. Add back in and notice if you see any changes.
  2. Raw milk if you can find a quality source.
  3. Yogurt made with Organic, grass-fed milk. Plain flavor.
  4. Organic grass-fed milk (cow/sheep/goat) whole milk.
  5. Organic milk, whole milk.

If you wish to continue on the non-dairy train, you can read my tutorial here on how to make your own almond milk. Coconut milk, cashew milk, hemp seed milk and rice milk are all available at many stores. I don’t recommend soy milk as it will be a GMO product unless it’s listed as organic. You can find lots of recipes in my meal plan section that includes primarily dairy-free options.

Is it easy to go dairy free? Yes and no. I no longer drink milk but find I can tolerate a quality yogurt or cheese here or there. More often I’m going to make a homemade coconut milk yogurt instead. My kids however LOVE their cold cereal and milk in the morning. It’s a treat they get occasionally so I invest in the best milk and organic cereal I can find. It’s not a perfect solution, but it’s working for us right now. Progress, not perfection.

Will I let them try raw milk down the road? Yes, once I get to know the farming practices in detail and can trust the safety of the milk. I would rather they get the full benefit of the vitamins and minerals in milk instead of a watered down version.

Leave a note in the comments if you have questions. Thanks for taking the time to empower yourself with information about choosing healthy dairy options.

how to choose healthy dairy options for your family

Healthy Dairy Options Additional resources

The Big Fat Surprise: discusses the need for fat in our diet.

Devil in the Milk: Illness, Health and Politics of A1 and A2 milk. : further reading to learn about the various qualities of milk

The Paleo Approach: in depth look at why eliminating dairy can lead to optimal health, especially for women with autoimmune conditions.

Click here for a report card on your favorite organic milks to see how they stack up to the competition. There is also a yogurt one on this site too. I learned that Organic Valley is a better option than Horizon. Horizon is organic, but it’s mass produced and the nutrient quality is not the same as using milk from grass-fed animals. Their cows may be getting organic grain feed, which isn’t going to produce a premium product.

Sources

  1. The Paleo Approach, pg 106
  2. Feskanich, D., W. C. Willett, M. J. Stampfer, and G. A. Colditz. “Milk, Dietary Calcium, and Bone Fractures in Women: A 12-year Prospective Study.” American Journal of Public Health. U.S. National Library of Medicine, June 1997. Web. 06 Apr. 2017.
  3. Roig, M.j., A. Alegrı́a, R. Barberá, R. Farré, and M.j. Lagarda. “Calcium Dialysability as an Estimation of Bioavailability in Human Milk, Cow Milk and Infant Formulas.” Food Chemistry 64.3 (1999): 403-09. Web.

allergy season meal plan low histamine

Do your allergies flare up in the spring? Here’s an allergy season meal plan, which follows the protocol of a low histamine diet. Your food choices can help alleviate, or aggravate, allergy symptoms. Histamine is part of our natural immune response. When our body detects something foreign in our body, like pollen, histamine is released to “attack” it. Sometimes our body is too aggressive with the histamine release and then you end up with the itchy eyes, runny nose, and sneezes for days.

I had the worst seasonal allergies and it wasn’t until I switched to a gluten-free, dairy-free lifestyle that I found relief without a prescription. Both gluten and dairy can cause chronic inflammation in your body. By removing these two triggers, your body is less likely to overproduce histamine when it’s allergy season. Pair this with a low histamine diet plan and you will set yourself up for less sniffles and sneezes!

There are a few other key things to do during allergy season to complement the meal plan below.

  1. Boost your immune system with foods rich in vitamin C and polyphenols.

  2. Use locally grown raw honey repeatedly in the weeks prior to allergy season to prep your body for local pollen.

  3. Increase your intake of fresh herbs, like mint, cilantro, and watercress. All of these increase your levels of quercetin, a natural antihistamine.

  4. Focus on fresh food first (meat, produce.)

  5. Avoid cultured, processed, cured, fermented, and aged foods. (cheese, beer, wine, beef jerky, and smoked meats.)

  6. Avoid soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and yeast extract.

Allergy Season Meal Plan

allergy season meal plan turmeric pork skillet

Dinner

Turmeric Pork Skillet from Sweet Treats. This dish is anti-inflammatory, AIP, paleo, and Whole30 compliant.

Chicken Lemon Spinach Stew from A Healthy Life for Me. Adding lemon in chicken soup is a game changer. Plus it adds a healthy dose of Vitamin C!

Master Cleanse Salad Recipe from Detox DIY. Includes watercress and immune boosting broccoli. Pair with chicken or hard boiled eggs as a protein source.

Cilantro Lime Chicken with Avocado Salsa from Joyful Healthy Eats. Cilantro is a great herb for our allergy season meal plan, plus it helps detox heavy metals found in your body.

One Pan Roasted Pork with Sweet Potato, Pear, Apple and Garlic from Garlic Matters.

allergy season meal plan paleo chicken lemon stew recipe

Lunch

Easy Almond Apple Quinoa Salad-from Chelsea’s Messy Apron. Apples also produce quercetin, a natural antihistamine. Note, avoid store bought chicken stock as it often contains yeast extract, another form of MSG. Instead, grab the recipe here for homemade chicken bone broth.

Breakfast

Superfood Breakfast Smoothie Bowl from A Glowing Fridge. The spirulina added here is a blue-green algae that is rich in protein and immune boosting. I use a powder like this one.

 

Allergy Season Beverages

Beverages

Green Tea: delivers EGCG, an antioxidant that blocks production of histamine and immunoglobulin E.

Bone broth: reduces inflammation. Learn more about why I drink bone broth every morning. 

Bonus

Probiotics: a dose at night can help boost your immune system during the height of allergy season. Always buy probiotics from a local store that has them refrigerated. Enjoy them thru kombucha or a kefir drink.

LOW HISTAMINE ALLERGY SEASON MEAL PLAN

Additional Resources

Healing Histamine (histamine in food list, great for anyone with histamine intolerance)

I hope you learned something new with this allergy season meal plan, with low-histamine food ideas.

Academy of Culinary Nutrition Program Graduate

Academy of Culinary Nutrition program

For the past few months, I have been getting an amazing education from The Academy of Culinary Nutrition program, run by Meghan Telpner. I was challenged with new recipes in the kitchen, pushed to my limits writing research papers while taking care of three little ones, and am inspired by the community I am now a part of as an alumni. Let me tell a little more with my review of the Academy of Culinary Nutrition.

Last winter, I started feeling a little lost. Maybe it was a result of living in a foreign country without my friends and family nearby. Maybe it was looking ahead to September and realizing my kids would be in school all day together in a Montessori program. Did I want to be a full time blogger? No, my heart wasn’t there. I knew I needed something more. That’s when it hit me.

Nutrition.

I can talk about real food and nutrition all day long, but I never received any credentials around my love for healthy living. The idea of health coaching clicked and I started doing my research. For a month, I talked with multiple health coaching programs and chatted with a friend who has a successful life coaching practice. I learned a lot about the quality of different programs, and also the lack of regulation when it comes to being “certified.”

Then I found The Academy of Culinary Nutrition.

Health coaching online program options

When I learned Meghan was based in Toronto, it felt like a sign. I’m only here for two years and this amazing program is in my backyard, yet is online and available from anywhere in the world. It would offer me flexibility as I traveled in the fall and still be able to access the program. I read everything I could about the program, listened to the webinar (and took a lot of notes!), had Jim watch the video about making almond milk, and I was hooked.

The Academy of Culinary Nutrition program is for people like me who wanted a solid nutrition education, and then I added on an optional business component. There’s also an honorary level for the program for anyone who wants the information for personal use. I signed up last spring and for the next few months, I couldn’t wait to get started on this new journey.

Over the summer I started doing some of my required reading, including Meghan’s Undiet book. It gave me a great foundation for understanding the philosophy of the class. In September, I was ready to get going and get my hands dirty in the kitchen.

Not only did I get my hands dirty, but I trashed my kitchen a few times. There were some marathon cooking days when I had recipe assignments due, a family to feed, and just a mountain of dishes to tackle. I only wish I could have had a house elf to do dishes for me during this course!

Kimchi Maki Rolls Academy of culinary nutrition program homework

A peek at one of the recipes for a homework assignment.

On those cooking days, I used ingredients I had always passed by at the store. Nori rolls, seaweed, gelatin, and horseradish root. I always considered myself a “foodie” but I truly didn’t understand how powerful food is for our health.

Academy of Culinary Nutrition Success Story

The #1 thing I came out with from this class is how important it is for us to take care of our health and let ourselves feel amazing. I have followed a gluten-free, dairy-free lifestyle during the course and am continuing this path. Why? Because I feel better. I have more energy. I no longer feel wiped out late in the day as I’m trying to get dinner on the table. Plus, the skills I learned in the class has helped me learn how to do this without getting stressed out about planning my meals.

Did I mention I had homework each week? That would also be why I couldn’t get a blog post up the past few months. I love writing, but not sitting at a computer. I reached my typing limit during this course, but look forward to sharing some of my new recipe creations here in the coming weeks.

What you learn in the Academy of Culinary Nutrition program

I worked on creating custom meal plans for clients that help with digestive issues. I came up with a protocol for managing thyroid conditions. Armed with books about natural medicine and knowledge from hours of lectures from the course has given me the culinary nutrition education I was looking for. Here’s a recap of all the skills taught in the Academy of Culinary Nutrition program:

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• A thorough understanding of the impact food choices have on health and specific health conditions.

• The development of meal plans in accordance with various dietary restrictions.

• Recipe modification and testing.

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• Recipe development and testing.

• Experience with a client simulation: following a prescribed meal plan for 3-7 days

• Selection of specific healing ingredients, experimentation with a variety of applications, and the creation of recipes that exploit health promoting benefits.

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• Successful hosting of a cooking class /workshop.

• Knowledge in and experience with local food community.

• The study and development of food philosophy.

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Now it’s my job to help share this message by working with clients to help them learn how to bring real food back to their life. Need a custom meal plan? I can help. You can learn more about my nutrition consulting services here. And a big thank you for being a part of my community here via the blog. It’s been over seven years and I can’t wait to see what the next seven holds.

One more thank you to my children and husband, who tried everything I put on the table. Thank you for being so supportive.

Emily Roach CNE graduate academy of culinary nutrition program

I cannot speak more highly of The Academy of Culinary Nutrition program. Meghan, her team, and the culinary nutrition expert community were all so supportive during this journey. Head over the the school site, and get on the mailing list to learn more about the community. If any has questions for me about the program,  or my services, feel free to reach out to me at hello@emilyroachwellness.com. I’m happy to listen and share more about my review of the Academy of Culinary Nutrition program.