Winter Health Tips

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Winter brings with it cold frosty days, snowfall in some areas and long nights perfect for snuggling under warm blankets. It can also bring its own unique set of health challenges. Enjoy the winter months and feel your best with these winter health tips.

Winter Health Tips title meme

Winter Health Tips

Following these simple winter health tips helps to ensure wellbeing during the year’s coldest months. Being indoors more, colds and viruses, drier air due to heating and cloudy, overcast days all contribute to health challenges. We aren’t at the mercy of the weather or the shorter, colder days however. Taking proactive, preventative steps goes a long way toward experiencing a healthier winter.

Get Enough Exercise

Like many animals, it feels like we want to go into hibernation mode when temperatures drop. We tend to eat more and move less. Exercise is one of the best ways to combat that sluggish feeling and keep energy levels high. Even on colder, snowy days a brief walk outdoors does wonders. Some of my most beautiful walks ever took place as snow fell around me.

When the weather just doesn’t permit walking outside, move exercise indoors. Do aerobics, dance to music, ride a stationery bike, do yoga, stretch. Studies show that just 11 minutes of exercise a day improves health and extends life. Make a game out of getting those 11 minutes of exercise in each day. Use a tracking app or keep a simple notebook detailing your success.

Winter Health Tips exercise
Winter Health Tips – get enough exercise

Beware the Winter Blues

For many people shorter days with less sunshine causes a condition known as Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD. It’s not uncommon during the winter to feel sluggish, however those winter blues can become a depression that lasts for months.

Up to 20% of the population experience varying degrees of SAD. Symptoms of seasonal affective disorder include weariness, anxiety, depression, craving carbohydrates, irritability, weight gain and avoidance of social situations.

However, help is available. Sunlight decreases the symptoms of SAD. On sunny days try to spend short periods of time outdoors. Vitamin D helps too. And check out this post for foods that ease seasonal affective disorder, naturally. Stay connected to friends and family through texts, phone calls and facetime. If depression worsens seek professional help.

Winter Health Tips sunlight
Winter Health Tips – sunlight to beat the blues

Supplement with Vitamin D

Speaking of vitamin D, try adding a daily supplement to help prevent SAD and to boost the immune system. Vitamin D also supports healthy bones and teeth, improves brain health, aids the nervous system, contributes to lung function and heart health, decreases risk of flu, and regulates insulin levels. Just don’t think more is better with this supplement. Stick to 5000 IU a day for the best results.

Winter Health Tips vitamin e
Winter Health Tips – take a vitamin E supplement daily

Include Colorful Foods

During the winter months, take advantage of colorful, seasonal fruits and vegetables. They are loaded with nutrients and essential vitamins and minerals. Citrus fruits such as oranges, clementines and grapefruits add vitamin C. Winter squashes and sweet potatoes are rich with vitamin A. Check out the produce section of the grocery store at the beginning of your shopping trip and load up on fresh fruits and veggies. See how many colorful foods you can eat in a day. Your body will thank you for it with improved health and increased immunity.

Winter Health Tips seasonal foods
Winter Health Tips – eat colorful foods

Drink Plenty of Water

During the warmer months, we naturally drink more water. It’s easy during the colder months to skimp on water because we don’t feel as thirsty. Try adding citrus fruits, such as lemons, limes or oranges to a pitcher of water and set the intention of emptying the pitcher by the end of the day.

According to Anthony William, author of Life Changing Foods, citrus fruits added to water are ultra-hydrating and electrolyte producing because they are a top source of mineral salts and trace mineral salts. Plus they contribute highly absorbable vitamin C. In addition, lemons provide bioactive calcium. The phytochemicals called limonoids actually bond the vitamin C and calcium together, so where one goes in the body, the other tags along.

Winter Health Tips water
Winter Health Tips – drink enough water

Add Herbal Teas

One of my favorite practices, winter or otherwise, is afternoon tea. Those hot cups of herbal tea are especially soothing on cold winter days. Including a cup…or two…of herbal tea a day helps with hydration and provides a wealth of health benefits.

I often say “there’s an herb for that”. And there truly is. Upset stomach? A cup of hot peppermint tea soothes it. Need to unwind? Try a cup of chamomile. Feel a cold coming on? Drink a cup of nettle tea.

Here is a list of the absolute best herbal teas for cold and flu season. If you don’t think you’ll like hot tea I suggest you try it anyway. If hot tea still isn’t your “cup of tea”, steep the herbs in hot water, chill in the fridge and pour tea over ice.

Winter Health Tip herbal teas
Winter Health Tips – add herbal teas

Pamper the Skin

This time of year, with cold temperatures outdoors and hot dry air circulating indoors, many experience dry winter skin. Limit showers and baths to no more than ten minutes, if skin feels tight, dry or itchy. And use warm water rather than hot. Blot skin dry with a towel then slather on a high quality skin moisturizer. Hydrate the skin by drinking enough water and herbal teas. A cold water humidifier in the home helps to soothe dry skin as well.

Winter Health Tips skin care
Winter Health Tips – pamper the skin

Fight Germs

We all learned the importance of this tip last year. Winter brings with it more cold and flu viruses. Wash hands frequently, using the 20 second rule. Sing “Happy Birthday” while you wash hands with warm water and soap. An alcohol based hand sanitizer works well if soap and water aren’t available. And boost the immune system with sunlight, vitamin D and fresh fruits and vegetables. Add a high quality vitamin C supplement daily and keep elderberry syrup on hand. Take as directed at the first hint of a cold. Herbal teas are wonderful as well for their immune building properties. And of course, while COVID is still a threat this winter, wear a mask and observe social distancing if you must go out, wash hands and use hand sanitizer after excursions. Stay home as much as possible.

Winter Health Tips wash hands
Winter Health Tips – fight germs

Practice Self Care

Winter is a time for intense self care. With colder weather keeping us indoors, we can learn to really focus in on our bodies, emotions and needs. Creating healthy habits is a form of self care. So is moving our bodies. Go to sleep earlier. Nap in the afternoon, preferably in a patch of sunlight streaming in through the window. Reflect. Journal. Write down your thoughts.

Winter is also a time to prepare for the warmer months. Write down goals. Dream big dreams. Make plans. Learn a new language. Read. Enjoy a hobby. Try new things. Cook healthy meals. Get rid of clutter. Whatever brings you joy, do those things.

Winter Health Tips self care
Winter Health Tips – practice intense self care

Have a Cozy and Healthy Winter

I hope these simple tips give you ideas for increasing your health and wellbeing this winter. It’s the coziest time of the year. May you stay warm and well and safe and use these months to create health habits that take you into spring and beyond.

Winter Health Tips

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I am not a medical practitioner. I study health and wellness related topics and share experiences from my own personal healing journey.

 

Vegan Spinach Lasagna

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Prior to becoming plant based, I made a mean lasagna. Loaded with four cheeses, a homemade meat sauce, eggs, and wheat noodles, this lasagna took hours to make. It tasted good to me back then, although now I cringe when I think about what I fed my body.

I haven’t eaten lasagna for more than four years…until this past Christmas Day. One of my 63 birthday activities, the words on this slip of paper read “Create a new dish for Christmas dinner”. I’d already decided to look for a vegan lasagna recipe. I found one, from Simply Quinoa, that I adapted slightly. Check out the original recipe HERE.

I LOVED this easy to prepare vegan spinach lasagna. Read on for the recipe and tips on making this dish for your next special meal or weekend dinner.

Vegan Spinach Lasagna title meme

Vegan Spinach Lasagna Recipe

Simple to make and absolutely delicious, this lasagna features gluten free noodles, fresh spinach, store bought marinara sauce and two vegan cheeses made from almond milk.

Vegan Spinach Lasagna ready to eat

Vegan Spinach Lasagna

Quick and easy vegan spinach lasagna is perfect for a weekend or special meal
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pkg gluten free lasagna noodles
  • 8 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 15 oz jar marinara sauce (I use sugar free)
  • 1 1/2 cups vegan ricotta
  • 1 bag shredded vegan mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tbsp Italian seasoning

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large pan, add gluten free lasagna noodles to boiling water. Return to a boil for 2 minutes, cover and turn off heat. Let set for 14 minutes. Drain and run cold water over cooked noodles.
  • While noodles cook, wilt spinach. Place spinach in a large pan or skillet, add a couple of tablespoons of water and cook and stir over medium high heat. Spinach will wilt and reduce in volume. Remove from heat.
  • In a 9X13 pan, add a small amount of marinara sauce to bottom of pan. Layer rest of ingredients: lasagna noodles, ricotta cheese, shredded cheese, spinach, Italian seasoning, sauce. Continue to layer (I made three layers), ending with marinara sauce and the last of the shredded mozzarella cheese.
  • Bake for 35 - 40 minutes. Remove from oven and let lasagna stand for 10 minutes. Cut and serve. Makes 8 large servings.
Keyword Spinach Lasagna, Vegan

Tips for Making Vegan Spinach Lasagna

The Spinach

I’ve made this lasagna twice already. It’s that good. Both times I wilted the spinach, which is very easy to do and takes about a minute. I purchase a large bag of fresh spinach. The last time I prepared the recipe, I divided the spinach into two batches and wilted each separately. It was easier to manage the spinach that way. The spinach really does reduce in size as it wilts. Drain any liquid off before layering.

 

Vegan Spinach Lasagna fresh
Fresh spinach ready to wilt.
Vegan Spinach Lasagna wilted
Wilted spinach for vegan spinach lasagna.

Assembling the Lasagna

Layering the lasagna is the fun part. With the ingredients listed above, I’m able to make three layers. Adding a small amount of sauce in the bottom of the pan keeps the noodles from sticking.

I use gluten free brown rice noodles. My favorite marinara sauce is the Paul Newman brand. It’s sugar free and available at Wal-Mart or health conscious grocery stores. And I purchase both vegan cheeses at Natural Grocers.

Doing the layers, I’ve found one package of gluten free brown rice noodles is perfect. Assemble the ingredients, spreading them out as you layer, and finish with the last of the marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese. No need to cover the dish when baking.

Vegan Spinach Lasagna ready to bake
Vegan Spinach Lasagna – ready to bake
Vegan Spinach Lasagna baked
Vegan Spinach Lasagna out of the oven.

The Taste Test

I served this lasagna at a very small family Christmas dinner. We all loved it, even the non-vegans. In fact, I believe I like it better than my old lasagna that I used to make, and that’s saying something!

The vegan cheese is not heavy and yet adds a creaminess to the dish. And I love the added spinach. It adds a wonderful flavor plus it’s so good for me. Best of all, I like that this recipe comes together quickly…prepped, baked and ready to eat in about an hour.

I could easily eat this lasagna every week! Served with steamed or roasted veggies and a big chopped salad, it makes a filling and satisfying meal. I hope you’ll enjoy this recipe too!

Vegan Spinach Lasagna ready to eat
Vegan Spinach Lasagna – ready to eat

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Easy Vegan Tortilla Soup

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I love soup! I used to say I could easily exist on soup, bread and diet soda. My health didn’t agree with that statement. I first eliminated soda from my life. Read about soda’s negative impact on the body HERE.

Then, when I embraced a plant based lifestyle more than four years ago, I discovered that I have a gluten sensitivity. I stopped eating regular bread, although I now occasionally enjoy the gluten free version. Soup is still good, though, right?

That depends! Soups containing meat, egg, gluten or dairy products no longer simmer on my stove. Fortunately, however, there is a rich variety of wonderful, hearty, healthy soups available that are plant based, gluten free and dairy free.

Check out this amazingly easy vegan tortilla soup. It’s perfect for chilly winter evenings.

Easy Vegan Tortilla Soup title meme

Easy Vegan Tortilla Soup

I loved chicken tortilla soup, before becoming plant based. After eliminating meat from my diet, I gave up tortilla soup because I couldn’t find it offered without the chicken. When this recipe popped up on Pinterest, I knew what was on the menu for dinner tonight!

This easy vegan tortilla soup is adapted from a recipe by Midwest Foodie. Check out the original recipe HERE. The flavorful soup comes together in minutes and uses items commonly found in the pantry. Canned goods speed up the cooking process, lentils add protein and heartiness and canned coconut milk makes the soup creamy. And no worries, the coconut milk does not add coconut flavor to the soup.

In less than 30 minutes, I was ladling this soup into bowls.

Easy Vegan Tortilla Soup simmer
Easy vegan tortilla soup simmering on the stove.
Easy Vegan Tortilla Soup with chips

Easy Vegan Tortilla Soup

This flavorful vegan soup comes together quickly.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Soup
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 15 oz can black beans, drained
  • 1 15 oz can whole corn, non GMO, drained
  • 1 15 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup red lentils
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups tomato juice
  • 1 13.5 oz can full fat coconut milk
  • 2 tsp sea salt + black pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • In a soup pot or dutch oven, saute diced onions in olive oil over medium high heat, stirring frequently, for approximately 3 - 4 minutes.
  • Add garlic, cumin and chili powder and stir and saute for 1 minute.
  • Add black beans, corn, tomatoes, vegetable broth, tomato juice, lentils, salt and coconut milk. Bring to a boil, cover, lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes, or until lentils are cooked through. Season with black pepper and more salt, if needed.
Keyword Tortilla Soup, Vegan

Tortilla Soup Making Tips

The easy vegan tortilla soup was ready in minutes. I checked the soup after five minutes and gave it another five minutes of simmering time for a total of ten minutes.

Use store bought organic vegetable broth or make your own broth HERE. I use organic 100% tomato juice from WR Knudsen however any tomato juice is fine. You can even use V-8 for extra flavor. Don’t have juice on hand? Four cups of vegetable broth is fine or swap out the veggie broth for all tomato juice. This recipe is very adaptable.

If you don’t have red lentils on hand, brown or green lentils work too. Just check soup after five minutes of simmering time, for doneness.

Garnish soup with non GMO tortilla chips. I like these from Xochitl . Late July makes an excellent non GMO chip as well. You can also top soup with vegan cheese, vegan sour cream, chopped green onions or diced jalapeno peppers.

Easy Vegan Tortilla Soup ready to eat
Easy vegan tortilla soup is ready to eat in under 30 minutes.

The Taste Test

I loved this soup before I even tasted it. It smelled right! And my nose was correct. This easy vegan tortilla soup is wonderful with the perfect spice level. It has the tortilla soup flavor without the chicken or dairy products.

The non GMO tortilla chips, which happened to be unsalted, added the perfect crispiness.

I have leftovers for tomorrow. I’m excited about that. However, I’ll make this soup often. Perhaps I’ll never run out of tortilla soup. I hope you enjoy it too!

Easy Vegan Tortilla Soup with chips
Easy vegan tortilla soup with non GMO chips.

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Is It a Fruit?

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The last two years I’ve celebrated my January 9th birthday in a unique way. I write activities on slips of paper, place them in a jar and draw one out each day. The number of activities corresponds to the number of years in my upcoming birthday. I’ll turn 63 on my birthday so I placed 63 activities into the jar.

One activity that I drew out led to interesting research. It read: “Only eat fruit for a day”. I’m plant based, since July of 2016, so eating lots of fruits and veggies is common for me. In planning my menu for the day, however, I wondered which foods were really fruits…and which were really vegetables. I knew, for example, that tomatoes, while eaten as a vegetable, are actually fruit. What else is commonly called a vegetable, when in actuality it is a fruit?

I was intrigued by what I found. You might be too.

Is it a fruit? Check out these foods that might surprise you.

Is it a fruit title meme

Food Classifications

What classifies a food as a fruit or vegetable?

A fruit, by definition, is “anything that grows on a plant and is the means by which that plant gets its seeds into the world.” Vegetables, on the other hand, “are any edible part of a plant including stems, leaves or roots.”

The difference, then, are the seeds. Cut open an apple and there are the seeds. The flesh of the apple is a container for them. Cut open a potato and there are no seeds.

The following foods are commonly thought of and consumed as vegetables, when botanically, they are fruits.

Tomatoes

Although we all learned as kids that tomatoes are a fruit, that fact has long been debated.

Back in 1893 a case even went before the Supreme Court to determine which the tomato was. A Manhattan food seller argued that he should not pay a vegetable tariff on imported tomatoes, since they were a fruit and not a vegetable. The tariff fees for fruits were much lower. He lost the case when the court ruled that people prepared and ate tomatoes like a vegetable, not a fruit. The court added that tomatoes, like vegetables, are primarily served as part of the dinner’s main course while fruits, generally, are considered dessert.

Verdict: tomatoes are a fruit most often served as a vegetable.

Is It a Fruit tomatoes
Is is a fruit – tomatoes

Pumpkins

If you’ve ever cut into a pumpkin, to cook one or to create a jack-o-lantern, you’ve seen the seeds. Pumpkins, and all gourds, are fruits. Another common characteristic of fruits is that they begin as a flower. The flowers require pollination and then follows growth, development and ripening of the fruit.

Is It a Fruit pumpkins
Is it a fruit – pumpkins

Peppers

Peppers, from the sweet bell pepper to the spicy jalapeno, are produced on a flowering plant and contain seeds. They are fruits.

Is It a Fruit peppers
Are peppers a fruit or vegetable?

Cucumbers

This easily grown plant is a member of the gourd family, like pumpkins. Their vines produce flowers and the cucumber contains seeds. It is a fruit.

Is It a Fruit cucumber
Is it a fruit – cucumber

Zucchini

This summer squash is also a member of the gourd family, making it a fruit as well. Yellow squash falls into the same category as do winter squashes such as butternut and acorn.

Is It a Fruit zucchini
Is zucchini a fruit?

Eggplant

It surprises some to learn that eggplants are actually considered berries! And that places eggplants in the fruit category.

Is It a Fruit eggplant
Is it a fruit – eggplant

Avocado

The avocado, a primary ingredient in guacamole, is a single seeded berry, not a vegetable. And like berries, avocadoes do well in desserts such as chocolate mousse or as a fat replacement in baked goods.

Is It a Fruit avocado
Is  the avocado a fruit or vegetable?

Peas

Technically, peas are not a vegetable and they aren’t the fruit either. The pods the peas form in are the fruits and the peas are the seeds. Categorically, peas are in the fruit family.

Is It a Fruit peas
Is it a fruit – peas

Green Beans

Similar to peas, the green bean is the pod holding the seeds, making them fruit. In this case, we eat the pod and the seeds.

Is It a Fruit green beans
Are green beans a fruit?

Beans

Beans are a member of the legume family, like peas. They are the seeds tucked within pods, making them fruit. Typically we “shuck” the beans out of the pods and eat them that way.

Is It a Fruit beans
Is it a fruit – beans

Okra

Okra pods are also the fruit, with the seeds contained within. However, we eat the whole fruit, pod and seeds. Okra, excellent fried or in stews and gumbos, is a member of the mallow family.

Is It a Fruit okra
Is okra a fruit?

Olives

Olives grow on trees and they are categorized as fruits. Specifically, they are stone fruits like peaches, mangoes and dates.

Is It a Fruit olives
Is it a fruit – olives

Rhubarb

The only instance I could find of a vegetable mistaken for a fruit is the rhubarb plant. This perennial, often baked into pies due to its sweet flavor, is technically a vegetable. This is because only the plant’s stems are edible.

Rhubarb
It’s NOT a fruit – rhubarb

There Are More Fruits Than I Realized

As I researched fruits and vegetables, I discovered there are more fruits than I realized! This proved good news for my “only eat fruit” day. My options expanded beyond apples, bananas and blueberries.

And while I ate plenty of the usual fruits on that day, I brought in fruits disguised as vegetables. For lunch I enjoyed a healthy and delicious orange, avocado, green olive salad with Thai chili pickles…cucumbers.

Are you surprised to learn that some of your favorite vegetables are actually fruits? Which one surprised you the most?

Fruit Salad
Fruit salad

 


 

 

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Seven Superfood Mushrooms

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Four and a half years ago, new to the plant based lifestyle, some of the first superfoods that I wholeheartedly embraced were mushrooms. Most mushrooms provide high levels of fiber, nutrients and antioxidants. Adding them to meals and drinks boosts health in many ways.

Among mushrooms one group in particular earns the title of “superfood”. These fungi, labeled medicinal mushrooms, take health benefits to a much higher level.

Check out these seven superfood mushrooms and learn why they are so important to health.

Seven Superfood Mushrooms title meme

The Power of Medicinal Mushrooms

In the east, people have used medicinal mushrooms for centuries. Dried and taken in powdered form, these superfoods provide a host of benefits. Those remarkable properties drew attention to medicinal mushrooms from other regions in the world.

Medicinal mushrooms are still relatively new to western medicine and they don’t cure everything. However their benefits, including boosts to the immune system and the prevention of diseases, helped these mushrooms gain popularity in recent years. And for clarity, these are not hallucination inducing or mind altering mushrooms, these provide powerful benefits for health and wellness.

Seven Superfood Mushrooms

Each mushroom is unique and provides its own health benefits.

Reishi

Reishi tops the list of popular medicinal mushrooms, and for good reason. This mushroom’s unique property is its calming effect on the body. Reishi contains the compound triterpene, which positively impacts the nervous system. This mood boosting compound relieves anxiety, alleviates depression and promotes better sleep.

Reishi also helps the body heal and sharpens focus as well.

Add a spoonful of reishi mushroom powder to smoothies and soups, create a soothing hot tea or stir into a cup of hot cocoa. Chocolate and reishi seem to pair well together. Four Sigmatic offers wonderful hot cocoa mixes that contain reishi. It makes an excellent nighttime drink for a wonderful night’s sleep.

Check out Four Sigmatic’s hot cocoa with reishi HERE. If you place an order, use my discount code CINDYLAUDERDALEMOORE to save 10%.

Seven Superfood Mushrooms reishi
Seven Superfood Mushrooms – reishi

Lion’s Mane

Lion’s mane brings mental clarity, naturally. Packed with antioxidants and nutrients, lion’s mane strengthens the immune system. However, its real superpower is fostering the production of bioprotein nerve growth factor (NGF) and myelin, the insulation around nerves.

Both NGF and myelin are vital to brain health. An imbalance of either can create neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis. Lion’s mane also improves cognition and memory and increases the ability to concentrate. Additionally, this superfood mushroom alleviates anxiety and soothes irritability.

To boost brain power, try these Four Sigmatic focus products with lion’s mane: ground coffee, instant coffee, coffee latte mix, elixir mix, matcha latte mix or their focus shots and mixes.

I also highly recommend Nature Byte’s Lion’s Mane capsules.

Seven Superfood Mushrooms lions mane
Seven Superfoods Mushrooms – lion’s mane

Chaga

Chaga is the first superfood mushroom powder that I tried. It makes a great coffee substitute or simply add a spoonful to smoothies. As with all the superfood mushroom products, the dried fungi doesn’t have a “mushroomy” taste, making it easy to add the powders to almost any food or drink.

Chaga contains extremely powerful antioxidants that fight the free radicals that age the body and cause disease. This black mushroom eases inflammation, combats oxidative stress that ages skin and prevents or slows the growth of cancer cells. It also lowers bad cholesterol.

Try adding Four Sigmatic’s defend products to your diet: mushroom blend mix, ground coffee, instant coffee with chaga, elixir mix with chaga, plant based protein powder and immune support shots with chaga.

I also highly recommend Maine Chaga Powder from Amazon.

Seven Superfood Mushrooms chaga
Seven Superfood Mushrooms – chaga

Cordyceps

Need a pre-workout boost or feeling low energy? Cordyceps is the perfect superfood mushroom for you. This fungus helps the body use oxygen more efficiently while enhancing blood flow.

Cordyceps helps athletes perform better. And it helps the rest of us too, as we exercise, plus it speeds up muscle recovery after working out. And when that midafternoon slump hits, drink a cordyceps tea for an instant pick me up.

Add a spoonful of cordyceps to a post workout drink or meal. Or try Four Sigmatic’s performance blends: cocoa mix with cordyceps, elixir blend with cordyceps and instant coffee with cordyceps.

Seven Superfood Mushrooms cordyceps
Seven Superfood Mushrooms – cordyceps

Turkey Tail

Most superfood mushrooms offer anti-cancer properties because of their high antioxidant content. However, turkey tail takes it up a notch.

This interesting fungus contains a compound called polysaccharide-K (PSK) that stimulates the immune system. Turkey tail improves the survival rate of those with cancer, fights leukemia cells and boosts the immune system for those receiving chemotherapy. This mushroom is so powerful that it’s an approved anti-cancer prescription drug in Japan.

Pick up golden latte with turkey tail or chai latte with turkey tail from Four Sigmatic.

I also recommend turkey tail powder from Amazon.

Seven Superfood Mushrooms turkey tail
Seven Superfood Mushrooms – turkey tail

Shiitake

These mushrooms provide benefits for the heart. They lower bad cholesterol while inhibiting the production and absorption of cholesterol in the liver. Shiitake mushrooms also prevent the build up of plaque and help maintain healthy blood pressure and circulation.

Use dried shiitake powder in any food or drink recipe. Or add the mushrooms to stir fries and other dishes.

Try this shiitake powder.

Seven Superfood Mushrooms shiitake
Seven Superfood Mushrooms – shiitake

Maitake

Maitake, the Japanese word for “dancing mushroom”, helps support healthy blood sugar levels in the body. It also boosts the immune system and provides essential vitamins and minerals including copper, potassium and vitamins B and C.

Add a spoonful of powdered maitake to soups, sauces and pasta dishes.

Click HERE to try maitake mushroom powder.

Seven Superfood Mushrooms maitake
Seven Superfood Mushrooms – maitake

Which of These Seven Superfood Mushrooms Will You Try?

Which of these superfood mushrooms will you try first? It truly is easy to add a spoonful to teas, coffees, drinks, smoothies or recipes, or to use one of the Four Sigmatics blends. And the health benefits are amazing.

A spoonful…or two…each day of any of these superfood mushrooms is all that you need to begin enjoying greater health and vitality and protection against aging and diseases.

I most often added a spoonful of powdered mushrooms to smoothies, that is until I discovered the cocoa mixes from Four Sigmatic. Now I love sipping on a cup of hot cocoa with reishi in the evenings or savoring a cup of chai latte with turkey tail in the afternoons. It’s such a yummy way to get my mushrooms!

Seven Superfood Mushrooms hot cocoa
Four Sigmatic hot cocoa with mushrooms

 

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Vegan Egg Nog

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There’s something about the holiday season that triggers my desire for a good cup of egg nog. During my childhood, my mother served us her homemade egg nog around Christmas time, alcohol free of course. I seem to carry a timed memory of that delicious drink and when December arrives, that desire for egg nog returns.

As an adult, I’ve enjoyed simple egg nogs made by combining the store bought drink with a splash of rum. However, since choosing the plant based lifestyle four and a half years ago, I’ve not known how to satisfy that longing for the holiday drink.

I’ve tried several non-dairy, egg free “nogs” however none of them really came close to matching the drink from my memories. That is, until this year. I’ve finally found a vegan egg nog that tastes like egg nog! Check it out.

Vegan Egg Nog title meme

What is Egg Nog Anyway?

Traditional egg nog (also spelled eggnog) originated from England. Historically it is a rich, creamy, dairy based drink that contains milk, cream, sugar, nutmeg, whipped egg whites and egg yolks. Brandy, rum, whisky or bourbon are often added to the drink.

Considered a holiday drink, egg nog is consumed from the end of October until the new year. Venezuela and Trinidad enjoy a variation of the drink called Ponche Crema.

The British originally called the drink egg flip, from the practice of rapidly flipping the drink mixture between two pitchers. The term egg nog is actually American, coined in the mid 1700s. It’s a combination of two colonial slang words. Rum was referred to as grog and the drink was served in wooden mugs called noggins. A nog is also a strong ale, so it’s possible that’s where the “nog” derives from.

Vegan Egg Nog ready to drink
Vegan Egg Nog – ready to drink in minutes

Vegan Egg Nog Recipe

This dairy free, egg free, refined sugar free nog is rich, creamy and ready in minutes without cooking.

This recipe is adapted from one I found at Connoisseurus Veg.

Vegan Egg Nog ready to drink

Vegan Egg Nog

Rich and creamy, this nog is dairy and egg free.
Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup unsweetened dairy free milk such as almond milk
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 over ripe banana
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • pinch sea salt
  • splash of rum, brandy or whisky per serving optional
  • dollop non dairy coconut whipped topping per serving

Instructions
 

  • Combine all ingredients except rum, brandy or whisky and coconut whipped topping in a blender. Blend on high speed until drink is well mixed, thick and creamy.
  • Pour nog into mugs. Add a splash of rum, brandy or whisky to each mug. Add more to taste or omit if desired. Top with a dollop of coconut whipped topping. Sprinkle with nutmeg.
    Makes four servings. Store leftovers in refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Keyword Egg Nog, Vegan
Vegan Egg Nog with coconut whipped topping
Vegan Egg Nog – add coconut whipped topping if desired and a sprinkle of nutmet

The Taste Test

This is the BEST vegan egg nog I’ve tried. I love it. Truly, the drink is smooth, creamy and closely matches the memory I carry of the egg nog from my childhood. The banana adds creaminess and thickens the nog perfectly. And the canned unsweetened coconut milk adds richness. If desired, substitute canned low fat coconut milk however make sure you use the canned milk and not coconut milk from a carton.

I add a splash of rum to my egg nog. It tastes great without it though so omit the alcohol if you want.

I drank a delicious mug full of vegan egg nog and saved the rest of the mixture in the refrigerator. Over the next three days, I enjoyed three more mugs of egg nog, one each evening.

Do you enjoy this traditional drink? If you are looking for a plant based version, give this wonderful vegan egg nog a try during the Christmas season.

Vegan Egg Nog memories
Vegan Egg Nog – this delicious drink reminds me of my childhood

Pick up these nog ingredients from Amazon

 


 

Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

 

Healthiest Root Vegetables

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

December is Root Vegetables AND Exotic Fruits Month. That’s quite a culinary combo! Creative writer that I am, I choose to separate the two so as to create more than one blog post.

I begin with root vegetables. After the fall harvest, winter is the perfect time to enjoy these hearty staple foods. They provide complex carbs and fiber and contain essential vitamins and minerals. Some also offer powerful antioxidants that slow aging and even protect against cancer.

Add these healthiest root vegetables to your diet, for the amazing benefits.

Healthiest Root Vegetables title meme

What Are Root Vegetables?

Root vegetables, also known as starch vegetables and tubers, are veggies that grow underground. They are defined as the enlarged edible root of the plant. Root vegetables long served as diet staples in South American and Asian diets. Sweet potatoes were an important food 5000 years ago. They nourished populations through times of scarcity.

Root vegetables are still considered  important crops that not only feed the body but ground it as well. Check out these healthiest root vegetables and select some to include with your meals this week.

Sweet Potatoes

These colorful root vegetables provide many nutrients and health benefits.

Sweet potatoes contain vitamins A and C, manganese and fiber. They are rich with the antioxidants beta-carotene, chlorogenic acid and anthocyanins that help protect against skin cancer.

These jewels of the root vegetable family improve immune function, balance blood sugar and promote healthy gut bacteria while starving out unproductive bacteria and mold. This double action helps the body create more vitamin B12. And, according to Anthony William, author of the Medical Medium books, sweet potatoes rid the body of excess estrogen that interferes with hormonal balance.

Enjoy sweet potatoes baked, boiled, roasted, juiced or raw as spiralized noodles.

Healthiest Root Vegetables sweet potatoes
Healthiest root vegetables – sweet potatoes

Onions

Onions rank high on the root vegetable list. So many recipes call for a chopped onion.

This basic veggie is high in fiber, vitamin C, zinc, manganese, iodine, selenium, sulfur compounds and antioxidants.

Onions help prevent bacterial overgrowth in the intestinal tract. They rid the body of radiation, viruses, DDT and other pesticides and heavy metals. And the sulfur in onions alleviates joint pain, repairs tendons and connective tissue and slows iron loss. Onions also repair lung damage and fight colds and flus that cause bronchitis.

Add onions to many recipes including stir fries, casseroles, soups, rice and pasta dishes, stuff them and bake them or serve raw in salads and veggie bowls.

Healthiest Root Vegetables onions
Healthiest root vegetables – onions

Garlic

Garlic is closely related to the onion and it’s another root vegetable that is used in many recipes and dishes.

This veggie provides important nutrients including vitamins B6 and C and manganese. Plus the compound allicin, released when garlic is crushed, has medicinal properties that help prevent diseases.

Garlic is antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal and anti-parasitic. It kills off unproductive gut bacteria, fights colds, flus, strep throat, pneumonia causing bacteria and viral related cancers. It also pulls heavy metals from the body and boosts the immune system.

Add minced garlic to a variety of dishes, from stir fries to soups to pasta or add to roasted vegetables.

Healthiest Root Vegetables garlic
Healthiest root vegetables – garlic

Turnips

Cultivated for centuries, this root vegetable seems plain yet it possesses an impressive nutrient profile.

Turnips provide vitamin C, fiber, manganese and potassium.

Getting more vitamin C boosts immunity and reduces the symptoms of respiratory infections. Plus turnips lower the risk of stomach, breast, colorectal and lung cancers.

Use turnips in place of potatoes. They are excellent boiled and mashed, cubed and roasted or cut into fries. Or enjoy them with other root vegetables in a veggie bowl.

Healthiest Root Vegetables turnip
Healthiest root vegetables – turnip

Beets

Deeply colored beets are one of the most nutritious of root vegetables.

The veggie contains vitamins B6 and C, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, iron and manganese. They rank high in nitrates, beneficial plant compounds that help dilate blood vessels. This action lowers blood pressure and improves heart health. Beets also improve exercise performance and increase blood flow to the brain. Studies show that beets may even slow the growth and spread of cancer cells.

Try boiling, steaming, pickling, roasting or juicing this powerful root vegetable.

Healthiest Root Vegetables beets
Healthiest Root Vegetables – beets

Radishes

These tiny root veggies pack a lot of nutrition and health benefits.

Radishes provide vitamin C, sulfides and fiber.

This root vegetable supports the immune system. And the sulfur kills off parasites, cleanses arteries and veins, prevents heart disease and raises good cholesterol while lowering the bad. The skin of the radish fights virtually all types of cancer while also restoring the kidneys, liver, pancreas and spleen.

Add these crunchy veggies to salads and slaws. Eat them as a snack. Or try adding them to stir fries.

Healthiest Root Vegetables radishes
Healthiest Root Vegetables – radishes

Carrots

This well known veggie is also high on the list of most nutritious root vegetables.

Carrots offer high amounts of vitamins A and K and they provide the important antioxidant beta-carotene.

Adding carrots to the diet lowers cholesterol levels and protects the eyes against age related macular degeneration. Because of the beta-carotene, carrots lower the risk of certain cancers including breast, prostate, and stomach.

Roast, boil or steam carrots. Add them to salads, stir fries and other vegetables dishes. Include in soups or eat them raw as an extremely healthy snack.

Healthiest Root Vegetables carrots
Healthiest Root Vegetables – carrots

Celeriac

Also called celery root, this versatile root vegetable is highly nutritious.

Celery and celeriac are basically the same plant, however celeriac is cultivated for its bulbous root rather than for the stalks. Both taste like celery although some find celeriac more robust with a slight nutty flavor.

Celeriac contains high levels of vitamins C and K and phosphorous.

Vitamin K is essential for proper blood clotting and vital for healthy bones.

Boil, roast, bake or mash celeriac. Or add it raw to salads.

Healthiest Root Vegetables celeriac
Healthiest root vegetables – celeriac

Rutabagas

This root vegetable belongs to the mustard family.

Rutabagas supply vitamin C, potassium, manganese and antioxidants. They also provide fiber that supports the digestive system and lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels. And like several other root veggies, they contain sulfur compounds that protect against cancer cell formation and growth.

Rutabagas taste like a cross between a turnip and cabbage. One person described them as tasting like Yukon Gold potatoes…with a lot of attitude!

Boil and mash them, bake or roast them. Or add rutabagas to soups or salads.

Healthiest Root Vegetables rutabaga
Healthiest Root Vegetable – rutabaga

Potatoes

The most versatile and readily available root vegetable, potatoes come in 2000 different varieties and grow in 160 countries around the world.

The potato delivers fiber, vitamins B6 and C, potassium and manganese. Plus they provide an important amino acid, lysine. Lysine protects against cancer, liver disease, inflammation and viruses such as Epstein Barr and shingles. Additionally, potatoes strengthen the kidneys and soothe the digestive tract.

Try potatoes baked, boiled, mashed or steamed. Make healthy potato salad. Cut them into wedges or cubes, season with spices and roast in the oven. Create a veggie bowl featuring roasted or mashed potatoes.

Healthiest Root Vegetables potatoes
Healthiest Root Vegetables – potatoes

Create Health with Root Vegetables

Try adding a serving or two of root vegetables to daily meals, to reap the benefits of these nutritious, grounding veggies. Combine with other vegetables or make up a big pot of root vegetable soup.

Practicing a plant based lifestyle, root veggies form the foundation of my diet. Creating this post, however, I realized I’ve never eaten celeriac or rutabaga. I’ve seen both in the produce section of Natural Grocers. I’m excited to experience both in the near future.

What is your favorite root vegetable?

Healthiest Root Vegetables

I Highly Recommend Anthony’s Books

Anthony William’s books are my go to source for health information.

 


 

Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

I am not a medical practitioner. I study health and wellness related topics and share experiences from my own personal healing journey.

 

Prevent Diabetes Naturally

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

November is National Diabetes Month. The purpose is to bring awareness and attention to diabetes, including ways to prevent it. For the millions who are at risk, this month is a time to learn and find resources.

Currently, 30 million adults age 18 and older live with diabetes. And 84 million are at risk for developing the disease. Additionally, those who are prediabetic are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and strokes.

I’m happy to contribute by presenting ways to prevent diabetes naturally.

Prevent Diabetes Naturally title meme

Preventing Diabetes Naturally

Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed through lifestyle changes that promote weight loss and increase exercise and healthy eating. And this shift is extremely important. Uncontrolled diabetes may cause blindness, kidney failure and other serious complications that can require limb amputation.

These action steps help prevent diabetes.

Cut Sugar from the Diet

Let’s start with the one people consider the toughest. And I know it’s not easy, however there’s a reason for that. Sugar is addictive and it has a toxic effect on the body.

Eating sugary foods puts us at risk for developing diabetes. When we eat sugar the body breaks it down into smaller molecules that enter the blood stream, resulting in a rise in blood sugar. That rise stimulates the pancreas to produce insulin to help get the sugar out of the bloodstream and into cells.

For those with prediabetes, the cells resist insulin so the sugar remains at a high level in the bloodstream. As a result, the pancreas creates more insulin to attempt to bring sugar levels down. Eventually those high sugar and insulin levels cause type 2 diabetes.

What’s the solution? Avoid foods with refined sugar and carbs. Refined carbs include sugars and grains stripped of fiber and nutrients such as white bread, pizza dough, pasta, white flour, sweet desserts and many breakfast cereals.

Prevent Diabetes Naturally cut sugar
Prevent Diabetes Naturally – cut sugar

Drink More Water

Water is the best drink for the body. We need water, for the body to function properly. And drinking water as the primary beverage helps us avoid sugary soft drinks.

Soft drinks greatly increase the risk of both type 2 diabetes and a form of type 1 diabetes called latent autoimmune diabetes of adults (LADA). The startling facts are, those who consume more than two soft drinks a day have a 99% increased risk of developing LADA and a 20% increased risk for type 2 diabetes.

Studies show that artificially sweetened soft drinks do not prevent diabetes so those are not a good alternative.

Drinking more water leads to better blood sugar levels and insulin response. And those who replace sodas with water while eating healthier decrease insulin resistance.

Prevent Diabetes Naturally - water
Prevent Diabetes Naturally – drink more water

Manage Weight

Although not everyone who develops type 2 diabetes is overweight, most are. And those with prediabetes tend to carry excess weight in the belly area and around organs such as the liver.

This visceral fat causes inflammation and insulin resistance which greatly increases the risk of diabetes.

Losing weight and keeping it off decreases sugar and insulin levels.

Reducing sugar intake is a great start. While eating more fruits and vegetables helps the body shed excess weight. Strive for filling half your plate with fruits and veggies. And eating smaller portions is helpful too. Eating too much at meals causes blood sugar and insulin levels to spike.

Prevent Diabetes Naturally weight management
Prevent Diabetes Naturally – weight management

Eat a High Fiber Diet

Another way to manage weight and help prevent diabetes is to include more fiber in the diet. Fiber can be soluble or insoluble. Soluble fiber absorbs water in the digestive track, forming a gel. This gel slows down the absorption rate of food leading to a more gradual rise in blood sugar levels.

Including high fiber foods throughout the day helps to reduce the risk of diabetes. Good high fiber foods to add: pears, berries, avocados, apples, bananas, carrots, beets, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, dark leafy greens, lentils, tomatoes, legumes, quinoa, oats, nuts, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, sweet potatoes and surprisingly, dark chocolate (choose chocolate with a 70% or higher level of cocoa).

Most plant based foods contain fiber, so increasing fruits and vegetables is a great choice.

Prevent Diabetes Naturally eat fiber
Prevent Diabetes Naturally – eat more fiber

Vitamin D

This important vitamin helps control blood sugar levels. Most people have a vitamin D deficiency. And not getting enough raises the risk for all types of diabetes.

Studies show that when we take vitamin D supplements, or get at least 10 minutes of sunlight a day, insulin production improves, blood sugar levels stabilize and the risk of developing diabetes reduces dramatically.

If you aren’t able to get sunlight every day, supplementing with 2,000 – 4,000 IU of vitamin D helps prevent a deficiency. Read about the other benefits of vitamin D HERE.

Bonus supplement: turmeric is helpful due to its main ingredient, curcumin. Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce inflammation markers and decrease insulin resistance.

Prevent Diabetes Naturally vitamin D
Prevent Diabetes Naturally with vitamin D

Drink Tea and Coffee

While water is important as the primary beverage, drinking tea and coffee reduces the risk for diabetes as well. Just don’t add sugar to them! Tea and coffee are rich in antioxidants called polyphenols that help protect against diabetes.

Green tea is especially beneficial. It contains a unique antioxidant that reduces blood sugar release from the liver and lowers insulin sensitivity.

Try this Turmeric Green Tea recipe for a powerful way to get those antioxidants.

Prevent Diabetes Naturally drink tea
Drink green tea or coffee to help prevent diabetes naturally.

Exercise Regularly

There is a strong link between the sedentary lifestyle and an increased risk of diabetes. If you sit most of the day and get little or no physical exercise then you have a 91% increased risk of developing diabetes.

Begin the shift to a more active lifestyle by standing frequently if you sit most of the day. Take a break every hour and walk around for five minutes. Stretch. Then move into more physical activities.

Try aerobic exercise, walking, strength training, swimming, dancing, high intensity interval training or biking. Find something you enjoy to increase the likelihood that you’ll stick with it.

Physical activity reduces insulin resistance and lowers blood sugar levels. It helps with weigh loss and management. Strive for 30 minutes of exercise a day.

Prevent Diabetes Naturally exercise
Prevent Diabetes Naturally – exercise

The Choice is Ours

Rather than waiting for illness to strike, we can make choices now that help prevent diseases such as diabetes and enjoy greater health and vitality.

These steps not only help to prevent diabetes naturally, they ensure better health and wellness overall.

Which steps will you adopt today for a healthier tomorrow?

Prevent Diabetes Naturally healthy meal
Healthy meal of mashed avocado on gluten free ancient grains bread, blueberries and mandarin oranges.

 


 

Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

I am not a medical practitioner. I study health and wellness related topics and share experiences from my own personal healing journey.

 

Vegan and Gluten Free Banana Pudding

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

November is Banana Pudding Lover’s Month. I grew up enjoying that classic dessert. My mom layered vanilla wafers, sliced bananas and creamy vanilla puddling and topped it with whipped cream.

Since switching to a plant based, low sugar, gluten free lifestyle, regular banana pudding is not on my acceptable list. I can enjoy a banana but the rest of the ingredients are not good for me.

In honor of the month, and remembering that banana pudding I grew up with, I wondered if a vegan and gluten free banana puddling recipe existed. It does!

I found an easy recipe on Pinterest and adapted it slightly.

Vegan and Gluten Free Banana Pudding title meme

The Birth of Banana Pudding

The first recipe for banana pudding, served over sponge cake, showed up in the US in 1888. Good Housekeeping published the recipe in its magazine.

The availability of the exotic fruit enabled cooks to create new desserts. An early banana pudding recipe showed up in “The Kentucky Recipe Book” in 1903.

The introduction of Nabisco’s Nilla Wafer in the 1940s popularized banana pudding. Nabisco printed the recipe on every box of cookies.

Rodgers Pudding Company launched Banana Pudding Lover’s Month after a successful National Banana Pudding Festival in 2010. The two day festival was held in Tennessee.

Vegan and Gluten Free Banana Pudding vanilla wafers
Vegan and Gluten Free Banana Pudding – gluten free vanilla wafers

Vegan and Gluten Free Banana Pudding Recipe

This quick and easy recipe, adapted from the Southern In Law website, only uses six ingredients and comes together in minutes.

This banana pudding is gluten, egg, dairy and sugar free.

Gluten free cornstarch or potato starch may be used. And any dairy free milk is fine. I used almond milk.

I purchased gluten free vanilla wafers from Natural Grocer’s. Omit the cookies, if desired. And I topped my banana pudding cups with non dairy coconut whipped topping, also purchased from Natural Grocer’s.

Vegan and Gluten Free Banana Pudding ready to chill
Vegan and Gluten Free Banana Pudding – ready to chill
Vegan and Gluten Free Banana Pudding

Vegan & Gluten Free Banana Pudding

journeywithhealthyme
This quick and easy recipe is gluten, eggs, dairy and sugar free.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Chilling Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 20 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 8 Servings

Ingredients
  

  • 3 large ripe bananas, mashed
  • 3 cups almond milk
  • 1/4 cup corn or potato starch
  • 1/8 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 box gluten free vanilla wafers

Instructions
 

  • Combine mashed bananas, almond milk, vanilla, maple syrup and corn or potato starch to a large saucepan.
  • Over medium heat, stir mixture until it just comes to boiling.
  • Reduce heat slightly and continue to stir while mixture simmers. Cook and stir until pudding reaches desired consistency, about 3 - 5 minutes. Stir continually to prevent scorching. Pudding will thicken more as it cools. Remove from heat.
  • In individual bowls, add 1 or 2 gluten free vanilla wafers to the bottom of each container. Pour pudding into bowls. Add 4 - 6 vanilla wafers to pudding cups, pushing cookies into mixture around the edges of bowls. Cover with plastic wrap and chill at least one hour.
  • Before serving, top with dairy free coconut milk whipped topping, crushed vanilla wafers or sliced bananas. Makes 8 servings.
Keyword Banana Pudding, Gluten Free, Vegan

Celebrating Banana Pudding Lover’s Month

I tried a banana pudding cup today, after lunch, in celebration of the month.

My initial verdict: this dessert is delicious. The pudding texture is lighter than the classic dessert but I can live with that. The taste is just right. This recipe provides an excellent healthy alternative to classic banana pudding. The gluten free vanilla wafers added that necessary cookie component and the dairy free whipped topping made the dessert perfect.

I’ll certainly make this dessert again, in November or any other month of the year!

Do you love banana pudding?

Vegan and Gluten Free Banana Pudding cups
Vegan and Gluten Free Banana Pudding cups

Amazon Finds:

 


 

Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

 

Seven Ways to Protect Hearing

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

October is National Protect Your Hearing Month. The purpose is to raise awareness about noise induced hearing loss.

Hearing loss caused by high noise levels is permanent. And yet, four out of five Americans don’t protect their ears at sporting or entertainment venues. And half of us listen to music turned up too loud.

Check out these seven ways to protect hearing and lessen the risk of damage.

Seven Ways to Protect Hearing title meme

How Loud is Too Loud?

Over time, exposure to loud noises, whether at work or listening to music or attending concerts, causes hearing loss.

How loud is too loud?

If you can’t talk to someone six feet away, without shouting, it’s too noisy. Sound is measured in decibels. Normal conversation registers at 60 decibels, a whisper at 30. Noise over 80 decibels (dB), over prolonged time, causes damage. When noise goes over 120 dB it can cause immediate harm.

The inner ear contains 16,000 hair cells that allow the brain to detect sound. When they become damaged, they can’t grow back, and hearing diminishes.

More than 40 million adults, aged 20 to 69, suffer from noise induced hearing loss. That makes loss of hearing the third most common health condition.

Seven Ways to Protect Hearing ear
Seven Ways to Protect Hearing – learn how to prevent hearing loss.

Seven Ways to Protect Hearing

Learn how to prevent hearing loss, due to noise and other causes. It’s especially important that we teach our youth and young adults how to protect their ears and hearing.

Use Hearing Protection

Approximately 15% of adults experience noise induced hearing loss due to excessively loud work or entertainment environments.

In the workplace, machinery, airplanes, lawnmowers, chainsaws or any other loud noise that causes you to shout over it to be heard, is causing damage.

Clubs and concerts play music at dangerously loud levels, around the 120 dB level .

Earplugs provide an easy way to protect ears and hearing in these situations. You can even have them custom fitted by a hearing specialist. Musicians’ earplugs filter out excessive noise while still allowing conversation and music to enter.

According to the World Health Organization, 1.1 billion teens and young adults are at risk for noise induced hearing loss due to unsafe use of audio equipment.

When listening to music use headphones rather than earbuds. While convenient to use and easy to tote, earbuds rest too close to the eardrums and can cause damage. They increase a sound’s volume by six to nine decibels.

Use the 60/60 rule when listening to music via headphones. Listen to music through headphones at 60% of the volume, for no more than 60 minutes a day.

And when riding in an enclosed vehicle, or listening to music anywhere without headphones, simply turn the volume down.

Seven Ways to Protect Hearing headphones
Seven Ways to Protect Hearing – use headphones rather than earbuds

Allow Ears to Recover

After prolonged exposure to loud sounds, give the ears a break. During a concert or at work where loud noises occur, step away into a quieter place for five to ten minutes as often as possible. The ears need the rest.

Remove headphones after an hour of listening to music, to give the ears a break as well.

Researchers discovered it takes 16 hours of quiet for the ears to recover after a loud concert or a night out in a noisy location.

Seven Ways to Protect Hearing take a break
Seven Ways to Protect Hearing – give ears a break

Keep Ears Dry

Excess moisture in the ear canals creates bacterial growth. This causes swimmer’s ear or ear infections, which can impact hearing.

Gently towel dry around ears after showering, bathing or swimming, blotting away moisture. If water enters the ear canal, tip head to the side and tug on earlobe to help remove fluid.

Swimmer’s earplugs prevent water from entering the ears and keep ear canals dry.

Seven Ways to Protect Hearing dry
Seven Ways to Protect Hearing – keep ear canals dry

Don’t Use Cotton Tipped Swabs

There’s an old saying that goes, “Don’t put anything bigger than your elbow in your ear”. It’s very common to use cotton tipped swabs to clean the ears and remove wax. However, experts advise against the practice.

It’s normal and even desirable to have a bit of wax in the ears. The ears are naturally self cleaning and the wax prevents dust and particles from entering the ear canal. The wax eventually moves out of the ear on its own.

Plus inserting anything into the ear may damage the ear drum and harm hearing.

For excess wax, gently clean around the ear canal with a damp washcloth. Or try over the counter ear wax removal solutions that softens the wax so that it flows out. Doctors can remove excessive wax during an office appointment as well.

Seven Ways to Protect Hearing swabs
Don’t use cotton tipped swabs in the ears.

Be Careful with Certain Medications

Some over the counter medications can contribute to hearing loss. Non steroidal anti-inflammatories, such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen can impact hearing in a negative way. Don’t over medicate with these drugs. And discuss all medications, including over the counter ones, with your doctor. He or she can advise about possible side effects.

 

Seven Ways to Protect Hearing limit meds
Seven Ways to Protect Hearing – limit certain meds

Exercise

Moving the body is good for the ears. Cardio exercise, such as running, jogging, walking or cycling, pumps blood to all parts of the body, including the ears. That oxygen rich blood helps the ear’s internal parts to work well and stay healthy.

If cycling, protect the head with a helmet. A head injury can affect hearing. And if you listen to music while walking, running or jogging, keep volume low so it doesn’t distract you or cover the sounds of approaching traffic.

Seven Ways to Protect Hearing exercise
Exercise such as walking is one of seven ways to protect hearing.

Manage Stress

Both stress and anxiety can cause temporary and permanent tinnitus or ringing in the ears. Chronic stress puts the body in fight or flight mode, which causes adrenaline levels to elevate and stay that way.

Stress strains the nerves, restricts blood flow and affects many systems in the body. And that stress is thought to affect the inner ear, contributing to tinnitus.

Try relaxation techniques to lower and manage stress. Spend time in nature, practice yoga or meditation, do deep breathing exercises. And eat a healthy diet, rich in fruits and vegetables.

Seven Ways to Protect Hearing destress
Seven Ways to Protect Hearing – manage stress

How Are You Protecting Your Hearing?

I’ve protected my hearing throughout my life. However, I’ve also had tinnitus since childhood. I often wonder if my fears as a child created stress that contributed to the ringing in my ears. It’s also possible I willed my ears to ring, to cover any bump in the night sounds.

Changing my diet to a plant based one lessened the ringing tremendously although I still hear it when all other noise dies away.

I hope these seven practices help prevent loss or further hearing loss for others. Diminished hearing can contribute to depression, anxiety, isolation and even dementia. It’s worth turning the music volume down a bit or standing at the back of a venue away from the speakers, to protect hearing.

How is your hearing?

Wearing headphones
Wearing headphones during my first pod cast.

Hearing Helps from Amazon:

 


If you want the BEST headphones, try these!

 


 

Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

I am not a medical practitioner. I study health and wellness related topics and share experiences from my own personal healing journey.