Tips for Avoiding Seasonal Allergies, Naturally

Fall is approaching and with it comes boots and hoodies, crackling fires and hot tea, blankets and pumpkin spice…and seasonal allergies. I suffered from severe fall allergies all my adult life. As September arrived I stocked up on over the counter decongestants, allergy relief meds and ibuprofen. By Thanksgiving my eyes were usually so irritated I could not wear my contact lenses. And cough drops? I carried bags of those at all times to help stifle coughing fits.

Thankfully, allergies are in my past. I am entering my third autumn without trepidation, because I’ve implemented these tips for avoiding seasonal allergies, naturally.

Tips for Avoiding Seasonal Allergies Naturally

What causes allergies?

Allergies occur when the body reacts, or shows sensitivity to an antigen. This time of year, one in five people show a heightened sensitivity to pollen, mold and fungus spores, and ragweed. The body’s response can range from mild sniffles, itchy eyes and a dry cough, to skin rashes and hives, sinus congestion, runny nose, headaches and respiratory distress.

Allergy symptoms occur when the body responds to allergens by producing a chemical called histamine, which works to counteract the allergen. The immune system causes the allergic reactions by producing Immunoglobulin antibodies that result in widespread symptoms.

Tips for Avoiding Seasonal Allergies Naturally

Eliminate foods that create inflammation

Lessening and ultimately avoiding seasonal allergies is a two step process: eliminate foods that weaken the immune system and then support the immune system so it can work properly.

A healthy immune system can handle allergens without creating symptoms in the body. An immune system that is already overwhelmed by a body fighting inflammation and viruses can’t handle anything more.

These foods cause inflammation in the body and should be avoided, especially during allergy season:

• eggs • gluten • canola oil • soy • corn • dairy products • MSG

Dairy products create mucus in the body. Continuing to consume dairy products while fighting allergies is akin to throwing gasoline on a fire. Eggs, all eggs, feed viruses in the body such as Epstein Barr and strep, which weaken the immune system and create inflammation by way of their toxic wastes.

Strengthen the immune system

Eliminating inflammation-causing foods allows the immune system to quiet down. Eating nutrient rich, alkalizing foods strengthens the immune system, allowing it to handle allergens when they invade the body, without creating symptoms.

Include as many of these foods as possible, daily:

• wild blueberries • lemon/limes • celery • garlic • sweet potatoes • leafy greens • cruciferous veggies such as cauliflower and broccoli • onions • oranges • cranberries • raw local honey

Buy wild blueberries frozen and add to fruit smoothies. Sip on lemon or lime water first thing in the morning. Follow with the miracle drink, celery juice. (Read more about why celery juice is so good for the body.) Add extra garlic to recipes. Raw honey is crucial and it needs to be purchased locally. Bees carry local pollen. Consuming it in the honey helps the body to build up a resistance to pollens. Replace cow’s milk with coconut or almond milk in recipes and drinks.

Tips to Avoid Seasonal Allergies Naturally

Supplements to support the immune system

Finally, support the immune system with these health boosting supplements:

• turmeric • nettle • Ester C • elderberry syrup

Turmeric is one of the most powerful inflammation fighters available. Take it in capsule form or create Turmeric Milk, made with coconut milk, to sip on at night.

Stinging nettle naturally controls histamine. Take it in capsule form or purchase dried leaves to brew hot tea.

Ester C is a powerful form of vitamin C, taken in capsule form. Elderberry syrup boosts the immune system, relieves cold and allergy symptoms, and calms a cough.

Tips to Avoid Seasonal Allergies Naturally

Daily regimen to avoid allergy symptoms

Prepare for allergy season beginning in late August or early September by doing the following daily:

• Avoid inflammation causing foods.

• Eat immune boosting, alkalizing and inflammation fighting foods, as many as possible.

• Take turmeric and Ester C capsules (follow dosage instructions on the bottle) or drink a cup of turmeric milk.

• Take a spoonful of raw organic honey, locally produced, and a spoonful of elderberry syrup (I buy unsweetened syrup).

• Drink a cup of nettle tea, or take a nettle capsule.

After many years of losing seasonal allergy battles, it feels so incredibly good to know that I can enjoy fall without misery, and without the use of drugs. Food is my medicine. And I am the victor.

Tips to Avoid Seasonal Allergies Naturally

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Lemongrass Benefits

Lemongrass is an aromatic herb in the grass family. Originally native to India, today this plant can be found in gardens around the world. This coarse grass, which grows to a height of three feet, is a perennial in tropical areas. In less warm climates it must be planted annually. The herb has been used medicinally for centuries, and for good reason. Lemongrass has many health benefits.

Lemongrass Benefits

Lemongrass is full of essential nutrients including vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, and C. It’s also high in minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, manganese, copper, zinc and iron, which are all required for the healthy functioning of the human body.

The herb contains antioxidants, flavonoids and phenolic compounds. The main component of lemongrass is lemonal or citral, which supplies anti-fungal and anti-microbial qualities, while also providing its distinctive lemony smell.

Lemongrass Benefits

The health benefits of lemongrass include lowering cholesterol, detoxing the kidneys and liver, reducing uric acid, supporting the digestive system and inhibiting the growth of cancer cells.

Lemongrass also inhibits the formation of biofilm (bacteria that sticks together and then adheres to other surfaces) throughout the body, helps to heal gastric ulcers, and stimulates bowel function. Its antibacterial properties fight against pathogens such as H. pylori and E. coli in the digestive tract.

This herb calms muscles and nerves, helping the body to relax into sleep while increasing the duration of sleep. It helps to heal coughs and colds, lowers fevers, and reduces aches and pains including headaches, migraines, backaches, muscle spasms and cramps.

Lemongrass Benefits

Lemongrass stimulates the brain and helps combat convulsions, nervousness, vertigo, and neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. It boosts the immune system, helps in strengthening skin tissue, protects cells from free radicals, cleanses the spleen, and stimulates the regeneration of cells.

Finally, lemongrass treats edema, helping the body eliminate excess fluid by cleansing lymphatic congestion.

Lemongrass is extremely easy to grow in the garden or in containers. I add a plant or two every spring to my herb garden and snip the ends of the grass blades to brew lemongrass tea. The herb may be purchased dried as well. Lemongrass can also be added to soups and sauces. I found a cilantro lemongrass dressing recipe that I am excited to try.

The flavor of lemongrass is very similar to lemon balm, and both make a refreshing hot or cold drink. Lemongrass tea is included in my rotation of herbal teas. Although I enjoy it as an afternoon tea, it is especially soothing in the evening before bedtime.

I am, in fact, enjoying a freshly brewed cup of lemongrass tea as I write this post. I know it is already sending healing benefits through my body.

Lemongrass Benefits

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Chamomile Benefits

I have associated chamomile with relaxation and a good night’s sleep. The dried flower from this healing herb makes a soothing and delicious hot tea. However chamomile, used medicinally since ancient times, has many healing benefits beyond creating drowsiness.

Chamomile Benefits

Chamomile is a member of the aster family. Two types of chamomile are commonly used for their healing benefits, the German and Roman varieties. Chamomile tea is beneficial as a sleep aid which is especially helpful for those who suffer with insomnia, sleep disturbances, a racing mind, or high anxiety and stress. However, chamomile also has other significant healing properties such as the ability to soothe a disturbed digestive system by easing flatulence, stomach aches, ulcers, and cramping, and by aiding in overall digestion and elimination.

The herb also helps to relieve bronchial and sinus congestion, calm anxiety and panic attacks, decrease menstrual cramping, ease muscle spasms, lower blood sugar, fight cancer and reduce migraine pain. Chamomile tea’s anti-inflammatory properties make it beneficial for reducing swelling associated with arthritis, fibromyalgia, and other auto-immune diseases. Chamomile tea cleanses the liver and kidneys by stimulating them to purge out toxins and eliminate them from the system.

Chamomile Benefits

Chamomile has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties making it especially helpful in fighting against colds, flus, infections, and even Candida. Chamomile tea is excellent for children as it can calm colicky infants and teething babies as well as soothe children that are irritable, cranky, and restless. Its mild flavor is often accepted and enjoyed by children especially when sweetened with honey. As a topical remedy, cooled chamomile tea can be applied to the skin to help soothe rashes, chickenpox, psoriasis, eczema, and burns, including sunburns.

Chamomile tea can also help to relieve eye fatigue and dark circles. Apply a cooled tea bag to the eyes for five minutes at night as a gentle and effective compress. Chamomile and peppermint tea are often used in combination due to their synergistic properties to help the body cleanse, relax, and heal. (Info from the Medical Medium blog. Check it out HERE)

Chamomile Benefits

For the first time I am growing German chamomile in my herb garden this summer. My intention is to keep adding healing herbs each year, until I truly do have a complete apothecary garden available for use. Today I snipped fresh chamomile flowers to combine with dried chamomile that I had on hand. I added three teaspoons of the dried herb and a small handful of fresh blossoms to two cups of boiling water and let it steep for 15 minutes. Chamomile has a delicate floral scent and flavor. I don’t add honey. However, I am looking forward to trying out herbal combinations, such as chamomile and mint, chamomile and lavender or chamomile and lemon grass.

On this rainy day, with mild thunderstorms rolling through the area, a cup of hot chamomile tea was the perfect afternoon soother. I included a couple of homemade sugar free, gluten free cookies made from three simple ingredients, to tea time. Watch for that recipe Tuesday.

I’m sipping chamomile tea, nibbling on a cookie, and feeling grateful for the healing benefits that plants provide. This is bliss.

Chamomile Benefits

Meditate for Health

Today’s Try This Tuesday post is a bit different in that it focus on an action, rather than a new recipe. I’ve been practicing and teaching meditation for years. As meditation calms and relaxes the body and stills the mind, it provides powerful healing benefits as well.

Meditation is easy, costs nothing, does not require any specialized equipment, can be practiced by anyone, anywhere and only takes a few minutes to do.

Meditate for Health

The health benefits of meditation have been documented through countless studies around the world. The amazing results include: lowers blood pressure, decreases risks of heart attacks and strokes, stimulates stem cell growth, relieves anxiety and depression, reduces stress and tension, improves memory and increases academic performance, aids weight loss, eases chronic pain, reduces hyperactivity in children, increases longevity, helps with insomnia and decreases addictions and substance abuse.

Meditation does not shut down the mind, it quiets it so that we are not so distracted by our thoughts. Our thoughts are like the words that continually scroll across the bottom of the television screen during a newscast. We can learn to let the thoughts scroll on by, without focusing on them. When we notice a thought we can simply acknowledge it and let it go without attaching to it.

Meditate for Health

I’m offering a simple healing meditation below. However, before practicing it, spend a few moments creating a Safe Place in your mind. At the beginning of every meditation, you will enter this Safe Place so create something, in your mind, that brings you joy and makes you feel peaceful. This place should be in nature, not in a building or structure. It is a soothing, solitary place. Include rich details in your Safe Place.

Mine is a garden, filled with flowers and trees. It has a water feature and a gazebo where I can sit. The sunlight filters through the leaves and there is always a cool gentle breeze. Create in your mind a space that supports you and makes you sigh with happiness when you arrive.

Read through this meditation several times, turn off the tv and quiet your phone, then lie down or sit comfortably in a chair with both feet flat on the floor. Or sit in a lotus position with soles of feet together if that is not a strain on your back. Be at ease so that pain or stiffness in the legs and back is not a distraction. Rest hands naturally on the thighs, palms up. It’s fine to allow the fingers to relax and curl inward without touching thumbs and fingers together.

Meditate for Health

Healing Meditation

Close your eyes. Take a deep breath in through the nose and release it slowly through the mouth. Take two more slow deep breaths.

Relax the body as you continue to breathe slowly and deeply. You can relax by focusing on your breath. Or you can begin at your feet and consciously relax the muscles. Move up the legs, up the torso, and down the arms to the hands, relaxing each part of the body. Continue upward. Pay special attention to the neck, shoulders, jaws, face and scalp, as we tend to hold a lot of tension in these areas.

Visualize entering your Safe Place. Feel the warmth and love and joy here. Stay relaxed and centered.

Take another deep, cleansing breath. Imagine that roots are growing out of the soles of your feet and into the earth. This grounds the body and helps to prevent dizziness after the meditation ends. Imagine positive, living energy from the earth rising to support you.

Imagine a large white sphere of light above your head. This is Divine healing energy. See in your mind the white light surrounding you, encasing you in a bubble of protective energy. With every inhale of breath, imagine Divine healing energy entering your body. It spreads throughout your body…up into your head, down your arms to your hands and fingers, down the torso to the legs, and down the legs to the feet and toes. Your entire body is filled with Divine energy, bright healing white light. Every system, every organ, every cell in your body is infused with healing energy. Imagine any low energy or negative energy being transformed by the light.

Breathe slowly and bask in this healing energy, for as long as you want. Open your heart wide and express love and gratitude for this time of healing.

Imagine leaving your Safe Place, carrying the Divine white light with you. Count down from seven to one. As you get to one slowly open your eyes and move your fingers and toes. Stretch arms and legs. Stand slowly and stretch upwards, taking a deep breath.

This meditation can last for a few minutes or an hour…it’s up to you. If a thought pops into your head, say yes and let it go on by. Gradually your body will enter into a relaxed state quickly and easily without being distracted by thoughts.

Meditation is a wonderful practice to incorporate into your daily health routines, along with nutrient dense foods, exercise and supplements. Blessings on your healing journey!

Meditate for Health

Apricots

These tiny fruits that resemble miniature peaches are BIG on flavor and health benefits. They are an amazing fruit for rejuvenating the body due to being high in amino acids such as cysteine and glutamine, and minerals such as selenium and magnesium. This super food is loaded with more than 40 trace minerals and phytochemical compounds that bind to toxins such DDT buried deeply within the body, lowering the risk of many cancers.

Apricots

Apricots are a B12 enhancing food meaning they eliminate unhelpful elements in the digestive tract that get in the way of healthy B12 production. The skin of the apricot destroys mold, yeast, unneeded candida and other harmful fungus in the body, while the skin’s enzymes and coenzymes protect DNA.

Apricots reduce the gut’s production of ammonia, a destructive gas that can leach through the intestinal wall and cause problems throughout the body, from brain fog to dental issues. And apricots are an energy stabilizer that boost the growth of red blood cells, strengthening the heart and nourishing the brain. When the body’s energy reserves are low, apricots restore and replenish.

When fresh apricots are unavailable, dried apricots are a great alternative. Just make sure they are sulfur free. Dried apricots retain all their health benefits when dehydrated. The potassium level actually increases when this fruit is dried. (All info from Life Changing Foods by Anthony William.)

Apricots Dried sulfur free apricots are a golden brown color, instead of the bright orange of dried apricots that contain sulfur.

Apricots

I like using dried sulfur free apricots to make Apricot Bars, an easy and nutritious snack that is naturally sweet and chewy with the crunch of almonds. They only have four ingredients. You can find the recipe HERE

Apricots have powerful healing properties, and offer emotional support as well. They open us up, and help to calm nervousness while regulating when we need to be guarded and when we need to drop our defenses. Apricots soothe any type frustrating situation. These amazing little fruits deliver huge results in a compact package!

Apricots

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Omega 3s: Non Fish EPA & DHA

Omega 3s fatty acids are one of the “good” types of fat. They can help lower the risk of heart disease, depression, dementia, and arthritis. The body can’t make them. We have to eat them in our foods or take supplements. Because I adhere to a plant based lifestyle, it’s important to me to get my Omega 3s through sources other than fish oil or fish based products. Fortunately, there are plant based options!

Omega 3s Non Fish EPA and DHA

Omega 3s are a specific type of polyunsaturated fatty acids. The body can synthesize saturated fatty acids, but doesn’t have an enzyme that allows it to create omega 3s on its own. The three omega 3s found in food are ALA, EPA and DHA. I’ll create a separate post about ALA. This post looks at the health benefits of EPA & DHA.

EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) is a 20-carbon fatty acid found in oily fish, algae oil and some plants. The body is able to synthesize this molecule in its original form. This, along with DHA, are the omega 3s most needed in high quantities to achieve the benefits they offer.

DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is a 22-carbon molecule is also found in oily fish, algae oil and some plants. The body will convert some DHA molecules back to EPAs in order to keep them at fairly equal levels if you consume more DHA.

Plants that are high in Omega 3s include walnuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds, hemp seeds, and Brussels sprouts.

Omega 3s Non Fish EPA and DHA

Health benefits of having enough Omega 3s include improved heart health, decreased inflammation throughout the body, fight against mental disorders and mental decline, lowered risk of cancer, support for healthy bones and joints, improved quality of sleep, infant and child development, relieve menstrual pain, anti-aging, healthy skin, and lowered risk for macular degeneration.

EPA & DHA repairs and strengthens areas of the nervous system that have been damaged by the shingles virus. They fortify the endocrine system so that it is less susceptible to damage from excessive amounts of adrenaline that can be the result of a thyroid condition, an over abundance of stress, or both.

Although I try to include foods that are rich sources of Omega 3s, I take a supplement to ensure that my body is receiving this vital nutrient. It was especially important to me while I was eliminating the shingles virus from my body. Omega 3s helped to repair the damage to my sciatic nerves.

Look for plant based options, if avoiding fish is important to you, as it is to me. Click the link below to order a non fish version of Omega 3s.

Omega 3s Non Fish EPA and DHA

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Watermelon, Strawberry & Ginger Lemonade

I love watermelon in the summertime, so when I find a new recipe that includes this juicy fruit and it is incredibly healthy, I try it. This unique spin on lemonade also includes strawberries and ginger. I made the frosty drink this evening, to accompany dinner.

Watermelon Strawberry and Ginger Lemonade

Watermelon Strawberry & Ginger Lemonade by Anthony William.

8 cups of watermelon, cut into chunks

1 cup of strawberries, hulled and halved

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh ginger

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 – 2 tablespoons raw organic honey (optional)

Combine ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour over ice in glasses. Garnish with lemon slices. Makes 4 servings.

Watermelon Strawberry and Ginger Lemonade

These are ingredients that I always have on hand, this time of year. Frozen strawberries could be substituted for fresh. And I did not add the honey. I don’t like my drinks to be very sweet, and for me the strawberries and watermelon provided the right level of sweetness.

I keep a big bowl of watermelon chunks chilling in the refrigerator, which allowed me to create this easy drink in minutes. I cut the recipe in half, making two servings, and offered Greg a glass. He is not a fan of watermelon…however he liked the drink and finished off his glass.

I loved it! The blend of watermelon, strawberries, lemon juice and ginger was perfectly balanced…sweet and tangy with a kick of ginger. I’ll be enjoying this lemonade often.

Watermelon Strawberry and Ginger Lemonade

California Poppy

This yellow orange flower, which is the state flower of California, has many health benefits. The roots, stems, leaves, flowers and seeds can all be used for medicinal purposes. The California Poppy, also called the Golden Poppy, is considered a sub-opiate because its effects are much milder than its cousin the red poppy, which is the source for opium.

California Poppy

This flower, which is actually an herb, is a rich source of vitamins A, C and E and the minerals calcium and magnesium. California Poppy has sedative properties, making it useful to treat insomnia, anxiety, stress, panic attacks, hypertension, colic and bed wetting in children, when it’s caused by anxiety or stress.

It’s also useful for behavior disorders such as OCD, bipolar disorder, ADD, Alzheimer’s, and ADHD. California Poppy is great for sharpening cognitive skills such as memory and concentration, making it helpful for both students and adults. It’s also an excellent natural pain reliever that can be substituted for over-the-counter and prescription pain meds.

California Poppy

California Poppy’s analgesic and antispasmodic properties relieve acute nerve and muscle pain. It helps to reduce fevers, slow a rapid heart rate, relieve a toothache and ease coughs. It contains antimicrobial properties as well, which makes this herb effective in treating cuts, wounds and skin irritations while soothing inflammation. California Poppy powder, mixed with coconut, treats and eliminates head lice.

As a tea, California Poppy relaxes muscles and the body and calms anxious thoughts, making it a great drink to sip before bed to promote a good night’s rest. Mix 2 teaspoons of dried herb in a cup of hot water and steep for 10 minutes. Add raw organic honey to sweeten, if desired, or a slice of lemon. (Info from Anthony William.)

California Poppy

California Poppy can be purchased in tea, tincture, extract, powder, dried or cream form, in health stores or by clicking the links below.

I use California Poppy in tincture form, placing a full dropper under my tongue. I began using this herb to help with nerve and muscle pain, at the beginning of my healing journey, and found that it had a very calming effect as well. I still use California Poppy occasionally, after an extremely busy day or if I have tight, sore muscles from gardening. I’m very interested in trying the herb in dried form, so I can make a nighttime tea before bed.

California Poppy

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Berries

I’ve been sharing a lot about berries this week. I’m participating in a July Berry Challenge, initiated by Anthony William and intended to encourage people to include more berries in their diets. There’s a good reason to make sure these little super fruits are enjoyed daily. They are powerful antioxidants.

Berries

Antioxidants fight free radicals in the body. Put simply, as Anthony writes in Life Changing Foods, antioxidants mean life, while oxidation, caused by free radicals, means death. Berries provide the antioxidants we need to fight oxidation and the aging process, and to survive the constant threats to our health and wellbeing.

Berries are an excellent source of iron, magnesium, selenium, zinc, molybdenum, potassium, chromium and calcium. They also contain traces of omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9 fatty acids, plus they stop excess adrenaline from damaging organs. Berries are rich in phytochemicals, amino acids, and coenzymes.

Berries

Berries

Berries are brain food. They enhance B12 and reverse brain lesions, calcifications, heavy metal deposits, scar tissue, adhesions and damage caused by expanded blood vessels. Berries protect against all brain disorders including cancer, ALS, Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s, stroke, aneurysm, and migraines.

For heart health, think of adding more berries as well. These fruits protect heart valves and ventricles and remove plaque by dissolving fat deposits in veins and arteries. Plus, berries promote fertility by helping to keep a woman’s reproductive system in constant balance.

Berries

Berries

Bring more berries into the body to ease insomnia, inflammation, depression, anxiety, adrenal fatigue, thyroid disorders, fibromyalgia, eczema, psoriasis, edema, high cholesterol, hot flashes, heart palpitations, tingles, numbness, nerve pain, chest pain, dizziness, tinnitus, sluggish liver back pain and knee pain.

Grazing between meals with handfuls of berries raises the body’s vibrational frequency. And picking berries yourself, any of the varieties, is an extraordinary grounding experience.

I enjoy berries in a variety of ways. I add frozen strawberries and wild blueberries, one of the most powerfully healing foods on the planet, to my morning smoothies. I add berries to salads, combine them with melons, create flavored waters and teas with them, use them to top frozen banana ice cream and eat them fresh, by the handfuls.

I’ve felt a tremendous shift in my health and life, since adding more berries to my diet. I am deeply grateful for this simple, miraculous food.

Berries

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Mixed Berries with Honey

Today’s Try This Tuesday recipe is so incredibly simple, and yummy, that I wondered why I had not tried this before. I’ve declared this week Berry Week, for the blog posts, as I participate in a Berry Challenge on Instagram during the month of July. Created by Anthony William, the Medical Medium, the purpose of the Berry Challenge is to encourage and inspire people to eat berries every day.

It’s achieving its purpose!

Mixed Berries with Honey

I’ll post about the health benefits of these little superfoods on Friday. Today I’m sharing this easy recipe from Anthony, who has been posting lots of ideas for incorporating more berries into our lives

Mixed Berries with Honey

1/2 cup of strawberries, quartered

1/2 cup frozen wild blueberries, thawed

1/2 cup raspberries

1/2 cup blackberries

1 – 2 tablespoons raw organic honey

Gently combine berries with honey. Makes 2 servings.

Mixed Berries with Honey

So simple! I didn’t have raspberries so I increased strawberries to one cup. Any combination of berries can be used. All are beneficial, so pick your favorites and mix them up. Use locally produced raw organic honey, to receive health benefits that are specifically geared toward you.

I typically eat berries, and I do eat them everyday, without any sweetener at all, so I wondered if adding honey would make them taste too sweet. It didn’t! The honey added a rich warm taste that was just right. This would be a great alternative for those who are accustomed to adding refined sugar to their berries.

Honey coated berries can be eaten as is, added to a smoothie bowl, or…my favorite…used to top a bowl of frozen banana nice cream. Oh my…what a wonderful, and healthy, summer treat!

Mixed Berries with Honey