We love a hearty bone or veggie broth for its immune boosting power—and amazing benefits for healthy skin.
The weather is starting to turn, the nights getting colder, here in the northern hemisphere. A warm Broth is the perfect food for this time of year.
Bone broth is very much a staple in our house, made every week for all its immune system boosting goodness—and its ability to help keep skin healthy, elastic and supple. We also love a good veggie broth for the same reasons. Both deliver different key nutrients to support and maintain your skin, its health and well-being.
Discover why chicken soup is good for the soul and so much more. This blog in a nutshell:
Why Your Skin Elasticity Declines in the First Place
Collagen is a crucial component in your hair, skin, teeth and nails. The tricky thing is that as you age, your body’s natural collagen production declines, further compromised by environmental factors like:
Your body knows what to do. It is already wired to make collagen from nutrients found in a healthy diet, including fruits, veggies, legumes, and whole grains. This is where including Broths—bone and/or veggie—in your diet can really step in to help your body stimulate collagen production.
What is Broth?
Bone broths—beef, chicken, fish, lamb and more—are staples in the traditional diets in many cultures. Back in the the ancient day, it was a way our ancestors made use of every part of an animal. Bones and marrow, skin and feet, tendons and ligaments—all the stuff they couldn’t eat—were boiled and then simmered over a period of days. Strain out the animal matter and, Voila, they got bone broth, a rich flavoured, nutrient-dense, easy to digest way to boost their immune systems and stay healthy, from the inside out. A steaming bowl of stew or curry, anyone?
Vegetable broths are equally a staple in traditional diets all over the world. It was—and still is—a great way to get plant nutrition into your body, in a warm, hearty format. Back in the ancient day, a veggie broth was made from boiling and then simmering a combination of vegetables together in water. Strain out the plant matter and, Voila, they got veggie broth, a flavourful, nutritious boost to the immune system and over all health. Miso or dal, anyone?
It would appear that meals that combine both broth types may just deliver the best of both worlds. A study of chicken soup (containing both animal and vegetable ingredients) conducted by the University of Nebraska Medical Center investigated what it was in the soup that made it so beneficial for colds and flu. Researchers found that some of the nutrients produced when making chicken broth reduced inflammation in the respiratory system, improved digestion and helped relieve joint pain, while nourishing and protecting organs—like your skin. Good to know that Grandma, officially and scientifically proven, knew best!
Collagen: The Building Block for Your Skin
Collagen is responsible for maintaining the elasticity of your skin. Your skin is made of collagen fibres which get damaged by those pesky environmental factors noted above. You can help your skin by consuming foods that have the nutrients your body needs to produce more collagen.
Glycine is an amino acid, a building block, that helps create proteins, in particular collagen. It is kind of a multi-tasker, too: it helps the metabolic synthesis of certain nutrients that the brain and nerves use for energy; and it is also very valuable for slowing down the loss of cartilage in joints, which happens naturally as we age. As we age, our joints and skin can't have enough Glycine. It keeps creating collagen, repairing damaged tissues within joints; and restoring the collagen in our skin that breaks down due to ongoing free radical damage. Glycine is important for digestion as well as cognitive function and—BONUS—it helps your body create enough serotonin for a good night’s sleep.
Proline is another amino acid building block your body uses for making protein. Your body can make proline on its own, and it can also get it through your diet. Proline helps skin retain moisture, adding to a supple look and feel. It also helps support collagen production to prevent the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Several high-protein foods are believed to nurture collagen production because they contain the amino acids that make collagen—glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline. These include poultry, meat, eggs, cheese, legumes, beans leafy greens, dried seaweed, watercress, asparagus, shiitake mushrooms, and cabbage.
Collagen production also requires nutrients like zinc that is found in shellfish, legumes, meats, nuts, seeds, and whole grains; vitamin C from bell peppers, and tomatoes; or herbs such as cilantro leaf, thyme, dill, and parsley; potassium from winter and summer squashes or potatoes; magnesium from leafy greens and legumes.
So there are a number of tasty ingredients you could put into making a nutritious bone broth base, a veggie broth base or a soup using that both broths. Either way, its a win win for your skin.
Hyaluronic Acid: Your Hydration Regulator.
Hyaluronic acid helps your skin hold onto moisture and water. It also plays a crucial role in wound healing, skin repair and tissue regeneration. High water content in skin helps it retain resilience, pliability and an overall youthful look.
Bone broth is a good whole food source of Glucosamine, which has been shown to stimulate hyaluronic acid synthesis in your body to accelerate wound healing, improve skin hydration and decrease wrinkles(3).
Other foods such as tofu and edamame, leafy greens, almonds and root veggies provide nutrients that can naturally increase hyaluronic acid synthesis in your body.
You can also add naringenin, a flavonoid that blocks the activity of hyaluronidase, an enzyme responsible for the breakdown of hyaluronic acid. Oranges don’t contain hyaluronic acid, but they do contain naringenin. So, eating foods such as citrus fruits, oranges, figs and tomatoes could help you maintain healthy levels of hyaluronic acid in your body.
Make Your Own Broth
Making your own bone broth is an art really, and an exercise in slow-boil patience. Here is a bone broth recipe from Blue Bird Provisions, maker and purveyor of Bone Broth. Founder Conner is a trail/ultra runner, dad, husband, and wolf-dog dad. In 2016, he used bone broth to heal a devastating foot injury that doctors said would never heal. He was told that he would never run again. Using bone broth, he got back to ultra running and winning 50km races. Now, I’m not a big athlete but I do swear by bone broth for my own bone and skin health, as well as Thom’s.
Conner also has a recipe that he calls Vegan Bone Broth. It’s a nutrient-rich, flavourful stock made using all plant-based ingredients. He says, “We substitute bones for dried mushrooms, adaptogens and wakame seaweed to give your an irresistibly nourishing beverage with a truly umami flavor.You can buy premade vegetable broth bases, but my advice is to avoid them as they are truly the worst and most processed food products out there.”
I’m looking forward to Fall Equinox this week, and turning inward once again. A warm Broth is the perfect food for this time of year. So happy to be broth-making and broth-drinking, for all its benefits— especially that cosy, warm, hug-from-the-inside-out feeling. Yummm!
Our ancestors knew the power of Rosemary to help with everything from Memory to to Massage to a little Mmmmm in the bedroom.
In a Nutshell:
A Little Rosemary Legend and Lore
Rosmarinus Officinalis has played a role in the human story since ancient times. Officinalis is a latin word that indicates that a plant is of medicinal use. Rosmarinus comes from the Latin for dew (ros) and of the sea (marinus), reflecting the origin story of Venus, the Goddess of Love. The myths tell that she was seeded from the stars when a phallic-looking object (apparently from Uranus) fell into her mothers womb, the Sea. Venus emerged fully formed from the waters, her neck draped with rosemary. It is a gorgeous image of feminine beauty, power and love, born of both the stars and the earth, beautifully captured by Sandro Botticelli in his painting, The Birth of Venus.
The common name rosemary comes from a legend that Mary, mother of Jesus, while fleeing from Egypt, sheltered one night next to a blossoming rosemary bush. When she threw her blue cape over the bush, its white flowers turned blue. Like the sacred woman she is associated with, Rosemary's energy is loving and soothing like that of a caring mother. It is subtle and fragrant, yet grounding and supportive.
But our love story with Rosemary does not end there. Its medicinal properties have benefited humans for centuries. In Ancient times, it was burned in spaces to clear the air of toxins, bacterial or spiritual. The Greeks hung rosemary bunches in study spaces to help scholars focus their minds for clear thought and inner vision. And legend has it that Rosemary oil was part of an immune system boosting blend that protected grave robbers from getting sick during the Plague.
Rosemary Essential Oil Health and Wellness Benefits
Back in the day, Rosemary was used to treat respiratory issues, melancholy, gout, epilepsy, arthritis, memory problems and nerves. It was also part of regular body maintenance, both inside and out. Thats a lot of awesome wellness in one plant!
Today, rosemary essential oil is used to boost the immune system and ease breathing; relax muscles and stimulate circulation; calm the mind and hone focus. It can help eliminate harmful bacteria and fungus, soothe an upset tummy, minimize a skin breakout, uplift mood and revitalize hair.
Now you have even more reasons to use Rosemary Essential Oil! But how will you put that precious elixir to use? Here are 5 suggestions for how you can put the benefits of your Rosemary essential oil into personal care rituals for yourself and your loved ones.
Diffuse Rosemary Essential Oil to Improve Memory and Focus
Rosemary is a strong cephalic essential oil, which means that it has properties that work on the head. Recent scientific studies show that Rosemary Oil can help improve memory, focus and concentration for students, as well as dementia patients. It can also reduce the level of harmful hormones released during stressful experiences.
Does your child have an exam to study for? Having trouble focusing on a project? Or a loved one experiencing short term memory loss? Try a few drops of your lovely rosemary oil in an aromatherapy diffuser. Place it in the room and let Rosemary work some of her magic.
Worried about stressing out in an exam or at work? You can also take Rosemary essential oil with you on the go in an aromatherapy inhaler or in aroma jewelry. No matter what stressful dragon you might be facing down, Rosemary has your back!
Make a Rosemary Massage Oil to Relieve Aches and Pains
Rosemary is fabulous for relaxing tight overworked muscles. Its anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain-relieving) properties work wonderfully on headaches, muscle soreness, rheumatism or arthritis. Its anti-bacterial, anti-fungal properties are knock out foot and armpit odour. And its stimulating properties put a little zing back into your blood flow. Get your Rosemary Essential oil to work by creating a multi-purpose massage oil that can be used to massage your aching head, sore body and tired feet.
To make the massage oil, choose an organic, skin-loving carrier oil - like almond, rice bran or sunflower. Next, dilute your Rosemary essential oil into your carrier oil. The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (USA) recommends using 2.5% to 10% essential oils in a massage oil formula. Your carrier oil will make up the rest. Combine both oils together in a bottle. Cap it, and gently shake it thoroughly to mix the ingredients.
Heat your Rosemary Massage oil just a little before using it by placing your bottle of oil into a mug of hot water. Thats an Ayurvedic massage trick, to improve oil absorbability and fluidity. Ayurvedic self-massage has been used for centuries to keep the lymphatic system flowing smoothly, while working on acupressure points and stimulating your nervous system. Your Rosemary Massage oil is perfect to use, as Rosemary will help stimulate muscles and nerves, provide pain relief as well as clear up that brain fog!
Use Rosemary as an Aphrodisiac
Rosemarys association with the Goddess of Love explains the traditions of employing Rosemary in matters of the heart. Back in the day, it was used to make love charms. Both bride and groom would wear it in ceremony as a symbol of their love and devotion to one another. It would be placed between the sheets on the wedding night as an aphrodisiac and to ensure fertility. And planted outside the house for protection. Thats a lot of Love blessings!
Today, Rosemary and Love still go together. Valued for its aphrodisiac properties, it has the ability to stimulate both mind and bodyâhelping you to be more present during love-making. Increased blood circulation heightens sensitivity to touch; a relaxed body can lean into an orgasm with some abandon; and a focused mind is more able to pay attention to physical and emotional needs in the bedroom,.
Arouse your partner with a sensual massage using your Rosemary Massage Oil. Diffuse some Rosemary essential oil in the bedroom. Let Rosemary carry you away to your bliss.
Use Rosemary to Zap Zits
Rosemary Essential Oil has astringent, anti-bacterial and anti-oxidant properties. That makes it particularly good at deflating the most angry of zits. You can make your own Zit Zapper Oil by pairing your Rosemary essential Oil with a lightweight, easily absorbed carrier oil that supports your skin sebum production while repairing ruptures. That gift from Nature is is Evening primrose Oil.
Put 30ml Evening Primrose oil in a dropper bottle. Add 10 drops of Rosemary Essential Oil. Cap the bottle and gently shake to thoroughly mix the ingredients together. At bedtime, complete your usual face care routine. Instead of using your regular moisturizer, apply your Zit Zapper oil blend. Place a drop or two of the oil on the affected skin area. Gently massage the oils into your skin. Leave the oils to work overnight while you sleep.
Condition and Strengthen your Hair with a Rosemary Essential Oil Treatment
I come from a long line of women with amazing hair. Truly! Even as I turn 60 this year, I have a full head of hair with some light silvering. The secret? Coconut oil and Castor Oil. Having an oil treatment was part of a weekly routine in my youth, one I still indulge in today.
Washing, brushing and styling your hair can cause damage, leaving it looking frizzy, broken, and dry. Coconut oil can help treat split ends; its anti-bacterial properties can fight dandruff causing fungals; and its cooling feel is calming to scalp itchiness. Castor oil strengthens the hair shaft, helps smooth the hair cuticle and adds shine. Add Rosemary Essential Oil to this magic mix and you get a scalp stimulant that studies show may help slow down hair loss and graying.
To make this lovely hair treatment, heat together 2 tsp Coconut Carrier Oil and 2 tsp Castor Oil in a small pan. When the oils are melted and blended, remove from heat and add 5 drops Rosemary Essential oil. Using your fingertips, massage the oil blend into your scalp. Leave it in for 30 minutes to an hour. Shampoo as usual.
I hope you feel inspired to include Rosemary Essential Oil in your daily self-care practices. How are you planning to use It? Please leave a comment and let us know!.
Lavender tea's delicate, aromatic flavour drifts you to a good night's sleep. Here's why + a sleepy time tea recipe
We love our lavender, don't we? It's one of the most loved fragrances in the world, known for its restful calming effects, making it an essential in a sleepy time tea. Move over chamomile, make room for lavender!
Lavender tea is made from the fresh or dried buds of the Lavender flower, Lavendula angustifolia. Originating in the Mediterranean, it is now cultivated all over the world, including in my garden! Lavender brings a distinctive flavour and aromatic fragrance to foods. My son, Javid, flavours the most delicious ice creams with it; his gal Bri likes to flavour cakes and icing with it; and we make a simple syrup to add to drinks. Gin and lavender tonics anyone? I also use Lavender in my body care products for its calming scent and capacity to maintain clear skin complexioned boost cellular health. And I use it in a tea blend I make for a relaxed night's sleep. Between care taking of Thom and the garden, running all things Free Lion and being there for my boyz-to-men as required, I find getting a solid sleep can make all the difference to my day ahead.
But let's get back to talking tea. Lavender is a herb and a member of the mint, oregano and rosemary family. So it comes by its health benefits honestly. But what can a lavender tea do for you?
1. Improve Sleep
Lavender induces calm. Its relaxing effects can help improve sleep and be used to help you get there. According to Health Canada, Canadians are not getting enough sleep. 1 in 2 adults have trouble going to sleep or staying asleep; 1 in 5 adults do not find their sleep refreshing; and 1 in 3 adults are having trouble staying awake during the day. Health Canada puts this trend down to sedentary lifestyles and chronic stress. Not a surprise, given everything we're having to deal with these days. Enter Lavender Tea!
Drinking Lavender tea before bed can help you achieve a more restful sleep. According to a sleep study in Taiwan conducted with women post partum, Lavender tea helped participants' sleep quality improve. They also reported decreased depression symptoms and were able to be more present with their infants for better bonding. In another study of lavender and the nervous system, lavender taken orally, inhaled or massaged into the skin was found to decrease anxiety and improve mood levels. Yet another study conducted by psychologists at Wesleyan University with 31 men and women found that lavender increased slow-wave sleep, instrumental for slowing heartbeat and relaxing muscles. Participants slept more soundly with lavender than without. They also reported feeling more energetic in the morning.
2. Preventative Holistic Health
Western medicine is an allopathic system. That means it treats symptoms and not the whole person. Its goal is to eradicate, mend and repair, which is brilliant when you have a condition that will benefit from such treatment. The holistic approach is more about prevention, a philosophy that underpins many "Alternative" medical approaches.
Lavender tea fits in here perfectly. It can be taken as a preventative measure, to maintain balance in your body, delivering many desired health effects. Lavender tea is full of antioxidants to help you eliminate those pesky toxins from your system, working to prevent them from wreaking havoc on human cells through mutation, degradation or oxidative stress.
Lavender tea contains high amounts of antioxidants and antibacterial compounds (like Vitamin C, calcium and magnesium) that can help boost your immune system against colds, bacterial, fungal and viral infections. It has properties that can reduce inflammation which, in turn can help prevent a host of eventually serious ailments like heart issues or arthritis. Its antispasmodic properties can also help with joint pain while helping to minimize muscle spasms. The same can be really helpful with menstrual cramps.
Lavender tea can also help soothe digestive issues like nausea or diarrhea or indigestion. More importantly, it can help stimulate production of bile while will help your body break down foods more effectively. It can also help open up chest airways, making it easier to breathe. That's the added bonus of smelling your lavender tea between sips.
Lavender Borage Sleepy Tea
This calming warm tea is just the thing to help you unwind. The best time to drink a sleep tea is 30 minutes before crash time.
You can infuse the flowers into water. Or for an extra pre-bedtime sleep kick, infuse the flowers into the milk of your choice. Dairy milk and almond milk both contain tryptophan which increases serotonin, the precursor to the sleep regulating hormone, melatonin. I've honey as a sweetener but also because it helps release melatonin in your brain. You can replace honey with another sweetener for a vegan option.
You can have your lavender tea straight up, no chaser. Or you can blend it with other plants that promote relaxation and calm. For this recipe, I have included Borage flowers, a calming, cleansing staple in the Persian diet, for its relaxation and stress relieving properties.
1 cup of water, milk or almond milk
1 tsp dried borage flowers
1 tsp dried lavender flowers
1 tsp honey or stevia
1. Place the water, milk or almond milk into a small saucepan on medium heat. Heat to very hot, not a roaring boil.
2. Add the dried lavender buds and dried borage flowers to the saucepan
3. Allow to steep for 5 or 6 minutes.
4. Pour into a mug through a strainer
5. Add honey or sweetener of your choice.
6. Drink. Rest. Reset. Relax. Nite Nite!
Disclaimer: I'm not a doctor. The information I have provided about herbs and sleep are from my own research experience. I encourage you to find your own answers for what works best for you and your body.
5 natural headache remedies to consider before reaching for the pills
We're all going through a lot of stress and change right now; which means headaches may definitely be a part of your day to day experience. Many of us pop a pill and carry on. But a headache is really your body speaking to you through nerve signals sent from the blood vessels and muscles in your head. Your body might be telling your it's missing something--like a breather, a drink of water or some essential nutrients. Or it might be sensitive to something in your diet or your environment. Headaches can be triggered by a number of things: stress, fatigue, allergies, eyestrain, poor posture, a hangover, low blood sugar, hormones, or gut issues.
So, how can you help your headache go away or prevent one from happening? And are there natural ways that can help? Answer? YES, of course there are! And here are 5 of them to consider trying before you reach for a pill.
1. Get Hydrated
Often a headache is a sign of dehydration. Being dehydrated can cause irritability and interfere with concentration, making symptoms seem even worse. In fact, studies have shown that chronic dehydration is a common cause of tension headaches and migraines. But the good news is that still other studies have shown that drinking water relieves headache symptoms in most dehydrated individuals within 30 minutes to three hours.
So, the first thing to try immediately is to drink a couple of glasses of water or an electrolyte drink. The latter are especially useful in the case of a hangover headache, as alcohol dehydrates. Ideally, choose an electrolyte beverage without artificial colors and sweeteners as these can add to a headache. My favourite electrolyte option is Hydralyte fizzy tabs. Not too sweet, easy to use and carry with you. Bonus: it’s made in Canada, my home on Native land.
To help avoid dehydration headaches, focus on drinking enough water throughout the day and eating water-rich foods. Between the two of these, aim to consume 2 litres a day.
Your headache could be your body telling you it’s low on magnesium, needed for over 600 cellular reactions from making DNA to controlling how your nerves and muscles work. Magnesium keeps your bones strong, heart healthy and blood sugar normal. It also plays a role in your energy levels. In the brain, Magnesium is the gate keeper for NMDA receptors which are involved in healthy brain development, memory and learning. Without enough magnesium, your nerve cells become overstimulated and could be damaged.
Experts think Magnesium helps to block or lower pain chemicals in your brain while keeping blood vessels from tightening. It may also prevent the wave of brain signalling called cortical spreading depression, which produces the visual and sensory experiences that come with a headache, especially a migraine.
And really, who can say no to dark chocolate with nuts?
3. Get Some Exercise
A little bit of exercise can make big difference in decreasing headaches. Going out for a walk or a bike ride can help oxygenate your system which can reduce headache pain. Not to mention releasing an endorphin or two, which help decrease your sensitivity to pain while boosting your mood and increasing your sense of well-being. Exercise and fresh air can also help promote a healthy sleep pattern, which also lowers the stress that can lead to headaches.
Yoga poses and other forms of stretching can help ease tight muscles and tension in the head, neck and shoulders. This, plus flowing breathing, helps ease headache pain. You can go one further by doing deep breathing and other relaxation techniques can help you focus on the present moment and not on your pain body.
My mother swears by Reflexology. Ask her for advice on healing a headache and she’ll tell you to go massage your big toe! And no wonder... because it works.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, Qi (pronounced "chee") is your life force energy. Just as your body has a blood circulation system, so too does it have one for the flow of Qi. When Qi is not flowing smoothly, it may eventually show up as physical symptom, like a headache. So, if you have too much Qi gathering in the head, you might experience intense headache pain. Too little Qi in the head, and you might experience a milder, and achy headache. The key to relieving the pain, intense or mild, is to get the Qi flowing smoothly through your head. That’s where Reflexology comes in.
Reflexology involves the physical stimulation of specific acupressure points on the feet and hands to promote Qi circulation to optimize body function. Reflexology points are thought to be connected to the internal organs, brain, blood circulation, and nerve function by your Qi. Massaging those points on your foot or hand unblocks the flow of Qi and brings the body back into a healthy balance. And yes, you guessed it, one of those pressure point lives in your big toe!
Visit Chinese Reflexology with Hollie Tse for a more detailed explanation of how to give yourself a headache relieving Reflexology massage,
5. Head Massage using Aromatherapy
Plants and their essences have been used for centuries for their medicinal and healing properties. Certain oils are known for their ability to ease aches and relax the accompanying stress. Our Head Balm is formulated with four of these for their headache relieving properties.
Peppermint Essential Oil is known for its cooling properties and ability to help relax muscles and ease pain. It also stimulates circulation, which brings more oxygen to the brain which helps ease tight muscles.
Lavender Essential Oil is commonly used for stress relief and relaxation. There’s also strong evidence that lavender can help treat headaches and migraine.
Eucalyptus Essential Oil will open up the nasal passages, clear the sinuses, and help relieve sinus tension that causes the headaches. If your headaches are caused by sinus issues, eucalyptus essential oils can become your new best friend.
Rosemary Essential Oil has powerful anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain-relieving) properties. It’s been used in folk medicine for hundreds of years for stress reduction, pain relief, and improved circulation, which can all help headaches.
We put those powerful essential oils into a salve which allows for good massagability. The beeswax in the salve does a brilliant job of holding those oils to your head for a longer period of time than a roll on, oil only headache remedy.
Half the magic of our Head Balm is the essential oils; the other half is the massage you give yourself. Rachel Richards walks you through the massage technique in the Video below. Melt some Head Balm between your fingers and thumb in both hands and then follow along with Rachel. Add more Head Balm as needed.
What are your favourite natural headache remedies?