Posted in DIY, food, loreeebee.ca, nutrition

Hot Soup For Cold Days

There is nothing like a hot bowl of soup on a cold day. One of my favourite activities in fall is making homemade soup. I call it leftover soup because I use up all the broth and bones taking up space in my freezer as well as any leftover vegetables in my fridge. Homemade is also much more nutritious and tasty than store-bought soups.

How to Create Your Own Broth

I love to make my own broth, mainly because store-bought broth is laden with salt and other ingredients I cannot or don’t care to pronounce or put in my body. I use this homemade broth by the spoonful in sauces or larger amounts in soups and stews.

Every time I roast meat, whether turkey, chicken, pork or beef, I save the pan drippings in a bucket that is stored in my freezer. All the drippings go into the same bucket until its full and I need to start a new bucket. Each addition freezes in a separate layer with the fat rising to the top of each layer. When you remove the broth for use, the fat is easy to scrape off for discarding.

I also add the nutrient-packed liquid left at the bottom of the dish after steaming vegetables to my broth buckets. Another trick is to freeze the tough broccoli stalks you trim off the heads to prepare for meals. Freeze them in another bag.

Storing Bones

Bones from roasted meat are also easily stored in the freezer for later use in soups, simply put them in a sealable plastic bag, squish the air out, and freeze. Turkey legs end up in a freezer bag as no one in my household likes to eat them when they are freshly roasted. These legs have lots of meat on them too, which falls off the bones as you simmer them on soup making day.

I only freeze large bones, as the smaller ones are difficult to get all the tiny bones separated from the meat. The larger leg bones are easily retrieved after simmering.

Leftovers in Soup

Leftovers taking up space in your fridge are also great in soups. The remainder of last night’s broccoli, mushrooms, corn, rice, pasta or quinoa all add bulk to your soups. If you are not making soup within a few days of preparing these leftovers, add them to the collection in your freezer.

Harvested Vegetables

If you grow your own vegetables, as many decided to do during the pandemic, you can freeze any you harvest for later use. I don’t grow that many that I cannot eat as I harvest, but I know those that do! On a recent trip to my favourite farm, my aunt sent me home with lots of tomatoes and instructions on how to roast them with garlic. After following her instructions, I gave several buckets away, but ended up with some in my freezer too.

Conclusion

By now you can probably see why I enjoy making soup in the fall. Not only do I end up with a delicious and nutritious meal but my freezer gets cleaned out too!

What do you put in your homemade soups?

Hot Soup For Cold Days
turkey quinoa soup
Posted in health & wellness, loreeebee.ca, mental health, nature, nutrition

4 Ways to up your Mood when the Weather is Down

This article was originally posted on Higher Dose, and modified for a guest post here on Loreeebee.

It’s officially #PSL season, which means it’s time to put on our cozy knits, binge watch Netflix, light a million candles, and excitedly cancel plans with friends. Even though we all look to fall and winter as a time to get hygge, the novelty of the season can wear off quickly as the days get shorter and the weather gets colder, lowering our moods and affecting our health.

People often joke about “winter blues” and Seasonal Affective Disorder, but it’s actually a diagnosable type of depression that is prompted by cold weather and less sunlight, affecting 5% of Americans.

How does this happen? 

It’s not all in your head!

The sun naturally releases a broad spectrum of light throughout the day to help signal our body’s many functions. In the morning and afternoons, we take in more blue light to release cortisol, so we have the energy to be more productive. In the evenings, we’re meant to start winding down with red light and infrared as a way to prompt our melatonin production to facilitate better sleep.

When the days are shorter and colder, we’re taking in less energy-giving light, nutrient-dense vitamin D (which is necessary for immune function), and fewer healing vibrations from nature’s fresh air, resulting in lower energy, chronic fatigue, increased hunger and interrupted sleep.  Plain and simple: Good, nourishing recovery is a lot harder to achieve.

Don’t let this info get you down. Here are some quick and easy ways to hack your mood as the seasons change.

Get a DOSE of happy vibes

Happiness comes from the feel-good chemicals in our brains:

Dopamine: A hormone and neurotransmitter that stimulates the nervous system functions like pleasure and attention.

Oxytocin: Aka the “love hormone” that decreases stress and anxiety levels.

Serotonin: A neurotransmitter that is often released by the sun and infrared light therapy. It’s essential for balancing mood, memory, sleep, and sexual desire

Endorphins: A group of hormones that reduce pain and increase pleasure and overall well-being. They are often released during exercise, hence the term, “a runner’s high.”

Hot Tip: If you’re in NYC, zen out in one of our warm, soothing saunas for a serotonin-releasing mood lifter. At home instead? No problem! Cocooning yourself in our Infrared Sauna Blanket will release your endorphins without ever having to move a muscle. Burning ~600 calories during one single sweat session, your body will feel like it worked out while staying relaxed AND detoxified. Better circulation, mood, and glowing skin are a plus.

Use a light box

Lightboxes, along with infrared therapy, are a popular treatment option for seasonal affective disorder.

There is a broad spectrum of light therapies:

Sunlamps  Improve Vitamin D absorption and increase overall energy levels
Red Light Therapy Focuses more on deeply-penetrating muscles and tissues to calm the skin, manage hormone production, and boost the immune system


If you can’t spend 30 minutes or more in the sun per day and are faced with a dark sky when you wake up in the morning, consider a light therapy box first thing when you wake up to help get your body on a normal schedule.

Get good vibrations from nature

The Japanese practice something called shinrin-yoku, which translates to forest-bathing. “But how do I bathe in a forest?!” Don’t take it literally.

It’s just the act of being in nature and connecting to yourself through your senses. It helps to reduce stress levels, lower blood pressure to relax the body and focus the mind.

The reason being in nature is considered such a healing, mood-boosting activity is because plants release the chemical, phytoncide, which has antibacterial and antifungal qualities that can increase our white blood cells and help strengthen our immune response to foreign invaders.

Nature also gives off literal good vibrations. The Earth has a natural frequency of 7.8hz, which sends low-level frequency through our bodies to help recharge our cells and heal us from the inside out.

If you don’t live near nature, or it’s too cold to go outside, consider:

  • Keeping plants inside your home for at-home plant benefits
  • Try our Infrared PEMF Mat, which uses PEMF, infrared heat, and Negative Ion Therapy to send Pulsed Electromagnetic Frequency throughout your body. Go deeper with your DOSE while getting the ultimate recharge.

Skip comfort eating

Like bears who eat more as they prepare to hibernate during the winter months, we too get excited to indulge as the weather gets colder.

BUT, managing seasonal depression and keeping your mood HIGH starts with eliminating sugar when you can.

Refined starches and carbs that lack fiber and are high-glycemic can directly impact your hormones, which directly affects your happy chemicals. Your gut manages the majority of the hormone production in your body and sends direct messages to your brain. you consume sugar, you end up feeding bad bacteria in your gut that can throw the chemicals in your brain off-balance.

Sticking with whole foods that are nutrient-dense is ideal, but if you do decide you want to get into the goodies, try one of these detoxes to reset your system and get back on track.

Conclusions

This guest post fits in well with my theme as many of these points have been discussed previously on Loreeebee. For many of us, our mental health is taking a beating during the pandemic. Nature is a huge part of my life, as is nutrition. Research tells us that nature, nutrition, and mental health go hand in hand.

If you decide to try the infrared sauna blanket, please use my referral code to save us both some money. I’m hoping Santa reads this; I would love one!

Posted in food, health & wellness, loreeebee.ca, nutrition

Best Smoothie Ingredients

Customize your smoothies to suit your needs and your dietary restrictions.  Pick and choose the ingredients you like to eat or drink.  This will make your custom smoothies easier to swallow, literally.  These ingredients may vary with age too.  For example, seniors may add ingredients that combat arthritis, but the younger generation might not yet care about arthritis. I recently started adding frozen beets to my smoothies as I read they are good for my circulation.

Vitamins & Minerals

Everyone needs vitamins and minerals, regardless of your age. Do your research to see which ingredients contain the vitamins you are deficient in. For example, if you need vitamin B12, use milk or yogurt as your base.

Add Creaminess

Bananas add creaminess and sweetness as well as vitamins B6 and B12, potassium and magnesium. If you are on a calorie restriction however, bananas are not usually recommended as they have a high glycemic index.

Avocados add creaminess too with the added benefit of good (omega 3) fats, fiber, and many vitamins including folate and vitamin K.

Berries are Terrific

Berries are antioxidants and add fiber to your smoothies. Most are also high in vitamin C. Raspberries are very seedy though, so can make your smoothie not so smooth. Blueberries and/or strawberries are terrific. Buy them frozen to keep them easily accessible and their nutrients fresh.

Dark Leafy Greens

If you don’t eat enough dark leafy greens, throw some in your smoothie. They are loaded with vitamins such as A, C and K as well as folate, iron, magnesium, calcium, and potassium. Most are also antioxidants too. Don’t use too many at once though, or your smoothie will get too sludgy. Been there, done that!

Add a Boost of Protein

Protein is always a nice addition to provide even more nutrition to your smoothies. I use hemp hearts and collagen in mine. As well as a good source of protein, collagen is purportedly good for my arthritic joints as well as my aging skin. Protein powder works too and helps keep your smoothies smooth.

Green Tea

Add a few cups of green tea to your smoothie to boost your antioxidant level and reduce cholesterol, body fat, tooth decay, bad breath, and blood pressure. Green tea also gives you a caffeine boost.

If green tea is not your thing, add milk or almond milk for the liquid necessary to blend all the chunkier ingredients.

Spice it Up

Spices such as turmeric, curry powder, cinnamon, cardamom, cumin etc. add flavor and many health benefits. Most are antioxidants, and help to combat inflammation and even cancer.

Conclusion

Tweak your own ingredient list so your smoothie is both tasty and healthy. That way you will continue to concoct and drink them. They make a great start to your morning or a hydrating and healthy boost any other time of day.

Posted in exercise, health and wellness, loreeebee.ca, mental health, nutrition

Making Good Choices in the Time of COVID-19

This informative article was originally posted on the Pyure Organic blog Sweet Talk and ties in nicely with a recent post of mine. It has been adapted for a guest post here:

At the peak of the pandemic, there were new guidelines seemingly every day to help us stay safe and lower our risk of catching and transmitting COVID-19. Today, the advice is clear. Wash your hands regularly, wear a mask and keep your distance from others. 

There are other ways you can make healthy choices beyond virus prevention: changes to your diet, exercise and mindset. These lifestyle changes may not completely prevent your risk of catching coronavirus, but they can boost your immune system, help keep your spirits high and make your body stronger for whatever life throws at you. Here are some simple changes you can make to stay fit and healthy in the midst of a pandemic. 

Focus on good nutrition

There are many reputable research studies that have found a link between a well-balanced diet and a strong immune system. As we head into winter, flu season is right around the corner; pandemic aside, it’s useful to start building healthy nutrients into your diet so your body is ready to ward off everything from the common cold to COVID-19. Here are some simple changes you can make to your diet. 

Switch to sugar alternatives

We know sugar can have negative consequences for our long-term health and is a contributing factor for diabetes and obesity. But some studies have shown that sugar can also decrease the effectiveness of white blood cells – a critical part of our immune system that fights infection. Eating lots of sugar can actually decrease your body’s ability to ward off the bad stuff. 

That doesn’t mean you should stop production on all that quarantine comfort baking! There are plenty of better-for-you sugar alternatives that can make your tasty treats even better. Stevia is one sugar alternative that we love – and Pyure Organic Stevia is one of the only organic stevia brands out there. Stevia is a sweetener that rates a zero on the glycemic index (meaning it won’t spike your blood sugar), zero-calorie and free from any of the chemicals used to create artificial sweeteners. Check out some of our favorite recipes that use Pyure Organic Stevia for some healthier at-home baking inspiration.

Add in a few supplements

In addition to cutting out the bad stuff, you can also add in some minerals and probiotics to make your immune system even stronger – and able to fight off threats. We get most of these minerals through eating a balanced diet, but many of us are deficient in the so-called “Big Four” that help our immune system: 

  • Zinc: This mineral is critical for the development and function of immune cells, yet 79% of us are deficient in zinc. Studies have shown that “80–92 mg per day of zinc may reduce the length of the common cold by up to 33%.” 
  • Magnesium: This so-called “master mineral” is involved in processes like producing energy and building important proteins like your DNA. Your body needs magnesium to function properly, and most people should aim to take 200–400 mg per day. 
  • Selenium: This mineral acts as an antioxidant to reduce inflammation in the body and improve immunity. You can get selenium through foods like fish, eggs and mushrooms.
  • Iodine: This mineral boosts your thyroid gland, which produces hormones that directly impact your immune system. Too much iodine can be a bad thing, so be sure to consult with a doctor before adding in an iodine supplement.

The more proactive you can be about building a healthy immune system, the better! Luckily, many of these minerals can be found by adding some new ingredients to your grocery list.

Eat your leafy greens

Feeding your body with the good stuff is an easy way to keep out the bad stuff. We’ve all heard that citrus is full of Vitamin C and can help ward off the common cold – these foods can also make a big difference in your health: 

  • Red bell peppers: These veggies contain almost 3 times as much Vitamin C as a Florida orange. 
  • Broccoli: It’s packed with Vitamins A, C, and E, fiber, and many other antioxidants.
  • Spinach: rich in vitamin C, antioxidants, and beta carotene
  • Plain yogurt: Look for the unsweetened kind, which is packed with Vitamin D to help regulate the immune system (and add a little Pyure on top to make it taste great!). 
  • Kiwi: These little green guys are high in folate, potassium, Vitamin K and Vitamin C.

These are just a few foods that are great additions to your diet – there are many more out there that can give your immune system a little extra power. 

Stay active, even at home

With many gyms closed and workout classes canceled, it can be difficult to find ways to stay active – but every little bit counts. “Inactivity is an important risk factor similar to high blood pressure, smoking or high cholesterol,” reports the American Society for Nutrition

Regular physical activity supports your immune system and your mental health (more on that in a minute). It’s also a big part of protecting your health from long-term, chronic issues like heart disease and high blood pressure. 

If you’re not sure where to start with an at-home workout, think about what it is you would like to improve. Do you want stronger arms? Better flexibility? More aerobic capacity? From there, you can find a workout plan that works for you. Aim for 15 to 30 minutes a day of moderate exercise and build from there. Check out YouTube and Instagram for free at-home yoga classes, circuit workouts and bodyweight strength-training to keep your routine varied and interesting.

Don’t ignore your mental health

Mental stress can put your body in physical distress, as anxiety takes a big toll on the body. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep and taking care of your mental health. “Immune system activation alters sleep, and sleep in turn affects the innate and adaptive arm of our body’s defense system,” says the National Institute of Health. Many of us are juggling working from home, caring for family and many other parts of life, but getting a good night’s sleep – that’s seven to eight hours for adults – should be a priority. 

There’s also evidence to support the idea that meditation can improve your immune system. Meditation can not only improve your sleep, but it can also help you manage stress and anxiety. Take 10 minutes out of your day to do some deep breathing, relax and calm down your nervous system. Your body will thank you!