Can Honey Cure Seasonal Allergies?

Image Credit: Flickr
I’ve heard over and over that if you eat locally produced honey or bee pollen, you can minimize the discomfort from seasonal pollen and tree allergies.

But, is it true?

I decided it was time to put on my researcher hat and dig up some information.

What Honey Can (And Can’t) Do
After doing lots of reading, the honey cure isn’t backed by much credible evidence.

According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, “There is no scientific proof that eating local honey will improve seasonal allergies. One study, published in 2002 in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, showed no difference among allergy sufferers who ate local honey, commercially processed honey, or a honey-flavored placebo.”

However, honey is a healthy, whole foods sweetener that offers other health benefits.

Dr. Brent A. Bauer with the Mayo Clinic explains on the clinic’s website that honey does work as a cough suppressant and has anti-inflammatory characteristics, which might help an allergy sufferer temporarily.

A Word of Caution for Allergy Sufferers
Since raw honey does contain small amounts of pollen, mold spores and bacteria (which are usually filtered out by commercial processing methods), consuming natural unprocessed honey may cause an allergic response in sensitive individuals.

“The ingestion of unprocessed honey can result in an immediate allergic reaction involving the mouth, throat, or skin - such as itching, hives or swelling - or even anaphylaxis. Such reactions may be related to either pollen or bee part contaminants,” according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

So, should you eat honey if you have strong seasonal allergies? It’s best to talk with your allergist or family physician.

Do you know of any natural remedies to lessen the symptoms of seasonal outdoor allergies? I have a hubby and a few friends who would love to know what works for you! Please share your ideas in the comments below.

Until Next Time,
Choose Healthy!

Whole Foods Living

What are Leeks?

Sometimes I feel like I'm speaking a foreign language. When my friends or family ask me what I had for lunch, it's not uncommon to describe a dish made with quinoa, lentils, tempeh or even leeks.

Then they get quiet -- and remember I'm not a fast-food burger kind of girl.

One mysterious green vegetable that's recently wrinkled noses and turned faces quizzical is the almighty leek. It looks like a fat green onion -- long and slender with a narrow white bulb topped with greenery.

Photo by Angela Tague / Angela's Images

I adore their mildly spicy onion-esque flavor and add them to soups, salads and even roasted them for St. Patrick's Day dinner. Leeks are in the same family of veggies as onions, garlic, chives and shallots.

Awhile back I had the pleasure of chatting with Camilla V. Saulsbury, PhD for an article I wrote on the Tom's of Maine website about leeks. She's a fitness trainer with a background in sociology, health and medicine and the author of Bob’s Red Mill Everyday Gluten-Free Cookbook.

Here's a few facts she mentioned about leeks:
  • Leeks are a source of allicin which helps reduce cholesterol production, coronary artery disease, strokes, and has anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties when eaten in moderate quantities.
  • Leeks are an excellent source of vitamins A, B6, C, E and K.
  • Leeks also contain manganese, folate, copper, iron and calcium.
  • Leeks are a source of omega-3 fatty acids and dietary fiber.
So, do you ever add this green vegetable to your menu? How do you like to eat leeks? Tell me in the comments below.

Until Next Time,
Choose Healthy!

Angela Tague
Whole Foods Living

PS: Bored? Visit me on Facebook! I'd love to chat!

How Lavender Essential Oil Became My Office Mate

I enjoy trying natural health and beauty products.
Photo Credit: Flickr

Over the past few years I've become a cheerleader for natural oils, such as coconut, cocoa butter and jojoba, to use as skin moisturizers.

I've also ventured into taking supplements to boost my energy.

A month or so ago, I was given a free sample of Aromappeal Lavender 100% Pure Essential Oil from Puritan's Pride to try. Honestly, it sat on my shelf for weeks. I wasn't sure what to do with it. Now, I love the scent of lavender as much as the next gal, but I know essential oils are supposed to also have medicinal values, not just smell nice.

So, I started researching.

Overall, lavender is known for its calming and soothing properties. It can be added to a hot bath or a carrier oil and applied during a massage. It's also said to bring a good night's rest when sprinkled on your pillow or used in a reed diffuser in the bedroom. I also read that lavender oil works well for headaches and menstrual cramps.

So, I finally decided to give it a try. One afternoon when I felt one of my cervicogenic headaches coming on, I decided to dab a bit of the lavender oil on each temple. Within a few minutes the pain was less and much more manageable. Usually those headaches land me in bed for a long nap. After using the oil, I was able to push forward on the day's workload.

Later I tried the lavender oil to calm menstrual cramps. I read it was safe to put a few drops of the oil on my belly, cover it with my clothes, then apply a heat pad. This was simple since I had been using the heat pad all morning anyway with no relief. Amazingly, after about 20 minutes of writing, I realized that I no longer had those annoying squeezing abdominal pains. The oil worked!

In the last few weeks, that little bottle of lavender oil had been sitting on my desk. I've dipped into it to soothe regular headaches and calm myself before difficult work projects. I'm not sure whether it's the oil, or simply mind-over-matter, but that little bottle of lavender oil is my new office mate.

Until Next Time,
Choose Healthy!

Angela Tague
Whole Foods Living

Disclosure: The lavender mentioned in this blog post was provided free of charge from Puritan's Pride for review purposes. No monetary compensation was sought or awarded in exchange for the review. All thoughts expressed on Whole Foods Living are solely my own. ~Angela

Note: This article was originally published on Yahoo! Voices on December 20, 2013.

Behind the Scenes at Whole Foods Living

Recently it dawned on me that I've been sharing healthy tips, ideas, insight and recipes here on Whole Foods Living for 4 1/2 years and I've never taken a step back to tell you who is behind this blog!

So, Hello!!

My name is Angela and I live in Iowa with my husband Andrew and two fur babies, a weimaraner named Belle and a bull terrier mix named Orion. I consider the pups my co-workers since I work as a writer from a home office. I focus primarily on journalistic work and marketing content. (Nope, no poetry or fiction!)

I've been a vegetarian since 1998, and have "vegan days" on occasion. I've been following a gluten-free diet since the day after Thanksgiving in 2011 based on a doctor's advice and blood tests for Celiac Disease.

Whole Foods Living is my fun writing. I turn to this blog to tell the world about cool foodie things I stumble upon during my daily research (like a guy who forages for food) or to tell about a tasty, healthy recipe I accidentally tossed together (like my Banana Bread Smoothie).

When I'm not writing about health or nutrition topics here, I'm probably penning it for a client. I'm a regular contributor to the Tom's of Maine Good Matters blog, have written for grocery store blogs and worked on marketing campaigns for DiGiorno Pizza and Fiji Water. Whew!

I'm also a Pinterest addict. I have several foodie boards that you might like to browse or follow. Check out:
  • Feed Me Zucchini: Every summer I end up with too many of these green veggies. I share several ways to prepare it over on Pinterest.
  • Eating Gluten Free: This is a collection of gluten-free goodies, mostly baked goods.
  • Whole Foods Living: If it's a whole food, a blog post from this site or a healthy tip, I probably post it here!
  • Feed Me!: This board includes a variety of recipes, from healthy to sinful, for the hubby and I to try.
  • Healthy Apple Recipes for Fall: I love fall baking, especially using apples my mom's farm.
  • Let's Make Juice: Are you into juicing? Me too!
  • I Love Onions: Need I say more?
  • Eggplant Recipes & Tips: Last summer my garden was overrun with these purple beauties, so I needed lots of recipes to use them up.
  • Health & Nutrition: Random facts, infographics and ideas about living healthy.

So, why not take a quick minute and tell me a little about yourself in the comments below? Feel free to share links to your blog, website, Pinterest or other social media. I'd love to connect!

Until Next Time,
Choose Healthy!

Angela Tague
Whole Foods Living

My Favorite 100 Calorie Gluten-Free Snacks

Hummus and veggies. Photo credit: Flickr
I like to graze.

A handful of almonds here, an apple there. I'm always snacking on something. But those calories can sure add up quickly, especially when I reach for chocolate!

So today I thought I'd do a fun roundup of some of my favorite 100 calorie (or less) gluten-free snacks to make your next between-meal munching a little bit healthier.

  1. Popcorn - Lately I've been venturing into flavored popcorn. I'm in love with Angie's Boom Chicka Pop Lightly Sweet Popcorn. (It tastes like kettle corn.) This non GMO snack is just 70 calories for 2 cups!
  2. Nuts - Protein and fiber-rich snacks help keep you feeling full. I like to crack open a handful of pistachios in the shell. Half an ounce of nuts, or approximately 25 kernels, is just 80 calories, according to American Pistachio Growers.
  3. Dried fruit - When I have a sweet tooth, and I manage to stay away from chocolate, I love dried fruits. Those little lunchbox size packets of raisins and craisins are 90-100 calories each. As a bonus, they travel well for snacking on the go!
  4. Hummus and veggies - Sabra Hummus is gluten-free and delicious. Two tablespoons is just 70 calories. Try dipping low-calorie bell pepper slices, cauliflower, broccoli, celery or radishes in the chickpea dip.

So, what healthy snacks do you like to grab in the afternoon? Tell me in the comments below.

Until Next Time,
Choose Healthy!

Angela Tague
Whole Foods Living