The human body is really something. We have brains that house about 100 billion neurons, forming over 100 trillion neural synapses. And the basis for all human activity – thought, emotion, and basic survival processes like breathing and blood circulation – rests entirely upon tiny little protein-coding machines (DNA), dictating every function in our body. What’s more, the human immune system has the ability to produce billions of different antibodies in response to various infections – a stunning multilayered defense mechanism that serves to protect our bodies. So the fact that for two months out of the year, I lose the ability to breathe out of my nose in the presence of any living plant is BEYOND ME.
But it turns out that seasonal allergies are kind of beyond the medical community, too. No one really knows why humans have allergies at all. An allergy, by definition, is the immune system overreacting to an innocuous source (or allergen), like pollen or pet dander, going into overdrive to rid the body of the perceived threat. While scientists have been able to identify certain markers for some types of allergies – like race, sex, or age – there’s really no rhyme or reason as to why some people can slather peanut butter on a sandwich, while others go into anaphylactic shock in the face of the same nut.
So basically, the moral of the story here is – the human body is capricious (to say the least), and some of us are sadly doomed to the #sneezelife every spring season. Sigh.
Despite my body totally freaking out on me, this past week was still really nice. My boyfriend and I made an ~executive decision~ on where we wanted to travel – something we’ve been talking about ever since we started seeing each other almost a year ago. He’s a huge skiier and I just love nature, so we’ve always talked about places we’ve wanted to visit, like Glacier National Park in Montana or Reykjavik in Iceland. But this week we finally decided that we’re going to go to…. DENVER, COLORADO!!
We’re both super excited to spend a few days in Denver together and get to know the city. We’ve already started a list (that’s getting frighteningly long) of places we want to see – vegan restaurants and parks for me, microbreweries and museums for him. Although to be honest, I am a little nervous about traveling again. The last time I really traveled was when I went to France 3 years ago, and got horrendously sick the entire time. I think it was a combination of fear, jet lag, my terrifying host mom, and really really rich French food (I’m lactose-intolerant, remember). But it was a bit traumatizing to be ill so far away from home, and it kind of soured me to the whole traveling thing for a few years. And while I still get a little nervous at the thought of hopping on a plane somewhere, I’m excited to share this experience with Ryan and step out of my comfort zone.
So anyways, that’s my little travel announcement!
But back to allergies. One day I was having a really rough time of it, my throat was sore but itchy at the same time, and my eyes were so red and sensitive I couldn’t even put my contacts in (cute, right?). I ended up concocting this smoothie filled with a number of natural remedies – peppermint tea, local honey, turmeric, and pineapple – that actually turned out amazingly delicious and soothing!! Each ingredient serves a purpose:
1// Peppermint Tea – Cooling and calming, peppermint and other mints have been used as homeopathic remedies for centuries.
2// Local Honey – While the clinical effectiveness of using local honey to reduce seasonal allergy symptoms is highly disputed, I had it in my tea growing up as a child and I find it to be very soothing. However, I want to note that while many vegans do not eat honey, the honey used in this recipe is sourced from a local apiary that engages in ethical practices.
3// Turmeric – This wonderful root has been shown to contain anti-inflammatory properties, which may help alleviate symptoms of allergic rhinitis.
4// Pineapple – This tropical fruit contains bromelain, which also has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties.
While I won’t sit here and tell you that this allergy tonic will make all your sneezing and sniffling go away, I DO promise that it is deliciously cooling to drink and delightfully sunny to have in hand! (Although I swear it’s a total coincidence that this smoothie is almost the exact same color as pollen!!)
Spring Allergy Tonic
- 1 1/2 Cups Frozen Pineapple
- 2 Bags Peppermint Tea
- 1 Cup Water
- 1/2 Tbs Local Honey
- 1/4 Tsp Turmeric Powder
Peppermint Tea Concentrate
Bring 1 cup water to a boil. Add 2 bags peppermint tea (1 bag per 1/2 cup) and steep for 5-7 minutes.
Combine frozen pineapple, peppermint tea concentrate, honey, and turmeric in a high-speed blender, mix until smooth.
Recipe NotesThis recipe is very easily doubled! To double the peppermint tea concentrate, simply add an extra cup of hot water and one or two more tea bags, depending on how strong you like your tea. All of it can steep together!
Song of the Day:
Wild Goose – M. Ward