Sunday, 25 January 2015

Winter Wellness - Part 1

Winter Wellness - What does that mean to you?

How well are you during the winter months? Are you constantly fighting off a cold or some other nasty bug? Or are you prone to cold after cold and fed up of a runny nose or constant sneezing? Have you been faced with taking to your bed with a chest infection or the flu? There are so many colds, bugs and viruses that seem to be flying around at the moment and I seem to be surrounded with people who are fighting off one illness or another. 

Maybe you're keeping the winter bugs at bay but you're feeling quite down in the dumps. Does the cold and lack of sunshine impact on your mood. Do you dread the dark mornings and dark nights and feel deprived of sunshine? Do you dream about far away shores, where you can almost feel the warmth of the sun on your back whilst you walk along the beach smelling the fresh sea air. 

Maybe like me you seem to have a handle on the attack of the bugs and viruses that are out there and can just about handle the short winter days knowing that spring is only round the corner but you are suffering too. I seem to be having various 'flare ups' of inflammation, bursitis, tennis elbow, sciatica, now that doesn't sound too healthy either does it? I'm not alone either I know of others that are suffering with some pain due to inflammation.

With all that in mind I decided to investigate further and see if your diet can help you fend off the bugs, make you feel brighter and put a stop to musculoskeletal pain. I was actually amazed at what my little amount of research found and I for one will be making some changes to my diet, staying vegan of course.

Today I'll be sharing with you two recipes; a smoothie for breakfast and a quick and easy soup to give your immune system a boost and fight off those nasty bugs and colds.

Over the coming weeks I'll be sharing other recipes with you, which are packed with ingredients and fantastic foods to help with your winter wellness, whether its aches and pains, your well-being or to boost your immune system and ward off those nasty bugs. 

But for part one of this Winter Wellness Series lets look into what foods can help with strengthening your immune system and fighting off the sniffles. 

Foods to help fight off colds include:
Foods rich in vitamins A and C and vitamins B6 and B12 paired up with zinc and iron are the foods that you need to boost your immune system along with less commonly known nutrients.

Garlic - Thanks to its antibacterial and antiviral properties (to name a few) garlic will help boost your immune function. In fact garlic should be a regular ingredient in your cooking.

Onions & Leeks - These vegetables belong to the allium family along with garlic and chives. They are rich in vitamin C and B6 as well as iron, making them a good choice to fight off a cold.

Ginger - We all know the warming feeling that ginger provides you especially on a cold day so it's bound to be good for you right? Its a good source of vitamin C and it has many other healing properties such as settling an upset stomach or helping with nausea. It will help soothe a sore throat and reduce your fever. Ginger tea anyone?

Spices - Black Pepper, Cayenne Pepper, Horseradish, Wasabi, Turmeric, Cloves, Anise Seed and Cinnamon are all ideal spices to help fight of colds.

Fennel - The bulb of fennel is an excellent source of vitamin C, while the fronds are a good source of vitamin B6, so be sure to use both parts.

Red Peppers - High in vitamin C and E, in fact it contains more vitamin C than an orange! Eating foods high in vitamin C regularly will boost your immune system.

Sweet Potato and Carrots - Exceptionally high in vitamin A and a good source of vitamins C and B6. Vitamin A is important in maintaining a healthy immune system and if we do catch a cold vitamin A will keep our first line of defence functioning well.

Mushrooms - Crimini and Shiitake are reported to be most beneficial to your health, but all mushrooms thankfully contain antioxidants which boost your immune system, they are also a good source of B vitamins and potassium.

Leafy Greens - The darker the better, so opt for Kale, which is high in vitamin A, C, K, iron and calcium. It is the powerhouse vegetable and I cook with it a lot. This vegetable also contains all 9 essential amino acids which are required to form the proteins within your body. Get some in your diet now!

Blueberries - Their colour alone should give you a tip to how good they must be for you, in fact come to think of it are they the only true blue food? The nutrients that give the blueberry its vivid colour are known for the natural ability to neutralise free radicals.

Goji Berries - If you're looking for protein in a fruit then the Goji Berry is the one as it has the highest concentration of protein in any fruit. They also contain 18 kinds of amino acids, of which 8 are considered as essential amino acids. They are an excellent source of vitamin C and have 15 times more iron than spinach.

Raspberries They are rich in B vitamins and are another excellent source of vitamin C, along with vitamin E and iron.

Oats - You probably already know that starting your day with oats will boost your morning energy levels but it will also boost your immune levels too. 

Citrus Fruits - Everyone knows that citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruits contain vitamin C and whilst it might not be the food with the highest amount of vitamin C its still a good food to incorporate in your diet. Citrus fruit also has other health properties such as helping to heal cuts and repair body tissue.


Breakfast - Winter Wellness Smoothie


25g Goji Berries
100ml GreenTea
100g Raspberies, frozen
150ml Hemp milk
1 Satsuma, peeled
30g Oats


Soak the Goji berries in the green tea over night.

Add the Goji berries and green tea to your blender and add the frozen raspberries and hemp milk.

Segment the satsuma removing the pith as you go and add to the blender and top with the oats.

Blend until all parts have been incorporated and you have a smooth bright red smoothie.


Lunch - Winter Wellness Soup


1 Red Pepper
3 Carrots
1 Onions
3 Garlic Cloves
100g Chestnut mushrooms
Black Pepper
Olive Oil
1 Leek, sliced
¼ Tsp Cayenne pepper
¼ Tsp Grated Ginger
¼ Tsp Turmeric
750ml Vegetable stock
2 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast
To serve:
Chives, chopped
Hemp Seeds

Cut the red pepper into chunks and throw onto a baking tray. Peel the carrots and cut into chunks and add to the tray.

Peel and halve the onion and cut into half moon shapes and add to the tray. Peel the garlic cloves and add them to the tray whole. Next add the mushrooms halved.

Give the vegetables a good dusting of black pepper and then drizzle a little olive oil over them. Massage the vegetables with your hands so they are all coated in the oil and black pepper.

Roast in a moderate oven for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.

While the vegetables are roasting sauté the sliced leek in a little olive oil for 5 minutes then add the ginger, cayenne pepper and turmeric. Stir through the spices so the leeks are coated and sauté for another 2 minutes. Add the nutritional yeast and stir to combine.

Add the vegetable stock and bring to the boil and simmer for another 10 minutes. Add the leek mixture to your blender and top with the roasted vegetables.

Blend until you have a smooth and silky soup. Pour into bowls and top with a sprinkling of chopped chives and a few hemp seeds. Enjoy!

I'll be sharing more winter wellness recipes with you soon, please feel free to share your tips on how you stay healthy in winter in the comments below. I'd love to hear what you eat and do to keep those bugs at bay.


Caroline from Tea and Sympatico left me a comment the other day asking about the aromatherapy blends I use to ward of bugs and colds. I'm a great believer in aromatherapy and I have found it has helped me in numerous ways. 

I am not a qualified aromatherapist but I have taken a course on aromatherapy blends and I will share with you the blend I frequently use in my home to help defend the winter colds and coughs. 

Please check that the aromatherapy oils are suitable and safe for you to use personally.

Common Cold Blend (for use in a oil burner)
2 Drops Cederwood or Chamomile
2 Drops Peppermint or Tea Tree
2 Drops Eucalyptus

Drop the oils into the water and as the candle warms the water and oils the fragrance will circulate your room.

If you want to use as a room spray, add water to a small spray bottle and add 3 drops of each. Shake before use.

Common Cold with Cough Blend (for use in a oil burner)
2 Drops Cederwood
2 Drops Marjoram
2 Drops Scots Pine

Drop the oils into the water and as the candle warms the water and oils the fragrance will circulate your room.

If you want to use as a room spray, add water to a small spray bottle and add 3 drops of each. Shake before use.

Jasmine x


  1. Brilliant post jasmine. Can't wait to try those aromatherapy blends x

    1. Thanks Amy, let me know what you think, I have a blend going most nights in my oil burner (which hubby calls my cauldron)! :o)

  2. Thank you so much for posting the aromatherapy blends! :) I did actually succumb to a cold last week breaking my 10 month record but I feel like I've got over it pretty quick compared to other people at work. I am definitely going to be trying these out.

    1. No problem, sorry to hear about you catching a cold though, you were doing so well but glad you overcome it pretty quickly. I swear by my aromatherapy I use it for everything :o)


Thanks for leaving a comment, Jasmine x