Archive for Food & Food Allergies

Common Cold Remedy from Mila Kunis: Fish Oil & Vodka?

Mila Kunis is the spoonful of sugar that makes her cold remedy go down. Only a ravishing starlet like Kunis could get anyone to try her health potion. She recently ladled it into ailing writer Michael Idov while he interviewed her for a GQ article.
“This will kill everything”, said Kunis, boiling up some water—the first step of her recipe:

Mila’s Germ-Killing Tonic:

To a saucepan of boiling water, add Cabernet, an avalanche of green-tea powder (“It’s vitamins!”), two gelcaps of fish oil (“What’s the difference? It’s all going to end up liquefied and syrupy”), apple-cider vinegar (“‘Cause that’s just always good for you”), and Ayurvedic chai. She finishes with a generous splash of vodka. Okay, two generous splashes. Hold your nose and drink.

Strange Brew: Top 3 Teas to Calm Hay Fever and Allergies

Sinus Sister makes a cuppa

Meet Kevin Gascoyne, one of the owners and tea masters at Camellia Sinensis tea house in Montreal. Kevin took pity on Sinus Sister’s serial sneezing and suggested three top teas. First, he shared with Sinus Sister his theory about tissues.

“I’m a cloth hankie guy, all the way” said Kevin. “I have a theory that tissues make you sneeze. Have you ever taken out a tissue from the box against the light and seen all the dust fly? It’s a self-fulfilling prophesy—you sneeze, you take a tissue, you sneeze again. Think of all the dust collecting in your house and the chemicals from the lotions they add!” Good point, Kevin.

 Camellia Sinensis’s Top 3 Teas for Sneezers:




Pu Er Tea: is an aged tea from the Yunnan region of south west China, where it’s known for its power to realign the body’s energy and settle the digestive system. Sure. Whatever. For sneezers, it’s a front-line preventative tea because it has a curative effect on the liver, therefore naturally increasing our defenses. Amen.

La Nouricierre (The Nurse): is a special house blend (read: you can only get it here) that stimulates the antihistamine powers of the adrenal gland, via nettle, mint, cornflower and pansy, the main herbs in the tea’s blend.

Ange Guardien (Guardian Angel): is another special house blend, sold exclusively here, but this one has decongestant properties that sooth the respiratory system, via echinacea, thyme, goldenrod and balsam fir.

Steep all the teas for at least 5 to 10 minutes, or you’re wasting your time. No “dunk and drink”, please.

Best Pantry Cure for Hay Fever

August 31, 2011  |  Food & Food Allergies  |  ,  |  4 Comments

 Sinus Sister raids the honey pot




Spoon in hand, I sit on the floor of the pantry. There isn’t much room, wedged between the recycling and a bag of potatoes, so I’m balancing a jar of raw honey between my knees. The plan is to eat three spoonfuls and savour the feeling as it creeps down my throat, whisking away gobs of phloem. But honey isn’t just a pleasant form of Drano. Raw honey has been shown to have antibacterial action against some sinusitis-causing micro-organisms, according to Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery (July 2009). So it’s delicious and preventative. Whatever, I’m in.

Writer A.G. Moody at adds that manuka honey, in particular, is significantly more effective than antibiotics against all planktonic and biofilm-grown forms of the infection-causing bacterium. Manuka honey even retains its antibacterial properties after pasteurization. But any brand of raw honey will help. I found some at the Jean Talon Market. Most brands in the supermarket are not raw but commercial, regular honey,which has been pasteurized (heated at 70 degrees Celsius or more, followed by rapid cooling) and filtered so that it looks cleaner and smoother. Pasteurization kills any yeast cell in the honey and prevents fermentation. It also slows down the speed of crystallization in liquid honey. On the downside, when honey is heated, its delicate aromas, yeast and enzymes which are responsible for activating vitamins and minerals in the body system, are partially destroyed. So, raw honey is assumed to be more nutritious than honey that has undergone heat treatment. Characterised by fine textured crystals, raw honey looks milkier and contains particles and flecks made of bee pollen, honeycomb bits, and broken bee wing fragments (Get over it). It will usually granulate and crystallize after a month or two.

That explains what happened to my raw honey—untouched since last August. It looks mummified, but that doesn’t stop me. Mmmm. The jar is almost empty. Time to try other brands.


Where can you buy raw honey? At any decent health store, farmer market, or organic store.

Order from:,

Read more about raw honey at

ALO Drink Review

August 9, 2011  |  Food & Food Allergies  |  ,  |  No Comments

Sinus Sister takes Chaz’s advice….

“Drink plenty of fluids to thin the mucus,” said Chaz, the dreadlocked God who works at the organic store. We bonded over a sneezing fit last week. I try not to worship people who work at holier-than-thou stores, but my default position is deference. If Chaz says drink, I drink. But gulping back tap water is rarely appealing and I pause before consuming 46g of sugar or, worse, high-fructose corn syrup. The artificial colour in Gatorade (windshield wiper blue) is a deal breaker, while the caffeine in Snapple Iced Tea makes my heart pound. What to drink? The refrigerated drink section in my corner store has seven kinds of Coke and sports waters that speak the language of nutritionists.

They all faded away beside a new contender: ALŌ Drink ($2.79 for 500 ml) The pomegranate and cranberry flavour is a pretty colour and the 100% natural drink is free of nasty chemicals. The sweetener, cane sugar, is the fourth ingredient listed on the label, where anyone with excellent eyesight can read this quasi-mystical claim:  “Some believe it [Aloe] to be the forbidden fruit of the Garden of Eden. It’s still seen as a symbol of abundance, fertility, and fortune in many parts of the world. Native to the Middle East and cultivated in the Mediterranean and the Americas, the pomegranate has long been cherished for its distinct flavor and health benefits. Paired with the tart cranberry and real aloe vera juice, the pomegranate stars in our newest blend, ALO Enrich.”

Sure. Great. Whatever. Aloe vera pulp is probably good for us. I buy that.

If aloe jelly can heal a burn from a motorcycle exhaust pipe, it must be magic. But is it good to drink?

“SHAKE WELL’, it advised. So I shook the bottle and took a gulp. The little chunks of aloe pulp were a surprise. They registered as Jello and required a “chew or swallow” decision. CHEW. The first few mouthfuls were weird, but unquestionably satisfying. With 30% juice, this drink became my preferred mucus-thinning beverage for the summer. Never mind the marketing mumbo jumbo.

Warning from Sinus Sister: do not attempt to drink this through a straw. The chunks of aloe get stuck.

Ice Cream Controversy

We’re convinced that if someone was to do a study on this subject, they would probably find a nationwide spike in sinus infections commencing when companies started to add chemically-complicated artificial flavors to ice cream.

Earth Clinic

Really? My half pint of Cookie Dough Dynamo is a sinus trigger? The earnest people at Earth Clinic are very good to point this out, but I prefer to remain in denial–hands over ears, humming–about the evils of ice cream. As I sit here, spoon in hand, I refuse to attribute my non-stop runny nose to Häagen-Dazs….Rest assured, Ben & Jerry’s will never get the blame. Sniff.