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Winter Wellness Guide & Immune Boosting Mushroom Hot Cocoa

Winter time can present many challenges to your well-being. I’ve gathered the most frequent issues affecting my clients this time of year, and we will explore why you may also feel this way and how to improve your sense of well-being this winter.


“I feel down, exhausted and it’s very hard to get up in the morning.”


As winter approaches, sun exposure is shorter in duration and intensity. This signals our pineal gland to release more sleepy melatonin and less happy serotonin, making it harder for us to roll out of bed. You can also observe how the drop in vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, affects other mammals. Some of them, most notably bears, hibernate through the winter.


What To Do:

  • Respect your body and make sure you get enough sleep. It’s important to remember that this dip in energy level is hard-wired in our body. Winter is the time your body replenishes and recharges. For a healthy adult, that means a full 7-9 hours of shut-eye every night.


  • Discuss your adrenal health with your practitioner. Our busy lives often put our adrenals on constant alert, draining them until even the most mundane day-to-day activities feel overwhelming. It’s easier to manage with warm sunny weather but the long-term effects of overtaxed adrenals can be made more pronounced by the shorter daylight hours.


  • Add a drop of Finlandia Vitamin D to your morning drink. Clinical evidence suggests that low vitamin D level is associated with many inflammatory conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, mood disorders, multiple sclerosis and premature decline of cognitive functions. Vitamin D plays a huge part in our well-being and is show to be effective in improving symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a form of depression set off by changes in season. See recipe below.


“I feel like I have been sick for weeks!”


What To Do:

  • Take a probiotic to boost your immunity. Many of us take a probiotic to improve digestion, but many of these hard-working strains are maintaining the barrier between you and the external environment, and some strains such as Lactobacillus rhamnosus can even regulates our innate immunity and protect us against bacterial and viral infections.


  • Make your probiotic go further through fermentation. You can literally multiply your investment on a good probiotic by using it to make coconut yogurt. Open your probiotic capsules and stir it into some coconut milk. My perfect ratio is using 7 of Finlandia’s Probiotic 7 in 2 x 400ml cans of organic coconut milk. After a day or two you will have the creamiest yogurt. It takes so good even without any sweeteners. If you want to add some flavour, I recommend peppermint and rosehip. This adds an extra vitamin C boost to this recipe.


“Why does my urinary tract infection (UTI) keep coming back?”


The holiday season is the time to treat ourselves, however, sugar and alcohol (individually and combined) are two main culprits for frequent UTI infections. Sugar competes with vitamin C to enter our cells, robbing our body of this anti-inflammatory nutrient thus making our body more susceptible to infections. Alcohol alters our gut biome, enabling bad bacteria to take over. This slows our immune cells’ response time, resulting in more infections. Did you know some wines have added sugar?


  • Treat yourself, moderately. The hardest part of sticking to a wellness plan is those social gatherings. Enjoying a piece of chocolate and one drink once or twice a week will not undo your hard earned results. However, be honest with yourself while you go out. If you are going to a party, choose between a alcoholic beverage (5 oz. for wine and 1 oz. for spirits) or a dessert is a good way to start without feeling like your completely missing out.


  • Take a vitamin C supplement. Vitamin C is a nutrient that creates natural anti-inflammatory action in the body. Vitamin C also acidifies the urine and inhibits the growth of some bad bacteria. Because vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, we need to replenish our supply throughout the day. I usually recommend taking 2 separate doses one in the morning and one at night.


Bonus Recipe: Immune-boosting Mushroom Hot Cocoa

Serves 2


2 tsp Finlandia’s Medicinal 7 Mushroom Powder (found at our herb bar)

2 tsp Cocoa powder

1 tsp Fiberlicious (inulin)

½ tsp Vanilla

1 tsp Maple syrup

1 cup Coconut milk, unsweetened

1 cup Filtered water

2 drops Finlandia vitamin D drops



Simmer all ingredients except for vitamin D in a saucepan for about 5 min, stir occasionally

Divide the hot cocoa into two mugs. Add a drop of vitamin D to each mug before serve



Author Bio

Tahlia Sage (Bsc. Food, Nutrition & Health, Certified Nutritional Practitioner) is the founder of Sweet & Savoury Health, instructor at the Institute of Holistic Nutrition, and wellness educator. She is also a part of Finlandia Health Centre.

Her coaching practice helps clients achieve their wellness goals by embracing functional foods and healthy lifestyle changes. Tahlia’s own health challenges and weight issue prompted her to pursue an education in nutritional science and holistic nutrition. Tahlia empowers her clients to regain balance with easy, concrete steps.

For more fresh wellness tips, visit her blog at sweetandsavouryhealth.com and Instagram @sweetandsavourylife.