Honey. It's one of nature's sweetest gifts. In exploring honey varieties to craft this piece, rolling different blends around my tongue actually became deeply therapeutic and... quite indescribable. It also jumped up the list on my family's morning rituals (and late night, sometimes, too).
Honey's texture seems to promote mindfulness and awareness through the eating experience. The whipped, creamy textures were - by far - a favourite of mine. Something about the texture was even a bit sensual. And while many of us use a dollop in our tea or spread a tablespoon on fresh toast, honey's benefits extend much further than being a mindful natural sweetener full of vitamins and enzymes.
Look out, coconut oil. ;)
Honey is nature's secret elixir that can help enhance your beauty rituals. It has amazing antibacterial and antioxidant properties that benefit all skin types. If you have acne-prone skin, honey is a great treatment and even prevention method when adopted into your skincare rituals. It also slows down the skin's aging process, helping aging skin to remain youthful and bright. It brightens and boosts complexions with natural enzymes by cleansing pores, drawing blood to the surface of skin and deeply penetrating with rich hydration. You will love the DIY honey face mask below.
Honey is also beneficial for moisturizing dry hair. Using raw honey in a conditioner mask (DIY below) helps boost shine and feed dry hair with healthy nutrients. It strengthens the hair follicle and even promotes new growth when applied near the scalp.
Honey is a humectant made by nature. Humectants are substances that preserve moisture, making it a beauty ritual powerhouse for your skin and hair. Just make sure you're using raw honey to ensure it still has all its natural enzymes and vitamins.
I chat with maker - and beekeeper! - Natassia Brazeau of Northlore Goods, who recently added Peace Honey to her seasonal goods offerings. She shared the inside scoop and intricacies of caring for a hive and the queen bee. Natassia comes from a long lineage of beekeepers who once made honey for the Buckingham Palace!
The beekeeping lifestyle for her family was sparked by a self-sufficient streak and a keen curiosity of the natural world, something Natassia has upheld with her plant-based apothecary of wildcrafted prairie plants.
"My great grandfather once replaced the front of his wooden hives with glass so that he and passing neighbours could get a peek at the inner workings of the colony," Natassia says.
Growing up, Natassia says her entire family was involved in harvesting days, each scraping frames or dipping fingers into the flow of extracted honey for the first taste of the season's yield.
Natassia's parents were fourth generation hobby beekeepers before she and her husband took over their hives, now keeping the family tradition alive with just two humble hives. This pair provides them with enough honey each year to share.
She and her husband live on a quaint acreage, allowing her bees to thrive through access to native wildflowers and her garden - which she plants mindfully with herbs and flowers that her bees enjoy. The native wildflower varieties in her prairie land like Bee balm (Wild Bergamot) are especially attractive to her bees for pollinating, and double by offering nutritious and flavourful herbs for her tea blends, also available in her shop.
Caring for the hives comes with regular duties. Natassia says that monitoring the health of the queen bee and her brood is extremely important. She checks for disease, overcrowding, and of course, a steady honey production. And though Natassia has grown up in bee culture, she has never been stung.
"I credit this to the advice passed down to respect the bees by keeping calm, moving slowly, and checking the hives on sunny days when most are out and about collecting nectar."
Natassia uses her grandpa's old smoker to "smoke the bees" making them temporarily drowsy and calm so she can check the hives.
And then, the process of making honey is absolute magic.
After the bees collect flower nectar, they regurgitate it between one another to naturally break it down and store inside their honeycomb. When the bees fan the comb with their wings, it evaporates the water, leaving behind a comb full of honey at the end of the season. The job of the beekeeper is then to simply collect and insert frames into an extractor that spins the comb, causing the honey to flow out.
There are as many different types of honey as there are bee colonies, and the flavour of the honey is dependant on whichever plant varieties the bees collected nectar and pollen from. Natassia adds whole botanicals to the Peace Honey blend, meant to inspire you in the soul nourishing ritual of eating flowers on your toast or in your tea.
Though commercial honey is pasteurized, Natassia chooses to simply filter the wax out of her honey before storing it so that it retains all the natural vitamins and enzymes that the heat during pasteurizing breaks down.
Below are three of Natassia's secret recipes using honey as a natural elixir for your beauty rituals, or creating a powerful tonic to help keep the body healthy and strong. You can snag her delicious, floral Peace Honey here.
Honey DIY #1
Honey Facial Mask
Gentle enough for daily use, this combination of honey and olive oil plumps and hydrates skin while drawing blood to the surface to generate a natural glow, noticeably improving dull and tired complexions.
1 tsp. olive oil (or other natural carrier oil)
1 tbsp. raw, local honey
2 drops of essential oil (consider using oils to treat your skin type, such as tea tree for oily skin)
Mix together thoroughly and pat onto face to stimulate the skin. Leave on for 15 minutes and rinse off with warm water.
Honey DIY #2
Honey Hair Smoothie
This is a great natural boost of hydration for dry, damaged hair or split ends without leaving your hair weighed down or oily like many treatments can.
2 tbsp. raw, local honey
1 cup plain yogurt
1 tsp. coconut oil
Combine all ingredients in a blender. Apply to the tips of your hair, or all over depending on the level of hydration that you’re after. Allow it to sit for 15 minutes, (you may want to wrap plastic wrap around your hair, or a towel around your shoulders to catch any drips). Rinse thoroughly and shampoo as normal.
Honey DIY #3
This combination of honey and spices contain anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that increase blood flow to help boost your immunity, lower cholesterol, and fight off the bacteria that contributes to pesky late-winter colds.
½ c. raw, local honey
1/8 c. turmeric
1 tsp. ginger
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. black pepper
Warm all ingredients in a saucepan on low heat until just combined, being careful not to heat the honey too much. Store in a small jar and use 1 tsp. per cup of hot coconut milk for a richly satisfying and nutritious drink.