{Natural Wellness} Reviewing the Basics

Week two of my Natural Wellness course, aka 'mama school', was spent covering the basics of holistic nutrition, in other words learning how to supply the body with the right kind of nutrients to build and support strong terrains. Although there were many places that I needed to make notations in my text, as a means to help me remember these important points, I want to share one paragraph that surely stuck out to me...
"Furthermore, the general population falsely associates a healthy body with a slim figure, further complicating the concept of a healthy diet. While healthy individuals may be less likely to be overweight or obese, malnourished individuals come in all shapes and sizes. The amount of fat a body stores is no reflection of nutrient availability. Thin people may have as many health problems as obese individuals, but their problems will have different names and symptoms."  Page 21 - Natural Wellness ~ Jessie Hawkins
Do you hear what is being said, thin doesn't always mean healthy... but our society as a whole pushes thinness as a standard for health or as the standard for being 'in' health. I love that this truth is finally being spoken! Some of us will never be bone thin... I remember back in my junior year of high school when I was a size fourteen and striving to obtain a size twelve.

You Know: Peer Pressure. Personal Acceptance. Being Cultural Appropriate in Style and Size...

Eventually I managed to hit my goal, but with a price... and in the end a size twelve, for me, gives the appearance of being deathly ill. I was sick all the time and honestly in very poor health. I went from being a lower body weight lifter with tone and strength to a stick with circles under my eyes. Not good. Not pretty. And definitely not healthy.

Yes, I could loose some weight and tone up my temple now, which is the plan, however I am in better health than I was four years ago simply by eating the foods our Heavenly Father calls clean, drinking my milk raw, and learning how to use and consume whole foods.

This Unit Covered:
  • Carbohydrates - which by the way are needed for survival and are often the brunt of fad diets and marketing ploys. Your body needs fuel, period. Did you know that 'insufficient carbohydrate intake can lead to insulin resistance, causing blood sugar imbalance.' {page 24, Natural Wellness, Jessie Hawkins}
  • Fats - the good, the bad and the ugly. Again, your body needs certain kinds of fats to function and grow properly. I love this article on fat, except the lard portion of course, but it does a great job sharing some of the facts.
  • Cholesterol - learning about LDL [low density lipids] HDL [high density lipids] and VLDL [very low density lipids]... the HDL's should be higher than 40 and the LDL's lower than 130 - this is a very shortened & condensed version.
  • Proteins - those very important building blocks for our temples. Proteins are found in both plant and animal foods, and should be consumed daily, however too much can effect the ph level of your systems in a negative way.
  • Sugar Substitutes - I think I could now write a whole paper on sugar substitutes and the effects of all things sweet, but the one thing that concerns me is that if Xylitol can be harmful to dogs and other household pets, shouldn't we be a little concerned.
  • Fiber - you need 25 to 40 grams a day. Neglecting this requirement has more side effects than not going to the restroom.

Soaked Pancakes Using Emmer Grain

Unit Two Project: create a four day menu using whole foods, without repetition... I did create and use the four day menu, however I slipped on the repetition part. Around here, we hate to throw away left overs so we usually eat them until they are gone or I create something new from them.

Day One:
  • Scottish oats w/raw milk, maple syrup and milled flax.
  • Mongolian Beef w/ Brown rice.
  • Veggie Pancit
  • Bananas 
Day Two:
  • Scottish oats w/raw milk, milled flax and coconut seasonal nog.
  • Lentil tacos w/ whole wheat tortillas, veggie and cheese toppings.
  • Broccoli, cauliflower, and apples.
Day Three:
  • Soaked pancakes w/peaches and raw milk. Using kamut flour and flax.
  • Kefir smoothies w/hemp powder and strawberries.
  • Chinese cabbage soup w/venison.
  • Apples
Day Four:
  • Scottish oats w/raw milk and milled flax.
  • Veggie Pizza w/carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower.
  • Left over cabbage soup, because I made too much.
  • Apples

Let Your Food be Your Medicine: study the foods that begin with a 'c' through the foods that begin with an 'f.'  I chose carob, cranberry, eggs, and flax to share with you. There were a lot of yummy foods that fell in this section so it was hard to choose.

Carob: this stuff is amazing, and interestingly enough the 2012/2013 Winter Heirloom Gardener Magazine had a wonderful article on carob. Although carob may take some getting use to, many assume it will taste just like chocolate, and well - it doesn't really... it has a slight bitter taste to it. Cost wise carob is much cheaper than chocolate powder, recently we paid $6.95 for five pounds.

Cranberry: best know for their antibacterial properties, thus the effects on urinary tract infections, however if you would like to read more about the science of cranberries please take a detour, this article is direct, factual and covers all matters cranberry. We enjoy cranberries in many ways, but two of our favorites are in scones and orange cranberry muffins.
  • How Cranberries are Harvested and Processed {video} *Youtube source - so please use personal caution because of sidelinks.

Eggs: not all eggs are created equal, and if you can not raise free range - pastured hens yourself I would encourage you to find a farmer who can... remember to ask if he or she supplements with genetically modified feed, which kinda negates the purpose.

Flax: great for you. add it to everything. eat lots. stores well. fairly easy to get. can replace some fat in your baking. we prefer organic.
  • Flax Seed Health Q & A
  • Irish Flax Farming - if you take the eight minutes to watch this video, think about how our husbands would come home... and how this type of living would effect your way of life today. {Youtube source}
There was a lot of 'meat' to this chapter, as you can tell by the length of the post... but I hope you find it useful and it encourages you in some way.

~ Blessings!

My Next Unit: Holistic Nutrition Part 2

*please note that my posts are editorial in nature and are not meant to be taken as a way to treat or diagnose illness. Please practice personal health safety. I am currently taking a self paced course from Vintage Remedies called Introduction to Natural Wellness by Jessie Hawkins, please feel free to head over there if you are interested. ~ Blessings!

2012 Garden Journal: final reminisce

It's almost January... and my poor garden greens in the cold frame died a frigged death weeks ago... officially declared a no go the first full week of December. That is about two weeks longer than last year, so we are making progress... right?

I am thankful that our experiments are working to create a longer 'growing season' each time, but without adding extra expenses for a greenhouse and/or growing lights [or similar set up] I am just not sure that we can grow something year round outside.

Our temps have ranged from a negative one to high of fifty five, giving us this nice large range of variables to learn from... and my old, recycled cold frame just hasn't been able to keep up. But Yah willing... there is next year.

The yard looks so strange with only one raised garden bed left, everything else is gone... no chicken coop, no container gardens, and no outward signs of life anywhere. Just snow, slumbering plants and ponders of where will next years garden be.

As we wait - we are spending some of our evenings occupied with planning our 'hope' garden for the next season, with piles of seed catalogs and library books, articles from online sources and precious photos of possibilities. I cannot help it, its in my blood... and I do believe it will always be something I try to do... no matter where Abba leads us. I have such fond memories of growing up on the farm, it was one of the most precious seasons of my life and I truly loved every moment... even when the wood stove stopped burning in the middle of the night and you dreaded being the first one to get up.

It was hard work... but it was worth every minute.

My momma is a gardener, as was my grandmother, and even my mothers grandmother. My great uncle, on my mothers side, was {is} a homesteader, he also bred and utilized draft horses. Clydesdale's mostly. He is in his mid eighties and can still out roof a twenty year old man. His father, was a homesteader and his grandfather before him... along with being a horse team logger. Yep. Its in my blood.

It is hard work... but it is worth every minute.

I am thankful that we are able to 'stead' our backyard, the neighbors never minded our chickens and even ask about the possibilities of us getting a new flock... our landlord encourages our gardens and has been more than accommodating to our agrarian passions. But I long for rolling hills, heavy woods and rooster crows... my heart aches for the smell of sustainable earth and thick hearty coffee. My mind cannot forget yes mam and no sir and I really like the sound of y'all. Its in my blood.

Balm :: Wooden Utensils and the Care there of

Wooden kitchen utensils are greatly appreciated in my home, second only to my beloved cast iron... and like my cast iron, these wooden tools need some minor attention for their care as well.

Do you see that pretty one, the third from the end, its from Romania...

As you can see some of my utensils are in fairly good condition, while others... not so much. This is partly due to age and yes, partly do to neglect. Let me ask you - do you allow your wooden utensils sit in water to soak? You know throw them in the sink of water to get to later. Do you run them through the dish washer? Actually both processes can cause harm to our wooden tools, excessive contact with water can cause that 'fuzzy' feeling to the wood. Which is caused from water being absorbed into the wood, the grain then swelling and there you have it... wood fuzz!

What to do about it? If you can give your wooden utensils attention before they are cracked, then things should be alright... if the tool is cracked, well I am not sure what you can do about it. I have one like that and no amount of sanding is fixing my problem...

As with many things, prevention is key... so I would suggest every couple of months rubbing your wooden utensils with steel wool or green scrub pad, and coating them with some natural wood creme. What is natural wood creme you ask? It's also called wood polish, wood shiner, wood butter, wood oil... and the list goes on and on. I have found everything from don't use vegetable based oils because they can go rancid, to use vegetable based oils because they don't have a petroleum base or by product.

I chose to make my own version of a KA-Zillion recipes and ideas on the subject... with out mineral oil, because I reside in the shy away from petroleum based products as much as possible camp.

The Recipe: at least this is what I decided to do and I was happy with my results.

  • 2/3 cup organic olive oil, warmed {about}
  • 6 to 8 T of local, clean bees wax, shaved {about}
  • 3 drops cinnamon oil, and a few drops of lemon juice from an organic lemon. In the next batch I will use about 4 to 6 drops of lemon oil.

In a double boiler, that is used only for this purpose - I make shift one, out of an old pan and different heat tolerant bowls. Heat the first two ingredients until the bees wax is melted. Pour this into your small glass containers and then add your essential oils. I chose these two oils because of their anti 'ick' properties... but please do your own research and use what is best for you.

Let the creme sit until cooled and then check your consistency, if it is too hard... reheat and add more oil. If it is too soft for your liking... reheat and add a little more wax. I just played with it until I had achieved the creme texture I was after.

How to Use: rub a small amount of wood creme into the wood of your utensil until fully absorbed or leave a semi-layer on your utensils over night and wipe thoroughly the next morning. This should be done every couple of months, so as long as you do not continue to mistreat your beloved wooded utensil.  :-)

~ Blessings & Enjoy!

Shared With: Barn Hop #93

{Natural Wellness} Creating a Wellness Philosophy

Its time. This is now the right time for mama to start going back to school, well ... it is more like 'homeschooling mama'. Right now I am working my way through the Introduction to Natural Wellness from Vintage Remedies with a goal to formally take the Family Herbalist course. One of my desires in completing the Family Herbalist course is to be better equipped to support and assist my husband in his passion of biblical health... and the Introduction to Natural Wellness self study method seemed to be the 'best' next step for our family.

My first unit Germ vs. Terrain Theory was pretty interesting, and challenging enough to provoke some serious conversations about our families health with my husband. My project for this unit was to create a personal wellness philosophy and write a paper on the potential ways that I have hindered the terrains of my family in the past. However, before I share the rough draft of my personal wellness philosophy, please let me a share a little bit about what the germ vs. terrain theory is... and I do mean a little bit.

"The Germ Theory suggests that the human body is a naturally sterile environment and when a germ invades the body it results in illness. The Terrain Theory supports that if the terrain was healthy and the systems of the body worked together in unison then illness would not occur through exposure." ~ Vintage Remedies Textbook

On to my rough draft:

Our family wellness philosophy involves many areas, but primarily the Word of God, believing that with practical application of biblical law our need for medical treatment would be greatly decreased. This includes striving to better understand sustainable agriculture and the negative effects modern farming has caused to our food production, knowing that we are in essence what we eat. We also attempt to learn more practical and natural remedies for when illness do occur, and strive to realize when and where serious medical attention is needed.

We are aware that spiritual concerns can also result in physical illness and disease. Concerns such as anger, fear and bitterness can physically manifest itself in our bodies, thus resulting in illness or weak terrains. Understanding that ultimately, illness is a direct result from the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, however we are to live responsibly, practicing what we know... releasing and repenting of any known sin and doing what we can to care for our temples and the temples of those whom we love.

In essence both theories hold truth for our wellness and both theories have some degree of error. Not all illness's are a result from germs, poor terrain, unconfessed sin, or violation of biblical law... some illness or disease occurs for the sole purpose of glorifying our Heavenly Father.

In what way have I hindered the terrains of my family:

When I pondered this question, one area stuck out in my mind the most and that was the number of times I have compromised certain convictions for the sake of time. Blurring those lines because I did not want to take the extra twenty minutes to grind grain or prepare a food the right way and then attempting to justify my actions with the 'just this once' mentality... arg. Planning is SO key.

Study the foods that begin with a & b: The list is in the back of my text book, and I believe it is taken from The Vintage Remedies Guide to Real Food. I chose these two foods to share with you...

A - Artichoke - globe ~ cynara scolymus

Great for liver detox, digestion aid, and according to my text artichokes enhance the speed of blood clotting. I served my husband artichokes steamed with herb butter for lunch... and they were tasty!

B - Blackberries - rubus ulmfolius

A wonderful fruit filled with antioxidants, and vitamins A, C, E, and K. Blackberries are also a mild diuretic and we use blackberry leaves for tea. Both are good for cases of diarrhea.

My favorite way to eat blackberries is with raw cream poured over them, drizzled with a dab of honey. Simple ~ but oh so good.

So do you have a wellness philosophy?

My Next Unit: Holistic Nutrition ~ The Basics

 *please note that my posts are editorial in nature and are not meant to be taken as a way to treat or diagnose illness. Please practice personal health safety. I am currently taking a self paced course from Vintage Remedies called Introduction to Natural Wellness by Jessie Hawkins, please feel free to head over there if you are interested. ~ Blessings!

Storing Kefir Grains Long Term :: how to

Last summer I was researching how to store my kefir grains for long term storage, especially when they seem to multiply like crazy on raw milk. I had found numerous ideas on line but with varying opinions and results... however by last fall I happened upon a process that would give me the results I was desiring.

In short, I washed my extra grains with filtered water and let them semi-air dry on a clean towel. While they were still some what damp I rolled them in organic milk powder and put them in a plastic bag, added a little extra milk powder and threw them in the freezer...

And quite honestly I had forgotten all about them until my mom asked for some more kefir grains two weeks ago.

I was not to keen on shipping raw milk across state lines, because apparently some states have issues with that... but I will keep my thoughts to myself regarding that line of thinking. Anyway, I remembered that I had stored some kefir grains in the freezer and so I sent those straight away to my mama, with complete instructions on how to support their life once again.

Although I truly wasn't sure it would work.

But she called this weekend to inform me that all of the grains were making kefir just fine!

She was working as my assistant in the experiment and divided the grains into three jars for better observation. For me, this means an option for long term storage for my milk kefir grains... and for mom, it means more of the 'good' stuff she needs for her health.

So ~ just how long did I have them in the freezer? One year and two weeks...

I know that some sources state the nutritional value may be effected from this process, but I am not fully convinced that is correct...

~ Blessings!

Storing & Using Milk Kefir Grains

Shared With: The Barn Hop