Make your Own Herbal First Aid Kit

It irritates me when people want to run to the doctor for every little cough, sneeze, sniffle or fever. I know I shouldn’t be impatient, since I was in that place once. I remember taking my oldest daughter, who is now 15, to the doctor for ear infections, fevers, and sometimes just plain fussiness. I remember the fear and insecurity that came with that, not being able to get a hold of a doctor over the weekend and my poor little baby suffering the whole time while she waited for me to take her to a doctor.

It’s like night and day – once helpless, dependent, and full of worries and fears; now empowered and confident. It is such a comforting feeling to know that for most family illnesses and health emergencies, I have the tools and know-how to take care of them myself! No waiting on a doctor over the weekend or dealing with a screaming child for an hour or more in an emergency room or doctors office waiting room full of sick people. If you have not yet educated yourself on simple herbal remedies for basic family health care, I strongly encourage you to do so – it is one of the best things I have ever done!

To make a family herbal first aid kit, the first thing that you will want to do is take inventory of your family’s health. Are you in basically good health, or do you catch every bug that goes around? What are your most common illnesses? Do you have an extremely clumsy kid? (Zee is very clumsy, and I have gotten calls from the school twice this year about bruises, one of which DCFS sent a social worker to investigate my husband and me at our home!) There are a few things that every family with small children should be prepared for – here is a basic list of some of the most common things that people go to the doctor for that can easily be treated at home:

  • ear infections
  • colds
  • stomach flu
  • pink eye
  • parasites
  • headlice
  • staph infections
  • yeast infections
  • warts
  • strep throat
  • chicken pox

And a few basics, usually treated with over the counter medicines:

  • indigestion
  • diarrhea
  • bug bites
  • sunburn
  • cuts
  • scrapes
  • bruises

All of these can be treated at home naturally without commercially prepared medicines, and would all but completely remove any need for a doctors visit, with the exception of real medical emergencies like broken bones or other traumatic injuries.

The ideal would be to have a small travel size kit with just the basics for the car, and a larger one that is kept in a safe place at home in a container like a large fishing tackle box with plenty of room for ace bandages, and supplies like a capsulator and a mortar and pestle, etc.

The following is a fairly comprehensive list of things that would be good to keep on hand and their uses (chose the items that are most relevant to your family. You can also add other items that you feel your family needs – if you feel the list is missing something important, please leave a comment!): read more »

The Rooster Delima

So, you want backyard chickens, but you don’t know about the rooster bit. . . so, here’s the deal with roosters:

The pros of having a rooster:

Some of the pros for having a rooster in your flock are:

  • You need one if you want to get new chicks every year.

If you want a truly sustainable flock, you have to have at least one.  A good rule of thumb for the rooster to hen ratio is that for fertile eggs, you need at least one rooster for every 20 hens.  Most backyard flocks are small, since city regulations often limit the number to as little as 6 chickens.

  • Roosters will protect your flock from predators.

This may be true out in the country where your chickens have more room to roam, however in the city where your chickens are probably more confined to a small area in your yard, this isn’t so much the case, especially if they are in an enclosed coop at night.

  • Fertile eggs are more nutritious and Fertile eggs taste better than infertile eggs.

This is highly debatable, and I have yet to see any conclusive evidence that either of these claims are true.

  • Hens lay more eggs when there is a rooster around.

My dad always said that having roosters helped the hens lay more frequently, but I haven’t really noticed a difference without. My hens still lay nearly 1 egg per day in the laying season.

The cons of having a rooster:

  • They are aggressive

The degree of aggressiveness depends on the breed, so if you have small children, you would want to consider not having a rooster, or at least having a more docile breed of rooster, but even the more ‘docile’ breeds are more aggressive in the spring and summer because it is breeding season, and even ‘docile’ breeds like the Rhode Island Reds can be very aggressive. The rooster that inspired the  name of my blog was a Rhode Island Red.

For a list of chicken breeds and characteristics, click here to see Henderson’s Handy-Dandy Chicken Chart

  • They crow

supposedly larger breeds crow less often than the smaller bantam breeds, with a lower pitched crow, but they are also louder. This is a problem if your city has a noise ordinance. You could silence them by having their voice box cut, but to me, that is animal cruelty.

  • They eat as much as hens, but don’t lay eggs.

I think that it is ideal to have a rooster, but in the city where your neighbors are apt to complain about the noise, the best use for a rooster is mean rooster soup.

The Way to a Man’s Heart . . .

Show your man how much you love him for valentines with this heart shaped meat loaf and mashed potatoes:

Meatloaf:

2 – 3 Lbs of lean Hamburger
1 medium Onion, chopped
2 Eggs
1 c dry Whole wheat Bread Crumbs
1/2 c cooked Wild/Brown Rice
1 small can Tomato Sauce
1 can Tomato Paste
3 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
Salt, Pepper, Garlic

Sauté onion in butter until translucent. Mix into raw hamburger with eggs, rice, tomato sauce, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce. Mix well, and then stir in bread crumbs. Form meat mixture into the shape of a heart on a large foil covered cookie sheet top with tomato paste mixed with the remaining Worcestershire sauce. Bake for 45 min to an hour at 375° or until done in the Middle. Serve with steamed veggies of your choice and roasted garlic mashed potatoes below.

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes:

Scrub and cube 4 or 5 large red potatoes. Do not peel. Put potatoes into a 2 quart saucepan and add several peeled cloves of garlic. Add 2 to 3 cups of water and bring to a boil. Cover and cook until potatoes and garlic are soft, about 10 to 15 minutes. Drain water and add 1/2 cup sour cream, 1 tsp of sea salt, and 1/2 cup butter. Beat until smooth and creamy. Add a little milk or heavy cream if needed for consistency.  Fold in 1/2 cup of grated cheese (optional).

And to round it out, try these yummy garlic cheese biscuits: To your favorite drop biscuit recipe, mix in grated cheese and garlic powder. My kids can’t get enough of these 🙂

To Doctor or Not to Doctor? That is the Question

Does putting a stitch in your own child’s scalp make you a bad parent? The other day while my kids were roughhousing in the front room, Bee fell and split her head open on the sharp corner of the wall. I cleaned it up, and thought I might put a butterfly on it, but after I cut away a chunk of hair, it was still bleeding too much for anything to stick, not to mention that I would have had to shave her head in that spot, which I KNOW she would not have put up with . . . so I got out a needle and thread and put a stitch in it to hold it shut. And then, she happily ran into the bathroom to take a bath.

Mind you, she did kick and scream during the stitching process, but only after my 12-year-old shouted “What are you doing? Are you sewing up her head?!” After which the first stitch that I was just getting ready to tie off was yanked out because that is when she started the kicking. And the screaming. Good grief! So I had to start all over again.

The most screaming was done by the kids who were not actually being stitched up. My 15-year-old daughter yelled at me and then stomped off to her room and refused to speak to me until the next morning. I think her exact words were “If she needs stitches, why aren’t you taking her to the emergency room?! I’m never touching that needle again! (I used one of her beading needles, because they are really sharp)

Ok, her question may seem logical to most people, but in my defense, a trip to the emergency room would have meant trying to keep all that bleeding at bay in the van on the way to the doctor’s office. Then holding her still and keeping the bleeding at bay while waiting in the waiting room for an hour so that a doctor could then come and put a couple of stitches in her head. I had the tools, I had the know how, and best of all, I did it all in less than 5 minutes right in my own living room. Without the extended drama. I mean we had some drama, but it was really more of a mini matinee and not a 5 act play.

I know that scalps are not like the most sensitive part of the body. I remember in my old punk rock days seeing punks with mohawks bopping around with safety pins in their scalps in the mosh pit. Granted they were probably drunk when they put them there, but considering the fact that Bee didn’t even know her scalp was being pierced until my son shouted it out for the whole world to hear, I don’t think it hurt her much. Maybe next time I’ll use orajel first – I think I still have some left from the good ol’ teething days . . .

5 Easy Changes for a Healthier Life

1. Start eating real fat.

Stop buying into the low-fat lie and eat FAT! The thing about fat is not cutting it, but the types and quality of fats we eat. For example, raw butter from grass fed cows can actually help your LOSE weight. That’s right . . . lose. The cream on raw unprocessed milk helps build myelin which is the coating around nerves that is 70% fat. Our brains are made of fat, our cell membranes are made up of lipids, which are fats. Get over the popular media already! Our bodies NEED fat!

But we can’t just start scarfing down hotdogs and margarine, the fats we eat need to be high quality REAL fats. There is a difference between butter and margarine, and butter is NOT the bad guy. I know we have been told by doctors and scientists that margarine is more healthy. That is a lie. Here is a little experiment from bestandworst.com

Try this:
Leave a tub of margarine in your garage or a shaded area. Within a couple of days you will note a couple of things: no flies, not even those pesky fruit flies will go near it (that should tell you something) It does not rot or smell differently because it has no nutritional value. nothing will grow on it. Even micro organisms will not a find a home to grow because it is nearly plastic. Might as well melt your Tupperware and spread that on your toast.

Have you ever seen mold on margarine? There is a reason for that — Margarine is one molecule away from being PLASTIC! My cat is a butter licker, and she will not touch margarine.

So how about those vegetable oils that have not been hydrogenated then? Like ‘heart healthy’ canola? Well, if you have read about how those oils are chemically extracted with industrial strength solvents, sure, you can believe they’re good for you if you like. I for one choose not to. And even if you use expeller pressed canola, consider the fact that these oils may be fine out of the bottle, but heating them as you do in cooking, causes the oil to change. You know how your pan gets this sticky coating on it that you have to scour off with a brillo pad? Try getting a brillo pad in your arteries, because that’s where you are going to need it the most. Olive oil is one of the only oils that is liquid at room temperature that can withstand heat enough to cook with it.

So, lets ditch those sissy fats, and get cooking with some REAL fat. Lard, suet, butter, and organic coconut oils. Yeah, I said lard. Let’s have some fried chicken! And for breakfast, how about some cracked wheat cereal slathered in butter, cream and raw honey? Mmmmm! Build your brain!

2. Switch to raw dairy products.

You may have noticed that I specifically stated RAW butter while talking about fats. Raw dairy is good for you. DO NOT skim the cream! Not only is it yummy, it’s good for you. Raw milk has vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and nutrients in it that are destroyed by heating. Vitamin B12, C, and D are destroyed by pasteurizing. Calcium from pasteurized milk cannot be absorbed, because the magnesium, which your body needs to be able to utilize calcium, is destroyed. Lactoferrin, which helps your body absorb iron, is destroyed by pasteurization.  Lactobacilli, which enhance mineral absorption, are destroyed.

“Pasteurization destroys all the enzymes in milk— in fact, the test for successful pasteurization is absence of enzymes. These enzymes help the body assimilate all bodybuilding factors, including calcium. That is why those who drink pasteurized milk may suffer, nevertheless, from osteoporosis.” — Sally Fallon-Morell, RealMilk.com

These enzymes also facilitate digestion of lactose, which is why people who are ‘lactose intolerant’ can usually drink raw milk. This is also why people with milk allergies and asthma can often find relief by drinking raw milk, and why many autistic people see a reduction in symptoms when using raw milk. People have used raw milk for thousands of years, and the human race has survived. It has only been recently in human history that milk has become ‘bad for you,’ but that couldn’t possibly correlate with the relatively new processes of pasteurization and homogenization. Nah . . . it’s gotta be something else . . .

3. Cut white processed flour.

This is one thing that the health industry does get right. Whole grains. In lip service at least. Because the whole grain label is slapped on everything from fluffy sugar coated cereals to fake brown bread. The best way to get REAL bread is to grind your flour and make your own, which is great if you are at home all the time, which I wish I could be 🙁  To get the most out of your grains, you should have a good grain mill, because you will get the most nutrition out of flour where the grain has been soaked and sprouted before grinding. If you can’t make your own flour, you can still soak your flour before using it to bake with.  Wheat comes in many varieties, and wheat is not the only grain! Get to know your flours. Bob’s Red Mill has a fantastic whole wheat pastry flour using a finely ground soft white spring wheat that makes awesome pie crusts! They also have spelt, rye, quinoa, oat, and a whole range of specialty organic stone ground flours. If you live in Oregon I am sooo jealous!

The lie here is that using whole grains means you have to sacrifice and give up that nice soft fluffy bread that you know and love. Just remember all of the many grains we have. The higher the gluten content in the flour, the better it will rise, (sorry to any celiacs 🙁 ) so use very fine grind soft white spring wheat for quick breads and use a nice hard red turkey winter wheat for baking yeast breads. Soak your flour overnight, and then beat the sponge (dough that has not had all of the flour added yet) with a good industrial strength mixer until it starts to get stringy. Then, only add enough flour so that the dough is still really sticky, and then butter your hands really good to handle it. That is how you get nice soft whole wheat bread 😉

If you don’t have time to bake, you need to become a super label reader, and make sure you know what all of those long words are on the bread bag, because the second best place to canned goods for hiding food additives is in baked goods. The fewer ingredients the better.

Always use whole grains and don’t listen to that fat bottomed little food pyramid guy that’s running after you whining “Hey, you only have to eat whole grains 80% of the time! C’mon don’t make my buddies Nabisco and General Mills mad at me!” Make the switch from white rice to brown rice, use whole steel cut rolled oats instead of quick oats, find recipes that use whole grains, or add whole grains to recipes you already have!

4. Eliminate refined sweeteners such as sugar and high fructose corn syrup.

If you want to see your body stack on the pounds, this is the way to go! Refined sugars not immediately used by the body for energy go straight to fat. And here we blamed fat for that! Well, when we eat sugar, our bodies create a bunch of insulin to stabilize the rise in blood sugar, and bam! It starts stacking up. Most people do not use the amount of energy in one day that would be necessary to burn all of the extra sugars that we eat. High fructose corn syrup is in almost everything. Read the labels! It is even in places you might not expect, like in processed meats. If you have food allergies, you have learned this already.

Raw sugars, like raw honey, contain minerals and enzymes, and are less likely to cause severe fluctuations in blood sugar and insulin levels. Our foods already have many natural sweeteners already built in. When you cut back on added sweeteners, or forgo them altogether, you will find that things like candy, or baked goods with a lot of sugar are now much sweeter than you like . . .  for recipes calling for sugar, you can often cut the amount of sugar called for in half without compromising the results.  Or you can substitute raw brown sugar, honey, or maple syrup. Some things you should know for substituting natural sweeteners in recipes:

“A cup of granulated sugar weighs 8 ounces. A cup of brown sugar weighs only 6. But a cup of maple syrup weighs 11 ounces and a cup of honey weighs 12. So if you were to substitute honey in a recipe that calls for brown sugar, you’d be adding twice the amount needed.

In addition, honey and maple syrup add moisture to a recipe, which can upset the texture of what you’re making. Honey adds acid to a recipe, which you might have to neutralize with the addition of a pinch of baking soda. And honey can cause baked foods to brown more quickly. Brown sugar, on the other hand, attracts moisture, so it will keep baked goods from drying out so quickly.”

  • In spite of their difference in weight, you can substitute raw brown sugar for granulated white on a 1 to 1 basis, and the most significant difference will be taste.
  • To use honey in place of sugar, use 7/8 cup for every cup of sugar, and reduce the liquid in the recipe by 3 tablespoons.
  • To use maple syrup in place of sugar in cooking, use 3/4 cup for every 1 cup of sugar.
  • To use maple syrup in place of a cup of sugar in baking, use 3/4 cup, but decrease the total amount of liquid in the recipe by about 3 tablespoons for each cup of syrup you use.

(Taken From O-Chef)

5.  Switch from canned vegetables to fresh locally grown organic produce.

Canned vegetables are cooked to death, have a LOT of added salt, and have lost most if not all of their nutrients. If you have a freezer (which I highly recommend) switch to frozen vegetables. Of course fresh is best, but I find I have a lot of waste if I buy too much at once, and it is really hard to find time to go shopping as often as you need to to keep fresh vegetables on the table. That doesn’t mean frozen are best. . . Definitely the ideal is fresh, and the best way to have fresh veggies is to have your own garden. This gives you fresh vegetables as long as they are in the ground without the worries of spoilage. Of course some get to big, overripe, etc. A few hens running around will take care of that – and the side effects? Fresh eggs! Just make sure that you fence in your garden, because a few hens can decimate an entire garden in less than a day. You can read more about chickens in my backyard chickens series. Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew is the best for getting high organic yields out of very little space.

Another way to find less expensive fresh organic produce is to check your local classified adds. I have found potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, green beans, free fruit (u-pick in someones back yard) berries, and many other things in my classified ads!

These are just the basics. Some other fundamental switches would be to change your iodized table salt for unrefined sea salt, switch your meats to natural free range grass-fed beef, free range chicken, wild caught fish, and wild game, use water filtered with a reverse osmosis water filter, and quit using fluoridated toothpaste that contains glycerin. Using raw unprocessed dairy and natural foods will also eventually free you from the need for chemical underarm antiperspirants. (Yay!)

I’m sure that there is so much more that I could add, but for those of you just starting on this journey, this could possibly be really overwhelming.

So, God speed in your quest and start enjoying your new found health – You can use that extra energy to kick the big five (General Mills, Nabisco, Oscar Meyer, Meadow Gold, and Monsanto) a swift one in the rear!

Why Would Anyone Drink Raw Milk?

What are you nuts? Isn’t that pretty risky? I mean there are a lot of bacteria in milk and isn’t that dangerous? Wouldn’t it be irresponsible parenting to give your child something that could contain dangerous pathogens? That would be the typical reaction to the question “why would anyone drink raw milk?”

Well, I am going to tell you why. First of all, everything you eat could potentially have dangerous pathogens. You could seriously slip and fall in the bathtub and break your neck. That doesn’t make bathing inherently dangerous, and neither does the bacteria in milk make it dangerous. Our bodies are full of bacteria, and guess what? Not all of it is bad. our bodies need bacteria to digest food and complete a variety of essential tasks. We can’t lump all bacteria together–There are dangerous bacteria, and there essential bacteria. Raw milk contains essential bacteria.

It isn’t impossible for raw milk to contain dangerous bacteria, but pasteurized milk is actually responsible for more cases of food poisoning than raw milk. My daughter got food poisoning from pasteurized milk that she drank at her day care when she was 5. She was sick for a week, and we are very blessed because it could have been very serious — especially since I don’t have all of the knowledge about healing that I do now.

I was raised on raw milk. We had our own cow – her name was Jennifer, and she was a Jersey with big brown eyes. She let us ride her while my dad led her to get water. I remember leading her to the water trough myself with a rope attached to her halter and getting her into the milking stall and milking her into a bucket myself with a cloth over the top when I was probably seven or eight years old. She was part of our family and when we had to sell her when I was older, I remember crying.

We never got sick from her milk. I have 11 brothers and sisters, and none of us has ever had a serious fracture. We were never seriously ill and we rarely had cavities.

But when my parents divorced when I was 11 we had to give all of that up. And our food changed. I still never got really sick until after i had my first child and that is when I really started noticing that I wasn’t where I used to be. I didn’t really understand it though because when I was growing up, the homestead that we had was more out of necessity than for healthy living, so when we moved to a house without property and we no longer had the animals, there wasn’t really any discussion about the change in where the food came from, just that we were going to have to buy store milk.

My second child was born when I was 27. I knew I didn’t feel well, but it didn’t really click so much until he quit nursing and I never got my period, except for spotting every once and a while. I started having hot flashes and night sweats. I didn’t know what was wrong, and I was too young for menopause. I thought maybe I had a thyroid condition, because thyroid problems run in my family, and I had checked all of my symptoms and looked them up. But after going to the doctor, he told me I was normal. I didn’t feel normal at all. I never went back to the doctor, but I suffered with my symptoms because I couldn’t bear to go back for more humiliation. When I was 30 I decided enough was enough, and I started researching herbal remedies and nutrition. I started taking flax seed oil, and I regained my fertility (much to my surprise) and was pregnant with my third child. I read about Dr. Weston A. Price, and I had this unexplainable drive to look for raw milk.

I called dairies. They told me I was nuts. I called health food stores. They said if I found some to tell them, because they would really like to know. I finally called a goat farmer who told me about a family who had raw milk, but it wasn’t certified dairy so it was all hush hush. I picked up my first gallon from a little shed at the back of a farm. I put my money in a box and took the milk out of a cooler and I was pretty much sworn to secrecy. We got our milk that way for a couple of years, before we finally had a certified raw dairy open in our area (and by that I mean within an hour drive).

I noticed a big difference in my energy levels, and after a few months, I had regained my muscle tone. When Zee was 1 I discovered that he was severely lactose intolerant. I feel I was led by the spirit to find the milk when I did, because of his special needs. I only found out because the childcare I was taking him to at the time kept giving him milk (UGH!) and he would come home with horrible diarrhea.

“Did you give him milk?”

“No.”

“Are you sure? He had really bad diarrhea when I brought him home yesterday.”

“Let me check his card . . . ok, no, it doesn’t say he had milk.”

agghhhhh I wanted to run screaming from the building. “I brought milk for him to drink while he was here. Regular milk makes him sick.”

“Oh, well, we’ll make sure no one gives him any then.”

This happened a couple of times and then we didn’t go back. (This is a whole other story, please don’t judge me! I would never under normal conditions ever take my child to a day care, but life happens while making other plans . . .)

I now have two younger children, who didn’t get cavities and were never sick until this last year. We moved to an area where we were not near a raw milk dairy and I continued to get milk from a nearby farm on a tip from a friend, but their cow dried up and so we were left again without a source of milk. After a year, Zee ended up with 5 cavities, and Bee 1 serious cavity that I could see a black hole in her tooth. I was starting to notice that my teeth were very sensitive and I had a sore place on one of my eye teeth. I started searching for a raw milk source again.

After 1 week I noticed a difference in my teeth, and the one really sensitive spot is now gone. Why would I drink raw milk and give it to my children? Because I have seen first hand the difference it makes. But if you want stats and figures, you should read Top 10 Reasons to Drink Raw Milk by Cheeseslave. If I can’t convince you, maybe she can.

Practicing Insanity ~ One Mom’s Perspective

There are so many things that kids (and adults) like that are not exactly good for you. So, if you didn’t start out using healthy cooking habits, and then something happens that makes you realize that you have to change your eating habits, how do you do it? Food is such a fundamental part of life that any big changes are really hard to stick with, especially if your kids (or husband) are picky eaters!

The problem is that we have been so inundated with information from the media and what I call the ‘pop heath’ culture of America that it can be very confusing to try to eat healthy. For example, why is it that when you cut all of the salt and fat, and follow that elaborately crafted food pyramid, that all you want to do is go find something that is chock full of fat? The next thing you know, you find yourself coming out of the drive through with a super-sized double bacon cheeseburger and a giant chocolate malt with a huge pile of greasy fries, or sitting in the middle of a pile of chocolate wrappers, holding an empty giant-sized bag from Costco, thinking “Did I really eat all of those?” So the next day, you go on a rampage to get rid of all the junk food in your cupboards, and you replace them with all of those ‘healthy’ no fat, no sugar junk foods that you can find at your local heath food store. And then you find that you still manage to eat a whole bag all at once, and you feel all bloated and after a week you have gained at least 5 pounds. So you decide that you are really going to start being ‘good’ and you apply the stringent self discipline of a monk. After forgoing fat for a while, you may find that you itch all the time, and you start finding more of your hair in the brush, shower drain, laundry;  and your energy levels drop and you can’t seem to get enough sleep. You are yelling at your husband, your kids, your dog, AND inanimate objects, you’re having fits of road rage, and pulling even more of your hair out.

So then you try the no/low carb diet, and replace your ‘artery hardening’ butter with a margarine spread, start drinking low-fat skim milk instead of diet soda, and you lose the weight you gained eating diet snacks, but you find that you are having insatiable cravings for sugar.

The next step is to go to the doctor, because there really must be something seriously wrong with you. . . after all, the healthy diet just isn’t working and you are pretty sure they work for everyone else, because you saw the before and after pictures in Woman’s Day. He takes one look at your lab results and says, “You’re fine. Just get more exercise and lose some weight,” in a very condescending tone, (how hard can it really be?) and he looks at you like you are some kind of deranged hypochondriac wasting the time he could be spending with ‘real’ patients. You look at him and you are pretty sure he has never had a weight problem, or any other kind of real health problem in his life, so how can he possibly understand yours? And geez, they guy just gave you a breast exam, so you go home and ball your eyes out, and when your husband asks what the doctor said, you wail, “He said I was fine!”

Eventually you figure out that all of these popular health fads that you read about in Prevention or Woman’s Health don’t ever offer any real lasting diets that can offer you permanent solutions and that your doctor can’t and/or won’t do a single thing for you. They rarely know anything about nutrition other than what is in the food pyramid, and you already know everything about that because you learned about it every year throughout your entire public school career, starting with preschool, and then again in college health class.

So, do you give up? Or do you practice insanity by trying to do the same thing over and over and expect different results? Of course we all practice insanity . . . what else can we do?

There comes a point where we either accept that there is nothing we can do about it, and we endure our poor health (even though the doctor says we are perfectly fine) and we live life dragging our bodies from one day to the next, and we start taking medications for this that and the other because the doctor advised it, OR we do something different.

So, if there is nothing else that can be done, what can you do? WHAT IF THEY ARE ALL WRONG?

This is the question that you ask right before you experience paradigm shift.

You suddenly realize that all those diets you have read about that have nifty menus like 1 scrambled egg white, a half a piece of toast with a quarter teaspoon of buttery flavored canola spread, and 1/2 of a grapefruit for breakfast, with all of these new unfamiliar recipes, DO NOT WORK! (at least not for most people.) And they especially don’t work if you have a husband and kids. Unless you want to fix six meals a day instead of three.

Almost EVERYTHING that I thought I knew about healthy lifestyle was wrong, and I’ll tell you why. It is because all of the pop health propaganda is influenced either by big pharmaceutical companies or the food industry. These corporations only care about one thing, and that is NOT your health.

“So, what are you? Some kind of anti-capitalist conspiracy theorist now?” you may ask.

My answer to that is no, but that’s a whole other blog entry. Just think about this for a minute — and use some common sense. Big Pharma does not make any money if you are healthy, they only make money if you are sick. Food companies do not make money on natural, healthy foods, because they can’t sell them fast enough to prevent spoilage from cutting into their profits.

So, what can you do? Do you have to make drastic changes like becoming a raw vegan? My answer to that is also NO. In fact I don’t recommend that at all.

So what do I recommend? Well, take a seat because this is where it starts sounding really crazy. If you have just gotten off the merry go round, this is really going to twist your Twinkie. Stop eating margarine and  ‘heart healthy’ processed vegetable oils. Replace those with cold pressed extra virgin olive oil, organic coconut oil, butter, lard, and beef fat from healthy animals. Replace your white sandwich bread with organic stone ground whole wheat bread (watch for the fake brown bread with caramel coloring.)  Cut out processed foods, white flour, high fructose corn syrup, pasteurized milk products, and refined sugars. Stop buying cold breakfast cereal and start reading labels.

Now before you say “I thought that there weren’t going to be any drastic changes,” take a deep breath and read on.

One universal truth that our parents have taught us is that we are what we eat, and if you are going to be healthy, we need to eat healthy foods. Your grocery list will still look about the same as it did before, but you will change out your ingredients for higher quality ones. You MUST read labels. You have to switch from processed flour to whole grain flour. Buy another brand of peanut butter that doesn’t contain high fructose corn syrup or hydrogenated oils. Switch to whole grain pasta, buy fresh or frozen vegetables instead of canned ones. Buy fresh organic food whenever possible. Find out where your local farmers markets are – these are the best places to buy organic produce. Find a local dairy that sells fresh unprocessed raw milk.

“RAW MILK?! are you CRAZY?” You might say this, but remember that we have been lied to by the food industry. We have been taught to be afraid of wholesome natural foods. Be smart about it, sure. I mean don’t buy from a farm you have not visited in person and seen for yourself the condition and state of health that the cows are in. Ask the farmer what he feeds his animals. And, if you can’t handle the idea of raw dairy products, forgo dairy altogether. (Look for a future post to explain the benefits of raw milk and how to choose a good raw dairy.)

The best part about this is that for the most part, you can use your old recipes! You can have your comfort food, and maybe you won’t get skinny like Angelina Jolie, but you will start feeling better. Trust me, I’ve been there.

Upcoming Posts: Why Would Anyone Drink Raw Milk? and 5 Easy Changes for a Healthier Life

But He Made it All By Himself . . .

What’s a mother to say???

I guess I ought to explain . . . this hideous creation is a teddy bear that my 12 year old son spent two months knitting for Bee for Christmas. And she loves it. She named it Suzy and she carried it around for a few days after Christmas. I am really surprised that the head hasn’t fallen off or that it hasn’t come unraveled or something yet. Now Suzy lives in Bee’s bed with her baby dolls.

Weird Science: Experimenting with Borax

Borax Crystals:

  1. Make a shape with a pipe-cleaner, making sure it can fit in the jar.
  2. Fill jar 3/4 full with boiling water.
  3. Slowly add 4 Tbsp of borax, stirring after each tablespoon. (Add borax until you see it a small amount collecting on the bottom of the jar)
  4. Tie a piece of string to the pipe-cleaner and hang it from a pencil in the jar. Make sure it is completely submerged.
  5. set the jar in a place where it will not be disturbed, such as a window sill, and let it stand for 24 hours. Check progress periodically to see how the crystals are forming.
  6. When it is done, you can hang the crystal in the window and watch it sparkle!

Weird Science: Experimenting with Spinach

Extract Spinach DNA

Blend 1 cup water, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/2 spinach at high speed

Strain and add 2 Tbsp dishsoap. Let stand 10 minutes

add a pinch of meat tenderizer, and add equal volume of rubbing alcohol

pour into a jar and let stand for 3 minutes

After 3 minutes, you will see the DNA separating from the liquid