Growing and Sprouting Greens!

Growing and Sprouting Greens!

Growing and Sprouting Greens The Easy Way!

Growing your greens gives you the freshest and healthiest food.

For many years, I have been growing and sprouting greens. It was probably in 2003 when I started my first organic garden. My daughter requested this for her birthday, and I could not have been happier! We made raised beds (with some help), had organic soil delivered, nurtured seedlings and watched the miracles happen.

I will never forget the day when my daughter, mother of three young children, was standing on the deck overlooking the garden. She was filled with joy and cried… she commented that, until then, she never really understood how food was grown. It was one of those Kodak moments that you just never forget.

Those precious moments did not end there.

My grandchildren helped plant and grow seedlings, they nurtured the garden and gathered the harvest. They ate salads, and loved cucumbers which became their snack food. We would all gather together to make fermented vegetables… usually 12 to 16 quarts at a time. We had quality time working and laughing together.

When I remarried, my husband and I had a large organic garden for four years. It was fun, exciting, plentiful and a whole lot of work. In the beginning, we were growing everything you could imagine… but we did have to make some sacrifices along the way.

You can’t just hop in the car for a long weekend!

We had an automatic watering system and thought we could take off a few days… WRONG! Heavy rains moved in, and it looked like growth hormones had been mixed with the weeds and they quadrupled in size every hour! YES, the plants grew but the weeds devoured everything. I’ve never seen anything like it… and it was overwhelming, but it did get me back to growing and sprouting greens again!

This year, we made the decision to downsize our indoor and outdoor projects to be more manageable, and stick with growing and sprouting our greens, along with a few of our favorite herbs and veggies. In the garden, we still have fig and pear trees, as well as strawberries and blackberries; plus we’re growing collards, kale, chard, cucumbers, peppers, herbs and tomatoes.

Alfalfa Sprouts - These sprouts are growing at three different stages. If you look closely, you can see the sprouts in the jar on the right are starting to get little green leaves.

Indoors, I’m keeping a constant supply of fresh sprouts, and I’m growing our greens! I dabbled a couple of years ago with hydroponics and grew some beautiful kale and lettuce, but I wanted to simplify the process.

I discovered the Grow Box 2.0 shown below that is very similar to the one my husband made for me. It’s great for keeping salad greens growing through all seasons. Plus, you can “put it on hold” at any time if you want to take a vacation, and start back up when you’re ready. BUT, I can’t imagine you will stop for long. After all, nothing compares to growing and sprouting greens, especially when you know they are FRESH, CLEAN AND GREEN.

Food Rising Grow Box 2.0 - Grow clean heathy food with no electricity, no soil and no weeding. Developed by the Health Ranger.

If you have any desire to grow your greens on your terms, check this out and see if it’s a good fit for you.

It may sound strange, but my husband and I have greens and sprouts almost every morning along with our organic eggs or oatmeal, and for dinner. Just goes to show you that when you eat healthy, your taste buds change and you start craving clean food.

Until next time, go eat some greens!

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Menu Planning Made Easy!

Menu Planning Made Easy!

Menu Planning Made Easy!

If you had a choice between grabbing processed fast food, or serving your family a balanced, home-cooked meal – which would you pick?  

What if I told you that you can prepare that home-cooked meal and save time and money over the so-called “fast food” option?

I have purchased recipes from Trish at Menu Planning Central in the past year and all of the recipes I have prepared have been delicious. One of my favorite quick and easy snack recipes from her is the white bean dip with seasoned pita chips.

You have probably noticed by now that I love the recipes from Trish. Before I discovered her, many of the recipes I found from other sources were often hit or miss and disappointing.

Skepticism got the best of me after downloading and trying so many different ones that just didn’t live up to my expectations… usually a missing “crucial” ingredient causing miserable failure.

Well, my failures were not a total fiasco as they led me to Trish. Now, as my grandmother would say, she’s cute as a button and smart as a whip! …AND I’ve been absolutely amazed with her culinary talents.

I’m happy I learned about her and the much needed service she is providing. I trust her recipes which save me time and money, and you can too!

Now Trish is offering the signature Family Favorites plan for SEVEN DAYS – FREE.  These are organized into a complete weekly plan with customized shopping list. No more spending hours trying to figure out “What’s for dinner?”

Just print and go! –  Her Quick Chicken Shawarma is included in the Family Favorites, and it’s been calling my name! I will definitely be trying it out very soon!

The Family Favorites includes 6 dinner recipes, 1 breakfast/brunch idea, 1 delicious dessert, and customized shopping list plus…

You’ll also receive regular updates with their best meal planning tips along with brand new recipes and menu plans.

If you love the idea of eating healthier, saving time planning your meals and experiencing some new ideas, now is a good time to see if this could help you.

You’ve got nothing to lose and lots to gain by checking it out here:  Menu Planning Central Has Been “Making Life Easier” Since 2007!

Cheers to you and thank you for reading this post!

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Growing and Sprouting Greens!

Healthy Gut – Stronger Immune System

A healthy gut creates a strong immune system.

Your gut control up to 70%

A healthy gut begins with your microbiome which is a community of microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses that make up your gut microbiota. The microbiota, the products it makes, and the entire environment is your microbiome.

When your microbiome is out of balance, poor gut health can contribute to many health issues such as leaky gut syndrome, autoimmune disease, arthritis, dementia, heart disease, and cancer.

The good news is that you control your microbiome through diet, physical exercise, sleep, minimizing toxins and stress management. Knowing this can start you on the path to improving your gut health.

The quality of your health relies on the balance of organisms and bacteria living within your gut.

How is your gut health? When it’s not balanced with good bacteria, your immune system can become compromised and make it harder for your body to respond to germs as quickly or as efficiently.

Toxins and germs can drain your immune system. This can lead to respiratory infections, sinus infections and lung infections. They can cause problems with your GI tract and with your kidneys. You can also experience skin infections and skin rashes.

If you are experiencing the above symptoms or headaches, muscle aches, food allergies or sensitivities, gas, bloating, indigestion, heartburn, constipation, diarrhea, frequent colds or feeling tired to the point of exhaustion, listen to the signals your body is sending.

Any of these symptoms could be caused by germs or toxins, or both. They point to the need for changes in your diet to cleanse and detoxify your body.

Many chronic diseases are caused by lifestyle choices that are creating toxicity in the body. People tend not to exercise as much as they should, they allow themselves to become overweight, and they eat unhealthy foods that lead to things like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and strokes.

Boost Your Immune System

We all need to be diligent about improving our health. Toxins are in our food and environment, and we can make better choices to boost our immune systems. Eating healthy foods that cleanse toxins out of the body and improve our gut health can make a significant difference.

Your immune system is constantly working to eliminate toxins. It fights off viral junk, bacterial infections, fungus and more. When there are too many toxins, it can be easy for your immune system to get overloaded. More than ever, people are being diagnosed with autoimmune conditions, food allergies and chronic disease.

When it comes to autoimmune diseases, there are some that are linked to environmental toxins. These can cause your body to turn on itself and attack certain organs. This is because the immune system registers the organ itself as a foreign invader rather than a toxin.

Eating more nutrient-dense living foods, cleanses your body and increases your healthy gut bacteria.

This takes the pressure off your immune system to help it work the way that it should, while increasing the healthy bacteria in your gut and reducing the risk of chronic disease.

Fermented vegetables

Eating probiotic foods and taking a daily probiotic supplement also helps to increase the good bacteria.

Probiotic foods include live-cultured yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, fermented vegetables, miso soup, apple cider vinegar and dark chocolate. In addition, fruits and vegetables contain fibers and sugars that can boost the health of your gut bacteria.

Improve your gut health and immune system by adding probiotic foods to your diet and removing sugar which feeds the bad bacteria.

Until next time, be healthy and happy!

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Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar

You’ve Probably Heard About The Many Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar!

Apple cider vinegar, often referred to as ACV, is one of those miracle foods. When used properly, it can be highly beneficial to your health. The problem is there is so much information about health that sometimes we miss the simplest of things we can do to make a substantial difference in our health.

Inflammation and Apple Cider Vinegar

Many people suffer from inflammation today… and the research has shown that chronic inflammation can cause serious health problems. After three automobile accidents and spinal surgery, my pain and inflammation was challenging to manage. One of the most important things I learned was to keep a close watch on my diet to manage my pain and inflammation.

Apple cider vinegar helps with my inflammation. I regret that I didn’t pay as much attention to all the benefits until a few years ago.  Prior to that, I would get on the bandwagon and drink it occasionally, but I was inconsistent. Now I’m totally hooked on the health benefits of apple cider vinegar, and I have it every day!

I’m a faithful, consistent consumer of Bragg’s Organic Apple Cider Vinegar!
It cannot be found at all grocery stores, however, it is much easier to find now than a few years ago.
If your local store doesn’t carry it, you can always order directly from Bragg’s or Amazon. 

How Can Apple Cider Vinegar Help You? 

I encourage you to discover some of the amazing health benefits of apple cider vinegar. In the past, it was used as a primary ingredient for many health tonics and home remedies.
Apple cider vinegar is often used for natural home cleaning products. It is also beneficial for your health when added to drinks and to the food you consume.  It would be impossible to cover all the health benefits in one blog post, but I do want to mention a few benefits now about ACV.

ACV Can Help Control Candida Yeast

An overabundance of candida yeast is one of the most common problems among people who suffer from symptoms like bad breath and difficulty digesting food.  Many people don’t realize they have a problem with candida and eliminating all sugar is critical as sugar feeds candida.
Diluting apple cider vinegar with water is one simple step you can take that may help your body to promote a more well-balanced population of gut flora. This may also reduce bowel inflammation.
My favorite is to mix one tablespoon of ACV in a quart of water with the juice of one lemon. Sometimes I use two tablespoons of ACV and two lemons, but I would start slow and increase gradually.  I personally would not recommend anything stronger!

ACV Can Helps with Weight Loss

Instead of having a cup of coffee first thing in the morning, try a cup of warm water with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar.  By doing this, you will create a healthier environment in your body for weight loss. When insulin spikes, it can trigger fat storage signals which will result in immediate weight gain.
ACV can help to keep your insulin from spiking.  It can increase a hormone called glucagon that sends messages to the body that it should release fat to be burned for energy. Even if you don’t need to lose weight, drinking a small amount of apple cider vinegar in a cup of water everyday will help to keep your system operating more efficiently.

Using Diluted Apple Cider Vinegar Is Great for Your Skin

The acids in apple cider vinegar promote circulation and dissolve residues found on the surface of the skin. If you never tried this, simply dilute a small amount of apple cider vinegar with water and dip a cotton ball into it.  Apply it onto your face to help promote healing action and beautiful skin.  ACV is also highly anti-inflammatory, so you can use it to treat bug bites and bruises as well.

 

This is just the tip of the iceberg, and more will be coming about the benefits of apple cider vinegar!

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Growing and Sprouting Greens!

Fermented Foods Improve Gut Health

Fermented Foods Improve Gut Health

Healthy probiotics (good bacteria) in fermented foods improve  gut health, keep your colon clean, improves the function of your colon and provides a place for these friendly bacteria to grow! The good news is that probiotic-rich fermented foods have been around for thousands of years and this is a traditional way to preserve food and beverages.  These fermented foods are also referred to as cultured vegetables or cultured dairy products.
When I started making my own yogurt in the 1980’s, I was only familiar with the term “fermented” and I learned in 2002 that they are also referred to as cultured vegetables. Since becoming a Certified Body Ecologist through Donna Gates’ Body Ecology training, I have made thousands of quarts of cultured vegetables, coconut kefir and fermented coconut pudding using the Body Ecology culture starters. Learning how fermented foods improve gut health was a vital part of my healing process and it can be for you too!
Why Should You Consider Fermented Foods? Fermented foods, properly prepared, restore your gut bacteria to a healthy balance to improve your digestion. This in turn allows your body to absorb more nutrients from the foods you eat, and improves your overall mental and physical health. Good News About The Process of Fermentation These fermented or cultured foods have been through a process of lacto-fermentation in which natural bacteria feed on the sugar and starch in the food. This process creates lactic acid which is a natural preservative that inhibits putrefying bacteria. It preserves the food and creates beneficial enzymes, b-vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids, and probiotics. Allowing bacteria to ferment in a sealed jar of vegetables over a period of time might not seem like the most appealing way to create a meal or side-dish. However, it is exciting to know how this healthy fermentation plays such an important role in balancing the bacteria in your gut. In future posts, I will review ways to make your own fermented foods. Until then, when talking about eating fermented foods for a healthy gut, remember… the lactic acid-based bacterium is the process to look for. It isn’t necessary for you to learn how to ferment your own food, although you do save a lot of money when you make your own. Fortunately, in today’s market, there are many options available to you in your local grocery store, however, you should…
USE CAUTION: Not all fermented foods are good for restoring balance to your gut bacteria. Unfortunately, many mass-produced fermented foods, may have little beneficial bacteria actual left in them.  This is because of the preservatives, added sugars, colorings, or inexpensive vinegars used in place of a real fermentation process. Be on the safe side and look for fermented foods with organic ingredients and no sugar added. Check out this post on Improving Your Gut Health. Until next time, Experiment… try some fermented veggies or some yummy kombucha!  
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18 Healthy Food Replacement Hacks

18 Healthy Food Replacement Hacks

18 Food Replacement Hacks

Learning more about the healthy food swaps shown below can be very helpful in choosing healthier foods. Check out the health info below the images!

Thank you Swanson Vitamins for providing this wonderful informational graphic for 18 Food Replacement Hacks that Make Healthy Eating Easy!


Food Replacement Hacks

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18 Healthy Food Replacement Hacks

Super Herbs For Super Health

Super Herbs For Super Health!

There are many super herbs that have incredible health benefits such as improving the immune system, anti-inflammatory benefits, keeping blood sugar under control and lowering cholesterol. Today we will look at turmeric, garlic and aloe vera and some of their healing properties. Have you done any research about the best healing herbs?

If so, you may have discovered that turmeric is a super herb that deserves it’s place at the top of the list. This strong Indian spice has been used medicinally for over 4,500 years, and it’s in the same plant family as ginger. In the last few years, turmeric has reappeared within the health and wellness arena due to curcumin, the healing substance which supplies its bright color. Curcumin has significant anti-inflammatory properties that are said to strongly compete with those found in ibuprofen, and it can soothe your tummy by balancing the acids in your stomach.

 

Garlic has been used to improve the immune system, help manage inflammatory joint disease as well as reduce arthritis symptoms. The high levels of selenium in garlic are much greater than other plants. This healing herb helps the body by boosting the ability of white blood cells to fight infections, and by stimulating other immune cells which fight viral and bacterial infections.
I grew up with  mom and dad cutting opening an aloe vera leaf and placing the gel on a cut or burn. They learned from their parents and grandparents, and I never heard the word anti-bacterial… but they knew it would help. It was not until many years later that I learned of the many other healing benefits of this plant. Aloe vera is also high in antioxidants, and is great for sunburns. It is often used in cosmetics and skin care products.

Below is a graphic highlighting some of the benefits of these three super herbs.

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18 Healthy Food Replacement Hacks

Food Dyes – Colors To Avoid

Food Dyes – Colors To Avoid!

The mounting evidence has led to a growing consensus among researchers, physicians, psychologists, and others who treat patients with such behavioral disorders as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) that avoidance of food dyes benefits some children.
Recent analyses of the dye content of foods and beverages indicate that many American children are consuming amounts of dyes far higher than the levels demonstrated in some clinical trials to impair the behavior of susceptible children. The amount of dyes contained in just a single cupcake or glass of Kool-Aid can be enough to prompt adverse behavioral reactions in certain children.
We estimate that over half a million children in the United States suffer adverse behavioral reactions after ingesting food dyes, with an estimated cost exceeding $5 billion per year, using information cited by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a recent meta-analysis sponsored by an arm of the food industry.
The harm to children and the costs to society from dyes are needless and preventable. A study of food labels in one supermarket found that more than 90 percent of child-oriented candies, fruit-flavored snacks, and drink mixes and powders are artificially colored.

Download full report from The Center For Science In The Public Interest. It’s a long report but on page 8 there is a graphic which clearly shows the difference in how the EU and the US are approaching this issue and it also states:

In contrast to the European actions, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has failed to protect or even inform consumers of the risks of dyes to children.

 

The infographic below is provided by Special-Education-Degree.net

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18 Healthy Food Replacement Hacks

Cucamelons – The Cutest Fruit!

Cucamelons – The Cutest Fruit!

 Cucamelons are the cutest fruit! They are also known as a

Mexican Sour Gherkin or Mouse Melon and they are about the

size of a grape, with a cucumber taste and a hint of lime.

I simply had to plant cucamelons in my garden this year after seeing and reading about them! This little veggie looks like a miniature watermelon and tastes like a cucumber infused with lemon. With that being said, I’ve read a lot about these, and I’ve seen them called fruits and veggies as well as having hint of lemon or lime. I guess it just depends on who is doing the tasting! 
Either way it’s a winner if the harvest is good and the taste is yummy. 
The cucamelon has a thin rind and few seeds which is a plus.  The good news is that they are suppose to be drought resistant and they are not suppose to attract pests. Parkseed.com describes the bite as definitely being more tart than a cucumber and easier to grow. They also recommend planting them in containers or hanging baskets.
You can eat cucamelons right off the vine, use in salads, salsa or pickled like a sweet gherkin or sour dill.  I’m looking forward to fermenting them, and they might do great as freezer pickles! They would also be delicious on this recipe!
I’m waiting to see how my plants produce. When doing my research, I discovered the vine can take over your garden which is somewhat of a concern! It will be interesting to see just how fast and how far the vine grows!
My English cucumbers are growing up a trellis, and I hope I can contain the cucamelons from spreading too much and devouring the garden!
Time will tell 🙂
If you have grown these little gems, let me know how you like them!

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18 Healthy Food Replacement Hacks

Olive Oil – Healthy Benefits

Olive oil is well known for its health benefits and has a

long list of polyphenols that occur naturally in plants.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) has the highest concentration of the healing polyphenols and are easily digested. These polyphenols are antioxidant and anti-inflammatory to the body.

 

Hydroxytyrosol is an extremely rare polyphenol found in olive oil.  It is believed to be one of the most powerful antioxidants, coming in second to gallic acid.  Research has shown it to be ten times greater than green tea and two time greater than CoQ10 in providing an all-natural approach to free-radical damage.  It is highly potent and very beneficial in slowing down the aging process.  The synergy effect with other olive phenols is important as research continues.

Anti-inflammatory properties are rarely found in a fat. Fortunately, olive oil is made up of fat calories, but the fat is monounsaturated. Since olive oil is monounsaturated, it is considered a healthy fat that is anti-inflammatory. Many other types of fat can cause the body to increase production of molecules which trigger inflammatory responses.

Olive oil has been shown to considerably decrease the production of these molecules when consumed on a regular basis.

 

For the average person, this means that switching from butter to olive oil in their diet may help in lowering joint swelling and pain from diseases like arthritis.

Studies have confirmed that diets similar to the Mediterranean style of dieting can help to protect the body from colon cancer and other diseases of the bowels. This is attributed to the large quantities of polyphenols in olive oil, especially the purest forms of the oil. 
  • Olive oil is helpful in protecting the body’s very structure or DNA from oxidative stress. 
  • Calcium is also more readily absorbed by the human body when olive oil is present in the diet. This absorption helps to create stronger bones and teeth.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) and its relationship in curing cancer is valuable information for further research. Studies of breast cancer patients have recently shown a decrease in the replication of certain types of breast cancer cells when Extra Virgin Olive Oil is present in the diet.  
From a scientific view, these results could be a breakthrough in the treatment of cancer patients. If changes in diet can help to reverse the effects of cancer, then these same changes should change many other diseases, as well.

Would you like to have a longer life with a healthy brain and a healthy body? People who consume olive oil on a daily basis tend to have better cognitive retention as they age.  The antioxidants which are so numerous in the oil protect the brain over the course of a lifetime.

Many researchers are looking toward the

Mediterranean diet to help explain this cognitive longevity.

Olive oil certainly seems to be a miracle food!  It’s been a part of human culture and consumption for thousands of years, and all the many health benefits are continuing to be researched through scientific studies.
P.S. You may also be interested in… Healthy Fats Are Good For You!

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