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5 Herbal Remedies You Can Make at Home

Herbs are beautiful, edible plants that emit enticing aromas. Plus, they are highly beneficial for adding delectable flavor to outstanding cuisine and are highly prized for their therapeutic value. For thousands and thousands of years, herbs have been central in wellness elixirs, tinctures, salves, oils, teas, and more. 

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Plant This Next to Beans for Better Flavor

Did you know that cultivating the right combination of plants close to each other can make your garden blossom from mediocre to outstanding? Companion planting is an ancient gardening practice that has been making a comeback for one simple reason… it works. Planting a diverse mixture of plants, including annuals, perennials, flowers, and veggies, makes for a much healthier garden and, often, a tastier harvest. On the flip side, planting the wrong combination of plants can result in an unhealthy garden and a mediocre or even poor harvest.

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Do This and Your Seeds Will Sprout Like Magic (Seriously, 3x Faster)

Have you ever had the disappointment of your seeds not germinating? I know that I have, and it is a real source of discouragement. Or what about those seeds that take forever just to sprout? I consider myself a patient person, but some seeds have really pushed me to my limit with their sluggish sprouting rate.  Over the years, I have learned a few tricks to improve the germination rate and speed of seeds. 

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The Fractured Case Against Eggs

Eggs for breakfast? Not anymore, according to a newly released study. A group of researchers has eggs back in the spotlight for seemingly negative health impacts. This time, they are blamed for an increased risk of developing diabetes. But… are there other factors that need to be considered? You bet there are.  Also, eggs have recently been shown to reduce the risk of diabetes. Why the conflict? Let’s unpack and find the truth about this popular breakfast food.

The most recent study criminalizing eggs is out of Australia. Australian researchers studied Chinese adults and found a positive link between higher egg consumption and high blood sugar levels. This new research suggests that consuming just one egg per day increases the risk of developing diabetes by 60%.

According to study author Dr. Ming Li from the University of South Australia,

“Diet is a known and modifiable factor that contributes to the onset of type 2 diabetes, so understanding the range of dietary factors that might impact the growing prevalence of the disease is important.”

Yes, Dr. Li is entirely correct. What we eat and our lifestyle has a tremendous impact on our risk of developing diabetes – but what is interesting is that the study subjects had changed from eating a traditional diet to a more processed diet including meat, snacks, and eggs.  If this is the case, how can the egg be singled out as the villain here? Furthermore, if eggs have always been a part of a traditional Chinese diet – why not look at the things that aren’t in the conventional diet and conduct research on these?

Previous research makes a clear correlation between a heavily processed diet and an increased risk of numerous conditions such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

Researchers in Finland just last year found that eating one egg per day lowered the risk of type 2 diabetes. In 2015, it was found that egg consumption lowered blood glucose levels and reduced the risk of diabetes. 

According to the American Diabetes Association, people who have diabetes should be eating eggs. The reason? Eggs contain just half a gram of carbohydrates, which is believed to have little impact on blood sugar.

What we know to be true  about eggs

Before you jump on the anti-egg bandwagon, it is important to remember many great things about eggs. Including the right type of eggs in your diet has been found to promote health and wellbeing in many ways. 

Eggs are good for your heart. Eggs can reduce the risk of heart disease and have a positive impact on cardiovascular function. Eggs from pasture-raised hens contain double the amount of health-promoting Omega-3 as eggs taken from hens raised in battery cages. Not only do Omega-3 fatty acids lower blood triglycerides, but they also help regulate cholesterol. This is excellent news, as having higher blood triglycerides is directly linked to an increased risk of developing heart disease.

Eggs reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a group of conditions that increase the likelihood of different diseases, including stroke, diabetes, and heart disease. The conditions include elevated blood sugar, increased body fat (especially around the waist), and abnormal cholesterol levels. One 2016 study of individuals over 40 included a 3-year review of their egg consumption. It was found that eating more eggs may reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome in adults over 40. Also, eggs had a positive impact on blood glucose and triglycerides, especially in men.

Eggs may reduce the risk of fo chronic illness. Eggs also contain naturally occurring carotenoids.  People who consume a diet high in carotenoids live longer and experience lower mortality from chronic illness. The particular carotenoids in eggs (that give the yolk it’s beautiful yellow color) help the body absorb additional carotenoids from raw veggies when the two are eaten together.  

Eggs are great for your eyes and skin. Carotenoids in eggs are not only paramount to overall good health and prevention of disease, but they also promote eye health. Eggs contain two “oxygenated” carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin. Both act as antioxidants and anti-inflammatories, filtering out dangerous blue spectrums of light and reducing the risk of macular degeneration and glaucoma.

In the same way that lutein and zeaxanthin protect the eyes by filtering out dangerous wavelengths, they also protect the skin, thus slowing down the oxidative damage that light can cause – especially UV rays. Eggs contain a hefty supply of five of the eight best nutrients to help reduce the risk of and fight skin cancer.

Eggs can help you stay trim. You might be familiar with eating eggs while trying to drop weight because of their high protein content. But did you know that they also contain another ingredient that makes them a valuable weight-loss food? As mentioned above, Lutein is well known for its ability to keep eyes and skin healthy; it is also a fantastic weight-loss tool. Studies show that it can positively impact physical activity levels. Eggs are a healthy addition to any weight loss program as they keep you full and reduce the number of calories you may eat for a whole 36 hours after you eat them!

Eggs are good for the brain and liver. Our bodies produce a minimal amount of the macronutrient choline. For the most part, we need to get this macronutrient from the food we eat. Eggs are a great choice as they are choline-rich. Eating eggs promotes healthy liver function and brain development. Choline has successfully treated persons with neurological conditions such as depression and can improve memory and cognitive function.  Persons diagnosed with fatty liver disease often have a choline deficiency, which is also linked to some forms of cancer.

Why you should keep backyard chickens

Not only are backyard chickens a great source of entertainment, but they are also a great source of healthy eggs.  Backyard chickens eat a regular and nutrient-rich diet and are often given room to move about – this means greater nutritional benefits. 

The conditions in which hens are raised impact the quality of eggs tremendously. Sadly, hens in cages can’t stand up, groom themselves or flap their wings. Their living conditions are deplorable, and their health suffers.

Eggs from pastured hens are the only kind you should eat. When compared to eggs from caged hens, they have:

  • ⅓ less  cholesterol
  • ⅔ more vitamin A
  • ¼ less saturated fat
  • 2 times more omega-3
  • 3 times more vitamin E
  • 7 times more beta carotene

Eggs from pastured hens superior in nutrition, but they are also 98 percent less likely to carry salmonella. That is a peace of mind we can all use.

Backyard chickens are a sustainable addition to any backyard garden. They provide natural pest control and are happy to devour your plant-based kitchen scraps that would otherwise end up in the trash.

I don’t know about you but, I am not giving up on backyard chickens or eating eggs anytime soon!

Susan Patterson

 

 

 

 

 

Can I Eat Those Backyard Mushrooms?

If you’re noticing mushrooms popping up on your lawn, you shouldn’t be surprised or concerned. It simply means that autumn is on the way, which is the prime time for fungal growth. Fungi live in your soil at all times – they are a vital part of the ecosystem and help keep plants healthy. At the right time of year and when the weather conditions are perfect, they pop up these little fruiting bodies to spread spores and reproduce. You may have noticed that fungi proliferate in wet weather that occurs right after a dry spell, or when you’ve just laid new turf. The disturbed soil releases fungal spores that were previously dormant, so you get lots of toadstools popping up on that nice new lawn.

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Banish Ear Fungi and Ease Pain With ACV

Apple cider vinegar is an ancient remedy made from fermented apple juice that has been used for thousands of years to alleviate many conditions and ailments. You’ve probably heard of apple cider vinegar for things like cleaning, soothing a sore throat, and lowering blood sugar, but did you know that it may help relieve an ear infection as well? Read on for our favorite ways to use ACV for ear infections and a few other helpful hints. 

Ear infections are usually caused by bacteria, fungi, or viruses developing in the outer or middle ear. Though they are more common in children, adults can experience ear infections as well. Regardless of whether you or your child is suffering from an ear infection, it is vital to take action and help the body eliminate the virus. Here are a few signs you may have an ear infection:

  • Earache
  • Inflammation and swelling
  • Pain and tenderness
  • Hearing changes
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Fever

Before you put anything in your ear or in your child’s ear, you need to understand precisely what it is and make sure that it’s safe. Apple cider vinegar is a viable at-home natural remedy that, when used properly, could help alleviate pain and loosen blockages. Plus, ACV contains acetic acid, an antibacterial compound that can help kill fungi, bacteria, and viruses inside the ear. 

Keep in mind, if you suspect you have a middle ear infection, it is best to see a doctor and avoid self-treatment. Apple cider vinegar should only be used for outer ear infections, also known as swimmers’ ear.  

How to use:

  • In a small dish, mix 1 part apple cider vinegar to 1 part rubbing alcohol. Be sure to use ACV with “the mother”
  • Use a clean syringe or dropper to place about 5-10 drops in your ear and cover the ear with a clean cloth.
  • Lay on your side to allow the drops to sit in the affected ear for about 1 minute and then transfer to the other side with the cloth under your ear so that the drops can come out.
  • Repeat as often as needed to alleviate a mild earache or outer ear infection. 

This remedy is best for those who are experiencing a repeat infection as they will usually be able to recognize the symptoms and treat it quickly. If it is a first-time infection, it could have progressed too far and may need to be treated with antibiotics. 

If you have a sore throat or a cold or flu along with an ear infection, try gargling with a mixture of equal parts ACV and warm water for about 30 seconds. This may help soothe your throat and could indirectly ease ear infection symptoms. Always brush your teeth after rinsing with ACV. 

Note:

Discontinue any at-home remedies and see a doctor immediately if symptoms do not cease within three days. See a doctor if ear discharge, fever, or loss of balance occurs along with an earache.  

Other benefits of ACV

Help you feel full

Drink ACV diluted with water to help staunch your appetite and reduce your cravings for unhealthy foods. This could also be beneficial in aiding weight loss efforts since you won’t be tempted to eat as much. 

Deodorize stinky things

Mix ACV and water in a spray bottle and use it on smelly areas in the home to help deodorize and freshen. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil for an even better odor-busting power. Try a foot soak with ACV, water, and Epsom salts to rid your feet of odor-causing bacteria. 

Facial toner

To avoid burning your face, never use undiluted ACV on your skin. Instead, mix 2 or 3 parts water with one part ACV and apply to the face with a clean cotton pad to help clean pores and even skin tone. Use after cleansing face. This is particularly helpful for oily or combination skin. Follow with a moisturizer. 

Hair rinse

Use a 1 to 1 mixture of apple cider vinegar and water every few weeks to cleanse hair and gently strip away product buildup. Use on wet hair and continue with normal shampoo and conditioner routine.

Fruit and veggie wash 

Rinsing fruits and vegetables with ACV could help remove certain dangerous bacteria such as salmonella and E. Coli. It may also be more effective in eliminating harmful pesticides and herbicides compared with plain water. 

-Susan Patterson, Certified Health Coach, and Master Gardener

Good Poop, Bad Poop (What Works in Your Garden)

You may have heard that poop is good for your garden. If you want to grow big healthy plants and beautiful produce, you need poop! However, all poop is not the same – some types may actually undo all the hard work you’ve put into cultivating your garden. Before you go putting poop on your garden beds, make sure you know the difference between good poop and bad poop.

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Ditch the Bug Zappers, Try This Instead

It’s summer, your garden is blooming, and you are anxious to host weekend outdoor parties and show off your beautiful patio and yard, but… you live in an area where mosquitoes are like vicious sharks, seemingly waiting in the air to attack. Perhaps you have tried those noisy bug zappers that annoyingly let you know every time they annihilate a flying pest (some of which are not bad pests, either).  Between the annoyance and guilt, it may be time to try something more natural to keep the unwanted guests from crashing your party. Here are a few great options.

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Becoming a Mindful Gardener Amidst a World in Chaos

When an envelope of chaos surrounds your life, it is important to know that your garden can be a place of refreshment, renewal, and hope. It can be a safe place where you can be still and become one with the natural world around you. This is a good thing. We often trip on our thoughts, on fear, and on the what if’s. In the garden, you can be still, content, and soak in the beauty that surrounds you. When you become a mindful gardener, you have arrived at a place that allows you to escape the chaos of the world and just be.

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