Every year there are 136 million pounds of pesticides used on North American gardens and lawns. Surprisingly, homeowners are reported to use about three times the amount of pesticides as farmers. In fact, the majority of wildlife poisoning and water contamination is not from farms or other large organizations — it’s from single-family homes.
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:
- Inflammation and swelling
- Pain and tenderness
- Hearing changes
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
It’s no secret that we adore houseplants here at Backyard Vitality. They clean the air, lift your mood, and bring a taste of the garden right into your living room. In fact, we believe that house is not a home without a few plants scattered across every empty surface. Sadly, many people are scared to get houseplants because they have a “brown thumb” or just “aren’t good with plants.” This list of no-fail houseplants will finally put those fears to bed, help increase your confidence, and allow you to decorate every room in your home with vibrant living decor.
Are you ready to be a successful potato gardener? This versatile starchy tuber is easy to grow and can be cultivated by anyone with great success, even the novice gardener. The best thing of all is that there are endless possibilities when it comes to growing potatoes so everyone can get in on the action.
Peat is a fibrous material made up of partially decomposed plant materials and natural forms in the earth in locations that fulfil particular requirements. For instance, the climate has to be mild (not rising above a certain temperature), stagnant water must be present, and it will only form in anaerobic conditions, which essentially just means the the absence of oxygen. Peat is most commonly found in Russia and Canada.
Gardening and health are intrinsically linked. You grow your own fruits and vegetables, so you begin to eat more whole, fresh food. You have to harvest, plant, and tend your garden, so you get more physical activity and daily doses of fresh air and sunshine. However, unless you wear gloves all the time, you probably also experience the dry, cracking hands that come from spending hours digging in the dirt. Thankfully, all the herbs needed to create this soothing hand salve, and make dried out hands a thing of the past, can be grown right in your garden.
And… it has happened again. As of August 16, 2021, there have been nine reports of salmonella-related illnesses related to shrimp products sold by Avanti Frozen Foods India. Three of these people have been hospitalized. This multi-state outbreak is currently being investigated by the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Illnesses have been reported in four states, Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, and Rhode Island.
On June 25, 2021, Avanti Foods Pvt. issued a recall on frozen shrimp products distributed nationwide from November 2020 to May 2021. However, it is now thought that the products may have been sold in stores more recently, according to the CDC. After the CDC reopened its investigation, the FDA requested Avanti to expand the prior recall.
The frozen shrimp was sold under multiple brand names including, 365, Ahold, Big River, Censea, Chicken of the Sea, CWNO, First Street, Food Lion, Hannaford, Harbor Banks, Honest Catch, HOS, Meijer, Nature’s Promise, Open Acres, Sandbar, Sea Cove, Waterfront Bistro, Wellsley Farms, and WFNO Brands.
Whole Foods Market lists two products associated with the recall under its 365 store brand, Kroger, Albertsons, Target, and Meijer, and Hannaford are among retailers impacted by this recall. Products included in the recall include various sizes of frozen cooked, peeled, deveined, shrimp (some packaged with cocktail sauce), tempura roles sold at Target stores in California, and rings of frozen shrimp distributed by Chicken of the Sea and sold at Meijer as well as bags of Meijer-branded bags of frozen shrimp.
Avanti is based in Visakhapatnam, India, partially owned by Bangkok-based Thai Union Group, a global seafood company.
Three smaller recalls linked to the nationwide recall
In addition to the nationwide shrimp recall, there are three smaller related recalls.
- Mai Cuisine Inc., of Allentown – Recalling 67 packs of 12 piece Shrimp Tempura Kabuki Roll purchased at selected California Target Stores
- Genji Pacific LLC, of Allentown – Recalling 1 490 packs of sushi containing cocktail shrimp purchased in Whole Foods Market in California stores
- Mai Franchising Inc., of Allentown – Voluntarily recalling 103 packages of sushi containing cocktail shrimp purchased at New Leaf Community Market stores in Northern California
Stores linked to these California recalls can be found on the fda.gov site.
How seafood gets tainted
According to a study published in the Journal of Food Protection, unlike poultry and other warm-blooded animals, seafood such as shrimp do not naturally carry Salmonella bacteria. Study authors state the following.
“Salmonella is not part of the natural flora of the shrimp culture environment, nor is it inherently present in shrimp grow-out ponds. The occurrence of Salmonella bacteria in shrimp from aquaculture operations is related to the concentration of fecal bacteria in the source and grow-out pond water.”
More than 90% of shrimp consumed in the United States is imported from other countries, including Southeast Asia and Central Asia. There are numerous points from growing to harvest, processing, and shipping where shrimp can become contaminated. Each time seafood and meat are frozen, it becomes a better opportunity for bacteria to thrive. Additionally, if these foods are thawed and frozen again – more bacteria can grow. The shrimp in question were sold frozen, then thawed before being sold.
Know where your seafood comes from
Like all food you put on your table, knowing where it originated and is handled is essential. If you can’t catch your fresh seafood or don’t live close to the sea, pick a reputable company that sources only the best seafood possible. Here are a couple of great options to consider
Vital Choice says this about their products.
“We seek ingredients that are certified organic and Fair Trade Certified™ whenever possible. We seek suppliers who uphold good manufacturing practices and who make a positive impact on their employees, communities, and the environment.”
Wild Alaskan Company says this about their products.
“We proudly ship a wide variety of wild-caught species from Alaska and the Pacific Northwest, including sockeye salmon, coho salmon, pacific cod, pacific halibut, and wild Alaska pollock.”
Stay safe and stay informed,
-The Backyard Vitality Team