18
Feb

Beginner Tips for Fermenting

by Tiffany in Healthy Eating

Beginner Tips for FermentingSo, you have decided that probiotic rich, fermented foods may be for you and you want to add more to your diet. You already know the numerous health benefits, the categories of fermented foods, and how you want to use them. The problem is, that you may have some trouble finding all the foods that you want or at the very least finding them within your budget. When a single bottle of Kombucha can run nearly $4, that can make a dent in your food budget fast. If this sounds like you, you may have already looked into fermenting your own foods. Here are some beginner tips that can get you started on the right track.

Start with Fermentation Kits

Kits are a great place to start if you are new to fermenting. There are several reasons for this. The first is that the kits will include everything you need to ferment the chosen food. There is no need to research all the different tools and ingredients and try to find them, they will be at the ready. The second reason for starting with kits is because they are often cheaper than trying to buy each piece you will need for the fermentation process. You will also receive step by step instructions as well as recipes to try later.

Stick with Foods You Already Love to Eat

You may already be eating fermented foods that you love, like yogurt, kombucha, sauerkraut, or pickles. It makes the fermentation journey that much more enjoyable when you try your hand at fermenting those foods yourself. The benefit of this is that you already know the flavors, textures, and methods you like of these foods. You know what you are looking for. You know what you like and it ls less likely that you will let fermented foods go to waste in the fridge. After all, you may have began this journey to save money, not waste it. Once you get the routines down for your favorite ferments then you may want to get more exotic and experimental.

pickles fermented at home

Create a Ferment Storage Area

Make sure that if you are starting to ferment your own foods, you have a proper storage area them. Make sure that you know where you will be storing them, how best to store them, and for how long you will need to store them before they are ready to eat. The last thing you want is to have the foods ready to go and find that you do not have the adequate space or area to support the fermenting process. Do some research on the best ways to store your fermented foods and the temperatures you will need to maintain.

By utilizing these tips you can start on a path to fermenting your own foods. Once you learn the basic processes you will have a fermented food pantry that you can pull foods from just like a grocery store, at a fraction of the price. Your budget will be super happy and your health will too.

fermented jam

Saturday, February 18th, 2017

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17
Feb

Raising Sheep and Goats: A Source For Natural Products

by Tiffany in The Homestead

Raising Sheep and Goats HomesteadThe search for safe, reliable products can be very difficult at times. We can’t always get enough information to know whether the things we buy for our families will satisfy our standards for purity and quality.

The natural response many of us have had is to produce these things ourselves, and many of us have started with fruits and vegetables. Creating home gardens and orchards to feed our families keeps us from buying products that may have been contaminated with pesticides or bacteria, and the quality is higher too.

But it doesn’t have to end there. We still have other food and fiber needs to meet, and we need to explore the possibilities of raising additional products ourselves.

If you want to become more self-sufficient and get more of your clothing and food needs at home, you may want to consider raising sheep and goats. These animals are versatile producers of milk and wool, and they are reasonably easy to raise without a big farming operation. Much of what they eat is grass, and they will grow well with lawn seed types. No need to buy special varieties.

You should always check local zoning laws regarding livestock, since many cities, towns, counties, and even states have particular restrictions about the presence of animals in certain areas. There may also be limits on how many animals you may have per acre of land. But if you clear that hurdle, start planning what your flock can give to you.

Pure, Healthful Products

As we noted earlier, there’s no better way to be sure of what you are eating than to raise it yourself. Producing your own milk and potentially cheese from goats or sheep on your own property is a great way to avoid many of the common concerns about food.

Milk produced elsewhere on a farm is handled many different times by different people. It’s hauled hundreds of miles, processed at a plant, and handled by retail staff. At any of those points, there could be a breakdown in safe handling. That’s to say nothing of the risk of a contamination with antibiotics before the milk is even taken from the cow.

Ethical Care

Of course, your high standards pertain to more than just the products. You’re also in tune with the welfare of the animal, because the animal belongs to you.

Most farmers are very good stewards of their livestock, but the issue here is not what they are doing so much as that you don’t know what they are doing. If only one farmer in 1,000 is unethical, you don’t know if that’s where your food came from or not.

By raising livestock yourself, you can be sure that the animals receive proper food, water, shelter, and medical care, and that the products are harvested humanely and safely.

Recycling

Let’s just be blunt. Milk and wool aren’t the only things your livestock will produce. They’ll generate waste, and you may be distressed at just how much of there will be.

The key is to have a good management strategy from the very beginning. Areas where they animals congregate to eat or drink will need to be properly surfaced with a material that can be easily cleared of animal waste. But the great thing about it is what you can do with that waste after you clean it up.

Livestock manure is excellent fertilizer. If you compost it properly, it will generate high temperatures that will kill weed seeds and reduce the odor, making a very rich product that will help your lawn, flowers, and vegetables reach their peak production.

Raising sheep and goats is an exciting challenge that can give you great rewards. They’ll produce milk, cheese, fiber, and even fertilizer for your family. But perhaps most important is the peace of mind you’ll get from knowing you’re providing things in a sustainable, environmentally-friendly way.

7
Feb

Don’t Diet, Just Focus on Nutrition

by Tiffany in Health & Healing

Focus on NutritionThis is month two of my 12 month new year health challenge. Last month was all about improving my sleep as the foundation of health and wellness. This month is all about diet and nutrition. I have already made many great strides in this area because improved nutrition also helps with sleep but I can focus even more on good nutrition now that the habits for good sleep have been established.

As I mentioned in my initial challenge post I put my health on the back burner when I experienced several personal upheavals and challenges. My diet and fitness suffered and I gained a large amount of weight that I hope to lose. I am not going on a diet though and starting to hit the gym every day.  I won’t be counting calories, instead I will focus on eating the most nutritious foods and superfoods I possibly can and getting lots of vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. In short I will not worry at all about how much I am eating but what I am eating. When you load up on nutrient dense foods and healthy fats your body has all it needs and cravings and overeating don’t happen.

So what changes are on the menu? Lots! Lots of healthy fats, high qaulity protein, fewer carbs – That in a nutshell is my plan.

Mushroom coffee – My old coffee made an exit last month when I started looking for something with less caffeine. I started drinking Four Sigmatic’s Mushroom Coffee with Cordyceps & Chaga. I love it and it is super good for you. It is full of powerful antioxidants! Cordyceps helps with immune function, it improves stamina, detoxes your liver, and has anti-aging effects. Chaga contains structural polysaccharides which provide energy, improved cardiovascular health, and healthy blood sugar levels.

Collagen Peptides – My mushroom coffee and also my afternoon tea gets a boost with the addition of collagen. It helps with a healthy metabolism, strong joints, building muscle, and also better looking skin, hair, and nails.

MCT Oil – This is another add on for bulletproof tea/coffee and a great source of healthy fats. The medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) are burned by the body for energy, or ‘fuel’, instead of being stored as fat. It can help you lose weight and important to me is the fact that it is great for people who have a hard time digesting fats.

Dandy – I recently bought some of this herbal beverage with dandelion to try with my coffee and tea. It is highly recommended and I love dandelion tea already. Made from a blend of roasted barley, rye, chicory root and dandelion root.

Laird Superfood Creamer – Made with coconut milk, coconut oil, and mineral rich marine algae. I love it!

No Fast Food! – This is hard limit for me. My only two faster food options will be Chipotle (and only the salad bowl) and Bibibop.

Hydration- Between meals I will drink spring water and lots of it. Also bone broth will make a regular appearance. I will have bulletproof coffee in the morning and bulletproof tea in the afternoon. A few times a week I will also have coconut water or Kombucha. I am cutting out all alcohol except for special occasions, like date night.

Nuts – I have added a handful of nuts (almonds, pecans, and pepitas) to my morning and afternoon meals. They fill me up and they are loaded with healthy fats.

Reduced sugar at all times but especially in the morning – I will not be starting my day with sugars, even natural sugars such as fruit. This seems to help me get my metabolism started in the most efficient way.

Supplements – Our food is not nearly as nutritious as it once was because our soil has been depleted so greatly. To make up for missing or inadequate nutrients, vitamins, and minerals I will be taking the following supplements. A whole foods source is always preferred!

Nature’s Plus Source of Life Gold Liquid

MegaFoods Turmeric Strength, Balanced B Complex, and Blood Builder

NingXia Red

Liquid Ionic Magnesium

Master Formula

I have been gradually implementing these dietary changes over the past four weeks and not only do I feel incredible, I had to retire my two pairs of jeans I usually wear because they got too big! I am also seeing tremendous results in my skin and hair. I swear I look ten years younger and my hair is growing really fast. I am very confident that this will be a fantastic years for my health goals.

New coffee addition…MCT oil. #coconutoil #healthyfats #coffee @sweetsweat #SRfam

A photo posted by Tiffany Washko (@tiffanywashko) on

6
Feb

New Wellness Products to Fall in Love With

by Tiffany in Natural Product Reviews

wellness products to loveThis new year started out with great momentum and motivation and it has been incredible thus far. My 12 month health challenge is rocking and rolling and I feel on top of the world. This is no doubt due to all the new products and life hacks I have introduced. Here are some of my current faves…

MegaFood Supplements –  I am loving their Turmeric Strength to help with inflammation, their Balanced B Complex to help sustain energy, and their Blood Builder that I take right after my period.They are whole food supplements for food based nourishment, which is the best kind.

Flor Essence 7 Day Purification Program  – Many folks want to detox after the holidays and this kits cleanses urinary and digestive systems at a cellular level.

Four Sigmatic Mushroom Coffee – This stuff is off the hook good for you. It is made from a premium blend of dual-extracted medicinal Chaga, cordyceps mushrooms, and 100% Arabica coffee. It’s a trifecta of healthy organics that produce antioxidants that are good for heart, skin, and eye health. It also boosts your immune system. I LOVE this stuff.

Nature’s Plus Source of Life Gold Liquid – I take this every morning as my whole foods multivitamin. It also boosts the power of the collagen in my daily coffee with a nice big dose of vitamin C.

Molly’s Suds Laundry Powder – I always try to buy safer detergents and this is an excellent brand. Love their wool dryer balls too!

Pukka Organic Herbal Tea – Tasty tea with organic rose, lavender, and chamomile.

 

23
Jan

Weekend Reading – Magnesium Miracles and Shadow Queens

by Tiffany in Book Reviews

for-the-love-of-readingHere is a run down of what this book lover has been reading…

I recently finished four new audio books…

The Magnesium Miracle  – I read this book a few years ago and loved it but this is a revised version and I wanted it on audio so I could listen a couple times a year. This book is THAT important. In the previous edition magnesium was linked to over 300 processes within the body, now it has been linked to over 700! Most people are magnesium deficient and do not even realize how badly their body is coping. This book got me back on track with my magnesium supplementation (topical, ionic liquid, etc). I am feeling incredible!

Sleep Smarter: 21 Essential Strategies to Sleep Your Way to a Better Body, Better Health, and Bigger Success – I heard an interview of this author on a podcast and I was instantly drawn in by his story (reversing degenerative bone disease) and his advice on getting better sleep. It was actually his book that inspired my 12 month new year health challenge and month one was all about getting better sleep. The author has a podcast of his own and it is amazing. 

The Shadow Queen – This book was an Audible daily deal so I got it for only a couple bucks. At first I was going to pass because it takes the story of Snow White and rewrites it and I am not a fan of that type of work typically. But the reviews made me take a chance and boy am I glad I did. I loved it! Lorelai, a crown princess and fugitive at large, is in hiding to learn how to use her magic to defeat the evil queen who murdered her family and took her kingdom. In a neighboring kingdom, Prince Kol has lost his family in a war with magic wielding ogres. His kingdom is no match for the ogres despite the fact that they are part human and part dragon. In desperation he makes a deal with the evil queen to be her huntsman in exchange for a magic assist with the ogres.

The Painted Veil – This is one of my favorite movies and I had no idea it came from a book written in 1925. At any rate I quite enjoyed it and it was another Audible daily deal! The story is beautiful. It follows Kitty and Walter…a spoiled socialite who marries a much too boring for her doctor and scientist simply to avoid her younger sister getting married before herself. When she ultimately has an affair, her husband forces her to accompany him to the heart of a cholera epidemic in China. What I love about this story is how it shows the human capacity to grow, change, and forgive. The transformation that Kitty undergoes is inspiring, as are her realizations about the man she married. I also highly recommend the movie!

What are you reading this week?