The 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.
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.
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.
This 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
Liquid Ionic Magnesium
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.
This 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.
Here 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!
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?
This article is part of my 12 month new year’s health challenge. I have used one word as a catalyst for my life in the upcoming year: HEALTH. That may seem like a rather broad goal or resolution and it absolutely is. This is why I am breaking down this lofty goal…to reclaim my health, into 12 monthly challenges.
I plan to completely immerse myself in one aspect of health each month and establish new products and practices into routine before I move on to others. It is said that it takes at least 21 days before a lifestyle change becomes habit. We also know that if you bite off too much at one time you can end up losing momentum. A 12 month challenge will give me 21 days of focus and less chance I will burn out trying to do to much.
This doesn’t mean I plan to completely ignore other aspects of health I am just giving myself permission to be a bit relaxed about it while I concentrate most of my focus elsewhere. Focus on exercise for instance will not be making an appearance in this challenge for a couple of months but that does not mean though I will be a couch potato until such time. It just means exercise will be secondary and a source of no stress or guilt while I work on other parts of me and my life.
Let us begin…the first monthly challenge is all about SLEEP.
Why sleep? I believe that sleep is the secret ingredient. It is the foundation for good health or lack thereof. There is no aspect of your life…physical, mental, or emotional that is not directly impacted by the quality of your sleep. Sleep is when your body regenerates, builds, heals, grows, balances your body systems and hormones, and generally repairs all the damage you do it to it during the day. And frankly some of us do a lot of damage with bad diets, prescription drugs, sedentary jobs, high levels of stress, and so much more. When you do not get enough sleep or when the sleep you do get is low quality due to lifestyle choices and modern conveniences you are crippling your body’s ability to perform and thrive.
So what is my issue with sleep? Well, I get about eight hours a night of sleep by design and I stick to that fiercely but the quality of my sleep is not great. I often have a hard time falling to sleep. I wake multiple times each night. I toss and turn and I do not generally feel refreshed when I wake up. I know that the quality of my sleep is lacking and the first month of this challenge is all about how to change that. Here are my plans to create the ultimate sleep sanctuary:
Comfortable Relaxing Atmosphere: For awhile now I have been wanting to make my bedroom a more relaxing and appealing place to be, more like an upscale hotel. I plan to get a couple more sets of my favorite super soft bamboo sheets from Cariloha. They have deep pockets and they are the softest and most luxurious sheets I have ever felt. I also ordered a luxurious sherpa and velvet comforter. I will hang some art, clear some clutter, and generally create a room that makes me happy to walk into.
No Pets: Having my dog in my bed really impacts my sleep in a negative way. She likes to sleep right up on me and takes up half the bed until I am uncomfortable and about to fall off. I am sick of struggling for room and for covers. She has go to go! She has a dog bed but it is uncomfortable and she hates it. I plan to get a different one or perhaps even a futon or chaise since we have a big enough bedroom. Then I can reclaim my bed.
Blocking Artificial Light: Sleep quality is best when there is total darkness. Artificial light throws off our circadian clocks and throws off our natural melatonin production. This is a big problem! Not only does melatonin help with our sleep cycles it has also been shown to have a hand in improving our immune system, improving thyroid function, and balancing blood pressure. To block outside light I am replacing my curtains with blackout curtains. I have them in other areas of the home but not in the bedroom where I need them most.
Blocking Harmful Blue Light: Blue light from our TVs and devices (tablets, computers, phones) really alters sleep quality and quantity. This is why it is often recommended that you not have a TV in your bedroom and also that you not watch TV or use your devices within two hours of bedtime. In fact use within 2 hours before bedtime has been shown to significantly suppress nighttime melatonin levels.
I plan to try and reduce my nighttime use of electronics but frankly I think I may be setting myself up to fail because this is really the only time I have available to watch a little TV and catch up on shows I missed. I enjoy this time. Even so, I plan to make a couple nights a week device free and then use blue light blockers other nights. You can watch TV or use your devices with blue light blocking glasses, which I have. And you can block the light with apps such as f.lux. I have this amazing app installed on my phone, computer, and my TV. Booyah!
Protection from EMFs: All electronic devices emit electric and magnetic fields called EMFs. Eelctric fields can often be blocked by walls but magnetic fields can pass through walls and buildings with ease. This is bad because they can dissrupt communitcation between cells in our bodies which can cause big issues. The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies electromagnetic fields as a Group 2B carcinogen and recommends that everyone find ways to reduce their EMF exposure.
I plan to turn off and unplug as many electronics in my home/bedroom as I can each night and this includes my sleep number bed. I plan to put my wifi router on a timer so it shuts off when everyone is alseep. I plan to use EMF protection sleeves for our phones since we use them as alarm clocks and I am going try putting my phone in the bathroom instead of right next to my head.
Beneficial Exposure to Light: Sunlight is really beneficial for our health and for our sleep. I wake up at 4AM though when it is dark, dark, dark. I am going to break out my happy light and use it while I drink my morning cup of tea and check my emails. I am also going to try a wake up light that simulates the sunrise with gradual light. It is also an alarm clock so maybe my phone could then go downstairs. I am also going to try and sit outside for 30 minutes each day when I come home. That should help with vitamin D levels too.
Magnesium Oil: I used to use magnesium oil every day and it really helped with aches and pains as well as sleep. Why I got out of the habit is beyond me but in general but I am bringing it back. Magnesium is responsible for maintaining muscle and nerve function, brain health, building bones, and immune support. This is the fuel your body needs to do its job at night and since magnesium is most readily absorbed through the skin, an oil is the best way to get more magnesium. Spray it on your body each night and let it air dry.
Exercise: Physical activity makes you happy and it ultimately helps with sleep. My goal this month is just to start to move more each morning. I plan to spend 5-10 minutes doing tabata exercises such as squats, dumbbell presses, kettlebell swings, Russian twists with a medicine ball, or wallballs.
Nightime Tea: I plan to enjoy a hot cup of Yogi Bedtime tea each evening as part of a bed time ritual. Hopefully it won’t mean I have to wake up to pee in the night!
Essential Oils: I love my essential oils and they really help with just about anything that ails you. To promote sleep I plan to diffuse chamomile, vetiver, or jasmine in my room each evening just before bed. I also have a roll-on that stays in my bedside table with lavender, cedarwood, roman chamomile and coconut oil. I may also use a spritzer for my pillow.
So this is my plan and it starts today. I plan to focus and get this sleep thing under control! Do you have any advice to offer or tricks that have worked for you?
Must Read Book List:
Sleep Smarter – I recommend the audio book version and the author’s podcast is a MUST!!!
The Magnesium Miracle
30 Day Follow-Up!!
Okay, checking in thirty days later. How did I do?! Amazingly well!
I am not going to say that every night I slept like a baby because I have to keep it real but my sleep quantity and quality did improve by huge leaps and bounds. My journey with finding better sleep is by no means done but all the work I did and all the hacks I implemented are now habit. I feel more energized during the day, I am falling alseep faster, and I am dreaming way more.
The biggest props have to go to magnesium oil, blue light filters, EMF blockers, a bed and bedroom that now look and feel like a posh spa-like hotel, no dog in my bed, using essential oils topically and diffused each night, and also an unexpected surprise. I started taking Thyromin capsules for thyroid and adrenal support and a happy side effect is deep, deep sleep.
I am excited to tackle the next month’s challenge on the right foot!