A couple months back I was introduced to The Homegrown Collective and I fell in love. No seriously…in love. Every month you get a new box with various DIY, homesteading projects and recipes. Everything you need and detailed instructions come in the box so you are learning new recipes and skills each month.
You not only get to TRY new things you get to LEARN new things. I have a bit of an obsession with homesteading and homemaking skills long since forgotten in this day of modern convenience and these boxes manage to capture all of it perfectly. A box of new skills hand delivered to your door….skills that will make you more self sufficient, reduce your environmental impact, and save you money. This is an ingenious product concept and I simply adore it.
Last month the theme was detox and this comes at a great time because after a long hard winter, being stuck indoors, and a general tendency to let eating and fitness habits get lax… a detox or cleanse is probably in order. Spring is around the corner and we have that nagging feeling we need to clean and clear out he cobwebs. Well, that applies to our bodies as well. Sometimes we need help expelling toxins and sloughing off the remnants of winter.
The first item in the box I dove into was the tea. It is dandelion organic herbal leaf tea and honestly I was intimidated. I have heard of all the yummy things you can make with these weeds but I had only tried them (the flowers and the leaves) in salads and they are not my favorites by any means. I was kind of weary of the tea. Turns out though that my anxiety was misplaced because this is some seriously delicious tea. I can easily suck down a cup or two or three a day…it is that good. Upon drinking up what came in the box I immediately contacted Homegrown Collective about getting some more.
The box came with an infuser to use when brewing but I decided to use my husband’s Keurig and a reusable K cup. I fill the cup with the loose tea and then I run it through the Keurig 2 or 3 times. It tastes wonderful every time and then the remnants get composted.
But back to the tea itself… dandelion. According to the The Herb Book it is supposed to be one of the best blood purifiers and liver cleaners we have access to. It also helps us to reduce acidity in the body, replace important vitamins and minerals, and increase activity in our pancreas and spleen. I love drinking it and I LOVE that drinking it is so good for me.
Next up was the detox bath DIY project. The box came with dead sea salts, baking soda, 100% cotton muslin bags, and dried organic lavender buds. This is everything you need to make fizzing bath soaks that will help you detox while you relax in the tub. The dead sea salts have 21 essential minerals including magnesium, calcium, iodine, zinc, and potassium. They all detoxify, treat, and cleanse our bodies. Two thousands years ago Flavius wrote about their ability to heal the body so this is not a new concept.
The lavender buds make the bath soothing and aromatic and I adored this project because it was easy and enjoyable. I don’t often take the time for baths and this provided me with the encouragement to take some time for me and relax. I will be making these fizzy bath soaks often!
Last up was a bentonite clay and rosewater facial mask. Again this is something I rarely take the time for. In fact I don’t think I have used a facial mask in years but they are incredibly helpful for the skin. Healing clays in general are another ancient remedy that has gone by the wayside in modern times. They are rich in nutrients (bentonite clay is made from aged volcanic ash) and they help draw out and absorb toxins, heavy metals, impurities, and chemicals.
The mask was soothing…as was the rosewater. For a few days after the mask I kept feeling my skin and being impressed with how silky and smooth it felt. I will definitely be using up my remaining supply and then buying some more to make this a monthly practice. I will also be keeping the clay on hand for making healing poultices for stings, bug bites, and bouts with poison ivy.
I can’t wait to see what next month brings me! Check out The Homegrown Collective to try it yourself.
There is an old saying that “you are what you eat”. We hear it often and maybe it has begin to become a bit watered down (by overuse) but really it is quite a truthful statement. Nutritionists like to repeat this quote over and over again to get across to people that food choices are directly linked to our health and to our quality of life. The food that we eat and all of the nutrients contained therein are what provide the building blocks for new cell growth. Cells die off daily and are replaced with new cells. Our bodies are always replenishing and regenerating and that process cannot happen efficiently without the best building materials. Empty calories or substandard food will only ensure that our foundation for health and wellness is weak.
The same applies to the animals that we consume. Many factory farm operations feed their animals foods designed to fatten them up quickly with empty calories so that they can be slaughtered at ever increasing rates. Their goal is not to turn out a healthy animal…just a fat and meaty one. They are fed genetically modified crops that are heavily sprayed with pesticides and often they are fed foods that not appropriate for their digestive systems. Cows for instance are meant to eat grass and roughage but in factory farms they are forced to eat grains such as corn. The sugars in corn increase the fat content unnaturally and they cause illness and disease. Some cows have even been given candy when corn prices are too high! Chickens are shut away indoors and kept from the greens they love so much. We have also heard horror stories for years that diseased animals who die in factory farms are recycled as food for the remaining ones.
If you are what you eat, then what do we hope to become by eating animal products that come from factory farms?
This is a scary thought and it is one that paved the way for the rebirth of the grass fed and pastured foods movement. Many consumers are no longer comfortable eating factory farmed meat and eggs. Instead they are seeking out beef from cows who are allowed to graze freely and eat the healthy food that they were intended to eat. These same folks also buy farm fresh eggs from farms where the chickens are cage free and allowed to roam and eat grass, seeds, bugs, fruit, and other foods more natural to them.
People who want grassfed and pastured products aren’t being snobs or prescribing to some kind of elitism. We hear all the time that paleo (which centers around wild, grassfed, pastured foods) is elitist. But is it really being snobbish and elitist if you want to consume healthy animals?? No.
Grassfed meat is lean and has a fat content that more closely resembles chicken or wild game. This actually helps to improve your cholesterol levels instead of raise them. While it is low in the bad fats associated with high cholesterol, it is very high in the good fats, the omega-3 fatty acids. All of the nutrition from the pastures they graze translates into lean cuts of meat and delicious milk that are nutritionally superior and much healthier for your family.
Pastured eggs are said to have about 20 times more omega-3 fatty acids than their factory farmed counterparts. The moment you crack open a pastured egg you can tell from the dark orange yolk that you are eating something rich and full of nutrition. They also taste infinitely better than conventional store bought eggs. Once you try them you will be hard pressed to ever go without again.
We truly are what we eat and if we choose to eat animal products then would be wise to choose the healthiest and most nutritious animals… grass fed and pastured.
How to Find GrassFed, Pastured Foods:
Check out what you have locally available. The web site Eat Wild should be your first stop. It will tell you all the places in your area where you can get these products. Within seconds of checking my own locale I was linked to sources for chickens, eggs, rabbit, duck, cows, pigs, milk, butter, yogurt, cheese, etc. All come from grassfed, pastured, or wild animals.
If you cannot find much locally there are places to buy online such as US Wellness Meats.
To your health!
I am making chicken soup for my hubby on this fine day because he is sick. Poor guy.
I wanted to make it extra nourishing so I am adding lots of veggies and herbs and of course TONS of garlic. Peeling garlic on the other hand is one of my least favorite things to do. In fact I will usually settle for 2-3 cloves instead of the whole bulb (which is how much I love garlic) just because of my disdain for peeling it.
This morning I was determined to add that garlic though because it does wonders for the immune system with its ample supply of vitamin C and vitamin B6. It’d be good for my sick hubby and also the rest of the household, who don’t want to get his illness.
I recalled the video below of a chef who shows how to peel a whole head of garlic in seconds and I always wanted to try it. Today I did and was pleasantly surprised to see that it actually does work. It’s amazing! Happy Garlic Day!
The only downside is that I feel kind guilty dirtying two bowls because I want to get out of some grunt work but if it means I will cook with garlic more, I can live with that.
I love to read. I just wish there were more hours in the day so I could read lots more than I do. This week I am reading a mish mesh of fiction and non-fiction. Oh and cookbooks because dinner has been uninspired lately and I want to change that.
Right now I am reading or have read the following…
Mmmmm…bacon. We go through it like crazy in this house but we also like the rest of the pig quite a bit and this cookbook is crazy good. After I devoured it and dogeared it my husband stole it and immediately started talking about how we need to raise pigs. Sounds good to me!
Everyday Paleo Around the World: Italian Cuisine: Authentic Recipes Made Gluten-Free
This book was a birthday gift to me from my bloggy friend Stephanie at Good Girl Gone Green. I adore Italian food and when we went paleo I thought my days of eating this type of food were sadly a thing of the past. This cookbook though really delivers with paleo inspired Italian meals, surprisingly so. The author actually lived in Italy while writing the book and reading about her experiences there is very entertaining and informative. I cannot wait to make some of these meals…
I just re-read this again this week because the second and third books are now out. I just cannot keep up with all the books series that I like! Anyway this one is set in the future where what is left of society is completely controlled by government and if you choose to marry you have to be “matched” with the person they deem to be most compatible for you. Cassia is dismayed to uncover a glitch during her matching ceremony and she caches a glimpse of a second boy that is also her “match”. Society tells her the first boy is her true match and the second one can never be. Yet she finds herself seeking the second boy out and eventually falling in love with him. Now she has to choose between her family and society or a path no one else has dared to follow. It is a really, really good book and I cannot wait to dig into the other two!
Primal Moms Look Good Naked: A Mother’s Guide to Achieving Beauty through Excellent Health
I bought the Kindle version of this book after I read another blogger’s review recently. I did not enjoy it as much as that reviewer though. Don’t get me wrong it has lots of good and useful advice but it is aimed at young women who have yet to have children and what they can do to prevent the damage we associate with childbirth. It’s kinda way late for those who already HAVE children. Also (and I could be wrong) but I would be surprised if the author has not had breast implants. It’s kinda hard for me to stomach books about ‘natural’ beauty when you see surgical intervention at work there.
77 Outrageously Effective Anti-Aging Tips & Secrets
This is a Kindle book and only costs $2.99. If you don’t have a Kindle don’t let that keep you from buying because neither do I. I use the free Kindle reader and I read the books on my phone, computer, or tablet. Easy peasy.
Anyway, this book is well worth the money. I highly recommend it. It is jam packed with lots of great advice on healthy eating, lifestyle, supplementing, and how to stop the signs of aging. I bought because I have stopped drinking green smoothies during the fall/winter and my skin was not so happy. The book inspired me to start drinking aloe vera juice in my water and BOOM, skin back to normal! It also got me dry brushing again (which I already knew was amazing). This is a great buy.
What are you reading??? Share below!
This is the time of year when people start getting gung ho about their goals for the new year. For many those goals will include goals to lose weight or generally improve their fitness levels and ‘change’ their body. Sadly it is also the time when our bodies are naturally the most resistant to changes such as these. Why??? Because they are programmed that way!
During the winter months we naturally want to hybernate more, sleep more, and stay warm and cozy. The body doesn’t like to lose body fat or expend much energy this time of year. What might work well any other time of year is LESS likely to work in the cold weather months and we need to adjust and learn to nurture ourselves a bit more. Making strides to better health is an awesome goal but we also don’t need to needlessly stress our bodies during what can be an already stressful time of year (holidays, dark days, cold weather). Our bodies need TLC and here are some ways you can nourish your body during the winter months so you can stay well, be less stressed, and hopefully encourage your body to work with you on your goals and not against you.
Eat Warming Foods
When we think about slimming down or getting healthier we often think of cooling foods like salads, fruits, and green smoothies. If you want to cool your metabolism off then go ahead and eat those foods. If you want to fire up your metabolism than you need to pick more appropriate foods. For winter months we can choose from a whole world of warming foods like kale, collards, mustard greens, brussels sprouts, garlic, clove, squash, parsnips, cinnamon, coconut, fenugreek, pine nuts, walnuts, cashews, turmeric, mushrooms, and vinegar.
Eat With the Season
We need different nutrients at different times of year and we need to eat more of what nature intended for us during the seasons rather than what we can have shipped to us from across the world. If you love smoothies than go ahead and have one but use an apple or pear rather than frozen strawberries or a banana. Foods shipped across long distances will also be full of pesticides, waxes, preservatives and other chemicals meant to preserve them and keep them attractive looking after their journey.
Eat Nourishing Foods
It is especially important to eat nutrient dense foods in the cold weather months. Organ meats are an excellent choice. Liver, heart and kidney contain some of the highest concentrations of several nutrients and have been prized in traditional cultures for this reason. Fish oils are also excellent, especially fermented cod liver oil, as are bone broths and gelatin. If your body is starved for nutrients it will be less than cooperative when you want it to shed pounds, gain muscle, or otherwise change.
Change Your Sleep Patterns
You need more sleep in the winter months. 8-10 hours at least is critical and the general thought is that we also need to get as much sleep before midnight as we possibly can. Those hours are more rejuvenating and healing than those after midnight, so get to bed earlier and invest in blackout curtains so that unnatural light is not adversely effecting your sleep. Also look into earthing…
Bring Some Light Into Your Life
It’s cold outside so we are less likely to get outside, even if we see the sun peeking out. Many folks have to work so they are indoors and away from natural light for a big chunk of the day and usually have to get up and go before the sun comes up. If at all possible get outside for a walk every day, even if it is only 10 minutes. Use a wake-up light if you are using blackout curtains or have to get up while it is still dark. These lights simulate the sunrise. Light gradually increases for 30 minutes before your alarm time (whatever that may be) to gently prepare your body to wake up and feel more energetic at the start of your day. A vitamin D supplement is also a very good idea.
Because the cold weather months are drying and we because aren’t as likely to be eating those cold watery foods we need to make sure we are drinking enough water. Consumption of caffeinated tea and coffee typically increases and can dehydrate us even more, so drink your water. Your body needs to stay lubricated and your skin will thank you as well.
A few simple changes can help you nourish your body during the winter months and make it more receptive to the changes you want to see in the new year. Good luck!