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Monthly Archives: July 2013

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Sprouted Sun-Dried Pumpkin Seeds

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Sprouted nuts and seeds are a favorite at our house. Sprouting nuts and seeds makes them more easily digestible and breaks down the anti-nutrient phytic acid. If you want to know more about WHY soaking and sprouting is best, Our Nourishing Roots has a great post on the topic HERE.

I usually soak the nuts and put then in our old Ronco food dehydrator. (This Excalibur dehydrator is on my wishlist!)

Yesterday, I started the process by putting about 3-4 cups of raw pumpkin seeds in a bowl with 1 tbsp of real salt. I added filtered water to about an inch above the seeds. Some people add an acidic medium like whey. If I have some on hand, I add it but I have read that it’s not necessary, so I don’t always use it. Pumpkin seeds only need to soak for 7 hours, but I left them overnight and it was about 12. Up to 24 hours is fine. When it was time to put the seeds in the dehydrator today, the temp was about 100 degrees outside, MORE in direct sun. The thought of plugging in a heat generating appliance for 12 or so hours was not appealing to me. Then, I had a brilliant idea.

Metal pan. Hot sun. Sun-dried seeds!

(I say *I* had a brilliant idea, but really…what did they do before dehydrators? Most likely used the sun. Maybe fire in the winter.)

I put the seeds on a metal cookie sheet and spread them out.

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I covered them in cheesecloth and set them on a table in direct sun on the patio. After a few hours, the patio became shaded and the seeds were still a little soft, so I put them on a bench our West-facing front porch. 1 more hour and they were done! 4 hours total in the sun in 100 degree weather.

[stextbox id=”info”]I totally just used the sun to prepare food! How cool is that?[/stextbox]

They are crispy and tasty and the energy was FREE! Can’t beat that.
Tomorrow I try the almonds that are soaking. That might a BIT longer, but it’s worth the wait.

This post is shared at Thank Your Body, Real Food Forager

Why we Bought 1500 Bugs

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We just invited a whole lotta bugs to live in our house for a while.

Why would we do that? Well…it all started one Christmas. I am silly and I do themes every Christmas to keep me reigned in on the impulse buying. Christmas of 2011 the theme was “Learning”. Whatever I bought had to have some educational component to it. Games, books, new hobbies, etc. I bought my husband a lemon tree so he would be compelled to learn how to take care of it. He’d been thinking about it for a few months since a co-worker gave him some limes from his own tree. When he got the tree he found the only window in the house with southern exposure and made a nice little home for it there.

18 months later, the tree is still alive! It has had issues like adjusting to the changing temperature through the year, leaves and blossoms falling off and spider mites crawling all over it. In spite of all that, it now boasts one lemon about an inch in diameter.

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My husband did learn about what fertilizer to get and how often to feed it. He learned about why the leaves were falling off (most likely temperature changes and the mites) and he learned about a few ways to handle the mites.

One of those methods was rosemary essential oil. He put it in a spray bottle straight and sprayed it on liberally. Maybe a bit TOO liberally. Rosemary mist floated through the house. It smelled good, but it wasn’t easy on the lungs for some of us. The tree didn’t like it much either. More leaves fell off. It did bloom a few weeks later but most of the buds ended up on the floor. And…the spider mites came back.

He kept reading and researching and found a solution our kids thought was exciting! Ladybugs. LOTS of them. He ordered what was supposed to be 1500 live bugs HERE. It was more like 500, but I think that’s enough for our little lemon tree.

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My husband and kids opened up the container and put a few on the tree. They seemed to like their new all-you-can-eat restaurant.

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The kids had fun letting them crawl all over their arms.

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When we put the open container at the base of the tree, a bunch crawled right up the trunk of the tree. Eat, ladybugs, EAT!

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I don’t know how they’ll do as far as controlling the mites, but I have a feeling I’ll be finding them around the house for a while. At least they’re cute bugs. I’ll be sure to keep you updated on the spider mite situation and our solitary lemon.

Why I Don’t Do NSAIDs

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For the past 7 years I have had systemic inflammation related to an auto-immune condition diagnosed shortly after my youngest child was born. I have taken various prescription and non-prescription medications, both steroid and non-steroid(NSAID). They offer temporary relief but come with a slew of side effects. Some of the side effects of the NSAIDs that I personally experienced are:

My recent goal has been to transition from conventional medications to natural alternatives, focusing mostly on nutrition. I am happy to report that:
[stextbox id=”info”]For the last 4 months I have not been using over-the-counter medications to treat my systemic inflammation.[/stextbox]

What am I doing instead?

For the most part, I am eating a high-fat, nutrient dense diet that feeds my body what it needs to take care of itself. Grass-fed raw cream and butter have an anti-stiffness factor that helps with inflammation and joint pain. So, I eat a lot of ice cream (homemade, sweetened with honey or succanat). I have cut out processed foods almost entirely. My diet has changed completely.

While this has me on my way to a pain-free life, right now I need more. Food will help me heal over time, but in order to keep moving and functioning NOW, I need something to help reduce the inflammation more immediately. In his book The Fourfold Path to Healing, Thomas Cowan suggests a few alternatives to commercial NSAIDs. I take them all right now, but hope to need them less and less as my body adjusts and heals.

1. White Willow Bark
White willow bark is just bark from a willow tree. It’s active ingredient is a compound called salicin. It’s been used for centuries to treat pain and reduce fever. Scientists later synthesized the salicin into salicylic acid, which is now known as aspirin. The synthetic form is known to irritate the stomach, but willow bark is far less likely to do so. The first thing I did was switch from my regular NSAID to willow bark. It worked just as well, if not better so I’ve stuck to it. I now buy it in bulk (here) and fill my own 00 capsules with this cute machine. The price is about 8 times less expensive than buying the capsules pre-made and it doesn’t take much time to fill them. This is the ‘everyday’ natural NSAID I keep in my cupboard to replace conventional synthetic over-the-counter pain and fever medications. My son (18) took this for mild pain relief the other day and reported that it worked well for him, too. Natural and effective.

2. Boswellia
Boswellia is also a tree. The resin is found to have anti-inflammatory properties. Frankincense comes from the extracts of the resin as well. I take this alone, but it is also in a complex I take that has other anti-inflammatory herbs like ginger and turmeric.

3. Betacol®
Betacol is a blend by Standard Process that has some ‘weird’ stuff in it like bovine liver and adrenal. But, it works and it’s encapsulated in a pretty blue pill, so I don’t mind. It has the anti-stiffness factor that butter and cream do, but it’s got a longer shelf life.

Combined with my new way of eating, these natural supplements have helped me get rid of the unwanted side effects of conventional NSAIDs. In fact, they’ve even helped me stop taking the acid reducer I’ve been on for over 20 years. THAT is a great step forward for me.

In fact, look for a future post on how I got rid of the daily acid blocker.

This post is shared at: ThankYourBody

Fast and Fun Watermelon ‘Cake’

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Just a quick post to share a fun way to dress up a traditional summer dish. I saw a different version of this with whipped cream ‘frosting’ and it is cute, but who needs the fluff? Watermelon is such a great food and I love it on its own or with other fruit.

Here are some of my favorite things about watermelon:

  • It’s high in anti-oxidants, Vitamin C and Beta-Carotenes which all can help reduce inflammation

  • It’s a natural diuretic and helps flush the kidneys.
  • It contains Folic acid and Citrulline, which may reduce the risk of a heart attack, stroke and colon cancer.
  • It is a rich source of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium.
  • It is pretty darn refreshing on a hot day.
  • It’s beautiful to look at.
  • Watermelon is a great addition to a picnic or BBQ or other casual event. If it’s served at a function that’s a little fancier, you often see it cubed or balled. This is an alternative that’s easy, beautiful and fun!
    All you do is cut the rounded ends off of the watermelon and carve the center from the rind (great visual instructions at PaleoCupboard. Sprinkle some berries around and put on a pretty cake plate and you are set! You could go through the trouble of frosting and decorating, but I think it’s pretty nekked! Enjoy!

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