Enlighten Your Body, Mind, and Soul

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Make Your Own Backyard Bitters


In my previous post about Bitters , I mentioned all the benefits of these wonderful medicines. If you have your own herbs and “weeds”, you can brew up your own magical elixirs.

Yesterday, I scavenged the forest and the winter Herb Garden to Wildcraft some homemade Bitters. Following Rosemary Gladstone’s recipe, I gathered the following bitter food ingredients: Unfiltered Raw Apple Cider Vinegar, dried Licorice root, Golden and Italian Oregano, Cayenne Pepper, Thyme, Sage, fragrant Rosemary, Lemon Balm, cleaned Dandelion roots, fresh Peppermint, scraped and washed Oregon Grape roots, Orange peel, Lemon peel, and Grapefruit Peel. I finely minced the ingredients and submerged them under 2 inches of Raw Apple Cider Vinegar to start the anaerobic tincture process.

The sealed, clear glass jar will sit on the window sill for 4-6 weeks, while I shake it daily to help the enzymes extract the properties from the plants. Afterwards, I will strain the liquid into dark glass bottles, to prevent oxidation for up to 1 year. These Bitters can be taken daily, with each meal for optimum digestion, nutrition, and overall health.


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Raising Your Own Food – What it Truly Sustainable?

After working on the Sustainable Earth Farm project for the last couple years, I finally achieved an ultimate understanding.  While permaculture and raising animals on grass is sustainable, feeding livestock packaged, shipped grain is not.

The time and money invested in caring for animals cannot be forsaken when accounting for the amount of human and fossil energy required to raise fresh, local animal products.  Having humanely birthed, hatched, raised, bred, and butchered rabbits, chickens, ducks, turkeys, wool and hair sheep, milking and meat goats, herding dogs and bees, my family has been enlightened by the amount of effort it takes to fence, water, sanitize, pasteurize, euthanize and harvest animal products.

As a humanoid omnivore, I am humbled by how dependent we are on other life forms.  The vegetable garden and orchard are amazing, and feed us breakfast greens and dinner salad almost all year-long.  But, they do not substitute the primal craving for meat or fish.  We need fats that can be easily assimilated, and other essential amino acids that cannot be found in plants alone.

From my experience, smaller herds produce more tender meat, and lighter flocks produce more nutritious eggs.  No animal should be subject to small confined cages, or be kept from performing their instinctual behaviors.  If they are expected to sustain our lives, the least we can do is provide them an enjoyable one while they are here.

Farming is a full-time job, best left to those who work the farm full-time.  There is nothing better than farm fresh eggs, your own raw honey, protein dense rabbit meat, and raw goat milk.  When these duties encroach on time spent with family and friends, it’s best to lighten up and start supporting your local farmers.  They need all the support they can get!  You may pay a little more up front, but if you consider the fresh, nutrient dense organic food part of your insurance package, you’ll be way ahead in the long run.

As for Sustainable Earth Farm, I’ll continue to farm the garden and orchard while my partner tends to the bees that pollinate them. The 2 ducks will give us a few eggs and perform slug patrol, while the surviving farm hatched chickens will eat the bugs and lay a few eggs as well.  We rehomed the sheep, goats, turkeys, most of the chickens and herding dogs (well, maybe we kept one puppy). My children will raise the rabbits for show, pets, meat and fur.  They know where their food comes from, and how to care for another life.  They will never take food for granted.  It will be so wonderful to be able to take vacations without frantically searching for a friend who might milk a goat, or face off with a large angry rooster.  And, I don’t have to say a prayer before walking in to hay a 200 pound ram who has it out for me.  This year, I’ll be hunting for a deer that eats what nature provides, not Eastern Washington Grass and Oats.

My intent is not to deter you from trying the homesteading lifestyle out.  It can be a sheer joy!  I can only recommend to do your research, and visit farms first.  Track your expenses, and profits.  If you come out ahead, it could be a tax incentive.  There is nothing better than local, humanely raised organic food.

However; if you can, take a look in your backyard.  Those weeds you’ve been pulling are probably more nutritious than the greens you’ve been growing…but that’s another post.  Whatever you do, may you enjoy your adventure.


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MSG – The Hidden Lie

Most everyone knows about MSG (Mono-Sodium Glutamate).  It’s that food additive that enhances flavor, preserves food, leaves that mucousal, gargled feeling in your throat, triggers migraines, brings on chest pains, nervous issues, causes eye damage, and much much more!

How does the food industry keep putting in our food then?  What does a Doctor do when their reputation gets compromised from multiple malpractice suits?  The anwser is……..Simply change the name!

Here is a list for some of the hidden names for MSG:

“Remember: By food industry definition, all MSG is “naturally occurring.” “Natural” doesn’t mean “safe.” “Natural” only means that the ingredient started out in nature, like arsenic and hydrochloric acid.”

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Where Has All the Real Food Gone?

Our Ancestors took great care in smelling, tasting, and thoroughly chewing the foods they ate.  One wrong bite of a poisonous berry or mushroom, and they’d be dead!  Food was eaten fresh and in season, or fermented or cured with sea salt.  Today, so many people are rushing around, eating out of packages.  Most of these processed “foods” are void of nutrients, and flavored with addictive taste enhancers leaving people hungry for more and more.  People are literally starving their bodies to death, while their fat cells are holding on to the borage of poisons to protect their kidneys and livers from toxic overload.  These so called “foods” are combined together with non-food preservatives and chemically composed flavor enhancers to cover up the age and quality of what once was real food..  It’s nearly impossible to detect the toxins in these fake foods with the multitude of non-pronouncable ingredients.

Manufacturers are able to get away with packaging low quality foods without properly preparing the nuts and grains because they are all mixed together with artificial flavors and colors, loads of sugar, and unhealthy iodized salt to cover up the rancid, stale ingredients.  It’s no wonder why so many folks are riddled with allergies, hypertension, and other degenerative diseases.  Additionally, children are behaving violently at young ages, and there is an epidemic of Autistic children.  It’s all related.

Beyond that, processed food is old and dead.  The packaging is usually wrapped with cancer causing, estrogen altering BPA to prevent corrosion.  Beside that, all the packaging is harmful to the environment.  If you need to keep some emergency foods in your car or home, it is possible to find better alternatives that are BPA free, use sea salt, and don’t have the infinite shelf life of a Twinkie – it’s just not natural!  Consider buying a dehydrator and a vaccuum sealer, and make your own fruit leather, properly prepared dried nuts, and jerky.  It tastes amazing, is easy to do, and saves you money.

Here are some guidelines on how to cope living in a society where processed foods dominate the grocery stores…..As a rule of thumb, make packaged food, a very small percent of your diet.  If you have to ingest it, make sure you read every ingredient.  If you can’t pronounce it, or don’t know what it means – DON’T EAT IT!  Here is a printable list of the most common list of food additives and their side effects to post to your pantry.  You can bookmark it on your smartphone for when you are shopping.

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Eat Right For Your BioIndividual Type

Eat Right For Your Type

Eat Right For Your Type

Perhaps you have heard of the popular Dr. D’Adamo’s Eat Right For Your Type book?  The diet plan is based on one of four blood types O, A, B, or AB, differentiating how particular foods will either act as medicine, nourishment, or poison.  It details how different blood types benefit from a variety of exercises.  The author explains that blood type determines personality traits, a largely followed belief in Japan.  Additionally, the book lays out which diseases each blood type is more predisposed to.

The book details how humans have unique chemical markers called antigens that can identify foreign substances that enter the body. One of the most powerful antigens in the body is the one that determines blood type O, A, B, AB.  The different blood type antigens are so sensitive, that they are the immune systems’ best defense.  Because the blood types are made up specific sugars, they have antibodies to foreign sugars. This is where diet comes into play. A chemical reaction occurs between the blood and the foods consumed. This is due to a factor called lectins. Lectins are abundant and diverse proteins found in the foods we eat. These lectins have agglutinative properties that affect the blood. The basis of the blood type diet is that when you eat foods containing protein lectins that are incompatible with your blood type antigen, the lectins will target an organ or bodily system and begin to agglutinate cells in that area. For example, milk has B-like qualities. So, if a person with Type A blood drinks milk, his/her system will immediately begin the agglutination process in order to reject it. Lectins that are incompatible with the person’s blood type act as a glue, drawing in all cells in the region. These cells work actively to destroy the protein, but the results of this agglutination can include irritable bowel syndrome, cirrhosis of the liver, kidney problems, digestive problems, a slowing of the rate of food metabolism, allergies, depression, fatigue, and along with several other etc.

In modern society, most “foods” are processed and lumped together into a convenient, age-proof package.  One packaged item might contain 30 or more ingredients.  Rarely do we take the time to smell, taste, and decide if a food is safe or healthy to eat.  And, it is difficult to do so unless foods are in their basic, simple form.  So, this program works best with raw or lightly prepared whole foods.  When following the dietary guidelines in the program, it is important to really listen to your body, paying particular attention to the beneficial and avoid foods.  Allergic symptoms such as itching, tiredness, bloating, and bowel dysfunction should be documented when eating foods you should avoid.  Feelings of energy, improved mood, skin quality, and overall health should also be recorded when eating beneficial foods.

Here’s my personal perspective on D’Adamo’s Blood Type Diet:

As a former vegetarian, I realized that my mental clarity was suffering quite a bit.  My skin was inflamed, and my energy was low.  After reading this book, I found that as a blood type O, I was made to eat meat.  The heavy influence of wheat, soy, corn, and dairy in my meatless diet had been causing inflammation, slowly draining my vitality.  I also realized why I was am so unhappy sitting at work.  The constant need for movement and exertion makes sense for my active type.  While I truly love the meditative qualities of yoga, I gravitate more towards intense Hot Bikram style.  And while I enjoy a brisk walk through the woods, I now understand why I often have the urge to take off and run.  My tendencies to lead, rather than follow, and to do things on my own rather than a community aligns with the nature of my blood type.  I accept and am proud to be an O type.

I always wondered why my children gravitated towards cheese over meat.  Why couldn’t I get them to eat baked chicken?  They are AB types, and while dairy products are very beneficial to them, chicken is toxic.  It was a struggle to make meals in a diverse blood household at first, but I have found we can all eat Mozzarella, turkey, kale, apples, lemons, Ezekiel bread, pineapples, almond butter, quinoa, and much more.  I realize now that we should not force our children to eat foods they do not like.  They may actually still be in tune with their bodies!

On the other hand, one of my siblings is also an O type, and suffers allergic reactions to oranges and guacamole.  I don’t have the same reaction.  After reading Dr. D’Adamo’s other books, it is possible these “O avoid” foods are acceptable for me.  Not all O’s are the same.  Dr. D’Adamo’s additional books like “Live Right For Your Type”, broadens the diet based on secretor status, and “Change Your Genetic Destiny” which further broadens the diet based on GenoTypes (genetic survival strategies that predate ethnicity and race and correspond to such external traits as body type, jaw shape and teeth patterns).  The first book “Eat Right For Your Type”  errs on the side of caution by limiting any foods that could be negative for any particular blood type, but still provides a plethora of dietary choices.  Both of the supplemental readings require a nominal cost for testing supplies, but can be considered money well spent as preventative health.  They also provide greater flexibility in the diet.  The local library or should have this literature available for little or no cost.

There may be disaster/survival situations or times one might find themselves at a family dinner or a restaurant where only processed avoid foods are available.  The fact is, if you eat the right foods 99% of the time, your body should have the ability to cope with these rare occasions.  When I eat wheat, I am very aware of psoriasis itching on the nape of my neck.  When I consume condensed milk, I feel the tingling on my tongue.  When I eat corn, I feels the over-acidity in my stomach.  When I consume sugar, I feel lethargic.  However; after 20 years of barring red meat from my diet, I am now enjoying the organic grass-fed beef that fuels my body with energy.  The leafy greens fill me with vigor.  My body is strong, my hair is long, and my skin is clean.  I personally have found this diet to be very informing, helping me to be more mindful and aware of what I am putting in my body.   And for that, I am thankful.

This blood type diet should really be a guideline, not a bible.  It does not suggest that there are 4 types of people.  We are all bio-individuals.  Every individual should be very cognitive of the beneficial and avoid foods, and see how their body reacts.  Mindfulness is the key!

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Fall Fermentation Class! Saturday November 17th

We Are Not Alone – The Power of Probiotics

Do you suffer from yeast infections, ear infections, bloating, belching, flatulence, halitosis, cancer, poor immune system, acne, toe / nail fungus, mood swings, depression, or unexplained weight?  Do you have bread, sugar, or alcohol cravings?  Have you ever taken antibiotics?  If you answer YES to any of these questions, you can benefit from powerful probiotics.

Our bodies are comprised of approximately 100 trillion cells.  But, only 10% of these cells are human.  Microbes like bacteria, yeast, and pathogens and parasites account form 90% of our cellular matter.  Our digestive tracts are competitive environments, so it’s important for the good bacteria to keep the bad bacteria in check.  Probiotics are “pro-life”, and help support a healthy microbiota in our gut.  Unfortunately, the SAD (Standard American Diet) is devoid of life giving nutrition.  Most of us have received several courses of Antibiotics “against life”, which are indiscriminate against the good and bad bacteria.  Many of us are simply out of balance, and the bad microbes are ruling our bodies and lives.

Learn how to take back control.  Come sample and learn how to make Probiotic Powerhouses like Sauerkraut, Kombucha, and Yogurt.  Discover how supplemental probiotics are manufactured, and how to choose the right one for YOU.

This class is on a contribution basis.  Sign up now by to confirm your spot on November 17, 2012 from 10am – noon.  I look forward to seeing you here!