Health & Nutrition

Energy

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Energy– everyone wants it but few have it. Let me tell you a little story about my energy level changing over the past few years. There was a time when I went to bed late, got up late and couldn’t make it past 2 pm without taking a nap. I struggled through the day, everyday. Always hoping that one day it would change. I became a coffee drinker. Loaded with lots of Carnation creamer, I had hoped my coffee would give me that extra boost I needed. It gave me a boost but only for a short time and the creamer made me gain weight. I resolved that gaining weight and decline in energy was just a part of getting older.

I can’t say for certain when the change took place but I began to look around and seeing my 30, 40 & 50 yr old friends developing heart conditions, disease and other serious health problems. It really scared me. Was this my fate? Should I just resolve that my health was going to decline and I was going to get fat?

The idea of not finishing my life well scared me so much that I decided to make some changes. I began researching and found that my diet was worse than I had previously thought. After all , I didn’t eat junk food ALL the time! 😉 The transformation took a couple of years but now I go to bed early, wake up early, drink a cup of tea (occasionally I’ll have a cup of coffee because I want it but not because I have to) and I have energy that usually carries me through the day. And if I need a nap, I take one. I changed my diet, get adequate amount of rest and sleep and get my exercise through my farm chores and horseback riding. It’s naturally induced sustainable energy. Its energy that doesn’t require caffeine to keep me going. I have more energy than I’ve had since I was a kid.

If it is your desire to find naturally induced energy then start now by beginning the process of resolve. Resolve in your mind that you don’t have to follow the American norm. You don’t have to develop health problems and gain weight. And if you already have, most health conditions can be reversed or at least improved by changing the way you care for yourself. And the weight can always be lost. The great thing about energy is, if you loose it somewhere along the way, you can always find it again. Most importantly don’t be hard on yourself. I have found it takes more energy to allow my thought patterns to tear me down than it does to remind myself of truth. So start by meditating on this truth: You are a loved creation of God. He has great plans for your life and wants what’s best for you. 

It may take you years to wrap your mind around changing (like it did me). But the change is worth it, trust me 🙂

Looking at Food Differently- Nutrition Motivated

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This post was originally published in November of 2010. I thought it would be nice to re-post some of my old writings. This idea of being nutrition motivated instead of taste motivated has kept me on the path to better health. I no longer look at food in the same way. I have come a long way since I first wrote this. It has become easier to resist food that I know is not good for me because my desire is to give thanks to God through my food choices. I am now more than ever convinced that our eating habits are more than just a case of the “munchies”. Our eating habits are a direct reflection of how we view God’s provisions. 

Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. Genesis 1:29

WheatWhy is it that we think of food solely on whether it tastes good or not? We all do it. Maybe not all the time but most of us choose to eat something just because it tastes good but not necessarily good for us. I honestly think it’s the reason for the decline of health in our country to be taste motivated rather than nutrition motivated.
Creative Commons License photo credit: mr.bologna

The funny thing is, our tastes change when our bodies are happy. Recently, I had a conversation with a good friend of mine about how I view food now verses how I viewed food a few years ago. Just a few years ago if you would have given me a slice of sprouted bread I would have looked at it and thrown it to the birds because obviously it had birdseed in it. Now I love sprouted bread. Did I loose my taste buds somewhere between then and now?  No, it’s because my body is telling me it’s good for me and now I crave better food. Did I crave better food the first time I eat better food? No, I thought it tasted like bird food and fed it to the birds. But over time, taking small steps toward eating right my body recognized the good food and my mind changed as well as my taste buds. Read the rest of this entry »

Learning From Past Farmers and Housewives

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I have acquired a new obsession. If you are not a fan of Healthy Homesteading’s facebook page you might not know about it yet. A friend of mine introduced me to a English television series called Tales from the Green Valley. The series is like a reality show and  history show all rolled into one and it’s fascinating.

Tales from the Green Valley is only one of a series of great films about farm life of long ago. There is also Victorian Farm and Edwardian Farm. All three of these shows have the same three people living the life of the time (Ruth Goodman, Alex Langlands, Peter Ginn ), wearing period clothes and using period tools. Tales from the Green Valley also has historian Stuart Peachey and archaeologist Chloe Spencer but for some reason they are not in the other shows.  Ruth Goodman, a domestic historian, is my favorite of the team. I just love watching her work with period tools for cooking and cleaning.

I didn’t think I was going to like Victorian Farm and Edwardian Farm  as much as Tales from the Green Valley but I ended up liking them just as much.  Watching the films in order helps to see the progression of time and industry. Throughout all of the films they refer to books of that period. In the Victorian Farm, the book of reference for farm related tasks was The Book of the Farm. I made sure I wrote down all the book titles mentioned on the shows. I was excited to find out that most of those books are still available. Even better, I found The Book of the Farm Henry Stephens available for free download from Google books. I also found for free download a book called Manual for the Apiary by Albert John Cook. This book was not mentioned in any of the films but is very similar to book that was mentioned in the Victorian Farm called The Apiary: A Book of Bees, Beehives and Bee Culture by Alfred Neighbour. I also found a book that Ruth referred to called The Family Save All by Robert Kemp Philip in the free download section of Google books.

If you are the least bit interested in homesteading, farming, gardening, animal husbandry or domestic living, I would highly recommend watching these shows. In this technology age it is very easy be unaware of simplicity at it’s finest. Generations and generations of people functioned very well without many of the things we “can’t live without”. It’s not like I want to go back to using outhouses or wood burning ovens but I do appreciate seeing how things were done in a simpler time.  By understanding skills used in the past, I can understand why we do things they way we do them now. Not only that, some of the skills and methods used 400 years ago are far better than the methods we use now. Learning about how farmer’s wives prepared and preserved foods when there we no refrigerators or freezers is fascinating to me. Most food preparation and preservation methods were healthier and safer than our modern factory processed food industry. Did they fear having “pink slim” in their meat ? I think not ;).

Tales from the Green Valley

The Setting

Tales from the Green Valley, explores life on a British farm in the 17th century. This 12 x 1/2 hour television documentary, produced and directed by Peter Sommer, attracted large audiences and wide critical acclaim. Tales from the Green Valley follows the five as they labor for a full agricultural year, getting to grips with period tools, skills, and technology from the age of the Stuarts, the reign of James I (1620).

Everything must be done by hand, from plowing with a team of oxen using a replica period plowing and thatching a cowshed using only authentic materials, to making their own washing liquid for laundry and harvesting the hay & wheat with scythes and sickles. Each of the 12 half-hour programmes, made by Lion TV for BBC Wales, follows a month in the life of the farm situated on the Welsh borders. Source

Victorian Farm

The Setting

Historical observational documentary series following a team who live the life of Victorian farmers for a year. Wearing period clothes and using only the materials that would have been available in 1885, historian Ruth Goodman and archaeologists Alex Langlands and Peter Ginn are going back in time to relive the day-to-day life of the Victorian farmer.

The project is based on the Acton Scott estate in Shropshire – a world frozen in time, lost in Victorian rural England. Its buildings and grounds are cluttered with antique tools and machinery collected by the Acton family, who have lived on the estate since the 12th century.

Working for a full calendar year, Ruth, Alex and Peter are rediscovering a lost world of skills, crafts and knowledge, assisted by an ever-dwindling band of experts who keep Victorian rural practices alive. Source

Edwardian Farm

The Setting

Following life on the farm over a whole calendar year, Edwardian Farm goes deep into a lost rural world where life was tough and working together was the only means of achieving anything.

Setting up home at Morwellham Quay, in Devon, the trio have to get to grips with the trials and tribulations of life at the turn of the 20th century. This was a time of great social change and tumult – a time when farming was becoming increasingly mechanized.Source


My obsessive nature often takes me on rabbit trails where I discover all sort of great resources. After watching these films I plan to continue my entertaining educational journey with the following list of films. I have always been fascinated with history but have never committed myself to learning more of it. I hope to find time to start reading historical fiction books to help with my pursuit of educating myself. In the mean time, I am going to watch these next set of shows.

1900 House

Texas Ranch House

Frontier House

 

Are you a history lover? Do you have any historical fiction books you would recommend me starting with? 

Where to Buy Organic Foods and Natural Products Online

Since the start of our journey toward healthy living, I have been searching for ways to save money. Most of us are aware of the fact that organic foods are usually more expensive than non-organic. The price of organic foods is usually the reason people choose not to buy them.  With a little bit of searching and planning I have found that our food budget is usually no higher  than it was before we started this journey. Even if I had not found ways to save money and did pay a little extra, I would. My husband and I have decided paying a little extra for healthy whole foods is much better alternative to paying doctor bills.

For the most part, I no longer shop at my local grocery store anymore. I do get a few things here an there from the grocery store but most of my shopping is now done online. I buy a lot in bulk but not everything. The key is not to buy snack foods. You should avoid buying snack foods for two reasons. One, snack foods are addicting. Two, even organic snack foods are usually heavily processed and not healthy to eat.

Most of  our produce and meats  are purchase from local farmers. I also trade eggs for beef  from my neighbor who happens to be a grass-fed beef farmer. Trading is great way to get food healthy food for your family. Local farmers markets are also a great place to find organic foods at reasonable prices. At least that has been my experience.

There are two places I shop online on a regular basis- Azure Standard and Amazon.com. Azure is our main food shopping source but I have found better prices for some things on Amazon. For instance,  Nutiva Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil from Amazon is at a great price, especially if you buy it through subscription. The prices do fluctuate though. Sometimes by several dollars but the prices are always better if you buy through subscription and many items qualify for free shipping.

Since Azure Standard delivers only once a month, I needed to find other online companies where I could purchase items between Azure orders. Azure also doesn’t have everything I need.

Where We Currently Buy Our Organic Food and Natural Products

Amazon– We only order every few months from here.

What we buy :  Nutiva coconut oil and natural organic peanut better.

Azure Standard– We pick up a once a month order but I do believe you can have them deliver to your home but have to pay shipping costs.

What we buy : Hard white wheat berries, organic dried fruits and nuts, organic frozen berries, butter, raw cheddar cheese, spices and oatmeal. This is not a complete list but just some of the things we buy regularly.

Frontier– They have a great wholesale catalog you can shop through if you want to start a Buying Club. I will probably be purchasing items from here more regularly. Probably once every other month.

What we buy: Organic black tea, herbal teas, vanilla beans and essential oils.

Other Online Stores

I haven’t purchased from any of these online stores yet but plan to.

Vitacost– Free shipping on orders over $49

iHerb– Free shipping on orders over $20

Nurticity– Free shipping on orders over $25 and earn 5% back on your purchases. This website also sells bulk items and cases.

Cultures for Health– This is where you can buy great products for making your own cultured foods like cheese, yogurt and lacto-fermented foods. They also offer some great videos on how to make your own cultured foods. They have flat shipping rate of $3.95.

LuckyVitamin– Free shipping on orders over $100.

 

Do you purchase organic food online? If so, have you used any of the websites I have mentioned or do you know of any other website?  

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