Friday, July 26, 2013

Mango, mint, vinegar, and presciption drug deaths

    I have been reading an interesting  book this week by Kathy Garber called A Mother's Guide to Herbal Extracts.  She gave birth to a little boy with serious lung problems. Surgery and traditional medicine did little to help him so she studied herbal healing and today he is a healthy normal teen ager, due to her efforts to help him in a natural way. Along the way she found that 32,000 people die every year due to unreported prescription drug use.  The FDA approves drugs that are not safe, they are handed out and people die. So many other countries are far advanced over the US, their doctors learning to treat the whole person, fix the problem, not mask it with drugs. Why are we so behind the times? I think because we are a nation of people who enjoy being sick. Too lazy to eat right and exercise and be proactive.  If you are taking any prescription drugs, read all the fine print, know the side effects. If you ,like me, have a problem with small print, ask your pharmacist, they know all the reactions. They can tell you alternatives and better options, doctors don't really know all they should about drugs. I laugh every tine I see a drug ad on TV, they tell you the side effects, ending with "and death" at the very end. Yep, they have warned you, Sure, you have to be cautious with herbs too, and know what they do for and to you.  But they have far fewer risks than drugs.  The last 3 or 4 years I have been learning all I can about herbs for health, have learned to make teas for coughs, colds, flu and make my own cosmetics, cleaners, household items like air spray, all non toxic and much better for you. Its so easy, and mostly cheap.
  I learned when I was an 18 year old bride that there are doctors out there who have become disillusioned  with standard medicine and have gone holistic. I have met some very knowledgeable ones in health food stores, who can tell you alternative ways to improve your health and prevent problems. If you have such a store in your area, get to know the owner, you will find their insights soooo valuable.
  Mango. Hmm, tastes very good, almost like candy. It can improve your glucose levels, maybe because its high in fiber. It slows sugar absorption so is very good for diabetics to eat.  It's high in polyphenols and carotenoids as are most of the orange colored foods. Try adding it to your diet. I like it chopped and stirred into my one ingredient Greek yogurt.
 One of the herbs I grow is mint.  I love it brewed into iced tea or added to salads etc.  There are many uses for it,  it destroys bacteria that cause sinus, bronchitis and walking pneumonia. Add some to boiling water, steep 5 minutes and drink a cup. Can be used in your pesto to add a fresh note,  or you can toss it into your smoothie in the morning.  It regulates bacteria in your tummy so soothes  discomfort by relaxing tummy muscles.  TO make a great garnish for meat,  chop 12 fresh mint leaves and combine with 1/2 tsp each of dried rosemary, thyme and cinnamon, 1/4 tsp each of sea salt and oregano,  1 and 1/2 tsp honey, 1/4 cup lime juice and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Use as a marinade for your meat to grill. The last few years I have been making a thermogenic tea for use to stop colds, flu and bronchitis, using equal parts of dried mint, yarrow and elderberry flowers. My daughter has had bronchitis since she was little due to a bout with pneumonia, and she says it helps her ward off a full blown attack if taken early on.
  Vinegar again, a few more uses for it, put in a spray bottle and have at the weeds in your driveway, or sidewalk cracks.  If you have hard water, use it on a cloth to wipe away hard water stains on your dishes and glassware.. Sanitize you kitchen sponges by soaking in a bowl  of it for at least 5 minutes, and if your kitchen has unwanted odors, pour some in a bowl and leave on the counter to absorb those odors. I should own stock in a vinegar company, buy a gallon every couple of weeks these days.
  I am working on a yard problem, we have had more than our average amount of rain for the year already, and my yard is a scooped out area on the mountain, leveled out to build my little house on. This year the rain has been relentless. And my back yard is a mucky puddle. The side walk I had been using, made of  pressure treated lumber, has been washed out  so many times it's not going to get put back. Have been working on a new walk, with landscape timbers raising it up and boards screwed onto them making a one piece, too heavy to float down the road walk.  This week I have used a crow bar and pried the boards out of the mud. Yesterday I sat them on end and washed the mud off one side. Need to flip them over today and do the other side. There is still standing water so no way of working on the new walk yet, and worse, more rain is due in tomorrow.  At least it has not been too terribly hot this summer, mostly just humid. Some days you sweat just standing still. The weather girl says next week our nights will slip down into the 50's, that will be great sleeping weather. I leave the windows up and pull up my blanket and enjoy the coolness. Early this summer, some of the stones my daughter and grandsons used to build a retaining wall slipped out, and when I pulled them out to redo, found a new resident in my yard. An orange lizard guy with black spots., He or she just sat there and looked at me. I beat a hasty retreat. When my NE kids were here, they went looking for the critter who was of course, long gone. It was a salamander, very bright. Not harmful but I am not into that kind of creature. My son who lives here is a wood worker and has been re stacking lumber piles this last week. He has found copperheads in the stacks. Today he is working on another pile, I can hear the boards as he re stacks them. Hope it's a snake free day for him.
 Seems so odd to think that summer is winding down already, our kids start back to school Aug 1. Wow. That's only a week away. So mom, you get a little time to yourself for morning coffee again. Take care, read labels . Be healthy!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Inflammation info, disposal tabs, watermelon uses

 I had a very nice visit with my sis and her hubby from NE last week. We went to SC to visit my son and daughter in law on Saturday, they have purchased a pretty much wrecked house and are restoring it. Its lovely, and the yard is to die for, wish I could do just a few of the things he has done. Was good to share time with family, and now my sis is traveling on, should be in New England by now.
 We had a few dry days, was getting to the point of working in my back yard swamp, but the last few nights, we have again had thunderstorms, complete with some rather nasty lightning.  The first night we got an inch of rain, have not checked yet this morning but don't think it will be as much from last night. This pattern is due to continue most of the week. At least the temperature is less, the humidity is fierce though. Sweat happens pretty fast ,
  You know I have spent most of my life trying to stay healthy. Both my folks had arthritis, mom's hands were knarled in her 50's.  When I was 18 and newly married, I started talking to the owners of health food stores, getting their views on preventing problems. I learned a lot and started taking ginger and turmeric early on. I am 76 now, and have no aches or joint pain. Or any other Pain. And now they are finding that the ginger and turmeric are good for a host of things. Your body reacts to inflammation by causing various ills. Most inflammation is caused by what you eat. Learning to avoid the bad stuff, like the 5 whites, flour, sugar, salt, shortening and rice, gets you started on a better lifestyle. Chronic inflammation is damaging, causes arthritis, heart disease, Alzheimer's,  cancer and many other problems.  Its so easy to check out foods on line now and find things that are better for you. To tackle some of these issues,  requires life style changes,  managing stress,  exercise, better diet and many herbs are helpful. Herbs are cheap and healthy. A few to add to your diet are Devil's Claw  which reduces osteoarthritis pain, back and neck problems.  Boswellia, for arthritis, Crohn's,  Cayenne, for diabetes and obesity, use liberally  for those, Ginger,  for heart disease, aches and pains, this really stops inflammation, you can use the root which is available in your produce section, or buy powdered or capsules.  And of course, good old  Green Tea which is good for many things, including arthritis, heart disease, hepatitis, IBS, stomach cancer and more. It's hot so brew a bit and ice it to stay cool. And healthy.
 If you have a garbage disposal, and it needs a little smell help, here is an easy way to fix.
In a bowl, mix 3/4 cup of baking soda
                         1/2 cup salt
                         stir to remove lumps, then grate a lemon, stir in the peel, cut lemon in half and add the juice. Stir all this til it resembles sand, then using a small scoop, put half scoops onto a pan lined with parchment paper. Let set overnight or until dry. Place your half balls in a jar, and when you want to fix smell in disposal, put a couple down there and grind them through.
  It's watermelon season. Besides just eating it, there are lots of things to do with it, including  granita's, salsa, ices etc. And a good thing to do for your face.  Puree a couple of spoonsful til smooth, spread on your face and let sit 20 minutes. Rinse well. Watermelon is full of vitamin A and C and makes your skin soft and smooth. So set aside a bite or two next time you are having a slice.
 Made up some eczema salve this morning, the stuff has been brewing on my cupboard for 6 weeks, it's simple, just dried plantain and comfrey, half and half, covered with organic oil and steeped six weeks, warmed and beeswax stirred in to form a salve. My next  quest today will be to refresh my supply of cream soup base, so nice to have handy for casserole's, soups and other dishes. Have had the recipe on this blog before, look in archives if you want to use it.
 It's still cool this morning, so another cup of coffee is in order.  Hope you are enjoying your summer, not long until you will be getting the kids ready to go back to school. Somehow, time just slips away faster every year. Always have things to get done, but that makes life interesting. Stay cool, brew some green tea and take care til next time.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Oh Oh, long standing stuff must go. Chia pops

  I received a package last week, with a bottle of dish soap I was to test for a company I do surveys for. When I was very little, my mom washed me with Ivory soap and I broke out in a nasty rash called Lichenplanus.  It took over a year for it to go away, and along the way we found out I was allergic to coconut in any form, and later formaldehyde was added to the list. The rash is nasty, and itchy and something to avoid, so I have learned to read labels and avoid any allergens.  The bottle had nothing on it so I took to the web and did an ingredients search. Holy bedsheets Batman, the stuff is full of hazardous  things. And I didn't stop there,  I also looked up the soap I have used for years. Guess what, more bad stuff. So I started looking for homemade recipes for dish soap. It' s easy, and will be a little different as there will not be suds like we are used to , but it cleans and disinfects. The best, easiest recipe was on a site I use often, DIY, with Matt and Betsy Jabs.  Here goes, it's fast . In a pan put 1 and 1/2 cups of water, heat to almost boiling, remove from heat and stir in 1 tablespoon of grated castile, or Fels Naptha or home made soap plus  1 tablespoon of borax and 10 to 20 drops of your favorite essential oil scent. Like maybe 10 drops lavender and 10 drops lemon. You could leave the essential oil out, but both lemon and lavender are antibacterial so valuable, Put the well stirred potion in a clean , empty squeeze bottle and use as any other dish soap.  Once again, reading labels is so important, who would have thought a common product would contain such bad stuff. Live and learn.
  I also ran across a  recipe for Chia pop cycles.
1/3 cup chia seeds
1/2 cup orange or juice of choice
1/4 cup water
Mix well, pour into molds and freeze.  Lots of options for change here, use your imagination.
  Did you know if you are stuffed up with sinus or a cold, mustard has great unstuffing properties? You could just buy a spicy type at the store, but hey, why not make your own? Its  not hard and you know what 's in it that way.  Just snarf down a spoonful when you need unplugging.
1/4 cup brown mustard seeds
1/4 cup yellow mustard seeds( you can just use yellow, I can't find brown)
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon lavender flowers
1 teaspoon salt.
 Put seeds in a glass bowl and cover with vinegar. Cover and let soak for 2 days. Put this in a food processor, add the rest of the ingredients and process til smooth. Keep in jar in refrigerator.
  It's been a frustrating week, the carrier for my cell phone cut me off, despite not being due for payment and knowing this is a bank draft payment. Took 2 of my kids and a lot of work to get it working again. Felt kind of lost without it. My Windows 8 is causing me problems getting into my online bank account, somehow the bank and I just can not get things in sync.  Ended up with a major headache several times lately, and still have no access. The bank is trying, think we are just not compatible. Not sure what to do, but may have to move to a new bank to resolve the issue.
 And still it rains, it's off and on but still coming down. Out west they need it so badly to help with the fires, too bad we can't share.  What a shame about those fire fighters that died fighting the big fire in Arizona.  My heart goes out to their families.
  We recently passed some new laws in this country, and right off the bat a lot of strange things happen. Today a woman legally married a bridge, check it out, I found it on my MSN news page.  Wonder what all people will decide to marry in coming years, may get more than a little weird. To each his own, not my place to say what any one can or can not do, but things sure do change.
 Making pickles again, need to go see what's going on, have a great weekend, hope you celebrated the 4th with friends or family. Take care!!!