Category Archives: Life

Oats For Health

Many people grew up eating oats for breakfast. Did you know that this simple food has many good benefits? It sure does! Oats are loaded with healthy antioxidants, vitamins, fiber and minerals.

Oats can help reduce blood pressure by aiding in removing cholesterol. They reduce the risk of heart disease as well.

They can also add valuable fiber into the daily diet. They taste great and fill you up so that you do not feel hungry for some time after eating them. They are gluten free. They can aid in weight loss and can lower your blood sugar levels.

Eating a half cup a day can provide many beneficial things such as:

  • Manganese: 191% of the RDI
  • Phosphorus: 41% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 34% of the RDI
  • Copper: 24% of the RDI
  • Iron: 20% of the RDI
  • Zinc: 20% of the RDI
  • Folate: 11% of the RDI
  • Vitamin B1 (thiamin): 39% of the RDI
  • Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid): 10% of the RDI
  • Smaller amounts of calcium, potassium, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) and vitamin B3 (niacin)

Oats contain beta-glucans, fibers good for your body, which help your body to reduce cholesterol.

The health benefits of beta-glucan fiber include:

  • Reduced LDL and total cholesterol levels
  • Reduced blood sugar and insulin response
  • Increased feeling of fullness
  • Increased growth of good bacteria in the digestive tract

Oats also benefit us because they work to combat itching skin. Oats contain a substance that can improve eczema itching. They do this when mixed up and applied directly onto the skin.

Oats also help if you are constipated. They provide much needed fiber to help move things along in your digestive tract. Bulk is added and causes your colon to react by having a bowel movement.

Bottom line is that oats have many proven benefits and to add this nutrient dense food to your daily diet can improve several areas of your health. When you are deciding what to eat for breakfast, remember this grain. It can help you get a great start on your day and can provide the health benefits above. Oats are not just for kids.

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My Babies

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I have three babies. Fur babies. They are a hoot! After my last kitty passed away from cancer, I waited to get another one. When I was ready, I adopted my Grayson. He is totally gray, short haired, with one white spot under his chin. He is gorgeous! His paw pads, nose and ears are dark gray but he has brilliant green eyes.

Grayson is different, personality wise, from my sweet Shelby. She was gentle, loving, intuitive and empathic. Grayson is rambunctious, energetic, and clueless. I adore him in all his craziness.

I thought Grayson was enough. He was. Until…the neighborhood feral mama kitty had kittens. I found them and raised them. I found them homes. She had a second litter. I found them and raised them. I found them homes, except for one little baby boy.

Grayson had helped me with the second litter. How? Well, he bathed them, he licked their tiny butts so they would potty, he sheltered them. He basically did everything except nurse them. When one didn’t get a home, we named him and kept him. Rufus was our baby boy now.

Rufus, bless his heart, is a little slow. He also has no clue how to be a cat. He thinks he is a people. He walks beside me all through the house. I am mommy. He is almost four now and the biggest of our bunch. He sleeps on my pillow, lays in my lap, and is by my side all the time. He is a sweetie. He is a gray short haired tabby with a little orange around his eyes. He is beautiful too.

We now had two kitties and that was enough. As time went by, we separated and the kitties went with me. My husband opened the door one day and this petite female kitty with big eyes walked into the house. He fed her and she curled up in his lap purring. He named her Betsy. She is semi feral in that she has a hard time letting you pet her or hold her unless she wants you to. Betsy is a short haired tortoise with a striped tail that has orange fur the last two inches of it. It is a striking marking and so cute!

Now, we reconciled our marriage and have three kitties. Betsy is our street wise girl who keeps the house free of varmints. Grayson is our stinker who can get into trouble a lot, and Rufus is our sweet, simple boy. Betsy was an outdoor cat but she is now indoor only. She will get outside every once in awhile but comes right back in. She knows she has it good.

All three kitties are spayed or neutered, they are chipped and healthy. They are rotten and spoiled. We love them very much.

We only wanted one kitty, but now these three are a pack and there is no way we could see life any other way. They love each other too. Despite cats being solitary creatures, these three have bonded and are such fun. They are family now and I cannot imagine life without them.

Family History

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I am an historian for our family. I love history. It was a natural fit. However, I want to caution those of you doing your family history to a few facts that are essential to being accurately represented in history.
Fact 1: You only put the facts. 
Just because someone in your family wants to put their spin on the family, such as hiding an illegitimate birth, it does not make it real. I know, it happens and all that. However, even if the child is adopted by another man, if should be recorded as being adopted. It may not make you popular, but you are not doing this to put a spin on the truth. You should put the truth. Likewise, if you are the step parent of a child and you raised that child, you still need to be honest. Especially if you did not adopt the child. While you may be the child’s “father of the heart”, you are not the biological parent so be honest.  If you put these items in your family tree, it muddies the truth and makes it much harder to future generations in their search. To do genealogy, historical accuracy must be maintained. 
Fact 2: Cite your sources.
Sources are where you get the information you add to your tree. Typically, sources are things like census records, city directories, court records, death records, birth records, etc. It is vitally important to use your sources in your research. If  you add something to your tree, without a source, you could find that you were wrong and it obliterates the whole line you have researched for years. When you put your source, it shows those coming behind you that you did your research in an approved manner, and that what you have in your tree is not fantasy. I know it sounds like it is not important, but it is. Also, if the person you add is still living, please research by adding their facts. If you put what you think from memory, it becomes distorted at times and can truly lead off into the wrong path. How do I know? Because I have seen it done. Trust me, it cannot be factual if it is not found in sources. I mean, it might be factual for you, but not historically, unless it is a source that can be cited.
Fact 3: Be flexible on dates
When you are researching a person in your tree, remember that int he past, people may not have known the true dates of things. For example, if my grandfather was born on say, December 1, 1890 and I know that is true because I have his birth certificate, yet in researching I find a census that says his birthday was December 31, 1889, is it the same person? It is important to check other facts before you add this source, since I have found that sometimes it is the same person, yet other times it is not. This is especially true if you have a common surname like Jones. Try to be as diligent in your fact checking to ensure you do not add someone who is not your ancestor.
Fact 4: Be flexible on names.
My family surname is quite unique and as such, pretty easy to trace. However, you can find that even if your name is unique, it may be spelled differently on some records. For example, my maiden is is Pieratt, pronounced pier at. On researching my family, I have found it written as Perat, Pratt, Perret, etc. In historical records, many times the person writing the record, be it a clerk or census taker, may write the name phonetically. Sometimes this occurred because the family member being interviewed is illiterate and does not know how to read or write, thus, the name is spelled by the record taker. So, think of your surname, and how it could be spelled differently and expand your search. You might be surprised at what you find.
Fact 5: Keep good records.
I have records in my home of birth certificates, death certificate, and census records of my family. I also have pictures. It is easier these days to get these records. When I started gathering information, it was much harder. You had to go to the places and states. Today, a lot of states have added their records to a database that can be accessed quite easily via the internet. Your tree records can still be stored as sources online in your tree. It is fascinating to see these records and it shows those following your tree that you did your research. 
That is it for now, but if you start looking into your family history, just try to follow these five things. You can have the journey of a lifetime and learn so many things about your family. I hope you enjoy you path and find interesting characters in your tree branches!

Raw Milk

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Raw milk is so good for you and can be used in so many ways to make delicious foods. It is filled with the natural goodness and beneficial for our gut. So why can we not buy it from the store? Well, read on my friend.

The problem is that unless you have a goat or cow, raw milk is not available to consumers. The FDA says that this product is fraught with danger because of the harmful bacteria that is present in it in the raw form. However, the truth is that raw milk is much more suited for us than the pasteurized and homogenized product at our local grocery. Why?

First, let’s define what is raw milk? It’s milk that comes from grass-fed cows, is unpasteurized and unhomogenized. This means raw milk contains all of its natural enzymes, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals — making it what many refer to as a “complete food.” In other words, we have been lied to by the FDA about milk, raw milk that is, being bad for us. They make it better for us by removing these beneficial vitamins and minerals and all and leave us with an inferior product.

So, in looking around about this, I found that Dr. Axe had excellent information out there. I will add it here to this post because I think he explains it way better than I could. From his web site:

“But can’t raw milk cause problems due to the risk of consuming bacteria? The risk of this happening is very, very low. In fact, according to medical researcher Dr. Ted Beals, M.D., you are 35,000 times more likely to get sick from other foods than you are from raw milk. (1) The CDC reports that there are an estimated 48 million foodborne illnesses diagnosed each year. Of these 48 million illnesses, only about 42 (about 0.0005 percent!) each year are due to consumption of fresh, unprocessed (raw) milk. 

As you can see, most accusations and concerns over raw milk have been overstated, and therefore its heath benefits remain underrated. Raw milk benefits are numerous and can help address a large number of nutritional deficiencies that millions of people, especially those eating the standard American diet, are currently experiencing. For instance, raw milk benefits allergies and skin, all while containing beneficial nutrients without the processing dangers.


5 Raw Milk Benefits

1. Reduces Allergies

Studies now suggest that children who drink raw milk are 50 percent less likely to develop allergies and 41 percent less likely to develop asthmacompared to children who don’t. (3) A study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology involved 8,000 children with various diets, and one of the conclusions that researchers made was that by drinking raw milk, children experienced “naturally immunizing” effects. (4)

As documented on the Real Milk website, many other studies carried out over the past century have shown that raw milk benefits and supports children’s growth and development in other ways too, including increasing immunity against infections, boosting dental health and supporting skeletal growth, for example. (5)

You might be wondering: How can raw milk reduce allergies, and isn’t dairy tied to high rates of intolerance or sensitivities? Nutrients like probiotics, vitamin D and immunoglobulins (antibodies) found in raw milk naturally boost the immune system and reduce the risk of allergies in both children and adults. Enzymes found in raw milk help with digestion but are often reduced or destroyed during pasteurization, which can contribute to lactose intolerance.

2. Helps Improve Skin Health

Dairy might have a bad reputation when it comes to causing or worsening acne and skin inflammation, but this is far from the case with raw milk. As we’ve seen, the benefits of raw milk are numerous, but surprisingly one of the most common reasons that people consume it is to benefit their skin. The success stories of people consuming raw milk to improve conditions such as psoriasis, eczema and acne are very widely reported.

Raw milk benefits the skin for the following reasons:

  • It contains healthy fats: Because raw milk contains large amounts of healthy saturated fats and omega-3 fats, it supports skin hydration. In fact, some people don’t only consume raw milk, but they use raw milk as a moisturizer topically.  Today, goat milk soap bars are popular around Europe and making their way to the U.S. more often, and recipes for homemade moisturizing face creams using raw milk can be found all over the Internet.
  • It supplies probiotics: Probiotics in raw milk can kill off or balance bad bacteria in your gut, which can dramatically affect the health of your skin. Research shows that inflammation and unbalanced gut flora contribute to skin issues such as acne and eczema.

3. Helps Prevent Nutrient Deficiencies 

According to the USDA, nearly 1,000 calories a day in the average American’s diet (out of a total 2,775 calories) can be attributed to added fats and added sugars or sweeteners. In comparison, nutrient-rich foods like raw dairy, fruits and vegetables only contribute about 424 calories. (6) You can see why deficiencies in nutrients like magnesium, potassium, vitamin A and vitamin K are so common.

One serving of raw milk contains about 400 milligrams of calcium, 50 milligrams of magnesium and 500 milligrams of potassium. (7) These minerals are vitally important for cellular function, hydration, building bone density, blood circulation, detoxification, muscle health and metabolism. These happen to be three minerals many children and adults are deficient in, which is especially problematic considering most people have a high sodium intake.

 

Raw milk face cream - Dr. Axe

 

4. Can Be Used to Make Probiotic Foods

Probiotics are microorganisms that line your gut and support nutrient absorption. They also help protect you from foreign invaders like E. coli and parasites. The best way to include probiotics in your diet is to get them in their most natural state, which includes raw milk products, such as cheese, kefir and yogurt. Real, raw and organic probiotic yogurt, cheeses and kefir have been consumed by some of the healthiest populations living around the world for thousands of years (such as those who call the famous Blue Zones home). Some disorders probiotic foods are known to help with include:

  • Colon cancer
  • Diarrhea
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Intestinal infections
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Skin infections
  • Weakened immune system
  • Urinary track infections
  • Vaginal yeast infection

5. Doesn’t Contain Added Sugar or Synthetic Ingredients

In addition to pasteurization, conventional milk also usually undergoes a homogenization process. Homogenization is a high-pressure process that breaks down fat into tiny particles — however, fat subjected to high heat and pressure becomes oxidized and rancid. Many low-fat dairy products also have thickening agents added to make up for lost texture, and some have even been tied to rising rates of inflammatory diseases like cancer. Raw milk needs no added thickeners or shelf-stabilizers and also doesn’t contain added sugar or flavors.

Most foods have some levels of natural sugar, including raw dairy, which has the type called lactose. The natural sugar in dairy is balanced with other nutrients and therefore not a concern (even healthy for you in moderation). However, many dairy products now contain multiple added ingredients, including extra sugar or artificial sweeteners, to boost taste. Added sugars come in many forms (for example, cane juice, corn sweetener, dextrose, fructose and high fructose corn syrup) and are unnecessary and harmful in excess.


Raw Milk Nutrition Facts

Raw milk is truly one of the most nutrient-dense foods in the world and has a nutritional profile unlike any other food. I understand if you’ve been cautious in the past about drinking raw milk because of all the negative media it might have earned, but I’m sure you’ll change your mind once you learn why more and more people are drinking raw milk every day. Some of the main reasons that over 10 million Americans now drink raw milk on a regular basis include:

  • Healthier skin, hair and nails
  • Nutrient absorption
  • Stronger immune system
  • Reduced allergies
  • Increased bone density
  • Neurological support
  • Weight loss
  • Help building lean muscle mass
  • Better digestion

What exactly makes raw milk such an incredible superfood? Let’s take a look at its unique nutritional profile, and it will become clear.

Nutritional Profile of Raw Milk

Fat-Soluble Vitamins A, D and K2

Because raw milk comes from cows or goats grazing on grass, research studies have shown that it contains a higher level of heart-healthy, cancer-killing, fat-soluble vitamins than milk that comes from factory-farm cows. (8) Studies have shown that one of the most common deficiencies in children is a lack of fat-soluble vitamins. These vitamins support the brain and nervous system and are crucial for development, focus and brain function. Fat-soluble vitamins also support bone density and help naturally balance hormones, however they’re significantly decreased following pasteurization. (9)

Short Chain Fatty Acids, CLA and Omega-3s

In addition to being high in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, raw milk from grass-fed animals is a rich source of butyrate, a short chain fatty acid that’s widely known to control health issues related to inflammation, slow metabolism and stress resistance. (10) In fact, researchers in Japan conducted a study on mice that suggests that butyrate can be used to treat inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn’s disease. (11) Additionally, raw, grass-fed milk is packed with conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which according to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Cancer has been tied to cancer prevention, healthier cholesterol levels and can even help reduce body fat. (12)

Essential Minerals and Electrolytes: Calcium, Magnesium and Potassium

Raw milk is one of the highest sources of minerals and electrolytes, which many people don’t get enough of. Unfortunately, a significant percentage of these minerals is lost during high-heat pasteurization. (13)

Whey Protein and Immunoglobulins

By far, the best-tasting curds and whey protein come from raw milk. Whey protein is fantastic for anyone who’s looking to burn fat and build or retain lean muscle. Whey is high in the following enzymes and proteins (amino acids) and the best way to get these immunity boosters is in their natural forms: alpha-lactalbumin, beta-lactoglobulin, bovine serum albumin and immunoglobulin.

Probiotics: Kefir, Cheese and Yogurt

Probiotics are only found in small amounts in raw milk, but when you ferment raw milk to make foods like kefir, yogurt or cheese, the good bacteria dramatically increase. In fact, there are no other foods in the world as naturally high in probiotics as cultured dairy products.

And these are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to raw milk benefits. One thing to clear up here is that raw milk doesn’t just come from cows. Researchers have carried out comparative studies on the properties of goat milk compared to those of cow milk and have found reason to believe that goat milk can help prevent diseases, such as anemia and bone demineralization, sometimes better than cow milk can. Goat milk  has been linked with special benefits for digestive and metabolic utilization of minerals, such as iron, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium. (14)


Raw Milk vs. Conventional Milk

Dairy products have gotten a bad rap over the years, but this is actually mostly due to the pasteurization process. When milk is pasteurized, it destroys many of the nutrients that make raw milk beneficial. Why is pasteurization even performed in the first place then? Because it exposes milk to very high temperatures, it can also kill harmful bacteria that are possibly able to make their way into the milk. However, as mentioned above, it’s very rare for these types of bacteria to be found in milk to begin with.

Key nutrients and enzymes are greatly reduced during the pasteurization process. If you consider the fact that many of these nutrients are not only reduced, but altered from their original states, you can understand that some of these nutrients are completely unavailable for your body to use and very difficult to digest.

Vitamin B and C levels are decreased as well. In multiple studies, it’s been found low-temperature pasteurization decreases vitamin C content by up to 25 percent, along with the content of B vitamins, iron and calcium. Further reductions in nutritional value takes place when milk sits on supermarket shelves sometimes for weeks where it’s kept until sold. (15) Some have found that following pasteurization, vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is oxidized into dehydroascorbic acid, which is an inactive, degraded form of vitamin C that does not have the same benefits as natural vitamin C. Other studies have found that pasteurization in other food products reduces overall antioxidant activities by about 55 percent to 60 percent and reduces vitamin B2 concentrations by up 48 percent. (1617)

Allergies and lactose intolerance are higher with pasteurization as well. Another major negative of pasteurization is that it destroys the digestive enzymes needed to break down and absorb certain nutrients. In the previously mentioned study, researchers found lactase (the enzyme in dairy) levels are greatly reduced with pasteurization, which is one explanation as to why so many people are lactose-intolerant. A survey conducted by the Weston A. Price Foundation found that of 700 families interviewed, amazingly about 80 percent of those diagnosed with lactose intolerance stopped having symptoms when they switched to raw milk.

To put things into perspective, according to certain medical studies, the following nutrients are destroyed or altered during pasteurization include:

 

Raw milk vs. conventional milk - Dr. Axe

 

 


How to Purchase and Use Raw Milk

Where to Buy Raw Milk

Raw dairy isn’t always easy to find, since laws differ from state to state regarding consumers’ rights to buy raw milk. There are three main places you can look for raw dairy products:

  1. Local farmers market — I go to my local farmers market and buy raw goat’s milk kefir, raw cheeses and plain raw milk. In the state I live it’s labeled “for pet consumption only,” and while I do give raw milk to my dog, my whole family enjoys the benefits of raw milk from the farmers market.
  2. Whole Foods Market — I buy a lot of “raw” cheeses at health food stores. Whole Foods has a large selection of raw cheeses, including raw sheep cheese, which is my absolute favorite. For a healthy and delicious appetizer or dessert, my family will dip our cheese in raw local honey.
  3. Online — There are certain online companies that sell raw dairy products directly to consumers, including Beyond Organic, Wise Choice Market and Real Milk. These retailers will have raw cheeses shipped right to your front door.

You will likely come to find that there are different kinds of raw milks or raw dairy products available from these retailers, including those from cows and also from sheep or goats. Raw goat milk can be a great alternative to cow milk, since for many people it’s even easier to digest. It can be beneficial to experiment with different types of raw dairy products to see which you enjoy most and benefit most from.

Raw Milk Recipe Ideas

Here are several delicious ways to enjoy raw milk at home:

Concerned about how raw milk will taste and if you will need to add a sweetener to achieve the results you want?

If you’re accustomed to eating sweetened dairy products, such as fruit-flavored yogurt or chocolate milk, then the taste of unsweetened raw dairy might not be what you’re used to. However, you’ll be happy to know that most people absolutely love the flavor of raw dairy, and many claim that it tastes much, much better than the store-bought kinds. Instead of buying sweetened dairy, try sweetening your own raw dairy when needed with small amounts of natural sweeteners, such as raw honey, coconut sugar, dates and organic stevia leaf.

How to Use Raw Milk on Your Skin

To benefit from raw milk’s skin-soothing nutrients, you can easily make your own raw milk face cream. Simply mix the ingredients below, then put the mixture onto freshly washed skin and leave for two to five minutes before rinsing off.

  • 2 tablespoons of raw cream
  • 2 tablespoons of raw honey
  • 2 teaspoons of lemon juice

If you can’t find raw cream, try using raw kefir instead, which is quite possibly the highest probiotic-rich food on the planet. Using kefir as a face wash and also consuming it internally can kill off bad bacteria on both your skin and within your GI tract that are the main cause of dry, flaking skin and acne.


Potential Side Effects/Cautions of Drinking Raw Milk

Although millions of people can attest that raw milk is safe to consume, delicious and beneficial in many ways, there are always still risks to be aware of. According to the CDC, past cases of foodborne illnesses associated with raw milk consumption have been due to bacteria (such as BrucellaListeriaMycobacterium bovis), salmonella, shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (E. coli), and certain parasites or viruses. The risk is highest among infants and young children, the elderly, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems due to other medical problems.

Keep in mind that the nutritional/mineral content of milk varies depending on conditions where it was produced, soil quality, geographical location, species of cow, health of the animal, how fresh it is and more. Buy raw dairy products from a reputable distributor, read customer reviews, ask your local farmers market for recommendations, store products in the refrigerator and consume within a short period of time for the safest and best results.


Final Thoughts on Raw Milk Benefits

  • Raw milk comes from cows, goats, sheep or other animals that have usually been grass-fed and raised in humane conditions. The milk is unpasteurized and therefore retains more of its natural nutrients and benefits.
  • Raw milk benefits include improved immunity, healthier skin, reduced allergies, healthier growth and development, lower risk for nutrient deficiencies, and much more.
  • Real milk has been consumed safely for many centuries, can be found online or at farmers markets, and can also be obtained from raw cheeses, yogurt or kefir.

Lactofermentation

 

 

I know, it is a long word. Pronounced lack toe fer men tashun. So what does it mean?

People years ago had to preserve their food without refridgeration, or modern food preservation techniques. They had to be able to preserve the food in other ways. How? The process we call lactofermentation.

So what is it?The term is used to describe a microbial process using beneficial bacteria including Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium spp. and other lactic acid bacteria (LAB) (commonly known as probiotics), which thrive in an anaerobic fermenting environment.

Now, to make it simpler to understand, lactofermentation is when you ferment vegetables and fruits in a salt brine, allowing good bacteria to form which you ingest when you eat the food. Seriously. I know, some folks, like me, take daily probiotics in capsule form to help repair the gut to a more natural state. Balanced. However, to truly get the best benefits of probiotics, it is best to eat them in food. Remember, food is medicine.

An important ingredient that is formed is LACTIC BACTERIA. … Lactic acid is a natural preservative that inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria.  Beyond preservation advantageslactofermentation also increases or preserves the vitamin and enzyme levels, as well as digestibility, of the fermented food. In other words, it keeps the high levels of nutrients and adds good bacteria into the mix.

Most people are familiar with one food that is lactofermented. What food? Sauerkraut! Yes, sauerkraut is cabbage that has been fermented to form one of the best superfoods you can eat. So when you eat sauerkraut, you are doing good work for your gut.

You can ferment most any vegetable or fruit. There are recipes all over the internet. The easiest one is actually sauerkraut. I am planning on trying to make it this next week. It is simple. I will not bore you with the recipe but I recommend watching videos on you tube to get recipes.

What are the advantages of fermented foods?

  • Makes food more digestible.
  • Fermented foods have more nutrients.
  • Chock full of good bacteria (probiotics).
  • Helps keep your immune system healthy.
  • Helps curb sugar cravings.
  • Lactic acid promotes growth of healthy bacteria in the gut.
  • Increases flavor of foods.

For those of us with autoimmune diseases, our gut health is extremely important. We cannot cure lupus, however we can make it easier to live with it. By using various foods that are fermented, and eating at least a serving a day, we are giving our body the chance to heal some of the things that can cause us to flare up and have pain.

I have used probiotics for years now, because of my gastrointestinal issues. My doctor put me on them because of issues with colitis and diverticulitis. The truth is that it has helped me with my issues, but I had not heard of fermentation until recently. Now I can try this method and see if it helps me more.

The problem with taking probiotic capsules is that they are not regulated and can make claims that may or may not be true. Plus, they can be expensive as well. Now, think of how much a head of cabbage costs, and the salt to make the brine. The hardest thing about making it is the time factor, typically several days to weeks, and the relative cost is actually very minimal.

So, cheaper cost, and you control the ingredients, and you get the maximum health benefits too! I really am excited to start making my own things for my nutritional probiotics, and I hope to reap the benefits too. I will update on this part of my wellness journey as it is occurring. You will be in on the results.

I hope you are all well.

What is a Homesteader?

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What is a homesteader? If you ask a hundred people you will likely get a hundred different answers. Homesteading is as varied as people. Each person views it in their own way. Some see it as a family farm, with tractors and cows while others see a tiny log cabin off grid, gardening and living a simpler lifestyle, while another may think of it as learning how to leave a smaller footprint on the world by becoming more self sufficient and self reliant. The truth is that homesteading and homesteaders are as different as snowflakes. That is the beauty of being a homesteader.

I admit that my view of a homesteader is nothing like my goals. The idea of homesteading evokes in me the simpler times of my grandparents era. If you didn’t grow it, shoot it, raise it or make it then you didn’t have it. It was that simple. The simplicity though, is deceiving. You see, their time was involved in doing the things they needed to to survive life. They were busy every day doing chores and living life. They didn’t drive a new car to a job (until later in their era) to pay for a house that sat empty all day. It was later that they moved away from their home and set up house in another state, working in the steel mills and auto industry to pay for a house. But I digress.

Even though they moved away, they had skills they brought with them. My grandmother could sew anything, and I mean anything! She was a highly talented seamstress and her skills were in demand in the city. She made wedding dresses, draperies, and even made the curtains in my high school drama class. People hired her to make all manner of things. I remember seeing her sitting at her sewing machine, making some new thing for someone. I remember having some of the best outfits around because we got a lot of her time making our clothing.

My grandfather worked in a steel mill until he got a job at general motors. He worked there until his retirement. He brought skills with him too. One I remember is making homemade wine. Another was making intricate chairs, tables and other items out of a soda can or beer can. He also was the one who made my bridal veil when I got married. My grandmother made my gown, and my grandfather made my veil. Both were beautiful.

I admire them for what they knew. I only wish I had sat and learned how to do those things but they are gone now. Yes, I can sew, but not like my grandmother. Yes, I craft items but nothing as magnificent as my grandpa could. Oh the loss of time and education that I could have had if only.

My homesteading goals have changed through the years. I used to work full time as did my husband. We both ended up medically retired, for different reasons, and only in the last ten years have we started embracing the skills of old. We both enjoy a variety of skills and we are learning new ones all the time. Our early homesteading type of goals were basically building a log cabin in the country so that when we retired we could live a simple life. Nothing fancy. The goals have changed now.

For one thing, since we both got sick and had to retire, our income if nothing like we thought it would be at retirement. The truth is that our retirement was used up while waiting for me to get on social security, which took three years. Our savings too. I was forty at the time and we thought we still had time to put away those funds for the golden years to come. Life has a funny way of showing you different. So, no seed money. We actually live on what we used to make in a week, except we have to use it for living a month instead now.

We simplified our life. We sold what we could, took inventory on what was important, and set up new goals. Those goals do not resemble the old ones with one exception…we wanted to live in the country in Kentucky or Tennessee. We live in Kentucky now but we are renting. Otherwise, our goals are completely different now.

Our goals today are to find some land, if it has a house, yay, but if not, put a mobile home on it. We no longer care about a big house. Simple is better. Living within our means. We cannot build a cabin because of our different health problems. We had to improvise then, so we decided as long as it is a roof, and warm in winter, we are ok with it. We do not need a big chunk of land either. A couple of acres will do. We can plant a garden and raise as much food as we can. No farm animals though. Well, maybe chickens at some point but nothing else because if we get down with our illnesses, the animals still need care. Revised plans. My husband would like a garage with a concrete floor, electricity and the ability to make himself a “man cave” where he can play music and draw and paint. He is wonderful at both things plus a bunch more. I want a craft area.

Homesteading can be whatever you want it to be. We wanted to try solar before, now, it is ok not to if we cannot. We wanted a log cabin before, now a trailer is fine. Keep it simple. Growing a garden, which is very therapeutic for me, is something I am doing now at our rental house. Our landlord told me to make the whole yard a garden if I want. I put our food up too, by canning and dehydrating. I try to stay away from freezing because if power goes out (here in eastern Kentucky it can be out for a long while) because of a storm or something, I do not want to waste food that spoils if frozen. We are composting now, which is a new learned thing for us. We have a front porch with a swing which we love to use.

So, until we find that land to use, we are content here, in our little four square rental home, becoming homesteaders. We are always learning, always growing in our skill sets. Learning how to use what is in nature to help us in life. Simplifying, changing, and growing. Are we homesteaders? Not to some, but to us, we are. We are not relying on others, but rather, on ourselves, to live a quality life. It doesn’t matter that our goals changed over time due to circumstances we cannot control, it matters that we rolled with the changes and keep revising our goals to suit the present, the now. Are we unhappy with the changes? A little, but truthfully, as long as we are happy, doing things we love, what are a few changes?

My question then is, what do YOU think a homesteader is?

Summer is Here!

I am thinking that summer may actually be here again! We have had some starts and stops but I think it has settled in for the season. I love summer! I wish it loved me.

As a lupus patient, I need to limit my sun time because it can cause my flare to go major!!! Not a fun way to spend summer. Actually, this year, summer will be shortened because in July or August I am having major surgery on my GI tract. I am not sure when but it is coming and looming in my mind too. I am doing what I call “marinating” about it. I am trying not to think about it. You know, the Scarlett O’Hara syndrome. It keeps me sane to do it this way.

In the meantime, I finally got to go to a meeting last Sunday instead of listening on the phone. It was so nice to see everyone and shake hands and fell their presence. It lifted me up spiritually as well. Various ones stop by and visit me but it was nice to be seated and listening to the discourse with my brothers and sisters around me. It really is good medicine.

So far though, allergies are really bad! I hear from others that it is the same way for them too. Even though I do not get out much, they are still plaguing me. Is it me or does it seem to get worse every year?

Otherwise, I am hoping to post more because I have learned to use my smart phone app and post from it now. Makes it easy to post. I was intimidated by it but not anymore.

I sincerely hope you are all well and enjoying your summer. I am going to give it a great try!