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sand dune

Serenity For Spoonies #12

This is the next installment of photos I find particularly intriguing and/or relaxing. If you don’t know what a spoonie is, here’s a short article that explains it.

winter road
Reminds me, just a bit, of driving through eastern Colorado. Photo credit to Ksenia Rudenko.

 

sand dune
Amazing what wind can do to a pile of sand. Credit to Ismael paramo.
inlet
Another inlet. This photo was taken by Joshua Fuller.

 

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mountains

Serenity For Spoonies #11

This is the next installment of photos I find particularly intriguing and/or relaxing. If you don’t know what a spoonie is, here’s a short article that explains it.

mountains
Imagine yourself right here. Photo credit to Oliver Roos.

 

big cats grooming
That huge tongue reminds me of how our German Shepherd licks our cats. Photo credit to Michael Steinberg.

 

cave
Spooky, but wouldn’t it be fun to explore? Credit to Mikael Kristenson.

 

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toxic stew

Part 2: Living In A Toxic Stew & Staying Healthy

toxic stewAmericans live in a constant state of toxicity that negatively impacts our already complicated chronic illness lives. We enter this toxic stew whenever we drink unfiltered tap water, eat non-organic, pesticide-heavy food, apply personal care products and makeup–even when handling those thermal receipts.

Our bodies don’t know what to do with the toxins, so they are warehoused in our fat.

health risks obesity

Many chemicals found in non-organic foods and personal care products mimic hormones. This is at the root of why it is so hard for millions of us to lose weight and makes it almost impossible if we also take prescription drugs that have weight gain as a common side effect.

This part of a multi-post series deals with eliminating as much pesticide residue as possible from our vegetables and fruits. Even organic foods may have pesticides used during the growing season. The difference is insecticides used on organic farms are found in nature and in many cases are less toxic than those used in conventional agricultural practices. (Pesticide includes herbicides used to kill weeds, fungicides to kill mold and insecticides to kill insects.)

Eat Organic Whenever Possible

Even though organics can have pesticide residue, we still should eat organic foods whenever possible. Ideally, grow your own food in pots or a garden.  Now that there are new cultivars of berries, they can be conveniently grown in a pot on the porch. Try to always eat the organic version of foods on the EWG’s (Environmental Working Group) Dirty Dozen list of the most heavily pesticide-sprayed foods.

An easy way I remember what to buy organic is knowing that the fruits and vegetables hubby and I like are all full of pesticides. Take a look at the EWG’s shopping guide.

It used to be thought that fruits that are peeled, like bananas, have minimal pesticide residue under the peel. Modern testing shows that is not true. Bananas, like many of our food crops, is grown in a monoculture where there are devastating infections and insect damage from the same crop in the same place year after year. The pesticides used today penetrate well into the fruit beneath that hard peel. Don’t fall for the stories about using banana peels to increase potassium in the garden. These peels are toxic!

How To Reduce Pesticides

recent study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found a better alternative–a baking soda solution–to scrubbing the outside of vegetables and fruits with plain or soapy water. Gala apples that soaked in baking soda at a ratio of 1 tsp for every 2 cups of (filtered) water for 10-15 minutes had significantly reduced pesticide residue on the surface. However, no wash will remove pesticides that have moved past the peel and into the fruit.

Here’s a quick way to wash leafy greens:

  • Fill a Salad Spinner with greens, then fill with cold water
  • Add a teaspoon of baking soda for every two cups of water and mix well
  • Soak your greens for about five minutes, swish, dump, then rinse, and spin dry
  • If you don’t have a salad spinner, you can add the greens, water, and baking soda to a bowl, let them soak, drain in a colander, rinse, then pat leaves dry with a clean lint-free kitchen towel or paper towels

To wash other vegetables:

  • Fill a large bowl with water
  • Then add a teaspoon of baking soda for every two cups of water
  • Add the veggies
  • Soak for a 10-15 minutes
  • Scrub with a Vegetable Brush 
  • And finally, rinse off the veggies

Smooth skin fruits get the same treatment

Smooth skinned fruits, such as apples, grapes, peaches, nectarines, and cherries, can be washed in a baking soda bath the same way as veggies.berries

Your instinct may be to soak berries in the same baking soda wash when you bring them home. However, doing this actually increases moisture and accelerates spoilage, microflora, and mold growth.  It’s best to rinse soft fruits like berries just before you eat or cook with them. 

Rinse berries under cold water in a mesh strainer, or colander, then gently patted dry with a clean kitchen towel or paper towels just before you intend to eat them. This means there is no practical way to remove even a quarter of the pesticide residue on berries before eating them. Always, always and, let me repeat, always buy organic berries for this reason. 

Blueberries are high in antioxidants which are tied to protective health benefits. In total, domestic blueberries in a 2012 joint EWG and CBS news report tested positive for 42 different pesticide residues, and 73 percent of the blueberries contained two or more pesticides.

Strawberries earned the fifth spot on the 2012 “Dirty Dozen” list because, on average, this traditional summer fruit contained three pesticide residues. A single strawberry sample contained 13 different types of pesticides five years ago, according to the group. In 2017, strawberries are Number One for pesticide residue. When farm workers have to wear a hazmat suit and breathing mask to apply pesticides to strawberries, there is something very wrong with our food supply!

These solutions–baking soda wash and buying organic–are not a guarantee of eliminating all chemicals to provide you with a pesticide-free snack. They are just a lot better than the alternatives.

Coming up next is a look at the health benefits of organic food.

What about you? Are you among the millions who believe companies that produce and sell our food have your health as their foremost concern?

Part 1 of Living In A Toxic Stew

toxic stew

Part 1 Of Living In A Toxic Stew & Staying Healthy

Americans live in a constant state of toxicity that negatively impacts our already complicated chronic illness lives. We enter this toxic stew whenever we drink unfiltered tap water, eat non-organic, pesticide-treated food, consume meat from animals kept in large confinement operations, apply personal care products and makeup–even when handling those thermal receipts that leave BPA (bisphenol-A) residue on our hands.

Our bodies don’t know what to do with the toxins, so they are warehoused in our fat. Many chemicals found in non-organic foods and personal care products mimic hormones like estrogen. These endocrine disruptors are at the root of why it is so hard for millions of us to lose weight. Keeping off or losing those extra pounds is almost impossible if we also take prescription drugs that have weight gain as a common side effect.water in glass

Drinking water is an excellent entry point for removing toxins because tap water is used in so many things. We cook with it, bathe or shower in it, use it for watering our gardens and provide drinking water for our pets.

To check on water quality for your location, please watch the video below.

When most Americans drink a glass of tap water, they’re also getting a dose of industrial or agricultural contaminants linked to cancer, brain and nervous system damage, developmental defects, fertility problems or hormone disruption. That’s the disturbing truth documented by EWG’s Tap Water Database – the complete source available on the quality of U.S. drinking water, aggregating and analyzing data from almost 50,000 public water utilities nationwide.

My municipal water is treated with chloramine. This is a good product for killing bacteria which is why it is used. Unfortunately, it also toxic to the beneficial bacteria in our guts. If we use municipal water in the garden, it will harm microbes in the soil. Chloramine-treated water cannot be used if you make beer or wine, or bake with a sourdough starter.

Other municipal water treatment facilities use chlorine. This kills good and bad bacteria, too. But because chloramine is considered safer than chlorine, it is used by more and more municipalities every year.

Find out if your city, village or town uses chloramine by calling the local water treatment facility. You may need to ask for someone other than the person who answers the phone. When I called, the receptionist didn’t know and told me the water was safe to drink. I had to insist on talking to a water treatment technician to find out.

How can we eliminate or reduce our toxic load?

Ironically, it begins with increasing the amount of water you drink. We should drink half of our body weight in ounces of water every day. non-toxic water with lemonFor example, someone weighing 180 pounds should drink 90 ounces (about 11-8 oz glasses) daily.

One way to jump-start the detox process is to drink at least twenty ounces of water (about three glasses) with a bit of lemon juice first thing in the morning. Drinking water after a nighttime “fast” will get everything moving and help flush out toxins.

Carbon filtration is one of the best removal methods. The problem is it takes more carbon and more contact time to do the job.

This means if your city disinfects with chloramine you need to get a larger and better carbon filter than you would if chlorine is used. Reverse osmosis filters also remove chloramine.

Here’s another video from the EWG about water filters.

Water filters are necessary to remove or reduce the myriad chemicals that contaminate our nation’s drinking water, some of which are linked to cancer and endocrine disruption. For more tips on selecting the best filter for your home, visit EWG’s Healthy Living: Home Guide https://www.ewg.org/healthyhomeguide/…

For convenience, I’ll put some chloramine removal filter systems at the bottom of this post. Please remember that I receive a very small percentage if you purchase one of the products listed.

Chloramine also may increase exposure to lead in drinking water, especially in older housing. This exposure can result in increased lead levels in the bloodstream which may pose a significant health risk, especially for children. Remember Flint, Michigan?

Recently reports have come out warning that microscopic plastic residue is shed from those ubiquitous bottles of water. cartoon with bad waterDoes the plastic pass through intact? Does it get into our bloodstream if we have a leaky gut? Unfortunately, there is no research on how this impacts our bodies.

I’ll talk about reducing pesticide residue in fruit and vegetables in Part 2 of this series.

Here are a few water filters that claim to eliminate chloramine in tap water.

Hansing Under Sink Water Filter, High Flow Water Filtration System with 13K Ultra High Capacity – Removes 99.5% of Chlorine, 99% of Chloramine, 99.9% of Lead, Heavy Metals, Odors, Bad Tastes, etc

pH ENERGIZE 8-Stage Shower Filter – Filters Chlorine, Chloramine, Fluoride, Heavy Metals, Bacteria & Viruses – Softens Hard Water – Increases pH & ORP – Easy Installation – Fits Any Shower Head

Aquagear Water Filter Pitcher – Fluoride, Lead, Chloramine, Chromium-6 Filter – BPA-Free, Clear

Garden Hose Filter – Removes Chlorine, Chloramines, VOCs, & Pesticides/Herbicides

 

Serenity For Spoonies #9

Number Nine. Number Nine. Number Nine.

Who knows what or whom I am referring to above?

This is the next installment of photos I find particularly intriguing. If you don’t know what a spoonie is, here’s a short article that explains it.

moutains
Makes you want to fly away and touch down on a hillside. Photo credit Paul Bence.

 

waterfall
Yet another waterfall. This time it was captured by Paula May.

 

snow scene
This snow scene is what it looks like from my back door. (Well, not exactly.) 😉 Photo credit by Patrick Schneider

 

 

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Gardening Hacks To Grow Abundantly This Summer

Remember a few weeks ago when I wrote about Marjory Wildcraft and her homestead in Texas? She’s offering a FREE 72-hour viewing of a very simple gardening system she developed starting March 20th and continuing until the 22nd. I receive a small fee for everyone who purchases the lessons after seeing her videos. 

ad for grow half your food in an hour/dayDisabilities aside, what if you could grow half of your own food, gardening organically, right in your own backyard garden in less than an hour each day?

No, Wisconsin is STILL a state where medicinal cannabis is outlawed so I’m not smoking/vaping/eating as I write this.

In this new system, Marjory takes all the guesswork out of growing your own food, so that almost everyone can get started today and be growing half of their own food within a year’s time.

Perfect for anyone worried about power failures

While literally anyone can get started, the system involves raising rabbits and chickens, as well as growing vegetables, in a way that does not require refrigeration or any electricity. 

If you live with or know someone who can’t spend hours working in a garden every day but wants to have healthy, nourishing, homegrown food, let them know about this free opportunity.

Marjory will walk through everything step-by-step. Even if you have no room or desire to raise animals, watch for the information on growing veggies.

The knowledge and insights compiled in this film take years to learn on your own, as Marjory did herself. But they are presented here in a system that eliminates the time-consuming research and trial-and-error that prevent you from successfully growing your own food.

Gardening guesswork is eliminated

Here’s what I mean. Marjory broke down the nutritional needs of the average person eating a healthy diet. She projected those needs out for an entire year. Then she identified three core components that, together, can supply half of the nutrition you need.

Marjory Wildcraft has helped thousands of people to start growing their own food. Her books and videos are used by governments and universities around the world. She condensed all her decades-long experiences into this simple new system.

Eliminate the research, and trial and error that slow you down. You can have fresh homegrown food on your table as soon as possible.

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To reserve your spot at the 72-Hour FREE Viewing

How to Grow Half Your Own Food is a brand-new system. But it already is a huge success with members of Marjory’s Grow Lab. Unlike lab members who pay a monthly fee, Marjory Wildcraft is making it available to you–for free–March 20 – 22, 2018.

There’s literally nothing to lose and a lot of good information to gain by registering to watch the videos.

People who register for the video series also receive free bonuses

seed catalog
Never GMOs, many open-pollinated, heirloom and organic seed producers from around the world

This ebook lists companies that have pledged that they “do not knowingly buy, sell, or
trade genetically engineered seeds,” thus assuring consumers of their commitment.

All of the Grow Network directors favorite seed companies are on this list.

Inside this ebook, you will discover small farms or stores selling heirloom, open-pollinated seeds. You’ll also find guidance on what works best in your area–no matter what climate and soil challenges you face. All the companies listed are members of The Safe Seed Pledge.

Ronnie Cummins
Ronnie and Marjory demonstrate seven ways backyard gardening helps the environment while helping you get healthier

From carbon capturing to animal husbandry, Ronnie Cummins and Marjory Wildcraft teach seven ways backyard gardening significantly reduces– and even repairs–damage to our Earth. 

Learn ways you can help reverse soil depletion and desertification. 

You will see an in-depth comparison of nutrition and quality from small, organic farming vs. factory-farmed animal products. You will find resources for better water capture and conservation, too. 

Discover the environmental and health benefits of integrating farm animals with your gardening. I would love to use the “chicken tractor” even though I live in a city that doesn’t allow backyard chickens!

free TGN membership
Membership in The Grow Network helped me, disabled for 11 years, to successfully garden in just a few hours week

The Grow Network is the online home of a global community of people who are producing their own food and medicine.

If you want to take a few steps back from relying on grocery stores and big ag by reclaiming your health and food supply then you are one of us.

There is a bi-weekly newsletter on how to produce your own food and medicine, too. The Grow Network also has forums, a marketplace, seed swaps, even dating, and farms for sale. You can also read about inspiring neighborhood changemakers.

You literally have nothing to lose by registering to watch the free video series. Plus, you’ll receive those free bonus materials. Here’s your final opportunity to register!