Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Health Journal - Vitamin C

If I could only have one supplement in my cupboard, it would be Vitamin C!  It is such an important vitamin, especially when the body is under stress.  Vitamin C is an antioxidant.  It fights bacteria, viruses, and infections.  If you are low in iron, Vitamin C will help you absorb it from your food.  It is a natural antihistamine and is necessary for stimulating the immune system.  Another great benefit of Vitamin C is that it combines with toxins (like heavy metals), so they can be eliminated from the body.

Our bodies cannot manufacture Vitamin C.  Therefore, it is important that it is ingested often.  Unfortunately, most of what we ingest will be gone from the body in 3-4 hours, especially in times of stress, when the body uses it up quickly.  This explains why Vitamin C is often called a "stress vitamin".  Since our bodies can only handle a certain amount at a time, and any extra is eliminated in the urine, it doesn't help to take large doses all at once.  During stressful times, we need to take it often, throughout the day.

Since Vitamin C is essential in the formation of collagen, and it helps to prevent infection, I will supplement with it whenever there is a wound of any kind.  It is good for the skin, ligaments, and bones.  When we get a major cut or wound at our house, I immediately start supplementing with Vitamin C at every meal.  I will do this until I can see that the wound is healing nicely and there is no redness or swelling (usually about a week).  Vitamin C speeds up the healing process!

One thing that is really nice about this vitamin is that you will know if you are getting too much.  You will get the runs! :)  If that happens, just lower your dose and keep taking it.  When my children had Whooping Cough, I gave them mega doses of Vitamin C for two weeks and not one of them had anything close to a loose stool.  When our bodies need this vitamin, we can take a lot of it!  Just a caution, if you are taking very large doses, you may need to increase your calcium, and you need to be careful that you don't get too much iron (since it helps you absorb iron better).

Some good sources of Vitamin C would be berries, citrus fruits, and green vegetables. Orange juice is a good source if it is freshly squeezed.  Cooked and pasteurized foods are not good sources since Vitamin C is lost in the heating process.  Another good source is fermented foods.  The process of fermentation actually increases the Vitamin C content in foods like kefir and yogurt,  You may remember hearing old stories of seamen dying of scurvy (a disease cause by a Vitamin C deficiency), until someone discovered that keeping crocks of sauerkraut (a fermented food) on board kept their crews from being decimated by this disease.  Another source of Vitamin C used by seamen was sprouts.

Beware of pain medications (including aspirin), alcohol, oral contraceptives, and antidepressants. They all reduce the amount of Vitamin C in the body.  Smoking causes serious depletion!

Needless to say, this is a supplement that I make sure I always have on hand.  We get our daily doses from our foods, but during times of sickness or when we have injuries, we supplement with Vitamin C.  This is definitely one for mama to keep in her "medicine chest". :)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Dan and Becky's Market

This post is for all our local friends.  I want to encourage people to shop at Dan and Becky's Market.  I can remember when they first opened, I was so excited!  Finally good food close by!  Before we started shopping there, we used to drive all the way into the cities to Lakewinds Natural Foods.  Now there are other places near by that carry organic foods, but there is something special about Dan & Becky's Market!

First of all, they are godly people, who eat healthy food, and can therefore be trusted to purchase good food.  They are the real deal! :)  Not only that, but Dan totally watches out for his customers!  There have been many times over the years when I've asked Dan, "Why don't you carry _____ anymore?"  And his reply would be something like...."Well, I found out it's not good for you."  How many grocery store owners do you know that are looking into their products to see if they are healthy for the consumer?  We are so blessed to have this little market in our community!  

Just a few days ago, while picking up some groceries, I noticed a product that Dan had, and I questioned him as to why he didn't buy that product from an organic grower instead.  He said he had met and talked to the people that he bought this product from, and after a conversation about how they grew their food, he felt comfortable buying from them.  As you know, it's not all about the label!  We need to know where our food comes from!  And at least at Dan & Becky's Market, if you don't know, they do!  ....and you can trust them!  Support their local business! :)

Dan & Becky's Market

Friday, January 27, 2012

Farmwife's Journal - January 27th

Last weekend we were blessed to be able to buy meat for our dogs.  A friend called one day asking what we do with our spent hens.  After some thought, Mike decided we should buy them for the dogs.  Can you imagine butchering 50 hens in January?  Since there is plenty of will around here, we made a way! :) 

Early Saturday morning Mike and the boys headed over to our friends farm to catch chickens.  Once they returned home, us girls went outside to join the butchering fun :/  The boys were so excited to use the machetes that Mike got them while on a missions trip in Mexico.  They chopped the heads while the rest of us skinned the birds in the garage.  It was about 16 degrees outside, so there was no way to wash anything.  Mike made sure the boys work was done in an area that could look "bloody" for awhile. (i.e. not the front yard!)  The job took all morning.

We finished with just enough time to get cleaned up for a wedding that we were going to in the afternoon.  By the time we got to the wedding, we looked and smelled so civilized, you would have never known we had spent all morning killing and skinning chickens! :)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Health Journal - MS

My Dad found this video, and it is well worth your time to watch it!  It is only about 17 minutes long.  When this woman, a medical doctor, searched for answers as how she could slow down the disease that was destroying her body, she found more than what she was looking for!  Progressing from a cane, to two canes, to a wheelchair, and then back to her feet again is unheard of with MS.  Her story is amazing, yet is holds a very simple life lesson - our diet will determine much of our future!

Many times we are fooled into thinking that the older generations did just fine on bacon grease and cigarettes, so why should we do any differently.  But we fail to realize that the food our grandparents grew up on, is not the food our kids are eating today!  Back then sugar was sugar!  It may have been  processed, but I would take that over all the chemicals we call "sweeteners" today!  Most of our food today is not REAL food, back then it was!  Their meat wasn't infested with hormones, and their cows weren't eating GM corn as their main diet.  They drank RAW milk and canned their own foods.  They worked hard, got fresh air and sunshine, ate home-grown natural foods, and as a result could still smoke and live a long somewhat healthy life.  Today we bombard our bodies with chemicals and wonder why every month we hear of someone else we know who has cancer. 

While I found this video very inspiring, I don't totally agree with everything she said.  First of all, I do not believe in evolution.  There is far too much evidence of a Creator in the order and design of the human body, nature, and the universe.  Secondly, there are MANY nutritious foods.  While eating a limited diet for a period of time may be necessary to eliminate a disease, continuing a limited diet can potentially cause deficiencies in other nutrients which will then lead to a new disease.  Balance is the key!  Lastly, I am still hanging on to my grains and dairy! :)  Many new diets recommend eliminating grain, but I am not yet totally convinced that that is wise.  I think there are reasons why grains are causing intestinal problems for people (which I will explain in more detail in another post) , but I think we need to change the WAY we eat them, not eliminate them.  The same goes for dairy products.  It's not uncommon to read about how dairy is the cause of many health problems like eczema and allergies, but most articles don't mention the type of dairy causing the problems - PASTEURIZED!  The processes of pasteurization and homogenization destroy many of the nutrients in milk and not only makes them indigestible, but toxic to the body!  Raw milk is a completely different story!  And I believe it is foundational to good health in children...and adults.

It is interesting that the doctor in the movie had to look beyond her own colleagues for answers.  As I've said before, being your own doctor is not as hard as you think!  It starts with choosing your foods wisely; good food is your best medicine!  Then talk to your grandma or someone old and ask them how they prepared the foods they ate - research!  There is a lot of wisdom in the traditions of our ancestors! 

Here's the link to the video:

BTW, we have a family friend who worked closely with this woman while training in Iowa.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Chicks in January

Yesterday our yearly order of future laying hens (day old chicks) arrived.  Per the norm, we received a call at 6:45 am from the Post Office letting us know that our chicks were there.  For those that thinks this sounds odd, I should explain further.

We order all our chicks from Hoovers Hatchery in Iowa.  The chicks are hatched and packed into little cardboard boxes for shipping.  The chicks going to Minnesota are actually driven up to the main post office hub in Minneapolis.  From there they are sent out via the normal mail trucks and arrive the next morning at the local post office, only one day old.  How do they survive a whole day without food and water you ask?  Right before a chick hatches it inhales into its abdomen the remaining egg yolk (its food source for the 21 days of incubation).  This gives it enough food to go for a couple of days.  What an amazing design!

When I ordered our chicks I unfortunately could not order the weather at the same time.  So yesterday I got up early and went out to get their little brooding area preheated up from -11 to 98 degrees so it would be ready when the post office called.  They are all very happy and running about the pen being a bit peckish.

So why chicks in January?   Well, it takes about five months for laying variety chick to reach maturity and start laying eggs.  This means that they will start laying in June, about the time Friday on the Farm starts to ramp up. 

See ya in June for Friday on the Farm!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Farmwife's Journal - January 16th

We continue to spend many evenings playing hockey.  Last week we only played three times, partly due to the weather and also because I had a sore foot.  I stopped a puck from going into my goal with my skate, which wasn't so favorable for my foot!  My foot was really sore that night, and the next morning I had it x-rayed just to make sure it wasn't broken.  My foot turned out to be fine.  After babying it for a couple days, it healed up quickly.

Many nights Mike and I wonder if we are too old to play hockey so hard and so often.  Even though we have played together as a family for a few years, our kids (and their friends) just keep growing and getting harder and harder to play against. :)  Some nights we lie on the living room floor together moaning. :)  Thankful for our 303's (see my last post),  we are determined to continue playing with our children.  When I hurt my foot, my children were horrified by the thought that my hockey season may be over.  They really enjoy the family time together, as do Mike and I, and we all love having friends over to join in the fun.

Not much is new on the farm.  Kiow (buck goat) is still here.  We are hoping that Claire will come back into heat again, so we can get her bred.  It would be easiest to just put the buck in with all the does, but then they will all be due around the same time, which means that they will all be drying up at the same time.  Since our family doesn't really want to be without milk, we are trying to stagger our breeding.  Nature doesn't always cooperate with that program....still we are trying. :)

The puppies are doing well!  We have almost exhausted the meat we saved for them from our fall butchering, so now it's time to find other sources.  Knowing that raw meat is the healthiest and most natural thing for a dog to eat, we will continue to feed our dogs this way.  We do supplement with dog food when needed and for treats.  Jackson, our 8 year old Pyrenees, ate dog food as a puppy because we didn't know any better at the time, but it has been many years since we have bought a bag of dog food for him.  We just feed him meat from the farm and table scraps (which are usually from the farm).   As many of you have seen, he is a very big, strong, healthy dog. :)

A number of years ago (4?), Mike accidentally ran over Jackson with our skid loader.  It was horrible!  We thought for sure we would have to put him down.  Amazingly Jackson recovered!  When you look at him now, you can hardly see the effects of that accident.  I really believe that his diet is a testimony to his lack of joint problems and overall good health.  If a good diet works for us, it works for them too! :)  What you feed your animals does make a huge difference in their quality of life and longevity!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Health Journal - Pain Relief

While we are on the subject of pain, I thought I would mention a product that our family uses for body aches (you may not always have time to sit around drinking clove tea).   Since most pain relievers are so bad for the liver, it's hard to know what to take when you are hurting.   Our family has used Formula 303 for years, and it works great.   We get it from our Chiropractor, but you could find it using Google and order it online.

Formula 303's Ingredients:
Valerian Root (Valeriana officinalis) - used for centuries to calm upset nerves and for treating mood problems, pain and headache. Today homeopaths and herbalists use Valerian root for its antispasmodic, calmative, tranquilizing, carminative (good for upset stomach and digestion) and pain relieving effects. (approximately 264 mg)

Passion Flower (Passiflora incarnata) - discovered in 1569 it is primarily used as a sedative or nervine to combat excess nervousness and anxiety, to tranquilize, and to promote sleep; as an anodyne, anti-spasmodic and anti-convulsant to treat dysmenorrhea, muscle cramps, and so forth. (approximately 132 mg)

Magnesium - is one of the most important essential minerals to promote proper nerve function. It is a key element in the stabilization of nerve cells, without which, the nerves would be in a constant state of excitation (a state known as tetany.) (approximately 65 mg)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Health Journal - Cramps

In my last "Health Journal" post, I mention that I had another use for cloves. If you are one of those women who suffers through cramps every month, we have a remedy for you to try.   Here it is:

Add a heaping tablespoon of cloves and two cups of water to a pot.  Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.  Then strain and add a good amount of honey and cream...if you like.  Drink this clove tea while it is hot.  See if that helps...seems to work around here. :)  Actually, this tea is good for any pain in the body.  Try it!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Farmwife's Journal - January 6th

Yesterday Jonny dug some more carrots from the sand bin in the root cellar.  Mmmm!  For as many years as we have been doing this, you would think that the satisfaction, joy and amazement of storing our own foods would wear off, but it hasn't! :)  The carrot were bright orange, sweet and crunchy! 

We continue, as much as possible considering the weather, to play hockey in the evenings.  On Wednesday the ice was like glass.  Mike had flooded it two day prior to that, and it took that long to freeze due to the warm weather.  Thanks to a heated game of hockey Wednesday night, I woke up yesterday feeling very stiff.  I think that a collision with a teenage boy may have been the problem, but getting lots of exercise and spending time with friends makes it all worth it! :)  We are planning another game for tonight! :)

Jonny started mandolin lessons yesterday.  That was exciting!  For his birthday, in October, we got him a new mandolin, and he has been practicing with a DVD since them, but now he will receive better instruction which he is very happy about.  Winter is the time of year when we focus on music lessons, since there isn't much time for that during growing season.  Emily plays the piano (beautifully, I might add), the guitar, and is learning the banjo.  Ben and Jonny also play the piano.  Last Christmas we got Ben a harmonica, and he immediately started playing songs!  He also has a DVD that he watches for instruction on the harmonica.  Both boys would like to learn to play the banjo too. And Mike and I....well...we listen! :)  Neither of us have any musical talent (although Mike has a beautiful voice), but we thoroughly enjoy sitting around and listening to our children play. :)  I can't think of a better way to spend a cold snowy winter night....is it winter yet?

Boy, this weather makes me kinda nervous. :)  In Minnesota we are rarely rewarded with beautiful weather for very long.  It makes me wonder what spring will be like.  We are hoping for some precipitation! 

You have probably noticed that Mike and I have been working on the blog.  Since it's January, the planning has begun!  Our 2012 season will bring some changes, but we are planning some fun activities that I am sure you will be excited about.  Keep watching the blog for updates.  We will also be sending out emails to notify you of our upcoming classes.....so excited! :)

Who chooses what you eat?

This is Mike... I haven't posted for a long time, but I'm going to try to get back at it again.  I may ruffle more feathers than my sweet wife... but here we go.  :-)

I was listening to the radio this evening while waiting on the aforementioned sweet wife to finish shopping at the mall.  The news person was doing a special report on breakfast cereals.  He was lamenting about how much sugar (and probably high fructose corn syrup) is found in the common breakfast cereal.  It was stated that over 40 of the products on the shelf have more sugar in one cup of cereal than three Chips-a-hoy cookies. Wow.  One product mentioned, Honey O's or something like that, has more sugar in one cup of cereal than a Hostess Twinkie!  Now that is gross.

This is a legitimate concern and frankly quite a disgraceful performance by the major food companies of America.  However, the unspoken tragedy is that people are buying these products and eating them without thought or care for what it does to their health.

This news person then went on a tirade about needing the federal government to intervene in this situation.  He lamented how the current regulations "have no teeth" to enforce the rules against marketing sugary products to kids.  The fact that three times more children are obese today than just one generation ago was declared to be a travesty of justice!

Do you ever talk back to your radio or TV?  I do sometimes.  I wanted to say, and probably did, WHERE ARE THE PARENTS?  I don't know about you, but I have no interest in the the federal or state government regulating the food industry any more than they already do.  They are already doing a lousy job (in my humble opinion, more on that in the next post), so what makes us think it will get better with more rules?  The lobbyists for "big food" are firmly in control of these agencies, the new rules simply harm the small local producers and keep their more wholesome products out of the hands of the consumer.  Rules that often make it illegal or at least difficult to procure "real food".

So in summary, it is your choice.  Big brother is incapable of doing this for you.  YOU must choose your food carefully. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Health Journal - January 4th (toothaches)

One night, in the wee hours of the morning, Ben woke me up with a toothache.  He had a tooth that was loose, but it would not come out.  He had been wiggling it and pushing on it earlier in the week, but to no avail.  Now the gum surrounding the tooth was very red and swollen.  The pain was keeping him awake, so he figured it was time to call on mom. :) 

As I walked to the kitchen, cloves came to mind.  Consulting with my herb books confirmed my plan.  I grabbed my mortar and pestle and my container of cloves.  After crushing some clove buds, I put them in an empty tea bag.  I wet this down with a few drops of water and added ONE drop of Clove Bud Essential Oil.  Placing the tea bag between his sore tooth and lip, Ben curled up on the couch hoping for relief.  I decided to join him, and we slept together for a few more hours until it was time to get up.

When Ben woke up, he discovered that the tooth felt much better.  I gave him ONE more drop of the E.O., this time on his finger, and he rubbed it on the gum.  There were no more complaints.  At breakfast, lunch, and dinner I gave him some Vitamin C and garlic to help with the swelling and possible infection.  That afternoon the tooth came out and by the next day the gum had returned to normal.

Clove oil is anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, analgesic (pain-relieving), and antifungal.  Because it is so potent, you should use it with caution for children under six years old.

Em and I have another great use for cloves....more about that in my next post! :)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Omamacare! :)

Due to a lack of focus on nutrition by health care providers (and an emphasis on medication with side effects) and for reasons of self-sufficiency, we have tried to take charge of our own health by eating healthy home-grown foods and learning to care for our bodies.

I want to encourage moms to take care of their children's ailments. There are times that it is necessary to see a doctor, but most sicknesses and injuries can be taken care of at home. You know your child better than anyone else, and your love for them will motivate you to seek the best treatments for them.

It is not as hard as you think to be your own doctor! With every answer at your fingertips - the Internet, you can learn to handle almost all health problems at home, without medicine (pharmaceuticals). I hope, by doing some blog posts on natural remedies, to inspire you to take care of yourself and your family at home. With some knowledge of herbs and other natural remedies, you will quickly become confident in your own abilities! :)

Some of us have just gotten lazy.  It seems easier to just go to the doctor, but the problem with going to the doctor is that you will likely come home with a prescription drug which will, in the long run, only compound the problems that you are dealing with. 

My children with Whooping Cough, waiting for their "medicine".  August, 2004
Mama, you can learn to care for your family! :)  You don't need to depend on the government to take care of you!  I will post some practical tips for you in what I will call, "Health Journals".  In these posts, I will share with you the natural remedies that our family uses.  In a notebook, I have documented our families injuries, sicknesses, and other health problems and what I did to treat them. I'll use this journal to help give you ideas of how you can treat your family too.  (I've made sure my children know where my journal is, so that it can get passed on to future generations when I croak. :))

Omamacare...best care there is!!! :)

More Twins?

Have you noticed lately that there seems to be an increase in the number of twins born?  It seems much more common today than it did years ago.  Well, there have been studies done that give us some answers as to why we hear about more and more women becoming pregnant with twins.

Many dairy cows are injected with hormones to increase their milk supply. In 1950, the average dairy cow produced almost 5,300 pounds of milk a year, today, a typical cow produces more than 18,000 pounds.  Not only does the hormone increase their milk supply, it also increases the occurrence of mastitis.  Therefore the cows need to be given more antibiotics - yeah!

The hormone rBGH that is injected into dairy cows is causing much concern due to its link to breast cancer, prostate cancer, and other hormonal problems.  Scientists have also linked the rise in twin births over the past 30 years to hormones in our food supply.

We cannot continue to manipulate nature through the abuse of chemicals and expect to be blessed by it!  As animals are pushed beyond their God given limits due to selfishness, we will continue to suffer for it.  We need to make some changes!

Now...I think having twins would be a blessing! :) But I will pass on the hormone and antibiotic infested milk!  Make wise choices for you and your family! Know where your food comes from, and buy foods that you are not afraid to eat. :)

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