Archives

And My New Years Resolution Is . . .

This new year is the time many people reflect back over the last 12 months and decide what it is that may need changing.  Change is the only constant they say. Many feel the newness of a fresh start, a do-over, a clean slate.  A promise of better things to come, of bettering oneself and one’s circumstances is the attitude of many this time of year. It is good to have moments like this, to stop “life” and bring into clear precise perspective what you are, what you want to be, and how to bounce over to be … well, whatever it is you inspire to be.

Habits are formed early on in life.  Most are just circumstantial.  We get up in the morning and get something to eat or drink to break the fast of a hopefully a good night’s rest. If you are school age, school attendance is the common day’s activity, for adults it is the “job” we have chosen. You may not realize this but you have actually chosen where you are right now, either a tradesman of some kind,  teacher, carpenter, banker, office manager, delivery driver, baker, writer, salesman, farmer, rancher, or stay-at-home mom.  Your choices culminated to produce your life as it is.

I will interject here that the housewife/stay-at-home-mother is the most honored and important of any profession.  Not because I was/am one, but because of the herculean task that it is.  The task is nurturing copiously curious minds and bodies into reasoning, caring, God-fearing, intelligent young people who move on to become adults in our society.  The mom who stays home is the “keeper” of her home; is responsible for the atmosphere, the condition, the peacefulness, the safety, and healthfulness of her home.  She seeks no accolades, no prideful prestige, no recognition from statesmen or dignitaries, no honor of any kind.  Her job is done mostly behind the scenes in quiet loving sacrifice.  Anyone choosing this is truly the one who should be “making the big bucks”.  However it is a job that is not paid in coinage, but in the knowing she did the best she could with what she knew, in seeing the outcome or fruits of her labors.  This is also true of the mom who works outside the home.  She does however have less time, energy, and focus to devote to the family.  So hats off to moms!!  She deserves twice the salary of Tom Cruise!!

Wow that was a side trail.  Habits. That is the train track I was on, so I’ll get back to it :).  Yes, habits are formed early in life.  How we take care, or not take care of our belongings, how we speak, how we, well do anything is formed early.  And to our detriment some of our habits are bad ones.  We tend to think of smoking as an example of a bad habit, and so it is, but what about a frown on our face all the day long.  I have met people who I think must not smile for days on end, and that is sad.    Our attitudes are also habits formed.  Habits can change, that is the great news!!!!  We can change.  We can change anything we choose to change.  However we need some basic “tools” to proceed and perpetrate a change.

The number one New Years Resolution is to lose weight. That is a good goal and one that is in the right direction.  However, the goal of just losing weight is bound to fail.  There are certain factors to be implemented for a plan to succeed.  And you must have the right plan in the beginning.  Weight loss is not the right goal.  Moving the whole body into a healthy state should be the goal. 

Let’s say you wanted to build a new house.  There are of course many aspects to consider, many other people to employ, and countless decisions to make in implementing your ideas of what is wanted into reality.  If you focused just on what the outside walls will be and the color of them, what will be the result?  If you ignore the foundation, plumbing, roofing, rough-in carpenters, light fixtures, flooring, wiring, insulation, cabinets, and so on and so on, a probable failed attempt at a new house is emanate.

Weight loss is just one aspect of moving toward being healthy, having vigor, pep, and stamina.  So before you begin a “diet” that will probably fail either in the middle or end, think about this:  LIFESTYLE CHANGE IS THE KEY TO BEING HEALTHY!  Going on a diet is not sustainable.  Because when you go “off” the diet the weight will pile on easier, believe me.  Do yourself a favor and NEVER use the word “diet” again!!!!!!

How does one set about changing one’s lifestyle, you ask?  Well the first thing to do is take stock of where you are now!!!  This is your starting point, the beginning.  You can’t go back, you can only go forward!  Lay out what it is that is most important to you and work on changing that this month.  Maybe it will be something like not drinking soda at all this month, only on Sunday Dinner with the family will you allow one soda to be enjoyed and savored.  Replacing 1 hour of TV watching with walking, yoga, cleaning up a mess that has been darkening some remote corner of the house, (don’t ask me how I came up with this one 🙂 ), or just deep breathing and stretching is very wise.  Choosing to eat for your mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack a couple of cups of veges or fruit is quite smart.

Healthy living involves the whole life circumvented and evaluated, removing those things that are hindrances to gaining health.  Here are some ideas:

  • Change the way you think about food, Eat to live do not live to eat.  Think “Will this bring nutrients to my body?”  This is the number one key in my opinion.
  • Allow some cheat days, Sunday is mine.  Sunday Dinner is the one meal I eat whatever I want, and dessert too!!  Notice I did not say HOW much I want.
  • Limit your portions to a reasonable size
  • Lower your meat consumption to three to four servings a week that are about the size of a deck of cards
  • Clean the house and take measures to maintain it (whoever lives with you be it children, siblings, or others should be required to pitch in)
  • Remove anything that you have not used in 2 years or more
  • Take time to breathe deep and move the body with some form of exercise at least 3 times a week, for the ladies I love Ellen Barrett (this cleanses the tissue and helps organs function better)
  • Search recipes that are healthier, the internet such as it is gives no one an excuse
  • Switch the regular snack food with healthier choices – nuts, fruit, veges, granola, oatmeal all organic if you can
  • Plan what to do with your time the same as you would a monthly budget
  • Budget your money – Dave Ramsey is a superb resource to use.  Money is a resource that should be controlled by you, not you controlled by it!
  • Set reasonable goals that are attainable
  • Don’t try to change too much at one time, little changes that stick are better that changes that don’t
  • Say “I Love You” more often
  • Purge the people who won’t support what you are trying to do from your daily life  – not altogether just limit time spent with those who are a hindrance
  • Serve others – true joy comes from serving others
  • Grow some outdoor veges this year, in pots is you have to!
  • Buy some fresh herbs and use them in cooking
  • Use herbs for healing instead of over-the-counter pharmacy drugs
  • Pray, give thanks, and serve daily
  • Get sunshine when you can, put sunblock on after you have been in the sun for 15-20 minutes
  • Enjoy where you are right now!!!!
  • Laugh more

You can see what I mean by all this, a lifestyle change is what is needed to be healthy and weight loss is just one aspect of that.  Actually you could say it is a result of it!

So my resolution is to be healthier for myself and my family!

Hope this is helpful and gives hope, Happy New Year!

Love Life and Breathe Deep,

Angela

12 Systems

Since this blog is mainly about my passion, which is natural health and healing, I would like to start really delving into what we are and what our bodies are capable of accomplishing.  I have learned that the human body has an inherent ability to move toward wellness and heal itself.  This may sound crazy or even unbelievable, but it is true.  Hippocrates believed this and in fact this notion originated from him.  He was a vitalist like myself.  I have studied the human body systems and have had 2 physiology & anatomy classes.  I have learned about different systems that function together to keep us up and going.  Can you name the 12 systems of the human body?

William Cheselden (1688-1752): The Anatomy of ...

Here they are:

  1. SKELETAL
  2. CIRCULATORY
  3. INTEGUMENTARY
  4. DIGESTIVE
  5. URINARY
  6. IMMUNE
  7. LYMPHATIC
  8. REPRODUCTIVE
  9. NERVOUS
  10. MUSCULAR
  11. ENDOCRINE
  12. RESPIRATORY

How much do we think about what these systems do for us each day and even moment to moment?  If we become more aware of what our body systems literally DO for us maybe we will treat it a little kinder and nourish it instead of degrade it.

Thus begins a 12 part (wow do I really want to start this????) series about our 12 systems.  I want to super inspire you to get to know your body and how it works and what it needs to continue to function at top-notch ability.  I am 41 years old, and I have 4 kids, 1 grandchild, and 1 grandchild coming in January, and I want to be around a long, long time to share with them and enjoy life with them.  I want the last half (?) of my life to be as mobile and cognizant as the first half.

So join me in the quest to learn about “us”.  Knowledge is power unto understanding.  Healthy is what we all want to be, I hope.

Love life & breathe deep,

Angela

A Tea For Wendell

Wendell came home not feeling too good, so I made him some tea.  He said he felt like a cold was coming on, so here is what I used: Peppermint, elder flowers, and red clover.  Peppermint and elder flowers are a standard for colds and flu.  Peppermint is a stimulant that wakes up the cells, a febrifuge so it helps with fevers, a sedative and nervine to help relax and support tissue function.  Elder flowers are a great addition to any cold remedy, it is diaphoretic, expectorant, diuretic, and decongestant.  Red Clover is an alterative herb.  Alterative herbs alter the existing nutritive and excretory processes and gradually restore normal body functions.  They clean the blood, eliminative tissues, and organs.  Sometimes they are called “blood sweeteners”.  I refer to them as blood purifiers.  Red Clover is one of the best.

In a stainless steel saucepan (could use glass also, never aluminum!!!) I poured some distilled water and brought it to a good simmer and removed it from the heat.  I added the red clover right to the hot water first.

I then added the elder flowers.  It looks like more than it is, it spread out.

Last I added the peppermint.  I did this because it is the most volatile and loses its oils quickly when it hits the hot water.  You will notice I do not give measurements for the herbs.  This is because I don’t measure.  When asked how much I usually give the standard of 1-2 tsps. per cup of water.  I use more than that.  You make it to the desired strength you prefer.

I slapped on the saucepan lid and let it steep.  You can see the steam collecting on the lid already.

I let this steep for 15 minutes.

I used a small strainer and poured Wendell a cup of tea.  Drying herbs correctly captures their essence, phytochemicals, and nutrients.  You can see the colors as they were.

Lastly I add some honey.  I buy honey from a local bee-keeper.  It is soooo tasty and sweet.  I never use sugar in herbal tea.  Sugar is a nutritional negative and that is not what we want when fighting an illness.

These herbs are easy to find and I think you should get some today.  Winter is coming with its colds, runny noses and what not. So the next time someone says, “I don’t feel good”, make them some herbal tea.  Wendell drank all the tea I made and he was feeling pretty good the next day.  Hurrah for herbs!!

Love life & breathe deep,

Angela

“My Favorite Things”

This is so exciting to share with you all of the things and stuff I deem as my favorites!!  There are many subjects this could cover and many turns down the road this could travel.  I hope this post gets alot of comments because I want to know your favorites as well!  Here are some of mine.

I love Christmas with my growing family. This photo was taken in December of 2011. From left to right is Miranda, Nathan, Brianne, Christopher, Gregory, Shifra holding Samuel, and the parents of this crew, Wendell and myself.

I love gardening, especially in the spring. The soil smells so sweet and delicious! (You think I would eat it.) This is our corn patch that gave us many roasting ears and several quarts for the freezer.

How can ya not love those cheeks?? This is Samuel, my first grandson, eating fresh orchard peaches. Yummo. He ate them as fast as I could cut them up, and he used both hands! He knows what’s good.

Ok, here goes – my spill about how everyone should have some sort of workout routine. I love these from Ellen Barrett. If you don’t love a workout you won’t do it, so find one ya love and get moving, that’s an order!! You will feel soooo much better after getting your blood pumping and the lymph flowing. You will thank me, trust me on this, do it. Like now. Today. This minute.

This is Ellen’s Fat Burning Fusion. This one works your legs, thighs, and waist. You don’t wear shoes in this one which I also love. It is 45 minutes long, which is important if you want to lose extra fat.

This is Slim Sculpt from Ellen. This workout uses 3 pound weights and requires no shoes (I guess I don’t like wearing shoes). It works the arms, and all the lower body, and core, in other words, it’s a total body workout. It has a mat portion near the end that I love, and it is 45 minutes long.

This one I got just last month. I love this one because she does the workout without any cuts, it’s one live take with some of her regular class attendants from her studio. She lets us see her sweat, but it’s not as much as I do!! It is also 45 minutes long and works everything!! There is some mat work near the end of this one too. I am going to get the other workout in this line titled “Grace & Gusto”. Visit her site if you think ya might like to try them.WWW.ellenbarrett.com.

I gotta put the school where I learned so much of herbs, herbal practices and application. The School of Natural Healing is one of if not the best to learn the true art of herbal plants, formulas, treatments, and the nutritional value of food. It is truly wholistic in its philosophy and approach to healing.

This is my favorite place to shop for kitchen herbs and spices. The store has a sample of every item it sells for you to smell and experience. The first time we went my hubby got sick. But I don’t think you are supposed to smell EVERY item in the store in one visit!! Ha ha. It is a treat to go, and if you don’t live close enough to one just shop online or request a catalogue.

It’s hard so see in this photo, but this is a catalogue for Mountain Rose Herbs. I purchase massive amounts of herbs from them. The herbs are certified organic and fresh. Their prices are super reasonable, as is the shipping, so give them a try.

Here is my go to place for delicious food, kitchen products, taste testing, tips, and cooking knowledge. America’s Test Kitchen is aslo just as good. This one has the name “Country” in it so I naturally gravitate to it. Corny I know, but are not we all a little corny in our own cute way?

So here is the beginning of what I consider my favorites.  I told ya it would be hodgepodgey.  (Is that a word?) Well tell me some of your favorite things.

Herbal Fundamentals

Infusions and decoctions – the basic quintessential herbal preparations.

  • What is an infusion and decoction?  Well, an infusion is a fluid extraction using the soft parts of the plants.  They can be fresh or dried, cut, and sifted leaves, flowers, berries, and stems.  A decoction is a fluid extraction using the hard parts of the plants – roots, root barks, barks, inner bark, seeds, or twigs.  To be succinct, you are making a tea, ha!
Some visual examples of herbs in their dry state.
  • How do ya make a tea? For the fresh or dried, cut, and sifted leaves, flowers, berries, and stems you make an infusion.  You bring some distilled water to a simmer and pour over the herb or herbs, cover and let steep for 10 – 15 minutes.  You can use some of the gadgets for tea making such as a tea ball with any cup, tea bag with any cup, or use a tea-pot! I use a saucepan because  I generally prepare a good amount at a time. For a decoction, place your  barks, seeds, roots, or twigs in a glass or stainless steel saucepan, pour distilled water over and bring to a slow simmer and simmer for 15 minutes.  How much distilled water and herbage do you use?  Ok, pay close attention: it is up to you.  This question is answered by how strong  you like your tea and how much are you wanting to make?  Try making some and then adjust to suit your pallets, yes it’s that simple.
A cool teapot from http://www.mountainroseherbs.com
Handy muslin tea bags with drawstrings and a useful tea ball.
  • You will hear, is “hear” the right word or should I say “read”?, Hmm, but I digress, I will instruct you to use steam distilled water in all your herbal preparations.  Why you ask?  Because steam distilled water is a pure “hungry” water and it pulls the maximum level of medicinal properties and constituents out of the herbs.
Purchase distilled water at any grocer.
  • I always sweeten my tea with honey I bought from a local bee keeper. MmmmMmmm.  Try making your own tea today, the making of a tea is therapeutic in and of itself!