Posts made in October, 2018


It’s been cold and grey lately and I feel the seasons changing. We have had a lovely, colorful fall with a lot of sunny days. But Fall is giving way to Winter. The darker, more thoughtful days are here. It’s time for us to spend more time inside and catch up on some more quiet, indoor projects.

But with this season always comes the dreaded cold and flu season. It’s been so bad in the last few years. I’d started to have a deathly fear of it until we started to learn more about the immune system and wellness. I had begun to think the bugs are getting worse and worse each year, but now I’m pretty sure it’s just our immune systems that are getting worse and worse. Of course, I’m not a doctor and don’t understand all the details about these things, but it certainly can’t hurt to approach the cold and flu season from a different angle:

Don’t fear it, fight it. Don’t let it happen to you, let you happen to it. Strengthen your body so you don’t get it in the first place.

This post contains affiliate links that earn me a commission at no cost to you. Read my disclosure policy HERE.

In order to strengthen our immune systems, we take some things away from our bodies and we add some things to our body.

Sugar, sugar, sugar. Ahhhh! It’s causing so much harm to the world. We take as much sugar as we can out of our diet. This goes a long way to helping us stay strong.

And as for what we add? Here it is.

Thieves Oil

This is the legendary blend of essential oils that was originally mixed by a group of marauders during the Black Plague that looted the plague victims’ homes. The blends of spices and oils that they rubbed on their bodies before looting kept them safe from the bacteria.

Young Living has their take of these spices in a essential oil blend called “Thieves”. This is an awesome blend and I love it. But because I’m super cheap, I just can’t spend the money they want for that oil, so I’ve blended my own.

There are lots of recipes out there with different proportions of oils, but the main components that all these recipes have in common are lemon, rosemary, eucalyptus, cinnamon bark, and clove. I make it from Mountain Rose Herbs organic essential oils, and I also love their recipe. They have good, clear instructions on usage and safety.

This oil smells wonderful and spicy and Christmasy. I add it to the kids’ bath, rub it on our feet, and diffuse it.

 

Rosehip Tincture

This is something I kind of came up with on my own. I found out that most vitamin C supplements are incomplete and not very usable by the body. It actually takes nutrients from your body to process it. Oh my! I really wanted a good source of vitamin C, and was interested in rosehips, since they have 10-50 times more vitamin C than oranges. But heat destroys vitamin C, so making tea was out of the question.

I decided to make a rosehip tincture. There is some information about this on the internet and in books, but not much. It seems to work great for us and as an added bonus, the kids love it. The tincture turns out tasting somewhat like a syrup and the kids beg for it.

**edited to add** Here’s how I make the tincture:

The basics are that I mix dried rosehips with vodka. You could use glycerin instead of vodka if you are concerned about alcohol.

I usually fill a pint canning jar halfway with dried herbs, then fill it to the top with vodka. For the tincture pictured below, I did the same thing, but I used a quart jar for some reason.

I store it in a dark cupboard and shake it every day for 4-6 weeks. Once the tincture is done, I strain out the marc, or solid chunks of herb, and bottle the finished tincture!

This is a great article about tinctures, glycerites, and vinegars.

 

 

Cod Liver Oil

This stuff is so good for you. It’s rich in vitamins A and D, as well as Omega 3, 6, 7 and 9 Fatty Acids. It’s good for your mood, skin, bones, and teeth.

But vitamin D is also important in immune function. I think that’s why the flu hits so bad in the winter; we aren’t getting much sunshine and our bodies get depleted of vitamin D. Sunshine is an awesome way to get vitamin D, but in the winter, this is super important that we take this supplement. We use the Green Pastures Fermented Cod Liver Oil. The kids love the Cinnamon Tingle flavor. It’s spendy, but it lasts a long time and is worth every drop. It’s cheaper than getting dental work done!

Elderberries

I was able to forage a ton of elderberries this summer, and I’ve preserved them to use for this winter. I froze some for fresh eating and dried some for making syrup.

Elderberries are a powerful plant ally that offer antibacterial and antiviral properties and have been used for a very, very long time by many generations of humans. They have been known to kill the H1N1 virus, and in addition to that, they have been found to reduce the severity and length of a cold. Get to know this plant; it is here to help you!

 

 

I’ve enjoyed sharing how we prepare for cold and flu season. A healthy immune system is a central to a wonderful, healthy body, so don’t underestimate it! Share with us in the comments what you do to ward off sickness!

If you are interested in keeping up with the progress we are making on the tiny house, be sure to like my Facebook page. I post (nearly) weekly pictures of our progress. I will be blogging more about this journey in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!

Read More
Why Do We Wear Moccasins?

Why Do We Wear Moccasins?


Posted By on Oct 25, 2018 in Health | 0 comments

For a year now, Trent and I have both been wearing leather-soled moccasins. They are pretty cute and they are super comfy. I absolutely love wearing them!

But they are more than a style statement. We wear them to be in connection with the earth’s electricity, which is called grounding or earthing. 

This post contains affiliate links that earn me a commission at no cost to you. Read my disclosure policy HERE.

Our electrical body

Let me explain a little about the science behind grounding.

Our bodies have an electrical charge. The earth also has an electrical charge. Our bodies are healthiest when they are the same electrical charge as the earth. In order to equalize the charge in our body, we have to touch the earth. 

This is where the problem sets in: many of us don’t touch the earth in the course of the day. We live in a house off the ground, we wear rubber-soled shoes, and we don’t usually touch plants or the ground. When we live our life like this, our body builds up a positive charge, which isn’t good for our health. We start to get inflammation, our blood is more viscous, and we tend to have more chronic pain.

But when we go barefoot, touch plants, or touch the ground, our body immediately starts working better. The earth is a powerful, free natural medicine. These are some of the benefits:

  • Reduced inflammation
  • Reduced chronic pain
  • Better blood flow
  • Reduced stress
  • Increased energy
  • Better sleep
  • Increased wound healing

Who doesn’t want that?!? The longer sessions we can have of being in connection with the earth’s energy, the better it is for our body. But even a short touch to a green plant leaf will have some health benefits. 

These are some of the substances that conduct electricity:

  • Metal
  • Water
  • Leather
  • Natural fibers (such as wool)

These don’t conduct electricity:

  • Wood
  • Rocks
  • Plastic
  • Rubber
  • Clothes made of synthetic fibers (which is pretty much all clothes, unfortunately)

 

 

Our grounding experience

Ever since we heard about grounding, Trent and I have been intrigued by the idea. It is such a simple concept that makes a lot of sense.

For a year now, I have been wearing leather-soled moccasins, in addition to going barefoot whenever I can. My feet are stronger, I am more aware of the surfaces I am walking on, my feet feel more free, and I stand up straighter when I wear my moccasins. I can run really fast in them, too! On top of all that, I love the way they look.

Beyond just going barefoot or wearing moccasins, there are a lot of things you can do to connect yourself with the earth. There are many products at The Earthing Store that can connect your body with the earth when you are inside working or sleeping. There are grounding sheets, pads, blankets, and bracelets.

We have been using grounding bracelets on our ankles while we sleep for about a year. To be honest, they are a little annoying. We just went with this option because we are super cheap and this was the cheapest option. But it is worth it to me to wear them because I know for a fact that I sleep more deeply and peacefully when I wear it. (When my kids let me sleep deeply and peacefully, that is.) It is great to ground while you sleep, because it helps your body as it renews cells overnight.

I can’t say grounding has changed our lives, but I do believe it is one thing in many that we practice to maintain good health.

 

Buy the shoes!

 

 

 

 

 

If you want to buy moccasins from the Etsy shop that we got ours from… Check out this shop. Gary does excellent work and has great customer service. They are the best, most unique shoes you will ever buy. This is not sponsored– I just really love his product.

 

 

 

 

 

These sandals are a good summertime option if you want to be grounded, but not barefoot.

Read the book

 

Watch the movie

 

 

I hope you enjoy discovering this wonderful concept and how it applies to your life. There is so much more to this world than we can see with our eyes… and I find that so wonderful and mysterious.

Read More

Ok, I know I’ve said it before, but I’m going to say it again. Plastic takes 1,000 to turn into dirt, folks. It is filling our landfills and polluting our oceans. It needs to be used moderately. Single-use plastic is so sad to me because it never has a chance to have a second life. Food packaging is the worst when it comes to single-use plastic, so this is why it is so important to evaluate this part of our life as a consumer.

Ever since I have become aware of plastic in my life, I have been trying to use less and less of it. I even stopped shopping at Costco as somewhat of a cultural statement– I want to be conscious of my plastic usage. I’m going to share with you some things I do to reduce my plastic consumption.

I don’t want you to think I am some zero waste goddess that never uses plastic, though. It is pretty much unavoidable to use some plastic. The point I hope to make, though, is that it is super important that we try to reduce our usage. My goal is to always be a little better than the year before.

This post contains affiliate links that earn me a commission at no cost to you. Read my disclosure policy HERE.

 

Reusable produce bags

Use reusable produce bags

There are a lot of reasons I like reusable produce bags. First, they look cool. Second, they help reduce single use plastic consumption and garbage. Third, its just not cool to eat food out of a plastic bag. They are affordable and really handy. There are a lot of styles you can choose from. I bought these but I think if I could go back and choose different ones, I would get these or these.

 

Use reusable shopping bags

These really help cut down waste, and they are sturdier and don’t tear. Plus… they make you look super hip and cool.

Don’t buy processed food

Processed foods use so much plastic! It always amazes me how much they manage to use. The food isn’t good for you and the packaging isn’t good for the planet! This is probably the most important tip. If you can cut processed foods from your diet, you will drastically reduce your single-use plastic consumption, and you might find yourself feeling better too!

 

peanut butter

Grind your nut butter

Several grocery stores offer a on-site nut-grinding service free of charge. The store I visit lets me bring my mason jars from home, making it a waste-free situation! I always weigh the jars at home before I go. Once I’m at the store, I grind peanut butter right into the jars, then tell the cashier when I check out how much the jars weighed when they were empty. We eat a lot of nut butter, so it really helps cut down our plastic usage.

 

bulk

Use the bulk section

I make use of my reusable produce bags when I get beans and grains from the bulk section of the grocery store. Another alternative to this would be to purchase dry goods from a company like Azure Standard, where they often come packaged in large paper bags.

 

Make Lard

Lots of oils come in thick plastic containers, such as olive oil, coconut oil, and vegetable oil. A lot of times, these containers are also hard to reuse. By making lard, I am reducing my plastic consumption and giving my family a good-quality fat with lots of the fat-soluble vitamins our bodies need. Learn how to make it here.

I hope these tips help you get started on your zero waste journey!

Be sure to like my Facebook page for updates each time I post, as well as weekly photo updates on our tiny house progress! I hope you’ll join in our journey as we finish the last stages of our tiny house!

Read More

Ready for soup season? The beginning to any good soup is, of course, broth! Bone broth is a wonderful way of getting minerals and nutrients to your body. Bone broth has minerals, amino acids, and gelatin. These all promote healthy connective tissue and strong bones and teeth. Bone broth also is soothing to your gut and is a non-fibrous way of getting nourishment if your gut feels irritated.

This post contains affiliate links that earn me a commission at no cost to you. Read my disclosure policy HERE.

What is bone broth?

Bone broth is the result of boiling bones (and a few other things) with water to make a delicious liquid! The only difference between bone broth and stock is that bone broth is cooked longer than stock, has a different amino acid profile, and is more watery.

The cool thing about bone broth is that it is made from, well, basically kitchen waste. Here are the main components:

  • Bones of any kind, chewed steak bones, chicken carcasses, chicken necks, soup bones, chicken feet (they add a lot of gelatin, which is great for your gut!)
  • Vegetable scraps such as onion skins, zucchini tops, cores of hot peppers, carrot tops, etc.
  • Water
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Salt

There are endless add-ins you can throw in the pot to add more minerals and medicinal properties. Here are just a few to get your imagination going:

  • Ginger root
  • Garlic
  • Turmeric fresh or powdered
  • Peppercorns
  • Herbs such a rosemary, thyme, or sage
  • Celery
  • Soy sauce or Coconut Aminos

Broth-Making Methods

  • Crockpot– I use the crock pot because it’s simple and I feel safer about leaving it going when I’m gone or in bed.
  • Stock pot– This is the best method to use if you have a lot of bones and want to make several gallons at a time.
  • Instant pot– This is the quickest method, taking only 3-4 hours.

How to Make Broth

Alright, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty. But trust me, this isn’t hard and you definitely can do it!

 

Put the bones in your pot. Experiment with how many bones you need to make a good tasty broth. I’ve found that one chicken carcass per crockpot full of water is a good ratio. If you are doing a big stock pot, you might want two or three chicken carcasses. This time, I’m using chicken necks.

 

 

Add veggie scraps. I am using onion skins and ginger root.

 

 

Cover with water.

 

 

Add a dash of apple cider vinegar. This helps pull extra minerals from the bones.

 

 

I added turmeric powder and kelp granules for extra minerals.

 

 

Put the lid on and cook:

  • In the crockpot, put on low and leave for 12-24 hours
  • In the stockpot, bring to a boil, then reduce to low for 12-24 hours
  • In the instant pot, cook under high pressure for 2-3 hours, let pressure release naturally at the end.

 

 

Once it’s done, let it cool, pour the broth through a strainer into a large bowl. Taste for saltiness and add salt as needed. It’s always better if your helper is grumpy and tired, too. Just trying to share tricks of the trade, y’all.

 

 

Pour into jars or any container you have. I use half gallon mason jars. Refrigerate for up to a week. Mine is being kept company in my fridge with 20 pounds of pig fat to render into lard and gargantuan onions!

If you freeze it, make sure you have only filled your jars 1/2-3/4 full, otherwise it will expand and you will have a bunch of cracked mason jars. Don’t ask me how I know…

 

How to use bone broth

  • Chicken noodle soup
  • Drink the broth straight from a mug 
  • Chili
  • Make sprouted rice
  • Add it to mashed potatoes instead of milk

 

Hope you enjoyed this! Share your ideas of how to use broth, as well as any other add-ins you put in your broth that makes is super yummy or nutritious! I’d love to hear what other people do.

Like my Facebook page for updates each time I post!

Read More

If you are looking to make better use of your money, your grocery budget is a good place to start trimming. If you approach it with the right attitude, it can even feel like a game or a wonderful challenge to see how you can spend less. 

But I want to balance my advice with this: consider not skimping too much on your grocery budget. If you are eating high-quality healthy foods, you can count them as preventative medicine. It is an investment in your future.

Here are my tips for keeping a low grocery budget, yet also eating nutrient-dense health foods… and no couponing needed!

This post contains affiliate links that earn me a commission at no cost to you. Read my disclosure policy HERE.

Have a list and stick to it– Keep a list and remember to take it shopping with you! (I often forget that step) Try to stick to it as closely as you can. Of course it always makes sense to stray from your list if you find a really great deal on something that’s on sale that you can use.

Rely on the filling-but-cheap staples– this includes foods like beans, oats, peanut butter, rice, and potatoes. Some great meals you can make with these ingredients include baked potatoes, peanut butter oatmeal, chili, and beans and rice.

Buy bulk grass-fed meat– I have successfully found and bought grass-fed beef on Craigslist from a local farmer. The price usually ranges from $4-$6/pound in my area. That’s a great price compared to the store. Downside: you are expected to buy at least a quarter of a cow, which means you need a chest freezer and a large chunk of money at one time. Upside: You can get great parts of the cow like soup bones (for making broth) and fat (for making tallow or lard!).

Find the sale section of your grocery store– It’s usually in the back somewhere. Check it each time you go. I’ve found some awesome deals!

Find in-season foods at farms and preserve it– This might include pumpkins or squash in October (either store whole or cook and freeze) and u-pick fruits in the summer time (freeze or can). 

Forage or grow as much food as you can– We figured our garden saved us $600-$800 this summer. Pretty awesome. We have also foraged blackberries, apples, and elderberries this summer and saved hundreds of dollars.

 

foraging

 

Embrace tomato paste– It’s usually around $1/can and since it’s concentrated, it stretches well in soups and sauces. Adds richness and flavor for little money.

Focus on the cheap-but-nutritious produce– This includes carrots, kale, lettuce, cabbage, onions, and bananas. 

Make your own sauces: This will save you money, but it will also help your diet stay healthy since most store-bought sauces have sugars and unhealthy fats in them. Some sauces you might consider making might be peanut sauce, salad dressing, and spaghetti sauce.

Make your own staple foods: These practices will keep your costs down and your nutrition high: broth, apple cider vinegar, mayo, bread. Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon has a lot of really good recipes for the basics.

Make your own fermented foods: The ones that I make are sauerkraut, kombucha, and sourdough bread. You could also make fermented dairy products like yogurt, kefir, and sour cream. 

I hope this helps you in your journey to stick to your grocery budget! 

Like Digging up the Roots on Facebook to get updates each time I post.

You can also sign up for my email reminders!

Read More