Category Archives: Natural Health

Dog Days!

So, since he was a puppy, Leo has been eating some of the better (but not most expensive) dry dog food; I always have checked ingredients to make sure that meat, not meat by-product or a filler was in the top 3 ingredients and corn and gluten free. Blue Buffalo was tried (but sporadically as it was too expensive), but mostly Taste of the Wild as it was the most reasonably priced for something “decent” as far as dry food goes. But having allergy and stomach issues like me, I hated some of the ingredients still included. I wondered daily “WHY am I buying and feeding him something that even I wouldn’t want to put in my body?” Not only that, but he put on 10 pounds in 2014 after he was neutered and even cutting back on his portion size, he could not lose weight.

I finally weighed my options after seeing Fresh Pet in a cooler in the pet section and realized the price comes out the same and the ingredients were only what I would use if I were cooking his food myself. Fresh ingredients, no fillers, no corn. He LOVES the food. When he sees me getting it ready for him, he literally does a doggy “happy dance” and actually ignores his ball (which is his pacifier and can’t be without). Well, I’m not sure just how much weight he has lost, but not only is there a taper to his waist again and looking fitter (and one can tell he feels better), but his collar has been adjusted to a smaller fit (1/2 – 1 inch in from the last notch) and I am still able to get several fingers under it.

Food being aside, I have been paranoid (being the health & organic food advocate that I have become) about chemicals and supplements he has been given over the past 5+ years to control fleas, ticks, mosquitoes and parasites. He had a horrible reaction to the Trifexis the last couple of times I gave him that about 2 years ago so I refused to give that to him again (especially after researching it…that stuff shouldn’t be on the market). I started using a topical, Advantage Multi, but after a few times, I noticed he definitely was still having reactions to even that for 24 or so hours after applying. 😦 So, more research ensued. I was skeptical of using garlic at first, but after more than a year of reading, researching and talking to people who use garlic for their pets, I bit the bullet and started him on fresh, raw garlic.

Guess what? He has been on it since the first part of January and I’ve only seen and caught one, maybe 2 fleas on the surface of his fur. He still always seems to have issues with environmental allergies and dry, itchy skin. So I broke down and like to have killed myself bathing him a couple of days ago (using the always gentle Castille soap that I use myself) as it is soothing and won’t strip natural oils from his skin and fur and to my amazement, no fleas or flea dirt on him at all! And we have had such warm weather that fleas haven’t exactly been killed off this year! Well, now I’ve added Brewer’s Yeast powder to one of his meals each day (today is the third day) and he FINALLY seems to be feeling better (still a bit of licking and scratching, but compared to how it was, it is much better today).

So the point is this: if your pet food has ingredients in it that you wouldn’t put in your body or your loved one’s bodies, don’t feed it to your dog. When we HUMANS stop consuming packaged processed food and start eating REAL food, weight falls off effortlessly; if your dog or cat is overweight, switching them from packaged processed food to either real fresh food, homemade food or raw food diet will help them shed the weight effortlessly as well. And if labels say (of flea treatments, oral OR topical) to avoid getting on your skin and not to ingest, to call poison control if you do, then WHY would you want to keep pushing it on to your pet? They lived for thousands and thousands of years without that crap. Our ancestors didn’t have to rely on anything but nature to take care of themselves as well as their animals. The only advantage we have today is that we learned that HYGIENE which has made ALL the difference in quality of health.

Do you and your pet a favor: ditch the bags of processed dry dog food and the chemicals to keep fleas under control and give your dog a chance on garlic and Brewer’s Yeast. You will be VERY pleasantly surprised!

Leo my baby

I will leave you with the Book of the Day (well, more like Book of the Week actually). I am reading George Orwell’s “1984” at the moment. I’ve heard people talk about it a lot, especially in the last few months, and know that they made it into a movie a long time ago (I saw that John Hurt had played Winston Smith! Loved John Hurt…great actor!). I’m slightly more than halfway through, but it is a good book. Very interesting and one can draw so many similarities to life as we know it today. This oft repeating quote in the book sounds exactly like many in today’s society:

“WAR IS PEACE.  FREEDOM IS SLAVERY.  IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.”

1984cover

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Fourth Times A Charm!

YAY! So this was actually my fourth attempt at making Sauerkraut (the REAL thing, not this crappy “grab a bag of pre-shredded cabbage, dump it in a jar and pour vinegar into it” horrible excuse for the real thing stuff). You know… lactofermented so it’s actually healthy and full of probiotics. My first time making some last summer was an absolute fluke; it turned out great, albeit a tad too salty. I use both green AND red cabbage so I get the nutrients and benefits of both cabbages instead of favoring one over the other so it comes out looking purple (color matters not when it tastes great and is good for you)! Using a head of both yields enough Sauerkraut to last about 3 months and costs all of $5 versus a jar of the only brand I’ve found that is actual SAUERKRAUT and not vinegar soaked cabbage that lasts a week at best and runs $7! No brainer! My second time, I think I managed to get hold of old cabbage (although it could be because I tried a different method…it molded literally overnight and put out no juice…bummer). Last batch turned out good, just not as salty as it should be and not as tangy as a perfectly fermented batch should be, but still good. But this time? Living in northwest Florida and the weather being pretty darn mild for this time of year,  it took 8 days from packing the cabbage to lactofermented Sauerkraut perfection. I’m. So. Happy!

When I checked on it Monday morning, it had that “tangy” smell to it which is indicative of the cabbage properly fermenting (believe me, you learn fast when you’ve bought some and know what it smells and tastes like when your own has gotten to that point) and since I didn’t have quite the room in the fridge at that moment, I decided to wait until yesterday morning which would work great…the fermenting “bubbles” came up in a frenzy Monday! Yippee! So press, press, press…got those bubbles going and made sure it was good and submerged in the juices.

So I went to get it to put into a couple of smaller jars that would fit in the fridge yesterday morning and the smell? Awesome! Great tangy/sour smell that is so very Sauerkraut! Then trying to pack it into the 2 jars that I used, some fell out on the counter so I tasted it. O.M.G. Bubbie’s has NOTHING on this batch of homemade Sauerkraut!  I so wish I could share it with y’all. I’m really happy and feeling quite accomplished at how well it turned out! Look at these beauties…..

yay-its-perfect

I don’t always like just getting a spoonful out and eating it straight. Usually, I get a couple of heaping tablespoons to 1/3 a cup of Sauerkraut and top my meat with it. Now, I top my chicken with it and whenever I eat beef (which my taste buds are changing…again…beef just doesn’t taste as good to me anymore, not even steaks), but it only took ONCE to discover it does NOT go well with fish! Well, this batch is solo worthy. I feel humbled because even though it is not hard to make, making it really is an art and the taste can vary a little from batch to batch depending on different factors…the freshness of the cabbage, how much salt and quality of salt (NEVER use iodized table salt; even in health magazines, they recommend using some sort of sea salt like Himalayan pink, Kiawe smoked, black sea salt from Hawai’i, etc…), how well you scrunch/rub the salt into the cabbage to release juices, or any extras you add like Caraway seeds like some recipes do. Mine is straight green and red cabbage with Himalayan pink salt and a little filtered water with extra salt on days 2 for brine when it is short on liquid to submerge.

Seriously, go back and check out the recipe. See how easy it is. Make a batch. It is especially great for helping you recuperate when you’re sick. Check out the links on THIS page and see just how good for you it is and the benefits it offers. And if you need something for the flu or an upper respiratory infection (or even a queasy stomach), try the ginger tea from THIS POST. I swear, ginger & honey are miracles for sore throats, coughing and congestion!

Hope you try some and let me know how it turns out and how you like it! Love you guys!

*Want some good reading material? Check out Heroes of Olympus (Rick Riordan), The Dresden Files (Fool Moon) by Jim Butcher or The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle #1) by Patrick Rothfuss. I just finished reading Fool Moon and doing a rush job of Evermore (The Immortals) by Alyson Noel. It’s okay, but it is nothing like The Dresden Files and I’m dying to get started on The Kingkiller Chronicle. I’ve heard nothing but good things about it.

the-mark-of-athena
Excellent novel on Greek & Roman mythology! Five stars!
fool-moon
The Dresden Files are just amazing. This is also a five-star book.
evermore-the-immortals-book-1
Eh, I feel like I’m reading a version of Twilight. Not a bad book, but not impressed. Three stars.
the-name-of-the-wind-the-kingkiller-chronicle-1
I am so looking forward to starting this one either later today or tomorrow. The summary sounds so good!

Candied Ginger & Simple Ginger Syrup

Okay, so…. not original idea, and I have made candied ginger and the accompanying simple syrup, but it was a different recipe and although the ginger was edible and the ginger syrup was perfect, the ginger stayed “wet” despite my best efforts. But today I got out ginger rhizome number 2 and saw that I wasn’t going to be able to wait to be able to use it and had to cut off part of it! Nooooo…. So I did some more searching and checked some of the recipes I had bookmarked, but it wasn’t until I came across Kimberly’s recipe over at The Daring Gourmet that I knew it sounded like a winner. Simple yet delicious. It didn’t seem like there was excessive water or sugar. As usual, I did tweak it just a tiny bit. I LOVE ginger! Sweet and spicy and great for those of us that have sensitive tummies! I am sorry, but as I am still on the mend from upper respiratory infection this week, I wasn’t feeling up to taking pictures (and by the way, the cabbage is almost to sauerkraut perfection!). But here is the recipe (with my changes marked by ***):

How To Make Candied Ginger
Prep time
10 mins
Cook time
1 hour
Total time
1 hour 10 mins
: Kimberly Killebrew, http://www.daringgourmet.com
Ingredients
  • 1 pound peeled and sliced ginger, preferably young/smaller roots, sliced about ⅛ inch thick (by hand or use a mandolin)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 cups white granulated sugar ***I used raw organic Demararra sugar which turned out great!***
  • Extra sugar for coating
  1. Place the sliced ginger in a medium pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Reserve ½ cup of the ginger water and then drain the ginger slices.
  2. Place the sliced ginger back in the pot with the reserved ginger water, sugar and pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer uncovered for 35-40 minutes or until the temperature on a candy thermometer reads 225 degrees F.
  3. Drain the ginger in a colander over a bowl to catch the syrup (see Note).
  4. Lay out the ginger slices on a cooling rack over a cookie sheet, separating the slices the best you can. Let cool for 2 hours (you want them sticky but not wet so that the sugar will adhere without dissolving).
  5. Toss the ginger slices in a bowl of sugar so they are coated all over. ***Tossed in raw organic cane sugar***
  6. Place the ginger slices back on the cooling rack to sit overnight.
  7. Store in an airtight container in a dark, cool place. Will keep for several months.
Notes
This recipe makes a delicious byproduct: Ginger Simple Syrup! Add a teaspoon or two to your drinks for a refreshing ZING!

Cabbage & Ginger and the Flu…Oh My!

I know, I know. I promised I would be posting daily, especially since I’m in the process of making sauerkraut, and the cabbage needs to be checked on daily. But, the upper respiratory crud that is making the circuits managed to run me down and I was in bed yesterday. Definitely was not part of the agenda! I did check on the cabbage, but unfortunately, didn’t get pictures. Oops! Suffice to say, I had to add a couple of cups of brine. It did sweat and produce it’s own juice, but not enough to submerge the cabbage. So I added 1 teaspoon of Himalayan Pink Salt to 2 cups of filtered water (1/2 teaspoon of sea salt per cup of water for brine) and added that to the cabbage, then pressed down a few times to allow air bubbles to escape and make sure the cabbage gets submerged so it can ferment and not get mold.

Here is update for Day 2 (today):  No extra brine needed today! But it, of course, for this time of year, is far from being sauerkraut! Still looks and smells like cabbage.

day-2-alternateday-2

As I said, the upper respiratory crud going around managed to grab hold of me yesterday. Nothing like feeling like you’ve just stepped off a Merry-Go-Round all day! Was queasy with absolutely NO appetite and felt like a stone sitting on my chest and a sore throat and itchy ears to boot. So, I did what the annual publication of Herbal Remedies suggested and had 2 good size mugs of Cinnamon Ginger Tea instead of my usual 1 at lunch. There really is something to these homemade remedies! I had already been drinking it occasionally, but I have become more diligent as of late!

Ginger Tea

Place about an inch (depending on size of ginger rhizome) of ginger, thinly sliced, into a pot of 1 ¾ cups of boiling water. Add ½ – 1 teaspoon of organic ground cinnamon (or you can use a fresh cinnamon stick), cover, turn temperature to low and let simmer for 10-15 minutes (the longer it steeps, the more zing there will be to your tea). Remove from stove, strain into a mug and add 1 tablespoon of raw honey. Can drink hot or cover and let cool to drink later.  *For warmth, better digestion, nausea/morning sickness and to lessen congestion.

ginger-steepingginger-strainingginger-and-honeyginger-tea-ready-to-drink

I had to grab something to use that would hold a good 2 cups the last several days as another member of the household has been VERY sick with this upper respiratory mess, she wound up having to go to the doctor yesterday. I handed her the Herbal Remedies magazine to read and she asked about the Ginger Tea that I drink and could I make her some? She drinks hers fresh and very hot! But she said that it is not only good, but soothes her throat (one of a number of benefits). Because of the spice that is ginger, it stings a little as you’re drinking it (like soda does, only soda is NOT something anyone needs to be drinking), but then you get this numbing and soothing sensation. The honey helps with the coughing. It is recommended to drink 2 to 3 cups a day when you’re sick, and after yesterday, I see why. I do feel better today, but I have a cough and congestion.

Which leads me to something else I plan on trying a bit later today:  Ginger Bath. It has been a few years since I actually sat and soaked in a bathtub due to having a hard time getting down and back up thanks to my crappy back! But when you’re sick with this stuff, you are willing to try anything, and everything I’ve read says this Ginger Bath (and Ginger Footbath) really work.

Via Pure Inside Out, as well as numerous other sources both online and off, here are benefits of Ginger:

Main Health-Enhancing Benefits of Ginger

  • Calms nausea, including motion sickness dizziness
  • Relieves gas and bloating
  • Helps stop diarrhea
  • Boosts digestion
  • Calms menstrual cramps
  • Relieves headaches
  • Anti-inflamatory
  • Stabilises blood pressure (equally when too high or too low)
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Soothes cold and flu symptoms, as well as respiratory infections
  • Known for its anti-cancer properties
  • Freshens the breath naturally

The anti-inflammatory properties of ginger have been known and valued for centuries. Modern Medicine has now provided scientific support for the long-held belief that ginger contains constituents with anti-inflammatory properties. It is known to reduce the pain of rheumatoid arthritis and encourage blood circulation.

Caution: If you take anti-coagulants, consult your doctor before using ginger.

 

Ginger Bath: You can use either fresh grated ginger or ginger powder. Add ½ a cup of freshly grated ginger or a rounded teaspoon of ginger powder in hot or warm water and soak for 15-20 minutes. Please remember that the ginger bath will make you sweat profusely for at least an hour afterwards, so wear a bathrobe or sweat clothes.

Make sure you drink plenty of water after the bath. If you have sensitive skin or are allergy-prone, test ginger on your skin for irritation before the bath.

 

I’ll let you know how I feel tomorrow. But as of now, it looks promising!