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Archive for General Knowledge

Container Gardening

So, what if you would love to have fresh foods to eat and you don’t mind the idea of growing them yourself, but you just don’t have a place to grow them.  You may live in an apartment with no yard. You may live in a community with Neighborhood Association rules that prevent your chopping up the yard. Or you just may not have the motivation to put in a full-fledged garden. Well, you can still have fresh food produced by your own hands. You can certainly use the idea of “container gardening.”

Even before we get to the “containers”, consider replacing the decorative concepts of trees and shrubs with fruit trees and berry plants that will serve the same purpose AND provide fruit and berries for your table.

Most fruit trees are also lovely to look at, bloom in season, and then produce a crop of tasty, nutritious fruit for family consumption.  And, truly, few shrubs are any lovelier than a blueberry – with dozens of varieties and even a variety of colors of foliage and fruit! Some other berry bushes – like thornless blackberries, bilberries, gooseberries, etc. – may be planted within your other flowering shrubs for contrast and fruit.

And don’t forget that there are many popular flowers that have edible parts – rose petals and rosehips make delicious tea and are rich in vitamin C; nasturtium leaves and blossoms are delicious in salads; technically broccoli, artichokes, and capers are the immature forms of these plant flowers; and one of the most expensive spices in the world is saffron, from a type of crocus flower. I did a simple search for “edible flowers on Wikipedia and found a list of about 50 edible flowers! Add some to your flowerbed and “spice up” your meals.

Last month, as an introduction to this concept, I posted “Literally, all you need is a container, some soil and some seeds.  You can grow an abundance of produce in a relatively small space.  My sister lives in an apartment and has only a 5’X6’ balcony, but it’s room for one chair and over a dozen different sizes of pretty pots.  She grows a lot.  And stuff grows in ugly pots like tin cans and soup cans as well as in the pretty ones. And when in the past I’ve done container gardening I didn’t adhere to the spacings listed on the seed pouches. The packet may have said plant one seed every 6”, but neither I nor my plants seemed to mind touching each other. I had a friend who planted everything she needed for salads in a half whiskey barrel and kept it going spring through fall.  When she picked one thing, she just put in a couple more seeds!”

An August 19, 2011 issue of the Southern Living magazine I found online presented “125 Container Gardening Ideas.” Among them were ideas for hanging baskets, indoor containers, outdoor pots, and many others. They suggested planting food crops in your containers, mixing perennial herbs with some annual veggies in the same larger planters, or substituting a large container for a traditional raised bed. You are limited only by your imagination – or your ability to “Ask Siri” for suggestions on your smartphone!

My wife and I garden, and we can/preserve each year.  Again, join me, and you too can control the quality and variety of foods you eat!  Good health and God’s blessings!

–  For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, at 405-736-1030 or e-mail pawpaw@TheHealthPatch.com or visit TheHeathPatch.com.

Flower Essence: Willow

The Willow tree has long been recognized for its contribution to alleviating pain.  The bark of the Willow has been used since the Roman empire to make a tea and the medicinal compounds found in Willow—salicin– is the original source for the over-the-counter pain reliever aspirin.  The Willow is of the Salix species with many variants, but the species we will discuss here is the Salix vitellina.  This species can be found growing in moist ground with flowers that open in early May. 

Just as the medicinal compound in the Willow can help alleviate physical pain, the vibrational energy in the Salix Vitellina is used to help overcome emotional pain and the feelings that keep us from moving forward in a positive way.  The Willow is often associated with sadness and weeping.  In Psalm 137 Willows are mentioned during a time of great grief: “By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept when we remembered Zion.  On the willows, we hung our lyres.”

The very characteristic of the Willow is its ability to continually replace cut branches with new shoots. The willow sees opposition but can cling to life despite hardships, making the tree a symbol of not only mourning but of new hope and beginnings.  It is often referred to as The Destiny Flower and can help one to move from grieving and resenting what life has handed to them to take personal responsibility for one’s own life. 

Dr. Edward Bach, the founder of the Bach Flower Essences described the person that can benefit from Willow as this: …those who have suffered adversity or misfortune and find these difficult to accept, without complaint or resentment, as they judge life much by the success which it brings.  They feel that they have not deserved so great a trial, that it was unjust, and they become embittered.  They often take less interest and are less active in those things of life which they had previously enjoyed. 

Now, one cannot live on planet Earth and not experience some pain and loss.  It is perfectly normal to feel grief and even depression in the face of adversity, but the one that benefits the most from Willow is one that has become embittered with life and blames everyone and everything but one’s own self.  Self-pity, resentment, and bitterness reign, and one feels like a total victim of fate.  This negative mentality of being a victim creates the perfect environment for not taking responsibility for one’s own destiny.  Other common behaviors and beliefs include:

  • Feelings of being held back.
  • Feelings of being powerless.
  • Believing that life has failed to provide the things that are rightfully deserved.
  • Reacting defensively and with accusations
  • Unconsciously putting a damper on the cheerful mood and optimism of others.
  • Wearing a sad face and withdrawing more and more from life.
  • Reigning thoughts are spiteful and grudging.

Due to the bitterness, anger, and resentment, the one in need of support from Willow may often feel ill.  They can have physical symptoms, but even when the symptoms improve, they will not acknowledge that they are feeling better.  This person does not want to allow any positive thoughts.

Willow Flower essence helps one to let go of bitterness and to actively take responsibility for their life.  It also has the positive potential to help one to think more constructively about situations and to understand the principle that we can attract positive or negative events and make use of this principle.

For more information about this product, click the link: https://www.naturessunshine.com/recommended-products/10258/4051pmoklqplm3i/?sid=10258&offer=NSP Should you decide to purchase, use sponsor number 10258.

Once again, it amazes me how the God of the universe loves us so that he provides natural means for us to live our best life both physically and emotionally. We here at The Healthpatch would love to help you on your health journey.

Health and Blessings,

Kimberly Anderson, ND

–  Randy Lee, BSE, MS, ND, is the Owner of The Health Patch, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, MWC, 73130. Call us at (405) 736-1030, and visit our website at www.thehealthpatch.com.

Simples: Gingko Biloba

“Do you have anything for memory?”

Right behind a request for supplements for better sleep, this may be the most frequent question I am asked.  The question has no age boundaries, either; adults in any age group find from time to time that they are just not thinking as clearly or recalling information as they would like.  It really is not surprising to me that this issue is on the rise; in our time of great technology, we are never “unplugged”.  We have constant information at our disposal without time to really process that information.  The stress that our culture experiences lend itself to a rise of quicker aging processes and diseases that can decrease our ability to think or remember clearly. 

With oxidation and aging quicker from stress, we often experience a lack of circulation throughout the body and recognize it by the fatigue and “foggy” thinking that can come with it.  Increasing circulation throughout the body, particularly to the brain, is key in helping to increase cognitive function.  Gingko Biloba has been found to have compounds that can do just that.

The Gingko tree is an ancient tree, but it has only been in the last several decades that the compounds in the Ginkgo leaf have been found to have significant effects on circulation.  Since this discovery, Gingko has become one of the most studied medicinal herbs in the world.

What have these studies discovered? Gingko can relax blood vessels to enhance blood flow to the brain and extremities.  This action can help improve concerns caused by decreased blood flow such as memory loss, lessened cognitive function, ringing in the ears, dizziness, some cases of erectile dysfunction, and hypertension. Gingko also strengthens capillaries, helping with easy bruising.

Gingko also has the added benefit of anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-aggregation properties; making it useful in helping to prevent cardiovascular diseases and free radical damage.  Free radical damage has been indicated in dementia and Alzheimer’s. 

While using the whole herb for medicinal purposes is recommended for the benefits of utilizing cofactors in the plant, studies have shown that that is not the case in Gingko. Concentration, standardization (meaning the doses are kept consistent), and consistency are key with this herb.  The extracts of the Ginkgo leaf have been found to be the most beneficial and using standardized extracts consistently for at least 2 to 3 months is when the most health benefits have been recognized.  Also, due to its blood-thinning properties, Gingko Biloba should be used with caution when taking blood thinners.

As always, we here at The Health Patch are happy to help you find the most beneficial supplements for you.

Health and Blessings,

Kim Anderson, ND

Randy Lee, BSE, MS, ND, is the Owner of The Health Patch, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, MWC, 73130. Call us at (405) 736-1030, and visit our website at www.thehealthpatch.com.

Healthy Body Systems: Mega-Chel

We’ve just completed a full year in which we covered the very important topic of how to cleanse each body system to allow it to function at an optimum level, free of toxins and sludge buildups. Now this year, as we look at the proper functioning of these systems, we’ll consider “what does it take to allow the systems to have the nutrients to allow them to stay healthy.

Many herbal supplement manufacturers not only focus supplementation on specific problems within a body system but they also usually have what I call an “umbrella” product. This umbrella is an attempt to both cleanse AND nourish that system.

What is Mega-Chel? Mega-Chel is Nature’s Sunshine’s umbrella product for the entire Circulatory System. It contains high levels of herbs, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, glandular extracts, and other nutrients that have a history of “conditioning” the entire circulatory system. According to a resource card produced by Natures Healthy People, “Ingredients found in Mega-Chel reduce fatty deposits in the arteries; reduces blood cell clumping; lowers triglyceride, LDL and total cholesterol levels; improves vascular and heart muscle tone; and increases circulation, peripheral warming, and oxygenation of all body tissues.”

Why do we need it? Most of us know of someone (or perhaps you are that someone) who suffers from high cholesterol or hardening of the arteries. The function of plaque in the arteries is to “plug” cracks in the arteries, or cover foreign material that may be seen by the body as dangerous. LDL cholesterol and other floating fats may be seen as such a foreign material. So, the plaque simply acts as the glue or cover to adhere that material to the artery walls to “take it out of circulation. Over time, too much coverage of this type of material may narrow the diameter of the artery causing blockages. Most of us know of someone in the family who has required “stints” to re-open these arteries. And such blockages can also overwork the heart which is trying to pump adequate blood through these vessels – leading to strokes and heart attacks.

How does Mega-Chel work? As noted above, many of the ingredients in this product are for toning the system, “feeding” the system with needed nutrients, and soaking up and removing many of the unwanted elements in the system – a “cleansing” effect. But additionally, many of the ingredients are various minerals that serve the function of “chipping at’ or “scraping” the walls of the arteries. These minerals can remove the plaque from areas where the excess foreign material was covered without removing the “glue” from actual cracks where it is still needed.

This process should be accomplished slowly because stuff adhered to the walls long ago may be packed on, but new plaque will come off the walls quickly releasing those materials back into the bloodstream easily. And heavy scrubbing of those materials could release too much debris into the bloodstream too quickly producing headaches and excess fatigue.

Years ago, a Mega-Chel Program was introduced and has proven highly successful in removing decades of plaque buildup. We would be glad to share this program material with you and discuss how to best use it. Accomplishing the complete program would generally require about three months plus one month for each decade of your age. The cost would be limited to the cost of the required amount of Mega-Chel and also depends on your age. Drop by the store and talk with us about it if you are interested. I completed the Mega-Chel program about a decade ago and found it to be very helpful in maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system. Successful use of this product DOES NOT require doing the complete program. I introduced it to an 85-year-old friend of mine some years ago and in two years reduced her arterial blockage by about ten points with minimal supplementation and enabled her to avoid arterial surgery.

If you have circulatory issues, talk to us about Mega-Chel supplementation. Add “circulatory” to your list of Healthy Body Systems!

For more information about Mega-Chel, click on the link. Should you decide to purchase it, use sponsor number 10258.

How to Prepare: Home Gardening

An upgrade to the grocery store for more quality and local production is your local Farmer’s Market. They are popular now and available most likely on weekends in YOUR hometown. Foods are usually locally grown and most of the gardeners are willing to tell you how they grew them – pesticide-free; compost, organic or commercial fertilizers; watering sources; chemicals used to enhance production; did they produce the plants from heirloom, hybrid, or commercial GMO seeds; or did they purchase the seedlings from commercial sources and determine how they grew them?

Obviously, you get the best of exactly what you want if you do it all from seed selection from heirloom sources, and make all the production decisions exactly as you want them yourself. I am a strong advocate of do-it-yourself home gardening. If I’m going to eat it, I want to know how it was produced and what was used in the growth process.

If you’ve never gardened before, you can start by just removing ground cover grasses, shoveling the soil, adding some compost or other organic material to enrich the soil, putting your seeds in the soil according to the directions on the seed packets, provide regular water, and remove weeds to keep only what you want growing there. There’s an exhilarating joy in watching your plants grow, flower, put on vegetables and picking and eating from your own handiwork. Start small with just a few of your favorite vegetables, and add to the beds each year as you become more confident.

Through the years, I’ve used many techniques. Each has its advantages. As a kid, I watched my dad use the tractor to dig up the ground each year to produce virtually all the vegetables we needed for our family of seven. But it was a most pleasurable experience to watch my oldest daughter, shortly after her marriage, put just a few vegetables in her suburban flower beds and pick a few of her favorite “tasties” and serve them to her family. My sister lives in a small apartment – she does “container gardening” (which we will cover in more detail next month!). The size of your garden is limited only by the size of the beds you have available, how much time you have to work those beds, and how much you want, or need, to produce.

And there are many new developments in the home gardening arena. We’ll look at just a few of them that I have personally tried. Outside of the “normal” gardening I’d done all my life, I tried “Plasti-culture”. Introduced to the US more than a decade ago, and used in Israel very extensively for decades now, it is a great way to conserve water, limit weeds, and focus your production. I applied and met the criteria for an Oklahoma Agriculture Department, a three-year state-subsidized test of the method. Special machines, in one pass, cultivate the beds, mound the soil, lay down drip irrigation, cover the mounded rows with plastic sheeting, and cover the edges of the plastic to keep it in place. The drip lines are connected to a watering source and you can even attach a timer to turn the water on and off according to weather conditions and the need for water of the plants you choose. Then you just poke holes in the plastic and place your seedlings. The plastic conserves the moisture, warms the soil, and prevents weeds from growing. The only negative I saw was the cost of the initial bed preparation and the need for adequate room for the machines to operate.

Next, I tried “chip gardening”. The idea here is that each year you add two inches of wood chips after poking holes in previous years rotted/composted organic material and inserting your plants. The chips do help cut down on weeding, and the composted soil adds vital nutrients to the ground virtually illuminating the need for commercial fertilizers. You can order (or purchase from our store) a DVD of the film “Back To Eden” which guides you through the entire process. Here in central Oklahoma chips are readily available for free, and as the film states, the process is a “simple sustainable solution.”

This year we’re trying a technique we’re learning from the Neversink Farm (videos on YouTube) using techniques that do not disturb the underground bio culture. They boast the highest crop production per square foot of garden space in their state.

I hope to be able to combine chip gardening with the Neversink techniques to see if we can get the most from our Oklahoma garden. Grow your own food and never be without – wishing you health for your family!

– Randy Lee, BSE, MS, ND, is Owner of The Health Patch, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, MWC, 73130. Call us at (405) 736-1030, and visit our website at www.thehealthpatch.com.

For more information about this product, click the link: https://www.naturessunshine.com/recommended-products/10258/4051pmoklqpho4b/?sid=10258&offer=NSP Should you decide to purchase, use sponsor number 10258.

Flower Essences: Cerato

We have all been there:  a decision needs to be made so we analyze, research, ask for advice or maybe use our “gut feeling”.  But what if that decision has been made and we begin to fret about if it was the right one. We question ourselves: “Did I do the right thing?” or “How will this decision affect the ones I love?”

https://www.bachcentre.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/cerato.jpg

And on and on the questions roll until we begin to feel the pain of tumultuous anxiety.  Then anxiety lends itself to physical symptoms such as upset stomach, tension headache, and even more serious conditions such as hypertension.  While it is certainly prudent to do research and ask questions when needing to make decisions, always doubting the decisions and one’s own ability to make a “correct decision” is a pattern of thinking that can be destructive. This is where Flower Essences can be extremely helpful.

Mechthild Scheffer, Author of The Encyclopedia of Bach Flower Therapy” wrote: …. Bach Flower Therapy helps us to deal more constructively with the negative behavior patterns of human nature such as jealousy, impatience, inability to say no, timidity, and inappropriate guilt—patterns that are seen, by Dr. Bach as well as many others, as a deeper cause of physical illness.

Dr. Bach wrote: …Our Souls (the still small voice, God’s own voice) speak to us through our intuition, our instinct’s, our desires, our ideals, our ordinary likes and dislikes in whichever way it is easiest for us individually to hear: All true knowledge comes only from within ourselves in silent communication with our Souls …

Dr. Bach believed that we all can hear and trust the voice of God in making decisions for our life.  We can trust the intuitive in our decision making.  But many of us find ourselves questioning our ability to make a correct decision.

Dr. Bach developed the Cerato flower essence for such cases as “those who have not sufficient confidence in themselves to make their own decisions.  They constantly seek advice from others and are often misguided.”

The key symptom for needing Cerato is a lack of confidence in your own intuition.

  • Distrusting your own judgement
  • Constantly asking for advice from others
  • Give too much weight to other’s opinion.
  • Seeking confirmation.

Cerato, a flowering plant found native in the Himalayas, reaches about 2 feet in height.  It does not grow wild in Western countries but is cultivated in gardens.  In Bach Flower Therapy it is known as The Intuition Flower—moving from negative thought patterns of indecisiveness to inner certainty. It can be found as a single flower essence or in formulas designed to help with uncertainty and excessive fear. 

Using Cerato can help people begin to trust their own inner judgement or “gut feeling”.  As a person learns to form their own opinion and make decisions for themselves, their self – confidence will begin to flourish. 

Flower Essences are safe and can be used with children and pets, too. Four to ten drops can be placed under the tongue up to three times a day.  It can also be added to water for both humans and pets to drink.

Here at The Health Patch, we are happy to help you find the Flower Essence for you.

Health and Blessings,

Kim Anderson, ND

Simples: Ginger

Remember our moms reaching for the Ginger Ale when we were not feeling our best or feeling particularly nauseated?  While the sugar in the commercial drink was not the best option, Mom knew best when it came to the ginger part.

Most of us are familiar with Ginger and the culinary possibilities this herb spice offers–its pungent flavor adding flair to our recipes; But the flavor is not the only benefit of this flowering plant.  There are many medicinal properties in Ginger as well. 

Originating from Asia, this plant was brought to American in the 15th and 16th centuries through the Spanish.  It is now cultivated in tropical regions of the United States.  It is a flowering plant, but only the rhizome, or underground part of the stem, is used for medicinal purposes.  Being in the same family as turmeric, it carries similar health benefits:

Anti-inflammatory

One of the main bioactive compounds in ginger is gingerol and is responsible for the smell, flavor, and health benefits in the plant.  Like its sister plant, turmeric, ginger is especially useful in cases of inflammatory diseases such as arthritis and colitis.  A study in 2011 found that a combination of ginger, cinnamon, and sesame oil applied topically helped reduce pain and stiffness in people with Osteoarthritis.  Ingesting ginger as a tea or in capsules enhances this effect by lowering systemic inflammation.

Antioxidant

Antioxidants are molecules in the body that fight free radicals.  Free radicals are compounds that are constantly being formed in the body.  They serve a positive function that is important to health such as helping immune cells fight infection. 

However, if levels of free radicals become too high, they can lead to a state of oxidative stress.  Oxidative stress has been connected to health issues such as heart disease and cancer.  Oxidative stress also increases the aging process and, along with inflammation, is one of the key causes of Alzheimer’s disease. Gingerol in ginger has been found to have antioxidant properties—those important properties that help keep oxidative stress in check.

Antibacterial

Ginger can also help lower the risk of bacterial infections, with a special affinity against oral bacteria linked to gum diseases.  Small intestinal bowel overgrowth or SIBO is another condition that ginger can be used as an alternative.

Antinausea

Ginger is highly effective for taming nausea.  Studies have shown ginger to be effective against nausea connected to motion sickness without the drowsiness that can occur when using over the counter medications; making it a safer option when needed for traveling.  Studies have also been shown that ginger may help with morning sickness.   While ginger is safe, as with any supplement use during pregnancy, always check with a qualified practitioner before use. 

Antacid

As of November 2019, 60 million Americans were believed to suffer from indigestion, causing recurrent pain and discomfort.  Many pharmaceuticals prescribed for chronic indigestion have now been found to cause certain cancers. 

Certainly not a desirable side effect when trying to alleviate discomfort.  Ginger is a natural alternative in relieving indigestion.  It is believed that one key trait of indigestion is a slower emptying of the stomach.  Ginger enhances digestion, by increasing digestive secretion.  By enhancing digestion, it is possible that the stomach empties sooner, reducing indigestion. 

Anti-Aggregation

Platelet aggregation is the clumping together of blood platelets that can create blood clots or thrombosis.  Blood clots can be life-threatening.  Gingerol in ginger has been known to help prevent platelet aggregation and increase blood circulation.  It has also been known to help support the heart and pumping action.

With so many medicinal properties and delicious flavor, it is easy to see why so many natural health practitioners consider ginger to be one of the best spices to have on hand.  Here at The HealthPatch, we carry ginger teas, capsules, and bulk ginger in crystals and powder.  We are happy to help you find the best for you.

How about a healthy Ginger Ale?  Here is a recipe from  Katrin Nurnberger of Sugar-Free Londoner using a sugar alternative, making it a healthier option.

Sugar Free Homemade Ginger Ale (makes 2 cups)

Ingredients 6 cm of ginger root peeled and grated Juice of ½ of a lemon 1 TBSP of powdered sweetener like Lakanto Monk fruit 2 cups of carbonated water

Instructions Peel and grate the ginger.  Place it in a muslin or cheesecloth and squeeze until you have around 1 tablespoon of liquid ginger juice. In a jug, mix ginger juice, lemon juice and carbonated water. Stir in sweetener to taste. 

Enjoy the taste and health benefits!

Health And Blessings,

Kim Anderson, ND

Healthy Body Systems: Intestinal System – Colon

If we consider that the Intestinal System is actually a major component of the Digestive System since its function is to “consume” the nutrients found in the food we eat and deliver them to the bloodstream for delivery to the rest of the body, then the Large Intestine, which we call the Colon, actually carry out the water reclamation and waste disposal function of the body.

The colon is also called the large intestine, begins in the lower right part of the abdomen, and is divided into four parts: the ascending colon which travels up the right side of the abdomen, the transverse colon that runs across the abdomen, the descending colon that travels down the left side of the abdomen, and the sigmoid colon that curves to align the colon with the rectum to allow waste to leave the body.

The colon removes water, salt, and some nutrients from the stool and has muscles that line the colon’s walls, squeezing its contents along. Like a balloon, as this muscle is overfilled and evacuated for some time, it begins to “dimple”. These dimples are called diverticula and are pockets where foreign mater can collect, become inflamed, and cause disease. Therefore, regular bowel movements are necessary; ideally, you should have a bowel movement about 45 minutes after each meal.

To keep your bowel healthy, you need fiber, water, and regular bowel movements. There are two types of fiber that are necessary – soluble and insoluble.

I call the soluble fiber “sponges”.  They wipe down the colon walls, absorb toxins, and help remove liquid waste.  We refer to herbs that perform these actions as mucilage – herbs like slippery elm, glucomannan, and marshmallow.

The insoluble fiber I call “brooms”. This type of fiber “sweeps” heavier waste and scrubs colon walls to remove the more solid waste material from the colon as the muscle linings move all the waste along. Herbs that help perform these functions generally contain more cellulose/structure, like acacia, psyllium, and cascara sagrada.

A healthy colon will also have billions of probiotics (friendly bacteria) lining its walls, living in a healthy balance with the body.

As for a healthy colon diet:

  • Increase your fiber intake. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Consider apples, pears, raspberries, bananas, oranges, and cooked peas, corn, broccoli, and artichoke. Add whole grains and legumes: Consider whole wheat flour, barley, quinoa, wild rice, oatmeal, and beans.
  • limit red meat consumption. Try to stay under 100 grams of red meat, and under 50 grams of processed meats.
  • keep sugar intake at a minimum because of its inflammatory potential.
  • control your weight

Last year our blogs covered the topic of cleansing for each body system. I would reiterate here that an annual bowel/colon detox could be helpful in keeping the colon functioning well. (Refer to last year’s colon cleansing blog.)

Colon issues can be very uncomfortable, and also very deadly. Keep it healthy.  Add “intestinal” to your list of Healthy Body Systems!

–  Randy Lee, BSE, MS, ND, is the Owner of The Health Patch, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, MWC, 73130. Call us at (405) 736-1030, and visit our website at www.thehealthpatch.com.

How to Prepare Non-Perishable Foods

When I introduced this topic to a couple of my friends, they remarked “ALL food is perishable.” And ultimately, they are right. Food is organic, and all organic things ultimately decay – whether we’re talking about food, plants, animals, anything with life in it. But the amount of time before perishing certainly varies. A person may live to be only a few years old or may live to be a century old. Likewise, leaves compost much more quickly than tree limbs though they come from the same root source.

So here we are discovering how to prepare and stock foods to last for longer periods of time. The times vary, as do the processes. But we all know that without the constant supplies of a grocery, fresh, ready-to-eat foods generally just aren’t available. Let’s look at some ways to make the foods we CAN obtain last longer than the few days fresh veggies and fruits may give us. We’ll discuss ways to obtain the foods in the next several blogs. Here we’ll look at how to keep them once we get them.

When I was a kid, we had a root cellar. Many fruits and veggies will keep for several months in such a cellar. It was simply a hole in the ground with concrete walls and a concrete floor, and it was covered with a wood or tin roof. You may have a storm cellar built much like this and that makes it a great root cellar too. My folks stored their ample potato crop under our house which rested on concrete posts! It was regularly my job to crawl under the house to answer mom’s call, “Randy, go get us some potatoes.”

Six feet below ground usually keeps a temperature of around 65-degrees – not unlike a refrigerator. So, things you keep in a refrigerator work well here. Now, putting a big box of apples, or pears, in this environment requires that the fruits don’t touch each other since one spot of mold spreads quickly. But if you layer the fruits in straw so that they don’t touch, you’ll keep a lot more apples. Other foods easily kept this way are potatoes, turnips, onions, beets, cool-weather greens such as broccoli, Brussel sprouts and cabbage, carrots, leeks and parsnips, and winter radishes. Winter squash, garlic, and sweet potatoes are great additions, too. If the cellar has lower humidity, you can also store dried beans.

For longer storage or products that don’t lend themselves to a cellar, try fermenting. Cabbages make kraut. It ferments when shred and sprinkled with salt. Cucumbers are chopped or sliced and added to a saltwater brine to make pickles. Both ways have a brine and create an environment where beneficial bacteria can grow. Other foods that fit one or both of these methods are carrots, beets, green beans, garlic, and many peppers. These foods may be put in a cool place and kept for many months.

For many years, folks have been canning their excess summer foods. My mom was an expert at it. But in my childhood, most families canned summer produce to enjoy all year long. Some foods were precooked and put in jars, which were then put in a boiler pan and brought to a boil to remove excess air. Then when they cooled, we heard the “pop” of the lids as the seals seated and kept the contents edible for years! I delighted in eating my mom’s homemade vegetable soup for a decade after it was canned. If you’ve never canned, there are a number of great teaching books with exact instructions and aged comments on techniques and ideas. Just practice. You’ll love it next winter!

A simple dehydrator is another tool for long-term storage preparation. Removing the moisture from the foods and then putting them in jars with a desiccant to draw out the oxygen that causes them to spoil is an easy process and can be accomplished with a simple electric dehydrator, placing trays over a wood stove, or even placing the foods on screens or a pan in the hot sun – we’ve all tasted sun-dried tomatoes, right?

And since freezing saves more nutrients than simple drying. Most families in years past had a home freezer chock-full of nutritious family favorites. I’ve recently looked at a unit you can purchase for your home that performs “home freeze-drying”. It freezes to below 50-degrees removes the moisture and works for all foods: garden-fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs, meats, and completer meals. You then just put the foods removed from the machine, put them in jars, add the desiccant, and seal the jars. They claim this process will keep your food nutritious and flavorful for up to 25 years.

Among the four things in Proverbs 30:24-28 that Solomon said were small but extremely wise, he mentioned “ants are not a strong people, yet they store up their food in the summer” so they would have food later. And by storing up your own food, you control the quality and the nourishment of the foods you select. Protect your family’s food supply so you may keep them healthy!

  • Randy Lee, BSE, MS, ND, is the Owner of The Health Patch, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, MWC, 73130. Call us at (405) 736-1030, and visit our website at www.thehealthpatch.com.

Emotional Balance: What are Flower Essences?

As humans, we are three-part beings—Spirit, Soul, and Body.  Spirit is our connection to God; the “new” man when we have been redeemed by Christ and this part is perfect, made in HIS image.  The Body, as we all well know can seem very imperfect from time to time with the aches, pains, trauma, and illnesses we can experience. Then there is the Soul: the mind, will, and emotions.  Our thought processes, our beliefs, and the emotions connected to the thoughts and beliefs. As natural health practitioners, it is our ministry to help others achieve balance in the whole being, and it is the soul or emotion part we will focus on today and discuss how emotions affect our well-being and how we can bring harmony into this area for better health.

 We all have these expressions called emotions and may even have experienced a wide range of them this past year as we have experienced the unknowns in our society. Emotions are a critical part of our human nature.  They communicate to us just like physical cues of hunger, pain, fatigue, and tension communicate to us.  Emotions tell us where we are in life and relations to ourselves and others.  They inform us of our spiritual and social needs.  The word “emotion” comes from the Latin root of emovere which means to move, remove or agitate; therefore, emotions were given to us by our Creator to move us or prompt us to do something.  They evoke emotion, and contrary to popular belief, emotions do not lie.  They are accurately communicating what our needs are, but our thoughts about those emotions can certainly be deceptive because they can misinterpret the message the emotion is trying to convey.  The thoughts about the emotions were shaped by those cues we received from the world around us.  Following these thoughts instead of the emotion messengers can lead to being out of touch with our emotions, therefore our needs.  When this occurs, we rely on two equally dysfunctional ways of dealing with our emotions.  We either suppress and deny our feeling or we blame and vent.  Neither of these strategies is effective because neither leads to a feeling of wellbeing.

Our goal is to find Emotional Balance.  To achieve emotional balance, we must learn to listen to the messages our emotions are telling us as well as identify the actual need behind the emotions.  We must then take responsibility for finding ways to get those needs met, not place that responsibility on another.  While many may try to reach this balance by attempting to change their emotions through their mind or body (that is, trying to change their thinking or take drugs that alter chemical messengers in the body that are involved in emotional response) there are ways of dealing directly with our emotions that can produce lasting changes.  One of these tools for emotional balance or healing is flower essences.

What are flower essences?

Flower essences are vibrational remedies made from the flowers of plants.  While “vibrational” remedies may sound a little strange, let me bring to mind other areas that are more familiar where vibrations or energy therapy is applied:  X-rays, radiation therapy for cancer, electrical nerve stimulation for treating pain, and full-spectrum light used to treat seasonal affective disorders.  So not a new idea, but certainly an effective one.  They were founded by Dr. Edward Bach, an English medical doctor born in 1886.  Dr. Bach had become frustrated by the symptomatic approach of “modern” medicine.  He felt that medical doctors focused too much on the pathology of illness and not on the patients themselves.  In his own observations, he noticed that each of his patient’s emotional states were a crucial part of their healing process.  It was this observation and theory that prompted Dr. Bach to begin work on his own remedies using the power of plants.  The flower essences were (and continue to be) created by placing fresh flowers in pure spring water in the sunlight.  The flowers were then removed and the water preserved with brandy to make a mother tincture.  The tincture is then diluted homeopathically. The dilution is so great that only the “vibration” of the plants remain.  The theory is that each flower used in the essence had to overcome many challenges in nature: extremes of temperature and harsh environmental conditions, and that plants, like people, have an “energy” or characteristics that help that person to overcome adversity.    Just as associating a person with positive traits can help us learn to meet life’s challenges, so can associating the right plant energies to bring balance to the soul of a person.  A flower essence captures the vibration of the plant’s personality which helps our own emotional energy.

When we take a flower essence, we are taking in the emotional energy of the plant which can break through blocks in our emotional world and help us feel things we may not be acknowledging.  This increased awareness of our emotions helps us make constructive changes in our lives and bring balance to the whole body.

During this next year, as we discuss holistic approaches to well-being in the home and body, I will bring to you each month a flower, its characteristic’s and the emotional challenges it can help a person to overcome. I am excited about this opportunity to share with you and I hope you find flower essences as exciting as I do.

Health and Blessings,

Kimberly Anderson, ND

Randy Lee, BSE, MS, ND, is the owner of The Health Patch, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, MWC, 73130. Call us at (405) 736-1030, and visit our website at www.thehealthpatch.com.