Awareness: Herbal & Prescription, National Culinary Arts, National Therapeutic Recreation, UV Safety, World Hepatitis
Flower: Water Lily
Trees: Apple, Fir, Elm, Cypress
Independence Day (United States of America):
The 4th of July is the busiest day of the year for firefighters and emergency rooms. As we celebrate the birth of a nation it is important to keep in mind some safety tips when using fireworks. And, how to administrate first-aid to injuries that may occur.
If you’re planning to set off fireworks on your own, make sure doing so is permitted in your area and do it in a location free of fire hazards and away from structures like your home or garage. Arrange the fireworks on a stable, fireproof surface with a foot or more of space between each device to prevent them from lighting each other. Read any and all safety and warning labels. Keep a bucket of water, garden hose, or fire extinguisher to hand. There’s a lot of common sense involved with fireworks-keep your children and pets away from them, don’t look down the barrel of a spent or loaded tube, don’t hold lit fireworks in your hands, don’t set yourself on fire, etc. It’s ideal to refresh or teach “Stop, Drop and Roll”- If a person is on fire stop them from running around, lay them on the ground, and smother the flames by rolling the person onto them or with a blanket, jacket or something similar.
Position the fireworks so they’re downwind of spectators-the wind should blow the sparks, smoke, and whatnot away from bystanders. And, they should stand 25 feet or more back if you’re lighting fountains and 100 yards or so away if you’re shooting rockets into the air. Light each firework one at a time, then stand back and wait for that device to finish its display before stepping forward to light another. Should a device fail to explode in an expected manner, do not attempt to re-light it. Sparklers are dangerous. Hot enough to cook an egg, children should be instructed on safe handling ahead of time and supervised while playing with them. A frequent cause of injury is picking up a spent, but still hot sparkler. After the display, soak all the used fireworks-duds or spent-with your garden hose. It’s a good idea to have a bucket of sand or water specifically for the purpose of dropping used sparklers into.
It’s always a good idea to have a first-aid kit in your home and car. These kits need to be checked and maintained periodically. Make sure the contents aren’t used up or expired and to update it with July 4th specific supplies. These include:
- Sterile Saline Solution for cleaning eyes and can also be used to clean debris out of wounds on the rest of your body. Cling Wrap or similar can be used to protect burns while you transport a person to the ER or wait for an ambulance. Second Skin Moist Burn pads are a good way to protect and cool minor burns.
- Aloe Vera gel and lavender essential oil can help treat and “cool” burns in the days following the accident.
- Pain relievers expire, so check the dates and make sure you have some that are up to date. Burns hurt!
- Blunt tip scissors are handy for cutting clothing off injured areas without stabbing yourself or the victim.
- It’s also a good idea to have a dedicated fire blanket or wool blanket on hand. Those won’t melt or burn if exposed to direct flame, so can help you smother anyone that manages to light themselves on fire. You may need to treat someone for shock as well, so that blanket will give them something to lie down on or something you can wrap them in to keep them warm.
Treating Minor Burns-Red and painful, perhaps with a small blister or blisters. Immediately run the burn area under cool water for at least 10 minutes. While doing so, remove any jewelry or clothing from the affected area. Once cool, cover the area with Second Skin (or similar) or cling wrap to protect it. Do not use cloth bandages or similar materials that may stick to the burn. Aloe Vera gel or other soothing treatments can be applied after this initial treatment, but only if the burn is minor. If the burn is larger than your hand or the person is young, old, or otherwise in frail health, take them to the ER.
Treating Major Burns-Deep, with significant blistering and damage to the skin. These are frequently the result of burning clothing or direct exposure to flame. Cool the burn immediately with running water. If the burn covers a large area of a person’s body, you may need to use a garden hose or buckets of water. Call an ambulance or immediately transport the victim to an Emergency Room if you don’t have phone reception. Remove clothing or jewelry from the burn area, but only if it’s not stuck to the wound. Cover the wound with a sterile, protective dressing such as that plastic cling film.
Treating Amputation-Fireworks occasionally cost people their fingers or toes. Call 911-prompt medical treatment can reattach them. Lay the victim down and elevate the injured body part. Remove any visible foreign objects. Apply direct pressure to the wound for 15 minutes to stop bleeding. If possible, retrieve the amputated finger or toe and rinse (don’t scrub) it clean, then wrap it in a clean, damp cloth and make sure it goes to the hospital with the victim. Don’t place the digit on ice, which will damage the blood vessels and make reattachment difficult.
Treating Shock-If a person experiences a major injury, they may go into shock. When a person goes into shock, their organs don’t get enough blood and oxygen, which can lead to permanent damage. Signs of shock are cool and clammy skin, confusion, dilated pupils, or a weak and/or uneven pulse. Lie down with feet slightly raised higher than the head. If not breathing, begin CPR. Loosen clothing for comfort, but keep warm with a blanket. If vomiting or bleeding from the mouth, turn the victim on the side.
Treating Eye Injuries-During explosions particles are occasionally going to get in someone’s eye. If the eyeball is punctured, pulled out of the socket, or burned, you’ll need to protect it (cupping a hand over the area works great) and get the victim immediate medical attention. If it’s just some minor irritation, you can treat it yourself. Never attempt to pop an eyeball back into a person’s socket. Flush the eye with sterile saline solution or clean water. Examine the eye under a bright light and continue to flush it until all foreign objects are washed out. Seek medical treatment if vision is impaired or an object has penetrated the eye’s surface.
Another area of the celebration is eating. It is common for people to tend to overeat during the picnics and backyard barbeques. Digestive enzymes are useful in preventing and relieving a number of tummy troubles-bloating, gas, nausea, constipation, or diarrhea.
The body secretes a variety of enzymes to break down the foods that we eat-some are secreted by the salivary glands and the cells lining the stomach, pancreas, and small intestine to aid in the digestion of food. The liver also produces bile (helps break down fats) which is stored in the gallbladder. The main enzyme categories are the proteases (which break down proteins), lipases (fats), and amylases (starches and sugars). These enzymes are released both in anticipation of eating when we first smell and taste the food, as well as throughout the digestive process. Some foods have naturally occurring digestive enzymes that contribute to the breakdown of certain specific nutrients.
However, diseases of the stomach, liver, and small intestine can reduce the number of enzymes produced by them. So, people with conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease, or low stomach acid might find digestive enzyme supplements helpful. The same goes for people who have chronic pancreatitis, which can cause a deficiency of pancreatic enzymes. Having your gallbladder removed can also make it so that there aren’t enough enzymes to break down fat properly, making supplementation a necessary measure to reduce digestive drama.
But if you don’t have a definite enzyme deficiency or your symptoms are more of a nuisance than severe, one may simply remove any foods from your diet that is causing digestive distress in the first place. Removing sugars, grains, dairy, and industrial seed oils from the diet can dramatically improve many digestive issues one might try to treat with a supplement. Even though these supplements may be labeled as containing natural ingredients (say, derived from plants) and regarded as safe, they can still interfere with other medications, such as oral diabetes medications and blood thinners. The most significant digestive enzymes are:
- Amylase: It is essential for the digestion of carbohydrates. It breaks down starches into sugars. Amylase is secreted by both the salivary glands and the pancreas. The measurement of amylase levels in the blood is sometimes used as an aid in diagnosing various pancreas or other digestive tract diseases. High levels of amylase in the blood may indicate a blocked or injured duct of the pancreas, pancreatic cancer, or acute pancreatitis, a sudden inflammation of the pancreas. Low levels may indicate chronic pancreatitis (ongoing inflammation of the pancreas) or liver disease.
- Maltase: It is secreted by the small intestine and is responsible for breaking down maltose (malt sugar) into glucose (simple sugar) that the body uses for energy. During digestion, starch is partially transformed into maltose by amylases. The maltase then converts maltose into glucose that is either used immediately by the body or stored in the liver as glycogen for future use.
- Lactase: It (also called lactase-phlorizin hydrolase) is a type of enzyme that breaks down lactose, a sugar found in dairy products, into the simple sugars glucose and galactose. Lactase is produced by cells known as enterocytes that line the intestinal tract. Lactose that is not absorbed undergoes fermentation by bacteria and can result in gas and intestinal upset.
- Lipase: It is responsible for the breakdown of fats into fatty acids and glycerol (simple sugar alcohol). It’s produced in small amounts by your mouth and stomach, and in larger amounts by your pancreas.
- Proteases: Also called peptidases, proteolytic enzymes, or proteinases, these digestive enzymes break down proteins into amino acids. In addition, they play a role in numerous body processes, including cell division, blood clotting, and immune function. Proteases are produced in the stomach and pancreas. The main ones are:
- Pepsin: Secreted by the stomach to break down proteins into peptides, or smaller groupings of amino acids, that are either absorbed or broken down further in the small intestine
- Trypsin: Forms when an enzyme secreted by the pancreas is activated by an enzyme in the small intestine. Trypsin then activates additional pancreatic enzymes, such as carboxypeptidase and chymotrypsin, to assist in breaking down peptides.
- Chymotrypsin: Breaks down peptides into free amino acids that can be absorbed by the intestinal wall
- Carboxypeptidase A: Secreted by the pancreas to split peptides into individual amino acids
- Carboxypeptidase B: Secreted by the pancreas, it breaks down basic amino acids
- Sucrase: It is secreted by the small intestine where it breaks down sucrose into fructose and glucose, simpler sugars that the body can absorb. Sucrase is found along the intestinal villi, tiny hair-like projections that line the intestine and shuttle nutrients into the bloodstream.
- Some foods have naturally occurring digestive enzymes that contribute to the breakdown of certain specific nutrients. Tropical fruits and fermented vegetables are naturally high in digestive enzymes that might speed up the digestion of certain nutrients. It’s best to consume them raw since heat can lessen or destroy these plant enzymes.
- Pineapple: Proteases (bromelain)-Helps digest proteins and has additional anti-inflammatory effects.
- Papaya: Proteases (papain)-Helps digest proteins and is a popular meat tenderizer.
- Kiwi: Proteases (actinidain)-In addition to its digestive enzymes, the fruit is high in fiber to support digestive processes and motility.
- Mango: Amylases-Helps break down carbohydrates from starches into simple sugars and increases as the fruit ripens.
- Banana: Amylases, glycosidase-Like amylases, glucosidases also break down complex carbohydrates.
- Raw honey: Amylases, Diastases, invertases, proteases-The amylases and diastases help to break down starches, invertases break down sugars, and proteases break down protein.
- Avocado: Lipases-Helps digest and metabolize fat.
- Kefir: Lipases, lactase, proteases-The lactase in kefir helps to digest the fermented milk and may be tolerated by some people with lactose intolerance.
- Sauerkraut, kimchi: Lipases, proteases-Fermented foods develop enzymes during the fermentation process as well as probiotics, or beneficial bacteria, to further support digestive health.
- Miso: Lactases, lipases, proteases, amylases-This fermented soy paste contains a potent combination of enzymes that help break down lactose in dairy, fats, proteins, and carbohydrates.
- Ginger: Protease (zingibain)-In addition to its enzymes that can help break down proteins, ginger may also help ease nausea.
When one thinks of barbeque meats (proteins) are what comes to mind to many. Protein is a macronutrient (protein, fats, and carbohydrates) that is essential to building muscle mass. All food made from meat, poultry, seafood, insects, beans and peas, eggs, processed soy products, nuts, and seeds is considered part of the protein group, according to the USDA. Most people eat enough food in this group, but they should select leaner and more varied selections. Each gram of protein contains 4 calories. Protein makes up about 15 percent of a person’s body weight.
Chemically, protein is composed of amino acids, which are organic compounds made of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, or sulfur. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, and proteins are the building blocks of muscle mass. When protein is broken down in the body it helps to fuel muscle mass, which helps metabolism. It also helps the immune system stay strong. And, it helps you stay full.
Two recent studies showed that satiety, or feeling full after a meal, improved after consuming a high-protein snack. A 2014 study published in the journal Nutrition compared afternoon snacks of high-protein yogurt, high-fat crackers, and high-fat chocolate. Among the women who participated in the study, consuming the yogurt led to greater reductions in afternoon hunger versus the chocolate. These women also ate less at dinner compared to the women who snacked on crackers and chocolate.
A similar study published in 2015 in the Journal of Nutrition found that adolescents who consumed high-protein afternoon snacks showed improved appetite, satiety, and diet quality. The teens also had improved moods and better cognition.
The Institute of Medicine recommends that 10 to 35 percent of daily calories come from protein. How that equates to grams of protein depends on the caloric needs of the individual. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the amount of protein foods a person should eat depends on age, sex, and level of physical activity. Most Americans eat enough food from this group but need to make leaner and more varied selections of these foods.
A safe level of protein ranges from 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight [2.2 lbs.], up to 2 grams of protein per kilogram for very active athletes. Most Americans truly need to be eating about 1 to 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. This equates to consuming 20 to 30 grams of protein per meal–that’s 2.5 egg whites at breakfast or 3 to 4 ounces of meat at dinner. Most American women are not getting anywhere close to adequate protein at breakfast. This could be hindering their muscle mass, their metabolism, and hormone levels.
Parents should resist stressing protein consumption for their children, who typically get sufficient protein easily. It’s important to focus on fruits and vegetables for kids. When considering how to get protein into kids’ diets, parents should focus on whole foods and natural sources.
There are several sources of supplemental protein powders, including soy, hemp and whey. Whey protein is a by-product of the cheese-making process and therefore not vegan. It is usually used to promote lean muscle mass and is also associated with weight loss. There are 20 grams of protein per scoop of whey protein.
Hemp protein comes from the hemp plant, which does not have THC (the active ingredient in marijuana), according to the North American Industrial Hemp Council. Hemp is also available as seeds and milk. There are 5.3 grams of protein per tablespoon of hemp seeds, about 5 grams per scoop of hemp powder, and 5 grams per cup of milk.
Soy protein comes from soybeans and is available in many different forms, including milk, tofu, various meat substitutes, flour, oil, tempeh, miso nuts, and edamame. Soy has been shown to have a little more phytoestrogens in it from isoflavones, which really helps to increase antioxidants. A lot of people are hesitant to eat soy because of a myth that associates it with breast cancer. But, that myth has been minimized based on a large body of evidence that supports the actual anticancer properties that soy has. To get the maximum benefits from soy, it is recommended to eat whole sources, like edamame. Processed forms like tofu are the next best option, followed by protein powders and drinks.
Some high-protein meats include: Top or bottom round steak (23 grams of protein per 3-ounce serving), Lean ground beef (18 grams per 3-ounce serving), Pork chops (26 grams per 3-ounce serving), Skinless chicken breast (24 grams per 3-ounce serving), turkey breast (24 grams per 3-ounce serving), Sockeye salmon (23 grams per 3-ounce serving), Yellowfin tuna (25 grams per 3-ounce serving)
High-protein dairy foods include: Greek yogurt (23 grams per 8-ounce serving), Cottage cheese (14 grams per half-cup serving), Eggs (6 grams per large egg), 2 percent milk (8 grams per cup)
Some other high-protein foods are: Some canned foods, like sardines, anchovies and tuna average around 22 grams of protein per serving, Navy beans (20 grams per cup), Lentils (13 grams per quarter-cup), Peanut butter (8 grams per 2 tablespoons), Mixed nuts (6 grams per 2-ounce serving), Quinoa (8 grams per 1-cup serving), Edamame (8 grams per half-cup serving), Soba noodles (12 grams per 3-ounce serving), 100 grams of cooked mealworms have 55 grams of protein while crickets have 58 grams.
People can produce some amino acids but must get others from food. The nine amino acids that humans cannot produce on our own are called essential amino acids. They are histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine. Protein foods that contain all essential amino acids are called complete proteins. They are also sometimes called ideal proteins or high-quality proteins. Complete proteins include meat and dairy products, quinoa, hemp seeds, chia seeds, and soy.
Many plant-based proteins are not complete proteins. These include beans, grains, and legumes as well as vegetables, which contain small amounts of protein. Incomplete proteins can be combined to create complete proteins. Beans and rice, peanut butter and whole-grain bread, and macaroni and cheese are examples of combinations that create complete proteins.
For a long time, nutritionists thought that complementary proteins had to be eaten together to make a complete protein. But, it is now understood that the foods don’t have to be eaten at exactly the same time. As long as you eat a wide variety of foods, you can usually make complete proteins, even if you’re a vegetarian.
The Institute of Medicine recommends that 10 to 35 percent of daily calories come from protein. Most Americans do not get close to the 35 percent mark; they eat about 12 to 18 percent of their calories as protein, according to the NIH. Therefore, most commercial high-protein diet plans suggest intakes in the upper levels of the recommended spectrum. For example, the Atkins diet allows for up to 29 percent of calories to come from protein, and the South Beach Diet suggests protein levels at about 30 percent. Some high-protein diets, however, come in at higher than 35 percent.
The efficacy and safety of high-protein diets are still being studied. Often, they lead to a quick drop in weight-loss but their overall sustainability is unclear. One 2011 review of high-protein diet studies found that “although half of the studies showed a higher weight loss with a high-protein diet, three out of four studies with the longest intervention show no statistical difference in weight loss.”
Furthermore, high-protein diets can carry some health risks. They usually advocate cutting carbohydrates, which can lead to nutritional deficiencies, fiber deficiencies, headache, constipation, increased risk of heart disease, and worse kidney function in those suffering from kidney disease, according to the Mayo Clinic.
High-protein diets are not recommended because they are generally unnecessary. There’s a growing body of research that suggests that Americans are getting enough protein. The problem is that we don’t space out our protein correctly. It’s more important that we focus on getting protein at each meal, eating it within the first hour of waking up, and then every 4 to 6 hours thereafter. Getting enough protein at adequate intervals helps muscle mass and overall health long term.
The Ideal Protein diet is a medically developed diet plan created more than 20 years ago by French doctor Tran Tien Chanh. A coach at a licensed clinic or a health care provider supervises participants. For some participants, consent from health care providers may be required. The Ideal Protein diet is a low-carbohydrate, low-calorie, high-protein diet that aims to aid in weight loss by providing the body with the right amount and kind of protein while also stabilizing blood sugar. It consists of four phases. During the first three phases, participants eat at least one proportioned, prepackaged Ideal Protein meal per day. During phase one, in which most of the weight loss takes place, participants eat three Ideal Protein meals every day.
Supplements are for supplemental purposes only. Therefore, it is not recommended to have protein shakes on a daily basis. Sometimes, however, people have serious behavioral barriers to eating whole foods. If they feel like they can’t cook or eat whole foods then these shakes can be a good plan B. If you are going to use protein shakes, choose one that has more than 20 grams of protein. It is important to think about what you’re adding to protein shakes. If you’re using a protein powder to make a shake, try mixing it with water, nonfat milk, or a milk substitute. It is generally suggested not to mix fruit in. This makes the shake very calorie-laden, like pie in a cup. Adding vegetables, however, can add antioxidants and vitamins.
A common picnic drink is lemonade. Lemons are actually considered a superfood and contain plenty of health benefits and even topical uses. Since lemonade is essentially lemon juice combined with water and some sugar, it is an easy way to get a healthy dose of lemon. Vitamin C, B6, and A are just a few of the many vitamins, minerals, and healthy compounds found in a single lemon. They also contain flavonoids, which are helpful antioxidants that can assist your body in numerous ways. Making all-natural lemonade with fresh lemons and a little bit of a sweetener is the best; avoid packaged mixes for optimum health benefits. Here are some of the many benefits you can gain from drinking lemonade:
- Digestive Assistance: Lemon juice is highly effective in fighting both indigestion and constipation. Drinking lemonade can give your digestive tract the extra assistance it needs to break down foods you’ve consumed, while loosening waste that is lining the walls of your bowels.
- Kidney Stone Prevention: Increasing your water consumption can definitely help to stave off future occurrences, but lemonade can help even more. The citrate you get from drinking lemonade can increase the amount found in your urine, which goes a long way in preventing the stones from even forming.
- Weight Loss Support: You may have heard of lemon juice and lemonade being used as part of a weight loss regimen. Lemons contain pectin, a soluble fiber that has demonstrated weight loss properties. Lemonade can also help you feel full, which aids in staving off a nagging appetite.
- Fever Treatment: Lemonade can help increase perspiration output, which is one of the best ways to break a fever. If you are suffering from the flu, or any other sickness that involves fever, try drinking some lemonade to speed up the fever’s breaking point and get back on track to a normal body temperature.
- Cancer Prevention: The antioxidants found in lemons have been shown to prevent cells in your body from deforming, which is what leads to cancer developing and spreading. Drinking lemonade on a regular basis can ensure a constant intake of these antioxidants.
- High Blood Pressure: Lemons contain a high amount of potassium, which can help to calm numerous cardiac issues. If you are experiencing high blood pressure, nausea, and dizziness, try drinking some lemonade for a calming and relieving effect.
- pH Balancing: Lemonade itself is acidic on the pH scale. Yet, after it is in the body it acts as an alkalinizer to one‘s urine. Acid-alkaline balance is critical for health. Your body must maintain a pH of about 7.35–7.45. If you’re too acidic, then your body will find ways (even robbing your bones for minerals) to buffer acidity. Diets high in fruits and vegetables are more alkaline-forming, at least partly due to high potassium levels. High potassium levels drive higher alkalinity.
One final thought about this day of celebration is the ground that one sits on while having a classic picnic. While a bed of soft, mown grass is very comfortable many forget the benefits of the lowly weed. They are Nature’s support crops and are vital to a healthy system.
Weeds come in all shapes and sizes, both on top and root structure. Some weeds are vines to cover and protect the soil, some are tall and woody, some have thin and abundant roots, like grasses, and some have a single tap root, like a turnip. The structural makeup of the plant will tell you the purpose. Like grasses are designed to hold soil in place with their many fine root hairs, and a tap-rooted plant is designed to break up compacted soil.
The thing that separates weeds from our garden plants is they grow much faster. They grow faster by design; their main purpose is to build soil. Some species of weeds called pioneer species, not only grow fast, but they produce carbon quickly as well. This carbon, when they die, lasts a long time in the soil, helps build structure, and helps retain water. Weeds have certain nutrients that they absorb from the soil, bring to the top, and release when they die or compost.
So, looking across an abandoned field you will see a variety of weeds growing, each of them is a reaction of whatever deficiency the soil has. For example, the taller weed that has a small daisy type flower growing in our area is known for drawing calcium out of the soil. So an abundance of this plant is an indicator that your soil is lacking calcium.
Weeds protect the soil and help build it, but there is another main reason to keep them around. A plant’s main purpose in life is to produce sugars; they do this through the process of photosynthesis. The sugars they produce go to making leaves, flowers, and eventually fruit and seeds, but as much as 50% of the sugars they produce get exuded through the roots to attract the microscopic organisms of the soil food web. Plants do not have a stomach, so they rely on the soil to digest and transfer nutrients. Plants also, do not have a stomach liner to keep the digestive process in the root zone, so they exude these sugars to attract the biology in and keep them there to feed the plant.
Weeds also help protect surrounding plants. Sometimes weeds will help hold up our plants, or maybe they will shade them from the sun, or maybe they will take the insect attack for us. In a lettuce field, weeds are super important for another reason. They keep the soil out of the leaves. If the weeds were not present when we irrigate or rain comes the water droplets splash the soil in the leaves. When we have weeds surrounding the lettuce, the soil is not bare and therefore the weeds help keep the dirt from splashing into the leaves. Believe me, growing lettuce without weeds is a big problem. Delicate leaves are hard to rinse thoroughly and no matter what your lettuce will be crunchy from the sand and dirt.
Plants work together in their little community and biodiversity is the key. Bare soil is rare in nature and so is a monoculture, diversity is key. Plants work together and help feed each other, if you learn how they grow and how to cultivate them you can benefit from Nature’s support crops in your garden.
Weeds can tell you a lot about your garden, providing information about what is best to grow. If your weeds multiple rapidly it is likely that your soil is extremely fertile, and that you do not need fertilizer. If not, it may be wise to start growing forerunners such as onions before moving onto more difficult crops. If the amount of weeds is diverse, it is likely that you can grow a wide range of plants in your garden. If not, it will be worthwhile to ascertain the soil type. And weeds can do this too. Very acidic soil will produce sorrel and plantain but no charlock or poppy, while chickweeds is sign of neutral pH. High levels of nitrogen can be ascertained by nettles, ground elder, fat hen, and chickweed. Compacted soil is noticeable for silverweed and greater plantain, while creeping buttercup, horsetail and silverweed may indicate wet soil with poor drainage.
Another benefit of having a weedy lawn is that many weeds in your lawn attract butterflies and caterpillars. Common lawn weeds, such as plantain, dandelion, and clover are sources of food for many insects-also known as pollinators. Allowing some of these common weeds to grow in your garden, encourages butterflies to lay their eggs in your yard, which will result in more butterflies in your garden later on. Hummingbirds also feast upon the nectar produced by many weeds.
Weeds also help to attract other beneficial bugs to your garden as well. Many good bugs, like predatory wasps, praying mantis, ladybugs and bees find food and shelter in the weeds in our yards. These “good” bugs will help to keep the “bad” bug population down in your garden as well as providing pollination to your plants. The more weeds you have in your lawn, the less money and time you will have to spend on battling back the bugs that can hurt your plants. Many weeds are also blessed with a natural insect repellant. Letting weeds in your lawn grow near your more weed-free flower beds can help drive out even more “bad” bugs from your plants. While other insects-like fireflies-thrive only in weedy areas.
Weeds also constitute a good source of nutrients. Many weeds are edible and are used as natural remedies. They are also effectively free and environmentally friendly. Dandelion leaves are high in vitamins A and K and can be a useful addition to a balanced diet. Nettle soup is famous in the United Kingdom. Back in the Middle Ages, Ground Elder (which has a nutty flavor) was grown as a crop and was believed to cure gout – hence its alternative name goutweed. Sorrel and horseradish can both be made into a sauce and the latter is often used with beef. There are many sources dedicated to eating and cooking wild food.
- Spiced Cricket Flour Cookies: ½ cup cricket flour; 2/3 cup almond meal; 1 1/3 cup general all-purpose flour – organic unbleached; ¾ tsp ground ginger; ¾ tsp ground cinnamon; ½ tsp ground cloves; 1 tsp baking powder; ¼ tsp salt; ¾ cup soft butter; ½ cup runny honey; ¼ cup old fashioned brown sugar (or coconut sugar); 1 egg; 3 tbsp molasses; 1 tbsp orange juice. Directions: Preheat an oven on a normal bake setting (not convection) to 350 F (175 C). In a mixing bowl, combine cricket flour, almond meal, all-purpose flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, baking powder, and salt by mixing with a whisk gently. In an electric mixer bowl, add the butter and honey, plus brown sugar/ or coconut sugar. Cream together for about 30 seconds on a medium-high setting, with a paddle attachment. Beat in the egg, molasses, and orange juice. Add the dry ingredients to the butter batter, and mix to incorporate on slow setting on the electric mixer. Put into the fridge for 20-30 minutes. Prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper. (Or use a silicone baking mat.) With cold hands, scoop out 1 tbsp of the dough, and roll into little balls. Place on a cookie tray. Press down on each cookie until they are about half their size. Place into the oven for about 10 minutes, or until they appear golden brown. Remove from the oven, and cool until you are able to handle it with your hands. Serve warm with a coffee, or refrigerate and/or freeze them for future use.
- Chirpy Chip Cookies: 1 cup softened butter; 1/2 cup sugar; 1/2 cup brown sugar; 1/2 cup powdered milk; 2 eggs; 1 tsp vanilla; 2 1/4 cups flour; 1 tsp baking soda; 2 cups chocolate chips; 1/2 cup roasted crickets. Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, blend butter, sugars, and milk until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. In a smaller bowl, sift together the flour and baking soda. Then stir into the mixture. Stir in chips and crickets. Drop rounded tablespoons of cookie dough onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake 9-11 minutes. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes before moving to cooling racks.
- French Limonade (modern): 5 lemons; 3 tbsp Lavender Honey; 1 oz bottle of sparkling water; 15oz water; a pinch verbena leaves (optional). Directions: Squeeze the lemons. Boil the still water. Stop the heat, add the lemon juice and the Lavender Honey. Mix until honey is dissolved. Pour in the pitcher (the pitcher must be half-filled). Keep in the fridge for 20 min. Once cold, add the sparkling water.
- Lavender Honey: ¼ cup dried lavender blossoms (Lavandula augustifolia); 1 cup raw honey. Directions: Pour the honey over the blossoms and then stir to make sure the honey and blossoms are well-combined. Place the jar in a warm spot away from direct sunlight. The top of the fridge is a good, warm spot. Allow the honey to infuse for 1-4 weeks, turning the jar over every day to redistribute the blossoms. When the honey has reached the flavor intensity that suits you, place a mesh strainer over a medium bowl and pour the honey mixture into the strainer. Because honey is so thick it will take a long time to strain, so wait a few hours before checking on it. Once you’ve finished straining out the lavender buds, don’t toss them! Store them in the fridge and stir them into tea for an extra flavor boost.
- French Lemonade (1667): Get a pint of water and into it put half a pound of sugar, the juice of six lemons and two oranges, the peel of half a lemon and [half] an orange that you have pressed; blend the water well in two very clean vessels, pouring it back and forth several times from one into the other, and strain it through a white serviette.
- One-Ingredient Banana Ice Cream: Serves 2, Makes about 1 cup. Ingredients: 1 large ripe banana; any mix-ins (optional). Directions: Start with a ripe banana. Make sure the banana is ripe, it should be sweet and soft. Peel the banana and chop. Put the bananas in an airtight container. Place in a freezer-safe glass bowl or freezer bag. Freeze the banana pieces for at least 2 hours, but ideally overnight. Transfer the frozen banana pieces into a small food processor or high-speed blender. (A small food processor or chopper works best.) Pulse to break up and look crumbled or smashed. Scrape down the food processor. It will look like a gooey, mush. Keep until the last bits of banana smooth out to creamy, soft-serve ice cream texture. Blend for a few more seconds to aerate the ice cream. (If adding any mix-ins–peanut butter, chocolate chips, vanilla bean, cookie crumbs, pieces of fruit, etc.–this is the moment to do it.) Transfer to an airtight container and freeze until solid. You can eat the ice cream immediately, but it will be quite soft. You can also transfer it back into the airtight container and freeze it until solid, like traditional ice cream.
- To Ice Cream (1718): Take Tin Ice-Pots, fill them with any Sort of Cream you like, either plain or sweetened, or Fruit in it; shut your Pots very close; to six Pots you must allow eighteen or twenty Pound of Ice, breaking the Ice very small; there will be some great Pieces, which lay at the Bottom and Top: You must have a Pail, and lay some Straw at the Bottom; then lay in your Ice, and put in amongst it a Pound of Bay-Salt; set in your Pots of Cream, and lay Ice and Salt between every Pot, that they may not touch; but the Ice must lie round them on every Side; lay a good deal of Ice on the Top, cover the Pail with Straw, set it in a Cellar where no Sun or Light comes, it will be frozen in four Hours, but it may stand longer; then take it out just as you use it; hold it in your hand and it will slip out. When you would freeze any Sort of Fruit, either Cherries, Raspberries, Currants, or Strawberries, fill your Tin-Pots with the Fruit, but as hollow as you can; put to them Lemonade, made with Spring-Water and Lemon juice sweetened; put enough in the Pots to make the Fruit hang together, and put them in Ice as you do Cream.
- Apple Pie (1845): Peel the apples, slice them thin, pour a little molasses, and sprinkle some sugar over them; grate on some lemon-peel or nutmeg. If you wish to make them richer, put a little butter on the top.
- South Carolina Barbeque Sauce (the 1850‘s): 1/2 stick of unsalted butter; 1 large yellow or white onion, well chopped; 2 cloves of garlic, minced; 1 cup of apple cider vinegar; 1/2 cup of water; 1 tablespoon of kosher salt; 1 teaspoon of black pepper; 1 pod of long red cayenne pepper or 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper flakes; 1 teaspoon of dried rubbed sage; 1 teaspoon of dried basil leaves or 1 tablespoon of minced fresh basil; 1/2 teaspoon of crushed coriander seed; 1/4 cup of dark brown sugar or 4 tablespoons of molasses (not blackstrap). Directions: Melt butter in a large saucepan, add onion and garlic and saute on medium heat until translucent. Turn heat down slightly and add vinegar, water, the optional ingredients, and the salt and spices. Allow cooking gently for about thirty minutes to an hour. To be used as a light mop sauce or glaze during the last 15-30 minutes over the pit of coals and as a dip for cooked meat. Note: Carolina Mustard Sauce–add 1/2 cup of brown mustard or more to taste, and a bit more sugar or “Red Sauce”—add two cans of tomato paste or four very ripe red or purple heirloom tomatoes (Large Red, Cherokee Purple, Brandywine, Amish Paste, cooked down for several hours on low heat into a comparable consistency; and two tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce)
- Yellow Jacket Soup/Oo-ga-ma (1868): Hunt for ground-dwelling yellow jackets early in the morning or in the late afternoon. Gather the whole comb. Place the comb over the fire or on the stove with the right side up to loosen the grubs that are not covered. Remove all of the uncovered grubs. Place the comb over the fire or on the stove upside down until the paper-like covering parches. Remove the comb from the heat, pick out the yellow jackets, and place in the oven to brown. Make the soup by boiling the browned yellow jackets in a pot of water with salt. Add grease if desired. Yield depends on the number of yellow jackets you can capture.
- Honey-spiced Locusts: 1/4 cup butter; pinch of salt; 1 cup cleaned locusts; 2 Tbs. honey with 1 tsp. Aleppo pepper. Directions: Melt your butter in a pan over medium heat. Add the insects and salt and stir gently for around 10 minutes, making sure to get them completely covered in butter. When the bugs are suitably crisped, drizzle the spice-honey over them and stir a bit more. Then spread them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and cook for around 10 minutes at 200 F, until the bugs are no longer quite so sticky.
- Homemade Sunscreen: 1/4 cup coconut oil (has an SPF of 7); 2 (or more) tbsp. powdered zinc oxide; 1/4 cup pure aloe vera gel (must be 50 percent or higher); 25 drops walnut extract oil for scent and an added SPF boost; 1 cup (or less) shea butter for a spreadable consistency. Directions: Combine all ingredients, except the zinc oxide and aloe vera gel, in a medium saucepan. Let the shea butter and oils melt together at medium heat. Let cool for several minutes before stirring in aloe vera gel. Cool completely before adding zinc oxide. Mix well to make sure the zinc oxide is distributed throughout. You may want to add some beeswax or another waxy substance for a stickier consistency. Store in a glass jar, and keep in a cool, dry place until you’re ready to use. Note: This recipe isn’t waterproof, and it’ll need to be reapplied often. (In fact, while some recipes may claim to be waterproof, there’s really no science to back up the idea of a homemade waterproof sunscreen. The ingredients that make sunscreen waterproof are the same highly processed ingredients that most natural consumers and DIY sunscreen makers are looking to avoid. These ingredients make it possible for your skin to absorb the sunblock components of sunscreen, and they can only be manufactured in a lab.)
- Homemade Sunscreen Spray: To make a homemade sunscreen spray, combine the ingredients as described above, minus the shea butter. Once the mixture has cooled completely, you can add a bit more aloe vera gel and a carrier oil such as almond oil, which has SPF properties of its own, until the mixture is a sprayable consistency. Store in a glass spray bottle and keep refrigerated for best results.
- Homemade Sunscreen for Oily Skin: If you have oily skin, you may be hesitant to slather on a DIY sunscreen that’s heavy on oil ingredients. But the essential oils palmarosa and lemon can actually correct overproduction of sebum (oil) on your skin. If you’re concerned about oil buildup on your skin, follow the recipe above, but swap out coconut oil — which is known to be comedogenic — for another carrier oil, such as jojoba oil or sweet almond oil.
- Homemade Fly Spray: 4 cups raw apple cider vinegar (where to buy raw apple cider vinegar) OR make your own vinegar; 20 drops rosemary essential oil (where to buy my favorite essential oils); 20 drops basil essential oil; 20 drops peppermint essential oil; 2 tablespoons liquid oil (olive oil, canola oil, or mineral oil will work); 1 tablespoon dish soap. Directions: Mix together in a spray bottle. Apply to the animals frequently (give it a good shake before applying). And be careful, it smells strong.
Jolene Grffiths, Master Herbalist