10 Benefits of Drinking Lemon Water

10 BENEFITS TO DRINKING WARM LEMON WATER EVERY MORNING

About 8 months ago I started to drink lemon water first thing in the morning. Before I eat or drink anything. I am trying to balance my ‘gut flora’. Here are 10 reasons to start your day with a ½ of an organic squeezed lemon into a glass of warm (not hot) water. Before I slice my lemon in half, I peel it with a vegetable peeler. I freeze the peelings for later use or add them to my morning ginger lemon tea.

1) Aids Digestion. Lemon juice flushes out unwanted materials and toxins from the body. It’s atomic composition is similar to saliva and the hydrochloric acid of digestive juices. It encourages the liver to produce bile which is an acid that is required for digestion. Lemons are also high in minerals and vitamins and help loosen ama, or toxins, in the digestive tract. The digestive qualities of lemon juice help to relieve symptoms of indigestion, such as heartburn, belching and bloating. The American Cancer Society actually recommends offering warm lemon water to cancer sufferers to help stimulate bowel movements.
2) Cleanses Your System / is a Diuretic. Lemon juice helps flush out unwanted materials in part because lemons increase the rate of urination in the body. Therefore toxins are released at a faster rate which helps keep your urinary tract healthy. The citric acid in lemons helps maximize enzyme function, which stimulates the liver and aids in detoxification.
3) Boosts Your Immune System. Lemons are high in vitamin C, which is great for fighting colds. They’re high in potassium, which stimulates brain and nerve function. Potassium also helps control blood pressure. Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) found in lemons demonstrates anti-inflammatory effects, and is used as complementary support for asthma and other respiratory symptoms plus it enhances iron absorption in the body; iron plays an important role in immune function. Lemons also contain saponins, which show antimicrobial properties that may help keep cold and flu at bay. Lemons also reduce the amount of phlegm produced by the body. Read more »

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HOMEMADE PURE VANILLA EXTRACT

HOMEMADE PURE VANILLA EXTRACT

A couple of years ago I was reading the label on my bottle of McCormicks Pure Vanilla Extract. I noticed that the ingredients had water listed, also a couple of other ingredients and only 40% alcohol. How is that considered PURE? I did some internet searching and found out how easy it is to make your own PURE VANILLA EXTRACT. Homemade not only tastes better, but also I know exactly what is in my bottle. Two ingredients: vodka and vanilla beans. That’s it. Plain and simple. I bought my vanilla beans from www.vanillaproductsusa.com I store my vanilla beans in an air tight glass container and keep it in a dark cabinet. They have fair prices and good service. I bought grade ‘B’ Bourbon Madagascar Beans. You don’t need grade ‘A’ to make extract, ‘B’ is less expensive and still a high quality. Here is how I made my PURE VANILLA EXTRACT.

1 quart of 80 proof vodka (cheap is fine) Make sure the bottle has a screw cap.
28 whole vanilla beans

I first took the labels off of my bottle of vodka. I use a hair dryer on the label and then it peels off easily. I use coconut oil to get the sticky residue off the glass. Now I have a clean bottle so I can add my own label. Make sure you put the date of when you make your PURE VANILLA EXTRACT.

Cut your 28 vanilla beans into 1” pieces. NO NEED TO SLICE OPEN EACH BEAN. Just cut into pieces.
Pour 4 ounces out of your quart (32 oz) vodka bottle. Now you have 28 oz. of vodka in the bottle.
Drop your 28 cut up pieces of vanilla beans into the vodka bottle. Screw cap on tight.
Label your bottle. PURE VANILLA EXTRACT and the DATE.
Place your bottle in a dark cupboard. Shake daily. Let set for 6 weeks before using.

That’s it, you are done. EASY and oh so good. I do not strain my vanilla. I leave the beans in my bottle until all the vanilla is gone. The longer it sits the stronger the flavor. If you do not want to make a quart of vanilla and want a smaller amount here is an easy proportion to remember. One vanilla bean per OUNCE OF VODKA.

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FERMENTED RAW SAUERKRAUT – HOMEMADE, INEXPENSIVE & HEALTHY

FERMENTED RAW SAUERKRAUT – HOMEMADE, INEXPENSIVE & HEALTHY

Never did I think I would be making homemade sauerkraut. I have eaten and liked canned processed sauerkraut for years. I stumbled across a video on fermented sauerkraut while researching how to get my ‘gut’ flora in balance, good bacteria & bad bacteria. I have always had stomach and digestive problems. Sinus, eczema and allergies. In the research of eating fermented cabbage some of the benefits they mentioned were: improved digestion, promotes a healthy immune system, it is a pro-biotic food (like yogurt), loaded with vitamins & enzymes, controls sweet cravings, it is alkaline and very cleansing. The list goes on & on. I am convinced that most health issues stems from our gut and I want to get mine right. I asked myself, “how does FERMENTED RAW SAUERKRAUT taste compared to the canned? I purchased a pint of organic raw fermented sauerkraut. I was SHOCKED at the price of $9.99. There were some even more expensive. Now I knew I was going to make it myself, since I eat about ¼ cup before my meals and sometimes as a snack. It tasted GREAT. I know some of you are don’t like sour, but I do. It can be an acquired taste. FERMENTED RAW SAUERKRAUT is way better than canned. Not as salty, mushy or sour. You can control these flavors by how long you ferment. There are fermenting kits you can purchase. My Grandma made her sauerkraut at home, so I decided to give it a try. I think she is smiling down on me and saying, “You go girl”. Well maybe not that phrase. But I am sure she is happy with me. Here is how I make RAW FERMENTED SAUERKRAUT. Make sure your area & supplies are VERY CLEAN.

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COMFREY TEA – ORGANIC FERTILIZER

Three weeks ago I decided to try & make COMFREY TEA.  I was warned that it will be very stinky. It certainly was. I filled a 5 gallon bucket with cut up COMFREY LEAVES and STALKS packed down & to the top. Then I filled the bucket with water, making sure all the leaves stay submerged (I put a brick on it for a couple days).  Put a cover on it because it will STINK. Get a LONG stick for stirring the concoction. After a couple of days I take the brick out because I don’t want to be fishing out a brick in this stinky brew. I stir this at least 1-2 times daily to put some air into it. The leaves will decompose and this brew will be green. And did I mention that it will STINK??? I let this COMFREY TEA sit for 3 weeks. After this time there should be very little leaves & stalks left in the bucket. It all decomposed.  To use as a liquid fertilizer I used a ratio of 1 part COMFREY TEA to 20 parts water. No I didn’t measure exactly. The end result should look like very light colored water. The smell now reminds me of a cow barn.  I used a sprinkling can to water every thing in my veggie gardens.

 

After applying the COMFREY TEA to my gardens, I started to more buckets of this ORGANIC FERTILIZER.  In 3-4 weeks I will give the gardens another application.  I am so glad that I have several large plantings of COMFREY. Of course after cutting down the COMFREY, I thanked the plant for sharing all its wonderful healing & fertilizing properties it has.  I then watered all the plants thoroughly.

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BUILDING BETTER SOIL – EASY & INEXPENSIVE

BUILDING BETTER SOIL – EASY & INEXPENSIVE

 A bit of advice for beginning gardeners and even some seasoned gardeners. Your plants are only as good as the soil you plant them in.  So BEFORE you dig that hole to plant your new flower or veggie have some GREAT compost handy.  Dig the hole AT LEAST TWICE THE SIZE of the potted plant or transplant (if you are dividing). Add your compost & mix it in with the native soil.  If you have WORM CASTINGS and leaf mold that would also be a great addition at this time, making sure you mix it well with the soil you dug out to make the hole.  Now you are ready to give your dollar plant a MILLION DOLLAR hole.  Firm it in and water.

 Now is a super time to amend all your gardens, to continuously help the soil become more fertile. Having a compost pile or two or three is great BUT if you do not have the room for it you can just amend your planting areas as they lay.  Mulching all garden beds is a MUST DO!  I wish I would have used shredded bark on my perennial beds when I started  19 years ago.  So now, after the fact, I practice a method called CHOP & DROP.  When I deadhead or cut back my perennials, I take the clippings and tuck them under the plants themselves. This creates a layer of mulch which will break down & feed the soil.  If it is too large of an amount, I add it to my compost pile. When I do weeding, I pull & drop.  Making sure there are no seeds on the weeds. If there are seeds on the weeds, I put them in the garbage or burn pile.

 My number one mulch for my veggie gardens is organic grass clippings. Dave doesn’t use chemicals on our grass. I apply a thin layer, ½” or so.  You don’t want a thick layer or it will mat and water will not penetrate it easily.  I do this every other week.  It really does keep the soil cooler, moist and the worms love it.  Another  source of mulch is used coffee grounds. Thinly spread and the worms love this too.  Chopped up leaves are a super mulch, but not too available in Spring & Summer. NOTICE! All these mulches are FREE!  Straw is another great mulch BUT it can be costly. Hay can be used too, BUT it does seed and grow in your garden.

 Now if you are really serious about building a better soil, check out my article on LASAGNA GARDENING.  I do this method every Fall in all my veggie beds. This Fall I promised myself that I would take the time to collect bagged leaves from the curbside and let them sit over a season or two.  This is called LEAF MOLD.  It is a very good mulch or additive to your soil.

 I hope I have inspired you to take the time to BUILD BETTER SOIL.

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