Three Giant Steps to Health

It’s 8:45 AM. Already today, I’ve spent time praying and meditating, doing chores, exercising in the beautiful Florida morning, tending the vegetable garden and now I’ve just sat down to enjoy some liquid sunshine (aka living OJ) I just squeezed for us. Life is grand!

It was not that long ago that I felt life was a struggle. The dark cloud of depression was always following me around. Staying in bed was more inviting than facing the day. But now, all that has changed. There are several reasons for these changes. But, first and foremost I give God all the glory for my healing and restoration. He does answer prayer. My restoration has been a long time coming. It seems like my journey has unfolded in baby step after baby step and sometimes even a few steps back. But essentially, I can boil the journey down to 3 giant steps that have radically transformed my mental and physical health.

The ingredients for my healing – all center on God and His purposes for me – but to be more specific it began with cleansing my system and going through detoxification. Three plus years ago, because of some physical problems I was having, I started eating a mostly living or as some call it a raw food and whole food vegan diet. This started to purge my body of toxins and give my body and brain the nutrition it had been lacking and needed for healing and health.

Second, I began exercising. It was actually when I started running that I had my first breakthrough mentally and physically. I truly believe the running was getting more oxygen to my brain, releasing endorphins and causing further detoxification to occur that made the difference. You see, God made the human body to be a self healing machine. This principle is all around us in nature. Our beautiful huge Oak tree was devestated by the Florida hurricanes a few years back. We wanted to cut it down – It looked as though it would never survive and if it did it would be an eyesore. Today, only 3 years later, it looks more beautiful than ever

Third, I began seriously dealing with the negative thinking and false beliefs in my heart that were contributing to the depression and my overall outlook on life and circumstances. Instead of continuing to embrace lies and negativity, I told my self the truth, God’s truth, and completely and wholeheartedly embraced it and continue to everyday. This was the final breakthrough that by God’s grace has radically changed my life.

Don’t ever believe the lie that you can’t change and become healthier in every aspect of your life – overall health is possible and quite probable – especially when you seek God to make Him the center of your life and purpose. 

In joy,

Jean

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Natural Pest Control

Our Kitty BearIt is a beautiful Florida morning and I have already been out tending my small garden. We were created to be gardeners and to take dominion over the earth and everything in it. I think that’s the reason most people derive great joy from seeing things grow. There is just something uniquely special about growing food for one’s sustenance that resonates deep within and connects us in a greater way with our Creator. Not to mention, the best food for your health and well being is food grown in your own yard – from garden to table in one day – that makes it nutritionally superior to any other food you could eat.

Of course with the joy of gardening comes some trials as well. Those trials frequently come in the form of pests and other little critters that like to “worm” their way in where they are not welcome. The biggest pest we have to contend with (no pun intended) is our 18 lb Siamese named Bear. Because I am concerned about using harsh chemicals to control pests I did some research on natural pest control.

The number one natural pest control of course is making sure that your soil is rich in nutrients – so before planting, enrich your soil with good organic fertilizer/manure and peat. Second best form of natural pest control are other plants – this form of pest control is called companion planting. Marigolds give off a strong fragrance that pests don’t like and also may confuse their senses making it difficult to figure out which plant they want to eat. The marigolds seems to be working so far in the garden. I also planted red onions and they too are known for being a natural pest repellant.

Additionally, I discovered that sprinkling cayenne pepper and paprika around the garden will keep pests away. So far there are no signs of critters (rabbits, armadillo, opossum or kitty cats sneaking in and chomping on the young veggies). Surprisingly, there is no evidence of bugs or caterpillars eating the veggies either.

In Florida, there are always fire ants to contend with, but I had read that citrus works to keep them at bay. So a couple times I have sprayed my citrus based All Natural Veggie Wash on the ants and their mound and it seems to at least redirect them.

If all continues to grow as planned, we should have some red onions, romaine and maybe even broccoli ready for Christmas dinner.

To your health,

Jean

Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice

It’s orange season in Florida again and Alan bought our first bag of oranges at Harvey’s Groves last week. Fall is probably my favorite time of year in Florida because the weather is so beautiful, the tourists have not arrived yet and we have many varieties of citrus to delight our palate.

At Harvey’s, they offer their “seconds” for sale in bulk quantities. We buy a grocery bag full for about $10. One bag will last us a week or two. (We are planning on planting an orange tree this season, so hopefully in the next few years, we will have our own crop of liquid sunshine right in our back yard.)

This first bag of oranges Alan purchased was Navels – the King of Citrus – known for its large size, wonderfully sweet flesh, juiciness and most importantly seedlessness. From this one bag we have enjoyed eating fresh orange slices and cranberry orange salad, and drinking lots of fresh squeezed orange juice.

The nutrition in fresh squeezed orange juice can’t compare to the pasteurized juice you buy in the grocery store. For starters processed OJ has only about 10% of the vitamin C available in a fresh orange and only half of the fiber. It’s really worth squeezing your own (we have an electric juicer, but actually prefer to use our old fashion manual kind) to get 100% of the vitamin C, all the living nutrition and all the yummy pulp you want.
 
To your health,

Jean

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Composting Made Easy

For the last few years I have thought often about creating a compost pile. As mostly raw vegans, for over 3 years, I have felt more and more convicted about recycling our garbage. In doing research I found many different types of composting containers – You can build a wire cage, side-by-side bins or purchase various and sundry composting containers. Since I didn’t want to spend $200 + dollars to see if the barrel composter (I really wanted) would work and I didn’t want to take the time to build a wire cage, I decided to use the plastic bag approach that Tom MacCubbin recommends in his book The Edible Landscape (Tom is Florida’s leading garden expert).

This approach seemed good for several reasons: First, I could set the bags descretely behind our deck – out of our view and our neighbors view. Also, since the compost would be in a plastic bag, it would not smell offensive while it was decomposing – another plus I’m sure the neighbors appreciate. Third, I could compost in various stages quite easily. This method supposedly creates compost in 4-6 weeks (according to MacCubbin) which means that the most bags I will have sitting behind the deck is 4-6. Finally, turning the compost is made quite simple by simply turning the bag every week to 10 days to mix the compost.

Well today was week 4 for my first bag, so I cautiously took a peak inside. What did I find? What I found was that my compost was starting to compost – it was all dark brown, pretty smelly and moist with some parts and pieces that had not yet decomposed: parts like small oaks leaves and twigs – but it was looking good! I’m excited about recycling kitchen scraps and will keep you posted on how the plastic bag method of composting works for us.

Jean

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On Becoming a Morning Person

My mother had a saying if I was grumpy in the morning, “Did you get up on the wrong side of the bed this morning?” Since I am not a morning person and never have been (though I think that’s changing, so read on) I heard that a lot growing up.

They say wisdom comes with age, so now at the age of 49 years old, I know that my morning routine must begin with my bedtime routine…life is on a continuum. So how I treat and nurture my body today will impact how my body and mind function tomorrow. That’s why my day begins the evening before. What do I mean by that?

I know that if I eat too much or drink a glass of wine late in the evening (which for me is after 7:00) it will disrupt my sleep. If my sleep is disrupted that means my restless legs will be doing the “cha cha” all night and I will likely wake up in the middle of the night and not be able to go back to sleep. Also, chances are if I don’t get enough exercise that day I won’t sleep well either.
 
Since sleep is all important to my mental state of mind and ability to function at the top of my game, I consider caring for my body in a way that promotes the highest quality of sleep a very important part of a healthy living lifestyle. Since I have been getting in tune with my body and the necessary ingredients for quality sleep, I am actually becoming a morning person…no more “getting up on the wrong side of the bed” for me.

Remember, your morning routine begins with your evening routine!

Jean

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Milk And Crackers – Making the Most Of Almond Milk Pulp

I had a former father-in-law who loved milk and crackers. He would crush saltine crackers into a bowl and then pour milk over them. I can’t imagine a dish that is more void of nutrition or more lackluster in presentation…

Enough nostalgia, here’s a new twist on milk and crackers. Plan to make your almond milk and crackers in the same day. One thing I love about the mostly raw vegan lifestyle is how little waste there is. And the waste that we do have is all compostable. (But, more about my composting experience in a future blog entry.)

Lately we have been enjoying raw granola with freshly made almond milk and fruit for breakfast. This meal is so delicious, and made even better with pumpkin seeds added. Anyway, I make one quart of milk early in the week and this lasts us nearly one week. So on the same day I plan to make almond milk, I also plan to make our famous, nutritious and delicious corn chips since that recipe calls for almonds as well.

After I make the almond milk and strain out the pulp, I have just enough pulp to add to the corn chip recipe. How easy is that? What’s really fantastic is that it only takes about 30 minutes total to make both these recipes and they last us all week long. That’s great time management, nutrition and conservation all in one package.

To your health,

Jean

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Healthy Thanksgiving Feast

What a great time Alan and I had yesterday, feasting on all the lucsious living and nutritonally dense food we had prepared for Thanksgiving. We were reveling in the fact that we could have such a rich Thanksgiving Feast and know that every spoonful we consumed was actually good for us. What a novel concept!

We remembered the days when we would stuff ourselves on turkey, gravy, sugary sweet potato cassesole, white rolls, Aunt Novelle’s lime green jello salad, pies and more! Our stomachs would be so stuffed (not to mention what this food was doing to our arteries, by stuffing them full of cholesterol) we wouldn’t feel like doing anything but sleeping.

Yesterday, after eating living vegetable loaf and stuffing warmed in the dehydrator, raw cranberry orange salad, orange slices, strawberries, marinated green beans, butternut squash soup, wild rice, and garlic mashed potatos (yes, we did eat a few things that were cooked – but made vegan style) – we felt great. Best of all, we enjoyed ourselves and took great care of our bodies in doing so – who said you can’t have it all?

Jean

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Healthy Eating Tips For The Holidays

Today’s Healthy Diet Podcast is about eating healthy for the upcoming holidays and for the New Year.

Show notes:

  • Get a jump start to meet and maintain health goals for the New Year.
  • In our October newsletter, we highlighted more holiday health tips.
  • Health is holistic: focus your goals on health for your whole body, mind and spirit.
  • Eating healthy is a key to your health, but it’s not the only key.
  • Get regular moderate exercise – it’s good for your body, mind and spirit. Duke University study shows exercise can be as effective as anti-depressants.
  • Exercise has mental, physical and spiritual benefits. Wonderful time of year – get outside – enjoy fresh, cool air.
  • Take time to de-stress and relax regularly. Chronic stress creates toxins, toxins lead to formation of acid, acid leads to disease.
  • Jean shares how eliminating TV has resulted in less stress and better sleep. Alan shares how changing his negative thoughts while driving is de-stressing him.
  • Set time aside to get daily spiritual nutrition. Take time to cultivate an attitude of gratitude – choose thankfulness.
  • Plan healthy simple foods to eat daily. Try a new fruit or vegetable each week. Have nuts, seeds, fresh and dried fruits, and vegetable sticks around for snacking.
  • Give yourself a gift of healthy encouragement. Sign up for Hallelujah Acres Newsletter. It’s free! hacres.com . Be encouraged by testimonies – wholesome recipes – practical information.

Alan

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