Keto & Paleo diets
If you've been reading this blog for a while, you may have noticed that my dietary philosophy is, well, "sorta Paleo." You probably already know that I'm not a huge fan of fad diets. In general, I think they do more harm than good, though I do acknowledge the benefits of following certain strict diets (i.e. vegan, grain-free, etc.) for a specified period of time for cleansing or elimination purposes. And of course, for those with certain health issues, completely eliminating certain foods may be advisable or necessary.

But I'm always interested to hear what others in the health community have to say about different diets, so I was curious when I saw a recent blog post by author, blogger, and natural health expert, Robyn Openshaw about "Why Ketosis (and Paleo) Diets Will Fail." I have been following Robyn for several years, and I respect her opinions and her work, so I thoroughly read her post, and it was interesting enough to me that I actually wrote a response, which I don't often do on other blogs.

Below are some of Robyn's assertions about the ketogenic and Paleo diets - as well as my response...


 
 
Toxicity quiz
After a holiday season filled with sweets and rich foods, I always feel like the start of the new year is a great time to cleanse and detoxify - purifying your bodily systems for a fresh new year ahead!

No matter what type of diet or eating plan you follow, you likely have toxins built up in your body that you aren't even aware of. After all, toxins can accumulate in our tissues from many sources. From your personal care and cleaning products, to air pollution (both inside and outside the home), to the water you drink and the food you eat, toxins can come from many different sources.

Of course, you probably already know that your body has many built-in mechanisms for removing these toxins; however, depending on how much toxic exposure you've had over the past year (or years), it may be more than your body can handle without some support - especially if you are continuing to load your body with more toxins from the sources listed above. 


If you're not sure whether you need to do a detox, below I've listed some signs that your body could probably use some support in its detoxification efforts.

Or, go take this interesting quiz to find out your body's toxicity score...


 
 
Fermented cranberry sauce
This is the week when families gather to spend time together enjoying delicious food and sharing their blessings with those they love. I am fortunate to have part of my family coming to spend Thanksgiving with us this year for the first time since we got married, so I am very excited, though still have a lot of preparation to get done before they arrive on Wednesday...

Our Thanksgiving table will be filled with a bounty of goodness - more from our own harvest every year, or at least, that is the hope! We have plans for the usual turkey and stuffing, with carrots and onions and celery from our own garden, plus our own mashed potatoes with homemade turkey gravy, loads of mixed greens from the garden, green beans that I froze from the garden this fall, homemade sweet potato pie with my mom's sweet potatoes, and a blended salad with my mom's lettuce and our arugula and fresh radishes.

And of course, we can't forget the cranberry sauce! Cranberry sauce is an essential ingredient for me when it comes to Thanksgiving dinner. I'd almost forgo the turkey in favor of cranberry sauce if I had to choose! :-) 

Of course, cranberries don't exactly grow here, so these will always have to come from elsewhere, but I can still put my own twist on them. In fact, I recently heard about naturally fermented cranberry sauce, so of course, I had to learn more!  As you may know, I've become kind of obsessed with fermenting things over the past couple of years... :-)  Not just because of the many health benefits, but also because of the important place that this almost-forgotten art holds in human history - and lastly, because fermented stuff is just so darned delicious!

I had never thought of fermenting cranberries, but I have been in a flurry of fermentation this fall, and I feel like I'm really starting to get the hang of it, so why not try something a bit more advanced? I'm still mastering ginger ale and hard cider, but I feel like I've got the veggies down. Right now we have 2 batches of sauerkraut, a half-gallon of kimchi, a quart of pickled pepper salsa base, and a quart of mixed vegetable antipasto (100% from our garden except for the olives) all stashed in the fridge.

I'm not sure if this recipe will have time to ferment by Thanksgiving this year, but I will definitely be trying it soon!


 
 
Gut health tips
I've been talking about the importance of gut health and a healthy and balanced microbiome for years, and it seems the mainstream medical community is finally getting on board! There have been more and more recent studies coming out about how much those tiny little bacteria that make up your microbiome really impact all areas of your health - from your digestive system and your immune system all the way to your brain.

In fact, mental issues from depression, to Alzheimer's disease, to autism and even addiction have now been found to have links to the health of your gut bacteria.

So it almost goes without saying that ensuring those little "critters" are healthy is imperative if you want to be healthy as well!

The good news is, taking care of your gut bacteria isn't really all that difficult. The 7 simple tips below will help you to rebuild and rebalance your gut bacteria if you haven't paid much attention to it before, and to maintain a healthy balance from now on.


 
 
Green tomato pickles recipe
We're back!!  Whew! Sorry for the long, unplanned absence... If you're a newsletter subscriber, you may know that our site access was impacted by Hurricane Harvey (though we are nowhere near Houston, apparently, our web servers are). While fortunately, the site remained available to our readers during this time, I have been unable to log into our website for 3 weeks. The good news is that for those who are subscribed to our weekly updates, we were able to continue to provide you with great recipes, workout ideas, and health and gardening tips via email. If you haven't subscribed yet, be sure to do so via the form to the right - this way if this ever happens again, you won't be left out of the loop!

Anyway, on with the show!

Over the past few weeks, our oddly cool August has transitioned into an even cooler September, with temperatures so low at night I actually considered trying to cover some of the remaining summer garden! However, we didn't quite hit frost-like temperatures, so although the tomatoes and peppers aren't too happy with me, at least everything is still alive, and hopefully, will continue growing/ripening for at least a few more weeks. But if a frost had actually threatened, I would have been left with a LOT of green tomatoes on hand.

If you're in a pickle with too many green tomatoes, it can be a bit challenging to figure out what to do with them all - after all, there are only so many fried green tomatoes a person can eat, right?

Refrigerator pickles to the rescue!

The recipe below is a great way to preserve some of those green beauties for later use. This recipe is not canned, so these will need to be stored in the refrigerator, but they should keep for several months. These are easy to make, and absolutely delicious! Check out the recipe below, or bookmark it for later if you're not quite ready to pick your green ones just yet...


 
 
Real Health With Whole Foods Class
For this month's free gift, I'm sharing an awesome video "Masterclass" on achieving real health with whole foods. It's presented by one of my favorite natural health authors, Robyn Openshaw, also known online as "The Green Smoothie Girl."

In this eye-opening free class, Robyn explains some of the major health issues facing us today (inflammation, gut health, and more), and how you can combat these issues naturally via your diet.

Read more below to find out more about this special online class, and how you can attend for FREE for a limited time...


 
 
The truth about coconut oil
You may have heard of the recent hullabaloo over coconut oil after the recent USA Today article stating that coconut oil is bad for you. This article was based on a report from the American Heart Association, and it caused a storm of controversy and alarm among natural health experts and enthusiasts who have wholeheartedly embraced coconut oil in recent years.

After reading a number of comments and articles in response to this "news," I decided it was time to jump into the fray and clear up some of this confusion!

I have written about coconut oil before, but it has been a while. However, none of the research has substantially changed since then, so why would there be a backlash against coconut oil now? That I can't answer, but I can address some of the concerns raised by the recent article.


 
 
Free Chocolate Bars
Ahh - July...it's hard to believe the year is half over already! We have been enjoying some warm and sunny weather, and the garden is going bananas (see last week's post for more about that craziness). We are looking forward to the annual 4th-of-July barbecue, fireworks, and outdoor concert with some dear friends on Tuesday. I wish you a safe, happy, and memorable holiday as well!

But now, on to the monthly giveaway!

This month, we're excited to share a tasty treat from our friends over at Thrive Market. If you're not familiar with Thrive yet, they are an online marketplace where you can find all sorts of healthy organic foods and other products at lower prices than at most other stores. They also have an awesome mission of helping lower-income families afford healthy food, and supporting sustainable farmers and food producers - a cause that as you may know is very near and dear to my heart!

Below are a few more details about Thrive Market, plus a link to grab your free box of delicious Primal Kitchen organic dark chocolate almond bars.  Wait a minute - candy that's good for you??  That's right!  :-)  Get yours below...


 
 
Is Dairy Healthy?
Few foods have a more interesting history than dairy. For the past several decades, dairy has been touted as so essential for good health that, if you listened to the ads, it seemed the bones of small children must simply crumble away to dust without their daily glass of milk!

However, in recent years dairy has begun to fall out of favor as digestive issues such as irritable bowel syndrome and lactose intolerance have become more prevalent - or at least more obvious. 

So what is the real story on dairy? Is it good for you, or bad? Should you limit your consumption, or avoid it all together?

Today we will take a look at some of these questions and attempt to clear up some of the confusion surrounding dairy.


 
 
Homegrown Food Summit 2017
Welcome to June! For this month's "free giveaway," we're handing out tickets to an amazing event that anyone who is interested in real health, self-sufficient living, or making sure that the food you feed your family is safe and healthy will NOT want to miss!

That's right - registration is now open for the 3rd annual Home Grown Food Summit.

This awesome event kicks off Monday, June 12th, and it includes presentations from more than 38 experts on food, homegrown and natural medicines, homesteading,
urban gardening, raising livestock for dairy, eggs, and protein, and many more health and self-sufficiency topics - plus, you'll have the opportunity to win some really cool prizes for your homestead! (See below for details.)

Get your FREE Ticket here, or learn more about the event below.