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.


 
 
Grass-fed burger recipe
Summer is here at last! (At least in my book, summer starts on Memorial Day weekend.) :-)  I'll have a homestead update for you soon with updated pictures of our garden (which is finally coming along nicely), but for the holiday weekend, I thought I'd keep it short and share a tasty recipe perfect for your holiday barbecue!

As you probably know if you've been reading this blog for a while, we are big fans of grass-fed meat. If you're going to eat meat, grass-fed is definitely the way to go (check out my previous post on this for why we feel so strongly about it).

My husband and I now purchase almost exclusively grass-fed meats through local farmers who raise their animals humanely on pasture. Not only do we know our food was treated well, but we also know it was fed food that was good for it, which makes it better for us! It also helps eliminate some of the other issues with conventionally raised industrially farmed meats. That's why our burgers for this Memorial Day's cookout will be grass-fed!

Below is a simple and delicious recipe that is perfect for the holiday weekend, or any other summer grilling occasion. The avocado adds plenty of healthy fats, and the garlic provides a nice flavor kick (though you can leave that out if you prefer a milder sauce).  I like mine with a few leaves of fresh lettuce from the garden, and a big slice of ripe tomato on top!


 
 
Fat for Fuel
Modern medicine wants you to believe that it holds the answer to disease, but if this is true, why aren't we healthier? In fact, today we suffer more chronic and debilitating diseases than ever before. More than half of all Americans struggle with chronic illnesses, and 1 in 5 deaths in the U.S. today are obesity-related.

So what is the key to this problem?

Many researchers now believe that the increase in chronic modern illness and disease over the past several decades is
largely the result of an inappropriate diet. (Surprise, surprise, right?) Most of us eat far too much sugar (and other simple carbs), and far too little healthy fats and fruits and vegetables.

Part of the problem is that we have been told for years that our bodies should run on glucose for fuel, so we need to make sure to consume plenty of carbs.

However, in the interesting video below, Dr. Joseph Mercola discusses some fascinating findings that suggest that fats are actually the preferred fuel of the human metabolism. By correcting our carb/protein/fat ratio in our diet, he contends that we can maintain long-term good health, especially when it comes to avoiding or even curing modern diseases such as diabetes and cancer.


 
 
Free Detox video class
This time of year, with the fresh air and sunshine of spring all around us, and dreams of beach vacations dancing in our heads, many people are inspired to start a new diet or undertake a "cleanse" or detox program.

Unfortunately, far too many of us have failed at diets - either finding them too restrictive to continue, or simply getting tired of missing out on all of our favorite foods and not seeing the results we were hoping for. Consequently, statistics show that most people who lose weight through dieting will gain it right back again within a matter of months (or sometimes weeks).

Detox programs are often difficult, and even though they may work in the short term, choking down weird concoctions or swallowing loads of pills every day gets old fast, so many people give up before they lose the weight they were hoping to.

But
what if you could achieve the same weight-loss effects without counting calories…and achieve dozens of other health benefits at the same time?