<![CDATA[Holistic Living: Your Pathway to a Balanced Life - Blog]]>Tue, 21 Nov 2017 02:22:22 -0500Weebly<![CDATA[Recipe: Naturally Fermented Cranberry Sauce]]>Sun, 19 Nov 2017 20:24:43 GMThttp://newholisticliving.com/1/post/2017/11/recipe-naturally-fermented-cranberry-sauce.htmlFermented 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!

This recipe is adapted from GrowForageCookFerment.com.  When I make this, I will make a couple of changes. First of all, I always feel weird using a milk product in fermentation (not sure why, it just seems weird), so I don't usually use whey in my ferments. What I do use often when fermenting fruit-based things is a ginger bug, which I think would be perfect for this recipe - especially since it already contains ginger! However, since it has honey and raw fruit in it, it should ferment on its own without the culture - it will probably just take a few days longer. I would expect it to take a week to 10 days to ferment without any added culture - depending on the temperature. If you have someplace warm (above 70) to put it, it should be ready in less than a week. 

Secondly, I would really urge you to use organic cranberries if at all possible, not only could they ferment better (sometimes non-organic fruit is treated with fungicides to keep it from spoiling, which could mess with your ferment), but I was also reading recently about how bad conventional cranberry farming is for the environment. Organic cranberries can sometimes be found for not much more than the regular kind, especially since you're likely not going crazy and buying pounds and pounds of them. Spend the extra buck for a bag of organic - it's worth it.

Lastly, as with any ferment, be sure to use non-chlorinated water. If you're not sure you have a clean source, use bottled! Otherwise, you will end up with a nasty mess, instead of a yummy, healthy lacto-fermented treat.

Without further ado:

Naturally Fermented Cranberry Sauce
(Makes about 1 quart.)

  • 12 ounce bag of whole cranberries (I recommend organic)
  • juice from 2 tangerines or 1 orange
  • hunk of ginger, grated
  • 2 Tbsp raw honey or maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp brine (from another ferment) or whey (optional) (OR 2 Tbsp active ginger bug)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (Himalayan or unrefined sea salt)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 whole cloves
  • unchlorinated water


1. First, you will need to smash the cranberries slightly to break their skins and allow the fermentation process to begin. Some recipes suggest pulsing them in a food processor, which you can do if you like. If you prefer whole berries, just crush them slightly with a potato masher or the bottom of a pint mason jar.

2. Pack the berries into a wide-mouth quart jar. Add the whey/ginger bug/brine - whatever you are using as a culture (or skip it to let it ferment naturally by itself).

3. Add salt, cinnamon stick, cloves, and grated ginger.

4.  Add the orange or tangerine juice, and then the honey or maple syrup.

5. Fill the jar with non-chlorinated water up to about 1" below the rim.

6. Put a tight-fitting lid on the jar and shake until everything is well combined.

7. Now you will want to weigh the cranberries down with something so they will stay beneath the surface of the brine (otherwise, mold may occur). Some fermentation kits come with a weight for this purpose. If yours doesn't, or if you don't have a fermentation kit, you can also use the ziplock bag method (described below). Once you have your cranberries securely submerged in the brine, attach your lid and airlock.

7a. If you don't have a fermentation kit with an airlock, you can achieve the same result with a ziplock bag. It's a little messier, but still works just fine. Take a smallish ziplock bag (no larger than quart size), and open it. Insert the bottom of the bag into the mouth of your quart jar. Fill the bag with filtered water up to the lip of the jar (though it won't be touching your brine, you still want to use non-chlorinated water just in case anything leaks
- or at least I like to), making sure that the bag seals securely to the top of your brine, and there are no air pockets. Zip the bag closed.

8. Set the jar in a dark location between 65 and 75 degrees (the cooler end of this range will ferment more slowly; if it's over 70, it will be ready sooner).
I highly recommend setting the jar in a bowl or saucer - especially if you are using the ziplock bag method, as leaks can occur as the fermentation begins to bubble. Depending on the temperature in the room and the type of culture you used, it should be ready in 5-10 days. Taste after 5 days, and see if it is tangy and bubbly. If not, leave it a few more days.

How do they taste? Well, according to the recipe creator,

_"...to my surprise they were quite mellow and pleasantly fizzy.  Somehow the fermentation process took out all of the astringent and sour bite that fresh cranberries usually have... Before serving to a crowd, I suggest adding a little drizzle of honey or maple syrup at the table, just for a touch more sweetness and a gorgeous presentation."
I can't wait to try them! If you make them before I do, let me know how they turn out! :-)

I will be back next week with my Annual Thanksgiving List, but in the meantime, have a wonderful, safe, and blessed Thanksgiving!

To your health,

Recipe Source: www.GrowForageCookFerment.com.

<![CDATA[5 Natural Ways to Improve Your Mental Health & Reduce Stress This Holiday Season]]>Sun, 12 Nov 2017 21:15:01 GMThttp://newholisticliving.com/1/post/2017/11/5-natural-ways-to-improve-your-mental-health-reduce-stress-this-holiday-season.htmlRelieve holiday stress naturally
Yes, hard as it is to believe, the holidays are just around the corner...

While children feel a sense of excitement during this time of year, it seems as adults, we tend to lose the magic and instead focus on the stress the holidays brings. This is unfortunate since we all experience way too much stress in our modern world already - and it's killing us...

Search for the term "stress and disease" on Google, and you'll find nearly 600,000,000 results - and with good reason. Nearly every type of disease you can think of can be either caused or exacerbated by stress.

Stress puts your body in "fight or flight" mode, taking valuable resources away from the healing and detoxifying activities that your body needs to engage in on a continual basis to avoid disease. Chronic and ongoing stress causes inflammation, which, as you probably already know, is a major cause of many of our modern diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.

So what's the good news?

Well, the good news, of course, is that there is something you can do about it!

While it may not be totally possible to avoid all stress (and you probably wouldn't want to anyway), there are plenty of things you can do to help lower your stress levels and cope with stress in healthier ways, which will improve both your mental and your physical health.

Best of all, they are safe, natural, and (for the most part) totally free!
  So read on to find out how you can improve your mental health and keep stress at bay, and save your money for those important holiday gifts...

Stress Reducer #1: Good Nutrition

You knew I was going to start with food, right? :)   Of course what you eat has an impact on your mental state! After all, when you eat, you're not just feeding your mouth - or even your stomach. You are also feeding your brain.

There are a number of recent studies showing a link between poor mental health and poor nutrition. Eating healthy and nutritious foods can and does help improve your mood - and it can also help you cope with stressful situations.

As a simple example, think of how many times you have felt stressed out and grumpy because you were hungry? Conversely, you likely find it hard to remember a time when you were upset after eating a good meal - at least, these instances are few and far between. 

Unhealthy eating habits don't just impact your body - they also impact your mind. So keep that in mind next time you reach for that bag of junk food...
Instead, choose healthy, whole, and vitamin-rich foods - and try to keep from binging on sweets, which only lead to blood sugar spikes and crashes - another cause of inflammatory stress.

Stress Reducer #2: Being Grateful

Yes, it's almost that time of year - Thanksgiving is only a week away, which means it's time to count your blessings! (Stay tuned as I'll be sharing my 2017 gratitude list with you soon...)

It may sound simple, but the act of focusing on what you are grateful for is an incredible stress reliever! In fact, it's one of my absolute favorite ways to de-stress and put myself in a better mood. And it's not just me.
Psychology Today lists seven key scientific benefits of being grateful:
  • Better relationships
  • Improved psychological health
  • Increased empathy
  • Better sleep
  • Increased self-esteem
  • Greater mental strength
  • Improved physical health
So what is the best way to practice being grateful? Starting a gratitude journal is one way. Or you can just build a gratitude list - which is what I use. Then, at least once a day, spend a few minutes meditating on your list. You'll naturally feel your stress melting away. It may take some practice, but with time, I believe it will become one of your favorite parts of the day!

3. Meditation

Once seen as "new-agey" and a bit hokey, meditation is now coming into its own in the West. In fact, according to scientific research, mindful meditation actually alters both brain and immune function in a lasting way. It may not seem like much, but there is a reason why God said: "be still and know that I am God." We, humans, are meant to take time to rest - not to go-go-go on a continual basis as so many of us do. However you choose to meditate, taking some time to focus inward and leave behind the outward stressors of the world around us is a good thing for both your physical and your mental health.

There are many forms of meditation and many ways to do it. I often find myself most in a meditative state on my yoga mat after a good workout. Guided meditations before bed can help me to sleep better and feel more rested and focused the next day. I also try to meditate on my gratitude list daily. Or you can also try brainwave entrainment audios, which I have also enjoyed on occasion. There are lots of other ways too - meditation is a very personal practice. If prayer is a form of meditation you enjoy, go for it! If you like to meditate on nature while jogging, do it. There's no wrong way, as long as you are fully present in the moment and experiencing all that moment is bringing to you.

4. Exercise

Ah yes, exercise - the universal stress-reliever! Not only does regular exercise obviously burn calories and fat and help you look and feel better about yourself, but it also relieves depression and helps you sleep better. Of course, there are all the other physical benefits too, such as weight loss, reduced blood pressure, improved blood flow, detoxification, and more. 

Never forget that humans were made to MOVE! Move more, and both your brain and your body will benefit. (Check this page for some fun ways to exercise, and be sure to follow our Holistic Health blog for weekly workouts every Wednesday!)

5. Loving Relationships

With today's hyper-connected world of cell phones and social media, you would think we would all have loads of friends and close relationships, but the reverse is actually true. In fact, instead we are becoming more and more isolated in a way - cut off from the close ties we used to have within our communities. Unlike previous generations, we no longer come together as a group to build barns or houses, to work in the fields, or to share in foods from the harvest or the hunt. In fact, many of us no longer even come together at the dinner table over a home-cooked meal!

Unfortunately, this disconnection is taking a toll on our mental health, leading to increased stress, anxiety, and depression.

So, I encourage you to find joy in your relationships this holiday season. Despite what we may like to think, the truth is we all need each other. It's part of being human.

You may be thinking, "but my family stresses me out!", but I urge you to take a deep breath, use one of the methods above if you need to, and focus on the joys and gifts your family brings this holiday season. And if you truly don't have a healthy relationship with your family and can't find any positives in that environment, find time to spend with some close friends instead. There is honestly nothing better in the world for relieving stress than a good belly laugh among people you love!  :-)

Lastly, try to find just a bit of the magic in the season that you saw when you were a child. Enjoy a cozy fire or a cup of eggnog - and really enjoy it, don't just go through the motions. Focus on how wonderful it feels to be with the people who love you. Stop to admire the Christmas lights. Go caroling. Kiss someone under the mistletoe!

While the holidays may not ever be completely stress-free, with a bit of practice and mindfulness, you can get a lot more enjoyment - and a lot less stress - out of this special season.

Happy holidays!  :-)

Source: Opinions expressed are my own, but some of these ideas are sourced from Blog.310nutrition.com.
<![CDATA[November Gift: 20% Off for Your Holiday Shopping!]]>Sun, 05 Nov 2017 20:44:20 GMThttp://newholisticliving.com/1/post/2017/11/november-gift-20-off-for-your-holiday-shopping.html20% Off Thrive Market
I apologize for the lack of a post last week - my sister came to visit for the weekend, and we went shopping and to the movies, and the time got away from me! However, I'm back this week - and it's NOVEMBER (hard to believe as that is), so it's time for your monthly "Freebie"!

With the holidays coming up, this month's gift is a bit different. I figured you could use some help with your holiday shopping, so I am excited to let you know that my favorite place to shop online for natural foods, personal care products, and other great gifts is offering our readers 20% off your first 3 orders for the months of November and December!

Head on over to Thrive Market to start shopping now, or read more below to find out more about this special holiday offer...

Thrive Market is one of my favorite online shopping sites. I love their mission, their prices, and their huge selection of all kinds of goodies - from delicious and healthy natural foods, to body care products and home cleaning products without all the chemicals and junk.

With the holidays coming up, I know I'll be doing a lot of shopping at Thrive, and I wanted to share some of the reasons I love shopping there, so you can learn a bit more before you try them out for yourself!

Thrive Market’s mission is simple: make healthy living and organic food accessible to everyone, by offering organic, wholesome foods and non-toxic home and body care products for less than what you’ll find in traditional retail stores - all delivered straight to your door.

Here are just a few of the perks you can enjoy when you join:
  • Everyday low prices: Find all the non-GMO foods and healthy products you love at 25-50% below retail prices—all shipped right to your front door. Shop trusted brands like Weleda, Spectrum Naturals, Garden of Eatin’, Bob’s Red Mill, Nature’s Path, Eden Foods, Annie’s Homegrown, Earth’s Best, Seventh Generation, Garden of Life, Jason Naturals and many more!
  • Get everything you need: non-GMO food, snacks, vitamins, supplements, personal care products, eco-friendly cleaning supplies, safe and nontoxic beauty products, kitchen staples, homegoods, organic baby food, kids products and much, much more.
  • Find exactly what you need - fast: The site and app make it easy to shop by category and dietary need, like “Paleo,” “vegan,” “raw,” and “gluten-free. 
  • Eco-friendly company: All packaging, boxes and inserts are made from recycled paper and are recyclable. Thrive Market is 100% carbon neutral and certified through carbonfund.org. Our certification covers national shipping, packaging materials, warehouse utilities, even the commutes of our team.
  • Get free shipping on all orders over $49.

Shop Thrive Market’s incredible catalog of products, and see how much you can save on everything from Paleo-friendly and gluten-free foods to eco-friendly home goods.

Plus, as a new customer during the months of November and December, you can enjoy an extra 20% Off your first 3 orders!

Click Here to Shop & Save...

Happy healthy shopping!  :-)


P.S. What are you waiting for? Sign up for FREE now, and save an extra 20% Off your first 3 orders!

<![CDATA[7 Simple Secrets to Good Gut Health]]>Sun, 22 Oct 2017 18:32:11 GMThttp://newholisticliving.com/1/post/2017/10/7-simple-secrets-to-good-gut-health.htmlGut 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.

1.) Eat lots of vegetables and small amounts of fruit.

Fiber is one of the main foods that good bacteria in your gut feed on, so make sure you are eating plenty of veggies which contain the enzymes and types of fiber that your microbiome needs. All types of green vegetables, and especially root vegetables provide lots of good food for your gut bacteria.

Fruit is good for you as well, but be careful not to consume too much of it, especially if you have problems with yeast, as the sugars in fruit can also lead to an overgrowth of yeasts. Avoid fruit juices, which are high in sugar and lower in fiber, and when you do eat fruit, consume it in its whole form.

2.) Add fermented foods to your diet!

I've written about fermented foods a lot in the past, and for good reason. Fermented foods are not only one of the absolute best ways to repopulate the good bacteria and restore balance in your gut, but they also are also good for you in other ways as well, plus they are just plain delicious!

Fermenting many vegetables and even grains helps to make them more digestible, and increases the availability of the nutrients they contain, so your body is able to get more nourishment than it would from the same food in its un-fermented state.

Humans consumed fermented foods for thousands of years, as up until the advent of refrigeration, it was one of the main ways to preserve fresh foods and keep them from spoiling. Some health experts now believe that the rapid growth of many kinds of digestive and other health problems and diseases in the modern world is linked to the loss of fermented foods in our diet.

The good news is, home fermentation is generally very safe, and a lot easier than you might think! (Check out our archives for some easy recipes to try.) There are many different kinds of fermented foods that you can add to your diet, and the more of them you consume, the more balanced and healthy your gut bacteria will become. It's easy and fun to make your own naturally fermented vegetable pickles, kimchi, sauerkraut,
yogurt, kefir, kombucha and other beverages, and even vinegar. Tempeh, miso, and even beer, wine and dark chocolate are also fermented - though don't go overboard on these last two for obvious reasons! :-)

If you are purchasing any of these foods rather than making them yourself, make sure they have a label stating that they contain live cultures (in most cases these should be refrigerated) and that they have not been pasteurized after culturing.

3.) Take a good-quality probiotic supplement.

Especially if you are just getting started with caring for your gut bacteria, or if you have recently taken an antibiotic drug for any reason, taking a high-quality probiotic supplement with a wide variety of bacterial strains and high numbers of beneficial bacteria can help to re-establish a positive bacterial balance, and eliminate unhealthy bacteria and yeasts that may already  have a foothold in your digestive tract.

If you wish to take a probiotic supplement on an ongoing basis, this can help your body maintain good levels of healthy bacteria, but if you choose not to do this, just make sure that you do take one for at least several months after using antibiotics or recovering from an illness.

4.) Avoid refined flour and sugar.

(You knew I was going to say this, didn't you?) While many of us are somewhat addicted to these substances, refined grains and sugars are some of the worst things you can eat - not just for your gut bacteria, but for your overall health. These foods encourage the growth of pathogenic bacteria and yeasts which can proliferate in your gut, smothering out healthy bacteria and leading to all kinds of digestive and other health problems.

As difficult as it may be, take steps to begin cutting these refined and highly-processed foods out of your diet. Substitute whole grains (preferably sprouted/fermented), and small amounts of natural and minimally processed sugars only, such as raw honey (which contains natural anti-bacterial properties plus lots of healthy enzymes and other good stuff), maple syrup, and unrefined date sugar.

5.) Never take antibiotics unless it is absolutely medically necessary!

What is an antibiotic? It's the opposite of a pro-biotic. Basically, it kills bacteria - and it does so fairly indiscriminately. Antibiotics kill off all the good bacteria in your gut - as well as the bad! Unfortunately, this often means that, without proper feeding and supplementation, the bad bacteria are able to re-grow and take over your system before your good bacteria gets re-established. This is why it is so important to take a good probiotic after a course of antibiotics.

Unfortunately, antibiotics are prescribed far too often in today's world, and often when they are not even needed, and will cause more harm than good. If your doctor tries to prescribe you an antibiotic, make sure you ask why, and exactly what the antibiotic will do to help you get better. Remember that antibiotics are useless against a virus! Unless you have a bacterial infection, antibiotics are usually unnecessary and should be avoided.

Also, be aware that many commercially-raised meat animals are fed high levels of antibiotics - both to keep them healthy in unhealthy environments until slaughter, and sometimes to promote weight gain and faster growth. Some of these antibiotics may make their way into your body if you consume this meat, so if you are a meat eater, try to steer clear of conventionally-raised meats, and instead, choose grass-fed or pasture-raised meats, which are typically not given nearly as many antibiotics.

6.) Avoid chlorine whenever possible.

Chlorine is added to most municipal water supplies to kill and control bacterial growth. While this may be helpful in preventing water-borne illnesses, it is most decidedly not helpful to your general health. Chlorine can upset your bacterial balance when you consume it through drinking water, or even by skin absorption when showering.

To keep your microbiome healthy, consider installing a whole-house water filter that removes chlorine, or at least use a water filter for your drinking water and on your shower head.

7.) Don't use antibacterial soaps, wipes, or hand sanitizers.

Recent studies have found that Triclosan, the main ingredient in antibacterial soaps and hand sanitizers, is one of the main causes of antibiotic resistance, and also contributes to the development of allergies, asthma, and eczema in some people. Triclosan was recently banned in some states (and many countries outside of the U.S.) in most consumer products due to these issues, but other antibacterial chemicals still on the market can have a similar effect.

Unless you work in a hospital or in a highly-contagious environment, 99% of harmful germs can be controlled by simple hand washing with hot water and regular soap - which is much better both for your health, and the health of your microbiome.

As we are continually discovering at ever-deeper levels of detail, the health of your bacterial colony, the health of your body, and the health of your brain are intricately connected in ways that we don't even fully understand yet.

Taking care of these little "critters" should be a top priority if you want to be healthy, so watch out for their needs when you eat, drink, and go about your daily activities, and they will repay your attention with good health for years to come!

To your good (gut) health!


<![CDATA[Homesteading Update: Canning, Pickling, and Fermenting, Oh My!]]>Sun, 15 Oct 2017 20:13:06 GMThttp://newholisticliving.com/1/post/2017/10/homesteading-update-canning-pickling-and-fermenting-oh-my.htmlFood preservationGreen beans - pickled, & ready for freezing.
Hey, I'm back, and I apologize for the lack of a post last week. I had the best of intentions, but with my mother and sister visiting, I wasn't able to break away long enough to get on the blog last weekend...

It was a lovely visit - we went apple picking, sat around our new fire pit on a windy fall evening, and had plenty of laughs and great meals together. My mom is such a workhorse she cleaned out a great big section of the garden where we will be laying out next year's hay bales soon, and also cleaned up my front flower beds. It was great to see them, and I'm so excited my little sister will be only 2 hours away for the next few months!

Along with all of the visiting, I've been in major food-preservation mode for the past few weeks. This year's tomato harvest was amazing despite all of our garden challenges this season, and we ended up with more canned tomatoes than we have ever made before, plus various pickles, and loads of frozen veggies as well. Below are some of this year's efforts, though it is still a work in progress! (Want my recipes? Just follow the links in the post below...)

We had a very challenging start to the garden season - cold for much longer than usual, then suddenly hot and dry. We were plagued with pests almost immediately - cucumber beetles being the worst of it to start with. They killed about half of my melon plants, and all of the cucumbers, and did quite a number on the squash as well. The squash all perished soon afterward, succumbing to squash bugs and vine borers. I eventually dried my tears and went on, as all gardeners must!

Things picked up a bit from there, as we were treated to cooler temperatures for the rest of the summer, as well as plenty of rain. In fact, I didn't even turn on my irrigation lines from the end of June until early September!
Home canned goodsLots and lots of canned tomatoes!
However, with all the rain, during one particularly bad storm, one entire bed of tomatoes blew over - stakes and all. My husband and I managed to pick it all up and next year we will be using the heavy-duty metal stakes for the tomato beds! We lost a lot of tomatoes, but ended up with so many after all that it may have been a blessing in disguise... As I mentioned above, the tomatoes went crazy this year. We ended up canning 42 quarts! (Our previous record was 36, but we grew fewer tomato plants this year.) I didn't dry any this year (we still have quite a few dried tomatoes left over from last year), but I did freeze quite a few as well. However, due to the lack of peppers (as I will explain shortly), I wasn't able to can much salsa - just a few pints.

The peppers suffered from some kind of weird early blight, and I wasn't even sure they were going to make it, but they suddenly pulled through around the beginning of August and finally started blooming, so we are just finally getting peppers NOW!  We definitely won't end up with as many as usual, but I should be able to freeze quite a few green ones at least. I am waiting as long as possible, hoping for some colored ones as well before it freezes...

PictureA hill of beans!
The green beans also had a slow start - partly due to a vole which was eating them - plants and all! I eventually found out what was happening, and removed all of the mulch from the bed, which seemed to resolve the problem. We ended up with pounds and pounds of beans - I lost count of how many bags I froze! I also pickled a couple of jars of "dilly beans" - we haven't tried those yet... We are still picking a couple of pounds per week right now!

The dry beans did really well too - probably due to all the rain. The Jacob's cattle beans are currently drying in the loft, and I will be pulling the black beans soon as well. Fortunately other than letting them dry and shelling them, no preservation is needed for those. :-)

With no cucumbers or squash, I didn't do a ton of pickling this year, but I was able to do a small jar of pickled squash that a neighbor gave us (we love these on hamburgers!), and a bit of okra as well as the green beans. I should also be able to do a couple more jars of banana peppers (which my husband loves), as our only banana pepper plant is finally loaded.

Those are pickled with vinegar - not naturally fermented - but I feel confident enough with fermentation now that I think I will try making some fermented pepper pickles as well, once we start harvesting a lot of the peppers. I found a cool-looking recipe for a fermented pepper salsa base in Mother Earth News that I want to try...

One of my giant cabbages before...
...And after! :)
My gorgeous Chinese cabbages started off great (I started them earlier this year than last year), and then recently were stricken with some kind of rot due to the hot weather in September, so I am having to harvest them already. I was hoping to have them into the winter (though maintaining them until February last year was way too much work), but I'd rather pick them now than have them all rot away.

I have 2 jars of kimchi brewing right now, and have promised my husband a big batch of sauerkraut to follow. I am just trying to pick them as soon as they start looking unhealthy, but will keep a few in the garden as long as I can - we sure don't have room for them in the fridge!
Homemade ginger ale - brewing...
Beautiful apples, ready for juicing!
We're also preserving some off-homestead foods as well. We got a couple of pounds of organic baby ginger from a local farm, and our yearly batch of ginger ale is brewing as we speak. It may be more of a ginger beer this year, as I think I let it go a week or so longer than usual before refrigerating, but it always turns out spicy and delicious!

And the giant bag of apples we picked last weekend is waiting in the crisper for juicing in preparation for my annual batch of hard cider - always an interesting adventure that turns out different every time! :-)

I guess that's the round-up for now! Other than the few exhausting weeks of canning tomatoes, it has been a good year, and not too stressful preservation-wise. So far, I've had time to tackle everything mostly one at a time. When the first freeze comes, I'm sure I'll be pretty busy cleaning, chopping, and freezing peppers and celery for a week or two. But in the meantime, I'm enjoying the beautiful fall weather and the continued bounty of the garden! Then will come winter, or as we gardeners know it, "rest season"!  I can't deny there is a part of me that is looking forward to it... :-)

Do you preserve your own food? What foods do you preserve, and how? Let me know in the comments below, or drop me an email!


P.S. I just found out there is a really cool Homesteading Skills online summit coming up this week - I know it's short
notice, but check it out if you can - it looks awesome!

Go Here to Register for Free...

<![CDATA[[FREE Special Event] Little-Known Ways to Beat Cancer Naturally]]>Sun, 01 Oct 2017 19:27:28 GMThttp://newholisticliving.com/1/post/2017/10/free-special-event-little-known-ways-to-beat-cancer-naturally.htmlTruth About Cancer - Natural Cures
Ask just about anybody what their biggest health fear is, and you will most likely hear "cancer" at the top of the list - which is not surprising, considering that statistics show 1 out of 2 people will experience some type of cancer in their lifetime.

There is so much fear surrounding cancer because we still don't fully understand it. Cancer is a complex disease. It can be caused by literally thousands of different factors, and it can impact any part of the body individually, and can also spread throughout the body.

Millions of dollars are thrown towards "cancer research" every year, but still, we remain without a "cure." The truth is, a "cure" for cancer may be a long time coming, simply because of the complexity I just mentioned.

However, there are numerous natural substances that are already known to fight and even reverse cancer in various stages. Most of these work, of course, by strengthening the immune system. Your body is already naturally an amazing cancer fighter! It is when our bodies become toxic (through consistent exposure to hundreds of different chemicals in our environment), or weakened due to chronic stress, lack of sleep, improper nutrition, etc. that they become unable to perform their natural cancer-fighting functions.

The truth is, there is a chronic health problem in our country today that most people - including doctors - aren't talking about, and this a big part of the reason why cancer is so misunderstood - and so prevalent in today's modern world...

That problem is…

The lack of holistic or “whole-body” understanding throughout the mainstream medical community about how our bodies, our nutrition, and our minds work together naturally to heal disease… especially when it comes to cancer.

In fact, nutrition is not even taught in most medical schools! You can become a certified medical doctor today without having an ounce of knowledge about nutrition. But it's not really their faults. After all, the medical establishment is a behemoth that plays by their own set of rules. They need doctors who will keep prescribing pills, surgery, radiation, chemo and more to maintain the status quo...

To make matters worse, the understanding we have of our human bodies is going through a massive shift. Things are moving remarkably fast in the world of natural health!

It seems like every day there are new discoveries which are leading to a much deeper understanding on a molecular level about how our bodies manage to keep us alive and thriving.

New ideas in epigenetics, nutritional ketosis and light and sound therapies for treating cancer as well as other modern diseases like diabetes and Alzheimer’s are happening every minute of every day across the country and the globe.

Modern natural health warriors lead the way with "outside the box" ideas that may range far from the mainstream understanding of health… but some of the most interesting “breakthroughs” are actually coming to light as we begin to really examine our human ancestors.

A new breed of researchers, scientists and doctors are digging deep into our past to better understand how natural medicine has healed humans for centuries and even millennia.

Up until the very recent past, humans survived and even thrived using only what nature had to provide, and we’re learning every day just how powerful and effective some of those ancient remedies can be.  For example, “useless” plants, herbs and "weeds" that humans used for centuries to assist with healing are proving to have more potential than today's doctors ever thought possible.

And this week, there is an awesome event that I wanted to let you know about, where all these fantastic new ideas and amazing re-discoveries are coming together...

The Truth About Cancer LIVE is a 3-day event featuring 36 of the world’s leading experts in alternative health and medicine.

These brilliant minds will be sharing their latest cutting-edge cancer-fighting discoveries with you...

All streamed live into your living room for three action-packed days, starting on October 5th!

If you or a loved one is suffering from cancer, this information could very well save their lives. And if you worry about cancer, this information will help you to take control of your health and could even prevent the unthinkable from happening to you.

Find out all the details and sign up FREE to watch this LIVE life-changing event here!

To your health,

<![CDATA[Back to Eden Gardening - The Way God Intended?]]>Sun, 24 Sep 2017 18:36:02 GMThttp://newholisticliving.com/1/post/2017/09/back-to-eden-gardening-the-way-god-intended.htmlBack to Eden gardening method
A year or so, I was introduced to an interesting concept popularized by the gardening documentary, "Back to Eden."

In short, the concept is that God (or nature) grows plants perfectly and with no effort, and we have made gardening difficult by trying to change things and go against the way that nature works.

This appeals to me in a number of ways. Being a believer as well as a very curious person, I am always interested in learning more about how God works in the world all around us, and why things are the way they are. And of course, reducing the work it takes to maintain our large garden is always a welcome blessing! So I watched the movie and found it very interesting and inspiring.

We haven't truly implemented this system in our garden just yet, but I think we are starting to move in that direction. Here's what I learned from the movie, and what we have done with the information so far...

One of the main concepts of the film is that in nature, God designed the soil to always be covered. Industrialized large-scale forms of agriculture seem to have forgotten this principle, which is why we are losing so much topsoil at such an alarming rate, and soils are becoming more and more depleted (leading to greater applications of chemical fertilizers to maintain fertility, and all of the agricultural runoff and water pollution problems that result).  Of course, organic gardeners know the value of using plenty of mulch in terms of reduction in weeding, watering, etc. But the film explains that mulch goes far beyond simply reducing work in the garden. Mulch also enriches and feeds the soil, and prevents erosion by air and water. In short, covering your soil with a thick layer of mulch may be just about all you need to grow a healthy, productive, and beautiful garden!

The film promotes the use of wood chips for this purpose, although he admits that other organic materials (hay, straw, leaves, grass clippings, etc.) can also be used. I have relied heavily on grass clippings in years past, and still continue to do so, although we did have some problems with them this year - particularly in our bean beds. (Apparently, voles love to hide under the soft, fluffy layers of grass, and they were devouring our beans and bean plants alike. Removing all of the mulch from the beds seemed to fix the problem - so I will note this for next year.) Since we have a large supply of clean, chemical-free grass clippings from our large lawn, they are easy to come by, and they also decompose nicely, enriching the soil quickly. I cover all my garden beds with a thick layer of clippings for the winter, and when it's time for spring planting, they have all but melted away into the soil, but they still help prevent early spring weeds from taking hold before I can plant crops.

The use of wood chips is somewhat controversial among gardeners, but from what I can tell, those who have had problems with wood chips have used them incorrectly. As the film explains, you should never till or otherwise mix wood chips into your soil, as they will pull nitrogen from the soil as they decompose, and deplete your soil of nutrients. However, if you pile wood chips ON TOP of the soil, as the film recommends, they will decompose more slowly, and the bottom layers will gradually become incorporated into the soil and add nutrients as they turn into compost over time.

Our first foray into wood chips started this year, but we aren't exactly using them in quite the way the film explains...
PictureHere you can see the difference between
mulched (right) and un-mulched (left)
garden aisles.
Early in the summer, my husband and I were discussing the weed problem in the garden paths, which were quickly becoming unmanageable, and were difficult to mow, and I remembered the Back to Eden method and suggested the idea of putting down wood chips in the garden paths to keep the weeds down. We had discussed other methods before, but gravel seemed expensive and also uncomfortable to work with. (I would much rather walk around on wood chips than gravel!) Plus, I wasn't sure how effective it would really be at keeping the weeds down.

After some asking around, my husband was able to find a local source of free wood chips, and over several weeks, we piled them in between all of the garden beds. 

Although in many ways, this has been a very challenging summer garden-wise, in terms of weeds, it was the easiest one yet!

Last year, my husband mowed the garden paths every couple of weeks, and I spent hours and hours weeding around the edges of the beds where the mower couldn't reach, and between them where the drip irrigation lines ran. Even with all of our efforts, the pathways still always looked rather messy, and the weeding was never-ending.

This summer, all that was changed after the addition of the wood chips...

I now weed the garden paths for approximately 15-20 minutes once every 4-6 weeks. That's it! My husband now only has to mow around the perimeter of the garden, which only takes him a few minutes, and is much easier than trying to maneuver the mower between all the garden beds.

Our first summer here was a very rainy summer, and our heavy clay soil isn't the best at draining, which meant that our garden turned into a swamp every time it rained. Brackish water stood in the garden aisles for days at a time, attracting mosquitoes, as well as making it difficult to work in the garden.

An added benefit of the wood chips is - no standing water! This summer was nearly as rainy as the first, but I never once had to slosh through muddy water to tend the garden after a rain. Instead, I worked on a soft, thick and absorbent carpet of damp wood chips - no mosquito swamps in sight!

Wood chips in the gardenThe finished project.
Our experience thus far has been nothing but positive. We have yet to see how the chips will weather over time... Based on what I have seen during my few weeding sessions (I think I have weeded the garden aisles exactly 3 times since mid-June), there is a lot of decomposition going on down there. So what happens when the chips all decompose and now the pathways are full of dirt?? I guess we will have to figure something out then - perhaps scrape them out and add to the compost, then put down new chips?

I am not sure about putting wood chips in the actual garden beds - I worry they would inadvertently get mixed into the soil when planting, etc. But I might try it on a small area and see what happens. I think we will definitely use them when we plant trees, though. I am hopeful that this may help with the drainage issue (last time we planted fruit trees they all drowned), as well as keeping the grass down around the trees, which was also a problem with our first set of fruit trees. 

With raised beds, our garden setup is quite a bit different than the Back to Eden garden, but the basic concept makes so much sense, and it truly could be the answer to many of the soil problems we are facing today as a nation.

Besides the mulch concept, the movie is also just fun to watch - it's so awesome to see all the beautiful vegetables and think about how they grew in just the way God intended! I loved the focus on the garden as an integrated holistic system, as well as the emphasis on man "tending the garden" and actually taking care of the planet God gave us to live on - something that I find oddly lacking in most Christian discussions...

You can check out the Back to Eden film here - it is truly an inspiring watch!


<![CDATA[[Infographic] 5 Natural Ways to Keep Your Kids Healthy This School Year]]>Sun, 17 Sep 2017 19:57:27 GMThttp://newholisticliving.com/1/post/2017/09/infographic-5-natural-ways-to-keep-your-kids-healthy-this-school-year.htmlNatural health tips for kids
School is back in session for the fall, and for parents with small children, that means germs, germs, germs!

Having dozens of small children trapped in a classroom together all day, sharing books, toys, and who knows what else is a recipe for colds and other illnesses. Growing up, it seemed like whenever I was in school, I was sick straight through from the start of fall to the end of the school year in May!

While it may be impossible to avoid all the bugs going around during the fall and winter months, you can take steps to reduce your child's risk of illness, and hopefully shorten any illnesses he or she might come down with anyway.

The quick infographic below explains 5 tips for helping strengthen you and your child's immune system this winter, so that hopefully you all can avoid the worst of cold and flu season!

5 Natural Ways To Boost Your Kid
1.) Probiotics help to maintain a healthy balance of bacteria in the gut, which is your leading defense against pathogens. We take probiotics year-round, but if you don't, at least make sure to take them throughout the fall and winter months. Vitamin D is also one of the most important vitamins for healthy immune function - and with lower sunlight levels in the winter, as well as classes and/or cold weather keeping the kids indoors most of the time, it is important to make sure your kids are getting enough of this vitamin. As the infographic mentions, there are chewable versions of both probiotics and Vitamin D for kids if your child has trouble swallowing pills.

2.) Eating fresh, whole foods - especially lots of fruits and vegetables - is probably the best way for everyone to stay healthy year-round. Avoid processed foods, and especially sugar, which is a potent immune suppressant. Instead, your family can enjoy a wide variety of colorful fruits and veggies, grass-fed meats, and whole grains and legumes. Not only will your immune system be healthier, but all your other systems will be as well! (For some tips for cooking with these foods, be sure to check out our "Foodie Friday" recipes here!)

Some essential oils may have some immune-supportive benefits. Be careful when using these - especially with young children - as they can be very potent. Here is more information on the use of some of the most popular essential oils.

4.) While you may not think that your cleaning products have much to do with your immune system, in fact, some chemicals in household cleaners are quite dangerous to the respiratory system - especially for children. Even if they don't directly deplete the immune system, some toxins can build up over time, creating stress within your body, and lowering your immune response. 
For better health for the whole family, switch to all-natural cleaning products, or clean with safe substances such as vinegar and baking soda. Not only is this better for your family's health, but it's also better for the environment!

It seems that those glowing screens are everywhere these days... When I was growing up, televisions were just about the only screens around, but nowadays there are tablets, computers, and of course, cell phones in every room. And kids, in particular, are drawn to them like moths to a flame! Unfortunately, more and more studies are finding negative effects caused by kids' constant exposure to these devices. Not only do they disrupt sleep patterns (and sleep is one of the most important factors for a healthy immune system), but they are also quite addictive, and they tend to keep kids inside, away from the fresh air and sunshine that they need for good health.

Limit screen time for your children to after they have spent plenty of time outside and gotten plenty of physical exercise, and be sure all screens are put away at least 1 hour before bedtime.

While these tips won't guarantee that your kids won't get sick this winter, they can certainly help to decrease the odds and encourage a healthier year for everyone.

Stay well!

<![CDATA[Recipe: Quick Pickled Green Tomatoes]]>Sun, 10 Sep 2017 18:50:20 GMThttp://newholisticliving.com/1/post/2017/09/recipe-quick-pickled-green-tomatoes.htmlGreen 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...

This recipe is adapted from one by chef Renee Erickson. out of Seattle. You can use any green tomatoes for this recipe, but you will want to make sure they are fully green. If they are starting to turn color - even a little - the pickles will turn out mushy.

You can also modify this recipe to use small tomatoes, such as green cherry tomatoes. In this case, you can pickle them whole, and cook them only for 5 minutes.

If you like sweet and spicy pickles, you can also add a diced (or whole)
jalapeño pepper with the tomatoes before you add the brine - feel free to modify to suit your tastes - following the exact recipe isn't as important as with canned pickles since these will be refrigerated.

Quick Pickled Green Tomatoes

  •  1 ½ quarts white wine vinegar
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced thin
  • 2 pounds green beefsteak or other large green tomatoes, sliced into wedges or slices ½- to ¾-inch thick
  • ½ cup fresh tarragon leaves, stems removed


1. In a stainless-steel saucepan, combine the vinegar, sugar, salt, and garlic. Bring to a boil. When the sugar has dissolved, add the tomatoes. Simmer over low heat for 5-10 minutes, or until the tomatoes are tender but not mushy.

2. Strain the tomatoes, reserving the liquid in one container and tomatoes in another. Add the tarragon to the liquid. Refrigerate both until cool, then combine. Spoon into lidded glass containers and refrigerate for up to 3-4 months.

How to Eat Them:

There are many ways to enjoy these tomato pickles - from straight out of the jar, to topping a burger, and more. You can use them in place of any sweet pickle or relish. Or you can also serve them as a snack with crackers, cheese, olives, and other finger foods.

Got other ideas? Feel free to share them with us on our Facebook page!


Recipe Source: Rodale's Organic Life

<![CDATA[10 Amazing Health Benefits of Yoga]]>Sun, 20 Aug 2017 21:28:45 GMThttp://newholisticliving.com/1/post/2017/08/10-amazing-health-benefits-of-yoga.htmlHealth benefits of yoga
You may already know this, but...I love yoga! I love it so much, in fact, that I even started a blog about it this year. :-)

I have tried a number of different types of yoga, and Kundalini is the one that I find the most fulfilling - at least for the past few years. But regardless of which type of yoga you prefer, the fact is that yoga is just plain good for you!

Doctors, mental health professionals, and regular old yoga practitioners like you and me all agree - yoga has loads of awesome health benefits for people of all ages and physical conditions. Of course, any form of exercise has its benefits, but yoga has some very special ones that many other forms of exercise just don't provide - at least not to the same degree.

Below is a quick roundup of 10 amazing health benefits that you can experience for yourself simply by practicing yoga on a regular basis.

1. Improves Flexibility

The first physical benefit that you probably think of when you think of yoga is obviously flexibility. While you might struggle with some of the poses at first if you are inflexible (which most adults are), in time, you will really begin to notice a difference. According to Yoga Journal:
During your first class, you probably won't be able to touch your toes, never mind do a backbend. But if you stick with it, you'll notice a gradual loosening, and eventually, seemingly impossible poses will become possible. You'll also probably notice that aches and pains start to disappear. That's no coincidence. Tight hips can strain the knee joint due to improper alignment of the thigh and shinbones. Tight hamstrings can lead to a flattening of the lumbar spine, which can cause back pain. And inflexibility in muscles and connective tissue, such as fascia and ligaments, can cause poor posture.
2. Builds Muscle Strength

Another of the first physical benefits of yoga that you will notice is improved muscle strength. According to Gaiam.com:
The postures are meant to strengthen your body from the inside out, so you don’t just look good, you feel good, too. Each of the yoga poses is built to reinforce the muscles around the spine, the very center of your body, which is the core from which everything else operates. When the core is working properly, posture is improved, thus alleviating back, shoulder, and neck pain.
3. Pain Relief

One of the reasons I first started doing yoga was to relieve my chronic back pain. Yoga helps to stretch tight muscles, which helps to relieve pain and stiffness, but it also helps to strengthen the muscles at the same time as mentioned above, which lessens pain problems and risk of injury down the road. According to the American Osteopathic Association
“The relaxation techniques incorporated in yoga can lessen chronic pain, such as lower back pain, arthritis, headaches and carpal tunnel syndrome...”
And according to research on rheumatoid arthritis sufferers published in the Journal of Pain & Symptom Management,
A pilot study of eight people with rheumatoid arthritis showed that a six-week yoga program improved pain, pain disability, mental health, depression, vitality, and self-efficacy.
4. Stress Relief

Stress is a major health problem in today's modern world. Chronic stress has been linked to just about every type of disease and health issue, from heart disease to stroke, to high blood pressure, obesity, and chronic pain. This might be one of the reasons why yoga is so successful at relieving so many different health issues. Yoga's focus on the body, the breath, and moving through each pose helps to take your mind off the stresses of the day and allows you to become more mindful of the present moment. This is a great way to relieve stress - and all the health problems that come with it! As this article in Yoga Journal states,
Yoga encourages you to relax, slow your breath, and focus on the present, shifting the balance from the sympathetic nervous system (or the fight-or-flight response) to the parasympathetic nervous system. The latter is calming and restorative; it lowers breathing and heart rates, decreases blood pressure, and increases blood flow to the intestines and reproductive organs—comprising what Herbert Benson, M.D., calls the relaxation response.
5. Helps to Achieve & Maintain A Healthy Weight

Obviously, exercising regularly helps with weight loss, and some forms of yoga are more aerobic than others. However, research shows that there may be another reason why yoga helps you lose weight. According to researchers at Harvard Medical School,
...People who practiced yoga for at least 30 minutes once a week for at least four years, gained less weight during middle adulthood. People who were overweight actually lost weight. Overall, those who practiced yoga had lower body mass indexes (BMIs) compared with those who did not practice yoga. Researchers attributed this to mindfulness. Mindful eating can lead to a more positive relationship with food and eating.
6. Builds Stronger Bones

As we get older, we lose bone density - especially as we tend to sit more and move less as we age. Yoga can help to reduce this bone loss, and may even help to build denser bones for those who have already suffered some loss. As this article at YogaBasics.com explains,
A decrease of bone density is one of the biggest concerns among aging adults. Research has found that yoga improves bone density in people who have suffered from bone loss, including those with osteoporosis or osteopenia. Yoga uses opposing muscle groups and gravity to put pressure on the bones, which increases the production of bone-growing cells. Triangle pose, Warrior I and II, and Plank pose all emphasize opposing muscles.
7. May Improve Digestion

Reduced stress and increased movement aren't just better for your muscles and your mind - they can even help improve digestion. According to Gaiam.com...
The digestive system gets back on track when the stretching in yoga is coupled with a healthy, organic diet, which can relieve constipation, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and acid reflux.
8. Boosts Your Immune System

Both the meditative aspect of yoga and the physical exercises may help your immune system function more efficiently, thereby reducing your chances of infection and disease. According to YogaJournal.com,
When you contract and stretch muscles, move organs around, and come in and out of yoga postures, you increase the drainage of lymph (a viscous fluid rich in immune cells). This helps the lymphatic system fight infection, destroy cancerous cells, and dispose of the toxic waste products of cellular functioning.
9. Improves Mental & Behavioral Problems in Both Children & Adults

One study published in the Journal of Traumatic Stress found that yoga could be a beneficial treatment for adults suffering from PTSD, while yoga has also been found to improve both mental and motor skills in children with developmental and learning disabilities. According to this article at YogiTimes.com,
Regular practice of yoga and meditation has shown to improve children’s ADHD behavior, self-esteem, relationship quality, sleep patterns and anxiety levels.
10. Makes You Happier!

Yes, happiness is part of health, wouldn't you agree? And yoga, regardless of other aspects of our health, just plain makes us happy! At least, it does for me, and plenty of evidence suggests that I'm not alone... According to Yoga Journal,
...one study found that a consistent yoga practice improved depression and led to a significant increase in serotonin levels and a decrease in the levels of monoamine oxidase (an enzyme that breaks down neurotransmitters) and cortisol.
And a recent study from the Boston University School of Medicine found that
...regular yoga practice – combined with yogic breathing techniques – helped to significantly improve several markers for depression.
If you haven't yet tried yoga, I encourage you to give it a try!  And if you tried it already and didn't enjoy it, I would encourage you to try it again - in a different style, a different class, or simply a different location. You can even start at home with some easy beginner yoga DVDs like I did. Or check out our FREE weekly yoga workouts on MyYogaZone.com! Give it some time and be patient with yourself. I think you will find this incredibly beneficial form of exercise to feel even better than it is for you!

To your health,