Sorry folks - I forgot to let you know last week that this week is our summer "Blogging Break Week," so I don't have a regular post for you today...

However, we have loads of great content in our archives, so please feel free to choose a category to the right that interests you and browse through our past articles! 

Here are a few of our favorites, for easy reference:

Is Fat Really Bad For You - Part 1 - The Low Fat Myth
Is Fat Really Bad For You? Part 2 - Good Fats & Bad Fats
The Truth About Grass-Fed Beef
The Only 2 Rules for Healthy Eating You Will Ever Need
Why Eggs Are Better for You Than You Think
Guilt-Free Chocolate Fudge Recipe


Also be sure to Like us on Facebook for weekly updates on healthy and holistic living topics.

I'll see you back here next week with a new post to help you lead a healthier, happier, and more holistically balanced life!

Rose.


 
 
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...


 
 
Elderberries
Growing up on the farm, we had a huge elderberry bush in the front yard. My sisters and I would climb it in the late summer and pick giant purple bouquets of elderberries for my parents, who would somehow turn the tiny, bitter and unpalatable berries into quarts of delicious, dark purple sticky sweet syrup which was our favorite pancake topping year-round. 

This was long before elderberry syrup became one of the hottest natural health aids around. Touted for helping to prevent and fight off colds and influenza, reduce inflammation, and soothe coughs and respiratory illnesses, humble elderberry syrup has recently reached "superfood" status. 

Driving down the road the other day, I spied some big elderberry heads beginning to turn purple. It reminded me of the purple-handed late-summer task of my childhood, and it inspired me to share this recipe with you, so you can see just how easy it is to make your very own delicious and immune-boosting elderberry syrup - and you'll save a ton of money on those pricey commercial versions! 


 
 
Benefits of spirituality
We often talk about the other aspects of holistic living - good health, proper financial balance, happy and fulfilling relationships, etc., but although these are all important pillars, we can't forget that spirituality is an essential piece of the puzzle. Whatever spiritual practices you choose to follow, having this connection to something higher and outside of yourself is necessary if we want to be truly happy and fulfilled and have a complete and balanced life.

As this article mentions, "Happiness, is in part, a byproduct of achievement best gained when we’re working from something and for something larger than ourselves."

No matter how successful we are in the other areas of our lives, without a sense of a connection to this "something larger," it will be hard to find true meaning and purpose.

Here are 7 reasons why a daily spiritual practice will make your life happier and more complete:


 
 
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.


 
 
Immune system
As we have discussed in the past, your immune system is by far the most important factor in good health. Unfortunately, our allopathic medical system focuses more on treating symptoms than on preventing disease in the first place, so the immune system is often ignored by most modern medical treatments.

However, there are numerous things that you can do on an individual level to help make sure your immune system is healthy and functioning properly. The first step is becoming aware of what behaviors and lifestyle habits may be causing problems for your immune system. Most people do these things without even realizing the harm they are causing to their health!

Here are 5 ways that you may be harming your immune system, and some positive changes you can make today to reduce your risk of disease, and improve your odds for living a long and healthy life.


 
 
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...


 
 
Salad greensPeas, peas, and more peas!
I know it has been ages since I did a homesteading update for you, so I figured I would go ahead and share the good, the bad, and the ugly for the season so far...

Spring was early this year, and then late - back and forth between unseasonably warm and unseasonably cold all the way up into May. But somehow the garden still ended up ahead of last year - except for the parts I am still behind on! We already have little green tomatoes of all kinds out in the garden, okra is up (this time last year I hadn't even planted it yet), and lettuce and peas are almost finished (our best pea crop so far, by far!).

For some reason, every year I think this year I will somehow manage to be not as stressed out during the hectic spring and early-summer in the garden, but it never happens! Last year I thought I would be done with preparing new beds for a while (always an incredibly laborious and time-consuming process), but then we ended up with fewer hay bales this year, so I decided to create one more row of beds so that area wouldn't to go waste this year. Well, it's nearly July and I STILL don't have them done, although getting close, and I should finish them this week at last... Our soil is so heavy and dense, it is nearly impossible to dig if it's not the perfect moisture level. For most of the spring, it has been either way too wet (with standing water in the aisles), or way too dry (like concrete - can't even get a fork into it), so I've been lucky to get one day out of the week sometimes where it is actually workable.

Fortunately, we got 2 1/2" of rain a few days ago, after a long, hot, dry spell, and now it is cool, breezy, and beautiful - perfect for working outside, and the soil is nice and moist - so I'm on the home stretch! My husband is finishing up the bed boxes today, so we should have them framed by the end of the week - so I can finally plant the beans!


 
 
Holistic living benefits
In the years since I started this site, I have come to realize that holistic living is not just a way of life that benefits those who practice it, but it also impacts the health of the planet as a whole. Living holistically doesn't just mean taking daily steps to lead a more healthy, balanced life - it also means respecting the natural world around you, and learning to recognize your place in it, as well as its impact on you.

When you truly begin to live in a holistic manner, you recognize the connections between yourself and others, as well as the natural world. By doing so, you find a deeper sense of peace and purpose in the world, and you also learn to recognize your body's natural needs and take care of yourself in a gentler and more loving way.


Here are 7 awesome benefits of living a holistic lifestyle:


 
 
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.