Fire Cider recipe
'Tis the season - not just for jolly holiday fun and gifts -  but also for colds and flu. That's why this is a great time of year to brew up some natural home remedies to help keep you healthy all winter long!

This ancient recipe was said to be used to keep people healthy during the time of the plague - hence one of its common names - "Four Thieves Tonic." The legend is that a band of thieves used this recipe (or one like it) to avoid the plague when stealing from plague victims - understandably a rather infectious task.

There are many versions of this recipe, which is sometimes called by different names. But I love the name "Fire Cider" - it sounds so warm and invigorating! :-)

The tonic includes a number of health-boosting ingredients traditionally known to fight disease, kill bacteria, and strengthen the immune system. If you cannot find all of these in your area, you may be able to get them online - or omit any that are too difficult to find.

Below are two different versions of this immune-boosting home remedy - pick whichever sounds best to you:


 
 
Free expert health tips
It's time for your monthly free gift, and for December, in honor of the holidays and the New Year ahead, I've got a really special one for you!

With this month's free gift, you can start 2018 off on the right foot by learning the top tips from 20 of the best natural health experts on how to
detox, reset and transform your mind and body for a healthier, happier, more energetic you - and it's all 100% FREE!

Yes, it’s a FREE holiday gift...and you can open it NOW! :-)

Not only are these information-packed recordings free for you to access, they won't expire in 24 hours like with some of the online health summits you may have attended - you can listen to them whenever you want.

You'll learn little-known tips for detoxifying both your body AND your mind for better health, both physical and mental. You'll discover how to use herbs for natural healing, how to sleep better, how to lose weight almost effortlessly by eating real foods, and exercising the right way. You'll learn how to manage depression using functional nutrition, how to raise healthier, happier kids with the practice of mindfulness, how to balance your health and mental well-being for more energy and increased enjoyment of life. And much more!

Head on over to this page to grab your "FREE 2018 Expert Health Kit" now, or read more below for more details...



 
 
2017 Gratitude ListSome of my awesome family
visiting for Thanksgiving!
It's that time of year again!

Yes, it's time for my annual Gratitude List - the time of year when I reflect on the many blessings I have received over the previous year, and give thanks for the abundance of goodness I have experienced this year.

While I am grateful for many of the same things every year, each year I find there is a certain area of life I am especially grateful for. It is always interesting to me to review the previous year's list, as I find that my focus has changed over the past year as I have learned to appreciate new and different things.

This year's focus has been a bit different from last year's, as I've really been realizing just how important some of these amazing people are to me...


 
 
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!


 
 
Relieve 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...


 
 
20% 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...


 
 
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.


 
 
Food 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...)


 
 
Truth 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...


 
 
Back 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...