Saturday, March 15, 2014

Amazing Health benefits of Ginger!

 Health benefits of Ginger
So recently I discovered that ginger has a lot of awesome health benefits. There are so many articles floating around on the internet, and this is what I gleaned from them.

1. Ginger is a very powerful anti inflammatory.
2. Helps with knee and joint pain.
3. Helps ease pain of monthly cramps.
4. Stomach upset.
5. Helps sooth coughs or sore throat.
6. Helps circulation.
7. Digestion.
8. Helps combat morning sickness.
9. It has antihistamine properties that help treat allergies
10. It helps to destroy ovarian cancer cells.
11. It helps prevent Colon cancer.
12. It helps combat pain.
13. It helps ease arthritis
14. It has high levels of antioxidants. 

These are among the few things that it helps to combat.
I for one am excited about this because I'm always looking for ways to combat pain naturally.

I've been taking it faithfully for a few days, and am happy to report that I really do think it really does help ease pain. I've used it for my knee pain, craps, and jaw pain. And I swear it really does help. 

Last night I had a horrible migraine and I was really considering breaking down and taking some Excedrin so I didn't spend the rest of the night in agony as is usually the case if I let the headache go on too long. 

However I decided to hold out and take a bunch of ginger capsules to see if they helped. Surprisingly I fell asleep and stayed asleep. 
When I woke up, my headache was gone. 
I'm pretty excited about this because I get migraines way too often. And if ginger helps nip them in the butt, I'm going to be one happy girl. I'm hoping that this ginger cure will stay a cure. But I guess we will see. If it was a fluke, then it was a fluke. But it was a nice one.

So if you're wanting to take ginger, you can brew the root as a tea, or buy powdered ginger or take it in capsules and eat it that way.
Also note: if you're taking blood thinners you're not supposed to take ginger at the same time.

This is a really brief explanation about the health benefits of ginger. So if you're interested in finding out more, I suggest you do a google search and see what other people are saying about it. 
I am by no means a doctor, and this information is not meant to replace normal medical practices as prescribed by your doctor. 

I'm just a country-girl who is looking for answers same as you.


Friday, March 14, 2014

Fermented Sauerkraut Recipe (Sounds gross tastes perdy good)

So this is a picture of my last batch of fermented sauerkraut. And it turned out really tasty.
So I thought I'd share my not-so-secret recipe with you.

Fermented Sauerkraut

Health benefits.
1. Loaded with tons of probiotics
2. Aids in digestion.
3. Helps fight cancer.
4. It's a good source of vitamin C
6.  Has vitamin U which is used in treatment of ulcers.
7. The fermented juice has anti microbial properties inhibiting the growth of Salmonella

This is a link to an interesting article on fermented cabbage juice and its health benefits. This recipe is for fermented sauerkraut, but I figure it's about the same.

Things you will need.
1. Cabbage
2. Sea Salt
3. Water
4. Vinegar to taste (Only if you like a little more pep to your kraut)
5. Garlic powder or any spices you might like.
6. Any veggies that you may like.

Just so you know, fermenting isn't an exact science. To me it's all about experimenting, tasting, and figuring out what flavors I like the best. And it's fun.

There are a lot of recipes out there for fermented Sauerkraut.
Most people hear the word fermented veggies, and they gross out.
I even went through that stage. I had this clipart image in my head of fermented foods. And it wasn't a very nice picture. It looked like some bubbly chicken slop, and smelled like it too.  

But if done right, fermented  foods can taste amazing. Ferments can enhance flavors, and be quite zesty. Before our modern age of refrigeration, our ancestors fermented foods all the time in order to keep their food from spoiling. Without even realizing it, they were creating a super food that we are just now rediscovering.

It sounds a little gross fermenting cabbage, but what the ferment really does is bring out all the flavors, and add a zesty taste to your food.
To make this particular sauerkraut, this is what I did, and my family liked it. So I'll share it with you. First off I want to say that this is my own personal recipe that I've altered to my liking. Feel free to modify it as you would any recipe.

I like to think of this sour kraut recipe more like a glorified coleslaw.
To make it, you make it like you would any coleslaw, only with a few different twists. Add any veggies that you would normally, and spice it up the way you would like any normal cabbage salad.

1. Chop as much cabbage you want, or use a cheese grater, or food processor to slice it up (That's a lot easier)

Then while you're slicing it or chopping it, squeeze it every once in a while, to bruise the leaves and press out its juices.

While you're doing that, toss in some sea salt, and mix it up with your hands. Add as much salt as tastes good to you. But note that the salt is the main ingredient that helps the cabbage ferment.

2. Squeeze the leaves some more until they look a little darker in color.
Then toss in whatever spices you like.
I chopped some onions, a green pepper, and some cilantro. Then I added lots of pepper, sea salt, and some garlic powder to the mix.
If you want, add some lemon juice too.

After you've done that, pack it tightly into a quart jar, and then dump water over the cabbage. (Some people let the cabbage sit about 20mins before adding the water.) But I didn't. Also some people use a salt water brine. It's up to you.

What I did was add salt to it as I was chopping it, until it tasted good.  Then when I packed the cabbage tightly into the bottle, I added some water, and then I added enough apple cider vinegar to give it a nice zippy taste.  (Note that most recipes don't call for vinegar) I just like the taste it adds to the cabbage.

After that, close it with a lid, or a cloth. Then let it sit on your counter for a few days---or weeks depending on how you want it to taste.  
Some people say to put your cabbage in a crock and let it ferment for a while. Or store it in a dark place. But I just put mine a mason jar, out on the counter, and it worked just fine.

Then after you've done all that, check on it from time to time to see how it tastes. It will usually have a strong smell, and be a bit bubbly. (That's good)
If the taste isn't to your liking, let it sit longer. The longer it ferments, the more strongly flavored it gets. If you taste it and it is to your liking, and you want to slow down the ferment, just put it in your fridge and eat it up. People say to eat it like you would a side dish, and not to eat it in huge portions.

My last batch took only a few days to get it to a nice flavor I liked. I know that sounds fast, but I used some old, yellow cabbage that was nearly ready to expire in my fridge. I'm glad I did, because it is now very tasty.

Also, note that fermented foods are oftentimes an acquired taste. So just be patient with yourself.  Work with flavors you like best.
And last but not least, if you have thyroid problems, I've read that certain properties in cabbage can inhibit the thyroid. So if you're having thyroid problems, I'd probably either, eat it very sparingly, or ferment something else.


Thursday, March 13, 2014

YUMMY Homemade probiotic Water Kefir Soda Pop Recipe

Some ginger pear soda. Kinda a weird flavor, but it tasted good to me.

Water kefir grains.

I had a friend request information on some healthy tips. So this week I'm doing a bunch of blog post about healthy things I do that actually make me feel better. Enjoy.

Homemade probiotic Water Kefir Soda Pop

Health benefits
This drink is a fantastic source of probiotics.

Before I get to the soda pop recipe, I just want to give a plug about probiotics.
I can't stress the need for probiotics enough. You need these little guys to help your gut stay healthy. And if your gut isn't healthy, then you're probably not going to be healthy.

Our modern lifestyle has moved in a direction where the faster food is made, the better.
We have forgotten the wonderful heritage and the importance of soaking grains before we eat them, and the benefits of fermenting our food. And now we are paying for it. Our poor gut-health has caused a huge decline in our health, and way of life.

I've included a link below to an article I highly recommend for anyone interested in learning the importance of probiotics.  (Gut health linked to mental health, autism and other psychological problems.)

Be sure to watch the video on the link.

Now for the recipe.
I'm going to be honest here.
I love soda pop.
I always have. I love the way it fizzes and makes my nose tingle. I love the sweetness of it, and I love all the fun flavors.

Once I learned about how bad soda was for you, I had a hard time giving it up. Then I learned about how bad Gmo corn syrup is, and then I really had to give it up. (Darn)
Sometimes it's really hard to give up the things you like. I find it especially hard to do if there isn't something better to replace it.
It's like once you give up something, a vacuum opens up, and tries to fill that empty space. And if you're not careful, you might end up eating worse than you did in the first place.

Always try find something better---more abundant to fill that hole, or the lack of the thing you gave up will return with a vengeance.

Only just a few weeks ago did I learn about a healthy alternative to store-bought soda.
A healthy homemade soda that, (I guess) has been around for a long time---longer than the unhealthy kind you can buy at the store.

I was skeptical at first. If you could make soda at home, how come nobody gave me a heads up? I never got the memo. Nothing could taste as good as store-bought soda? Right?
Wrong. It tastes even BETTER!
Seriously. Not only that, this soda is TONS BETTER for you. It has loads of healthy probiotics that make your body, skin, and belly happy. Many people in our modern culture are literally starved for healthy gut enzymes. And studies show that a healthy gut is the key to being healthy, mentally and physically. If our guts are messed up it could effect a multitude of health problems.

So what's the catch? How do you make this healthy soda?

The science is simple, the process pretty straightforward. And it's fun coming up with new flavors.

Things you'll need
1. Water kefir grains
2. Pure cane Sugar  (I use Zulka---a pure cane sugar found in most grocery stores)
C&H sugar would probably work just fine. But I like the purer sugars better.
3. Filtered water if you have some. I'm sure normal water would work, but if you have pure water, use it.
4. A must is sea salt or trace mineral drops.
5. (Juice or fruit of your choice)
6. A jar with a lid.

How you make it.

1. First I get my water kefir grains and dump them in mason jar, or a glass jar with a lid. Note that water kefir grains are only slightly different than milk kefir grains. The milk kefir grains get nutrients from the milk, hence the milky color of their curds.
Water kefir grains get their nutrients from the sugar, salt and trace mineral drops you add to the water. I've heard that can use milk kefir grains to make your soda, and it will work just fine.

2. Add some sea salt---or a few squirts---about a teaspoon of trace mineral drops. It just depends on the volume of juice you are going to add.

3. Add some fruit, juice, or whatever you want to the mix. I've tried some canned plum juice, and that's really yummy. We've also added some 100% juices from the store, and they're really good too. Usually if the juice is sweet that will be enough sugar for the kefir grains to do their thing. So you won't need to add your own sugar in that case.

4. If you're wanting to make something of your own, a lot of people say to mix your sugar and water in a pan on the stove, and then add your flavors.

I personally get kind of lazy, so I just add my sugar into the water, and add my pieces of fruit, and other flavors. So far it's worked alright with me. But you might like it better with the sugar more fully dissolved.

If you are planning on making your own mix, perhaps a ginger ale, a lemon soda, a vanilla cream soda, or other concoction, mix your flavors however you like.

I've done a ginger soda by adding some ginger powder to some water, sugar, and some cinnamon and whatever spices I felt like to my kefir grains. Pear juice makes a nice fizz, and is really tasty too. Just have fun experimenting with the flavors you can come up with---Apple, cranberry turmeric, raisins, pineapple, sarsaparilla root---for root bear, there's really no end to the fun flavors you can add. Just be sure that your flavors are pure, and natural. Also I've noticed that lime juice doesn't seem to go well with my kefir grains.

5. Then after you've added your flavors, I suggest adding some sugar or molasses into your drink. This is not an exact science. I'm not going to tell you how much to add, because it depends now how much juice or water you add, and how sweet you want it. Just make sure it's sweet enough the kefir has enough sugars to feed on. If you're not sure, just experiment.

6. Then after you've got your juice the flavor you want it, screw on a lid---the tighter the fizzier it's going to be.

7. Then you wait. In the case of water kefir grains, you usually don't have to wait very long unless they've been refrigerated. One to two days should be sufficient. You should see bubbles rising to the top. (This is good) And when you open the lid, it will probably fizz or bubble a bit. You can taste it. If it's to your liking then strain out the kefir grains and put your juice in the fridge in order to keep it at the stage that tastes the best to you.

9. If it doesn't turn fizzy, or it doesn't seem like the juice is tangy, you probably need to add more trace minerals, salt or sugar. Note that the kefir grains have natural yeast. So it might smell a bit yeasty.  

10. If you don't like your drink fizzy, don't put the lid on very tightly. Or don't put a lid on it at all. And it will be a subtle tangy drink. 

Note. That once it's past the fizzy stage and it doesn't taste sweet anymore, and tastes kind of yeasty, it's fermented too long. If that's the case, use it as a hair rinse, face toner, or discard the juice and try again.

A fun tidbit to note that kefir (means to feel good)

This soda is very refreshing, and a fun healthy treat. Enjoy.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Writer's block


I'm just sitting here thrumming my fingers up and down thinking about how I have nothing interesting at all to say, seriously.

Not one interesting word. Nope. So I guess you might as well quit reading, and go back to your facebook page, and kill time elsewhere.  It seems these days there are no end to the ways one may squander ones time, and absorb oneself into the realm of gleaning useful knowlages.

Actually, the problem isn't that I don't have anything interesting to say, I have loads of things I want to say.  But when you have lots to say, and you have to pick just one thing that is the most important  to say, I find that really hard to do. So most the time, I end up frozen. Then I end up not saying anything at all. 

Did that make any sense?

Probably not.

Among other things, I've been battling  writer's block----actually I don't just have writer's block, I have something more like writer's brick---solid, heavy, immovable. It let up for a couple days, and I've been trudging along, but I don't know...the words seem stuck.

Have you ever felt that way? You go along and everything flows smoothly, and then without even knowing why, the car quits, and you're left wondering what happened?
You still had somewhere you needed to be. Why have you run out of gas?

That's what I'm feeling like.
It's almost as if I'm afraid to write---afraid to create. It's weird.I can think of a lot of excuses not to write. There's so much other work I need to do...but actually it feels like I'm just running away from writing. I'm really not sure what brought this on. It just happened.

I think it has something to do with the fact that while waiting for edits to come in for my last book in my fantasy series, I've been faced with a blank canvas for my next novel, "The Unsame Ones."

I started book, The Unsame Ones," about a year ago, but I was still madly working on my fantasy series, so that book took the back burner.

Now that I have some extra time, I decided to go look over my notes for my next book.
However...for the life of me, I can't find the file. It is lost somewhere in cyberspace.
My ideas, thoughts, and a few rough chapter ideas are gone.

Not cool. It wasn't a huge amount of work. But it was something I could work with. Something I had down. Moving ideas around are a lot easier to do than staring at a blank page, and starting from scratch.

After feeling a bit sorry for myself, I began again. It's been good for me in a way. I've approached the story with some fun concepts that I know I didn't have in my last book file. But still, starting anything is the hardest part, at least for me. It's really intimidating.  I have to remember that it's about getting ideas down, and scratching up the paper. It's about writing scenes, and conversations as they come. It's about scribbling, and moving words around to see how they sound.

To get myself excited about the project I designed this cover. It's not finished, and the blurb is something to be desired. But it's a start. 

And another problem is, whenever I begin a new project my self critic "Olga," is jumps into action. She makes it her life's work to inspect, and supervise every word that I write.

 She smirks as I begin a new, waiting to jump at any flaw that might show itself. She folds her arms and watches, sure to point out anything that doesn't meet with her approval---which hardly anything does, if at all. She wants to know how the story ends, and how everything turns out. She wants things to be clean, pristine, purified, tidy, and for every word to have a purpose. She thinks that my writing stinks, and that when all is said and done, that my words are at best, amusing.

It is her that I fear.

She laughs at me.
Mocks me.
She waits for me to fail.
Points out a nasty review.
It is she who tells me that I have nothing more to say.
That whatever I have to say has already been said by better, more skilled writers.
It is she who I battle with.

This master of the arts, perfectionist teacher, grammar police extraordinaire, this...unpleaseable creature that will never be satisfied. 

With her looming over my shoulder as I write, I keep having this gnawing feeling that once the last book in my fantasy series is finished, I won't have anything else interesting to say.
I'm worried that nobody will like my books and that I'll be a failure.

I guess I have this general fear that maybe the words I write aren't useful to anybody, and if that's true, maybe I myself am not a valuable person.

I'm afraid that while everybody is living, and busy being busy, that me my writing will have not mattered at all to anybody.

I'm afraid that once I start to work on another book, that nothing will come, that the worlds will have dried up. Yes, those  are my fears.

They may seem small. But they are real to me.

The fear of failure is at the heart of it. The fear of my own flaws, and inadequacies.Of wanting to make something that everybody likes.
But I think everybody has these fears. These mental roadblocks that we all must overcome.
Yes. You, me, everybody. We battle with our inner Olga's. We all struggle with fear, and with the pains of creating---of feeling vulnerable.

Yes, to share and to create is to be very vulnerable.  And we must be gentle with ourselves, patient and kind. We must treat our inner artist as if it were a tender child.

I always try to keep a mental image in my head of a kid proudly showing a drawing scrawled with crayon to their mother---I notice how proud they look of their drawing.  They aren't ashamed of what they created. They aren't looking for the world to approve of their creation. Just their mom.

They are just happy to have created something.
I try to remember that as I share and create.
The joy is in the creation.
It's not possible to make something everybody will like.
Every artist has had their critics and they still created. 
Still they went on.
And so will I.
I will make and create something I like.
And then I will have succeeded.
What have I to fear then?

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