Have you ever started a garden with every good intention just to have your seedlings shade out and overcrowded by weeds? It is amazing how fast weeds grow and can take over a garden. Weeding is not much fun. I am sure no one starts a garden with the thought of how enjoyable it will be to pull weeds multiple times before they get a harvest.
In the past I have tried to outsmart the weeds by heavily mulching around veggies with newspaper and grass clippings or straw. This is great for seedlings but not so much for direct seeded veggies.
Two years ago I attended an herbal workshop and the herbalist opened my mind to the idea of edible weeds. Ever since then I have had a changed perspective on weeds and what I harvest from my garden.
Weeds are to me a seemingly magical source of food. They are found all around us, they require no effort to grow and are more nutritious than the actual vegetables we work so hard to grow each summer. However, only harvest weeds to eat from a location you know is free from contaminants, like your garden.
Here are some of my favorites:
This year I let one of my garden beds go all natural. I am allowing the choice weeds to grow and establishing perennial flowers and herbs that I can make tea with. I started it with aged manure I hauled from a cattle farm. It had plenty of weeds seeds in the soil that are happily growing.
So far I have harvested the red clover flowers and stinging nettle. I dry and store them in glass jars. At the end of the growing season I will be mixing some tea blends from them and the rest of the flowers and herbs I harvest.
What weeds do you have growing in your garden? I bet you have some of the same weeds as me. Make this the year you stop fighting the good ones and embrace them as a source of food. You will never look at a weed the same way again!
Ok, I know I may be stepping on toes with this topic, but I need to let you all know how bad your diet soda habit actually is!
A study done by the Framingham Heart Study Offspring cohort and originally published in the journal Stroke in May 2017, found connections between diet soda consumption and higher risk of stroke and dementia.
Artificial sweeteners are classified as neurotoxins. A neurotoxin is a poison to the nervous system that disrupts normal function. The nervous system is responsible for controlling breathing, digestion, your heart and your 5 senses.
With each can of diet soda, you are essentially poisoning your nervous system.
Many people drink diet soda to keep their calorie consumption down during the day, to maintain a certain weight. What they don't know is that their body doesn't know the difference between sugar and artificial sweeteners when it comes to insulin response.
When you consume anything sweet (sugar or artificial sweeteners), your sweet taste receptors send signals to your pancreas to release insulin to break down and utilize the incoming sugar. Insulin is a key player in metabolism, and decides when the incoming food gets stored as fat or utilized for energy. It stimulates the body to utilize carbohydrates for energy instead of burning fat cells.
When an artificial sweetener is consumed, there is the same insulin response as if sugar was consumed but there is nothing for the insulin to break down. This results in elevated insulin levels that cause the insulin receptors to become less responsive. The insulin response also signals the body to store more fat around the belly, which in turn can lead to additional insulin resistance.
That can of diet soda you thought was helping you loose weight is actually helping you pack on the pounds around your waist and could be causing insulin resistance.
The scary thing is, as you become aware of the dangers of artificial sweeteners and work to avoid them, you will find them hiding everywhere. They are in yogurt, chewing gum, mints, bread, sports drinks, microwave popcorn, ice cream, hot cocoa mix, juice, condiments, popsicles, cookies, and low calorie desserts.
Instead of artificial sweeteners, utilize natural healthy alternatives in small amounts and reduce your addiction to that sweet taste. Stevia is my favorite alternative and it comes in powder or liquid forms. Maple syrup, honey, monk fruit, coconut sugar, dates and agave nectar are other good alternatives.
As you break your addiction to sweet tastes, you may loose weight, have more lasting and stable energy throughout the day, reduce inflammation, get clearer skin, have less headaches, sleep better, have improved digestion and ultimately, crave sweets less.
I hope this inspires you to take a closer look at food labels and switch out your diet soda habit for a tall glass of lemon water or at least a stevia sweetened soda instead.
Cheers to your health!
Have you heard of EMFs? Electromagnetic frequencies are everywhere in our modern world. Cell phones, WIFI routers, Bluetooth devices, even baby monitors all give off electromagnetic frequencies.
They are invisible so can they really harm us? Yes, EMFs are an invisible toxin in our environment. A toxin doesn't specifically make you sick on its own or with one exposure, but over time and when combined with other toxins, symptoms begin to occur. There is a cumulative effect at work.
Symptoms of EMF exposure are general and often hard to attribute to specifically one thing like EMFs. They include: fatigue, weakness, sleep disturbance, headaches, brain fog, depression & anxiety, memory loss, skin problems, light sensitivity and heart palpitations. Many of these symptoms are common complaints today.
To determine if a symptom is caused by EMF exposure, you can take steps to reduce your exposure and take note of where and when symptoms occur. For example, if you experience symptoms at work and not at home, there may be a source of heavy exposure at your work place. Symptoms will vary depending on your current stress level and state of health also.
To reduce your exposure to EMFs there are a number of things you can do (besides wearing a tinfoil hat). When your cell phone is not in use, put it on airplane mode and utilize the mobile network instead of WIFI for internet use. When talking on the phone, use headphones that plug into your phone instead of wireless ones. Alternatively, you could use the speakerphone capabilities so you are not holding your phone against your head.
Turn off your WIFI router when not in use. We do this at my house. Each night before bed, we turn off the WIFI. Just that one thing that has helped my whole family sleep better through the night. A bolder move would be to get rid WIFI altogether. You can hard wire your house with an ethernet cable like we all did before WIFI was a thing.
There are also EMF blocking products that can be installed into your home. Always utilize trained professionals for a job like this to get it done properly. Two reputable companies I know of are Building Biologists and Geovital Consultants. This step would be extremely helpful for anyone who lives near a cell phone tower or a public WIFI router.
There is good news though. You can make your body more resilient to the harmful effects of EMFs. Remember toxins have a cumulative effect in our bodies so reducing other toxins in your environment and body is one way to become more resilient. Working with a functional medicine practitioner to reduce your heavy metals, toxicities and nutrient deficiencies will help. Taking supplements that support the body and making sure to eat an antioxidant rich diet is another way to boost resiliency.
Finally, activities that calm the nervous system will help reduce the effects that EMFs have on your body. Yoga, meditation and castor oil packs all activate the parasympathetic nervous system that works to heal the body. Also, regular grounding or earthing is an easy free activity that can do the same. Simply by walking barefoot in the grass or sand you can effectively reset your frequency back to the natural frequency of the earth, which is how we were designed to thrive.
It is important for you to educate yourself about EMFs and take steps to protect you and your family from their harmful effects. As a FDN-P, I am able to order lab tests that help us pinpoint where the body is breaking down and determine how to remove the blockages that are holding the body back from healing itself. If you or someone you know is struggling with chronic illness and looking for answers, I may be able to help. You can schedule a Best Health Strategy Session for more information.
Jessica Mutunga is passionate about good simple living that focuses on relationships, food and creating a supportive healthy environment. She is The Light Way Coach.