Physical Wellness

Recycle Nutrients and Compost the Easy Way

When you clean out your refrigerator, do you ever find old, wilted, mushy food you would not eat? Do you toss the old food into your garbage can? This thrown-out food, unfortunately, ends up in landfills, usually in plastic bags.

Throwing away old fruits and vegetables, scraps, or even rotten apples is an unfortunate waste of resources. Reclaim micronutrients through composting.

Food.compostRecycling unprocessed food, plant scraps, leaves, and grass clippings makes an easy-to-create compost.

Compost bins are available for purchase, and comprehensive "how to" information is available online. Bought or homemade composting bins are not the only option. In-ground composting is simple, easy, and costs nothing.

Thirty years ago, I planted my first successful garden. I went to my next-door neighbor for pointers. Her garden soil was rich, dark, and soft. My soil was grey and hard. I needed her help.

Expecting complicated advice that I would not follow, she showed me simplicity instead. She taught me how simple it was to have nutritious soil. I have followed her technique for the past thirty years whenever I had a plot of dirt. This process is simple, easy, and cost-free. The only equipment needed is a gallon glass jar with a tight-fitting lid - an old gallon pickle jar or something similar. Expensive, bulky compost bins are not necessary.

WHAT TO DO: I use a gallon, glass, pickle jar with a tight-fitting lid. I keep it convenient, on the floor near my pantry. I add scraps or pieces of unprocessed foods, such as potato skins, rotten apples or tomatoes, avocado peelings, rinsed eggshells, wilted greens, used coffee grounds, loose tea leaves, and other similar foods.

When the jar becomes full, I dig a hole in my garden or flowerbeds and empty its contents and old leaves or wood chips into the hole. I then fill it with the dirt I dug to make the hole. I put a large rock or three or four bricks on my newly filled compost hole to "mark the spot." I leave it like that for months before I move the rock and dig to check how it is composting. If you throw an avocado pit in the hole, it grows into a fledgling avocado tree that needs removing. It will not survive North Carolina winters. Either throw the avocado pit in your garbage or be willing to pull the fledging twig and toss it.

WHAT NOT TO DO: Do not compost meat, bones, or foods processed with preservatives and unwanted chemicals. Do not compost the entire rotten egg. Only compost the rinsed eggshells. I now crush, dry, and grind my eggshells into powder for my chickens. Most people do not have chickens but have dirt waiting to become fertile soil. Also, be careful if you have dogs that will dig up your composted scraps and eat rotten food. A large rock or two or three bricks placed over freshly buried compost helps keep critters out of your recycled nutrients.

This composting process requires nothing but a glass container with a tight-fitting lid or a container that will not absorb the smells, nor will it rust.

Try it. This easy composting method will cost nothing and is available year-round, even if a bit of snow needs moving. It recycles valuable nutrients for your future fruits and vegetables or your flowers.


Conscious Eating: Choosing Colorful Foods

What Color is Your Food?

Cereal.berriesDo you really pay attention to whether or not you eat colorful and healthy food? Sometimes we stress eat and then consume foods that not only break down healthy cells in our bodies but cause us to gain weight that we do not want or need. Some "foods" that are available or no healthier than cardboard. The next time you reach for a snack or quick lunch pay attention to what you are actually eating. Has it been processed so thoroughly that there are no nutrients left? Choosing colorful foods (no dyes) will put you on the right path to eating healthier.

The more colorful the food, the higher the nutrients.

The nutrients in colorful foods are called phytochemicals or phytonutrients. A plate of colorful foods Greens(natural, not artificial coloring) will provide your body with needed antioxidants that help to prevent cell damage.

Blueberries, raspberries, and whole-grain cereal provide valuable nutrients any time of the day, not just for breakfast.

Dark green and colorful vegetables are filled with nutritious anti-oxidants. Before you take that first bite, decide why you are eating and decide if what you are eating is actually good for you.


3 Steps to Lower Blood Sugar Naturally

By Karen Best Wright

Published in Albemarle Tradewinds

AlbemarleTradewinds.com

What causes high blood sugar levels, and why is it harmful? The body needs and uses the nutrients in foods to nourish body organs. Without proper nutrients, body cells die. The pancreas releases the hormone insulin that allows the glucose from digested food to enter and nourish the body cells. When large amounts of sugar or simple carbohydrates inundate the body, the pancreas pumps out increased insulin. Eventually, the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin, or the body becomes resistant to the insulin. When insulin is ineffective, too much sugar remains in the blood and does not nourish the cells. When the blood sugar is higher than normal but not high enough to be diabetes, it is prediabetes.

Approximately 96 million American adults (one in three adults) have prediabetes, and most don't even know it. Without intervention, they are at increased risk for Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. A simple blood test by your healthcare provider will diagnose prediabetes. Reducing blood sugar levels back to normal is possible and much preferred than the alternative.

STEP 1: Know your blood sugar levels

A glucometer is a simple blood glucose monitor. Purchase a glucometer at a pharmacy or online. It is easy to use and is necessary when tracking one's blood sugar levels. When fasting for at least eight hours or more, a healthy blood sugar level would be less than 100. Two hours after eating, a healthy range would be less than 140. Tracking one's blood sugar level is only the first step in lowering it.

STEP 2: Foods to eat and not eat

Learning what foods to eat and not eat is the next step. Read labels on all foods that have them. When "sugar" is listed, or one of its many names (such as corn syrup), it might be one to put back on the shelf. Learn the glycemic index (GI) of different foods. The higher the glycemic index, the faster it will raise your blood sugar level. The American Diabetes Association rates the glycemic index scores as "low" for 55 or below, "moderate" for 56 to 69, and "high" for 70 and higher. A simple internet search for the glycemic index of white bread is 71, while the glycemic index of 100% whole grain bread is 51. Become familiar with the GI of various foods. Simple carbohydrates, such as sugary desserts, soft drinks, and processed foods will spike blood sugar levels faster than high fiber complex carbohydrates.

STEP 3: Herbal Remedies

Along with monitoring one's blood sugar levels and eating the proper types and amounts of food, many people have found numerous herbal and natural remedies helpful. This is not a complete list, but a few include cinnamon, fenugreek tea and seeds, marshmallow root tea, aloe vera, ginseng, prickly pear cactus, ginkgo, and garlic.

For those already taking diabetes medication or pregnant or nursing women, consult your healthcare provider before adding herbal remedies.


Holistic Health & Wellness: Why am I so tired?

By Karen Best Wright

Published in Albemarle Tradewinds

AlbemarleTradewinds.com

The first article in this series explained the word "holistic" originated from the Greek word "holos," meaning whole, complete, or entire. This article is about the physical aspect of wellness.

Our physical bodies are very complex. Consequently, many things can influence the amount of energy one either does or does not have. Feeling overly tired takes away from the experience of feeling well. However, that may not mean we are sick, or it might.

Extreme fatigue may warrant a visit to the doctor in case something is going on beyond your control. With lab work and an exam, a doctor may discover problems you might not have been aware of yet. However, a person may come home with a clean bill of health, just as exhausted and frustrated.

Many things, including stress, can cause one to be overly tired. A lack of sleep is a cause of fatigue, but stress, worry, and too much caffeine can also cause poor sleep. Eating whole, healthy food, supplementing with necessary supplements, and avoiding sugary or processed foods can help with fatigue. Not enough physical activity causes fatigue. Negative thoughts and feeling overwhelmed or lonely may cause fatigue.

A healthy type of fatigue may happen after a day of hard work. There's a feeling of accomplishment. The fatigue one experiences when simply doing mundane chores may cause depression, which worsens fatigue.

If a medical physical gives no answers to what may be causing extreme tiredness, examining your daily life is needed. What are your daily thoughts, activities, interactions with friends and family, your goals or lack of goals, or your general outlook on life? Doing this may help you decide what needs to improve.

Never underestimate the power that stress has on the human body. Unresolved stress not only causes fatigued but may cause serious illnesses.

In summary, if you feel you are overly tired, honestly examining your life and improving your daily choices may solve your problems. If it does not help, make an appointment with your healthcare provider.