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Posts from the ‘green living’ Category

Backyard pharmacy and grocery store: spring 2020

Stay safe during virus outbreak and take good care about your health with weeds and plants from your backyard and nearby forest or park!

I hope you are self-isolating and you can do so without worries, since due to nature of their work, many people still need to be out and working.

You have time now and, please, use it in a meaningful way!

The COVID-19 outbreak reached Canada in late winter and early spring. It is quite sensitive time for many Canadians because our internal resources get somewhat depleted during the long winter months when there is lack of sunshine and we stay indoors a lot. Now with the outbreak, we must stay away from other people in order to be safe and to prevent virus from spreading. Since we stay home, we can do many things which improve our immune system and provide ourselves with healthy extras.

Nature has taken good care that we always have a wide range of vitamins and minerals available to us. The best part is: everything that we require to sustain good health can be often found in our backyard, nearby forest or park. All we have to do is use our imagination, experience and knowledge and use the natural resources to our benefit.

Therefore, early spring is the best time for taking advantage of natural resources and also seeding and planting. Nature has everything, and that includes all health boosting substances, all minerals and vitamins in the most suitable and most balanced form with high bioavailability.

This year, I’m suggesting you keep nettles and dandelions in some garden corner. Especially, while their leaves are young and soft, they are a fantastic addition to either meals or preventive measures and therapy.

To survive without watering, many weeds have developed extremely wide-spread and long roots. Thanks to such roots, weeds can absorb a lot more nutrients than our cultivated plants. Weeds are also stronger and resistant to plant diseases. They grow without fertilizers and greenhouse conditions. Biologically active substances which we can obtain from wild plants and weeds are also in greater concentration, and they have very high bioavailability. Weeds are survivors among plants and they can withstand any harsh conditions. This is a very good reason to use wild plants and weeds for our benefit and for our nutrition.

Strong immune system means a lot for our health at any time, but especially during virus outbreaks. Weeds are also the first ones which come up as soon as the soil thaws. We collect different parts of wild plants and weeds: leaves, roots, flowers or the entire plant. The best time for collection is early morning or late afternoon before dusk. That is the time period when plants have absorbed nutrients and their content is high.

My family was living in countryside, not far from a small Latvian town during 60-s of the last century. We didn’t have pharmacy or drug store in the area, and, therefore, we didn’t use any synthetic medicines. How did we manage any health issues? There were not many, and we used lots and lots of herbal remedies which were available in extremely wide variety and in abundance. At a very young age, I learned how to recognize each grass, plant, flower and herb and memorize what it does, how much and what way to apply it. Therefore, I am not sharing that much clinical trial findings, but my personal findings and Latvian traditional herbal recipes.

We collect wild plants and weeds only in safe, clean places, definitely not along roads or highways with lots of traffic. Parks, where people walk pets, are also not a good idea. For immediate use, we collect healthy looking, undamaged parts of plants and we definitely blanch them. Blanching will also prevent from consuming any undesirable insects or germs.

Each plant comes with its own complex or set of useful biologically active substances. These substances are available in a well-balanced way. You can use wild plants and weeds in salads, soups, green smoothies, stews, pesto, on bread together with other vegetables or specifically for health purposes as herbal tea, extract, tincture, infusion or mixture.

Nettles are definitely a champion among natural treatments and health boosters: stinging nettle Urtica dioica, small nettle Urtica urens L., white nettle or white dead-nettle Lamium album. They grow in almost every backyard. The same goes about dandelions. Quite soon in our area, it will be time to start collecting birch buds and pine-tree buds. I planted specifically a few healthy nettles in a small area where they will be controlled from taking over other plants, hence my backyard does not have rich soil.

Nettle has everything for health

Some properties of nettle

Dried and fresh common nettle and small nettle leaves and roots, as well as white nettle flowers and leaves (they are not as rich as common nettle) can be used for numerous conditions and overall improvement of health. Common nettle is high in iron, contains vitamin C, vitamin K, group B vitamins and practically any vitamin which is useful for humans. Nettle contains numerous minerals, carotenoids and fatty acids, as well as various essential amino acids, chlorophyll, tannins, carbohydrates, sterols, polysaccharides, isolectins. Nettle roots contain oleanolic acid, sterols and steryl glycosides. Nettle seeds have also high content of these nutrients. The amount of useful compounds in plant depends on location, season, daytime of collection and how young and healthy the plant is.

Using nettle benefits any body system, but especially the immune system, nervous, respiratory system, hematopoiesis (blood formation at cellular level), cardiovascular system, muscles and bones, improves also gastrointestinal health, treats kidney, liver and gallbladder problems. We traditionally used them for joint pains.

Nettle can help with blood sugar stabilization in diabetics. It has been observed that nettle tea lowers blood sugar. Using nettle makes person stronger after exhaustion or treatment of disease. Nettle is an important herb for treatment of anemia caused by iron deficiency.

Nettle juice and tea has been used orally as an additive for treatment of tuberculosis, bronchitis, cough, whooping cough and other respiratory symptoms. Latvian traditional herbal treatments use nettle to stop bleeding in lungs, abdomen and uterus, to treat upper respiratory problems, and especially for cleaning blood and for removal of toxic substances from the body.

Nettle boosts metabolism within the body, increases hemoglobin and red blood cell levels, constricts blood vessels (thus, you cannot use with hypertension), facilitates blood clotting, development of epithelial cells and tissue granulation (wound treatment, bleeding), normalizes menstrual cycle. Nettle has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, pain relieving, calming, anti-allergic and diuretic properties. Nettle can be used with many chronic conditions when immune system cannot fight and protect us from harmful impacts.

Who cannot use nettle products and supplements or must be otherwise cautious?

People, who have hypercoagulation, e. g., excessive blood clotting disorder, high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, bleeding caused by uterine tumors, cysts and polyps, people with kidney failure and these, who suffer from blood clot formation in veins (thrombophlebitis), as well as during last months of pregnancy.

Some medical literature suggests that nettle hardly affects blood coagulation (content and form of vitamin K), and other literature warns to observe caution. I would always go with moderate use which applies to absolutely everything we introduce into our diet or health routine. Always proceed with caution when it comes to health.

In April, and if it is warm, also at the end of March, we can usually collect new and bright green nettle leaves. We pick common or stinging nettle and small nettle leaves with gloves, and they also require blanching before we use them in salad, soup, omelet, stew or simply as tea or compress. Some sources advice to keep nettle leaves in boiling water for 3-5 minutes. We watch that leaves do not lose their bright green color. Then, we use a drainer and quickly submerge drained leaves into ice-cold water. We dry them in paper towel and use as we please. Stinging or common nettle goes well with anything that uses spinach as an ingredient. Therefore, similar recipes can be used. We prefer them with green onions or chives and yoghurt, kefir or citrus dressing, plus our favorite herbs.

Find remedies in the backyard

There have been clinical trials about herbal treatments. Review of some clinical trials about properties of nettle Exploration of nettle properties

Recipes and more suggestions will follow if there is any interest. Please, comment if you think you could make use of such addition. Since most people do not read anything, I’d just like to see whether it makes sense to post an article about nettle juice, nettle tea or some simple salad recipes and also dose suggestions. Any herbal supplement can cause sensitivity or other reactions. I’d advice always try tiny amount (as with food) first or discuss it with your doctor in case of a chronic condition.

Internet advice, helplessness and pill which cures everything

Part 2

Relying on other’s suggestions

If you are easy to convince and sway towards decisions somebody else has made, you end up doing a lot of Internet shopping, following trends and chasing things which are at the top today, but gone by tomorrow.

Judging by TV adds, everything is cheap, almost for free and you just have to get it and sign up whether it’s an investment offer, health program, slimming and dieting web, you just have to buy a supplement, new type of food, treatment, cosmetics and numerous other services, endless devices and all of it is made for you. For you. Afterwards, you might wonder: what was so good about it? Frequently, there won’t be any benefit of using that product or you have a big chance to run into new problems.

Careful with pills

It is mind-blowing how many pills, supplements, drugs, medicines and health boosting substances people are using. It is so that there is a pill for anything. Some honestly admit that, in order to feel ok and go through the day and get a decent sleep, they need to take something. It can be even unclear what this particular thing does, but they need the feeling that they are doing something to look better, to feel better, to be energetic or to relax. Certainly, the numbers of offered solutions are so huge that nobody can anymore be sure what is exactly they need or what they can live without.

Synthetic supplements versus natural nutrients

Synthetic supplements versus natural nutrients

More is not better when it comes to medicine and supplements

It is concerning that we believe the more substances and health improving supplements we take, the better we are going to be. It is forgotten that the human body has so many mechanisms to regulate and adjust everything, and that literary includes every process from tiniest within a part of a cell to the most systemic processes. The body’s natural regulation and adaption mechanisms work until we step in and start unnecessary improving them. We destroy the balance our body works hard to maintain. It was never about more of one substance or nutrient, it was always about balance! Once we recover from one pill or drug, we quickly rush to another: maybe this is going to be the missing miraculous treatment! So, it just goes until we start suffering from allergies, hypo- or hyper levels of some hormone, enzyme, mineral and nutrient. Nature has it safe and right, but we always want to be smarter

Over-the-counter drugs and supplements

OTC medicinal products are designed so that they should not harm one when following the dosage advice. These products are also not designed to treat clinically significant issues and deficiencies; such treatments will take much higher and differently administered doses. Therefore, it is silly to make a serious health issue go away by using OTC drugs and supplements.

The effects of herbal remedies might appear much slower, but they are also safer. With supplement market so huge, it can be dangerous to buy and use unknown substances online, especially, if it is unclear who manufactures and distributes the product. Many supplements claim doing things which they never could. We cannot believe every claim which is not proven in documented and real clinical trials. Most supplements have not been tested clinically because it is a very long and very expensive process. Phrases: dermatologist, dentist, pharmacist  or doctor recommended mean literally nothing. It is just a phrase to convince you. For clinically tested medicinal products, there are clinical trial references, as well as clearly identified data about safety, doses and precautions. Lists of recalls are available in any country, and one should check them out at least time to time. You’d be surprised what you will find there.

It might be not what it seems

Our body can take a lot. Sometimes, all the stress signals go off and trigger protective mechanisms which are many and various. We don’t give up without fight, and the survival is encoded in every cell of us assuming there are no brain defects or mental barriers whether chemical, hormonal or substance induced. The signal that we are in danger will trigger all kinds of symptoms, and the body will immediately engage everything what’s available. If you take a pill every time to regulate these symptoms, the self-regulation mechanism might simply die off.

Make distinction between vitally important and unnecessary

There are life-threatening conditions which need to be cured, and there are so many symptoms which do not need interference with heavy drugs. Therefore, whatever the reason, you have decided to supplement your diet with anything synthetic or processed which all capsules, pills and powders are, regardless of their organic or herbal origin, you have to evaluate the necessity of this step. Unbelievably, drugs are trendy and supplements are trendy, too. For the matters explained before, you might not experience any improvement whatsoever, not to mention that when profit is behind the health claim, the ingredients of your capsule or pill might be not even be the ones what are listed.

Supplements versus real food

Supplements versus real food

Placebo effect

One might ask: why somebody reports feeling better if they take a pill which contains no active ingredients or nothing which relates to their actual health problem? Placebo effect has been recognized in practically all clinical trials, and, for the reason of comparing whether some particular drug really treats the condition, first phases of clinical trial involve a patient group which takes or is administered a placebo. This substance is neither improving nor harming a person because it does not contain any active ingredients. Yet, the outcomes frequently reveal that quite significant part of trial population on placebo feels better.

Real life placebo effects

We can frequently observe this effect in real life. There are many examples which relate to supplements. While celiac disease according Health Canada statistics is diagnosed only in hardly 1% of population, any grocery store will have large amounts of gluten-free products. Does any person who does not have celiac disease benefit from gluten-free diet? The answer is no. It would be like you are wearing strong glasses when you do not need them. This is treating a disease which one does not have. In fact, they are avoiding very useful and nutrient-dense products, as well as paying more for things they do not need at all. So, why do they feel better? First, that might be becoming more selective when using different products. Secondly, it is for sure the placebo effect. A person feels better because they are convinced that they are doing something for their health.

It’s in your brain, isn’t it?

Body as a whole system can be convinced and affected to a huge extent by being sure about something. There are examples in history how a person can die when they have been told they just took a dose of very strong poison for which there is no antidote. The same goes for miraculous healing. There are numerous examples how a person can recover when taking a pill of pressed mild herbal ingredients and being told that they are given the best drug which currently exists for that condition. We can definitely convince us one way or another. That is why most people want to take something, which is like a dot on “i”. One can talk and discuss their condition endlessly, but if they are given a pill or a capsule, even some powder, they will start feeling better. That certainly won’t be a lasting case with clinically serious or systemic diseases. You can test it for yourself. Give somebody a completely harmless pill of compressed low-dose herbal ingredient or just simple sugar pill (assuming they are not diabetics). You have to tell that person that they will sleep extremely well if they have insomnia, or they will stop experiencing indigestion if they have clinically insignificant digestive disorders, anxiety or depression. There will be results.

Make very careful and individually adjusted decisions

That brings us back to necessity of synthetic supplements. Many of them will be in doses which cannot affect one dramatically. However, buying supplements and vitamins, essential oils, cosmetic products, hair and skin care products from unknown sources can be very dangerous. It is not only because of extra high or low dose, but also there might be ingredients which you did not know about. Many drugs have been recalled since lab testing proved there were harmful substances in an even clinically strictly tested drug. They got there during manufacturing process. Now imagine how supplements which normally do not require strict documented testing could have just about anything! You should also be aware that consuming natural and unmodified food which you cook from scratch will provide you with all necessary nutrients and they will come in naturally suitable doses because you cannot eat 10 kilograms of beets, onions, bread, fish or meat at once. Therefore, whatever the advice, tailor it to your personal needs, condition, preferences and lifestyle, as well as age and gender.

Pill which cures everything

Synthetic isn’t as it occurs in nature, it is easy to overdose or treat non-existing issues

Overdoing with any nutrients and substances, which we call vitamins for simplicity, can have harmful and dangerous sequences, too. More in following posts.

Time to shine, time to reflect, time to be better you

Delightful and healing experience

I hope you are also enjoying the peaceful, relaxing and uplifting holiday time. If you are keeping things simple around Christmas as I am, you might also find this time very healing and very delightful. Keep it that way! I think it is damaging to get all stressed out about gifts and food because this time is about having a new outlook on life, new hope and belief. The focus should be on the tree and its symbolism, not on what we eat, what we wear and what gifts we receive. The most important gift was there for everybody, and being obsessed with buying more and more “stuff”, it is possible to miss the true meaning of this time.

Over-consumption and consumerism

Consumerism is not only a bad approach to living life, but also the main cause of overproduction and over-consumption of pointless and useless things. This causes in turn huge pollution of water, soil and air; we call it also climate change. When people say they are buying a plastic tree to save the real tree, they are not actually saving anything. The natural tree is biodegradable and does not cause toxic leftovers while plastic garbage is probably one of the most serious side effects of over-consumption.

Plastic waste

Scientists are actively testing ways of up-cycling plastic and turning it into fuel and similar things; certain types of plastic degrade under sunlight. There have been even discovered microorganisms which can degrade plastic. The problem is, however, that most of plastic waste is hidden in landfills where it might never biodegrade. Big part of plastic waste floats in oceans and other waters and degrades to extent: big plastic objects break down into tiny plastic waste and it is destroying life in water. Some particles are described as very toxic to humans and animals.

Biggest pollutants

Fast fashion and accessories are also among huge pollutants. The same goes about plastic toys. If synthetic materials were degrading at a fast pace, there would be no need to burn them. There are so many once or hardly used items, that nobody can ever recycle, down- or upcycle all of them. Burning these materials causes very toxic smoke and causes harm to everything, including huge damage to soil, air and waterways. That is not to mention all efforts which take manufacturing and transporting such non-essential items. These processes cause more pollution and damage to climate.

Food waste

People, who do not cook from scratch and have no experience in re-using leftover food after parties and festive meals, throw out millions of tonnes of food leftovers. That is a waste which is not even fed to animals or used as a fertilizer for soil. Just imagine the amount of resources which were used to grow, harvest, process, pack and transport this food.

“Stuff”

It is amazing how many useless things we buy, and especially for Christmas and New Year. Could we limit the number of gifts? We sure could. Could we rather turn this holiday time into a time of great experience? We sure could. How about shining with one’s talents at parties?

Gift cannot buy love or respect. We can certainly please somebody, but material things are just material things. We cannot live without them, but we shouldn’t make the gift shopping and gift giving the most important experience of Christmas, because it is not and it never was.

Celebrate in style

We definitely want festive settings, great mood and delicious meals during holidays. It doesn’t take much. However, it could take work, efforts, a lot of imagination and many ideas.

Be gentle to yourself! Be aware that you can wear only one outfit at a time and the amount of food one person can consume is also limited. Not going overboard decreases stresses, and your bank account will love it, too. You don’t have to be the grandmother, who bought 240 gifts for her grandchildren. If they love you, they will love you regardless of number of gifts, and if they don’t, splurging on gifts is not going to help either.

Resist pressure

Social media really facilitate the need to grab, rush, fight and bargain. Every single place wants you to buy something and internet ads create feeling that you are already late, missed the best deals and will never find the hottest items again. Influencers, who are paid for endorsing or advertising one or another item or brand, play big part in over-consumption, especially among younger people. That is such an important aspect of belonging, or rather we have convinced ourselves that we need some particular item because “everybody has it”!

My favorite Christmas things

I hope you are not everybody, but unique you with your unique style and taste which are not affected by the massive pressure of consumer society.

My favorite thing is my tree decorating process. I have always a real tree or at least a real branch of real tree. I do decorating for approximately 3 days, slowly, thoughtfully, listening to sings, watching movies and so on. It is a process. The other thing is getting in touch and connecting with people, who I love.

Happy holidays

Be happy and yourself

I wish you to find yourself in rewarding experiences and pleasurable pastimes! That relaxes, makes fears and anxiety go away and you never feel alone. Such creative experience is a treasure, a true treasure.

Merry Christmas! Happy holiday season and all the best with any other celebration!

Becoming a magician and the power of plum tree leaves

Shaping your life and getting where you want to be

Becoming a magician and shaper of your life involves watching signs, being in harmony with our surroundings and nature since they wish us well and are helping us getting where we want to be. We want to be healthy, and there are numerous ways to stay healthy and get help when we have problems. Problems indicate that we have moved away from the balanced model of life. That indicates our concerns, feelings of guilt, regrets and grief have started to manifest as physical or mental conditions.

How did we get where we are?

We could have invited our problems by refusing to be honest to ourselves. We may be missing the personal love aspect and we might be spending too much time worrying about everything. Living worry-free is certainly the path to take. If we admit we are stressed out most of the time, that is a definite sign changes must be implemented. First of all, changes have to be conscious, have positive and honest intention which harms nobody and they have to be directed towards our wellbeing.

Our subconsciousness is smart

By default, we have known and we know everything we need. We are mostly aware of the visible and touchable things, but frequently completely unaware of the hidden impacts of our thoughts, emotions and behaviours. Instead of helping ourselves staying on the right path, we start to fight different things, and become obsessed with the other ones, describing some of them as evil and some as healing. In fact, we are in place which we have chosen either consciously, or subconsciously. We have taken ourselves to this place where we are right now and we are in a situation which we have created. I could not accept this for the last two decades, but the universe is wise, and sooner or later, one finds what they are looking for.

We have created our surroundings

What we have is what have wished for and what we have been working towards. We have created the situation we are in and we are in place where our life has taken us. We have created the life we know. We have to become different when we want a different situation and different outcome. If we stay and live in one place long enough (5-10 years), the nature literally grows and brings to you all plants, fruits and vegetables you need. We know that we have subconscious cravings for some herbs, plants, flowers, fruits and vegetables and we feel annoyed by some other. The nature wants us to feel good, to pay attention to what it offers and to use what it gives us.

Shaping your life and getting where you want to be Becoming a magician and shaper of your life involves watching signs, being in harmony with our surroundings and nature since they wish us well and are helping us getting where we want to be. We want to be healthy, and there are numerous ways to stay healthy and get help when we have problems. Problems indicate that we have moved away from the balanced model of life. That indicates our concerns, feelings of guilt, regrets and grief have started to manifest as physical or mental conditions. How did we get where we are? We could have invited our problems by refusing to be honest to ourselves. We may be missing the personal love aspect and we might be spending too much time worrying about everything. Living worry-free is certainly the path to take. If we admit we are stressed out most of the time, that is a definite sign changes must be implemented. First of all, changes have to be conscious, have positive and honest intention which harms nobody and they have to be directed towards our wellbeing. Our subconsciousness is smart By default, we have known and we know everything we need. We are mostly aware of the visible and touchable things, but frequently completely unaware of the hidden impacts of our thoughts, emotions and behaviours. Instead of helping ourselves staying on the right path, we start to fight different things, and become obsessed with the other ones, describing some of them as evil and some as healing. In fact, we are in place which we have chosen either consciously, or subconsciously. We have taken ourselves to this place where we are right now and we are in a situation which we have created. I could not accept this for the last two decades, but the universe is wise, and sooner or later, one finds what they are looking for. We have created our surroundings What we have is what have wished for and what we have been working towards. We have created the situation we are in and we are in place where our life has taken us. We have created the life we know. We have to become different when we want a different situation and different outcome. If we stay and live in one place long enough (5-10 years), the nature literally grows and brings to you all plants, fruits and vegetables you need. We know that we have subconscious cravings for some herbs, plants, flowers, fruits and vegetables and we feel annoyed by some other. The nature wants us to feel good, to pay attention to what it offers and to use what it gives us. Accessibility of natural resources Most of us have direct access to natural resources even when living in big cities. We just need to open our eyes and re-evaluate what is available. Going for a hike, visiting relatives in the country side, taking a trip to a green region or simply walking in the park? Take advantage of what comes your way as leaves, blossoms, plants. I do not mean one has to tear of all greens, but picking flowers and greens in a wild flower field is not going to offend either nature, or somebody else. Tea and extract of plum tree leaves Previous time, I shared the many uses of apple leaves which are extremely easy to pick. This time, I would like to share how you can utilize plum tree leaves. You can pick plum tree leaves all summer. Try this healing natural resource and keep using in winter by drying and making flavorful tea or extract. There are no restrictions when using plum tree leaves as tea. It is especially recommended for people who have sedentary way of living since it successfully removes toxins from our body, as well as boosts excretion of unnecessary substances. Coumarins in plum leaves prevent formation of blood clots in the blood vessels, relax smooth muscles in the blood vessels, therefore, dilating them, as well as have soothing and relaxing effect. Finely chopped fresh plum tree leaves are believed to facilitate healing of wounds. Extract of plum tree leaves with a small amount of vinegar can be used for cleaning deep or infected wounds. By hair loss: Pour boiling water over plum tree leaves, allow to steep for about an hour. Use for hair rinsing and apply to hair roots. Stomatitis: for rinsing mouth, pour 200 g of water over 20 g of plum tree leaves and boil for 15 minutes, cool, drain. Gum disease: use 200 ml boiling water over 1 tablespoon of finely chopped or crushed plum tree leaves, allow t steep for 3 hours, drain and rinse mouth 4 times a day. It is possible to also use plum tree leave extract in red wine: finely chop leaves, pour red wine over them, let stand for 3 weeks and then drain. Extract of plum tree leaves and/or plum blossoms can be used also for treatment of internal diseases. Such extract cleans the liver, normalizes and improves our metabolism, improves nervous system conditions and helps in cases of insomnia. Plum tree leaves are also used to treat kidney problems. Plum tree leaf extract can be successfully used for treatment of bladder and kidney inflammations, as well as for cold related conditions: 200 g of water pour over 1 tablespoon of leaves and boil for 15 minutes on low heat (once boiled add boiling water to reach the initial amount of water); use 100 g 3 times a day before meal. To maintain beautiful skin: use plum leaf extract 2 times a day to clean skin. Warning: if you suffer from serious conditions and if you have to use medications, you should always check with your doctor how the natural products will affect your condition and whether it is safe to use such products. Plum tree leaf extracts and tea will cost you nothing. Let us make use of the power of natural plants!

Accessibility of natural resources

Most of us have direct access to natural resources even when living in big cities. We just need to open our eyes and re-evaluate what is available. Going for a hike, visiting relatives in the country side, taking a trip to a green region or simply walking in the park? Take advantage of what comes your way as leaves, blossoms, plants. I do not mean one has to tear of all greens, but picking flowers and greens in a wild flower field is not going to offend either nature, or somebody else.

Tea and extract of plum-tree leaves

Previous time, I shared the many uses of apple leaves which are extremely easy to pick.

This time, I would like to share how you can utilize plum-tree leaves.

You can pick plum-tree leaves all summer. Try this healing natural resource and keep using in winter by drying and making flavorful tea or extract.

There are no restrictions when using plum-tree leaves as tea. It is especially recommended for people who have sedentary way of living since it successfully removes toxins from our body, as well as boosts excretion of unnecessary substances.

Coumarins in plum-tree leaves prevent formation of blood clots in the blood vessels, relax smooth muscles in the blood vessels, therefore, dilating them, as well as have soothing and relaxing effect.

Finely chopped fresh plum-tree leaves are believed to facilitate healing of wounds.

Extract of plum-tree leaves with a small amount of vinegar can be used for cleaning deep or infected wounds.

By hair loss: Pour boiling water over plum-tree leaves, allow to steep for about an hour. Use for hair rinsing and apply to hair roots.

Stomatitis: for rinsing mouth, pour 200 g of water over 20 g of plum-tree leaves and boil for 15 minutes, cool, drain.

Gum disease: use 200 ml boiling water over 1 tablespoon of finely chopped or crushed plum-tree leaves, allow t steep for 3 hours, drain and rinse mouth 4 times a day.

It is possible to also use plum-tree leave extract in red wine: finely chop leaves, pour red wine over them, let stand for 3 weeks and then drain.

Extract of plum-tree leaves and/or plum blossoms can be used also for treatment of internal diseases. Such extract cleans the liver, normalizes and improves our metabolism, improves nervous system conditions and helps in cases of insomnia. Plum tree leaves are also used to treat kidney problems.

Plum tree leaf extract can be successfully used for treatment of bladder and kidney inflammations, as well as for cold related conditions: 200 g of water pour over 1 tablespoon of leaves and boil for 15 minutes on low heat (once boiled add boiling water to reach the initial amount of water); use 100 g 3 times a day before meal.

To maintain beautiful skin: use plum leaf extract 2 times a day to clean skin.

Warning: if you suffer from serious conditions and if you have to use medications, you should always check with your doctor how the natural products will affect your condition and whether it is safe to use such products.

Shaping your life and getting where you want to be Becoming a magician and shaper of your life involves watching signs, being in harmony with our surroundings and nature since they wish us well and are helping us getting where we want to be. We want to be healthy, and there are numerous ways to stay healthy and get help when we have problems. Problems indicate that we have moved away from the balanced model of life. That indicates our concerns, feelings of guilt, regrets and grief have started to manifest as physical or mental conditions. How did we get where we are? We could have invited our problems by refusing to be honest to ourselves. We may be missing the personal love aspect and we might be spending too much time worrying about everything. Living worry-free is certainly the path to take. If we admit we are stressed out most of the time, that is a definite sign changes must be implemented. First of all, changes have to be conscious, have positive and honest intention which harms nobody and they have to be directed towards our wellbeing. Our subconsciousness is smart By default, we have known and we know everything we need. We are mostly aware of the visible and touchable things, but frequently completely unaware of the hidden impacts of our thoughts, emotions and behaviours. Instead of helping ourselves staying on the right path, we start to fight different things, and become obsessed with the other ones, describing some of them as evil and some as healing. In fact, we are in place which we have chosen either consciously, or subconsciously. We have taken ourselves to this place where we are right now and we are in a situation which we have created. I could not accept this for the last two decades, but the universe is wise, and sooner or later, one finds what they are looking for. We have created our surroundings What we have is what have wished for and what we have been working towards. We have created the situation we are in and we are in place where our life has taken us. We have created the life we know. We have to become different when we want a different situation and different outcome. If we stay and live in one place long enough (5-10 years), the nature literally grows and brings to you all plants, fruits and vegetables you need. We know that we have subconscious cravings for some herbs, plants, flowers, fruits and vegetables and we feel annoyed by some other. The nature wants us to feel good, to pay attention to what it offers and to use what it gives us. Accessibility of natural resources Most of us have direct access to natural resources even when living in big cities. We just need to open our eyes and re-evaluate what is available. Going for a hike, visiting relatives in the country side, taking a trip to a green region or simply walking in the park? Take advantage of what comes your way as leaves, blossoms, plants. I do not mean one has to tear of all greens, but picking flowers and greens in a wild flower field is not going to offend either nature, or somebody else. Tea and extract of plum tree leaves Previous time, I shared the many uses of apple leaves which are extremely easy to pick. This time, I would like to share how you can utilize plum tree leaves. You can pick plum tree leaves all summer. Try this healing natural resource and keep using in winter by drying and making flavorful tea or extract. There are no restrictions when using plum tree leaves as tea. It is especially recommended for people who have sedentary way of living since it successfully removes toxins from our body, as well as boosts excretion of unnecessary substances. Coumarins in plum leaves prevent formation of blood clots in the blood vessels, relax smooth muscles in the blood vessels, therefore, dilating them, as well as have soothing and relaxing effect. Finely chopped fresh plum tree leaves are believed to facilitate healing of wounds. Extract of plum tree leaves with a small amount of vinegar can be used for cleaning deep or infected wounds. By hair loss: Pour boiling water over plum tree leaves, allow to steep for about an hour. Use for hair rinsing and apply to hair roots. Stomatitis: for rinsing mouth, pour 200 g of water over 20 g of plum tree leaves and boil for 15 minutes, cool, drain. Gum disease: use 200 ml boiling water over 1 tablespoon of finely chopped or crushed plum tree leaves, allow t steep for 3 hours, drain and rinse mouth 4 times a day. It is possible to also use plum tree leave extract in red wine: finely chop leaves, pour red wine over them, let stand for 3 weeks and then drain. Extract of plum tree leaves and/or plum blossoms can be used also for treatment of internal diseases. Such extract cleans the liver, normalizes and improves our metabolism, improves nervous system conditions and helps in cases of insomnia. Plum tree leaves are also used to treat kidney problems. Plum tree leaf extract can be successfully used for treatment of bladder and kidney inflammations, as well as for cold related conditions: 200 g of water pour over 1 tablespoon of leaves and boil for 15 minutes on low heat (once boiled add boiling water to reach the initial amount of water); use 100 g 3 times a day before meal. To maintain beautiful skin: use plum leaf extract 2 times a day to clean skin. Warning: if you suffer from serious conditions and if you have to use medications, you should always check with your doctor how the natural products will affect your condition and whether it is safe to use such products. Plum tree leaf extracts and tea will cost you nothing. Let us make use of the power of natural plants!

Plum tree leaf extracts and tea will cost you nothing. Let us make use of the power of natural plants!

You can read what apple leaf tea and extract can do for you in the previous article: https://inesepogalifeschool.com/2018/08/25/using-life-skills-and-recipe-of-powerful-health-boosting-tea-that-costs-you-nothing/

 

 

Using life skills and recipe of powerful health boosting tea that costs you nothing

Life skills

Many diplomas and grades, but no life skills? That is a very common issue. Lack of life skills leads to numerous problems: we are tested every single day. It is a wide area of not only good practical habits and best recipes for many situations in life, but also people skills and knowledge of things that help us get through illnesses and mentally challenging periods.

Let your experience guide you

Our experience and life skills are a huge treasure. We should have learned something about living and getting along with other people at some point in our life. We could have become expert with our daily tasks: cooking, cleaning, maintaining health, using natural products, staying fit, staying young and maintaining a good energy for life. Do not let somebody convince you that you know nothing and only internet couches and self-help books can tell you what you should and shouldn’t do.

You know who you are

We usually know who we have become by the age of 40 or at least 50. We have some idea of what we have achieved or not, what we would love or not and how we would like to continue. We know our pains, we have a long history of events behind us. We know our weaknesses and strength. We know how to overcome cravings and what has been left unresolved.

Happiness or joy?

While there is a big push towards happiness wherever we look, the main task of life is being satisfied, accepted, having pleasant memories and things we enjoy doing. I leave happiness for special moments, for special occasions, and I think having happy meals every day is a bit too much. If we have only vacations and no work days, we lose the feeling of being rewarded with time off and we get bored. If we eat only dessert, we do not perceive the special taste and delight of a dessert. That kind of thing. There are not only Sundays in our life. When we enjoy the things we do, we invite pleasure and satisfaction in our life leaving less time for disappointments and arguments.

My perfect cures and treatments

If you have a job that does not make you feel good, you should have at least something that takes care of your physical, spiritual and mental wellbeing. I do art and gardening to lift my mood. Art is a very specific area which has so many functions that it is difficult to even list everything great that happens when people start almost meditating when creating art. Gardening keeps one in good shape and puts clean, healthy food on our table.

Real versus improved, modified and altered

Less stuff from the health food store and more from your own backyard and garden is a huge advantage. The older I get, the more I learn about everything simple herbs and plants can do. If you grow your own vegetables, fruit and herbs you most likely not only water them, but also send them some good thoughts, you really enjoy turning seeds into plants, and plants into food.

Do you think there is a difference between an apple that has been grown in a garden for profit and with use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides and a very naturally grown apple from a tree to which you have sent your happy thoughts while it was blooming and ripening? The difference is as big as between day and night.

Beet we grow is good because it has balanced amounts of all nutrients. Beet powder might be advertised as wonderful, but it will cause imbalance in your body. Plant proteins are great, but they come in the right amount only in plants, especially plants which are almost alive and come straight from the garden.

Natural treatments

By using pills, powders and liquids that have been modified and altered, we are always at risk of destroying the balance between nutrients our body needs. Our body definitely does not need or consume properly synthetic vitamins and minerals.

Natural treatments can be a huge health boost.

Warning: if you suffer from serious conditions and if you have to use medications, you should always check with your doctor how the natural products will affect your condition and whether it is safe to use such products.

Using life skills and recipe of powerful health boosting tea

I will share with you a very simple recipe of tea that will definitely make some positive changes and cost you absolutely nothing, just a little work picking and drying apple tree leaves.

Apple leaves: have you ever tried this tea?

Apple leaves have more nutrients, vitamins and minerals than apples, and tea or extract in boiling water are easy to make.

We collect medium size healthy looking leaves either in early spring before blooming or in the fall after fruit has been removed. Apple trees grow almost everywhere, therefore, the main ingredient is easy to find and will cost you nothing.

Tea made of dried apple leaves is recommended for:

Anemia: use 200 ml boiling water over 1 tablespoon of dried, crushed apple leaves, allow to steep for 1 hour, strain, use 100 ml of extract with honey 3 times a day 1.5 hours after meal;

Cold, bronchitis, cough, hoarseness: use 200 ml boiling water over 1 tablespoon of dried, crushed apple leaves, allow to steep for 30 minutes, strain, use 1/3 of 200 ml glass 4-5 times a day. Such apple leaf extract kills germs and causes you to sweat;

Colitis, inflammation of gastrointestinal tract: 200 ml water pour over 3 tablespoons of chopped apple leaves and boil for 15 minutes, cool and strain. Use 2-3 tablespoons of extract before meals 4-5 times a day. Such extract can be also used to improve digestion, decrease the low density (bad) cholesterol level and to facilitate liver function;

Insomnia: cup of warm apple leaf tea will help falling asleep and relaxing;

Nutrient balance, lack of vitamins, depression, fatigue: if you are lacking vitamins, essential nutrients and minerals, apple leaf tea will bring you back to balance and increase energy levels, use approximately 1 tablespoon of dried leaves on 200 ml of boiling water and drink as tea a few times a day;

Skin problems, skin inflammation and wounds: washing face with extract of apple leaves in water will clear your skin, compresses will decrease inflammation and heal wounds faster.

Just like dried apple tea, apple leaf tea will warm you up and help maintaining good health during winter months and in any occasion when you need extra vitamins and minerals.

I know people who used apple leaves as tea or extract regularly for many years, and they reached 100 years while staying energetic and fit.

Using life skills and recipe of powerful health boosting tea

I will share more extra simple and effective health improving recipes as soon as I will have time again. Good luck!

Spring: gardening for everybody

Waking up after a very long winter

We’ve got spring finally! It is the second spring-like day with sunshine and warm air. It feels so good!

I mentioned that in my previous posts: if you have a severely manifesting seasonal affective disorder, this is the time of the year you live for. This is the time when I wake up. All my vitals normalize: blood glucose becomes perfect, energy returns and mood goes up. This feels as if somebody opened a curtain to a previously hidden scene where everything happens. Life is beautiful once again.

The only sad note is the upcoming surgery in May. I am trying to work every day because I need everything done by that date: everything planted, watered and myself prepared. I could not walk for a long time after 2016 surgery, but I certainly believe I am much better prepared this time. I know by now that with the health care we have in Canada, the patient has to double-check everything. So, I have already prescriptions for post-surgery medications, I have a home-care nurse who never stopped attending me anyway, but it is going to be much more frequently. I usually cut my hair shorter because it is sometimes impossible and sometimes difficult to wash it.

Garden is awake, too.

Any place is good for gardening

This place is not what one could call a splendid living space. It does not have many of very necessary things to live easily and get chores done without problems. We do not have practically any storage and the place is also overloaded with my paintings. They are everywhere. I could fill up a few big galleries or at least sell some to be financially prepared for the post-surgery no income period. The wonderful thing is this garden, however. It wasn’t here before I arrived. I made it from scratch. I am good at making gardens and I have started at least some 10 of them, maybe more, because I moved a lot in Latvia and it is the fourth place in Canada. I always make a garden wherever I go. I do it always myself: prepare for hard work, find the best spots with the most suitable soil: less roots, good sunlight; get the shovel, remove the sod, and ahead I go. The rest is the easy part; digging can be a problem, especially with my previously broken joints and other fractures. It can be hard. I was walking around and working in the garden with infusion pump and its tube inserted in my vein the year before. However, I am extremely happy afterwards.

Gardening is a Latvian thing. I would say I do not know anybody back in Latvia who does not do some gardening: big or small. This means providing oneself with the best things possible: clean fruit and vegetables and also getting a lot of exercise in fresh air. In my opinion, that is the biggest plus: air smells like flowers, grasses and trees, sunshine, birds are literally pouring themselves out in songs, extreme beauty and such a pleasure to watch how everything grows.

Starting from seeds

I am seeding everything this year. I used to buy plants before, but it makes no sense. It is a lot of money, however, that is just one side of buying quite big plants. We did not have a good summer last year and I had to replant literally most of my garden. The plants that I bought at garden centers died off after I tried to rescue and revive them for numerous times, they got plant diseases and were doing simply bad. All plants I started from seeds, were doing extremely well, it felt the bad weather was not affecting these. I think: wherever money is made, something will be off. Basically, my own plants were much stronger and much more resistant to bad environmental effects. Therefore, I am starting from seeds everything.

How to place seeds in a seed starting container

I would advise to get some packs of early spring vegetable and herb seeds and put them in tiny containers in a very light and warm place whether that is already outside or inside. We seed one to tops 2 seeds per container. It can be difficult with small seeds, use plastic or metal tweezers. I do reuse all my seed starting containers from previous years (I have very many) or when I am still too short, I cut wrapping paper in longer slices and roll them around a small bottle or glass or any cylindrical object. Fold and press together the bottom and as you add seeding mix or soil, its weight will create pressure enough to keep the container just fine. It is ok to start in plastic containers (small yogurt containers or similar), but paper is better. Also: the parsley plants I started from seeds last year, survived winter and they will be just fine, so, I do not need new ones. They are already up. Chives are also up, although, it is just 2 days after freezing temperatures.

Nature awakes

Well, and the newborn rabbit had crawled out of the rabbit hole. It seemed it went back after a while, but I don’t know what to do with it because I will dig up that part of the garden, as well. It’s good I noticed the hole; otherwise I could accidentally injure somebody inside it. Even though rabbits, just like squirrels here destroy quite a lot of what I am growing, they are still so nice. What’s a little bit of lettuce compared to how nice they look! Squirrels can be nastier, but I discovered a way to plant so that they do not get to dig up roots. It is inexpensive and simple way and I wanted to sell this stuff after testing it last year because it is very safe, easy to apply and it doesn’t involve any chemicals and any substances, but did not get to that part.

Baby-rabbit looking for adventures

Everybody can do gardening

Gardening is so easy, absolutely everybody can do it. Think about the great healthy and clean things you get with a little bit of work! It is not a rocket science. Use common sense and planting instructions. Things like herbs grow on their own, literally, just plant or seed them. Choose the least sensitive plants at first. However, tomatoes and cucumbers are just fine if the plants are good quality and healthy and the weather does not do any absurd things. Good luck!

Worth writing a novel about

Please make sure you check out the gallery pictures closer to the end!

Latvia is a place I come from. Most of my family still resides there but I went for a chance to change my life dramatically a bit more than 13 years ago and relocated to Canada. Everything was different, I had to adjust myself, learn a lot and, basically, I can say I’m fine by now. It feels like I started fresh at the age of 46 again.

Time passes so fast, but there are things which I miss a lot while in Canada. I definitely miss my mom, my daughter, grandchildren, my sister and also friends. The other thing which is quite important and which I miss every time I go to the grocery store is Latvian food. I miss the huge variety, the very natural produce, wild mushrooms, wild berries, endless salads, soups and deserts. I miss dairy products and the huge selection of fresh-water and salt-water fish which we do not have in Canada, and it is hard to live without their cakes, pastries, pies and all the stuff that comes on the table just rarely, but makes all the difference. For instance, black or rather grey peas with crunchy bites of Latvian bacon and kefir, or thousands of dishes made of Latvian cottage cheese which is always excellent quality compared to what I have when I can find it in Canada. I mean the raw, nothing added, nothing removed cottage cheese. Their daily bread selection is worth writing a novel about: from dark rye and carrot bread baked using ancient Latvian recipes to all kinds of white, dark bread made with or without seeds and from all kinds of grains. The freshness is breathtaking, and so is the taste. I have always hard times finding a good quality bread at home, it goes bad and stale next morning, and it usually falls apart. My guess is: it consists of hardly anything, but costs a lot.

Therefore, I try everything Latvia can offer, and that is plenty. Neither I want, nor I intend to avoid such a delicious pleasure: it is a feast from the day 1 of my stay here until the dinner before my flight back home.

As I walk along the Central Market (I came here with just one intention: to take a few pictures because this is sort of very large farmer’s market, the largest in Europe), my eyes run all around and it’s great I’m not hungry because otherwise I’d end up buying too much stuff. Most people, however, prefer the ecologically clean product stores. Prices are quite high in stores which offer organic, biologically and ecologically clean produce and all kinds of other foods, and frequently above the affordable level, but still: Latvians take food seriously and they can certainly choose something great even when the wallet is not that full.

There is something else: traditionally Latvians do gardening, even these who live in the downtown of Riga, usually have some out-of-town place where they can grow something. Latvia did a lot of farming in the soviet times, and it was actually quite agricultural outside the biggest cities. The first Latvian Republic before the World War II was famous for its fantastic dairy products, bacon, butter, meats and produce. Although, agriculturally used land and the number, as well as size of farms have decreased, the need for good quality food is the same. People know what is good, Latvians know what delicious and fresh means, and therefore, the food quality standards remain high.

If you are wondering what I mean with all this praising, I do suggest you stop by in Latvia for the greatest and cleanest foods one can try. It’s worth it. I did not notice where their fast food places were, I know there are some, but people who think about their health won’t eat in such places. I personally never learned loving fast food, I don’t think they are popular here because everything is geared towards healthier, fresher, cleaner and less processed.

I have taken pictures also of smoked fish and meats, and these are certainly not for daily consumption, they are not part of a healthy diet, however, small bit here and there cannot harm. They taste incredibly good. If you have never tried, you won’t know how delicious these things are: smoked fish and chicken especially, and I miss such treats a lot. Some fishing villages still smoke fish like Latvian fishermen did 200, 300 and more hundred years ago.

Caraway seed cheese is my favorite, it always has been. When I was 12 or so I worked at a dairy plant during the summer (all kids worked). I had to help by preparation of caraway seed cheese. It was warm and so yummy that I never forgot this taste. The only place I get it as I like is Latvia. I tried to make my own in Canada, but milk and cottage cheese were totally unsuitable: they are too processed and do not have the same properties, so, I did not get very good caraway seed cheese. Dairy products are definitely bad and low quality in Canada. I sometimes wonder: why wouldn’t they go to Latvia, for example, and learn how to achieve greatness in dairy products. It’ s not going to happen because their profits come always first.

Well, wild mushrooms and wild berries are something Ontarians do not get to see or taste. Some might, but it’ s not everybody by far. Mushrooms are still in season, but there are less and less berries in the forest because fall sets in sooner in Latvia than in Canada.

mouth-watering Latvian dairy products

Meats and smoked meats

Fresh, live and smoked fish

A few veggies (because they looked so nice) and some wild berries and mushrooms

I actually wanted to publish separate posts about separate food groups, but time is really short, so I will leave you with these pictures and I am going back home soon.

Health or trouble from the grocery store?

Can we trust any food-producing company and take their word as a guarantee for healthy and harmless food? I know that you are aware we cannot. We should not.

I’ve seen recently organic sour cream which wasn’t a cream, but a mix of different thickeners, taste enhancers and some other things. Hey, cream should consist only of cream! Shouldn’t it? That’s how it always was: when we separate the fatty layer from milk, we get cream. Not nowadays. Dairy products are the most chemically enhanced food, quite often: surrogate food. Dairy products are easy to replicate using all kinds of substances.

Can we trust anybody who swears their produce is organic, grown in organic soil without the use of non-organic fertilizers? Absolutely not. I have suspicion certificates do not land only on organic farms. Some former employees point out such issues. Only after multiple claims, food inspection would do something about it.

How healthy are they?

Where do they come from?

Look at the grocery store shelves: long rows of vegetables. Some are not that great looking (organic since so small?), some are as if from a colorful food commercial (these are the GMOs: the taste and flavor is sacrificed to longer shelf time and more attractive look), some are frequently soaked in the water or they call this process: sprinkled with water to appear greener and fresher. In other words: these green leaves are slowly rotting straight before your eyes.

Leafy vegetables and greens cannot tolerate such soaking: dill, parsley, coriander, lettuce, spinach and other greens start losing nutrients and getting damaged right after they are harvested. They rot literally on the shelf. How much vitamins and minerals have they managed to preserve that way? I bet not much. Especially, when we take into account how unstable some vitamins and amino acids are, for instance vitamin C. I also do not like how these greens practically disintegrate very soon even in fridge. They lack flavor, as well.

I believe selling unwashed potatoes, carrots, beets and similar root crops would feel offensive for aesthetically refined clients, but anybody who ever has grown some vegetables knows that storage time of root crops decreases dramatically after washing them. I just bought a bag of new potatoes. They were most likely packed wet, so some are already damaged. What happens after a week? They are all rotten.

Root vegetables have a protective layer which keeps them undamaged in the soil. When this layer is washed off, this vegetable becomes sensitive to any harmful bacteria and environmental issues. Washed root crops must be consumed fast. Also: avoid potatoes with visible green parts: that is effect of toxins due to improper storage or handling. When peeled, that should be ok, but generally, green color potatoes should not be consumed.

The other issue is too good-looking fruit and vegetables. If vegetables look very neat, are all the same size, have flawless shape and even color: they are most likely genetically modified.

We should require such food to be labelled, but Health Canada, for instance, does not think we should know that. They also emphasize that GMOs do not cause any problems, issues or concerns. Short sighted? More than that: they are protecting farmers that use GMOs in order their profits would not decrease. Insects and animals die out, but they are of no concern for human use, sure!

While greens and vegetables along with fruit that contain only naturally intended things are good for us, especially, if they are not stored for weeks or they haven’t been travelling to the point of sale for months, packaging material matters, too.

As we walk around the grocery store, we can see lots and lots of greens packaged in plastic bags, containers: baby greens, especially, pre-cut vegetable and fruit salads, lots of them. Generally speaking, it’s bad news. Whatever vegetable: it needs to breathe. Believe or not: they really do. When such greens are packed in a plastic container that is practically sealed, vegetables have no other way but to get damaged faster. So, they are washed. They are pre-cut for salads. They are pre-packaged. Who knows when they were harvested? That is all bad news. Such vegetable already loses nutrients in storage. Even without cutting, washing and handling. After washing these vegetables with special dirt removing mixes (it’s not clean water, believe me, because it wouldn’t be able tore move all stuff from leaves) they are dried and then placed in plastic bags or containers. Whatever way you look at it: I cannot see how they would possibly still have nutrients. Not to mention there is nothing fresh. Fresh, in fact, is: straight from the place where it was grown. There is no other fresh. Plus, toxins from plastic packaging, plus, handling with tools (cutting): that causes rapid losses of good things and fast increase I bad things, e. g., bad bacteria.

If you have access to a food lab, please test the vegetable for essential nutrients 2 times: straight from the garden and after a week in fridge. I don’t think you will ever use any pre-cut salads again.

It is too bad that large cities provide with so much life and entertainment, but getting really good food is such problem there because most often we are eating illusion about healthy food.

Congratulations if you can grow something in your backyard and you are in a driver’s seat if you can grow most of stuff which goes on your table.

Please, stay away from plastic packaging. Salad that is not prepared before the meal has practically lost not only its flavor and taste, but also most of nutrients.

While we do not have a decent food labeling system, we will never know what we are consuming. Never. Heavy metals, toxins, pesticides, chemicals: it greatly depends on soil, on farm, its location, climate and soil characteristics, greenhouse location, applied methods, processing plant, its location, its processing techniques and methods and storage and packaging facilities. This matters to a great extent. To a huge extent. Not to mention whether a product comes from a genetically modified seeds and plants. I can see at the present moment only: product of the USA, product of Mexico, product of Ontario. There is no sign of a specific harvesting date or location, nothing. I personally think this has to change. Our health very directly depends on the process of harvesting, sorting, washing, cleaning, transporting, storing and processing foods. Especially, that refers to foods that are deemed to be so healthy and nutrient-dense.

Cucumbers and tomatoes doing not well: try this

If it is too late for this growing season, these simple steps will help you have great tomato and cucumber plants next spring; you will also enjoy a rich harvest.

The bad weather we had this growing season opened my eyes. I would never imagine that there is such an insane difference between plants one grows from seeds and between plants we buy at garden centers and nurseries.

It was raining for more than a month, and we did not have any single sunny day. My garden was practically immersed in water. I tried digging deeper ditches along the plant beds to make the rain water go away, but every time when it rained again, all plants were practically floating.

Fortunately, this soaking ended, but the next period came with extreme and intense heat which meant that plants were literally boiling in the hot soil that had become heavy and did not allow plants breathing since in such a soil there is hardly any space for oxygen.

I did what I could; helped plants as much as possible with loosening soil and adding dry soil here and there, but the scene did not look that pretty.

I discovered that tomatoes required simply replanting after shaving off the yellow leaves. It was quite late in the summer, but I noticed they did not mind. They recovered approximately after two weeks. The key is to disturb the root as little as possible. I use a big shovel and take the tomato plant over to a quite deep hole which I prepare in advance. I replanted some tomatoes in large pots. Every single one recovered once it was removed from the previous spot. Even that one recovered which I literally tore out because I was already tired with all this wilting and rotting, and my energy was getting low. I just put it in the closest empty spot and loosely covered with some soil. Whatever, I didn’t care. To my surprise, it started doing so well after a few weeks that I could not believe what I saw.

Cucumbers do not love replanting that much. They will die off anyway. The best we can do is to cut off all the damaged leaves and even damaged parts. I know it feels like we should preserve whatever we can, but if there are any signs of mildew, mold or other similar damage, just cut if off and see what happens. Most cucumbers recovered after a big struggle and efforts from my side.

The plants that seemed to be having no bad weather impact were the ones I had grown from seeds. I was under impression that it is safe to buy plants at garden centers just like we were frequently doing in Europe. That is not the case here in Canada. I can see now that they most likely push out the plant with all kinds of root boosters and fertilizers, so that when this in a controlled temperature and under controlled light kept plant gets out into the garden and in naturally rough conditions it has no way, but to get all plant diseases and suffer from sensitivity to heat, temperature change and intense sunlight. So, I suppose, this is bad news for garden centers: I will not buy any plants from garden centers and nurseries next year. It makes no sense, because all plants which I started from seeds were and still are doing fine: there is no mildew, rotting, wilting or any other issue with them.

We could compare such a plant with a child who has been watched closely and has grown up in a strictly controlled environment, sometimes even sterile: once this kid gets out in the real world with all its disasters and impacts, this kid will get diseases and become sick from any germs that are around and completely harmless to these who have developed immunity gradually. Gradually means being in touch with outdoors and indoors, with anything that comes along.

Therefore, my main observation is: if you want your cucumber, tomato and other plants to be strong, resistant to plant diseases and weather conditions, start them from seeds. The best is also to use seeds which haven’t been genetically modified or processed using chemicals. Naturally strong plants just like humans need everything natural, not enhanced, not improved, not overdone: just naturally beneficial.

One more observation for extremely diverse climate where temperatures can go from very low to very high rapidly or where long rain periods are followed by lots of exposure to direct sun: let the cucumber plants go wide and allow them expanding on the soil without putting them on trellis, strings that go up, I mean, do not raise them up vertically because they will have more chances to do great close to the ground; and the weather impact will be not that harsh.

The soothing Sunday thoughts: absolute calm

The sun is quite low

No wind swirls a leaf

Clouds have flown away and taken

Storms somewhere else

Thoughtfulness in each stem of the grass

Everything is at rest

Including my usually racing thoughts

Rabbit in the evening sun

Lazy and satisfied with the green grass meal

Chipmunk runs along the fence

And disappears in the soft shadows

Squirrel sneaks up on my plants

Bird on the fence, staring onto the sky

Sparrows chatting about a piece of bread

And otherwise it is silence

Too deep to realize

This is also a life

Life at rest

Such absolute undisturbed calm

Soft purple

Dreamy pink and

The happy rabbit

To illustrate the absolute calm, I took a few pictures. Rabbit was the most patient model, and obviously plants were not moving. Chipmunk disappeared before I got my camera, squirrels usually run somewhere and the bird took off.

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