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Posts from the ‘green living’ Category

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/

 

 

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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.

Can gardening save your life?

I know people who have survived thanks to gardening.

So, are you the lucky one with a garden?

That could pretty much be an answer to many of your health problems and even save your life, because doing gardening will make your life so much more enjoyable and even support you financially and save money.

It just said on the news that one-third of the world’s population was obese.

That is the most recent statistics. When we imagine how many places on the Earth cannot provide people who live there with any food or clean water, it becomes very clear that so-called developed countries are the ones mostly suffering from this disaster. It’s no surprise it comes as a combo of all kinds of cancers and dementia, plus diabetes and cardio-vascular fatalities. Diseases are getting younger. We thought stroke was more likely to happen after 40-50, it’s affecting now people 16 years old and even younger.

This happens due to food production which is very distant from the way we were having food even 50-60 years ago. With every year, more newly discovered chemical combinations, supplements, taste enhancers, coloring and thickening agents, preservatives and so on and so forth, have been replacing natural food. Not to mention 90 types of artificial sweeteners which replace sugar.

When we think dairy, do we imagine pure chemicals in the container with a label organic cream? We don’t. Yet, it isn’t even a cream, but some mix of things that make this substance look and to some extent taste like cream. The whipping cream isn’t a cream, and milk that comes from powder or egg mix that doesn’t have real eggs in it: that’s all processed already. Cheese is the most affected because it’s easy to replace real ingredients with chemicals in cheese. Your breakfast flakes: they are already processed, if they were not you’d have raw grains. Natural and good fats such as organic butter have been replaced with chemically created fats for some 80 years. That refers to any margarine, oils of not organic origin and obviously all pastry includes that: bread, bread type of snacks, etc. since it really needs some fat or it goes stale the next day.

So, what difference does the produce you have grown on your own make?

Huge. If you have ever tried freshly picked cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini or peppers from the backyard, you know how much richer the taste is. At some point, it’s impossible to compare garden produce with fruits and vegetables from the grocery store. Greens and herbs such as green onion, dill, parsley, basil, thyme and sage from the grocery store wilt right away and they never feel really fresh because they soak them in water by spraying all the time at the store.

Farmer’s market is a good place, however, sometimes prices are extremely high (at least in Whitby, Ontario) and the produce does not look that great.

By growing our own vegetables and fruits we know what they contain.

I love that I know exactly how my vegetables are grown: what water I use, what soil, etc. Small gardens can be easily weeded manually; there is no need to use chemicals to conquer weeds. It’s also easier to control any pests in case they would appear with simple household supplies.

It makes an incredible difference for me: I just walk outside and choose whatever I feel like having for meal. Being in fresh air and having so much stuff for eyes to enjoy is definitely an added bonus.

Plus, one does not need any gym to stay in a good shape: thankfully garden work involves all kinds of moves, exercises and tasks.

I know that not everybody can live in a house with a decent size backyard. I live here also because we rent this place. Yet, there are millions of people who only have lawns everywhere: in the front and in the back. If we would start with lots of people growing healthy chemical-free vegetables and fruits not only for themselves, but also for a few other people, we might end the cancer, cardio-vascular, diabetes and obesity epidemic. We might just also have better mental abilities because of that; and some garden work is always useful as opposed to scrolling through screens or snoozing in front of TV.

This is how gardening will make you healthy:

You will get lots of exercise without paying fees for gym or designating specific time for it;

You will be rewarded with crops that are clean and contain many times more nutrients;

Naturally occurring minerals, vitamins and other good substances are only found in FRESH garden produce;

You will avoid harsh chemicals by using in your gardening only natural fertilizers and composted plant food;

You will have something to take care of and you’ll never feel lonely;

You will have peace of mind, place to relax and ability to clean the bad energies when being in contact with the soil;

You will save money on organic herbs, fruit and vegetables which we really need, but which are not in a good shape at grocery stores and very expensive;

Kids find gardening attractive because we can monitor the steady development and growing;

Gardening is suitable for any age or condition: we can always find ways to do things easily;

You don’t have to travel far to be surrounded by the nature;

Garden can become the most inspiring thing for writers, artists, designers and other creative folks;

By doing gardening and consuming only fresh and chemical-free produce you will literally help your body and brain fight diseases and manage easier the existing conditions.

So, gardening might save your life, especially if gardening becomes your passion.

Please enjoy the purple blossoming in my garden!

Chives in bloom

Purple iris

Close-up

Lovely faces of pansies

Isn’t it pretty?

The many shades of beauty

Easy to grow, always smiley

 

Why to declutter your life now: the many powers of spring

Do you feel happier also just because it feels like the cold and snow seem to be gone? I do for sure. It is difficult to explain how much the dullness and darkness can affect us. It does this in so many ways: I hear people engaging into comfort foods, some just sleep over or hibernate and some other try to do their best to accomplish something. I belong to these who try to accomplish something, but it is so tough. I have to put pressure on myself all the time during winter months.

Why so many New Year’s resolutions fail? The timing is simply bad because we still have in us the ancient need to save energy for the spring awakening. That is nature; these are genes and our personal clock which dictate that.

Spring arrival is in so many ways better than the New Year: we finally get to do things that were postponed due to the cold and nasty weather outdoors. That includes even such routine chores as throwing out garbage or things we will never need, but are keeping “just in case”. Decluttering only our living and work space is not enough. We definitely have to declutter our mental space and mind also.

That is the energetic power of spring!

Chives: green despite the snow we had just 2 days ago!

We can go ahead with all the health ideas we have, in particular, because we will be able to put on our table the greens and early veggies we have managed to start and accommodate in tiny, small or larger back yards, balconies, front yards and anywhere where we can plant something. It does not have to be big in order to give as a huge spring vitamin boost. NO synthetic supplements can ever replace the nutrition from real sprouts and baby greens.

Therefore, your spring greens will not only make you healthier, but also give plenty of pleasant emotions. While we watch the seed germination and sprouting we become so aware that something tiny can have an insane power. The growing power.

What are the easiest and fastest things to start with? Any herbs, any green onions, chives, radish, lettuce and similar plants. They practically require very little care: we have to only provide them with sunlight and water after planting or seeding.

Strong and bright green nettle leaves; in fact, they can be added to the spring mix

It is a huge relief when the weather forecast puts us in a better mood: birds are singing so gladly and loudly, the sun is painting shadows on tiny grass stems, and there is a promise of warmer days being here soon.

It is also time to reorganize everything from our attitude and blog to contents of our wardrobe and different garbage hiding spaces in our living space. Decluttering is such a big matter because stuff just grows around us and we need to make space for fresh air to get a brain functionality boost also indoors.

You might consider reading the blog posts of your fellow bloggers instead of just clicking on “like” from your READER this spring. That is a wonderful blogging habit, and it not only shows your respect and interest in others, but helps discover different opinions and views on the same subject. You’d be surprised how many more returns via blog traffic and personal friendships one can make just by being an attentive blogger and leaving a comment here and there. I would imagine most bloggers are like me: if you never comment on my blog, I most likely will not engage in the comment section of your blog either. Think about that: blogger community is a place where mutual interaction is appreciated.

This is the best time to start with physical activities also because there will be less side-effects and it will happen seamlessly. It feels very natural to walk more and work outdoors in spring.

This is the best time to engage in new eating habits and to get rid of our bad habits. The seasonal change to a better weather makes any swift changes easier tolerable.

This is the best time to start loving oneself because we can change our outfits, switch to nicer colors and use some lighter make-up.

Tulips are getting ready to go, as well

All inspiration we need is right before our eyes: squirrels and chipmunks running around like crazy, birds singing, plants budding and grasses sprouting. Daffodils, bluebells, crocuses, wild anemones and tulips are up. That is a genuinely new beginning. Do not miss that.

Living green means simplifying and enhancing life

So far, we have been taught that more is always better. We have known for decades that having more than anybody else is the best.

It is fairly obvious, however, that it is better to have a few good things than very many useless ones. We have to educate ourselves every single day, and do that not based on what somebody else believes, but based on facts, our and other peoples’ experience and tested, proven truth. The campaigns which claim to provide us with miracle products are just advertising trick because the real miracle of life is our ability to change the aspects affecting us. We always have a choice, would that be food or place to live.

We love excuses, we can justify any laziness or idleness of mind and body. There are diseases, there are accidents, many of which wouldn’t happen if just paid more attention and implemented some preventive measures. Accidents and diseases are quite often caused by things WHICH WE DID NOT WANT TO DO. Which we felt we were too tired or too exhausted to do.

Prevention is the best protection, both against diseases and accidents. Having everything safely placed at home and in the outdoor space, prevents plenty of childhood accidents. It is not that difficult to never place hot or boiling substance close to the table rim. It is not that difficult to fence in open water on a property. One ambulance worker said: if people didn’t try so hard to show off how brave or strong they are, many accidents wouldn’t happen.

Choosing simple things over expensive equipment and gym isn’t any worse sporting activity. In fact, we are aware now, that MODERATE physical activities are the best. That means people who already have some illness or disorder, have to be careful and choose activities which won’t harm them more.

Everybody who can, should take walks. The added bonus is doing that in tree-rich area, parks, forests, taking a path away from busy traffic routes. When we compare walk in the forest and workout in the gym, it is almost like having decent organic meal and dining at fast food restaurant.

Appearances take huge place in any area of our life. I mean, people do so much stuff not for themselves, but to show off to somebody who is “EVERYBODY”. I have noticed how TV uses “everybody”: everybody eats this and everybody watches that; everybody wears that outfit or color and everybody exercises like that. EVERYBODY is NOBODY.

Thankfully, we are also all different as our DNA proves. There are no 100% identical people on the planet because even twins due to epigenetic factors develop distinctive life styles or get different diseases in their life-time.

Epigenetic factors have strong influence, therefore, we are not only determined by our genetic potential or some genetic disorder.

The best way to keep ourselves healthy is to ALWAYS stay close to nature and natural products and environment.

We can learn a lot from the garden: how to start fresh every year, how to bloom regardless of bad weather and how to get through tough winter peacefully and being ready for new blossoming. Therefore, we can impact our destiny and genetic predisposition by returning to nature: fresh air, unpolluted water, undisturbed sunlight and clean soil will always take care about basic products, greens and herbs on our table. The beauty and tranquility of a garden is the best environment to recharge and reset one’s energy.

It was late fall, and some flowers were still blossoming. Sunflowers are beauties with a strength and surviving power of a warrior. Colors of leaves make us wonder every fall: the nature has so many shades of colors and shapes.

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