New to the “Crunchy” life? New to real foods? New to alternative medicine? New to herbal remedies? Don’t know where to begin? I want to help you!
Today I will begin a series, that with much prayer and a few late nights, I might be able to keep up with. Ya’ll pray too if you don’t mind!
This series will be a hike down a long but adventurous trail; “The Crunchy Trail” we will explore what it means to be “Crunchy” and small simple steps you can take to get your family headed down a more natural and healthy path.
Not everyone will hike as far as others. What works for one, will not necessarily work for another. However there is bound to be something that will help you live a more natural, healthy lifestyle.
So even if it is only one short mile you hike with me, I promise, that like any nature hike, you will see beauty and reap the benefits of that mile traveled.
So come hike with me as we explore the easy, flat, wide valleys, the steep, difficult mountainous climbs, and the peaceful breathtaking overlooks of “The Crunchy Trail”.
This post will be one of the longest of the series:
Our first mile will prepare us. It isn’t a simple one, but it isn’t too difficult. There are only 7 steps in this first mile, but each one takes time. There is no time limit, this isn’t a marathon, it is a leisurely walk on a mountain trail. We will visit and revisit this first mile many times as we progress further down the trail. So take as long as you need with each step, make it a big step or a little step. Don’t rush. Pray, rest, relax, and make sure to enjoy what you see and learn along the way.
“What is the most important herb??” “I am new to herbs, where should I start?” “Do you have an herbal remedy for this or that?” “I tried this herb or that herb but it just didn’t work. Why?” These are questions I have heard numerous times.
I want to answer them! I LOVE and LIVE to answer them! Herbs are my obsession! In time I will answer them.
In the past I have been too quick to jump in with an herb to treat a symptom. To supply a remedy to the immediate presenting symptom. However, much like what happens in conventional medicine, I learned I was failing the person. When I came up with a quick fix and treated a “symptom” instead of telling them how to start working toward complete system healing I was failing to help them to the best of my knowledge.
You see, symptoms are just indicators that something has gone haywire in the system. The human body is an entire “system” and a “symptom” is a clue that the system has an issue. There is a WHOLE person, an entire system to be treated and both must be treated to get a lasting fix.
So to be fair, honest, and forthcoming; I must begin our hike by telling you:
TRUTH: Herbal remedies simply will not help if everything else isn’t functioning properly. They just become another symptom band-aid.
TRUTH: Herbs aren’t the end all cure all of everything. Some things don’t have cures but we will do our best to get that system in the best shape it can be in so that you have the best chance at curing what ails the system.
TRUTH: Just like conventional medicine, the overall health of the immune system is a great determining factor of remedy success.
TRUTH: What works for one person may not work for another. Don’t give up after the first remedy.
TRUTH: What you eat, how you live, and your overall dedication and determination will have more impact on your outcome than any herb I can ever suggest.
So with TRUTHS now told, lets begin our first mile with 7 steps of
“Life on the Crunchy Trail”:
It goes without saying, that taking care of your immune system is the first and most important step to overall health and well being. However, most people fail because they have no idea what it looks like to support and build the immune system. Below you will find 7 steps to get you started on this hike. These 7 steps will be huge and there will be many more to come, but these should get you started. In my research I have come to the conclusion that these 7 are probably the most important, will make the greatest difference and are the easiest to implement.
We will we will take a brief look at all 7 today, while walking our first mile. As we hike further we will revisit this first mile and take a long pause to study the scenery around each step.
- Eat Real Foods: This means eat what your great grandparents ate. If Great Grandma Beulah wouldn’t recognize it as a food the DO NOT EAT IT!!.
If it has ingredients you can’t pronounce (or in the case of word nerds, that normal folks can’t pronounce) then:
DO NOT EAT IT!!
The biggest part of this first step: become a label reader.
You will be amazed and shocked at what is added to foods that doesn’t need to be there.
When your Great Grandma Beulah opened a can of green beans they contained “beans, water, salt”. Today you will find many that contain “beans, water, salt, nitrates, and possibly some sodiobenzonitrochlorohydrosulphamides” However, if you read a few labels you will find others that simply contain “beans, water, salt”.
You don’t have to spend tons of money. I often find store brands and cheap brands have better ingredients. You don’t have to be a professional chef, you don’t have to be rich, you don’t have to shop at a specialty store. Cooking from scratch takes no longer than cooking from a prepackaged, pre-prepared box mix. When we revisit this step, I will make sure to include shopping lists, brands and recipes.
- Avoid sugar and artificial ingredients: This should go without saying, but many people do not realize just how much sugar they consume and just how harmful it is to the immune system. Germs love sugar as much as we do. Sugar is in everything. Here is an example of how easy it is to consume 1 pound of sugar a week:
I began reading labels and in turn cut sugar out of our diets except for an occasional treat and in our sweet tea we make for dinner each night. We put 2 cups of sugar in each 2 quarts of tea, between the 8 of us we drank about one 12oz glass of this tea each night. Seems pretty minimal huh? Yeah I thought so too. Until…I realized we were going through a
full 10lb bag of sugar almost every week. 10 POUNDS A WEEK!!
You do the math: Divide that 10 pounds by 8 people and you will realize that we were each consuming 1 and 1/4 pounds of sugar EVERY WEEK!! Over a pound of sugar a week by just drinking 1 glass of sweet tea each night.
A 12 oz soda has twice as much sugar as what I put in my tea, so if you are drinking 1 can of soda, or one small tea from your favorite restaurant, you too are consuming over 1lb of sugar per week.
If you add to that the fact that sugar is in almost everything you buy (even loaf bread has sugar) and is disguised with awesome names like fructose, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, etc. You will quickly see how the average person is consuming 4 to 6 pounds of sugar per week. READ YOUR LABELS!! When we revisit this mile we will spend much time looking at hidden sugars in our foods and how to decipher the label code.
- Drink Good Water: TONS OF IT!! Not tap water full of fluoride and chlorine. Buy a water filter, buy bottled water, find a healthy tested spring. Get good water, water with no flavors, no little packages of flavoring, no chemicals, just good, wholesome, clean, clear water. 1/2 of your body weight in ounces. 130 lb woman should drink 65 ounces of water each day. To quote the Waterboy, you need some
“HIGH QUALITY H2O.”.
There isn’t much more to say about this. Water is a life element. Your body and all your cells are composed of water. If you want those cells in tip top shape feed them some water.
Sure you can hydrate with other fluids, yes water taste better if you add little packets of flavor, but those chemicals, sugars, salts etc mess with your cells. Just give them what they are made of. WATER. Not chemical laden tap water (unless that is all you can get) but good pure water. We will revisit this step and discuss water filters, flavor packets and why sports drinks, and other fluids can do more harm than good.
- Get moving: Exercise: You don’t have to take up running, there is no need to pay for a gym membership, don’t join a class. It does not have to be “formal” exercise unless that is all that will get you moving. Simply move. Turn off the TV for 30 minutes a day and dance to some music, throw a ball with the kids, go for a walk, take a hike, dance while you vacuum, play tag, spin in circles, stand on your head, try to hula-hoop, ride a bike, shoot some hoops, do anything just take 30 minutes and DO NOT SIT STILL!!
- De-Stress: Even if you don’t feel stressed, you probably are stressed. Most of us are stressed. Stress is a huge sick maker. Stress will KILL you. Even conventional docs would agree with me here. Stress disrupts hormone balance, sleep cycles, digestion, decreases immune function, and hardens the arteries.
Take 15-30 minutes everyday and turn OFF. That’s right OFF, turn off all stimuli, no TV, no music, no phone, no screens, no reading, no thinking. Relax in some way, laugh, hug, or just sit and pray. Whatever you do, de-stimulate your brain.
Have the family join you, make it fun, see who can be the most still and quiet for 15 minutes, tickle each other, after all laughter releases stress relief hormones, give 20 second hugs. Take a bath, pray, lie in the dark, practice breathing deeply, find a partner and give each other a foot massage. Do whatever it takes, but turn off all interference and stop thinking.
This will be the HARDEST step. We will revisit this step and explore why it is so important to turn off.
DE STRESS YOURSELF!!
- Sleep, sleep, sleep: This should probably be first on the list. Sleep is when our body heals itself and resets itself. However 95% of us (probably more) are sleep deprived.
I have babies, I have children, we work and run a lot. We have a million places to be everyday, there just aren’t enough hours in the day
I know all the excuses, however if you can’t do anything
else strive for 6 to 7 hours in bed.
This is where de-stressing becomes VERY important, because insomnia is caused by stress. Put yourself to bed 7 hours before you need to get up and STAY there. Moms with small babies we will revisit this and I will add some pointers that have helped me sleep even with young babies in the house.
- Probiotics: Most of us eat junk, most of us consume more sugar and less real food than we should, most of us are on the fly all the time. Therefore most of us have guts that are in horrendous shape. Yeast and bad bacteria LOVE our crappy sugar laden diets and garbage filled guts. So before you start any herbs, any vitamins, any supplements, and as you start cleaning up your diet get yourself a good probiotic.
Those other things are useless if your gut is not prepared to absorb them.
Take it daily and let the good bacteria start resetting your immune system.
- As we revisit and implement the other steps the probiotics will become even more important in rebuilding the immune system.Ancient cultures believed the gut to be the center of the body, to be what controlled illness and wellness. As we revisit here you will begin to see how right they were.
- If you begin implementing the 7 steps above you will likely begin to find yourself feeling somewhat refreshed and your immune system working better than ever. There will be a detox period during the first weeks. Go slowly, let your body adjust.
So there it is, you have completed your first mile of “Life on the Crunchy Trail”.
Remember keep coming back, keep visiting this part of the trail. Hike it again and again or camp out here a spell. Sit under the trees, wade a little ways into the creek, stop, listen, ponder and let your eyes rest on every detail. Take pictures and later when you are ready, pull them out and display them in your daily life.
- Feel free to jump right in and implement all the steps tomorrow or give it time, and implement the steps as we revisit each of them. The information is here, the next step is yours. I am starting a private facebook group below where you can ask questions, get links, and just share what is and is not working for you and your family.Part 2 is now up:
“The Crunchy Trail” Mile 1 Step 1Click to join our Facebook Group
The Crunchy Trail: Kiser Ridge Farm
Feel free to email me with questions, comments or suggestions
Kiser Ridge Farm@KiserRidgeFarm.com
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