Category: Health


Last Easter, I raised baby chicks.  This Easter, I’m going eggless.

Do I think eggs are bad for our health or unethical to eat? Nope.  Although depending on your egg source, one could argue that certain large-scale egg production facilities are cruel to chickens.  And it’s well-known that eggs, especially the yolks, are high in cholesterol.  But my situation is far more black & white than that: if I eat eggs, I get terribly sick for at least a week and can’t leave the house for several days afterwards.  But Easter is coming, and besides the Christian holiday, it’s all about eggs, which still bring joy to my heart with their perfectly smooth, rounded, life-giving symbol.  View full article »

Get the scoop about composting toilets!

This week’s issue of The Free Weekly includes a Making Ripples column dedicated to helping you pick out your very own composting toilet.  My mention of “several readers” (names left out) wanting to purchase a composting toilet was cut out of the column, maybe for space considerations, but it’s worth stating that so many people have asked me about composting toilets during the past month that I felt the topic was relevant, as families are trying to decide which model to build or install. Ryan and I are leaning towards a Sun-Mar self-contained unit, but I’m still undecided because the reviews point to problems with the design.  There are so many options, and it’s not like picking out curtains!

What I’m most excited about is conserving drinkable water with a dry toilet. For more information about water, such as the fact that women spend 200 million hours a day collecting water, check out Water.org or visit this infographic illustrating the Global Water Crisis.  Also, here is a great, concise Prezi presentation by Travis Hitchcock about Freshwater:

Are you ever asked, “Why do you go to so much trouble trying to be more sustainable?”

If so, keep reading for some objective responses that don’t involve tree hugging.

Frequent reasons for people not wanting to do more include not having enough time, money, or desire – after all, life is short, and money is scarce.  But life could be much shorter and money much scarcer without at least some effort to live sustainably.  Although death can come knocking at surprising times, such as after a freak accident involving rabid skunks, there are things we can control in life and things we can’t control.  Ignoring information about what we CAN control leaves us at the mercy of both.

One of the biggest reasons I’m choosing to live sustainably is because my first two decades of life were so unsustainable, I felt that the quality of my life made living less worthwhile.  I coped with my poor health by embracing creative escapes from reality through reading, art, and music.  Switching to a more sustainable life, however, is not a light switch turning on good health.  Many of you know I’ve been struggling with gluten intolerance that damaged my gut and kept my weight too low.  The lab technician says that this began about 12 years ago, when I was 15 and still living unsustainably, not to mention taking loads of pharmaceuticals.  Now that I’ve been diagnosed with stage 3 endometriosis, the doctor said such an advanced stage must have begun close to when puberty began.  Thus, my lifestyle cannot be held up as a reason for disease or health (yet).  I think of it as planting an orchard today to enjoy the fruits 20 years from now.  It may take awhile…but it’s something I can choose to do, unlike avoiding a meteor collision.

What will you do to live more sustainably and try to avoid cancer in 2013?

Here’s an interesting article from Care2.com about the difference between believing we can heal ourselves, and shaming ourselves or others for being sick.  I had to share this because I had no idea some people focused on Western medicine could misunderstand when alternative medicine is suggested, as though the sick person had brought the disease on themselves or could cure themselves if they really wanted to.

 

America's Cancer Clusters
Image source: www.best-nursing-schools.net

Amanda’s upcoming surgery questions our resolve to exclusively focus on alternative medicine.

This is a third update to our previous posts, Healing from an Ovarian Cyst Naturally, and 35 Days Pain-Free (the second update).  I’m sorry to say that the alternative medicine approach did not work for me in the long run – it eliminated my symptoms, and increased my overall health and ability, but did not shrink or cure the large complex cyst on my left ovary.  My follow-up ultrasound revealed that the cyst still hovered around 9cm in size, not getting much bigger or smaller since it was discovered in April 2012. View full article »

Enjoying winter greens in a smoothie is a tasty way to keep colds away.

I love our green smoothies, and this week in The Free Weekly, our favorite recipe is included so you can try them too!  (It doesn’t appear online this week, but you can pick up a copy around Fayetteville and find the recipe inside.)  If you have a winter garden, green smoothies are a good way to use up any kind of green you might be growing this month, especially if they’re slightly bitter.  The fruit juices make greens taste sweeter, and the avocado turns an “applesauce” texture into “ice cream”!  We use a high-speed Vitamix blender, though, and green smoothies are less feasible with standard blenders.  It was well worth the investment, and we use our Vitamix several times a week.  Blending fruits and veggies in this manner supposedly makes the nutrients more accessible to our bodies, since we don’t chew as much as our ancestors did and can’t break down the cell walls as effectively.  Good nutrition, and in particular the nutrients that come from dark leafy greens, is an excellent protection against all those colds circulating in your office or school.  Stay healthy!

The Free Weekly is out today, and it’s all about the Party in My Pants! (ahem, meaning non-disposable menstrual products)

Sorry for the delay on Ripples posts; Ryan got sick, then I got sick, and Thanksgiving occurred somewhere in there along with many Ripples’ Cookie orders to fill (more on that in a future post).  I’m still feeling crummy, but wanted to add links to the sustainable menstrual products mentioned in Making Ripples this week. Check out our column on Periods for the Planet, and enjoy the products listed below from these online retailers (no I’m not being paid to say this, actually I just find the idea of rainbow owls on a soft fleece pad much more appealing than bleached cotton disposables). Also, click below to view and print a brochure I made (Women’s Alternatives) that you can give to a girl or woman who may be interested in reducing waste and declaring her period for the planet! View full article »

Celebrating the Harvest in Community

Yesterday, I participated in my fellowship’s tradition of Bread Communion, when everyone brings a loaf of bread to pass around in baskets during the service.  Each person takes a piece of bread, and together the congregation reflects on gratitude for each other and nature’s gifts. View full article »

Check out these recipes for planet-friendly treats!

The latest issue of The Free Weekly is out today, and Making Ripplesis all about baking and goodies that aren’t secretly baddies. Here are some recipes from Ripples to help you get started eating green and baking with organic, fair trade ingredients:

Try baking Solar Cookies with the recipe of your choice!  Here’s a how-to video from YouTube.

Want soup? Go vegan and try out this Vegan Cheddar Baked Potato Soup. Warm and comforting!

I love pancakes, and this recipe from Ripples is great for putting autumn flavor into your breakfast: Gluten-Free Vegan Pumpkin Spice Pancakes with Apple Butter

Just for fun, our friend Chris and his students from Colombia want to teach you how to make gluten-free Peanut Butter Cookies with your host, Piggy. :)

This soup is perfect for chilly days, and can also be made soy-free!

In this case, we jumped off my dietary restriction boat for two days and used a soy-based, gluten-free cheddar block for vegans. But actually I liked the soup better without the cheddar, when it just tasted of baked potatoes and didn’t come with a side of symptoms.  I’m not supposed to be eating soy.  So alter it to meet your own needs, and enjoy a thick, hot soup for a cold winter day! View full article »

I love having this for lunch when the weather is warm and I’m in a hurry.

Quinoa mixed into salad from Ozark Natural Foods

Despite the fact that it’s getting cold outside and I’ve switched to quinoa soup instead of salad, I wanted to share this recipe with you and make sure I don’t forget how delicious this was! Part of journey with Ripples has been learning how to eat whole, real food.  We aren’t 100% raw, but this year I’ve been eating more fresh foods than ever before.  This is how earthbag homes get built and vegetable gardens are sown, rather than the Pizza Hut model I used to be so fond of, which created more medical bills.  My dietary choices of a decade ago are part of the reason I’m struggling to be healthy now. I’m hopeful that through recipes like this one, I might acquire the kind of body a country life requires.  Or at least a hardier, healthier one. View full article »