Living Naturally

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About this Blog

Margaret Boyles lives in a wood-heated house in central New Hampshire. She grows vegetables, keeps chickens, swims in a backyard pond in summer, snowshoes in the surrounding woods in winter, and commutes by bike whenever possible.

March 21, 2017

I love rocks! Do you? Just like the early Americans, I put them to good use, too. In my state of New Hampshire, the Granite State, you see evidence everywhere of the boulders our forefathers and their sturdy beasts dug up and hauled away to make room for pastures and row crops. It’s a hardscrabble landscape, where the soil’s freeze-thaw cycles break up and thrust rocks deposited by the last glacier to the surface every spring. Highways and secondary roads bulge with “frost heaves,” boulders... more

March 18, 2017

Looking for advice on a healthful eating plan? There are so many diets that it can set your head to spinning. It reminded me to get back to basics. Diet Confusion You have a lot of diet choices. To name a few: fruitarian, pescetarian, lacto-ovo-vegetarian, vegan, flexitarian,  omnivorian, macrobiotic, ketogenic, Mediterranean, low-FODMAP, Pritikin, Atkins, Zone, Paleo, South Beach. Low-carb, high-carb, low-fat, high-fat, high-protein, low-protein. Raw-food diet, fully-raw diet, blood-type... more

March 15, 2017

Are high heeled shoes good for you—or, harmful to your bodies? Why do people wear high heels, anyway? My daughter Molly came home from elementary school one day and announced they’d had a substitute teacher, because (let’s call her) “Miss Robertson was in the hospital with a kidney infection she got from wearing high heels.” It’s true, every time I’d seen Miss Robertson, she’d been wearing high heels. But had they caused a kidney infection? Maybe … but probably not. High Heels and Health... more

March 10, 2017

When it comes to spring-cleaning or any kind of housecleaning, I use six admirably versatile array of natural cleaning products: vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice, salt, borax, wood ash. I started using these products many years ago, mostly because so many commercial cleaning products gave me headaches and irritated my eyes and nasal passages. The headaches stopped, the natural products worked well, and they’ve saved a lot of money over the years. Also, let me admit that I count myself among... more

March 6, 2017

My mother dosed her family with generous amounts of dandelion greens as soon as she discovered their bright leaves poking up through the thatch of the back lawn. One of nine children growing up during the Depression on a Vermont dairy farm, Mom regaled us with many stories of the wild-food foraging that supplemented the self-reliant family diet. Dandelions, the first fresh greens of spring, ranked high on her list of important foraged foods. I inherited my mother’s dandelion fork, a simple... more

March 6, 2017

Trouble getting up and out the door in the morning? Hoping to lose some weight, as we shed layers of clothes for warmer weather? Run (or walk) in a local footrace! I’m not talking about a race with world-class runners. Make your goal this season an ordinary 5k walk or run with ordinary people—of all shapes and sizes and fitness levels.   Everyone is an athlete. The only difference is that some of us are in training, and some are not. –George A. Sheehan   Find a Low-Key 5k Run or Walk... more

February 22, 2017

Eeow! Startled from a deep sleep, you suddenly come to with a shriek, as your calf, thigh, or maybe the arch of your foot contracts in violent pain. Emerging groggily from the edge of sleep or from a deep sleep, you struggle to straighten your leg, pull your toes forward, perhaps kneading the knotted muscles with your thumbs. After the spasms subside, you may get up and try to hobble around a bit to loosen up the painful area a little more. By now you’re completely awake, and you may not... more

February 13, 2017

Trillions of bacteria live inside our body. There’s an entire ecosystem—or, microbiome—that we host! It turns out that these bacteria greatly influence our health—from obesity to allergies to our autoimmune system. What can we do to change our diet and lifestyle to improve our well-being? What is a microbiome? What does it do?  The microbiome is the genetic material of all our microbes—bacteria, fungi, protozoa and viruses - that live on and inside the human body. Microbes outnumber our... more

February 10, 2017

If you haven’t eaten cabbage in a while, we urge you to look again at this healthy, unsung hero of the vegetable world.  Before we had the little greenhouse that enables us to grow salad and cooking greens all winter, we grew between 50 and 100 green and red cabbages each year—and ate them all. I loved looking at them as they grew like giant flowers in the garden, then as they rested side by side in the root cellar. Last spring was the first time in 40-plus years of gardening that I didn’t... more

January 30, 2017

You leak a little or a lot, or you go so often it’s begun affecting your quality of life. You wonder if you suffer from the “overactive bladder” you’ve been hearing about so much about these days. Just what is overactive bladder (nicknamed OAB), anyway? First, while it can be embarrassing, even alarming, overactive bladder is not a disease. It is a condition, marked by an unexpected urge to urinate, sometimes accompanied by an involuntary loss of urine. Overactive bladder is common,... more

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