Living Naturally


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 27, 2016

Think about plants. We can learn from the way they keep themselves healthy, and there are many ways that plants help human health. “Plants are the master chemists,” says Mary Ann Lila, who directs the Plants for Human Health Institute at North Carolina State University. “Because plants can’t move around, they have to manufacture what they need, not merely to grow and reproduce, but to defend, protect, and heal themselves.” To botanists, plants manufacture good stuff called “phytocompounds” (aka... more

March 24, 2016

Why do we crack our joints? Is it harmful?  Maybe you’ve picked up this common habit yourself. If not, most of us know folks who intentionally and constantly crack their knuckles (necks, backs, wrists, etc.), driving everyone around them batty.   Let’s get cracking on some answers …  Why do joints crack? The longstanding biomedical question of what causes knuckle-cracking sounds was only recently solved! The actual cause, scientists say: a phenomenon called tribonucleation, a “process... more

March 21, 2016

I knew I hadn’t failed childrearing entirely the night my young daughter walked into the kitchen and exclaimed, “Oh goody! Kale for supper.” Many years later, she left New Hampshire for Arlington, Virginia, and moved in with a friend while she looked for a job. During our first phone conversation after her arrival there, she announced, “I can’t afford the food here. Broccoli costs $2.50 a head, and I’m not talking organic.” Coming from a home that goes heavy on home-grown vegetables, and... more

March 10, 2016

Flat out of cheap, fast, and healthy menu ideas?  I’ll tell you how to make flatbread recipes. Pita, naan, tortilla, puri, roti, focaccia, lafah, appam, cong yu bing, chapati, dosa, paratha, mana’eesh, lavash, fatir, yufka, injera, blini, socca … Some variety of flatbread appears in nearly every ancient and modern cuisine around the world. It’s easy enough to understand the ubiquity of flatbreads: They use a minimum of ingredients: flour, water, perhaps a pinch of salt. The more elaborate... more

March 5, 2016

Here are some tips for upcycling, reusing, and repurposing old items, with everything from paper towel tubes to toothbrushes and plastic lids. There’s a famous New Yorker cartoon from the early 1990’s about recycling. It shows a long stream of people trudging up the many switchbacks of a flaming ramp to deposit items in an endless string of boxes labeled tea bags, wadded up masking tape, broken ballpoint pens, not blue paper, etc. The cartoon is captioned “Recycling in Hell.” That’s how I feel... more

February 26, 2016

Plantar warts are a common, frustrating problem, even with children. It’s better to prevent plantar warts or wait them out than try to cure them.  This is how the symptoms start … For a few weeks, I’d been complaining of a growing tenderness on the ball of my left foot. The tenderness gradually became real pain, until every footfall felt as if I were slapping the sore spot down over a small stone. One day after a bruising long run, I pulled off my sock to show my running partner the spot,... more

February 16, 2016

Carrots offer even more health benefits than the Vitamin A you might know about. Plus they’re inexpensive, always available, and easy to grow. Here are some of the ways that carrots are good for you. Carrots Are a Healthy Food They’re nutritious. A single carrot, raw or cooked, will provide more than a day’s worth of Vitamin A. Carrots are also a good source of fiber, and deliver a variety of vitamins and minerals in lesser amounts. Low in calories, carrots also carry a low glycemic load (... more

January 9, 2016

Light deprivation, snow and ice storms, dangerous driving conditions, power outages, frozen pipes, the frenzy of winter holidays, overindulgence, weight gain: winter delivers a load of extra stress to those of us in the colder, darker regions. While we’re powerless to control most of these stress-inducing circumstances, we do have an abundance of choices for responding to stress and lessen its negative effects on our health and well-being. My favorite stress-busters don’t cost anything, require... more

January 7, 2016

What is the best sleeping position? Find out how your sleeping position affects your health and how to sleep better in a healthy sleep position. What position do you find most comfortable for sleeping?  Front, back, right side, left side?  Curled up, straight as a log, one leg over the other, splayed out across the entire bed?  One pillow? Two, three, none? Pillow between legs, under knees, under feet, under stomach? Head and chest elevated, or legs above head? A year ago, I suffered a life... more

January 4, 2016

A growing body of research suggests that sneaking in one or several 10-minute bouts of exercise can deliver impressive health and fitness benefits. That’s good to know, especially in winter, when ice, snow, cold, lack of light, and—face it—low or no motivation encourage us to move less, sit more, and eat holiday goodies for comfort.Consider also Brief workouts help beginning exercisers ease into a more active life. Begin with one 10-minute block and work up to three or more a day. Of course... more


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