Home & Health Blogs

October 15, 2011

I’ve already blogged about the health benefits of eating a variety of richly pigmented plant foods—the glorious reds, purples, oranges, and yellows found in fresh produce aisles, farmers’ markets, and backyard gardens. Turns out the white fruits and vegetables—apples, pears, onions, cauliflower, cucumbers, and bananas—may also confer health benefits, specifically against strokes. People who eat more white fruits and vegetables have far fewer strokes than those who don't Dutch... more

October 5, 2011

The chart below follows the previous post encouraging folks to eat more deeply-colored vegetables and fruits for health. It summarizes the main classes of plant pigments (light-harvesting molecules that plants manufacture), the roles they play in plant health, the foods rich in each pigment class, and its potential value to human health. Bon appetit! Pigment class Indicative colors Roles in plants Foods rich in these pigments Potential value to humans   Chlorophyll (fat-soluble) green... more

September 27, 2011

Even if you don't grow your own vegetables, you see their fall colors come alive in farmers’ markets and supermarket bins: deep orange winter squash and carrots, red and yellow beets and Swiss chard, purple onions, potatoes and cabbages. Study after scientific study has confirmed that people who eat more fruits and vegetables, particularly the deeply colored varieties, suffer less heart disease, cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, and age-related neurological decline. Plants: the master... more

September 7, 2011

Psst! Wanna save money, improve health and fitness, and lower your carbon footprint—simultaneously? Think about ways to make your daily life less efficient. The idea: arrange your life to move more and rely less on power tools, appliances, and machines. A few tips: Put up a clothesline and hang the wash. Clothes dryers account for almost six percent of household electrical costs. Line-dried clothes and sheets smell great. No, your towels won’t turn out soft and fluffy, but they will replace... more

September 1, 2011

About six weeks after my 40th birthday, we had a freak April storm that dropped 18 inches of wet, heavy snow. My car had broken down, so I trudged the mile and a half to my daughter’s elementary school where I was working with the children to publish a school newspaper. I rode the school bus home. The next morning, I hurt all over and could barely roll out of bed. As I dressed, I caught a glimpse of something in the mirror. Whoa! That pale, bloated, ungainly, creature was me! I call what... more

August 7, 2011

Why throw out what may be the most healthful and flavorful parts of the foods you prepare regularly? Toss them together into the stockpot first to brew up a tasty, nutritious broth that adds a gourmet kick to a soup, stew, chowder, or casserole.  A More Healthy Sstock You bet! Potato peelings, for example, concentrate most of the potato’s potassium, a nutrient deficient in many American diets. Onion skins and celery leaves contain lots of the anti-oxidant/anti-microbial phytocompound quercetin... more

July 24, 2011

Every spring we welcome a few passing ducks and geese to our small backyard pond. Often a pair or two will hang around for a few weeks. When the water gets warm enough for swimming, I know I’ll need to take preventive measures before and after my frequent midsummer swims to keep from getting a bad case of swimmer’s itch. Once you’ve had a case of raised rash that can itch for a couple of weeks (a lot like poison ivy), you won’t want to get it again. The cause? The larval, aquatic form of a... more

July 5, 2011

When should you use ice or heat? Find out how to make cold packs and heat packs, as well as when to use cold therapy or heat therapy. As someone who spent many midlife years training for and competing in summer triathlons and who enjoys a physically demanding self-reliant rural life, I count heat and cold among my most important first-aid remedies. Strained muscles, achilles tendinitis, tennis elbow (I got mine from a day of tossing cordwood off a wood-splitting machine), big bruises, bumps on... more

June 15, 2011

A baker’s dozen of safe, cheap, natural, multi-purpose essentials Most of us keep a few basics on hand: pantry staples, first-aid items, cleaning and laundry products, personal-care items such as soap, shampoo, and deodorant. Eyeing my list as I headed into town one day, I had to chuckle. Most of the half-dozen staple items on my list that day fell into two, three, or all of the above categories. Later that day I made a list of my most common household staples. With one or two of the products... more

May 23, 2011

Admit it, the crisp, flaky outer scales of the onions you use in soups, salads, and casseroles usually end up in the trash (or perhaps more usefully, the compost bin). But don’t toss them out before you’ve put them to use. For your health! Recent research confirms that the outer skins of onions provide an exceptionally rich source of plant compounds called flavonoids, especially the powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound, quercetin. Quercetin is under study as an agent for lowering... more

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