An article about grains from Farmer’s Almanac

With so many of us trying to eat healthier while determining if the grains we are consuming are good for you; this article is for you.  If you enjoy this information, sign up at Farmer’s Almanac for their online newsletter.


Trying to get more whole grains in your diet? The surest way to know that you’re eating whole grains is to cook a dish containing the unadulterated whole grain yourself: an entrée made with brown rice, a side of hulled barley, a bowl of oatmeal, or bread baked with only whole grain flours.

There’s a lot of confusion, though, about what constitutes a whole grain. The 2014 Old Farmer’s Almanac is here to help by taking the guesswork out of identifying the different types of whole grains.

The Wholly Grail of Whole Grains

Berries (wheat, rye), groats (oats, buckwheat), and kernels(corn) are all terms for grains in whole seed form (minus the hull).

Grits are any coarsely ground whole or refined grain. (Cracked wheat and polenta are grits.)

Meals and flours are grains that have been ground; meal is generally considered the coarser one. “Refined” or “degerminated” means that part or all of the bran and germ have been removed.

Rolled or flaked grains are whole grains that have been cooked, rolled flat, and baked, losing minimal amounts of nutrients and fiber in the process. They are considered whole grains. Do not confuse them with dry-cereal flakes, which may or may not be 100 percent whole grain.

Wheat 14 Ways:

Bulgur is whole wheat berries that have been steamed, roasted, and crushed. It qualifies as a whole grain.

Couscous, not a grain but a form of wheat pasta, is available in both refined and whole grain forms.

Cracked wheat is simply coarsely crushed whole wheat berries. It qualifies as a whole grain but beware of products with “cracked wheat” as part of their name (“cracked-wheat bread”), which may contain only a small amount of cracked wheat, with the rest refined flour.

Cream of wheat, farina, and semolina are refined wheat products. Wheatena, a hot cereal product developed in 1879, is considered a whole grain.

Einkorn, emmer, farro, kamut, and spelt are ancient strains of wheat finding their way into modern specialty markets because of their unusual (and, some say, superior) cooking, flavor, or nutritional characteristics.

Triticale is a whole grain hybrid of wheat and rye.

Whole white wheat sounds like a contradiction, but it is a true whole grain. White wheats are albino species that lack the genes that give other wheats their brown color. White wheat has a milder flavor a bit closer to that of refined white flours.



Summer’s almost over!

Aahhh summer is over and the results are in….. did our garden survive, or burn up and fall to the devices of the many insects that we’ve been fighting all these months? This year we did not have a garden, however, we did have a flower bed.  Our trees and the few veggie plants were consumed in the weather.

However, this summer has not been a total gardening loss, even though we did not have a massive bed of veggies to consume or juicy ripe tomatoes. We were blessed with more rain than last year and more knowledge for the upcoming year.

I did learn more about fats and oils.  Recently my children gave me some MCT Oil to try which has been a great addition to my morning coffee. I have noticed a little bit of a difference in my overall health which is a tremendous benefit.  MCT has so many positive attributes that I highly recommend adding it to your diet.  Coconut oil is also good for you as well.

Despite popular articles to the contrary at this recent article    be aware that it is true all coconut oil is NOT alike or good for you as some brands are not pure in their processing.  Do your research and know what you are buying and where you are getting it from.

Now onto fall and winter preparations.



How does childhood trauma affect your DNA

If you are frequently on diet after diet and nothing seems to be working on improving your overall health, then you need to consider how your DNA has been affected.  It is possible to change and make improvements but the question may be how?  
Overuse of medications and (yes) even herbal plants can be doing more harm than good.  You must look into the real cause of the health issue you are trying to improve in order to achieve the best outcome.
Check out this article in “Science” as to how the brain responds to negative influences.

Stress in Your Early Childhood Could Actually Make The Brain’s DNA Remap Itself

Your genes are not written in stone.

23 MAR 2018

Our first few years of life play a crucial role in our brain’s wiring. New research suggests our experiences might also be influencing changes in our neurons at a genetic level.

A new study has discovered that when mice pups are neglected by their mother, it appears to trigger ‘jumping’ genes in their brain cells. This hints at similar processes in humans that could help explain the development of certain neurological disorders.

The ability for certain genes to copy themselves and migrate from one section to another is far from unknown. In fact, we’ve been studying them for more than half a century.

These sections of code – called transposons – can produce a mosaic of neighbouring cells that technically have slightly different genetic maps, even though they belong to the same individual.

“We are taught that our DNA is something stable and unchanging which makes us who we are, but in reality it’s much more dynamic,” explains geneticist Fred “Rusty” Gage from the Salk Institute in California.

“It turns out there are genes in your cells that are capable of copying themselves and moving around, which means that, in some ways, your DNA does change.”

The fact this happens in brain cells as they grow and divide is also well established. Sequences called long interspersed nuclear elements (LINEs) were seen changing positions in dividing hippocampus cells taken from rats more than a decade ago.

In recent years, a significant amount of attention has been devoted to understanding how external ‘epigenetic’ changes to our DNA can be the result of environmental conditions.

Some have even been considered as contributing factors behind the development of neurological conditions such as autism spectrum disorder.

But the effect of the environment on the transposons hasn’t been so scrutinised, possibly because we assume the genes we inherit simply don’t change their code all that easily.

“While we’ve known for a while that cells can acquire changes to their DNA, it’s been speculated that maybe it’s not a random process,” says the study’s first author Tracy Bedrosian.

“Maybe there are factors in the brain or in the environment that cause changes to happen more or less frequently.”

So together with two other researchers, Bedrosian and Gage investigated how a sequence called a LINE-1 retrotransposon copied and relocated itself in the dividing hippocampus cells of mice pups.

Specifically, they paid close attention to whether the pups’ environment made much of a difference to this gene-jumping process.

Rather than create a hostile environment for a sample of the young mice, the researchers watched how mothers raised their offspring over a period of two weeks.

They were then divided into groups based on how the mothers cared for their brood, detailing how they licked them, carried them around, nursed, and rested.

On analysing the hippocampus cells of the mice pups, they found a clear relationship between the kinds of care they received and the number of copies of LINE-1. The worse the care, the more times the gene copied itself and relocated.

Oddly, this didn’t occur for other types of transposon the researchers analysed, suggesting it was something specific to this sequence.

On closer inspection, they found epigenetic factors were primarily responsible. Unlike other transposons, copies of LINE-1 were tagged less with a methyl group, the signature of an epigenetic edit.

“This finding agrees with studies of childhood neglect that also show altered patterns of DNA methylation for other genes,” says Gage.

“That’s a hopeful thing, because once you understand a mechanism, you can begin to develop strategies for intervention.”

You can watch Gage dig into even more research details in the video clip below.

Exactly what this means for humans is a matter for future studies – but right now, it’s a sign that our childhood experiences could be powerful enough to have an effect right down to the level of our genes.

This research was published in Science.

Can onions help your cold or flu?

I shared this post four years ago and it is still prevalent today!  I highly recommend trying this if you haven’t already. 


For those who are suffering from colds and flus you might want to pay attention!  Several months ago our family was suffering the typical cold/allergy bug that was being passed around, all except one family member.  When I asked the child in question what she was doing differently that she wasn’t suffering at all like we were she told me that she had read somewhere to put an onion in your room and it will keep the virus away.  Well!!!!, since I had been suffering for a week and had massive fluid in my ears that was keeping me from hearing and talking I thought I would give it a try.  A few days later I too was feeling better! 🙂

I have since kept an onion in my room and have placed them in other areas when the virus starts picking up at work and so far we have avoided any further problems.  I had also read that putting onions on your feet at night will help pull toxins from the body.  I have not tried that option but may do so in the future.  I have passed the word along to several of my skeptical coworkers which some have later told me that it did help!

One of the first questions I get is will my house smell like onions, well for me being able to breathe as opposed to my house smelling like onions is a simple answer!  However, each person is different.  For the record though, I don’t believe it does since the onion is absorbing the bacteria in the air.  Once the onion changes colors, get rid of it and replace it with a new one if the bug season is still in effect. All you do is take a white onion cut it in half and put it in the rooms that you spend the most time but most definitely in your bedroom.  That is all!


Now; will tell you that this does not work.  However, I will tell you that it did help myself and some of my family members as well as some of my coworkers.  I have even talked to a few people who have confirmed that this does work. I will include some resources so you can decide for yourself.

Sites that claim it does work or can at least help: (this site also discusses onions in potato salad being the problem and not mayonnaise

Sites claiming it doesn’t work:

If you have had experience with using the onion cure, please comment below!

Are you ready? Are you sure?

Yes, despite all the changing weather patterns of warm, cold, cool, then bitter cold and just plain all around “weather go round” it will be about that time to start deciding on garden plots, container gardening, window gardening or even just taking a break and watching the neighbor work the ground.  Have you put together your geographical plans and decided on seeds?  Until the weather starts getting warm and staying that way it is hard for me to get motivated on my plans.  Even though I am busy as the majority of the population is, I am hoping to do something this year even if is small.

I have been reading some really great articles on Farmer’s Almanac and this is one of them that stuck out to me.  The theme keeps coming up in my life that we need to keep things diverse and not repeat the same patterns over and over again.  This is especially true when it comes to your garden, it is important to rotate and switch things out every year even if you are using a container box and not in-ground planting.

Crop rotation is key to a successful vegetable garden after the first year.  It’s important to grow vegetables in different areas of your garden each year to keep them healthy and combat pests

However, it can be difficult to plan the order of crop rotation and organize well, particularly if you are growing different amounts of a variety of crops.

This video explains a simple colour-coded method of crop rotation that makes the whole process much simpler and shows how the Garden Planner software can help.

The Garden Planner is available here:


A better way to rotate annual vegetables is to group them by their plant family. This means you can group plants with similar maintenance requirements together. For instance, all plants in the cabbage family are best grown together to make it easier to net them against cabbage white butterfly and birds—and there’s no risk of accidentally passing on crop-specific soil-dwelling pests and diseases to the next crop.

A handy way to set crop order is to give each plant family a shade relating to the colors of the rainbow, as shown below.



Working from the inside of the rainbow out, you can see which plants belong together and which should come next in each bed. The rotation starts with lilacs and blues—onion family plants and peas/beans—which are commonly grown together as they both like soil enriched with compost and take up little space. Once you’ve harvested your onions and leeks from your first bed, the next crop in that spot would be cabbages, cauliflower and broccoli and so on, for the first seven categories.

Using this order of rotation is optional but it helps to make sure that the soil is in the correct condition for the following crop.

Plants in the Miscellaneous (grey) category are useful for plugging gaps in your beds as they don’t tend to suffer badly from particular soil-borne pests and diseases, and can be fitted in anywhere you have room, although it’s still a good idea to move them around from year to year as much as possible, particularly sweet corn which can suffer from rootworm.

If you haven’t signed up for the Farmer’s Alamanc I would highly recommend it.  There are many great gardening suggestions and tips for the beginner and advanced “green thumb”

Happy Gardening!! 🙂

Diets and Health

I have been meaning to write this blog for awhile.  Thanks to the encouragement of my husband who believes in tough love and not letting me get away with being less than who I was created to be.  Several years I FINALLY started on a weight loss journey.  Sadly my biological mom suffered from many health issues and passed away from her body not being able to handle her weight anymore.

This sparked the process of trying to lose weight and see results.  I have often used the diet program called HCG.  It is formulated from a doctor in Rome who believed that once the female body knows that a baby is growing in the womb, the fat stores are more readily released in order to allow the baby to survive in extreme hunger situations.  I used a homeopathic hormone that helped my body release the excess fat stores in a quick fashion while consuming 500 calories.  I know it sounds like very little, but I did not suffer from hunger or weakness and was able to be fully functional in my overall activities.

Using this protocol I was able to lose approximately 40 pounds.  Since then I have learned about how our bodies process and react to the foods that we consume.  There are many programs to choose from which makes it excellent to find one that will work for your individual needs.

As I wrote in a previous post about stress, with the new advent of not eating well, getting less than 8 hours of sleep, and consuming excessive amounts of caffeinated drinks and processed food our bodies have learned to reject what we call “food” and stresses out our organs and overall health system.  Our bodies need wholesome nutritious food.

Another important lesson I have learned recently is if you want to lose weight you need to eat!!  Our bodies need to have enough food for all organs to dish out their proper hormones, oxygen and blood to all systems.  When you deprive yourself of something that your adrenal glands needs to function well, that means the job falls on another organ to pump out what the adrenals need in order for all systems to go.  You need to eat frequently but make sure what you are consuming is not junk food! Eat protein, fruit, veggies and we also need to eat carbohydrates!

If you want your body to give you years of quality living, eat to live!!  Also, take time to relax, enjoy your family, spend time studying Scriptures and praying, and get outdoors and relish in the sunshine!


Stress! We have all heard this word and in some cases it is becoming a popular mantra.  In my much younger days “stress” was often a term used for a difficult job.  Now we hear this word all the time to describe even what some might term as a “relaxing” day.  How did we become so stressed in this life and how is this affecting our body.  Can certain relaxing exercises or just sitting all day cause stress to a body?

The first thing that we need to define is the word stress.  Stress means

pressure or tension exerted on a material object.
a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.
give particular emphasis or importance to (a point, statement, or idea) made in speech or writing.
subject to pressure or tension.
It has often been my thought that the majority of the world’s population is so stressed because we no longer take extended amounts of time just letting our mind relax.  The human body has often interested me and the more I learn about how our body tries to compensate with the treatment we give it the more it affirms my strong belief in a loving Creator.
When we are sleeping at night our bodies are not resting as much as one might think, instead it has to process and manufacture all the things that you put into it or do to it.  We live in a constant state of stress and anxiety because (my personal belief) there are very rare moments when there is absolute peace and quiet so your mind can process everything you have put into it and have done.
My own personal experience that I was like to share so that others will be warned not to repeat: due to actions directed towards myself and my siblings I maintained many years of negative thinking.  Even in moments of “quiet” time I spent much time reliving the anger, pain and disappointment of my life.  I also worked very physical jobs in the nursing field which added more “stress” to my body.  I drove to work with the radio blasting, would come home, talk or listen to TV which reiterated the anger that I had.
When I had moments on the weekend for my “mind” to relax this led to more “stress” because there was not a proper outlet for all these thoughts and emotions. I had not learned how to deal properly with my anger and negative thinking.  I have recently taken notice that the majority of my “internal” talk is I am mad about this or that…..  Someone didn’t do what I wanted them to do therefore, I am upset with them regarding it…This will feed the negative thinking.
This is an excerpt from a website that details the effects of chronic stress:

1. Stress creates free radicals that kill brain cells.

Cortisol creates a surplus of the neurotransmitter glutamate.

Glutamate creates free radicals — unattached oxygen molecules — that attack brain cells much in the same way that oxygen attacks metal, causing it to rust.

Free radicals actually punch holes in the brain cell walls, causing them to rupture and die.

Stress also indirectly contributes to other lifestyle habits that create more free radicals.

If stress causes you to lose sleep, eat junk food, drink too much alcohol, or smoke cigarettes to relax, these are contributing to your free radical load.

2. Chronic stress makes you forgetful and emotional.

Memory problems may be one of the first signs of stress you’ll notice.

stressed womanMisplaced keys and forgotten appointments have you scrambling, further adding to your stress.

If you find all this stress is making you more emotional too, there’s a physiological reason for this.

Studies show that when you’re stressed, electrical signals in the brain associated with factual memories weaken while areas in the brain associated with emotions strengthen.

3. Stress creates a vicious cycle of fear and anxiety.

Stress builds up an area of your brain called the amygdala.

This is your brain’s fear center.

Stress increases the size, activity level and number of neural connections in this part of your brain.

This makes you more fearful, causing a vicious cycle of even more fear and stress.

4. Stress halts the production of new brain cells.

Every day you lose brain cells, but every day you have the opportunity to create new ones.

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a protein that’s integral in keeping existing brain cells healthy and stimulating new brain cell formation.

It can be thought of as fertilizer for the brain.

BDNF can offset the negative effects of stress on the brain.

But cortisol halts the production of BDNF resulting in fewer new brain cells being formed.

Lowered levels of BDNF are associated with brain-related conditions including depression, OCD, schizophrenia, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease.

5. Stress depletes critical brain chemicals causing depression.

Your brain cells communicate via chemicals called neurotransmitters.

Chronic stress reduces levels of critical neurotransmitters, especially serotonin and dopamine.

Low levels of either of these neurotransmitters can leave you depressed and more prone to addictions.

Serotonin is called the “happy molecule.” It plays a large role in mood, learning, appetite control, and sleep. Women low in serotonin are prone to depression, anxiety, and binge eating. Men, on the other hand, are more prone to alcoholism, ADHD, and impulse control disorders.

Dopamine is the “motivation molecule, it is in charge of your pleasure-reward system. Too little dopamine can leave you unfocused, unmotivated, lethargic, and depressed. People low in this brain chemical often use caffeine, sugar, alcohol, and illicit drugs to temporarily boost their dopamine levels.

Serotonin-based depression is accompanied by anxiety and irritability, while dopamine-based depression expresses itself as lethargy and lack of enjoyment of life.

6. Stress puts you at greater risk for mental illnesses of all kinds.

The root cause of most mental illnesses is not yet understood.

If answers are ever found, the causes will most likely be a complex variety of factors.

Recent research has discovered physical differences in the brains of people with stress disorders.

Their ratio of the brain’s white matter to gray matter is higher. Stress predisposes you to developing a variety of mental illnesses including anxiety and panic disorders, depression, PTSD, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, drug addiction and alcoholism.

7. Stress makes you stupid.

Stress can cause your brain to seize up at the worst possible times — exams, job interviews, and public speaking come to mind. This is actually a survival mechanism. If you’re faced with a life and death situation, instinct and training overwhelm rational thought and reasoning. This might keep you from being eaten by a tiger, but in modern life this is rarely helpful.

Stress impairs your memory and makes you bad at making decisions. It negatively impacts every cognitive function.

8. Chronic stress shrinks your brain.

Stress can measurably shrink your brain.  Cortisol can kill, shrink, and stop the generation of new neurons in the hippocampus, the part of your brain that stores memories. The hippocampus is critical for learning, memory and emotional regulation, as well as shutting off the stress response after a stressful event is over.

Stress also shrinks the prefrontal cortex. This negatively affects decision making, working memory, and control of impulsive behavior.

9. Stress lets toxins into your brain.

Your brain is highly sensitive to toxins of every kind.

blood brain barrierThe blood-brain barrier is a group of highly specialized cells that acts as your brain’s gatekeeper.

This semi-permeable filter protects your brain from harmful substances while letting needed nutrients in. Stress makes the blood-brain barrier more permeable, in effect making it leaky.

This lets things into the brain you don’t want there such as pathogens, heavy metals, chemicals, and other toxins.

Having a leaky blood-brain barrier is associated with brain cancer, brain infections, and multiple sclerosis.

10. Chronic stress increases your risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s.

One of the most worrying effects of stress on the brain is that it increases your risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease is the #1 health fear of American adults, even more so than cancer. Alzheimer’s is now the sixth leading cause of death.

One in three US seniors will die with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. And it’s the most expensive disease in the country. There is no simple “magic bullet” to prevent Alzheimer’s.

Common sense advice includes eating a healthy diet low in sugar and high in brain-healthy fats, getting physical exercise, not smoking, staying mentally active, avoiding toxic metal exposure, and minimizing stress.

It’s been found that stress, particularly stress that occurs in midlife, increases risk of Alzheimer’s. Anxiety, jealousy and moodiness in middle age doubles your risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

Chronic stress and elevated cortisol contributes to dementia in the elderly and hastens its progression. (44)

11. Stress causes brain cells to commit suicide.

Stress leads to premature aging on a cellular level, causing cells in both your body and your brain to commit suicide prematurely.

To understand how this happens, we need to take a look at a part of your chromosomes called telomeres.

You may recall from high school biology that when a cell divides, it passes on the genetic material to the next cell via chromosomes.

telomeresTelomeres are protective endcaps on our chromosomes similar to the plastic tips on shoelaces. (Telomeres are shown in contrasting colors to the rest of the chromosome in this image.)

Every time a cell divides, the telomeres get a little shorter. When they reach a critically shortened length, they tell the cell to stop dividing, acting as a built-in suicide switch.

Subsequently the cell dies.

Shortened telomeres lead to atrophy of brain cells and longer telomere length leads to the production of new brain cells.

Telomere length may be the most important indicator of biological age and disease risk.

Some researchers believe it’s a better predictor of your risk for age-related diseases like Alzheimer’s, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer than conventional diagnostic tools.

12. Chronic stress contributes to brain inflammation and depression.

A little-known fact is that the brain has its own immune system.

Special immune cells called microglia protect the brain and spinal cord from infections and toxins. Unfortunately, a microglial cell has no on or off switch, so once it is activated, it creates inflammation until it dies.

Chronic stress is one of the factors that increases the risk of activating your microglia, thus producing brain inflammation. It’s generally believed that depression is caused by serotonin deficiency, but there’s a growing body of evidence that brain inflammation is the root cause of depression instead.

This theory is called the “cytokine model of depression.”

Activated microglia produce cytokines — proteins that turn on the inflammation response in the brain. Cytokine production is linked to depression including major depressive disorder and risk of suicide.

It’s also associated with anxiety, memory loss, and inability to concentrate, as well as some serious disorders including schizophrenia, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s.

On Top of All That …

Chronic stress destroys your happiness and peace of mind.

It wears you down mentally and emotionally, and saps the joy from life.

Some side effects of stress that impact your mental well-being include:

  • excessive worry and fear
  • anger and frustration
  • impatience with self and others
  • mood swings, crying spells or suicidal thoughts
  • insomnia, nightmares, disturbing dreams
  • trouble concentrating and learning new information
  • racing thoughts, nervousness
  • forgetfulness, mental confusion
  • difficulty in making decisions
  • feeling overwhelmed
  • irritability and overreaction to petty annoyances
  • excessive defensiveness or suspicion
  • increased smoking, alcohol, drug use, gambling or impulse buying

It’s no fun experiencing these stress symptoms. It’s no picnic for those around you either.

5 Simple Steps to Help a Chronically Stressed Brain

We wouldn’t leave you with all this bad news with no solutions.

Minimizing stress and protecting your brain against its effects is easier than you might think. Here are five simple tips to stop stress in its tracks and overcome its harmful effects on your brain.

  1. Build a deeper relationship with your Heavenly Father. We were created with a need for our Heavenly Father and the peace of being in His will give you a sense of purpose beyond anything you could have dreamed.
  2. Stop free radical damage by eating a diet high in antioxidant-rich foods like fruit, vegetables, dark chocolate, and green tea.
  3. Increase levels of brain-boosting BDNF by getting daily physical exercise. It doesn’t have to be strenuous. Walking is excellent, as well as relaxing physical exercise such as light weights or low intensity cardio.
  4. Start a daily meditation practice, such as spending quiet time in prayer. Meditation not only reduces stress, it’s a proven way to keep your brain young by keeping telomeres long.  Meditation is also the best tool for learning how to master your thoughts. Stress does not come from events in your life as much as it comes from your thoughts — your automatic negative reactions and cognitive distortions — about these events.
  5. Look into taking an adaptogenic herbal remedy. Adaptogens increase your resilience to stress while supporting overall health. They promote balance between feeling energetic and feeling calm. Examples of adaptogens include ginseng, holy basil, Arctic root, and bacopa.

Chronic stress may seem to be an unavoidable part of life, but these proactive steps will definitely reduce its wear and tear on your brain.”

How we react to situations can either improve or cause further health problems in our bodies.  If might behoove us to consider that our health disorders could mainly be caused by all the internal “stress” to our bodies.  We can change our eating to include boat loads of diets but if we don’t stop the constant drain to our organs and brain the change will only be temporary or non-existent.

Start today and take some time to relax, don’t think about anything.  If you want to focus on something memorize scripture verses that you can say while you relaxing.  Speak words of life all throughout your day!!  When a negative thought comes up change your mind to words of the Heavenly Father.