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. 

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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!

REMEMBER: DO NOT USE THE ONION THAT YOU PUT OUT IN YOUR HOUSE IN YOUR COOKING! THROW IT AWAY AND GET A FRESH ONE!

Now; snopes.com 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:
http://urbanlegendsonline.com/onions-absorb-flu-virus-and-common-cold-bacteria/ (this site also discusses onions in potato salad being the problem and not mayonnaise
http://www.no-dig-vegetablegarden.com/onions-can-flu-virus-be-absorbed-in-onions.html
http://healthybliss.net/healing-power-of-onions-can-onions-absorb-bacteria-viruses-and-flu/
http://www.thereadystore.com/multipurposing/5166/12-onion-uses-cry-for-joy/
http://www.earthclinic.com/Remedies/onions.html
http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/onion-flu-remedy/

Sites claiming it doesn’t work:
http://www.snopes.com/medical/swineflu/onion.asp
http://urbanlegends.about.com/od/medical/a/swine_flu_facts_onions_and_flu.htm
http://www.peoplespharmacy.com/2013/01/21/will-onions-keep-kids-healthy/

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

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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: https://gardenplanner.almanac.com

ROTATING CROPS BY COLORS OF THE RAINBOW

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.

CROP ROTATION CHART BY PLANTING YEAR, COLOR, AND PLANT FAMILY

croprotation.png

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!

Stressed…..?

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

stress
stres/
noun
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.

https://bebrainfit.com/effects-chronic-stress-brain/

Aloe Vera struggles!

Hello! Calling all aloe vera/gardening experts!

Our aloe vera plant got a “little” sunburned when we put it out for sun, so we brought it inside to heal. However, it still does not seem to be reviving.
The leaf insides run with dark yellow resin when you cut them and the inside is still clear, but the outside of the leaf is quite brown and floppy.

We are calling all aloe vera lovers for suggestions on making this plant thrive not just survive.

Here is a photo of the plant:

We love all the healing properties of the aloe plant and  would really love to get it going to be the beautiful vibrant green it should be.

Any advice you have will help! Thank you and happy gardening!

Shalom,
Luann

Planning your next garden or landscape?

One concept to consider when you are planning and purchasing items for your garden or landscape project is; how well will your plants not only grow together but will they do better in solitude or with companion plants?  While learning about herbs and vegetables, we have found that it is important for survival for some species to grow together than with another one.   Companion planting will ensure the survival of your garden by keeping bugs or other problems for the plant at bay instead of attracting what can kill your garden if not planted appropriately.

The discussion below brings to mind that some plants will thrive if they are planted with others instead of alone..  It is definitely something worth considering:

Hay Bales for Gardening?

I just learned about this today.  If anyone has tried this themselves, please comment on your results!

 

Hay Bale Gardening: Effortless Food Production with No Weeds, No Fertilizer & Less Watering (VIDEO)


 

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Hay bale gardening is probably the most fun you’ll have growing your own food and herbs, requiring almost no work or maintenance.

After a search online to find the simplest and easiest “no work” gardening method, I stumbled upon straw bale gardening.  The concept is simple: You plant directly into bales of straw, and as the season progresses, the straw is broken down into virgin soil that nourishes the plants from inside the bale.  One amazing benefit of this method of gardening is that the bales provide a raised bed, which keeps predators away and makes picking your vegetal treasures at the end of the season easy on the back.  I watched every video I could find on the subject, and have since concluded that using HAY bales instead of STRAW bales is far superior.

Why Hay Bales are Superior to Straw Bales

Before we get into why hay bales are superior to straw bales, let’s first define what they are:
Straw bales are basically stalks of plants, usually corn, that have been dried out and baled together into various shapes and sizes.
Hay bales are grasses that have been dried and baled together.

In my research, the idea that hay bales may have seeds in them and could grow weeds is the same reasoning reiterated time and time again by proponents of straw bale gardening.  The reason why this idea holds little water is that when nitrogen is added to feed the bacteria and fungi to start the decomposition process of the bale, a process called “Conditioning your bale”, the interior of the bale can reach temperatures as high as 130 degrees Fahrenheit or more.

The likelihood of seeds surviving these extreme temperatures is slim, and a number of other benefits that come from using hay bales make it a far superior approach in my opinion.

-Straw is likely made from genetically modified plant matter – The problem with straw bales is that they will usually be made of genetically modified corn or soy. Do you really want your food growing in decomposing genetically modified plant matter?


-No fertilizer needed with hay – Hay is made of dried grasses, and for its ability to convert sunlight and soil minerals into dense nutrition, it has been said that grass is the healthiest plant on the planet.  When we use hay bales for gardening (as opposed to straw bales), the compost that is formed within the bale to feed the plants is far superior in nutrition and, unlike straw bales, no fertilizer needs to be added to feed your plants throughout the season.

-Less Watering – Straw holds water less effectively than hay, so instead of watering once per day with hay bales, you might have to do it 2 or 3 times per day.

How to Grow a Hay Bale Garden

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The first step to growing a hay bale garden is to acquire your hay bales.  Take a look on your local classifieds like Kijiji or Craigslist and find a local farmer who is selling them.  Once you find a nearby farmer with 40lb hay bales for sale, email them and arrange a time to pick them up or have them delivered to you.

Once you have the bales and have arranged them in your yard, the next step is to “condition” your bales.  Buy yourself some 42-0-0 fertilizer, or some urea (nitrogen), and from here you will be introducing nitrogen into the bales over a 10-day period that will have the fungi, bacteria and insects breaking down your bales into fresh, virgin compost to feed your plants.  You can also pee on your bales, as it is high in nitrogen and minerals, so start saving up pee in bottles for a fertilizer cost savings of about $40.

Days 1,3,5,7,9 – Add 1/2 cup of nitrogen to your bales and spray them with water so the nitrogen will soak in.
Days 2,4,6,8,10 – Soak the bale with water only.

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During the conditioning process, the temperature of the bale will rise significantly, from my research, up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. In fact, the bales will become so hot that it’s important to keep the bales wet to eliminate the risk of a fire.  Although risk of fire is minimal, keep this in mind when deciding where to stage your bales.  When the conditioning process is complete, you’ll know it because the temperature inside the bale will have come back down from hot to warm.  Now you’re ready to plant!

MORE-STRAW-BALE-GARDENING-POTATOES-You’ll NEVER Grow Potatoes Any Other Way Again ! Step By Step Full Guide

Simply plant your vegetable seeds or germinated seeds into the bale, water them once a day and you’re on your way to healthy produce in a few exciting months.  The best part is, at the end of the season you’ll have yourself a heap of fresh compost that you can further compost or add to your other gardens or perennial plant beds for nourishment.

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