Get out and Move!

This time of year, people are normally starting their new diets and worrying about the pounds they packed on from the sweets they ate over the holidays. You might think joining a gym is the answer to your problems, and sucking down veggie juice and smoothies will trim your waist down. It could work…

But I don’t think so. Wanna know why? Because that shit is BORING.

Who wants to ride a bicycle in place, or walk on a treadmill for an hour while staring at the ass of the person in front of you? Sure, a smoothie is delicious, and some juice can be too… but they also frequently shoot your blood sugar through the roof and cause your energy to crash later.

If you don’t feel good about yourself, you’ll be stressed. And while stress can make you lose weight sometimes, it’s really not the healthiest way to do so. You want to know what helps more than anything else?

GETTING YOUR BUTT OUTDOORS.

We just took a nice 3.5 mile hike yesterday through a very well-traveled path that was wide enough for people to go mountain biking on. I used to do this when the kids were little too; I either had them in a baby backpack or we simply took shorter hikes. The older the kids get, the longer and harder hikes we take. Getting outdoors in the fresh air, especially if you can find a place surrounded by forest on all sides is good for your heart, soul, AND waistline.

A huge cause of stress right now is Covid 19. You know where you have the least likely chance of catching it? Out in the damned woods with no one else around.

Important factors for keeping your immune system in good health, especially in regards to fighting any kind of viral infection like the Rona or the Flu, include moving your body and getting enough Vitamin D. Did you know that your lymphatic system (you know those little knobbly bits under your chin/neck that hurt when you feel sick? They’re all over your body, known as your lymphatic system) does NOT have its own pump to move fluid through your body? The heart and breathing in general can only move you so much. What really helps get that nasty, stagnant lymph fluid the heck out of your body is MOVEMENT. And when you do that movement outdoors, you often get the added benefit of a little Vitamin D dose from the sun. Eating lots of vegetables and fruits is important too, but you can just… you know… EAT them. They don’t have to be blended up into a pulp and mixed with protein powder or yogurt to be delicious.

And while you CAN exercise indoors if it’s too frigid or rainy or there’s a blizzard or whatever, any time conditions are reasonably decent for getting outside, it’s best for your exercise to happen there. Even a 20-minute walk on a paved path somewhere (preferably away from moving vehicles) is better for you than huffing around an indoor gym. The fresh air improves lung function, the sun gives you energy, and the benefits of surrounding yourself with nature are well-documented to reduce stress, depression, anxiety, and improve the functionality of your immune system.

If you simply can’t get outdoors for some reason for awhile, consider supplementing your routine with lymphatic draining herbs such as calendula, cleavers, violets, or red clover. And even if you’re stuck inside, move those buns! Hang out with a houseplant beside a sunny window. Get a little nature in you, and you’ll feel much better.

One last tip: I never lost so much weight in my life as I did when I became a farmer. Best weight loss program EVER. Also, my back hurts…

Best workout EVER

Learning and Changing

I don’t know if you know this, but my husband is about 1/8th Menomonee (Ojibway tribe) and I know of some Osage ancestry on my father’s side of the family tree. Between these facts and the journey that I’ve been on bringing me closer to Mother Earth and the plants that live on her, I have been trying to learn as much as I can about Native American culture and ways of life. I know that white sage and sweetgrass are sacred herbs, meant to be burned in thanks to the earth and to help one’s own spirit.

Much as I wish I could always only give my plant medicine as gifts, I must feed my family and pay my bills in the modern world. That is why I sell my herbal medicines and incense. I want to help people as well, but I still have mouths to feed in my home and that has to come first for now. However, after reading (or at least beginning to read) the book Braiding Sweetgrass, I now know that I should not be selling my sweetgrass braids. I was very careful before to whom I did sell the braids, but now I will barter or gift only, as the plant is not meant to be exchanged for money.

Moving forward, I have decided that I will no longer SELL my sweetgrass braids, but I will still make them for my own use. If you or a Native American friend are in need of a braid, please contact me and we may be able to work out a gift or barter exchange based on your need.

On a similar note, I also experimented with growing native tobacco this year (Nicotiana rustica) and I may be able to share small amounts with those in need.

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