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Aug 20, 2020

A Pizza Recipe to Get Kids to Eat Their Vegetables

by Aspen, Trainer of the Things

My kid is a complicated one when it comes to eating. In some ways he eats very healthy, but given the option he would eat crackers and peanut butter sandwiches all day. He won’t touch vegetables or fruit on their own, so I have to get creative about getting them into his diet.

One thing I have found is that he will eat anything if I tell him it’s a “pizza.” So I have a great, delicious, vegan pizza I put together for him regularly. Here’s what I do:

Get your bread. I use the Garlic Naan from Trader Joe’s. It’s delicious, it’s a good source of protein, it’s higher on the calories (which is good for my guy who is very small for his age) and it crisps up beautifully in the oven. 

Add your tomato sauce. I use Rao’s Marinara from Whole Foods. It’s a pricier one, but it doesn’t have added sugar, plus it is absolutely delicious. 

I then chop into tiny pieces whatever veggies I have. Usually, it is broccoli, kale, cauliflower, and sometimes zucchini or peppers. I mush them into the pasta sauce - you could also mix them into the pasta sauce so they are barely visible. Sometimes I will put them all into a food processor to make the pieces really tiny!

I add my sausage, which again is vegan breakfast sausage from Trader Joe’s. This is a very heavy Trader Joe’s-based meal. It is delicious and really helps you feel like you are eating real pizza. 

Last I do a sprinkling of vegan mozzarella. I’m not a big fan of vegan cheese, so if you are you could go heavier on this. Or, of course, just use real cheese if your diet allows. 

I cook it in the oven at 350 for 10-15 minutes. I like mine a little longer because of how good the naan is crispy. 

It’s a healthy hit every time!


Aug 20, 2020

2020 Summer Garden Guide

by RidgeCrest Herbals

Fertilizing

Some plants need more supplemental nutrients than others. If you have a plant that is produces something for you, it's nutritional needs will be higher than your average flower or shrub. What are the most important nutrients your soil needs?

Nitrogen- Animal manure is a great source. Start light and distribute frequently. Warning: some manure can come with weed seeds as hitchhikers. 

Phosphorus - Fishbone or bone meal is a great way to get your phosphorus. Along with supporting a good microbalance in the soil, this helps blooms, stem formation, and the production of high-quality fruit and vegetables. 

Potassium- Good sources are hardwood ash and kelp meal. This is essential for plant immune system health. It also plays a roll in color and the number of blooms. 

In addition to these sources, adding compost to your soil is beneficial. It brings bacteria, fungus, PH, and more to your plant on a microbiological level. It is the cornerstone to your fertilizing plan.  

You can purchase testing kits to test nutrient levels in your soil to guide you to the best mix for your plot of land. You can also bring in an oldtimer from your area that has been dealing with the same soil and knows what it needs from experience. 

Pest Deterrents

My organic garden gets better every year! Pests can be a big problem, I am learning to control them using healthy soils, companion plants, and attracting predators. It requires some patience, but once you have it down, you are golden!

It’s important to know what bugs are good and what are bad:

Some bugs that are beneficial are ladybugs, praying mantis, spiders, wasps, predatory nematode, spider mite predator, whitefly parasite, whitefly predator, trip predator mite, and pirate bug.

Some bugs that are harmful are aphids, spider mites whitefly, mealybug, thrip, mealybug, caterpillars, leaf miners, fungus gnats, hornworms, and snails/slugs.

What can you do?

  • Attract good bugs to eat pests using flowers and plants. Wasps eat cabbage moths and caterpillars. Hoverflies, lacewings, and ladybugs are all attracted to many flowers.

  • Handpick larger pests like squash bugs, slugs, and snails. Ducks and chickens also work great for the big pests.

  • Purchase good bugs to add them to the garden like ladybugs and praying mantis.

  • Use hoop tunnels or insect netting to cover plants during peak infestations.

  • Certain plants help deter, such as basil, lemon balm, fennel, dill, lavender, thyme, petunia, marigold, nasturtium, alliums, & chrysanthemums.

  • Organic and safe things to defeat are iron phosphate for snails/slugs to stop them from eating, and copper strips give slugs/snails a shock keeping them out.

  • Homemade insecticidal soaps using water, vegetable oil and liquid soap in a spray bottle works well.

  • Kitchen remedies such as cinnamon, garlic, orange peels, banana peels, milk, apple cider vinegar, hot peppers, ginger, baking soda, beer, castile soap, eggshells, soy sauce, and vegetable oil all have their own benefit in the garden.

Get to know your pests, predators, plants, and items you can use to keep your garden thriving, organic, and pest free!

 

 

Watering

Water selectively: If you have the time and money you can also invest in a drip system, which helps to focus more on the root zone of the plants as well as conserve water. Nowadays, there are Bluetooth timing systems that read the weather, time, and water accordingly. To test to see if your plant needs water you can simply poke your finger into the soil. If it’s cool and damp, you don’t need to water. 

Water in the morning: This gives your plants time to absorb moisture before it evaporates from the heat of the day. This also minimizes the risk of fungal diseases and slugs. 

Focus on the root zone: The roots of the plant need the water, not the leaves. Watering just at the roots helps to minimize disease. A great example of over-watering is with squash: you’ll see a white fungal film form on the plant if you are watering too much. Squashes are “panting” plants that look like they need water because their leaves get droopy during the day. They are just letting the water evaporate off to cool and remove excess moisture. 

Water deeply and thoroughly: Roots of most plants can go as deep as 12”. Make sure you water for enough time. This will help your plants develop a deeper root system, but also encourage a less frequent need for watering. 

For potted plants: You’ll need to water these more frequently, especially if you’ve used a clay or terra cotta pot, because they are highly porous. The same goes for pots made of metal. Use a pot that is glazed or plastic to prevent quick water loss. You can always hide these pots in more decorative ones for aesthetic value. Keep in mind that plants in pots have more area for evaporation, which is why they dry so quickly. 

Add organic matter: Use materials like compost or mulch to help retain water. This slows evaporation. A top layer 1-2” thick will help keep your plants water savvy. Note that when you go to plant, mixing compost or mulch into your soil will help to retain water as well as provide nutrients. 

Get rid of weeds: These are tough competition for soil moisture so it’s important to keep on top of them. 

Know your plants: Some plants need more water more frequently. Some need very little water to survive, like cacti. Water your plants according to their needs. 

Build your beds to retain water: Before planting, add logs and other organic debris under the bed. Items like logs, leaves, sticks, pine needles, etc. hold moisture, but also provide nutrients as they break down. 


 


Aug 20, 2020

What to Do With Your Dandelions

by Connie, AR/AP Rocker

Dandelions are more than just a weed! Most people see them as a nuisance and want to get rid of them, but actually, they should be harvested due to their fantastic health benefits. Dandelions have many health benefits and uses. Every part of the dandelion has medicinal potential, and they have been used in Chinese and Eastern medicine for hundreds of years.

Dandelions contain a high amount of vitamins and minerals and can improve your health.  A cup of dandelions contains over 112% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin A, and 535% of the daily amount of vitamin K.  Dandelion greens are also high in potassium, vitamin C, and calcium.

When you go foraging for dandelions, be sure to use ones from your own yard or any area where you know chemicals have not been used.

7 Ways To Use Your Dandelions

Make a Dandelion Salad – A simple way to add dandelions to your diet is to throw them into your salad.  You can combine your dandelion greens with other greens, lettuce or spinach.  Dandelion greens are commonly used in salads and taste great! The whole plant is medicinal, even the flower can be added to your salad.

Juice Your Dandelions – Another great way to add raw dandelions to your diet is to put them in a juicer. You can add lemon or other fruits for flavor.  Dandelions can also be added to a smoothie if you don’t have a juicer.

Make Dandelion Tea – All you need to do is rinse off the greens and roots, dry them out using a dehydrator or the oven to heat at low temperature, mince them by using a knife or food processor, pour hot water over the dandelions, and strain. 
Dandelion as a Wart Remover – To use dandelions as a wart remover, break open the stem and you should see a white sticky juice/milk which can be applied to the wart daily.

Dandelion Infused Oil – Dandelion oil is an excellent remedy to help relieve aching muscles and joints, it also has a fantastic scent!  To make the dandelion oil, pick a bunch of the flowers and place them in a jar. Tear some of the flowers to loosen the petals and pour oil over the flowers until covered.  Seal the jar and let it sit for about 2 weeks.

Dandelion Soup – Another way to add dandelions to your diet is to throw in pieces of the leaves or root into your soup.  Not only does it add great health benefits, but it tastes delicious!

Dandelion Tinctures – Store-bought tinctures can be quite expensive, yet are very easy to make yourself.  You can use vinegar, glycerin, or alcohol to make the tincture.  To make a dandelion tincture with vinegar, gather the leaves and roots, rinse them off, chop them, and put them in a glass jar.  Pour in the vinegar and seal the jar.  Some recommend shaking the mixture every day while steeping.  On average, steep for about 6 weeks, then strain, and the remaining liquid is your tincture!  

Dandelion tinctures are great for cleansing the liver, and the average dose recommended is 10 to 30 drops per day.  Dandelion roots and leaves aid in stimulating the release of bile from the liver and are used as a natural alternative way to support digestion. 

Do you have a favorite way to use dandelions that isn’t on this list? Share with us on social media!


 


Aug 20, 2020

2020 August Organtics Prop 65

by RidgeCrest Herbals


Aug 6, 2020

ClearLungs Liquid Wins Industry Award Two Years Running

by RidgeCrest Herbals

For Immediate Release:

RidgeCrest Herbals’ ClearLungs Liquid Wins Taste For Life Magazine’s Back to School Immunity Award

Highlights

  • RidgeCrest Herbals’ ClearLungs Liquid has won the 2020 Taste For Life Magazine’s Back To School Essentials Award in the Category of Immunity

  • ClearLungs Liquid has won this award two years in a row.

  • This award comes when tensions are high, and parents feel motivated to provide extra support for their kid’s immune system.

Salt Lake City, Utah

Whatever form of learning your kid’s school district has chosen to adopt this year, everyone involved, from parents to teachers and administrators, shares the top priority of keeping kids healthy and safe. With that in mind, the New Hampshire-based Taste For Life Magazine has published its annual Back to School product awards for 2020. RidgeCrest Herbals is thrilled to have their ClearLungs Liquid included in the category of Immunity Support. The honor of this award has been granted to ClearLungs Liquid two years running, having earned this award in 2019 as well. 

We are thrilled that RidgeCrest Herbals has been honored with this award a second year in a row,” says Nichole Petersen, RidgeCrest Herbals’ marketing director. “Our ClearLungs Liquid provides immune support for kids in an easy-to-swallow orange-flavored liquid, making it painless for parents and kids alike. Winning this award is a testament to our team’s hard work to create a product that is both effective and worthy of kids’ approval.” 

This award comes at a crucial time when, more than ever, parents are looking for ways to keep their kid’s immunity at its peak. “We can't thank Taste for Life enough for choosing us as a back to school essential product winner,” says Chris Herbert, Director of Sales. “We feel honored to be included with many other great companies helping consumers stay healthy during these times.”  

RidgeCrest Herbals based ClearLungs Liquid on a remedy of thirteen ingredients effectively used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for nearly 2,000 years. The ClearLungs Liquid product is part of RidgeCrest Herbals’ ClearLungs Family, including ClearLungs Original, Extra Strength, ClearLungs Immune, and ClearLungs Sport. 

Nestled in the shadow of the Wasatch Mountains, Ridgecrest Herbals brings effective, eclectic, innovative botanical blends drawn from ancient global traditions to U.S. consumers. Seller of the #1 selling natural lung product ClearLungs, RidgeCrest Herbals has been helping you “Reach Your Peak” since 1994.   


Aug 4, 2020

August 2020 Window to Wanderlust San Rafael Swell, Utah

by Abbie, Graphics Goddess


Aug 4, 2020

August 2020 Knick 'Nack The Spirit Molecule

by Abbie, Graphics Goddess

DMT, or Dimethyltryptamine is a chemical substance naturally occurring in many plants and animals known as a tryptamine. Tryptamines are substances found in nature that mimic the chemical structure of serotonin, a neurotransmitter in the human brain that regulates mood, memory, and sleep. Other notable tryptamines include melatonin (the sleep hormone), psilocybin (found in "magic mushrooms"), bufotenin (psychedelic toad slime), and LSD.  

DMT was originally synthesized in 1931, but clinical research began in the 1950s and 1960s after DMT was found in the blood and urine of normal human subjects. The most famous study came in the 1990s from psychiatrist Dr. Rick Strassman, who administered approximately 400 doses of DMT over five years to nearly 60 volunteers while documenting their experiences. As a result of his research, Strassman came to refer to DMT as the "spirit molecule" since subjects reported religious experiences such as visions, voices, and disembodied consciousness. Interestingly, over half of the volunteers claimed to have met with non-human entities described as intelligent "beings," "entities," "aliens," "guides," and "helpers."

Several yet untested hypotheses suggest that endogenous DMT is produced in the human brain. Lab studies have shown the production of DMT in rats, as well as the presence of INMT. INMT is an enzyme that may be associated with the biosynthesis of DMT in the primate (rhesus macaque) pineal gland. Mystical traditions and esoteric schools of thought have long defined the pineal gland as the "third eye," or the link between the physical and spiritual worlds. Hinduism points to the pineal gland as the 7th or crown chakra, and philosopher René Descartes called the pineal gland "the seat of the soul." There is also speculation that vast as-yet-undiscovered amounts of DMT are released by our brains when we are born and when we die. Dr. Strassman believes this is why so many people have similar near-death experiences.

If DMT is naturally produced in our brains, could some humans be producing more or less than others daily? Is this why some people are open to things like seeing ghosts, having visions, psychic abilities, or even being "abducted by aliens," while others never experience such phenomena? Or if ingesting plants that contain this tryptamine (over 60 different kinds have been documented thus far) causes people to have similar experiences, could this be why cave paintings, pictographs, and even temple complexes made by ancient civilizations often contain striking similarities, even when separated by vast distances of land or even oceans? Maybe the "ancient aliens" didn't come from outer space at all, but from the inner space of the mind via chemical substances like DMT.


Aug 4, 2020

Trees and People, People and Trees

by Will, Ginger-Beard of Power

It will not matter if you view the “beginning” as a serpent convincing Eve to eat the fruit from a tree or early man taking shelter and building fire to protect himself with trees. From the beginning, trees and forests have been intertwined with man, and man has been dependant upon them. Even the building of our country here in the U.S. has been greatly influenced, if not wholly leveraged, by the resources of forests and trees, because shelter, fuel, paper, furniture, and building materials are so crucial to civilization-building. Entire books have been written about the movement of civilizations revolving around trees as a resource. You the reader realize that some of the pulp used to make this Almanac was taken from trees. 

Considering their ubiquity, do you ever stop and think about your relationship with trees or even a single tree?  They serve as backdrops and alternatives to indoor spaces. I have held classes, been to weddings, eaten picnics, found shade and shelter, and just marveled at the roots of trees. I especially enjoy taking a moment with someone that is young and bringing their focus to a tree. Often, I know what variety of tree it is. And so just mentioning the tree can bring about an attitude of gratitude at that moment. “Do you know this tree is older than me? Did you know its a native and grew here all on its own? Did you know there is a whole forest not far from here?”

The fact is there are more trees in the U.S. then there were 100 years ago.  We are deforesting at 40% slower than the forest is growing, at least in our country. Thanks to industrialization, we now grow trees precisely to be cut down and turned into materials. We have forests around the globe, planted to help produce supplies and products that enrich and simplify our lives. However, the impact of climate change and the disruption of ecosystems is a growing global problem.

The Nature Conservancy has a goal to plant a billion trees to fight climate change. We are one generation away from losing the progress we have made to get back on track with forest. So we need to be proactive and make forestation part of our culture. After all, the old growth forests are the real keepers of wildlife. I believe having an Arbor day is a great start, but only if we genuinely observe the idea and practice what we learn. So what can we do? 

Here are a few thoughts that may work for you. We all have our strengths, and if we use them, we can enjoy the trees and forest while we take measures to help our planet. 

  • Learn what trees are native to your area, what their ideal conditions are, and how they help the environment. Here is a website you can use to find natives and other neat facts to help you: 

  • https://www.nwf.org/NativePlantFinder/Plants/Flowers-and-Grasses

  • Share the knowledge and become a treespert.  

  • Look for ways to bring the climate to your home. Can you plant some natives? Will it help with your homes water and power usage long term? 

  • Start to practice love it and leave it soil health.  Can you trim and leave the branches and leaves for the soil to reclaim? If you have to remove a tree, can you leave the stump to feed the soil and maybe the next tree you bring in? What under/top tree conditions encourages wildlife to use the tree? Long grass, fallen debris, a water source?

  • Most of all, become someone that teaches and protects the trees and forest. Leave a legacy of education, and the trees most likely will outlive you.

  •  Using native trees, grow your own forest even if the people that come after you will be the max benefactor.  Active steps are necessary to move forward to benefit generations to come.   


 

 






 


Aug 4, 2020

Berry and Botanicals Lemonade

by Shae, Customer Service and Social Media Goddess

It is HOT out. What better way to cool down than with a refreshing herbal and/or berry lemonade!? I can’t think of any that don’t involve going to crowded pools or lakes. This is a simple recipe that can cool you off, tastes delicious and can be an easy way to add more herbs to your life!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cup white sugar (you can use less if you prefer less sugar)

  • 9 cups water

  • 1 1/2 cups lemon juice (about 6 juiced lemons)

  • 1 cup of your favorite berries

  • A handful of herb leaves, torn into pieces: basil, sage, holy basil, mint, lemon balm, rosemary, thyme, lavender, ginger, hibiscus, rosehips, etc. The options are endless!

Directions: 

Combine sugar and 1 cup water in a saucepan, bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to create a syrup.. Place berries and herbs in the boiling syrup. Cook fruit/syrup for 5 minutes on a low boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let cool.

Strain mixture into a pitcher with a fine mesh strainer. Strain lemon juice into pitcher. Add remaining 8 cups of water and stir well. Chill and serve.

Tips:

I like pulp, so I will just strain out the seeds and add the pulp of the lemon and berries back into the lemonade. 

I like cold lemonade and don’t like to wait, I will use instead 4 cups of ice and 4 cups of water at the end instead of the 8 cups of water.


Jul 20, 2020

2020 July Organtics

by RidgeCrest Herbals


Jul 20, 2020

How to Build a Campfire Anywhere

by Matt, Herbal Head Honcho

How to build a campfire anywhere. A fire needs 3 things: fuel, air, and heat. A good small fire will grow, but too much air will dissipate the heat, and too much fuel can smother the fire. To get a terrific fire, you need fuel of the right size, with enough air circulating around it, and concentrated heat to get it burning well. 

What’s the right size of fuel? Well, it is easy to light a match with another match. You might even be able to light a stick that is twice the size of the match, but not much larger. So you need a mix of wood from match size, up to the size of the wood you eventually want to burn. Bark is harder to light than wood, so even if the wood is of a useful size, you may want to split or peel it with a knife or ax. Wet or damp wood is hard to burn, though it can often be used once the fire is established. 

How much air? A good rule of thumb is to use roughly half as much space between sticks, as the diameter of the sticks. That gives enough room for air to circulate freely while concentrating the heat between the sticks. As the fire gets established, you may want to reduce that a bit, and for larger logs (4” or more), they should usually be right next to each other to make good coals. 

Heat rises, so you need to progress from smaller fuel at the bottom, towards larger, longer-lasting fuel near the top. As a practical matter, it is easier to hold back the largest fuel and add it after a small fire is already burning well. If you are worried about getting a fire started in bad weather, carry a firestarter, like cotton dipped in wax, petroleum, or bacon grease, a little fatwood (dry pine with lots of sap, available in many home centers), or a small bit of candle. 



 


Jul 20, 2020

Knots of Fun

by Matt, Herbal Head Honcho

Most of us learned to tie our shoes before we ever went to school, but many of us never really learned many more knots than that. Here are a few you should know, grouped so they may be easier to learn and remember. If you need visual help (and everyone does), you can look at all these knots on the Internet. Paracord is great for practicing!

Thread, string, twine, or rope is just a collection of fibers woven together, so each fiber is held in place by the fibers around it. In an emergency, any fiber can be woven into a rope. The fibers could come from old clothing, plastic bottles, dry grass, or just about anything. In a pinch, braiding works as well as other weaving methods, and small cords braided from grass can in turn be braided into heavier cords and ropes. Most knots will work just fine on any size of line, but use care with lines of different sizes.

An overhand knot begins the “bowtie” you tie your shoelaces with. It puts some friction on the laces, but it won’t hold all by itself. Tie another overhand on top of that, and you end up with either a square knot or a “granny.” A square knot holds much better than a “granny” but to do it, you need to reverse the order of the overhands (right over left, then left over right or vice versa). If the ends come out of the knot the same direction as they go in, it is a square knot, while with a granny, the ends come out at roughly 90 degrees to the way they went in. (The square knot is also called a “reef knot” because it is used to “reef” or shorten sails.) A sheet bend is a modified square knot, often used to connect lines of different sizes. A bowline is a sheet bend with a loop in it, and is a basic rescue knot, because it is quickly tied and untied, and won’t slip easily.

Some knots are tied around things. One is the clove hitch, commonly used to tie a horse to a “hitching rail” or post. To tie it, throw the line over and around the rail, cross over the top of the line, around the rail again, and pass the line under the “bridge” you made when you crossed the line the first time.  The lines coming in and out will be parallel. “Two half hitches” is essentially a clove hitch tied around the rope itself to form a loop—a slipknot that can be easily tightened or loosened. Another variant is the taut-line hitch, which adds an extra loop on the inside of the loop—great for securing a guy line on a tent or tarp, because it will keep the tension you put on it, but is easily tightened or loosened. 

The “larkshead” is a simple knot made by passing a doubled line through its own loop. Most people use this knot today to attach a wrist strap to their game controller or camera, but it has many other uses. If you pass the line through three times, instead of just once, then it becomes a “prusik knot.” You can climb a rope with no other tools than a pair of long cords (like bootlaces) tied into loops, then tied around the rope with a prusik knot. Put your weight on the bottom one, slide the upper one up a bit, transfer your weight to the upper one, and move the bottom one up. Not as nice as the “ascenders” that rock-climbers use, but simpler, lighter, cheaper, and often a lot handier in an emergency.

Finally, if you have a tarp or plastic sheet, you can make a tent, even if it has no grommets or if they have pulled out. Just put a small pebble on the sheet where you want a line, wrap the plastic around the rock, and tie the line around the neck of the plastic sheet below the pebble  (two half hitches is excellent).  Tie the line off wherever you need it!


 


Jul 20, 2020

What Other People Think of You

by Aspen, Trainer of the Things

There is a quote I really love, and it has helped me a lot in my life. “What other people think of you is none of your business.”

I learned this when I was separating from my husband, working 70 hours a week, and had an infant at home. I had to take on all of his responsibilities at our store and my workload was awful between my full-time job and my business. My aunt volunteered to help take care of my four-month-old baby. Because I was working 12 hour days, I would call her in between jobs to check if she wanted me to pick up the baby and take it with me to the store. She always said no, and I was so grateful for her help. 

Then one day she came to me and told me she couldn’t watch my baby anymore, that it had been very unfair of me to expect it of her, and that I was extremely entitled to ask so much of her. I was SO hurt and confused about how I could be so misinterpreted. She had volunteered every single time, I had reassured her it wasn’t necessary, that I would figure out something else if it was too much for her, and regularly checked in to make sure I wasn’t asking too much. I called my mom, my aunt’s sister, and asked tearfully if I was acting entitled. My mom laughed and said I was the least entitled person she knew. We talked through it and she helped me realize that my aunt was putting her own unresolved trauma onto me and that her interpretation of me, clouded as it was with her own issues, was not even close to reality. 

That was one of the most hurtful, but eye-opening experiences I have ever had. It helped me understand for the first time why you really shouldn’t care what people think of you because they see you through a lens that is shaped by their reality, not yours. So it is rare that they see you clearly for who you are. 

The reverse is also true. Along with “What other people think of you is none of your business,” goes “What you think of other people is none of their business.” I have recently seen a number of posts online of well-meaning family members seeking out individuals whose choices they disagree with. Whether it was getting a tattoo, leaving a religion, or choosing a lifestyle the family member didn’t agree with, the family member would write their deepest expressions of concern that the person’s choice would, usually, lead to eternal damnation. This is not helpful or appropriate to express to the family member making choices you disagree with. People’s choices are their own. Believing you have the right to let them know you disapprove is entitled, and only hurts the relationship. It does nothing to change their behavior - in fact, feeling unaccepted by family means they are less likely to be influenced in the future. 

I am not talking about if someone is very close to you and can lovingly help you recognize your own shortcomings, giving kind feedback that can actually benefit you. That is a different story and worth taking under advice. It’s when someone has an opinion of you that they share inappropriately or judgementally that is a problem. It’s ok to kindly let them know that’s not appropriate. What they think of you and your choices are none of your business. If they try to make it your business, you have the right to let them know they crossed a line and establish a boundary for your relationship. 


Jun 18, 2020

You are Doing Your Best!

by Melissa, Office Manager

Ridgecrest Herbals is a small company and all of us end up picking up and doing things that would not traditionally be included in our job descriptions. In some ways that can allow you the freedom to try things that you normally wouldn’t get to do, but there are some assignments that we may prefer a big team to take those tasks on. I could pitch a fit and say I don’t have time and refuse the writing assignments, but honestly, my desire to be a good team player outweighs the dread I feel doing it. So I do my best. 

Now, my best may not be very good. In fact, it might be downright terrible and totally unacceptable. When I do my best, even if it is terrible, my desire is for people to agree that my efforts were acceptable. How often do we view other’s efforts and deem them as “not their best” and not sufficient, but how do we know?  We all have limitations and have plenty of things that we fall short of. All of us. I can look at myself and focus on things that are deficient instead of strengths. I am really uncoordinated, I eat way too much sugar and don’t have a poker face at all. I could focus on these things a million others, but I honestly like myself and I think I am smart and funny and I make killer chocolate chip cookies and I believe I am doing my best. I don’t think spending all my time thinking of ways I fall short is very helpful and I don’t think that it is helpful to do that in others. Instead, I choose to think everyone is trying their best. Their efforts may not be enough, but I don’t know all of their circumstances so I choose to believe they are doing their best. We can free each other from the weight of our expectations on them and maybe ourselves.

I know there are people out there who do bad things to other people and I am not referring to them. I am talking about the little things that people do or don’t do well that we hold on it. Our neighbors may be doing the best they can at keeping those weeds under control, It may not be your standards in fact it could be a total mess, but maybe just maybe we can let it go and believe they are doing their best.  None of us can do everything perfectly. We mess up and fall short all the time. There is not one universal measuring stick for everyone. The differences in each of us are what make our world rich and full. 

If we looked at others and honestly believed they were trying their best how would our perspective change on others? How would it change about yourself? Being a human is hard and you are doing your best! 


Jun 16, 2020

The Power of Creative Visualization

by Abbie, Graphics Goddess

"A man is but a product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes." - Mahatma Gandhi

When you get up in the morning, what is the first thing you think about? What about the last thing before you fall asleep? Are you focusing on what needs to be done, worrying about the future, or dwelling on something in the past? Your thoughts are directly connected to what happens to you in life, whether you are conscious of it or not. When you're thinking positively, you act in the same way - you smile more, you let little annoyances go, you're excited to get things done, and people respond to your attitude with positivity and a willingness to help or create with you. When you're thinking negatively, you act in the same way - you engage in arguments, feel sluggish, let annoyances ruin your day, and push people away. 

The human mind is capable of amazing things, but much like the body, it needs to be conditioned to function at its highest level or it can fall victim to a sedentary and unproductive routine of thoughts. You've probably noticed it in the people around you - The person who continually dwells on their ailments and illnesses seems to always be sick, and the person who always complains about being broke keeps having financial setbacks. Likewise, the determined and plan-oriented person seems to keep achieving milestones, and the positive and grateful person is always in a good mood. What if you could train your mind to approach every situation from a positive place and to focus on achieving your highest ambitions and dreams? There is good news - you can.

Creative visualization has been defined as "a type of mindfulness exercise that can be used to promote success in every area of life." It is the mental exercise of imagining any scenario in life going exactly the way you want it to, including the physical and emotional sensations. This practice has been performed for centuries, and research backs up its success. Your subconscious mind accepts these pointed thoughts as truth, and this shapes your long-term mindset. Once honed you are equipped with a new mental capacity to focus, solve problems, find workarounds, prioritize tasks, and deliberately disregard negativity. Here are some steps to get you started:

Begin With a Positive Goal - Have a specific thought to focus on. This can be anything you desire in life - a promotion at work, improving a relationship with a loved one, being given a clean bill of health, finding your soulmate, a new home, a trip, etc. 

Time of Practice - It is best to practice in the morning before your day begins, or at night before you go to sleep. Morning practice helps to get you in a productive mindset, and bedtime practice puts your subconscious to work while you sleep.

Relax - Sit in the most comfortable chair you own, and make sure that you're not too hot or cold. Close your eyes and take three or four slow, deep breaths, holding the breath for a few seconds each time before exhaling. Focus on relaxing every muscle in your body, starting with the top of your head, followed by your eyes, cheeks, jaw, and neck. Now relax your shoulders, chest, stomach, and bottom, moving down through your thighs, calves, feet, and toes. 

Visualize the Goal - Begin to focus on your goal. Begin crafting a detailed image of the thing you want. Specificity is key; visualize every element of the completed goal to create a tangible scenario in your mind that seems so real, it could be mistaken for a memory of an actual event. 

Let's say you want to take a trip to Hawaii. Imagine laying on the beach, feeling the sand, the warm sun, hearing the waves crash. Imagine hiking through the jungles, smelling vegetation, the spray of the waterfalls, or experiencing the awe of soaring over the jagged cliffs in a helicopter. Make it feel as real as you can. 

When you dedicate time to thoughts about your life goals, two things happen: First, your goals become your focus, and you find yourself discovering new paths forward. Second, your subconscious mind (another great topic of research) begins to program itself around your visualizations, which changes your behavior patterns and helps to move the trivial and negative things in your life into the background, while you focus on what you want. This can literally change the way you see the world, and you will find yourself being a happier, more driven, and success-oriented person. 


 


Jun 16, 2020

Utsuro-Bune

by Nichole, Magical Marketing Millenial


 

Utsuro-bune translates as “hollow boat” in Japanese. This folklore story is recorded in at least three Japanese texts, Toen shōsetsu (1825), Hyōryū kishū (1835) and Ume-no-chiri (1844),  and has oddly specific details regarding the encounter. The story goes that on February 22, 1803, on the coast of eastern Japan in the Hitachi province, a local fisherman spotted a boat that was about 10.8 ft high by 17.7 ft wide floating just offshore. The hollow metal boat was the shape of a saucer, had crystal windows, and the bottom was covered with copper plates. The curious fisherman guided the ship ashore to investigate. Written on the interior walls, they found inscriptions in an unknown language. There was also water, food, bedding, and carpets. A strange and beautiful woman, about 18 or 20 years old, around five feet tall, with red eyebrows, and red hair adorned with white extensions made of skin or fabric was also inside. She wore a long garment made of unknown white fabric. In her hands, she held a metal box that was about nine inches in length. She fiercely refused to let anyone touch or come close to it. When the fisherman tried to communicate with her, she spoke a language that was not Japanese.

Frightened by the strangeness of the situation, and being unable to communicate with her, they put her back into the ship and returned it to the sea. Some claim that this could be one of the first documented encounters with beings from another planet, comparing the strange symbols found on the walls with those at other purported extraterrestrial sites, which share strong similarities to those symbols that accompany the Roswell and Rendlesham Forest incidents. Others think she simply was from another country, such as Russia, based on her characteristic features. The real question remains, however: what was in the box? 


 


 

 



 


Jun 16, 2020

2020 June Window to Wanderlust

by Abbie, Graphics Goddess


Jun 5, 2020

Practicing Self-Care in Quarantine

by Shae, Customer Service and Social Media Goddess

There has never been a more important time for self-care than right now. Regular life stress seemed tame compared to what we have been dealing with as of late. Not that regular life stress wasn’t already too much, now we have a global pandemic and a civil rights movement underway. Emotions are high everywhere. The very best thing that we can do right now is to take care of ourselves so we can remain calm and centered and be able to clearly handle the world around us, not to mention stress affects the immune system. 

Before we get to the check lists\ of self-care tasks, we first need to give ourselves permission to allow self-care. It is absolutely ok and completely essential to take care of ourselves. You can not pour from an empty cup. With that in mind, we also need to be generous and flexible with ourselves. We have never had to deal with this type of situation before, and all emotions and reactions to what is going on are normal and valid. Forgive yourself for everything you aren’t achieving right now. You do not have to be productive to be worthy. 

These are all important steps in taking care of ourselves, and it can be overwhelming. But it doesn’t need to be. Pick 1-3 tasks a day as a goal to focus on. Pick ones that are easily achievable and mix it up when possible. 

Basics:

  • Hydrate! Drink a glass of water, coconut water or something hydrating that isn’t full of artificial ingredients. Watermelon is a great way to get hydration!

  • Slow, deep, intentional breathing. Take at least 3 minutes to do some deep, slow, breathing.

  • Eat something that is nutrient-packed. All you need to focus on here are the nutrients. 

  • Are you getting enough sleep? How can you get better sleep? Are you getting too much sleep? Evaluate your sleep and ways to make it easier, more restful and more regimented. Consistency is key.

  • Take note of your environment. Is it messy or dirty? Is your space comfortable? 

  • Make sure you are eliminating enough. When was the last time you eliminated? Do you need to urinate or have a bowel movement?  Make sure you aren’t holding things in and that you are eating enough fiber to keep things moving. 

  • Physical touch is so important. If you can’t get it from others such as a partner or professional and licensed bodyworker, don’t forget your own hands. Put lotion on your body, massage your hands, arms, feet or legs, brush your hair, wash your hands. 

Moderate:

  • Take time out to meditate. 5-10 minutes to ground yourself. Find guided meditations or music that calms you down 

  • Move your body. Take time to stretch, take a walk, run, do yoga, lift weights, do body resistance movements, or dance. Anything to get your body moving. 

  • Find time to relax in the best way you know how. Take a bath or shower, read, sit outside, enjoy some tea. Do whatever you can to find relaxation in your mind and body. 

  • Be creative! Take time to invest in your hobbies. 

  • Find your gratitude. Take some time to come up with at least 3 things you are grateful for. Write them down. Say thank you upon waking or going to bed at least three times. 

  • Check-in on your self talk. Most likely it is full of violent, harsh, shameful, guilty or overall self-deprecating thoughts. Write out positive affirmations and repeat them to yourself as often as you can. 

  • Make sure you are getting enough you time. Take a drive, spend time doing something that you enjoy. Make yourself a priority. 

  • Are you getting enough social time in your life? This can be hard with the current state of affairs, but don’t forget we can use our phones to call people, text and even video chat if available. Reach out and have a conversation with someone. 

  • Are you communicating your needs? Even if just to yourself. Practice giving a voice to the things you need, you can even make a needs journal to help understand yourself better. 

  • Are you spending quality time with your family? Family bonding is so important. Take some time to spend nondistracted time with your children, partners and furbabies. 

  • When was the last time you had a good belly laugh? Laughter really is the best medicine. Know what makes you laugh so you can achieve that big smile, stitch in the side, tears in the eyes laughter. 

Advanced:

  • Get out into nature. I know this can be hard for some of us. So work with what you have. Admire a tree in your neighborhood or a weed popping up through the cement. Go for a hike if you can. Look at the sky. 

  • When was the last time you did an act of service? Take time to do something nice for someone else no matter how small. 

  • Learn something new! Find out about something you are interested in, take a class, read a book. When your mind is learning new things your brain's pathways are firing off which creates new space in your mind. 

  • When was the last time you deep cleaned and simplified? Get rid of things you don’t need and doesn’t bring joy. Clean out your dusty corners. Things will feel lighter when your environment is tidy and decluttered. 

  • Remember that it is ok to have boundaries. In every part of your life. Do not say yes when you want to say no. Know your limits and express them clearly. It is especially important to have boundaries around social media right now. If it is causing you stress, turmoil, sadness, sucking your energy, you need to set yourself limits and adhere to them. Most phones have either internal settings or there are apps for reminders, setting time limits, and restrictions on app usage. Take advantage of these if you aren’t able to control yourself. 


Jun 5, 2020

Thyroid Thrive Win's Women's Health Award!

by RidgeCrest Herbals

RidgeCrest Herbals is honored to be the recipient of their 19th industry award since 2016. This time it is their Thyroid Thrive™ that has won the Taste for Life Magazine’s 2020 Women’s Essential Award. 

RidgeCrest Herbals’ Thyroid Thrive™ has been designed to naturally support thyroid function. Proper thyroid balance is key to good overall health and quality of life because the thyroid helps regulate your metabolism and balance your hormones, so supporting good thyroid health can go far in getting you to where you want to be. Our formula addresses the crucial relationships between organs within the endocrine system, providing nutritional support as well as herbal supplementation to help balance the thyroid, hypothalamus, and pituitary glands. Thyroid Thrive™ is a rich source of iodine, a necessary building block for certain thyroid hormones. Combine that with other important vitamins and building blocks and herbs, Thyroid Thrive™ provides your body the nutritional tools it needs to help you function effectively. 

Myrrh Gum (Myrrh) 

Today studies have revealed stimulative properties and potential to support the body’s natural state free from excess inflammation, along with many, many other benefits.

Guggul Extract 

From the Ayurvedic tradition, the resin from this flowering plant is rich in antioxidants and a ketonic steroid called guggulsterone. This substance has been extensively studied and evidence exists that it may help support thyroid function and possibly support the body’s natural ability to lower serum triglycerides. 

Bladderwrack 

The source of the first identified iodine in the world, which plays a crucial role in the body’s ability to manufacture and manage thyroid hormones and overall thyroid wellness or function. Because of this, studies have shown it may help support good thyroid function and help promote a healthy weight. It also contains dozens of essential vitamins and minerals in naturally occurring forms. 

Coleus Forskohlii Root Extract 

With over 17,000 studies on this plant, modern science has shown the root to be rich in a diterpenoid called forskolin, the only plant-derived compound science has shown to stimulate adenylate cyclase, an enzyme that helps to boost metabolism. This enzyme works directly on thyroid hormones and can help break down adipose tissue. 

Kelp

A rich source of iodine, studies have shown it may help strengthen good thyroid function and help promote healthy weight. It also contains dozens of essential vitamins and minerals in naturally occurring forms. 

Thyroid Thrive, which also received the Taste For Life Better Nutrition Award in 2017, joins RidgeCrests’ other award-winning products, bringing RidgeCrest to a total of 19 industry awards in the past 6 years. 


 


Jun 5, 2020

Attending the American Herbalist Guild Symposium

by RidgeCrest Herbals

In 2018, I had the ultimate pleasure of attending an event so wholesome and close to nature that I felt like a new little seedling emerging from the soft earth, reaching for new light and purpose. It took me back to the days where natural medicine was merely a curiosity in which I was spiritually driven to discover. I was viscerally reminded of the many glorious things and events that instigated my journey as an herbalist. The AGH Symposium brought out all the things in me that I love about myself and helped me remember my identity as a true herbalist intertwined with nature’s healing powers. Being in touch with my herbalist side as well as the herbal community is essential for the well being of myself, the companies I formulate for, and the customers we serve.  

The Symposium was held at Unicoi State Park and Lodge in Helen, Georgia.  Helen is the most adorable little German-themed town full of classic, colorful German shops and dining. It happened to be Octoberfest, and many individuals were dressed in full traditional German attire from Lederhosen to feathers in their Alpine fedoras. Just above Helen, the old Lodge is nestled in the woods near Unicoi lake. There was kayaking, hiking, and beautiful scenery everywhere I looked. I thoroughly enjoyed my quiet time hiking alone, searching for medicinal plants. Time outdoors was actively encouraged and enhanced the entire experience, making it easy to stay focused and absorb valuable information when it was time for the classroom. The theme of the Symposium was “Bioregional Herbalism.” It focused on herbalism around the world with a strong emphasis on using herbs in your region to support plant sustainability while reducing harmful effects on the environment.

Classrooms were full of unique, alternative, dedicated, sincere naturalists and herbalists of all varieties. This type of crowd is usually easy to connect with and willing to accept others regardless of any apparent differences. I was thrilled to see that I had moved up a generation and that a new, younger generation wearing layered wool socks, laced boots, and flannel shirts were filling up the rooms, carrying on the traditions of natural medicine. Many of them were groupies of a Herbalist I had never heard of, Thomas Easly. I quickly came to recognize why he is so popular. I was fascinated by his knowledge, formulation and application methods, and his witty mind. I tried to soak up as many of his lectures as possible. I particularly enjoyed his address on integrative approaches to the structural system and pain management. I learned so much. I would highly recommend to anyone looking for an herbal education that they consider reading The Modern Herbal Dispensatory by Thomas Easly and Steven Horne or looking into Thomas Easly’s courses at The Eclectic School of Herbal Medicine. 

There were many other courses worth mentioning as well, such as one titled “Southern Folk Medicine” taught by Phyllis Light, a well-known pioneer in the industry. She told fascinating stories of her deep family roots in Traditional Southern and Appalachian Folk Medicine, the most widely recognized regional folk medicine in the US. Ann Armbrecht, director of the sustainable herbs project, raised awareness during her classes about herbal sustainability, the supply chain, and bioregional herbalism as a solution. My favorite course was presented by Kieth Robertson and Danny O’Rawe. They drew in quite the crowd with their charming accents and comical personalities. Until this course, I had not yet been exposed to Celtic herbalism and related energetic and medicinal approaches. The history behind the ancient Celtic tribes and Druids was captivating. But it was the way they broke down a very complex diagnostic system used in Celtic medicine known as the Five Elements that was the most enlightening. I left with a new passion and eagerness to know more. The course ended with a chorus of a traditional Europen folk song, “Be still and know that day and night, be still and know that dark and light are one holy circle. Be still and know that sun and rain, be still and know that joy and pain are one holy circle.” Upon completing my courses, I received a certificate in “Bioregional Materia Medica in Clinical Practice.”

Visit www.americanherbalistsguild.com for more information about the annual Symposium, the Herbalist Guild, product recommendations, educational opportunities, industry news, or to locate a registered herbalist near you.



 


Jun 5, 2020

Stick and String Trellises

by Nichole, Magical Marketing Millenial

There are lots of simple and easy ways to make your own trellises for relatively no or very low cost. These all involve some sort of string (twine, rope, wire, etc.), and what I will fondly call “sticks,” which are branches, twigs, leftover wood, wire mesh, and even things like unused PVC pipe from a project. Keep in mind that you can use any materials you have available that would work to make these trellises (modify away!).

Classic String or “Cat’s Cradle” Trellis - All you really do here is securely stake at least two sticks into the ground over the distance needed for your plant or crop, then run your string between them, weaving it around and back, so there is twine on both sides of the plant. As the plant grows, you add more cord higher up the stakes. Super simple. Super easy. 

Tent or Teepee Trellis - You need at least three sticks for this, string, and some stakes. It’s just like it sounds. You lean each stick into each other and form a cone, securing them together with string. For extra support, you will want to secure each stick into the ground with a stake and more string. 

T-Post String Trellis - This is a vertical string trellis from a bar attached to two very secured stakes. Same idea as the Classic String Trellis, but you have a stick that sits parallel to the ground on the top. From here you draw string from the base, or ground level, of one stake to another. You then add string vertically from the top bar to the ground, attaching the vertical strings to the ground level one. This is great for plants that grow tall. 

Upside-Down “V” Trellis - This one is done best with tall thin sticks, like bamboo or branches, but can be done with whatever you have available. You’ll also need some wooden stakes or the like. Using sticks fairly equal in length, form upside down “V”s and secure together. Run a horizontal stick along and through the tops of the “V”s, securing it with more string. At the bottom of each stick, attach a short wooden stake with string to anchor them to the ground. From here you’ll run the vertical string down from the top pole that sits center over each plant and tie it loosely to the stem, which is to be gently wrapped around the plant for support as it continues to grow. 

Diagonal String Trellis  - This is for shorter, easier-to-reach gardening. Here you run a pole between two sticks, securing it with string, just like with the T-Post or “V” trellis (your choice on method). Once you’ve done that you gather some wooden stakes and secure them tightly into the ground, parallel to the pole stick, at least two feet out (the more horizontal you want it the further out you place your stakes; this would also vary based on plant growth size). You then run a string from the center pole to the stakes, over your existing plants, or where you plan to plant. As your plants grow, you can tie or clip them to the string.

What do you do in your garden? Share with us on Facebook or Instagram!


Jun 5, 2020

2020 June Organtics

by RidgeCrest Herbals


May 8, 2020

Happy Mother's Day to the Women Who Make RidgeCrest Herbals a Success!

by Aspen, Herbal Authoress

As Mother’s Day is this week, I thought I would take a moment to express gratitude for all the women at RidgeCrest Herbals. 

  • Brittini, Herbal Gaia: Brittini was the first person I told I was pregnant at RidgeCrest Herbals, on my second day of work. Since then she has become one of my best friends. She can call me out with love and help me see where I’m letting myself being taken advantage of. I’ve seen her take in struggling children, I’ve seen her struggle herself, but she always shows kindness to others. She goes out of her way to make everyone feel loved and accepted, and she is someone I truly admire.

  • Melissa, Office Manager: Melissa is one of the most competent people I know. She has an eye for the ridiculous in every day. She works every day to contribute and keep her family going, both at home and for the RidgeCrest Family, and both would be lost without her. She owns who she is and doesn’t change for other people, and it is an example and a reminder to me every day of living your life in self-acceptance. 

  • Nichole, Magical Marketing Millennial: Nichole is one of the coolest people I know. She is smart, competent, driven, and is constantly going. The amount that she handles at RidgeCrest is above and beyond, seriously. It’s insane. I love when her kids come into the office and can see how she is both loving and clearly enjoys them, while also not taking any crap from them. She is a caregiver to everyone at home and at work, and smoothes over the little conflicts that come up with admirable tact. She makes you feel appreciated, and she is appreciated in turn. 

  • Shae, Service and Social Media Goddess: Shae has a thirst for learning and exploring the world around her that is second to none. She is full to the brim with ideas, projects, crafts, and ways to improve herself all the time. The things she can find to create adorable graphics, recipes, and articles always blow my mind with their creativity. She is always friendly and sweet, both to the customers who call in and to everyone on the team. Sometimes she brings in baked goods or spearheads baking challenges, and her efforts really enhance the sense of community in the office. She is one of the most reliable people I know. 

  • Meagan, Customer Service Mermaid: Meagan is another extremely competent person in the office (it’s kinda great how many competent women we have). She has a refreshingly direct personality, the kind where you don’t have to test it to know she wouldn’t take any crap from you, and I love that about her. Since I have known her I have seen her take on new challenges in many aspects of her life, and you can almost see her brain calculating all the factors and needs and consequences of what she is taking on. She is someone you would want on your side in a zombie apocalypse, both because she would keep you alive and also because she would make it a whole lot of fun. 

  • Abbie, Graphics Goddess: Abbie is honestly one of my favorite people on the planet. She reminds me a little of Parks and Rec when Ann Perkins tries to throw a Halloween party - but Ann Perkins isn’t really a fun person, so the party is lame. Then Tom comes in and the party goes nuts - that is Abbie. She sparkles in a room full of people and can make everyone laugh. Things can go from awkward and stunted to energized and  comfortable just by her being there. She is someone you can go to for advice and commiseration on anything from frustrations at work, pregnancy, or even how to clean a mattress.

  • Corina, Customer Service Octopus: Corina is someone who makes you feel welcome. If you get a funny text message, you feel like you can lean over and tell her about it. She is a great person to share the little things about your day-to-day life with, because you feel like she listens and finds you interesting. For a single mom like myself who doesn’t always have someone to talk to that means a lot. Corina shows so much love for her family in the stories she tells, you can tell that she cares a lot about the people in her life, and goes the extra mile to take care of them. She is always smiling, and just makes you feel good. 

The women at RidgeCrest Herbals really keep things going, both at the company and in their families. I find a ton to admire in each and every one of them, and I genuinely have love in my heart for every single person I have the privilege of working with. 

So Happy Mother’s Day from RidgeCrest Herbals! Be sure to tell the women in your life what you admire about them!


May 8, 2020

May 2020 Knick 'Nacs Shepards Tone

by Will, Ginger-Beard of Power

Have you ever heard of the auditory illusion called a Shepard's tone? You may not know its name, but you have definitely heard one. A Shepard's tone is an audio illusion formed by overlaying separate tones separated by octaves that each rise/fall and repeat independently of one another.  The sound seems to get higher or lower, but never really does. Google it for an example. 

Named after Robert Shepard, this auditory trick is used to build suspense. Think of a moment in a horror movie when someone is terrified, panting, waiting for the attack of the monster. The suspense builds. And builds. And builds. This ability to continually increase that sense of tension would not be possible without the use of Shepard's tones. 

The tone can also be used in other ways. In The Dark Knight, the Shepard's Tone was used for the Batpod to create the illusion that the motorcycle was continuously accelerating without the interruption of shifting. It is also often used in House music to create suspense before the beat drops. In SuperMario 6, it is used in an “endless” staircase to make you think you are continuously going upward when in reality you are blocked halfway up the stairs and not moving at all. You don’t figure it out until you try to turn around and go back down. 

The most interesting part about the Shepard's tone is the effect it can have on you emotionally. That buildup of suspense can pull your mind upward, create a sense of dread, increase your heart rate, and create actual physical stress. All this from an illusionary sound. For me, knowing about this has changed how I let things influence my emotions. 




 


May 8, 2020

Mycelium in the Garden

by Shae, Customer Service and Social Media Goddess

When I first started gardening after I bought my first house, I noticed a white residue in some wood chips I had put down in some of my flower beds. Little did I know, that white residue is just what my garden needed! It was a magical little thing called mycelium.

Mycelium is a white, spiderweb-like structure, a network of cells that is the vegetative part of the fungus that lives within and throughout almost all landmasses on earth. The neurological network of nature. According to the book Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save The World, by mushroom Expert Paul Stamets,  “More than 8 miles of cells can be found in one cubic inch of soil.” All ecosystems and agriculture depend on mycelium to support the health and resilience of vegetation. It is more similar to the animal kingdom than the plant kingdom, as it does not produce its own food and depends on plants for nutrients.

The benefits of mycelium are countless! It helps to keep a solid structure in soil, reducing erosion. It helps create new, fertile, and nutrient-dense soil. It removes industrial toxins from the soil, which includes pesticides, chlorine, dioxin (a highly toxic environmental pollutant) as well as PCB’s (highly toxic industrial compounds). It even helps trees become more drought-resistant and cleanses groundwater of contaminants and pollutants!

In the garden, mycelium helps to increase nutrients available to plants, improve water efficiency, reduce erosion by acting as a cellular net, and promote root growth by adding oxygen to the soil and releasing nitrogen, phosphate, and other micronutrients. It also helps to protect plants against pathogens by competing with pathogenic fungi and bacteria and encouraging beneficial bacteria growth.

90% of plants have a mutually beneficial relationship with fungi/mycelium. Mycelium is like an underground communication system linking roots of plants to share nutrients, water information, boosting immune function, and even sabotaging unwelcome plants by spreading toxic chemicals. Ren Sen Zeng of South China Agricultural University in Guangzhou conducted a study that found that when plants are attached to harmful fungi, they release a chemical signal into the mycelia that warn their neighbors.

There are three main types of fungi/mycelium:

Mycorrhizae: Most cultivated plants grow best with this as mycelium receives nutrients from living plants in a mutually beneficial relationship. The fungus attaches to the root of the plant, which photosynthesizes the sun's energy, turns it into sugar, and provides carbohydrates for the mycelium. Common species: Chanterelle, boletes & morel.

Saprophytic: This type makes up the majority of edible and medicinal fungi. Saprophytic fungi absorb nutrients from dead organic matter. Typically it grows out of fallen logs and piles of leaves, breaking down matter and turning it into nutrient-rich soil. Without this process, forest floors would become an accumulated pile of fallen debris over time. Common species: shiitake, turkey tail, oyster, reishi & lions mane.

Parasitic: these feed off of a living organism. Although they are harmful to their host, they are indirectly beneficial to other species & the ecosystem by creating dead organic matter that is required for others to survive. Parasitic fungi are the main cause of tree die-off, killing older trees and, in doing so, provide benefits to a forest's success by making way for new growth. Common species: cordyceps, aspen bracket.

How to encourage growth in your garden:

  • Buy a plug spawn* cultivation for logs or stumps.†

  • Build a bed by layering wet cardboard, spawn, chips, and spawn about 3 inches deep. Repeat until the bed is 8-10 inches deep and cover with a layer of leaves or straw. Water generously. Check each week for growth. Once growth forms, water once a week until fruiting occurs, usually 4-6 months, generally in the summer or late fall. Cover with chicken wire to keep pets and chickens/turkeys out. The garden giant mushroom is a good variety for this.

  • Woodchips & straw work as a great substrate for growing mycelium. Get spawn and break it up, spreading sparingly throughout the wood chips or straw and then water. You should see a fully producing mycelium bed in 9-12 months. Winter is the best time to start this and it works well between vegetable rows and around fruit trees.

  • Transplant native spawn from a local forest. Research the best steps for this, being careful not to disrupt the ecosystem or bring back anything poisonous.

Mycelium represents rebirth, rejuvenation, and regeneration. Fungi generate soil, that gives life. The task that we face today is to understand the language of nature.” ~ Paul Stamets.

*Spawn is any substance that has been inoculated with mycelium.

best for hardwoods- alder, oak, maple, avoid softwoods- fir, cedar


May 8, 2020

5 Easy-to-Identify Mushrooms

by Nichole, Magical Marketing Millenial

First things first--before you start out on your journey to find wild edible mushrooms: purchase a mushroom identification guidebook. Mushrooms can look very similar and mistaking a mushroom for its poisonous counterpart could prove deadly. Please remember to never eat any mushroom if you’re not entirely sure what it is. All that said, these next five mushrooms should prove relatively easy to identify, primarily because most of them don’t have regular gills. 


Oyster Mushrooms: This is one of the ones that have gills - decurrent white gills to be precise. Decurrent means the gills are attached to and run directly down the stem. These almost always grow on dead wood such as trees, stumps, and logs. If they are not growing on wood - do not trust them. The cap is an oyster or fan shape that grows in a shelf-like formation with overlapping clusters. It is smooth with no warts or scales and has a delicate, anise-like aroma to it. Sometimes it has a stem. It comes in multiple colors but is mostly white to light brown with firm white flesh. They generally like cooler weather, and are very tasty! You’ll find them typically in the spring or fall growing on hardwoods and the occasional conifer. 


Morel Mushrooms: The two most important features to examine when trying to identify a morel mushroom are the cap shape and whether the interior is hollow. Morels have a pitted and deeply ridged, honeycomb-like cap. Most morels will be attached to the stem, they aren’t free as with other mushrooms. They like to hang around trees, particularly ash, elm, and apple trees. They are spring mushrooms and do need to be cooked before eating. Beware of the look-alike false morel: it is not hollow on the inside. 


King Bolete Mushrooms: Also known as Porcini mushrooms, there are several tasty varieties. They typically show up in the summer or fall around oak trees. They do not like acidic soil. Boletes do not have gills under their cap but have a yellow or brownish spongy surface of pores. The cap looks like a slightly greasy bun, with the color ranging from yellow-brown to reddish-brown. The stem is usually quite thick, club-shaped, solid, and white. When cut, the flesh should remain white. There are only a few toxic varieties of this mushroom, which turn blue when cut or bruised. These poisonous varieties also have a spongy surface of pores that are red in color. Careful: worms and maggots like to take up residence in these mushrooms. Make sure to give them a good inspection before throwing them into the skillet. 


Lobster Mushrooms: These aren’t actually a mushroom, though they are often mistaken for one! They are a fungus that grows on certain species of mushrooms, engulfing its host, called Sac fungi. Lobster Mushrooms have a hard red-to-orange exterior and a white interior, like (surprise) a lobster. They are typically found in old-growth forests from late summer to fall. The best part? There are no poisonous look-alikes of this variety!


Chanterelle Mushrooms: Being able to recognize false gills is the most critical skill for chanterelle identification. False gills appear as forked folds or interlaced wrinkles on the underside of the mushroom, are not easily removed, and look as though they may have “melted.” True gills can be picked off and separated. The cap is either convex or vase-shaped with a yellow to orange color. The stems are solid, about the same color as the cap, and the flesh is white. Chanterelles have a fruity aroma similar to apricots. These are typically found from mid-summer to early fall on the ground in a variety of hardwood forests after the first rainfall. The toxic look-alikes of this variety are easy to distinguish because they have true gills rather than blunt ridges.


Resources & References: www.mushroom-appreciation.com, www.mushroom.world, urbanmushrooms.com   


 


May 8, 2020

2020 May Window to Wanderlust

by Abbie, Graphics Goddess


Apr 24, 2020

A New Normal

by Nichole, Magical Marketing Millenial

I know, I know. All you hear about right now is COVID-19 this, Coronavirus that, statistics here, statistics there, but what about you? How are you doing? Taking a step back from the onslaught of information has been the best thing I've done during this crisis. Instead of listening to the news, or other pre-dominant media outlets, I turned to science and reputable information resources that don't tailor their news for views and sensationalism. And I check them maybe...once every couple of weeks. The reason? My sanity.

I'm a Mother of a blended family. I have two young students at home, two that I can't see due to social distancing, full-time school, full-time work (now at home), and a husband out of work (though, he's fortunate enough to still be paid until his company re-opens). I'm also more of an extrovert than I thought I was. This new normal hasn't been an easy adjustment. Frankly, it's rough, and I know it's not even as rough as it could be. I don't think it's been easy for any of us. And I want to validate that this struggle, these emotions, these hardships, these changes - they're all very real. You're doing your best, and that's enough. Did you read that? Hear it? Say it to yourself? I'll repeat it (one of my favorite phrases): 

YOU ARE DOING YOUR BEST, WITH THE KNOWLEDGE & SKILLS YOU HAVE, IN THE TIME THAT YOU'RE PRESENTLY IN.

It's okay to feel like you do. It's okay to not be a super-human. It's okay to sit and eat your emotions or not eat if it is all too much. It's okay to stress clean or leave your chores for a later day. It's okay to be grumpy or cry out of frustration. It's okay to crave human contact or love the isolation. It's okay to cry or be upset for no apparent reason. It's okay to miss your loved ones, your work, your quiet time, trips to the grocery store, playdates with friends, and a myriad of other things. Feeling angry? Irate? Tired? All the emotions? That's fine too.

Point is, stressing about the news is the last thing I think we need right now. What we need is to remain present, in the here and now, and work through the onslaught of changes while we find a new normal. And guess what? It's okay if you never do that either. You're not required to find a new normal. Adjusting where you are able to is enough. YOU are enough. And you are loved. And we'll all pull through this together. 

Here's a virtual glass-raise to all of us and the future of two-foot social distancing. 


Apr 22, 2020

2020 Spring Garden Guide

by RidgeCrest Herbals

Companion Planting:

Did you know that plants have best friends? The right combination of companion plants aid pest control, pollination, provide habitat for beneficial insects, maximize space, and increase productivity. The reverse is also true. A Native American technique called the three sisters encourages growing corn, beans, and squash together. Sunflowers are good companions to most crops (except pole beans and potatoes) as they provide shade, support, attract pollinators, and draw aphids away from more delicate plants.

Plant friends and foes:

Tomatoes:

Friend - basil, marigold, asparagus, carrots, celery, onion family, lettuce, parsley, spinach.

Foe - cabbage, beets, peas, fennel, dill, rosemary potatoes.

Peppers:

Friend - basil, onions, spinach, tomatoes.

Foe - beans.

Cucumbers:

Friend - marigolds, nasturtiums, beans, celery, corn, lettuce, dill, peas, radishes, sunflowers.

Foe - aromatic herbs such as sage.

Onions:

Friend - carrots, beets, cabbage, lettuce, parsnips, tomatoes, marjoram, savory, rosemary.

Foe - asparagus, beans, peas.

Lettuce:

Friend - mint, chives, garlic, beans, beets, broccoli, carrots, peas, radishes, marigolds.

Foe - parsley.

Zucchini/Summer Squash:

Friend - corn, beans, peas, radishes, dill, marigolds, sunflowers.

Foe - potatoes.

Carrots:

Friend - tomatoes, leeks, rosemary, sage, chives.

Foe - coriander, dill, parsnips.

The ideal time to plant-specific items in your garden depends on your particular planting zone and the individual plants. Most states have a university that has an extension service for home gardeners to find specialized information for your region. Check the seed packets for instructions on plant times. You can also buy soil thermometers or use a meat thermometer to measure the soil to ensure the soil is warm enough to plant. If all else fails, I follow a couple of simple rules. 1. If it is warm enough for weeds to start growing in the ground, it is warm enough to plant in the ground, and 2. I wait for Mother’s day to plant my containers, as there is little chance of frost and a high chance of someone buying me plants. 

Preparing the Space:

There is a debate on whether you should or should not till your earth before planting, but because constant gardening can deplete your soil nutrient content, adding leaf mulch can be a good boost. If you rake leaves in the fall, set aside a couple of bags over the winter that you occasionally turn to mix the contents inside. In the spring, empty the bag onto your soil and mix it in. Performing a soil pH test can also help you to know what to add to bring your soil to a beneficial range.  


How to Plant: 

If you've started seeds indoors in early spring or purchased starter plants at your local nursery, here are some great things to throw in the planting holes with them: A tablespoon or two of bone meal will give an excellent phosphorus boost, one cup of cut-up banana peels provide potassium, and one raw, cracked organic egg offers a calcium boost. Once these ingredients are in the hole, cover with 1/2 to 1 inch of soil, and add your plant. Create a well ring of soil around the plant about 6 inches out, and give the plant a proper watering - the well will keep the water where it counts, seeping into the roots. You can also cover the well soil with crushed eggshells to keep slugs and weeds down, as well as add calcium to your plant over time.


 

 

 

 


Apr 22, 2020

2020 April Organtics CBD

by RidgeCrest Herbals


Apr 22, 2020

2020 April Happy Homesteader Natural Soil Amendments

by Melissa, Office Manager

In 1870 Terra Preta was discovered in the Amazon Basin. It is also called Amazonian Black Soil and is incredibly rich. This amended soil made it possible for the ancient residents of the Amazon Basin to successfully grow crops in soil that was otherwise low nutrients. Scientists have disagreed if the local people intended to amend the soil or it was a side effect naturally occurring substances and the people living in the area. Either way the soil is incredibly rich and has remained fertile for thousands of years. The Terra Preta soil was made fertile by the addition of charcoal, bone, broken pottery, compost, and manure. 

If you want to be as successful as the ancient Amazonians in your garden you may want to find ways to amend your soil as well. Amending your soil is different from applying fertilizer. When you are applying soil amendments you are trying to change the condition of your soil to essentially make gardening easier. You will want to first identify what kind of soil you have. The main soil types found in gardens are Clay, Sandy, & Loam. If you don’t know what type of soil you have you can find simple tests to do online. 

Compost is the top thing recommended for soil improvement regardless of the type of soil you have. There are a variety of methods and plans you can choose from depending on the space you have available.  If you don’t have space to compost or you need more compost than you can make you can buy bags of compost at your garden center or you can purchase bulk through your municipality or check with local farms and stables to see if they have it as well. 

The first component of the Terra Preta Soil is Charcoal or BioChar. BioChar is an organic matter that is burned slowly, with a restricted flow of oxygen, and then the fire is stopped when the material reaches the charcoal stage. It increases the activity of Bacteria and fungi. You can find biochar in charred remains of wood or you can make your own if you prefer. Just be sure to leave out barbeque charcoal briquettes. 

To improve water retention and drainage you could either use Greensand or Expanded Shale. Both are naturally occurring substances that can help with both of those problems. 

One of the easiest amendments to make leaf mold. It will help your soil retain moisture as well as improving soil structure and providing an excellent habitat for earthworms and beneficial bacteria. 

Your plants will thank you for the soil amendments and improvements that you do. Who knows thousands of years from now scientist may be debating how the incredibly fertile soil in your garden occurred.  


Apr 9, 2020

Day 72 of a Plant-Based Diet

by Aspen, Trainer of the Things

The world may be in chaos, but it is still important that we focus on treating ourselves well through healthful living, managing stress, and showing kindness to others. 

That’s why today I thought I would share a little bit of what it was like for me to give up meat and dairy products. 

For the record, I am not pushing anyone else to do so, and I am not judgmental of anyone. It is a great choice for your health, and for the environment, but I’m 37 and just starting, so I don’t have much of a high-horse to sit on. 

The first thing that stands out to me is that it was easier than I thought. As I was adjusting I ate a TON of bread and did plenty of exploring vegan junk food. For me, it was about minimizing any sense of loss or missing out. Also, this is a great time to be plant-based. I was able to get through a 4-course meal at The Melting Pot dairy-free (I was amazed) and I even did a trip to Disneyland and was able to indulge in some truly wonderful meals and treats without stepping out of my rules. It was amazing.

The second thing is that there is a lot of bad food out there still, even on a plant-based diet, and it took a little work to get myself on to a healthy diet. Potato chips, french fries, Oreos, Pop-tarts - I’ve been forgiving with myself, but it has taken a little while for my body to adjust to where those snacks and convenience foods don’t drive my diet. 
The third thing is the health results - I’ve had high blood pressure ever since my preeclampsia. Within 7 weeks of a plant-based diet, my blood pressure reached a normal range without medication for the first time in almost three years, which was a MAJOR victory for myself and my health, and really helped solidify my commitment. 

Another thing it’s important to know about my results is that I’ve been working with a nutritionist/personal trainer that works for the great State of Utah as part of the community outreach program, so it’s totally free for me to see her! She has me on a workout routine of High Impact Interval Training (HIIT) and incorporating specific protein intake after my workout, which I believe is making a great difference. They always say you have to combine diet and exercise for real results right? She has also been measuring my cholesterol and blood sugar levels, and those numbers have been showing consistent improvement - even if I have had a couple of days of pounding Oreos.
Beyond my blood pressure, I have lost 12.5 inches and 5 pounds, as I have been building muscle at the same time I have been losing fat. I think I pretty much look the same, and I’ve got a long way to go, but knowing my body is regulating itself better and that I am lowering my risk for all the health problems associated with obesity (even while still obese) is worth everything. Even in these dark times, taking time to treat our bodies well will make a great difference, however that works for you. 


Apr 9, 2020

What is Color Theory?

by Melissa, Office Manager

How do we see color?

           

I used to work in a building that redecorated the bathrooms. They chose a beautiful and modern tile, and all of the fixtures were brand new, and the walls were painted green. Every time I would go in there, I would feel like I was sick. What made me feel sick? The combination of the wall color and the fluorescent light bulbs gave my skin a greenish look when I looked in the mirror and made my reflection look sick. Everyone hated the color, and it was so bad that after a few months they were forced to repaint the bathrooms because the effect was so intense.

Our eyes and brains work together to translate how we see light and color. Light receptors in the eye transmit messages to our brain that then translates the signals into familiar sensations of color. So colors are not inherent in the objects that we see. Rather, the surface of the object reflects the wavelengths of a specific color and absorbs all of the others. Our eyes only see the reflected color. So a strawberry is reflecting the wavelengths of the color red and absorbing all of the others. Objects that reflect all of the colors read as white and those that absorb all of the colors read as black.

The photoreceptors in our eyes pick up three types of light, red, green, and blue.

We all know that ultraviolet light can give us sun damage and infrared lights are used to keep our fast food warm in restaurants, but what of the visible light spectrum? What do we know about them?

Red light was used in the 1990s in space to grow plants. It was found to increase the growth and photosynthesis in the plant cells and has been tested to see if it would increase the energy in human cells as well. There have been some trials to use red light therapy to help with different skin conditions by dermatologists and in some high-end spas.

Green light is reflected in plants, suggesting that the leaves reflect green light and absorb the blue and red lights. However, there are some initial trials in the study of green light therapy to assist in the body's release of natural painkillers and could potentially help with some cases of chronic pain.

Blue light consists of high energy, short-wavelength light, and it is everywhere. The biggest source of blue light we experience is from sunlight. In fact, it is what makes the sky blue. It is also in fluorescent and LED lighting as well as flat-screen TVs, computer monitors and other electronic devices. Our eyes are not very effective in blocking blue lights, and blue light exposure is suspected to increase our rates of macular degeneration, which can lead to vision loss.

Color can impact us in other ways, as well. It is believed that 90% of snap decisions on products is based on color alone. A marketer will look at colors to establish a brand’s personality and individual product’s color appropriateness when formulating a market strategy.

Like marketers, artists and designers use the concept of color interaction to evoke feelings in various situations. Color can be an important communication tool. It can be a call to action, influence moods, and trigger your physiological responses. Perceptions of color are not necessarily universal because personal preference and experience can impact this, but generally warm colors on the red end of the spectrum create feelings of warmth, anger, power, and hostility while colors closer to the blue end of the spectrum can be calming, creating feelings of peace, trust, and even sadness and indifference.

We make selections based off of colors every day, from what paint color we select to what kind of car we want to drive. The way we choose to use color around us can evoke specific emotions, so when you are picking a color for your wall, or how to decorate your home, your garden, or your office, be sure to think about what sort of feeling you want when you are there. Color is what can make that happen.

 


Apr 9, 2020

April Knick 'Nacks 2020 Hy Brasil

by Aspen, Trainer of the Things

In Irish mythology, there is an island cloaked in the mist that only appears once every seven years. Called Hy Brasil, it is believed the name derives not from the South American country, but from a clan of prominent Irishmen called Breasail, though this is unconfirmed. Tales range from it being the home of an advanced technological civilization to the home of the Irish gods.

But is it a myth, or did it really exist? It appears on several maps in the middle ages, including one in 1325, a portolan chart (an early nautical map, these were noted for their accuracy) by a noted Italian-Catalonian cartographer, Angelino Dulcert. It appeared on many maps as a circular island with a straight running through the center southwest of Galway Bay until the Victorian era.

Expeditions were mounted in 1480 and 1481 to find the island, but the only record we have of any potential success is a mention in 1497 by a Spanish diplomat that another area discovered by John Cabot had been “discovered in the past by the men from Bristol who found Brasil.”

Captain John Nisbet believed he found the island in 1674 and told a story of it being the home of a magician in a stone castle surrounded by large black rabbits, but that tale relates closely to a story by author Richard Head. Despite this fantastical story, the following expedition led by Captain Alexandar Johnson claimed to have found the island as well, and there are several other documented trips.

In the end, though, is it possible that the island of Hy Brasil, though fantastical in tale (it even makes an appearance in the Rendelsham Forest UFO incident), has a mundane explanation? It may be the Atlantis of the north, but our modern inability to verify it’s authenticity may be simply a case of climate change. Tales of Hy Brasil date from the end of the last ice age, when ocean levels were considerably lower than they are today. One map places Hy Brasil squarely where a modern shoal, Porcupine Bank, was “discovered” in 1862 two hundred miles off the coast of Ireland. Could Brasil simply be mostly underwater in our modern day?


Apr 9, 2020

April Window to Wanderlust 2020

by Abbie, Graphics Goddess

Castle Valley, Utah


Mar 27, 2020

10 Tips From an Introvert For Surviving Self-Quarantine

by Aspen, Trainer of the Things

This is a stressful time for everyone, and things are only going to get worse before they get better. As an introvert, a single mom, and a millennial recovering from a divorce, in many ways I have been self-quarantining for some time now. Practicing social distancing and staying at home come naturally to me, and compared to when I was on bed rest during my pregnancy being restricted to my house doesn’t really feel that restrictive. So I thought I’d share my long-practiced techniques for living a good life while avoiding other humans for those of you out there that may find it more of a shock:

  1. Establish routines: It may be a new form of torture for you to have to stay in your home and have every day feel the same. Establishing a routine for your day will help it go by more quickly. 

  2. Break up your routine: Now do the exact opposite! Find ways to mix things up, especially if you have kids. You can still go for a walk in your neighborhood or a hike. You can still get in your car and go for a drive somewhere new and listen to music to get out of the house.

  3. Exercise: Find ways to exercise in your home and get movement in, and incorporate it into your routine. It will help you feel better, increase endorphins, and stave off depression.

  4. Take care of yourself: This may feel like the perfect time to binge TV and eat junk food, but that will leave you feeling depressed and overwhelmed. Do good things for yourself - eat healthy, try a new recipe, get adequate sleep and sun, meditate, etc. 

  5. Be productive: Try a new recipe, bake something, work on a hobby, read that book you’ve always wanted to, deep clean one thing a day, do anything that engages your mind and makes you feel like you are accomplishing something. Create activity and movement for yourself, it will help pass the time and serve as a healthy distraction.

  6. Online Ordering is your best friend: You can do almost all your grocery shopping online and have it delivered or pick it up at the store. I’ve been ordering almost everything I need online for years, from couches and beds to groceries and shampoo! 

  7. Keep social media healthy: If you use social media to keep in touch with friends or keep up with the news, keep things positive. If the news starts to become too depressing, don’t dwell on it to the detriment of your mental health. Keep in touch with your friends using GChat, Zoom, Signal, Facetime, Marco Polo, Facebook Messenger - I also hear you can just call them! There has never been a better time to stay connected while staying apart. 

  8. Find ways to serve: Tip your delivery people well, if you sew you can make face masks, donate to good causes that are helping people through this - there are lots of ways you can still help from the comfort of your own home. 

  9. Be kind to yourself and your kids about screen time: If you are working from home, THROW OUT SCREEN TIME RULES. I have a strict 1-hour limit for my toddler normally, but if I’m going to get any work done that means Cars twice a day and two hours of Brain Candy TV or Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. It’s completely depressing how clean the playroom is staying as he just watches TV, but it’s temporary and necessary. He’ll be fine.

  10. Be kind to yourself in general: Maybe you feel like crumbling to the floor and literally all you can do to make it through is binge The Mandelorian, and that’s OK! After the 5.7 earthquake last week in Utah I did absolutely nothing for seven hours - I was too worked up. But I gave myself that time, I focused on healing, and tried to be better the next day. So forgive yourself, make whatever effort you can, and take care of yourself. 

Remember, the greatest service you can do for our country right now is to just STAY HOME as much as possible. If you are a medical professional or a grocery store worker or someone that has to go to work, THANK YOU for keeping things going for the rest of us. Your sacrifice is appreciated, and in exchange, it is the duty of those of us who can stay home to do so to help protect you. We are all in this together. The powerful, wonderful American ideals of individual freedom and self-determination need to be balanced with What We Owe Each Other, and right now, we owe it to each other to take this seriously and sacrifice for others. 


Mar 27, 2020

Get to Know the EndoCannabinoid System

by Nichole, Magical Marketing Millenial

The Endocannabinoid System

The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) exists in every living vertebrate. It is incredibly old - according to scientists, it evolved over 500 million years ago. It’s built into our very existence and is crucial to our well-being. The word translates as “cannabis-like substances that naturally occur inside us,” and it was named as such after the plant that led to the discovery of its vast complexities and potentials.

The ECS is made up of three parts: endocannabinoids, nervous system receptor sites, and enzymes. It is essential for homeostasis, your body’s ability to maintain biological harmony in response to changes in the environment. When something isn’t quite right, your body activates the ECS to help correct it. For instance, if you’re too hot, the ECS is the foundation for activating the bodily functions that will help cool you down. If you’re hungry, the ECS helps remind you that you need to eat.

It does all this using the cannabinoid receptors that are found in the body - the endocannabinoids. Often these are confused with phytocannabinoids, the plant substances that stimulate cannabinoid receptors, such as cannabinol (CBN), cannabidiol (CBD), or tetrahydrocannabinol (THC; a psychoactive compound). Keep in mind that those are external to the human body, and what we are discussing is the receptors those phytocannabinoids bind to in the body. There are at least two known types of receptors (science thinks there are more):

CB1 - these are found primarily in the central nervous system, so the brain and nerves of the spinal cord.

CB2 - these are found in the peripheral nervous system, such as the skin, immune cells, bone, fat tissue, liver, pancreas, skeletal muscles, heart, blood vessels, kidneys, and the digestive system.

Through these receptors, the ECS helps to regulate bodily functions such as appetite, digestion, immune function, inflammation, mood, sleep, reproductive health, motor control, temperature, memory, pain, and pleasure or reward responses. It does this with uncanny precision, unaltering one system while it works on bringing the other back to homeostasis. Because of this, and their ability to stimulate the ECS, cannabis products are being heavily researched as potential treatment options for numerous concerns. The amount of research so far is quite astounding. Pubmed.gov, a free database of references and abstracts on life sciences and biomedical research, alone has 20,000 results for the word “cannabis” and 25,237 results for the word “cannabinoid.” That’s a lot of scientific data, and the exploration, especially in the U.S., is just beginning.

We know from the scientific literature that a properly functioning cannabinoid system is essential for health, but can taking supplemental cannabis improve the ECS?

It looks promising. Research is demonstrating that even small doses of cannabinoids from the cannabis family can tell the body to make more of its own endocannabinoids and to increase the number of cannabinoid receptors. This is sometimes why those who try it out for the first time don’t immediately notice a difference, but by the second or third try, using a supplemental cannabinoid, their body has built more receptor sites. More receptors sites increase sensitivity to cannabinoids, making small doses more productive and more healing.

Fascinatingly, people can also suffer from endocannabinoid deficiency, called CECD, which has been linked to Fibromyalgia, migraines, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), among others. These are sometimes called “functional conditions” and tend to be resistant to most conventional medical treatments because they typically involve more than one system in the body, which is why researchers are using experimenting with cannabinoids as an option.

We also know that phytocannabinoids are beneficial for anxiety, inflammation, pain, nerve pain, nausea, vomiting, cancer, tumors, appetite, glaucoma, PTSD, weight loss, IBS, and as a muscle relaxer - and that is just scratching the surface.

In case there is any confusion, it is worth reminding that cannabis does not always mean marijuana. It is an unfortunate, prevalent, misconception. Cannabis is part of an order of plants (Urticales) that include industrial hemp, mulberry, elm, nettle, and hops. Cannabimimetics, or components of plants that engage the ECS, even come from plants outside of the Cannabaceae family and can have equivalent effects on the ECS. This includes, but is not limited to, echinacea, rosemary, black pepper, lavender, clove, cinnamon, cacao, truffles, kava, maca, holy basil, helichrysum, and even Omega-3’s (these engage the CB2 receptors of the ECS).

All in all, it’s worth some time, if you have it, to investigate the ECS and explore the benefits of cannabinoids in regards to health. You may find it can significantly improve yours.

 

Resources:

 

https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/qa/what-are-the-medical-benefits-of-cannabinoids

https://www.coloradopotguide.com/colorado-marijuana-blog/2015/march/31/the-positive-effects-of-cannabinoids/

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/medical-marijuana-2018011513085

https://www.royalqueenseeds.com/blog-plants-other-than-cannabis-that-produce-cannabinoids-n714

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2931553/

https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/endocannabinoid-system

https://norml.org/library/item/introduction-to-the-endocannabinoid-system

https://www.verywellhealth.com/what-is-the-endocannabinoid-system-4171855


Mar 27, 2020

March 2020 Happy Homesteader How to Clean a Mattress

by Abbie, Graphics Goddess

Have you had your mattress for awhile? If we spend ⅓ of our life in bed, not only is it important to buy the right mattress, but it’s important to keep it clean, as well. You spent a lot of money on that thing, and you want it to last as long as possible. So if you’ve had that rectangular piece of heaven for a while, it may be time to give it a good cleaning to remove the dirt, sweat, tears, and...let’s leave it at “other things” that may be lurking in the fibers. This recipe will have your mattress gleaming like new:

  • 2 cups 3% hydrogen peroxide
  • 6 drops of liquid dish soap, free of any colorant
  • 6 drops of your favorite essential oil, mine is tea tree
  • 5 TBSP of baking soda

Shake up all ingredients in a good industrial spray bottle, then spray the solution onto the whole mattress, then scrub in well with a brush.  Afterward, dust with another coat of baking soda and let sit overnight.

Once the mattress is dry, vacuum up the whole mattress top and then go over it with the steam mop. It will be looking like new in no time!


Mar 17, 2020

RidgeCrest Herbals Covid-19 Response

by RidgeCrest Herbals

Here’s a wellness mantra that our team is using to help uplift spirits and promote positivity during this time:
We, together, will do all we can to remain healthy and help others to do the same. We will persevere and work together as a community for the greater good. Our country and world will recover. My body is strong and resilient. I am healthy in my mind. I will be compassionate, kind, and demonstrate excellence. 

This is a crazy, amazing time in our country and our planet. The Covid-19 pandemic is bringing out the best and the worst, and many, many people are doing everything they can to protect everyone around them, even if they feel they themselves are not at real risk. 

We want to assure everyone that RidgeCrest Herbals is taking steps to protect our employees and customers, along with so many others. Some of the steps we are taking include:

  • Working from home: Emergency preparedness has long been a focus of our CEO, and the company has smoothly transitioned to working remotely, including our customer service team. Almost everyone except our shipping department is currently working from home, and the silly e-mails and company inside-jokes are flying back and forth.

  • Extra sanitization protocols: We already have strict sanitization protocols in place to protect the integrity of our products, and we are ramping up our sanitizing around the office to keep our staff areas clean.

  • Sick policy: No one at RidgeCrest Herbals has yet begun to feel ill or been exposed to a known case of Covid-19. All our full- and part-time employees have always enjoyed a generous number of sick days, and thankfully, anyone who may begin to feel ill has plenty of paid sick leave they can use. This time in our country is strongly emphasizing the importance of, and need for, strong corporate policies regarding sick leave as a method of consumer protection. 

We have also received questions regarding the safety of our products themselves. The following is from our CEO, Matt Warnock:

People are asking whether our products are safe from Coronavirus. We have every reason to believe they are. These reasons include: 

  • Our products are all manufactured and packaged in the USA, in FDA approved cGMP certified facilities, under sanitary conditions. 

  • There have been ZERO reported cases of Covid-19 infection from taking a consumer product internally. Unless an infected person touches your bottles or pills inside your own home, this is just NOT a likely way of getting infected.

  • Like any other virus, Covid19 needs human or animal tissue to survive and reproduce. The virus spreads by air or direct contact and usually survives only 2-3 days on surfaces. Our products are manufactured many weeks or months before they are shipped.

  • Wuhan, the original epicenter of the epidemic, is a manufacturing and transport center in Central China. Chinese herbs come from agricultural regions, and especially Bozhou, the herbal medicine capital of China. Bozhou is about 300 miles northeast of Wuhan.

  • Infection from a door handle or shopping cart is much more likely than infection from an herbal product. If in doubt, don’t touch any public surface until you sanitize it. Wearing gloves or a mask can help, not least just by reminding you not to touch your face after touching other surfaces. We’re all human, and it’s hard to remember.

  • Make sure your immune system is in top shape. Get plenty of sleep, eat well, don’t stress, and fortify your system with adaptogenic herbs. And smile, or better yet laugh, for heaven’s sake—it boosts immunity and makes life a lot more fun! 

If you have any further questions, please feel free to call us at 800-242-4649. Our customer service team is standing by, albeit probably in their pajamas. But they’re really cute pajamas! 


Mar 17, 2020

Will's Guide to Growing Potatoes

by Will, Ginger-Beard of Power

The idea of growing your own potatoes may seem counterintuitive at first. After all, they are so affordable to buy! That is true, but until you branch out and begin exploring the wide, wonderful world of potatoes, you may not know that there are so many delicious varieties that you won't find in the grocery store. So knowing how to grow your own potatoes can vastly expand your potato-gastronomy experience. 

The first step is to pick your own exciting variety to grow. Look online or at your local nursery. Grocery store potatoes have been radiated, so they won't work. There are three main growing types: Early, second early, or crop potatoes. Early potatoes are great in salads or with fresh mint or other herbs from your garden. These are sweeter but don't store as well as later varieties. Second early potatoes come in about two weeks later. They are a little larger. The crop potatoes are your late-summer potatoes that will last well into the winter when harvested and stored right, so you can continue to enjoy the fruits of your labor well into the winter as your garden sleeps.  

Keep in mind, this is a general guide, and you will need to adjust your planting, and care will vary depending on your soil and planting zone. There are more and more options these days - you can grow potatoes in a container, in-ground in piles, and there are even bags now that have easy-harvest abilities. If you're limited on space, you can start in-ground and add boards to support hilling soil to grow vertically. However, if you want an abundant supply, rows are the best option.

You can start your crop when the soil begins to warm. Follow the guidelines provided by the seed potato provider. Keep your starts cool and dry and in open space with room to let air move around each one. After they start to grow little white/green bumps, they are ready to go. If you have large seed potatoes, you can cut them into parts. Make sure and have at least two eyes per cut piece and let the cut edge dry. Store in a cool, dark place for 24 hours before you put them in the ground.  Place them in your row 18 inches apart. Cover loosely with aged compost and soil. Give it a proper watering, and you are up and running! Now care for your plants and watch for them to grow. When you see the green growth coming up from the ground, you need to stay diligent and be ready to top off the mounds or rows. Have good soil and aged compost at the ready. When you have 6-inch greens, gently mound up your soil right onto the greens. They will continue to grow, and you can repeat this to increase your crop as long as the type of potato and your growing climate will allow. 

Now the most fun part of the season: harvesting and eating! For the firsts and second firsts, you will want to start harvesting them two months or so from planting, but watch for your plant to tell you when it is ready. When you see one flower, it's time to harvest that individual plant. This is not time to collect all the plants, watch for each one to tell you. On a dry day soon after they flower, loosen the soil around the area with a fork to release. Cut the tubers away from the plant and let air dry. Anything you cut through the skin needs to go into the "eat now" pile. It will not store well. Put the rest on some dry newspaper and keep in a dark, dry place. 

The process is the same for your main crop potatoes, but they should be closer to the end of the season, and you may see the flowering and green tops die off at the same time. This is fine as long as your soil is not staying wet for many days. 

I really encourage you to try and grow a crop, even a tiny bag on your patio. Homegrown is sweeter in so many ways. And don't give up if you fail, try again!


Mar 17, 2020

March Knick 'Nac 2020 Tayos Cave

by Abbie, Graphics Goddess


The Cueva de Los Tayos, or Tayos Cave, is a vast and little-explored underground cave system in the Ecuadorian jungle, located in territory belonging to the Shuar people, an indigenous Amazonian tribe.  The caverns first gained worldwide notoriety in Erich von Däniken's 1973 book, Gold of the Gods, where he claimed that Hungarian explorer Juan Moricz discovered gold, unusual sculptures, and a library of metal tablets within the caves.  More intrigue formed when a Catholic priest living in the nearby village of Cuenca was given multiple golden artifacts from the Shuar as a gesture of thanks through the 1960s. Father Carlos Crespi Croci said that said the items brought to him, which contained strange symbols and an unknown written language, had been found in subterranean tunnels in the jungles of Ecuador.  

Explorer Richard Wingate, who examined pieces in Father Crespi's collection, said that the artifacts were identified as Assyrian, Egyptian, Chinese and African.  How could an indigenous tribe in the jungles of South America possess such pieces, and how long had they had them? And if the rumors of a metallic-bound library of books are true, could there be a written language and record of the Amazonian tribes that has not yet been discovered by modern man?  Even more mysterious, Father Crespi's collection completely disappeared after he passed away in 1982. There are rumors that the collection was shipped off to the Vatican, or that the Shuar actually took the pieces back. There have been expeditions into the cave over the years, the most famous being in 1976, which was led by Stan Hall, and included British and Ecuadorian military personnel, expert cavers, as well as Neil Armstrong.  

While some pottery and other small artifacts have been recovered, nothing thus far has matched the stories of Von Däniken, or pictures of Father Crespi's collection.  However, a man in a 1990 expedition overheard one of their Shuar guides saying to another, "I hope that whites have not visited the forbidden zone" upon their exit. Could it be that the tribe is purposely keeping certain caverns a secret from outsiders to protect this vast collection of history and artifacts?



 


Mar 17, 2020

March Window to Wanderlust 2020

by Abbie, Graphics Goddess

Waves on The Oregon Coast


Feb 21, 2020

Creating Happiness Rocks

by Corina, Customer Service Octopus

I recently started a new hobby! Painting and leaving rocks for people to find. It gives me so much joy to see the look on people's faces when I get to see it. Here in Utah, there is a Facebook group you can join and it highlights both the rocks that we paint and the people that find them. I started with mandalas. For those of you that don't know mandalas are paintings with dots. Just dots. I have done about ten of them and they are so fun and it is easy to get started. I went on Amazon and looked up mandala painting tools and I was on my way. Youtube is also a great place to learn about how to go about painting your first rocks. Find a paint that works for you and some cheap brushes, you will be good to go and paint some rocks! Leave them anywhere and know that you are bringing a smile to someone's face. I hope you find this new hobby or idea of a hobby fun and I hope it brings a smile to your face. Thank you for spending some time reading and have a great day.


Feb 21, 2020

Different Types of Medicine

by Aspen, Trainer of the Things

At RidgeCrest Herbals, we take an eclectic approach, using ancient herbal knowledge from around the world. Like wine, certain global regions and ecosystems are necessary for the cultivation of the most effective herbs, so why limit ourselves to one school of thought? 

Ancient herbalists didn’t have the ability to put herbs under a microscope and say, “well turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties because the curcumin blocks cytokines and enzymes, including cyclooxygenase-2…” so they had to explain why things worked in certain ways from a more symbolic point of view. Interestingly, when you understand the framing of different traditions, you begin to see a logic that allows you to understand the flow and connection of the human body and the earth we live in. While a particular issue (say a runny nose) may not make sense to you when explained in terms of Chinese medicine, it may click when framed in the Ayurvedic lens. Another issue, (say feeling anxious at a certain time of day) may be the reverse. So how do these different traditions frame the concept of health in the human body?

Traditional Chinese Medicine:

TCM gets it’s framework from Taoism, using the symbolic language of the Yin-Yang (dark/light, heat/cold, etc.) paradigm and focusing on creating balance and harmony in all parts of the body to find a natural state of health. To explain this, TCM uses the concept of Wu Xing, or the 5 elements (fire, wood, water, metal, earth). Within the body, these five elements exist and are continually in a state of flux, and different symptoms are associated with different elements. To create healing and health, deficiencies and excesses must be brought back into harmony. Because the body is considered to be made up of physical, spiritual, and mental aspects, all are considered when looking to heal. The seasons of the year and other external factors also play a part, because the body is interconnected with and affected by the earth we live in. TCM has been honing itself for over 2,000 years and is one of the largest medical traditions in the world today. A trained practitioner can offer treatments such as cupping, moxibustion, Tui Na massage, acupuncture, herbs, and diet. 

Ayurvedic Medicine:

In Sanskrit, Ayurveda means, “The Science of Life.” This tradition dates as far back as 5,000 years ago in India, though nothing was written down until much later. In this tradition, it is believed you need to devote your life to balance, including clear thinking, healthy eating, and living a good life. Ayurveda states that everyone has a unique energy pattern, and that balance is key to good health. The three energies of the body are called vatta, pitta, and kapha, and each individual has their own unique blend of the three, so you need to understand your tendencies for imbalance and work to create harmony within your own natural energies. within yourself. Ayurveda also believes that the five elements affect your body, and use the symbolism of the elements to describe the factors that play into health, but in this case, the elements are Space, Air, Fire, Water, and Earth. A trained practitioner can offer multiple avenues for returning to balance, including herbs, diet, massage, meditation, yoga, and more intense therapies. 

Native American Medicine:

Because of the vast differences between tribes and geographies, pinning down Native American medicine is a little more difficult. However, in general there was a strong emphasis on balance with nature, with a stronger external focus that combined herbs, rituals, and both physical and supernatural causes of health conditions. The tribal healer had extensive license and would seek spiritual guidance and visions before determining a treatment plan. The use of tobacco, music, and dance in ritualistic ceremonies was used to ward off evil spirits believed to cause ill health and call for balance and harmony with Mother Earth. Herbal remedies were ubiquitous, and often sweat-lodges were utilized for purification, which today have been proven to be extremely beneficial in certain circumstances to boost immune function. 

Our amazing herbalist, Brittini Gehring, has been trained in multiple herbal traditions and is an encyclopedia of knowledge. With her help we are able to utilize herbal traditions from around the globe to provide health and wellness to our customers, helping you Reach Your Peak!


Feb 21, 2020

Natural Room Sprays

by Aspen, Trainer of the Things

I recently used my Audible subscription to listen to a book called The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. There is a whole chapter on the origins of the popular household product Febreze, and the tale of its origins was quite interesting. When scientists at Proctor & Gamble realized they had created a cheap chemical compound that eliminates odors, it became the marketing department’s job to figure out how to sell it to people, but they ran into a problem. The people whose houses smelled the worst and needed the product the most didn’t notice their own foul smells. The product was in danger of being a massive failure when market researchers met a woman who, instead of using it to eliminate odor, used it as a final spritz to freshen her house and complete her cleaning routine. They rebranded and added pleasant scents, then advertised women (not men, which makes you wonder a bit) spritzing the product and smiling over a sparkling clean room. They made Febreze the reward of a cleaning job well done, and sales skyrocketed. 

While I wouldn’t spray chemicals and fake scents over my house, the idea of a light, fresh smell to complete my cleaning routine did sound intriguing. So I went home, got one of my glass blue spray bottles, labeled it “scent” and threw in some water and lemon essential oil for a natural scent to freshen my house (I have five animals and a toddler, so it’s not like my house doesn’t need it).

It was a massive failure. I hadn’t accounted for the water and oil separating, so all I was spraying was water while the oil floated to the top. I did a little research, and realized that there was a little more I needed to do (but not much!). Here is how to make your own pleasant, natural room spray:

1 8-oz glass bottle

40-50 drops of essential oil

1 tablespoon of sea salt or Himalayan salt as an emulsifier

Distilled water

Take the salt (you can also use other emulsifiers like witch hazel, vodka, or vinegar) and put it into the glass bottle. Add the essential oil and swish it around so the salt absorbs the oil. Then add the water and swish until the salt dissolves. You can spray right away, or give it a little time for the scent to strengthen. It works much better than my original attempts!

You can use any combination of oils you want. I wanted something fresh and citrusy, so I went with lemon. Come fall I could totally see myself using DoTerra On Guard for a spicy fall scent that would also help protect and disinfect my home. Or Peppermint or Pine, Cinnamon, or Clove for Christmas time! DoTerra Breathe is one of my favorites for when I am sick, it is one of the only things that helps my asthma, so I may be using that more during the winter months.

Let us know if you try a particular scent you like a lot, I could use some more ideas!



 


Feb 21, 2020

2020 February Organtics

by RidgeCrest Herbals


Feb 12, 2020

ClearLungs Original Taste For Life Essentials Award Feb 2020

by RidgeCrest Herbals

RidgeCrest Herbals is starting out 2020 right, with a new award for its most popular product, ClearLungs Original! They are thrilled that the #1 selling lung-support product in the herbal industry has won the Taste For Life Essentials Award, Respiratory Support category!

The ClearLungs formula is Ridgecrest Herbals’ premier product and holds a special place in our heart as the one that started it all back in the ’90s. For years it has been the #1 herbal product in the country for healthy lungs, which just goes to show how effective Traditional Chinese Medicine can be. The basis of this formula dates back 2,000 years! In TCM, the lungs are considered the “Upper Source of Water” and Qi flows downward from the lungs. Bitter herbs are used to encourage downward flow, and warming herbs support circulation to the lungs to increase heat. The respiratory system is closely related to the spleen and kidneys, so the formula is designed to support all three systems. Just some of the ingredients that work so well together include:

Tangerine Mature Peel: Studies show it has expectorant properties and helps dry the lungs.

Chinese Licorice Root: It contains glycyrrhizin, a chemical compound that supports the body in blocking enzymes that lower the prostaglandin levels responsible for mucus production. 

Ophiopogon Root:  Helps maintain the body’s essential moisture and bodily fluids. 

Chinese Asparagus root: It is particularly known as a lung tonic recognized for its potential to help moisten and gently cleanse the lungs and respiratory tissue.

Schisandra fruit: This herb promotes oxygen supply for the cells, potentiates the body's immune system, protects against stress, and supports stamina.

While this is the first award for their Original ClearLungs product, the ClearLungs line of products has received seven industry awards, the most celebrated being ClearLungs Immune. In total, RidgeCrest Herbals has won 18 industry awards for its line of nearly twenty products. 

For more information, visit rcherbals.com.


 


Feb 7, 2020

Ten Minutes a Day

by Shae, Customer Service and Social Media Goddess

I tend to try to eat an elephant whole rather than one bite at a time and end up exhausting and overwhelming myself. On top of that, consistency is my biggest fault. I can make all the plans and want to do all of the things to better my life but ultimately if I can’t be consistent, I will never get anywhere. And in my life, I haven’t. I have failed many diets and work out plans. I have quit projects in the middle and my home has become a graveyard of the unfinished. I have stacks of books I’ve only gotten part of the way through. 

It makes me feel like a failure in life. This pattern of inconsistency has followed me like a shadow. As soon as something becomes hard or difficult, or I lose interest or get overwhelmed, or one little thing like getting sick throws me out my groove, I am done. 

I was talking with a friend recently about this in regard to all my unfinished books. He suggested just committing to 10 pages every day. I started thinking about this. If I could commit to ten minutes of fitness or ten minutes of meditation or ten minutes of anything that will better my life, I will get further than if I tried to do it in large chunks and overwhelmed myself and gave up. The time will pass anyway getting there slowly is better than not at all. If only I had listened to The Hare & the Tortoise more intently, I might be further in life than I am now. 

So here is to 10 every day and hoping I stay consistent with the small things.


Feb 6, 2020

Balancing Chakras

by Shae, Customer Service and Social Media Goddess

In our 2018 Almanac, I wrote an article introducing the concept of chakras. I wanted to follow up with more details on blocked, balanced, and overactive chakras and how to heal these sorts of imbalances. Chakras can influence physical and emotional health, so when they become unbalanced, it can lead to many health issues. You can balance chakras using meditation, affirmations, yoga poses, diet, crystal healing, energy work, color therapy, aromatherapy, sound therapy, nature, herbs, breathing, and visualization. I have included some of the many ways to heal specific chakras:

 

The Crown Chakra, or The Sahasrara

When this chakra is blocked, it can result in depression, learning difficulties, weak faith, anger, and brain fog.

When this chakra is overactive is can result in being dogmatic, judgemental, having a spiritual addiction, or being ungrounded.

When this chakra is balanced, it can result in faith, universal love, emotional and spiritual intelligence, being aware, wise, and finding understanding.

Healing: lavender, child's pose, fresh air, sunlight, nature, clear quartz stone, foods such as eggplant, passion fruit, ginger, and herbal teas.

Affirmation: "I am one with the universe, I am divinely guided, I live my life through my higher self."

 

The Third Eye Chakra, or The Anja

When this chakra is blocked, it can result in poor judgment, lack of focus, poor imagination, and not being able to see beyond the physical.

When this chakra is overactive, it can result in nightmares, delusions, hallucinations, being obsessive, or seeing too many spirits.

When this chakra is balanced, it can result in being imaginative, intuitive, having clear thought and vision, and the ability to see beyond the physical.

Healing: rosemary, downward dog pose, amethyst stone, foods such as purple potatoes, blackberries, plums, dark chocolate, and omega-3s.

Affirmation: "I trust my intuition, my vision is clear. I trust the guidance of the universe."

 

The Throat Chakra, or the Vishuddha

When this chakra is blocked, it can result in feeling an inability to express oneself or speak out, feeling misunderstood, secrecy, and not being a good listener.

When this chakra is overactive, it can result in being too opinionated, loud, critical, gossipy, prone to yelling, talking over others, or being harsh with words.

When this chakra is balanced, it can result in feeling confident expressing oneself, clear communication, feeling creative, or being diplomatic.

Healing: peppermint, cat/cow pose with lions breath breathing, turquoise stone, foods such as blueberries, figs, kelp, tree fruits, and simple spices.

Affirmation: "I express myself and my emotions freely. My feelings are heard, respected, and appreciated."

 

The Heart Chakra, or The Anahata

When this chakra is blocked, it can result in a lack of empathy, being bitter, hateful, having trust issues, and being intolerant.

When this chakra is overactive, it can result in feelings of jealousy, co-dependency, being self-sacrificing, or giving too much.

When this chakra is balanced, it can result in feelings of peace, love, compassion, tolerance, and being warm and open.

Healing: roses, camel pose, rose quartz stone, foods such as broccoli, kale, chard, leafy greens, warm soups, and vitamin c.

Affirmation: "I am loved, I receive love every minute of life."

 

The Solar Plexus Chakra, or The Manipura

When this chakra is blocked, it can result in low self-esteem and feeling powerless and inferior.

When this chakra is overactive, it can result in being power hungry, domineering, critical, and perfectionistic.

When this chakra is balanced, it can result in feelings of confidence, empowerment, personal power, drive, motivation, and a good self-image.

Healing: ginger, warrior pose, yellow citrine stone, foods such as yellow peppers, lentils, squash, oats, complex carbs, chamomile.

Affirmation: "I am abundant, I always have enough. I love, accept, and trust myself fully."

 

The Sacral Chakra, or The Svadhisthana

When this chakra is blocked, it can result in feelings of low libido, fear of intimacy, no creativity, and isolation.

When this chakra is overactive, it can result in emotional overreactions, codependence, addictive personality, and aggression.

When this chakra is balanced, it can result in feelings of passion, creativity, healthy libido, optimism, and being open.

Healing: orange, bound angle pose, carnelian stone, foods such as seeds, nuts, oranges, carrots, pumpkins, coconut, broth, and teas.

Affirmation: "I am a creative, passionate being. I am in touch with my feelings."

 

The Root Chakra, or The Muladhara

When this chakra is blocked, it can result in feelings of fear, anxiety, uncertainty, instability, and feeling ungrounded.

When this chakra is overactive, it can result in feelings of greed, lust, aggression, materialism, cynicism.

When this chakra is balanced, it can result in feelings of safety, security, feeling centered, grounded, and deep happiness.

Healing: sandalwood, tree pose, red jasper stone, foods such as proteins, root vegetables, beets, and apples.

Affirmation: "I am safe, the universe protects me. I am full of confidence and energy."

 

 


Feb 6, 2020

February 2020 Window to Wanderlust

by Abbie, Graphics Goddess


Feb 6, 2020

The Island of Socotra

by RidgeCrest Herbals

The remote but fascinating island of Socotra lays in the Arabian Sea over 100 miles off the coast of Yemen and the horn of Africa. It is the number one result If you google “most alien-looking place on earth.” This tiny island has remained remote for many millennia, and one-third of it’s flora and fauna is wholly endemic and cannot be found anywhere else on the earth. The island's geographical isolation, extreme heat, and drought have created this biodiversity gem. 

The most iconic living thing on the island is the Dragon's blood tree (Dracaena cinnabari) whose sap is bright red and has been highly sought after for use as a violin varnish, breath freshener, and even lipstick. This beautiful tree has been described as an umbrella or a flying saucer landing on a tree. The island is home to 825 plant species that can't be found anywhere else on earth. 

There are no native amphibians and only one native mammal, a bat, but you will find endemic birds, reptiles, marine life, butterflies, and even a blue baboon tarantula. 

Socotra is home to about 50,000 people, most of whom are indigenous Soqotri people from the Al-Mahran tribe, along with a small population of Africans believed to be runaway slaves and their descendents. The language spoken by the inhabitants of Socotra is completely unique and predates even Arabic. The inhabitants have followed various forms of Christianity, and the tradition goes that Thomas the Apostle brought them Christianity in 52 A.D. 

Socotra has been thought to be the site of the Garden of Eden from the Bible. The name Socotra comes from the Sanskrit word for “paradise.” Its remoteness and uniqueness have made it a place of legend. It became a UNESCO world heritage site in 2008. It has fascinated adventures from Alexander the Great to Marco Polo. 


 


Jan 27, 2020

Establishing Personal Boundaries

by Aspen, Trainer of the Things

I didn’t learn until I was well into my thirties about the importance of boundaries. I had always enjoyed mutually respectful relationships where that really wasn’t that important. Then I learned what it was like to be in a relationship where someone saw your emotional boundaries as challenges to be overcome, not things to be respected. It took leaving that person’s physical space to be able to even begin to establish boundaries, and I still have to deal with them constantly trying to blow through like the Kool-Aid man. So how do you establish boundaries?

  1. Recognize your right to establish boundaries: Because I was so bad at this, for a while as I was getting separated, I had this quote at my desk: “You’re human, and you have the right to say, “That was shitty of you.” You have a right to protest your own mistreatment and set boundaries for respectful interactions. The rest of the world doesn’t realize you have this right, and they will act offended and appalled when you exercise it, but it is yours.” This was very true for me during that time - everyone from my ex-husband to my mother was shocked and offended when I started standing up for myself, but you know what? They got over it, and while our relationships are different now, they are much healthier.

  2. Recognize the issue: Unless you have a clear idea of what someone is doing that causes you distress or resentment, you won’t be able to talk to them in a way that makes your boundary clear. 

  3. Explore your feelings:  Where is this coming from? Do they have to do with the person involved, or are they more related to things in your past you haven’t dealt with? This will both help you understand yourself and what is fair to ask of someone else and will help you better express the “why” of your boundary.

  4. Communicate clearly, but not combatively: If it is the other person’s fault, you want to make sure you express yourself in a way that allows them to feel safe as you are expressing your needs. If it is something that you need from them because of emotions that don’t come from them, (i.e. this behavior makes me feel triggered because of something my mother did growing up) they need to hear that. Your best bet for success is to express yourself calmly and positively. If it devolves into a fight, take a breather and come back later.

  5. Be ready to stand up for yourself: If the person is the type to disregard your feelings, prepare for that. They don’t have to agree with you or understand that it is important. But they do have to respect that it is important to you. You may not be able to get them to empathize, but that doesn’t mean your feelings are any less valid, and they need to respect your request, even if they discount you. 

For example, I recently told my family I didn’t enjoy jokes they told that related to my son’s safety (i.e., putting him in a catapult - obviously not serious). I explained that even though I knew they were joking I found the jokes stressful because I have a tendency to visualize graphic, violent situations - it’s part of my anxiety disorder. They told me “consider the source, it’s just a joke.” I let them know that their right to make a joke did not supersede my right to be free from the emotional distress their joke caused. They think I’m crazy, but I don’t care. 

  1. Be consistent about enforcement: It may take a while for behavior to change. A few gentle reminders of your boundary should come before you make it a serious topic again. 

  2. Have a contingency plan when you know they won’t honor your boundaries: The less emotionally mature people in your life may see your boundaries as a wall and themselves as the Kool-Aid man. It is extremely important for these people that you have a backup plan to make sure their disrespect doesn’t interfere with your emotional well being. 

For example, I have requested that my ex-husband not text me after 11 pm; he has a tendency to send long rants at 2 in the morning. I know there is no way he is ever going to honor that. So I keep my phone on silent so when he does blow up my phone, it doesn’t disturb me. 

  1. If possible, get out of the space of those who don’t respect you: If you have someone in your life who continually disrespects your emotional well-being, especially after you have calmly discussed your needs and they continue to walk over you, it may be necessary for you to take larger action and remove them from your life. It can be extremely difficult emotionally to extract yourself, but take it from someone on the other side - life is much better without them. 


Jan 27, 2020

2020 Winter Garden Guide

by RidgeCrest Herbals

 

Winter is such a cold and dreary time. Mix that with seasonal affective disorder, and some of us can get pretty low. One of my favorite things to do in the winter to help combat this is to dream of the upcoming garden I will have and start planning for it. This is a good time to draw or map out how you want your garden. Start ordering seeds and pre-ordering online & catalog plants, bare roots, and bulbs. Most of the time, the companies will ship them at safe and appropriate times for your growing zone.

When planning, don’t forget about crop rotation so that the soil isn’t depleted of the same nutrients each year. This also helps soil erosion and increases soil fertility and crop yield.

Study up on plants and when to replace them. For instance, strawberries do best for two years before you need to take out the existing plants and replace with new ones. Study up on companion planting as well.

Happy dreaming & planning!

Sometimes in your gardening career, you will encounter a situation where you have a plant you want to introduce into a different area of your garden, or you may even want to take some of your crop and share with a friend or neighbor so they can grow it in their garden, as well. What is the best way to do this? Well, it depends on the plant and the climate, but there are several common ways of doing it.

Mulching: Mulching provides a protective layer around your plants and over your soil. It can be made of organic material like wood chips, pine needles, and straw or inorganic materials like rocks, rubber, or landscape fabric. There are many benefits of mulching: weed control, water retention, and curb appeal. In most cases, a layer of mulch that is 2-4 inches thick is sufficient.

Mulch can also provide protection to plants during the winter months. Another excellent insulator of plants is snow. That thick blanket of snow can protect your plants from winter winds as well as providing moisture in the spring. Wrapping your trees and shrubs in burlap, bubble wrap, or plastic can protect them from ice storm damage as well as provide protection from deer or road salt. However, research has shown that most trees really don’t need to be wrapped and will come through winter just fine if their placement is correct.

Splitting and propagating-

To split or divide? Splitting plants is limited to plants that spread from a central crown and have a clumping growth habit. Numerous types of perennial plants and bulbs work well. However, plants that have taproots need to be divided by cuttings or seed rather than splitting.

When to divide? While mostly dependent on the type of plant and your climate, most plants do best when divided every 3-5 years or when they are overcrowded. Most plants prefer to be divided in the early spring or fall, while some plants can be divided at any time, and other plants do not like to be disturbed and are best divided when they are dormant.

To divide dig up the entire clump of the plant, carefully divide the crown and root ball into two or more sections. Most of the time, hands do just fine, but sometimes a sharp knife or garden spade is needed. Once divided, shake off the excess soil, remove dead growth and replant.

Numerous plant species are propagated by stem cuttings. Most of which can be taken during the summer and fall. Woody plant stem cuttings root better if taken in the fall or dormant season.

A cutting is taken from just below a bud or the vegetative plant part which is then severed from the parent plant. Taking cuttings with a sharp blade reduces injury to the parent plant. Dip the cutting in rubbing alcohol or a mixture of 1:9 bleach to water ratio to prevent disease transmission. Remove flowers, buds, and lower leaves to allow the cutting to use its energy in growing. Use a rooting hormone to encourage growth. Place stem or cutting in bright, indirect light. Root cuttings can be kept in the dark until new shoots appear.

There are many types of cuttings, so research what is best for the specific plant.

Once cut, you can use water propagation by placing the cutting in cool water. Roots will begin to grow. Once the roots are half an inch long, plant in soil. Wait too long, and the roots won’t acclimate to the soil.

Build a basic cold frame

I prefer wood frames because they are affordable, durable, and easy to source, construct, and fix. You can also use PVC, hay bales, cinder block, etc. Build a frame to surround your plants (no bigger than 4’ x 8’). Find a suitable cover, which can be glass or a thicker, clear plastic sheeting material. You can add hinges and a handle if you want for opening and closing.

How to make a “hotbed” (or heated growing bed)

You can grow crops in wintertime (yes, you really can). Many plants have winter varieties available. All this requires is some manure or compost and physical effort. You’ll want to dig down about 18” to 24” under the frame and add fresh manure or compost. Turn every couple of days for about a week until it settles, then cover with roughly 6” of soil. Transplant or sow some new seeds. As the material decomposes, it will generate enough heat to keep the plants alive.

Tips and tricks for cold framing

  • Face beds south for sunlight. The sun in the fall and winter is different than in spring and summer.
  • Shorter cold frames do better at trapping heat (important for colder climates).
  • Use plastic sheeting instead of glass. It doesn’t break!
  • Hot air can kill your plants, so air out during warmer winter days. Some will need to be uncovered entirely, some will need to be opened just a crack. When the nights are warm enough, remove the cover.
  • Water your plants! Even though you water less than in the summer, it is still important!
  • Anchor your cold frame down if you use lighter materials or live in a windy area.
  • Don’t place your frames under trees, they need full sun. Plus less bird poop.
  • Don’t have time to make a bed? Use milk jugs as a temporary cover for smaller plants or use hay bales (good insulation) to surround the bed and cover it with a translucent material.


Jan 27, 2020

Creating a Family Emergency Preparedness Resource Book

by Melissa, Office Manager


 

No one wants to think about disasters or bad things happening, but it is always better to be prepared if you can. The Red Cross and FEMA both recommend you and your family have a plan in case of an emergency. Our family has a simple binder with all of the information printed and gathered in one place so that anyone we choose can be directed to it in case of an emergency. 

In the book, you should have several sections that could include: 

Home - List all of the information about your house, including a picture. Include all of the necessary contact information for insurance and repair companies as well as contact information for neighbors. It is also helpful to list the phone numbers for the electric and gas companies so that you have it in case of an outage or a leak. 

Family - Each person should have their own information sheet with their picture and anything that could be needed in case of an emergency, including medications, allergies, and blood type. Your children’s schools or daycare should make their emergency plan available, and you can print and include it here. 

For anyone with special needs, be sure to come up with a plan to make sure accommodations have been worked out and what those are. Check if your state to see if it has a special needs registry that is used by emergency responders to identify where those with special needs are and what extra help they might need. 

Pets- With a picture of your pet, list all of the information you can to identify your pet. Include their microchip number, vaccine information, their vet information, and any local resources you can think of. You can also lookup if there are any pet-friendly shelters near you or pet-friendly hotels, and have their information included so you can easily access it if you need a place to stay in a pinch.

Emergency communication and evacuation plan - In this section, you want to list all of your family phone numbers, including a contact that lives out of your area that has agreed to be your emergency contact. You will want to establish gathering places for your family that are inside your home, directly outside of your home, in your neighborhood and outside your area. 

Your city or state should have a disaster plan that you can become familiar with and include in your booklet. If you commute, you may want to add a commuter emergency plan and what alternative methods that could be traveled. 

Hopefully, you will never need to use this resource, but knowing it is there could provide great peace of mind. 


 


Jan 27, 2020

2020 January Window to Wanderlust

by Abbie, Graphics Goddess


Jan 10, 2020

Simplifying the Day-to-Day

by Nichole, Magical Marketing Millenial


I often find myself overwhelmed, overcommitted, and overly stressed. I’m sure that sounds familiar to many of you. We live in a fast-paced world with high demands after all. Not only that, last year was a rough one for me and I dropped the ball on quite a few things. My health took a toll that caught up with me. All the shenanigans. Towards the end of the year, I decided to make some changes, since it drastically needed some improvements, and started to implement a well-known daily practice. It has changed my life. And it’s so simple.

We all have those task lists that feel neverending, which they may well be, all things considered. Some days just looking at the list is daunting and can make you feel overwhelmed, which, for some like me, entices you to just ignore its existence. This exercise is about narrowing down the list to a simple three tasks for the day. Three. No more. No less. And, no, you don’t throw your entire list away. You simply pick the top three most important tasks to accomplish for the day. If you finish those, you can move onto other tasks on your list, but your priority is always those three tasks FIRST.

Keep in mind, also, that they can’t be items like “build a shed” or “clean the house.” They need to be specific, manageable, and timely. If they’re bigger tasks, they need to be broken down into smaller steps. And also keep in mind that if you’re not feeling well or need a mental health day, set your tasks accordingly. You need rest and so does your body and its important you take those moments into account so you can be your best self. Don’t forget to take care of yourself in all the chaos.


Jan 10, 2020

No Goals, No Glory

by Abbie, Graphics Goddess

When you were in high school, what was on your required curriculum? Math, English, Science, maybe a foreign language? Did anyone ever teach you how to set clear, measurable, and written goals? Probably not, even though this is one of the most crucial steps in getting what you want out of life. Less than 3% of Americans set written goals, and less than 1% review their goals daily. Why is this? Most people answer that they don't think it's important, they're afraid of failing, or that they simply don't know how to set them.

There is a lot of research to back up the importance of goal setting, but this is one of my favorites: In 1979, a study was conducted among students at Harvard University on the subject of goals. A group of graduates from the MBA program was asked, "Have you set clear, written goals for your future, and made plans to accomplish them?" Only 3% of the grads had any written goals. 13% had goals, but they weren't in writing, and 84% of the students had no goals at all. Researchers tracked down the same group of students ten years later, in 1989, to see how things were going. They found that the 13% of students who had goals that weren't in writing were making twice as much as the 84% who had no goals at all. But most interestingly, the students who had made clear, written goals back in 1979 were making TEN TIMES as much as the other 97% of graduates put together, on average.  

Goals aren't just about financial gain (although this one can definitely help), they can be applied to any facet of life. As Earl Nightingale said, "Happiness is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal, or goal." A person is truly happy when they are immersed in life with a sense of purpose that is going in a direction toward things that they want. Do you want to take on a new skill or hobby? Travel? Improve your physical health? Achieve a deeper level of spirituality? Maybe you want to improve your family relationships, your community input, or have a child. Any of these subjects can be explicitly written out and planned with proper goal-setting.  

In his book Goals!, Success author and speaker Brian Tracy says that proper goal-setting takes a few things:  

-The first key is that your goals "must be clear, specific, detailed, and written down." The more specific you can be, the better your mind can wrap around creating the next steps for them.  

-Second, your goals should be "measurable and objective." Writing down "I want to travel more" is so vague, that it remains a fantasy - but writing "I want to visit Machu Picchu in Peru by _____ date" is an actual goal.  

-Third, your goals should be "scheduled and time-bounded, with deadlines, and sub-deadlines." Giving yourself time limits becomes a motivator to stay on task, which brings small achievements your way on a schedule, and keeps you excited with progress.  

-Fourth, your goals "should be challenging" and cause you to stretch out of your comfort zone, even if by a little bit. How can you expect change without going beyond what you're currently doing?  

If you're hesitant or not convinced that this can work for you, it's best to start small. After reading this, take out a blank sheet of paper. At the top, title the paper with "Goals for 2020" (or whenever you're reading this), and then list the numbers 1 through 10 down the page. Think about specific things that you would like to do this year, whether it be places you want to see, problems you'd like to solve, things you'd like to experience, or relationships you'd like to improve or start. Using the tips above as guidelines, write out your ten goals. Once you've written your list, put the piece of paper away. I promise that in a year, you can pull that list out again and find that you have accomplished at least one, and possibly many more of those ten goals, even if you never looked at the list again after writing it. Why does this work? Because it got you to thinking about the specific things that you want and would make you happy, which is the ultimate catalyst for change.

"Failing to plan is planning to fail." - Alan Lakein


Jan 10, 2020

The Tunguska Event

by Abbie, Graphics Goddess

On the morning of June 30, 1908, an explosion ripped through the sky above a remote area in Siberia, near the Podkamennaya Tunguska river.  The earth was said to tremble as far away as the UK, and 830 square miles of forest (approximately 80 million trees) were leveled, with burned reindeer carcasses littered throughout the destruction. The 15-megaton blast was 1,000 times greater than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan.

The investigation into the explosion found no central crater or origin site, so what happened?  Due to the remote region and harsh seasons where it took place, this strange occurrence wasn't studied until almost 20 years after it happened, leaving lots of speculation over what really took place.  Was this the beginning of atomic testing by Russia?  No.  This incident became known as "The Tunguska Event," and was caused by what's known as an "air burst."  When a large meteor (this one was the size of an eleven-story building) explodes while traveling through the atmosphere, it causes a destructive blast of air to thrust down upon Earth's surface.  

A similar event happened again over Russia that helped to fill in the story, this time in February of 2013.  A giant fireball lit up the sky over the town of Chelyabinsk and was recorded on thousands of cameras and scientific instruments.  Like Tunguska, airwaves collided with Earth's surface after the meteor exploded, this time resulting in shattered and blown-in glass windows, and fallen human structures.  The intense light from the fireball was momentarily 30 times brighter than the Sun and caused over 180 cases of eye trauma and reports of intense sunburn.  A roof at a factory collapsed due to the shock wave, and a total of 1,200 people were hospitalized with blast-related injuries.

While the Chelyabinsk blast has offered up new scientific data to help piece together the Tunguska event, it must be noted that the Chelyabinsk blast was more than 30 times smaller than Tunguska.  Scientists say Earth only encounters a meteor the size of Tunguska once every 300 years.


Jan 10, 2020

2020 January Organtics Cartoon

by RidgeCrest Herbals


Dec 17, 2019

Life is So Precious

by Shae, Customer Service and Social Media Goddess

Recently I have had some health issues that have been pretty scary for me. Mostly because of the fear of the unknown. Mix that with a brain that overthinks obsessively and always goes to worse case scenario and I have been a little ball of stress and worry. I have a strong aversion to doctors, and I won't go unless I have to, so you know it’s pretty serious when I actually do go. I ended up going to two different doctors with zero answers, adding to my frustration. 

As I have been in the midsts of the unknown, crippling pain and the potential possibilities, it has got me thinking. Worst case scenario tells me it’s something as bad as stomach cancer (though I am sure that is farthest from the actual truth) and I have had to really contemplate my mortality. When the pain in the worst and I start thinking about these possibilities, I start thinking about all the things I haven’t done with my life that I have wanted to, and put off. All the truth I haven’t spoke. All the I love you’s and I forgive you’s, I haven’t said. All the places I haven’t seen and the experiences I haven’t felt. I tend to hold myself back a lot. I play it safe more often than not. Always hanging onto the what if’s. One quote that has popped up sporadically throughout my life has been  “IN THE END… We only regret the chances we didn’t take, the relationships we were afraid to have,and the decisions we waited too long to make.” ― Lewis Carroll. 

If I didn’t already feel that to my bones before, I sure do now. Life is so precious, and sometimes it takes a tragedy or strong fear to remember that. Hopefully this time I listen more intently and really let that soak in, because life really can be changed or ended in the blink of an eye and I sure would hate to have so many regrets in the end. 

I don’t know what that means for me yet. Once I am feeling back to myself, I really hope that I can remember the way that I am feeling now so that I can cliff dive back into life and really live.


Dec 17, 2019

Letting Go of Emotional Suffering

by Heather Warnock

Get over it!” “Let it go!” “Move on!” Easier said than done, right? Emotional suffering is something that we are all bound to experience. Did you know that 1 in 5 adults in America suffers from a diagnosable mental health condition? It is hard to free yourself of past mistakes, feelings of shame, the pain of broken relationships, guilt, and grief. While it’s normal to get upset or have a bad day, you really shouldn’t unpack your bags and live in that emotional space, which, unfortunately, many people do. Holding onto your anger, sadness, or frustration for an extended period of time has many adverse effects on both the mind and body. As a society, we are taught to easily recognize signs of a heart attack or stroke - maybe we need to do a better job of recognizing the symptoms of emotional suffering so we can help ourselves and others before it’s too late. Suicide is now taking more American lives than highway accidents per year, and if we, as a society, learn the signs of emotional suffering, we can do a better job at getting people the help that they need and deserve. 

Some of the noticeable physical effects of mental strain that should act as a warning if you see them in yourself or others include:

  • Sleep disturbances - sleeping too much or too little, or having nightmares. 

  • Dramatic weight fluctuations or changes in eating habits. 

  • Unexplained physical symptoms such as chronic fatigue, lack of energy, headaches, backaches, or stomach pains. These often act as a distraction from psychological distress. 

  • A decline in personal care. When the body can’t handle the load, it tends to shut down. 

  • Changes in personality and extreme mood swings that have been noticed by more than one person.

  • Turning down social activities or finding little pleasure in things you once loved. 

  • Experiencing little to no interest in sex. 

  • Encountering compulsive or obsessive behaviors like hand washing, repetitive thoughts, or having irrational fears. 

Everything listed here can negatively affect your overall quality of life and can be long-lasting unless you learn to embrace and address your suffering. 

To begin the healing process, one first must invite the pain and welcome it into your world, releasing yourself from fear of suffering. By exploring that emotion, you can reach its source and understand its root cause, a freeing experience. Accept what is, and don’t deny your thoughts and feelings. Allow them to exist and acknowledge them - there is a reason you’ve hung onto them for so long. Once you’ve accepted them, you can move on to getting help, inviting happiness, joy, and satisfaction into your life. 

Start by practicing self-love. Speak kindly to yourself and surround yourself with people who also talk kindly to you and others. Engage in relationships that are mutually supportive and sever ties with toxic people who bring out the worst in you or bring you down. You get to choose your tribe! 

Don’t isolate yourself from good people. When you’re ready, reconnect with friends, volunteer, and say “yes” to social activities. You can ask for support without having to discuss what’s troubling you. Try to practice mindfulness through meditation, yoga, and deep breathing. 

Focus on taking care of your body. Make a conscious effort to get good sleep, eat a balanced diet, exercise, and stay hydrated. Get outside and take a walk or go for a hike! Being in nature is an excellent way to check-in and reconnect with yourself. Listen to upbeat, positive music - and dance! All of these things work to repair your nervous system, bringing you an overall sense of wellness.

Above all, remember that you are not alone, and by facing your pain, you’re likely to inspire others to address their own suffering more courageously. You’ve suffered long enough. Don’t allow negativity to hold you back any longer! Use it to propel you in a new, positive direction. Happiness is available if you choose to let go of your past. You are a warrior. Be brave. Stay strong.

 


Dec 16, 2019

Heather's Christmas Salad

by Heather Warnock

Ingredients 
• 1 Head of Red Lettuce
• 1 Head of Green Leaf Lettuce
• 2 Large Grapefruits 
• 1 Large Pomegranate
• 1 Large Avocado 
• 1 Large Pear

Dressing 
• 1 Cup of Sugar
• 2 t. Dry Mustard 
• 2/3 Cup of Apple Cider Vinegar
• 2 Cups of Olive Oil
• 1 T. Poppy Seeds
• 1 t. Salt

Directions 
Blend dressing in a food processor. Refrigerate until ready to use. Tear lettuce into small pieces and set aside. Peel grapefruits and cut into sections and set aside. Seed pomegranate and set aside. To assemble salads on individual salads, place lettuce on plate, arrange grapefruit sections and pomegranate seeds on top. Slice avocado and pear, put pieces onto each plate, then drizzle dressing over each salad and serve.


Dec 16, 2019

Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

by Aspen, Herbal Authoress

Lately, I have become obsessed with making my own food from scratch. Bread, pasta sauce, granola, salad dressing, anything! Picture the Swiss Chef from the Muppets and you have an idea of the daily chaos as I destroy my kitchen. The best part for me is creating delicious swaps for things like Nutella - SO amazing, but not healthy for our bodies or for the environment (palm oil). This recipe from Pickuplimes.com is quick and healthy; try it out (used with permission):

1.5 cups raw hazelnuts

1/3 cup unsweetened plant milk

Tbsp coconut oil

2 Tbsp maple syrup

6 soft dates, pitted

1/3 cup cocoa powder 

1 tsp vanilla extract 

1/4 tsp salt 

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Spread hazelnuts onto a cookie sheet lined with baking paper and bake for 10-12 minutes until lightly golden and fragrant, stirring once halfway. 

  2. Remove from oven and cool. Rub in your hands to remove the skin. Place peeled hazelnuts in a food processor. 

  3. Blend on high for 5 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides, until a thin nut butter consistency is formed. 

  4. Add remaining ingredients and blend an additional 3-5 minutes until smooth. Store in an airtight jar in the fridge. Enjoy!

 


Dec 16, 2019

December 2019 Organtics

by RidgeCrest Herbals


Dec 10, 2019

Finding Holiday Magic

by Aspen, Herbal Authoress

Have you heard of the Mommy-blogger Kristina Kuzmič? She is an entertaining vlogger whose main message to parents is “chill out, you are doing fine.” My sister is constantly posting her videos, and she recently had an entertaining one where she pretended to be in therapy complaining about all the things her parents didn’t do for her for Christmas (like how they never did Elf on a Shelf which never taught her personal responsibility so she turned out a failure, etc.). Essentially the message is “you don’t have to run yourself ragged trying to do every single holiday thing for your kids.” This is a great message for my sister. She has five kids, one of whom is autistic, and it is a good reminder to her that she doesn’t have to sacrifice her mental health for the sake of keeping her kids entertained. 

For me, though, I’m super excited to do all this stuff (not Elf on a Shelf, that is crazy to me - but the rest of the holiday stuff). I only have one kid, and this is the first time he will be old enough to start to understand any of the Christmas joys and traditions, so I am going out of my way to establish traditions this year. I have spent more than I care to share on new decorations for the house - things that we will pull out every year. I just ordered all the cookie cutters and icing piping things for decorating cookies so we can use the same shapes for years to come. I have a Christmas-themed doormat and Christmas-scented candles and am completely obsessed with Christmas gnomes for some reason. 

I think the difference between my sister and me is just a matter of exposure. See, I only get to see Christmas through the eyes of my son experiencing the magic once, and I am all-in for this new joy. I only get this time once in my life. With five kids spanning twelve years, she’s been in this a lot longer than I have or ever will be. While my sister had babies in her house for about 12 years straight, I will only ever have two years of life with a baby, and it’s already gone. In a blink of an eye, that experience is in my past, while for her it was a whole segment of her life. 

So you better believe I am gonna cherish every second of making cookies and gingerbread houses and decorating the tree and reading the Christmas story in front of the fireplace and watching A Muppet Christmas Carol curled up with hot chocolate. When you only have one child, and you know you can’t have more, you only get every experience once. 

My point is, regardless of whether you feel the need to take a step back and let things go, or you are ready to ramp up the magic, enjoy every second of noise, every Christmas carol, every look of excitement or wonder or pleasure. Don’t let familiarity or experience make you lose sight of just how special it all really is. Even if you have to keep things simple to be able to do that. 


Dec 10, 2019

My DNA Discoveries

by Melissa, Office Manager

In recent years home DNA tests have become widely available. We probably all know at least one person who has completed one. They have even made the news recently for their use in catching criminals in cold cases. 

My dad (a family history fanatic) gifted my siblings and me home DNA tests. You may be wondering logically why you would need a separate kit for each child, but for my family, it made perfect sense - my siblings and I were all adopted as babies via closed adoptions through different adoption agencies. The DNA test was a thoughtful way for us to discover what some of our genetic makeup could be. 

Once the test arrives, the process is straightforward. You provide a sample of your DNA (mine was through saliva), register your test, seal it up, and send it back to their lab. Then you wait (and wait, and wait) for about a month.

Finally, it arrived, and I was particularly excited to see if anything was surprising in the ancestry section. Sadly, mine came back as slightly less diverse than I was expecting.

The other part of the ancestry goes over your traits, your genetic similarities to Neanderthals and your possible health risks. I am happy to report that according to the test I am unlikely to have a unibrow. 

In addition to all of that information, there is a section for DNA relatives. It will show you all of the people that have taken the same test and based on shared DNA, how you are related. In my case, at the top of the list was a 1st cousin! Their system allows you to email and connect with your DNA relatives, so I sent a message to the individual asking if he had any information on my birth mother or father. I did have my original birth certificate, so I had my birth mother’s maiden name, but honestly, I didn’t think it would go very far. After a few days, I heard back from this cousin. He had contacted his aunt - who happened to be my birth mom, and she had agreed to connect with me. He gave me her phone number. I was able to reach out right away, and we began communicating. As it turns out, even though I was born in a different state, we both live in the same state now - just at opposite ends. We were able to set up a time to meet in the middle at her father’s house. To say I was nervous to meet my birth mother would be an understatement, but when she opened the door, I was face to face with someone that had the same face as me. I felt immediately calm. We spend the afternoon talking and getting to know each other, and I was able to hear her story of when I was born when she was just 16. 

After our meeting, she provided me with enough information to contact my birth father. He lives a few states away, but my husband and I were able to travel to meet him and his wife for dinner. Once again, it was very comfortable and easy to be around them both. 

Looking for similarities and getting to know these relatives has been a really fantastic experience for me. Growing up I always wondered about them, and I am happy to know who they are. Both nature and nurture have made me the person I am today, and I am blessed. I have the best of all of the worlds in my life. 

Two other RidgeCrest family members have also been able to find their birth parents through DNA testing. The ability of modern science to bring together families who would otherwise never be able to find each other is genuinely miraculous. 


Dec 10, 2019

Helping Others First

by Will, Ginger-Beard of Power

What do these things have in common?

  • A study with toddler-aged children observing that they quickly came to the aid of adults who dropped a piece of paper on the floor

  • Company cultures that put customer service over profit, or who have lax return policies that some may take advantage of

  • A pack of wolves that allows the cub-bearing female to eat first, giving her the best organs and nutrition

  • It is better to give than to receive.”

Answer? They all demonstrate that helping each other is hard-wired into our biology and provides the greatest chances of survival. Altruism is a complicated topic, and some say that the personal benefits of being altruistic are so great that there is actually no such thing as selflessly serving others. But does that even matter? As long as a person in need is being served, does it matter if it benefits the person providing the service as well? Much ink has been spilled exploring these questions. 

In my personal world, some of the greatest emotional highs have come from helping others - to the point that it hurt a little bit. I know some of my fondest memories with my father was him throwing me into uncomfortable situations, like stopping to help someone with a car issue or a person that was homeless. He was always helping with a project for a widow or anyone in his circle who couldn’t meet their needs alone. My father made sure we spent our summers in the mountains, and every year I either had a brand new sleeping bag or no sleeping bag and made do with blankets. I never really wondered about why I didn’t just use the same sleeping bag each year. Then, one early winter he asked me to grab that year’s sleeping bags and come with him in the pickup for the afternoon. Having lived with my father, I knew strange adventures were a way of life, so I just rolled with it. He drove me to an underpass, where we found two homeless men. We talked with them, gave them food, and handed over our barely-used sleeping bags. It turned out he had been doing this for years. I remember like it was yesterday - one of the men, unshaven and dirty, had on a pair of huge skiing mittens. I remember he wanted to know what I liked about school. I remember him asking me what my dream car was. Looking back, I know now he could see how uncomfortable I felt. He was making the conversation for me, he wanted to keep me feeling normal. Now I marvel at this. Imagine someone that did not have a roof over their head and did not know where the next meal was coming from going out of their way to help a privileged child feel safe? To stand in such need and desperation and care about someone else first left an impression of true humanity that has stayed with me to this day. I continue to wonder about his life story. Regardless of the challenges he faced, I know he was a good person. 

The holiday season makes this point better than any other time of the year. We love to reflect on giving. We love to watch behind hidden corners when we have given to someone in need, yet we want to remain anonymous. We enjoy and celebrate holidays where giving is the main custom. And when others give to us, we dig deep to express our thanks and gratitude in return. I believe it is because of a hunger for spiritual and emotional food. And like food, putting others first strengthens us, keeps us emotionally fit and healthy, and reminds us of how much we have to be grateful for. Our opportunities and capabilities are different. Some have strong backs for heavy lifting and physical acts of service. Some have money or free time. Some provide emotional support. Sometimes you hit phases of your life where you gave too much, and you need to take time to conserve and protect yourself and your emotional energy. When this is part of your journey, accepting gifts and help from your tribe is just as important - allowing others to feel the rewards of giving may be your act of service for the times when you have nothing else to give. Regardless of what phase you are at in your life, reflecting on service, kindness, and compassion will help you find gratitude and your sense of humanity.


Dec 10, 2019

Mulled Wine

by RidgeCrest Herbals

What is better than coming home to the lovely smell of mulled wine, and sipping on a glass of a delicious warm drink? Not much!

Ingredients:

1-750ml red sweet wine

2 oranges, 1 sliced, 1 for garnish

3-4 sticks of cinnamon

10 cloves

2-3 allspice berries

3/4 c brown sugar

5 star anise

1-2 cups apple cider

1/4 cup brandy

Directions:

Add ingredients to large pot on stovetop on low to medium heat. Do not boil. Let simmer for a minimum of 20 minutes, stirring often. Bring heat to a low simmer. Pour into glasses and garnish with oranges. 


Dec 10, 2019

2019 December Window to Wanderlust

by Abbie, Graphics Goddess

Mount Ranier National Park, Washington State


Nov 19, 2019

Respecting and Honoring Life

by Nichole, Magical Marketing Millenial

November is one of my favorite months, but personally also one of the most tragic. It’s a celebratory time of my birth and many other members in my family, but it is also one of heartbreaking loss. And this reminded me, especially in November, about honoring all life, including animal life. We all come from the Earth and we all go back to it.
If you’ve ever had a pet that you’ve loved you’ll understand the heartbreak that comes with losing your companion. Raising animals for food, letting them live happily and peacefully, then humanely harvesting them bears a similar disposition. There’s a cacophony of juxtaposed feelings. You feel happiness, sadness, love, discomfort, and more all at once. It is raw and real, like life.  

Tara Couture, from @slowdownfarmstead, says it the best: Something happens when we die. There is a moment when a spirit leaves. It’s not obscure. You can feel it, watch it happen. Call it what you will. Attribute it to what you will. I call it real and I call it peace.
We approach the harvest of every animal with solemnity, responsibility, and the deepest of gratitude. There is sadness and there is joy. There is discomfort and there is celebration. It is, as all the toughest of things are, the full richness of being. We could relieve ourselves of the hard parts by avoiding them, but all that we gain would be forever lost, too. Ease and comfort are sometimes the most expensive things of all.”
So, just remember, this holiday season, especially if it’s a hard one, that the feelings of discomfort and celebration together are okay. These are often the hardest parts of life we have to face, but they are also the ones in which we grow the most. 

P.S. Don’t forget to support your local farmers, if you can, especially in regards to turkey and pigs. Those creatures lived far better lives than anything that was factory farmed. 


Nov 19, 2019

Enrichment Through Asking

by Chris, Director of Sales

Growing up in the Netherlands, my mom, Goverdina (Dinie), often heard her mother say “Nee heb je, ja kun je krijgen!” which means, “No you have, yes you can get!” I was raised with this saying and am now teaching it to my three boys. Now that I’m an adult and have been living by this phrase for many years, I have a much deeper appreciation for all its uses and meanings. 

My Oma, Josina, was an incredibly hardworking, creative, fun woman who cared tirelessly for her 5 children, even during WWII while my Opa, Antoon, was away serving in the Dutch military. She often had to be creative with what they had, and I’m sure this saying helped her through those times. For many years, I only understood it’s surface meaning, which is similar to “It doesn’t hurt to ask,” but now I see a stronger, more motivating and expectant connotation. 

If you don’t ask (for a discount, for a promotion at work, for your relationship to move to the next level, etc.), then you already have “No” for an answer. You are stuck right where you are at. Fear of embarrassment or rejection is usually the culprit behind keeping silent - as if it’s a sign of weakness to pose a question. But it’s actually a sign of strength, curiosity, and intelligence. This can be as simple as asking a store to price match, asking for a discount on a medical bill over the phone, or seeing if a meeting can be changed to a time that’s better for you. I can’t tell you how much money I have saved by implementing this phrase! When I hesitate to ask, I remind myself, “No you have, yes you can get,” and sometimes I add, “Now go get it!” It is crucial to ask in a friendly, polite way of course, and I often envision the other person saying yes before asking. Keep in mind that you aren’t entitled to what you are asking for, so don’t get your feathers ruffled if the answer is no. Just stay calm and cheerful.

My deep understanding of this saying fuels me in my goal-setting and purpose-driven dreams. If I always play it safe and become content with a mediocre life, whether it be in my work, spiritual growth, physical body, relationships, or hobbies, I will have wasted so much! Potential joy, health, abundance, love, peace, and so many things could be mine. It doesn’t serve you to play it safe. It may be the place that feels safe to most, like a docked boat - but boats were meant to be pushed away from the familiar harbor! It only fulfills its purpose by sailing on open water, embracing the exciting possibilities. These yet-to-be-discovered blessings can only be accessed if you decide they (and you) are worth the risk and pursue them. Often we need to soften our pride, get vulnerable, take a baby step out there, or just leap! Then you can get that “Yes” you desired. You are worth the risk! When fear and doubt tempt me to stay stagnant, my Oma’s wise saying resonates in my heart and propels me upward and onward. Now go get that yes!


 


Nov 19, 2019

Sugary Sweet Terminology

by RidgeCrest Herbals


Nov 19, 2019

Grounding to the Earth

by Aspen, Herbal Authoress

 In today’s world, it is easy to feel disconnected from Mother Nature. We can go weeks only going from our homes to our cars, our cars to our offices, and then back to our cars again without ever watching a sunset or feeling the earth beneath our feet. Some people believe this is having a negative effect on our emotions, psyche, and physical health. If you want to feel more connected to the earth, you can try a process called “grounding,” Grounding revolves around the idea that the earth has an energetic and physical pull, and when we wear shoes and live too much indoors we cut ourselves off from its rejuvenating energy. So the solution is simple - take off your shoes! Walk barefoot, lie on the grass, breathe in the earth again. Advocates believe that the negatively-charged ions in the earth will help combat the overabundance of positively charged ions in our bodies that lead to disease and ill-health. So if you are feeling like you have too much stress in your life, try simply taking off your shoes and going for a walk in the grass. You may find it makes a big difference!


Nov 19, 2019

November 2019 Organtics

by RidgeCrest Herbals


Nov 12, 2019

Using Gratitude to Improve Mental Health

by Shae, Customer Service and Social Media Goddess

I keep seeing the quotes that talk about attracting what you think. The quotes keep circulating, and at times I can feel it and put it into practice. But when seasonal depression hits, it's hard to practice that and keep in a positive frame of mind. I have been mulling this over for some weeks now, as I just came out of a really hard and negative place in my life. Now that I am on the other end and so close to it happening, I would like to think of ways that I could help minimize the negativity when it happens again.

I like to keep things as simple and easy as possible and with the season of gratitude just around the corner, I feel like the best way to attract the positive is to be grateful. If I can find one thing to be grateful for every single day, I feel like it is a win. If I can do more that will be so amazing, but some days I know that will be hard when I have anxiety and depression whispering in my ear.  

New studies suggest that gratitude physically changes your brain. The practice of gratitude can increase dopamine production, the brain likes it’s dopamine, so the production will encourage your brain to seek more. If we can find just one thing to be grateful every single day, we will all be in a much better place, and who knows, perhaps integrating this one thing, will help you find even more to be grateful for.


Nov 12, 2019

2019 November Window to Wanderlust

by Abbie, Graphics Goddess

Fisher Towers near Moab, Utah - Photography by Abbie Warnock-Matthews


Nov 12, 2019

Fall Garden Guide

by RidgeCrest Herbals

Fall is here!  Hopefully, your garden had a wonderful summer of growth and production, but now it's time to clean up for winter.  Not sure when to start taking things down? You can always wait until the first frost of the season, because your plants will naturally start shutting down for winter at this time.

 

Want springtime blooms?  Now is the time to plant flower bulbs!  Tulips, hyacinths, daffodils, alliums, crocus, and muscari need to be planted in the fall, usually from late September through mid-October, depending on your gardening zone.  Plant your bulbs when evening temperatures average 45-50 degrees, but you want to be mindful to get them into the ground at least six weeks before the ground freezes.  There are handy tools out there to dig individual holes for bulbs, we recommend a drill auger that you can use while standing up. However, if you’re planting LOTS of bulbs, we recommend trench planting.  Instead of digging a bunch of individual holes, spare your lower back and try using a spade shovel to dig up a large area with a depth of six inches. Deposit your bulbs side by side with the roots facing down, and then cover them all back up at once.

 

Start by removing all of the remaining material from your annual plants.  Different plants need different methods of disposal – some plants like peas, beans, and corn can replenish nitrogen in your soil as the plants rot, so you can “chop and drop” them into the beds and let them break down all winter.  However, plants like squash and zucchini can carry disease and parasites, so they need to be pulled out entirely and disposed of in the garbage, not composted. If you’re not sure whether you should be pruning your plant down or leaving the branches on, you can always leave it for the season and clean it up or prune accordingly in the spring.

 

Since your crops have been taking nutrients from your topsoil all summer, it's time to nourish it again before winter.  Erosion from rain and the freeze and thaw cycles of winter will strip your soil, so the more you can boost it up, the better.  If you keep a compost pile, now is the time to cover your garden beds with the compost. It will continue to break down over winter, and will also feed the worms in your bed, who will produce nutritious worm castings all winter. If you don't have compost, you can rake up the fallen leaves in your yard and cover your beds with these. They will help keep your soil in place and will add nutrients to your ground as they break down throughout winter.

 


Oct 18, 2019

2019 July Organtics


Oct 18, 2019

Remineralizing Toothpaste

by Aspen, Herbal Authoress

I have horrible teeth - at least, I did. That all changed when I started going

natural and began learning about remineralizing toothpaste. I got this recipe

from thepaleomama.com, and after using it for three months I went to the dentist

for the first time in several years (college days!) and walked out with a perfectly

healthy mouth- a completely unprecedented event.

1/3  Cup bentonite clay

1/4  Cup boiling water

  1 Tbsp of coconut oil

1/4  tsp of Redmond Salt (this company also has a great toothpaste line now)

1/2  tsp of REAL stevia - just the ground leaf, unprocessed

*15   drops of DoTerra OnGuard essential oil (or Immune by Purify Skin Therapy)

*10   drops of DoTerra Peppermint essential oil (or Peppermint by Purify Skin Therapy)

*Sub Tooth & Gum Blend by Purify Skin Therapy for OnGuard and Peppermint 

Put the bentonite clay in a bowl and set aside. Boil the water and add the coconut oil to the water until melted. Use a hand mixer to blend the water/coconut into the bentonite clay. Add the salt, stevia, and essential oils and blend until mixed. Keep in a covered jar.


Oct 18, 2019

2019 Summer Garden Guide

by RidgeCrest Herbals

Your garden is growing, your flowers are blooming, and life is good, so what is left to do?  A lot of your yard may be on autopilot during the summer months, but it still needs your help to thrive.

Monitor your watering – Watch for stunted growth on any plants from underwatering, or fungus on leaves from overwatering.  Keep an eye on sprinkler units that may in hot weather, causing pooling instead of sending the water to your plants.

Stay on top of weeding to keep unwanted plants from growing large enough to distribute more seeds.  When pulling weeds, be sure to pinch at the base of the plant to pull up as many roots as possible to keep them from growing back.  Better yet, purchase a hand tool for weeding that you can stick down into the ground and leverage the roots up and out of the earth.  If you have stubborn weeds use this pet-safe weed killer recipe in a spray bottle: ½ cup vinegar, 1 cup Epsom salt, and 1/8 cup dish soap.

Got aphids?  There are multiple ways to get rid of them without using harmful pesticides.  Many people suggest bringing in ladybugs, but they will leave your garden if they're not a native species to your area. If you have a somewhat large species of aphids on your plants, try donning a pair of garden gloves and pinching them off the plants by hand. There are all natural, premixed insecticide soaps available, or you can dilute a few tablespoons of dish soap in a small bucket of lukewarm water and use a sponge or spray bottle to apply the mixture to plants where aphids have taken hold.


Oct 18, 2019

Make Ice Cream From Juicing

by Chris, Director of Sales

Want delicious, vegan, guilt-free sorbet without having to go out or fuss with an ice cream maker? Try your single-gear, masticating juicer or blender! With your juicer’s blank plate or homogenizing function, you can combine fruit like bananas, strawberries, and mango and immediately enjoy a no-sugar-added, soft serve ice cream that is loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients!

Fit your masticating juicer with its blank plate or select the homogenizing function. Place your ice cream bowl under the juicer spout and turn on the machine. Adding a couple of pieces at a time, slowly feed through frozen fruit. Watch with amazement as the vibrant soft serve comes out! When finished, enjoy your treat as is, or get decadent with your favorite toppings like chopped nuts, granola, or honey!

Don’t have the right juicer or part? If you have a Vitamix or comparable high-powered blender, you can achieve the same effect by using the tamper while blending on high for 10-30 seconds.

Word to the wise: small batches turn out better when using the Vitamix, so don’t load it up to the top!

Here are some particularly tasty combinations:

  1. Banana and berries
  2. strawberries and mango
  3. peaches, raspberries, and coconut
  4. banana, strawberry, and chocolate sauce
  5. Just plain Mango!
  6. Coconut and strawberry
  7. Blueberries, cherries, and coconut

     

Oct 18, 2019

The Artist Behind the Images - an Interview with Carel

by Matt, Herbal Head Honcho

Over the years as the Almanac has grown in popularity, people have asked us who is responsible for our unique cover art, so this year we sat down with the artist, Carel P. Brest van Kempen, to get an insight into his life and artwork. Enjoy our Q&A!

Q.     Carel, you have been an award-winning painter of wildlife for a long time. What first sparked your interest in art and nature?

"Both things have been with me from the very start. Right after I turned four, my family moved to Emigration Canyon, which was the drainage that Brigham Young and the Mormon Pioneers followed into the Great Salt Lake Valley in 1847. It was a wonderful place for a boy to grow up, and living there was a really important factor in shaping me. I took full advantage and spent as much time as I could exploring the backcountry. I used to carry a sketch pad around as a boy, and imagined myself as a 20th-Century Audubon, with grand plans to put together a big illustrated book depicting the animals and plants of the Wasatch Mountains. Since boyhood, I've always studied the natural world obsessively and enjoyed drawing and painting."

Q.     What aspects of your art do you find the most difficult or the most interesting?

"I think the hardest thing about painting is that the artist knows exactly what it is he's trying to communicate, and I find it's impossible to look at my own work from the point of view that the rest of the world sees it from. That makes it impossible to know whether a painting works or not. The most enjoyable part of painting a piece by far is working out the composition, which I do before I do any actual painting. This is where the creativity is."

Q.     You lead a unique lifestyle, somewhat removed from what other people might consider essential conveniences. Why?

"I don't feel the need for a car or a cell phone. As somebody who loves the natural world, I try to limit my consumption as much as I can. I love to ride a bicycle and find that a bike can meet 98% of my transportation needs. I find that a landline and a home desktop do all the cell phone tasks that I need. I only use a cell phone for travel."

Q.     What are the traits that you find most predictive of success for an artist?

"Developing the skills of drawing and painting are like any other field. You have to put in the work. Talent doesn't have all that much to do with it. Going beyond that point and creating important work, that's where talent makes a difference. You can't really teach a person to have a good aesthetic judgment or to have something interesting to say with their paintings."

Q.     What most drove the development of your talent?

"My theory is that I'm always learning lots of little things, then eventually I'm able to tie those bits together. It was during one of those jumps in my late 20s that I decided to try to be a professional artist. That was a very exciting time. I was completely focused on that goal, and throughout my 30s, pretty much all I did was paint. I put my belongings in storage and lived rent-free for three and a half years to make it easier to concentrate just on art. Another big growth moment for me was when I met Carl Brenders, an amazing Belgian artist. I met him when he was the featured artist at an expo in 1993. There's a marked difference in my paintings before and after that. He's continued to be a very good and generous friend as well as an inspiration."

Q.     What have some of the highlights of your career been?

"Studying nature in the field is crucial, and my favorite experiences have been in nature. Watching the courtship of Wreathed Hornbills in Indonesia, birds of paradise in New Guinea, tracking Drills (a large and very rare baboon) in Cameroon, mountain gorillas in Uganda...I have so many wonderful memories of the field. I've also been lucky to have had my work in a lot of really exciting places. One of the most memorable was at the National Museum in Taipei in 2000. I got to be featured in another similar show in Qingdao, China, in 2017. I just participated in a very exciting project that was unveiled in August 2018, “Silent Skies.” Artists For Conservation, a Canada-based organization, commissioned a 100-foot-long mural made up of 678 different 8-inch-square paintings depicting the Earth's endangered bird species."

Q.     Where can people find your work?

"Over the next year, my solo show will visit the Shafer Gallery in Great Bend, KS, the Chicago Academy of Sciences Notebaert Museum, and the Daytona Museum of Arts and Sciences. You can see exhibit specifics and lots of examples of my work at cpbrestvankempen.com."


Oct 18, 2019

June 2019 Window to Wanderlust

by RidgeCrest Herbals


Oct 15, 2019

Sunburn Relief

by Abbie, Graphics Goddess

There are plenty of ways to shield your skin from damaging UV rays these days, but we can still find ourselves with a nasty sunburn.  Maybe your initial coat of SPF wore off while you were at the lake, you forgot to apply any before a round of yard work, or you went for a hike and forgot to pack the sunblock.  Here are some effective measures you can take after you begin to feel the burn:

Internal relief - while sunburns are a painful surface problem, try relief from within by taking PhysiQOL from Ridgecrest Herbals.  With ingredients like Turmeric, Boswellia extract, Teasel root, and Indian Tinospora (all supportive of the body’s ability to maintain a healthy anti-inflammatory response), this is a great place to start, or as a supplement to other topical remedies.

Salt - Salt has amazing chemical properties when it comes to burns.  Whenever my mother would get burned in the kitchen, I remember watching her immediately wet the area, apply a generous helping of table salt to the burn, then wrap it in a wet paper towel.  She'd wear it for a couple of hours, and the burn would be diminished.  For mild to intermediate sunburns, try an Epsom salt bath.  Start with a warm enough bath to dissolve at least 2 to 4 cups of Epsom salt, then let the water sit to cool, or add ice cubes to bring the temperature to a more comfortable range once the salt has dissolved.  Soak for at least 20 to 30 minutes to feel  relief.  If you don't have access to a bathtub, you can dissolve 2 to 3 tablespoons of Epsom salt into a spray bottle and spray the affected areas.  

Apple Cider Vinegar - Some people swear that apple cider vinegar is the key to sunburn relief, simply by applying it to a rag or paper towel, and blotting the affected skin with it.  While this smell may be too strong for some people, it is a viable option for relief.

Essential Oil Sunburn Spray - If you find salt too drying for your skin type, give this spray a try:  Mix 15 drops of peppermint oil, 15 drops of lavender oil, 5 drops of frankincense oil in a 2 ounce spray bottle, and top off the remaining space with equal parts of witch hazel and a natural aloe vera.  Shake, and spray directly to the burn.  The peppermint and lavender will help to cool and calm the skin, while the frankincense, witch hazel, and aloe vera will help to balance pH and help your skin repair itself.


 


Oct 15, 2019

The Doctrine of Signatures

by Will, Ginger-Beard of Power

Hey, look at this! Chop a carrot and look at its inside.  Looks a lot like a human eye, doesn’t it? Try it. Better yet, find an heirloom carrot, or maybe some of the mixed color carrots, and you will see an even more familiar “sight,” wink!

There are quite a few foods in nature that look suspiciously close to the human organ they benefit. This association was not lost on the ancients and has been explored through the ages by the great minds of their times. Hippocrates said the now-famous phrase “Let food be thy medicine.” Paracelsus claimed that “Nature marks each growth...according to its curative benefit.” Jakob Bӧhme (16th century) claimed that God marked plants with a “signature,” to help us identify its benefits. William Coles felt the same, and even Foucault argued the merit of the concept. Some plants were so well known to benefit the human body that their names developed directly from the benefits they give, such as toothwort or eyebright. These names are just an indication of how old this concept is. 

While there are many plants and foods that follow these interesting patterns, there are also deadly or toxic plants that do as well - how fortunate that we live in an age where the collected wisdom of humanity can be searched at a glance so that we don’t have to make a deadly mistake when exploring the doctrine of signatures!

Here are just a few foods that have been scientifically proven to provide benefits to the organs they resemble: 

Ginger: Ginger resembles the stomach and is one of the best ways you can naturally cure nausea and motion sickness. it also aids digestion and nutrient absorption. 

Pomegranates: Pomegranates look like little blood cells, and a study out of Israel showed that pomegranates help blood flow and blood health in several ways.

Walnuts: Walnuts look like the brain, with their folds and wrinkles. Walnuts are high in omega-3 fatty acids, the building block of the more than 100 billion cells in the brain. Omega-3’s aid the function of neurotransmitter receptors. 

Tomatoes: Tomatoes are red and have chambers just like the human heart.  

Mushrooms: A sliced mushroom looks like the human ear. They contain Vitamins C, D, and E, all which help guard against cellular damage in the ears and blood vessels. 

Grapes: Grapes look like the alveoli of the lungs, and are full of antioxidants and resveratrol, which supports free movement in the cells of the nasal passages and lungs. 

Carrots: The most well-known signature, carrots contain beta-carotene, a vitamin that protects eye health, especially in older people. 

Celery: Celery looks like your bones, with that same good crunch! This alkalizing veggie is full of Vitamin K, which is necessary on a cellular level for bone health. It also has calcium, folate, manganese (for the synthesis of connective tissue in the bone), and magnesium.

Kidney beans: Kidney beans are self-explanatory, aren’t they? They are rich in magnesium and potassium, which help keep the kidneys free from buildup.

Sweet Potato: This yummy french fry option closely resembles the pancreas. That makes sense, as it is a low glycemic carb that helps support even blood sugar, making the pancreas's job easier. 

Figs: This one is a bit of low-hanging fruit, but have you ever noticed that figs hang in twos and are full of seeds contained in a sac? Their appearance may be why they have long been a symbol of male fertility. Now science has revealed that figs actually can increase sperm motility and quantity. It’s nuts!

 If you are like me, you spend a lot of time thinking about what is the truth, our purpose, and what we have a responsibility to do for the coming generations and how we respect life, time, and the body we have been gifted. Enjoy digging through the rich history and building your own thoughts around the Doctrine of Signatures. I did!





 


Oct 15, 2019

June 2019 Organtics

by RidgeCrest Herbals


Oct 15, 2019

Best Herbs for Pest Control

by Nichole, Magical Marketing Millenial

Gardening can be a rewarding endeavor, but keeping your plants alive sometimes means doing a little crowd control! Conventional poisons can harm soil, children, and pets, so here are some natural solutions I found:

 

 

Earwig Sauce Trap:

2 tbsp soy sauce 

½ c cooking oil

Shallow bowl/container

Mix together, leave overnight. This catches earwigs, centipedes, ants, and cockroaches. Keep away from pets. 

Ant & Spider Spray:

Water bottle

Water

5-10 drops peppermint or cinnamon essential oil

Mix and spray. I found that ants avoided places sprayed.

Ant Syrup:

½ c powdered sugar

3 tbsp borax

Enough water to make a thick syrup

Mix together, drop near ants. This killed some ants and the colony moved away. Keep away from pets & children.

Boozy Slug Trap:

Beer of choice

Shallow bowl or container 

Leave bowl out overnight. Dispose of caught slugs/snails.

Plants/Herbs for pest control: 

Marigolds - Mosquitoes, aphids

Nasturtiums - Aphids, beetles, squash bugs

Basil & Lavender - House flies, mosquitoes

Lemongrass, lemon balm, mint, rosemary - mosquitoes

Thyme - whiteflies, cabbage loopers & maggots, corn earworms, hornworms

Dill - aphids, squash bugs, spider mites, hornworms

Fennel - slugs, aphids, snails

Allium Family (chives/onions/leeks)- Slugs, aphids

Borage - Hornworms, cabbage moths

 

 


Oct 15, 2019

My Fasting Journey

by Shae, Customer Service and Social Media Goddess

Ever since I was in the third grade, I have struggled with my weight. I have been made fun of and called terrible names. It's been a long-standing scar in my life. So naturally, like so many of us, I am always searching for ways to be healthy. I have explored counting calories, keto, paleo, veganism, vegetarianism, juicing, and the HCG diet, with varied results from each. 

I was browsing social media one day, and someone touted the Snake Diet for weight loss and health benefits. I had never heard of it, so I began to research. The Snake Diet is prolonged fasting with a homemade electrolyte drink. When I first heard about prolonged fasting it seemed so extreme I couldn’t wrap my head around it. But I kept researching and found that intermittent & prolonged fasting has many health benefits, and weight loss is just a perk!

Despite the concept of fasting being new to me, it has been practiced for centuries and plays a central role in many cultures and religions around the world. We would not have survived as a species had our bodies not been designed to fast. My generation has been told our whole lives we need to eat 3-6 meals every day, making the idea of fasting for longer than a few hours scary to consider, not to mention the sugar addiction that keeps us going back to foods that aren't good for us. 

Scientific studies have found that intermittent and prolonged fasting can support and promote blood sugar control, heart health, good blood pressure, a healthy immune system, brain function, and metabolism.  Fasting has also shown to help with healthy skin, weight, longevity, natural detoxification within the body, and much more. 

One of the best benefits of fasting is that it promotes autophagy. Autophagy is a metabolic process in the body that helps to recycle old, damaged and diseased cells. How amazing are our bodies?

I have PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome, infertility, amenorrhea, anovulation, eczema, dandruff, skin allergies, hirsutism, depression, and anxiety along with my weight problems. I have been on a journey of health for most of my adult life and am always trying to find ways to help myself after doctors have failed to help me. Perhaps fasting was the answer I had been looking for!

The Snake Diet protocol calls to start off with a 48 hr fast to break the fear of fasting. I pulled all my bravery and willpower together and committed to a 24hr fast first. Once I reached the 24hr mark, I felt amazing, so I pushed to the 48 hr fast. To my surprise I lost 2.5lbs in the first round, I had energy, my brain fog cleared, and I felt happy. I couldn’t believe it! I kept pushing with short fasts of 24hr & 48hrs for a few weeks before I made it to the 72hr mark, the longest I have gone so far. I have noticed that I am not as down or anxious, my co-workers have seen how bright my skin glows, and I have lost a total of 20 pounds in two months. My husband, who is doing this experiment with me, has lost 50! 

I have found a new sense of empowerment. I have this great feeling of being in control of my body and my health. I have become acutely aware of what my body needs, what is my sugar addiction talking, the difference between want & need, that hunger is mostly dehydration or sugar/food addiction, and that I eat to find comfort when feeling emotional stress. Fasting has become yoga for my digestive system and eating habits. Less has become more,  and I have a greater appreciation for food. I notice how various foods affect my body, for example, grass-fed beef helps me feel more energized and I can fast longer afterward, whereas chicken makes me hungry sooner and I notice more brain fog.

I plan to continue on my healing journey of fasting and hope that one day my biggest dream of becoming a mother will come true. 

I urge you to do some research on fasting, especially if you have health or weight issues. Who knows, fasting could be the answer you have been looking for! 


 

              




 


Oct 15, 2019

Bee-Friendly Plants that are Bee-Loved

by Nichole, Magical Marketing Millenial

Bees are in trouble! The threats of pesticides, herbicides, and other environmental

man-made hazards are drastically reducing their population. Without bees - we

have a food crisis. Here are some plants you can add to your yard that can give

them a much needed helping hand:

Lavender

White Clover

Dandelion

Echinacea

New England Aster

Blackberries

Raspberries

Catmint

Bee Balm

Chives

Thyme

Mint

Oregano

Sage

Rosemary

Lemon Balm

Basil

Hostas

Hyacinths

Snapdragons

Cosmos

Marigolds

Pansies

Geraniums

Other ways to help: use natural weed/pest controls (pouring boiling water on weeds is great!), create a water bath to keep bees hydrated, build homes for native bees, create awareness, educate local families and friends, or adopt a hive!  Our friends over at Host Defense have done some amazing research with bee life expectancy and medicinal mushrooms.  Search “Paul Stamets Save the Bees” for more information.


Oct 15, 2019

2019 Almanac Frequently Asked Questions

by Brit, Herbal Gaia

We regularly get calls from people asking excellent questions about our products. So we thought we would compile a list of the most common questions we are asked, so you both have the answers yourself and know the kind of great questions you should be asking any company about their products. Enjoy!

Will any of our products cause high blood pressure?

High blood pressure is a serious condition and should be discussed with your health care provider. We have never received complaints of this side effect with any of our products, but sometimes people are concerned because several of our formulas include Chinese licorice. While European licorice has been shown to raise blood pressure in dosages over 400mg, much larger doses than our 36.2 mg of Chinese licorice are not known to have the same effect, and Chinese licorice is not used for that purpose in herbal medicine. 

Are our products safe to take while pregnant?

Because we are not medical physicians we legally cannot advise you on this issue, and you should discuss with your doctor about any supplements you are considering while pregnant. We have had customers and staff take our products while pregnant without issue. 

Are our products safe to take while breastfeeding?

In general, herbs are believed to be safe for breastfeeding mothers, and several are commonly used to help lactation supply. Again, we legally have to refer you to your medical advisor regarding this concern. 

Do our products contain tree nuts?

No, our products contain no tree nuts, GMO’s, soy, or corn, and all but Hair Revive are vegan. 

Can all of our products be taken long term?

Every individual is unique, and while some may find long-term use useful, others may see their results are better served by taking our products short term. Long-term use should be discussed with your healthcare practitioner (notice a pattern?). Breaks of 1-7 days can sometimes help increase effectiveness during extended use. 

What is Prop 65?

Proposition 65 is a California-only law so strict even the highest quality products on the market often require the warning. Even a carrot grown organically on a small rural farm often contains too much lead absorbed from the soil to successfully meet Prop65 standards, so legally it is safer for us to include the warning. However, our products don't contain any harmful chemicals or components that would put you at risk and exceed the safety standards set by the federal government. Our products are texted for heavy metals and other toxins at least three times before being released, and we have never had a complaint or adverse event related to Prop65. You can find a more thorough explanation of this law on our website.

Are our products manufactured in the same facility as allergens (such as crustaceans)? 

All our products save one are vegan and free from corn, dairy, gluten, GMO, soy, wheat, and yeast. The exception is Hair Revive, which contains N-Acetyl-l-cysteine derived from feathers (a by-product of poultry production). Our manufacturers rarely produce any products with common allergens and are required by law to thoroughly clean and sanitize their machines between batches of products to ensure no cross-contamination.  We personally audit our manufacturers to make sure they adhere to all regulations as well as our own, higher standards.  

Can the products be combined?

All of our products are safe to use, and it is common for people to take more than one at once. If you have concerns, we recommend you discuss your individual needs with your healthcare provider. You probably only want to start one new product at a time so you can judge the effectiveness and any reactions (though unlikely) you may have, and if you have a sensitive stomach be sure to take the products at separate times of the day with food. 

Can the capsules be opened and take another way?

Sometimes people struggle taking pills. The capsules can be opened and the contents can be added to smoothies, yogurt, applesauce, etc. There may be an herbal or vitamin taste. 

Do we offer coupons?

Currently, we do not offer coupons. All of our products are Buy 3 get 1 Free when purchased from us directly. Each month we have one or two items 25% off.  New customers get 20% off. The new customer and buy 3 get 1 free offer can not be combined. 

Will the products go bad if left in the heat?

This would depend on how hot they got, if the capsules melted or became otherwise compromised, and the humidity in your area. There is always a chance that exposure to heat and moisture could create a potential risk of microbes, and the potency of the product could become affected. Definitely throw it out if it develops an unpleasant or unusual smell. Feel free to contact us with questions if you are unsure.

What is the difference between ClearLungs & Airway Clear? 

The difference lies in the concepts of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). ClearLungs is considered a "hot" or "warm" formula. This simply means that it helps direct circulation to the lungs. When you increase circulation to the lungs, you increase oxygen and nutrient delivery and allow the body to naturally and gently cleanse. AirwayClear is considered a "cool" or "cold" formula. This means that it helps to cool the nervous system down - thus supporting open airways. Customers are encouraged to experiment with both to see what works best for them. Alternate doses if combining. 

Are all expiration dates set to 4 years out?

Our products that contain vitamins have a 2-year shelf life because vitamins are known to break down faster than herbs. Most herbs survive longer than our 4-year shelf life but we currently only have tested to prove shelf-stability for that time frame. 

Are your products Certified Organic? 

No. Most herbs are grown without chemicals or GMO’s, but pesticides from nearby farms can travel. We require documentation that no chemicals were used on the ingredients we purchase for our blends. We are always striving to ensure quality and transparency. 


 


Oct 15, 2019

A Living Roof

by Will, Ginger-Beard of Power

A living roof is a roof covered with vegetation. It provides many advantages, including improved air quality in urban centers, aesthetics, insulation, and vegetation/habitat for small animals. In 2017, I installed a living roof over my potting shed. This is how I did it:

I Built rafters at a 12-inch spacing on ¾ inch MDF, strong to handle snow load. I built a frame around the roof, for a 3.5-inch soil depth. I used pond liner to prevent leaking. The edge of the roof space was lined with shingles. We ran vinyl deer fencing long ways between layers of soil, and we were ready to fill and plant. I made my own mix of soil to keep it light and well-draining - a mixture of coconut peat, vermiculite, perlite, and utilite. The plants took off! They still have a long way to cover the entire roof space but it was clear they loved the space. The birds and bugs quickly started to use the space. Plants cool themselves much as we do. During hot summer days, you can feel the inside of the roof is far cooler than the outside temperature.


Oct 11, 2019

2018 RidgeCrest Herbal's Pumpkin Baking Contest Winner

by RidgeCrest Herbals

Ridgecrest loves pumpkin, so in October we had a contest to see who could make the most delicious pumpkin-based treat! Here’s the winner:

 

Scott’s Pumpkin Pastry

Ingredients

• 2 cups all-purpose flour

• 1 cup butter

• 1⁄2 cup water

• 3 large eggs

• 3⁄4 cup sugar

• 1 tsp ground cinnamon

• 1⁄2 tsp salt

• 1 egg beaten

• 1⁄2 tsp ground ginger

• 1⁄4 tsp ground cloves

• 1 15oz can of 100% pumpkin puree

• 4 oz evaporated milk 

Directions

1. In a large bowl, cut room temperature butter into flour until the mixture has a crumb-like texture. Make a well in the center, add cold water. Mix until it forms a ball. Do not over-mix. Chill dough in the refrigerator.

2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Grease cookie sheets.

3. While dough is chilling, blend pumpkin puree, 2 eggs, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt. Slowly stir in evaporated milk.

4. Divide dough into 4 parts and roll into 15-inch strips. Place filling along the center of each long strip of dough. Roll up and pinch the ends to seal. Place strips 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet. Brush with a beaten egg (the 3rd egg), and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.

5. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.

 


Oct 11, 2019

October 2019 Organtics

by RidgeCrest Herbals


Oct 11, 2019

The Detrimental Effects of Sugar

by Aspen, Herbal Authoress

Let me preface this by saying that I am both a sugar-addict and an emotional eater. So don’t think I don’t understand how hard giving up sugar is. But after gaining 70 pounds in two years from stress eating and pregnancy, I was starting to face a future wrought with weight-related health problems. I have always been blessedly healthy and looking into that future scared me pretty badly. I had to give it up. And you know what? IT IS POSSIBLE!

Giving up an addiction is not easy. There are both physical cravings and psychological baggage that have to be considered and addressed. One thing that helps me keep on track is reminding myself about all the ways sugar is terrible for me. When you get that bug in your ear telling you, “this is going to increase my chances of getting sick with the cold going around,” or “if I eat this, it is going to be more painful to get out of bed tomorrow or climb the stairs to my apartment,” it can be easier to say no and stay on track, because it stops feeling worth it. So here are some not-so-fun facts about sugar to help motivate you to drop it from your lifestyle! 

  1. Sugar is classified as a hepatotoxin - “a toxic chemical substance that damages the liver.” OMG! 

  2. When sugar hits your system, it is quickly turned into fat.

  3. When you consume sugar, it enters your bloodstream and your body produces insulin to bring your blood sugar levels back down. When you consume excess amounts of sugar, your body starts to struggle with this, and you get insulin-resistance. This is what leads to diabetes.

  4. The sugar-high is followed by a crash, making you crave more sugar a few hours after consuming. So giving into one sugar craving is opening the path for cravings throughout the day. 

  5. Cancer cells thrive on sugar and use it as food to replicate and grow. 

  6. Sugar messes with your body’s production of leptin, the hormone that tells you when you are full. So eating sugar can lead to overeating other foods - and not feeling full.

  7. Sugar has many names - high fructose corn syrup, and anything ending in “-ose” on an ingredient label, i.e., fructose, sucrose, etc. So you have to read your labels!

  8. Sugar is found in almost every processed food in the grocery store, including yogurts, pasta sauces, bread, ketchup, etc. Even options that look healthy could be contributing to your sugar addiction - and making it harder to feel full!

  9. Your brain gets its fuel from two sources - glucose and fat. It functions better on fat, and excessive sugar consumption has been linked to anxiety, depression, and even schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, and dementia. Some parents with autistic children have found success in improving their child’s mental function by eliminating sugar and processed foods and moving to a high-fat diet. People with Traumatic Brain Injuries are encouraged to eat snacks high in healthy fat every few hours to improve brain function. 

  10. Excessive sugar consumption may be as bad for your liver as excessive alcohol. 

  11. Sugar increases your uric acid levels, which are factors in kidney and heart disease.

  12. Sugar is inflammatory and may contribute to feelings of soreness, difficulty moving, and other health problems associated with inflammation, such as IBD and Crohn’s, arthritis, and asthma.

  13. Refined carbs, such as processed bread, pasta, and cereal, are immediately converted to fructose in your body, so metabolically they are basically the same as eating sugar.

  14. When your body stores sugar as fat, it likes to store it in the belly region, leading to fatty liver disease and other serious health problems.

  15. Sugar, obviously, contributes to obesity and the health issues associated with being overweight.

  16. Detrimental health effects have also been associated with artificial sweeteners. 

It is crazy to me that, even knowing all the health risks associated with sugar consumption, I can still go binge-crazy on a pint of Ben and Jerry’s (Chubby Hubby, if you were wondering). For me, it has to be all-or-nothing. I can’t have just a *little* sugar in a day. I can’t have just a *piece* of chocolate. If I sneak one Oreo from the office kitchen in the morning, by the end of the day there will be a cup full of peanut butter M&M’s at my desk, dinner will be followed by S’mores made on my stove, and a bag of Sour Patch Kids by my bed as I fall asleep. And I am likely to start the next day with pastries or sugary coffee. So I know that it isn’t easy to give up. No one knows it better than me. But if I can make it through the first week or two (or three, or six) staying in control and just saying no until the cravings go away, I feel better, I look better, and food just tastes better. It is hard, but believe me - if I can do it, anyone can!


Oct 10, 2019

Join the Blue Teal Project

by Aspen, Herbal Authoress

When my son turned 2, I was faced with a dilemma. We are a whole-food, non-processed, low-plastic household, and I think it is important to spend an extra dollar or two to get organic food free from additives and preservatives for my kid. But when it came to his birthday cake, I needed to get enough to feed approximately 40 people. To get a cake that upheld our usual standards, it would mean spending around $60 on a cake from a specialty store, when I could get a huge sheet cake with plenty for all from Costco for under $20. Was it worth spending that much, especially when most people eating it wouldn’t care? 

Fortunately, the decision was made for me. One of my son’s weekly babysitters, who watched him for free, had a gluten allergy. I thought about just getting her a cupcake, but I didn’t want her to be singled out, so I went ahead and ordered the crazy gluten-free cake from a great (but expensive) local vegan bakery. 

It turned out I made a very good choice. Not only was my babysitter gluten-free, but her daughter was, as well, which I had not known. When her six-year-old daughter realized that she was going to be able to have a slice of REAL birthday cake, she went through the roof. In all the birthday parties she had attended, she had always been given a gluten-free cupcake. She had never had her own, real, honest-to-goodness slice of birthday cake. The excitement she had for getting to experience something so incredibly normal brought joy to my heart and made the cost worth it. It turned out another kid there had an egg allergy, so the fact it was vegan allowed another kid to experience the special joy of a slice of birthday cake. 

There is an organization out there called the Teal Pumpkin Project. It allows you to add your home to a map so kids with allergies in your area will know your house has something just for them. So be sure to get some stickers, trinkets, slap bracelets, Pogs, whatever is in right now - and put it in a separate plastic pumpkin for the kids in your neighborhood. I sign up my house every year. We don’t deal with allergies, but something doesn’t have to affect you for you to be part of the solution.


Oct 10, 2019

Shaes Fall Traditions

by Shae, Customer Service and Social Media Goddess

I grew up in a home without many traditions, except for celebrating Christmas, which as I grew up found was very much commercialized and it took the magic out of it for me. My partner also grew up without many traditions so when we married, we didn’t have any traditions. We even skipped the Christmas tree because I couldn’t bare the thought of killing a tree just to have it for three weeks and I was worried about the ecological impact plastic trees would have. 

As time has gone on, I have found a desire to bring more tradition into my life. Fall is my favorite season. I absolutely love anything that has to do with fall. I have been trying to cement in fall traditions, which include fall hikes, making soup and anything pumpkin. I have been putting together fall dinners and bonfires with friends and family. I am trying to make my own that are special to me and the people in my life. 

I have never done anything by the book so to speak, I draw outside the lines and make my own trail. So for those of you who don’t have traditions or are tired of the ones you do have, make your own! 


Oct 10, 2019

2019 October Window to Wanderlust

by Abbie, Graphics Goddess

Mesa Verde National Park, New Mexico


Oct 10, 2019

Spider Identification - Friend or Foe

by Shae, Customer Service and Social Media Goddess

One of my fondest memories growing up was when my grandma would read to me. My favorite book was Be Nice to Spiders by Margaret Bloy Graham. It was a story about a helpful little spider named Helen at a zoo. My dad would always catch & release spiders, instead of killing them. These influences sparked my lifelong love of these creepy little arachnids. As I got older, I began researching spiders’ roles as spirit guides/totems. Grandmother Spider is the weaver of creativity, the keeper of destiny & knowledge and the guardian of ancient languages & alphabets. She connects us to the energies of the spirit worlds and is a lunar symbol for death and rebirth, who teaches us that through polarity and balance creativity can be stimulated. 

Most spiders are really just misunderstood, friends!  Here are some facts about some of the most common spiders: 

Black Widows:

Location: The United States. They are usually found in dark, dry areas such as rock/woodpiles, basements, and garages.

Identification: These guys are shiny black or brown with a red hourglass on their abdomen

Bite: While a bite can cause severe pain, their bites are seldom deadly. Young children and the elderly are at the most risk of having severe reactions. Symptoms include nausea, sweating, cramps, fever, and dizziness, and you should seek medical attention if bitten.

Behavior:  These ones are nocturnal, build webs, and typically stay in one spot unless disturbed. They are shy and rarely bite unless provoked. 

Friend or Foe: Friend unless provoked, and they eat harmful insects.

Brown Recluse:  

Location: Found in warmer states between the Rockies and Appalachians. They like dark corners. 

Identification: Small brown, approximately the size of a quarter, with a violin pattern on their backs. They have six eyes instead of eight.

Bite: While their bites can lead to necrotic skin lesions, only around 10% of bites require medical attention and are not fatal. One of the most misdiagnosed bites, they typically look like small pimples or mosquito bites. The fangs are too small and short to bite through clothing. Biting is usually a response to being crushed or provoked.

Behavior: These fellas are not aggressive and run for cover when disturbed. They are nocturnal and shy away from daylight.          

Friend or Foe: Friend unless provoked, and they eat harmful insects.

Cellar Spider:

Location: Everywhere except Antarctica. They like dark, damp areas, as well as basements/sheds.

Identification: There are over 1,500 species of cellar spider, and are usually up to ¾ inch length, and skinny & fragile with long legs. Pale, yellow, light brown, or gray.

Bite: These guys are not aggressive; they have short fangs and don’t bite humans.

Behavior: This species is at least 400 million years old. They groom themselves and vibrate rapidly in response to predators!

Friend or Foe: Friend to us, but they eat other insects, including spiders!

Grass Spider:

Location: United States & Russia. You will find them in grassy areas.

Identification: Brown or gray with two parallel dark lines running lengthwise, with prominent spinnerets.

Bite: Lucky for us, grass spiders are not aggressive; they don’t bite humans.

Behavior: They build non-sticky funnel webs, and are often mistaken for wolf spiders.

Friend or Foe: Friend, of course! They provide excellent pest control.

Hobo:

Location: Pacific Northwest States. You will spot hobos scuttling in dark areas, flower beds, rock/woodpiles, and basements.

Identification: Brown with a zigzag pattern on the back, smooth even-colored legs, and the hobo males have two large palps between their front legs.

Bite: These friends are not aggressive, but will bite if threatened or pressed against the skin. Only about half of their bites are venomous, and none are strong enough to be life-threatening. Get bitten by these, and you might see redness, pain, headache, nausea, weakness, and fatigue. Seek medical attention with these ones.

Behavior: Hobos have poor vision and can only see a few feet away so they may run when spooked, sometimes towards people. They are funnel-web weavers and don’t have sticky webs. They are nocturnal and are poor climbers.

Friend or Foe: Friend unless provoked, and they eat insects.

Jumping Spider:

Location: These guys live everywhere except Antarctica & the Arctic and you will find them in a variety of habitats.

Identification: Black, brown, tan, gray, or white with pale markings. Fuzzy, they can be ⅛”-¾” long. 

Bite: Not aggressive or capable of biting humans.

Behavior: Jumping spiders are active during the day, these fellas like sunshine, plus they have fantastic eyesight except at night. As you can infer, they are great at jumping! These are the most prominent family of spiders in the word and account for 13% of all spiders.

Friend or Foe: Friend, naturally. They eat flies, gnats, and other spiders.

Orb Weavers:

Location: The United States & Canada. They like gardens and vegetation.

Identification: With over 4,000 species, orb weavers are typically brightly colored with patterns and ¼”-1”, long, spiny legs. They can usually be identified by their intricate, wheel-shaped webs. Catface spiders are in this family.

Bite: These are not aggressive and will only bite in self-defense. Their bite is not venomous and produces localized pain no more significant than a wasp's sting.

Behavior: Because of their poor eyesight, they rely on vibrations to tell them what is around them.

Friend or Foe: Friend, they provide natural pest control.

Wolf Spider:

Location: Everywhere except Antarctica. They prefer grassy areas, woold/rock piles, and basements.

Identification: These guys are up to 1”, brown with black markings, and hairy.

Bite: These ones are not aggressive unless provoked, but their bite is painful like a bee sting and can cause red bumps, swelling, and itchiness. Allergic reactions can include nausea and dizziness. Seek medical attention if you run afoul of these ones.

Behavior: They are fast-moving hunters who don’t spin webs, with excellent eyesight. They are nocturnal and carry their babies on their backs.

Friend or Foe: Friend unless provoked, and they eat harmful insects.

While you might find these little guys creepy or scary, most spiders are more afraid of you than you are of them! They eat other insects, they are a crucial part of the ecosystem, and they saved Wilbur! 


 


Oct 3, 2019

2019 February Window to Wanderlust

by RidgeCrest Herbals


Oct 1, 2019

Becoming an Effective Political Advocate

by Matt, Herbal Head Honcho

Politics are like the weather—people like to complain a lot, but they hardly ever do anything about it! Luckily, politics is slightly easier to change, though it definitely takes longer to see those changes (Here in Utah, we say that if you don’t like the weather, just wait 15 minutes!). Sometimes the pace of political change can seem glacial, but when enough people get behind an important idea, change can come with remarkable speed. Here are a few principles to help jumpstart your political activism:

  1. Your government representatives work for YOU. So when you speak, they want to listen! Your support and vote are important to them. Don’t be shy about approaching them with issues that are important to you.

  2. You are not alone in trying to get your representative’s ear. Each Congressperson currently represents about 711,000 people and each US Senator represents from 563,626 to 37,253,956 people. They can’t personally meet with everyone, but luckily, not everyone is trying to meet with them. Just by making an effort you improve your chances!

  3. Your representatives have staff. Use them! Representative track lots of issues and delegate them to employees for day-to-day monitoring. In many cases, the subordinates may know the problems you are dealing with better than their boss, and they have the boss’ ear, even after you go back to work. Staff members can be your best friend or your worst enemy, so treat them right.

  4. Your representatives are BUSY, so be respectful of their time. Get straight to the point and tell them what you would like them to help with, and how.

  5. Understand the process and be informed. It won’t help your credibility if what you are asking for is impossible, or was soundly defeated three weeks ago. If you understand the lawmaking process, you can better contribute to the discussion.

  6. Every bill is assigned to a committee for initial screening. Work with members on the appropriate committees to make sure your bill gets early traction.

  7. Get bi-partisan support. If your bill or issue appeals only to one party, then its chances of success are minimal. Influential members of both parties will help your issue get serious consideration.

  8. Representatives have differing priorities and objectives. Not every representative may be aware of your issue, and they may be fighting other battles so they may not want to lead out on your topic. Still, if you can find an ally elsewhere to carry the ball, you can at least get your representative to vote in favor of your pet project when it comes up.

  9. Some representatives may just see things differently from you. That’s okay. You don’t have to win all of the votes to your side— only the majority. Treat other views with respect, even if they disagree, because you may yet need their vote on another issue. This is a good rule for life in general, even though it runs counter to the current polarized style of national discourse.

  10. You are not the only person interested in your issue. Organize with others to multiply your voice and make it heard! The more you educate people, the better your chances of success!

  11. Representatives can do more than just make laws. Sometimes a Congressional press conference, letter, subpoena, or hearing can be all that is needed to change the course of public policy. Be creative!

  12. Be persistent. Few legislative successes come easily or quickly. Keep after it until you succeed.

Although these principles are written with an eye toward Washington DC, they also apply to state and local issues right up to the United Nations. Remember the old adage—all politics is local. Representatives listen most to the people they represent, so local connections are always the key to getting things done. Getting your neighbors involved with you on a cause you believe in can be both fun and rewarding and can help make your world a better place.

Finally, don’t limit yourself to thinking locally. Involve friends you meet from other places too! They can work on their representatives, whether they live across town or around the world. 

Armed with these simple ideas, you can do a lot! Whether you want to help bring about world peace or save Franklin’s bumblebee (or both!), you stand a much better chance if you work smart! I hope this helps, and I hope to see you on the Hill - you will find me there advocating in just these ways for the supplement industry!



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