Off grid living: Grow 25 pounds of sweet potatoes in a bucket

Image: Off grid living: Grow 25 pounds of sweet potatoes in a bucket
Source: NaturalNews.com
Amy Goodrich
March 5, 2017

Although sweet potatoes are an important staple food for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, this versatile, orange root tuber can be added to many other meals all year round. While sweet potatoes have been used for ages by many cultures around the world, until recently they weren’t a regular sight on American kitchen tables outside of the Holiday season.

In the past decade, however, the sweet potato has found its way to our hearts. According to the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center, the root vegetable’s popularity has skyrocketed between 2000 and 2014, with its consumption increasing by nearly 80 percent. And for a good reason; sweet potatoes pack a powerful nutritional punch.

They are loaded with essential micronutrients to promote overall health and have fewer calories than ordinary potatoes. Essential nutrients found in sweet potatoes include fiber, protein, beta-carotene, vitamin C, manganese, potassium, and many vitamins of the B-complex.

What’s more, you actually don’t need a big garden or a lot of space to grow your own supply of sweet potatoes. Read on to find out how to grow sweet potatoes at your home.

Easy steps to grow sweet potatoes in a bucket

  1. Select the right sweet potato – Rooted sweet potatoes will give you the best result since you can be sure that they are not treated with pesticides to stop the sprouting process.
  2. Create some heat – Unlike regular potatoes, sweet potatoes love the heat. While sweet potatoes will still grow at a minimum temperature of 50 °F (10°C), they seem to do much better at room temperature. So, if you live in a colder climate, make sure to keep them indoors.
  3. Prepare a 5-gallon bucket – Once you have selected the right sprouted potato, fill a container that has draining holes in the bottom with moist soil. Plant one potato per 5-gallon bucket, tops exposed.
  4. Waiting for “slips” to emerge – After a while, green shoots or slips will start to grow out of the sweet potato. This step will take about 90 days.
  5. Transplant the slips – Once the slips are big enough, about 6 to 12 inches, it is time to gently remove them from the sweet potato and transplant them to a larger 20-gallon container. In each 20-gallon container, you can plant six sweet potato slips.
  6. Pick the right season – As mentioned before, sweet potatoes are a heat-loving plant. If you are planning to grown them outdoors, make sure the last frost of spring has already passed. Late spring is the ideal time of the year. Also, make sure they stay well-watered.
  7. Harvest time – After about 3 to 4 months – or when the leaves and vines start to turn yellow – you can start digging up the sweet potatoes. If you grow outdoors, this is usually just after the first frost. After digging up the sweet potatoes, shake off any excess dirt, but do not wash them with water as sweet potatoes need a curing process to create their delicious, sweet taste.
  8. Cure sweet potatoes – Next to enhancing their flavor, curing allows a second skin to form over scratches and bruises you made while digging up the potatoes. This protective layer makes it possible to store sweet potatoes at room temperature for up to a year. To cure, store the harvested tubers in a warm, humid place (80°F or 27°C) for two weeks.

As reported by Off The Grid News, bucket-grown sweet potatoes will have a yield of about 25 pounds for each 20-gallon container. (RELATED: Find more information about off-the-grid living at OffGrid.news.)

Read More At: NaturalNews.com

Sources:

TrueActivist.com

AGMRC.org

WHFoods.com

Almanac.com

How To Get Your Body Alkaline In 3 Steps

Source: iHealthTube.com
Dr. Isaac Eliaz
August 1, 2016

Many experts will talk about the dangers of a body that’s too acidic. So how do you turn things around and make your body’s terrain more alkaline? Dr. Isaac Eliaz offers three things you can do that can help your body get back into natural pH balance. Find out how to get your body alkaline in 3 steps.

7 Reasons Eating Dark Chocolate Supports Healthy Living

Dark chocolate
Source: NaturalNews.com
Amy Goodrich
July 20, 2016

Chocolate has been a long-time favorite of children and adults alike to satisfy a sweet tooth or cure a broken heart.

In the early day’s chocolate was seen as a mood-enhancing aphrodisiac and symbol of luxury and power only available to the wealthiest of people. Once touted as the “food of Gods” for its myriad of health benefits, this popular comfort food received some bad press due to its high fat content.

Despite the wealth of positive coverage, chocolate has long been suspected of worsening acne and increasing the risk for a host of lifestyle illnesses such as heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and cancer.

However, not all chocolate is created equally. The sugar and milk infused chocolate most Americans consume today will not be of much help when it comes to improving your health and happiness.

Dark chocolate, with at least 70 percent cocoa, on the other hand, has been scientifically proven to keep your brain sharp, your heart in perfect condition, and your skin shielded from UV-induced damage.

Here are seven science-backed reasons why you should indulge in this bitter and sweet treat more often.

1. Packed with beneficial nutrients

Dark chocolate with a high cocoa percentage is a good source of healthy fats, fiber, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, zinc, among many other beneficial plant nutrients. Though, moderation is key as all these nutrients come with a lot of calories and moderate amounts of sugar too.

2. Antioxidant powerhouse

Cocoa houses an impressive amount of powerful antioxidants such as polyphenols, flavanols, and catechins. In the ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) chart, raw cocoa is at the top of the antioxidant list, among other superfoods such as blueberries, goji berries, and pomegranate seeds.

The ORAC scale was developed to measure the effectiveness of antioxidants to neutralize free radicals that may cause damage to DNA, cells, and tissues.

3. Reduce blood pressure naturally

A 2012 study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that moderate consumption of dark chocolate or raw cocoa powder reduced blood pressure and improved insulin levels and blood flow.

4. Improve cholesterol levels

If you are struggling with elevated cholesterol levels, dark chocolate may become your new best friend. Regular consumption has shown to significantly decrease oxidized LDL (bad) cholesterol while improving HDL (good) cholesterol.

5 May Lower cardiovascular disease risk

High blood pressure, elevated LDL cholesterol, and insulin levels have been linked to cardiovascular diseases. As mentioned above, dark chocolate has a positive effect on all three, thus reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases or death.

One study found that people who ate chocolate five times or more a week had a 57 percent lower risk of developing cardiovascular issues. However, this number is to be taken with a grain of salt as it is based on observational studies and other factors may be at play.

6. Chocolate as a natural sunscreen

Flavanols in dark chocolate may protect against UV-induced damage, improve blood flow to the skin, and increase skin density and hydration.

7. Boost brain health

Lastly, dark chocolate may also boost brain power. It improves blood flow to the brain and has shown to improve memory in elderly people with mental impairment. Cocoa contains caffeine-like substances known to boost short-term brain function.

While the evidence that raw cocoa or dark chocolate can significantly improve your health is definitely out there, remember, that doesn’t give you carte blanche to load up on this sweet, bitter treat.

Keep consumption down to a square or two a day and make sure to buy high-quality and organic dark chocolate with at least 70 percent cocoa. The more cocoa, the better as that is where all the amazing benefits are coming from.

Read More At: NaturalNews.com

Five Cancer-Fighting Recipes That Also Helps You Beat The Summer Heat

Summer produce
Source: NaturalNews.com
Isabelle Z.
July 13, 2016

As summer kicks into full swing, gardens everywhere are overflowing with fruit and vegetables. If you’ve been looking for creative ways to use summer produce, the American Institute for Cancer Research has published five of its most popular cancer-protective recipes that can help you beat the heat, while taking advantage of the plethora of great fruits and vegetables that are currently in season.

Breakfast berry parfait

First up is their Breakfast berry parfait, which can help you start out your day with an all-important punch of protein. It also has important compounds that fight cancer, such as vitamin C and a phytochemical known as ellagic acid. The best part of this recipe is its adaptability. It will taste just as good if you need to make it ahead of time, and you can easily transport it to work or wherever you happen to eat breakfast – although it also makes for a great snack. You can also switch out the berries as needed.

Shrimp fajitas

Another winner is the AICR’s satisfying Shrimp fajitas recipe. This dish is great for a cookout, and it uses a marinade before grilling, which has been shown to help reduce carcinogen formation. The shrimp is lightly spiced to give it just the right amount of edge, while the sweet grilled peppers and onions balance the dish out nicely. It’s also low in calories, which is important for maintaining a healthy weight – another way to protect against cancer!

Southwestern bean salad

Cold salads are the ideal side on a hot day, and they’re also highly convenient for picnics and beach outings. This Southwestern bean salad recipe uses black beans as its base on account of their high amounts of protein and cancer-fighting flavonoids and fiber. This colorful salad is kid-friendly, and children can even get it on the act by helping to mix the ingredients – just make sure an adult takes care of chopping the peppers and carrots it contains!

Grilled panzanella

Panzanella is a memorable side that not many people have heard of, but is almost universally liked. It’s a bit of a departure from the norm, yet it is accessible enough that most people will be willing to try it. The AICR’s healthy version of this dish makes use of whole grain bread that is lightly toasted. It’s packed with cancer-fighting vegetables like red pepper and tomato, as well as basil and garlic, and it serves as the perfect counterpoint to grilled fish. Olive oil provides a dash of healthy fat.

Kale frittata with tomato and basil

A frittata is a versatile egg-based dish that is just at home at brunch as it is on your dinner table. It’s also a great option if you’re looking for a healthy meal that can feed a crowd. The recipe calls for kale, which is rich in carotenoids, as well as tomatoes. However, creativity is encouraged, as nearly any vegetable will work in this dish. There are lots of ways to make a frittata, but this Kale frittata with tomato and basil recipe cleverly incorporates a light broiling in the oven as the final step to enhance its great flavors.

While the best place to get fruits and vegetables is from your own garden, that is simply not feasible for people who do not have a lot of land at their disposal. Thankfully, vertical gardening solutions like the Garden Tower enable even those who live in apartments to grow their own organic food with little effort, giving them control over what goes into their bodies. You can grow carrots for the Southwestern bean salad, and tomatoes for the grilled panzanella. In fact, you can grow countless other vegetables and herbs to create your own mouth-watering, cancer-fighting delicacies!

How Your Health Benefits from Fiber, and Suffers from Antibiotics

 

Source: Mercola.com
Dr. Mercola
December 16, 2015

Your gut microbiota plays a crucial role in your health, and the 100 trillion or so microbes living in your gut feed on the foods you eat. In this way, your diet influences your health not just by the micronutrients it contains, but also by how it affects the bacterial colonies residing in your intestinal tract.

In the featured video, Rhonda Patrick PhD, a biomedical scientist, interviews intestinal microbiota researchers Justin and Erica Sonnenburg about the interactions between diet and gut bacteria—specifically those living in your colon—and the effects on your health.

Justin Sonnenburg is an associate professor of microbiology and immunology at Stanford, and Erica Sonnenburg is a senior research scientist in the Sonnenburg Lab,1 which is part of the department of microbiology and immunology at Stanford.

The Importance of Fiber for Gut Health

Much of the discussion pivots around the role of dietary fiber, which promotes health by fueling beneficial bacteria to produce compounds that help regulate your immune function.

For starters, these compounds help increase T regulatory cells, specialized immune cells that help prevent autoimmune responses and more. Via a process called hematopoiesis, they’re also involved in the formation of other types of blood cells in your body.

Few Americans get the standard recommendation of 30 to 32 grams of fiber per day, and when fiber is lacking, it starves these beneficial bacteria, thereby setting your health into a downward spiral. As noted by Patrick:

“This has an effect not only on the immune system and autoimmune diseases but also results in the breakdown of the gut barrier, which leads to widespread inflammation and inflammatory diseases.”

Toward the end of the video, Erica Sonnenburg also delves into the effects of C-sections, explaining how avoiding vaginal birth negatively impacts the baby’s health by depriving him or her of exposure to bacteria present in the mother’s vaginal canal.

She also explains how infant formula may affect your child’s health, as it does not contain human milk oligosaccharides—special carbohydrates found only in breast milk that specifically nourishes your baby’s gut flora.

High-Fiber Diet Reduces All-Cause Mortality

Mounting research suggests that a high soluble fiber diet can help reduce your risk of premature death from any cause, likely because it helps to reduce your risk of a number of chronic diseases.

This includes type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and cancer. Studies have also linked a high-fiber diet to beneficial reductions in cholesterol and blood pressure, improved insulin sensitivity, and reduced inflammation—all of which can influence your mortality risk.

Most recently, a meta-analysis2,3 evaluating the impact of a high soluble fiber diet on mortality with pooled data from nearly 1 million Europeans and Americans found a 10 percent drop in mortality risk with each 10-gram per day increase in fiber.

Organic psyllium is one of the best ways to radically increase your intake of soluble fiber. I believe most people could benefit from more fiber. I shoot for 50 grams of fiber per 1,000 calories consumed and personally take about 3 ounces of organic psyllium a day, which supplies 75 grams of soluble fiber, about half of my daily fiber intake.

Other recent studies have produced similar results:

  • A 2014 study4,5 found that every 10-gram increase of soluble fiber intake was associated with a 15 percent lower risk of mortality.

Those who ate the most fiber had a 25 percent reduced risk of dying from any cause within the next nine years, compared to those whose fiber intake was lacking.

  • Research6 published in 2013 found that for every 7 grams more soluble fiber you consume on a daily basis, your stroke risk is decreased by 7 percent. This equates to increasing your consumption of fruits and vegetables by about 2 additional portions per day.

The Links Between Antibiotics, Your Microbiome, and Obesity

Your gut microbiome also exerts a powerful influence on your weight. Gut microbes known as Firmicutes have been detected in higher numbers in obese individuals, who also may have 90 percent less of a bacteria called bacteroidetes than lean people.7 In a Medscape interview8 published in April, 2015, Dr Martin Blaser, who heads up the Human Microbiome Center at New York University, discussed the links between your gut microbiome, obesity, and chronic disease.

As noted by Dr. Blaser:

“The basic idea is that the microbiome is ancient. The organisms that we carry are not random; they have been selected over eons of evolution. They are important for our physiology, and there is a lot of evidence for that. My big point is that they are changing. As a result of the change, there are health consequences …

I believe that there is a general paradigm that we are losing important organisms early in life, and that is fueling some of the diseases that are epidemic today.”

In his book, “Missing Microbes: How the Overuse of Antibiotics Is Fueling Our Modern Plagues,” Dr. Blaser attributes rising obesity and disease rates to factors that have altered the microbial composition of our microbiome. This includes:

  • Increased rates of C-sections
  • Excessive use of antibiotics in medicine
  • Inappropriate use of antibiotics in food production. As noted by Dr. Blaser: “Farmers found that they could increase the growth of their livestock by giving them low doses of antibiotics … the earlier in life they gave the antibiotics, the more profound the effect—and that is what we are doing to our kids”
  • Dietary changes, switching to diets low in fat and high in carbohydrates
  • Switching from breast milk to infant formula. This dietary change, he believes, is the most adverse of all

Moreover, he believes the effects are “cumulative over time and cumulative across generations,” noting that: “We’ve done studies in mice in which we can show that giving mice antibiotics early in life makes them fat. Putting mice on a high-fat diet makes them fat, and putting them on both together makes them very fat, suggesting the idea of additive risk.”

How Gut Bacteria Helps Regulate Your Appetite

Recent research has shed even more light on the links between gut bacteria and weight problems. Here, the researchers decided to investigate the possibility that bacterial proteins might act directly on appetite-controlling pathways. The hypothesis was that since bacterial survival depends on maintaining a stable environment, the bacteria must have some way of communicating their nutritional needs to the host.

Indeed, this is what they discovered. In essence, it appears gut bacteria play a role in appetite regulation by multiplying in response to nutrients, and stimulating the release of satiety hormones. The research also suggests bacteria produce proteins that can linger in your blood for a longer period of time, thereby modulating satiety pathways in your brain.

As reported by Medical News Today:9

“The researchers studied the growth dynamics of E. coli K12 … when exposed to regular nutrient supply … After 20 minutes of consuming nutrients and expanding numbers, it was found that E. coli bacteria from the gut produce different kinds of proteins than they do before feeding. The 20-minute mark coincides with the time taken for a person to begin feeling full or tired after a meal …

[T]he researchers began to profile the bacterial proteins before and after feeding … ‘Full’ bacterial proteins were found to stimulate the release of … a hormone associated with feeling full while “hungry” bacterial hormones did not …

The investigators next tested for the presence of one of the ‘full’ bacterial proteins, called ClpB. Levels of CLpB in mice and rats 20 minutes after eating … did correlate with ClpB DNA production in the gut, suggesting a mechanism linking gut bacterial composition with the host control of appetite.

The researchers also found that ClpB increased production of appetite-reducing neurons. Evidently, bacterial proteins produced by satiated E. coli influence the release of gut-brain signals, as well as activating appetite-regulated neurons in the brain.”

Another recent study10 found that probiotics helped protect against weight gain. The probiotic product in question was a commercial product simply referred to as VSL#3, containing multiple bacterial strains, including Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium longum. After four weeks, men who consumed this probiotic mix gained less weight and fat compared to those who received a placebo.

A Course of Antibiotics Can Alter Your Gut Microbiome for Up to a Year

It’s really important to understand the impact antibiotics have on your overall health, as they’re indiscriminate killers, wiping out not just the disease-causing bacteria but the beneficial bacteria too. Recent research demonstrates that when you take a course of antibiotics, your gut microbiome may be adversely affected for up to a year afterwards, depending on the antibiotic you’re taking.

Such dramatic shifts in your microbiome can also allow pathogens such as the deadly Clostridium difficile to gain a strong foothold, as evidenced in a recent animal study.11 This is a significant reason for limiting antibiotics to severe infections only, as a healthy gut microbiome is part of your immune function, serving as a primary defense against all disease.

The randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial,12,13,14,15 which took place in Sweden and Great Britain, evaluated the effects of four commonly-prescribed antibiotics: clindamycin, ciprofloxacin, minocycline, and amoxicillin.

The bacteria in the participants’ oral and gut microbiomes were analyzed before the experiment, right after finishing the one-week long course of antibiotics, and again one, two, four, and 12 months afterward. While the oral microbiome normalized fairly quickly, the gut microbiome typically did not.

As reported by The Atlantic:16

“People who took clindamycin and ciprofloxacin saw a decrease in types of bacteria that produce butyrate, a fatty acid that lowers oxidative stress and inflammation in the intestines.

The reduced microbiome diversity for clindamycin-takers lasted up to four months; for some who took ciprofloxacin, it was still going on at the 12-month check-up. Amoxicillin, on the plus side, seemed to have no significant effect on either the oral or gut microbiome, and minocycline-takers were back to normal at the one-month check-up.”

Continue Reading At: Mercola.com