I'm not a big vitamin fan, they never settle well in my gut, I always forget to take them when I'm supposed to, and I often wonder if the vitamin I'm taking is really what it says on the box. So there is a lot of confusion, forgetfulness, and upset stomach over vitamins. If you are someone who consistently takes your vitamins or has an excellent relationship with them, keep taking them! For me... and my family... vitamins just don't jive with us.
Our family life is a bit chaotic, and probably will be forever. As much as I strive for balance, I realize balance is bull shit, and really I need to focus on being flexible and making peace with whatever happens in life. Soooo our family life has lots of ebbs and flows... some days I make a kick ass power house meal with nutrition out the ass, and other days.... its Chick-fil-A (delicious but not nutrient dense). I believe its completely unrealistic to center your whole life around making mega-nutrient dense meals that your super picky family members will eat every meal of every day. I'm sure there are people out there who do this... and God Bless You... but this is kinda where I currently am in life..... 70% nutrient dense meals... 30% not so much.
Soooo.... how does one try to add more nutrients to their imperfect life??? Hello Nourishing Herbal Infusions. As I've gone through different Herbalism programs, I've seen the name Susun Weed. I recently decided to listen to her podcasts and a reoccurring theme in her podcasts are how important Nourishing Herbal Infusions are. What is a Nourishing Herbal Infusion? Excellent question.
"An infusion is a large amount of herb brewed for a long time. Typically, one ounce by weight (about a cup by volume) of dried herb is placed in a quart jar which is then filled to the top with boiling water, tightly lidded and allowed to steep for 4-10 hours. After straining, a cup or more is consumed, and the remainder chilled to slow spoilage. Drinking 2-4 cups a day is usual. Since the minerals and other phytochemicals in nourishing herbs are made more accessible by drying, dried herbs are considered best for infusions."
Susun has five infusions that she cycles through for various reasons: nettle, comfrey, linden, red clover, and oat straw. For myself, I have chosen slightly different infusions because they are what sound good to my body, and I'm waiting on the rest of my herbs to arrive! My current daily infusion is: 1 part hibiscus, 1 part nettle, 1 part peppermint. I measure out an ounce of this mixture into my quart mason jar, fill it with boiling water, cap it and let it sit over night.
I'm not sure why this is easier for me to remember than taking supplements, but I know that these infusions nourish my body in a way supplements can't. My kids enjoy drinking these infusions as well! I would encourage anyone who is looking for a way to add some extra nutrients in their life to try these infusions for 2 weeks! It's a simple, practical way to bring some extra goodness in your life.
Where I buy my herbs: Mountain Rose Herbs and Frontier (they sell some of their herbs on Amazon)
Creating a medicinal or infused honey is super easy and rewarding! While recently accompanying Psychic Medium/Shaman Mindie Adamos on her Iowa tour, I noticed she was enjoying some Lavender infused honey. As she told me that a good friend of hers was going to ship this delicious honey to her I said, "you know you can make that yourself right?". Looking back maybe that was kind of an asshole thing to say?? I wasn't trying to be, but I wanted her to know that Lavender infused honey was closer to her fingertips than she thought!
It seems like honey has kind of gotten a bad reputation lately (oh my God sugar). Yes honey is sugar BUT there are many medicinal benefits (raw honey has anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory benefits) to adding a little bit of honey to your life! If you're going to have a sweet treat, why not have it be a sweet treat with medicinal herbal and honey benefits??? Lavender and Calendula are some of my favorite herbs. Lavender is a calming herb that can help with headaches. To learn more about Lavender check out Chestnut School of Herb Medicine. Calendula is easy to grow and use in your everyday cooking preparations! Calendula (or pot marigold) is a versatile herb that is used to help soothe irritated skin and and an irritated gut. Learn more about Calendula on Mountain Rose Herb's Blog!
Something to keep in mind.... when working with Lavender... a little bit goes a long way. When making this honey I used more Calendula than Lavender because I didn't want my honey tasting like soap. Take your time with this recipe and its important to monitor your infusion throughout the day (makes for a wonderful rainy day project)!
I'm always looking for ways to add an extra boost of nutrients to my life. I am a terrible pill/supplement taker, so if I can incorporate herbs throughout my day I feel better about not taking my vitamins. While completing my Herbal Medicine Making Course from Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine, I came across the infamous home brewed Fire Cider™.
Fire Cider™ is a vinegar that is infused with herbs and sweetened with a touch of honey. There are a lot of health benefits with Fire Cider™ and you can learn more HERE and HERE. I use Fire Cider™ as a daily shot of goodness to help keep colds and flu away, and some herbalists use Fire Cider™ to help shorten the duration of a cold or flu. The recipe I created below, is a combination of of recipes I've learned in class and resources online. This golden baby poop looking awesomeness takes about 6 weeks until its ready... so when one batch is ready, I start another one right away.
It's been an amazing, life-changing, energy zapping couple of weeks! I just got back from a quick trip to Iowa to assist with some Reiki training and healing with Psychic Medium Mindie Adamos. It was a wonderful trip, but I arrived home exhausted physically, emotionally and energetically. Traveling, much like any event, is much more than the physical act of traveling. There is a lot of emotion and energy that goes into the act of flying or traveling (will I die in the airplane, will the seatbelt fit around my ample ass, will my flight be delayed and I miss my connection, will I even make it through TSA!).
I know that as a Yoga Instructor... a herbalist.... a Reiki Master... that I gotta keep my body and energy in check... that I shouldn't try to buy into the stress of the flight.... that I've flown a LOT in my lifetime and flying to Iowa is a short trip compared to the ones I've made overseas... but holy shit flying still ratchets my anxiety up a notch or two.
Not only does the act of flying consume energy, but the Reiki training does as well... except this is a bit different. It takes energy for me to really ground myself, slow down the chatter in my head and help create a safe space for others to be vulnerable and heal. Some pretty intense emotions can come up during Reiki training, many people realize they aren't crazy... that the visions, dreams, and emotions they've felt their entire life doesn't mean there is something wrong them, rather its part of their gift!
Holy hell its HOT!!! I've lived in a few different climates and I think humid hot is the hottest hot out there. In dry hot climates, like Colorado, when one steps in the shade, one does feel a bit cooler; however, in humid hot... you can't escape the sweltering heat! Despite the rising temperatures, Moe (the other half of Team Simmons) and I still have to mow (get it Moe mows our yard- ha ha ha ok I'm easily amused) our yard, and this is a 3 hour weekly ordeal involving 3 different types of mowers. In preparation for the yard mowing ordeal, we both have to spray down with lots of bug spray so that we aren't eaten alive my mosquitos, ticks, flys and whatever else we have here in Virginia. Up until this point, I've been using conventional bug sprays because NOTHING natural works.... until I experimented with this kick ass bug spray!
It takes time, patience and some budgeting to switch over to a more natural, slow, or homestead-ish lifestyle. I follow quite a few homestead and small farm blogs and often come away feeling... not good enough. As a retired military family, we have been fortunate to travel the world and serve our country at the same time. There are many benefits to traveling, and our travels have shaped our family in ways we will forever grateful for; however, there are some benefits to living in one space most of your life.... one of those is community connections and resources. When deciding to switch to a slower, more homestead-like, lifestyle, it takes research, those community connections, and... well.... money.
For instance, when I told Moe (the other half of Simmons Family Farm & Apothecary... oh and also my spouse) that it was time to create a garden, start incorporating more herbal remedies in our lives, and get our vintage skills on... he was 1000% on board... and then we had to discuss a budget. We were working from scratch... we didn't have any garden tools, a pickup to haul anything, a tiller to dig up the soil, raised bed material.... nothing. On top of that, Moe didn't even know if I had the skills to keep plants alive... and I was kinda with him on that. EVERY house plant I brought home... died. Every damn one. So here we are... no tools to start with, unknown skill levels (and possibly NO skills), a super small budget and a huge dream.
It was a mess. We went way over budget on our garden, my parents happened to fly in for a "vacation" and ended up working the whole time they were here to help us establish our garden, and there isn't one spot in the garden where several f-bombs weren't dropped at some point. Half-way through our garden plans, a broken tiller, dead plants, seeds that refused to germinate, I looked at Moe and said, "this is some bull sh*t man. Gardening is EXPENSIVE. I think I'm done... convenience wins."
Thankfully we didn't cut our losses and give up. I finally quit throwing a tantrum. Moe and I went for plan D or E and pushed forward. Now, I'm very grateful we didn't give up and enjoy what were were able to create; however, I learned a huge lesson on what it means to homestead. I was comparing my Step 1 to certain homesteaders/small farmers Step 100. Homesteading is an investment. Gardening is an investment. Owning chickens is an investment. And just like a range financial investment options... not every one will pan out like you'd want.
If I'm being honest, I don't see us gaining any financial benefits from our garden (such as not needing to buy certain veggies at the store because I'm growing it myself, or canned veggies and actually savings us money) for about 5 years. We plan on adding more raised beds (which requires material and soil) and adding additional rows of corn (which may require an investment in a tiller). Don't get me wrong, I understand there are way more benefits to having a garden than just financial ones! However, there is this belief out there on the interwebs that having a garden is cheap and easy... well... maybe it is if you have the skills and resources already in place.... but we sure as hell didn't!
If you are wanting to be more self-sustaining, garden, start farming, etc then know that it will take some research, time and money to initially get going! It's ok to start off small and have no idea what you are doing. Maybe you don't know how to cook or can... and this would be a great place to start making the transition. By learning how to cook or how to can, you learn what you use and therefore need to grow in your garden. Or if you live in an area with no yard, experiment with growing herbs, veggies or flowers in pots. Take an herbalism class online (I LOVE Chestnut School of Herbs, they have payment plans and message me if you'd like to learn more). See if your local County Extension Office offers any free, or low-cost, gardening classes. There are many options available, it just takes time and energy to research them out!
The important part... is to just try. Check your perfectionism at the door, expect to spend more than what you had planned, know you might want to give up... a lot, and keep trying.
Don't forget to check out our latest podcast: wellFULL