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Exposure to nature restores our cognitive functions, enabling us to concentrate better ~ Stephan Mayer, Professor of Psychology Oberlin University
Welcome to issue 19 of my latest love letter to nature. Thank you to all new subscribers and all paid subscribers for supporting my work. When I plan out each newsletter, and I’m choosing which health tip to write about, on one hand, I’m really hoping that you learn something that improves your well-being, and on the other hand, I hope you already know about it and have integrated it into your lifestyle. Many of these tips, like the one in this issue about Walnuts, I have been practicing for years, and others, such as including Turmeric in recipes, I need to remember to use it more often in recipes (newsletter #3). Some of these can be helpful reminders. Read on!
#1- Rinse Walnuts
When you try to eat a walnut right away, you may find that it has an astringent bitter taste to it. Soaking allows the tannins from the skin to be rinsed away, so you will have a softer and buttery nut.
This is the important part: It also removes nutritional inhibitors such as phytic acid, oxalates, lectins, and enzyme inhibitors. These compounds are called nutritional inhibitors because they will inhibit your body from fully digesting the walnuts and getting their full nutritional benefits.
Just by soaking it for around 20 minutes, the water will turn brown, which tells you it has released residues into the water. Pour that water down the drain and let the nuts dry on a cloth kitchen towel.
When nuts are soaked in water, the germination process begins, in which the active and readily available amounts of enzymes, vitamins, minerals, proteins and essential fatty acids begin to be activated.
#2- Cornucopia Institute
-a fantastic resource-
The Cornucopia Institute is a non-profit consumer education and watchdog organization. They research brands and investigate the industry to identify and elevate authentic organic foods and farmers, while scrutinizing the USDA National Organic Program’s enforcement and application of the organic law.
Check their alerts page for actions we can take to support their work.
Cornucopia has exposed factory-farming conditions at organic egg production facilities confining tens of thousands of hens per building with inadequate outdoor access, and at organic dairies, where thousands of cows have no access to pasture in concentrated animal feeding operations. Their ongoing “flyover project” has resulted in high-resolution aerial photography of unethical organic livestock facilities across the country.
Cornucopia has produced reports and consumer scorecards that rate organic and natural brands of eggs, pet food, soy foods, yogurt soy, and breakfast cereals. They also have produced a scorecard of organic certifiers, the organizations responsible for ensuring organic producers have followed the USDA’s organic rules.
Learn more about carrageenan and Use this guide to avoid carrageenan in organic food
Join me in signing this petition to support Northeast organic dairy farmers
Support their work here
Subscribe to their newsletter, which is about agriculture and food issues, and provides needed information to family farmers, consumers, and other stakeholders in the good food movement.
#3- Boycott Toxins
-did you know about all of these?-
I find it really upsetting that the chemicals contained in so many popular brands of cleaners and other household products have been linked to serious health problems and chronic diseases such as cancer, asthma and autism. The “active ingredients” listed on cleaning product labels are often harsh and/or toxic chemicals that are unnecessary for routine cleaning.
What can we do about it
Continue supporting manufacturers of non-toxic brands, and continue purchasing pure ingredients to make your own cleaners. I hope that one day soon, these toxic chemicals and products they are used in, will be phased out forever, and not end up being sold in a third world country, harming unsuspecting people.
When you are out shopping, know these chemicals by heart. By being an informed consumer, and understanding labels, it will be easier to keep these chemicals out of your home:
Quarternary Ammonium Compounds or Quats
#4- Artist Charles Fine
Table of Contents 1, 2005, 71” x 61”
From Charles Fine’s explorations in Central America, Mexico, and the western United States, Fine has amassed and continues to cultivate an unusual assemblage of objects, which have been, and continue to be, a significant source of inspiration and imagery for his paintings, sculptures, photographs and vitrines.
Table of Contents II (angle), 2005, 71” x 61”
The artist has gathered mutant seed pods, ceremonial stone objects, bone implements, and ancient tools amongst numerous other exotic and prosaic natural items from his travels and has transformed these earthly substances into breathtaking works of art.
Selected Contents III, 2005, 53” x 50”
For his Table of Contents series Fine meticulously assembles an assortment of naturally found and re-altered objects into large glass vitrines. Each of these objects was selected by Fine because he felt they possessed an individual poignancy, attained either through nature or through necessity for practical or ritualistic applications.
Selected Contents VII, 2012, 55” x 49”
Fine’s heterogeneous groupings are works of art in themselves, transforming distinct natural objects into spiritually charged symbols with rich narratives.
Watch Under Strange Skies, a short video of Charles Fines Table:
Words from Charles Fine’s website
#5- Pierre Rabhi
Coming to a theater near you in the USA: Pierre Rabhi: In the Name of the Earth
Do you know who Pierre Rabhi is?
He was a farmer, writer, thinker, and international activist. He was one of the pioneers of agroecology in France. Passionate and committed for forty years to improving the condition of humankind and nature, he worked throughout his life to raise awareness about the natural world and about alternative approaches to farming, and envisioned a new model of society where a more healthy and "happy simplicity" would replace overconsumption, human destruction of the natural world, and the malaise of contemporary life. This documentary retraces the itinerary of this “wise man,” from the Algerian desert where he was born in 1938, to Ardeche, France, where he and his wife bought land and raised a family while teaching themselves how to tend the land organically, to helping communities learn organic farming practices, including several years spent working in Burkina Faso. This is the inspiring life story of a man of deep reflection and action “on behalf of the earth.”
Watch the trailer:
I’m off to prep the soft launch of The Rabbit Hole, my on-site tiny store, that will offer pieces I have made that support wildlife in different ways, other pieces enhance our quality of life, small aloe plants, mushroom id kits, organic seeds, raw chalk, vintage mortars with stone pestles from the river by my house, and balls of string in several sizes and many more things. Follow the RiversEdgeFarmNY instagram page for announcements on open days and hours. A visit to The Rabbit Hole is also available by appointment. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Hope you learned something wonderful in this issue! Please share it with your friends and the newsletter is also available as a gift subscription.
Stay well in all ways and see you again in mid-October,
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