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Jul 19, 2021

Letting Go of Emotional Suffering

by Melissa, Office Manager

Letting Go of Emotional Suffering

“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.

 

“We do not heal the past by dwelling there; we heal the past by living fully in the present.” ~Marianne Williamson  

 

 



 


Jul 6, 2021

How to Pan For Gold

by by Jordan, Prince of Packages

How to Pan For Gold

Gold panning has been one of my favorite hobbies since I was a kid! Most of the time, it requires a lot of hard work, but it is easy to learn, and the rewards are awesome - it is also a blast! 

Now, you can't just go to any river or area and find gold. It does take a little bit of knowledge and time. Usually, the best places to find information about gold-bearing areas and prospecting in your area is your local and national clubs. You don't have to join a club, but I would highly recommend it. Most of them can offer advice, equipment, and give you access to club-owned claims. They even have monthly outings, which will help you get started on finding gold. So let's talk about the equipment and tools you are going to need to get started. I would consider these to be essential for anyone who is just starting out. You are going to want:

-  Gold Pan

- ½ Classifier 

- Small Garden Trowel

- Shovel

- Small Prybar/screwdriver

- Sniffer Bottle

- Gloves

- 5 Gal bucket

- Chair

Alright, so we've got our basics now. I would recommend you start in an area with a stream. Water isn't a necessity when panning for gold, but it makes everything ten times easier. You will also want to make sure that you are not going to be on someone else's claim and/or private property - get permission in advance if needed. Once you get to the water, you will want to scan the stream for areas where the water would have slowed down. Gold is heavy, and when the current of the stream slows down, the gold settles to the bottom. Things I look for when panning are big rocks, eddies, or cracks. Start by digging in these areas or scraping out cracks. What you are looking for is hard, compacted soil, gravel, and clay. This is where your gold is going to get stuck. 

Once you find this type of material, place your Classifier over your pan. As you are digging and scraping place material into your Classifier and gold pan. If you want to make things easier, you can put your Classifier on top of your 5-gallon bucket and scoop it into the bucket. I have a rule when I gold pan, and that is to never fill my pan more than two thirds full. If you add too much material, it makes it more challenging to pan properly 

and causes you to lose gold. 

For a beginner, I would say start with about a third until you get the hang of it. Now that we have some material in our pan, we will want to submerge our pan and Classifier in the stream. Make sure the Classifier is over your gold pan and give it a rough shake. This will cause all the smaller materials to drop out the bottom and into your pan. Take some time after to carefully inspect your Classifier for large nuggets that might not have made it through, and then set it aside. 

Now you are going to grab your pan with both hands and shake it side to side. You want to agitate the material so that the gold drops to the bottom of the pan. Slowly tilt your pan forward, allowing the material to slide to the edge of the pan, but not out. Any gold should be at the bottom of the pan at this point. Take one hand, scrape any larger material off the top of the surface, tilt the pan back flat, and give it another shake. Tilt your pan forward once again, this time dip the pan in and out of the water three to five times, allowing the lighter materials to wash off. Repeat this process until you have about half a cup or less of material. 

At this point, you should see quite a bit of black sand and possibly some gold. To separate the gold from the black sand, fill your pan with a small amount of water and shake the material you have left in your pan into one spot. Give your pan a gentle swirl, letting the water go over your material. It will create a tail of black sand, leaving your gold at the tip. Grab your sniffer bottle and suck up the gold into the bottle keeping it safe. That's it! It takes technique, but anyone can pan for gold!


 


Jul 6, 2021

The Flowering Phase

by by Melissa, Office Manager

The Flowering Phase

The most diverse group among plant classifications is angiosperms. These are plants that produce a flower. There are 300,000 different species of flowering plants. The first flowering plants are believed to have  diverged from conifers about 120 million years ago. The reproductive organs of angiosperms are the flowers. For these flowers, the male reproductive element is the stamen, and the female is the pistil. When the two meet, a seed is produced. 

Pollinators are the animals that transfer pollen from one plant to another. There are about 200,000 animals that act as pollinators worldwide. They are responsible for pollinating approximately 75% of the plants grown for food, beverages, and medicines. Flowers developed over time to attract different pollinators. For example, Magnolia trees evolved before bees, and therefore depend on a beetle for their pollination. The structure of their carpel is harder than in most flowers to allow it to withstand the damage the beetle’s mandibles could cause. The beetles are attracted to the protein-rich pollen that the magnolia produces. 

When you think about pollinators, you probably think about bees. They are by far one of the top pollinators worldwide. The flowers that attract bees are full of nectar. They have brightly colored petals that are often blue or yellow, smell sweet, are open in the daytime, or have a landing platform. You may find it surprising that the largest pollinators (by size) are lemurs! Found on Madagascar, they are the primary pollinator of the Traveler’s Palm trees (ravenala madagascariensis). These trees can be up to 40 feet tall. As they reach in with their face and snout to get the fruit of the tree, they are covered in pollen, which they then transfer to the next flower. 

When you are growing flowers, it is essential to know how the plants are classified by their growth cycle. Annuals are plants that only have a one-year life cycle. They tend to bloom longer than perennial plants and go to seed. They can self-seed and come back the next year, but it is not reliable. Perennial plants return more than two years in a row. They are further divided into herbaceous and woody plants. Herbaceous plants have a green stem and die back to the ground each year, while woody plants have woody stems that remain above ground. Trees and shrubs are considered woody perennials. These plants don’t flower as long as annuals, but they can survive for many years. 

Biennials are plants that have a two-year life cycle. The first year they are a green plant and the second year they grow flowers and produce seeds, and then they die. Foxgloves and Hollyhocks are examples of biennials. Some plants are perennial in warmer climates and annuals in colder climates. If you live in a colder area, they may come back depending on winter conditions. 

Without going into the scientific naming process of plants, many commercial plant growers are cultivating plants that are hybrids, and they are often sterile. In some cases, creating a non-reproducing version has been necessary to allow some invasive plants to be grown in a typical garden setting. However, as beautiful as these are, they could deprive wildlife of some natural sources of food. There has been a lot of push towards growing natives plants for your native wildlife. 

Flowers, to me, are the reward of gardening. When I plant flowers, it feels like I succeeded. Hopefully, your plants will reward you with a beautiful flowering this year!


 


Jul 6, 2021

Meditation in Different Forms

by Corina, Customer Service Octopus

Meditation in Different Forms

Meditation can take on many forms, from simple Grounding all the way to Transcendental meditation. Every kind of meditation is designed to help you relieve stress and focus on the now. I was always told that depression was looking back, and anxiety was looking forward. That is not always so, but that concept helps remind me to focus on the now. 

Grounding meditation is when you notice the things holding you up and the air flowing in and out of you with each breath. Let your thoughts move through you without judgment and without fixating. 

Another form is Focused Meditation, where you try to focus on just your breathing. Gently let wandering thoughts go and return focus to your breathing. Eventually, you will stop even thinking of your breath and find yourself in a place of peace, where nothing is running through your head - just the quiet of the now.

Insight Meditation is when you use the practice of meditation to develop qualities in yourself. You set an intention of what you want and focus on it throughout your practice.

Body Scan: This is when you focus on your whole body - the sensations, the feelings, the tightness, or discomfort - and slowly move your focus from the top of your head to your toes. It can do wonders to help your muscles relax without moving at all!

There are so many more, what kind of meditation do you like?


Jul 6, 2021

The Amazing Potential of Seeds

by Guest Author Gabe Williams, a Friend from Neural Balance

“I freaked out and bought a bunch of heirloom seeds. They’ll be here in a few days.” I told my perplexed wife, who, although well-intentioned, does not have a good track record with plants. She asked the obvious: “Why did you freak out?,” and, “What’s an heirloom seed?”

The Amazing Potential of Seeds

The freakout started when I realized just how dependent my family and I are on the supermarket and the national supply chain. The 2020 shutdowns and disruptions have had a ripple effect that will take time to fully understand. It caused processing plants to shut down and farmers to dump thousands of pounds of food that would have otherwise gone to restaurants and businesses that were affected by the nationwide COVID shutdown. My own company, Neural Balance,  was even backordered for a time on our product while we worked out supply chain issues and provided for additional safety measures.

My freak out peaked when I realized that if farmers and food distributors could not survive or stay in business to grow and distribute crops, it would be entirely up to me to feed my family. Toilet paper we could learn to live without. Food was another story. After all, how much-canned food and puddin’ can one family hoard?

It made me think of the promise and the power of the seed. Consider the tiny mustard seed. Matthew 13:31-32 says “Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.” 

In this precious stage of life, what is now much smaller than a Tic-Tac might one day be a mighty tree providing shelter and life to an abundance of living creatures or, it might be an Old Colossus Heirloom Tomato weighing in at nearly two pounds and becoming part of a tomato bisque soup to be enjoyed by your family on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Some of these seeds will even burst forth with herbs and plants such as the beautiful passionflower, the cornerstone of our patented herbal/mineral/vitamin blend, Anandanol. 

I received my package a few days later and was surprised to find that 50,000 assorted heirloom seeds and a packet of instructions all fit in a medium-sized padded envelope. And again, I was struck by the fact that these tiny seeds had the potential to feed my family and many of my neighbors for generations to come. This leads me to my wife’s second question… “What’s an heirloom seed?” 

Heirloom seeds are a glimpse back into history, the result of generations of faithful farmers who passed down seeds from generation to generation. Heirloom seeds are non-GMO, non-hybrid, and have been time tested to offer great taste and resilience. And, while seeds harvested from most of the fruits and vegetables available in your typical grocery store may not produce and certainly will not produce consistently, heirloom seeds are quite the opposite. Plants grown from heirloom seeds will produce consistent yields, you may harvest seeds from the plants you grow and, if properly cleaned, dried, and prepared, those seeds can be used the following season or stored for future use.

Some companies who sell heirloom seeds even offer variety packs that contain seeds that are suited for your region. As we are in hot and humid Florida, one of my choices included the “Arkansas Traveler,” a tomato known to thrive in areas that other tomatoes would find too harsh.

From the simple seed to the mighty tree to the tasty fruit, we are reminded that all life, in all stages, is precious and has potential.

Proper depth, temperature, and water are all it takes to awaken these small, dried miracles and cause their potential to begin to burst forth. Keeping them alive and causing them to flourish is a whole different conversation. Hopefully, I will be back next year with updates and baskets that overflow!

Gabriel Williams is CEO of Spectrum Research Group. An 18-year veteran of the natural products industry, Gabe is a husband, father, and purveyor of unsolicited advice. 


 


Jul 6, 2021

Hypochlorous Acid - A Natural Way to Clean

by Abbie, Graphics Goddess

I'm always on the hunt for safer and smarter ways to clean my house, preferably without harsh chemicals. I'm a big fan of my steam cleaner, but you can't really bust out that big fat machine every time you want to sanitize the kitchen counter, ya know? That's where a new friend comes in - Hypochlorous Acid. Never heard of it? Neither had I. After doing some research, I found out that everyone is already walking around with it in their bodies. It's the substance that our white blood cells make to fight off infection!

Hypochlorus Acid

Hypochlorous Acid (HOCl) can be made by mixing precise proportions of three simple ingredients: salt, water, and vinegar. When an electrical current is applied to this solution, the molecules break apart and reform to create HOCI. HOCl is just as effective as bleach at killing dangerous bacteria and viruses. Yet, this powerful weapon against germs is 100% safe for humans, doesn't irritate the skin, is fume-free, doesn't leave a residue, is non-toxic, and is all-natural. You might be wondering, “why haven't I seen this miracle solution on the shelf at the store?” The answer is pure chemistry - the solution isn't “stable,” meaning the molecules don't stay in this form forever. They will eventually break down and turn into saltwater over time - not a good thing for chemical manufacturers looking for mass production and products with long shelf lives. 

However, several companies have recently started making electrolyzers that are small and efficient enough for household use. I bought mine from a company called Force of Nature. You merely empty one of their perfectly proportioned capsules of salt and vinegar into their electrolyzer with the specified amount of water. Turn it on, let it bubble for a few minutes, and you get HOCI! The solution is stable for about two weeks before you need to make a fresh batch. However, since activator capsules are only $1.25 to make 12oz, it's still more cost-effective than buying spray bottles of cleaner at the store. I also love how much plastic I'm saving from not buying individually packaged cleaners for specific uses. I sanitize my baby changing table and diaper pail, spray the inside of my kitchen trash can, smelly shoes, baby toys, and bouncers. I use it for kitchen and bathroom surfaces, doorknobs, toilet seats, tile, and floor spills with HOCI. I even keep a miniature bottle of it in my purse as hand sanitizer, since prolonged use of alcohol-based hand sanitizer can lead to skin allergies like dermatitis. Hypochlorous acid - a cleaner way to clean!


Jun 1, 2021

2021 June Organtics

Organtics Health Food Trends


May 27, 2021

Homespun: Removing Stumps

by Matt, Herbal Head Honcho

Sometimes you can’t save a tree. My last house had a pine tree that leaned further over the driveway every year, and with a trunk nearly two feet across, we didn’t want it on the cars! We cut it down and rented a stump grinder to grind it down below the lawn level. But what if you can’t get a grinder to the stump?

Removing Stumps

Despite YouTube disasters, we CAN pull stumps safely and efficiently,* but it takes leverage - lots of it. Archimedes said, “give me a lever long enough, and a place to stand, and I can move the world.” Pulling stumps is like that—trees are seriously connected to the Earth! 

First, we need an anchor, or “place to stand” that won’t move. Trees are good at not moving (that’s why we have a stump problem). So first we’ll find 2-5 big trees a few feet apart, and not too far from our stump. Drive a stake about halfway between the stump and the trees to mark our anchor point. 

Next, we’ll make a sling of heavy nylon rope to go around each tree to distribute the force. Tie the rope to the stake, and run it straight to the first tree, wrapping tightly around the trunk 2-3 times, then back to the stake. Do the same with the next tree, and so on. (We wind around each tree 2-3 times to keep the rope from peeling the bark off the tree if it slips, but pad them with old towels, too.) Our sling now has two ropes to each tree (6-10 in all), coming together in loops at the stake. Tie the two loose ends of the rope into another loop, even up the loops, and attach a hook or chain so all the ropes pull evenly. We now have our anchor point to “move the earth!”

Now get a rope, cable, or chain cinched nice and tight around the stump. If the stump is tall, attach near the top, to use the trunk as a lever to help break the roots loose. If not, wrap it where you can, or dig it out enough to go under or around it. Cut any roots you can with a chainsaw, ax, or pickaxe. Bolts going into or through a stump may work too, but they’re dicey. 

Now we need pulleys for leverage! Small stumps, or ones with lots of roots cut through, might come out with a “come-along,” a hand winch with a pulley built-in. Bigger stumps need more pulleys—each one doubles the rope, and the force applied. With a “double sheave” (2 pulley wheels) at both stump and anchor, we can stand safely out of danger, apply 100-200 pounds of pull, and deliver thirty-two times more force at the stump (over 3 tons). Pull a little, dig, chop, lather, rinse, repeat—before you know it, your stump is out! 

You can also use a farm jack (5000 lb) to pull them straight out of the ground. Great for 4-6 inches diameter, with some digging and chopping. Just remember the jack is stronger at the bottom than the top, so lower it to get another bite if needed and stop if it starts to flex! 

*Removing stumps yourself can be dangerous. Ridgecrest takes no responsibility for the information in this article.


May 27, 2021

Regenerative Agriculture: In Defense of Ruminants

by Nichole, Magical Marketing Millennial

If you want to be part of saving the planet, you may have heard that the only way to do so is to become vegan, which can be hard. But what if that isn't entirely true? What if making ethical choices in your meat consumption was just as good - if not better? 

Regenerative Agriculture: In Defense of Ruminants

It's no surprise that cattle have taken the negative brunt of the eco-friendly and climate change initiatives. It's easy to point a finger to mass meat production and blame them for their contribution to global warming. It's easy to point the finger at ruminants and argue they're destroying the land. Science and research, however, acknowledge a more nuanced story.

There are facts we know: it is true that meat production yields almost 1/5th of global greenhouse gas emissions. Ruminants indeed emit methane. However, it's not true that methane gas' impact on the climate is more devastating than carbon (methane has a 10-year half-life compared to the hundreds of years of carbon, and methane is being produced at about the same rate that it disappears or less than). It's true that the soil used to be 20% carbon. Currently, the soil is at 5% carbon and even down to 1% in many areas, yielding 15-19% more carbon, the more damaging particulate, in the atmosphere. It's true that with imaging and field scientists, we can see that desertification, the process by which fertile land becomes desert, is running rampant in the US and globally. This is rendering land useless for crop production. And this isn't a comprehensive list.

How do ruminants play a role in all this? First, let's define a ruminant: ruminants are mammals with a stomach with four compartments designed to digest tough materials. It includes cattle, sheep, goats, elk, giraffes, antelopes, buffalo, camels, and others (but not pigs and chickens). These animals get their nutritional needs from grasses and leaves, which are inedible to the vast majority of mammals. That's a critical note: ruminants can take otherwise indigestible material and turn it into food, milk products, and meat. When grazing naturally, they also leave behind fertilizer and plant material, which reinvigorates the land by retaining water.

Allan Savory, ecologist and founder of the non-profit Savory Institute, said, “because the fate of water and carbon are tied to soil organic matter, when we damage soils, you give off carbon. Carbon goes back to the atmosphere." Plant litter and ruminant waste provide the soil with the organic matter it needs to sequester carbon and hold onto the water when appropriately managed. Quite literally, ruminants reduce the carbon in the atmosphere by trapping it in the plant litter, only by walking over the land and pooping on it. Or again, as Allan Savory would say, “...large herds dung and urinate all over their own food, and they have to keep moving, and it was that movement that prevented the overgrazing of plants, while the periodic trampling ensured good cover of the soil, as we see where a herd has passed.”

The solution here, then, isn't universally meatless. In fact, we cannot survive without the existence of ruminants. They are integral to our ecosystem's success. The solution is well-managed animal agriculture. We're missing the simple act of movement of ruminants in the ecosystem. Holistic management of ruminant herds is what is changing the impact of carbon on the climate. We often think about the destruction of the rainforest as one of the most critical global factors in these moments. In actuality, our grasslands have a more significant impact on our climate because they make up the majority of the Earth's landscape. This is where desertification is causing the most harm - harm that makes it impossible to grow crops.

Current science is starting to realize the devastating trajectory desertification will have on our existence. Even if we were to remove all fossil fuel pollution, it wouldn't be enough to save the planet. We need vast herds to reinvigorate the land and soils and remove carbon from the atmosphere. Meat production doesn't need to go away entirely to save the planet. It needs to be re-employed in efforts towards holistic agriculture. How do you help? If it is within your means to do so, you buy from farmers who employ these or similar methods. When you buy from a local farmer, you're supporting efforts that improve our climate. You're also benefiting in other ways, especially your health. Shae wrote a great article on this topic, so go check that out. If you're meatless, you can donate to support these initiatives.

If you want to learn more about this topic, go visit the Savory Institute at savory.global. They are investing in actual and real change in the environment by using ruminants to reduce carbon in the atmosphere and restore our soil health. You can also watch Allan Savory's very inspiring TedTalk on YouTube.


May 27, 2021

Hidden Costs of the Herbal Industry

by Brittani, Herbal Gaia

As a consumer myself, I too want to be able to purchase my dietary supplements from companies I can trust. Because I work on the regulatory side of nutritional supplements, I am privileged to be able to understand how “quality” and “cheap” do not go hand in hand. As with many things in this world, good, effective products just cost more than crappy ones. Focusing on cutting costs will leave you with lower quality products and dissatisfied customers. And each new year poses new challenges to keep prices affordable while meeting FDA and other regulatory requirements.

Hidden Cost Of Herbs

  • In the case of DS, the old saying “you get what you pay for” is in many cases (not all) but in many cases,  true.  
  • As a person that relies almost solely on herbs and supplements to care for the health needs of my family, I am just like anyone else in the way that...I like a good deal! I mean, I have a family of 8, come on! But, as a mom, the quality of those products reeeeally matters! And it wasn’t until I worked in the industry that I finally realized what I was paying for when purchasing a supplement, or how to know if the product I was getting was a good one!

So, I have 6 main reasons I want to share with your listeners on why paying a little more for your supplements is reasonable and worth the money!

 Below are six reasons that paying more for your herbal and nutritional supplements is reasonable and worth your money. 

  • REGULATION: It is a myth that the dietary supplement industry is “unregulated,” one that I am tired of seeing on social media and TV shows! The dietary supplement industry is heavily regulated, much like the drug industry. In fact, dietary supplement regulations were built by using the same FDA GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) regulations as the Pharmaceutical industry, with slight modifications. The FDA does regular audits and carries authority to shut things down if the company does not comply with the law. The industry is also regulated by the FTC, FSMA, USDA (Federal and State), and more! Meeting all these regulations requires companies to have educated and experienced staff on hand and must do all it takes to follow good manufacturing practices, at any cost! Making sure the products you buy are meeting many, many rules to ensure your safety is a good thing for consumers!
  • Before I can share the first reason, I have to debunk a myth that is still out there about ds, on social media, tv shows, articles that you read.  This myth is that “the ds industry is UNREGULATED”! This just simply isnt true! The DS industry is HEAVILY regulated, much like the drug industry with some alterations of course. The FDA regulations for ds were modeled after the drug industry.  The FDA audits ds mfr facilities and manfacturers are expected to meet what is known as Good Manufacturing Practices or else they can shut you down. They are also regulated by a handful of other regulatory industries both state and federal! 
  • In order for companies to meet these regulatory standards and for them produce the highest quality and safest product, companies  NEED to have highly educated and experienced staff on hand
  • TESTING: The more testing, the more cost, but your product is going to be safer, cleaner, and you can be confident you are getting what the label says. All good companies do testing, including identity testing to make sure the ingredients are what the vendor says they are, heavy metal testing (lead, arsenic, cadmium, mercury, etc.) to ensure all are under allowable daily limits. This can be done on the individual ingredients, finished product, or both. Microbial testing for yeast, mold, and harmful bacteria such as E. Coli, Staph, and Salmonella. Other testing might include pesticides, testing for the presence or percentage of a specific chemical constituent, DNA, and more. 
  • The next topic is one we wont get into on a technical level but it is one of the most important parts in asuring the safety and efficacy of your product! That is scientific testing. Good companies put a lot of focus on testing each and every ingredient.
  • Tests include identity testing to make sure the ingredients are exactly what they say are and that they have not been adulterated, heavy metal testing (specifically for lead, arsenic, cadmium, mercury). Microbial testing for yeast, mold, and harmful bacteria such as E. Coli, Staph, and Salmonella. Other testing might include pesticides, testing for the presence or percentage of a specific chemical constituent and potency of that constituent, DNA, Clinical studies, etc.
  • Testing is not cheap! So, you can purchase a product for cheap that may or may not actually be safe or have what it says in it, or you can opt to pay a little more for a product that has been tested and has the documentation to back it. 
  •  QUALITY & AVAILABILITY OF INGREDIENTS: Sourcing quality ingredients can be tricky in the global market. The industry has made considerable advances in making sure ingredients are not contaminated and that they are just what they claim, even from global sources requiring international regulation. But it costs for farmers to test components for purity. Because few herbs are grown on an industrial level, they are more susceptible to crop failure, demand fluctuations, natural disasters, etc., so times when demand exceeds supply costs skyrocket. 
  • Because of all the advances, the ds industry has made in regulations and testing, it has really cut down on the supply chain in some cases in both good and bad ways.  While sourcing from the US is ideal, it is not always possible.  It used to be that you could order an ingredient from India lets say, but you really had no way of knowing if you were really getting what you purchased! Things were dyed or colored, fillers were added, mix ups were made, etc.  But now that happens much less.  Suppliers cant get away with that any more. 
  • But, weeding out the low quality ingredients has reduced suppliers. These are the quality suppliers, but they are also required to meet regulations, provide testing, and their costs have increased as well which raises the costs for manufacturers and then the consumer. 
  • Its additionally challenging with fewer quality suppliers if one year crops are down, and then costs for just one ingredient can sky rocket because it is so limited!  
  • PRODUCTION COSTS: Research and development, formulation, ingredient sourcing/purchasing, and manufacturing all cost something! Think about large buildings and expensive machinery that require continual sanitation and maintenance, employees for assembly lines, quality control and assurance, laboratories, packaging, distribution, etc. And then there are costs in storage, distribution, sales, marketing, and more. Each minor detail adds up. Any cuts risk product quality and all aspects are essential to getting you good products. 
  • A GOOD CAUSE: This reason is my favorite one. I would willingly pay a great deal more for a product knowing that a percentage of the profits are going to support causes and organizations designed to improve the lives of others, support the planet, and make the world a better place. There are so many companies trying to make a difference one sale at a time. Make your purchases count. 
  • UNAPPROVED RESELLERS: Most companies have a few approved online vendors. But unapproved online websites selling a product at huge discounts force companies to raise prices to make up for lost sales. Without an authorized, traceable distribution, there is no guarantee these products have been transported or stored correctly to ensure effectiveness, or that the company will give you your money back if your purchase arrives damaged or expired. If an online product is severely discounted, you may be purchasing a compromised product. Trying to hold these companies accountable and cutting off their access can be a costly payroll expense, as well. 
  • This will hit home to most ds customers. Ok, you know when you get online and start price shopping and your favorite product is 10.99 on one website and 29.99 on the actual company website? Why the heck is it so much more expensive on the company website? Well, most companies have approved online sellers. And they give those legit companies permission to discount the product a little.  But then there are companies selling products at a much lower discounted rate that does not account for all of the costs we just discussed which in the end forces companies to have to raise prices to make up for that loss and to pay additional employees to try and stay on the tails of these sneaky companies.
  • Additionally, keep in mind when you find a product at a super discount there is no guarantee that it has been stored in a way that maintains the quality or effectiveness of the product. They really dont care about the quality or what efforts/costs went into the product to make safe or the well being of the customer, they only care about the buck. 

There are, of course, even more reasons to consider when comparing products and the costs of dietary supplements, but these are the ones that most directly affect you as a consumer. Be aware of the necessary costs and ask yourself, “What kind of product am I willing to pay for?” before making your decision. 

Questions to ask your supplement companies

  1. Ask them what kind of testing is done on the product? At a minimum, they should be doing testing for ID on each individual ingredient,  heavy metals and microbial.   A company going above and beyond will often be doing additional testing. They should be transparent and willing to provide you with results when requested. 
  2. Ask if they have COAs (certificates of analysis) for finished products and for each ingredient. 
  3. Ask them if they are GMP certified or GMP compliant. Not all companies are required to be certified, but all ds companies should be GMP compliant. 
  4. Look online, fda.gov for company FDA warning letters. These are made public by the FDA for consumers to see! You can search for any company by name and if they have received a warning letter, it will come up. 


 

Favorite products

  1. ClearLungs is always my favorite product when I am trying to give my body the support it needs to stay well when all kinds of winter gunk is being passed around.
  2. PhysiQOL will be one of my most recommended products at the beginning of the year for all of my friends and customers that have NY resolutions of working out as a support for the bodys natural recover process!
  3. And Anxiety Free for a very busy and sometimes stressful holiday season!

May 27, 2021

Hypnogogic Breathing

by Aspen, Trainer of the Things

Do you ever have a moment at night when you are still conscious, but you can tell sleep is coming? I know I am starting to fall asleep when I have a train of thought that I suddenly can’t remember or realize doesn’t make sense. This is the transitional period between sleep and waking called hypnagogia. 

Hypnogogic Breathing

Whether you desire to ease the transition to sleep, sleep better overall, or improve your lucid dreaming, breathing exercises can increase oxygen, calming your mind. Increased oxygen before bed can slow your heart rate and other bodily functions, preparing your heartrate for the slower pace of slumber. 

 

One of the most popular breathing techniques is the 4-7-8 breathing method: 

Allow your mind to empty. If a thought enters, don’t be frustrated. Once you notice the thought, just let it go and return to focusing on your breath and the feeling of air coming in and out. Breathing with your abdomen (and not your chest) inhale with your nose to a count of four. Hold your breath and count to seven. Exhale through your mouth, making a soft whooshing sound, and count to eight. Repeat this process at least four more times and see the difference it makes. 


May 27, 2021

The Fascination With Pill Bugs

by Shae, Customer Service Queen

It may come as a surprise to some that I love bugs! I find them absolutely fascinating and if I had known growing up that entomology was a thing, I would have gone into that field. I am always trying to find out more about creepy crawlies and was amazed to learn that some garden critters are more beneficial than harmful! 

The Fascination With Pill Bugs

One, in particular, is the “Armadillidium Vulgare” or the common pill-bug, potato bug, roly-poly, common pill woodlouse, slater, doodle-bug, or carpenter. They are one of the very first “bugs” I remember being curious about as a child. These little creatures are one of the most extensively investigated terrestrial isopod species according to “The World Catalog of Terrestrial Isopods." 

Roly-polys can be found in moist, dark environments and feed on decaying matter. They are actually crustaceans and are more closely related to crabs & shrimp than insects. They don’t have lungs and they breathe through gills. They carry their young in pouch-like kangaroos and lobsters. They do not urinate and can withstand high amounts of ammonia, it escapes through their exoskeleton. They have blue blood. When threatened they roll up into a ball. They are one of the best protectors of soil! Their guts contain microbes that help them feed on a dead organic matter where they then return the organic matter to the soil so it can be used further by fungi, protozoans, and bacteria. The process then produces a natural supply of nitrates, phosphates, and other vital nutrients beneficial to plants.

One of the most amazing and important things they can do is consume heavy metals found in soil. They are an indicator of soil pollutants such as lead, cadmium, and arsenic. They take in these heavy metals and then crystallize the ions in their guts. The toxins then become spherical deposits. They can survive in some of the most contaminated environments. They help to re-establish and stabilize healthy soil and prevent toxic metal ions from leaching into groundwater. Which can mean protecting well water from becoming contaminated. 

Roly-Polys are an important part of soil health and natural ecosystems. So next time I see them munching on my lettuce, I will just consider it payment for helping out my soil and do my best to remember, “If something is not eating your plants, then your garden is not part of the ecosystem.”


May 19, 2021

2021 6 Bryce Canyon National Park, UT

by Abbie, Graphics Goddess

Window of Wanderlust, Bryce Canyon National Park, UT


May 19, 2021

The 37th Parallel

by Abbie, Graphics Goddess

The 37th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 37 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Europe, the Mediterranean Sea, Africa, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America, and the Atlantic Ocean. In the United States, the 37th Parallel is actually the defining border to parts of Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Arizona, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. But what if this latitudinal line means more? 

The 37th Parallel

From Santa Cruz, California, to the Chesapeake Bay, the 37th Parallel has been dubbed the “UFO Highway” and the “Paranormal Highway” of the United States for being littered with histories of cattle mutilations, UFO sightings, reports of underground military bases, and ancient native sacred sites. The phenomena zone stretches about 70 miles either side of the 37th Parallel, roughly the area between the 36th and 38th parallels. Some of the most notable landmarks on or near the 37th parallel include:

- Area 51 in Nevada  

- Mesa Verde, Colorado, one of the largest ancestral Puebloan sites in the U.S.

- Monument Valley and Shiprock, two of the most sacred places in the Navajo Nation 

- Dulce, New Mexico, home to a supposed secret military base

- Los Alamos, New Mexico, where the first atomic bomb was developed and tested

- Taos, New Mexico, home of the unexplained “Taos Hum” (see the November Knick Nac in our 2020 issue)

- Fort Knox, Kentucky, which holds roughly 4,580 metric tons of gold bullion, over half of the Treasury's stored gold 

- Hopkinsville and Hellier, Kentucky, known for legends of Goblin encounters

- Norfolk, Virginia, location of the most recently released UFO videos shot by U.S. Navy that the Pentagon acknowledged and confirmed as real footage in 2020

Since the 1960s, there have been over 10,000 reported cases of cattle mutilations in the United States. The epicenter spans across Colorado, Kansas, and Oklahoma, along the 37th Parallel. Could it be possible that the 37th Parallel correlates with a highway of “hot spots” for paranormal activity?

 


May 19, 2021

Wildlife Footprint IDs

by Matt, Herbal Head Honcho

In one of my favorite films, Joe vs. The Volcano, Meg Ryan explains to Tom Hanks that if she had a boat (she is sailing one at the time, but it isn't hers) she would sail "away from the things of man!" That line always resonated with me, because I love our natural world! 

One of the real joys of getting out in nature is to see the incredible variety of different plants and animals that share our world with us. And while seeing the wild critters themselves is always fun, it often takes a keen eye. So I am always amazed at the traces of them you can find, even after they have crept away, unseen or unnoticed, to other haunts!

Wildlife Footprint IDs

Here are some different kinds of animal tracks. How many of them do you recognize? How many of them have you ever seen in the wild? Where do you think would you be most likely to see them? Soft dirt or sand? Fresh snow? Muddy banks? Fresh concrete? (Just kidding!) The answers are printed upside down at the bottom of the page. No cheating now!

If you study these animal markings carefully, you will begin to notice common elements. Things like the length of the foot, the number and arrangement of toes (front and rear may be different), and the nails' length becomes apparent. For example, it's often surprisingly easy to tell the prints of a grizzly from a black bear by the nearly linear arrangement of the toes and the claws' length. Of course, it also helps if you know what kinds of animals are native to your area. It's easy to tell a fox from a coyote paw print, for example, if only one lives in your region. Then again, someone may have taken their dog for a walk. A cigarette butt near a poo pile is a dead giveaway, as are bits of a candy wrapper or a slipper embedded in the pile. Excellent work, Watson! Sherlock Holmes would be proud!

If you see a footprint in the wild that you don't recognize, remember to pull out your phone and take a snapshot to puzzle or amaze your friends later. (Do the same when you see an herb or flower you want to look up later!) This leads us, finally, to a quick hint on track #13: if this is what you see on your phone screen, turn around quick! That bear is behind you!


 


May 3, 2021

Brain Puzzles

by Will, Ginger-Beard of Power

Think back over the games you have played in your life - the Rubix cube, crossword puzzles, Sudoku, board games, riddles. These are just a few ways we have found joy and pleasure using our brains to solve puzzles. You get a pleasant feeling trying to riddle them out, and an even better flow of emotions when you get it right. What is happening in your brain when you do this? We don't know everything, but we see this fun strengthens your mind, and we know you can rewire your brain. The most essential benefit (in my opinion) is becoming a better and faster problem solver in your everyday life.

Have you ever seen two people on each side of a couch, moving it into a new apartment? The spatial reasoning that it takes to solve getting the furniture around a bend or through a door can be honed playing brain puzzles! An excellent book to read on this topic is Thinking Physics, by Lewis Epstein and Paul Hewitt. This book has one physics puzzle after another. Do not let the “physics” part scare you. This book is full of things that happen in your world every day. Its the thinking through the “why” of it that is the fun, that makes you feel those good emotions and flexes your brain muscle. So give a physics puzzle a try!

Mind Body Soul, Brain Puzzles


 


May 3, 2021

Little Free Library

by Melissa, Office Manager

You may have seen some Little Free Libraries around on the internet or perhaps even in your own neighborhood. What are they, and how do you start one? 

Little Free Library

The Little Free neighborhood library movement started in 2009 with Todd Bol. He built a little library to honor his mother. She had recently passed away and was a lifelong book lover and a school teacher. His initial design was a wood structure that looked like a one-room schoolhouse. Bol had a goal to install 2,500 Little Free Libraries around the midwest. As of today, there are more than 100,000 worldwide. 

A Little Free Library can be any shape or size. It is up to your own imagination and creativity. The Little Free Library website has kits and plans you can select from. You can even purchase them pre-made on Etsy. I started a Little Free Library, and it was made and painted for me by my husband and kids from a used kitchen cabinet that they found. 

The intent of a Little Free Library is that any passerby can select a book for free if they leave a book. That way, the library remains fully stocked. However, Little Free Libraries have been made into Little Free pantries or blessing boxes people can help those in need by stocking a box. The whole idea of the Little Free Library system is to provide for the common good and give 24-hour access to books to those that do not have them. One in three kids living in poverty does not have any books of their own. A Little Free Library could change that and allow those kids to feel the joy of reading. 

The person who oversees the Little Free Library is the steward. The steward is responsible for the upkeep and care of the library and the selection within their library. I have decided that in my Little Free Library, we will primarily have children's books. I decided to do that because they are smaller and I can fit more into the library. Because of that, it made the library's location very important that the kids who visit are safe. I didn't want them to stand in the street to access the library or be in danger. Our library is located on a post close to our front door so that anyone can safely access it. Anything negative would be caught by the camera on our doorbell. Little free libraries are generally welcomed by communities. Before installing one, you want to make sure you are following any laws or codes that your city or state may have. 

After you have the basic set up arranged for your Little Free Library, you can register it online. On LittlefreeLibrary.org, you can pay a registration fee to receive an official plaque to adhere to your library and a charter number so you can sign up to be part of the interactive map of libraries they have online. If you want to visit a Little Free Library, you can search the map for those located in your area. 

There are resources for stewards to order books at a deeply discounted rate so that the books in your library will remain fresh and new to those patrons that stop by. 

There are also a lot of resources and ideas on how to publicize your library. There are groups on social media and tons of ideas to promote your library to your neighborhood. As a coincidence, I received my library in early 2020, and I put it out just as the COVID-19 quarantines started. Libraries and schools were closed to the kids in my community. I promoted it on the neighborhood Facebook page and reached out to people for donations of books for kids. It has been fun to see different families come by and exchange out books, and to see how the inventory of the library changes on its own even when I don't see it. It helped give the kids something to do after a long day being stuck in the house to walk over and exchange a book, and I couldn't be happier that we did it. 


 


May 3, 2021

Herbal Mouth Rinse or Paste

by Shae, Customer Service Queen

Teeth have always been a sensitive subject for me (pun intended!). I have a confession to make… I have Dentophobia- the fear of dentists. This stems from childhood and while I don’t have terrible teeth I am always looking for the best way to take care of them.  One day, when I was having some tooth pain, Nichole told me about Dr. Christopher’s Herbal Tooth & Gum Powder, and I got really excited. This launched my search for beneficial herbs for teeth. Since then I have found an Ayurvedic Herbal Toothpaste from Auromere and a Holistic Dental Therapeutic Rinse from Dr.H & Co called Heal.

Most of us know about cloves for toothaches, charcoal for whitening, and coconut oil pulling for overall health. But there is a myriad of other herbs that are good for teeth, who knew! 

Here is a list of some herbs that are all helpful for teeth in some way. I encourage you to do your own research on the benefits of each herb, as well as how best to use them. 

Acacia

Acacia Arabica/Babool

Aloe Vera

Bayberry Bark 

Bloodroot

Calendula

Cloves

Comfrey 

Echinacea

Eucalyptus

Ginger

Goldenseal Root

Horsetail/Shavegrass

Indian Licorice Root

Indian Medlar/Bakula Tree

Jujube

Myrrh Resin

Neem Bark

Oregano 

Peelu

Peppermint

Plantain

Porcupine Flower/Vajradanti

Prickly Ash

Rosemary 

Sage 

Sappanwood

Slippery Elm 

Spearmint

Tea Tree

Toothache Plant

Thyme

White Oak Bark

Yarrow

Yerba Mansa

 

Bonus (not herbs): Bentonite Clay & Hydrogen Peroxide

Herbal Mouth Rinse or Paste: 

Ingredients:

  • Aloe Vera Juice for rinse
  • Bentonite Clay for paste
  • Distilled Water

Herbs: Include any or all of the following. You can use crushed, powdered, or whole herbs, however, powdered works best. 

  • 3 parts White Oak bark
  • 3 parts Comfrey root
  • 3 parts Peppermint leaves
  • 3 parts Horsetail 
  • 1 part Prickly Ash Bark
  • 1 Part Slippery Elm Bark
  • 1 Part Cloves
  • 1 part Bayberry
  • 1 part Calendula
  • 1 part Sage
  • 1 part Thyme
  • 1 part Plantain Leaf
  • 1 part Rosemary 
  • 1 part Stevia Leaves
  • 3 drops myrrh essential oil (per 8 oz)
  • 2 drops tea tree oil (per 8 oz)
  • 2 drops peppermint oil (per 8 oz)
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt (per 8 oz)

Directions:

  1. Place herbs and barks (not essential oils) into a pan on the stove. 
  2. Pour in enough water to completely cover the herbs. 
  3. Brings to a brisk boil, then reduce, let simmer for at least 30 minutes. 
  4. Strain liquid through cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer. Add essential oils & salt. 
  5. For rinse: combine the liquid with equal parts of aloe vera juice. Use 1-2 tablespoons for each rinse, spit out, do not swallow, and shake before use!
  6. For paste: combine the liquid with bentonite clay until it makes the desired consistency, then brush teeth as normal.

Store in a jar with a lid. Use within 7-10 days, longer in the refrigerator. 

 


May 3, 2021

2021 5 Organtics

by Val Bagley

pending


May 3, 2021

The Computer of Atlantis

by Matt, Herbal Head Honcho

In 1901, sponge divers pulled a lump of metal, encrusted in the remains of a wooden box, from a Roman shipwreck. The mysterious box was 13.4x7.1x3.5 inches (34x18x9 cm) in size. The find was first dated to about 60-70 BC, though some still argue it may be up to 150 years older. A year after the discovery, a Greek archaeologist noticed what appeared to be a bronze gear embedded in some of the crust. He wasn’t taken seriously. Conventional wisdom said that clockwork didn’t exist until after 1300 AD, despite Aristotle describing gears and Archimedes possibly making geared mechanical devices, including an odometer and a “planetaria” over 200 years before.

It took a long time for X-ray and other imaging technology to uncover the inner workings of this box. It became known as the “Antikythera Mechanism” after the Greek island near which it was found. As time went on, the device was found to have at least 30 handmade gears, and maybe several more, some of which corresponded to known motions of the sun, moon, and planets in relation to the stars. Dials with labels and pointers were discovered and decoded, showing that the device was a very complex analog computer that could accurately predict phases of the moon, tides, positions of celestial bodies, solar and lunar eclipses, and other events, well over 400 years into the future. Is this Archimedes’ famous “planetaria?” Or a descendant of that device?

As early as 2700 BC, the Chinese may have had a gear-driven, direction-finding chariot that always pointed in the direction you pointed it at the beginning, no matter how you turned or wandered during your journey. Clearly, the ancients were much more clever than we generally suppose!

 


 


May 3, 2021

Shaes Perfect Chicken Noodle Soup

by Shae, Customer Service Queen

I love soup. It’s one of my favorite dishes, there are so many you can make, different bases, different flavor profiles. Practically good all year round, say maybe for summer and I would probably argue I could find some good ones for summer too!
 

My all-time most treasured is chicken noodle soup. I have made it my mission the last ten years to perfect this recipe best I can. I think I have done a pretty good job and anyone who tastes it, tends to agree.
 

There is just something so satisfying about a warm, savory bowl of chicken noodle soup. Reminiscent of a tender grandmother's embrace. A comforting reminder of childhood. Mmmmm.
 

When I cook, especially the dishes I try to perfect, I am not just looking to satisfy taste buds. I want to create an experience. I want that experience to have feeling, to reach deep down into a primal place and connect one with nourishment. Nourishment not only for the body but for the mind and spirit. I want the delicate smells and bold flavors to permeate and dance with the senses. When a person thinks of chicken noodle soup I want them to think of the time when I fed them, and I want them to crave it. It’s probably the perfectionist in me, but it’s how I show my love.

I am not a person who believes in secret recipes or keeping things to myself. I think the more love and joy and deliciousness that can be spread the better! So I thought I would put together how I make chicken noodle soup that will blow the socks off anyone who tries it. Hopefully! 

You have to start with a good base. I prefer to make mine with homemade bone broth or chicken stock. When I make either, I will freeze it to use for later. But in the, more common than I like, event that I didn’t do that, I will use store-bought. It must be stock or bone broth and I never use low sodium. Chicken broth and broths and stocks with low sodium, lack on flavor, as well as nutrients.

The whole chicken and nothing but the whole chicken. I prefer the whole chicken when it comes to the meat of the soup. This way there is light and dark meat, you get the essential fat and it just tastes better than plain chicken breast. I love roasting chickens and a whole chicken is quite a bit cheaper than chicken pieces. The chicken skin gives it this richness I can’t duplicate without it. I have found the best way to roast a chicken is this: load it up with your preferred spices, put slices of butter under the skins, drizzle with olive oil and for some sweetness just a touch of honey. Preheat your oven to 500*, roast the chicken for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350* and continue roasting until thoroughly cooked. Generally 15 minutes per pound of chicken. Then shred and add to the soup. If you are feeling lazy a store-bought rotisserie chicken will do just fine. Keep in mind the flavor profile you are going for, as some flavor profiles like southwest, may not jive well with your chicken noodle soup. I do put the chicken skin and even some of the bones, like a whole wing or drumstick, into the soup while cooking it and then will fish the unwanted parts out. 

Spice of life. Don’t rely on just the chicken and vegetables to flavor your soup. I generally use the same spices for my soup and only vary if I want to increase the heat level. Fresh herbs are better than dried, but dried will do as well. I typically use a combination of the following: rosemary, thyme, sage, garlic (whole cloves), bay leaves, oregano, lemon, salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, mustard powder, seasoning salt, parsley, marjoram. Season to preferred taste.

Eat your veggies! I have tried adding different vegetables and I always come back to the tried and true. Celery, carrots, onions. That’s it. Super simple. If available I use the rainbow baby carrots, they tend to bring a different flavor profile. 

Noodles!  I am super picky about noodles, they can break or make your soup and really do make quite the difference. My first choice is homemade noodles, hands down. But that can be quite intimidating, and unless you know what you are doing can have a high rate of failure. The next best option is frozen egg noodles, I prefer Grandma's Brand. If I have to use a dried noodle I always go for old-fashioned or homestyle wide egg noodles. 

I think these are the key elements to a really good chicken noodle soup. Other than the noodles it's relatively healthy and you could always switch out the noodles for zucchini noodles or gluten-free noodles. 

Do you have your own favorite tips for soup? Did you try the following recipe and want to share your experience? Be sure to email us at info@rcherbals.com

Happy souping and enjoy the recipe below: 

Shae’s Perfect Chicken Noodle Soup:

 Ingredients: 

  • 1 whole chicken or rotisserie chicken 

  • 64 oz or 2-3 boxes of 32 oz. chicken stock (more or less depending on how much broth you want)

  • 2 tbsp olive oil or butter

  • 1 large onion, chopped

  • 1 bag of baby rainbow carrots or 2-3 large carrots, sliced to desired size

  • 2-5 celery stalks, or more depending on how much you want, sliced

  • 16 oz egg noodles 

  • 1 lemon, if you are roasting your own chicken

    • Herbs:

      • 1-2 sprigs rosemary & thyme

      • 2-3 tbsp parsley, chopped

      • 2-3 tbsp garlic, minced 

      • 1 clove garlic, whole

      • 1-2 whole bay leaves

      • 2 tsp oregano

      • 1tsp garlic powder

      • 1 tsp onion powder

      • 1 tsp ground yellow mustard

      • Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

Roast chicken until fully cooked, season with desired herbs. The more seasoned the chicken, the better the soup. Reserve the juices from cooking the chicken and add to soup later. 

Shred chicken and set aside. Heat oil or butter on medium-high heat. Add onion, cook until translucent. Add carrots and celery. Cook over heat about 5-10 minutes until just before they are soft. Add spices and herbs, stir. Add stock, remaining juices from cooking the chicken and chicken. Bring to a boil, add noodles then turn heat down to a simmer. Let simmer until noodles are desired softness.  Garnish with fresh parsley.


May 3, 2021

Herbs of the Decade

by Brittini, Herbal Gaia

As an herbal supplement company, it is our job to stay on top of what is new and hot.  Thousands of medicinal herbs exist in the world, and new ones are popping up all of the time!  Some (other) companies will jump on trends to make a buck, which is okay, as long as specific considerations and criteria are met.  Companies should develop products based on supporting the health and well-being of their customers.  Ingredients should be effective, sustainable, affordable, high quality, and safe.

At RidgeCrest Herbals, we have always prided ourselves on our own innovation and catching the good herbal trends before they become the mainstream fad.  When Coleus was first put into Thyroid Thrive, finding anyone who was growing and selling it was a real problem.  On another project we worked on, we hunted an entire ingredient show floor for Maqui berry with no success.  Despite that, we knew it wouldn’t be long before people were talking about the high ORAC value of this ingredient!  Boswellia has been around for thousands of years but hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves for quite some time.  Long before it began to gain its recent popularity, it was the main ingredient in PhysiQOL because of its powerful historical uses. 

 Trends are a funny thing, they pop up, and suddenly everyone is talking about them.  In the case of herbs, many of these trends are ridiculous and expensive, often these are the ones that come and go quickly (such as green mango).  Others are well desering of all the attention they’ve received.  Due to their effectiveness, they stick around for decades at a time.  Below is a list of the most deserving “trendy” herbs of the past decade and the uses they are most known for:

 1.       Maqui berry:  For those not aware of the term ORAC, or Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity, is a test for showing the level of antioxidants in food.  Maqui berry scores at the very top of this chart as far as antioxidants go.  Antioxidants are known for many health-inducing benefits.

2.       Coleus Forskohlii:  This is a favorite for supporting the thyroid and relating organs (hypothalamus, pituitary, and adrenal glands).  It is a very safe herb for overall glandular support.  Because of how well it supports these glands and the chemicals they naturally produce, it grew popular in the weight loss support category.  As we know, weight loss has been a big trend for a long time now, with lots of herbs coming and going, but Coleus Forskohlii can do so much more!

3.       Rhodiola and Ashwagandha: These herbs are considered to be adaptogens.  This term has also become extremely well-known in the past decade.  Adaptogens are the mildest, safest herbs that fight stressors within the body.  They are a favorite for those looking for adrenal support and to combat stress and anxiety.  They do not have one specific action but instead work based on the body’s inherent ability to restore itself, as needed, to good health.

4.       Turmeric:  This brightly colored root has been known forever as a culinary ingredient, specifically in Indian food.  Sourced mainly from India and Asia, it’s reasonably sustainable and easy to grow.  A good source is pesticide-free and helps support farmers, which is a massive benefit with some herbal trends.  Turmeric’s popularity grew based on the ability to help support healthy joints, bones, and muscles, especially in the case of over-exertion or discomfort.

5.       Boswellia:  Historically known as Frankincense, this resin has been documented in ancient and historical texts and was initially known for a massive array of holistic uses.  This decade, it is mostly known as support to the body for maintaining healthy systems free of excess inflammation.  It is best coupled with Myrrh.

6.       Elderberry:  Elderberry this, Elderberry that!  This berry is easily one of the decade’s favorite trends in the immune category!  It is in capsules, tablets, powders, flavors, liquids, gummies, syrups and lozenges!  It’s a very hardy bush that is easy to grow and care for in a variety of growing conditions.  There are lots of recipes online for fresh homemade remedies and many affordable pre-made products on the market, mainly for immune support.  It is also beneficial for nerves and more.



 


May 3, 2021

2021 5 May Window of Wanderlust Alaska Falls Jungle Hawaii

by Abbie, Graphics Goddess

pending


Apr 20, 2021

Healing Your Inner Child

by Meagan, AR/AP Treasure Dragon

Your inner child is the part of your mind affected during childhood where sensitivity develops faster than cognitive reasoning. The moments that shaped your inner child didn't have to be huge, traumatic events - it's not how bad the experience was but how you handled it in that immature state. In fact, when you look back on it as an adult, you may invalidate it with adult eyes. Yet you may be reacting to situations in negative ways because of what your inner child feels, sitting in your subconscious as a trigger.

To heal your inner child, you must learn to re-parent, working with this inner child with compassionate self-discipline. This means becoming conscious, acknowledging, feeling, and listening to the emotions your inner child feels. This might be very difficult, as pivotal negative experiences may have been blocked out - you don't want to remember. Validate those feelings and identify what happened to that inner child. Allow yourself to truly feel and accept those feelings; by doing this, we can lovingly release them. Identifying the root cause of this emotion can also help you discover other situations affected by the same emotional trigger.

By taking these steps to heal your inner child, you can benefit from self-compassion and love, personal power, and self-confidence. Moving forward, it will help make you a happier and healthier version of yourself with each step.


Apr 20, 2021

Plant Phases Germination

by Melissa, Office Manager

In 2008, scientists in Israel found a seed of a date palm that was 2,000 years old. When the seed germinated, it became the oldest known seed to grow. What conditions did this require?

Germination of seeds occurs in five stages. They are: Water (Imbibition), Oxygen (respiration), light or darkness, temperature, and development into a seedling.

Imbibition is where a seed starts to absorb water. As the seed begins to absorb the water, it swells and rehydrates the cells of the seed. Then the seed is activated and starts to release energy from its food stores. This swelling results in the seed coat bursting.

The seed needs oxygen to produce energy to break down its food stores. This is called respiration. If a seed is planted too deep, it will not receive enough oxygen to start the germination process.

Some seeds require a certain amount of light to germinate, but some require darkness. It varies widely, so it is best to refer to the specifications on your seed. Most seeds will germinate at room temperature. Higher temperatures increase germination to a point. Once that has been reached, germination rates decline. Once the proper conditions have been met, the seed will start to develop a radicle, which is the plant's first root. Depending on the group of plants, the development will differ between monocots and dicots.

When a monocot seed germinates, it produces a single leaf. It is usually long and narrow. Even when it is quite a round shape, there is only one seed leaf. Monocots tend to have fibrous root structure like grass. When a dicot germinates, it produces two seed leaves. They contain the food for the new plant, so they are usually fatter than the actual leaves. The first true leaves are often a different shape. Dicots tend to have a taproot as part of their root structure, like a dandelion.

Plants require sixteen different elements to be able to thrive and grow, and if it lacks one or more of these nutrients, it may not be able to complete its life cycle. The first of these are carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen. These promote photosynthesis. Plants receive these elements from air and from water.

Next are the primary macronutrients. They are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. In most commercial fertilizers, they list the ratio of these three elements or the NPK ratio. They are the three numbers listed on the front of the label. They indicate the percentage of each component in the fertilizer - the rest are fillers. So if you know your plants are nitrogen deficient, you are looking for a fertilizer where the first number is the largest.


Apr 20, 2021

Slippery Elm Honey Digestives

by Nichole, Magical Marketing Millennial

Uses:

Upset stomachs, digestive discomforts, sore throats, heartburn, etc. Slippery Elm is essentially a thin protective coat that calms irritation and inflammation. It can provide relief for several issues. It is a much gentler solution than activated charcoal.

 

Ingredients:

Slippery Elm powder (source sustainably by buying farm-grown, not wildcrafted)

Raw honey (local is best)

Notes on ingredients: Because humidity varies based on your location and honey varies in its water content, I cannot provide you exact measurements to make these digestives. It is very much a recipe that you adjust by consistency, like bread.

 

Tools:

Stainless steel fork

Glass bowl

Pizza cutter (optional)

Wax paper (optional)

 

Instructions:

Pour raw honey into your bowl FIRST.

Mix in Slippery Elm powder in small quantities until the honey forms a dough-like consistency. Note: don’t add a ton of slippery elm at once, or you’re going to end up in a perpetual cycle of adding more honey and more slippery elm, and so on.


Apr 20, 2021

2021 4 Murder Hornets

by Val Bagley

pending


Apr 13, 2021

Thyroid Thrive is Now ThyroNourish!

by RidgeCrest Herbals

For Immediate Release:

Contact: Nichole Petersen

Director of Marketing

800-242-4649

Nichole@rcherbals.com

RidgeCrest Herbals’ Thyroid Thrive Renamed ThyroNourish

Highlights

  • Thyroid Thrive™ is being renamed ThyroNourish™
  • Retailers can continue to sell Thyroid Thrive™ inventory until new product arrives
  • ThyroNourish™ will be the first of RidgeCrest Herbals’ products to move to the new bottle art and branding

Salt Lake City, Utah

 

RidgeCrest Herbals is excited to announce that our popular product Thyroid Thrive™ will now be known as ThyroNourish™. 

We feel this name change will positively impact customers by creating a clearer understanding of what the product does. Using vitamins and minerals such as iodine from kelp, copper, phosphorous, and herbs like Ashwagandha and Bladderwrack, ThyroNourish™ provides the micronutrients necessary to nourish a properly functioning thyroid gland,” says Nichole, Director of Marketing. 

Current inventory in retail stores will not be affected. RidgeCrest Herbals will be continuing the sale of our current Thyroid Thrive™ inventory with plans to phase into the ThyroNourish™ product by August 13, 2021. “Retailers are free to continue selling Thyroid Thrive™ until they begin receiving the newly branded inventory,” says Chris Herbert, Director of Sales. 

Along with the new name, ThyroNourish™ will be the first product in the RidgeCrest Herbals line to move to the new logo branding and bottle art. Other products will be switched over in the coming months. “The new look and feel of the branding changes will allow customers to better understand the benefits of our products and has a more modern, earthy design that hearkens back to our herbalism roots and eclectic approach to formulation,” says Nichole. 

RidgeCrest Herbals’ ThyroNourish™ 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. ThyroNourish™ is a rich source of iodine, a necessary building block for certain thyroid hormones. Combine that with other important vitamins, building blocks, and herbs, ThyroNourish™ provides your body the nutritional tools it needs to help you function effectively.

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.   



 


Apr 8, 2021

The Power of Positive Self-Talk

by Meagan, Customer Service Mermaid

“Your thoughts are powerful! It is possible to create a happier, more confident self and bring what you desire into your life!”

If you’re like anyone else who has picked up a self-help book, you’ve read similar statements - so have I. For years I heard this, and as much as I wanted to follow through on this advice, I never took that time to invest in myself. But at the start of 2018, I became very ill for close to 4 months.

I had been diagnosed with Clostridium difficile colitis after taking an antibiotic. I was put on a stronger antibiotic once diagnosed, but even after being cleared from the C-diff I was still experiencing stomach problems. I was put on many different medications and put through many tests to find a diagnosis, and they all came back clean. I became depressed, anxious, and struggled with an obsessive-compulsive order, becoming obsessed with germs and re-infection. Not knowing what was wrong or when I would be better was torturous. I had no idea how long this illness could last, and my quality of life was awful.

After so many negative tests, my doctor talked about the possibility of it being psychosomatic. This only increased my anxiety. I couldn’t fathom how my mind could be causing this, or why I would do this to myself. Therapy was suggested about a month and a half into the illness. I went to a Hypnotherapist my mom recommended.

I was familiar with therapy as I had gone years before, but this therapy was different. At each session, I was taught new coping skills, things like how to breathe diaphragmatically and how to stimulate the Vagus nerve to calm down. This was very important since I found myself having anxiety attacks and breakdowns at least once a day. At the end of each session, I was given homework. The first session I was given 2 CD’s to listen to on alternating nights. I did this for two months.

My second appointment I was asked about my fears and desires, and we created personalized affirmations. I would say these affirmations four times out loud - in the morning, afternoon, and evening. I was also writing them. This was done repetitively.

I was fully invested, and once I began doing the work I could feel positive energy around me. I started researching the power of positive thoughts and self-thought, and how they impact the brain. I was learning new things about myself and began feeling less anxious and depressed. I started to feel slight improvements. One powerful affirmation for my situation was: “All of my cells know what to do to heal. Every single one of my cells is filled with wellness, health, and vitality. I am the picture of positive energy and wellbeing. I am healed, healthy, and whole.” I also added visualizations, imagining watching my cells fill with everything they needed.

By doing this, I was affirming that my body was strong and that I was improving, even if only a small amount each day. I was my own cheerleader. These Affirmations were helping me re-wire my brain to think positively. After some time, I was finally in a better place psychologically - though I was still physically sick. It took a bit more time to discover my illness was due to black mold in my apartment. With that knowledge, I moved and never looked back. It still took time to heal, but within a month I was no longer stuck in bed with nausea and shaking. Armed with a more positive attitude and making the physical changes I needed for my health, I was on my way to a more positive existence.

Today I still use my affirmations. I change them up a bit for what I need in my life at various times, discovering new ways to grow. I make it a point to say them at least once every day, holding on to the positive energy it fills me with. I wonder where I would be without that work; I am happier and more confident than I’ve ever been. I took control of my thoughts, emotions, and behavior and it has only made me better. You can too!

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Apr 7, 2021

The Nazca Lines

by Chris, Director of Sales

Over half a million people travel each year to see the Peruvian wonder that is Machu Picchu. Far fewer have experienced the mysterious beauty of the Nazca Lines, which locals consider to be just as significant.

Located in the arid, coastal region of southern Peru, the Nazca Lines are a collection of over 1,000 large-scale geoglyph etchings in the ground. When seen from an aerial view, they make up an astounding collection of straight lines stretching for miles, beautiful geometric shapes, human figures, plants, and animals. While some are as small as 16ft long, many are at least the size of a sports field, with the largest stretching to 1,200 feet - about as long as the Empire State Building.

These etchings were created sometime between 200 B.C and 500 A.D by the Nazca. They were virtually unknown to the outside world until a century ago. Researchers believe the Nazca first created the designs on canvas, then used grids made with ropes and stakes to recreate the drawings to scale on the ground while being directed by someone in a high place. The pathway-like lines were created by removing the darker, blackish-red stones that covered the land, thereby exposing the white sandy rock beneath.

Many have believed that the formations refer to astrology or alien life. Recent research concludes that ritual ceremonies to encourage rainfall and fertility were held at some of these sites and that many lines led to natural sources of water used for irrigation.

A simple YouTube search will amaze you, but just like the Grand Canyon, there is nothing quite like being there yourself. Tourists can look from an observation tower, or even better, take an hour-long plane ride overhead.


Apr 7, 2021

Horticulture Therapy

by Abbie, Graphics Goddess

When my husband and I moved into our current house six years ago, we underestimated one massive aspect of the property, and the likely reason that the home had been on the market for quite a few months: It had a big, overgrown, 60-year-old yard. Being first-time homebuyers with no gardening experience, we thought, “Hey, no big deal, what's a little yard work, right?" After taking out 2 tons of rocks, jacking out 35 stumps, laying sod, jackhammering out a cracked cement pond, pulling down vines, digging up and rerouting sprinklers, tilling our rootbound soil, and laying over 1000 feet of drip irrigation lines, we were finally ready to grow what we wanted to. It turned out that “a little yard work” was way more work than we ever imagined. We went to bed sore, scraped, and sometimes sunburned. We grunted, grumbled, and cursed while digging, tilling, jackhammering, clipping, and chainsawing.

Why didn't we quit? Because throughout this yard transformation, we were transforming, too. After realizing that something inside me was changing in my outlook toward gardening, I decided to look into whether there was scientific research that would back up what I was experiencing. Turns out, there is plenty! I'll go into a few of the studies, and how their findings align with my own:

Relief of Stress and Anxiety:  A 2017 meta-analysis in Preventive Medicine Reports that looked at 22 different case studies concluded that gardening is positively correlated with a reduction in depression and anxiety symptoms. Taking this yard apart and putting it back together gave me a sense of control over something very chaotic when we moved in. It taught me how to break up a giant project, lay it out in a sequence of what has to happen first, and tackle it piece by piece. A new brain imaging study from Duke University shows that engaging the brain to stay busy with problem-solving appears to be a sufficient buffer against debilitating anxiety. Many adults struggle with generalized anxiety because they lack the experience or practice of complex problem-solving. Gardening has definitely helped me to be a better problem solver.

Exercise: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that adults get anywhere from 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week. Gardening can be a great way of achieving it. According to a Harvard Medical School study, a 125-pound person performing an hour of general gardening activities burns 270 calories. Proper technique is always good to remember - lift with your knees when hauling potting soil bags. Kneeling is better than hunching when planting and weeding and be mindful of drinking plenty of water when working in full sun.

Gaining a Growth Mindset: Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck has spent her career researching the distinction between a “fixed mindset” and a “growth mindset.” A "fixed mindset" assumes that one's character, intelligence, and creative ability are fixed. They can't change in any meaningful way. A “growth mindset” thrives on challenge, and sees failures as a springboard for growth and expanding one's abilities. Gardening is a beautiful way to foster a “growth mindset.” Once I got into the planting phase of my yard, every season yielded triumphs and failures. Some plants thrived, others didn't. Stuff bloomed, other stuff died. One year, a hail storm blew through and destroyed my entire vegetable garden the same week I had planted it. I had planted too early and took the lesson. “S**t happens” sometimes, and you just have to start again. A failure in one part of the garden doesn't mean I quit the whole yard - there's always next season!

Being a Mother: Last year, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. While I was pregnant and working in my yard, I often reflected on the lessons that gardening has taught me over the past years that I want to take with me into raising a child. Preparing the space, giving a plant a good start, daily care and nurturing, protection from harsh storms, keeping the weeds down, pruning back unnecessary things to make room for more blossoms, helping those blossoms to get noticed and pollinated, and honoring and valuing the fruit as it comes in, all done with love and patience. These are things that I learned in the garden. Plants and people grow in their own time, and you can't rush mother nature, but you can certainly give them a great space to grow in, and be a loving gardener.

If you are fortunate enough to have a patch of dirt (no matter the size) that you get to call your own, I encourage you to work that earth. The lessons you learn could be the most organic (pun intended) and worthwhile ones of your life.

 


Apr 7, 2021

Emerging From Darkness

by Guest Author Aronica Cole

When you find yourself cocooned in isolation and you cannot find your way out of darkness...

Remember, this is similar to the place where caterpillars go to grow their wings.

-Necole Stephens

Life is such a fickle, ever-changing, and evolving thing. Just when you think you’ve gotten the hang of it, boom! A pandemic hits sending all of your plans, goals, and dreams to the waste side. Whether it’s a pandemic, a shift in plans, or some other monkey wrench that throws us off the path we were sprinting down, times of darkness are bound to happen. 

Here’s the thing though—they don’t last. Just like when a caterpillar goes into its cocoon and it’s facing darkness for an unknown amount of time only to emerge as a beautiful butterfly, we emerge from our dark times better than ever. But being in the dark times can be hard when you’re knee-deep in it and not sure when it’s going to end. So what do you do in the meantime?

The optimist in me says you focus on growth and the beauty of gaining lessons that are pushing you to be a better person. The realist in me says growth is hard and doesn’t always feel worth it but just like caterpillars and plants when we have times where we feel buried in darkness, beauty is on the other side. 

I remember when I was in one of my darker times. I was going through the divorce of my first marriage. My dad sent me a ticket to come home and spend some time getting my head together. While I was home, I read two books by Iyanla Vanzant. The first one was “Yesterday I Cried”. I remember thinking, “what’s the point in doing all that crying”. And then something in me broke and the waterworks flowed. I cried hard. I mourned the forever I thought I was going to have with my ex. I released the guilt of having to file for divorce. It was truly cleansing. 

But sometimes being motivated to keep moving and emerge from the dark place is hard. 

Here are some ways to help you stay motivated as you push through the hard times:

  1. Adopt a mindfulness practice. Mindfulness is when you’re fully aware of your thoughts and feelings in the moment. It’s when you’re completely present in the experience. Being mindful during the down times and paying attention to how you feel (are you sad? Mad? Frustrated? Confused? Overwhelmed?) makes it so that you can meet yourself where you are making it so you can really address the emotions you legit have. 
  2. Get help if you need it. Sometimes it’s hard to ask for help—I get it. But have at least one safe person that you can send a signal to when you need encouragement, help, a hug, whatever. I think far too often we think we have to be the ones to handle all the things. We don’t. It’s ok to get help with handling all the things—even if the help is just normalizing you. 
  3. Have your hormones checked and make sure your body isn’t inflamed. You’d be amazed at the side effects of off hormones and inflammation. One of the things that I’ve found effective in managing my emotions during these times has been the AnxietyFree. The formula is perfect for helping you feel calmer and dare I say happier?
  4. List out your controllables. In a world where SO much is out of our control, it’s hard to center yourself when you feel like nothing is within your grip. There are so many things that you DO control so, during these times, it’s more efficient to focus on that. Make a list of things you can do every day. Not a long list though—focus on 3 things daily. Mark them off as you complete them. The act of writing them down and crossing them off is so fulfilling!
  5. Know that you aren’t alone. Even the most positive and happy people have dark times too. It’s part of the process. Seeds are planted in the dirt—it’s where they’re rooted before blooming through the surface into the light. We all have these uncomfortable moments of growth that will result in beauty. 

I truly hope that you know that for every ebb, there will be a flow that will lead you to an emergence of another beautiful aspect of you. 


Apr 7, 2021

2021 4 Onconta Gorge, Oregon

by Abbie, Graphics Goddess

image pending


Mar 3, 2021

Will's Irish Soda Bread

by Will, Ginger-Beard of Power

Soda bread is made using baking soda as a leavening agent. The Native Americans had long used ash as the first form of baking soda. When combined with sour milk (we now use buttermilk), which contains lactic acid, a chemical reaction takes place that causes carbon dioxide to bubble. It was popular in the early years of the settlement of America by the Europeans, (as it was cheaper than regular bread) and didn’t require maintaining a specific temperature for the yeast to rise. It gained popularity when it was included in the 1796 book, American Cookery. Its adoption by the Irish came because it was cheaper than regular bread. Traditional Irish bread was mostly flat because of the poor quality of local wheat that did not rise well. They were also able to cook it on a griddle, since many poor Irish did not have stoves that made this type of bread. This made it a common and popular way to bake bread. The traditional X cut across the top of the bread is said to have been a way to ward off evil spirits. Today Irish Soda Bread is baked in millions of households across the U.S. to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day (and to help absorb the alcohol consumed).

Below is a basic recipe. You can find online recipes that include nuts, fruits, and seeds. 

Ingredients:

3 cups flour

1 ½ cups buttermilk

1 teaspoon of baking soda

2 ½ tsp salt

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients together until it forms a ball - do not knead, that will make the bread tougher.

Flour hands and workspace.

Knead and shape into a smooth ball.

Dust the ball lightly with flour and place on an ungreased baking sheet.

With kitchen shears or knife, cut an X into the top of the ball.

Bake until golden brown, around 35 min.

Let cool as long as you can control yourself, but while still warm, slice and eat with butter.

You will want to use the bread within a week. It will tend to dry out, so it is best to store the bread in an airtight bag.

You can keep it frozen in a freezer for up to 3 months.

Ask around in your family - many have recipes passed down for generations. It can create an added sense of connection to history and your family tree while you bake delicious bread!


 


Mar 3, 2021

The Science Behind Microdosing

by Nichole, Magical Marketing Millennial

You've likely heard about microdosing somewhere. By definition, microdosing is the act of consuming minimal amounts of a psychedelic substance to achieve a benefit while minimizing undesirable side effects. It's a new trend that has emerged from the need for alternatives to pharmaceutical drugs for mental health conditions. For some, it is merely a way to foster more creativity or attain a higher-self. Many individuals have added microdosing to their regular routine (hello, Reddit). They frequently report they are more creative, have more energy, enjoy better focus, and maintain improved relational skills. They also show reduced anxiety, stress, and depression.

With states like Colorado and California decriminalizing the use of these psychedelic substances, we see more and more scientific research. Though most of it currently leaves some efforts to be desired, the potential is clear, and scientists are pushing for further scientific validation. For instance, a study (Beckley Foundation, 2016) done on psychedelics was for those who suffered from treatment-resistant depression (TRD). They discovered that “Psilocybin was well-tolerated and induced rapid and lasting reduction in the severity of depressive symptoms.” Patients in this study reported that they attributed the treatment's effectiveness to “a greater willingness to accept all emotions.” The experience accelerated an emotional “conformation,” a challenging return to old traumas that had led to “emotional breakthrough and resolution.” Another pilot study (Grob, Danforth, & Chopra, 2011) done for anxiety in stage-4 cancer patients yielded the following: “Some of the data revealed a positive trend toward improved mood and anxiety.”

The most recent research from the Netherlands (Prochazkova, 2018) suggests that taking a small dose of the psychedelic substance psilocybin may improve both convergent and divergent thinking in ways that promote cognitive flexibility, creativity, and single-solution problem-solving. As Prochazkova and her co-authors said: “Taken together, our results suggest that consuming a microdose of [psychedelic] truffles allowed participants to create more out-of-the-box alternative solutions for a problem, thus providing preliminary support for the assumption that microdosing improves divergent thinking.”

Other promising research has demonstrated that psilocybin has the potential to help with addiction. In one study (Johnson, Garcia-Romeu, & Griffiths, 2017), over 80% of long-term smokers who took psilocybin for cognitive behavioral therapy quit entirely after six months, outperforming their drug counterparts, which sits at a 35% success rate over the same amount of time. Another proof-of-concept study (Bogenschutz, Forcehimes, & Pommy, 2015) done on alcoholics demonstrated a change in drinking habits and increases in alcohol abstinence. Hallucinogens have even shown benefits for certain types of head discomfort, including extended periods of remission after treatment with the psychedelic substances. (Sewell, Halpern, & Pope Jr, 2006 & Schindler, Gottschalk, & Weil, 2015)

There's also growing evidence that psilocybin and other psychedelics have the potential to rewire the brain. When brain imaging is captured under the influence of a psychedelic, researchers have noted a decreased blood flow to particular areas involved in emotional responses to fear and stress. Contrarily, they also observed increased stability in other brain networks associated with depressive symptoms. Carhart-Harris says, “Based on what we know from various brain imaging studies with psychedelics, as well as taking heed of what people say about their experiences, it may be that psychedelics do indeed ‘reset' the brain networks associated with depression, effectively enabling them to be lifted from the depressed state." (Carhart-Harris, Roseman, & Bolstridge, 2017)

 In terms of what is happening now, there is research underway, funded by the US government, for Phase 2 of a study testing psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression (TRD). It is slated to be fully completed by December 2020. Perhaps, by the time you read this, the research may be available (see https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03775200). Also, there are lots of great resources out there. I only mentioned a handful of the research available. If you’re curious and want to learn more, the world of information is at your fingers.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. The information in this article is solely the opinion of its author and in no way reflects the official stance of RidgeCrest Herbals regarding microdosing or psychedelics. The information in this article has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.


 


Mar 3, 2021

Dream Journaling

by Nichole, Magical Marketing Millennial

Do you ever find yourself struggling to remember your dreams? Do you not dream at all? Dream journaling can help you remember your dreams, even if you don’t seem to have any. You can use an object, called a “Dream Anchor,” in your bedroom that you concentrate on while waking. This technique is based on Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). Your brain will start associating dreaming with the object, which helps improve recall.

 Dream journaling allows you to have more vivid dreams, meaning you’ll remember the details better each time you write them down. This helps you gain control over your state of mind, making you much more aware of when you’re dreaming vs. when you’re awake.

Dream journaling has many benefits. It improves your memory and overall health, helps reduce nightmares, increases awareness, allows you to explore your subconscious, and improves your creativity. It only takes a few minutes each morning! Just give “expressive writing research” a quick Google, and you’ll be able to see the difference it makes for overall health.

How do you start? Easy peasy. Simply grab a plain old notebook and write it in immediately when you wake up. Keep in mind that this journal is only for dream documentation and shouldn’t be used for anything else. Sometimes starting with just a sentence or two is enough.

Research

https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/advances-in-psychiatric-treatment/article/emotional-and-physical-health-benefits-of-expressive-writing/ED2976A61F5DE56B46F07A1CE9EA9F9F/core-reader


Mar 3, 2021

2021 3 Lake Blanche UT

by Abbie, Graphics Goddess


Mar 3, 2021

Changelings

by Meagan, AR/AP Treasure Dragon

In Western European folklore, particularly Irish folklore, there are legends of babies - and sometimes even adults - stolen off to the Faerie Realm while leaving a faerie in their place. The most common term for these creatures is Changelings. They are also known by other Western European countries as Mamuna, Wechselbald, or Boginki. There were many theories regarding why this would happen. The humans were destined to be servants, as payment for the faeries blood dues with the Devil, crossbreeding, or out of malice. They may be taken because of faeries wanting a strong, healthy baby instead of a sickly one, or for elderly fairies looking for comfort in their last years. Sometimes, the child would be replaced by a block of wood or wax replicating the child, which would appear to grow sick, followed by the child's death.

Changelings were often suspected if a child began to appear weak, feeble, and sickly. Increasing signs included thin, bony limbs, growing uglier in appearance and behavior, and dark eyes wise beyond their years. If a child ate well yet remained malnourished, experienced developmental delays, or had any physical deformities, these were also considered signs of a switch.

One way to surprise a changeling to reveal itself was by tricking it into speech or making it laugh. You could also use herbs, salves, and seeds, leave eggshells by the fireplace, mistreat it, whip it, or put it in the oven. Most parents believed that once the changeling revealed itself, their child would be returned. In contrast, some believed if they were nurtured and loved to become healthy and happy, the faerie parents would desire them again and switch them back.

To protect a child from being switched, you could have the child baptized, keep the fire lit in their room before baptism/christening, tie a red ribbon around the baby's wrist, have it wear a red hat, or placing an iron, a knife, or scissors above the cradle.


 


Mar 3, 2021

Amazing Bees, More Than Just Honey!

by Matt, Herbal Head Honcho

Even Winnie-the-Pooh knows that the only real reason for being a bee is to make honey! Honey has impressive properties. It tastes better than refined sugar on toast, has a lower glycemic index, and helps the body build allergy resistance to local pollens and hay fever. It can support healthy cholesterol and triglycerides levels. It has antioxidant, antifungal, and antibacterial properties. It promotes the natural recovery of wounds and burns. Last but not least, it is just perfect if you are feeling a little eleven o'clockish, and need a little smackerel of something.

But are you aware of all the other great things bees do? Of course, you know they pollinate flowers—that goes without saying. But they also haul pollen back to the hive, where it is stored and fermented to make “bee bread,” which feeds the colony. Beekeepers can arrange to collect some of that pollen as the bees land, forming crunchy pellets that can be consumed as a dietary supplement, either in powder form or in capsules. Bee pollen is anti-inflammatory, full of antioxidants, great for the immune system and liver, and reduces stress and fatigue.

Beeswax is used by bees to store honey and for brood cells to incubate young bees. Beeswax burns cleaner, brighter, and with a more pleasant fragrance than tallow, so it was a premium candle source throughout history. Today, beeswax is also popular in lip balms, skin creams, polish, and conditioners, to name just a few. Oh, and candle makers still love beeswax as well!

Propolis is a sticky, greenish-brown compound that bees use as a protective coating for their hives. Bees make propolis from the sap of evergreen trees, but like honey and pollen, it has many regional variations. It has been shown to have healthy properties for wounds, inflammation, and cold sores. It is even being studied for other exciting advancements in healthcare!

Royal jelly is a substance created by nurse bees and used to feed young bees and the queen. In fact, queen bee larvae grow up in specialized queen cells filled with royal jelly, which causes them to grow into queens instead of the usual worker bees. It does not seem to have the same effect on people! However, royal jelly does have many nutrients and antioxidants, as well as properties useful for wounds, blood pressure, brain function, aging, immune function, PMS, menopause, and more.

Did you know that bees temperature control their hives? In the winter, they close off extra entrances to make them more defensible and keep down drafts. The bees' motion inside the hive keeps it substantially warmer than the air outside. In the summertime, the sun beating on a beehive can make it too warm inside. So bees will line up at the entrance, beating their wings to force more cooling air into the hive and keep the temperature down. Pretty smart for insects, aren't they? Of course, the colony is run entirely by females, so maybe that explains it.

Even angry bees can help you feel better. Bee venom contains a variety of compounds that have been used in traditional medicine for relieving pain, including arthritis. It sounds strange, but people catch some bees and hold them against their skin on the affected joint, forcing a sting! Compounds in bee venom have recently been shown to have multiple health properties that may aid the immune system.

Remember that old wives’ tale that bees die after they sting you? Well, the old wives were right, they do! Unlike a wasp stinger, a bee stinger is barbed, so it can't easily be pulled out of your skin. In fact, the venom sac usually ruptures the bee's abdomen, killing the bee as it is brushed from the angered victim's skin. So we recommend that you leave those hard-working bees alone, and find other ways to soothe your sore joints. For those who are tempted by bee venom, stinging nettle quickly comes to mind as an alternative!

Finally, we recommend that you do all you can to help our bee friends. After all, they pollinate a third of our food supply, so we should do all we can do to return the favor—that's just good karma! Host a beehive if you can. Make sure there is a water source near the hive—you may not think about bees getting thirsty, but they do! Learn about bumblebees, mason bees, solitary bees, and other pollinators, too. Our European honeybees (Apis mellifera) are not native, after all.


 


Mar 3, 2021

ClearLungs Extra Strength Wins Industry Award

by RidgeCrest Herbals

RidgeCrest Herbals’ ClearLungs Extra Strength Wins Taste for Life Magazine’s Essential Supplements award

Highlights

  • ClearLungs Extra Strength wins Taste For Life Magazine’s Essential Supplements Award
  • This is the first award for ClearLungs Extra Strength, but the tenth award for the ClearLungs Family. 
  • ClearLungs Extra Strength promotes lung health for year-round support.


 

Salt Lake City, Utah

ClearLungs Extra Strength is one of the country’s best-selling natural lung health products. The New Hampshire-based Taste For Life Magazine has announced its 2021 Essential Supplements award. RidgeCrest Herbals is thrilled to have ClearLungs Extra Strength win the award for Respiratory Support. This is the first award for ClearLungs Extra Strength, but the tenth award for RidgeCrest Herbal’s ClearLungs family of products.

This award comes at a crucial time when, more than ever, people are looking for natural lung support options.

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


Feb 17, 2021

The Most-Requested Almanac in RidgeCrest Herbals History is now available online!

by RidgeCrest Herbals

In 2015, then-Marketing Director Will Christesen desired to give something back to RidgeCrest Herbals’ customers to thank them for their loyalty. He conceived of a publication similar to the Almanacs of the past, that would inform and entertain while giving readers a true taste of the personality and people of the company. The first Almanac was published in 2016 and enjoyed a quiet success. Now, five years later, preorders for the 2021 Almanac smashed through all possible expectations. Now the president of the company, Will says,

“We have been blown away by the response of our customers to the Alamanac and are proud to share this part of ourselves with them. This is truly a labor of love from the entire company each year, and it is amazing to hear that it touches people’s lives the way we hoped it would.”

Today, RidgeCrest Herbals is excited to announce that the 2021 Almanac is now available digitally. It contains recipes, planting tips, informative articles, homesteading ideas, and fascinating stories from around the world. Physical copies were in such high demand they are no longer available, but you can read the digital copy here. 

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

For more information, email info@rcherbals.com.


Feb 2, 2021

The Importance of Date Night

by Chris, Director of Sales

How you spend your time shows what you value most. Couples who spend quality alone time with each other weekly report higher levels of happiness, positive communication, and sexual satisfaction. This is at a rate three times greater than those who don’t spend that time together. That is a significant payoff without even having to leave the house, and a powerful preventative to costly counseling, which may become necessary if you don’t date your partner.

Date nights in can be just as meaningful as date nights out, as long as you plan it out, put effort into your appearance, and stay focused on each other. Ideas include playing games and laughing together, taking turns reading an enjoyable book aloud while the other gives a foot massage, having drinks while watching the sunset from the porch, or going for a leisurely stroll while talking about your future dreams.

Plan to go out for a date at least once a month and more often if possible. Every now and then, splurge on something special, especially for your birthdays and anniversaries. No matter what you do, keep a specific night of the week blocked off for date nights and stick to it.  Brainstorm date night ideas together and take turns being the one to plan the date. Don’t be afraid to try new things to show your partner you are willing to do something they enjoy. Every now and then, make the night’s events a total surprise for the other person to keep things exciting. Try ax throwing or a shooting range, a four-course food-truck-hopping date, couple’s yoga, or kayaking. You can even test-drive expensive cars you have no intention of buying or get a tattoo together.

Create a date night playlist of music you both enjoy. Make sure your vehicle is clean and smells nice. Spritz romantic essential oils like sandalwood or ylang-ylang or diffuse these oils in the house. If you or your partner are alloromantic, romance often starts in the mind and needs to be built up in advance. Do an act of kindness for your partner that morning. Write a love note for your partner to find midday or send them a flirty text message while at work to let them know that you are looking forward to your time together. Put extra effort into looking your best, like you did when you were first dating. Take notice of the energy your partner put into their appearance, and be sure to compliment them.

When on your date, avoid talking too much about your children or stressful topics. Use this time to get to know your partner on a deeper level by being a good listener and asking deep questions. Appreciate their positive qualities, and speak words of encouragement. Give them the gift of presence by staying away from your phone and TV. Show affection on your date, and don’t forget to flirt with them like you used to!

“Do what you did in the beginning of your relationship and there won’t be an end.”

-Tony Robbins


Feb 2, 2021

Third Eye Openers

by Shae, Social and Customer Service Goddess

Your pineal gland - said to be the third eye - is located in the brain. It produces melatonin, controls circadian rhythms, reproductive hormones, and regulates time.  Its significance can be found in ancient cultures throughout the world. Called the Anja- 6th chakra (located just above the midpoint of the eyebrows) in Ayurvedic culture, in Egypt, the Eye of Horus. Hindu Deities are depicted with a third eye. It is represented as a pinecone (which forms Fibonaccis’ Golden Ratio!) in carvings of Sumerian gods, in ancient Greek mythology, and in Cambodian temples in Angkor Wat.

The Third Eye is the gate that leads to inner realms and higher consciousness. When balanced, it can help you tune into vibrations/energy. It is the center for intuition, foresight, imagination, perception, lucid dreaming, astral projection, and supreme universal connection. Here is where we transcend duality, switching perception from “I” to “we.”

When blocked, you can have a lack of clarity, get feelings of confusion, uncertainty, being spiritually stuck, and not being able to see the bigger picture. Fluoride, artificial hormones, additives, sugar, artificial sweeteners, radiation, and electric and magnetic fields are thought to calcify/block your third eye.

Ways to open/activate your third eye:

Activities: Sungaze (be sure to research the safest way to do this!), meditate (both guided & transcendental), chant, pray, dance, or do yoga. Practice breathwork, gratitude, and trusting your own intuition.

Crystals: amethyst, purple sapphire, violet tourmaline, rhodonite, sodalite, quartz

Essential Oils: Lavender, Sandalwood, Frankincense

Nutrition: raw cacao, goji berries, garlic, lemon, watermelon, banana, honey, coconut oil, hemp seeds, cilantro, parsley, seaweed, chlorella, spirulina, blue-green algae, raw apple cider vinegar, ginseng, vitamin D3, chlorophyll, bentonite clay.

 


Feb 2, 2021

Bonsai A Living Art

by Will, Ginger Beard of Power

“We have all the problems of a major theme park and a major zoo, and the computer's not even on its feet yet."

- Samuel L. Jackson, Jurassic Park

 Every time I hear that line, I relate to it. I have the hobby of Bonsai - a wonderfully peaceful form of art showing the most beautiful characteristics of each tree that mimics the long brutal years a tree would display in its natural setting. All in a pot that you display and meditate over. At the same time, you need to not just keep it alive, you need to give it what it needs to thrive. You become a botanist at the same time.

I have a strange love for Bonsai - I guess it may be strange altogether. To care for a plant that takes up a 2-foot space in your yard, work on it hours upon hours, feeding, transplanting, reducing growth, guiding formation - all this has to happen at the right time. The right time of year, the right time for the formation of leaf, branch, and tree, and even the right time of day. All too often, you try all the things you know while seeking help, yet you can see that the tree is slipping away. It will die, leaving an empty pot and break your heart.

But don't feel bad for me. There are collections around the world on display—trees well over a hundred years old. Treasures to a club or a collection cared for by a well-trained botanist and lifelong bonsai artists. That is pressure. Trees that are not even appraisable. Gifts from other countries to the US and US presidents are on display in DC. When you have lots of time check out some of the collection here: www.bonsai-nbf.org/collection

So why Bonsai?

There's something about the challenge. The structure you learn during the journey gives satisfaction as you work to provide a tree that which it needs to be happy. Doing so brings me happiness. I have a long history of enjoying Bonsai. I learn new things every year. I win some, and I lose some. When I lose, there is usually something big that I have learned in that loss. Here are just some of the things I take away from practicing Bonsai:

The discipline you develop while building a close relationship with a tree: The cycle of caring is constant from watering and moving and feeding. It's like having a clock inside my mind. I am like a child asking to hear a story before bed, signaling the brain for a peaceful sleep. I visit the trees and calm myself from work and the world.

The inspiration in nature: Most people involved in Bonsai find inspiration in nature. Walking a path out in nature, seeing a tree that has found purchase in a small crack between rocks and has weathered the winters, the deer nipping at it, and the wind. It may have used root power to open the crack wider over the years. In that, the inspiration is glorious. It found a way to live and be happy and to show it’s beauty. I want that - I want to have that perseverance.

The inspiration in your Bonsai: I have a vision when I think about the birthplace of Bonsai in China and Japan. I think of a densely populated city in a tiny yard or patio, you may find a well-trained bonsai, the owner pondering and falling into the tree. In his mind, he is an inch tall standing under his inspiration. He is not just looking at his tree, he is with his tree in nature. Standing or sitting on a root coming from the trunk, a soft green patch of moss under his feet. This is a lesson for me. We live in a world of pressures. This example tells me I do not need a massive yard or to be inspired or miss the experience of being deep in nature. It tells me to turn off the world and practice getting lost. To slow and meditate. To care, to look into the balance of the tree. To find what it needs and give back to it. To find answers from those wiser than me. Well, I guess we should do these things with all things we love and want to be better at. I am grateful to my father, who years ago showed me why I would want a little tree in a pot and asked me to help with his art and inspiration.

I hope you enjoy looking at the website in this article. At the time of writing, the collection was closed for Covid-19 safety. Thanks to technology, we can visit, ponder, and read about this fantastic collection's history.


 


Feb 2, 2021

2021 2 February Organtics Professionalism in the Workplace

by RidgeCrest Herbals


Feb 2, 2021

My Experience With Transcendental Meditation

by Abbie, Graphics Goddess

“The potential of every human brain is unbounded, infinite. Everyone is equipped with the physical machinery in his brain physiology to experience, through Transcendental Meditation, that level of intelligence which is the ocean of all knowledge, the ocean of all energy, intelligence, and bliss."

- Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

As I've gotten further into my thirties, my desire for inner peace has become a bigger priority. Between having my first child with scary labor in 2019 and enduring a pandemic six months later, my stress levels went up into uncharted territory. A couple of my friends had mentioned on social media that they had started doing something called Transcendental Meditation to manage their stress. I remember thinking, "That's interesting..." and quickly forgetting about it. However, the topic just kept coming up - whether in magazine articles I found myself reading or on podcasts I followed. Transcendental Meditation was practically forcing its way onto my radar, so I decided it was time to investigate for myself. I began asking the following questions and then finding out the answers:

What is Transcendental Meditation? Transcendental Meditation (TM) is a simple and effortless technique. A person silently repeats a given mantra (a Sanskrit word/sound that contains no meaning to the meditator) while sitting with their eyes closed for twenty minutes, twice a day. Amidst the repetition of the mantra, the mind settles down naturally, transcends beyond a waking, sleeping, or dreaming state, and enters the fourth state of consciousness. It is a state of unbounded awareness.

Where did it come from, and how did it become popular? The practice of TM goes back thousands of years but was brought to the public by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, an Indian guru who learned it from his teacher in the Himalayas. He extracted the technique from its Hindu context and began teaching it in India in 1955, then taking it on a world tour and to the US in 1959. Teachers were trained, and learning centers were opened across the country to make it widely available after Maharishi's departure (he passed away in 2008).

Is there any science to back this up? Yes! Because TM is taught through a standardized method with certified teachers, it is easier and more accurate to gather data from TM than other methods. With over 600 studies performed, and over 400 of them published and peer-reviewed in scientific and medical journals, the evidence shows that TM is highly effective. It can make a positive impact on reducing stress and anxiety, boosting energy and creativity, and lowering blood pressure. It's also been shown to help with symptoms of depression, insomnia, addiction, PTSD, and ADHD. One of the most intriguing aspects of TM is what it does to your brainwaves while you are meditating. During ordinary waking consciousness, electroencephalogram (EEG) patterns are generally scattered, disorderly, and rapidly changing. Thoughts are continually coming and going, and each wavelength is different. However, when the brain settles into the TM technique's practice, brainwaves become rhythmic and orderly. They start to line up with one another and move synchronously over large areas in the frontal regions of the brain, extending eventually toward the posterior areas. This is called EEG coherence.

After reading a few books and talking to friends who had taken the course, I contacted a teacher in my area. The entire course is only four visits over four consecutive days. On the first day, you receive your mantra and learn how to meditate one-on-one with your teacher. You then spend the following three days doing group meditation sessions with other students and discussing them. After that, they turn you loose and tell you to meditate for 20 minutes, twice a day. At my first lesson, my teacher performed a lovely little ceremony and then gave me my mantra. As I began to repeat my mantra, I felt like I was peacefully sinking down into a body of water. The lower I got, the more I felt like I was able to look up to the surface, where all of my everyday thoughts were tossing around on the waves. But down below in the depths, it was silent and still. I knew that this was something that not only would I take the time to do every day, but I would ENJOY taking the time to do it. It was refreshing to walk skeptically into that building and walk out, able to access a part of my mind that I had never experienced before. The three other group lessons were really interesting because I got to hear how other people experienced TM. Although everyone transcended during practice, everyones' stories were individual and unique.

I'm over six months into twice-daily practice now, and the differences are already incredible. I feel like my anxiety has disappeared altogether. I have more energy during the day. I'm more patient with the tasks of being a new mom. I feel like I have better problem-solving skills, and I react less to everyday annoyances like bad drivers or long lines. Everything just...flows better. I would recommend Transcendental Meditation to everyone, it has been one of the best discoveries of my life.

 


Feb 2, 2021

Its OK to Simplify Your Life

by Aspen, Trainer of the Things

As we all know, this past year has been a tough one. For me it has brought a lot of time process how I got to this point in my life, and to work through some things. With the help of crowd-sourced psychology on social media, I have been able to learn a great deal about myself, my childhood, why I am the way that I am, and what I should do about it. This has led to me making some changes, recognizing situations in my life that don’t work for me, processing how I got to them, and coming to terms with letting them go.

One of the things that I have changed recently had to do with the responsibilities in my life. I had one obligation that was causing me a lot of stress, anxiety, and extra work. It was something I had taken on when I first got married in 2015, and now as a single mom in a pandemic, it would push me over the edge from coping to tears when something came up that I had to deal with. But I had made a commitment to it, and I was sticking with it, despite what it was doing for my mental health.

This obligation was once again frustrating me recently, and I reached out to a good friend in a similar situation and asked her how she coped with it. It turned out that she was much more passionate about it than I was, and ready to take on more. We discussed at length, and in the end, she took over my responsibility for me. 

I felt immense guilt over the idea of giving up. I still feel immense guilt, actually. But looking back at how I ended up in that situation, it wasn’t something I had ever really wanted. It was something my ex-husband, wanted me to do. He could be volatile and abusive, so I went along with a lot of things back then trying to keep him happy without any thought about what I wanted for myself. It was all about keeping him in a good mood. Now, divorced for almost two years, why was I still holding on to a responsibility that was time-consuming, expensive, stressful, and that I hadn’t actually wanted in the first place, especially when there was someone out there whose life could be enriched by taking it on for me? Someone who would do an even better job than I was capable of doing? 

It’s been several weeks now, and while I still feel guilt, my life is so much easier. It’s like a load has been lifted from my shoulders, and I am starting to see things in a new way. I have more time to enjoy my son, and I feel much more in control of my life. 

So the point is, it’s ok to simplify your life. It’s ok to look at what isn’t working for you and make positive changes. Self-analysis is crucial to understanding yourself and how to be happy. So what can you change in your life to make it work for you better?


Feb 2, 2021

The Yosemite FireFall

by Melissa, Office Manager

One of the most spectacular things to experience at Yosemite is the Firefall. Towards the 2nd week of February, the waterfall at Horsetail Falls glows orange and red as if the water turned to fire. The conditions for this must be absolutely perfect. The winter’s snowpack must have been enough to supply the waterfall, the temperatures in February must be warm enough for the snow to melt, and the sky must be clear at sunset. Then you can view the Firefall for about ten minutes of total wonder.

The phenomenon wasn’t documented until 1973, but it wasn’t the first Firefall that happened at Yosemite. In 1871 before Yosemite was a national park, James McCauley was able to build a hotel at Glacier Point that had beautiful views of Half Dome and the Yosemite Valley. As legend has it, McCauley set up a fire in the evening at the top of Glacier’s Point to cook dinner for his guests, but no one came. Angered, McCauley flew into a fit of rage, kicking the embers over the cliff. This delighted the guests staying in the valley below. By 1917 the park had a nightly ritual. In the summer evenings, the people at the top of the cliff would call down to Camp Curry below, and those below would call up to “let the fire flow!” As the embers cascaded down the cliff, the campers below sang “Indian Love Calls,” then the Rangers would give a program. It was eventually discontinued. The man-made Firefall is no longer taking place. Still, you can stay at the campground below and imagine a pleasant summer evening in the mountains and calling up to the cliff, “let the fire fall!” Better yet, see the real thing in February!


 


Feb 2, 2021

2021 2 February Arches National Park

by Abbie Warnock-Matthews


Jan 13, 2021

Plant Phases Dormancy

by Melissa, Office Manager

The lotus was considered a sacred flower by ancient Egyptians and was used in burial rituals. This flower blooms in rivers and damp wetlands, but may lie dormant for years during drought, only to flower again with the return of water. Egyptians viewed it as a symbol of resurrection and eternal life. Nature has given plants this incredible restorative state of dormancy.

Dormancy is a period in an organism's life cycle when growth, development, and physical activity are temporarily stopped. This minimizes metabolic activity and therefore helps conserve energy. Dormancy tends to be closely associated with environmental conditions. Dormant seeds are in a state of suspended animation, delaying germination until the conditions are right for survival and growth. For perennial plants, dormancy is triggered when adverse growing conditions are present. It is important to remember that plants are not dead during this time; they are just conserving energy and preparing for the next stage.

Almost all plants go through periods of dormancy, and not all are in the winter. Some plants go through a dormancy period in the heat of the summer to conserve the moisture they need for survival. Grass that is winter-cold hardy often goes dormant in the heat of the summer to preserve moisture. Once the stress has passed, the dormant grass will green up again and come out of the inactive state. When plants go dormant, it is an excellent opportunity to do some late spring pruning before the new growth starts.

Many online nurseries will ship plants in a bare-root or dormant state. When you get a straggly root in the mail, it can seem pretty iffy. But that root has the power it needs to grow into the beautiful plant you want. Just be sure to get it in the ground as soon as possible, so it doesn't emerge from dormancy before it is the right time. 

Some species of seeds can remain dormant for up to 50 years, waiting for the right conditions to present themselves so the plant can be ready to grow. Seed dormancy occurs through a few different methods, some of which happen outside the embryo, others inside it. An example of an external process is a hard seed coat, which stops the seed from absorbing water and sometimes air. The hard seed coat may need to be broken by heat, freezing, or by passing through an animal's acidic guts. Dormancy may also be triggered by factors inside the embryo, especially chemical changes, which need to occur in the seed before it germinates. Some seeds, for example, require a period of light or dark to germinate. 

Gardeners will often carry out processes that imitate these natural ones to break dormancy and get seeds to germinate, for instance, by chilling seeds to imitate cold weather or by applying abrasives to weaken the seed coat. One of the surprising conditions that seeds and plants may need is smoke and fire. We usually think of these as destructive and not necessarily beneficial for life. However, in 2004, researchers in Western Australia conducted a study to discover which chemical in smoke acts as the “phoenix factor” that brings dormant, fire-reliant seeds to life.

The giant Sequoia trees of California have also been studied to find the connection between fire and seed propagation. After a period of extended fire suppression, it was discovered that the sequoia trees were not producing seedlings as expected. They found that Sequoias rely on fire to release the seeds from the cones. It is a fascinating process, allowing the Sequoia to thrive in conditions other trees cannot benefit from in the same way. The fire exposes the bare soil for seedlings to take root, minerals from the ash nourish the earth, and open holes in the forest canopy allow the seedlings to receive the sunlight needed. All while also eliminating the competition from other tree species. It's incredible!

So the next time you see a dormant seed or plant, think of the incredible power it contains and what it can do if provided with proper conditions. 


 


Jan 13, 2021

The Humongous Fungus

by Nichole, Magical Marketing Millenial

It’s bigger than an elephant. It’s even bigger than a blue whale. It’s the largest living organism in the world and spans a total of 2,200 acres or about four square miles (yes, you read that right). While it’s biological origins might surprise you, it’s been around between an estimated 1,900 to 8,650 years. It’s known commonly as the “honey mushroom” or Armillaria ostoyae.

Discovered initially in Washington state, the fungus DNA was traced all the way to Malheur National Forest in Oregon. To say this find astonished researchers is a gross understatement. Its size was first recognized while scientists were trying to find the culprit behind the dying conifer trees, which were suffering from severe root rot. This fungus feeds on the roots of these evergreens by drawing their water and carbohydrates, using self-produced digestive enzymes. These thick black tendrils, called rhizomorphs or “shoestrings,” extend out to obtain nutrients over vast distances, which allow it to grow so big and why it is considered pathogenic.

Mushrooms aren’t just the bulbous caps and stems we see reaching up from the ground - that is only a small fraction of their existence. On the surface, you might see two completely different mushrooms distant from each other, but these two mushrooms may belong to the same entity underground. Fungi have an underground communication network that is known as mycelium, usually white (you’ve likely seen this if you’ve ever dug up dirt). These tendrils, which look remarkably similar to our nervous system network, can span miles and are generally an essential factor in the health of a forest.

Currently, scientists are working with this fungus to help prevent further degradation of the forests. Introducing other species of fungi and disease-resistant trees seems to be their method of choice to keep the humongous fungus under better control.


Jan 13, 2021

2021 1 January Organtics

by RidgeCrest Herbals


Jan 7, 2021

Benefits of Taking a Warm Bath

by Abbie, Graphics Goddess

When you've had a hard day and want to unwind, few things feel as good as a nice, warm bath. Ever wondered why a warm bath feels so good? Here are some of the scientifically-proven benefits:

Relief for achy muscles and joints: Because water is buoyant, it reduces gravity's pull on joints. When submerged, the body weighs about 90 percent less, diminishing weight and compression of the joints. Warm water also raises body temperature and increases circulation, which encourages better movement. Heat also gets your blood moving, which can help sore or tight muscles to relax.

A healthy heart: Taking a warm bath can help reduce blood pressure, according to some research. Reduced blood pressure can help in preventing more serious heart conditions. Be sure to consult your doctor if you have a heart condition, because a hot bath will also raise the rate of your heartbeat.

Better sleep: A theory that a colder core body temperature can help to induce sleep is why some scientists recommend sleeping in a cold room. A warm bath before bed can yield similar results. At night, our body temperatures naturally drop, which signals the production of melatonin. Soaking in a warm bath will raise your body temperature, then exiting to a cool room will more rapidly cool it down. This may instigate the production of melatonin and better prepare you for a good night's sleep.

Decreased anxiety and improved mood: Dr. Bruce Becker of Washington State University says that 20 minutes of sitting in a 102°F tub changes the autonomic nervous system similarly to stress and anxiety-reducing activities like exercise. Dr. Becker also says that regular bath or hot tub sessions even have a positive effect on problem-solving.

Burn calories: A Loughborough University study has shown that an hour-long soak in a bath in 100°F water burns the same amount of calories as a 30-minute walk. The study also showed a reduction in blood sugar levels and a reduction in inflammation, both beneficial for long-term sufferers of diseases like type-2 diabetes.


Jan 7, 2021

Manifesting

by Shae, Customer Service and Social Media Goddess

Have you ever heard the phrase, “You can achieve anything you set your mind to?”

Manifesting is intentionally creating something you want through attraction, belief, patterns, thoughts, and feelings. Life is an algorithm, like Facebook posts - what you give your attention to, you get back. By knowing this, we can use it as a tool to get what we want in life. And here’s the really juicy part, YOU absolutely can create what you imagine. YOU really are THAT powerful.

I know because I used to think I couldn’t. “That kind of thing only works for special people,” I used to tell myself. Then I started to practice and get better and better, and now my manifesting sometimes works so fast and easily that my jaw drops to the floor, and my head spins in disbelief. I remember driving home, being really frustrated, and discouraged about my job about five years ago. I thought to myself about the kind of job that I wanted. I wanted a job with more pay, a good vacation program, less micromanaging, more freedom, and a laid back, healthy work environment with like-minded people. Somewhere I could use my creative talents in a field I could be passionate in. Not six months later, I landed my job at RidgeCrest Herbals. My biggest manifest to date has been the home I moved into April of 2020. The accuracy of my dream board to my home is astounding.

Here is my no B.S. how-to on manifesting:

Think it through: I am serious when I say this, be careful what you ask for because you might get it. Sometimes we don’t think about what we want until we have it and then change our minds because we didn’t think it through. Make sure that what you are asking for is what you really want.

Check yourself: Become hyper-aware of what the thoughts you have surrounding what you want are. If you constantly tell yourself you don’t deserve something or aren’t worthy, you will stay stuck. Look deep and see where you need to heal. Stop the negative thoughts in their tracks. For example, money is something I have always had an issue with. The narrative has been that I can’t afford things. Now I interrupt those thoughts with “I allow money into and out of my life freely.” Be the gatekeeper of your thoughts.

Be clear: When you are setting your intentions, get very clear and specific about what you want. Don’t get caught up in the how. Think of it like ordering off a menu - you can have anything you want, you just need to order and let your waiter (the universe) serve it to you.

Be flexible: Sometimes, what we think we want isn't going to be exactly perfect, and that's ok. We need to have enough flexibility and gratitude for what we do get, and see the bigger picture. Sometimes what we get is just a stepping stone to what we really want. Not getting emotionally attached is one of the most important parts of manifesting. If we try to hold on too tightly, like sand, it escapes. Be willing to adjust your sights.

Visualize: See what you want. Meditate on it daily. Imagine the fine details - colors, smells, tastes, touch - try to involve your senses as much as possible. Make a dream board to look at every day. Create mantras and affirmations, and window shop for what you want. Drive the car, tour the house, imagine yourself doing the things you want to do. The more your focus is on what you want, the better.

Inspired Action! Dreams and manifesting are about more than believing. Things don't just appear out of thin air; you must take action. You have to work hard for what you want. You don't get something for nothing, what you give you get. If it's that shiny new car you want, start saving. If it's a promotion you are after, do everything you can to invest in yourself along the way. Work on your goals as often as you can, and don't forget about why you want the things you do.

Bonus tip: Be patient, especially if manifesting is new to you. These sorts of things take practice, but you will get the hang of it. One of my favorite things to remember by Rumi is: “What you seek, is seeking you."



 


Jan 7, 2021

The Emergence of Mushrooms

by Guest Author Jerry Angelini, Our Friend at Host Defense

Fungi are masters of emergence. We can learn from them on many levels. 

Most of their lives are spent in a silent yet interconnected experience that is unseen by humans. However, they are constantly emerging in the vast array of ecosystems in which they are immersed. The mushroom mycelium (the root-like structure of the edible and beneficial mushrooms) is the ‘body’ of the mushroom. The mycelium carries out all of the critical activities of life except for reproduction. The mycelium digest, absorb, protect, sense, and expand or grow, allowing them to emerge and interconnect with the ecosystem around them. Their metabolic functions have a critical impact on continued life on the planet. Fungal mycelium decomposes organic matter, sequesters carbon in the soil, liberates minerals from rock into the soil, and shuttles nutrients among the vegetation covering vast amounts of our planet’s surface. Mycelium also has the capacity to impact microorganisms and even macro-organisms providing a balancing influence on the microbiome and the macro-biome. Mycelium is the shepherd of life on Earth.

Beyond the role that mushroom mycelium plays in our ecosystems, mycelium can play in human health and wellness. Mycelium and fermented substrate are emerging as the leading sustainable, beneficial supplements for the whole body. The synergistic support that mushroom mycelium plus fermented substrate have on immune functioning has been part of this emergence. The ongoing research published in peer-reviewed journals has been steadily occurring over the past ten years, growing almost imperceptibly, like mycelium growing unseen by most people. Similarly to mycelium expanding throughout its growth medium, the research has been consistently gaining ground and recognition in the scientific community. Mycelium and the fermented substrate are emerging as a unique, vigorous and complex modulator of the human immune response.* When used together, they synergistically engage immune cells to function more effectively.* Furthermore, they engage our body’s cellular regenerative capabilities.* Finally, they engage the checks and balances of the immune system, maintaining appropriate homeostasis.* Mycelium is emerging as nature’s predominant balancing influence for planetary ecosystems as well as human ecosystems.

Similarly to how mushroom mycelium impacts multiple aspects of our planet’s ecosystem, mycelium can also impact multiple systems of our bodies. The different species of mushroom mycelium are often associated with specific tissues and systems of our bodies. Lion’s Mane is the most notable, with emerging evidence showing support for our neurological tissues.* Chaga’s traditional use and research show evidence of its affinity for supporting the balanced immune response of our barrier tissues like the skin, intestinal tract, and the lungs.* Cordyceps has emerged as the revitalizer of the mushroom species, supporting increased energy, lung functioning, and oxygenation, muscle function, and libido.* Turkey Tail continues to demonstrate support of immune and liver health.* Reishi emerged centuries ago as a gentle, systemic tonifier, supporting cardiovascular health, neurological activity, intestinal integrity, liver detoxification, upper respiratory function, and stamina.* Understanding of the affinities of each mushroom species has grown over time, emerging from the mysterious and moving towards widespread recognition. 

Often when something new or unexpected emerges from the background, the status quo takes a defensive stance. For a host of reasons, some people recoil at the idea of change and protect what they believe to be true. It takes courage to observe objectively. It takes internal strength to release feelings of being threatened by emerging science and information that challenges what we think we know. It requires humility to open our minds to allow new information to bring understanding and wisdom. As the fungal mycelium perseveres as it grows and emerges through the soil, trees, and even stone, we must also persevere in our approach to learning and compassionate action in life. Mushroom mycelium are amazing beings that live a life of balancing the world they live in. They teach by action. We can learn through observation. We can decide to emulate mycelium and emerge from our personal bubbles to grow into beings that bring balance and wellness to all we contact.

 Jerry Angelini, MS, is the Head of Education for Host Defense® Mushrooms™.

 *These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.



 


Jan 6, 2021

Creating a Home Apothecary

by Brittini, Herbal Gaia

Page 08

HomeSpun: Tips for Creating a Home Apothecary by Brittini Gehring, MH, Herbal Gaia

Everyone should have the essential tools on hand for the day-to-day needs of your family. Keep in mind that this space should be clean, cool, and absent of consistent sunlight to keep your herbs safe and effective. Here is a list of basics to provide a good starting point and help you grow your home apothecary!

Immune System Support

- Echinacea, Astragalus, Licorice root, Oregano

- Garlic - fresh raw, dried, oil, powdered, etc.

- Colloidal Silver

- Honey (for recipes)

- Occillium by Boiron

- Wellness Formula by Source Naturals 

- Old Indian Syrup for Kids by Planetary Herbals

- RidgeCrest Herbals ClearLungs

Gut Health

- Ginger powder

- Peppermint, spearmint, and/or catnip

- Slippery elm-powder, lozenges and lozenge recipes

(also works for immune)

- Probiotics

- Enzymes 

- Digest Gold by Enzymedica

- Lower Bowel Formula by Dr. Christopher

First Aid/Emergency

- Cayenne Pepper

- Lobelia tincture - (I use alcohol-based because it draws 

  the medicinal properties out better and adds to the

  relaxing effects).

- Topical first aid ointment - i.e. Colloidal Silver or

  Comfrey

Joint Support

- Turmeric, Boswellia

- Glutamine, Glucosamine, Chondroitin

- Arnica Montana (homeopathic)

- Cayenne Heat Ointment or Complete Tissue and Bone

  by Dr. Christopher

- Pain Liniment by Eclectic Botanica

- RidgeCrest Herbals PhysiQOL

Overall Wellness

- Essential oils - food-grade, aromatherapy, or topical

- Adaptogens - Rhodiola, Ashwagandha

- Nervines - Chamomile, Hops, Kava, Valerian (strong)

- Stress Decompress by Host Defense

- RidgeCrest Herbals Anxiety Free

- Flower Essences by Bach

Supplies:

- Tincture bottles with & without droppers. Jars work too.

- Alcohol for herbal preparations

- Vegetable glycerine

- Mortar and pestle and a strong blender

- Cheesecloth

- Fine strainer

- Tea strainers/bags

- Funnels

- Beeswax

- One or two oil bases of choice-almond, jojoba, etc.

- Capsule maker/capsules




 


Jan 6, 2021

2021 1 Window of Wanderlust

by Abbie, Graphics Goddess


Dec 28, 2020

Get Some Sleep

by Chris, Director of Sales

Get Some Sleep

Sleep is inarguably one of the most significant factors determining our health and well-being. Yet according to most statistics, roughly 50% of Americans don’t get the recommended 7-8 hours of nightly sleep they need. 

The effects of sleep deprivation go far beyond just feeling tired the next day. Lack of sleep negatively affects one’s hormones, weight, digestion, mental health, and immune system, causing a host of problems for the body. 

When you don’t get enough sleep, your immune system becomes compromised, and you are more susceptible to illness. In turn, this hinders your energy, work, and social plans. 

Inadequate sleep also causes us to hold onto and gain fat by suppressing the appetite-regulating and calorie-burning hormone Leptin.  If that weren’t bad enough, lack of sleep increases levels of Ghrelin. This hormone tells your brain when you need to eat, when to stop burning calories and when to store energy as fat. Just one night of poor sleep quality causes Ghrelin to increase by 15%, which in turn makes us consume an additional 200-250 calories more per day.

Sleep deprivation has been found to increase levels of stress hormones and resistance to insulin  Both contribute to weight gain, often leading to other health concerns.

As Matt discusses in his article on the subject, your circadian rhythm is the body’s 24-hour internal clock that is running in the background of your brain and cycles between sleepiness and alertness at regular intervals. This master clock is controlled by the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). The SCN is a pair of cell populations packed with genes acting as the CEO, instructing the body to stay on schedule while taking cues from your environment.

The sleep-wake cycle is a pattern we all subconsciously follow. It helps govern brain wave activity, hormone production, cell regeneration, when to sleep, eat and be active, metabolism, immunity, cognition, and other biological activities. The rising and setting of the sun is still the primary influence of our circadian rhythm. To keep our bodies healthy, we need to live in sync with this rhythm and encourage the healing effects of sleep. 

Blue light exposure from electronic screens like cell phones, tablets, and computers affects the sleep cycle by tricking the brain into thinking it’s daylight outside when used at night. In turn, this suppresses delta brainwaves, which normally induce sleep and the body’s natural induction of melatonin. If that wasn’t bad enough, blue light exposure boosts alpha brainwaves, which increase alertness, so that you think you aren’t tired and stay awake even more. Some people label themselves ‘night owls,’ but no one was designed to be nocturnal. Staying up at night will throw off the body’s cortisol schedule too, causing the adrenals to release cortisol at an unnatural time, increasing your stress and energy. Most surges of creativity, energy, and alertness are all hormone-induced feelings that are the side effects of staying up late and not getting enough rest.

Over time, the effects are tremendous for a population that already struggles with obesity, depression, anxiety, and diseases related to obesity and stress.

Many are on a continual roller coaster ride, not feeling energetic enough to exercise, eating more calories, not feeling sleepy at night, sleeping poorly, waking up unmotivated to workout. So the cycle continues.

If we get enough sleep every day, we can experience a multitude of positive effects. Benefits like better decision making and reasoning, more accurate problem solving, quicker reaction times, more positive attitudes, and increased alertness. Adequate sleep helps us handle stress, maintain a healthy weight, process and retain information, and generally makes us feel more peaceful and happy. 

With all these excellent benefits and negative consequences for poor sleep, most still don’t make sleep a high priority. It might help to start thinking of quality, adequate sleep as a vital medicine or daily supplement. The saying is true; Reasons reap results. You have to associate the reason to get more sleep as highly beneficial and DO IT (the most important thing) to secure the results. Develop a daily routine that honors healthy sleep because a great day starts the night before. 

Tips for good sleep: 

-Build a routine around your bedtime and stick with it. Set one alarm that alerts you to put electronics away and start getting ready for bed with adequate time for your nightly routine. Set another alarm to remind you to get in bed (without your phone!) at least 30 minutes before you want to be asleep.

-Keep your electronics charging far from your bed to remove the temptation to reach for it. 

-Make your room a sleep sanctuary; keep it tidy and beautiful and used primarily for rest. Make it dark and cool at night (62-70°)

-Use a white noise machine or fan to help drown out the other noises or if you’re uncomfortable with complete silence. 

-Don’t skimp when it comes to purchasing a mattress, pillows, and bedding. After all, you spend 1/3 of your life sleeping. 

-Reduce your caffeine intake during the day and especially in the afternoon.

-Exercise in the morning versus the evening as it might keep you awake




 


Dec 28, 2020

We Made it Through 2021!!!

by Aspen, Trainer of the Things

Intentions don’t always turn out the way you plan them to. After years of chaos and life changes, as I sat in my living room in December of 2019, recently divorced, I set an intention for 2020. I know, right? As if anyone could possibly imagine what was about to hit. 

See, I wanted a boring year. I wanted a full year without any major changes in my life. I wanted a chance to settle, focus on the day to day routine, keep my head down, do the best I could at my job, and raise my toddler. 

A boring year? For me, yes. I’ve been working from home since March and not leaving the house for anything but groceries and a few camping trips. For society?...not so much. Covid-19, lockdowns, the economy disrupted, civil unrest, wildfires, a vicious political election, and, for Utah, a major earthquake and an incredibly destructive windstorm. 

However you planned your year to look, it’s likely it didn’t turn out that way. This year has hit some harder than others, and here’s what I would like you to think about as we say goodbye:

You made it through. You are still here. Maybe you know people that didn’t, maybe you are worse off than you were last year. But you did make it. I hope it has made you more compassionate about the pain of others. I hope it has helped you recognize your own strength. I hope you have found ways to help and support others and accept and support yourself better. I hope you have learned more about yourself. I hope that you have been kind to yourself. 

BUT: Even if you don’t feel like you grew this year - even if all you could do was move from the bed to the couch some days, and you don’t feel like you can handle looking on the bright side or finding meaning in your life. YOU MADE IT ANYWAY. That’s incredible and deserves to be celebrated. 

So even if you aren’t in the best place right now, I want you to know that’s ok. You don’t have to deal with hard things perfectly. You don’t have to be an inspirational story. You just have to make it through. 

And you know what? 

You did. 


 


Dec 28, 2020

Compound Butters

by Scott VanZalinge, Lord of Logistics

 Compound butter is butter infused with herbs, spices or other supplementary ingredients used to enhance flavor in various dishes or sauces. 

I was first introduced to compound butter when seeing a Youtube video where compound butter was made as a topping, placed over sous vide prepared steaks. Some of the compound butter from that video was a bit extreme though, such as blending whole fast-food chain cheeseburgers with butter. While the vloggers were all about that, I decided to start with more traditional ingredients. 

 I had been cooking sous vide steaks as well as smoking meats quite often, so it made sense to try out some compound butter myself. I also make various curries from time to time, so for my first compound butter, I decided to create one which was curry inspired. I left the butter out until it reached room temperature, then in a large bowl, I mixed it with equal amounts of turmeric, cumin, ginger, coriander, garlic powder, paprika, and freshly chopped cilantro. I then formed the compounded butter into three separate logs which I wrapped in parchment paper and refrigerated for later use. 

 I made three different dishes with this first batch of compound butter. First was a chicken curry I made with the compound butter as a base. I heated the compound butter in a large skillet. I then added red, green, and yellow peppers and red onions. I cooked them until caramelized, then I added cubed chicken, chicken broth, heavy cream, and Julienned parsnips.  I severed the curry over rice, and it turned out really good! The second log of compound butter was melted over grilled vegetables as a side dish to a roast I was smoking. Again, this was an excellent use for the compound butter. With the third log, I slow-baked some chicken. I first covered it in the oven at 225 degrees. Once the chicken reached 160 degrees, I pulled it out, uncovered it, and set in the oven to broil. I broiled the chicken for another ten minutes, covered it in the compound butter, let it rest, and served. 

 My second batch of compound butter was comprised of just four ingredients: butter, salt, pepper, and fresh rosemary. I used this compound butter to put over a roast I had smoked and over grilled steaks. I brought my roast and steaks to an internal temperature of 130 degrees. I then placed the meat on a wire rack, put a slice of the compound butter on top, and then let the meat rest.  

Other common blends include:

  • Lemon, parsley, salt, and pepper
  • Avocado, garlic, and cilantro
  • Rosemary, paprika, and salt
  • Blue cheese, soy sauce, dijon, and garlic
  • Strawberry, honey, and vanilla extract
  • Lemon zest, lemon juice, and thyme

The combinations are limitless!

    Making compound butter is a great way to prepare for any future meal, whether it's to enhance the flavor of a perfectly cooked steak, to create a tasty sauce, spread over bread, perhaps for baking, or to create a dessert. The possibilities are endless. I look forward to trying other combinations, and hopefully, you will too.  


 


Dec 28, 2020

2020 December Organtics

by RidgeCrest Herbals


Nov 25, 2020

Alternative Milk Types

by Nichole

It’s becoming more and more commonplace to use dairy milk alternatives, and the traditional dairy industry is quickly losing ground. New legislation has affected many of the alternative milk producers as the food industry claims that alternatives like almond milk aren’t “milk” because they don’t come from a mammary gland (remember, “an almond doesn't lactate!”). 

But why is the alternative milk scene gaining ground in the first place? If you look online, you’ll find very conflicting information. Wading through the mixed bag of dairy-funded research versus third-party research, you will see everything from, “milk is a superfood!” to “milk will kill you!” But on the ground, the answer is relatively simple: people feel better when they don’t drink pasteurized cow's milk. Their health improves, their children's allergies are reduced, they have better bowel function, skin conditions improve, etc. 

For years the dairy industry has pushed their “It Does a Body Good” and “Got Milk” slogans at us, claiming that the calcium milk provides is good for our bone health. But the actual research is inconclusive. Meanwhile, lactose intolerance is rising and evidence suggests that pasteurized dairy can be a major inflammatory for the gut. 

If you have ever considered switching to a dairy alternative, the options can be daunting. Almond, hemp, coconut, soy, the list goes on and on, and who knows when you are looking at that $3.00 carton if you will be able to stand even a swallow? So I set out to create a chart that lays out not only the flavors and textures but also the nutrients and everything else that might affect your decision. 

You decide for yourself which is best for you, even if cow’s milk is still your personal favorite. 

Side note: saturated fat has a bad rep, but contrary to popular belief, it is essential for a healthy diet. That’s another discussion for another day. 


 

ALL MEASUREMENTS ARE PER 1 C or 8 OZ or about 237 mL

Milk Type 

Taste

Animal Based

Nut-Free

Gluten-Free

Added Sugar

Calories

Saturated Fat

Sodium

Carbs

Protein

Fiber

Calcium (daily)

Almond

Nutty, a smidge watery, mild

No

No

Yes

If sweetened

30

0g 

180mg

2g

1g

1g

45%

Soy

Thicker, slightly sweeter version of almond milk with a stronger aftertaste

No

Yes

Yes

If sweetened

80

0.5g

70mg

3g

7g

2g

30%

Rice

Sweet, medium rich, pleasant flavor

No

Yes

Yes

If sweetened

120

0g

100mg

23g

1g

0g

2%

Hemp

Very nutty, very watery, thin texture

No

Yes

Yes

If sweetened

80 

0.5g

125mg

1g

2g

0g

30%

Flax

Mildly nutty, bland

No

Yes

Yes

If sweetened

25

0g

80mg

1g

0g

0g

30%

Hazelnut

Very rich

No

No

Yes

If sweetened

110

0g

120mg

19g

2g

1g

30%

Coconut

A little sour

No

Yes

Yes

If sweetened

45

4g

0mg

2g

0g

1g

10%

Oat

Rich and fairly sweet

No

Yes

No

If sweetened

130

0g

115mg

24g

4g

2g

35%

Cashew

Thicker than most nut milks, tastes just like cashews

No

No

Yes

If sweetened

40

0g

120mg

3g

1g

0g

30%

Goat

Slightly sweeter than cows milk, more pungent

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

150 

7.0g

120mg

12g

8g

0g

30%

Skim 

Watery and bland

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

90 

0.1g

135mg

13g

9g

0g

30%

2%

Not too think or strong of flavor

Yes 

Yes

Yes

No

150

2.9g

130mg

12g

8g

0g

30%

Whole

Thick, creamy, and rich

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

150

4.6g

130mg

12g

8g

0g

30%



 


Nov 25, 2020

Give More Than Thanks

by Aspen, Trainer of the Things

I’ve been noticing something this week of thanksgiving, and I’ve been feeling conflicted about it. Especially in Utah, social media has been packed with a #givethanks hashtag, as people post about the wonderful things in their life they are grateful for. Honestly, as a divorced person,  it’s been a little hard watching people give thanks for their perfect-looking nuclear families. For me that has been hard, because it is something I don’t have. For one of my friends, it’s been hard watching people give thanks for their health, because with her multiple chronic health conditions, she hasn’t seen a day free from pain and nausea in years. Another friend has suffered multiple miscarriages and has not been able to have her own child, so seeing the ease of moms with multiple children is a reminder of her pain and loss. It is hard not to be a little jealous sometimes at how easy other people’s lives seem to be as you are scrolling through your feed. 

At the same time, it’s not a contest, and it wouldn’t be ok to ask people to not share their gratitude for the blessings in their lives because it might be hard for you to watch. People have every right to share their lives, and the mere fact that they do have things other people haven’t achieved means they should, of course, be grateful. Those who wish to share their blessings should not have to feel scared of expressing their feelings because others may have not been as fortunate. Someone always has it worse, so if we used that as the metric for showing public gratitude, no one could do it. 

So what are we to do? 

This is something I have been thinking about for days now. The conclusion I have come to is this - empathy. If you know you have someone in your life/social media who may not have what you do, take time to make sure they feel seen and remembered. Maybe make a special post expressing gratitude for them and letting them know they make your life better. That small acknowledgment could be a reminder for them that, while they don’t have everything you have, they have you, and you think about them. I could do that with my friend with chronic pain. I have health, so if I am going to express gratitude for that, it wouldn’t hurt to send her a note or give her a call or send her her favorite candy so she know that, even though I do get to be grateful for my health, I haven’t forgotten how hard her health is for her.  

So often feelings of jealousy for what other people have comes from feeling left out. If we remember those around us that may feel that way, and take active steps to remind them we care, everyone can have more to be grateful for this Thanksgiving. God bless. 


Nov 25, 2020

How to Make A Sourdough Starter

by Aspen, Trainer of the Things

Sourdough bread is literally the only bread I eat on a regular basis. That is because it is so nutritious and healthier than other bread! A little research revealed that sourdough is more alkaline than other bread, because of the fermentation process that kills off the anti-nutrient phytic acid. That means your body is able to absorb more of the minerals and vitamins naturally found in the bread. The fermentation process also releases antioxidants, increases folate levels, and the higher prebiotic levels make it easier to digest. There’s more! It breaks up gluten more than traditional yeast risers, making it easier on the stomach, and it has a lower glycemic index than regular bread, which means it is less likely to spike your blood sugar. 

With all that in mind, here is a great recipe for making your own sourdough bread, from our friends at the amazing Cultures For Health website (used with permission). 

TRADITIONAL SOURDOUGH BREAD RECIPE

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/3 cups fresh sourdough starter
  • 3 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups water
  • Scant tablespoon salt

Instructions:

  1. Mix sourdough starter, flour, and salt together. Add 1 cup water, then more as needed to make a moist bread dough.
  2. Knead dough until it passes the “windowpane test.” That is, a small piece of dough will stretch between four fingers thin enough to allow light to pass through without breaking.
  3. Split the dough in half. Shape each half into a loaf.
  4. Place in a loaf pan (9 x 5 x 3 inches), proofing basket, or on a board. Cover lightly with a towel and proof 4-24 hours. While a second proofing period is not required, if desired, punch dough down after 4-12 hours, reshape, and proof again.
  5. Slice an X shape in the top of the loaf with a very sharp knife or a razor blade to allow the loaf to expand during baking without splitting in unexpected places.
  6. Bake at 400°F for 30-60 minutes, depending on loaf size, or until the internal temperature reaches 190° to 210°F. Use an instant-read thermometer inserted into the bottom or side of the loaf.
  7. Cool before slicing.


Nov 25, 2020

2020 11 November Organtics

by RidgeCrest Herbals


Nov 25, 2020

2020 Fall Garden Guide

by Will, Ginger Beard of Power

I have great memories of my father, his pockets full of seeds from a hike. with a little work and research you can bring seeds home and grow them yourself. If you have a smartphone take a photo of the plant and note its environment. Then Google how dry will it need to be, if it needs to dry on the plant or can you harvest and let it dry in the house, if you should freeze it for later, and when and how to plant. 

It can be as simple as waiting to see the pods on plants mature and open, grabbing the stem below the pod, and shaking it where you want it to grow, or it could be a very carefully controlled process. The results can be surprising, and you could end up with your own special hybrid.  I say at that point you give it your own un-official name and continue on by sharing with others.


 


Nov 20, 2020

RidgeCrest Herbals ClearLungs Classic Wins Taste For Life Magazines Immunity Essentials Award

by Ridgecrest Herbals

Highlights

  • ClearLungs Original has won Taste For Life Magazine’s Immunity Essentials Award in the Category of Lung Support
  • This is the second award for ClearLungs Original this year and the 9th industry award for the ClearLungs Family
  • Respiratory Support is an important issue as the United States heads into a unique cold and flu season. 

As the United States enters a uniquely crucial cold and flu season, respiratory and immune support is an important issue on the minds of many people. The New Hampshire-based Taste For Life Magazine has announced it’s Immunity Essentials award. RidgeCrest Herbals is honored to receive their Respiratory Support award for the ClearLungs Classic product. This is the second award ClearLungs Classic has received in 2020 and the 9th industry award for the ClearLungs Family. 

“This award is particularly meaningful this year when people are being more proactive than ever about their lung health in the colder weather,” says Nichole Petersen, RidgeCrest Herbals’ marketing director. “We love and believe in this product, and having it recognized is an honor.” 

We are grateful to Taste For Life for choosing us as a Respiratory Support 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 Original on a remedy of thirteen ingredients effectively used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for nearly 2,000 years. The ClearLungs Original product is part of RidgeCrest Herbals’ ClearLungs Family, including ClearLungs Liquid, 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.   



 


Nov 6, 2020

Responsibility Inventory and Stress

by Shae, Service and Social Media Goddess

Oh, have I been stressed lately. As I am sure most of us are in the current state of the world. It’s hard not to be honestly. 

While doing the 100 millionth load of laundry one day and it causing rifts between the members of my household and whose responsibility it is, I realized that no one asked me to do their laundry. No one tasked me with that responsibility or expected it to be done by me, except for me. 

I became aware that I am taking on too much responsibility, responsibility that isn’t even mine. 

I have been doing responsibility checks since then, especially with things that stress me out.

When I feel stress, I ask, is it my responsibility to take this on or do this? If it is, then I can change my mindset, and take pride in me doing a good job and accomplishing things. If it isn’t, I tell myself, quoting the show Letterkenny, “Not my pig, not my farm” similar to the “Not my circus, not my monkey.” Whatever little silly or fun affirmation I can use to lighten the mood a little. Then I let the stress of the responsibility that is not mine, go. 

Laundry piling up that isn’t mine, it’s not mine to take on until those terms have been negotiated. 

Shoes out of place that aren’t mine, not my responsibility. 

While this has been extremely difficult since I am a bit of a clean freak, I am finding with each time I do this it gets easier and my stress levels are decreasing. When something bothers me enough to take care of it, I realize that I am taking this on for me, no one else. It is a gift to me to satisfy my need for a clean space. As a side effect I have noticed that I am not resenting others for things that used to bother me before. 

I have decided to take this on anytime I feel stress. Work, home, the world. I take inventory of what is my responsibility, if it’s mine I do it. If it’s not, I decide if it needs to be done for my own needs, shifting the responsibility to myself, and if it’s not something that is my responsibility or something I am willing to take on for myself, then I let it go. 

It is hard. But it has been such a game changer and perspective shift for me. There are so many things that I expected from myself, that weren’t my responsibility, that I was taking on for no reason. No one else expects me to do it, so why am I doing it? 

I try to bring into question most things I do in my life, and layer by layer, I am releasing myself from so much conditioning. The stress is just melting away and I feel liberated. 


Nov 6, 2020

The Many Ways Herbs are Prepared

by Will, Ginger Beard of Power

Adding herbs to your life can take many forms. You can use tinctures, extracts, capsules, vaping, balms, teas, etc. But what are the differences, and how do you make each one? How do you decide what is the best method? Does the way you prepare an herb have a different effect on your body? 

Let’s explore. First off, yes. The way that the herb is prepared does have an effect on how your body responds to it, so if you are looking to use herbs to promote health and wellbeing, we highly recommend you try different methods and keep notes so you can determine what works best for you, as there is a lot of power in understanding your own body and how to best use herbal remedies. 

So what are the differences between the methods? 

Let’s start with encapsulations like what we create at RidgeCrest Herbals. The method itself is quite simple, you grind up the dry herbs you want and put them into a vegetable glycerine capsule. The real finesse comes with finding the right combination of herbs and the right amounts to get the greatest effect - and we do a pretty good job at that! Some of our products use extracts of certain ingredients, (see below for explanation) but whenever possible we find great benefit in using the whole herb with its myriad and mysterious synergy of beneficial chemical properties.

Next, let's look at tinctures. Tinctures are what you see in the grocery store with a dropper lid. ​Tinctures usually contain an alcoholic base, often vodka, that has the herbs infused into it. While they can become expensive at the grocery store, doing them yourselves is incredibly simple.  Start with vodka in a mason jar. Add the herbs you wish to use and make sure they are fully submerged.  Store in a cool location out of direct light and shake it up occasionally for at least three weeks, then strain the herb material out of the alcohol. The alcohol has soaked in all the health benefits! You can take it directly, or add a few drops of the tincture into a tea or even a salad dressing. 

How are extracts different from tinctures? Well, a tincture is a type of extract, because you are using a method that draws out the chemical compounds that bring benefit, but there are lots of other ways to create a tincture. You can also use temperature, pressure, air, and many more methods to draw out individual parts of herbs to increase the percentage of the desired compound you are after.  For example, most studies on St Johns wart pinpoint the Hypericum as the desired part of the plant. So let's say that your starting st john's wart was 0.2% Hypericum and you would like to increase the amount to be higher. You could take a part of your herb batch and put it through an extraction process, then take the extract and spray and dry it on the other half of your st johns crop. Your crop would then have a higher % of hypericum then the starting 0.2%.   

The method of vaping for inhalation is becoming extremely popular, and we can take the popularity of vaping cannabis as a starting point for basically any other herb you wish to ingest. Dry-herb vapes work via heat; the heat is drawn through the herb, breaking the volatile compounds away from the whole herb. Different temperatures are caused by the speed of air over the heating element will widen the compound varieties released. You can purchase dry herb vape e-cigs where you place the dry herb directly into the chamber, or you can vape using a compatible infused oil. 

Tea is another, and maybe the most widely used delivery method for herbs. A pleasant taste, a cozy smell, and the comforting warmth of tea, along with the cultural markers of a ritual with a history that shaped nations and global trade for centuries all contribute to the enjoyment, but there are also a lot of health benefits, especially with the right herbs in your tea. The hot water is extremely effective at pulling out the compounds found in herbs for your body to use.  

Traditional Chinese medicine has a very old and extremely large apothecary. They have written history on many forms of preparations of herbs and medicines such as fermenting, frying, drying, extraction, and boiling, so there are many more options out there! It is fascinating to read through some of the methods of preparations for herbs. For thousands of years, without our sophisticated technology, we know they were extracting the health benefits of herbs in creative, dynamic ways. 


 


 


Nov 6, 2020

Farmers Market Wild Soda

by Shae, Customer Service and Social Goddess

Last summer, I stumbled upon a beautiful Instagram page by Gather Victoria (@gathervictoria). She had posted a wild soda recipe; I am always looking for healthier options, and within the last few years have gotten into fermentation. So I jumped at the idea of making my own soda. The problem was, the recipe called for me to gather my own herbs and fruits with wild yeast on them, something you can’t find in the grocery store. I did have some of my own herbs growing, but needed fruit. I live in a city with a small yard, and my gardening skills, though budding, aren’t quite up to par and wild gathering just isn’t an option where I am at. The next best thing for me was the farmers market!

Luckily Salt Lake has a few great farmers markets. I got my dog Tila ready, and headed out to get what I needed. Since this was last year and my memory isn’t the best I don’t quite remember what I put in last years batch, but what I (and a few co-workers) can tell you is this farmers market soda was amazing!

What you will need:

A ½ gallon of spring or filtered water (tap water may kill the ferment)

1 - 1½ cups yeasty fruits & herbs, chopped

½ cup organic cane sugar or honey

1-gallon jar

Glass swing top bottles, brewing bottles, or plastic pop bottles with lids, cleaned & sterilized

Directions:

-Wash the jar, then sterilize with boiling water

- Chop and muddle the fruits & herbs, if you wash your fruit do so gently, being careful not to wash the bloom/wild yeast (white residue) off. This is vital for fermentation. I tried to make this recipe once with store bought fruit with very little bloom on it and it did not turn out.

- Place fruits & herbs in the jar, pour sugar over, and mix. Add the water and stir.

- Cover the jar with a clean cloth and secure with an elastic band.

- Stir morning and night, every day until you see bubbles. 24hrs-3 days. This varies depending on yeast present and temperatures. I have gone as long as 4 days before.

- Once you see bubbles and have a pleasant smell, taste to see if it’s too sweet. If it is, ferment longer.

- When you are satisfied with the taste and bubbles, strain and bottle the soda. Let the jars sit at room temperature and carbonate for 8-12hrs, checking at 8.

- Refrigeration stops the fermentation process, so when you have the right amount of bubbles put the soda in the fridge. Be careful! If it ferments too much and it’s not in a container that is made for brewing, it may explode!

- Your brew is ready to enjoy. You can add more flavoring when serving. If you have lost carbonation, add a dash of sugar and allow to sit at room temperature for a few hours.

- Will keep for a few weeks as long as there aren’t any solids left in the soda.


Nov 6, 2020

2020 November Window to Wanderlust Thunder Mountain

by Abbie, Graphics Goddess


Oct 21, 2020

2020 10 October Organtics


Oct 21, 2020

The Peruvian Stargate

by Abbie, Graphics Goddess

Deep in the mountain region of Hayu Marca in southern Peru, there is an area that has long been revered by local natives as the “City of the Gods,” although no actual ancient city has ever been discovered there. In the middle of a boulder field near the western shore of Lake Titicaca, there stands a cliff face with a single gigantic square carved out of the rock, 23 feet in height and width, with a 6-foot doorway-shaped alcove at the bottom in the center. The site, which is called the Puerta de Hayu Marca, or “Gate of the Gods,” was discovered in 1996 when Jose Luis Delgado Mamani stumbled across the structure during a trek through the surrounding foothills. “When I saw the structure for the first time, I almost passed out...” Mamani said in an interview, claiming he had seen it before in his dreams.

Archaeologists have labeled the site as an abandoned Incan construction project, but cannot say why there wasn’t more building activity in the area. The natives of the region have a legend that dates back to when the Spanish Conquistadors arrived in Peru, and were looting gold and other valuables from the Inca tribes. According to this legend, an Incan priest named Aramu Muru fled from his temple with a sacred golden disk known as “the key of the gods of the seven rays,” and hid from the Spanish in the mountains of Hayu Marca. He came upon the stone doorway, which was being guarded by shaman priests. Together, they performed a ritual in which the golden disk opened the doorway, and a blue light appeared from a tunnel inside. Amaru Muru handed the golden disk to a shaman and then passed through the portal, “never to be seen again.”

Other local legends tell of an ancient inter-dimensional gate that led to the “lands of the Gods,” where heroes were witnessed leaving through a magical doorway to join their deities, as well as re-entering through the same gate with their gods, to check on people they’d left behind. Modern visitors to the site have claimed to feel a pulsing energy by placing their hands on the stone door, some hear strange rhythmic music, while others claimed they saw visions of columns of fire and things beyond this world. Could these ancient sites hold a mysterious energy that once allowed for inter-dimensional travel?


Oct 21, 2020

The Strange History of Snake Oil

by Aspen, Trainer of the Things

Take a moment and think about what comes into your mind when I say “Snake Oil.”

If you are like me, you immediately start humming “Trouble with a Capitol T” from The Music Man. I envision a man coming into an Old West town on a cart, yelling, “Step right up!” and drawing a crowd, peddling a solution to people’s problems, making his money, and skipping town before anyone discovers he has sold them nothing but watered-down brandy.

This image was a reality in the mid-to-late 19th century, and was so common we still use the phrase “Snake Oil” nearly 200 years later to describe anyone we think is peddling false promises, quick fixes, and fake claims.

Because of this image so pervasive in our culture, it may be difficult for your preconceived views of the world to hear this: SNAKE OIL WORKS! TRUST ME!

Wait, WHAT?

Well, let me walk that back a little and say that, in reality, real snake oil actually was used for medicinal purposes for hundreds of years - before white people got ahold of it (remember I’m a white Millennial, so I’m saying that tongue-in-cheek). You see, the seedy salesmen who were selling snake oil were building on the knowledge of Chinese railroad workers, who used snake oil (in reality the fat from garden snakes) as an anti-inflammatory for their sore muscles after working at backbreaking labor all day. This was a universal remedy for them, and if they had been able to look under a microscope to discover why, they would have found that garden snake fat was extremely rich in omega-3’s, which help manage the inflammation response in the body. These get-rich-quick types, however, weren’t interested in the details, and took this information and started peddling watered down rattlesnake oil mixed with alcohol and opiates. People loved it because, well, alcohol and opiates. It made them feel good.

This swindling of the American people was rampant by the early 1900s and was part of the reason the FDA and the Food and Drug Administration was created in 1906. The capitalist market left unchecked was creating severe health risks for the American people, so the government decided it was their role to act as protectors and regulators of the free market to preserve the safety of its people. Ten years later, the FDA investigated the most famous snake-oil salesman, Clark Stanley, “The Rattlesnake King.” He was known for his animated showmanship - at the 1893 World’s Fair, he famously gutted and boiled a rattlesnake for the crowds. He made a career out of his snake oil linament, opened production in two states, and sold his concoction for more than 20 years. Then, in 1916, the young FDA investigated his product and found it to be ineffectual, wildly overpriced, and of no medicinal benefit. It also contained no actual snake oil. He was fined and forced to stop production, and it is mostly his influence that led to snake-oil becoming synonymous with fraud.

There are a lot of people out there today selling lose-weight-fast miracle cures, and we have honed the art of twisting scientific research. For example, Dr. Oz was in hot water a few years ago for promoting green coffee extract, which he said studies showed could help people lose 20 pounds in a month and that he touted as a miracle drug. What he didn’t mention was that several of the studies that showed weight loss were commissioned by companies trying to sell the product. The studies were not long enough or large enough to establish veracity, and some studies showed powerful results while others didn’t (there is more evidence that green coffee beans can help prevent weight gain rather than promote weight loss). But green coffee beans indeed contain caffeine which can boost metabolism and chlorogenic acid, which could help block the absorption of carbohydrates and has other anti-oxidant benefits. So like snake oil, someone took something that had a strong foundation for being beneficial, and twisted its uses, overpromised, and ended up being reprimanded for misleading the public.

This is very much still a part of our culture, and it is essential to thoroughly research the products you consider using for yourself and your family. It is also beneficial to remember that underneath the hype and the quick money grabs, there are a lot of foods, herbs, and oils that genuinely do have benefits for the human body that are worth discovering.


Oct 21, 2020

Herbal-Infused Water for Hydration

by Shae, Customer Service and Social Media Goddess

I have the biggest issue with drinking the proper amount of water. I will go all day before realizing I haven’t had anything to drink. I have a heightened sense of smell, which means my taste buds are extra sensitive. I typically can taste when something in water is off. My stomach is also on high alert to water. Some water I drink and it sits on my stomach causing nausea for up to a few hours and other water I can drink and it doesn’t bother me. Over the years I have narrowed down a few brands I can drink and have added a reverse osmosis filter to my tap. Even still, I can’t quite get myself to drink as much as I should. 

While at a women’s gathering retreat, I noticed that the leader would infuse water with fresh herbs. I have heard of infusing water with fruit and maybe even mint, but not garden herbs. 

Since then I have made it a morning ritual to walk out in my grass barefoot, the cool dew tingling my toes, to my garden. Herbs release the most fragrance in the mornings. So I take deep breaths and let my yard fill my senses. I pick mint, lemon balm, purple sage. If my echinacea or borage is in bloom I pick a few of the petals or whole flowers. Tulsi and rosemary are also fun to throw in. I will grab just a few leaves or petals of whatever I am drawn to that day and add it to my water. 

Since I have been doing this I notice that I am drinking more water. I feel more connected to my garden. I feel more grounded. My water feels and tastes more alive and I am also getting the benefits of whatever the herbs I used, offer. Plus, herbs and flowers in my drinking water are beautiful so I want to look at it more, which means it’s in sight and not out of mind ;) 

Any culinary, medicinal, and edible herb or flower will do as long as it can be ingested. I don’t usually ingest the herbs, but the chemical compounds will infuse in the water. I will use the same herbs for up to 3 days before switching or until they don’t look fresh or I can’t taste them anymore. 


Oct 7, 2020

Batch Cook Brittini's Turkey Spaghetti!

by Brittini, Herbal Gaia

Brittini has six kids and a full-time job, so she is always looking for a quick and easy, healthy recipe. Here's one recipe she shared that has only a few ingredients and is great for batch cooking!

1 pound of turkey burger

1 large spaghetti squash

butter

garlic salt

seasoning 

Cook squash and meat separately, then blend together and add the butter, garlic salt, and seasoning.

Doesn't that sound amazing?! Yum!


Oct 7, 2020

Jeremy Bentham

by Aspen, Trainer of the Things

British history is full of extremely weird stuff. For example, one of the most influential statesmen of the Georgian/Regency period was a man named Jeremy Bentham. He was the founder of the Utilitarian movement. He wrote unpublished pieces advocating for the decriminalization of homosexuality, believed women to be intellectually inferior to men but fought for equality of law, was one of the first animal rights advocates, and was one of the founders of the University College of London. 

At the same time, he was one of the arbiters of some of the most brutal tactics a government has ever utilized to convince poor people to “stop being poor.” Believing poverty was a moral failure rather than an economic one, he was an advocate for making government aid in the form of “poor houses” where those seeking government assistance had to essentially check themselves into labor prison camps to receive government support. The conditions were so severe you were likely to die there, Bentham pushed to use the poor houses as a source of cadavers for physician students. Dissection was believed to be tantamount to giving up eternal salvation, so many people chose to die on the streets rather than turn to the government for aid. Bentham made himself an example and donated his own body to science to try to overcome the fears of the general public. 

He gave instructions that his head be mummified and displayed as an “auto-con,” but when he died, the embalming process went terribly wrong, and the head looked too awful to display. So they made a wax head, put his bones in his clothes, filled them out with hay, and displayed the original head next to him. His remains still sit in the hallway of the University College of London (though the actual head became a target for inter-collegiate pranks so is now locked away), where he is listed on the Board of Directors and his body is sometimes rolled into meetings and listed as “present but not voting.” Yep. Weird. 


Oct 7, 2020

Hidden Costs of the Herbal Supplement Industry

by Brittini, Herbal Gaia

As a consumer myself, I too want to be able to purchase my dietary supplements from companies I can trust. Because I work on the regulatory side of nutritional supplements, I am privileged to be able to understand how “quality” and “cheap” do not go hand in hand. As with many things in this world, good, effective products just cost more than crappy ones. Focusing on cutting costs will leave you with lower quality products and dissatisfied customers. And each new year poses new challenges to keep prices affordable while meeting FDA and other regulatory requirements.

  • In the case of DS, the old saying “you get what you pay for” is in many cases (not all) but in many cases,  true.  
  • As a person that relies almost solely on herbs and supplements to care for the health needs of my family, I am just like anyone else in the way that...I like a good deal! I mean, I have a family of 8, come on! But, as a mom, the quality of those products reeeeally matters! And it wasn’t until I worked in the industry that I finally realized what I was paying for when purchasing a supplement, or how to know if the product I was getting was a good one!

  • So, I have 6 main reasons I want to share with your listeners on why paying a little more for your supplements is reasonable and worth the money!

 Below are six reasons that paying more for your herbal and nutritional supplements is reasonable and worth your money. 

  • REGULATION: It is a myth that the dietary supplement industry is “unregulated,” one that I am tired of seeing on social media and TV shows! The dietary supplement industry is heavily regulated, much like the drug industry. In fact, dietary supplement regulations were built by using the same FDA GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) regulations as the Pharmaceutical industry, with slight modifications. The FDA does regular audits and carries authority to shut things down if the company does not comply with the law. The industry is also regulated by the FTC, FSMA, USDA (Federal and State), and more! Meeting all these regulations requires companies to have educated and experienced staff on hand and must do all it takes to follow good manufacturing practices, at any cost! Making sure the products you buy are meeting many, many rules to ensure your safety is a good thing for consumers!
  • Before I can share the first reason, I have to debunk a myth that is still out there about ds, on social media, tv shows, articles that you read.  This myth is that “the ds industry is UNREGULATED”! This just simply isnt true! The DS industry is HEAVILY regulated, much like the drug industry with some alterations of course. The FDA regulations for ds were modeled after the drug industry.  The FDA audits ds mfr facilities and manfacturers are expected to meet what is known as Good Manufacturing Practices or else they can shut you down. They are also regulated by a handful of other regulatory industries both state and federal! 
  • In order for companies to meet these regulatory standards and for them produce the highest quality and safest product, companies  NEED to have highly educated and experienced staff on hand
  • TESTING: The more testing, the more cost, but your product is going to be safer, cleaner, and you can be confident you are getting what the label says. All good companies do testing, including identity testing to make sure the ingredients are what the vendor says they are, heavy metal testing (lead, arsenic, cadmium, mercury, etc.) to ensure all are under allowable daily limits. This can be done on the individual ingredients, finished product, or both. Microbial testing for yeast, mold, and harmful bacteria such as E. Coli, Staph, and Salmonella. Other testing might include pesticides, testing for the presence or percentage of a specific chemical constituent, DNA, and more. 
  • The next topic is one we wont get into on a technical level but it is one of the most important parts in asuring the safety and efficacy of your product! That is scientific testing. Good companies put a lot of focus on testing each and every ingredient.
  • Tests include identity testing to make sure the ingredients are exactly what they say are and that they have not been adulterated, heavy metal testing (specifically for lead, arsenic, cadmium, mercury). Microbial testing for yeast, mold, and harmful bacteria such as E. Coli, Staph, and Salmonella. Other testing might include pesticides, testing for the presence or percentage of a specific chemical constituent and potency of that constituent, DNA, Clinical studies, etc.
  • Testing is not cheap! So, you can purchase a product for cheap that may or may not actually be safe or have what it says in it, or you can opt to pay a little more for a product that has been tested and has the documentation to back it. 
  •  QUALITY & AVAILABILITY OF INGREDIENTS: Sourcing quality ingredients can be tricky in the global market. The industry has made considerable advances in making sure ingredients are not contaminated and that they are just what they claim, even from global sources requiring international regulation. But it costs for farmers to test components for purity. Because few herbs are grown on an industrial level, they are more susceptible to crop failure, demand fluctuations, natural disasters, etc., so times when demand exceeds supply costs skyrocket. 
  • Because of all the advances, the ds industry has made in regulations and testing, it has really cut down on the supply chain in some cases in both good and bad ways.  While sourcing from the US is ideal, it is not always possible.  It used to be that you could order an ingredient from India lets say, but you really had no way of knowing if you were really getting what you purchased! Things were dyed or colored, fillers were added, mix ups were made, etc.  But now that happens much less.  Suppliers cant get away with that any more. 
  • But, weeding out the low quality ingredients has reduced suppliers. These are the quality suppliers, but they are also required to meet regulations, provide testing, and their costs have increased as well which raises the costs for manufacturers and then the consumer. 
  • Its additionally challenging with fewer quality suppliers if one year crops are down, and then costs for just one ingredient can sky rocket because it is so limited!  
  • PRODUCTION COSTS: Research and development, formulation, ingredient sourcing/purchasing, and manufacturing all cost something! Think about large buildings and expensive machinery that require continual sanitation and maintenance, employees for assembly lines, quality control and assurance, laboratories, packaging, distribution, etc. And then there are costs in storage, distribution, sales, marketing, and more. Each minor detail adds up. Any cuts risk product quality and all aspects are essential to getting you good products. 
  • A GOOD CAUSE: This reason is my favorite one. I would willingly pay a great deal more for a product knowing that a percentage of the profits are going to support causes and organizations designed to improve the lives of others, support the planet, and make the world a better place. There are so many companies trying to make a difference one sale at a time. Make your purchases count. 
  • UNAPPROVED RESELLERS: Most companies have a few approved online vendors. But unapproved online websites selling a product at huge discounts force companies to raise prices to make up for lost sales. Without an authorized, traceable distribution, there is no guarantee these products have been transported or stored correctly to ensure effectiveness, or that the company will give you your money back if your purchase arrives damaged or expired. If an online product is severely discounted, you may be purchasing a compromised product. Trying to hold these companies accountable and cutting off their access can be a costly payroll expense, as well. 
  • This will hit home to most ds customers. Ok, you know when you get online and start price shopping and your favorite product is 10.99 on one website and 29.99 on the actual company website? Why the heck is it so much more expensive on the company website? Well, most companies have approved online sellers. And they give those legit companies permission to discount the product a little.  But then there are companies selling products at a much lower discounted rate that does not account for all of the costs we just discussed which in the end forces companies to have to raise prices to make up for that loss and to pay additional employees to try and stay on the tails of these sneaky companies.
  • Additionally, keep in mind when you find a product at a super discount there is no guarantee that it has been stored in a way that maintains the quality or effectiveness of the product. They really dont care about the quality or what efforts/costs went into the product to make safe or the well being of the customer, they only care about the buck. 

There are, of course, even more reasons to consider when comparing products and the costs of dietary supplements, but these are the ones that most directly affect you as a consumer. Be aware of the necessary costs and ask yourself, “What kind of product am I willing to pay for?” before making your decision. 

Questions to ask your supplement companies

  1. Ask them what kind of testing is done on the product? At a minimum, they should be doing testing for ID on each individual ingredient,  heavy metals and microbial.   A company going above and beyond will often be doing additional testing. They should be transparent and willing to provide you with results when requested. 
  2. Ask if they have COAs (certificates of analysis) for finished products and for each ingredient. 
  3. Ask them if they are GMP certified or GMP compliant. Not all companies are required to be certified, but all ds companies should be GMP compliant. 
  4. Look online, fda.gov for company FDA warning letters. These are made public by the FDA for consumers to see! You can search for any company by name and if they have received a warning letter, it will come up. 


 

Favorite products

  1. ClearLungs is always my favorite product when I am trying to give my body the support it needs to stay well when all kinds of winter gunk is being passed around.
  2. PhysiQOL will be one of my most recommended products at the beginning of the year for all of my friends and customers that have NY resolutions of working out as a support for the bodys natural recover process!
  3. And Anxiety Free for a very busy and sometimes stressful holiday season!

Oct 7, 2020

2020 October Window to Wanderlust

by Abbie, Graphics Goddess


Oct 7, 2020

Anxiety Free Wins Award Number Four

by RidgeCrest Herbals

For Immediate Release:

Contact: Nichole Petersen

Director of Marketing

800-242-4649

Nichole@rcherbals.com

RidgeCrest Herbals’ Anxiety Free™ Wins Better Nutrition Magazine’s Best of Supplements Award

Highlights

  • RidgeCrest Herbal’s Anxiety Free™ formula has won Better Nutrition Magazine’s Best of Supplements Award.
  • This is the fourth award for Anxiety Free™ and RidgeCrest Herbal’s 22nd industry award.
  • This award comes at a time when people are more stressed than ever and looking for effective, safe solutions to help them cope with constant change and uncertainty.

Salt Lake City, Utah

California-based Better Nutrition Magazine has awarded RidgeCrest Herbal’s Anxiety Free™ supplement a Best of Supplements Award in the category of Anxiety, Mood, and Stress. This comes at a moment when tensions are high and many people are dealing with elevated levels of stress and anxiety. 

“We are thrilled to have won this award, especially right now as people are looking for ways to manage high levels of anxiety.” says Nichole Petersen, RidgeCrest Herbals’ marketing director. “Many of our employees take Anxiety Free™ themselves, so we know what a positive effect it can have on people’s mood and feelings of well-being.” 

Since 2014, RidgeCrest Herbals has won no less than 22 industry awards. Anxiety Free™, a two-time VITY award winner, has been responsible for four of those awards, tying with their ClearLungs© Immune for their most decorated product. Anxiety Free™ is one of RidgeCrest Herbal’s top-selling botanical formulas. 

We can't thank Better Nutrition Magazine enough for choosing us as a Best of Supplements 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 offers Anxiety Freeto help consumers manage day-to-day stress. It combines vitamins, amino acids, and calming Ayurvedic herbs to help support the body's natural ability to create feelings of inner peace and deep calm.  



 


Sep 23, 2020

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte - With Protein!

by Aspen, Trainer of the Things

Last year, my favorite local coffee drive-through was on the way to my son’s preschool, so I would stop there often. It has this amazing coffee drink called an Aztec Mocha. Coffee, chocolate, cinnamon - it’s to die for and perfect for the fall weather. Because I never miss a chance to get my favorite drink, I went a long time bypassing the classic pumpkin spice latte. I have no problem being that basic, but I just have something I like better. 

Then last September I was driving from California to Salt Lake City with my best friend. We stopped in St. George, Utah to use a restroom and after seven hours of driving, I was ready for a caffeine boost to get me the rest of the way home. So we headed to Starbucks, and I decided it was time to revisit the craze and ordered a Pumpkin Spice Latte. 

I don’t know about you, and I don’t know if they made it wrong or something, but I found it undrinkable and disgusting. It was syrupy, tasted like chemicals, and waaaay too sweet. I had to cut it with my previous coffee to make it drinkable. 

This year as the fall weather hits, there is no preschool. I’m working remotely. There is no reason to go near my drive-through, and not many reasons to even leave the house. So I’ve had to get creative with my homemade coffee. I’m saving tons of money making my own coffee, and it makes me feel better that I am totally in control of the ingredients. So I gave the PSL another shot, and came up with something I think is much better than Starbucks! I love that I can also tailor it better to my needs. Because I am mostly plant-based, I am always looking for ways to get more protein into my diet. So I always include a scoop of Vital Proteins collagen, which has 9 grams of protein (it’s not plant-based, one of my few concessions that make me not a true vegan). I like this option because it is unflavored, and it doesn’t leave a gritty feeling like a lot of protein powders do. It blends into the drink perfectly, and you don’t even realize it’s there when you are done.

 So without further ado, here is my take on the classic, beloved by white girls everywhere, Pumpkin Spice Latte.  

½ cup oat milk (or milk of choice)

½ cup coffee

1 scoop Vital Proteins unflavored Collagen (if you really want a protein boost two scoops work, as well)

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

½ tablespoon sugar (or to taste)

A few drops of vanilla extract (optional)

You will also need a frother. I use this one:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B076F3C4XP/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Heat oat milk for one minute in the microwave. Add 1 scoop of collagen powder and blend with the frother. Froth the milk. Pour your hot coffee into another cup. Add the sugar, vanilla extract, and spices and use the frother to blend (it won’t froth). Then pour the coffee into the milk, add a dash of the pumpkin pie spice, and enjoy!


Sep 21, 2020

Hidden Traits Passed Down in Your DNA

by Connie Carlin

Genetics is the passing on of characteristics from one generation to the next. The process of genetics occurs among all living things, including animals, plants, bacteria, and fungi.  Genetics are molecules called Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA). DNA is a necessary molecule that is apparent in all living things.

Genetically-inherited diseases are diseases that are passed down through generations within your family.  These diseases are specifically transferred through the genes in our DNA, passed down by carriers of mutated and defective genes. It is important to be aware and understand that you may be at a higher risk for some health problems because of your genetics due to your family history so you can take precautionary measures.

Siblings share, on average, about half of their DNA. The reality is, however, we can be anywhere from 0–100% genetically related to our siblings! When looking at DNA test results, you could, theoretically, be unrelated to a sibling, though the percentage usually falls in the 50% range.

Your ethnicity results found in an Autosomal DNA (atDNA) test can be quite different from sibling to sibling, as we each inherit unique combinations of DNA from our parents that present different parts of our genetic history.

This stems from how DNA is passed from one generation to the next for the majority of our genome. You are unique, having received 50% your DNA from each of your parents. Your parents received 50% from each of their parents, and so on. The 50% passed to you from each of your parents was a shuffled combination of genetics, so unless you and a sibling are identical twins, you can expect your results to be different than your siblings. Recombination is purely random, so one sibling could inherit substantial chunks of DNA that the other sibling did not inherit—or vice versa. Sometimes, the differences in results can be surprising.

ANCIENT VIRUSES HIDDEN IN YOUR DNA FIGHT OFF NEW VIRUSES

THE HUMAN GENOME is three billion letters long. About 240 million letters of it, scientists estimate, is viral. Eight percent of human DNA comes from ancient viruses that once infected our ancestors. Most viral infections are as fleeting as a cold, but two things made the ancient ones unusual: 

1. These viruses had the special ability to copy themselves into the DNA of their hosts.

2. They sometimes got lucky enough to copy themselves into an egg that became fertilized and grew into a full-fledged adult. So that viral DNA got passed down from generation to human generation as so-called endogenous retroviruses.

Some of it may even make you, you. As a growing fetus, you co-opted a gene from an ancient virus to form the placenta that kept you nourished in the womb. And in recent years, scientists poring over gigabytes of genetic sequencing data have seen other tantalizing hints of endogenous retroviruses turning useful. Science suggests humans have also co-opted the remnants of ancient viruses to direct the immune system against other pathogens.

I have learned so much about Genetics and Heredity, that I want to learn more! If you feel the same way, consider visiting the DNA Learning Center at www.dnalc.org







 


Sep 21, 2020

Homemade Herbal Popsicles

by Meagan, AR Treasure Dragon

Do you have kids you want to have all the joys of childhood without all the added chemicals and sugar? Do you have a summertime party coming up and want to impress everyone with going above and beyond your regular store-bought popsicles? Well never fear! These delicious, homemade, herbal popsicles are sure to impress while giving your family a treat you can feel good about. One of our employees tried out this recipe and said it was the first time she got her kid to eat blueberries!

Homemade Herbal Popsicles 

Ingredients:

  • 3 ½ - 4 cups boiling water
  •  fresh or frozen fruit/edible flowers (optional)
  • Popsicle molds 
  • Herbs or tea
  • Coconut milk or yoghurt (optional)
  • Sweetener of choice (honey, sugar, stevia, maple syrup, monk fruit, jam)
  • Lemon juice (optional)

Directions:

1.Pick out your favorite tea or use fresh herbs

2. Steep the allotted amount of time. Typically 3-5 minutes

3. Strain or remove teabag

4. Add sweetener of your choice while still hot

5. Mix in 1 Tbsp lemon juice (optional)

6. Allow the mixture to cool

7.  Add coconut milk or yoghurt for a creamier popsicle 

8. Pour into popsicle molds

9. Add any fresh or frozen fruit or edible flowers (optional)

10. Freeze for several hours

11. ENJOY!

To remove popsicles from the mold, submerge tray in warm water for a few seconds.

Flavor combinations to enjoy:

  • Mint & Lime
  • Lavender Lemonade
  • Hibiscus & Berry
  • Coconut Milk & Chai Tea
  • Green Tea & Raspberries
  • Peach, Honey & Thyme
  • Jasmine & Pomegranate 
  • Cherry & Rose

Sep 21, 2020

The Benefits of Foam Rolling

by Chris, Director of Sales

Do you remember the first time you saw a foam roller at the gym and wondered what in the world that was for? Maybe you saw someone rolling around on it and became curious about its function and proper use.

Foam rollers can be used for a multitude of things; from warming up your muscles and stretching them out to helping loosen tight, achy muscles and relieve pain. The main benefit for foam rolling is to aid myofascial release. 

“Myo-what?” you may be wondering? It’s okay, most of us were taught a simplistic view that the body is like a machine with independent working parts, connected by ligaments at the joints. But we are actually much more interconnected with a mucosal, web-like structure of soft connective tissue throughout our whole body called fascia (‘fa-shuh.’)

You could imagine fascia as the body’s ‘soft skeleton’ because it is essentially a collagen casing around every muscle fiber, organ, bone, and nerve fiber in the body, providing protection, support, chemical signals for muscle memory, and much more. Fascia, along with your muscles, helps you to push, pull, jump, squat, twist, and more. With muscle injury or trauma, inflammation, misuse or inactivity, the fascia becomes stiff and thickens (i.e. ‘knots’ in your back), which can be painful and often lead to further injury. 

This is where foam rolling can be beneficial, by helping the myofascial release and increase blood flow to carry more nutrients, antioxidants, and oxygen to tired and tight muscles, which helps improve recovery time. Applying pressure through rolling can also help stretch and loosen the muscles and fascia, making movements easier with less friction. 

You can use a foam roller for the majority of the body, but you can also use a tennis ball up against a wall to help work out tight spots on the back or a golf ball for the bottom of the feet. Some like to roll right before a workout to help warm up muscles, but keep in mind that rolling induces a parasympathetic nervous system response, relaxing the mind and body, much like a massage. Most prefer to foam roll post-workout to help speed recovery, work through tightness and unwind. Another way to reap its relaxing benefits is to work foam rolling into your bedtime routine. Dim the lights to start stimulating melatonin production, put on some tranquil ambient sounds, and enjoy the healing experience of caring for your body. Visualization and affirmations can also be helpful during this time, so be open to releasing your emotions from the day as you release the stress of your fascia. 

To get the most benefit, relax the muscles you are working on and simply allow the weight of your body to apply the pressure without adding any additional force. Instead of rolling around quickly, be patient, staying in each spot for at least 30-60 seconds, or until a warming, even burning sensation, is felt in the tissue. Relax and breathe deeply as you visualize the chemical changes that are taking place, initiating the release of tension.


Sep 21, 2020

Don't be Ashamed of What Makes You Great!

by Aspen, Trainer of the Things

My family...well, let’s just say they think I can be a little uptight. They roll their eyes when I make lists or want to discuss logistics for trips weeks in advance. For example, when we went on a cruise in 2019, I arranged the whole thing for seven adults and six kids. I booked the rooms, researched side trips, looked into international document requirements, and arranged transportation. One thing they rolled their eyes at was when I created a dinner schedule to make sure that the small children had babysitters so we would trade-off in shifts, rotating who got to enjoy dinner with whom. They agreed to me creating this chart, but as I had expected, no one followed it. This meant that I ended up eating dinner by myself, on a cruise, in fancy dining rooms, four nights of the seven, a week after my divorce was finalized. The exact thing I had sought to avoid. Meanwhile, it didn’t occur to a single one of them that looking after anyone’s emotional needs might be why following a plan might matter.

I sure got a lot of eye rolls over the Labor Day weekend. I had seen the weather reports, and they were showing a massive drop in temperature. However, I knew that you couldn’t get that extreme of a shift without an incredible windstorm and I was worried. The fear of falling trees had led me to uproot eight different aspen trees the year before that had been dying. Because I couldn’t afford a tree service, it took a LOT of work to clear them out, but I was worried about the wind knocking them over into my neighbor’s garage. Would my insurance cover that? 

Throughout Labor Day weekend I prepared my garden and my house. I built structures to cover my garden, nailed down new ground cover, and, sweating in a breezeless 90-degree heat at 8 pm on Sunday (which was supposed to have a low of 46 that night), pulled in garbage cans, slides, umbrellas, and anything else that could blow away. As I did so, the heat was stifling and the air completely still. 

As I was working, my brother was helping by playing with my toddler and keeping him occupied and accounted for. Throughout the weekend, and especially Sunday night, I got a look I am very familiar with my family: “That Aspen. She’s always so uptight and makes a big deal of nothing.” 

I always feel a little defensive when I get this look. So when it turned out my best attempts to secure the plastic sheets over my garden blew away before 10 pm, I went into a complete funk. I’d worked so hard all weekend, and gotten so much side-eye, and all for nothing. I was humiliated and embarrassed.

Then I woke up Tuesday morning to a text message that school was canceled. Twitter showed image after image of 200-year-old trees toppled on cars and trampolines in pools. Winds were logged at up to 112 miles per hour, and I know two different people (one a RidgeCrest employee) who had trees topple on their cars. One friend couldn’t get to her car for days because of the live wires tied in with the tree that had smashed her crossover. The tree in my neighbor’s yard was pulling up their pavement and they chopped it down before it could blow over into the street. Power went out for hundreds of thousands of Utahns. 

So it turns out I WASN’T crazy for taking it seriously, and obviously nothing I could have done to cover my garden would have held. It was a good reminder that it’s ok that I am a planner, even if my family isn’t. An ounce of prevention is worth an ounce of cure, and I shouldn’t be ashamed of being who I am!


Sep 21, 2020

2020 September Knick Nac Crystal Skulls

by Shae, Customer Service and Social Media Goddess

In the late 19th century, Anne Mitchell-Hedges and her father, F.A. Mitchell-Hedges, claimed to have found a skull carved out of rock crystal at a Belizean excavation site. Anna said the Mayans told her that the skull was used to “will death,” and that knowledge was ritualistically transferred through the skull to a younger man so the elder could die.  These skulls made their way into private and public collections around the world. In addition to the Mitchell-Hedges skull, there are other crystal skulls in museums and private collections: Max, a clear quartz from Guatemala, ET, a smoky quartz from Central America, Ami, an amethyst skull said to be Mayan, and Sha-na-ra, a clear quartz from Mexico.

Some people believe the skulls have supernatural powers, healing properties, and the ability to expand consciousness. Mayan creation stories speak of the 13 crystal skulls being scattered thousands of years ago to be discovered and reunited at a pivotal time in humanity’s history to awaken a new era, transforming from the old paradigm into a new world.  Each skull is said to contain significant and vital knowledge. The 13th skull represents the collective consciousness of all the worlds and connects to the knowledge of all the sacred planets.

The origins of the skulls have been an ongoing mystery and controversy. Some claim they date back thousands or even tens of thousands of years ago to ancient Mesoamerican civilizations such as the Aztec, Toltec, Mixtec, and Maya. But none of these claims can be proven. Some people remain skeptical and think the skulls, along with their stories, are fake. Purported testing done on the skulls are said to reveal that they were most likely carved in the 17th century using modern wheeled tools, but some believe this testing was never released or even done at all. In the 19th century, these types of artifacts were in high demand and could bring in a lot of money. So whether these skulls are fake or real remains a fascinating mystery.

 


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

dandelionsDandelions 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! 



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