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7 Surprising Health Benefits of HummusHummus is a thick, creamy spread and it can be made from ingredients like mashed chickpeas, garlic, sea salt, lemon juice, tahini, and olive oil. Hummus has become increasingly popular over recent years and it’s easy to see why. The ingredients contained in hummus are plant based, whole and unprocessed. This makes it an excellent choice to be included with any meal. Additionally, it can be flavored to meet the needs of almost any palette and the uses are endless.

Reach & Maintain a Healthy Weight

Hummus is rich in protein and this helps with the balance of sugar levels in the blood while fighting hunger cravings. Hummus also contains iron which boosts the energy levels, which is always helpful in the effort to be more active.

Reduce Cholesterol

One of the ingredients contained in hummus is chick peas, also known as garbanzo beans. Most beans in general are considered to have nutrients that help with fighting cholesterol and maintaining a healthy heart. To avoid excessive salt intake, it’s ideal to purchase a carefully selected hummus — or simply make it yourself!

Fight Off Nefarious Cells

Beans are known for their effective properties that help to prevent cancer. The three compounds of beans, protease inhibitors, saponins and phytic acid aid in guarding the cells of the body.. Beans also contain folate, which can help to reduce the risk of getting colorectal cancer.

Improve Muscle, Blood, & Skin Health

Hummus is made up of a large amount of protein and this is essential as a building block of the skin, blood, and muscles. Hummus is a great source of protein for anyone, but an especially delicious source for vegetarians.

Prevention Constipation

A high content of fiber makes hummus perfect for keeping a healthy digestive tract regular. Dietary fiber helps with growth of ‘good bacteria’ in the colon and this is believed to help with prevention of colon cancers. Fiber is also important because of other health benefits like prevention of cardiac conditions. 

Ward Off Anemia

Anemia can make you feel tired and weak. Tahini and chick peas are both good sources of iron, which helps to ensure that red blood cells are well supplied with oxygen — helping you feel your best.

Strengthen Bones

The ingredients of hummus, contain calcium and this helps in maintaining the health of bones. This is important especially in the prevention of osteoporosis when bones can become more brittle with age.

7 Surprising Health Benefits of Hummus

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Dandelions For Your Health

Though dandelions are thought by many to be a useless weed, dandelions are powerful herbs and a good source of nutrients, like:

  • Vitamin C
  • Fiber
  • Potassium
  • Beta carotene
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Protein (more than a same size serving of spinach!)

If your neighbors happen to use commercial weed killers, you won’t want to consume the dandelions growing in your yard. Unfortunately, if your neighbors are using commercial weed killers, they’re in the groundwater and that means they’re tainting  your yard, too.

Dandelions for human consumption are best picked out in the country, away from pollutants found on manicured lawns and lots.. If you don’t have access to them outside of the city, you can grow them in pots from seeds (even on a city balcony). Two of the easiest and ways to utilize dandelions are in a salad or as dandelion tea.

Dandelions as Salad Greens

If you’d like to add dandelion greens to your salad, harvest them just as you would any other salad green, cut off the ends of the leaves, wash them well, chop them up into your salad, and enjoy.

Dandelions as Tea

Another great way to use dandelions is in tea, either raw or roasted. The best leaves for dandelion tea are the youngest, smallest leaves.

To make raw dandelion tea:

  • Wash the leaves thoroughly and steep them in hot water for about 10 minutes
  • Strain the liquid, add some honey and a little lemon
  • Keep the steamed leaves to eat later (much like you would eat steamed spinach)

To make roasted dandelion tea:
Roasted dandelion root makes can be used to brew a dark drink similar to coffee.

  • Dig up the root and wash it thoroughly in cold water until the water runs clear
  • Preheat your oven to 300°F
  • Chop the washed dandelion root into small pieces and place it on a cookie sheet & roast for 2 hours
  • Steep the root pieces in hot water for no more than 10 minutes to keep it from being bitter. Add honey to sweeten and enjoy!

Before You Eat Dandelions

Important info you need to know:

  • If you’re allergic to ragweed, marigolds, daisies or other plants like these, you may also be allergic to dandelions.
  • Dandelion can cause some antibiotics to be less effective.
  • If you take diuretics, dandelion is also a diuretic and it might cause harm to your body.
  • Dandelion is really good for detoxifying the liver and it can affect how the liver breaks down some medications such as Elavil, Haldol, Zofran, Inderal, any of the statin drugs for high cholesterol, Valium, morphine, or Ativan. This could mean the drugs aren’t effective.
  • Talk to your doctor before you starting drinking dandelion tea on a regular basis.

Dandelions For Your Health

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Homesteading for BeginnersHaving a homestead can provide a lot of economical benefits and environmentally friendly perks. Of course, you have to start somewhere. These are a few tips to help get your feet wet in the world of homesteading.

Count the Cost

You don’t want to have your dream of being ecologically independent crushed by running out of money in your budget before you’re able to have a profitable return. You need to know what you’re going to have to do to make your current living situation compatible with your goals. It’s a good idea to learn about the land you plan to work on. The quality of the soil can help or hinder your efforts. Water drainage and soil erosion are factors that can affect your strategy.

If your property already has dense foliage, you may consider using the trees as firewood, for building fences (to keep deer and other wildlife out of your garden), or even for building. Using the wood for heat can help out in the winter if you’re trying to minimize your presence on the grid, plus bundles of firewood can fetch a good price if you decide that you want to sell it locally.

Speaking of firewood, learning to swing an axe and other construction skills wouldn’t be the worst idea for starting a homestead. It’s possible to make a fence from scratch using wire. A thicker gauge like 12-14 is good unless you’re going for a chicken wire pattern. Some homesteaders have home made wooden boxes that are used as raised garden beds that you can fill with choice soil. These types of beds tend to cut down on weeds and are easier on the back.

Homesteading for Beginners

Garden

No homestead would be complete without a garden. If you don’t have land to grow on, you can garden in containers quite effectively. You’d be amazed by how much you can grow on a balcony or patio!

Using cement bricks as a foundation for your enclosure can discourage pests and you can use sticks that are too small to use as firewood or lumber as posts. If you’re into reusing grey water you can install an irrigation system that will trickle downhill and cut back on what you spend watering your garden in dry spells.

Be sure to choose organic and heirloom seeds where possible. Look for local seed swapping groups! You may also want to include flowers that bees love, like Cosmos, Sunflowers, Lavender, Zinnias, and Calendula — just to name a few.

Don’t Be Afraid to Raising Chickens (or Other Animals!)

Raising chickens may feel like it’s out of your comfort zone but the payoff is worth it. The biggest hurdle is discouraging predators. This can be done by burying chicken wire below the ground and fanning it away from the chicken’s area. Before investing, or getting your hopes up, you will also want to make sure that keeping animals on your land is legal, since laws vary from state to state, city to city, and township to township.

Ask for Help (and Be Willing to Give It, Too)

It can be very helpful (and encouraging) to remember that you are not alone, especially when you feel overwhelmed. Talk to people around you that are trying to do the same thing — you may be pleasantly surprised! People that are reaching out to help the environment are usually willing to help you too. Many homesteaders even have a trade and barter system, so if you have a surplus, try offering it for something you need. If no one else is doing it locally, there are countless blogs and websites about strategies and personal experiences of successful homesteaders.

Homesteading for Beginners

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How to Grow Plants From ProducePlants are a great way to spruce up your home, and plants from produce add function too! All you need to get started are groceries, planters (get creative by upcycling containers), soil (or a bit of quality compost), and a patience.

Herbs

Rooted herbs are hardy and often available in organic versions at the grocery store. If you don’t have rooted versions you can place sprigs in water with a few leaves below the waterline to encourage root growth.

A rooting aid can come in handy! Keep them in a window or other well lit place and you’ll have fresh herbs at your fingertips all year long.

Avocados

I’ve tried to grow avocados a number of times but was never successful until recently. There are a number of methods floating around online, but the method that worked best for me might give you flashbacks to elementary school.

All you’ll need is an avocado seed, a plastic baggie, a wet paper towel, a windowsill and patience. Lots of patience. If you’ve got a good see you should see roots rather quickly, and you’ll want to give them plenty of time to grow. (I gave mine a few weeks or so.) After you’ve got strong roots started it’s time to plant your avocado in soil, and in a sunny and warm spot. Cover the roots completely, but not the seed! Leave the top uncovered a bit. Keep the soil moist — you may even want to cover it with a plastic film or dome to create a bit of a greenhouse. After about a month (perhaps sooner) you should have a sprout! Once it sprouts your avocado should grow quickly.

If you live in a climate with evenings below 60 degrees Fahrenheit you’ll want to bring your new plant indoors.

I keep mine in a window where I give it a little water every few days. I’m not sure I’ll ever get to enjoy fruit from my little tree here in Ohio, but I certainly enjoy the foliage from my little plant!

How to Grow Plants From Produce

Greens

Greens are easy to grow and quite useful. They’re obviously great in salads, but can be tossed into a variety of meals or uses to provide a lovely garnish.

If you’d like to grow them from scraps you’ll want to purchase greens with a bit of root attached. Place them in water until they’ve regrown some strong roots and then plant. Be sure to clip leaves to use as your plant grows. If it goes to seed (you’ll know!) you can easily harvest and plant them for fresh growth!

Peppers

Like other obviously seeded produce, the seeds from the pepper plant can be easily harvested and used. Pepper seeds require special conditions to germinate because of their waxy outer coating. You’d want plenty of warmth to help the water penetrate the coating. Some people even give each seed a tiny nick to help speed the process along.

Pineapple

If you live in a warmer climate, pineapples could be a reality for you. Northerners may envy you (though they can always try their hand at growing them indoors!) Place the cut top of a pineapple in water until roots form (this could be a few weeks!) and then move to a pot once well established. These plants can be large, so you may want a dwarf variety if you plan to keep it indoors.

How to Grow Plants From Produce

Ginger

Soak a piece of ginger and then transfer it to a pot with soil. You’ll want to keep the soil moist. Eventually you will begin to see new roots, which can be harvested.

Fruit Trees

Depending on your climate you may be able to germinate seeds in a baggie or in tiny soil pods and then transfer to larger pots to get established, and ultimately place them outdoors. If you live in a cold climate you may choose to keep the plants indoors.

For citrus plants, you’ll want to help get the seeds going by sucking on them to help remove the outer coatings of the seeds and then germinating as usual. Apple and pear seeds can go straight to the germination process. I prefer the plastic baggie method, as I have found it to be the most effective.

Growing your own plants can be rewarding. Be sure to choose organic starters! You can find more gardening tips on Pinterest.

How to Grow Plants From Produce

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