Thursday, December 18, 2008

So Much to Learn

I am digging into the research I found for my upcoming e-book and finding so many interesting things. I thought I would share a bit of what I've learned so far and what I plan to learn.

Mullein helps with draining lymph glands and is good for the lungs. It came up the most in my research for helping with lung conditions during a cold or flu. I used mullein tincture when I had gum infections by putting some on a cotton ball and rubbing it all over the front and back of my neck where the glands are prone to become swollen (which really means they are clogged with toxins). My glands would clear up overnight when I did this and help move that infection out.

Among the folk remedies were some tried and true herbal remedies that kept coming up. I'm more determined now to learn more about growing my own herbs and making tinctures, salves and always more teas. My intuition and the experience of others has reinforced my belief that food should be our medicine, and medicine our food. When you first come down with the cold or flu, chicken soup still ranks at the top for medicinal food.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Next Phase on My Book

I have finished the basic research on my book and am now in the next phase of putting all of this information together. I have found so many helpful remedies that are natural and easy to use. I am excited to finally set about to writing and getting this out to help people before the cold and flu season sets in. If anyone has any comments or suggestions I can still take those, just send me an email.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Super Foods

There are a few lists traveling around on the internet claiming to be the Super Foods List. The first one I found listed collard, mustard and turnip greens as the highest in nutrients. Another one lists the Acai berry at the top.

I have spent the last few years concentrating on foods that help build stronger bones and muscles. I first started out with lots of berries: blue, black, raspberries, and cherries. I learned later that fruits cleanse the body and vegies repair tissue. I am now in the repairing phase as I don't crave as much fruit but do crave vegies. I didn't grow up eating much in the way of vegies except potatoes (smothered in gravy) and maybe green beans and such. And I wouldn't touch fruit. So this has been a big step for me to change over.

Now I crave greens if I don't have them for a few days. And I feel better after I eat them. I go by how my body feels and my intuition mostly, and when I do, I usually find out later that particular food was exactly what I needed.

So here is how I cook greens. You can get turnip greens, or spinach already frozen. Or fresh greens like collard, mustard and turnip and mix them. Put them in a pan with water enough to cover the greens. Or you can use chicken broth. Add some dulse and boil for about 20-30 minutes. Add butter and sea salt to taste and enjoy.

Greens are high in calcium and magnesium, vitamins K and A and manganese and folate. For you young people out there, I would recommend highly you eat these several times a week. Keep your bones strong!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I'm Writing a Book...

During this last week since Thanksgiving I have been writing a book on herbal and natural remedies for treating colds and flu. Most of my time has been research time. I have come across so many new remedies I've not seen before. I'm excited about writing this book! I plan to organize it so that it will be easy to find the remedies that work best. So many other books have a list of ailments from A-Z. My book will focus just on colds and flu.

I know this time of year everyone is concerned with trying "not" to catch something while running around mad with shopping and all the activities we get wrapped up in. So, if any of you would like to chip in and tell me what you would like to see addressed in the book, please let me know.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Hope everyone has a happy Thanksgiving and lots of good Healthy Food! Among some of the regular fare I am going to try a new recipe called Onion-Cranberry Compote. It is from Sally Fallon's book "Nourishing Traditions". Here is her recipe copied directly from her book:

Onion-Cranberry Compote
Makes 4 cups

2/3 c. yellow raisins
2/3 c. dark raisins
1 1/2 c hot filtered water
2 pounds small white onions, peeled
4 Tbs. butter
3/4 c. white wine vinegar
1 c. dry white wine
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. sea salt
1 2/3 c fresh cranberries

This is an excellent substitute for sugary cranberry relish at Thanksgiving.

Soak raisins in water for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, saute' onions in butter until well coated. Add wine and vinegar and boil down for several minutes. Add raisins with soaking liquid and remaining ingredients except cranberries. Liquid should just cover the onions--if not, add a little water. Simmer, covered, for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Remove cover, add cranberries and simmer uncovered for 15 - 30 minutes until liquid has thickened. Let cool. May be made up to 3 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator. Serve at room temperature.

If anyone else makes this please comment on whether you liked it or not.
Thanks! And have a great weekend.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Juicy Thanksgiving Turkey

Thanksgiving is less than a week away and it's time to start planning that meal. My daughter and I came up with this recipe several years ago and the turkey always comes out juicy. Acorn squash, green beans and a salad are simple side dishes that make this an elegant meal without being too heavy on stomach. We cook a turkey several times a year and divide it into baggies and freeze for lunches and dinners. It's a great way to take advantage of the cheaper turkey prices this time of year.

How to Cook the Juiciest Turkey
©2008 Shanna Ohmes

This recipe is guaranteed to give you the juiciest turkey for that holiday dinner.

1 turkey
¼ cup bacon grease (other good fats are olive oil, butter, or lard)
½ tsp each of the following spices: sage, lemon pepper, rosemary, parsley, garlic powder, and diced onions

Mix the bacon grease and spices together in a bowl.

Put the turkey in a roaster pan, breast side up. (I have a GE Roaster Oven that I use just for cooking turkeys. It frees up my regular oven for casseroles and pies I need to bake at the same time.)

Starting at the base of the breast, make a pocket in the skin, and wriggle your fingers under the skin to get as far back as you can.

Scoop up the bacon grease mixture in your fingers and spread inside the pocket. Spread all over the breast inside the pocket and then all over the outside of the bird.

Pour 1-2” of water in the bottom of the roaster. Cover with lid or tightly with foil. This keeps the moisture in.

Set the heat to 350 degrees. Cook according to directions on turkey package. Serve with your favorite side dishes.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Taking My Own Medicine

Well, it seems the whole family has come down with the cold. We have experimented with the different remedies I wrote about here and have been impressed with the pickled garlic. It seems to have lessened the severity of the cold so far. Another remedy we have added is peppermint essential oil. A few drops on the tongue and it clears the sinuses. This helped us sleep for awhile. After this year's illness, my recommendation is to eat fermented vegetables (sauerkraut, garlic, cucumbers....) every day throughout the year to keep the good bacteria established in your body. I think this helps the immune system fight the colds and flu.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans Day

I would like to thank all the Veterans out there today for your service. I would also like to thank all those in the military now for your service also. Happy Birthday to the U.S. Marine Corps. Thank you all.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Herbal Cold and Flu Kit

c2008 Shanna Ohmes

T’is the season! The cold and flu season, that is. The kids are back in school and the holidays are just around the corner. Stress levels are going up and the immune systems are plummeting. What can you do to prepare for sniffles, sore throats and congestion? Did you know you can have a few herbs on hand to cope with the cold and flu season? Here is an herbal cold and flu kit you can make up ahead of time.

• Garlic: (Allium sativum) Garlic is one of the most powerful herbs for treating an array of ailments. Historically, garlic was found in caves inhabited 10,000 years ago. It was used by the Egyptians, healers in ancient India, Greek athletes and Roman soldiers. In 19th-Century America, physicians used garlic for colds, coughs, and whooping cough. There are many ways to take garlic. A favorite is a hearty chicken soup or potato soup with lots of garlic and onions. You can eat a raw garlic clove by itself, or chop fine over a salad or main meal. Garlic is also available as garlic oil and in capsules. This powerful herb has antibiotic, antiseptic, and expectorant properties.

• Echinacea: (Echinacea purpurea) The Plains Indians depended on echinacea as their primary medicine. Early pioneers and physicians adopted the use of echinacea and by the 20th century, practically every household kept echinacea tincture in the medicine cabinet. By the 1930’s the use of echinacea waned as antibiotics became popular. Now echinacea resuming its place in the common household. This herb builds the immune system and you can take it when you feel the cold coming on. Echinacea can be steeped as a tea, or used in tincture and capsule form. This immune builder has antibiotic, antiseptic and antiviral properties.

• Astragalus: (Astragalus membranaceus) For thousands of years the Chinese have used astragalus as an energy tonic and to enhance the immune system. Recent studies have shown it shortens the duration of the cold. The root is used in soups, teas, extracts and capsules in combination with ginger. Astragalus has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties.

• Goldenseal: (Hydrastis canadensis) Goldenseal was used by the Native Americans for sore throats. It was not a popular herb with the early settlers until after the Civil War when the demand soared and it was added to several patent medicines. This herb boosts the glandular system, helping with congestion, inflammation, and bronchitis by building up the immune system. It can be used in an infusion with the powdered root, or in tincture and capsule form. Goldenseal has antibiotic and antiseptic properties.

• Ginger: (Zingiber officinale) Ginger remedies were written in Chinese herbal texts around 3,000 B.C. This potent herb helps the respiratory system, easing colds, sore throat, congestion and bronchitis. Grate 2 tsp. fresh ginger, pour a cup of boiling water over it and steep. You can also sprinkle powdered ginger over soups. Ginger has anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and febrifuge properties.

These are powerful immune boosting herbs to keep on hand for everyone in your family. Put the tinctures and capsules in a plastic tub, label “Cold and Flu Kit”, and include a note or this article about the garlic and ginger. Now you can confidently ride out the holidays knowing how to cope with the new season, no matter what “gifts” it might bring.

Update on Garlic

I have been experimenting with other fermented vegies this week and so far everthing has been successful! The pickled garlic is pungent and firm but does not burn like raw garlic. I ate it sliced on top of lasagna and it intensified the flavors of the the tomato sauce, mushrooms and meat. At another meal, I stir fried the garlic with a bit of turkey and put it all in a tortilla wrap with guacamole and sour cream. Again, it brought more of the flavors out and was delicious.

These are the other vegies I fermented: cucumbers, beets, turnips, gingered carrots, and more sauerkraut. This batch of sauerkraut I added an apple, a little grated carrot, 2 cloves of garlic, and a few slices of onion. It will be spicier than plain sauerkraut.

I can recommend another book on fermenting foods: "Wild Fermentation" by Sandor Katz. I got some great ideas on experimenting with vegetable combinations. Will be a great way to use excess garden produce next year.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Melamine in Our Food Supply

I have learned recently that melamine is now in our food supply. Anything processed with eggs or milk products is suspect until we get documentation from our government that it is safe. This means anything from candy, cookies, cakes, dressings, and mayo to possibly flu vaccines and other medicines that use eggs as an emulsifier could be contaminated.

I watched a video this morning:
I do not know Mike Mozart, the producer of this video in any way. I came across the link in an alternative health forum. But I agree with him that if the FDA does not come forward with documentation that states that the foods have have been tested and are safe, then a great number of children as well as everyone else in our country will be harmed.

What can we do until then? Do not buy prepackaged or processed foods. We do not know if our own food companies purchased ingredients from China, so all packaged foods are questionable. At the very least, look on the back for "made in/produced in China" and ingredients containing milk and/or eggs.

We can also alter our diet back to whole foods. Although it sometimes takes more time to put a meal together from scratch with whole foods, it is more nutritious and healthy. And that's traditional -- taking time to put a meal together. It brings the family together to enjoy the abundance we have.

Have a safe and happy Halloween! And watch what you give out as treats and what your children bring home.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Pickled Garlic

c2008 Shanna Ohmes

Today I ventured into making pickled garlic using the lacto-fermentation process. It was so easy! The last time I peeled that much garlic the garlic oil burned the skin on my fingers. This time I learned about heating the garlic in the oven first before peeling. The cloves practically slipped out of their skins and the oil didn't burn my skin this time.

I started with 12 heads of garlic. I put them on a cookie sheet and in a 300 degree oven for about 20 minutes or so. I peeled the skins off and put them in a canning jar. Then I made the brine: 2 tsp. oregano, 2 tsp. sea salt, and 2 tbs. whey. I poured the brine over the garlic, added water to within 1 inch of the top to make room for expansion. This will set on the cabinet for about 3 days to get the fermentation process started. Then I can put it in cold storage (refrigerator) and use.

It should be done by this weekend and I will post my results on here. I can't wait to try it. Especially with the cold and flu season here. Garlic has so many properties to help with infections.

Friday, October 24, 2008


c2008 Shanna Ohmes

My first introduction to sauerkraut when I was growing up was a stinky slimy mess out of a can that messed up a perfectly good hot dog. I vowed I'd never touch that stuff again, but finally decided to give it a try after I learned about all the healthful benefits it has.

Sauerkraut is one of many lacto-fermented foods. These foods restore the healthy bacteria and flora into the intestines so they can do their job to keep us in good health.

Skeptical, I read and re-read the research on all the benefits of this supposedly wonderful food that I hated in my childhood and found a good recipe. It actually took me 2-3 years before I took the plunge and tried it.

I was totally surprised! This actually tasted good. It was nothing like I remembered from so long ago. I put my batch in a tall glass jar and admired the beauty of the fresh green color every time I opened my refrigerator. The taste was refreshing and blended so well with sausages, hot dogs, Reuben sandwiches, soups and salads. A few tablespoons a day will add a good amount of the good bacteria and vitamins into your diet.

The practice of lacto-fermenting vegetables has its roots in Europe, Rome and China going back 6,000 years. Sailors kept sauerkraut on ships to prevent scurvy on their long voyages. The Romans carried sauerkraut with them to protect against intestinal infections. Other vegetables can be lacto-fermented with the cabbage or separately, like turnips, beets and carrots. Some fruits can also be fermented. They are called chutneys.

The nutrients in sauerkraut are calcium, potassium, magnesium, copper, vitamins C, K, B6 and folate, as well as plenty of antioxidants. The fermentation process actually increases the value and availability of and digestibility of the vegetables and fruits.

How to make Sauerkraut:

1 cabbage
2 tbs. sea salt
glass quart canning jar

Chop the cabbage in small pieces. Place in a large bowl and sprinkle with sea salt. Pound and mash with a meat mallet for about 10 minutes.
You will see that some of the juices are released from the cabbage. Put the cabbage in your jar a little at a time, pressing firmly to keep the juices coming to the top of the cabbage.

Repeat until the cabbage and its juice come within one inch of the top. This gives enough room for expansion. If there is not enough juice, you can add a little bit of water. Cover with a tight fitting lid and leave on your cabinet for 3 days. Then store in your refrigerator or cellar.

You can start eating it immediately and it greatly improves with age. Mine tasted delicious in the beginning and only got better from then on. At 1 year the color started to fade, but the flavor was still excellant.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Healthy Chocolate? Oh Yeah!

c2008 Shanna Ohmes

Recent research has proved what every woman has instinctively known all along, chocolate is good for you! But we're not talking about just any chocolate off the grocery shelf. What research studies have shown is the best chocolate is in its organic raw form. Did you know that in one spoonful of raw chocolate there are 25,200 antioxidants? It is the only food with that high amount. The Aztec, Mayan, and Incan cultures were onto something. In this article I will highlight the processing, nutrients, and health benefits of adding raw chocolate into your daily diet. And you get a recipe as a bonus.

The processing of chocolate is minimal. It goes through a cold-pressing method that keeps the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients intact. Modern methods generally use high heat that destroys some of these nutrients, the use of chemicals and preservatives, and of course refined white sugar and corn syrup.

Raw chocolate has the richest source of magnesium available in a food. It is also high in copper, iron and in lesser amounts of calcium, zinc, vitamin A, niacin, phosphorus, tryptophan and phenylethylamine (PEA).

Research studies have revealed a surprising list of health benefits of raw chocolate. It helps lower blood pressure and increase blood flow to the brain. It also improves some blood sugar disorders and lessens chronic inflammation in the body. Raw chocolate is the most easily absorbed and digested chocolate.

So how do you use this #1 Antioxidant Superfood? You can add 1-2 tbs. in smoothies, cookies, and herbal teas. I made up my own Frappe' (a cold version of a cappuccino) and recently revised it using the raw chocolate powder and actually decreased the amount of sugar from my previous recipe. Within a short time I plan to completely eliminate the sugar.


2 Tbs raw chocolate powder (Sunfood Nutrition Cacao powder)
2 Tbs or less organic natural sugar (dehydrated cane sugar)
1 Tbs instant coffee
1/2 c. cream (optional)
1 1/2 c. organic milk (raw goat's milk)
6 ice cubes

Put all ingredients in blender and blend on ice setting for 1 minute. Serve and enjoy guilt free.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Traditional Diets

c2008 Shanna Ohmes

Traditional diets are rarely talked about in the media today. Mainstream media typically depicts diets to mean completely eliminating some foods, or eating only certain other foods to lose weight.

Over the years I have read many books on the subject of diet. I had two criteria in mind with each book I read: 1)Would my ancestors have eaten this? and 2)Would there be a way to gather/grow/trade for this food in my area without a grocery store?

I asked these questions because I believe that with each further step into processing and shipping, we lose more valuable nutrients in our food. Now I still eat bananas even though I don't live in the tropics, but I also know the equivelant of food that has the same type of nutrients that does grow in my area, like watermelon. (Both are high in potassium.)

These are the 3 best books I have enjoyed.

"Nourishing Tradition by Sally Fallon
"Nutrition and Physical Degeneration" by Weston A. Price, DDS
"NeanderThin" by Ray Audette

The NeanderThin book helped me get off the processed foods and focus on what I was eating. It was a high protein/low carb diet, which worked very well for awhile. I don't follow it as rigidly now, but the research in it was mostly what my ancestors would have eaten and I could raise or gather most of the food myself.

Nutrition and Physical Degeneration opened my eyes to the physical evidence to many of our health problems today. Dr. Price was a dentist who traveled to study many cultures and took pictures of people that ate only their traditional native diets, and then pictures of the next generations who went to the cities to work and ate more modern food such as white flour and white sugar products. The contrast in the dental pictures within even one generation was amazing.

Nourishing Traditions gave me more research than expanding on Dr. Price's discoveries. It is also a cookbook, and gives the research and evidence of why to use more traditional foods and cooking methods for better health. I rate this the best of the three books, it is by far my favorite.

My conclusion from my research is to eat a large variety of vegetables and fruits prepared by the traditional cooking methods, meats that are raised free range and to include good quaity fats essential to the body. And exercise. But we all knew that didn't we?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


c2008 Shanna Ohmes

I love pineapple. It adds a great tangy flavor on pizza and that Christmas ham. But did you know all the health benefits of this exotic fruit?

Pineapple has sugar, Vitamin C, bromelain, potassium, calcium, manganese, and fiber. Bromelain helps break down protein and also fights infections.

The list of ailments that pineapple can help relieve is varied. I'm sure as more research is done, we'll see this is truly an amazing fruit, as most of nature's plants are.

Pineapple is an anti-inflammatory and can be taken internally or applied topically. All the properties of pineapple aid the digestion, which is the seat (pardon the pun) of our health. Other benefits are:
  • helps relieve angina and clears out plaque and blood clots
  • clears bronchial passages, relieving coughs and loosening mucus
  • symptoms of arthritis are lessened
  • use after surgery and injuries, it repairs connective tissue
  • builds healthy bones- for the young and old alike-good for those with osteoporosis
  • use for colds
  • gum disease, which leads to heart problems
  • prevents and relieves constipation
  • prevents and relieves nausea

The suggested use is 200-250 ml of raw pineapple juice daily (3x day for angina).
Include raw pineapple itself for the fiber to help process the juice.

I can attest to the pain relieving benefit. I injured my elbows while pulling weeds in the garden this summer. I could not pick up a glass of water without almost dropping it. This last week I started drinking a pineapple smoothie everyday, and within a week the pain is almost gone and I can now pick things up.

This is the smoothie I made up:
1 c. pineapple juice
1 c. orange juice
1 c. milk or yogurt (I use whole raw goat's milk when available, or 1/2 c. whipping cream and 1/2 c. milk)
1/2 of a 15.25 oz can of pineapple chunks, or you can use some fresh pineapple
2 bananas
6 ice cubes

Blend on ice crush setting in your blender. This makes 2 servings.

Monday, October 13, 2008


c2008 Shanna Ohmes

Welcome to Healthy Foods !

I have been researching healthy foods for the last several years. I grew up on the "meat and taters" mentality. After several years into my marriage and raising children, I realized I needed to learn more about what I was feeding my family and myself.

My research and self-study has led me on a journey of change. I have
learned about the diets of traditional cultures, the old ways of preparing food, herbs, and the history of foods. I have gardened and raised livestock for our own food.

In a time of economic turmoil, I feel getting back to the basics of
healthy eating will be a benefit to our health and pocketbooks. I look
forward to sharing what I have learned over the years. I hope you enjoy my posts of what I have learned.