Feed aggregator

California Chill: Lower Your Stress, Improve Sleep, Reduce Feelings Of Anxiousness

Ready Nutrition - Wed, 04/17/2019 - 00:11

As humans drift toward a more holistic and natural approach to health and wellness, herbal tinctures grab some of the spotlights. And as stress becomes a bigger concern for so many, Ready Nutrition’s “California Chill” can provide some much-needed calm in our ever stressful lives.

Herbal tinctures have increased in popularity lately due to their effectiveness and natural, homeopathic approach to wellness.  Tinctures are a concentrated liquid form of one or more herbs and made by soaking parts of an herb for several weeks in alcohol or vinegar to draw out concentrated levels of the active medicinal properties of the herb.  Alcohol is often the liquid of choice, though, as it can extract components, such as resins and alkaloids, that are not water-soluble. And Ready Nutrition’s California Chill is made in the same manner.

The herb in California Chill is the California poppy or,  Eschscholzia californica. Well known for its beautiful orange color, the California poppy is native to California and other places on the West Coast where water is readily available. California poppy seeds, which will germinate after the first fall rains, are very easy to grow, as they only need to be sown no more than about a quarter-inch deep in the fall or early spring (in mild, wet winter climates).

Regarded as a highly effective stress reducer, bringing calmness and serenity to its users. The California poppy, which is also the state flower of the Golden State, is used for supporting those who have problems sleeping, such as problems sleeping, aches, nervous agitation, and temporary anxiety. It is also used to promote relaxation and is stress reducing. The main chemical components of the California poppy can cause sleepiness and aid with depression.

The major health properties of this herb are sedative, analgesic, and antispasmodic in action.

The main active ingredients in the California poppy are alkaloids such as chelirubine, sanguinarine, and macarpine. There are other alkaloids present, although they minor by comparison. This herb has a natural and gentle effect on the human body.  And don’t worry – while the California poppy herb contains some alkaloids that act as sedatives, it does not contain any opium and is only distantly related to the opium poppy. Further, California Chill Organic Herbal Tincture is made with a non-narcotic natural sedative that is non-addictive and not habit forming

When it’s made as a tincture, such as Ready Nutrition’s California Chill, the California poppy herb is also widely used for its antimicrobial properties when applied externally to cuts and scrapes and other inflammatory skin ailments.

Herbal tinctures are incredibly easy to use too! Simply take one or two dropper fulls every four to six hours, or take as needed. Drop desired amount into warm water, tea, or your favorite beverage.

The California poppy and Ready Nutrition’s California Chill are fairly safe to use. The plant itself is also considered child safe and based on normal intake levels there are no known side effects from using this herb in either powder form or a tincture. However, the use of the California poppy is not recommended for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

 

*This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, cure, or diagnose any disease or ailment. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate the creation or use of herbal tinctures. A person should speak to their doctor before using a tincture or any other herbal supplement, especially if they take medications.

 

 

Study Suggests Doctors Prescribe ‘Food as Medicine’

Ready Nutrition - Mon, 04/15/2019 - 05:36

A new study suggests that doctors return to more natural and holistic roots by prescribing healthy foods and an improved diet for some Americans.  Long stuck in a culture where unhealthy diets and chemical-laden foods have become normal, many doctors are now breaking the mold – but it’s good and bad at the same time.

Those doctors who choose to prescribe a healthy diet feel that simply improving the quality of the foods a person eats could save the healthcare industry billions of dollars. Although this is far from a new concept, it is nice to see Western medicine doctors try something new instead of jumping to prescribe the latest and greatest Big Pharma pill loaded with side effects.  These pill prescriptions also come at a time when a patient is already sick while prescribing a healthy diet could prevent major costs down the road.  In an effort to stop a preventable disease before it starts, some researchers and medical professionals are pushing for programs that would let doctors prescribe healthy foods and force insurers to cover those foods. This would inevitably lead to a change in eating habits that could help patients shift to a health-promoting diet from a disease-causing one, the researchers have claimed.

Related article: 19 Foods That Eat the Stress Away

According to Popular Science, these types of healthy eating programs work. Subsidizing fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods under Medicare and Medicaid could prevent millions of cases, as well as the deaths associated from cardiovascular disease, according to a new model. It would prevent hundreds of thousands of diabetes cases, as well, and save billions of dollars in healthcare costs.

“The power of food as medicine is increasingly clear,” said the study’s author Dariush Mozaffarian, dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. The idea of treating food (which is the nourishment we all need to survive) as a key element of healthcare is catching on across the healthcare industry, says Rita Nguyen, Medical Director of Healthy Food Initiatives at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. “People are recognizing the common sense of it all,” she says. “We spend so much on healthcare, and our outcomes are abysmal. We don’t invest in prevention.” And many are now saying a switch to healthier eating habits is all that’s needed to improve your chances of well-being.

Of course, it isn’t nearly as fun to eat a kale salad as it is to chow down on a bacon cheeseburger, but those more health conscious people who make better decisions when it comes to what they eat tend to be healthier and spend less money on medical care overall. They also tend to live longer than their junk food addict friends. But there is one caveat.  The prescription is actually paid for by the taxpayer in the form of food subsidies.

The study team found that subsidizing fruits and vegetables would prevent 1.93 million cardiovascular events, like heart attacks, and 350,000 deaths from the conditions. It could also prevent 620,000 deaths, and 120,000 cases of diabetes. The fruits and vegetables program would save taxpayers nearly $40 billion in healthcare costs, and the addition of other healthy foods would save over $100 billion. Doctors admit that there would be a cost burden, but it would be offset by those on taxpayer-funded healthcare programs becoming much healthier.

“It costs money, but most of that is offset by lower healthcare costs,” Mozaffarian says. “When you look at the cost per year of life saved, all of the interventions were extremely cost-effective.” It’s just as cost-effective, he says, as paying for drugs to prevent high blood pressure. “So many of us want health insurance companies to recognize the value of food,” Nguyen says. “It’s not because we’re ‘bleeding heart liberals.’ It’s based on the science. When you give people food, and healthy food, it saves money.”

But without any kind of nutritional education, the program may be doomed.  Just paying for another person’s vegetables does not mean they will eat them. It could be a cost that won’t pay off in the end. According to Popular Science, however, there are studies underway about the efficacy of a program such as this one. A $6 million study in California is providing “medically tailored” meals to patients. Additionally, the 2018 Farm Bill included $25 million in funding for produce prescription pilot studies. “These ‘food as medicine’ approaches are gaining real traction,” Mozaffarian says. “If pilot studies are implemented and work, there’s a very real chance you could in the near future go to the doctor, a doctor could write a prescription for food, and an insurance company will pay for part.”

Access to healthcare isn’t the main concern for the researchers who conducted this study and it appears that many doctors now seem to be interested in finally treating the actual problem rather than controlling the symptoms of a disease. This is both good and bad.  It could lead to less choice, which is fundamentally vital to human beings mental state, but it could lower the costs of caring for those who are already using government welfare to buy food and see a doctor.

When your health is your problem and the costs of damaging your body are on you and not your neighbor (in the form of welfare like food stamps, Medicaid, and other forms of welfare) you will take care of yourself.  When it doesn’t matter how unhealthy you are because someone else will foot the bill, the system is already designed to fail.  It doesn’t look like that was taken into consideration when conducting this study, and human nature should have been accounted for. Obviously, there are good and bad things about the outcome of the study.

But does the good outweigh the bad?

 

 

Simple Ways To Beat Technology: Don’t Let Your Smartphone Steal Your Health!

Ready Nutrition - Wed, 04/10/2019 - 06:56

We live in the golden age of technology, whether we want to or not.  And because of the need or desire to have a smartphone and keep it on your person at all times, there are things we can to that will boost our “technology health.”

In 2018, 95% of Americans said they owned a cellphone of some kind while a whopping 77% of Americans said they owned a smartphone.  That’s up from just 35% in Pew Research Center’s first survey of smartphone ownership conducted in 2011. Smartphones are used for everything anymore.  They have become our maps and weather sources.  They are a reprieve from our daily lives and a way to stay connected in a world that is both increasingly interconnected and distant at the same time.

But because of this phenomena, our phones can also have an impact on our health and it is rarely for the better. Infectious germs, poor eyesight, eye strain, and muscle strains can all be some of the negative side effects of using a phone for a long period of time.  Often, a complete technology detox is what is needed. But when that won’t due, try these tips for help with common technology health problems

MUSCLE STRAIN

If you find yourself staring at your phone for long periods of time, try to take breaks every 20 or 30 minutes.  This will relieve the neck and shoulder muscles working hard to keep your head bent down. Consider rubbing your own muscles to relieve the tension and stretch out for a few minutes before returning to your phone. Muscle strain can lead to knots and spasms, as well as nerve pain that radiates down the back.  Take caution to keep your head up to provide minimal straining on the neck if you must look at your phone for a long time.  Some people are fine using their phone for hours on end, while others will definitely need to take breaks and soothe their sore muscles.

GERMS

Nasty germs lurk on the surface of smartphones. Most people don’t do anything to clean those infectious organisms off of their screen either! In fact, one study showed that smartphone screens harbor three times more germs than a toilet seat. Yikes! Researchers swabbed different phones to test for aerobic bacteria, yeast an, mold. The findings of the study showed that all areas of the smartphone” harbor at least some quantity of each type of organism.” E. coli was even found on some phones!

More than a third of people (35 %) have never cleaned their smartphones with wipes, a cleaning fluid or a similar product, according to the study done by Insurance2Go, a gadget insurance provider based in Portsmouth, England. Take the time to wipe off your smartphone now!  I know I did as soon as I had written this! With superbugs on the rise, it just makes sense.

EYESIGHT AND EYE STRAIN

Staring at any screen can strain the eyes and lead to poor vision. Scientists and doctors say that blue light is so dangerous because the lens and cornea of the eye cannot block it. Shorter wavelength blue light that is emitted by smartphones, lights, and computer, tablet, and TV screens causes damaging health effects. Exposure to this wavelength of light disrupts circadian rhythms and exposure to blue light after the sun goes down interferes with sleep.  Try wearing blue light glasses if you have to look at your phone (or if you work on a computer for long hours during the day).  I personally picked up some cheap blue light glasses on Amazon because staring at a computer screen for 9+ hours a day was heavily straining my eyes. These ones are inexpensive, yet offer protection from the dangers of the blue light.

Eyesight itself can be damaged too if you look at your smartphone long enough. This is also the fault of the blue light.  It is also one more good reason to protect your eyes with blue light glasses. According to the New York Post, researchers at the University of Toledo, in Ohio, have found that exposure to blue-light promotes the growth of “poisonous molecules” in your eyes, leading to macular degeneration. “It’s no secret that blue light harms our vision by damaging the eye’s retina,” professor and study co-author Ajith Karunarathne said about the study, which was published in the journal Scientific Reports.

TEXTING WHILE DRIVING

I can’t even begin to describe how many times I’ve seen a person driving while typing away on their phone.  Some are in their own lane, while others are completely oblivious to the world around them as they travel at 55 mph down the highway. Texting while driving distracts you from what’s happening on the road and takes your eyes away from what you should be paying attention to. Texting while driving could actually hurt someone else too! It only takes a few seconds of inattention to lead to an accident. In 2015, nearly 3,500 people were killed and approximately 391,000 people were injured in car accidents involving distracted drivers.

Put the phone in your purse and put the purse under your seat or even under the back seat out of your reach. Turn off the sound before getting in your car, or simply shut it off if you are one of those who can be tempted to check your email while behind the wheel of a moving vehicle. Making the phone difficult to get to will help prevent you from being distracted by it, and if you can’t hear it, you will have less of a desire to reach for it.  If you like to listen to the music on your phone while you drive, make sure your playlist is set up before you put the car in gear, and then turn off all notifications.  Limiting your distractions is just one way to keep yourself focused on the task of arriving safely to your destination.  Your family and friends will thank you!

While it seems like not much can be done to limit the use of smartphones, things can be done to mitigate the negative health effects of their use. Let us know your techniques for not allowing your smartphone and other technology to steal your health!

 

Drink To Your Health: 5 Ways Herbal Tea Benefits and Improves Your Health

Ready Nutrition - Tue, 04/09/2019 - 11:19

I was first introduced to herbal teas while visiting my soon-to-be mother-in-law for the first time. It was a blustery winter day and we were all sitting around a table when she kindly offered me a cup of hot herbal tea. It was perfect – warm, sweet, and my body immediately felt the effects. Since then, my family drinks custom-blended herbal teas to boost our immune system, treat an ailment, or to help to relax and fall asleep. No matter what the season, herbal teas are wonderous – and in this case, Momma does know best!

After years of enjoying immune-boosting teas, I found there were teas for other ailments such as for sleep disorders and joint health. This lead me to further research this subject and drinking herbal teas for health is as old as time and could easily be hailed as the first health drink.

Tea is As Old As Time

Herbal teas date back thousands of years to ancient Egypt and China, where they would drink teas for its health promoting abilities. Egyptians, especially, would mix their tea with medications – to help the medicine go down. In ancient China, tea was discovered by happenstance when some wild leaves flew into a pot of boiling water.

According to legend, in 2732 B.C. Emperor Shen Nung discovered tea when leaves from a wild tree blew into his pot of boiling water. He was immediately interested in the pleasant scent of the resulting brew and drank some. Legend says the Emperor described a warm feeling as he drank the intriguing brew as if the liquid was investigating every part of his body.

Now, Eastern wisdom has taught the world of the health-promoting benefits tea have to boost health, assist in body functions, prevent chronic diseases before they become problematic, and are especially proactive in combating ailments such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Other common health benefits from drinking herbal tea include relaxation, anti-aging properties, pain reduction, weight loss, improvement in complexion, and the improvement of body systems (such as the digestive and immune system). It’s no wonder so many are turning to herbal tea infusions as a natural health booster.

Here are the top health benefits and the herbal teas that you should consume to get them.

Drinking Tea Daily is Natural Health Booster
  1. Teas is the ultimate health drink and fights chronic diseases. If you’re looking for an all-around health drink, look no further than herbal tea. Due to the polyphenols present in tea, studies have shown a result in a lower likelihood of cancer. Studies point to the polyphenols, flavonoids, and tannins that are present in herbal teas as the reasons for positive health benefits. Polyphenols work to widen the arteries, which can lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol levels and prevent blood clots.
  2. Herbal teas naturally clean and protect teeth. Infused herbal teas are a way to promote good dental health as it does not erode tooth enamel. Green tea. especially contains polyphenol antioxidant plant compounds that reduce plaque and help reduce cavities and gum disease. Tea may help reduce bad breath as well. “Japanese researchers have found that tea can decrease tooth loss,” Ardine said. “It changes the pH in your mouth when you drink it and that may be what prevents cavities.” Further, rinses can be made by preparing an herbal infused tea in the usual way, or by simply stirring herb powder into water. Hold the rinse in the mouth for a few seconds or up to several minutes, gargle, and spit out. A holistic mouth wash can be made of green tea, or the following herbs: cloves, cinnamon, peppermint, or echinacea. Brew a strong tea and place it in the refrigerator for up to a week and use as a mouthwash.
  3. Flavorfully hydrates the body. The warm water helps the body absorb the phytonutrients and healing abilities, as well as, providing hydration to the body. Because of the high presence of antioxidants in herbal teas, it works to eliminate free radicals throughout the body and prevent oxidative stress. his is especially good for those who are actively trying to detox their body. In a UK study by the Tea Advisory Board, hydration levels were compared in 21 individuals who drank four mugs of tea to those who drank the same amount of water and found remarkable results. The findings were that “drinking four to six mugs of tea a day is as good for keeping you hydrated as a liter of water.” In a separate article, one doctor notes, ” Drinking tea is actually better for you than drinking water. Water is essentially replacing fluid. Tea replaces fluids and contains antioxidants so it’s got two things going for it.”
  4.  Tea is beneficial for your digestive system because it can absorb gas, improve blood flow to the entire digestive tract and eliminate free radicals that can cause an upset stomach and indigestion. Herbal teas have phenols that can strengthen both stomach muscles and the muscles in your esophagus, which can reduce acid reflux and heartburn symptoms. Teas also enable your digestive tract to more easily absorb nutrients. (reword)
  5. Relax and unwind. There’s a psychology to drinking to tea where people often feel it’s relaxing properties. As one article explains, the combination of warmth, aroma, and health properties boost mental and physical states of the body and there is science to back it up.

Tea has been around for generations and many of us are starting to see the ways it enhances our lives. If there is an improvement you want to make for your health, there is undoubtedly a tea to help. Drinking herbal teas will not only help to improve your health, but it can also be a healthier choice compared to sugar-ridden drinks like soda and coffee runs. Make the choice to commit to a healthier you and start with drinking one cup of herbal tea a day.

Great tasting teas with amazing health benefits

Try our Ready Nutrition Custom Tea Blends and drink to your health!  

 Tummy Tamer Tea

 Throat Soother Tea 

 Immune Booster Tea

Deepest Sleep and Relaxation Tea

 Joint Relief  Tea

 

 

Daily Digest 4/8 - Market Concentration Threatening U.S. Economy, Mysterious Infection Spanning The Globe

Peak Prosperity - Mon, 04/08/2019 - 13:02
  • Market Concentration Is Threatening the US Economy
  • The U.K. stockpiles for a chaotic Brexit that may never happen
  • How A 'No Deal' Brexit Could Lead To The "Lehmanization" Of Europe
  • A Mysterious Infection, Spanning the Globe in a Climate of Secrecy
  • The frightening future of robocalls: Numbers and voices you know
  • The Robocall Crisis Will Never Be Totally Fixed
  • Calling Racism by Its Real Name
  • The Economics Profession Needs New Models
  • Political Economics And The Weimar Disaster
  • Camping Out in Crazy Town
  • What Remains

Join the conversation »

Ted Siedle: The Greatest Retirement Crisis In The History Of The World

Peak Prosperity - Mon, 04/08/2019 - 11:18

"We are on the precipice of the greatest retirement crisis in the history of the world. And that makes perfect sense because, first of all, we have the largest elderly population in the history of the world.

Just focusing on the United States: our elderly are woefully unprepared to retire. And in the decades to come we will witness millions of elderly American's, Baby Boomers and others, slipping into poverty. 'Too frail to work, too poor to retire' will become the new normal for many elderly Americans."

So warns pension fraud whistleblower Ted Siedle.

Join the conversation »

Happiness: What It Is, Why It Is Important, and How to Cultivate More of It

Ready Nutrition - Mon, 04/08/2019 - 05:28

What is happiness?

Ask several people this question (including yourself), and you will likely get a wide variety of answers.

While it plays an important role in our lives, researchers have yet to agree on a definition or framework for happiness because it is hard to define scientifically. In fact, happiness guru Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, recently told Forbes that there are 15 academic definitions of happiness!

Most of us probably don’t think too much about an actual definition for happiness anyway – we know it when we feel it.

However, in the last few decades, researchers have learned a lot about happiness.

Experts have developed several theories about what happiness is.

Researchers in the positive psychology field (the scientific study of what makes life most worth living) use the term happiness interchangeably with “subjective well-being,” according to Greater Good Magazine. This is measured by simply asking people to report how satisfied they feel with their own lives and how much positive and negative emotion they’re experiencing.

The article What is Happiness and Why is It Important? (+ Definition in Psychology) explains that there are many different theories of happiness, but they generally fall into one of two categories based on how they conceptualize happiness (or well-being):

Hedonic happiness/well-being is happiness conceptualized as experiencing more pleasure and less pain; it is composed of an affective component (high positive affect and low negative affect) and a cognitive component (satisfaction with one’s life).

Eudaimonic happiness/well-being conceptualizes happiness as the result of the pursuit and attainment of life purpose, meaning, challenge, and personal growth; happiness is based on reaching one’s full potential and operating at full functioning (AIPC, 2011). (source)

In the book, The How of Happiness, positive psychology researcher Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky describes happiness as “the experience of joy, contentment, or positive well-being, combined with a sense that one’s life is good, meaningful, and worthwhile.”

Happiness International has developed a theory on happiness that is largely based on scientific discoveries about how the brain works and on current happiness theories. It “identifies 9 universal and overlapping human needs which go by the handy acronym WE PROMISE.” The 9 categories “cover the range of human needs in a very general way and are intentionally overlapping, just as our thoughts and feelings overlap in our mind,” the site explains.

WE PROMISE stands for:

Wellbeing – mind-body connections, aspects of your physical body that affect your mood, and vice versa

Environment – external factors like safety, food availability, freedom, weather, beauty, and your home

Pleasure – temporary experiences such as joy, sex, love, and eating

Relationships – as a social species, relationships are at the foundation of what it means to be human

Outlook – how you approach the world through adventurousness, curiosity, and making plans

Meaning – having a purpose and the wisdom to understand it

Involvement – to be happy you have to be engaged and actively involved

Success – confirmation from yourself and others that what you do has value

Elasticity – how you recover from life’s inevitable negative events (source)

There are a few common myths about happiness.

Have you found yourself saying things like “I’ll be happy if I get this promotion” or “When I’m married, I’ll finally be happy?” If so, you may be falling for some happiness myths, as Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky explains in The Pursuit of Happiness: 3 Myths Everyone Should Stop Believing:

Psychological research has revealed two important findings when it comes to these beliefs: Things that we think will make us happy never make us happy for as long as we think they will. Conversely, negative life events and challenges don’t have as enduring an impact on our happiness as we believe they will, either. (source)

In that article, Dr. Lyubomirsky shares three valuable lessons from her book, The Myths of Happiness.

Here’s a summary of each.

Myth #1: I won’t be happy until I get a promotion or land my “dream” job. The excitement of a new job eventually fades, and often, our expectations about the new position or company might be unrealistic. Instead, try to make the most of the job you have – and keep in mind that that dream job you keep fantasizing about might not be so great after all.

Myth #2: I’m going to lead a sad, lonely life because I’m single. If you aren’t happy on your own, why do you believe you will be happy as part of a couple? Sure, it is nice to have someone to share your life with, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be happy while you are waiting for that special someone. Many people remain single – and happy – for their entire lives, so keep that in mind as well. There are many possible sources of happiness in life – meaningful work, volunteering, and hobbies – to name a few. Going solo doesn’t mean happiness has to elude you.

Myth #3: I can’t be happy when… Dr. Lyubomirsky explains why this belief is flawed: “We all have dreams that we’ve harbored since the early years of our lives, but we often have flawed assumptions about whether we can still be happy despite not achieving those dreams. Psychologists argue that to be truly unburdened by regrets involves freeing ourselves from our “lost possible selves”—the neurosurgeon self, the grandparent self, the small-business owner self.” She recommends keeping a journal or making lists of the pros and cons of what happened, what might have happened, and what didn’t happen. Committing yourself to new pursuits will help you leave the past behind you – and will get you excited about future possibilities.

Experiencing happiness provides many benefits.

Happiness is important because it has some undeniably positive benefits. In an article called What’s So Great About Happiness, Anyway? (The Answer: Plenty!), June Silny outlined 14 answers to that question.

She explained that happy people…

Are more successful: Numerous studies show that happy individuals are successful across multiple life domains, including marriage, friendship, income, work performance, and health.

Get sick less often: A study from Carnegie Mellon University found that people who are happy are less likely to catch colds. Depressed, nervous, or angry people are more likely to complain about cold symptoms. The study also found that the happier study participants weren’t infected as often, and experienced fewer symptoms even when they did get sick.

Have more friends: This probably doesn’t surprise you – happy people are more fun to be around. Happy people have more friends because they are stable, giving, and supportive.

Donate more to charity: And, giving money to charity makes you happy, too. Generosity lights up the pleasure and reward regions of the brain. Research shows that it works both ways: giving makes us happier, but happy people also donate more to charity than unhappy people.

Are more helpful: Studies show that happy people are more likely to volunteer, and those who do so tend to become happier. This is yet another indication of the circular relationship between giving and happiness.

Have a positive attitude, which makes life easier: An optimistic outlook makes dealing with pain, sadness, and grief a bit easier. Bad things are a part of life, but you deal with them better when you have a positive outlook. For more on this, please read Stoicism: How This Ancient Philosophy Can Empower You to Improve Your Health and Your Life.

Have a positive influence on others: Just like negative energy, positive energy is contagious. Which would you rather give and receive? If you want someone else to be happy (and in turn, increase your happiness), express your enthusiasm when you greet them.

Enjoy deeper conversations: Negative thinkers engage in gossip. Dr. Matthias Mehl reported in the journal Psychological Science that happier people had twice as many meaningful conversations as unhappy people.

Smile more: Smiling is beneficial to your health. It lowers stress hormones and blood pressure, and may even increase your lifespan. Other studies have found that people who smile frequently are rated higher in generosity, trustworthiness, and extroversion by others.

Exercise more and eat more healthfully: Research shows that when you’re happy, you’re more likely to engage in good habits like exercising more and eating healthfully, which results in greater health and well-being.

Are happy with what they have: The happiest among us know that envying others is a bad use of their time, and if things don’t go their way all the time, that’s okay. When you’re happy, you’re less likely to stress out about wanting more, being jealous of others, or about trying to keep up with the Joneses. Being happy with what you’ve got allows you to concentrate on living your own life to the fullest—to live a life that’s meaningful to you.

Are healthy people: Studies have found that people who are in a more positive state of mind have a good chance of experiencing better health in the future.

Live longer: Happy people have been found to live longer lives than those who are not happy.

Are more productive and creative: Several studies have shown that people are more creative when they’re experiencing positive emotions. Some research suggests a clear link between employee happiness and productivity. Positive emotions appear to invigorate us, while negative emotions have the opposite effect.

How happy are we, anyway?

Unfortunately, according to the World Happiness Report 2019, negative feelings are rising around the world. The United States is particularly hard-hit with an epidemic of addictions. Technology addiction is one serious issue that is interfering with happiness. Screen time is replacing activities that are key to our happiness, like in-person social contact. Forty-five percent of adolescents are online “almost constantly,” and the average high school senior spends six hours a day texting, on social media, or on the Internet.

The report also shows a widening happiness gap, with some people reporting much higher feelings of well-being and others showing much less within each country.

This year’s report also analyzes how global happiness has changed over time, based on data going back to 2005. One unfortunate trend is prominent: Negative feelings – worry, sadness, and anger – have been increasing around the globe, up by 27 percent from 2010 to 2018. “We are in an era of rising tensions and negative emotions,” wrote economist and report editor Jeffrey D. Sachs. “These findings point to underlying challenges that need to be addressed.”

In the article, World Happiness Report Finds That People Are Feeling Worse, Kira M. Newman says “The report also features commentary and analysis from economists, psychologists, and public policy experts about urgent issues in well-being, and one theme this year is the ‘sad state of happiness in the United States.'”

Research suggests that American adults have been getting less happy since 2000, while adolescents have been experiencing more depression, suicidal ideation, and self-harm since 2010. It’s difficult to say why this is happening, and to tease out symptoms from causes. Some researchers blame rising income inequality; others blame political polarization. (source)

Research suggests that some portion of our happiness is influenced by our genetics, but the amount varies from about 10% up to 50%.

All of this might seem a bit discouraging, but the good news is that you CAN do things that will help you lead a happier life.

11 things you can do to increase your happiness.
  • Discover your strengths – and use them. Research shows that people who identify their strengths and use them in daily life are happier overall. If you aren’t sure what your strengths are, try taking an assessment like this one: Character Strengths Survey
  • Build healthy relationships. Research consistently shows that social connections are key to happiness. Close relationships and support from others also matter a great deal.
  • Practice savoring.  This is the art of maintaining and deepening positive feelings by becoming more aware of them. “Research suggests that our ability to savor impacts how much of a mood boost we get from happy events,” explains Greater Good Magazine. For more on savoring, see 10 Steps to Savoring the Good Things in Life.
  • Be forgiving. Studies show that forgiving people helps us feel better about ourselves, experience more positive emotions, and feel closer to others.
  • Express gratitude. Every morning when you wake up, and every evening before you go to sleep, think of at least one thing you are grateful for. Keeping a gratitude journal can also help you learn to recognize and appreciate all the little (and not so little) things that matter.
  • Be kind to others. In his book, Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being, Martin Seligman explains that helping others can improve our own lives: “…we scientists have found that doing a kindness produces the single most reliable momentary increase in well-being of any exercise we have tested.” And, research has revealed that people report greater happiness when they spend money on others than when they spend it on themselves. And, neuroscience research shows that when we do nice things for others, our brains light up in areas associated with pleasure and reward.
  • Get moving. Studies consistently show that physical activity does wonders for mental health and has profound positive impacts on happiness and overall well-being. Even a few minutes a day can help – some is better than none, so do what you can. You don’t need fancy equipment or a gym membership. Schedule time to walk every day, if you can. For more on how to build a regular walking routine, please see Why You Should Walk 10,000 Steps Per Day, and How to Do It.
  • Spend time outside. “Being connected to nature and feeling happy are, in fact, connected,” reported a 2014 study. Time spent in nature reduces stress and boosts your mood.
  • Get adequate sleep. How can you expect to be happy if you are sleep-deprived? Research has consistently linked lower sleep to less happiness. A study led by Nobel Prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman that involved more than 900 women found that getting just one more hour of sleep each night might have a greater effect on happiness than a $60,000 raise. For a list of things you can do to naturally improve the quality and quantity of your sleep, please see Six (More) Reasons to Get Better Quality Sleep.
  • Be mindful about spending. How you spend money matters a great deal, according to Greater Good Magazine:

Spend money in the right ways by buying social experiences, giving to others, and expressing your identity.

But don’t focus on material wealth: After our basic needs our met, research suggestsmore money doesn’t bring us more happiness—in fact, a study by Kahneman found that Americans’ happiness rose with their income only until they’d made roughly $75,000; after that, their happiness plateaued. And research by Richard Easterlin has found that in the long run, countries don’t become happier as they become wealthier. Perhaps that’s why, in general, people who prioritize material things over other values are much less happy, and comparing ourselves with people who have more is a particular source of unhappiness. It also suggests why more egalitarian countries consistently rank among the happiest in the world. (source)

Stoicism is an eudaimonic philosophy. Eudaimonia is a term that means a life worth living, often translated as “happiness” in the broad sense, or more appropriately, flourishing.

It teaches us to embrace problems, accept them, prepare to challenge them, and take action to overcome them.

Stoicism is a vibrant, action-oriented, paradigm-shifting way of living. It is an ideal philosophy for those seeking the Good Life.

Want to learn more about creating a happier life? Take this free course from Greater Good Magazine: The Science of Happiness

What makes YOU happy?

Do you have any tips or tricks for increasing happiness? Please feel free to share your ideas and thoughts in the comments.

Be well!

 

 

Daily Digest 4/6 - U.S. Had Most Q1 Layoffs In A Decade, Climate Findings Should Inspire 'Naked Fear'

Peak Prosperity - Sat, 04/06/2019 - 10:57
  • The U.S. just had the most Q1 layoffs in a decade
  • Put a Cork in It: Drinking a Bottle of Wine Per Week Is as Bad as Smoking 10 Cigarettes, Researchers Say
  • Y2K19? There's a chance your GPS system could go haywire this weekend
  • When Putin's around, GPS goes haywire, study finds
  • Record numbers of Australia's wildlife species face 'imminent extinction' 
  • The Great Barrier Reef Was Seen as ‘Too Big to Fail.’ A Study Suggests It Isn’t. 
  • 'Findings Should Inspire Naked Fear': Canada Warming at Twice the Global Rate
  • Parents around the world mobilise behind youth climate strikes

Join the conversation »

DIY: How To Make Your Own Protein Bars With Only 4 Ingredients

Ready Nutrition - Sat, 04/06/2019 - 07:20

Protein bars have long been a popular source of the macronutrient, especially for athletes and those who tend to be more physically fit.  But the truth is, protein bars are for everyone and will benefit all regardless of the type of lifestyle you are living.  Because of that, we’ve found a wonderful and easy recipe for protein bars that you can make in your own home using only four ingredients!

Control the Quality of Your Healthy Snacks By Making Your Own

Many of the protein bars on the market today contain some obscure and downright disgusting ingredients, such as high fructose corn syrup. As well, some of the grains used in making health food bars may be genetically-modified. Not only that, but the store bought protein bars are often exorbitantly priced, making the little nutrition they do offer not really worth the high price tag. But you can get around all of this by making your own protein bars. Your body and your wallet will thank you!

The first thing you’ll want to do if you’ve decided to make your own protein bars is select the best quality protein powder.  Most protein bars will contain a protein powder and nuts which contain essential amino acids. Amino acids are necessary to replenish, especially if you live a more energetic lifestyle. According to Ready Nutrition, there are 8 essential amino acids and these are critical for our upkeep, and they must be obtained from our food.  An amino acid is a simple organic compound containing both a carboxyl (—COOH) and an amino (—NH2) group. A protein powder may or may not (or may partially) provide these amino acids.  Of particular importance are BCAA’s(Branched-Chain Amino Acids), such as L-Isoleucine, L-Leucine, and L-Valine.  These guys are very important for tissue repair.

There are many types of protein powders that are not specifically designed to replace the amino acids you need.  EAS manufactures a protein powder that is nonspecific such as this: you’re getting protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals, however, there are four that Ready Nutrition can recommend.

Those protein powders are:

The last one listed will be of interest to those who want raw organic vegetable proteins.  It’s expensive, but may the best choice on the list.

You could also consider adding a fifth ingredient to your protein bars, such as nuts and seeds, to really ramp up the nutritional benefits.  If you haven’t experimented much with seeds, consider it!

Chia seeds are one of nature’s most perfect superfoods. Sure, they get stuck in your teeth if eaten dry and can become quite slimy when soaked in liquid, but they have very little to no flavor, so if used in a recipe or as a topping, you’ll hardly notice that you’re eating them. Once you frequently start consuming chia seeds, you will quickly notice benefits such as increased energy and digestive regularity. Being an incredible source of fiber, a single ounce of chia seeds has nearly half of the daily recommended requirement of fiber. They have more iron than spinach, more potassium than bananas, and more antioxidant strength than blueberries

Next, are a personal favorite of mine.  I rarely have a salad without hemp seeds anymore! These nutritious and healing seeds are starting to be a favorite among vegans and health fanatics, and are often added to smoothies, cereals, oatmeal, and on top of salads. Hemp seeds can also be blended with water to make a nice milk substitute, which is a perfect option for people who have nut and soy allergies, although the flavor of hemp milk is less sweet than raw almond milk or cow’s milk.

Quinoa is also an excellent addition to a protein bar. Quinoa (pronounced keen’-wah) is a high-protein grain that the Incas held sacred, calling it the “mother of all grains.”  This ancient grain has had a recent resurgence in popularity because of its excellent nutritional profile, easy preparation, and versatile nutty taste. As Ready Nutrition reported, quinoa is technically a seed rather than a grain, quinoa is made up of 18% protein, supplying 8 grams per cup. It is a complete protein, supplying all necessary amino acids. The superfood is high in fiber, calcium, iron, and phosphorus, as well as a good source of riboflavin, thiamine, and niacin.  It’s generally referred to as a grain because of the way it is prepared and used in the diet.

For even more ideas on seeds that can be added and the nutritional punch, they could give your protein bars, read 7 Super Seeds That Will Change Your Life.

How To Make Your Own Protein Bars

Once you’ve decided on a protein powder that will work for you and you’ve figured out if you are adding seeds or nuts to your bars, it’s time to get started! You’ll need:

  • 2 cups oats
  • 1-2 scoops Protein powder
  • 5 tablespoons your favorite nut butter 
  • ½ cup powdered milk or 1/2 cup of water (if you plan on consuming these in the future)
  • Optional: add dark chocolate chips, nuts, or seed, or any of your favorite healthy snacks to play around with the flavor and texture! You can even go the extra step and dehydrate your own berries or fruits to add for an even tastier treat.



Remember, if you are not going to be consuming your protein bars right away, it is best to make them using water, which will not spoil like milk. You could also consider adding honey to these for an extra kick of sweetness if you enjoy your protein bars on them sweeter side. But honey also has some amazing health benefits as well! Honey actually fights against bacteria such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Staphylococcus aureus. The latter is the most common bacteria found in the human nasal passages and nose. For the best results, honey should be purchased and consumed as raw as possible, and the darker the better.  Dark honey contains more antioxidants, and it is much more effective at fighting microorganisms and bacteria.

So why not grab some protein powder, and try making your own homemade and healthy protein bars today?

 

 

Breaking Free

Peak Prosperity - Fri, 04/05/2019 - 19:37
Executive Summary
  • The importance of continuous learning and clarifying your Why?
  • Why personal integrity is your most valuable asset
  • Why our current challenges are actually a call to greatness
  • The key question is: How will you choose to answer it?

If you have not yet read Part 1: The Lab Rat That Survives Is The One Who Escapes Its Cage, available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

There’s a generational breakdown occurring with increasing numbers of young people -- let’s define them as the under-30 crowd -- falling into despair, dismay and even outright demoralization over the state of the world.  Put bluntly, many of them see nothing to gain by preserving the status quo.

Conversely, the over 50 crowd has already paid into the system and desperately wants to preserve the status quo.  That’s where their retirement dreams exist.  With their finger now on the brass ring, it’s simply unthinkable to ponder that it could slip out of their grasp.

This demographic divide, between those with nothing to gain and those with everything to lose, grows wider every day.

Here’s a very typical comment from a Millennial that I ran across just this morning (4/5/19).  It’s a very common refrain these days:

(Source)

There’s not much I can add to that besides to say, “You’re right!”  And, “Sorry.”

The very worst of it all is that the system into which the young are born ask them to perpetuate that same system by getting good grades, going into college student debt, and then working extra hard as tax donkeys and debt slaves for the rest of their lives.

As the above Millennial pointed out, it’s working in those (often pointless) jobs that is destroying the planet.  Might as well inject oneself daily with a cumulatively fatal poison.

The promises of the generations before them ring hollow.  The pension shave all been raided and hollowed out.  Forced payments into Medicare and Social Security are never going to be returned in kind and are merely last-ditch payments to provide some measure of cover for the boomers relying on them.  Embarrassingly poor infrastructure and massive piles of debt and underfunded liabilities are the true economic bequeathments of the prior generations to the next.

From Stephen Jenkinson we learned that every older person needs to be ready for the day when a younger person walks up to them and asks them two questions. “When did you know?”  and “What did you do about it?”

For a disturbingly large number of olders (not elders) the answer is “Know about what?” because they are too deeply stuck in the current narrative to even notice the damage being done, let alone mount an intelligent, thoughtful response to it all.

For the rest of us, we have to begin plotting our own path to breaking free from a self-destructive paradigm.

To start on that path, first you must...  (Please enroll to read more)

Join the conversation »

The Lab Rat That Survives Is The One Who Escapes

Peak Prosperity - Fri, 04/05/2019 - 19:37

If you're feeling like a lab rat in some macabre science experiment, manipulated by shadowy forces for unknown purposes, that’s because you're waking up to the reality of the situation.

We are a nation of lab rats.

Join the conversation »

The Lab Rat That Survives Is The One Who Escapes Its Cage

Peak Prosperity - Fri, 04/05/2019 - 19:37

If you're feeling like a lab rat in some macabre science experiment, manipulated by shadowy forces for unknown purposes, that’s because you're waking up to the reality of the situation.

We are a nation of lab rats.

Join the conversation »

Off The Cuff: Twilight In The Desert Has Begun

Peak Prosperity - Fri, 04/05/2019 - 12:16

In this week's Off The Cuff podcast, Chris and Art Berman discuss:

  • Is the Ghawar oil field truly in decline?
  • If so, what are the implications?
  • What other important revelations does the Saudi Aramco prospectus contain?

In the light of the huge surprise contained in the recent Saudi Aramco prospectus, that Saudi Arabia's massive Ghawar "crown jewel" conventional oil field is in decline (currently at a maximum output of 3.8 million barrels per day vs the previous estimate of 5.8mbd), we rushed to interview seasoned petroleum geologist Art Berman on the news.

Is he as concerned about the revelation as we are?

Yes. In fact, he suspects the 3.8mbd is likely still an overly-exagerrated figure, and that the field's true max output is even lower.

In his estimation, the fiction the world has been telling itself -- that Peak Oil isn't real -- is about to be rudely disproven. The recent (and much more expensive) shale bonanza will prove to be a short-lived distraction, and we'll soon be face-to-face with the predicament of how to power the global economy with less net energy.

Click to listen to a sample of this Off the Cuff Podcast or Enroll today to access the full audio as well as all of PeakProsperity.com's other premium content.

Join the conversation »

Daily Digest 4/5 - Good News Friday: PR's Green New Deal, Priceless Records Of Old New York

Peak Prosperity - Fri, 04/05/2019 - 09:57
  • The House just passed a bill to close the gender pay gap
  • VIDEO: Victoria’s Fairfield neighbourhood installs bench full of emergency supplies
  • Lamont: tolls, marijuana, paid leave and $15 will pass
  • Stop Asking Kids What They Want to Be When They Grow Up
  • Do animals hold the key to the global organ shortage?
  • Spared From the Shredder (for Now): ‘Priceless’ Bank Records of Old New York
  • Puerto Rico's Green New Deal
  • Federal judge overrules Trump order, restores Obama-era drilling ban in Arctic 

Join the conversation »

Lemon Balm: The Natural Benefits, Remedies, And Uses

Ready Nutrition - Fri, 04/05/2019 - 06:41

Lemon balm or Melissa officinalis is a popular herb in the mint family. It is often used in holistic medicines, herbal teas, and grown by those who take a more natural approach to their health and well being.

While just the scent of lemon balm alone is a wonderful aromatic journey for our olfactory sense, the health benefits are the icing on the proverbial cake. Speaking of cake, lemon balm is often used in cooking and herbal tea recipes. The lemon-scented herb can also be found in the form of an extract, salve, tincture, or oil.  Many who use herbal medicines actually grow lemon balm in their yard. It isn’t too difficult to grow indoors either for those who live in cooler climates, like myself!

Lemon balm has several benefits that could aid the body. Although the herb has been used as a natural remedy for quite some time now, there are some fairly recent scientific studies that have looked into its possible health benefits.

Stress, Anxiety, and Sleep Disorders

Lemon balm may be used to help reduce anxiety, according to a small 2014 study published in Nutrients. Additionally, previous studies have suggested that a compound in lemon balm known as rosmarinic acid may have anti-anxiety effects by increasing the availability of GABA (a signaling chemical) in the brain. Because of the presence of rosmarinic acid, lemon balm helps calm the mind, thereby promoting sleep and alleviating some stress. Lemon balm may have an effect on sleep when combined with the herb valerian.

A study published in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice in 2013 suggests that lemon balm in combination with valerian may help improve sleep quality during menopause. The researchers who conducted the study observed that the lemon balm/valerian supplement appeared to have a beneficial effect in reducing the symptoms of sleep disorders.

Heart Palpitations

For benign heart palpitations, some holistic and natural doctors suggest the use of lemon balm instead of pharmaceutical medications. According to Dr. Tori Hudson, many of the heart palpitations are not only benign but are caused by stress or anxiety or too much caffeine.  In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study, lemon balm helped reduce the episodes of heart palpitations. After only 2 weeks of treatment, lemon balm extract at 500 mg twice daily significantly decreased the frequency of episodes of benign heart palpitations and anxiety. While this was a small study of short duration, clinical results within 2 weeks are what Dr. Hudson would be looking for in a patient with heart palpitations, and anxiety.

“I look forward to using lemon balm even more, for heart palpitations that in particular seem to be associated with anxiety disorders.” –Dr. Tori Hudson, website

Cold Sores

Because lemon balm has been shown to possess some antiviral properties, the herbal extract has been found to fight against the herpes simplex virus (HSV), the virus responsible for cold sores in laboratory studies. A study published in Phytotherapy Research found that lemon balm extract inhibited the penetration of the herpes simplex virus type 1 (the virus that causes cold sores) into cells. Lemon balm is typically applied topically in oil, salve, cream, ointment, or lip balm form for cold sore alleviation, as opposed to drinking in a tea or used aromatically, for example.

Side Effects

Just like with most herbal remedies/supplements and pharmaceutical options, there are some side effects that you’ll need to be aware of before you begin using lemon balm as holistic medicine. Those side effects can include headache, nausea, bloating, gas, vomiting, indigestion, dizziness, stomach pain, painful urination, anxiety, agitation, and allergic reactions. Long-term, regular, or high-dose use of lemon balm isn’t recommended as there’s some concern that discontinuing use can trigger rebound anxiety in some people. Lemon balm can also prove to be a powerful sedative, meaning it should be used before bed, as opposed to right before your drive to work. The herb may interact with supplements and medications, such as sedatives, thyroid medication, chemotherapy (like tamoxifen and irinotecan), warfarin, glaucoma medication, and drugs that affect serotonin and GABA. Lemon balm should not be used with alcohol.

Lemon Balm Tea

You can make your own lemon balm tea, however, if you want something tasty and already premade for you, try Ready Nutrition’s Deepest Sleep loose tea blend. For those “do-it-yourselfers” who are already growing lemon balm, try making your own tea blend.

A simple lemon balm tea recipe begins by snipping a few fresh lemon balm leaves. Rinse them well, and pat the leaves dry. Cut or tear the leaves into smaller pieces and put them into a tea infuser. Pour hot water in and infuse the leaves for about five minutes. Consider adding some mint, as the flavors will compliment each other if you’d like. When brewing your lemon balm tea, make sure to keep the teapot or cup covered at all times in order to hold in the steam, which is thought to contain the herb’s therapeutic aromatic oils.

Lemon Balm Salve

If you would like to try to make a lemon balm salve, HerbaZest has an excellent and fairly easy recipe that you can follow by clicking here. All you will need are a few dried lemon balm leaves, a container, beeswax, and some coconut oil or olive oil, depending on the consistency you prefer.

*This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, cure, or diagnose any disease or ailment.  Seek professional advice if necessary.

 

Daily Digest 4/4 - Cholera Spreading In Mozambique, Unhealthy Diets Kill More People Than Tobacco

Peak Prosperity - Thu, 04/04/2019 - 10:41
  • House committee passes bill to upgrade 401(k) plans amid 'retirement income crisis'
  • At our current pace it'll take 80 years to repair all the structurally deficient bridges in the US, a report finds
  • Cholera is spreading in Mozambique in the wake of Cyclone Idai
  • Unhealthy diets now kill more people than tobacco and high blood pressure, study finds
  • Old, Online, And Fed On Lies: How An Aging Population Will Reshape The Internet
  • After 70% Crash in Stocks, Some Frack-Sand Miners Are Desperate
  • Oil Prices Spike On Shale Slowdown
  • Climate change: 'Magic bullet' carbon solution takes big step

Join the conversation »

Fun With Numbers

Peak Prosperity - Wed, 04/03/2019 - 19:45

If you've not been watching our Real Estate investing webinar series, you're missing out on a wealth of learning.

Our last episode, Episode #3, received rave reviews. It was a 2-hour romp through the math involved in valuing real estate property. Russell Gray does an excellent job de-mystifying the numbers for newbies and the math-phobic, walking through the calculations and showing how virtually anyone can derive empirical answers to questions like:

  • What's a fair value for this property? Is it under/overvalued?
  • What's my expected return if I purchase this property?
  • What are the investments can I make that will have the biggest impact on increasing my equity? Or my income?

Don't forget to register for our upcoming Episode #4, in which Russ will build on his earlier material, explaining how to secure capital for investment property, how leverage can be used (prudently, not recklessly) to increase your returns, and what tax implications (and often benefits) to expect.

Join the conversation »

Valuing & Financing Real Estate

Peak Prosperity - Wed, 04/03/2019 - 19:45

If you've not been watching our Real Estate investing webinar series, you're missing out on a wealth of learning.

Our last episode, Episode #3, received rave reviews. It was a 2-hour romp through the math involved in valuing real estate property. Russell Gray does an excellent job de-mystifying the numbers for newbies and the math-phobic, walking through the calculations and showing how virtually anyone can derive empirical answers to questions like:

  • What's a fair value for this property? Is it under/overvalued?
  • What's my expected return if I purchase this property?
  • What are the investments can I make that will have the biggest impact on increasing my equity? Or my income?

Don't forget to register for our upcoming Episode #4, in which Russ will build on his earlier material, explaining how to secure capital for investment property, how leverage can be used (prudently, not recklessly) to increase your returns, and what tax implications (and often benefits) to expect.

Join the conversation »

How Agrihoods Could Change the Way We Think of Urban Developments

Ready Nutrition - Wed, 04/03/2019 - 15:51

How would you like to live in a neighborhood that has a working farm, ample green space, community gardens, edible landscaping, and rows of fruit trees?

Agricultural neighborhoods – called “agrihoods” for short –  are housing developments that are centered around farming. The rising popularity of farmers’ markets, community-supported agriculture (CSA), buying local, and sustainability have led people to seek out communities that support those interests. Green spaces are a feature of agrihoods.

Agrihoods include gardens that can provide food, employment, education, and socialization for the community.

In the article Growing Agrihoods: The Next Frontier in Urban Revitalization, Julia Travers explains that the definition of agrihood is evolving:

The size, geography, and socioeconomic culture of agrihoods vary; they can be found in rural, suburban, and urban spaces, using diverse locations including housing built around existing farms or built into repurposed unused commercial or industrial spaces. The term “agrihood” itself is still fluid. “It hasn’t been well defined yet,” said Daron Joffe, a veteran farmer who has worked on a number of agrihoods and farm-centric communities in the U.S. “To me, an agrihood is a working farm that’s really connected to the residents, the local community outside the neighborhood, and connected to the larger region and foodshed.”

And while the definition is changing and growing, a report by the Urban Land Institute notes that agrihoods are “master planned or residential communities built with a working farm as a focus.” Rancho Mission Viejo, a housing developer and longtime ranching family in southern California, has even trademarked the term “agrihood” and applied it to their new Esencia development.

An agrihood in Michigan is credited with being the first in the country.

The first sustainable urban agrihood in the US was created by the Michigan Urban Farming Initiative in Detroit’s lower North End. The “alternative neighborhood growth model” established a two-acre farm, fruit tree orchard, and children’s sensory garden, reports Neighborhoods.com:

“Over the last four years, we’ve grown from an urban garden that provides fresh produce for our residents to a diverse, agricultural campus that has helped sustain the neighborhood, attracted new residents and area investment,” Tyson Gersh, president and co-founder of the MUFI, said in a 2016 press release.

Annually, this agrihood provides fresh, free produce to roughly 2,000 households within two square miles, giving the residents a strong connection to the sourcing and handling of their own food.

Agrihoods are increasing in popularity in the US.

There are more than 200 agrihoods in the US so far, and more are in development. The trend “appeals to consumers who want a slice of country life – big gardens, nature, and outdoor recreation – near urban centers”, according to a recent report from the Des Moines Register:

“The problem with suburban neighborhoods is that to get to anything other than more houses, you have to drive,” said Adam Mekies, associate at Design Workshop in Aspen, Colorado, an architectural firm that’s designed several agrihoods.

“Instead of pushing agriculture farther and farther from town, how do you bring it back in?” Mekies said.

Steve Bruere, a partner in Diligent Development, is planning to build an agrihood on 400 acres near Cumming, Iowa. He told the Register his project would include an organic vegetable farm, vineyard, orchard, and residential gardens which would anchor a massive home, condo, apartment, and retail development.

There are challenges associated with building and maintaining agrihoods, but the payoff is enormous.

Agrihoods are not an easy thing to do – they are “not business as usual,” Joffe told the Register. Typically, the developer helps set up the farm, including providing the land, greenhouses, and tractor. The farm needs the startup assistance to be self-sustaining, whether as a nonprofit or a private operation, he explained.

It is important that farming ties the community together, both physically and through programs such as cooking and gardening classes, Joffe added.

Andy Smith, president of Freehold Communities Southeast Division, told Neighborhoods.com that while agrihoods do face obstacles, they provide many benefits that make them worthwhile:

“The biggest challenge is sustainability. Most agrihoods are set up as a membership fee to use the facility and share in the crops.

In addition to health benefits, they [agrihoods] offer the ability to understand the process of farming from seed-to-table. We’ve found that this also serves as a valuable education program for children who can learn to eat what they grow and understand the real source of fruits and vegetables.”

Here are some of the benefits agrihoods provide.

Having access to produce that was grown right in your neighborhood greatly increases your food’s freshness and nutritional quality. Farm-to-table food doesn’t travel thousands of miles, losing freshness along the way.

In low-income areas, agrihoods can make access much easier for residents.

Community gardens have been shown to directly contribute to reductions in chronic disease and depression, especially when residents are involved in gardening.

The number of food hubs – local centers that connect farmers to food-using businesses and
support local food production and distribution – increased 770 percent between 2000 and 2016.

Local foods are often produced using organic methods, which can be better for health and the environment.

Farms bring people together – they create a closer, healthier community.

What do you think about the agrihood concept?

Are there any agrihoods in your area? Would you like to live in a community like this? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Be well!

 

Daily Digest 4/3 - 'Fear' And Health Care, Global Debt Edged Up In 2018

Peak Prosperity - Wed, 04/03/2019 - 11:45
  • Fewer Illinoisan enroll in Obamacare as costs increase, penalties disappear
  • Health-care costs for retirees climb to $285,000
  • 'Fear' and health care: Gallup survey finds Americans skipped treatment, borrowed $88B to pay for costs
  • Global debt edged up in 2018, debt ratio little changed: IIF
  • Here are three times when the Fed denied the yield curve’s recession warnings, and were wrong
  • Italy’s Recession Set to Extend to Early Months of 2019
  • ECB Doesn’t Know How to Get Out of Negative Rates, AXA's Page Says
  • Raconteur Report: Ebola Update
  • The Biggest Saudi Oil Field Is Fading Faster Than Anyone Guessed
  • As Farmers Retire, They Face Hard Choices About Preserving Their Way Of Life

Join the conversation »

Pages

Subscribe to Suburban Preps aggregator