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Archive for May 16th, 2014

Interesting Information: Importance of Microbial Diversity in Gut Health and Disease

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Interesting Information:  May 16, 2014

Importance of Microbial Diversity in Gut Health and Disease

Mercola posted an important article on the importance of microbial diversity for human health this past week.

Here’s how the article begins:

Our gastrointestinal tract is now considered one of the most complex microbial ecosystems on Earth. You may have a basic awareness that the microbes in your gut affect your digestion. But their influence extends far beyond that to your brain, heart, skin, mood, weight… and the list goes on and on.

Here’s the url:  Importance of Microbial Diversity in Gut Health and Disease.

Did you know that in addition gut flora and fauna, we also carry a load of viruses that work to keep us healthy?

I didn’t.  That’s a new one for me to learn.

And the state of our individual guts has a lot to do with how we respond to cancer.  Or, not–in that if our gut is balanced, our immune system is strong, and we stay healthy.

Here’s another quote:

All these intestinal microflora are part of your immune system and about 80 percent of it originates in your gut. Researchers have discovered that microbes of all kinds play instrumental roles in the functioning of your body. For example, beneficial bacteria, also known as probiotics, have been shown to:

For all of these reasons, and more, I recommend a diet rich in whole, unprocessed foods along with cultured or fermented foods. If, for whatever reason you are not consuming fermented foods at least a few times a week, it’s wise to consider supplementation.

Mercola’s recommendations for promoting gut health:

All of this information should really drive home the point that optimizing your gut flora is of critical importance for disease prevention, including cancer prevention. Reseeding your gut with beneficial bacteria is essential for maintaining proper balance here. As mentioned, beneficial bacteria help keep pathogenic microbes and fungi in check; preventing them from taking over. In light of this, here are my recommendations for optimizing your gut bacteria.

      • Fermented foods are the best route to optimal digestive health, as long as you eat the traditionally made, unpasteurized versions. Healthy choices include lassi (an Indian yoghurt drink, traditionally enjoyed before dinner), fermented grass-fed organic milk such as kefir, various pickled fermentations of cabbage, turnips, eggplant, cucumbers, onions, squash, and carrots, and natto (fermented soy). Some of the beneficial bacteria found in fermented foods are also excellent chelators of heavy metals and pesticides, which will also have a beneficial health effect by reducing your toxic load.
      • Fermented vegetables are an excellent way to supply beneficial bacteria back into our gut. And, unlike some other fermented foods, they tend to be palatable, if not downright delicious, to most people. As an added bonus, they can also a great source of vitamin K2 if you ferment your own using the proper starter culture. We had samples of high-quality, fermented organic vegetables made with our specific starter culture tested, and a typical serving (about two to three ounces) contained not only 10 trillion beneficial bacteria, but it also had 500 mcg of vitamin K2, which we now know is a vital co-nutrient to both vitamin D and calcium. Most high-quality probiotics supplements will only supply you with a fraction of the beneficial bacteria found in such homemade fermented veggies, so it’s your most economical route to optimal gut health as well.
    • Probiotic supplement. Although I’m not a major proponent of taking many supplements (as I believe the majority of your nutrients need to come from food), probiotics is an exception if you don’t eat fermented foods on a regular basis.

In addition to knowing what to add to your diet and lifestyle, it’s equally important to know what to avoid, and these include:

Antibiotics, unless absolutely necessary (and when you do, make sure to reseed your gut with fermented foods and/or a probiotic supplement)

Conventionally-raised meats and other animal products, as CAFO animals are routinely fed low-dose antibiotics, plus genetically engineered grains, which have also been implicated in the destruction of gut flora

Processed foods (as the excessive sugars, along with otherwise “dead” nutrients, feed pathogenic bacteria)

Chlorinated and/or fluoridated water

Antibacterial soap

Agricultural chemicals, glyphosate (Roundup) in particular

Do take a moment and read the entire article.  It’s an important one.


Written by louisaenright

May 16, 2014 at 4:08 pm

Turkey Tracks: Beaver Dam 2014

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Turkey Tracks:  May 16, 2014

Beaver Dam 2014

Camden, Maine


I put up a video of the beaver dam just below my house about a year ago.

Here’s a little video showing how this dam has developed over the past year.  What used to be a stream is now forming into a small pond.


Also, the fall after we moved to Maine in June 2004, I planted a lot of daffodils around the property.  They have done the best in the little postage stamp meadow below my house.  They are naturalizing so nicely.  This year was the best yet.  (Clearly the camera focused on the trees, but you get the idea here anyway.)


Written by louisaenright

May 16, 2014 at 3:43 pm

Turkey Tracks: Quilts For Twins

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Turkey Tracks:  May 12, 2014

Quilts For Twins

First, these two quilts are meant to be loved, dragged around, put on the floor for tummy time, and washed.

AND, both of these quilts are made from what is now a “deep” stash of fabrics–so each has many pieces of fabric that have gone into other family quilts–which forms a lovely linkage I think.  So, those of you who have been recipients of one of my quilts, look to see if some of your fabric has been used in these two baby quilts.



I made “Mister’s Twister” for the boy twin using a “Lil’ Twister” ruler brought home from the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Show in Norfolk, Virginia, I attended last March.

What a fun project!

One starts this project with a grid of 5-inch squares surrounded by a 3-inch border.  One positions the ruler (which is a square with intersecting lines) over the place where the square blocks all four join (or over where a block joins with the border) and then cuts out the template square.  Inside the new square are parts of four adjacent “twisters.”  One sews this first line of blocks together and then proceeds to the next line of intersections and cuts those outs.  As you sew the rows together, the twisters start to emerge.  (I posted an earlier blog on the Lil Twister ruler with links to some cool internet sites.)



Leftover pieces of the grid–which now has big holes in it) can be squared up to use as a border–which you can see I did:


I really like the way the black binding is working with this quilt.

Here’s a picture of the backing:


And a picture of the wild and colorful twisters:


I quilted with a blue thread–free hand large, big curves.

The Lil Twister ruler comes in tiny, tiny and in sizes that use 5-inch blocks and 10-inch blocks.  You can easily order any of these rulers on-line.



The girl twin’s quilt is “Sister’s Critters,” and for it, I chose the brightest of my 2 by 3 1/2-inch squares.



I mixed in squares that had critters other than the focus fabric with its bunnies–along with more bunnies:



I quilted free-hand with a pale green thread (which works on both the back and front), using a big daisy pattern.


Here is a close-up of the bunny focus fabric:


I had enough of this fabric suite left to do the backing:


And I used fabric from Mister’s quilt for the corner blocks:



I had quite a time choosing the binding, but in the end, chose the blue, and I think that works really well, especially with the blue sky that runs around the edge of the quilt.

Here’s a close-up view of some of the big blocks:


So, these quilts go in the mail today, and I will post this blog post when I know the quilts have landed at their new home.

PS:  Heard from the new mamma-to-be any minute now.  The quilts have arrived.

Written by louisaenright

May 16, 2014 at 3:31 pm