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18 Foods to Help Relieve Stress

18 Foods to Help Relieve Stress

If you’re feeling stressed, it’s only natural to seek relief.

While occasional bouts of stress are difficult to avoid, chronic stress can take a serious toll on your physical and emotional health. In fact, it may increase your risk of conditions like heart disease and depression.

Interestingly, certain foods and beverages may have stress-relieving qualities.

Here are 18 stress-relieving foods and beverages to add to your diet.

1. Matcha Powder

This vibrant green tea powder is popular among health enthusiasts because it’s rich in L-theanine, a non-protein amino acid with powerful stress-relieving properties.

Matcha is a better source of this amino acid than other types of green tea, as it’s made from green tea leaves grown in shade. This process increases its content of certain compounds, including L-theanine.

Both human and animal studies show that matcha may reduce stress if its L-theanine content is high enough and its caffeine is low.

For example, in a 15-day study, 36 people ate cookies containing 4.5 grams of matcha powder each day. They experienced significantly reduced activity of the stress marker salivary alpha-amylase, compared with a placebo group.

2. Swiss Chard 

Swiss chard is a leafy green vegetable that’s packed with stress-fighting nutrients.

Just 1 cup (175 grams) of cooked Swiss chard contains 36% of the recommended intake for magnesium, which plays an important role in your body’s stress response.

Low levels of this mineral are associated with conditions like anxiety and panic attacks. Plus, chronic stress may deplete your body’s magnesium stores, making this mineral especially important when you’re stressed.

3. Sweet Potatoes

Eating whole, nutrient-rich carb sources like sweet potatoes may help lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

Although cortisol levels are tightly regulated, chronic stress can lead to cortisol dysfunction, which may cause inflammation, pain, and other adverse effects.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Food and Agroecology: Coping with Future Shocks

Food and Agroecology: Coping with Future Shocks

The food crisis that could follow in the wake of the various lockdowns that were implemented on the back of the coronavirus may have long-lasting consequences. We are already seeing food shortages in the making. In India, for instance, supply chains have been disrupted, farm input systems for the supply of seeds and fertilisers have almost collapsed in some places and crops are not being harvested. Moreover, cultivation has been adversely affected prior to the monsoon and farm incomes are drying up. Farmers closer to major urban centres are faring a bit better due to shorter supply chains.

Veteran rural reporter P Sainath has urged India’s farmers to move away from planting cash crops and to start cultivating food crops, saying that you cannot eat cotton. It’s a good point. For instance, according to a report that appeared on the ruralindiaonline website, in a region of southern Odisha, farmers have been pushed towards a reliance on (illegal) expensive genetically modified herbicide tolerant cotton seeds and have replaced their traditional food crops. Farmers used to sow mixed plots of heirloom seeds, which had been saved from family harvests the previous year and would yield a basket of food crops. They are now dependent on seed vendors, chemical inputs and a volatile international market to make a living and are no longer food secure.

But what is happening in India is a microcosm of global trends. Reliance on commodity monocropping for international markets, long global supply chains and dependency on external inputs for cultivation make the food system vulnerable to shocks, whether resulting from public health scares, oil price spikes (the industrial global food system is heavily fossil-fuel dependent) or conflict. An increasing number of countries are recognising the need to respond by becoming more food self-sufficient, preferably by securing control over their own food and reducing supply chains.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Dirt Cheap: The Best Frugal Gardening Ideas on the Internet

Dirt Cheap: The Best Frugal Gardening Ideas on the Internet

With the price of healthful groceries going no place but up, lots of thrifty folks are starting a garden to save money on their bills this year. But what about the money to start a garden? It can be a very expensive undertaking, especially if you’ve never gardened before in your particular location.

I’ve been researching ways to start my own garden as inexpensively as possible and thought, “HEY!!! I know some other folks who would absolutely love frugal gardening ideas!” So…here they are.

Step One: What Kind of Garden Are You Going to Grow?

Of course, the very first thing to decide is what type of garden will work best for your situation. This will depend a lot on your soil, your climate, your skillset, and what you have easy and inexpensive access to. Following are some articles and books that will help you make your decision.

Pallet Gardens: Simple, Easy, Free

Straw Bale Gardens Complete

Create an Instant Garden with Sheet Mulching

Lasagna Gardening: A New Layering System for Bountiful Gardens: No Digging, No Tilling, No Weeding, No Kidding!

DIY Super Easy Raised Garden Bed for Under $30

How to Build a Raised Garden Bed for $12

For those who aren’t build-y: Big Bag Fabric Raised Beds (I have used these with great success for veggies with shallow roots and as a bonus, you can use them on concrete if you’re gardening on a patio.)

Square Foot Gardening: The Revolutionary Way to Grow More in Less Space

15 Fruits and Veggies You Can Grow in a Bucket Garden

PVC Drip Irrigation System for Your Garden

How to Save BIG on Lumber Supplies for Your Square Foot Garden

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Food Shortages Are Coming: This Is How You’ll Survive

Food Shortages Are Coming: This Is How You’ll Survive

We have all likely seen the reports that food shortages are coming.  This seems to be the one thing that the mainstream media and alternative media can agree upon. If food shortages are coming, there is a way to prepare.

Food Shortages Are Coming: This Is How You’ll Survive

We have all likely seen the reports that food shortages are coming. This seems to be the one thing that the mainstream media and alternative media can agree upon. From the health crisis, we learned that we cannot be fully dependent on stores to have an everlasting supply of food and everyday living items. Furthermore, some states have even banned the purchase of seeds, all but making being self-sufficient “illegal.” But this is still the best way to protect yourself.

If food shortages are coming, there is a way to prepare yourselves so your family can eat healthy foods even when the worst happens. You need to make the effort to become more reliant on yourself for your food regardless of what the media reports. No matter what happens, self-reliance is freedom. This is often seen as difficult in our minds, but it can be done! Any amount of improvement in the are of food self-sufficiency will go far when the grocery store’s shelves start to empty.

Order seeds online. It only takes a small amount of research to figure out what kind of vegetables and/or fruit you can easily grow in your own yard or balcony. Ready Nutrition offers a “garden in a can” which is an excellent way to grab some seeds from the comfort of your own home. With over 5,000 seeds in the can, this is what you get in a Homestead Vegetable Garden-In-A-Can:

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Where’s the Beef? – Not on the Horizon

Where’s the Beef? – Not on the Horizon

The reports continue to come in that there’s a real problem with the U.S. food supply. From McDonald’s reviewing their supply chain for beef to the pleas of ranchers already staring at feeding issues with last year’s poor harvests the signs are there for a major supply dislocation in beef going forward.

Kroger is limiting the amount of beef and pork people can buy. My local Winn-Dixie has had limits on large cuts of pork for the past couple of weeks. Pork loins have been gone for weeks now, so no pork jerky for us, which is a tragedy.

Now Wendy’s, which doesn’t use frozen beef, is reporting more than 20% of their stores are out of beef.

Stephens analyst James Rutherford noted 18% of Wendy’s restaurants were “completely sold out of beef items as of Monday evening,” reported Bloomberg

“By our count 1,043 Wendy’s units were selling zero beef items yesterday evening,” but within the figure, about 128 restaurants were still selling beef chili. Rutherford added that the shortage varies across the country and said some restaurants still have full menus, while states like Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee, Connecticut, and New York are “fully out of fresh beef.” The note also said Wendy’s is “more exposed” to meat shortages because of its reliance on fresh beef compared with its competitors. 

If you subscribe, like I do now, to the idea that this Coronapocalypse is mostly a cover story for the failures of the global financial and political system to usher in a new round of totalitarian control then destroying the most vulnerable, yet important, part of our food supply would be a key strategic goal.

My talk with Patrick Henningsen of 21st Century Wire recently covered the motive, means and opportunity for why this perspective should be our default setting.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Food Shortages Set in Motion by Politicians

Food Shortages Set in Motion by Politicians

COMMENT:  Dear Martin,
it is amazing what your computer is picking in advance. In Germany we now have the French fries crisis. (Reported now by N-TV) Do to the fact, that all restaurants are shut down, the Farmers cannot sell most of their potatoes. So we will see a lot of farmers get in financial troubles. Welcome to the beginning food crisis which Socrates is telling us.
Keep up the fantastic work

REPLY: Absolutely everything is connected. Governments always function linearly and never understand that cycle exists. I got along with Margaret Thatcher because she kept an open mind. This is her address from our World Economic Conference. Here, she admits that governments think in trends, but perhaps they should think in cycles.

Once you see that everything is connected, it becomes so easy to grasp the fact that a single decision will set off a chain reaction that becomes unstoppable. Because politicians think in a linear manner, they do not comprehend the basic principle from physics which applies to everything. Newton’s third law: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

They cannot shut down the economy in the manner that they have done, for the damage to the entire supply chain is tremendous. You already have brick & mortar stores filing for bankruptcy. This is having a profound economic impact that will not simply rebound. The closure of restaurants has wiped out farmers who sold exclusively in bulk to that market – not to local grocery stores. That capacity to produce food has been destroyed by Bill Gates.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Do we need farmfree food?

Do we need farmfree food?

Because of how badly we humans have treated soils and animals and how we destroyed bio-diversity, it is understandable that people are looking for other ways of producing food.  The food tech sector hosts legions of entrepreneurs (mostly with background in the IT sector) seeking venture capital and researchers looking for grants to “disrupt” a sector which they claim is archaic. Most of them are based on the view that farming in general, and livestock farming in particular, is inefficient and wasteful. The environmental journalist George Monbiot writes in an article in the Guardian titled Lab-grown food will soon destroy farming – and save the planet.

“Eating is now a moral minefield, as almost everything we put in our mouths – from beef to avocados, cheese to chocolate, almonds to tortilla chips, salmon to peanut butter – has an insupportable environmental cost. But just as hope appeared to be evaporating, the new technologies I call farmfree food create astonishing possibilities to save both people and planet. Farmfree food will allow us to hand back vast areas of land and sea to nature, permitting rewilding and carbon drawdown on a massive scale.

“One of the promising initiatives mentioned in the article is the Finnish company, Solar foods. It claims that it has found a way to commercially produce hydrogen oxidized bacterial protein from electricity. The technology is actually known since the 1960s and has not taken off because of the prohibitive costs. In a research article, co-written by the founders of Solar Foods as late as 2019, it is concluded, that only the cost of energy required to produce microbial protein is higher than the price of soybeans, even if capital and other operational costs are not taken into account.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

“We’re All Born Hunters” – Americans Turn To Hunting Game Amid Pandemic Food Shortage Fears

“We’re All Born Hunters” – Americans Turn To Hunting Game Amid Pandemic Food Shortage Fears

The slowdown or even the shuttering of meat processing plants due to coronavirus outbreaks has led to meat shortages and soaring food inflation. Supermarket chain Kroger reported Friday that it has put “purchase limits” on ground beef and fresh pork at some of its stores following growing concerns of food supply chain disruptions. We noted last month that meat shortages could be seen at grocery stores across the US in the first half of May. The pandemic and all its chaos have led some Americans to purchase a hunting rifle and venture into the wilderness to hunt big-game to put food on their tables. 

Reuters interviews several Americans and reviews hunting license data on a state level to determine that a growing number of people are hunting food big-game to feed their families during the pandemic.

David Elliot, an emergency manager at Holy Cross Hospital in Taos, New Mexico, said the pandemic had given him the urge to fill his freezer with free-range, super-lean meat that he will obtain through hunting elk. He recently received his elk license and plans to borrow a horse and rifle, and roam the vast plains in Taos, searching for big-game. 

“I understand some people might be driven by like antlers or some sort of glory. I don’t want to do that,” said Elliot. “I want to make sure it’s a clean, humane shot, as much as possible, and get a bunch of food.”

Game and fish agencies in Minnesota to New Mexico have noticed a surge in either hunting license sales, permit applications, or both in the last several months. 

Indiana reported a 28% jump in turkey license sales in the first week of the season that started on April 22, said Marty Benson, a spokesman for the state’s Department of Natural Resource. 

Where to Get Seeds When Online Sources are SOLD OUT

Where to Get Seeds When Online Sources are SOLD OUT

With the current shift in the economy, and with supply lines being interrupted all around the nation, there has been a massive – massive! – spike in the number of people interested in growing a garden this spring.

Hundreds of thousands – possibly millions – of new gardens are springing up across the country. Some are large, some are small, and all are important. Some people are calling them Victory Gardens, others are calling them crisis gardens. Even those living in high-rise apartments are planting “Victory Sills,” pots or glasses of water on their windowsills in which herbs or sprouting vegetables are rooting. Whatever the name, cumulatively, they’ll be an important source of fresh produce.

Normally the renaissance in gardening of all sorts would be nothing but good news. However, the surge of interest from both novice and experienced gardeners is stretching seed companies to the limit.  Many companies have stopped answering the phones and are putting up online pleas for understanding as they try to handle backorders with limited capacity and inventory.

Here are some other places to get seeds.

If you find yourself unable to order seeds online, here are some alternate sources to consider:

  • If you’ve planted non-hybrid seeds in previous years and have saved your seeds for planting this year, congratulations (and be generous with your gardening friends). This is the ultimate way to obtain seeds – by saving your own. Ultimately this is the position in which everyone should be. (Learn more about saving seeds here.)
  • Ask your gardening friends for any surplus seeds they can spare. They may also be able to offer helpful planting advice.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Fuel Shortage in Venezuela Will Lead to Starvation

The Fuel Shortage in Venezuela Will Lead to Starvation

Dear readers, those who already know me are aware I used to write about confirmed facts we all care about as preppers. At this point in my life I hardly can be considered a prepper, though. A survivor? Sure. I’ve been in much better conditions (as I have mentioned earlier in previous articles) than other migrants. Always had a roof and something to eat, and could buy my kiddo a good meal every now and then and even an ice cream, cookies and the occasional chocolate when he asked for it. Maybe I have not eaten a grilled steak every two days, but I haven’t starved. Have I seen myself rationing? Sure. At least I have something to ration. I know I have been a little…disperse. I have realized that facing with a reality you had only had imagined in your worst scenario fantasies, is harder than I thought. That´s why I´ve been trying to recover myself, and getting used to the quite grim possibility of death far away from my homeland.

This said, I received a few audios about a situation that is presenting given the scarcity of gasoline that has already impacted the food supply. The person sending me these materials is reliable, and informed me that indeed that happened.

There’s a fuel shortage in Venezuela

The local majors, governors, and uniforms have confiscated the fuel, and they sell them in dollars, for their own personal profit. This way they are bypassing tax controls, impeding the audit, and pocketing all the money they collect. They are trafficking with the fuel, and this brings along two consequences.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Ignoring US Alarms, Alberta Meat Packers Spawned Canada’s Biggest Outbreak

Ignoring US Alarms, Alberta Meat Packers Spawned Canada’s Biggest Outbreak

As the virus gripped US plants, the union pleaded for a shutdown. They were rebuffed.

Cargill’s High River, Alta. meat-packing plant, shut down due to a deadly outbreak weeks after its union pleaded for a temporary closure and safer working conditions.

Canada’s largest outbreak of COVID-19 swept through two meat-packing plants in southern Alberta two weeks after the provincial government ignored union requests to temporarily close both of the plants.

And it mirrored a series of recent, well-documented hot-zone eruptions in meat plants in the United States.

More than 600 immigrant workers and community members have been infected while the disease has killed at least three people at Cargill’s High River plant and the JBS food plant in Brooks, Alta.

“The real issue here is a moral issue,” charged Thomas Hesse, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 401, which represents workers at the plants. “How do we as a society want to bring food to our tables?”

Rachel Notley, the former premier of Alberta, has called for a full public inquiry.The Tyee is supported by readers like you Join us and grow independent media in Canada

“It is unconscionable that we now have a situation where hundreds of people have contracted a deadly virus,” said Notley, who leads the NDP Official Opposition. “What kind of concerns put the lives of workers so low?” she asked on CBC Radio yesterday.

Alberta’s growing outbreaks follow in the wake of deadly events in the U.S. where meat-packing plants have become COVID-19 incubators.

The U.S. recorded its largest single cluster of cases at a pork-processing facility in Sioux Falls, South Dakota in early April. By the time the Chinese-owned facility closed for two weeks there were nearly 900 cases.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Eight Meatpacking Plants Close In Weeks Across America Stoking Food Shortage Fears

Eight Meatpacking Plants Close In Weeks Across America Stoking Food Shortage Fears

Update (April 23):  Food shortages across the country are coming a lot quicker than anyone has anticipated. A total of eight meatpacking plants have already gone offline in weeks. On Thursday morning, we noted how pork shortages could hit households by the first week of May.

Now we’re starting to learn the dominos are falling, with meatpacking plants shuttering operations across the country because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Tyson Foods Inc. has announced the third plant closure in about a week and the second closure within 24 hours. The latest announcement crossed the wires on Thursday afternoon, specifies how a major beef facility in Pasco, Washington, is shutting down operations because of the virus outbreak, reported Bloomberg.

“We’re working with local health officials to bring the plant back to full operation as soon as we believe it to be safe,” Steve Stouffer, head of Tyson Fresh Meats, said in the company’s statement. 

“Unfortunately, the closure will mean reduced food supplies and presents problems to farmers who have no place to take their livestock. It’s a complicated situation across the supply chain.”

In total, eight major meatpacking plants have closed in the last several weeks. We noted on Thursday morning that a “rash of coronavirus outbreaks at dozens of meatpacking plants across the nation is far more extensive than previously thought.” 

As for the plant in Washington, well, it produces enough beef to feed four million people per day. Just imagine what happens when people who have just lost their jobs experience food shortages, or maybe rapid food inflation. It could be a trigger for social unrest.

* * * 

Update (19:50):  It appears meatpacking facilities in America’s heartland could be the next epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak.

On Wednesday, Tyson Foods announced two closures of meatpacking facilities because of coronavirus related issues.

Here’s the timeline of closures:

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

4 Things I Learned by NOT Going to the Grocery Store for a Month

4 Things I Learned by NOT Going to the Grocery Store for a Month

I just walked into my grocery store for the first time in a month, and it was surreal. First, because I was there without my two kids (ages 5 and 7), so I kept feeling like I was forgetting the most important thing. What is it? Oh yes, the most important thing is shouting:

“Do NOT climb in the freezer bin!” at exactly the right moment.

Not too soon, or they forget that you said it and climb in. Not too late, or you’re explaining muddy footprints on the frozen turkeys to disgruntled grocery employees.

Just kidding, my kids have never climbed in the freezer bin. They’ve gotten a leg up, but I always shout at the right moment. By the time we get to produce, though, I’m frazzled from the rapid oscillation of my eyeballs from list to shelf to list, and I’m not quite as on-the-ball. They have climbed in that giant box of pumpkins.

In addition to the lack of shouting, at my grocery store this week there was a cordon so people could line up to get in. There was a new “maximum occupancy 537 persons” sign on the door. There were empty spaces on some shelves, and a lot less friendliness. Other than that, it was the same old fluorescent-lit cavern I despise.

Before I get to what not going to the store taught me, I should explain why I haven’t been to the store since before my state’s stay-at-home order was issued.

1. I hate shopping, so if there’s any little excuse for not going (such as contagion or it’s a Sunday), I am so not there.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

10 Grocery Items That Disappeared Almost Immediately When an Emergency Was Declared

10 Grocery Items That Disappeared Almost Immediately When an Emergency Was Declared

Planning and preparing an emergency food pantry now will help you keep popular food items stocked and ready for the next crisis.

10 Grocery Items That Disappeared Almost Immediately When an Emergency Was Declared

Large-scale events can quickly cause significant economic, social, and political disruption in its wake. Studies have shown most households are not prepared for a two-week disruption, let alone a month-long ordeal such as what we are enduring with COVID-19. As a result, the public quickly sees how vulnerable they are to an emergency. An unprecedented strain has been put on our food system as a result of the initial food grab at the beginning of the health crisis.

With grocery items flying off the shelves and a huge demand on food banks, its no wonder that vegetable and garden seeds have been in high demand because of interest in sustainable food production. We now see that when a large population is hit with a rapid, far from equilibrium event, the system itself cannot keep up with the demand. The result, at best, shows how thin the protections of society are when this type of event happens and we must learn from this.

In the wake of the COVID-19 food panic, certain food staples disappeared almost immediately; almost all of which are listed in our 25 must-have survival foods. While toilet paper seems to be the one item that is ingrained in our memories as the grocery item that initially incited the run on the grocery stores, the items listed below have been in short supply if not out of stock for weeks on end.

10 Food Items That Disappeared Almost Immediately in the COVID-19 Health Crisis

  1. Pasta and tomato sauce
  2. Yeast
  3. Flour
  4. Sugar
  5. Milk
  6. Eggs
  7. Butter
  8. Rice
  9. Beans
  10. Peanut butter

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Next Crisis: Food

The Next Crisis: Food

There’s a reason we’ve been urging folks to plant a garden

“Oh crap! Bermuda grass? In my garden space? The kind with underground runners that’s nearly impossible to eliminate except by digging up every single root and rhizome?”

For reasons I cannot fully explain I became absolutely inspired to “find a place” starting last September.

Today, my partner Evie and I are settling in to our new home. We closed on it on January 28th and it took a solid month to move things over from our former residence.

First things first, we set about correcting a decade’s worth of deferred maintenance. The furnace relay switch was quite dodgy, the gravel on the driveway was way past due for replenishment, the gutters leaked, and the apple trees were in desperate need of pruning.

Now that it’s April, I find myself every day — after my research and writing is done of course — out in the old garden space, digging new beds and turning over every square inch of the soil. Not because I want to, but because some misguided former owner thought planting Bermuda grass in the garden was a good idea.

This is the sort of grass that spreads to new horizons with meaty underground rhizomes that can spread ridiculously far from the parent plant. Arggh!

Oh, and the new chicken house, predator-proofed with hardware cloth on every possible entry point, had to be set up, too.

The list of needed improvements seem to stretch as far as the eye can see. An insurmountable pile of tasks that will be required to raise it to our high standards of creating a place of lasting beauty and abundance.

Right now? It’s a barely-dented tapestry of a thousand projects. You might be unimpressed if you took stock of all that we haven’t tackled yet.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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