Nature living is living that is connected to the earth…the earth that God, the Creator made…the earth that He made for His favorite work of creation…us (That we are His favorite work of creation is my opinion based on Scripture, but that is a different subject for a different time). And so we are connected to this earth, whether we realize it or not. And being connected to the earth, that is to nature, is the source of our health and well-being…whether we realize it or not!
In light of that, I wanted to share some things that my husband Mike and I have found to be helpful, enjoyable, and life/health-giving. It’s perhaps easier to realize our connection to the earth now that we live in the mountains of Colorado. So allow me to share some of our favorite “nature living” tips.
Nature living in what we eat is eating what I like to refer to as “God’s food”…that is, food that God created and that hasn’t been altered to take on a different form. Just to share one example, olive oil and butter are nature foods. Hydrogenated oils have been messed with, and trust me, our bodies will not be happy about these oils if consistently consumed.
A wonderful thing happens when we take “God’s food” and combine it with our own creativity. Our bodies, minds, and souls are delighted with tasty, health-giving food and drink.
You’re probably bracing yourself for yet another lecture on the evils of sugar. I will spare you the lecture, and instead approach the whole subject from a more positive perspective.
In the book of Proverbs in the Bible, it says, “My son eat honey for it is good,” but then in a different verse it warns, “but not too much!” First observation is that honey is a fabulous sweetener. Second is that even when using honey or some other natural sweetener, “too much” of a good thing becomes a bad thing.
I have done a couple of things that really help me keep my sweets to a healthy and satisfying level. First, I’ll share with you my granola recipe. It is lightly sweet, but very yummy and satisfying when the sweet munchies come calling. Here it is:
Bev’s Crunchy Granola:
Heat oven to 275
5 cups old fashioned oats
1-2 cups chopped pecans or other nuts
1 stick melted butter
1/4 cup honey
swirl of molasses (optional)
cinnamon and other spices to taste
1 tsp vanilla
May add a handful of raisins after the granola bakes
Place mixture on a cookie sheet. Bake 30 minutes. Every 10 minutes, push the granola away from the sides of the pan as it tends to burn on the edges. Let cool until it is “crunchy.” This amount fits perfectly into two large mason jars for storage.
And there are other things we can do to divert our attention from unhealthy sweets. Here is a picture of my “Tea Bar.” Part of food cravings is psychological, perhaps even more than physical. When I made my Tea Bar, which includes a variety of interesting flavors of tea, my psychological craving for taste adventures was quelled! Most of the teas are completely natural. A few have some flavorings, and I use these sparingly. But the different combinations are endless, and this tea extravaganza diverts my attention from seeking unhealthy sweet foods.
When we observe the variety of color, flavor, texture of God’s food (just stand in the middle of the produce section of the grocery store and take it in!), we realize that God had in mind for us to enjoy the food that He created, and to enjoy it abundantly. It’s all truly a work of art and wonder when you really stop to think about it. And along with that, if we could “see” the vitamins and other nutrients in this vast array of foods, we’d realize that likely our trips to the doctor could be a lot fewer if we’d just take advantage of what is offered to us in nature.
Nature’s Healers and Health-Givers
There are health-givers available to us each day. I’ll mention a few of my favorites.
Sleep and Relaxation. Not too much; not too little. My husband is a great sleeper. I am not so much. But I try to stay in bed and rest my body and mind even when I’m not sleeping, for at least 8 hours a night. Recently, I have been meditating on Psalm 91, which Mike and I memorized. It’s theme is God’s protection. Don’t you feel the need for some extra protection in this ever-increasingly unpredictable world? Psalm 91 begins, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.” And the entire psalm speaks of God’s protection of His own. I meditate (think deeply) about each word, and I usually either fall asleep or drift into contented relaxation.
Fresh Air. In my opinion one of the biggest ironies of the lockdowns has been that fresh air is about the healthiest, most profound promoter of health that there is on planet earth. Breath deeply many times a day, outdoors if possible. We live in a high altitude, and according to my pulse oximeter, my oxygen levels have been consistently higher since I’ve been consciously doing deep breathing of fresh air several times a day.
Happiness. That’s right. Happiness makes you healthy. The book of Proverbs speaks of a tranquil heart giving life to the body, but things like envy being “rottenness” to the bones. (Proverbs 14:30) I got a pinched nerve in my back really bad a few years ago, and since then I get hives easily on my back. It is a physical issue, but guess what? I found that when I have had a happy disposition toward others and toward myself, the hives were under control. Happiness and tranquility of heart affect our “bones,” which is how the Bible sometimes describes our physical health. Feel free to laugh out loud as often as you may feel inclined. Lord Byron said, “Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine.”
Work from Nature
Remember that often when I speak of nature’s ways, I am speaking of God’s ways, for God is the Creator of the natural world. And God gives lots of instruction in his word about making a living and being prosperous. One of my favorite instructions is in the book of Ecclesiastes “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.”
Below are some pictures that our customers have sent us after receiving some of the hiking sticks we make. Once in a great while, we have a customer “glitch,” but for the most part we love what we do. I think that is what God intended for all of us in our work. Sure, work is work, and can be grueling and exhausting at times. But work can also be a connection to people, an opportunity to actually make people happy. I think there are two things that make our customers happy. One is doing quality work. And the other is to lend a listening ear. People seem to love sharing where their gift is going, and sometimes the whole history of the story. And I love to listen.
It just so happens that the medium of our work is wood. Can’t get more natural than that! But that is not essential to having satisfying and meaningful work that blesses others. When we touch lives, we are in touch with the way God intended work to be.
I think I will close with just a few of my favorite natural cleaning and cosmetic “recipes.”
Furniture Polish: One part lemon juice (may use bottled) to one part olive oil. The lemon juice cleans; the olive oil conditions. I feel comfortable using this on good furniture.
Hairspray: Can you drink your hairspray? I can! And it works in keeping hair in place too. It’s easy to make: Four teaspoons white sugar stirred into one cup of hot water. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil for fragrance. Let cool. And here is a link to a really great sprayer that sprays like aerosol:
Amazing Hair Cleaner and Conditioner: My hair was getting fly-away and weak. Then I happened upon a suggestion to use egg yoke in my hair. I modified it to be one egg yolk, one heaping tsp. of plain yogurt, and a small dab of olive oil. I left it on under an inside-out shower cap for about 15 minutes. When I rinsed it out without using any shampoo or conditioner, my hair was much more shiny, healthy, and amazingly, it was clean too! Don’t ask me how that works but it does. (Rinse thoroughly)
And now that we have our four chickens…free eggs!
Thank you for letting me share some “back to nature living” thoughts. Feel free to comment or to get in touch with me personally. I’d love to hear from you!