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8 Things Your Grandparents Did That Could Save Your Life

Alejandra Carrasco, M.D.
Integrative & Functional Medicine Physician By Alejandra Carrasco, M.D.
Integrative & Functional Medicine Physician
Alejandra Carrasco, M.D., is an integrative and functional medicine physician, best-selling author of Bloom, and founder of Nourish Medicine, a root-cause resolution integrative and functional medicine practice in Austin, Texas. She received her medical degree from the University of Texas Health Science Center.

Our society has largely lost the wisdom of generations past. There is a lot to be learned from our grandparents' and great-grandparents' ways — so much, in fact, that it can literally save our lives. 

Here are a few kernels of wisdom we should apply immediately:

1. Grow your own food. 

Invest some time and energy in growing your own food. Not only is there an incredible sense of accomplishment and wonder in growing your own fruits and veggies, but the quality control is unparalleled. You can ensure that your crops aren't sprayed with pesticides and you can control the types of seeds and transplants that you sow and grow.

Choose heirloom varieties whenever possible. Whether you're living on a large plot of land or in a tiny apartment, you can grow some of your own food. Square foot gardening is an incredibly effective method to produce a robust share of food in a small space.

2. Get back in the kitchen. 

Nothing beats a home-cooked meal. First off, the intention and love you put into cooking for yourself and your loved ones is incredibly nourishing. Secondly, if you prepare your own food, you can control what goes onto your plate and into your body. You can make more empowered choices and ensure that you are eating a whole foods, organic, non-genetically modified diet.

3. Make your own cleaning products.

Say goodbye to toxic household chemicals and cleaners and scrub your home down with easy-to-make homemade products. Get comfortable using baking soda, vinegar, lemon, castille soap, and essential oils for most of your cleaning needs.

For a general household cleaner and disinfectant mix a couple of drops of castille soap into 2 cups of hot water. Stir in 30 drops of lavender or tea tree oil- both of which have antibacterial properties, and you have a great, all around cleaning product. Pour into a spray bottle and use on all surfaces except for glass.

4. Get some home remedies under your belt.

Many of us have been taught, or at least been exposed to, home remedies that have been passed down from generation to generation. Well, there is some serious wisdom in a lot of these teachings! Learn how to combat a cold with garlic, ginger, and onions. Fight seasonal allergies with nasal saline rinses and green tea. Soothe a bug bite with lavender oil or a plantain poultice.

5. Don't discount the power of broth. 

Broth was the foundation of most foods a couple of generations ago. Learn how to make your own homemade broth from scratch and consume it on a daily basis. Make pot full of broth once and week and use it as the base for your weekly cooking. You can use grass-fed animal bones (chicken, beef, or fish) or vegetables for a mineral dense and incredibly nutritive broth.

6. Ferment your own foods.

Almost 80% of your immune system exists in your gut, which contains about 100 trillion bacteria. Here’s some perspective – you have 10 times more gut bacteria than the number of cells in your whole body!

The gut also houses your body’s second nervous system- you have the same amount of neurotransmitters in your gut as your brain.For optimal immune and nervous system function, you need adequate friendly microflora populating your gut. Consuming fermented food on a regular basis can help rebalance and repopulate health-promoting bacteria in your gut and redirect your body towards good health.

7. Find a tribe.

People who have close relationships with others and maintain regular social commitments have a 50% lower risk of death than those who live more isolated lives. Researchers have found that “weak” social ties were more harmful to overall health than heavy smoking, a sedentary lifestyle, and obesity. So, host that monthly Pinterest party, start a knitting circle, or find a group of folks to work-out with. Get connected with others and foster those relationships throughout your life.

8. Spend time outside.

Go outdoors! Get some vitamin D and give your eyes a break. Vitamin D is a powerhouse in the body- it boosts your immunity and functions in hundreds of processes body wide. And spending time outdoors is great for your over-stimulated eyes.

Your pupils contract, similar to muscles, when looking at various distances - simply by strolling around outdoors, your eyes have a chance to both focus on the ground in front of you and the landscape around you, which is great for our vision.

And finally, let's not forget the benefits of simply being in nature. Run around the yard with your pets or kids, read a book on a park bench, or take a stroll around your neighborhood. Spend time in natural light and connect with our beautiful planet.

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