Grow Your Own Basil be a Basil Gardener Extraordinaire

Grow Your Own Basil be a Basil Gardener Extraordinaire

Growing basil outdoors or indoors is an easy and economical way to ensure you always have the flavourful herb at hand.

Here are a few tips to help you to become that basil gardener extraordinaire!

Basil thrives on warmth and light.  Plant seeds or starter plants outdoors in a sunny part of the garden in nutrient-rich soil after any danger of frost has passed.  Indoors, plant starter plants in containers with adequate drainage and place the pots in a sunny, south facing window.  You can plant indoors all year round.

To prevent root rot, keep soil moist but not soggy.  For healthy growth, fertilize once a month with organic fertilizer.  This helps to maintain the proper pH levels in the soil. 

Pinch off any flowers that appear during growth to prevent them from “going to seed” and rendering the herb flavourless.  When harvesting the plant, pinch off the stem just above a new leaf set. Harvest often, the more you pick, the more it will grow.

You can air dry basil in small batches, but it retains its flavour best when frozen.  To freeze basil, simply pour a small amount of extra-virgin olive oil in a blender or food processor and add fresh basil leaves.  Process until the mixture is paste-like. Put the mixture into ice cube trays and once frozen, store the cubes in a freezer bag.  You can then add the cubes to your favourite recipes and enjoy basils delicious flavour all year round.

Basil is a herb but has many good benefits for our bodies.  So become a basil gardener extraordinaire!!!

Submitted by Gwen Cottingham, Registered Nutritionist, g.cottingham@hotmail.com      905-778-9998

HOW YOU SLEEP AFFECTS YOUR HEALTH

Did you know that sleeping on your back with your face up—rather than pushed into a pillow—helps prevent sleep lines, wrinkles caused by pillow contact.

SO WHAT ARE THE BEST SLEEP POSTIONS FOR YOUR HEALTH

The Canadian Chiropractic Association recommends both side and back sleeping.  In these positions your spine can retain its neutral position.  So, if you are a back sleeper you will be keeping your neck and spine happy because you keep the back fully supported by the mattress and the spine can more easily maintain a neutral position.  There is also some bad news with sleeping on your back.  This is the most common position that causes snoring.  It also increases the risk of sleep apnea.  Side sleepers either curl up into the fetal position or lie straight on their sides.  Sleeping on your side helps to stop snoring and can decrease symptoms of sleep apnea.  The bad news is that sleeping on your side could cause carpal tunnel because of the compression put on the median nerve in the wrist.  Sleeping on your right side can intensify heartburn and acid reflux making it hard to fall asleep or to sleep soundly.  Stomach sleepers are not recommended because it forces the neck to turn out of its neutral position, putting pressure on muscles, joints and nerves which can potential lead to headaches, as well as neck, jaw and arm pain.

HELP

Your pillow comfort is important, try and find a pillow that is not too thick or too thin.  Your mattress should be medium-firm to help reduce your symptoms or back pain and improve sleep quality.  Turn your bedroom into a quiet, cool, dark environment to help induce sleep.  Use your bed only for sleep.  Avoid texting, tweeting or watching the television while in bed.  If your sleep is disrupted because of worry or problems, have a journal where you can right things down and deal with them in the morning. 

If you suffer from medical problems here are some tips:  place a pillow between your knees to keep your back in alignment, to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome, avoid sleeping with the elbows flexed and your wrists curled inward, if you suffer from acid reflux try sleeping on your left side and alternate sides to avoid potential muscle imbalance, pain and increased sleep lines on one side of the face.

We spend a significant amount of time sleeping—about one third of our lives.  During this time, our bodies grow and heal themselves, so it is very important to spend our slumber in a restorative, healing position.  Adults change their sleep position approximately 11 to 13 times per night.

So there are many aspects to look at for having that great night sleep.  Allergies can also be problems especially if you are allergic to latex or even dust mites.

So think about how you sleep and see if you need to make some positive changes to improve that night sleep and your overall health.

Submitted by Gwen Cottingham Registered Nutritionist g.cottingham@hotmail.com

905-778-9998

Gwen Cottingham, Registered Holistic Nutritionist & Certified Life Coach Sign up for more nutritional solutions that are simple, fun and sustainable
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