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How’s Your Microbiome These Days?

I recently read an article suggesting that it’s harder to lose weight today than it was in the 1980s. Yeah. Made me do a double take, too. Here’s the sub-headline: “A new study finds that people today who eat and exercise the same amount as people 20 years ago are still fatter.” What?? I read on. The gist of the article is that our microbiomes have changed over the past couple of decades. Like me, you may be wondering what a microbiome is. To oversimplify, it’s the bacteria living in your gut. The bacteria that should be living in your gut. Turns out we NEED bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and viruses living in harmony with our innards. And, it would seem, our diets are changing our microbiomes for the worse. Chemicals and prescription drugs along with the hormones and antibiotics that have been rampant in our food for so long are changing or outright killing off our microbiomes. And scientists now hypothesize that as a result we simply can’t process food as efficiently. And it’s making us fat. I was following right along with the article, grateful to have been raised on homegrown farm food and glad I live in an area where people pay attention to such things. Then I came to this statement by Jennifer Kuk, a professor of kinesiology and health science at Toronto’s York University: “The fact that the body weights of Americans today are influenced by […]

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Unexpected Autumn

This past weekend was GORGEOUS. Okay, it was a little damp and overcast, but after lots of typical August heat and humidity it was a refreshing change. On Saturday the temperature really didn’t rise much and the humidity disappeared as the day wore on. Some friends and I planned to pick apples and pears from a neighbor’s trees and it was as if the climate agreed to cooperate with our notion of apple-picking weather. It was a gift. And an unexpected one. One of my friends commented on how fall feels like such a revelation each year. We know it’s coming, we’ve experienced it before, and yet the first crisp day feels like a gift we didn’t really think we’d get. Summer and winter seem to arrive when I’m not really paying attention. I’ll be enjoying warmer or cooler days and then suddenly it will be full-on summer or winter. At that point I heave a sigh and resign myself to needing a shower every day or suffering with perpetually cold feet. And I’m usually looking so hard for spring that I celebrate each tiny, incremental change. But the first day that truly feels like autumn is as if a curtain has been whisked back on a stage. One moment you’re dreaming of cool, crisp mornings and the next they’re here making you want to snuggle under the covers with the windows wide open. I know some of you love […]

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Self-Serve Appalachia

It’s that bountiful time of year in my mountains. Gardens are overflowing, brambles are just wrapping up their offerings, and the fruit trees are weighted down. Such a delicious time of year! Many mornings Thistle and I walk to the neighbor’s and have a freshly picked green apple to start our day. Apples are good, but when you get one […]

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Becoming Mrs. Lewis – Book Review

After finishing Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan I don’t want to start reading another book. That’s the greatest compliment I can pay a story. I just want to savor this gorgeous novel and starting anything else will dilute it in my memory. Which means I’ll eventually have to read it again. I’ve long admired C.S. Lewis. Mere Christianity is […]

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Appalachian Thursday – Seventh Generation

If you’ve followed my blog very long, you’ve probably seen mention of the fact that I grew up on a farm that’s been in my family for seven generations. It’s a big part of why I write about Appalachia and have such strong nostalgia for the past. Today I thought I’d share a new poem reflecting on a piece of that history . . . SEVENTH GENERATION How many greats does it take to reach back into the days when a cousin named Electa rode a broke down old horse four days across the mountains to find her wounded brother? A great plan indeed. The bullet broke the bone and lodged there. He ought not to have lived, but he said no Rebel bullet would kill him. So, instead of dying, he sang songs. Surely there was a rock of ages and a sweet hour of prayer, blessed assurance and great is thy faithfulness. Electa found him. Nursed him and brought him back a way that seemed familiar now. Today, paved roads hide that trail. Houses and cars a great washing up of flotsam in the wake of the past. Standing here, on land that’s been passed down and down and down, it’s easy to count back from seven. It’s easy to imagine that I, too, might manage something great.

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