4 Reasons to Homestead For Your Health

Sorry I missed posting yesterday, my son had a severe allergic reaction that resulted in using his epi pen and spending the afternoon in the ER!   Today health is on my mind and I wanted to share 4 reasons to homestead for your health. 

Reason 1: Homesteading is physical work

Forget the gym when you live on a homestead!  The natural rhythm of life on a homestead or farm is to haul feed and water to animals and plants.  Feed sacks, straw bales, buckets filled with water are a load! When building fence or shoveling manure you’re likely to discover muscles you forgot you had.  With more to do there is less time to lay around in front of the TV.  Studies have shown that physical activity is good for you.  Aside from the benefits of building muscle and helping to manage weight, physical activity can actually improve your sleep.  

Reason 2: You know what went into your food

One of the best benefits of homesteading is growing or raising  your own food.  When you garden you can control everything from the seeds you plant to the type of fertilizer and pesticide you apply.  Personally I choose heirloom seeds so that I know my food is non-gmo.  I try to use as many natural practices as possible to manage pests.   

Monsanto, a giant in the food production business, is currently on trial for a possible link between their product Round Up and cancer.  You can read an article about that on the Natural News.  Monsanto has a wide reach and there is a good chance any commercially produced food you purchase has been touched in some way by a Monsanto product, whether it started with a gmo seed, was treated with a fertilizer, or was sprayed by a pesticide.  I prefer to eliminate any doubt and grow my own healthy food! 

When you raise animals you can control the type of feed they consume as well as the hormones and antibiotics injected into them.  Humane treatment both during life and the butchering process results in healthier, better tasting meat.  

Reason 3: Homesteading re-connects us to the natural rhythms of life 

I’ve noticed a huge difference in myself and my children as we’ve began to spend more time outside.  Our attitudes improve, we feel better, and we have more energy.  As we see the signs of spring we seem to experience a renewal within ourselves too.   Homesteading connects us with the life cycle through the renewal of plant life in Spring and through the birth and death of animals we may raise.  I think that we have spent so much time in artificial environments with constant light and controlled temperature that our bodies have lost part of their vital natural connection.  Being barefoot outside helps reconnect us with the Earth and provides so many benefits.  According to an article published in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health: 

“The research suggests that this disconnect [lack of direct barefoot Earth contact] may be a major contributor to physiological dysfunction and unwellness.”

They call the process of connecting with the ground barefoot “Earthing” or “Grounding”.  

Reason 4: More face time and less screen time

I don’t know about your house but at mine screen time is a constant battle.  My guys love video games and Little Miss loves You Tube.  Even Little Miss knows her way around an iPhone and I confess I ask my son for help figuring out how to use my phone.  The more we get into homesteading the less time we spend with electronics. My kids are learning to connect in person with living beings and to communicate outside of texts.  Studies show that screen time can lead to vision problems in kids (and adults).  This vision problem is called Computer Vision Syndrome or CVS.  All About Vision shares these startling statistics:

“A large study conducted by the National Eye Institute and published in the December 2009 issue of Archives of Ophthalmology found that the prevalence of nearsightedness among Americans has increased from 25 percent to 41.6 percent of the population over the past 30 years — an increase of more than 66 percent.”.

There are so many other wonderful health benefits to homesteading but those are the big four for me.  Leave me a comment below and share some health benefits you’ve found from homesteading! 

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What the heck is homesteading?

I’m sure some of you are wondering “What the heck is homesteading?”  Homesteading USED to refer to a piece of free or cheap land granted to an individual or family to work and farm.  That land would provide for that family almost entirely because store bought good were rare and expensive in areas where homestead plots were granted.  Wikipedia defines homesteading as:      

              “a lifestyle of self-sufficiency. It is characterized by subsistence agriculture, home preservation of foodstuffs, and it may or may not also involve the small scale production of textiles, clothing, and craftwork for household use or sale.”

Modern homesteading looks very different than the old days.  Now farms are smaller, and people are using the term to reference any attempt to live less dependent on store bought food, government utilities, and other commercial goods.  City people with a patio full of container garden plants are embracing the homestead spirit.   Suburban families are turning 2 acre yards into mini-farms where they raise small animals and big gardens.  Country families are running hobby farms and exploring solar energy and milking cows.    A lot of people don’t realize that the current trendy movement of backyard gardens and chickens was encouraged by the government during World War II as a way ease the demand on the national food supply and increase morale through “Victory Gardens”!  
                                                                     

For me homesteading means that we work to raise as much of our food as we can, we use what we have on hand before we buy new, we handle as many repairs and projects as we can ourselves, we make money through selling items we grow or raise, and we live in a thrifty way to make our dollars stretch as far as they can.  I’m working on embracing the homesteading mentality and dragging my reluctant husband along for the ride.  I am appreciating the skills I learned as a youth watching my Grandma more and more.  I wish I would have paid more attention as she was canning!  I picked up a lot of DIY skills from watching my dad and working on projects with him.  Thank goodness for YouTube, too.  Nothing strikes fear into my husband’s heart quite as fast as seeing me gathering tools for project and hearing “It’s ok honey, I watched a YouTube video!”.  Our new home and property has been a treasure trove of items to re-use or upcycle.  Keep an eye out for a post about my finds that led to building raised garden beds for free!
Leave a comment below and tell me what homesteading looks like for you!  

*photo credit to http://www.nationalww2museum.org

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