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During your teenage years, your dream life probably involved an apartment in the big city and parties at chic bars. As an adult, it’s normal to crave a totally different lifestyle – a home to call your own, days spent out in nature, and real fulfillment. City life can jade you, and there comes a time when you want nothing more than a place where you can breathe fresh air, provide for yourself and your loved ones, and connect with nature.

Starting a homestead is a lifestyle change, but it’s one that will enrichen your life a thousand times over. There really is nothing more satisfying than growing your own food, raising happy animals, and living your life sustainably. A farmgirl knows herself at heart, and she’ll never be totally fulfilled by a high-consumption city life. If that’s you, why not make the change? Imagine waking up and gazing out over the vegetable garden you’re cultivating, the chickens that provide you eggs, and the land that you get to interact with every day because it’s yours. You might have brushed off the idea of owning your own farm, filing it away as a pipe dream, but you shouldn’t. Your rural dream can become a reality if you put your mind to it.

The first step is figuring out exactly what you want – would you be happy to start canning fruit and growing some veggies? Or do you dream about a sprawling farm with chickens, pigs, and all the rest? Once you really understand your homesteading dream, you can start turning it into reality. There are plenty of resources to help you make the move, and it can be surprisingly manageable from a financial point of view. Even if you don’t count the money you’ll save by providing your own food and potentially selling your farm’s produce, land can be shockingly cheap if you’re willing to put a bit of work into turning a fixer-upper into your dream homestead. Rural areas are better connected than ever too, so farming doesn’t require you to leave modern life behind – you can still count on your Amazon deliveries and nights out in the city if that’s what you’re looking for. And at the end of the day, nothing compares to the feeling of owning your own farmhouse and running a thriving homestead.

Don’t discount your homesteading dream. If the farmgirl life is calling your name, then go answer it! It’s a big decision but it just might be the best one you ever make.

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5 Ways Blueberries Benefit the Body

Are you growing blueberries? If so, walk out to your garden and pick a cup to snack on. Guess what you just did? You gave yourself a boost of antioxidants. In fact, they have the highest concentration of antioxidants of any of the common fruits that people eat around the world. But how do the antioxidants help your body? Here are five ways that snacking on blueberries can benefit your health.

Reduced Cancer Risk

The body needs a variety of antioxidants to combat the damaging effects of free radicals. Blueberries are particularly high in a group of flavonoids known as anthocyanins, which are known to interact with the oxygen radical that causes damage to your DNA. Reducing this has many benefits to the body, including improved skin health and anti-aging qualities. Perhaps most significantly, it considerably decreases the risk of many types of cancer, such as that found in the breast, colon or on the skin.

Help Prevent Heart Disease

Blueberries are an excellent source of nutrition to help ward off the risks of developing many types of cardiovascular disease. The plaque that forms on the inside of the arteries is caused by the oxidation of LDL cholesterol (commonly known as ‘bad’ cholesterol) by free radicals. This narrowing of the arteries can result in life-threatening issues such as heart attack or stroke. The antioxidants in blueberries are particularly useful in not only preventing this buildup, but also removing the deposit once it has developed.

Increased Brain Function

Free radicals affect all parts of the body, and the brain is no exception. The antioxidants that are present in blueberries are understood to congregate around the centers of the brain linked to intelligence. Research suggests that regularly consuming blueberries directly improves cognitive ability, while also reducing the rate of age-related mental difficulties.

Prevent Urinary Infections

Like the closely related cranberry, blueberries are also excellent at preventing urinary tract infections. Both berries contain compounds called anti-adhesives, which act by preventing bacteria collecting on the bladder wall. This stops the buildup of any unwanted bacteria in the urinary tract and prevents infection.

Reduce Diabetic Effects

Like all fruits, blueberries contain a relatively high level of sugar compared to other food types. However, the benefits of blueberries seem to outweigh any negative effects this sugar brings about in people with diabetes. The anthocyanins within blueberries are known to have a beneficial effect on glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity, which aids both people with diabetes, and those at risk of developing type-2 diabetes.

As well as these benefits, blueberries also contain a variety of vitamins and nutrients that help keep your body in top shape. However, like all healthy options, the key is incorporating them into a balanced diet and not assuming that the handful of blueberries at breakfast means you can get away with a fast food dinner.  Nevertheless, alongside other nutritious foods, and coupled with a regular exercise routine, blueberries can have a positive impact on your health.

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