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The Amazing Health Benefits of Fennel: Why You Should Add It To Your Summer Herb List

This amazing, aromatic herb is native to areas around the Mediterranean and the Near East. Related to parsley, dill and carrots with a taste like licorice. The entire plant is edible including the bulb and seeds.

Fennel has been used for a wide range of issues such as low libido, backache, appetite loss and it’s even a nature treatment for colic in babies. Fennel is also well known for its ability to remedy gastrointestinal issues and even used topically to treat snake bites!

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Ancient Chinese medicine used Fennel for a many things, appetite stimulation, breast milk flow, congestion and conjunctivitis to name a few.

If you aren’t growing your own Fennel, just remember it loses flavor fast and is best eaten right away after purchase. Store your dried fennel seeds away from light and moisture in an airtight container and they can last up to six months.

Fennel can offer you many important nutrients like vitamin C which is very important for a happy and healthy immune system, it’s an excellent source of fiber, potassium and folate and its unique phytonutrients combination includes rutin and the flavonoids quercetin.

 3 Awesome ways to incorporate fennel into your diet

Tomato Fennel Soup Continue reading

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Now & Then: 7 Reasons Why Modern Relationships Don’t Always Last

It is no secret that relationships have changed and evolved since our parents’ time. How could they stay the same? The entire world has grown and changed and is no longer the one that our mothers and fathers passed onto us when we were born.

Despite this fact, we should still be pretty knowledgeable when it comes to modern relationships and dating. Why? Because this is our time. We not only grew up in this world, but we shaped its ideals and beliefs, just like it shaped ours.

So why are so many people miserable with modern relationships? Whatever the reason, only true knowledge and understanding can help to lift the curtain around this thorny issue. With that in mind, here are 7 reasons why modern relationships are so different.

1. Instant Gratification

Today’s culture is becoming increasingly obsessed with doing things fast over doing them right. We want pills to lose weight instantly, Start-ups and multi-level marketing schemes to get rich quick, and Netflix to be entertained on demand. We are slowly growing unused to having to wait and work for things. Relationships might be one of the only aspects of our lives that can refuse to be rushed. Real connections must take time.

2. Normalization of Drugs and Alcohol

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Our culture is also normalizing the use and abuse of drugs and alcohol. More and more people are turning to these substances as a release, or an escape from reality.

While potential risks are mitigated by responsible habits, it is becoming more acceptable for people to rely too heavily on drugs and alcohol.

Those who are looking for companionship turn instead to their addiction as a means to cope. This association can often lead to a person spiraling into negativity.

3. Sex Positivity

However you feel about our sexually liberated culture that prides itself on separating sexuality and emotions, you must agree that every lifestyle has drawbacks. People who try to separate sexuality and emotions may find that they have become out of touch with one or the other. Separating sexuality and emotions runs the risk that eventually, these two essential parts of humanity may remain separate. People should make their own choices, but choices also understand that every choice has consequences. Continue reading

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This Innocent Man Who Spent 39 Years in Prison Can Teach Us a Lesson On Attitude

 ‘Holding anger is a poison…It eats you from inside…We think that by hating someone we hurt them…But hatred is a curved blade…and the harm we do to others…we also do to ourselves.’

-Mitch Albom

When we are wronged, it is easy to become bitter and cynical. Often our anger turns into hate, which only serves to harm us more than the people who have wronged us. Learning to forgive and move on can be one of life’s toughest lessons. Ricky Jackson, a man who was released from prison in 2014 after serving 39 years for a crime he did not commit is a shining example to all of us on how to do exactly that.

Ricky Jackson’s story

Jackson was convicted of the murder of a man named Harold Franks, along with two friends, in 1975, at the age of 19. The evidence against Jackson was all based on the witness statement of a thirteen-year-old boy, on a school bus that was a block away from the scene.

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The boy, Eddie Vernon, was challenged by classmates at the time, as they all claimed that it would have been impossible for him to have seen the murder from where the bus was.

There was no further evidence presented to the jury in Cleveland, Ohio, to back up the unreliable witness statement, but it was enough to see Jackson sentenced to death. Jackson and his friends only avoided execution because of a paperwork error, which opened up the opportunity for them to appeal their charges.

At an appeal hearing in 2014, Vernon finally admitted that it had in fact been impossible for him to witness the crime from his position on the bus. He went on to claim that he had been coerced into testifying against Jackson by police. The case once more highlights the flaws in the US justice system.

‘The scale of the miscarriage of justice in Ricky Jackson’s case is staggering,’ said Clive Stafford-Smith, the head of Reprieve, a London-based human rights charity. ‘Much of what went wrong in Mr. Jackson’s case is very familiar: a witness coached by the police into a version of events that would gain an easy conviction; a woeful lack of reliable evidence linking him to the crime; inept lawyering, especially for poor people; a jury or judge not willing to countenance doubt; and a ‘justice’ system where, once convicted, it becomes nearly impossible to overturn a sentence.’ Continue reading

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Diving Deep: What Your Nightmares Really Mean & How To Deal With Them

A Light in the Dark: The Truth Behind Nightmares

You turn down the dark alley when a shadowy figure emerges from a corner. Suddenly, they start to  chase you and while sprinting for your life you trip and fall! But then you wake up.

We’ve all experienced a nightmare at least once in our life, but even if you’ve never been chased by a murderer or had your teeth fall out in real life, they still occur. So what does it all mean? Turns out, nightmares might not be as complicated as you think.

What Are Dreams?

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Dreams are the thoughts, visions, and sensations we experience as we sleep. They are often misinterpreted as being visions of things that haven’t happened when in reality 99% of them reflect what has already occurred. Some possibilities of their purpose are:

1. Arrangement of info in the brain

Your brain decodes everything seen during the day, placing it in your long term memory and coding it in a way it can understand. This is why most dreams are just fragments and reflections of what happened during your day.

2. Training survival skills

During an experiment where a rat was prevented from dreaming, it lost its ability to perform normal survival activities. Dreams may be used to rehearse survival skills. Continue reading

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From Fiction to Fact: 5 Urban Legends That Are Actually True

Swallowing watermelon seeds will grow a plant in your stomach, swimming right after eating will make you cramp and drown; these are myths we heard throughout our childhoods before we grew up and realized they were false. Or are they? Well those ones might have been, but some urban legends have surprisingly turned out to be true, so let’s take a look:

1. Kidney theft

The Myth: A businessman goes on a trip and in the hotel lobby bar he meets a beautiful woman who offers to buy him a drink. Later, they go back to his room where he suddenly passes out. The next morning, with no recollection of what happened and a severe pain in his back, he realizes his kidney has been cleanly and professionally removed.

The Truth: What may sound like a case of a ridiculously bad hangover actually happened to several hundred men in India. One, in particular, was Naseem Mohammed, 25, a laborer who was desperate for work when he was offered a 3 month painting contract.

He was placed in a house for two weeks, being well fed the entire time as they stalled the job, so he had no reason to be suspicious. After being persuaded to give a blood sample, he was injected and woke up in a hospital with the same pain and scar as the man from the myth.

The culprit was found to be a group of doctors who were running an illegal organ selling business where they supplied human kidneys to the wealthy Indians and foreigners. They were said to be led by Dr. Amit Kumar who was later arrested in 2008.

2. Killer in the backseat

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The Myth: A woman is driving home late when a vehicle tailgating behind her continuously flashing their lights at her backseat. When she finally gets home terrified, she realizes there was an escaped murderer about to kill her from the backseat and the other driver was trying to warn her. And thus began a now incredibly cliché horror movie trope.

The Truth: Widely thought to have originated in New York in 1964 when an unsuspecting police officer found a man hiding in the back of his car.  After recognizing him as a dangerous killer, he shot him dead.

A similar incident happened in Chicago in 2013. As a woman went in to pay at the gas station, a man snuck into her unlocked minivan. When she returned, he assaulted her and forced her to drive to an ATM to steal her cash. So remember, always lock your car doors when you’re not around.

3. Body under the bed

The Myth: A honeymooning couple checks into their motel and becomes aware of a horrible odor so bad that they ask to switch rooms. The hotel is fully booked so they send a maid to thoroughly clean the room, but when the couple returns the smell persists. They tear the room apart eventually pulling the mattress off the box spring where they find a woman’s corpse. What happens in Vegas, right?

The Truth: In 2010, 28 year old Sony Millbrook went missing after being last seen at a motel in Memphis. After missing payments, the staff removed her things and cleaned the room to be rented out again. Her family insisted on searching the room but the staff refused and eventually her body was found under the box spring two months later.

Her boyfriend was later found guilty and sentenced to life in prison for the murder. In that time, the motel had rented the room to others so people had unsuspectingly slept within inches of the decaying body. I’m sure they’ll give every hotel room they ever stay in a thorough sweep before spending the night again.

4. Someone inside the house

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The Myth: A teenage babysitter is watching TV when the phone rings and a man at the other end tells her to check on the children upstairs. When she asks who it is they hang up, and she ignores it as a harmless prank.

When he calls again saying the same thing, she gets worried and calls the police who tell her they will trace the next call. Again he calls so the police trace it only to discover he is inside the house with the children.

The Truth: Thirteen year old Janett Christman was babysitting a 3 year old boy in Columbia, Missouri on March 18, 1950. Around 10:30pm, police received a call from a young girl hysterically screaming right before the line went dead. No one could identify who called because no one was manning the switchboard at the time.

When the child’s parents came back around 1:30am they were horrified to find the house ransacked with Janett’s body in a pool of blood on the floor. She had been strangled with a wire, hit over the head and stabbed with a mechanical pencil several times.

The initial suspect was a local man who had been known to carry a mechanical pencil around and had an interest in Janett, but inexplicably there was little cooperation with the police so he was never convicted and her case remains unsolved to this day.

5. The Realistic Halloween Decoration

The Myth: A lifelike Halloween decoration of a person being hanged turns out to be a real person hanging from a tree.

The Truth: In 2005, a 42 year old woman in Frederica, Delaware hung herself from a tree a few nights before Halloween. Passersby thought it was a prop and admired its realism, until a few days later when someone inspected it closely and noticed it was real.

Urban legends sound realistic because of their plausibility to actually happen and judging by these stories, it’s hard to deny that. Maybe the next time someone tells you an old scary story it might be more true than you thought.

This article was written by The Hearty Soul. The Hearty Soul is a rapidly growing community dedicated to helping you discover your most healthy, balanced, and natural life.

Sources:

http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/the-urban-legend-of-the-governments-mindcontrolling-arcade-game

http://www.cracked.com/article_15628_the-5-creepiest-urban-legends-that-happen-to-be-true.html

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/9841877

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/30/world/asia/30kidney.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVNUXDfLanA

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Creepy Crawlies: The Health Benefits of Eating Bugs & Why We Should Do It More Often

The United Nations recently estimated that by 2050 the global population could reach a staggering nine billion. As it stands, there are vast numbers of people who are unable to find enough food for themselves and their family. The situation is already unsustainable, and if we continue to consume food in the way we do in the West the situation is only likely to get worse.

Our gluttonous diets, which have led to unprecedented levels of health issues, have also led us to the brink of humanitarian and environmental catastrophe. The over-consumption of beef and pork means that of the 78 million acres of rainforest that are chopped down every year, around half is for livestock grazing, which is the greatest contributor of greenhouse gasses. Our dietary habits have to change.

There is one solution that has been backed by nearly every governing body charged with the question of sustainability – eat bugs. Just reading the sentence is enough to make most people shudder and recoil. However, incorporating insects into our diet is not only good for the planet, but it is also great for our health. So why is there such a strong stigma against doing so?

Cultural perceptions

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Eating insects and other invertebrates is nothing new. From the time of the first human beings, we have eaten bugs as part of our diet. Even today, over two billion people regularly consume invertebrates in their meals. It is largely the cultures of far-east Asia, Africa, and Central America that continue the practice, where some ‘creepy crawlies’ are actually eaten as a delicacy.

In western society, we moved away from eating insects regularly around 10,000 BC when the earliest known form of agriculture began in the Middle East. The region has become known historically as the ‘fertile crescent’ due to its link to early farming and its favorable weather conditions, in comparison with humanity’s ancestral home in Africa.

As our species began farming, bugs shifted from being  a delicious part of our diet to being a farmer’s greatest pest became a culturally held view. No longer tied to having to hunt and gather, agriculture turned us away from our insectivore roots, as we sought to protect the plants that we grew and the animals we ate.

Without the need to eat bugs, and as we continued to push our society on in the name of progress, insects shifted even lower in our cultural opinion, moving from unwelcome pest to abhorrent vermin. For many of us, the idea of crunching down on an insect is detestable. Continue reading

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