Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Joy Diet

Stopping by some of my favorite blogs, I saw Jamie had just begun a new 'Next Chapter' group - the Joy Diet! After reading a few posts, decided to order this one from my local bookstore, which kindly offers their 10% book group discount. It should be here Friday.

The week begins with 'do nothing' & an invitation to spend 15 minutes meditating. Last weekend during my gal retreat at the coast, I purchased a little book on the meteorite crystal Moldavite, & both a Moldavite pendant & a small stone.
I'd begun reading the book (pub. in the late 80s) last month while at Breitenbush, & realized there was a wee Moldavite stone on the dresser by my dream space.
One of the effects of working with Moldavite can be more vivid dreams, & being prompted to a healthier lifestyle & more MEDITATION!

The evening after purchasing the stones & book was spent close to the ocean, & one of my dreams included instruction about including walking meditation in my life - & that morning, I found a sweet book by Thich Nhat Hahn - on Walking Meditation! & as mentioned in my last post, did a bit of Tai Chi on the beach before breakfast.

From Beyond the Rainbow: "When placed on the third eye, moldavite helps us to establish the cosmic connection. When placed on the heart it teaches us to appreciate the gift of being here on Earth.
". . . many people have reported that moldavite helps to release all that is no longer needed for personal growth: old ideas: leftover emotional/mental habits, whatever you know on a deep level needs to go.

"Because its energies are so powerful it's a good idea to keep it near you a lot when you first get one and to meditate with it regularly."

I've had a couple of meditation dreams since that 'exposure' to Moldevite in my sleep space at the end of August - so joining in on the 'joy diet' seems quiet timely!

While at the coast, we went on a moonlight beach walk, & one of the participants suggested we do some of that in silence. That night I dreamed of instruction in walking meditation - so when I awoke, I went down to the beach with my native American Flute & played my 'dream song' & did some Tai Chi Qigong. After breakfast, several of us went to a nearby bookstore, where I found a copy of Thich Nhat Hanh's 'Guide to Walking Meditation.' (only $2.50!)

During a workshop with Roslyn Bruyere in the mid 90s, she talked about meditative brain states, & that when one does slow, mindful movement (Tai Chi, Yoga, Qigong, walking) the brain shifts into that state, making sitting much easier! I recall that was an 'ah ha!' moment for me - I'd often wanted to meditate, but quickly got antsy/bored! But love the grace & 'moving meditation' quality of Tai Chi, & quickly move into a meditative state that way!

So for 'sitting challanged' folks, I encourage you to try movement as a portion of your 15 minutes - I will be doing so!

Monday, September 28, 2009

One Hundredth Post!!

How exciting - I won the cookie cutters Suzie was giving away!! & this is my 100th post! I've been thinking of what I'd write when it was still 'in the future' . . . & of a give-away of my own - & here I am with many thoughts to chose from, & what to send out into the world?? Ok, stay tuned!!

This weekend I went to the coast (ABSOLUTELY GEORGEOUS!) Blue skies & good fellowship with my 'sister circle' women's spirituality book group. We went to the lovely & historic 'Sylvia Beach Hotel' in Newport, & stayed in the two dorm rooms (4 & 8 beds).

And I'm becoming increasingly aware of the difficulties that arise in trying to avoid gluten (or any commonly used ingredient that happens to pose problems)! My carpool group arrived at 4, & after checking in, went out for a 'smackrel' to tide us over 'till the lovely 5 course dinner.
We chose a nearby cafe, & they all ordered a cup of soup (~ $5 & just right - except one galfriend who ordered desert - a berry cobbler) The soup, a tomatoe/basil bisque, contained wheat flour, (as did the cobbler) so I looked for other ~ $5 options - everyting else was ~ $10, (& heavier) many sandwiches, some appetizers (several with bread), some salads . . . so I suggested to the waitress I'd like ~ $5- cheese plate, using the cheeses mentioned in the grilled cheese san, & no salad, as we were eating at the Sylvia @ 7.
The chef came out - she's gluten free (then why did she use flour in the soup??) & could do the cheese on corn tortillia - basically quesadillas - & a nice salad . . . I repeated 'light!' as we were eating at the Sylvia, but didn't tell her 'let's skip the salad!' The salad was lovely, garnished with violas, & I could have said - "Oh, do you have a side salad option? Because I really don't want that much food!'

Dinner was lovely, but the rice crackers shared a plate (family style meals) with the wheat crackers, I'd brot my own scone for bread, there were several main course options (I chose the Halibut - delicious!), lovely veggies (inc. fresh Chantrelle mushrooms) rice, & a lovely chocolate flourless tort for desert! Very little to avoid & quite delicous.

We went for a moonlit beach walk (the strong wind had ceased about dinner time) & came back for a rousing game of 'the Great Dalmuti. It's always nice to sleep at the ocean, with the murmer of waves in the background! Did Tai Chi /Qigong on the beach in the morning, with clear skies & soft waves.

I'd been warned that even when you told the front desk folks 'gluten free please' the breakfast folks often didn't get the message. I'd also told our server (Mom) at dinner, & she'd said "I'll leave the breakfast cooks a note!" But no, if she did, they never got it!
So there were lots of sweet bread choices, even a lemon bar - all containing wheat flour! Banal cereal choices, yogurt, hard boiled eggs, some fruit . . . . the hot breakfast choices included a potato 'crust' quiche, so I had that, half a grapefruit, another of my scones, some herb tea.

& today I was discussing our Dec "Mom's group' Portland adventure, asked my friend if she'd thought to inquire about the gluten free options/ awareness at the $40+ a plate dinner at Melting Pot . . . "Oh! I fhave trouble keeping track of my friends' sensitivities!" This friend is Diabetic, so has been looking after her own dietary needs for awhile, & her husband's sensitive to garlic & onion (so when I invited them to share a meal last week, (last minute) & was serving rattatoui I'd made earlier in the day, I cooked an allium free version for him that evening!)

It is hard to keep track of the sensitivities of others - & it's interesting to watch my friends' reactions - commonly - "Why did you decide to go gluten free?"
(since my daughter tested positive, & I haven't been tested . . . . but she was told she recieved the genes from both of her parents!) & if I recite that - & that many of the problems many folks experience - IBS, other digestive problems, etc. may be linked to gluten sensitivity, they begin to get glassy eyed.

On 'Grain Damaged,' a blogger writes: 'General Mills research showed that 12% households want to eliminate or reduce their gluten intake' &“For some people, opting for gluten-free foods is a lifestyle choice rather than a health-motivated choice,” She also shares a great article by Carl Sherman that highlights some of the recent findings on celiac/ gluten sensitivity. He quotes Dr. Arthur Murray of the Mayo clinic: "While celiac disease in its classic form, severe malabsorption, is seen by gasteroenterologists, most patients won't present with this, but with a wide diversity of less well defined conditions."
They suggest screening for gluten sensitivity for those with Iron deficiency (3-9% even w/o iritible gut), osteoporosis, (esp. early onset), Down's Syndrom, type I Diabetes (3-8%), unexplained infertility (5%), all may be 'atypical symptoms' of celiac/gluten sensitivity. My daughter's best friend experienced early menopause (mid 30s!) triggered by her gluten sensitivity, & began this journey of going gluten free.

With gluten sensitivity, "
Children may exhibit behavioral, learning or concentration problems(yes), irritability (yes), diarrhea, bloated abdomen, growth failure (yes), dental enamel defects (yes), or projectile vomiting." (my granddaughters, 4 & 9, have both shown improvement since going gluten free. They each have 'low tooth enamal' & have many filligs)

We're lucky to have a local support group that meets monthly - this is from their website: "To develop celiac disease (CD) three (3) things must be present: 1) you must inherit the gene, 2) consume gluten, and 3) have the gene triggered. Common triggers may include stress, trauma (surgeries, pregnancy, etc.), and viral infections. Approximately 1 in 20 first-degree relatives could have CD triggered in their lifetime. The disease is permanent and damage to the small intestine will occur every time you consume gluten, regardless if symptoms are present."

Tonight I went to a 'prom' - "wear the dress but ditch the date" that included a buffet - asked at the beginning of the line (I'm getting better!) which items (besides the lasagna)
contained flour, as I was gluten free? (I'm getting better at this!)
Obviously hadn't crossed their minds, though the caterer commented "a lot of people seem to be having problems with that these days!" . . .
- The salad had crutons mixed in, 'you could pick them out' . . . (I mentioned that
for 'really sensitive folks' even that would be a problem, & that it would be simple to have crutons in a bowl on the side, for people to add).
-The veggies were over rice?? (puzzled look - where does rice fit?) I assured them rice was fine, thanked them, & as suggested, picked the crutons out of the salad, enjoyed the bacon wrapped aspargus & the rice, veggies & cheese. Desert was a peach cobbler - I skipped it, & made tapioca pudding when I got home!


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

GMO Sugar Beets

I was so excited when I saw this article about GMO sugar beets on Facebook this AM!!

U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White has ruled that it was ILLEGAL for the USDA to approve the planting of GMO sugar beets, & that this decision was made "without adequately considering the chance they will contaminate other beet crops!!" (which include table beets & swiss chard, in addition to sugar beets)

I was saddened to see that the 'first full crop' of Round up Ready beets is right here in Oregon's Willamette Valley!! Fortunatly, the 'drift' for the pollen from beets is only 1/2 mile, so hopefully, non of our local OG farmers are that close to someone growing the GMO beets! But what about other 'conventional' farmers, who didn't choose to use the GM seed? Their crops will be contaminated by the drift from the GMO seeds.
The growers from 'my' CSA higlight their visits to several local small Organic farms - here.

Federal Judge White said the USDA must prepare an environmental impact statement, which would include public input, & a lawyer for plaintiffs in the case said they would ask the judge for an injunction against sales until the review was completed. Woo Hoo!!

Several years ago, 87% of US citizens polled by the USDA said they want to be INFORMED of GMO additions in the food they buy . . . this is where we come in - we need to inform the USDA & others that we DON'T want these crops contaminating our food supply, we don't like the idea of 'terminator' genetics (the seeds of GMO crops aren't fertile, so the farmers HAVE to continue buying seed from the company - which, gee golly, just happens to manufacture the herbicide - Round-Up that MUST be sprayed on the crops . . . ) & we do want labeling on all GMO ingredients!

Since beets are a root crop, they absorb a much higher amount of herbicides & fertilizer than seed crops (soy beans, corn) which are above ground & protected by their pods or husks. Sugar can be an ingredient of anything - so unless the sugar is labled as Organic (which can't be GM) or as cane sugar, it may be GMO beet sugar! (& part of the OK on growing the beets included no need to lable the resulting sugar as GM!) I've been aware of this danger for the past year, since the seeds were introduced, so am gratified that one Federal Judge has the courage to say 'whoa! Let's back up here & re-consider the impact!'

Unfortunatly, farmers - who may already be struggling - are going to be affected by this ruling. For whatever reason, they've bought the hype that the GMO beets were a good investment, & typically devote huge fields to one crop (mono-culture) so losing that crop can be financially devestating. A large percentage of Oregon farmers are 60 or older, & many of these farm 'conventionally' (so use commercial fertilizer & herbicides, & are drawn to these GMO crops that make the crop resistant to Round-up & to certain insects).

Here's an article by my CSA farmers highlighting & countering some of the Agra-biz 'myths.'

"Most of the soybean supply in the U.S. is already contaminated with genetically modified seeds. Many organic and conventional corn farmers are losing markets because their crops are testing positive for GM traits. Many experts have said that it is next to impossible to find non-GM canola in Canada because of this genetic trespass.
"All these new GM crops are patented, which prohibits farmers from planting the seeds in subsequent years. This means that they must purchase the patented seed every year from the seed company. Monsanto sells 90% of all GM seeds in use today.
" (Organic Consumers article on GM wheat, which is also being proposed)

It feels like we're gaining ground with this ruling by Judge White - kudos!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Plantar Fascitis

Recently several clients & friends have complained of foot pain from plantar fascitis. It's the end of the summer, & we've been wearing flip-flops & going barefoot (which I, personally, love!) & the soles of our feet may be complaining a bit.

Here's a recap some treatment ideas for plantar fascitis that I put together for my friends, & a link with an overview of P F

warning: information contained here is not intended to replace consultation with a Medical Professional

AM - self massage or use a golf ball or 'foot roller' upon arising BEFORE stepping on your foot! Do this every day! You can use a small tool (long slim rock, etc) to apply pressure to the sore areas. (You can ice after this if you want, but don't 'have' to :)

During the day, rest, massage, support, ice, . . . Notice which shoes feel better, change your shoes mid-day, put your feet up when you can. (my mom took an afternoon nap, & always put on her second pair when she got up. Even if they're 'the same,' they'll feel better!)

Shoes - be sure you have adequate support! Your feet shouldn't hurt when you put them on! Those little gel heel supports sold in Bi-mart (locally owned in the NW) & other places are fairly inexpensive, & are often enough! Get several, & don't wear shoes without them for awhile.

Dancing - I'm a dancer, & find that the exercises in ballet & other dance forms give my feet a good work-out. One foot bothers me a bit*, so I'm watching how it feels, & so far, dance class seems 'good' for it :) Ballet slippers have minimal 'heel support,' but many of the exercises invite a lot of foot movement. If it did bother me after a class, I'd ice, & maybe use an anti-inflammatory cream!
(*OK, I had shoes I liked, but if I wore them a couple of days in a row, I'd notice one foot would bother me. I got rid of the shoes :(

PM - Ice - you can use a water bottle 'roller' or direct ice - hold an ice cube in a wash cloth & massage up & down the length of the sole of the foot.
note: Ice will bring in more circulation for TWO HOURS after you've used it, & is helpful when things hurt!
Heat feels great, but tells the body 'everything's OK!' while the message from ice is "send out the troups! Something's wrong here!" hence the boost in circulation. If you couple this with drinking more water, which will speed the release & elimination of toxins, you're on your way to healing.
Soak the feet in hot water with 1/2 C Epsom salts (natural muscle relaxant) you can massage & Ice in the PM - but do be sure to ice. A paraffin dip is another yummy 'feel good' treatment.
Keep slippers with heel supports by the bed for middle of the night trips, so the foot can stay relaxed.

Clay - spread a thin layer of clay on the bottom of your foot & cover with a tissue & sock, you can leave on overnight, & wash off or reapply in AM.
I adore clay, & keep some made up to slather on things! Mix dry powder with water - = amounts, let sit & absorb naturally when you have time. Mix in glass or ceramic container, & cover. You can add a bit of epsom salts if you wish.
Arnica gel, emu oil, MSN/arnica cream & other anti-inflammatory can be used as desired, you can put a thin layer of one of these on first, then the clay. Mountain Rose Herbs is a great source, if you can't find any locally. You can use a 'facial' clay that's pre-mixed if you have that available. A pound will last you YEARS, & you can give clay to your friends! Green Clay is the 'standard' for healing, but any clay is helpful! & yes, if you have nice local 'mud,' try that!
A friend with her second ingrown toe-nail mentioned she felt she'd need to get it removed, & I gave her a little pot of clay & sug. she try that after her nightly Epsom salts soak. By the end of the week she showed me her pink & healing toe - "It doesn't hurt anymore, & LOOK at it!!" Needless to say, she was tickled! (When I was 13 I'd had a toenail removed, & was glad to help save her that pain & slow healing process, without compromising her health!)

divide your weight in half, & that's the number of ounces to strive for daily (ie: 140# / 2 = 70 oz) Some of that can be in the form of veggies - salads & steamed greens - but try for more water. Herbal teas can also be counted as well. Steer clear of diet drinks! & many nutritionists feel coffee & juice don't support cleansing hydration.

Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxant, & helps ease a lot of aches & pains, also helps calcium deposits 'normalize' (ie, things like heal spurs) You can also soak in Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) (Dr Radzik, a local nutritionally oriented MD, suggests = amounts Ca & Mag for optimal health)

Vitamin D - helps absorb minerals. If you haven't had it tested, prob at least 1000 IU -Our office now routinely tests, & many folks need 5000 daily, or even 50,000 for a few weeks if their levels are extremely low! One of the NDs commented that she'd attended a conference that included info on Vit D therapy, & that at 10,000 IU a day docs are seeing minimal Ca or osteoporosis!! So have your Vitamin D level tested, if you can; especially if you live N of the 35th parallel! (there's not enough winter sun for ideal production of Vit D)

If you suspect heel spurs, a simple 'folk remedy' that I've seen work time & again (usually less pain in a week or two!) is to take 1 Tbsp Apple Cider vinegar (or any vinegar in a pinch :) in a cup of water with each meal! (Dr Jarvis: Folk Medicine) You can add a bit of honey or molasses, & it will taste like lemonade! (& three 8 oz classes supplies 24 oz of water)
"Dr. Jarvis reasoned that vinegar must be dissolving calcium into the bloodstream, for when he gave cows with milk fever some vinegar, they too recovered immediately. This lent support to his premise that calcium deposits could be dissolved from the joints of the body in arthritic persons."
Yes, you can 'count' the vinegar in salad dressing - you might sprinkle on more vinegar to be sure you have a Tbsp. In a restaurant you can use the 'salad' vinegar in your water as well (rice, balsamic or malt vinegar).
An added bonus, vinegar in water is a great 'pick-me up' for that after lunch drowsiness!! I'd use it at Breitenbush before going into my 1 1/2 hour session @ 2:30, & rarely get sleepy! (since switching to coconut oil, I rarely feel drowsy after lunch!)
You can use the Emergen-C with cider vinegar in water at meals, tastes good & gives the system a nice boost.

Heel spurs are very painful - I've had client after client who decided 'what the heck' & gave the vinegar a try - & a week or two later say "you know, that pain in my heels is almost gone now!"

Vitamin C: 1000 mg or more - this is a general anti-inflammatory.
An adult male goat weighs ~ 145# & produces 7 grams of C daily (7,000 mg)- like the other primates, humans DON'T produce our own vit. C*, so need to get it through food & possibly supplements! Rose hips are one of the simple sources of Vit C, & can easily be added to tea.
A packet or two of Emergen-C is a great way to get a gram or two, & helpful immune system booster to boot.
* Humans & primates lack ONE liver enzyme which is essential for making Vit. C. When exposed to illness or toxins, our livers gear up for production, but fail at the point that enzyme would do its job! Guinea pigs share this lack, one reason they've been used for testing.
Interesting that coconut is used by such a large portion of the population in areas where it grows - fresh coconut does provide some vitamin C, & its antioxidant properties could reduce the need for other antioxidants.

The Chinese feel we're healthier if our feet are flexible & healthy, so play with ways to move your feet during the day - pick up marbles with your toes, flex, rotate your ankles, have fun!


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Gluten Free scones

Since going gluten-free this summer, it's been interesting to consider that when going 'out'.
At Breitenbush, I was pleased to find so many fabulous gluten free choices, including Goddess Cake on my BD! Today when a friend suggested a lunch date, I opted for Thai, rather than a favorite soup & sandwitch cafe, which makes the best gluten loaded bread, & uses flour in the cream soup . . .

This Friday my 'Bodaceous Babes' Red Hat group is going to a private tea room that's open a few times a month (the owner sends out e-mails with those dates, & folks call to book). We went several months ago, & it's a lovely venue. So today I called to check about gluten-free options, (she serves a 'set' menu, varying it seasonally) & she said oh, yes, she can accomodate that with notice - but I'd have to 'forgo the scones.' hmm

So I checked on-line, & found this lovely scone recipe on the gluten-free gormand blog. When my kids were young, scones were an easy quick solution for their lunch if we were out of bread - we usually had a good supply of whole wheat flour & eggs :) I enjoyed backing them stove-top in a frying pan, & could whip up a batch while they got ready for school.

I made a batch tonight, using my brown rice 'basic' GF mix with 1/4 C coconut flour, egg whites (my dau's allergic to egg yolks & I want to share them), coconut milk, & 3 Tbsp each of butter & coconut oil. Peppy Lady shared a great list of egg substitute options!
I chopped filberts (local) & dried apricots, grated a bit of lemon 'zest' (peel), & added some freshly ground nutmeg - YUMMMMY!! I used the full amount of sugar (sucanat 'SUgar CAne NATural) & a bit of agave nectar - too sweet (for me!) The brown rice flour makes for such a nice texture.

So, no, I won't need to 'forgo' the scones - I can bring my own!
& while looking at recipes, found this lovely one for G F croissants!! Croissants? One of the few true regrets/ wists I was having, going gluten free . . . . so that's next on the list!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


After a LOVELY two week 'work/ation' holiday at Shining Breitenbush Hot Springs, I'm back in cyber world!! There actually are computers up there, but I enjoyed my time off the grid (hydro plant for power, geothermal heat, lovely OG food - ate gluten free & mostly vegan for 2 weeks) . . .

I worked at the Burning bush in the early to mid 90s, 4 years total, & enjoyed the opportunity to 'fill-in' for one of the staff who was on holiday to Alaska. My dau came up with her hubby & the girls - the 9 year old commented on the way home "there's only one thing wrong with breitenbush! . . . we didn't stay 3 nights!"
They'd stayed one night, coming up on my Birthday to help celebrate! What a delightful treat.
Now Sis is in school - 4th grade! & the little one begins playschool next week.
The last 'treat' was participating in a Breema Workshop over Labor Day weekend! I love integrating the Breema principles into my massage practice, & into my daily life. Link
Another treat was participating in hula hoop 'well being' classes several times with Lacy from Hoopshine. The first 2 were on the lawn, & I actually integrated some new ways to spin & play with my hoop!!

It's interesting getting back to life in this louder & busier world! I have some ideas for rearranging my space, inspired by the 9x20' cabin I was staying in, & am integrating back into doing massage, dropping Kayleen off for babysitting, etc.