Thursday, December 16, 2010

Mid December Musing

As the year rolls to a close, I'm enjoying time with grandkids ('grammie, we always have sleep overs at your house - you need to stay here tonight!'), the square dance calling, de-thugging more of my clutter, Holiday Harp gigs ...

Tomorrow my Bodacious Babes Red Hat group travels to one of our favorite local tea rooms, & I'll again make GF scones, this time for myself & one of my gal friends, who's been GF about 2 months now! I intend to use the recipe I used for macaroons for a dessert buffet, reducing the sugar a bit more. I adapted a 'normal' (non-GF) recipe:
1/2 C basic GF mix, 1/4 C sorghum flour, 1/4 C coconut flour
1/2 C Spectrum OG Palm oil shortening (for butter)
1/2 C coconut sugar (only used 1/2 C sugar, prob cut to 1/3 C for the scones)
1 T ground flax/chia seed mixed w/ @ Tbsp coconut milk (for egg)
My daughter just got a box of Montina, so I'll add a couple of Tbps of that as well GF RN suggests using a small amount to boost the nutrition in recipes.

& I've been reflecting on the changes I've seen in myself & my family over the last 18 months of being gluten free. In the summer of 2009, my daughter sent DNA samples off to TX for the genetic testing, & both she & her girls had two genes for sensitivity (her husband had one sensitivity, one celiac gene) Since they lived next door, & I felt it would be easier on my grandkids if grammy was also GF, I stopped eating wheat, rye, barley & any products I knew or suspected contained them at the same time.

Having been interested in health all of my adult life, this is one of the best things I've ever done for myself! Cousins remember that I wouldn't let my kids eat 'refined sugar' at family outings, & my pie crust was always whole wheat pastry flour ... oops!!

Gluten Free RN comments "Celiac disease is associated with over 300 signs and symptoms. The reason the problems are so diverse, is that complications are a manifestation of four causes. This is what makes celiac disease and gluten intolerance extremely tricky to recognize."

1) the body recognizes gluten as a pathogen & responds with inflammation
2) chronic inflammation causes T cell dysfunction
3) chronic inflammation causes an auto-immune reaction
4) celiac or gluten sensitivity can cause malabsorption or malnutrition symptoms

So what have I noticed personally over the last 18 months of being Gluten Free?

* lost 20# & my post menopause 'tummy'/ feel more like my 30-something self than 60!

* my scalp no longer itches! My mom used think it was lice, as I ALWAYS scratched my head. (I'm careful to use GF skin products, vitamins, etc)

* very little gas

* rarely need a nap (though I still enjoy one occasionally)
I'd usually eat bread at Breitenbush when I lived there, often a second slice with a bit of honey & butter; & remember struggling to stay awake doing that first massage after lunch - warm room, sleepy sleepy ....
when filling-in these days, I always choose the 'special diet' (gluten, dairy & egg free) & same warm room, but no problem staying awake!

* slight numbness in my hands some morning - that was becoming common, is reversing. My X's older sisters who've been ID as having celiac had Raynaud's (extremely cold hands & feet) years ago - which is now seen to be a sign of gluten sensitivity or celiac.

* mental clarity

* looking for the right word - ambition is almost right - I'm more enthused to clear clutter & keep a neater house!

* my main seed is quinoa - love that!! (it's in the beet family, so a seed rather than grain) Cooks in ~ 20 minutes, I usually add 1 T teff & 1 T amaranth to 1/2 C, cook with ~ 1 1/2 C water/stock or coconut milk - mmm.
I tend to cook it plain, then can add spices when I reheat - often have ~ 1/3 C mixed in with cooked veggies (or stuffed in pumpkin - yum!), take it in my tiffin, etc.
I used to eat a lot more rice, but tend to limit that now, so I don't overuse it. Rice cakes & crackers are a good option for when I'm out & about, & I use a basic mix that has rice flour. A major difference I notice is I'm less hungry eating less grain! We think of grains as 'fillers' - but I actually ate more of everything - perhaps that malabsorption bit GF RN mentions; the body craves more because it's actually starved for nutrients! Where I could easily eat a couple of pieces of bread, or a bit of every desert, it's now fairly simple to fill my plate (medium, not huge) or eat half of a restaurant meal; & only a piece of GF desert. It's not because it's not good - far from it! I've had some of the best deserts I can imagine that are GF! I'm just not as hungry!

* I take a multi-vitamin/mineral, Vitamin D-3 (5000iu in winter), magnesium (important for >300 biochemical functions in the body; I take 700 mg - some is from my multi) fish oil or chia seed, lithium ('think young into your 90s with this anti-aging secret for your brain'), sub-lingual or liquid Vitamin B-12 (absorbs in the gut rather than stomach, & is often low if you're Gluten sensitive), digestive bitters (1/2 tsp before meals), & coconut milk kefir (probiotics)

* My 10 year old granddaughter did go off her anti-seizure meds over the summer. She is doing well (though we still need to watch her); she also raised from level 12 to level 22 in her Spanish reading this fall! (the family Dyslexia is probably gluten related)
This week my niece commented she'd mentioned my granddaughter's progress at a party, & later one of the men took her aside & told her his 19 year old son recently had a seizure while driving - he & mom were OK, but the car was totaled when he seized while driving! They had no idea he'd been having seizures, & the dad said the boy could 'eat a loaf of bread or half a cake' at a sitting, so after hearing about my granddaughter, they planned to ask the Doctor to check for gluten issues! I warned her that the Doc might not know much about gluten sensitivity, & they may need to look into it on their own!

* My 5 year old granddaughter is much calmer, happier, & more alert. While she may get feisty, she rarely has the flares she did while eating gluten. Her little hands are smooth & soft as long as she avoids wheat flour play dough & soaps with a lot of chemicals/ gluten. & did I mention happier?? Her playschool teacher commented several times what a difference it made for her 'she just WOKE UP!'

* My daughter is seeing a new doctor who is working on healing her 'leaky gut' & helping her safely reduce/discontinue her anti-depressant. Her last blood work showed sensitivities to more foods (whey, so no yogurt/milk; hard cheeses are OK) egg whites (mildly sensitive) as well as yolks; & cane sugar (another grass, like wheat, rye & barley) among others.
She's been anxiety free since the first week GF, but has been taking the anti-depressant for a number of years. He's recommended a good digestive enzyme, & an amino acid supplement. She's pregnant, so he & her midwife want to avoid postpartum depression, so are being very careful! For protein, she's adding ground pumpkin seed into smoothies. I recently got some hemp seeds which are great on salads, & always roast the seeds of the pumpkins & squash I'm baking this season.
Her European doctor (primary care) is a proponent of limiting animal proteins, fish being the only meat he recommends. He also recommends NONE of his clients eat gluten containing products in America, tho when his family visits Europe, they eat bread & pastas. Dr Radzik's concerned about the GMOs & other American farming practices, feeling we'd ALL be better off avoiding wheat.

So if you've wondered if YOU might be gluten sensitive, now's the time to check it out for yourself - have the Genetic testing, or simply go gluten free for a few weeks & see how you feal! (it takes much longer for the body to heal, but you will probably notice some changes over the first weeks) & if you've been GF, & slipped, don't beat yourself up, just go GF again!

Here's to a wonderful GLUTEN FREE holiday!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Gluten Free Thanksgiving

Had a lovely Thanksgiving dinner at my daughter's - 19 gathered for a wonderful GLUTEN FREE feast!
Turkey n ham, mashed potatoes (both vegan & w/dairy)
I brought Rattatoui (Rroasted Veggies), mostly from my CSA share; carrots, parsnips, Jerusalem Artichokes, golden beets, leeks, garlic, sweet potatoes & yams ... chopped them all first, & had in bowls to saute in coconut oil in the wok, then transfer to the baking dish. I added a bit of veggie stock to moisten, & Italian herbs w/ a bay leaf & pieces of kombu.

Orange Cranberry sauce - had to settle for 'regular' oranges as blood oranges aren't quite in season yet; & used ~ 1/2 C honey (my daughter has sensitivities to both cane sugar & agave) - mmm - added a bit more sweetening when I've had left overs (but would rather not have it too sweet in the beginning!)

Pumpkin pudding - I used both pumpkin & butternut squash, which I baked at 350* earlier in the week. To make it egg free, I ground flax & chia seeds (2 parts flax to 1 part chia), & used 3 Tbsp in place of 3 eggs, & blended the baked pumpkin with a bit of the coconut milk. I used a tsp garahm masala with the other spices, & again used honey rather than Agave - YUM!!

My sweetie brought curried quinoa (cooked in coconut milk), 'good' olives, (inc green with garlic - which my 5 yr old granddaughter LOVES), & roast chestnuts! He also has a whipped cream maker that uses little canisters to do instant whip - YUM! Went great on the GF brownies, apple pie, & my pudding.

Good time with family & friends, lovely Gluten free food, what more can we ask?? Happy Holidays!!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Pumpkin time again

Yesterday our church had a Harvest Party out at the Heritage Center S of town, & our Square Dance club performed & invited folks to join us on the dance floor! Was a big hit. A gal in her 80s who was a club member, but has had health issues & has memory loss joined the 'lesson,' & didn't miss a beat! Her daughter was in tears, watching mama out on the dance floor, helping her partner figure out where to go! So sweet.

I brought pumpkin soup & a big green salad to the potluck - this fall I got a copy of Gluten Free Girl & The Chef's wonderful cook/story book, & they have been sponsoring a weekly recipe 'cook off' - the first week was making their pumpkin soup! YUM!

Chantrelles were just hitting our farmer's market, so I made mine with fresh chantrelles, leeks, celery root & coconut milk (replacing red onion, celery & cream :) Have made it several times - it's great!

I roast the squash or pumpkin whole, as suggested by my CSA farmers Katie & Casey, till soft enough for a knife to easily pierce, then cut & scoop meat & seeds out. I roast the seeds - Shauna has a great recipe for pumpkin seed hummus on her blog.

PUMPKIN SOUP (adapted from the recipe in Gluten Free Girl & the Chef)

5# pumpkin or squash - roasted & meat scooped out, seeds roasted & set aside

2 Tbsp coconut oil
half dozen chantrelle mushrooms (or others in season - chantrelles are
nice & orange)
* saute the chantrelles & set aside

2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 large carrot - large diced
1 leek (white part) or onion - diced
2 stalks celery or 1/2" slice of celery root (celeriac) large diced
5 cloves garlic, smashed & peeled
* saute the veggies in a medium stock pot, ~ 10 minutes till soft add 1 Tbsp chopped fresh sage, saute till you smell the herb

1 medium sweet potato, peeled; medium diced
1/2 tsp fresh nutmeg (freshly grated)
1 bay leaf
2 quarts veggie stock
* toss sweet potato into the stock pot with the other veggies, cover with stock & add herbs. Add salt & fresh ground pepper. Bring to boil, reduce heat & simmer about 15 minutes.

Finishing: fish out the bay leaf, & puree about 2/3 of the soup in batches in a blender or food processor. Taste & season with salt & pepper - add 1/2 Cup coconut milk, & reserved chantrelles.

If you wish, add roasted pumpkin seeds to each bowl (Shauna has her method for roasting with the pumpkin seed spread recipe) I roast my pumpkin/squash whole, then scoop out the seeds, & put them in a pan, sprinkle with salt, & return to the hot oven for ~ 10 minutes or till they're lightly toasted.

Made the soup - yumm - then made a green salad, & a fun, creamy vegan PUMPKIN DRESSING!
1/3 cup pumpkin
1/3 Cup Coconut milk Kefir (plain)
1/3 Cup olive Oil
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (I used Garam Masala)
1 Tbsp balsamic or cider vinegar
Blend till smoothe

This has been VERY POPULAR at my daughter's house!! The girls love helping MAKE kefir, & sometimes drink it ... my daughter has recently found she's sensitive to whey, as well as egg yokes (& somewhat sensitive to the whites) ... so some of the creamy dressing options aren't good for her.

I've been making kefir steadily since receiving the grains in the mail back in the spring. I still drink a cup of milk (coconut) kefir morning & evening, but haven't been making the water kefir. I tend to use canned coconut milk, & add 1/2 scoop cal/mag powder, 1/4 tsp baking soda, & 1/2 tsp maple syrup, honey or agave nectar. Cover with a piece of muslin & fasten with a rubber band, & leave at room temp 24-36 hours.
Then strain the 'grains' out, & store the cultured kefir in the fridge; starting a new batch in a wide mouth quart jar. The girls usually want a bit of honey or agave nectar in theirs (less than 1/2 tsp!) & usually want to help me strain & start a new batch when they visit.

Happy fall - soup's on!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Soaring like a Crane

I spent the weekend at the beach with my galfriends - 'Sister Circle's' annual retreat at the Sylvia Beach Hotel - marvelous! It was rainy but not to cold; by Sunday had cleared off & there were high tides, so lunch at Depot Bay offered lovely view (without danger of being swept away!)

In a few weeks I'll begin Level III of Soaring Crane Qigong. ('chee gong') with Jo Ann Albrecht.
This form is designed to energize those in very poor health - "Professor Chen (who brought this form to Oregon) was diagnosed in 1982 with terminal cancer. Doctors gave her a 25% chance of recovery. In search for a cure, Professor Chen was introduced to Qigong.
"At that time, Professor Chen was an English Professor at University of International Business and Economics in China. After her remarkable recovery, Professor Chen became a devoted practitioner and has dedicated her life to teaching Qigong."

Jo Ann studied with Professor Chen & offers the teachings in a clear, dedicated way.

I have been practicing this form for ~ 8 years, having begun studying Tai Chi/qigong in my early 30s. My massage mentor suggested it as a way to learn good ergonomics, & felt it was well suited for exercise classes (& hoped we'd learn to teach it!)
When I lived & worked at Breitenbush Hot Springs, I had the opportunity to offer a 'daily well being' program & developed a style of 'drop in' Tai Chi which incorporated quite a bit of Qigong, focusing on the basics of breath, slow movement, attention to posture, & releasing 'negative' energy or chi, then bringing in positive energy.
Guests & fellow staff members often commented on my youthful appearance/radience after a class - & I looked forward to those bi-weekly offerings. When one of the cooks began offering Yoga classes, I sat across from her at dinner just after her first class, & noticed that same 'glow!'

In preparation for class, I've re-read the Soaring Crane level I manual, & been pulling out other qigong books. 'Qigong essence of the healing dance' by Garri Garripoli - one I ordered from Powells Books some time ago, is fascinating, with chapters on healing, on children & qigong (the author played with chi as a child, & assumed everyone did!) & interviews with masters from US, China & Canada; including one of his mentors, 92 year old Duan Zhi Liang. who does qigong in the morning, then 'spars with Kung Fu masters a third his age' before going to his offices & offering Chinese medicine & medical qigong (charging ~ $1 US per treatment!)

Gerri speaks of qigong as a dance, master Duan "uses the Chinese word hundun when he refers to his family's form of Qigong - 'chaos' ..." (p 26) mixing up movements, doing them in a different order each time, truely a 'dance.' This fits well with the classical Russian Ballet I began with (in my late 20s) where the teacher would listen to music, eyes shut, then give us the warm up routines for that day! One student, who'd studied ballet with my Tai Chi teacher (!) was quite puzzled that there was no set 'warm up' - it varried from day to day & class to class. Hundun.

This is the way I've taught Tai Chi/qigong; varying the order, using the same routines, but mixing them up, 'listening' for what to teach that day. The 'set form' of the Soaring Crane routines attracts me; will I actually teach this way?? (If I'm certified to teach it!!)

From Qigong essence: "When I began (with Master Duan) I had years of training in Tai Chi, ... in a world that seemed a bit crazy & unmanageable, perfecting my Tai Chi forms & repeating the prearranged sequence provided a sense of pride & security. Master Duan entered my life with his chaos theory & turned everything on its head. This 92 year old master never did anything in the same way or order twice." (p 17)
& "Bring the principles of Qigong into the basic activities that consume your life. With each step that you would normally take in a semiconscious way, bring consciousness into it. Link a deep breath to it. ... Reach for the door handle, . . . breath out. Pull it toward you . . . breathe in. ... Link a breath with action, this will slow you down." (p 33)

Essence of Qigong - bring presence to our daily activities!

Friday, October 1, 2010


Since childhood, I've loved the line in a poem: "October's Bright blue weather" - a day like today!

With fall & return to school, it's a great time for all of us to think about packing lunches - & what fun options are available theses days!!
I was admiring stainless steel sets on-line, looking for 'the right one,' & a friend gifted me with this sweet three tier 'tiffin' - which closes with bails - rather like my dad's old aluminum mess kit!
They're sitting on a napkin I made last winter - there's a pocket for the chopsticks & spoon in the middle. This is reminiscent of one of the first 4-H sewing projects - a roll up placemat with pocket for utensils - I carry it in my purse! The Half moon napkin is double sided, & folds into a cute 'Christmas tree' - I made a bunch using fat quarters for my MOMs group gals last holiday season.
I've been reading about ideas for packing bento & tiffin sets, even the recommended amounts. Whew!! The height conversion chart puts me at 165 cm (typical Japanese woman is shorter, at 157) so the lunchtime amount would be closer to 800 calories (the recommendation for 157 cm is 600 calories/boxes containing ~ 600 ml).

Each tier of my 'tiffin' holds 2 cups, about 480 ml - so the contents of two well packed tiers is about the 'right' amount for lunch!! As 'Biggie' says: "So you ordered a bento box online, it arrives and you’re shocked at how tiny it is. People try to tell you to just eat less, but you have a sneaking suspicion that you may have accidentally bought a bento box sized for a 2-year-old instead of an adult."
LOL - that's exactly how this looks - & the amount of salad I'd normally pack explodes out of one of the tiers - so I intend to get a glass storage container to keep in our large fridge at work for several days worth of greens, & pack other veggies in the tiffin!
There's also a sweet tutorial on tying a furoshiki - which does double duty as a wrap for lunch & placemat! Since I already have the napkin & utensils, I'm set! I may also get a larger stainless steel container (our natural foods store carries several options) for days I'll be elsewhere & want a bigger salad! I also have a couple of stainless steel water bottles (two sizes) for days I'm not at the office.

I'll make my first furoshiki out of a couple of 'fat quarters' binding them with solid red or brown bias tape. I've thought of making a bag as well, but may just do this!! Love the comment "The Japanese Minister of the Environment recognizes the furoshiki as ideal for helping to minimize the waste of plastic bags." A small basket is another option.
This is a lovely way to meet your own dietary needs - gluten free, low carb, diabetic . . . just pack what YOU can eat!!
* use rice, quinoa or other GF grains; you can add sauted veggies to the grain or lightly stir fry - & think 'nutrient dense' - quinoa & amaranth are two of these super foods!
* pack small fairly solid veggies - cherry tomatoes, carrot sticks, olives, shredded carrots & beets - eat from the rainbow - choose bright colours for maximum nutrition
* my set has a small sauce/dressing container, save your 'wet' ingredients for that
* when you're cooking for the week, make some of a main dish in ramekins or cut small servings from the main dish - freeze some for a variety of meals (label & try to use fairly quickly!)
* add spices to yogurt or kefir for dipping veggies - savory or sweet
* Keep some 'basics' at work - gluten free tamari or Braggs Liquid aminos, flaked nori, wakame or other seaweed to sprinkle on salad, a container of your homemade salad dressing (most commercial dressings are made with corn, soy, safflower etc. oils -stick to coconut & olive oil for maximum health!
* Pack your favorite eating utensils, & find napkins in colours you enjoy - anything you can do to make meals more fun & colouful.
* Pack whole, in season fruit separately when possible
* Think of creative ways to use leftovers (planned overs!) - I cook my grains (usually quinoa w/ a T of teff & one of amaranth) without seasoning, then season according to the meal, grate stirfry some veggies to add, etc
* if you have kids, engage them in packing/ choosing their own lunch fixings.
* when preparing veggies, toss onion skins, garlic, veggie trimmings (no dirt or mold) into a bag in the freezer to make stock - you can freeze some of the stock in an ice cube tray, then pack in a covered container to toss in when you're cooking veggies or soup!
* Peruse the bento sites for more beautiful & creative ideas for making your packed meals something to look forward to!
* Friends of mine have a blog with meal & recipe suggestions for using the veggies from our local CSA shares - this is another great resource! Check their archives for what's in season where you live.
* Tiffin/bento packing is great for increasing your consumption of local, in season food.

Please share your ideas for fall meals & ways you 'pack your lunch' - Happy eating!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Yard Projects

I've been working on cleaning up my yard! My 'BD gift' from the city was a note that I needed to get rid of 'noxious weeds' over 10" tall. Now I *love to garden* - & get overwhelmed with the amount to be done . . .

My daughter lived next door several years, then moved across town. I'd relied on her & her hubby for help, in *exchange* for a lot of babysitting :) That's shifted the last few years, now that the littlest is in kindergarten, I don't even watch them Monday mornings!!

My son Josh was going to be in town, & I asked Mary & my friend Leonard if they could help - we got THREE loads of yard debris to 'Greenlands' - the composting branch of our local garbage service! We did one load last Thursday (my birthday :) & got most of the rest into the driveway for taking yesterday - what a nice change!! Leonard brought a weed eater, Mary, Josh, Alyssa & I clipped & chopped extra brush & the ubiquitous blackberries . . . Josh would ask 'why did you plant this?!' & I'd reply - I didn't - the birds did!!' Hazels, an oak tree (way too close to the fence, & our native oaks get HUGE) . . .

This morning I'm clipping a bit more in the driveway, chopping out a few weeds, & moving the garbage & recycling bins closer to the 'garage.' Mary still has a bunch of boxes in the garage that need to go home for sorting - another use for that nice big truck! There be spiders, so we need a few sunny days.

& Leonard brought over a 1x6 board to replace a couple on my back step that had rotted out - which necessitated a trip to Lowes for nails - & I found some lovely big rings on eye screws that I'll run a hazel rod through to make a new clothes bar for the square dance outfits I'm accumulating!! I think I'll put up two, one for the fluffy petticoats -

Josh brought his post setter, & drove a green fence stake into the ground so we could slip an 'umbrella' clothesline post over it - viola! A new clothesline!! My folks hung clothes & bedding out whenever they could, & I've missed having one here! A gal friend got one at Bi-Mart last summer, & someone suggested the fence post rather than sinking a sleeve into concrete - made sense to me, & I just happened to have an extra post from an old bit of fence! This morning I hung out a few clothes!

My next project is a new compost bin. I helped Leonard with a few projects around his yard on Monday, & he has a pile of pallets for a project - with some extras. I have one of those black bins (back left in the shed photo, behind the blue tarp) which is great, but I've wanted something a bit easier to access - so checked on line & found this fun bin, made with pallets! I'll line it with hardware cloth to keep rodents out, & plan to cover it with a carpet strip as suggested (with 1x1s nailed to the ends, so it will drap over easily, but also be easy to remove! I may use a devider with hardware cloth down the middle, so effectively have two bins, fill one first, then begin the second, with lots of room for the worms to 'migrate' to the second side!

I'm also thinking of what kind of fence to put up at the back of my yard - Mary & I took out the huge shrubs on her side of the chain link fence, & we installed a gate - with new neighbors, I want something taller again. The neighbors to the N & S have cedar fences, & we looked at the cedar boards at Lowes. One friend did a lovely fence using both cedar & bamboo, I need to visit & see how that's weathered.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Iskiate & brain health

Recently my son-in law sent a text asking where I get my Chia seeds? . . . I replied our health food store carries them - over in the seeds for sprouting section. When I was at their house a few days later, I noticed a recipe for Iskiate posted on the fridge, & when I got home I made a batch - yum!
  • 8 oz water
  • 2 T whole chia seeds
  • 1-2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1-2 tsp sugar (maple syrup, honey...)
Mix together & let sit 5-10 minutes. You can experiment with the liquid; coconut milk, sun tea, water kefir . . .

Matt's a runner, & recently hired as the Assistant Track Coach for the HS (he also manages the local Starbucks) - sounds like he'd been seeking a more 'natural' high electrolyte recharge drink - this is a great one! Inexpensive & easy to make it yourself.

Another friend recently mentioned the book Born To Run, about the Tarahumara Indians 'a Meixcan group of super-athletes,' & how they run barefoot. They also drank Chia Fresca or Iskiate; which has been making the 'circuit' in the running world since the book's publication. Today I picked up some Grade B Maple Syrup to use instead of sugar (I've also used a bit of honey or agave nectar) & here's another 'take' on the recipe.
I sometimes use ~ 1/4 C of my water kefir in the mix, I tend to drink more of my coconut milk kefir, so it's nice to find a new use for the water kefir! Already tart, & with herbs added in a second 'culture,' the water kefir is also high in probiotics.
Chia seeds are high-fiber, omega-3, high-protein, antioxidant, & anti-diabetic. Myelin, the 'white matter' of the brain, is the insulation that surrounds the brain & nerve axions. Omega 3 oils support the recovery & regrowth (re-myelination) of the myelin!

This week I was invited to a talk
on keeping our brains healthy as we age, by Roger Anunsen. I felt lucky to get a 'booster shot' from this expert on keeping our brains flexible & alert. This was an hour long overview of 'what's new' & a refresher on the info he presented last year. Roger is working on web casts, as he constantly seeks new info on optimizing brain health! He comments that he & a few others are working on translating the research into 'plain English' so more of us can access & utilize the info! The 'cogwheels' that support brain health are:
  • Pysical exercise
  • Mental exercise
  • Socialization
  • Stress Management
  • Nutrition & healthy diet (inc. plenty of antioxidents & Omega-3 fats)
  • Adequate sleep, including naps (ideal naps are: 23 min, 45 min, 0r 90 minutes)
I was tickled that dance provides the first 4! & calling square dance is a particularly good form of mental stimulation & social activity! He commented that some 'stress' is good - & encourages taking on the challange of learning something new fairly regularly.

Another 'brain health' expert, in his talk on 'Movement is Medicine' commented that ballroom dance has an Altzheimer's
Risk REDUCTION factor of ~ 75%! He & his wife began taking ballroom lessons shortly after learning about the mental health benefits! His formula for "Optimal aging" includes: life satisfaction, social participation, self reliance, coping ability, setting new goals.
& a reminder for anyone who hasn't heard how great coconut milk & oil are for enhancing brain health, check out Mary & Steve Newport's story of reversing Steve's early onset Altzheimer's with the help of coconut & MCT oil!! Steve's last MRI (April 2010)
"was reported as "stable" compared to the previous study." (June of 2008, about the time they began using coconut oil!) I use coconut oil for all my cooking, mixed with olive oil in salad dressing, & drink ~ 10 ox of coconut milk in the form of kefir daily.

I love this summer season of abundant fruit & fresh veggies - though with our longs cool spring, home crops are a bit limited. I am also thinking of how to 'revamp' my back yard - want to make some new raised beds, & clear more of the tall grass! I currently have apples, pears & a loaded fig tree! I dried some of the figs, as I couldn't eat that many fresh, & the grandkids who LOVE them are 2 hours away.

In good health!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Healing Rays, Grounding, Aura Clearing . . .

Returned this week from a lovely 4 day 'stint' at Breitenbush' - ah, Breitenbush, your river dreams a dream, you mountains sing, & your people, we grow strong' (from the Breitenbush tape 'concert for the Trees)
- You can just see a tiny corner of the roof of my tiny second Breitenbush home (92-93) on the left in this photo - it was 9'x19' with a loft bed!! (think of that when you're feeling your living space is 'tiny!')
The shared kitchen at that time was about half that size - now replaced with the lovely structure in the mid-left - two industrial size stoves & two sinks, plus a lovely large fridge. My garden plot was just beyond the tall motherwort in the right of the photo.

While staying in 'North Wind' - my next home (fall of '93- fall of '94), I enjoyed the evening air through the open window of the loft, & skimming several books on 'Telos' Mount Shasta, & Lemuria. Sweet.
In the late 90s, my friend Margo & I went to Mt Shasta for a fall equinox gathering, & fell in love with that mountain! Leaving the area, Margo saw Mother Mary's face on the mountain, & I saw a white dove fly across in front of us! Ascension teachings indeed! (My daughter & I had seen a white dove on our way down from Breitenbush a few days before this excursion - the symbol of ascension, or embodyment of our divinity)

As I read, the sections on daily preparations & Rays stood out. Daily practices can be so powerful, & serve as basic reminders that we are indeed fragments of Divinity, exploring human incarnations! Does it matter what the practices are? I think not, as long as they raise your energy & make you more available for this life journey!

Here are a few suggestions :
AM: Ground yourself - connect to the center of the earth (* instructions below for those new to this concept) Invite your angels, guides, Higher Self & Masters to support you as you release any old thoughts & habits that no longer serve you. Invite a new perspective - the unknowing mind, the knowing heart. Invite the lessons/experiences of this day to be easy, gracious 'mirrors' to awaken consciousness.

Throughout the day: Pay attention! Invite the energies of trust, love, faith, compassion, grace, & gratitude to flood your cells & your DNA with the purest vibrations & to build your energy. Do some Qigong, Tai Chi, Yoga; take a walk through a park, breathing in the Air & admiring the beauty. Even if you just take a couple of minutes for 'conscious movement' it will help build your energy!
Do the 'Land Clearing' for your property/public areas close by, any other areas you feel OK about clearing. 'Cleanse, Clear, Rebalance, Illuminate!' is the 'quick phrase, after you've done it awhile :)

PM: Receive & embrace in profound honor all the day has brought you, & set your intention of integrating it into your heart. Feel your cells & DNA expand to the new Vibration. Express gratitude for whatever abundance or insights have come your way.
Before sleep: Thank your guides, angels & Ascended Masters for their blessing & assistance this day. If you wish, ask travel to 'dream school' in a lovely, Green Jade temple (in Telos, under Mt Shasta, or another favorite healing/learning space with which you resonate.)

Here are some practices to explore:
grounding, shower of light, aura shield, & harmonizing your interactions with others.
I recommend beginning with grounding, & if you're often 'spacey,' try grounding daily for a couple of weeks, & see if it makes a difference! One of my teachers comments that healers esp are often 'ungrounded,' perhaps because we work with that unearthly healing energy!

* Grounding Basics (inspired by Erica Ginnis, Berkeley Psychic Institute & my personal practices)
  • Sit comfortably & take a few breaths into your belly ).
  • Allow a cord of energy to flow downward from your belly or a bit below(first chakra): Through the chair you are sitting in.
  • Through the floor and down through the building you are in.
  • Through the foundation and into the deep earth beneath.
  • Allow your grounding to flow down into the earth past all the rocks and layers of the planet, past the water, deep deep into the earth, into the heart of the Mother. Until it reaches the fiery center of the earth.
Sit with that image for a few minutes, breathe, relax, & allow any emotions or energies you feel 'done' with to sink into the fire in the Earth's Heart. You may feel emotional release, a bit of sadness, joy, just allow the feelings to gently drain away, & within a couple of minutes, you are likely to feel peaceful & centered.
* imagine anything you release being burned in the core or feeding the Earth as 'compost.'

Play with the images you use, & see how they feel:
  • Imagine a waterfall, flowing and cascading from your first chakra down through all of physical reality to the center of the earth.
  • Next change your grounding into a supple and strong root of a tree, allowing it to grow from your first chakra to the center of the earth. (note how this feels, breathe, enjoy)

  • Now shift your grounding so that it is a laser beam of light, shining though everything straight down to the center of the earth. (again, sit with it awhile)

  • Play with colours, choose one or two favorites, & let your grounding 'root' or light shift colours. Breathe it in, send it down.
  • Throughout the day, whenever you think of it, take a minute to let the old cord 'dissolve' & create a new one. This is a great time to play with colours, & see what 'fits' for you.
  • Some folks find it's important to feel themselves 'anchored' between earth & heaven, & you may find you wish to send your spent energy to the sun or angels to dissolve. Do what feels best for you!
  • When you enter a new space, take a moment to ground yourself, then imagine a green thread going from your feet to each corner of the room. Imagine a gold thread above your head, going to each corner of the ceiling. You are now anchored in the space. Many folks can be anchored in the same space - try it next time you're in a class or at a party! Absorb the cords or let them sink into the earth when you're done.
Shower of Light
  • Standing - Ground yourself & imagine a a channel passing from the crown of your head down through your backbone, belly, & continuing to the earth
  • Imagine a cosmic 'showerhead' a few feet above your crown, & invite it to shower you with vibrant golden light, which washes over your body, & through the central channel
  • Let the shower run for a minute or two, washing away sadness, fears, anger, doubts
  • Switch the shower to violet, & let it run for another minute, transmuting all of these outdated emotions & feelings into the highest good for you & all that you touch.
  • Turn the shower 'off,' & move a bit to integrate the energy - shake, dance, wiggle
Aura & Roses:
  • Standing - Ground yourself & imagine a a channel passing from the crown of your head down through your backbone, belly, & continuing to the earth
  • Imagine your 'bubble' or aura shield, about arms length around, above & below you.
  • Sweet aura colours:
  • Celestial gold (your body's own 'self affinity' colour - this colour helps you maintain your highest integrity) this is the basic, other colours are layered over gold. Turn a circle with your arms outstretched to 'define' your aura egg. Imagine it the same distance above your head, & into the earth below your feet.
  • You may wish to experiment with Silver, & see if that 'fits' better - or platinum :)
  • True Blue - (over gold or silver) give your aura a light coat of true blue when you venture into public places, & when you wish to speak your truth.
  • Violet - St Germain's transmuting violet flame - this protects you from negative energies of others, & keeps your energy 'to yourself' when you're out of sorts. Great to remember to put on the violet when you go to the mall, or into the city!
  • Rainbow - think of the irridescence of oil on water, or a soap bubble! This is fun to play with when you're in nature, on a walk, hanging out with girlfriends.
  • The colour of the Ray for the day (see below) - again, begin with gold or silver, then layer with yellow, or pure white, or emerald green . . .
  • After you've got your 'aura colours' in place, imagine 4 beautiful roses, in your favorite colour(s) - one in front, one on either side, & one behind you, just outside your aura. These assist in absorbing energies that are out of balance throughout the day. Place a 5th rose above your head, perhaps a rose bud, poised to bring in insights & blessings throughout the day.
  • At the end of the day, thank the roses & allow them to dissolve. If you have a stressful experience, let the roses dissolve & melt into the earth or pass them to an angel, & imagine a fresh bouquet surrounding you! You may wish to imagine a rose above you at night, or at the entrance(s) to your room.
  • In the morning, after renewing your aura 'sheath,' start with new roses.
Ideas for harmonizing interactions
  • If you have an intense experience of any kind, take a few minutes to reset your grounding cord (you can let the old one dissolve into the earth), then check your aura & place new roses.
  • When you find yourself in conversation with someone who has similar issues to yourself, place an extra rose between you & them, inviting it to 'catch & dissolve' any 'matching pictures' of the issues that you share!
  • Before you encounter that person again, or when you go for a job interview, etc, imagine yourself & the 'other' as tall as trees, & invite your high self to 'visit' with theirs, setting your intentions for the meeting - that it be aligned with the highest good for each of you, that the outcome be positive, beyond any expectations! As my friend Peter Moore said "whenever I remember to do that, things always turn out better!"
& finally, the idea I began this, connecting with one of seven 'healing rays/flames' on each day of the week!
Sunday - Yellow Ray/Wisdom/ Divine Mind
True wisdom arises from the higher perspective of consciousness - merge Divine Mind with personal mind to bring more congruency
Monday: Royal Blue Ray / Divine WILL .
Focus on Divine will, align with Divine Will to experience Divine Harmony. Bathe Mind, body & Soul with Divine Energy daily - & Invite the Blue essence into the second chamber of your heart.
Tuesday: Rose Pink Ray/ Divine Love
Divine transformation of love dissolves limits, heals & harmonizes all things. Breathe in & merge with the rose pink divine flame of love. Multiplies all you desire & deserve.
Wednesday: Emerald green Ray/ Divine flame of Healing precipitation & abundance
Focus on energies of divine Healing in all aspects of life. Balance & soothing for all the disruptions you have created. Invoke & Visualize radiant Green Liquid healing light transforming & uplifting all areas, bringing balance, peace, joy. This green light also energizes abundance & manifestation.
Thursday: Golden Ray of Resurrection/restoration of Divinity
A day to remember we are Divine beings, experiencing Human Life & learning from it!
Invoke & merge with purple & gold energies of Resurrection/ remembrance of all gifts & abilities of that Divinity.
Friday: Pure Dazzling White Ray of Purity & Ascension
Alchemical Union of Human & Divine Essence of purification. This ray purifies all miss-qualifcations of Divine Energy, clears negativity, false beliefs, poor attitudes & habits that distract you from your Spiritual Mastery. Fill Auric field & every cell of your physical, emotional & etheric bodies with pure dazzling white ascension flame.
Saturday: Violet Ray of Divine Transmutation & Freedom from Illusion
Violet flame of change, alchemy, freedom from limits, royalty, diplomacy. Fill your auric field & heart with the violet flame, invite the frequency of violet flame to clear all obstacles, & karmic blocks to manifesting your purpose.

  • You can add the 'ray of the day' into your shower of light - on Friday, bathe in the Violet flame a bit longer. Violet can be draining if you're not used to it, so gradually add a bit more time, as you feel ready!
  • Loving your body as a Divine Repository of Spirit is important to loving the totality of your spirit.
  • "I AM a being of Light & joy, reflecting perfection to all beings.
  • Fountain of Youth: become a fountain of pure light. Visualize light pouring out from you, ever being filled by the eternal fountain.
  • Monitor your thoughts: "How would a Master View This? What action would a Master take in these circumstances?"
  • When in doubt: Sit with It! don't take action yet; ground, bathe your aura, connect with the ray/light of the day, invite insights & ENJOY!!!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Behind the Scenes

Three cars arrive at 5, the girls begin unwinding cords & plugging in their mics. Tho they are smiling & exchanging news, they quickly get down to business, practicing an ever growing repetory of music - we're 'Girls Night Out,' & we call square dance!

When I began taking Square Dance lessons last September, little did I know that 8 months later I'd be calling! Since we began last spring, we've met weekly to practice, & called 'tips' at three dances!
Summer has been a bit harder, we've missed a few rehearsals, but when we met yesterday, there were few glitches.

On the weekend we did several demos - two senior care facilities on Friday evening, & at the Amity 'pancake breakfast' Sunday morning. Club members are 'promenading' in the photo below.

we've been booked for our first full dance - Sept 11 for the Sweet Home 'Squarenaders!'
Our caller Leonard recently became their club caller, but had a prior commitment for that Saturday, so GNO has been booked to do the dance! So we have been working on some new songs - last night we practiced 16!

As Charlotte & I visited after rehearsal last night, I thought again how fortunate we are to renew this friendship! I moved to Breitenbush about the time she began calling & remarried, & we lost touch. Oh, we knew HOW to reach each other, but we rarely did. Another blogger wrote of her experience reconnecting with her college roommate after a 20 year hiatus - I feel the same!

Monday, July 19, 2010

New Phone

After almost FOUR YEARS with my first cell phone, I've got a new phone!! I loved it when the guy at the phone shop said 'you can't really upgrade from that phone!' that it was pretty bullet proof (yes, four years of being dropped & run down & . . . my daughter's been through 4 or 5 in that time)
. . . but we've switched plans, my daughter now 'shares' with her hubby's plan, & I'm on my son's plan . . .
so there was an 'upgrade' credit we'd loose if I didn't get a new phone . . . .

Bless his heart, the sales rep, Mark, took in my 'deer in the headlights' look on being faced with the choices, & recommended one (I'd told him my 'basics') . . . how fun!! I 'could have' gone online with my old phone, with its small screen & number type pad. . . today I booked my first on-line apt using my phone!! & have transfered some of the phone #s etc . . . & run down the battery . . . & taken some awesome pics - wow! (these were 'old phone' photos - & darn it, I just learned how to 'zoom!' . . .

I'm still trying to figure out how to add photos for folks' contact info (if I have the pic in my phone or on my facebook page I've been able to do it) . . .

Meanwhile, I played for weddings the last two weekends, both at wineries, both on lovely days, with georgeous views. Last week my donation of harp music had been 'won' at an auction; this week I played for both wedding AND the cocktail hour, & the weather was perfect!
I had to pose Rowan with the wine barrels last weekend (Willamette Valley Vineyards) & on Sat (Wine Country Farms) by a hop vine. Thus ends the summer's weddings - unless someone decided, last minute, they must have a harper!

Weekend before last also marked the lavender festival, with a market in an area park, & various farms opening their doors to the public! Treats like lavender lemonaide & lovely vistas awaited those venturing out seeking lavender, lavender goodies, photographing & painting the fields.

I took a friend, tho I passed on clipping lavender to take home - I have half a dozen bushes myself, one particularly full. I did buy a dark purple variety from Van Hevlingen Nursery - friends whose herbal knowledge & variety of plants I've enjoyed for about 20 years!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th of July

Happy Independence Day! Rather overcast here awhile - after 'morning sun!' . . .

We are (square) dancing on the float in another parade this evening, so I'm hoping it clears off & warms up! This will be the 3rd parade of the summer, in a small local town (Willamina) followed by their fireworks. Since our local firework display moved from a school ~ 15 blocks from my house, & easy walking distance to a site closer to the airport, with lots of congestion, I haven't been 'out' to watch them. My daughter is also happy to celebrate rather 'quietly' at home with her hubby, their girls & a few sparklers!

My dad disliked driving on holidays, even 'back in the 50s & 60s' when traffic was much lighter! I know he'd drag his heels at going to this parade, travelingon one of the busiest highways in the state! So with others, I raise prayers for travel safety, & clear skies!

July brings several musical events - I'll be playing harp next Friday from 11-1 at Turkey Rama, & for several weddings at pretty vineyards the next few weekends.

It's almost a year now that we've been gluten free, & a weekend at the coast with my galfriends highlighted just how much I want to avoid the stuff. On the ride home midday Saturday, I wrestled with a a migraine (which I RARELY experience). I combated it with homeopathic gelsemium & arnica - by the time I got home & took a nap, was feeling almost normal. Was it triggered by histamines from the wine the night before? But I didn't awaken with it . . . or . . . .

I didn't intentionally ingest gluten, but picture the breakfast 'bar' Sat AM: a lovely fritata Martha made with fresh duck eggs, aspargus, local garlic & onion, topped with avocado - next, loaves of bread from the night before peeking out of their warpper; then the pan with sauted bacon, nice & crisp, followed by a plate of G containing muffins!
This was laid out before I noticed - I did go through the line 2nd - but who laid it out? Did they wash their hands between placing items?

Did anyone even HESITATE to place the bread between the main dishes? & did the person in front of me take bread? Does a bear poop in the woods? Well, of course they took bread! I got bacon with my own fork, & went outside to the deck overlooking the ocean, to dine with my friends. & within an hour or two, had stiff shoulders & a headache.

Ironically, a few weeks before one of my friends asked if I were coming on the beach retreat, & when I expressed concern about gluten contamination, she said - yes, we talked about that, & that it wouldn't hurt ANY OF US to go gluten free for the weekend!

Well . . .

Some of us headed over Thur, & ate out that first night. One of the bread baskets was in front of my plate between two of us, the other shared between the other four. When that basket ran dry, 'ours' was passed down (whew!) but more bread was requested. (& later someone asked me if the basket in front of us - which they'd emptied - had any more, & I quipped that I didn't intend to be their 'pusher')
I had a salad, stuffed chicken breast & aspargus. The chef recommended against the rice pilaf, ('can't guarantee that it's G F') so I had a baked potato. We had desert at home, inc yummy GF brownies Martha brought, in their own box & well labeled. (the rest had 'regular' brownies, from a seperate box)

Dinner Sat was lasagna - I brought my grain mix, & asked Donna to reserve some sauce & cheese, rather than bringing her GF noodles (knowing she was likely to bake it at the same time as the 'regular' lasagna) & cooked my seed/grain mix while I made the salad.
The seed & grain mix: quinoa & millet in equal parts (1/2 C each) & a Tbsp each of teff (African millet), amaranth, & chia seeds - bring ~ 2 C of water to a boil, pour in grains, stir, reduce heat & cook ~ 20 min. This is great for breakfast or dinner, & you can season as you wish.
Local strawberries over ice cream & a GF brownie for me (angel food cake for the others)

Snacks included the brownies & bags of chex mix, pretzles, M & Ms . . . . I brought dehydrated veggies, & found a pretzel in the bag, when I got home - I'd put it out on the snack table - should have put some out in a dish with a spoon, & kept the bag in my basket, where I had rice cakes, rice crackers, & a coconut mango bar. If I go next year, I'll ask that all the gluten items be placed on the snack table, & that any GF snacks be in a different area.

Do my friends have chronic health problems that are associated with gluten sensitivity? Yes, inc Asthma, Diabetes, Chronic pain, weight issues, one sleeps with a c-pap machine, . . . . & only one has expressed 'considering' going GF for a week & "seeing if it helps" . . . (another wanted to share the grain mix, as she's 'doing' weight watchers, but didn't avoid other gluten)

Yesterday, I visited with my daughter's friend Karen, who started us down the GF path, after hitting 'early menopause' in her mid thirties (yes, ANY fertility/ miscarriage/ premature birth issues can be linked to gluten sensitivity), & commiserated about people just 'not getting it' - she'd spent a 'mixed' Thanksgiving with 'well meaning' family members, & even after explaining how GF folks should serve themselves first, & others should only DIP food with the utensils, & not spread anything on bread . . . others jumped ahead of them in line, & immediately someone dipped & spread cranberry sauce on their bread . . .

Like others on this strange journey of being GF in the land of wheat, wheat, rye & barley, find it frustrating at times, but joyfully health giving!

Watched Julie & Julia Friday night at my daughter's, & think of Julie as I blog - fun to see her cooking her way through Julia's book, & thinking of Shauna's GF tome, due at the end of the summer! Now that would be fun to cook through . . . .

Monday, June 21, 2010

Happy Summer Solstice

Ah, the sun!!
Our spring/early summer has had rather chancy weather - rain, cloudy skies, low temperatures. A few weeks ago I played harp at our Farmer's Market & by the end of the day my fingers were quite chilly.

Today I had fun playing harp at a Summer Solstice Wedding (the second weekday wedding this year!) with a lovely 'cast of characters' - the bride & groom are actors in NY city, & had brought friends & family in from around the country! Several actors & a soprano with the Met. Opera blessed us with readings & music.

10 or so years ago, a friend's daughter got married on a riverbank, & they had received a wind chime as a present. The minister blessed the chime, & told the couple that if they were experiencing difficulties, to listen for the chime, & think of all the people who had gathered for the wedding, & were supporting their union. As he spoke, the wind 'riffled' the harp strings!

I later told the bride & groom about that, & make a point of sharing that story with other couples, when that happens at their wedding. Today was a wind harp day, & the bride, wearing a family heirloom wedding dress, put her hand to her heart as I shared the blessing of wind (her husband is part Chokta & Cherokee, & I'd played the Native American flute as they spoke a Cherokee prayer)

On the weekend our Sq. Dance club was in another parade, & I found it easier to dance on the float, & to know when I was with the 'wrong' partner (just keep dancing!!) . . . I wasn't dancing when we went down the hill (I'd heard about that! Hard enough to keep your footing on a moving float!)
The week before, we'd done a 'visitation & camp out' at the ocean. It was a LOVELY weekend - sunny & over 70* - which is great for the Oregon Coast. We danced Sat PM & Sunday afternoon at the Toledo 49rs BD (or anniversary) dance, GNO got up to call a tip, & we got lots of compliments, & a bunch of dancers on the floor.
At one point, our caller was up on stage with the Host caller - one of the gals from GNO was in my square, & warned me it was a 'Plus' tip, & I realized that when she met me, I'd just begun going to dances, & got lost a LOT! I assured her I'd 'graduated' from the plus lessons, though I hadn't danced it much. I didn't get all the calls - but at this point, I usually don't get lost unless the whole square is breaking down!

At the Parade, Leonard gave one of the teens a 'purple heart' for being in a square with 3 callers - I was in the square, too, so actually four callers! Though I'm only doing the group calls at present! AND both Jackie & I got up on the stage for the last call with all the callers present! It's hard to believe Girls Night Out only began rehearsing in April!

This weekend I have another trip to the beach, this time with my 'Mom's Group,' then GNO will be calling a 'tip' at a dance in Salem Sat evening (so I'm heading over Thur with the 'advance' group.)

I won a Gluten Free goodie bag from a Facebook Group: G Free Foodie - fun hat, & some 'gormet marshmallows' (without HF cornsyrup!) I like the concept of 'foodie' emphasis - we really DO enjoy eating & food!! Just not the gluten . . .

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Gluten Freedom

It's been close to a year now that our 'family' has been gluten free! Today my oldest granddaughter is in for her 'sleep deprived EEG' to see if she can go off her seizure meds!! Her 'mild seizure disorder' was one of the reasons we looked into the genetics, to see if we were prone to gluten sensitivity - yes; we had the genes!
One of our friends brought her 'gluten sensitive' family tree to the local GIG meeting Saturday, showing which members have which combo of genes, her husband's a geneticist, & predicted which combo some would have, from the others in their direct line.

It would be nice to do that for our family. I'm an only child, but have a number of cousins who display symptoms of gluten issues. My X husband (my son's dad) has a niece & nephew who've gone gluten free, two of his sisters have been diagnosed with celiac Disease. He, his third sister, a niece, nephew, & his two sons haven't gone gluten free or been tested (tho he finds he feels better eating fewer grains in general)

His younger son (15) has a genetic liver disorder, & received a transplant several years ago - was it the double whammy of TWO genetic disorders that made his liver condition so severe? Bread & cottage cheese were two favorite foods, & he often just doesn't feel good. He's MUCH better since the transplant, for which everyone is grateful!

Our 36 yr old son & his family have a number of health issues that seem to be gluten related. A few weeks ago, my youngest granddaughter stayed overnight with her Uncle & cousins, my daughter & I picked her up in the morning. Uncle Josh had given Kayleen a zip lock bag full of cereal for the trip home - which he had checked, & was wheat free - but each cereal was sweetened with Malt - barley malt - so not gluten free!!
Here's a list off gluten free & 'dangerous' grains it IS tricky to figure out!!

His 6 year old gets BAD 'poison oak' that their allergist was surprised at 'I've never heard of someone getting poison oak when they just visit a house where it is, but aren't out in it themselves . . . ' (duh!! I've known a number of folks who experience that!!) & doesn't sound like he has a clue there's a relationship between skin issues & gluten sensitivity . . .they've decided to try minimal gluten, esp with her, & see if it helps!! I sure hope it does . . . & so glad they're looking into it!

Anyone have chronic pain? This site has a wealth of info for pets & their humans!

A month ago, one of my co-workers challenged our new office manager to go gluten free for a week, & see if it made any difference in her energy levels, etc.
She took the challenge! & has been loosing weight (wasn't heavy, but wasn't her ideal weight), has fewer headaches, & is much clearer mentally after lunch.
She's had several 'oh ooh's - the blue cheese (not a gluten 'safe' one) dressing at our local natural foods deli; a 'green salad with no bread' that came compete with croutons! (she picked them off - as she was already back at the office before discovering them), a 'normal' brownie on the weekend.
Like us, each time she gets some gluten, she feels bloated, gets an instant headache, & says 'was that worth it?' . . . no! & is a gluten for information - she's doing great, looking great.
She had extremely low Vit D levels when she joined our office in Jan, & I recently read that's another symptom of gluten issues - fats aren't properly metabolized, so fat soluble vitamins aren't properly metabolized or absorbed . . . she's been on a high vit D supplement, so that's probably one of the reasons she's loosing weight! (this link was on my favorite FB group - Coeliac Disease - not just a food preference!')
This morning, CD. . . posted on correlations between Vitamin B-12 deficiency & celiac or gluten sensitivity. This is a great little form - you can fill in blanks on the questionnaire, & see if you are likely low in B-12.
~ 25 years ago, I had bursitis in one shoulder, triggered by overuse with a new massage stroke. In one of his books on nutritional therapy, Dr Jon Wright suggested both B-12 (usually shots!) & Vit C. Around that time, I discovered sublingual B-12 supplements & began taking them (the bursitis corrected in ~ 5 -6 months) .
Since B-12 is absorbed in the intestines rather than the stomach, levels don't increase with 'normal' supplements - hence 'under the tongue' (sublingual) or injections are most efficient ways to increase the levels . . . & since gluten issues involve the gut, & often signal poor nutrient absorption, it makes sense this is a vitamin we'd be low in.

Meanwhile, a group of my friends are planning our annual beach trip in a few weeks, & I've been torn . . . do I risk going along, & them trying, but not really understanding gluten free? One commented "we can live without that 'nasty gluten' for a weekend" - (& with their range of aches, pains, & health issues they might even feel better for it!)

But I think of the 'nice dinner' one of the 'most supportive' friends preped for her hubby & me last month. I'd played at a wedding in their area, & was invited to their house afterwards. She cut up veggies & put in a roast. Made a big green salad. Pulled out the tin of bake yourself (wheat) rolls, & realized the roast wasn't 'done' enough to take out of the oven before she needed to put them in. . . . she probably 'always' made rolls with roast, & thought her hubby wouldn't be happy if she didn't! Did she ASK him? (he wasn't home yet, but has a cell phone, & is well aware I'm avoiding gluten) . . .
No . . .
So she covered the roast with foil, & put the rolls in, serving them (on the other side of the table) with dinner.

Was I terribly sick? I think I took my digestive enzymes & experienced - the usual 'little bit of bloating & gas' . . . they ate the package of rolls between them. It was a lovely roast, but was making rolls necessary?? She carefully watches her own diet - is diabetic & has asthma - mmm, yes, both can be symptoms of gluten issues, & her hubby has digestive issues, they both are heavier than they want to be. . .

Meanwhile, Girls Night Out will do a 'tip' at a dance in Salem that Sat., so I have a great excuse NOT to go on the beach trip. I could go 'early' (Thur/Fri), as some of them are; & it sounds like they want to make an effort to accommodate my needs.

What would you do?

Monday, May 31, 2010

Girls' Night Out

We did it!
The 'debut' performance of Girls' Night Out was on Sat in Salem at the Square Dance Center. Since it was a holiday weekend, we expected maybe 2 or 3 squares - no . . . . more than 70 folks, enough for 6 squares throughout the dance!! Yikes! (we heard that quite a few folks decided to come just to hear us!) Since it was a 'callers & cuers co-op' dance, like a jam session, folks signed in at the door, & went on stage in that order. The host for the evening decided to put us up just before the break - so not 'till after 9, & the dance began at 7:30. So lots of time to dance, & try to forget being nervous!

Our outfits were so cute, they HAD to like us, don't you think? We actuall
y did well, & received lots of nice comments! & we got to hear a lot of those at the break (it was a 50s/60s & 70s dance, so root beer floats were the special treat!)

We sang & called our 'theme song' - 'Girls' Night Out' & 'Dizzy' (I'm so dizzy, my head is spinning, like a whirlpool it never ends; cause it's YOU, you're making me spin, you're making me DIZZY!' (complete with 'dizzy' choreography)
The only 'glitch' was that the sound system, though set up for 4 cords & mics, didn't work quite right, so Jackie & I (in the middle) were hard to hear. Sandy & Char (the ends) have had lots of experience, project well, & their mics worked fine . . . so some trouble shooting in order before we perform again.

It was really fun. I have made seve
ral drapes for my music stand, white for weddings,a brocade plaid for other events, now one in blue denim for GNO. We rehearsed again tonight, & began working on a few new songs. Sandy is listing us in a SQ D magazine, so we have to learn enough music for a dance! It's fun to do some of the slower, sweeter songs - 'Any Dream Will Do' & 'Rainbow Rider' are two current favorites. We tried 'Devil Went Down to Georgia' which is fun, too!
Sandy & Char can 'carry' doing several individual 'tips' (set of two dances) & Sandy & Jackie 'cue' (choreograph the rou
nd dance) & Char's done some of that - dances alternate between two 'called' dances & two that are 'cued' We're doing 2-step in this photo - Char with her husband Bill, me with Sandy's Al.
We'll be calling a tip at the end of June, during one of Sandy's dances (the caller has the prerogative of inviting a guest caller to do a 'tip.'

We have several advantages - being unique - there are several guys' groups, but no other girls' groups; we have good timing; & those cute outfits . . . . .

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Getting Closer

Next weekend Girls' Night Out will make it's debut, at the caller's & Cuer's co-op dance in Salem! Yikes!! The other three gals sang a few weeks ago at another Salem dance - I wasn't there, & one of our friends said 'it wasn't really GNO without you!' Aww . . .
Am I nervous? YES!

So we've been rehearsing weekly, & selected the two songs for our 'tip' (plus a couple more, if they ask us back up) & making our outfits! Jackie found some cute pink fabric with little girls kicking up their heels - & we each picked up a denim shirt (thrift store-ing!), & are putting on yolks & lace. Jackie finished hers & working on Sandy's this weekend - mine is also in process.

I took it along to work on this afternoon at the ballet studio (yes, that's an intriguing contrast!) during rehearsal for the spring Dance Concert. Several girls asked me if it was for one of the pieces - & everyone thought it was cute. I was in 2 pieces - a Tai Chi number, & playing the harp for an improv piece followed by 'reverance' - the curtsies! So sweet!
I went across the street for Mexican dinner, as the studio provided sandwiches (not GF :)

Friday I went to Washington with my son & his family to attend my cousin Lori's memorial service. It was a LOVELY service - & 6 of the 8 first cousins that are left were able to attend. My son Josh is good friends with Lori's daughters, so we went over to the family gathering after the service.

Here I am with my cousin Louann - Lori was her older sister. Family resemblance is strong, isn't it? As an only child, the family dance is something I am a bit in awe of. I don't spend a lot of time with these cousins, but love them dearly! Lori & Letha (my Aunt) had early August birthdays, & began having 'family reunion' BD parties in the 70s.

Our Uncle Ray was the last of the 5 Aunts & Uncles to pass - at 92!

I had fun asking cousins if they'd square danced! I knew Lori's folks Letha & Lonny did, & my Aunt Irel & her husband Ed; but which of my cousins??
I was intrigued to see how many said 'oh, yes - ... & I did!' Cousin Leonard (in the middle here, between Doris & me) & his wife danced till she broke her leg while she was pregnant, & spent the pregnancy in a

His sister Arlene & her husband Bob began after retirement, when folks from their church 'persisted' - Bob's new wife (not a dancer!) asked "do gals still wear those (silly) full skirts?"


Other cousins 'grew up' dancing with their folks - or remembered spending the evenings out in the car, while mom & dad were in dancing! (those were the days!) Since my mom was on crutches, my folks didn't dance (I think my dad was glad of the 'excuse') but enjoyed the music.

There were some sweet photos that included my mom in her 20s, with the young cousins (she didn't marry& have a 'chick of her own' till her late 30s!) She taught several of them to swim in the pond at the farm, & loved spending time with them. Lori was 14 when I was born, & her daughters are ~ 10 years older than my kids.

One more week . . . . .

Friday, May 14, 2010

Littlest Purple People Eater

This weekend, our Square Dance club has a float in the anual 'Alien Days Parade,' an Oregon clasic (& the second largest UFO fest in the country! "The festival began as a way to honor the famous 1950 Trent sighting in which two local citizens witnessed and photographed a UFO, said to be some of the most credible images of UFOs to date. Read a detailed history of the Trent sightings." A friend of my 94 year old mother-in law also saw the UFO/ strange object in the sky that day in 1950, & a sis-in law later lived on the Trent farm for awhile.

My daughter & I usually attend the parade with the girls, & have talked about how fun it would be to dress up & participate - this year I will! Here's my 5 year old granddaughter 'posing' (is that how aliens stand?) in my 'one eyed, one horne (flying) Purple People Eater' hood, & freshly 'sparkled (glitter infused puff paint) purple T-shirt.

Our caller has been working on the calls for THE song, & has a cordless mike; we'll be dancing on the float! Judging is at 11 AM, with the parade at 1 - & prospects are that the warm, sunny weather is here for several days - always appreciated for a parade.

My gal friends & I meet weekly, to practice our singing calls. They actually did a couple at a dance last weekend - I hadn't gone, but the other three were all there. My challenge is singing in a lower register, as it's easier for the guys to understand the calls if they're not too high pitched!
I've been a soprano all my life - now to CONSISTENTLY sing alto - yikes! But it's happening. & I can get through a whole call, singing all the moves! (which has also been work!) I've borrowed a mike, & practice with that at home & our rehersals.

My daughter is getting closer to moving across town! This AM I finally got to see inside the house, as the family was having an Estate Sale, & the kids wanted some of the furniture. I found a couple of stainless steel pans,

Had to take a break to clip some GRASS in my back yard!! My daughter says I should get rid of all the grass, & turn it into a BIG garden!! Nice idea - working on it! & delighted to see my Spitzenberg apple branch (on a 3 way tree) is FULL of thumb sized apples!! 'Rumourred to be' Thomas Jefferson's favorite apple, it 'doesn't bear heavily' - but it is absolutely delicious!

What are you up to this fine weekend?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Tra La, tis May

Had a lovely day - playing Rowan (my biggest harp) at a wedding - in a BARN!!

We've been in lots of settings - this was a first! We were in the loft, blessed with a solid floor (a piece of plywood across the beams) & lots of skylights. & tho it was windy & rainy, the sun came out after the wedding, & a dear friend attended, so I stayed for the reception.

This morning I'll help at Playschool, which is always fun. Hard to believe that it's the last month, & next year that littlest granddaughter will be in Kindergarden! I mentioned that I'd miss going to school with her, & maybe I could come visit her classroom? She readily agreed that was a good idea! She will probably tell me partway there that we 'should have' driven (it's about 4 blocks!) esp if it's raining! I remind her I only drive if I have a massage to give afterwards!
She loves to sit in the 'trunk' (very back) of the station wagon - which is also the harp's favorite riding place.

What are you up to this fine Wednesday??

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Gluten Free Scones for Beltane

I'd usually make oat cakes for Beltane, but GF oats are now ~ $4- a # - yikes!! So for our dance tonight, I decided on scones.

I found the inspration for these on-line last summer, when my Red Hat group was going out for tea, & the hostess said she could do every course except 'you'll have to forgo the scones!'
Loving scones, I decided to do a bit of sluthing, & found this recipe. It quickly became a favorite - scones are one of those 'quick & easy' breads that are perfect for GF baking.

Gluten Free Scones
1 C favorite GF flour mix (I use a basic 'brown rice'potato starch/tapioca flour mix)
3/4 C sorghum flour
1/4 C coconut flour
1 Tbsp Baking Powder (aluminum free)
1/4 tsp baking soda
~ 3 Tbsp sugar
pinch of salt
(1/2 tsp garam masala spice mix, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, & ~ 1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger - optional)
1/4 tsp xanthan gum (not absoulutely necessary in 'quick bread' recipes)
3 Tbsp cold butter, sliced fine, & 3 Tbsp coconut oil

cut the oil/butter into the sifted/stirred flour mix
add 1/2 C nuts &/or 1/2 C dried raisins or other dried fruit (chopped)

mix together:
3/4 C coconut milk or C milk kefir
1 egg (we just use the whites, as my daughter's sensitive)

Add wet to dry ingredients, & gently knead, then roll & cut into 8 wedges, or pat into wedges or rounds (I pat into ~ 10 - 12 wedges) I bake on a clay baking sheet, so put them on the cold sheet, & heat the oven as they're cooking.

400* for 12 - 20 minutes - I stick them with a toothpick @ 12 min, & ~ every 5 min till it comes out clean.

Enjoy!! & happy Beltane!