When Is It Time To Make A Change?

When Is It Time To Make A Change?

by Christy Diane Farr

 

Several years ago, I ended a very rocky off again/on again relationship. I  quit eating meat. A couple of years later, my daughter decided she didn’t want  to eat meat anymore either. My wife, who never ate much meat anyway, followed  suit too.

My charming son, who previously preferred potatoes and pasta to animal  protein, no questions asked, has now declared himself the resident carnivore –  the proud and mighty meat eating man of the house. I suspect the renewed  commitment to meat consumption reflects his quest to define himself, the lone  male, in a household with three girl people, three girl cats, and one neutered  boy cat, who he tells me “does not count for the boy team, because we had him  fixed”. So, testosterone driven or not, we support him in his life as a  meat eater, and he supports us in ours.

Several months ago, I gave up crack, I mean sugar… again. After more than two  years without the poison, I’d “relapsed” and felt sincerely mortified to find  myself deep in the throes of a toxic relationship with it once again. That is  always a good sign that you should stop eating something, when you realize that  you not only have a “relationship” with a food, but that you describe it as  toxic. Never a good sign, but if there is uncertainty, look for other  signs you need to give it up. For example, how often have you had a hysterical  fit of crying and screaming because someone used the last of the milk, without  warning you or replacing it, leaving you with a dry bowl of Fruity Pebbles? If  the answer is more than zero, you might want to give it some thought…

While I have no energy for the debate about whether one can be “addicted” to  sugar or not, my relatively recently established policy prohibiting “toxic  relationships” forced me to put down the spoon and walk away from sugar for  good. Yes, I miss cake but there really isn’t anything that tastes better than  sanity feels. I’ve resisted forcing my dietary choices on my family and friends,  perhaps excessively so, and the living by example thing works slower than I ever  imagined. It’s just me, living sugar-free, and while it is a difficult choice at  times, I live with certainty that it is best for me (and everyone who encounters  me).

Do you know the feeling that comes to let you know it is time to make a  change? It is a message that bubbles up from deep within, or sometimes the  universal brick to the forehead,  that the time to act is now. Sometimes they  are strong enough that by simply receiving it, we feel the strength and  certainty to move into alignment with it. These are powerful moments and I’ve  found that by taking action when the time is right, I have what it takes to  actually do it.

Well, not long after I released sugar,  I heard that the time had  come to make two other big dietary adjustments – releasing dairy and gluten.  I’ve done these two before, just long enough to know that my body wasn’t  responding well to them. I knew it would come eventually, but when word came  that it was time, I freaked out.

Immediately, the voice in my head started explaining how hard it is to give  up wheat, to give up dairy, to give them up in addition to sugar, to give them  up when I don’t eat meat. It told me that this was absolutely unreasonable. It  told me how this would be better to do later.

The good news is that I am impressively tenacious.

(“Tenacious” is the post-therapy translation of childhood labels like  bull-headed, stubborn, cantankerous, unmanageable, and just plain bitchy.)

I won’t listen to anyone, even  the little voices in my head, when I can  discern they are coming from a place of fear. Part of me felt afraid that these  changes would be too hard. Part of me certainly — and perhaps even reasonably —  felt afraid that I wouldn’t know what to eat or how to prepare my food. I was  afraid because I sincerely wanted to make these changes and that meant it  would  hurt so badly if I failed.

But all of that is about fear and we already know that nothing of value ever  comes from fear.

So, here’s the deal: I am a catalyst. I write and teach because these are the  gifts I possess to help me blow up obstacles to personal freedom — both in my  life and in yours — because that’s what I believe I was created to do. With that  in mind, what  I’m trying to tell you is this: Once you hear the whispers (or  feel bricks) about making changes in your life, the time to take action is now.  Period.

When you feel the energy surge, that’s your sign, jump on and ride it all the  way. Do whatever it takes to cultivate the health, sanity, creativity,  abundance, love, or whatever else you need and desire. That’s how this works.  And when you commit, the universe will rush in to support you. You’ll receive  the your life equivalent of friends who are masterful vegan cooks to  teach you how prepare what you eat now, Kundalini Yoga classes to help you heal,  and too-tight favorite blue jeans to remind you why you care about making this  change.

While I could write, at remarkable length, about the merits of sugar-free  food, being a vegetarian or vegan, food sensitivities, respecting an 11 year-old  boy’s need to carve a space for himself in the world by eating meat, and the  healing power of self-love, that is not what I want you to hear in this story  about what’s changing in my world.

Instead, I’m writing to ask you — plain and simple — to listen when your  intuition speaks to you. Regardless of what healing journey writers like me are  sharing with you, or what your partner/boss/mother/society believes you “should”  be, I’m asking you to find your own answers. What does your body need you to do?  What does your soul long for? What are the personal and professional dreams  waiting for your attention?

Listen to the beautiful voice inside your heart; the tender one who whispers  about your strength and your power; the one who knows, intimately, all the best  parts of you and who remembers the reason for your life on this earth. When that  voice says it is time, listen… act. Your life is waiting for you.

 

Food Can Nourish the Spirit

Food Can Nourish the Spirit

by Sarah Cooke

Today, a friend and I had a conversation about the role that relationships  can play in our enjoyment of food. For example, when I prepare dishes using my  mother’s recipes, the flavor is the same but the experience is often less  fulfilling than enjoying a meal she has prepared for me. Similarly, when I  prepare a meal for my fiancé and myself, I often enjoy the dish more than I do  when I am the only one eating.

It is not only the flavor of a dish or the quality of the ingredients that  contributes to our enjoyment. It is the energy surrounding the food – and the  consumption of it. When a meal is prepared and eaten with love,  it is generally more enjoyable.

Yes, this phenomenon can lead to emotional  eating when we try to recreate the positive memories and feelings associated  with particular foods. But it also has the potential to be quite beneficial.  When we enjoy food on the level of the spirit, we are often more likely to feel  more fulfilled, meaning we consume fewer empty calories than we do when we eat  processed foods, which are less fulfilling. When we eat processed food, we often  must eat more to feel fulfilled. In addition, when we learn to appreciate the  deep, emotional nourishment that food can offer us in a balanced way, we are  likely to choose high quality foods that can offer that kind of sustenance.

 

Common Ground: The Most Practical Meat to Eat

Common Ground: The Most Practical Meat to Eat

by Eric Steinman

Ground meat has gotten a bad rap of late, and deservedly so. With reports about “pink slime” dominating the headlines, along with the various pathogen outbreaks from ground beef contaminations, and the fact that a single pound of conventional ground meat is barely traceable back to its source (likely originating from 100+ animals spread over six different states), there is substantial reason to avoid the stuff (even if you are not a vegetarian or vegan). However, for the intrepid meat eater who is not deterred by such findings, ground meat is one of the most inexpensive, flexible, and a more ecologically wise choice than those more pricey cuts of meat.

This is at least the opinion of Brian Halweil, the editor of Edible East End and publisher of Edible Manhattan and Edible Brooklyn (and a colleague of mine) along with Danielle Nierenberg, the director of Nourishing the Planet. Both co-authored a recent New York Times opinion piece on the subject of ground meat being the “kindest cut” of meat available. The logic behind this argument is, once an animal is butchered and the popular cuts like steaks, chops and roasts are utilized, the rest of the meat is ground — 26 percent of a hog, 38 percent of a beef cow, 41 percent of dairy cows and 46 percent of lambs (science has yet to figure out how to breed a cow that is comprised of only filet mignon). Because such a high percentage of what is left over can only be ground for consumption, eating ground meat becomes a more cost efficient and practical way to consume the whole animal. As the article states, “In the same way that nose-to-tail butchery can save a household money, buying ground meat can encourage small-scale, diversified livestock farming, since it helps supplement income from the pricier cuts.”

But what about all of the pathogens, pink slime, and health risks that are associated with ground meat? Well, if you purchase and consume conventional feedlot ground meat, you are taking your chances and decidedly contributing to all of the problems that go hand-in-hand with feedlots, the mistreatment of animals, etc. However if you purchase grass-fed, local, and/or organic meat from a small (or environmentally and ethically responsible) producer, you are more likely to be consuming a safer and higher quality product (albeit a bit more expensive one as well). Still, eating meat is not for everyone (nor should it be) and the production, and harvesting of animals remains the most energy- and resource-intensive ingredient in our national diet. So if you have to have that meat fix, you are better off not paying top dollar for some top round trucked in from who knows where, and instead, source out some ethically- and environmentally-raised ground meat that utilizes the entirety of the animal.

If you are not a vegan or vegetarian and actually have a taste for meat (and are not boiling mad at this point) do you think you could be convinced to drop the steak and go ground? Is the low cost nature of ground meat unappealing to you?

HERBS FOR THOSE WITH STOMACH ACHES, ULCERS, AND HEARTBURN

HERBS FOR THOSE WITH STOMACH ACHES, ULCERS, AND HEARTBURN
c. 2002, Susun S Weed

1. WHAT IS THE BIGGEST MISTAKE PEOPLE MAKE ABOUT STOMACH ACHE?
Calling it stomach ache. The stomach (fortunately) does not ache. Usually when people say their stomach aches, they mean they have a gas pain. Gas pain can be severe pain. My friends who work in emergency rooms say you wouldn’t believe how many people come in for what turns out to be gas pain.
2. WHAT HERBAL ALLIES WOULD YOU RECOMMEND FOR THOSE DEALING WITH:
2A. HEARTBURN?
Herbalists, myself included, see heartburn as a lack of HCL (hydrochloric acid) in the stomach, instead of the prevalent opinion, that it is caused by too much acid. So instead of trying to turn off production of HCL (as drugs attempt to do), herbalists seek herbs that increase HCL, such as dandelion (Taraxacum officinale). In my book Healing Wise I devote an entire chapter to dandelion, with lots of recipes and ideas on how to use it.
You can use any part of dandelion: the flowers make dandelion wine, you can cook the greens, or eat them in salad, you can even cook the root, or make a vinegar with it (my favorite), or tincture it. Some people make a coffee substitute from roasted dandelion root. Any way you take it seems to work. (A standard dose would be 10-20 drops of the root tincture taken at the beginning of the meal.) Dandelion, and its friend chicory (Cichorium intybus), which is a fine substitute should you have access to one and not the other, are true tonics. That is, the more you take them, the less you need them. You don’t have to keep taking this remedy forever. After 3-6 weeks you’ll find you need it less and less.
In Europe it is customary to take bitters before a big meal. Most mild bitters, such as yellow dock (Rumex crispus), cronewort/mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris), gentian (Gentiana lutea), barberry (Berberis vulgaris), and Oregon grape are liver tonics and digestives. They aid in digestion, and decrease risk of heartburn, by increasing production of both HCL and bile.
A few more tips for those who suffer from heartburn:
~ Eat less at each meal
~ Stay upright after eating; no lounging around or sleeping
~ Avoid eating late at night
~ Reduce the amount of coffee you drink
~ Don’t overdo it with the orange juice, either
~ Use slippery elm lozenges (available in health food stores) for immediate relief from heartburn
2B. ULCERS?
The herbs that increase HCL in the stomach, such as dandelion, also decrease ulcers, which are the result of a bacterial infection. When stomach acid is increased, that bacteria has a harder time of it and is less likely to cause ulcers.
Amusing isn’t it that medical science says “OK, there must be a mind/body connection, because gastrointestinal ulcers are caused by stress”; only to find out what my herbal teachers taught me long ago: bacteria cause ulcers.
Here’s one way to kill that bacteria (besides taking drugs): Get a food grater with a very fine grating side. Grate a large potato as finely as possible. Into another bowl, grate ¼ to ½ of a cabbage. Let them sit for 10-15 minutes, until liquid starts to collect in the bottom of the bowls. Use your hand, or something hard, to press and squeeze the potato until it is dry. Throw away the pulp and keep the liquid. Repeat with the cabbage. Don’t use a juicer. There are plant starches that you don’t get when you use a juicer. A food processor is ok.
Put the liquids in separate jars in the refrigerator, taking 1-3 tablespoonfuls 2-3 times a day. The more severe the symptoms, the larger and more frequent the dose would be. I expect symptomatic relief within 36-48 hours. But this remedy is safe to take for weeks at a time if needed.
If you can’t make the potato liquid, you can buy potato starch and mix it with water. Instead of the cabbage liquid, you could buy coleslaw. It isn’t the same as grating the potato and the cabbage, but it is better than nothing. And even if it doesn’t work as fast, if that is what is available to you, use it.
2C. STOMACH ACHE?
To me, this means gas pain. Herbs that relieve gas pain are called “carminatives” because they make you “sing” (carmen). Many aromatic herbs are carminatives, especially the seeds of members of the Apiaceae family including dill seed, caraway seeds, fennel seeds, anise seeds, coriander seeds, and cumin seeds. Just put a big spoonful in a cup, cover well with boiling water, steep five minutes, sweeten if you like, and drink.
Ginger is another readily-available carminative. Especially warming to the guts. You can make a tea with powdered ginger, or use up to a tablespoon of fresh ginger per cup of water for a strong brew. Ginger works best sweetened with honey. NASA found it would counter the nausea of space-sickness. You can also buy crystallized or candied ginger to take traveling with you.
The fastest remedy for gas pain is two capsules of acidophilus. I expect pain relief in 5-10 minutes. And I don’t pay much attention to the expiration date on it. I keep mine in the refrigerator, and use them so rarely that I often have a bottle for ten years – and they still work.
Eating yogurt helps prevent gas pain, and can be used as a remedy, but it is not as fast as the acidophilus. A quart of yogurt a week is a good goal. And buy plain yogurt. No need to pay a fancy price for white sugar and poor quality fruit. Add maple syrup or honey and fruit of your choice, fresh or frozen at home. Make your own fantasy yogurt creation.
And the bitter tonic herbs mentioned above are also excellent allies to take long-term if you have frequent gas pains.
When I was in Spain I often had to eat late at night. Then I would take a sip of their very strong coffee, served in tiny cups. It had just the right amount of push to get that food into my digestive tract and still allow me to fall asleep at a reasonable time.
But most people in America drink coffee in the morning on an empty stomach. Might this be one reason so many are in such digestive distress? Instead of coffee, try this:
~ Put one ounce by weight of dried peppermint leaf in a quart jar and fill to the top with boiling water.
~ Cap tightly and allow to steep for 4-8 hours. (OK to let it steep while you sleep.)
~ Strain the plant material out after the allotted time, squeezing it well.
~ Then drink the liquid: hot or cold, salty or sweetened, with milk or whiskey or what have you.
~ Refrigerate what you don’t drink then. This will stay good in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.
Peppermint helps move the intestines and make you feel really awake, just like coffee. I would not use it if someone were feeling nauseated, as it tastes vile on the way back out.
3. CAN PEOPLE EXPECT QUICK RELIEF FROM THESE REMEDIES?
(See above)
With dandelion, you often see results in the first 24 hours.
4. HOW OFTEN WOULD YOU HAVE TO TAKE THESE REMEDIES?
(See above)
5. DO YOU THINK THE PUBLIC DISMISSES HERBAL REMEDIES AS A LAST RESORT?
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that 90% of the health care given on any day is given in the home by the woman of the home. Just by cooking dinner a woman can heal her family and keep them healthy. She can protect her husband’s heart by using lots of garlic. And protect his libido by serving less soy.
Many Americans have food phobias. Think about how many people are frightened of drinking milk. How many won’t eat bread. I go into the health food store to get bread and there are loaves with no flour, and those with no yeast, and those without wheat, and I wonder where all the bread has gone.
We have a national history of food phobias, starting with Graham (inventor of the healthy graham cracker), continuing with Kellogg (of breakfast flake fame), and right into the modern day’s current fads (no fat? no carbs? all protein? all raw?). Not too much has really changed. More and more people are learning about herbal medicine, but I am sure many of them think it is difficult and arcane. They may be unaware that herbal medicine is the medicine for the people, of the people, and by the people.
6. ARE THERE ANY WARNINGS ABOUT ANY OF THE HERBAL REMEDIES TAKEN TO RELIEVE STOMACH ACHE?
I specialize in safe, food-like herbs. I prefer them to drug-like herbs. The remedies I have suggested here are as safe as foods, taken in food-like quantities. When herbs are powdered and encapsulated, they can be dangerous. They are more like a drug and you have to be more careful. I use herbs because they aren’t drugs.
7. ARE THERE FOODS THAT CAN INITIATE A STOMACH ACHE?
Beans! The magical fruit. So good for us, but so hard on the guts. And even worse when they are soy beans. The gas people get from tofu and tempe and soy beverage is outrageous.
From regular beans, try this simple five-step approach – guaranteed to reduce how much you “toot”
(i) Soak your beans overnight in a generous amount of cold water. Add a piece of wakame or kombu if desired.
(ii) Rinse beans thoroughly in cold water (retain seaweed).
(iii) Cover beans with fresh cold water, add retained seaweed, and cook until tender.
(iv) Cool.
(v) Reheat beans to serve.
8. IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO ADD?
Yes, I believe all peppers are upsetting to the digestive tract. I suggest avoiding black pepper and cayenne, jalapeno and all others if you are prone to heartburn, have frequent gas pain, or suffer from irritable bowel or even simple diarrhea.
Green Blessings!
Susun Weed
 

A Cherokee Feast of Days, Volume II” – July 14

A Cherokee Feast of Days, Volume II” – July 14

Eating the greens Grandmother gathered was a trial, an imposition on a
child remembering the fried or roasted meats of wintertime. But she
persisted in gathering them and she insisted that I eat them because
their medicinal properties would ward off many diseases. Grandmother
would have been appalled at many things from fast-food to the tasteless
cooking of greens. She was the matriarch and in many ways remains so,
because her mindset set our minds and even now an unwanted salad comes
with the command, “Eat!” We remember and are the better for it.

~ Our village was healthy and there was no place in the country
possessing such advantages. ~ MA-KA-TAI-ME-SHE-KIA-KIAK ~ SAUK AND FOX CHIEF
.
By Joyce Sequichie Hifler

Herb of the Day for May 23rd is EUCALYPTUS

Herb of the Day

EUCALYPTUS

Do not use on the faces of small children.

Folk Names: Blue gum Tree, Stringy Bark Tree

Gender: Feminine

Planet:  Moon

Element: Water

Powers:  Healing, Protection

Magickal Uses:  The leaves are used to stuff healing poppets and are carried to maintain good health. To relieve colds, ring green candles with the leaves and pods and burn them to the socket, visualising the person (or yourself)) as being completely healthy. Also hang a small branch or twig of eucalyptus over the sick bed.

String the immature (green) pods on green thread and wear to help heal sore throats. Placed beneath the pillow,the pods guard against colds

The leaves are also carried for protection.