Sunday, April 7, 2013

Cleansing & Cabbage Salad with Dill and Lemon

I am on a cleanse. It is not just any cleanse either. It is a crazy good one. Well it is not too crazy for me, but it is stretching my culinary boundaries. I will start with what I can eat. Vegetables, Protein, Fruit, Olive Oil, Spices, Coconut.

Not included is grains, beans, dairy, nuts, nightshades, vegetable oils, seeds, sugar and high glycemic fruits.  That is the food part. There is also a supplement part of this cleanse. The whole program is called Repair and Clear by Apex Energetics. It is 6 weeks long. I have 4 more to go.

I have cheated a few times; eggplant, salsa and raw coconut sugar sweetened chocolate. Mostly I am doing well on it. My twin sister Danielle who has her own awesome blog Heal Hashimotos is also on the cleanse. It is the most effective gut repair cleanse I have ever found. For people with autoimmune disease, a cleanse like this is a MUST. My sister has Hashimotos Disease and has treated it completely naturally, and like all autoimmune diseases, hers started in her gut. 

The cleanse goes in three stages. The first is boosting the immune system with glutathione recyclers, nitric oxide dampeners,  and targeted trans-form Resveratrol and Curcumin therapy as natural immune suppressors (read: you might reconsider the crazy drugs that can have massive long term effects on your immune system that doctors prescribe for AID). 

The second stage of the cleanse is the gut portion. I take a supplement that is a broad spectrum herbal blend to kill parasites, viruses and bacteria while taking probiotics to repopulate the gut flora. Also a l-glutamine powder to repair the gut mucosa. If you have a long standing gut infection caused by bacteria, parasites or viruses, you will never effectively repair your gut. And my disclaimer here is that working with a skilled practitioner can help you test your gut and diagnose a long standing infection that is like chinese water torture on your immune system function.

The third stage is the liver stage that works to remove cellular debris in the intestinal tract while also clearing and supporting the liver. 

It is an expensive cleanse. But, it is tailor made for those who need very pure supplements without any worry of inflammatory ingredients with  truly the best delivery system possible. And because diet is the biggest piece of medicine we give ourselves, it is a strict anti-inflammatory diet so that healing can happen at a faster pace.

So what have I been eating? Ha ha. Not much! Well yes I have, but it has been more boring than usual. For breakfast I eat organic sausages. For lunch I eat an avocado and apple or a salad. For dinner I am making soups, roasted chicken, meatloaf, roasted vegetables and today I made the salad in the photo above.  

In other news, I am here to report that embodying the spiritual practice "there is nothing that happens in my life that is not for my upliftment" is a wonderful way. Hard work. Tearful. Soulful. Loving. I am continually faced with loving what is in front of me. This helps me immensely in my nutrition practice having compassion for others, and with my pressed juice business. What appears to knock us all off kilter does, but my mind's interpretation that what I am experiencing as suffering, is continually being dismantled by trusting my life.  

Cabbage Salad with Dill and Lemon
makes 4 servings

2 small avocados
2 Tbls water
1 big pinch salt
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
2 Tbls olive oil
2 Tbls fresh lemon juice
zest of one lemon

Blend in blender until completely smooth and silky. Set aside

2 heaping cups small head red or green cabbage (napa is great too)
1/2 cup fresh dill
1 meyer lemon (regular lemon is fine)

Slice cabbage very finely. 
Roughly chop fresh fennel. 
Slice 6 very (very!) thin slices of fresh lemon (with skins and all) and roughly chop into 1/2 inch pieces. 

In a bowl, add 1/2 cup of avocado dressing to the sliced cabbage.  Toss very well. Add a small pinch of salt and toss again. After the dressing is coating all of the cabbage, toss in the dill and fresh lemon pieces. Be careful not to toss the dill and lemon in too much so you can keep the pieces looking bright and fresh and not overly coated with the avocado dressing.


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Did I Learn To Be Loving & Butternut Squash Stuffed Radicchio with Cumin Oil

Ever have a moment when you wonder "If I died tomorrow"...kind of thought? What comes after that thought and summation of our lives? I think about this constantly. And my spiritual yardstick for this is, Did I Learn To Be Loving.  I go through my interactions and more importantly my thoughts as an assessment for this daily.

My human-ness mucks it up a lot. When I go back and ask myself "did I learn to be loving?"  I realize that has to include asking that question about myself. Self-forgiveness has proven to be more of a challenge than forgiving others. On Valentines Day I felt this deeply. I chose to be with someone who did not show up in a way I felt was loving. I do not blame them now though.  They were just being who they are all those years. And more true now, they were showing up in a way that was a mere reflection of how I truly saw myself. Now, I take responsibility for knowing this and my decision to stay year after year after year. And still, it is hard to forgive myself for taking that path. It comes up in the oddest ways. Now that I know I am most likely too old to have more children, I judge myself for putting myself in the position of feeling so depleted in my 30's that more children sounded frightening. Or, having bad credit in my 40's because of a short sale. So now I am a single mother, a renter, have bad credit and am climbing out of a self devised hole. Or could it be that I see the light after getting pushed off a cliff in my late 30's.  And now I am like a precious new child entering into the world and all of its experiences and ready now for experiencing love and acceptance that I was not ready for before. And there in that place is a profound amount of gratitude I have for things falling apart so I could learn lessons about learning to be loving. That just happened to be what mine looked like. Now I sense that the set up of our lives and each of our paths are to do just this; learn to love. And the constructed story lines are different for all of us; war, poverty, injustice, abuse, abandonment, oppression, addictions. All lead us to the same place; learning to be more loving.

Last night I watched for the first time, the movie Out of Africa. First, I fell even more in love with Meryl Streep. But, I thought about the adventure, heartache and lessons one might learn picking up their life and just following a dream like in that movie. So in one way I could be mad at myself for choosing not to do that in my prime "30's" out of fear,  or feel grateful that now I am in my 40's and can get down to business. Honestly it fluctuates depending on the day. And once someone chooses the path of "Did I Learn To Be Loving" all moments matter, all interactions matter, all choices matter, including the ones based on how I feel about myself. I hold myself accountable for how my life is playing out, not others. And I will say, it is easier to hold others accountable. That abusive husband, that mean boss, that abandoning mother, that oppressive dictator, that surgeon who messed up, the drunk driver, the bacteria that caused illness, the fire that destroyed everything, the storm that made the tornado.

But, I am not to go back to that old way. And I am deeply grateful to have the world as a perfectly put together teacher, down to the molecule atom and quark. Nothing is random in the world of Did I Learn To Be Loving.

So I am only 41 and I have a world that is conspiring for my wholeness. And if it took 38 years to come to that, I am grateful. 

This recipe is a perfect light winter dish. Radicchio and Butternut squash are both readily available. I like how the bitter of the the radicchio compliments the sweet, warm taste of the butternut squash and the expansive flavor of the cumin oil.

I added chopped preserved lemon to the butternut squash to kick it up a few notches. It came out brilliant. A fancy, flavorful vegan dish that it spectacular enough to be a main dish or dainty enough to be a side dish.

 I regularly roast a butternut squash to have on hand. I eat it plain or with salads or make into a soup. You could use any winter squash in this recipe however. I happen to have had cooked butternut squash in my fridge waiting to be discovered in a new dish!

Butternut Squash and Preserved Lemon Stuffed Radicchio with Cumin Oil   
makes 4 servings

2 cups cooked butternut squash
3 heaping teaspoons finely chopped preserved lemons 
pinch salt
6-8 radicchio leaves
1 heaping teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 Tbls olive oil

In a coffee or spice grinder, grind the cumin and red pepper. In a small bowl, put the spices and 2 Tbls of olive oil. Let sit for 10 minutes.

Mash butternut squash with a fork in a bowl. Add a pinch of salt and finely chopped preserved lemons. Using about 1 heaping tablespoon for each radicchio leaf, roll up the spoonful of butternut squash mixture in a radicchio leaf and set seam side down in a oven proof pan that has a small drizzle of olive oil in it.

Drizzle cumin oil over the stuffed radicchio leaves and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Carefully set stuffed radicchio leaves on a serving platter and spoon the cumin olive oil on top.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Almond Flour Chocolate Cookies & Doing Comes Out Of The Overflow Of Being

This recipe is such a good segue for a theme I am currently working on; "Doing comes out of the overflow of Being." I think to even say that I am "working on it" is a misnomer because really, I don't see that humans work on things. I am think humans are more apt to to accept and allow things. It feels like working on a koan (in zen buddhism koan is "the place truth is declared") with each moment I allow instead of struggle against. Cookies can have days they turn out well, and days the edges get burned. I settle into my cookie "being" which allows the "doing" of the cookie making to come forward. So there you go. Zen in the Kitchen.

Struggling with an illness seems to be the work of doing. In so many ways. One might say; "I don't want to be sick, so I will do all I can do to not be sick." Supplements, diet, direction, tests, interpretation, advocates. We do do do do to get out of the illness. The perfect metaphor we hear about this is "I am going to beat this disease." Rarely do I hear "I am going to love this disease." I wonder why. Is loving a disease that could kill us putting us too close to the idea that disease may have more power than us? Draw too much attention to being "in" a disease state? Or I am not going to love a disease because my disease is "ruining" my life why would I love something that can ruin my life or kill me? Or could it be that a disease could be the one way ticket, the fastest route possible, to the magic treasure box of the deepest love and acceptance we have ever known inside ourselves. Instead of putting on boxing gloves, we look inward and and love from the place of acceptance.

So what if we stopped doing. What if this place right here was just the right place to be. What if the current state of illness was just the right place to be. The sadness was just the right place to be. We look nowhere else except at this moment, right here and now with illness or suffering and say "ok this is hard. I am struggling. I am accepting that I am struggling. I am accepting this path right at this moment and love it." Could that change the cellular response. Could that acceptance and love towards the moment we are in have profound effects on our biology? I know that our society tells us we have to fight, be strong, overcome. We are a nation of fighters. What if we became a nation of people who love? And anything, no matter what it was, (hurricanes, disease, poverty, injustice, classism) became nothing more than a reflection to ourselves to love more. This is my work. As I talk to the school office lady on the phone at my daughters school, I struggle with this. As I look at the polar ice caps melting, I struggle with this. It is a minute to minute decision to stay in the loving.

I say yes though. I say that we could spend a day or even a few minutes immersed in complete acceptance about where we are at. And if we did, our adrenal glands might stop working so hard and our cortisol levels could shift for the better. Our neurotransmitters may come into a more balanced state. Our biology could shift in a single moment by a single thought. It could. Love can do that. Love can move us out of a situation quicker than any other action. Try it. Tell me what happens.

So these cookies...

I made them for three kids at my house (one of them mine, two of them I love like they are mine) for an after school project. Nothing crazy; just another Paleo-ish cookie to whip up. I like that it is only 10 minutes of preparation. Chocolate Dream chocolate chips by Sunspire are gluten and dairy free. I cannot find chips that don't have grain sweetener. I am waiting for someone to invent coconut sugar sweetened chocolate chips! You could leave out the chips to make them super duper grain free. I like the texture and extra burst of chocolate they gave the cookies though. These cookies are tender and have a good amount of chocolate, which I am prefer over mild chocolate cookies. And the best part was the kids did not know it was almond flour until I told them!

It was quite easy and quick!!

2 cups almond meal
1 stick butter room temperature (I use pasture butter)
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla powder
1/3 cup coco powder
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 Tbls honey
8 oz. chocolate chips
1/2 tsp. baking powder

Mix almond meal, baking powder, salt, coco powder in bowl.

In separate bowl, cream butter then add maple syrup, honey and eggs one at a time.

Mix in dry ingredients into bowl. Add chips and fold in. Use a parchment lined cookie sheet and spoon about a tablespoon of dough for each cookie at least 2 inches apart.

Bake for 20 min at 350 degrees.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

January 2013 Favorites List

That time of year again. January. I must admit I get a little introspective this time of year. I think it is because the world is a bit more quiet than during the holidays and there are less distractions so I look at my life a bit closer. But when I do feel a bit down, I embrace it. Extra time in the bathtub or time with friends usually help. I create new recipes, and meditate an extra 10 minutes each day. I sleep in a bit more on Sundays when I can...
Here where I live, winter is just getting going and we start the rainy season in earnest.
Holidays behind us (just when my pandora classic christmas station was perfectly honed!) I am starting the year with a new favorites list. Would love to hear your favorites too. xo

1. Manuka Honey. I have replaced all of my first aid salves and creams with this honey. I threw my antibacterial ointment in the trash. I usually use rescue remedy cream anyway, but even that is being replaced by my new friend; honey. I buy this New Zealand honey and use it now exclusively. It can help wounds heal up to 36% faster than traditional wound care and it is effective against superbug bacteria like MRSA. Great for kids because it will prevent a bandaid from sticking to their wounds. My jar was about $22 for 8.75 ounces which is a total price deal compared to triple antibiotic ointments that are also petroleum based. I also buy the 250+ Manuka Honey which has been tested and is certified to contain at least 400mg/kg of dietary methylglyoxal. I have been using it for M's cracked lips, canker sores, cuts, blemishes, stomach aches..the list goes on and on.

2. Call The Midwife on PBS...

It could be my inner wish-I-had-become-a-doctor syndrome, but all my girlfriends love this show too. Call The Midwife is based on the memoir of Jennifer Worth and her stories of being a midwife in East London during the 1950's. I think I have cried every episode. Well acted, funny and stories that warm the heart.  Chummy, a character on the show is my new favorite all-star. Because it is on PBS, all the shows are available online to watch for free!

3. Revive Kombucha.

I have said goodbye to GT's kombucha and hello to this brand. It tastes like tea, has a bit of carbonation (just enough to make it completely refreshing but not too much) and is sold in half-gallon sizes at my co-op. There is a deposit for the bottle, but it is reimbursed when you return it to the store. A bunch of cool cats in Northern California brew this up. LOVE!

4. A recent article in the New York Times about Forgiveness playing a role in criminal justice


 A fascinating article based on the principles of Restorative Justice. I was first introduced to restorative justice when I was on the board of directors of my local cultural center. A group of kids broke into a storage shed at the center and stole alcohol. They were caught and the executive director of the center (who had been a principal at a local alternative school) asked if the board would consider restorative justice for the children as an action for the issue. It meant that the kids took full responsibility for their actions and were an active part of their "punishment" which was really them constructing a way to repair what they had done under the supervision of the director who believed in using the experience as a positive and learning one rather than a shaming one.

5. Pay By Phone
my new favorite app

 My sister turned me on to this app for parking in San Francisco. All the parking meters in San Francisco  can now be paid on my smartphone with this app. You enter in your credit card information which they keep on file. When you park you enter the meter number and the amount of minutes you want to pay for. You can pay remotely for your parking meter if you want more time and it even sends you a text message when your meter time is getting low. No more rushing to put money in the meter!

6. tiny beautiful things by Cheryl Strayed


 An advice column originally on that was made into a book. My dear friend Jilan gave this to me for my birthday. It reads a bit like a modern day Dear Abby. Each chapter or section starts with a letter to Dear Sugar which is then answered. The stories go deep. Abuse, infidelity, transgender issues, death. Every story I have cried. Every single one. Life just never stops, and I love her words to keep going. Always keep going. Always. An incredible way to start off the year. I could not put the book down. Cheryl's acidic wit and bluntness had me cheering alone in my room. She just cuts to the chase. But with love. Always with love.

7.  The Biolite Stove


For $129 you can buy a portable stove that runs on twigs and charges your smart phone.
A M A Z I N G.

8. Elderberry Syrup

When WebMD has a write-up on Elderberry Syrup for treating the flu, I guess it is finally made it big. I have been using this syrup every winter for 5 years now. I did get the dreaded Influenza about 4 years ago. And, with elderberry syrup and homeopathy, it was only 3 days of hell instead of 6. I love that it is safe for children. It is about $15 per bottle where I live, which is such a small investment if you get the flu and when you are ready to pay any price to get better. Just this last week news about what a severe flu season this has been popping up. You must start taking this as soon as you start feeling it come on, so get a bottle now to have on hand.

9. Flora Vegetarian DHA

A while ago I switched to this form of Omega 3 Fatty Acid. I take DHA, which is the most bio-available form of Omega 3 fatty acid. I used to take fish oil, but like this one without the fish burps. After all, fish eat algae to make DHA in their tissues and over fishing is happening more and more. It just seemed like a natural evolution for me. This Time Magazine article is an interesting look at the fish oil industry impacting world wide fish populations. Why take DHA? It heals the gut, helps feed vital neurotransmitters, is anti-inflammatory, helps balance the steroid hormone cascade, boosts immunity and provides support for healthy blood lipids.


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