Check it out: I’m a “Scholar” now. I feel a little bit special to have my academic work posted on the Digital Commons. Human trafficking is an issue that needs awareness, so we can prevent it.
Two of my favorite things, photography and poetry combine in this unique and beautiful book of innovative photopoems by a woman with a unique and beautiful name – Oneida Morningstar Cramer. Her first published work, Idealism is an attractive flower, which won Gold in the poetry category of the 2015 Feathered Quill Book Awards and also received the 2015 North Texas Book Festival Silver Book Award, is a pleasurable wander through the author’s perspective and imagination — drawing the reader to be present and rapt in the wonderment of each moment frozen in her photographs. Cramer is simple in her presentation, occasionally philosophical, and often comical or charming in her compositions — speaking through a child-like voice, the voice of the experienced parent, the voice of the scientist, or her personal perspective.
Perhaps the number of poems in this book relate to one of it’s common themes – music —as in one poem for each of the eighty-eight keys on a piano. Coincidentally, or not, it ends in a musical poem that may wrap up the overall intention of this book. “Bow for the muse… Bow for the music,” is perhaps a summation of the muse each photograph inspires and the music (or art) created by the author as a result. (I was not surprised to read that she had worked for a music conservatory.)
Then, I think of the title photopoem, Idealism is an attractive flower; and I wonder if it is about using imagination to step outside reality, to create the music, to change the reader’s mental state – which may be all the reader truly knows. The theme that stands out most is of a temporal nature — interestingly, so is music (and mental states). She notes the temporary, “ephemeral” nature of life. Another strong theme, not entirely unrelated to time (or music), are her allusions to the stage performance. We are given a space – a stage, a backdrop, maybe some props, and life awaits our actions. She will also show you her ecological passion, kinetic sensibilities, familial love, and musings on modern life and joys of past times.
This beautiful, Smyth sewn book has eighty-eight stunning photographs (including the cover) juxtaposed with words thoughtfully arranged within and sometimes outside the borders of the photograph in various fonts and colors, although Century Gothic seems to be appreciated. (What’s not to love?!) The result is a mixed media art otherwise known as photopoem. Inspired by her work as a journalist/photographer, O.M. Cramer developed this form of art. In the photopoem, the image on the page and the images the author conjures through words are interdependent and transfix the reader simultaneously. One photograph, not accompanied by words, has no need for them.
Her poems are short – frequently consisting of one stanza with about three stressed beats per line, make skilled use of assonance and consonance, and often illustrate with action and personification. I suspect she is a fan of T.S. Elliot. Rarely does she make use of rhyme — one exception being the wonderfully musical, ECHO CHAMBER.
It was difficult to highlight my favorites without spoiling the book. While sitting in a drugstore… yanked my heartstrings. The simple image of a butterfly resting atop the orange stamens of a Marigold personifies the soda jerk and evokes memories of sipping on a root beer float while sitting on a spinning stool at the long counter in front of the soda fountain. In the artist studio… is a delight for the eyes and mind. In a playful font, she employs action and props to describe different types of artists. Her finale describes the performance of the chef with vividness intensified by the image of hands working over bowls surrounded by the props of the kitchen bathed in warm light. Down my alley… is one of two photos with felines as subject; but the felines’ challenges become very human in her poetry. This high-bred house cat sitting at an open gate longs to be feral– to take her “chance to run in the wind,” or will she “follow the line?”
Aside from the sublime contents – I particularly love the size (6” x 9”), shape, and weight of this book; as it makes it easy to hold in one hand, bring it in close, and absorb every detail of the photography and layout. The glossy photos enhance the experience. Enjoy drinking in the image before reading the text. This durable hardcover book has a matte finish and includes the author’s photo and bio on the back cover. Aside from a short dedication and introduction, Idealism is an attractive flower consists of page after satisfying page of photopoems that utilize the space provided unfettered by page numbers or ornate borders. If you appreciate sweet simplicity and creative imagination, I recommend this book from Eudora Publishing Company, ISBN-13: 978-0-9905190-0-3, for $24.99, $4.99 (e-book — available as an .epub on iBooks release date, publisher: 12.31.14, Eudora Publishing Company, genre: poetry/photography).
Idealism is an attractive flower is available at Amazon – URL: http://amzn.com/0990519007 and iTunes (e-book) – URL: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/idealism-is-attractive-flower/id960973546?mt=11&uo=4.
This is a lovely online literary magazine for prose and poetry on subjects sacred and spiritual. I have enjoyed reading it. Would you check out my poem, “Maple” posted today on the Amethyst Review? I’m so excited to be a part of it.
This poetry by Howard Kogan touches my heart through stories. I can’t get the image of his mother’s salami sandwich tossed into the gutter out of my head — of all things. Although it is out of my realm of experience (Jewish heritage, marriage, parenting, senior years, homing pigeons), nothing is foreign to people when it comes to family, loss, awe, fear of death, aging, the dark side of human behavior, experiencing the natural world, and the desire to understand life. There are even a few poems for the writer to chew on. If I needed only one word to describe this book, it would be reverent. He is also quite funny. I enjoyed ‘Dick and Jane’ because even I read these books in class.
I was frustrated with the outdated lingo and a wee lack of gentleness. With patience, I finished the book. I think it has/is shifting me in a tidal erosion sort of way, rather than a volcanic shift. Grateful for it!
Anything by Pema Chodron is nourishing! The chapter on the Spiritual Friend was very helpful. Pema takes the teachings of the spiritual masters and distills it into something easily digestible. I love her!
** spoiler alert ** I love his descriptiveness of characters, his honesty, and rawness. Delicious! His commitment to writing is inspirational. The murder story, which I gather was a draft of In Cold Blood (and based on a true story) was interesting – but disturbing. I try to stay away from that sort of stuff. In the preface, he wrote about getting flack for dishing on his friends. I’m glad he did though. Loved to read about Marilyn. Thoroughly enjoyed his escapades with the housekeeper.
I think he’s wonderful. Reading this is almost like reading a religious text for me. The racist language of the time is a bit disconcerting. His love of all people is apparent. I want someone to read Song of Myself to me on my deathbed. Yes, I know that’s a little morbid – but I can’t think of a better way to go out except maybe to also be propped up in front of a forest waterfall and a nice warm fire. Did I say I was morbid yet?
I wish I had read this when I was 11. Seems like required reading whether you are a poet or just want to be an artist at life.
I enjoyed this story very much. I chose this book for a pre-teen nephew in hopes it would subversively develop some humanity in him – not that he isn’t already a lovely and sensitive young man, but because in these times, books are our armor.
Anyway, there was a lot of humanity in it. People were taking care of each other and fighting evil from the start, well after the very beginning where Jack killed Bod’s entire family. It actually empowered me in a nightmare/out-of-body experience because I recalled the scene where the ghouls take Bod into a different plane and used it to my advantage. If it can empower a grown woman, then I think it might inspire a young adult or two as well. There is even a bullying situation that is resolved – something most school children and many adults experience.
I enjoyed this. It felt like having a conversation with a good girlfriend or my sassy grandmother. What a woman! What a life! She described things I could feel so well, like the power of a gospel song. Her honesty about the subjugation of Africans and African Americans, especially women, is heartbreaking and powerful and inspiring for anyone. Her essay on art is of particular importance in these times. These essays are amusing, insightful, and entertaining.
It was a nice little break from the negativity of the world. A mentor told me to read something inspiring, like a biography. She didn’t say it had to be a biography of a human.
While it may be a little more about the “owner’s” version of the dog’s life, it was still charming. It helped to reflect on life in general. I did feel the joys along with the dog and people in this story.
The dog reminds me of a dog I knew way back – similar looks and similar souls.
If it’s not obvious, BPD has a high level of stigma associated with it, which is why – with much trepidation – I’m raising awareness with this post in hopes a few may be open to learning more about it. You could help by sharing any of the links listed at the bottom of this post. Thanks!
I could write for ages about the topic of BPD and mental illness (or health), and psychology forever, but it’s not my idea of fun. Instead I’ll share posts, articles, memes, and videos that I feel say it for me. My disclaimer is that I usually don’t agree with everything said on these topics. Sometimes I’ll point that out, and sometimes I’ll let it go.
There are so many areas where all of us need more awareness. I don’t consider this particular issue more important than others. Since I happen to be living with it, I feel obligated to raise it up for examination. And believe me, that is at great risk. People with mental health issues are frequently discounted; ridiculed; abused – especially by people in positions of authority; passed up for jobs or other opportunities; and generally overlooked socially. I’ve had people tell me I shouldn’t disclose my mental health issues because of this. I also have enemies and predators like most people do, so to expose this vulnerability is an act of courage.
I’ve learned to cope better than average with many characteristics of this disorder. A lot of that comes with age and work. I’ve also learned to deal with some of this in unconventional and sometimes unhealthy ways – most of them being rooted in isolation. At mid-life, it’s becoming a very spiritual endeavor to manage life with these challenges. In a world (or a mind) where everything seems so very separate and isolated and “getting myself out there” has not cured it, I gratefully have learned to create or become aware of the rich world of connection and wholeness that is always there.
I’d prefer my life to be perfectly fulfilled; abundant in health, love, beauty, service, creativity, and all the needs of daily life; comfortable, safe, and secure. I’ll notice when these intangibles are in my life. That is gratitude and it is the greatest tool. While life isn’t perfection for me (or for anyone else), I’ll do the best I can and try to remember that this is my contribution to the world — even though many others won’t ever see it that way.
My struggles don’t all fall under this label. This is a label along with multiple other labels that I’ve accepted — not as limitations, but as a means for support. Support of some kind is needed by everyone, even if it ultimately comes from within. As much as I’d like to think I could survive on a desert island (I almost said dessert, you know where my head is at), we all need the knowledge that we are not alone. That in and of itself is support. I think about this every time I’m in a public space.
I’m conscious of others who don’t approve of labels, the term mental illness, using the words depression or anxiety, or the field of psychology (or psychology as practiced). Hey, I’m not in total agreement either. Uniquely, I’ve had less experience with the faulty field of mental health for these reasons:
- simply because I lacked funds or insurance to seek out care
- but also because the stigma kept the adults in my childhood from helping me
- also because growing up in my environment, I was acutely aware that I could end up in foster care if I brought my problems up outside my home and that foster care could make my life all the more complicated
- and finally because I had seen my mother go in and out of mental wards with no success and come home with horror stories and derision to share
This is not to say that I haven’t had negative experiences with mental health services. I have, but that would be a long, unpleasant write as well.
I know people who have claimed victory over their mental health struggles through the mental health system (or outside of it) and who either want to put it behind them, want to focus on the pitfalls of the mental health system rather than an immediate source of help for those who are still suffering, or feel it should be dealt with excluding mental health diagnoses. I do and have certainly gone outside the confines of the mental health system for managing this set of symptoms (or characteristics).
Still, I stress that labels and services were likely intended to help and do to an extent. I hope people would support any means available to help people suffering, while working on better means of support. (That extends to everything really.) In a proverbidiom, don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Terms and ideas change over time for the good, but there is a period of growing pains and people still need support while that is happening. Psst, Trump & alt-right, if you think any one of us is on this planet or in the cosmos to do anything other than love and support one another, you are missing out. This is bigly, the bigliest!
Now I have to say I hate the term Borderline Personality Disorder, but since it is the mainstream term right now, I’ll use it. In the meantime, I’ll be promoting a more positive name change because the current label smacks of stigma and paints a picture of permanent defectiveness, poor character, a dangerous person, etc. The term I currently like best is Emotional Intensity Disorder (EID).
This leads me to say that many labels I identify with have traits similar to the symptoms of BPD/EID. Is there one reason for anything? I think there are many contributors (genetic, environmental, socio-economic, karmic). If there was one reason for anything, I’d say it was a deficiency in love — malnutrition on a metta scale. I do think these traits could use support whatever the individual living with them chooses to call it…
- Highly Sensitive Personality (HSP)
- Indigo Child/Crystal Scout
And by the way, the world would be in a lot better shape if people of all personalities, abilities, socio-economic backgrounds, genders, colors, origins, sexual orientations, just everybody (ok?!) were loved, supported, and honored.
Thanks for hearing me. ♥♥♥♥
I listened to the first video in this series and it was on point. Seems good for anyone who wants to help, understand, or be in relationship/family with someone with BPD/EID- Emotional Intensity Disorder. Anyone with BPD/EID is very lucky to have anyone in their life who cares to learn instead of dismiss or walk away.
I used a schema therapy book for a while and I think it’s integrated in to my therapy, which includes EMDR. I didn’t like the language of the book, so set it aside. I did find that I have most of the schemas to various degrees. I’ve also used parts work (family systems).
I can relate to a lot of what this author describes and the symptoms. One of the several symptoms that has improved over the years is identity issues. I know I’m a good person. I know I’m bisexual/queer/pansexual. I know what I believe (and I also know that beliefs are no more than that). I have to disagree with the “mood swings” lasting a few hours. They can last 4 or 5 hours, or a day, or three days, or two weeks. They certainly swing though. I can feel ok in the morning, then like hell in the evening, and feel good the next afternoon. When I reach out for support, by the time friends get back to me the mood has often passed and I’d rather not re-hash it. One thing I wish people understood is how intense the emotional pain can be. I often feel so alone when in it. The trouble is none of us can feel what another is feeling. That is why I love NVC (another topic).
The best treatment for most with BPD/EID is a formal DBT program, which is available in limited areas and out-of-pocket.
#8 (anger) is the only symptom that isn’t a consistent problem, but I can remember at least four instances of rage in my life. A (male) sous chef I worked with back in 2003 told me I had anger management issues. The topic of discussion was lack of insurance through my employer. (It’s not always the illness that’s the problem. Sometimes it’s patriarchy or the healthcare system that’s the problem.)
The basics of BPD (EID- Emotional Intensity Disorder) are on this page. Please read the paragraph on the bottom about medication. Going med-free is not for everyone, and I don’t point this out to offend anyone who benefits from medication. I have tried going with and without meds and had more complications with them. I’m tired of the mainstream assuming everything can have a med thrown at it.
The author describes much of my experience with BPD (EID- Emotional Intensity Disorder).
Interesting. I am probably not the only one with Emotional Intensity (Borderline Personality Disorder) who has long forgone desperate attempts to avoid separation, and instead chooses to live in a way that there is no one to lose.
Strange how so much of the information on the web about this condition fails to point out any physical issues other than serotonin deficiency. Defects (faulty wiring) in the pre-frontal lobe of the brain have a lot to do with this.
There’s an anecdote I read in a book about this condition describing the behavior of a man who had survived a spike going through his pre-frontal lobe. He experienced the same emotional intensity those with BPD experience.
Some people with BPD (not many) have had perfectly good childhoods, but something went amiss in their brain. I wouldn’t be surprised if findings emerge that trauma and neglect create changes in the pre-frontal lobe. Some say it is a combination of being born this way along with the addition of trauma that causes BPD.
This post was well put on many points. Of course I will voice my differences with it as well…
It focuses on the typical outward behavior of the person suffering with the condition and in turn makes that the actual problem. The behavior is not the actual problem. The extreme emotional pain and how that affects the individual’s ability to thrive is the problem.
I wonder if there are any people with BPD out there like me who learned that being a good girl, adhering to all the proper manners, staying out of trouble, and excelling in school would protect you from harm and from negative attention. When I had the rare outburst, it was met with more misunderstanding and punitive remarks. It is possible to have BPD and not be outwardly emotional. It does not feel good to keep it all inside either.
The author says it is only apparent in social situations and that someone with BPD on a deserted island would be fine. This is absolutely not true. It only means the person wouldn’t affect anyone else. The person would still struggle with intense emotions.
On a more positive note, I have found other techniques to stress this “middle way” approach to healing in the Sedona Method, EMDR, yoga nidra, and other meditation forms. DBT has some very Buddhist characteristics – see The Buddha and the Borderline.
I’m very impressed by this article on BPD. It is mostly accurate and perceptive in my opinion.
Again, this does not mention problems in the pre-frontal cortex that I wish we mentioned. Gift or not, our brains are different either from genetics, environment, or physical injury.
I feel the following statement is misleading, “It is extremely unlikely that someone with a placid, passive, unengaged, aloof temperament would ever develop borderline personality disorder.” Someone who has experienced trauma and abuse can develop “no affect / flat affect” and therefore appear to be placid, passive, unengaged, and aloof and also have emotional intensity. It is just not often apparent.
Further into the article, it talks about parents’ rejecting of the emotionally intense individuals’ perception and I am reminded of how that is a reflection of society and magnified by society. I’m recently becoming aware that this thing I call society is actually the result of white supremacy. I’m seeing how it is harmful to white people like me as well as to people of color. That may seem like a totally different topic, but they intersect. I plan on doing some writing around that in the future. Everything is connected.
Very grateful my insurance covers a therapy session a week. It’s tough when my psychologist is away though. Been two weeks. I think UK has better healthcare than we do. If it’s bad there, it’s worse here.
Hi! I’ve noticed folks are going crazy posting poetry. Maybe that’s because I tend to follow the blogs of poets, but I think that April being National Poetry month has a little more to do with it. So one hour left to the month and I will share one of my poems with you.
I’m choosing the poem, Tulip Fest, because I was at the park yesterday and found the tulips out full force. Spring is in full force too. It was a grey and slightly chilly day, but people were all over the park enjoying it. Nature definitely is a balm for depression. The lilacs, violets, and magnolias are out. I made sure to bring samples home.
The Halfmoon Market was going on as well at the Lake House. I was drawn by the sound of a woman singing in French, like Edith Piaf. When I got there, the music was gone, but there were all kinds of neat crafts and foods made by hipsters. It’s cool seeing people getting back to the Earth, even if it is still capitalism. I’m reminded that I might want to keep some of my diy secrets under wraps in case I decide to capitalize on them.
Perhaps this poem needs a little background for non-Albanians. There is a Tulip Fest in Albany every year – something started in an attempt to impress a Dutch Queen I hear, or maybe it has something to do with the Dutch heritage of Albany. Anyway, it draws a lot of people and it sometimes has a bit of a festival atmosphere (like the modern use of the word festival – which includes drunkenness, pot smoking, and pathetic attempts to attract attention). I’m sure they’re having fun too and many stay sober.
Does anyone else hate wordpress’ inability to keep the intended format?! Imagine this poem without the extra spaces.
tulips that look like roses
tulips that look like fringe
pale peach tulips
bright coral tulips
brassy red tulips
butter – cream – tulips
Tulips look better without the crowds.
sea of people with nothing to do,
but stare at each other
buy some grease
and a trinket or two
Buy a bonsai.
Don’t let it die.
bad food –
Men – staring at my tits
declaring, I must pay them attention!
Yes– I’ll take your photos–
happy, young, sweet couple.
That’s what odd old gals like me
in their strollers
in the grass
puppies and babies
in the grass
grass wafting in the air
tiny dancer in the grass
That kid can feel the music!
The colors are beautiful,
but I’ve had enough.
I go – in gratitude.
© J. Rae
Hope it sticks.
· Clean desk, or move all the shit on your desk to the table.
· Feel grateful that you put some things away – especially the important stuff.
· Put things in places where they make sense, or where they will be a step closer to making sense.
· Disinfect, wipe and dry the desk and the contents on the surface of the desk.
· Put recharged crystal on desk – to keep the energy light.
· Fill up the humidifier and add essential oils. Vetiver is your favorite.
· Get water.
· Get tea.
· Moisturize hands.
· Set timer.
· Shift monitor and keyboard to best possible positions.
· Open new document.
· Start typing.
· Feel tense in arms and hands. Worry about ulnar nerve entrapment, tenosynovitis, carpal tunnel, and if you can afford regular trips to the clinical massage therapist who plays Grateful Dead while she works.
· Feel good about this new habit you’re starting. Beat down doubting Harriet. Fuck you Harriet.
· Beg for more time.
· Wonder why it is an effort to write in one voice or one tense. Tick-tick-tick-tick…
· Watch your mind busy itself with…
o wondering what’s going on in facebook. Same shit. Don’t worry about it.
o wondering if you’ll ever meet someone super cool. Whatever. Meet yourself. Peace.
· Is the time up when it dings, or when it’s stops ticking?
hands of grey clock
Tick, tick, tick
latex, stale, ink
drink acrid green liquid
blow breath into device
watch the numbers rise
wait in cool room on squishy seat
overgrowth = dysbiosis
explosion of greedy bacteria
decimates the gut region
Corporations are killing us.
My breath is life.
free-flowing, comfortable joy
connections astound, exchange energy
Things that are empty can be filled.
Things that are blocked can be cleared.
Connections astound, share energy
Things that are empty can be filled
Things that are blocked can be cleared
© J. Rae
Talking with a friend about what to do with celeriac inspired me to transpose my “chicken scratch on a post-it” to a recipe. I have not tested this in awhile, but I do remember that the mayo was never quite the thickness of store bought mayo. It worked though. You will need a good hand blender. Add the liquids to the coconut mayo gradually — reduce the amount of liquids if needed.
Scrub the dirt out of the nooks and crannies of the celeriac root. Pat dry. Then, cut all the lumps and bumps off. I cut it into chunks small enough to fit into my food processor, and grated it. You may use a hand grater if you like. It may be neat to try a spiralizer on it for a noodle-like quality.
Mix the shredded celeriac with enough coconut mayo to make the salad.
For a non-AIP version – add craisins, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, parsley –whatever you like. Shredded carrot and or broccoli could make nice additions too. Garlic can be substituted for asafoetida if you’re not worried about FODMAPS.
- 1 celeriac root – shredded
- Coconut Mayo (see below)
- 1/2 c coconut cream – (not concentrate or butter)
- 1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 lemon –juiced
- 1/2 t turmeric powder
- 1/2 t ginger powder
- 1T raw apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 t salt
- pinch asafoetida
Deep Breath. In and out. Repeat.
It’s funny how quickly my vibration can go from emanating and attracting love, creativity, and joy to drawing in lack, insensitivity, and cruel behavior. I could take it personally. It happens. Sometimes I feel hurt and sad – because I’m human. Sometimes I get pissy with people because I’m in a shit mood, but more often I turn on myself and isolate when the needle is hovering over the opposite end of my happy place.
I will change this trend when it is time. If it can switch so easily in one direction, it can switch just as easily in the other direction. I won’t rush it. I won’t feel less than the Law of Attraction evangelists. Their vibration isn’t any better than mine. It’s just different. It’s what each of us needs at any given time. In fact, they may be so hung up on their ideal of how they are supposed to think and feel that they are unaware of the limiting mask they are wearing. Not my business anyway. I know I’m armed with Divine resources at my service at all times. All I need to do is be quiet, be observant, be patient, listen, act on what I hear, let go, be grateful, know, trust, and love.
In the meantime, shit will happen. Actually, there is no insurance to prevent shit from happening. My bank card could be shut down because of some fucked up bank policy. Someone trusted could pull the rug out from under me without a warning, and throw in a great big smile. Old relationships may resurface with reminders of why they became old relationships. I will get hate mail. For example:
Sorry postal man!!! but since the landlord doesn’t adhere to state law on tenant mailboxes, the state won’t enforce it , and neither will the USPS; you will have to deal with this shit until you’ve put in enough time to collect your pension (if the USPS still exists at that point). I’m just doing my civic duty. Has the “return to sender” policy ended? Do we just throw ex-tenants mail in the trash? And who is going to update this list you demand? People are moving in and out of here like it was a Holiday Inn. My landlord certainly won’t.
I assume these are all lessons from the Multiverse. It certainly echoes what the planets have been doing. Last month I was shining energetically — maybe not up to the standards of the ladies who lunch, the average cheerleader, or LoA junkies; but I was rocking it in my own unique way. And no, I didn’t get showered with the attention of a prom queen. I quietly enjoyed my creative output, and a few friends showed their support. This month Venus is complicating things with a retrograde. September is another ball of wax – if I’m still alive. It’s all good in the end. I’ll learn a little more and get a little better, like I always do.
Enjoy! This is healthy! Turmeric is a very powerful anti-inflammatory. I know this from personal experience, and there’s plenty of data out there to back it up.
Adapted from this awesome recipe from a website called Natural Health in Action.
Mangoes that are ripe are likely to have some yellow, red, and a little green in the skin. Still, color is not a guarantee for ripeness. Press it gently with your fingers. If it gives easily, it is ready. Unripe mangoes usually take a few days to ripen at room temperature. Cut along the widest diameter of the fruit. When you hit the hard seed, angle the knife to just graze over it. Take the seedless half and use a knife to score a checkerboard design into the flesh, but not through the skin. Push it from the skin side with your fingers until it turns inside out. Then, slice the cubes off into a bowl. (This same technique works for avocados.) Then carve around the seed, and carefully pry it out with the knife. Repeat the scoring and slicing off the other side of the fruit. Once ripe, the mango can be stored in the fridge whole, or sliced and covered, for about 5 days. Mango can also be frozen after cutting into cubes.
I used the beverage version of coconut milk, which is really not the healthiest. There is often carrageenan and/or guar gum in it, which is bad news. Ideally, watered down pure coconut milk is best. I used a half a banana instead of a whole one, a tablespoon of chia instead of a teaspoon, dumped in the spices, and added a couple of tablespoons of hemp protein. I also added my usual nutrition boosters, which are optional. The result tasted almost like a gingersnap cookie.
Here’s my adaptation broke down:
- 1/2 banana
- 1/2 c mango (or less)
- enough coconut milk to reach the minimum mark on the blender (about 4 oz.)
- 2 T hemp protein powder
- 1 T chia seeds
- 1 T coconut oil (best quality)
- turmeric powder (to your liking)
- ginger powder (to your liking)
- cinnamon powder (to your liking)
- couple shakes of sea salt (unless salt is something you need to avoid)*optional
- couple shakes of kelp powder *optional
- big pinch of ground eggshell *optional
Here’s my take on both being appreciated for your writing (or any other art form, or any contribution) and appreciating the writing (or any other art form, or any contribution) of others:
First be grateful for what your (writing) gives to you,
but remember that
what you think of your art is none of your business.
Then remember that this world is now highly saturated with information —
more than can be absorbed in it’s entirety.
People have varying levels of saturation as well.
There is nothing wrong with that.
It just is.
Different people are attracted to different things.
For example, I’m rarely attracted to mysteries, horror, or noir;
but I love books on spirituality.
Many friends won’t pay for your work.
That doesn’t mean they don’t value you.
It may mean they have no interest in your genre,
or that they have budgeted for something they value to a greater degree (rent, for instance).
If you touch even one person with your writing
that is success.
When you have the energy, inclination, inspiration, or motivation
to appreciate the work of someone else;
then open yourself up to it.
It doesn’t count if it was done from a place of scarcity, reluctance, or resentment.
You are not a bad person if you did not read or finish the book.
There are gems to be found in just one line of poetry, or one paragraph of prose.
Once in awhile stretch yourself and be open to the work of others.
Support the work of others as much as you can.
It is good for you.
Someone will return the kindness.
© J. Rae
Sometimes about despair that never ends.
Sometimes about gratitude that never ends.
There is so much poetry left unfinished.
has no limits.
© J. Rae
In the spirit of the old Burma-Shave ads. Prompt thanks to NaPoWriMo 2014.
Instead of prison
For a mere joint
Taste a flavor
That won’t disappoint
Chocolate is legal.
© J. Rae
I’ve been spiffing up my silly little blog lately– before I promote it to a wider audience. This blog is unconventional because I started out writing about managing my health issues, then social issues, and now I’m adding poetry; something I’ve always loved, but only recently embraced.
I didn’t major in writing, English, or literature. I wrote my first poem at age 6, but it’s no masterpiece. I wrote sporadically throughout my life, mostly in my 20s; but I never did anything with it. I never published anything—well one letter to the editor about bomb trains and the foolishness of fossil fuels. I’ve only been putting a noticeable effort into poetry since about 2011. (Update: I’ve published a few more things since then, but nothing to brag about, yet. I’m working on it. Also, I am working on an undergrad degree in English. It’s awesome!)
This renewed passion for poetry has a little something to do with being involved in communities that appreciate and promote it. First, I snuck a poem into the Occupy Albany collection of writings. It has probably been sucked into a black hole. Then I submitted a few poems to the Oracle, a yearly (depending on those who work on it) arts journal put out by my religious society. I stumbled into an open mic one night. I asked what it was they were doing. They said, “poetry.” So I decided to stay and listen. Then I came back and started reading and going to other poetry events too.
So since I have no hoity- toity blah, blah, blah to say about my work, I came up with a creative and slightly sarcastic bio for myself. Before the introducing the bio, I want you to know that I have paranoid thoughts and am very cautious, so this is a big deal that I’ve got all this stuff out to the public. I do believe I’m making some progress! I figure if Ed Snowden can handle living in a surveillance state —well poor example—umm…
This is the long version: (Updated)
Jessica Rae is a middle-aged, perimenopausal, child-free undergrad student, writer, and poet with chronic illness. In her spare time, Jessica enjoys reading, writing, attending forums, films, plays, volunteering at community events, cooking healthy food, spiritual practices, non-violent communication, and riding her bike along the Erie Canal.
She misses her friends in Albany, the food co-op, the activist community, volunteering at her religious society, and walks in Washington Park.
Jessica Rae wrote her first poem at age six and attributes Mother Goose as her primary influence. Sensing that her wordy tendencies were frowned upon and likely, just a lot of bullshit, she hashed out her emotions through poetry in secret until 2013.
Jessica’s poetry might be described as rhyming, imagistic, literal, musical, egoistical, gynocentric, angsty, didactic, self-deprecating, and often dialectical. Her ferocious need to process emotions, describe an emotional moment, or make sense out of nonsense drives her writing. She is grateful to be constantly learning and changing in her writing as well as in life, and to have such a wonderful community of poets, activists, and spiritual friends to influence her.
Jessica lives near Rochester, NY, but her heart is still in the Capital Region of NY.
On that note, I hope you enjoy these samples of my work.
Oh how wonderful that small fireworks are now legal in NYS. Does it really matter? All summer people are poppin’ off fireworks in this city as if it were no danger or inconvenience—whether it’s legal or not. The empire state plaza already has fireworks— it seems twice a week. And if you live near the plaza, you have the pleasure of hearing every blast five times for each massive state building the sound bounces off of.
Isn’t that enough? Why do you have to go up on the roof in a tree lined, historic residential area at 5 in the fucking morning? Does it make you feel free?
Guess what, you’re not free, from a governmental and corporate standpoint. So set off those chemical laden, carbon emitting, made in China, dog traumatizing, PTSD triggering, fire and health hazards while you swill your beer, grill your hotdogs, and wave that flag of colonialist, imperialist, corporate glory cuz that’s what is means to be free. Thousands of soldiers died, lost limbs, struggle with PTSD and/or addiction for that flag. Their families struggle with loss of income, medical costs, and the mental stress of having a family member with illness. The government loves to wax poetic about the American military service men and women, but when they come home they are served bread crumbs. Thousands of innocent children, women, and men were killed or displaced for the 1% to continue to play monopoly while the rest of us buy their bullshit, are made sick by their bullshit, and suffer for their bullshit. In fact a bull’s shit does not deserve to be associated with the psychopathic 1%.
(Deep breath.) Ah yes, pointing fingers is not the Buddhist way? Ok, I have an immense amount of compassion for these poor rich white men who choose to take their one precious life to amass imaginary power while incredible heights of peace, cooperation, intelligence, creation,and energy are at their fingertips. Poor, poor souls.
So I will spend this holiday writing, meditating, soaking in prana from the very wet park, practicing my song for the upcoming rally to ban the bomb trains and go sustainable, wearing ear plugs, possibly numbing out on movies to distract from the heart and ass leaping, adrenal hormone spiking effects of blast after unexpected blast of explosives. Let’s purposely light explosives to see the pretty lights. Ooo! Aahh! The lights are inside and all around you– blind numbskulls.
If you’ve made it this far, thanks for listening to my griping, nothing new take on it all. I sound angry, and I am; but I have many facets. Right now this is the one that’s shining (as I yawn from a sleepless night).
© J. Rae
I started blogging, in 2007, before I knew what it was— on a support group site, when illness made my life so challenging and isolating that I turned to the internet for help. In 2009, I started a blogspot where shared a lot of what was going on emotionally for me. I gave it up. “Too personal. No one cares,” I said. The aforementioned blog was likely swallowed up by the google monster never to be seen again. Then, in 2010, I started this food blog on wordpress, followed by a mental health blog because those in the know were saying that you had to keep your blog to one subject. Then I started a blog to vent about everything that wasn’t included in the first two blogs.
I had many insecurities about blogging. Am I doing it right? Does it matter? Will someone hurt me with my personal information? Will people even care? Is my title any good? It has to be under six words they said. Do I sound like an idiot? So, I started my blog, but I wouldn’t publicize it. I wouldn’t even tell my friends–the worst critics. I went under many assumed names, so I couldn’t be found out. I’d write a post, feel self-conscious or unsafe about it, and delete it; or I’d forget about posting for months.
I’ve been debating about opening up this blog for more to see and actually writing in it. I’m not going to pressure myself about it because that will likely not help, but I’ll see what I can do. This is really for me, but I do hope other people get something out of it.
This practice does challenge me. My perfectionist part doesn’t like how my posts are never finished being edited. And my overwhelmed part doesn’t like the standards fellow bloggers and subscribers have set. There’s no way in hell I’m writing a post a day. My paranoid part thinks this is just making it easier for the government, stalkers, estranged family members, and jilted ex-lovers to spy on me. My protector part is saying it’s not safe to share so much.
I’ve often felt that by allowing people to see my writing, they will also know how I think—and that somehow I’m less safe when I’m more known. Good thing I go to therapy weekly, lol. I’m ready to take my own advice on feeling uncomfortable sharing your personal self with the world. I said, “say (to yourself) “so what” and “fuck ’em all,” frequently, lol. There is great freedom in letting your art out into the world, and you never know how it will enrich the lives of others. It won’t if you keep it to yourself.” I sound kinda wise, ha-ha. (Oh but lols, ha-has, and emoticons are not acceptable in a blog—fuck that shit. It’s my fucking blog. “Fuck ‘em all!”) Or maybe I could take the advice of a fellow blogger and life hacker who said, “sometimes ‘improving’ means you no longer care if it is perfect and are no longer are afraid of making a mistake. Or no longer does being criticized feel like a dead sentence:)” And she probably won’t spend the next 30 years worrying about misspelling death.
But I’m evolving. I’m ready to let my mistakes be visible, to open myself up to vulnerability. I hear that’s the only way to the good stuff in life. If I need to put on the brakes until I feel more comfortable, then I’ll do that too. Sorry narcissists—I’ve got boundaries. Like my favorite Goddess says, “You cannot possess me!”
I appreciate this quote by John Wooden. Google says he was a basketball player and coach. No wonder I never heard of him. “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is really what others think you are.” So I’m glad to feel free enough to dive deeper into who I really am. If it turns out I get disapproval from others, it doesn’t matter.
I’ve always loved poetry. After many years of being taught that poetry, literature, art, music, dancing were unnecessary, impractical, and wasteful; I forgot how much I loved these things. I forced myself to fit an acceptable box. I was pretty miserable too. Now I think that I was born a poet—not a great poet, just a poet. So when I read this quote by Joseph Campbell, I felt validated in my pursuit of authenticity and freedom.
Poets are simply those who have made a profession and a lifestyle of being in touch with their bliss. Most people are concerned with other things. They get themselves involved in economic and political activities, or get drafted into a war that isn’t the one they’re interested in, and it may be difficult to hold to this umbilical under those circumstances. That is a technique each one has to work out for himself somehow.
But most people living in that realm of what might be called occasional concerns have the capacity that is waiting to be awakened to move to this other field. I know it, I have seen it happen in students.
I have been the one caught up on economics and political actions, and have been pulled into belief systems that don’t serve me. I doubt I’m done, but I’m grateful that I can be my authentic self. I can free myself by following my bliss. And I say, “fuck off” to those people who are constantly reminding me of the practicalities of life. I played that game and lost–or I won because it taught me to go my own way.
I’ve been thinking about the dichotomy between navel gazing and stoicism. I’ve noticed that it’s more common for those 30 and under to acknowledge their “feels” and the “feels” of others, while the older folks tend to look at this behavior as TMI, unnecessary, and just inappropriate.
Life is hard. You just buck up, and put your big panties on. Sometimes there’s nothing deep behind feeling tired. You just are. There is no such thing as depression. That’s just feeling sorry for yourself. Nobody got depressed during the Depression. They just kept going. People aren’t supposed to be happy all the time. I could go on with the snippets of wisdom that stress denying one’s own feelings.
I have hope for younger generations because they know more about expression, honoring individuality, and working together in more efficient and cooperative ways. I just hope that they can get past the harmful legacy we have left them– a belief system full of judgment, conformity, self-denial, hierarchy, withholding, patriarchy, material worship, blame, fear….
What does this have to do with my blog insecurity? It has to do with letting it all hang out authentically, and accepting myself with compassion. I hope one day everyone can embrace each other and communicate with compassion. Imagine–no more war, no more starvation, no more racism, no more fossil fuels…. (Sigh.) I’ll start with me.
© J. Rae
- 1 frozen banana (sliced)
- 5 frozen strawberries (approx.)
- 1 handful of frozen spinach
- 4 oz. Coconut water (approx.)
- 1 1/2 T chia seeds
- 1 T cocoa powder
- 1 t maple syrup
- Dash salt (if you have adrenal depletion)
- Dash kelp powder
Into a blender add 2 oz. coconut water first, then chia, cocoa powder, salt, kelp, banana, strawberries, spinach, maple, and fill to the 10 oz. mark with the rest of the coconut water. Blend until smooth. Enjoy!
I have a smoothie with chia or flax nearly every morning as a pre-breakfast meal. The chia is a good form of fiber to keep me regular. It tastes good, has a nice crunch, and thickens in liquid. I hate psyllium, and it makes my guts hurt. Yuck!
I’ve been eating daikon ever since I learned that daikon can help remove intestinal blockages in Virginia Harper’s book, Controlling Crohn’s Disease: the Natural Way. It’s a type of radish that has a slightly less heat than the red radish when raw, and no heat when cooked.
Adapted from Roger Mooking’s recipe, Daikon Soup with Shiitake Cigars and Steamed Sweet Potatoes with Green Onion Vinaigrette. Sounds delicious, right?!
- 2 stalks celery coarsely chopped
- 1 bunch cilantro or parsley stems
- 1 1/2 Bay leaves
- 1 bunch green onions, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 inch fresh grated turmeric or 1/2 t ground turmeric
- 1 inch fresh grated ginger or 1 t ground ginger
- 2 t Celtic sea salt
- 2 coarsely chopped turnips
- 1/2 large daikon coarsely chopped
- 1 carrot coarsely chopped (optional)
- 2 T coconut aminos
- 1 T fish sauce (optional)
- 1 T apple cider vinegar
- 1 T date paste (skip for 21 DSD)
- 1 1/2 c thin sliced daikon
- 1/2 bunch thin sliced green onion
- 3-6 c bone broth (optional)
Feel free to eyeball amounts and flavor to taste. That’s what I do. Throw all the broth ingredients in a 2 quart pot and fill the pot with water, bone broth, or both. Simmer 1 hour. Strain out veggies. Add soup ingredients to the strained broth. Simmer until daikon is at desired tenderness. Makes 6 servings.
Not everyone subscribes to astrology—I do. The more aware I am of myself , the more I make a point of learning about it. I’ve noticed in the last few months that I am sensitive to the changes of the moon, and decided that it was in my best interest to make sure I prepared for those changes. I’m guessing that’s true for all the satellites out there (not the ones putting your house on google image, Silly). It is certainly true for me when it comes to Mercury when it is in Retrograde. I’m clumsier than usual, more emotional, technology gives me more trouble, and communication gets confused. I wish I could sleep through the whole damn thing, but that would be a good quarter of the year. Mercury Retrograde is a time to slow down, to be impeccable, to reflect, to research, and prepare for what’s coming.
How lucky for me, that I chose to find a new home and to sign a lease during this time. That’s a little sarcastic, but I’m guessing it was meant to be. It was meant to stretch me a little. Many things went awry during this time. You may get a hint of some of that from the following post I shared with a Mercury Retrograde “support group.” Yup, it exists.
I’m thinking of the lessons I may be called to learn: Never put your keys in shallow pockets. Never buy clothes with shallow pockets. Never push yourself to go outdoors after sunset when you’re tired. Triple check for keys, phones, and bus pass. Have extra keys made up, label them, and write down who you gave them to. When moving, have a central container for all those things most important and always know where it is. Stay focused on the important things even when distracted by the demands of others. Never trust a landlord.
Never let a landlord rush you to make a decision. See the entire building and meet the neighbors before signing the lease. Refuse to sign the lease without a copy on site. Read the lease before signing. Never assume a friend is going to keep you from doing something stupid.
During retrograde, assume all emails, texts, calls, and conversations will be misunderstood. Take extra care to be clear and send reminders. Assume you will be late. Leave earlier. Watch where you’re going. Keep a good grip on what’s in your hands. Sleep well. Meditate often. Avoid getting wound up by someone else’s shit. Wait. Write. Reflect.
Mostly I’ve noticed that my intense feelings of being unsafe are still not resolved. I’m easily triggered by another’s similar feelings as well as by dishonesty or lack of concern. That is old childhood shit that I’d like to stop carrying around, or at least I’d like to drop what is not necessary.
This particular Mercury Retrograde was very powerful since it was in the sign associated with the planet Mercury–Gemini. That’s what I gather from the experts anyway. The effects started several weeks earlier than the actual period of retrograde, and the effects are still being felt now. It is supposed to be resolved by the 27th. I’ve done my best to avoid communication and technology and to use my time for reflection and research. Gradually, I’m testing the ground. I found my bus pass—to bad it’s two weeks expired. My landlord finally gave me my lease. I’m working on the soft release of my blog. Good stuff is on it’s way!
A response to a prompt to write a charm–from NaPoWriMo 2014.
Moleskin from the nightstand,
Flowy pen set beforehand,
Blood shot eyes from tired head,
And a brilliant string of words not yet fled—
Always excite thee poet’s mind,
No matter what the time.
© J. Rae
This is a response to a prompt to write a curtal sonnet. Although it is a six line stanza followed by a 4 ½ line stanza, it doesn’t feel like a sonnet to me. I decided it was actually 3 couplets followed by an extended quatrain. What does it matter anyway, lol?
I looked up the inventor of the curtal sonnet, Gerard Manly Hopkins, and am pleased with the three he wrote, especially “Peace,” which has some similarity in ideas to this poem I wrote– in my eyes. “Ash Boughs” is special to me as well, since I worry about my Ash tree friends’ survival.
Curse thieves of my energy,
or curse me being a fool.
Curse takers that not give,
or curse me forgetting myself .
Curse life’s injustice,
or curse me obscuring peace.
Please help me be open and soft.
Please help me be brave and strong.
Please save me from hell on Earth.
Please take me from misery.
© J. Rae
My response to write a love poem to an inanimate object. I must have been tired because I wrote a haiku.
I can’t wait until
we are together in soft
© J. Rae
I tried my hand at the lune, just one stanza. It was written after one of my insomniac nights.
Sky is dark.
The birds are softly chirping.
New day soon.
© J. Rae
(I want to work on this sometime, but posting anyway. Please contact me for revision advice.)
Now I’m a woman of a certain age,
who is tumbling down the hill.
We’re all tumbling down,
and I’m scared for us.
The only thing that can stop it
is love —
the thing trained out of you and me.
Only a mere fraction remains.
I was supposed to be ready
when the big battle blew in.
Some days I barely lift my head.
Now I’m horrified – and angry.
This is the era of autoimmune disease.
Now the trees are dying,
and the water’s running dry.
Where are the kind people –
the ones who are not afraid?
Where are the kind ones
who are not afraid of me?
My little girls are worried
won’t come through.
My room is full of little girls
with no director.
It’s chaos in here.
Who will help the people?
Who will help the bees?
Who will stop the fracking
and the flammable trains?
If I want peace for all,
I need to make peace in me.
If I want respect for Mother Earth,
I need to respect myself.
If I want more love in the world,
I need to give more love to myself.
I can’t help the world
if I can’t help myself.
If I truly love this world,
I have to prove it to myself.
© J. Rae
The orange-colored root native to India known as turmeric is highly anti-inflammatory. For an illustration of this benefit, read Curcumin attenuates inflammatory responses…. It’s so effective that drug companies are working on analogues. The real thing is always better in my book. Before I would resort to medications with harmful side effects that stop helping the problem, I tried a turmeric supplement. I got through a flair very quickly using this, an autoimmune protocol, and plenty of sleep.
Golden milk is a traditional drink. It’s more like a tea, and just as comforting. I’ve made a few changes. My version isn’t strict AIP (autoimmune-protocol). The honey, ghee, and vanilla could be removed to make it so.
- 4 c coconut milk (I used Arroyo-D Coconut Cream from the carton, and watered it down to a milky consistency. Asian markets usually carry it.)
- 1 inch knob of grated turmeric (I used a micro plane.)
- 1 inch knob of grated ginger
- 2 large cinnamon sticks
- 6 whole cloves (to taste)
- 8 t honey (to taste)
- 1 t vanilla (I use a vanilla flavor that uses glycerin instead of alcohol as its base. A pod open and scraped into the pot would eliminate the need to add glycerin or alcohol.)
- 1 t ghee
- Pour the milk into the pot. Turn the heat on low.
- Throw the cinnamon sticks into the pot.
- If using vanilla bean, open a small bean carefully with the tip of a knife, scrape the black seeds into the pot, and toss the pod into the pot as well.
- Grate the turmeric and ginger. Put it in a muslin tea bag or tie it in cheesecloth. Add whole cloves if you are using them. Toss it into the pot.
- If you choose to, add vanilla flavor or extract and/or honey to the pot.
- Heat on very low for 20 min. Leave the lid loose to avoid bubbling over.
This milk came out a little too oily for my taste, but it was still delicious. I don’t recommend the boxed non-dairy milks made to mimic the consistency of cow’s milk because of the added carrageenan. You may choose to do some research before you decide whether it’s safe to eat. To get light coconut milk from a box or can of full fat coconut milk, and at the same time get some coconut cream for a future use:
- Turn the can or box upside down and leave it in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.
- Turn it right side up and pour out the partially defatted coconut milk for use in your golden milk.
- Scoop the cream out of the bottom of the can or box with a spatula. The cream can be measured and frozen, or refrigerated if it will be used in a few days.
- 1/2 lb. grass-fed lamb hearts cut into 1/4 inch cubes
- 1 lb. ground bison
- 3 lbs. sweet potato cut into 1 inch cubes
- 2 c organic carrots cut into 1 inch slices
- 2 small beets, peeled and cut into 1/4 cubes (Use gloves, or rub baking soda into your hands to will get the red out.)
- 1 large sweet onion cut in half + sliced radially
- 3 c grass-fed beef bone broth
- 1 T grass-fed beef tallow
- 1 T uncured bacon fat
- 3 T raw apple cider vinegar or vinegar of your choice
- 1 T honey (omit for strict AIP)
- 1 T blackstrap molasses (omit for strict AIP)
- 1 T coconut aminos
- 3 inch knob grated ginger
- 2 small cinnamon sticks
- 10 cloves whole garlic–scored
- Strip soaked and rinsed kombu
- 3 inch knob grated turmeric
- 3 t Celtic sea salt
- 2 t dried thyme
- 1 t ground cloves
- 1/4 t rose hips
- pinch lime or lemon zest
- 4 T fresh chopped cilantro for garnish
- Chop sweet potatoes and carrots. Throw them in a 3 qt. crock pot.
- Heat tallow in frying pan on medium-low.
- Chop onions and mince turmeric. Sauté in pan until onions are slightly caramelized.
- Add onions to crock pot.
- Wipe out pan. Heat bacon fat on medium-high heat.
- Toss lamb heart in pan until just browned. Then add it to the crock.
- Brown bison in pan. Then add it to the crock.
- Add cinnamon, cloves, rose hips, zest, and kombu to the crock.
- In a measuring cup, add 3 c beef broth, vinegar, honey, molasses, ginger, sea salt, thyme, and cloves and stir until mixed. Then pour it evenly over ingredients in the crock. *Note: You may have to wait to add some of the liquid until the contents of the crock pot cook down a bit.
- Set on low overnight.
- Remove kombu. Stir it up. Add garnish; and enjoy!
Note: If you are low-FODMAP, the sweet potatoes may be problematic. You may want to eliminate the onions and add chives toward the end of cooking. Add a teaspoon of asafoetida if you desire. The garlic could be tied in cheesecloth and removed after cooking; or try garlic infused oil.
1 lb. lamb stew meat (or other red meat)
1/2 lb. kidney (whatever kind you can find)
1/2 c stock (whatever you have on hand)
2 celery (Today I’m subbing 1/2 c daikon; which really is no comparison,)
1 T tallow (or whatever fat you have on hand)
1 T coconut aminos
1 T arrowroot
2 t asafoetida
1 t dried parsley or 4 T fresh parsley
1 t salt
1/2 t oregano
1/4 t ground ginger or a half of an inch diced fresh ginger
1/4 t ground turmeric or a half of an inch diced fresh turmeric
1/4 of a bay leaf
Cut the kidneys in half. Rinse in cold water. Snip the fat and interior sinew from the kidneys with a pair of kitchen shears. Dice the kidneys into 1/2 inch cubes. Dice the meat into 1 inch cubes if it isn’t already. In a pot, brown kidneys and set aside. Then, brown the meat and set aside. Brown the vegetables. Add the meat and the rest of the ingredients into the pot and simmer 1 1/2 hours. OR Put the mixture into a crock pot; and go to bed (if you want).
This is a great treat that mimics the flavor of a brownie without the gluten, eggs, or dairy. I made some changes to this delicious recipe at Hungry Healthy Happy, to lower the glycemic load and the FODMAPS by switching out the honey for maple syrup and adding coconut milk for a creamier texture. They are heavenly!
1 1/2 c cocoa
- 20 dates
2 c almonds
3 T maple
3 T vanilla flavor (or more)
2 T coconut milk (or water)
1 T coconut oil (or more)
Process everything at the same time. May get very fudgy, so be careful how long you process them. Form into whatever shapes you like. For balls: Scoop by the tablespoon and roll in hands. Chill on wax paper. For discs: Roll into a log with wax paper. Chill. Slice into discs with knife. For squares or bars: press into cookie sheet. Chill. Cut to desired size.
Warning: not AIP or low-FODMAP
This is a great potluck recipe for a chilly day.The whole pot was gone within minutes. Big hit.
This soup made with the vegan options is a perfect fit.
- 3 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 4 celery stalks, roughly chopped
- 4 c chicken bone broth (or filtered water for vegan)
- 14 oz. coconut milk
- 1 bunch scallions or leak greens
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 inch ginger root sliced into medallions
- 3T arrowroot or kuzu root dissolved in filtered water
- 4T maple syrup (optional)
- 2T bacon fat; or a couple strips of cooked bacon cut into 1 inch pieces (optional for non-vegan)
- 3t asafoetida
- 3t sea salt
- 1/2 t mace (or nutmeg for non-AIP)
- 1/2 t turmeric
- celery leaves, finely chopped for garnish (or a couple handfuls of sliced scallion greens)
In a muslin teabag, tea ball, or tied in cheesecloth
- 3 t dried lemongrass or 3 stalks fresh lemongrass
- 1 T fresh cilantro (or 1 tsp dried cilantro)
- 1 T fresh parsley (or 1 tsp dried parsley)
- 1 t dried basil (or 1 T fresh basil)
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 pinches ground cloves (or a couple whole cloves)
If you have no trouble with FODMAPS:
- Use 3 cloves garlic instead of asafoetida.
- Use a small yellow onion or several shallots instead of scallions.
If pepper doesn’t bother you:
- Grind a little pepper into your soup when reheating.
For a vegan soup. Feel free to include this stuff in a meat version if you like as well.
- Use virgin coconut oil instead of bacon fat.
- Use water or vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.
- 2 inch strip kombu (optional)
- 2 T coconut aminos
Makes 2 1/2 quarts
Put all the ingredients except for the celery leaves and bacon (if you choose to use it) into a 3 quart saucepan or crock pot. Start with the veggies. Add the spices, herb bag, and kombu. Lay the scallions across the top of the pot. Then, add the liquid ingredients. Simmer for 20 minutes on the stove top or cook overnight on low in a crock pot. Let the soup cool. Take out the kombu, herb bag, cinnamon sticks, and scallions. Pour the soup into a blender in small amounts and blend until smooth; or use an immersion blender. Stir in bacon pieces and cinnamon sticks. Return to the pot; and reheat. Sprinkle garnish before serving if desired.
P.S. If your recipe has to be nut-free and/or soy-free DO NOT USE Silk Coconut Milk!!! (Can you tell I’m hella pissed?!) Serves me right for not using regular coconut milk, which does NOT contain the following: cane sugar, “Vitamin & Mineral Blend,” “Natural Flavor,” Sunflower Lechithin, Locust Bean Gum, and Gellan Gum. Glad they finally took out the carageenan, but get back to the drawing board Silk.
Here’s one thing to do with prickly pears that are on their way out, especially if you don’t like or can’t have seeds. I peeled and blended these babies up, then strained the liquid. The liquid was added to some mineral water and maple. It tasted great.
- 1 prickly pear
- 6 oz. mineral water
- 1 tbsp. maple syrup
I always like to see what the benefits of various foods are. According to Dr. Weil, prickly pear will help regulate blood sugar and reduce inflammation among other things. They contain antioxidants known as betalains.
Hope you enjoy trying this tonic!
- 30 dates
- 1 1/2 c almonds (Your choice: soaked & dried, raw, blanched, roasted, etc. Could also use other types of nuts.)
- 1 c Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips
- 1 t cinnamon (or to taste)
- 1 t vanilla flavor (or to taste)
- dash sea salt
Process almonds until they are small chunks. Take out half of the almonds and set aside. Add dates, cinnamon, vanilla, sea salt. Processes until it sticks in one clump. Add 1/4 c almonds at a time and briefly pulse. Repeat with the chocolate chips. Process too much and the chips melt. Take a tablespoon of dough and roll into a ball. Repeat about 30 times. Place balls on wax paper. Chill.
Warning: not AIP or low-FODMAP.
Here’s kid friendly treat adapted from this recipe at Alexandra’s Table.
AIP Nut & Seed Free Version:
1 c toasted unsweetened finely shredded coconut
1 1/2 c dried apricot
1 t vanilla flavor
dash sea salt
Caution: The following is not an AIP or low-FODMAP recipe. I know. Grrr.
Version with Nuts:
1 c blanched & toasted almonds – (cashews may work as well)
Spread coconut on a cookie sheet. Put in the oven on 160 F or so. Wait 5 -10 minutes. Almonds can be toasted this way as well if they aren’t purchased in toasted form. Don’t leave the room. It will burn. Process almonds until they are small pieces. Take out half and set aside. Add apricot, toasted coconut, vanilla, and salt to processor. Process until it all sticks together in a lump. Add the rest of the almonds; and process until well mixed. Form into whatever shapes you like. For balls: Scoop by the tablespoon and roll in hands. Chill on wax paper. For discs: Roll into a log with wax paper. Chill. Slice into discs with knife. For squares or bars: press into cookie sheet. Chill. Cut to desired size.
This is a good cleansing salad inspired by these recipes:
- 1 lb. organic carrots
- 1 lb. beets (skip for low-FODMAP)
- 1/4 – 1/2 t asafoetida (use garlic if it works for you)
- 1-2 T evoo (extra-virgin olive oil)
- 1 T raw apple cider vinegar
- 2 T maple syrup (skip for 21 DSD & AIP)
- 1-2 t fresh grated ginger (use dried if needed)
- 1/4-1/2 fresh grated turmeric (use dried if needed)
- 1/4-1/2 t sea salt
- 2-4 T fresh chopped cilantro or parsley (or as much as desired)
- 1-2 T chopped chives (optional, use onions if it works for you)
- 2 T toasted sesame, chia, sunflower, or pumpkin seeds (skip for AIP)
- dash cloves
- 1/4-2 t cinnamon
- 1/4-1 t AIP curry (mine has turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, mace, and bay)
- zest of one organic lemon
- juice of 1/2 lemon (or a whole lemon)
Grate the beets. Rinse under cold water, strain, and squeeze out excess water by pressing on the beets. Grate the carrots. A food processor is great for this. Put the beets and carrots in a large bowl. Add the other ingredients to a measuring cup and mix well. Drizzle over salad. Mix well. Let chill for a half an hour before serving.
Variation: (not for 21 DSD, AIP, or low-FODMAP)
Skip the beets and add about 1/2 cup organic raisins.
What were my perceived results of my efforts with the 21 Day Sugar Detox?
It didn’t turn out as glowingly as expected in some ways. I noticed that I was having a great deal of trouble with constipation. I also found myself leaving too much time between meals. I did get a sense of how much I use food to cope with my emotions. I learned a lot from this experience.
At first I blamed the constipation on the few times I had eaten dairy about a month before. I also blamed it on the supplements I wasn’t taking for at least a month because I couldn’t afford them: probiotics, Magnesium glycinate, Vitamin C, Zinc, B-complex, EPA-DHA, Vitamin D3, or 5-HTP. I also had difficulty sticking to a regular sleep schedule—which is nothing new really.
Finally, I concluded that the problem was a combination of the first three as well as the result of an extremely low-carb diet. This concept occurred to me when I looked at this interesting website called Gut Sense by Mr. Monastyrsky. I haven’t verified that all his information is accurate; but a lot of what he’s got to say makes sense from my experience. Some aspects of his products look good; while I’m skeptical of some of the ingredients especially for those with severe leaky gut.
What’s leaky gut? Learn more by reading Sarah Ballantyne’s What is Leaky Gut? (And How Can It Cause So Many Health Issues?)
Of course, avoid eating foods you are allergic or sensitive to; especially immediately before a detox is important. I have a tendency to go a little overboard with indulgence the days prior to a planned detox. Hint- this is counter-productive. This is only going to increase the amount of inflammation and mucous created in the intestines and throughout the body; making the detox process more slow and difficult.
- Next, it’s important to eat meals at regular intervals. Depending on your level of health, you may have to eat every 2 hours or just 2 meals a day and a small snack. I personally have to eat every 3 hours for the time being. I listen to my body. It wasn’t as easy to listen to my body when I wasn’t completely prepared with 21 Day Detox meals. I did prepare; but obviously not well enough. Next time, I will do my best to freeze up some meals in the weeks beforehand. Now would be a good time to start because I’ve planned to do this quarterly. July 1st will begin my next detox. Another tip is to have a cooler bag packed. I know better than to ever leave the house without some snacks and full meals if I’ll be out for long. I always regret when I slack on this preparation. Either my adrenals suffer, or I end up eating something I’m sensitive to. Dehydrated foods come in handy, but please keep them to a minimum. Hydration is really important for detoxifying. Having a small screw top jar of virgin coconut oil in my purse along with a spoon has been a lifesaver. It’s also really healing to the gut and easy on the liver. Read more about coconut oil:
- Health and Nutritional Benefits of Coconut Oil: An Important Functional Food for the 21st Century
Sleep is really important. It helps regulate various hormones and insulin; which in turn regulates hunger and reduces sugar cravings. It is necessary for regularity of bowel movements as well as supporting the adrenals. I probably missed a ton more benefits of regular sleep. Check out this fun infographic: This Is Your Body Without Sleep. It’s quite the challenge if one’s circadian rhythms are out of whack; but persistence and discipline are necessary.
I have learned quite a few relaxation techniques over the years (meditation, hypnosis, centering/grounding, exercise, diaphragmatic breathing, SRI, EFT, TSM, visualization, writing, energy medicine…). These help to quiet my busy mind in the late hours. I didn’t pull all of those tricks out of my bag for this detox. I regret lapsing on my yoga practice. Yoga not only calms my mind and relaxes my body. It helps my bowels and my lymphatic system eliminate toxins. There are a ton of other benefits for yoga.
So, I had so much trouble with regular bowel movements that I was using enemas sometimes daily. It is really important to have regular bowel movements during a detox so the body can eliminate the toxins efficiently. Having some really misshapen plumbing from years of Crohn’s damage makes it even more important. I don’t want to risk bleeding or bowel perforation.
Yeah, it’s a little gross. Healing is not for sissies. Don’t be afraid of enemas. A lot of old wives tales are out there about how enemas are bad for health. Funny how people are getting sicker while time-tested methods are discarded in favor of “modern” medicine. Learning how to administer them safely is important. I use this Home Enema Kit and Enema Supplies. I find neem oil works best as a lubricant.
I’m still working on the right amount and types of carbs to keep everything on track. I can’t have too many FODMAP foods because I end up bloated and in pain; but I can have them in limited amounts which help me keep up my carb intake. Mastering moderation is unavoidable in my life. Ripe bananas seem to work very well as long as I don’t eat too many. Root veggies work; but I need at least 2 cups of them (provided they aren’t high-FODMAP) in addition to some non-starchy, preferably green, veggies. Carrots were very popular on my detox since they are a 15% carb veggie that aren’t high-FODMAP. One cup of carrots per meal is supposedly around 20 g of carbs. My nutritionist suggested 20-30 g of carbs per meal, so 20 isn’t bad. I had some issues with what felt like sugar spikes in the past with winter squash. It may be time to try using them more often. I’ve found that the health of my gut has a lot to do with the foods I can handle. Instead of writing off certain foods forever, I try adding some back in when my health improves. I want to avoid (or keep to a minimum) gluten, grains, beans, corn, nightshades, and white sugar.
What do I feel was the greatest benefit of my 21 Day Sugar Detox?
I was more aware of my desire to eat emotionally. Honestly, I didn’t have a truly physical desire for sugar or carbs. I attribute this to a mostly clean diet for the last 6 years and a strict paleo and mostly AIP diet for the last 7 months. That is why I was able to go for long periods without eating at times. I was still drawn to calm and comfort myself with food. I ended up getting a lot more done with this awareness. I busied myself with non-food activities. It was actually freeing at times. My life has revolved around my stomach for so long. It is sometimes exhausting. Food is necessary. Breathing is necessary. Focusing on breathing alone creates an unbalanced life. It would get pretty boring. (Even monks do stuff.) The same is true with eating. I also found myself checking in with my emotions and needs more than usual. I’m looking forward to my next detox for this reason. I found myself able to focus more on self-mastery. It was a very spiritual experience in that respect.
Why do I want to detox quarterly?
I know that my body is inundated with toxins from the environment, food, water, and stress that need flushing out periodically. If they aren’t able to leave my body, they will contribute to illness in the future. I don’t think it’s necessary for everyone to do this quarterly, or at all. Actually, I’m open to changing my stance on this depending on how it goes next time. If I feel that it’s making me more neurotic than usual or causing more physical distress; then I may give it up. There are some elements of the detox I can tweak before making that decision.
I want to eat as cleanly and carefully as possible throughout the year. It’s just nice to have a short-term goal like this. My motivation was renewed. It heightened my awareness of what’s going on with my body and my mind.
What will I do differently for my next 21 Day Sugar Detox?
- I’m going to try adding more carbohydrates. 1 ripe banana per day or more depending on the regularity of my bowel movements. I’ll try to eat more winter squash and bulk up on carrots and root veggies.
- Sleep more regularly!
- Prepare more diligently!
- Avoid dehydrated foods and hydrate more with water, broth, and tea.
- Use more relaxation techniques.
- Supplement to the best of my abilities and eat more nutrient dense foods.
- Focus on non-food activities.
Try my Carrot & Beet Salad (AIP) recipe. It’s 21 Day Sugar Detox friendly!
I started Diane Sanfilippo’s 21 Day Sugar Detox on April 1. It’s not easy to get all my thoughts out about this experience in one post. So, I’ll be writing more than one post on this. I’m planning on doing this again in July. Next time I’ll write about it throughout the process. I think it will help me with motivation and observations.
Why did I decide to do a 21 Day Sugar Detox?
My body needed a jumpstart, especially since I had been eating large portions of fruit; and had cheated with sugar, nuts, and dairy a few times. I was having increased symptoms like fatigue, constipation, depression, insomnia, dizziness, and nausea. A spring detox is always a good thing, especially for someone who has a hard time eliminating toxins.
How did I choose to do the 21 Day Sugar Detox?
Since my diet is AIP Paleo, I chose to go all the way and then some. I’m a former Body Ecology dieter; so I’m very conscious of sugar. I avoided all fruit except small amounts of cranberry juice. I avoided all starchy vegetables such as sweet potato and plantain, and even winter squash since I’ve experienced sugar spikes from them as well. I avoided coconut until day 12. I was also cautious and moderate with eating FODMAPS. No, you don’t have to get that extreme. It depends on where you are starting from. In fact, I’ll go a little less extreme in the future; and I’ll explain why later.
How did I prepare for the 21 Day Sugar Detox?
- I made a list of all the foods I could and couldn’t eat.
- I highlighted the ones that were best for cleansing the body of toxins.
- I made a list of all the ways I could support my detox: regular sleep, exercise, detox baths, walking outdoors, oil pulling, dry brushing, netti pot, having fun, and feeling & releasing negative emotions.
- I stocked up on everything I needed.
- I rendered tallow, and made bone broth.
- I made jerky, and dehydrated veggies for traveling.
So what did I eat?!
My trusty food journal has revealed that I ate:
- lots of ground beef, turkey, chicken, liver, sardines, salmon, and heart jerky
- some shrimp, bacon, kidney, lamb, steak, cod, crab, clams, and oysters
- lots of chicken and beef bone broth
- lots of tallow
- some turkey schmaltz
- lots and lots of avocado and coconut oil
- cultured carrots with ginger
- lots of romaine and spring greens
- radish greens
- beet greens
- turnip greens
- Swiss chard
- broccoli rabe
- lots of cucumber
- lots of carrots
- coconut milk & coconut butter
- herbs & spices: turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, cinnamon, mace, cloves, cilantro, parsley, marjoram, basil, oregano, thyme, chives, asafoetida
- flavorings: apple cider vinegar, coconut aminos, rose hips, Celtic sea salt
- thickener (sparingly): arrowroot
- watered down cranberry juice
- lemon water
- beet kvass
- coconut water
- Pau D’arco Tea
- chamomile tea
- nettle tea
- dandelion tea
- valerian tea
Looking back, I could have had so much more variety in my diet. There really are a lot of choices. Healthy choices!
See my post for a 21 Day Sugar Detox friendly Daikon Soup!
Here’s a recipe I whipped up to keep from caving into the call for conventional ice cream. This is sweet and creamy without the evils of dairy and white sugar. It also contains 14% DV of dietary fiber!
In my opinion, managing cravings is not just a matter of will, or emotional health. It is very connected to physical health. Nutritional deficiencies are responsible for the majority of cravings. Unfortunately most people don’t even know they have a deficiency.
I take supplements – like probiotics, vitamin C, magnesium glycinate, vitamin D, iron, and vitamin B-12 for absorption issues due to intestinal damage. If I’m lacking any of these nutrients, my appetite can become out of control. (Magnesium and zinc also help to keep the anxiety and depression under control.) Regular sleep is also essential. Did you ever wonder why you feel like you could eat a house when you haven’t been sleeping well? It’s because hormones are disrupted by poor sleep.
Avocado Ice Cream
Inspired by: this recipe
1/2 c coconut milk
1-3 T date paste, or maple or honey to taste
Add ingredients to a 4 c liquid measuring cup. Puree with a stick blender. Add to ice cream maker or pour into an ice cube tray and freeze. It should freeze in a couple of hours. Pop cubes out. Put the cubes back into measuring cup and puree with a stick blender; or toss them into a food processor and process until smooth.
I suggest making large batches of this recipe. The cubes can be stored in the freezer until you are ready for a treat.
Also, this can be okay for the 21 Day Sugar Detox by skipping the sweetener altogether. The sweetness of the coconut milk alone is a treat.
This is nice and rich. A great base for other flavors. Although the color may not be desirable. Try coconut flakes or other crunchy toppings.
Kiwi Avocado Ice Cream
Add 1 chopped kiwi to the above recipe. Peel it if you like. I used 2 T maple instead of dates. The result was sweet and tangy. I didn’t even taste the maple.
If you have a lot of gut inflammation, kiwi may not be okay for you. Use your intuition based on how your body reacts to other foods that are raw, citric, contain seeds, or are highly fibrous. Try introducing new foods by first eating 2 T of that food by itself first thing in the morning. Monitor your reaction over the next few days.
Here’s a homemade recipe for a turmeric supplement for those of us who can’t afford the high price of that fancy stuff with the syringe. I’m making it very simple. No measurements. Initially, I thought I’d try gel caps. Well, they are $10 for a bag of 100.
Why would you be interested in a turmeric supplement? Turmeric is highly anti-inflammatory. I’m not sure there is anything more powerful. I have staved off oncoming Crohn’s flares, healed quickly from surgery, and avoided taking steroids (or worse) as a result of using this. (I’m sure someone would debate me on this, but experience is my best proof.) Anyone with an IBD or inflammatory issue such as arthritis may benefit from this medicinal root.
Start with ground turmeric or fresh grated turmeric. Stir in enough melted virgin coconut oil to make the mixture pour-able. Add your preferred sweetener if it suits your AIP (Autoimmune-Protocol). I used stevia. There is some controversy about stevia. The white stuff is obviously highly refined. I also recently learned that it may affect hormones which could be dangerous for autoimmune issues, so I’m phasing it out. The Paleo Mom wrote about The Trouble with Stevia. Date paste, honey, maple syrup, and glycerine are other options. I’m on the look out for pill sized molds. Until then, my method is to pour the mixture into an ice-cube tray, filling each square only 1/4 inch high. When the mixture has hardened, break the cubes into quarters, put them in a jar and store them in a freezer.
*Optional: Add black pepper if tolerated to increase bio-availability of turmeric. Add cinnamon for flavor and to assist in blood sugar regulation.
I let one piece melt in my mouth to smooth out the hard edges and then swallow with a little water usually before all of my meals.
Happy healing everybody!
Update: As of April 1st I’m completely Paleo AIP! I also just completed my first 21 Day Sugar Detox!
Makes 8 meals.
- 2 lbs. chicken cut into bite sized cubes
- Green leaf lettuce torn into bite size pieces (2 large heads for 8 servings)
- Finely grated carrot (2 medium carrots for 8 servings)
- Avocado chopped into bite size pieces (4 avocados for eight servings)
- Raw Apple cider vinegar to taste
- ½ cup coconut milk
- 1 tbsp. ground turmeric
- 1 tbsp. ground ginger or 2 tbsp. finely grated ginger
- 2 tsp. garlic powder or 1 tbsp. minced garlic
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- ½ tsp. ground cloves
- Juice of 1 lime or lemon
Mix ingredients for the marinade. Put the chicken in a large freezer bag or in a glass dish. Add the marinade and mix thoroughly. Cover and marinate at least 30 minutes, or overnight in the refrigerator. This makes about 8 servings. Freeze the excess if not needed. Double the recipe if you want a nice dressing, just remember to reseve half for the salad. Put desired amount of lettuce, carrot, and avocado in up to eight bowls. Cook chicken however desired. I sauteed it in coconut oil. It could be grilled on skewers, broiled, or roasted. Top your salad with chicken and drizzle with RACV or preferred dressing.
“Peanut” Sauce (alternative to marinade):
- 2 T almond butter
- 4 T water
- dash turmeric
- 1/4 t dried ginger
- dask of stevia powder
- dash of raw apple cider vinegar
Mix the almond butter with water, adding turmeric, ginger, stevia, and RACV in a pan and warm and stir it until it reaches a nice consistency.
I used these recipes as guides.
I considered keeping this private because it is so specific to my own issues, but I also see that it could help someone else struggling with health issues. To be clear, I use “diet” in the true sense of the word: food that one eats. It does not mean eat less. It means eat specifically.
I started this blog mainly because I want to motivate myself towards optimal health and share with people who are using diet to deal with autoimmune issues.
This post is a short one because honestly I’m struggling to begin another autoimmune protocol. Yes– another. I’ve been practicing healing with diet for five years (since 2007) and less seriously in previous years. What I’m learning is cheating makes it more difficult; and that there is a lot of trial and error involved. You may know the struggles: emotions, cravings, time, energy, ego, pocketbooks, pain, fatigue, sleepless nights, discipline, planning, and so on.
I want to do what it takes to heal my gut. I’ve lived a life of “quiet desperation”; hindered by my physical and mental ailments. The little I’ve gained, I’ve lost. There is nothing left for me to do but create a life worth living. I’m responsible for my own health.
So, I’m currently gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free, nightshade-free and legume-free. I will be following the autoimmune plan that I feel is right for me with some careful additions and subtractions to suit my body’s needs.
If you are contemplating beginning an autoimmune protocol, please do so with supervision from a doctor and a nutritionist. Every body is different. So, if something is not working for you– please change it. This is the basic diet I started out with (from Dr. Datis Kharrazian): http://thyroidbook.com/blog/autoimmune-gut-repair-diet/ Now, I’ve tailored it to my specific needs.
I also use a rotational diet to help identify food sensitivities and prevent new food sensitivities: http://planetthrive.com/2010/12/4-day-food-rotation-diet/
Both of these diets have been prescribed by my nutritionist; and I have used them before.
Update: I’m glad to have these old posts hanging around for accountability to myself and to others out there struggling with health issues. I have lost my way a bit, but I’m guessing it is so I find myself again in a new way—and that I’ll be more developed and strong for it.
Sometimes I need to let go a little of one thing to work on another. I’m just doing the best I can, and I’m pretty wonderful in hindsight. My advice to those struggling—get back on track as many times as you need to, make small efforts–frequently, never compare yourself to others, and always be kind to yourself.