A sunny day is a lot to be thankful for as we head deeper into the season of cold and dark.
when I walk
upon your back
your energy heals my soul.
When I walk
upon your back,
a fear creeps in
contaminating my feelings
of peace and joy.
I long to walk
in your forests,
along your rivers,
through your grasslands,
and upon the granite of your mountains
where I can drink in the
abundant landscape of your gifts
that flow forth from beneath my feet to the horizon
. . . without fear.
I long to walk freely like a man
in my own solitary company
to find peace and solace
in your bounty
without fear of violence.
Or, dare I call out the true name?
The paralyzing, primal fear of rape
that gnaws at the corners of my mind.
When will it be so?
I can’t shake the feeling that I just helped one of the elders in my life harm herself. Pop tarts, apple pie, donuts, ice cream, cookies, cool whip, peppermints– these are the things that my husband and I bought at the request of our elder who is diabetic with an ulcerated sore that is not healing on her leg. It is what was on the list that was given to us when we offered to pick up her groceries (yes there were some non-sugar items on the list but all were processed food except for one cucumber and one onion).
When I saw the items marked in the grocery store flyer she gave us to make sure we got the right things, all I could think of was my childhood days when us kids would circle the things our heart desired in the Sears & Roebuck Christmas catalog. All through the store we said, “Should we get her this?” “Should we really get her this?”
In the end, we did as were asked and got the things on the carefully made list. We did buy a container of organic lettuce and some grape tomatoes that we knew she would like that were not on her list. It really didn’t make me feel much better and didn’t distract me for worrying about the crazy sugar spikes she is likely to get and the negative impact on any possible healing as she works her way through her treats. I hope she doesn’t eat them all in one day.
I’m sure you know the feeling well – sneezing, bit of sore throat, runny nose, tired. Ugh! I must be coming down with a cold. Science is now backing up what grandma used to say about chicken soup being a great food for supporting the immune system but chances are, they aren’t talking about the canned Campbell’s variety. Below is my culinary plan for the day and I’d love to hear about what you do when you feel a cold coming on.
- Drink lots of green tea and water with a splash of pomegranate juice.
- Eat the breakfast my dear husband just made – omelet with greens, tomato, onion, oregano
- Chicken soup made with the “cleanest” (non-antibiotic, etc.) chicken I could find in the market. Gently simmer the chicken all morning to get the nourishment from the bone marrow. Simmer with celery, onion, peppercorn, celtic sea salt, carrot, dried shitake mushrooms, oregano, thyme. About 45 minutes before eating I plan to add some garlic, the last of the kohlrabi out of the garden, more celery. My goal with the soup is to get the most goodness out of the chicken and add herbs and vegetables that will help with vitamins, minerals and supporting the upper respiratory system.
- Make & eat pumpkin bread with oat, coconut, teff & cassava flours, bit of blackstrap molasses (good mineral source) and the safflower oil I have been infusing since yesterday with fresh ginger, another immune system booster.
- Read on the couch.
What do you do to support your immune system when you feel a cold coming on?
I am a huge fan of butternut soup which is perfect for the cold fall and winter weather. We just came back from a trip to Jamaica for our niece’s wedding which inspired me to modify my soup recipe with the blackstrap molasses and allspice that I brought home with me. I usually make my creamed soups with coconut milk but what a perfect addition for a Jamaican inspired soup. This is a simple recipe but very yummy!
1 med Butternut Squash
1 organic apple, unpeeled
1 tsp to 2 tsp blackstrap molasses
Allspice (3 “peppercorns” crushed or approx.. 1/8 tsp ground)
1 ½ cups coconut milk
Vitamix, food processor or blender
Cut Butternut Squash into chunks and scoop the seeds out. Quarter the apple and remove core. Place both in a baking pan and roast in the oven at 350 degrees until the squash is soft about 45 minutes.
Put all ingredients into the vitamix or food processor liquids first. Start on slow moving up to the fast speed and blend thoroughly. If the squash has cooled you can run the vitamix until the soup is hot.
That’s it! Serve in a bowl and enjoy.
Optional additions: To make this delicious soup even more nutritious, steam some chopped kale and stir it in the soup after it is blended. The kale adds a nice texture to the creamy base. Toss on some pine nuts for a bit of crunch (with or without the kale.)
Allspice also known as Jamaica pepper and was once only grown in Jamaica.
Blackstrap Molasses is made from sugar cane which is abundant in Jamaica. It is a “by-product” of the sugar making process. Because it is unrefined, blackstrap molasses is a great source of iron, calcium and other minerals.
If you haven’t heard by now, the CDC recently revised their estimates of annual Lyme Disease cases in the US up from 30k a year to 300,000 a year. (That number does not include the positive tests from the leading Lyme laboratory, IGENEX, because the CDC does not acknowledge that laboratory’s work.) A project is under way to put faces to that number. You can see the 300K cases of Lyme photo project here. I am one of the lucky ones who’s case was confirmed relatively early and am now a good 90% recovered to my pre-Lyme self.
To my Lyme friends, you can add your picture by emailing it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
One of the most important things to know is if you get by a tick, save the tick in an old pill bottle or plastic baggie with a damp cotton ball. You can then send the tick in to be tested for Borellia Burgdorferi (Lyme bacteria) as well as the other infections ticks carry such as Babesia, Bartonella, etc. It is far easier to test the tick then it is to test your blood because the human tests miss up to 50% of the cases.
It is also important to know that if you receive inadequate treatment for Lyme when you are first treated or even worse, no treatment at all, that Lyme can persist and become a systemic infection which is what happened to me. It is scary to think that when you go to your primary care doctor expecting them to know what is necessary to treat you for this disease that most doctors have not been adequately trained to treat this illness. I still hear stories regularly from people about doctors turning them away and not treating them at all even when they have a documented tick bite. Just last night at a meeting a good friend shared the story of his sister-in-law with me and last week our neighbor from one block over. And we live in an endemic region so you would think doctors would be trained!
You can read my Lyme story here.
My artist neighbor was being interviewed for a NH Chronicle episode and I got to hang out with her kids (4th and 7th graders) for a few hours. It was a gorgeous fall day so I thought I’d take them to the top of one of the low mountains in our town. That plan was promptly hijacked by youthful curiosity. Water, a small stream to be exact, caught the kid’s attention and off we went scrambling down the banking of the dirt road to explore. It brought back great memories of exploring along brooks and wetlands with my own kids when they were young.
It became quickly obvious that B & C didn’t do a lot of this type of exploring. C was very uncomfortable with stepping from rock to rock or over fallen logs. I alternated between putting a hand out to her and letting her figure it out on her own. Times have sure changed from when we were kids and most of us were “free range kids” exploring nearby fields, streams and woods and spending most of our out of school time in “free” play undirected by adults. Of course back in “those days” most of the neighborhood kids were home after-school and we had safety in numbers when groups of us played together.
Anyways, here are a few photos of our exploring fun. Some of the pictures were taken by C who enjoyed capturing what she saw with the camera.
And this post wouldn’t be complete without including the link to the NH Chronicle episode featuring my talented neighbor. If you need some interesting costume accessories for Halloween, a Renaissance Faire or wanted to turn your horse into a unicorn, Shannon is your gal!