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Saturday, November 6, 2010

Autism Topic -- Main Posting

I am the parent of a child with Autism.

For practice with keeping a blog, I created another website called "Webster's Musings" at Blogspot to put a lot of the information I have collected about Autism in one place, so that I can give the URL to other parents and teachers interested in Autism treatments I have tried.

If you scroll down on this site, you can click on it in my listing of blogs at the lower right of your screen.

My son went through a treatment program funded through research. At one point I was asked to write down other treatments I had tried, and things I was doing to help his Autism symptoms. This is the original source of that information.

I have used quotes in IEP meetings, and articles on various things I think will help someone working with an Autistic person to teach them and relate to them.

I am linking this blog with that one, instead of moving all the posts to this site because I just haven't gotten around to it yet. Eventually I am only going to maintain this site and will combine the two.

So this site has only a few of my more recent items, but the bulk of the Autism topic postings are at:


In my opinion, here are the main problems with routine, global vaccination of the very young and very elderly:

Corruption can occur in any area that deals with vaccination, in the financing, the research, the ethics of the company, the practices of the company, the production of the product, and in the distribution of the product, and in the marketing of the product. Any area can become corrupted by the pressures of stockholders, traders, and people just getting greedy or just trying to make a living and looking the other way to do it. Or there are people who tend to think that everything must be OK because everyone else is doing it.

Where ever there is a lot of money to be made, corruption is a possibility, and some might say that because it is a part of human nature to focus on money -- a probability, -- which is why in all functioning social systems we have a form of checks and balances, and several forms of accountability and consequences.

Where are the products made? Who is making them? What laws are in effect to control these processes and people? Are the standards enough to prevent most mistakes?

Unforseen Side-effects
Until you test the product on a group of people for an entire life-cycle, you really don't know the long-term implications. Until you test an entire population of people, you won't know how the effect of changing their immunity will affect the group. This is impractical and so isn't done.

Limits to Research in Real Life
You can test the product given individually, but seldom is a product tested with other products that people are given or are taking at the same time. I think the MMR is a problem because the three viruses are given together, and then often other vaccinations are given with this one, so that a child can get 6 or more diseases injected into them all in one day...causing their immune systems to over-react. My son got a mild case of lead poisoning during the time he was vaccinated, which I think is why he got Autism and I didn't. However, lead poisoning is extremely difficult to prevent in certain situations, and very dangerous in children under age three because of how the body develops.

Auto-immunity is when the immune system becomes unable to distinguish between "self" and "not-self."
Auto-immunity is a real problem when there are dietary deficiencies that prevent the immune system from calming itself down after exposure to a disease.

"Non-active" Ingredients
Immunizations need preservation to keep from spoiling. Refrigeration isn't toxic, but isn't reliable enough and too expensive, and so toxic preservatives are added (almost all preservatives have toxicity, since they are designed to kill bacteria, its just a matter to what degree they are toxic.)

Many immunizations are made by injecting a contagious disease into a living, developing egg. This makes all immunizations made this way a possible trigger for the person immunized to become allergic to the proteins in eggs or egg whites. This is an inexpensive, healthy, staple food for many people, and its really unfortunate if you have to eliminate eggs from people's diets. By stimulating the immune system at the same time as injecting eggs into a person, the similar proteins in eggs to living human tissue can cause auto-immunity to develop.

Mode of Delivery
Getting exposed to a disease by having it injected is not the normal way a human gets exposed to certain diseases. And so our immune system can become confused by encountering a disease which is already in the bloodstream when it usually presents itself at the usual 8 "entrances" to the human body (the eyes, nose, mouth, vagina, ect.) These entrances are all covered with a specially-designed protective surface called mucous membrane. This surface has special ways to react to contagion that the bloodstream doesn't have. It produces phlem, (mucous,) and other excretions to stick to, contain or wash away the bulk of the disease organisms, and has easy access to the bloodstream where immune cells can grab the invaders without being overwhelmed. This normal immune reaction is bypassed with an injection, causing the immunity to this disease to be unnatural. It tells the body to look inward for disease, instead of outward. It causes the immune military to be harassing the natives instead of the invaders.

It is this reason that many newer immunizations are now being developed to be given by spraying into the nose, to better mimic the typical exposure to contagions.

Age of Delivery
The human immune system is not fully developed and functioning the way an adult's is for many years. This is the advantage of breast feeding and the reason people take colostrum (bovine immune cells made right after birth of a calf.) The infant inherits some of the mother's immunity to diseases she has been exposed to through the initial breast milk. He can sometimes inherit a faulty immunity to certain allergenic foods this way, too.

So if you are trying to get the same immune reaction an adult gets to happen in an infant, it just isn't going to happen. So you have to re-immunise several times as the child develops. This can be a waste of resources if the child wouldn't normally need full immunity for many years (such as immunizing against diseases that primarily affect adults, like sexually transmitted diseases.)

Infants and the elderly react differently to almost all medications because of how their livers clear the blood and for other reasons. They are a more vulnerable population and should be given special consideration with medications, dosages, and other issues.

For instance, there is the Tylenol issue -- you used to have to give a different dose to babies than adults, not just because of the size, but because it was less diluted so that the baby would have to swallow less of the drug. This lead to confusion about doses and many children got overdosed causing liver damage. There is Rye's Syndrome, which is caused by giving a child aspirin during an illness. Drugs that act as stimulants to adults, when given to children have the opposite effect -- to calm them down. Because of aging, the elderly metabolize drugs differently and at different rates than other adults, their livers just aren't as effective at removing them, and so they stay in circulation in the bloodstream longer, sometimes leading to a build-up of the drug in the body and thus to overdoses. And there are a lot of other differences in very young children, and the elderly.

The main issue here is that you can't experiment on children, so all the vaccinations are researched on adults. Every time a child takes a medication right after it is released to the market, takes a risk, because they are the true Guniea Pigs.

And because female adults often can be pregnant and not know it, most research is done on adult men. So almost all the knowledge we have is based on adult men's bodies. This completely ignores the changes in hormones and other functions between adults and children, and fertile and menopausal women.

Of course, all this is balanced by the true concern that we need some kind of defense against a true epidemic of a deadly disease, like Polio. However, once a disease is very unlikely, such as when the disease is gone from all but a few remote locations in other countries, the vaccination is not removed from the schedule. They keep them up and the list of vaccinations keeps getting longer. No normal person would come into contact with every deadly disease known to man. So why put so many people at risk of side-effects and complications, and mistakes, if the disease is unlikely?

I think that in the past we could look to eradicate diseases. But now we know they mutate, and evolve, just like we do. So we can't completely rely on vaccinations to solve all of our contagion issues. Besides the fact that almost all deadly diseases still exist in labs around the world waiting to use in case someone "needs" them for weaponization. We have to have a multiple-level strategy for dealing with disease, and if we only rely on immunization, we will not fund research to find other ways to deal with health, wellness and disease.

Disclaimer: I am not a Doctor or Researcher.


It happens that I have accumulated some information about treating gout...but I haven't had gout personally.

I think this might be because I was a vegetarian for over 15 years, and still don't eat very much red meat.

I also never drank alcohol for over 30 years, although now I have an occasional glass of wine, but I try to find wine that has no sulfites in it, because the sulfites give me a headache. Which leads me to think that maybe its the sulfites that cause some hangovers?

I have an interest in health and nutrition, regular allopathic and alternative medicine, and so I sometimes recommend things to others. I posted these recommendations a while back on Gout in another forum which I think is about to be closed down.

So I am using this blog to consolidate my writings on various things, since I spent so much time composing them in the first place.

First, a little background about my philosophy regarding health and wellness:

I believe that a lot of health care is really about prevention.
And a lot of treatments can be done or assisted with changes in lifestyle.
I believe in using the least invasive treatments first, and only using the most invasive, expensive things as a last resort, (unless of course, time is of the essence.)

And I believe that with so many people not having health care insurance, I think that we all need to share our good ideas and experiences about treating diseases and staying healthy so that we can build up our collective knowledge of wellness, particularly in these economic times when it seems that everyone has so little to spend on traditional medical cares and pharmaceuticals.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying we should stop going to the Doctor, or should stop using prescriptions. I'm saying we should have more choices and options available to us, and some of this isn't rocket science, either. More like common sense, combined with common experiences, and trial and error over hundreds of years.

Doctors don't have a lot of incentive to promote this kind of stuff, because its not patented and you can't make money promoting it. Anyway, its not their job. They leave it up to us to stay as healthy as we can, and then we go to them to fix stuff we can't.

In the case of gout, it is a disease of lifestyle, like type 2 diabetes. So it develops rather slowly and is seldom a dire emergency, until it gets severe in its later stages, where someone's feet swell up and make walking impossible, with sometimes extreme pain and discomfort.

So here are my postings:

Disclaimer: >>> I'm not a doctor.

Uric acid is the primary cause of Gout. Uric acid is produced in the body primarily from the digestion of meat. Red meat, white meat, chicken, fish, any flesh foods force the body to make uric acid as a toxic by-product of digestion. Any excess floating in your bloodstream can crystalize and these sharp-edged crystals settle low in the body and can cause extreme pain.

You dissolve it like sugar--drink a lot of water (not alcohol) to dilute it. Raise your feet up. Eliminate the original source--meat proteins.

Increase your urine output any way you can, even try a bowel cleanse to increase all forms of elimination to get the concentration of uric acid down and out of your system.

Urea is a by-product of the yeast that is used in making wine, so there is always some urea in wines. This is why people with gout--which is pain caused by crystalized urea concentrated in the feet--need to avoid wine for a while to allow the crystals to dissolve.

Here's an interesting article on urea in wine:

New Methods to limit urea: genetically enhanced yeasts reduce probable carcinogen.
By Patterson, Tim
Publication: Wines & Vines
Date: Sunday, February 1 2009

"The issues of urea and ethyl carbamate have been hovering over the wine industry like a little cloud for several years now. Urea, a minor byproduct of yeast metabolism, can combine with ethanol to form urethane--also known as ethyl carbamate or EC--a known carcinogen in animals and a likely carcinogenic danger for humans as well. The stubborn part of this problem--the reason it won't go away quietly--is that some urea is produced in every fermentation. Some of that urea always transforms itself into EC, and once it's there, it's devilishly hard to get rid of.

Slowly but steadily, national and international regulatory bodies are taking a hard look at EC and upping the standards--that is, lowering the acceptable concentrations. In 2006, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) in Canada, which has for years had one of the world's most rigorous testing programs for commercial wines and spirits, rejected several thousand cases of four different sherries because of elevated EC. In the past year, the European Food Safety Authority has raised EC from a "possible" human carcinogen to "probable," putting it in some pretty toxic company, and making the possibility of formal standards more likely. The United States' wine industry currently operates on a voluntary standard, but the chances of the Food and Drug Administration issuing stricter regulations in the near future are fairly good, and the chances that the export market will become EC-restrictive are higher yet.

Several viticultural and cellar practices, dos and don'ts, have been identified for urea/EC control, and products exist that can help in removing it. The newest weapon is the commercial release of two yeast strains from Phyterra Yeast ( that are genetically enhanced to greatly reduce residual urea--potentially limiting the problem before it starts."

Urea in the human body:
Urea is highly soluble in water. Urea is, in essence, a waste product. It is found in and extracted from urine. It is dissolved in blood and excreted by the kidney as a component of urine. In addition, a small amount of urea is excreted in sweat.

This means that drinking lots of water will help to dissolve the crystals.

You should tell your physician about any herbs you are taking, and be sure to learn about any herbs you are taking before you use them.

Some herbs have side-effects, and some herbs should never be taken by pregnant women (chamomile, for instance.) Some herbs are better for women, and others better for men. For example Panax Ginseng (Korean Ginseng Root) is better for men, and Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococus senticosus) is better for women. Some herbs react with other medications you might be taking.

I'm not a herbalist. I am a caregiver of disabled people. I did study pre-med in college, and my father was a doctor, and I have a lot of nursing experience.

I hope that each person who has symptoms of gout have already been to a Doctor--because, for one thing, it is an extremely painful condition and renders the person lame...and often unable to work. I know someone who recently had a big toe joint removed because of it.

Some of the medications the doctors give are toxic themselves, and the treatments are often only temporary if diet and lifestyle are not changed. Consider that one of the things both doctors and herbalists recommend is to avoid drinking red wine--hardly a harmful recommendation.

I suggest that a person first try changing their diet and lifestyle, and if that doesn't work, go to their doctor and try what he/she suggests, and if that doesn't work, try these home a last resort. However, some of the suggestions are really non-toxic, like drinking cherry juice, ginger, sarsaparilla (Similax officinalis), and couldn't hurt anybody, no matter when you tried it.

"Mainly vegetarian" can mean a lot of things.

Some vegetarians eliminate red meat and chicken, but fill up on junk foods to replace them. Try eating whole foods only--foods that haven't been prepared by other people first, because then they add preservatives, food colorings, and artificial flavourings -- more stuff your kidneys and liver have to filter out.

If you have an attack of gout, I would recommend eating no flesh foods whatsoever. This includes fish, chicken, eggs--anything that was once alive. Drink lots of water, not soda, not coffee, no alcohol, just water. Do this for about two weeks.

Gout is caused by improper elimination of too much waste products from protein foods. Gout is a disease of excess. If you are over-eating--that is, eating more than is necessary to maintain your health and at a normal weight--then the excess must be eliminated by your kidneys and liver. Gout used to be called the "disease of Kings" and "the rheumatism of the rich" because only people who had access to an excess of rich foods seemed to get it.

If you are overweight, loose weight. But don't go on a crash diet or do fasting, because this could make you temporarily worse. Going on a "cleanse" to help your liver or kidneys will help your body to eliminate the uric acid better. If you have any kind of kidney damage or liver damage, this could be the reason for a build-up of protein metabolites (urea.)

Gout is caused by an excess of uric acid in the body, called hyperuricemia. Uric acid results from the breakdown of purines. Excess purines can be caused by either an over-production of uric acid by the body or the under-elimination of uric acid by the kidneys. Eating foods high in purines can raise uric acid levels in the blood and precipitate gout attacks.

The way our bodies digest proteins that are high in purines is what causes gout. Even lentils, Garbanzo beans (chickpeas), spinach, mushrooms, asparagus, cauliflower are high in purines and can cause kidney stones, too. But these vegetarian foods have not been shown to be a problem for people getting gout.

Foods high in purines:

Beer, other alcoholic beverages.
Anchovies, fish roes
Organ meat (liver, kidneys, sweetbreads)
Meat extracts, consomme, gravies.
Legumes (dried beans, peas)
Mushrooms, spinach, asparagus, cauliflower.

Foods moderately high in purines include:


There is a new study that shows some protective effect from eating/drinking low-fat dairy products.

If you haven't had any attacks recently, then the changes to your diet since then might be all you need. I would say that too much of anything isn't a good eating so that you don't gain weight and eating a variety of healthy foods is probably all you need.

Gout is partly hereditary. If you have kidney problems or liver problems or are missing or deficient in enzymes you need to digest proteins, then you might have to be more careful than the average person. Be careful not to take too many pain relievers and over the counter medications...any thing that can put a strain on your kidneys and liver.

The thing with meats is...there is urea in the meat because the animals have metabolites in their bodies when they are slaughtered. So if you are on the borderline of having a gout attack, any meat could push you over the edge into having too much uric acid, and having that precipitate into painful crystals at that point.

So, don't eat very large meals...more than your body can digest easily in a few hours. Don't binge, don't strain your digestive/elimination system on a regular basis.

You can eliminate eating the red meat completely without really missing much on nutrition. You could improve the meats you eat by selecting organic, free range meats. The main thing red meat has that you need and can't get in a vegan diet is vitamin B12. You can take a B12 supplement for that. The other thing you need is iron. You can get enough iron by cooking some of your food in cast iron pots.

Years ago, people ate much less meat, and it wasn't a daily thing and they did just fine (even better, in many cases.) You could go to one meal of chicken a week, and add low-fat dairy products instead. Or an organic tofu. Or just be sure to keep your serving of meat to no more than the size of a deck of cards (about 3 oz) at any meal you eat meat.

Try eating brown rice pasta, or whole grain pasta some of the time. Refined carbohydrates (white flours) are something that just raises your insulin levels too fast and can cause hypoglycemia, insulin resistance, or pre-diabetes.

Try adding more fiber to your diet. This will absorb some of the waste products in your colon before they get a chance to cause too much trouble.

If you were drinking red wine once a week, you meant that you drank more than two glasses at that sitting, then this might be a sign that your kidneys couldn't deal with that amount at one time. You could try just having one glass at a time, and wait a few days before having the next glass. And always drink a glass of water for each glass of wine you drink to help your kidneys flush out the toxins. By toxins, I mean, the yeast they use to make the wine creates its own urea....and that ends up in the wine.

You get lots of brownie points for cooking from scratch.

I like cooking from scratch. I love going to a farmer's market and bringing home food that I cook right away. You get more vitamins that way, since many vitamins evaporate in the refrigerator before you get to eat them.

There's nothing wrong with fat. Unfortunately, you only need two tablespoons of fat per day.

But may I suggest trying different types of fat? Try a blend of flax oil with safflower oil on salads and switch to using real lemon juice instead of vinegar. Vinegar is made the same way as wine--it has the same metabolites in it from the yeasts.

Go for fats like olive oil, but be sure they don't use solvents to extract it because many oils have hexane in them from the type of extraction process that uses chemicals. That is why "expeller pressed" is better. Also, really try to avoid fats that have gone rancid. Rancidity is very toxic to the nervous system. Any oil that smells rancid, or has a solvent smell is bad for you.

Fats high in omega 3 are good for you, but they spoil easily. You can buy small amounts and use them quickly, keep them in the refrigerator or even the freezer.

If you like the taste and/or smell of the fats you use, blend them with these others and you will still have some of the taste you like.

Nuts like cashews, walnuts and almonds are good for you, as well as avacado, which all are high in fats, but the good kind. Just keep it to a handful a day of nuts, or 1/4 of an avacado. Be sure they are fresh and not rancid. Nuts go rancid just like other fats do.

Nuts are also a good source of protein, in moderation.

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The following is from the excellent source:

"Back To Eden"
by Jethro Kloss

These herbs are all natural home remedies that are good for Gout:

Blue violet,
genitian root,
buckthorn bark,
wood betony,
balm of Gilead.


Take equal parts of granulated (finely chopped) skullcap, yarrow, and valerian, and mix thoroughly together. Use a heaping teaspoon to a cup of boiling water. Steep and drink a cupful an hour before meals and one before bed.

Any of the herbs that were listed by my previous posting can be taken singly or in any combination. Use a spoonful to a cup of boiling water, and steep for 20 minutes. Drink about 4 cups per day.

Try each one individually to see which works best for you.

Note: do not use aluminum cookware when making these recipes. Don't combine regular drugs with herbal medicines during the same treatment period.

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This recipe is for rubbing on to the swollen areas to help reduce the pain and swelling:

(not for drinking!)


Two ounces of powdered myrrh,
One ounce of powdered goldenseal,
One-half ounce cayenne pepper
One quart alcohol (pure vodka, 70% alcohol)*

* Rubbing alcohol was the ingredient in the original recipe, but has been implicated in some cancers, so this is a substitution.

Mix together and let stand for seven days; shake well every day. Decant off and bottle in corked bottles. This recipe can work without the golden seal.

You can apply this every few minutes for an hour or two.
(It can be applied to the face, but don't get it into the eyes.)

NOTE: This is not for drinking. This recipe is toxic if you drink it.
It is good for pain, swelling, bruises, pimples and any skin eruptions.

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Drinking cherry juice

is good, but look for the juice that doesn't have lots of High Fructose Corn Syrup in it. HFCS is highly processed and not good for you. Also try to avoid Aspartame (Nutrasweet) sweetener. You could get the 100% juice and add plain sugar or other sweetener, like stevia to it. Or just eat a lot of cherries when they are in season.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Musings about food addiction

"We think fast food is equivalent to pornography,
nutritionally speaking."

~ Steve Elbert

Fast food is addicting.

My opinion is that one of the ingredients that the food producers call a flavouring, or call a preservative, or a crop pesticide, is in actuality an addictive substance they have discovered in the last 20 years, that is without any specific flavour of its own.
The perfect drug...since everyone has to eat...and you can add it to anything you sell, because its a drug, not a spice and people can't taste it in their food. Oh, well, unless it happens to have a sweet taste, which all humans seem to like anyway.

Then you invest in various weight-loss products, and invest in fashions that require thinness to look right on someone, and you advertise them like crazy, and you have created a mass dysfunction/hypnotism that you can profit on.

My theory is, that we are a most ingenious people. And when food producers wanted to increase their sales, they thought like this, (well, they probably hired researchers who thought like this):

Most people need about 2,000 calories per day to live on. How to get people to eat more than they need to be healthy and look good? Most everybody (with money) is already eating enough. So the only growth in your industry is with population growth. That's too slow to make much money, so how to speed up market demand? Hmm, so -- lets make people grow. Then they are the repositories for your increased production. They can buy it and store it in their fat cells.

As long as people didn't die from it right away, any modifications made can't be proved to be a poison. You can blame the individual consumer for any ill-effects. You blame their "lack of will-power." Who can prove that isn't the real problem?

I have another theory about food addiction.

Let's say we are so ingenious as to find a way to make food animals grow really fast until the age we slaughter them. This makes financial sense, because the faster the animals grow, the quicker we can sell them and make a profit, so we don't have to keep feeding them longer than we have to until they feed us. (I.e., this keeps expenses down, since with this method we don't let them find their own food.) It doesn't matter if the long-term effects of these changes are unhealthy (such as cancer, diabetes, hormonal changes, neurological changes) because the animals never live long enough to develop these diseases.

This can be done by genetic alteration, or just breeding for super-fast growth (naturally produced growth hormones, or artificially low satiation hormones) adding artificial growth hormones, or by using animal feed laced with addictive substances. It doesn't matter what happens to the stuff once it is in the animal because nobody tests for these things after the animal is dead. Its supposed to just disappear because the animal's liver metabolises it... however, there will probably be traces of this in all the animal's parts. And so humans get the same effect over time...growth, excessive hunger.

One of the ways genes are inserted into animal cells to alter them, is by using viruses. What if the virus passes from the animal's body into ours? And creates humans who are altered to have abnormal growth and weight gain?

Oh, yeah, there is a published a research study that shows that overweight people seem too often to have a certain virus in them...wonder where that virus came from.***

We are just too smart for our own good. So how do we know that this isn't true? Rely on the ones who profit from this to tell us its all safe and good for us? How can anyone prove this hasn't happened to our food industry? And if its so, how do we undo this mess?

* I switched to buying all organic foods two years ago. Its sad because there is not a guarantee that there won't be GMO contaminants in them, and some farmer's can't afford to follow the strictest guidelines, and so I buy from farmer's who say they don't use a lot of pesticides, but who is going to be checking on them to make sure?

* I started buying more locally produced food, because it needs less alteration to make it easier to transport and store.

* I started growing my own food in my small urban backyard. The freshest vegetables that I could possibly taste, picked and eaten within the hour. If you haven't ever eaten something that you picked yourself, you should try this. Its decadently good. You can taste the sunshine still in it.

* I started cooking from scratch more, to avoid buying things that people can add stuff to that isn't strictly food. I enjoy cooking so this has been fun.

I figure that if it isn't nourishment, I am not eating it or feeding it to my children -- it isn't going to be something our bodies have to try to figure out how to get rid of after we eat it.

I can't rely on my taste buds to tell me if something is toxic or not any more. There are so many things that have no taste or smell that are toxic these days. Like natural gas (they add that funny smell) radon, lead, aluminum, flouride, carbon monoxide, ozone, radiation.

It used to be that our noses could tell us if food was spoiled before we ate it. Now we have food that can last 20 years...but might not sustain life anymore. Back then, the only thing we had to worry about was naturally toxic plants, like certain mushrooms. We have cleaner food preparation, but its only "clean" with respect to bacteria and viruses. It's not "clean" with regard to its production, delivery and storage.

The thing is, that anything that is made by someone else is open to having anything put into it that regulations will allow. And as far as I know, there are about 4,000 chemicals that can be added to our food.

The methods our great-grandparents used to preserve foods was generally safe, but each has their own problems. Salt is safe, but too much hurts our blood pressure. Canning is safe if done right (if not, there is the risk of botulism,) but years ago cans added lead to our food through the solder. Jar canning is safer than using metal cans, because the metal can corrode, and the plastic lining of some cans can have a toxic chemical embedded in it. Adding sugar stops bacteria, but sugar causes diabetes, dental decay, and other problems. Freezing is great for 6 months or so, but the energy to freeze things is getting more expensive. Fermentation is generally safe if done right, but sometimes the fermentation is supplemented with processing that damages the food enzymes, as in pasteurization.

Extracting parts of food is commonly done, as in getting oil out of olives, but sometimes this is done using solvents which are toxic, like hexane (a type of gasoline) and leave residues in the product.

I remember the time years ago when all that was in the news about food was the mythical "finger found in a can of food" story. Or bugs in stuff. Well, at least the bugs could live on it as much as we could.

But our food doesn't let bugs survive. Pesticides affect a bug's nervous system. I wonder if they die going crazy. I wonder if someone eats too much processed food if they will eventually go crazy from a build-up of these chemicals. I wonder if someone's liver isn't healthy, and they can't remove toxins from the food they eat, does the chemical build up in us?

This sounds paranoid. Oh, oh. I've now come full circle. Maybe its already happened to me...

They say Indian farmers are committing suicide at an alarming rate because of the way farming is practised now. I wonder if it isn't just that they can't make enough money to support their families...I wonder if it is the pesticide exposure. Or exposure to a crop that has had a virus added to it to insert new genes into it.

Its so easy to insert viruses into people these days. Because we have 23 different vaccinations we expect every man, woman and child to insert into their bodies.

These vaccinations are usually not just one virus, they are combinations of several viruses at once. So couldn't they just add one more to change the entire population within one year?

Is anyone looking into this possibility at all? And how to you create enough security to make sure this doesn't happen? A lot of our vaccines are made in other countries...oceans away from us. How closely is anyone watching?

I'm not saying I know any of this is happening. I just see the evidence of it. I know how the economic system in our country works. Its a free market system that is expected to regulate itself, for the most part, and is driven by a so-called "invisible hand" (which is anyone with money to spend.)

To me this just makes sense. Its logical. Its profitable, its possible with our current technology and delivery systems. So if it isn't happening already, then I think its probable.

Its probably mostly legal. All that you need are some really well-paid lawyers and marketers to create a legal smokescreen. And maybe some well-paid lobbyists to make sure it stays legal, and maybe a spin-miester or two. And maybe just to be on the safe side, to fund your own "research" that has a pre-determined outcome or you fire them.

Investments drive invention. But money, the way we invest it, has no soul, no morality, and is so far removed from its ultimate effects that people who invest have no idea what they are truly paying for anymore. It's too easy to hide behind a wall of paper, board members who are investors in what they are deciding on. We mix investments like we mix viruses. Several into one group that people then invest in. Does anyone really follow the money they invest into every combination fund?

Does everyone believe that what is told them on paper is what is really happening with their money? And how would anyone really check for themselves?

* If I was an investor, I would only invest in places I could go visit myself. I would invest in people and businesses I could trust, and not just trust what they say about themselves to get my money.

* If I was a reporter, I would look into this for at least a year, and not let anyone know I was researching it because reporters can get relocated to dangerous war zones.

* I vote, so I can go to my representative and speak about this. I don't stand to loose any money if things go wrong from people investigating things and regulating things.

* I can support people that are speaking up about this...there are those who risk their jobs to talk about it. I would be careful they aren't just other businesspeople who are trying to take pot-shots at their competition.

* I would be careful not to speak of rumours and gossip as if they were truth, with no proof. I would be careful not to spread fear and panic, but to offer practical solutions, and a vision and direction for change, too. And this is why I say here that this is just my opinion, based on what I have seen personally. We are an ingenious people, and if we are smart enough to create a complicated, convoluted, problem, we are smart enough to figure out how to change course, and to find a fix, and to repair some of the damage we have caused to ourselves.

For we are all in this together. Our grocery money and health care money paid for all this, and maybe our grocery and health care budget can be adjusted to pay to find solutions and to implement them.

* I would hope that there is someone in government who still has an interest in public welfare and safety, who could spare some public funds to do independent research by people who are in a safe and well-paid situation to not be susceptible to bribes and corruption.

* And I hope that the people in the food industry that are working so hard to increase food production use some of their profits to self-regulate, and to do honest research about long-term implications, and to educate their employees about the ethics of food production.

*** Reference:

"Boston (SmartAboutHealth) - According to a new study, a virus may be one of the reasons as to why overweight people can gain weight in shorts periods of time, leading them to obesity.

Researchers were led by Nikhil Dhurandhar from the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana as they carried out a study on overweight people.

They looked at overweight people who gained weight in short periods of time, and compared them to people of normal weight.

What they found was that a virus known as AD-36 was present in over 30% of those who were obese.

In those who were of normal weight, the virus was seen in only around 10% of them.

The virus harms the body by causing fat cells to multiply, sparking massive weight gain in a short period of time.

Researchers believe this could be a reason as to why overweight people gain weight quickly."

Friday, October 8, 2010

People Pellets

"Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking
if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity."

~ Voltaire

Remember when people used to think that a great invention would be "food pills" so that people wouldn't have to eat? This was back in the days before Julia Child, when nobody did much cooking, and the prepared food just wasn't that good.

Sort of like "People Pellets."

Sounds like kibble to me.

Hmm, in fact, I think that's what inspired the invention of boxed breakfast cereal, and Graham crackers.

When I was a kid, I tried my pet's dog biscuits to see what all the fuss was about (the dogs went gaga over them.) They actually tasted pretty that I think about it I am grossed out, I can't imagine what was in them. But I haven't found a granola bar that tasted as good as those dog biscuits used to. I don't know if that says more about the granola bars, or the dog biscuits. Um,.... or me.

Now my sister makes them for her dogs to avoid gluten (which her dogs don't tolerate), and we have a booth at the Farmer's Market that has home-made dog biscuits, and they say you can eat them, too, but few people do.

Anyone got a good recipe for nutritionally healthy "human biscuits" that is GF/CF?

I think part of the fascination for me was the texture. Most human biscuits are bread-y and you can't keep them in the cookie jar or they will go stale quickly. Granola bars are too chewy and have too many competing textures. Crackers are crumbly and "crunchy" but really have no "bite" to them. I like that your dog can brush their teeth with a dog biscuit, so my human biscuits would need to do the same thing.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

"May you find serenity and tranquility

in a world you may not always understand.

May the pain you have known and the conflict you have experienced

give you the strength to walk through life facing each new situation with optimism and courage.

Always know that there are those whose love and understanding will always

be there, even when you feel most alone.

May you discover enough goodness in others to believe in a world of peace.

May a kind word, a reassuring touch, a warm smile be yours every day of your life,

and may you give these gifts as well as receive them.

Remember the sunshine when the storm seems unending.

Teach love to those who know hate, and let that love embrace you as you go into the world.

May the teaching of those you admire become part of you, so that you may call upon them.

Remember, those whose lives you have touched and who have touched yours are always a part of you, even if the encounters were less than you would have wished.

May you not become too concerned with material matters, but instead place immeasurable value on the goodness in your heart.

Find time in each day to see the beauty and love in the world around you.

Realize that each person has limitless abilities, but each of us is different in our own way.

What you may feel you lack in one regard may be more than compensated for in another.

What you feel you lack in the present may become one of your strengths in the future.

May you see your future as one filled with promise and possibility.

Learn to view everything as a worthwhile experience.

May you find enough inner strength to determine your own worth by yourself,

and not be dependent on another's judgements of your accomplishments.

May you always feel loved."

~ Attributed to Sandra Sturtz Hauss

Peace and love...

"You have to find something that you love enough to be able to take risks, jump over the hurdles

and break through the brick walls that are always going to be placed in front of you.

If you don't have that kind of feeling for what it is you are doing, you'll stop at the first giant hurdle."

~ George Lucas – Star Wars Film Director and Producer

Monday, September 27, 2010

On Marriage

Quotes I like about Marriage

"The middle years of marriage are the most crucial. In the early years, spouses want each other and in late years, they need each other."

~ Rebecca Tilly

"I didn't marry you because you were perfect.
I didn't even marry you because I loved you.
I married you because you gave me a promise.
That promise made up for your faults.
And the promise I gave you made up for mine.
Two imperfect people got married and it was the promise that made the marrigae.
And when our children were growing up, it wasn't a house that protected them; and it wasn't our love that protected them - it was that promise."

~ Thornton Wilder

"I think a man and a woman should choose each other for life, for the simple reason that a long life with all its accidents is barely enough time for a man and a woman to understand each other and... To understand - is to love."
~ William Butler Yeats

"It is not your love that sustains the marriage, but from now on, the marriage that sustains your love."
~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Marriage is our last, best chance to grow up.
~ Joseph Barth

Chains do not hold a marriage together. It is threads, hundreds of tiny threads, which sew people together through the years.
~ Simone Signoret

Friday, June 11, 2010


"We are the leaves of one branch,
the drops of one sea,
the flowers of one garden."

~ Jean Baptiste Henry Lacordaire

The Mosaic

On NPR yesterday was an interview with Terry Tempest Williams, the author of Finding Beauty in a Broken World:

We watched the towers collapse.
We watched America choose war.
The peace in our own hearts shattered.
How to pick up the pieces?
What to do with these pieces?
I was desperate to retrieve the poetry I had lost.
Standing on a rocky point in Maine, looking east toward the horizon at dusk, I faced the ocean. "Give me one wild word." It was all I asked of the sea.

Williams writes that the sea answered "mosaic." She took this message literally and signed up for a mosaic apprenticeship in Ravenna, Italy. She found out that she wasn't any good making art out of broken bits of tile.

"And because I couldn't create a mosaic out of tessera," Williams says, "I wanted to see if I could create a mosaic out of words.

And I just finished reading "Everyday Survival" by Laurence Gonzales. He discusses the patterns in nature that come about as entropy acts in the universe. That the very structure of things evolves from the law of entropy, which ultimately leads to total randomness, but paradoxically, in the progress toward randomness creates all the patterns and structure of the substance of the living and non-living world.

A mosaic is a pattern that takes random bits of brokenness and creates a beautiful new whole.

It all came together when my son failed a class in his senior year. We knew he would fail, yet he had to finish the class, and take the final, knowing he would fail. He had passed the first semester, and was going through the second semester to get as far as he could before needing to take it in Summer School. He has a severe disability, and the school struggles to accommodate him with what he needs to succeed in regular education classes.

He had gone to a college group at our church, during which a discussion came up about all the disasters around the world, and he told me it was suggested that God allowed these disasters to help the people change course because they were headed the wrong way. But then he asked me that if that is why bad things happen, then why did God allow him to be born with a disability? He had done nothing wrong.

He asked me if I thought it would be appropriate if he could ask the minister this question. I said it was a very legitimate question, one of the great mysteries of existence. It might put the minister on the spot because the question doesn't have an easy answer and might take more than a few sentences to answer.

So we talked and it got me to thinking. Everyone has to come to terms with this one on their own, because it is not going to be helpful to anyone to just tell them a single way to understand the problem of suffering in this broken world. And perhaps that is the point. Suffering grows our souls, but who would choose to suffer if they could avoid it, just to grow some invisible part of us that we cannot see or measure? And so the world does this for us, its something we can't avoid, although we can try to spend our lives minimizing our suffering.

And who would presume to tell anyone that their suffering is somehow good for them, or was given to them on purpose, or as a punishment? Well, not anyone you cared about...

It reminds me of some things said to us and other parents who had lost a child at funerals and other rememberances. "Its God's will" sounds hollow when it is your child lost to you.

After many losses and tragedies, and times when I ran from suffering, was angry at God, depressed, and apathetic, I have come to think that the right answer is the answer that helps you to put one foot in front of the other, and continue to reach out to others, and to still be open to love and be loved. No other answer is sustainable for the long term.

I know faith is not logically deduced. It is inspired within us. Yet as a fairly logical person, the answer came to mind that the only thing that makes sense is that we have existed before we were born, and had some say in the basic framework of our lives, as part of God, before birth. I think God directs us toward expansive experiences, and just as we put away the Candy Land game for Checkers, and then perhaps Chess, we decide to try difficult circumstances to test our strength and skills. This makes sense especially if we survive death. Because from the vantage point beyond death, no suffering can seem that fearful. In a way, then, no one can truly be hurt. Although during this life, developing compassion and the urge to take action to help alleviate suffering is part of that expansive experience. The suffering is real, here and now. And if it wasn't, it wouldn't have the effect of developing our souls in this way. Perhaps that is why we all forget where we came from after we are born, although I think I remembered for a long time before I lost the sensation of having existed in some way before being born.

So I think it is somehow with our consent, perhaps even reluctant agreement, that we need to be here, in the midst of all this imperfection, damage and suffering, so we can become strong working toward healing, toward creating beauty and being part of the beautiful mosaic of life.

I compare this world to a deep forest with all kinds of trees, some tall, some bent, some missing a limb, some growing in different patterns. You can look at any individual tree and probably none of them are the perfect specimen of that particular tree type. Yet taken together, they form a beautiful, calming, even majestic experience. Compared with a field of corn sown in identical rows, all the same height, the experience might still be pastoral and beautiful with each cloud scuttling overhead a unique shape, it is somehow the forest that reminds me of God, and brings me a feeling of everything being in its place, even as my feet crunch in the layers of dead plant material from which everything is growing. Death, disability, and deformity, coexist with vigorous life growing chaotically yet with definite patterns, like music.

If we were to hire a large corporation to build a forest, they might come up with a tree pattern that all their carpenters follow, with a few different sizes, but essentially all "perfect" in shape and construction. Imagine a forest built by us, by a corporation, or by a committee... It might be too messy to have forest litter on the ground, and so no fallen leaves to crunch as we walk. In fact, it might be silent except for perhaps some piped-in music. People might decide that rocks are too hard to sit on, and fallen logs might mess up our clothes, and so nice benches would be placed around neat paths. Now its beginning to sound like going to the mall....

One day I was in the forest, and I saw this magnificent tree that had obviously been hit by lightning half growing and half fallen, and it stood in beautiful contrast at an angle to the straight up and down of the other trees. I thought of my son, growing strong, but providing contrast. Would I have had the tree removed to make the forest look "neater?" I looked at the lovely thick flowering moss growing at its base, the place where an animal had a nest between some roots, and some unusual flowers and mushrooms growing right out of the tree where it was near the ground. All that would be gone too.

I told my son that someday the solutions to his problems, were we to solve them, would help a lot of different people, perhaps all of us, as we age and need more help with things. His suffering provides me, and his relatives and friends, and Doctors and researchers the motivation to invent new ways to deal with tricky situations humans deal with. In the process we learn more about ourselves and how our bodies work and how we interact with our environment and with limitations, and we learn better how we heal, and how to help, and when not to help. How to encourage independence, and when to accept and tolerate differences. How to accommodate all types of abilities, experiences, sizes, shapes and ages.

And in the process we get to see how suffering can be turned into beauty, and better usefulness, and we see ourselves getting stronger, smarter, braver, more compassionate and more resourceful.

I believe we are all one, each individual unique yet part of a whole pattern of humanity and sentience and material and spiritual existence. A mosaic, a part of the vortex of energy that creates beautiful holographic patterns as it moves toward entropy. Some of us have sharp edges, like diamonds, some are smoothed over by time and rough experiences like river pebbles.
"Never let a problem to be solved become more important than the person to be loved."

~ Barbara Johnson

Thursday, June 10, 2010


"Politeness is the art of choosing among one's real thoughts."

- Abel Stevens

On Beng The Employer

"If thou are a master, be sometimes blind; if a servant, sometimes deaf."

~ Thomas Fuller
A Wall or a Bridge

"They say a wife and a husband, bit by bit
Can rear a between themselves a mighty wall,
So thick they cannot speak with ease through it,
Nor can they see across it, it stands so tall.

Its nearness frightens them, but each alone
Is powerless to tear its bulk away;
And each dejected wishes they had known
through such a wall, some magic things to say.

So let us build with master art, my dear,
A bridge of love between your life and mine,
A bridge of tenderness, and very near,
A bridge of understanding, strong and fine.

Till we have formed so many lovely ties,
There never will be room for walls to rise."

Submitted by: Mrs PaulyD
Author: Unknown
"We are told that people stay in love because of chemistry,
or because they remain intrigued with each other,
because of many kindnesses,
because of luck.

But part of it has got to be forgiveness and gratefulness."

~ Ellen Goodman
"There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil
to one who is striking at the root."

~ Henry David Thoreau

"When choosing between two evils,
I always like to try the one I've never tried before."

~ Mae West
"A man cannot serve God and Mammon, nor be temperate and furious at the same time."

~ Mahatma Gandhi
"Great minds discuss ideas;
average minds discuss events;
small minds discuss people."

~ Eleanor Roosevelt
"You are the endless sea
In whom all the worlds like waves
Naturally rise and fall.

You have nothing to win,
Nothing to lose.
You are pure awareness,
Nothing less.

You and the world are one.

So who are you to think
You can hold on to it,
Or let it go?

How could you!"

~ Ashtavakra Gita 15: 11-12

“Come again, come whoever you are, this caravan is not of despair.

Come, come whoever you are, whoever you are, come.

Even though you have broken your vows, perhaps ten thousand times,

Still come again, come, whoever you are, whoever you are, come.

Wander, worshipper, lover of leaving, come.

This caravan has no despair,

We travel the road of the friend."

~Jalaluddin Rumi

“If you are but content, you have enough to live upon with comfort.”


“Friends do not despair.
A difficult time has come upon us; our joy must fill the air.
We must not lose our joy of living, we must not despair.
For a difficult time is upon us, our joy must fill the air.”

~Rabbi Nachman of Breslov
"These two paths, the light and the dark, are said to be eternal, lending some
to liberation and others to rebirth.
Once you have known these two paths, Arjuna,
you can never be deluded again.
Attain this knowledge through perseverance in yoga.

There is merit in studying the scriptures, in selfless service, austerity, and giving,
but the practice of meditation carries you beyond all these to the supreme abode of
the highest Lord."

~ Bhagavad Gita 8:26-28

On The Medical Profession's Approach to Hope

"This is something I discovered along the way. (Surviving terminally diagnosed cancer.)

There seems to be a great fear of something known as "false hope."

I've heard the phrase used by Doctors and Nurses again and again in very self-congratulatory ways, as if by exterminating it, they were providing a great philanthropic service to the community.

Now I've scratched my way through this world as nothing, if not a pessimist.
And I will state, unequivocally, that there is no such thing as false hope. It's an oxymoron. It can't exist.
Hope has no connotations of certainty.
Hope carries no assurance of success.
Hope is the one thing in this world that can never, ever be false.
Hope is just exactly what it says; a longing, a desire.
Is there such a thing as a false aching desire?"

~Evan Handler, "Time on Fire, My Comedy of Terrors"
Star of Sex and The City, and Californication,
from an interview with The People's Pharmacy Show 702
And God Said...


I asked God to take away my pride.
And God said, "No."
He said it was not for Him to take away, but for me to give up.

I asked God to make my handicapped child whole.
And God said, "No."
He said her spirit was whole, her body was only temporary.

I asked God to grant me patience.
And God said, "No."
He said patience is a by-product of tribulations. It isn't granted, it is earned.

I asked God to give me happiness.
And God said, "No."
He said He gives me blessings, happiness is up to me.

I asked God to spare me pain.
And God said, "No."
He said suffering draws me apart from worldly cares and brings me closer to Him.

I asked God to make my spirit grow.
And God said, "No."
He said I must grow on my own. But He will prune me to make me fruitful.

I asked for all things that I might enjoy life.
And God said, "No."
He said He will give me life, that I may enjoy all things.

I asked God to help me love others, as much as he loves me.
And God said, "Ah, finally you have the idea!"

© Claudia Minden Weisz

"When we look back and wonder how we ever made it through,
we realize it's not because we are clever, but because God has been wise."

--Author Unknown

Small is the number of people who see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts.
– Albert Einstein

It's no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.
– Jiddu Krishnamurti

The eye altering, alters all.
– William Blake

What we do in life... ripples in eternity.
– Marcus Aurelius (121-180)
"When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project,
all your thoughts break their bonds; your mind transcends limitations,
your consciousness expands in every direction,
and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world.

Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive,
and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far
than you ever dreamed yourself to be."

~Patanjali (Indian mystic who established the tradition of meditation. Author of Samadhi.)
"Someday, after we have mastered the winds, the waves, the tide and gravity,

we shall harness for God the energies of love.

Then, for the second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire."

~Pierre Teilhard De Chardin

Visualize Yourself...

"There is a law in psychology that if you form a picture in your mind of what you would like to be, and you keep and hold that picture there long enough, you will soon become exactly as you have been thinking."

~William James, Philosopher, Psychologist, Writer

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Nowhere To Go But Here

"Where ever you go....there you are."

~ Buckaroo Banzai

Be Here Now

Being Rather Than Seeming

"When you are with someone you love very much, you can talk and it is pleasant,
but the reality is not in the conversation.
It is in simply being together.

Meditation is the highest form of prayer.
In it you are so close to God that you don't need to say a thing--
it is just great to be together."

~ Swami Chetananda


"The wicked see this universe as a hell,
and the partially good see it as heaven,
while the perfect beings realize it as God Himself.

Only when a man sees this universe as God does,
does the veil fall from his eyes;

then that man, purified and cleansed,
finds his whole vision changed."

~ Swami Vivekananda

Dance as if there is no tomorrow

“What if the Hokey Pokey really is what it’s all about?”

~ Seen on a T-shirt

I think its all about swing dancing, but that's my own personal bias showing...
"Doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin brother. "

- Kahlil Gibran

"A little philosophy inclineth man's mind to atheism;
but depth in philosophy bringeth men's minds about to religion."

~ Francis Bacon

As quoted in "The Secret Teachings of All Ages" by Manly P. Hall


“Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be,
since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be.”

~ Thomas A. Kempis

“You see, when weaving a blanket,
an Indian woman leaves a flaw in the weaving of that blanket to let the soul out.”

~ Martha Graham

Death and Letting Go

Miss Me But Let Me Go

"When I come to the end of the road
And the sun has set for me
I want no rites in a gloom-filled room.
Why cry for a soul set free?

Miss me a little--but not too long
And not with your head bowed low.
Remember the love that we once shared,
Miss me--but let me go.

For this is a journey that we all must take
And each must go alone.
It's all a part of the Master's plan,
A step on the road to home.

When you are lonely and sick of heart
Go to the friends we know
And bury your sorrows in doing good deeds.
Miss Me--But Let me Go!"

I was at a friend's house the other day, and the person was on the other side of grief from me, so I could get a good look at it. I think friends are good at showing you yourself if you care to look at it that way.

I have grief, lots of grief. I sometimes feel like I have "processed" all the grief and then more layers show up underneath the ones I cried out. But I saw a friend stuck in grief and unable to move on, and this made me think how I was appearing to others with my grief. Is it like watching a dinosaur stuck in a tar pit? Or is it like sentimentality? Or is it the summing up of a life and its affect on those around it?

I wanted to say to my friend, don't let ghosts run your life. And yet there is always this empty chair, this empty feeling in my arms, this sense of milestones lost and a presence felt that never goes away from the place my baby daughter left when she died of cancer as a toddler.

Letting go means you are free to "move on" whatever that really means. To live your life more for yourself again, than when the other person needed to be accommodated and considered and loved. But it was that very accommodation, that giving of love, that gave me so much. Taught me to be what I am, and shaped me. I don't need the training wheels of maturity anymore. The learning what it is to live as much for others as for yourself. But going with out the training wheels requires emotional balance. A centeredness, that doesn't require the compass of another's immediate needs/wants/desires to show me how to have compassion and awareness of the other sentience around me.

I am sure that's what my daughter would have wanted, and my friend's mother would want for her, if she could see past her pain. I want to walk that road for her, but it is a road to walk alone, yet we all are on it together, just at different points along it, I can see her along the path at a distance but she has to take each step herself, like I did, and still have to.

Red Hat Warning


"When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other people's gardens
And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple."

~ Jenny Joseph

Jenny Joseph was born in Birmingham on 7 May 1932.
An Oxford graduate (1953), she became a journalist in UK and South Africa.
Her first collection of poetry was published in 1960.
'Warning', the poem above, is her most popular work, and the inspiration for the Red Hat Society.

I want to put on a Red Hat.
I love this poem. Its about social freedom. I want to wear a red hat sometimes and be allowed to be quirky and innappropriate sometimes without being judged, blamed, shamed and shunned. I wish it were as simple as putting on a hat, or wearing an armband, or a button on your shirt, or a certain uniform.

But I guess this poem could also be considered to be about getting to the point in life where you and your behavior have become irrelevant to society, and so you can walk around the edges of it, incognito, invisible, but free.

But I also work very hard to be the kind of mother I would want for myself. (As in "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.") Which means following the current social norms as much as possible so as to not embarrass and humiliate your children...

Early on, I summed it up in my mind with one word; 'wholesome.' My pattern, my model, was the mother in the old TV show "Leave It To Beaver."

June Cleaver. She was calm, understanding, forgiving, involved, clean, organized, pretty and well dressed. She cooked and cleaned and made being a stay-at-home mother seem like a privilege in a time when most young women were thinking of it as drudgery and had dreams of doing other things. I was one of those young women once. I went to college and dreamed of being Mary Tyler Moore, a working single woman with her own life and career, who made being a woman living on your own seem not just respectful but fun and "spunky."

So as a mother, whenever I am making some tricky decision, I try to ask myself the question "What would June Cleaver do?"

The change came when the children did. My children changed my life. It was very visceral. All of a sudden, it wasn't about ME anymore. The next generation had arrived, and they were as important as mine was and is.

Someday I will wear a Red Hat. But not just yet...

I wonder, does the June Cleaver character, as a woman over 50, with her two sons grown and on their own (hopefully) wear a Red Hat sometimes now?

The Philosophy of Lettuce Planting

"When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don't blame the lettuce.
You look for reasons it is not doing well.
It may need fertilizer, or more water, or less sun.
You never blame the lettuce.
Yet if we have problems with our friends or family, we blame the other person.
But if we know how to take care of them, they will grow well, like the lettuce.
Blaming has no positive effect at all, nor does trying to persuade using reason and arguments.
That is my experience.
No blame, no reasoning, no argument, just understanding."

~ Thich Nhat Hahn

Today I discussed Asperger's Syndrome with my son's teacher. She has a new child coming into the school who thinks it is "cool" to curse a lot, and she asked me how I dealt with that issue with my son, who doesn't curse at all.

Among other things, I mentioned my philosophy of what works with raising an Autistic child. To correct him, I use what is called a "neutral no." Its a "No" or a correction delivered in a way that a computer might say it. Not personalised. No blame, no shame, no guilt. No additional emotion.

Autistics are not socially motivated. Well, they are, but it isn't in the typical way. The social indications of others, their impulses and responses often get crossed and mixed up and lost and confuse the Autistic, and so, the confused information tends to get tuned out as being like emotional "noise." Particularly since as normal people mature, the social nuances become ever more subtle and complex, and often normal people say and do the opposite of what they "really mean" using body language to reverse the words spoken (which is the essence of sarcasm.) To a normal person, this is less boring as being direct and honest, and is considered playful and interesting. To an Autistic it is puzzling and frustrating. To us they are a puzzle, yet we are just seeing what they are feeling and mirroring to us...puzzled.

The extra emotion doesn't help make the point with a person who is not socially motivated. It only tends to escalate the anxiety of the person without helping them to manage their behavior better.

The thing is, often they are already too emotional, anxious, stressed. And adding more emotion to it doesn't help if they are already out of control emotionally or at the brink of control.

Yet the feedback, the simple information, stripped of the emotion designed to influence the ego of the normal person, helps the Autistic to think more clearly about his/her behavior.

So don't blame the lettuce.

Postulates For The Graduates


"If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream -- and not make dreams your master,

If you can think -- and not make thoughts your aim;

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings -- nor lose the common touch,

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;

If all men count with you, but none too much,

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,

Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And -- which is more -- you'll be a Man, my son!"

~ Rudyard Kipling

The Twelve Teachers

“Fate gives all of us
three teachers,
three friends,
three enemies,
and three great loves in our lives.

But these twelve are always disguised
and we can never know which one is which
until we’ve loved them, left them or fought them.”

~ Gregory David Roberts, "Shantaram"

I have learned so much from my children. I expected to be their guide and teacher, and yet they have taught me more than I have taught them.

I don't have what I consider to be enemies, but those I thought were against me have ended up bringing me gifts that I could not have accepted any other way.

The best part of being over 50 is knowing how everything "turned out" and seeing how all the stories have ended...although no story truly ends, and that is another thing I have learned. We all have ripples that go out and cover the world...and intersect with other's ripples creating the holograms we share as our experience.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Gluten Free Vegetarian Meals On A Budget

For eating gluten-free on a budget, there are nothing like potatoes! A bag of potatoes can go a long way and there are a million ways to make them! The easiest is to scrub one, poke two holes in the skin and microwave for 4 minutes. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil on it, add a tablespoon of water and some sea salt. Any cooked vegetable is a good topping.

Beans are very inexpensive. Black beans are easy to digest. Beans go very well with rice. To save money, buy a pressure cooker and make beans from a bag according to the directions on the bag. This is a great source of protein, and very inexpensive. If you cook them right, they will digest easily.

Mash up a cup or two of the cooked beans up with a 1/8 cup lemon/lime, several cloves of crushed garlic, 1/4 cup of sesame paste and sea salt for a great pate. Drizzle with olive oil and paprika before serving. (This is usually called hummus if you make it with chick peas.)

Now that its summer, try going to a Farmer's Market in your area and get just about anything there. The cost is often lower because you are cutting out the grocer. The seller's often have great suggestions and recipes for cooking their produce. Buying locally is also good for the environment, and you get to meet the people who grew your food!

Get an air popcorn popper. Popcorn is very cheap and you can buy it in bulk, organic, and have it for snacks. Some celiacs can't eat fibery stuff, so be careful that this is something your system can handle.

Sprout mixes are very inexpensive. Making sprouts is easy and cheap!

One of the most inexpensive and versatile vegetables is red or green cabbage. Cabbage keeps a long time in the refrigerator, and is a great flavor enhancer. Sliced thin and mixed with shredded carrots and your favorite salad dressing it makes a nice summer cole slaw. Add a few leaves of cabbage chopped up into any soup or stew for a much fuller flavor. It seems to make everything more savory and more satisfying. Just don't overcook it or it can turn to mush.

Try getting any fruit, or berries in season and making smoothies with them, just put them in a blender with some ice and some rice milk, and add some honey or real maple syrup for sweetness.

Don't forget that nuts, seeds and nut butters are good sources of protein! Make sure they are very fresh. Nuts can go rancid easily.

We have a bowl of cherries on the table right now, next to a bowl of cashews. I slice a sweet red pepper crosswise (the slices look like a flower) and put on a plate with some black olives. It is the best junk food!

Sauteed mushrooms have a savory taste that makes anything have a meaty flavor.

Inexpensive Vegetable Stew

Take all your current vegetables (include an onion or a leek, and a stalk of celery with tops, and a leaf or two of cabbage for flavor) and some potatoes and saute them a little in some olive oil, or roast them in the oven.
Cut everything up into chunks before beginning, sautee the harder vegetables first or roast them longer.
Start a 1/2 large pot of boiling water.
Add a can of black beans.
Add the vegetablesand some fresh garlic.
Throw in a handful of carrot tops, a few beet tops, some kale or other greens at the last minute.
Add some Sea Salt, pepper.
Cook until everything is done about 15 minutes.
Serve in a bowl with a little gluten-free mayonnaise on top for a garnish.

Don't forget that most Chinese, Japanese, Thai, and Indian foods are mainly gluten-free. Mexican is gluten-free if you get the corn tortillas instead of the flour. You have to call ahead, or call the manufacturer to be certain that there are no additives that contain gluten, however.

Really cheap shopping list:
A bag of black beans.
A bag of popcorn.
A sack of potatoes.
A head of red cabbage.
A clump of carrots with tops on.
A bunch of celery.
A head of garlic.
A container of lemon juice.
Iodized Sea Salt.
A can of mixed nuts.
Some honey or real maple syrup.
Extra Virgin olive oil.
The freshest fruit in season.
Any favorite vegetable.

Contemplating Vegetarianism

"It is told that Buddha, going out to look on life,
was greatly daunted by death.
"They all eat one another!" he cried,
and called it evil.

This process I examined, changed the verb, said,
"They all feed one another,"
and called it good."

~ Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Contemplating Cats

“Cats were put into the world to disprove the dogma that all things were created to serve man.”

~ Paul Gray

“Your cat will never threaten your popularity by barking at three in the morning. He won't attack the mailman or eat the drapes, although he may climb the drapes to see how the room looks from the ceiling.”

~ Helen Powers

“I have noticed that what cats most appreciate in a human being is not the ability to produce food, which they take for granted - but his or her entertainment value.”

~ Geoffrey Household

In order to keep a true perspective of one's importance, everyone should have a dog that will worship him and a cat that will ignore him.

“When your cat rubs the side of its face along your leg, it's affectionately marking you with its scent, identifying you as its private property, saying, in effect, 'You belong to me'.”

~ Susan McDonough

“The problem with cats is that they get the same exact look whether they see a moth or an ax-murderer.”

~ Paula Poundstone

“Cats always know whether people like or dislike them. They do not always care enough to do anything about it.”

~ Winifred Carriere

“Cat people are different, to the extent that they generally are not conformists. How could they be, with a cat running their lives?”

~ Louis Camuti

"Cats never strike a pose that isn't photogenic."

~ Lillian Jackson Braun

"Cats, no less liquid than their shadows, offer no angles to the wind. They slip, diminished, neat, through loopholes less than themselves."

~ A. S. J. Tessimond

"The cat does not offer services.
The cat offers itself.
Of course he wants care and shelter.
You don't buy love for nothing.
Like all pure creatures, cats are practical."

~ William S. Burroughs

“Cats are intended to teach us that not everything in nature has a function.”

~ Garrison Keillor

"The only mystery about the cat is why it ever decided to become a domestic animal."

~ Sir Compton MacKenzie

"No tame animal has lost less of its native dignity or maintained more if its ancient reserve. The domestic cat might rebel tomorrow."

~ William Conway

"Confront a child, a puppy, and a kitten with sudden danger; the child will turn instinctively for assistance, the puppy will grovel in abject submission, the kitten will brace its tiny body for a frantic resistance."

~ Saki

"Ignorant people think it is the noise which fighting cats make that is so aggravating, but it ain't so;
it is the sickening grammar that they use."

~Mark Twain

"Every contented cat is an "it"."

~ Helen Powers, on the virtue of neutering

"Cat: A pygmy lion who loves mice, hates dogs, and patronizes human beings."

~ Oliver Herford

"God made the cat in order that man might have the pleasure of caressing the lion."

~ Fernand Mery

"I saw the most beautiful cat today. It was sitting by the side of the road, its two front feet neatly and graciously together.
Then it gravely swished around its tail to completely encircle itself.
It was so fit and beautifully neat, that gesture, and so self-satisfied, so complacent."

~ Ann Morrow Lindbergher

Posted in memorium to my friend Cheryl's Mother's cat, who leapt upward to the great low-hanging branch in the sky yesterday, and sits amongst all the great cat beings, with the ultimate cat template of the cat spirit, whom I humbly call upon to usher this cherished cat safely to its home amongst the everlasting spirit of all things and beings. She is greatly missed and will be remembered fondly always for her unconditional love and companionship with Cheryl and her Mother.