Thursday, December 9, 2010

Peace on Earth

  Its Christmas again.  

The Old Fashioned Christmas seems to be beyond me
Every year I really intend to send out Christmas cards.  
I intend to mail gifts in time

I intend to connect with each and everyone of the people dear to me, near and far
I intend to decorate

I intend to wrap before December 25th. 
I intend to make my special Christmas candy
I intend to make cookies

Every year though, Christmas just sneaks up on me

The perfect solution is....this year I am going to have a Cyber-Christmas.  
This Christmas Season

  Wishing you a very happy holiday 
Best wishes for this coming New Year

What I do seem to be able to pull off every year without fail, is a batch of home-made Irish Cream  
Warning:  this is not a politically correct and healthy version, but it is good for the soul
Home Made Irish Cream (40 oz)
375 ml Rye Whiskey
1 can condensed sweetened milk (Eagle Brand)
500 ml heavy cream
500 ml half and half
1 egg raw
2 Tbs really strong coffee
1 tsp vanilla (or coconut, or almond) flavoring
Mix in blender.  It will store in the fridge indefinitely.  It tastes better made 3 weeks ahead of serving time. 

Keep well_ 

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Detox Patches - Another way of reducing your toxic burden

Heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, nickel, mercury and aluminum are difficult to detox from the human body . In the past, I have had issues with methyl-mercury toxins being locked in my system.  Many attempts to move this toxic metal out of my body through the usual drainage protocols have been very ineffective.  Electronic Homeopathy treatments wouldn’t even budge it.

Mercury is one of the most potent neuro-toxins known to man.  Although your dentist may be very casual about putting mercury amalgams in your teeth, he/she, by law, has to be very particular about how this material is disposed of when they take it out of your mouth.  The reason is that mercury is a very toxic environmental substance.  Some agricultural chemicals are also difficult to detox through the usual channels of liver and kidneys.  Detox methods using the skin as a detox organ seem to be more effective.

I considered investing in an Ion Foot Bath Machine, but the machine is really expensive and not OK for everyone.  Why I chose the patches over the machine is there is no problem with using the patches for pregnant/nursing women for example.  Some people feel their heart racing when having an iron foot bath treatment.  The detox patches are slower and gentler.  There are no concerns for clients with cardio-vascular issues.

I have been using Body Detox Patches for about a year now. The patch looks like a square tea bag; and contains a course powder/fibre.  It is white and dry when it goes on.  What it looks like when it comes off, is a whole different thing.  Generally it is dark, black or dark brown and gooey, rather like honey. The used patches may smell nasty as well.  Over time, with consistent use, and your body unloads its toxin residues, the patch gets lighter in colour.  Sometimes I feel the patches ‘pull’.  It doesn’t hurt, but it feels weird.   They really do enhance any drainage program. 

I am a ballroom dancer as well, so getting the toxins and lactic acid out of my joints, feet and legs is a big deal.  These little wonders are also effective for removing metals, which is really tough any other way.  At bedtime, I just peal back the shield on the adhesive sheet, stick the patch sunny side up, and slap it onto the arch of my foot.  In the morning, I peal off the adhesive patch, and wash my feet.

Liver cleanses can be a misery if the stored toxins that are being released have difficulty exiting the body.  Nausea, cramping, bloating, prolonged fatigue and headaches are a common complaint, when there is ‘no easy way out’.  The whole digestive tract is governed by the liver.  This multi-purpose gland is located just beneath the ribs on your right side. The busy liver also works to filter the blood, biodegrade hormones and balance aspects of the immune system. 

The large intestine is the last process in the liver/digestive system.  In the bowel water is reclaimed and re-cycled back into the body and wastes are eliminated.  This is the reason for auto-intoxication.  When bowel transit time is slow, many people experience chronic sinus/bronchial congestion, laborious digestion, lymph congestion, or various skin issues.  Surprisingly, when questioned, most people consider their bowel elimination to be good even when they experience these signs of overload.

The body also pushes some forms of toxins to the adipose (fat) cells.  I believe there is a correlation between weight gain and toxin.  Extra care needs to be given to weight loss programs where the toxins released can damage the liver/gall bladder and kidneys.   

As a practitioner, I like to develop specific and unique programs for every client. An alkalizing food plan can initiate and enhance any detoxification process.  I recommend Vegge Greens, an alkaline ash green food complex that passively and consistently detoxes the blood and tissues.  It is nourishing and protective to the tissues as well.

Some people want or need a gentler approach. For some, a week of lemon juice in warm water every morning and fasting until lunchtime may work well. Others may do well with a more aggressive cleanse/fast.  Finding a good fibre product can really help to move toxins through the bowel.  Also some forms of fibre will bind with toxins held in the bowel and can really help the body release some of its toxic burden. Cleansing herbs can also really help the body ‘unload’.
The bottom line is, that I encourage everyone to do ‘anything in their power’ to maximize their body’s healing potential.  Taking care of oneself every day, doing simple things can have long term benefit. The Detox patches are simple and they can really help.

When I was really struggling with metal poisoning, this salad is all I wanted to eat.  I drizzled Udo's Oil on top of the cooled salad and garnished it with a topping of Japanese Gomasio.

Wilted Kale Salad with Mushrooms and Red Onion
Curly Green Kale sliced fine, enough to fill a large heat proof salad bowl, taking out the large stems and veins
Slice ¼ medium red onion in thin slices
Slice 2 Cups of firm white button mushrooms 

Heat 1/3 Cup of light oil in sauté pan on medium heat
Add the sliced mushrooms sauté and stir frequently until you see the mushroom exuding juice
Quickly add ¼ Cup of Balsamic vinegar and cook for 2 minutes

Take off heat and add 1 heaping tsp of Dijon Mustard into the centre of the pan stirring well to mix
Quickly pour hot dressing over the kale and mix well
The Kale will turn a bright green.
Taste add more Balsamic dressing if needed
Add onions and toss lightly
To serve, grind Gomasio coarsely and sprinkle on top
In this way Gomasio tastes like bacon
This can be made ahead of time as the Kale holds up well if it is not eaten right away.

Japanese Gomasio
Rinse 1 cup of brown sesame seeds in sieve under tepid running water
Let drain
Use dry cast iron skillet –medium heat 
Cut dulse into small bits
Toast in pan until dulse is crisp
Add 1 tsp Celtic salt –ground fine
Up end sieve and dump in sesame seeds all at once
Spread over bottom of skillet and leave it to dry for a bit
Stir gently and fairly constantly (you may need to reduce heat)
This is ready when seeds are fragrant, slightly golden and hollow
Cool slightly and store in an airtight jar.
To release the calcium and minerals inside the seed, grind the seeds with a mortar and pestle or small coffee grinder just before serving.

Keep well_  Nelda

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Non Paying Tenants

Recently, people have been asking me about treatments to prevent parasites.  Parasites can be contracted from soil, foods, and contact with other people or pets. We have become quite accustomed to purchasing fruit and vegetables that originate from other countries. The 100 Mile Rule is a consumer movement that advocates only buying products that are from our own locality and one’s own ecology. 

My grandmother felt that parasites where a thing to be actively reckoned with.  Tonics and de-worming potions were routinely given in the spring and fall.  However, in my mother’s generation an unusual arrogance settled in.  For some reason, people began to believe that if we lived in a first world country, we were too sophisticated to have such visitors.  This was a great time to be alive if you were a parasite.

Opportunistic organisms such as viruses, bacteria and parasites are…well…. opportunistic.  That means if you give them an inch, they will take a mile.  Parasites don’t thrive well in a healthy body.  When our immune systems are strong and vigilant  and when our digestive systems have appropriate stomach acids and the enzymes are plentiful, we are more resistant to parasites are working well.

Many kinds of parasites but generally they fall into two groups; single celled or large body.  In children we find the very common parasites:  round worm and pin worm.  There are also single celled micro-organisms such as amoeba and protozoa that can cause misery.  In addition there is thread worm, tissue worms, tapeworm, flukes of all sorts, salmonella, neospora, just to name a few.

It isn’t just the parasites that cause us grief; it is the toxins they generate as well.  Many people with unresolved skin issues will find parasites and their toxins at the root of their problems.  Parasites may not be the first thing that occurs in a person’s body, but if the ‘digs’ are right, the parasites move right in.  Usually, parasites go hand in hand with other opportunistic overgrowths such as bacteria and Candida yeast and fungus.  This rogue ecology can really overwhelm the body’s elimination systems.

There are foods that are very effective for reducing infestations of parasites.  In the fall we have many foods available that help our bodies resist and eliminate parasites.  Raw pumpkin seeds are effective, as is garlic, cloves, apple cider vinegar, cranberry juice and pomegranates.  Calmyrna Figs are a great addition to the general diet.  If you have ever eaten a Fig Newton, you probably have noticed that when you chewed the seeds well, they felt like you were crushing glass.  These seeds damage the body of the parasites.

Wormwood is a herb that is effective in powder or capsule form.  This has been an age old remedy for parasites.  Another common herb that is a deterrent to parasites is Black Walnut.  I prefer this in a tincture form. Homeopathic Cina in low potencies can be effective to rid the body of parasites.  Also homeopathic complexes have been designed for helping to rid the body of parasite overgrowths,

It makes sense to re-build the body after a parasite cleanse.  Making a real effort to clean up the digestive tract can help the body to be more resistant to overgrowths.  Taking a supplement of bacteria with low toxin (such as acidophilus) helps to ‘fill the space’ and crowds out infectious bacteria, yeast, fungus and parasites. Having a wellness program in place that includes supplementing with digestive supports at every meal can really give our digestives systems the ‘edge’ against parasites taking hold.

As with every bit of advice, something may be generally true, but not necessarily specifically true.  If you feel that parasites may be at the root of a chronic concern, it is best to contact a health professional. 

Keep Well_

Thursday, July 22, 2010

An Interesting Brew

I really hate the taste of Oil of Oregano, yet it is one of the most amazing remedies when bacterial overgrowth is an issue.  Oil of Oregano is a definite ‘keep on hand’ for your home care and first aid kit.

In point of fact, many of the culinary herbs and spices that we use on a daily basis have anti-microbial benefits.  Herbs such as thyme, rosemary, basil, cilantro, and lavender, all have infection fighting qualities.  Turmeric, often used in the making of pickles, is a great anti-inflammatory. Cloves discourage parasites, as does Cumin and Coriander seed.  Parsley cleans the blood, and black pepper aids digestion and circulation.

I usually buy a natural throat spray (Natural Factors and Organika make good ones) that usually contains bee propolis, Echinacea and other herbs.  I then add about 10 drops of my Oil of Oregano to it.   I spray this brew into the back of my throat as a defence when the masses are sniffling and sneezing around me. 

When I was on holiday in March I ran out of it, just when my throat was feeling a little scratchy.  Yikes!  What to do! My son-in-law had some vodka on hand, and my daughter had some oil of oregano.  I re-filled the spray bottle with the vodka and added the oil.  Whew, saved.

When I got back home I had used most of this concoction up.  I found a little spiced rum in the back of my cupboard and thought ‘why not’, its food grade alcohol.

This was the find of the century! The spice of the rum seems to cancel out the spice of the oil of oregano.  All that is left is kind of a vanilla under taste.

I have heard from the grapevine that Sailor Jerry’s is the best rum, but I used Capt Morgan’s.  Whichever you prefer, you may want to give this strange brew a try.  Let me know if it works.

Keep well

Friday, July 9, 2010

There is No Such Thing as a Small Thing

In my world, there is no such thing as a small thing.  Small adjustments in our lifestyle can gain huge benefits.  Let me tell you a story:

I had a history of sinusitis, rhinitis, and tonsillitis as a child.  In fact, I have lymph scaring from repeated tonsillitis.  I was also repeatedly treated with antibiotics.  By the age of 12, I had the appearance of very angry looking adolescent acne.  This misery continued through most of my 20’s.  For a time, I was under the care of a dermatologist who put me on (Tetracycline) a wide-spectrum antibiotic for at least 5 years.  He would often give my breakouts local injections of cortisone

My digestive system and menstrual become wonky (now I recognize the typical signs of Candida and yeast overgrowth).  I took my self off the medication, before I found that I was pregnant, thank God, but unfortunately, my baby still had the signs of Candida yeast as well (cradle cap, thrush and a wicked chronic diaper rash).

In hind sight, this is what I know about myself. 

I was very allergic to cigarette smoke.  When I was growing up, both of my parents smoked inside the home.  My Dad quit at some point, probably when I was near my teens, but my Mom continued to smoke for the rest of her life.  When I was in my early 30's, I had a session with a Specialized Kinesiologist to reverse the allergy to cigarette smoke.  It worked very well.  Now I don’t like being in a smoky environment or smelling it on other people's clothes, but at least it doesn’t ‘zone me’.  I have to be honest here and admit that I smoked as well, off and on throughout my 20’s.  Cigarettes make me feel really sick, no matter who smokes them.

I am intolerant of cow’s dairy.  I don’t have any acute reactions to dairy.  Rather it congests me over time, and if I keep ingesting it, I begin to get cysts under the skin of my face, chest and upper back. I was fed cow’s milk from the time I was born.  It was in every desert and sauce, and a staple in the home where I grew up.  I loved milk!  I love cheese!

I am very allergic to oranges and kiwi fruit.  I break out in weeping hives almost immediately.  It used to appear on my face, but fortunately, if I get a reaction now while really being vigilant about avoiding most fruits, I just get a small breakout on my butt.  I loved orange juice, and drank it happily every day!

My first solid food as an infant was Pablum, wheat and other grain mush.  Like most of Blood-type A’s, I am also sensitive to wheat and have trouble digesting gluten (grain based proteins).  When eaten over time, wheat causes me to feel very fatigued, constipated and congested as well.  I have more energy and my elimination is better if I ingest wheat very sparingly.

I don’t want to be overly simplistic here, and don’t assume that this is a Formula.  We are all created differently.  However, if my mother had known some small things about me, my health would have taken a better turn.

I manage my own health now.  I do small things like prefer ‘smoke free’ environments, avoid cow’s milk and restrict my intake of cheese and frozen dairy treats, only have moderate amounts of yogurt and butter.  I eat very little wheat and limit other gluten grains.  I avoid oranges and kiwi like the plague.  I am very moderate with other fruits and eat them in season.

Just little things.

Keep Well_

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Changing Our Inner Programing

We often find ourselves is a rut of the ‘same old, same old’, the same litany of thoughts, the same negative feelings and the same limiting outlook.  Here are some simple solutions to help us immediately move into a better state of being.

When we get stressed out, our breathing becomes rapid and shallow.  Often people will hold their breath when they tense up.  Taking a few deep and slow breaths can really help us ‘pull out’.  Tibetan nasal breathing can really de-stress us.  Use your right thumb to block your right nostril and just take a few minutes of deep slow breathing. 

Over time, we take all our issues to the body and lock it in the body.  Pay attention to your posture.  Often just changing position; straightening your spine, or moving and releasing your hips will make a huge change in your thoughts and feelings.  There is actually a trauma defusion technique that uses posture as a key-in.  For example, if you were injured with your body in a certain posture, re-visiting that same posture will key up the trauma.

Bach Flower Essences
A fundamental part of my supply needs when I first started out in private practice in 1989, was a complete set of Bach Essences.  Just as nutrition is for the physical body, Flower Essences are energy remedies to balance and support the emotional body.

Dr. Edward Bach was an M.D. in the 1930’s and 40’s, specializing in bacteriology and endocrinology.  He wanted to, as he put it, “treat the whole person”.  As he listened to his patient’s stories he began to notice re-occurring themes emerging.  He developed his ‘Bach Essences’ in response to these themes.
Flower Essences have been an essential part of my services from the very beginning.  What is interesting to me is that after almost 20 years in practice I have had to replace and refill five of the 38 remedies.  This has given me a chance to reflect on what life issues have been the most commonly evident in the last 20 years.

Centuary:  In the negative (or stressed) state, one’s connection with one’s own will is poor.  This is the ‘doormat’ personality, who will tend be overly influenced by stronger personalities or to loose themselves in service to others to the degree of doing themselves harm.

Pine:  In the negative state, pine will tend to cling to feelings of quilt.  This can be conscious or unconscious as well.  This is the person who feels the need to apologize constantly. An example would be growing up knowing you were an ‘unwanted pregnancy’.

Red Chestnut:  In the negative state, these people suffer for those they love.  They easily and excessively tune into other people and situations and are great transmitters as well.  This essence relates to a powerful energy link, or locked energy between two people. 
Vervain:  These people experience anticipatory stress; trying to be on call or on time to the point where they are squandering their energies.  Imagine a tennis player running all over the court until the point of exhaustion.  He is knocking himself out, but he’s not centered enough to connect with the ball.

Vine:  These people are natural leaders.  In the extreme negative state, a person is greedy for power, having no respect for the individuality of others.  Bossy vine types wonder why people are so upset with them, saying “it was for their own good”.

Walnut relates to new beginnings and unaffected ness.  This is the final step remedy.  All your belongings are in the moving van, and yet there is still a reluctance to let go.  This is that last attachment.  It can be to a place, person, attitude or job.

Star of Bethlehem relates to the qualities of awakening and reorientation.  This is one of the most important remedies in Rescue Remedy.  This is for shocks or trauma whether it be physical emotional or mental.  This remedy restores our self-healing mechanisms.

Willow relates to the qualities of personal responsibility and constructive thought.  This is used when people tend to blame others, hold on to grudges or get lost in self pity.  Disappointments and resentment can be powerfully projected into the outside world.

White Chestnut relates to the qualities of tranquility and discernment. Long after the argument is over, your mind refuses to shut down and relax.  Unwanted thoughts of ‘should have saids’ go around and around like clothes in a dryer. This remedy relieves the constant mental chatter can lead to headaches and unrelenting tension.  Often used when
experiencing insomnia.

Flower essences may also describe the nature of people around us (past or present) that ‘stress us out’.  Often a grown person will say “that sounds just like my mother” or “this isn’t me, it sounds like my husband”.
It is wonderful to find remedies that so gently and sweetly bring a person back to balance.

Which Bach Essences might be helpful for you?  Why?

The most useful approach in regard to self-care is awareness.  Pay attention to the body’s subtle cues. Our bodies are always talking to us.  There is amazing healing potential when we begin to listen.

Have a great summer_

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Food For Life

The other day my favourite downstairs neighbours invited me to join them for lunch.  We were chatting together about the foods we liked, and Mike asked me a very intriguing question.

“If you had to choose a full meal of your favourite foods, and you would have to eat this one meal only for the rest of your life, what would it be?”  It would include 1 beverage, 1 salad, 1 main course, 1 bread and 1 desert choice.

This really got me thinking.  These choices would have to keep me happy and healthy.  After some pondering time, here are my choices.

Beverage would be my homemade tonic iced tea.  I love this stuff.  It is a meal in a glass that is the perfect refresher between clients, or to bring my blood sugar to an even keel if I’m over hungry.  This way, I can avoid the Piranha Feeding Frenzy.

Tonic Tea Recipe
In a large teapot add_
2 bags organic Orange Pekoe Tea
1 bag Lemon Zinger Tea – Celestial Seasonings
1 bag Hoodia Slimming Tea – Bija
1 bag Cranberry Tea with Roobos – Bija
Add any mild tasting herb you need:  Raspberry leaf, horsetail, nettles (I like 1 bag Flora Uri tonic Tea)

Fill teapot with water that has boiled (4 Cups) and steep until cool
Put into a large jug
Add 1 can PC Choice naturally flavoured Lemonade
Add 1-2 Heaping Tablespoons Minute Maid Pink Lemonade/Limeade. 
Chill in the fridge and serve in a beautiful glass with a wedge of lemon or lime and a sprig of mint.  Any leftover fruit can be frozen and used in place of ice cubes.

This ice tea is great for balancing blood sugar and supporting kidney drainage for those who ‘puff’ with the heat.

The salad would definitely be a field green or Mesclun mix with tomatoes and cucumbers and red onions sliced thin, tossed with my simple homemade balsamic dressing.  Options would be grated carrots, cubed avocado, green onions, lightly grilled asparagus, chopped fresh herbs such as lemon thyme, Thai basil, cilantro, mint, ….

Balsamic Vinaigrette Recipe
-->2 parts oil to one part white or red balsamic vinegar - If you find dressings have too much bite, add 1 tablespoon of water. (Red Balsamic Vinegar is strong tasting – so add a little less than the full part)
Crush 1 garlic clove and add to oil
Add 1Tbs of Dijon mustard (emulsifier)
Herbamere to taste and whisk or shake well

The main meal would actually be another salad with a little more body and more 'warmth' to it.  This would be a whole grain salad, such as organic whole grain rice, barley or my very favourite, Quinoa.   The parsley, arugula and fresh mint growing like explosive bushes in pots on my deck are part of the big appeal.  I could really live on this.

Quinoa Tabouli Recipe
! Cup of the largest, whitest Quinoa you can find (organic Bolivian)
Quinoa has a resin on the outside which will be bitter is you don’t rinse like mad

Put in a large measuring bowl and add cool water
Whisk vigorously and drain carefully (over a sieve so you won't loose any)
*Repeat this rinse at least 5 times and cover with water to the 4 cup mark
Soak for 8 hours on counter (or in fridge if you need to buy more time) and grain will almost triple its size

Soak ¼ Cup organic raw Sunflower seed and ¼ Cup organic raw pumpkin seed in water for 1 hour (refrigerate them at this point if you need to buy more time)

Before cooking drain the Quinoa carefully 
*Rinse and whisk another 5 times.
Drain well and transfer to a good rice pot
To the plumped soaked Quinoa add 1 cup of cooking water
Bring to a boil, stir
Put lid on and turn off heat
Time for 8 minutes. Careful, you want an el dente grain
Take off the lid right away and test.  If it is not cooked to perfection (water fully absorbed and tender) time for 3 minutes more and test again.
When it is perfect (but not over-done) fluff with a fork, and let it cool in fridge

Basic White Wine Vinaigrette Recipe
in a medium salad bowl-
½ Cup canola oil
¼ Cup white wine vinegar
Herbamere (Vogel) 
Whisk well just before adding the vegetables

1 Cup cherry tomatoes halved
1 Cup Cucumber diced
½ Cup Green onions chopped
1 Cup Red pepper diced
1 Cup Parsley chopped
Rinse and strain the seeds and add to vegetables
Mix well to coat.
Add quinoa and stir lightly to mix
Quinoa has a very delicate flavor and can be overpowered by strong herbs so keep it light  
Cover and marinate in fridge for 1 hour or so. 

Bread was the one category I had no interest in.  I passed on this one.  However in retrospect, wouldn't want to face a whole life without  PEI Style Homemade Biscuits.

PEI Biscuit Recipe  – from Carol Harris
 3 cups flour
1 scant tsp salt
3 tsp baking powder
1 Tbs sugar (or less)

Stir well
Make well in center
Add 250 ml (small carton) whipping cream
Fill empty carton with water up to the line of the first bend
Stir, it will be sticky

Dump onto floured counter top and scrape bowl
Flour hands and work dough
Put into a mound and flatten to ¾ inch (rolling pin)
Poke top with a fork

Cut biscuits with a cutter (a can with the top and bottom removed will do)
Spin and plump up each biscuit as it is cut
Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake 15 to 16 minutes at 400 F.

Dessert?  My mind was playing over the choice of fresh mixed berries with fresh whipped cream on the side.  Would I eat this every day?  Probably not.   

What I did choose instead was my smoothie recipe, made with fresh mixed berries (in a most perfect world with no winter).  This would be a perfect meal on its own, either for breakfast, lunch on the run, or as a light supper. 


In the real world, I try to work with fruits in season, unless it is winter (months and months of it here).  This is when I use frozen mixed berries.  I buy a big bag and divide it up into single servings.

Smoothie Recipe
8 ounces pure water
½ banana (optional)
¼ cup berries
½ ripe avocado (optional)
1-2 heaping Tablespoons protein powder (Rice Pro or Soy or Harmonized Vegan Protein
1 teaspoon Progressive Nutrition - Vegge Greens or Vegge Greens Blueberry Medley
1 Tablespoon Progressive Nutrition – Phytoberry Powder
1Tablespoon Berry EFA Plus (essential fatty acids) or 1 Teaspoon Super EFA Liquid
¼ teaspoon acidophilus powder (or open 2 capsules)

Blend with a blender/hand blender until smooth.  Dilute down with more water as desired.
Optional:          Use juice instead of water
                        Use peaches or any soft fruit
                        Use a purchased smoothie blend diluted half and half with water                       
Add 1 tablespoon organic golden flax seed, freshly ground or a soluble/insoluble fiber mixture

This mixture, probably because it is a little thicker than water, is a great way of me getting my daily vitamins down my throat.  I usually have my Multi, GSF Complex for adrenal support, selenium which is essential for me, and a herbal nervine formula which keeps my nervous system running strong and sturdy.

Would I enjoy these choices?  Yes, and better yet I would thrive on them.  Of course I would be (in a perfect world) living in a climate with no winter and fresh foods available all year round.

What would your choices be?

I hope this finds you well, happy and enjoying the wonderful fresh foods of early summer

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Notes About Observing People Over Time

I seem to have found myself in the perfect place and time.  I am in the ‘mastery’ phase of my career, just when the rest of society has woken up to realize that they want more choice in respect to their health services.  I’m not really sure how I actually navigated here into this future?  It’s a wonder, really!

In retrospect, it looks like a straight line, but from the starting point, it was all about faith. Twenty six years ago, I had already been a hairstylist for 13 years.  (By the way, my professional goal was to become a hair colour technician.) Being a complimentary health care provider wasn’t something I had even heard of, so that was definitely not on my list of career choices. 

In the course of my usual hair-type occupational duties, I would observe people’s skin and hair.  I would take note of things like chronic dryness, irritated, skin that was inflamed or dull.  I would notice that some people would be inclined to swelling and ‘bloat’ while others would appear to be under-nourished, and ‘dried up’. Many clients were already using creams and treatments that were either over the counter drugs or products that were prescribed by their physicians.

Was I observing a whole body problem? This got me to wondering about what was going on inside them.  One could suggest topical creams and conditioners, but really that was not going to change the chronic nature of the problem.

I also had the privilege of listening to people. People who get haircuts, tend to talk about whatever stress they are chewing about inside.  This was a rare chance for me to view the world from another perspective and to see how other people ‘ticked’.    Along the way, I got to hear really fascinating stories and learned a lot about people’s dreams and hopes, their losses and pains.  All in all, it was quite an education, and although I didn’t realize it at the time, a wonderful training ground for the intuitive observer.

One of my favourite customers was the daughter of the Patent Medicine Woman of the local First Nation community.  She knew that I had an interest in herbal remedies.  I knew the English names for many herbs, and with an introduction to my client’s mother; a whole vast area of knowledge was generously shared with me. 

I also studied with a practising Herbalist who was willing to teach me the basics of Iridology, which is the study of the body using the iris of the eye as a ‘map’.  From this start point, a charmed journey unfolded; correspondence courses, a major move, workshops, serendipitous meetings, mentors, seminars, falling into Behavioural Kinesiology, more questions, more courses, more moves, more mentors, and more questions….

Maybe God does work in mysterious ways.

And I still have more questions….

I hope this finds you well and happy_

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Container Gardening and the Lazy Cook

Container Gardening
Apartment dwellers and those with less than perfect gardening options can still enjoy the fresh food experience.  Any small space outdoors that gets good sun for some of the day is a great place to grow culinary herbs; of course, the closer to the kitchen, the better.

Get bigger pots and intense plant all the herbs together.  This allows the soil to hold the moisture better between waterings as well as looking big, abundant and beautiful.  I always add at least one plant in the group just for 'pretty'.  Mesclun mix, lettuces and spinach do really well in large pots in any sunny area.  This is a good time of year to plan for the growing season.  Pots and garden stuff will soon abound.

Squirrels can be a big problem.  Finding a fertilizer that is safe for food can be a challenge.  There is one solution for both of these concerns in the form of 'bone and blood meal'.  I put about an inch of the granules on top of the soil in each pot.  The little rascals will not dig through it, guaranteed. This layer needs to be refreshed about once a month.  Some people place chicken wire near the top of the soil.  This works too.

I always plant tomatoes and basil together in the same pot.  For parsley, if you have the space, in the fall dig a hole and put in pot and all.  Cilantro (coriander) and dill will self seed. Rosemary will have to be brought in, but will survive through the winter.  Spearmint will usually survive anywhere, and often pokes up everywhere.  However, mint is an essential addition to a summer herb garden.

When my garden was limited to a balcony, I just had to bite the bullet and buy new transplants every year.  It was still worth it to have abundant and readily available fresh food all summer and early fall. 

The Lazy Cook
It is hard to be enthusiastic about cooking when one is hot and hungry.  Pasta is easy to cook in huge batches.  Divide the cooked pasta into serving sizes and store them in airtight containers in the freezer.  When you need it, either leave it to defrost, or run cold water over into the container and then drain.

The ‘no time to cook’ Basic Pasta with Fresh Herbs

1 Tablespoon cooking oil
1 Onion cut in crescents
1 clove garlic crushed
½ red pepper cut in slivers
3 mushrooms, sliced
5-6 sugar snap peas (or ¼ cup frozen peas added at the very end)
1 Morga Soy Cube softened in a little hot water, (or sake, or wine)
(1-2 Tablespoons) ½ to 1 cup of fresh herbs chopped coarsely – mint, basil, rosemary, Italian parsley, curl leaf parsley, cilantro
½ to 1 cup fresh greens
Fresh scallions - optional
Grated Parmesan cheese to taste
Defrost Pasta and reserve.  Heat oil in a skillet/wok or saucepan and Sauté onions and garlic until lightly browned.  Add the peppers and mushrooms and cook until just tender, add the peas and cook until just tender-crisp.  Add the pasta and the water/soy cube and heat to serving temperature.  Serve by topping with fresh greens, herbs scallions and Parmesan.  Enjoy!
Keep well_

Friday, April 2, 2010

Springing Ahead in Health

Ahh, spring!  We can look ahead to days where we don’t have to struggle just to stay warm.  We don’t have to work flat out for 20 minutes dressing like Eskimos just to go outside. We can relax and stretch out into the great outdoors.  Food is fresh, natural and plentiful.  The sun is shining and life is good.

Spring is the one time of year where we can design, direct, and improve our health in a big way.  According to Oriental Five Element tradition, the liver is in the wood element, which describes the gland and organ (liver/gall bladder) that is hot and juicy.  Conversely, the kidneys are cold and damp, just like autumn.  The moist hot days of spring are the best time to eat very simply, eat a little less, and show our body more care by adding cleansing tonics and fibre to our diet. A little focused attention on your liver will have year long benefits

The whole digestive tract is governed by the liver.  This multi-purpose gland is located just beneath the ribs on your right side.  The busy liver also works to filter the blood, biodegrade hormones and balance aspects of the immune system.  The large intestine is the last process in the liver/digestive system.  In the bowel water is reclaimed and re-cycled back into the body and wastes are eliminated.  This is the reason for auto-intoxication. 

When bowel transit time is slow, many people experience chronic sinus congestion, laborious digestion, lymph congestion, or various skin issues.  Surprisingly, when questioned, most people consider their bowel elimination to be good even when they experience these signs of overload.

Liver cleanses can be a misery if the stored toxins that are being released have difficulty exiting the body.  Nausea, cramping, bloating, prolonged fatigue and headaches are a common complaint, when there is ‘no easy way out’.  The first order of business is to open the bowel. Not everyone is robust.  Extended fasting, and aggressive herbal cleanses are not for everyone.  This is an area where personal and genetic vitality (constitution), determines how a person’s body can handle releasing toxic accumulation on a cellular and system level.

The body also pushes some forms of toxins to the adipose (fat) cells.  I believe there is a correlation between weight gain and toxin.  Extra care needs to be given to weight loss programs where the toxins released can damage the liver/gall bladder and kidneys.   

As a practitioner, I like to develop specific and unique programs for every client.  An alkalizing food plan can initiate the detoxification process, for example, if one has trouble maintaining balanced blood sugar levels.  A week of lemon juice in water every morning, and fasting until lunchtime may work
for some.  A personal plan may also include other resources such as dry brushing the skin, infra-red saunas, enemas, Epsom salts baths, foot patches, and lymph massage or ion foot baths. 

The liver is always trying to unload toxins and repair itself.    Natural plant based remedies can help the body help itself.  It’s the way nature designed us.   A little timely housecleaning and repair can do wonders to increase our energy and immunity, and for improved over all well being for the whole coming year.

Let Food Be Your Medicine 

Scandinavian Winter Salad
2 Cups Pickled Beets (or Roast 4 large beets in oven) until tender, cool and peel
3 large carrots peeled
Grate beets and carrots in food processor
Chop ½ Cup green onions
1 Cup chopped parsley
Mix in large salad bowl
Dressing:  ½ Cup light tasting oil (Organic Canola) and ¼           1Cup apple cider vinegar
                Basic sprinkle and herbamere
                Grind 1 tsp Thyme and 1 tsp coriander (optional)
* Scandinavian salad gets better when covered and marinated in the fridge for an hour or more.

Swiss Dandelion Salad
1 large potato, scrubbed, cooked whole and hot
2 handfuls of wild or cultivated dandelion greens, washed and drained and chopped fine
Dressing:  Apple cider vinaigrette
                Fresh ground pepper

The trick with this is to first wash the greens really well.  If you are using dandelion greens gathered from the wild, washing is a huge job, but is worth it in the end.

The next thing is to mash the cooked potato quickly in the bottom of a salad bowl and throw the greens in really fast and toss well.  Then dress the salad and serve. The hot potato takes out the bitterness of the greens.  This is the best spring tonic ever, and it’s tasty too.

Steamed Artichokes
1 medium or large artichoke for each person
Sauce:  Melted butter with fresh squeezed lemon juice and crushed garlic for dipping.

Prepare the artichokes by cutting off the stem, and then cutting off the top inch so it will perch nicely upside down in a steamer.  Cut off all the ‘picks’ by using scissors.  Rinse in cool water and drain upside down.
Steam artichokes upside down until the base is tender when tested with a toothpick.  Don’t over cook.  Remove from steamer directly onto the plate. To eat, the trick is to remove some of the tough outer leaves and discard them, and then eat by ripping off each leaf and dipping the base into the butter/lemon and then use your teeth to scrape the pulp of the base of the leaf. Discard leaf remains as you go.   Keep doing this until you come to the inside fuzzy core (the choke).Use a spoon to scrape away the fuzz and then cut the ‘heart’ into quarters and dip and eat.
These little wonders cleanse and nourish the liver and make a wonderful light meal with a green salad and basmati rice.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Visiting Another World

For me, visiting Texas was like visiting another world.


I had gone hoping I would be able to brush up on the 'Texas Two Step', but got no closer than the local grocery store.

What a store! 
 This is to prove that you can get artichokes almost as big as your head.
According to local residents, there are 5 seasons in West Texas:
Fall, Winter, Summer, Spring, and March! The weather ran through the gamut of very comfortably  warm, hot and dry, rain torrents, snow sleet and hail, windy, .......and this was just within less than a week.

When we left Lubbock to embark upon the 2 hour trip to the Palo Duro Canyon, it was about 71 degrees.  By the time we got there, the temperature had dropped to 2 degrees above freezing.  We were able to catch the trail-ride at 4  p.m.,but the 6 o'clock ride was canceled due to a sudden appearance of winter.  
Even though we were prepared for the ride with about 3 layers of clothing, we had not factored in a 70 degree drop in temperature. The operators very kindly gave us the loan of thick hoodies so that we wouldn't perish during the ride.  No chance of getting lost here!


The very flat, unremarkable landscape was made beautiful by the express ways that travel though the city.  A marvel of engineering as well.  I was driving in unfamiliar turf very happily.  I am going to load up on photos, and just leave the pictures to speak for themselves.


Monday, March 29, 2010

Up In The Air

My connecting flight was cancelled due to bad weather, about 20 minutes before board time.  This was after the 3 hours lead time to allow for the extra security and all that.  Another 2 hour wait in line at Air Canada Customer Service with many others with the same concerns. What were they going to do with me?

The long and short of it is that I could spend overnight in Toronto and try again the next day, or be placed on a direct flight to Houston, and spend overnight there, courtesy of Air Canada.  I could then hop on the next flight out to Lubbock bright and early the next morning.  The only drawback was having to go out and come back in through the 'wash cycle' of Canadian Customs and the US security system again.  I chose Texas - for the Adventure.

Sounds good.

Except when I got to Houston, the local Air Canada agent had no idea that such arrangements had been made.  It took some convincing on my part that it wasn't logical that I would choose to come all the way to Houston, just to be stranded in an airport terminal at night in an unfamiliar country, when I could have stayed at a hotel in Toronto for free.  The agent eventually agreed and set up hotel and shuttle arrangements.  Shuttle in 15 minutes in the pick up area.  Check!

After waiting outside for an hour, without seeing the afore mentioned shuttle, I went inside the terminal to confirm that they were coming.  Air Canada office is closed now, but a phone call from the general customer service desk confirms that the shuttle will be on their way in 15 minutes.

After waiting another hour, I went inside the terminal and found everyone gone from customer service area.  A shuttle driver phoned hotel from his cell phone.  In fact, they said they were going to be about 15 minutes.

Another hour passed.  I was tipping over the point of sanity.  I have been either in an airport terminal or in a plane for the past 13 hours.  I went inside the terminal again and met up with a lovely female police officer who kindly phoned the hotel again.  Apparently, the shuttle in question was a large orange bus that was zipping around quite frequently in the three hours I had been waiting.

So out we go and the officer puts me on the shuttle.  Off to the hotel  When the shuttle driver escorted me inside the hotel lobby, we were informed that there were two hotels with the same name and this wasn't my hotel.  The shuttle driver also informed us that he didn't go to that hotel.

God Bless 'em, the owner of that hotel was willing to drive me to the hotel that I was booked in, about 8 miles away.

A fully conscious individual may give pause to wonder 'what was that all about'?

I did catch the right shuttle to the airport the next morning, and was prepared for a short hour and twenty eight minute flight to Texas West.  You know...... flat, dry, tumbleweed....

 I couldn't believe what I saw from the air.  It was a bright cloudless morning so the ground was totally visible from my window. It was as if I was in a art gallery, looking at an exhibition of surreal paintings. The bright colours of indigo, terra-cotta, buff, maroon and plum.  The little patches of water here and there were like bright turquoise glass.  I was stunned.

Although I never expected such a difficult day of travel, I never expected to see one of the most amazing breath-taking sights of my life. Was it worth it?  You bet!

I did find a website whose photos may give you an idea of what I saw that morning.

Maybe the next time I will try the balloon-method of flying. Being up in the air is certainly a different viewpoint.