Today I am writing with a heavy heart. One of my teenage son’s friends was killed in a roadside accident two days ago. He was struck while assisting a motorist push a stalled vehicle by an 18 year old driver who had momentarily glanced away from the road to adjust the tuning on a radio station. Although my son did not know this boy well, the reality of how life can change in an instant hits home hard.
In talking with other parents of sons, I notice that one of our biggest hopes is that they just survive the teenage years. Just survive. Make it through. We’ll all feel blessed if they just survive. I often think how teenagers are given some of the responsibilities of adulthood without the experience in life to back it up. I know this is crucial for learning but I just wish they could know everything first. I know, I know, I have to let go and let the world have its way with them, whatever that may be. Parenting tears at one’s heart like nothing else.
My father-in-law stopped in for an impromptu visit. We went to a Mexican restaurant and I resisted the corn tortilla chips, although I did deeply inhale the wonderful scent of these freshly made corn beauties - can you tell corn is one, well, OK, my most difficult avoid food to truly avoid? I do love corn, and it is so obviously toxic to my system. Ironic, isn’t it? So not having one, I repeat, not one morsel of a corn chip was an accomplishment. My burrito meal had a couple of avoids, mainly guacamole, which I hardly ever have, and some tomato chunks which I easily picked out. The rest was neutrals with maybe a beneficial or two ( shredded beef, a few beans, wheat tortilla, cheese, green chili). When we go out to eat, I feel lucky if I can find a meal that has mainly neutrals and few avoids. Fortunately, I don’t eat out often. The real test is how I feel afterward and this time I felt OK with no digestive distress.
The rest of the week was stressful, school board meetings, committee meetings, task force meetings, I’m about meeting’d out. And next week it’s more of the same. So right now I’m going to relax, take a couple of big breaths, give my boys great big hugs...
...and thank my lucky stars.
Making the switch from a wheat diet to non-wheat grains can be daunting at first. Especially in the pasta department. We use spelt pasta and rice pasta in our house; it works with all the blood types we have living here. But let me tell ya... all rice pasta is not created equal! When we first started experimenting with rice pasta, we were very disappointed with the results. Most brands had a grainy, unpleasant texture or disintegrated in the cooking water. We finally settled on a brand that remained al dente if cooked in a very precise amount of time, one second past the timer and... ooops, mush for dinner once again.
And then that fateful day while shopping at my favorite whole foods store, I saw a new brand of rice spaghetti on the shelf... Tinkyada. I thought that it might be an Asian import but when looking at the package I saw that it was made in ...Canada??? Hmmm. That’s interesting. The store owner saw me looking at the box and came over to say what a marvelous product it was. And they advertise on the box that it is not mushy. I had to try it.
Well, I tell you, when I tasted this wonderful al dente pasta I almost heard angels singing. It is really that good! The only ingredients are stone ground brown rice, rice bran, and water. I don’t know how they do it. It really tastes and has the texture of semolina and other wheat pastas. And it does not get mushy. It does have a tendency to get sticky as it cools after draining so it is important to plate it while it is still hot or toss with some oil. You will have a gooey mass if you don’t.
Tinkyada makes all types of pasta: spaghetti, spirals, penne, fettuccine, small shells, jumbo shells, etc. We did have to experiment with the cooking times a little bit, but that is always the case in high altitude. Pasta takes longer to cook up here and with the “grand shell” (marvelous for stuffing), I cook them almost twice as long as recommended.
If you can’t find Tinkyada products in your local health food store, ask them if it can be ordered for you. We order several varieties by the case. Pasta stores well in a cool dry place, and then you always have some on hand when you need a quick meal. And maybe you too will enjoy rice pasta bliss.
Today began like any other summer day, waking at 4 AM and not being able to fall back asleep because it is too hot. Got hubby to open the bedroom window to the delightful aroma of strong skunk scent. Shut the window and lay in bed ruminating. I finally took a couple cal/mag caps which helped me and my over tired legs relax enough to fall back asleep.
The previous evening, my family and I went with a friend on a hike up North Cheyenne Cañon along a ridge with stunning views. Although it was gorgeous up there with the wildflowers and even columbines nestled in amongst the rocks, the trail begins with vicious, monster switch backs that turned my legs immediately to jelly. Our friend is a little mountain goat and can scamper up any cliff face with ease but us long-legged folk have a little more difficulty with steep climbs.
I did finally awaken and began my day with a breakfast of homemade granola with sliced nectarines and cow’s milk. After about 45 minutes of delicious yoga, I sat down to respond to a couple of reader’s questions. Time for lunch and I heated up some turkey hot dogs for me and the boys. Thank God for turkey, we gotta maximize those universal neutrals in our house. We were out of hot dog buns (probably a good thing) so I substituted a spelt tortilla which worked quite well.
The rest of the day was spent puttering around in a relaxed, aimless fashion. Did a few errands, watered the garden... you know the routine. Very much needed though because next week is going to be both busy and stressful. I do much better with stressful situations if I can rest in advance.
It actually rained in the afternoon and if you used your imagination, you could come close to saying there were puddles on the sidewalk. I almost went out to dance in the rain (I have been known to do that) but it was over soon and out with the blistering sun again.
I made salmon for dinner and hubby made rice pasta with steamed veggies. We often share dinner making, that way there is something for all 3 blood types in our house.
Yes, now I am feeling ready for the upcoming week.
Since it is now June I can officially say that I have reached a new milestone in my overall health: I have not had one upper respiratory infection for an entire year. Zero. Nada. Zip.
This is a huge event in my life since just a few years ago I suffered from chronic sinusitis and frequent sinus infections. Every single cold (and there were many) ended up in a sinus infection. At about the time I started the BTD I also purchased the book “Sinus Survival” by Robert S. Ivker. Dr. Ivker is a D.O. and part of the American Holistic Medical Association. In his book, Dr. Ivker relates his own struggles with chronic sinusitis and how he healed his sick sinuses. And as of the writing of the book, he had been free from chronic sinusitis for almost 8 years and for almost 5 years had not had one cold. When I first read that information I thought to myself , “That will never be me. Never.” And now here I am on that same path; I can’t remember when I last had a sinus infection and its been at least a year since I had my last cold. I began to reflect on the past year to see if there were any significant lifestyle changes that could have played a factor.
Some background information: I live in a geographical region where it is difficult to have healthy sinuses. We have what is known as an ‘inversion season’ during the winter months where warm air aloft traps colder air and pollutants close to the earth. My city also uses coal for its energy source which creates a higher level of particulate matter in the air. And I live in an arid or semiarid climate that makes for very dry air to breathe. It is no wonder that sinus infections are the number one reason for seeing a doctor out here.
Certainly, following the BTD has played a crucial role in my overall immune system health, but what else? I do use a saline nasal spray and occasionally nasal irrigation to keep those mucous membranes healthy. And we have a hydrometer to measure humidity levels in our house. But I have been doing that stuff for years. There are only a couple of things that I did differently, but I think they are keys for me, and perhaps other B’s as well.
Firstly, I started following more closely the exercise recommendations for type B’s, which for me meant letting go of some of my strength training beliefs. When I trained for 4 days a week, for an hour to an hour and a half a session, I was too exhausted to do anything else. I feel much better at 3 times per week for about 40 minutes a session. And I also increased the cardio and exercised with others which played a significant factor in “mood control”; I just feel happier when I exercise with others.
Next, I rested. A lot. It was a priority. I did not allow myself to get overtired. On those rare occasions when I did recognize I was doing too much, I dropped everything and hit the bed. If I knew in advance that a stressful week was coming up, I would get extra rest in preparation.
But lastly, and most importantly, I challenged myself in ways that I hadn’t before, taking on new tasks, trying on new roles out in the world and, in a sense, reinventing myself. One such example is participating in this blog project. I submitted my application on a whim, and afterwards thought “What am I doing, I don’t journal, I can’t write!” I can sing, I can dance, I can do the hokey pokey, but I always viewed myself as a non-writer. And then it hit me, I needed to challenge that long held belief.
Sooooo... here I am. Challenging that belief with every blog I write. I know that not only nurturing the creative part, but also stretching my self concept in new and exciting ways is vital to my overall health and wellness. I bet it is for you too.
Woke up, rolled outta bed, dragged a comb across ....
Yes, I did wake up but rolled out of bed? ah...no on that one. Creaked and groaned was more like it. Lot’s of aches and pains this morning and to top it off my foot was aching more than ever. We went hiking up in the High Country yesterday and I chose to ignore the pain in my foot which increased with every step. I can’t even figure out what I did to injure it in the first place! Man, this getting older sure does bite sometimes. So, now I have to scratch my exercise plans for today and let my body tell me what it needs.
I started with one of my favorite breakfasts: fresh fruit topped with yogurt and freshly ground flax seed and a big pot of red raspberry leaf tea. My husband made his famous breakfast millet, which is my favorite way to eat millet: millet cooked with carrots, garlic, ginger and tofu and topped with tamari. I had a bowl of that as well, only without the tofu.
Next, off to the living room to do some much needed stretching. I did a little meditative movement and tuned into what my body was needing today. I decided to take time throughout the day to stretch and move in a way that felt nourishing until I felt better.
Now, off to the garden to water my feeble attempt at a vegetable garden this year. We are so so so dry, I am not hopeful that my plants will even survive, let alone bear fruit.
Inside, more stretching and then off for my harried morning commute - a whole 15 steps from my kitchen to my office. Having survived the traffic jams, I settle down to work on preparing contracts for our upcoming season. Realizing I need a little more protein this morning - you know the feeling - foggy, tired, sapped of strength - I head to the kitchen for half a can of sardines. Back at my desk a few minutes later with renewed strength I work tirelessly until lunch: leftover lamb chop with prune/cranberry chutney, and a large salad with snow peas, rice croutons, and way too much buttermilk/feta dressing. I’m feeling much better now.
Before heading off to a committee meeting down at Citizen’s Project I have a cherry Larabar, a new energy bar made from dates, almonds and unsweetened cherries all mushed together and shaped into a rectangle - very good! I was focused and relaxed during our meeting even when discussing and problem solving distressing events occurring in our community, something that can be difficult for me. I think my food choices and body tuning earlier in the day played a large part in my staying centered.
Back home and baked vanilla scented halibut with hollandaise sauce, boiled potatoes and steamed cauliflower with snow peas for dinner. By now I have even forgotten that I felt awful when I awoke. In fact, I only remembered when I sat down to write this blog.
Maybe tomorrow I WILL be able to roll out of bed.