All posts by heidi

Healthy Veggies for that Last-minute Summer Trip

Recall that you said, “O Moses, we can no longer tolerate one kind of food. Call upon your Lord to produce for us such earthly crops as beans, cucumbers, garlic, lentils, and onions.”

Sura 2:61, Qur’an

Who would want manna, manna, and more manna, when the earth produces so many delicious vegetables? I’d certainly be complaining if I went 40 years without beans, cucumbers, garlic, lentils, and onions. I frequently eat them at home, but not when traveling.

Yet in a way I had fallen into a narrow focus for my go-to veggies when away from home. I am tired of carrot and celery sticks. Are you tired of them, too?

When I packed for my summer flight to Norway, I didn’t want those boring old stand-bys. I wanted finger-food veggies that tasted good on their own and could withstand travel.

So I went to the grocery store and stalked the produce section for delicious veggies. I surprised myself and bought a cucumber, a red bell pepper, and sugar snap and snow peas. At home, the cucumber and pepper were quickly sliced into strips and placed in little snack baggies with a piece of paper towel. The peas were already clothed in their own little natural packages. During my 23-hour trip I was delighted to eat these crunchy, healthy snacks.

Another option, if you can find them fresh, is jicama. This crunchy root has a sweet, nutty flavor. Peeled, cut into strips, and placed in a snack bag, they can make a great addition.

While on my trip without my pocket knife, I continued eating fresh, raw peas as a snack or part of a packed meal. They were readily available in grocery stores. Once I even found baby cukes in a cup. They didn’t last long in my hands. And I hadn’t even called upon the Spirit for them.

Thriver Soup Ingredient

Perhaps plan a quick trip to the grocery store for fun veggies to munch on during your next trip.  You can look up their nutritional status here.

What are your favorite traveling veggies?

How Nutritious are Your Eggs?

  1. You should not wantonly climb in trees to look for nests and destroy eggs. 98. You should not use cages to trap birds and [other] animals.

One Hundred and Eighty Precepts

These Daoist sayings are hard. I can understand not wantonly destroying eggs, but not using cages to trap birds and other animals? We wouldn’t have farms without them. Some would argue that would be a good practice, but for people who believe they need eggs and meat, the way to follow this with limited land resources would be to pasture-raise our farm animals. This is expensive and uses a lot of land, raising the price of eggs and meat.

I used to buy my eggs from a discount store at a discount price. The poor hens, most likely trapped in battery cages, probably never saw sunlight or moved outside of their tiny cells. (In a 2014 report, 95% of U.S. eggs came from hens trapped in battery cages.) What a miserable existence. I found the shells overly easy to crack open. They reminded me of the egg breakage I’d read about among wild birds. These fowl are experiencing losses in breeding success due to contamination by post-1945 “residues of synthetic organic chemicals used as pesticides and in industry.”

As I learned, I moved to slightly costlier eggs.

One day my son cut his finger and bled profusely. I remembered reading that eggshell membranes can be used to temporarily stop excessive bleeding. I grabbed an egg and struggled to get a little bit of the membrane out of the bottom of the shell. I got only a small crumpled piece out, and put it on his little cut.

The cut immediately stopped bleeding. We were both stunned.

I then looked up more information on those membranes. They can be used to

  • treat wounds to prevent scar tissue;
  • reduce the effects of osteoarthritis;
  • improve health of skin, hair, and nails.

That was the end of cheap eggs for me. I began buying my eggs from local farmers, and when they weren’t available, got organic eggs from the supermarket. I immediately noticed a difference when cracking the eggs—the shells were tougher to break open.

But how to separate the membrane from the shell? I tried a few methods, none of which worked very well. The membranes were slick, tore easily, and took forever to separate from the shells.

Okay, so maybe the problem, again, was with the eggs themselves. So I moved to the most expensive eggs—organic, free-range, certified humane (raised and handled), and no synthetic pesticides, hormones, or antibiotics.

Viola! The membrane, tough and gauzy, pulled right off in large pieces. So easy! And to me it meant the membrane must be full of nutrients, especially collagen. I wanted those nutrients.

 

[Watch the 1-minute video here.]

I clean the membranes and drop them into my Vitamix to blend with greens for my smoothies.

To me, it’s worth the extra expense to get high-quality eggs, not only because I am prone to osteoarthritis, but also because as a survivor of highly aggressive end-stage sarcoma, nutrition is extremely important to me. I want to maintain my cancer remission! Healthy eating can only help, in my opinion.

Plus I’d rather get the membrane from eggs I cracked, so I know the source, than something that has been put through a chemical or other process, and then who knows the quality of the membrane anyway. Probably not from the healthiest eggs.

And another benefit. I clean and dehydrate the shells, crush them with a mortar and pestle, then add lemon or lime juice and have my own calcium supplement.

I am happy to follow the Daoist precept to avoid at least the battery cages and go with free-range, organically fed, humanely treated hens. Happy hens make good eggs, which please me.

Thriver Soup Ingredient:

For the healthiest eggs, look for free-range or pasture-raised organic eggs that are not treated with hormones or antibiotics.

Sources:

One Hundred and Eighty Precepts, http://fore.yale.edu/religion/daoism/texts/

“An estimated 95% of all eggs in the United States are produced in conventional cage systems, sometimes called battery cages.… According to UEP, conventional cage systems typically provide each laying hen an average of 67 square inches of floor space. In some egg operations, hens have less space.” https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/47ce/d140eac346b2b8d59781291411dd60148bfe.pdf

Contamination, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/273074182_Changes_Attributable_to_Pesticides_in_Egg_Breakage_Frequency_and_Eggshell_Thickness_in_Some_British_Birds

What’s in eggshell membrane: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eggshell_membrane, http://eggmem.org/en/about/

Treating wounds: http://eggmem.org/en/about/page1.php

Treating arthritis: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2697588/

Improving health of skin, hair, and nails: http://eggmem.org/en/about/page3.php

Using Time as a Tool

Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be co-workers with God, and without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation. We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right.

Martin Luther King Jr., in a letter from Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963

 

Martin Luther King Jr. recognized, in the heat of the American civil rights movement, the long view that time could be an ally.

In our modern society, we typically don’t see time as an ally, but rather more as an enemy, an obstacle, a problem. We tend to view time in terms of something we lack, not something we can use.

Hundreds of years ago, even though people lived much shorter lifespans, time was viewed as a tool and was used to create beauty for future generations.

When I was in Norway recently, I was given the gift of a visit to an enormous wooden stave church. When the structure was built, the men looked for trees to use as tall interior pillars to hold up the heavy roof. When they had selected a tree, they topped it off. Then they let the tree stand for about 20 years, during which the trunk would fill itself up with resin.

When the process had completed, the tree was cut down and used as a fire- and water-resistant column that would last for hundreds of years without drying out, splitting, or cracking.

A few decades ago, the original pillars finally had to be replaced. Trees were cut down and turned into columns without the 20-year resin-absorbing process. Now the trunks are cracked and drying out. Time had not been used to create pillars that would withstand water and fire, heat and moisture. Instead, the columns will have to be replaced again in a much shorter time frame.

Using time as a tool became personally important to me when I was diagnosed with highly aggressive end-stage cancer. I knew if I did not do chemotherapy, the sarcoma cells would quickly fill my body and I would no longer have any time.

Chemotherapy became my tool to buy time. Time, in turn, became my primary tool for healing my life and doing numerous integrative therapies. It took two years for me to change my attitudes, behaviors, and make some major life choices. Those alterations, along with surgery, eliminated the cancer. For six years now, I have been free of evidence of disease and free of cancer treatment.

Time, as an ally, was a tool that helped save my life. My integrative therapies helped me rebuild my mind, body, and spirit so I could become more strong and resilient, like the resin-soaked tree trunks. It could not have happened overnight. It took two years, and I continue daily with rebuilding my life so I can be more resistant to dis-ease.

How do you use time as a tool in your life?

Thriver Soup Ingredient:

Time can seem excruciatingly short for those with end-stage cancer. Perhaps find ways to use the time you have as a tool to reach a goal. Allow time for nutrition to produce positive effects on your body. Time for treatments to take effect. Time for healing attitudes and behaviors that might have an impact on your body’s abilities to heal.

Readers Respond: Dairy in Europe vs US

The light circled his head and shot into the sky, rising toward the fat full moon that hung over the chimney of Caspar’s little house. The light rose higher, and the voice called, “Come with us … there’s plenty of cheese.”

Caspar’s mouth began to water. “What have I to lose?” he asked, so he began to follow that light…

“The Boy Who Loved Cheese,” as told by Amy Friedman

 

In this Dutch folktale, a boy can’t stop eating cheese… until fairies force him to eat more than he can stomach.

I understand his love for cheese. I indulged in dairy for a month in Europe without any of my usual digestive issues. Last week’s Thriver Soup blog about dairy evoked several thoughtful responses, which I would like to share.

One reader in Norway wrote, “I don’t know why you can eat European dairy products, but not American ones.

“But I know that Norwegian cows are not ‘happier’ than American ones. Norwegian cows get power fodder, they rarely leave their stable, they are bred to give as much milk as possible. They would die without their special fodder, because so many nutrients go into the milk that the cow would be depleted and even die without it.

“I am quite sure that the same is the case for most European cows, except the few that are explicitly kept organically.

“Sheep and goats get to run around more freely in Norway because they are not milked. The downside: they are in danger for being eaten by wolves. And many of them are slaughtered in fall.

“So, sorry, but Europe is not quite as romantic as your blog suggests…”

So what is different about European dairy and United States dairy that enables me to eat it?

A reader from Ecuador offered some ideas about the differences. “The dairy thing in the U.S. is really toxic, I think. As you know, growth hormones, antibiotics, bleaching agents…who the heck knows? Here in Ecuador we buy milk and creme which are an ivory color. No stuffy noses anymore! All of the agricultural products are grown on small family farms. I feel so nutriented! We can even buy some organic products!”

Whatever the difference is, for cancer patients, dairy is still a product perhaps best limited or even eliminated from the diet. Robert Cohen, the NotMilkMan, writes, “Eighty percent of milk protein is casein and most people react negatively to casein, but there is a type of casein some cows produce which does not cause the traditional problem. Those other 20% of milk proteins include a protein hormone (insulin-like growth factor-1) which has been identified as the KEY factor in the growth and proliferation of every type of human cancer. As a human cancer begins its growth it is silent and painless. When the tumor becomes large enough, it becomes its own endocrine gland, secreting internally an abundance of IGF-1 which promotes its growth as it metastasizes.”

Perhaps it’s a good thing Caspar decided to limit his cheese intake.

Thriver Soup Ingredient:

If you want to limit or eliminate dairy, there are lots of great substitutes on the market. My current favorite is organic coconut butter diluted with water when I want something with a milky or creamy consistency. What is your favorite non-dairy substitute?

Source:

http://www.uexpress.com/tell-me-a-story/2009/4/26/the-boy-who-loved-cheese-a

Dairy in Europe vs US

“Straightway after the rime dripped, there sprang from it the cow called Auðumla; four streams of milk ran from her udders, and she nourished Ymir.”

The Prose Edda by Snorri Sturluson

 

The giant Ymir, the first creature to come into being according to Norse creation mythology, was nourished by milk from the primeval cow called Auðumbla.

A dozen years ago I stopped receiving nourishment from milk, cheese, cream, and yogurt. When I tried them, I was rewarded with a belly ache, hot flashes, and constipation.

I had heard that people who experienced difficulty with dairy in the United States didn’t have issues in Europe.

When I went to Norway recently, I decided to give dairy another try.

No issues. No belly ache, no hot flashes, no constipation.

So I gorged on dairy for weeks—cheese, yogurt, cream, skyr… but I easily resisted the codfish-flavored ice cream.

I asked around. How come I can digest dairy in northern Europe but can’t in the United States?

Some people said the livestock graze on the mountainsides, eating the herbs and flowers while basking in sunlight.

I did see goats traipsing on mountains and sheep dashing across roads.

My son is sure it’s all in my head. Maybe so. But if I were a cow given the choice of being locked up all my life in a tiny space indoors, or being allowed to roam the countryside, I’d be far happier roaming. Which would make my body chemistry healthier, and my milk sweeter and more nourishing.

Thriver Soup Ingredient:

If you have trouble digesting dairy in the United States, perhaps seek out dairy imported from Europe. There also might be something to the idea that dairy with the A2 protein works for some people who have a history of difficulty digesting dairy.

http://www.nbcnews.com/better/diet-fitness/can-new-milk-brand-buoy-dairy-industry-n339586

Sources

Brodeur, Arthur Gilchrist (tr.) (1916). The Prose Edda by Snorri Sturluson. New York: The American-Scandinavian Foundation.

Misleading Labels—The Skinny on Sugar

Note: I am largely off the internet at the moment. Guests have graciously offered blog posts that I believe will be of interest. Today’s post is by Chef Lori Pierce (Lula) of Cincinnati, OH. Sugar causes inflammation, so reducing sugar intake can potentially reduce inflammation in the body. Inflammation has been directly linked to several types of cancer. Here Lula helps with understanding sugar on food labels. Lula has contributed to recipe development for companies such as Kraft, Nestle, Unilever and McCormick. Check out her blog here: http://lulasforlunch.com/blog/

By Chef Lori Pierce (Lula)

Reduced Sugar, Low Sugar, No Sugar Added … Which of these terms is regulated by the FDA? Only “Reduced Sugar.” This means the product has to contain 25% less sugar than its original form.

The other two are basically meaningless. For example, “no sugar added” could be on a honey label and be legal. What’s important to know is how many grams of sugar (which comes in these myriad names: anything ending in “ose” such as sucrose, dextrose, fructose, maltose, as well as honey, syrup, molasses, evaporated cane juice, nectar, corn sweetener, etc.) are in a portion. Recommended daily intake of added sugar runs around 6 teaspoons, or 24 grams. So… 4 grams = 1 teaspoon.

Sugar in all its forms will be on the food label in grams. So now that you know the math, look for those grams and calculate just how sweet you’re gonna be.

Image source: https://tinyurl.com/yca2oo8f

July 4 Picnic Tips from Chef Lula

Note: I am largely off the internet at the moment. Guests have graciously offered blog posts that I believe will be of interest. Today’s post is by Chef Lori Pierce (Lula) of Cincinnati, OH. With July 4 gatherings on the horizon, she offers these tips for enhancing your picnics. Lula has contributed to recipe development for companies such as Kraft, Nestle, Unilever and McCormick. Check out her blog here: http://lulasforlunch.com/blog/

By Chef Lori Pierce (Lula)

How to Pick a Pineapple

How do you pick a pineapple in a store? I always pluck out a center leaf – if it comes out quite easily the pineapple is ripe. Now that I’ve let the cat out of the bag, though, I guess everyone else will do the same and when I get there, maybe that’s not such a good test anymore. So, I’ll smell it at the stem end. The stronger and sweeter it smells (it should reek of pineapple), the riper it is. If you need a pineapple and they are all giving off only faint smells, buy one and let it sit on the counter for a couple of days ‘till the aroma develops. Then slice into that juicy bad boy.

How to Keep Your Guacamole Green 

I hate it when my beautiful avocado stuff starts to turn dull and brown. Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering has to make a pretty large volume upon occasion and sometimes it has to sit in the fridge for a couple of days – and there’s just not enough acid in the recipe to keep it in the “Kermit” family, so… I cover the surface with a thin film of water. The guac is dense enough (and fatty enough) that it won’t absorb the water – so when I’m ready to use it I just tilt the container and pour the water off and voila! it’s just as vibrant as when I made it.

Therapeutic Cannabis for Pain

Note: I am largely off the internet at the moment. Guests have graciously offered blog posts that I believe will be of interest. Today’s is by Wendy E. N. Thomas, an extended member of my family. Wendy has appeared on NH Public Radio, WZID, WMUR Channel 9, and been featured in Parenting NH, Backyard Poultry, Woman’s Day, and Reader’s Digest for her chicken stories and adventures in thrift. Find her blog at https://simplethrift.wordpress.com/

By Wendy E. N. Thomas

I’m the mother of six kids. I have a job and I volunteer for community events. To look at me you’d never know that every few hours I either vape or eat an edible made from cannabis.

But I do.

I am a card-carrying member of the New Hampshire therapeutic cannabis program. This means a few things:

  • I have a physician who has known me for at least three months and who can vouch that I have a condition that fits the state’s criteria and I have symptoms that are on the state’s approved list.
  • I have a condition which has not responded to other treatments.
  • And I am allowed to purchase therapeutic cannabis at an approved dispensary.

In my case I have Lumbar Stenosis, a condition that arose from a combination of being hit by a car when young resulting in many orthopedic surgeries (years of favoring one side of my body) along with multiple high-weight baby pregnancies. And to top it all off, I have chronic Lyme disease that has left me with muscle and nerve damage, as well as arthritis. My poor body didn’t have a fighting chance.

My approved back condition comes with the approved symptom of chronic pain. Like many others who have chronic pain, in the past I have been on pain contracts (a narcotic prescription renewed every month). I have tried supplements, diets, and eaten so many over-the-counter anti-inflammatories that my gut may never recover. When you are in pain, you’ll try anything.

But I’d still be in pain. All. The. Time.

After hearing a friend’s story of how therapeutic cannabis helped him with his pain situation, I decided to try it out.

First thing you need to know about therapeutic cannabis – it’s not about getting high.

It’s about having a low dose of CBD/THC in your body at all times. Everything is measured and labeled. You know exactly how much you are taking.

Could you get high if you wanted to? Of course, just as you can get drunk on alcohol if you want to.

But for many of us who have been left on couches, numbed out by narcotics, when we are given something that finally tackles the pain, we don’t want to be zoned out – we want to get back in the game.

I am a writer. I need to have a clear mind when I write – I write while using my small doses of therapeutic cannabis.

I make plans for my daughter when she needs a ride, I shop, I read books, I make dinners for the family, and I watch the news while using this product. No one can tell, except that I seem a little more active these days. A little more excited about getting outside.

Since starting the NH therapeutic program, this is what I’ve found:

  • My pain level has gone down roughly 90 percent (I still have pain but there are times–extended moments–when I have no pain at all).
  • I haven’t taken one Motrin in the past five weeks (even though it’s rained almost the entire time and I don’t do well in rainy weather).
  • My muscle tremors have stopped.
  • My shooting nerve pain has stopped.
  • My blood pressure has gone down 29 points.
  • I sleep through the night.

There is definitely a stigma attached with marijuana, MJ, the wacky weed. We’ve all been taught that drugs are bad – did you see what they do to your brain? Recently Attorney General Jeff Sessions even said that “Good people do not smoke marijuana.” Pot is seen as a bad thing, an entry drug into hell. But here’s the thing, there is much we don’t understand about this plant. Sure it can make you high, but it also has a lot of healing properties. We shouldn’t be throwing the baby out with the bathwater. When used therapeutically, cannabis can literally give people their lives back.

Recently I participated in a 5K walk, something I wouldn’t have been able to do before starting the therapeutic program. I got a medal when I crossed the finish line. It hangs on my office wall – a reminder to never, ever give up.

IGF-I, the Key Factor in Cancer Growth

Note: I am largely off the internet at the moment. Guests have graciously offered blog posts that I believe will be of interest. Today’s post is by Robert Cohen, the NOTMilkMan. He heard my interview on the CBS NYC station’s Bob Salter Show and called me to connect. I love his sense of humor, though this post is scientific in nature.

By Robert Cohen

There are hundreds of millions of different proteins in nature, and only one hormone that is identical between any two species.  That powerful growth hormone is insulin-like growth factor, or IGF-I.  IGF-I survives digestion and has been identified as the key factor in breast cancer’s growth.

Women between the ages of 25 and 65 have been successfully targeted by the marketing representatives of the dairy industry’s milk promotion board. What the dairy industry neglects to advertise is the fact that cow’s milk contains a IGF- I.

If you believe that breast feeding “works” to protect lactoferrins and immunoglobulins from digestion (and benefit the nursing infant), you must also recognize that milk is a hormonal delivery system.  By drinking cow’s milk, one delivers IGF-I in a bioactive form to the body’s cells.

When IGF-I from cow’s milk alights upon an existing cancer…

“Human Insulin-like growth factor (IGF-I) and bovine IGF-I are identical. Both contain 70 amino acids in the identical sequence.”
– SCIENCE

“IGF-I is critically involved in the aberrant growth of human breast cancer cells.”
– Journal of the National Institute of Health

“Estrogen regulation of IGF-I in breast cancer cells would support the hypothesis that IGF-I has a regulatory function in breast cancer.”
– Molecular Cell Endocrinology

“IGF-I is a potent growth factor for cellular proliferation in the human breast carcinoma cell line.”
– Journal of Cellular Physiology

“Insulin-like growth factors are key factors for breast cancer growth.”
– Journal of Cellular Physiology

“IGF-I produces a 10-fold increase in RNA levels of cancer cells.  IGF-I appears to be a critical component in cellular proliferation.”
– Experimental Cellular Research

“IGF-I plays a major role in human breast cancer cell growth.”
European Journal of Cancer

“IGF-I has been identified as a key factor in breast cancer.”
The Lancet

“Serum IGF-I levels increased significantly in milk drinkers, an increase of about 10% above baseline but was unchanged in the control group.”
Journal of the American Dietetic Association

“IGF-1 accelerates the growth of breast cancer cells.”
SCIENCE

“Poor absorption of lactose may more than double the risk of ovarian cancer in women.”
– American Journal of Epidemiology

“Galactose is linked both to ovarian cancer and infertility…women who consume dairy products on a regular basis, have triple the risk of ovarian cancer than other women.”
– The Lancet

“Interest in the role of the IGF axis in growth control and carcinogenesis has recently been increased by the finding of elevated serum (IGF-I) levels in association with three of the most prevalent cancers in the United States: prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, and lung cancer. IGFs serve as endocrine, autocrine, and paracrine stimulators of mitogenesis, survival, and cellular transformation.”
– Journal of Cellular Physiology

“IGF-I reacts in a synergistic manner with estrogen, and plays a role in the growth and proliferation of ovarian cancer.”
– Journal of Clinical Endocrinology

For more, please visit http://notmilk.com/drharris.html

See also http://notmilk.com/drlarsen.html

Something His Hand Touched

Everyone must leave something behind when he dies… Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go…

Ray Bradbury, Farenheit 451

The two-year anniversary of my son’s passing went forgotten by all but three people in my life.

This forgetting raises an irrational sorrow in my mind. How could they forget when my son passed?

But it wasn’t their lives that were devastated. Everyone has gone on with their lives. As is the nature of life.

What surprises me is not that people forgot. I expected that. What astonishes me is that some people actually did remember, and say something to me.

His passing happened the first Saturday in June. This year I returned to the conference center where he left this life.  After talking with other people at the vegetable stand, I walked to the room, the last room he ever saw with physical eyes. The door has been closed ever since that dreadful week, and a sign says under no circumstances is anyone to enter. The closest I can come to the last thing on earth he touched is the door knob to the room he had locked from the inside. So I held the knob to imagine some connection with his final few minutes as a human being.

Mary Lu knew where I had gone, and why, even though I had said nothing. She waited a little while, then came to check on me. This wise woman has always been a gracious presence in my life. She held me and listened as I rambled my jumbling thoughts.

I finally screwed up enough courage to ask—why had the room been closed for two years?

She said it was going to be remodeled.

Another friend later commented that the conference center people must have felt honored that my son felt safe there, and spent his final moments on their sacred ground. Its room had cradled his living body in preparation for its final rest. The room could never be the same again.

Thriver Soup Ingredient:

There is some sort of connection one can experience with the objects left by those we love. If nothing else, it can elicit memories, which gives us a sense, however briefly, of being with the person again.

Source: http://clipart-library.com