Archive for the 'Books' Category

California Dreaming


August 19th, 2012

chinatown
Just got back from the most amazing trip to California. It’s funny. For years, things were so UNDER THE WEATHER, that I was mostly just TREADING WATER…just kinda hanging on and waiting for things to get better. But lately, things have been CHANGING DRAMATICALLY. It’s pretty wild. It’s so surreal that I keep thinking I’m going to wake up. But I have pictures. So it must have really happened.

rainbowI actually hadn’t intended for this to be a business trip. I just went out because my boyfriend was doing sound at OUTSIDELANDS FESTIVAL which was pretty amazing in itself. But since I was in town, I figured I’d stop by RAINBOW GROCERY, the store that’s been carrying our cheese. Can I just say how much I love Rainbow? Here I am at the entrance. Rainbow is an amazing worker owned cooperative there, and this is the original collective that started it in the 70’s.

gordon edgarThis is Gordon Edgar. He’s the cheese buyer there. But he’s also a celebrity. I didn’t realize this at first.

cheesemongerI wasn’t aware of this until my neighbor, Erik, pointed it out. He was asking me if I was catching a lot of resistance and flak from dairy folks about my cheese. And I was like, ‘Actually, not so far. There’s this guy in San Francisco who’s a dairy cheese guy who’s been super supportive. And since he’s not really a vegan, people seem to be listening to him.’ And he was like, ‘Oh yeah? Who is it?’ And I said, ‘This guy, Gordon Edgar. He wrote this book called Cheesemonger.’ And Erik was like, ‘GORDON EDGAR?! That guy is famous. He’s like the Anthony Bourdain of cheese.’ One thing you should know about Erik, he’s not vegan and definitely not of the audience that my food would attract. But he’s a great drummer. Coming from Erik, this seemed pretty significant.

cheese section
And it was. Rainbow sells an amazing amount of cheese. I mean, I’ll literally ship them an order, and they’ll run out in a few days. Gordon even showed me that we have our own clipboard. Because they’ve been keeping a waiting list between orders. It’s crazy! Here I am in front of our cheese display.

veg news hqAfter we stopped at Rainbow, we decided to drop by the VEG NEWS MAGAZINE HEADQUARTERS which is actually really closeby.  I wasn’t actually thinking of stopping by.  But the night before, we were having dinner with our friend, Joslyn.  And I was talking about how great Veg News was.  And she said,’You should stop by and say hello.’  And I thought, ‘You know.  That’s actually a great idea.  I hadn’t even thought of that.’  But it’s not something I would normally do.  Being a little nervous about things like that.  Well, when we got home from dinner there was an email from Veg News.  Saying there was a new issue coming out next week that I might want to take a look at.  So that seemed like a sign.

editor's pickThe next day, we stopped by. And what an amazing moment that was. They had the new issue, and it was hot of the presses. Not even on newsstands yet. It should be coming out this week actually. There’s a taste test in there. Comparing our brand with Dr. Cow’s and Daiya cheese. These are two much bigger and more established companies. Our brand got the editor’s pick! I couldn’t believe it! What an amazing day. I’ve been on cloud nine ever since. I even came home to a letter that I was being audited. And that didn’t even bother me. It apparently looks fishy that I didn’t make any money last year. I wonder if anybody at the tax office has ever had a health crisis? Because I think it’s pretty par for the course for it to eat up one’s income. Especially when you lose your job as a result. The numbers just don’t add up. I mean, everybody seems to know that except the IRS and the insurance companies. Right? You’d think they wouldn’t add more trauma to a bad situation. But anyway, I digress. Because even the IRS can’t stop me now! They might be able to bring down the mob. But they can’t bring down a girl on fire!

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On a side note, there’s still a couple weeks left to vote for the VEGGIE AWARDS. We’ve been nominated in the ‘Best Vegan Cheese’ category. We are up against some pretty big guns that are literally available in every store. So, it’s a little like David vs. Goliath. But you never know. Stranger things have happened lately. So, please vote for us!

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Live Raw


July 1st, 2011

live rawI just got a new book in the mail. It’s MIMI KIRK’S new book, Live Raw. I am turning into a huge Mimi Kirk fan. I have been watching her recipe videos on her FACEBOOK PAGE. They are great.  Very down to earth.  And wise.  Her book is no different.  There is a huge range of recipes in the book.  It will take me a while to get through.  I started off with a recipe whose picture caught my eye right away…the blueberry banana pancakes.

pancake in the making
It’s very much what the name suggests. Mished up banana, pecan, blueberries, some cinnamon.

dehydrating
Then, they are set in the dehydrator for a while. First on teflex. Then without.

pancake
Finally, it’s served with a little strawberry and maple syrup. I tried really hard to save some for my boyfriend. But sadly (for him), it didn’t happen. I gobbled them down right away.

pancake bite
I mean, what would you do?…That’s what I thought.

mimiCan you believe this woman is 72 years old? It’s truly amazing. She is definitely doing some things right. Whenever I start getting discouraged about my HEALTH CHALLENGES, I look to her for inspiration. There are plenty of young, healthy, and beautiful advocates for living cuisine. And don’t get me wrong, I appreciate them. But there is a certain wisdom that only comes with age and experience. This is really what sets her book apart. When working through a health crisis, I have to admit…I look to someone a little older and wiser whose already slayed a few dragons in their time.

gifts
Here I am wearing the special gift that came with my book. It’s a tag filled with words of wisdom for staying young. I actually used to wear some tags very similar to this when I was younger. About twenty years ago. The time seemed ripe for a re-emergence. I also have a foundations stone which my friend JANICE sent me (to keep me in the positive). These ladies are keeping me on the right path. Reminding me every day that it doesn’t matter if I can’t see the light at the end of this tunnel right now. It’s there. And if I just keep focusing on the positive, I’m gonna get to it. And when I do, it’s going to be a sight for sore eyes. Indeed.

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The Holidaze


December 26th, 2010

presents
Look what Santa left under my tree? OK. It wasn’t really Santa. It was my boyfriend. He knew just what to get. I have been wanting that ANI PHYO book since it came out. But he also found another one which I haven’t seen before. It’s kind of nice. It’s organized according to ethnic groups: Italian food, Middle Eastern food, Asian food (kind of like the stations at 105 DEGREES).

kim chee
Speaking of ethnic food. I’ve been hooked on this kimchee lately. Now that my garden is in hibernation, it’s time for FERMENTATION projects. I’ve got all manner of these going at the moment. Pomegranate kefir is another favorite right now. My friend, Helen, and I made a VIDEO which I released recently explaining how to make this (as well as yogurt and cheese). AND there still a few days left to enter the kefir kit giveaway if you haven’t seen it yet (check the video for details).

boots
This is another one of my Christmas presents (from my Mom). I LOVE these boots!!

boots
And they are coming in more than a little bit handy now. That’s for sure. Winters up here are quite a bit more brutal than the pseudo winters I grew up with in Texas. In Texas, boots are more of a fashion statement than a necessity. I remember coming home for Christmas with blue toes the first year I lived here. I don’t think my mother was very happy to see that because she has gotten me new boots for Christmas pretty consistently since I’ve lived here. :)

ice palace
The Minneapolis library looks kinda of like an ice palace with all of this snow. I took this picture while I was switching buses the other day on my way to yoga. Speaking of, I just finished day 14 of my BIKRAM YOGA CHALLENGE. It definitely feels like my body is doing some power healing right now. This week, the issues that I’m noticing more are my hamstrings on my left side right where they connect to my hip. This makes a lot of sense as I’ve had to do a lot of physical therapy on muscles that attach to my hip. It’s funny how unaware of these muscles I was before my ACCIDENT. I’m also noticing my rib cage a lot. It just feels sensitive and bruised. Not in any particular part of my rib cage. It’s more like the whole thing. This makes sense too as I broke a couple ribs, this part of my body was clearly subjected to some trauma. It’s peculiar though. It’s almost like emotional baggage that my rib cage is holding on to. Or something. It’s hard to describe. The other thing I’ve noticed is that I am drinking a LOT more water. I can’t drink enough. The air here in winter is BONE DRY. So today we got a humidifier. That should help with that. I will keep you posted on my progress. I am going to start ramping up the raw food quotient as well now that I’ve acclimated somewhat to the yoga. Those recipe books are going to come in handy!

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Everyday Raw Desserts


October 7th, 2010

erdessertsWell, it’s been a while. So naturally, I have a lot to catch up on. For one, guess what was waiting for me in my mailbox when I returned from Seattle? A copy of MATTHEW KENNEY’S new book!

I am very excited about this new development.  This book is great!  Not as many pictures as some of his other books, but tons more recipes!  A few ideas that I saw floating around at 105 DEGREES have made their way into this book.  But there’s much more.  There also a really nice section at the beginning that breaks down the basic ingredients that are used frequently.  I think this is really helpful when starting out.  Lots of inspiration in this book.

poms
I got started right away with the first thing to catch my eye…the kombucha float. I decided to make it pomegranate kombucha like we MADE AT 105.

harvesting seeds
This is a somewhat labor intensive process. But once you’ve had it, you can never go back.

pom juice
MMM…Flavored with fresh pomegranate juice. I’ve been spoiled forever now.

pom kombucha
Once you have your kombucha, you’re ready for the next level. Which is ice cream! I just happened to have some already made in my freezer.

float
Can you think of a better way to spend your indian summer? Me either.

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Juice Fasting and Detoxification


May 3rd, 2010

A friend of mine sent me a message out of the blue recently. He said he was cleaning his house, and he came across this book that he thought I might like. ‘Sure, I’ll take it,’ I said. He sent me this.

Honestly, I haven’t really felt up to anything like this. I’ve had to work through a lot of crud the last few years, and this innately has felt like too much for me. But, it’s been coming up a lot lately. And the book is kind of absorbing to me. I’m also at a point right now where I really feel like I need to break through some barriers. Being back in my old context has caused a number of health issues to resurface that frankly kind of scare me. I really need to cut the slop out of my system if I’m going to move out of this space. I’m not sure if this is the answer for me. But it seems attractive at the moment. My boyfriend has been talking about getting a HUROM. Maybe the forces are aligning for me? Time will tell…

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Grass Roots Movement


April 20th, 2010

grass
Big news!! We finally finished editing the WHEATGRASS EPISODE for PRL TV! It was a lot of work putting it together. But I’m really happy with how it turned out. I can’t say enough nice things about wheatgrass. It’s magical.

freshSpeaking of grass, I’m going to see the movie ‘FRESH‘ tonight. I’ve already seen it, but I love it. Apparently, they’ve managed to get theatrical distribution now via a grass roots effort. I’m so happy for them. There are a lot of movies out there now which are detailing the demise of our food system, but this one is the most positive. It offers solutions for people who want to get involved and is more focused on what we can do as individuals to affect change. Very inspiring.

ana sofia joanes
Here is the director, Ana Sofia Joanes. She was in town the other day promoting the film with farmer/renegade, JOEL SALATIN.

joelJoel Salatin is my hero! He’s featured in the movie. He’s hilarious, down to earth, and really articulate. He runs an organic farm called POLYFACE FARMS. When his family purchased the farm, it was a junk farm. The soil was eroded, and it was not very productive. Now it is a model of viability and polycultural farming.

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omnivore's dilmeJoel was also featured prominently in Michael Pollan’s book, THE OMNIVORE’S DILEMMA. This book was amazing. It really changed the way I thought about food. It’s a wonderful overview of our food system and how it evolved to it’s present state. Very informative, entertaining, and easy to understand.

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cheesecake
In other news, I’ve started testing recipes for the tasting party I’m having next week to drum up catering business. This is the first cheesecake I’ve made with fermented cashew cheese. Came out pretty good…

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Raw


January 31st, 2010

rawLook what lovely package I got in the mail this week! I’ve been wanting this book for at least a couple years, but for whatever reason haven’t gotten it. Then, a couple weeks ago, one of my ex-boyfriends resurfaced. I had kind of lost track of him and haven’t seen him in 8-9 years. (Has it been that long? Geez. I’m getting old.)  Anyway, out of the blue, he decided that he was going to buy me THIS book for Christmas. How random is that?

Can I just tell you that I LOVE this book. It’s completely inspirational. It’s truly a work of art. I’ve learned a lot already just from looking at it. I can’t wait to try out some recipes ESP the chocolate cake rolls…

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Healing Crisis


December 13th, 2009

double shot
For the last six weeks or so, I’ve made a point of drinking wheatgrass regularly. Not every day. I aim for five days a week. ANN WIGMORE, my wheatgrass hero, recommends in her book to take days off. This gives the body a chance to rebuild and regenerate (kind of like working out) as wheatgrass is very powerfully detoxifying. For me, it’s almost too powerful as I’m recovering from a severe toxic exposure. The LAST TIME I did a focused wheatgrass regimen like this, some very interesting things happened. My health saga has been long and sordid. I have seen more doctors in the last few years than probably most people see in their lifetime. So far, I’ve managed to STUMP them all with my unusual issues. I’ve tested positive for a number of serious medical issues, but I don’t really fit neatly into any diagnostic categories. In the beginning, this was extremely frustrating for me. But I’ve come to realize that it’s really a blessing. Since there really are no answers for me, I am forced to find my own answers. Don’t get me wrong. I still go to the doctor. Frequently. I see allopathic and naturopathic practictioners. I listen to what everyone says.  Everyone holds a different piece of the puzzle. I soak it all in, and then I wait to feel what resonates for me. I’ve learned to trust my intuition.

heidi
One of my most helpful resources has been my friend, HEIDI. She is a nutritionist from the Seattle area and has made a NUMBER of APPEARANCES on my blog. There is only so much a doctor can tell you in a fifteen minute appointment. Heidi is a master of filling in the gaps and pointing me to the answers I’m looking for. If you are ever in need of a nutritional consultant, I would highly recommend her.

ear
This leads me to my latest medical development…CANDIDA. I was completely surprised to discover this. I went to see my doctor while I was in Minnesota last week about a respiratory infection. I mentioned in passing that I had a cut on my mouth and behind my ears that wouldn’t heal, and she knew what it was right away. Who knew?

detox and healingIronically, I had just been reading this book on the plane the day before which talked about different issues related to detox. I read all about candida being an issue and it never occurred to me that I was on to something. Talk about the wisdom of the subconscious!  This book is an interesting blend of allopathic and naturopathic perspectives written by a medical doctor who evolved beyond the boundaries of traditional medicine.  An interesting read.  It’s the first thing I’ve read by a traditional doctor that bridges the gap between toxic exposure and the types of issues I am dealing with.

pancakes
In the meantime, Heidi made some dietary recommendations for me to discourage the yeasties. Looks like I won’t be eating any of these for a while.

choc tort
Or these. Time to cut out the sugars and starches. I hope to make some good progress on this issue before school starts up again. Right now, I’m definitely experiencing a healing crisis. One of the rights of passage of candida recovery is the infamous ‘DIE-OFF‘ or Herxheimer reaction. Essentially, as the yeast dies off, it pollutes your body with toxic metabolic by-products which must be processed. It’s kind of like an extreme detox. I can definitely vouch for that. But this is good news. It means I am making progress. I’m climbing up a rung on the ladder to ultimate healing. At least, that’s how I like to look at it.

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Living Raw Food


October 2nd, 2009

living raw foodI finally got a copy of Sarma’s new book. I had seen a copy of it before (DEBBIE brought her copy when we when out to lunch) and put it on my wish list. But I finally convinced my boyfriend that he needed to get it for my birthday since Sarma and I have the same birthday. The book itself is beautiful. It’s very well organized, and the recipes look amazing. Apparently, there was some grumbling about all the pictures of the restaurant staff (some of them smoking) being superfluous. As a person who discovered raw food in pursuit of relief from health issues, I can relate a little. It comes off as a conflict of intention. But in reading the liner notes, I could see where she was coming from. She actually had some really amusing anecdotes about hard core raw foodists wanting to serve guests barefoot. She talks about being open and not judging people for how much they adhere to a raw food ideal – which seems like a healthy attitude. She also talks about how she herself hasn’t really had a huge health crisis to rise above. So I can understand her sentiment. As for the pictures of the staff, I loved that. It’s very clear that the book is a result of a community effort with many members of the staff contributing to it’s success. I think the fact that she makes a point of including them is great. I was not put off by it at all. In fact, it made me have fantasies about working there myself. It seems like a positive, supportive environment. She even mentions how members of her staff come and go. Some of them go work somewhere else and come back. Some go on tour with their bands. That sounds right up my alley. I am definitely going to check the place out when I got to New York in a few weeks (to play a show with my band).

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The Good News and The Bad News


September 13th, 2009

anomolies
Today I’m starting a new series…MEDICAL ANOMALIES. To anyone whose ever fallen through the cracks of the modern marvel we reluctantly refer to as a medical system, I feel ya!

obama
With debate over the future of healthcare spinning into overdrive, I can’t help but reflect on my own situation. It has without a doubt been among the most frustrating debacles I’ve had to deal with. Everyone agrees that there is a problem.  And on the surface, it seems like nobody agrees on the solution.  But honestly, I don’t know if that’s actually true.  I think that when you talk to most people, there IS some consensus.  It’s just when you turn on the TV…well that’s another story entirely.  Honestly, I try not to turn on the TV much at all these days.  I try as much as possible to form my own opinions based on my own experiences. This is a pic I took of President Obama yesterday at the Minneapolis Health Care Rally.  I was pretty proud of it.  Politics aside, I think it’s a really good picture.

Probably the most important lesson I am taking away from this experience with my health is that it’s not up to anyone else to fix what’s wrong with me.  Other people can offer guidance and support.  But that’s about all I can hope for.  In the end, it’s a personal journey. For those who are just catching up, here is a little insight into mine…

It all started about three years ago. I started developing a number of ‘seemingly unrelated’ symptoms after incurring a prolonged toxic exposure. It was the age old story of someone cutting corners to save a few bucks and creating a situation where someone else (that person being me) had to pay a dear price for it. But it’s complicated. So, I won’t get into that. The short story is that I breathed in a bunch of toxic gas. The gas contained chemicals which ate through the lining of my lungs and caused severe respiratory problems. I also developed GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS.

growing wheatgrass
The respiratory issues started to break up after a few months (though they still recur even now). The GI issues were much more elusive. But, I was able to get them under control after about fifteen months through a combination of an elimination diet and GROWING WHEATGRASS in my window. This is when I discovered raw food. It became my baseline diet.

hospital
Shortly after the GI issue began to stabilize, I was hospitalized. Essentially, I started vomiting blood one day and was having a lot of difficulty breathing. Among other things. I was in the HOSPITAL for about five days. During that time, doctors performed every test known to man while I watched documentaries about MEERKATS. In the end, nobody was able to come up with a satisfactory explanation of what happened. I had had a very severe bout of hepatitis, but it wasn’t clear what caused it. There were some different theories thrown around. The long and short of it was that there were a lot of test results that were abnormal (several of which I didn’t find out about until five months later), and none of the theories offered an explanation that encompassed them all. Whatever it was, it’s clear that it wasn’t caused by any of the ‘normal’ reasons that people get hepatitis.

weird eye
Since that time, I’ve had a range of unexplained symptoms and test results. Things like my eye swelling up for no reason, fatigue, chest pains, twitching, etc. Things that I’ve gone into more detail about in EARLIER POSTS.

wbcs
About five months ago, I was sent to yet another specialist to see if he might be able to cast some light on the situation. The waiting list was very long, but that appointment finally came due this week. Needless to say, I was a little nervous about what the doctor was going to say. He put me at ease, right away.

‘I know what you’re worried about. And you don’t have lupus…’ I breathed a sign of relief. ‘…At least not YET.’ Not exactly what I wanted to hear, but I appreciated his honesty. There was one really good sign. There is a screening test for lupus, the ANA, which I’ve tested positive for twice. Well, this time, I was NEGATIVE!

lupus recovery dietSeveral months ago, I read a book called the LUPUS RECOVERY DIET by Jill Harrington. She was diagnosed with lupus and recovered fully by switching to a raw vegan diet. She mentioned in the book that she was able to not only reverse her symptoms but also her ANA test. Interestingly, shortly after I got my first positive ANA, I encountered another person who was in remission from lupus. She told me the exact same story. I’m not sure if that’s what happened here, but it’s a very interesting coincidence at the very least.

mad scientistThere was some bad news. There are some abnormal tests that he said ‘they weren’t smart enough to figure out’. Some strange antibody problems. According to my blood tests, I should have arthritis and mono. I’ve been testing positive for mono for a long time. With most people you can see a spike in certain antibodies followed by a recovery. But mine are just stuck on. This doesn’t necessarily mean I have mono. And in fact, it means that I probably never had mono. Sometimes people with immune system issues make errors in their immune response and this causes them to react positively to lots of things they don’t have. At least, this is how it was explained to me. I was also missing some antibodies that everyone has. This may or may not become an issue. He wasn’t sure what to make of the arthritis test. Apparently, I had high levels of rheumatoid factor. Usually, this means arthritis. But it can also mean lupus, hepatitis, liver damage, or mono. Things which are all kind of suspect.

So, all in all, I think it was a good visit. The way I’m interpreting it is that things are getting better. I’m doing all the right things. They said that my immune system suffered a very big insult and it might just take a while for it to recover.  He also said he thought it was time to start thinking about changes that I could make with my work environment.  This I’ve heard before and have been stewing on for a while.

It’s starting to feel like the beginning of a new era.  For the last three years,  I’ve been very open to everyone’s advice. I’ve tried a little of everything without making any judgements. Just observations. But now, I have a pretty firm idea of what’s working for me. And what’s not. Now it’s time to cut out the flack and really get focused on what IS working.  I suspect there will be some big changes coming soon.  I’ll keep you posted…

ADDENDUM: About five minutes after I posted this, I found an ARTICLE ABOUT AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE that pretty much sums it up. It’s the first article like this I’ve seen in a mainstream media outlet.

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