Archive for April, 2011

St. Paul Art Crawl

April 25th, 2011

art crawlThis weekend, PRL will be participating in the ST PAUL ART CRAWL! This will be the first time they will be featuring UNCOOKING DEMOS.  We will be demoing a recipe for almond milk and vegan mint cacao nib ice cream.  Feel free to stop by, check out some art, and try some yummy samples.  I will also be playing violin with my newly formed group, The Rods and Cones, Sunday at 1PM in the main lobby.  I was going to sing and play guitar on Friday night also, but I had to bow out (due to my THROAT ULCER). Next time! Feel free to join us for some culture and food this weekend…


The Monster In My Closet

April 20th, 2011

Well, the time has come. I have got to get something off my chest. Something that I have been wrestling with for almost five years. In the beginning, it seemed like a straightforward enough problem. One that I could deal with and move on from efficiently. Once it was defined, anyway. So I stuffed it away in my closet figuring that once things were neatly sorted out, I would deal with it appropriately. No need to raise alarms now, I thought. I’m not even sure what it is.

Well, in that time, IT turned out to be much more than I bargained for. In just about every respect. The more I looked for answers, the more elusive they became. The monster in my closet grew and grew. The uncertainty just made it grow more. Meanwhile, I waited. Once I find the answers, I’ll be able to slay the dragon, I thought. But the answers never came. At least, not from where they were supposed to. And the monster only grew.

baby me and mom

Me and my mom (a few years back)

Well, now the monster has outgrown me. It’s clearly beyond my control at this point. It can no longer be contained in my closet. It’s time to let him out, warts and all. And let the pieces fall where they may. So, here it is…

Five years ago, I suffered a severe toxic exposure. I haven’t spoken very explicitly about it here because it was a very messy situation. But I am coming to realize now that not putting my truth out into the world is only hurting me. I need to connect with that truth now so that I can truly move through this situation (instead of carrying the baggage around). Essentially, I discovered that I had been living over an open sewer main for four years. I discovered this because I was getting sick and not knowing why. And my instinct (and a few calls to people more knowledgeable than I) led me to discover that the plumbing in my apartment was not as it should have been.

I went through a lot after this. Initially, I developed severe respiratory and digestive issues. For six weeks, I had the most horrible, fully body, dry, possessed by aliens and sounding like a dying animal cough. Then, I was finally sent to the right doctor who determined that I had in fact been exposed to toxic sewer gas and that the hydrogen sulfide in the gas had eaten through the lining of my lungs causing my respiratory issues (which incidentally never went away).

not sugar plums
Once I got the respiratory (most immediate threat) issues under control, we started to work on my digestive system. This was much more complicated. Initially, I went through several rounds of testing for every possible infection, parasite, allergy, etc. This took a while. Essentially, they do one round of tests and don’t figure anything out. Then, they send you home until it gets bad enough for you to come back. Since previous rounds of testing were generally unproductive, I think most people put off going back until they reach new levels of discomfort. Needless to say, it’s a less than pleasant process. After they exhaust all the tests, they send you in for a COLONOSCOPY. Where you actually get to see your insides on TV! The colonoscopy was actually not so bad. It was the endoscopy that was traumatic. I think they are generally supposed to put you under for this. But for whatever reason, they decided to feed the camera tube down my throat while I was awake. I was literally crying and fighting my gag reflex back while they were yelling at me to ‘BREATHE!’. This was to stop the dry heaving. Remind me to never do that again.

Anyway, they determined after this that I was most likely having an allergic reaction to something I was eating and that I should do an elimination diet to figure out what it was. All in all, it took me fifteen months to figure out that I had developed a sensitivity to chemicals in my food. This is what attracted me in the beginning to raw food. This is also what led me to realize just how ubiquitous chemicals in our food are and how vigilant one must be in this day and age to avoid them. Well, raw food was the most natural and unprocessed diet I could find. AND it was ideal for people that were trying to detoxify their systems which seemed right up my alley. My main obstacle at this point was that I didn’t know how to cook. At all. This was about the time when I started this blog.

Once I got the digestive issues somewhat stabilized, a new issue STARTED TO EMERGE. I had a foreshadowing event, I suppose. Some UNEXPLAINED TEST RESULTS. I had gotten strange calls from my doctors telling me not to be worried but that I had some test results that were raising concerns. Well, as anyone with any unexplained medical symptoms will tell you, this is precisely the kind of call you need to be worried about.

It wasn’t long after that I ended up in the HOSPITAL with severe hepatitis. This is a long story in and of itself. So, I will spare you the details. But essentially my liver sort of imploded. I had a number of infections and test results at the time. I had Hepatitis A and Mono. Plus, some strange ANTIBODY RESULTS. The mono infection lasted for a year and a half. Though I didn’t know this at the time. I was told during the infection that it might be a FALSE POSITIVE. That it was more likely an immune system disorder, and I didn’t have Mono. For a year and a half I suffered through my life trying to pretend everything was okay and not knowing why things definitely weren’t. As it turns out, I actually DID have mono for all that time. But I still probably have some sort of immune system disorder. They’re still figuring things out.

weird eye
Since that time, I’ve had a number of unexplained symptoms and test results. Like these involuntary movements, for example. My body just jerks for no reason. Sometimes violently. Whatever it is that I have is very unusual. Right now, I have a really bad ulcer in my throat from a recurring thrush infection (that friend that you don’t really have anything in common with but you can’t really get rid of). Thrush infections are really common in people with compromised immune systems. They are not sure if my compromised immune system is caused by an immune system disorder or my damaged liver or both. Whatever it is, it’s clear that it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

yoga girl
This brings me to my current conundrum. For five years, I’ve been waiting for an answer. The explanation that makes all of this make sense. A diagnosis. If I had this, I thought, I could connect with others who have the same thing. I could get answers! I could get help! But they haven’t come. Meanwhile, I’ve just been stuffing things in the closet to deal with later (when I finally get the answer!). But what I’m realizing now is that waiting for my answer is doing more harm than good. Maybe there ARE no answers. Maybe I will NEVER find them. Maybe that IS the answer. Whatever I have is some sort of environmental illness that is common among people with toxic exposures. In fact, this weekend out of desperation I started to look for studies of people exposed to sewer gas. Interestingly, I found a number of separate epidemiological studies conducted all over the world on sanitation workers and discovered that my symptoms are almost IDENTICAL to theirs!! It absolutely infuriates me that so many people all over the world suffer through illness for no good reason. And that other people make money from this. And this makes it impossible for them to see the suffering they are inflicting.

This was brought more into focus for me recently by current events in JAPAN. And the impact that is having on my family there. Seriously, HOW MANY PEOPLE HAVE TO GET SICK AND SUFFER LIKE THIS BEFORE SOMETHING CHANGES?!!


Kale Chip Season

April 15th, 2011

kale chips
It’s that time again. I had no idea that these little chips had such an impact. Well, OK. I had some idea. But still, I was kinda surprised by how many people asked after them when they went out of season. Well, the time has come. They are BACK! We are still waiting on the locally grown and amazing Minnesota kale (GARDENS OF EAGAN). For the first few weeks, we will be serving up some California kale. Since I was born in California, it’s kind of local (to me, anyway). 🙂

robert plant
On an unrelated note…did I mention that I met Robert Plant the other night? It was an incredible night. Robert Plant is amazing and inspirational. He operates on a level that most people never tap into. I said that to someone today, and they thought I meant arrogant. I mean metaphysical. Truly fascinating human being! (BACK STORY on how this came to be is in my last post).


Tour Goodies

April 11th, 2011

radio city roof
Look how glamorous my boyfriend’s life is. While I was visiting 105 DEGREES, he was jetsetting to NYC. This was his first time doing sound at RADIO CITY! This is a picture he took from the roof.

sound boardHe said the room sounded amazing! They really know what they’re doing there. I bet it sounded great. I know I’m kind of biased, but my boyfriend is so uber-talented. He can make any room sound great. He is the difference between a band sounding good and having a transcendent experience. I am so excited because on Tuesday night, I get to meet ROBERT PLANT! RP covered two songs written by the band that he traveled to Radio City with (LOW). My boyfriend recorded the original versions. So it should be an interesting night!!

live live
The nice thing about my boyfriend being a world traveler is that he brings me raw snacks from his travels. He brought me lots of samples from LIVE LIVE ORGANIC.

kale chips
I gobbled THESE DOWN in no time at all. They were waiting for me when I got home from Oklahoma. I tried to save some, but I wasn’t very successful.

I also got to try BRAD’S for the first time. It’s a really interesting concept. Like a cross between a flax cracker and a kale chip. Haven’t tried that before!

macaroonsI only got one of these, but maybe that’s a good thing. As I’m having a flare-up of this thrush infection that has been stalking me. I guess they’re really common in people with IMMUNE SYSTEM ISSUES. It’s kind of a drag. The only way to really get rid of it is to cut out the sugar completely which was traumatic the first time I had to do it. Though I’ve gotten better at it.

chocI haven’t cracked into this beauty yet. I suppose I should before my boyfriend gets to it. It’s a tough call…fight off the thrush or try gourmet chocolate from NYC? Hmm…Tough one. What would you do? I might have to live with the thrush for an extra day or two. 🙂
Here’s the roof in the daytime. Pretty cool view!

radio city
Here’s the view from the stage. Kinda makes you feel like a rockette. Almost.

The last trip he went on before this was to Austin for SXSW. These were AMAZING. And they are especially good with my SMOKED CASHEW MAC CHEESE. It’s like a match made in heaven. Too bad my boyfriend also brought back a nasty bug from Austin. It seemed like everyone who went down there, came back sick. That’s what you get for having too much fun, I guess.


Back at 105

April 6th, 2011

Yesterday, I made it back to 105 DEGREES for the first time since GRADUATION. They were having a tasting and a presentation by none other than MATTHEW KENNEY. I was so relieved to find this bottle of kefir in the shop. Kefir is my number one weapon against recurring CANDIDA flare-ups (which I’m currently staving off).

They had some champagne too (which I, sadly, can’t have). But my mom really liked it.

beet ravioli
This was the beet ravioli. The beet had a very interesting texture. I’m really curious how they accomplished that.

I’m not exactly sure what this was. The server said it was a cheddar cashew wrap. My mom said I should tell Matthew Kenney that it would have been excellent with a touch of wasabi. I would have except there were people filming his every move.

sesame gelato
This was the sesame gelato. I was expecting this to be sweet and not savory. I thought the mushroom was some sort of chocolate/graham cracker like garnish. It kind of reminded me of this one time in first grade when my mom (who every day for weeks beforehand put milk in my thermos) switched up the program and gave me lemonade. I was expecting milk. So when it was lemonade, I thought it was rotten. The same thing happened here. I might have liked it a lot better otherwise.

Afterwards, MK gave an excellent presentation on the benefits of raw food. I was really excited because my parents were there (and they are not really sure what to make of what I eat still). I was hoping that some of the message might sink in a little. I’m sad to report though that my mom went through the McDonald’s drive-thru afterwards and ate fries for dinner. Well, I tried anyway. I’ll keep working at it.

It was nice to see the restaurant so packed. I also saw my instructor, LADAN, Megan (who runs the Academy now), and KELLY LEE (the GM). It was great to check in with people again. I can’t believe it’s already been a year since graduation. Things have definitely not UNFOLDED how I would have guessed. Matthew Kenney said we were all warriors on the battlefield that is the food industry. All the real warriors get a little gimpy now and then, right? So, I guess you could say that I’m right on target. 🙂