Monday, May 23, 2011

random morning thought

This morning I have been running through random memories. The one I keep coming back to is the feelings of excitement, wonder, and happiness while living in Southern California with Paul.
I would wake up every morning to a bright blue sky, sunshine and palm trees outside my bedroom window. The air was filled with smell of night blooming jasmine and heavy from the salty ocean breezes. I could not wait for each new day to begin. I remember thinking "wow, look what we've done, where we are! Far from the doldrums of life that we were tangled up in in Kansas City. We did it, we started over,fresh, together!" Walking hand in hand on the beach to watch the sunset over the pacific was an almost nightly event. I never took those moments lightly or as a cliche. I cherished them then as I do the memories of them now.
Sometimes unimaginable sorrow has me in its' grips as I realize that those moments with Paul are gone forever except in my memories and in my heart. But, like this morning, I am grateful for them. I realize that he and I were two souls that were supposed to find each other and in so doing we made each other better, stronger people. I was never supposed to travel these roads without him, in fact it is because of him that I am able to continue my journey. It is difficult without him, so very difficult and weird, but I know I am never really without him. Now when I see the sun setting over the pacific it is from my apartment windows about 2 hours from the beach, by myself. They are still just as marvelous and magical to me. In one way they are better because Paul is a part of them now. We all need to appreciate and recognize love in our lives whether it be romantic, friendship, familial, whatever. It is precious and it makes us capable of just about anything.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Farmer's Markets ideas

A few ideas for your next trip to the farmer's market.

Walk around and check out all of the vendors before purchasing. This allows you to compare prices and ask questions about farming methods, new produce, etc.

Chard leaves makes excellent wraps. They are big and thick enough to contain whatever you pack them with. They are also packed with an array of vitamins, phytonutrients, chlorophyll and minerals. It is spring, put back the bread, tortillas and taco shells and give the chard leaves a try.

Snow peas and sugar snap peas make a great, crunchy, raw snack. They are loaded with B vitamins which we need to properly metabolize protein, carbohydrates and fats. They are also antioxidant rich providing protection against cell damage. Pass on the chips and snack on these beautifully nutritious powerhouses.

Fresh herbs like basil, thyme and mint can add enough flavor to a dish to eliminate the need to add salt. Mint leaves steeped in hot water make a refreshing tea.

Garlic & onions are very medicinal foods. Onions are nutrient rich in flavonnoid phytonutrients which act as anti-inflammatory agents and they contain chromium which is a mineral that is not easy to find and plays a vital role in balancing blood sugar.
Garlic is antiviral and antibacterial and when coupled with vitamin C it kills microbes. It also contains antioxidants. Garlic needs to be chopped to release the nutrients. After chopping let it sit for up to 10 minutes in order for its' important health promoting compounds to be released fully.
Fresh onions and garlic are great additions to most salads and homemade salsas and sauces.

Zucchini contains vitamin C a powerful antioxidant, manganese which is necessary for protein and carbohydrate metabolism, and a few phytochemicals that are also antioxidants.
Raw zucchini humus is super easy and fast to make. You can find recipes for it on youtube or in the "uncookbook" Rawvolution by Matt Amsden which will give you some awesome, creative ideas on ways to prepare some of the produce you will find at the farmer's markets.

Cucumbers are very hydrating and good for the skin. They are a cooling food and make great additions to salads or spring rolls as well as homemade juices. Toss a few cucumber slices into pitcher of water to add a summery flavor.

If your market carries meat, eggs and dairy that is a great opportunity to get these products from a local source. Of course you want to make certain that the farm is organic and the animals are raised in an organic, free range, humane way. A big plus if you live in a state that allows the sale of raw dairy.

Pure honey, preferably raw, is a great spring and summer buy at the markets. I like to get my honey from the local markets because, well, it is local and that is really the optimal choice when picking honey. Honey from different regions will likely taste different because honey gets its flavor from the particular flowers the bees used. Instead of mixing nutrient poor and damaging refined white sugar into things for sweetness you can replace that with enzyme rich raw honey. It is great drizzled over berries or added to your mint tea. But as always not for kids under 2 years old.

Asparagus, mushrooms, tomatoes, garlic and onion make great homemade pizza toppings and omelet fillings.

The farmer's markets give us the opportunity to eat locally and seasonally which is how we are meant to eat. When we eat this way we are not only getting optimal nutritional values from our foods and helping our local economies but we are adapting to our regions by eating what grows where we live which allows us to adapt to the weather changes and natural environmental surroundings. So explore your local market, get to know your food and marvel at the colors, textures and smells of the real stuff instead of packaging labels and boxes under harsh fluorescent lights in the stores. This is our chance to reconnect with our food, creativity and each other.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


I have had some pretty intense conversations/situations the past few days. I have learned a lot from them. The big messages I received were that everything happens for a reason even if it seems hopeless, overwhelming and dire. There is a lesson, a message, a change coming out of those tough times. You need the mud to get the lotus. Also, spiritually speaking God is in all things so God is a part of me, you, the rain, the sun, the birds singing, the people we are having problems with and with this understanding and belief comes the knowledge that we do not have to worry, try to control, or freak out over something because God is present. Now I can't say these are new concepts to me but I am seeing it all in action as an observer through some of my friends right now. I, honestly, know it personally as the main character through the situations in my life over the past few years and especially the last 10 months. Over the last few days I have been given the opportunity to use my experiences with traumatic events in my life to help others. That is one of the reasons I had to experience those situations, i.e. almost dying and dealing with crazy physical issues, my husband having crazy cancer and him passing. I have believed in their meaning in my life for a while now but in the past few days that got put to work. It felt good to acknowledge and understand these things and know that my suffering is a gift that allows me to ease the suffering in others even if it is temporary easement. So after a morning of emotional talking I left my place to run some errands and as I was driving up my street a raccoon walked out onto the sidewalk. I am an animal lover so seeing him/her immediately brought a smile to my heart. I pulled over in front of these peoples' house and started talking to it. It just stared at me with beautiful eyes and ran up a tree but came out on a big limb and stared at me some more. After about 15 minutes we broke our staring contest and he climbed down and ran into the neighboring backyard but he stopped once and looked back at me. I tell you this because I felt overwhelming peace and happiness in the presence of the raccoon. God was in that little furry masked face. I am pretty sure that my husband, my dad or my sister asked God to give me a sign that all is well and so I got the raccoon, who was missing his/her tail. The people living in that house probably thought I was a nut but so be it. People have thought worse of me.
We are always connected, part of the whole and like a great friend of mine believes if we move in the flow life unfolds perfectly. It might not always be a pretty package but without the mud the lotus is not possible. Keep your minds and hearts open and find your groove in the flow.