Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Listening to Coldplay's song Fix You really strums my heartstrings. Some of the words perfectly describe my husband, Paul, and I in so many ways especially from 2007 to 2010 and for me now. When I listen to it the first thing that comes to mind is how I tried with every fiber of my being to fix him and make him well. Our Naturopath saw it and during one visit after Paul had spoken with her for awhile she sat me down next to him and looked me in the eyes and said Keri you are not Paul's doctor. Have you ever thought about how it makes him feel that you are trying to cure him? He has doctors working on his behalf let us do our jobs and you do yours for awhile. You are his wife. She then turned to him and said tell her how it makes you feel knowing that she is doing all of this work for you. He looked down and slightly turned towards me and told me it made him feel bad that I was doing all this "homework" as we called it for him because it meant I was always thinking about the cancer and he knew that and he had it, he lived with it he did not want to think about it all of the time. Tears streamed down my face. I had no idea. I tried to do my cancer homework early in the morning when he was sleeping but he knew I was waking up 3 hours early everyday to do it. He then coined the term cancercation and our rule was when he told me it was time for cancercation that meant STOP for at least 1 week and f***ing forget about cancer. So, I did and when it was cancercation it was wonderful....all of it was wonderful but being able to forget cancer for a week felt so good. I still got up 3 hours early but I meditated or did Jin Shin Jyutsu in those hours for those weeks. Thank God for Dr. Diehn she changed our lives and she gave us confidence and some grounding. More than that she believed in Paul and I like nobody else could and I will never forget her for that. She was very compassionate towards us both. Of his two doctors she was the one who came to his memorial service. I am telling this story because if anyone out there is a "caregiver" a term I did not like for myself because he was my husband and I was his wife not his "caregiver" but anyway, if anyone out there is caring for a loved one and reads this I hope that they will glean a little insight from it. All we want to do is make our spouse, mother, father, child, brother, sister, etc. well and comfortable and we will do anything we have to do to accomplish this goal sometimes without thinking about how our loved one feels about it. We must advocate for our loved ones but we must also remember that they are still the people that we love not the disease they are dealing with. It is a very tough place to find yourself in and know how to handle. These are people we love and they are being threatened it is normal for us to react as if we are at war because we are but what we have to remember is that the enemy and the person we love are one. That is unbelievably hard to live with and it takes a lot of deep breathing and mindfulness to wrap your head around this fact. My husband was and is my greatest teacher. I am still learning from him 1 year after his passing (next week). I will always have his influence in my life from the silly to the serious stuff. It is because of him that I can honestly say I am happy where I am at with my life right now. One year ago I could not imagine saying that or feeling this way. Cancer died a year ago, Paul did not, he lives on in brilliant ways and so do I in his honor!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Vegan Caesar Salad

I rocked Ann Gentry's Vegan Caesar Salad with Blackened Tempeh today. Of course I made a few tweaks to the recipe to make it a bit more healthy. I am going to share my version with you. I have to say that I love Ann Gentry and her restaurant Real Food Daily in Santa Monica, Ca. and have had the good fortune to meet her briefly at a talk she gave. I support her recipes and her beliefs about food in general but I did have to make a few changes namely in the oils and use of aluminum foil from the recipe in the book. I have to make tweaks to pretty much all recipes, "healthy" or not so much in order for them to be up to my standard of being servable to someone with a chronic illness. That being said, here is an awesome recipe that is easy, fast and filling.

2 hearts of Romaine lettuce
torn, chopped or kitchen scissored (my option)

2 ounces of extra firm tofu
1/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (1 large lemon)
1/4 cup Vegan Mayonnaise (I like Veganaise grapeseed version)
3 cloves garlic (I used 4. I always add more garlic to recipes)
2 tsp. capers without the juice
2 tsp. white miso(I like Westbrae Natural brand)
1 1/2 tsp. nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp sea salt ( I ground in celtic sea salt to taste)
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 of an 8 inch sheet of Nori cut into shreds (I used 1 individual packet of spicy nori strips that are cut and individually packaged for snacking by Sound Sea Vegetables)
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Place all of these ingredients in a food processor on pulse until creamy and nori is diced into small bits. Transfer to a container, cover and refrigerate.

4 cups of a good quality, healthy sprouted grain bread (Ezekiel, Alvarado Street or Manna brands are great options) cut into squares
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried rosemary
1/4 tsp. dried dill
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
3 tbs. melted coconut oil

Preheat your oven to 375 and stir the bread cubes, herbs and spice in a bowl. Drizzle the coconut oil over this and toss to coat. Spread the bread cubes on a baking sheet lined with natural parchment paper and bake for about 20 minutes until golden brown. You might need to turn them.

Blackened Tempah
1/3 cup Coconut oil
1/3 cup brown rice syrup
1/4 cup tamari or shoyu
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. frshly ground black pepper
3/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
12 ounces of tempeh
2 tbs. brown rice flour
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

In a small pan or large dish that can be covered combine the coconut oil, tamari, brown rice syrup. 1 tsp. oregano, 1/2 tsp. thyme, 1/2 tsp. black pepper, 1/2 tsp, ground cumin, 1/4 tsp, cayenne pepper, garlic & onion powders. Whisk it all together. Add the tempeh and coat all sides. Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator over night. You might need to turn it a few times.
Preheat your oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with natural parchment paper. Combine the flour, 1 tsp. oregano, 1/2 tsp. thyme, 1/2 tsp. black pepper, 1/4 tsp. cumin and cayenne pepper.
Take the tempeh out of the marinade allowing it to drip away. Cut tempeh into small strips. Roll the strips in the flour mixture and place on the backing sheet. Bake them for about 25 minutes or until the coating has browned.

Combine the blackened tempeh, romaine lettuce, croutons and dressing...enjoy!

In her book Ann Gentry suggests making this into a simple wrap with tortillas. That would be yummy but don't choose white flour tortillas.
One thing I have heard her talk about is that it does not matter if you are preparing a meal for yourself or for others we should treat the meal for ourselves as well as we would treat the meal we prepare for others. I think this is an awesome point that will aid us all in enjoying and respecting our food and ourselves.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Getting Close

This past week and weekend I have experienced a whole range of emotions, some expected and some very unexpected. What or I should say who, has grounded me are the amazing people that are part of my life now. Some of them have been around since the day I was born, others for many years and others a matter of months yet the common thread they share for me is that they rekindle my spirit and I want and need them to be part of my everyday. The closer we get to the 1 year mark of Paul's passing the stronger my love gets for these friends and family members. My husband was my world and my best friend. When he passed I felt very alone and torn to pieces. That feeling is finally disappearing and it is because of the compassion and love I recognize that is being given to me. I know Paul is working some puppet strings to ensure that I am happy and that the people in my life are true. The relationships that have not really lasted served their purposes and for them I am thankful. It is a part of life that some people rotate in and out and that is ok. I feel supported and enlivened again. I can have fun now and be serious when I need to be. I feel stronger and even though the last few weeks have brought about a new anxiety about what it means to move forward for me, I feel like I can do it. I am doing it and I have been. Right now life seems open to all possibilities and I am waiting with open arms for them. I feel Paul's presence even stronger now because I am open to moving forward with my life as he wants me to do and as he would have done had roles been reversed. I miss him severely everyday but then I think of how brilliant our life was together and how that will/is influencing my life now and I have to smile, thank him and be happy. In a way I am ready to slow down and settle. I mean this in a very Zen way. I have been shaking things up for myself for a year now in order to deal with Paul's death. I think I finally am accepting it, I still hate that it happened and want him back more than anything in the world. I still cry myself to sleep most nights and that is ok because truth be told time does not make it better. It makes you realize that god dammit, it has been 1 year since the love of my life was taken away from me, how do I keep going. But I do keep going...it really is not a choice. It just is what it is...the circle of life. Thank god we traveled it together like we did for the time we had.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Back in the Flow

I am back! By this I mean I have overcome last week's grieving and pity party. I have a dear friend that is a widow and cancer survivor. She has been an amazing force in my life as she was in my husband's through cancer. Paul used to call her when he needed his attitude checked or to be given a reminder to get him back on a positive track. It worked every time. Dee does this same thing for me as well as offer support and insight from her experiences. I spoke with her a few days ago when I was not feeling like myself and was lost in my grief. She said, "Keri this doesn't sound like you" and she also said "yours is a great love story and it is about life, it continues." I have thought about that over the past few days and walking in the park today realized that she is right. I have to continue moving forward and this is a new year and it is beautiful. I have met great people and formed very meaningful friendships. I am open to many possibilities and opportunities. I live in a beautiful & energizing place. I see simple beauty all around me everyday. I was thinking to much last week. I just needed to get out of my own head and return to the flow. I know I am being taken care of and that I have nothing to worry about. I just need to be present and let life happen without thinking about it too much. I already knew these things but I slipped. I am back now though. It feels really good. I don't know what is going to happen tomorrow, next week or next month and that is ok because I know that this moment is a wonderful moment!