Monthly Archives: March 2014

Protected: Your Beliefs Don’t Make You a Better Person…Your Actions Do

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Happy (and ok, sleepless, too…) in Seattle

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I have just returned from my morning walk where the apple, cherry and magnolia blossoms left a delicate carpet along my path.  Springtime in Portland is indescribably beautiful.  However, this is not another post about Portland.  As I walked, I reflected upon the trip I took to Seattle a couple of days ago, and I smiled.  I had finished my school term (officially) on Thursday morning.  Anticipating the beginning of the next term, which starts today, my daughter, Sarah, her daughter, Ingrid, and my puppy, Beatrix and I, all piled into her new car and headed for the Emerald City.

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It rained hard both going there and coming back, but we had sporadic spots of sunshine that made it all worth it.  (Besides, it takes more than a little rain to slow me down!)   My daughter is a college professor.  Between her job and mine, and my being in grad school, we have little or no time for recreation together (or apart), so this trip meant the world to me.  To be able to share it with my dear friend, Sheryl, and another of my granddaughters, Maya, will cause this trip to go down in my personal history as a most memorable occasion.

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We stayed with my friends, Sheryl and Dylan and their two gigantic boxers, Ella and Abel. Our first stop was at their big metal shop where they create the most incredible artisan furniture and artwork!  Sheryl specializes in patinas and Dylan bends steel and welds it.  The work they do is absolutely beautiful!  The above photo is of Ingrid greeting Abel as Dylan looks on.  It was love at first sight.

Our next stop was to pick up Maya. Oh, how I love that girl!  I was so happy to see her!  This is a picture of Ingrid with Maya’s dog, Louise.

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We went to dinner at The Hi Life in Ballard.  It is a nice restaurant that is situated in what used to be a fire station.  The makeover respected the integrity of the original architecture and really turned out nicely.

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The food was delicious and the strawberry jalapeno margaritas were even better!  My only complaint was that the noise levels were a little high.  Other than that, I really enjoyed it, and I think everyone else did, too.

This trip, we did a lot of the more tourist-y things for the benefit of Ingrid, but we also spent some quality time with Sheryl who was a superior hostess. She is always such a kind and generous friend.  All of us are crazy about her.  For instance, she got up early the next morning and made us an amazing breakfast. It was fantastic!

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This is Ingrid and Maya, having an early morning chat. Maya, at age 17, towers over us at almost 6′ tall!

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We went out and about to a number of different places in Seattle, including a trip to the piers where we rode the old carousel in the noisy indoor arcade that had a creaky wooden floor.  This was the fastest carousel I’d ever seen.  I think it freaked Ingrid out a little bit.  I was happy for the rain because this place is usually so jam-packed with people that it can be a real drag.  This was actually pleasant.

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I had taken Maya to the top of the space needle when she was 4, so I was determined to take Ingrid as well.  She was a good sport, even though she was a little bit worried about the height.  This picture was taken on the outer deck where she insisted upon looking for the “day moon”.

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We rode the mammoth Ferris wheel that went out over the ocean.

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Ingrid was a brave 4 year old!

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Her teenaged cousin, Maya, was very patient as Ingrid asked question after question after question.  I love it that Ingrid is so inquisitive, and I love it that she can talk so freely to her older cousin.  They were comfortable together.  That made my heart soar.

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I’m not sure I was as brave as my granddaughters….but I truly did enjoy myself.

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At night, the Ferris wheel helps transform Seattle into a magical wonderland!     Ok…that might be a stretch, but it is very pretty….majestic.

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The view was spectacular from every direction!

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 The best part of the trip was our all simply hanging out together.   My heart is still happy from the experience.  It was so much fun.

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I went with Maya to a talent show at her high school.  There were belly dancers and singers and poets.  All very talented young people.

Seattle is a beautiful and exciting city with a lot of fun things to do.  It has a “faster” vibe than Portland, and is decidedly more cosmopolitan.  I love it there!

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Of course, the pirates and Trekies were out in full force!  What else would one expect?!

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My heartfelt thanks to my darling friend, Sheryl, without whom this trip would not have been possible.   Friends like Sheryl are rare.  I am so grateful to her for everything she is and for everything that she does for my family .  Much love to you, Sheryl, from all of us.  Thank you for the perfect 2-day vacation!  xoxo

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When the Abuser is a Woman

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I am an advocate for women. That is what makes writing this post so difficult.   I have done volunteer work at a rape crisis center, have volunteered in a battered women’s shelter, have assisted women in crisis.  I am sympathetic to the plights of women as minorities, and empathize with the inequities that exist between the sexes. Does this mean I’m a “man hater”?   Um…no.  I have a wonderful husband, a new grandson and many outstanding male friends,  a couple of whom  mean a whole lot to me in terms of how they enrich my life.  I am close to my father, and I adored all of my now-deceased uncles, and the one uncle who is still living.   My sons-in-law are great….so I am very fortunate to have all of these great men in my life.  However, my women friends are not just my women friends.  They are my sisters.  I feel a strong connection to other women and relate strongly to their thoughts, feelings and situations.  This is what makes it so difficult when I learn that a woman has been abusive toward a man.  I feel that she sets other women back by decades.                                    

Are we not above this?

 

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My friend has been on the receiving end of some serious domestic violence lately.  It is not the first time that it has happened, and I am conflicted about how to help him.  He does not want trouble.  Like any victim, he feels shame at the thought of anyone turning his abuser over to the police.  To make things worse, his  abuser is a petite flower (i.e.”stink weed”) much smaller than he, and loves to pretend that *she* is the victim.   She strikes and then feigns injury herself and has been known to call the authorities in situations where SHE was the batterer….She is mentally ill, a very dangerous type.  This violent dervish is no victim.  She hits him.  She breaks his personal property.  She screams at him.  She spies on him.  She belittles him.  It doesn’t take a genius to note the patterns that have formed through the years, nor  to ascertain that she is the liar in this scenario.  In this particular case, the abuser is also an excellent actress.   Therefore, many people outside of their home only know her as  a “really great lady.” Little do they suspect how cruel and spiteful she truly is. Then again, there are those of us who know what she is and how her seedy little mind operates.

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 Her actions not only hurt the man she is abusing.  They hurt all women, just as male-against-female domestic violence hurts all men.   I am a woman, so this issue effects me….and all women.  I hate it when men abuse women.  I also hate it when women abuse men.   I am writing this today, to speak out against domestic abuse that occurs between men and women, but in this case,I am speaking out  against  women who abuse men.    Domestic violence is wrong.

Are you with someone that  purposefully chooses to destroy only the objects she knows will hurt you emotionally – using these demolition derbies  as a demonstration of her desired power and control?   In actual fact, they are a demonstration of her emotional immaturity and selfishness.

This is the case in the abusive situation that my friend is in.  Do not be silent if you see this happening among people that you know and love.  Abusers fear exposure.  Expose them!  This is what I am going to do.  If I EVER hear of this woman abusing my friend again, I will call the police and have her thrown in jail.  I will not hesitate, even if it costs my relationship with my friend.  This is going to stop, and it is going to stop NOW.

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According to recent studies, approximately two in every five cases of domestic violence are caused by women who abuse men.  This contradicts the notion that it is always the women who are left bruised and battered.  Men that are assaulted by their domestic partners are often not taken seriously by the police, witness their attackers walking away free and have fewer refuges to where they can flee.  Data that was gathered  from Home Office statistical bulletins in England, as well as submitted by the British Crime Survey,  support the fact that men made up about 40% of domestic violence victims each year between 2004-05 and 2008-09.  2009 was the last year for which figures are currently available. In 2006-07 men made up 43.4% of all those who had suffered partner abuse in the previous year, which rose to 45.5% in 2007-08 but fell to 37.7% in 2008-09.  Similar or slightly larger numbers of men were subjected to severe force in an incident with their partner, according to the same documents. The figure stood at 48.6% in 2006-07, 48.3% the next year and 37.5% in 2008-09, Home Office statistics show.  musician

Men have a completely different set of problems with which to cope.  Because women can often be perceived as “less than” men within a given society, and are, at times,  not valued as highly as men, no one is surprised when one is battered.  This is terrible, but the data exists to support this unfortunate claim.  However, the societal pressures when a man is physically/emotionally abused by a woman are completely different.   Just as a woman feels shame and embarrassment when she is abused, men feel it, too, but for different reasons.

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This, from help guide.org:

An abusive wife or partner may hit, kick, bite, punch, spit, push, throw things, or destroy your possessions. To make up for any difference in strength, she may attack you while you’re asleep or otherwise catch you by surprise. She may also use a weapon, such as a gun or knife, or strike you with an object, abuse or threaten your children, or harm your pets. Of course, domestic abuse is not limited to violence.

Your spouse or partner may also: 

Verbally abuse you, belittle you, or humiliate you in front of friends, colleagues, or family, or on social media sites.

  • Be possessive, act jealous, or harass you with accusations of being unfaithful.
  • Take away your car keys or medications, try to control where you go and who you see.
  • Try to control how you spend money or deliberately default on joint financial obligations.
  • Make false allegations about you to your friends, employer, or the police, or find other ways to manipulate and isolate you.
  • Threaten to leave you and prevent you from seeing your kids (or pets) if you report the abuse.

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If you have been abused and need immediate assistance, call 911 or your local emergency service.

Abused men can also reach out to the following organizations for help:

  • U.S. and Canada: 1-888-7HELPLINE (1-888-743-5754)

 

Abusers use domestic violence to gain and maintain complete control over their victims. It is not uncommon for an abuser to use guilt, fear, shame or intimidation to wear down their victims and to keep them under their control.  Abusers  may also threaten to take away their victims’ children or pets.

 

dv6Verbal abuse can be severely damaging as well.  Often men believe, that if they are not being physically abused by their partners,  they are not being abused.  This is wrong.  If either men or women are in a relationship which is draining something from them… that person may not recognize that his or her self-esteem is eroding his or her  happiness through verbal, mental, emotional and other forms of abuse.

In addition to physically harming him, my friend’s partner also verbally abuses him.  I want to help him by exposing her.

The following is a list of ways to tell if someone is being abused without being physically touched:

  • Withholding:  Does the abuser stop speaking when he or she is displeased?  Does he or she ignore you?  does he or she withdraw affection in order to punish?
  • Countering:  Are you told continually that you are wrong if you don’t agree with?  Does he or she argue against your every thought?  Tell you your feelings are wrong?  Tell you that you don’t know what you’re talking about?  Are you forbidden from having your own opinions? friends? life?
  • Ridicule [Verbal Abuse Disguised as Jokes]:  Are you being made fun of?  Are you being ridiculed about subjects that you are particularly sensitive about?  Does your partner seem to enjoy it?    Does he or she use sarcasm to put you down?
  • Blocking and Diverting:  Is  the subject abruptly when you try to bring something up?  Does he or she divert serious discussions by accusing you of virtually everything under the sun?
  • Accusing and Blaming:  Are you blamed for everything that goes wrong?    Does he or she accuse you of hurting him or her when you tell him or her your feelings?  Are you continually accused of having affairs?  Is your partner jealous?
  • Trivializing:  Is what you say belittled?  Are your feelings or accomplishments dismissed?  Are you frequently insulted when you express pride in your own abilities?  Are you treated as if your work is no big deal?
  • Under-mining:  Is your enthusiasm destroyed with insensitive comments such as, “You wouldn’t understand”, or “You’ll never make it”?  Are your ideas sabotaged by his or her pointing out all the ways in which they might fail?   Are you interrupted when you need time alone?
  • Threatening:   Are you overtly or covertly threatened with emotional pain?
  • Name-calling:  Are vulgarities used to insult you?  Are you called cruel names?
  • Ordering:  Are you ordered to do something instead of being asked?
  • Judging and Criticizing:  Is fault found with everything that you do?  Are you told that you “ought to” or “should” do things a certain way?
  • Denial:  Do you witness denial by your abuser that certain things happened?  Are you told that the abuser didn’t say something or that you never saw something occur?
  • Abusive Anger:  Does your abuser erupt into a rage when angry?  Is there screaming, yelling, or shouting?  Are obscenities hurled in your direction?  Does your abusers body language become more aggressive?  Does she stomp, strut, hit things, or hit you?  Become red in the face?  Throw things?Does she physically get in your way, or follow you from room to room?  Snap at you?  Is she usually irritable?  Does all of this usually take place in private, when you are alone?  [ It’s a sure sign things are escalating if she attacks you in public. ]
  • Refusal to Accept Responsibility:  Are you blamed for his or her anger?

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If you know someone that is being abused…man or woman….encourage that person to leave.  Encourage them to prosecute.  You will be helping ALL survivors of domestic violence when you do.  Being passive is not the answer.

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The Beatrix Report

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Day #2 in her new home, and our sweet little honey bee has adjusted beautifully!    Beatrix  is a live wire and definitely on top of her game!  I am already head over heels in love with her….and owe a bucket of love to the person that talked me into getting her.  I took B. to Ingrid’s preschool this afternoon and all the children got to meet her. She was shy for the first 30 seconds, then lavished everyone with puppy kisses galore!  She loved it there, and was so GOOD!

She is a great little dog.  The children loved her and it was so much fun to witness their enthusiasm!

Beatrix goes to schoolRene Best musician       Rene Best guitarist       René Best musician

bschool2Rene Best musician        Rene Best guitarist

bea sleepingOf course, by the end of the day, she was completely exhausted.  She is lying in her bed in front of the fireplace as I write this.  Look!  She has a little smile on her face.  This has been a great day!

 

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I am grateful today.  So grateful.  We are all smiles around here these days.

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Chew on THESE Combos…

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This is something I borrowed from M.H. about powerful combinations of foods and their effects:

Epidemiologist David R. Jacobs, Ph.D., of the University of Minnesota calls it food synergy, and he, along with many other nutritionists, believes it might explain why Italians drizzle cold-pressed olive oil over tomatoes and why the Japanese pair raw fish with soybeans. “The complexity of food combinations is fascinating because it’s tested in a way we can’t test drugs: by evolution,” says Jacobs. And, he adds, “it’s tested in the most complex of systems: life.”

What’s more fascinating, however, is that the evolution between eater and eaten might answer the long-held question about why humans live longer, healthier lives on traditional diets. As researchers work to unravel the complexities of the interactions of the foods we eat, try these combinations, the most powerful food synergies currently known to science.

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Tomatoes & Avocadoes

Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, a pigment-rich antioxidant known as a carotenoid, which reduces cancer risk and cardiovascular disease. Fats make carotenoids more bioavailable, a fact that makes a strong case for adding tomatoes to your guacamole.

“This also has a Mediterranean cultural tie-in,” says registered dietitian Susan Bowerman of California Polytechnic State University. “The lycopene in tomato products such as pasta sauce is better absorbed when some fat (e.g., olive oil) is present than if the sauce were made fat free.” This may also explain why we love olive oil drizzled over fresh tomatoes.

And when it comes to salads, don’t choose low-fat dressings. A recent Ohio State University study showed that salads eaten with full-fat dressings help with the absorption of another carotenoid called lutein, which is found in green leafy vegetables and has been shown to benefit vision. If you don’t like heavy salad dressing, sprinkle walnuts, pistachios, or grated cheese over your greens.

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Oatmeal & Orange Juice

A study from the Antioxidants Research Lab at the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows that drinking vitamin C-rich orange juice while eating a bowl of real oatmeal (read: not processed) cleans your arteries and prevents heart attacks with two times as much efficacy than if you were to ingest either breakfast staple alone. The reason? The organic compounds in both foods, called phenols, stabilize your LDL cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein, or so-called “bad” cholesterol) when consumed together.

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Broccoli & Tomatoes

New research shows that this combo prevents prostate cancer, but no one is sure why.

In a recent Cancer Research study, John W. Erdman Jr., Ph.D., of the University of Illinois, proved that the combination shrunk prostate-cancer tumors in rats and that nothing but the extreme measure of castration could actually be a more effective alternative treatment. (What more motivation do you need to embrace this one-two punch?)

“We know that tomato powder lowers the growth of tumors,” says Erdman. “We know that broccoli does too. And we know they’re better together. But it’s going to take years to find out why.”

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Blueberries & Grapes

“Eating a variety of fruit together provides more health benefits than eating one fruit alone,” says Bowerman. “Studies have shown that the antioxidant effects of consuming a combination of fruits are more than additive but synergistic.”

In fact, a study published in the Journal of Nutrition by Rui Hai Liu, Ph.D., from Cornell University’s department of food science, looked at the antioxidant capacity of various fruits individually (apples, oranges, blueberries, grapes) versus the same amount of a mixture of fruits, and found that the mix had a greater antioxidant response. According to the study, this effect explains why “no single antioxidant can replace the combination of natural phytochemicals in fruits and vegetables.”

The author also recommends eating five to 10 servings of a variety of fruits and vegetables daily to reduce disease risks, as opposed to relying on expensive dietary supplements for these compounds. “There are a huge number of compounds yet to be identified,” adds Jacobs.

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Apples & Chocolate

Apples, particularly Red Delicious, are known to be high in an anti-inflammatory flavonoid called quercetin, especially in their skins. (Note: It’s important to buy organic because pesticides concentrate in the skins of conventionally grown apples.) By itself, quercetin has been shown to reduce the risk of allergies, heart attack, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and prostate and lung cancers.

Chocolate, grapes, red wine, and tea, on the other hand, contain the flavonoid catechin, an antioxidant that reduces the risks for atherosclerosis and cancer. Together, according to a study done by Barry Halliwell, Ph.D., a leading food science professor at the National University of Singapore, catechins and quercetin loosen clumpy blood platelets, improving cardiovascular health and providing anticoagulant activity. Quercetin is also found in buckwheat, onions, and raspberries.

Susan Kraus, a clinical dietitian at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey, recommends the following combinations: sangria with cut-up apples; green tea with buckwheat pancakes and raspberries; and kasha (roasted buckwheat, made in a pilaf) cooked with onions.

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Lemon & Kale

“Vitamin C helps make plant-based iron more absorbable,” says nutritionist Stacy Kennedy of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. It actually converts much of the plant-based iron into a form that’s similar to what’s found in fish and red meats. (Iron carries oxygen to red blood cells, staving off muscle fatigue.)

Kennedy suggests getting your vitamin C from citrus fruits, leafy green vegetables, strawberries, tomatoes, bell peppers, and broccoli, and getting plant-based iron from leeks, beet greens, kale, spinach, mustard greens, Swiss chard, and fortified cereals.

So whether you’re sautéing dark greens or making a salad, be sure to include a squeeze of citrus. You’ll increase your immunity and muscle strength with more punch than by eating these foods separately.

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Peanuts & Whole Wheat

According to Diane Birt, P.D., a professor at Iowa State University and a food synergy expert, the specific amino acids absent in wheat are actually present in peanuts. You need, and very rarely receive in one meal, the complete chain of amino acids (the best form of protein) to build and maintain muscle, especially as you get older. In short, while this combo exhibits only what Birt calls a “loose definition” of food synergy, it gives good evidence that a peanut-butter sandwich isn’t junk food if it’s prepared with whole-wheat bread (not white) and eaten in moderation (once a day).

So enjoy a peanut-butter sandwich right after a workout instead of drinking a terrible gym-rat shake. Just make sure the peanut butter doesn’t have added sugar, chemical ingredients you can’t pronounce, or cartoon characters on the label.

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Turmeric & Black Pepper

A tangy yellow South Asian spice used in curry dishes, turmeric has long been studied for its anticancer properties, anti-inflammatory effects, and tumor-fighting activities known in nutrition-speak as anti-angiogenesis. The active agent in the spice is a plant chemical, or polyphenol, called curcumin.

One of the problems with using turmeric to improve your health, according to Kennedy, is its low bioavailability when eaten on its own. But there’s a solution, and it’s probably in your pantry.

“Adding black pepper to turmeric or turmeric-spiced food enhances curcumin’s bioavailability by 1,000 times, due to black pepper’s hot property called piperine,” says Kennedy. “This is one reason it’s thought that curry has both turmeric (curcumin) and black pepper combined.” Translation: You’ll get the benefits of turmeric if you pepper up your curries.

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Eggs & Cantaloupe

The most popular (and an awfully complete form of) breakfast protein works even better for you when you eat it with the good carbohydrates in your morning cantaloupe.

According to Kennedy, a very basic food synergy is the concept of eating protein with foods that contain beneficial carbohydrates, which we need for energy. Protein, Kennedy reminds us, slows the absorption of glucose, or sugar, from carbohydrates.

“This synergy helps by minimizing insulin and blood-sugar spikes, which are followed by a crash, zapping energy. High insulin levels are connected with inflammation, diabetes, cancer, and other diseases. By slowing the absorption of glucose, your body can better read the cues that you are full. This helps prevent everything from overeating to indigestion.”

So cut as many bad carbs (i.e., anything white, starchy, and sugary) as you want. But when you eat healthful carbs (whole grains, fruit, vegetables), don’t eat them on their own.

 

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Almonds & Yogurt

We already know that good fats help increase lycopene absorption. But did you know that many essential vitamins are activated and absorbed best when eaten with fat?

Vitamins that are considered fat-soluble include A, D, and E. Carrots, broccoli, and peas are all loaded with vitamin A and should be paired with a healthy fat such as the kind found in olive oil. Vitamin D—rich products include fish, milk, yogurt, and orange juice.

So toss some almonds into your yogurt, eat full-fat dairy foods, and pair your morning OJ with a slice of bacon. To get the most vitamin E with fat-soluble foods, try baked sweet-potato slices or spinach salad topped with olive oil.

Hack hack. Cough cough.

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My blog was hacked last night.  I opened it to find a lovely array of crap that I would never have put on my blog in a million years.  All seems to be well now, I think.  I have just spent the last hour trying to figure it out.  NOW, I am going to go outside and enjoy this beautiful Portland day.  I finished my 41-page paper and I feel like I’ve just been released from prison.  Of course, tomorrow, I have a test, and I have one more major project in the week to come….THEN, the term will be over, and I’ll have a bit of a break.  Can I get an amen?!

 

Here’s something fun for my hacker to watch.  Maybe learn a thing or two…

Welcome to My blog!

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stacy and puppy     Stacy Alexander

October 6, 2013

Ahhhh, breakfast!

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A lot of people like to skip breakfast, or to grab a doughnut or something sweet and quick.  I try to set aside time to enjoy a healthful breakfast, as I find that it helps set the pace for the rest of the day.  When I eat breakfast, I like to maximize my nutrition so that I can accomplish more.  I think of it in terms of fuel…sort of like gasoline for the car.

I have only recently introduced eggs and dairy back into my diet in small quantities.  I went for years without eating those things, and I seldom do now…with the exception of breakfast.  I enjoy one hard-poached egg for breakfast a few times a week now.  When I get breakfast at Lauretta Jean’s, a great place down the street from where we live, I have a poached egg on a biscuit with shaved brussels sprouts on top.  I made my homemade version of that yesterday.  Biscuits have white flour in them, so I rarely eat them…but Lauretta Jean’s tests the self-restraint.

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Another favorite breakfast is a hard poached egg on a bed of greens.  This morning’s was a mix of turnip, collard and mustard greens gently tossed in a little rice vinegar and Aardvark hot sauce.  I also like lots of black pepper on my eggs.   I had two pieces of Morningstar Farms veggie bacon on the side.  All this, under 200 calories!

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Top that off with a cup of black dark French roast, and I’m good to go!

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Mmmmmmm!!   Coffee.

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A Case for Photorealism

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I have never been a big fan of photorealism. If I want to see real life, I will look at real life.  Mind you, *I* can’t paint realistically…but I don’t want to.  While I strongly appreciate the skill that it takes to paint realistically,  I  look at art to find the greater meaning…the humor…the sadness…the message…and I have always found photorealism to be off-putting, unless it was on some huge scale that made a statement by virtue of its size, or something like that.  It is rendered using specific techniques sort of like mechanical drafting that I find dry and boring, in many cases, but not always.  The art of Cesar Santander is one of the exceptions.  His work amazes me.  It is bold and vibrant and has a “greater than life” quality.  I love all of the tiny details…the sugar falling off of the doughnuts…the scratches on the old tin box, the reflection of the light on the crayons, et al.

Enjoy the work of Cesar Santander, and visit his website at:  http://www.cesarsantander.com/ 

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Remedies for an Upset Tummy

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Home Remedies to Fix that Upset Tummy:

When it comes to minor ailments,  I go for natural remedies over pharmaceuticals.  This is typical for someone living in Portland.  A lot of people here lean toward the natural remedies first.   However,   I always consult with my doctor if it is anything meds-worthy.   I am not a physician and do not recommend the following home remedies as medical “cures” for anything.  They are simply things I have tried for an upset stomach that have worked for me.  Try at your own risk., please, or better yet, consult a physician before trying any of them.


Carrot and Mint “Juice”

This concoction may be the ticket.  The carrot provides nourishment and peppermint soothes an upset stomach. To make it, boil four sliced carrots, four cups of water, and one teaspoon of dried peppermint or one peppermint teabag. Turn the heat to medium-low and cook about 15 minutes or until carrots are malleable.  If a teabag is used, remove it before blending the mixture until smooth.  Enjoy! You can also add a pinch of ground ginger to further soothe, or a squeeze of lemon juice for flavor.  Chill well before serving.

Rice Tea

Pok-Pok, an excellent Thai restaurant near our home, serves rice tea when people request water.  They also serve drinking vinegars that are great for an upset stomach.  To settle the tum-tum  or stop diarrhea, make a rice “tea.” Boil 1/2 cup of rice in six cups of water for about 15 minutes. Strain out the rice, then flavor the water with a dash of honey or sugar and drink warm.

Burnt Toast ….Yes, really.

Toast is good for an upset stomach, right? …but burnt toast is even better!   The  char absorbs toxins that are making you feel crummy.   Add a smear of jelly if you’d like.

Apple Cider Vinegar

This is an oldie, but goodie, that my grandmother and mother always used.  A mixture of one tablespoon apple cider vinegar, one cup warm water, and one tablespoon honey will ease indigestion and may alleviate cramping and gas in your upset stomach. It can also lessen discomfort caused by heartburn.

The CRAP Diet …uh, huh.  I said, “CRAP”!  🙂

If you’re feeling constipated, try the CRAP diet: It stands for “cherries, raisins, apricots, and prunes.” These are all fiber-friendly foods that should get the ‘ol system moving and ease that upset stomach.

Yogurt

You probably don’t crave anything dairy when you have a stomach ache.  However, the probiotic qualities of yogurtmake it a good remedy, as it eases digestive discomfort and boosts the  immune system. Be  make sure to choose non-fat plain yogurt without the  sugar or flavors that some yogurt companies add.

Caraway Seeds

Caraway seeds contain a lot of  vitamins and minerals, all of  which inhibit the growth of the types of  bacteria that cause  gas, indigestion or bloating.   Chomp down a handful of these delicious seeds after eating, or when you feel gassy.   Miraculous!

Fennel

I’m a fresh fennel freak anyway, but especially when I have an upset stomach.  Whether it’s indigestion or gas and bloating, fennel to the rescue!  Sip fennel tea, chew on some fennel seeds or crunch on some fresh, raw fennel.   Fennel supports digestion, reduces gas, helps with cramping, and lessens nausea from an upset stomach.

How Strong is Your Intuition? (or Trust Your Inner Banana.)

Standard

 

The lesson lies in learning
And by teaching  I’ll be taught
For there’s nothing hidden anywhere
It’s all there to be sought 

 

 

stacy and puppy

Part of becoming stronger spiritually involves learning to trust your gut.

When all the signs are there, what you suspect is going on, probably is.    musician

 Never second guess what your intuition tells you.  Quiet yourself.   Look deeply  within the inner recesses of your heart and know.  Trust yourself.  While intuition may seem to arise from some mysterious inner source, it’s actually one form of human unconscious reasoning—one that is well-rooted in the way our brains collect and store information. 

As humans begin to accumulate knowledge, whether it is about the person with whom we live,  or about how to accomplish a task or how to impress someone to hire us for a job, we begin to recognize patterns.   This is true for virtually everything that we do.  The brain unconsciously organizes these patterns into individual blocks of information.  This is a process that Herbert Simon, PhD, a famous social scientist, refers to as  “chunking”.   Over time the  brain chunks and links  to more and more patterns, then stores them as clusters of information  in one’s long-term memory.   This can be tested when we detect a tiny detail of a familiar design.  We instantly recognize the larger composition—and that’s what we regard as a flash of intuition.   Trust that intuition, regardless of what you are being told.  Our brain circuitry evolved in this way so that we, as humans, can evaluate a situation quickly.  It is our “fight or flight” instinct.

phone talk

 Let your instincts guide you, for example, when you are trying to decide if you are being lied to.   Despite what self-help books  and television psychics may tell you, “There are no easily detectable signs that indicate lying, so even if you’re adept at reading people, you can’t infer dishonesty based on the other person’s gestures or behavior,” says David Myers, PhD, author of Intuition: Its Powers and Perils.  Sometimes, you just have to put all the pieces together and trust your gut.   

 Often liars use tactics that are designed to cause people to lose their intuitive senses.  For instance, I have a friend whose partner is having an affair, and who lies to her continually.  She knows, in her gut, that it is happening, but he adamantly denies it, causing her to feel crazy, telling her that she “has issues”.   Upon occasion, she may angrily confront him, but when she does, he will raise his voice, get right into her face and intimidate her to the point that she loses her intuitive knowledge and begins to doubt herself.

lying

My friend’s  clever partner   disparages his secret lover to my friend.  He tells her  that he is being pursued by this “crazy woman”who is madly in love with him…. then turns around and  apologetically conveys this message to the secret lover with the explanation that his partner is  “crazy” and “dangerous” and that he just HAS to tell her SOMETHING.   He works both sides at once, and by virtue of his manipulation, maintains the affection of both parties.  The lover is always told that he is on the verge of leaving the partner.    The partner is being cajoled into believing that he plans to stay with her forever.  Truth is, this guy is a skirt chaser that is always on the prowl for the “better deal” and chances are, he’ll end up leaving them both in the dust eventually.

In her heart (and gut) the partner knows he is lying to her, but he will not even allow  her to get the words out of her mouth before he starts to yell at her angrily.    She has even insisted that he engage in a 3-way conference call with the lover, herself and her partner or make some kind of public denouncement, but he always comes up with an excuse not to do it, or will make a half-assed effort after warning the lover first that it is about to happen.  Why is that?  She wants him to send his lover a text to say that he doesn’t want to hear from her again, but, of course, he calls her first to warn her.  She wants him to post something online, but, of course he refuses.  She should examine this carefully!  What is he afraid of??

 

ask

My friend should trust her gut.  Her partner  blames all kinds of external forces  and evil spirits for the discrepancies that his partner observes, but he NEVER accepts responsibility for his own actions.    Just as he calculates that it will,  his lying and manipulation  weaken my friend, K, on many levels, the worst of which is to rob her of her intuitive powers.  In fact, these repetitive patterns   render her into a state of pathetic helplessness, just as her partner hopes they will.

At the end of the day, she does intuitively know what is going on.  She can sense it and feel it in her gut, but she stays, because SHE is weak.  She has been worn down by the dishonesty of it all.

banana

Remember, when all of the signs are there, and in your gut, you KNOW that things are not as they are being represented, do not allow yourself to be  manipulated into believing something quite the opposite of what you know in your heart and mind, is the truth.   No matter how many times he swears it is a cucumber, the object in the picture above is a banana.

Trust your inner banana.

morgan

                                                                                                    

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