Wednesday, September 26

Peaches. Just Peachy.

Once, while living in Taiwan, I bought a peach the size of my head, for which I paid the rough equivalent of my first-born child. It was absolutely worth every penny. A flawless, juice-dripping, two-handed chunk of heaven.

I've spent three decades looking for another perfect peach.

Saturday, I got twenty pounds of them. Our lovely friend R. brought a 20-pound box of peaches that she'd purchased for a jaw-dropping fifty cents a pound. The fruit stand had to move them at any price, because fresh, perfectly-ripe peaches just don't have much of a shelf life.

Since Saturday, I've been trying to concoct some perfect raw recipe for my beautiful box of fruit.

Then, noticing the many teenagers living in my house walking about with sticky hands and arms, I remembered the point of raw food: Just eat the peaches. Maybe use a napkin. Or a bowl. But mostly, grab a piece of fruit and take a bite.

Sometimes I wonder about me.

- - - -
Perhaps I was confused because I grew up in the 70s, when bands named themselves after entrées. Meat Loaf. Humble Pie. The O'Jays. Temptations. Blue Oyster Cult. And the band named after an entire recipe: Peaches and Herb. (This is them, Shaking Their Grove Thing.)

Monday, September 24

Recipe File: Nutrition Bowl

Had an amazing meal today and have to share it...Well, not the meal itself. I ate that. But the general idea, I can share.

Went with friends to visit a monastery on Vashon Island, and stopped for lunch at a cafe that serves all vegan, organic food -- much of it, raw.

One friend had the zucchini noodles...which was too good to be believed. My lunch was the Nutrition Bowl, a salad made of kale and lots of other goodies.

I'm not normally a kale fan. It's a little bitter, a little too out-there to be enjoyed much. But this salad! Breath-taking. We talked to the chef after downing our meals head first.

Here's the secret: Marinade and massage.

I'm posting the recipe here, mostly because I'm making this for dinner tonight. And maybe every night for the rest of my life.

Nutrition Bowl
I'm approximating amounts here, and will report back if the proportions require adjustment.
Pure's mouth-watering Nutrition Bowl.

Bundle of kale, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces
1T sea salt
Juice of one lemon
2T olive oil
2T sunflower seeds
1/2C mixed sprouts
1/2C grated carrot
Avocado, sliced
Lemon wedges

Wearing gloves, massage salt into kale. Allow it to sit for a couple of minutes. Then massage lemon juice into kale, until greens become a little translucent. Allow to rest a couple of minutes. Finally, massage in olive oil. Allow massaged kale to marinate in refrigerator for a few hours.

Layer in remaining ingredients, serve with tahini dressing. Makes two salads.

Tahini Dressing
This is my own recipe, but Pure's dressing is a close approximation. I grind raw sesame seeds in a coffee mill, rather than using tahini, because it's fresher and way, way cheaper.

  • 2T apple cider vinegar
  • 2T olive oil
  • 2tsp nama shoyu or tamari
  • 1/2C water
  • 1/4C sesame seeds
  • 1/4C nutritional yeast

Blend until smooth. Refrigerate immediately.

Friday, September 21

A Children's Game, a Legal Principle, and Stop Making Me Sad

This blog entry will be a political screed. And there's at least a 50 percent probability it's about you.

* * *

Here's a fun game. I learned it from Nelson Muntz, the bully of Springfield. When someone uses the word "but" in a sentence, shout "Ha ha! You said 'Butt'!"

Fun, right?

It's not? It's stupid? Then please, I beg you, stop doing it.

* * *

Here's a pop quiz from day ten of law school: What's worse?
A. Inadvertantly killing somebody.
B. Trying to kill someone, and failing.

The correct answer? B. Without question. The reason is a legal principle called Mens rea -- criminal intent. If your intentions are evil, you don't get a free pass just because you're also an incompetent marksman.

The life lesson here is that when people have good intentions, when they seek to do good, but their results fall short, they get a lot more latitude than people whose intentions are bad, but whose results are inadvertently benign.

It also means that if you're wise, you recognize the good intent behind words and actions. You may legitimately disagree with a man over whether his approach to problem solving will be successful, but if you're honorable, you don't attribute bad character to him merely because he has a different opinion about how to accomplish a good end.

* * *

A couple of triggers make it nearly impossible to stay out of the refrigerator. I'll bet you have some, too.

Here are mine:
* Frustration.
* Pain.
* Sadness -- which is just pain of the brain.

If sadness were limited to -- I dunno -- sorrow over life's expected tragedies, I could probably just roll with it. Tragedy is, after all, a building block of joy. You can't know joy if you've never experienced sorrow. And when life deals a bad hand, the sun still comes up the next day. With time and effort, you get past it.

But then there's a different kind of sadness, the kind that comes when you finally realize there are people on this earth who just love to deal out misery, who behave as though they're manning a blackjack table and unkindness is a deck of cards.

Sadly, those misery merchants seem to thrive on social media, spinning reality, making a mockery of free speech as they throw around ill-considered political caricatures.

Here's a free clue: The presidential candidate you're not voting for? He's smart -- brilliant, even. He graduated from a prestigious ivy-league university with a law degree, and then passed the bar exam. His wife adores him. He's funny. He's a great father with terrific kids. He's living an honorable life. He's not crazy, not malicious, not a cheater, not a hypocrite, and definitely not evil. He's not running for office because he needs the paycheck; he's already rich. He's running for office because he wants to do good in the world.

Who am I talking about?

I'm talking about the guy you hate, the guy you're voting against, the guy who can do nothing to persuade you to vote for him.

It doesn't matter which candidate you hate. Or like. My description applies equally to both men.

And your nasty, malicious, distorted, dishonest depictions of what the candidate you dislike said? You know you're misrepresenting truth. You know it. And every time you post another twisted misrepresentation of what the candidate said, every time you shriek "Ha ha! You said 'Butt'!" you change nobody's vote; you change only my opinion of you, of your character, of your integrity.

Think about that. You're making me sad. You're making me want to open my refrigerator and eat a horse, or a kitten, or a puppy, or whatever might make you stop being nasty! Please. Stop making me sad. Stop making everyone who resists posting political screeds sad. And fat.

There. I said it. Be nice. Have some integrity. Be kind, be generous of spirit, be honorable, be honest.

You just can't stop yourself? Remember this: If I get fat again before the election, it's your fault.

- - - -
Did you think I wouldn't post this link? Taylor Swift is singing at YOU: Why You Gotta Be So Mean?

Thursday, September 20

A Collection of Randomocity

While at camp, we bunked (literally, bunked) in cement-floored cabins. And when I have an infection, I'm like a 90-year-old man with a bad prostate: Gotta get up several times a night to visit the smallest room. (That waking-up thing should've been my first clue that I need a doc, right?) So my feet would hit the floor before my head woke up, and I'd shuffle my feet around the icy concrete, scuffling around for my flip flops.

After we returned home I took my drugs and went straight to bed. Woke up in the dark, swung my feet to the floor, and shrieked. I was standing on a hairy animal! "Rat!" was my first thought.

Then I realized it was my bedroom carpet.

Never mind.

* * *

So the other day I was reading an article about some silly forgettable celebrity of average height and weight. Apparently, after a year of being out of work, the poor unfortunate woman gained a couple of pants sizes. The article was written to celebrate the fact that she'd undergone surgery (surgery!) to regain her girlish figure. Here's how the writer put it: "After the show was cancelled the formerly svelte star ballooned to 180 pounds."

Ballooned? Ballooned!?!?

Are they kidding?

For the sake of maybe two or three stone, the woman risked her life to have someone put her under anesthetic and knife her?

I had to take a walk to avoid punching the woman's photo on my computer screen.

A hundred and eighty pounds. Celebrity culture is nuts.

* * *

Yesterday my friend K. and I visited a fresh produce stand. K has joined my gym and intends to win the next Biggest Loser competition. She'll kick my backside because she's much more steely minded than I am. We foraged for breakfast (Raspberries! Plums! Donut peaches!) and went up front to pay. The cashier/owner overheard us plotting K's strategy for winning the competition and inquired. K. bragged on me to the woman, who then began interrogating me about how to lose weight.

"Eat raw food!" we chorused. The woman does own a produce stand, after all.

"But," she said, "what about protein?"

K. and I looked at each other and burst out laughing. "Aren't we supposed to be asking YOU that? You sell produce!"

I looked the lady dead in the eye and asked "Where do cows get protein?"

I love watching someone undergo Aha Erlebnis -- that Eureka! moment when the jaw drops and realization sets in. "Grass!" she shouted. K. and I both grinned. I told her about amino acids and the fact that humans have to break down animal protein to its component parts and then reassemble it to get human-accessible aminos, the building blocks of protein -- all of which are readily available in fresh produce. "Now you can change the name of your produce stand to Protein Stand," we told her. "You'll be rich!"

"You've inspired me!" she told us as we walked away. "I need to lose 40 pounds. I'm going to do it!"

What a cheater.

- - - -
Today's sound track: For all my girlfriends, especially K., my fruit-stand lady, and a celebrity who was doing fine before the knife: Bruno Mars, Just the Way You Are! The video will blow your mind.

Wednesday, September 19

Ready, Okay! (Part Deux)

(Continued from yesterday; starting here would be baffling.)


Toddled off to urgent care, violated a plastic cup, and confirmed I was toxic. Because I'm allergic to all the usual drugs, Doc-in-the-Box gave me a prescription for an exotic antibiotic that has the perverse side effect of weakening joints and musculature. And turning me green if I go out in the sun. "Stay inside," he warned. "And don't exercise for 10 days." Then he looked at my ugly surgical scar. "And stop breaking bones. Forever."

Ever obedient, I did what the doc said -- except for the breaking bones part.

A few days after starting the antibiotic, I was hiding from my husband, hoping he wouldn't send me to the store, when the phone rang. I gamely ran to answer it, and crashed into the side of a door. And broke two toes.

Yes, I did. Thank you. Thank you very much. Hold your applause, please.

So now I have a taped-up foot, I've finished the course of antibiotics, my husband has had the staples removed and can get his own Oreos, and I'm finally back at the gym.

If only because it's safer there than in my own house.

And my medical experiments have been conducted.

What I've learned:

1. I've lost my slug trail. Cheese will kill me.
2. I'm too old to run out in the street (or the doorway) without looking where I'm going.
3. I need to drink more water.
4. I need to find a new hair color.

Also, I did not win five grand. But five Benjamins is better than a kick in the backside.

So yesterday counts as day 91 in my quest. I'm back, slightly broken, with strangely discolored hair, but back at the gym and far away from Mexican restaurants in the middle of nowhere, fully committed to raw eating and daily workouts.

Ah, it's good to be home.

- - - -
Today's sound track: Marmalade from the best decade: Reflections of My Life. A live performance, too. Doesn't matter if you like the song; you'll definitely love the clothing.

Tuesday, September 18

Ready, Okay!

Hitting the reset button. During the past 19 days I've:

1. Sent my husband to the hospital.
2. Contracted a disease.
3. Broken two more bones.
4. Dyed my hair an appalling shade of red that was supposed to be, well, strawberry blonde, but turned out to be something more like "Unclaimed Luggage from the 1970s."
5. Stayed away from the gym (and the hill) on doctor's orders.
6. Eaten a terrible meal that doubled me over.

Which of these disasters shall we start with? Husband's recovering rather too well from major back surgery, undertaken because cortisone shots didn't do the trick. Now, instead of lying quietly in his recliner, like a good patient, he sends me to the grocery store multiple times a day for juice, Oreos, and other things humans shouldn't ingest. And asks me what I'm doing. And uses the bathroom I was just about to use. And watches Dr. Who on the classic movie channel.

Isn't it the sick one who's supposed to be grumpy?

My own disease du jour? Chronic lifelong urinary tract infections. A bad one kicked in during camp, but I get weird symptoms and always mistake UTIs for.... I don't know. The flu. Or cancer. Or Elephantiasis.

By Wednesday evening I was feeling too awful even to cook dinner, so I herded the teens (yes, we now have multiple teenagers living with us. That's a good thing. Especially since one of them drives.) into town and went to a Mexican restaurant.

Big, BIG mistake.

In my foggy brain, I imagined that if I just ordered vegetarian food I'd be fine.

I forgot about the slug trail.

There's a theory amongst Raw Foodists that folks who eat animal-based foods and even those who eat cooked, otherwise-healthful foods, build up a mucus trail through their gut that runs from the sinuses to the, uh, well, the end of the trail.

The theory is that this trail of slime (called the gastric mucosal barrier, or MUCOID PLAQUE (ewww)) is the body's mechanism to protect itself from the toxins and creepy substances found in animal byproducts and cooked foods. The theory holds that as you cease poisoning yourself with charcoal, lactade, gatorade, fromage, pig snouts, parasites, toxins, hydrogenated crisco, BHA, MSG, NFL, and other contaminants, your body eventually stops building up the protective barrier of gut slime, and allows you to get the full nutritional benefit of the healthy raw fruits and veggies you're ingesting.

I forgot.

And I ate a platter of cheese quesadillas with sour cream and guacamole.

Then spent the next 24 hours doubled over in pain.

The other five people who ate the same food (and worse) had no adverse reaction at all. Just me, the chick who normally has a cast-iron stomach. Nausea. Bloating. Cramps. Diarrhoea. (It's not embarrassing to have diarrhea if you use the British spelling.)

I spent the entire day curled up in bed between bathroom runs. (And I use the word "runs" advisedly.)

By Thursday evening, I was feeling much improved. Which was a relief. Y'know. Because of the Elephantiasis.

By the time we got home from camp on Saturday, however, I was in pretty dire straits. By then, the UTI was eating a hole in my kidneys, and I was doubled over for all new reasons.

... (to be continued).