Search

Happy. Healthy. Heathen.

Traveling, training, thinking, talking, typing

Category

food porn

Social Distancing. Week 10.

Monday, May 18. Day 64

First day of no caffeine for a week. Mild headache, a little lethargic on our daily 3 miles. My honey, however, was a hot mess – headache, achy, took naps throughout the day, really didn’t feel like himself until late afternoon. 

We had another showing today – 3 cars and 8 people. They were househunting for a long-distance relative who’s soon to relocate to TN. 

Grilled steak and salad for dinner, and a wonderful RfRx session.

 

Tuesday, May 19. Day 65

Took our morning walk and were back at home before 9am. Decaf coffee again, and we both had a much better day.

Leftovers to clean out the fridge today. Roast beef with gravy, fat pork sausage, and a couple of BBQ chicken thighs. 

And here’s a little update from a few weeks ago:

IMG_1616
Remember this little family? 

 

Wednesday, May 20. Day 66

I’m institutionalized.

I’ve made the decision to go to Georgia to check on my parents, and I’m an Anxious Amanda (trying to give Nervous Nellie a break).

My brothers live in my hometown, along with my parents, but they are both single, and just to be blatantly sexist about it, they don’t see what I see when it comes to our parents’ wellbeing. 

But I haven’t left my house in 10 weeks, and I sure haven’t driven my car on a road trip in that time. I’m being irrationally neurotic – do I have air in the tires? wiper fluid? gas? oil? My car registration expired in April, because I didn’t take it to emissions because they have to get into your car for that procedure. If I get stopped, I’ll have to explain that, and take whatever citation they give. 

Then there’s the visit itself. They’ve distanced, I’ve distanced, but we’ll still wear masks and visit on the porch and not share food or utensils. I’ll stay in the downstairs, that has its own entrance, and strip the sheets and clean the bathroom before I leave, in addition to asking my mom not to go downstairs for about 3 days afterward.

 

Thursday, May 21. Day 67

It hasn’t been too bad. Once I got on the road, and got the heebiejeebies out, I was fine. Turned on a podcast, put on my shades, and 4 hours later, I’m there. 

IMG_7817
Porch Picnic

They are managing, but not flourishing. Who of us is at this point? Dad’s memory is a real challenge, but between the two of them they get through the days. We do grocery delivery once per week, and have their medications delivered.

Georgia is one of the handful of southern states which doesn’t have a phased reopening plan. Their church is still not meeting, for which I’m grateful, but most stores and restaurants are open.

They’ve moved a couple of folding chairs to the driveway, so that when my brothers stop by, they can safely have a few minutes’ visit.

IMG_7858
Sights in the time of corona

Mother’s 4-year-old iphone is deteriorating and she can’t access data, which is a hardship because it’s the only internet they have (for Facetiming and Zoom calls with the family, as well as streaming her church services). We’ve ordered her a new one, and I’ll zip back down when it arrives to get it set up for her.

 

Friday, May 22. Day 68

I mentioned my brothers live in our hometown. My older brother was out of town, but has recently had his kitchen rehabbed, so Mother and I took a trip over to see it. It’s gorgeous, but then this happened:

IMG_7833
Prissy prissy Princess. Not me, the kitty.

He had a litter of kittens in his garage, and because I’m losing my 2 grown cats back to their rightful owner (my grandson), it was perfect timing to adopt this pile o kittens:

IMG_7850
The grey point is female, b/w both male

After driving back home, they’ll ensconced in my bathroom for a few days of adjustment. No names yet – we’re watching their little personalities develop first.

 

Saturday, May 23. Day 69

IMG_7859
Goofy pic of the best part of staying home. Steak and Truly don’t hurt.

Sunday, May 24. Day 70

Here it is Sunday again. Memorial Day weekend. Spring is about to transition to summer. We’ll continue our hunkerdown strategy for a while yet.

IMG_7862
First zucchini of the season, just left of center.

 

Totally forgot about the No Caffeine week. I dropped the effort in my visit to my parents, but my honey continued, and his blood pressure has stayed a little lower than usual. He thinks he’ll continue it for a while.

Hang in there a little longer, fellow distancers.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

Social Distancing. Week 6

Monday, April 20. Day 36

4/20, and here I am in Tennessee. I think it’ll be a while before Tennessee passes even medicinal cannabis. I ran on a decriminalization platform when I ran for state senate in 2016 and 2018. There is a lot of grass (see what I did there?) roots support for it, but we have a Republican supermajority in our legislature, so I’m not optimistic.

My children all live in 420-friendly states, so I have to be a little jealous. I can partake when I visit, but since I’m grounded, I’m going to just have to manage.

So happy 420 to everyone who can celebrate, and commiseration with those who can’t.

IMG_7566
Best part of my week 

 

Tuesday, April 21. Day 37

Sometimes we catch a glimpse of some of the wildlife with whom we share our space. Today was this big fella crossing the driveway. There are quite a few living in the pond, which you can see when they poke their snouts just above the surface. I’ve never been able to keep ducks, and I think the blame lies squarely on the ridged shells of the snappers.

 

Also, following up from last week’s blog, we both received negative results from our coronavirus test, which are the results we expected. We dreaded hearing otherwise, but the sensation remains that we’re being stalked by this thing, and with the lack of a national or state plan, it feels like it’s just a matter of time, even with our distancing efforts. Ugh.

 

Wednesday, April 22. Day 38

Today’s pretty weather brought more planting and mulching. We’ve added a row of mandevillas to a new stretch of fencing I’d added, and now we wait for the beautiful pink blossoms to bring the hummingbirds to the yard. I’ve had about 4 separate sightings, and the pattern here is that their visits pick up as the weather warms.

IMG_7524

 

Thursday, April 23. Day 39

I’ve blogged before about our Way of Eating™️ – our low carb, moderate protein, moderate fat lifestyle. I’ve written many posts about it, and if you’re interested, just choose Nutrition on the dropdown of categories. Occasionally, we’ll do an experimental day or week, since one of the factors we embrace about health and nutrition is that all of us have our own unique physiology, heritage, habits, preferences, enzymes, metabolism, etc, and the best we can do it take the current broad science, apply it, record and examine all the data we can, and come to a reasonable conclusion: our N=1.

In our effort to stay up-to-date on metabolic health and its impact on reaction to the coronavirus, we’ve been seeing that in some cases, elevated blood sugar, insulin, leptin, inflammation are all contributors to one’s reaction.

Dr. Paul Mason, Ivor Cummins (blog and podcast), Dr. Michael Eades.

Therefore, this week has been Egg Week. 5 days of only eggs, cheese, and fat. There are several variations on the theme, so Google away (Egg Fast) if you wish. We set some basic parameters: at least 6 eggs/day, an ounce of cheese and a tablespoon of fat for each egg consumed, lots of water. We also expanded our usual 4-hour eating window to about 6-8 hours.

There are a lot of ways to fix eggs, fat, and cheese!

IMG_7520
Eliott did all the cooking. I did all the cleaning. We both did all the eating. 
IMG_7534
Scrambled with cheese

Not pictured are the Everything Chaffles, egg salad, omelets, and even crepes. We did our 5 full days, enjoyed all of it, both lost a few pounds, and we felt that we had a mild appetite reset. Other results don’t differ much from when we eat our usual keto-style (we sleep well, no aches/pains, good energy, no meds).

We’ll do it again in a month or so.

 

Friday, April 24. Day 40

Today’s highlight:

IMG_7540
Indigo bunting!

iPhone quality shot, but here’s a closer look:

IMG_7541
They’re brilliant aqua. 
IMG_7561
And then there were two! 
IMG_7568
And then my girl Steen came with her big camera, and from the driveway, in the rain, managed to take this beautiful shot! 

Saturday, April 25. Day 41

 

IMG_7499
Finished the vodka last week. Now the tequila’s gone. 

EWeBHCNXsAMoXOS

Sunday, April 26. Day 42

IMG_7567
Blech

Ugh. 50 degrees, rainy and windy today. No yard work for me. But these kinds of days force me to catch up on inside work and emails, and to be grateful for the warm glorious springtime sun.

As the week ends, there’s a lot of noise about states/cities trying to “open up”. My parents live in Georgia, and I’m here in Tennessee, and both state governments have lifted some restrictions. I don’t see where either have based their decisions on the growing science we have on Corona. So we’ll stay put a while longer. We’re all a little bored, a little restless, and a lot concerned, but we’re also safe and warm and dry and fed.

Thanks for reading.

IMG_7550
First peony, but the bush is full of blooms. More to come

 

Social Distancing. Week 4.

Monday, April 6. Day 22

In addition to keeping my honey and I isolated on the farm, and conversing with the 4 adult children and their partners in isolation, and tracking my grandson who lives in Utah, I’m also trying to ensure that my 83/82-y-o parents are complying with social distancing protocol alone in their home just south of Atlanta.

They’re doing a great job of tolerating the circumstances. Their church services are all cancelled, I have groceries delivered once a week, we text and chat every day. They have vast cable tv resources, but no internet, so to me that means they miss a lot (streaming their online church services), but they’ve never had it, so they don’t complain about it.

Last week I had a delivery made to them of some plants from their local nursery. It was a gorgeous pile of blossoms:

IMG_1068

She was so surprised and delighted. They have a big front porch and they sit out there for hours birdwatching at the numerous feeders. Her hanging baskets are always beautiful, always red and white, and last year I found tiny hummingbird feeders that can be added to each basket so the birds get really close.

She immediately set to planting, digging and designing, then getting my dad to help her hang them.

IMG_1069

She sent picture after picture of getting them arranged – 4 large baskets to hang on 4 hooks on the front porch.

IMG_1070

Then this morning, she called me in tears, hardly able to talk. You can imagine me holding my breath, waiting to hear what she was so upset about. Did one of them fall down? Is it one of my brothers? My dad? Is someone showing symptoms?

The squirrels had gotten into her baskets and dug around and flung plants everywhere. In the span of 5 seconds, I went from relieved, to anger at her reaction, to laughter, and back to neutral as we talked it through. By the end of the conversation, we decided I would have some kind of rodent repellent delivered, she can pick up all the plants and sweep up the dirt and reassemble the baskets. She was even able to laugh about it at the end.

The whole experience fractured me. Of course I know the psychology of it – her emotion was entirely displaced, she’s tried so hard to be optimistic and comply with the rules, and those baskets mean a lot to her in a non-weird spring season. But sadness overwhelmed me at the thought of their suffering at this time in their lives – the isolation, the loneliness, the separation from their very active senior adult group at their church.

It will be a story we can tell and laugh about in the future. But right now it is a total gut-punch, and tiny example of what is playing out in millions of households around the world. This is so unnatural, and is taking a toll on our social species, in far more dramatic and significant ways than this short tale reveals.

It was a lovely day on the farm, but my morning phone call stayed with me well after sunset.

Tuesday, April 7. Day 23

Nothing but planting from sunrise to sunset! I think this theme is a little repetitive on this blog, but it is spring on the farm, so.

IMG_7292
Starts with a big ol truck bed full of dirt
IMG_7297
Beautiful.
IMG_7298
Home grown tomatoes. Nothing better. 
IMG_7301
Sunshine and water is all we need now. 
IMG_7314
And suddenly, it’s gin o’clock. 

Wednesday, April 8. Day 24.

Today was a day.

We lost John Prine last night. I went to bed sad, thinking about listening to him in college, the impact his music and lyrics had on me.

I was out of sorts when I woke up, stressy and worried and restless. It was house-cleaning day, although 2 old people don’t mess up a house too much in a week. Before my honey and I got started cleaning, I put on some Prine, and the first chord hadn’t finished before I gave in to my tears. I cried about everything – fear of the virus, worry about the children and my parents, the loss of this beautiful man, the absolute frustration of what the Republicans have done to the country, the despair for the suffering that so many are experiencing in this health crisis.

I swept and mopped and scrubbed as JP’s voice soothed my raw nerves, like it used to do in my youth. In a couple of hours my house was clean, and my emotions were spent. My honey took my hand and led me outside without a word, where we headed out for our daily 3 miles on our little country lane.

We walked and chatted, he gave me space to grieve and rant, and before long around the bend came a very familiar car.

IMG_1589

It’s hard to see, but that hatted bandit is my girl Steen. She took a moment to drive out to wave from the window, and at a safe social distance to see our faces. It was the sweetest moment, and one I needed.

I had also posted a little whiney rant on Facebook, and after our walk I saw comment after comment of love and support.

I am an optimistic person, sometimes almost unrealistically. I rarely have dark moments, and when I do, they pass quickly. Today was one of those rare occasions.

But with the love and support of my honey, my family, my friends, and my community, I had my moment, felt it, expressed it, and moved on. I know this won’t be the only day like this. I know there are others who are suffering so much more than we are. I know that everyone is affected by this crisis to varying degrees.

Thursday, April 9. Day 25

Ay, this spring weather. Spent the day bringing in my as-yet-unplanted plants, and covering what I’ve already put in the ground.

Friday, April 10. Day 26

This is the easiest day to write a happy thing of the entire distancing series up to now. Today, at 10am, my oldest son texted me one word: PASSED.

60335770_10219527319040180_4107956521487302656_n
Ben, partner Kirsten, Suzy and River

What he was referencing were the results from the February 2020 Washington State Bar Exam. Which he passed.

IMG_7345-1

He’d already been hired in the Public Defender’s office in Chelan County, in Wenatchee, WA, but he needed the pass to be official.

Having taken the Bar Exam myself (California), I know how hard and challenging this test is. I’m so very proud of him, and so excited for his career.

Meanwhile, on the farm…

IMG_7350
I’m growing linens, apparently

Expecting a low of 34 degrees tonight, so all those tender plants get a nice cozy blanket.

Saturday, April 11. Day 27

I know I’ve blogged about how we’re eating: low carb, no grains/no sugar, mostly one meal a day, with a later snack. But we’re also trying to be a little playful about it. Here’s the menu board for a few days this week:

IMG_7325

 
IMG_7311

IMG_7332

IMG_7359

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s a little silliness, but helps us keep our good humor about not going out to eat, which we love to do.

Sunday, April 12. Day 28

End of the fourth week. Still no plan, especially here in Tennessee.

On this rainy Sunday, it is as good a time for a rant as any.

We have a binary system in our presidential election, for all intents and purposes. You vote for one, the other, for a nonviable 3rd party candidate, or not at all. That’s it. Those are the choices.

We are at such a level of destruction and emergency in our country, it is my opinion that if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. In other words, if you are not with us, you are against us.

So I don’t care what your motivation is to vote for Trump.

Don’t like abortion? I don’t care.

Hate liberals? I don’t care.

Bernie didn’t win? I don’t care.

You’re not in a swing state so you claim you can make your political point with no damage? I don’t care.

Your own important and special reason? I don’t care.

Who you vote for is your choice and your right. But it is not without consequences. When you vote for Trump, you have chosen to empower the damage and pain he causes. I take that personally – that hurts so many people. And while I respect your right to vote as your conscience leads you, it affects how I feel about you. If we were friends up to that point, your vote alters the friendship. It alters my respect for you. Our values are too far apart to sustain a friendship. Your voting action far exceeds a difference of opinion or political strategy, or whatever it is that you claim you are doing.

So on your social media when you boast about voting for Trump because derpderpderp, don’t expect my respect or friendship.

And as to it being my responsibility to convince you otherwise? You’re a Trumper, by definition and your own statement. I have learned a slow hard lesson that it is not worth the breath and frustration it takes to try to reason with a Trumper. Hard pass. I’ll be out doing what I’ve done for years: registering new voters, encouraging nonvoters, and trying to win what is left of the persuadable middle.

 

The last day of the 4th week. Let’s end with a photo of my lone little azalea.

IMG_7351

It was a week of highs and lows. Squaring my shoulders to move forward.

Thanks for reading.

Social Distancing. Week 3.

Monday, Mar 30. Day 15

A good day on the farm. Sunny and bright, a little cool. Chicks are growing by the minute, and loving their coop. They’ve learned the ramp, and can put themselves to bed at night (as opposed to me getting the top half of body on the ground into the coop, catching them and putting them “upstairs” under the warming light, one by one).

Baby donk is adorable. A little pastoral shot with mommy:

We have a 3-mile loop on our dead-end country lane, and Eliott and I have made it a habit of walking it daily. It’s rural and I can count on one hand the number of times we’ve met another person walking while we are. Nice for social distancing, one little piece of elevation, so rural there are no lines painted anywhere. It was wonderful to get out and walk it today – it lends itself to long, uninterrupted conversations, as well as a good hour of exercise.

Tuesday, Mar 31. Day 16

Cold and rainy again, but that’s Tennessee spring. It’s convenient when it falls on a day I have to work at my desk, and the end of the month means closing out the old budget and beginning the new.

I’ve modified my plan just a little since my partner got home. I get teased by my kids for my dry-erase, color-coded life, but I’m ok with that. I know all of our minds work differently for how we manage ourselves, and this is what works for me. Back when I was a young mother, I used an old-school clipboard, with a precise schedule for the week’s activities, tasks to do, grocery list, calls to make, etc. Raising 4 children close in age made it necessary, for me, to empty my brain of all of that, so I could be fully engaged and focused on the moment.

So when I share with you the images of this method of management, you’ll understand me a little better.

IMG_7199

IMG_7200

Daily. Weekly. Monthly. Seasonal. Projects for the yard. Calls to make. Things to do. As soon as it gets written, it goes into the queue of my life, and it moves up the priority until I get to it. More peasy than easy, but you get the drift.

 

Wednesday, April 1. Day 17

I’ve always celebrated April 1. I know it’s not the equinox, just a day on the calendar, but it’s always been my tradition that it’s a transition day. I think I began the habit before I was tuned in to using nature instead of the calendar, and I’ve just continued it.

My April tasks include filling and hanging the hummingbird feeders, setting out the hammock, putting the outdoor cushion and umbrellas out. It’s still too early to plant my tomatoes and flowers, but I can herald the coming of spring with some of these rituals.

Today was a little cool and still damp from yesterday’s rain, but I pushed forward. The grass is greening by the day, every tree is full of green buds, some with blossoms already, and there’s no doubt the earth is moving.

IMG_7219
This lilac smells as delightful as it looks

I suppose that is today’s thought. No matter what our attitude is, no matter how we approach this era in our world/nation/personal history, time will pass. This phenomena will run its course, whatever it is, and we will move on to a new phase. That’s what I mean when I put Take the Long View on my vision board. Someday this will be in the past, maybe even when you’re reading this blog. While there’s no right way to have done it, I hope I did the best I could with the circumstances.

 

Thursday, Apr 2. Day 18

Now beautiful again. I wonder how different it would have been to distance in another season. We kind of do a winter quasi-hibernation to begin with, which would seem to be a better time, but now at least we can get out and walk and get exercise, so sort of a trade-off. Tomato tomahto.

My honey is still adjusting to being home – walking around the farm, interacting with the animals, walking around the yard. We’ve begun a projects list, and like all of us, he enjoys adding to it and thinking about the sequence. He’s still tying up loose ends at work, so his head is in both worlds. He was working long, busy days before leaving DC, so the adjustment from that to this new pace has him marveling.

IMG_7231

My dear friend Darrel Ray lives on a bit of property, and he and I both remarked on a phone call that we’re being more methodical and slow about how we’re getting things done; we don’t want to get all of our projects complete too quickly. We both acknowledged how fortunate to be both on land that inherently ALWAYS has projects to do, and for it to be spring to get out and do them.

IMG_7240
New chick yard
IMG_7241
New mulch, beds are ready! 

 

Friday, April 3. Day 19

A beautiful spring day on the farm. Today was a day for mowing, tilling, and weeding. And a little chickie-watching.

IMG_7243
How do you not love all this?

Saturday, April 4. Day 20

If you’re bored with farming pics, this blog isn’t going to entertain you much. It was another really pretty day on the farm, so it was a day of mowing and tilling. However, it started off with a pretty exciting phone call.

I had ordered and paid for some tomatoes, peppers, petunias, geraniums, and jasmine from our local nursery. They’re still open for business, but we arranged a contact-free pickup, and they called to tell us our order was picked and ready. We drove the old farm truck over, called them when we got there, and they loaded our things right into the truck bed, and off we went back home.

IMG_7267

I was thrilled to get my plants, but it was distressing to see all the shoppers at the nursery, unmasked, ungloved, not distancing in the least. I just don’t think Tennesseans are taking this seriously at all. Between Trump’s message, and the soft stay-at-home gentle suggestion our governor made only days ago, they are not grasping the situation.

Sunday, April 5. Day 21

A beautiful sunny day to end the week.

I’ll mix up the farming pics with food pics. We’re eating low carb, as we have for years, and we’re doing daily fasting of about 20 hours a day. We have fatty coffee in the mornings, then have a big meal around 4, and another snack/small meal around 8. In nutrition circles, that’s known as OMAD (one meal a day). We keep a lot of meat in our freezer, so our grocery delivery has consisted mostly of fresh and frozen vegetables. Eliott and I both enjoy cooking, so we take turns.

IMG_7269
Meatloaf, cauli rice, green salad, and chaffles

We use our daily walks to talk through our plan, to ensure we understand what we’re facing, to share any news that we have read that the other might not have. We discuss our coping strategies, how to help the children, how we’re managing my parents (82 and 84, distancing together a couple of hundred miles away). It’s been a lovely week, and we recognize how incredibly fortunate we are to be isolating, in such a beautiful place, with the animals, together.

IMG_7263

Thanks for reading.

Social Distancing. Week 2.

Monday, March 23. Day 8

Gah. We need some sunshine. We’ve had a pretty rainy March in middle Tennessee. It hasn’t been too cold, which is nice, but that has resulted in an abundance of weed and grass growth, that no one can mow because it’s too wet! We had a couple of hours of glorious sunshine yesterday, and I was stunned at how warm it felt and how beautiful it was.

I’m committed to getting out every single day, regardless of the weather, so I caught a quick hour walk dodging the rain storms. I really didn’t want to go – like most of you, I was still in my jammies, working around the house answering emails and enjoying the sound of the soft rain. But that’s when I have to rely on my rational brain, not my emotional one, and get dressed and get out. And of course, I’m always glad I did.

90348193_10221826230225798_6538657352436940800_n

Today’s concern was with politics. I didn’t catch Trump’s press conference live, but when I read about it later, I’m just livid. Hinting that we’ll open the country back up in a week or two might be the WORST possible thing we could do. Why would the US be exempt from the pattern we’ve seen in China, South Korea, and Italy? The sooner we get this lockdown going, the sooner we get this under control, and the sooner we can return to whatever will be normal then. There are just not enough words to describe this timeline: we’re facing the most serious national health crisis we’ve ever faced, with the worst leadership we’ve ever had.

Tuesday, March 24. Day 9

It’s not the isolation or the virus that’s going to kill me – it’s the endless, relentless rain. This is normal spring weather for middle Tennessee, and I get mad at it this time every year. Grass is growing, weeds are up, can’t mow in a downpour. Need to weed the beds and till the garden, but it’s a mucky mess (reminds me of Mark Twain’s description of the Mississippi River: too thick to drink, too thin to plow).

IMG_7074

So today’s agenda includes all the inside stuff, plus I think I’ll start a puzzle.

 

Wednesday, Mar 25. Day 10

Went into double digits today for days sequestered. What will life be like when I go into triple? Current reports indicate that our trajectory is going straight up. Today, New York appears to be the epicenter in the US. Washington and Louisiana are very high, and it looks like Florida will be the next hardest hit. Tennessee continues life apace – no state mandates. Schools have been closed but not businesses, and from my local social media,

One of my guidelines is to restrict/limit/manage the flood of information coming in. I try to ration global, national, state, and local news (which, I’ll admit, is a skill I’ve probably needed to develop). I like politics and government, and at other times I read and watch a lot of political news. Since the virus is devouring the airwaves, and because there’s so much anxiety + anger and how we’re being governed now, I’ve cut my consumption down to about 3 hours a day: an hour in the morning and 2 hours in the evening.

Today was a good day, in spite of. Everything. I braved the outside world and took my trash and recycling to the dump. It wasn’t busy, so I didn’t have to dodge a single interaction. I could put my trash and recyclables in their bins without touching anything. I drove straight there and straight home. We have to find our victories.

Then I earned my Community Action merit badge by picking up a bag of trash on the lane where I live. Even if it was rainy and drippy.

IMG_7093

Then my chicken coop was delivered! My little guys are growing by the day, and I’ll be glad to get it put together for them.

Then the rain stopped. Glorious glorious sunshine. I jumped on the mower and did a quick cut of the front yard. Oh, the smell of freshly mown lawn in the spring.

IMG_7103

Lastly, I had a cocktail party with the leadership team of the nonprofit I work for. Look at these faces. We can get through this, with a little help from our friends.

IMG_7126-1

 

Thursday, Mar 26. Day 11

Sunshine all day long. What a difference my outlook has been since the rain stopped. 10 days of nonstop rain right over the top of this national crisis, the claustrophobia of being shut in, and the need to get outside was beginning to take its toll on my disposition.

Today, however, was the opposite. I was outside from just after daybreak til just after dark, and it was delicious.

Mowed everything, weeded beds, turned the compost – spring is here (or close enough to feel like it today). I also had a little fun with last year’s grapevine pruning: made a little wreath to add to the garden gate.

IMG_7168

 

Friday, Mar 27. Day 12

Now that the grass is mowed, I have picked out the space for my new coop.

Here’s how it started:

IMG_7139

And here’s how it ended:

IMG_7152

My little guys are so happy!

IMG_7145IMG_7147

It will take a couple of days of training them to use the ramp. So several times a day, I crawl in there and put them up in the brooder, then push gently urge them down the ramp.

 

Saturday, Mar 28. Day 13

And on Day 13, my honey came home.

My partner has been working in DC, and the company for whom he has been consulting has finally cut everyone loose to go home. They’ve been observing safety protocol, but nothing’s as good as sending everyone HOME.

It resets my calendar back to Day 1 for the incubation period (although not for the distancing ticker), but I’ll take it. We’ll hunker down together here on the farm for the duration. So glad to have my lovey back.

IMG_7164

 

Sunday, Mar 29. Day 14

Today’s weather was stunning. Warm and sunny, birds singing, grass growing – you’d never know there is a global pandemic. Eliott spent the day walking around the farm, getting reacquainted with all the animals, looking at my projects – my amateur fence-building skills, the coop, and a little home repair I’d done in his absence.

We had a delicious dinner al fresco – he grilled the steaks, and I baked the mac n cheese (faux, cauliflower version).

IMG_7175

 

Not a bad week. All the kids and partners seem to be managing, and my parents are complying with all the new rules down in Georgia. I am grateful beyond words to have a warm dry house on a lively little farm to endure this challenging time.

Thanks for reading.

The annual 7-day fast

By the time I post this, it will be over.

Before you even ask, at the end of this post is a link dump to some of the research supporting a periodic, extended fast for cancer prevention. Read these at your leisure – I tried to supply a mix of scientific papers with more accessible articles and interviews.

In August of 2018, when the honey and I first began to discover the benefits of fasting (IF: intermittent fasting, EF: extended fasting, TRE: time-restricted eating, ADF: alternate day fasting), we embarked on a 7-day fast. We opted to include coffee with butter/cream and coconut oil, and bone broth. We have since learned that the protein in the bone broth might diminish the effect of fasting, and of course the calories in the coffee prevented it from being a true, zero-calorie fast.

Another year has rolled by, and we have just completed what we now see as our annual 7-day fast. We mixed in some water only days with coffee-with-cream days.

Since this post is already link-heavy, I will simply describe what our experience was like, and will leave our regular fasting schedule, and the science behind it, for another day.

Day 1 – We fast regularly one day per week. In the fasting universe, this is referenced by how many hours are spent fasting.. For example, our usual pattern is one 42-hour fast per week. That means dinner on a Monday around 6, fasting on Tuesday, and eating again on Wednesday, midday. So today is no different than what we’ve been doing for over a year. Are we hungry? Comes and goes. We stay busy, stay hydrated, and think about what we’d like to break our fast with.

Day 2 – A good day at Freethought Farm. We stayed busy with tasks and didn’t feel too much hunger. I had a lovely walk on the Greenway with a bestie who is also a faster, so we enjoyed talking about what we’re each learning about fasting and nutrition. We had electrolytes and an abundance of water.

Day 3 – This seems to be the day for most fasters that it gets a little easier, and that is true for us too. Hunger comes in waves, so we drink a little water, go for a walk, make a phone call, etc, and the sensation passes. It’s not cumulative – we don’t feel hungrier and hungrier and hungrier.

Day 4 – If you research intermittent fasting at all, an important component of every plan includes consuming electrolytes: sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium. We have both a homemade recipe, and commercial drops we use in water. Especially when you add in outdoor exercise in the heat, replacing electrolytes is absolutely critical.

Day 5 – Now we’re beginning to think about what we’ll eat to break the fast. We have a list of things we get hungry for (sometimes that helps when you get a little obsess-y thinking about food). It also helps for us to review the books and blogs I have posted below, and to visit a couple of Facebook pages we follow for inspirational stories from other people who incorporate the keto and IF lifestyle.

Day 6 – Almost there. Our sleep has improved, as have the other markers we measure daily – blood pressure, ketones, weight, mood, energy, performance, focus. We measure this whether we’re fasting or not, so it gives us the opportunity to compare. We have continued our regular workout schedule (6x week), and have recorded our results for those as well.

Day 7 – We made it! We don’t plan to do this again until next year. We are excited about breaking our fast, we both feel mildly euphoric (unless that’s an oxymoron), and looking forward to eating!

Breaking the Fast: We began with a small salad, then progressed to a medium rare ribeye with roasted broccoli and every bite was better than the one before. We’re glad not to do it again for another year, but we like what the exercise of extended fasting does for our appetite, our patience, our enjoyment of food, and potentially, our long-term health.

 

UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine

Unlike CR, fasting induces changes associated with cellular protection to actually protect against weight loss initially and increases protection from oxidative stress.  Fasting results in a more significant drop in insulin levels, as well as an increase in insulin sensitivity in a shorter amount of time compared to CR.  Given that insulin levels play a role in cancer risk, these differences are potentially clinically important.

 

Podcast: The Quantified Body, with Dr. Thomas Seyfried, author of Cancer as a Metabolic Disease

All cancers can be linked to impaired mitochondrial function and energy metabolism. It’s not a nuclear genetic disease. It’s a mitochondrial metabolic disease… therapeutic ketosis can enhance mitochondrial function for some conditions, and can kill tumor cells.

 

Confessions of a Supply-Side Liberal, Miles Kimball, Eaton Chair of Economics, CU Boulder

If I were ever diagnosed with cancer, the first thing I would do would be to begin fasting immediately; my hope would be to slow down the progress of the cancer during the time it took to develop a more conventional treatment strategy for my cancer. I would also do my best to try to convince my cancer doctor to read Thomas Seyfried’s book in the hope my cancer doctor might get some good ideas for improving the treatment strategy.

 

Fasting Cycles Retard Growth of Tumors and Sensitize a Range of Cancer Cell Types to Chemotherapy

This is a link to the paper itself, and I didn’t want to pull a quote from the research, but here is part of the abstract:

The therapeutic potential of fasting would be even greater if it also increased the death of cancer cells. Here, we tested this possibility by studying the effect of fasting on cancer cell survival in the presence or absence of chemotherapeutic agents.

 

Interview with Dr. Jason Fung, author of The Complete Guide to Fasting

Apoptosis, which is also known as “programmed cell death”, is when cells commit suicide. It sounds kind of macabre, but it’s essential for good health. The cells of the body are like cars. When they get too old to be repaired they need to be destroyed to make way for healthy new cells – up to 70 billion every day. Not all cars need to be scrapped, though. Sometimes you can replace the parts, and this is where autophagy kicks in. The word derives from the Greek ‘auto’ (self) and ‘phagein’ (to eat), so literally means ‘to eat oneself.’ It’s when a cell doesn’t die, but replaces the worn out ‘sub-cellular’ parts with new ones. Autophagy is a form of cleansing: the process of breaking down and recycling cellular components when there’s no longer enough energy to sustain them. Once all the broken-down parts have been cleansed, new tissues and cells are built to replace the old ones. So, our bodies are in a constant state of renewal, but when these processes are hijacked, unwanted cellular bits build up and diseases such as cancer occur. Increased levels of glucose, insulin and proteins all turn off autophagy, and it doesn’t take much. Even as little as three grams of the amino acid leucine can stop it. But fasting turns these cleaning mechanisms on.

 

Fasting-like diet turns the immune system against cancer

“It may be that by always being exposed to so much food, we are no longer taking advantage of natural protective systems which allow the body to kill cancer cells,” Longo said. “But by undergoing a fasting-mimicking diet, you are able to let the body use sophisticated mechanisms able to identify and destroy the bad but not good cells in a natural way.”

 

Fasting and Caloric Restriction in Cancer Prevention and Treatment

Whereas chronic CR provides both beneficial and detrimental effects as well as major compliance challenges, periodic fasting (PF), fasting-mimicking diets (FMDs), and dietary restriction (DR) without a reduction in calories are emerging as interventions with the potential to be widely used to prevent and treat cancer.

Next post: We both had the Coronary Artery Calcium scan, which might be the most important indicator for heart health. Stay tuned for our results!

Thanks for reading!

Paleo post, part 3

Today is the vegetable post.

Eat them.

Thanks for reading!

 

OK, I’ve already covered the hardest part – the No Grains and No Sugar part.  This next one is an affirmative rule, and it’s one you can learn to love.

We should eat vegetables every day.  Lots of them.  Lots of different kinds of them.  You already know they are loaded with good stuff – nutrients, vitamins, phytonutrients, minerals.  There is research showing that vegetables with their phytochemicals can be helpful in fighting cancer.

Additionally, there are SO MANY different kinds of vegetables, which becomes important when you eliminate grains and sugar as a way to keep your food interesting and new.  There are only a few types of animals we eat, and because the Standard American Diet (aptly abbreviated to SAD) is so full of grain-based foods, if you do make a transition to a more traditional diet, you are likely to experience a feeling of depravity, and all those veggie varieties can help with that.

imagesimages-1So whether you have a big salad of fresh vegetables, or a stew or stirfry full of cooked vegetables, shoot for having them at 2 meals out of 3, or maybe start with one big meal of non-starchy veggies every day.

And I have good news about your next question.  While we’re ditching the croutons and shredded cheddar cheese, we’re adding good fats so you can have some kickass dressing on that big ol’ salad.  Here’s a recipe for homemade mayo (stay away from the ooky grocery store stuff) that can serve as a base for scads of dressings.  I make you a personal promise that it will be the tastiest mayo you have ever tried.

You can also add olives, nuts, chopped boiled eggs, a protein, and even fruit.  You may, like me, find that your salad meal is your favorite meal of the day.

For your cooked vegetables, try roasting almost any vegetable for the best flavor (400 degrees, one layer deep and tossed with sea salt and olive oil, 12-25 minutes depending upon size of pieces).  This gives broccoli, asparagus, kale, squash, brussel sprouts, and zucchini a crunchy, roasty flavor.  Another personal promise that you’re gonna LOVE this.

Fruits can also be a part of a healthy paleo diet.  I’m going to address this further in the post about Fat (to come).  Some fruits are high in sugar (bananas, apples), and you remember from the Sugar post that this can create a problem if we eat too much.  But Gayle, you rightly ask, how does that fit with the whole Paleo mentality?  Aren’t we supposed to be eating similar to our ancestors, and wouldn’t they have eaten fruit?  Why yes, they would – when they could get it, which would be when?  Seasonally.  (Just like veggies, by the way).  And the fruit that would have been available would not even have resembled a big juicy Red Delicious.  Finally, remember that we are building a diet that is healthy, not just historic, and too much sugar, from any source, leads to an insulin response.  Get to know the sugar content of fruits (and vegetables), and eat them as toppings, or see them as they treat they are.

Probably everyone has heard the analysis of whether or not to spend the extra for the Organic label – that if you are going to peel it (bananas or pineapples), non-organic is suitable; for leafies or veggies that are hard to wash, or whose peel you plan to eat (spinach, lettuces, sweet potatoes), go ahead and spend the extra.  Here’s my thought on the Organic issue:  I consider this issue to be about Tier 3 or 4 as it relates to priority.  If you’ve taken grains out of your diet, eliminated dairy, if you’re eating grass-fed meats and quality fats, THEN worry about whether or not your strawberries are organic.

I think a better focus is to seek LOCAL sources for your fruits and vegetables for at least 3 reasons – it supports local farmers and not superstores, it reduces the energy cost and carbon impact of transporting food from sometimes thousands of miles away (banana, anyone?), and the produce does not have to be genetically engineered to survive the journey and handling it takes to get to you.

By the way, corn is a grain, not a vegetable.  Beans are legumes, not vegetables.  A potato, while botanically a vegetable, is nutritionally a starchy tuber.

One more time I’ll state my disclaimer – this information I’m sharing is what I accept about nutrition science, and it matches pretty squarely with my own experience with my own health and nutrition.  This might be a good time for me to post this link which addresses the book The China Study, whose claims contradict Paleolithic nutrition science.  Denise Minger is a rockstar in the movement – here is her 2012 presentation at the Ancestral Health Symposium.

Next up:  Dairy!  One of the hottest topics within the Ancestral Health movement.

Thanks for reading!

 

Ancestral Health Symposium

So here’s where I am this weekend:

The Ancestral Health Symposium

This is the third year of the symposium, but it’s my first time to go.

The premise is that when we can use an evolutionary prospective, we can develop solutions to our contemporary health challenges.  The title Paleo as it applies to nutrition is too vague and is really kind of an inaccurate word, but it’s still a word that gets thrown around and is accepted shorthand within the movement.

Couldn't play it straight.
Couldn’t play it straight.

So first: the demographic of attendees.  There are about 600 people here.  At any time in a store, or on a street, or at a conference, or on a campus, the folks you see reflect the statistics of America’s population:  35% obese, 69% overweight (including obesity).  Not in this room.  These are fit people.  Fit does not mean slender – these people look strong and healthy.  It is a younger group – Eliott and I are in the older 20%, easily – but even the older folks look this way.  It’s a refreshing view; I didn’t realize how “normal” it is to see those statistics every day in real life until I was in this conference room.

A stock image, but you get the drift.
A stock image, but you get the drift.

Most of the speakers are MD’s and PhDs.  Check out this detailed schedule.  I don’t have a science background, and a few of the presenters today were a smidge over my head.  The topics today were:

The Paleolithic Prescription

This was presented by the two MD’s who are considered the “grandfathers” of the modern Paleo movement, who have been researching the hunter-gatherer diet for their entire professional careers.  This one was a little sciency, but I hung on the best I could, and took notes on their suggestions for more papers and books to read.

The Consuming Instinct: What Juicy Burgers, Ferraris, Pornography and Gift Giving Reveal About Human Nature

I loved this one.  Dr. Gad Saad examined our modern consumer instinct that has gone awry, and what it reveals about our primal nature.  It gives context at least to how we’ve gotten where we are, even if it’s unsettling.

Your ovaries know what I'm talking about.
Your ovaries know what I’m talking about.

Sexual Fitness and Women’s Fertility Cycles

Another great session.  This examined sexual selection from an evolutionary standpoint, and how we’re massively altering this with our reliance on synthetic hormones, both for men and women.  I’m particularly interested in this because of my 4 young-adult children and their long-term health.

images-3

High Fructose Corn Syrup Litigation Status

Fascinating session by the plaintiff’s attorney in the lawsuit filed in New York against the HFCS manufacturers on behalf of a teenage girl w/type 2 diabetes, claiming that HFCS is the cause of her developing the disease.  I had an instant flashback to my first year of law school and Torts and Strict Liability/Failure To Warn.

Satan's urine
Satan’s urine

Find Your Why

Highlight of the day.  This young man, Kyle Maynard, was born with a congenital amputation who has become a motivational speaker, and is a proponent of the Paleo lifestyle.  He recently became the first person to “bear crawl” up Mt. Kilimanjaro.  It took 13 days and his presentation today was about that challenge.  Please click through to his page and read about this spectacular young person.

Awesome.  What's your Why?
Awesome. What’s your Why?

The hall of vendors has been wonderful – sources of grass-fed beef, home-gardening aids, and the newest buzz-product Kombucha (kind of a fermented tea that adds beneficial gut flora).  Tomorrow also includes a posters’ session, which are like mini-breakout sessions, I think.  In between speakers, we have these little 3-minute movement sessions by Adonis- and Venus-like trainers.

About 3 months ago, Eliott and I did this Whole30 experiment.  It’s 30 days of absolute clean eating:  local and organic grass-fed and pasture-raised meats, local and organic vegetables and some fruits, and healthy fats.  No sugar, no grains, no alcohol.  It also include other paleo-lifestlyle pieces regarding sleep, timing of meals, and movement.  It was both a lot of fun and a real challenge.  It was pricey, of course, to buy all that fresh, local food (and lots of time to prepare and cook it), and it was a new skill, but we LOVED it.  We felt fabulous, had huge energy, no physical symptoms of our ages (!).  It’s extremely difficult to do while traveling, but we’ve continued to do a modified version at home (like I’m not going to have cocktails at sunset).  The authors of the Whole 30 book are here for a presentation and panel tomorrow.

From my personal food porn file
From my personal food porn file

So anyway, that’s what I’m doing til Sunday.  My brain’s on overload but I’m lovin it.  To my Murfreesboro crowd – I’ll be home in time for Glenda’s moving-to-Vegas-and-selling-her-art party on Sunday afternoon.

Thanks for reading!

Another thing on the list!

The Brit, the gimlet, and me

One of the things on my list of 50 at 50 was having a lime gimlet with an actual British person. I wikied the word to find out the history of the drink, and while I’ll list a couple of interesting things about the drink, it’s worth clicking on the link for the whole story, plus a couple of suggested recipes.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gimlet_%28cocktail%29

My bartender made it with Hendrick’s Gin (which, as he knew, would instantly become my favorite, albeit it pricey, gin) and Rose’s Sweetened Lime Juice.  Some recipes suggest a simple syrup and actual lime juice, but I was pleased with the Rose’s.  I’ll try a low-carb version at some point, but I’ll use the Rose’s til it’s gone.  Sam mixed it about half-and-half, maybe a touch more gin, shaken over ice, served over ice.  It was as cool and refreshing as it sounds, and is now in my top 5 favorite drinks, maybe even displacing my go-to gin and tonic.

Beautiful Hendrick's bottle

This post is primarily to describe marking that event off my list, but I’ll also use it to catch up a bit.  Sam’s visit to the US has ended and he’s back off the England to begin his master’s degree at Bristol.  Glenda is missing him fiercely, but has plans to visit England again for Christmas for the 3rd year in a row.

They made it home for a visit last weekend to see Aden’s fall festival at John Pittard Elementary School.  There was face-painting, jumpy things, cake-walking, and all the crap to eat that you would expect at a fall festival.  Aden said it was a Great Friday, and we all agreed!

yes, that's a pilot costume
After she finished (it was a spider), he said he really wanted it on the other cheek

The next day our precious Emily Potts came over for breakfast; Glenda and I had been wanting her to meet Sam for two years!  She was totally NOT fangirly over our very own Harry Potter (you can’t quite see the scar drawn on her forehead and her Neville shirt).  Emily makes everything an instant party, and we kept her from going home to help hubby John clean the house all morning.

Q T Pies

The next weekend was son Sam’s birthday, so we had 3/4 of the kids home then.  (We missed you Ben.)

Sam with his gift from his sisters, brother, and Sam M

And now, because it’s my blog and I can, here are two of Glenda’s recent watercolors (I think brother Ben commissioned her for one of them):

Lastly, a few pics of the Freedom of Religion Rally in Murfreesboro.  Seriously, citizens, this is a no-brainer.  Freedom of Religion means every religion, not just the ones you like and understand.

Sweet Elliot

Training still continues

and continues

and continues.

Thanks for reading!

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑