much of a good thing

I have just spent the last hour and a half running around the internet, following this link to that article to that blog and so on, and I feel thoroughly inspired as well as completely overwhelmed.  There are so many people out there already contributing to the world of health, how could I possibly find a place in the exchange of information that hasn’t already been filled?

I guess this when it is a good time to remember the quote by somebody about how I am the only person who can contribute whatever I have to contribute, and if I don’t, then it doesn’t get contributed, to the world that is.  So… I suppose I will continue to express away, and think of it as a contribution when I can.  I came across so many amazing resources tonight, my head is still spinning.  I think I better let it spin me up to bed, though, as tomorrow is a full day of driving, dentist, singing songs of peace, hope and light, and hopefully listening to poetry as well.  Thanks for listening.

Here’s a link to one of the cool websites I found (thanks to Jan Buhrman at Kitchen Porch who shared about a book she was reading):

www.DrCate.com

“kraut to kill for…”

Sauerkraut (from Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon)
Makes 1 quart
Core and thinly shred a medium head of cabbage (the fresher the better), about 2 lbs.  In a bowl, mix cabbage with 1 T. Caraway seeds, 2 tsp – 1 T sea salt (unrefined is best) and 4 T whey–this is optional (I usually make whey by straining plain yogurt, and then I use the strained yogurt like quark).  Pound cabbage with a wooden pounder or meat hammer for about 10 minutes to release juices.  Place in a quart-sized, wide-mouth mason jar and press down firmly with fist or wooden pounder until juices come above the top of the cabbage.  The top of the liquid should be at least 1 inch below the top of the jar (or the pressure will be too much as it ferments).  Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for about 3 days before transferring to cold storage or the fridge. If it’s not as sour as you want it, try loosening the lid to release the pressure, then screw it on firmly. Repeat this daily until you find a flavor you like.   The sauerkraut may be eaten immediately, but it improves with age.  It will last for months in the fridge.

I have found that 3 days is a little short in this colder weather.  There is another way to seal the top which I have been playing around with.  The last batch I made, I followed that recipe and then tasted it.  I wanted it more sour, so I left it on the counter for a few more days (maybe 4-5?) and covered it with this other method.  Fill a ziploc with salted water, and put it in the top of the jar on the cabbage.  The weight of the water should press the cabbage down and the liquid should meet the back around the edges making a type of seal. This way air can escape as it is produced by the lacto-fermentation process, but it can’t get back in. Put it on a plate to catch overflow. You can taste it ever day or two with a clean fork, and then put it in the fridge once it is sour enough.  I have also found that it will continue to change flavor once in the fridge.  I just finished a batch that was a couple of weeks old and the flavor was delish.  I think ideally I would get on a schedule where I was eating kraut that I made about 3 weeks prior.

Anyway, good luck!  Let me know if you have any more questions and I can’t wait to hear how it goes. Check out this kimchi recipe as well.

selfish

If we were standing in your physical shoes, that would be our dominant quest: Entertaining Yourself, pleasing Yourself, connecting with Yourself, being Yourself, enjoying Yourself, loving Yourself. Some say, “Well, Abraham you teach selfishness.” And we say, yes we do, yes we do, yes we do, because unless you are selfish enough to reach for that connection, you don’t have anything to give anyone, anyway. And when you are selfish enough to make that connection—you have an enormous gift that you give everywhere you are.

— Abraham

The Way of the Happy Woman: Living the Best Year of Your Life

is a book by Sara Avant Stover  (I found it at the library this evening and it’s my current favorite.)  Here’s a quote from the preface written by Kate Northrup Moller, (daughter of one of my health heroes, Christiane Northrup, MD) and she expresses well what I want people to know about the health coaching program, a six-month adventure in health, that I will soon be offering (for more info, visit lilykmorris.com).

“Your body knows the answers already.  She has led you to pick up this book (or to schedule your initial complimentary health consultation with Lily).  She is the only one you get this lifetime.  You are the only one going all the way with you this time around.  Follow Sara’s (or Lily’s) refreshing guidance to incorporate only what resonates with you in this book (or six-month adventure in health) instead of attacking it like a new program, some sort of regimen to whip yourself into shape, or adding it to your already full to-do list.  Your body thrives on love.  Treat her as the divine creature she is, and I promise, she will never steer you wrong.”

And here’s a quote from Sara’s introduction to her book:

You Are The One You’ve Been Waiting For.  No doctor, spouse, TV personality, yoga instructor or medicine woman can heal you.  She can help support and inspire you, no doubt.  She can show you the way.  But ultimately you have to take the power back into your own hands and treat each moment as an opportunity to reclaim your health, and, in turn, your wholeness and happiness.  Being healthy isn’t about doing everything right and having everything go your way; rather, it is a way of being and perceiving yourself and the world with honesty – of showing up for life fully.”

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I woke this morning at 2:30AM when Panda, the cat, came in from outside the apartment where I am house-sitting and walked around my head on my pillow.  I was pretty upset and tried to go back to sleep but I was too worked up.  I decided to get up and play the piano.  I love playing the piano.  I started taking piano lessons when I was 11 or so.  I continued for about 9 years, until I decided to  become a sailor and go to sea.  The ships I worked on didn’t have pianos, so I would play a few times a year when I was home.  I found a practice room in the library when I moved to Portland, ME a few years back.  I spent the occasional wintery afternoon exploring what was left of my musical repertoire.  I felt, then and now, really excited to be back in touch with my piano playing self.

Next activity on my morning adventure was the discovery of a book by Pema Chodron on the book shelf behind the piano.  It’s called Start Where You Are: A Guide To Compassionate Living.  Within the first few pages I was drawn in and felt my insides starting to melt a bit.  After a little writing about what I had read, and about my fierce reaction to the cat, I was ready to watch a movie: the Devil Wears Prada.  It made me laugh, and also reminded me what a difference it can make to wear clothes that make me feel fabulous.

     

As the movie ended, I noticed that the sky was starting to lighten.  I figured I had better take advantage of the fact that I was up this early, and go out and enjoy the sunrise.  I dressed warmly, and armed with my camera and my bicyle helmet, I cycled down to the harbor and walked along the beach.  The air was still and the water perfectly calm, picture perfect.  I walked down the beach towards Grace, the sculling boat that was born from a vision of my father’s to have a community rowing program on the island.  I could see that there were a few people gathering on the sand near her stern, and before I knew it, I had been invited to go out rowing, and we were stroking steadily for the outer harbor.

  

It was an absolutely ideal morning for a row, the water still, and the air not too cold.  Soon after we started, my hands began to ache.  Near the end of our trip I finally figured out how to hold the sweep (the big, long oar) properly, and “play the piano” with my fingers as I pushed so I didn’t grip the round wooden handle too hard.  I practiced letting the blade of the sweep dip just below the surface of water as we pulled the boat forward.  I turned the long wooden oar to feather the flat end, letting it glide just above the ripples on the way back.  Occasionally, when I got in the groove, it felt meditative.  Even when it didn’t feel easy or smooth, I knew that I was in the right place at the right time.

a piece of My Story…

I was an insulin resistant, hypoglycemic, sugar-addicted, chronically stuffed up, yeast infested, tendinitis, toting, acne-faced, pre-menstrual symptom plagued….”Healthy” vegetarian for much of my life.  While I have always been searching for health, most people look at my funny when I tell them about my latest discovery in my quest for well-being because I am already one of the healthiest people they know.

It’s hard to pin point exactly when the shift started for me, because even as a young teenager I was reading my mom’s books about eating well – Acid/Alkaline balancing, Eat Right 4 Your Blood Type, The Yeast Connection, etc.  By the time I was in my mid teens, I knew that consuming sugar gave me a stuffy nose, and eating nuts and fruit together usually gave me a stomach ache.  My family started eating protein and veggies for breakfast most days and I think that was a major step for me.  I began to see that I didn’t have to feel totally spaced out and cranky by 10:30 in the morning – as I often felt when I ate grains and fruit for breakfast.  Even a hearty granola with fruit and yogurt wouldn’t last me until lunch time; I’d be ravenous by mid morning and I needed to eat every 2-3 hours in order to keep my tummy happy, and my mood stable.  I found that I could sometimes keep my blood sugar stable between meals by eating a balance of veggies, fat and dairy- or plant-based proteins, but if I let my hungry belly wait for too long, it would start to feel as though my digestive juices were beginning to eat my stomach, and it would sometimes take the rest of the day to calm it down.  Reading the Eat Right 4 Your Blood Type was very much a revelation for me because it introduced me to the idea that there is not a universally healthy diet, there is not one way of eating that works for everyone.

I was still a very devoted vegetarian (my recipe book that I started around that time has a quote on the cover “animals are my friends and I don’t eat my friends.”…hmm) but I think that reading about how my ancestors were hunter-gatherers and subsisted mostly on animal protein and plants may have started to open me up to the possibility of changing my vegetarian status.  My whole family made a few changes in our diet and they really stuck with my as I searched for a diet that made me feel good.  We switched to using spelt flour in place of wheat and this showed me how easy it was to make a change in my diet when it felt like a good one.  I got to the point where baked goods made from wheat flour didn’t even taste as good to me anymore.  We reduced out intake of corn and potatoes and dairy, and started to focus on getting enough protein and green veggies in our meals.

Over the next ten years or so, I continued to experiment with many different ways of eating.  I tried the raw food diet, a mostly macrobiotic diet, the acid/alkaline diet and the candida diet.  At some point I decided to start eating eggs and in a way, it felt like a home-coming for me – it was that positive an experience.  I had always sort of known that I loved scrambled eggs, even though I had been a strict vegetarian since I was two (before then we had eaten fish and eggs).  Not too long after eggs, I added fish back into my diet.  I started with some lox on a bagel and quickly progressed to freshly caught tuna sashimi while working on a boat sailing up the East Coast.  The introduction of eggs and fish to my diet was somewhat of a necessity as I was sailing in the caribbean and accquiring tofu and tempeh down there was difficult.  On the other hand, I think it was just part of a natural progression towards eating in a way that is nourishing and sustaining for me.

Five or six years later, my sailing career over for the time-being, I found myself hacking apart a whole, raw chicken at an Italian cooking class and I noticed that I didn’t feel grossed out by it or even really all that sorry for the chicken; I felt like I was preparing food.  I decided I might as well try eating some.  The smell of frying chicken was already making my mouth water and the first bite was like a taste explosion.  I finally got to experience the intense flavors of salt and fat that had been mostly absent from my diet up until that point.  I was in ecstasy (and also a bit of disbelief that I was actually eating meat after swearing it off my whole life) as I munched the savory, melt-in-your-mouth morsels.