Monthly Archives: February 2011

Regaining Harmony.

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Yesterday was an absolutely beautiful day… the crisp air cut through my jeans as the sun barely peaked through thick snow clouds. Walking down the street, penny sized snow flakes began to stick in the grass and pile on top of green and yellow beanies and scarves. In class, staring at the window, I finally understood what all the poems meant by a “blanket” of snow. The snow was so fluffy and dense and comforting, i was disappointed to be in class. But as quick as it came, it was gone. The sun came out and warmed many out of their winter jackets and stripped away all the snow from the ground. Every building, light pole, street sign, and vehicle were dripping and streams of water trickled down the streets, speckling in the bright and warm sunlight. This was a beautiful beginning to my regaining some harmony in my life.

Mental harmony: This week went well in my classes. I was beyond nervous to go back after missing so many classes and thought I would be very behind. First of all, I had to drop my Italian course. While at first I was a little broken up about this, I realized that the Italian courses at the school would not help me anymore until I actually visited Italy and got a firmer grasp on the language. So, now I can stress a little less about keeping up in the language and actually have some confidence in classes for the next few terms. Secondly, I met with my journalism professor and was told that I seem to be ahead of the kids that were actually in the class. haha. Lastly, my other journalism professor has decided to redo his final so that it may be a take home and allow people to do better on the exam. My anxiety monster has been locked away now for the time being.

Physical Harmony: Today, I resigned at my job at Mangiamo. This was the most difficult decision I had to make to return to some harmony. My boss was absolutely wonderful at accepting the information, and though we shared some tears, I think I left in a very good spot. By quitting this job, I will not have the high demand of waking up early some days and going to be really late other days, I will also not have the added responsibility of ensuring the barista side runs properly. I do hope to keep my boss in my life. I have also been really concentrating on the food that I put into my body. I am trying to remember that food is what sustains me, not simply a pleasure. It has only been about 3 days, but I am already noticing a difference in the way my stomach feels. In the morning I have been eating fruit (usually watermelon, cantaloupe, pears, or bananas, or a mix) and one or two egg whites. Sometimes I need a snack and will eat fruit and drink some herbal tea. I have been roasting big trays of veggies and saving them to divvy out for lunch with a small piece of chicken and also possibly an afternoon snack. The roasted veggies have been yam, sweet potato, broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower, sprinkled with sea salt, pepper, and curry.  Dinner last night I made a curry stir fry with green beans, broccoli, carrots, ginger, garlic, and chicken. I also have a soup by PACIFIC called red lentil curry. Though lentils are an acid causing food, they were only a minor part of the soup and I hardly had any acid that I decided it would be fine. This diet, along with lots of water and probiotics, has already made me feel much better.

Emotional Harmony: Freeing myself up from all the stress, I believe, will truly help my emotional well being. Shane is wonderful and makes me feel good, but he can only do so much for me. I will not be able to focus on one job and learn what I am truly passionate about: baking! I am excited to finally learn and gain some skills I can use for a career I really love. Also, I will now have the time to garden and be creative again. I have also been thinking a lot lately about my sister graduating, and this transition will give me a lot more free time to visit her and to spend more time in Bend before my family moves away.

Just gonna try to let the sun rush in.

Shocked!

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So after hearing some advice about controlling acid, I decided to research what foods were acid and what foods were alkaline. I had previously looked up things to avoid with GERD, but when I actually looked up the alkaline vs acid causing foods, I WAS SHOCKED! I had felt confident that I was eating healthy and had no diet problems, but boy was I wrong. I had basically been shoving my body full of acids while I was sick without even realizing it. I had been trying to avoid acidic foods like oranges, juices, etc., but little did I know those are actually alkaline causing foods. I had also been eating pretty much only rice, beans, and oatmeal (they were really the only things I could get down easily). All of those things, unfortunately, are acid causing.

I decided at that moment to try to only eat alkaline foods until I was feeling close to normal, and so far it has only been about two days, and I am already noticing a difference. So even though you may feel like you are eating healthy, take a look at this…. (and for more info follow this link Acid vs Alkaline)

Ranked Foods: Alkaline  to  Acidic
Extremely Alkaline

Lemons, watermelon.

Alkaline Forming

Cantaloupe, cayenne celery, dates, figs, kelp, limes, mango, melons, papaya, parsley, seaweeds, seedless grapes (sweet), watercress.

Asparagus, fruit juices, grapes (sweet), kiwifruit, passionfruit, pears (sweet), pineapple, raisins, umeboshi plums, and vegetable juices.

Moderately Alkaline

Apples (sweet), alfalfa sprouts, apricots, avocados, bananas (ripe), currants, dates, figs (fresh), garlic, grapefruit, grapes (less sweet), guavas, herbs (leafy green), lettuce (leafy green), nectarine, peaches (sweet), pears (less sweet), peas (fresh, sweet), pumpkin (sweet), sea salt (vegetable).

Apples (sour), beans (fresh, green), beets, bell peppers, broccoli, cabbage, carob, cauliflower, ginger (fresh), grapes (sour), lettuce (pale green), oranges, peaches (less sweet), peas (less sweet), potatoes (with skin), pumpkin (less sweet), raspberries, strawberries, squash, sweet Corn (fresh), turnip, vinegar (apple cider).

Slightly Alkaline

Almonds, artichokes (jerusalem), brussel sprouts, cherries, coconut (fresh), cucumbers, eggplant, honey (raw), leeks, mushrooms, okra, olives (ripe), onions, pickles (homemade), radishes, sea salt, spices, tomatoes (sweet), vinegar (sweet brown rice).

Chestnuts (dry, roasted), egg yolks (soft cooked), essene bread, goat’s milk and whey (raw), mayonnaise (homemade), olive oil, sesame seeds (whole), soy beans (dry), soy cheese, soy milk, sprouted grains, tofu, tomatoes (less sweet), and yeast (nutritional flakes).

Neutral

Butter (fresh, unsalted), cream (fresh, raw), cow’s milk and whey (raw), margine, oils (except olive), and yogurt (plain).

Moderately Acidic

Bananas (green), barley (rye), blueberries, bran, butter, cereals (unrefined), cheeses, crackers (unrefined rye, rice and wheat), cranberries, dried beans (mung, adzuki, pinto, kidney, garbanzo), dry coconut, egg whites, eggs whole (cooked hard), fructose, goat’s milk (homogenized), honey (pasteurized), ketchup, maple syrup (unprocessed), milk (homogenized).

Molasses (unsulferd and organic), most nuts, mustard, oats (rye, organic), olives (pickled), pasta (whole grain), pastry (whole grain and honey), plums, popcorn (with salt and/or butter), potatoes, prunes, rice (basmati and brown), seeds (pumpkin, sunflower), soy sauce, and wheat bread (sprouted organic).

Extremely Acidic

Artificial sweeteners, beef, beer, breads, brown sugar, carbonated soft drinks, cereals (refined), chocolate, cigarettes and tobacco, coffee, cream of wheat (unrefined), custard (with white sugar), deer, drugs, fish, flour (white, wheat), fruit juices with sugar, jams, jellies, lamb.

Liquor, maple syrup (processed), molasses (sulphured), pasta (white), pastries and cakes from white flour, pickles (commercial), pork, poultry, seafood, sugar (white), table salt (refined and iodized), tea (black), white bread, white vinegar (processed), whole wheat foods, wine, and yogurt (sweetened).

 

More Ranked Foods: Alkaline  to  Acidic
Highly Alkaline Forming Foods

Baking soda, sea salt, mineral water, pumpkin seed, lentils, seaweed, onion, taro root, sea vegetables, lotus root, sweet potato, lime, lemons, nectarine, persimmon, raspberry, watermelon, tangerine, and pineapple.

Moderately Alkaline Forming Foods

Apricots, spices, kambucha, unsulfured molasses, soy sauce, cashews, chestnuts, pepper, kohlrabi, parsnip, garlic, asparagus, kale, parsley, endive, arugula, mustard green, ginger root, broccoli, grapefruit, cantaloupe, honeydew, citrus, olive, dewberry, carrots, loganberry, and mango.

Low Alkaline Forming Foods

Most herbs, green tea, mu tea, rice syrup, apple cider vinegar, sake, quail eggs, primrose oil, sesame seed, cod liver oil, almonds, sprouts, potato, bell pepper, mushrooms, cauliflower, cabbage, rutabaga, ginseng, eggplant, pumpkin, collard green, pear, avocado, apples (sour), blackberry, cherry, peach, and papaya.

Very Low Alkaline Forming Foods

Ginger tea, umeboshi vinegar, ghee, duck eggs, oats, grain coffee, quinoa, japonica rice, wild rice, avocado oil, most seeds, coconut oil, olive oil, flax oil, brussel sprout, beet, chive, cilantro, celery, okra, cucumber, turnip greens, squashes, lettuces, orange, banana, blueberry, raisin, currant, grape, and strawberry.

Very Low Acid Forming Foods

Curry, koma coffee, honey, maple syrup, vinegar, cream, butter, goat/sheep cheese, chicken, gelatin, organs, venison, fish, wild duck, triticale, millet, kasha, amaranth, brown rice, pumpkin seed oil, grape seed oil, sunflower oil, pine nuts, canola oil, spinach, fava beans, black-eyed peas, string beans, wax beans, zucchini, chutney, rhubarb, coconut, guava, dry fruit, figs, and dates.

Low Acid Forming Foods

Vanilla, alcohol, black tea, balsamic vinegar, cow milk, aged cheese, soy cheese, goat milk, game meat, lamb, mutton, boar, elk, shell fish, mollusks, goose, turkey, buckwheat, wheat, spelt, teff, kamut, farina, semolina, white rice, almond oil, sesame oil, safflower oil, tapioca, seitan, tofu, pinto beans, white beans, navy beans, red beans, aduki beans, lima beans, chard, plum, prune and tomatoes.

Moderately Acid Forming Foods

Nutmeg, coffee, casein, milk protein, cottage cheese, soy milk, pork, veal, bear, mussels, squid, chicken, maize, barley groats, corn, rye, oat bran, pistachio seeds, chestnut oil, lard, pecans, palm kernel oil, green peas, peanuts, snow peas, other legumes, garbanzo beans, cranberry, and pomegranate.

Highly Acid Forming Foods

Tabletop sweeteners like (NutraSweet, Spoonful, Sweet ‘N Low, Equal or Aspartame), pudding, jam, jelly, table salt (NaCl), beer, yeast, hops, malt, sugar, cocoa, white (acetic acid) vinegar, processed cheese, ice cream, beef, lobster, pheasant, barley, cottonseed oil, hazelnuts, walnuts, brazil nuts, fried foods, soybean, and soft drinks, especially the cola type.  To neutralize a glass of cola with a pH of 2.5, it would take 32 glasses of alkaline water with a pH of 10.

Natural Roots

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I received some very helpful advice last night from a friend’s mother. She is a pharmacist turned natural remedy-ist. I asked her about my GERD and she gave me some great pointers on what I should do to try and get off of this nasty Prilosec and return my body back to its health self. She recommended that I continue like I had with my old diet: organic, lots of veggies and fruits, whole grains, and recently I have cut dairy because of the effect it has on my stomach. But now, she says I should cut red meat, sugar, tomatoes,and peppers. Red meat is basically out of my diet already, tomatoes and peppers is disappointing but doable, and sugar, oh sugar. This one has always been a difficult one for me, but I know I can do it for a few weeks. She says that these things encourage inflammation.

As far as natural supplements, she believes that I need to start with a good probiotic. This completely makes sense because before I got sick, I was eating yogurt almost every morning, and since then, have had no real amount of probiotics. I am sure my belly is having an incredibly hard time fighting off everything. She also suggested that I try to ween myself off prilosec after a couple weeks of the probiotics. She also recommended, after finishing the prilosec, that I take a spoonful of apple cider vinegar a half hour before each meal to help signal acid creation.

And her most important advice: “remember that natural ways take time to work, it took you a while to get into a state that bothered you so it can take some time to get you back.”

Spring Goals and Health Aspirations

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This winter, to say the least, was hard. I got GERD (maybe, still need to see a gastroenterologist), then I got mono. Talk about some icing on the cake. But, through all of this, it has really made me think; think about my emotions, my relationships, and my physical health. I really feel honored to have such a wonderful family first of all, I guess it doesnt hurt to be sick on Valentines day when chocolates and flowers are involved. Also, my wonderful Shane has been really gentle with me, not making me feel childish, but really just making me feel loved.

But beyond that, I have really had to think logically about the amount of stress I am putting on myself. I am a very good time manager and felt little stress, but forcing myself to lie down for over a week really made me realize the amount of pressure I have in my life. I decided that the amount of actual work I am doing is unnecessary and schooling will have to be better managed. So here are some goals to bring my life back to relaxed happiness.

  1. I was (finally) offered a job as a bread baker at Eugene City Bakery. I have made the difficult decision that I will quit at Mangiamo and work less, but more fulfilling, hours at Eugene City.
  2. I also feel this desire to reinvent my creative self. I recently found out the craft center pass only costs $15 dollars a term. I can take an intro to the wheel class that only lasts two days and shane can get into the woodshop. My sewing machine has been screaming at me from inside the closet all year and needs a chance to breath. I was also given a wonderful digital Nikon for Christmas that has hardly had a chance to be used for beauty yet and my baking skills are leaving me. I need to CREATE!
  3. I really would like to do more fulfilling physical activities. I worked my ass off two hours a day in the gym, running almost 5 miles a day and lifting. I believe this was also a great part of my demise to mono. I would like to continue running, but I would also like to go on many more hikes and begin doing (my first true love) yoga again. Yoga helped me through some hard times before, and I believe it can again

My list will grow, I am sure. But for now, I believe that these things will help to relieve this boring, bland life i have created for myself over these past few years. I never want to be this sick and stressed again, and I want to truly enjoy my last few terms at this University.

Brew Number Two among other things…

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Brew Number Two was an Oatmeal Stout. A thick oatmeal stout on a cold winter evening… just thinking of it warms my belly. Not to mention this creamy beer is an excellent addition to any baking venture.

Quakers Revenge Oatmeal Stout

Extracts: 7lb Dark Liquid Malt Extract

Grains:

  • 1lb UK Crystal Malt
  • 1/2lb UK  Chocolate Malt
  • 1/2lb UK Roasted Barley
  • 1/4lb UK Black Patent Malt
  • 1/2lb Flaked Oats

Hops: 2oz Golding (1oz 60 minutes, 1oz 10 minutes)

This beer, though sounding tasty and easy, was everything but. We had nothing but problems from the moment the wort went into the carboy. We left town the day we took the fermentation lock off of the carboy and expected a nice brew to be ready when we returned home  a few weeks later. Well, we returned home, cranked up the heater and… low and behold… our beer began fermenting again. It had gotten too COLD for fermentation! So we tried to situate the carboy next to a heater from the next couple of weeks. The brew had now been trying to ferment for over a month and a half (about 3 weeks longer than its supposed to). We bottled the beer, waited patiently for about two weeks, opened the first brew… and it was flat. The flavor was not bad, but a little too sweet for my taste. We waited another week and got a little bit of a better head on the beer. I wouldnt call this brew a failure, but I am definitely waiting til spring (or until we have a better heater) to start the next batch! I have been “brewing” up some future ideas though, involving another tasty beverage companion: Tea. I am thinking Chai Stout (these might be good mixers though instead!), Jasmine or plain green tea IPA, maybe a kind of English Breakfast Porter?

Shane and I have been playing with many ideas of how to incorporate his love (beer and brewing) and my love (baking) into one fantastic restaurant/cafe. One of my favorites is the Brew and Bread. Simple. The history of beer even comes from a folklore that bread had been left out in a rainstorm, rain water was caught under the bread, sat out for some time, and was fermented into beer. The two compliment each other perfectly. I also have some great recipes in my head, well mostly adaptations from ones I have heard. :)

My mom just sent me this one from a Boulder brewery. Flying Dog Brewery-French Toast

Beer french toast? My two favorite things in one succulent brunch treat. Yes please! The Flying Dog Brewery recipe calls for the typical french toast soakings: eggs, milk, vanilla,  adds a little spice with nutmeg and cinnamon, and a punch with their Heffenweisen. My take on this: one (seasonal) add pumpkin, some ginger, clove, and an amber. two (adding my third favorite thing…) coffee! espresso, milk, brown sugar, and an espresso stout. Out of this world bomb!

Another bread recipe that I need to thieve is Eugene City Bakery’s Guiness Stout Bread. Its this great mixture of a super spicy Christmas gingerbread soaked in a Guiness Stout glaze. Perfectly moist and more like a cake than a bread.

CSA’s are coming up… well not exactly, but getting closer. I am thinking of getting mine through Lost Creek Farm. Cant wait for spring and cant wait to start brewing and bakin again.

Finally.

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Its embarrassing how long it has been since I have written an entry. Life has been more than full of unusual craziness.

Winter break, when it was planned out, sounded like an amazing adventure….and it started out that way. Shane and I finished up our last shifts (for the season) at work, packed our bags, and joined with my father and my sister, Erin, for an adventure to Denver. The first pass went well, not an unusual amount of snow and the truck did just fine. We got to bend, picked up the last of the luggage, and headed off for our long journey. From that moment on, the weather was a crazy mixture of low teens temperatures, mixed with daytime and nighttime fog, icy and slushy roads, and just about everything to give a girl like me a heart attack. We made it to Boise that night, unpacked our things from the bed of the truck during the freezing rain, and slept a few comforting hours. We got up the next day and did it all over again until finally reaching Grand Junction, CO. Total hours driving approx 19, total hours expected about 13.

The next day we were expected to drive to Denver. I was excited about it because it had been years since I had been there and Shane had never seen it. It is definitely a potential place I would want to live. The drive over was normal for winter… about 5/6 hours. We were stopped for about 45 minutes waiting for the tunnel, but it went fairly smoothly. We got to Denver around dinner time, wandered around 16th street mall for awhile, and met up with my mother. The night was calm, opened presents drank tea, got lost in a prickly field and almost stopped by a cop with Erin and Shane, the usual.

The next day we visited Boulder, and I may have fell in love. Its a lot of what I am looking for in a city, parks, hiking outdoors, culture, near but not in a big city, and perfect snowy winters mixed with perfect sunny summers. But after this moment of the trip, it all went down hill. I got sick about halfway through the day and had to spend the next three days choking back pepto just to drive back home to Bend. Not to mention there was an accident in the tunnel we had to take to get back from Denver, so instead, we had to take the treacherous (i am not exaggerating with that word), 2 narrow lane, plunging cliff, loveland highway to get back. Approximate drive time 9-10 hours, expected drive time 5. We got back to Bend on the night of the 23rd, moments before my 21st, and I decided I had to go out. The night went fairly well and I saw at least 30 people from high school.

The next day, all over again, the sickness. Now lets just get this all out of the way… I spent the next three weeks in gastro pain; i went through every possibility. Was I lactose intolerant? did i catch a bug? was it from traveling? what gives? So finally when I got back to school I took advantage of our very inexpensive health services and was told I have Gerd. Yep I have an old man disease, GastroEsphogealRefluxDisease. I took the prescription for a couple weeks, felt much better, then about a week later I find myself back at the health center (mind you I am NOT a doctor person, my pulse was over 100  both times!). The doctor looked at my bloodshot eye, felt my swollen glands, and told me she thinks I have adenovirus. Adenovirus, upon further research, is most common in children under 10. Wow, I have a child’s immunity and an old man’s stomach. Sweet jesus I love what college does to a person.

But all that aside, Shane and I got to spend Christmas and my birthday together for the first time since we have been dating. We didn’t do anything extraordinary, but I was just so happy to wake up and see his tangled mess of hair lying next to me on Christmas morning. To my surprise, my dad and sister had gotten him presents too. The whole day just felt right.

Shane and I returned a few days after Christmas to leave again for Seattle. First ride on the train, and I am in love. We spent 4 nights in Seattle and had a blast. Our hostel was great (www.cityhostelseattle.com), every room was painted by a different artist, there was a hot tub out back, free breakfast in the morning, and kitchens on every floor. One morning, we walked down (only about 5 blocks) to Pike Street Market and got fresh scallops, shrimp, pasta, garlic, and veggies, and then went to the Macrina Cafe and got a loaf of Sourdough and made a delicious dinner, it paired quite well with our homebrew Frenchie’s First IPA by Heavy Head Brewers (aka Shane’s logo).

Shane and I also joked this trip that now we just had to ride a boat and we would have taken all forms of transportation this year, so… we did. We hopped on a ferry one of the beautiful sunny blue skied days and floated to the other side of the Sound to see Shane’s mom. It took about 35 minutes to get to Bremerton, then we took a little tiny boat (about 25 passenger) to Port Orchard about 5 minutes away. It was really interesting to see all the commuters coming home from work and all the young kids riding over to look for some night life. We did a lot of the touristy stuff too: Underground tour (highly recommend), Aquarium (recommend), Experience Music Project (dont recommend for price, just look at the cool architecture), Space Needle (didn’t pay just looked), and the Monorail (don’t recommend, short and expensive). It was really nice to be out completely on our own and to have no agenda.

Currently, Shane and I are both taking 16 credits and working our asses off. The sun has been out and beautiful though, and there are already signs of spring. I renewed my garden plot membership and am excited to get back to work on it soon. My garlic is already waking up from it winter slumber. The urban farm is also producing brussel sprouts and brassicas like crazy. Cant wait to get back in that dirt.