Sunday, April 29, 2012

yogurt mmmmmm

I've been having fun with the dehydrator up at the main house.  There are a few ways to make yogurt and I learned a new one from Melanie.  I love how it is coming out - perfect for Indian curries and sauces!  And I am so lucky to have this raw goat milk  to make it with.  We have an abundance right now so I'm experimenting with flavors and making extra for all the beautiful people who work on the farm.  I've made strawberry, peach maple, and pear cardamom.  
You need:  
- 1 gallon raw milk
- 1 pint of plain yogurt (from the store or from your last batch)
- 10 pint glass canning jars with lids
Put 1 1/2 tbsp of yogurt in each jar.  Fill with milk and secure lid.  Put in the dehydrator on the yogurt setting (115 degrees) for 10 to 12 hours.  And that's it!  You can add flavorings if you want - I haven't experienced any problems with adding ingredients yet.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Ayurvedic Healing

Another book recommendation for anyone interested in Ayurveda...
Ayurvedic Healing, A comprehensive Guide by David Frawley.
I've been collecting books on Ayurveda, mostly cookbooks, and have found a few gems, but I think as far as healing goes, this one is the best.  It is really clear, easy to read and well organized.  It addresses the treatment of specific ailments, and the philosophy behind it.  Another book I want to share with everyone I meet!

Vedic Hymn to the Plants

Plants, which as receptacles of light were born three ages before the Gods, I honor your myriad colors and your seven hundred natures.
A hundred, oh Mothers, are your natures and a thousand are your growths.  May you of a hundred powers make whole what has been hurt.
Plants, as Mothers and Goddesses, I address you.  May I gain energy, light, and sustenance, your soul, you who are a conscious being.
Where the herbs are gathered together like kings in an assembly, there the doctor is called a sage, who destroys evil, and averts disease.
As they fell from Heaven, the plants said, "The living soul we pervade, that man will suffer no harm."
The herbs that are in the kingdom of the Moon, manifold with a hundred eyes, I take this plant as the best of them, for the fulfillment of wishes as peace to the heart.
Plants that are queens of the Soma, spread over all the Earth, generated by the Lord of Prayer, may your energy combine within this herb.
Rig Veda X.97

Thursday, April 12, 2012

8 Things You Can Do To Balance Mood and Relieve Depression Naturally

This is a document I've been working on.  It probably needs some more revision, but I thought I'd put it up here and edit it when I'm called to.  This is a response to some of the work Lita and I have been doing to help people get off their meds...

8 Things You Can Do To Balance Mood and Relieve Depression Naturally

These things are really easy to do; it is just a matter of getting into a routine.
The best way to do that is by taking care of as much of your daily needs as possible in the morning before you start the day, so it is out of the way and you don't forget.

take a fish oil supplement daily
This is one of the top ways to balance mood and relieve depression.  Omega 3’s are absolutely essential for our brain health.  You can order it in capsule form to take every morning.  The best fish oils are fermented fish oils because they retain the most nutrients.  Here is the company we use:
We take the liquid non-flavored, but it does taste fishy so if that is not appealing to you, we recommend the non-gelatin orange capsules.

take mushroom supplements daily
Mushrooms are another extremely important supplement for brain health; particularly Lion's Mane.  Studies show that a combination of mushroom mycelium is best, so you can read over the different blends if you are interested.  The key players are Reishi, Cordyceps, Lion's Mane, and Maitake.

regular cardiovascular exercise
 Exercise probably helps ease depression in a number of ways, which may include:
- Releasing feel-good brain chemicals that may ease depression (neurotransmitters and endorphins)
- Reducing immune system chemicals that can worsen depression
- Increasing body temperature, which may have calming effects
Exercise has many psychological and emotional benefits too. It can help you:
- Gain confidence. Meeting exercise goals or challenges, even small ones, can boost your self-confidence. Getting in shape can also make you feel better about your appearance.
- Take your mind off worries. Exercise is a distraction that can get you away from the cycle of negative thoughts that feed anxiety and depression.
- Get more social interaction. Exercise may give you the chance to meet or socialize with others. Just exchanging a friendly smile or greeting as you walk around your neighborhood can help your mood.
- Cope in a healthy way. Doing something positive to manage anxiety or depression is a healthy coping strategy. Trying to feel better by drinking alcohol, dwelling on how badly you feel, or hoping anxiety or depression will go away on its own can lead to worsening symptoms.

buy and eat organic food
Pesticides and genetically modified food are poisons to our body.  Chemicals are stored in the fatty tissue of our brains and bodies and turn to cancer, which is why there is so much brain and breast cancer.  Not only is it important to eat organic fruits and vegetables, but also dairy, meat, and grain products.  Dairy and meat are especially important because of growth hormones and antibiotics that harm our systems.

drink spring water or highly filtered water
Fluoride is dumped into our water which directly dulls down and hardens our pineal gland in the brain, which is our organ that is directly linked to mystical experience and spirit-consciousness.  It is extremely beneficial to use an awesome water filter (something that eliminates fluoride, and alkalizes and oxygenates your tap water, like the Kangen system, or something equivalent and less pricey) or drink only spring water.
Drink water all day and flush your system constantly.  Our bodies are 71 percent water and need a ton of it to function properly.

meditate and get enough natural sleep
This is probably the most difficult practice to get into, but one of the most important;  it is essential for processing thought and emotion.  Your brain will probably not be quiet - you will go through all the busyness in your head, but that is the start to meditation.  You just watch your thoughts rise and fall and you observe your emotions and eventually over time it quiets down.  It can be easier to meditate after rigorous exercise when the body is tired, or after yoga.  There are many great books that teach how to meditate.  Look for books written by yogi masters.
It is essential for our brains to enter deep brain wave states that we achieve through sleep (or meditation) to function clearly and properly.  Consider letting go of pharmaceutical sleep aids and explore natural methods.  Unplug electronics that have high frequencies that disturb our brainwaves.  Valerian root is a great night-time supplement.

vitamin B complex supplement
Add a vitamin-B supplement to your daily nutrition.  Vitamin B supports serotonin production.  When shopping for supplements, make sure they are plant-based, natural, and preferably raw.
Here is a list of foods high in natural vitamin B
-      whole grains such as whole-grain flour, brown and wild rice, whole barley, muesli, oatmeal, millet and wheat germ
-      legumes, leafy green vegetables, mushrooms, almonds, beets, peanuts, carrots
-      eggs, meat, fish, shellfish, liver, dairy

- Bentonite Clay or Zeolite supplement
Consuming clay is super important for absorbing chemicals and toxins and adds to overall longevity.  Taking a daily zeolite supplement is major on the list.
If you search “zeolites” on Daniel’s blog here, you can watch a really interesting short video on this practice.

These are all things to support any lifestyle and half of them are nutritional supplements that you can take in the morning, which is a great start to self-healing. 


again, from A Life of Balance...

Called the Mother Grain by the Incas, quinoa was first harvested more than three thousand years ago in South America.  After the Spanish conquest, the Incas began to harvest European grains and ceased to use their native quinoa for more than four centuries.  Quinoa is a distant relative to the beet, spinach, and swiss chard family.  In fact, the leaves of the quinoa plant are cooked and used like spinach.
Like buckwheat, quinoa is technically the fruit of a plant from the Chenopodiaceae family.  While quinoa comes in an array of colors - pink, orange, and red - the variety available in the United States is a buff color.  The resurgence of this stoic grain affords us many vital nutrients.  Quinoa, similar in composition to milk, is the only grain that contains the eight essential amino acids (proteins) in perfect proportion.  Some of these eight amino acids, such as lysine, methionine, and cystine, are scarce in most plant sources.  Quinoa is sweet, astringent, and pungent, with a heating energy.  And excellent grain for Vata and Kapha types, it may also be used occasionally in the fall and winter by Pitta types.


I want to share a really wonderful excerpt from Maya Tiwari's book, A Life of Balance, but first a little back story on me.  I have always had one unhealthy aspect to my relationship with food, which is probably why it is such an important relationship for me and such a huge focus in my life.  When I was a child, I would gobble up my food so fast, and eat so much more than I needed to, that I would sit on my bed groaning and holding my stomach until I threw up.  This was a common occurrence.   I'm not sure why.  It isn't like we had any lack of food in the house that I needed to consume as much as I could.  And I had plenty of fresh vegetables from our family garden.  This impulse to eat quickly in excess has followed me (though thankfully the throwing-up has not).  I know the solution is to slow down, chew, and eat smaller portions.  This is the best advice for everyone, really, especially if you want to lose weight.  I have yet to find the source of this unhealthy impulse, and  I've had to work very hard to remind myself to do these things.  I am grateful that in the last year especially, I feel I have almost weeded that impulse out, although I need to be on guard all the time.  I watch this impulse in others and it seems like a widespread sickness to me in this culture of excess.  I hope if there are others out there that want to heal that type of dysfunctional relationship, that these words reach them.  So here is Maya's advice...

Taste is primal to the eating process.  When the juices of the mind and appetite whet the tongue, we are ready to receive the blissful memories each food gives.  the first step of digestion is chewing.  The digestive water of the tongue aids in the breakdown of food.  As we take the time to ruminate, we remember.  Memories of the entire universe are held in the savoring of our food.  Chewing food to a pulp facilitates digestion and lightens the load on our organs of assimilation.  By being considerate toward the agni of digestion, we are rewarded with a calmer mind.  We cannot remember the truth of being if we are agitated.
Chewing is a delicate sadhana.  When we do not chew properly, we deprive the body of its nutrients and shut down the channels of memory.  Conversely, when eating becomes a tedious and jaw-breaking chore, we defeat the process of assimilation.  We must practice quietude and relaxation while we eat.  We must nurture a wholesome attitude and chew with awareness.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


Sourdough bread is an art and a tricky science.  I have had just as many failures as successes.  But it is one of the most wonderful things!  So it is worth it to keep trying.  And fresh sourdough out of your own kitchen is priceless.

Sourdough Recipe

·         2 cups leftover cooked grain
·         2 cups sourdough starter
·         2 cups water (1 cup can be another liquid such as broth or kefir)
·         8 cups flour (at least 4 should be wheat flour)
·         1 tsp fine sea salt

Mix the left over grains, starter, water (lukewarm), and 4 cups of the flour (2 of them wheat).
Leave for 8 to 24 hours, until good and bubbly
Add the salt and the remaining flour.  Knead for 10 minutes.  Form into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl.  Cover with a towel and allow to rise until it increases in size 50%
Split ball in two.  Knead each ball for another minute or 2 (adding flour when too sticky).  Form loaves and put on baking pan sprinkled with seeds / cornmeal
Allow to rise 1 to 2 more hours then bake at 400 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes.

Sourdough Starter:  Mix 2 cups wheat flour with 2 cups water in a jar and cover with cheesecloth and a rubber band.  Let sit until bubbly (1 or 2 days).  Then add about a tablespoon of flour to it and stir every day for about a week until smells good and sour.  You can read more about starters and caring for them online or in my favorite food book, Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz

Avocado Eggs

Another one of my favorites I used to make for the Cal-Earth workshops...

Avocado Eggs

you will need:

juice from ½ lemon
1 garlic clove finely chopped
1 green onion chopped
¼ tsp sea salt
pinch of cayenne
¼ tsp curry powder
1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
½ cup grated carrots
1 avocado
sprinkle of paprika (optional)
sprouts (optional)


Put the lemon juice, garlic, green onion, cilantro, salt, cayenne and curry powder in a bowl and stir.  Then stir in carrots.

Carefully cut the avocado in half lengthwise and scoop out the inside of the avocado into the bowl with the rest of the ingredients.  Save the avocado shells.  Slice the avocado into ¼ - ½” pieces (don’t mash)

Spoon the mixture into the avocado half shells to serve.  Sprinkle with paprika and sprouts.  Enjoy!

(serves 1)

from Uncooking with RawRose by Rose Vasile