Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Teepee is Ready to Go!

The teepee is up! I know you were not aware of my Native American roots, but that’s only because I have none. The teepee is for my beans. It’s always the most impressive feature in my garden, causing people to ooo and awe over my gardening prowess. But really, it’s no big deal. You can build one, too.

The teepee costs nothing and can be assembled in a half hour or less, depending on your available resources. All you need is a few sticks – three long, three medium – and a bunch of twine. Baling twine, which is littered in most every nook and crevice of my barn, works best. After this winter, sticks are everywhere. If you haven’t got a pile in the back of your yard, stop by a park, woods, etc., and grab a few off the ground. I promise no one will mind. If you’re local and need sticks – c’mon over. We picked up fifteen pick-up truck loads of fallen branches after this winter’s ice storm. (You can grab some free baling twine while you’re here.)
Once you have your sticks and twine assembled, choose a relatively level spot that gets plenty of sun.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Bring on the Fat! (Really!)

When my youngest son was first diagnosed with alopecia areata, we desperately sought answers. All the traditional doctors at the esteemed hospitals told us there was nothing we could do. I refused to believe that and sought alternative treatments. This led us to a doc in Lancaster who practiced what I’ll call ‘wellness medicine.’ He doesn’t have a sign and he isn’t in the book, but through combing the internet, autoimmune message boards, and facebook, we found him.

We waited nearly six months for our appointment. It was pouring rain on the day that Ian and I set out for his office. We found it deep in the heart of the city of Lancaster in a basement of an unmarked old house. I was anxious, but committed to seeing it through so we waited in a damp, dimly lit room for over thirty minutes. The only literature available to read consisted of hippie newsletters full of information on making your own kefir, recipes for bulgur (what?), CSA’s, organic farms, and endless rants against the corrupt food system controlled by our even more corrupt government.

When the doctor appeared, he was a friendly bear of a man and Ian took to him immediately. He talked to us extensively about what Ian currently ate, looked in his mouth, felt his glands, scraped his skin, and took a saliva test. Then he overwhelmed my mind with his talk about how upside down our government’s nutritional standards are. He said Ian needed more animal fats and salt in his diet. He prescribed homeopathic remedies like butter capsules and vitamins he had specifically developed for kids in today’s American food culture. While Ian munched on a piece of beef jerky from the jar on his desk, I frantically wrote down everything he said about raw milk, grass-fed meat, full-fat cheeses, and bacon grease.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Sugar Addict

Is sugar addictive? Scientists and dieticians have debated this question, but most of us know the truth. Indeed it is. Powerfully so. The National Institutes of Health quietly agrees also, although they didn’t take out an ad on the front page of the New York Times to announce it.

Here’s what I know – If I eat one handful of M&M’s, I’m going to want another handful so badly that I’ll steal it out of my kid’s Halloween stash if I have to.  But when I stop eating white sugar for longer than a few days, I no longer crave it. There have been three Cadbury crème eggs (my biggest weakness in terms of hideously-bad-for-you-but-OMG-deliciousness) sitting on the top of my dresser since Easter morning. Usually my hubby is much trickier in hiding my eggs, but he had just returned that morning at 1am from a week of digging foundations by hand in rural Honduras in 100 degree heat. Instead of finding my Cadbury eggs in my sock drawer or inside my pillowcase, they were unceremoniously dumped on top of my dresser, Happy Easter. I think he gets points for even managing to produce them in light of his previous week. At any rate, those eggs are still sitting there over two weeks later. I haven’t even touched them because I know that the moment I do, I’ll eat all three. I stare at them every day, but don’t remove them. It’s like the cigarette in Augustus’ mouth in The Fault in Our Stars – I look at the killing thing every day to gain power over it.

Breaking the sugar habit is tough for all of us. Nearly everything edible you buy has added sugar. Check out any bread, yogurt, condiment, cracker, spaghetti sauce, prepared food, even hot dogs – high fructuous corn syrup or sugar is an added ingredient. It’s very difficult to avoid sugar.