Go Read Annie Dillard's essay on the eclipse
Gil Hedley's Fuzz Speech
This video is just a fantastic way of looking at why stretching is so helpful. You are a complicated system. You want that to keep that system moving.
Be warned this video has some cadavers in it. If you are easily upset this is not a video for you.
Mosquitos are my least favorite part of summer. As such I wanted to share with you my techniques for managing to share the summer with them. I realize that this blog post might read more like a list than a piece of writing but hopefully it is helpful to you.
First a video (this is what it looks like when a mosquito bites you!)
Wow that is kind of a little nightmare.
But its easy to see now why after a mosquito pokes around searching for a vein why your skin gets irritated.
Okay step 1 prevention
In the evening stay away from stagnant water. It is the breeding ground for mosquitos.
When you can long sleeves and long pants. If they are tight around the ankles and wrists they will do a fine job of creating a physical barrier between you and them :)
I wish I could say that there was an easy way to prevent mosquitos. I can't honestly say that there is. Now I am not a big fan of DEET. But I will say that if you are in a place where the mosquitos are bad - DEET is a surefire guarantee. Although as we know it is not the best for your body.
So If you can live with reduced bites what else is there?
Citronella Candles- although not 100% they work fairly well at keeping some of the skeeters down.
Geraniol oil and lemon eucalyptus sprays. You can apply them to any exposed skin. These are what you will find in your most common 'natural' anti mosquito spray. They work fairly well but require regular application.
If you are out camping a mosquito net does exactly what it should do when used properly. Keep mosquitos out with a physical barrier. Doesn't get much better than that!
I have mixed feelings about the anti-mosquito wrist bands. But I will tell you I still use them in conjecture with the other preventative methods.
So despite all of that you have gotten bit- and it itches and you want it to stop.
For severe cases I use the hydrocortisone anti itch cream at the pharmacy. It works.
I also make a thick paste with baking soda and apply it to the bite. I have read discussions about baking sodas ph and neutralizing the bite. But the science is still out on that. Just leave it on until it dries and reapply. For some people this is more effective than others.
I also have had great success using the rind and juice of a lemon and applying it to bites. And aloe is also a great way to soothe the bite and bring the heat out of it.
Some of my cohorts have suggested chewing up some plantain into a paste ( not the banana like fruit but the weed in your garden) and applying it to your bite with great success.
And for a little further reading here is what the CDC says about insect repellants.
Don't let the skeeters deter you from enjoying the summer. And apply your repellant before your sunscreen! Hopefully you find some of these tools useful.
Ahhhhh.... finally after the long darkness we have sunlight until nearly 10pm. We have hours after work that can be spent relaxing outdoors or exercising outdoors or having dinner outside. Every year I am immensely grateful to recognize all the extra life the sun gives.
With all this extra life I know how easy it is to overdue it. Especially in the beginning of the summer it is the easiest for us to get sunburnt. It is said it takes only 15 minutes of high exposure to burn. The UV index you can find here for your region to give you an idea of what your exposure levels are where you live or where you are traveling.
But luckily there are easy ways we can avoid it and easy ways to treat yourself if you get overexposed.
First thing to remember is stay hydrated. You are better able to prevent yourself from overheating and better able to recover if you stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water eat lots of cooling fruits ( watermelon, cantaloupe, honey dew) If you are drinking alcohol and are out in the sun double your efforts to consume water as you are not only processing the sun but also the alcohol in your body.
The second thing I always recommend despite the controversy around it is sunscreen. You are better off (in my opinion) dealing with the minor effects of sunscreen than skin damage. Use SPF 30 and apply it liberally. You can purchase little travel kits to keep with you for your impromptu bike rides or stops at the beach. They usually have a carabiner and can clip easily to any bag. Have it and you will also think about more chances you have to get outside.
The third preventative measure is get into the shade. Put on long sleeved clothing. You can always find thin material that lets you enjoy the sun without putting your skin at risk.
Okay but say you don't get yourself covered and you get the dreaded sunburn. Keep some aloe in your house. You can apply it liberally to any reddened skin. When your skin starts to peel it can help keep your skin moist and cut down on the itching you will experience.
For severe burns see your physician. They can get you a properly medicated burn cream to reduce the pain and prevent any infections that may arise from a serious burn. I pray you never experience that kind of burn.
Get out there enjoy the abundance of summer, run, bike, swim, play badminton, play volleyball, have a drink (responsibly), eat dinner outside, and remember that you live on a planet about 92 million miles away from the sun and that sun is hot. Your skin is the largest organ on your body and it is sensitive. Take care of it.
3/4 tsp Citric Acid
1/6 tsp Rennet or 1/4 tablet rennet
1/2 Gallon Raw Milk
1 quart of Organic Half and Half
Stainless steel ladle and slotted spatula
Cheese Cloth (optional)
Large Pan for heating and mixing
- Dissolve rennet into 1/2 cup cool water. Stir and set aside
- mix 3/4 tsp citric acid in 1/2 cup cool water until dissolved
- pour milk into a stainless steel pot. Mix in the citric acid solution and stir throughly.
- Heat slowly to 90 degrees F. Stirring slowly.
- At 90 degrees stir in the rennet solution with a gentle back and forth motion for about 30 seconds. Slowly continue to heat to 105 degrees
- your curds will start to show coagulation. They should look like shiny yogurt.
- Ladle off the curds and set aside and continue to slowly heat to no more than 110 degrees. If you go to quickly the curds will burn and become grainy
- With the curds off to the side continue to heat the remaining whey to as high as 185 degrees.
- Ladle this water over your curds in small amounts to heat your cheese to allow you to stretch it. (keep a mixing bowl of cool water to cool your hands so you do not get burned as you stretch your cheese)
- Gently shape the curds into balls and set aside.
- This is a great video for learning to make perfect mozzarella
- Sprinkle your cheese with flakey salt- cover with some cool water and refrigerate. Use in 3-5 days.
Sprouts are fun way to add a little variation to your meals. I try and make a batch about once a week. You can use many kinds of seeds that will change the flavor of your sprouts. I like to use alfalfa, radish, and broccolli. However you can find at your local co-op any number of sprouting grains, seeds, and mixes.
What you will need:
- seeds for sprouting
- a large mason jar
- a sprouting lid
- time and attention
What you will need to do:
- Place your seeds into the mason jar and seal with your sprouting lid
- Rinse your seeds and drain excess water
- Soak your seeds in water for no more than 8 hours. I start soaking them before I leave for work and then drain them when I get home
- For the first 2 days you will keep your sprouts in the cupboard where they can pretend they are in a dark damp warm patch of soil.
- You will want to rinse and strain your seeds 2-3 times a day. This will give them the water they need to grow and will also keep them from spoiling. Do this by pouring water into the jar, lightly swirling around, and then draining the fluid. Should take about 3 minutes of your time.
- Usually in the first day the you will see the seed coat break and the primary root will emerge.
- When you start to see the first sign of a stem and baby leaves on the 2nd or 3rd day (hypocotyl and cotyledon for you botany lovers) remove from the cupboard and place somewhere with a fair amount of light.
- Continue to rinse until they reach a size you would like.
- When sufficiently grown I pull my sprouts from the jar rinse them one last time and store in the fridge in a leftover container.
- Use within 5 days and watch for anything growing in your sprouts that may not be sprouts ( i.e. mold) I have never had a problem with this but it is a possibility.
If I have the chance my favorite breakfast is Over Medium Eggs, sweet potatoes pan seared, kale-chard-onions-garlic cooked in butter, orange juice and a cup of tea, and fresh arugula.
However when I can't have my breakfast of choice or need a snack for later in the day I make some variation of this shake.
Ginger- Small nub
Juice of 1 lemon
Frozen Blueberries about 1 cup
1 frozen banana
Kale or Chard 3-4 stalks
Chia Seed soaked in unsweetened almond milk over night
about 1.5 cups of Unsweetened Almond Milk
Almonds 1/4 cup
Powdered Matcha about 1 tsp
4 tablespoons of oil (hemp or olive)
1 tablespoon of flax seed
All the ingredients are approximate. Just toss it in the blender and let it become a smoothie.
The ginger acts as a warming agent to prevent the cold from damaging your digestion. The fruit is easy for your digestion to pick up. The oil helps with the absorption of Oil soluble vitamins. The chia seed acts as a blood sugar stabilizer. The matcha has a touch of caffeine to act as a pick me up.
Enjoy this easy shake when you can't have your favorite breakfast or will need a healthy snack in the middle of the day.
One of my favorite poems- just to share with you.
By Mary Oliver
"You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves. Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. Meanwhile the world goes on. Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain are moving across the landscapes, over the prairies and the deep trees, the mountains and the rivers. Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, are heading home again. Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting— over and over announcing your place in the family of things."
Bone broth has made its way into nearly every meal I have eaten this winter. It is so warm and nourishing I feel my meal isn't complete without a small cup of broth. And of course this is the case. In the winter time we have the opportunity (thanks to the weather and diminished daylight) to rest and restore our bodies.
In Chinese medicine the winter time is associated with the kidneys and our essence. Our Essence: now that is a big thing. Essence is the physical substance that gives rise to life itself! Holy cow that is a big responsibility. There are two forms of essence to speak of : prenatal essence and postnatal essence. In other words part of your essence is derived from your parents ( I like to think of it as your genetic predisposition.) The second part is everything you acquire after birth. This essence can be preserved and nurtured with healthy eating, regular exercise, and a mindful lifestyle.
We can damage our essence through overworking, under sleeping, extended sexual activity, injuries, and improper diets. A diminished essence can lead to weak bones, fatigue, and early aging.
Bone marrow which is produced from essence is deeply tonifying. It is also easy to incorporate into your diet. I use my bone broth as the water to boil any rice I eat, I use it for pasta, I drink it as a tea, it acts as a starter if I want to make miso soup, or it just acts as a starter for any other soup I want to make.
After making the stock you can either store it in your fridge or your freezer. Every week I make a giant pot of broth and fill up about 4 large mason jars and keep them in the fridge. By the end of the week I have usually used them all!
Highly concentrated with calcium, magnesium, collagen, glycine, and gelatin bone broth can help to stabilize blood sugar and nourish the liver.
There is something to the age old adage of having homemade soup when you are sick.
This recipe can be made while you relax on a Sunday evening and know that it will prep you for the week to come making all your meals much easier.
2 stalks of celery
4 cloves of garlic
1/2 a fennel bulb
Stub of Ginger
1 piece of beef bone with marrow
small hunk of butter
Place garlic, onion, ginger, butter and celery in the bottom of a large pan.
Cook on Medium heat until it smells good.
Add the hunk of bone and lemon juice.
Cover with about 6-8 cups of water.
Bring to a low boil and cook for 2 hours.
Lift bone out of soup- using a chopstick poke out the marrow and make sure it gets into the water.
Let cook for another 30 minutes add more water if necessary.
Strain fluid into containers and store.
When cold there should be a solid layer of fat over the broth.
Warm before drinking. Enjoy!
I love ted talks. This is one of those ted talks. Pico Iyer addresses here how just sitting is just as exciting as traveling around the world. When you begin to attune to the inner landscape of yourself you find that there is a good bit you have yet to discover.
A letter to a person on their first day here. If you don't know kid president let me share this with you. He has some wonderful things to share. 'Just treat everybody like its their birthday. Even if they don't deserve it. Because we all mess up sometimes. Our biggest mess up is not forgiving each others mess ups.'
In today’s blog post I wanted to share with you a recipe I use for making a ginger drink. But before I get into that there is a little bit of background information I should share.
The digestive system in Chinese medicine(this is also true in our biomedical understanding of the body) is the fulcrum for which the rest of the body receives its nourishment. By transforming food into usable resources the digestive system creates the foundation by which your entire body is able to operate.
We innately know this. When we are hungry we don’t think straight, our limbs feel heavier, and our energy is quickly depleted.
Suffice to say it is important we take care of our digestion. There are entire schools that are focused around this idea that all diseases arise from or are affected by a weakened digestive system.
There are many things that are common in the ‘American’ diet that are actually very depleting to our digestive force. For example eating ‘cold’ foods, raw foods, or undercooked foods put an extra strain on our system. With cold or undercooked foods our body then has to bring the food up to temperature before it can begin to break it down. In moderation these foods are fine but it is over time that if there is a problem with your digestion you may look to these aspects of your diet to see if there is anything you can change.
One of my favorite things to tonify a cold digestive system is ginger. Ginger has the ability to settle the stomach as well as open the appetite. It has the wonderful ability to warm us from the interior and get the digestive juices going. So without further adieu
Ginger Drink Recipe
You will need:
Medium Sauce pan
A container for storage
A way to juice your lemons
1 hunk of ginger
1/4 cup of honey
A pinch of pepper flakes
6 cups of water
- Add water to the blender
- Finely Chop your ginger add it to the blender
- Grate most of the peel from your lemons and add to the blender
- Add the pepper flakes to the blender
- Blend until the ginger has been finely macerated.
- Juice the grated lemons and set liquid aside
- Transfer the blended mixture to the sauce pan and begin to bring to a low boil 10 mins
- When the water is hot add the honey and dissolve into the mixture.
- When the honey is dissolved and mixed into the liquid 5-10 mins add the lemon juice and remove from heat.
- Strain your liquid and store in a container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
I find that the resulting mixer is delicious when diluted later with some hot water or when added to some sparkling water. Drink it before a meal to open your appetite or after a meal to settle your stomach.