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I’ve Got A New Blog!

April 2, 2008

This is my last post for this website. My husband has graciously volunteered to build me a new blog at my own website: http://www.naturedeva.net I hope you will all join me over there from now on. I already have a few new posts up there already.

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Fruit Tree Planting Foundation

March 28, 2008

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Trees are a very big deal for me. They are the lungs for the planet and are also the wisdom keepers of the Earth. Try communing with a thousand plus year old tree and see what kind of energy it emanates and listen to what it has to say. I promise you these trees have lots to share with us.

This non-profit organization, The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation, has a goal of planting 18 Billion fruit trees around the world. Their mission, as stated on their website is:

Our primary mission is to plant and help others plant a collective total of 18 billion fruit trees across the world (approximately 3 for every person alive) and encourage their growth under organic standards.

FTPF provides support, resources, and guidance for those interested in planting fruit trees and spearheads a variety of planting programs. These programs are aimed at enriching the environment, providing nutritious food sources for wild and rescued animals, and improving human health by bringing delicious, fresh, locally grown raw fruits and vegetables of the highest quality into the lives of all people.

FTPF also seeks to secure land throughout the world with the sole purpose restoring native plant ecosystems with an abundance of fruit trees and plants that benefit the surrounding air, water, and soil and provide food sources for wild animals.

Part of their vision states:

Our primary goal is to plant trees that yield edible fruits, nuts, leaves, or roots—thus spreading life-sustaining ecological diversity throughout the world. Fruit trees will be planted alongside other soil-building flora, native and medicinal trees and shrubs, hardwoods, and plants that contribute to sustainability. As we plant, we bring vibrant health to the community by making delicious, fresh local fruits and vegetables accessible. Plantings are designed to follow the contours of the land, creating swales to guide water back into the earth and address erosion issues, and replenish organic matter in the soil which is so critical to the core health of the planet.

Amazing, no? And that’s not all. They have already given away thousands of trees, created orchards in many communities and taught the people there how to care for them for themselves and future generations. They have created orchards near homeless shelters, orphanages, in very poor villages in India and Kenya and other places around the globe through their “Fruit Relief” program.

FTPF’s “Fruit Relief” program involves strategically planting fruit trees in areas where the harvest will most benefit hungry, poor, and needy people—such as homeless shelters, low-income communities, and international hunger relief sites. As a result of our orchard donations, life-saving nutrition is provided for decades to follow and local volunteers, many of whom are in difficult situations themselves, are empowered to take action for their environment. “Fruit Relief” also involves making donations of fresh produce, either from trees we’ve planted or of the same variety grown in our plantings, to various food relief organizations.

This organization also has a program called “Fruit Tree 101” which donates orchards to low income public schools to not only provide nutrition to the students and teachers, but the orchards themselves become outdoor classrooms and the students are educated about the importance of fruit in the diet as well as environmentalism, botany, ecology and sustainability.

There are several other wonderful programs including “Orchards for Animals” but the one most near and dear to my heart is called “Reservation Preservation“. A program all about giving back to the Native Americans. I love it. We owe these Nations so much more.
FTPF’s “Reservation Preservation” program provides fruit and nut tree orchards to low-income communities on Native American Indian Reservations. The harvest not only provides healthy nutrition, but also a potential source of income. Orchards last for generations are donated strictly for the benefit of the community.

Wow. Such a wonderful organization that benefits the people, the animals and the Earth herself. If you ever need to give a gift to someone, or just want to donate to such a worthy cause, consider making a tax-deductible donation to this organization. As Oprah says, “It feels so good to give” and this is the gift that keeps on giving for decades to come.

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Here Come The Plants!

March 24, 2008
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I just love spring and am so happy it’s finally here! I have crocus flowers coming out all over and tulip, daffodil, daylily and iris leaves are coming up. There are new hollyhock leaves (self seeded) coming out in bunches and green leaf buds on my mini rose bushes. I already can’t wait to plant some annuals in the flower beds.
Today, I saw my first dandelion leaves on my grass and got so excited for them to come up. I know that sounds strange but I love the Dandelion plant. I think it grows where it’s needed and it’s not a noxious weed. It is a wild food and good medicine for everyone. We humans need the Dandelion.
Even though we have to have the useless patch of grass in front of our house because we will be selling our home in a few years (otherwise it would be outta there), my husband, the lawn caretaker, knows not to kill my dandelions or else. He does mow them down when he mows the lawn (but that will be after they flower and seed usually) and he doesn’t weed them out or put the nasty chemicals to kill them on it. I don’t eat the ones in front of the house but I like to have them there as a sort of totem plant. Plus, the flowers are just so happy looking to me.
If they show up in my garden, we surely eat them and once they get older, I do try to get as much of the root out to make medicine with it. It is a very nourishing, healing tonic for our livers. We all need that. The young leaves are eaten in salads and smoothies as a wild food rich in minerals and vitamins and can also be made into a tea which is great for water retention. The flowers (the yellow head is actually many individual flowers) can be made into dandelion wine or eaten in salad.
When we lived in the mountains, we would go to this meadow that was near a friend of ours’ cabin (that I could never find on my own, unfortunately, it was very remote) and it would be filled with dandelions. She would keep track of the peak time to come harvest the young leaves for eating and then we would go back again after they went to seed and harvest the roots to make medicine together (she is also an herbalist, like me).
It is so much fun foraging for wild foods and this year I would like to take my son foraging for the wild greens, flowers, berries and roots. He is really into plants and I think he will love this. Besides, it’s part of our ancestry to forage for plants to eat so he should know this, anyway.
Edible wild foods are such energetically strong plants, sometimes having to grow in harsh conditions that in eating them they give you their strength and fortitude as well as their nutrients. Also their free, wild energy, too and who can’t use more of that in their lives? I can’t wait to have a fresh wild food salad again!
Here are some important tips for ethically wildcrafting plants: If you ever go wildcrafting for food or herbs, always be sure to say thank you to the Devas of that plant. When harvesting, especially roots or taking the whole plant for medicine making, leave an offering to the plants (traditionally it’s loose tobacco) and never harvest the mother plant or take the whole stand of plants (especially if digging roots). If you are taking roots, spring or fall are the times to do it when the plant’s energy is still in the roots and in the fall, be sure to put the seeds back in the ground so it may come back again for next year. Don’t harvest near a road (bec. of car fumes) or anyplace that may spray pesticides. You want your wild foods to be wild and organic- i.e. free of any crap that nature did not provide. A book on how to identify the edible wild plants is important because there are some poisonous plants that look similar to the edible ones. Other than that, happy harvesting!
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200 Calories

March 19, 2008

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What does 200 calories look like?  I saw this post today and really, I thought, “I don’t know”.  Well, wise GEEK took the time to figure it out with standard foods and, as you would have guessed, you can eat a ton of raw veggies to get your 200 calories and much less of assorted other foods.  Take a look at the visual, it’s pretty interesting.

It reminds me of the concept of Volumetrics, where you eat more “low density” foods, foods that have a high water content so you are eating more and get full but with not alot of calories.  I think this is in line with eating raw and living foods which I feel is better for your body with more interesting and tasty recipes.

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Please Help Save the Buffaloes!

March 17, 2008

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I find it completely ridiculous the way our government allows such cruel and inhumane practices to go on in regards to our animals in this country. I can get into a whole litany of outrage over this but right now, I’m just going to speak about the wild Buffaloes of Yellowstone National Park.

If these animals venture outside of the park boundaries (following thousands of years old migration routes looking for food in winter), they are rounded up and shot or sent to slaughterhouses. More than a thousand of these last remaining free bison have been killed this way already.

Not only that, but in May when the newborns arrive, they will be killed, too. Newborns.

Why you ask? Well, it’s to protect the 12 to 16 cows that live just outside the park boundaries from a theoretical risk of disease – brucellosis – that has never been transmitted from bison to cattle in a natural setting.

So let’s see, 1,000 plus bison killed to protect a little more than a dozen freaking cows. Hmmm. Such logic and wisdom used in that decision. Besides, if the ranchers are fearful of the disease, there is always a vaccination they can give the cows – who most likely have already received it.

These buffalo are the last free roaming herd in all of America. “The National Park Service should be their guardian, not their executioner.” (quote from NRDC).

Does this mean one day in the future when we go to Yellowstone to see the last vestiges of the wild west of America there will be no more buffalo nor wolves since they are being hunted down the same way even though they are on the endangered species list??!! Really, what the hell is wrong with people? We need to stop this now!

Please take a minute to sign your name to the protest the NRDC is doing to try and put a stop to this cruel, barbaric, pointless and just plain stupid act of slaughtering thousands of the last free roaming bison we have.

By the way, the plains Native American nations consider the bison to represent Abundance since they gave their lives to help sustain the people with food and warmth from their hides. It’s ironic that these killings of the last free roaming bison are happening now when our economy is in the sh!tter and the feeling of abundance is lacking more and more in our country.

*photo from the NRDC

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Still Going Strong On Raw Foods

March 14, 2008

    

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I realize I have not posted in a while but I have been spending any free time I have in researching articles, blogs and numerous recipes on raw, living foods.  It is what I am calling my “research project” and I have learned a great deal on this subject.  I’ve also made some pretty tasty recipes, too.

And yes, I did a 30 day raw challenge for myself and have surpassed it with no cheating.  I am a day shy of 5 weeks raw now and really, I feel great.  I’ve lost 7 pounds and have eaten great food, juices, smoothies, cracker / flat breads and chocolate treats.   I’ve also been going to physical therapy (which just ended) and so I have not worked out like a dog like I normally have to do to lose 7 pounds in one month on “normal” foods. I’ve just gone on walks when my son wants to ride his bike and do the strengthening exercises the therapist gave me to do at home.  I think the raw life is working for me! Finally!  Raw foods keep your body more alkaline which helps when you have pain caused by inflammation.

I finally have found out the root cause of my hip / back pain and knee pain and got a shot in the knee in January (leg above knee, really) to stop the inflammation cycle and may need to do that in my hip, too.  That has been awesome to stop the pain in the scar tissue area of my knee (actually caused by my IT band in my thigh – I had no idea about that) but my hip has scar tissue in it -most likely from my pregnancy or really more from my hard labor when the pain really started.  The phys. therapist even pinpointed the exact spot of damage, gave me specific exercises to do to strengthen the weaker muscles surrounding the scar tissue and I’ve had sev’l sessions of ultrasound (which helps break up scar tissue) on the spot, too.  All of it helped and I totally love physical therapy!

I will post soon on interesting facts I’ve learned from all of my research but the number one thing I’ve learned is that we humans need to eat green leafy veggies everyday and in a larger quantity than just a salad and be sure to keep it raw.  Wilted is ok (just massage cut up greens like kale with olive oil, lemon juice & salt and let sit for a few hours), but not cooked.  I’ve been adding greens to my smoothies or just juicing them (lots of wheatgrass, too I think I’m addicted to wheatgrass, it perks me up so much).  And eating tons of baby spinach.  Love that stuff. And sprouts.  We’ve been sprouting diff. seeds in the kitchen to eat them and you get so much nutrition (and quantity!) from such a small amt. of seeds and it’s so unbelievably cheap!

Even my non-raw husband is addicted to lots of raw greens now, too.  He will make a bunch of fresh green juice of whatever we have on hand and some fruits either also juiced or puts it all in the vita mix blender with ice and makes a smoothie and has that for lunch.  It’s surprisingly filling but still light.  I think I’ve rubbed off on him, I’d say he eats about 60% raw foods now everyday.  Some dishes I make to share he doesn’t really like but last night, I made a dish we both LOVED.  It was awesome – Spinach Mushroom “pasta” with “cream” sauce.  So filling and so delicious.

Even my son, Mr. Picky, is fascinated by what I am doing in the kitchen and he asks lots of questions about it and will eat lots more cut up greens or veggies and fruits but still won’t try any combo dishes.  I do make him taste the smoothies.  How can you not like a fruit smoothie? He takes a few sips after I beg him and then that’s it.  At least it’s progress.  I made my first batch of raw cookies last night that are still dehydrating.  I hope he likes them.

Michael has also just built some new shelves for us in the kitchen for desperately needed storage space and this weekend is building a narrow yet tall storage closet next to the shelves, too (I get to paint the closet and shelf brackets this weekend). This has made such a huge difference for me in preparing my dishes – I can keep my new little appliances I use everyday on a shelf and free up the island.  I love it and once the closet is done, I will reorganize everything to make it even easier and faster for me to get my stuff and prepare food for everyone.  We figured, since we’re not moving for a few years now, we might as well make our life easier.

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My Baby Is 4!

March 5, 2008

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Well, he actually turned 4 on the 24th of February, aka Oscars Sunday. We started off the birthday extravaganza with a party at school on the 21st. He goes to a Waldorf preschool and the teacher does a special birthday celebration for each child where they eat little star bday cakes and then have a ceremony and the birthday child dresses up in a cape, a crown and holds a star wand. She lights candles for how old they are and reads the story of how they chose to be born into their chosen family (and the stork drops them off at our house). Leif was way more into the cape and the wand than he was in listening to the story but it was sweet. She made him a wool felt doll and he calls it the “Prince Leif” doll.

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We had a fun party for him and all of his friends on Saturday the 23rd and when I asked him if he liked his party and had fun he said, “yes I did!”.

It was a “transportation” themed party but with a major focus on trains since he’s still obsessed with them and now fire trucks and helicopters, too. When we all sang happy birthday and everyone said his name he pointed to himself and said, “that’s me!” so I feel like he really got the meaning of a birthday party and in feeling special and loved by everyone and in honoring yourself for a day. I love birthday celebrations so I’m really happy that he “got it” this year. Here are some pix from the party with some of his friends:

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When we got home from the party and opened all of his gifts, it was still sunny out so we gave him one of our presents, a new bike. He was sooo stoked on this bike, I tell ya! He just loves riding it.

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The next morning, his actual birthday, he crawls over to me in bed and kisses my cheek and says, “I love you so much”. Aww. That just melted my heart. I feel like that was his way of thanking me for the party. He was just so happy the whole weekend with the party and then on his actual bday on Sunday we went to the zoo.

The weather was nice the whole weekend and the zoo was crazy! It was so packed we had to park about a half mile away. We discovered an enormous castle like playground that he wanted to play in and I kept saying, let’s play here instead of the zoo and the birthday boy said let’s play here and go to the zoo, too! He won out, of course since it was his day and he loves the zoo but it was really crowded and I will never go on a nice weekend again. Only weekdays. Or maybe never at all. I actually hate zoos. I think it’s so cruel to the animals to be in such small areas with tons of humans gawking at them all day. They seem depressed to me and some seem to have gone insane, too. I find it heartbreaking to watch. I have a really hard time being at the zoo and reading the energy of the animals. Sorry, I digress.

I can’t believe what a little person he’s turned into in such a short amount of time. His inquisitiveness, his amazing memory for everything! His wanting to always engage in conversation and watching his mind process words and formulate the next sentence when we are having a conversation is pretty interesting for me to watch. He’s got a funny sense of humor and really enjoys a good laugh. He’s also very compassionate to his fellow human being and (usually) all animals, too. He still is very cuddly and loves to be held or touched, even just holding hands. I can’t wait to see him blossom and grow more as this year unfolds.

I think this is a fun age, they are like mini people but still with cherubic faces and extreme innocence and are just so adorable but can really interact with you so much now. It’s definitely been a rewarding 4 years with my little guy who I love more than anything!

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