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Okay, I admit it.  I’m excited!  My first guest article, “Get Cultured, Invest in Stocks & Take a Long, Hot Soak: Next Steps in Getting Off the Food Grid“, appears at SimpleMom.net today.  The post builds on a Maggie’s Nest article from a few months back called De-Centralize Your Food System.  In that article I outlined the first three steps one can take toward becoming less dependent on our centralized food system of “Big Ag” businesses, food manufacturers (think about that phrase for a minute!) and supermarkets.  Today’s article at SimpleMom.net takes you further down the rabbit hole of food independence, showing you three easy ways to make your food more nutritious while saving money at the grocery store.  Nice, eh?

If this is your first time visiting Maggie’s Nest, welcome!  You might enjoy reading some of my other food-related posts, including How to Make 3 Meals from 1 Chicken, Bone Broth 101, Traditional Fermentation 101, or How to Make Homemade Yogurt.

Recently I started my journey on the GAPS diet in order to heal my gut; I’ve since learned numerous 20th and 21st century ailments that have been successfully healed with this diet.  If you’d like to know more, click to read What’s GAPS? and Why Now? or, 5 Ways to Make Intro Easier.

I talk about more than food here at Maggie’s Nest, so please feel free to browse around in the various categories.  Travel articles are in the “Wandernest” category; posts about creative process abound in “Nurturing Creativity”, and more philosophical articles about family, home, living on purpose, and practicing self-care area also littered throughout the site.

I hope you enjoy your visit and come back often!

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This post, which first appeared on my blog in 2007, reminds me that I do indeed circle back on emotional experiences again and again.  Hopefully they are the kind of circles that actually represent one spiral up the mountain…

Photo courtesy of borogoves.

The last month has been characterized by a sort of emotional/spiritual malaise that has settled on my soul like dead weight. I haven’t been motivated to do much beyond what’s necessary; nothing has ignited excitement or passion lately. Work leaves me flat, and a bit worried. I’ve always felt like I had to find THE THING that I’d want to do for the rest of my life, and then do it with absolute dedication and focus. The problem? I have gone through two and a half careers that I loved for a year or five, then lost interest in. Is that happening again? I’m too old to keep changing careers! But I don’t want to spend the majority of my week doing something that I don’t enjoy… Read the rest of this entry »

Furled.  Photo courtesy of Davedehetre.

There’s a natural ebb and flow to life, with seasons of effusing one’s essence out into the world, and seasons of pulling in to gather strength for the next storm.  I am in the midst of a decidedly furling season.  Some personal earthquakes are in process, taking place in private corners of my life and very much needing my attention and energy.

The only thing arousing much enthusiasm or passion at the moment is the thing I keep coming back to on the blog: healing through traditional foods wisdom and the revolution that’s taking place far and wide across this country for free access and choice to real food.  I catch a spark of excitement every time I read about things like the recent rally on Capitol Hill, protesting the year-long FDA sting operation of an Amish dairy farmer and fighting for the right to drink raw milk.  Or the mother who healed her son’s cavity with cod liver oil and butter oil.  (You read that right.)  Or why Ron Paul is my new favorite politician.  These stories represent a shift toward self-reliance, choice, freedom, and independence from the centralized food system that is doing much more harm than we are being told.  People are taking back their food freedom, and sometimes it’s a hard-won battle!

I’ll have some exciting news to share next week about Maggie’s Nest, and in this moment I am realizing that I really, truly love learning and sharing all this food wisdom.  I love hearing about people who are healing their families with food.  I love the healing I’m witnessing in my own body as I continue with the GAPS diet, and I love the thought that by the end of the year I may very well be a certified GAPS practitioner, so that I can spread  the word to those suffering with diseases I now firmly believe to be originating in our modern relationship to food.  I love helping people find their way to their best selves, and there’s hardly anything that could be more fundamental than the vibrant self that comes forward when the body is well nourished.

Today I’m grateful to witness in my furled self the spark of passion that keeps lighting up the dark places in my weary soul.  And I’m eager to stoke that spark to life and see what’s wanting to come forth.

Wow, heading into Week 6 already…all of a sudden it seems to be going fast.  Over the last week I’ve had much better success re-introducing foods, and am feeling confident that the rest of my re-introductions will go smoothly.  Last week avocado made the grade, and over the weekend I had to do some creative eating and all of it panned out well.

I spent the weekend in Austin with a dear friend (the same dear friend that drove quite a ways to see me for my birthday on Tuesday) and brought a grocery bag of GAPS-friendly foods to eat: a thermos of chicken-veggie soup, a container of homemade yogurt, the rest of my fermented salmon, plus jars of ghee and raw honey.  On Saturday evening I attended a game night with some friends of friends, and there was quite a spread of delicious-looking foods.  Nothing was GAPS intro-friendly, however (why would it be?) and at some point I eyed the black olives.  Hm…I thought.  Well, they’re not raw, they’re cured.  And olives are pretty fatty, and not very fibrous.  I gave it a try, and ended up eating seven big fat olives with no problems.  Then on Sunday I ran out of the food I had brought with me for the weekend, and scoured Central Market for something from the prepared foods aisle – grilled salmon and asparagus was the best I could find, and those both went down just fine, even without probiotics or broth to go with them.  I think my body is starting to heal!

So this week I’m finally breaking out of my soup rut, and trying some solid foods that I can eat on their own – with sides of broth and probiotic, of course, but not necessarily mixed right in.  This post from Keeper of the Home, called “Recipes and Ideas for What to Eat on the GAPS Introduction Diet” has inspired me to try some more daring ideas, like maybe stuffed mushrooms or meatloaf – exciting, right?  Right now there’s a small butternut squash cooking in the oven, to be used for the Stage 3 pancake re-introduction (more below), and also for the squash meatball recipe that got me salivating on that Keeper of the Home post.  If I end up handling the squash okay, I feel like it’ll open up my options quite a bit.  It’s also one of my very favorite foods, so no complaints there.

The Stage 3 pancake also includes nut butter.  The first time I re-introduced nut butter it was an awful failure, but it was very early on (day 3?) and the nuts had not been soaked so I’m sure they were full of anti-nutrients.  This time around I was careful to buy pecan butter from a source I trust (Artisana, which makes exquisite nut butters including my beloved coconut butter) so if it’s a failure, I’ll know that my body just isn’t ready for it.

I’m a little confused as to why, in Stage 3, a relatively complex food like the pancake is introduced.  Of the three ingredients (egg, nut butter and winter squash) only one has been previously re-introduced, and it occurs to me that if the re-introduction doesn’t go well, I won’t be exactly sure how to attribute the problem.  So, I’m reintro-ing winter squash separately, first.

Also, in a bold move, I bought two apples and a banana over the weekend.  Whole eggs seem to be giving me a problem still (although the yolks seem fine) so ripe banana may have to be tried as an egg alternative in the pancake.  And the apples…well I suppose it’s just wishful thinking more than anything else.  I might slice one reeeally thinly and saute it in a ton of ghee…and see what happens.

Overall I’m feeling better than I have been for the last two weeks, although I can’t say that I feel all the way better.  More resilient, though, for sure.  So we carry on.

Photo courtesy of Julie McLeod.

On Monday I wrote a little about the mood issues that I’ve been battling for the last several days, and unfortunately that battle continues so almost all of my energy has been focused on taking care of myself as best I can.  I’m going to do my best to post as often as I can, but I don’t know when I’ll get back to a post a day.  Thanks for your patience, friends.

I was fortunate enough to spend half of yesterday with a dear, dear friend; it was my birthday and I knew that it would be nourishing to spend the day with an actual person in my circle of loved ones, rather than alone on the plains of west Texas.  We walked and talked for hours, had a lovely light dinner together (my GAPS intro-friendly dish?  Asparagus spears poached in veal stock.) and both of us remarked how the companionship and support felt like cream on parched bones.  It was much needed, and as satisfying to give as to receive.

After we parted ways for the evening, I was lucky enough to have an evening relay of phone calls that continued to fill me up.  A birthday is an awful day to feel low, but a great day to be reminded of all the wonderful, loving and supportive people in your life.  The Facebook greetings alone had me in tears, and the soulful conversations with amazing people who I am lucky enough to call friends, reminded me of just how good things are.

As much as this traveling job feeds my wanderlust and creates a pretty adventurous life, I can’t say how much (especially right now) I miss having the people I love around me, to lean on and to be leaned upon.  The nurture and nourishment that comes from connection is one that I hope I never take for granted again.

Which connections feed and nourish you?  Maybe there’s someone you can reach out to, now.

This week has been all about mood – mine has plummeted.  I was slightly heartened to hear on the GAPS Guide blog that others are experiencing a similar mood dip in their fourth week, but it is no fun at all, friends.  I haven’t had much energy for blogging, or really for much of anything.  The secret, I’m told, is to take lots of die-off baths; I’ve been neglecting this practice, but start back up tonight and should take one bath a day to try and clear some of the toxins that are contributing to my state of mind.  Popular die-off baths use sea salt, baking soda, apple cider vinegar, or epsom salts and are rotated each day.  I’ll start back up with baking soda tonight, and then rotate through each one for the rest of the week.

In the meantime, I finally re-introduced the last food in Stage 2, and by Wednesday I will start Stage 3.  I’m starting to think it’s very important to stay steady, and keep introducing foods rather than my tendency, which has been to get overly-confident and add foods too quickly, then retreat and stay stagnant at a “safe” stage for too long.  Time for consistency!  Back to my GAPS Intro Chart.

Last week I made sauerkraut so I could have a big batch of the juice for my probiotic; with only a scant tablespoon of sea salt for a quart of cabbage, I thought quickly and subbed in the juice of one lemon for the rest of the salt.  I figured the acidity would do the same job as the salt, of providing an acidic environment for the probiotic bacteria to develop.  I think it did the trick, and now I have almost a quart of sauerkraut juice to continue the gut healing.

How’s it going for everyone else?

inspired as always by SouleMama

Visual Sunday: a 2011 Maggie’s Nest tradition. A single picture. Maybe titled, maybe not. No commentary. Feel free to share a feeling it evokes for you, or a story it tells you, or a memory it sifts up into consciousness.


Self-Portrait aka Fun with My New Hipstamatic.  May 2010.

I am running low on juice today, friends, and don’t have much energy to blog…but wanted to let you know I haven’t forgotten about you.  If you’re jonesin’ for some blogging goodness, check out these nuggets.

Bwaaakk!  Our Journey to Backyard Chickens :: Simple Bites

What’s Growing and the Angst of Spring Gardening :: Nourishing Days

How to Edit a Room :: The Nester

The Scattered Mind: Finding Focus in a World of Distractions :: Mark’s Daily Apple

I hope to have more to say soon, but until then I hope you have a great weekend!

Photo courtesy of John Morgan and Flickr Creative Commons licensing.

Just a friendly reminder for those of you riding the GAPS train: go slow.  I have been heeding this advice very well for the last couple of weeks, but alas, yesterday I got cocky and figured my body was ready for some bold moves.  One teaspoonful of sauerkraut mixed into my soup – surely I was ready for such a step?

The answer to that question, my body quickly and firmly told me, is NOT A CHANCE IN H – E – DOUBLE HOCKEY STICKS.  Hours of abdominal pain and cramping ensued, all the way from my stomach to…well, all the way down.  I couldn’t stand up straight, or walk without pain.  In the middle of the night I spent an hour either curled up in my bed willing the intestinal cramping to go away, or in the bathroom hoping for relief.  It was not a great night.

Now, I have to admit this experience has left me with mixed feelings: on one hand, I took it as another indication that my body is in need of some serious healing.  Many GAPS people say that if they veer off the diet too soon after starting, they really pay for it.  I now concur with this assessment, entirely.  And I feel sure that I’m on the right path to healing, based on so much of what I’ve read and been told by those who have stuck with it and let the diet do its work.

On the other hand, I’m starting to wonder when my body will ever be able to handle “real” food again.  I mean, sauerkraut?  A teaspoonful?  I never would have imagined such a terrible reaction, and almost a month into the diet I hoped I would be further along.  Will I still be slurping soup in six months, regretting just about any solid food that passes between my lips?  Maybe I’m psyching myself out.  I knew this was a long-term diet, with the intro lasting weeks or even months, and a usual term of two years on the full GAPS diet.  I guess I just underestimated how damaged my gut really was, and how long it would take to get past soup.

But this is what I signed up for, so I’m reminding myself to go slow.  One new food every four days, no matter what.  Here’s to the journey!

 

We are all creative beings, and it’s the drive to create that moves us all out into the world.  Don’t you think?  I really think so.  From my humble beginnings creating mud pies on the sidewalk after a rainstorm, through a lifetime of creative endeavors including acting, singing, songwriting, directing, cooking, baking, growing, learning, blogging and other experiences, I’ve never stopped having a taste for the magic of creation – and I hope I never do. Read the rest of this entry »

The Author

This is a site about saying yes to life - written by a multi-passionate rock star who loves to take life between her fists and kiss it full on the mouth.

"Make my boy realize that, at the end of the everlasting why, there is a yes. And a yes and a yes!"
- Mr. Emerson,
A Room With A View