Monday, December 29, 2014

Golden Clam Chowder!

All Natural and Dairy Free!

I don't eat breakfast food, and I usually start a pot of soup in the crockpot in the evening.  Last night I failed to do so.  This lovely dish is the result of my scrounging around in the kitchen this morning looking for something to eat . . .

I started with leftover turmeric rice* and roasted veggies.  Roasting veggies concentrates their flavor, you will sometimes come across soup recipes that instruct you to roast the veggies before asembling the soup for just this reason.  My leftovers were delicata squash (from last summers garden), whole garlic cloves, and parsnips--but you can use whatever you have on hand.  I had roasted them in a glass baking pan, with sunflower oil and some water.  Into the water I put 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric, and I sprinkled the veggies with Italian seasoning, natural salt, and fresh ground pepper and baked at 350 partially covered.  The parsnips came out a fabulous golden color!

 The only other things I added were  clams, some water, onion, and dried dulse leaves.  You can leave the sea weed out if you don't have it or like it, but it adds flavor, minerals, and color.

I use a brand of chopped clams that contains no chemicals or yeast extract, all my other ingredients are absolutely organic!  I mixed the rice, clams, veggies, and 1/2 a chopped onion into a sauce pan and added just enough water to giver it a chowder like consistency. Next I tore about 1/4 cup of dried dulse leaves into small pieces, stirred it all together, and cooked just until the onions were translucent but still flavorfull.

OMG!!!  So good. 

*  For the turmeric rice,  I use 3/4 cup long grain brown rice and 1/4 cup wild rice, 3/4 teaspoon turmeric (you might want to start with 1/4 teaspoon or even just a pinch), and a heaping teaspoon of hijiki--which is a sea veggie.  You can skip either the hiiki or the wild rice (or both) if you like, and if you want a creamer chowder, use short grain rice instead.   Cook as you would for any other batch of rice.  This recipe can be doubled or tripled!

If you have any questions or want more details, if you want to share tips or recipes, jump right in on the comments section.


Turmeric is a fabulous natural anti-inflammatory!  I use lots in my food.  It is a bit of an acquired taste, however.  If you find it tastes odd, just start with a pinch and slowly work your way up.

Clams are very high in natural B-12.  B-12 is very good for the nerves, for brain function, and for mood stabilization, among other things.  If you are not otherwise opposed to shell fish for any reason, a serving of either clams or oysters once a week is a great source of B-12.  They also contains some Omega 3, minerals, and they are fairly low in mercury.  However, they are high enough in mercury that you probably don't want to eat them more than once a week.  Our bodies are designed to processes a certain amount of mercury without it poisoning us.  The trick is to keep our consumption below the threshold of  toxicity while still getting all the nutrients we need.


Hey, I seem to be posting here sort of regularly . . .  maybe I will be back again next week!


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Saturday, December 27, 2014

Chanterelle Secrets

First, pork chops in chanterelle sauce . . .  but you will find other secrets tucked in the text . . .

I don't even cook or eat like this anymore.  (Photos are from 2003!)  Red meat, mammals, are rarely on my plate.  And when they are, its either buffalo or wild game, and usually just a taste.   However, I do love me some chanterelles!  One must be very careful when gathering wild mushrooms.  There may be a mycological society near you.  Joining and attending forays, as well as purchasing some good books is the best way to learn.

Personally, I find chanterelles benefit from slow moist cooking in a slightly acidic medium.  These photos were taken way back in 2003 when I was still living on the rez, so I don't actually remember the recipe. However, I suspect the liquid is a combination of home canned tomato juice and home canned broth.  Scallions are in evidence, which are likely catawissa onions, an indigenous top setting onion that produces incredibly flavorful scallions during the winter in mild season areas.  It is very hare, however . . .

I also like dried chanterelles, I can eat them like candy!  We used to have racks around the wood stove for drying.  Another fabulous way to use them is smoked.  If you have a smoke house designed to take racks at the top, try slicing your chanterelles 1/4 inch thick or less, and smoking them for about 12 hours.  I prefer punky alder wood that has been rotted by turkey tail mushroom, with the addition of dried black berry stalks and leaves.  (Now I am giving away my secrets!)  If the mushrooms are not crisp dried by then, bring them in finish off their drying in the house.  While still crisp and warm, place in clean dry canning or other jars with air tight lids.  When you want to add some smoke flavor to a sauce of any kind, use a small mortar and pestle to powder your smoked chanterelles.  You just need a tad--they pack a powerful punch; 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon will do for most any recipe.

There's the finished dish, and really, it makes me cringe.  LOL . . . not just the pork chops, but that dead looking white rice. (Their commods, the BIA's plan to finish off the job the army had begun.) On the other hand, that broccoli is something I used to grow that I really liked.  It was billed as white sprouting broccoli, and you can see that it wasn't entirely white.  It was productive, perennial, and much tastier than it looks.  The seeds were from Bountiful Gardens, but they don't seem to carry that variety anymore. 

Just in case you are wondering what caused me to start digging through old photos.  It's, well complicated.  I, we really, I am not the only one, are using tons of photos from Wikimedia Commons for Boycott for Peace's blog and memes.  Reciprocation, I was taught, is the highest moral law.  So I am reciprocating by sharing photos.  Most of them are for their photo challenge themes, which is a competition of sorts.  And I decided, when the rules for the challenges allow older photos to used, to dig back and see what I might share.

I don't have the best camera round, nor do I expect to get the best shots in any category.  I am not playing to win.  Sharing, however, makes the world a better place for all of us.  And that may be one of the best kept secrets on the planet.  It is a secret that we all should be shouting loud and clear.  Or better yet, just put it into practice!    There is something that you have, that you likely have more than what you need of.  And if you are creative, you can find a way to share it that not only enriches the recipient, but that is also enriching for you.

Meanwhile, some of those photos fit the theme of 'Real Food,' and 'Secrets,'  and at least in the case of the first to posts, they have some small connection to the garden (fennel and catawissa onions), so I am sharing with you all as well. 

That's all for now . . .  but if you have questions, tips, or recipes, please feel free to leave them in comments.  I seem to have started to post here sort of on a regular basis.  I don't know if that will continue, we shall see! 


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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Coconut Berry Delight!

This easy elegant desert is fancy enough for the holidays and it is completely natural, high in fiber and protein, with no added fats or sugars!

Simple, Vegan, Healthy!

For each serving you will need:

Coconut, dried & shredded --  scant 1/4 cup
Allspice,  dried & powdered -- dash
Chia seeds, raw, whole -- 2 teaspoons
Berry nectar or juice -- 1/4 cup +
Optional, fennel sprigs for garnish
Individual desert cups or 4 ounce jelly jars

Mix dry ingredients (coconut, allspice, & chia seed) for each serving in individual cups or jars. Gently pour juice over the mixed dry ingredients and give it a few minutes to soak in.  Stir gently to evenly moisten coconut mixture, adding a little extra if necessary.  Cover (the little canning jars come in handy for this) and let sit for 4 - 6 hours to jell, or over night. If the weather or your kitchen is on the warm side, you may want to let it sit in the fridge, in which case the jelling will take up to 12 hours.  Once jelled, it can be refrigerated for up to 12 hours before serving.

Serve in cups or jars, or invert on to a serving plate.  If inverting, use the back of a wooden spoon to pat into shape if needed.  Garnish as desired and pour a tablespoon of berry juice over the top for that haute cuisine effect.

Go Organic!

All my ingredients (except the garnish) came from Azure Standard, and they all are organic!  Azure Standard ships by truck and UPS all over the continental US, so if you live in the 'lower 48' and can get UPS delivery you can get organic!  I use their bilberry nectar, which I really like, but any juice or nectar can be used. If you canned or froze your own fruit nectar, that would be awesome!  Concord grape, cherry, or purple plum would be equally delicious . . .

Fermentation Nation!

I pro-biotic preferment my bilberry nectar, in the fridge, right in the bottles they come in.  I started out, a number of years ago,  with a pro-biotic fermented juice product that I really liked, however it is no longer on the market.  I simply poured out 1/4 cup of the freshly opened juice, and poured in 1/4 cup of the bottled fermented juice as starter, and put it in the fridge for a couple of days. When the fermented juice product was no longer available, over a year ago, I switched to using a 1/4 cup of my last batch to start the next batch.  If you have a favorite raw pro-biotic fermented juice product and you want to try fermenting your own juice, the one you like would probably make a great starter.   If you don't have a favorite,  when visiting your local co-op or health food store ask them if they have any pro-biotic fermented juice products. There are many different strains of fermenting starters and they all give a different flavor to the end product, so taste testing is best.  However, you can also buy or order starters for home fermenting.

The only possible risk, that I know of, with home fermenting, is the possibility of  catching a wild culture that may cause spoilage. It is even remotely possible to catch something that might make you sick. With this in mind, it is important to keep your kitchen and your fridge clean and free of spoiling food, and to take the compost out frequently, so you don't have a source of mold spores or other organisms that contribute to spoilage. Reading a good book on fermenting is also a good idea for beginners, your local health food store or co-op can probably recommend something that focuses on what you want to ferment.

I use home fermented bilberry nectar to make my Coconut Berry Delight.  The fermented nectar is thicker and the flavor is more complex and intense.  The thickness allows one to use slightly more nectar and still get the end result to jell and mound on the plate. The intensity of the fermented berry flavor nearly completely overpowers the much more subtly flavored coconut. 


Hey, I've been here twice this week!  I probably won't be keeping that up, but I will stop in once in a while.  There is really a tremendous amount of information here on gardening as well as a little on cooking and food prep. 

Guess what?  Speaking of gardening, fennel is in season in most mild climates right now.  If you don't have it out in the garden, you can probably find it on a well stocked produce counter . . . .

Meanwhile if  you have questions or tips to share, please feel free!


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Friday, December 19, 2014

Better than Pesto

Fresh Italian Seasoning Concentrate!

Last fall I put fresh tender sprigs of rosemary, sage, oregano, tarragon, and parsley into the food processor and ground them up.  (A mortar and pestle would word too.)  I then added salt and pro-biotic vinegar.  (I make my own, but raw apple cider vinegar with live culture would work as well, or even fresh whey from home fermented yogurt cheese.)  I can't give you measurements, because I just did it to taste. 

Next I jarred it up in those tiny 4oz jelly jars they sell in the canning supplies section of country markets.  (You can also order on-line.)  And from there it went into the freezer. 

Now when ever I want that savory taste of summer I pop a jar out of the freezer, and mix a little into a serving of rice or soup.  A little bit goes a long way!  One of my favorite no-gluten treats is to take an organic Lundberg Family Farms rice cake, spread it with a tad of Wilderness Family Naturals organic mayo, spread rounded teaspoon of my 'Italian Seasoning Pesto Concentrate' on top of that--which is really awesome all by itself.  But sometimes, like now, some thin sliced organic Colby cheese from Horizon Organic's is exactly what I crave for the perfect topping!

Reproduce this idea next spring or fall, or even think about what's out in the garden now.  In my garden, the parsley is still doing well, as is rosemary and oregano, and a number of kinds of cress and mustard.  The fennel is also trying to make a comeback, and wasabi arugula has self sown a nice little patch that will be ready to harvest soon.  Have fun with what you have on hand and if you have plenty--freeze some up for the next season as well!


A little note from me . . . .  I have been fairly absent from this blog, as any of my few followers have surely noticed.  I am still blogging, however, my focus is Boycott for Peace.  However, I still love the garden and the really good food that gardens provide.


Boycott for Peace!


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Monday, August 04, 2014

Ox Eye Daisy, Cheerful, Useful, and Instructive!

The ox eye daisy is a common field and roadside wild flower here in the Pacific North West.  It also makes a lovely carefree addition to garden borders, where it attracts beneficial insects and offers nectar to our very important pollinators.  

It is reported as being a European immigrant and sometimes as invasive.  However, just because a plant that is considered an alien naturalizes itself into a niche in the environment, does not mean it should be considered invasive or even unwanted.  

Before considering a plant invasive, ask yourself a few questions:
1.  Does it provide pollen and nectar or other food to important pollinators or native animals?
2. Does it provide ecosystem benefits; such as stabilizing slopes, slowing erosion, building top soil, providing animal habitat, or reducing human and domestic animal impacts to the land?
3.  Does it increase or decrease the genetic diversity of an area?
4.  Is it useful to people for food, medicine, or utility and does it grow where they can access it?
5.  Is it crowding out rare or endangered plants or animals?

Let’s apply these questions to our ox eye daisies:
1. Yes it provides nectar to pollinators and pollen to beneficial insects, as well as seeds to birds later in the season.
 2. Yes, it provides ecosystem benefits, in that it is often found growing on disturbed slopes, where it helps stabilize the soil and reduces erosion.
3. Simply by its presence it increases the genetic diversity by one, the insects and birds that depend on it may also help increase the genetic diversity of the area.
4. Yes, it is useful to people as food, medicine (see links below), and for attracting pollinators and beneficial insects to the garden and to foraging areas.
5.  Probably not, but if so, and someone is committed to tending the threatened native plants, the ox eye daisies should be weeded out with as little physical and chemical disruption to the area as possible.
When we really stop to think about it, many of the plants that are targeted with eradication as aliens or invasive may be better off ignored, or even embraced, used, and celebrated.  The eradication activities are often more harmful to the environment than the plants that are removed. In addition, unfortunately, known endemic plants are often targeted as 'invasive,' by people who have not done their research and make unfounded assumptions.  For more words of caution regarding being overly quick to judge and destroy plants that are considered alien, as well as a discussion about who profits from their eradication, please see:

Many plants that were once considered alien and invasive have turned out to be indigenous.  We owe this knowledge to the botanical archaeology conducted on fire pits and midden mounds, as well as cores taken on lake bed sediments.  There is no definitive list of all the plants that were here in North America before contact.  However, a truly invasive plant is often easy to recognize. A truly invasive plant quickly crowds out other plants and reduces diversity, over a season or over a number of years.  And it does it, right before your eyes.  Plants that quickly colonize soil that has been bared for any reason, such as mud or landslides, floods, or fires; even plants those plants that form near monocultures on hillsides or meadows are not necessarily invasive or alien plants.  Be sure to do your homework before you undertake or participate in any plant eradication efforts.
Back to our cheerful ox eyes, I’ve never done more than taste these daisies, so I am not an expert on their use or identification.  Not all daisies are edible, and some are actually insecticidal and may be toxic to people too.  Always be very sure of your identification of any unfamiliar plant, and study up on the toxic and poisonous plants in your area, so you know what to be cautions of.

Here are some links to more information on edible, medicinal, and historic uses of ox eye daisies:


Comments, questions, tips are always welcome.  If you find typos or broken links please leave a comment and I will fix it up as soon as I can!


If you are interested in herbs and haven’t read my books yet, your local librarian or bookstore if they can order them for you!   More information can be found here:

Updated 10.30.15


Copyright 2014, 2015; all rights reserved.  Republishing by permission only.  Sharing on the other hand is most welcome.


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Monday, July 28, 2014

Some Fats Are Good For You! (And you can grow some of them in your garden . . . )

We know that too much of the wrong kinds of fat are very bad for health.  However, what a few people may not know, yet, is that too little of the right kinds of fat is really just as bad.

Our cell walls are only three molecules thick.  These three molecules consist of one protein molecule sandwiched between, drum roll please, two fat molecules.  

The layer of these three molecules provide our cells with their first line of defense against invading disease organisms, toxins, and allergens.  They also are directly involved with helping to ensuring proper cell electrical activity, and corralling nutrients, enzymes, and other important biochemicals within the cell where they are needed.

In addition to being a major part of our cell walls, good fat is also used in the transportation of nutrients, as insulation for our brain and nerve cells, as a source of energy, and as raw materials for the synthesis of many biochemicals that help our cells perform the tasks that keep us alive.  Good fat rules!

We need good fats in our diet for many metabolic reasons, as well as maintaining our very important cell walls.  As cells come in many shapes and sizes, including sources of a small amount of a handful of different types of good fats important.  By doing so, the body has lots of shapes and sizes of fat molecules to choose from in building and repairing the three dimensional jig-saw puzzles that make up our cell walls, as well as having a variety of essential fatty acids for all of our cells chores.

There are many different kinds of good fats available.  Some of the best are from plants, and ingesting them in as raw and unprocessed as possible is a good idea.   Animal fats are generally better avoided (except for low mercury high Omega 3 fish) unless the animals they come from have been raised on organic pasture.  Butter, butter oil, and ghee from organic pastured milk are super-foods! 
Once you get your chosen oils or fats home, heat them as little as possible before using.  Heating vegetable based oils even a little, or animal fats to the point of smoking, causes then to form free radicals—which are implicated in cancer and heart disease.  Frying and baking should be reserved for special occasions and is best not a daily part of anyone’s diet.

Are you getting too much bad fat?

Signs that you are getting too much of the wrong kinds of fat can include; indigestion, reflux, greasy hair or skin, acne or other skin eruptions, and obesity or weight gain.  If you have been getting too much of the bad fats for a long time, you may have been diagnosed with any number of different diseases and your doc has probably advised you to cut back on fats.  Pay attention!  It might just save you from some unnecessary suffering.

Benefits of good fats include:

Improved immunity, mood, mental function, hormone balance, and energy; and also the health and appearance of the skin.

Signs you may not be getting enough good fats include:

Memory, mood, or brain function problems, hormone related problems, chronic fatigue, inability to gain weight or to absorb and utilize nutrients, dry skin or hair, premature aging, and chronic inflammation.

Finding good fats that agree with you:

You can experiment with adding a variety of different healthy fats to your diet, in small amounts and one at a time.  In addition to the organic pastured butter, butter oil, and ghee mentioned above, you might want to try some nuts and seeds.  Walnuts are considered a particularly good source of Omega-3’s as are flax and chia seeds.  Avocados, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, and unprocessed red palm oil are good sources of Vitamin E complex as well as other nutrients.  Olive oil has many health benefits as does grape seed and coconut oil.  Choose one to try and read up on it by searching on the Internet.  You might want to start with as little as ¼ teaspoon of pressed or centrifuged oils, or a teaspoon of whole seeds or chopped nuts.  

If you find you like a particular healthy oil or good fat, work your way up to higher amounts gradually.  Most moderately active people will find that they can tolerate, enjoy, and actually thrive on much more healthy fat than they ever imagined.  However, if you find you are gaining unwanted weight, getting indigestion or reflux, of if you skin is breaking out or your skin or hair is becoming too oily, you are very likely either getting too much fat or ingesting a fat that doesn’t agree with you.

Good fats from the garden:

Depending on your garden zone and the size of your yard, you can grow oil producing trees and shrubs of many kinds including pine nuts, olives, and avocados.  Pumpkin, sunflower, and flax seeds are also easy to grow.  Folks living in warm dry regions can grow chia, and anyone living in a tropical climate who has some patience can grow coconuts and palm nuts.  

Red Palm Oils I have tried:  

I actually like the one on the far right the best.  It is from Wilderness Family Naturals.  It is clearly the least processed, it has the deepest color, and the freshest loveliest scent.  This fabulous red palm oil is Certified Sustainable I use just a little red palm oil, along with a little coconut oil and olive oil on my popcorn; and then I season it with turmeric rich curry powder, dulse powder, fresh ground chia seeds and black pepper. Yum, and so good for you too!   For more information on the health benefits of red palm oil please see:

In other good fat gossip, I also snack on whole raw sunflower and pumpkin seeds--in moderation,  and I enjoy chia seeds hydrated in dilute juice with spices.  An occasional avocado wedge finds its way to my plate, and I sometimes alternate the coconut oil mentioned above with an organic raw pastured coconut/ghee product.  Additionally I eat eat a few small servings of wild Alaska salmon--sometimes every week, sometimes every month. That about rounds up my fats, except for the teaspoon of organic sunflower oil that I use to pop my corn. It can take the heat required without smoking.  Any time you make oil smoke it forms free radicals, and that is definitely not healthy.

I do mention fats and oils, very briefly in my book, Food Security & Sustainability for the Times Ahead, but more from the standpoint of how to produce them with the least technology possible, rather than as a source of super nutrition.   If you have any questions or comments on that section of the book, please feel free to post them here as well as questions or comments on this blog post. 

If any of you are growing and expressing your own oils and you have information available for folks that would also like to try  their hand at doing it themselves, please let us know where to find your article, blog, video, or book!

And as always, if you find typos please let me know, I will fix them as soon as I can!


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Clumsy and stiff first thing in the morning? Maybe it isn't age . . .

I was recently chatting with a friend who said that before she got out of bed in the morning, she used to have to take a muscle relaxer and wait 30 minutes for it to kick in, and then she would still be awkward and clumsy.  This was just one of a number of physical symptoms she had been suffering from; her doc’s response was to refer her to psychiatrist .  .  .  You know how they are, they imply there is nothing wrong with you and it is all in your mind.  Meanwhile you are physically suffering . . . 

She has a new doc, a naturopath, which she is paying out of her own pocket.  This new doc tested her for Epstein Bar Virus and she was positive.  The doc has gotten her off all GMOs, on to a vegetarian diet, and on to probiotics--both in foods and a supplement.  She no longer needs the muscle relaxer and she can get right up and start moving around first thing in the morning!

So, off the phone, I started reflecting that I had noticed, in just the last couple of weeks-- I too am moving much easier in the mornings! Thinking back, it was over 20 years ago that my second husband would tease me about how I would clomp and lurch around when I first got up in the morning.  Back then, I thought that was normal  . . . 

After over 20 years of this clomping and lurching, I always automatically wonder how I am going to be functioning before I get out of bed and I am very careful.  The last few weeks I have been surprised at the way I can just stand up and walk--as if functioning normally first thing in the morning is, well, normal!  

Like my friend, I am off GMO's. This has been a long slow process for me, which started a good 3 or 4 years ago; but the better I have felt the more committed to dumping them I have become.  

Another similarity is the probiotics.  I started probiotic fermentation at home, about a year ago.  I ferment bilberry nectar, I make a fabulous and simple fermented dessert with coconut and chia seeds, 
I pre-ferment my beans and rice before cooking (to remove anti-nutrients and inflammatory agents), and I recently started making big batches of probiotic fermented greens--I am probably eating 1/2 to 3/4 cup of those raw, live culture, fermented greens a day.  (Please ask if you want more information on the greens or the desert!  For photos of other easy, healthy organic and transitional dishes see my facebook photo album titled: Yummy!)

I have also been having a bit of an aversion to animal protein lately. I don't plan on going completely vegetarian, and I do still eat the occasional small serving of fish or sea food, but I am eating far less animal protein than I have in years.  That’s another similarity.

The other interesting thing that I have changed is I have pretty much quit taking nearly all of my supplements, for a variety of reasons.  First of all, I started noticing, since I have been eating the fermented greens, that my eyes were less bloodshot when I forgot to take my B complex supplement than when I did take it.  (Blood shot eyes can be a symptom of B vitamin deficiency.)  Next, I started skipping it on purpose for a while and then taking it, and noticing the effect on my eyes.  Sure enough I noticed that they were more bloodshot when I took the supplement than when I didn't, and I actually feel better without it.  This is a big change.  I have been taking B complex off and on most of my life, and I used to feel far better with it than without it.  I suspect two things.  One, I am probably having a bit of an allergic reaction to the B complex; and two, the fermented greens and the growing population of probiotic flora in my gut are probably providing me with better quality B complex than can be found in any supplement.

Next I ditched my calcium-magnesium-zinc supplement for two reasons.  I have been reading some research that puts calcium supplementation in a very bad light.  Some research shows a correlation between calcium supplementation and heart disease and some shows a correlation with cancer.  I am not claiming that this information is actually factual or correct--but it did get me wondering.  

Meanwhile, I have post injury arthritis in my shoulders, neck and upper back, which I am trying to clear. I figured my body would be much more likely to metabolize the calcifications, if my diet was a little deficient in calcium.  So I started experimenting with lowering the dose, and I got off it completely without any side effects.  I have been taking calcium-magnesium supplements since I was a teenager--because I would get "charley-horses" without them. I later added zinc to that mix, because I found that without the zinc, the calcium-magnesium supplement made me drowsy and I couldn't divide the dose throughout the day as recommended.  Along with dumping the calcium-magnesium-zinc, I also dumped the cod liver oil and the omega-3 fish oil, for no reason, other than I took them all together.  However, I am finding that my inflammation is less and not more.  

I do think getting adequate calcium and minerals is important, and I may eventually go back to taking a supplement, in very small doses. Omega-3 is also important.  I eat plenty of chia seeds every day, and I also still eat small servings of salmon and other Omega-3 rich fish and sea food from time to time.  I have read that the less Omega-6 we consume the less Omega-3 we need—so I have been working on lowering the Omega-6 in my diet.  When and if I start taking my calcium supplement again, I will probably also start taking some cod liver oil and fish oil at the same time, at least experimentally. These oils are supposed to improve the absorption and utilization of calcium and other minerals, along with having other health benefits.  I am not committed to not taking them; I am just taking a break.  And who knows, I may experiment with taking either the cod liver oil or the Omega-3 or both, even if I don’t decide to take the minerals.

I attribute being able to go off the calcium-magnesium-zinc supplement--without charley-horses--to two things.  First of all to the fermented greens; greens, especially those grown in mineral rich soil, are a good source of calcium and other minerals.  Fermenting them, from everything I have read, makes the minerals more bio-available.  Plus, having healthy probiotic flora living in our guts is supposed to help us better absorb nutrients of all kinds.  Second, I am growing the greens at Growing Together Community Gardens, where the garden president, Adam Zeigler of Ambrosia Technology LLC, has been very carefully stewarding the soil.  

One of Adam’s focuses has been on minerals.  The soil started out acidic and low in calcium and other minerals.  By carefully watching the pH and adding crushed oyster and other shells to the soil over time, he has corrected the pH and enriched the soil with natural minerals.  He also has a bit of a magic trick up his sleeve, which provides even more minerals to the soil as well as improving bio-availability of those minerals to the plants.  His family owned company, Ambrosia Technology LLC, produces a product called Sea CropR, which has been used at the garden with amazing results.  I believe that one of those results is that, for the first time since I was a young teen, I can forgo my calcium-magnesium supplement without suffering.  Natural unprocessed minerals, I believe, are superior to those found in processed supplements.  Yay!

Meanwhile, in the interest of full disclosure, I still take a few supplements as follows:  

B-12 in the form of Methylcobalamin.  The cheap and ubiquitous B-12, Cyanocobalamin, contains cyanide.  Cyanide is toxic of course, and one of the very scary things plants are doing in response to increased carbon in the atmosphere is to produce more cyanide.  So it seems to me that we ought to be avoiding cyanide when possible, not taking extra in our supplements.  There are other reasons to avoid cyanocobalamin, read more here:

I only use B-12 now, as needed, for the lingering and reoccurring parasthesia I was left with after a bad car accident where I sustained neurological damage from injuries to my brain, spine, and feet.   I still suffer from reoccurring numbness, prickling, and tingling, mostly in my feet.  The B-12 I am taking now is made by VegLife, but my favorite is a liquid made by Pure Encapsulations. 

Truly Natural Vitamin C, from HealthForce Nutritionals—after reading  a few  very unfavorable articles on synthetic Vitamin C     I switched to this product; however, just now I was going over the label with a fine tooth comb I discovered that it contains maltodextrin, which is an artificial sweetener.  I will be looking for a new truly natural Vitamin C source.   I am sensitive to citrus, so that’s not going to work for me.  I think I will give good old fashioned rose hips a whirl.  And then again, maybe I don’t really need a supplement after all; Vitamin C is pretty easy to get from food:

CoQ10 liquid, from NuNaturals.  I only take this when I have a migraine (caused by the mitochondrial disorder) and it does absolutely give me some relief.  It doesn’t cure the migraine, but it does help.  If you get migraines you probably know that nothing much cures them and that every little bit of help is all good—especially if it doesn’t arrive with rebound effects or tons of potential side effects. 

D3 liquid from Trace Minerals Research.  My mitochondrial disorder leaves me very sensitive to direct sunlight (it gives me a migraine), so sunbathing for Vitamin D is not on my agenda.  This product does contain some ingredients that are not 100% natural, but for the time being, I still feel better when I take it than when I don’t.  I do use this almost every day; however, I just take a teaspoon instead of the tablespoon recommended on the label.

Magnesium, in two forms.  First, a liquid ionic magnesium from Trace Minerals Research, which I use topically.  The second is magnesium oxide powder from Now brand.  I also just use these as needed.  One of the other issues I have, because of neurological injuries resulting from a car accident, is chronic and recurring contractured muscles, which are very painful and can interfere with movement and function.  The magnesium along with stretching, range of motion, pressure points, and mild repetitive mobilizing exercise really helps.  And by the way, the magnesium isn’t something I have added recently; it has been part of my personal bag of tricks for many years.  In fact, I am using less of it than I have in the past!

So, back to the alleviation of clumsy stiff mornings . . .

Here is a little recap:  We both have ditched the GMOs. We are both eating less animal protein.  We are both on probiotics. Even though I didn’t mention it above, we are both committed to organic food, we are both off gluten, and we both get regular appropriate gentle exercise.  I’ve also ditched some of my supplements. 

If you give any of this a try, your results may vary.  There is no accounting for individual sensitivities and reactions, no one can ever guarantee that you will see any improvement, and bad reactions are always possible.  The experience of two people on very personal healing journeys does not constitute scientific fact.  However, most of us don’t choose how we eat or care for our gardens based on scientific fact anyway.  What matters, as far as I am concerned—if you are on a healing journey—is how you feel.  Not how you feel in the moment.  Things that are bad for us can make us feel better momentarily.  What is important, I think, is making good choices and paying attention to the overall trend in how we feel and how we are functioning over time.  If we are not improving, no matter how slow that improvement might be, maybe some change is in order.   

I always recommend making changes one at a time, after doing some independent searches and reading, and going very slow.  You want to be sure to catch any bad reactions you may have and be able to identify what is causing them.  On the other hand, if something helps, you want to know that too.  If you are under medical care, taking prescription medication, or working with a health consultant of any kind, you may wish to speak with your doc or consultant about possible interactions or possible contraindications related to your personal conditions before making any changes.  (And I would certainly recommend double checking any and all recommendations by searching for relevant articles and research on the Internet.)  I personally don’t see how switching to Non-GMO Verified and/or Certified Organic food is anyone’s business but your own.  I don’t think there are any GMO’s on the market, nor pesticides for that matter, that anyone is claiming have either medicinal or health benefits.  Who knows though, I could be wrong.

I do sincerely wish you ever possible improvement on your healing journey!

And hey, if you are working towards a balanced natural diet one little tool you might want to look into is my book, Food Security & Sustainability for the Times Ahead.  You can purchase it on-line, but better yet, request a copy from your local bookstore or library!

Your tips, comments, and questions are always welcome . . .  if you see typos or broken links, please leave a comment, I will fix them as soon as I can!