Category Archives: urban micro farm

Weed It and Reap: What Should I Eat? Arthritis, Autoimmune Disease, and Diet

Best Berry Smoothie


Magic ingredient: Coconut Water.It contains easily digested carbohydrates in the form of sugar and electrolytes. Low in calories, naturally free of fat and cholesterol, more potassium than four bananas, and super hydrating.  Best Coconut Water?  According to Portland Food & Drink it’s #1. Coco Community   #2. Taste Nirvana, Real Coconut Water* #3. Harmless Harvest Coconut Water  #4. Trader Joe’s 100% Pure (cold case)

Use fresh organic fruit when possible. Clean, cut and freeze fruit for future use.

Put in blender: what you have available in a mixture of frozen and fresh banana, blueberries, strawberries,  cherries, raspberries, blackberries, pineapple, papaya, mango, acai berry, stone fruits, apple, lemon, orange, etc

Add coconut water and other organic pure fruit juice for consistency. Blend.

Learning to Make the Best Food Choices

I was recently interviewed by an investigative reporter working on a piece about the pesticide Glyphosate (aka RoundUp, manufactured by Monsanto). Glyphosate has been in wide-spread use not only in agriculture, but also in and around homes, schools, hospitals, parks, roadsides, and other public spaces since the ’70’s.  It’s been in the news lately because extensive research has shown it to be a potent carcinogen as well as being linked to ADHD, Alzheimer’s Disease, Autism, Birth Defects, Celiac Disease, Colitis, Heart Disease, Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome, Kidney Disease, Liver Disease, and Parkinson’s Disease.

People in countries all over the world have been demanding that the poison be banned. The Obama era EPA announced a decision to take Glyphosate off the market. However, Trump’s EPA headed by Pruitt bowed to Monsanto’s pressure to keep RoundUp on the market in the US. Similar pressure from Monsanto has resulted in a failure to ban the poison in the EU.

It became clear to the journalist, after a short time listening to me describe my experiences teaching in a school surrounded by pesticide-intensive ag fields, that glyphosate is just the “tip of the iceberg” when it comes to pesticide exposure and human health.

The reporter asked me several times if I had contracted any illness as a result of that long-term pesticide exposure. She proded because, of course, that would make a great story. Unfortunately I had to tell her that it’s virtually impossible to attribute definitive cause and effect between long-term pesticide exposure twenty years earlier and whatever ails me now in my “old age”. I was sorry to disappoint her. But it’s complicated. Researchers can look at studies of large population samples over time and may find significant statistical correlation between exposure to certain substances and disease. But in an individual person’s life, there are usually just too many variables to claim with certainty that one event caused a particular condition.

However, with all that said, during my time teaching amidst the Pajaro Valley strawberry fields – breathing the immune system disrupters, respiratory system disruptors, estrogen system disruptors, and neurotoxins, I did get hit with an auto-immune condition, fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid Arthritis and osteoarthritis. I was pretty healthy until I went to work near the strawberry fields. Now I deal with inflammation and chronic pain.

What to do? Not wanting to become yet another opioid addict statistic, I manage pain through regulated diet, healthy sleep habits, regular exercise, and mindfulness training. Food choices seem to be a big piece of what it takes to feel better. It’s taken years of buying into food fads and willful denial of my own inner wisdom to finally come to some conclusions about what I should and shouldn’t be eating.

My Top Worst Food Choices:

  • Sugar. Processed white sugar (“white death”), any cane sugar, any other processed sugar: brown sugar, rice sugars, corn syrup, all artificial sugar substitutes such as Nutrasweet (aspartame)
    – even xylitol, stevia and agave aggravate my inflammation and pain
    – Sad. I love sweets. 
    I find I can tolerate small amounts of local raw honey, real maple syrup, coconut sugar, and date sugar 
  • All fast food, fried and processed foods!
  • Processed wheat and grains, including pasta 
  • Nightsades: eggplant, tomato, potato (sweet potato okay), peppers
  • Corn and Soy products
  • Dairy 
  • animal fat
  • most processed oils including Palm oil

Best Choice:  whole food, organic, primarily plant-based, alkaline-forming diet

  • Pure Water
  • Fresh organic fruit
    banana, blueberries, strawberries, dark cherries, raspberries, blackberries, pineapple, papaya, mango, acai berry, stone fruits, apple, lemon, orange, pomegranate, fig, guava and passion fruit, watermelon (said to be good for the skin) . . .
  • Fresh veggies – variety of all colors, especially dark leafy greens,
    broccoli & califlower, beets, cabbage, celery, collards, arugula, mustard greens, squashes, carrot, chive & leek, asparagus, peas and green beans, Brussels sprouts, artichokes
  • avocado
  • organic, cold-pressed olive oil
  • fish high in omega 3 – sardine, herring, cod, salmon (much better than fish-oil supplement!)
  • happy Ameraucanas hen’s fresh eggs
  • whole organic seeds and nuts (I don’t have the habit yet of sprouting my seeds and nuts, although some say this is a good idea)
  • whole beans (in moderation)
  • whole oats
  • fresh garlic, ginger, turmeric, bee pollen
  • fresh mint, basil, parsley, watercress, and other herbs
  • seaweed, mushrooms
  • probiotic-rich fermented foods and beverages – miso, sauerkraut, . . .

I’m very grateful to live in an area with access to farmers’ markets and excellent quality food!

I’d love to hear from you! What are you choosing to eat and why?

 

 

 

 

 

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Pregnant with Pears

PearPregnantDoes anyone have any pear recipes?  Our magical fairy pear tree exploded with pears this August. Raining down sweet perfect pears by the hundreds. I’ve been giving away as many as possible, and trying to make sure Joe and I eat at least one a day. Please, leave your pear recipes here.

My neighbor Beth’s pear salad: pears, chilled and sliced thin. mild red onion sliced very thin. blood oranges. toasted walnuts. gorganzola. arugula. a light dressing of olive oil and white peach balsalmic

This is the first year we’ve had good plums. Beautiful Santa Rosas. plumsSM

I waited nearly 20 years for the old plum tree to decide to bear fruit before cutting her down and putting in new plum trees. This tree bore in its third year. Next year, two more plum trees should begin to fruit.

Our gifted Orchardist, Mathew Sutton of Orchard Keepers, and his crew worked magic in our garden this spring.

 

squashLots of people complain about having too much summer squash, but I never seem to get enough.

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Summer Fruit

I’m thinking of adding a tag line to the title of my novel: The Death of the Gecko, “Fruit of the Devil”, “La Fruta del Diablo”. That’s what the freseros, the people who pick in the strawberry fields, call strawberries.

organic raspberries from our urban farmStrawberries are a beautiful fruit, and very nutritious, when grown organically. Fruit is one of the great gifts of summertime.

Our blueberries and raspberries are bountiful this year.Blueberry harvest!

 Can’t keep up with harvesting them!  And our new Santa Rosa plum tree, planted last year by orchard guru Mathew Sutton of Orchard Keepers, has suddenly exploded with sweet ripe plums.  The pears grow bigger every day.

Our pear tree. Fruit coming in.

An essential principal of Permaculture ethics is to redistribute surplus. So, it was such a delight today to have Rachel come over for eggs.

Rachel with eggs from our hens

I sent her home not only with a dozen beautiful organic eggs from our happy hens, but also with a bag of fresh picked salad greens, purslane, kale, plums, and blueberries.

She reminded me how healing and wonderful it is to connect with food from the source, when that opportunity isn’t usually available. Later, another egg friend came over with apricots fresh picked from her tree, and I sent her home with a bag of plums. Simple connections, but so satisfying. Happy Summertime.

Henny Penny and Rachel

 

 

 

 

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