Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Some thoughts on the three basics: fat, protein and sugar.

It seems like weight gain and anxiety go hand in hand in my household. Do you ever notice this correlation? Well today I had an interesting experience as I started to notice this playing out. I was driving around this cloudy Seattle summer day, and though I’d eaten just an half hour earlier I started feeling the strong urge to eat again. I checked in with my stomach, it was quite full still, and I knew that if I gave in to this sense of craving that I wouldn’t be able to eat much more without feeling stuffed.

So, I began to look around for what could be causing this- I was near an upscale mall, and so I wondered was it a feat of marketing with all the signs for fast food? Or the sophisticated appeal of fancy restaurants that were making my mind hungry? As I’ve been instructed in meditation, you can do one of two things you can apply an antidote or you can sink into the sensation even more. I decided that aversion (the antidote) would be too time consuming- I’d have to think of the decomposition of food, perhaps even it’s form after going through my digestive tract, etc. Geez! Thus, I decided I’d stick with the sensation of craving, and drop deeper into the sensation of wanting, which felt so strong it uncovered a neediness.

What was I truly needing that was driving this sense of urgent wanting for more food? And, noticing that the foods that were most appealing to me at the time (pasta, rich sauces), I asked myself, what was it that was beneath this hunger for richness- a desire for fat.

After I relaxed into the sense of craving, I began to feel a slight buzz. At the beginning there was quite an unpleasant sense of resistance, like a magnetic repulsion that with a decision to just sit with whatever was happening, and resisting the resistance to overcome or succumb to something, it became palpably different. Amazingly enough, I didn’t reach for my cell phone or pull into a drive thru restaurant (Can I have an enormous burger with extra fat to fulfill my extreme craving for sanity? And, a super sized side of inner peace, please?) I thought of something I’d heard the word of before, “the suchness”- isn’t that a lovely word?

That word, suchness allowed my mind to attach a label to a heightening of my senses as if I could feel the air around me become more present, like it had a pleasant viscosity and the signs and colors became more vibrant without drawing me in. In fact, the cool thing was I felt like I was in the “in” and that there was no “into” to be concerned about. Hmmm, the “suchness of now,” the richness of all these different inner and outer sensations, and interactions with my mental and physical body became my focus instead of a lack or a struggle to be at one pole or another of giving in or pulling away from a craving. It was cool, and then it transitioned into my more reliable state of monkey mind that went back to focusing on what I had to do next.

I finished my errands, without distraction, and decided if I felt hungry when I returned home I would have some avocado with a healthy left-over, curry beet quinoa. (Perhaps having a yummy leftover at home was another positive driver for resisting temptation!)
When I got home, I continued contemplating the experience, the craving sensations and the fact that I was craving fat. What was at the basis of fat as the focus of my craving? I asked myself, if, and, what emotional need was driving my craving for fat. The answer my brain produced almost immediately, was the need for comfort, for structure, for a sense of security. I had just been through a few days of indecisiveness and having a bit too much laxity in my life. I thought of how fat is the major ingredient in breast milk, and how it represents the emotional structure of Mother.

Then I started to think about protein craving, like when people feel a need to eat lots of meat. I realized that usually came about when people wanted to feel stronger, or ground as in strengthening their root chakra. I thought of how protein resonates with the emotional structure of father.

So what about sugar? That’s probably the most familiar phenomenon for most people including myself (which perhaps is why I was able to be surprised and curious about a craving for fat. The almost compulsive ingestion of simple carbs or sugary foods is a prime reason for the epidemics of obesity and adult onset diabetes worldwide. Of course, from a nutritional and physiological standpoint one could argue that a craving for sugar is actually a need for protein.

I find myself eating lots of simple carbs, when I am trying to push through something like a long day, a tall stack of papers, as if I need to reward or convince myself that I can do it if only in spurts. This is an interesting concept as it jibes with the anthroposophic medicine point of view, (which stems from the teachings of Rudolf Steiner and Eva Wegman), that increased sugar intake occurs when there is a need for more “Ego structure,” like inspiration, drive, or a sense of Will.

Does this ring true for you? I invite you to look at what your drives, be it food cravings or shopping addictions, tell you about your emotional needs are. What the emotional triggers are and how you might make them your allies when you need to get through the day without pushing yourself at an oral level when you might do better receiving at an emotional level. Like a hug instead of butter, a game of basketball or wrestling instead of a 16 oz sirloin, or finding inspiration in a person, a sunset, or yourself, instead of the chocolate bar or a stiff drink.

As always, I welcome your feedback (including recipes) and send you wishes for good health, laughter and insight.

Here's a recipe for a non-dairy, non-wheat, good for your liver nourishing meal, measurements aren't exact so experiment ; )

Curry beet quinoa (or rice)

3 small beets raw/sliced
2-4 cloves garlic (depending on your taste or you can omit)
1 tsp yellow mustard seed
1-2 tsp curry powder
2 tsp coconut oil
1 bunch of fresh cilantro
3 cups of cooked quinoa or brown rice
1 can tomato sauce

1 fresh lemon
1 Avocado slices
Sea salt and pepper to taste.

Saute garlic, mustard seeds in warm oil, add in onions if you want,raw beets, and curry powder, cook for few minutes while beets absorb spices and soften, add in quinoa or rice, tomato sauce (1/2 can) and water in about equal amounts (taste as you go), and cilantro. Simmer for few minutes until beets are soft and the liquid is resorbed.
Squirt with lemon juice and sea salt to taste, and garnish with fresh avocado slices and more cilantro leaves if desired. Make a lot so you can refrigerate for left overs.

Surprisingly my daughter and her friends are always asking me to make this for them- go figure kids like curry beet rice! Beets and cilantro are excellent for helping your liver detoxify, and the spices help with circulation. Coconut oil nourishes your thyroid gland, and along with avocado, are great sources of good fats. Quinoa is a good protein source. Bon apetit!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

some musings on George Orwell, Goethe, Google, facebook and debt ceilings

What does facebook, Goethe and global economic instability have to do with your health? What’s one to do when their motivation is blunted by fear and loathing in Google-opolis? I’ve been putzing around with a website launch for about 10 months now, in that time Google has changed their algorithm for organic ratings and the prospect of facebook and twitter looms heavily on the virtual marketing horizon. It makes sense to me now, the visibility of another website essentially for free with facebook and twitter- the increased presence online and all, but what is the tradeoff? I think of the Goethe quote: “How much knowledge have we lost to information? How much wisdom have we lost to knowledge?” Though, it would seem the option to post on one’s business facebook is so inviting, it holds very little appeal for me. Sure, there are awesome triumphs to report about patients who’ve lost 14 Ibs in a month or another’s chronic yeast infection that has finally resolved, or the mood elevation and improved focus of another patient- all without high intervention pharmaceuticals or weekly injections of pregnant women’s urine (i.e hCG), but where’s the line? Where is the anonymity? Where is the privacy in which to treasure these triumphs in a more meaningful way than a momentary news flash amongst the deluge of tidbits mashed in with major events? Where’s the respite from information? And, more poignantly what’s information and what’s marketing? Yes, great results are great things to report so that others may feel invited to start their journey- to maybe inspire them that they, too, can do it, and that indeed it can be done. That is surely valuable. However, what about anonymity? Yes getting over a chronic yeast infection is great, but how would you feel about reading about it and knowing it was your story of woe? Would you feel embarrassed or would you feel left out for not having the option to put your name on such a victory? Would you post on the wall that it was you and that it was awesome? Because in facebook there’s no anonymity- your preferences, and your group of friends and their preferences are all there for everyone to see. It’s a marketeers’ wet dream- perhaps their drool accounts for the sticky feeling I get when I visit facebook ; ) It’s probably cliché by now that facebook is better than even George Orwell could have imagined in 1984, (maybe because it’s decades later), but who would’ve imagined that the government would have been usurped in it’s role as the fascist voyeur? Not even Edgar Allen Poe imagined a time where instead of government, or guilt, that the downfall of civilization ends up being in the name of marketing for voracious consumption. And, here we are in year 2011 where the economies of the world so melded have begun to melt, and the habitual drive of creating consumer demand has far outpaced the ability of consumers to support their habit. What does the drug dealer do when his poppy or pot crop is bursting and yet there aren’t enough addicts able to pay him in a currency that pays for the manure, or the water bill? Dorothy, we are not watching the game show jeopardy, it’s the reality of jeopardy (that was a wizard of oz allusion btw)- and it’s happened before. What did our predecessors do in such tight times? Well they threw a party of course- not for just the rich, because in these times the rich are better off than ever, but for everyone. They threw a forgiveness party- a jubilee, where all debts were forgiven and those who committed petty crimes were allowed again into the world, and the game could begin anew. However, in this convoluted time of virtual currency what’s one to do? The whole point of virtual currency is to solve the inevitable insolvency, right? Perhaps all we can do is evolve- taking that of past tradition and adding a twist of modern sophistication (you might google the word sophistry, btw) - like the pop stars of modern times have made their fortunes by rehashing songs from the 80’s (as far as I can tell : ). Thus, I propose, WE proclaim a jubilee-potlatch hybridization. A full on Jubilee, as in the days of old is just too extreme for these times, of high population. But combine it with a potlatch ( where one holds a party and gives away objects that are valuable and usable to the invited), may be just the right type of mixer for the strong drink needed to adjust our present dismally confusing economic reality. Here are some ideas for the potlatch if the governments are the party giver: 1. Student loan debt forgiveness: can you say “Uh Huh Uh Huh, Oh Yeah!” Hey, the big banks were fished out of the creak with a TARP instead of a paddle, why not give America’s educated the same courtesy. It could be in a form like homeowner’s are given, especially when graduates, like myself, come out of school with mortgage sized educational loans. And, though we can write off interest to a limited amount, why not allow us tax write-offs for all student loan interest? After all, the fact that the government is paying banks the interest on these loans is clearly only benefiting the banks! 2. Health care solutions. How about instead of allowing pharmaceutical companies and private laboratories to set a price for their business they are given a range of Usual and customary charges that are acceptable not to some insurance company that’s creating a contract, but to all people who use their lab or pharmaceutical. 3. Have you noticed that your Health Insurance premium is increasing? So, is your co-insurance costs for labs? My goodness, I bet even your co-pays for pharmaceutical drugs are going up, too. Well, what’s the point of paying hundreds of dollars for insurance coverage and then hundreds more towards what they’re supposed to cover? I think it’s time to start a Health Savings Account revolution, it will benefit patients by giving them both choice and credit for when they pay for health care outside of the choices available to them in network, and for the medicines, including those that have no side effects that aren’t mainly beneficial side effects like nutritional or botanical supplements. High quality fish oil, mercury and PCB free, of course, should definitely be covered or at least credited toward a deductible. What other substances can you think of that not only lowers your bad cholesterol, increase your good cholesterol, decrease depression and anxiety and reduce joint pain and inflammation? I know this started off on a facebook rant, and ended with strange archaic, perhaps even mythical, theocratic acts of yore, but these are the times when national healthcare, global debt forgiveness, and the health of the individual all collide- at least in my view. After all, when there's economic anxiety there's sympathetic nervous system override- which is a physical equivalent of raising the debt ceiling to pay back on what was borrowed. When you've been running on adrenaline for a long time, the constant stimulation will wear down your family jewels, (your adrenal glands) and what can you do then? You might feel like you've been hit by a truck physically and emotionally, you'll experience more allergies, more illness, more forgetting things, and running out of momentum just by thinking of doing something, etc.. What to do then? Of course, augment with adrenal glandulars or other supplements and botanical medicines, and count on investing time, money, effort and patience. Of course, it's your family jewels you'll have to commit to seeing it through, but wouldn't it be great to start sooner than later? Salvage what you can and invest in restoring your sanity without sacrificing your greatest resources? What do you think? These are just some musings, and I’d love to hear your inspiring or insightful comments.