Friday, January 20, 2012

GERD & Wheat/Gluten

I found an informative online article linking Gluten to Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease today. I know a number of people who suffer from GERD and are taking standard medical treatment, which does not seem to fully help the problem. Perhaps looking into a gluten free, or even to start, a wheat free diet might help with the problem.

I can attest to the fact that GERD can be caused by gluten consumption. I have found that if I consume wheat in any form regularly I will start to have terrible acid reflux. I stop the wheat and the acid reflux is gone within a day or two. Still - if I start up with wheat again, it comes back.

Gluten Sensitivity Induces GERD - Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
(video - it takes a little bit to load)

This information comes from the website, however I recommend going to their other website, Gluten Free Society.

If you have facebook, you can join their facebook page
or view their youtube channel
Glutenology's youtube channel

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Lyme Disease and Diet

Fairy Frost photo jkhat o'brien(c)2003

I have had Lyme Disease for three and a half years now. I have tried the standard Lyme treatment, which is not working. That treatment is to take antibiotics for months, if not years. I just felt too weary and overwhelmed to try to stick to a decent diet (which for me is a wheat and dairy free diet) during that time. I knew there were herbal protocols, but when I read about them, they were so complex that I did not want to attempt them. Lyme had also caused scarring on my brain, and I feared that an herbal protocol might not get to the Lyme in my brain.

Early on in my Lyme journey, I got a concussion. I had an MRI of my head, and it was discovered that I had severe scarring in my brain, much like the scarring that ocurs with MS (Multiple Sclerosis). As the neurogolist entered the room, she announced to me - "From our test results you either have MS or Lyme Disease!" Amazing to discover that the same brain scarring from MS is present in some cases of Lyme Disease. Amazing and very frightening!

I recently came to a place in my life where I had to stop the antibiotic treatment. It was not clearing up the Lyme, and it was really wreaking havoc on my body. My health had degenerated so much, a good part from long term antibiotic use, that if I wanted to get better I felt I needed to turn back to what I knew - a simple, healthy diet and an herbal regimen.

Wheat and dairy also devastate me. I have an intolerance, or sensitivy to both. The list of symptoms and conditions that those sensitivities can cause is very, very long. Gluten sensitivity is now coming to the attention of the general public, although I have been dealing with wheat sensitivities knowingly since the early 1980's. Who would think that foods could be a big contributor to poor health, disease, or even death?

"It's only a cookie ..."

After getting wheat and dairy out of my diet for two weeks, I was offered a delicious homemade cookie (made with wheat flour) and a cup of coffee with just two tablespoons of half and half in it. A few hours later, my body ballooned up, my weight and blood pressure went up - I gained 5 pounds overnight from a cookie and a coffee - wheat and dairy. I needed no further proof that I had made the right choice to change my diet, and I won't be eating any cookies or drinking any coffee any time soon.

Yes - insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results. I didn't need to take the cookie, but it was offered by someone I love and care about and I didn't want to offend them. Besides, what is the harm in one cookie? Well, I had almost immediate proof of that. I hope to stay off that Insanity Wheel and choose to graciously refuse what I know is not to my benefit.

Since this blog is about what is sacred to me, my health is sacred to me. A journey to wellness out of disease is sacred to me. Some indigenous cultures see those struck by serious illness to have been chosen by Creator to walk a sacred path. Lyme Disease has called me back to remembering what is sacred to me, and what I hold dear. For that I can say today that I am grateful. I choose to see my body's wisdom in not toleranting antibiotics any longer as a sacred call - a call back to the way that shall heal me.

Walk in Beauty!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Stop SOPA - Please Sign Petition Below

Click here for Google anti SOPA Petition

TEDtalks video:
Defend our freedom to share (or why SOPA is a bad idea)
Thanks to my friend Edie for this link to a great explanation of what SOPA is, and why we don't want it.

Thank you, Meg, from Green Divas Radio for the LOL Cats song link above.
Find Green Divas Radio on the web, or Like Green Divas Radio on facebook.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Frankenfood: How Can We Tell?

Talk has been going around the internet that you can tell if produce is non-GMO by its PLU code (the numbers on the bar code sticker that now comes on most produce).

A 4 number code is used for all produce, so that it can be identified at the checkout counter.

A 5 number code has been set up to determine whether or not produce is organic or GMO.

The 5 number code for Organic produce starts with 9.
The 5 number code for GMO produce starts with 8.

If only this were really true! Producers of GMO are not required by law to use the GMO code, and so they rarely do, because even they know that many people today are not willing buy GMO produce.

There is an organization that does offer a downloadable non-GMO shopping list.

I found that link from an article on the Huffington Post, by Jeffrey Smith, PLU Codes Do Not Indicate Genetically Modified Produce.

Read 'em, and eat healthy!

Friday, January 13, 2012

"Extra Virginity"? We're Talking Olive Oil, Folks

I heard this interview, "Losing Virginity": Olive Oil's Scandalous Fraud, last month on my local public radio station, WAMC, in Albany, NY. It was on Fresh Air from WHYY, with Terry Gross interviewing Tom Mueller, the author of Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil.

Interview Highlights

On why 4 out of 10 bottles that say Italian olive oil are not actually Italian olive oil
"A lot of those oils have been packed in Italy or have been transited through Italy just long enough to get the Italian flag on them. That's not, strictly speaking, illegal — but I find it a legal fraud, if you will."

On extra light olive oil
"Extra light is just as caloric as any other oil — 120 calories per tablespoon, but the average person looking at it might say, 'Oh, well, I've heard olive oil is a fat, so I will try extra light olive oil.' ... It's highly, highly refined. It has almost no flavor and no color. And it is, in fact, extra-light in the technical sense of being clear."

On which oil to use while frying or sauteing
"From a health point of view, olive oil is wonderful [for frying]. From a taste point of view, there are times when at really, really high temperatures, an extra-virgin with really bitter flavors and pungency can become a little unbalanced. And the bitterness can become overbearing. And obviously, from an economic point of view, if you're spending a lot of money for an extra-virgin, maybe high-heat cooking in some circumstances really isn't the best thing. But for lower heat, every extra-virgin olive oil is good — it really depends on the dish you're putting together."

On using olive oil as a dressing for ice cream
"Get a bottle of really, really powerful, bitter and pungent oil, and pour it over some really good ice cream. And it is like an injection of liquid sunshine. It's quite a treat."

I enjoyed listening to this interview, as the author is very knowledgeable about many aspects of olive, including the types and grades of olives, where and how they are grown, how growing conditions and time of harvest can affect the taste of the oil, how olive oil is obtained, and even how to suss out fake olive oil, to name only several of the many aspects of olive oil and its production.

I am going to listen to this program again, and I recommend it to you -

"Losing Virginity": Olive Oil's Scandalous Fraud

January Snow in The Berkshires

photo: j khat o'brien

A lovely snowstorm outside my window, clusters of large soft snowflakes floating down so densely that it is hard to see into the distance. We had one snowstorm of merit in October, and have not really had any snowfall since, till the past few days.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Mermaid or Whale?

From a writer on MindBodyGreen website:
The parable below, which is a commentary on body image, has gone viral on Facebook.What do you think?

A while back, at the entrance of a gym, there was a picture of a very thin and beautiful woman. The caption was "This summer, do you want to be a mermaid or a whale?"

The story goes, a woman (of clothing size unknown) answered the following way: ...

(photo accompanies above article on MindBodyGreen)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Tissue? I hardly know you!

This repurposing of a cardboard tissue box from Real Simple magazine is great! I cringe every time I throw a tissue box away, thinking that there must be some way to put them to use. This tissue box is being used to store plastic grocery bags. (They have used a pretty coloured bag here, hard to see that it is a plastic bag.) And since I am a saver, when the tissue box will hold no more bags, I will know that I need to start a new box, and take the tissue box full of bags to the bag recycling center. It is also a great space saver, since currently I am using a plastic grocery bag to store the extra bags, this will take up a lot less space in my little kitchen.

ps - thanks to my sister Sarah for one of her favourite silly jokes, which I used as the title to this post.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Portlandia? Portlandia!

Sick ... sick ... SICK!

While perusing the film/movie/show choices on Hulu, I came across a title - Portlandia. What? I had not heard of it. This is what I like about not having cable access; I discover some program new to me (although the whole rest of the world could have known about it for years) and that completely delights me. I hate being bombarded by commercials, plus the hefty cable bill, in which you are paying for an awful lot of nothing. Unless you also own a tivo or other recording device, you must be a slave to the cable schedules ... not for me. I don't like commercials and schedules, but I do love me some good TV.

Could it be, a program that actually spoofs on Portlanders ... Portlandians? If so, it could be either funny to me, or not. I wanted to be surprised, so I didn't look it up for more information, but simply watched an episode. Well, it was funnier to me that what I could have imagined. The Portlandia attitude - do I relate because I once lived in Oregon for several years, and knew people who lived Portland? Or is this Portland attitude all over, but found in a much higher concentration in Portland?

Regardless, I recommend watching at least one episode. They are only free to watch on hulu for a little while longer, as the new season starts on January 21, on IFC/Independent Film Channel, and that is when they will stop being posted for watching on hulu.

Portlandia: Season One was released on dvd in December, 2011, if you miss the free play online.

ps - I must add something ... you do have to tolerate commercials on hulu. I tolerate them because I am watching for free, yes for free! Free, in this case, is not freedom from commercials. It is pretty much standard everywhere one goes on the intarwebs these days. I just turn off the volume and do something else for a few moments... and tell myself, "It's free!"

I guess it is true - there ain't no such thing as a free lunch.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Calligraphy: Heart Sutra

Chinese text of the Heart Sūtra
by Yuan Dynasty artist and calligrapher Zhao Mengfu (1254–1322 CE).

The Great Heart of Wisdom Sutra

Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva while practicing deep Prajna Paramita

Perceived all five skandhas were empty and was saved from suffering and distress

Shariputra, form is no different from emptiness

Emptiness is no different from form

That which is form is emptiness

That which is emptiness is form

Feelings, perceptions, impulses, consciousness, the same is true of these

Shariputra, all dharmas are marked with emptiness

(They) do not appear or disappear

are not tainted or pure

do not increase or decrease

Therefore in emptiness no form,

no feelings, perceptions, impulses, consciousness

no eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, mind

no color, sound, smell, taste, touch, object of mind

no realm of eyes and so forth until no realm of mind consciousness

no ignorance and also no extinction of ignorance

and so forth until no old age and death and no extinction of old age and death

no suffering, origination, stopping, path

no cognition also no attainment

with nothing to attain

the Bodhisattva depends upon Prajna Paramita

and (his) mind is no hindrance

without any hindrance no fear exists

far apart from every inverted view

(he) dwells in Nirvana

All Buddhas in the Three Worlds

depend on Prajna Paramita

and attain complete unsurpassed enlightenment

Therefore know the Prajna Paramita

is the great transcendent mantra

is the great bright mantra

is the utmost mantra

is the supreme mantra

which is able to relieve all suffering and is true, not false

so proclaim the Prajna Paramita mantra

proclaim the mantra that says

gone,gone, gone beyond

gone all the way beyond, Bodhi Svaha!

heart sutra

above Heart Sutra Mantra  thanks to Brad Warner, author of Hardcore Zen
"The English translation I've used is based upon the ones by Kobun Chino and Gudo Nishijima with a bit of my own re-interpretation thrown in. I tried to follow the Chinese grammar in the English translation so that it would be easier to match the Chinese directly to the English. Since word order in Chinese and English is fairly close, this doesn't create too many problems, though there are a couple awkward spots.

I claim no ownership or copyright of any kind on this material. So feel free to use it in any way you please without asking permission from me. Copy it. Distribute it. Re-write it as a pornographic limerick if you want."

Heart Sutra wiki page

an excerpt from the above wiki page:
"The current Dalai Lama explains the mantra in Discourse On The Heart Sutra both as an instruction for practice and as a device for measuring one's own level of spiritual attainment, and translates it as "go, go, go beyond, go thoroughly beyond, and establish yourself in enlightenment"."

from Discourse On The Heart Sutra:
"If you gain some experience out of deeper understanding and familiarisation of the concept of emptiness, concept of inter-dependency, certainly our view, our attitude is widened. As a result in daily life when we come across some problems, because our attitude is widened we always look at the holistic picture. So as a result disturbances in our emotional level will be much less. Otherwise our mind is too much, sort of narrow, and then a small factor can disturb your mind…All the afflicted emotions essentially can be seperated from mind. All the afflictive emotions come from ignorance. The ignorance which wrongly perceived, wrongly grasped the reality - that is the main ignorance...Every sentient being has the potential to be a Buddha…every mind, every sentient being, the ultimate nature of mind is pure."

Numerology: Personal Year

Yesterday I wrote briefly on the Universal Year, which is found by adding the numbers of the current year. 2012 = 2 + 0 + 1 + 2 = 5. The Universal Number for the year 2012 is 5.

There are Univeral Numbers for each year, month and day. There are also Personal Numbers for each year, month and day. I find it interesting to figure these numbers, and then observe through the year what happens, and how it might correspond to the number vibrations of those periods. I always recommend that people journal their lives, or at least make note of significant events or experiences in one's life. You can figure the numerolgy of your whole life, and then see under which number vibrations those significant life events or time periods those events occurred.

To find your Personal Year Number, you add the month and day of your birth to the current Universal Year.

Choose a birth month and day:
1(Jan) + 12 = 1 + 1 + 2 = 4

then add that number to the Universal Year number:
4 + 5 = 9

The person with this birth month and day has a Personal Year of 4.

All right, I really just jumped in here, without much information to go on. I'm writing this because I am thinking about this lately, so here it is. I realize I have not said much about all the meanings of all the numbers. It does take some looking into to understand better.

I love numerology because numbers can be seen as Symbols, and Symbols can be Keys to open us to ourselves and our true nature, and tune us into our Soul's Path. Meditation upon a Symbol can be a powerful tool for self knowledge, and a way to come to terms with aspects of ourselves and life that we don't like or don't understand. If we learn to see the challenges as a part of our path, and own them, and receive the teachings of the lessons, it can bring about a sense of peace, empowerment and the centering feeling that we are in our rightful place in Life.

Here are a few websites that have some decent basics on numerology:

Cafe Astrology: Numerology Basics Numerology Software

Gate gate
Bodhi svaha!

The Heart Sutra

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Great Bell Chant

The Great Bell Chant (The End of Suffering) from R Smittenaar on Vimeo.

New Year Numbers


The Universal Year 2012 is 5.

To calculate the Universal Year, you add the separate numbers of the year.
2 + 0 + 1 + 2 = 5

You can do this for every year. I find it quite interesting to note the Univeral Year each year and then see how the events of the year reflect that number. It can get a lot more complex and fascinating, if you delve into the symbolism of numbers. In my study of numerology, astrology, tarot and other estoric arts, the significance of numbers and their symbolic meanings is extraordinary. It provides a key to aid the understanding of these arts.

Some keywords for the number 5 are commerce, activity, communications, versatility, flexibility, and a desire to explore and investigate. Last year, 2010, was a 4 year. 4 is the number of foundations, focus, manifestation, plans and organization, basically.

We have been hearing for years that this year, 2012, is going to be the end of the world. I have always looked at this as the end of the world as we know it. Pardon my use of the well known song line, but for me it is an apt description.

This past year, under a Universal 4 vibration, we have seen a focus on structures, if we see the laws and regulations that rule our government and society as structures. All of these have been greatly challenged, and it seems that there is a need for a new structure. These systems and structures are just not working any more. The 99 percent movement has clearly shown, through the voice of the people, that there needs to be a new way.

2012, with a 5 vibration, could be the breaking free from the old structure to explore new ways of doing things. 5 is about freedom from restrictions, seeking new ideas, examining the old ways and scrapping what no longer works, and communcating and meeting with others to exchange ideas and information. Who knows? It could be a fun way of viewing the crazy state of our world today. Maybe we'll be a part of making a newer and better world. Let's hope so!

Blessings! May this new year be filled with much joy, satisfaction and wonder.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Beautiful Life

Yolande Moreau I love her. I love her screen presence. She is quite unique and quite delightful to watch. I was browsing movies to watch at an online streaming movie site when I came across the movie Séraphine. The movie/dvd picture seemed interesting, but not all that interesting. Still, her face looked familiar, I did not know where from, and so I watched Séraphine out of curousity. I loved it, not only for the story, and the cinematography, but for the lovely presence of Yolande Moreau.

Yolande Moreau was in Amélie, I later found out. Amélie is another film that I love watching and rewatching. That was where I had first seen her.

An article from the LA Times by Saul Austerlitz:
Yolande Moreau brings painter 'Séraphine' to life

I looked her up and found that she had done another movie, When the Sea Rises (Quand la mer monte...) By then I was smitten, even though the description of the film seemed a bit dark for my taste. It started out with a scene of Moreau's character onstage in her comedy act, which is dark comedy - be prepared. I almost stopped watching, it was a bit disturbing, both the content and her costume; as I watched, I began to understand the humour. Sitting through my discomfort paid off in the end. Another quirky but overall enjoyable film.

You can find more about Yolande Moreau by searching her name, or looking her up on IMDB or Rotten Tomatoes. I hope you do, I think you'll be delighted that you did.

In Beauty I Walk

1: supernatural, mysterious
2: filled with a sense of the presence of divinity : holy
3: appealing to the higher emotions or to the aesthetic sense : spiritual

numinous [ˈnjuːmɪnəs]
1. denoting, being, or relating to a numen; divine
2. arousing spiritual or religious emotions
3. mysterious or awe-inspiring
[from Latin numin-, numen + -ous]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003

numen [ˈnjuːmɛn]
n pl -mina [-mɪnə]
1. (Myth & Legend / Classical Myth & Legend) (esp in ancient Roman religion) a deity or spirit presiding over a thing or place
2. a guiding principle, force, or spirit
[from Latin: a nod (indicating a command), divine power; compare nuere to nod]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003

Numen, numinous ... aren't these words just luscious and delicious to the mind and as these sound off the tongue? I wanted to name my blog Numinous, but someone already has it ... cannot fault them for that. No one had Crowbone, though I think that there is at least one band named Crowbone. I've actually got a little Crowbone, saved in a little box.

So ... crowbone ... a numinous path ... the Beauty Way ... seeking to share and cherish the Beauty and Sacredness within and around us all.

Aho! May you walk in Beauty!