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Friday, July 17, 2015

Follow the Pain & "Superlife" by Darin Olien

"Follow the pain", I quipped to a friend of mine in an e-mail recently.

"Follow the's a compass point leading the way out".

The context of this comment is complicated and probably unnecessary to detail.  We are both working on our emotional fitness in a specific context that is often drama-filled; I'll just leave it at that.

But did you ever write or say something to someone and then it began to tickle a part of your brain, coming back to visit you as if to say, pay attention here, there may be something for you to learn?

I think we can and do use others as a mirror for ourselves....what bothers us about others can often merely be a reflection of our own foibles, short-comings and can point us to areas that need improvement.

Follow the pain.

In my own case as I work to stretch out of my comfort zone in a few areas of my life, I find the seductive pull of the status quo nearly irresistible.  Why am I resisting change?  Change is inevitable and can be exciting.  The universe abhors stagnation as does nature.  All arrows point to change and change is the only constant!

Why resist?

Follow the pain.

In my childhood, change meant pain.  I craved consistency, predictability, stability.  Even the mere sound of the automatic garage door opener starting up signaled a massive energetic response coursing thru my body....all systems on red prepared for anything, fight, flight or sink into despair.  It became a Pavlovian 'bell ring' to my adrenal glands.  Growing up in a home with an abusive alcoholic will do that to a person.

I thought I had long ago slayed that demon.

Follow the pain.

Could it be that the craving for stability was now, in my late adult life, planting itself firmly in my path to becoming the best me as a formidable road block?

I think so.

Follow the pain.  Embrace change.  Chart a new course.  The unknown does not always signal pain....sometimes it brings new discoveries and happiness only heretofore hinted at.......


Superlife, by Darin Olien.

I ordered this book after hearing Rich Roll's conversation with Darin on a recent podcast.    Darin's basic approach to nutrition and the 'superlife' is by integratingwhat he identifies as the five life forces (nutrition, hydration, oxygenation, alkalization and detoxification).

He talks about feeding our cells properly; that if we do that, we've got the rest covered.  I've only skimmed through parts of the book, but I already know I am going to find it quite useful.  I especially like the section in the book that categorizes food by purpose, so, for example, if you wanted to eat to address stress issues, you could look to see what foods support the systems/organs that help us cope with stress.

There are recipes and general guidelines.  (I will forgive Darin's inclusion of eggs and a tiny bit of dairy here and there as otherwise most of the information blends with my other research -- although he does use oil). 

I enjoy his clear writing style and statements that cut through to the crucial points such as these on p. 129:  "The mere fact that our immune systems react to animal-based food should tell us that it contains something unhealthy for us.   .........every meal triggers a new bout of inflammation, which we constantly renew with every plate placed before us.  At some point it becomes a chronic conditions.  Our immune systems don't get a breather."   He goes on further to define this condition as 'nutritional stress', something that I think is vital for us to understand and deal with properly in order to achieve optimal health.

I'm sure I'll do another post on Darin's book.  Learn more about him here:


Cool beans.  Wet conditions have made my garden go just crazy and I'm still harvesting lettuce which normally would be long past its prime.  Fresh garden lettuce in July in Ohio, hard to believe.

I doubled up on a bean I tried last year that I thought would be fun for my grand-daughter to grow....dragon tongue beans.  (I ordered from Baker's Creek:    The plants are huge and bushy and I harvested the first of the beans this week; not only are they fun, but they are mighty tasty just lightly steamed, plain.  And you gotta love a bean named after dragons.

Sue, enjoying the simple beauty of the garden, dragons and all, in Ohio

Friday, July 10, 2015

A Soggy July and The Rich Roll Podcast featuring Darin Olien

It's raining here in Ohio....again.  We seem to be in this pattern and can't get out; can't get the hay in because the fields are so wet, can't, can't, can't.

....but there is a lot that we CAN do.

For one thing, the raised garden beds are happy!  My garlic 'crop' is in.  This is my first try at garlic and I planted mostly the variety Music.  My bulbs seem to be smaller than those I see at the local farm market, but then I didn't add any fertilizer.  They smell wonderful though!  I'll definitely be planting more this fall.


 The kale, collards and lettuce
 especially have been spectacular.

 With the cooler temps, we've had a
 steady harvest of a variety of lettuces.

I've had some time to do some inside work too and catch up on my favorite podcast.  Rich Roll continues to put out interesting and timely content.  

Find him here: 

I recently listened to episode 153 featuring Darin Olien, dubbed the Indiana Jones of Superfoods.   Darin has a great story about how he came to look to food to find health and is a staunch believer in the healing capacity of foods.  I particularly like that Darin gives back and is immersed in helping indigenous cultures protect themselves from corporate greed.  

Find out more about Darin here:

I ordered his book and hope to glean a bit more knowledge about what it takes to fully thrive.  I'll carve out some time to review his book here later.

Speaking of books, I did pick up Rich Roll's new book, the Plantpower Way.  I've only glanced at it, and will write up a post about it when I've had a chance to do it's beautiful and colorful pages justice and to try out some of the recipes.


Tonight I'll get a chance to use some of these garlic having them fresh from my garden.

I'm going to try a pesto, but most recipes I find have tons of oil.  I'm going to try processing some scapes, sunflower seeds, a bit of nutritional yeast and avocado for fat/moisture.  Will snap some pix and upload later!

Happy (albeit soggy) Summer!

Sue, loving the garden, in soggy Ohio

Friday, March 6, 2015

To Juice or Not To Juice

The concepts of both smoothies and juicing have a bit of controversy attached to them, especially in the whole-food plant-based eating community.

Just do a google search about the downsides of smoothies and juicing and you will read all manner of horrors about blood sugar spikes, how you need to chew your food to get digestion off to a good start, etc.  You will find an equal amount of postings about how juicing will save your life and cure cancer and more.

Like most things in life, the truth for most of us probably lies somewhere in between.

This winter, I wanted to ramp up our nutrient levels and was also looking for a solution to the difficulty of getting enough greens and fruits into my omnivorous husband.  He does pretty well here at home, but doesn't eat breakfast and I worry about him getting enough nutrients to help balance the demands from his high-stress job, so I re-kindled my old habit of sending him out the door with a small smoothie.  In the winter months, and this year we have had some serious winter here in Ohio, it is sometimes hard to down a smoothie; they are quite cooling and I've not had great success in making a green drink in the Vitamix.

I decided to look into juicing and after a little bit of research, in uncharacteristic fashion, quickly pulled the trigger on a purchase.  I opted for a masticating juicer vs. a centrifugal juicer.  I like the idea of no blades and watched a couple of videos and settled on the Kuvings, deciding it would be fairly easy to clean.

[ For a quick explanation of the basic differences between masticating juicers & centrifugal ones, see: }

Here is my Kuvings.  Juice is coming out on the left and pulp coming out on the right.

The Kuvings does a great job for me and I love that I can use up produce that I might not otherwise get to.  I've made a variety of juices now, mango and spinach, apples, oranges and romain and of course, various combinations with that nutritional power food, kale.  

The idea of throwing out all of the remaining pulp was too painful for me the first couple of times I juiced (I have since gotten over it :).  I tried making muffins:

and crackers....

....with only moderate success.

My best efforts came when I juiced the veggies separately, and used predominately veggie pulp in the crackers.


I kept it pretty simple.  I added some additional moisture to the pulp....(Ground up raw sunflower seeds soaked in the Vitamix and then blended into seed milk), a bit of ground golden flax seed, sea salt and some whole-wheat flour.  I added a few spices, mostly granulated garlic.

Crackers after baking on the pizza stone 

 I believe total bake time (375 oven) was about 20 minutes.  Time will vary according to thickness of dough; I rolled it out thin as I wanted more of a wheat-thin type cracker.  I left the stone in the oven after turning off until oven cooled and I think that helped with the crispness factor.

These crackers came out very good and the mix goes together quickly.  I will definitely be making them again.

As for the juicer itself, I've only had this one, so can't make a comparison, but it is not that big of a deal to clean up, which I hear is the main deterrent to people actually USING their juicers.  I'd say it takes me no more than about 5 minutes to disassemble and clean.  It goes back together quickly too; I am not mechanically oriented and there is a small learning curve for reassembly, but it is a good design and not difficult.

{For more info on Kuvings, see here:

I got the silent slow juicer similar to the model pictured here: }

As for juicing, it has become a regular habit now, and I typically juice once or twice a week.  I can send the love of my life out the door with a fresh juice a couple of days a week (we usually consume what I juice in two days) and that feels very good.

It is too soon to tell if I am cured of anything or how my health has been impacted, but my energy is good and I usually am dragging at this time of the year, craving the spring, with depleted Vitamin D reserves.

And, the juice is delicious.

I'm still craving the spring, but that'll come on Mother Nature's terms.  She has her own calendar!

Sue, Juicing in Ohio

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Cranberry-Pistachio Cookies and Gift Jars, oh and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Happy New Year!

I am super excited about 2015.  I believe this will be the best year ever.    I have much to share on the blog and will get back into blogging some more this winter; I've been doing a lot of reading, 'personal' work and feel more hopeful and healed and ready to move forward than I have in a long time.

In the meantime, I wanted to share a recipe I used for gift jars this past holiday season.  I know it is past December, but this is a good one to hold onto or maybe would be a nice Valentine's gift for someone.  Much healthier than a box of chocolates!

I found a recipe for cranberry-pistachio cookies here:
and here:

There are actually several listings of this same recipe out there on the web, so I am going to break 'blogger protocol' and put the recipe here.

Cranberry-Pistachio Cookies

Dry Mix:
1/2 C dried cranberries
3 T pistachios, chopped
pinch salt
2 T ground flax
1 1/2 C oats
1/2 C oat flour (I just ground up oats)
1/2 C almond meal
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda

Wet Mix:

2 bananas, mashed
1/2 cup nut butter
2 T coconut oil, melted (can sub out oil, applesauce or nut milk works well*)
3 T maple syrup (*I did a few soaked dates and this works too, include soaking water)
5 T water

Drop by spoonful onto parchment paper-lined baking sheet.  Bake at 350 for about 15 - 17 mins.

I gave out a lot of these jars this year and I was surprised by the response.  One of my gift recipients is a very non-vegan, very high-processed,  high-sugar eater and she LOVED the cookies and asked for the dry mix recipe.

(Be sure to include ingredient list for wet mix and instructions with your gift).

I am keeping a batch or two of the dry mix in the frig so I can whip up some cookies quickly (could bake as bars in a baking dish), and I want to experiment with different dried fruit/nut combinations.

The dry mix really does look festive with the red of the cranberries.

Happy, healthy snacking in 2015.

Sue, loving the fresh start of a new year, in frozen Ohio