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Monthly Archives: February 2012

Rock, Paper, Hair Cut

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Getting a hair cut is hard work!  At least, it is if you are picky and have complicated hair.  I got about five months out of my last cut, which I guess for a heavily layered look is actually awhile, but by the time I went to Rock Paper Salon today, I was hating my hair and the mushroom-shaped quality it had acquired on top.  Since my hair is very long these days (at least in back), I am kind of neurotic about much being taken off, but at the same time I want it ALL GONE NOW so I feel light and free.  And I don’t want anything round-ish at all, and I don’t want it to grow out to look like I belong on Friends, and I don’t want a mullet but I want it really 80’s rockerish, and I want sweepy bangs but I hate the feel of hair on my forehead so they can’t actually act like bangs.  And I have naturally huge, frizzy JewFro, which I prefer to wear as stringy and straight as flat irons and styling products can accomplish.

Unimpressed by my last cut at Studio DNA, where I felt like the girl was just overwhelmed by me (I know, big shock), I found a new salon called Rock Paper, located in Echo Park.  My mom had sent me a link to an article about a salon called Refuge, which is owned by a formerly Amish girl, because my mother knows how crazy in love I am with anything Amish (I know, big shock again, but in a totally different way), so I had looked it up recently… only to discover that it was on Tabitha’s Salon Takeover, and even after the show, seemed to still be kind of a disaster.  A couple of the girls from there had started a new salon, and since Ace uses the biz name “Ace Paper Sparrow” for her art, and since Rock Paper had five stars on yelp (Hi, yelp, I still don’t miss you), I decided to give it a try.

Cuts here are generally $65-95, and mine would’ve been the full $95, which was just too ‘spensive for me.  One stylist had a new client special though, and if I came in with my hair already ironed they wouldn’t have to charge for styling, so a $55 deal was offered to me and I gladly accepted it, because I help put the Jew in JewFro (which, for the record, is only a funny joke if I am the one saying it, otherwise it’d be totally offensive).  My stylist was Pam, who was by far the least chatty of any hair stylist I’ve ever had, and even though I’d brought photos and would like to think I’m fairly intelligible in my descriptions/instructions, we still had some communication issues.  (Based on my past, though, I’m realizing I may just be a pain in the butt with difficult hair.)

One hour and forty minutes later (!!!), which did not include any washing/drying, I had new hair, which was the old hair I was looking for, and I love it.  I assume it will be quicker next time if I return to her, which I will provided the style grows out ok.  Pam had a cute 60’s look and was mild-mannered and thorough, even if unable to make the connections between my words and hand gestures.  She kept saying that my hands were doing different things than my words were telling her to, and eventually I was like, ok, just ignore my hands, and focus on my words.  It was comical, if not odd/annoying for both of us.  My only complaint about the salon was the amount of hair under things and in corners, as if no one had swept thoroughly in recent days/weeks/????.  Since I doubt they want to end up with a visit from Tabitha too, they might want to make that look a bit more appealing for customers.  It was clean besides that, and reception was quite friendly.

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Amazingly Delicious Toffee Superfood Raw Protein Shake From Heaven

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Oh. my. yumminess.  Yesterday was typical 75 degree in late February L.A. gorgeousness, and I was totally craving ice cream.  Unwilling to actually EAT ice cream on a random Friday afternoon, which I save for special occasions usually involving another person, I made an amazingly delicious toffee superfood raw protein shake from heaven.

The shake was based on a candy I’ve been making recently, which is only called “candy” because it looks and tastes like it, not because it’s full of candy-like ingredients.  Contrarily, the candy is loaded with superfoods like chia, hemp, gojis, raw protein powder, and coconut oil.  The recipe for it is here: the Tastiest Healthy Treat I’ve Ever Made and the shake I made contained both it, and larger amounts of a few of its ingredients, plus of course liquid.  This candy, for the record, is beyond worth the half hour it will take you to throw ingredients into a bowl, and I would like to say it is the most addictive food I have created, but my Rawk-n-Roll Cuisine Notchos have enough kale chip eaters around America hooked that I don’t want to jinx anything with such a claim.  That said, I’ve eaten three batches in three weeks, and am showing no signs of slowing down yet.

Recipe For an Amazingly Delicious Toffee Superfood Raw Protein Shake From Heaven:
a 2-inch square of the Tastiest Healthy Treat I’ve Ever Made, broken by hand into little pieces
2 scoops/one serving of your favorite vanilla protein powder
2/3 cup nut or other milk of your choice
little pinch Himalayan salt
3/4 dropper of toffee stevia (I am presently having a torrid affair with toffee flavored stevia. It is completely worth eating “natural flavors” for, as it makes healthy things taste ridiculously junk foodish.)
1 tbls raw almond butter or nut butter you prefer

Blend until moderately smooth– I liked that it still had little bits of chocolate etc. from the candy, so I didn’t blend till 100% smooth/creamy. The amount of milk is small, and I didn’t add any ice, so the photo shown in an eight ounce mason jar is of the full smoothie minus a couple sips. I was looking for a compact ice cream type shake moreso than a big “meal replacement” sized drink, though this did work very successfully as my delectable lunch.  It was sweet, rich, and tasted incredibly similar to what I imagine a junk food candy milkshake would be like, though I can’t confirm that because I’ve been a food snot for so long that I’ve never had one of those.  I garnished my shake with a couple little extra “candy” pieces on top, and voila:

Perfect for an ice cream craving, satisfying enough for a meal, full of protein and a moderate amount of good fats and carbs.  Health-food life doesn’t get better than this!

Chessie Takes BathNaps

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This week, Chessie has been exploring every new surface she can get her paws on, in, or up to.  The only one I am actively deterring her from is the kitchen counter, as that is gross and dangerous.  The bathrooms, however, I am just looking on about and photographing, because I am not kidding, I have always wanted a cat who sleeps in the sink.

Here we have Chessie’s Adventures in Sinks and Tubs, Part One (these are only in my bathroom, because I didn’t catch her fast enough in Ace’s):

The first time we saw her in the sink, chillin'

A short while later, she relaxed even further, and passed out

This morning, she moved on to the tub

Tonight, she returned to the sink to stare at me via the mirror

Salsa, With a Mediterranean Flair

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This week I was on a quest to make quinoa cakes for the first time, and wanted to put a veggie topping on them that would be a refreshing, bright contrast to the sauteed cakes.  I invented a “salsa” that fit the bill exactly:

Tomato/Avocado/Cucumber Salsa
2 small Persian cucumbers
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1 small avocado
juice of one large lime
4 leaves fresh mint (dry would be fine if you don’t happen to have it on hand fresh)
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp olive oil

Slice cucumbers lengthwise into eight long pieces, then cut crosswise into a small (1/8-1/4 inch) dice. Slice tomatoes into rounds, which will help keep the juicy centers from escaping. Cut avo halves within the shell both horizontally and vertically in 1/8-1/4 inch dices, then scoop out. Add lime juice, herbs, and oil, and mix. This tasted so fabulous that I didn’t have any need for salt, which helped it keep since salt leeches liquids out.

This is the salsa on its own:

And this is it on top of the quinoa cakes, on a bed of pink lentil puree:

While I was very happy with the taste of the quinoa cakes, they were a pain in the butt to cook because they were so crumbly and I don’t want a post a recipe until I’ve refined it into something a little more user friendly.  This veggie salsa could be used as a lively alternative to guacamole for chips, as a dip for veggies, or even on sandwiches.

Holistic Happiness: How I Dealt w/Fibro & Insomnia from Lyme

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After all the lovely responses I received from my blog on natural products I’ve used to help with energy, I decided to write one about what helped me with two of the worst aspects of having Chronic Lyme Disease: fibromyalgia (aka, horrible pain everywhere all the time for no apparent reason), and insomnia.  I only have a couple products that worked for each, but they worked very well.

Insomnia
My insomnia began pretty quickly after I started treating Lyme with the Rife machine. I would go to bed on nights I used it, and just not fall asleep. By five am, I’d be in tears, and I would either not fall asleep at all or finally fall asleep in late morning, only to sleep for a couple hours. Since I used the machine 1-2x a week, the insomnia would diminish as the days passed between treatments, then occur again as soon as I used the machine. Within a few weeks, it became nightly, and torturous. My LLMD prescribed me ketamine, which I refused to take. All I could think was, “K-Hole,” and, “Why the hell would I want to be on the most popular date rape drugs of the 90s?” I’d had a disastrous experience with Ambien in my early 20s and didn’t want to go near that, or any other pharmaceutical. I tried an array of supplements until I found a combo that worked:

An Shui Wan by Plum Flower Brand, approximately $15 for 220 pills: I had taken this after the Ambien disaster in my 20s, and it cured the insomnia I had in college.  Not only does it put you to sleep, but it also regulates your circadian rhythms.  This teaches your body to get tired at the same time every night, which is very helpful.  In the past, An Shui Wan alone had knocked me out.  They say to take 2-8 tiny tea pills, and I’d have success with a dosage of six or so.  With the Lyme, though, I needed much more.  I took about 15 An Shui Wan tea pills a night, along with:

Amantilla Extract by NutraMedix, approximately $20 for 1 oz: This alone didn’t put me to sleep, but combined with An Shui Wan, I never needed to use a pharmaceutical sleep aid.  The dosage is 15-20 drops, and I generally took 30.  Granted, this is twice the recommended dosage for both herbs, but given that they are natural and safe, I think doubling up is far, far less harmful than taking actual drugs.  Between the two, I slept full nights the entire time I treated the Lyme.  As I got better, sleep came more easily, and I backed off each of these until I slept unaided.  There were no side effects at all in coming off of them.

One other thing that helped with sleep also helped with pain, so it makes a good segue.  I imagine most people dealing with chronic illness or fibromyalgia are likely already familiar, but just in case you’re not:

Ever since Kramer on Seinfeld referred to taking a bath as, “steeping in a tepid pool of your own filth,” I’ve had an aversion to them.  But man, epsom salt baths are sooooo important for Lyme treatment.  I took one after every time I used the Rife, and it made the detox process much more effective.  It also made me sleepy, and made me feel a bit less like I was made of lead.  Be careful, of course, when using these if you have a serious illness, because they say it can knock you out or make you detox too fast.  I never had any negative results myself.  Espom salts are available for super cheap at any grocery or drug store, and it’s suggested that you work your way up to the full 2 cups slowly.

Pain/Fibromyalgia
When I started treatment, my first route was the Cowden Condensed Protocol. The only thing I have to say about that is, f!ck the Cowden Protocol. It did indeed start killing the Lyme, but no matter how much of their detox herbs I took, or anything else I did for detox, I could not get the toxins out. Cowden took me from fully mobile and normal to unable to walk in less than two months. Not only was I in constant, unexplainable agony, my joints wouldn’t bend. Trying to walk, I looked like I was 80 years old. My knees simply refused to bend AT ALL, I couldn’t even sit in a chair. I couldn’t lift my arm high enough over my head to get a glass for water, let alone bear the weight of a full glass in my hands. It was such a nightmare. We went to visit my parents (I got a wheelchair in the airport, which was a new low in life, but for the record, zooms you right on through security!), and my mother nearly died when she looked at me. My sister had just gotten a Rife machine because my initial diagnosis had prompted her and her husband to get tested– both were positive– and while there, I stopped taking the Cowden products and used her machine’s detox settings. When we left a few days later, I was again able to walk. My parents then got me a GB 4000 machine, which is what she had, and I used it for three months to kill the Lyme dead.

I cannot say enough good things about this machine.  Yes, it is a high initial investment (nearly $2500), but how much money does the average Lymie spend on antibiotics that have a 66% cure rate with a 35% relapse rate?  Lots more, for sure.  The machine can be used for everything from candida to hiccups, and I still bust it out on occasion when new health problems arise or return.  It has pain settings/programs on it, and you can change the set up so that you put the pads on your hurt parts and actually feel the muscle contractions and relaxing relief.  It helped immensely for pain by using the pain programs, and helped a lot indirectly via the detox settings/programs.  I ran detox and pain nearly all days in between treatments.  While I was pretty laid up and non-functional during these months, I was at least not wanting to die like when I couldn’t move at all.

Thermoderm cream, approximately $15 for a small bottle: slather your body in this, be prepared for about half an hour of horrific heat and burning, then settle into nearly 12 hours of SERIOUS pain relief.  I LOVE this cream and it actually made me feel like I could move my limbs and muscles.  With it, as I began to get better I was able to slowly start stretching again.  I had gone from being someone who could touch her toes/put her hands flat on the ground, to someone who couldn’t even bend to the knee.  Thermoderm loosened everything inside up, numbed the pain, warmed my muscles, and gave me a much needed mental break from thinking, “OW!” nonstop.

 

Ganja, mon: I’d been a TOTAL pothead for about 15 years before Lyme.  When I first got sick and didn’t know what was wrong, I stopped enjoying pot and had to stop smoking it.  I thought I’d grown up, and gave myself a pat on the back for finally achieving Big Girl status.  What had actually happened was that Lyme f-ed up my brain and changed its chemistry dramatically, so I didn’t respond to anything the way I had before.  I stayed off the crazy weed for about two years, until eventually after a lot of suggestions I tried it for the fibro pain.  At first, I got a sativa from a friend, which is what I had smoked before, made it into butter, ate way too much, and spent about four hours laughing and crying hysterically.  Not fun.  I went ahead and got a medical marijuana card, then went to a club to ask them what they recommended specifically for pain.  I alternated between two strains of indica that made me feel a lot less awful: Blue Moonshine (pictured left) and Iron Maiden (right).  I smoked a very, very small amount- eating it just didn’t work for me for some reason- on a daily basis until I got better, then kept it up on occasion when it sounded like fun.  Both of these strains made me feel relaxed physically but did not make me feel like I was in a mental state of panicked impending doom, like sativas did.

Last, but just as important as the GB 4000 Rife machine, acupuncture with mobile cupping: I didn’t get two Yelp “review of the day”s on this place for nothing!  Acupuncture had helped me with a lot of health problems in the past, but what Antonio Whiteley of Body and Soul Acupuncture did with mobile cupping helped get me out of pain quickly, as well as catapulted me into wellness.  As of when I went to him, I didn’t know it but the Lyme was basically all dead already from the Rife; I was just still having symptoms because I couldn’t get all the toxins out.  The first visit I went, he did a back shu treatment and then mobile cupping all over my back afterward.  Somehow, this jumpstarted my entire body.  Within the first week of treatment, I could stretch again (thanks also to the Thermoderm), and within a few weeks, I was seriously doing kickboxing class videos at home.  Acupuncture/cupping mobilized the toxins right out of my body, and that is when I got well.  The whole recovery process, after years of illness, took less than a month, and I have not had fibro pain or insomnia since.  It has been over a year since then, and I still see Antonio regularly.  In the same sense that I still take supplements to keep the Lyme under control, I utilize acupuncture as a proven way to keep my body properly detoxifying.

If you are suffering from fibro or insomnia, or any other related health condition, the above options will be much easier on your system, and have far fewer negative effects (if any), than the pharmaceuticals doctors prescribe.  Before you begin something that may do you further harm, please consider one of these natural alternatives.

The Tastiest Healthy Treat I’ve Ever Made

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Question: what looks like candy, tastes like candy, has three scrumptious layers that even chew like candy, but is a raw vegan protein powerhouse of nutrients?
Answer: THIS.

It doesn’t have a name yet because I haven’t thought of one, but I LOVE IT LIKE CRAZY.  I’d been wanting to make a raw candy bar for awhile, but was hesitant to just throw a bunch of nuts, sweetener, and coconut oil together and go to town.  Instead, I decided to make something unique: a candy that would act like a normal, cooked, terrible-for-you treat while nourishing your body instead of damaging it.  I’ve made two versions so far, since the first version was a little crumbly, but I think I actually like the first version better and am going to give a recipe that combines both experiments.

There are three layers to this delectable delight: a base with dried sprouted buckwheat as its main ingredient– hello, low-fat low-calorie crunchiness that’s remarkably similar in taste and texture to crisped rice!, a caramel-ish nutty/creamy middle layer, and a chocolate topping.  There is also a DIRTY LITTLE SECRET in the base that I am almost ashamed to share because I am such a health food nutcase: I used flavored stevia in it.  I resisted the temptation to buy flavored stevia for ages, but once I saw that both Jason Wrobel (a raw chef who makes super personality-filled uncooking videos) AND Whitney the “Eco-Vegan Gal” use it, I was like, what the hell, let’s take a walk on the wild side.  Aside about my wild side: yes, flavored stevia is totally walking on the wild side to me.  I generally eschew anything with natural flavors, and only use powdered stevia extract.  I really am that phobic of processed food.

Keep in mind that even though there are oils and nuts in each layer of this, they are minimal compared to other raw candies, they are balanced by a lot of protein, omegas, and lack of sugar, and they are pretty much the healthiest, most nutritious oils and nuts you could– and SHOULD– eat.  Please don’t be daunted by the sheer magnitude of ingredients; this takes about 1/2 an hour in total to make, you mostly just throw things into a bowl, and you can always leave some ingredients out if it seems overwhelming.

Recipe for the Tastiest Healthy Treat I’ve Ever Made (please use organic ingredients!)

Base: (all dry, non-seasoning ingredients except buckwheat can be omitted for anything else you prefer)
1 cup dried sprouted buckwheat
1/2 cup cacao nibs
3 tbls chia seeds
1/3 cup cococeps (you could sub cacao powder for this, but the mushrooms are good for you and you can’t taste em)
3/4 cup vanilla or chocolate protein powder (hemp, brown rice, pea, whey, whatever your favorite is)
1/4 cup hemp seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup goji berries
2 tbls cinnamon
3/4 tsp Himalayan salt

Mix the above together, then add:
1 tsp vanilla (powder or extract)
2 tbls hemp oil
2 droppers toffee flavored stevia
3 tbls coconut nectar, maple syrup, raw buckwheat honey, or agave
1/4 cup almond butter
1/4 cup melted coconut oil

Mix again until it forms a crumbly batter- it will not get totally cohesive. If you want it totally cohesive and pasty, add more sweetener, nut butter or oil. Otherwise, mix until it sticks into clumps when you press on it, then press it into a baking pan (eight inch square or nine inch rectangular) and refrigerate. The next layer can be made as this layer cools.

Nutty/Creamy Middle Layer:
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1/3 cup almond butter
1/4 cup lucuma powder
1/4 cup coconut nectar, maple syrup, raw buckwheat honey, or agave
1/2 tsp Himalayan salt
Mix until uniform, then pour and spread over base layer. Base does not need to be totally cold. Make the top layer as this cools.

Chocolate Top Layer:
Have a mother who gives you scads of healthy chocolate every time you visit her, and cheat by melting some of the tasty nut-filled chocolate bark she gives you. In the event that you are unable to cultivate said parent whilst reading this recipe, the following will suffice:
1 cup melted cacao butter
1/2 cup cacao powder
1/4 cup coconut nectar, maple syrup, raw buckwheat honey, or agave
1 tsp powdered stevia
1/2 tsp Himalayan salt
1 tsp vanilla extract or powder
1/2 cup chopped nuts
Whisk until combined thoroughly, or put all ingredients except chopped nuts into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour atop other layers (they don’t have to be completely cold), let solidify, and refrigerate until hard.

Slice into any size chunks you’d like (I like 1-2 inch squares), and beware that unless you are out giving it to friends, you are probably going to eat this entire batch in about a week. Thankfully you won’t have to feel badly about it, because it’s made of whole raw foods, lots of protein, and a pretty modest amount of fats and sugars. Take that, Snickers.  This tastes better, and it wouldn’t even dream of giving you diabetes.

My Cat, the Handyman

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My kitten Chessie, in typical family tradition, has decided to shatter the boundaries and mores of society (catciety?) by acquiring an avid interest in plumbing, carpentry, and machinery.  Given that  she is an indoor kitten, these career paths have been restricted to domestic plumbing, carpentry, and machinery.  She is particularly fond of the dishwasher, chairs, and anything involving the toilet or its pipes.

Chessie in action on/around chairs is a bit harder to capture than the moments when she actually sits still on them, so the images below are of her brief periods of rest.  And while I do have photos of her in the bathroom, it seems kind of whacky and odd to include those in this pictorial.  Thus, I have limited this lil “My Cat, the Handyman” instagram set to Chessie’s affinity for chairs and the dishwasher.  Enjoy!

 

 

 

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