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Time:09:47 am
Current Mood:chipperchipper
Quick post... baby's about to wake up from her morning nap.

I'm excited about getting back to composting. I've been reading about compost bins -- just trying to decide which kind to get. We have a ton of leaves and garden cuttings. I will need to work with our gardener to make sure he puts everything in the compost.

In the meantime, I am going to order a small kitchen compost pail so I can stop throwing away all this good stuff! It's so ridiculous to throw away good decomposing matter and then go out and BUY fertilizer. What a waste.

I'm also looking into harvesting rainwater. I know we don't get a lot of rain in LA -- but we do get a lot in the winter months. You can actually set up a rainwater harvesting system that purifies the water and makes it good enough to drink. I may not be able to do it in this house -- it may have to wait until we move to our next house. Along with my cow and chicken coop and my solar panels.
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Subject:Busy day already
Time:09:00 am
Current Mood:busybusy
So much to do... today Kate and I are going to Whole Foods and Rawesome. If there's time (I doubt it but maybe) we will stop off at the YMCA. I want to find out about their swimming classes for babies.

I also need to harvest my basil and freeze a bunch of pesto. Not sure if that will happen today... maybe tomorrow or the next day. I have a thousand other things to do today.

Speaking of harvesting the basil, I really want to do more gardening. This site http://www.homegrownrevolution.org/ has inspired me. I guess I have been sort of busy this past year, what with moving and having a baby and all. :-)

Anyhow, I did manage to grow some edible things this year:

Flat-leaf parsley

Everything in my garden is doing GREAT. I can grow herbs outside all year long. And I cook with herbs all the time. There is simply no reason to buy them in the store when I can grow them myself.

I want to grow some more herbs:


I also want to get a Meyer lemon tree. Not sure where we would put it but perhaps I could just keep it in a pot. I bet I could also keep an avocado tree. And a lime tree. Those are fruits we use all the time but they don't come in my CSA box.

I'd also like to grow:

Cucumbers (for pickles)
Grapes (I want the grape leaves for my pickles)

All things we either don't get in our box, or, in the case of carrots, we get very few. And I use carrots, celery and onions constantly. I love fresh carrot juice. I've been using Seth's juicer lately to make carrot juice, beet juice, and apple juice. It's so good.

I still have tons of room in the side yard to plant more stuff.

I'd also love to plant some beautiful springtime tulips and other bulbs in the front yard.

I think I shall order some seeds and bulbs.

I need to buy or make a compost bin of some sort. It is such a shame to throw all those good banana peels and eggshells in the garbage. And it will make my soil so much better.

Must go shower and dress now and get Seth's breakfast.
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Subject:Louder Than Words
Time:08:23 pm
Current Mood:gratefulamazed
I read Jenny McCarthy's book, "Louder Than Words" last night.

It totally blew me away.

So moving and absolutely gripping. What I love about Jenny McCarthy is how forthright and honest she is. She calls it like she sees it. And she's not afraid to be herself. I really love and admire that in a person.

What she went through with her son's autism was so horrendous -- and it makes you so sad to realize that one out every 150 people in America are going through the same thing. I can't even imagine how hard it would be.

And yet it is becoming commonplace in America. How can this be? How can something so horrendous become commonplace?

We think we've got it so good here in America. We're nothing like the poor slobs living in Beirut, sleeping to the sound of bombs going off. We're so lucky to live in America.

Meanwhile one out of every 150 parents is going through a living hell. Seizures, (SIDS? -- there is speculation), tantrums and screaming all night long, loss of language and socialization, total inability to function.

I, like Jenny McCarthy, am absolutely convinced that this hell is avoidable and reversible. Not for everybody -- some kids can't recover. But I think most or at least many can. They may not be able to cure it completely but they can reverse it. And I think most or many people absolutely can avoid this nightmare.

The thing I loved the best about her book was her sentence (I'm paraphrasing), "This is not a book about autism. This is a book about faith."

Faith is believing when you have no evidence. Seeing in the dark. Faith is something I have worked on building in myself over the years. I am now an extremely faith-full person. Full of faith. I have total knowing (not just belief -- but knowing) that the Universe is conspiring in my favor. Pulling out all the stops for my good. I always know things will work out. And guess what, they always do. It's not always instant (in fact it rarely is), but it is always consistent.

And how cool is it that Jenny McCarthy (a very faith-full person herself) ended up with a guy like Jim Carrey? He strikes me as a pretty spiritual guy. Yes, they are celebrities and what do we really know, but I do know that he wrote a song called "Heaven Down Here" which was recorded by Tuck & Patti. It goes like this:

"Let's bring Heaven down here
I don't want to wait for the angels
Let's bring Heaven down here"

Yes, he really wrote that. I heard Patti say so herself on a local San Francisco talk show. (http://www.tuckandpatti.com/song_lear.html)

The other really cool thing about the book is how much diet and nutrition impacted Jenny's boy. The story she tells is nothing short of staggering.

Within TWO WEEKS of starting her son on a gluten-free, casein-free (wheat/dairy) diet, he said his first sentence. He had been able to say single words before the seizures happened at around the age of two. Words like "juice" and "milk" and "mama". And after doing some testing, they realized that he didn't even know what those words meant; he was just repeating his mother. Like she would say, "You want some juice?" and he would say, "Juice."

Then he had the MMR shot and had constant seizures. After the vaccine and subsequent seizures, he lost all language (this is a common pattern).

After just two weeks of being on the diet, he came up to his mom, tugged on her leg and said, "Want to go swimming".

Aside: Another diet story was in the introduction -- a doctor with an autistic son said that two weeks after giving him a daily supplement of cod liver oil, he regained eye contact and language.

After she got her son on the GFCF diet, Jenny learned about candida (an overgrowth of yeast in the gut, the same thing BTW that caused my arthritis and allergies when I was in my mid-twenties) which is common among autistic kids. She started him on Difulcan, which is a drug that kills the yeast. After that he went on massive doses of probiotics (they also kill off the yeast).

Jenny believes that her son was born with a weakened immune system, and the vaccines weakened it even more. Because his immune system was so weak (they found a doctor who had it tested and it was weaker than that of an AIDS patient), he continually got sick and had to take antibiotics, which killed off the good bacteria in his gut. The good bacteria is what kills off the yeast. When you don't have enough good bacteria, you get a yeast overgrowth. Which she believes is what causes the autism in many kids. (I agree with her.)

Anyhow, TWO WEEKS after he started on the Difulcan and was excreting massive amounts of yeast, they were watching a show on TV and he laughed at a joke. He had never done this before. Autistic kids don't "get" jokes.

Then he laughed again. This was the moment she knew she had saved her child. This was the first time, she said, that she had ever seen the real him.

Heartbreaking but joyous. I cried. Because she saved him. She loved him more than anything -- and most of all she believed. She had faith. She saw, even in the darkness.

What an amazing woman she is. I think she is going to help many, many people with this book. I think every parent and every aspiring parent should read this book. Everyone who is close to someone with an autistic child should read this book.

Anyone going through a tough time and needs a shot of faith should read this book.

Hurrah, Jenny McCarthy! I'm glad you are alive on this planet with us and I'm glad you are brave enough to be you. You are a wonderful spirit.
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Subject:Abraham on appreciation vs. gratitude
Time:08:12 pm
Current Mood:gratefulappreciative
"Appreciation: to see the nature of or to increase the value of"

"Love and appreciation are identical vibrations. It's the vibration of alignment with who you are. It's the absence of resistance. It's the absence of doubt and fear. It's the absence of self-denial or hatred to others. It's the absence of everything that feels bad and the presence of everything that feels good."

Right now I'm appreciating this glass of Riesling, the delicious seared ahi and salad I just had, Seth, my parents and in-laws, our baby Kate, Alla and Carla who both worked so hard today, and who are both so loving and such a delight to have in our home. I'm appreciating our cat Rita, the wonderful weather we had today, the quiet. The fact that I'm going to really enjoy sleeping tonight.
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Subject:Open Letter to Trader Joe's
Time:08:13 am
Current Mood:amusedamused
This is a great post about egg packaging:


I agree! That is very fraudulent packaging. I used to feel so good buying my "free range" eggs at TJ's. Felt like I was doing something good. Little did I know I was being had.

I think it would be cool to make a t-shirt with both of the packages. Maybe I'll do that via Cafe Press.

I used to spend all my grocery money at TJ's but no longer. They don't sell pastured eggs so now I go to Rawesome. While there, I end up buying all my wild-caught fish and grass-fed beef. MUCH better than the mystery fish, grain-, corn-, and soy-fed beef, and "cage free" eggs Trader Joe's offers. (This is a lot of money, BTW, that is now not going to TJ's).

Trader Joe's also don't sell raw milk, raw butter, or raw cheese so now I get my dairy at Whole Foods and the Organic Pastures hub store. Although I will occasionally pick up a stick of KerryGold (pasteurized but cultured) at Trader Joe's in a pinch.

They have a lot of organic produce, it's true, but most of it comes from far away. And they don't list the names of farms. I'm not interested in produce that is trucked for hundreds and thousands of miles. I want local produce because it is fresher. I want to support local farms. So of course, now we are getting most of our produce from JR Organics, a farm in Escondido that offers CSA subscriptions. Anything I don't get in my box I pick up at Whole Foods, Rawesome, or at the farmer's market.

There is just no need to go to Trader Joe's anymore. I used to love Trader Joe's. Now not so much. They need to beef up their labeling practices and find better sources of food.

How I'd love to have my own chickens! One day...
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Subject:Pediatricians: Big Pharma's Puppets
Time:09:53 pm
Current Mood:tiredtired
I've been reading more about vaccinations. Apparently this business of pediatricians scolding their patients, making them sign legal documents, and even refusing to continue treating them is VERY common. I've been hearing it more and more.

What is this all about? Why are doctors so concerned?

I mean, OK I can understand them getting a little concerned. Like if a pregnant mom smokes or drinks vodka. Doctors wouldn't make that mother sign legal papers and stop treating her, would they? I mean, they'd try to help her change her ways, try to teach her -- but would they *stop treating her*? I don't think so.

There has to be something else at work here.

Could it be... money? Financial incentives? From the pharmaceutical companies?

You think?

I'm finding more and more evidence that medical practices are paid by insurance companies for the number of children they immunize. They are called "pay-for-performance" programs.



Ah, yes... here it is!


It lists a program in California called IHA -- Integrated Healthcare Association.

They pay practices up to $150 million per year based on meeting certain criteria: patient satisfaction, treatment of chronic conditions, and oh, yes, vaccinations.

No wonder these doctors get so pissed off when you don't want to vaccinate. You're messing with their percentages! They want their bonuses.

I just got an email from a friend -- a fellow mom in our neighborhood. She was talking about a pediatrician in LA -- one of the FEW who is OK with parents in his practice not vaccinating their children.

My friend wrote about the pediatrician in her email:

"He talks about the drug companies and he has a policy that nobody in the office is allowed to go to lunch, or take any perks from the drug companies. He said this is a problem in other offices."

Interestingly this doctor does not accept insurance. It's $200 per well baby visit.

Gee, think there's a connection?

And yeah, we're going to switch pediatricians. I don't care if we have to pay $200/visit. I'll pay. It's worth it.
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Subject:Post-Thanksgiving exhaustion, vaccines, and soy oil
Time:08:31 pm
Current Mood:tiredtired
Kate is down for the night. I'm soaking raw pumpkin seeds (from the pumpkins I used for pumpkin pie) and simmering the turkey carcass to make stock.

I'm so exhausted. The past week has been a whirlwind of shopping, menu planning, roasting, basting, measuring, mixing, baking and cleaning. I feel like I need a vacation now.

Which of course I'm not getting. I went to bed after 11:30 pm last night (trying to wind down after such a long day) and got up at 6:30 to tend to Kate. And I tended to her all day -- picking her up and kissing her when she bonked her head on the metal coffee table, feeding her ground turkey with chicken liver pate and butternut squash with butter, doing dishes, doing laundry, heating up bottles and changing poopy diapers. She went down at 5 pm, as usual. A 10 and a half hour day -- not so bad. Mothers don't get a day off.

My single friends spent the day at the movies. Last night at dinner, they talked about all the movies they'd seen lately. I couldn't really add anything to the conversation. And for much of it, I had no idea what they were talking about. Being a new parent, I haven't seen a movie in the theater since I tried to go see "Oceans 13" when Kate was a couple of months old and she pooped halfway up her backside and we had to leave the theater.

Ah, memories...

Anyway, I'm not complaining. I have seen enough movies for a lifetime. Okay, not for a lifetime, but I can skip seeing movies for a while is all I'm saying. And Seth gets those "FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION" movies so I guess I could be watching movies if I really wanted to. We just got "Into the Wild" in the mail for example.

But instead I am relaxing with a glass of wine, reading about vaccines. The more I read, the more I am convinced that waiting on vaccines -- or refusing them altogether -- is the right thing to do.

Read this:

Because of the dramatic increase in the number of injuries from childhood vaccines over the past decades, Congress enacted the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986, setting up a fund to compensate parents for injured or dead children (as if a parent could ever be "compensated" for the loss of their child due to vaccination). Application to this fund is the first step parents must take when their child has been harmed; thus, the fund serves to shield the pharmaceutical company from all initial liability. To date, the fund has paid out over $1.2 billion to parents with over 12,000 reports made every year. This is a staggering number considering how many reactions occur that medical authorities refuse to attribute to the vaccine. And if David Kessler is correct and 90-99 percent of all injuries are not even reported, the true number of children injured or killed by vaccines would be 1.2 million or more per year.


Doesn't that scare you? It scares me. And that's just a taste of what I'm reading. I'm not just reading the crackpot left-wing fringe websites either. I told that pediatrician I would research it and I am. I'm reading everything.

Read this, from the CBS News site (not exactly a crackpot left-wing fringe website):


Come on, people. One in 160 kids with autism. That is CRAZY. If vaccines are not to blame, something else is. Something is not right.

Here's another heinous thing I read -- about the Hepatitis B shot, which is now administered at birth:

A flagrant example of the poor science behind vaccination development, the FDA approved the vaccine for use after only 1636 doses of Recombivax HB were administered to only 653 children who were subsequently monitored for only 5 days after each dose.6 Since the vaccine is recommended for the first day of life, Merck was asked for safety data on newborns. They replied, "We have none. Our studies were done on 5- and 10-year-olds."7 Further, Merck admitted in 1996 that no data is "available for the simultaneous administration of Recombivax HB with other vaccines" even though children are routinely given other vaccines along with Recombivax HB vaccine.


Good Lord! They test cough medicine more than that.

Oh, wait. Maybe not: http://www.newstarget.com/022209.html

Do I really want my child to be a guinea pig for the likes of Merck? And Hepatitis B is only transmitted through sex and dirty needles. Hmm -- yeah, I guess Kate was high risk, seeing how there's so much casual sex and intravenous drug usage in the maternity ward. Oh, yes, a mother can infect her baby during birth -- but couldn't they just administer a simple blood test to the mothers instead of giving our newborns a shot?

Oh, right, a blood test COSTS them money. The Hep B shot MAKES them money.

Anyway, I'll keep reading. I'll keep researching. As I said, when and if I find enough evidence to convince me that vaccines are safe and beneficial, we'll get them for Kate.

I have also been thinking a lot about baby food. Since lately Kate is eating 2 (soon to be 3) squares a day.

The recommendation from pediatricians is to start babies on rice cereal.

Have you read the label on a box of Gerber rice cereal lately? I had bought some for Kate -- it was sitting in the cupboard. Needless to say, after reading the ingredients, I promptly dumped it in the trash.

Rice Flour , Soy Oil-Lecithin , Tri- and Dicalcium Phosphate , Tocopherols Vitamin E , Electrolytic Iron , Zinc Sulfate , Niacinamide a B Vitamin , Riboflavin Vitamin B-2 , Pyridoxine Hydrochloride Vitamin B-6 , Thiamin Vitamin B-1 , Folic Acid a B Vitamin , Vitamin B-12 Cyanocobalamin

Number 2 ingredient: Soy oil-lecithin.

Do you know what that is?

First of all, it's a genetically modified food. (http://www.safe-food.org/-consumer/shop.html)

Do you know what that means? No? Neither do I exactly. So WHY are we feeding it to our babies? Genetically modified foods are... well, just google it and look:


Need I go on? No, I need not. Suffice it to say that CLEARLY it would be better to give a 7-month old baby REAL food instead of "Franken-food" that has zillions of websites chronicling its dangers.

OK so we've established that GM foods are sketchy and possibly dangerous and at the very least, should be avoided due to the fact that (a) most people don't know what they are and (b) most people don't know what they do to you.

Let's get back to the issue at hand. Soy oil-lecithin.

Soybean lecithin comes from sludge left after crude soy oil goes through a "degumming" process. It is a waste product containing solvents and pesticides and has a consistency ranging from a gummy fluid to a plastic solid.

Historian William Shurtleff reports that the expansion of the soybean crushing and soy oil refining industries in Europe after 1908 led to a problem disposing the increasing amounts of fermenting, foul-smelling sludge. German companies then decided to vacuum dry the sludge, patent the process and sell it as "soybean lecithin." Scientists hired to find some use for the substance cooked up more than a thousand new uses by 1939.8

Today lecithin is ubiquitous in the processed food supply. It is most commonly used as an emulsifier to keep water and fats from separating in foods such as margarine, peanut butter, chocolate candies, ice cream, coffee creamers and infant formulas.


But the fact that soy oil-lecithin is a highly refined genetically modified waste food product is not the only concern at hand...

There are a number of potential problems with eating soy:


Endocrine disrupter. Reduction of vitamin assimilation. Potentially leads to thyroid cancer. MSG. Aluminum.

Aaaagggghhhhh. Great. Let's mess with Kate's endocrine system, reduce her vitamin absorption, and make her susceptible to obesity, diabetes, infertility and cancer.

WHY is this the number 2 ingredient in Gerber rice cereal? Why is soy oil-lecithin an ingredient in rice cereal at all? Why is THIS promoted as baby's first food?

Why don't they just make rice cereal out of rice? Maybe add a little butter.

Oh, right, then it wouldn't have the shelf life it does (nearly indefinite).

Why is soy oil the third ingredient listed in Enfamil infant formula? (http://www.epinions.com/content_237968723588)

The fifth ingredient in Similac? (http://www.walgreens.com/store/product.jsp?CATID=100367&navAction=jump&navCount=0&id=prod3061)

The third ingredient in Nestle Good Start? (http://www.amazon.com/Nestle-Essentials-Infant-Formula-Powder/dp/B000GCL5HO)

Doesn't that make you go HMMM?

It's in everything -- including baby food -- because it is a cheap industrial-grade product. Soy is cheap to grow and produce.

Makes you wonder if this has anything to do with children's declining immunity, allergies to peanuts, increased diabetes, early-onset puberty, etc.

A better use for soy oil?



It can make cars run -- just like gasoline. Is that what we should be putting in our babies' bodies?

I leave you with this (a good article on soy):

Note the last quotation from Marion Nestle: "People don't have to eat soy if they don't want to!" Nestle says. Uh, okay, I guess not -- but what if it's in everything we buy?
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Subject:Not a woman's holiday
Time:08:14 pm
Current Mood:enthralledamazed
Leaf lard rendered and cooled - CHECK
Giblet stock made and cooled - CHECK
Turkey in brine - CHECK
Pie dough made - CHECK
Pumpkins roasting in oven - CHECK
Porcini mushrooms soaking in water - CHECK
Table set (OK well not totally but the plates, cloth napkins, candles and silverware are out) - CHECK
Seth sufficiently cocktailed and ordering Indian food delivery - CHECK

Am taking short and very well-deserved break with glass of rose.


Now I only have the following things to do:

Pump breast milk (sorry if that's TMI, but it's on the list)
Chop celery, onion, leek, garlic, bacon, et al (hello Cuisinart!) and sautee
Chop porcini and sausage and sautee
Combine with bread crusts and bake stuffing (reserving some to stuff turkey with -- I'm flying blind on how much to reserve -- I'll follow my intuition)
Roll out pie crusts and blind bake
Remove pumpkin from oven, let cool and make pumpkin pie filling
Peel, core and slice apples and make apple pie filling
Bake pies (yes, tonight!)
Make homemade ice cream
Pump breast milk again
Go to bed
Get up at 4:30 am and take the turkey out of the fridge, drain, and let sit out
Go back to bed!
Get up at 6 am with This Lady, change her, nurse her
Melt butter, mix with a bottle of white wine, and soak cheese cloth in mixture
Put cheesecloth on the turkey and get the bird in the oven NO LATER THAN 7 am!
Baste and watch turkey like hawk over the next 6.5 hours
Make gravy
Find something to serve the gravy in (??? I don't own a gravy boat)
Set the table for real
Find all the serving utensils (who knows where they are?)
Shower and dress, brush teeth
Put out tray of cheese, crackers, pickles and olives
What am I forgetting? Something I'm sure. ARGH!

Are you exhausted yet?

I think our lovely Alla was right. She said, shaking her head, "This is not a woman's holiday."

I love the wisdom and the sweet morose nature of the Russian people.

Seth is playing me the album he recorded in 1992. It's really good! This is the first time I've heard it. I'm IMPRESSED. Holy crap it's good. It's De La Soul meets Public Enemy meets Cibo Matto (or maybe Fantastic Plastic Machine) meets Lou Reed meets the Beastie Boys. He even covers a song by Hank Williams, "My Love For You Has Turned to Hate".

He's brilliant. Seriously, I would have bought this album if it had ever gone on sale. I think everyone would have. It's that good.

This is why I love him. Among so many other reasons. What a brilliant man he is.
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Subject:Termites don't eat healthy trees
Time:11:18 am
Current Mood:curiouscurious
This is one of the most fascinating blog posts I have ever read:


"The inner ecosystem of the body is the prime determinant in disease risk."

This makes a lot of sense, doesn't it?

I love the part about his trip to the Himalayas -- how the more sickly people were bitten by leeches and the healthier, sturdier people were not.

I also really like his explanation of cancer. The toxins and waste matter in the body have nowhere else to go. So they try to localize -- into tumors. Gosh, doesn't that make sense to you? It does to me.

Allopathic (Western medicine) has never made sense to me. OK, sure, having a C-section was helpful when my baby was breech. I do appreciate Western medicine during those times when surgery is required.

It's just that the standard protocol of suppressing and covering up symptoms instead of treating the cause DOES NOT WORK.

Which leads one to ask the question -- logically, how would injecting vaccines into nutritionally depleted, sickly kids with weak immune systems and very few helpful bacteria in their guts help make their immune systems stronger? It doesn't make any sense.

Many parents with autistic kids have been speaking out about the lack of good bacteria in their kids' digestive tracts. These kids tend to be allergic to dairy and wheat (casein and gluten). Uh, for the most part that's pasteurized dairy and refined flour, by the way. I have read the testimony of some parents who say their autistic children tolerate raw milk just fine.

I wonder it all of this relates to the phenomenon of all these kids being allergic to peanuts. I wonder if they had more good bacteria in their gut, they might not be allergic to everything.
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Subject:Lard and giblet stock success!
Time:11:29 pm
Current Mood:happytriumphant
I know, I know, I gotta go to bed. 6 am wake up call, yes, yes, I know.

But I just have to tell you that the stock I made is absolutely unbelievable. SO rich and gorgeous. It smells amazing and it tastes so luxurious and big -- just one step down from foie gras. It is going to make the BEST gravy and stuffing.

And the lard looks excellent too! Not that I really know what lard should look like. But it seemed OK to me.

Both were strained and cooled enough to pour into glass, and are now in containers chilling in the fridge. Whew!

Finally, good night!
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[icon] Ann Marie's Blog
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