“Walking gently on the land”

gardenYears ago, our little family visited the Thoreau museum at Walden outside of Boston.  I was taken by the simplicity of it.  My daughter and I walked the perimeter of the pond much differently than Mr Thoreau would have done.  He called it sauntering, an art form for walking.  I want to be that kind of artist, a saunterer.  I would think that even in the busy suburb where we live, a saunterer could find pleasure in the art.  Thoreau wrote:

For this is the secret of successful sauntering. He who sits still in a house all the time may be the greatest vagrant of all; but the saunterer, in the good sense, is no more vagrant than the meandering river, which is all the while sedulously seeking the shortest course to the sea.

This brings me to the point: the most basic appreciation of the natural world comes from sucking in its beauty and complexity every day, and walking gently through it all.  Away from any device that has a plug, just me and the sunshine, or better yet, just me and the gently falling rain.

A beautiful expression of this kind of environmental activism — because that’s what it is — is in this wonderful article published on the Mother Earth News‘ blog, by Randy Walker.  Walker describes in vivid detail the simple act of “caretaking” for the planet.

Describing a grandfather teaching his grandson, less by words, more by example, through simple acts like carrying a few seeds in his pocket at all times, while on walks, to plant in spots where they could thrive and rebuild that little spot of the Earth, Walker’s article is inspiring.

Grandfather would not only want to interact with the environment to maintain a state of homeostasis, he wanted to leave the area better than it was before. That is the way of the Caretaker. Essentially, a Caretaker is a healer of the Earth.

Source for Walker’s article: Move Toward, Not To, Your Destination: The Caretaker’s Approach to Environmental Awareness – Nature and Environment – MOTHER EARTH NEWS

The very high cost of salt

This is a pretty amazing study!  Salt reduction can save hundreds of millions of dollars in health care costs, according to a recent analysis from the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).

Four states, including my own (Texas), stand to save over $1 billion annually from a salt-reduction effort:

From the study:

  • $2.4 billion for California
  • $1.6 billion for Texas
  • $1.2 billion for Florida
  • $1.2 billion for New York

Other states near the top of the list:

  • $787 million for Illinois
  • $782 million for Pennsylvania
  • $709 million for Ohio
  • $617 million for Georgia
  • $608 million for North Carolina
  • $606 million for Michigan
  • $546 million for New Jersey
  • $509 million for Virginia

Here’s a link to the summary article:

States Stand To Save Hundreds of Millions in Health Care Costs with National Sodium Reduction Effort ~ Newsroom ~ News from CSPI ~ Center for Science in the Public Interest.

And, here’s a link that will allow you to download the full 9-page report, that has a long list of resources and citations used for the analysis.

Reducing Sodium: A Look at State Savings in Health Care Costs

Banana Avocado Breakfast Smoothie

In order to get out the door and to work on time, I put all these items in an airtight container the night before so that I can simply put it all in a blender for my breakfast the next morning.  I can even drink it on the way to work, so it’s a time-saver.  And, it’s very healthful and delicious.  Here is the basic smoothie, and I change it up with new things occasionally.

1.5 cups unsweetened coconut milk
1 banana, sliced
1 avocado, skin and seed removed
1 cup fresh blueberries (frozen okay during off-season)
1/4 cup flax or chia seeds, freshly ground (I use a dedicated coffee grinder)
4 sprigs of fresh mint, chopped with long stems removed
1 large handful of fresh greens (spinach and baby kale are ideal!)
Ice cubes as desired

Place all items in blender, and blend to desired consistency.  I use the puree setting on my blender, and it’s very smooth and delicious.  It makes about 16 oz.

Substitutes: Any berries, walnuts instead of listed seeds, nut milks (low or no sodium important)

Eggplant Stuffed Pepper

One night this past week, I was trying to create a recipe that would use my aging eggplant and bell pepper I had bought a few days before.  My Mediterranean food cravings having taken full charge of my senses, this is what I came up with, and it is definitely repeatable.  (No pictures this time, unfortunately.  Next time.)

1 medium-size eggplant, peeled and cubed
1 bell pepper (I used an orange one)
1 medium-size onion, quartered
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 tbsp tahini paste
1 small lemon
1/4 cup of freshly minced parsley
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper

Blanch whole bell pepper for a minute or two to soften the outer skin, then place the whole pepper into the oven at 375 for about fifteen minutes.  The pepper should still have enough structure to allow for the stuffing.  Allow pepper to cool.  Cut pepper in half crosswise, and clean pulp out, if desired.  Trim stem of pepper so that the top will lie flat in the baking dish when stuffed.

Add remaining ingredients, except the lemon, to a blender, and run the blender at a medium speed until the texture is to your liking.  I kept mine slightly rough in texture.  Pour mixture into each half of the bell pepper, and add a slice of lemon to the top of each half.  Place halves into a baking dish, cover and bake for about 45 minutes at 380.

After taking the peppers out of the oven, remove cover and squeeze the juice from the remaining lemon onto each half.

Serves 2

Fresh Tomato Sauce

I’ve been back on the Eat To Live life plan for the past month, and I am reminded again of the wonders of excellent nutrition and the enjoyment of eating on Dr. Fuhrman’s plan.

One of the staples in my diet is tomatoes, and the more creative, the better, staying strictly in plan.  Because I use so much tomato sauce and raw tomatoes, while not being able to rely on finding no-salt/no-oil added tomato products on the grocery shelves, I decided I needed my own recipe for creating a sauce that I can pour into my bean soups and as vegetable toppings during the week.

This is the recipe for the tomato sauce I made yesterday, and it is scrumptious.Fresh Tomato Sauce

10 Roma tomatoes
2 Green Tomatilloes
1 cup of fresh Italian Parsley
1 large yellow onion
6 cloves of garlic
1 juiced lemon
2 celery stalks sliced
1 red bell pepper chopped
1 large dried black ancho pepper (seeds in)
1/4 cup grape vinegar
2 tbsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp black pepper
2 tbsp ground flax seed

Chop and slice all ingredients and toss them into a blender. Blend for several minutes into a puree sauce. Pour contents into a large pot, and bring to a boil and stir. Bring heat down to a simmer, cover, and cook for 90 minutes, stirring as needed to avoid sticking.

This recipe made a little over a quart.  It’s hard to tell exactly, because I tasted a half-dozen spoonfuls while I was making it…okay, maybe it was more than that.

Reviving the old blog

I think I’ll try to revive this blog again rather than starting a new one. “Breathing…at last” is still an apt title for my life, though my blogging activities will be quite different from before.

Since my earlier posts, I have become much more focused on reading, and less focused on healthy eating than before.

Right now, I have five books listed as “Currently Reading” on Goodreads…way too many…ridiculous. Two are short story collections by H.P. Lovecraft; one is a political/historical tome about Teddy Roosevelt that I got bogged down in when I was about 2/3 of the way through; one is a Kindle freebie I downloaded about people getting their hearts cut out and eaten; and the other is a book about incest, cutting heads off, and arguing about who is the rightful king in a land of dragons and a mean-ass dwarf (Clash of Kings).  Of all these books, my current favorite is the last one on the list.  Something about this mean-ass dwarf keeps drawing me back.

One reason I’m picking up this blog again is to provide myself a place to vent about the political numbnuts that populate the Facebook world I have dwelt in for several years. And, when I want to write about religion, I don’t want all the bible-thumpers feeling so obligated to set me straight. It’s sometimes fun and entertaining, but I really get tired of it. At age 60, I’ve put in a lot of time trying to be nice to such folks, but now, I’m just tired of dealing with them.

Even though it’s only 10:30 a.m. on a Sunday morning, I think it’s time for my first glass of wine today. I’ll polish off my cabernet I opened yesterday. This day holds great promise.

PBSD (Post biography stress disorder), or the Sunday morning after finishing a loooooong book

Brain drain
Cold Rain
Refrain
No pain
My gain
Sane