Wednesday, February 28, 2018

So Mushroom in My Heart for You medicinally for centuries, Reishi mushrooms (Ganoderma lucidum) are finding a renewed popularity among the gardening, fungi, and natural health set, and if it lives up to the hype, it's little wonder why!

What began as a random, cryptic text from my brother, the hobbyist-forager, bringing a local, family-owned, fungi-cultivating company (Fungi Perfecti) to my attention, ended with me ordering, and growing several of my own patches.  After some trials, and a few errors on my end of things, I had my first harvest!  The search was on!  I needed to find something to do with my newly acquired Antler Reishi, or Rokkaku-Reishi Mushrooms, and since they're incredibly difficult to grind into a powder without the help of industrial equipment (just ask my poor food processor!) I decided a hot beverage would be the best way to put them to use.  Without further ado...

Reishi "Tea"

Here's what you need:
4 cups Water
2 heaping Tablespoons of Antler Reishi Mushroom.  You want to keep the ratio as 4-5 cups of water to 3-5 grams of mushroom.

Here's what you do:
In an uncoated, or enamel pot, combine 4 cups of water with mushroom chunks and heat to just below boiling.  Reduce heat and cover, making sure to keep your liquid below a simmer.  Steep for 2-4 hours.

Now that you've got your Reishi Tea prepared you can either continue with the recipe, or strain, bottle, and refrigerate the liquid until you are ready to use it.

Mushroom FoMo (faux-mocha) Latte
Here's what you need:
6 whole Cloves
6 pods Cardamom
1/4 tsp ground Allspice
1/4 tsp ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground Nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground Ginger
4 tsp powdered Chicory
4 Tbsp powdered Carob
4 Tbsp pure, organic Maple Syrup
2 cups full-fat, organic, canned Coconut Milk

Here's what you do:
If you've stored your Reishi Tea, warm it up in an uncoated or enamel pot, if you're continuing without pause from the previous steps add clove, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger, and steep on very low heat for 20 minutes.  Strain, and in your 4 cups of liquid stir in 4 Tbsp of powdered Carob, and 4 tsp of powdered Chicory until dissolved, and 4 Tbsp pure, organic Maple Syrup (or Honey), adding 2 cups of room temperature full-fat, organic, canned Coconut Milk at the end.  Serve, sprinkle with nutmeg, and enjoy!

What I've learned:
If you're growing your own Antler Reishi Mushrooms try to break them or cut them up closer to harvesting them.  I thought I'd dry them out, and they'd just grind right up, instead they hardened to a wood-like state, and scratched the hell out of my food processor, which means extra careful cleaning after each use from now on, since food particles hiding in deep grooves in cookware is a great place for foodborne illnesses to get their start in life!  Those of you with counter top grain mills may have better luck in this area than I did.  When making the Mushroom FoMo Latte, I pop the cardamom pods before throwing them in the pot to steep.  I don't go so far as to dig out all the little seeds, I just give them a good crack, and toss them in.  If you want to get fancy, and top your beverage off with a dollop of whipped coconut cream, check out this post at Tasty Yummies for instructions, and a handy little index for which brands whip up the best.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Fresh Start: Be Your Own Guru...

Part Two:

Be your own guru, because no one else wants the job, and anyone who does, probably doesn't deserve it.

Unfortunately (fortunately?) you've got to do your own work.  There's really no way around it.  If you're not ready to do the work, you're not ready to be well, and live your fullest, most vibrant life.  It is as simple, and as complicated as that.  The ability to be brutally honest with yourself is a huge asset in the healing process, if you've already accomplished this in your life, you've cleared the highest hurdle as far as I'm concerned.  Everything after that is just a matter of being a diligent researcher, changing daily habits, and upgrading your life (start with small, realistic increments for best results until you're confident in the strength of your commitment), and becoming your own healthcare advocate. 

Now, this is where people start to get a little uncomfortable.  If you've read Part One, or even my post about intestinal permeability (leaky gut), healing my body, and restoring gut-health, to some people it begins to seem as though a highly unqualified person who has absolutely zero business dispensing medical advice, is doing just that.  To be clear, I am not a healthcare professional in any capacity, and I am in no way looking to become a meddling interloper between anyone and their healthcare provider or disrupt anyone's method of treatment for whatever ails them.  The thing we must understand, however, is that people seek out other forms of information when modern medicine, or their present support system is currently failing them -- right now it's bloggers, and pod-casters, in the 1970s it was crudely pieced together pamphlets, and photocopied pages. Often times people who are looking for alternative information are at the very end of their proverbial ropes, and feel as though they've literally got nothing left to lose (sometimes this may include their own life, or what's left of it).  It is a way for people to reach out to others in similar situations from the comfort of their own homes (homes they are sometimes unable to leave!), and begin to piece together information that has possibly been kept from them through inadequate healthcare channels, their own lack of education, or the intimidation that can often accompany doctor visits that keeps them from asking the tough questions they need to bring to their doctors' offices that may, in fact, change their lives for the better.  I believe in connecting with, and empowering people to make the best decisions for their lives, and encourage everyone to never follow anyone blindly (myself included) when it comes to something as important as their very lives.  I don't think it's a matter of opinion to stress the crucial necessity for everyone to become well-informed patients with the confidence to make decisions (yes, sometimes with the help of a professional) in the best interest of their physical, mental, and emotional health.  Sometimes this bothers people, we (especially Americans) tend to live in a society where we are almost expected, if not, required to hand over our personal power (and at times, freedom) to "those who know better," and trust that they will make ALL of the correct decisions on our behalf ... No questions asked.  You can't really blame us, it's ingrained in us from very early days, and questioning authority is very much looked down upon (including now).  So, I understand that the notion of empowerment can be distressing for some, but for others it is the permission slip they never knew they needed.

So far I've been lucky with my staggering lack of angry emails calling me irresponsible for simply posting about my own experiences that may point some extremely hopeless people in a positive direction.  If I do rub you in completely the wrong way, what I ask is that you consider anyone reading my posts grown enough to make their own, decisions.  I will never tell anyone to forego proven life-saving treatments, or lead them down a dangerous, or deadly path.  In fact, that's kind of the whole point!  I don't want to lead anyone.  I want everyone to find exactly what is right for them.

I'm always wary of the people who want to lead me, most of the time they just have something to sell, and honestly I try to avoid them like the plague.  At best, when I have been seduced by the promise of miracles, I've had mediocre results, at worst I've found myself drained of money, motivation, and hope.  What these experiences have led me to, however, is quite possibly the best piece of unsolicited advice I've ever conjured:

Find people who are doing it well, 
and ask them how they're doing it!

It sounds so obvious, right?  The best part is, it works for almost everything!  Craft quality questions, and just talk to people.  At first they may try to skirt the issue, because it's not often we're out here trying to get deep with our neighbor, or Uber driver, or delivery person so they might be a little taken aback, but once they recognize your sincerity I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by the responses you're able to get.  It's tricky because we live in a society full of the lazy-"fine".  How are you?  Fine.  How was work today?  Fine.  How was the concert last night?  Fine.  I mean we "fine" the hell out of everything these days, I think partly because we believe that no one ultimately cares about one another beyond polite, brief encounters.  So, this experiment might take a little work, and some practice, but if you can break people out of "fine" mode, and really get them talking you'll be well on your way to learning all sorts of new stuff you can use to enhance your life, besides being a decent human being by extending interest, and care to another person.  Win / win!

I've recently done this myself with a girl on Instagram who kept popping up on my radar.  We had shared similar health experiences, and I was impressed with not only her recovery, but her commitment to flourishing, and positive outlook.  What I've found is another person I can lend support and encouragement to, and she's been able to unlock for me new paths to healing that have not only been beneficial to me, but have helped other members of my family as well.  I definitely encourage all of you to reach out, and make new connections, and don't forget a little gratitude goes a long way.  The people who are willing to help you will be nourished, and replenished by your genuine appreciation.  Also, it doesn't hurt to put yourself in a position to pay it forward even if you're currently in a position that makes helping others feel like an insurmountable task, sometimes lending a hand to someone else has a way of feeding the soul, and reviving purpose that helps us continue on our own path to healing on the days when everything feels impossible.


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

You and I Collide

Twin Flames

There was a feeling of inevitability when I met you.  The sense that we would be together; that there would be a moment when you would look at me in a certain way, and we would cross the threshold from friendship into something so much more.

We spoke once about lovers who kept finding each other, no matter how many times the world came between them.  And I think I had to break your heart, and you had to break mine.  How else could we know the worth of what we were given?

I think you were always meant to know me a little better than anyone else.  And our lives were fated to converge like some cosmic dance.  I know there is a terrible distance between us.  But our bodies are made of celestial light, and we are hurtling through space and time, toward the most beautiful collision.
- Lang Leav

Friday, February 9, 2018

I Love You From My Head Tomatoes!

This week marked the six week point before Spring, and around here that means dusting off the seed basket because it's tomato time!  My foolproof method includes egg cartons, potting soil, and a large seal-able food container.

I start with a clean egg carton (cutting off the lid to use as a mini-bed to start my poppies in), filling each divot with potting soil, placing about 3-5 seeds per divot, and lightly covering with more potting soil.  After placing the egg carton in the base of the food container, I add 1/4" of water to the food container in order to keep the egg carton damp without disturbing the seeds by watering from the top.  Next I place the lid over top (not tightly) leaving small gaps for fresh air to enter, and place the entire apparatus on my clothes dryer to keep the contents of the container cozy, but not hot.  In 5-6 days vigorous, little green sprouts should be making their presence known!  At this point it's time to move them to a sunny window.

Once seedlings are established (about 2-3" in height), I separate them and move them into larger containers for the hardening off process.  Averaging 2-3 starts per container, I allow them to grow indoors to about 6-8" tall before taking them outside for a few hours a day for bright sunlight, and fresh air.  When Spring storms begin to wane, and it's time to plant the starts in the garden, don't be afraid to plant them pretty deep.  The little hairlike structures along the tomato plant's stem can turn into roots for the plant if covered in soil.  This is great if your starts became a little too leggy to look like they'll withstand even the mildest Summer breeze, just plant them a little deeper than you typically think you should, and give your plant the opportunity to establish a robust root system - after that everything else seems to work itself out.

Happy planting!

Monday, February 5, 2018

Berried in Bliss

Here's what you need:
  • Ice cubes 6-8
  • Bananas 4
  • Blackberries (frozen) 2 cups
  • Raspberries (frozen) 1 cup 
  • Ginger Root 1" knob, grated
  • Açaí Powder 1 teaspoon
  • Carob Powder 1 tablespoon
  • Shredded Coconut 2 tablespoons
  • Full-Fat Organic Canned Coconut Milk 2/3 cup
  • Pure Organic Maple Syrup 1/4 cup
  • Water 1 cup
Here's what you do:
Throw everything in a large blender (ice in first!), and blend the hell out of it.  Pour, sprinkle with a pinch of extra coconut shreds, serve & enjoy!  Remember, if you like a thicker consistency, peel, break into chunks, and freeze your bananas first (I like to keep a bag of them on hand for when the mood strikes).

When February rolls around, it seems, we're bombarded with decadent desserts, and chocolate everything at every turn.  For those of us who can't participate in the month long cacao-love-in, I've created a faux-chocolate treat we can spoil ourselves with.  Make a batch for you and your sweetheart, and help them warm up afterwards!