Archive for the ‘Health’ category

The Brain and Cursive Writing (Why Your Fountain Pen is Useful)

March 13, 2015

I was a bit surprised when I got my vintage fountain pen cleaned up and operational in January that my cursive writing abilities seemed to have gone awry.

I could write but got confused with certain letters, how to form them or how to join them, and I had forgotten how to write some capital letters. It took me about 2 weeks to remember how to write an upper and lower case “z” in cursive because it was like the memory was there but the movement wasn’t accessible. I’ve been printing for years for clarity and since e-mail took over correspondence I rarely use my cursive writing. Big mistake.

According to these articles, not only fine motor skills but also neural pathways can atrophy (or never be built in the case of children) if you don’t use your brain for cursive writing. What a revelation!

That really spurred me on to a regular practice of cursive writing. My writing has gradually improved as the memory of the movements came back but I still find I have to slow down on some words to make sure I’m joining the letters properly. I sometimes find it hard to remember to do the third loop on cursive “m” because of course in typing it only has two loops. The join between lower case “b” and other letters sometimes is hard for me to remember. I still can’t believe it, can’t believe something that was once automatic has to be thought about so carefully to get it right.

Cursive writing with a fountain pen is so enjoyable though, amazing how it makes a difference. I am enjoying using the new Rohrer and Klingner Alt-Goldgrün ink I bought for the Pilot Metropolitan pen. Even with a fine nib like that it shades very prettily.

I bought a nice new journal, another one from Peter Pauper Press but slightly larger than my other one.



Vegan and Raw Cooking and Lifestyle

October 15, 2014

After yet another health meltdown and excruciating nerve and muscle pain and edema, I decided that I would have to change, change forever.

Is food that important that you kill yourself with it? That should be an easy answer, but many of us get hooked on these repeating patterns of relying on food for comfort. My doctor can’t help me, several medications she has put me on made me sick and did not alleviate the underlying condition.

I was re-reading (for the umpteenth time) Dr. John McDougall’s excellent book The McDougall Program: 12 Days to Dynamic Health which has been in-print since 1990. I love this book because it has recipes, but he thoughtfully talks about health and has an appendix in the back that is a basic guide for medical conditions, and the way they are conventionally treated, and the way he treats them. There is a way out, as John McDougall, Joel Fuhrman, Neal Barnard, Dean Ornish, and Joe Cross keep telling us all.


One paragraph struck me this time when reading the McDougall book:

One other suggestion is needed: Don’t be half-hearted about the deal we’re arranging. Some of you are quietly thinking: “I’ll try out McDougall’s program—sort of.”

That was me, over and over again. Of course, your health won’t completely improve in twelve days, but it’s a start, it’s a way to give the body a fighting chance.

I never have much luck with vegan recipes but I tried the Hearty Stew recipe on page 242 of my edition of the book and it was great.


I also decided that a bit of raw vegan food (other than carrot and celery sticks) might be interesting to add to the mix so I bought three books.

The first one is Becoming Raw by Brenda Davis et al. I thought this looked good because I have a relative who constantly worries about my protein intake on a vegan diet. Joel Fuhrman address this as well in his book Eat to Live, but this new book has even more scientific data I can peruse.


The next one is a cookbook called Raw & Simple by Judita Wignall where the recipes don’t call for a food dehydrator, an expense I’m not sure I want to embrace. I wish I was one of those people who loved cooking and trying new recipes but I’m not really keen. However, I’m going to try and get interested.


The third one, The Simply Raw Kitchen was written by Canadian Natasha Kyssa so I thought I might actually have a chance to buy equipment or ingredients here without trying to order from the States. Americans seem to have everything, it’s amazing, but in Canada we don’t have the population to support specialty shops in rural areas like mine.


A final note from Joel Fuhrman:

As long as you are still breathing, it is still possible to improve your health with improvements in lifestyle and nutrition.




Further Adventures with NutriBullet

July 22, 2013

I finally got the spouse to read the literature and enjoy a morning drink on Sunday after blending in the NutriBullet. He promptly went to the store and bought more fruit and a bag of greens because our garden greens got pummelled in the storm last week and the spinach has gone to seed.

We tried the olive oil on the threads of the cup trick for a better seal and it worked well and cleaned up fine. This morning I had a handful of spinach and baby greens, 1 banana, a slice of fresh pineapple and 3 fresh strawberries. Doesn’t this look pretty?


It blends enough for two but since I’m alone this morning I drank it all!


1) Do not overfill or pack the vegetables and fruit down too much.
2) Put enough water in for blending.
3) Run a finger dipped in olive oil around the threads of the cup to get a good seal with the cutting blade attachment.
4) After blending, immediately remove the cup from the base, and pull straight upward without tipping, move over to the counter, and then flip the cup up to remove the blade attachment when you are away from the machine. It might drip on the counter a bit, but it won’t drip over the motor base.
5) Serve your drink in that Waterford crystal glass that you were saving for “good.” Every day is good, use your crystal.


6) Wash or at least rinse your cup, blade attachment and drinking glass right away so the sticky residue doesn’t dry on your cups and attachments.

The living end.



A Blast from Nutrition

July 15, 2013

As an on-and-off follower of food combining and on-and-off vegetarian, I am always interested in eating fresh foods and lots of fruit and vegetables. Like many people though I slip into emotional eating, sometimes in a baffling manner. Much of it stems from my frustration with chronic pain and insomnia, but I would rather eat properly.

I got a gift from my brother that we picked up from the post office on Saturday, and it’s a NutriBullet machine my brother had raved about when I saw him at a recent wedding. It sounded good and it sounded like something I couldn’t afford so I never investigated further. Well, he sent me one as a surprise and also bought an extra book for me about healing foods and what specific foods are good for inflammation, muscular problems, insomnia, all the things I deal with.


I had to let it sit there for two days as I was a bit overwhelmed. Today I opened the manual and went through things, then washed the cups and blades in warm, soapy water. They’ve used non BPA plastic so it doesn’t have a chemical taste or smell. I am very sensitive to some plastics, so this was a relief to me. While the cups and accessories were draining I went out and picked some fresh spinach and lettuce from the garden and then brought it in and washed it.

I had chosen to make a large, green NutriBlast or ‘Blast as they call it, and I used one of the beginner recipes called Green Fever, which was 50% spinach with banana and a tomato. Fill the cup, add water, put the blade on and set into the base and away it went. Since I mixed the spinach with lettuce I thought it would taste awful but it was VERY tasty. I sipped the entire contents of this mammoth cup with no problem, with easy clean-up afterward.


I don’t know, I think I could get to like this!

Update: My gizmo is leaking liquids into the motor area. I’ve only used it twice and seems to leak regardless of how much liquid is in there. It is a known issue according to online reports from consumers, so I’ll try tomorrow and if it still leaks I’ll contact the manufacturer. Rats! Update2: While the unit does seem to leak, it is in the threads between the cup and screw on unit with the blade, and might be because I tilt it taking it off the base. I will try tomorrow taking it straight off vertically and see if it leaks. I saw one guy mentioning putting a bit of olive oil on the threads to seal it better, so I will try that trick as well.

My husband is always putting avocadoes into salads and I find them too rich, but they are recommended for blending in this machine and I think I would prefer them mixed up creamily in one of these Blasts. You can use kale and Swiss chard for greens as well as lettuce and spinach and we usually have tons of these greens around, but it gets hard for two of us to eat all that food. Blending it down is a good idea, we can use our lettuce fresh but also blend it too, and in that way use it up before it goes to seed or rots in the refrigerator.

I need to buy some raw nuts and some berries to have on hand for this. I can finally use my flax seed as an addition to one of these Blasts and our blackberries are ripening on our bushes right now so I’ll be able to throw a few of those in.

Off to read more…