Pesto Primer

Is there anything better than Italian food? I mean think about it, how many other places in the world could you see Roman ruins, the beautiful relics of greats like Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo, the legendary canals of Venice and the Tuscan hills lined with vineyards and yet when people return from there all they can talk about is the food. How many times have you had this conversation: “How was your Italy trip?” “The food was amazing!” I know I’ve heard it countless times and I’m not saying it’s wrong, I’m saying that there is something intrinsically right about how that country puts ingredients together…simply, efficiently, magically. It’s no wonder the Slow Food movement started there, or that pizza was invented there, or any number of spectacular combinations were first tried in that rich and fertile country by the sea. One combination that I can’t get enough of is pesto. I know people get all herbal-ly with nettle pesto or vegetable-y with parsley pesto but I personally like to stick to the basil kind. I add it to salads, sandwiches, pizza and a recent favorite, farinata. I always have to look up proportions though when making it, so I was thoroughly pleased to find this handy infographic by Delicious Living. I hope it makes your life a bit more bella too.


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Probiotics and 365


See the flames of fame emanating from his gut area?

For something that lives in our gut, our intestinal bacteria are sure getting a lot of time on stage lately. It’s their time to shine I guess, now that the anti-bacterial obsession has begun to wane (thank you science) and awareness about what problems arise when we lack our good bacteria is on the rise. (Thank you once again, science.) There’s a new book about germs and bacteria and what little gems some germs actually are, and there’s never been a time riper for this information. It seems aimed at parents, in hopes of encouraging them to raise children with rich microbiomes and immune systems, but it sounds like anyone who’s ever wondered if they should wash their hands yet again, or eat that last bit of chocolate that fell on their floor, would appreciate this book. It’s called Let Them Eat Dirt and it’s by B. Brett Finlay, PhD and Marie-Claire Arrieta, PhD and although I haven’t read it yet, I heard an interview with Dr. Finlay and am putting it on my rather long can’t-wait-to-read list. On their website, there’s a link to a scientific study of probiotics and what diseases the specific brands help. Check it out! I was surprised to see my favorite brand on there, but not surprised to see it listed as helpful in multiple disease situations. This list also serves as more evidence to support switching up your brands since you can see that not all probiotics are meant for all cases.

In other news, Whole Foods is hard at work rolling out their 365 stores and I had the opportunity to visit one today which just opened in Bellevue. When my friend told me it was already open I was quite surprised because I had only just started hearing peeps and rumors about a 365 opening in Bellevue and certainly didn’t expect to see one up and going so quickly. It’s at Bellevue Square and has a more urban feel to it than the Whole Foods Markets nearby. The selection is smaller, but the brands are mostly familiar, and there seems to be an emphasis on grab-and-go foods. The salad bar was packed with the lunch crowd, there was pizza to buy by the slice, and a multitude of other packaged items to go. I’ll be curious to see how these do.

instagramcapture_b0adaa12-da24-499b-952a-59b0822924801 I hope everyone is enjoying their fall so far.

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Candida Patrol

Yesterday I woke up in the thick of a dream in which I was eating macaroni and cheese. It was warm and lovely in my mouth and the shock of waking up to a cold alarm and a dark 6:AM was enough to put mac n’ cheese on my day’s to do list. I hadn’t eaten that kind of thing for many months because I am trying hard to heal my digestive system, which includes beating back candida, and candida loves nothing more than gooey, cheesy, pasta. But I seldom dream of food and when I do it leaves such an enormous impression on me that I feel like I simply have to follow through with what my subconscious is craving. The only other times I remember dreaming of food have all been chocolate related. As much as I love veggies, they sadly haven’t made cameos in any of my sleep time adventures yet. Perhaps the overpopulation of candida has control of that area of my brain…hmmm…those little buggers are going down. Controlling candida is so important when battling food intolerances which I wrote about last year, and obviously the battle wages on.

The first supplement I used recently to fight excessive candida is Rainbow Light’s Candida Cleanse.


It’s easy to take, just one pill approximately half an hour before meals. I could tell it was working and wanted to give my body another bottle of it but when I went to the store to get more they were out, so I got Renew Life’s CandiSmart instead.


It’s a two-part system and I could feel it working right away even though it instructs customers to start with half the dosage for three days. I think Rainbow Light’s supplement is a bit milder and might be better tolerated by more sensitive folks such as kids and older adults or others with compromised health. Renew Life’s version has a two punch affect and I like the extra whooping, but I am sure it might take some people by surprise. There are other supplements that target candida overgrowth out there but these are the two I’d recommend, along with probiotics of course.

To further help heal my digestive system I’m also taking Pure Encapsulations’ G.I. Integrity.


This is a reparative supplement that is a good option to consider when your digestive system is not in optimal condition. Give those intestines some love!

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Cultural Norms


That two word phrase keeps popping up in my mind now that the first week of school is underway, because schools are such a great place to view a community’s cultural norms. The first thing that is blatantly apparent is the fact that walking or biking to school is not a norm in this community, or maybe this generation. I’m not sure how widespread it is but I do think this greater Seattle area in general has an overzealous relationship with cars. When I read Elizabeth Gilbert‘s book Eat, Pray, Love and she talked about how each city has one word that defines it, I thought that this area’s word would be ‘drive’. Not only for the literal drive a car meaning, although that is certainly part of it, but also the drive that means pushing people to work harder, longer hours than ever before, driving kids to start sports at an earlier age or else lose out on it as well as other extracurricular activities~ music, dance, chess, stem-activities, the list is endless. Not that being ‘driven’ as an innate trait is bad, of course it’s good to be focused and hardworking, and there’s plenty of that around here too, but mostly it seems like a rather overly driven culture here and the actual driving exemplifies the mental and emotional aspects. My older son is in middle school which does not have bus services for the kids that live within a mile or maybe a mile and a half, and they say it’s because those kids can easily walk or bike to school. OK, I absolutely agree that they can indeed walk or bike that far, my earlier posts attest to that here and here, but the thing is, no one actually lets their kid do that. Everyone drives their child to school and the traffic could rival a boy band concert at an all girls’ high school, and yet parents still prefer to put up with the frustration of sitting in traffic, and planning their mornings and afternoons around drop off and pick-up times that take a ridiculous amount of time rather than have their kid walk or bike. It just isn’t done. So, how do you turn around a cultural norm like that? Or should the school accept the fact that they could get a handle on their traffic mess, and it is a problem about which we get regular emails so it’s definitely an issue, by adding another bus or two and picking up most of the car riders? Or should they fight the cultural norm with setting up groups so kids can walk or bike together, perhaps get parent volunteers to escort the kids for the first week until they are used to it, somehow reward the students who show up on bike or by walking, or I don’t know….do something. Because the problem with just adding another bus or two is that we are branding that cultural norm into kids’ heads~ one does not walk or bike to a place that is less than a mile away. One takes a vehicle. Is that really what we want kids learning? Is that remotely healthy for any single person much less the earth as a whole? I don’t think so.

Another cultural norm on display at schools is the food. Oh dear. The cafeteria at my son’s middle school is packed with a dazzling array of junk food they can buy day in and day out~ donuts, chips as diverse as the languages spoken in the hallways, candy of all stripes, and sugar wrapped in a thousand disguises. The main offerings are mediocre at best (nutritionally, visually, taste-wise) and the salad bar offers unappetizing raw veggies which are probably as nutrient dense as the composition notebooks found in the kids’ backpacks. Again, is this how we want kids to learn to eat? What they expect from mealtimes is absolutely going to be influenced by the meals they have five days a week, even if the other mealtimes are different, they are still learning that the norm is to eat junk food. My friend from Israel was so surprised to find that here in the U.S. sandwiches routinely come with chips or fries. In her country sandwiches came with salad or a vegetable, or nothing. We don’t have to accept these norms just because they exist around us~ I often think of the Jane Austens and E.M.Forsters out there that have always written about the ridiculousness of their own cultural norms and eventually those norms did change. We can imprint our kids with healthy habits on a cultural level, or not. It just needs to be enough people’s priority I guess. It starts with recognizing the daily habits they we all partake in, sometimes mindlessly, sometimes joyfully, but all the time repetitively. oggl_00071

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Ginger Nanoparticles Show Promise for Inflammatory Bowel Disease

I very rarely reblog but this article is such a cool combination of high-tech and traditional herbal medicine that I couldn’t resist. Plus it could help a lot of people out there with digestive issues. Even if you don’t have access to nano-particles, including more ginger in our diets can’t hurt.

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

Ginger is spicing up the search for a cure for inflammatory bowel disease, according to research published in Biomaterials. Delivered in the form of nanoparticles, researchers believe ginger could offer a targeted and effective remedy for this potentially debilitating condition.
[ginger root]Ginger is thought to offer wide-ranging health benefits.

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) refers a group of disorders in which the intestines become inflamed. The cause of IBD is unknown, but scientists believe it could be an autoimmune condition, in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks itself. The two main forms of IBD are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

People with IBD often experience diarrhea and pain – which can be severe – and they may lose blood through the rectum. They are also more prone to complications such as anemia, as their intestines do not absorb nutrients effectively.

Scientists have been looking at nanotechnology as a way of…

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Aging Well Tips

This is a cute, concise infographic from Delicious Living about what things increase life expectancy and also what decreases life expectancy. You might recognize the style from a certain board game of your youth which is pretty darn clever. I think the most interesting part of this graphic is the part about most centenarians being mostly vegetarian with little meat included in their diets. I think the idea of aging well is often not included when people think about their diet and in particular ‘dieting’. Anyway~ can you guess the game?


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Election Year Fatigue

Normally I listen to NPR for the news at some point every day, but these last few months I’ve had no idea what’s going on in the world because I so loathe presidential election years I just can’t make myself turn on the radio. Why do politics always bring out the basest, vilest, most judgmental aspects of people? I get it that personal political beliefs are just that, deeply personal~ they are built on one’s value system and to have that value system on display on the big screen in a way and open to constant judgement makes people defensive and often offensive. It must be that the fight or flight mechanism is triggered and even the most rational people are reduced to their reptilian core and it’s a shame because no one learns anything. It’s such a divisive time and whenever I see well-communicated, complete thoughts on a political subject met with angry, incoherent, immature reactions it makes me so sad~ and that’s every single day of the election season. I suppose I’m in ‘flight’ mode which isn’t to say I’m not going to vote, because I always do, but I’m trying to stay focused on the beautiful things in life which are uplifting and make humanity more…human, instead of indulging in this display of schoolyard behavior. I get that some people like this stuff, that some actually get a kick out of the competition and one upping each other and debating values and feeling superior and that’s fine and dandy, but I feel like a lot of others get roped into this carnival show who really would be happier thinking about making dinner, or some mathematical problem, or their favorite quotes from their favorite books. The media is so ever-present, and social media is practically inescapable, that it’s easy to forget we each actually have choices about what we think about, how we treat others who disagree with us (whether we actually know them or just have thoughts about them), how we want our days filled and how we choose to conduct ourselves. I choose to focus on beauty and grace where I can find it. Whatever fills your life, I hope you are actively choosing it. InstagramCapture_a32f4c8d-464a-4fe0-b820-f78f67a20f73[1]

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