Archive for December, 2015

Making a Difference

I’ve been meaning to reblog this because of the encouraging message, especially as so many people create New Year’s Resolutions. I hear from a lot of clients who fear they “can never do enough to change ___, so why bother?”

Here’s why: because every little thing adds up, and one success inspires and fuels another one. We never know our full ripple effect, but we can and do create ripples wherever we go. As we finish out 2015, please give yourself credit for the things you’ve done, assess those you’ve left undone, and then feel your way into 2016 and beyond. What little step keeps nagging at you to take it? What deep soul longings keep nudging you to pay attention?

For the moment, forget the desired end, just focus on finding the next foothold and planting your step. YOU are part of the cycle of life! Whenever you choose to foster life — in whatever ways, small or big — you reaffirm the Great Cosmic Dance of Life. Twist, turn, leap or spin: just MOVE and see what happens.

The Druid's Garden

I had a long conversation with an older close relative of mine over the holidays. He had overheard my sister, brother-in-law, and I talking about herbalism, permaculture, cultural shifts.  This conversation was framed in the context of the recent Paris climate talks where it appears that world leaders agreed not to do anything for 15 years and in some future time, stave off too much of a temperature rise. After listening to us for a time, my relative indicated that anything that we would do would make “little to no difference” and that when we were his age (he’s in his late 60’s), we’d look back on our lives and regret not being able to do much; we’d certainly regret not being able to hope we had hoped to accomplish.  The fact that we had “little money or resources” made this a certainty. He thought he was doing us a…

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Vegan and Vegetarian Holiday Options

Over the years, I’ve posted lots of photos, recipes and tips for preparing vegan, raw vegan, and/or vegetarian holiday food. You can click through to read about a Raw Vegan Easter Feast, a Raw Vegan Thanksgiving Feast, a Raw Vegan Indian Food Feast, a Raw Vegan Pizza and Italian Feast, Raw Vegan Thai, Tiramisu and Key Lime Pie, two Raw Vegan Christmas Feasts, Goji Dandelion Red Lentil Curry, the five flavors principle, vegan alfredo sauce and links to various other recipes. We also have some sort of vegan feast every six weeks for our Wheel of the Year Celebrations, although I usually keep the details of those gatherings private. It’s some good vegan eating, though!

Today, I wanted to share what we did this year for Thanksgiving, Yule and Christmas. Hopefully, the vast variety of foods shared in the above links and below will inspire some people to think of new possibilities when sharing holidays with non-vegans or non-vegetarians.

Please note: I’m not fully vegan anymore. For tooth and bone strength, I drink organic, raw goat milk, which we pick up directly from local farmers. I loved being 100% vegan and often 100% raw in California and Arizona, but once I got back to the cold Midwest, after 8.5 years of a strict vegan lifestyle, my body started demanding very specific types of dairy and occasional organic, free range eggs.

It was an extremely difficult decision to move from vegan to vegetarian, but the improvements in my health really speak for themselves. In photos I often miss my former waif self, not always recognizing my stronger, curvier self these days; however, I cannot argue with improved cognitive function, no more tooth pain, and greatly increased overall strength. It was the right decision for me, for now. I’ve never judged anyone for his or her dietary choices, as I know injuries, relocations, illnesses, stress, vibrational management, and other factors make “ideal” diets much more complicated than a simple dogma sometimes addresses.

I share the information here, not to judge, but to inspire. I prefer as cruelty free as possible for the holidays. It’s nice not to look at a carcass, to bypass the food coma, to celebrate life, and sometimes even to feed relatives the only veggies they’d willingly eat! All while having them ask for seconds. Or thirds. Anyway, without further ado … our menus this fall holiday season:

The night before Thanksgiving, David and I met his daughter and her boyfriend at a new microbrewery in South Bend called The Crooked Ewe Brewery & Ale House. This place has a dedicated vegan menu that directly corresponds to the regular menu. We thought it would be fun to take the young ones to a new spot where all of us could eat and enjoy an edgier atmosphere than Northern Indiana usually offers.

Oftentimes vegan versions of traditional menu items involve a lot of fake meat made from wheat gluten or soy, but we were blown away by the creativity and freshness of their entrees. It was too dark for photos, so we don’t have any; however, the dishes were so authentic tasting we actually asked our server if he had remembered to give us the vegan versions. Instead of gluten and soy, our “wings” were made from tender, perfectly seasons artichokes! Our Thai inspired dish used cauliflower instead of beef. We seriously could not believe how good our meals were! I will write a long overdue vegan Michiana post at some point. For now, just know that if you’re vegan or have a vegan in your crew, Crooked Ewe would be a special treat.

Just prior to meeting our young dinner guests, we stopped at the Mishawaka Whole Foods (which David helped open in 2013), and treated ourselves to one of their vegetarian holiday boxes. We don’t usually buy a prepared box of holiday foods, but with everything we had going on Thanksgiving weekend, we thought we’d treat ourselves. It was entirely vegetarian, some of it vegan, and some of it gluten-free. It did feature a seitan based loaf, which I could not stomach even beyond one bite, but David enjoyed that loaf a lot. The surprising thing coming from “Whole Paycheck” was just how much food we got for $29.95! We seriously had about 5 meals from this box. You can see some of the spread below:

Vegetarian Thanksgiving from Whole Foods

 

If you’re hosting a holiday for “regular eaters” and don’t know what to do with some oddball vegetarian guests, then the Whole Foods Holiday Box for vegetarians might be a great way to go. Vegans or gluten-free peeps would need more a la carte ordering, which removes some of the price advantage of the box, but if you’re out of your league cooking for vegans or vegetarians, Whole Foods offers an easy, tasty, considerate option.

I’m much more of a Yule gal than a Christmas celebrant, so when we went to David’s daughter’s graduation last weekend in Madison, I prepared a Yule Feast for the friends who hosted us. These are the same friends who joined us for most of the raw vegan feasts linked above, although this time, I offered a mix of cooked and raw, always gluten-free vegan dishes: homegrown cushaw squash soup, chickpea “meat”loaf, homegrown massaged kale and tomato salad, almond flour rolls, and a gluten-free vegan yule log. Those yule logs are labor intensive, but for once a year festivities, I do love them! So did our friends, who jumped with glee when I gifted them all the leftovers.

chickpea roast and kale salad

You can find the Chickpea Vegan Meatloaf recipe here. I made this twice — once for Yule and then again for Christmas because David requested it. I texted Tania Marie about our Christmas Eve Feast, and her Dave requested it, too! I found that the recipe needed between 1/8 to 1/4 cup of ground chia seeds added in. I used less the second time I made it, and although it tasted good, the texture never firmed up. David’s completely meat eating, non “weird diet” brother-in-law requested firsts, seconds and thirds of even the mushier version on Christmas, though, which tells you how yummy this recipe is.

The kale salad above is just kale, dehydrated tomatoes (soaked), chopped olives, lemon juice, olive oil and sea salt, massaged together.

Below, you can see this year’s gluten-free, almost sugar-free, vegan yule log. I loosely followed this recipe, substituting gluten-free flour and a combo of coconut sugar and birch sweetener for the refined sugar. The non-edible holly garnish came from bushes I relocated to the blue house front yard:

vegan yule log

Whenever I make a yule log, I always have some kind of major kitchen whoops! In this case, I did not have enough gluten-free flour, and had subbed in some fava bean/chickpea flour without the other ingredients to make it “all purpose.” Oops, no arrowroot in the house, so I added chia seeds. This was the year of chia. The cake was fine as a cake, but in order to make a yule log, you need to fill it with creme or jam and roll it up. I used a low-sugar, local strawberry jam, but once I started rolling, this baby cracked all over the place!

I had not planned to make a glaze, but I needed a coconut based one to hold it together. I heated up coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla stevia and chocolate on a low burner, but quickly realized that would just dribble down the cake, not hold it together. It needed a little chilling; however, our fridge was full. Outside it went into 29 degree weather for enough time to turn firm enough to mold, but not so firm I couldn’t use if for yule log intervention. The final product turned out just right. You’d never know this one created almost as much mess as the one gluten-free-sugar-free-dairy-free yule log I made in 2013.

When we returned from our whirlwind trip to Madison, I thought I was mostly done cooking for the holidays, but David liked the chickpea loaf so much that he wanted one for Christmas. His daughter loves the traditional green bean casserole, and David had seen a reasonably clean gluten-free version of the crispy onion topping at ALDI’s of all places. I ended up planning another homemade feast. This one included gluten-free vegan versions of all the traditional green bean casserole ingredients:

green bean casserole

I threw all that together on Christmas Eve, along with the loaf, and prepared a favorite sweet potato dish with coconut milk and lots of sauteed, home grown garlic. I added some sauteed mushrooms and onion to the traditional directions for the green bean casserole, but it was pretty plug ‘n’ play. The green beans were a hit with everyone, and the sweet potatoes surprised David’s brother-in-law into requesting both firsts and seconds. Even the non-veggie eating nephew liked one serving of sweet potatoes:

sweet potato mash and green bean casserole

I appear to have redeemed myself from the “swamp pie” I made David and me for Christmas 2012. We loved the deep green spirulina raw vegan pie topped with goji berries, but we’ll never forget the reaction of the bro-in-law and nephew when they learned that spirulina’s algae! Stuck out green tongues and no end of remarks like, “As long as you don’t try to serve us pond scum …” .

All of which is to say, you can find no end to creative vegan and vegetarian meal options for the holiday, but if you’d like to share your feast with others, take it easy on the algae. 😉

Bon Appétit!

Preview from “The Biology of Story”

This looks like such a fascinating project!

Becca Segall Tarnas

The Biology of Story is a large-scale, web-based interactive documentary that explores how we live with story and how story lives with us. The film, directed by Amnon Buchbinder, will present a new theory of story based on the experience of story creators, but encompassing the myriad roles that story plays in our lives. I was invited to participate in an interview filmed in the summer of 2015.

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Dancing My Way To A Rebirthing Of The Light

As usual so much of what Tania shares parallels both my own little ballerina days — I think I stayed with it until age 12, though — and even more so with this past weekend’s events. They were very powerful, like a shamanic intersection with ordinary life, and deeply healing not just for me, but for everyone in our group.

David and I had recognized the vast potential for both awkwardness and tremendous healing, and I spent the past 3 months sending Reiki to our travels and the events, plus the past two weeks covering everyone and every venue there in Runes. The sacredness and otherworldliness was palpable and announced to us by a coyote calmly crossing right in front of our car in the middle of incredibly busy traffic in Schaumburg, Illinois on our way to Madison. We also saw a hawk and a huge flock of crows en route, all portending that this was no ordinary weekend. I will share photos of our Yule celebration with dear friends in Madison, but Sunday’s family events will remain largely private, as they were deeply personal and transformative.

In my case, it was a healing related to place and to old dreams and versions of myself. We attended David’s daughter’s college graduation, which was so important to her for so many reasons and sooooo filled with pomp and circumstance and family. No dry eyes in our group, and the spontaneous tears of cleansing and joy lasted most of Sunday. Actually, I’m still tearing up as I type about it even now. It was like all the Reiki, Runes, positive intentions, courage and love conspired with the Universe to send us all into an extended series of rituals and initiations. Truly the most potent Winter Solstice we have ever experienced!

As Tania’s post shares in detail, the energies of this weekend were powerfully healing for anything related to the inner child, childhood wounds, and lost potential being reclaimed and integrated. Many blessings, much love, and deep healing to everyone!

Tania Marie's Blog

20151220_160109_resized_2Yesterday we celebrated the holiday season and welcoming of today’s Winter Solstice here in the Northern Hemisphere with a family gathering enjoying The Nutcracker ballet performance at Segerstrom Center for the Arts.

It was quite the production with over 100 performers, elaborate sets, and costumes.

And it was quite enjoyable – for me nostalgic and deeply triggering and healing.

20151220_153521_resized_1Our going was in large part chosen to entertain our little 3 1/2 year old niece, Violet, who is currently taking some ballet classes and has a thing for princesses, ballet dancers, and faeries.20151220_152650_resized_1.jpg

However, although unbeknownst to them, it turned out to be important for me too.

20151220_154630_resized_1We were also gifted a behind-the-scenes tour after, of the sets and costumes, as Violet’s mom is dear family friends (since she was a baby) with a woman in charge of costumes for The American Ballet Theatre productions – Hillary.20151220_153208_resized_1

So it was…

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Laura Bruno Interviewed by Elicia Miller

My colleague and friend Elicia Miller recently interviewed me for a free webinar about my Medical Intuitive approach to treating Candida. Since Elicia has dedicated herself to helping people move beyond Candida, we had a really interesting back and forth discussion sharing both of our insights and experience. A summary of what we covered follows:

Elicia and Laura answer the most common questions about Candida:

  • How Candidiasis shows up in the body – the physical symptoms.
  • How it presents itself with other illnesses, such as Lyme and Chronic Fatigue.
  • Why doctor’s tests are not always accurate.
  • What the root cause of chronic Candida is.
  • Does Candida cause depression or does depression cause Candida?
  • Which foods, probiotics and antifungals are best.
  • The effects of energy vampires and other parasites.
  • Why we are seeing so much Candida in recent years.
  • What spiritual messages Candida has for people.
  • What the benefits and gifts of healing Candida are.
  • What everyone needs to do in order to completely heal.
  • Plus receive a FREE gift from Laura and Elicia!

You can access the hour long webinar and free gifts by signing up here.

Grey Heron Nights 3: Old Crane Woman slips into the Otherworld

“Will you tear aside the veil, and see?”

I will be off blog for awhile for Yule with friends, and a family celebration. Until I return, please enjoy some delightful, wise Old Crane Woman tales through Sharon Blackie.

Wishing everyone in the Northern Hemisphere a magical Winter Solstice and Happy Summer to those down under!

Fertility, Miscarriage & Special Needs Kids: Some Medical Intuitive Observations

For some reason, this topic of fertility is back up, so here’s a repost of a 2009 article. The same information holds true; however, those patterns have intensified in recent years.

Laura Bruno's Blog

I receive a fair number of inquiries from women who would love to have children but experience some sort of block en route: infertility, miscarriages, repeated complications in childbirth … . By the time they contact a Medical Intuitive, these women have already seen multiple doctors, midwives, doulas, and naturopaths, so my work with them tends to focus primarily on non-physical steps they can take to improve their chances. Of the women I’ve worked with, 100% have either gotten pregnant within two months and carried to term, or they have realized that they do not, in fact, want children at this time. They discovered that nature’s “no” had blessed them unawares. Recognizing that each instance holds its own unique factors and story, I thought I’d share some of the most common patterns I’ve noticed:

Oftentimes, the more aware and desirous of a child the would-be mother is, the more…

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