I Eat Well on Paleo (Proof with Pictures) And Thoughts on Bad Food Photography

In my last blog, I wrote about how eating grain-free, dairy-free, and soy-free has helped me feel better than I have in years (or maybe ever). https://jessicafeis.wordpress.com/2014/03/09/my-path-to-paleo/ I also wrote about how I’m enjoying cooking and the food we eat tastes much better than most of the food we ate before adopting a paleo diet. I took some pictures of some of our meals over the past few weeks to share the kinds of foods we eat. These are all meals that I’ve taken from cookbooks. I wish I were creative in the kitchen, but just as I seem to have troubles improvising with music and deviating from a sewing pattern, I am a strict, left-brained following-a-recipe type of person. Maybe I will try to push myself in the future to come up with my own recipes, but for now I am just sharing my interpretations of others’ recipes (with credit, of course).

***Note on the terrible quality of these photos. I call myself a photographer, and this is the best picture I can take?!? Even though I have multiple really nice cameras, tripods, and the like sitting around my house, I seem to be unable to use them to photograph food. I always pull out my smartphone for this purpose, even though I never use it any other time. The results are always somewhat blurry. I guess it has something to do with the non-permanence of food and the manner in which social, digital photography has shifted to one of transience away from its traditional roles of heirloom keepsakes. I’m not going for quality here, just to share my creation that soon after vanished. So sorry for the blurriness. I won’t make a habit of it with anything other than food.


Standing in the New Life


by Juan Ramón Jiménez

I have a feeling that my boat

has struck down there in the depths,

against a great thing.

                       And nothing

happens! Nothing. . . Silence. . . Waves. . .

 — Nothing happens? Or has everything happened,

and are we standing, now, in the new life? 

In the beginning of June, my boat struck a great thing down in the depths that has rocked me into “the new life.” It came in the form of a virus, and since then I’ve never quite felt the same again. I won’t elaborate too much on the details of this virus that has refused to completely let go for over three months. The acute phase lasted only a day or so and attacked my inner ear, which started suddenly with frightening vertigo. Since then, I have been able to function on a semi-normal basis but its tenacity has been the hardest thing for me to accept. I have gradually gotten better, then sometimes worse. At first, I had trouble driving and riding in the car, I had trouble functioning in rooms lit with bright, fluorescent lights – which made grocery shopping difficult, even sitting at the computer seemed like too much effort. Normally, my mind is filled with a million projects and ideas, but this summer I experienced something rare in my world: boredom.

Some of the medications prescribed made matters even worse. A steroid that I took for two days (and then threw away, convinced it was satanic) made me think I was going crazy for over a week until I finally purged it from my system. This episode coincided with the Waldo Canyon Fire in my hometown. The sadness about those who lost houses and all the acreage in places that I’ve lived and loved, along with the fear that the fire might spread farther, and my feelings of helplessness and confusion about why this had to happen in the first place made this one of the worst summers of my life.

It still makes me uncomfortable to even write about this summer because even though fall is looming, I’m still not out of the woods. I worry that I may never be back to “normal” again. But overall, I’ve gotten a lot better, my mood has risen, my mind is active and engaged, I’m working again and finding it not too hard most of the time, and I’ve started back with my graduate classes that I set aside for the summer.

I’ve known all along that my symptoms were subtle in the grand scheme of things, that many people suffer much worse than I do, that I’ve been blessed with good health most of my life, that bouts of poor health come to us all, yet I’ve struggled with the meaning of this virus. Why me, why now? From the beginning, I’ve suspected that it came to me for a reason, to make me stronger, to catapult me out of the feelings of complacency that have left me stuck in a rut for too long. And as I got over the worst and started feeling almost normal again, I waited for the new life to begin, my big break to start on a new path, to put the new wisdom I’ve gained about the ephemerality of life to work and become a better, more fulfilled person. And nothing happens! I didn’t get the new job, didn’t meet a literary agent randomly in an elevator, didn’t come into any money, didn’t get discovered in Schwab’s Drugstore springing my childhood dreams that I long ago set aside finally into fruition.

I’ve been shaken to the core, and on the outside, it seems that nothing has happened. My life seems almost exactly the same as it did six months ago. I don’t want this all to have been for naught, to sink back into complacency, to defer my dreams, so I’ve realized that this virus has been the fuel to reignite the fire inside of me, but I’m the one who has to light the match. Lately, I find that fears are slowly becoming less important, that I’m no longer letting other people and their ideas about me stand in the way of my transcendence. I have many new ideas that I will soon be launching. While it seems that nothing has happened, I know that everything has happened, that this is the beginning of the new life – I just have to make it so.

Five Reasons Why I Love Community Acupuncture

Several years back, I had a few traditional acupuncture treatments for my allergies. I remember laying in a dark, barren room all by myself with needles stuck here and there, bored out of my mind yet unable to sleep, and then leaving the treatment feeling like I had just woke up from a long nap in the sun, so out of it that I could barely drive home. The treatments did seem to help my allergies, but with a price tag of $80, I could not afford to get acupuncture for very long.

This summer a new acupuncture clinic called Springs Community Acupuncture opened up, and I had the immediate feeling that I should give acupuncture another try. For one, the environment seemed much more inviting and appealing than my previous experience. Housed in a cute little adobe house, Springs Community Acupuncture is open and light-filled and exudes a sense of calm and relaxation. But this is no ordinary acupuncture clinic – it’s community acupuncture, a growing movement across the nation to make acupuncture more accessible and affordable to the public. Rather than locking a patient in a room half-dressed and all alone, community acupuncture is set up so that several people sitting in recliners can receive treatment at the same time. The treatments focus on the head, lower arms, lower legs, and feet to treat the whole body with only shoes and socks needing to be removed and pant legs and sleeves rolled up.

I have been receiving weekly treatments from Hannah Beachy since July, and it has been a completely positive experience in many aspects of my life. I can’t claim to be an expert on acupuncture or how it works, but here I will describe my own experience with community acupuncture and why I love it so much.

  • My Health

I haven’t been sick at all this entire fall! No colds, no flus, no stomach ailments, nothing. For as long as I can remember, I have usually spend the majority of the fall and winter months with recurring colds, sinus infections, bronchitis, and the like. But this year, I have Hannah to thank for my good health. In addition to my regular treatments, she has prescribed me a blend of Chinese herbs to help boost my immune system. It is a strange and wonderful feeling to watch my co-workers sniffling and coughing without the constant worry that I might catch their germs.

Also within a month of two of starting acupuncture, my doctor took me off a daily preventative inhaler for asthma that I have been taking for almost ten years. This is not to say that acupuncture has miraculously cured me of all my ailments – I still suffer from regular nasal allergies and have been trying to ween myself off a steroid nasal spray – but I feel better than I have for years and keep improving.

  • My Attitude Adjustment

This is the part that surprised me – I have had an overall better attitude since I started acupuncture. I really didn’t think it was possible because I have been in a work-related rut for the past few years, spending my days at work in a grumpy, unmotivated, and bitter mood. I don’t know if it’s because of my better overall health or due to the treatments themselves, but this year I have been trying new methods in my work, I haven’t been procrastinating as much, and generally do not let minor inconveniences get to me. This year I even have had a sudden and unexpected return of my Christmas spirit, which has been dormant for years. I’m not entirely sure that I can attribute this to acupuncture, but I suspect it might have something to do with it.

  • The Price

Price was one of the biggest reasons why I stopped getting acupuncture. But Springs Community Acupuncture goes by a sliding scale of $20-$40 per treatment (with a $10 intake fee for new patients). Plus there is a punch card system where you can buy five treatments and get one free as well as regular monthly deals, such as 2 for 1 treatments. From what I’ve been saving on doctor’s visits and prescription medications, it almost pays for itself.

  • Sense of Community

At first, I thought it would be weird and uncomfortable to be receiving acupuncture with other people in the room, but I haven’t found this to be the case. Sure, I notice the comings and goings of other people, but it doesn’t stop me from relaxing. If anything, the calm, relaxed energy of the other people helps create a truly healing environment where it is possible to just sit back and let go.

In addition to the treatments, Hannah works hard to make Springs Community Acupuncture a vibrant center of the community. She often hosts events on her days off, such as a monthly knitting and crocheting group and jewelry trunk shows, with more events to come.

  • My Relaxation Indulgence

I have come to think of my weekly acupuncture treatment as my own little indulgence. Because the price works for my budget and my health is improving, I don’t feel a bit of guilt about doing this one thing for myself. It might seem odd that I choose to relax with needles sticking out of my feet, legs, arms, and ear, but I rarely even feel the needles. Those that I do feel are usually just a sudden prick and then don’t bother me any more. In fact, acupuncture is so relaxing for me that I almost always nap away the hour. And unlike my traditional acupuncture experience, I am never groggy when I wake up. I usually feel relaxed, refreshed, and ready to face the rest of the day.

For more information, see Springs Community Acupuncture’s website at: http://www.springscommunityacupuncture.com/ or look for a community acupuncture clinic near you.