Terri's Airy Fairie World

Musings on Music, Tea, Gardening, Food & Life…


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Why Paleo?

A few days ago I turned 57. I feel fantastic. In fact, I feel better now than I’ve felt in my entire adult life. Why?

Five years ago I made a radical change in the way I ate. After years of vegetarian/vegan eating, I gradually developed a variety of health issues. No matter how ‘good’ I was, I never really felt very good: Chronic fatigue, arthritis, tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, poor digestion, horrible gut aches & gas, kidney issues, headaches, weird aches & pains, slow healing of cuts, and more. I kept gaining more weight each month, in spite of an austere way of eating.  I had given up sweets in my 20s, all milk products in my 30s, and yet my immune system was a wreck, with constantly returning migraines, bronchial issues & viral infections. I also lacked motivation & focus. In my 40’s I began to suspect gluten & other grains to be a problem as well.

I’ve been gardening for a long time, and as I started looking into and incorporating what I learned about permaculture, I also began to realize that no matter what I did, I couldn’t grow enough grains & beans in my Urban Garden to support my family throughout the year. So eating those things might not be sustainable for me. I also realized that all the Vegan dogma about meat vs agriculture only applies to Industrially raised meats, and doesn’t actually take Industrially raised grains into account, and on the whole, all industrially raised foods are wasting resources and destroying our land, groundwater, the economy, and lives.

Around the time I turned 50, I read a book by Charles Eisenstein called The Yoga of Eating. It’s a very interesting read that advocates learning to trust our instincts and our desires, to recover our authentic appetites, to let go of Dogma and learn to truly nourish ourselves on all levels. It’s a short book, but very thought provoking, especially if you have a history of eating disorders & self-judgement (I do). This book was a game changer for me, not just regarding food, but regarding all kinds of choices I make on a daily basis.

Yoga of Eating

Here’s a link to the book

Eisenstein asks, “What are you saying ‘yes’ to?” 

I’m saying yes to growing as much of my own food as I can, and nourishing myself, my family, and friends on simple traditional meals. I can build health in my garden by adding certain elements (like mulch & compost) that encourage biodiversity in the soil: Bacteria, fungi, and other supportive life forms that symbiotically help the plants to flourish. I can do the same thing in my gut, the soil of my body, by making and ingesting homemade cultured foods, because health really begins with a healthy gut, and a healthy gut is a microbiological miracle of symbiosis that enables your body to absorb nutrients and thrive.

I’m saying yes to a healthy local economy, animals who are allowed to do their natural animal things, whether it be grazing, pecking, or rooting, with humane lives & as little suffering as possible. Locally sourced food supports the economy, the earth, and quality control. When you buy a side of “grass fed” beef from the guy that lives outside of town, you are supporting his family & his community. He’s just another person like you. You’re also saying “yes” to a lifestyle that supports real people, living real lives, making quality choices. No middle men.

I’m saying yes to taking responsibility for my own health, the health of my little piece of Earth that is my Garden, which I call Terri’s Airy Fairie World, and this has also led me deeper into Permaculture and it’s principles. I am my own Science Fair Experiment. Counting my body as Zone 00, and using the first principle of Permaculture (Observe & Interact), I discovered that if I remove certain foods from my body, I experience excellent health. If I re-introduce those same foods (always one at a time), like clockwork old symptoms re-appear. Remove the foods that are suspect and health returns.

This process takes time. I’ve been doing this since I was in high school, when I realized that every time I ate bacon I got a 3 – 5 day migraine. This discovery initially led to my decision to no longer eat pork, and to become a vegetarian. Many years later I realized that the pork wasn’t the problem, it was the nitrates in the processed pork that caused my headaches.

This year I observed & finally accepted that all Nightshades are out for me. When all the Paleo people started saying “Potatoes are ok now!” I quickly discovered that potatoes are not ok for me. They cause major problems for my feet and hands (you can’t blame everything on gluten & dairy). Over the course of the year I’ve tested green, red, orange, and yellow bell peppers, chilis, tomatoes. They all cause the same problems, with varying degrees. My plantar fasciitis returns with a vengeance, my achilles tendons swell up painfully, it’s like the muscles that allow me to roll up to the ball of my foot while walking are temporarily paralyzed, so I can’t walk right, & my ankles swell and stiffen. That’s not all, and that’s just my feet. It effects my hands as well, and being a musician, I can’t have that! When I don’t eat nightshades, all of these symptoms miraculously go away. Some doctor would probably say that there is no scientific evidence to verify my claims, I’m just some crackpot hypochondriac. Whatever. My body is my verification. That’s enough for me!

The amazing part? Every body, like every fingerprint, and every snowflake, is unique. Some people can eat anything & everything. Good for them. I hold no resentments. Enjoy!

I flourish on rich meaty bowls of homemade soup loaded with well cook root veggies, greens, oniony things, and some animal protein. I eat eggs, meat & veggies from mostly local sources. I like food that is mostly Savory. Occasionally I eat something mildly sweet, like a custard, rich with gelatin, eggs, and coconut milk. I know that coconuts don’t grow anywhere near St. Louis. Tea doesn’t grow here either, and I love full leaf black teas….sigh…nobody is perfect, and we don’t have to be.

Call it Paleo, Primal, Ancestral, AIP, or whatever…

I’m saying “no thank you” to guilt, dogma, processed foods, and poor health.

If you aren’t experiencing robust health, I encourage you to be your own Science Fair experiment! You’ll be amazed by the things you learn from and about your body!

I eat well. I feel fantastic, strong, energized, creative, and I’m grateful for my health.

Here’s today’s breakfast: uncured fresh bacon, sunny side up eggs, and sautéed brussels.

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January 2016 – Week One

Dear Friends & Family,

Two Years have gone by since my last post here. Excuses 1 – 17, 33 – 39, 79 – 85, and various other random reasons, mostly not enough time in each day, trying to do way too many things, and I think you catch my drift. (Note to self – create a post with a list of excuses 🙂

How long does it take to compose a blog post?

I’ll time myself and see.

I think the hardest thing about blogging is taking the time to sit down and do it. I get all these great ideas while I’m cooking, gardening, gigging, even knitting, but then I never get around to actually sitting down and typing something.

Add to that a simple fact. If I don’t use a technology or program regularly, I forget how to use it. This also applies to driving places & various other parts of my life…basically everything except music! So, knowing that I’ll probably have to remember how to navigate Word Press doesn’t help my level of motivation, but I’m setting an intention (notice that I did NOT say New Year’s Resolution) to post more regularly this year, maybe even weekly!

2015 started and ended very busily, all good, of course! So now on to 2016, because I have a feeling this is going to be the Amazing Year of Awesomeness!!

There’s something wonderful about January (other than my birthday). I love the beginning of the year. The hub bub of December generally exhausts me (this year I played 21 xmas gigs in 24 days).  In January I look forward to Winter weather, introspection, and relative quiet. Time to sleep in, restring my harps, drink lots of tea, make big pots of soup, start planning my garden, and recuperate from the busy-ness of late Fall.

As it turns out, I’ve played 2 Gigs this week, and booked 6 more! So January may not be quite as laid back as usual. I suddenly have a music stand full of things to work on, in addition to all the projects I’ve lined up for myself this year, including:

  1. Complete the Permaculture course I signed up for last spring…the clocks a ticking! https://www.openpermaculture.com
  2. Improve my skills with Logic Pro and iMovie, and get good at recording/videoing myself
  3. Plan my best garden yet!
  4. Keep up with my Bee the Wellness Group! I’m in better shape than I was a year ago, and I want to keep it that way! If you’re interested in improving your health on all levels & exploring the Paleo way of life, the Annual Free 21 Day Transformational Challenge begins on Monday, Jan 11th. Also beginning that same day are the 21 day Unveil Your Wellness Challenge & the 21 Day Meditation Challenge. I’ll be there!! https://www.vimify.com/app/discover
  5. Continue to get better at playing Jazz.

All of these things fall under the umbrella of my main intention for this year, which is to live a fully Artistic life, feeling  Creativity flowing through me all day, every day, in all of my endeavors.

Got any intentions for 2016 that you’d like to share?

I’ll close this first post of the year with a photo of my garden in winter. It’s kind of wreck! I got super busy in the fall, and barely could find time to go out there to collect produce once a week, but in spite of my neglect, it’s been an amazingly productive garden this year, with loads of sweet potatoes, and wonderful varieties of oniony things (garlic, onions, shallots, etc), root veggies galore, greens, herbs, berries, and lots of self-seeded things. We haven’t really had any actual Winter weather in St. Louis yet, so I’m still going out there Leeks, Greens, and the occasional Root!

Happy New Year!

BTW, this took 45 minutes to write, including the uploading part, which turned out  not to be as stressful as I imagined it would be. 🙂IMG_2738