I’ve been sick… (Gluten and Corn updates)

Very sick. Like, coughing, high fever, back spasm from coughing, diarrhea, unable to function, sick.

But I wanted to tell you about my experience with going gluten free. As you may remember, at the beginning of the month, I announced that I was going gluten free to see if it would help my migraines. I can safely say that after four sets of (6 days gluten free) –> (1 day gluten), there hasn’t really been a noticeable effect of gluten in my diet on my headaches.

The one time I had a headache directly after gluten consumption, there was a myriad of other triggers that could’ve contributed as well, including dehydration, waking up later, and eating half of a pizza.

Now, I CAN tell you that on a gluten free diet, and not on a “cheat” day, I performed much better in soccer. Cutting some carbs seems to stabilize my energy reserves and helps me stay focused.

As a result, I’m going to allow gluten back in my diet. Not in large amounts, although it wasn’t omnipresent before, but I’m not going to be as strict.

I am going to continue exploring primal foods and experimenting with adding/removing various pieces to my diet. So don’t worry — this isn’t a New Years Resolution going bad. I’m just… tinkering. And I will share my results as I go.

So today is January 31st. I will be traveling in the last week of February. I think that this month, I am going to focus on eliminating soda for the first three weeks. Then, I will probably use soda as a crutch to get through my week long conference.

In general, I’m going to focus on eliminating corn syrup from my diet for those three weeks. That means that tortilla chips, on occasion, are alright; and popcorn too.

This being said, there is a 20 oz. Coke in my car that I absolutely plan on drinking tomorrow. Sorry kids, I just paid for it.

Also, if I am craving soda, I *do* have a sodastream. The products of theirs that I can drink use cane sugar, not corn syrup. But no worries, their Cola recipe isn’t that great, so I can’t imagine I’ll be consuming it by the liter.

So that’s my challenge for February. No corn syrup.

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Imbolc: A Western Winds Solitary Ritual

If you’re going to use this ritual, PLEASE read through it and grab the materials you need.  Especially the magic working part. I don’t want you to be mid-circle and get disappointed because you forgot something.

Circle Preparation

Prepare ritual space by setting up altars, placing lighters, etc. When ritual space is ready and all materials are where they need to be, exit the room to cleanse yourself.  Take a bath or shower, ground, and center yourself.  When you are ready, return to the ritual space and begin.

Take up your water-bowl and hold it to the sky.  “O body of water, I, ____, cast all impurities out from you and bless you in the name of the Lord and Lady.”

Set the water-bowl down, and pick up your salt-bowl, raising it to the sky.  “O body of earth, I, ____, cast all impurities out from you and bless you in the name of the Lord and Lady.”

Take a pinch of salt with your athame and add it to the water bowl, stirring three times deosil if the moon is waxing, and widdershins if the moon is waning.

Traverse the circle in the appropriate direction with the salted-water, sprinkling around and within the circle to cleanse the area. At the end, sprinkle some of the water on yourself, too.

Take up and light the incense.  “O, body of air and fire, I, ___, cast all impurities out from you and bless you in the name of the Lord and Lady.”

Traverse the circle in the appropriate direction with the incense, wafting the smoke around and within the circle to cleanse the area.  When you have returned to center, waft some of the smoke over yourself, too.

Place the incense down and pick up your athame.

Circle Casting

Return to the eastern gate, and traverse the circle clockwise, drawing the circle with your athame.  “I, ____, cast this circle to be a boundary between the realms of god and the worlds of men, a container and witness to the magic we create inside, blessed and protected.”

When you have returned to the east, draw the pentagram from the eastern point (start at middle right point, go clockwise), saying, “Hail, guardians of the watchtowers of the East, powers of air, I, ____, call you to witness and guard my rites.”  Light the candle.

Turn to the south, drawing the southern point pentagram (start at lower right point, go clockwise), saying, “Hail, guardians of the watchtowers of the South, powers of fire, I, _____, call you to witness and guard my rites.”  Light the candle.

Turn to the west, drawing the western point pentagram (start at lower left point, go clockwise), saying, “Hail, guardians of the watchtowers of the West, powers of water, I, _____, call you to witness and guard my rites.”  Light the candle.

Turn to the north, drawing the northern point pentagram (start at center left point, go clockwise), saying, “Hail, guardians of the watchtowers of the North, powers of earth, I, _____, call you to witness and guard my rites.”  Light the candle.

Return to your altar, facing north.  Draw the invoking spirit pentagram (start at top point, go clockwise), saying, “Hail, above and below, powers of Lord, Lady and ancestors.  I call you to witness and guard my rites.  Be with me now.”  Light your center (spirit) candle.  “The circle is cast.”

Set your athame down.

God Invocations and Statement of Purpose

Cross your arms over your breasts.  “Hail, Lord Hunter! You who are known as Dagda, and Pan, and Hermes, and Cernunnos — be with me now to witness my rite and lend your strength, love, and power. Blessed be!”  If you have a god candle, light it now.

Raise your arms into the air.  “Hail, Great Lady!  You who are known as Brigid, and Cerridwen, and Athena, and Artemis — be with me now to witness my rite and lend your creativity, inspiration and healing.  Blessed be!”  If you have a goddess candle, light it now.

“This circle has been cast to celebrate Imbolc, the time of great coldness, when the sun is beginning to show its face a bit more each day.  These are the tough times, before the planting of the fields, and the beauty of spring.  Yet, even in this perpetual darkness, there is transformation.  Even now, in the cold, dark winter, there are young bucks beginning to grow their antlers, birds beginning to make their journeys home, sheep bearing their children.  A young god plays and learns and begins to truly shine in all of his glory.  Brigid, her smith burning bright, crafts through the night, answering prayers, and wishes, and creating beauty in this world.  I come tonight to celebrate Imbolc and begin my own transformation and spiritual journey.”

Meditate for a while on what in your life needs to be repaired, healed, and transformed.  What can the powers of creativity and inspiration that Brigid offers bring to your life?  What actions and sacrifices are you willing to make in order to induce change in your life?  When you are ready, continue.

Magic Working

“Hail, Brigid!  Please bless me with your healing powers.  I am currently struggling with _____, and need your advice and healing.”

Write what you have spoken on a small piece of paper and burn it in a fire-safe container, using your center(spirit) candle as the ignition point (if it is safe, obviously).  In this way, you have passed your intention to the universe.  Think of one word to represent what you have asked for, and save that for later.

“Hail, Brigid!  Please bless me with your inspiration.  I am currently struggling with ____, and need your museful touch.”

Write what you have spoken on a small piece of paper and burn it in the same fashion.  Think of one word to represent what you have asked for, and save it for later.

“Hail, Brigid!  Please bless me with your powers of perseverance.  I am currently struggling with ____, and need your motivation and courage.”

Write what you have spoken on a small piece of paper and burn it in the same fashion.  Think of a word to represent what you have asked for.


Headaches sigil example

 

On a final piece of paper, draw three large squares and divide them each into nine boxes.  Assign a number to each box, either randomly or in order.  Write your one word for each blessing that you have asked for over each box.

Inside each box, write the letters associated with each number below:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
A B C D E F G H I
J K L M N O P Q R
S T U V W X Y Z _

 

Now, in a different color, draw a circle in the number box that represents your starting letter.  Draw a line to the point of your next letter, and continue this way until you reach the end.  Finish your sigil by drawing a perpendicular line to the point you ended at.  If you have a double letter, loop through the box to represent hitting that letter twice.   See the example above to get an idea of how to do it.  You may need to draw your symbols a few times before finding a design that you like.  

Do this for each of your words until you’re comfortable drawing the symbols.  Then, arrange them so that your healing sigil is at the top, and your inspiration sigil is to the bottom right, and your perseverance sigil is to the bottom left, forming a sigil triangle.  Draw the triangle around it, and then draw a circle around that.

This is your Brigid magic.  If you have the means, through glass etching, wood burning, or leather working, or even carving or painting on a stone, you should transcribe this symbol onto an amulet or other semi-permanent medium as a reminder to achieve the goals you are working towards.

Cakes and Wine

(I always do cakes and wine inside circle, but some people do it after).  Return to your altar and raise your offering plate of cakes.  “The first and best to you, Lord and Lady.  May you never hunger.”  Place an offering onto a different plate, then take a cake for yourself and take a small bite, repeating, “May you never hunger.”

Raise your chalice.  “The first and best to you, Lord and Lady.  May you never thirst.”  Pour your libation into a waiting bowl, then sip from the chalice and repeat, “May you never thirst.”

Circle Closing

After you are done meditating and doing any other prayer work or crafts you desire, you can close the circle.

“Thank you, Lady, for joining me on this day.  Go if you must, but stay if you will.”  Extinguish the goddess candle.

“Thank you, Lord, for joining me on this day.  Go if you must, but stay if you will.”  Extinguish the god candle.

Draw the spirit banishing pentagram with your athame (start at top point, go counter clockwise).  “Thank you ancestors, lord, lady, and spirits, for joining me on this day.  Go if you must, but stay if you will.”  Extinguish the center candle.

Move to the east.

Draw the eastern banishing pentagram (start at center right point, go counter clockwise).  “Guardians of the watchtowers of the east, thank you for guarding my rites and lending your power. Hail, and farewell!”

Move to the south.

Draw the southern banishing pentagram (start at lower right point, go counter clockwise).  “Guardians of the watchtowers of the south, thank you for guarding my rites and lending your power. Hail, and farewell!”

Move to the west.

Draw the western banishing pentagram (start at lower left point, go counter clockwise).  “Guardians of the watchtowers of the west, thank you for guarding my rites and lending your power. Hail, and farewell!”

Move to the north.

Draw the northern banishing pentagram (start at center left point, go counter clockwise).  “Guardians of the watchtowers of the north, thank you for guarding my rites and lending your power. Hail, and farewell!”

Return to the east, and slice the circle with your athame.  “The circle is open but never broken, merry meet, merry part, and merry meet again.”

 

Imbolc is coming, Imbolc is coming!

This post will probably have nothing to do with Imbolc… that’s just what popped into my head when I was staring at the blank page.  I logged in fearful that I hadn’t written in a week; but it turns out I wrote just a few days ago.  So yay me!

The day after my last blog post, I started adding some carbs into my diet to try and stimulate my appetite.  It worked, mostly. Couldn’t tell you what, exactly, I put in — I think some sugar based chocolate products.  But, I ate a few more carbs and life was good again.

This morning… well, afternoon, I sat down for breakfast (or at least, the breaking of my fast), to a nice meal of roasted chicken and canned green beans.  Yum!  I don’t know what made me think of the green beans, but they were delicious.

I can’t say my migraines have been… nice to me, this week.  I had a migraine, the beginnings, or the endings of one on each day of the week except Friday.  I think that Tues/Weds migraines were due to a stir fry I had from our student union.  I don’t know what was in the sauce, but I think it was the sauce.

Anyway, this blog post has been “open” for about two hours.  I went to a concert last night, then we stayed up watching TV when we got home, and got up around noon.  It was a great evening.  We went out to eat beforehand, and I managed to stay gluten free.  And not get a migraine.  Which, well, both are miracles.

Also, I got invited to celebrate Imbolc with the coven I’ve been interacting with.  I’m really, really excited about it!  Like, can’t wait.  Our celebration is next Saturday.

As a sort of “what I’ve been doing in my free time” summary, here it is:

I’ve been working hard at work — planting plants, writing grants.  I’ve been intermittently proofreading my November novel, with hopes to finish editing and get it out there by June.  I’ve also been working on a non-fiction book, tentatively called “Weight Loss And Goal Setting In Wicca.”  I’ll probably drop the “goal setting” and advertise it as a weight loss book, but honestly, it’s about goal setting.  I’ve also kept up with my “song a week” goal for the song writing competition that I’m in.  Next week’s “prompt” is “lovestruck.”

I’ll try to get a few recipes and maybe a sample chapter or idea, or reflections on the upcoming holiday, out to you this week. First, we need to go grocery shopping.  And I need to finish waking up.

Lots of love!

Lynn

Not Hungry? Oh, And Cats. And Changing Negativity.

I’ve been struggling to eat the last few days… I guess since Saturday, when I had the pizza.  I’m like… scared of wheat now, although I know I’ll have to try it again.

I had a migraine today; I’m not sure what it was from.  I wrote down everything I ate the hour before, though, and I’ll monitor if ingredients keep showing up before migraines.  I ended up going home because I had to take some Imitrex and it makes me feel funny.

So yesterday, I had some salad.  I’m sure I had something else but I am completely blanking.  I remember the salad, though.  It was delicious.

Yeah, I don’t even know.  I have some sort of post-migraine brain fog going on right now.  Anyway, let’s talk about something else. I’m sure you’re bored of my diet updates.  Maybe I’m just getting the flu or something.  I hope not!

Let’s talk about…. kitties.  There’s one sitting on my right arm right now, purring into my chest.  He’s making typing a tad difficult.

I actually had a rather entertaining experience one morning over the last few days.  I have two kitties.  One is a smaller, older, and meaner orange tabby.  The other is a gigantic, sweet natured tortie girl.  You’d think that the bigger kitty was the terrorist, but of course, she’s not.  It’s the little one.  He’s also my baby.  He’s also thle one on my chest.

Anyway, so the little cat was chasing the big cat, and I was yelling at him to stop, and he, of course, was blatantly ignoring me.  As cats tend to do.  Know what I did?  Laser pointer.

Yup.  Even the most fearsome tabby falls victim to a dancing red light.

My point is that distraction can be a great technique to misdirect negative energy to a new, more constructive place.  Whether it’s your own negativity, the negativity of your child or spouse, or the negativity of the universe, misdirection may help you solve the problem.

If its your own negativity, try distracting yourself with something physical.  Take action.  If its your child or your spouse, try doing something together, or, if together is the problem… have a little alone time.  And if its the universe, take some deep breaths and offer up some prayers.  Remember, the universe might throw a lot at you… but it wouldn’t do it if you couldn’t handle it.  You’ll move through this.  You’ll move on.  You’ll find happiness soon again.

Some Evening Thoughts, Buffalo Chickenless Wing Dip

So, it’s been a few days since I last posted, and unfortunately, it’s the same excuse as always: work.  However, I am incredibly glad that I have useful work to do.  And you know, I have a job.  Anyway, that on top of struggling with a lot of things – fatigue, migraines, and the like – meant that I was sort of quiet this week.  So let’s give you an update, shall we?

Monday through Wednesday, I struggled with migraine, intense fatigue, and an incredible lack of motivation.  Thursday, I bit the bullet and went into work early and spent all day with my hands in the dirt.  I was exhausted when I got home, but I felt better.  I was also productive on Friday.  Today, also, but in a different way.

Diet / lifestyle wise, I was gluten free all week.  I had some pizza this afternoon, with gluten, and got a headache almost immediately.  I don’t know if it was the gluten, because I was dehydrated and sort of achey this morning, but the pizza definitely pushed me over the edge.

Being primal is challenging.  And it’s not because the food sucks, it’s just that it’s a different style of eating, and it can be a lot for your system to handle, to ingest all of the protein.  Your body craves easy energy, and fat and protein aren’t as easy as refined carbs and starch.

I find myself turning a lot to milk and peanut butter.  So I think my problem is that I’m not getting quite enough fat in my meals to be full.  I think that my body will adjust, though, and we’ll work through it just fine.

So, to update you, my modified plan is to focus on gluten free living for January, and consider going farther down the rabbit hole, and into strict primal, later on.

My general rule is that after at least two days of gluten free, I can have some if I want.  So, like a three day week.  That seems to be the cycle that my body is on.  Though, as I said, I went gluten free all week and only broke for some pizza today. The only reason I really struggled on Thurs and Fri was because I didn’t cook last weekend, and so, I ran out of food.

Oh, by the way, I really need to start taking pictures of the food I make!  I should’ve today, but I was running late.

I was headed out to a potluck, and they requested vegetarian dishes.  So I decided to make buffalo wing dip… without the chicken.  I modified the recipe and it turned out excellent.  Here’s what I did:

Buffalo Chickenless Wing Dip

Can be easily halved.

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz (2 pckg) cream cheese, softened (microwave, 1 minute)
  • 3/4 cup Frank’s Red Hot Wing Sauce
  • 1 cup Blue Cheese (I used Ken’s, but I like Marie’s, too)
  • 1/2 cup Blue Cheese crumbles (optional, I had some on hand)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup minced celery
  • 1/4-1/2 onion, chopped into 1 cm^2 pieces or so
  • Coconut oil or cooking oil of your choice
  • 1/2 teaspoon (~1 clove) minced garlic
  • 1/2-1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded (optional)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Heat oil in a skillet on medium heat.  Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, microwave your cream cheese about one minute to soften.  Add both Blue Cheeses and the hot sauce.  Mix, on low, until combined and mostly smooth.  Add chopped celery.  Now, add garlic and onion to skillet and fry until edges are beginning to brown.  Remove from heat, drain excess oil, and add the garlic/onion mix to the sauce.  Beat, on low, again, until combined.  Pour into a glass bowl or casserole dish and place in oven for 15 minutes.

While it is heating, grate your cheese.  Don’t grate your thumb, like I did.  That hurts.  A lot.  After the 15 minutes, take it out, and scatter the cheese on top.  Put back in oven for another 8-10 minutes.  Remove — careful! It’ll be hot.  Serve with delicious corn chips or even more delicious sweet potato chips.

How I make primal work for me

So, today is the seventh of January (this will post on the eighth).  I wanted to give you an update on how I’ve been doing primal wise.

I decided to start trying paleo on the second (that Wednesday).  I made it Weds and Thurs without a problem.  Friday, I made some poor choices, but they’re defensible.

My problem was that my Hungarian neighbor made a special batch of these little treats she calls snowballs, just for me!  These treats are obviously bad diet choices, but come New Year’s day, I still had about twenty of them.  Now, I hate wasting food more than anything else in the world, and I knew they were going bad soon, and so, I decided to delay my gluten free and primal choices until those were done.  There were three left, this morning, and I threw them out.  I also disposed of the tail end of our Christmas cookies.  And with that, the holidays are over.

Truth be told, I’m actually still snacking on the food that I prepared last Sunday for paleo.  I made six jars of salad (I’ve had three) and cut up about three pounds of ham.  I ate all of my tuna salad (I’ll feature it someday, but: tuna, apples, celery, and mayo.  Yum!) and made some more.  I’ve had eggs or just skipped breakfast on some days.  I’ve eaten through two packages of bacon (with the boyfriend).  2 roasted chickens (one I made myself, one, I bought for $6 at the store).  I finished a jar of peanut butter so that I could buy some that just had “peanuts” and “salt” as the ingredients.  I’ve gone through two batches of celery.  I made stir fry with peppers, broccoli, and chicken.

As you can tell, this lifestyle certainly makes you use your food.

Upcoming for this week, I’ve got the rest of the ham, and I have some ground beef and pork in the fridge.  I’ll be making bunless burgers probably tonight, fried pork chops tomorrow.  I’ll finish up the week with another chicken, either bought or home-roasted.  And I’ll have to buy some more salad stuff over the weekend for next week.

I’ve found that you need the veggies, because if you’re just snacking on meat… it kinda sucks.  The meat gets old after four or five bites; and since the primal lifestyle removes grains, you take a break on veggies.  For example, right now, I’ve got a ham steak I’m munching on, and breaking it up with bites of salad.

Keep me accountable, guys!  If I don’t post about the primal lifestyle for a while, please leave a comment and demand to know why I quit!  I want to live this way because I want to eliminate my migraines; I want to live healthier.  I want to perform better in soccer.

And you know what?  I have close to zero cravings for wheat.  Every time I ate a food with wheat over the weekend, I found it wasn’t as satisfying as I wanted it to be.  The Christmas cookies weren’t really cutting it for me.  Nor were the “pizza logs,” a specialty from New York (mozzarella, pepperoni, wrapped in an egg roll wrapper and deep fried).  Or the mac and cheese bites, another specialty (mac and cheese, breaded and fried).

Ghostly Dreams

Hey guys —

I’ve been having these weird dreams lately, and I wanted to share and see if you could maybe provide some insight.

The first one happened a few days ago.  These dreams always happen in the morning, not at night.  My boyfriend leaves for work early (usually by 6, he wakes up at 5).  So I get woken up at 5 and slowly drift off to sleep, or sleep after he leaves.  I’m a light sleeper, so it’s a miracle if I actually go to sleep before he leaves again.

In this first dream, I heard a noise, and I got up, and the boyfriend was home.  But it was only like, 7 or 8 am, and so I was confused.  And he called me lazy for not getting out of bed yet, then he went to take a shower and I went back to sleep.  Of course, he didn’t actually come home until the afternoon.

This morning, I had a similar experience.  In this one, he came into the bedroom, and I decided that he wasn’t supposed to be home yet, and I told him this, and he said “I know.”  And somehow, it became known to me that he wasn’t real, but more of an… entity.  An aspect of him, which had been left at home.

Dream progresses, and suddenly, his aspect has decided that it’s not just him that is wandering around, lost, but there are others.  It’s like everyone has been split in half.  The part of him that really wanted to stay home and play video games — that was him — it got to!  For some reason, I decided that I had a 10 y.o. self that had split off from me, but it had run off, and we had to go find her.  Suddenly, there’s a whole group of people and/or aspects that have joined us and we’re looking for my 10 y.o. self and its raining and sleeting, so we break into an S.U.V. in a parking lot to steal an umbrella.  No, not kidding.

So we find my 10 y.o. self, and my dog is there?  Or she turns into my dog?  I’m not sure.  But then there’s this weird hippie moment where everyone’s crying out of happiness because they got united with their other halves.  And then I wake up.

Oh, and there’s this moment somewhere in there where I look at my boyfriend’s aspect and ask him if he knows what I’m thinking about doing, and he says yes, I always know what you’re doing.  But that was way before the group adventure.

My weird dreams always happen re-sleeping.  I had a super busy weekend and some crazy adventures that maybe I’ll share later (after hours at a coffee house, and partying with a geography professor).  I also use my weird dreams as jumping points for stories and novels, so I’m grateful that they occur.

 

Any thoughts?  Happy Monday!