The Way: Be Free

This is a blog I am writing to document my learning on the ways of fighting free radical damage specifically in the area of the mind. Having no formal medical training I am simply using information available to us all. In so doing I hope to further the advancement in the ways of prevention for free radical diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease (AD).

A bit of my story. Memory science has always peaked my interest. Back in the eighties when very little was known about Alzheimer’s type dementia it was fascinating to me what Joan Minnenger had to say about the disease in her 1984 book Total Recall (one of the most popular books on memory of the time). She identified a loss of the substance choline from the brain in AD patients, many years before it was known for certain that the real effect of AD is to erode the very acetylcholine that is essential for neuron functioning.

In 2002 my father died with an acute form of AD, brought on by trauma to his brain.  The last time I saw him was 2001 at his care facility in San Bernadino, a long trip from my home in Northern Sonoma County. At this time my interest again was active in studying AD. Particularly because this acute form my dad suffered from is yet another realm of unknown within the AD spectrum. Still today there isn’t a clear understanding of how trauma affects the brain differently than non-trauma AD cases.

Now my mother is suffering from the Late Onset form of AD (LOAD) and I am her caretaker. My interest is reinvigorated to the max – so much so I need a place to write down what I’m learning – that’s where this blog comes in. With the hope that others may appreciate my task.

My mission is akin to many others certainly- although I do believe my task is limited by a force greater than Nature. Many people who encounter AD do so when their intellect has failed to the extent of eliminating their rational for understanding it. Perhaps this is by subconscious choice in some cases. My mom is a farm girl born and bred with a stubbornness that belongs in Ireland; though she’s not Irish she’s the most strong willed person I know.

What this means for her, taking pills, is so unreliable a way to medicate that it has to be basically ruled out. There’s no way to convince her that a daily regiment is necessary, nor will she take them on anybodies (including doctors) say so. She takes what she wants to take of normal good vitamins and supplements, I might get in one or two of what she really needs beyond that, but no more. Those are the parameters I have to work within. The ironic thing is that my mother has always had the ability to eat: anything. Raising five kids will do that to you apparently. So you will see on this blog how I have crafted food as her medication. It isn’t the most complete – but it is The Way – that makes it the best and it is effective.

I am a believer in Natural plant based medications only for this disease, all the best remedies for AD come from Nature. More than just a metaphor, on this blog you will find that flower power has a keen healing role against AD.

The pharmaceutical industry is so corrupt it cannot help many really. But in this case specifically you will see example of example of cases where drugs are being debunked (after billions in sales). Generic forms coming out at ten times the original strength to a massive protest from many consumer groups (because the side-effects from even the original dosage have not been completely identified). So if you feel like me that BigPharma can go take a flying leap and you want a totally alternative way to care for a person with AD, read on.

Most of you reading this know my mother Linda, you may know that her story has been fraught with loss, loss she’d just assume forget. There’s plenty of reasons in that loss, along with the technical reasons, for AD. She is not reading this beyond what I might show her of it.

I truly encourage people to add comments, if you do leave me a comment with a message to give to her I will, or if you want to make contact with her I will email you and try to arrange that as she doesn’t drive. I am a big believer in the concept in Zen Buddhism known as The Way, every post I put up here has some spiritual significances. You will get many opinions, many heartfelt pleas and a lot of Natural Medicine.

Please note as of March 2013 Linda’s phone has been disconnected. The number is now mine which is listed, otherwise just leave a comment below and I will email it to you. The best and only time to call is in the evenings, even then I can’t guarantee the phone will be answered, but if you let me know ahead of time I will try to make it happen.

The Way: Meat Better Than Carbs

Long day cooking and cleaning yesterday – gave me a chance to think about the food dishes going forward – also listened to a show on KPFA. This ND doctor Fife has some interesting ideas and a big, 500+ page book too. Figured out for bigger health related books it’s very helpful to be able to read them on the computer, fortunately Kindle is compatible with retina display Macs now and you can read them with the app. This meant staying up late – to gain freedom from the satellite usage limits – downloaded the app and bought the book.

So this doctor is right up my alley in that he recommends lessening the carbs, increasing the coconut oil, veggies and meats. Linda often exclaims with the want for meat, in the kind of irrational manner which suggests she needs it more than wants it. We have increased the overall meat in the diet, though I still shy away from red meats for the most part, as they come with their own problems. The real enlightenment is on the carbs though.

A real miracle that’s happened of late is Oat Bread, creation borne from the oats themselves detailed a post back. This flat pan bread is actually less carbs than the oats plain, with the addition of plantains and carrot pulp (from juice), sometimes zucchini squash as well. A little bit more grains ground, oats and corn meal. These breads make up breakfast for about 5 days after the oats themselves for about that many days. What’s happened with this is a strict lessening in Linda’s want for carbs in general, and it ushers in an opportunity to get more veggies into her diet. In other words she’s eating a lesser amount of the oats or bread in the morning for breakfast, and then able to switch throughout the day to other more vegetable based dishes. The oats have a certain vegetable component as well with beets, carrots and often beet greens too, so she’s already had some.

Linda’s intake of fresh lettuce type salads is really too small to be impactful, even when it’s smoked salmon and salad there’s still a small limit to what she’ll eat of the salad. She will call for more salmon and it’s clear that she only feels the critical need for that fish. However, with stir fry there’s a way, cooking the veggies in general she will eat. Dr. Fife recommends doing what I often do, add bacon, but he doesn’t even know about Willie Bird turkey bacon, far healthier and better than any pork! Kale stir fried with squash and chard, perfectly complimented with the bacon.

Lentils are really the miracle here because they are low carb foods as compared to traditional beans in particular (amazing how quickly google will find that 2/3 less). I do use a lot of veggies in the lentils so that makes them even more valuable and lessened in carbs.

So all in all it’s been my notion to lessen the amount of carbs, in as much as breads, starchy foods, but this will mark an even bigger change. There’s an element of just giving Linda what she wants with meats that’s so easily applicable it’s clearly right. Similarly she really doesn’t like pasta, not even the brown rice and quinoa kind, so that will get cut out completely. I’ll find an alternative like chicken to put the tomato sauce on, because it is excellent for health.

The challenge of getting enough vegetables is something we all face. Fife repeats the call for far more than the 5 half cups RDA, 10 should be a standard and more a goal. He puts down fruit juices for the sugar content, without enough fiber to justify. While we still have some pure unfiltered apple juice, I’m pushing now for more carrot mixed juices, carrot and beet greens for instance.

It’s a good thing I’m a night owl because, like most all creative endeavors, the inspiration is often buried deep in the midnight hour.

The Way: Oats!

OK so we begin with the first meal of the day most days here, the frittata fills the gaps, between oats, and banana/oat bread that ultimately comes from the oats. Here I am going to show how the base of spices originate in the pot, with pictures. Let me first tell you some of all the spices that go into this dish.

Fresh ground: orange peel, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, coriander. Ashwagandah, milk thistle, turmeric, chocolate, maca, all preground. Fennel seeds. Here’s what it looks like mixed together with the cup of steel cut oats.



Ok so now we move on to roasting this mixture in coconut oil before the actual cooking begins, here the mix has roasted until it just begins to smoke. You can see the saffron soaking in liquid beside,  and the mixture does taste quite good at this point.



Now we add the liquid with the saffron, and just because it’s best to soak the saffron in liquid first is why this liquid. You can see how thoroughly the mixture combines, and I can tell you this is a much better mix than were I to add the total 7 cups of water straight to the roasted oil mix. It’s a subtle differenc, but it’s a revolution of taste, and I have to believe of healing power as well, because of all it highlights in the spice taste.



Lastly we have to add that total of now 6 cups water, minus the one that went in with the saffron, on the spatula you can see the remnants of the mixture with the liquid, plus a good measure of chopped beats that give great sweetness, added. These oats are quite something, mainly due to an abundance of orange peel, see the link for the awesome properties recently discovered in citrus peels. Also the chocolate, cinnamon (fresh ground is key) and coconut oil make these oats stupendous!


The Way: Evolution of Superfood Revolution in the Kitchen

I created this blog with the intention of documenting my progress in gaining natural remedies for dementia based on common, or uncommon, available food and spices. Now we have come full circle to a point where – in the simple act of making a frittata – the revolutionary methodology struck me emphatically. Not to mention the frittata was the best one I’ve ever made.

There’s no progress greater than the addition of coconut oil. I have posted about this in the past but simply put, it’s a godsend. There’s no doubt in my mind the supplementing it gives as fuel for the brain is on the whole round better. My comment on this post, of an artist’s self-portraits through the course of having AD, reflects the kind of progress I can attest to. Several years ago it’s quite probable Linda could not have done many of the things she does now on a daily basis. Additionally her overall eating habits are significantly better.

So as for the revolution in the kitchen. For some time now I’ve been using the Indian method of roasting spices in oil, coconut of course, producing a wonderful base for most all my dishes. With the frittata this is my basic starting point, coconut oil, spices, often corn meal for a crust. This all blends together in the pan and roasts well, when it’s roasted then I spread it flat and build on that. This time however, before the oil mix was done roasting I threw in a juicy tomato, diced. The mix in the pan now had some liquid added, thus it was sautéing, and right there was the epiphany. Getting the spice mixture to combine with the liquid of the dish is essential. Oil and water won’t mix so you need to catalyze the process, the tomato filled the role excellently in this case. However, it wasn’t the tomato that shined the light, it was the liquid, for the liquid can be anything really. Saffron soaked in warm water will often be that liquid, and just the notion of sautéing the spices into the dish is true progress in my process of cooking.

Now lentils return to the large cast iron frying pan – just as I learned to make them in high school – where the slow integration of liquid creates a sautéd mixture out of the whole dish, and it becomes a truly different dish than one made in a large pot as I have been doing. This way there’s also far more control over the distribution of spices throughout so they don’t all end up at the bottom of the pot. This works well also because half the lentils are divided now. All have the base ingredients but Linda’s portion doesn’t get as many hot chilies as mine. This is another resolve for her, she’ll have a greater volume of mild chilies, instead of the hot ones, in her dishes.

This may not sound like a big deal, but it is, it’s one thing to have and use spices, it’s another to fully ingrain them into your dishes. Simply roasting them in oil is a start but it’s a somewhat commercialized idea. What started in the frying pan in India, undoubtedly had other veggies, garlic, fresh turmeric, in it, enough to provide some liquid. Now, at restaurants it’s undoubtedly big vats of oil and spices that get added in mass quantities to the various Dal and other lentil dishes in Indian restaurants. Don’t get me wrong, many are delicious and wonderfully spicy hot, (Lotus is one I can highly recommend).

I’ve been feeling of late that one of my greatest contributions to this world will be in the food, and I’m reasonably certain now this is what it is in The Way. So in the coming posts I will show this method in pictures as well as words. That will start with a pot of steel cut oats and millet, right now.



The Way: Breakthrough

I have persevered the constant dilemma of no pills – worthy enough to force feed my mother with – by finding perhaps one that is. The supplement of Huperzine A, 200mg. As soon as there is tangible results of such, I will update this post.

Poetry In Soundspace Motion

Poetry In Soundspace Motion

An Event coming soon! June 28, 2014

The Way: Good Visceral Action

An action so extraordinary happened just now — one that hasn’t for such a long time — it bears mentioning. Linda let me massage her. Now those of you familiar with our story know that Linda has well known issues when it comes to accepting help in any form, this form included.

A little background first. When I was younger a neighbor of ours went through formal training for Shiatsu Point Massage, traditional Eastern acupressure basically. That neighbor’s daughter was one of my best friends and we were each others guinea pigs until we both had a good grasp on the technique. Her and I kept that up through our High School years together and we got quite good at it. To the both of them I am greatly indebted for this knowledge. I have very large hands and strong fingers making me ideal for massage. I can hit the 3 major pressure points in most people’s shoulders with one hand, there are those reading this who can attest to the value of that.

Of late Linda has taken an interest in massage, but of course she wants to give it, rather than accept it given to her. Let me just say that I don’t let her massage me with a frequently bad back; even when she was healthy this was a bad idea. People who worked for her at Stillwater got very good at avoiding mentioning any back problems to her because she would insist on diving in with both thumbs, directly on the knots in the back– not the object of Shiatsu. That method instead works on the opposite points of pressure to relieve tension — every pressure point has an equal and opposite on the other side of the body — likewise different points hold stress between them from one side to the other. The key to accessing one side is to work the other side until you can unlock the side with tension.

Now, the accomplishment in Linda letting me massage her is great. For one thing, after I did become proficient at the practice, she would always accept my helping hands if I were to offer them, when she had more rational about it. She would even seek me out for this purpose and I was often able to help her, likewise I’m still familiar with her back tension. So in letting me do some she will likely let me do more, based on muscle-memory, and there’s a lot that can be done that way. In stark contrast to the discipline I’ve had to lay down with my hands as well, this is great progress. It makes her more inclined to accept all that I give her with my hands — like veggies — that keep her well.

I’m passing this along here because this should be encouraged, it’s progress for us both. I can get better and giving her the help that she needs, and she can get better at accepting it. Clearing both our egos out of the way is in that process and it’s deep, there’s no room for ego in the true art of massage. There was a time when Linda would go to the one masseuse in the community for a Breema massage, which is the art of stretching the body. Now however, she’s less willing to go out to do that. Even though she has a free Breema massage coming I’m not sure she’s going to be able to accept it. Perhaps, if I juxtapose my methodology which does involve a bit more uncomfortable feeling, she might. All in all it’s worth noting that this is progress for Linda, and I’m glad to see it. Even a few minutes worth is worthy.

Addendum: from Linda herself who came to my house to tell me she “wasn’t trying to be negative” about my massaging her to which I responded “not at all.” Clearing the way for more massage which makes me declare: Victory!

The Way: Hot Button Topic!

So I have now an issue that is paramount for the attention of those close enough to contact Linda. Her bed. Those who know of what is in her bed — no one knows all that’s there — know that it’s a hoard. Just last night she asked me to help her because “she can’t sleep in the bed.” I know this is literally true — similarly she means that her delusions drive her to feel insecure in the bedroom — and to hoard the stuff . She takes anything and everything she feels are weapons, fortunately we’ve been through this with knives, scissors, all sharp objects. Thankfully I can report that nothing of that nature was found in the bed this time. There were however, staple guns, pliers, sticks, keys, eye glasses, many things that do not belong.

For all conscious desire she wants to keep the stuff in her bed, but functionally she knows she can’t sleep in it that way.  She will constantly claim her bed is “horrible” because she’ll only squeeze herself in on the side and not use the middle of the double. Moreover she’s got a 4″ latex foam topper that does make the bed good enough. Basically this is a water bed turned into a traditional style, but there’s no box spring to support a mattress, only a plywood bottom. On top of the plywood there is a very thick futon mattress, and on top of the that the latex. It should be noted that she had a basically new traditional mattress on top of the plywood and hated it to such an extent I had to take it out. This is understandable because she’s very bony and never liked regular mattresses even with a box spring to begin with. But the futon is designed to be solid underneath (slats anyway) and with the latex there’s plenty of give, it’s quite soft.

So when she asked me to help her it was enough to justify me clearing the bed, knowing that she could not return all the stuff in one night. Similarly I’ve warned her not to keep hoarding in the bed or else the topper is coming off. This is really just an attempt to persuade her; but since I bought the topper (something she refuses to acknowledge but does know) it’s a point of leverage I can use. Removing the topper would mean clearing the bed yet again, and it’s not beyond a possibility that I could do this. It would be the final ultimatum; undoubtedly she’d again hate it so much I could leverage her to keep it clean in order to get the topper back on. This is not something I want to have to do.

Now — this is where you all come in — she is still in bed from last night right now at 2:00 in the afternoon. She will do this when she’s less than pleased with me, I anticipated this in clearing the bed, but now she has the desire to actually have a place to sleep. So she does have a place to sleep, with the wont, and my hope is that she can be convinced that sleeping in the bed is better than hoarding.

I shouldn’t have to explain to anyone how serious her delusions are in terms of driving her to do the hoarding, but similarly a line has to be drawn. She is blaming me for a lot of the hoarding now (That means you’re off the hook for now Alex) so I will be unable to persuade her to keep the stuff off the bed. It will take the help of her family and her community. In order for me to keep her sleeping though, she needs to keep the bed at least free of the stuff. It will be disappointing if I have to face this issue with her again, with the same hoarding. I am asking for your help, for that you will have my thanks. As I said — all the blame is on me now — so no one else will have to bear the brunt. Anyone who can help her is encouraged to do so. Again, thank you.

The Way: Rageaholics

See the update in the previous post for good news.

It’s proper that this term is not considered a word in the dictionary — something like “germophobe” is not a real disease — rage is something that a person can get under control. Similarly, certain people are good at provoking rage in another Human Being. Linda has had the uncanny ability to provoke the kind of intense rage that stigmatizes a marriage, in two different men that I know of and likely a third. She’s definitely been addicted to that flaw in men.

For myself I’ve never truly been capable of staying in a state of rage, which is where I would define a Rageaholic beginning. Nothing significant enough to destroy the checks on the adrenalin in my brain that it takes to induce such a state have I experienced. This is only relevant in how I deal with Linda’s need to experience such rage on an infrequent basis, something like a drug she craves it. She’ll even go so far as to substitute me for her husband if she thinks she can provoke that rage from me.

So to highlight this I will use the example of the car, which is her car, though she has no license. It’s the only car currently running and thus the only vehicle that I can use to get goods, it’s imperative, and it’s become untenable to take her to do the majority of the shopping. The issue of not being able to drive — something she’s done since she was 12 years old — is a major stigma for Linda and I don’t make this an issue on purpose at all. However sometimes it happens that I have somewhere to go in the car, always combined with getting goods, and often this is something Linda cannot handle.

What this comes down to is prolonged battering of me by Linda. None of it truly bothers me but it gets to a point of being impossible to continue on normally without getting angry. So without actually engendering the anger I’ve been able to “act outraged.” I feel no different than when we’re sitting together watching baseball as we are right now. Similarly I’m not hiding it consciously that there’s no real anger behind my sentiment, but since Linda doesn’t process consciously, there’s no rationalizing the fact that I don’t mean what I’m saying. She gets it that it’s not genuine on enough levels to make it non-harmful, but she still craves the loud yelling that associates with a state of rage.

My belief is that giving her this facsimile, like giving a Nicotine patch to a smoker, she gets the idea but not the full weighted sentiment which is like a bomb — I know. It’s likely, in doing this, I can keep her craving it less and less; she ultimately recognizes the untruth in the exchange and she won’t abide by it. To be clear it’s not something I like, or look to do, but it’s the difference between a conflict that can last days if I don’t show her the kind of rage that calms her down. Even though it most often puts her to bed somewhat immediately after she eats, it’s better than coming back to the same conflict. Inasmuch — the act for me — is over in an instant and I go back to being my normal self, sometimes it only takes her an hour for her to come back with a completely refreshed attitude, more often it’s a night or part of a day.

On the larger issue of how rageaholics and addicts together form a dysfunctional relationship all I can say is opposites attract. I made a conscious decision in becoming a man that it was time to end that cycle for myself. I make the effort to avoid ever using anger as a weapon. I recognize that it’s a tool which can be used when carefully taken into measure, against wrongs and injustices, it’s a necessary emotion for Humanity.

There’s certainly anger throughout evolution, keeping the dominant pairs, and similarly a good argument that we, males, should be getting less angry that way. There’s more women than men on this planet now and we are very lucky guys in that respect, as compared to the animal kingdom, where most species have male dominant population. There are definitely women who crave rage though, perhaps that comes from abuse, but it’s certainly a reality, just as there are men capable of it.




The Way: More Fluid

A lot of good has happened of late and it’s about time I mentioned that here. For starters I have to say that a more vigorous effort toward getting the proper healing foods into Linda’s diet has shown to be the only, best, solution and it’s working. Turmeric, and coconut oil are the staples. In the combination of lentils and a steel cut oat/millet mixture I am able to get a veritable ton of healing spices in. What this all amounts to — beyond the memory loss — is Linda being happy and healthy.

An ingenious way to introduce coconut oil into the diet is to substitute it for butter. Linda has a strong craving for bread, gluten free, and she’s got no problem liberally adding coconut oil. Truly incredible to see how much the craving, for sugar in essence, is satisfied by the oil which substitutes for glucose.

Of late she’s been able to get up out of bed significantly earlier than in the past. Mostly stimulated by food and coffee she’s willing to come to the warm dining room. She’s still chasing her delusions, but I still believe it’s one of the only things keeping her from being completely sedentary.

Also a wonderful solution has come about regarding a previous conflict Linda was having with a certain friend of mine. A wise friend of ours suggested to me that it doesn’t really matter who takes my time away from my mom, it’s merely the time that’s taken. Looking at it this way led to me to consider bringing my friend here to the house and introduce her more formally to Linda. This worked miracles, once Linda saw that my friend could be her friend too, gone were any feelings that she was hated. Linda was more than willing to accept a friend, and this worked brilliantly.

This acceptance has made me realize that I need to make a renewed effort to bring old friends — who in essence are new friends — back into the fold. The acceptance of someone she genuinely didn’t know previously made me realize that any kind of connection, especially from long ago, could be easily renewed. Soon, we hope, to see a great old friend and I will report back when we do.

I want to update this since we did see our old friend Alyson. It was truly a wonderful visit and I know this was kind to all of our souls. There’s certainly a benefit for those who make the effort, as Alyson can attest, there’s still  a good deal of the real Linda left in her, and she’s readily able to engage you in conversation, even losing her delusions as a primary focus.

The Way: So Rough

It is the great paradigm of AD, how time doesn’t matter to the subconscious, so event dates become irrelative. For instance there is a FD benefit held every year on Mother’s Day now. In the beginning it was a lamb bake in Cazadero, started by Linda and my dad. Not that you would know those origins walking into the current benefit necessarily, so there’s little that Linda remembers about this day from year to year. She remembers Mother’s Day to a limited degree, but connecting it with this benefit, at this point, is hard.

Two years ago Linda went to the brunch in freezing cold fog weather, it was a challenge for sure. Especially for a woman used to being behind the scenes of such an event, and the center of attention to a certain degree as such. With her skills as a coordinator, manager, it’s unfortunate that it took so much effort for her to get noticed at an event that wouldn’t be anything without her. It’s borne out in the fact that she doesn’t remember a responsibility to this benefit, where she does to the lamb bakes. There’s nothing at this benefit that honors the tradition of the past and that’s truly unfortunate. In other words, if there was something to connect this benefit to the older one, she’d not only want to come, but remember why she needed to be there. That, for Linda, is the ultimate motivation. She would still do all the behind the scenes work, even if there was that honoring, but now she doesn’t remember the work.

As some of you know and those of you reading this might surmise, she did not go to the benefit this year. I was ready and willing to take her as usual, but she elected not to go at the last minute. Since there’s no way to convince her that her presence only is necessary, and not her work, there’s no way to remind her.

Today she’s missing the benefit, thinking it’s happening now, thinking it’s June, when the lamb bakes would happen. Thinking that she let people down for not doing the work, lashing out at me for not telling her about it. I cannot tell her the truth, she will not listen. It’s very rough listening to her berating me for not putting her back on the grinding wheel. Ordinarily I wouldn’t really react to this, it doesn’t bother me in the least, but in this case there’s clearly a lesson in it for us, for her subconscious.

So I will leave her to go to bed and listen to the baseball game on the radio instead of watching it on TV, the Giants are bad enough to be better on the radio anyway. It is quite tricky to deal with this kind of sudden change in tone, from very cheery to very admonishing. As I said, it’s like water off a duck’s back with most anything fantastic she might blame on me, but this strikes a nerve for all these reasons involved.


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