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.  Let me know ahead of time and I can likely make it happen.

The Way: from Mama’s chair

A moment’s pause today in a busy schedule of house work–pee and poop laundered cleaning–a new methodology always arising. Now with just vinegar and Calcium Chloride (arm and hammer laundry soap).

For that moment from her chair, both of us countenanced against an otherwise bad day, I see the world from her perspective today, in that moment, her in the living room watching the Warriors press conference replay, 40’s music still playing on the stereo: a gorgeous tune “There’s A Small Hotel.”

At the limit of her vision there’s a look into her world, a card and an envelope specifically. The card a true classic, a sepia tone picture of a naked man roller skating down Walnut St in San Francisco, behind a Cable Car. Only the man and the car are obstructed from view, so just the top, with the rolling hills of the street, is visible. Below that is an envelope with the address label of KC Thompson, in Santa Ynez, also the giver of the card. In that same stack right to the left of her “place” at the table there’s more cards, pictures, all good things for her to look at. On the right side of her place there’s all her children in pictures. With this entrée into her world I can see the whole scene evolving around her, wrapping her in the love that’s represented within.

No one can deny that Linda feels all this familial connection–all of us are a daily part of her thoughts. Life has become much easier, solutions much stronger (wait for the deets soon…),   methodologies improved.

I will give more countenance about the constant ability we have to keep Linda from suffering the kind of pain that causes delusions now. It’s these powerful remedies–made from a combination of elixirs–one that is quite necessary for all AD people. I will go so far as to say it is The Way for AD.


The Way: the Stool

Pooping–most of us in this country–aren’t doing it right. It was just the other day I saw this post, a good follow on facebook, that changed my entire life.

There’s such a simple solution to this too: a foot stool. You can still sit on the seat and with the right height foot stool you can get your knees up comfortably. It’s worthy, that’s all I can really say, but here’s a few reasons.

In a funny little book about singing I bought, a guy who can shatter a glass with his voice, starts out with something you’d least expect. They ask you if your poops are two minutes or less. Elsewhere I’ve seen mentions of the importance of pooping after every meal. But the two minute rule was something I’ve pondered a lot as most of the time that’s true. There were times where it took longer wasn’t true however.

To this extent that proves the point. A few times of late I’ve had the last shy one, confirming the conclusion, but not feeling quite done. Indeed putting my feet down flat really makes it feel like there’s more to do. But when I get up I realize that feeling was wrong, I was done. Realizing now I’ve been trying too hard to get more out than necessary.

Now that I have corrected my posture however it is basically always under two minutes, and after every meal. As we basically eat two meals a day I’m feeling the connection much more with the eating and the waste.

Similarly with the little time spent on the pot it’s better in a lot of obvious ways, and how, it connects with singing. It does seem to force more air into the diaphragm once you’re done, and it’s a lasting effect. It certainly improves the draw of breath. Something like the yoga breathing exercise skull shining breath. Instead of feeling emptied–I feel more full–that is clearly the point.

I’m not going to labor this point more than to say it truly is a healthy revolutionary concept that is so salient it’s hard to believe it’s not more mainstream knowledge and I guarantee anyone who tries it will find that it’s truly a better way.


The Way: The Salt

Reading this piece posted by a friend of mine. Basically this guy makes the argument salt is a root evil to the human constitution. Given the issues with it that’s not hard to believe, in the origin. Where he fails to prove his point however is when he says that for 8000 years we have had salt in our bodies and we can now extract the components of salt–sodium and chloride–individually from the salt we eat. He similarly makes no correlation, such as there is with gluten, that it will cause our bodies own immune system to attack our cells if it recognizes it as a poison. My belief is that our bodies may become more and more intolerant to gluten–when we lose the functions that AD takes away for instance.

All that said–it seems logical to me that some people may still have a pretty much total intolerance to salt. I will agree that salt may be an irritant to the taste buds, as it’s definitely an acquired, addictive, taste. Processed salt is poison without a doubt and processed salt is everywhere.

This is where I’m getting more attentive. Cheese for one thing, even organic may have too much salt. I can go on down the list of products I still buy that will get looked over for salt. Yogurt is a good comparison to cheese because you don’t eat enough of it to get much salt, and organic is affordable. Many things have already gone from our diet so it’s not a stretch to get the rest. Regardless of the amount of salt, if it’s processed salt it’s not good. Aluminum is a common additive as well as a number of other pollutants in “table salt.” Sea Salt even is suspect because of the heavy metals in the ocean, organic doesn’t test for heavy metals.

All that said I’m happy with Himalayan salt, in strict moderation. Something about Himalayan salt appeals to the whole mouth more, probably some because it targets bacteria in the teeth. There are a lot of other nutrients in that salt that comes from deep under the dried sea beds in India and the surrounds. You can find plenty of info extolling it for this reason.

There was a time when I was first starting out cooking I used basically no salt. What I learned was how salt absorbs water which is a critical element in cooking. I saw Julia Child use the “pinch method” with salt in most things, and her cannelloni and calzones were not salty tasting at all. I’ll go so far as to say in some foods, like my breakfast breads and my cookies don’t need and don’t have salt. But in salmon I do salt the fish as it cures it better than anything else, so I just can’t buy that it’s all that harmful, as ancient peoples would’ve preserved the fish the same way.

That still may not mean it’s isn’t a toxin however, there’s many toxins in nature. Phenol, the organic compound in all mushrooms, irritates me to the point I cannot handle mushrooms such as the Prince. In other mushrooms I can tolerate it. So there is a point–if salt isn’t really good for you at all–why try to tolerate it? There’s no question you can get enough salt out of fresh veggies and fruits. I want to get my tastes used to less salt and see just what reason I can come up with.

Then if I can add most of the salt to our food and keep the bought sources down to known quantities of sea salt I feel we won’t get too much. But I do think this is an important issue to further examine. Especially given the fact that it is valuable in mitigating oral bacteria, it’s an inarguable point that salt has value. Perhaps what is missed is that no one is living forever, or even close to as long as Methuselah, so whatever it is that kills you it won’t be salt if you can limit it strictly.


The Way: Zen Day

There is a lot of Zen in caregiving for an AD person, it’s about finding parallels, connections, like a Zen cohen. For instance today started with urinary incontinence, a fairly common occurrence these days. Commonly it’s not much, just a little bit that only slightly wets her pants. We still don’t have a pad that she will keep and dispose of properly so most often it’s blue jeans that absorb the pee. So a method for cleaning what amounts to just destroying bacteria and smell has to be found, as put them through the washer at that rate is impossible.

We start with a warm water kettle wash on this–bad day–Linda forces me to do most of the washing. This is a relatively new method of cleansing, a very light vinegar solution is what cleans, that doesn’t involve the shower and can be done more quickly. So the first parable is what to do with that washing water in the kettle that’s left over.

Continued the next day…That water is too dirty to do dishes, not dirty enough to throw out. Without purpose I just put the kettle on the wood stove to heat, then I remember there’s the fore mentioned washing to do. At some point the kettle was boiling and I pulled it off the stove, just holding it in my hand–revelation time–boiling water, vinegar, pee stains gone.

Not an easy day for me, juggling this cleaning with the same job in the chicken coop, shoveling and hauling manure, 3 full wheel barrow loads, down the hill to the compost. This job details wearing a bit of that compost–but I just happen to have that bucket of water soaking. With vinegar, in the future will be just Arm and Hammer washing soda, now it’s Oxy clean, which works on stains.

So after Linda’s clothes are removed to the line outside in the rain to be rinsed, my pants go into that same bucket. That kind of integration of ecology and household mechanics is The Way. All you have to do is look for the transitions, they are everywhere in daily life. A trash bag too small for the receptacle has been floating around in a bottomless surround of ancient metal. Just today I pick up a bag that is otherwise trash, a big salmon bag that needs to be disposed anyway. It’s a thicker plastic flat kind of bag so if I just tried to fit it into the container it wouldn’t stay open, especially now that it’s wet from a rinse. But with the smaller trash contents inside it puffs out and is a perfect container standing much taller than the original.

I realize, to anybody but a mother this is going to seem incredibly mundane, similarly a mother knows about Zen. Caregivers are akin to mothers in many ways, you find the most routine practice makes you thoroughly absorb the life that lives both in yourself and the one you care for.

Today the clothes stayed outside until the rain just started again. The catharsis of the crying sky, the rain has been weeping the last two days. Never shy to admit to grief I can process now as opposed to time spent wishing that the whole task hadn’t been spent doing that to begin with. Or expecting to have to do the task and similarly being sad because it’s not there to do anymore. Letting go of the hardest tasks, doing those hardest tasks everyday, that is how we grow as people.

The Way: Stopping Terrorism using assault rifles

Borrowing this format for the bully pulpit. I have some real tangible ideas on how we can stop terrorism using the assault rifles themselves and solve that problem in one fey swoop.

Put non-removable gps trackers in every assault rifle. Ban as many as can be wrestled out of the weaselly NRAGOP’s grasp, and keep it on the down low so it’s not publicly known. Then investigate locations, and personnel, based on where that gun goes. Similarly impose a steep fee to pay for an FBI grade background check and forfeiture of your rights to the above mentioned search for a trial period of say 2 years.

Now, instead of the inane and utterly moronic methodology of racial profiling at the gun counter which seems to be the prevalent strategy. As happened in the most recent terrorist rampage in San Bernardino; how a latino man was able to buy a weapon that the Arab, a browner skinned man would’ve had a tougher time buying (this was asserted by Mr. Marquez and I believe it to be true). We use the FBI background check–the gun broker doesn’t even have to see the results–just a simple yes or no. Similarly the gun broker can relay notes to the FBI such as “this guy has a wad of cash in a business suit and he’s willing to pay to avoid the check.

No racial profiling period is the salient methodology especially because we have better tools than that. At a secondary stage where names start getting connected unfortunately we cannot ignore the fact that foreign names have been solely responsible for the terrorism on US soil. That is not racial profiling, that’s using critical thinking strategy.

Legislators need to pay heed to this right quick and start implementing these strategies. Otherwise I expect people to solve it ourselves in the same manner protests have happened over the unjust police shootings. But you can bet some will be for more vigilante ways than others, and this disorganized method is not The Way.

The Way: Cocaine Trigger

My father was a cocaine addict–proof in evidence recently encountered–something I suspected was true. However this explains a lot about him, and the rapid progression of his disease. In the height of the eighties when the coke was “as pure as the driven snow” for those of you who have seen the movie “Blow.” Later it was the campaign slogan on posters with a fried egg representing your brain on drugs, this is a crude but accurate estimate of the accelerated possibility of a disease like AD, dementia taking hold, even decades earlier than it otherwise might.

In my father’s case he also suffered physical brain trauma–blows to the head. It’s logical then that the rapid acceleration of his disease was a combination of factors. One that featured prominently in his life was the drug use with cocaine, he fits a logical users pattern that may not have stopped into his elder ages before the disease.

Pops disease looked similar to Jakob-Creutzfeldt disease except he was likely suffering much longer with dementia, early onset alzheimers type. I saw the classic symptoms of EOAD when he would black out upon decent from altitude in the plane. It was one of these incidents, where he was flying the plane, and he obviously blacked out and didn’t wake up as he nosedived the plane into the ground–walking away unhurt–but proving his dementia. His death of pneumonia might’ve been entirely preventable with the kind of treatment Linda is currently getting.

Rather than try to quantify Linda’s use let me just say she was attracted to users of cocaine up the nose. Her drug was alcohol though, so likely she never became a total coke addict. Her last two husbands it seems were junkies, neither ever reformed from the life completely either.

The Way: Tea

Today I am very thankful for tea. Coffee has not lost it’s place–just love that fructose detox it brings–but tea has firmly cemented itself into the routine as well. The real genesis of this summit push was making the tea that kills oral bacteria, oat straw, chamomile, and raspberry leaf are an excellent combo to start. Then adding cardamom, orange peel, stevia leaf, cinnamon, fennel, star anise, juniper, hibiscus and more…If you’ve been reading you know just why and how!

Now all that tea is decaf, great because caffeine with food is not wise for the nutrient loss–alas there is caffeine to be in the tea too. That comes in the form of both green tea and, maté having more caffeine than coffee, green tea a little less. All in all this allows me to regulate Linda’s activity level based on the caffeine as well as stimulate my own for various tasks.

I find a little tea really does get me up for tasks like I have to do now go see how my latest solution for pee stained clothes is working. This is the first time I’ve tried the full vinegar, oxy-clean, hot water which seems to be the trick. We’re a cleanup day (today) and a sanitation day (tomorrow) away before I’m even going to do a famous big Willie bird on the grill.

Tea is a saving grace though truly. I’m stoked to have found a really cool little market where I get goods from my favs Ortiz Farms and Triple T Ranch.  There’s an excellent, delicious tea seller–tea and trumpets–at the Santa Rosa farmers market at the Veterans building on Wednesday mornings until 1:00. The teas are mainly from India, which at this point I feel safer about than China with it’s nearly totally polluted ground, or Japan with the serious radiation threat. At $3 and 4/oz that’s really not bad for organic teas either. Drinking a jasmine green now that’s delicious.

What’s best about mixing coffee and tea too is you don’t need as much tea. The other decaf herbs make the base, then the green and maté gets added. The tradition of tea is a very worthy one to have as well. I’m now diligent about keeping water hot on the woodstove, two kettles, one for drinking one for washing water, at all times it’s the best on demand water heater I could ask for. Both on the stove overnight–adding some nice humidity to the house–keeping the water at perfect temp for tea, just under 200. Put it on the cook stove with a trivet for a sec to a boil, shut it off, and coffee water is right at 208 for the time it takes me to grind with the manual method.

There’s salient truth to the English tradition of not mixing coffee and tea in any vessel or cup–purest–but I am a total sinner. If there’s a little coffee and solids left at the end of the day I put it in the caffeine pot, which preserves it well, and makes the whole blend like a chicory tea, if I need a quick pick up first thing in the morn that tastes quite good, then I’ll throw it out and start over.

Also stoked to have found a couple old pots, no new China thank you. The brown kettle is an English Stafford, and the yellow is a beautiful Bauer, Los Angeles.

Photo on 11-24-15 at 10.22 AM

The Way: Making Caramel

Envision a sweetness unlike any you’ve ever tasted before but this is not a yam, nor any heavy carb item that will caramelize easily, this is a delicious yellow-orange fleshed vegetable. The final results look like this: Butternut

Nothing–and I do mean nothing–will caramelize as easily as natural wood coals, Oak in this case is a wonderful wood. As is Ash, probably the best all around, then Apple, then all your various meat related hardwoods like mesquite, but in my ranking, the wood from our region her in N. Ca is exceptional quality cooking wood. In basically the same latitudinal region in Italy, same climate as us in N. CA, are famed for their charcoal making families. There’s a certain density to our wood that’s superior. Here’s my setup, a dual French loaf, cast iron pan (Yes you could do this in an oven with varying results depending on how hot you can get your oven):ButternutSide
I can fit both halves of the squash in each loaf side, sideways works well, slightly arched over the top, but getting the heat exactly parallel with the side is the goal, accomplished on the left side as you can see the top is black.ButternutSide1
The right side squash I flipped at the end to really get the carmel on both sides: ButternutSideCloseup

So I encourage all who dare to find a similar way to do this on just a standard BBQ, no grill, just the fire pit, you can buy chips, the rack you choose, as simple as a couple small V-racks could work, anywhere a little natural wood smoke is allowed, which really should be everywhere, but for the other pollution…

The Way: Sourdough Pancakes

Never thought I’d be making such unorthodox sourdough pancakes. However, when you realize that frying high carb foods such as wheat flour based pancakes can have deadly results, it doesn’t mean there’s no way to do it.

The biggest discovery is that the homemade almond milk which is really just nuts and water will start to ferment and form hooch on it’s own, and it gets supremely sour pretty quickly. In the fridge it’s about a week before it starts, so at room temp it would probably work in a couple days.

For this batch I used a beet base, flax seed and hemp protein meal round out the dry ingredients with a few eggs and some water for liquid. The bountiful delicious Madrone berries made this batch go wild, on the second day, the normally red color from the beets when totally purple!


They turned out so sour I wasn’t sure my fresh from the farmer’s market apple-strawberry-raspberry sauce would be a sweet enough pairing. But a tad of honey and stevia combined made it one of the most delicious of all my GF pancakes. Where there’s a will there’s The Way!

The Way: The New Solution

We shall call this one the double doggy dog solu! It’s so virulent against the bacteria it will kill anything outright fungal as well. When used straight the–TJ solution it shall be known as for Tooth Juice–will last over an hour and continue to be effective.

The idea of killing dental bacteria with a particle based mixture of liquid teas, tinctures, and coconut oil is the concept. The fresh and dry mixed herbs very much abundant in the solution form particles that can act as tiny little brushes in the mouth. The mixture is a kind of tasty paste reflecting the sweet herbs in in most, quite brilliantly in fact, as they completely mask the many bitter herbs.

By my estimate you could maintain a healthy mouth without the need for the dentist, if you pursue them to the fullest, straight and for at least a half hour, followed by brushing of some kind preferably but not necessarily. You can repair cavity damage, I’m currently doing that myself and it’s about the only methodology I would trust, but it’s better than drilling and filling in my opinion.

TJ solution is designed to be helpful even in the extremes of dental problems. If you embrace the philosophy that whirling small herbal particles in concentric circles in your mouth while a kind of cinnamon hot is accompanying that, quite pleasant taste, there is the solution. I blend the solutions to the right concentrations to get great taste especially if you like it chile hot–cayenne one of the most potent bacteria killers–that is the flavor I crave!