“If you see ten troubles coming down the road, you can be sure that nine will run into the ditch before they reach you.”  ~ Calvin Coolidge

1:warmly or deeply appreciative of kindness or benefits received; thankful. 2: pleasing to the mind or senses; agreeable or welcome; refreshing

‘Tis the season to be grateful.  We use this word all the time, but how often do we really give ourselves the moment to reflect? We are a high-octane society with not enough time to focus on the threads that keep us intertwined. Right now if I stop typing and pay attention I can easily come up with a dozen things to feel grateful for, starting with the softness of my nubby sweater and the way I can feel my own heat radiating onto my chin when I lift the collar away from my neck.

We take things for granted all the time. When we take things for granted, we are more unhappy.  I think it is impossible to be sad or depressed when you allow yourself to be grateful. If you are reading this, you can read. About 10% of the US can not read at all and another 28% are functionally illiterate. 40% of Americans do not read books. 14% of the US population lives below poverty. If you are reading this, you have access to the internet (30% of people is US do not).  About 15% of the US has earned a bachelor’s degree and only 9% has earned a professional or graduate degree. These are just a few superficial things to start our gratitude.  Even if you didn’t go to school and can barely read, there are dozens of things around us every day that fill our lives with richness. Money may make life easier, but it is crucial to not let it tether or define us. What a different society we would live in if we defined our richness by who we inspire.

“Troubles, like babies, grow larger by nursing.” ~ Lady Holland

I just read an article in the Yoga Journal Dec 2011 by Sally Kempton  on this topic of gratitude.  She shares how her mother was not able to accept compliments, and how she was finding herself walking in the same footsteps. The article named “Wide Receiver”, brings to light the behavior pattern of staying open and accepting all that comes your way. By rejecting compliments, we reject love from a friend out of false modesty or pride. A failed exchange. We need to learn to fully take in the gifts that are around us every day. Gratitude.

In one workshop I attended we were taught how to give and receive feedback.  This doesn’t mean I do this well all the time, just that I have a guideline for practice. The concept is this: when someone is giving you a compliment, stay open and say “Thank you”.  When someone is giving you constructive criticism, stay open and say “Thank you”.  (My small add here is that if the criticism is not constructive, you can kick them in the face).  😉

Sally goes on to give tips on how to stay open and have gratitude:

1) Cultivate presence: when rushed we are less likely to notice people or the gifts they are trying to give us. Allow yourself that moment to connect.

2) Avoid Judgement: When someone gives us gift, we often approve or reject it before we get a chance to take it in. Even if the gift was not on the mark (your boyfriend finally did those dishes after 3 days), consider the gift had loving intentions. We get more of the behavior that we reinforce.

3) Consciously open: this is a bit like #1 in that we need to first slow down. But even when we are still and quiet, we are not necessarily open.  Take a deep slow breath or use your imagination to open yourself enough to hear what someone is saying. Be receptive.

Below are three more articles that have good tips and further insight. In the next few days, allow yourself to be thankful and connected to those around you. It may just lift your spirits a bit.

I think Brene Brown has the best words of advice on this topic: “We can spend our entire lives in scarcity . . . just waiting for for the other shoe to drop and wondering when it will all fall apart. Or, we can lean into the uncertainty and be thankful for what we have in that precious moment. When I’m standing at the crossroads of fear and gratitude, I’ve learned that I must choose vulnerability and practice gratitude if want to know joy. I’m not sure that it will ever be easy for me, but I have learned to trust this practice.”


Milk eye-opener!

Over the weekend, I heard an engaging  2 hour lecture by Marc McKafee,  followed by the movie “Farmageddon”,  followed by a panel discussion about the food and milk in our country.  I am a bit overwhelmed with all the information presented. I gathered a large array of web-based resources to investigate and form my own opinion.  I will attempt to share all this info below.

First, Marc is the founder of Organic Pasturesa local organic raw milk farm. He is one of few licensed dairy farmers to sell raw milk in CA and maybe one of the only farmers who creates events to talk to his consumers.  He has given 400 lectures in the past 3 years about how he runs his farm, the process, testing, etc…and allows anyone to come for  a visit.  His confidence in his product might be due to his transparency.  He even puts his milk’s lab results up on the web. For the past 12 years since starting the farm, disease-causing pathogens have not been found in the soil, his cows or in the raw milk (by federal, state, and private testing). There have been no reports of illness from any of his products (milk, cheese, butter, almonds, etc). He is setting such an example that people are coming from around the world to learn about his practices.  He has a FAQ on his website for more info. 

His cows are on rotated grass and he has a “mobile milk barn” that is placed

Close-up of a Jersey cow.

on 30 different sites on his property so the cows do not need to come into a barn.  The gov. requires extensive testing on pathogens both in the soil, food, manure, cows and milk  (he tests milk minimally 3x a week), the cow’s milk can’t mixed with other farms or batches so that is can easily be traced back to the day of milking. This milk costs more because it takes 3 people to milk a cow properly using the techniques needed to give raw milk (instead of less than 1 in a commercial dairy), his cows produce only about 4-5 gallons of milk per day (instead of 20 like the commercial cows do), and he can only keep a smaller number of cows in the farm to offer high quality product. He talks about his cows like they are pets. Even if I decide to not drink the milk raw, this is a farm who I want to support. His video shows from grass to glass and he bottles and ships right from his farm.  It couldn’t get anymore local. He also sells raw almonds.

Commercially produced milk contains pathogens, they are just
mostly dead from the pasteurization process (it purifies when left out for a day or more where as raw milk clabbers and becomes yogurt or cheese-like due to good bacteria preventing spoilage). Certified tested raw milk doesn’t have pathogens present, so there no need to kill them. We are drinking a ton of fragmented “dead” debris which could be why 40% or more of the US has some allergies or symptoms when drinking milk.

Pasteurization has helped keep milk dead for safe consumption, but is also allows for sloppy barn practices.

  • Pasteurization is an excuse for the sale of dirty milk.
  • Pasteurization may be used to mask low quality milk.
  • Pasteurization promotes carelessness and discourages efforts to produce clean milk.

Only 14% of commercial milk is sold in liquid form- most goes into butter, yogurt, and cheese while 92% of raw milk is purchased to drink. He reported that since 1973 not a single death has occurred from raw milk yet 80 people have died from pasteurized milk (CDC). Marc is working with legislation to create a gold standard for raw milk to be produced cleanly by other farms as the demand is more than the supply from the limited farms in CA. An interview with him can be found here.

I learned last night that the only thing regulated more than raw milk is marijuana. The testing that raw milk  goes through exceeds anything else that we eat and now has to meet the same standards as pasteurized milk. Since everyone is so afraid of raw milk, I find comfort that it is under such scrutiny. Every day people are dying from peanut butter, spinach, turkey, eggs, cantalope…the list at the CDC goes on. Raw milk has a bad rap in the newspapers and is reported as causing illness when it is not verified and even when testing comes back negative.  I spent just a short time on the CDC website here, and found a report as of June 2011 that says: “In the United States, CDC estimates that each year roughly 1 in 6 Americans (or 48 million people) gets sick from contaminated food. There are about 1,000 reported disease outbreaks from food which results in 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths annually”.  Also note that their “surveillance area includes about 15% of the United States population”. Does that mean the rest of the 85% is on our own with the food we eat?  I am not convinced that the government has the support it needs these days to actually keep up with the volume of food grown commercially.

First Salad of the Season

A news article  reports “The Price Foundation’s website cites statistics showing that between 1990 and 2004, bacteria-contaminated produce caused 639 disease outbreaks (45/year) in the United States. Between 1994 and 2008 there were only 85 disease outbreaks (6/yr) associated with raw milk, according to the FDA. These statistics do beg the question of why the government is not prohibiting the consumption of salad greens, steak tartare, oysters on the half-shell, and sushi. I think the dairy industry is putting a lot of effort on the FDA to protect their industry. ”

I just spent considerable time searching for foods that make us ill. Here is what I found in a report from Sep 2011: “Causes of an outbreak cannot always be confirmed, but state health officials were able to report among the 7,177 illnesses in 218 outbreaks, the food groups associated with the most illnesses were:

  • 24 percent fruits and nuts
  • 23 percent vine vegetables
  • 13 percent beef

I understand this to mean that we are at risk of getting sick from eating commercially grown foods every day in this country. Another site reveals that it is dangerous to eat not only raw or undercooked meat and milk, but also any fruit or vegetable, fish, anything canned, salads, and honey.  What is going on with our food system? We have gotten lazy in regards to what we demand in safety. An attendee in this lecture was from France and he said the gov. there is terrified of the people and they work hard to keep the consumer happy. Here it seems the opposite.

Day 757: Glass of Milk

New regulations passed in 20o9 so raw milk is now safer than ever. “The greatest issue is California’s new requirement that raw milk contain no more than 10 coliform bacteria per milliliter, the same standard that pasteurized milk must meet. Maine and Washington have instituted the 10 coliform limit without killing their raw milk industries but nearly a quarter of samples tested didn’t pass the new standard. California’s own Department of Food and Agriculture reports that only 25% of bulk milk samples collected in the state pass the test before being pasteurized.”  So what this means to me is that not all raw milk is equal. That 75% of raw milk will not meet this new standard. It will require the consumer to get to know the farmer and his practices and testing. Safety can be consumer driven.

There were probably 150 attendees at the lecture and most drink raw milk.  It did feel a bit cult-ish. I did feel reassured that so many people in this town are drinking this brand of raw milk without getting sick  and I heard many anecdotes on how it helped them overcome GI upset, allergies, asthma, skin problems, give greater energy & immune response, etc. I am not sure if it really is a miracle food or snake oil, but I do not feel afraid of it like I did before all this information.

I just stumbled upon a site that gives the Top 10 Reasons to Drink Raw Milk here.  The Michigan site gives the most detailed information about nutrition and protein structures that I have found. For some distinctions between organic and raw are here.


Farmgeddonwas created by Kristin Canty . Some of the things that happened to small farms is absolutely crazy.   For example, Linda Faillace with the help of the USDA, brought sheep over from the UK. After months of quarantine and 5 years of negative testing the USDA came in and raided their farm for a disease that has never been found in any sheep to date. They killed every animal, took all their cheese making equipment and hay off the farm for one year and were told they incinerated it due to “public health”.  Never mind that every sheep of that farm tested negative for pathogens (even after death), and that they did not incinerate the materials but rather took it down the road and dumped it in the local landfill.  It just doesn’t make sense. There are many stories of raids on family owned farms, being held at gunpoint and/or placed in jail with murders and mafia for a simple permit violation. Here is the video of the police holding vegetables at gunpoint in 2010 at Rawesome foods (a private co-op with 2,000 members). People are starting to pay attention. If you are interested in food and sustainability, here were some other resources given last night:

Here are some other resources I learned about last night:

1)  This is a site in support of raw milk. Looking at the first report on this site I found these points:

  • “Los Angeles County consumers who were medically “at high risk “have successfully used raw milk to reverse serious and critical illnesses that were either not responsive to, or due to side effects of, regular treatment with drugs, surgery, and radiation”.
  • “156 individual [sickness] cases attributed to raw milk from 1973 until 1992 (only 5.6 cases yearly). This is the lowest case incidence of any animal product produced. Extensive evidence showing that pasteurization has caused many epidemics… In the years 1978-1997, a total of 232,485 people suffered due to outbreaks from pasteurized milk (12,236 cases yearly).
  • “pasteurized milk has caused 2,185 times more food borne illness than was “attributed” to raw milk.
  • Raw milk reduced infant deaths in St. Vincent’s Hospital by 94%
  • “Consumer Reports, January 1974, revealed that out of 125 tested samples of pasteurized milk and milk products, 44% proved in violation of state regulations. Consumer Reports concluded, “The quality of a number of the dairy products in this study was little short of deplorable.” Consumer Reports stated that “former objections” to pasteurized milk are valid today:
  • Consumer’s Union reported in June 1982, that coliform bacteria were found in many tested samples of pasteurized dairy products. Some counts were as high as 2200 organisms per cubic centimeter.”
  • Lactose intolerance for pasteurized dairy is common among many populations, affecting approximately 95% of Asian Americans, 74% of Native Americans, 70% of African Americans, 53% of Mexican Americans, and 15% of Caucasians.”
  • ‘Phosphatase is essential for the absorption of calcium and is plentifully present in raw milk but completely destroyed by pasteurization. The “decalcification” of pasteurized and formula milks fed to children may be a major cause of osteoporosis later in life.”
  • “Epidemiological studies of various countries show a strong correlation between the use of pasteurized dairy products and the incidence of insulin-dependent diabetes (Type I or childhood-onset).30    Researchers in 1992 found that a specific protein in pasteurized dairy sparks an auto-immune reaction, which is believed to be the destructive factor for the insulin- producing cells of the pancreas.”
  • “Pennsylvania Bureau of Foods and Chemistry left no doubt about their confidence in raw milk, “I can think of no incident in Pennsylvania in the past twenty years in which raw milk was determined to have been the cause of human illness.”
  • “Raw milk contains enzymes and antibodies that make milk less susceptible to bacterial contamination”
  • “The British journal The Lancet reported, “Resistance to tuberculosis increased in children fed raw milk instead of pasteurized, to the point that in five years only one case of pulmonary TB had developed, whereas in the previous five years, when children were given pasteurized milk, 14 cases of pulmonary TB developed.”
  • “A remarkable quality of raw milk that housewives of pioneer days used was its to preserve meat. Housewives immersed chops, steaks and roasts in large crocks of raw buttermilk, and assured fresh meat for the family year round.69    The Arabs have preserved meat with raw camel milk for thousands of years. The Icelanders of 200 years ago preserved their sheep’s heads in sour raw milk. In 1908, an American doctor decided to try it himself. He immersed a beefsteak in raw buttermilk. Thirteen years later it remained in a state of perfect preservation, “showing not the slightest taint or decay.”
  • “Listeria survives the pasteurization process.  Listeriosis was attributed to the consumption of pasteurized milk in California and Boston, Massachusetts.”
  • “When Alta Dena produced raw milk and supplied the entire United States, they sold approximately 50,000 gallons of raw milk daily that was not under the over-restrictive regulations imposed in the 1990‟s. There was not one scientifically proven outbreak of bacterial food-poisoning caused by Alta Dena‟s raw milk.

I learned about the Farm-To-Consumer Legal Defense Fund which is a group of attorneys that protects the rights of farmers and consumers to engage in direct commerce and to protects rights of consumers to access the foods of their choice. FTCLDF is a true grassroots organization and receives no government funding and little or no corporate funding. If you are curious about your state laws they have a neat interactive map. Raw Milk Institute is also in favor of raw milk. Their website reveals the following:

  • Raw milk is a living whole food that contains: enzymes, a biodiversity of beneficial bacteria, sugars, proteins, fats, minerals, antibodies and other essential elements needed to nourish a growing baby. Raw milk also contains a complementary immune system that provides an environment that tends to suppress the growth of pathogenic bacteria in favor of beneficial lactic acid producing bacteria.
  • Our Common Standards set a bench mark for national raw milk production and safety. Raw milk for human consumption always comes from one dairy that works very hard to assure that the milk they produce is safe and clean. Human consumption raw milk is never combined with other dairies’ raw milk.
  • A presentation about the “evolution” of milk is worth seeing

US News: “A study published in the June 2006 issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology by researchers at the University of London analyzed the diet of 4,767 children in Shropshire, England, and found that those who lived on farms and drank raw milk had significantly fewer symptoms of asthma, hay fever, and eczema.

Children who drank raw milk were 40 percent less likely to develop eczema and 10 percent less likely to get hay fever than their peers who didn’t drink raw milk. A second European study of nearly 15,000 children published in the May 2007 issue of Clinical and Experimental Allergy found that children who drank raw milk were less likely to have asthma and hay fever.”  They do go on to report illnesses that are mentioned above and none are higher than those reported by unpasteurized milk.

Honestly I have always thought it was a bit strange that we are the only mammals that still drink milk as adults. Right now I only buy milk to make yogurt. I make my “milk” from either heated soybeans or raw almonds. Dr. Bruce German at UCD has lead a Milk Genome project for the last several years.  It sounds like there are some real benefits to milk such as the “proteins may act as bioactive, health promoting compounds impacting  physical functions and reducing disease risk...also treatment of patients with intestinal conditions…not only do oligosaccharides promote the growth of beneficial bacteria, they may also specifically inhibit the growth of pathogenic, or harmful bacteria present in the gut…dairy research is continually providing new and exciting developments”

TIME wrote an interesting article here: “Raw-milk enthusiasts swear by the curative powers of unpasteurized milk. Others praise its nutritional value and its ability to strengthen the immune system. “I have seen so many of my patients recover their health with raw milk that I perceive this as one of the most profoundly healthy foods you can consume,” says Dr. Joseph Mercola”


So..what do I think of all of this? I am not sure I can recommend everyone try raw milk as there are health concerns if the farm is not up to the new standards. I feel lucky to have such a great farm close to me that I can try their products. I have bought my first small container of raw milk and I think the flavor is quite good and very creamy. I don’t drink milk in a glass anyway, so I will stay with my almond milk for cereals & smoothies.  I certainly will give raw milk a try for my yogurt and will use it here and there in my food preparation and coffee.

I am excited to limit the dairy in my diet for the next couple weeks and eat or drink only raw milk-products.  I have an intermittent thickness in my throat for the past year or two and have wondered about milk sensitivities.  Some days I have a very productive throat slime and feel like an old man, while other days I feel clear.  Since I have found raw options for both milk and cheese, I will give it a try and see if there are any observable changes.

What is the answer?

So we heard back from the seller.  She isn’t playing ball.

She is a woman in her late 80’s who is overwhelmed by selling her house.  She has lived here for 35 years with her husband who is no longer around and she is moving into an assisted living place.  In the original negotiations she got another $5,000 out of and 60 days escrow instead of 45. She may have to rent from us after we buy the house before there is a spot for her in the new place.  We have been flexible in all of this.

After the inspections on the home, it reveals that the furnace, the hot water heater, and the roof are all past life. The electrical needs repair. There has been a cat living in the house so the carpet pad in the living room will need to be ripped up (Paul has cat allergies).  There is a lot of updating to be done in the house but all of that would wait until the major house stuff is replaced.

There are good sides to this. For example we can make the house more eco-friendly  and efficient (replacing a water tank with an on-demand system or getting an efficient furnace).  The downside is that it all costs money. This mortgage will be about $700-800 more per month than what we are paying in rent. We are unsure how we will get the money to pay for repairs.

The monthly payment might be less based on dropping interest rates, closing costs, etc. My income is so variable it is hard to know how this kind of payment will work for us. If everything breaks at once what do we do?  How do you finance that? If things need replacement slowly I am not sure what day to day life will be like in order to replace it.

There are complicated things like variable salary, things always cost more than expected yet friends who will help us with repairs and many things we can do ourselves, unclear how much the house loan will be, our insurance, our monthly payment, our interest rate, Craigslist has some great house stuff on it for cheap, not many houses in our price range, all have needed repairs, and on and on…

Too many unknowns for the answer to be clear.

Get Over Criticism!

How to Get Over Criticism  by Christine Kane
“Don’t be distracted by criticism. Remember – the only taste of success some people get is to take a bite out of you.” – Zig Ziglar

I’ll bet you’d prefer a guide called: “How to Avoid Criticism and Ensure that Everybody Loves You Unequivocally til the Day You Die.”

Unfortunately, the subtitle would be: “Or How to Have a Totally Boring Life.”

Face it. When you play a bigger game, you’re going to make some people uncomfortable. Unfortunately, in the face of discomfort, most people don’t look within to find the source of it. They choose, instead, to lash out, criticize, or get cynical. All of us have fallen prey to this behavior. (Yes, me too!)

That’s because very few of us are taught Personal Responsibility. We are taught, instead, to blame other people for our results, our thoughts, and our emotions. We are taught to react.

What this means is that you will most likely be criticized along the way. (Especially if you begin to experience success.)

And no, I’m not talking about constructive advice or denying when you make a mistake. This is about the harsh stuff. The stuff that hurts – because that’s exactly what it’s designed to do!

So, how do you handle it?

Here are 8 practices that have worked for me.

1 – Make a decision NOW.

Marla told me that she was “sick of playing small.” I asked her what Playing Big looks like. A determined look crossed her face, and she said, “…to finally stop caring about what other people think of me.”

If this is you, then it’s time to make a decision. Decide right now that you will no longer live your life contorting your soul in an attempt to prevent criticism or judgment.


Remember this: Some will. Some won’t. So what? Someone’s waiting.

An example:

After one of my big teleseminars, I received an email from someone who didn’t like it. She sent a list of things that was wrong with it. (And me!)

I also received an email from a woman who was literally on her way to end her own life – and upon listening to that same teleseminar in her car, turned around and chose to start over again because of what I said.

This is classic SWSWSWSW. Apply it to your own gifts!

3 – Give yourself space to grieve.

Criticism is designed to hurt. And it often does. If you need some time to cry, then give yourself that gift. Call a friend who will listen.

Do yourself a favor, however, and set a time limit. Then, choose to move on. Otherwise, it’s easy to let it eat away at you indefinitely.

4 – Coach yourself.

In her book Self-Coaching 101, the phenomenal Brooke Castillo provides fantastic techniques to heal any negative thought pattern. I’ve had great success using her work. You have to DO the work though. Get out your journal and write it all down!

5 – It’s not about you.

Criticism is never about you. It’s always about the person doing the criticizing. That might not help when you’re hurting. But it’s nice to be reminded!

6 – Protect your confidence.

Occasionally, a client will mention her “unsubscribes” or the snarky comment she received about her newsletter article.

My response is always the same: Why are you reading your customer service email? Hire someone to do that stuff so you can be about serving the world, not obsessing on the people who will never like you anyway!

Protect your own brilliance and confidence by not engaging in activities that are likely to trigger you.

7 – Give up criticizing!

When you are tempted to criticize someone, go within. See if you can find a more creative way to deal with the thoughts in your head. Maybe you’re being triggered by another’s success, wealth, happiness, beauty or brilliance. Take personal responsibility for your own reactions and give up the socially accepted habit of criticizing people.

8 – Decide again.

In the face of criticism, the only option is to decide again. Decide to keep shining and living life fully engaged.

Studies have shown that the most common regret among older Americans is of not having taken more risks. Don’t let this be you!

In the words of Marianne Williamson:

“Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.”

Christine Kane is the Mentor to Women Who are Changing the World. She helps women Uplevel their lives, their businesses and their success. Her weekly LiveCreative eZine goes out to over 20,000 subscribers. If you are ready to take your life and your world to the next level, you can sign up for a F.R.E.E. subscription at
See Christine’s blog at

Salad Options

I don’t fall for many typical salads so I love great combinations of flavors like the ones below.

Orzo Super Salad

Broccoli Quinoa Salad

Berry Salad

Asparagus, Tomato, Feta Salad

Asparagus Avocado Medley

Green bean and tomatoes