Mental De-tox

I’m not one for diets, but sometimes I do a news fast, take a few days break from reading news stories, to cleanse my system. It’s spring, and I need to lighten up, smell the roses, literally. It’s time to spend more energy on animals and plants, soil and water, as the return is infinitely more positive. Even tracking the weather has a much more direct effect on my daily activities. Sure I check my email and Facebook friends’ vacation/pet/kids pictures, wish them Happy Birthday, maybe check out a funny penguin video. I’m not becoming a digital recluse. But I’ve been watching the news constantly since the Watergate era (small potatoes compared to today’s outrageous meanness and scope of damage), and I suspect that there is a news-viewer’s equivalent of the toxic baggage accumulated from environmental pollutants and junk food.


One could say that reading the news is everyone’s civic duty as participants in a democracy. If the public doesn’t stay informed, then our voting is pretty silly. Oh wait, lots of people ARE uninformed, don’t think critically, and vote silly. A neighbor once said she just couldn’t vote for John Kerry because she couldn’t stand the idea of two men kissing. Apparently, she thought he was in favor of gay marriage (he wasn’t) and also thought she was empowered, via the presidential election, to decide who kisses whom. And lots of folks voted against Obama because, you know, he’s a Muslim from Kenya. And then 2016 happened, and facts didn’t matter at all.


Yet the world still needs informed people to write smart, strongly-worded letters to our representatives, sign fact-based petitions, and join actions to sway the government to serve the public interest, to keep watch. At some point, we’ll have to stand up for our food and water, and we will need compelling arguments, historical facts, and names of stakeholders and influencers. While the story on the trade war with China may seem far off and abstract, our farmers are directly affected. While melting glaciers in Iceland may seem remote, climate change is already affecting oceans, forests, and farms. While EPA, FDA and USDA regulations sound like alphabet soup, the safety of our food and water is in play, as is the future of small farms, farm labor, and animal welfare. We can’t hide from information.


I’m just trying to break the habit of being a knee-jerk looky-lou, of socio-political rubber-necking. So after I cleanse my system a bit and get rid of the toxic residue left by years of a heavy news diet, I think I’ll consume more selectively, perhaps counting outrage calories or calculating how good news cholesterol – the kind that moves you to pursue a deep understanding, support a cause or actually take to the streets – can offset the bad news cholesterol, the kind that just drives you nuts. And I’ll try to consume this stuff only once a day.


Fortunately, eating 4 sticks of celery may lower blood pressure, and cooking with spices such as turmeric, cinnamon, and ginger may reduce inflammation (though I can’t guarantee they will keep your head from feeling like it’s exploding if you watch certain news sources.) Fresh foods such as oranges, tangerines, prunes, strawberries, cherries, grapes, cranberries and blueberries have vitamin K, which acts as a blood thinner (and I’m hoping they have enough to keep me from having an apoplectic stroke over maddening world events.) Chinese medicine makes a connection between anger and the liver, so, as needed, enjoy artichokes, avocados, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, bok choy, and daikon, dark leafy greens including dandelion, sea veggies, mushrooms, berries and garlic, which are considered cleansers or support for the liver. Cilantro is famous for its detox capacity, and in some cultures, eggs are said to absorb and remove poisons. Stay hydrated, too, with aguas frescas/fruit or herb infusions to wash away the mental dust and grime. Do whatever it takes to be a well-informed, participating world citizen, without sacrificing your wellness.


Pear and Cabbage Slaw


  • 1 small head of cabbage, sliced in thin shreds
  • 1 carrot shredded
  • 1 large, crisp pear, d’Anjou or Asian, cut into bite size pieces
  • 3-4 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • A handful of chopped cilantro, to taste
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 3 tbsp chopped peanuts
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Toss cabbage, carrot, onions, cilantro and pear in a bowl.

Add sesame oil, lime juice and salt and pepper – adjust to taste.

Top with chopped peanuts.


DSCF5064_1024.jpgLow-sugar Berry Custard


  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) non-dairy butter
  • 3/4 cup thick cashew milk (or similar)
  • 3 large eggs (preferably organic and pastured)
  • 1/4 cup stevia plus 1 tablespoon brown sugar (optional)
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free or all-purpose, unbleached flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure almond or vanilla extract
  • Dash of cinnamon or nutmeg
  • 2 cups raspberries or blackberries or cherries or cherry-plums pitted  and cut in half


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Melt butter in a 9-inch pie pan
  3. In a blender, puree milk, eggs, 1/2 cup sugar, flour, salt, and vanilla. Add the warm butter to the mixture as it blends – don’t let hot butter cook everything.
  4. Arrange the berries in the pie plate and pour batter over them. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon brown sugar if you want a sweet, crunchy top.
  5. Bake on a middle rack until the eggs are just set in middle, 20 to 25 minutes.
  6. Turn on the broiler and set the pan on the top shelf to broil until top is deep golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes (don’t take your eyes off it!). Serve warm.
  7. Alternatively, you can make individual servings in a muffin tin, cooking only for 10-12 minutes. You can also use a water bath method to make a more tender version, setting the pie dish in a pan of water that is filled to a little below the edge of the dish.


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