Winter’s Touch

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As the season changes from fall to winter, the lack of daylight hours affect us in ways that we might not immediately notice. Trees lose their leaves and grass loses it’s green color when their daylight is shortened and they go into a dormant state. Animals also go into a semi-dormant state as some hibernate and others, like my Chihuahuas, sleep most of the winter days away. And we humans have our own form of winterizing.

Even here on the Northern California Coast where there isn’t a huge change between seasons, there is a meloncholy feeling and a great urge to just stay inside, drink a nice cup of hot tea or coffee and maybe curl up with a book under a warm blanket. Bones and muscles seem a little more stiff and sore even warming next to a crackling fire.

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Winter is a time of rest and even a time of reflection. It’s a time to slow down, look inside of our souls and create expressions of our creative side.

I love to walk along the headlands, stop and stare out into the vast horizon of the Pacific Ocean. It inspires the artist in me and gives me an appreciation of the magnificent world around me. This great Earth that continues to spin, tilt, and rotate around the sun never ceases to be an endless supplier of inspiring thought. Winter is my season to create because it’s when I’m able to slow down and appreciate all that I have seen, touched, heard, smelled, and tasted throughout the year.

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Showering in Chlorinated Water?

Showering in Chlorinated Water?

Chlorine is a Pesticide

At Living Light Inn, we use a three stage water filtration system.

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It filters all water that enters the house. We feel it’s important because of the chemical additives used by city treatment systems. These additives, especially chlorine, may or may not be necessary for safe water supplies but we definitely have the choice of whether we want to put them on or in our bodies.

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Chlorinated water destroys intestinal flora, vitamin E, and polyunsaturated fatty acids. And this is not only when ingested but also and even more damaging when absorbed by the skin and lungs. When you take a warm shower, your pores open up and your skin absorbs the chlorine. You also inhale the steamy gas form of chlorine, chloroform, into your lungs and straight into the bloodstream.

Showering in chlorinated water is a major suspect in the rising number of cases of asthma and bronchitis in children. Organochlorines, chlorination byproducts found in municipal water sources that are pesticides, trigger free radicals and cause cell damage, are carcinogenic and are suspected links to skin, bladder, breast and other cancers.

Additionally, at Living Light Inn, we use a reverse osmosis system for drinking water in the kitchen. This extra step of filtration is not necessary but it does make the water even cleaner and also leaves it with a better taste.

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Check EPA’s website for studies on acceptable amounts of chlorine, PCBs, and Trihalomethane in drinking water.

Small filters that are fitted right on your shower are available and very affordable.

Check your local municipal water report and see what’s in your water. And remember like science class when you start mixing all those chemicals, they become volatile.

What is a Tomatillo?

Tomatilla

Growing up in Texas, this is a question I thought I’d never have to answer. I just assumed everyone knew about these tart little tomato looking fruits. They were in salsas, soups, and salads; roasted, raw, fried or boiled. I even once had a Tomatillo Frozen Margarita. I must admit that I didn’t always like the flavor as it can be a bit sour but as I’ve aged my palate has refined as has my ability to blend flavors to bring out the best in a tart situation.

Tomatillos are now gaining a little popularity in the foodie world and part of the reason for this is that with their natural defenses against insects and their adaptability to many climates, they’re a great choice for the organic farmer. The have an outer husk that is like a bubble in which the fruit grows to fill and finally burst. Then they have a sticky sap on their skin which bugs can’t stand. Don’t forget to wash that off good before you eat them.

Tomatillos are different and new to gourmet cooking and uncooking and this keeps variety in our kitchens. There are always new recipes popping up like curries, chutneys, jellies and pickles. And like most of our earth’s fresh fruits, they’re also good for you; high in vitamin C, anti-oxidants, and contain more minerals than tomatoes.

If you can Find them in your area, grab some and hit the experimental kitchen.

Or try this recipe from food network: http://bit.ly/1ihHEAj

Tropaeolum Majus

Tropaeolum Majus

I was eating at an overpriced, pretentious, plant-based LA area restaurant (I won’t share the name) recently when an interestingly delightful, familiar yet quite overwhelming, flavor hit my tasty buds like a wasabi freight train. The more I chewed, the more the pungent spice twisted my nose and seared my eyeballs. These leaves and flowers in my salad are not a good idea, I told my exceptionally slender waiter as I washed it down with my $14 stem of coconut water.

Why is that?

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Nasturtium is a cascading vine with very colorful flowers in orange hues from almost white to a scarlet rosy red. And with the beautiful round leaves, look amazing when added as a garnish or sprinkled lightly in a dish to give it great eye appeal. They grow wild here on the coast of California, proliferating madly. I’ve fought tooth and nail to remove my mistaken addition of them to my compost pile. Yes, they’re now all over my gardens and will never go away. I hope.

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Turns out, these spicy monsters are not only beautiful to look at, but are a culinary medicine cabinet. They’re high in vitamin C, iron, sulfur, and mangonese. Hailing from Peru in South America, they’ve been a staple for centuries in Inca culture for both medicinal and culinary uses. Never mind the spice, your liver, kidneys, bladder and urinary tract will thank you for your bravery. FYI, nasturtium also acts as a mild laxative.

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Picked early in the spring from the young plant, the leaves are palatable. The flowers are beautiful and a little less spicy. But don’t over do it in your recipes. For a dish to be enjoyed the flavors must balance and Nasturtium can easily take your dish all the way South. And too much can also have your guests scrambling to the head shortly after dinner.

Why I Run

Running is the only exercise I truly enjoy.

I love to run in the forest because it makes me feel alive and raw. Like an animal, I act on instincts and let go of that analytical process of thought that holds me in a cell like a criminal. With the right mindset, the obstacles of the forest trail seem small and insignificant. Allow the mind to wander and reflect on negative thoughts and in an instant even the smallest root or rock can catch you and send you tumbling into the brush.

I run because it grounds me; allowing me to disconnect all the anxieties and fears that bind me in this modern connected world. I feel emotionally uplifted after a long run. Good vibes pump through my bloodstream as I inhale the positive and exhale the negative for an hour or more. It totally resets my perspective of life.

I run to maintain my health and detoxify my body. Sometimes I make bad decisions about what goes in and that’s okay because I’m not perfect and don’t want a rigid lifestyle. But I know the body needs stimulation to get rid of the poisonous conditions that are a result of these bad decisions.

IMG_1527With my running buddy, Harlem.

My favorite runs in Fort Bragg and Mendocino.

Russian Gulch

Haul road to Mackerriker State Park

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This Father’s Day, Please, no Grill, no Drill

It’s a great time of year. Summer has just begun; schools out, graduations, vacation plans, and, oh yeah, let us not forget Fathers Day.

Father’s Day is a day we set aside to show appreciation for our dads. For all the hard work and daily sacrifices they make, we want to give them a little more than just a pat on the back. We want to dig deep in our hearts and do something to make this day one not to forget. At least not until two weeks later on the 4th of July.

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I’m not just saying this as a dad (but then again maybe I am ‘just saying’) but because this needs to be heard so we can clarify what it is we’re saying to Dad when we present him with a gift. With a new tool, we say “we need you to work more and faster.” With a new grill, we say “Dad, your cooking could use a little help.” And with that new lounging hammock or piece of lawn furniture we’re saying, “you’re looking a little tired. Maybe you should go lay down for a while. And by the way, you missed a spot.”

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Some moms (and I’m not mentioning any names here) think that Dad’s day is the perfect time to turn the kids loose on their fathers and go out for a personal day for themselves. And I have to admit some of those more-less absent fathers might deserve this but again, not pointing fingers. But I’m pleading for us, the dads subjected to the screams, cries, door slams and the ever repetitive “Dad, Dad, Dad” every day until the baby girl is off to college and…

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…who am I kidding, it never ends.

So I’m challenging all of you sons and daughters and wives, husbands and in-laws. Grandkids and step-kids, brothers and sisters included. I challenge you to find the perfect gift and it’s not in that hardware store flyer or on Amazon. It’s not in Ikea, Mom.

This is that special gift for the men who love you, cherish you, and want nothing more than to care for their families. This ‘perfect gift’ challenge is for the men who already have it all.

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Living Light Inn

For reservations call

Cory   877-964-1384