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New Podcast Interviews About Healthcare

Today I posted two new interviews for the Keeping Things Alive podcast, and both of them have to do with healthcare options outside of the U.S. healthcare system.  I am fortunate to have health insurance through my job, but I also use acupuncture and herbal medicine to maintain my health and bolster my wellbeing.  When healthcare is expensive and unreliable, I find it empowering to have affordable and effective options to turn to in my community.


My first new episode is with Craig Labadie, acupuncturist and co-owner of Buffalo Alternative Therapies. I have been going to a community acupuncture clinic since around 2013, and regular treatments have helped me eliminate my mold allergy symptoms. I’ve also found acupuncture to be the best stress relief tool that I have ever found.

During the interview, I mention that I attempted to paint what I see during acupuncture treatments. Here is the painting I am referring to in case you are curious:

acupunture hummingbird


My second new episode is with Sarah Sorci, community herbalist and owner of Sweet Flag Herbs.  Sarah is a good friend of mine and I have learned so much from her about how to use edible and medicinal plants that grow in Western New York to support my health and wellbeing.

At around the 47:00 mark of the episode, we discuss various edible and medicinal plants that Sarah found that day in my backyard in Buffalo, New York.  Here are pictures of the plants that she is talking about:

Self-heal or Heal-all.  Here is the baby self-heal plant that Sarah found, without its flowers yet:

 

Plantain

 

Ground ivy

 

Violet

 

Yarrow

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Modified Gardening

This is the fourth year that I’ve had a square-foot garden.  It’s a four-foot-by-six-foot raised bed vegetable and herb garden that provides me with fresh food from May through November. The great part about square-foot gardening is that you can grown a lot of food in a concentrated area, so there is less weeding, less watering, and more production.  I also happen to think that it looks beautiful.

My mom occasionally reminds me that as a child being forced to weed her garden, I swore that when I grew up, I would “never own a single plant.”  I’ve changed 🙂

A number of the herbs that I planted last year (regular chive, garlic chive, oregano, sage, thyme, parsley, and lemon balm) survived the winter and are currently producing.  It’s incredible how much these plants keep giving, without requiring much attention on my part.  Free delicious food!

There is empty space in my garden to plant new sources of food for this year, and I have to decide what I want.  The problem is that I’m currently in a boot and not very mobile.  In light of my physical limitations, I’ve decided to go with greens.  They require a bit less water (than say tomatoes) and I had a lot of luck with them last year.  So about two weeks ago, my mom and I planted tiny seeds of lettuce, spinach, and an “Asian greens mix.”  Unfortunately I don’t remember where I planted what (pro tip: draw a map or add labels as you plant seeds), so it’s going to be a surprise!

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Plant Love: Snake Plant

Although as I child I vowed to my mother that I would never own a single plant because I did not enjoy taking care of hers, I now have approximately 15 house plants in my one-bedroom apartment, plus a small outdoor vegetable and herb garden. My perspective on plants changed when I got my own place because I realized that not only are they beautiful, but they are functional. My aloe plant is great for my skin, my thyme plant tastes great, and all of my plants improve the indoor air quality.

Today I am going to showcase my first and in many ways favorite indoor house plant: the snake plant (also known as mother-in-law’s tongue).

Snake Plant
One of my snake plants…

Anytime someone asks me about my plants and is interested in getting one for themselves, I recommend a snake plant to start. Snake plants are great because they are easy – they don’t like a lot of water or direct sunlight. It seems like the more I neglect them, the more they thrive. The only time I had trouble with a snake plant was when I gave one too much water and the leaves got soggy and fell over. I had a snake plant in my cubicle at a former job where there was only fluorescent light and absolutely no natural light – the beast just kept growing and growing, and it still lives in that maze of cubicles with a friend today.

If you’re interested in getting a snake plant, I’ve purchased them at Home Depot, Ikea, and the indoor plant section of a local nursery.

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if it is to be, it is up to me

I’m loving the storms that have been passing through Western New York this weekend. It’s been great to fall asleep to the sound of rain, hear thunder, and not water my garden with tap water (the plants grow so much faster and bigger on rainwater!). I’ve been helping my sister take care of my parents’ house and pets while they are on a trip out west.  Unfortunately one of the cats, a 13-year-old tabby named Ben, has been rapidly losing weight, so I took him to the vet, and the diagnosis is diabetes. My parents lean towards the “let nature take its course” pet care approach, so I’m doing my best to spend time with him, keep him comfortable, and feel him food that he likes.

Here are the things that have been on my mind this week:

  • I am participating in MIT’s ULab “Leading from the Emerging Future” course for the second year in a row, and the first live session happened this past week. I was able to participate in the live session on the University at Buffalo campus, and meditate at the same time as over 20,000 people from around the world. I’ve never had that “global meditation” experience before (thanks, Internet!), but it was amazing and I felt infused with energy for the rest of the day. Here is the course website, here is the course book, and here is a sister website.
  • Cat nutrition is on my mind for obvious reasons… I learned that cats are supposed to eat wet food, not dry food. All of the cats I’ve known have eaten dry food, so this is a surprise to me. Here is a Quora thread on wet versus dry food. And here is a detailed chart that gives the nutrition information on many cat foods.
  • This weekend I went to my friend’s workshop on making your own herb-infused vinegar for cooking for medicinal purposes. I made mine with stinging nettle, burdock root, and holy basil (infused into apple-cider vinegar). It’s pretty easy to do (I think these instructions are good, although we didn’t warm up the vinegar and I’m sure it will be fine).
  • The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s protest of the Dakota Access pipeline continues, and there is a growing community of activists at Standing Rock in North Dakota. I’ve had trouble finding information about the protests on a consistent basis through normal news channels, so I’ve been looking at Twitter and searching for #DAPL or #NoDAPL to find the most current information. Below is a video of Van Jones speaking at a rally in DC, and his comments about “water is life, oil is death” are spot on (my favorite points begin at 2:40).