Wednesday, August 31, 2016

oracle cards

In 2013, I wrote about relearning tarot or at least updating my skills. Ever since I improved my skills, I find that I avoid doing readings on myself. I often find information (in the cards) that I wish I had not known.

Ignorance is bliss.

So for myself, I have oracle cards. Decks that are more like a friend giving you some good advice. I use them to give myself pep talks, to inspire myself, and to gain perspective. All of which is more about work from within than anything else.

For my birthday, I purchased a new oracle set called Messages From Your Animal Spirit Guides Oracle Cards by Steven D. Farmer. 

Back when I had an iPhone, I had the app version of these cards. I used the app for daily meditations. It was very disappointing when I found out my Galaxy Note did not have this available in their store. So, imagine my elation when I saw them in the IRL store!

The physical object is so much better. All 44 cards are thick, textured, and beautiful. The animals in most cases are ones that I do not usually see in totem sets. I really liked this and I almost wish there was a second version.

My only complaint is that texture, that feels so great in the hands, makes the cards hard to spread. They have a tendency to clump together. I use the spread and select by "vibes" method for all my decks. 

On a whim (and for this post) I decided that I would select a card to represent the internet as a whole. I was amused by the result.

Monday, August 22, 2016

amino acids and vegetarianism

Since I've become a vegetarian, I try to myself about it. As much as possible, at least, especially in real life. Unfortunately, there are times when I have to shyly admit, "No, sorry. I'm sure your BBQ ribs are excellent, but I don't eat meat."

On the rare occasion, I receive flack for my choice. Recently it came attached with a message informing me that, "Vegetarians cannot receive all the needed amino acids."

Although I appreciate my friend being concerned for my health; I also wanted to debunk that myth.
There are 22 amino acids, some of them required or considered essential amino acids. In regards to the essential amino acids; there are arguably nine essential vitamins. Here’s a link to those nine essential vitamins found in vegetarian diets.

In addition to those nine, there are six other amino acids that are considered conditionally essential in the human diet, meaning their synthesis can be limited under special conditions.

These six are arginine, cysteine, glycine, glutamine, proline, and tyrosine.

Here is a list of vegetarian foods high on those six amino acids.

Arginine - Pumpkin seeds, soybeans, peanuts, spirulina, chickpeas, lentils
Cysteine - Sunflower seeds, oat bran, soybeans chickpeas, couscous
Glycine - Spinach, kale, cauliflower, cabbage, pumpkin, banana, kiwi fruit, cucumber
Glutamine - Raw parsley, raw spinach, raw cabbage
Proline - Asparagus, avocados, bamboo shoots, beans, broccoli rabe, brown rice bran, cabbage, chives, legumes, nuts, seaweed, seeds, soy, spinach, watercress
Tyrosine - Raw oats, peanuts, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, adzuki beans,  lentils, split peas

Then, there are five amino acids that are dispensable in humans, meaning they can be synthesized in the body. These five are alanine, aspartic acid, asparagine, glutamic acid and serine.

Here is a list of vegetarian foods high on those five amino acids.

Alanine - Avocado, beans,  bran, brown rice, corn, legumes, mushrooms(white, raw), nuts, seeds, watercress, whole grains and sea vegetable like spirulina and laver
Aspartic acid - Avocado, asparagus,  sugar beets, oat flakes, sprouting seeds
Asparagine - Asparagus, potatoes, legumes, nuts, seeds, soy, whole grains
Glutamic Acid Beans, lentils, leafy greens vegetable
Serine - Almonds, asparagus, chickpea, cow pea, flax-seed, lentils, sesame seed, walnut and soy beans.

The last two are within the dispensable group and considered the most non-essential. These two are cystine and hydroxyproline.

Here is a list of vegetarian foods high on those two amino acids.

Cystine - Cottonseed, sesame seeds, soy, lentils 
Hydroxyproline - Peanuts, legumes, and beans

This is all 22 amino acids.

Even though I eat a well balanced diet I still augment my diet with extra amino acid sources. I use my trusty old Bragg's Amino Acids on everything (just in case). Because the product includes 16 of those delicious amino acids.

Image Courtesy:

Honestly, it is sad that the urban myth of the "complete protein" still exists. The idea that vegetarians can't get all there aminos keeps many people from becoming vegetarian. 

I believe there are a few reasons that people like to think that the vegetarian diet is lacking.

1.) Most vegetarians do not actually eat well balanced diets, as they do not understand certain dietary changes are needed. Such as, eating seaweeds for certain amino boosts.

2.) There are a lot of nutritionists schlepping off unscientific information as cause for an animal protein diet. Such as citing that carnitine is an amino acid that cannot be found in a vegetarian diet. Which is a misdirection. Carnitine is synthesized in the body from the amino acid lysine and methionine. Both available in a vegetarian diet.

This article actually cites how this  "incomplete protein" myth got started in 1971 by a well meaning socialogist trying to end world hunger and then other misinformation.

3.) People often mistake mineral deficiencies or other outlining genetic health problems for vegetarian health issues. For instance I have had a copper deficiency my whole life. This is regardless if I eat meat or not. Copper is needed to create iron. Therefor, if I do not eat foods high in copper; I often can have anemic tendencies because my iron lowers. Making me appear like a “sickly vegetarian”. I supplement this by eating shiitakes, which I crave constantly.

4.) It is simply much easier and accessible to eat meat,

5.) And for the last reason. There a lot of people that just don't like vegetables. They see it as a food their parents forced down their throat at dinner. Which is a shame, because it is truly delicious!

Friday, August 12, 2016

foodie snobs

When I was a eighteen, I bullied my way into being an assistant chef/baker at a Chicago Italian Bistro. At the time, I had no idea how ridiculous I must have appeared. Walking into an interview and sharing the news that I had no formal education in the industry. Luckily, I was hired for three reasons.
  1. I lived a block away
  2. I was willing to work all kinds of crazy hours at mediocre pay
  3. I told that old Italian woman who was the chef that if she didn't hire me I would come everyday and ask her to show me how to cook regardless.
Now, I already knew how to cook. What I didn't know is how to use industrial mixers or wield a nine inch Wüsthof. My Italian mentor took me under her wing and I went from being a cook to a "foodie" in a very short time.

What I found out quickly is that people can be "foodie snobs". Foodies tend to look at a Chef's resume or a food critic review. They focus on how ingredients are quantified. Is this unusual? Is this cut right? How fresh is it? Obviously, there is nothing wrong with this. But, I felt it left out all the, "little guys". What about all those moments in life where you ate a food, and it was an experience? 

My first interaction with this kind of feeling was partaking in the ritual of the Maxwell Street Polish. 

At three in the morning, my friends brought me to Maxwell and Halsted in a rather undesirable part of Chicago. The buildings hovered over a dirty street and vagrants hovered nearby hawking such wares as socks and porn. A yellow sign glowed over a small stand where a few people huddled in the cold. My friend ordered me something which arrived wrapped tightly in sticky wax paper. With a grape soda in one hand and a hot polish sausage in the other; I ate quietly. I marveled at the bubble of safety I felt and at my sudden love of sport peppers.

I think this is where my love of street food began. 

What does this have to do with "foodie snobs"? Two words; Michelin Star.

How a tire manufacture became the go-to name in cuisine; I will never understand. What I do know is that in 1926, Michelin started awarding stars for fine dining. And now, it is what Chef's and food aficionados look at for the pinnacle of food success.

Recently, a Singapore man Chan Hon Meng received a Michelin Star for his signature dish. It costs 1.50 and has been served out of his stall for the last 35 years. Proof that good food can be found anywhere. Thanks Michelin!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

so fremdscham

I get embarrassed on behalf of others easily. When it comes to myself, I lack shame. But outside of me, it's embarrassment city.

The German people have a word for this, Fremdscham or Fremdschämen. This is when shame is felt for actions done by someone else or it is the experience of vicarious embarrassment. So I thought I would make a list of things that give me this uncomfortable feeling.
  • Selfie taking in public
  • When someone says something ignorant or stupid
  • Watching "The Office"
  • Miley Cyrus
  • Seeing someone hurt themselves
  • Most on-screen kissing
  • Overly drunk people
  • Bad mimes and comedians
  • Mispronunciations of wine names
  • Heavy makeup
  • Racism
  • Awkward plugs in media (to sell stuff -- not the practice of sticking large objects in gauged ears) 
  • Rob Riggle
  • Witnessing an argument between strangers
  • Adolescences trying to be cool but instead being loud-obnoxious-hooligans
Does anyone else experience this?