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What I’ve learned in three months…

Eating a strawberry. Image by (cc) Flickr user .craig

Eating a strawberry. Image by (cc) Flickr user .craig

Pregnancy (or the first trimester at least) is extremely limiting, disruptive and confusing. During the first three months your body takes over and tells you, at times by shouting and at times by stopping everything so that you will listen, what it needs and what it will not accept. As my sister notes, pregnancy is a time of great cleansing. Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

– 2 eggs in the morning will start the day
– a tiny mid morning snack will keep you steady: I’m staying cool with 1 hard boiled egg
– a noon snack is a must: some favorites are baby carrots, cucumbers, radishes, grapefruit, oolong tea
– a small lunch will you sustain you: I’m staying strong with lemon flavored greens (lettuce, spinach, leeks, green beans) and a protein (chicken or salmon work for me) — or just a tasty cup of liquid skimmed from a delicious soup when I can’t take much more; peppermint or another tummy soothing tea
– a mid afternoon snack is a must: some favorites are baby carrots, cucumbers, radishes, seaweed, grapefruit, frozen fruit (bananas or mango)
– small dinners win: salad and a legume (beans or lentils) OR a simple soup; lemon and mineral water
– supplements are great midday or at night: prenatal vitamin, some sort of quality fish type oil, flaxseeds, homemade eggshell calcium powder
– a snack before bed will keep my hunger pangs away through 8am: yogurt and cacao powder OR Mestemacher rye bread; lemon and mineral water.

Exercise! Move! Laugh! Smile! If you can stand the nausea, nothing will hold you back. Move and travel as your heart desires. And forget absolutely everything else.


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Ajiaco Santafereño

Ajiaco Santafereño. Image by (cc) Flickr user El Agujero

Ajiaco Santafereño. Image by (cc) Flickr user El Agujero

Ajiaco santafereño, a traditional take on the basic chicken stew, comes from the Colombian capital city which also gives it its name, Santa Fe de Bogota.
This rich potato stew features four distinct potato varieties in combination with corn and guasca, a nutritious herb native to the AndesIt is great for pregnant women and for those healing from a cold or flu. 
Prep Time: 1 hour
Ingredients (serves 6):
2 lbs of chicken breast – or veggie stock and your veggie protein of choice
1/2 kilo papa Sabanera from the planes of Cundinamarca and Boyacá – or red potatoes
1/2 kilo papa Paramuna from the high plateau – or russet potatoes
1/2 kilo papa Pastusa from Pasto
1 kilo papa Criolla (a small yellow potato that in dissolving thickens the mixture given the stew it’s final consistency) – or small white boiling potatoes
4 ears of corn
5 scallions, white part only, chopped
1 bunch cilantro, washed and trimmed
1 clove garlic, minced
handful of guasca
salt to taste
capers/creme to dress the dish

3 ripe avocados


1. Clean and cut the corn in half. Cook corn on high with 2 litres of water. Peel and cube the papas Sabaneras or red potatoes and cook with the corn. Peel the papas Pastusa, slice them into thick tranches and add them to the mixture. .  Wash and cut the papas criollas or small white boiling potatoes in half. Add these to the first pot of of corn and potatoes. Cook until the potatoes start to disintegrate, giving the soup a thick but fairly smooth consistency, about 30 minutes.

2. Combine the chicken, half the scallions, salt and pepper in a large dutch oven and cover with 4 quarts of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover; simmer until chicken is tender, about 35 minutes.

3. Transfer chicken to a platter and let cool. Remove skin from chicken and shred the chicken into thin strips.

4. Lower the temperature on the potato pot. Add shredded chicken and heat through.

5. Ladle into bowls and top with a spoonful of cream, a few capers and a few thin slices of avocado.

Ajiaco preparation. Image by (cc) Flickr user pattoncito.

Ajiaco preparation. Image by (cc) Flickr user pattoncito.

Ajiaco preparation. Image by (cc) Flickr user pattoncito.

Ajiaco preparation. Image by (cc) Flickr user pattoncito.

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Salt, Sugar, Fat

Since the 1950s convenience foods have ignited the processed food industry. In his new book Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us, Michael Moss says that the government has been the industry’s best friend and partner in encouraging Americans to become more dependent on processed foods. According to Moss, processed foods are engineered using addictive recipes and manipulated ingredients whose structures have been chemically-altered. He says processed foods are manipulated using weaponized salt sugar and fat ingredients including 40 varieties of restructured salt and with tobacco-industry like marketing campaigns aimed at various ethnic groups and children, products are poised to addict or as the industry prefers to say, appeal and allure.

This is the second in a three-part Big Food series for Letters & Politics, a syndicated public affairs radio show out of Pacifica’s west coast station, KPFA 94.1 FM. This series investigates how the processed food industry came to dominate the American plate to become a top industry earning over one trillion in annual sales. The series digs into America’s food labs, food habits and food policy to detail how America became hooked on processed food.

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OakTown Gardens

OakTown Gardens: Reducing waste to ‘green’ Lincoln Elementary

This year, Lincoln Elementary did something few schools would have dreamt of 10 years ago: It formalized a green connection with Waste Management to exchange food scraps for compost., 

OakTown Gardens: Growing It All

Max Osterhaus visits his father’s Wisconsin ranch in the winter, 

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Marcia Kai-Kee and Ed Oshika’s street-facing 

OakTown Gardens: Adams Point oasis inspires owner, area 

Adams Point oasis inspires owner, area residents.

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Digital artist, poet and storyteller George Aguilar has spent the last 

OakTown Gardens: Using a garden as business inspiration 

 “We don’t watch TV. We spend time in the garden.”  

OakTown gardens: Cultivating through hurdles | Oakland Local

Research shows that gentle gardening reduces stress levels and blood pressure. But, that doesn’t make it any easier to stick your hands in dirt

OakTown Gardens: Professional landscaper shares own garden at

Robin Dunlavy, co-owner of Garden Girls, keeps the roughly 10×20-foot area in her own home’s front yard brimming with plants

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 Dalmar Smith didn’t let apartment living get in the way of having a garden. When the financial services research assistant found

OakTown Gardens: Turning a small space into a ‘calming’ oasis

Jul 24, 2012 – OakTown Gardens: Turning a small space into a ‘calming’ oasis. Over the last 16 years, Mr. Jay has turned his East Oakland

Hey Oakland: Show us your gardens! | Oakland Local

Hey Oakland: Show us your gardens!


The community acupuncture frontier

With more people losing their jobs and fewer people spending like they did in the past, community acupuncture has become the new frontier for the alternative health industry.

Across the United States, hundreds of community acupuncture clinics have sprung up in the last few years. According to Karen Grosskreutz, membership coordinator for the newly established POCA COOP, every week, six new clinics register as POCA members. Today, 170 clinics are registered, although Grosskreutz said she believes that the actual working number is closer to 300. This includes clinics that were part of COPA’s predecessor, the Community Acupuncture Network.

In Oakland, six clinics offer the group setting, sliding scale acupuncture known for it’s reliance on hand, head and feet treatment points. Compare that to 10 clinics in Seattle and five clinics in Portland’s 97213 zip code alone.

Watch the video.

Read the Oakland Local story.

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Flow: Body, health and design

Back pain. Americans spend $50 billion per year on treatment. It is the second most common reason for visiting a doc. Do you or have you experienced back pain? Hear interviews with alternative health practitioners and postural health experts that’ll help you get back to good health. This audio show was made for Full Circle on KPFA 94.1 in Berkeley, CA
Keywords: back painposturesomatic healthalternative medicineaccupuncturechiropractormassagechairsdesignurban design