Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Gluten-Intolerant Family Member and Holiday Food Traditions

One of the hardest things about taking control of your own health is that it often requires that you eat much differently than the way most Americans eat.  It can be extremely isolating, especially when it comes to family traditions, gluten intolerant family members, and celebrating the holidays.

Sharing a meal together is one of the primary ways we celebrate community.  So I have favored ditching old family favorite foods and replacing them with something that everyone can eat and enjoy.

For example, my family, both nuclear and extended, always expected to have a Buttermilk Pound Cake at Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Unfortunately, it requires white flour to make it.  This ingredient has been stricken from our kitchen since we learned six years ago this month that Emma is allergic to it.  A couple of months later we learned that she had to strictly avoid corn and rice as well.

Now, the Lighter Than Air Chocolate Cake has replaced the Buttermilk Pound Cake as our go-to celebratory cake.  Everyone loves it, and it is completely flourless.

Just so you know, I have tried baking with white flour for other family members, but the stuff goes everywhere.  You open the container and scoop, and a cloud rises up and dissipates on countertops and appliances.   Trying to clean everything perfectly afterwards to prevent cross-contamination is time consuming and stressful.   And you are expending more precious energy cooking twice.  I finally decided it just was not worth it.  Family members who want to eat white flour have endless opportunities to do so when they are not at home, whereas Emma can eat at very few places away from home with peace of mind.

If there is one place where a person with food allergies should feel safe and supported, it is in their own kitchen.

Believe me, the support is incredibly important, because many folks think that gluten-intolerant people are just selfish troublemakers who want attention.  And they let you know it by their expressions.  The nay-sayers fail to realize that gluten-intolerant people would like nothing more than to be able to eat the white flour with no concern for the consequences!  Giving it up is hard, but being able to function normally on a day-to-day basis makes it worth it.

I believe that a lot of people who are gluten-intolerant don't even know it.  My neighbor down the road stopped in yesterday with his wife to tell me that he had found enormous relief for his interstitial cystitis since I recommended to him that he do a Whole 30 elimination diet.  He had struggled with it for years under the care of urologists, had undergone surgery seeking relief, and had to take early retirement because of it.  I gave him the original Whole 30 book and a companion recipe volume last month, and he told me yesterday, "I absolutely did not believe that this would work, but I was so desperate for pain relief that I started it the day you gave me the books."  He took out his phone and showed me his log of taking serious prescription pain medications and how over the course of the 30 days it diminished to none.  He also explained that his energy has returned.  He is able to work on building his house again, and is now going to drive to his daughter's house in San Antonio for Christmas, a trip he could not make prior to the Whole 30.  His wife is amazed at the change in him.  She is going to do a Whole 30 herself starting in January.

So I encourage you to adapt your celebratory foods to ones that everybody can enjoy together.  Make new traditions.   The family celebrating together is more important than the individual menu items.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Dreams Worth Keeping: Two Suckling Pigs, a Goose, and a Duck

"We need red solo cups, paper plates, napkins, a tablecloth, and a lot of lunch meat for sandwiches," my mom advised me shortly after learning that my sisters and some members of their families would be joining us for a five-day Christmas visit.  Some of them will be sleeping at Mom and Dad's house and some at ours, but Emma and I will be preparing both houses.

"And canned biscuits.  Lisa and her children like canned biscuits," she added, thinking hard.

My dad started telling me about how he wanted me to order hickory nuts and how delicious they are. By the next day he had been shopping for nuts online and discovered Black Walnuts coated in dark chocolate.  He asked me to order them.  His face would light up like a child's every time he mentioned them.  So far that has been two to three times a day.

"They're going to go pretty fast once everybody finds out how good they are,"  he confided to me, grinning happily.  "Make sure you order enough."

Where were my thoughts?

I began dreaming of pig roasted outdoors on a spit with all the menfolk gathered round in the heady smoke, talking and laughing and speculating on the doneness of the meat.

And I dreamed of succulent goose and duck.  I could see them each in a roasting rack in my oven, dripping juicy goodness into the pan.

And I dreamed of moving our dining room table into the living room in front of the fire and placing silver goblets of wine and heavy tankards of ale at each place, and...

I don't actually own any silver goblets or heavy tankards, but I imagined them just the same.

And purple cabbage and collard greens and sweet potatoes and cranberry salad.  And dogs under the table!  Flickering candlelight and ancient Christmas carols playing in the background with all my dear ones gathered round about.

Dear Baby Jesus in his manger at last.

O the giddiness, the tingling, the soaring anticipation of the Feast of Christmas!

I grew restless to begin.

So this morning Emma and I bundled up in sweaters, jackets, hats, and gloves and hurried to the farmer's market to arrange for the procurement of the desired delicacies.

First stop, the duck and goose booth.  We decided on a ten-pound goose and an eight-pound duck.  We put down a deposit and were instructed to return to the market early Christmas Eve morning to pick up the freshly-slaughtered birds.

Next we visited the pig man.  I've bought pork from him many times before but never a whole pig.  I arranged with him to pick up two suckling piggies--a 15 and a 16-pounder--at the market on Christmas Eve morning when I pick up the birds.  He said he would send me a picture of the lil porkers so I would know what to expect.  He promised to put a coin over each of their eyes because he feared I would be disturbed by their missing eyelids, which for some reason are removed during the butchering--surely a most creepy practice.

Maybe crispy-fried pig eyelids are a delicacy somewhere and they sell 'em separately to make more money!  At least they left the pigs' heads on.  I wouldn't want any headless pig.  That would ruin the whole dream for me.

Our business with the pig man completed, Emma and I sampled juicy sweet Satsumas at a booth across the way.  We bought ten, and we also bought a bag of Navel oranges from another vendor.  I plan to put some in everybody's stockings.  Then we found these delightful long and thin sausages that I thought would be great in the stockings too.  So we bought an assortment of those and added them to our bag.  We stopped at several other booths for individual little gifts.  Such great fun!

Unfortunately, we couldn't linger, as we had to hurry home to give Grandma and Grandpa lunch.   While I did that, Emma worked on decorating the rest of the gingerbread cookies she had baked for St. Nicholas Day.  Seeing her handiwork along with all the goodies we had brought home from the farmer's market made me think, "This is good.  This is very, very good."

I am looking forward to lighting the pink candle this Sunday and the fasting of the Ember Days next week.

And contemplating the fullness of time.

Come, thou long-expected Jesus!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Fixing Our Gaze on The Immaculate Conception

A most blessed Feast of the Immaculate Conception to you!

In this clip from The Song of Bernadette we see Bernadette fixing her gaze on the beautiful lady who has been appearing to her at Lourdes.  In answer to Bernadette's request to learn her identity, the lady responds, "I am the Immaculate Conception."

Watching Bernadette in the opening scene as she knelt there on the ground, I was impressed by the purity of her expression as she looked upon the most pure Virgin.  How rare it is to see that kind of innocence today!  And I thought about the Catholic concept of custody of the eyes and what a daily battle we must fight to practice it.

It's frightening, but much of what we should guard against today, we may not even be aware that we see.

Let me explain.

I just finished reading a transcript of a Solari Report podcast on entrainment technology, a form of mind control.  In it, Catherine Austin Fitts interviews Adam Trombly, a scientist/physicist, about how this technology is used and what you can do to minimize its influence on your life.

Basically, the entrainment relaxes/pleasures you and puts you in a state of openness to suggestibility.  The suggestibility part is where they implant the subliminal message they want you to act upon.  Entrainment is used surreptitiously in all kinds of media--dvd's, cd's, radio, movies in the theaters, etc., but it seems television paved the way for the others starting way back in the 1950s.

Maybe I've finally discovered why Catholics accepted the New Mass in 1969.  They had been lulled to sleep by gathering in front of the TV at home instead of kneeling in front of the Immaculate Conception and the Crucifix.

John Senior was so right when he admonished Catholics to "smash the television," in his classic book, The Restoration of Christian Culture.

Of course now the television has morphed into all kinds of different screens that we must guard ourselves and our children against.  We haven't done such a good job.  Just look at how we fell for the notion that public school children needed computers in the classroom to be able to keep up with technology and compete in the modern world.

After reading about entrainment techniques, I firmly believe that the so-called "snowflakes" are a product of it.  Previously I had thought it odd that Hillary Clinton had called on pop singers to boost her campaign.  But now I understand that their music and videos are powerful vehicles for entraining listeners.  The raw emotion from the melting snowflakes finally makes sense.  At first I thought it was all the coddling they received in school and a lack of critical thinking skills.  And, of course, a lack of the True Faith.

As I thought more about the idea of how we, like Bernadette, should "fix our gaze" on the Immaculate Conception, I became aware of the double meaning, as "fix" also means to repair.  We do need to constantly fix our gaze by avoiding as much as possible the things the world wants us to see.  And we must pray the Rosary, which Our Lady gave us as the most efficacious weapon for our battles against the world, the flesh, and the devil.

The Rosary, with its beautiful mysteries, gives us lovely pictures to contemplate and incites the imagination to holy thoughts, which makes us more human, more alive, more able to create.  All this is in direct opposition to the sounds and images that the world wants us to consume.  Look around, and you will see the results--zombie-like people who are consumers, not creators.

Interestingly, entrainment technology takes advantage of God's design for our brains.  As  Mr. Trombly explained it, "Entrainment technology basically is the technology that exploits a neurological function called frequency following response. And, frequency following response was discovered in the earlier part of the 20th century and in terms of this type of entrainment was a matter of when the brain hears a repetitive pattern.

"It can be a repetitive pattern of words, it can be a repetitive cadence of rhythm, or in modern times it can be a repetitive acoustic sound coming across the loud speaker. It can be in a certain wave form, a certain frequency, the brain will follow that sound. The brain will follow that sound whether it’s monaural or binaural or surround sound; the brain will fall into rhythm with that sound." 

My conclusion from that explanation?  

God hard-wired our brains for the recitation of the Rosary with its repetitive pattern of words and repetitive cadence or rhythm!  Without fixing our gaze on the Immaculate Conception and praying the Rosary, we leave ourselves open to conquest by the Powers of Darkness, the enemies of Christ.

Three Steps to Follow

Fix your gaze  
Pray the Rosary and
Entrain your brain to follow that sound to Heaven.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

To Fast or Not to Fast, That Is the Question

Editor's Note:  Initially this post was inadvertently titled after a rock song.  About an hour after publishing, the lyrics surfaced in my brain, and I thought it better to change the title to the present one.  Happily, it is a more fitting title anyway.

After the gingerbread cookies and the chocolate of St. Nicholas Day, the complete fast of the Vigil of the Immaculate Conception:  2 snacks, 1 full meal, no meat.

And, I might add, no questions.

This past Vigil of All Saints, I realized that my two traditional Catholic calendars contradicted each other on whether to fast.  After consulting a knowledgable friend, I learned that the fast had actually been abrogated under Pope Pius XII.  So you could choose not to fast at all.

Today when I was looking at my calendar from St. Jude Shrine, my sedevacantist parish, I found a page titled "Supplement to the Instructions for Fasting and Abstinence" with all the background information to the changes that occurred under Annibale Bugnini during Pope Pius XII's reign.  Whether or not you agree with the sedevacantist position, the history is good to know.  I wish I had known it back in October.  I wouldn't have been so confused.

The last two paragraphs of the supplement page explain how the traditional fast for the Vigil of the Assumption was "transferred" (effectively abrogated) to the fast for the Vigil of the Immaculate Conception during the latter part of Pius XII's pontificate and how there never was confirmation from the Vatican on whether the obligation to fast on the Vigil of All Saints was to be lifted.

"This brief historical background serves as an introduction to the main purpose of this advisory, namely, to address the questions surrounding the abrogation of the Vigils of All Saints and the Assumption, and the suspension of the fasting and abstinence regulations for those vigils.  Both vigils were abolished in the 1950's, quite possibly as the first phase of 'change for the sake of change', engineered by the aforementioned Masonic infiltrator, Hannibal Bugnini.  When the American Bishops requested an official determination from Rome on whether the custom of fasting and abstinence on the suspended Vigil of All Saints had also been terminated, they received only a pre-printed notice, dated 15 March 1957, stating that, 'The Decree of the Sacred Congregation of Rites...looks simply to the liturgical part of the day and does not touch the obligation of fast and abstinence that are a penitential preparation for the following feast day.'  Thus, without any official confirmation from the Vatican that the disciplines associated with the Vigil of All Saints no longer applied, the US Bishops unilaterally dispensed American Catholics from those long-standing regulations.  In 1957, the power of the still-valid and legitimate American bishops to bind and loose in disciplinary matters pertaining to the faithful under their care was certainly lawful.  However, the bishops' decision to relax the vigil fast was in reaction to the first wave of Vatican innovations that would soon morph into an all-out, anti-Catholic liturgical revolution that was spring-loaded to be unleashed upon the death of Pius XII.

"Just fourteen months before the demise of that aged and ailing pontiff, the penitential custom of fasting and abstinence on the Vigil of the Assumption was also effectively abolished by its transfer to the Vigil of the Immaculate Conception, this time by official decree of the Sacred Congregation of the Council (sic) on 25 July 1957.  This unusual move seemed to contradict the Pope's prohibition against rearranging the liturgical calendar, issued by his encyclical, Mediator Dei, ten years earlier.  Nevertheless, it is beyond the scope of this brief review to provide an analysis of this legislation, or, for that matter, to challenge every alteration in discipline that was enacted during the pontificate of Pius XII.  Indeed, three of them turned out to be providential just a few years later, after the true Mass had been taken away from parish churches.  The exemption of water from the Eucharistic fast in 1953; the shortening of the Eucharistic fast from Midnight to three hours; and the simultaneous introduction of Sunday Evening Masses in 1957, made it possible for circuit-riding, Latin Mass clergy to bring valid Sacraments to remote groups of remnant faithful on Sunday nights, sometimes hundreds of miles away, after assisting their own congregations earlier in the day.  Thus the legislative revisions in the waning years of Pope Pius XII may be viewed as a 'mixed blessing', with some seemingly inspired by the Holy Ghost and others of doubtful origin.  In any case, there can be no imputation of sin to those who no longer observe the old rules for fasting and abstinence on the Vigils of All Saints and the Assumption.  The faithful who are able to continue those traditions (while retaining the practice also on the Vigil of the Immaculate Conception) are encouraged to do so, as voluntary acts of penance win greater spiritual merit than those done purely for compliance with the law.  Finally, the rules for fasting and abstinence on the Vigils of Pentecost and Christmas were not affected by the changes in question, and therefore, are still listed as obligatory by this calendar."

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

St. Nicholas and Using Money in a Catholic Way

First,  a most happy and blessed feast of St. Nicholas to you, dear reader!

I was thinking early this morning as I set up our St. Nicholas display that he really gave us a good example of investing money.  If you are unfamiliar with the story, he secretly gave a bag of gold from his inheritance as dowry for each of three poor maiden sisters so that they could marry well.

I use the term investing rather than giving because if you think about it, there is nothing more important to a healthy civilization than establishing good Catholic communities.  And that begins with Catholic families.  Helping these girls marry was a wonderful way of investing that paid interest by furthering Christ's kingdom, which as a bishop he understood perfectly.

Notice he didn't toss them gold so that they could buy a house of their own or go to college or travel the world.  He gave it expressly for marriage.

He imagined the kind of world in which he wanted to live, one where Christ is King, and he put his money where it would work toward that vision.  And though this example involved charity, I want to engage in the same kind of thought process for all our family's monetary transactions.

However, going from the thought process to the reality is where it becomes exceedingly difficult, dare I say impossible?  As you have probably discovered, there is this whole corrupt underworld operating out of sight that does not care about you, your children, or your grandchildren and actually hates Jesus Christ.  It just wants your money.  It doesn't care whether your neighborhood is safe or whether you have access to food that is not poison.   It's like we live in a giant charade.  I truly feel like I go out into the world with sword drawn just to go to the grocery store and the drug store.  I mean, they look like nice places, but they both really, really want to give me a flu shot!  At least that is what I infer from all the signs they post, trying to entice me to get one.

For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and power, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places.

Clearly, Prince of Lies, Inc., is the real owner of many profitable companies.

So it is difficult, but it really does matter where you bank and what companies you support by buying their products.  We can't give up.  

I have subscribed to two different investment advice/education sites over the years, hoping to find help in this matter, but in both cases I unsubscribed after determining their advice didn't fit my vision.  In fact, it clashed with it.  I don't want to invest in the military-industrial complex even if it is the best return on my money.  It's evil.

Recently I subscribed to another site after watching several video interviews with its author, Catherine Austin Fitts.  Here's one of the first one I watched:

Her site,, is such a wealth of helpful information that I am still mining its rich archive two months later.  I subscribed on the monthly plan to see whether I would like it.  It's $30 a month.  I will most likely buy an annual membership in January.  No, I don't get any money from mentioning the site, no benefits of any kind.

I am particularly excited about her posts on "Reviving a Local Economy".  I think it would be a fantastic tool for young Catholic families to use to start creating the kind of place they want to live and raise families.  She gives advice on how to extricate yourself from the corruption as much as possible and how to start investment groups to help one another succeed.  Of course, it is not perfect. It is just the most helpful site I have found so far.  It's so helpful that I could keep writing about it for a long time, but alas, the day wanes, and soon St. Nicholas Day will be over.

So that's all for now.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Dumpling Daze

Grandma has been hankering for dumplings for several weeks now.  We wanted to make her some but weren't sure what recipe to use.  Grandma eats gluten-free.

Emma and I thought that the Urban Poser's tortilla recipe would give us a good starting place for strip dumpling experimentation.  It uses Otto's Cassava Flour which is naturally gluten and grain free.

Grandma nixed this idea, favoring biscuit-type dumplings made from a gluten-free mix that she had on hand.  It includes corn flour, which Emma is allergic to--thus the necessity of dual dumpling development.  Emma made the strip dumplings while I made the biscuit ones.

With both of us working in close proximity to the stove and Emma's kitten, Elsie, underfoot and sometimes climbing our legs while our hands were doughy, it got pretty interesting at times.

Finally Emma stuck Elsie in her apron.  We had a few moments of peace, for which we were grateful.

I cooked Grandma's dumplings in a separate pot of chicken broth to avoid cross-contamination.   They turned out well, and she scarfed them up.  Yay!  It's great to be able to satisfy someone's craving, especially when that someone is in a wheelchair and can no longer cook for herself.

The cassava flour ones were definitely not like the traditional Southern (white-flour) strip dumplings that I grew up eating in Chicken and Dumplings.  But they were still good, and we're looking forward to trying them again with the addition of some grain-free baking powder to make them a little fluffier.  And I think Emma said she will roll them out a little thicker as well.  The only thing we regretted with this first try was not having more homemade chicken bone broth on hand to make a bigger batch of soup.

One word of warning.  If you grew up nibbling dumpling dough while you made the dumplings like I did, do not try this with cassava flour.  It tastes gross.  Bleh!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Advent: The Cross and the Crib

The painting of the Sacred Heart commissioned by Gabriel Garcia Moreno for the consecration of Ecuador

The aftermath of the presidential election revealed to me in a startling way how desperately this country needs to be Catholicized.  How much better the Catholic way when faced with situations one finds disagreeable: practice resignation and embrace one's cross!

Instead, it seems as if the country has been taken over by toddlers in their terrible twos.  Such whining and temper tantrums I've never before witnessed on a national scale.

The experience shone a light on my own weaknesses in this regard and gave me pause.  How often, I, too, whine and complain!  And how unattractive it must be for those around me!

Consequently, on St. Andrew's feast I decided to start saying St. Andrew's prayer, O Good Cross, every day in addition to the St. Andrew Christmas novena during our Advent wreath prayer time.  The idea of being led to both the cross and the crib by St. Andrew is one I hadn't considered before now.  I find it enormously helpful, and it has given me reason to be thankful for the Trump protestors.  May their unhappiness work toward their conversion and the establishment of the Social Reign of Christ the King.