learned optimism

When things happen, we choose how to react. Usually, this is an unconscious choice that we make by default based on how we’re wired. The wiring can be changed, however, with the addition of some basic logic:

Some events make me unhappy.
I can’t change those events.
I can change the way I perceive those events.
Changing my perception changes my feelings.
I can change the way I feel about events by changing the way I perceive those events.

There are three basic ways of interpreting events:

temporary vs. permanent
specific vs. general
external vs. internal

When “negative” events happen, we choose to view them from one of two sets of filters:

Optimism – reacting to setbacks from a presumption of personal power

* Bad events are temporary setbacks
* Isolated to particular circumstances
* Can be overcome by my effort and abilities

Pessimism – reacting to setbacks from a presumption of personal helplessness:

* Bad events will last a long time
* Will undermine everything I do
* Are my fault

Conversely, when “positive” events happen:

The Optimist reacts from a presumption of personal power:

* Good events will last a long time
* Will shore up everything I do
* Are due to my effort and abilities

The Pessimist reacts from a presumption of personal helplessness:

* Good events are temporary happenstance
* Isolated to particular circumstances
* Can be sabotaged by my efforts and actions

These filters can be learned and gradually become habit, with effort. It’s sort of a spiral effect; the good keeps getting better and the bad just gets worse. Find the good. React from a position of power. It’s worth it.

Learned Optimism by Martin E.P. Seligman, Ph.D.

Is Gluten Making You Depressed? | Psychology Today

How does depression relate to the damage done to the small intestine in celiac disease? The intestinal damage wrought by celiac disease prevents absorption of essential nutrients that keep the brain healthy, especially zinc, tryptophan, and the B vitamins. These nutrients are necessary for the production of essential chemicals in the brain such as serotonin, a deficiency of which has been linked to depression.

In particular, low zinc levels have been linked to depression. In addition to keeping the immune system strong and the memory sharp, zinc plays an important role in the production and use of neurotransmitters-brain chemicals that help modulate mood. This is why low levels of zinc have been linked to major depression, and why supplemental zinc enhances the effects of antidepressant medications in many people. A 2009 study found that zinc supplementation significantly reduced depression scores in people who had not been helped by antidepressants in the past.

Sadly, in cases of depression related celiac disease these nutritional deficiencies are often ignored by physicians who are more comfortable in treating the symptoms of depression with medication.

via Is Gluten Making You Depressed? | Psychology Today.

Interesting. I’d never heard that about zinc.

does this mean I’m full?

Researchers are learning that teaching obese individuals mindful eating skills—like paying closer attention to their bodies’ hunger cues and learning to savor their food—can help them change unhealthy eating patterns and lose weight.

via Better Eating through Mindfulness | Greater Good.

A few years ago after slowing down my food consumption I noticed an odd thing while I was eating. After awhile, I’ll take a single deep gulp of air – and then I often need to drink something in order to continue eating.

It took me awhile to figure out that that solo deep breath is my satiation cue, almost like I’m trying to make room for more food somehow by swelling up my insides.

Every so often I’ll see somebody else doing it and I’ll mention it to them. So far they all just look at me like I’m nuts and continue eating. Has anyone else ever noticed this digestive “tell” or is it just me?

gluten free green enchilada sauce

Earlier I’d written a post about making enchiladas and how hard it was to find canned green enchilada sauce that didn’t have wheat in it. I’d found this plastic pack of Frontera brand sauce at S&S, a local health food market.

It was kinda spendy and the packs are pretty small. Wasn’t crazy about its dark green color or thick consistency, either. After that I decided to just make my own green enchilada sauce with cans of diced green chiles, chunks of cream cheese and a small bit of liquid (chicken broth would be best if you have it – I keep meaning to freeze up a tray of cubes for just this sort of thing).

But then, long after I’d given up hope, I happened to find these at the local 99 Cent Store, of all places! Cue choir of angels singing, enter La Victoria to the rescue! The list of ingredients has some unsavory and uncertain characters, but it does at least appear to be wheat free:

I haven’t tasted this brand yet, though I suspect I may have in the past. Was flat broke when I spotted it in the store and I keep forgetting to go back with grocery money, but hopefully this post will remind me (which is also why I took the picture!) Or my tummy. Eventually. Actually bought a thing of vinegar yesterday with the intention of getting back into partial fasting. But yeah, I haven’t felt much like cooking in awhile, and I meant to give the enchilada making a rest anyway so I haven’t missed this particular ingredient quite yet.

Though I have been meaning to make up some huevos rancheros with this sauce poured over warm tater tots, mixed beans, shredded cheese & fried egg. Only thing that’s a bummer with that is finding decent soft tortillas to scoop it all up with. I’m not a big fan of cold corn tortillas, though I suppose they’re okay steamed. And all the rice and other alternative grain tortillas I’ve tried so far have been awful.

stuff it in whole

Huge thanks to my friend Kia for tipping me off that instead of grinding up bud for my vaporizers like all the instructions say to do that it works just as well to pop them in whole. They seem to come out just as brown and dry as the flakes do, and they’re like a million times easier to clean out than the ground up and/or powdery stuff.

I found a little dental hook thingie at the dollar store which is just perfect for pulling the buds out of the stem of my Inavap:

With this vaporizer in particular, I’m thrilled to have less cleanup because as I mentioned before, the only problem I had with my previous one is that the screws got so dirty and sticky the bowl got stuck to the base and I fucked the whole thing up trying to unscrew it and put it back together the right way.

Using bud also makes it easier to reload when it’s hot (the top of this gets quite warm when heated – so it’s often more comfortable to grip from the base while vaping, even though it seems designed to grip higher up at the narrow point.)

In my zeal to keep the threads and screen clean, I would try to brush off the screen and bowl between uses, which generally meant letting the bowl cool down because holding it for a long time after vaping kind of sucks. Even with this awesome curved cleaning brush (wish I could remember where I found it!) it still meant holding the bowl long enough to tap it into the ashtray and then dig/brush stuff out of the inside as well as dust off the stuff that invariably seemed to fall around the outside grooves while loading.

It’s not too bad though just popping the bud out with the hook and stuffing another one in, though – which is what I’ve been doing all morning and has been just fantastic.

on meeting people

I talk to a lot of lonely people, people who want to find someone to love but haven’t. It’s a pretty big category and I’ve found myself in it more than once.

Now, I don’t know if my own romantic experience is in any way typical (and I sort of suspect it both is and isn’t) but the pattern that has shown up for me time and time again is that dating has never ever worked.

What works is increasing my circle of friends and spending more time with them. Because, invariably, when I spend more time with other people I end up meeting their friends (and family!) too, which means I tend to stumble upon new people I’m attracted to, and whom are sometimes even attracted to me back.

It’s that whole common interest thing. If you find a social circle you are really comfortable and at ease in, and this other person belongs to it, you start off with a relaxation advantage; you ‘fit’. Also, you already have their references, or can get them easily – and from people you already trust, no less.

But I think the type of social circle may also make a difference. For me, I tend to be most comfortable around hippies, but I prefer to date geeks. So, finding hippie friendly geeks is a high priority for me.

The fact that I use medicinal cannabis is another huge factor. To date I’ve had two partners who I met randomly (one at school and another at party) who both were incapable of dealing with this reality. Partners chosen from my preferred social circle tend not to have this problem.

Perhaps more important than common interests is common values. But of course, interests are often based on values, so there’s certainly some overlap.

I guess the point I’m trying to make is that if you want to find someone to spend romantic time with, consider expanding the time you spend on other kinds of human relationships. It’s like networking for the heart.

I got my vapor back, vapor back…

Well, I finally reordered myself another Inavap vaporizer. I’ve been using all kinds of other stuff since I broke my last one.

My favorite portable vape is the battery operated magic flight launch box – which is invaluable in crowds, indoors, and places where discretion is key. It’s my go-to device at Burning Man because there’s no visible flame and barely any smell or smoke (vapor). It comes in a groovy little tin:

It doesn’t hit as hard as the VaporGenie, though, which I prefer for all other portable occasions where I don’t mind using a lighter. I’ve actually got two of them, now – the second hand carved model I ordered directly from the manufacturer and I highly recommend it.

Been using various bongs with various clogged and crappy stems. Also various glass pipes and my wooden pipe that I found somewhere online; it looks sorta like these:

Got a home vaporizer, the Vapormatic deluxe, which looks like an old school toaster sitting on my stove:

It’s okay. I like it because you can choose from fan driven inhalation tube or balloon bags. I don’t like it because it is noisy and the temperature varies wildly so every so often I char the product into ash. Kinda defeats the purpose.

That’s why I dig the Inavap so much – it’s quiet and the temperature is stable. The top of the unit does get hot, though, so you learn quickly enough to hold it from the bottom. And as I learned before, it is crucially important to keep the brass screw grooves clean so the stem doesn’t get stuck to the base. And it’s maybe not the best for sharing unless you get extra stems.

But yeah, I’ve been hitting it all morning. After awhile I decided to take a bong hit because I ultimately prefer the stronger hit of smoking. Gosh, was I disappointed! It tasted TERRIBLE after vaping all morning. I mean, like really, Really, REALLY horrible. So yeah, vaping with the Inavap, while I didn’t realize it at the time, is quite super tasty on top of being quiet and quasi- discreet. Did I mention the darn thing looks like a water bottle?

easy gluten free enchiladas

Been learning how to cook gluten free this year due to a companion’s allergy. I don’t feel much like cooking these days, but when I do I like to make a big batch of food. And it turns out that enchiladas are not only easy, they’re comfort food. It’s basically my go-to casserole of choice now.

The one I’m eating right now was made with corn tortillas, cream cheese, mozzarella cheese, fresh spinach, leftover mixed dried beans cooked from scratch, black olives, canned tuna, canned diced green chiles, and canned diced tomatoes with onions or peppers or something equally flavorful in them (I keep a good assortment of these in the cupboard).

The one I made before used canned mackerel for the meat and Mexican style shredded cheese mix instead of the other cheeses. I also made my own green enchilada sauce from bacon grease, garbanzo powder, green chiles, cream cheese and (I think) chicken broth. That worked okay, but turned out to be fairly unnecessary.

The time before that, I used a whole cooked chicken from the grocery store with Mexican style shredded cheese mix and slices of pepper-jack cheese. I liked the pepper-jack; I’ll have to do that again when I get some more.

By mistake that first time, I’d used a can of pre-made green enchilada sauce not realizing it had wheat in it. Since then I looked in every store in town to try and find pre-made stuff that was gluten free, and while I did finally find one small package that was, I decided it was just easier to use the chilies straight and add cream cheese directly to the tortillas (since I had a bunch of it around anyway to try as a substitute for coconut milk in curry -  another allergy).

So, how to make enchiladas?

Get a deep, long baking dish (or two).

Gather ingredients. Key ingredients are tortillas, cheese, and some sort of salsa like stuff. Experiment with different proteins and veggies. I chose the ones I mentioned above because they’re easy. I bet adding canned chili to the mix would also be neat.

Preheat oven to around 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Make a layer of tortillas on the bottom of the baking dish. Spread on cream cheese. Add olives, pre-cooked meat, spinach, beans, onions, veggies, etc. Add sauce (canned chilies/tomatoes/salsa) then shredded cheese. Add another layer of tortillas. Add more veggies and stuff. Top with more sauce and shredded cheese.

Cook at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until top layer of cheese is melted to the color you like. Dark orange crust will be hard, chewy and have a very strong taste. Yellow will be a softer, less pungent crust.

Let cool to harden. Like lasagna, this will be a swampy mess at first and then should thicken to a solid consistency.

Note: I used all the liquids from the canned fish, chilies, and tomatoes – this dish needs a certain amount of liquid but the moisture from those and the fresh spinach seemed more than sufficient and was indeed slightly too much in my second overflow dish, which came out kind of soggy (Edit: Actually, I forgot that I’d added one of those little pouches of green enchilada sauce, which is probably what made it wetter) but was also not cooked to the dark orange crust state as the non soggy one. So cooking time and liquid may need to be adjusted to personal taste with experience.

Overall, though, making these enchiladas is simple and oh so satisfying. Maybe sometime when I’m not feeling so full and lazy I’ll go take a picture of either the finished product or the process of making them. Edit: Well, all right. Here’s a photo of what’s left of the second, soggier one. It’s not particularly appetizing looking, but it tasted pretty good, and is, in fact, what inspired me to write all this down in the first place:

juicing cannabis for health

Wow. I’ve viewed cannabis as a supplement for years, but these folks recommend actually eating it as one for daily health, not just emergency medicine.

Cannabis Is The Most Important Vegetable On The Planet – YouTube.

Hmm, juicing the leaves – what an interesting idea. But they recommend a plant a day. We’ve got a long way to go before that’s a practical reality for most people.


fluoride linked to heart disease

Groundbreaking new research has linked sodium fluoride to cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death worldwide. Researchers found that fluoride consumption directly stimulates the hardening of your arteries, a condition known as atherosclerosis that is highly correlated with the #1 killer. Sodium fluoride is currently added to the water supply of many cities worldwide, despite extreme opposition from health professionals and previous studies linking it to decreased IQ and infertility.

via Fluoride Linked to #1 Cause of Death in New Research.

Well, that’s no good.

it’s so much work to be your friend

It’s So Much Work.m4v – YouTube.

This was so powerful, such a poignant way to wake up. Dead on. Just dead on.

“Think about your 3 best friends in high school/jr high/grade school… Now try to imagine your childhood w/out those kids, w/out those friends. That’s what happens to kids w/learning & language problems – they spend a very lonely childhood without friends.”