My Right Side

My right side

The right side represents the masculine. Represented by the sun. Action, being in the world, doing, getting things done, bringing in the money….

The left side represents the feminine, the moon energy. The dream, the vision the being in the world rather than doing… The intuition the creativity…


All of my physical issues are on my right side – from the top of my head to the bottom of my foot. Suspicious. This is a clear message about my life. Even my allopathic practitioners agree that something is all connected right. That everything is all related.

Yes, everything is all related. I’m struggling with that right now: my transition from one work to another. To be honest, I don’t know what to make of my self, if I’m not bringing in a hefty paycheck.


If I’m not a professional, when I’m not a doctor, who am I? Who am I, if I’m not contributing, and obviously, the only way to contribute is with paycheck. Who am I if  I am not a knowledgeable authority? Who am I, if I stay at home and mother?

I’ve seen how this works. I’ve seen it in my mother, and the generations before her. I’ve seen it in my own relationships, to the small degree that I’ve had one or the other of us not contributing on an equal basis financially.  It wasn’t necessarily me, contributing less. Whoever it is, it’s a problem.   Isabelle told me, her mother said, “The only way for a woman to have equality is for her to have a salary.”

Sage advice. I’ve agreed with this thought the whole of my life. Yet – now what do I do. Right now, I can’t tell you.  My goal is to re-create myself and my life, so that I am living in alignment. I want the way that I generate income to be a reflection of the things that I love, and believe in, and that serve the world as a whole. Those are not generally high paying jobs, though. Not like being an allopathic doctor of some sort.

My challenge is to move out of my right side with being in the world, and into my left side way of being. I have lots of wisdom, intuition, commonsense, practical solutions and sage advice. I haven’t found how to make a living using those. Yet.

The good news, however, is that I’m on my way, regardless. I’m stepping on new stones and take it taking a new pathway. This may not be “the pathway “but it’s a pathway. I am definitely going in new directions. From there I hope to at least figure out which direction I need to go.

Wouldn’t it be delightful if I recognize that I showed up in the clearing. The Place. The Place where I wanted to be. It’s unlikely to happen that way. The journey to get there, that is another adventure.

That’s what I’m here for.

The point where Energy Gathers & Flows. The Nadi of my life, in poetic yoga terms.


Written July 2017 – by Tama Cathers

Don’t worry, friends & reader! I am getting the hang of this Giving up my Career and Redefining my value Thing. No need to facebook me and see if I am okay.  This series of Posts was written months ago. I think it’s important to bring permission to being lost while you find the way. If you are lost, or contemplating lost, I hope this makes you feel better.


Food, Food Medicine, Health, Herbal Medicine, Travel

Time for Food Blogging – Jackfruit

Time for Jackfruit

Jackfruit is like some weird alien, put on the earth to confound people, and to get your hands sticky. I am still waiting for one to possibly hatch. I don’t let that stop me – it’s really tasty!   It is this a humongous, amazing, weird, tasty fruit, which you’ve probably never seen. Unless you went to an Asian market…or apparently you local Meijer’s Store.

Used to be, we had to drive an hour and a half to Grand Rapids to find a jackfruit. Finding them was spotty, and still is.  However, my husband brought home a large jackfruit from our local Meijer’s store! This is a large box/grocery store chain in Michigan.

The fruit looks similar to a Durian, another fruit you are unlikely to see, unless you frequent Asian stores, which I admit to doing, obviously!  The durian’s outside is very sharp and very spiky. To be honest, I was rather intimidated by the durian’s sharp pokey outside. I would not want to have to pick one up – an obstacle for me trying them.  Since I’ve never eaten at durian, I can’t compare the taste of the two. However, one author called durian, ”the stinkiest, spikiest, weirdest fruit of them all” and said durian smell is like ”sweaty socks sitting in sewer water near a fishery,” and tasted like “a sweet almondine onion-sherry chocolate mousse with hints of garlic and farts. Delightful! And completely incomparable to jackfruit.”   Thank goodness!  Durian are seemingly easier to come by and crowd out our Asian markets for shelf space. Not sure why. Maybe as weapons of war! You’d understand if you’d seen those thorns!

But we are here to talk about Jackfruit: Jackfruit looks similar, but the scaly bits are soft, making it look like an alien egg pod, coated in dinosaur skin. Green, a foot and a half tall by 8+ inches wide, with a reptilian skin, it does look out of this world. Inside the outer dinosaur skin, are yellow-orange pods of delicious fruit, each with a large seed in the center. A bunch of latex fingers and tongues hold them securely in place. Our job is to wrestle these pods-of-goodness out of the latex alien egg, without getting stuck to the thing. Don’t despair – it’s a battle worth fighting!

I followed the directions taped onto the fruit – they were useless. The best way I‘ve found to get to the good fruit is to put on clean rubber dish gloves, cut the fruit in half, and go to it, grabbing the pods and twisting. They twist out readily.

The fruit that you’ll receive is sweet. I (force-fed) it to friends, who (still liked me afterwards, and) described as a cross between cantaloupe and pear, or a cross between bananas and mangoes. It does have a slightly musky odor, no one else mentioned it, but it tastes great.

Jackfruit is supposed to be good for your energy, and libido. I have to be honest and say I have never noticed any affect on my energy or libido. We like it because it’s weird! Also because it’s tastes wonderful.

We are an adventurous bunch of eaters.

I hope you are too.


Jackfruit Information

Jackfruit is related to mulberries – something I did not know, and never would have guessed. They grow on the trunks of trees rather than a fruit from the branch – a popular choice in the tropics. They’re used for juice and jams, fresh edibles, and it is gaining popularity as a meat substitute. Yes, a meat substitute. Weird. Love it! Unripe jackfruit, when cooked, makes a product resembling pulled pork. I’d even heard of this, although I didn’t put the two together – my luscious orange gigantic fruit, and a vegan meat substitute.

Once harvested the fruit only lasts a number of weeks, so has to be processed and eaten fairly quickly. The trees grow in tropical and subtropical in tropical areas. In many parts of the world they’re considered trash trees, and trash food that would “only be eaten by the poor.” Similar to another of my favorites – mulberries. This bias keeps large populations from utilizing this fruit, which grows naturally everywhere within its region, and has many benefits. It could provide much needed nutrition in areas where grows naturally.

The orange bark from the tree can be used to make a dye, the color of the traditional orange robes of monks in Asia. The latex can be used as a glue – no surprise. Wood is a very hard, suitable for many items, including musical instrument. Plus the wood has a neat yellow color.

Skins have medicinal qualities – including reducing the heavy metal cadmium which damages are DNA and is a common heavy metal contaminant. The seeds are also edible, can be roasted with a little salt, and eaten. I will have to try that next time. Apparently the seeds are high enough in protein to “replace lentils in the diet.” Roasted seeds can also be ground and made into a gluten-free flour.

The jackfruit is high in antioxidants, phyto-nutrients, and vitamins including the vitamins and vitamin C. The fruit has a low glycemic index fruit, giving a slow releasing glucose – that would be a good option for diabetics. It’s also very high in fiber and helpful pre-biotic for our pro-biotics.

When jackfruit is cooked, the water is traditionally used as well. It’s particularly high in potassium and Omega-3 fatty acid’s.

In addition it’s high and all the trace minerals and vitamins, and almost anything else you think of. It is supposed to be soothing the G.I. tract, and good for G.I. ulcers.

It’s high in magnesium and so helps with insomnia.

Below are some internet references to studies, showing that Jackfruit may e helpful in people with cancer. I have yet to look up the original studies. However, in one study, women who a jackfruit regularly had reductions in multiple types of cancer, including endometrial cancer. It’s also under research or has been researched for colorectal cancer.


Website on Durian

Cover Photo by Chasmac on, other photos by Tama’s Kitchen3 (3)2 (4)1 (16)


Isabelle’s Parenting Philosophy

Isabelle’s Parenting Philosophy

Isabelle, my hostess for the yoga weekend, is a lovely woman. She was older than I, and has a lot of yoga experience, having been an Iyengar instructor for years.  When she met TriYoga, however, it captured her – thus our meeting. She ended up hosting me for a weekend training.

She also has some lovely adult children. We talked a lot about parenting over the weekend. She had me fascinated, laughing, and cringing with her parenting philosophy. I’m writing it down because I want to remember. I am sharing it, because I think some of it is fantastic.

Her first language is French. Wanting her children to also speak French, she spoke only French in her house and to her children. This, she credits with getting them to be bilingual. Usually, the first generation that is bilingual, raise children who speak that language as second language only, or not at all.

I  think it has to do with allowing the children to have an option to use a different language to find the right word. If there’s no option they’re forced to find the right word in the parent’s naïve tongue, and therefore they keep that language as their first language. The language in the world around them becomes their second language. As they move into grade school and beyond, however, the second language, becomes their first language. This sounds confusing but that’s how it seems to work.

I think this is it great idea, though it caused the children some anxiety; wondering why their mother could speak English, but wouldn’t speak to them! I can see the outrage on their faces as they dealt with discovering this parenting ploy. However, to make their household work, they would have to capitulate. Thus, they held onto their mother’s language.


Her advice on teen-agers, given to her by an older friend, was as follows.  First – Find out what’s not negotiable – and stick to that.  Secondly, “Pick Three Rules.”  She said it didn’t matter what you chose, but picking and reducing your battles was primary.   This is brilliant, as it reduces fighting. It’s streamlines parenting to what’s really important. It’s flexible, as what’s really important will vary from household to household and family to family. Isabelle, herself, had two things that were not negotiable. Getting good grades, and being polite to family and society.

A third brilliant tactic; within the above framework, she discussed short-term consequences and long-term consequences with her children. This is how she described it to me:

Short-term consequences meant things that she could do something about – or choose to not, but would eventually pass. Did you get in trouble with the principal and get kicked out of school for a day? Too bad that your consequence. Did you get stuck with a flat tire, or run out of gas? That’s short term consequence. She could pick you up – or not.

Long-term consequence was for something that were going to change your life – for the rest of your lif,e and that a parent could do nothing about. Long-term consequences were something that she could not fix. This would include somebody being pregnant, somebody being dead, criminal records, and such. There’s no fix for these kind of life changing events.

Her questions for her kids, when they asked her to save them, were: Was somebody pregnant? Was somebody dead? Was there any other long-term consequence from the nights action or anything they wanted to tell her now?


That’s where Isabelle’s last rule comes in. (I love this one!) Parents should hear about things, especially problems, directly from the child. If they are heard directly from the child, the child is 50% forgiven. If they find out from someone else, say the principle, the police, the neighbors – No Forgiveness.   She didn’t tell her children with the consequence would be, and often times there wasn’t any consequence, when they told her, but this was her choice.  (they never knew that part.)  The key was, they did tell her, thus she knew a lot more than she would otherwise.

I love this because it doesn’t forgive them for their mistakes, but it keeps the parents informed. It is also a way for them to bring into the light the things that they know that they did that was wrong, to feel guilty about it, and the flexibility to make new choices next time.


So, Isabelle said, the story goes; if I borrow my son’s car, have a flat, and find a bong near the tire jack that is a short-term issue. There could be a long-term consequence for me, as I have to drive home, and the residue in the bong could land me in jail, and with a criminal record.  So, I may choose to do a number of things, but the son will likely never see the bong again. Isabelle’s response: save the bong, to give it to that child’s son or daughter, when they reach young adulthood.

I think that’s hilarious! I don’t know if she would actually do it. But it’s still funny. Isabelle’s mind works like mine. It’s important for children to be able to break rules and to feel very guilty about it. It’s important for them to know that they’ve done something wrong, without it always having a long-term consequence, or reflecting negatively on their personality. Everyone makes mistakes. In her view, if you, as a parent, don’t think consuming a glass of wine is the worst thing in the world, then having your children steal beer and drink it in the backyard without you knowing, is probably not the worst thing that could happen.  Is it worth punishing. I don’t know – you will have to decide on your own.


However, parents need to actually become more conservative, otherwise things tend to get out of hand. The parent who doesn’t mind a glass of wine, may says it’s okay for the children to have a glass of wine. However, they then have opened a door that will cause problems, as the children are likely to have 16 glasses of wine. That’s not OK.  So she advises becoming less permissive.  In Isabelle’s rules – yes, it is definitely worth punishing the stolen beer in the backyard.

Later, my husband, child and I went to see the teen action movie. Maybe you’ve seen it too, maybe not.  The movie starts with a teenage boy making some decisions that are not going to bode well for his future. He steals a cow to put in the team’s locker room – a stupid prank.  However, the cow escapes. The police come, the boy steals a car, has a high speed chase, flips the car, wrecking it and 3-6 other cars. As the scene unfolds my heart is in my mouth, fearful that he will kill somebody, which could happen as easily as not. These are those long-term consequences.

Pranks like stealing a cow and getting it into the schools locker room, that’s going to earn some short-term consequences, if things go well. Stealing a car – well, we don’t know about how that is going to go, not likely well. Wrecking a stolen car, flipping it and doing hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage…Now we are talking significant long-term consequences. The next set of bad choices the movie offers us involve racing at train to cross the tracks, with a load full of friends. They don’t make it.

However – it’s a movie. The character was saved by becoming a superhero.                  Though after this movie, they may not understand it, but for most teens, this isn’t going to be an option.

The balance between conservative and permissiveness is thin. There needs to be a place for children know what’s right and wrong, that there are consequences, and yet also a space for them to make mistakes, recognize those as mistakes, and make new choices.

I honestly love the three rules Isabelle has given me for parenting teens. It fits well in my parenting philosophy. I’ll be using these immediately.


by Tama Cathers

Credits: Photo – Brigitte Tohm 351791 Unsplash

Health, Personal Wisdom, Yoga

Knees to chest

Knees to chest

The Earth Series of my Triyoga practice involved a lot of lying on your back and you pull your knees.

This. Is. Torture.


Apparently people like this.

To me, that’s like saying somebody enjoys being put on the rack!

– It’s horrible and awful!


There’s no natural curve left in my back. when on your back, the idea is to maintain a natural curve, so that if there was a small caterpillar under the small of your back, you wouldn’t squish it and it would wiggle away. My Caterpillar’s would be snatched. Flat.

Knees to chest, for me takes all the curve out of my back. It’s draining, and hurts, and is just awful. I think I mentioned that. This likely means there is a lot of emotion tied up in this move. So – now I have unpacked, shyness, embarrassment, weakness, and now our favorite – some deep shame.

Interestingly enough it’s awful for my mother as well. My teacher helped by introducing me to another of her Yoga students, who also hates this pose!  All three of us,  find child uncomfortable, in addition. It least I have some company!

The suggestion was that I  inheritage this body tension from my mother, as we share similar body types.  The other suggestion was that by fixing my body tightness, I could help her …..and I can help my daughter.  I don’t know that it’s true, but certainly something’s going on! Even if it is only the way we sit and are active.

I’m sure this is related to my difficulty with Bridge Roll 2. They all focus on my sacral area and lower lumbar spine. I understand that I’ll be able to work through this overtime. If I choose to.

I suspect I will choose to. I like the idea of healing myself. I also like the idea of healing my lineage. Is that possible? I don’t know. But I will give it a try.


by Tama Cathers,  from experiences July 2017

Food, Food Medicine, Recipes

Elimination Diet: Dessert – Vegan Carrot Halva (Halwa)

Elimination Diet: Dessert – Vegan Carrot Halva (Halwa)  


2 1/2 cups grated or shredded carrots (I am lazy and I just chopped them and it turned out okay.)

2 T olive oil,  (can substitute butter, ghee  or other oils)

1 1/4 cup rice milk (substitute coconut milk or other)

2 T  honey

1 tablespoon olive oil, vegan butter or safflower oil

Pinch of salt

1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder



Place  carrots and oil/ butter in a skillet and cook for 20 – 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  I like mine a bit browned, as the canalization tastes good to me.  Once soften, consider mashing a bit, especially if you were lazy, like me, and chopped rather than grated the carrots.

Add rice milk and mix well. It is optional to add 1/4 cup cooked rice at this point.  Reduce heat to low-medium. Cook for 15-20 minutes.  Add honey, oil/vegan butter, salt, and cardamom. Mix and cook until all the rice milk has been absorbed, time will vary. Stir occasionally.

Taste and adjust sweeness. Cook to a consistency and color you like. Serve warm.

Usually this dish has chopped nuts, nut flour, raisins, butter or ghee. Sounds fabulous! None of it is on my diet of chicken, rice, papaya carrots (and salt, pepper and honey). So I adapted this dish from a vegan site (link below).


by – Tama Cathers, lover of warmed honeyed carrots, and other sweet things.



Credits: The original inspiration for this dish came from the website below, and has been altered to suit my purposes:

Photo by Nisha Ramesh on Unsplash

Health, Personal Wisdom, Yoga

Yoga – Bridge Rolls One and Two

Bridge Rolls One and Two

A year ago, I was at the All Choir Gathering of Threshold Choir’s – doing yoga and changing my life. I had some shoulder issues from chronic injuries. Old, so old I can hardly tell you what they started out as.  Years of martial arts training and American sitting posture has not helped. I’ve had sciatica for the last 20 years acquired as a student slave, standing on hard floors for 18 hours at a time for six weeks. Life-Long gift. Veterinary school – Cool. Thank you.

At the morning yoga, there were so many of the moves that I could not do. The yoga teacher was 15 years my senior, and she could do all these things.  I said that I was struggling, and she mentioned that she used to struggle with the same issues. After class, I asked her what she had done to resolve these issues. She told me her options had been surgery or physical therapy, acupuncture and yoga. She chose the latter. With intense physical therapy, acupuncture and yoga she was able to regain use of her shoulder. I decided then and there that I wanted the same thing for myself.

I am now a big believer in Physical Therapy. I only have to wonder why I waited so long! I used many modalities in the past, including emotional work, chiropractics, herbal therapy, massage, acupuncture, acupressure, stretching, yoga.…none ever affected permanent changes.

So here I am doing PT, and Yoga.

For years (maybe decade), I’ve noticed that I have the ability to do Bridge Roll One. This is really rocking your hips.  It is done by rolling your hips up, just a little bit, no higher than your ribs, and then back down again. Rolling up one vertebra at a time and then back down again – I can do bridge roll one.

I can’t do Bridge Roll Two smoothly. This has you roll your hips so that you form an slant between you knees and your shoulders, and then roll back down again. It’s odd, because the place I can’t do it is the same place I can do in Bridge Roll One – my lower spine. In Bridge Roll Two, I can roll my spine up one vertebra at a time, but when I roll my back down, my lower spine falls one complete chunk. Clunk!

It defies my understanding. I just did the same movement in Bridge Roll One. Why can’t I do it for Bridge Roll Two? You would think that the problem would be my upper higher spinal areas, the ones I hadn’t touched in Bridge Roll One. But that’s not true – I can roll this section of my spine in one instance, and I can’t in the other. The only thing that has changes is what action has just gone before.

It’s frightening and embarrassing how difficult it is. I struggle with my resistance to not being able to “do” it. Still, I can work on it and watch it.

I noticed this for years, without really noticing.  However, at a sloooow pace, I’ve had the opportunity to really pay attention. To get curious. To ask, why is this? Generally we move too fast to ask these pesky questions.

I think that maybe why we move too fast!

Finally, I learned to do something different. Instead of just noticing that it is difficult, I am taking more time.  I am forcing myself to roll down, on vertebrae at a time – no matter how long, or how many breaths it takes.  I can do this!  I have to focus intensely on rolling each vertebrae down to the floor, pulling with my core, and breathing.  I have to redefine what a bridge roses. Just like I have to redefine what my life is. By focusing, by being conscious, and mindful.

This really sucks. And it’s just what I need.


by Tama Cathers,  from experiences July 2017



Food, Health, Recipes

The Elimination Diet Recipes – Second Edition: Dinner, Dessert, Snack, and Gingerbread Cookies

The Elimination Diet Recipes – Second Edition

So, if you thought the last set of recipes were good – GREAT!  Here are more!          Cookies! (I love cookies!)

If you thought the last set of recipes were bland; good news – sweets and dinner. Bad news – same ingredients! Chicken, Rice, Carrots, Papaya, Honey, Olive Oil, Cinnamon.  What do you expect!?!  (Okay, Maybe a few extra spices for the cookies.) You try eating the same thing for more than 2 days – then you will think I am a genius!

I have to admit the dinner, crackers and dessert were my husband’s creation (genius). After I saw how he made pizza dough, I created the gingerbread cookies with my daughter. I do love cookies!


Elimination Diet: Lunch/Dinner – Grilled Chicken, Rice Noodles, Maple Carrots


1 chicken breast per person, cut horizontally in half so to be half as thick

salt and pepper to taste

Maple syrup

Baby carrots

Rice Noodles


Olive Oil

Sal and Pepper to Taste


Salt and pepper chicken breasts. Grill chicken breasts on high for ~ 3 minutes each side. This seals in the moisture, allowing for a more tender cut of meat. Cook on Medium low for an additional 10 – 15 minutes or until done, cooked all the way through, or registering 180 degrees internally with a meat thermometer.


Add 1/3 cup of baby carrots per person and 1 teaspoon maple syrup per person to a small amount of water in a sauce pan. Cover and bring to a boil. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until tender.

Rice noodles are cooked in boiling water as package label instructs. Drain and serve with a pair of scissors to ease serving. Kids love cutting their portion of noodles. Top with a sprits of oil and season to taste with chicken broth from the chicken plate, salt and pepper.



Elimination Diet: Snack – Rice Crackers


3 cups cooked white rice

1/3 c rice flour

Water as needed to blend

Honey, salt and pepper, or sea salt for topping


Very heavily oil a sheet of aluminum foil, and turn the dough out on this. Top with plastic wrap. Roll dough out to 1/8th inch thickness with a rolling pin, or spread with hands, on top of plastic wrap.

For savory version – sprinkle salt or salt and pepper.

For sweet version – drizzle lightly with honey, and cut cooking time by 5-10 minutes. Watch closely as the sugar in the honey tends to caramelize quickly and then move on to becoming burned.

Cook at 350 for 10 – 15 minutes.



Elimination Diet: Dessert – Fried Carrots with honey


1 carrot per person, sliced on the diagonal

Olive oil


1-2 t Honey

Fry carrots in olive oil until mildly caramelized. They will be browned in some spots. Transfer to a bowl. Add honey and cinnamon. Serve hot.



Elimination Diet: Dessert – Rice Based Gingerbread Cookies

Okay – So the Picture above does NOT represent the gingerbread cookies we made. I just have to fess up. These are pictures of regular old flour based gingerbread.  But ours were DARNED good! So good, we ate them all up without one picture!


3 cups cooked white rice (Bo-Tan)

¼ cup olive oil

½ cup honey

¼ cup molasses

1 T Baking Powder

1 t Salt

1 t cinnamon

2 t+ ginger

2 T minced candied ginger (optional)

½ t nutmeg

6 T rice flour

rice flour as needed for cookie dough consistency

rice milk as needed for cookie dough consistency


Beat Cooked Rice for 5 – 10 minutes until most of rice is broken, and a doughy consistency is formed. A hand mixer works, but a stand mixer would be better. Mix dry ingredients together: the salt, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and 6 tablespoons of rice flour. Add this mixture while stirring well. Add molasses. Add candied ginger.

Add rice milk or rice flour as needed to form a cookie dough consistency; dry enough to pull away from walls of mixing dough, but not so firm it cannot be worked.

Oil a sheet of aluminum foil very heavily, and place the dough on this. Top with plastic wrap. Roll dough out to ¼ inch thickness with a rolling pin. Using cookie cutters, cut out cookie shapes, transfer to a well oiled cookie sheet or silicone baking liner.

Cook at 350 for 12 – 17 minutes.


(Cooling the dough is an additional option that will make working with the dough easier. The key is to get it the right consistency. If you can’t cut a cookie shape out – it’s not right.)

Top with frosting if allowed on diet. Two sites list vegan royal frosting. They both use chickpea juice and sugar. Neither are on my diet, but maybe in the future.