The Link Between Depression and Inflammation

I get this dark aura over my head sometimes, when I am about to take a second helping of food. Sometimes it’s another bowl of whole wheat pasta or another handful of nuts. It doesn’t happen all the time but throughout the years it has happened enough times to make me curious. The curiosity ended when I went ahead and had that second helping and the next day, that dark aura surrounded me. I was a little “down.” So, I took note and sure enough, the cause and effect happened again and again. Now, I may know the answer to my body’s warning. Dr. Marlynn Wei was on the radio today, talking about people with depression and how they have 30-40% more markers for inflammation. White flour, white sugar, fried foods, etc. cause inflammation. Just like another bowl of ice cream might lead to chubby cheeks, a second helping of some foods and a first helping of many others just might lead to a gloomy day.

Suellen Ocean is the author of many books on diverse topics. Her books are available here:

On a Cold Day, It’s Easy to Make Soup and Dumplings

Take a couple of bags of mixed frozen vegetables and throw them into a large pot. Throw in a handful of dried barley and a handful of dried black-eyed peas. Chop an onion and several stalks of celery and a handful of your favorite greens and throw them in. Pour enough water in to keep it from getting thick. ( The beans and barley will swell tremendously.) Pour a little olive oil in for flavor and shake some soy sauce into the pot too. Add your favorite soup seasoning. I used the following dried spices: paprika, parsley, marjoram, thyme, rosemary, cayenne, black pepper and sweet basil. Get the soup boiling moderately for five minutes and then turn it down. Once the vegetables have cooked, turn it way down. The heat will merge the spices with the ingredients and a simmer is enough to cook the black eyed peas and barley. Once that’s accomplished, let the pot sit on the stove on the lowest setting. Just keep it warm. Four hours later, warm it back up again and drop teaspoons of dumplings into the soup. Here’s the dumpling recipe:
In a small bowl, sift 1 cup of whole wheat flour with 3/4 teaspoon baking powder. Set aside.
In another small bowl, combine 2 slightly beaten eggs with 1/4 cup of water, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of soy sauce.

Slowly mix the flour mixture with the egg, water and spices.CreatespaceAcornsAndEat'emFRONTCOVER

Add teaspoons of this mixture into your hot soup. Cover and simmer for ten minutes.

Before serving the soup, do a taste check to see if it needs more soy sauce. Enjoy!

Suellen Ocean is the author of the vegetarian cookbook, Poor Jonny’s Cookbook and Acorns and Eat’em, a how-to vegetarian cookbook and field guide for eating acornsAvailable here:–Vegetarian-Cookbook/dp/1491288973

No Wonder We’re So Stressed

Secret Genealogy IV CoverYes, I know, this election season is enough to bring the strongest of us to toss and turn at night. Throw in the wars and rumors of wars and keep the media on and well… it gets unpleasant. But if you’re like me, you enjoy keeping abreast of what’s going on. What makes it worse is the style of media advertising these days. Loud, obnoxious and way too fast. Modern technology is enabling the techs to speed up the ads. You get some guy on there, touting a product, already talking too fast, and then the tech speeds it up? Do ya think? OMG, get me some ice for my head. Now I’m wondering if technicians tinker with the speed of talk show hosts too. Are they speeding the voices up? Just a little? Geesh. All we need now are the irritating sounds of drones buzzing overhead. That would make it complete.

What we don’t need is faster, faster. We need time to take deep breaths and collect our thoughts. Time to reverence our children, ponder nature, eat slowly and enjoy our books and movies at a leisurely pace. Life is a beautiful thing. Time to fine-tune nirvana.

Suellen Ocean is the author of many books on diverse topics. Her books are available here:

Acorns And Eat’em…

CreatespaceAcornsAndEat'emFRONTCOVERIt is slim pickings in my neck of the woods this year. There are no acorns coming from the Blue Oak or the California Live Oaks on my property. And I see very few California Valley Oak acorns along the stream where they were prolific last year. I’m sure I will find acorns. My son lives in the California Coastal Mountain Range and I have a variety of elevations and ecosystems available to me here in the Sierra Foothills and further up into the mountains. I feel bad when I see the squirrels and the wild turkeys looking for them and not finding them.

I am pleased to note that the “Acorns And Eat’em” book will be available in ebook form on November 15th. You can order it here:–Vegetarian-Cookbook/dp/1491288973

Let me know how the acorn harvest is this year in your neck of the woods.


Suellen Ocean

Eating Acorns and Sharing with Woodpeckers

CreatespaceAcornsAndEat'emFRONTCOVERNature never ceases to amaze me. Did you know that a woodpecker has a tongue that is twice the length of its beak? It is so long, when not in use, it wraps up inside the bird’s head cavity. When it is in use, it drills down ant hills and scoops out the prey. Here’s the sad part. When there aren’t enough acorns, woodpeckers die. And you know the dead trees that are full of holes that are full of acorns? Those are called granaries and they take years to build up and support woodpecker communities.

As more and more people learn to enjoy cooking with acorns, I hope they will not forget the myriad of woodland animals who depend on them for food. It’s that time of year. Let’s gather acorns. But let’s leave an abundance for the birds.Secret Genealogy IV Cover

Suellen Ocean is the author of Acorns and Eat’em, a how-to vegetarian cookbook and field guide for eating acorns,–Vegetarian-Cookbook/dp/1491288973 and Secret Genealogy IV – Native Americans Hidden in Our Family Trees.




CreatespaceAcornsAndEat'emFRONTCOVERMy freezer stalled on me. Unfortunately, I had bags of shelled acorns that I was saving in there. They got a little moldy so I tossed  them outside. The deer ate every last one. I also had a tupperware dish of leached acorns. They were still good. Poor me, I had to think of some way to use them before they went bad with my refrigeration on the blink. Cookies to the rescue! You’ll find the recipe below. Remember, you must first grind and leach the acorns. To see how it’s done, watch the how-to video, Acorns and Eat’em

There is no added oil in this recipe. Fats in here are in the chocolate chips, walnuts and in the acorns.

Mix with spatula:

1 cup leached & pre-cooked, drained & cooled acorns

½ cup honey

2 egg whites

1 tsp vanilla

Add & mix well:

2 cups whole wheat flour

½ tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

2/3 cup milk

Then add this too & mix well:

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup raisins

1 cup walnut pieces

Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. Always watch your cookies, oven temperatures vary.

Suellen Ocean is the author of Acorns and Eat’em, a how-to vegetarian cookbook and field guide for eating acorns. Find it here:–Vegetarian-Cookbook/dp/1491288973

Protecting Your Garden Produce from Mice

AcornMouseCoverMedI’ve posted before, my gardening experience with a terrified, newborn baby mouse but let me tell you what attracted the mouse family in the first place. Compost; eggshells, apple cores, banana peels and watermelon rinds drew them right to my garden. I cover the compost with horse manure but obviously not well enough. When volunteer pumpkins and tomato plants sprang from the pile in early spring, I was delighted and so were the mice. They started in on the tomatoes while they were still green. Ditto with the pumpkins. Further down the garden, I have cantaloupe. They like that too but so far I’ve kept them from eating it. I’ve found that if I place a white plastic tofu container (or the grocery store container that mushrooms come in) upside down on the ground and place the immature fruit on top of it, it keeps the fruit off the ground enough to keep the mice away. It’s necessary to keep an eye on them as sometimes the fruit rolls off. But it’s easy to put it back on the plastic. The plastic tubs help keep other feasting insects away from your produce too and they keep the fruit pristine.Poor Jonny's Cover  Suellen Ocean is the author of many books on diverse topics. Her books are available here:

Using Olive Oil for Skin Care

As we age, our skin dries out. The older we get, the drier it gets. It can get so dry, dermatologists have been known to recommend heavy products like Vaseline. Natural olive oil is an excellent way to clean and moisturize your skin. It doesn’t contain polluting chemicals. It’s just as pure as you can get. Take a small bottle, like the kind that vanilla comes in (the little dark brown bottles) and fill it with olive oil. Keep it in the bathroom. After bathing, before drying off, while the skin is still warm and moist, apply small dollops of olive oil all over your skin. From head to toe. Rub it in well. Afterward, blot it with a towel. Be careful not to get it in your eyes. It is a little irritating and hard to focus if you accidentally get it in your eyes, so be careful with that. It also gets on your towel. It washes out but not always entirely so you might need to retire your towels sooner. It won’t hurt your hair and scalp, olive oil treatments have been around for ages. But it is greasy and could take several days to wash out of your hair so be careful, unless you want to brush it in and slick it back and let the oil treat your hair for a while.

I’ve been using olive oil as skin care for years. I also use it like cold cream. I apply the olive oil onto my face and neck and then take a wet washcloth and blot it. Works wonderfully. Once you get used to using an all-natural product, it’s hard to use something with chemicals and additives. Ancient Grecian mothers understood the cleaning properties of vegetable oils, they used olive oil and tepid water to clean their babies. One last thing… make sure it’s real olive oil. California olive oil has a good reputation for purity.  Suellen Ocean is the author of many books on diverse topics. Her books are available here:

Acorn Chocolate Cake Cravings… Can’t Wait ‘till the Acorns Drop

CreatespaceAcornsAndEat'emFRONTCOVERI think about acorn chocolate cake way too much. If I made one today, I’d have to throw a party, otherwise I’d eat the whole thing. That’s a good idea! An acorn chocolate cake party. Right at harvest time. We could all go for a walk and gather acorns and then eat cake made from last year’s acorns that I kept in the freezer.

If there’s anything that will catch people’s attention, it’s something made with acorns. They’re so tasty, it’s hard to believe that they’ve not become a commercial success. It’s just as well. The animals go nuts over them. In areas where they’re sparse, they’re eaten in a week or two. The crows and turkey vultures guard over them from above, while mice, birds and squirrels run in, grab them and run off.

I only gather acorns from areas where the harvests are plentiful. I know how important they are to wildlife. They wait for them. I’m waiting for them too. Can’t wait for that chocolate cake.

Suellen Ocean is the author of Acorns and Eat’em, a how-to vegetarian cookbook and field guide for eating acorns. Find it here:–Vegetarian-Cookbook/dp/1491288973

Apricots… a Quick Way to Beautiful Skin

If you want to have beautiful skin, eat apricots. A 100-gram portion contains 2,700 units of vitamin A. That’s a lot. In the summertime they’re plentiful and in season, so they shouldn’t be too expensive. Another summertime source of vitamin A is cantaloupes. I was pleasantly surprised at the high vitamin A content in those sweet, tasty melons. I’ve had pretty good luck growing them in my California garden. Cut into chucks and packed into ziplock bags, they freeze well. In the wintertime, it’s good to have dried apricots on hand. Really, the secret to rosy cheeks and a nice complexion is good old vitamin A. When it’s cold outside and we turn our ovens on, sweet potatoes, yams and pumpkins are the vegetables to bake and make pies with as they contain higher amounts of vitamin A.

Suellen Ocean is the author of many books on diverse topics. Her books are available here: