032616 yearning souls

April 15, 2016

032616

While yearning souls float toward burning man
every year, pale parodies of vultures consuming cultures
along the way (as only a disembodied people can):

I sink my feet further into the sand
grow some roots and feel increasingly fulfilled
with my deepening connection to the land.

I seek no solidarity with such sociopathy.
I acknowledge no apology from the same.

I live to overcome the alienation of the colony calling me
(else it will follow me when I try to escape, enabling):

The same old shit, different day, familiar behaviors
rebranded, repackaged, restocked to feed
the infectious franchise, metasticize
new, only in name.


021516 whiteness

March 3, 2016

021516

Mama always said, “whiteness is as whiteness does,”
and when I watch whiteness at work in the world around me
with the whites of my own eyes, blue but not blind, this is what I see:
whiteness means spraying poisons all over the land every spring
whitemanwashing history to protect powdered wig posturing
whiteness means sterility
pressure washing concrete sidewalks clean of life’s attempt to cling
whiteness means paving over ecosystems when you’re done
dismantling and exploiting them
whiteness means strife that stems from mindless work
unweaving the web of life, creating
psychosocial thermodynamic economic emotional
dependence on psychopaths and narcissists
whiteness means caring for life by declaring war on it
replacing love with fear
whiteness means you’ll always be a stranger here
whiteness means seeming like a pretty nice guy in the public light
while you terrorize your family behind closed doors
in the quiet privacy of the night
whiteness means telling white lies rather than real talk
whiny appeals to authority, backstabbing, preaching without practicing
bleached teeth, fake walks, horizontal policing down the hierarchy
whiteness means keeping up with the Joneses, fronting
all in service of social ladder climbing
whiteness means sleepwalking through life
like end-stage capitalist zombies
watching helplessly while your life on the clock slips away
to the unrelenting rhythm of a mechanical heartbeat
second hand hammering: tick, tock
another minute, another hour, another dollar, another day
in a weak year filled with more of the same
unlearned lessons and jealous confessions breeding
active micro passive-aggression from fragile egos
stuck in the neverending death throes of constant crisis
tag teamed by US government and ISIS
participating in an imposition, new Spanish Inquisition, another fucking colony
do you follow me?
whiteness means ignoring the irony of
children who inherit the ruins of the earth you’re leaving
ruining the land to save the iron city
it means inhaling chemical-infused air every time you try breathing
whiteness means white stars against a black and blue bruised background
whiteness means red and white stripes — not a flag but
burn marks in the shape of a thorny crown — nevermind Jesus was brown
whiteness means regularly transacting with other strangers around town
as if what’s normal is healthy and fine
whiteness means having the privilege to choose not to be so goddamned white all the time
so grab yourself some integrity and draw yourself a fucking line


Bundy, Burns and Malheur: FAQ

February 28, 2016

Contents

  1. Why did you create this FAQ?
  2. What does Bundy have to do with the Hammond ranchers?
  3. What did the Hammonds do anyway?
  4. What did Bundy, et al do to deserve this media attention?
  5. How can I help?
  6. So what does Bundy even want, anyway?
  7. Where is all this headed?
  8. How does this situation resolve?
  9. Are you a pacifist?
  10. So the Feds and law enforcement intervened and arrested Bundy. It’s all over, right? Nothing more for us to do?

Why did you create this FAQ?

Because a bunch of people kept asking me what the hell is going on over there in Malheur (a fitting name, since it translates roughly to “Bad time”).  This FAQ represents my current understanding of the Bundy-led opportunistic invasion of Malheur.  It may evolve.  I welcome any factual corrections.  The information presented in this FAQ is readily available to anyone who spends an hour (or, if you’re more internet savvy than me, minutes) learning from sources such as Slate, Salon, OPB, and others and connecting a couple of the dots together with an ample dose of compassion.

— back to top —

What does Bundy have to do with the Hammond ranchers?

Very little.  He simply exploited legitimate outrage and frustration for the Hammond’s resentencing in order to accomplish completely different objectives.  The Hammonds have said explicitly that Bundy and his ilk do not represent or speak for them.  What Bundy is doing is akin to a white person entering a black group, or a man entering a queer space and “explaining” to them, “Here’s what your real problem is, and here’s how we are going to solve it.”  It’s not supportive at all, likely very exploitative, and even at its best, it is just plain disrespectful.

— back to top —

What did the Hammonds do anyway?

They committed a couple of cases of arson.  First, they set a fire to cover up the illegal harvest of deer on BLM land (out of season?).  They bullied a few friends and family into silence and nearly killed a few people.  Then they set another unauthorized fire in an attempt to protect their ranching operation from a nearby forest fire, which burned out of control and almost trapped several nearby firefighters between the two blazes.

— back to top —

What did Bundy, et al do to deserve this media attention?

The media has portrayed this as a sensational “takeover of a government facility.”  The facility is really a remote building which mostly remains unoccupied.  The president of OHSU sets the record straight, saying that he once “occupied” it as a poor student in-between funding and housing opportunities.  He walked in (unarmed), made up a bed, enjoyed the peace and wildlife, and then cleaned up after himself and left when he felt it time to move on.  That’s what it takes to “occupy” the “facility.”  In this sense, the media is complicit with Bundy in how it portrays the “occupation.”  In reality, Bundy leads a group of armed self-aggrandizing thugs who have terrorized and harassed and bullied their fellow country folk.  Some share what they see as Bundy’s sense of righteous outrage.  Others seem pretty upset and traumatized over he and his minions’ behaviors.

Animals bare teeth when they feel threatened.  The armed thugs’ justifications for their unnecessarily-aggressive actions remind me of Eliot Rodgers’ own sense of “aggrieved entitlement,” where they feel a loss of social privilege and are lashing out in an attempt to gain that social privilege back.  They wait for the federal government to make martyrs out of them.  On the other hand, naive liberals calling for immediate (and sometimes overt) violent intervention only play into this narrative of martyrdom.  Such calls also further empower and enable an already-overpowerful authoritarian entity responsible for trying the misguided Hammonds as “terrorists.”   Liberal bloodlust mediated through the centralized authoritarian government, ironically, is exactly the type of response Bundy wants.  It plays into his narrative and emboldens him to continue escalations.  He wants attack.  He wants a shootout.  He wants to look like the embattled victim.

— back to top —

How can I help?

The best support we can provide is the exact opposite of what Bundy has done:  ask the townfolk and land of Burns what sort of support they need, and listen, and follow through.  This is what the Rural Organizing Project is helping to do.   In terms of direct action, an unarmed counter-occupation in protest of Bundy’s cowardly stupidity and bullying might make sense ONLY if it’s something the townfolk of Burns would support and safeguards are in place.

Avoid actions that further marginalize or objectify the people and lands of Burns and Harney County, because this replicates both the exploitative grandstanding of Bundy, et al and the heavy-handedness of the federal government.

— back to top —

So what does Bundy even want, anyway?

From what I can gather from quotes of Bundy in the media, he wants three things:

1. The privatization of public lands and resources.  He has said he wants the federal government to “return” lands to the county.  The county has said it doesn’t necessarily want that responsibility or burden.  The result would be a massive sell-off of public spaces into the hands of a privileged few.  Some people have heard rumors that Bundy’s protest is against uranium corporations trying to pressure the Hammonds to sell their land.  I have seen no credible source for this (only hear-say and rumors).  Ironically, what Bundy wants would deliver these lands that ranchers depend upon into the hands of powerful corporate interests.  This makes Bundy seem either completely naive or deliberately deceptive.  Here, we can start looking at connections and parallels between Bundy, et al and the Koch brothers.

2. Bundy appears to believe that his difficulties stem from people failing to follow the spirit of the US Constitution.  A different (and I think, more rigorous and historically-accurate) assessment of the corporatist origins of the current US Constitution indicates the opposite:  Many of the problems, e.g, with corporate bullying and a heavy-handed federal government, have developed out of and gain their power directly from the US Constitution.  This is because the US Constitution is primarily a commerce document, meant to facilitate commercial activity for the enrichment of a powerful few, patterned after the English Common Law that the people had recently fought and died to rid themselves of!  The framers of the US Constitution did not want liberty — they wanted to replace England with their own rule.  Madison reluctantly wrote the Bill of Rights to quell a post-war human rights movement (which included Thomas Jefferson) seeking to create a Constitution based on inherent and inalienable rights first and foremost (following, rather than diverging from, the Declaration of Independence), giving commerce secondary consideration.  What we currently have is the opposite:  primary importance given to commerce, and secondary consideration given to rights.  In essence, the Bill of Rights — the greatest aspect of the US Constitution — is a token of appeasement, itself depending on the fundamental commerce law for enforcement.  A brilliant tactic on the part of the Founding Fathers, but not one steeped in love for fellow country folk.

Regardless, Bundy wants to “turn back the clock” and get back to the “roots” of the US Constitution as a document that empowers wealthy white male landowners.  Ironically, if he ever succeeded in doing this, he would probably lose most of the legal rights he currently enjoys, as the original post-war US Constitution only protected the wealthiest of landed white men, as its framers intended.  In this sense, Bundy is either a completely naive or deliberately-deceptive corporate stooge.  Until the people of the US create a rights-based supreme law to replace the commerce-based law, significant legal problems will remain.  Reactionary behaviors that romanticize the past, as well as passivity itself, only make the problem worse.

3. He wants to convert the US population into the Church of Latter Day Saints.   The occupation implemented a tribunal to “convict” people of moral trespass against the LDS church or its moral standards.  The group of thugs and other followers then use this process to justify their stalking, harassment and terrorizing of the people Bundy, etc have targeted for persecution, including federal employees.  In this sense, he’s a lot like the Muslim fundamentalists who terrorize their fellow country folk in order to impose religious law on them.  His light skin, Koch brother associations and rhetoric seem to protect him from the label of “terrorist” so far, even though he is much more deserving of the label than the Hammonds (or Black Lives Matter! protesters) ever were.

Underneath all this, Bundy is not a revolutionary.  He’s a participant.  He wants an authoritarian patriarchy (perhaps based on religious law), but he wants to be higher up on the pyramid scheme.  He misdirects his outrage toward “infidels” and country folk and federal employees, and conspicuously seems to have no criticism for the powerful sociopathic elite who run this society (into the ground).  Or if he does, he somehow thinks their center of power lies in the BLM and parks.  Likewise, the powerful elite seem to have no problem with Bundy’s actions, because it only serves their interests in accumulating even more wealth and power into the hands of an elite few.

— back to top —

Where is all this headed?

Beyond his explicit demands outlined above, Bundy seems media-savvy.  He’s out to get and keep attention, which means in part resorting to absurd spectacles and a roller coaster.  His efforts have attracted unstable people with weapons.  He and others of the core group are carefully and steadily escalating tensions.  It’s hard to ignore the fact that he’s terrorizing a town and wreaking havoc on culturally sensitive land, ruining archaeological research and threatening wildlife.  In this sense, the demands above are only part of that larger plan to provoke a violent confrontation, create martyrs, and gain further recruits and momentum.  Bundy wants some of his men to die at the hands of the government (or vigilantes).   If he succeeds in martyring some of his men, his unethical behaviors up to this point will matter less.

— back to top —

How does this situation resolve?

With the efforts of non-government people like you and me.  If we do nothing, and Bundy continues unabated, then he furthers the corporatist agenda of the Koch brothers, etc.  Likewise, if we do nothing, it leaves space and creates more opportunity for Bundy to escalate and provoke the Feds to intervene.  The authoritarian federal government will use Bundy to justify subsequent heavy-handed intervention, even ex post facto (e.g., Ferguson, etc) and make martyrs out of them anyway.  If this happens, both Bundy whackjobs and the federal authoritarian system advance their interests and influence.

A more ideal answer, instead, lies with the direct, courageous actions of people like you and me, from a position of love, respect and solidarity for the primary stakeholders in this situation: the lands and people of Harney County.  Involvement must de-escalate and shift attention away from Bundy.  If the situation escalates, it must come from Bundy’s escalating thuggishness and the related actions of increasingly-unstable individuals, in order to further diminish public support for Bundy, etc.  Ideally, direct actions will also prevent, delay or marginalize and diminish Federal involvement, and prevent the development of an empowered casus belli for Federal intervention.

Ultimately, I believe the people of Cascadia have the capacity to resolve this situation without further empowering either party in an ill-conceived dialectic that leaves most people stranded in the middle.  As one report put it, “There are no heroes or villains in this story,” at least so far.  If there are heroes, let them be the people and the land, standing resolute with love and courage in solidarity with one another and the land.  And let Bundy and the Federal government make villains out of themselves and each-other, if they so choose, if the people can frame it in a way that isolates and minimizes the damage of the conflict between two power mongering parties.

— back to top —

Are you a pacifist?

No.  This answer might not sit well with people who want to see blood spilled either against Bundy and his ilk or the federal government.  Those who seek escalation believe in a fetishized and historically-inaccurate hyper-masculine myth of revolution as a major tumultuous event and shift in power, or the rise of oppositional power.  Such events occur, not as revolutionary action, but as a symptom of the status quo.  Revolution — to those immersed in them — happen in subtle, slow and even boring ways.  Revolutionary actions are not reactionary, do not seek to develop oppositional power.  They develop and support liberatory empowerment.  They have a balanced gender (i.e., more feminine, more room for support and solidarity and love and humility), not a mythologized hypermasculine character.  Bundy does not offer revolution — he promises a package of myths and lies that lead to more of the crap we all want to move further away from in the first place:  control, exploitation, authoritarianism, rigid and intractable social hierarchies, etc.  He will burn brightly as a beacon of the status quo, and then extinguish himself, while the rest of us immersed in revolution continue our slow, steady, subtle and often-thankless work to protect ourselves and each-other as we build a better society out of the self-destructive ashes of the old, current one.

— back to top —

So the Feds and law enforcement intervened and arrested Bundy and the other occupiers.  It’s all over, right?  Nothing more for us to do?

Arresting Bundy, etc just tests the group structure of the occupation.  Does it rely on a strong central figure?  Yes?  Then it will disintegrate.  If members of the group act in more independent, decentralized and autonomous ways, then Bundy’s arrest will do little to change the overall dynamic, and may strengthen and vindicate the occupiers and their rallying cry.

With the arrest of the remaining thugs, it’s all over for the media, and the general public who considered this nothing more than an infotainment spectacle.  Until more dramatic antics meant to grab their attention appear, either from allies of Bundy, others who want to exploit the limelight for their own purposes (much like Bundy did with the Hammonds), or Bundy himself, during the trial process.  It also depends on public and media response to the death and injuries involved in the arrest process.

For the people of Burns, the land of Malheur, and Harney County in general, it will probably take much longer to recover from this trauma.  Now more than ever, it’s important to offer support in the absence of a media spotlight. The real work begins when the cameras leave, and that work separates the grandstanders from those truly capable of standing in solidarity with the land and people.

Contact the ROP for more info.  I am not directly affiliated with them, but appreciate the work they do.

— back to top —


021216 every book

February 28, 2016

021216

Your Giving Tree
(not the one by Shel Silverstein)
gave a branch to make the pages
inside every book you read.

So when a book contains poems
you might call the result A Poetree
filled with ideas written on paper
like the leaves that speak to you
in the song Johnny Cash sings.

And they do:  they really speak
they talk to you.
And when you listen to what they say
they’ll take you away to explore the world:
the good, the bad, the beautiful, the ugly
the base and the divine readily unfurl

In the blink of an eye, with your mind
leaves of the tree give you access to everything:
knowledge, hopes, fears and dreams.

For all this and more, sometimes trees
give a lot, sometimes too much
when we take and don’t give back, they die.

So every time you read (or someone reads to you)
remember to thank Your Giving Tree
(including the one by Shel Silverstein)
for all the good it brings
(including the good you do)
including this book, this Poetree.

[a poem to begin Where the Sidewalk Ends]


012216 multimediated misery

January 23, 2016

012216

we are people
trapped inside stolen hearts and minds
squabbling over stolen lands on borrowed time
occupy hallowed ground, thieves
take directly from the Source, and
She always comes back around to collect, eventually
by hook, by crook and by force

we are people
baring broken hearts and souls
like smiling rows of snarling teeth
courage didn’t abandon us to grief
we abandoned her first, following
the disintegration of solidarity
expect the worst, watch it unfold

we are people
on parade with emotional implants
borrowed thoughts, tired rants
replacing the inspired action of praxis
like a retired chant relaxes
the realm of the spiritual
material collapses, leaving us alone

we are people without home
without food, without water
without air, without space
without silence, without peace
without shelter, without place
succumbing to the seduction of
trauma-induced, technology-produced
multimediated misery

a well-engineered excess of misguided “success”
transmutes our compliant screams, it seems
while we drown violently, in effect
void of life without ever dying
we are people, anymore…
…aren’t we?

A Poem for Ammon Bundy


October is Masculinity Awareness Month

October 6, 2015

Not really, but it might as well be.  Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Oregon roars in with yet another public shooting, in Roseburg this time:

“The elephant in the room with … mass shootings is that almost all of them are being done by men,” Professor Kilmartin says. Male shooters often “project their difficulties onto other people…”

A friend of mine just covered the shooting in Roseburg for the AP. She said there was once this one public shooting like 10 yrs ago done by a woman:

In the majority of cases, the catalyst for the shooting was something that threatened the man’s identity as a man. The main statistic is inarguable—69 [ed: now 71] males to one lone female. Being a man is the single most common characteristic of every mass shooting in the last 32 years. – See more at: http://goodmenproject.com/ethics-values/patterns-mass-shootings-conversation-men/#sthash.TiX1QKYN.dpuf

I would go further to surmise that the vast supermajority of these men are cisgendered, meaning they fit the gender assigned to them at birth, e.g., as opposed to gay, transgendered or other queer identities, because queerness as a political identity often requires owning up to and exploring ourselves, which means shedding vs embracing patriarchal impositions of identity.  Men who do not identify as “queer” must find a similarly-effective way to accomplish this same task of owning and exploring themselves, and ultimately shedding and embracing any patriarchal impositions of identity inasmuch as they do not accurately reflect or represent their (constantly changing and evolving) person.

Banning guns to prevent male-pattern violence is like trying to prevent food poisoning by removing the food — it’s just the vector.  Guns don’t kill people. Patriarchal masculinity kills people. It terrorizes us all in both public and private ways. And it happens through a lot more means than guns.

Patriarchal masculinity represents a social embodiment of coercive control (e.g., alongside white racial and upper socioeconomic class identities) to maintain a rigid social hierarchy.  Domestic violence is a kind of private terrorism that results from patriarchal masculinity.  Please note that I’m not saying that coercive and controlling women don’t exist — they do inasmuch as they internalize and enact patriarchal behaviors (which is relatively rare though certainly not unheard of).  But the first victim in every case is the person who becomes the violent vector for social reproduction of coercive control.  It creates an internal, ongoing crisis within the person.  Like a communicable parasite, it changes the person’s attitude, behavior, their perception of themselves vis-a-vis the world.  Then, ironically, in an effort to escape the crisis, they start doing the social bidding of the controlling identity, and become agents of coercive control, first in their intimate lives…

…and later, in more public forms:

Men who commit violence rehearse and perfect it against their families first. Women and children are target practice, and the home is the training ground for these men’s later actions.

A recent study found that more than half of the 110 mass shootings in the United States between January 2009 and July 2014 included the murder of a current or former spouse, an intimate partner or a family member. Everytown for Gun Safety, the group that released the study, found a “noteworthy connection between mass-shooting incidents and domestic or family violence.”

This connection is not limited to mass shootings. An analysis of the criminal justice history of hundreds of thousands of offenders in Washington State suggests that a felony domestic violence conviction is the single greatest predictor of future violent crime among men.  (from http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/03/opinion/to-stop-violence-start-at-home.html?_r=0)

Male-pattern violence forms a type of “aggrieved entitlement,” where masculine-type people have become “pissed off about an inability to cash in on privileges previous generations of men received without question.”   In other words, as the gender hierarchy collapses, the racial and class hierarchies intensify the pressure they exert on masculine-type people to reclaim some modicum of social privilege and repair and stabilize the hierarchy.  Men who don’t deal with their toxic masculinity will find themselves immersed in a sort of private hell (a la Eliot Rodgers) that infects their person, their relationships and ultimately their public expression of self.  The low-hanging fruit for men who walk this path involves directly imposing themselves on others.  For men who don’t have access to racial or especially class privileges (wealthy men can impose themselves using money and the economy), this often becomes a very physical imposition.  The most empowered forms of this imposition are often the least visible.   Wealthy masculine-type people like Donald Trump can stand in front of a camera while their economic clout works its magic behind the scenes, put to tasks of buying and even killing people.  My partner reminds me that the CEO of Hershey’s chocolate can live completely isolated from the slavery that supports his wealth.

I think some masculine-type people fear that the destruction of masculinity will result in a bunch of “spineless pussies unable to stand up for themselves.”  Based on my personal experience, nothing seems further from the truth.  The more I reject and abolish masculinity within and around myself, the more I feel I can act with clarity and courage to help protect and liberate myself alongside those whom I love.  For example, when I intervene in a situation, I no longer feel constrained to act within a narrow range of what masculinity accepts as legitimate, and I have access to an entire range of tactics and strategies to bring effective resolution.  When a dude is maneuvering someone who is way too drunk into a sexual encounter, I don’t need to fight as a “good guy” against “bad guys” and I don’t worry about being seen as a “pussy” or “cockblock.”   I can focus on survivor safety and empowerment and de-escalation and anything else that seems effective at maximizing the success of the intervention without worrying about whether my “manhood” is at stake.  Others in my life who have rejected masculinity in their own ways (queer people, feminists, even and especially other cisgendered men, etc) also represent some of the most courageous and effective people I have ever met.  Without masculinity, our struggles become more effective.  What does it mean (for me) to “reject” and “abolish” masculinity?  That’s something for another essay.

So to stop the terrorism, we need to target it at its root:  the toxic, patriarchal masculinity that exists in a larger, rigid social hierarchy among interlocking race and class hierarchies.  Masculinity is so fundamental to our social structure that it forms a sort of lynch-in that either enables or undermines progress toward liberation.  All people can choose to become either agents of social control or agents of liberation, and for men in a patriarchal culture, this means confronting and ultimately rejecting the masculine ego.  More and more I come to believe that people who happen to have external genitalia don’t need masculinity — rather, masculinity needs us, the people, and all forms of intersecting oppressions need patriarchy.  It represents a fundamental social unit of oppression and a primary enforcement mechanism for rigid social structures.  I do not argue that oppressions still exist, but by rejecting and sabotaging masculinity, we both greatly weaken the kyriarchy of intersecting oppressions and we vastly increase our capacity and potential for liberatory practice.

So starting this year, I will begin to think of October as Masculinity Awareness Month, or Coercive Control Awareness Month.  Domestic violence awareness suffices as a means to the same end.  However, I think it focuses on a symptom of the underlying problem, and we ultimately need to start looking seriously at the inherent pathology of masculinity alongside our efforts to render domestic violence increasingly visible and support and celebrate those who continue to survive in its midst.


Elimination Diets and Food Testing Tool

September 3, 2015

Background

I’ve had some chronic health issues for most of my life.  I won’t get into them.  Recently, in the past few years, they had gotten much worse, and, upon the complete failure of the medical establishment to provide any answers, I started looking into the massive impact that diet and (by association) lifestyle has on our health.  This line of inquiry led me, through grace and by grit, to Sarah Ballantyne’s exceptional (well-written, rigorously researched) labor of love on diet and lifestyle factors impacting optimal human health.

The major process of resolving chronic health issues (whether physical, physiological, neurological, emotional, digestive, etc) involves making health-supporting lifestyle and dietary changes.  Most of the dietary work comes in the form of an elimination diet, which means getting rid of (potentially or confirmed) problematic foods responsible for creating or exacerbating health issues, to cause a permanent remission in chronic health symptoms.  It doesn’t necessarily mean that you “cure” your condition, but it gives you the capacity to live without the negative symptoms (such as allergies, frequent illness, digestive upset, migraines, brain fog, anxiety, depression, fatigue, pain, etc) which is pretty darn cool.  Sarah Ballantyne’s book is by far (note the triple emphasis: bold, underline and italic) the best guide to this process I have found.  I’m not getting paid to write this by anyone (unfortunately).  I just can’t recommend it highly enough.  Ballantyne writes with a rare combination of ethical sensitivity, intellectual rigor, passion and competency.  In my opinion, a rare kind of genius.

By eliminating problematic foods, supporting our health with optimal nutrition and lifestyle factors, we heal the damage done to our bodies over the years, and allow it to recover.  The length of the healing process depends on how effectively we eliminate problematic foods (typically grains, legumes and other seed-based foods [aka, “pseudo-grains” like quinoa and buckwheat], allergens, dairy, alcohol and nightshades) and how much damage our bodies have already sustained.  A consistent remission of symptoms indicates that healing is occurring (for people who got it real bad, a consistent cessation of symptom worsening may be all they can hope for).

Toward the end of the elimination diet and healing process, people who feel better have the option of undergoing a food testing process to determine their food sensitivities.  It’s not nutritionally-necessary, but it can make life in society that dumps problematic foods all over the place a lot easier when we know what we absolutely need to avoid under any circumstance, and stuff we can cheat on every now and then for the sake of social flexibility without too serious of consequences.

When I first started on this journey, the very concept of an “elimination diet” confused me immensely.  What to eliminate?  How?  When?  For how long?  What’s this “testing process?”  Sarah’s book explained all this finally in such a fantastic way, I feel like it’s my turn to contribute some resources to this growing (and I think, very positive) trend of people treating chronic health issues via diet and lifestyle changes instead of through drugs.

Food Testing Tool

After searching and searching, I could not find a tool that

So I created this tool for two reasons:

  1. Because I feel, for the first time in my life, optimistic about my long-term health prospects.  I will get to the “testing stage” and when I do, I want to be ready for it, to set myself up for success.
  2. I have yet to find a decent, practical resource for oral food challenge tests.  Sarah Ballantyne’s book explains the process well enough (many other books try and fail).

My Creative Commons contribution is a distillation of the practical considerations for the testing process:

  1. challenge_chart_instructions:  A short set of instructions written as a 10-step process
  2. challenge_chart:  A printable chart to help people track and organize important information through the testing process
  3. The Paleo Approach_Reintroducing_Foods:  A short excerpt of the testing process from Ballantyne’s book as an additional reference material, under fair use consideration for educational purposes.  I strongly recommend you just get the whole book, because it provides a lot of very useful additional information.  It’s been worth more than its weight in gold for me, including the emotional support that it has provided through this difficult process.

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