Dynamite Fudge

This is one of my favorite sweet-tooth superfood treats.  I don’t know if you ever watched the 70’s sitcom called Good Times, with Jimmie Walker and his infamous “Dyno-mite!!” line.  I guarantee when you taste a piece of this dynamite fudge you will have an uncontrollable urge to cry out “dynamite!” just like Jimmie Walker in the video below.  Yes, indeed … it’s that good!!

This fudge hosts several superfood powders, including the anti-oxidant powerhouses Maqui Berry and Cacao.  It also uses Lacuma powder, which is naturally sweet, without any sugar content.  The Mesquite powder also adds an interesting flavor I can’t really describe, but fits the name.

This is another one those delicious Julie Morris recipes, which can be found in her book, Superfood Kitchen.

The full list of ingredients goes like this:

  • 2 tablespoons Maqui Powder
  • 2 tablespoons Maca Powder
  • 1 tablespoons Mesquite Powder
  • 6 tablespoons Lacuma Powder
  • ½ Cacao Powder
  • ¼ cup Palm Sugar
  • 6 tablespoons Coconut Oil
  • ¼ cup Maple Syrup (or Agave Nectar)

The maple syrup and agave nectar both provide distinct flavors to the fudge.  I personally like the maple syrup better, but will sometimes make them with the agave nectar, just to mix it up now and then. Either way, the outcome is … dynamite!

Put all those ingredients in a food processor and mix until they’re combined well.  Check the consistency and try adding a little more coconut oil, if it seems too dry.  Once everything seems good, pour the mixture onto some plastic wrap and mold the fudge into a 1-inch high square/rectangular shape.  Fold it up and place in the refrigerator for about an hour, to let it solidify more.  Then, take it out and …


With  ¼ cup Palm Sugar and ¼ Maple Syrup, you do want to eat these sparingly to keep it healthy.  Everything in moderation, right?

At least that’s what I told myself right before eating half the batch of fudge I made!

Eben Alexander, Esquire Update

Anybody who follows parapsychology knows there is a consistent back and forth between proponents and skeptics.  Every time a new story comes out, the skeptics go hard to work to shut it down and an incessant debate rages between the two sides.  It’s been called the Culture War.  I normally try and steer clear of all this, because it gets kind of old after awhile.  However, there has been a recent ruckus over an Esquire article put out on Eben Alexander – the neurosurgeon who had an Near Death Experience and whose story went “viral”. Since I put up a post on Eben not too long ago, I feel a bit responsible to post an update, because the Esquire article has been shown to be inaccurate, at best, or possibly a deliberate hit-piece against Eben, at worst.  I want to help set the record straight, because Eben’s story has been an inspiration to many people and it deserves to be shown in the right light.  Although, perhaps this is exactly how one gets sucked into the Culture War, with no hope for return.  I’ll have to be careful, hehe!

The link below is for the Esquire article about Eben Alexander.  As you  follow the link, you’ll notice Esquire decided to make people pay for this article, which was written by Luke Dittrich.

Esquire – The Prophet

It basically consists of two arguments: (1) against Eben’s reputation as a doctor, and (2) another against the validity of his NDE.  Both parts were essentially an attack on his character, in attempt to make him appear untrustworthy.

A couple weeks ago a full rebuttal to the Esquire article came out  from the International Association of Near Death Studies.  It was written by NDE researcher Robert Mays.  It covers pretty much everything from the Esquire article in relation to Eben’s NDE, or point (2).  It’s a pretty informative read.

IANDS – Esquire article on Eben Alexander distorts the facts

I’m going to focus on a key aspect of Part (2), because I think it’s the main sticking point, as far as the validity of Eben’s NDE.  Eben says his coma was brought on by the bacterial meningitis and was persistent throughout the week.  Dittrich claims his coma was mainly chemically induced by hospital staff and that Eben was occasionally awake and delirious throughout the week.  Dittrich then makes the argument that Eben’s brain was not “off-line” and the NDE was a vivid hallucination.

It would seem Dittrich’s main reason for claiming this was from his interview from Dr Laura Potter, Eben Alexander’s ER physician.  However, when Dr. Potter learned of the article she gave out the following statement:

I am saddened by, and gravely disappointed by the article recently published in Esquire. The content attributed to me is both out of context and does not accurately portray the events around Dr. Eben Alexander’s hospitalization. I felt my side of the story was misrepresented by the reporter. I believe Dr. Alexander has made every attempt to be factual in his accounting of events.” — Dr. Laura Potter

Also, in the back of Eben’s book was a statement by Scott Wade who was his main doctor during his illness.  It says:

” …. Despite prompt and aggressive antiobiotic treatment for his E.coli meningitis, as well as continued care in the intensive care unit, he remained in a coma six days and hope for recovery faded (mortality over 90%), Then, on the seventh day , the miraculous happened – he opened his eyes, became alert, and was quickly weaned from the ventilator.  The fact that he went on to have a full recovery from this illness after being in a coma for nearly a week is truly remarkable.

In his book, Eben did talk about making guttural groans and thrashing around in his bed, but this is apparently normal for a person suffering from bacterial meningitis. This was also discussed in the IANDS article, where they quote from Eben’s book.

“Contrary to Luke Dittrich’s assertion, Eben Alexander did disclose the use of sedatives in a ‘chemically induced coma’:  ‘At times, early in the week, I would move. My body would thrash around wildly. A nurse would rub my head and give me more sedation, and eventually I’d become quiet again... By the end of the week these occasional bursts of motor activity had all but ceased. I needed no more sedation, because movementeven the dead, automatic kind initiated by the most primitive reflex loops of my lower brainstem and spinal cord—had dwindled almost to nil’

I suspect it is this part of what Dr Potter said, that Dittrich distorted.  The funny thing is, I actually thought this strengthened Eben’s case.  This showed that not only had the meningitis attacked his cortex, which was where the infection started, it had actually progressed to the point that it was attacking deeper, more primitive, brain structures.  How can one have a hyper-real lucid experience via higher brain functions within the cortex, when the brain isn’t even capable of putting out primitive reflexes?  More along these lines below.

In addition, there are a couple of other pertinent points.

(1)  There seems to be a mistaken assumption out there that one has to have zero brain activity to have an NDE.  This is just not true. NDEs have been reported from people with little, to zero, brain activity with severe trauma, to folks with no injury in the waking state but faced with an imminent and deadly threat.  This means even if the Esquire article was correct and Eben’s coma was chemically induced, it is still hard to explain away an NDE on this basis alone.  Also, whether his coma was chemically induced, or not, seems to do little to explain the other problem I talked about in my earlier post, quoted here for convenience:

…. this leaves skeptics open to claim it happened during a reboot of the brain as he came out of the coma.  Here’s the problem with that explanation, though.  Patients who fall ill with bacterial meningitis, or similar conditions, do indeed end up going through a sort of reboot process.  As the brain comes back online and the various areas start to communicate again, patients typically go through a very confused state of affairs, which is called ICU psychosis.  Dr. Alexander remembers going through this and confirmed he was pretty far out of it, as to be expected.  However, he also remembers his NDE, as a hyper-real, crystal-clear lucid experience, with near-prefect memory recall.  Why would the brain be able to produce a hyper-real, crystal-clear lucid experience at an earlier time, during coma, when it was even more impaired?  You wake up from a coma because the brain has presumably healed itself enough to regain “waking” consciousness, but it’s still not a fully-functioning consciousness at that point in time.  It is disconnected, to say the least, which is why one goes through ICU psychosis.  So, how did he have an ultra-real, lucid experience when his brain was even more impaired than this?”

(2) Again, it’s hard to argue that Eben’s brain was not severely impaired.  I covered some details of that in this blog post, but I also thought the IANDS article gave another good summary, which I will quote here.

“Eben Alexander had developed a severe case of bacterial meningitis. There were lots of measures of how serious his condition was: the very quick onset of his symptoms, persistent seizure (status epilepticus), the presence of E. coli bacteria in his cerebral spinal fluid (CSF), the high white blood cell count and high protein level in his CSF, the very low glucose level in his CSF, and the CT scans of his brain that showed diffuse edema, damage in all eight lobes of his cortex and widespread blurring of the gray-white junction

And there were several specific neurological exams showing severe alterations: abnormal posturing indicating damage to the cortex and thalamus, florid papilledema indicating elevated intracranial pressure, fixed pupils indicating brainstem damage, and no vestibulo-ocular reflex also indicating brainstem damage. Alexander’s motor response declined further to “no motor response to noxious stimuli,” indicating widespread cortical and brainstem damage.”

As mentioned, rich and complex NDEs (with veridical components) have happened in cases with less apparent brain trauma than what we have here.  It’s always a stronger case if you can show there was zero, or close to zero, brain activity, as far as showing consciousness can exist independent of the brain. But, Eben’s NDE never was generally considered one of the better NDEs, as far as providing solid evidence along these lines.  But, it certainly shouldn’t be dismissed as “just a hallucination”, either.

I think its been shown the Esquire article was an unfair representation of what really happened.  It may even have been an intentional hit-piece meant to damage Eben’s story.  It wouldn’t be the first time something like this went down, that’s for sure.  In fact, the damage is done.  Esquire has a larger reading base than IANDS.  Even with a solid rebuttal, anybody who wants to be skeptical will just go back and reference the Esquire article and confidently proclaim:  “NDE debunked!“.  If folks don’t want to dig deeper to see what really happened, that’s what they’ll walk away with.  All too often, that’s how it seems to work.

However, it’s hard to silence the truth, especially when it comes in the form of an inspirational story like Eben’s.  I’m sure we’ll learn more, as time goes on.  And, this won’t be the last time something like this happens.

UPDATE:  Skeptiko had an interview with Robert Mays, author of the IANDS article.

Esquire Proof of Heaven Expose Debunked, Dr. Eben Alexander Prevails

Supernormal by Dean Radin

I recently enjoyed reading Dean Radin’s new book.   Since my intention with this blog post is to mainly share some of the information I found fascinating, think of this entire blog post as being covered by one gigantic footnote, referencing D…

Vegan Tacos, Chia-Seed Gaucamole, Salsa, and Vegan Margaritas, Huh?!

Well, I’m currently down and out with the ankle again, so Rebecca and I took a weekend off from the Sierra.  We realized how long it’s been since we had fun cooking a meal together, so it started to sound pretty good the more we thought about it.  We decided on these Vegan tacos we had a little ways back.  What makes them Vegan, you ask?  Instead of beef, they have a “meat” made of lentils and walnuts.  Those Vegans are sneaky, I tell you.  We also made some Chia seed guacamole and a fresh, homemade salsa.  Now, I don’t know if Jose Cuervo is technically considered Vegan, but the rest of the ingredients in some yummy whole-citrus-fruit Margaritas we made would classify.

The salsa was pretty easy.  We had several types of fresh tomatoes: orange, yellow, and red heirlooms.  The only other ingredients were cilantro, red onions, black pepper and a bit of lime juice.   We just kind of put them together in whatever proportions looked tasty.

There really wasn’t much different about the guacamole than your standard kind, other than the Chia seeds, which add a little superfood kick.  Chia seeds are a great fiber/protein source and high in Omega 3s.  They’re also real easy to digest and are detoxifying, which is good since Jose Cuervo was hang’n with us that night.

The recipe comes from Julie Morris on Navitas Naturals.

First, put these in a small glass container and let the Chia seeds soak up the juice for 10-15 mins.  Julie says to put it all in a food processor, but we found just chopping up the tomato worked better for us.  Just make sure to get the tomato juice in the container too.

  • 2 Tbsp Chia Seeds
  • 1 Very Large Tomato
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice

While you’re waiting for that, go ahead and get the rest of the ingredients out:

  • 1 Large Avocado
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • ¼ tsp Onion Powder
  • ¼ cup Red Onion (Julie calls for White, but we like the Red)
  • 2 Tbsp Cilantro
  • Pinch of Salt

Mash the avocado up with a fork in a bowl of the proper serving size and mix in the remaining ingredients.  Once the 10-15 minutes is up, add in as much of the tomato/chia mix as you want.  We always end up with some extra.

These tacos are a lot easier to make than I might have expected.  It’s really all about the “meat”, but that only has a few ingredients.  Rebecca got the recipe from Oh She Glows.

  • 1 cup dry lentils
  • 3 cups veggie broth
  • 1 ⅓ cup walnut halves, toasted
  • 1 cup bean medley (we used black beans and pinto beans)
  • Taco Seasoning

You just have to cook the lentils in the veggie broth for 30-40 minutes.  A little less broth than the recipe calls for might be good.  We just “toasted” the walnuts in a pan.  Once the lentils are done, combine everything in a food processor and lightly process with small pulses adding a teaspoon of taco seasoning at a time, until it tastes right.  Don’t over process, because a little texture makes it seem “meatier”.

Here’s what we used for the taco seasoning.

  • 4 parts chili powder
  • 2 parts cumin
  • 1 part paprika
  • 1 part oregano
  • 1 part onion powder
  • 1 part garlic powder
  • 1 part salt
  • ½ part black pepper

Then, it’s just a matter of some fresh lettuce, tomato, onions, avocado and some vegan, or as I like to call it, stinky cheese.

We experimented around and had a couple different kinds of Margaritas, but the one that turned out best went something like this.

  • 1 Whole Lemon
  • 1 Whole Cara Cara Orange
  • 1 Whole Lime
  • 2 oz Triple Sec
  • 4 oz Jose Cuervo Silver Tequila
  • Maybe 2 cups of Ice 

Just put the whole fruits (peeled, of course) in a blender with the triple sec, tequila and ice – blend till smooth and enjoy!

With these, I had fun trying out the color-accent feature on the Canon G15 (our new camera).  You basically pick a color in the scene and then tell the camera how much it should bleed out other colors.  Makes some neat looking photos.