Frankincense: Blood-Thinning Immunity-Booster

Frankincense Tree Socotra

Frankincense is a blood thinner, a very effective one, so much so that if you’re on blood thinners or P-glycoprotein drugs, don’t take it. But if you’re not on those drugs and want some help during this different time, my partner and I drink frankincense regularly.

It’s a resin, a dried sap, from the Boswellia sacra trees found in Oman, Yemen and Somalia. It’s an effective expectorant, meaning it clears out mucus from the lungs. Remember when Gaston in Beauty & the Beast sings, “I’m e-spe-cially good at expeeeectorating! ptooey!” (he spits) “Ten points for Gastooon!”? That’s expectorating. My lungs are sensitive and if I have dairy, I have mucus the next day. If I have wheat, soy, or a few other things, I wheeze. I avoid those foods, but not always, so sometimes I have a mild level of goo in my lungs. When I drank frankincense for the first time, the third day, it cleared out my lung phlegm like an OCD maid who then pitched her findings out of my body like a professional baseball player. Gross. And, you’re welcome.

Frankincense tree bark

Also using it topically in various ways can help with skin issues. It’s currently helping me heal cystic acne that is trying to leave divots in my face. It can help balance hormones, is anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory (so it may help with inflammatory conditions like asthma and colitis), and there are studies that show it kills off cancer cells while leaving healthy cells alone. I’m not saying it alone cures cancer, but it can help keep things in check preventatively or alongside other treatments. The Arizona Oncology Center says frankincense oil is “used to reduce inflammation and pain, boost immunity, soothe skin irritations, fight infections, and improve anxiety.”


The Wise Men brought it, with myrrh and gold, to the baby Jesus. I used to ignore what they brought and focus on that they knew ahead of time about Jesus. But now I see they were called wise for many reasons. (Studies show that frankincense combined with myrrh is even more effective at killing cancer cells.)

Main point here though is that it’s a helluva blood thinner. We buy an organic, edible frankincense essential oil and put one drop in a glass of water and drink the water over an hour or so, maybe even over a day or so. And we don’t do it more than 10 days in a row. It might be a month before we have it again… We listen to our bodies and that seems to coincide with doing it in moderation. It’s a different way of living, but we like it. Frankincense has quietly helped us in many ways.

. . .

Below are a few references sharing studies of frankincense. (Below that is the CNN article that got me thinking about blood thinners):

Frankincense essential oil suppresses melanoma cancer through down regulation of Bcl-2/Bax cascade signaling…

Frankincense oil derived from Boswellia carteri induces tumor cell specific cytotoxicity

Meta-Analysis of Xihuang Pill [includes frankincense and myrrh] Efficacy When Combined with Chemotherapy for Treatment of Breast Cancer

Does Indian Frankincense Have Health Benefits?

CD8+ T cells mediate the antitumor activity of frankincense and myrrh in hepatocellular carcinoma…/s12967-0…

Arizona Oncology Center on Essential Oils and Cancer Treatment Side Effects…/essential-oils-to-manage-can…/

Gaston from Beauty and the Beast

. . .

Quotes from the CNN article:

Covid-19 causes sudden strokes in young adults, doctors say

“The new coronavirus appears to be causing sudden strokes in adults in their 30s and 40s who are not otherwise terribly ill, doctors reported Wednesday.”

“Dr. Thomas Oxley, a neurosurgeon at Mount Sinai Health System in New York, and colleagues gave details of five people they treated. All were under the age of 50, and all had either mild symptoms of Covid-19 infection or no symptoms at all.”

“‘The virus seems to be causing increased clotting in the large arteries, leading to severe stroke,’ Oxley told CNN.”

“‘Our report shows a seven-fold increase in incidence of sudden stroke in young patients during the past two weeks. Most of these patients have no past medical history and were at home with either mild symptoms (or in two cases, no symptoms) of Covid,’ he added.”

“All tested positive. Two of them delayed calling an ambulance.”

“Other doctors have also reported that people are reluctant to call 911 or go to emergency rooms because of the pandemic.”

“It is not common for people so young to have strokes, especially strokes in the large vessels in the brain.”

“Brain cells die when blood flow is stopped, and the longer it’s blocked, the wider the damage in the brain. Quick treatment is vital. ‘The most effective treatment for large vessel stroke is clot retrieval, but this must be performed within 6 hours, and sometimes within 24 hours,’ Oxley said.”

“Oxley said his team wanted to tell people to watch themselves for symptoms of coronavirus infection and to call 911 if they have any evidence of stroke.”

“Up until now, people have been advised to only call for an ambulance with shortness of breath or high fever,” he wrote. The easy memory device for stroke, he said, is “FAST”: F for face drooping, A for arm weakness, S for speech difficulty and T for time to call 911.”

Full article here:

The Census: Based on Social Attitudes



We filled out the census today. I’m Mexican, English, Tigua (Ysleta del Sur Pueblo), Scots-Irish, Apache, German, Yaqui, Swedish and Sephardic as far as I know.

I remember when people started hating Mexicans. I didn’t believe them.

I remember thinking, “They didn’t hate Mexicans when I was a kid. They’re just doing it now because it’s cool. Don’t they see that it was cool to hate the Irish long ago, and the Italians, and the Japanese and that racism is just a thing to make people feel a little better than someone different than them? Doesn’t matter who it is, just as long as it’s around as a security blanket of blame.” I wouldn’t accept the hate then and I won’t now.

It’s not real to me. Even though it is real. And was very real for my grandparents. Tata would talk about how he and Nana went to a restaurant with their newborn baby and Tata was in his Navy uniform. The restaurant wouldn’t let them eat there. And he would fill with fire, sitting calmly in his chair at the kitchen table, and say, “Never say wet-back around me.” I see the pain they carry.

Mom was taught to let go of her heritage in little ways, like she doesn’t know Spanish very well. And I was raised away from both sides of my family in the deep South. I was doing so well in Spanish sophomore year when I moved to Arizona, then had to drop back a year because they were so much more advanced there. It’s weird to not have a lot of tradition from either side. But I can’t express my gratitude for the roots I received from the South. I loved it there.

Because I look Asian and sound white, I don’t get a lot of hate for being Mexican. I’ve had people be racist to Asians in front of me and then apologize to me. I had someone drive by me in the Park Mall parking lot in Tucson and yell, “Suck my dick, you Chinese Bitch!” And I yelled back, “I’M NOT CHINESE!” If they’re gonna hate, at least get it right.

But when I go to the doctor in L.A., there’s a box for me to check that asks something like, “Are you Latino?” and no other boxes asking about anything else. It stands out to me so much. It also bothers me on forms when I have to pick only one race box, as though I need to pretend like one parent doesn’t exist. And in most places, there is a box that says, “White.” But I’m not “White,” I’m Scots-Irish, English, German and Swedish. Also, 100 years ago, being Irish was very different than being English, in a negative way. But what about the positive way too? Now it’s all the same. It’s like white-washing whiteness. Where is the Hungarian box for my partner? Does his heritage not matter?

On the census today, there was a page that asked my race. But Hispanic wasn’t on it. All the other races were on that page. But Hispanic was separate. On the page with all the races together asking “What is Your Race?”, it said, “For this census, Hispanic origin is not counted as a race.” The only races were White, Black or African American, Native American or Alaskan Native, Chinese, Filipino, Asian Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Other Asian, Native Hawaiian, Samoan, Asian, Chamorro, Other Pacific Islander, and Some Other Race. Under, White, Black, Native American and places where it said Other, the census asked for origins to be written in.

But statistically, the boxes represent race. So if we look at just those, where are the Mexicans? We don’t get a box. We are only counted on the separate page as an origin. Also, where are the Iranians, Egyptians, people from the Middle East? We clicked on the “help” links on each page to learn more. And there it said, “The Category White includes all individuals who identify with one or more nationalities or ethnic groups originating in Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa.” So when the race statistics come out, it leaves the potential for it to be said that there are many more “white” people than there actually are.

Screenshot of my 2020 census

My partner wondered when the census started defining white that way. I looked it up and it’s at least defined that way in 2000 & 2010, although they say “Arab” and in 2020 they don’t.

I learned that 2000 was the first year that people could check more than one box. But in 2010, 97% of people still defined themselves as one race only.

Also, from 1790-1960, the first 19 censuses didn’t include Hispanic origin. Hispanic origin started in 1970 and has only been on 5 censuses. Here are some statistics of who was included in the census over time:

1790-1850 “White and Black (Negro), with Black designated as free and slave.”

1850-1920 (minus 1880) “Instructed to also identify Mulattoes (and Quadroons and Octoroons in 1890) among the Black population” Looked it up… Oxford dictionary defines Quadroon as a “Dated/ Offensive” word: a person who is one-quarter black by descent.

1860– “American Indians [excluding those not taxed i.e., living in tribal society] and Chinese (in California only) were identified separately”

1870– “Japanese were identified separately”

1890– “The attempt to enumerate all American Indians started… [but still] included only American Indians who were taxed” in the general questionnaire

1910– “Asian and Pacific Islander categories other than Chinese and Japanese were identified for the first time in decennial census reports, including, for example, Filipino, Hindu, and Korean.”

1930– In this year’s census only “there was a separate race category for Mexican.” This was based largely on who was born in Mexico or whose parents were born in Mexico. [By these standards, I’m not Mexican- neither is my mom or grandparents.] “The race category of Mexican was eliminated in 1940, and 1930 race data were revised to include the Mexican population with the White population.”

1950– “Other Race” was added. This year also included a Spanish Mother tongue category.

1960– “Eskimos and Aleuts were identified in Alaska, and Hawaiians and Part-Hawaiians were identified in Hawaii.”

1970-“the first attempt to identify the entire
Hispanic origin population…

…was defined three different ways in 1970 census reports, the first and second based on 15-percent sample data and the third based on 5-percent sample data… The Spanish origin population in 1970 was overstated in some states, especially in the Midwest and South, because some respondents interpreted the questionnaire category of “Central or South American” to mean central or southern United States.”

“In 1970, such responses in the Other race category… Hispanic entries such as Mexican, Cuban, or Puerto Rican… were reclassified and tabulated as White.”

1980– Data on Hispanic origin were collected on a 100-percent basis

I was born in 1980. But that means generations of my Mom’s family were not welcome on the census before me.

The 2010 census brief titled Overview of Race and Hispanic Origin compares the numbers of Hispanic origin people with White Alone people and shows there are more White Alone people. But it also goes into depth about how “people of Hispanic origin can be any race” and it says in 2010, the “Hispanic population predominantly identified [themselves] as either White or Some Other Race.” I don’t understand how Hispanic origin people can be included in Hispanic origin statistics and White statistics at the same time if the two are being compared to each other.

Anyway, I started out by saying that I can’t feel the racism, but I think what I’m trying to say is that I do feel it. I see it and it’s subtle. But it’s real. At least to me. I don’t like it.

The constitution originally said the census is there to count every person in each state, except “Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons…” which meant slaves. Even from it’s early definition, the census didn’t count everyone. And over time, it seems the census has continued to be less a reflection of the number of people in the US and more a reflection of who is being valued.

Today, it was comforting to read that the census knows it isn’t presenting categories based on anything but what is socially acceptable. The 2020 census says, “The categories included in the questionnaire generally reflect social definitions recognized in this country and do not attempt to define groups biologically, anthropologically, or genetically.” Population DivisionWorking Paper No. 56 on says the racial categories and wording of questions has changed over time reflecting “social attitudes and political considerations…”

I like that they’re honest about what the census is, but do others know? I feel like people may subconsciously pick up on the way these questions are presented and believe there is more math or science or truth in it. I could sense something about the census felt off, like maybe it is one of many things that tell our stories in a skewed way. But it wasn’t until I read all this that I saw they’re not hiding that it’s skewed. I’d prefer it to be a more accurate, equal census so a more accurate, equal conversation about it seeps into the collective conscious.

But it seems to work the other way around. The way we talk and look at things shapes the census. It actually seems cyclical, like one affects the other, but I see that truth creeps in somehow and the cycle expands over time. I hope we all keep mattering to ourselves and speaking up so our heritages can take their space in this beautiful place… so that our real existence on this land is not imagined away.



“Population Division: Historical Census Statistics on Population Totals by Race, 1790 TO 1990, and by Hispanic Origin, 1970 TO 1990, for the United States, Regions, Divisions and States by Campbell Gibson and Kay Jung, Working Paper No. 56”

“The White Population: 2000”

“Overview of Race and Hispanic Origin: 2010”

“News Release: 2010 Census Shows America’s Diversity”

Wikipedia: United States Census

Greta Thunberg, Malala, Anne Frank… Out of the Mouths of Children

“My message is that we’ll be watching you. This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here. I should be back in school, on the other side of the ocean. Yet, you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you. You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words.

And yet, I’m one of the lucky ones. People are suffering, people are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction. All you can talk about is money and fairytales of eternal economic growth. How dare you.

For more than 30 years, the science has been crystal clear. How dare you continue to look away and come here saying that you are doing enough when the politics and solutions needed are still nowhere in sight.

You say you hear us and that you understand the urgency. But no matter how sad and angry I am, I do not want to believe that. Because if you really understood the situation and still kept on failing to act, then you would be evil, and that I refuse to believe.

The probability of cutting our emissions in half in ten years only gives us a 50% chance of staying below 1.5 degrees and the risk of setting off irreversible chain reactions beyond human control. Fifty percent may be acceptable to you, but those numbers do not include tipping points, most feedback loops or additional warming hidden by toxic air pollution or the aspects of equity, climate justice.

[What are equity and climate justice? In short, rich countries pollute more, therefore have more responsibility to clean, but try to push the burden into the treaties of newly developing countries. Read a quick explanation here.

Also, our dictionary has the word “unpolluted” but not “unpollute.” Something can be cleaned, but linguistically, there’s not a verb associated with cleaning pollution specifically. Without a verb, there can be no subject. Our language removes the person, and with it, the possibility of responsibility, credit or simply a connection to the action.] 

They also rely on my generation sucking hundreds of billions of your CO2 out of the air with technologies that barely exist. So a 50% risk is simply not acceptable to us, we who have to live with the consequences.

To have a 67% chance of staying below a 1.5 degree global temperature rise, the best odds given by the IPCC, the world had 420 gigatons of CO2 left to emit back on January 1st, 2018. Today that figure is already down to less than 350 gigatons. How dare you pretend that this can be solved with just business as usual and some technical solutions.

With today’s emissions levels, that remaining CO2 budget will be entirely gone in less than eight and a half years. There will not be any solutions or plans in line with these figures here today. Because these numbers are too uncomfortable and you are still not mature enough to tell it like it is. You are failing us. But the young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, I say, we will never forgive you.

We will not let you get away with this. Right here, right now, is where we draw the line. The world is waking up. And change is coming whether you like it or not. Thank you.”

-Greta Thunberg, September 23 2019, United Nations Summit

Video in this article: Greta Thuberg Condems World Leaders in Emotional Speech to the UN. Best to hear it from her.

Thank you Greta, for your sobering clarity, passionate care and expectation of adults to be loving. I think a child sees best the gaps in an adult’s capacity to care. They expect us to be whole for them.

But we so often cannot be whole for them, even when we will ourselves the hardest. In fact, that kind of pushing usually pushes out space for the adult to accept their humanity, mistakes, imperfection, and for the child to do the same, resulting in less love for a child and oneself. Whatever the reason that one may not be meeting a child’s expectation, I perceive the best cure to be compassion.

I believe most of us are stuck in our own need for validation, continuously searching for our own parental love. No judgment there. To me, searching for love from unavailable people is a common and natural cycle that, unless tended to, continues. Searching via success, money, outside validation… These can be motivators of adults who need to prove their worth and do this without looking at long term consequences for others or themselves (they won’t notice that the validation can be fleeting). I see these motivators as the foundation of climate change.

I find that as I consciously spend a large percentage of my life learning how to work through my need for validation, my behavior becomes more mature. When I am more gentle and compassionate with myself, in tandem with learning how to matter to myself more, I accidentally help others more, and more deeply, in the process.

It is slow-moving, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. What an ironic phrase in this context. Whew. Thankfully, learning to love myself more helps me help the world.

I hope we can heal our hearts enough to make decisions as adults and give the future generations the love we are so often seeking.

P.S. It was pointed out to me that 16-year-old Greta is in good company. Joan of Arc was 18 when she led the French army to victory over the English. Malala was 11 when she started blogging for the BBC about the Taliban banning girls from school, 15 when she was shot in the head by the Taliban and 17 when she won the Nobel prize for her “struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education.”

Anne Frank was 13 when she first began writing in her journal, a heart-ringing time capsule shedding light on the atrocities of the Nazi occupation. Anne, who was Jewish, was in hiding for two years and after being discovered, passed away in a concentration camp at fifteen. This loving child who couldn’t go outside remembered the real blessing that nature is:

The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. As longs as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be.
Anne Frank,
The Diary of a Young Girl 

Her certainty that nature will always exist pulls at my heart even more right now as we see it might always exist, but not in the way we know it. Her words remind me how that kind of change would have an even deeper consequence. A large number of humans find their connection to God through nature. When we respond to climate change passively, not only are we gambling with the air we breathe, the food we eat, the place we call home, and our safety, we’re wagering our pathway to spirituality, something that for some brings the deepest peace, understanding, and enjoyment of existence.

How What Where to Compost Part 2: Bins & Piles

If you’ve gotten the basics in How What Where to Compost Part 1, below are tips on how to compost in a bin vs. a pile. “Bin” in this context means an enclosed plastic bin.

It can be as simple as a trashcan with holes drilled in it…

Or a more expensive stationary bin that may be open on the bottom, allowing bacteria, worms and other goodies to help the compost accelerate…

Or it may be one that can rotate in place…

Click the images for more info. Bin-wise, I’ve only used a trashcan with holes drilled in it, so I don’t have experience with the other items. I thought they’d be fun to share to get ideas flowing if you’re bin-curious. And here are some more types.


17.5.11 TheWholeRuth Compost

  • EQUALITY: Put in an equal amount of “green” and “brown.” It doesn’t have to be at the same time, but within a few days of adding food scraps or green, add brown.
  • ADD BROWN: Be sure to put in “brown” stuff. Only adding food, without carbon-rich dry brown items, makes the bin too nitrogen-rich, which is stinky and doesn’t make the chemical reaction that creates compost.
  • WATER: Also, while water is usually added to compost, it’s sometimes possible for enclosed bins to use the moisture of the green ingredients to help cook the compost. But if things get too dry, try gently adding in some water when you turn the bin.
  • MORE INFO: If you need more info, read How What Where to Compost


  • NOT TOO HEAVY: Make sure it doesn’t get too heavy to turn. Turning the bin gives the compost the oxygen it needs to work.
  • ROLLING IT AWKWARDLY IS FINE: When we were using a plastic trashcan with drilled holes, we’d slightly tip it and “steer” it, rolling it along the drive-way at an angle to rotate the contents inside.
  • TARP OPTION: If the type of bin you have is stationary or isn’t rollable, an option is to dump out the compost onto a tarp, turn it and then put it back in the bin.
  • MOVE-IT OPTION: If your bin is open to the ground at its base, some people pick up the whole bin off the compost, put it down in a new spot, then return the compost.
  • PITCHFORK OPTION: You can also use a pitchfork to repeatedly push into the pile and lift it straight up. This is hard for me to do.
  • MIXING TOOL OPTION: Some people use a handy compost mixing tool, designed only for turning stationary compost bins! Stick the bottom in and twist the handle to aerate the pile. People say they work wonders. Click to read their good reviews:


  • 1 CUBIC YARD: One cubic yard is the magic size for the pile to really heat up.
  • OUR EXPERIENCE: The following tips are how we make a pile at The Hollywood Orchard:


  • BROWN + GREEN + WATER: Make a layer of green, about an inch thick, then a layer of brown, same thickness, then mix, gently water the layers the whole time you’re mixing, repeat until done.
  • MIX EACH LAYER: To reiterate, instead of mixing it all at the end, we mix each layer. Doing it slowly lets it be thoroughly mixed which helps it cook. It’s physically more manageable to me too.
  • HOW TO MIX: We use a pitch-forky hoe. (I’m sure that’s the proper name.)


  • GLUE: Watering while mixing lets the moisture go deep into the layer to hold it together like glue. This lets the pile get really tall and reach a cubic yard.
  • NO MOISTURE, NO HEAT: Without watering each layer, it apparently doesn’t cook!
  • SPONGE GOAL: The pile should be saturated to where you could wring the compost out like a sponge. But if water is trickling down the sides, it’s too much.


  • Next to the pile, have a second space as large as the one that holds the pile. 
  • Shovel the top layer onto the empty spot and repeat the same watering/ mixing for each layer like before. 
  • The top layer will become the bottom layer and the bottom becomes the top.
  • The top layer will have cooked the least because it was exposed to the air.
  • The inside will be more cooked, even ashy sometimes, or still steaming!
  • So flipping allows the whole thing a chance to cook evenly. 
  • More new green or brown can be added every time a pile is flipped.
  • At the end, cover everything in a layer of brown to reduce smells.
  • For a visual, in the photo above, we moved the pile from the left space, where the pitchfork is, to the right. 
  • (I thought we would flip the pile in place, which seemed hard, messy and confusing. Putting it next to where it was, made it so easy to flip! That may seem obvious, but living in apartments for most of my life has apparently made my brain not think of space as an option. Having a 2nd spot blew my mind!)
  • If you don’t have an extra plot to flip the pile, some people dump out the compost onto a tarp, turn it and then put it back in its original spot. Or you can try the pitchfork or mixing tool options above.


  • Turning or flipping a pile can be done once a week.
  • Turning it every 3 weeks or whenever is fine too, it’ll just take longer for the pile to be “finished.”
  • A pile can be turned as often as every three days to finish the project more quickly.
  • Whether it’s every 3 days, once a week, or however long, turn the pile 3-4 times for it to become “done.”


  • Horse poo really has a hard time breaking down. (Another gardening friend recently said that chicken poo or sheep poo work wonders! And cow poo, too, because their four stomachs break the food down more than a horse’s stomach.)
  • We still use horse poo though.
  • If we see something that is stuck in a clump, we break it up with our hands.
  • The Hollywood Orchard doesn’t worry about avocado pits or too many acidic fruits. Our philosophy so far is that it’ll all break down eventually.
  • Remember to chop up whatever large things go in the pile, food, twigs, etc., to help it “digest” more quickly. What does large mean? A whole orange is better halved or quartered, a branch is better in 3 inch pieces or at least smaller than it started.
  • We usually use sheers to chop the ingredients. Whatever container holds the ingredients beforehand, a bucket, a trashcan, or whatever, we stick the sheers in and just chop around crazy until it feels like the right size. Or until we’re too tired to keep chopping.


This option is sort of a mix of the other two. It’s like an open-air pile in an enclosure. I don’t have experience with this, but will soon! We’re currently making one. I’ll update as we learn more. Below are some examples (click images for info). Here are more.


Would love to hear how you do it.

For general composting info, check out How What Where to Compost.

Need inspiration? Maybe this will fluff your muffins: Why to Compost

My favorite context for the word “bin” (at 4:10): Life in Quarantine After 55 Days

Compost by faisalovers from the Noun Project

How What Where to Compost

These guidelines are true for any compost, whether it’s done in a bin, in a pile, or in the ground. (More info: Compost Bins vs. Piles)

  • Compost needs about 50% green ingredients, 50% brown ingredients, oxygen and water.


  • “Green” is anything with moisture. It can be any color. Food scraps, grass, leaves, coffee grounds, (non-pet) manure…
  • Green is nitrogen-rich.
  • If there is too much green, it will get very stinky. If this is happening, add more brown. (Also, too much green means too much nitrogen, which means it could burn plants if it was used as fertilizer in this stinky form.)


  • “Brown” is anything dry. Dry leaves, brown paper bags, wood chips, egg cartons…
  • Brown is carbon-rich.
  • It helps to cover the compost with a layer of only brown to keep the smell enclosed.


  • The compost needs oxygen to work. That’s why it’s important to turn bins or flip piles when making compost, to let oxygen reach different parts of the compost. Also, make sure there is air circulating around the compost.


  • The compost needs moisture, so add water to give it more oxygen and help it cook.


  • No: No meat, dairy, fish, or animal food oils can go in the compost, unless it’s bokashi (More info: Compost Indoors or Meat & Dairy = BOKASHI). No pet waste because sometimes it has bacteria that can survive the heat of the pile.
  • Shrinkage: Whatever size the compost starts out, it will end up being much smaller when it’s done. (Sort of like cooking fresh spinach)
  • Organic: If you’re trying to make organic compost, make sure yard trimmings you use (fresh grass, brown leaves, etc) come from a yard that doesn’t use pesticides. Anything that is non-organic, we still compost in our city’s green bin.
  • Chop it: We chop up twigs and branches with shears before adding them to the compost. Making everything into smaller pieces helps the compost digest more quickly and easily, like chewing for our tummies.


A few years ago, a farmer friend of mine taught me that compost piles get hot and they are actually cooking the carbon-rich brown & nitrogen-rich green scraps. They get so hot, about 140 degrees, that the creatures one might worry about staying inside the pile (bad bacteria, bugs and any rodents who might smell tasty treats inside the pile) can’t live there anymore. It’s too hot so they leave. Pretty cool, huh? (Pun inaccurate and not intended.)

When a pile is flipped, sometimes there is ash inside. A pile covered in winter snow will still cook and sometimes steam will still rise off of the covering snow! The Hollywood Orchard hosts a 6th grade field trip for the local school and a few days before the kids come, they put an egg and potato inside the compost so when the kids arrive, they can see the egg is hard-boiled and then play hot-potato with the weird stinky potato!

When the compost has been turned a few times to allow the whole thing to cook, there will be only good bacteria and healthy, nutrient-rich compost.


  • No meat, dairy or animal products (bones, butter, fish skins) or pet waste

Nitrogen/ “Green”:

  • Fruits & veggies
  • Peels, skins & cores of fruits & veggies
  • Herbs & spices
  • Nutshells
  • Coffee Grounds
  • Egg shells
  • Pits & seeds
  • Grains & beans
  • Tea bags without the staples
  • Chemical-free hair
  • Chemical-free fingernails
  • Feathers from the down sofa or birds outside
  • Fresh house plant leaves
  • Store-bought flower bouquets (only for the city green bin if your goal is organic)

Carbon/ “Brown”:

  • Shredded brown paper bags
  • Paper egg cartons
  • Toilet paper rolls
  • Brown, dry leaves (you can get them from parks sometimes, ideally they’d be from a pesticide-free yard)
  • Vacuum cleaner or sweeping dust
  • Ash from a firepit that used wood
  • Dry house plant leaves
  • Wood chips (ideally chemical-free/ non-treated)


Collect your food scraps in the freezer or fridge, so they don’t smell or attract bugs. You can keep them in glass or plastic tupperware, or you have regular plastic bags, you can use those and wash them out and re-use them. Or use compostable bags. Or to create less waste, you can keep them in a bowl with no lid or a brown paper bag that can be tossed in to the compost.

You can also collect scraps in a smell-absorbing compost bucket on your counter-top. (We use this one. During the summer ant-parades, we keep it in the fridge.)


When you’re ready to compost, put your food scraps and brown compostable waste in:

  • your yard in a compost pile above ground
  • a pit in the ground with or without doors to seal it
  • a fenced in compost area
  • a plastic compost bin that turns
  • a wooden compost bin that allows for air circulation
  • a homemade compost trashcan with holes drilled in the sides

More information on this part of the process: How to Compost in Bins & Piles


  • your green or brown bin from the city
  • your indoor or outdoor worm bin (no acidic food or oils)
  • an indoor bokashi compost bucket
  • your friend’s compost
  • the compost collection of a community organization, farmer’s market or restaurant that accepts compost. (See more info below)
  • a compost hub
  • a compost co-op

For folks in Los Angeles:

  • LA Compost collects food scraps at:
    • The Atwater Farmer’s Market, every Sunday 10am-2pm (double check the LA Compost site)
    • The Los Feliz Farmer’s Market, 1st & 3rd Sundays 9am -1pm (double check the LA Compost site)
    • A slew of community hubs listed on their website
    • Community co-ops


It seems like it’s possible that everyone can participate in some part of the compost cycle. But getting started may be difficult without seeing the magic in action. In my experience, composting can a passionate team sport or an invigorating ice-skating solo. Reading about it may be all you need to start on your own, but it can also be helpful to find some experienced folks who will let you watch their process or answer questions about how they do it. You could also find a free class or offer to temporarily help a community garden with their compost. I learn so much by helping flip the pile every so often at our beloved Hollywood Orchard.

If you want to do it in a group, there may be compost hubs or compost co-ops near you that you can join.

Whether working with others or solo, I suggest trying to get comfy with the idea that trial and error is part of the process no matter what, and it can be exciting and beautiful.

For folks in Los Angeles:

  • The City gives some free workshops and discounted compost bins and worm bins.
  • Kiss the Ground also has free compost workshops sometimes, listed on their FB page.
  • Grow Good gives free classes from time to time. This LA Times article has more info.
  • The Burbank Recycle Center has a free compost workshop the last Wednesday of every month from 6-8pm from March – November, you just have to RSVP.
  • The Hollywood Orchard in Beachwood Canyon offers opportunities to work on their compost pile where the compost-curious can learn via hand-on practice. Join the Hollywood Orchard mailing list and ask to be informed of when we get together to work on our compost pile, then come play in the dirt with us!


Why to Compost


Whenever you’d like. Composting can seem tricky, but I feel like you’ll know when you’re ready. To me, love is the main ingredient. Add some to the compost, and some to yourself. It lets you keep trying until you figure out what works for you.

heart ruth signature

Compost Story infographic


Why to Compost

Carbon dioxide in the air is pollution. Carbon in the soil is healthy… Anything that is alive is made of carbon, including us.

When we sweep leaves away from our lawns, we’re sweeping away that area’s food. Those leaves, flowers, seeds and natural debris, that are often seen as mess, would normally stay and break down into food for the soil and become food for the plants in that space.

It is often said to rotate crops because one type of plant will eat certain nutrients in that spot and another type of plant would eat other nutrients, letting the depleted nutrients build back up for a while. But naturally, a tomato plant drops its seeds in the same place and grows again. Why? My guess is that a tomato plant would normally die in its spot, make green & brown waste, mix with rain or snow and other fallen leaves, and become its own food next year, replenishing the soil’s nutrients. Without humans taking away their “mess,” they feed themselves. It seems the seeds would ride the wind or in the belly of an animal and end up popping up in new places too, but they’d have peace-of-mind knowing they carry a cycle of food with them where ever they go.

But why do we care about feeding the soil to feed plants? Firstly, because CARBON.

When the soil is depleted, it can’t pull carbon into itself or keep it there. Carbon dioxide in the air is pollution. Carbon in the soil is healthy. It becomes food for the soil’s bacteria. Anything that is alive- plants, animals, soil- is made of carbon, including us. There was a balanced cycle of carbon dying and becoming new life, but we added too much carbon to the atmosphere with fossil fuels and took away the ground’s ability to absorb carbon with our agriculture practices. This combination is creating pollution that is killing the planet that keeps us alive.

Ryland Englehart, co-founder of Kiss the Ground, a non-profit in LA, shares that between carbon extraction via fossil fuels and our agriculture practices, “We’ve moved 880 giga-tons [880,000,000,000 tons] of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere which is heating up the planet and destabilizing our climate. Now, the oceans have absorbed a lot of this excess carbon which is resulting in ocean acidification and accelerating a mass extinction of sea life… Where do we put this excess carbon to get this cycle back into balance? The answer is literally… under our feet. It’s the soil.”

When plants photosynthesize, they pull carbon out of the air and turn it into sugars that go into their roots feeding bacterial colonies, mycorrhizal funghi, and aggregates. These creatures increase the root capacity by the thousands, turn the sugars into nutrients for the plant and create an environment that can store carbon for decades. “Plants pump it in and soil stores it. Nature’s living technology is amazing!”

Making our own compost and returning it to the land, pulls more carbon into the ground which helps heal climate change. (More info: watch this Kiss the Ground video.)

Also, putting the missing link back in the cycle by composting creates less landfill trash that would become methane gas.

When compost is added to an edible garden and the soil gets richer, the plants in the healthy, bacteria-rich soil don’t need pesticides or chemical fertilizers. They can be next to plants with disease and not get sick. It’s like our human immune systems: we need good bacteria (probiotics), nutrients and minerals for our organs to fight off disease. When our immune systems are strong, we’re less likely to catch something that would infect a less healthy person. Plants are the same way.

And the same way that we have to continuously eat nutrients to maintain our health, so do the plants. As we keep eating and creating food scraps, plants keep needing the scraps. Their need keeps landfills thinner and eventually, our bellies fuller. All while eliminating the need for hormone-disrupting, pollution-causing chemical pesticides and fertilizers.

Helping the plant’s immune system ends up helping ours too. The garden food ends up having more nutrients for us, tasting better, and ultimately providing healing and prevention for many of our chronic diseases.

Plus plants in healthy soil need less water, which saves water. And people composting on their own land also reduces their city’s need to collect yard waste, saving more resources.

Lastly, if you are able to turn a pile, studies show that being around soil bacteria reduces depression (It’s the probiotics in the soil). And I believe any nature calms us in some way, from being around a lush forest to being around one fruit from one tree, even putting its peel-scraps in a bucket in my kitchen.

Overall, all pieces of the cycle benefit people, soil, plants, animals and the planet.

These are just my reasons though, why do you compost if you do?

How What Where to Compost


Just Cause for Eviction Bill AB 1481

Please call your legislators this morning (Tuesday April 30) and ask them to support AB 1481 the Just Cause for Eviction Bill they vote on today!
From Yesenia Miranda Meza at the Alliance of California Community Empowerment:
“We passed a statewide rent cap out of the first committee! Last week, ACCE members staged a two day sit-in at the capitol in support of the Keep Families Home bill package…”
Photo by TheWholeRuth
“Two of us, Mari Sanchez and myself [Yesenia], even stayed overnight inside the Governor’s office the night before the hearing.
For many of us, the #KeepFamiliesHome bill package is about actual survival. We did legislative visits, made countless calls, sent thousands of emails, voiced your concerns on social media, and tried every “appropriate” channel to urge our legislators to choose tenants over corporate landlords. And when all of those tools failed, we used the only tool we were left with: our bodies. We were forced to physically sit in and demand to be heard.
Our efforts made a big difference…
One of the key bills, AB 1482 to stop rent gouging statewide, passed out of the first housing committee with 6 to 1 votes in support! Unfortunately, AB 36 the bill to expand rent control was pulled off the committee agenda and is sitting back in rules committee.
One hurdle cleared, next up: we need to get statewide Just Cause for Eviction protections out of the assembly judiciary committee: Call 3 Key Legislators voting tomorrow to urge them to support AB 1481!”
Click here for help with a calling script from Housing Now.
Or simply call:
Maienschein, Brian
(858) 675-0077
Chau, Ed
(323) 264-4949
Petrie-Norris, Cottie
(949) 251-0074
“Tomorrow the Judiciary Committee votes on whether or not to support AB 1481 to prevent landlords from evicting families unfairly – requiring them to have a just cause for the eviction like failure to pay rent, vandalizing the property, etc.”
“Call Ed Chau, Brian Maienschein and Cottie Petri-Norris NOW to urge them to support AB 1481 – Just Cause for Evictions tomorrow!
Californians know that it is simply unfair for a tenant who has done nothing wrong to be evicted arbitrarily by a landlord for the sake of profit. With homelessness on the rise and displacement crisis deepening every day – we need eviction protection now more than ever.
Make 3 quick calls to key legislators on the Judiciary Committee to urge them to vote YES on AB 1481 tomorrow!
Last but not least, pressuring these legislators costs money. Money to send members from San Diego to Sacramento. Money to text voters to let them know whats happening. Money to run ads on facebook letting the public know this is happening. Please chip in what you can to help us push the #KeepFamiliesHome bills over the final hurdle!
In solidarity,
Please share this ❤️
Last year, the opposition spent $70 million to convince California to vote against the rent control bill on the ballot. We have a chance to stand up for ourselves and for others by letting our voices be heard for free.
Read AB 1481
Read AB 1482 (the one that passed out of the first committee!)
Instead of the 10-200% increases currently happening, AB 1482 would make it so that each year, rent can only be raised by 5% plus the percentage change in the cost of living, which was 2.4% in this past year.
Read Consumer Price Index where the change in cost of living is calculated yearly
Read The Sac Bee for bit of info about the bills being proposed
Photo by TheWholeRuth


Trusting My Own Touch

The Whole Ruth Trusting Touch
Photo by The Whole Ruth | icon: hands by Diego Carneiro from the Noun Project
“…the ability to distinguish between self and others is extremely important. During the first period of life, new-born children develop an understanding of where their own body ends mainly through being touched by those who care for them. Problems with the self-concept, such as the ability to recognise one’s own actions, are common in several psychiatric disorders. Most people cannot tickle themselves, but some patients with schizophrenia can, suggesting that their brain interprets sensory perceptions from their own body differently.”
“We saw a very clear difference between being touched by someone else and self-touch. In the latter case, activity in several parts of the brain was reduced. We can see evidence that this difference arises as early as in the spinal cord, before the perceptions are processed in the brain”
“The researchers showed that the ability to experience simultaneous sensory perceptions was damped when the participants stroked their own arms. Maybe this phenomenon can explain why we, for example, rub our arm when we bump it against a table.”
Fascinating. What I get out of this is that our brains are less scared of our own touch. When it is not us, we’re immediately working harder to understand what is touching us. Is it a bug? A snake? A human touch? Is it safe? Is it welcome? WHAT IS IT.
It seems to me that familiarity with something, knowing what it is, gives a feeling of safety. I think that’s why we so often try to repeat the same experiences with the expectation of the same positive outcome.
I think it’s so beautiful that we can comfort ourselves with our own touch. It’s like one less thing in the world we need to figure out. Except for when our arm falls asleep on our chest in the night and we wake up like WHO’S ARM IS THAT.
I wonder how the brain looks when we are being touched by someone we know and love.
Looking at the study itself and not the article, it says: “It remains unclear how the brain differentiates self- and other-produced slow, light skin-to-skin touch—the kind of touch people use to stroke their loved ones.”
But it goes on to say that even though they don’t know what the brain looks like during this loving touch, behavioral studies suggest that both touch from others, especially the loving kind described above, and/or self-touch “contribute to establishing the bodily self.”
Establishing the bodily self. Amazing. It’s like touch reminds me I’m alive. That’s wild. Firstly, that I need a reminder, and secondly, that touch is a potent reminder. Loving touch from others feels this important to me as it’s happening, but I’ve never included my own touch as something powerful for myself.
I recently went to a meditation workshop about self-compassion that reminded the attendees that we have the option of soothing ourselves by the simplest actions- maybe resting our loving hand on our chest, our belly, or our arm. If a negative emotion comes up, we can be there for ourselves. It’s new and foreign to most of us, and most of us have to get past the obstacle of the fear of judgement. But it was nice to be reminded and to practice in a room of others being that accepting and loving with themselves too.
I think of the brain calmness that comes with self-touch as a natural reassurance, like “If it’s me touching me, I must be safe.”
But then… I think of a person who cuts themselves, or of a person who takes their own life. In those times, there is a lost trust of ourselves, and a false trust in our own touch. In some ways, suicidal people may perceive those last touches as their only form of comfort. Or in the case of cutters, those cuts are in some way a release of or a distraction from the mental pressure and pain being experienced.
Even when those feel like the only options, there are a slew of others. Ones that return us to trusting that we can exist in this world, ones that renew a true trust in our own touch. Often, we haven’t experienced these options enough, or at all, to believe in them or trust them at first. But they’re there.
As I do my own therapeutic work, I’m learning to have a better relationship with myself. And with that comes a trust in myself I never had. I feel like when self-trust is more thorough, addiction, depression, anxiety and harmful habits lessen. That has been my experience.
It’s nice to know my brain and spine already feel comforted by my own touch. I love the idea that before my brain registers who I am, my body intuitively already knows. Somewhere, my heart is starting to listen, to know me too, and to trust me.

Distinction of self-produced touch and social touch at cortical and spinal cord levels | Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

I’m Noticing

The Whole Ruth Rain LeafThe rain is freaking me out. So is the cold in the rest of the country.

The special features of Children of Men in 2006 had a scientist who shared that as the planet gets warmer, the polar ice caps will melt and for some amount of time, we will get colder in response to things getting hotter. This stayed with me because, while I don’t like global warming, I do get distracted by the loveliness of warmth- but I am terrified of the cold. It was motivating to me.

When we first moved to LA, I was a farmer in Silverlake. I learned the patterns of weather in 2011 & 2012 because I was out in it and it affected our job. When the rainy season, winter, came in December and January, we couldn’t always work. We bought seeds and worked on finances over lunches indoors.

But over the last eight years, the rainy season has shifted. Last year, it seemed to rain more in February and then it rained a lot in March, which was noticeably different. The plants bloomed and blossomed bigger than they usually do because the combination of water and spring sun gave them more of a chance to thrive. But then they were too tender too close to the scorching summer and the edges of many plants burned and the extra growth died back.

I went home to Tucson for the holidays and it rained in December. The Tucson desert doesn’t rain in December. It has a monsoon season in the summer where it pours storms. But this was a heavy rain, smack in the middle of the wrong season.

The rain in Los Angeles this season is also different than I’ve ever seen. It’s colder and longer. I see on the yearly and monthly almanac that there are random years with more rain. But this feels so different to me.

People are excited for the Super Bloom. I was so happy to go to it in 2017 after the drought for so many years. But I feel like it may be a response, this year, to global warming. I don’t know how to feel about it yet. Some part of me wishes I could enjoy it. It seems like it will feel like cake may taste to a diabetic: sweet and daunting.

LA has so many transplant residents that it might be harder for people here to notice the yearly weather patterns. I feel like many humans tend to be in a car or on a phone or computer instead of outside on the ground developing a relationship with the cycle of life happening around them. Without that connection, it seems easy not to take action.

I keep trying to think of ways to start a big-small movement, where, while people are working on political protections for the environment, even more people can do small effective actions together. I understand that big actions are needed. But I think we each have so much power to make small change.

I think our society often looks for fast, complete success and can get impatient with, or not notice, small growth. So we don’t keep on going to let the small growth add up. But if we got excited to believe in our individual capability, and trusted that slow manageable change is very powerful, we could really make a difference!

And I believe the practice of loving ourselves leads to this type of trust and belief.

I dream of hashtags that we all can participate in-

  • #SundrySundays Have one day a week where we don’t use laundry dryers (dryers release a lot of unregulated pollution and use a lot of energy)
  • #WalkingWednesday Take public transportation for a day and don’t drive
  • #OneThirdPlantBased Eat one vegan meal a day (the pollution from raising animals for dairy and meat contributes more to global warming than cars and all transportation combined, and it’s methane from their farts which is 23 times more planet-warming than CO2 from cars)
  • #2HoursADay Spend at least 2 hours outside each day, to get away from the screens, in order to notice what is around us
  • #WhatIDo List each action you take to do your own part
  • #SmallSustainableCommitment Commit to one or two small green actions that can be sustained over a year, without judging the size, with pride for the action
  • #EarthCareIsSelfCare A daily action to be kind to the earth and in turn, to be kind to ourselves
  • #MentalHealthLeadsToRealWealth Take time and space in our lives to learn to love ourselves, through therapy, free group therapy or whatever fluffs our muffins, because when we come from true self-mattering, we value the nourishing world around us and believe we’re worth whatever effort it takes to care for ourselves

My true hope is for a movement to organically happen. (That sounds like a poop metaphor. Poop metaphors and animal farts… It’s the first time they’re not funny to me.) But if you are a teacher or a leader, or a person who hides from the world, or both or any type of person that would want to share these hashtags, or talk about getting together to spread an idea, or who is already part of an environmentally-healing movement that you’d like to share, please let me know.

Writing this out makes me realize what’s really resonating with me:

I’d love to hear the stories of other people who are noticing the weather and world around them. It would help me feel less alone, and safer, because when we all see the same problem, we’re more likely to act in ways that heal it.

What is your connection to the land, sky, wildlife and water around you and have you noticed those things changing?

#imnoticing  #myconnection


Taking My Own Hormone Advice

The Whole Ruth Taking My Own Hormone Advice
Photo by The Whole Ruth | icon: menstruation by Karolina B from the Noun Project

The links below are good summaries of how often we’re exposed to pesticides and how pesticides affect us as endocrine disruptors, which are hormone-disrupting chemicals. Endocrine disruptors can negatively impact any organs affected by hormones, causing imbalances in the thyroid, slow metabolism, sex-hormone related cancers like breast cancer and prostate cancer, infertility, birth defects, developmental disorders and sexual development problems.

Often the small amounts of endocrine-disrupters we’re exposed to add up in different places like our cleaning products, make-up, pesticides and plastic materials that have entered our food chain, etc. And those combinations plus our own levels of stress can accumulate and cause problems for us.

In aquatic animals, who absorb more quickly than humans, studies show when they’re exposed to endocrine disrupting chemicals, they have lower levels of serotonin and the males have increased feminization. Some male frogs in the pesticide-filled run-off water from farms have multiple sets of babies. I watched a special about it on PBS and was shocked. Years later, Amazon’s The New Yorker docu-series did a follow-up on the scientist who was on the PBS special and they shared how the chemical companies were trying to discredit him because he made them look bad. I was so grateful that PBS and later, The New Yorker, were using their platforms to share important truth.

If you’re having any hormone-related problems, or you’re interested in long-term self-care in this way, eating organic gives us a less exposure to these chemicals. Using natural cleaners around the house like baking soda and vinegar and getting rid of chemical cleaners can help too. And learning how to regularly detox our bodies helps to clean out the inevitable intake of endocrine-disrupting chemicals.

I’ve been learning about these things for years, but have had a hard time taking actions and committing to a consistently cleaner lifestyle. I think it’s hard to do without therapy. They may seem unrelated, but I emotionally eat, so whenever I’m overwhelmed, the clean diet goes out the window. I tend to only take care of myself when I get in enough pain. And I seem to be able to walk around in pain for a decade or so before I reach my level of “enough”.

Luckily, I’ve been doing a lot of therapy. And it’s helping so much. My relationship with myself, and with food, and with Shane, and with my family, and with life in general, has changed for the better.

Last year, four loved ones passed away. I gave myself permission to comfort-eat. And I’m glad I did. But a blessing in disguise has arrived from it… I gave myself a little health problem.

I had an easy lady-cycle until I was 21. Then I became a vegetarian and ate a lot of soy, dairy, sugar and wheat for 6 six years. Then a nutritionist let me know my body doesn’t want soy, dairy, sugar or wheat. When I eliminate those things for about a month and a half, my cycle is easy again.

But when I don’t, all hell breaks loose. It’s been over a decade of monthly problems, but I seem to have amnesia about it each month and continue my behavior.

Grieve-eating was important for me to do. And now it’s given me the gift of more physical pain. Which is actually what I needed to finally bring my hormonal problems into the light and work to heal them. I’m grateful for a medical problem I’ve developed and hope it’s enough inspiration to slowly change my self-care habits over the next six months.

I’m also grateful for my past medical problems that have led me down an unplanned path of learning that so many health problems can heal. The hope and power in that knowledge is spectacular to me, and the slowness at which it’s possible and the honesty with oneself that it requires, keeps me connected to a vulnerability and groundedness that I adore, but would otherwise naturally avoid.

I tend to focus on telling others what to do, on “helping” by giving unsolicited advice to people who often aren’t interested in it (thus the unsolicited part!), and on hyper-researching as a way to numb out and never focus on myself. So thanks for letting me start this as some sort of PSA. I think I’m basically writing it for the one person who is actually asking for this help and advice… me. Ha.

I repeatedly return to focusing on myself through out each day. It’s not a habit for me. Trying to save everyone else is my habit. A friend of mine has been using the phrase “closed feedback loop” a lot and I like it. My closed feedback loop of thought and action used to circle around from focusing on others back to focusing on others. Now, at least sometimes, it starts with them, but ends with me. So I’m glad I did it again. Any way that I can remember to include myself is great, even if it’s messy and flailing. I just want to be patient with my growth. Slow and steady seems to be the only effective thing. And there is no race at all. (Inhales, exhales… )

Sending love and light to us all as we walk this journey of life!


Monsanto’s Toxic Chemical Glyphosate Found In 100% Of California Wines Tested | Live Love Fruit

Endocrine Disruptor | Wikipedia

Reducing Pesticides Risk: A Half a Century of Progress | Environmental Protection Agency Alumni Association

Progress in Environmental Research by Irma C. Willis p.175