Welcome to Yesterways Order of WiseCraft

Witching my way through the world one day at a time here at Yesterways Cottage, incorporating the ways of old with modern times. Join me as I journey on a spiritual path I call "Yesterways WiseCraft Wicca." Feel free to comment and ask questions -- I'll get back to you, I promise, Witch's honor.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Alpha Gal Dangers - Served Beef by Mistake

My Alpha Gal Allergy keeps me ever on my toes. Today we frequented our favorite Mexican restaurant. It is my *comfort food* that I reach too when times are stressful and it has been one truly stressful week.

Today I ordered a cheese enchilada and chile relleno platter. I thought that would be a nice change from chicken. Me eating chicken all the time make me feel sort of like Forest Gump eating Bubba Gump Shrimp - boiled, fried, stewed... you know the drill if you've seen the movie. :)

Anyway, as I was gabbing at hubs, I took a big bite of what was supposed to be my cheese enchilada, only horror of horrors, I found myself gnoshing on a big mouthful of beef and cheese enchilada. I know, I should have been more careful and looked at it before it went in my mouth but I was in unwind mode.

Six hours have passed now and no hive episode so I think I'm in the clear. Phew! But I'm keeping the epi pen close at hand just in case....

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Alpha-Gal / Red Meat Allergy -- What is it? #Alpha-Gal

As some may already know, I was recently received a preliminary diagnosis of red meat allergy also called mammalian meat allergy which is caused by an allergic reaction to a sugar present in red meat called galactose-alpha-1, 3- galactose, aka Alpha-Gal for short.  This allergy is kicked off by bites from the Lone Star tick commonly found on deer.  Living in Oklahoma, tick bites are a common occurrence if you are a country dweller or spend time outdoors. It is a given that you will experience a tick bite at some time.  We have all been alerted to watch for telltale signs of Lyme Disease including the bulls eye rash, aches fever, etc., but never would I have thought my horrendous hives to an *unknown* food might be remotely related to a tick bite.

Although my allergist believes there is a strong probability that I have this affliction, I won't know with certainty until testing later this month. Either way, this experience has brought this disabling allergy to my attention and I am spreading the info far and wide in case there are others out there suffering without any idea what the problem is. Perhaps this will help connect the dots.

The positive outcome of this situation for me is that it has pushed me to work on my diet and make some long over due changes for a healthier lifestyle. If I get to put red meat back in my diet at some point, hurrah! If not, I'm going to be okay.

Here is an excerpt from the University of Virginia website that discovered the connection between tick bites and mammalian meat allergy. 

What exactly is this mammalian meat allergy?
When certain people are bitten by ticks or chiggers, the bite appears to set off a chain of reactions in the body.  One of these reactions is the production of an allergic class of antibody that binds to a carbohydrate present on meat called galactose-alpha-1,3-galactose, also known as alpha-gal.  When a person with the alpha-gal antibody eats mammalian meat, the meat triggers the release of histamine.  Histamine is a compound found in the body that causes allergic symptoms like hives, itching and, in the worst case, anaphylaxis (a reaction that leads to sudden weakness, swelling of the throat, lips and tongue, difficulty breathing and/or unconsciousness).
In addition to the classic allergy symptoms, some of our patients report significant gastrointestinal distress or gynecological symptoms. These symptoms can take the form of abdominal cramping and pain, heartburn, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting and in some cases uterine cramping with spotting. It is not uncommon for a patient who has anaphylaxis to lose consciousness while moving their bowels.  Some patients have reactions that are characterized almost entirely of GI or gynecological symptoms while others may not experience these types of symptoms at all.
This allergy is different from other food allergies like peanut allergy in that the response is delayed.  Unlike someone with a peanut allergy who has an immediate reaction when they eat a peanut, people with the alpha-gal allergy usually do not start having symptoms until several hours after they eat meat.
For the complete article, visit:

Frequently Asked Questions - A Resource on the Mammalian Meat Allergy from the University of Virginia 

Bright Blessings and Blessed Be,
Rayven Michaels
Wiccan Witch of the Midwest

Sunday, July 27, 2014

My Vegetarian Efforts this Week

Well, I have spent the past week eating vegetarian -- mostly. I did have a lapse and eat some bacon today. I LOVE bacon. I am so thankful it didn't trigger an anaphylactic shock episode. I won't be eating it again anytime soon. There was a time I would have gladly eaten it daily but now it might end up being never....sigh.  Perhaps since it is pork I will do okay but I don't want to risk my life to see. I am considering my lack of reaction a free pass that I better not push my luck on.

The rest of the week I ate lots of veggies. I ended up cooking a big pot of rice with lentils and using that as a base for various stir fry bases. I've enjoyed it but several days of basically the same thing in a row gets boring. I know, that is a shameful statement since there are people in the world that would gladly eat the same things over and over just for the opportunity to have anything to eat at all. But since I am blessed to have options, I want to exercise them.

So, today, I bought a cookbook called "Vegetarian Indian Food & Cooking". I have to say I am looking forward to trying some of the recipes. :) I love flavorful food with lots of textures and spices.  I am especially interested in the bean cake/dumpling type foods so that I have a quality protein source if I am going to be absent meat.

I'll be sure to take pictures of my efforts in recreating recipes from this cookbook. Wish me luck. And send some luck to my Hubs too -- he is surely quaking in his shoes wondering what foul things might be pushed at him as I scramble to recreate my diet in the interests of good health and living.

Bright Blessings and Blessed Be!
Rayven Michaels
Wiccan Witch of the Midwest

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Call to All: Pray for Peace Vigil on Sunday - July 27 -- #PrayForPeace

Wherever you are, whatever you might be doing, take a moment on Sunday, July 27 and let's all join together and *Pray for Peace* in whatever way you choose to pray - whether to deity or the universe or merely put out the energy and intent for peace to the world and to those in need. Do it anytime during the day or night on July 27 that is convenient for you to do so. Post a comment when you have done so and let me know where in the World you were. Let's push some Peace out into the world!

Here's a little *mood* music if you'd like to listen to something when you do your Prayer for Peace -- It is *country music* and it has a *Christian flare* but the sentiment is awesome and is the same for all no matter what path we walk. I love the bagpipes at the beginning... ;p

Pray for Peace! <3

Bright Blessings and Blessed Be
Rayven Michaels
Wiccan Witch of the Midwest

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

My Preliminary Diagnosis of Allergy to Beef due to Tick Bites!

Wow! I have a preliminary diagnosis of BEEF ALLERGY caused by TICK BITES! This really set my head to spinning.

I recently had a life-threatening anaphylactic shock episode. I have experienced horrendous hive episodes since I was 14 yrs old and never really been able to settle on the cause, although we have always believed it was food related. I thought perhaps it was due to coconut or paraffin wax because the first time it happened I had eaten some homemade coconut balls made by my cousin. As years went on, I would have a series of episodes and then it would go dormant and not bother me at all for months or even years.

Oddly enough, I began to eat coconut pies, candies, fresh coconut, and dried coconut fresh out of the bag when cooking. No problems whatsoever! So there went my coconut theory. So, perhaps paraffin then which shouldn't be a problem I thought because I never eat paraffin -- that I know of anyway.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Children and the Mexican Border Crisis #MexicanBorder

I try not to make posts on political issues because they are so volatile in nature, but I couldn't help but make this one. It is a plea to all to consider the wide and varied complexities to a tough issue our nation is facing.

What America has to remember is that *children* are our weakness -- we value them and pamper them in ways that other countries don't, won't or can't. As a consequence being spared from hardships and wars, our children are more mild and loving and have many perks and advantages that children of other nations do not. In other countries, children are *tools* -- they are sold into slavery, they are used as drug mules, they are even recruited and turned into militants. Children in such places can be deadly forces to be reckoned with as young as 7 or 8 yrs of age. It is horrendous and shaming, but it is the truth nonetheless.  This is where our achiles heel is exposed -- if you wanted to invade the US, do not do it with an army -- send in the *children*. Many of the *children* crossing the Mexican border into the US are well above 7 or 8 yrs old -- more like teenagers and young adults. My heart bleeds for them, indeed it does. No child should have to live the way many children do whether in other countries or even children in the US that we turn a blind eye to and pretend does not exist in our Great Nation.

It is inevitable that the flow of children must be intercepted -- they must be checked for diseases that could cause epidemics if allowed to flow unchecked into the US; they must be checked for potential drugs hidden in their bodies to insure they are not *mules*; they must be intercepted to make certain they are not making their way into what equates to slavery in the agri-industry. They must be intercepted so that they don't become street people, homeless and hungry turning to theft or worse to survive. And they must be intercepted so that our already staggering economy does not plummet further than it already has. Do I begrudge these children a better life? Absolutely NOT. I wish every child on the planet knew love, health, happiness and had plenty to eat and toys to bring them joy.

Whatever is causing the problem of the influx of children crossing through the Mexican border needs addressed -- if America is the great nation that she claims to be, she would help Mexico and the home countries of the current influx of children address the underlying problems. If Mexico is guilty of opening its borders to 72 hour visas to allow immigrants from other countries to cross through without tendering its own aid to them other than to help them attempt to enter America illegally, that needs addressed.  While the focus of the Nation is on the Mexican border, children in Chicago are living in a war zone, terrified to come out to play. But a blind eye is turned to that because it makes our Nation look bad while welcoming *refugee* children crossing the border is great humanitarian sound bytes. The issue has the nation at war among themselves -- those pounding the drum to stem the tide versus those pounding the drum to welcome the children with open arms. There are no easy answers.

America can only hold and sustain so many people before it hits a breaking point - how far away is that breaking point I do not know. But if there are scarcely jobs for the children leaving high school how much less jobs will there be if a neighboring nation pumps unwanted children across the US border, whether their own poverty stricken citizens or refugees from other countries? It is an extremely complex issue that must be looked at from all angles and not just a few. A big issue raised is how vulnerable our border is -- as I said before, any hostile entity with a warlike agenda has only to recruit a child army and send it in and we as a nation will be ill prepared for that scenario because of our moral high ground regarding children. We think of them as innocents -- sometimes they are not. Sometimes they are hardened, brainwashed products of a cruel environment and regime. It is a sad day when we must recognize that sometimes children could be wolves in sheeps clothing -- seeming innocents that could rise up and wreak wilful havoc. Am I saying that is the case with the children currently crossing the Mexican border into the US? I have no way to know -- I truly hope not, for thier sake and ours. But it should cause America pause for cause -- all peoples throughout the world do not share common values. And many have been trained to exploit weaknesses of their foes. America will never be capable of recognizing children as foes -- it is why so many of our soldiers come home mentally broken from war -- being confronted with children the same ages as their own fighting them in battle with weapons of destruction.

I wish I had answers. I truly do. The world is a complex place and there are no easy answers to its issues.

All I can say in closing is, Americans be kind to one another as you debate these issues. It is something that effects all of us and some more than others. Put your voices together for resolutions and solutions rather than name calling and angery blasts. We are the *United* States -- lets try to be *united* -- stand together to solve the problems WITHIN the US as well as those issues from without.

Bright Blessings to all....
Rayven Michaels
Wiccan Witch of the Midwest