Article Published May 5, 2017

Barefoot Writer Magazine

by Diane Wallace

Experience Big…

She was bed-ridden for 20 years, after receiving a diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis. Because of her infirmary, she had to sell her ceramic business. The retirement dreams of travel were shattered. Instead, moving to warmer weather was the suggestion, so in the early 60’s she ended up in a mobile home park in Venice, Florida.

By the late 70’s options for hip and knee replacement surgeries enabled her to shuffle, setting her free from what most would consider a bed prison.

She never seemed bored when I came to visit. She was always busy at her bedside post…either reading, copying sheet music, researching our ancestors or scrapbooking their genealogy.

In the living room sat the organ, where she would slap her bent, swollen fingers against the ivory keys…completely self-taught.

People from the park would show up at her doorstep to receive instructions on upcoming, seasonal, vaudeville-type shows she had choreographed. Sitting in her chair, she would slide her feet back and forth to instruct on the steps to her latest Soft shoe or Bossa nova dance piece.

Preparation was crucial, and she had everything organized down to the minutest of details.

Shows were complete with full course dinners…audience headcounts averaged around 200. They were always a great success, well planned and executed…often receiving a complimentary write-up in the local paper.

Her magnetic, gentle way brought the volunteers.

She was all about facts and getting work done. She had an unparalleled work ethic that I would like to replicate. When there was an issue, she would deal with it swiftly and fairly. I never saw her belittle anyone or make anyone feel uncomfortable.

She always radiated a positive attitude.

In the 1940’s she was a woman working in a man’s world. In the 50’s she started her own business. By the 60’s the Rheumatoid Arthritis had punched its devastating blow, which most people would have found hard to overcome. In the 70’s and 80’s she did what she could to stay agile, busy, and happy.

In the 33 years that I knew my grandmother, I never once heard her complain.

Through my grandma’s eyes, I saw a beautiful, gentler world…a world where all things are possible; a world where goals could be set and achieved; a world where thwarted plans could bring about a new set of ideas; a world where working together with others removes a certain self-dependency.

Watching grandma orchestrate her shows kept me grounded in the reality of a world where obstacles and confrontations made way for a new learning curve…A world where learning and growing are inseparable. This world, where having a problem to solve is not necessarily a bad thing, but more often than not, a chance at character building.

This tiny world that my grandmother lived in, was in reality, a much bigger world than most of us will ever have the chance to experience.

Article published June, 2017

Manatee Rare Fruit Council Newsletter

by Diane Wallace

Polypenol is not a Disease

So, what exactly are polyphenols (referred to as Poly’s in this article)? They’re described as a compound containing more than one phenolic hydroxyl group. Phenolic-what? They are plant phytochemicals or organic compounds found largely in natural plant foods, which have antioxidant properties. A lot clearer…right?

Why should we eat large amounts of Poly’s throughout the day? Well, if you believe what Hippocrates said: “All disease begins in the gut,” then you may want to start changing your eating habits…ugh. Poly’s help guards the body against heart issues and helps to prevent colon cancer and other gastrointestinal diseases.

They are also actively working in your body by helping to prevent diseases from occurring, by lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, improved artery function, prevent platelet clumping, improve arterial flexibility and LIFE SPAN.

Being involved in a fruit club is a step in the right direction. Poly’s are found largely in fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds. They are also found in dark chocolate, red, and white wine, coffee, and tea, but there you may have to draw the line on the amounts consumed...

Fruits like grapes, apples, pears, cherries, and berries contain up to 200–300 mg polyphenols per 100 grams of weight. Then there’s the products manufactured from these fruits, which contain Poly’s in significant amounts. Many organic supplements contain high fruit Poly content.

One broad group of Poly’s is the phenolic acids found in red fruits like cherries, strawberries, red grapes, blackberries, pomegranates, and red raspberries.

A second group found in fruits, like berries and citrus, is flavonoids, which are the largest family of polyphenolic compounds.

So the bottom line is that Poly’s help enhance our bodies, by lowering inflammation and disease, therefore pushing your body towards health and vitality.

Here is a list of fruits high in Poly content (non-inclusive): Apple and apple juice, Apricot, Blackberry, Black Cherry (including sweet and black), Black Elderberry, Blood Orange, Blueberry, All Citrus, Grape (especially red), Papaya, Peach, Pear, Pomegranate, , Pure Lemon and Grapefruit juice, Red Raspberry, Strawberry, and Quince.

And herbs (non-inclusive): Basil, Curry, Herbal Teas, Lemon Verbena, Mexican Oregano, Rosemary, Sage, Spearmint, and Thyme.

Other groups of food that are high in Poly’s: Coffee, Dark Chocolate, Green Tea, Black Tea, White Tea, Oolong Tea, and Wine.

Maybe we should take the advice of Michael Pollan, with his book, In Defense of Food, An Eaters Manifest, where he says, “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”

Article published December 2, 2016

Barefoot Writer Magazine

by Diane Wallace

A Meal of Thanksgiving...for Both

He was there often, wearing that long tattered coat; scruffy combat boots with knotted laces; clothing that was long overdue for a washing. He had matted, shoulder-length hair and beard. An old, leather pouch dangled over his shoulder, across his chest and flapped as he walked.

I had never seen him panhandle.

One afternoon, while having our weekly, "Let's-go-to-Mickey-D's" meal, my daughter drew my attention to the man in the coat.

Scrounging through the McDonald's garbage cans, he eventually held up the trophy he was searching x-large drinking cup. Like a person holding a prize, he inspected the cup and then proceeded to fill it with his choice of beverage.

I was stunned.

Without even thinking, I quickly ordered a Quarter Pounder meal and walked straight to the man, who was now sitting alone, outside, in the corner, with his stolen, soda-filled, trash cup.

I sat down across from him. He didn't look up.

I could see my kids out of my peripheral vision...dagger eyes boring holes into my back. What I was doing went against what we'd always taught...Don't talk to strangers.

However, we also taught that feeding the hungry was a good thing.

I knew they were thinking that Dad was going to be mad. Not the giving part so much, but the putting myself so close to possible danger - I had a sense of calm.

All this was running through my mind and yet the man across the table would not look up from his drink to acknowledge me.

I slowly pushed the meal across the table...blank stare, no smile, no words.

"I got this meal for you," I said.

He snatched it, tore open the bag and started eating barbarously.

I offered to get him a fresh drink. He latched on to the trash cup even more, took the clean cup and slipped it into his leather pouch.

Great, another free drink, I thought. "No," I said, "Use the new..."

He took another sip on the garbage cup to confirm his intentions, looking up with his blank, far off, glossed over eyes. All I could see was a "Misguided Youth...Gulf War...I've Suffered Enough Already" Look.

That was all he needed to say...or Not Say. Somehow, I understood, hoping someone would be there next time to buy his meal.

I walked over, put my hand on his shoulder, and said I would pray for him

He stopped eating, looked straight into my face and for the first time I saw clarity in his eyes.

"God Bless You," he said.

Chills ran down my spine. I wanted to hold onto that moment forever...he continued eating.

I looked for the man in the coat but never saw him again. So, I reminisce and try to help those, like him, that do not have.

I will always cherish that meal, and I don't even remember if I ate.'