Let’s begin with Kennedy’s prescient speech on conspiracy practices and secrecy. He used the words “conspiracy” and “secrecy” repeatedly, and there is little doubt as to what he was referring. No one of importance today could […]
If you are getting bored eating the same old dark, leafy greens, you may be interested in trying collard greens. Better yet, you can easily grow them in your vegetable garden. Growing and eating collard greens is a southern tradition in the U.S. These greens, which are a great source of fiber and vitamins K, A and C, as well as calcium, are often featured in traditional, southern New Year’s meals.
The good news is you can grow collard greens in northern climates too, as they are a cool season crop. Collards are one of several tasty winter-season vegetables, and some suggest a touch of frost actually improves their flavor. If you are planting a garden and would enjoy a versatile vegetable packed with life-giving nutrients, consider growing collard greens.
The History and Use of Collard Greens
Collard greens (Brassica oleracea acephala) are considered to be a descendent of loose-leafed wild cabbage found in in many parts of Europe more than 2,000 years ago. Nicknamed collards, these dark leafy greens are part of the cruciferous vegetable family. Some of the close relatives of collards are:
Collards are a hardy biennial plant, usually grown as an annual. Collards are enjoyed worldwide. They are considered to be a dietary staple in places such as the southern U.S., countries such as Brazil, Kenya, Portugal and Tanzania, as well as the Kashmir Valley region of Asia.1
When to Plant Collard Greens
Because collard greens are a cool-season vegetable, if you live in the South, you can plant seeds directly in late summer to early fall for a winter harvest. If you reside in a northern climate, you’ll want to plant collards a few weeks earlier for a fall or winter harvest. Due to their frost tolerance, if you live in the U.S., you can harvest collards as a late-season crop in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 6 and below.2 Collard greens can tolerate temperatures as low as 20 degrees F.
If you prefer a summer harvest, you’ll need to plant collards in the early spring, as soon as the ground can be worked, and plan to keep them well watered. Collard greens require adequate moisture to thrive in summer heat. As a member of the cabbage family, collards growing in heat may bolt, although they are more tolerant of heat than cabbage.
Another option is to plant seeds indoors in spring, about four to six weeks before your area’s last frost. Place the transplants in your garden when they are about 3 to 4 inches tall. Due to their hardiness, you can move them outdoors as early as three to four weeks before the last spring frost. In most U.S. growing zones, you can enjoy two collard harvests by planting one crop in early spring and another one in late summer.
How to Grow Collard Greens
The ideal growing environment3,4,5 for collard greens is in moist, compost-rich soil that is well drained. A soil pH of 6.5 to 7.5 is best. For maximum results, add aged compost to your garden bed or containers prior to planting. This is especially important if your soil is sandy. To ensure the healthy growth, collards require full sun. That said, they could benefit from a little shade in times of intense heat.
Plant the seeds one-fourth to one-half inch deep and 3 inches apart. To avoid crowding, rows of collards should be spaced 2 to 3 feet apart. The plants will get large and need ample room to grow. To ensure an abundant crop, you’ll want to plant two or three collard plants per family member, and even more if you eat a lot of greens or are inclined to share your bounty with friends or neighbors. Once established and a few true leaves appear, thin collards to about 12 inches apart.
Thinned seedlings make a tasty addition to salads or coleslaw, or they can be planted elsewhere in your garden. To ensure tender leaves, water collard plants regularly. Underwatering can cause the greens to become stringy. Side dress plants with compost at midseason.
If you have limited space, you can grow collards in containers. A 10-inch pot will accommodate a single collard plant. If you have larger containers, set the plants on 18- to 24-inch centers. Before adding collards to your garden, give some thought to the other plants you will be growing. Collards will either thrive or underperform depending on the companion plants you place around them. For best results:6
Plant collards near: peppers, southern peas and tomatoes
Never plant collards near: celery, potatoes or yams
How to Address Collard Pests
If you have experience growing cabbage or another type of plant from the cabbage family, you are likely familiar with some of the pests that may attack your collard plants. Fortunately, their tough leaves afford some degree of protection. The main collard pests are:7,8
Aphids gather wherever there is new succulent growth, on each side of the leaves
Cabbage loopers are inclined to eat holes in collard leaves and are preceded by small yellow and white moths
Cutworms. Clear away all dead grass, leaves and weeds that provide hiding places for these pests
Flea beetles are small darkly colored insects that are noticeable for the small holes and pitting they create in collard leaves
Imported cabbage worms. Larvae feed on collard leaves; left unchecked they can reduce mature plants to stems and large veins
Because collard diseases tend to build up in the soil, do not plant them in the same spot every year. As a general rule, it is best to rotate all cruciferous vegetables. If your collards have been prone to disease or pest problems during the growing season, you most definitely do not want to leave plants standing through the winter. Common diseases that plague collard plants include cabbage yellows, black leg, black rot and clubroot.
Collard Greens Nutrition Facts
Like all dark leafy greens, collards provide many of the nutrients you need as part of a healthy diet.9 Most notably, collards are rich in vitamins K, A and C. They also contain high levels of manganese, calcium, choline, vitamins B2 and B6, iron, copper and vitamin E. If you are looking for a good nondairy source of calcium, collards are an excellent alternative. A 3.5-ounce (100 grams) serving of raw collard greens contains:
Zero cholesterol, fat or sugar
6 grams of carbohydrate, including 4 grams of fiber
2 grams of protein
While you’ll want to confirm with your doctor, in general, regularly consuming large amounts of collard greens may not be advisable if you:
Have a thyroid problem: Collards contain goitrogens, which have been shown to interfere with iodine absorption when consumed in large amounts10
Suffer from oxalate kidney stones: Intake of high-oxalate foods, particularly beet greens, spinach and Swiss chard, and collards to a lesser degree, is thought to be a causative factor in the development of kidney stones11
Take anticoagulants (blood thinners) such as warfarin: The high amount of vitamin K found in collards may be concerning because vitamin K plays a major role in blood clotting12
Health Benefits of Collard Greens
According to the George Mateljan Foundation, a nonprofit foundation whose mission is to help you eat and cook for optimal health, eating collard greens can help you lower your cholesterol and maintain healthy cholesterol levels:13
“In a recent study, steamed collard greens outshined steamed kale, mustard greens, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cabbage in terms of its ability to bind bile acids in the digestive tract. When this bile-acid binding takes place, it is easier for the bile acids to be excreted from the body.
Since bile acids are made from cholesterol, the net impact of this bile-acid binding is a lowering of the body’s cholesterol level. It’s worth noting that steamed collards show much greater bile-acid binding ability than raw collards.”
Collards also pack a wealth of cancer-fighting glucosinolates that support healthy detoxification and fight inflammation. Notably, collards are rich in phytonutrients such as di-indolyl-methane and sulforaphane, which have been shown to both inhibit cancer cell growth and kill cancer cells, especially with respect to breast, cervical, colon, prostate and ovarian cancer.14
The presence of antioxidants like vitamins A, C and E, as well as caffeic acid, ferulic acid, kaempferol and quercetin, help your body ward off chronic oxidative stress. Oxidative stress has been associated with chronic disease and premature aging. The Foundation also noted that eating collard greens supports healthy digestion, promotes cardiovascular health and reduces inflammation.15
If the many health benefits of collards have whet your appetite to investigate other healthy greens, you may be interested in revisiting my previous article “6 Vegetables to Love That Aren’t Kale.”
The Most Popular Collard Varieties
Collards are distinguished as either loose-leaf or loose-head. Traditional varieties like Georgia and Vates produce loose, open plants. Newer hybrids mature faster and are more compact plants with a loose head. For a steady supply of leaves throughout the growing season, I suggest you plant a loose-leaf variety. If you would be more comfortable harvesting the whole plant at once, choose a loose-head variety. The most common varieties of collard greens (and their estimated time to maturity) are:
Varieties & Growing Times
Blue Max (68 to 75 days):
Savoyed leaves; plants are vigorous and uniform for heavy yields
Champion (60 to 80 days):
A Vates hybrid with cabbage-like leaves; ideal for smaller gardens
Flash (55 days):
Smallish plants, but very vigorous growers with smooth, sweet leaves
Georgia (70 to 80 days):
Large, heat-tolerant plants that are slow to bolt and produce tender, waxy leaves
Green Glaze (75 days):
Glossy, dark green leaves; less prone to damage by caterpillars
Vates (55 to 80 days):
Compact plant with very smooth leaves
What You Need to Know About Harvesting Collard Greens
All green parts of collard plants are edible, and you are free to pick the leaves at any time during the growing season. Collards can grow up to 3 feet tall, producing rosettes of large waxy leaves supported by sturdy stems. Below is everything you need to know about harvesting collard greens:16,17
The maturity of collards varies widely, but plan for around 60 to 80 days depending on whether you direct seed or use transplants
Cut leaves on a cut-and-come-again schedule as soon as plants are about 1 foot tall
Cut young, tender collard leaves starting at the bottom up; take care to harvest collards before the leaves get old and tough
Harvest summer collard greens before bolting can occur
Store your harvested collard greens in the refrigerator for up to a week; you can also can, dry or freeze collards
Even though frost lends collards a sweeter taste, you’ll risk losing your plants if the temperatures stay below freezing for long periods. Unless you are overwintering, it’s best to complete your fall/winter harvest before the first hard freeze.
That said, if you want to continue harvesting collards during cold weather, you’ll need to protect the plants with a cold frame or hoop house. (For additional ideas, check out my tips for extending your growing season.) Because collards are a biennial, if you plan to save seeds, your plants will need to be overwintered.
The Importance of Buying Organic Collards
When shopping for collard greens, be aware of the potential pesticide risks of buying conventional. Although they are not listed on the Environmental Working Group’s 2017 “Dirty Dozen” list,18 collard greens (and kale) have been called out in the past as “commonly contaminated with highly toxic organophosphate insecticides.”19 If you are unable to buy organic collard greens in your area, that is just one more reason to consider growing your own.
The What’s on My Food? website20 lists 46 pesticide residues that have been found on collard crops as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s pesticide data program.21 The top two pesticides on that list — DCPA and P,p’-DDE — are both known carcinogens. DCPA was found on collard samples 50 percent of the time, whereas P,p’-DDE appeared on samples 30 percent of the time.
How to Eat Collard Greens
Collard greens are tasty in a variety of forms. They can be boiled, braised and sautéed. There are literally hundreds of steamed collard green recipes. Collards can sit alongside almost anything else you put on your plate, from scrambled eggs to wild Alaskan salmon. You can add collards to all manner of soups and stir-fry dishes.
Young, tender collard leaves can be tossed in salads. Light cooking increases the bioavailability of collard greens’ healthy compounds. I suggest you steam them just until they become soft and are still bright green.
At the simplest level, add a little salt and pepper to steamed collards. You can drizzle on olive oil for the added benefit of some healthy fat. A bit of balsamic vinegar will add some zing. Whatever you do, do not overcook collards, or you will lose many of their nutrients. If you are looking for a quick way to prepare your collards, check out my favorite 5-Minute Collard Greens recipe. No matter how you serve it, collard greens are a nutritious vegetable I highly recommend you not only consider eating, but also growing in your garden.
A bright orange spice that’s been a favorite in Thai and East Indian cooking for thousands of years, turmeric (Curcuma longa) is aptly named for the Persian word “saffron,” a hue much like a pumpkin or the flesh of a sweet potato, but the similarity ends there. The vibrant, yellow-orange color is synonymous with the robes worn by many Buddhist priests.
Turmeric is part of the ginger family, which is why both exude a pleasant little zing on your tongue, but the flavor is different; the former is described as both pungent (read: bitter) and peppery. It’s not meant to be a flavor on its own but as a seasoning to complement other foods. It’s famous in curry dishes, mustard (hence the color), soups, the current obsessions known as turmeric latte or golden milk, and more.
But here’s where the benefits keep going. Besides creating a unique and signature flavor, turmeric’s aforementioned health benefits make turmeric a natural, healing substance that more people than ever want to have at the ready. That’s because it’s not just powerful, it’s also safe, which can’t be said for most prescriptions.
Because natural turmeric can’t be patented, making a mega-profit off its benefits isn’t possible, and since it’s not a “drug,” it can’t bear the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) seal of approval. The root is used to make prescription drugs, however.1 Nonetheless, the healing aspects are readily available in the root itself. Daily Health Post notes that turmeric “may be the world’s most important herb” because it contains more than 600 potential preventative and therapeutic functions, and further, that it’s:
“A medicinal spice so timelessly interwoven with the origins of human culture and metabolism, so thoroughly supported by modern scientific inquiry, as to be unparalleled in its proven value to human health and well-being.
Indeed, turmeric turns the entire drug-based medical model on its head. Instead of causing far more side effects than therapeutic ones, as is the case for most patented pharmaceutical medications, turmeric possesses hundreds of potential side benefits, having been empirically demonstrated to positively modulate over 160 different physiological pathways in the mammalian body.”2
That said, while this spice is commonly thought of as growing best in a hot, tropical climate, you can actually grow turmeric at home, similar to ginger. Sure, you can buy it in many large supermarkets, but it’s usually quite expensive, is somewhat limited depending on the time of year and to find it in organic form is rare.
Growing Turmeric: Nipping It in the Bud
I experimented with growing turmeric and planted a pound last year. This year I have a virtual turmeric forest that even flowered. Now I can have fresh turmeric at my fingertips year round.
Turmeric, the featured video notes, is a plant grown for its roots. It isn’t propagated by seeds; how it’s grown, both indoors and out, starts with a firm, healthy root, which you can usually find at a health food store or supermarket. Root cuttings have little “growing buds,” which look like nodules or even “fingers” extending outward, generally in the same direction. When planted, rule one is that the buds are facing upward, not downward, in the soil. Here’s the drill:
Break or cut a large turmeric rhizome into a small piece (or more, if desired) that has two or three buds.
Fill 14- to 18-inch-wide pots (for each 6- to 8-inch root) that are at least 12 inches deep and provide good drainage with rich, moist, organic soil to 1 or 2 inches below the rim, depending on the rhizome’s size.
Place the rhizome so that the buds are facing upward, not downward, below the surface of the soil by two to 4 inches.
Whether planting outdoors or in pots inside, these plants thrive in heat — 86 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit works well — as cooler temperatures will produce much slower growth. However, part shade is fine.
Water the plantings and keep the soil moist, especially in dry, hot climates; less frequently in cooler temperatures. Watering every other day is a good rule of thumb, but don’t let them sit in soggy soil. You can also mist the soil with a spray bottle, which tropical plants appreciate.
Areas that don’t have the high temperatures that turmeric thrives in must produce it other ways. That’s where grow lights and heat mats come in handy, either full time in early spring or late fall, or during the night when available light isn’t around 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
It can take eight or 10 months for turmeric to mature enough to be edible, so determine your planting time, method and location accordingly, and be patient! While you can also eat the leaves and roots, the star of the show is the underground root. While the spiky flowers are beautiful, lush and tropic-like, their presence doesn’t adversely affect the roots, as is the case in many herbs and edible plants.
Growing Hints and Helps for Turmeric, Inside and Out
Once the plants reach 2 inches in height, transplant them if necessary so there’s at least 16 inches between them. Compost tea is a good thing to implement to ensure optimal growth. Outside, only garden zones 8 or 9 (expert sources vary) and above will sustain the growth of a turmeric plant, although summers in colder zones will also work if you dig up the plant and move it inside or take the whole pot inside before it starts getting too cool. Turmeric plants don’t do as well when it dips below about 65 degrees F.
You should also know that turmeric outdoors will go dormant in winter, but in the warmest climates (7b garden zones and above, generally) it can be left in the ground to sprout new, greenish-white and sometimes pinkish-white flowers the following spring. The roots will survive as long as they don’t freeze. Mulching them with a couple inches of organic matter will also help protect them from an unexpected frost.
Rodale’s Organic Life3 explains that your turmeric is likely ready for harvest when the plant above ground begins turning dry and brown. Gently remove the roots — if in pots, tip the whole thing to get to the root — and shake off loose soil. Cut the stems off about an inch above the rhizome root mass and wash them well. Grow This4 notes that it’s usually best to harvest turmeric rhizomes all at the same time, but when you dig them up, you can save one or two for future plantings so that in every sense, the potential health of each root is propagated.
Once You Harvest Your Turmeric
Once you begin handling turmeric (which should be done so gently, Heirloom Gardener5 advises), especially peeling them or cutting them for propagation, be aware that exposure to the flesh will turn you bright orange, so wear gloves. Fresh turmeric can be used in similar ways to ginger. You can cut the peeled roots into coins or grate it to add to stir-fries or drinks. Drying turmeric is another option, but you should know that the process will inhibit the strength of its pungency, as are essential oils, The Kitchn says.6
Store fresh turmeric rhizomes in a baggie or other airtight container for up to a week, or freeze them. To dry turmeric for later use, you can boil your harvested turmeric root for 45 minutes, pat it dry with a paper towel, peel it and allow it to dry for about a week in an area that’s protected from dust but with air circulation — not plastic. You can grind the roots into a fine yellow powder using a coffee grinder, food processor or even pestle and mortar to use for multiple applications, both culinary and medicinal.
Turmeric powder adds so much zest to cooking that you may wonder how you ever lived without it. You can also throw a teaspoon into your smoothies with other healthy ingredients, such as coconut oil and fruits like banana or mango.
You can sprinkle powdered turmeric root on roasted vegetables such as cauliflower, zucchini and sweet potatoes, on meats such as pastured chicken or grass fed roasts or in lattes; in fact, the options are only limited by your imagination. A good rule is that 1 inch of fresh turmeric is equal to 1 tablespoon of fresh grated turmeric or 1 teaspoon of dried powder.
What’s so Great About Turmeric?
The single-most exceptional health-beneficial and disease-preventive compound packed in turmeric is curcumin. One study notes several of the most important properties of this rugged rhizome, and the plant chemicals involved, including anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, immunostimulant, antiseptic, analgesic and anticarcinogenic:
“Components of turmeric are named curcuminoids, which include mainly curcumin (diferuloyl methane), demethoxycurcumin, and bisdemethoxycurcumin … Curcumin (diferuloylmethane) is a polyphenol derived from Curcuma longa plant, commonly known as turmeric. The active constituents of turmeric are the flavonoid curcumin (diferuloylmethane) and various volatile oils including tumerone, atlantone, and zingiberone.”7
Curcumin is also hepatoprotective, aka liver protective, notably against the toxins tetrachloride (CCl4), galactosamine, acetaminophen (paracetamol) and Aspergillus aflatoxin, mainly due to its antioxidant properties, as well as its ability to reduce pro-inflammatory cytokines from forming, and evidence shows it may help treat gallstones.
Further, the phytochemicals in curcumin prevent platelet aggregation, or the clumping together of platelets, which improves circulation.8 WebMD lists an abundant amount of maladies, conditions, illnesses and disorders that Ayurvedic and other natural approaches have been employing curcumin for over centuries. Incredibly, this is just a sampling of the ways the potent phytochemical curcumin has been used successfully.
Studies on the astonishing potency of curcumin against cancer are numerous. In vitro, for instance, it was found to resist oxidative damage in aortic endothelial cells.9 In addition:
“Curcumin is antimutagenic as it potentially helps to prevent new cancers that are caused by chemotherapy or radiation therapy used to treat existing cancers. It effectively inhibits metastasis (uncontrolled spread) of melanoma (skin cancer) cells and may be especially useful in deactivating the carcinogens in cigarette smoke and chewing tobacco.”10
Animal studies have indicated three stages in which curcumin helps inhibit cancer: tumor promotion,11 angiogenesis12 and tumor growth,13 particularly in colon and prostate cancers. Daily Health Post lists serious disorders and diseases curcumin may be useful for treating or preventing, including:14
Not just preventing but reversing Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia
Keep in mind that curcumin may interact with a variety of prescription and nonprescription drugs, including some diabetic medications, aspirin and other painkillers, by causing nausea or upset stomach. Overall, however, studies and reviews have tested turmeric’s effectiveness against disease extensively. The study concludes, as we should, that the “efficacy, pharmacologic safety, and cost effectiveness of curcuminoids prompt us to ‘get back to our roots.'”J ust one example observes:
“Because it can modulate the expression of [several important molecular] targets, curcumin is now being used to treat cancer, arthritis, diabetes, Crohn’s disease, cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease, psoriasis, and other pathologies. Interestingly, 6-gingerol, a natural analog of curcumin derived from the root of ginger … exhibits a biologic activity profile similar to that of curcumin.”15
How anti-fascists across the country are training to take on the far right.
By Kate Talerico | 19 October 2017
BUZZFEED NEWS — The anti-fascists are wearing their sweatpants today. Tennis shoes are a must. They’ve been told to wear something breathable — no masks, no bandanas, no armor. Almost nobody wears black (almost nobody).
Gym members drift in through the door of the Breakaway Social Center in the Little Village neighborhood on Chicago’s West Side. The two-story corner building was once home to a $10-a-haircut barbershop, but now the walls are lined with posters bearing anarchist symbols and advertising a recent lecture on militant suffragettes.
The couches are pushed back to the walls, next to shelves stacked with political journals. On the floor, warm-ups begin. The class splits into small groups to learn a couple new moves — thrust kicks, palm heel strikes.
Lean in, turn hips for momentum, and follow through once, striking the jaw — that’s how to punch a neo-Nazi.
One of the gym’s organizers, who goes by Meyer Lanski (a play on the Jewish gangster Meyer Lansky), instructs participants to stand in line. Lanski, 32, holds out a kick shield and braces himself to receive their blows. Even some of the new participants are landing their kicks. Within the hour, the women and men start sparring, learning self-defense tactics they can use in their private lives, or at protests. […]
OCCIDENTAL OBSERVER — Edmund Connelly’s article on Harvey Weinstein and the shiksa phenomenon discusses revenge as a motive. From this perspective, what Jews like Weinstein are doing is the result of hatred toward the goyim because of their perceptions of the long history of anti-Semitism. Of course much of this narrative is false and exaggerated, but the point is that this “lachrymose” version of Jewish history is entirely mainstream among Jews and a cornerstone of Jewish education and Jewish self-conception.
Revenge is important — even critical — in understanding the main currents of Jewish behavior. However, several of the passages from Portnoy‘s Complaintseem to be much more about dominance and sexual competition than revenge. This suggests that another way to look at shiksa lust is from the perspective of evolutionary psychology which suggests that a central motive is domination over the women of the outgroup. In the competition for dominance among males, females are the ultimate prize. Recall that a constant theme of human history is that women are the spoils of war. Conquering males seize the women of their defeated foes — the Mongol harems throughout Asia come to mind, as well as the behavior of our Indo-European forebears.
This is from the Mark Oppenheimer article that, controversially, raised the revenge theme:
As a boy, Portnoy fantasized about attaining a mythical shiksa goddess whom he nicknamed Thereal McCoy (get it?), who ice-skates “in her blue parka and her red earmuffs and her big white mittens—Miss America, on blades! With her mistletoe and her plum pudding (whatever that may be),” but as a grown-up he graduates to the real woman he nicknames The Monkey. And what does he do to abase her? He has her perform with an Italian whore. Yes, he eventually joins in, but not before they enact a bad movie—not Hollywood, but San Fernando Valley triple-X. And his nickname for her, The Monkey? That comes from an episode in her life, from before Portnoy met her, when a couple swingers picked her up and wanted her to eat a banana while she watched them copulate. For having a past that gets him hot, she gets degraded with an animalistic nickname. Her history as an actor is what he wants her for.
Harvey is cut from the same cloth. Growing up in Queens, he fantasized of fame and fortune, and, once he got them, he struggled to maintain them by building himself into a larger-than-life figure. He yelled at employees like he was a studio boss from the 1920s—the only thing missing was a riding crop. He ran Oscars campaigns like they used to in Old Hollywood. And he harassed women not necessarily to use them as instruments of his pleasure, but to use them as instruments of his power.
It goes without saying that nearly every one of these women—Rose McGowan, Ambra Batillana, Laura Madden, Ashley Judd, etc.—was a Gentile, all the better to feed Weinstein’s revenge-tinged fantasy of having risen above his outer-borough, bridge-and-tunnel Semitic origins. But it turns out there was a Jew(ess) in the bunch, none other than Lauren Sivan, of the potted-plant episode. In that small way, he inadvertently broke out of the Portnoy mold, performing his inadequacies not for the great all-American odeon but for a woman who could be his cousin. Harvey can run from who he is, but he can’t hide.
Revenge for the history of anti-Semitism is never mentioned, but the desire for attaining power over shiksa females, and particularly to degrade them is very apparent — the ultimate symbol of dominance is the ability to degrade with impunity. […]
I almost died recently. I was in the hospital with a deadly scorpion sting. Normally I would prefer to keep such a story as this private, but there is something in my spirit that is telling me that I need to share it, so here goes…
Let me start by telling you all that by far my absolute biggest fear in my entire life is a scorpion. I mean, we are talking recurring nightmares kind of fear ever since I was a little girl. I don’t know why, perhaps it was an old movie I saw or something, but never the less we’ve all got our biggest fears right? Well, now you know mine. What is also uncanny is that I was born in October, so my zodiac sign is a Scorpio. (still not sure if this means I’m afraid of myself???) To this we are going to add something else I find extremely interesting: the evening in which this event occurred was the exact moment in time when the planet Jupiter entered into Scorpio… a position that it will be in for the next year. (I don’t know what this means either, but I’m looking into it).
I live outside of Marrakech Morocco in a beautiful olive grove. My partner Tivon and I had just come home from a long day of running errands in town. It was about 8:00 at night and it was dark. I went out to the car to bring in a bag of groceries. I was wearing open Teva strap sandals, and I suddenly felt the most horrific pain I’ve ever experienced in my life on the side of my right foot. All I could do was scream, I looked down and could hardly see anything, but I did see this black spidery looking mass about the size of the palm of my hand jerking backwards in a recoil. At the time I had no idea what it was, I thought it could have been a snake, I actually thought it was something esoteric at first. I also thought that the only scorpions here were small, But this thing was huge. This is the thing that stung me.
Its called a “Fattail Scorpion” and its one of the most dangerous groups of scorpion species in the world. It was about 4 inches long. Its latin name Androctonus orginates from the Greek meaning “man killer”. Their venom contains powerful neurotoxins and is especially potent.
Searing hot fire overtook my flesh. I was screaming uncontrollably and ran into the house. The pain was unrelenting. Tivon immediately ran to my side and I tried to tell him through hysterical choking tears what I thought happened to me. He soaked my foot and gave me a huge pile of activated charcoal tablets to swallow with milk. I was thrashing in pain. He started sucking the poison out of my foot with his mouth. At this point I could feel the fire of the poison moving up my leg into my groin area, it was heading towards my heart where it could give me a heart attack and kill me. I was doing all I could to try to prevent the poison from moving through my body, but there really was very little I could do. It was already inside my blood stream, my blood pressure was going through the roof and the agony of the pain had me in a state of shock. All I could do was pray and that’s what I did.
I prayed and I screamed. I called up on the name of Jesus, I pulled up every bible verse that God had written on my heart. “I give you the power to tread on scorpions”… and “by his stripes I am healed” I prayed in tongues, I screamed some more… Tivon prayed with me. I repeated Gods words in authority over and over and over again at the top of my lungs. Together the two of us where in full on spiritual warfare. Rebuking the evil that was running through my veins and trying to kill me. Tivon went to our neighbors who called a clinic and drove me to hospital nearby.
While my flesh was a blazing inferno of torment, my mind was on a different battlefield all together. Yes, I had fearful thoughts running through my mind. But my faith was my shield through it all. This was it for me, it was my moment of testing my faith and beliefs. I was possibly facing death and I had no fear of it. Because I know where I’m going when I die and also because I knew that I had a lot more work to do in this life. I was more afraid of causing pain to the people that I would leave behind.
And then something incredible happened. It was about 2 hours after the initial sting. I had been fighting a physical and spiritual war this whole time. I was laid out on a hospital table, hooked up to a machine with tubes and wires all over me to monitor my heart rate. I was still writhing in pain and crying uncontrollably. All the nurses walked out of the room and I was left in there completely alone for about 5 minutes. It was then that I felt the undeniable presence of God enter into the room. It was my precious Jesus, whom I know and love with all my heart. It was his presence there with me. I didn’t see him with my eyes but I felt him with every fiber of my being. And I had a deeper understanding of what he meant when he said “blessed is he who has not seen me and believes”. With his presence, an energy of confidence flooded my mind and I heard the words “It is finished”, “You are already healed”, “In a few hours you will go home, just wait and let the doctors run their tests”.
Then a new nurse entered into the room, she asked me what my name is. I told her “Naima” which is a very popular name here in Morocco. Just about every fourth woman here is named Naima. I’ve been told it means “Gift from Allah”. She was surprised to hear that my name was Naima and asked me if I was Moroccan. I told her that no, my parents named me after a song, and then I started singing it to her. She lit up with the sound of my voice and couldn’t believe that I was the same woman who was screaming in pain just a few short minutes ago.
They transferred me to a recovery bed where I got to sit there and watch my sky-rocketed blood pressure on another machine. I was noticing other very strange symptoms too. The venom running through my body created a menthol taste in my mouth and I had “pins and needles” effects all over my body. It felt like I was standing naked in an ice crystal wind storm, yet I was drenched in sweat. They wanted to give me morphine, but I refused it as I knew that I needed my mind to be clear and sharp so that I could keep focusing on my prayers until I was finally through this.
Tivon had to leave for a while to go get the car and come back. While he was gone I was hooked up to tubes in a hospital bed with nothing but my phone. So I took the one good finger I had and typed out a Facebook post asking for prayers. Hundreds of messages started flooding in with prayers from friends all over the world in real time. My mom was looking up my symptoms for me and talking to me along with my sister from the other side of the planet on wassap. I have to say, this technology is flipping amazing.
Tivon returned and sat next to my hospital bed and we waited. I was still in tremendous pain, but I was in great spirits, because I knew that God had saved me and pretty soon I would be going home. There were three other sick people in the room with me, I decided to start praying for each of them to heal to. I was just so grateful. So unbelievably and undeniable grateful. It was around 5am when they released me and I was able to go home. I didn’t fall asleep until many hours later as the pain kept me awake. In all truth the pain from that dreaded thing did not fully stop until about 48 hours after the initial sting.
So here I am on the other side of all of this. I made it. I am writing this post on my 40th birthday. I’m completely recovered physically and forever changed mentally and emotionally and spiritually. It’s hard to put into words what it feels like after you’ve experienced your greatest fear and live to tell the tale. God has given us the power to tread on scorpions. For me this was a life long fear that turned into a very literal reality. And when it happened God did not leave nor forsake me.
If your reading this and you are in a place where FEAR is completely controlling every aspect of your life, I want you to know that it doesn’t need to be like this. You can be set free from fear. Call out to God with all your heart and he will save you, just like he saved me. God bless you all.