I’m pretty sure that smelling the hopniss plant sickened me. I’m going to put it into a pot for now, instead of letting it grow wild. I’ll be doing further observations, with caution, and I still won’t eat it yet. Oh, and I ate bone marrow again and liked it.

11:07 AM 6/7/2016

I’m okay this morning, not throwing up. Yesterday I put my camera in a ziploc bag after taking the photos of the hopniss. I didn’t touch the plant with my hands or the camera. I was just close to it with the camera. I put it into the ziploc bag because I thought it could rain when I was out walking around, since this seems to be the season of the most rain we’ve ever had in all of the history of this town, I’m guessing.

apparently, enough of the fumes from the air around the plant were clinging around the camera, which then went into the bag, because when I got home and unzipped the bag while Jacob was sitting next to me, Jacob suddenly sneezed about thirty times in a row.

Jacob went through a phase where he was vomiting every day and he actually lost a lot of weight. Nothing has ever made him lose weight except whatever was happening during that time period. It happened after the hopniss package arrived in the mail, I’m pretty sure, and I opened it up and buried the tubers in a shallow layer of soil nearby. However, he improved as the weather got cold. But he would have been walking around near where I buried them, and I might have had contamination on my belongings in the tent.

I had noticed that I had strong urges to vomit merely from handling the tubers. But I suspected (hypothesized) that maybe the plant would be less toxic if it were growing freely, and that maybe it was more toxic because these tubers had been removed and were being kept in a container. Plants produce more poison in response to stress. when plants are growing in a perfectly easy environment, even plants that are known to be poisonous are not as poisonous. this is one reason why medicinal plants vary in their medicinal strength. this variation is non-trivial – it is actually quite noticeable. I’ve noticed some st. John’s wort is just not as strong as that from other plants, and it might partly be from the environment they’re grown in.

so I knew that about hopniss right away.

I also know that jicama, something similar to hopniss which is at the grocery store and which is becoming popular among adventurous foodies, also almost made me vomit. I could not eat much of it.

Jicama is in some of the special salads at the wegman’s hot bar. I ate one of those salads, although I didn’t think it had jicama in it. It was next to the one that had jicama. Jicama might have been an ingredient in it, I don’t know. that was the day I suddenly had diarrhea while out walking. I suspected that salad stuff that I ate was the cause. I was going to try jicama again and see if I could process it by sun-drying to hopefully destroy the naturally occurring pesticide in it, which they say is destroyed by ultraviolet. I haven’t done that yet, and the jicama is in the fridge. I was going to try the same method with hopniss. the two plants are very similar – a bean-like, pea-like plant with a potato-like tuber underneath.

an expert on hopniss from a university, who I wrote several emails to, told me it might be a protease inhibitor in hopniss, or maybe something else. I should go look up his email and see what else he said it might be. He was trying to develop it for commercial production, but they don’t really think it will ever happen. I asked him if he knew about the vomiting, and he said no, nobody ever vomited when he and other people he knew were eating it. He said he had heard of rare occurrences where people did. I think he said he did know one person who had diarrhea from it or something, and that person was overall sensitive to a lot of foods.

I am going to guess this is chemical sensitivity.

the reason why it wasn’t working out was mostly because it was low yield, I think. the tubers are small, and it’s hard to process a whole bunch of small tubers.

christopher Mccandless went to alaska and tried to survive by hunting and foraging. He died of lathyrism after eating the seeds of an ‘Indian Potato’ or something like that. this is, once again, a bean-like plant which obviously must have some kind of potato associated with it. Or maybe it was called ‘wild potato.’ I don’t know if this is exactly the same plant, or just a similar plant with a similar name. Hopniss also produces seeds, but I think this only happens in the southern variety of hopniss. One variety, the northern cold weather variety, is triploid, and the seeds aren’t fertile, and it only spreads by rhizomes. I’m pretty sure that’s what I have. the southern variety does produce seeds, but it has a longer, warmer growing season. It still spreads by runners too.

when I woke up this morning, I felt a sensation like I was still sick, but also starving and hungry. I felt extremely empty. My body didn’t want to move. I imagined that if I had been christopher Mccandless, and already nearly starving, and had eaten hopniss or anything similar, without processing it to remove the poisons, it could’ve killed me over a period of weeks.

I found that Jacob threw up last night, in front of the bathroom. Like me, Jacob never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever throws up. If he does, I know there’s definitely something serious going on. I cleaned it up.

there are several things primitive people do to process toxic wild foods. I’ll try to remember all of them that I can.

1. sun-drying
2. drying at all, with or without sun, maybe over heat or coals 3. smoking, again, for the purpose of drying them in a low humidity environment so they don’t get moldy
4. cooking, especially cooking for an extremely long time
5. soaking in water, changing the water several times, or soaking in a running stream in a basket so the water is continuously taking away the poisons
6. mashing it up, shredding it, cutting it into the finest possible pieces, allowing it to oxidize in the air
7. soaking in ashes (corn, nixtamal)

They sometimes do several of these steps repeatedly for extremely toxic plants.

Why don’t I want to just give up on hopniss? Well, it isn’t as bad as ephedra. I don’t feel like I’m going to outright die from it, especially since I have access to other foods and I’m not going to starve to death. I really believe humans need to use a wide variety of plants from a lot of different families – that it’s best for the environment, best for our health, best for our independence. there are some corporations that want to limit our foods to a smaller and smaller variety, and monopolize them. I don’t want that. I want to know that I can eat a wild food, which has a lot of calories and isn’t merely a leafy green, so that I can actually survive on this as a staple food, and I want to be able to do that even if I can’t earn any money. I can’t even get hired as a dishwasher! I’m applying for one job after another and nobody is hiring me. I’m expecting I will eventually get hired, but even so, we need independent foods in a zombie apocalypse or in any situation where the economy is falling apart.

Oh, by the way: I ate bone marrow and I liked it, and I didn’t throw up. It was really, really good. It was exactly like butter. this was a few weeks ago. I bought these organic legs of lamb with the bone still in. that means that the bone would have been kept in good condition, kept at the same temperature as the meat, so they would not have had a chance to spoil. It’s possible I ate bones that were spoiled, last time – maybe they thought they could be careless with them since they’re just bones? I don’t know. I also ate the marrow from deep in the middle of the long part of the bone this time. It was actually white. the stuff I tried before was red. It might have been from a different section of the bone.

so I feel like that is a triumph, after all these years. I broke the bones open with a brick, sitting out on the brick walkway. I tested just a few tiny pieces of the marrow, and found that it was really good. everyone on the internet says they’ve eaten bone marrow without throwing up, and it was really, really good. I even talked to one or two people in person who said they ate it and liked it, and this was just a normal lady, not some sociopathic liar who wanted to trick me.

Sometimes I wonder if every single person on the internet is talking about something and lying about it. I just don’t think so. I think these people really are eating bone marrow, and they really are eating hopniss, and they’re doing something differently, or maybe they’re not chemical sensitive. I think they’re telling the truth.

the fact that I finally ate bone marrow, enjoyed it, felt that it had exactly the texture of melting butter exactly as people have described on the internet, and didn’t throw up afterwards, and didn’t even feel sick from it, that encourages me to think that maybe there really is some way to make hopniss edible.

Primitive people didn’t have all these domesticated plants coming from a farm the way we do. they had to make use of whatever plants were available in that season, and they ate a much, much wider variety of plants than we do (scientists have actually documented this, anthropologists or whoever, by counting the number of the long list of plants they ate). And they absolutely had to prepare the plants in special ways to remove poisons. they had nothing better to do because they were not living as slaves, so they didn’t have to work sixteen hour days to pay the bills. they had time to work on their own foods. so they did these complicated tasks of soaking, mashing, sun-drying, rinsing, cooking, drying again, soaking in ashes, whatever was necessary to make the toxic plants safe to eat. and they succeeded. People are eating toxic plants such as cassava in other countries, in south america, and elsewhere. The methods that they use, all around the world, are similar in some ways, though not exactly the same, and I summed up most of them that I could think of. I’ve actually read articles about this written by researchers who went around
investigating primitive tribes.

so, I’m thinking I’m going to dig up the hopniss plant and keep it under control, instead of letting it spread around where I planted it. I mostly planted it there in haste because I wanted to make sure it didn’t just die, after having been sent to me in the mail, and back then, I was busy working at a job, maybe two jobs. I forget. I suspect it’s making Jacob sick too and I don’t want it growing everywhere around where we have to live. I’m going to dig it up, with caution, keeping in mind that I will probably be sick again after handling it. I’m going to use gloves and I’m even going to use a face mask, since I actually have some of those.

I’m actually a little bit scared that it might have grown out of control already, but actually, these are still new vines. I have a little shovel. I will see how deep they’ve gone yet. I’m going to put it in a pot and just keep an eye on it, and not let it spread around just yet, until I figure out if I can handle it.

People develop a tolerance to drugs that they use. I believe this is actually a survival mechanism. Your body does things to try to reduce the effect that poisons have on you, if you are exposed to those poisons frequently. However, with chemical sensitivity, it can’t do that properly for some reason, at least not with particular types of chemicals. I think your body is able to command the liver to make more of particular enzymes. there are things that can be switched on and off. I know that I adapt to some drugs, but not others. I definitely get a tolerance to caffeine, so that in the beginning, small amounts of it have a strong effect, but then immediately after using it only a couple times, it has less and less effect. there might be some extent to which a plant like hopniss will do the same thing. I don’t know the range of the dosage – to what extent can you adapt to it and develop a tolerance?

I’m not even going to try to EAT hopniss, not for a very long time. I am merely going to grow the plant, and observe it, and observe how my body reacts to it if I am near it, not even touching it but just being in proximity and inhaling it.

I just don’t want to give up on this plant. There are so many other people out there who say they are eating it. If it’s possible to use it at all, I want to learn how. But I am still going to use extreme, super caution. again, I’m not going to eat it, and I won’t even touch it, except I’ll probably touch it by accident today while digging it up, but I’m going to wear gloves. I’m just going to grow the plant, nothing more, grow it, get used to it, inhale the fumes around it, and see if my reaction to it ever improves at all.

But I’ve decided that I don’t want to let it grow wild and spread around the woods just yet. I’m going to dig it up. I’ll put it in a pot for now.

Why can’t I just give up and move on? I don’t know, I just can’t. It’s just so important for me to have this knowledge. I want to know how to use it. I want to know how to survive outside society, but yet, I’m doing this research in a location where I am still surrounded by society, able to get normal food, close to a hospital, unlike christopher McCandless who had nothing else to eat and could not call anyone for help. It’s just so important for me to learn about subsistence. I can’t just stop caring about subsistence, about the real world before the whole world was dumbed down by modern society. People in the past were braver, tougher, healthier, and smarter than we are. and one reason was because they had to fight against harsher elements than we do, and one of those harsher elements is the toxic wild plants that they had to figure out a way to somehow use, to survive, because they didn’t have grocery stores. I just feel that this is almost my purpose in life, to learn how to live off the grid. I can’t just give up on my purpose in life and stop caring about it.

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