Food blog 1: Read this article!

I have a bunch of "food blogs" in my rough drafts that I want to finish up and upload already....Food is one thing I am passionate about and one of the major things that has changed in my life when I moved to Japan and then back to the US, and then to Hawaii.
Today I am drinking my green tea and reading this article:

It is a long read, but well worth it. Japan had no shortage of colorfully-packaged, weirdly flavored chips, chocolates and candies, but they also had legal limits of how much sugar companies can use, and high fructose corn syrup and chemical food colorings are considered "gross" by many people.. Japan also had been using Stevia as an artificial sweetener, with Sucralose in second, and Xylitol in most of their chewing gums, for about a decade before America considered adopting the practice. And the thing is, Japan isn't the only country like that. American food manufacturers have very unique ideas...
What got me first was the part about soldiers "not eating enough" and them resorting to refined starches that they could "just eat and eat." I'm no scientist, but I was under the impression that physically and mentally typical humans had an innate ability to eat as many calories as they need at that mealtime. At least, I know babies do at birth because my daughter nurses until she is full, then she stops drinking, and then a few hours later, she nurses again. She doesn't nurse until she explodes like a water balloon and she doesn't let herself starve and refuse to nurse. Not eating your food because you don't like the taste is a first-world problem of the highest degree and not something the food supplier should be concerned about, and certainly not an excuse to offer sweetened refined junk instead of whole foods.
The section about the Lunchables is outright disgusting, I would sooner throw a slice of whole wheat bread, a piece of cheese and a piece of fruit into a bag than give a child one of those. Oh, wait, according to the food companies kids won't eat healthy food anyway, they will only eat sweets and junk. Funny thing about that, we had a 3 year old in the preschool I taught at who would outright refuse to eat her lunch, whatever it was, and when her mother came a couple hours later the girl would tell her mom she was hungry, and the mother reached into a purse and gave her some kind of snack cake, bread, etc. We outright told the mom to stop giving her that junk if she wants her to eat her lunch. She did, and after a few days, the girl was eating a variety of foods for lunch every day. Again, kids not eating "healthy" foods because caregivers will give them junk or sweets later anyway......first-world problem.
And then the section that just says to me: young people are starting to care about their health! But we can still get the old people! They're just going to die soon anyway!
I already knew before about Coca Cola's aggressive marketing in third-world countries. I watched a documentary before about advertising vans that would go places where people didn't even have cars, and tell the locals about how soda was so delicious, how Crest toothpaste made your teeth so white, and Tide laundry detergent made your clothes so clean! Which was obviously very calculated. Use Tide to make your water undrinkable, drink Coke, and then use toothpaste to keep it from rotting your teeth completely. Despicable and on the same level as Nestle pushing baby formula in countries where there isn't even clean water to mix the formula and wash bottles. They take advantage and prey on impressionable people who get sucked in by the colorful packaging and the fabricated statements about how whatever product is "the best".
Seems like an interesting book to put on my list. 


My "mother"'s blog. UPDATED

My "mother" is writing a blog, but oddly has deleted the first 2 posts in which she claims that I have Aspergers or ASD. Maybe it was because every comment she got pointed out the obvious inconsistency about a "caring mother" that repeatedly ignored a supposed feeling that something about her daughter was "odd" and never attempted to connect with her. Maybe it was because I commented with an honest, heartfelt letter to her that I will post below. Maybe it was because I posted a link to a handful of psychologists that specialize in ASD in my area, and asked her to pick one and make arrangements for me so I can finally get a diagnosis and give her peace of mind....I will never know why she deleted her own words that she claimed to "stand by". Unfortunately with the Internet, you can't just delete things after the fact and have them be gone.
Here is her first post.

Finally started this blog...
Well, it took me long enough to get here. And it's not like I don't have the time...these days I welcome ways to pass the days. I find myself in an "in between" phase of my life...past middle age, past my potential, past my prime physically, past the useful, productive years. I don't mean this to sound so negative...life is actually very good and I know how lucky I am. I have a great husband, two modest but lovely homes, a small but steady income, time to read, reflect, shop, dream, and indulge my interests. Good friends, great jazz, and I do enjoy a nice lifestyle with my soulmate, a truly wonderful human being. Our relationship could not be more loving. My son Dan, now 31, lives in LA, is totally independent and making his way in the music business and in a relationship with an amazing young woman. We have always had a warm, close relationship and that continues even though we are far apart. He is my heart, a young man with a great sense of humour, kindness and understanding. Just thinking about him makes me smile.
Well, I admit there are some big boulders on my good life's road... I have been reading and reading about Autism Spectrum Disorder and Asperger's Syndrome-5 books, countless articles online. Some of them are very clinical, dry and hard to read, while others are more fascinating. It began about 6 years ago when a friend who worked at the time as a counselor at a Mental Institution asked me if I'd ever heard of Asperger's...this was after he had met my daughter Samantha twice. I dismissed it at first...but gradually strted to learn about what this means.
My daughter married a Japanese man and lived in Tokyo for almost 4 years after graduating from the University of Hawaii. She now lives in Honolulu and they have a young daughter, 4 months old, Chinami. She has always been a brilliantly smart, unusually self posessed, dependable, independent girl...but her behavior and ways have always been odd. Since a very small child, she did not like to be hugged, she had an odd way of not looking at you, played independently rather than interacting with others. Precocious, docile, sweet, and with a long attention span, she just seemed gifted to us. At 5 her IQ was revealed to be in the genius range. As she grew she didn't make friends too easily, but she did make one here, one there, and we had a mobile lifestyle for a while before settleing in St. Maarten in the Caribbean for about 4 years. We attributed her "loner" ways and oddly un-childlike demeanor to the life she led, around adults a lot, and her high intellect. She had a speech impediment as well, and spoke very softly, almost inaudibly. She had some OCD-type quirks and had trouble with conversation...she would just stare sometimes rather than answer a question. She could not talk on the phone-just a grunted yes or no was as much as you could get out of her. When she discovered the computer she took to it wonderfully and was soon quite proficient...it seemed that written and visual concepts were so much easier for her than human interaction. Her language skills were always advanced, but in writing more than speech. We attributed this to her speech issues, thinking they made her feel "shy"....
When we moved back to the US, she was 11 then, we immediately got her a speech therapist, who worked with her. As with all things, she was diligent and worked hard on the lessons he sent home after weekly session. Within a year her speech was no longer garbled and improving day by day.
But as she entered adolescence she became even more insulated and less able to interact with her peers. She declared them stupid and not worth bothering with at all. On one hand she seemed to long for their approval; on the other she disdained them. It got worse and worse as time passed...the not bathing phase...the Goth phase... the Wicca phase... she never dated and had no friends. Eventually she made one friend, a boy who liked her, but she bored of him and dropped him. Finally in High School she made friends with a small "crowd" of what we'd call "geeks"...smart, odd kids who she liked and was accepted by, and we were thrilled. She had also developed another trait by High School. Her interests were narrow, a few things, but within them she was pretty obsessive. She had no patience for anything but these few interests...nothing anyone else talked about even sparked a polite response. In fact, we noticed from adolescence forward that she had terrible manners; no matter what we or anyone else said, if she wasn't interested in what was being said or done, which was 98% of the time, she had a wooden response, rude, nasty even. She seemed to have little empathy for others, and was overly sensitive to being criticized, or reprimanded. She would not converse, discuss, or interact with us at all...except once in a while about the few topics that she was interested in.
I could go on and on, but in short...everything I'm reading and have read about Asperger's indicates that she is a poster child for it. No one knows her better than I do, so my statement is based on her entire childhood's behaviors. Learning that a Spectrum disorder means not all people with it have all the earmarks makes it almost a certainty. She has enough of them to convince me that we accepted as odd-normal or unique behavior that clearly was not.
Lately she has decided that my husband and I "abused" her growing up. With the black-and-white viewpoint that Asperger's people have, which fits her as well, she could not comprehend opinions, conversations, kidding, the "gray area" in which we spent a lot of time. We could not know that she did not understand the nuance of expressions and meaning of what was being said. Her interpretations were based on a skewed, ASD view of the world...and not as they were meant. Even my brushing and styling her fine hair became abuse in her world. She was hypersensitive to that things I was doing, but I didn't know it and she was unable to communicate how she felt.
We made a lot of mistakes as the parents of an ASD child who did not know about ASD. Regrets? Many. But we DIDN'T KNOW. Had no idea what this was. I wish that we had for we would have made sure to alter our behavior and way of dealing with her so that she would have felt more secure and happier. She was so stoic, so uncommunicative, so removed that we never understood that, we had no feedback at all.
I hope she is happy now and has a great life. I wish her only the very best, and am truly sorry for not knowing how difficult things were for her. She has called me a narcissist. Although I like makeup, hair, clothes and shoes, I spent over 25 years as a professional singer who needed to look her best to make a living. Many women enjoy getting their hair and nails done. I am one of them. many women like nice clothes. I am one of them too. This is what she bases that opinion on. She has a narrow worldview, one that is not accurate, on which she bases her statements about us. Do we have flaws? Yes. Are we sometimes selfish and opinionated? Yes. But we are the ones who always encouraged both our youngsters to get out in the world, know and accept people of all colors, creeds, and backgrounds, know and appreciate other cultures, and open their minds and hearts to the vast panorama of people and experiences that the world holds. We supported their interests heartily, eagerly, and praised them for their talents, accomplishments, and efforts. Saying that we didn't is something I will never understand. Saying I did everything to please myself rather than her-well, every single person who knows me knows how untrue this is. I loved them both, placed them above myself, and tailored and limited my own career to be a better parent. If anyone should be upset at me, it would be my son Dan, who did not move with us to St Maarten but stayed in the US with his father (my first marriage) but yet he loves me unconditionally, understands the family dynamic. Sammi had everything, she had our attention and love as well as well as everything else we could give...except a knowledge of ASD...that we did not have to give.
More in my next post. But at least a place to begin to reveal the angst, hurt, pain and stress I feel at Samantha's rejection of me and her father.

To her, I guess this seems really credible, on the surface at least. 

Some of the things she writes are true.
I was a shy child, I had a speech impediment that caused me to be embarrassed about the way I spoke in front of my parents because they constantly pointed it out, whereas my friends in school didn't. I didn't receive any kind of speech therapy until I was in the 6th grade, and I improved quickly, and the speech therapist never mentioned that there might be a reason for my speech impediment.
I had OCD-type quirks like wanting to eat my meals one part at a time which is a perfectly normal phase that a lot of normal children go through.
I also became proficient at using a computer at seven. I mostly played games, played with the Paint program, and typed out school assignments on it. My friend's children and children I taught at work could usually do the same or more on their parents' computers, iPads or iPhones from as early as age 3. However I was never interested in IT or programming, and never had a particular aptitude for it, despite my "mother" deciding I did and trying to sign me up for a Computer Science course at UH, which I quickly dropped after the first class.

However, some of the things she wrote are only based on her perceptions and opinions, and are not the truth.

She wrote that I "never dated and had no friends" for most of middle school.
Middle school was an extremely tough time for me, being the youngest in my grade among peers that were starting to develop and go through puberty. I tried to act like my peers, putting on makeup and trying to be fashionable, which must have delighted my "mother" because she loved treating me like her doll, bleaching my hair and getting me fake nails. But putting on that fake facade in an attempt to "fit in" made me miserable. I had extremely low self-esteem and was bullied at school as well as at home.
But despite that, I made a few friends who accepted me for me, and the "nice boy that I dropped when I tired of him" was a nice boy at first, but over time became an annoying, overly clingy, obsessive Mama's boy which turned a lot of other people besides myself away from him. I also dated a boy named John briefly in 7th grade, and had some other typical 2 week pre-teen "relationships" but since I had just turned 16 in my senior year, I really didn't have that much opportunity to seriously "date" anyone and mainly focused on building solid friendships with a variety of people. As you can see, not dating in high school didn't stop me from finding the love of my life and getting married at a young age.
The fact that she can nonchalantly look back on this extremely difficult time for me and make comments about how "odd" I was and somehow insinuate that it was my own fault that I was getting bullied speaks volumes about how supportive she was of me.

She wrote this:  "She had extremely narrow interests", referring to the Asperger's trait of obsessive behavior.
I was interested in:
Japanese anime, Japanese culture and language, german language, culture and music, musical theater, drawing, painting, sculpting, singing, playing piano, designing costumes and clothes, dancing, playing video games, making music videos, graphic design, a cappella music, comedians, the occult, religion, classical music, meditating, writing, cooking, ice skating, bowling, poetry, role-playing games.......
I was always willing to try new things, but after a while I knew that I didn't like a lot of the jazz music, movies, or entertainers that my parents liked. I tried to tell them this but they refused to try and understand my feelings. I tried to share my own interests with them and they told me my hobbies were immature and I had no talent to boot.

She wrote I went through a lot of phases, which shows exactly how much she attempted to understand me. The "not bathing phase" I was rebelling against being treated like her personal doll, and also asserting my independence. Also, it is a part of who I truly am. I have been doing no-poo for one year now and for the first time I feel like I am truly being myself. The "Goth phase" oh, you must mean when I was depressed and suicidal. The "Wicca phase" I was interested in many different religions growing up, and still am, and I enjoy the friendships I make through mingling with different groups. Wicca and Buddhism are probably the closest to my own spiritual beliefs. I was constantly made fun of and mocked for simply following my own spiritual beliefs.

She wrote this: "Even my brushing and styling of her fine hair became abuse in her world. She was hypersensitive to that things I was doing, but I didn't know it and she was unable to communicate how she felt." She also said that I didn't like to be touched or hugged. 
So according to her, I had the Asperger's trait of being hypersensitive to touch and pain. I never had a problem playing games like tag, Twister, and various other games that involved touching, never had issues with wearing certain fabrics or shirt tags, live in Hawaii where hugging is a standard form of greeting, and on the pain front, I never overreacted to other kinds of pain, like having blood drawn, getting my ears pierced when I was very young, again at 8, again around age 12, and then again at age 18, having my eyebrows waxed at age 10,  getting a tattoo at age 18, etc. It was just her innocent brushing and styling that sent my Aspie hypersensitivity into overdrive, if you believe that.

She wrote this: Lately she has decided that my husband and I "abused" her growing up. With the black-and-white viewpoint that Asperger's people have, which fits her as well, she could not comprehend opinions, conversations, kidding, the "gray area" in which we spent a lot of time. We could not know that she did not understand the nuance of expressions and meaning of what was being said. Her interpretations were based on a skewed, ASD view of the world...and not as they were meant. 

Gray area? So all of these quotes were jokes? How hilarious! Especially when I would burst into tears in front of you, cry myself to sleep, self-harm, and even have a panic attack in front of you! 

 "You are an asshole and Yasushi will divorce you in a year if you get married"

"You act like a retarded 8 year old. Your friends may think you're nice, but the rest of the world thinks you're a jerk. You'll never see them after you graduate in two weeks anyway. Oh, now you're cryyyyying, because you'll never see your fwiennnnds agaaaaain, ha ha!"

"Good, you don't need any musical talent to be a chorus director!"

Who doesn't understand social cues? The person who lived in Japan for 3 years and integrated into society there or the person who verbally abuses their own daughter until she has a panic attack, and then rolls their eyes and asks them if they need to go to a crazy hospital?

She wrote this: "Sammi says now that she only acted as described around me- that I was the problem and her issues were only with me and that she was completely normal elsewhere. This is not the truth. She may not realize that many other adults who knew her growing up would disagree."
I know two adults with degrees in psychology who knew me since I was 12 who would agree with me.

She wrote this: Living in Tokyo, with its gentler, more polite culture was probably a wonderful easing into her work and adult life. Also, being diagnosed there with Anxiety/Panic disorder...those actually can be symptoms of Asperger's especially in early adulthood.
Saying that living in Tokyo is a wonderful way to "ease into" anything obviously knows nothing about living in Tokyo. If I was the hypersensitive, socially inept Asperger's patient you described, I wouldn't have lasted a month living and working in Tokyo. Also, you say yourself that your opinion of me having Asperger's isn't a diagnosis (after you insist several times that I definitely have ASD or Aspergers) so if you are wrong, what does that mean about my panic disorder and atypical depression? What would be the cause of that, then, if it isn't Asperger's??

So far, out of the several comments that have been posted and deleted (by her) no one has actually believed her, and her responses to the comments just dug her in further.

And then I commented, which of course, she deleted with no response.
Dear "Mother", 
I expect you are having a good holiday season, no doubt making plans to go to your second home in the Caribbean, just like you did last year, when we house-sat for you.  
I read your blog. And for some reason, I started to believe some of it. 
Even after I have been through about 5 therapists in my lifetime and diagnosed with atypical depression and panic disorder, I literally have hundreds of friends from all walks of life in the US, and now have a very active social life and hold down jobs that involve being sociable and dealing with people. 
You and some friend of yours who met me twice for all of a few hours, are the only ones in the world who suggested I might have Asperger's...
I doubted myself. 
So I went online and read up on the subject. I found a lot of information that contradicted your claims. But even then, I didn't quite believe them. After all, in our household, you were always right. So I took some diagnostic tests online.  
This one is the one you sent me yourself by email. http://www.piepalace.ca/blog/asperger-test-aq-test/  
Designed by Simon Baron-Cohen, and published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 2001. 
I got a 19, which is well in the average range. If I had Asperger's, my score would be in the 30's or higher.  

This one is called the Aspie Quiz. http://www.aspietests.org/userdetails.php?target=raads/index.php 
My Aspie score is 53 of 200, and my Neurotypical score is 146 out of 200, making me very likely to not have Asperger's.  

I'm sure that because these are just online tests that they are inaccurate.
Since you were so adamant about me having Asperger's or ASD (you kept switching between the two) and seemed so genuinely remorseful about all the mistakes you made, maybe you could help me now.  

Find a legitimate psychologist located in Honolulu, pay them their fee directly and have them agree to share all information connected to my diagnosis and treatment with you, and I will gladly go and get a professional diagnosis and treatment if needed.  

But whatever the diagnosis is, there is still no excuse for the things you did to me when I was a child.  

You screamed at me and beat me with my hairbrush and my shoes, making me feel terrified, and worthless. 
You pushed me away when I would try to share my hobbies and interests with you. 
You told me I had no musical talent when I tried to sing like you. 
You called me a jerk, a moron, a scumbag, an asshole, a pig, a loser, sick, twisted, a wacko, a nut, and many more.You methodically explained to me, on a regular basis, how I had a horrible personality, and someday all my friends and acquaintances would someday know the "real me" and hate me. This haunted me and later echoed in my head when I had panic attacks.  
You slapped me across the face at home and in public, when I looked at you in shock and confusion.  
You mocked me or ignored me when I cried, even when I had a panic attack, you joked that I should go to the crazy hospital and asked me if I had asthma. 
You and Dan would laugh it up together after you were done with me.  
You were only nice to me when I was acting like your slave, running across the house to get you a soda from a fridge 10 feet away from your seat, or your doll, getting my 10 year old head bleached or fake nails on my small hands. You supported me with your wallet, while beating me down with your actions.  
I understand that your own mother was horribly abusive towards you. 
You may think that you had it so much worse than me, but the reality is that you did the exact same thing to me that she did to you.
You caused me pain and damaged my self-esteem to the point where it would later interfere with my marriage, and almost kill me. 
Why didn't you stop after the first time you lost your temper, and you saw the pain and fear in my eyes?  
Why didn't you stop after I cried and asked you how you could say such things to your own daughter?  
Why didn't you stop after you noticed I was self-harming?   

I hope when you go to your therapist, you will tell them the truth about what you did to me, and get the help you truly need. 
As for me, your words can not hurt me any more. I am healing, and I have a family to protect, and that is my main priority now. 
Maybe someday, only after you have gotten diagnosed and treated for whatever made you do what you did to me, I still have a small shred of hope that we might be able to be a family again.  

This is the last time I will try to reach out to you, as a concerned daughter to her mother, to urge you to try to make things right with me and with yourself.  

I hope you do the right thing. 

And by deleting it without even responding, she has shown her true colors. She won't answer my questions, doesn't try to explain the acts of abuse she committed, and most of all, she won't apologize for them. She does not show any remorse or empathy towards me, even though apparently she had been in the exact same situation, diagnosed with the same illness as me when she was around my age (or so she claims..)

Her reluctance to admit the truth and accept help is true to her two personalities. She makes every effort to appear "nice" and "normal" to the outside world and her superficial friends on Facebook, going as far as to cast off her own daughter as "sick and twisted" when really, she is the sick one who has just perpetuated a cycle of abuse and trauma. She mentions her golden child son several times in her blog, but strangely doesn't mention the fact that she paid most of his bills until he was 30 because he refused to get a normal salaried job.

This isn't the first time I've tried to help her and was met with hostiIity. I showed concern for her after I found that she had been repeatedly buying the same foods and letting them expire in the cabinets, a sign of early dementia. I cleaned them out for her and told my "father" with concern, but was met with a screaming rage over the phone. (Which, interestingly, she later posted on Facebook about how wonderful and clean I had made her cabinets.....I never got a face-to-face thank you or an apology for how she screamed at me and made me go into a panic attack.)

I just have to accept that she will never be able to to understand what she did, and more importantly why she did it. She will never be able to accept anyone's concern or help, much less try to help those she has wronged. If she truly wanted to take steps to repair our relationship, she would have at least responded to my comment.
She could have also honored my request for an official diagnosis. or even gotten me something like this online therapy session as a Christmas gift.
But no. Nothing.
But it seems it is not just her. Even when my husband sent a message to my father as a last effort, man-to-man, to get his wife some help, suggesting that we get family therapy, so that they could someday be my parents and Chinami's grandparents again, he was told that he "should rot in hell."
After being told that, he finally lost the last shred of hope for my parents to come around.

So now I am trying to let go of her hostility and negative energy. I will continue the healing process alone, by surrounding myself with lots of love and positive, peaceful energy from my family and friends, and continuing to be active in support groups for adults who were abused as children.

I am not fully there yet, but I am doing a lot better than I was in Tokyo, when I was in a terrible state mentally but didn't know the cause, and when I went back to my parents house and started to understand the cause but didn't know what to do about it.

Someday, I hope to be able to truly believe that I am not a horrible person, and I want to be able to put this experience in the past. I hope I can accept that her abuse of me was because of something in her that she could not control, and even forgive her so that she can enter the next life in peace.

I did make another last, last, attempt at getting through to her by commenting again on her blog, about how disappointed I was at her non-response to my letter, and her reluctance to admit the truth and get help for herself.
Her response?

Being abused and written off as "sick" by people who were supposed to love me was not my decision. 


Chinami's starting solids! ちなみの離乳食

The first year of Chinami's life is already halfway over. I already get sentimental when I look back at pictures of her as a newborn and see how far she has come.
Chinami rolled over at around 3 months, and then she bided her time until she hit 6 months, and then it seems like everything started happening at once. Her two bottom teeth came in, she started being able to sit up and she learned to crawl and can stand up supported. She went through a screaming phase, where she would literally lay there looking at her hand screaming(in delight!) and now she limits her screams and laughs to when we play with her. 
Since she tripled her birth weight in under 6 months on just breastmilk, I had no reason to hurry and introduce solids...But I was still eager to be able to share another part of our lives with her, my very varied and healthy diet. Of course, she has been exposed to every flavor under the sun already through my milk as I have not given a drop of formula and not limited my diet in any way. She has had Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Indian, Mexican, Thai, Vietnamese, and even the occasional Jack-in-the-Box or Reese's cup through my milk. But I was still excited at the prospect of doing Baby-led Weaning, and sharing my meals with her and watching her explore the tastes and textures, and hopefully eat a few bites. 
So when she turned 6 months and started to be able to sit up on her own, I started giving her stuff from my plate. In just a couple of weeks, she already has a more varied diet than most Americans. Avocado, banana, apple, cooked carrots, broccoli, spinach, asparagus, okinawan sweet potato, eggplant, zucchini, frozen blueberries and mango, simmered strawberries, pomegranate seeds, crusts from whole-wheat toast, pieces of whole-wheat tortilla, spoonfuls of plain Greek yogurt, egg yolk, cream of wheat or oatmeal (made with water or breastmilk for her) and more. 
In Japan, it is very common for mothers to make special "meals" for their babies, such as rice porridge with vegetables mixed in, a mild soup or steamed soft buns, etc. Even in America there are many products on the market for steaming and pureeing food for babies. There is just something about the practice of giving babies special meals that you don't eat together with them that I don't get. Babies learn everything by imitation, wouldn't it make sense to just share your food with them and they watch you and figure out how to eat it?
Baby-led Weaning requires very little "extra" work. I take out a small portion of whatever I'm cooking for Chinami before adding salt, as too much salt can be hard on their little kidneys. I microwave a couple of frozen strawberries and mash them to make her strawberry jam when we are having ours, and I only give her egg yolk, which is pretty easy when I am eating a sunny-side up or soft-boiled egg. If I am eating something like frozen fruit, grapes, blueberries or pomegranate seeds I put them into a mesh feeder. If it's grabbable, I just give it to her. 
Baby led weaning is messy, fun, and teaches babies to chew before they swallow, which is a pretty important skill in my book. The first few times, she just squished whatever I gave her around and made a huge mess. But now she seems to get it and actively picks up the food and puts it in her mouth, making chewing motions and sucking the juices out of it. She seemed to like purple sweet potato, and recently chewed on a piece of roasted asparagus until there were just strings left. A raw apple was a bit rough for her to gum, but when I put a frozen grape in a mesh feeder for her later she had it down to just the skin in about 10 minutes! However a piece of frozen mango, which is a lovely treat for me, got me a scrunched-up little face and refusal to touch it again that day. 
When I had something like yogurt or cream-of-wheat and wanted to feed some to her with a spoon, she made it clear that she much preferred to hold the spoon and put it in her mouth by herself! So I also do what is called "loaded spoons", I put some mashed food or cereal on a spoon and give her the spoon, and she puts it in her mouth by herself. 
I am putting together a video of her first food experiences and hope my experience in this blog will open others up to the world of Baby-led Weaning!