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My How Time Flies

Clichés are so often true, and somehow an entire season has passed since I last wrote…

I’ve been experimenting with a new way of gardening: a mix of Hugelkulture and permaculture. Once I get some help uploading photos, I’ll post more on that. Teaser: it works fabulously!

I also spent a ridiculous number of hours doing a renovation project. Completion is very close, and that means more time freed up for research and education. Maybe even more posts…

The teaching has continued all summer,  and we focused on nutrition after we spent weeks on the digestive system.  Now we’ve segued into diet. I cannot believe how contentious this subject is! Vegan, paleo, vegetarian, omnivore: the experts mostly put a finger in the air and say “my way is the best.” People are adamant that you and I are eating too much or too little fat, too much or too little carbs, too much or too little protein. Saturated fat is the devil incarnate; starchy carbs fog your brain; gluten is evil; eating meat gives you cancer; soy isn’t really food; I could go on and on. But here’s the single most important piece of diet info I can give you: if your great, great grandmother didn’t eat it, neither should you! To be more blunt: processed food is killing us. To be even more specific: sugar is terrifically addictive, is empty calories, and we eat a ridiculous amount of it every day which directly and adversely affects our health. The best research I’ve come across basically says that most people can safely consume 15 grams of non-GMO cane sugar a day as well as 25 grams of fructose in the form of whole fruits a day. Any more than that and you can begin the cascade to metabolic syndrome, feed the “bad guys” of our gut biome, and do damage to neurotransmitters, not to mention depressing your entire immune system. Worried about the flu/cancer/Ebola/whatever other scary disease is on your personal radar? Then stop eating so much white flour and sugar.

 

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It’s Complicated (and Amazing)

It’s been a longish hiatus since I last wrote, and teaching and gardening are boiling away on the front burners.

So much of what we’ve been learning in our class on anatomy and physiology is the stupendously intricate complexity of the human body. And that science is still figuring us out. New hormones, proteins, enzymes, etc. are still being discovered. Ways everything interacts is still being parsed. Really intelligent people can read the same data and draw very different conclusions. Our own journey affects how we understand the concept of being a human…

In studying the digestive system and now adding nutrition, we are learning not just the basics, but the basics from a variety of viewpoints. The concept of a “calorie” turns out to be incredibly “loaded” with politics, belief systems and which scientists/studies you trust. Who knew!? And hardly anyone except “radical granola types” pay any attention to the primary basis of all health: the health of a country’s soil. And yet studies are showing up even in the mainstream that state that our food today is less nutritious that it was even 50 years ago. When we “mine” our soil, and don’t “put back” the minerals and organic matter and healthy microbes, then the plants don’t have the same nutritional content  in their cells, because the soil is deficient. Add the GMO, herbicide and pesticide issues, not to mention processing whole foods to death, plus artificial chemicals….well, it becomes tremendously difficult to find quality food in an average supermarket.

And that, dear reader is the crux: quality of food is the basis of health.

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Traditional Foods and Fermentation PlayLab

If you live in New Mexico or southern Colorado, and want to learn more about traditional food preparation, including fermentation, please email me asap : irisherbal@yahoo.com, and I’ll send you the color flier and ingredient list. This super hands-on “workshop” is Saturday April 26th from 1pm to 4pm in Questa, NM. Come experience adult learning at its best.

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Why Aren’t We Taught How Our Bodies Function?

Even though those of you reading this are a variety of ages, I’ll bet most, if not all of you, never learned anatomy and physiology in Junior, Middle or Senior High School. I certainly didn’t. I knew how to do Algebra I and II and III, learned about Chemistry (a lot about the periodic table!), managed to skip Physics, and struggled through many years of French, of which I remember maybe a couple dozen words! But not how my body works…not how digestion begins before we even eat the first bite of food. Not how fats are emulsified or not and where, and what happens when they aren’t. Why some folks can eat fast food and don’t seem to be adversely affected (at least for awhile), and I throw up if I eat fried foods.

We are bombarded with “diets” and the “experts'” opinions (which seem to change drastically over time) and is it no wonder that so many of my clients don’t know what is healthy FOR THEM. And that is the key: what is healthy for each individual, not a one-size-fits-nobody approach to nutrition. There are many “ways” of eating, and many preachers and apostles of what is “correct.” I’m going to put some highlights of our classes here on anatomy and physiology, as well as Michael Moore’s approach, and walk everyone through the process of digestion and its sometimes discontents. And those “problems” or symptoms turn out to be keys to what is not functioning properly and why! what a concept…

and here’s a little graphic that says a lot….:

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How Did It Get To Be February Already? A New Direction For This Blog.

I just looked at my last blog posting, and realized I’ve taken a 2 month hiatus without planning to…Yes, there were holidays, and crazy weather everywhere, and inventory (my least favorite activity), and maybe a bit of fatigue: the attack on our food and health is unrelenting, and constantly pointing this out gets tiresome.

SO: this spring (in the Celtic calendar spring begins with Imbolc/Candlemas, as the days get longer and buds swell) I am going to take a break from gloom and doom and focus on positive steps we can all take towards reclaiming our authority and agency around our heath and healing process. As the old saying goes: the personal is political. And yes, systemic change means more than just our personal choices, and yet where we choose to spend our money and how we treat ourselves really does matter, for both our own healing journey and the planet’s.

I am currently teaching 5 students one morning a week, and have been (with some breaks) since last June. We’ve been going on plant identification field trips, learning how to make herbal medicine, and now we are studying anatomy and physiology for herbalists. We are having a great time as adult learners, and are amazed that we didn’t get this information about how our body works in school. Even those professionals who took A and P didn’t get the “big picture” with a paradigm that is health based (and the one we are studying comes from Michael Moore,  southwest herbalist who died in 2009). There is much good info that I plan to share here from this ongoing course. 

 Here’s your first “assignment” (oh, and there are no tests, no grades, just an informative exploration into the mysteries on the body/mind):  notice what you eat. Just pay attention. No judgments, no shaming self, no excuses. If you want extra credit, write what you eat (and I mean everything that goes in your mouth) for the next week. You will be amazed…

 

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The Moment Is Now

Frankenfish is on the way

Food Democracy Now! Team   All ballots turned in Nov. 5th! – We Need YOU Today To Help WIN Yes on 522 to Label GMOs! Join the Yes on 522 campaign to win GMO labeling! Join us in the final days to stop Monsanto – Washington vote

To Me
Nov 2 at 4:03 PM

All ballots turned in Nov. 5th! – We Need YOU Today To Help WIN Yes on 522 to Label GMOs!

Join the Yes on 522 campaign to win GMO labeling!

Join us in the final days to stop Monsanto – Washington votes 4 GMO labeling Nov 5th – Join us to win the Food Fight of the century!

Dear Friend,

Consider the facts: In the span of the past 12 months, voters in two states will have gone to the polls to win something so basic as the right to know what’s in their food.

During this time, the world’s largest chemical pesticide companies and giant food corporations have spent a combined total of $68 million dollars to hide the fact that 75% of the processed food in the U.S. has been genetically engineered in a laboratory and these companies make a huge profit by keeping Americans in the dark.

Right now, these same giant corporations are busy spending a war chest of $22 million to once again deceive voters.

This weekend you can help turn the tide by making calls to voters in Washington state to make sure they’re not confused by Monsanto and the grocery cartel’s deceptive ads.

Click here to make calls to help get out the vote for Tuesday’s Nov. 5th election so we can win Yes on 522 and win GMO labeling in Washington and beyond!

http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/1064?t=7&akid=1048.351414.mVjczH

The tragedy and outrage of these 2 elections is the fact that these same companies already label their products in 64 other countries around the world.

They label GMOs in Europe, Russia, China and Japan! What are they trying to hide from the American public?

THINK LABELS DON’T MATTER? Did you know that Frankenfish may be approved soon?

If you have any question over whether genetically engineered foods should be labeled, consider the fact that in the coming months the Obama administration is poised to approve genetically engineered salmon. And now, because our elected officials have refused to pass common sense labeling laws, the world’s first GMO animal could appear on your plates without you knowing it.

After genetically engineered salmon, what’s next?

This week, the Yes on 522 campaign released a powerful ad to remind us all what’s at stake if we don’t win GMO labeling here in America – please take a look!

http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/1065?t=11&akid=1048.351414.mVjczH

The truth is, we all have the right to know what’s in our food and corporations who profit from selling food to us and our families do not have the right to hide that information from us.

We shouldn’t a part of their grand science experiment!

Please take a few minutes this weekend to help get the word out in Washington. If we win, we have a lot to gain and you can help be a part of that historic victory by helping spread the word.

Click here to volunteer to make phone calls to voters in Washington to vote YES on I-522. All you need is a phone and Internet. You can even do it in your pajamas!

http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/1064?t=14&akid=1048.351414.mVjczH

The I-522 Ballot initiative is simple, it will inform shoppers whether their food has been genetically engineered in a laboratory or not and it has Monsanto, DuPont and the junk food companies running scared.

Together we know we can overcome the opposition’s dirty money campaign – help put us over the top by making a call for GMO labeling today!

Here’s to victory!

Dave, Lisa and the Food Democracy Action! Team

Food Democracy Action! is a 501(c)4 allied organization of Food Democracy Now!, focused on grassroots lobbying and legislative action. Donations are not tax-deductible. Thank you for your support

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Which Organic Companies Are Pro and Which Are Con…

Unveiled: GMO Labeling Opponents Come Out of the Shadows

October 22nd, 2013

Natural/Organic Brands No Longer Hiding Behind Lobbying Organization The Cornucopia Institute releases shopper’s guide: pro/con I-522 brands

Proposition I-522, a citizen’s initiative on the November 5 ballot in Washington state that would mandate clear labeling of genetically engineered (GE) ingredients on food packages, has become the most expensive initiative campaign in the state’s history.  The high-priced battleground is pitting consumer and farmer advocates against multi-billion-dollar agribusiness corporations.

A number of new opponents to the GMO food labeling proposal were recently revealed following the release of their names by the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), a national business lobbying organization.  The GMA had been, apparently in violation of state election law, hiding the identity of its donors who had provided more than $7.2 million to fight the consumer’s right to know what is in their food.  The disclosure came shortly after Washington’s Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a lawsuit demanding the GMA reveal the identity of its secret donors.

With the outing of the GMA’s donors, The Cornucopia Institute has released an updated infographic detailing the financial expenditures of corporate and organizational supporters and opponents of I-522.

(click on the poster image below to view a quick loading larger version, and then click on it again for an even larger version)

(or click here to view a printable hi-res version)

(click on the poster image above to view a quick loading larger version, and then click on it again for an even larger version)

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Finally a Mainstream Group Supports Labeling GMO’s!

 

Dear friend,

We have exciting news to share: Consumers Union, who publish Consumer Reports, has reviewed I-522.

They determined I-522 is well written, gives shoppers clear, accurate information, and won’t raise the cost of groceries.

This is a powerful counterpoint to the lies being spewed by our opponents and it’s critical that everyone see it – please share it on your Facebook page by clicking here.

Washington is a vote-by-mail state, which means voters here don’t go to the polls. Over the weekend voters received their ballots in the mail and are voting right now on whether to pass GMO labeling or not.

Please share this ad on your Facebook page to make sure all your friends in Washington see it.

From our table to yours,

Delana Jones Campaign Manager Yes on 522

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Close to the Tipping Point on GMO Food

Story at-a-glance

  • While California’s GMO-labeling campaign failed to pass by an incredibly narrow margin last November, Proposition 37 catalyzed an enormous amount of awareness across the US that is the beginning of the end of GMOs in the US
  • More people are now aware of genetically engineered foods than we could have ever reached through educational efforts alone, investing the same amount of money that we invested in Prop. 37
  • The tipping point of consumer rejection of genetically engineered foods in the US is almost here. Last year, the president of Whole Foods confessed that when a product becomes verified as Non-GMO or GMO-free, sales leap by 15-30 percent—a clear outgrowth of the Prop.37 campaign
  • Target’s brand will be non-GMO in 2014. Ben & Jerry’s will be non-GMO by the end of this year, and while Chipotle’s restaurants are working toward a non-GMO menu, they voluntarily started labeling in the meantime

For those of us working in the trenches for the past several years regarding GMO food, we may be seeing the proverbial light at the end of a very long and difficult tunnel. Monsanto stock is not a good buy, and that is cause for rejoicing. To read the entire article excerpted above, please go HERE.

Meanwhile, I wrote a few weeks ago that I would share info on bokashi, a fermented compost. I just got some video and photos from last month’s experiment, and as soon as I find someone to help me edit the info I will put it on the blog.

Happy Labor Day weekend!

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You Can Help Win GMO Labeling

ACTION ALERT

Calling All Volunteers . . . Let’s Win GMO Labeling in Washington!

One of the most critical food policy fights of our lifetimes will be decided in less than 10 weeks. I-522, the initiative to require mandatory labeling of GMOs in food products in Washington State, is our next best shot at forcing food manufacturers to label GMOs in all of their products in all 50 states.

All of us, no matter what our zipcode, will either win or lose on Nov. 5. That’s why we need everyone’s help to pass this initiative.

Do you have time to help persuade Washington State voters to cast their ballots on Nov. 5 in favor of I-522? One of the easiest, and most effective ways you can help is to become a phone banker. All you need is a phone and an internet connection. It won’t cost you a dime. We’ll supply training, scripts – everything you need. You can make the calls anytime that’s convenient for you, from your own home. The first training session is tonight at 7 p.m. PST. Can’t make it? No worries. Training sessions will happen every Thursday at 7 p.m. PST from now until voting day. There will also be two 4 p.m PST trainings, one on Sept. 5 and one on Sept. 19.

We lost in California last year by a razor-thin 1 percent. Your phone calls to Washington state voters could make all the difference this year.

Sign up to call Washington voters