Sunday, February 12, 2017

Part Two: The Food we Eat

Hi guys,

I hope the last post wasn’t too depressing. But I think its stuff we need to talk about.

In that last post, I mentioned that the other thing I think we are really f$#king up (in addition to how we treat animals) is our food. How we grow it (in far away places and then have it shipped to us; grown in depleted soil with pesticides), how we eat it (in front of a computer; behind a desk; in the car; on the run), how little we really appreciate it (how often do we think about all the hands that “touched” our food or about the sacrifice of any animal we are eating), and how much crap we allow to be put into it (prepackaged shit-storms). It scares me, and it should scare you too, that a lot of what we put into our mouths isn’t good for us.

But when we are talking about our health, it’s not just the chemicals that we are putting into our food - it’s all the other toxins that we are poisoning ourselves with. There are hundreds of other toxins we expose ourselves to unknowingly (and knowingly) every single day. Think about all the various products you use on your body just getting ready in the morning: shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, face cleansers, makeup, perfume, toothpaste, etc. Then there are all the EMF’s (electromagnetic field) and environmental air pollutants floating around us! Yikes!

Hopefully you’re able to appreciate that our bodies have a lot to deal with (especially our liver) and that we need to do all we can to help our body. Here are two websites which may be of interest to you, if you'd like to look more closely at reducing toxins. The first one is the Environmental Working Group website. Here you can look up specific personal care items you use at home to see how they are rated, as well as find out what the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 are for your next grocery shopping trip. I realize that we can't buy organic food (I can't either) all the time, so this gives you some idea about where it's more "worthwhile" to pay the extra money for organics. Another great piece of advice here is to spend extra on the foods you eat more often. For example, if you eat a ton of strawberries you may want to buy them organic more often that not. On the other hand, if you only eat peaches and cherries a couple of times a year, those may not be worth buying organic. The other website I want to mention to you is called Food Babe and is full of information about anything related to food and toxins. (It's a bit extreme in my opinion, but take what you want from it). 

Health at its core comes down to reducing toxins and providing nutrition so that our bodies can function optimally. Generally speaking, our bodies are self-repairing and are designed to heal. We need to do our best to provide them with a healthy environment in which they can more readily do so, and much of this is done through our diet. 

Just over a year ago, I shared a website with you all called 100 days of Real Food. The concept is simple: eat real food. unpackaged. in moderation. And I am sharing it again here because this relates to what I am talking about here. If we eat this way, we are naturally reducing the amount of toxins we put into our bodies, while at the same time providing it with nutrient dense food. This makes me think of one of Michael Pollan’s famous quotes:

It shouldn’t be about following a particular way of eating, as much as it should be about feeding your body QUALITY food. If you like how your body feels on a certain type of plan (i.e. paleo, weight watchers, vegan, 21 day fix, etc). that's great -- just make sure that the food you are feeding yourself on that plan is high quality. Some people feel that it's too expensive to eat this way, but I feel that you cannot put a price on your health. Furthermore, viewing eating well as being too expensive is really shortsighted because if you don't create health now, you are setting yourself up for sickness later. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Despair and Hope

Sometimes, I feel incredibly sad about the world and how we treat its creatures (animals and humans alike). I often wonder what future generations will have to say about the way we lived and what exactly will be our greatest atrocities. We have all looked back at moments in history and wondered 'how the f#@k did people allow those things to happen!?!?!’ Well, besides the environmental abuse and destruction (and by the way, Mother Nature will go on in spite of us) I believe that two things we’re doing majorly wrong today – right here and right now – are the way we treat animals and all the chemicals that are put into our food (and by the way, that we seem to be ok with eating)?! But what is most upsetting of all is the way we treat animals, because treating any being inhumanely or unethically is so very wrong.

On Instagram, I follow an account called Animal Hope and Wellness. It’s not uncommon for them to post something that’s really, really, hard to see. Yesterday I was scrolling along my IG feed, laughing at the funny meme’s and enjoying some of the cute photos of people’s beautiful children, and then all of a sudden, BOOM, a photo that is impossible to “unsee” pops up and I lose it. I start crying because it just seems so unbelievable to me that some people are doing things that are so horrible and so wrong to animals. And it gets me thinking about other stuff – bad stuff that happens that we don’t even know about; so dark and so upsetting that it’s a wonder those that have been through some of it can actually survive. 

Last night, I temporarily unfollowed this particular feed because sometimes you just don’t feel strong enough to handle it. It’s for this same reason that I don’t watch the news, and that I have temporarily disconnected from Facebook, actually. I just got so sick and tired of seeing people slandering others because they have a different viewpoint, and just being so disrespectful, that I needed a break. (I realize that I too – right now – am expressing my own viewpoint about animals, but to me, this is a black and white issue. Abuse of animals is black – like murder. It’s wrong and I don’t think you can have a ‘healthy debate’ about it).

Anyway, after I removed this one organization from my IG feed, I kind of felt bad. I questioned myself; this is something that is really going on the world. Just because I don’t feel ‘strong enough’ to handle it; is simply wanting to stop seeing it the wrong response? I don’t have the answer friends, that’s just a thought I had go through my mind. Generally speaking, I think that ‘not wanting to see it’ IS actually a problem, because it’s this exact disconnect that enables us to walk into the grocery store and buy our clean, nicely packaged meat from the grocery store without blinking an eye. However, regarding my IG account, I do know that I need take a break as I believe that one needs to trust in their own wisdom of knowing when they need to step back – even if it’s just temporarily.

I feel a bit like I need to be handled with “kid gloves” these days…lots going on in the world I guess, and as usual for me, a lot of this is entirely within my mind. In any case, I recognize this and that’s an important aspect to one’s overall health - realizing when you need a bit of a 'mental time out'. In the past, I have always searched for answers outside of myself – always looked externally for the right way to do things, how I should think, how I should behave. But more and more (and hopefully MUCH more in the future) I am learning to trust not only that I can come up with answers, but that the answers I come up with, are right (for me). Here’s an example:

I mentioned a number of posts ago, that I had downloaded an app to start meditating. For some, that works fantastically, but I had been resisting it for some reason. Then, the other day while I was watching this amazing guy on YouTube (Kyle Cease - which you ABSOLTUELY MUST CHECK OUT), he was talking about how being mindful and meditating cannot be done in a RIGHT or WRONG way – it’s what works for YOU. And it was like aha!! So, for the last week I have been just sitting in stillness for at least 20 minutes each morning – not worrying about IF my mind wanders, and if I am ‘doing it right’. I simply have created a space where it’s quiet, and where (hopefully) as I keep doing this, that I will be able to receive the guidance I need when I need it BECAUSE I am creating this space for myself, AND doing (as Kyle talks about) INTERNAL research and not the external research that I have for so long been doing. I encourage you all to watch this great video (and many of the others that Kyle has). When you do, let me know what you thought. His past work was as a comedian, so while the information is fantastic, he delivers it in such a fun, lighthearted way.

Thanks for listening today – I just felt that I needed to get this off my chest. Sometimes when you feel in despair about what’s going on in the world, you tend to focus on more negative’s, and yet I do realize that there are SO MANY MORE good people in this world, doing GOOD things. We all may have different ideas about how to do it, so it’s ever so important to be open to listening to others’ points of view. You may not always agree 100% with them, but for the love of God, at least be respectful and hold the space.

If you'd like to help animals too, I'd encourage you to always be aware of where you buy your meat, (eat less meat in general), sign some of the petitions on Change.Org, or maybe even help out a local animal shelter? I'm sure there are a million other ways, and I would love to hear more about your ideas if you had some too. Also, if you’re brave enough to check out Animal Hope and Wellness and the important work they are doing, please do so. 

In my next post, I will get into the other serious issue I mentioned today, which is about all the toxins and chemicals we consume. That’s another whole ‘can of worms’ and that’s all I have in me for today.

Tips for Managing Stress & Anxiety (plus a smoothie recipe!)

Read my latest blog post on You Ate: And my smoothie recipe!