Food for Thought

It happened again. I was sucked into the world of documentaries. I had heard about Farmaggedon (the documentary) a little while ago and my interest was piqued. However, my enthusiasm for educational and informative viewing material is not shared most days by those that compete for viewing time in my household. It is usually “fluff” viewing or MMA that is being watched in our home which I also love. I enjoy MMA immensely to the resounding gasps of my friends. I guess I don’t seem like the type. What is the “type” of woman who likes MMA anyway? Why must we be a certain type to have interest in MMA, documentaries, musicals, dramas, action flicks? I enjoy all of the above. Does this make me well-rounded? I decree that yes, it does make me a versatile viewer. However, the aforementioned documentary Farmaggedon was what got my attention today and has tumbled around my thoughts to the point that I have something to say on the subject.

 

 

The documentary really got me to thinking, yet again, about the source of our food. Where it comes from, how it’s processed, and the regulations and laws surrounding our food industry. Of course, each country has their own laws regarding the food industry. My main points will be focused on North American food industry practices since the documentary that I have most recently watched is American. There is definitely a difference between the U.S. and Canadian food industry regulations and practices but there are many overlapping practices as well. I do not declare that I am an expert on the food industry, processing, or laws of such. I am seeing this from the standpoint of a human being. We all need to eat. From a stance of an individual that wants to know what is in my food and that the food I choose is safe, healthy and what it is labelled as being.

 

“Why should conservationists have a positive interest in …farming? There are lots of reasons, but the plainest is: Conservationists eat.” – Wendell Berry

If you have not had the opportunity to inform yourself on our food industry, I would highly recommend doing so. Perhaps you may learn a thing or two that you were either unaware of or didn’t really want to acknowledge. The need for awareness is not going to turn you into a die-hard activist (unless you choose to do so). It will merely give you an idea of what you are consuming – good or bad, healthy or not, whatever, that’s your choice. Not knowing what’s going on in the food industry than bashing those trying to make a difference is sheer ignorance and close-mindedness. I for one want to have the option to choose my food, not be dictated to and only given choices that will essentially make me a lab rat.

 

 

I have always had a strong sense of  personal choice from an early age. My sisters will attest to me (the youngest of three girls) brazenly spouting the phrase, “I have the right to…!” That seemed to be my most well-known tagline. I am still that same feisty girl with the desire to declare my free choice in all scenarios. However, I do not feel the need to shout it any more but firmly state my view when necessary. I know where I stand. I won’t be bullied into believing something just because I am told that I have to or believe every advertisement that appears before my eyes. I am smarter than that, thank you very much.

 


“There are two primary choices in life; to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them.” – Denis Waitley

 

While watching Farmaggedon it really hit home about the state of North American agriculture. I applaud farmers worldwide for what they do. Farmers are definitely some of the hardest working people on the planet. They toil each and every day in all   weather conditions to put food on the table – our tables. We have allowed our farmers to be manipulated and bullied by the likes of the FDA and large corporations that are driven by profit, not supplying healthy food to folks like you and me. The small-scale farmers that want to supply people with wholesome food choices are fighting a huge battle and taking a massive hit while we stand idly by with our hands in our pockets not knowing what to do. It is essential that people start speaking up to create change in governmental practices and laws that are strangulating the only people who really can provide good food to our tables, other than ourselves – the farmer. Factory farming is a practice focused on profit and creates many issues I won’t get into. Factory farming, in my eyes, is not farming. It is mass production of an item. How easily people forget that the chicken living its life in a restricted area sitting in its own waste becomes that piece of fried chicken on your plate. All for the sake of saving a couple of dollars at the grocery store. Shudder.  Simply put, for me factory farming has taken the personal touch out of agriculture. If you happen to be a factory-farmer I apologize if my words offend you but I, like you, am entitled to my opinion. I am not vilifying you per say, but the practices involved in mass production of living beings. Feel free to voice your thoughts. Just please do so respectfully. I am saddened by the thought of so many living beings treated like they are merely a dollar sign. I feel sickish inside. Moving on.

“I don’t understand the notion that modern farming is anything to do with nature. It’s a pretty gross interference with nature.”  – Peter Singer

 

In review of the documentary, I felt it weighed in heavily on the subject of raw milk farming and legislation. Perhaps I was hoping for a broader subject matter since I don’t consume milk personally but it was very eye-opening none-the-less. It comes right down to the fact that as consumers we should have the ability to purchase foods of our choosing. Of course there must be stipulations such as nothing that is endangered, for instance. If one really looks at the source of food from a family run farm as opposed to a large-scale factory operation, I think most of us would choose the former. I prefer produce from my garden over produce from a greenhouse sprayed with several rounds of insecticides and fungicides. It’s common sense, really. It is frightening that it has gotten to the point that small farms are being raided and their livelihood seized by the FDA. Why does the government feel so threatened by these small farms? Is it really in the name of consumer safety? I, for one, highly doubt it. My guess would be that the government is so tied to Big Ag giants that the government is no longer “for the people” but instead for the profit. We are at a point in history where we have all screwed up royally by trusting large corporations to dictate to the masses, myself included.

 

 

Standing up to the Bully (Big Ag/government) where our food is concerned is now at our doorsteps. Being aware makes a difference.  Simple steps like voting with our food budget is a great place to start. Local markets, farmers and small businesses can make a big impact. We are already seeing many large food companies trying to cater to certain markets by diversifying. It’s a small step in the right direction but it is still supporting large-scale operations. Picture yourself as a farmer trying to support your family. You want to supply people with an exceptional product that you give every waking minute to producing. The FDA steps in and claims some bogus law made in the 1930’s and seizes your animals/crops. How would you feel? Who would you turn to? The red tape is so restrictive for many small businesses that even making a profit can be a very difficult task. To sit at a desk in a cubicle somewhere and  sneer at those that want to have access to real food that is grown and produced with passion and care or at the farmer themself  is hypocritical. The next time you eat a burger or a salad or drink a milkshake remember that someone somewhere had to get those items to market so you could stuff your face with them. Changing our thinking process to bring us closer to the food we consume and the reality of food production may just open our eyes and our heart a little bit more.

 

 

 

 

Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear.  – Harry Truman


 

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Indoor Air Quality

When I was young,  air pollution was a hot topic for environmentalists. I still remember the first time I heard the term acid rain. I was in the school library in grade seven and I was overtaken with fear. Why did I not know about this before now , I asked myself. I had visions of people being burned by hot acid falling from the sky. I had a very vivid imagination, I know. I remember thinking that I needed to know more. To educate myself on this atrocity that had instantly shifted my thoughts to outside of myself. It was like a light bulb being switched on.

 

 

 

There was a major downfall though. The environmental sciences were not for people like me…or so I was led to believe at that very impressionable time in my life. Topics like acid rain were for the “smart people”. I was an artsy girl who was more interested in the creative side of life. I had been pigeon-holed by myself as much as those around me. If I could step back in time and meet myself I would seriously kick my own butt! I had allowed others to dictate what my role was going to be  throughout my high school life from that one moment in time. I led a secret life inside my head for years longing for more information regarding the impact we have on our planet. How we need to co-exist and make positive changes to our environment. And most importantly, filling my brain with info on what acid rain really is. The first time I drove by large steel factories and seeing the plumes of smoke billowing from the chimneys and the dead trees surrounding the area I immediately thought of acid rain. Over time and with the maturing of my thought processes I realized that there is so much about ourselves and our environment that is closely linked in ways most people don’t consider. There is a precarious balance that we must maintain and help to keep stable. The minute details in our every day actions shift the balance either in favour or against our relationship with the natural environment. It is bigger than those few steel factories…it is the billions of homes around this planet of ours and what we do within them, outside of them, and our connection to the natural world around us that makes an enormous impact.

 

 

 

Now that I’ve been stuck indoors for a couple of months, not outside in the garden I am starting to feel the lack of sanctuary that the outdoors seems to provide. The air outside seems to be so much more full of life to breath in. You can feel the subtle differences with the changes of the season as well as change of location. Indoor air pollution is a huge issue that isn’t getting the attention it deserves on a personal level in each of our homes. I seem to get the impression that most people just assume that their home is exempt from the air pollution issue because they keep their house is “clean”. Here in lies the problem. Those chemicals labelled as cleaning products and air fresheners are what is most likely the major pollutant in your home. What you don’t know can hurt you. Let’s look at a few statistics on indoor air pollution and cleaning products, shall we?

 

 

  • the EPA reports that only a fraction of the 81,000+ registered chemicals in cleaning products have been tested for health concerns

 

  • approximately 9 out of 10 poisonings occurs within the home. Household chlorine bleach is the number one offender in household poisonings.

 

  • pollutants inside the home are often 2 to 5 times higher than outside the home

 

  • we spend on average 80-90% of our time indoors where there is not proper air ventilation from outdoors

 

  • asthma, allergy and chemical sensitivity rates are soaring. Childhood asthma rates in children ages 5-14 years has skyrocketed and the rate of death from asthma almost doubled between 1980 and 1993.

 

  • off-gasing of products such as traditional paints, carpets, flooring, glues, and flame-retardants causes high levels of VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) such as benzene, formaldehyde, and flame retardants – PBDE’s. If you can smell it, it’s going into your body. That new car smell isn’t as glorious as we all once thought!

 

  • chemicals in traditional cleaning products can be found in the bloodstreams of newborn babies and have been connected to varying health concerns (over 287 different chemies, to be exact, including pesticides, garbage waste and flame retardants)

 

  • air “fresheners” do not get rid of a smell, they mask smells with potentially toxic chemicals such as di-chlorobenzene, phthalates, formaldehyde and other nasties. If something smells locate the culprit and clean it don’t try to mask the smell!

 

  • many all-purpose cleaning products contain petroleum-based surfactants that can mimic estrogen. Hormone disruption can be a very serious issue as these chemicals accumulate.

 

  • body burden is a term used to explain the amount of toxins our body has accumulated. Scary that this term even exists.

 

  • most chemicals sold as conventional cleaning products have not been tested either long or short-term for toxicity in humans

 

 

 

 

Due to the Clean Air Act  first implemented in 1963, a decade before I was even born, the air outside hasn’t become more polluted in many areas while our indoor air quality has declined substantially. We are the ones making our homes sick, which in turn makes ourselves carry a larger toxic burden. I’m not talking about processed food, lack of exercise, or germs here although those are essential topics to great health. I am referring to the chemicals we bring into our homes, thinking we are creating a clean environment for ourselves and our families. A clean home does NOT need to smell like fake pine trees, bleach or a weird synthetic lemon smell. No smell  indicates clean!

A few things I ask myself and others:

– would you need to call poison control if you ingested any cleaners in your house?

– would you eat off your kitchen floor after cleaning it?

– could you water your plants with any products you use for cleaning?

– is breathing while you are cleaning important to you?

– do you need to wear rubber gloves to use your cleaning products?

 

 

Having a healthy and clean home is incredibly simple. The hardest part is to dispose of the myths our minds have been impregnated with in regard to what clean should smell like, that if it’s harsh it will clean better, everything needs to be sterilized beyond belief, and most importantly we need to kick the notion to the curb that if it is sold on a store shelf it must be safe. It’s time society grew a brain and realized that household chemicals are meant to kill things. That is their purpose. We are not immune to their abilities to eradicate – super heroes we are not. The human body is a miraculous thing but when we inundate ourselves repeatedly with toxins, our system can only do so much to detoxify itself. If we start to detoxify our homes by using safe, natural cleaning techniques it is a huge step to not just our own well-being but that of the planet. Simple things make a huge impact if enough of us make those simple changes. Choosing appropriate products/items for a cleaning job will take equal to or less time and/or money than conventional toxic products.

 

 

 

A truly “green” or environmentally safe cleaning product is one that is made from natural ingredients, does no harm to you, your children, your pets, the environment inside or outside your home and is fully biodegradable.  If a product is safe enough to use outside without damaging but actually invigorating the eco-system it’s a great fit for inside my home.  I whole-heartedly recommend the products at the Live Love Be Green website link at the right side of this page. If you are interested in what made me choose this product line over all others, read the post that started it all.

 

 

I am very passionate about the beautiful planet we all call Home. As my mission statement for this blog states, I am making my world greener one day at a time. This starts each and every morning when my feet touch the floor…in my home.

 

 

Join me on my Live Love Be Green Facebook page and click “like” while you are visiting!

 

 

 

Processing

I had no idea the impact that visiting Las Vegas would have on me both physically and mentally. In a strange way, I guess it has affected me spiritually as well. I suppose you could say  that  I had a cushy  upbringing and my only reality was the one I was in – like so many other people I only saw things from my perspective. Yes, I am compassionate. Sometimes overly so to the detriment of myself. I have tended to put others first to not create waves too often in my lifetime. I have been focusing on respecting my own Being over the last couple of years and have made huge strides in allowing myself to be joyful and fulfilled without guilt or selfishness. This has taken a lot of focus and strength. Learning to say “no” was paramount in my forward movement of personal growth. A person can take on too much and stress themselves out needlessly when “yes” becomes the dominant response. Call me crazy but I feel very empowered when I say no when it is necessary. The trick is not being reckless with “no’s” but to use them wisely, not foolishly just for the sake of it.

It has taken me approximately a week to process my reactions and actions as well as absorb what I have learned while in Vegas. I figured I would just carry on my merry way and come home the same person. WRONG! My eyes have been opened to another reality that I had never really inspected thoroughly before. Another lifestyle choice that was not like mine. The world of the Eternal Party. I love a good party just like the next person but I must admit that there can be too much of a good thing.

 

The puzzling part of  this trip was how overwhelmed I felt once I got home. I was  bombarded by so much in a week’s time that I needed to allow myself to come back down to reality. I am not sure how else to explain what I was feeling. I learned a great deal about myself in the process. Here are a few of the things I discovered in my week of processing.

  • I reaffirmed that I love to live a fairly simple existence.
  • I prefer moderate temperatures. Not extreme heat that sucked every bit of moisture from my flesh or the polar opposite of shivering in overly air-conditioned buildings. How is a woman supposed to know what to wear in these conditions?
  • Home grown and home-made (with love) food is essential to my well-being.
  • my sister that was one of my travelling companions is, and always will be, one of my best friends. I am very thankful we are a part of each other’s lives.
  • gambling is of no interest to me
  • smoking repulses me. Not the person smoking, per say, but the act of smoking and putting out noxious air into the surroundings. I apologize if you are offended by this statement but I am entitled to my opinion.
  • there is no excuse for behavior that encroaches on other people’s safety or well-being. We are all equal here on Earth…get over yourself if you think you are better than anyone else. This is not directed at anyone in particular, just a random observation.
  • I have been vegetarian in many variations (vegan, raw foodist, ovo-veg, lacto-veg) over my lifetime. Eating any other way seems unnatural to me now. Why is this still so hard to grasp for restaurants?
  • I love to travel but I really love to be at home.
  • to love generously and without judgement. We all have “stuff” we are dealing with. This is an ongoing project.
  • Shaklee supplements are essential not only while at home but while travelling too. Thanks to my good friends that insisted I keep up my regime.
  • dehydration sucks
  • there is too much perfume and air “freshener” products in this world. The air is not fresher because chemicals are swirling around in our nostrils. If something smells bad it needs to be dealt with – easy peasy.
  • sleep is vital
  • walking is good. I am thankful for a fully functioning pair of legs. I won’t take them for granted any more and worry about what they look like. They work!

 

The Shaklee Convention was the main focus of my trip. It filled me to overflowing with incredible information. So much so that I think my brain shorted out and was in need of time to absorb and filter all the knowledge that was packed in. My brain is back to functioning properly with all this new information sorted and filed where it should be. I must send a big shout out to all of those at Shaklee head office that put together this fantastic convention. You all are amazing!

 

This trip to Las Vegas began as a time to focus on growth in my business as well as a vacation. I came out on the other side of this experience with much more than I had expected. I have evolved in ways I never knew I would. I thought I had already made peace with my existence and the life I am living but I gained a new sense of  “belonging” within myself that was deeper than I thought possible. Belonging to Myself and loving it!

 

 

“Perhaps the most important thing we bring to another person is the silence in us, not the sort of silence that is filled with unspoken criticism or hard withdrawal. The sort of silence that is a place of refuge, of rest, of acceptance of someone as they are. We are all hungry for this other silence. It is hard to find. In its presence we can remember something beyond the moment, a strength on which to build a life. Silence is a place of great power and healing.”  – Rachel Naomi Remen

Viva Las Vegas!

“Bright light city gonna set my soul
Gonna set my soul on fire…”

Set my soul on fire, it did.  I have never been anywhere in my travels that is remotely similar to Vegas. Bright flashing lights, the sound of  helicopters constantly, slot machines announcing another winner, the smell of smoke and the crazy antics of people out for a good time.  I’ve ventured into casinos in the past but I’m not a gambler and feel unnerved by people literally throwing money away for mere seconds of  exhilaration that they may win big. I have enjoyed theatrical performances over the years but Las Vegas is so packed with choices as to which shows to visit, no one could possibly enjoy them all. Some of them would scar me for life if I did see them. The endless buffet lines were a statement of societies sheer gluttony. That’s a few of the negatives. What about some positive thoughts, you say.

I was blown away by the creativity and splendor of the hotels. I felt as though I had time traveled or teleported, or whatever, each time I entered a different hotel. Incredibly amazing (in a good way). I love that people wear sequins at any time of the day or night in Vegas. Sparkle like every day is Christmas seems to be the motto…and I love it! I must admit though that the best part of being in Las Vegas was the people I was with. My spectacular sister and fabulous friends and business associates.

Why was I in Las Vegas you must be wondering. Business or pleasure?

Why, a little of both!  I was attending the Shaklee Global Conference from August 8-12 and decided that while in Vegas I should see the sights as well. The conference was mind-blowing with the abundance of information and excitement. I have never, and I mean never, seen a company host a conference like Shaklee does…wow! Shaklee isn’t just a company, it’s a movement. A movement for positive change. A movement to become the healthiest you have ever been while enjoying yourself. A vehicle for health and financial wellness that is ethical, environmentally responsible and proven to be safe and effective.  These qualities in a company touch my heart like no other company can. There is absolutely no comparison out there as far as I’m concerned. Visit my Facebook page and “like” Live Love Be Green. You will be kept up to date on what’s going on and be a part of the conversation regarding health and wellness.

As if the conference wasn’t packed with enough fun-filled moments, my cohorts and I tried to pack in as much excitement as possible. We were awestruck by a Cirque de Soleil performance called KA at the MGM Grand. How the human body can do the things it does in Cirque’s shows baffle me. My brain kept repeating, “don’t try this at home” throughout the performance.  Don’t worry Brain, I won’t be foolish enough to think that I could execute any of the actions I witnessed.

We also took in the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay and had lots of laughs while being amazed at the aquatic life.

There was nothing that could prepare me for the heat of Las Vegas. The 112 degrees of blistering heat made my eyeballs feel as though they were melting in their sockets. I am a southern Ontario Canadian girl who likes moderate temperatures and gets out of sorts when the thermometer reads 80 degrees or higher. 73 degrees is optimal in my world. I’ve had a difficult time acclimatizing back to the temperature at home and even found myself putting on a sweater this afternoon. I will remind myself of the extreme Vegas heat whenever I find myself wanting to complain that I am hot!

I would love to see Vegas become more vegetarian friendly. It was difficult to find things to eat and I ended up cinching in my belt  three holes. Don’t get me wrong, I am more than happy to tighten my belt but I would like to not feel light-headed while doing so. Maybe I was just drying out in the heat.

Over all, Las Vegas was a blast. Thanks to Shaklee for hosting a totally kick-butt convention again this year!

I’ve always wanted to see the bright lights for myself and now that I have I can focus on other destinations.

“Viva las vegas with you neon flashin
And your one armbandits crashin
All those hopes down the drain
Viva las vegas turnin day into nighttime
Turnin night into daytime
If you see it once
You’ll never be the same again”

Re-blogged: The Reason I Detoxed My Home

I felt as though it was time to reconnect to the reason I originally started to blog. After sharing my experience with a few people close to me I was encouraged to tell others. Hopefully this might help shed some light on an issue for someone, somewhere and make a difference.

Thank you to all of you that have been reading my blog, liking my posts and commenting freely. I love to hear from you all!

livelovebegreen

As every parent knows, when something isn’t right with your child your whole world seems to come to a screeching halt. About two years ago mine did just that.
I really can’t pinpoint when it all started. I just know that it felt like an unending stream of sleepless nights and a heart-wrenching feeling of helplessness. It all started with a panicked, middle of the night cry of “Mommy!”
In the foggy world of half asleep and half awake I had bumbled into my daughters’ room to find myself instantly snapped into the here and now. Her face, pillow and hands were covered in blood. Fighting the feelings of panic, my daughter explained that she woke up with her nose bleeding. This was like no other nosebleed I had ever witnessed, let me tell you. After what felt like an eternity, we finally stopped the bleeding and snuggled back in…

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Wine-ding down

Ugh, what a day.

I knew this morning upon waking that it was going to be a long day. That it has been. I try to stay positive and find the wonderful qualities to things but sometimes I just have to call ’em like I see ’em – today has not been so hot. OK, the temperature was warm and my blood was boiling on occasion but today will not go down as one to remember. I don’t want to turn this into a gripe-fest, I just need to air my thoughts a bit to bring back my positivity.  Hope you don’t mind.

I will share a bit of insight into who I am and what I do to get the ball rolling. I am a mom of two children and  I am an independent representative for Shaklee and  operate  my home-based business by the name of Live Love Be Green. I am also a Horticulture technician and am employed as a gardener. That about sums up the core of where I’m at in life at present. Now the stage is set.

I am generally an early riser (the early bird catches the worm!) and just had this foreboding feeling this morning that today may be a bit rocky. I tried, really I did, to put on a smile and send positive vibes outwards to get my day started properly. I was working at my gardening position when all that positive flow came to a screeching halt around 10 am when a pounding headache emerged. As the minutes crept by the pain intensified until I was at the point of feeling light-headed and nauseous. Leaning forward pulling weeds and debris does not aid in head pain, let me tell you. Neither does pesticide stank or steaming mulch.

Finally making my way home this afternoon I was slammed by the reality that my dishwasher is on the fritz (again) and there was washing up to be done. I decided to do about half of the dishes then reward myself with my first cup of coffee of the day at 5pm. Thank you caffeine! My headache finally vamoosed! My front door then seemed to become a revolving door as visitors seemed to show up in droves. I have had enough of today…bring on tomorrow!

I have decided that it is a great evening to have a glass of sumptuous red wine and focus on the good things today brought. These are the things I have come up with thus far.

  • I have an incredibly wonderful family that makes my heart grow larger constantly
  • despite all of my crabbing, today I am blessed to be a part of an amazing team of garden goddesses
  •  ding-dong my headache’s gone!
  • a glass of wine after a long day occasionally makes for a nice way to wind down
I have already decided that tomorrow is going to be fabulous!
I need a refill.