Archive for greening up


Good, Clean Food!

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I love having good food for myself and my family! You might say it’s one of my passions! In fact we are a family of ‘foodies’ and have been long before the word was coined. You can hear us having conversations about heirloom tomatoes from my daughters abundant garden, and summer salads of balsamic vinegar, new greens and watermelon. Yum, yum!

Of course, having an urban life, I also go to the grocery store. I love the selections and variety as much as anyone, and sometimes just browse the aisles looking for new food and sales on old favorites. Much to my dismay, this is no longer fun! There are fewer and fewer foods I can feel good about buying now.

In the late 70’s while I had young kids, I read the labels for sugar. I’d read John Lennon’s favorite book “Sugar Blues” and took the hint! With a hyperactive child I cut out red dyes and overly processed foods. Later on I watched the fats and washed the pesticides off the veggies and fruits. Preservatives came under scrutiny next, so these were eliminated from our diet.

I took a hiatus from food label scrutiny after all my kids were out on their own. I felt safe in doing so, sure I now knew what was what in the packaged goods I bought. After all, I had peered at every label more than a dozen times, pretty much memorized the contents. I cooked from raw ingredients most of the time because I like to cook!

Then, in the first decade of this millennium, I noticed I was slowly but surely gaining weight. How could that be? I ate very well and hadn’t put on a pound in years (well maybe a pound or two). So I started looking at labels again and noticed an ingredient I was not that familiar with: high fructose corn sweetener (HFCS). Looking it up, I discovered it was a substance the body can’t use so it immediately converts it to fat. It also had the alarming property of ‘fooling’ the body into thinking it hadn’t eaten, so you wanted more since you were still hungry!

After cutting out all HFCS from my diet, I lost 10 lbs in two weeks. Hummmm….

Today my shopping is more vigilant than ever. I’ve conquered the HFCS problem, however I am now faced with the hidden toxins of GMO’s glaring at me from the shelves. This is now in 80% of all our prepacked foods and can be found in old stand-bys like Boca Burgers (bought by Kraft) and most items that have any corn, soy, canola, or beet sugar in them. The only foods you can be sure do not have GMO’s are organic or say no GMO’s on the label.

What’s the big fuss? It just so happens the genetically modified seeds are specifically designed to be untouched by pesticides and herbicides. Some of them even manufacture their own poisons. This means they can be sprayed with Roundup throughout the growing cycle, right up to harvest. This poison is then taken into their system and is found in the harvested plant. Genetic modification has altered soy beans so much that there are many times more powerful allergens in them than they had before.

So now a peaceful stroll down the aisles of the grocery store is gone. Four GMO’s in this, three GMO’s in that, what’s a woman to do? Well, as has been said before, buy local, seasonal, organic, sustainable, fair-trade foods! You think it costs too much? In the 1940’s food was 25% of your income. Now it’s 7.5%. You get what you pay for! Would you buy the cheapest car on the market just because it was cheap?

And what if you saved $1000.00 in doctor bills and prescriptions just by buying good, clean food? Is that worth it?


Positive Progress

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I’ve been off and running…networking myself into a new business – at least that’s the idea. I’ve been noticed and now I am talking to some very interesting and plugged in people. The energy, enthusiasm, and joy evident in the Urban Sustainability movement is stunning! In fact every single place we need reform, or just flat out a new system, is in a marvelous state of ferment. It’s quite pro-biotic,organically growing in communities of ideas, and dreams, and deeply grounded intent. The will is there to create something new. The pieces we need are all here as well. Creativity is fountaining up in people; they are all meeting each other and immediately connecting. The air in these meetings is so delicious – full of  local, organic, flexitarian home cooking, an old fashioned pot luck with people who are ecologically conscious! We’re also bringing our own plates, cups, silverware, and napkins again! Ah! Shades of the Hippy sixties and the ‘back to the land’ 70’s! Only now it’s going mainstream.

We are all practicing the best practices for the Earth as far as we can – and ready to stretch for tomorrow. It’s so excellent to be in a room full of people who (in one way or the other) sound like you do. Or more accurately, have the same underlying vision about this next step. We all want to know what the other is doing, and enjoy seeing how it all fits into the whole. What a delicious time. This type of community is so very important right now, with the world loosening at the seams to allow for the newest configuration to emerge. And it’s full of optimism!

The “greenies” are gathering around food and becoming more eco-conscious in the process. There is a wonderful sense of comradery when you find others that don’t use paper towels, or put their tissues in the compost instead of the trash. A woman  in the same master composting class as I came up to me today, beaming, because she was so pleased to know someone else that uses handkerchiefs and turns off water!

What’s interesting is this is the way I grew up! We had a well on the farm, and particularly in summer you just didn’t take your hand off the faucet. The water went on and off fast, or you filled a basin to wash, because you didn’t want the well to run dry and burn out the pump! Then the water was dumped on Mother’s roses. Cloth napkins were normal, not fancy; and just about everything got turned into something else. What happened in the mean time? Check out for an interesting answer!

Like the first line in the Tale of Two Cities, “It was the worst of times; and it was the best of times…” Whenever you can, wherever you can, focus on what is the best about these times.