The SOULUTIONS are not found in learning how we MAINTAIN our lifestyle, but in how we CHANGE our lifestyle.
Aloha beautiful souls,
This is the first in a new series of Soulution blogs that takes a deeper look into how being a conscious consumer can heal ourselves and the planet. Having a more harmonious relationship with what we consume makes a big difference. One of the most pertinent questions to ask is how we can responsibly nourish all the people, and the flora and fauna in the world. Living a life dependent on an excess of anything is detrimental to our health and the health of the Earth. Changing the way in which we consume will change the political, economic, and ecological landscapes. The healing starts with adopting a Soulutionist mindset.
Today’s blog focuses on our relationship with food. How we eat impacts everything! Our food choices can help mitigate the climate crisis, reduce pollution, and help feed others, all while we become and stay healthy. First, a bit of history.
I grew up in the ’60s and ’70s, eating the Standard American Diet (SAD) in a suburban town in New Jersey. As a child, I unintentionally acquired poor eating habits that were imposed on my generation by the fierce industrial food complex. Microwavable and packaged foods became fashionable. It was the norm to fill our grocery carts with processed products that lacked any real substance. I did not consider how this way of eating was affecting both my health and the Earth’s health. Was anyone? Like most people, my parents fed into the deceit. There was a SERIOUS lack of connection with the food we consumed, and in most cases, the scenario continues to worsen.
In my college years, I studied ecology and organic agriculture. I discovered the power of the soil and food, and how what I consumed could consume me. I learned how we are a product of what we eat, and that what we eat has a profound effect on more than just our bodies.
At 25 years old, I got into the restaurant business where, for 37 years, I strived to educate our staff and customers about these issues. We served Food for People and the Planet at The Fresh Sourdough Express Bakery and Cafe. I bucked a fierce tide back in the 80s and 90s, and our natural foods cafe defied the odds and flourished. While I was out to change the way people viewed food, the American mindset was in super-size-me mode — the bigger and cheaper, the better.
In 2011, I became a certified health coach through The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. My studies inspired me to continue learning and to encourage others to recognize the vital impact that our food choices have on everything. Smart food choices can cool down the planet and unclutter the landscapes. Furthermore, food is sacred, it is medicine, and a human right.
Meanwhile, as the size of Americans continues to grow, so too do the environmental problems. Most of what is consumed today can barely be considered food. The industrial food complex infiltrated our food system to please the addicted palettes they created. In the greed for profits, the intrinsic value of our food has gotten lost, and all life has been compromised.
Nourishing food comes from the Earth, not packed in plastic containers and distributed by large corporations. If people took the time to read and understand the lists of incomprehensible ingredients on their consumables, maybe they’d think twice about polluting their bodies. Many do not question — they consume what is fed to them. This disconnection with where our food comes from plants seeds for disease.
The way we eat, builds the foundation of our body.
You’ve probably heard me say, “health is your greatest wealth.” Those who agree with me know how essential it is to reconnect with our ancestral roots. This is where we unlock the wisdom, and the regenerative medicine found in food with respect for the nutrient dense soil. When we are connected to our truth and understand the source of our food, we live a healthier and more conscious life. The best way to prevent disease is to choose to eat healthily.
Healing begins from the inside out
Eating a primarily plant-based diet has been essential to regenerating my body, mind, and spirit. A plant-based diet is not just good for our health; it is good for the Earth’s health. A healthy, low carbon footprint diet also saves you money, improves your health, and keeps you fit! My advice is to eat all the colors of the rainbow, as diversity is essential to life. Our bodies thrive when we mix things up; this helps us get a wide variety of nutrients. Listen to your body and notice the subtle signs.
It’s easy to sit down with a bowl of food and gobble it up in two minutes. This fast-paced way of eating has become the norm over time. However, when we consciously consume food, we understand the effects that each bite has on us and can naturally move towards healthier choices. Feeling better can motivate us to eat the right foods.
Today I’d like to help you to break any negative habits you might have with food and introduce a challenge that works for me:
Chew each bite 32 times.
Why? Because science has proven that slowly chewing each bite 32 times on average aids in the amount of nutrients received from the food. Additionally, deliberate, slow chewing results in decreased levels of consumption with a greater feeling of fullness. It also prevents digestive problems. While I am mindfully chewing, I’m reminded to be grateful as well as respectful of the origin of what I am consuming.
Some other habits that help you eat healthier:
- Enjoy weekly farmers markets and purchase from local farmers.
- Rejoice in making family meals and make food with friends often.
- Everyday, find a space without distractions where you can sit and enjoy your food.
- Bless and give thanks for the nourishment in your food.
- Take the time to breath when eating.
- Be mindful of how what you consume feels, both as it enters your body and throughout the digestion process.
- Read labels and stay informed about what you are consuming and where it comes from.
Mindful Food Consumption
What is Your Foodprint?
It’s essential for us to have a healthy relationship with food and to view what we consume in a new light: as a Soulution.
This section might seem a bit bleak, but for those who are unaware of how our food consumption impacts the world, this is IMPORTANT information. Mind you, this is just a summary with useful links that will take you to in-depth articles, otherwise this blog would be hundreds of pages long.
There are plenty of reasons why we all need to be mindful of our food consumption. We know that what we eat affects our health, but not enough attention is given to the effects of our obsession with food on others, the earth, or the future. How we live our life determines the survival of all species, including our own. Gobbling up finite resources for personal gain without taking into consideration the health of our planet and future generations is not sustainable, nor responsible.
- Environmental pollution due to modern agricultural practices results in harmful effects on all life. The soil is disturbed, culture affected, and landscape scarred. Finite resources and entire ecosystems, including the dwindling rainforests, are devoured for the sake of cheaper, nutritionally deficient products. Agricultural pollution is responsible for many diseases as is the food we consume from the pollution-driven, dysfunctional system. Food Pollution is out of hand: eating away at our health and starving planet.
- The rainforests are considered the lungs of the Earth because they produce most of the world’s oxygen and sequester carbon. According to the American Journal of Agricultural Economics, “Tropical deforestation is a major cause of greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity loss, and the erosion of ecosystem services.” Much of the deforestation is attributed to the raising of cattle for their cut-rate meat which is abused by franchises worldwide. In addition, the production of palm oil, which is used in many consumables and in the feed for cattle, poses a major threat to rainforests everywhere.
- “Half of the topsoil on the planet has been lost in the last 150 years. In addition to erosion, soil quality is affected by other aspects of agriculture. These impacts include compaction, loss of soil structure, nutrient degradation, and soil salinity. These are very severe issues.” The steep decline in soil has occurred while the world’s demand for food is skyrocketing. It is estimated the world will need to grow 50 percent more food by 2050 to feed an expected population of nine billion people.
- Landfills cannot keep up with the waste. Corporate conglomerates are producing horrific products from chemically infested crops, adding to the pollution. Where is the power in Powerade? It takes enormous amounts of energy (power) to grow the crops to produce these And then MORE energy to make, transport and warehouse these processed inferior food products, that litter the landscape, waterways, and oceans. Eating a corporate diet, (the Standard American Diet – SAD) makes people sick and takes away from future generations.
- Food waste had become epidemic and it’s everyone’s business! According to author Dana Gunders of Natural Resources Defense Council, “Getting food from the farm to our fork eats up 10 percent of the total U.S. energy budget, uses 50 percent of U.S. land, and swallows 80 percent of all freshwater consumed in the United States. Yet, 40 percent of food in the United States today goes uneaten.” According to the World Economic Forum, there is more than enough food to feed the entire planet, we just have to stop wasting it.
- Dosomething.org, reported that 23.5 million people live in food deserts, which are areas with limited healthy food choices. Grocery stores do not exist in food deserts, or they are too far away for low-income people to reach. The unacceptable choices are buying groceries at convenience stores or settling for cheap meals from fast-food restaurants. A high-calorie diet with little nutrition is a formula for failure. In addition, the crime rate is higher where there are food deserts.
- Food, agriculture and Climate Crises. Industrial farming is directly responsible for 14-24 percent of global greenhouse gasses (GHGs. Half of all applied fertilizer ends up in the atmosphere or in local waterways. Livestock produces 18 percent of GHGs). Deforestation, 70 percent of which is undertaken to make way for agriculture, constitutes another 18 percent of global emissions. What we eat is responsible for more carbon pollution than all the world’s planes, trains, and automobiles. All in all, what we eat accounts for nearly a third of all GHGs. The Rainforest Alliance reported that agriculture drives 80 percent of tropical deforestation.
Although the problems of the world are increasingly complex, the solutions remain embarrassingly simple.
While the future of preventing contamination and food injustice in our food systems may seem bleak, there are ways in which the citizens of the world can combat this forecast. It starts with admitting there are problems and knowing there are Solutions. Most importantly, it requires taking action. Hopefully, the more people are aware of the issues, the more they will want to consume conscious foods. So what are some Soulutions?
- We can all choose to eat healthy now! Truly the greatest investment you can make. Simply changing the way we eat can make the difference between being a BIGFOOT and having a little footprint. The carbon footprint of a vegetarian diet is about half that of a meat-lover’s diet. “Shifting away from animal-based foods could not only add up to 49% to the global food supply without expanding croplands; but would also significantly reduce carbon emissions and waste by-products that end up in our oceans and as seafood by-products.”
- Make eating a spiritual act. At each meal, give thanks from the depths of your soul to the plants and animals who gave up their life for another life, and to the farmers who feed the world.
- Support your local farmers or become one. Consider that the average age of a farmer today is fifty-eight, we desperately need younger, intelligent farmers who are devoted to interweaving the cycles of Nature into their practices. We also need consumers who demand produce that is grown for the health of the people and the planet!
- Demand consciously raised food. Available data proves that sustainable farming practices can feed the world and save the planet. Perhaps most intriguing, bio-intensive methods grow farmable soil at a rate 60 times faster than occurs in Nature, while conventional modern farming methods deplete farmable soil through wind and water erosion. Regenerative, carbon farming practices can actually reverse climate change by putting more carbon into the ground than is released into the atmosphere! Thankfully, large Investments are being made in regenerative agriculture.
- Demand an end to hunger! Dedicated people and organizations are working tirelessly to resolve world hunger and mitigate climate change but they need our support. The Worldwatch Institute states, “A fair number of agribusiness executives, agricultural and ecological scientists, and international agriculture experts believe a large-scale shift to organic farming would not only increase the world’s food supply but might be the only way to eradicate hunger.”
- Get involved with your community. There is a resurgence in urban farming in many cities in America and around the world.
- Get connected. There are plenty of ethical organizations and businesses that are fighting hard to turn over the injustice happening to the land and the people!
- Don’t waste food!
- Plant gardens, and kindness and Consume less.
- Have a browse of How You Can Fight Climate Change for more ideas on taking action to save our beautiful planet.
Soulutions to consumption can change the political, economic and environmental landscapes.
The growing sustainable movement of today brings hope that the values of raising our food and living in balance with Nature are viable and can help turn the climate crisis around. The more connected we are to the sources of our food, the closer we get to the Soulutions. In tune with the truth, we are wiser consumers and better stewards of the Earth. When we are living in harmony we feel on a deeper level and communicate what’s on our minds from our hearts.
Each action we take has significant consequences. Governments and economic systems have manipulated us long enough. It is up to us to get educated on what is in everything we consume. Becoming aware of how our actions affect the entire ecological system and other nations around the earth, we can make conscious choices for a healthy life and planet. Living like the future matters, for at least 7 generation, matters for our children, our grandchildren, and generations beyond. What seeds may you plant for them to harvest?
I want to thank you all for taking the time to read my blogs and for sharing them with your communities. The more thoughtful we are, the brighter the future.
The Next Soulution blog with be on the consumption of water.
On a side note
The Fresh Sourdough Express Bakery and Cafe in Homer Alaska is FOR SALE. Please share the news with anyone and every one:-) We will pay you $10,000 if you send us a buyer and we close the deal.