Food for People and the Planet: Conscious Consumption

Food for People and the Planet: Conscious Consumption

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.

 

 

The Soulutions

Although the problems of the world are increasingly complex, the solutions remain embarrassingly simple.

Bill Mollison

 

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 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.

 

 

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.

www.freshsourdoughexpress.com

A collection of summertime cucumber recipes

A collection of summertime cucumber recipes

I happen to LOVE cucumbers and use them in many recipes. I especially like to get a fresh cucumber and eat it whole. The best is when they come right out of the summertime gardens.

By definition, a cucumber is a fruit because it develops from the flower of the cucumber plant and contains seeds. A lot of other “vegetables” are also fruits: beans, peppers, pumpkins, peas, and of course, tomatoes.

 In this week’s recipe blog, I give you several reasons and ways to enjoy this terrific and fun vegetable/fruit. 

Some of the health benefits of this delicious crunchy vegetable are:

  • Low in calories but high in many important vitamins and minerals
  • Contains antioxidants
  • Promotes bone health
  • Promotes hydration
  • Aids in weight loss
  • Boosts cardiovascular health
  • Can help lower blood sugar
  • Promotes regularity
  • Easy to add to your diet
  • Soothes the skin
  • Makes a soothing eye compress
  • Helps combat bad breath
  • Cost-effective and easily accessible year-round

 

Summertime Cucumber Salad

Quick-and-easy * serves 4

This is the barebones basic cucumber recipe. I often add other ingredients such as arugula, tomatoes, cilantro, parsley, red bell peppers, or other in-season vegetables.

Remember to eat with your eyes and your appetite.

The beauty of food makes everything taste that much better

.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound cucumbers, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • Fresh dill or basil diced to taste
  • Cracked black pepper to taste

How to Make It

In a medium bowl, toss the cucumber slices with the salt and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in the rest of the ingredients and refrigerate for 10 minutes, then serve.


 

Fermented Whole Dill Pickles

In my last recipe blog, I offered tips and benefits for fermented foods. Here is one of my favorite recipes using one of my favorite foods. Super easy and super-duper healthy.

INGREDIENTS for a ½ gallon of pickles:

  • Pickling cucumbers to fill a ½-gallon jar
  • 4 Tbsp. quality sea salt
  • 1 and a ½ quarts filtered water
  • At least 6-9 cloves peeled garlic
  • 4-6 bay or kefir lime leaves
  • 2 large heads of dill or 2 Tbsp. dill seed
  • Cabbage leaf or another green leafy vegetable.
  • Optional -Spices to taste: There are some good organic pickling spices that you can buy in bulk at most health food stores or online. You can also make your own mix with a combination of spices that suit your pallet. Most pickling spices are a combination of black peppercorns, juniper berries, red pepper flakes, and mustard seeds. I like to add fresh turmeric or horseradish root to mine for the extra health benefits.

How To:

  1. Make a brine by dissolving the salt in the water in a half-gallon jar.
  2. In another half-gallon jar, add half of the spices and garlic and pack the cucumbers tightly into the jar. (Put the longest cucumbers at the bottom of the jar.)
  3. Top off the jar with the heads of dill, and the other 1/2 of the spices.
  4. Pour the brine over the pickles, leaving 1-2 inches of headroom.
  5. Cover the brining pickles with the cabbage leaf.
  6.  Make sure all ingredients are immersed in the brine at all times. If pickles are not packed tight enough, they may rise above the brine. You can put a clean rock on top of the cabbage leaf to keep pickles submerged.
  7. Cover the jar with a loose lid or coffee filter secured with a rubber band.
  8. Ferment at room temperature (60-70°F is preferred) until desired flavor and texture are achieved. The brine will turn cloudy and bubbly, and the pickles will taste sour when done.
  9. Eat right away, or store in a refrigerator or root cellar and enjoy them year-round.

You can use this same recipe and divide it into smaller jars. You can also slice the cucumbers or add other crunchy vegetables, like radishes, carrots, or yucon to make the fermented pickle recipe just as well.

Fermentation is a transformative action of taste, creativity and full of health benefits. Enjoy the process and benefits of fermented foods.

To Your Health

Big Love and Aloha

Mama Donna

The Soulutionist Mindset: Be Part Of The Solution

The Soulutionist Mindset: Be Part Of The Solution

Aloha Beautiful Souls,

In order to adapt and integrate a *Soulutionist mindset into our life, we must be honest with ourselves and willing to address the truths. When we act with love and compassion, we find the nourishment and motivation to help make a change. By doing so, we are able to discover the root cause of a problem and find Soulutions.

Nature teaches us that in order to regenerate we must give more than we take, or at the very least there needs to be a balance of inputs and outputs. We must be sure that nothing goes to waste. When we consider this in our daily lives, we generate moral abundance. By surrounding ourselves with a new mindset of abundance, we can thrive.

Across the span of history, power has always been sought after and abused, rather than distributed, equitably and responsibly. This greedy approach has failed us and the Earth. Only when we seek agreement and understanding can we truly hope to reverse the injustice.

Since a young age, I knew that something had to change, so I set off on a journey to help heal myself and others. This journey continues to this day, where I find myself here, writing this blog to you. The key is to see the magic in everything you do, pure and simple. First, you must find the magic inside you. Your attitude towards life determines where you end up; each day is a new beginning.

 

The Truth

The Root Of Our Problems

The people In Power control the power — the energy and the fuel we use.

The less we use, the more power we have.

Right now our planet is faced with a wide range of problems due to the fact that the majority of the human race has isolated themselves from Nature. To conquer the Earth for personal gain is not a solution. From environmental destruction to our personal health, we are all faced with problems within our lives. When ignored, these problems continue to grow like a cancer cell: becoming larger and infecting us more. Entropy is a natural force on our planet. Basically; if we do not maintain something, it begins to decay, resulting in problems that become harder to deal with the longer we ignore them.

We all have to begin to consider the bigger picture, The planet is dying and in need of our help. We have the power to turn things around! There are positive things happening which are helping to mitigate the effects of some of the enormous problems. But is it happening fast enough? Are there enough of us making a shift to be part of the Soulutions and not the pollution?

The faster we take care of a wound, the sooner it will heal.

I’m here today to share a new perspective on solutions. I believe the main reason why we find ourselves in our current position is because of the way we have approached problems. Our society often chooses solutions that are temporary and self-serving. We are conditioned to treat the symptoms, not the root causes.

Understanding the past and how we got to where we are can be depressing and piss us off, but it can also motivate us to take action.

Some individual’s responses to their dog barking or child crying might be to hit them until they stop. My heart cringes at the very thought! Especially when the correct way to handle the situation would be to utilize love and compassion, which are themselves the best solutions. Learned behavior has a tendency to carry forward. We can and must stop the craziness!

When we treat the symptoms, it only delays the problem which eventually rises up again and again. For example, doctors will prescribe a wide range of medications for illnesses instead of addressing the root causes of our bad health like poor eating or bad sleeping habits.

Take our government, for instance, which has failed to protect the environment for far too long. Selling out to big business is no way to run a government. From backing out of the Paris Climate Accord to ignoring the proven scientific evidence that the climate crises are a consequence of our failure to act, the government is failing us while playing servant to the corporate entities.

Furthermore, the lack of transparency and corruption that permeates our elections has created soulless campaigns designed to distract voters from the truth: the truth that our government is not as sovereign as it once was. It ought to be illegal for the corporate conglomerates to influence our elections and our policies with monetary incentives. Our government should not be for sale.

And then there are the short-sighted views of these multinational corporate conglomerates that have themselves convinced us that drinking sugar water packed in plastic containers is ok. This and their other so-called “solutions,” including microwave meals and single-serve containers, have worked to acclimate us to this addictive, dysfunctional throw-away society.

Beyond the introduction of single-use consumables, the fake propounding that nuclear energy would solve all our energy needs and excessive consumer habits has also been deceitful. The nuclear waste we buried is now resurfacing; as are devastating health issues. Abusing clean air, drinking water, and nutrient-dense soil are crimes not only against humanity but against all life. Short term gains can lead to long term devastations. The focus should not be solely on the alternative energy sources we can harvest but on what we can plant, and how we can conserve the resources that remain.

To put a solar system on a soda manufactures roof is not a solution, it is a band-aid to a flawed reality.

There are consequences to the environment and human health when adapting to any power system, including large scale renewable energy systems, especially when these new energy systems are used to produce unhealthy and ridiculous products. Millions of things are manufactured every day that we can live WELL without. There are not enough band-aids in the world to keep up with the compulsive consumer habits we have employed in the past century. We do not need all of the STUFF that feeds our incessant need to consume.

While the transfer to renewable power as a source of energy can help to mitigate the damage that has been dealt our world by the abuse of fossil fuels, this alone will not be enough to sustain our unhealthy existence on Earth. We must build practical infrastructure. This includes building only energy-efficient structures and modes of transportation. Rather than continuing to invest in cross-continental pipelines, designed to transport energy from coast to coast, we must be regionally independent with our use of fuel and food. Utilizing natural renewable resources is a way that does not starve and rape our precious Earth. Using these energy resources to produce necessities not nonsense, is a must. We do not know all the long term effects of any energy system.

The most dependable energy is people power.

 We must consume less, waste less, and give more.

Many of us have let the corrosive American dream invade our beings. We were born into a culture that is built upon the exploitation of others. We’ve been taught to consume mindlessly, unaware of the effects our lifestyle has on the soil beneath our feet. What we need is the courage and willingness to live in harmony with the Earth. By consuming less, we heal ourselves and the Earth. It only makes dollars and SENSE to create economies that can restore and renew the cycles of life we depend on rather than being a slave to the many dysfunctional human systems.

According to studies, every year, each American throws out about 1,200 pounds of organic garbage that can be composted. The U.S. is the #1 trash-producing country in the world at 1,609 pounds per person per year. This means that 5% of the world’s people generate 40% of the world’s waste!

What kinds of solutions are these that destroy the resources we depend upon? What are we teaching our children?

Every human being affects the world around them, but some humans have acquired more influence and power than others. It is the corruption and misuse of this power that has brought us to where we are today. When we are disconnected from our roots, our lack of love and perspective allows power to corrupt. Our external reality is a reflection of who we are inside.

So many people are at war with themselves and caught up in minutia. The fights over our personal differences have distracted us from the bigger picture. When we abuse ourselves we abuse the Earth, when we pollute our bodies we pollute the Earth. Being mindful is essential for peace within ourselves and in the world.


 

GIVE MORE take less

Soulless solutions are the root cause of many of the problems we’re faced with today. That is why I’ve introduced the words Soulution and Soulutionist into my mindset. 

A Soulution is a means of solving a problem or dealing with a difficult situation or problem while implementing love and compassion with respect to the long term consequences.

A Soulutionist address the root cause of a problem and approaches them like the future matters. They find remedies that restore the harmony within our lives and the world and strive to create an economy that meets the needs, (not the compulsive desires) of the present, without compromising others and future generations.

Some easy Soulutions that we can all do immediately:
We can consume less, and give more than we take. We can all stop using plastic, drive less, turn the lights off, and eat sustainably grown food. We can starve the unethical businesses and corporations and demand better. DEMAND Soulutions.

Rather than support dysfunctional systems, we can engage in the arts, listen to or create music, take care of our health, spend time in Nature, nurture friendships and family, hug and love more, and engage with our communities.

I’m sure that you have your own Soulutions too that will add to the Economics of your Happiness. Please share them with the community in the comment section below, and thank you for your contributions, and for being a part of the Soulution, not the pollution.


 

The Regeneration Approach

Becoming a Soulutionist

Nature is a beautiful example of balance, strength, and flow; the best place to re-center, regenerate, and listen to our soul.

The regeneration approach is the core foundation of a Soulutionist. By placing our mental focus on regeneration we naturally create a more harmonic life. It’s this harmony that allows us to help heal others; we become a sort of walking medicine. We affect the lives of everyone we encounter with every word and action we take. When we live and make peace with the truth we become a bright light, helping to reveal the shadows.

In my next blog, I will share more Soultions and regenerative lifestyle tips. If you are on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook, you will see I post articles daily that bring Soulutions to the forefront. What we focus on GROWS.


 

The Shift

The Soulutions to Our Problems

This is a call to inspire innovators and entrepreneurs, and to awaken people of all generations to connect soulfully and discover the value of Soulutions. It’s time that we all take responsibility for our actions and to shift to a more regenerative and holistic path. To live like the future matters. Together we have the ability to do this, divided we do not.

Seek out strong connections that make you feel loved and alive.

Thanks for being part of the growing movement of Soulutionists around the world. Please share this post, and other positive content, with others. Together, we solve more.

In my forthcoming memoir of sorts, you will find numerous people and organizations solving problems like the future matters.

Big Love and Aloha

Mama Donna