It’s Complicated (and Amazing)

June 19, 2014

It’s been a longish hiatus since I last wrote, and teaching and gardening are boiling away on the front burners.

So much of what we’ve been learning in our class on anatomy and physiology is the stupendously intricate complexity of the human body. And that science is still figuring us out. New hormones, proteins, enzymes, etc. are still being discovered. Ways everything interacts is still being parsed. Really intelligent people can read the same data and draw very different conclusions. Our own journey affects how we understand the concept of being a human…

In studying the digestive system and now adding nutrition, we are learning not just the basics, but the basics from a variety of viewpoints. The concept of a “calorie” turns out to be incredibly “loaded” with politics, belief systems and which scientists/studies you trust. Who knew!? And hardly anyone except “radical granola types” pay any attention to the primary basis of all health: the health of a country’s soil. And yet studies are showing up even in the mainstream that state that our food today is less nutritious that it was even 50 years ago. When we “mine” our soil, and don’t “put back” the minerals and organic matter and healthy microbes, then the plants don’t have the same nutritional content  in their cells, because the soil is deficient. Add the GMO, herbicide and pesticide issues, not to mention processing whole foods to death, plus artificial chemicals….well, it becomes tremendously difficult to find quality food in an average supermarket.

And that, dear reader is the crux: quality of food is the basis of health.

Traditional Foods and Fermentation PlayLab

April 15, 2014

If you live in New Mexico or southern Colorado, and want to learn more about traditional food preparation, including fermentation, please email me asap : irisherbal@yahoo.com, and I’ll send you the color flier and ingredient list. This super hands-on “workshop” is Saturday April 26th from 1pm to 4pm in Questa, NM. Come experience adult learning at its best.

Why Aren’t We Taught How Our Bodies Function?

February 24, 2014

Even though those of you reading this are a variety of ages, I’ll bet most, if not all of you, never learned anatomy and physiology in Junior, Middle or Senior High School. I certainly didn’t. I knew how to do Algebra I and II and III, learned about Chemistry (a lot about the periodic table!), managed to skip Physics, and struggled through many years of French, of which I remember maybe a couple dozen words! But not how my body works…not how digestion begins before we even eat the first bite of food. Not how fats are emulsified or not and where, and what happens when they aren’t. Why some folks can eat fast food and don’t seem to be adversely affected (at least for awhile), and I throw up if I eat fried foods.

We are bombarded with “diets” and the “experts'” opinions (which seem to change drastically over time) and is it no wonder that so many of my clients don’t know what is healthy FOR THEM. And that is the key: what is healthy for each individual, not a one-size-fits-nobody approach to nutrition. There are many “ways” of eating, and many preachers and apostles of what is “correct.” I’m going to put some highlights of our classes here on anatomy and physiology, as well as Michael Moore’s approach, and walk everyone through the process of digestion and its sometimes discontents. And those “problems” or symptoms turn out to be keys to what is not functioning properly and why! what a concept…

and here’s a little graphic that says a lot….:

How Did It Get To Be February Already? A New Direction For This Blog.

February 12, 2014

I just looked at my last blog posting, and realized I’ve taken a 2 month hiatus without planning to…Yes, there were holidays, and crazy weather everywhere, and inventory (my least favorite activity), and maybe a bit of fatigue: the attack on our food and health is unrelenting, and constantly pointing this out gets tiresome.

SO: this spring (in the Celtic calendar spring begins with Imbolc/Candlemas, as the days get longer and buds swell) I am going to take a break from gloom and doom and focus on positive steps we can all take towards reclaiming our authority and agency around our heath and healing process. As the old saying goes: the personal is political. And yes, systemic change means more than just our personal choices, and yet where we choose to spend our money and how we treat ourselves really does matter, for both our own healing journey and the planet’s.

I am currently teaching 5 students one morning a week, and have been (with some breaks) since last June. We’ve been going on plant identification field trips, learning how to make herbal medicine, and now we are studying anatomy and physiology for herbalists. We are having a great time as adult learners, and are amazed that we didn’t get this information about how our body works in school. Even those professionals who took A and P didn’t get the “big picture” with a paradigm that is health based (and the one we are studying comes from Michael Moore,  southwest herbalist who died in 2009). There is much good info that I plan to share here from this ongoing course. 

 Here’s your first “assignment” (oh, and there are no tests, no grades, just an informative exploration into the mysteries on the body/mind):  notice what you eat. Just pay attention. No judgments, no shaming self, no excuses. If you want extra credit, write what you eat (and I mean everything that goes in your mouth) for the next week. You will be amazed…

 

More Natural Remedies For Winter Ills

December 11, 2013

This post by Rodale is a compendium of natural cold and cough remedies. The only caveat: there are brand names used that I would NOT recommend. For honey, use raw and wild (less pesticides, and all the enzymes intact). For salt, use any bulk salt that is natural (Himalayan pink, sea salt, etc.) because they don’t contain additives (like anti-caking agents).  For black pepper, get certified organic: not sprayed, not irradiated.

here’s the link: http://www.rodalenews.com/natural-cough-remedies?cm_mmc=TheDailyFixNL-_-1529492-_-12112013-_-13_Natural_Remedies_for_Coughs_and_Colds_text

6 Tips for a Healthier Flu Season

November 11, 2013

OK, enough with the politics! Let’s talk about 6 simple ways to help make this flu season more enjoyable because you did NOT get sick:

Wash your hands. Yes, we all know about this, and many times we just don’t so it at all, or we do it in such a way that it doesn’t work as well as it can. So, according to the latest research (yup, folks research hand-washing) here’s the deal: first you wet your hands (and how bout turning off the faucet to save water), then you lather up (how about using a locally made soap, or if you must have liquid, Dr. Bronner’s is still the best; DO NOT use anti-bacterial soap…it is breeding antibiotic resistance bacteria and isn’t necessary), and now you count 20 seconds of washing your hands. Then and only then do you rinse. This gets rid of 99% of the germs. Or you can use an alcohol-based cleanser; follow their directions.

Gargle.  I love this one: every morning I gargle and if I’ve been exposed to folks who are sick I gargle when I get home. It really does work, and is rather fun…

Cut down on sugar. Notice that I didn’t yell at you to stop eating it….but seriously, when we eat sugar our immune system doesn’t work as well for several hours after ingestion. That’s kinda scary. So limit your serving numbers and sizes, and if exposed to sickness, don’t eat it at all. You can eat an apple, or a whole orange: the fructose is combined with fiber and other food chemicals and is good for us, especially if also eaten with a few soaked nuts and/or seeds.

Sleep. As in 7 hours MINIMUM. Every night. No excuses! If this is difficult, then get help. I’m not being facetious; all the research I’ve read is adamant about adults needing enough sleep. This is not just about evading the flu; adequate sleep helps us think and function better on all levels.

Take immune boosting herbs. Echinacea, astragalus, olive leaf, herbs and spices, tea tree essential oil, elder berry…there are many choices.  Have on hand Vitamin C and any of various combinations from your local natural food store (or you can always call me for a tincture or supplements, especially Epicor, a favorite immune modulator).

 Do something fun every day. This is the stress relief part of the list: relax, hang out, say no, say yes, put yourself first if you are tired. The light is waning, time to go inward, start a craft project, knit, amble, read for pleasure, go to a yoga class. You choose!

Happy Thanksgiving…and gratitude is healing.

 

 

Fukushima Nears Catastrophe: Add Your Prayers & Action

November 7, 2013

The following article comes from a newsletter of Friends of the Trees, and contains valuable info about the current situation in Fukushima, as well as info on protecting yourself from radiation. The link to the health and radiation protection protocol is an infomercial for the guy’s products. That said, the info is still useful, though I may disagree with certain points made. It’s at least a place to start…and no, no one really wants to think about this. We really don’t want to know how close we are to a radiation disaster on top of what is already happening as amazing amounts of radiation are pouring into the Pacific Ocean. It is so much easier to just think about our Thanksgiving plans….

Photo of Damaged Reactors
Prayers to the Devas of Radioactive Elements

Within the next two weeks the workers at the Fukushima plant are going to try to remove spent fuel rods that are suspended on damaged racks. They weigh about 400 tons all together and contain radiation equivalent to 14,0000 times the amount released by the Hiroshima atomic bomb. This is very dangerous work, not just for the workers, or Japan, but for the entire world. There’s a media blackout about the gravity of the situation (and has been for two years) but right now I believe that prayers are needed more than ever.

The seriousness of it extends far beyond the removal of the airborne fuel rods, but this one act of removal is extremely dangerous and could impact all of us within a rather short amount of time. I believe it needs out utmost attention and prayers. I would like to ask that we join together in daily prayers* for the next month focusing on stabilization of the plant, of the fuel rods, of the workers safety and fair working conditions, and for their utmost competence in facing this daunting global responsibility. A request that prayers focus on the world community coming together, encouraging the best nuclear specialists and global engineers to step forward in a unified manner, bringing their expertise and best plans in stabilizing and containing leaks and damage to the plant.

Lastly, may we pray for stabilization for the entire nuclear plant, including the end of radioactive leaking and contamination of the Waters, and for the renewed health of our Pacific Ocean, and all marine life there.
All thoughts on how to add or build onto this multi-faceted prayer for stabilization, safety, and protection – of the plant, workers, families, waters, marine life, and global community.
Amaji has asked us to pray for a successful conclusion of the removal of the fuel rods at Fukushima’s crippled reactor pools. There is a potential for a catastrophic explosion during this process which would cause a huge emission of radioactive elements into the whole world.

Here is one such prayer, which you can add to as you see fit.
Prayer to the Devas of Radioactive Elements
“I pray to the great devas of the radioactive elements, uranium, plutonium and others that they will closely oversee the removal of the Fukushima fuel rods without great release of radioactivity. Furthermore, I pray that they will closely oversee Fukushima and all the other nuclear power plants until they can be closed and safely dismantled. I include here all the nuclear weapons on the planet as well. I appreciate the natural role that the radioactive elements play on the Earth. It is humans that have concentrated the radioactive elements for their own ends. May you assume your natural roles and not be allowed to be used for evil purposes or to greatly harm the human race and other species.
I ask my guides to carry this prayer up to the highest levels they can reach and so on until this prayer reaches the ears of the highest devas of the radioactive elements and to the ears of the great deva which overlights all of humanity. I send this prayer also to the ears of the great Overlighting Logos of the planet Earth. Sanat Kumara, Gaia or whatever other names may be used for this great Being that ensouls our planet.
Thank you for hearing our prayers. So be it.”
Of course we should also be praying to all of the spiritual allies of the human race.
*Perhaps the prayers could begin everyday at 10:00 am Pacific time, 11:00 Colorado, 12:00 noon Chicago, 1:00 East Coast time. Other suggestions?

PLEASE SHARE ***

Protecting Yourself from Radiation

While researching nascent iodine for protection against radioactivity I came across the following article on protecting yourself from radiation and we should probably all read it closely at this time.   Living With Radiation: Protection Starts Today by Hank Liers, PhD

Do You Shop at Farmer’s Markets?

November 3, 2013

If you want to continue purchasing healthy, fresh , local produce from family farms, this issue is critical. It takes a few minutes, but essential to allow small farms the freedom to continue growing the best food.

 

FDA DEADLINE APPROACHING: Please Get Your Proxy in the Mail ASAP Your Voice Could Make the Difference in Saving the Family Farms Producing Our Best Food

http://www.cornucopia.org/2013/11/deadline-get-proxy-fda-rules-force-localorganic-farms-business/You can make a difference. Please help save our nation’s diversified produce farmers from potential ruin! The FDA’s proposed food safety rules threaten to ensnare many of the country’s safest farmers in a tangle of expensive, misdirected regulations that may force many of our best farmers out of business.

Download, sign and mail back to us the linked proxy-letter today! The public comment deadline closes in a few days.

Thousands of you have already made the effort to mail your proxy-letter back to Cornucopia for hand delivery to the FDA. If you have yet to do so, please act now.

If you have already mailed your proxy, let your friends know they can help too by sharing this message via email, Facebook, Twitter and whatever other options you use.

Better food safety oversight of factory farms and giant agribusinesses is needed – and appropriate – but it appears that the FDA and corporate lobbyists are using these food safety proposals to simultaneously crush the organic and local farming movements. Together we can defend those farmers producing local, fresh, safe and nutritionally superior food.

Cornucopia will hand-deliver the thousands of proxies we have collected directly to the FDA. But time is growing short. If you want additional background information, please visit our food safety page.

It is critical for the good food community to come together right now. We know you enjoy the bounty of nutritious, healthful food produced by our nation’s best farmers. Please help protect family-scale farmers and maintain this alternative in the marketplace. It is worth fighting for.

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Knowledge Is Power

November 3, 2013
GMO and You
We’re at a tipping point in the fight to label GMOs and prevent the overuse of their toxic herbicides. We need you to join us in the march to victory!

View and share our new video Demon Weeds! It’s the story of glyphosate-resistant weeds, a GMO herbicide, and the negative effects on the environment and human health.

It’s more important than ever for you to take action! Increased use of GMO crops is causing the herbicide glyphosate (an ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup) to be used in massive amounts. ANH-USA’s newest report shows that increased use of glyphosate can damage our environment, our economy, the livelihood of American farmers, and especially our health.

You deserve to know what’s in your food, and what kind of farming practices your purchases support. Take action now!

  • View and share our new video Demon Weeds!
  • Visit www.ANH-USA.org/gmo to take action and view our reports. They will give you the real information about GMOs you deserve.

Please take action todaythere’s no time to lose.  Our health depends on it. 

The Moment Is Now

November 3, 2013

Frankenfish is on the way

Food Democracy Now! Team   All ballots turned in Nov. 5th! – We Need YOU Today To Help WIN Yes on 522 to Label GMOs! Join the Yes on 522 campaign to win GMO labeling! Join us in the final days to stop Monsanto – Washington vote

To Me
Nov 2 at 4:03 PM

Join us in the final days to stop Monsanto – Washington votes 4 GMO labeling Nov 5th – Join us to win the Food Fight of the century!

Dear Friend,

Consider the facts: In the span of the past 12 months, voters in two states will have gone to the polls to win something so basic as the right to know what’s in their food.

During this time, the world’s largest chemical pesticide companies and giant food corporations have spent a combined total of $68 million dollars to hide the fact that 75% of the processed food in the U.S. has been genetically engineered in a laboratory and these companies make a huge profit by keeping Americans in the dark.

Right now, these same giant corporations are busy spending a war chest of $22 million to once again deceive voters.

This weekend you can help turn the tide by making calls to voters in Washington state to make sure they’re not confused by Monsanto and the grocery cartel’s deceptive ads.

Click here to make calls to help get out the vote for Tuesday’s Nov. 5th election so we can win Yes on 522 and win GMO labeling in Washington and beyond!

http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/1064?t=7&akid=1048.351414.mVjczH

The tragedy and outrage of these 2 elections is the fact that these same companies already label their products in 64 other countries around the world.

They label GMOs in Europe, Russia, China and Japan! What are they trying to hide from the American public?

THINK LABELS DON’T MATTER? Did you know that Frankenfish may be approved soon?

If you have any question over whether genetically engineered foods should be labeled, consider the fact that in the coming months the Obama administration is poised to approve genetically engineered salmon. And now, because our elected officials have refused to pass common sense labeling laws, the world’s first GMO animal could appear on your plates without you knowing it.

After genetically engineered salmon, what’s next?

This week, the Yes on 522 campaign released a powerful ad to remind us all what’s at stake if we don’t win GMO labeling here in America – please take a look!

http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/1065?t=11&akid=1048.351414.mVjczH

The truth is, we all have the right to know what’s in our food and corporations who profit from selling food to us and our families do not have the right to hide that information from us.

We shouldn’t a part of their grand science experiment!

Please take a few minutes this weekend to help get the word out in Washington. If we win, we have a lot to gain and you can help be a part of that historic victory by helping spread the word.

Click here to volunteer to make phone calls to voters in Washington to vote YES on I-522. All you need is a phone and Internet. You can even do it in your pajamas!

http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/1064?t=14&akid=1048.351414.mVjczH

The I-522 Ballot initiative is simple, it will inform shoppers whether their food has been genetically engineered in a laboratory or not and it has Monsanto, DuPont and the junk food companies running scared.

Together we know we can overcome the opposition’s dirty money campaign – help put us over the top by making a call for GMO labeling today!

Here’s to victory!

Dave, Lisa and the Food Democracy Action! Team

Food Democracy Action! is a 501(c)4 allied organization of Food Democracy Now!, focused on grassroots lobbying and legislative action. Donations are not tax-deductible. Thank you for your support


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