Food Revolution

Obesity is a an epidemic that is running rampant in our country. Even with growing passion towards being fit, lean, and eating organic, statistics tell us that Americans are in trouble, especially our youth.

One study found that approximately 80% of children who are overweight at age 10–15 years will become obese adults by age 25 years. And no, this can’t be excused by being “big boned” or even by heredity. This epidemic is a direct result of how we eat and the way we correlate food and health.

As an example, chocolate milk may contain calcium and other vitamins and minerals but unfortunately, that does not make it healthy. Especially for young children who are drinking it two and three times a day with their meals. An 8oz container of chocolate milk can have up to 30g of sugar (more than a soda), multiply that by 3 and this child has well exceeded the amount of sugar a child (or any healthy adult) needs in a day. Combine that with the fried, fatty foods many children are eating with their chocolate milk and you have a recipe for disaster.. diabetes, heart disease, obesity… And the flavored milk debate goes beyond the sugar. There is the excessive fat and calories, the added hormones, and most importantly, the facade that milk (and other dairy) is the only way to obtain calcium.

To reverse the epidemic, there has to be a change in our relationship with food. We can’t be fooled by marketing and advertising that attempts to convince us that “healthy” options at fast food restaurants are good for us. To put it plainly, anything that comes from a fast food restaurant is not good for you.

And don’t all you skinny people out there think you are off the hook! Your bodies are just as at risk for disease even if you manage to avoid carrying around the extra pounds. Without a clear warning signal — like a rounder middle — thin people may be lulled into falsely assuming that because they’re not overweight, they’re healthy.

We have to get back to the basics. Real, clean, minimally processed, and freshly prepared food that our bodies will thank us for. Fresh fruits and veggies, lean meats, and a realistic balance of treats that are eaten sparingly.

Any form of change is difficult and often uncomfortable. Maria Robinson said, “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”

One man has set out with a vision to change the way we view food and to teach Americans, among others, how to improve their relationship with food. His name is Jamie Oliver and his mission is the Food Revolution.

About Food Revolution:

This Food Revolution is about saving America’s health by changing the way people eat. It’s not just a TV show; it’s a movement for you, your family and your community. If you care about your kids and their future, take this revolution and make it your own. Educate yourself about food and cooking, and find out what your child is eating at school. Make only a few small changes and magical things will happen. Switching from processed to fresh food will not only make you feel better, it will also add years to your life. (www.jamieoliver.com)

Jamie’s Food philosophy:

My philosophy to food and healthy eating has always been about enjoying everything in a balanced, and sane way. Food is one of life’s greatest joys yet we’ve reached this really sad point where we’re turning food into the enemy, and something to be afraid of. I believe that when you use good ingredients to make pasta dishes, salads, stews, burgers, grilled vegetables, fruit salads, and even outrageous cakes, they all have a place in our diets. We just need to rediscover our common sense: if you want to curl up and eat macaroni and cheese every once in a while – that’s alright! Just have a sensible portion next to a fresh salad, and don’t eat a big old helping of chocolate cake afterwards.

Knowing how to cook means you’ll be able to turn all sorts of fresh ingredients into meals when they’re in season, at their best, and cheapest! Cooking this way will always be cheaper than buying processed food, not to mention better for you. And because you’ll be cooking a variety of lovely things, you’ll naturally start to find a sensible balance. Some days you’ll feel like making something light, and fresh, other days you’ll want something warming and hearty. If you’ve got to snack between meals, try to go for something healthy rather than loading up on chocolate or potato crisps. Basically, as long as we all recognize that treats should be treats, not a daily occurrence, we’ll be in a good place. So when I talk about having a ‘healthy’ approach to food, and eating better I’m talking about achieving that sense of balance: lots of the good stuff, loads of variety, and the odd indulgence every now and then. (www.jamieoliver.com)

Get on board with the Food Revolution today! http://www.jamiesfoodrevolution.com

“The greatest revolution of our generation is the discovery that human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives”

William James

Serendipity

Serendipity. I love the concept (and the movie) – that the forces of nature can and will ultimately lead you to exactly where you are supposed to be at the very moment you are supposed to be there to somehow bring you to a place in your life that you seemed to stumble upon by accident. As if to say, there is no way you could have avoided this, even if you tried. Fate, if you will.

It is destiny.  The idea of an unalterable course of events, and often that of propitious good fortune.  On the contrary, there is doom. The same idea but with the opposite outcome.  The same unavoidable forces that lead you, this time, to an ill-fated circumstance.

In life – I am left to wonder – how do you know the difference? You have to wait until the outcome to get all the answers? But what if the perceived  outcome is simply an intricate piece of the ultimate end which is the reverse of what you anticipated?  How will you ever know what to expect?

The truth is we may never know how to justify the things that happen to us. But, in my opinion, that is half the fun (or half the battle depending on how you look at it). The unknown.  The things beyond the range of our experience or understanding. That which has yet to be seen.

It can be daunting and sometimes scary – the idea that there is a future that we can’t control.  But it can also be exciting – to have the ability to believe there is something far greater than what we have and who we are in this moment.

Here is what I have learned; Fear and Faith both say that you believe that what you cannot see will ultimately happen to you. Fear says, “I don’t know what’s next but I think and feel that it will be bad.” Faith says, “I  don’t know what’s next but I believe and trust that it has to be good.”

I choose faith.

It is a mistake to try to look too far ahead. The chain of destiny can only be grasped one link at a time.

– Sir Winston Churchill

America, the beautiful

We’re passionate, we’re patriotic, and we love our country. We fight for what we believe in, we send men and women to sacrifice their lives for the sake of freedom and with a goal of making the world a better place. We brandish our flag and call ourselves proud. We are Americans.

In the midst of the celebration surrounding the death of a well-known, elusive, and often deemed  ‘evil’ terrorist, I can’t help but think that our relentless patriotism is often what causes us to develop these international enemies in the first place. This is not to say that, under any circumstance, hating people for what they love is ever acceptable, but merely to bring light to a situation that has been darkened by our own misleading and widely misunderstood desire for world power. Power that many believe will bring world peace.

I am saddened by the recent reaction of many Americans though the behavior is grossly excused -if not encouraged- by the ideal that “we are celebrating America, not the death of a man.” I have a hard time accepting that. While my heart is burdened for the lives lost in the tragedy that was 9/11, it is also sorely troubled by the outrageous actions that took place in the hours after the news of Osama bin Laden’s death.

My thoughts were mimicked in this statement by  The Roman Catholic Church, “Faced with the death of a man, a Christian never rejoices, but reflects on the serious responsibility of everyone before God and man, and hopes and pledges that every event is not an opportunity for a further growth of hatred, but of peace.”

Mike Hayes, a campus minister at the University at Buffalo went on to say, “I don’t think that the celebrations in the streets were our finest moment as Americans, and reminded me much of the anger I felt at seeing Afghans dancing in the streets at the fall of the Towers on that dreaded day.”

(I encourage you to read the whole article here, http://www.npr.org/2011/05/03/135927693/is-it-wrong-to-celebrate-bin-ladens-death?ps=cprs)

When you begin to find rational ways to equate the behavior of Americans to that of the behavior of Afghans on that day back in 2001, you begin to understand that despite what we have been told – we are no better than them.

One truth I will stand by is, it isn’t our responsibility to change people – it is merely our responsibility to love them – regardless of situation or circumstance.  I am thankful that in the midst of my own short comings, rebelliousness, and disobedience-  I am still loved unconditionally.  And what makes this moment even more humbling is the amazing opportunity to show others that same kind of love.

“I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

The Stepford Wife

The Stepford Wife, a term coined in the 1970’s with the satirical origination of the overly submissive and docile housewife. An idea, in it’s genuine form, that sought to expose the idyllic tendencies and expectations of the American woman. The precursor to the ever growing concept that women actually do have a mind of their own!

In more recent years, it has become more avant gard- if you will to be the independent woman. A woman with a life of your own, a good job, the confidence to make your own decisions. Careful though, because women with any self-governance run the risk of being labeled a feminist.  Yikes! She woman man hater. And it seems an ongoing controversy -an unending test- to depict the type of woman who you will actually identify with.

Have we been raised up to play with barbies, have dress up bins, wear high heels, always cross our legs when we sit, dream of our wedding day since age 5.. expectations of 2.5 kids, one dog, one cat, a big house with a white picket fence, and a tall dark and handsome husband that is bringing home the bacon … Or.. something more familiar to me-  a life where climbing trees, catching tadpoles, playing basketball, getting into fights, and dreams of the moment I could be without shoes was always at the forefront of my mind..

Isn’t there something to be said about balance? Can’t a woman -after all- be strong-willed, passionate, opinionated, void of complacency and still not have to “wear the pants?” Maybe it is foreign but I tend to think there can be some sort of notion in regards to what a woman should be that isn’t so disproportionate from who she actually is.

I surely don’t want to be so mundane that I lose the very essence of who I am. Can’t I be an individual whose idiosyncrasies unequivocally provide people with a desire to love me just for me?

For those of you who still desire the quintessential life of a Stepford Wife, there is hope! Here are steps to maintaining your stepfordwifeness… Lighten up, this is just for fun.

1Always wear your makeup.

2Always take care of your hair. Not a strand should be out-of-place.

3 If you are not well-endowed in your torso area, use bra inserts, augmenters, or the chic shaper.

4 If you are not thin, wear a girdle.

5 Wear tight, but conservatively-cut clothing to show off your assets. (Remember to wear an apron during housework)

6 Look in the mirror. Imagine yourself as a girl in a television commercial; you should look flawless, at all times. The picture of the Stepford Wife is the picture of a person who is healthy and takes good care of herself.

7 Clean clean clean! Everything needs to be spotless. Even if it takes a dozen repeated rubs, scrubs, and buff in the same spot. Clean and clean some more, in every corner of the house.

8 Cook.

9 Shop at the supermarket. Push your cart slowly. All items need to be placed in your shopping cart neatly, methodically, and in an orderly fashion.

10 Practice gracious and polite behavior even when you are alone. Eat with the silverware in place even when you eat alone. Etiquette and proper manners begin at home, when no one is looking.

11 Never raise your voice.

12 Always say “please” and “thank you” for the smallest things, in public and in private.

13 Always apologize for the smallest things, in public and in private.

14 Do not possess any strong opinions on any subject, unless you are expressing enthusiasm for cleaning products or food ingredients and recipes.

15 Your man is No.1. He is the kingpin in your life. You answer first to him, then to your son, and then other men (and only when you are spoken to).

 

“Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.” Oscar Wilde

Touché

It’s likely that if you are reading this and my previous posts, you have determined by now that my intentions here are not to duplicate your overdone blog topics or to review a day in the life… You may have noticed that there really may be no one true point to any of this…  Each day I feel inspired – or uninspired – by various things. And that my friends, is the sole force driving this blog. My intentions here are merely to express my thoughts and feelings, if only for a moment, about the inexplicable ramblings that proceed from this mind of mine.

I’m unapologetic and don’t necessarily desire to elaborate for the sake of explanation. If anything, I would like nothing more than to leave someone, somewhere asking themselves some questions – especially if they are unanswered here.  I don’t know all the answers or pretend to have it all figured out. What I do know is that my perceptions, whether shared or brashly unwarranted, are all I have to go on. So, if you’re left thinking, “what the hell is she talking about?” …   Touché!!

 

 

Pledge of Allegiance

I recently served on behalf of my organization at the high school health fair, sacrificing my time to unknowingly non influential high school students, who regarded my information as uninteresting at best.  While my dissertation was inspired by community norms concerning alcohol use among youth, I also prepared a guise that I hoped would inform me of something greater than a high schooler’s desire to learn of how their binge drinking might impact their future.  I hoped to understand how effective a health fair can actually be.

At first glance, such an orchestration seems diplomatic. A school system with their constituents in mind?  What a grand gesture in preparing the next generation!

Before the first students arrived,  I found myself thoughtlessly interrupting the pledge of allegiance with senseless chatter … and then it hit me – They’re saying the pledge of allegiance!? Unbeknownst to me, that still exists in the school system, the same system that fought to separate church and state and to this day debates the eligibility of students to be able to read their Bibles or other religious texts in school.

I know what you’re thinking… You’re thinking I am here to defend the phrase “One Nation Under God” and how a Christian nation warrants – if not deserves – a dignified response to being a God-fearing people who righteously stand up for their beliefs, regardless of the recent influx of those who, in fact, do not believe in that very thing at all.

Unfortunately, I am not here to gain the attention of any theologians and certainly don’t intend this to better define America as a godly, religious, Christian nation as opposed to atheistic communism.  I’ll leave that deliberation for another day.

What I am here to do is to emphasize something Francis Bellamy – the Baptist minister who wrote the pledge – understood back in 1892 when he created the original statement of intent for a nation that he believed should stand – indivisible – with liberty –  and justice for all.   Bellamy accounted his pledge as an antidote to a divided people, an observation that sought to protect immigrants and native-born alike, in their search for freedom, and promote a nation of equality.

That’s right, a Christian whose stance was solely in support of  social change and to create a more egalitarian society. A society in favor of equality, one where race, religion, ethnicity, political affiliation, economic status, social status, and cultural heritage would in no way predispose you to hatred.  A society that believes equality is and should be the natural state of humanity.  A society void of elitism and one that represents an allegiance to one another.

As it remains today, the Pledge of Allegiance reads, “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

If we continue to stand in a school or public forum, with our hand to our heart, and recite a pledge of fidelity,  propsing that we  and and the generations to come should stand for liberty and justice for all – the very statement purposed by Francis Bellamy- shouldn’t we actually stand for that?

 

Give Us Your Tired And Weak And We Will Make Them Strong Bring Us Your Foreign Songs And We Will Sing Along Leave Us Your Broken Dreams We’ll Give Them Time To Mend There’s Still A Lot Of Love Living In The Promiseland

Living In The Promiseland Our Dreams Are Made Of Steel The Prayer Of Every Man Is To Know How Freedom Feels There Is A Winding Road Across The Shifting Sand And Room For Everyone Living In The Promiseland

So They Came From A Distant Isle Nameless Woman, Faitheless Child Like A Bad Dream Until There Was No Room At All No Place To Run, And No Place To Fall Give Us Our Daily Bread We Have No Shoes To Wear No Place To Call Our Home Only This Cross To Bear We Are The Multitudes Lend Us A Helping Hand Is There No Love Anymore Living In The Promiseland

Living In The Promiseland Our Dreams Are Made Of Steel The Prayer Of Every Man Is To Know How Freedom Feels There Is A Winding Road Across The Shifting Sand And Room For Everyone Living In The Promiseland

Willie Nelson – Living in the Promise Land

Bucket List

When I think about all the incredible things I’ve done in my life, I am thankful – indebted even – for the people, the places, the things… But I know that it would extremely uninspired to act as if I had done it all..  or even scratched the surface of what I really want to do.

To achieve only menial success in life is satisfactory to most. After all, to have food to eat, a home, a car, family, friends, health, faith, love –  among other things – is to be blessed.  The audacity to be adventuresome when there is a world perishing from the lack of those things seems grandiose, doesn’t it?  Or shouldn’t it be freeing to aspire and desire those moments left to chance, the breath-taking and awe-inspiring accomplishments that, at the end of the day, leave you craving the next intoxicating feat.

If you can conceptualize what those moments might look like, where they would take place, how they would make you feel – you might have yourself a bucket list.

It’s an idea, open to interpretation, that encompasses the  goals and dreams that one wishes to do, in no particular order,  before they die (kick the bucket).  It seems fanatical really – to create a list – though many people do.  Even MTV followed suit with the reality show – The Buried Life – that sought to bring life to  the idea.

In the spirit of liberation –  why not live a little… Why not create a list of sorts- attainable or not- that might activate the dreamer in you? American poet, William Ross Wallace said, “Every man dies – Not every man really lives.”   What kind of (wo)man do you want to be?

“And I always felt it before
That the world was filled with much more
Than the drowning soul I’ve learned to be
I just need the rain to remind me”

Sara Bareilles ~ Let the Rain