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Real Is Not What You Think It Is

Believe it or not, you can be human and make excellent choices.

Believe it or not, you can "be real" and crave real, organic, nutrient-dense food that nourishes the mind+body+spirit.

Believe it or not, I live the same way whether I'm with 10,000 people or by myself. I still eat real, organic, nutrient-dense food. I make my own toothpaste. I brush my teeth with a bamboo toothbrush. I cook the majority of my food from scratch. I crave organic veggies. I crave real organic foods that nourish me fully. I sleep on organic sheets. I use organic coconut oil as lotion. When I travel I bring the majority of my food with me (organic of course). I've never owned a TV. I've never had a Pepsi, Coke, etc. I can count on one hand the number of drinks I've had in my lifetime. My life doesn't revolve around "happy hours" (I want a happy life, not just hours). I drink 1-2 gallons of reverse osmosis water daily. My non-plastic reusable water bottle goes everywhere with me. Everywhere. I don't subscribe to junk magazines. I have reusable bamboo utensils in my bag at all times (I have 2 sets actually) so I never have to use plastic. 

This is my "normal". I don't really think about it. It's simply how I live life.  

For example: yesterday, I ate a raw organic cucumber while in the car driving. Today, I had a huge whole bowl of raw organic mixed salad greens while in the car again. 

My body craves what is good for it. The smell of disease is repulsive to me. Why would I put that in my temple (body)?!  

I honestly do not like candy or unhealthy junk. Why would I put junk in my temple (body)? If I want a "sweet treat" I MAKE sure it's organic, ethical, usually made from scratch and with ingredients that do not cause disease. 

I train daily- 20-30 hours a week in fact. [I'm a multi sport, ultra endurance athlete.] I rarely post on social media about this. My physical activity is not dependent on if I posted the latest update or not. 

I don't cheat on my mind+body+spirit.

I don't cheat on my health.

I don't "moderate" my life, what I eat. I eat real, organic food that NOURISHES by mind+body+spirit.

I don't "hack" my life, my health, my fitness. (There are no shortcuts to the top.)

I don't feel guilty about my life and the wellness/food/health choices I make!

Why don't I hack, moderate, feel guilty? Because I've developed and built discipline into my entire life. Discipline is one of the major components missing in our culture today. We have too many people living toxic junk-filled lives. From relationships to TV to magazines to "food" to drink, few are disciplined to remove the junk from their lifestyle. 

Am "I real"? You bet.

Am I human? You bet.

The difference is that my bulls eye, my center, my VERY laser focused belief that guides me day in, day out to make decisions that align with my ethics, morals, values. Every. Single. Day.

I do not live by the status quo that in order to "be real" I must be living a different life when no one is watching. Or that surely I must be craving junk! Or that I must only be posting the good choices I make and hiding something in the closet. I know this might rock your world, but I live the same day in, day out. Making excellent choices that align with my ethics, morals, values. Making choices that will make my health excellent. Making choices that will leave the earth, land, air, water excellent. Making choices that will leave a healthy legacy for generations to come. Making choices that I'm "proud" of vs choices that leave me feeling guilty or that need justification. [If a life choice requires justification then you know it's not a good choice. Excellent choices do not need justification.]

Believe it or not it is very much possible to live an organic lifestyle day in, day out, authentically, with integrity, with the utmost love in everything I do.

I despise the notion that somehow, in order "to be real" I must be eating/consuming junk in private or living a different life when no one is watcing. Nope! You can be real and still eat/live/move/breathe that honors your temple (body). You can be real and make choices that honor our only earth. You can be real and make choices that honor people.

I am real. 

My body+mind+spirit is a temple. 

I don't live the status quo. Join me! 

It's all organic all the time. 

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The Elephant In The Pews

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The Elephant In The Pews

This is a rhetorical question, but begs being asked regardless. Why do Christians complain about their preventable health conditions and then pray to be healed but do nothing (or the very minimum) to change their toxic lifestyle?

Spirituality is plural, not singular. Sitting in the pew for 1 hour of our week but living haphazardly the other 167 hours of the week leads to being sick in the mind+body+spirit. 

What we chose to eat/drink/read/watch/listen/hang out with can either nourish our temple or harm it. 

It's going to be difficult to be in a happy mood when we are doped up on coffee, sugar, donuts, little sleep, barely move our body... We may not need prayer for our condition but instead ACTION to clean up our lifestyle so it is congruent with what we say to profess.  

Obesity, sleep apnea, Type Two diabetes, cancer, mood, heart disease, stroke, energy, etc...are all preventable diseases by the proper lifestyle choices.

Honestly, how can we complain about our health when we aren't taking care of this temple to begin with??

It's like complaining that the car won't run or is always breaking down but yet we never put gas in the fuel tank, changed the oil, fixed the tire...or these examples:

It's like complaining that it's raining while standing in the driveway of a mansion when someone is standing in the doorway screaming for you to come inside. But you just ignore them and keep asking God to rescue you.

This also reminds me of the man on his roof in the rising waters of a flood. As he was praying for rescue, a boat came by. He said, no thank you, God will rescue me. As the boat sped away he continued to pray and a second, larger boat came by and threw a life buoy. He screamed, "That's okay. God will rescue me!" Standing firm in his resolve he stood with his hands to the sky in fervent prayer as a helicopter approached and lowered a basket. The man sent it away as well. 

When the flood waters overtook him, he drowned and stood before the throne of God in heaven. Perplexed, he said, "my God, why did you forsake me?" He answered sternly, "I sent you two boats and a helicopter, what more did you want?" 

And so it goes with cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and on and on and on. "Lord heal me while I kill myself."

Dear professing Christians, it is (past) high time that we start living out our faith by taking the utmost care of this temple: mind+body+spirit.

This 'elephant in the pews' is a topic that the church is largely ignoring and it's killing us. Literally. But not on my watch. I want to use the time that I've been given to help those in the faith community learn how to live well in mind+body+spirit. 

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The Truth About Sugar Substitutes

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The Truth About Sugar Substitutes

Food Fact Friday! 

Many people are still under the impression that Truvia is Stevia or worse yet, a 'health food'. This couldn't be farther from the truth!  

Today in Food Fact Friday you'll learn two truths about popular sugar substitutes.

First up is Truvia.

Let me shout it from the roof tops: Truvia is NOT a health product!

  • Manufactured by Cargill Chemical Company. 
  • Does not contain Stevia. 
  • Contains Erythritol (a sugar alcohol) which leads to a host of different health problems and contributes to disease. 
  • Erythritol is produced with GMO corn through a hydrogenation process. 
  • Sugar alcohols, such as Erythritol, Xylitol, are disruptive to the oral and gut microbiome. Meaning that sugar alcohols destroy the gut/immune system.  
  • Truvia Baking Blend (different product than Truvia) is: Erythritol, Sugar (GMO sugar beets), Stevia Leaf Extract. 
  • Highly processed (Stevia is a green leaf...how does it turn into a white powder?!).
  • If you have this product in your home, please do your health a favor and toss it out ASAP.

The second one is Agave. 
Also a popular 'health' food but it is not. 

  • Highly processed (again, how does a green plant turn into syrup?)
  • Higher in fructose than HFCS (!!!)
  • bBecause it is so high in fructose it leads to many health problems including diabetes.

I don't recommend agave as a sugar substitute.

The only sweeteners I recommend (and use myself) are 100% pure maple syrup (none of the fake syrup crap please!), organic coconut sugar (try Big Tree Farms), raw (local preferably) honey. Organic applesauce, organic dates, and organic fruits are also great ways to sweeten baked goods. Or if you're on a run, bike ride, physically active, before yoga practice.  Basic rule of thumb: if God made it and man didn't tamper with it, it's good for you. 

This should go without saying, but please don't use white sugar (GMO sugar beets) or the blue/yellow/pink sugar packets. Splenda will destroy your health. 

Does honey have fructose? Yes. But the amazing thing about raw honey (again, not to be confused with conventional, pasteurized, filtered honey) is that the fructose found in honey is metabolized differently by the body. God knows what our body needs! There are many health benefits to raw honey. [see resources below]

If you have Truvia in your kitchen, go throw it out right now. And then take a photo of it in your trashcan and share with me on any of my social networks! 

A few brands that are Sarah Stanley Approved:

Big Tree Farms [coconut sugar]
Really Raw Honey

Resources:

>> http://www.drweil.com/…/…/Whats-Wrong-with-Agave-Nectar.html 
>> http://www.dietitiancassie.com/the-truth-on-truvia/ 
>> http://butterbeliever.com/is-honey-really-healthier-than-s…/ 
>> http://www.benefits-of-honey.com/

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The Connection Between Money and Your Health

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The Connection Between Money and Your Health

Money and health closely parallel each other.

Frivolous and careless spending leads to debt, perhaps even bankruptcy, stress.

Being frivolous and careless with what you eat and how you treat your temple (body) leads to sickness, disease, stress, general unhealthiness. It's bankruptcy in the wellness department. 

Think of your health as an investment that gives you a return even after you pass away. Because how you live today impacts the next 5-6 generations, some choices even 1000 years (using plastic bags)!

You can go into debt for that fancy handbag (that's made from an animal and unethical labor) that will rip and tear OR you can buy a Global Mamas handbag that is made with fair trade labor and supports ethics and values. 

You can buy that processed cheeseburger and shake (that violates ethics and morals) that will contribute to your disease OR you can go to your local organic farm/farmers market/health food store and buy kale+hemp hearts that will contribute to your overall prevention of disease.  

Everything is connected together. From what you think, from what you eat, from you hang out with, what you listen to, what you read- it ALL has an effect on your wellbeing!

If your health (or spending) is out of control, take a serious look at the fright train heading your way. Please don't wait till it's too late. 

Think before you spend. 

Think before you purchase disease. 

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How To Manage The Holidays (Without Losing Your Mind)

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How To Manage The Holidays (Without Losing Your Mind)

Today we released our 2014 Holiday Wellness Guide. Be sure to get your copy of this beautiful guide. It's packed full of practical and helpful insights (plus a fair trade gift guide, recipes, workouts, how not to get sick) to help you get through the holidays. Get yours here.  ----

Once a month I get the honor of co-hosting Everyday Health #HealthTalk on Twitter. Today I talked about how to have a healthy holiday. Here's the recap for your benefit!

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  1. One of the keys to having a healthy holiday is to make your health a priority. Eat real food, drink filtered H2O, move body!
  2. You don't have to let parties and dinners derail your health. Every choice we make adds up. Make wise ones. :)
  3. Instead of trying to force yourself to stay on your "diet" rephrase that to eating real food. Bring your food to party!
  4. Be the healthy example at holiday parties and family gatherings. Setting the positive example is empowering!
  5. Keep blood sugars balanced! Always have a healthy fat, healthy carb, healthy protein when eating to do so.
  6. If you are making dishes, read the ingredients before cooking/baking. Use real (organic) food ingredients to cook with!
  7. Shift the focus from unhealthy food to making organic real food meals/dishes and spending time with those you care about.
  8. No box mixes, cans, plastic packages, okay?! Use organic sprouted grain bread to make stuffing. Buy organic fresh green beans.
  9. FYI: the whole moderation thing is a myth as it always refers to toxic food-like products. Eat real organic food & find freedom!
  10. Make daily, physical activity a natural part of your life! When it's as natural as breathing, you won't even think about it!
  11. You don't need a fancy gym to be active. Walking is free! And 3 at-home workouts here.
  12. Don't put so much pressure on yourself to "do it all"! Less is more. Stress happens when things are out of order, control.
  13. Tip 2: don't cram so much into one day. Give yourself enough time to do one thing well. Do you really, really have to_____?
  14. Breathing really helps when feeling overwhelmed. Stuck in traffic? Focus on your breath. Running late? Focus on your breath.
  15. Incorporating an vinyasa yoga practice into your life is also very beneficial. Get upside down to gain a new perspective.
  16. The first 5min of your day set the tone for the rest of it. Mediate, pray, journal, breathe. Set positive intentions/actions!
  17. Try kombucha! It's a probiotic drink that has all the health benefits but none of the impacts of alcoholic drinks!
  18. Happiness doesn't come from a drink, remember. Ask yourself why you **have** to drink. There are way better options for you!
  19. Here's something you can try: non-GMO Mocktails.
  20. There's a reason why we do what we do. But often we are disconnected from the why. Spend time figuring out the why.
  21. Organic herbal tea is also a fantastic choice! Boil water in a tea kettle...get back to the basics. :)
  22. Organic cold-pressed juices are also wonderful! Have a juicing party. :)
  23. Holidays can bring up a lot of memories, some good, some painful. Find healthy ways to cope and manage them.
  24. You have control what goes in your mouth. When at a party be in charge of your health, your body, your legacy!
  25. Organic healthy fats keep you full: avocado, ghee, coconut, nuts, seeds, Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts. Eat daily.
  26. Don't go into a party starving! This will only sabotage your goals, life, wellness. Keep food with you (nuts, seeds, veggies, clean meat if you eat it) with you. Always be prepared. 
  27. If you need help managing the holidays in healthy ways, I'm here to help you live well in mind+body+spirit! 

 

Cover photo credit: Heather Cowper

 

 

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What Is Clean Eating?

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What Is Clean Eating?

farmer's market beet photo

What does “eat clean” mean? Chances are that you’ve seen this term thrown around on photos that don’t really mean “eat clean”. As I’m sure you know by now our food system is not what it was even just 100 years ago. Today we have Cappuccino flavored potato chips, dead animal parts in V8, artificial sugars in everything from bread to crackers to gum, and of course GMOs.

Time and time again I see posts with the hashtag #eatclean or #cleaneating on images or copy that is NOT clean. So let's clear this up.

Clean eating
Clean eating

What is "eat clean"? 

Free from GMOs To put it simply, GMOs are dirty and not clean. Look at what’s in GMO corn. It’s not clean by any standards! Currently the corn on the market today is about 88%. So if you aren’t careful about reading labels you could every easily be consuming GMOs. Corn isn’t just plain corn on the cob it’s also HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) which is found in countless processed products. Take a look at this graphic- corn is being used in many different forms and ways. Additionally commercial and factory farm animals are fed GMO corn- remember you eat what they eat! So if you don’t buy organic meat you are ingesting GMOs that way too. Note: cows were never created to eat grains in the first place- buy organic, grass-fed meat! And lastly, conventional processed products are 80% GMO contaminated. Just one more reason to stop consuming processed crap!

So, if your dairy or meat (and veggies, fruit) isn’t specified as non-GMO and/or organic. It’s not eat clean.

GMO corn graphic
GMO corn graphic

A quick note about Roundup. Roundup is the main weed pesticide produced by Monsanto. The active chemical in Roundup is Glyphosate and the consequences of this chemical is devastating. A few health problems from this chemical include but not limited to: birth defects, gastrointestinal disorders, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression, autism, infertility, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

Free from artificial flavors Eating clean means the food is free from artificial and “natural” flavors and sweeteners. Unless otherwise stated natural flavors are derived from beaver’s butts and other species that can cause severe allergic reactions. Read what you are about to eat very carefully!

Free from artificial sweeteners Real, clean food does not contain artificial sweeteners. All conventional processed products (note I didn’t write processed food) contains some kind of artificial sweeteners like Splenda (also goes by the name Sucralose), Equal, NutraSweet, etc. There are over 257 names for sugar and most of them are made in a lab and not found in nature. Raw honey, 100% pure maple syrup, organic coconut sugar, organic blackstrap molasses are acceptable forms of sugar.

Free from additives Clean food does not have additives or preservatives. Did you make an organic beef burger and then spread commercial mustard or mayo on it? Be sure that even the “little things” you use are made with clean ingredients- including condiments! Processed products have to contain additives and preservatives so they have a long shelf life. Translated: a long shelf life means a short life. You want to buy food that goes bad quickly. Nature knows best!

Here is what clean/real food is: - organic (or grown without pesticides, herbicides, fungicides) - unprocessed - real food in whole form - mainly raw

Some examples of clean/real food: - Hemp Hearts - Nuts - Seeds - Vegetables - Fruits - Raw Cacao (not to be confused with processed cocoa powder) - Maca - Quinoa - Chia - Coconut - Legumes

Finally, let’s bring back integrity to how we live, eat, and what we post. Ask yourself if the hashtag you are using really describes the photo (or copy). By the way, Chobani is not eat clean- they use rBGH/rBST dairy. If you are a health professional know that people are watching what you post and be mindful of what you hashtags you use. There are many, many people out there who don’t know what #eatclean is and we are doing them a disservice when we use that hashtag on photos that have nothing to do with clean eating.

Be diligent to feed your body good, organic food. Have integrity in all that you do, say, write, live, eat, drink, think.

Sources:GMOs in animal feed

Monsanto Roundup

Roundup and health dangers

GMO corn

Dr. Stephanie Seneff, a research scientist at MIT, reveals how glyphosate wrecks human health

Learn more about GMOs

“Natural” flavoring

Sugar

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#WellnessChat: Be a Cancer Killer

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#WellnessChat: Be a Cancer Killer

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Be a cancer killer! This was our topic at #wellnesschat Thursday, July 31, 2014 with Dr. Matthew McAlees, Dr. David Jockers and Sayer Ji. This is a very educational and powerful message. Please read! It will change how you view cancer. Also, be sure to visit this site: Be a Cancer Killer.

[<a href="//storify.com/sarahstanley/be-a-cancer-killer-wellnesschat-recap" target="_blank">View the story "Be a Cancer Killer #wellnesschat recap " on Storify</a>]

Cover photo credit: Martin Stone

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The Dichotomy in the Faith Community

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The Dichotomy in the Faith Community

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As a believer and part of the faith community I can't but help see what's happening in terms of our health and it's not okay with me. It's no wonder why those who aren't in the faith don't see a difference in our lives and laugh at us! The faith community has bought into the lie of processed foods, GMOs, and disease. We eat the same crap, participate in the sin of gluttony, addicts to fast death ("food"), and let's not forget that these products causes a host of diseases (including cancer!) and health problems (infertility , birth defects, heart disease, stroke, headaches). Additionally, obesity is impacting the church at a massive level, cancer rates have remained unchanged in the last 50 years- and remember that cancer can only thrive in unhealthy bodies. Regardless of your faith denomination (Baptist, Lutheran, Non-denominational...) it's way past time that the faith community see that how they are living, eating, drinking, buying is anything but God glorifying.

What Dr. Russell Blaylock says in the talk below (please, please listen to it) will show you how Christians are defiling the God they say they serve. It's impossible to feed the soul good [spiritual] food and ignore what we are putting in our bodies.

God provided organic food for us to nourish our body with- not GMOs and frankenfoods. GMOs were created for greater profits increased pesticides, and worse of all, patented. Not at all what God intended for this world! (Genesis 1:29)

As Christians it's imperative that we wake up to what is going on around us and change where buy our food and what we are putting in and our bodies. God intended for us to have health not increased disease! We need to live in harmony with the one who created us

In the talk below you'll learn how the processed frankenfoods have ruined our health and our earth and what you can do about it!

To glorify God we must eat the foods that God made (organic, in their natural state), not that man made.

Are you a believer who is currently eating and consuming GMOs, processed crap? Have you bought into the lie that your life is no different from non-believers? How will you change your health today?

My heart is truly burdened for my country and the faith community. I will continue to live, speak, write about this topic for as long as I shall live.

xo

Photo credit: Matt Stangis

 

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How You Changed My Life (a wellprint testimony)

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How You Changed My Life (a wellprint testimony)

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One of the rewarding things about the work I get to do is to hear firsthand the positive stories of how people are changing their lives! I worked with this couple earlier in the year and it was a joy to help them on their healthy living journey! They were willing to change, worked extremely hard to implement said changes and were proactive in making new healthy habits. They sent me photos of labels of food, beauty and other products. Then during our video sessions I would explain the ingredients in them and why they were good or not so good. It was a joy to help them. I couldn't be prouder of them! A few weeks ago Toby and Laura sent me this letter and they wanted to share their story with you so you too could see what life was like before and after! I hope it gives you the hope that you too can change your life!

If you want help in learning how to make healthy habits, change your eating habits, or just have questions about what you are putting in your body, I'd be happy to work with you!  Just use the contact form to get in touch with me.

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From Toby and Laura:

If you are visiting Sarah’s website, considering whether this lifestyle could be worth trying, then you are like my wife and I seven months ago.

We are a couple in our early 30’s, living in the beautiful county of Buckinghamshire in the UK.  We lived what we considered to be a relatively healthy life.  We cooked meals at home, made sure we ate fruit and veg, and were wary of food high in fat or sugar.  But we didn’t do this consistently, and would often rely on convenient, processed food.  We also ate food that we knew wasn’t particularly healthy for us.  Crisps and chocolates, occasion trips to McDonalds or other fast food chains, takeaways etc.  But it was all in moderation.

I first met Sarah via Twitter, after following one of her Health Talks.  At the time she was running a promotion to win a 6 week Holiday Wellness program, which I was lucky enough to win a place on.  Over these 6 weeks, my wife and I began to learn more about a plant based diet, and by the end we decided it was worth a try.

6 months later, and we would never consider going back.  I have seen improvements, but I want to talk about my wife, Laura.  The changes she has seen is nothing short of amazing, and inspired me to write this to let people know you can change, and it’s a change worth making.

Laura was constantly ill.  Most of the time it was low level (general aches and pains, bloating, lethargic), but there was always something up.  And when she got a cold or a virus of some type, it would lay her out for days.  She suffers from IBS, and this caused her constant problems.  And she never had any energy, and never wanted to do anything except crash on the sofa.

The change in her was as quick as it was dramatic.  She lost 2 stone in weight, despite vastly increasing her calorie intake.  In addition, her skin & hair have improved, and she has a healthy “glow” about her.  She is constantly being told how well she looks, and asked how she has done it.

But more importantly, her overall health has greatly improved.  She actually has energy to do things; when she comes home from work she wants to do more than simply sit on the sofa and watch TV.  She feels good as well, with the normal aches, pains and ailments no longer present.  And when she has fallen ill, her body has been able to fight it off far quicker than in the past.

You too can reap the benefits that Laura has.  It may seem like a monumental change, but it won’t be long until like us, you look back and can’t imagine living that way.  I’m no nutrition expert, and there are plenty of websites out there that will provide you with excellent advice (this website is a good place to start!).

But I can tell you some of lessons we learned on our journey.  We have made massive changes in our lives, and hopefully our experience will make yours a little bit smoother:

1.) Baby Steps

You don’t need to jump in head first and change everything all at once.  Laura and I have slowly changed the way we live, one step at a time.  This way it isn’t such a shock to the system, and you are more likely to stay the path.  I suggest start by banning processed food from your diet.  Keep eating the same sort of stuff, but make it yourself, don’t rely on jars and cans.  When you see the benefits this simple step will give you, you will want to take it further.

2.) Look at the nutrients, not calories

Don’t look at food and think “how many calories am I eating?”; instead think “what nutrients am I eating?”.  Do this consistently, and you will be amazed at how your perception of food will change.

3.) Don’t aim to lose weight, aim to get healthy

Laura lost two stone [28 pounds] without even thinking about it. All that she focussed on was eating well, and getting healthy.  If you do this, losing weight is a natural by-product. [Sarah's note: we never once talked about counting calories or having things in "moderation". We simply focused on the kind of foods she was eating.]

4.) You will be confused

Kale, nutritional yeast, samphire, cacao powder.  This is a small selection of food that I had never heard of, but now forms a part of my daily diet.  There is a host of food out there which you will likely have never heard of, but will do you a power of good.  There are also a host of food out there that you probably eat on a regular basis that are damaging to your long term health.  Working out what you should be eating, and where you can get it from, is a confusing journey.

5.) But don’t worry, there is plenty of help

The confusing journey described above will eventually lead you to a local health food shop, as a lot of the food you will need is simply not available from chain supermarkets.  Health food shops can be overwhelming, with shelves full of strange items that you don’t know what they are, or what you need.  But don’t let this put you off.  Everyone was like this at one point, and there are a host of helpful sources of information to help you navigate your way around, whether this be assistants in the shop (or other shoppers), or websites like Sarah’s.

6.) Read ingredients

You may think “I do”, but I mean really read them.  I realised that I would often scan the ingredients list, skipping over items if I didn’t know what it was.  But these are the ingredients you really need to be focusing on.  If there are any ingredients that you don’t know what it actually is, you need to question if it is something you want in your body.  I guarantee there is something you eat on a regular basis that you consider good for you, but when you look at the ingredients you will find it isn’t as good as you thought.

7.) Be prepared

One of the toughest things you will need to give up is convenience.  I used to struggle some days to find the time to prepare a meal, and would opt for quick options like fast food, or microwave meals.  That’s no longer an option.  By organising yourself and preparing food ahead of time, it removes the need to rely on the heavily processed convenience food.

8.) Persevere

You will end up eating something you don’t like the taste of.  And your diet and what your taste buds have become accustomed to will affect how difficult you find it.  But persevere, and trust me, you will grow to love foods you use to hate.  When I first tried Kale, I wasn’t impressed.  It’s now an essential part of my daily diet.

9.) You will miss certain foods

A plant based diet is full of food that is not only rich in nutrients, but provides a cornucopia of flavours and textures you will love.  You really can’t beat taste of freshly prepared food.  But that doesn’t mean you won’t miss McDonalds, or other fast food.  7 months on, and I still have moments where I could happily eat a large McDonalds meal with a strawberry milkshake.  But I remember point number 2.  What nutrients will I get from eating it?  The answer?  Nothing.  So what’s the point?  Is the few moments after you’ve swallowed and before the taste has faded really worth your long term health?  There are plenty of alternatives that taste just as good.  Different, but just as good.

Making wholesale changes to your life is never an easy or quick process.  Laura and I have made great strides to changing the way we live for the better, but we still have a long way to go, and still have a lot to learn.  I hope the above advice will help you take those first steps to a long and healthy life.

If you want to ask Laura or myself a question about our experience, or simply want to comment about this article, you can find us on twitter (@tobysmith69 and @LauraE69).

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Laura before wellprint
Laura before wellprint
Laura after wellprint
Laura after wellprint

Thank you, Toby and Laura for sharing your healthy story and journey with us! Again, I couldn't be prouder of you both and I'm so happy I could help you along the way! Thank you for letting me be a part of your healthy journey. xo

Cover photo credit: Steve Jurvetson

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The Truth About Calories, Stress & Sleep

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The Truth About Calories, Stress & Sleep

14004927459_b970a2cd7a_k.jpg

Every Thursday at 8 p.m. EST #wellnesschat takes place on Twitter. Be sure to join in the live conversation! July 10, 2014 Dietitian Cassie was our guest and she talked about calories, stress, sleep. Scroll through this chat and you'll learn a thing or two (or twenty!)

[<a href="//storify.com/sarahstanley/wellnesschat-july-10-2014-the-truth-about-calorie" target="_blank">View the story "#wellnesschat July 10, 2014 The Truth About Calories" on Storify</a>]

Cover photo credit: Luke Ma

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Make It A Meatless Summer

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Make It A Meatless Summer

meatless-summer.jpg

  Summertime is a great time to explore more meatless meals, especially with the abundance of fruits and vegetables in the Farmer’s Market! Over the past few months, I have written several blogs about the many reasons to cutback on eating meat and adopting a plant-based lifestyle.

  1. HEALTH. Meat, especially red and processed meat increases the risk of cancer. A new report on the cancer guidelines suggests cutting back on meat. Eating more whole, plant-based foods not only decreases your risk of chronic diseases like cancer, but it also can increase the amount of fiber and phytochemicals in your diet (My blog on Cancer).
  2. COST. I took a grocery store tour several months ago and decided that I could feed about 60+ people quinoa and lentils for $18.48 vs. a 3.5 pound bag (about 6-9 breasts) of organic chicken at $20- $21. Swapping expensive meat with economical plant-based proteins can help save money and/or increase spending on organic fruits and vegetables! Farmers markets or CSAs are great ways to support your local communities and take advantage of great prices on fresh food! (my blog on myths about protein).
  3. ENVIRONMENT. Livestock and animal products are not sustainable; at least at the rates Americans (and other “developed” countries) eat them. Not only do meat and animal products contribute to green house gases, larger farms have also created astronomical environmental impacts, such as dead zones in the oceans and rivers from manure runoffs. (My blog on stewardship).
  4. INCREASE FOOD PRODUCTION FOR HUMANS TO EAT. Lowering the production of meat and dairy, Round River Farmers in Minnesota discovered that the region of Western Lake Superior would be able to produce enough food to feed the entire community. A Standard American Diet (SAD) would require over 500,000 acres of land and would only produce enough food for 83% of the region. Conversely, a diet lower in meat and dairy would require about 375,000 acres of land and would feed 100% of the region! Shifting towards a plant-based diet would decrease the supply and demand of animal products. means less land needed to grow feed for animals and less land needed to house animals in Factory Farms or land for grazing. Instead of using the land for soy, corn, and animals, the land could be used to grow enough organic fruits and vegetables to meet dietary recommendations for Americans...... because currently, we fail at that. (My blog from the Healthy Lives Conference).

Learning about healthier meatless options and exploring new recipes can be an exciting adventure! Reframe your perspective--- think about it as adding flavor and health to your life!! 

Great plant-based sources of protein: beans (chickpeas, black beans, soybeans, edamame, kidney beans, mung beans…..), lentils, split peas, tofu, nuts, seeds (chia, hemp), quinoa, nutritional yeast, and tempeh!

Here are some meatless-meal ideas to get you started:

1. Swap the Burger for a bean burger or a Portobello mushroom.

Portobello Mushroom and Cashew Cheese Burger

Italian Bean Balls

Black Bean Quinoa Burger

Spicy BBQ Chickpea Burgers

Quarter Pounder Beet Burger

2. Grill  fruits and veggies rather than meat.

Grilled Veggie Kabobs

3. If you don’t have celiac disease, try some homemade seitan!

Seitan ribs

Seitan Negimaki

4. Try a quinoa salad!

Quinoa salad with black bean and mango

Grilled Asparagus and chili orange quinoa spring rolls

Curried Coconut Quinoa

5. Almond or pistachio crusted tofu instead of fish

My pistachio crusted tofu recipe

6. Tempeh instead of chicken

Sweet and Sour Tempeh

 7.  Bean or Lentils for a fiber and protein packed meal

Lentil Tacos

BBQ Chili (my brothers love this one over baked sweet potato fries!)

Lemon dill bean salad

Spicy Lentil Sloppy Joes

Chickpea “tuna” Salad

8. Zucchini "pasta" salad with a peanut sauce

Zucchini noodles with a peanut sauce

9. Sarah and I also dig these Mung Bean and Black Bean pastas. 23-25 grams of protein per serving!

mung beans
mung beans

Super tasty with a peanut sauce, tomato sauce, homemade pesto, cashew "blue cheese" dressing, or homemade salad dressing!

10. Check out my Pinterest Boards or the Meatless Monday Pinterest Board for more Meatless Summer ideas! 

kAD
kAD

In good health,

Kristina

To learn more about plant-based living, find me on Twitter and Facebook!

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Cheeseburgers and The Church part six

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Cheeseburgers and The Church part six

Cheeseburgers and The Church

During this series, we’ve been taking a hard look at the dichotomy of the faith community and the health and the food choices they make.

I'd highly recommend reading the introduction, part two, part three, part four, part five.

Forewarning: if you aren’t ready to read and hear the truth, you may want to bookmark this for later. 

And before you dive into this article, please know I write this with the utmost love and compassion for you. I care VERY deeply about you and the health of our country.

Human trafficking, children living in poverty, clean water in Third World countries are all very popular charity work within the faith community. I, myself sponsor two children living in poverty and contribute to the clean water efforts in Africa. I also do not buy Big Food products, drink bottled water, drink coffee or eat meat. I don’t drink soft drinks (never have) or eat fast “food” (it’s not really food). And I make sure my dark (organic) chocolate is fair trade and not made with slave labor. Why? Because I strongly believe that my faith should permeate all areas of my life, not just “Stuff Christians Like” to quote a popular book and website.

You see, it’s really hard to say you’re against human trafficking and then buy products that keep people entrapped in slavery.

It’s a dichotomy to say you believe stealing and lying are sins, but then stuff yourself on take-out, BBQ and Krispy Kremes.

It’s a dichotomy to say you are for spiritual health, but completely ignore how you are treating the very body God designed.

It’s really easy to say addictions (pornography, alcoholism, drugs, smoking, etc.) are wrong, but then be addicted to copious amounts of soda, sugar, unhealthy “food”.

The faith community as a whole (no denomination discrimination here) rarely talks about their health. However, it is becoming increasingly harder to shove the elephant in the closet.

Spiritual health, physical health, mental health - they are all connected to living a healthy life that God intended for us. And you can't have one without the other. Everything is connected together. Everything. I’m not going to brow beat you with Bible verses about health because that's just not me, but the Bible does have plenty to say about the topic should you need proof that this is a viable concern.

Something has to change. The faith community has to wake up to the sleeping giant in their community before that giant wakes up and devours its prey. We can no longer ignore the problem. How can we share about the Living Water when we’re drinking poison on a regular basis? This dichotomy is screaming from the pews! You see, it’s really easy to shout from the rooftops that people need Jesus, but it’s a lot harder to face the reality that our daily purchases (Big Food) actually keeps people away from Jesus. It’s easy to say you love Jesus on Sunday morning, but a lot harder to treat our health the way God intended the other 167 hours of the week.

The health of our nation has been my work for years. During this work, I’ve noticed that the health of the church is pathetically appalling. We’re treating our bodies like garbage disposals and our souls like a landfill. We're buying and consuming products that keep people entrapped in slavery and poverty. Did God really create us to trash the every thing He created? I don’t believe so.

BHT, coloring dyes, GMOs (pesticides, Roundup, hormones and antibiotics to include rBGH & rBST), artificial sweeteners, hydrogenated oils, preservatives - these are just a sampling of ingredients in all Big Food products.

And what do these ingredients do to your health? They are all linked to cancer, heart disease, diabetes, tumors, obesity, low immune system, chronic sickness, ear infections, infertility, male sterility, hyperactivity, autism, depression - the list is endless.

So if you’ve made the connection “did I make myself sick?” the answer is most likely, yes. Between 90-95 percent of all diseases (including cancer) are preventable through lifestyle. This is according to NIH. We can no longer use a Hail Mary when we’ve neglected our health all along. Grace is wonderful, but treating our bodies like an afterthought is a disrespect to God’s grace.

I cringe when I see believers post photos of their food choices and lifestyle. Especially when they post photos of what they are feeding their kids. It almost makes me ashamed to be a believer! Pretty photos of sugary products that cause disease. Candy that causes a host of health issues. Celebrating a milestone at fast food joint. It’s not a judgment, but an indicator to me that we have a ton of work to do in the faith community on this topic! And then a few days later updates indicate they are sick again. Or have another ear infection. You name it. And guess what? It's all connected to what they put in their body. You can't treat your body like crap and expect good health.

The faith community should be a place of healing but sadly it’s a place of promoting sickness. Donuts and coffee at the welcoming table. Men’s breakfast with five different types of farm factory meat, white, refined flour biscuits and gravy and pasteurized juice (no nutrients). Ladies Tea with the main attraction being sugary treats. These events are keeping people trapped in their food addiction. How is that helping them? It’s not.

FYI: Big Food is designed (important note: not created by God) to keep people addicted to their products for life. That is not living in freedom, my friends. Big Food also destroys the land God made, uses unethical labor and other humanitarian issues that should greatly concern you. Here are two great resources to find out how many slaves you use: Made In a Free World and Slavery Footprint. Very insightful to change your buying and eating habits.

No wonder people think we are hypocrites! We are! But you don’t have to be a hypocrite any more. You can change. You can start to match your words with your actions.

The truth will set you free and the truth about what you feed your soul, what you feed your body will free you and generations to come. Being healthy isn’t just for yourself, it’s for generations to come. And another little fact: did you know that what the mother eats sets the DNA for the next 5-6 generations? That’s a pretty powerful reason to start cleaning up your plate! What you are eating will determine what diseases (or good health) your future generations will inherit.

This message of health and what we put in our bodies is one that virtually no one wants to speak about. While others may be okay with, I am not. As believers, we are the light to those around us, but sadly our light is tainted with toxins and sickness and disease. Not because we are human but because we have ignored our health all along. We need to be on forefront of this battle, not sitting on the sidelines!

Another topic: Do you know what GMO is and what is happening to the very earth that God created? Did you know that if you are buying Big Food products (virtually anything in commercial supermarkets, Wal-Mart, Target, etc), consume fast “food”, or chew gum, that GMOs are in those products that God never intended to be in your body? GMOs are a real issue and so far the Christian circle is pretty silent on it. We need to be on forefront of justice issues, not waiting for someone else to take the initiative. And yes, health justice is very much a topic that impacts the faith community.

Our faith values need to coincide with our food choices. Our faith values need to match our ethics when it comes to what we put in our mouth or slater on our skin.

The faith community can’t live without their coffee, but did you know that it takes 37 gallons of clean water to make one cup of coffee? To dig deeper, coffee and cocoa are two crops that use slave/human trafficking/child labor the most. Yes, health justice is very much related to your faith.

What can you do? Here are 9 ways to start matching your faith with your daily choices and walking the talk.

1) Disrupt your buying and eating habits

I’m not going to sugarcoat it and suggest baby steps. We’re too far gone for that. Clean out your fridge, your cupboards, pantry and get rid of the toxic products. Yes, even that baking powder (if it’s not Rumford brand it contains Aluminum).

2) If you are a church leader, start talking about this issue

Work at a church or other faith community? Start the conversation. Share this series with them. We can not ignore the issue anymore. If you don't feel comfortable talking about it, I'm happy to talk with them!

3) Change where you shop

If you are currently shopping at Wal-Mart, Target, commercial stores for food, stop. You get your health from where you shop. Get to know your local, organic farmer. Shop at local co-ops, health food stores, farmer’s markets. Here is a great resource to get you started. On a tight budget? Read this. But remember, how much are you paying to be sick? Medicine, time off work, doctor visits- these virtually do not happen with the people that buy and eat real food and take care of their body. Something to think about.

4) Hire me to speak and/or host a workshop

I’d love nothing more than to help your church leadership, community and get well. We’ve designed the workshops to be a practical source of knowledge that you can apply instantly.

5) Work with me personally

You can sign up for our 21 day program and learn how to eat, cook, shop, live, prevent disease and reprogram your mind, body, life. So worth it!

6) Educate yourself

Before you put another thing in your mouth or swallow another pill, read the ingredient label and know the associated (and serious) health risks. Calories aren’t the focus of this exercise. It’s what makes up the product that is either giving you disease or giving you health.

7) Eat real, God-made food, drink, cures

It’s pretty simple what to eat: if God made it, you can eat, drink, consume it. If God did not make it, do not eat, drink, swallow, chew, consume. And PSA: soft drinks, Slurpees/Icee, energy drinks (Red Bull, Monster, etc) are not real drink. Ditch them right now.

8) Buy organic

There are so many reasons to eat organic! One of the reasons is that pesticides are toxins and fat cells like toxins. So if you want to lose weight, eat organic. Another huge reason is that organic farming also cares for the land that God created. Conventional farming does not. Again, put your faith into practice by buying that which God intended for you.

9) Devour this site

This website, Twitter, Instagram, eNewsletter and other social platforms are filled with countless resources to help you live incredibly well, prevent disease and share the love of Jesus to everyone around us. Here are some other vetted sources:

Dr. Mark Hyman

Food Babe

Tania Mercer

Andy Bellatti 

Robyn O'Brien 

Living Maxwell

Maximized Living

Dr. Matthew McAlees 

Dr. Joel Fuhrman

Nutrition You Can Trust

Kristina DeMuth and Moxie Dietitian (also contributor to this series)

I pray for you daily that the truth will set you free. Please be part of the solution instead of contributing to the problem. I believe in you!

Much love, peace and wellness to you.

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7 Health Legacies to Give Our Children

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7 Health Legacies to Give Our Children

HealthLegacy

Have you ever thought about about the health legacy you are building for your children? As parents we set the foundation for the rest of their life and it's important to leave them with a wellness foundation that is healthy in mind, body and spirit. Here are 7 health legacies to give to our children. 1) Teach them where their food comes from

Today, many children (and adults) do not know where their food comes from and think chocolate milk comes from a cow. Food education is critical to helping children eat healthy for the rest of their life. Now, this may involve some education and research on your part, but it's so worth it! Food is not just calories on a plate, it's food to nourish our body and prevent disease. This might be the time to start buying local produce and food if you aren't already. Real food is not made in a lab, real food is grown on small farms with organic practices that care for the earth for years to come. Begin to investigate how far the food you are buying travels to get to your plate. The average food travels 1,500 miles. And this is taking a toll on our health, our environment, our air. Teaching your kids where their food comes from may also inspire you to make healthier choices for you and your family!

2) Teach them how their food is made

HealthLegacy
HealthLegacy

Do you know how the cereal was made that you are pouring into their bowls? What about eggs, meat, dairy? Was it made with harmful ingredients that you can't pronounce? Or was it made with local ingredients? A healthy relationship with food sets a healthy relationship for our children for years to come. Food is fun! Food is made-from-scratch with fresh, organic, local ingredients. Real food doesn't grow on cans or cardboard boxes. Teaching them how their food is made can involve a trip to the local farmer's market and your local, organic farmer. Visit your local beekeeper (no bees, no food!). Sign up for a CSA (Community Supported (Sustainable) Agriculture). See if your town or city has a community garden. If they don't, why start one with your neighbors? It's fun and relaxing to get your hands in fresh soil! When we get back to the basics of our food system we teach our children healthy principles for generations to come. 

3) Teach them how to cook and bake

One of the great travesties is that people no longer cook in their kitchen! (This personally makes me sad.) Learning to cook and bake is one of the greatest gifts you can give your children for years to come! Buy local, fresh, organic ingredients and make meals from scratch. Rely on what's in season instead of using a microwave. Make yummy chocolate chip cookies from scratch with real ingredients (real, whole butter, organic whole wheat flour, Celtic sea salt) instead of a mix. Have a-make-your-own pizza night! Making naturally gluten free dough is super easy. Have the kids pick their toppings. More pizza ideas here. Tip: if your attitude is "but I don't like to cook!" change your attitude. It doesn't serve anyone to have that outlook! Rely less on the commercial grocery store products and more on your kitchen (and local farmer) for your food. P.S. the kitchen is awesome.

4) Teach them to thank a local, organic farmer

A thankful heart is another part of a healthy life. And one place to start is with your local, organic farmer. Build a relationship with them! Thank them for the food they provide, for their care for the soil and earth and air. If we lose our small local farmers we lose out on our health for generations to come. Children will love visiting the farms! Make it a weekly or bi-weekly routine.

5) Teach them by setting a positive example

Healthy eating habits are set and learned by you. Your attitude towards the kitchen, healthy eating and physical activity all starts with you (no pressure, right?!). Children will follow your lead so you have a big responsibility! Set the positive example by showing them that it's natural to eat kale chips, drink pure water, run, practice yoga, ride bikes, shop at local farmer's markets!

6) Teach them that living a healthy life always looks for ways to give back

We live in an instant gratification society and it's having a negative impact on our lives and on our world. By teaching them to look around them and see how they can help others will instill a grateful attitude in their tender hearts. It can be as simple as picking up trash at the playground, making a warm meal for the homeless family on the street corner or contributing funds to build a well in Africa for the millions that don't have access to the basic human right of clean water. Gratefulness is a great healthy habit that will have lasting dividends.

7) Teach them that healthy habits will last them for a lifetime

Building healthy habits is critical for the rest of their lives. Healthy living will be a natural part of their life and in turn they will be able to help others. Teach them that eating for health and disease prevention is a great thing! Let them see you getting active. Let them hear you speak encouraging words. Ride your bikes together to the local playground or park. Make healthy living a family affair!

Learn more about living gluten free! Visit http://udisglutenfree.com/community

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Udi's Gluten Free. The opinions and text are all mine.

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Cheeseburgers and The Church (part five)

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Cheeseburgers and The Church (part five)

Cheeseburgers and The Church

So far we have touched on several topics with Cheeseburgers and The Church: In Part Two of Cheeseburgers and The Church, I talked about Big Food Industry and the its role in human slavery and poverty.  In Cheeseburgers and The Church Part Three, I discussed how our cheap meat and animal-sourced foods, highly refined food products are failing to provide stewardship to the Earth, non-human life, as well as human health. In Cheeseburgers and The Church Part Four, I discussed my frustration with Faith Based organizations promoting unhealthy food options in their church gatherings, mission work, and volunteer service projects. (If you missed why this series started, read the introduction here.)

Today, I am going to muse on faith, money, and health. I know for a fact that in the Christian community, people are called to be good stewards of their financial resources. I would argue that all humans, for the sake of the common good, should be good stewards with their financial resources too. When it comes to "cheap" food (e.g. fast food, cheap meat, processed food, sugar sweetened beverages), we are "investing" in expensive health risks for ourselves, our families, and greater society. In one of my public health classes, I learned that  each year America spends well over $2 TRILLION dollars on health care .... with only 3% of that $2 Trillion going to public health work (PREVENTION). These numbers are ASTRONOMICAL! Especially, considering that we spend more on health care than any other country, yet we still aren't doing better (in terms of health) than other developed countries.....

Chronic diseases, which many are PREVENTABLE with lifestyle choices, are largely to blame for our high cost of health. In fact the CDC's website states:

"As a nation, 75% of our health care dollars goes to treatment of chronic diseases. These persistent conditions—the nation’s leading causes of death and disability—leave in their wake deaths that could have been prevented, lifelong disability, compromised quality of life, and burgeoning health care costs."

The American Cancer Society reports:

"Each year, about 585,720 Americans die of cancer; around one-third of these deaths are linked to poor diet, physical inactivity, and carrying too much weight."

Additionally, the CDC predicts that by 2050: 1 in 3 U.S. adults will have diabetes!!! In 2007, diabetes alone costed $174 billion in direct and indirect causes! Type 2 Diabetes, which makes up about 90-95% of all cases of Diabetes in America, is PREVENTABLE with lifestyle habits like healthy eating, being physical activity, and maintaining healthy weight.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD), which is the cause of death for about 1 in 4 Americans, has officially become the number one killer for men and women in America. The CDC reports: "CVD costs the United States over $300 billion each year, including the cost of health care services, medications, and lost productivity." CVD is preventable!!!!

Everyday, I am becoming more convinced that people are wired for temptation, procrastination, and impatience. In America, we expect fast and quick results... immediate gratification for our desires, "needs", and happiness. We spend money foolishly on food because "it tastes good" rather than investing in food that does our body good. We don't see food as fuel and "medicine".... we procrastinate to take care of our health, and we are impatient to see results of our change in lifestyle (eating more whole, real foods or increasing physical activity). We want to see immediate results.... so we invest in expensive, and often times, unhealthy weight loss supplements. OR we "give-up" on trying to live healthy--we just stop. OR we decide that we don't need to worry about chronic diseases now because we are young--- BUT the truth is that chronic disease starts YOUNG. Children develop tastes for foods, they are rewarded with "treats" at sporting events, and grow up believing that they are "invincible" to chronic health diseases----BUT the truth is THEY ARE NOT. Children throughout the United States are being faced with "adult" diseases like diabetes, hypertension..... fatty streaks (from high cholesterol) are building-up in the arteries of young children. I will never forget learning about this in my Intro to Nutrition class 7 years ago..... It's shameful, especially when we have been given so many wonderful and health promoting resources (beautiful fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans.....). Eating "foolishly" is costing us more than just our financial resources, however, it's taking away quality years of life that could be spent living to our greatest potential. It's taking away from our quality of work,  and our years to spend with families......our time, feelings, and relationships are invaluable and can not be replaced. Chronic health conditions are often intangible ..... but when you start to believe in PREVENTION and believe that YOU have have control over your health, then things happen....

The beauty is that WE DO KNOW from research that eating whole foods, especially fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans/legumes, nuts and seeds, can help reduce risk of chronic health diseases and lower risk of all-cause mortality. Additionally, eating can TASTE AMAZING and doesn't have to break the bank (see: Oh She Glow's for plant-based recipes and plant-based on a budget). Eating healthy is a rather cheap form of health care that comes with additional benefits (possibly: increasing natural energy, maintaining a healthy weight, increased positive moods....). Being physically active can also be inexpensive and easy! You don't need a gym membership to move your body. Going for a walk, riding bikes, swimming in a lake..... wall sits, push-ups, jumping rope planks, jump squats, yoga moves, sit-ups, taking the stairs.... if you are are reading this, then I am sure you can find a youtube workout video to motivate you! The library also has videos and books for rent. Make physical activity apart of your daily routine.

Don't believe me about prevention and lifestyle!? Then watch this....

And this..

Do I need to explain more? What you eat matters for your health, the health of your family, and the health of your community!

Faith communities can and SHOULD respond to this health crisis in America. Some faith communities are responding to these health issues, which I find really refreshing! (see: Faithful Families, eat smart move more, ).... and I hope that more faith communities will RISE to the challenge to be PROACTIVE, STEWARDS to the Earth, to financial resources, and to all human health.

To paraphrase what my Haitian friend and I had conversed about last month, we can't expect God to save us from our foolishness. We are killing ourselves by ignoring the power of our choice. We must acknowledge our individual and community responsibilities to care for the Earth, our human bodies, as well as non-human life.

Now GO be a good steward--- spend your money wisely, live in prevention, and shine your light!!!!

Read Part Six here.

In good health,

Kristina

kAD
kAD
 

Find me on Twitter: @kristinademuth_RD

or Facebook: Moxie Musing

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Expo West 2014 part one

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Expo West 2014 part one

Expo West

This past weekend I attended the Natural Products Expo in Anaheim, CA as press and got to cover new products, discover the latest natural trends, meet up with some of my favorite brands and of course catch up with lots of friends in the industry! (The show is for trade only.)  2500 exhibitors and 60,000 enthusiastic attendees made for high energy, packed convention center floors and plentiful samples. (Seriously, I never had to buy meal as the plentiful samples alone kept me full!) Having been in the organic industry my entire life (I toiled & grew up on one of the nations first organic farm) I've seen the organic industry change over the years. I remember a time when people did not know what organic was so it refreshing to see a whole show on organics/natural foods!

I reported live from the trade show floor with Instagram photos and Twitter updates (all the while juggling samples in hands and navigating through the sea of people on the packed show floor). There was much to see, experience, learn and discover that the recap will be two parts. So stay tuned!

2014 Expo West Trends

Blue Hill yogurt
Blue Hill yogurt

Yogurts.This trend was common throughout the entire show. From cow's milk to sheep's milk to soy based to savory to grass-fed cream top yogurt, yogurt was definitely a trend. I've been curious about the savory yogurts so was excited to sample them! Blue Hill Yogurts come in 6 flavors (Carrot, Beet, Butternut Squash, Sweet Potato, Tomato, Parsnip) grass-fed cows, and was inspired by their restaurants Blue Hill. Hence the name Blue Hill Yogurts. I tasted the Butternut Squash and Beet flavors and loved both. It's the first ever savory yogurt and I think it's going to be a big hit.

Turmeric. This is one of my favorite super spices and I was so excited to see it in products! Turmeric is one of the best anti inflammatories and I'm so happy to see it making its way into organic food products. Evo Hemp introduced Apple Pecan+Inflammatory Health Bar with this super spice. I had a sample. So good!

Hemp Hearts Snax
Hemp Hearts Snax

Raw snacks.Raw snacks continue to be a hot trend. Which I'm totally thrilled to see! Navitas Naturals came out with a few new ones and Manitoba Harvest jumped into the snack market and will be debuting their ah-mazing Hemp Heart Snax later this fall. And the perks of being press I was given a few samples to bring home with me. I can not WAIT for them to be available on the market! They are so good and Sarah Stanley Approved.

Chia pod
Chia pod

Chia. Chia is still a hot trend and many different companies are using this ingredient in their products. The Chia Company had a a chia pod in front of the convention center so I was greeted with breakfast+chia every morning! I really enjoyed their Bircher Müesli. 

Coconut. Coconut water, coconut bacon, coconut-infused granola, coconut energy bars, coconut oil- coconut seems to be a ongoing trend. Another healthy trend I can get on board with!

Packaging. Not a product per say, but I saw quite a few products that were in pouches with a side twist top opening. Is this the new packaging trend? I guess time will tell.

Real food snacks for kids. Another theme I saw was kid specific snacks. Dried veggies (which were totally tasty for this kid-at-heart), real fruit juice boxes and kid friendly bars. It's great to see real food for kids on the market.

Now for a few of my favorite products that I discovered!

Hummus
Hummus

Love & Hummus. Out of over 2500 exhibits this product stood out to me for a few reasons. 1) Comes in glass jars. (Plastic is so not good for you.) 2) Love the graphics. (With a graphic+creative background, my eye is trained for good design.) 3) This hummus is the ONLY hummus on the market with absolutely zero preservatives (citric acid, fillers, additives, etc). I can't wait to see this on store shelves! Note: product pictured is display only; you don't have to mash your chickpeas. :)

Whole Me
Whole Me

Whole Me. Another product I fell in love with is the Eat Me cereal by Whole Me. As soon as I took a sample bite I knew it was love at first bite. It was like having an almond croissant. The rich almond flavor was divine. Paleo friendly, real food- get your hands- and mouth- on this wonderful product!

Part two will be up later this week!

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Cheeseburgers and The Church (part four)

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Cheeseburgers and The Church (part four)

Cheeseburgers and The Church

We're in a series right now called Cheeseburgers and The Church: the health message. As I (Sarah) look around the faith community I see a few common denominators: obesity, food (a lot of the wrong "food"), unhealthy people and hypocrisy. How can we take care of the souls of the people when we treat our bodies like garbage disposals? Last week was February 27 and it was the End It Movement Shine The Light on Slavery Day. What many in the faith community fail to realize is that the food-like products they are buying are often times produced with slave/child/human trafficking labor. What Cheeseburgers and The Church series is attempting to do is to take a hard look at how we treat our bodies and the purchases we make say a lot more about us than just going to church every Sunday. It's time for the faith community to wake up and start putting their words into action: eating real food, drinking pure (filtered) water, and to stop buying products (Big Food) that keep our fellow citizens entrapped in slavery.

Part One (Introduction to this series by Sarah Stanley)

Part Two (by Kristina DeMuth)

Part Three (by Kristina DeMuth) 

Part Four (by Kristina DeMuth

Part Five (by Kristina DeMuth)

Part Six (by Sarah Stanley)

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Last week, I returned home from a sweet, short trip to Haiti to check-in with the children and the staff I lived and worked with last year. In "Cheeseburgers and The Church (Part Two)" I shared my experience of living in Haiti and making the connection between the Big Food industry and poverty. In this series, I would like to bring the idea of industry down to an individual and organizational level......and share with you some words of wisdom that came from a "health warrior" I met on my last journey.

These are several tweets that I posted that strongly illustrate some of the emotions I felt during my ministry...

  1. "The "white savior" and how our influence of power shapes the developing world."
  2.  " Another child asked me for candy yesterday.... Americans=candy, junk food! That makes me mad and sad." Followed by... "Corn flakes & juice are NOT health foods. Corn flakes= processed GMO, juice= sugar beverage. Wish I could make a public service message." and " What also makes me frustrated about corn flakes is that it's displacing real native cultural foods...."
  3.  "The problem we are now seeing in Haiti w/ illness according to my Haitian friend,"People believe in medicine, they don't believe in food." Followed by "diabetes, hypertension, strokes... Mostly are lifestyle diseases that have been on the rise in developing countries due to westernized diets."
  4.  "I wish more Americans would come to Haiti and try the native foods!!" (Here are a few pictures of the native foods)
  5. "Elders speak wisdom and truth about life. Take time to listen..."
  6.  "I cringe when I see missionaries leaving Haiti (one of the poorest countries in the world) and filling their bodies with processed crap."

Many missionaries, Expats, service volunteers, are all  trying to do the right thing-- serve other people that have a need. The troubling part about our service, however, is that we aren't always aware of how our power of influences shapes the lives of others. We often times come into situations with good intentions, but never think about how those intentions undermine and oftentimes displace traditions, artistry, and rich-culture. I have realized this throughout my experiences in Haiti, specifically with how it relates to food.

It frustrates me when people come to Haiti and have no idea about any of the rich, native foods of the county. They come to do service and developmental projects, and then fill their bodies with SAD (Standard American Diet) food-- pizza, french fries, candy, pop, and meat. They bring treats for the children they visit in orphanages----filling these already malnourished bodies with highly processed, refined foods. In the middle of Cite Soleil, one of the poorest slums in the world, I've had children asked me for a piece of candy. I have had a child cry while I visited a friend's home because I didn't bring a piece of candy! Why are Americans associated with candy? Because that's what Americans are doing...passing out candy, as though life is a carnival. Yes, the candy brings the child a few moments of joy and makes us "feel good" because we've put a smile on his/her face, BUT we don't have to witness the long-term consequences of these actions: the influence we have on cultural eating patterns and the implications it will have on this child's health (many of these same children often don't have dentists, doctors, tooth brushes, or basic sanitation). You may think it's just one piece of candy, but you are just one of millions thinking that it's just one piece of candy. Let me tell you, kids in Haiti are as happy to see fresh fruits (especially the more "rare", native ones) as they are to see sweets and candy! (See: "How to screw up orphan care in the name of Jesus: 8. Feed them a crappy diet.").

The role of influence on health and food extends beyond just the sweets we bring and share and into everyday, cultural staple-foods for these people. To many Westerners, food appears to be just food. BUT food is more than that. Food is about emotion and power, and in many parts of the world, food is also about status and class. Some foods, like edible weeds and native grains, become "food for the poor" though the nutritional value of many of these foods are critical for optimal health and food security for many people around the world. Undermining these health promoting and rich native foods during our times of service, does long-term damage to the people and the cultures we are trying to help (See these research articles on food security and developmental work) including deadly consequences. I am sadden to hear stories from my good, Haitian friends about their parents suffering with lifestyle diseases (or dying from them)  (See my blog "Education is Power").

Strokes, diabetes, hypertension... many of these are preventable by eating whole, real foods and being physically active. Coke, refined-grains, cheap meats, candy, corn flakes, cheetos.... they are all "foreign" foods that are "more palatable" and brought in by foreigners and, consequently, displacing native, whole-some foods (see my blog "Musing on Food-aid Again"). I kid you not, some children are eating only cheetos and juice for dinner, and (in the case that I am aware of) it wasn't because there was a lack of food available. Where did people get the idea that cheetos were an acceptable meal for children? Perhaps it was the Americans? Maybe it was the health professionals in America that have ties with food industry?

Chiritos
Chiritos
 

While doing "service" on one-hand, many people are also doing "dis-services" on the other.. not just to themselves, but also to the people they are trying to serve. We are blinded by how our poor eating patterns are harming the health of others, and how our moments of joy are doing long-term damage. We think of it as "just food" or we think that we are the experts about food because we have had our own personal relationship with food. I am not out to play the blame-game. I used to be in the same shoes as every other missionary/ volunteer.... I used to eat the highly processed foods with chemicals and ingredients I couldn't pronounce.. but then I became educated and now try to be more conscientious about the foods I put in my own body, share with others (and allow them to put in their bodies), and the how the my own food choices impact a much larger, sometimes intangible system.

You, personally, may not be involved with mission-related work in a foreign country, but we have a nutrition-crises here in the United States that needs to be addressed. In many places across the country, children are being fed carnival food at school-- they are being fed cheap, processed, an fried foods that are not health promoting. The meat we are producing is destroying the environment, our health, and increasing antibiotic resistance. It's been reported that over 23000 Americans die of superbugs per year...that 30 million pounds of antibiotics are being used to raise animals for human consumption (only 7.7 million pounds of antibiotics are used in hospitals) ....and 80% of these antibiotics are being used as "preventative mechanisms"....Our cheap meat and our cheap "snack" foods are REALLY EXPENSIVE FOODS with the increase in healthcare costs and the loss of human lives!!!! Our current food system is abusive to the workers producing our food (exposing them to toxic chemicals), the environment (depleting the soil, and polluting our air and water) , the animals (factory farming---thousands of animals crammed into cages and living in their feces), and our own health (see TEDxManhattan and "Antibiotic Resistance and the Food Supply").

Many churches throughout the United States have fundraisers and weekly/ monthly fellowships that serve processed juices, conventional cows milk, donuts, pizzas, pancake-breakfasts, grill-outs, spaghetti dinners, and fish frys.... some churches may even serve meals at homeless shelters, pack-food for foreign countries, collect canned goods for food shelves. How can we turn all of these church functioning, fundraisers, and services into events that honor HEALTH--- honor the body as a human temple and the food that we put into it as medicine? How can we offer more health promoting food choices (e.g. fruits and vegetables) and less processed, refined food options (e.g. chips, white bread, cheap meat)? Can churches promote more meatless options to cutdown on the environmental constraints and the production of "cheap meat"?? How can we learn more about the cultural-food practices in countries that we are packing food for? Are there options for locally sourced food-aid that we can put our money to instead? How do our food choices at volunteer events and church functions contradict the faith messages about stewardship to our Earth, to our bodies, and to others?

In closing, I would like to leave you with this message a Haitian "health warrior" shared with me about health, nutrition, and the bible. This is an excerpt from my blog:  "In regards to foolishness, the Haitian man again shared with me a message from the bible about the eyes, the ears, and the mouth. We have been given all of these things to see good, hear good, and speak good…. but in today’s world, people are interested in foolishness. They aren’t interested in doing what is good for their bodies. They may listen, they may speak, they may see…. but they do not act on wisdom. They act on foolishness."... Further reflecting on foolishness, the Haitian man said, “People believe God made everything for humans to eat. They pray over it and think it is blessed. They think it will do no harm to their bodies….. but I don’t think so.”We must stop acting as though our Creator is going to save us from what humans have done to destroy our global food supply. It is foolish to think that we have no control in our food choices or how we construct/ develop food environments for  both others and ourselves.

kAD
kAD
 

In good health,

Kristina

Find me on Twitter: @kristinademuth_RD  or Facebook: Moxie Musing and learn more about my work in Haiti at For I was Hungry

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9 Ways To Be A Better Runner

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9 Ways To Be A Better Runner

2776032436_8b847c93d7_b.jpg

What runner doesn't want to be a better runner? They seek personal records, long for faster recovery time but at the same time, fear injuries. No runner wants to be sidelined! So how do you stay a happy runner? By taking great care of your body! Here are 9 ways to be a better runner. (Not a runner? They still apply to you too!)

1) Eat real food. The number one mistake I see runners making time and time again is not eating real food. Sadly the common thought is “I ran x miles so I can eat whatever”. This couldn’t be further from the truth! If you are a runner that means it’s imperative to eat even more nutrient-dense foods and to put down the processed food-like products. The SAD (Standard American Diet) is sad for a reason. And many runners think they can “run off” what they eat. However this is simply not true. Toxic ingredients harm your health regardless if you are a runner or not. You don’t want to be a fake runner so why eat fake “food”? Coloring dyes (Blue 1, Blue 3, Red 40, Yellow 5, etc), BHT, man-made trans fats (fast “food” is a great example of this), refined white sugars and flours, artificial sugars (Sucralose/Splenda, Aspartame) are all ingredients that cause many health problems  Want to be a better runner? The number one thing you can do to be a better runner is to eat real, organic, whole, non-GMO foods.  And this should go without saying but drinking sodas and running is a recipe for disaster. Soft drinks create weak bones. As a runner you want strong bones. So if you need one more reason to ditch the soda, here you go! Running is just one part of wellness and a healthy life. Don’t neglect the other parts! No more Big Macs, okay? :)

A sample list of real foods (all organic of course):

  • Hemp seeds and powder
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Bok choy
  • Avocado
  • Chia seeds
  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Cacao nibs
  • Kale
  • Swiss chard
  • Carrots
  • Red onions
  • Sprouts
  • Legumes
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Coconut oil
  • Oranges
  • Bananas
  • Spirulina
  • Quinoa
  • Butternut squash
  • Red kuri squash
  • Brown rice

2) Drink real electrolytes. Electrolytes and running go hand in hand. But it’s super important to get these electrolytes from real food sources instead of Gatorade/Powerade, etc. Powerade still contains Brominated Vegetable Oil. Electrolytes don’t come from a plastic bottle. Not only is plastic a toxin but the ingredients in sports drinks are as well. Food dyes are made from petroleum and coal tar and cause a variety of health diseases (like tumors, cancer). So where will you get your electrolytes? From real food. By following the above advice (eat real food) you will get all the electrolytes you need. You can also make your own electrolytes drink as in this graphic. I’m an ultrarunner and I run super long distances on real food and real electrolytes. It does work :) If you want to see what Gatorade does to your insides, watch this. It's not pretty or healthy!

3) Get plenty of rest. If you are burning the midnight oil at both ends it might be wise to reconsider your current lifestyle. Sleep and rest is another essential for being a better runner. Running on a tired body over time will result in physical stress which in turn will weaken immune system leaving you more susceptible to viruses. Another thing to remember is that time in bed does not equal time slept. Between falling asleep, waking up at night, falling back asleep, those precious minutes don’t count as sleep time (bad news for parents!) so tracking your sleep can be helpful to making sure you are getting the right amount of sleep for your body.

4) Active, smart recovery. If you start the day with a run or just ran a race (of any distance) sitting for the rest of the day is not smart recovery nor beneficial for your muscles. Sitting hinders blood flow to your muscles. After a race, walk around. Move! Walk the next day. Repeat. Getting the blood flow back into your muscles will speed recovery time. Run in the morning before work? That's awesome but you need to be active all day long. Get up from your desk every hour and walk around for 10 minutes. There are so many health benefits to hourly movement.

photo 2 (7)
photo 2 (7)

5) Practice yoga and strength train. Only running only works certain muscles. And that’s not being an effective (or smart) runner. All muscles need to be strong to help prevent injury and run faster. Start by incorporating yoga and strength training into your weekly fitness routine. Squats, lunges, pushups, bridges, plank are all great movements that you can do anywhere. But don’t be afraid to go to the gym and lift weights! Yoga is also great for building strength- bonus: calming the mind at the same time. 

6) Running on soft surfaces. Concrete is not an ideal running surface. The first choice should always be dirt trails and then pavement. Pavement has a little “give”  whereas concrete does not. Running on concrete will make for a very unhappy body and exasperate injuries. It’s okay to run on the neighborhood streets- just be sure to run towards traffic. Be sure to wear ID and reflective material. (Rules of the street: cycle with traffic, run against traffic.)

7) Chill out! Many runners are Type A. Myself included. While not necessarily a bad thing, this can get us into trouble. If we continue to run on stressed out adrenals (fight or flight) it will catch up with us sooner rather than later. By learning to tune into our body and knowing when to back off you can become a better runner for the long haul. Whether its taking a week or a few months off of running that time off will do your body a world of good. Use this time to point practice point number 5.

8) Keep your body healthy! Massage, acupuncture, chiropractic care, Graston/ART are all fantastic ways to keep your body strong, in alignment and most importantly, healthy. Each of these treatments has its own set of health benefits. Chiropractic care is extremely great for runners and athletes. Subluxation can cause all kinds of problems (weight gain, hormone imbalance, headaches, etc). Acupuncture is another personal favorite.

9) Use natural anti-inflammatories. If you are in chronic pain and you think it’s from running, take a deep breath. Running isn’t the cause of your pain! It’s what you are putting in your body that is. Remember point number one in this article? The SAD (Standard American Diet) promotes inflammation (from it’s acid-producing products) and inflammation breeds disease. And popping NSAIDs do not cure the problem. By healing your body from the inside out you don’t have to live in chronic pain! Personally, I train pretty intensely and one of the reasons I don’t have chronic pain and can recover so quickly is by making sure everything I put in my body is real. No toxins. The problem with NSAIDs is that with repeated use they can cause kidney failure, liver failure, ulcers. They also increase the chance for heart attacks. Instead of popping drugs use turmeric, curcumin, ginger. Even my friend Gabe (a MLB player) advocates for eating an anti-inflammatory “diet” (diet as in what you eat, not some weight loss gimmick). In fact, turmeric has been proven to be just as beneficial as NSAIDs but with no deadly side effects (Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine)!

How do you use turmeric? Simply make a raw, cold-pressed shot with it and/or sprinkle on savory dishes like eggs, legumes, brown rice, veggie stir-fry.

Key points to remember:

  • Running is not exclusive to being healthy.
  • Running is part of a healthy life. What you eat, drink, think and put on your skin is just as important as the sport of running.
  • Runners must eat nutrient-dense foods for a strong, healthy body; to reduce recovery time, to recover quicker.
  • Eat well (real food) to run well.
  • Eat an anti-inflammatory diet.
  • Get quality sleep & rest.

Happy, healthy running to you!

This post was brought to you by New Balance and #FreshFoam. Check out this cool, interactive map to see where runners are taking their new running shoes for a spin!

Cover photo credit: Southern Foodways Alliance  

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Cheeseburgers and The Church (part three)

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Cheeseburgers and The Church (part three)

Cheeseburgers and The Church

We're in a series right now called Cheeseburgers and The Church: the health message. If you missed part one and part two be sure to read them and find out why this series is being written!

Today Kristina writes on stewardship and how it impacts the faith community and how we eat.

Stewardship. It's the one word that resonates with me when I think about the challenges our world is facing with natural resources (food, land, water). Failing to be good stewards to the Earth has created astronomical repercussions that are not necessarily visible to the human eye on a day-to-day basis. The lack of stewardship to our Earth and it’s resources are destroying not just our vital ecosystems, but also the dignity and wellbeing of human beings.

First, let's cover the basics. What is stewardship? The Oxford University Press 2013 Dictionary says this: Steward: (verb) to manage or look after (another's property).

As a steward, we take ACTIONto look after someone or something; to attend to its’ needs, to care for it, and to respect it as if it were the property of an honorary guest.

For Christians, the idea of stewardship is presented in the first chapter of the Bible, Genesis. God created the Earth and all of the creatures that inhabit the Earth...and as the story goes, they were all good. God appointed the man and the woman to have dominion over the Earth and all of the creatures that were created; in other words, God gave the man and the woman the responsibility to care for creation.

This idea of stewardship extends beyond just Christian theology. It presents itself in other religions, as well, through the use of nature and humans (see Pyari 2011).  We see stewardship even extend beyond religion and into cultural practices in the way that groups of people socialize and communicate. The golden rule: “treat others the way you would want to be treated” is one of the actions of stewardship in the context of relationships.

The idea of stewardship is present in doctrines of world religions, and it is inscribed in many cultural rituals and social interactions (see Pyari 2011).

Ultimately....

"Whatever we do to the earth, we do to ourselves."

- Chief Seattle

So  just how does this idea of stewardship fit within the context of food-systems, nutrition, and humans? Simple.

The food-system greatly impacts the many different ecosystems that inhabit the earth. The way in which we choose to use the soil and the land, as well as the way we raise animals impacts the health of all the creatures that are apart of this global ecosystem.

Look all over the internet, we are continually seeing news about factory farming and its destruction to the environment, its cruel treatment to animals, and its encouragement of monocrop systems and GMO. There are articles flooding the internet and research about over-fishing, loss of native species, and the rapid rise of global warming.... and its impact on human and non-human life.

We are destroying the planet with our food choices. We are failing to practice stewardship to the animals, the soil, to human and non-human existence. We are taking resources from the Earth faster than we are returning them and protecting them. As we continue to industrialize, we loose touch with the natural world. We disconnect with the environment and instead "buy-in" to consumerism... marketing, social-status, idols. It's about money and business, not about stewardship. We are taught to consume, not to protect.

The land and food environment has become a "Carsinogenic" stew, as Derrick Jensen describes in his book "Endgame." We are filling the Earth with chemicals, we are exploiting our bodies by filling them with chemicals.... and our bodies and the environment are responding in repulsive ways. We have failed to be good stewards.

We must acknowledge the environment when we consider our food choices-- something that is not apparent to us when we make purchases at the grocery store. "Natural" doesn't always mean "good for the Earth."... "humanly raised" does not mean "good for the animals".... these are labels, "green-washing", marketing claims to increase consumerism, to increase the profit of the rich, but not necessarily the profit of our global ecosystem. Participating in these systems (knowingly or unknowingly) is not being a good steward to the Earth, as well as to human and non-human life.

The 14th premises Jensen makes in "Endgame" is this:

"From birth on—and probably from conception, but I’m not sure how I’d make the case—we are individually and collectively enculturated to hate life, hate the natural world, hate the wild, hate wild animals, hate women, hate children, hate our bodies, hate and fear our emotions, hate ourselves. If we did not hate the world, we could not allow it to be destroyed before our eyes. If we did not hate ourselves, we could not allow our homes—and our bodies—to be poisoned."

We no longer have a healthy relationship with our food. We give thanks for the flesh and the plants that we eat, assuming that the blessings will provide us with good health and nourishment, but we do not act. Stewardship is a verb. It is an action. We have been called, as people of faith, to take action to protect these resources, to protect both human and non-human life, and to protect the bodies we have been given.

I am calling on faith communities, no matter your religious beliefs, to respond to our environmental crisis. To take action towards being and preaching the word of STEWARDSHIP. To live out stewardship in everyday life.

Things to consider:

- It's estimated that 64% of fisheries have been "overexploited", especially in communities where many poor people rely on the fish for their own nourishment.

- 70% of the Amazon has been destroyed for factory farming and animal feed

- In Comfortably Unaware, Dr. Oppenlander references an FAO report that states 30% of all landmass is used for livestock production and 33% of agricultural land is used for GMO crops for animal feed. Additionally, we are raising more food for animals (for human consumption) than we are for humans.... and we are producing animals for human consumption at rates that are higher than considered natural. How is this healthy for our bodies and our planet? How is this stewardship?

- Deforestation for industry (monocrops, factory farms, textiles) depletes the soil of vital nutrients, impacts the quality of our air, destroys the ecosystem of the creatures that rely on the trees for survival.

- Processing foods requires energy, increases pollution (e.g. byproduct wastes like the acid whey from Greek Yogurt), and stimulate material wastes (e.g. packaging).

-CO2 and methane production from livestock is increasing climate change

-Climate change increases the core temperature of the Earth, which impacts weather systems (e.g. dramatic fluctuations of droughts and floods) that in-turn impacts the global food supply.... which will further impact the livelihood of human and non-human existence.

-Climate change is expected, and already is, impacting the lives of the world's most vulnerable people. Where resources are already scarce and poverty AND malnutrition are prevalent, climate change has its' greatest impacts. In addition to increasing vulnerability to food security, bacterial related diseases will continue to rise... further increasing the rise of malnutrition and (preventable) deaths.

-"Americans die each month from toxins and other workplace hazards,and more Americans die each week from preventable cancers that are for the most part direct results of the activities of large corporations, and certainly the results of the industrial economy." - Jensen

- How are we protecting non-human life when we place animals in cages and exploit them for human consumption? How is this system by any means natural? In Christianity, humans are called to have "dominion" (meaning control or governance) over non-human life but how is our "governance" lacking "stewardship" and responsibility, compassion, and care?

In good health,

Kristina

kAD
kAD
 

Find me on Twitter: @kristinademuth_RD  or Facebook: Moxie Musing.

Learn more about my work in Haiti at For I was Hungry

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Cheeseburgers and The Church (Part Two)

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Cheeseburgers and The Church (Part Two)

Cheeseburgers and The Church

We launched a new series last week called Cheeseburgers and The Church: the health message. If you missed the introduction article, be sure to read it!  Today is part two and is written by Kristina DeMuth.

Big Food and the faith communities. 

How can the two possibly be connected?

I asked myself the same thing a year ago… and that’s when my life changed.

It was last year at this time that I was living and volunteering as a dietitian in Haiti. Like many low resource areas of the world, Haiti has vast environmental constraints (e.g. deforestation), and extreme cases of poverty and malnutrition. During my time in Haiti, I was working with a small community just outside of Port-au-prince (the capital) to help enhance micronutrient intake of the children by utilizing native foods and increasing diet diversity.

american rice
american rice
 

Many places I traveled throughout the city, I would see signs for sugar-sweetened beverages (e.g. COKE and 7-up). Corner stores and vendors filled with highly processed, imported foods (e.g. candy, chips). I would find myself picking up wrappers and containers around our community and reading the ingredient labels the best I could—artificial dyes, added sugars, trans fat, and chemicals I have never heard of. Many of these products coming from America and other wealthier countries. Unfortunately, it was easier to find a bottle of pop than fresh water. Processed foods were made highly available compared to the local, fresh produce (that I greatly enjoyed and preferred).

Tampico
Tampico
 

Being bombarded with advertisement and sales of processed, imported junk and American white rice was incredibly heartbreak especially when all things considered--- malnutrition is prominent in this country, many people don’t have basic health care, and people are poor without much money to spare. When money is spent on these foods with the little money that they do have, it is ultimately going back to Big Food business in a “developed” country rather than into the hands of the local, small farmers (who are some of the poorest people in the world!!!).

When I returned from Haiti, I started doing more research and investigating the role politics plays in our global food supplies. It was never a concept that had been important to me before. Because really, how could MY food choices in the United States be impacting the lives of people in other countries?

I was in disbelief.

I picked- up a few resources-- "Uncomfortably Unaware" by Richard Oppenlander,  "Food Politics" by Marion Nestle, and “Out of Poverty” by Paul Polak. I also stumbled upon Food Empowerment Project and learned about the work Oxfam was doing with their “Behind the Brands” campaign. ....AND IT HIT ME.

Food is about power. It’s about an unequal distribution of resources. It’s about politics. Yes, it is about nutrition… but more than anything food is about systems and power.

change bar
change bar
 

The Hershey chocolate bar, the cereal in the cupboard, the Coke/Pepsi/ Evian waterin the fridge... all of these products are apart of a system MUCH larger than made visible at the cash register.

In many of the poorest areas of the world, Big Food companies have brought their industry. As my mother always reminds me, assume positive intent of people. I am sure, like many people, Big Food saw these as opportunities to bring business to other countries and provide jobs. BUT what we know from research and advocate groups is that these, perhaps, good intentions are DESTROYING cultural groups and systems.

Women and children being enslaved--- being paid unjust wages with poor working conditions. Farmers are being forced off their land to grow monocrops (e.g. planting just sugar cane) rather than food for their families. Deforestation and environmental issues are only exacerbated from the destruction of forest for farming purposes. For example, cattle ranching has contributed to 70% destruction of the Amazon rainforest (Americans have been huge consumers of this beef). The destruction of the forest not only destroyed vital eco-systems, but it further has displaced over 90 native tribes of PEOPLE (Facts from Uncomfortably Unaware).

Imagine for just a second that someone decided to destroy your home, your neighborhood, and the sacred place where your ancestors lived? Or perhaps that you were a young child SOLD to the chocolate industry, unable to go to school, never able to see your family, paid very little and maybe even WHIPPED for not working fast enough (More on the Chocolate Industry, and My post here).

“When people eat chocolate, they are eating my flesh” – Lauren Ornelas's Tedtalk 

Human slavery exists in the 21st century. Poor people, women, and children around the world are working to make the wealthier people “luxurious” foods…. (and sometimes these foods are even being marketed back to the people who are enslaved making them....).

As a faith community, how can we sit back and pretend that human slavery in the 21st century isn’t happening? How can we ignore the fact that our precious earned American dollars ARE SUPPORTING HUMAN SLAVERY, HUMAN POVERTY, AND DESTRUCTION OF CULTURAL GROUPS when we continue to purchase products made from Big Food industries that aren’t working to address these issues. As my friends and I always say, “VOTE WITH YOUR MONEY.” … and raise your voice.

For how much money these companies spend MARKETING their products to you, they could be working to really improve the conditions for which many of these poor people live. Working to enhance ecosystems and communities rather than destroying them.

If I am not mistaken, the only time Americans (generally speaking) stop to think about the lives of people in low resource areas of the world is when they hear about disasters on the news, or when major famine and war plague a country. People react and send their money, pack food at hunger relief organizations… and then they carry on with their daily lives. Occasionally, praying for those living in poverty and praying for world peace. And then the typical American wakes-up in the morning, eats a bowl of Frosted Flakes or Cheerios, drinks milk from conventional cows, eats a few Pringles, Oreos, and a pepsi for lunch, has a Snickerbars for a snack, eats a big steak for dinner, and polishes of the day with a little Ben & Jerry’s (more on Behind the Brands here, more on factory farming here). Again, prayers are said, money is sent to a relief organization… and people continue on with their lives WITHOUT ever thinking that their food purchases and the companies that produced their food has contributed to the cycle of poverty and the destruction of human dignity...  for the very same people that are only thought about when their stories make headlines because of tragic deaths and natural phenomenons.

Honey Nut Cheerios

Honey Nut Cheerios

 

While we sit and dine in “luxury”, we support human slavery.   We support the destruction of ecosystems, climate change, and poverty.

We are just comfortably unaware.

AND that’s a slap in the face.

 So what can we do about it?

Learning about these issues has impacted me both professionally and personally. I've worked along side people in Haiti-- I have seen extreme poverty. I have smelt  poverty. I have touched poverty. I care passionately about people in poverty. AND since I care about these issues, it has helped me to want to better understand how MY OWN personal food choices impact larger systems and lives... CHANGING THE WAY I EAT (because this happens on a daily basis) MAY POTENTIALLY HAVE BIGGER IMPLICATIONS FOR THOSE LIVING IN POVERTY THAN SENDING RELEF MONEY OR SIMPLY JUST SAYING PRAYERS.

Fair Trade Certified

Fair Trade Certified

I am continually working to find better products for my own consumption (e.g. fairtrade, local farmers markets), educating myself about food politics, food systems, climate change....and inspiring others to (hopefully) do as well. Because at the end of the day, OUR CHOICES MATTER. We can either sit back and allow these things (e.g. child slavery, landgrabs) to happen, or we can do something about it (e.g. boycott--aka vote with your money, petition/ protest, demand fairtrade).

AND ultimately, we can turn PRAYERS into ACTION.

In good health,

Kristina

kAD
kAD
 

Find me on Twitter: @kristinademuth_RD  or Facebook: Moxie Musing.

Learn more about my work in Haiti at For I was Hungry

Updated articles in this series:

Part Three (by Kristina DeMuth) 

Part Four (by Kristina DeMuth

Part Five (by Kristina DeMuth)

Part Six (by Sarah Stanley)

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