Nothing on TV?: Friday, June 7

Breaking the Set with Abby Martin
6 Corporations That Control Your Perception


Nothing on TV?: Thursday, June 6

Lee Camp, Moment of Clarity #238
Youtube description: Opening your eyes to the influences controlling our behaviors takes many steps. This is the first one. It’s perhaps the key to everything.

Breaking Free, Episode 1

The World According to Monsanto
If you know nothing or next to nothing about Monsanto, this is the film to watch. It’s staggering.

Youtube description: There’s nothing they are leaving untouched: the mustard, the okra, the bringe oil, the rice, the cauliflower. Once they have established the norm: that seed can be owned as their property, royalties can be collected. We will depend on them for every seed we grow of every crop we grow. If they control seed, they control food, they know it — it’s strategic. It’s more powerful than bombs. It’s more powerful than guns. This is the best way to control the populations of the world. The story starts in the White House, where Monsanto often got its way by exerting disproportionate influence over policymakers via the “revolving door”. One example is Michael Taylor, who worked for Monsanto as an attorney before being appointed as deputy commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1991. While at the FDA, the authority that deals with all US food approvals, Taylor made crucial decisions that led to the approval of GE foods and crops. Then he returned to Monsanto, becoming the company’s vice president for public policy.

Thanks to these intimate links between Monsanto and government agencies, the US adopted GE foods and crops without proper testing, without consumer labeling and in spite of serious questions hanging over their safety. Not coincidentally, Monsanto supplies 90 percent of the GE seeds used by the US market. Monsanto’s long arm stretched so far that, in the early nineties, the US Food and Drugs Agency even ignored warnings of their own scientists, who were cautioning that GE crops could cause negative health effects. Other tactics the company uses to stifle concerns about their products include misleading advertising, bribery and concealing scientific evidence.

Nothing on TV?: June 5, 2013

I am going to start a new feature on the blog! Everyday I am going to post the videos that my husband and I watch in the evenings. Instead of watching primetime TV (which I used to do all the time), we now fill our evenings with informative, weird, fun and out-there nonfiction videos, movies and documentaries. Of course, sometimes the Bruins, Sox or the Celtics take precedent, but that’s cool because, hey, we live in the best sports town in ‘Merica and sometimes you gotta watch the boys.

Here were last nights selections! Right now it will be a lot of permaculture selections, as I have to (and want to!) watch these for the permaculture course I am taking in August. These are both fine to watch around children, by the way.

The Cosmic Giggle (this was AWESOME)

The Cosmic Giggle is an experimental documentary film that explores the human energy field’s dynamic relationship with our environment. Naturally as human beings, we are connected to a vast network of fluid information inherent to the world around us. When we are children, we are open to this field through simple innocent observance, but because of our collective evolution towards a dominating and fixated worldview, this perception becomes veiled. This film reveals how this process takes place and provides keys for returning to a more primal and authentic experience of our reality.

Temperate Permaculture Strategies, Parts 1-8

Permaculture in cool climates with Bill Mollison (he’s one of the founders of the idea of permaculture)

O Soupy on Holdy

My last post where I mentioned I had a big announcement was a little preemptive. I assumed, which always makes an ass out of me, but oh well. The announcement was going to be about a social endeavor I want to start based on the workings of a gift economy. I had entered a contest called Start Something That Matters, sponsored by GOODIS and TOMS Shoes, where you could win $50,000 to start your social endeavor. I got all sorts of excited and made a video about the pay-what-you-can soup business I want to start and entered. And waited. And the day the contest was supposed to start (last Friday), I got an email telling me I hadn’t made it to the voting round.


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The Gift Economy in Action

I have an exciting post for tomorrow, and this will serve as the teaser. I found this amazing story of enacting the gift economy today on Facebook, and it made me cry.

This was a graduation speech given at a Silicon Vally private high school by Nipun Mehta. An excerpt:

The First Key Is To Give 

In the movie Wall Street — which originally came out well before you guys were born — there’s a character named Gordon Gekko whose credo in life reads: Greed is good.  When I was about your age, Silicon Valley was in the seductive grip of the dot-com boom. It was a time when it was easy to believe that Greed was Good. But a small group of us had a different hypothesis:

*Maybe* greed is good, but Generosity is better.

We tested that hypothesis. When I started ServiceSpace, our first project was to build websites for nonprofits at no charge. We ended up building and gifting away thousands of sites, but that wasn’t our main goal. Our real purpose was to practice generosity.

In the early days, the media was pretty sure we had a hidden agenda. “We’re doing this just to practice giving with no strings attached,” we said. The few who actually believed us didn’t think we could sustain it. The thing is — we did. A decade later, when our work started attracting millions of viewers, entrepreneurs told us that we’d be crazy to not slap on ads or try to monetize our services.  The thing is — we didn’t.  We probably *were* a bit crazy. And when we started Karma Kitchen, people really thought “No way!”  It was a restaurant where your check always read zero, with this note: “Your meal is paid for by someone before you, and now it’s your chance to pay it forward.”  The thing is — 25 thousand meals later, the chain continues in several cities around the globe.

I encourage you to check out the links in his speech above, and to go read the whole thing. He is inspiring and it couldn’t have been better timing for what I am announcing tomorrow!

Peace and love!


March Against Monsanto

Hubs and I went to the March Against Monsanto in downtown Boston yesterday. It was a decent turnout even tho the weather felt more like October. I hate this company and I hate that somehow they have managed to completely fool our government into thinking their products are necessary and safe. Really, the only things we can do at this point is grow our own food, buy organic, continue to demand labeling and banning these weirdo crops with things like pesticides spliced into their genes.

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The Fall, Hell on Earth and How to Remedy It

We have created a hell on Earth. Most of us remain blinded to its firey prison, but it’s here. Most of you reading this are probably only in the outer circle of hell, not the very center of the agony. You may have to work 8–10 hrs a day at a job you hate to pay your mortgage, but you have a house. You may worry that you won’t have enough to leave your kid when you die, but your kid eats three meals a day, has people to love it and people to teach it. You think your life doesn’t have much point, but you get enough joy in the few hours you get to spend with your friends and family to keep you ticking. You may medicate heavily with alcohol, pot or pharmaceuticals, but all in the name of unwinding, relaxing, kicking back. Yes, this is only the outside circle of hell.

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You Are What You Eat (Part II)

I was writing this whole descriptive post about this film Forks Over Knives, which is the main thing I want to share in this Part II, and I was getting really sick of the sound of my own writing. I’m going to let the trailor, a summary, and your intense curiosity about it drive your interest to watch it.

It is a documentary examining the overwhelming evidence that reveals something that might be astonishing to some: our skyrocketing rates of cancer, heart disease and diabetes could be turned around with a wink. It documents the work of American physician Caldwell Esselstyn and Cornell professor of nutritional biochemistry T. Colin Campbell. Their many, many research findings and clinical studies all point to one fact: animal products (anything made with milk, meat, or eggs) eaten as more than 5% of your diet causes a sharp increase of your risk of getting cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Not only that, cancer patients, heart disease patients and diabetes patients are reversing their diseases by foregoing almost all animal products and switching to whole foods, plant based-diets. Oh, and they also have a lot more energy and are much healthier in all respects.

Cows milk, meat and eggs are killing us. (Oh, and sugar too but I already covered that in the last post.) All while the government massively subsidizes those industries and represses fun facts, like countries with the highest consumption of dairy products also happen to have the highest rates of osteoporosis. Headscratcher, right?

If you are in anyway concerned with your health, your family’s health, your children’s health or anyone because of diabetes, cancer, heart diseases, obesity, or anything related, please stream this on Netflix or rent from wherever you get movies, because it might literally save a life.

Enjoy! (At least watch the trailor, it’s like 2 minutes)

Just so it stays personal, I am currently trying to have as many veggie meals per week as I can get my husband to agree to (he’s awesome, he says “why should I care if there’s meat in there if it tastes good?”). I’ll keep you updated on the progress and maybe share some recipes.

You Are What You Eat (Part 1)

Bagels with cream cheese (Lender’s Bagels, remember those chewy treats?); bagels with cream cheese with potato chips on top. Potato chips dipped in cream cheese. Pretzels dipped in cream cheese. Kraft mac & cheese scooped up onto potato chips, like some freaky, orange, processed starch salsa. Velveeta cheese sandwiches on preservative laden soft white bread. Oh, and if no one was looking? Straight up, a blanket of Doritos smashed in a slice of white bread, folded in half, eaten as a crunchy sandwich.

No wonder I was a chubby little kid. These were my favorite snacks when I was 10. No, we weren’t poor, yes my mother knew how to cook, yes she tried to get me to eat healthier things. But once I tasted white bread, fake cheese and potato, there was really nothing else I liked. At dinner when I had to eat more real food, I would eat the meat we had, 2-3 white rolls, and baked potato, all layered on top of each other. A few bites of salad. A few green beans. Glass ‘o Coke.

I don’t really fault my parents with having that stuff in the house. My dad liked it, and no one else seemed to have a problem sneaking Dorito sandwiches, so I’m sure it seemed draconian to them to cut it out of our diets all together. Plus, no one really knew the dangers back then of eating processed white flour (or at least the main stream didn’t), processed fake cheese, processed anything. It was cheap, easy and convenient, and America bought it up. Why shouldn’t we? Commercials for Doritos, Lays, Wise, Ruffles, WonderBread, Coke, Pepsi, and Kraft flooded the TV. These brands are your friends! They’re feeding your family for cheap! Look at all that food you can afford! And, I’m sure I begged and begged and BEGGED for these items. Advertisers do studies on how long it takes a child nagging to get the parent to buy something. I’m sure nagged and begged, and my mother has specifically told me that I wouldn’t eat anything else except those cheese sandwiches for lunch. She said she thought it was better to let me  eat that than to have me starve. I believe she was doing what she thought was best. Unfortunately, what happened is I’m pretty sure I got addicted to that stuff, and I now consider myself to be a recovering white-flour, fake-cheese, empty-carb-aholic.

I was talking with my husband about this the other day, after watching Food Matters. I was wondering why I got so obsessed with these kinds of foods, while others didn’t. My best friend growing up liked salsa and salad, tomatoes and pepperocinis, and I’ve told people recently what I used to eat and they look at me with horror. Husband mentioned maybe it wasn’t the food per se, but it was the extreme high I got from eating them. As we know now, those empty white flour carbs are just like sugar, and I basically got a sugar high from eating them. It’s the same feeling you get when you eat McDonalds. The food tastes absolutely glorious while you’re eating it, you can’t get enough. It’s alarmingly crack-like and you just want more of the taste in your mouth. And then when you’re done, you’re really sad and kinda depressed you’re done eating. If you watched Supersize Me, you know Morgan Spurlock commented about that when he at his McDonalds diet for a month. He would get wicked psyched for his meals and then crash after.

I also recently got off anti-depressants I was on for 6 years. I’ve had sort of an anxiety-based, worried about the end of the world, what does it all mean, what am I doing with myself type of depression ever since about 4th grade. I used to lie in bed wondering “what’s outside the universe? Is it God? What’s outside God? What’s outside of that? Why are humans here?” I also was terribly afraid of the dark and slept on the floor of my parents room for a few months in 6th grade. I was afraid of monsters, poltergeists, witches, boogey-men, demons. Mostly paranormal stuff. My sister’s room shared a wall with mine, and frequently throughout the night I would tap on the wall, and keep tapping until my sister returned the tap, signaling she was awake. For some reason, I was extremely terrified of being the only one awake.

Anyway, all this just means I think I had/have some psychological…issues (as we all do to some extent), and that food, for whatever reason, comforted me. I looked forward to it, I craved it, it made me so happy to eat it. The endorphins it released soothed me.

Now I know that kind of stuff is toxic. Study after study is showing that when you eat white bread and sugar, you create a breeding ground for cancer—cancer feeds of that kind of food. It also leads to heart disease—basically sugar causes inflammation in your arteries, which causes cholester0l to stick to the inside of your veins.

I stopped eating processed foods a few months ago. I’ve gradually started buying as much organic as I can. I avoid GMOs whenever possible (those are a whole different story).  I don’t buy white bread, I don’t buy chips, Doritos, etc. I will eat them if they are in my house. My friends know – I’ll go to parties and I’ll end up eating the Doritos and kicking myself later. It’s an addiction, and the companies that make that shit know it. They know exactly what they are doing.

I have a friend who calls that kind of food (basically convenience store food) “slave food.” He calls it that because guess who eats that stuff? Poorer people. Rich people (and I mean the real 1%) don’t eat that stuff. They eat organic, fresh,  meals (most likely prepared by personal chefs), they live off spring water, they indulge in exotic fruits and all the healing, wonderful superfoods you’ve heard all about. Think you’ll ever find a pomegranate or bee pollen in a convenience store? No. Those are reserved for people with funds and the education to know how good certain foods are for you. Poorer people on the other hand are relegated to eating $1 menu McDonalds stuff, Wonderbread, chips, granola bars riddled with GMOs and high fructose corn syrup. And it’s killing them. And that sad part is all we need to fix it is a little more education, community gardens, and free food forests. I was about to say “and more regulations on what is allowed to be in our food,” but I didn’t, because education in and of itself is enough to make people choose appropriate products, and those companies that don’t provide healthy products will slowly shrivel up and die a satisfying death.

I am slowly recovering from my life so far of processed crap. I have way more energy now than I used to. I just realized that my desk job is feeling torturous because I have so much energy I just want to get up and run around the office. I’ve lost a few pounds. I don’t feel about food the way I used to. Now when I eat my food I think of it as fuel, not the highlight of my day. I like the foods I eat a lot, and I use plenty of healthy fats when I cook (lots of olive oil and safflower oil, nuts too). But I don’t want to scarf the food up on site and I don’t feel the desperation to feel that starchy taste in my mouth, or salivate inhaling fake-cheese smell. I consider that a small victory.