Jim here... Recently, a commenter on this blog, Lannette, mentioned being a cardiac rehab nurse. For some reason, reading this set my wheels spinning in various directions, among them onto the topic of meat consumption in the world. To begin, I'd like to recap something I'd said in response to her:
... it *astounds* me how people joke about heart health where I work. People around here routinely return from medical exams and actually adopt rather mischievous grins when they reveal how high their bad cholesterol levels are. It's like they're saying, "I know meat and dairy are bad for me, but I'm going to keep on eating it anyway. Isn't that funny ??!!!" Ummm, no. It's sad. They laugh it off as though there could be no possible future reckoning for them. It's reminiscent, IMHO, of Dr. Viktor Frankl's book "Man's Search for Meaning," in which he describes a psychological phenomenon he termed the "delusion of reprieve." For anyone unfamiliar w/ that, the term describes the phenomenon via which those faced with certain death (or near certain death) mentally construct some way out of it. They are deluded into believing that they'll have a reprieve from the inevitable. So, it's exactly the same to me -- these people see the heart attacks coming. They simply refuse to do anything about it, refuse to change their habits, deny what their blood work says to them. Why? Because they think "I'll be okay. Sure, this leads to heart disease in most people, but not in *me* because I'm a strong guy, I'm macho, I'm not as fat as some other person here, etc." Mostly, it's the meat, I think. It's got a powerful hold on our society...
So, today I wanted to write a little bit on the topic of meat consumption. This is an enormous issue, in my opinion. If you're reading this, it likely means you're already at least a vegetarian, so I do not need to quote you any saddening statistics on the horrors of the meat industry. In fact, before writing this, I decided to visit the PETA web site quickly in order to glean a few slaughterhouse facts. But, in no time, I became markedly depressed, so I'll largely avoid focusing on specific negative imagery here.
Sad Update: Our friend Michelle Pierson, interviewed here, passed away in July 2016 after a kayak accident in Hawaii.
We've spent the past three days focusing on the core subject of critical importance in the raw food lifestyle -- the FOOD! However, as most people will agree, it's also about so more than "just the food." Here at Pure Jeevan, we've always made a point to stress the holistic nature of our philosophy (mind, body, spirit, emotions), and we'll certainly continue to do that.
The Raw Spirit Festivals also do a magnificent job of illustrating this point. While they do offer *spectacular* raw foods and presentations centered around raw foods, you'll also find music, dancing, yoga, and other uplifting recreational activities all day long!
Recently I've been to three potlucks in the span of four days. They've all been wonderful for different reasons -- one was a birthday party for a lovely young woman, Bethany, another was part of a women's circle that my friend, Melissa, invited me to attend, and the other was at my home as a meetup when Kevin and Annmarie Gianni were here visiting. Lots of fun, connecting with people, and raw foods to eat.
Sounds perfect, right? Well, something's been happening with me and raw foods over the past year. It became even more evident after eating at three different potlucks over four days. I've noticed more and more that when I don't eat something that I've created, I many times have reactions to the foods I've eaten. The reactions have ranged from flushed facial skin, slight headaches, hives, full-blown headaches, upset stomach, water retention, achy joints, etc. All signs of being sensitive to something I'm eating, right? I've narrowed it down to a few things, but it doesn't seem to be an exact science to knowing what's going to cause the reaction.
At home I know that I feel better if I don't consume garlic even though I love the taste and smell of it. When I eat too much of it I experience headaches and sometimes flushed cheeks. I gave up raw vinegar a long time ago because it makes my joints ache. Recently I noticed that whenever I eat Nama Shoyu I get a headache, flushed cheeks, and sometimes some hives. So, at home I can control my reactions to foods -- I simply avoid eating the things that sometimes trigger problems for me. I feel great most of the time because I eat more simply and my body doesn't experience any problems.
I thought I'd share some recent pictures with all of you. Let me know what you think!?
Carob Peppermint Hearts
This is a recipe I created to take the place of a packaged raw cacao dessert that Jim loves. I don't like to eat cacao, because it disturbs my heart, so I use carob. A new raw friend asked for a recipe for this dessert, because she loved it so much, but I don't have one. I dump walnuts, coconut, agave, and peppermint oil into the food processor and mix until it's a consistency that can stick together. For Valentine's Day I shaped the mixture into hearts. Sweet!?
Hey everyone!? Just one long weekend left for Wendi and KDcat to (frantically) pack for their cross-country roadtrip. Yep, Monday night I'm dropping them on that midnight train to Portland. Wait until you see the spread of trip-snacks they're taking along. (We took some pictures of the raw foods smorgasbord sent by our generous snack sponsor, Natural Zing).
Today, since it's fun-filled Friday, I thought I'd share a little tale of frustration (although meant in kind of a funny way) relating to my own diet. You may have read my mini-manifesto a few weeks ago about my recent quest for simplicity. Well, Wendi and I have both largely maintained that kind of existence for a while now -- especially when it comes to the breakfast smoothies (pineapples galore!) and lunch salads. I have to admit that my energy seems to be trending upward very nicely!
I'm posting this at the end of a busy day, but let's see what I can call fun in just an ordinary day.
It was fun singing at the top of my lungs with KDcat in the car today--both of us over exaggerating the vocals and giggling a lot.
When we were heading out of town, I said that this trip might be a bit difficult on Jim because it's his first time being exposed to our friend Mamta's Indian food while he's 100% raw. I created some rich, delicious dishes to keep him satisfied, so that the temptation wouldn't overpower him. I expected no problems for myself, since I've been raw for more than three years and have been exposed to this temptation before without any problems.
Well, guess what? The cravings are here! You see, Mamta is THE BEST Indian food chef EVER. We've eaten literally thousands of Indian meals over the years, and even enjoyed it while touring India for nearly a month in the 1990s, but nothing has ever compared to Mamta's skill at creating the most delicious food on the planet. As usual, she sent home lots of food when we left this weekend -- this time all for KDcat, who is so very happy she's not eating 100% raw foods. I don't even know how many different dishes came home with us, but their aroma has been extremely tempting.
According to Mike Adams of NewsTarget.com:
"Many Florida oranges are actually dipped in an artificial orange dye in order to make them more visually appealing. It's the same dye that's been banned for use in foods because of cancer risk."
Ahh, yes... Ginkgo Biloba. What a distinctive tree, don't you think? So easy to identify, and so many reported health benefits. This one belongs to a neighbor that seems to have an affinity with Asian landscaping motifs. They also have gorgeous bamboo growing in their yard, and other Asian elements. I would have liked to have harvested some leaves to dry for some Ginkgo tea, but the owner wasn't around to ask. Perhaps some other time.
Thanks to Bitt, yesterday, for pointing out that one possible misinterpretation of yesterday's post (on celebrity weight loss) could be that "thin = healthy." I'm sure that, while there are countless wonderful benefits to being a famous actor, one of the less wonderful aspects of that life must be the pressure to remain young, thin, attractive, etc. It would seem realistic to me to assert that, additionally, women are held to even more objectified standards than are the men out there (although, in fairness, note that 6 of the 11 stars profiled in the Yahoo feature linked to yesterday were in fact men).
In any case, the post's intention was never to imply that one's weight is necessarily the best indication of one's overall health. After all, we all know thin people afflicted with serious health challenges.