Monday, November 21, 2016

Pockets of Change: The Hope Blog

Taking a Stance

Sometimes when you write a blog, it just spews right out of your fingers and onto...well, the keyboard these days, because no matter how old fashioned I am, paper is somewhat wasteful and I have to type it later anyway. So sometimes it flows easy and sometimes it’s based on a thought that has to sit with you for a while, so that you can decide how you actually feel about it and what you want to say. Brain sauerkraut really, just a bunch of ideas mixed together and made to ferment for a while, ya know, till they’re ready.

I created a fermented blog a while ago and I think it’s time to revisit that thought cabbage. The idea behind the blog was to discuss sustainable thought. For the full story, you can click here and peruse at your heart’s content. But for those with fewer reading minutes whom I haven’t already lost, one of the pieces I’ve really retained from that blog is this: humans need hope. Simple some might say, and I wouldn’t disagree, but I think this bit goes deeper. Humans need a future, they need to believe that tomorrow could be better, that improvement and accomplishment are attainable aspects and one that will come to fruition. It’s how we feel about jobs, life, relationships… it’s the missing piece in fulfillment and commitment for some...and can relate to everything!

That job where you’ve hit the glass ceiling, the relationship you know won’t go anywhere, we’ve all been there and the unhappiness and frustration that can well up without a solid reason is quite simply just a lack of hope, a lack of seeing yourself there in the future, and therefore a lack of commitment to personally fixing it, making it better.

I feel this idea is not only appropriate, but important in our current world, no matter which side of the coin you like to land. In many ways, it seems like the walls are crashing in: the environment is degrading around us, the media assures us that nothing but hate and violence occurs each and every day, not only in our country, but all over the world. More people are barely scraping by and the sentiment of blame and frustration is more than palpable in most cities… so how is it that we can be happy, how is it that we can find hope?

We must create it.

This sounds very abstract and it certainly will stay that way until you make it real! Hope is found in many the everlasting mountains that feel so strong and sturdy, at a little league game with our mini-me future investments actually trying their hardest without a notion of recourse for failure (sorry that one might have hidden undertones), when someone says ‘thank you’ and really means it. Hope can be present at the graduation of your daughter with the thought of her future ...or simply gleaned from learning that other people are doing really good things in the world!

It’s amazing how your perception can change when surrounded by little positive things. And if those seemingly insignificant occurrences can change your outlook, just think of what it could do for others! The more good, the more hope that surrounds you, the better you feel. The better you feel, the better you treat others, the more encouraged they are to reach out and make a change as well! It’s all a vicious cycle, but for once in a really helpful sense!

Some people will say that the doom and gloom are all just too overwhelming. And they’re not wrong. But you have to make a dent. Cliche or not, Ghandi was not wrong when he said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” The little things, those tiny sprinkles of hope that you see throughout the day can easily overwhelm your fated cupcake. Be the sprinkles people!

Now let’s be real, not all of us have the time or the energy to just go and start something new, something that’s never been done, something that could help others...but why not? People around you are doing it every day. Millions of organizations exist that promote health for children in developing nations and here in the US of A, others are striving to save the oceans from our overconsumption of plastics, thousands are volunteering at soup kitchens, schools, community gardens… where do they find the time? They make it. Just like you have to create hope, you must create the space in your life, allow yourself to do good things! Commit. Be the hope.

We all get caught up in ‘priorities’...allll of us. It’s chores, it’s family, it’s will always be something.

When I was a kid, I was lucky enough to go to Camp Kitaki every summer (shout out to my camp peeps!). The director would stand up in front of the whole camp with a big glass jar in his hands. On the table in front of him were a few large rocks, some medium ones, and a lot of sand. The big rocks represented the most important things in your life, the medium ones lesser things, and the sand was clearly the small stuff.

The jar… was your life. To cut to the chase, when you attempt to fill the jar with the sand first, or even the medium rocks, you could never seem to maneuver all the big rocks into place. But when you start with the big rocks….

Make hope a big rock.

When you see goodness and progress and a brighter tomorrow happening around you, be part of it! And when you don’t, start it.

Has the world become an uncertain place to live? F**ck yeah it has. But it is not without hope! And the only way to make that grow is to create it. Be the change. Be the cupcake sprinkles. Turn off your television and make some art.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Basic 5: Numero Dos: Energy and Fuel


In the last episode of this ‘As of Yet Unnamed Blog’ (competition to commence soon), we began the ‘what can I do’ BIG BASIC 5 discussion, listing the below concepts as typing points of awareness:

1. Waste and Conservation
2. Fuel and Energy
3. Water
4. Go Local

For an episodic reminder, give a quick scan to the last blog, which focused on ideas concerning waste and conservation in your every day life (as opposed to that every other day life you sometimes somehow inhabit).

But today, oh seekers of information, awareness, and better living strategies, today we shall run the gamut of fuel and energy. Where does it all come from, does it matter, do I care, and can it be created or destroyed? I’ll attempt to answer most of these questions ;)

Energy is a necessity of life. On an elemental level, our bodies need it. On a grander level, it runs our world. Our cars, our phones, our lights; our refrigerators, our ovens and stoves, our home heating and cooling systems; our computers, our construction, our businesses, our military, our food supply, our communication systems, our government … take that last one as you will.

So how much do we, as individuals, know about this element that is so necessary to our lives? Well, Wikipedia I’m sure has pages, but many of us plug in that cell phone charger without actually knowing from whence that juice is flowing!

Let’s break it down! Anyone that just conjured up a break dance move…is my new hero. Energy can be ‘broken down’ into two categories: renewable and non-renewable. Renewable sources include solar power, wind power, hydroelectric power, ways of generating energy that can be done again and again. I know this is a big fat ‘DUH’ for many of you out there, but this distinction is important!

Non-renewable energy sources are basically fossil fuels, which include coal, petroleum, and natural gas. Fossil fuels are basically ancient previously living entities that have been compressed for a gazillion years and have formed energy sources…just like the name says! These sources of energy are the ones that release greenhouse gases with use, namely CO2. Booooo, hissssss! 

Nuclear energy is also a non-renewable energy source, however it DOES NOT create greenhouse gases…but can potentially make the whole world glow colors that we could undoubtedly appreciate with our seven eyes.

So the reality of the situation is that when we consider the whole shebang: transportation, industry, electricity, heating, etc., we as the USA get 38% of our total energy from petroleum, 25% of our energy from natural gas, 21% of our energy from coal, 9% of our energy from nuclear, and the other 8% from renewable resources (solar, wind, hydroelectric, biomass, and geothermal).

TOTAL ENERGY!!!                         SOURCES OF ELECTRICITY!!!                       

Petroleum                        37.33%                         Coal                          44.4%
Natural Gas                     24.73%                         Natural Gas                  23.3%
Coal                                20.92%                         Nuclear                               20.2%
Nuclear                           8.84%                           Hydroelectric                       6.9%
Biomass                         4.10%                            Renewable                           3.6%
Hydroelectric                  2.83%                           Petroleum                            1.0%
Wind, Geothermal,          1.25%
            and Solar

*These numbers taken from a 2009 survey from the Energy Information Administration

These two lists tell us a lot! Americans use more petroleum than any other power source, pointing (with a harsh finger I might add) at our obsession and total reliance on the automobile.

Also, because fossil fuels make up our top three (technically four) sources of energy, we are creating greenhouse gases up the wazzoooo! Additionally, our electricity in this country is primarily generated from coal. When you plug that computer/cell phone/toaster oven into the nearest outlet, just remember that somewhere a little piece of coal just let off a touch of CO2 for you.

Ok, so now that we are AWARE (because remember, it’s all about awareness right?), let’s talk about what we can do! Hurrah!

First and foremost, one word: CONSERVE!

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s be upfront. We (Americans) use too much. We require more energy per person than any other nation. We are surrounded by information that tells us where our energy is coming from (Middle East and destructive mining techniques), what effect it’s having on our environment (very bad) and on our national security/political system (also very bad). And yet, we need need need and use use use use and shun change change change!

I think that energy is America’s drug addiction. We know that using it is bad and hurts those around us; we know that it’s expensive and draining our wallets; we know that there are other options out there, but yet we just keep using!

So the first step in recovery: CUT BACK!

I’m not suggesting that anyone out there go cold turkey…a little won’t kill ya…I mean the world ;)

There are heaps of ways we can all cut down on the amount of energy we’re using. Let’s take it one fossil fuel at a time. 

Petroleum! Because petroleum is used primarily for vehicles of transportation, we need to figure out how we can make the biggest cuts in or alterations to our transportation needs.

Here’s a short list of ideas to decrease your personal transportation energy consumption:

*Ride your bike or walk to work/school/the store                        *Take public transit
*Park your car once a week                                                            *Carpool
*Map out your errands to decrease distance                                 *Shop locally

If you want to get fancy with your petrol-awareness, take it to the next level! Decrease your own energy consumption AND that of your goods and services. Don’t buy things that have to be shipped across the country (or the world); get your haircut and your teeth cleaned somewhere near enough you can walk there; buy your food from local farmers’ markets or nearby producers when you can! This last bit has a huge impact as most of our supermarket food is SHIPPED (requiring gasoline) across the country OR across the oceans, relating greenhouse gas emissions to seemingly healthy foods! How nutty!

And when you DO need to fill that tank, purchase your car’s liquid lunch from a gas station that uses oil drilled FROM the US, not oil SHIPPED to a station near you. Because the US only has 2.4% of the world’s ‘proven’ oil reserves, we import 9 million barrels of crude oil each day (choke, gag, sputter)! But here’s the kicker, we actually export 50% MORE refined petroleum than we import.

Below is a slightly unreliable list (snagged it off the web) of gas stations that sell primarily US gasoline.

*Sunoco                        *Conoco                        *Sinclair                        *Valero
*Murphys                        *Hess                           *ARCO                        *BP/Phillips

*That said, BP is a terrible company who continues to contribute to oil spill problems in the Gulf without appropriate clean up. So don’t buy from them either.

Natural Gas! Natural gases are #2 on our list of most used resources, clocking in at nearly 25%.  The majority of natural gas is used in the industrial sector: processing pulp and paper, metals, chemicals, petroleum, plastics, and food. Natural gas also provides the base ingredients for products like plastic, fertilizer, anti-freeze, and fabric.

Aside from buying LESS of these products, there’s not much each individual can do to decrease industrial use. But get ready, 45% of the country’s total natural gas use can be attributed to a combination of electricity and household use. Because we will address electricity more specifically in our Crazy Coal section below, let’s talk about household use!

We use natural gases primarily for heating and cooking in the US. While I could recommend you eat a raw food diet to decrease the gas used in cooking (and likely improve your gut’s daily workout), it seems more practical and effectual to focus on the heating element!

First and foremost, lack of insulation in the home costs Americans hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of extra dollars per person each year. It’s been estimated that most Americans could save 30% on their heating bills if they insulated their homes! So, in order to cut back on your natural gas consumption, here’s a few insulating tips:

*Increase attic insulation                        *Use weatherstripping around windows/doors
*Insulate your basement                        *Use expansion foam for small spaces
*Use window curtains and blinds            *more info at:

Additionally, instead of turning up the heat, insulate your body better! I’m not saying you should put on extra pounds for the winter (that is, not fleshy ones), but don’t be bashful about wearing your coat in the house, an extra pair of socks, and a hat! Just think, if insulating your home includes its top, bottom and sides, why should insulating yourself be much different?

In considering the ‘cost’ of these energy products, we must also keep in mind just how they are being extracted from the earth and tag that onto our dollar sign. Natural gas is more and more commonly being sucked from the layers of our earth by a nasty (there’s my subjective voice coming through) process called FRACKING. This method pollutes ground water and air, creating pretty fracking bad health consequences for nearby residents. For more info on fracking, google it OR watch the movie GasLand.

Next up on the chopping…I mean cutting back…block: COAL! This black substance of necessity provides us with half of all our electricity, making it the largest source of power in this country and many others. Let’s take just one moment, one sentence, to address the negative environmental effects of using coal for electricity, so that we may more appropriately link them to our use of electricity. Deep breath…

After we’ve polluted land, water, and air to mine coal, it is shipped (bad word alert) to factories and burned to create electricity, also making smog, soot, acid rain, and global warming, with byproducts including ash, sludge and toxic chemicals…not to mention the billions of gallons of fresh water wasted on cooling. And breathe…

Did I warn you that I love commas and run on sentences? New perspective: instead of thinking about decreasing your electricity consumption, think about decreasing your ‘all of the above bad things with coal’ consumption!

Here’s a few simple ones that bring me back to 80’s public service announcements:

*Turn off lights when you’re not in the room                        *Unplug appliances not in use
*Change light bulbs to energy efficient ones                         *Hang your clothes to dry
*Unplug your computer/phone once it’s charged                  *Take short showers
*Check out this awesome LIST OF TIPS!

Another way to decrease how much power you need is to give a little booster to your already in play appliances. For example, you can build a passive solar water heater (click here for more details) out of reused materials. This will preheat your water before it enters you gas/electric powered water heater, decreasing the amount of power needed to generate a hot shower!

As we can so easily see, none of this is rocket science; but it is creative and changed thinking patterns! Get yo’self outta plaid and into some paisley!

This wee short little blog has addressed awareness and conservation most specifically, but keep in mind that, as we’ve seen, not all energies are created equal. Using renewable resources (like solar and wind) are becoming more and more accessible, not to mention guilt free!

I have been using solar for the majority of my power needs over the past year (I feel suddenly like this is a confession) and I love it! The knowledge that my laptop and phone are running off a renewable energy source (AKA the SUN) is very freeing. Whether it’s a tiny solar phone charger, a solar array on your rooftop, or a wind generator in your backyard…it makes a big difference!

And it’s guilt free. If only they could start making ice cream out of renewable energy resources…for reduced guilt of course ;)

*If you’d like to consult any of the resources I used in this blog that are not linked, shoot me an email and I’d be glad to send them to you.

Monday, May 21, 2012



EcoJaunt has taken us all over the country; from rooftop farms in Brooklyn to water catchment gurus south of Tucson; we’ve seen a lot. But no matter where we go, be it downtown Portland, Maine or Earth Day Fest in Topanga, California… we always get the same comment/question: Yes, that’s very cool, but what can I do, right now?

So, this blog is dedicated to communicating simple ideas that we should all be aware of and the associated changes that anyone and everyone can make on some level to make their life more sustainable and eco-community-human friendly! Hurrah!

There are five basic principles I’d like to address. Why five? I don’t know, really. Three sounds like not enough and four just doesn’t have a good ring to it. Plus 5 is one of those amazing magical prime numbers that can work wonders (or at least it will be once this post is through!).

In no particular order, they are:

1. Waste and Conservation
2. Go Local
3. Water
4. Fuel and Energy

We’re going to take these slow, one at a time, baby steps…thank you Bill Murray! Today’s winner is….


Do you ever think about what happened to that granola bar wrapper, or your disposable coffee cup, or the packaging your i phone came in?

Do you ever ponder how many dollars, gallons of gas, and CO2 emissions could be saved if you parked your car one day per week?

Do you ever wonder how much less energy you’d consume if you unplugged your household items and insulated your windows?

This is not a rant on waste statistics, though the average American does create an average of 4 pounds of trash per day (1460 lbs/year) and uses 544 gallons of petrol each year. But I digress…

This is a rant about awareness! In this wonderful country of America (and that is not a completely sarcastic comment), we don’t have to look at our trash… so we forget it exists. The phrase “out of sight, out of mind” had to come from somewhere!

We are also lucky enough that our energy consumption is completely unlimited. We are not given a battery for the day or told we have a certain number of kilowatts for the month. We aren’t FORCED to conserve energy or be aware of how much we are using because it seems that these things are of unending abundance.

But to become aware of these elements is a whole new realm of vision, an entirely new piece of the puzzle that helps guide decisions. Simply to be aware that each piece of waste created will find its way into a leaky landfill or pollute ground water will help you to identify actions and habits in your life that can be revised for the better… and that’s what we’re shooting for, right?

So what can you do, what are the easy starter pieces? Daily activities are a great place to begin. Anything you do every day will have a greater cumulative impact over the long haul…and I’m pretty sure that’s what we’re in for ;)

Most days of the week, a greater majority of people will go to work, the key word being ‘go.’ How we get there varies entirely, but is another important choice we can make every day. Will this day include a bike ride, a walk, the bus, the train, teleportation, or perhaps a trip in the car? Many of us get stuck in a transportation rut, but we have the choice everyday and there is always the option to choose differently! Yahooo.

Every morning, most of us caffeine addicts will enjoy a cup o joe… and believe you-me, there ain’t nothin’ wrong with that. But, for those enjoying their breakfast brew away from home, there will be a choice to be made. No, not latte or Americano! The choice will be disposable cup or self-brought reusable mug. Do you have to remember it every day? Yeah, you do, but you will save an exorbitant amount of paper cups from being used and trashed each year simply by providing your own black gold receptacle. Simple, check!

Later that day, many of us will do work on a laptop, leaving it plugged in all day and all night, instead of allowing the battery to drain and then recharging it. Computers, particularly when they are not shut down, will suck energy as long as they are plugged in. All appliances do this! Just think of how much energy your toaster has been using all these months that you haven’t even enjoyed a good crunchy bagel!

Around noon-ish, many of our bellies will begin to rumble and make other mysterious noises that incline us towards the all powerful FOOD. Anyone with a grab and go lunch break may end up with a sandwich, a burrito, some amazing Indian cart food, or a burger. All these items will come wrapped in paper, encased in Styrofoam, and include plastic disposable silverware. Lots of room for improvement there! Waste decreasers, UNITE! How difficult would it be to bring your own plate, Tupperware, or just a spoon from home to decrease how many waste products you use each lunch break? Think of how it would be if you had to live with every piece of food packaging that you used: each drink cup, every food box, and paper bag. Lame sauce!

After lunch, do you drink a pick-me-up cup of coffee? …but we’ve been there ;)

After work, you might stop at the store on the way home. Talk about choices; supermarkets are currently a crazy rainbow of marketed packaging whose colors one can so easily get lost in! We could spend 5 pages discussing (do you like how we’re ‘discussing’ now?) the goods and bads of grocery stores, but how about two examples that will point in the right directions.

Picture it: you’re in the snacks aisle grabbing some grub to go in your wee one’s lunch (and perhaps secretly your own). Instead of fruit snacks, you decide to go for the raisins (healthier) in their tiny red boxes wrapped 6 to a bunch in plastic. Choice: do you buy a food item that will create waste each day that a box of raisins is eaten, not to mention to cover wrap around them? OR do you go to the bulk section, where you will not pay for packaging and create much less waste; you can even bring your own reused plastic bag to put your bulk section raisins in for mother earth brownie points!

The raisins inspired you to go for gold and get some fresh fruit. As you peruse the apple section, you notice that all the stickers read ‘New Zealand,’ but that the pears are from the states. When you choose the product from far away, you are basically paying for gasoline and shipping, so here you have another place that you can make the choice to conserve! Plus pears are pretty good.

When you return (commute=choice) home, you and the fam decide what to do about dinner. You’ve made lots of good sustainable choices, so you treat everyone to a dinner out. There are a handful of places within a mile from your house, and being the healthy amazing fantastic mother earth star student that you are, you decide that the family should walk (conserving gasoline) to the local organic food place (again conserving fuel for shipping) and have dinner. It’s delicious, but everyone is stuffed and there are leftovers for days! Instead of accepting the doggie bags of doom, you’ve brought a few Tupperware storage containers from home, man you are getting good at this!

After your walk home (conserving gas and improving health therefore conserving healthcare spending), you stretch out, unplug your already charged laptop, and have a little play time on FaceBook. Since you’re feeling keen on your new ideas, you post a short paragraph about awareness of waste and conservation that your 1300 friends will see and implement in their lives.

Before turning in, you attend to your teeth, shutting the water off while you’re brushing (conserving agua), look in the mirror and say, “You’re one swell looking environmentally savvy person, you are. And tomorrow, you’re going to do even better and get the insulation fixed up so that not so much heat is wasted next winter.”

Everyday is full of opportunities to make better choices and create less waste; little changes make BIG DIFFERENCES!

*****sidebar statistic for your viewing pleasure: The highest point in Hamilton County, Ohio (near Cincinnati) is ‘Mount Rumpke.’ It is actually a mountain of trash at the Rumpke Sanitary Landfill towering 1045 ft. above sea level.

That is nutty.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Sustainable Thought

TAI Blog # who knows, written from The Green Man in Asheville, NC and also Folly Beach, SC
Sustainable Thought: The New New Year’s Resolution

As a preface (see how long my posts are getting, now I have to write prefaces) : If this gets to long and involved for your state of mind, whatever it be, at your time of reading, skip to the last page or so on change and go back later for the tidbits when you’ve got your game face on!

When it comes to sustainability and health, there are so freakin’ many topics to broach! Many have to do with our physical bodies or how our treatment of the world can and does affect us. But this blog began around the idea of thought: what is sustainable healthy thought?

Many things came to mind: positive thought (of course), no long term allowance for repetitive negative thoughts regarding the self, being both open minded and critical towards new ideas, understanding your own general motivations… but when it came down to it, there was one aspect that I felt stood out beyond all the rest in terms of having a healthy attitude.

Drum roll please….!!!!....

Oh geez, now I’ve built it up!

I believe that the more a human acts in congruence with his thoughts, the better he will feel about himself and his life, hence, sustainable thought!

The more you can align your actions with your thoughts, the better you will feel. It is when these things are in conflict that we start to have self doubt and insecurity. When we live in accordance with our ideals, that is when we are confident and comfortable with who and how we are!

Now, you’re saying to yourself, big fat DUH Morgan. And I totally agree! Big fat duh, but then why do so many of us display such hypocrisy on a multitude of levels?!?

This is what my brain and its own self discussion and analysis of the situation set to find out.

***If you’re not on board with me yet, still battling the idea that we all live within some element of hypocrisy between thought and action, let me provide a few simple examples:


Ø Oil companies are corrupt and driving pollutes our air
Ø We need more jobs here in the USA. Companies should stop sending jobs overseas
Ø Eating fast food is unhealthy

Contradictory Actions

Ø Driving to work, the store, or anywhere you need to go
Ø Buying things made outside the USA (electronics, clothing, food)
Ø Feeding yourself or your family fast food for dinner

(This, of course, assumes you’re not predisposed towards the destruction of yourself and the world at large…just checking! )

Perhaps you don’t fit into any of the above examples (clearly you are angel, but should read on in order to assist your friends who might find this plight applicable).

So pause (insert 60 minutes into your day, magical time travel style) and just think about your actions thus far in the day. If you’re lucky it’s morning and far fewer infractions will have occurred ;)

Now that we acknowledge the existence of these silly mismatches that occur between our thoughts and actions, let us dissect a bit to find some possible sources for this insanity!

Really, we’ve got two possible options to pick apart; it’s either the thought or the action which hold the flaw. Let’s look at the thought aspect first.

Perhaps your thoughts/espoused ideals don’t match your actions because they’re not really your own or you don’t actually believe that they are true. Maybe you have been coerced into thinking you like to dance, but it’s actually the sociality and human contact you crave and so shakin’ your booty at the club has never been your thing. Maybe you think you like vegetables, but only because the government has now deemed pizza a vegetable.

Certainly, we all do some self-convincing at times and often pretend to think in certain ways, but we also have some false perceptions and motivations behind what we are actually saying.

Ok, now for a meatier, tastier, and likely more necessary analysis: Why is it that our ACTIONS don’t match what we think (now, of course, assuming that what we think is what we actually think we think…you think?)

Divin’ in!

I think one of the biggest reasons that humans act in contradictory ways is fear: of change, of judgment, of work/effort. Hold onto your horses, we’re going in.

We humans often recognize that we should be doing things differently, but we hesitate to change. Why this fear of change? I believe that one component is the effort and work involved with changing a habitual occurrence and honestly, we’ve gotten lazy. But just as great is the psychosocial effect people fear. Changing your action to be better or more in cahoots with what you believe naturally insinuates that you’ve been doing it wrong all this time. Additionally, people fear that others will not understand why they are making a change and worry that they will be judged negatively by those around them…and nobody wants that!

It's also possible we just don't know how to change our actions to match our ideals, but this is less likely than the other possibilities.

Because we spend so much time caught up in the day to day, humans rarely take time out of their lives to truly analyze and inspect who and how they are…nor are we taught that we should! So perhaps it is a complete ignorance of our own hypocritical nature and the inability to truly sense that we are not acting in accordance with the ways we 'think' we should that creates our hypocrisy. So many of us act out of sync with the ideals we would vehemently proclaim, but do we even realize?

Be it the golden rule, thoughts about the economy or nutrition, or how you should raise your children, hypocrisy runs rampant in our society. Runs I tell you!

While some of these are likely more obvious (like the examples I gave earlier), many are more discrete… not perhaps so much so that the average American couldn't figure it out given the chance...but perhaps that is a chunk of the problem as well, the lack of thought given to these matters!

I think this lack of self analysis, done to oneself, by oneself, in an objective, non-judgmental fashion plays a huge-mungous role in the hypocrisy of people today. If everyone gave themselves 20 focused minutes each day to sit and go through their day, analyzing each and every action and spoken idea and really thought about just how it is their actions do or don't reflect their words and vice versa, we’d have a different world…or people would just play more video games with their magic 20 minutes and beat Angry Birds Level 27 ;)

So now we are asking the real questions, not only 'AM I HYPOCRITICAL?' and in what way, but also 'WHY AM I HYPOCRITICAL?' This delves deeper than most might care to go, but perhaps that is only because they've never thought that they should ;)

First, (like we said) you must identify in which part of the question your hypocrisy lies: is it the action or the ideal? From there you need to figure out not only where the discrepancy is, but why it exists? Is it a lack of awareness, a feeling of peer pressure to think or act a certain way, laziness or fear of change, a true lack of understanding of what it is you say or how to change your actions?

And how far do you take this?

It is easy to think,
“I believe in humane treatment for animals”
and feed your dog everyday and give him love.

It is easy to think,
”I believe in buying local goods”
and shop at the farmer’s market,
but then more difficult when you want to save 5 dollars on some unfindable item only available from, where you have to use your credit card and the item travels hundreds or thousands of miles to your doorstep…

It is easy to think,
“I believe that all children should have food and shelter”
and feed your kids and tuck them in at night,
but more difficult to deal mentally and volitionally with the knowledge that there are millions of starving children all over the world that could all easily be provided for if our country would allocate our bank bailout money a bit differently…

It is easy to think,
“I believe that saving the environment is important”
and donate to Green Peace and recycle,
but yet more difficult to avoid buying things individually wrapped in plastics that end up in the great trash gyre in the Pacific Ocean or use paper created from Amazonian rainforests being chopped down each day, increasing greenhouse gases and global warming…

It's easy to say,
“I want world peace and no war,”
but harder still not to drive or fly anywhere using oil (the only real reason we've been at war for decades)…

It's easy to say,
“I think our economy sucks because all of our jobs have been exported” (and you'd be right),
but not so easy to buy things only made in the USA, including all clothing, furniture, food, and electronic devices (computers, I-phones, I-pads, cell phones).
It’s easy for me to write this blog and think about all these things, and yet harder to encompass it all into my life. It’s hard for all of us!

So how far do you take this? As far as you can without going bankrupt or mentally insane with social responsibility (both could easily happen...ok not that easily, but beware).

So what can be done? Change. Get over your fear. The peers you think will judge you will see your example and perhaps they too will see how easy it can be and RESPECT you for it. Stop being lazy and implement ideas you have that will bring you more in line with your ideals. This might mean riding your bike or walking more instead of driving. This might mean not buying things that YOU KNOW were made with bad practices or bad business standards. This might mean being more respectful of those around you or raising your kids the way you thought you would. This might mean sacrifice, of time or things or convenience or ego, but none will seem that way once you've found sanctity of mind and realized how easy it is to change your ways to fit your principles.

Plus nothing beats habit. Make a habit of saying hello to everyone you pass and making eye contact, of leaving 15 minutes earlier for work and riding your bike or taking the bus, of only buying things made within your home state, of doing things you've always said you 'wish you could.' It will feel good and in 3 weeks it will seem easy…I don’t know why 3 weeks is the magic number, but apparently it gets to be ;)

Because I believe that repetition is learning, I’ll say it again:

The more you can align your actions with your thoughts, the better you will feel about your daily life and who you are. It is when these things are in conflict that we start to have self doubt and insecurity. When we live in accordance with our ideals, that is when we are truly living the good life! And that’s sustainable!

There are many things in life that take a bit of self discipline, awareness, and consistency. Some would tie a ribbon around their finger, others would send themselves text messages, but I like to have a small personal mantra, something I can conjure up at any moment that will remind me what to do and why, something that will give me a touch of strength: an ACRONYM!

I love acronyms :) but I vow not to completely bore the bejeezus out of you listing all the RAD (Rockstar Amazing Demonstrations) of self-reminder acronyms I came up with! But I will share one: ATTA. Applying Thought To Action. In Hebrew, the word 'atta' (pronounced ah-tah) means 'you' and I thought that was appropriate (not to mention easier to remember).

ATTA: Applying Thought To Action: what we all should all do, what I need to do, a reminder in that split second before the reach, the stride, the credit card swipe. Don't just do what you would do, do what you think you SHOULD do! Make it match.

If I think I can change the world, well I better just go and do it!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Blog Post #8 :: Sustainable Activity

We don’t all want to be healthy, but most would definitely choose to be happy! It is, of course, our inalienable right to pursue it to all ends of the earth…or at least to those fake lines in the dust we call borders.

One of the best ways to assist your happy-level is to maintain good health. It’s hard to be happy when you’re in pain or have a stomach ache or feel tired all the time. It’s difficult to be happy when your plans of fun and productivity in this world seem thwarted by your body. It’s difficult to live your life the way the ‘12-year-old you’ pictured you would…when you’re not healthy.

There are HEAPS of different aspects of life that can affect your health: physical, emotional, spiritual, genetic, bad luck, fortune cookie without a fortune inside…just to name a few of the obvious.

This blog will address just a smidgeon of the physical and help you figure out if what you’re doing is ‘sustainable activity’ that will benefit your health, and therefore, your happy-level! Since my last three overwritten, poorly edited thought explosions onto the keyboard discussed topics related to food, we’re gonna leave that subject for today. In this blog adventure, I’m going to discuss physical activity, it’s relationship to happiness, and how you can make it a sustainable part of your life (how’s that for an end of paragraph summary sentence, Mrs. Bredfelt would be so proud).

Movement is an amazing thing. We’re meant to do it. Every day. It gets our blood pumping, which loosens up our muscles and other tissue. It keeps our joints mobile and it keeps our spines from being in the wrong place for ages upon ages (sitting). Movement decreases tension and stress, causes hormonal releases that make us happy if not ecstatic, and makes us feel alive!

So, why do we sit all day long? Perhaps Corporate America, television stations (also corporate America), automotive companies (also corporate America), and Facebook (less corporate America) could answer that one, but I’m just not gonna go there.

Because we sit all day and/or have jobs and/or lifestyles that require little to no movement beyond the rise and roll out of bed maneuver, we (this is the collective westernized human race ‘we’) need to actively insert movement into our lives in order to gain or maintain any semblance of health …and therefore happiness.

*or we could all quit our desk jobs and join the occupy movement or become physical therapists, both great endeavors.

There are many different kinds of movement and activity that can help to promote good health AKA good happiness. There’s aerobic movement (activity that raises your heart rate and keeps weight down), power, speed, and resistance type movement (activity that strengthens your muscles), flexibility type movement (activity that helps your body gain/maintain movement), functional movement (activity that has another purpose aside from health), and random movement (activity that comes out of nowhere, eg. a yawn with stretch, a yahoo with a jump, a head turn when you hear something approaching, or that damn lil’ twitch below your eye that won’t go away).

All of these types of movements are important and good and healthy (except maybe that eye twitch thing) and should be given credence and opportunity. They all need balance and ample time. It’s like the yin and yang thing for movement, only there’s way more pieces to this movement puzzle and they all need to fit. Perhaps it’s more like a rubix cube.

We all need cardio/aerobic movement. It strengthens our hearts, increases our metabolisms, keeps the pounds off, and makes all other activities feel just a bit easier. But cardio need not be jogging, cycling, or swimming (though those are FANTASTIC types of cardio), it can also be walking or dancing or hard core leaf raking. Have trouble committing your time to the Nordic Trac? Then don’t. But, try some of these tricks to slip cardio into your day:

When you walk somewhere, anywhere, walk FAST! Whether to the grocery store, inside from the parking lot, or across your office, move it!
Whenever possible, take the stairs, up or down. Take two at a time if you dare! Add an extra floor whenever possible.
Every time you go to sit down or stand up, do 60 seconds of mini bum over the chair squats, it’ll get your heart rate up, your quads burning, and your friends trying it too.
Whenever you’re doing something repetitive, try to increase the speed (as long as it’s safe and you’re not at an iron foundry)
Power, speed, and resistance activity are also key components to the movement…cube, let’s say. These types of movement increase strength and muscle mass, which are important to all functional activity and help prevent osteoporosis and many orthopedic conditions and injuries. Most people attempting to integrate this type of movement into their lives might lift weights at the gym, complete sprints on the track, or buy a Bowflex. But there are other ways of gettin’ yer speed on!

Try sprinting distances you already planned on walking (unless you feel like focusing on your cardio . This could be heading into work from your car (plus bonus points for making people sniff the air to rule out a fire), across the lawn to retrieve the trashcan, or up the stairs after grabbing something from the basement. Skipping works great too, but is far more challenging with a backpack or briefcase.
Bring jumping back into your life. Jump rope, jump over the cracks in the pavement, jump over your dog (more points if you have a Great Dane). This one is easier if you have kids because people will assume your kid conned you into it when really it’s the converse.
Whenever you take the stairs (because you’re thinkin’ now, it’s cardio time) jump up the first flight or do 10 up and back jumps at the first step.
If you’re standing and chatting with someone, do heel raises. Body weight is grand resistance! If you’re standing and waiting or on an elevator, do squats, wall push ups…or jump
Next up from the Rubik’s cube of balanced movement is flexibility. Flexibility is so freaking important to maintaining healthy joints and preventing injuries of all shapes and sizes. And while yoga class is an epically grand option, there are others (you might have guessed huh?)

Every time you take the stairs, before or after your jumps and extra floor-climbing, let your heel hang off the back of the step and stretch your calf OR prop your heel up on the step, lean forward (keeping back straight of course) and stretch out your hamstring.
When standing, in an elevator, office building, grocery store line, ATM, whatever… pick any stretch under the sun (calf, front and back of the thigh, side stretch, arm stretching overhead, anything)!
When sitting, straighten your legs out in front of you one at a time without allowing your back to slouch, also stretch your arms overhead.
Basically, if you’re still or standing or waiting, stretch!
Next up on the chopping block: functional movement. Functional movement includes every time you use any muscle or bend any joint in order to complete a task. This includes walking, reaching, lifting, leaning, stairs (who’d have guessed?). This type of activity we don’t normally think about as exercise, but it is movement and when it comes to movement, the more the merrier (hence the happiness). There are oodles of functional movements that can be great movement and activity! Try to sprinkle one or two onto your days, particularly those that don’t have many other kinds of movement!

Yard work: raking, shoveling, mowing (extra points for cool designs in the lawn), digging, planting, mulching, pruning, trimming: get outside and move!
Gardening: weeding, tending, sewing…the seeds that is. Just watch your posture and check out my blog on tips and stretches for gardening.
Unloading the dishwasher, bend your knees to squat down each time you extract a dish and you’ll have done some mini squats!
Carry your groceries to the car if you can avoid using a cart. Park far far far away, almost to Neverland, follow the first star to the right and straight on till morning.
Ignore office efficiency and integrate standing and moving across the room as frequently as possible, to the printer, fax machine, adorable receptioni…err, shredder.
Be aware of how much you move throughout the day, keep your body busy, move to accomplish as much as you can!
If you need ideas for functional movement activities, check There are heaps of productive ideas ready to be undertaken!
Last but not least, we have random movement. There are no tips on random movement. Yawning and stretching feels good, turning your head towards a noise is a survival response, and the eye twitch thing we could all live without…

and still be healthy AND happy.

So remember, if you want to be happy for the rest of your life, you should put some movement into your life, go from my personal point of view, move some more and it will benefit you! (extra points for making this your personal musical mantra

Blog Post #7 :: Food For Thought (Part 3)

Does eating organic really matter?

This is a question that should always be asked to the world at large, in an emphatic and thespian style…but not for jest.

This is a question whose answer has everything and nothing to do with how these foods will affect your health.

In some ways, this question is asking you to pick a way of growing things that benefits your health and does not harm the earth…instead of picking a method that creates massive amounts of soil erosion, pollutes our water with nitrogen creating hypoxic dead zones, increases antibiotic resistance, treats animals inhumanely (is that any oxymoron?), promotes the use of fossil fuels, and uses pesticides on our foods that have been shown to cause neural damage and so much more.

So you see, the question of eating organic is one centered around the idea of health, but not specifically yours or mine. Alright, so I know that’s a lot to swallow (watch out, puns on the loose), but if you’re already feeling choked up, you’d better start chewing fast!

Let’s play the game: compare and contrast.


Organic methods use compost (naturally broken down plant matter that has been decomposing) as a fertilizer and soil amendment, increasing the amount of nutrients and humus (stable organic matter which will decompose no further). This creates an environment rich in minerals, nitrogen, and organisms, which allow plants (AKA our food) to put down stable root systems and obtain all the nutrients, water, sustenance, and stability they need.

Organic methods also generally use no- or minimal-till methods, allowing the rich topsoil to grow in depth, leaving the microorganisms and mycelia and their homes intact and ready to rumble come the next planting season. Little or no erosion is created with organic methods.

Conventional (non organic) methods use pesticides and fertilizers, many of which are toxic to humans (you may remember the days of DDT, which is no longer used). These spray chemicals destroy microbial life in the soil, create an overabundance of nitrogen in the ground, and can be harmful to humans upon consumption or exposure.

Conventional methods are based on large amounts of soil tillage, further destroying topsoil and microbial life, disrupting the stability of the soil, and creating precarious conditions for plants to put down roots. Because the soil is so unstable, irrigation and rain create enormous amounts of erosion (literally TONS per acre, check out The Land Institute’s current studies). This does not simply mean our water gets a bit murky. When you’ve over-nitrogenized soil that can’t stand up on its own two feet and then add a deluge of liquid love (that’s water), you end up with creeks, streams, rivers, and oceans (yeah, that’s right, oceans!) full of chemicals (not to mention any topsoil and micronutrients that managed to create a life in this soil).

If these fertilizers were simply gummy bears and lemon drops, it might be a different story (perhaps fish would develop diabetes), but water enhanced with nitrogen has created hypoxic (that is, without or with little oxygen) zones, AKA dead zones. These are areas where no flora or fauna can live and thrive (only algae), no voluptuous green leaves, no fishies, no shrimpees, no nuthin! And we’re not talking little pocket ponds here and there.

The Gulf of Mexico houses a dead zone that is the size of the state of New Jersey! It’s no Texas, but seriously! All the fertilizer run-off that feeds into the Mississippi River and deposits itself there into the ocean is killing off the aqua inhabitants we’ve come to love in our gumbo and jambalaya, not to mention the more far-reaching effects…but this paragraph is too long already.

And it’s not just the Gulf of Mexico; there are dead zones up and down the Atlantic coast of the US, in greater density than anywhere else on earth. And a few on Oregon’s coast as well! Industrial agriculture is responsible not only for 70% of the world’s fresh water usage, but also for 75% of the water quality issues (that stat is in the US).

AMINALS (that’s right, you heard me)

Organic methods allow livestock to roam around freely, eating the grasses and natural growings of the ground. Additionally, they are fed organic grains and feed and allowed to copulate and procreate the way we all think of it (only with four legs each). Generally, the animals are used for multiple purposes, such as meat, milk, and wool or skins. One day I’ll have an epic goat coat, surely I will.

Conventional methods, oy…here we go. Don’t worry, the 7th inning stretch is to follow.

So conventional methods utilize non-organic GMO encumbered (not even opening that can of worms for now) corn/soy based feed. Now, it’s not that cows (and chickens and sheep) hate corn or that they are force-fed each kernel and not allowed to chew. However, for ruminants like cows, corn has created a menagerie of problems (I use the word ‘menagerie’ because it lends a nicer hue to the picture I’m about to paint).

Cows are supposed to eat grass. When cows eat grass, half digest it in their first stomach, puke it up, chew it some more, swallow again, and then continue to digest it through the rest of their system, they stay healthy. When they are fed corn, their stomachs become acidic and their organs begin to fail. This change in the pH of cows’ stomachs not only harms the cows themselves, but also makes them (and therefore us) more susceptible to e.coli infection. Cows, unlike us, have stomachs that are made to destroy e.coli, how convenient! But, the increased acidic level that corn feed creates in a cow’s stomach is a breeding ground for this dangerous meat monopolizer!

Additionally, cows that roamed the grassy hills freely would be unlikely to come across escherichia coli. But, cows that are raised in CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) are in close contact not only with each other, but also with each other’s droppings. That’s right, pooo.

As you can imagine, these CAFOs are a breeding ground for bacteria; germs like nothing more than to wallow in shit and be able to jump from host to host with ease. And since the cows are already immune compromised, their job is easy! Except those darn humans have realized that they can use antibiotics to prevent outbreaks among their cattle. Only, waiting until an outbreak occurs means it’s too late and all the cows could be compromised. So, antibiotics are used preventatively. Doesn’t sound so bad, right?

Too bad the germs that like to inhabit cows are just as smart as the ones that like humans and will just as easily and readily develop antibiotic resistances, making our miracle drugs potentially worthless. Well, shit.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg in the meat freezer.


This is where it gets a little tricky, but we’ll address that part a touch later.

Organic methods use less large farm equipment (all of which runs on gasoline). They may use cars to transport their produce to farmers’ markets and local grocers.

Conventional methods dust their fields with fossil fuels. The fertilizers used are made of natural gas and the pesticides are oil derivatives. This was all sparked during the Green Revolution after WWII (ironic title, right?), when the government needed to find a new outlet for its nitrogen production centers (previously used for explosives, now new and improved for plant growth!).

Additionally, 1/3 of the gas used in the US is for the transportation of food! I’m sure this applies to both conventional and organic. Though we think of organic as being local, this is no longer a safe assumption (unless you know your farmer). Organic has become a big industry and there are many large scale organic farms out there shipping their lettuce, dairy, and apples across this country and intercontinentally! Check your apples, are they from New Hampshire, New Zealand, Neptune?

HEALTH and the actual eating of things

Organic produce has been proven in experiments time and again to hold more vitamins, nutrients, antioxidants, polyphenols, flavonols, and other good for you stuff than food from current conventional methods of agriculture. Also, eating organic produce and dairy means exposing yourself and your family to fewer pesticides and chemicals, which are used in conventional agricultural practices. Many of these petrochemicals have been shown to affect, most pronouncedly, the neural structures and development of children. Eating organic meat is less fatty, less likely to harbor e.coli, and won’t be full of antibiotics, nor is it made primarily of corn, as are most food products these days (see Food for Thought Part One).

As an added bonus, a cherry atop your organic ice cream sundae, it never hurts that when you eat organic food, you can take heart in the fact that the food you are consuming is not harming the earth. Plus it tastes good.

One last tiny tidbit; it’s the bottom of the 9th inning, but don’t leave early to avoid traffic.

The label of organic has gotten complicated. Back in the good ole days, it was assumed that organic was small and diversified and composting and local and humane. However, in 1990, the USDA decided it needed to regulate and substantiate these claims in the supermarket. Because the process of becoming certified is expensive and can be complicated, many organic growers have not applied for this official title.

Because organic foods have become an increasingly lucrative market, many producers have increased in scale and size, using bigger farm equipment, less diversity, increased tillage, and long distance shipping. Although still using USDA certified organic practices, this shift of bigger farms away from some of the original tenets of organic practice has disenchanted many traditional organic farmers with the term ‘organic.’

So unless you really do your research, it’s hard to say exactly how your apple, corn, or cow was raised. This is not to say that the label of ‘organic’ is not to be trusted. You will never find GMOs (genetically modified organisms) or pesticides in your organic food. But add a grain of sea salt to that organic yogurt, for though its milk-maidens may eat organic feed, it may still be corn and they may roam less freely than the pastoral vision conjured in your head.

That said (and it was a mouthful), you can see how the question of organic purchase is not one solely based on selfish ideas of health, nutrition, and flavor. It is a choice in supporting practices that are NOT destroying our earth and the possibility of our continued existence on it.

Does organic really matter? I vote yes.

Blog Post #6 :: Food For Thought (Part 2)

Green things CAN taste yummy!

It has been brought to my attention, after traveling through Utah, Colorado, and Kansas, that although many people have the intention to be healthier and eat more fruits and vegetables, they just don’t know what to do with them!

“I would eat more vegetables if they actually tasted good,” has become a commonly heard phrase.

It seems we were all taught to cook macaroni, spaghetti, and other noodles, a rite of passage in independent eating (whether you’re 8 or newly in college). Also, most humans over the age of 6 can quite adequately create a sandwich of sorts, whether by stacking on cheese slices or smearing the bread with PB&J. And perhaps I’m lending out more credit than is due, but I postulate that the greater majority of humans can cook an egg in a pan or microwave a potato.

But when and where do we learn to cook vegetables, pick a salad from the garden, or create a new meal full of healthy ingredients? Perhaps many of you learned to cook from your parents, an old roomie, or the famous jailchef Martha Stewart. But unless your experience with recipes and chef mentors are dramatically different from those that I have met recently, you learned to cook starches and meats with butter and cheese and the occasional overcooked side of asparagus.

So, in lieu of that innate sense of vegetable cheffery that few of us inherited, the purpose of this blog is to provide you with a few easy pointers on how to increase your vegetable intake WITH FLAVOR!

All vegetables are not created equal. You will, no doubt, have some you like more than others. But that’s ok, these aren’t you’re children and showing preferential treatment towards certain colorful foods won’t hurt anybody’s feeling, promise! It’s okay to eat more broccoli than cabbage, more sweet potatoes than mushrooms, yet there is a unique and fantastic flavor to each vegetable and eating varying types of yummy things from the earth is a healthy approach. Variety IS the spice of life, as you may recall, and it counts towards eating habits too!

Any dish that calls for one vegetable can easily be improved by adding 2…or 3 or 4 or 5 instead! It’s not that you need to start cooking completely different meals in order to get more green goodies, most meals can simply be augmented with these tasty morsels. Try adding broccoli and carrots to your can of soup, red cabbage and green peppers to your premade salad with its wee baggy of croutons and almond slices, cabbage and kale to your casserole (or anything else you bake in the oven…even pizza!). Even if you’re making a potroast or baking chicken a la Papa Smurf, simply throw in some sliced sweet potatoes and you’re good to go! More vegetables mean more vitamins, minerals, health, and flavor! Plus, dishes always look prettier with colorful veggies adorning them… lining them with those little pop up fancy drink umbrellas wouldn’t hurt either

Vegetables can be cooked alone, steamed, sautéed, grilled, whatever! And they can easily be spiced up without adding any calories or harmful ingredients. The top 5 spices I keep on hand at all times include (but are certainly not limited to): salt, pepper/cayenne, cumin, garlic, and basil. With these spices, no dish will proceed blandly to the table! Try sprinkling these atop steamed veggies or mixing them right into the pan while stir-frying. Iron chef, here you come!

I think that many people believe vegetables taste bad because they cook them till they are limp and the color of death. Death has no flavor… hell might, but not death. The secret to steaming or any other type of cooking involving veggies is to throw them into the pan/pot in their own due time. For example, carrots cook more slowly than kale, so toss them in early and wait till later with the kale so it still has its fresh flavor and has not wilted beyond complete recognition. Below is a list of common veggies, they are in descending order for cooking times (approximately), that is the ones at the top of the list need to go in first.

Sweet potatoes/potatoes
Green beans
Bell peppers (cook the red ones longer…no, not really
Zucchini and other squash
Spinach, kale, collard greens, mustard greens
*Tomatoes – tricky tricky, it depends whether you’re cooking them down to make a sauce, like them more squishy and stewed-like, or want them all fresh and juicy.
One fantastically amazing tasty healthy snack that I have recently run into is kale chips! So easy, so fast, so delicious! Check out EcoJaunt’s video Kale Krunch for the step by step recipe from Laura in Hamilton, MT and prepare to by yummified.

Also, grocery stores and ethnic specialty shops are making it easy to add a little flavor to the pan. Sauces and marinades can easily be added to veggie sautés to give it some kick and pizzazz! For example, try a curry sauce or teriyaki atop your onion, broccoli, carrots, and mushrooms, oh delicious! Or even drizzle a touch of BBQ sauce (yeah, I know, full of high fructose corn syrup and sugar, yet tasty) over your skewers of veggies for the grill. Hot diggety, I’m getting hungry!

And when there’s just no room on the proverbial supper table for another dish, have fresh raw veggies as an appetizer. This way, no one’s just too stuffed to eat his or her vegetables. And, you can serve them up with hummus (a great dip made from garbanzo beans with good vitamins and protein), a salad dressing of sorts, or a chutney of choice!

Another way to add more vegetables to your diet is to invoke the old dinner salad rule. That is to say, dinner always FOLLOWS salad. And we’re not talking iceberg lettuce with a few lonely carrot circles (you know with the jaggedy edges all cute and stuff). We’re talking red lettuce and romaine (small amounts) mixed with cucumber and red bell pepper and celery and carrots and beets and snap peas and…. you get the point. When it comes down to it, just lettuce (especially iceberg) doesn’t do a lot for you in the category of nutrition, so fill your salad with other goodies that do.

My particular eating pattern includes a salad for lunch, filled with whatever scrumptious veggies I could scrounge from my fridge (ahem, currently a small cooler). This way I know that come dinner time I’ve already had at least SOME green goodies and if my evening sustenance turns out to be mac and cheese or bread and balsamic vinegar with a glass of red wine and a side of giggling girlfriends…well, then at least I’ve dosed my body with vitamins and minerals once or twice that day and there will be no nutrient melt down to be wary of.

Instead of super sizing your less than happy meal, SUPER SALAD it for dinner! This is a great easy way to feed yourself or a hungry hoard that takes little time and is tasty as all get out. Simply chop up heaps of different veggies, open cans of black, kidney, or garbanzo beans and canned corn (real stuff is extra credit) and mix and match as you please. You can also cook up a touch of tofu or meat as a topping. And I’ve forgotten cheese! Don’t forget the cheese (even if it’s the shitty parmesan cheese in the green can that one would have difficulty differentiating from Comet cleaner).

And once you’re sick of all these ideas, experiment! Buy new and different veggies, ask the vendors at farmers’ markets what they do with foods you’ve never used or even knew existed. This is how I learned what to do with kohlrabi (which it turns out is kinda like broccoli stalks in my opinion) and is a great way to learn about new and LOCAL foods (this is yet another blog that I will jump to soon enough).

So get to cheffing and healthifying all those things that go into your body! Remember, just because it comes from the dirt, doesn’t mean it has to taste like dirt.

If you’re having problems coming up with a recipe for certain vegetables or need help strategizing a way to sneak veggies into your life, email me and we’ll spice it up right!