WARNING: science-based nutrition will rock your world.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Intrepid Spring!

Intrepid: fearless, unafraid, undaunted, unshrinking, courageous, brave, valiant, valorous, heroic, lionhearted, martial, doughty, spunky, gutsy, bold, daring, audacious, spirited, plucky, game, gallant, dashing, adventurous, venturesome, daredevil, steadfast, resolute, indomitable, stout, tough, hardy, gritty, stalwart, stouthearted.

Fearless and game strawberry blossom

Courageous, lionhearted Curly Red

Valiant, bold Kale seedlings

Spunky and gallant transplant trio

Gutsy and audacious Comfrey

Spirited and hardy China Choy

Steadfast, indomitable Chickweed

Undaunted, dashing garden mystery

My Small Town Activist Experience

Let's say you read the "Enough Dinking Around with My Food" post, and then copied the letter and hand-delivered it to your grocery store manager. How'd that work for you?

Here's how it worked for me:
  • The Food Lion grocery store manager was daunted by my request. Although he took the letter, he seemed beaten down by personal issues, like sadness and heartbreak. I think he lives at home with his mother.
  • The Ingles manager was rude and short; she had no time to read the letter and was not interested. I smiled, thanked her and left. Her store feels depressed and falsely presented.
  • The Harris Teeter manager was polite and attentive; he read the letter, and said he'd pass it on to headquarters. His store is filled with happy check-out women who share a good crazy tribal beat.
But I didn't stop with the grocery stores. I visited my small town's three "health food stores" and asked the owners to help, too. Simple request: read the letter, sign, place the letter in the attached envelop, and deliver it to the grocery store manager next time they shop. I also provided a few extra letters so their favorite customers could participate as well, if they, the store owner, would be so kind to ask.

Here's what happened
  • The first health store owner was coolly polite, and placed the letters on her check-out counter under some vendor brochures. She did not indicate if she would sign and deliver a letter. I have hopes. Her store is tall, deep and narrow.
  • The second owner glared at me, huffed and said, "This is too much work. But, leave them, I'll see what I can do." She wants me to consider opening an office beside her store, but I would be too much work for her. Her store is dark, deep and wide.
  • The third owner smiled, took the letters, and said, "Sure, I'll help. My customers will be interested in this." Her store is comfortable, and slightly-off kilter like an old rocking chair.
Well, guess what? Two negatives and one positive always create a positive charge! Do the math, you'll see. One out of three is good! That's a thirty-three percent success rate overall. One third creates a big shift!

But, here's my question: would things have worked out differently if another positive-thinking / feeling / acting person had gone into the stores with me? Could two people carrying a positive charge shift the negative charge of the store managers / owners? Maybe...yes?

At the very least, I would have left those stores in good company.

My activist friends, keep your chins up. Do your best. Be polite. Throw your hearts out there, and know the Universe has your backs, fronts, and your ups and downs.

Two negatives are positive
...negative and positive are negative...positive plus negative plus negative, wow...see? All is right with the world.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Old Brains, Old Gardens

I’ve always believed we are born knowing everything and become numb as we age. This theory was tested during the Organic Growers School’s first Ignite Agriculture rehearsal when 12-year-old TEDx speaker and Slow Food protégé Birk Baehr waltzed through his presentation with ease while I stumbled through every word of mine.

See, according to Nature and her cycles, late winter is a time when seeds stir in the earth, when we emerge from the dark womb of hibernation and journey into the unfolding plan of light. So I thought I’d make like a seed and get a jump on emergence by throwing myself onto center stage for the inaugural event. What better way to get on with the business of awakening, I thought, and maybe land a few speaking gigs, or even a job offer in the process.

But, my senior brain doesn’t appreciate being thrown. It likes to be awakened gently, coddled with a rubdown before a big stretch. Let me go on record right now: Ignite presentations are akin to fast pitch softball. You wind up, hum it on in there, zing the zone, and then repeat nineteen times. Your aim must be true.

As of Friday morning, I wasn’t sure my brain had game.

I tripped up the mountain anyway while listening to the Dalai Lama sing healing chants, then unpacked the truck, found a quiet place, and grounded myself with a short meditation. Seeds emerged, brooks ran free, and buds appeared; I wasn’t on a softball field after all! I was in a beautiful garden, growing. By Saturday night’s show time, my brain had been properly rubbed down, stretched and rooted firmly in the earth.

I’d have to scrape years of tartared misconceptions from the hallowed recesses of my cranial cavities to match Birk’s malleability. But, I’d lose memories of such sweetness that my knees buckle in gratitude just knowing they’re there, although I don’t remember all of them.

Old brains are the body equivalent of a well-loved garden full of glorious heirlooms and a few obnoxious weeds. Every now and then, it’s a good idea to set them afire.

OGS information is here.
Ignite yourself here.
Birk Baehr's stellar TEDx presentation is here.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Enough Dinking Around with My Food

Dear Kind People,
The Organic Consumers Association needs our help.

Please read this letter, and if it makes sense to you, please copy, paste, format as needed, print, and deliver to your grocery store manager. Better yet, deliver a letter to the manager of all grocery stores in your town. Be sure to make it personal, as in "Dear Mr. Smith" or "Dear Ms. Jones." If you don't know the name of your grocery store manager, please pick up the phone, call the store, and ask. It's that easy.

Please, it's time for action; for those of you adverse to making a scene, this action requires no scene-making. Thanks in advance for helping.

No more dinking around with our food, ok?
With Love and Gratitude, Lynn Byrd, The Byrdfeeder

ps - it's a long letter, but this issue is long, like love is long. Life? Really, not so long. What's a long love letter in the scheme of a short life? Edit as you please.
Dear (your grocery store manager's name here),
As one of your regular retail customers, I want to thank you for providing a selection of clean, safe, and healthy organically-certified products in your store, especially as current food marketing practices make it difficult to know how to shop healthfully for my family.

According to ongoing research by the Organic Consumers Association, only 4% of total sales in conventional grocery stores are organic. So called "natural" foods now make up 8% of all sales, but these products are produced with pesticides and chemical fertilizers, and often contain Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). "Conventional" foods dominate the grocery marketplace with 88% of sales; unfortunately, most of these products undermine public health and contribute significantly to the destabilization of our environment.

Like you, I am a consumer concerned about my family's health and the health of our planet. I feel strongly that we all have an inalienable right to know where the food we purchase comes from, how it is grown, and what is in it. Up to 90% of U. S. soybeans, corn, cotton, canola, and sugar beets are now genetically engineered and routinely incorporated into non-organic human and animal foods. These products require no labels or safety testing. As a consequence, approximately 80% of current non-organic grocery food items contain GMOs.

The number of current scientific studies suggesting the dangers of GMOs are growing everyday. Studies suggesting their safety are usually paid for by the corporations who sell the products of concern.

Considering the growing public health and environmental concerns of GMOs and Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), I ask that labeling clearly identify processed foods or animal products carrying any level of non-organic soy, corn, cottonseed oil, canola, sugar beets, alfalfa or GM growth hormones with a label or shelf sign that says, "MAY CONTAIN GMOs."

Also, please identify all meat, dairy, and eggs that come from CAFOs, where the animals are confined and fed GMO grains, with a label or shelf sign that says, "CAFO." In other words, unless a product is certified organic, or bears a certification seal from the Non-GMO Project, I want it to bear a sticker that says, "May Contain GMOs" or "CAFO."
Please join the growing group of ethical retailers and voluntarily adopt these Truth in Labeling practices. I ask you to inform your "natural" food vendors that you support the placement of "May Contain GMOs" stickers on their products. Please also inform your meat, dairy, and egg suppliers that non-organic products derived from animals reared on GMO grains or raised in intensive confinement will from now on bear stickers that identify them as "CAFO."

Retailers adopting Truth in Labeling practices will stand out as ethical leaders in the marketplace, gaining new customers and increasing the loyalty of present customers. Please join the nation's organic consumers as we move to label GMOs and CAFO foods so all consumers can make informed decisions. The health of my family and yours depends on it.

Thank you again for providing clean, safe food for my family, and for your support of a healthier planet. I look forward to your response to this letter.

(Your name and contact information here)

For more information about Monsanto, please go here.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Roasted Turnip and Kale Salad

You're looking at a farm-fresh organic egg (organic meaning the chickens are fed non-GMO scratch), salted and fried in pasture butter. And although the egg was exquisitely cooked, most of it ended up in Jaco the Wonder Dog's bowl. Why? Because the turnip and kale salad was so far beyond good I ate two huge helpings and could have eaten more.

Here's the recipe:

  • 4 - 6 small to medium turnips, sliced and quartered
  • 1 medium to large bunch of kale, washed and trimmed (a bunch is a gracious handful, or about 4 cups)
  • 3 tablespoons tahini (sesame butter...raw is good, but roasted has a deeper flavor)
  • juice from a lemon
  • 3 garlic cloves (more or less to taste)
  • tamari to taste (tamari is a gluten-free product!)
  • 2 - 3 tablespoons warm water to adjust texture (add a bit at a time and whisk, then add more...you want the dressing to be of medium thickness)

Preheat oven to 425
  • steam the turnips for 3 minutes, then transfer to a cookie sheet, sprinkle with sea salt and bake until slightly brown...about 20 - 30 minutes...flip them once, and watch to make sure they don't burn...no oil needed
  • steam kale for 2 - 3 minutes and set aside in a large bowl
  • mince garlic and set aside for a few minutes
  • mix tahini, lemon juice, tamari, garlic and warm water...a whisk works very well

After the turnips have roasted, just add them to the kale, toss with dressing and adjust to suit your taste. You won't believe how good this is! Sure, you can use potatoes instead of turnips, but for a different kick, use sweet potatoes.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Pyramid of Doom v. Pyramid of Bloom: The Extended Play Version

The quality of your human experience mostly depends upon the choices you make. Suffer the dark Pyramid of Doom, or scale the glorious Pyramid of Bloom. It’s your trip, and you design it.

Doom prefers a sedentary lifestyle, one that turns a brain to mush…makes an enemy of the body…withers curiosity… erases creativity…and lowers vibration, setting the stage for chronic diseases like obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and cancer.

You relinquish all power to Big Ag Biz when you purchase these Doom-creating toxins. You’re looking at the food equivalent of Fox News, but without the entertainment value.

The Industrial Food Complex tricks kids with pretty boxes and poisons them for money. Tell your children the Greedy Monster who makes this stuff doesn’t love them. It all comes down to love, and children understand love.
Looking for a fundraiser? Your school earns a dollar for each box of Little Debbie caca bars sold. But listen: dirty snack marketing aimed at school fund-raising is morally wrong. There are smarter, healthier ways to fund a playground.

Climb Doom and chronic diseases ravage your body, regardless of age. And if you’re an adult male, they kick your old pal Woody Johnson when he’s down. But all those things can be managed.

Big Pharma trotted out 81 new pharmaceuticals in 2010, and 8 more have already been approved by the FDA this year! You’re a volunteer guinea pig, and nobody even had to ask your permission.

You are financially supporting corporations that empty your bank account and make you sick. Your choices have led you up the darkest side of the Pyramid of Doom. May you be pain-free during your End of Days.

And if you happen to be dying in a local hospital, your deathwatch committee can kick back to a Pepsi, the drink that has been bringing fun and refreshment to consumers for over 100 years.

Here lies a SAD American whose epitaph reads: The End Wasn’t Pretty and I Didn’t Have Much Fun Getting Here. Her legacy includes a pantry filled with Frankenfood that will never, ever die!

The Pyramid of Bloom is built on a foundation of love, harmony, movement, curiosity and a child-like belief in red stars – a belief in the possibility of all things. Be here. Be here now!

Because right now, a new paradigm is being born. We’re shifting from mind-focused living to heart-focused living, and we must have clean, safe food and water to fuel our bodies for this shift.

You bloom when you live within your means and seams. The last food Elvis ate was four scoops of ice cream and six chocolate chip cookies; he might still be with us today had he skipped dessert. May we all be received in Graceland...

When you bloom, you save enough money to buy one of those hip Elvis jumpsuits, or pursue hobbies, or to visit new places. And if you’re adept at soul travel, the trip is free! Everyday has high value when you bloom.

Retirement means doing what you want to do, not what you have to do. You are free to fully express yourself, to celebrate your own mysterious nature. Life is a garden...dig it!

Become a healthy Senior Planetary Citizen. Hang with your peeps, brew up some revolution. May your unique experience and wisdom help educate the collective whole.

And at your End of Days, your well-tended soul vibrates in rhythm with the Highest Natural Order. You are pure Love when you reach the stars, and well, everybody is a star. Everybody wants to shine.

But wait! There’s cake! Good health isn’t about deprivation. Just use clean, safe ingredients, balance your treats with nutrient-dense food, and remember to share with your friends.

Here’s what super-high frequency, nutrient-dense food looks like. You bloom when you connect with your food, when you honor the soil from whence it comes.

Make good health your art and your life a masterpiece. Bloom in gratitude to the Divine Spirit who teaches us to let our love light shine. Go ahead, shine on. See you later, Generators!
All material created by PL Byrd for Ignite Agriculture, The Orange Peel, Asheville, NC, March 5 2011