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Mar 25, 2010

There is a great deal of commentary giving the idea that the "perfect" solution for the issues of animal mistreatment in commercial food production, and the general health of our population cis for the entire population to go Vegetarian/Vegan.

I can commissurate with the -idea-... after all, most people would say that it is easier to eat an apple without worrying about its level of comfort or consciousness than it is to eat Daisy the Cow or Clucky the Chicken where we have to ask ourselves whether it's ok to eat something that can look at us with its little eyes--we can almost -hear- the creature saying "Please don't eat me, Human Being".

However, there is a very serious practical matter involved in the idea that we can all just convert to vegeterian/vegan diets and solve the issues of bad animal hubandry in that manner. That practical matter is that human beings were never meant to exist without animal foods. Period.

With that being said, I -also- do not believe that people who are devoutly vegan or vegetarian should be forced to change their diets. If, for ethical, spiritual, or personal reasons, an individual chooses a vegetarian or vegan diet, xhe should certainly maintain hir choice and defend it fully FOR HIRSELF -- which does not include prosletyzing inaccurate information to push hir choices onto other people.

I think that it is time that we really consider the factual evidence of our existence, and start working to improve our animal husbandry skills, using the tools we have been able to develop over the years and the information we have learned about the incredible creatures who provide us with nourishment to enable us to care better for this valuable and precious resource. It is time to acknowledge the -facts- of science, without emotional attachment, and really determine the "natural" diet of man, and educate people about how to flourish through the elimination of processed, chemicalized, and imitation "foods" which are of no nutritional value to us whatsoever. It is also time to listen to our own bodies. I was a vegan for almost a decade, dealing with severe atopic dermatitis, Type II diabetes, heart disease, obesity, autoimmune disease, immune-system failure, and crippling MS. It was only after my holistic neurologist recommended a change in diet that restored -my body- (through chemical analysis) to its balanced 'normal' state that my mobility (and my return to an active life) were assured. I lost almost 100 lbs in 8 months without dieting, and was able to return to a (very) active life, after most of my doctors had written me off and given me less than 2 years to live. Because of the experience, and the difficulty that I had in making the change after listening to -years- of people telling me that I should be perfectly healthy on a vegetarian diet, because human beings were never meant to eat animal products anyway, I started really looking at what we're teaching one another about food -and- about caring for the resources that will allow human beings to have healthy food as a fundamental right.

I also think that it is imperative that we take personal responsibilty for our own health and well being (and that of our children, should we choose to have children). I think that no amount of literature can determine whether we are as strong and vital as we wish to be, or whether our offspring are the picture of health on the diet that they're on, or whether we need to adjust to suit an individual nature that falls somewhere off the nutritional peak of the 'bell curve'. To me, it is vital that each of us learn what it takes to keep us at the level of health that is both acceptable to us on an ethical/moral level and functional for our bodies on a physical level.

The "Natural" Diet of Human Beings
For almost 30 years now, there have been people promoting the idea that human beings were, at some point in our development, vegetarians, and that meat-eating was a 'rescue' habit we developed during an extended period of drought/land failure. Setting aside the idea that, if we -were- genetically vegetarian as a species, such a period of drought/land failure would have resulted in our death as a species, because we would not be able to digest meat, there is still the issue that this information is fallacious. Peer reviewed studies going back to 1977 have made it clear that human beings were, first and foremost, meat eaters who -later in our development- added vegetables, fruits, and grains as our technology enabled us to be able to obtain some food value from these resources (1)... because you see, our primate and neolithic ancestors have been shown, through considerable research, to have eaten predominantly "meat-based" diets (2-3).

It has been noted in the literature that most of the food that we take for granted as being "edible" by humans requires a substantial investment in terms of energetic conversion. Most vegetables, roots, and grains must be cooked in order to be able to be used at -all- by the human digestive system. As most of our ancestors did not live in forests, but upon the savannahs, the primary source of non-animal food available to them would have been grass--which is wholly and completely indigestible by human beings. Even the seeds of grass (rice, wheat, etc.) must be either cooked or ground to be able to be digested in the human digestive system. Grains also require implements in order to be able to cook them -- something that human beings did not possess until ~7000 years ago. Therefore, it is impossible that human beings lived on grass and grains -- and the only alternative for the region and time period was that human beings were genetically adapted for, and sustained their lives through, the consumption of meat.(4-7)

In addition, there is substantial evidence that vegetarian diets do -not- provide complete nutrition for humans. Evidence of disease ranging from megaloblastic anemia to accute, pervasive malnutrition are regularly reported in the medical literature in societies that are predominantly vegetarian/vegan. In addition, there is new evidence coming to light that indicates that the removal of plant foods from the diet does -not- incite an increase in disease -- but that the converse is true. Adding large quantities of grains, beans, and roots to the diet has lasting consequence in terms of increased disease, especially for vulnerable populations... and in addition, may actually compromise the ability of the human brain to process and disseminate information and assure proper neural function. (7-18).

REFERENCES:
1. Gaulin S. J. C., Konner M..  On the natural diet of primates, including humans.  In: Wurtman R. Y., Wurtman J. J., eds.  Nutrition and The Brain.  Vol 1, Raven Press, New York. 1977.
2.  Bryant V. M., Williams-Dean G.. The Coprolites of Man.  Scientific American,  January 1975.
3. Hawkes J. G.. The Hunting Hypothesis . In: Ardrey R., ed. The Hunting Hypothesis . Collins, London, 1976.
4. Crawford M., Crawford S.. What We Eat Today . Spearman, London, 1972.
5. Leopold A. C, Ardrey R.. Toxic Substances in Plants and Food Habits of Early Man. Science, 1972
6. Stephen A. Whole grains — impact of consuming whole grains on physiological effects of dietary fiber and starch. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr 1994; 34: 499-511.
7.  Groves B A.  The Cholesterol Myth  . A Second Opinion publication, 19th revision, March 1999.
8.  Chanarin I., Malkowska V., O'Hea A-M., Rinsler M. G., Price A. B.. Megaloblastic anaemia in a vegetarian Indian community.  Lancet  1985; ii: 1168.
9. Freeland-Graves J.. Mineral adequacy of vegetarian diets. Am J Clin Nutr 1988; 48: 859.
10. Sanders T. A. B.. Micronutrients: vitamin B-12. Matern Child Hlth . 1992; 17: 19-20.
11. Dagnelie P. C., et al . Increased risk of vitamin B-12 and iron deficiency in infants on macrobiotic diets. Am J Clin Nutr 1989; 50: 818.
12. Herens M. C., Dagnelie P. C., Kleber R. J., Mol M. C. J., van Staveren W. A.. Nutrition and mental development of 4-5 year old children on macrobiotic diets. J Hum Nutr Diet 1992; 5: 1-9.
13. Lifshitz F., et al . Nutritional dwarfing in adolescents. Semin Adolesc Med 1987; 3 (4): 255.
14. Roberts I. F., West R. J., Ogilvie D., Dillon M. J.. Malnutrition in infants receiving cult diets: a form of child abuse. Br Med J 1979; 1: 296.
15. Kruger D. M., et al . Vitamin D deficiency rickets: report on three cases. Clin Orthop 1987; 224: 277.
16. Bindra G. S., Gibson R. S.. Iron status of predominantly lacto-ovo-vegetarian East Indian immigrants to Canada: a model approach. Am J Clin Nutr. 1986; 44: 643.
17. Galler J. R.. Malnutrition — a neglected cause of learning failure. Postgrad Med 1986; 80 (5): 225-8
18. Bradley P. J.. Deprivation in infancy or in adult life. Lancet 1991; 337: 1043.

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Posted: Mar 25, 2010 9:56am
Nov 11, 2009

Several months ago, I began a personal journey to 'downsize'. In my case, it was a weight issue, compounded by years of bad decision-making and a hurried, harried lifestyle that encouraged those choices through time crunches, big bills to pay, and ever-increasing turn-around speeds required to complete a day's work. Eventually, poor health and progressive deterioration made it -mandatory- that I start trimming my life. The alternative was greater progressive un-wellness.

Right around the same time, our culture here in the United States was beginning to feel an equivalent focus on our infrastructural "ill health". The economy struggled in earnest to "wake itself back up". Entire neighborhoods started that slide into deterioration that is so difficult to come back from, and yet, voices from all over were responding to these messages with "give me MORE"... more money, more government support, more tax breaks...

What if what we need isn't -more-, but LESS? What if the key to turning ourselves around and shaping a healthier culture out of our current spate of "sick country syndrome" isn't about spending more and buying more... but about cutting waste and downsizing on both a personal and societal level? What if, instead of looking for someone to bail us out, the solution lies in giving one -another- a hand UP? What if it isn't about our -government-, or "big business", but about the little choices each of us makes every single day about how we're going to interact, and whether or not we're going to contribute to our own health (or our own demise)?

Over the years, as I've watched people develop more awareness about resources, environment, personal health, stress, etc., I've also noticed a -lot- of pressure to consume at greater and greater levels. Every "cause" now has its own credit card, special clothing, fancy ribbons, special stores -- and in the process, all we've done is re-package our obsession with consumption into another wheezing, puffing, over-inflated mass.

Perhaps the downturn in our economy is serving a useful purpose. Perhaps, instead of patching it with tools to help us continue, as a culture, to over-consume and over-indulge, we can make use of this time to scale -back-... to change our focus to processes that will allow us, as individuals who make up a greater society, to begin to make choices that will -truly- heal our culture.

 

Perhaps it is the time to spend our out-of-work hours volunteering, and in the process, develop a continuum where we support the community, and the community supports us. Perhaps this is the time to plant our own food, instead of depending on boxes of commercially produced pseudo-food for sub-optimal nutrition. Perhaps this is the time to restore the family kitchen, let go of our "instant communication devices", and start talking to one another again, person-to-person, instead of machine-to-machine. Perhaps it is time to re-vision our businesses, and re-shape them to nurture the health and well being of the employees, and be more responsive to the customers and clients, rather than to a distant (and mercurial) Wall Street.

 

Perhaps, in the midst of all of this turmoil, there is a chance to heal our culture, and perhaps the only way to do that successfully is to let go of our rushing, over-consuming, harried, hurried, stressed-out, distraught, alienated, angry, disconnected road, and find a way to embrace something more "organic" -- something that encourages individuals to find (and make) their place in the world... that encourages relaxed recreation, imagination, and the art of helping one another. I think that we've forgotten these things, and that, until we take advantage of the opportunities presented to us by this societal turn of events, we will continue to exacerbate our own social illness and drive ourselves deeper into "sick society syndrome".

(Fire)Storm

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Posted: Nov 11, 2009 7:27am
Mar 26, 2007

I've been keeping a journal of my "values" -- watching, in my own life, to see what it is that I truly value. As I read through it this morning, I noted that I'd written down "I value living fearlessly" in there at some point.

This past weekend has provided several opportunities to examine whether my life really followed along with what I valued or not, and I am pleased to say that the responses were mixed, but with a little work, all of them were converted to a place where I can truly say that I live my 'value'.

In the first example, I responded to the situation first with fear, and had to go back and adjust my response when I realized what was motivating my contribution to the situation. My son is engaged. His future mate's family and his own stepmother are putting a lot of pressure on the pair of them to get them to marry quickly. I, on the other hand, would prefer to see them wait a while, and I counseled my son to that effect over the weekend... rather vehemently, in fact. In review, however, I realized that I was afraid they were too young and too unprepared for the challenges of marriage to think about actually going through with it yet. This morning, I examined my conversation with him, and realized that, because of my fear, I was not supporting his and her capacities to make decisions as the adults that they are. I actually called him, and told him that I loved him, and that I knew that they would make good decisions, and that I would be supportive of them doing whatever they needed to in order to have a peaceful, loving start to their lives together. To me, this is part of living fearlessly -- living and counseling others in such a way where I do not let my own fears keep myself or others from progressing and making decisions to bring joy to their own lives.

In another incident that pushed my buttons, however, I did much better. Over the weekend, my little Honda scooter was stolen. It happened in broad daylight, and disappeared after having been parked in the same parking place for almost a year. I didn't panic, though. I placed the police report, and spoke to the insurance company. I don't know if the loss of the machine is covered on our insurance, but it doesn't really matter. In the end, everything will work out just the way that it is supposed to, and I believe that in my heart. I don't know why the machine changed hands now, but I have to believe, even though I don't know why this is a good thing for me, that the loss of the scooter is, indeed, a positive thing that will improve my life-situation. I can't be afraid of what happened, or what might happen, because my scooter was stolen. It is a little thing that I believe will help me to deal fearlessly with larger changes in my life when they happen.

What does "Living Fearlessly" mean to you, and how has your work in fearless living manifested recently in your life?

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Posted: Mar 26, 2007 8:27am
Feb 8, 2007
What an amazing morning this has been. I haven't written in a while here, so I thought I'd share some of my recent insights, just because I don't want to forget them down the road.

I've been working towards living more intentionally. It's challenging, in part because my focus is (naturally) a little different than the others that I live with, and sometimes we don't understand the choices that the other person is making. I'm working hard at being less judgmental about others' choices, and trying to recognize that we are all trying to do the best we can with the information we have and our own capacity to assimilate that information, but I, too, forget that I am part of the Divine Universe that is both self and everything else at times, and friction develops. I -am- trying.

I've also come to understand something, I think, about the nature of my relationship to different things in the currently-conscious expression of 'world'. For example, I had already come to understand love as a quantum force -- a particular sine/particle expression of energy... but recently, I've come to understand that -everything- around us is incorporate of that same thing. I've had an erratic relationship with food and money for my entire existence in this particle/wave shape I am currently expressing in. It wasn't until I started examining the connection between obsession about fitness, health, and diet, though, that the light finally went on. FOOD is a tangible expression of energy. Conceivably, we could absorb the energy we need directly from our connection with Ourself-as-Universe, but in the process of being this experience, we have captured the essence of our nourishment as "food"... something to bring particular joys and sensations to us. Therefore, everything that we consume -should- be able to be transmuted by us into its pure energetic form -- we could conceivably take only what we needed in terms of energy and re-radiate back to Ourself-as-Universe any of the excess with NO harm to any part of us, tangental or transitive. In other words -- if we didn't obsess about food and whether it was good or bad, but accepted it as pure energy in tangible form, we would be able to -enjoy- it without setting up a discordant energy field within ourselves.

It's going to take me a while, I think, to remind myself, but I created this little phrase to keep me mindful. "I believe that what I eat will be perfect energy to allow me to fulfill my purpose in this life. I am conscious of the energetic gift moving from place to place within Self-as-Universe, and grateful for the opportunity to experience it in this expression of experience."

I am doing the same thing with money. I understand, finally, that money is just another expression of the energy given to us from MULTIPLE sources, with which we can serve our purpose in this life. Self-as-Universe isn't going to shortchange itself... no matter what expression of energy being discussed, there is always enough to serve the purpose of that life.

I know that seems dichotomous, when so many people see images of want and lack -- places where it seems the Universe forgot to expend energy... but all experiences are valid, and knowing that we are caring for ourselves no matter -what- our circumstances seem to be on the outside looking in means that it is an issue of PERCEPTION and a need for greater CREATIVITY, NOT a call for lack and fear that could motivate us. (What could you give if you knew that you would never have to be afraid of not being able to serve your purpose for existing? How generously would we be able to share our energy if we realized we were just moving it from place to place -- and in the end, we were -all- benefiting from it?)
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Posted: Feb 8, 2007 5:10am
May 2, 2006
Well, I'm off and running. Houston, one of the least ecologically oriented cities in the States, is due for a face-lift, and I'm interested in gathering people who are ready to help in working to make that happen. The goal is to begin organizing a co-housing community that would include a zero-carbon-footprint (or as close as we could get) design, affordable construction with heavy sweat-equity involvement, inner-city reclaimation value, greenspace for community gardens, recreation areas, etc., small local businesses to provide the community with a local presence, our own co-op, communal dining and celebration areas with nightly pot-luck and communal suppers to encourage community development, artistic encouragement including resident storytellers and other artists, communal care of our "human seedlings and saplings", and other features that would allow such a community to not only manage, but flourish. The goal is to put together a functional business plan, begin organizational structure as a non-profit, search out private and federal grant sources, develop a working budget, and begin seeking grant funding at the end of 2006 or beginning of 2007. The initial community would be set up for 8-15 families and would reach out to the surrounding external community as well. If you are interested, feel free to share this, as well as posting comments. I'll be putting together a group on which we can discuss details as interest grows. Ideally, we'd be ready to meet and discuss the basics of bylaws, etc., by the end of July. Looking forward to an interesting and exciting future. Zephyr WindDancer Bladewing
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Posted: May 2, 2006 4:35pm

 

 
 
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Storm W.
, 3, 4 children
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