Sustainable Halo

A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song. – Chinese Proverb

Food Matters April 21, 2010

Filed under: Alternative Health,Food, Food, Food!,Sustainable Living,Take action! — Simple Jess @ 11:23 pm

Charlotte Gerson is at it again!  My mentor and dream grandma figure lends her infinite wisdom to yet another attempt to inform Americans in the ongoing battle for health in this nation, the documentary Food Matters.  We should all take the time to brush up on the frightening but inspirational information gleaned from her lifelong crusade.  She has been plugging away for decades and now faces an ever more challenging problem with the addition of Franken Foods to the increasing veil of untruths we have to face when making food decisions in our lives,!  Agricultural corporations will continue to fight to the grave but fortunately for us, so will she.  And she is alive and kicking due to the Gerson Diet and Lifestyle so she will be fighting for us for many years to come I am sure.  She and the other very worthy warriors out there should not be so alone in this fight.  We, as citizens, owe it to ourselves to join the fight.  We are worth it.  Our children and grandchildren are worth it.  Check it out!

Love and light,

Jess

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Recipe for Eggs September 2, 2009

Filed under: Nature,Sustainable Living,Take action! — Simple Jess @ 1:26 pm

Let this article be your guide when a recipe calls for eggs.

I have infinite respect for my readers and never want to write something offensive to anyone.  It is a fine line I walk as a strict vegetarian, vegan if you will.  I do not mean to push my own views on others.  I do, however, feel that it is my responsibility since I have been enlightened in regards to the very sad and major secret our corporate nation keeps from us.  We are promoting animal torture when we consume animal products.

I realize how radical this sounds because it is radical.  It is revolutionary.  Just like the family that suffers because of the secrets it keeps, our embrace of an industry, animal production, that systematically tortures living creatures for monetary interest is a shameful secret that most of us would like to turn away from.  Many of us do.  Even though we see the horror we push it aside and stuff it away like a family secret.

You have the right and free will to do whatever you want.  I suggest that you open your eyes to the atrocities of animal production and consider giving up the consumption of its “products.”  I am providing a video here that is almost impossible to watch but please consider watching.  It might make you cry.  It might make you sick to your stomach with shame.  It might change the way you think about the face on your plate.  That is why you do not want to watch it, right?  Why the blind eye?  Think about it.

Here is the video: think of this when a recipe calls for eggs.

If you really refuse to watch the video at least read this article: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090901/ap_on_go_ot/us_egg_hatchery_investigation

I would also like to suggest a book that is profound and beautifully outlines an empowering understanding of our world.  It is written by Will Tuttle who has a master’s degree in humanties from San Francisco State University and a Ph.D in the philosophy of eductation from the University of California, Berkley.  A professional pianist, composer, and teacher, he has for the last fifteen years presented at progressive churches, vegetarian and human potential conferences, and intentional communities throughout the country.  He trained in Korea as a Zen Buddhist monk and has worked extensively in Tai Chi, yoga, meditation, intuition development, and spiritual healing.

The book is called The World Peace Diet: Eating for Spiritual Health and Social Harmony.  If I could recommend just one book, this would be it.  It intelligently speaks to the heart of the issue and will without a doubt expand your personal growth.

As with any radical change or transformation of any kind, it begins with small changes that are born of a desire to make a difference in something.  I know that not everyone is capable of changing overnight to a vegan diet and in many cases it is not healthy if one is so entrenched in an unhealthy lifestyle.  I recommend that you begin by eating a couple of meals a week that are vegan. Have fun with the meals and experiment. Sometimes you will hit and sometimes you will miss but the important thing to remember is that you are making an effort. You will soon find yourself craving these meals and expand into 3 meals a week. You might eat like that for a year or so. When your body and spirit are ready, you will find one day that are either ready to move into 4 or 5 days a week, maybe even ready to go the distance comfortably and omit animal products completely! You have to follow your intuition. Believe me, it is there. It speaks to you. That is why we choose not to watch the videos or listen to the choir of people calling for change: we are ignoring our intuition.

Support can be difficult to find but I can assure you that it is out there you just have to find it. Luckily, the internet makes that pretty easy. There are so many support groups out there it can make your head spin! And of course, I am here always. Any questions or help you need are just an email away. Do not ever hesitate to contact me with anything, it is my pleasure to serve.

I have a great recommendation for a cook book that offers all vegan recipes. The difference is that it was written by a non vegan food editor. She wrote it for aspiring and devoted vegans out of a concern for the health of our world. It is a nice introduction to the food and I have to say they are simply delicious meals. She does not use a lot of franken-foods, like fake cheeses and meat, she just prepares really great dishes that allow you to accommodate your taste buds with the abundance of flavors in fruits, veggies and grains. It is a great re-introduction to the sustainable nature and beauty of our nature’s bounty! It is called Fresh and Fast Vegan Pleasures by Amanda Grant.

 

Living Sustainably Can Reduce Obesity and Anxiety July 9, 2009

Filed under: Food, Food, Food!,Sustainable Living — Simple Jess @ 10:54 pm

Many of the people I know are curious about and want to be better about living sustainably. There are a few big questions though, dilemmas more so, that hold them back. One big fear is that it will cost too much money. Another is that it will be too time consuming. Let us not forget that most people are wary of the marketing scams attached to hot topics such as sustainable living and organic products and do not trust the information provided by the manufacturer or retailer. It does not have to be this way and I do not believe that it will be that way much longer. As people make changes, they see results which gives them confidence and a sense of well being. Then they want to make more changes and keep the ball rolling, which only improves their lives, the lives of others and their environment even more.

Today I am focusing on two common ailments in modern American society: obesity and anxiety. Let’s start with obesity, even though these two struggles do go hand in hand in many situations.

It is hard to define just what causes obesity and many experts are trying to do just that every day. Saint Vincent Health, a Bariatric Weight Loss Center, lists the common factors to be:

* Genetics
* Culture
* Physical inactivity
* Emotional or psychological factors
* Gender
* Age
* High-fat / High Calorie diet
* Medical problems

I believe that culture is the elephant in the room of this list. Not only do we live in a society that selfishly celebrates everything with food but that very food has deteriorated in quality over the years. Even worse, it has gone of for so long now that when someone tries to introduce the idea of eating clean to the nation, Americans reply with anger because, as I mentioned above, they are skeptical. They are rightfully skeptical and SHOULD be skeptical because you are what you eat and my goodness, please take the time to think about what you are putting in your mouth. We’ve also been taken advantage of in our doped up state of caffeine, alcohol, high fructose corn syrup, animal fat, energy pill, prescription drug and smog consumption…it is no wonder that we are falling for fad diets and false promises of weight loss. Lauren Cahn writes for The Huffington Post about her distaste for the “clean eating fad” and I worry that she may be stubbornly overlooking the real message. It is not about judging or beating ourselves up, it is about adopting new habits to replace the bad ones. Yeah, I said it: “BAD ONES.” I know she does not like this but sometimes you’ve got to call a spade a spade.

Consider for a moment this: If we make more sustainable choices, the fear I mentioned in the introduction is real. It will take more work and you might have to spend some money initially to swap out some the bad with the good. But once you do and the habits are formed you find yourself in a wheel of sustainability that gets more and more accurate the further you take it. It becomes efficient and economical. The extra work required is good for us. We walk more and chore more. We spend a little more time washing and preparing vegetables and fruits. This all moves our bodies and keeps us busy doing wholesome things for ourselves and our environment. Even if you are not a homebody or interested in environmental issues, these things are simple and effective tools at maintaining a healthy weight. It does not mean you have to go whole hog, just try a few things and keep it consistent.

It is not expensive to grow your own fruits and vegetables and that is one of the best choices you can make.

Even if one does not suffer from obesity, I know so many people who carry a few extra pounds or do not have the energy they know they should or both. A few simple changes in one’s eating and living habits can really make that difference, quicker than believed.

Oprah Winfrey has struggled for decades now and still says that her food issues have to do with her feeling of well being. I disagree. While I do agree that the two go hand in hand, I disagree and assert that food has the upper hand. You HAVE to make smart food choices that are socially and environmentally responsible. This does not eliminate the importance of understanding where you are emotionally and doing your best to balance your food goals with your current emotional state. I will elaborate on this in posts to come.

A few quick things you can do to begin major shifts in your eating habits and body weight are:

Buy a juicer and juice daily.

Eliminate faux drinks: SODA (DIET OR REGULAR,) coffee with additives, milk, protein drinks, pasteurized and processed juice, and bottled water.

Eat as many vegetables as you can. They are the backbone to nutrition, not a compliment. If you need to cook them, go for it, but eat as many of them raw as you can tolerate.

Now, on to the anxiety issue. Some of the best treatments of anxiety involve exercise and mindless activity. It is so important to free yourself from your mind’s incessant chatter. Gardening is a one-two-punch for obesity and anxiety. It moves your body, connects you to the environment and frees your mind from all of the daily grind issues that plague us all. What is equally important is the fact that this food is better for you physically. It is not treated with ANYTHING and you can pick it fresh, ripe with all natural goodness. If you are not ready for that, do something mindless that moves your body. Go for a walk. Play solitaire. Knit a blanket or learn how to. Go drive some golf balls. Dip in the ocean. Take a metal detector on an innocent adventure.

The physicality makes sense, right? But let’s dig deeper. Why are we such an anxious society? Maybe its the pressure to succeed. Maybe its because we have so many disintegrated families. Or, perhaps, we should consider the media and its mostly diabolic philosophy. These are all cultural issues. Our culture is in danger but that does not mean we should panic. It means we should focus. While all of these cultural issues are very important, I happen to believe that corporate interests do us a lot more harm than they do us good and it is very sad that they have so much power. They top the charts of corruption and irresponsibility. The only way I know to balance that out is to live a clean life and put your money where your mouth is. Do not support something you do not believe in, even if it fits neatly into your political or religious beliefs. Listen to your intuition. One’s self and their family are the most important entities to support, with the intention of supporting your surrounding communities and world with the strength built upon that support. It does not do very much good to squander it all on yourselves.

The more you do good for yourself and others the less anxiety you feel. Move your body and your mind. Connect with and help others. Get out there and stretch your boundaries. You will grow from it and all of your family and friends will be enriched by it. My anxiety always seems to stem from not feeling like I am doing enough, not being content with myself or not feeling connected to my community. I have learned that most of these feelings stem from how I am treating myself and my body. When my body is cleansed and fed properly it treats me just right and opens all kinds of doors.

People of all ages struggle with weight and anxiety. It is my absolute belief that food is the staple of these two issues. We could flail about and try to treat exterior aspects to these problems but it begins with food. We have to eat right: we are what we eat.

If you have any questions or comments please let us know on the About Us page.

Be sure to tune in every week during the month of August, as I will be presenting my Summer Cancer Prevention series of articles, including an interview with Charlotte Gerson, daughter and protege of renowned cancer healer Max Gerson, MD!

If you have any questions or comments I encourage you to submit them in the box below!

Love and light,
Jess

 

Locavores July 2, 2009

Filed under: Sustainable Living — Simple Jess @ 10:59 am

I have been craving the opportunity to live in a community that I could really be a part of, while having as little impact on the environment as possible. Paying attention to my carbon footprint has become something that I focus on regularly and I’m always trying to learn new ways to reduce it. Our move to Coronado had a lot to do with that desire and I am now reaping the benefits along with the environment.

The farmer’s market is incredible! But I am also trying to grow what I can on our roof top deck. My first attempt is with Heirloom tomatoes. I bought a started Cherokee Purple Heirloom plant at the farmer’s market and have it soaking up the sun on my deck with some cherry tomatoes as well. These purples taste soooo good! It is heaven in a tomato. Now, I am no master gardener but I do alright. However, we could all learn a little bit about tomato growing from Ray Newstead. He has developed a new method for growing that he is NOT manufacturing or selling. You can download a free PDF instruction set and all he asks is that you make a voluntary donation, if you can, to Feed the Children and then you can build this system easily by yourself. He calls it The Earth Trainer and you can bet I will be trying my hand at it!

The more you can buy locally grown foods and grow your own, the more good your are doing with every bite. And your taste buds will thank you! You cannot get this flavor at the grocery store.

Not everyone is sold on the whole Locavore attitude. Joe Windish writes about it in a very short article for The Moderate Voice. Read it if you would like: I happen to agree with “Green Dream’s” comment after the article. If one wants to make efforts at eating local and homegrown foods they have to start somewhere and I give Windish props for trying something but it a was feeble and he should really keep educating himself and trying new things. It is only when you make a serious effort and allow yourself to fail sometimes that you build the momentum necessary to make real change happen. I hope he did not give up after the ice cream debacle.

If you do not grow anything yourself, give it a try! Start with something easy that you know you will eat. Maybe an herb pot, a lemon tree or even some rhubarb (which is absurdly easy to grow.) Talk to some elders in your community and ask them to share some of their wisdom they have held onto from times when people ate seasonally and from their backyard. You might be surprised! I canned pickles for the first time recently and found it to be a simple way to take advantage of local produce and keep it for the more meager winter months.

I will be making some heirloom tomato salsa for the 4th of July and can hardly wait to “Wow” our guests with the flavor difference! Have a wonderful holiday and try to make a difference in your own special way.

Love and light,
Jess

 

Baby Jogger + Coronado = Euphoria June 25, 2009

Filed under: Nature,Sewing the Seeds,Sustainable Living — Simple Jess @ 1:08 am

I’m back! My skin is sun kissed, I know that I should be more careful and usually am but I have been so caught up in the beautiful charm of this island and its people that my sunscreen vigilance has taken a temporary back seat. My spirit is high.

My Baby Joggers, single and double, have gotten more use in the past week here in Coronado than they did in an entire year back in Virginia. One cannot help but want to be outdoors all of the time here! Being a confessed nature girl, I am getting my crunch on! The community blends the height of luxurious paradise, military common sense, Southern California progression and timeless patriotic spirit into a lovely slice of heavenly American pie. Most people, whether locals or tourists, are strolling around with smiles on their faces and kind greetings. It is as if everyone feels like they have stumbled upon the best secret locale in the country. Many stop to chat and speak exactly of that sentiment…”we are so fortunate, huh?”

We live a block and a half away from Spreckel’s Park, where the boys play with other island children. Mothers, grandmothers and caregivers bond with sunny smiles and a lot of laughter. The grass is like a golf course so Peter navigates it with no hesitation, its like carpet. On Sundays, there is a free concert there where everyone gathers with their blankets, snacks and wine. There are often fireworks going off somewhere, in fact we saw some for a private event at the Hotel Del from our bedroom window the first night we stayed in our house. Graham said, “More fireworks!” He is also very enamored with the firefighters who work down the street.

This spectacular village community exists just a bridge away from downtown San Diego and we can ferry downtown in minutes. We have yet to do that but we have gone each week to the ferry landing farmers market and have been noshing on fresh local avocados, strawberries, tomatoes, peaches, watermelons, kale and swiss chard! This is one of the most sustainable choices I can make, especially considering my mode of transportation (strolling the kids there and using my stroller to hold my market bags.) I have been making a conscious effort to shop local stores for our needs, even though I could drive to a big box store and have found that many stores offer a discount if you are a local. This also leads to new relationships with people and community building, sewing the seeds of sustainability. My family is on cloud nine, aside from the hectic nature of moving into a new house.

So as the Pacific Ocean lured my family back, we came and we are confident that this move was far more than a good idea. It was a calling. I have had so much inspiration for writing and do not know what I’ll be writing about next but you can bet that I’ll be writing up a sunny summer storm this year. We still have a couple more days of unpacking and moving things into their proper places but I am ready to write!

I leave you all this evening with a message of joy. Please find joy in your home, your town, your vacation spot and take some time to smell the roses…oh, I forgot to mention that there are so many rose gardens here and the blooms are HUGE! They are so big they resemble sunflowers! As the petals drop, they blow along the sidewalks in the fresh coastal breeze. We were taking an evening stroll recently and as we discovered we were walking on fallen rose petals, I said, “Wow! The streets are even strewn with rose petals for our walks!” We had a good laugh and thanked our lucky stars. Thank yours and be grateful for what you have.

Love and light,
Jess

 

Love’s Baby Soft and Coca Cola May 13, 2009

Filed under: Sustainable Living — Simple Jess @ 9:02 am

Over the past few years, since having my children, my tendency to seek out holistic, organic and natural products and practices has grown in intensity. It began with natural bath/body products and baby clothes but quickly transformed into an all encompassing effort, including changes with our food, toys, birthing practices, diapering accoutrements, house cleaning goods, carbon production, etc. I could go on forever it seems.

This does not mean that I have completely overhauled my life or that I expect perfection from myself in making these changes. It really is a long process for most. Especially if you share your life with others who do not share the same desire. I am fortunate that my children are very young so they do not know the difference. My husband has been good about accepting that these things are important to me, even though he thinks that the added expense is an unnecessary waste and thinks, in general, that I have gone a little bit too far on the “crunchy” route. But, bless his heart, he mostly does not quibble. Especially when I show him the money we are actually saving in other areas. He even likes some of the changes and continues to grow himself. As long as I give him the space he needs to progress on his own, things are fine. I have noticed that he is increasingly more receptive to these matters as he witnesses a friend struggle with cancer.

I often tell myself, “Live like you have cancer.” I do not want to find out I have it and then rearrange my habits accordingly. Instead, I would rather learn from those who have it or have survived it and do my best to take care of me and mine in such a way that either prevents it or sustains our health to a level that is strong enough to fight it if it does happen.

But, one’s sanity is a large factor in the sustainability of a complete and whole life. No matter how well meaning our intentions are and how much we learn about important changes that need to be made, our progress is often slowed down by trying to go whole hog. This works for some, but for most of us it is counter-productive and impedes a process that benefits from the ebb and flow of steady transformation.

I have not used Love’s Baby Soft since I was a teenager, when sunbathing and starving my already skinny body were my efforts to achieve a “sexy” look. But, it really does smell good and even though I am now turned off by most imitation scents, I put a bottle in my shopping cart when I was at Target the other day. I pressed the button and it sprayed into the air…I was finished, it went straight into the cart. I did, however, make a conscious decision to purchase it with the understanding that reverting is sometimes necessary. I will probably not buy another bottle, for a very long time anyway, it is just something that I decided to do to reminisce.

I also have decided that on occasion, I will allow myself a Coca Cola. I know it is void of anything good for me and that it is actually a bit like poison in my opinion, but shucks, it tastes good on a hot day. Again, as long as it is a conscious decision, I think it is something that I will grow out of. If not, at least I know that I will never be addicted to it. I had one the other day and it tasted great. I do not want another one though. I know this is the antithesis to Coca Cola’s efforts at keeping folks sipping on their globally popular kool-aid.

Just keeping it real here! It’s all about keeping it real at Sustainable Halo. Whatever your “treat” may be, keep it real and keep it conscious. Make every effort you can to incorporate healthier substitutes and you will find that it becomes less of a treat and more of an alien product that just doesn’t seem “right.”

I am off to spend the day at the Botanical Gardens with Graham, Peter, and some friends. Enjoy your day! And do not forget to give to yourself and others.

Love and light,
Jess

 

Tesla electric car! May 4, 2009

Filed under: Gotta Have It!,Savoir Faire,Sustainable Living — Simple Jess @ 6:35 am

It is very early in the morning so I might still be dreaming. I am in love with the Tesla electric car! It is completely electric with solar options on the horizon. You can travel 250 miles on a full charge, in virtually silent luxury. What a car! It really is a luxury so I will set my sights on a more realistic purchase and continue to lust after my dream cargo bike.

If you would like to do a little dreaming, check out this video of the new Tesla:

Their official website has a great blog which also shows the Model S, a little closer to my price range but will be saving for awhile:)

http://www.teslamotors.com/blogs.php

Daring to dream,
Jess