mammon rising....

  • Posted: 8:04 PM
  • |
  • Author: Heather Bannister

       I have been wondering lately what the line is between providing a comfortable life for yourself or family, and greed.  I have been trying to pay more and more attention to this line in the last few months, hoping not to cross it.  When do we draw the line between only getting what we need and enjoying the fruits of our labors?  What is an appropiate amount of "enjoyment"?  Who decides?
        In the Bible, distinctions are made fairly clear, rich man does not enter heaven, or if he does....it's pretty hard.  So should we live poorly?  Many believe so, like so many monks who take vows of poverty in order to emulate Jesus, or some who are just ok doing without.  I wanted to post this almost more as a discussion piece than anything else, I want to hear what people think and feel about this.  I want to find out what "greedy" is to you.  Please comment with your own thoughts or definitions, but remember, a discussion forum is different than a debate forum.... no fighting, no foul language, and I reserve the right to delete anything I deem inappropriate.  If it is clean, friendly and topical, it will not be removed. Ok, now, ready.....set......GO!

cover up....

        I'm very curious when people moved from preventing problems to masking symptoms.  It seems like we've always been able to get "a pill for this or a cream for that."  But not many any more bother to ask why they need said pill or cream.  We have learned to just assume that whatever our bodies outward expression is, IS the problem.  Thinking this way, we fail to see the true problems, therefore leaving them untreated, sometimes to the point of hospitilization or even death.
         It has long been known that Prozac can alleviate depression.  But how?  Prozac selectively affects only serotonin which is why Prozac and other similar drugs are called selective serotonin

re-uptake inhibitors, or SSRIs.  After  a while, receiving brain cells become more sensitive to serotonin allowing it to be absorbed more freely, therefore, elevating one's mood.+  This has been the approach for fighting depression for quite sometime now, doctors...ahem....pharmaceutical companies research the workings of the brain to find out what causes a good mood (i.e. serotonin) and subsequently make a pill that makes your brain absorb more of it.  So there we have it right?  Hormone and neurons and receivers and such, that's how the brain works right?  While this is true, the biggest part of the brain has been conveniently overlooked....fat.  Thats right, fat, about two-thirds for your brain is composed completely of fat.*  Fat is required in your diet in order for your brain to function properly.  Funny how something as simple as looking into adding god fats to your diet or supplement regime has been overlooked or overshadowed by the medical community until 1993.  That was the year Stoll a psycho pharmacologist at Harvard's McLean Hospital, began looking into the effect of Omega - 3's on bi-polar disorder.#  Ever since the idea was introduced, study after study has shown that it works.  Despite the overwhelming evidence, pills remain to be the answer.  Despite the fact that Omega - 3's have been shown to alleviate depression, anxiety, eczema, bi-polar, ADD and many other chronic conditions$, it continues to get pushed to the wayside by a medical community who has forgotten an important part of the oath they all took.... "I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure," or, the original version "I will not give a lethal drug to anyone if I am asked."^  "Prozac, the only antidepressant certified as safe for children, may make kids more suicidal."@  Food for medication thought.....   Why not treat the PROBLEM...not just the symptoms?



+  -  http://www.brainphysics.com/howprozacworks.php
*  -  http://www.fi.edu/learn/brain/fats.html#fatsbuild
#  -  http://www.ahealthyme.com/topic/depfishoil
$  -  http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/omega-3-000316.htm
^  -  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hippocratic_Oath
@  -   http://www.antidepressantsfacts.com/2004-09-13-USAToday-prozac-suicide.htm

Hearts....

  • Posted: 8:48 PM
  • |
  • Author: Heather Bannister

              These videos are for everyone, of every tolerance level.  It doesn't matter if you "don't need to see/know this stuff" or not.  you do need to, you need to know what is going on and keep yourself informed.  This will be one of few blog posts that have any sort of military/political topics, sorry if you came for my usual topics, but I felt like getting this out.
               http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uo1LddE7Ybs
               http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h9yRzoOB1C4&feature=related
               http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TQdgyEapvw&feature=related
               http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lR4z9ohRxEc&feature=related (this is a series of four, titled similarly, just look for the other three)
               http://wikileaks.org/



                What have we done?  Who are we that we could do the things we do?  We have lost our heart for our fellow man.  The things that go on in today's society are despicable.  I speak not of the horrid things that plaster our daily news briefs.  No, I am talking about the thing that the news won't, or isn't allowed to cover.
               When I started this blog, I promised myself that I wasn't going to dabble into politics and things, but rather stick with what I know.  However, I have begun to see, read and hear things that I cannot turn a blind eye to.  I recently discovered a few videos that pushed me beyond the point of holding back.  I sourced the videos above and would ask that you watch them before reading any further.  I will not describe them here because I want you to see with your own eyes just a small sampling of what our blind eye is turned to. 
               Now that you've seen them, how do you feel....  Still defending freedom are we?  Or are we rather enforcing tyranny in the form a police state.  Almost a decade we have spent over there.....still no freedom.  Sure, they can vote.  Women are still wearing burkahs, men still run everything.  Funny how a few hundred years ago when a group of people wanted to get out from under the thumb of another countries rule it took eight years.  Bear in mind, that was eight years of one of the smallest and most ill equipped armies in the world fighting the largest and most well equipped, not the other way around.  We are the most capable military in the world!  Yet we are being fought off by a group of insurgents from from a small, poor and almost inhospitable country.  Let's consider the terminology here for a minute.  "Insurgent" according to the dictionary definition is a person who engages in armed resistance to a government or to the execution of its laws ( http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/insurgent ).  So from the get go, we are, by definition, saying that these people are opposed to our mode of government.  In other words, they were happy the way it was, however bizarre that seems to us.  Now, it would seem to me that if these insurgents had remained a credible threat to the security of the country for this long, one has to wonder how long to keep fighting before you let them have their country back....
                We don't care though, we are on a mission.  We need an armed presence in as many countries as we can get.  We are one the few notions of the world that can boast that.  Some say "impressive", I say disgraceful.  Our presence is not needed the world over.  It is needed when there are CREDIBLE direct threats to our nation.  Not implied threats, we don't need "preemptive" attacks.  Where I'm headed, however roundabout a path I may have gone,  is that by keeping our soldiers in this environment, we increase the risk of their complete desensitization.  A certain level is required to be in the military, I will not deny that, but where do we draw the line?  Ask yourselves how far you are willing to go for a piece of dirt, or some goo from the ground.  How many lives will you risk, how many will you destroy?  We have lost our heart for humanity in the search for gold....
                  This is by no means a definitive article and I am by no means an expert.  This article is based on my own and a select few others research.  This is my own opinion, if your differs or this offends you, I do not apologize and I will take none of this back.  I have a right to my opinion, you don't have to agree, but please comment etc...  I would love to hear what you all have to say, if anything.

Digging a hole...

  • Posted: 6:02 PM
  • |
  • Author: Heather Bannister

            I'm very curious just how deep we as a society will dig before we start looking for a way out.  We need food, we go to the store because, to us anyway, that is where you get food.  We peruse the shelves, pick out what we want from a growing number (tens of thousands of new food like substances every year*) of food-ish looking boxes, the producers of which spend billions of dollars annualy+ to convince us that they are not only food, but that they are good for us.  How do they prove that they are good for us?  Food research of course.  Food research that is funded by these same companies that are selling us this food.  Sounds a little biased to me.  "But my Frito-Lay chips are heart healthy now!  It says so on the bag!"  If you think that is accurate, I have some land to sell you.... 


             
               Here's the actual claim in the fine print on the new "heart healthy" Frito-Lay chips:
   "Very limited and preliminary scientific evidence suggests that eating about one tablespoon (16 grams) of corn oil daily may reduce the risk of heart disease due to the unsaturated fat content in corn oil.
    The FDA concludes that there is little scientific evidence supporting this claim.
    To achieve this possible benefit, corn oil is to replace a similar amount of saturated fat and not increase the total number of calories you eat in a day."
                 As adequately compared in Michael Pollan's In Defense Of Food:
  "No doubt we can look forward to a qualified health claim for high-fructose corn syrup, a tablespoon of which probably does contribute to your health - as long as it replaces a comparable amount of, say, poison in your diet and doesn't increase the total number of calories you eat in a day."
             So, we buy food from manufacturers based on research funded or preformed by the companies selling the food.  Ironic as it may sound, research has proven that research funded by a company has results that favor the company#, so naturally food research will say the fiber in Froot Loops is just as good as the fiber in whole wheat bran.  Or, better yet, we buy it based on nothing more than the billions of dollars spent every year in advertising to convince us that it is food.  So what happened to the whole foods?  Well, they aren't fancy enough or cheap enough to fit in the shelves of brightly colored boxes and over-zealous packaging in the middle of the store.  They have no new health claims to advertise on TV because evryone already knows (deep down in that part of your conciense that sounds like your mom saying "Eat your vegetables!") that they are good for you, so there is no need for that.  That leaves the edges of the stores that people avoid.  They come into the store and sweep through them just for good measure, then on to the "good stuff" in the boxes.

            It would seem we are all waiting around for Taco Bell to start making health claims so we can justify eating there.....  Wait, they ARE!!  And they are just as convoluted as any FDA health claim you'll find in a store.  We go after these "new" health claims while walking right past foods that have been doing that already since the beginning of time.  Who would have thought that if you eat less than 1500 calories a day of tacos made with vegetables that you can lose weight?  That is basically what this "Drive Thru Diet" is, sounds to me like the older than dirt "caloric restriction" diet.  The point is Froot Loops don't have GOOD fiber in them and eating more Frito-Lays will NOT reduce your risk of heart disease.  Behind all of these claims is the subtext of "substituting this in place of  something that is worse for you, and not increasing your daily calorie intake".  That being said, pay attention to what you eat, only listen to qualified, independent food research and use common sense.  Remember, vote with your fork and as always, "Eat food.  Not too much.  Mostly plants."




* - http://www.ers.usda.gov/Briefing/FoodMarketingSystem/New_Product.htm
+ - http://www.upi.com/Health_News/2008/07/29/16-billion-spent-on-kid-food-marketing/UPI-39701217374497/
     http://www.magazine.org/advertising/revenue/by_ad_category/2008Q2.aspx
# - Several studies have found that when industry funds nutrition research, the conclusions as more likely to produce findings favorabler to that industry's products.  One such study published by the Public Library of Science, is "Relationships Between funding Source and Conclusion Among Nutrition-Related Scientific Articles," by David S. Ludwig.  See also Marion Nestle's Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health.  Revised editiong.  (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007).

Also cited:  In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto, by Michael Pollan, 2008

Something better...

  • Posted: 2:30 PM
  • |
  • Author: Heather Bannister


         "Always leave it better than you found it..."  That was something that my parents tried to push into my head over the course of my years at home, and even for a while after I left.  I have been to two parks in my town in the past two days to play with my children and have a little family picnic.  While I was there I couldn't help but notice the astounding amount of wrappers, cigarette butts and unidentifiable pieces of trash.  Not wanting my kids to pick any of these things up and possibly put them in their mouths, I spent a few minutes walking around picking up what I could find and depositing it into the trash receptacle....which was within a thirty foot radius of the farthest piece of trash I picked up.  This post follows in with an earlier one I wrote entitled "Steward..." if you would like to take a read at that one.  Anyway, my point is this, it doesn't take that much time out of your obviously unrealistically busy schedule to take ten extra steps to go to a trash can.  It says something about the type of people we are when we leave a place in worse condition than we found it.  Mom, Dad, I think I get it!  Not only does it say something about us, but it brings glory to God when we take care of the gift he gave us that is Earth, and the parks contained therein.  We cannot, CANNOT, go on disrespecting our home like this.  Eventually we will not have these parks anymore....because the plants will die, the swing sets will crumble, and all that will be left is a barren piece of land that can be put to no use but potentially a parking lot.  Also, while we may not live in these parks, there are animals that do.  Animals that are vital to that food chain I talked about last time and that eat the trash we leave behind.  Please, throw your trash away, if you see some, pick it up and throw it away.  It doesn't take that much time and it can make a world of difference.  That's all for now, remember to vote with your fork, and as always, "Eat FOOD.  Not too much. Mostly plants."

      

Never break the chain....

  • Posted: 3:01 PM
  • |
  • Author: Heather Bannister

        For most, that is nothing but a memorable song lyric.  As delightful a song as it may be, that phrase can and should mean much more than an antiquated love chain.  For us, humans, earth-dwellers and omnivores, it should mean something more along the lines of a food chain.  We all learned about these in school, this eats that which is then eaten by something else, and there we are on top, eating everything.  Which is true....we have completely dominated the global food chain.  This is not a bad thing at all, we are an intelligent, adaptive, omnivorous and societal species.  But, what we have lost track of is what our foods eat.

         When we go to the store, we don't think about what the cow that our ground beef came from ate, or whether it was on antibiotics or why.  We, again, only care that we don't pay too much for it.  We fail to take into consideration the fact that most of these animals are kept in dirty, cramped, cement feedlots where they are fed corn.  "Okay so they eat corn.  What's the big deal?"  Have you ever seen a cow in the wild eat corn?  If you can't remember, or don't know, I can tell you.  NO!!!  They eat grass.  Their digestive systems are speciffically designed for this purpose.  When they eat corn, they get sick because their systems are not made to process corn.  So, we give our cows corn, they get sick because they are made to eat grass.  What is the obvious solution?  If you thought "Feed them grass, duh."  you'd be wrong....at least according to the industrial food machine.  When cows (and any other feedlot animal for that matter) get sick, we don't look for the source of the problem, we pump them full of antibiotics, duh. 

        Now, that must be okay though because the FDA and USDA have tested all these antibiotics to make sure they are safe for human consumption right?   Weeeeelll....you'd think, but that is surprisingly not always the case.  Most of the time, the USDA/FDA work retrospectively, meaning, they wait til there IS a problem to deal with it rather than trying to avoid it in the first place.  Seems counterintuitive to me too.  ESPECIALLY when it comes to food that millions of people are eating.  The people they are supposed to be protecting from that kind of stuff.

        Back to corn.  Why would we use antibiotics to treat cows and other animals so that we can feed them what they're not supposed to eat?  Because we can grow more corn per acre than pasture.  We can subsidize corn farmers, and allow private corporations to control over 90% of the corn seed planted in the united states.  By the way, this particular corn seed is patented.  You heard right, PATENTED.  That mens that corn farmers cannot save their seeds to plant the next season like they used to....for thousands of years.  As a matter of fact, this is the first time that it has been more common for frmers as a whole to plant new seed every year than to keep their own, since the implementation of agriculture.  Doesn't seem right to me, I'll let you draw your own conclusions.

         Fortunately, recently there have been more and more pastured (or at least grass-fed) meat choices available in grocery stores.  This means that if you can't or don't want to go to your local farmer's market and get non-feedlot meat, you can still go to your regular store and help to stop the breakdown of the food chain.  And as always, vote with your fork and "Eat FOOD.  Not too much.  Mostly plants."

Steward...

  • Posted: 2:16 PM
  • |
  • Author: Heather Bannister
  • |
  • Filed under: local, Steward

Many of you have heard the word, many of you know what it means.  For those of you that don't, Webster defines a steward as; "a person who manages another's property or financial affairs; one who administers anything as the agent of another or others."  But, how many know what it truly means?  Now, some may say it is merely a person one would hire or request to take care of their belongings, while this is true, the real meaning goes significantly deeper than that. 
             Where do you live?  In a house or apartment, yes, but where is that house or apartment?  On Earth.  Does anyone own the Earth?  No, rather, we all do.  Bear that in mind, think about the definition and origin of the word 'steward' again....let it blow your mind for a minute, then come on back and keep reading. 
             That's right, this isn't just your house, it's everyone's.  Most importantly, it's Gods (if you don't believe, this all still applies so keep reading!), so when we rethink the meaning and role of a steward, it takes on a whole new light.  We need to take care of this place!  Not just for us, for your kids, your neighbor, your relatives, and yes even for the illegal alien harvesting your vegetables in the haze of toxic chemicals we use to grow our produce.  We have been consistently destroying our planet from the word go.  It was always bigger and better and faster and louder.  "Your building is cool, but mine is twice as tall".... and takes twice as much energy to run.  "The sun is an unlimited supply of renewable electricity?  We know how to harvest it?  It's relatively inexpensive?  But we have this nonrenewable goo that costs a fortune to produce, blast toxic emissions into the air we breathe and causes wars....so....why would we use the sun?  We're not gonna run out of oil in MY time!"  We have grown to be the epitome of a selfish culture.  People won't do anything if it won't affect them directly.  They don't care if meat from industrial farms causes cows to get sick, which causes us to get sick, which cause many people to die before their time.  They get their beef for a buck a pound, what difference does it make if "a few" people get sick from it? 
              It takes approximately 56 calories of energy to grow, produce, clean, package, ship and sell one usable calorie of lettuce.  Why?  Because people in cool climates want lettuce when it's out of season for them.  Oh my, what would we do without salad in the winter?  Ask the people who did it for thousands of years before us, ask the countries that don't eat lettuce at all.  They have the answer, eat what's in season in your area.  Store some away for the winter by canning or otherwise preserving it.  Go without salad in the winter.  There are many ways to do this, but it starts by buying local.  There are farmers in your area that grow all kinds of food to sell to you....you just have to go buy it.  It's more fresh, better tasting and better for you.  Please, take care of your home...and mine.  I promise I will return the favor.  Go out there and make a difference, vote with your fork and as always, "Eat food.  Not too much.  Mostly plants."

Forgetting to take care of our health amidst the controversy of healthcare....

  • Posted: 10:55 PM
  • |
  • Author: Heather Bannister

Why is it that amidst all the recent talk about health-care, no one is talking about taking care of our health and well being?  Seems to me, a lot of people are putting a lot of faith in an agency to control their food, in an agency that they turn around and bash for not being able to maintain the proper management of anything, let alone something as massive as the food industry.  I have heard people complain about how they are not going to be able to afford their insurance premiums anymore, yet they aren't taking into consideration that most insurance companies provide plans with lower deductibles for people that use it less.  Funny how, in general, the people that use their insurance the least (barring 'pre-existing' conditions, lifelong illnesses etc..) are not the people munching on McDonald's and Taco Bell three or more times a day.  Now, that's not to say that there aren't people out there who can do that and not end up at the doctor too often, I used to be able to...when I was sixteen.  So here I am, seven years later, feeling the effects of those poor decisions.  There is a myriad of reasons that the rise of nutritionism has 'conveniently' coincided with a steady rise in various illnesses (diabetes, coronary heart disease, ADD, etc. etc..) that are recently (in some cases not so recently) being linked to diet, exercise and social interaction.  Families that eat together and people in communities that are more social (face-to-face) live happier, healthier and longer.  It comes back around to the old saying, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away" that simple saying holds more truth than people give it credit for.  To digress, the people that eat good, real food, exercise on a regular basis and are more social, don't go to the doctor as much.  Therefore, effectively lowering their premiums.  But the problem is, no one is talking about this, everyone is more concerned with who's getting what coverage, why, and most importantly, who's paying for it.  The fact that the issue of "self-health responsibility" is taking a back burner in a country that has some of the highest obesity, diabetes, heart disease, ADD, ADHD and depression statistics in the modern world, seems more than a travesty.  There are people out there raising their children on fast food...this does nothing but slowly murder them.  These people are condemning their children to a short life full of affliction, disease, handicaps and ultimately death.  Yet, we as a society, stand by and watch it happen.  We encourage them to go see a doctor, get their stomach banded, or take the latest prescription drugs to ease their symptoms (along with the sister drugs that counteract the side effects of the first one, and the cousin drugs that counteract the side effects of the sister drugs, and so on, and so on).  Why isn't anyone speaking out about this?  Why isn't anyone passing bills and laws to restrict drug companies from advertising as if they were the latest fashions or something?  I just saw a program about food on the Travel Channel and theses words came straight from the hosts mouth when he was talking about eating a large amount of food in a restaurant, "Overkill.  We're Americans, that's what we're all about."  He is more right than he could imagine, we are about overkill, quite literally, and we are doing it to ourselves, one Big Mac at a time.  No matter how you feel about the recent legislature, no matter how much you pay for insurance, one fact remains true, the more responsibility you take over your own health, the less you will need the insurance.  It will still be there for it's main purpose, emergencies, not a monthly prescription.  Take care of yourself for crying out loud!  You only get one body, and one life on this Earth!  So remember, vote with your fork, and as always "Eat food.  Not too much.  Mostly plants."

And the secret ingredient is....

  • Posted: 3:35 PM
  • |
  • Author: Heather Bannister

Most people don't have a clue what goes into their food.  How many times have you picked something up at the grocery store, and actually read the ingredients before you bought it?  Even if you have, chances are you couldn't pronounce a number of them, let alone, know what they are or where they come from.  If you're anything like the typical American shopper, you just grabbed what looked good, took it home and ate it.  Well, I tried that.  Especially during the first month and a half of this year.  I lost my job on 30 Dec., filed for unemployment and signed up for food assistance.  With this food assistance, I actually had a higher grocery budget than I did when I was working because it specified more money directly to food.  Because of that, I was (for the first time in my life) able to walk through the store, and buy pretty much anything and everything I wanted to eat.  'This is great!' I thought, until I realized (a month and a half later) that I had been consistently gaining about a pound a day.  I had ballooned.  Over that time I had also noticed that I was much more lethargic, had terrible digestive problems and I was waking up every morning with headaches.  I had all kinds of problems and I didn't like them.  It was only during this time of unemployment that I really had time to notice these symptoms.  When I am working, I am too busy to feel them all.  And now, in less than two weeks, I feel new!  I am going to bed without gas, waking up feeling good, I have had energy to keep up with my kids.  That is what truly inspired me, my kids.  I realized that if I continued to eat all these terrible foods, that were full of toxins and chemicals that I may not live to see them graduate.  That was when I started looking, really looking, at what I was putting into my body.  I began noticing that there was a lot more bad in "food," than good.  To help me understand what the stuff was, I followed the food chain...  If you are unsure of what an ingredient is, or where it comes from, LOOK IT UP!  Don't just walk blindly into the night, following the bright lights of consumerism.  The internet can be a great resource for investigating this type of thing.  I will be looking into some sites and trying to weed out the ones with misinformation, or inadequate articles, to help narrow your search.  The FDA is not on your side.  They are deep in the pockets of the American industrial food distributors, and work to pass laws and standards that protect the dissembling of food, and artificial nutrition.  The idea that food can be broken down into nutrients, and as long as you have adequate quantities of each, you will be healthy; is a myth.  People have eaten whole, in season foods, from local farms for thousands of years.  Why do we all of a sudden (over the last century) hand farming over to scientists? And why?  There is no reason that anyone should have to investigate in order to understand what is in their food.  The mere idea seems ludicrous to me.  Another interesting trend is the decline in the overall health of humans since this became the popular hypothesis.  More obesity, more heart disease, more diabetes, more cancer.  All of that being fed by more artificial ingredients, more dissembling and more marketing.  These are things to think about, things to try to stir your pot, things that I want people to hear.  Remember, I'm on here for all of us, vote with your fork, and  "Eat food.  Not too much.  Mostly plants."

Sorry

  • Posted: 12:05 AM
  • |
  • Author: Heather Bannister

Sorry about the last four posts.  I was testing the mobile blogging feature.  Just read them in reverse order...they make sense, I swear!

  • Posted: 12:00 AM
  • |
  • Author: Heather Bannister

s well, but I can make no garuntees...

  • Posted: 12:00 AM
  • |
  • Author: Heather Bannister

efense Of Food" and "The Omnivore's Dilemma" by Michael Pollan, "Secondhand Jesus" by Glenn Packiam. I will try to talk my wife into doing on of these a

  • Posted: 12:00 AM
  • |
  • Author: Heather Bannister

discussing, I will do a regular post segment that from here on out I will just call; On Derek's bookshelf: the Bible, "Utopia" by Sir Thomas More, "In D

  • Posted: 12:00 AM
  • |
  • Author: Heather Bannister

I like to read. Normally I cannot keep my nose in just one book at a time. So, for those of you that are interested in what I am currently reading, and

A new found sense of urgency....

I'm not sure that urgency was necessarily the correct word for what I am trying to convey, but it's what came to mind. I started this blog quite a while ago, put a few posts up, then subsequently decided that I didn't have time, or it wasn't for me. In any case, I am returning, with new found fervor...I have found something worth writing about, and for whomever may read this, something worth reading about. Simple as it may sound, that something is diet. Not "diet," as in some crazy extreme diet, or the latest crash diet, or even the latest government standard diet. I speak of diet in terms of what we eat in general, all the time, no matter what your age, race, creed or personal preference. "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." Those words inspired me to change my lifestyle on a dime. I recently watched a documentary entitled "Food Inc.," and was royally disgusted by the putrid ways our everyday food is raised, grown, harvested, processed, managed, sold, and advertised. There were a number of shocking facts including the number of FDA officials that ,conveniently, previously worked for any one of the surprisingly few food distributors in America. This film also led me to an author whom I had heard of before, but never really gave more than one or two thoughts to, Michael Pollan. Pollan, who is a contributing writer for "The New York Times Magazine," has published five books, including the two I am currently reading, "In Defense of Food" and "The Omnivore's Dilemma." The combination of these things led me to a drastic decision, eat food, not too much, mostly plants : or die... Now, when Pollan says food, for those of you that have not read his books or know anyone who has, he means real food. Real, whole, organic, unprocessed foods. Not the ones on store shelves that say they are food. He discusses how, over the last century, food has been broken down from it's whole self into it's constituent parts and those parts have migrated from certain foods, to all foods. That's why you can get all your daily vitamins and minerals (recently including fiber) from SUGAR; WHOLE GRAIN CORN FLOUR; WHEAT FLOUR; WHOLE GRAIN OAT FLOUR; OAT FIBER; SOLUBLE CORN FIBER; PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED VEGETABLE OIL (ONE OR MORE OF: COCONUT, SOYBEAN AND/OR COTTONSEED OILS)†; SALT; SODIUM ASCORBATE AND ASCORBIC ACID (VITAMIN C); NIACINAMIDE; REDUCED IRON; NATURAL ORANGE, LEMON, CHERRY, RASPBERRY, BLUEBERRY, LIME AND OTHER NATURAL FLAVORS; RED #40; BLUE #2; TURMERIC COLOR; YELLOW #6; ZINC OXIDE; ANNATTO COLOR; BLUE #1; PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE (VITAMIN B6); RIBOFLAVIN (VITAMIN B2); THIAMIN HYDROCHLORIDE (VITAMIN B1); VITAMIN A PALMITATE; BHT (PRESERVATIVE); FOLIC ACID; VITAMIN D; VITAMIN B12 (also known as "Froot Loops"). Bear in mind, that is bleached sugar; genetically modified, pesticide sprayed, industrially grown, nitrate enriched whole wheat flour etc. etc.. Most people don't look at what is actually in what they call food, if they did, they would realize that what they call food is hardly that at all. "Food Inc." gives a snapshot of where this food comes from, how the farmers that raise it are mistreated and just how much of what we eat is not regulated by what is good for us, but by whomever has the deepest pocket, and whatever can make those pockets deeper. I have re-started this blog with new gusto in hopes that I can change even one persons way of eating, and hopefully add a few years to their lives like I am trying to do with mine and my family's. This is also to show people that you don't have to be some best selling author to live like this. I am a currently unemployed electrician with a stay at home wife, and two toddlers. I do not live high on the hog. I want this to let people know that it is possible to eat well and live healthily, even when you are poor. I lost count of how many times I have heard "I can't afford to eat healthy, I'm on food stamps." Well, I'm living proof that it can be done. The local farmer's markets take them, Meijer takes them, and they have a large selection (more than WalMart) of locally grown (within our state), organic foods. So here I am trying to relay my message, my inspiration, my desire for change in the way our food is handled before it makes it to our dinner tables. I am here to encourage you to vote with your fork every time you go to store. Everything you buy gets scanned, every scan is documented, every scan is counted, the food with the most scans will have the most shelf space, funding, advertising and ultimately the sought after stamp of FDA approval and endorsement. I am not here to make you feel bad about what you eat, I am here to encourage you that no matter what your situation, you can make a difference in your life and the lives of others. This blog, however, is not just for you,this is also a way for me to be held accountable. If I have others reading what I am writing, looking at my food diaries, as ramshackle as they may end up being, I will be held in a position where I will feel like I am letting more than just myself down, I will be letting my family and friends down as well. So far I have been on this diet change for almost tens days, and have lost almost as much weight. My family has been eating three whole meals together everyday, and gathering in prayer before each one. We have grown closer and healthier, together. These are things I wish for you as well! Please, read, pass it on, check out the aforementioned books, and most importantly "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."