I had to revisit the topic of the USDA and suspect I will do so again. It's been an intense week for me, and I think some of it has to do with the after-effects of watching the first 10 minutes or so of the film "Earthlings". I'm going to have a post about that important film in the future, when I am able to finish viewing it. I was too upset over the first 10 minutes of the film to continue, but I do know that part of being responsible and empowered will include finishing that film. Anyway, it has left me a bit raw and maybe defensive and quicker to jump to things like 'bitch slapping' the USDA.
Enter Dr.William Harris, Dr. Michael Klaper and John Robbins to my psyche rescue. I've watched several videos on youtube of Dr. Harris' (amazing man...80 year old who sky-dives among other things.... see him here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSuvTn6Yv_8 - Note: this provider, Supreme Master TV is highly religious and a little quirky, but very much peace and love which I needed healthy doses of this week. I recommend you watch part two of this series as well. In that, you hear Dr. Harris' rules for eating: If it doesn't have fiber, don't eat it. If man made it, don't eat it. Love it!)
I also watched Dr. Michael Klaper's lectures (early and more recent ones); here is the link to Part 1 of his early series, Foods that Kill: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zG_tn3KAXNE&feature=related.
In Dr. Klaper's later lectures, 2009 in Australia, there is an underlying calm and hopeful measure to his voice about the future of mankind and the crucial role that vegans will play in it. It was quite uplifting to hear this gentle man's take on what often seem to be over-whelming challenges and his ability to look past all that is wrong with our modern society and see the good.
Enter John Robbins. Seriously, this man is my hero. I am reading his book "The Food Revolution". This is the Robbins of Baskin & Robbins fame who left it all behind to pursue a more earthly (and non-animal product) existence. The quiet and controlled way that he gets the vital messages of the unsustainability of current agriculture and its devastating effects to our health and the planet is beyond admirable. Even Ghandi would be proud.
Which brings me back to the USDA. I realize that part of my journey to a healthier me, is learning how to deal with the various frustrations and indignities of this world in a non-violent, non-aggressive yet EFFECTIVE manner. I hereby take back my rude BITCHslap to you, USDA and politely tap you on the shoulder with an organically-grown cotton-gloved hand and ask that you reconsider your very own Mission Statement, per usda.gov:
We provide leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources and related issues based on sound public policy, the best available science and efficient management.
I don't think you are using the best available science OR efficient management when you view the massive amounts of resources that are skewed to special interests (i.e. Big Beef, Big Dairy-got osteoporosis??). And wouldn't 'sound public policy' include the most effective ways to prevent heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and cancer? With diet-related health issues now beyond epidemic proportions, we definitely need some leadership! Tom Vilsack is our current Sec. of Ag, and I think that'll be a good place for me to start asking some POLITE questions.
I've been pondering the topic of bullies. Do you have any bullies in your life? Do you know anyone who does? I do. I've come to recognize some bullying behavior of people in my life. Some of these people, it is impossible (or rather impractical) for me to simply disregard & I've run out of cheeks to turn, so, the universe has given me yet another 'learning opportunity' to develop into someone who can and will stand up for myself. I believe this is intimately connected to my own self-esteem and it is funny how now that I am taking care of myself physically, these other areas have become like blaring neon flashers.
Bullying can be defined as: repeated acts over time attempting to create or enforce one person's/group's power over another person/group. This can be done socially or physically and creates an imbalance of power. (U.S. Dept. of Justice).
Also: persistent, unwelcome behavior; unwarranted or invalid criticism, nit-picking, fault-finding. Humiliation. Some bullies are arrogant or narcissistic. They are unwilling/unable to recognize the effects of their behavior on others. They don't want to know any other way of behaving. And there are even serial bullies, who have to have someone to bully. (UK National Workplace Advice Line).
Hmmm.....Interesting and I think the USDA might fall into this category as well.
For me, and the bullies in my life, I am trying to effect change in a gentle manner. Reading so much of John Robbins' work and falling back on other works I have read (Eckhart Tolle, George Leonard), I'm reminded of the power of water, running softly over stone, yet cutting its own way thru the stone, by persistently staying on its course, or, if need be, going around the objects that won't yield to its presence.
The great LaoTzu quote: Nothing in the world is more flexible and yielding than water. Yet when it attacks the firm and the strong, none can withstand it, because they have no way to change it. So the flexible overcome the adamant, the yielding overcome the forceful.
I'll have to fall back to my resolutions this year and PRACTICE this method of reacting. It'll definitely be a challenge for me.
I have been reading yet another book (I love hitting Half-Priced Books and clearing them out of their vegan cookbooks....usually there are only one or two and are less than $10.). I found two raw cookbooks and have been researching the whole raw foodist movement with some interest. Fresh, The Ultimate Live-Food Cookbook, by Sergei and Valya Boutenko, is a fascinating account of this brother's and sister's and their family's health problems and how they resolved them and attained good health through eating raw foods. I decided to try their recipe for Golden Flaxseed crackers.
I dug out my dehydrator, cleaned it up and was good to go. It turns out that raw foodists don't necessarily (at least some) not cook at all, but are trying to consume food that isn't heated above 118 degrees to avoid breaking down enzymes and other valuable nutrients. Thus the instructions in the cracker recipe to dehydrate the mixture at 110 deg.
3 C golden flaxseeds, ground
2 large red bell peppers
2-3 cloves garlic
1/4 C raisins
1 t sea salt
1/2 t ground cumin
Grind seeds in Vita-Mix or coffee grinder and transfer to bowl. Blend remaining ingredients in food processor and mix with flaxseeds. Spread mixture onto dehydrator trays and dry for 16-20 hours at 110 deg.