“Sustainability” is a popular buzzword in many circles – sustainable communities, sustainable development, sustainable agriculture, sustainable building, sustainable growth – heck, even sustainable fashion. But what does “sustainable” really mean, and how do we apply it in our daily lives – or is sustainability what we really want? I’d suggest that we strive for something more. Sustainability and self-reliance talk often go hand in hand, so August and I decided to share some of our thoughts on the subject….
My mother-in-law brought over a photo collage for my birthday last week featuring old photos from our homestead – before it was a homestead. Bare grass and gently rolling terrain was all there was to see. It was quite a reminder about how much things have changed around here. I thought you all might enjoy a little peek into how things have changed over the years. Our place will never be quite like grandma’s homestead, but we’ve made a pretty nice oasis of growing things here….
If you’re looking for eloquent words of inspiration, this may not be the post for you. My momma was a plain spoken woman – she called things as she saw them. As simple as these phrases might seem, they help keep me on track, and I’ve shared them with my kids, too. I also remember her for her sense of humor. She was a bit of a joker – like me. 🙂 (Thus the photo above.) Here are 7 things my mama told me, which I also tell to my kids….
A Wisconsin homeschool family was held at gunpoint by a multi-agency SWAT team yesterday on suspicion of possession of raw milk and fissionable materials.
The official in charge of the raid stated that the family was first suspected of dealing in raw milk when the children were spotted out in public during school hours, sporting smiles and milk mustaches. Upon further investigation, a cow and calf were found in their backyard.
“This is just not right,” said FDA official Mr. Imablowhard. “After all, it’s not as if people have the right to choose the foods they eat to keep their family’s healthy. Government experts know better than any consumer, no matter how well educated they are or how much research they have done.”
While they were conducting the raw milk raid, the SWAT team also stumbled upon the homemade thorium reactor the family had built in the basement. The homeschool mother explained:
“Ever since my kids read on the internet about how 1 gram of thorium produces the equivalent energy of 7,500 gallons of gasoline, they’ve been obsessed with building a home reactor. Since we live close to two nuclear plants, we were able to request some of their spent fuel for homeschooling purposes. The boys were convinced that a sample of thorium about the size of packing peanut will provide all of our energy needs for years. How could I say no?”
FDA official Mr. Imablowhard shrugged off the possession of fissionable material as a minor offense. “We know the homeschooling movement has been growing in this country, and other government agencies have been working to slow that down through the use of ever more burdensome regulation, but the raw milk is what’s really dangerous here.”
The family’s root cellar, canning pantry, two freezer and refrigerator were all emptied and the contents placed in a hot warehouse, guaranteeing food spoilage and growth of pathogenic bacteria so that the family could be sued at a later date for selling unsafe food, even though they hadn’t actually sold anything to anyone. Imablowhard stated. “You just can’t be too careful. They might have decided to sell something to someone at some point in the future.”
Although the above story is pure spoof – this sort of thing is happening in our country right now. A lot of you have probably heard about the Rawsome raid in California. Maybe you haven’t heard about how the Stowers family was held at gunpoint while their food was taken? What about Estrella Family Creamery? And the FDA has said repeatedly that we have no right to choose what we eat. It’s official, documented policy. (Follow the link if you want to know more.) Our rights are being stripped more and more each day.
The thorium bit was a hat tip to the gentleman building a nuclear reactor in his kitchen. The thorium technology exists and is being kept from commercialization by copious amounts of government regulation and folks with a vested interest in keeping energy rates sky high. (Completely serious on this one folks. In my former life I was a mechanical engineer and have studied power plant technology and toured various power generation facilities.) I firmly believe that we should be working on moving forward, not backward, when it comes to energy policy, and that new technologies such as thorium reactors and sewage based ethanol are the way to do it. (Sorry, I don’t think solar is the answer we’re looking for, for many reasons.) When you hear there’s no way we can produce enough power for everyone, don’t believe it.
We owe it to ourselves and future generations to do better, in terms of nutrition and energy production. We can feed and power the world. We can make things better.
So there you have it – my bit of Monday Madness and some food for thought for the week. Let me know if you think I’m crazy, or if you’d like to learn more. As always, if you enjoy the article, please pass it along. Have a wonderful and productive week, and watch out for those SWAT teams!
Yep, you read it right, “Eat more fat”. Of course I’m not talking about just any kind of fat, I’m talking traditional fats – coconut oil, butter, rendered poultry fat, lard, tallow, olive oil, sesame oil, and flaxseed oil. I just finished reading “Eat Fat, Lose Fat”, which completely blows the lipid hypothesis and all the other low-fat dogma out of the water. It’s been a trick finding good quality fats (did you know those blocks of lard in the store are normally hydrogenated?), but I think I am finally pretty well set. (I do still need to render the grassfed beef tallow.)
Follow this closely with “eat fewer carbohydrates, especially processed carbohydrates and sugar”. This is the really tough part, as most of us know. I was raised eating processed cereal for breakfast with a spoonful of sugar on top (not always, but generally on weekdays when I was in a hurry for the bus). Ever since I read about the cornflake experiment in Nourishing Traditions, I haven’t looked at cereal the same way.
What’s the cornflake experiment? From Nourished Magazine:
Another unpublished experiment was carried out in the 1960s. Researchers at Ann Arbor University were given 18 laboratory rats. They were divided into three groups: one group received corn flakes and water; a second group was given the cardboard box that the corn flakes came in and water; the control group received rat chow and water. The rats in the control group remained in good health throughout the experiment. The rats eating the box became lethargic and eventually died of malnutrition. But the rats receiving the corn flakes and water died before the rats that were eating the box! (The last corn flake rat died the day the first box rat died.) But before death, the corn flake rats developed schizophrenic behavior, threw fits, bit each other and finally went into convulsions. The startling conclusion of this study is that there was more nourishment in the box than there was in the corn flakes.
That is just wrong! But if you read Paul Stitt’s Beating the Food Giants, it won’t come as a surprise. Still, those cereals and snacks can be so tasty…
Number three – read even more labels! There are any number of foods that we eat or have eaten that are “supposed to be healthy”, which, upon reading the labels, turn out to be pretty darn awful. Most processed foods are full of genetically modified corn and soy and a lab full of preservatives.
Case in point: Yoplait Thick & Creamy Key Lime yogurt
Yogurt should be good for you, no? Check out the label on this beast:
- Cultured pasteurized grade A reduced fat milk (because we are told fat is evil)
- sugar (didn’t really buy it for the sugar)
- nonfat milk (because skim milk is thin – this stuff has oxidized cholesterol, which is really bad for you)
- high fructose corn syrup (undoubtedly a GMO product, and kills your liver like alcohol)
- modified corn starch (more GMOs)
- kosher gelatin (does it really matter at this point if it’s kosher with the other ingredients?)
- tricalcium phosphate (for calcium? also used to mask bitter tastes)
- citric acid (to make tart, because of all the sugar?)
- natural flavors (???)
- vitamin A acetate (supplement)
- yellow #5 (banned in other countries)
- Blue #1 (also possibly carcinogenic)
- Vitamin D3 (well, heck, now I know it’s healthy)
No wonder this doesn’t fill you up and has a strange chalky texture. I realize it’s supposed to be low fat, but you really can’t can have “rich and creamy” without some cream, at least not as far as I’m concerned.
Right now, I’m buying a few more things for the pantry, but we’re also getting rid of things I don’t intend to use anymore. Next week, I’ll try some more new recipes, like coconut crackers (from Eat Fat, Lose Fat). I may even try caviar again (it’s been around 20 years, so maybe it’ll taste better to me now).
I hope you all have a bountiful and healthy new year.
Peaceful Acres has a great follow up to this post – Lard, the Evil Fat? that you may also want to check out.
Update: 4/22/11 – It’s over a year later, and I’ve lost close to 20 pounds since I started tweaking my diet. Bring on the fat!