Deskilling
Breastfeeding, eating, food

Deskilling: A Food Producer’s Strategy Guide to Creating a Dependent Client Base

I never considered that this was actually a strategy.  Really, it just seemed like an almost inevitable trajectory of mankind as we became more and more clever with our witty inventions to make our lives “easier”.  Yes, it is a thing, and it has a name – Deskilling.  From the book Concentration and Power in the Food System: Who Controls What We Eat? by Philip H. Howard, Bloomsbury 2016: 

Deskilling is a term that is frequently used in reference to labor, when capitalists reshape jobs in order to decrease wages (Braverman 1998).  It can also apply when capitalists reshape socio-cultural practices to increase purchases, moving us away from self-provisioning to become mere “consumers” (Jaffe and Gertler 2006).  Deskilling increases control for capitalists but makes us more dependent upon them by eroding our knowledge and abilities.  (emphasis added)

 

Deskilling: The Formula

Like Janet said, its all about control.  Let’s take an example from the earliest point in life this side of Womb-topia: infant formula.  According to an article on the National Center for Biotechnology Information’s website, the first infant formula was invented in the late Deskilling19th century.  Before that, babies were fed animal milk only in very rare circumstances.  If their mothers couldn’t (or wouldn’t) nurse them, they were fed human milk by a hired wet nurse.  These alternatives were options only of necessity.

Before long, with the industrial revolution and ensuing shifts in the world’s paradigms sending more and more women out of the home and into the workforce, the use of infant formula – the first one was a blend of cow’s milk, wheat and malt flour and potassium bicarbonate – became more widespread.  Certainly, corporations producing it, perhaps in tandem with dairy farmers, saw dollar signs dancing before their eyes, and eventuallyDeskilling, in a grand deskilling coup, breastfeeding became outmoded, even taboo.

Now that we in America are deskilled in the art of breastfeeding to the point that our mothers and grandmothers are hardly equipped to guide us, Nestle an’ dem have control of our infant’s nourishment from day one. Hospital nurses are often ready to stick a bottle in your newborn’s mouth by default.

You get free product to start from those that want your continued custom (a.k.a. the first hit is free tactic).  Then, if you can’t afford to buy more, you can go on the government rolls and apply for benefits to cover it.  You have no control over what ingredients go in it.  Had you considered delaying your baby’s first taste of sugar so he can develop a real palate for food?  Sorry, mama, Gerber already got’em!  Once the baby is on it and you let your milk supply end, that’s it.  You’re locked in for at least the next 2 years.

Moments in Deskilling History

Here’s a list of a few more products that we purchase regularly as a result of systematic deskilling:

  • Box Cake Mix – Can you say “Flour, Sugar, Eggs and Butter?” I had to in Home Economics class, which I think has now gone the way of the dinosaur!
  • Jam/Jelly – Preserving fruit was originally for enjoying summer’s jam-1308014_1920.jpgharvest throughout the following winter.  Who does that anymore?
  • Bagged/Microwave Popcorn – Kernels in a pot cost much less and you can control your flavoring to suit you.  Only God and food scientists know what’s really in those pouches…
  • Bagged and Clamshell Salads and Baby Spinach – E-coli, anyone? Not if you buy heads and bunches and CUT IT UP YOURSELF!  Man, deskilling kills…
  • Supermarkets – Because why waste time and get all dirty growing and harvesting food yourself? Why only eat what is local and in season?

Convenience is the sales pitch, but our dependence on food producers is their lifeblood.  It is powerful in a dangerous way.  Indeed, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Because now, what they provide has become your norm, and you’re hooked.  

If you were to make your own fruit preserves, for example, would it taste like theirs?  Never!  Big food employs teams of scientists to spend all day figuring out the exact amount of sugar to put into the jam to get you hooked and keep you coming back for more.  In their language, they engineer it to your pleasure point.  Now does that truly sound like someone making food?

The Future of Deskilling

So what happens when a country or society is totally deskilled?  I mean, where do the companies that have saturated a market now turn to?  Indeed, there are places all over our world that are still “backwards” or “underdeveloped” by our standards.  Never fear! Corporations are here!  According to Concentration and Power, companies actively look for new societies to “deskill” so that they can create new dependent client bases for their products.  They insidiously create need where there was none before.

Imagine being told your way of life is ignorant and old.  Imagine the heartbreak when the young people in your society agree with this critique, eschewing inherited cultural wisdom for new-fangled shortcuts that take control out of your peoples’ hands and puts it into the hands of interlopers.  Soon, the deskilling process is complete and your whole way of life has changed.

No more home gardening, market trading with neighbors, seed saving, peak season eating, home cooking, time honored traditions of storing and preserving.  Kids don’t got no time for that!

Surely this cannot end well! 

You foresee an epoch where your once proud people now cry hungry even with whole, real food within their grasp because they don’t now how to prepare it, all because of deskilling.  Can you imagine a future in which a young person doesn’t even know how to boil a pot of water?  We have plug in kettles, instant oatmeal, microwave bags of foods that eliminate that necessity already.  Deskilling mission: accomplished!

Sure, there is some deskilling I will NEVER argue with – dishwashers, washing machines, and disposable diapers are GREAT inventions!  But then again, if for some reason these were not available – like when we reach peak oil – I do still know how to wash dishes, clothes and cloth diapers by hand.

Rise Up: Down With Deskilling, Rise Up Reskilling

Yes, there is hope.  Let’s start RE-skilling, friends!  Let’s exchange ideas and information and commit to teaching our children how to, well, do stuff!  It will take some effort.  We will need to reshape our way of thinking.  Old needs to become new again as we in-mode DIY everything (except washing dishes and clothes, I concede to the machines for those chores unless absolutely necessary).

Indeed, it seems to be the direction things are starting to move in these days, with the urban garden movement and the search for solutions to ending the global Diabesity Pandemic.

We can keep this conversation going.  Join the Really Nourish Reskilling Collective Chat on WhatsApp by clicking below.

It’s another great way of taking back our Food Sovereignty!

Deskilling

Click Here to join the chat group on your mobile device.

food

Life Coaching and Classes… On WhatsApp???

It’s a new world and it is constantly evolving.  Always being willing to do things in new ways is no longer optional.  So I’m expanding Really Nourish’s Food Life Evolution services into a new platform: Life Coaching and Classes On WhatsApp!

Life Coaching and Classes... On WhatsApp

I’m calling it Food Life Evolution Classroom, and I’m taking WhatsApp’s Group Chat feature to a whole new level!  We have a free coaching group going, and three classes.  You Define On timeWhat makes this so special is that it all fits into your life however you want it to!  Jump on  class chat during your lunch break, scroll through content on your ride home or lying in bed, anytime!  Life Coaching and Classes On WhatsApp is designed to help you get into your Best Body Ever at your own pace.

Click Here for More Details

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activism, food, Organ Donation

Organ Donors: Real Superheros?

Are Organ Donors real superheros?  It certainly doesn’t feel like it…

I know I helped someone in a major way.  Nonetheless, I’m not immortal, I have no superpowers (well, except making milk for my babies, but that had nothing to do with giving an organ) and I only directly impacted one person’s life.

Real superheros save entire cities from peril… 

I want to do more.  So I’m using the only other superpowers I can boast:

  • Powerful writing to inspire all who read
  • Invincible collaborating skills
  • A disarming smile

to bring together a league of incredible super donors.  Together we will uphold truth, justice and giving of oneself.

Join me today in The 2018 LiveOnNy Donor Enrollment Drive

WE really can save lives, though: one more willing donor on the donor list means one less neighbor dying on the recipient list.

Let this video convince you, then scroll down and fill in the sign up form.  You can be on Team Really Nourish even if you’ve never donated an organ.

We’re not the only real superheros… 

©2018 Rashida V. Serrant-Davis, The Really Nourish Movement. All Rights Reserved. 

Really Nourish™, The Really Nourish Movement™ and Food Life Evolution™ are Trademarks of Rashida V. Serrant-Davis.  All Rights Reserved. 

Food Sovereignty Food Import Dependency Trinidad and Tobago
activism, Boycott, food, supermarket

Who Controls the Food Controls the Country: Food Sovereignty and Food Import Dependency in Trinidad and Tobago

Part 1: Wheat Boycott

Dreams of Life Back Home

Growing up as a first-generation American child in an immigrant family, I heard lots of idealized reminiscing about “back home”.  To hear them tell it, the Caribbean was a magical unicorn-filled wonderland where everything from the food to the freedom was

To hear them tell it, the Caribbean was a magical unicorn-filled wonderland where everything from the food to the freedom was perfect.  It never occurred to me to ask them why, then, did they leave it to come to Brooklyn, New York. 

perfect.  It never occurred to me to ask them why, then, did they leave it to come to Brooklyn, New York.  Nonetheless, notions of greener grass and cleaner food lodged in my subconscious and followed me through my move to Trinidad and Tobago, my husband’s native land.  Imagine my shock when I discovered how problematic food import dependency is here. At least 70% of what Trinidadians eat comes from outside of the country!

To be fair, my family left the Commonwealth of Dominica in the mid 1980’s.  The country was still far behind Trinidad & Tobago in terms of its entrenchment in the global food system.  Food and life was perhaps still “natural”, what we now call “organic”. Dominica was also still rather underdeveloped, so much of the land was being cultivated to a wide array of local crops to feed a very small population.  Indeed, perhaps there were even unicorns and magic!

Fast forward to late December 2013, my first trip to Trinidad.  I found here supermarkets very much like the ones I left in the US stocked with just as much of the pseudo-variety of wheat, corn and soy incarnations with a sad produce section.  All these symptoms of heavy food import dependency left me feeling somewhat dejected. Really tho?  Did it never cross anyone’s mind here that who controls the food controls the country?

Did it never cross anyone’s mind here that who controls the food controls the country? 

Greenmarkets were an even bigger disappointment than the groceries.  Instead of the rich panoply of diverse colors, shapes and flavors I looked forward to seeing, I found a similar uniformity to the supermarket.  Vegetable vendors have all the same basic inventory. Import fruit and Chinese onions and garlic abound.

Now I started to reminisce idealistically about my New York City farmers’ markets, where I could find a beautiful selection of locally grown heirloom tomatoes, organic foods of all kinds at Whole Foods, and have fresh groceries delivered to my door.

A Wheat Boycott to Call Attention to Food Import Dependency

Not that I wasn’t subject to the Global Food Regime, but I lived in the perpetrating country.  Living in the victimized country that Trinidad and Tobago is has affected me in a deep way.  Consistently I consider the implications of relying so heavily on other countries for the very food we eat.  This deeply concerns me.  I will highlight some of these in the coming weeks.

So on Monday, 11th June, 2018 I started a one woman boycott of wheat.  I chose to boycott wheat for a number of reasons.  Wheat is Trinidad’s top imported food item.  The US being this country’s biggest trade partner implicates that the wheat we eat comes from over-subsidized midwestern wheat fields.  Those farms, with their GMO seed, heavy chemical warfare regime and degerminated finished product, flood the world with nutrient poor, poison rich product.  They are unwittingly sickening the world’s people.

Delicious Poison

The other reason I chose wheat is because I knew it would be an extremely challenging thing to abstain from.  Almost every meal in Trinidad calls for wheat of some kind, from pies, bakes and doubles at breakfast, roti skins and macaroni at lunch, to dumplings and bread at dinnertime and all great snacks – digestive biscuits, khurma, pholourie – you can have in between.  Here is food import dependency at its best: a non-native ingredient masquerading as a native staple. And all of it is SO DELICIOUS! It’s never wise to make generalizations, but Trinidadians can cook! Honestly, I haven’t had a bad meal in this country yet.

Here is food import dependency at its best: a non-native ingredient masquerading as a native staple.

Discussing Food Import Dependency in Trinidad &Tobago: More to Come

I am looking forward to giving talks about this around this country, so this is my first act towards helping to determine solutions to this problem of food import dependency in Trinidad and Tobago.

Here’s my boycott launch video.  Enjoy!

What are your thoughts?  Even if you’re not from or in Trinidad, please share.  The Global Food Regime affects us all one way or another!

Literature Recommendations:

Hungry for Change: Farmers, Food Justice and the Agrarian Question by A. Haroon Akram-Lodhi – Read my book review

When Banana Was King by Leslie Gordon Goffe – Read my book review

 

 

 

 

©2018 Rashida V. Serrant-Davis, The Really Nourish Movement.  All Rights Reserved.

food, God's word, vegan, Water

A Biblical Case for Veganism Part 3: Troubled Waters

In continuation of a biblical case for veganism, I choose now to focus on water, which is a birthright given by God that shows up in scripture in several contexts:
1. A vital component of God’s consistent provision in our lives
2. A metaphoric reference to His power and His reliability and, at times, His power as it abides in us
3. His way of cleansing us and nourishing us to flourish
We will look at how veganism is an indirect way of exercising better stewardship over this vital resource. Before we do that, let us first examine some scriptures that illustrate what I’ve stated above:
Water is YOUR God Given Birthright

Before we continue with A Biblical Case for Veganism Part 3, please accept our invitation to join the growing movement for Food Sovereignty. Sign up right here!

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Now, as I was saying:

In Genesis 2:5-6, even before God created man and made him Commissioner of Eden Gardens, He watered the land in preparation for the garden and Adam.

God Consistently Provides Water

Even after the Fall of Man, although we are subjected to several consequences for our disobedience, we were never expected to live without water.  When the Children of Israel are wandering through the desert, He responded to their complaints of thirst by turning brackish water into clean, refreshing water for them to drink.

Water as a Reference to God’s Power

He caused it to rain for 40 days and 40 nights straight in Genesis 7 – this is also a reference to cleansing, His main intent for the Great Flood. The waters remained for 150 days and didn’t recede until God decided the time was right.

Water as a Reference to God’s Power as it Abides in us

The Prophet Elijah – 1 Kings 17:1 (NKJV) And Elijah the Tishbite, of the inhabitants of Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word.”

Elijah gave that word later in 1 Kings 18:41

Then Elijah said to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink; for there is the sound of abundance of rain.”  (NKJV)

We know from James 5:17 that on Elijah’s word, through his prayer, there was no rain for 3 1/2 years.

Water as a Reference to God’s Reliability

Isaiah 55:10-11

“For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven,
And do not return there,
But water the earth,
And make it bring forth and bud,
That it may give seed to the sower
And bread to the eater,
11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

Water as His vehicle for cleansing us and causing us to flourish

In the first verses of the first poem in the book of Psalms, the psalmist lays out the characteristics of those who would be “blessed”, or happy.  In verse 3, happiness is likened to being a tree planted by rivers of water that bears fruit in abundance and whose leaf never withers.

Indeed, Jesus gives the living water, as offered to the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4.

So here’s the Million Dollar Question:  Exactly what does your consumption of animal-based foods have to do with water?
Answer: It’s another case of poor stewardship over an extremely precious God-given resource.

In Chapter 2 of Securing Our Birthright (entitled “Menu Expansion: When God Condoned Carnivory, Man Went H.A.M. – Hard as a Moabite), we examine this issue. With the permission of the producers of Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret, I list an alarming set of data regarding the impacts of modern livestock agriculture on Air, Water, Land and Mankind.

(The facts are listed here with references:  http://www.cowspiracy.com/facts/)

Here are the water-related statistics:

  • Animal agriculture water consumption ranges from 34-76 trillion gallons annually.
  • Animal Agriculture is responsible for 20%-33% of all drinkable water consumption in the world today.
  • Growing feed crops for livestock consumes 56% of water in the US.
  • It takes 2,500 gallons of water to produce 1 pound (16 oz, two normal 8oz steaks) of beef.
  • 477 gallons of water are required to produce 1lb. of eggs (that’s between 8 and a dozen, depending on the size of the eggs); almost 900 gallons of water are needed for 1lb. of cheese.
  • It takes 1,000 gallons of water to produce 1 gallon of milk.

According to Charity: Water, 63 million people live without clean water.

They suffer from a wide range of preventable diseases because the only water they have access to for cooking for and bathing themselves and their children and washing the family’s clothes is dirty. Also, often their water source, as poor as the quality is, is a long walk from where they live.

Really Nourish 2018 Charity: Water Campaign
Click the Image to learn more

Women and girls are responsible for carrying water in some societies. To do this time-consuming, heavy work for their families, some girls cannot even go to school on a consistent basis.

Just to be clear, Big Ag does not just exist in the United States. There are large CAFO livestock farms all over the world and some of the countries they are in have the biggest water problems.

Also, to be clear, the people in the demographic who live without clean water are highly likely to be people who are too poor to be consumers of animal-based foods. It’s only the wealthiest 30% of the world population who eats flesh, eggs and cheese and drinks milk. The rest are vegan by default.

(Which begs the question: Why do people think it’s more expensive to go vegan, when meat is the most expensive item in the grocery store? But I digress…)

I like math. Let’s do some, shall we?

The World Health Organization estimates that in a crisis, where water supplies that previously existed are compromised, people would need a minimum of 7.5 liters of water a day to meet basic needs. Figuring we are supposed to be drinking around 2 liters a day (that’s a bit more than the 8 x 8oz glasses we probably don’t all drink like we should) that means the other 5.5 liters are for cooking and washing. On the other hand, in the developed world where water is available 24 hours a day, everylittledrop.co.au says that we use an average of around 100 liters a day. This includes flushing toilets and less conservative cleaning and washing.
Figuring 100 liters a day = around 40 gallons, that means that:

  • Your steak dinner could have supplied 31 people with clean, reliable water they could confidently drink and use for cooking, bathing, washing dishes and clothes and flushing toilets.
  • Your dozen eggs could have supplied almost 11 people.
  • Your gallon of milk could have supplied 25 people.

But instead, it supplied ONE person. ONE household. Indeed, it supplied them with “food” that causes them more harm to their health than nutrition. It did so at the expense of many other members of the human family who live in deprivation.

In a world where 63 million are living without clean water, and millions of others have it but inconsistently, and still others, even in the great United States of America, have to choose between drinking contaminated water from their taps or spending money they could use for food to buy clean, bottled water, this is an abuse of God’s provision.

How Much Less water do Vegans Consume?

In contrast, how much water does it take to grow plants? According to a Huffington Post article from 2014 (updated in 2017):
(all of the following are expressed as gallons of water per pound of the food item)

  • Tofu (Soybean Curd) 302 (feeds 3-4 people)
  • Lentils 704 (makes 3-4 meals for a family of 4)
  • Rice 299 (3-4 meals for a family of 4)
  • Potatoes 34
  • Oats 290 (3-4 breakfasts for a family of 4)
  • Oranges 67
  • Grapefruits 61
  • Lemons 77
  • Avocados 141
  • Broccoli 34
  • Garlic 71
  • Tomatoes 26
  • Eggplant 43

The real value of the exchange here is a lot less water for a lot more nutrition. These are the foods that keep the temple in the best condition. This, in addition to the low impact they have on the world’s water supply allow for, once again, better stewardship of the temple and the planet.

Here are a couple of other quotes from the Cowspiracy website pertaining to water:

“Animal agriculture is the leading cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones, water pollution, and habitat destruction.”

“The widespread use of pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers used in the production of feed crops often interferes with the reproductive systems of animals and poisons waterways.”
Again, 1 Corinthians 10:31 says whether you eat or drink, whatever you do, do all for the glory of God. Again, I ask you, does being a consumer in this system glorify God? Does using the increase the God blessed you with to reward the industry that is robbing your fellow man of his birthright?

Where do you stand on this issue?  Drop a comment below while you’re here.

Also, please click here to learn more about how Really Nourish is helping those in need of clean water.

Thank you for reading and sharing this!  God bless you!

eating, food, God's word, scripture, vegan

A Biblical Case for Veganism Part 2

My post on this topic from January 16, 2016 has been my most viewed blog post – indeed, my highest traffic web page since the start of Really Nourish.  It has been so much so that I expound on the topic in my forthcoming book, Securing Our Birthright, and felt compelled to take a couple of aspects of this topic and give them a deeper treatment in these next couple of posts A Biblical Case for Veganism Part 2, and later this week, Part 3 (see link below).

A Biblical Case for Veganism Part 2: Why Should You Abstain from Animal-Based Foods?

This excerpt from Chapter 6 of the book takes on a scripture that some have been known to use to dispute the idea of abstaining from consuming animal flesh:

Everything God created is good, reject no flesh

(1 Timothy 4:4)

Here is another context discussion where the question one needs to ask is this:

What subject matter was the Apostle Paul addressing in this body of scripture?  

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The context from verse 1 is regarding a prophecy about what will happen in end times.  Some will depart from the faith, because they’ll start listening to the “doctrines of demons” that will tell them that they should reject the food that God set apart for us to receive with thanksgiving.  The context here is the REASONING for your abstention from food that was ordained by God.  

In other words, if you abstain from eating even “clean” animals because you want to play your part in reducing the harmful impacts of animal agriculture on the environment in 2017, this is not the same as if you joined some cult whose doctrine required that you stop eating what the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob ordained in Genesis 1, Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14.  This is why veganism cannot be characterized as an act of obedience to God in and of itself, but indeed it can be characterized as an act of self-sacrificial, dutiful stewardship of the Temple and this planet.  Here, then, is a biblical case for veganism you can make to this end.

Animal Flesh IS Good, BUT…

There is another point to this end: what God created IS good.  Animal flesh the way God created it is fine to eat.  But there are limits to how much of it we should eat it that we have far exceeded in modern food culture.  We now know that what is considered a normal level of consumption is, compared to old and even new testament times, excessive.  God speaks about gluttony directly related to eating animal flesh in Proverbs 23:20-21. We are paying the price in the form of a health pandemic that just some restraint could bring to an end. 

Also, the animal flesh that we have today is defiled, just as Ezekiel prophesied at the end of Chapter 4 in his eponymous book. 

Livestock – that includes cows for beef and dairy, pigs for pork and chickens for meat and eggs – is kept in concentrated animal feeding operations where they reside shoulder to shoulder with other animals that may be sick and deceased animals are not removed right away.  They are fed unnatural, genetically modified feed that is laced with unregulated amounts of antibiotics and dosed with synthetic hormones.  Even the diary cows, although they are not slaughtered for meat, are forcibly inseminated relentlessly (the actual term for the machine used is a “rape rack”) so they are constantly making calves and, consequently, milk.  Their babies are taken from them and tethered so they don’t move a lot to keep their muscles weak – the appeal of veal is tender flesh. 

The fish is either coming out of aquatic farms where they too are packed way too close together and also fed GMO, antibiotic laced feed and residing in close contact with sick or dead fish or they are pulled out of polluted waters in drag nets that catch and kill more unintended catch than targeted fish.  The animals are horribly mistreated.   

The righteous care for the needs of their animals, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel.

Proverbs 12:10

In 1 Corinthians 10:31, scripture says whether we eat or drink, whatever we do, do it all for the glory of God.  Does participating as a consumer in this system glorify God?  

A Biblical Case for Veganism

Pre-order Securing Our Birthright today.  We are donating 50% of all pre-orders to Charity: Water.  Please help us reach our donation goal of $350.00 by March 31, 2018.  100% of your donation to Charity: Water goes to providing clean water to those who have been deprived.  Thank you in advance for your support!
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A Biblical Case for Veganism Part 3: Troubled Waters