farmer's market, food, Healthy, non-gmo, nourishment, Public Assistance, shopping

An Edible Caste System: Change is Upon Us (Part 2)

Before I begin part 2, I want to ask you, my WordPress family, if you would please join the Really Nourish mailing list.  I would like to keep you up-to-date with the next endeavors in a more personal way, including my efforts to assist the Commonwealth of Dominica, where Hurricane Maria first made landfall, my upcoming book, and more.

Please click here to opt in.  Thank you, and I look forward to taking you along on this journey!


That Food Desert Life

Traveling long distances to have access to better nutrition is unfair.  It is what characterizes a food desert.  You are supposed to be able to access nutrition (not just “stuff you can eat”, but actual food with the nutritional value God put in it unadulterated by copious processing and chemical intervention) close to home.  That’s your birthright.  Even after Eden, no one had to really travel for days to get food on a regular basis.  You could grow it right there at your feet, outside your front and/or back tent flap, as it were.   So this Food Desert thing is a problem, and it plays out as a problem for the proletariat – working class folk who, like I just indicated, do work indeed, but because of the crazy

Really Nourish Delicata Squash
This local, organic Delicata Squash was only 81 cents! Judah was very pleased 🙂

dynamics of the American economy, still need help feeding their family.  We are not supposed to have this problem at all!  Even the money you have to put in the gas tank or spend on public transportation to travel to a more affluent area to shop in a better supermarket makes a difference in such households.  On top of the cost of transportation that you can count is the cost of the time it takes to make this journey.  That is a more difficult cost to count for some.  For me, it was somewhere between $105-$140, because I was blessed to be working from home and I made $35/hour, it took me at least an hour each way to travel plus time to search diligently for the sales and selecting in season, organic produce so I could get the most nutrition for the dollars I had available.  And the only dollars I had available were on that little white card.

Now, what if you could use your SNAP card to get your groceries online, free delivery?  This thought crossed my mind numerous times.  I even called Fresh Direct once to ask, and they said regrettably, no, we cannot take that form of payment.  Yet. In 2014.

It’s a New Day

I did say change is upon us, right?   In an era when our president is the least sympathetic to those of us who have to be careful with every dollar and are affected by small changes in income and benefit amounts, what change?

This time last year, in September 2016, a quiet but hugely significant victory was fresh.  The push to allow SNAP recipients to use their benefit card to order food online was a success, championed by Gunnar Lovelace, founder of online non-gmo and organic wholesale club Thrive Market, and backed by more than 310,000 signers on a petition, Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Representatives Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Tim Ryan (D-OH) and a handful of celebrities, fellow retailers and non-profit organizations.

The USDA launched the pilot program this year in several states with Amazon, Fresh Direct, Hy-Vee, Safeway and a selection of other grocers.  I’m not sure how much they are publicizing it but if you live in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, or Iowa and have not heard anything, you should go find out immediately how you can take advantage of this breakthrough opportunity to be released from the bonds of food desert life.  Conspicuously, Thrive Market was not included in the pilot program, but a small crack in the dam has happened, and the hood gon’ eat like Park Avenue now.

Benefits with Benefits

Farmer's Market Carrots
We got these with Health Bucks at the St. George Greenmarket in Staten Island, NY

Past SNAP advances that have actually attempted to focus on nutrition include Health Bucks and farmers markets and allowing the purchase of seedlings for food plants with your benefit card.  These kinds of changes, coupled with more awareness among the general population about the links between food and health, will make a greater impact on the healthcare crisis we have on our hands than any other technology, new medications, or medical procedures.

With success in the pilot, more states and more retail options will continue to open up, and Thrive will take its rightful place among the available options for SNAP benefit recipients.  Coupled with their commitment to giving a free membership to a low income family for every paid membership, they will be a part of leveling the playing field of nutrition access, and the edible caste system will be chopped and screwed.

Click Here to read Gunnar Lovelace’s blog post from September 2016 about this triumph

Click Here for an update in The Daily Caller on the launch of the pilot program

Click Here if you still aren’t thriving and you’re ready to start.  You get a 30 day free trial, 25% off your first and free shipping!

Here’s my personal story about SNAP, food desert life, and Thrive Market. Please share yours in the comments.

eating, food, Healthy, nourishment, shopping

An Edible Caste System: Change is Upon Us (Part 1)

When my son was just born and my daughter was around 4 years old, I had WIC.  I am a second generation New York City WIC recipient.  In the interview, I happily declined the offer of baby formula, because I was breastfeeding successfully.  What I did get was the opportunity to exchange checks for a variety of groceries.  What I didn’t get was a choice in exactly what groceries those were.

I learned a lot about benefit programs during that time.  It was abundantly clear that there are other entities, powerful and wealthy ones, that also benefit from my benefit.  To name a few, Post, General Mills and Kellogg’s, because I was allowed to get their cereals and theirs alone, as well as the Dairy Farmers of America, who no doubt were able to sell millions of gallons of milk and pounds of cheese through WIC.  The problem? While I was able to get copious amounts of these items, I was only given $6 a week towards fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables.  That was my only opportunity to buy anything that wasn’t a product or byproduct of GMO corn and soy, and the only time I could buy anything organic.  A pound of organic strawberries was $5.99.

Then there was the time that I figured out that I could get organic peanut butter.  See, they hadn’t gotten around to striking deals with guys like Jif yet, I guess, so they only specified what size of peanut butter you could get.  Because there were no other restrictions, I strode happily into PathMark with my WIC checks in my purse and grabbed the organic peanut butter in the correct size off the shelf.  The cashier looked puzzled, asked a manager, and in the end I got it because there was no notation on the check forbidding it.  Clearly, big brother was watching, because the next set of checks I got had (no organic) printed next to peanut butter on every one.  Wow.  So because I was poor, I had to eat the poisons and feed them to my child as well.  Is it possible that the chemical companies also have a stake in the WIC program?

Thankfully there are no such restrictions on what is now known as SNAP.  You can buy anything edible with that benefit, but for me, it wasn’t about backing cupboards with calories, it was about getting the best possible quality of food I could afford.  The problem was not about the benefit in this case, it was about access.  Until my son was 2, the only supermarket in walking distance from my home was Western Beef.  Here are there stats:

Organic Produce: 0

Organic Baby Cereal: 0

Organic Anything: 0

So at first I would take a 40 minute bus ride to a nicer neighborhood (read less people of color, more white people, no housing projects or even apartment buildings, most fellow shoppers drove there in their own vehicle)  to shop at ShopRite.  I would spend $5.00 round trip getting there, then another $5.00 organizing to have the groceries delivered to my home later that day.  Still, the organic produce selection at the time was minimal, but I was able to get the organic baby cereal and a lot of other organic foods in the aisles.  No organic or grass-fed meats were available there (I wasn’t vegan yet).

Soon, KeyFood opened, but to my chagrin, I discovered that their organic selection was only slightly better than at “The Beef”.  Then I figured out that I could get to WholeFoods in TriBeCa without spending money on transportation.  I mapped it once, it’s a 14 mile trip.  It involved a 10 minute walk from my home to the Staten Island Ferry Terminal, hopefully arriving in time to walk right on a ferry that is boarding, then on  arrival in Manhattan, boarding a free Downtown Manhattan loop bus that would drop me right outside the supermarket.  It could take anywhere from 1- 1 1/2 hours one way, depending on the ferry schedule, bus stop waiting and traffic.   (“Wrote a poem about it, like to hear it?  Here it go!”)

The downside: they could not deliver my groceries, so I had to make frequent trips and carry heavy loads, sometimes with both children in tow.  I continued to do it, even after I got off of the benefit programs, because it was worth it to me to really nourish myself and my family, which soon grew again by one when my dad came to live with me for a time.

One day it dawned on me: if I lived closer to this supermarket, that would be so nice.  If only I could afford a swank apartment in shiny Battery Park City… but indeed I could not.  The edible caste system at work, ladies and gentlemen: those who have plenty get more nutrients closer to home, and those who don’t either have to make long journeys to the wealthier neighborhoods and look for in season organics and sales in at a high quality, high priced grocer, or just stay malnourished.

The good news is that prayers have been answered and change is upon us.  The edible caste system is about to be shattered, and food deserts are about to be flooded with better food.  How, you ask?  Be sure to read part two when I post it…

In the meantime, please share your food desert confessions in the comments section.  I would love to know how fellow parents are handling this problem and getting cleaner, more nourishing food for the families in spite of financial and geographic obstacles.

Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.

3 John 1:2 NIV

 

 

breakfast, cooking, food, God's word, health, Healthy, nourishment, Produce, salad, seasonal, vegan

Gen 1:29-30 Breakfast: Trini Avocados, Himalayan Sea Salt and Raw Apple Cider Vinegar

Good Day!!!  It’s avocado season in Trinidad, so avocado is plentiful and can be had at great prices and top quality – that made me really want to sing a little!  Check out this quick, easy recipe using a ripe avocado, some local produce (chandon beni, anyone?) and a few delicious items – Pink Himalayan Sea Salt and Bragg Raw Apple Cider Vinegar – that I am including in the Thrive Market Gift Box that I am giving away in my #ReallyNourishGives Sweepstakes!

Click Here to Enter for YOUR chance to win! 

Click Here to get your Thrive membership started today! 

Be in good health,

Rashida

 

 

 

Books, Boycott, Faith Gardening, food, Fruit, gardening, health, Healthy, Herbs, no pesticides, non-gmo, nourishment, nutrients, Organic, Produce, salad, sprout, trees, Urban Gardening, vegan

The Faith Garden: Evolution

Up until this point, I have been in the gardener’s equivalent of preschool. Success in pots on a highrise terrace with seedlings during a summer season or two were my first very large, crayon-scribbled attemtps to write my name.  

Visions of multiple clever urban gardening installations both outside on my terrace and inside by that expanse of east oriented windows in my livingroom, like trash can potatoes and dwarf citrus trees 🍊and vertically inclined shelves of fresh herbs 🌱🌱🌱, they danced in my head, but my reality was much less inspiring. Nonetheless, like the simple days in Pre K where toddlers learn each vowel and consonant on its own, my five little terrace pots provided just the right amount of learning for my experience level. They would lead to bigger things in God’s good time.

Even my first gardening book was a children’s book. 📖Reading Molly’s Organic Farm by Carol Malnor to my children at bedtime taugh me about companion planting, beneficial insects🐝 and crop rotation among other things. I have since graduated. I am in big kid school now! 

Currently Reading📚: Guerilla Gardening by David Tracey, on loan from the 

Trinidad National Library System (NALIS) 

🍅Currently Planting: Marvel Striped Heirloom Tomatoes and Sugar Daddy Snap Peas from seeds, and a tamarind tree sprout on a small patch in my backyard. 

My children saved seeds from eating Tamarind balls and planted them with full faith

Current techniques in use🌴: Adding topsoil to plant on top of dense clay, 

Judah planted this tiny seed in January, look how tall they both are!

preparing my next spots by laying down a bed of food scraps interlaid with grass cuttings to proactively attract soil life and help nourish the future residents – more food crops and a patch of flowers. Also using Lune & Jardin, an app that helps you plan your gardening in relation to the phases of the moon. 

Next 🌺phase plans: Expand vegetable patch, help the children create their own Friendship Garden 💚🌾and utilise items dumped in the back (old wooden boards, pvc pipe, a broken swing set and some kid’s forgotten homemade pushcart) to help create a lovely Faith Garden oasis for my little apartment complex community. 

I will update frequently!

eating, food, nourishment

Prison Residents Suffer Nutritional Abuse

An excerpt from The Food Revolutionary Strategy Handbook, a work in progress by the author. 

inmates2
Source: YouTube user “She Needs A Lawyer” video entitled WOMEN IN PRISON: LOCKED IN CELLS

From what I learned both in and outside of history classrooms in school, slaves were treated with a great deal of cruelty, including being subjected to food that was low in nutritional value and high in fats and starches[1], which could lead to scurvy and rickets.  Per the 13th Amendment, prisoners deserve to be treated as slaves, and in modern times that is certainly the case.  Like the slaves carried to the Americas in the cargo holds of ships, they are shackled, beaten, sometimes stripped, often raped by COs, forced to work for no pay and subjected to inferior food.  The shocking truth about the food is that the same corporations who provide school food are also feeding prison populations.

[1] Slavery and the Making of America: The Slave Experience: Living Conditions http://www.pbs.org/wnet/slavery/experience/living/history2.html

Prison reform is a very difficult topic around which to rally public support.  People are judgmental.  The media vilifies people who commit crimes and influences viewers to put those people in a myopic, unyielding set of boxes in their minds, and in those boxes, “criminals” are dehumanized.  Even as you are reading this, you may have trouble

1938-prisoner-eating
Source: Getty Images

thinking that people who have been convicted of crimes are entitled to clean, healthy, nourishing meals because as a society we have an insatiable appetite to punish one another for breaking rules and laws and hurting other people.  Some may say that we do this to shift focus off our own infractions – in truth, most of us break rules, break laws and hurt people all the time – so we can feel better about ourselves.

If we can dehumanize a person we can easily deny them basic human rights, can’t we?  One of the first hurdles the prison reform movement, which encompasses standing up for vast improvements in prison meal programs, is to get society to change its perspective on inmates.

Why We MUST Do This:

Because if we don’t stand up for food sovereignty for every man, woman and child in the world, then we are not doing mankind real justice.   Standing for inmates’ right to clean, wholesome food shows that the food revolution is universal.   Many of us have sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, husbands, boyfriends, girlfriends, mothers, fathers, aunties

inmates
Source: Emaze.com

or uncles residing in penitentiaries and we are feeling firsthand the plight of the inmate’s loved one.  They may have told us horror stories about the food on brief phone calls and emails and expressed their longing to come home to a good meal.  If the corrections system is to live up to its name, punishment should not be the primary impetus for the decisions that effect every aspect of inmates’ lives, but it is indeed.  They are dehumanized through societal programming through the media and subjected to abuse in many forms, including nutritional abuse, all to justify the mechanisms in the prison industry complex that benefit the corporations who profit from the constant supply of souls in it. This is just as wrong as feeding school children inferior food and contributes to the same widespread problems in physical and mental health, in environmental abuse and in food insecurity.

Crops, farm, food, gardening, God's word, Healthy, Herbs, no pesticides, non-gmo, nourishment, Organic, Urban Gardening

The Faith Garden Part 1

We are enslaved if we must rely solely upon our jobs, money, supermarkets and agribusiness to eat.  Thank God for His (yes, it’s His) system of seed time and harvest that never ceases.  We can all grow at least some of our own food.  You will start small but you will want to grow more because it was God’s first job for us.  He gave us the power to feed ourselves.

Crops, eating, food, God's word, health, Healthy, natural, non-gmo, nourishment, nutrients, Organic, scripture, shopping

8 Day Really Nourish Yourself Devo Day 6: Trust No One 😕

8 Day Really Nourish Yourself Devo Day 6: Trust No One

8 Day Really Nourish Yourself Devo Day 6: Trust No One is an ominous title, but it fits this very relevant, universal message.  My friend, it’s time to get into the meat of things (pun intended).  That narrow, hard road, that leads to life abundant according to His promise is so hard because we have trusted the wrong ones with the sacred duty of stewarding our world’s food.

8 Day Really Nourish Yourself Devo Day 6: Trust No One
Product names and labels make claims to lead you to believe in virtues they don’t contain. The governments allow them to do this.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading on the topic of food  – 📚 I’ve been through numerous books plus countless Bible scriptures and documentaries – and one important paradigm constantly reveals itself throughout all the different narratives: trust.

You intrinsically want to trust your food.  All of us do.  We want to trust that marketers are being honest about what’s in the products in the supermarket and on the menu, that they are disclosing all details and using safe ingredients, inputs and methods for us.  We want to trust our governments to protect us from those who might want to violate that trust when it means their bottom line will look better.

8 Day Really Nourish Yourself Devo Day 6: Trust No One – Only God

It would be nice if everyone were trustworthy, but as we know, the only one we can trust is Jehovah Jireh.

8 Day Really Nourish Yourself Devo Day 6: Trust No One
Food For Life’s Ezekiel 4:9 bread lives up to its name – ingredients straight from that bible verse and sprouted grains.

The prophet Ezekiel foretold the impending overthrow of Israel and Judah by Babylon.  On day 3 of this devo, I gave you the link to our video illustrating his prophesy.  I hope you watched it!

In chapter 4 of his book, he acts out the prophesy in a stunning performance.  It’s interesting to recognized the Jesus blueprint, a sort of preview that God gives us in the Old Testament in Ezekiel.  The Lord calls him “Son of Man” and puts four centuries of the sins of others on him.  But in fact Ezekiel was a natural born man like you and I, and so the question of what he was supposed to do for food during this 15 month long performance piece needed a natural answer.

God knows what we need before we ask.  He gave young Zeek a recipe (those of you who are a fan of Food for Life’s eponymous bread know this one well):

Also take for yourself wheat, barley, beans, lentils, millet and spelt; put them into one vessel and make bread of them for yourself.  During the number of days you lie on your side, three hundred and ninety days, you shall eat it.

Ezekiel 4:9 NKJV

It’s all Ezekiel would need.  No bacon-egg-and-cheese, coffee-light-n-sweet, two-doubles-with-everything-slight-pepper for breakfast.  Just God’s recipe.  My kidney donor team nutritionist recently explained to me that the combination of beans (beans and lentils) and grains (wheat, barley, millet and spelt) makes a perfect protein and contains a robust package of nutrients, minerals, calories and fiber.  In God we trust.

 

8 Day Really Nourish Yourself Devo Day 6: Trust No One – Not Even Your Lawmakers

We need to be aware that we cannot blindly trust the food marketers and the lawmakers.  While your intention is to get God’s standard of nourishment into your temple and your family, they are driven by money.  The money compromises their integrity.  This is how Schwan IMG_1848Corporation was able to convince members of congress to keep pizza on the school food menus in America by explaining that tomato paste is akin to a vegetable.   🍕=🍅??

This is also how they get the green light to propagate so many genetically engineered crops and ⚗☠ and use hundreds of chemicals in our food and personal hygiene products so freely.  Keep yourself well informed about government food policies and the lack thereof where they are desperately needed.  Inform yourself which agencies oversee it all.  Find out hat laws exist and are being proposed (and by whom!) and the meanings of words and symbols on food.

For example, while there is a clear legal definition for “Organic” enforced by the USDA, there is no definition for “Natural” nor is there any restriction preventing this word’s use on any food label.

8 Day Really Nourish Yourself Devo Day 6: Trust No One – Verify by Scripture

The Ezekiel 4:9 bread recipe is comprised of six versions of God’s first provision for us – 🌾 herb that yields seed (Gen 1:11).  We can trust that this, His first love gift to us, is GOOD.  All caps GOOD!  After He created it, He Himself proclaimed it GOOD.  In fact, when He was done creating everything, he deemed the whole creation VERY GOOD, all inclusive.  We can trust in that GOODness. (Refer back to Day 2 – Renew Your Mind)

🌱 We can trust that His process of seed, time and harvest is the only 100% reliable system for producing real food just as he established in Genesis 8:23, and that He doesn’t need the help of agricultural chemicals or genetic engineering to feed man and animal.

We can trust in the food He provided in its pure forms 🍒🍍🌽🍅🍆, but we cannot trust in what man manipulated and packaged 🍟🍔🍕. The more it is processed, the further it is from God’s original creation, and so the further it is from God’s trustworthiness.  We cannot trust it.

8 Day Really Nourish Yourself Devo Day 6: Trust No One – His Food Heals

Food is medicine, said Hippocrates.  Yet our modern physicians receive minimal education, if any, on nutrition.  This is inconsistent with God’s provision.  What He provided us is both preventative (to sustain us, as in Genesis 1:29-30) and therapeutic (blessed by Him to take away sickness, as in Exodus 23:25) medicine for the body, including the mind.  Good, Godly nourishment can turn the tide on ANY disease.  Pharmaceutical medication can’t match food’s track record of healing.  We can’t trust in the physicians and their staff.  We can trust in ❤️💛💚Dr. Jesus, the real healer.

 

8 Day Really Nourish Yourself Devo Day 6: Trust No One – Next Steps

Now that you are seeing food so differently, it is time to apply your divinely inspired discernment.  As you are learning, this is the narrow, hard road indeed!  In urban areas especially, it can be expensive and time consuming just to find fresh, wholesome food.  For those who aren’t well versed in food and cooking, preparing food from scratch can be challenging.  Thrive Market is a great resource for organic and non-gmo foods, including some easy-to-prepare items.  They offer those goods at much lower prices than supermarkets and ship direct to your door.  Join and shop online!  Also, thanks to the efforts of their CEO Gunnar Lovelace, some SNAP recipients can use their cards to get fresh, organic produce online.  (Read about that here)

Also, be bold in your choice, no matter where you go.  People may consider you rude or ungrateful when you decline the defiled, deceptive food they offer you at their homes or special events.  In those circumstances, just remember Daniel in  the first chapter.  God had His front, and He will have yours too.  Through Him, all things are possible!

We can’t trust in flesh.  We can trust in God.

 

8 Day Really Nourish Yourself Devo Day 6: Trust No One – Scriptures and Video

Meditate on:

Genesis 1:11-12, 29-30

Exodus 23:25

Ezekiel 1

Watch: The Really Nourish Movement GMO 101

To return to the 8 Day Really Nourish Yourself Devotional page, CLICK HERE.

Click Here to go to Day 7.