food, Healthy, non-gmo, Organic, Prayer, shopping, Weight Loss

My Really Nourish Journey with Thrive Market

More than 2 years into my journey from the brink of statistical-status to becoming more than a conqueror over the one of the enemy’s most virile attacks on mankind, I now share with you my Really Nourish Journey with Thrive Market.

Kidney Failure

In November 2014, my father was diagnosed with renal failure.  At his first dialysis appointment in Brooklyn, NY, I sat with the center’s kind social worker, Lisa.  I was clueless.  She explained the basics.  How the kidney functions in the body.  How the dialysis would substitute the lost function by cleaning the blood.  It was a crash course in Biology, a subject I struggled to complete in high school with a barely passing grade.

My first question to her was how long he would have to do the dialysis treatments.  Her face gave me the answer: for the rest of his life.  My dad was already inside getting set up for his first dialysis session.  I was saddened by the thought that this could be his life – in New York, far away from his beautiful island home in the dead of winter, sitting in a clinic hooked up to a machine for 4 hours three times a week.

Your’re from… Where Now?

My family is from the Commonwealth of Dominica.  It’s the bucolic island nation that was destroyed during Hurricane Maria.  Before Maria, most people had not heard of this country.  As a child growing up in Brooklyn, I constantly had to offer the following kinds of explanations about where my family came from: “It’s in the Eastern Caribbean between Martinique and Guadeloupe.”  “No, not the Dominican Republic, that’s a different country.”  “No, we don’t speak Spanish, we speak English and Patois.” In third grade at PS 119, I was so excited to do a presentation about what my family had taught me about Christmas in Dominica.  As I resumed my seat, I remember my teacher adding “In America, we call it the Dominican Republic.”  I still remember the feeling of my heart sinking.

After my mother died of cancer at age 56 in 1999, my dad moved back there and built the house they were supposed to retire together in.  They had bought a great piece of land in the village of Pointe Michel the early 90’s, and I remember my dad sketching the first and subsequent drafts of the house he would build.  We sat on Saturday mornings looking at his sketch and he talked at length about this house.  Sometimes my mom would roll her eyes.  I was a teen in those days.  I enjoyed the time we spent together.  Indeed, he built the very house he drew.  Although my mother never lived to see it, she is the one who made it possible because it was the pension and life insurance money that financed it’s construction.  Remarkable, the house is the among the 5% of homes that survived Maria.

My dad, who had minimal education, singlehandedly built one of Dominica’s first Climate Change resilient houses.  We didn’t know this at the time of the conversation we were having.  Dominica hadn’t even been through Tropical Storm Erica as yet.  All I knew was that I wanted him to go home, because I knew that if he couldn’t, it would be a sad, ironic tragedy that might send him to an early grave.

Becoming a Living Donor

“Unless,” Lisa the social worker said, “someone were willing to give him a kidney, then he could come off the dialysis.”

The Spirit prompted me immediately. “Maybe I could give him one,” I replied, without a moment of hesitation.  Her face lit up in response.  She excused herself and disappeared to her office, reappearing with brochures for two transplant centers.  Now the conversation was a little more upbeat, as she explained this process which in retrospect I knew she wished was an option for all her patients at the center.  I would only learn later how inexplicably rare living family donor volunteers are for those needing transplants.

I called my husband in Trinidad to get his consent, and when my dad came out, we got in the Zipcar and drove home.  Tears came to his eyes when I told him about what Lisa and I had discussed.  Again, I still didn’t think it was a big deal.  For me the bottom line was this: if I was able, then I was willing.

We haven’t gotten to Really Nourish yet.  We are going to fast forward through the next few months now that you know how it all started.

My Really Nourish Journey with Thrive Market Begins

On a cold day in January 2015, Dad and I traveled by train together to the Recanati-Miller Transplantation Institute at Mount Sinai Hospital on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.  My presumption walking in the door was that the only obstacle might be that we don’t match for a transplant.  The thing is, Dad is my stepfather, so we are not blood relatives.  Nonetheless, I was prayed up and encouraged by faith.  People donate kidneys all the time to recipients who are not blood relatives.  In fact, sometimes people get kidneys from living or diseased donors who they don’t even know.

We arrived late and were sent to separate rooms.  Dad went to one room to be introduced to and briefed by a kidney transplant recipient team.  I went into the room where donors get a similar briefing.  My briefing included a rude awakening that blindsided me.  It started with a questionnaire and a physical.  They took my height and weight.  They took my blood pressure in both arms.  One arm was higher than I’ve ever seen my blood pressure read before.  It was borderline hypertensive, I was told.  The donor team nurse was a hard-faced, bespectacled white woman who had probably been doing this for years and was unimpressed by my enthusiasm to “Donate Life”.   About my weight and the implications – in a nutshell I was a 39-year-old obese black woman – the nurse tersely explained that I may not be in good enough health to be the donor.

Diabetes?? Me???

“You know that African Americans are more prone to diabetes, and that being overweight is a precursor,” she explained.  “And your blood pressure…” She wheeled on her rolling stool over to a desk drawer and took out a sheet to hand me.  She ordered me to get three more blood pressure readings on three different days.  I could do this for free at any Duane Reade, she explained.  (See my video on this topic)

Also, on the questionnaire, I was asked if I had ever been diagnosed with Diabetes in the last 10 years.  I wanted to be honest, so I indicated that I remember having been told something about potentially having gestational diabetes with my then 21-month-old son.  “If this was a true diagnosis,” she said, “you won’t be able to donate.”  I remember I had developed a daily candy bar habit during that pregnancy.  I remember a discussion with my midwife at the Brooklyn Birthing Center about my blood sugar. There was a mention of gestational diabetes while I was in labor.  I just couldn’t remember if was a diagnosis or a caution.  So I now had to get my medical records from the birthing center.

More members of the donor team came in the room and spoke with me.  Then, I was allowed to join Dad in his briefing room.  When I arrived, the nutritionist was just finishing up, and a transplant surgeon came in after her to explain the surgery.  Another Biology lesson.  Unlike in high school more than 20 years earlier, I was finding science suddenly fascinating!

Nonetheless, the talk with the donor team nurse weighed heavy on my mind.  I couldn’t imagine that I could possibly be in poor health.  Up until that point, I had never had any cause to be concerned about high blood pressure.  The only talk of diabetes I had ever had during my life was during that pregnancy. On the way home, I shared some of the talk with my dad.  I was mad at the whole “African Americans are more prone” thing.  I later researched that and discovered why that is, and it isn’t because God made us inferior, that’s for sure!  For the moment, while I was in a little bit of denial, I was also prompted to really start thinking long and hard about what direction my health was going in.

I Thought I Was Doing All the Right Things!

There are people who know they are obese, have already developed the related diseases and have an addiction to food that they are aware of.  Then there are people like me.  I thought I was doing things the right way.  My then 6-year-old daughter knew never to ask me to take her to a Mc Donald’s.  We didn’t frequent that or any other similar fast food places, other than Subway occasionally.   At least at subway, we could get lots of fresh veggies on the sandwiches with the meat and cheese, and only juice.  No soda!  Also at home, we drank 100% juices.  I didn’t buy soda or “juice drinks” for my family.  We had started to buy more organic foods, also.

Did I still eat candy bars?  Yes I did, but not daily like that phase I went through in the third trimester with Judah.  How many?  I didn’t keep track.  Did I still order pizza?  In retrospect, I did this pretty frequently, and we liked pepperoni on ours.  But it was from a local mom-and-pop place, not a chain, so I perceived this to be a better option.  Also, I did still eat burgers and fries, but again, from local places, so again, I thought it was better.

Homemade: Not Always “Better”

In general, I made a lot of things from scratch and did a lot of home cooking.  A healthy daily breakfast almost invariably included two eggs, and if I made them at home, I thought it was better than getting them on the street or in a fast food place.  I was buying organic, free range eggs now.  It was better.  We drank skim milk.  We ate whole wheat bread.  My blood pressure readings were still fine and other than that encounter during the last pregnancy, my blood sugar was normal.  I thought I was doing the right things.

Looking back now, it all seems absurd.  Even when my Dad first saw me while he was in the hospital in December 2014, he remarked at how big I had gotten.  I waved that off.  I was getting older, and I was from a family of women who tended to be “thicker”.  My mom was thick, too.  Two children, 39 years old, what did he expect?  My husband thought I was sexy.  That’s not the absurd part.  I was beautiful in those days too.

The absurd part was how ignorant I was about the path that I was on.  Suddenly coming face to face with the possibility that my health was not what I thought it was shocked me.  I remembered that my daughter had come home one day from school last year with some results of some school program health screenings.  This paper she handed me said that she was overweight according to something called BMI.  That memory prompted me

IMG_0337
Me, April 2015, over 200lbs, size 12 jeans

to research this concept.  I found a Body Mass Index calculator online and entered my height and weight.  That’s the day I discovered that I was…

OBESE!

The next visit at Mount Sinai was no better.  My weight had gone up 2 lbs since the previous visit, and some bloodwork indicated that I could be prediabetic.  I quickly leapt out of denial and into acceptance.  My acceptance was not to say I was going to live like that.  It was my impetus to nip this thing in the bud.  The end goal was to donate the kidney, and I couldn’t let anything, not even my ignorance about my health, stop me.  I went straight to The Great Physician for a follow up.

The Great Physician’s Prescription

In prayer, I remember saying these words to Jehovah Rapha, our God who heals: “You say all the answers I need in life are in Your word.  Please show me.”  I told Him that I just wanted, if it is His will, to make sure that my health was going to be good enough to be a donor if we match.  At least, I said, if we don’t match, I would like to sow a kidney by donating to someone I do match so maybe I could reap one for him.  They explained to me that there is a program for that.  It works like a swap. I could match someone else, and that person’s donor that didn’t match them might match Dad, then we all go in and swap kidneys.  I was open to that.

The thing is I had not ever been careless about my health.  Misguided, certainly, but not careless!  I know there are many people out there like that, and when they develop the health problems regardless of how careful they are, they just think they couldn’t avoid it.  They are selective about their food, but by the wrong criteria.  They are bamboozled by Big Food’s propaganda because they trusted the untrustworthy.  I should say we, because I was right there with them.  Like I said, I thought I was making good choices for myself and my children.  My choices were corroborated by those who I thought would never want to mislead people.  It’s food, for crying out loud.  Would our government allow this?

In June 2015, I was able to return the sheet to the donor team nurse with three normal level blood pressure checks.  She was mildly satisfied.  She still wanted to see my birthing center medical records, and I weighed heavier than before once again.  I was now 212 lbs and swelling.  On the bright side, the blood work for the match test had come back.  My dad and I matched perfectly for a transplant!  As I rejoiced, Holy Spirit prompted me to read some scriptures.  He started me off with Proverbs 23:1-3.  Then I saw the documentary Fed-Up.  I started to understand what I had been doing wrong, why I had been doing the wrong things and what I was headed for if I didn’t make huge changes.

Thrive Market, My Oasis in the Food Desert: My Shopping Checklist

This was the birth of Really Nourish.  Very soon, I learned about Thrive Market.  Living in a food desert on the north shore of Staten Island, New York, I suddenly found it difficult to get the new kinds of foods I wanted to be stocking my household with.  Up until I found Thrive, I would take a 30-minute bus ride to a nicer neighborhood in Staten Island to shop.  I paid them $5.00 to deliver my groceries home and then got back on the bus.  Anytime I had a Zipcar, I fit in a shopping stop before heading back to my little food desert neighborhood.  Eventually, I started taking the Staten Island Ferry into lower Manhattan to go to Whole Foods, because even that Staten Island supermarket’s selection of organic produce and packaged food was lean.  Whole Foods had things like sprouted bread, inexpensive, organic dry goods by the pound, and lots of organic, in season, well priced local produce. Unfortunately, I couldn’t buy as much as I wanted on each trip because I had to carry it all home – no home delivery to Staten Island available.  Thrive became my oasis in a food desert!

Really Nourish Journey with Thrive Market
Thrive Market Really Nourish Shopping Checklist

 

My new approach was:

  1. Whole Foods and my local weekly farmer’s market (only operating on Saturday mornings in warmer months). This is how I would stock up on in-season, largely organic fruits and vegetables and fresh breads.  I also bought, before I gave it up, organic, grass fed, locally reared animal products.
  2. In the colder months, I started shopping Fresh Direct for those items.
  3. Then I would hop onto ThriveMarket.com and order the other stuff I used to have to lug – flour and rice and pasta, healthy snacks for the children and they would send it right to my door!

Because the prices were so low, I was now able to try out health products like spirulina and essential oils that were out of my range before.  I never paid for delivery, because my orders were always more than $49.00.  I always got a cool freebee and my kids loved to play in the boxes for days after stuff arrived.  The packaging was even thoughtful.  I was impressed that everything glass wasn’t in plastic bubble wrap.  They used something biodegradable, either some corrugated cardboard or some cool kind of cardboard webbing that my children also liked to play with.  Let me show you the kind of shopping I did with Thrive.

Really Nourish Journey with Thrive Market: The Changes

In the first month, I dropped 20 lbs by reducing my overall free sugar consumption to under 25 grams a day.  I had to actually throw some stuff out in my kitchen and pour some juice down the drain.  During that summer, I did lots of yoga with my kids, but not much additional exercise.  The 20 stayed off but I couldn’t get below 192 for anything man!  Then, after a couple of books, lots more scripture, several more documentaries including Cowspiracy, I made my choice to go vegan.  That’s when my journey took me from obese-land, through the overweight mountains to the border lands of normal weight country.

New Nurse 🙂

Along the journey, the donor team at Mount Sinai swapped the hard-faced gate keeper donor team nurse to the lovely, kind faced one, Montgomery Roach.  Every visit to Mount Sinai was full of smiles now.  Montgomery was excited and encouraged to prepare me for the transplant.  My nutritionist was excited about the changes I had made, and everything was full steam ahead for the surgery.

The Big Day!

In March 2016, on a cool early morning, Dad and I shared an Access-a-Ride to Mount Sinai for surgery.  It was the culmination of a 17 month journey.  It was a relatively short wait, but there was a lifetime of change in both of us during that time.  The surgery was a flawless success.  While in the surprisingly comfortable and pretty recovery suite (donated by a past donor who wanted future donors to have at least the reward of a nice place to stay after donating an organ), one of the surgeons came in to see me.  He told me that the kidney was “beautiful”.   How great it was to know that

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Me on Emancipation Day August 1, 2016, under 170 lbs, size 8 skinny jeans.  Currently, in December 2017, I am 7 months pregnant with my 3rd child and still under 170, blood pressure 99/59, blood sugar 83 mg/dL. My pre-pregnancy weight was 155.

not only could I give my Dad an organ that would allow him to go home and live a normal life in his beloved Dominica, but that the quality of the gift was good enough that a surgeon who had done this 400 times before in his career was impressed!   I moved to Trinidad a bit later that year, but still maintain my Thrive membership.  Just recently, I joined Thrive as an affiliate, so I could accompany my story with a resource that my American members can use to actually achieve their goals no matter where they live.  Here’s more about Thrive’s commitment to making high quality food available to everyone.

The Future

God gets all the glory, but I believe part of His plan was that Thrive Market relieve me of the problem of food desert life by giving me affordable, easy access to the kind of food He wanted me to use to care for His temple.  Thrive Market can be a vital partner in your journey too.  My next goal is to help bring this kind of thing here to Trinidad and the rest of the Caribbean Islands.  If the American way of life is going to be exported here along with it’s lifestyle disease health pandemic, and this is happening rapidly around the world, then why can’t we also export the groundswell movement towards more affordable access to healthier options with free delivery in cool, environmental friendly packaging?

Wouldn’t that be a more responsible thing to share with the rest of the world?

Click Here for an 8 Day Devotional to help you start your own journey!

Boycott, Climate Change, food, Global Warming, God's word, non-gmo, Organic

Food Sovereignty Defined in a Biblical Context

With more than 2 billion Christians worldwide, food sovereignty defined in a biblical context will shed some light on the lost connection between our beliefs and our day-to-day choices.  Let’s begin by breaking down the term Food Sovereignty:

From Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language

Food, noun

1. In a general sense, whatever is eaten by animals for nourishment, and whatever supplies nutriment to plants.

2. Meat; aliment; flesh or vegetables eaten for sustaining human life; victuals; provisions; whatever is or may be eaten for nourishment.

Feed me with food convenient for me. Proverbs 30:8.

Food Sovereignty Defined in a Biblical Context
St. George Greenmarket, Staten Island, NY

3. Whatever supplies nourishment and growth to plants, as water, carbonic acid gas, etc. Manuring substances furnish plants with food

4. Something that sustains, nourishes and augments. Flattery is the food of vanity.

Based on this definition, much of what we choose to eat today cannot be truly considered food because it does not nourish.

Sovereign, adjective

1. Supreme in power; possessing supreme dominion; as a sovereign ruler of the universe.

2. Supreme; superior to all others; chief. God is the sovereign good of all who love and obey him.

Sovereign, noun

1. A supreme lord or ruler; one who possesses the highest authority without control.

Food Sovereignty Defined in a Biblical Context
Judah loves Food Sovereignty! #FoodSovereignty

Some earthly princes, kings and emperors are sovereigns in their dominions.

2. A supreme magistrate; a king.

How Do We Support the Concept of Food Sovereignty Defined in a Biblical Context?

The knee jerk reaction for many Christians reading this is that God is sovereign over all, God provides, and He is to be implicitly trusted in His provision.  All of that is biblically sound, but it is incomplete.  By this simplistic version of doctrine, we neglect the fact that He gave us dominion in Genesis, then after the fall, restored that dominion in Christ.  That dominion is over all things.  He is King of kings.  He is King with a capital K, but indeed, we are lower case k kings.  This is the basis for the concept of our sovereignty over our food supply in this world.  As kings, we are not only in charge, we carry responsibility for it as far as how God’s provision is stewarded and distributed among mankind.  Let’s first take a look at some scriptures that establish our food sovereignty.

In Genesis 1:26, God created man and gave him dominion “over all the earth”.

Then, in Genesis 2:15, God put man in the garden of Eden to cultivate it.

After Adam and Eve eat the forbidden fruit in Genesis 3:17, God says “Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life.”  This indicates that although the gardening work will be harder, we are still free to cultivate and eat of it as much as we need.  Verse 18 says Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you (but nonetheless He restates) “And you shall eat the herb of the field”.  The right to cultivate and eat from the land as we needed to was still ours.  Food Sovereignty Defined in a Biblical Context

Fast forward to Genesis 6 & 7, as God is giving Noah instructions on what to bring onto the ark, He instructs Noah to stock the ark with food for the humans and animals on board.  It was under God’s instruction, but the actual decisions of what and how much to bring were in Noah’s hands.

Generations later, in Genesis 41, we see Joseph in Egypt laying out a plan to manage the food supply to provide for the seven years of famine predicted in Pharoah’s dream.

Certainly there are more examples like this throughout the bible, but this is enough right in the first book to lay the foundation for a biblical case for man’s sovereignty over food.  While there were appointed leaders at different moments in the biblical story who made decisions that affected the rest of mankind, their decisions were always based on making sure that EVERYONE could still partake in God’s bounty even in a huge disaster scenario.  None of the food decisions had anything to do with financial gain for anyone involved.

Why Is it Important to Examine Food Sovereignty Defined in a Biblical Context?

Now that you understand the position God gave you in His Kingdom, you must see your individual daily choices as a function of that role.  Every food purchase you make counts.  Every time you sit down to dinner, you make a statement about where you stand on this issue.  Even if you have not been conscious about it, you have been participating in it on one side or the other.  Either you have been unaware that you are contributing to the transfer of food sovereignty to the enemy or you have become a change agent.  There is no middle ground.

Your choices at the supermarket count more than your votes at the ballot box do.

Here are the facts:

  • By 2011, 10 companies controlled 75% of the world’s commercial seed supply.  (source: Genetic Literacy Project GMO FAQs) This list includes Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta, Bayer and Dow (see definitions below).  They also operate in the pharmaceutical industry, own “food” packaging companies and market GMO technology.
  • Since the 1900s, some 75 percent of plant genetic diversity has been lost as farmers worldwide have left their multiple local varieties and landraces for genetically uniform, high-yielding varieties. (a)
  • Today, 75 percent of the world’s food is generated from only 12 plants and five animal species. (a)
  • Of the 4 percent of the 250 000 to 300 000 known edible plant species, only 150 to 200 are used by humans. Only three – rice, maize and wheat – contribute nearly 60 percent of calories and proteins obtained by humans from plants. (a)(a) Source:  FAO. 1999b

As you can see, in the last 100 years, we have shifted from “every tree and plant that is beautiful to look at and good for food” (Genesis 2:9) to a very limited number of nutrient sources that Big Ag can easily control, manipulate, import, export and monetize.  This has been the pattern of mankind’s loss of sovereignty over our own food.

Some Definitions

Big Ag (Agriculture), Big Food, Big Pharma (Pharmaceuticals) – Those of us born before 1980 will likely have some memories of Big Tobacco.  This was the moniker given to the tobacco industry in reference to the power and influence it wielded.  It was a group of large, wealthy corporations that marketed cigarettes and other tobacco products.  They used their wealth in every attempt to protect their product’s image, although numerous studies were showing undeniable links between tobacco use and lung cancer, throat cancer, emphysema and other diseases of the respiratory system.  They marketed to children, in medical journals and at doctor’s offices.  Their political lobby was extremely powerful.  Eventually they lost their battle, but for years they were able to retain the right to market to children and make fallacious claims about benefits attached to tobacco use.

Today, we have a similar phenomenon.  The three interlinked industries – agriculture, food production and pharmaceuticals – are using vast wealth to protect their image, although their products and their corporate practices are implicated in a multitude of problems in today’s world.  The largest corporations in this group are Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta, Bayer, Dow and BASF.  They are the R.J. Reynolds Co. and Marlboros of today.  These problems include but are not limited to

  • Loss of biodiversity (refer to the facts above)
  • Climate change due to emissions from the livestock industry and other unsustainable, fossil fuel-dependent practices in agriculture
  • The health epidemics of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and other lifestyle diseases (see definition below)
  • Deaths from properly prescribed and administered pharmaceutical drugs (these deaths surpass those from heart disease)
  • Soil depletion due to heavy use of chemical pesticides and herbicides, largely exacerbated by the unbridled release of GMO seed into the market
  • Increased malnutrition worldwide

Notice that today, smoking is widely and correctly perceived as a bad practice.  Children are cautioned against it and it is banned from most public spaces around the world.  Because we stood up against it, our lawmakers could no longer uphold Big Tobacco’s rights over ours, and the victory in that war is sealed.  We face a new war against a new “Big” enemy.  It is important that we recognize it and take the whole armor of God in it.

Lifestyle Diseases, aka Metabolic Diseases. These are sometimes referred to as Diseases of Affluence. – This is the category of diseases that are directly linked to eating patterns.  The “Big” industries finance scientists and universities to produce studies that link these diseases to factors other than diet, such as genetics and specific chemicals.  Nonetheless, an overwhelming amount of research in the field of diet and health that is not financed by the Bigs shows undeniable links between what individuals and populations customarily eat (their lifestyle) and their likelihood to develop these diseases.  The concept of diet and health appears often throughout scripture.

The reason these diseases are also referred to as Diseases of Affluence is that in these studies, correlations between diet and wealth also became clear.  The fact is that one of the strongest correlations discovered was a link between consumption of animal protein and incidence of diseases in this category.  Just as in biblical times, only the very wealthy and royalty could partake in animal flesh often, today it is wealthier societies and the wealthiest of the poorer nations who can afford to consume animal-based foods every day.  So we see more of these diseases in the more affluent members of the human family.  Here are some of the diseases in this category:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes Types 1 & 2
  • Cancer
  • Heart Disease
  • Kidney and Liver Diseases

These diseases are largely attributed to what we in the western world consider to be a normal level of consumption of animal protein, free sugars (added to packaged foods and beverages and extracted from fruits as juice) sodium and animal fat.  To put this into perspective, in biblical times, the average person only ate animal flesh a few times a year when an animal was slaughtered during festivals.  Today, we eat animal protein three times a day and don’t consider it gluttony – that is deception.

Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (or Centers, aka CAFOs or CAFCs) This is what livestock farming has become in modern times.  Gone are the days when a shepherd tended sheep in green pastures and cattle languished all day in grassy fields chewing their cud.  To support ravenous global demand for animal flesh, dairy and cheese and eggs, CAFOs have redesigned livestock agriculture to produce more animal products faster and cheaper.

The conditions of these operations is horrendous for both the animals and, to a lesser degree, the people who work in them.  Animals are crammed (concentrated) together in tight spaces, fed medicated, usually GMO grain feed.  There are too many abusive details about the living conditions and the practices employed to maintain the animals until slaughter to list here, but it is horrific.  The slaughter is a painful process that is usually frightening for the animals and dangerously unsanitary as well as perhaps mentally disturbing for the people who do it.   Also, the large concentration of toxic waste from these centers is a major contributor to greenhouse gasses and global warming, and land and water pollution.

This is all hidden from public view, because if you really saw what was happening, you would think very differently about your choice to eat animal-based foods at every meal daily.  In Earthlings,  a documentary by Joaquin Phoenix, these and other sad realities are exposed.  You have a right to know.  Have a look.

Now That We Have Examined Food Sovereignty Defined in a Biblical Context, What Can We Do?

OK, this is not going to be complicated, my friend.  Like most of God’s solutions to our problems, it is simple.  Also like many of His solutions, it is difficult.  The truth is that your individual daily choices make a much bigger impact on the world than you thought they did.  Every single day, every dollar you spend on what you choose to eat is a vote for or against the food sovereignty of mankind.  Let me explain:

This morning, you gave your kids a bowl of Big Brand cereal with dairy milk for breakfast before they went off happily to school.  Here’s how that impacted food sovereignty

  1. Your Big Food Brand cereal was produced by a company who is a subsidiary of Monsanto.  You didn’t know when you bought it, but basically your purchase supported GMO technology, which is a major part of their business.

    Food Sovereignty Defined in a Biblical Context
    Post is a subsidiary of Monsanto
  2. That cereal was made from Big Ag corn that came from a monoculture farm in the mid west planted with GMO seed (they don’t legally have to tell you that on the box) and was grown using Monsanto’s Round Up weed killer.  That weed killer is made from glyphosate, a known carcinogen (a chemical that is known to contribute to cancer in human beings), is also known to destroy soil quality, and is implicated in the loss of bee populations worldwide.  Indeed there had been an outcry against the continued use of glyphosate, so Monsanto is now marketing a newer, not necessarily safer version containing a chemical called dicamba.  But I digress.
  3. The cereal contains about 15 grams of sugar per 2 oz serving.  You gave your child about 4 oz of it, so you have now given them more than the World Health Organization recommended daily limit of sugar in one meal.  They will definitely have more free sugar during the remainder of the day – lunch, snacks, dinner –  and in time, they will be likely be overweight or develop obesity or type 2 diabetes.  Soon they will become a lifelong customer of Big Pharma.
  4. The dairy milk comes from cows raised in a Big Ag Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs, see above), where cows are crammed into tight, unsanitary living spaces, fed GMO corn and soy-based feed that is probably laced with antibiotics and robbed of their young as soon as they are born so that farmers can hook them up to “rape racks” and pump their milk out for profit.
  5. The dairy industry, operating in these CAFOs (or CAFCs), is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in part because of the large pools of toxic cow feces they generate that release the gasses into the air.

Had enough?  Want to talk about your egg and cheese sandwich?  Your stewed chicken lunch?  Your meat and potatoes dinner?  Your snack options throughout the day?

Also, consider this: Is it any wonder why these companies are all interconnected?  Imagine Bayer – the makers of that aspirin – is one of the largest seed companies in the world.  They get money going in and going out!  You overeat what they produce, they get paid.  You get sick from what your ate, they get paid.

Every dollar you spend votes one way or another.

They count so much because, while we only vote once or twice a year (and because of the electoral college system), we

Food Sovereignty Defined in a Biblical Context
#VoteWithYourDollars

must eat daily.  Notice that the impact of the milk and cereal breakfast option made an impact on both the individual eating it and the global system in which it was produced.  That small vote was another way to support those industries and their practices, and in voting for them you continue to allow them to have your food and health under their control.

How Could You Have Voted in the Other Direction?

  1. Instead of Big Brand cereal, opt for an organic food.  Start your child off with a piece of organic fruit, preferably locally grown by you or a nearby farmer.  This instills the value of whole food (Genesis 1, Daniel 1) in your child.  Also, the closer you sourced it, the less fuel it took to get it into your child’s hands.  It is nutrient rich and the sugar is in God’s perfect packaging.
  2. If you do give cereal also, again, go organic.  Organic foods are legally not allowed to be made from GMO seed crops.  Also, the more people buy organics, the more farming will shift away from destructive chemical use, and the more prices will continue to decline.
  3. Opt for a plant based “milk” so as not to support the dairy industry.  Unfortunately, while organic dairy milk is still better than the CAFO stuff, it still has these problems
    • Dairy protein aka casein, bad for human health
    • Unnecessary overuse of resources, including land and water
  4. Organic plant-based “milk” that is unsweetened is an optimal choice.  Many almond and soy “milks” come in unsweetened versions.

Solutions

  1. Pray.  This is our most powerful tool in any war.  We go to God, we give Him His praise, and we make our requests.  We speak our victory.  This is always the first step.  We have a prayer sequence.  Here’s the first of those.
  2. Learn.  This is the fun part! Educate yourself about your food – what is available around you, what symbols on labels mean, what terms are regulated by laws and rules and which ones are not.  Also, start learning what fruits and vegetables are from around your region and their seasons of availability.  Try new things often.
  3. Change. This is the most difficult part.  Your personal changes food choices and buying patterns will make an impact.  Holy Spirit can change you if you submit to His changes, and then changes in your thoughts and habits will follow.  This will take deeper bible study and a sustainable plan that is tailored to your life.  Here’s the 8 Day Really Nourish Devotional designed to get you through that narrow gate on the road to life.
  4. Minister.  This is the vital part that helps the movement grow.  We are all called to minister the gospel of peace.  Once we learn about Christ, we are mandated to tell others.  Christ came that we may have life and have it more abundantly.  Health is the most important form of abundance, and while the abundance is a free gift, we have our part to play in making our faith complete (James 2).

 

The war for #FoodSovereignty is on.  You are in it, Whether you knew it or not, and now you are armed with Food Sovereignty Defined in a Biblical Context.  You have the facts.  You know your options.  Now you can mobilize.

 

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Tweet: “Sustainable” Co-opted by Big Food, Time to Go Beyond Organic

EcoWatch writes:

When companies like Monsanto and Bayer claim to be “sustainable” and “climate-smart,” those terms lose all meaning. When companies like Ben & Jerry’s, which relies on an industrial dairy system fueled by GMO crops, claim to be “sustainable,” we know that word has been co-opted—and corrupted.

Groundswell Tweet

Read the EcoWatch article here.

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Prayer for Our Soil

Prayer is our most powerful weapon against every assault that comes at us.  Let’s face it: it was weapons of warfare that were “reformulated” for use in agriculture, and with names like Round Up, Ambush, Assail and Sniper, the war has just shifted from the jungles of Vietnam to crop fields all over the world.  The underlying axiom is that soil is a non-living thing that can be used and used up, manipulated, and poisoned with no consequences.  While there is some truth to that – the soil itself, the grains of rock and minerals are indeed non-living, the soil supports a rich panoply of life that coexists, a minute community of organisms that all function to support plants in every possible way, from earthworms that aerate the soil for roots and create humus from bio-waste to microbes that assist roots in water absorption.  They are vital.

The practices of monoculture farming (that is, planting only one crop in an area and considering any other plant an intruder in that space), chemical use to kill insects and weeds in the planted area, and Genetically Meddling Obscenely with seeds (also known as genetically modified organisms or GMOs) all consequently cause the eradication of soil life.  Land becomes fallow, as if raped and left for dead, and we suffer because year after year we have more desserts and less lively soil to grow healthy food in.

The weapons of our warfare are not carnal.  Satan’s hand in this soil destruction is evident.  His trademarks of greed, control, dishonesty and distortion or withholding of information that we, the victims of these war crimes are indeed entitled to, are clear evidence of his influence over the people and their corporations who perpetrate these crimes.  Therefore, I call you to prayer, because Jesus said if two or more are on earth in agreement about anything we ask for, it will be done for us by His Father (Matthew 18:19).

Please share this with every praying person you know.  I will post a French translation, please feel free to translate it into your native tongue as well as we get this prayer out.  More prayers to follow.  Thank you for joining and agreeing in prayer with me for the reclaiming and healing of our soil.

Prayer for Our Soil

Father God, you said in Genesis 2:7 that you formed us out of the soil, and so we pray

Prayer for Our Soil by Rashida Serrant-Davis, ReallyNourish.com
Say this prayer please and share it with all the praying people you know. Thank you.

today for healing for our mother, the soil. We pray to return she that supports all life on earth back to the perfect state you created her to be in. You filled her with life and abundance, with life forms that are minuscule but no less important than other beings, each with a vital role you assigned in your infinite, unmatched wisdom.

Lord, she is under attack by the wicked and greedy members of our human family. We forgive the assailants in Jesus name and harbor no resentment against them. Nonetheless, we rebuke their evil plans that are clearly of Satan who comes to steal, kill and destroy our soil.

We now reclaim the soil all over this world you created and the abundance Christ died for us to have, even through the gifts of abundant, healthy soil and the diverse, nutrient-rich plants that flourish in her.
No weapon formed against her shall prosper.

In Jesus Name We Pray
AMEN

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Faith Gardening is A Ministry of Patience🌛🕛🌱

Faith Gardening is a ministry of patience, like the branch on which my patience fruit ripens. (Fruit of the spirit, Galatians 5:22-23) There is a built in patience requirement in gardening, as one awaits the flow of the natural life cycle of plants.  Then, I imposed another cycle of waiting periods on myself by timing my gardening activities with the moon. 🌑🌒🌓🌔🌕

Faith Gardening is a Ministry of Patience
Lune & Jardin App by JOCS

Sounds very esoteric, right? Not that woke. I have been able to approach this faith gardening with biodynamic vibes using the 📱Lune & Jardin (Moon & Garden) app by JOCS.

Faith Gardening refers to gardening without chemicals, synthetic fertilizers, or growth enhancers.  It relies heavily on natural factors and forces, like the phases of the moon as in biodynamic farming.

I started this practice with a shade of skepticism, not about the practice itself, but about the accuracy of the app. Nonetheless, through a combination of research, practice and sky gazing, Lune & Jardin has proven itself. It has even enlightened me to concepts about the moon’s travels I had never known before, like the earth inhaling and exhaling depending on what part of its revolution path it is on around the planet.

Faith Gardening is a Ministry of Patience
Waiting for bananas to ripen…patiently. #MorningInTheFaithGarden

How My Approach to Gardening has Changed

When I get the urge to put some new seeds in soil, for example, I have may to wait until next week when the moon is on its ascent again. Right now, it is descending, the earth is inhaling, the energy is in a downward direction so it is not a good time to expect seeds to sprout. This faith gardening is a ministry of patience indeed that perhaps is lost on the chemical gardeners and the hothouse farmers who flout natural seasonality in favor of profits.

Faith Gardening is a Ministry of Patience
During a descending moon, the downward pressure can even shift soil. Today I am able to see the roots of my heirloom tomato tree!

Gardening this way has given me a deeper understanding of Ecclesiastes 3. There is, indeed, a season to everything, a time to every purpose under heaven. When we submit to that timing, we are in harmony with creation. When we attempt to force our will out of timing, we create chaos. Yes, faith gardening is a ministry of patience that many of us need in our lives.

Faith Gardening is a Ministry of Patience
My neighbor blessed me a cutting of her Spanish Thyme, in the background are eggplant sprouts from seed. These will transplant into the garden today.
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Les Serres (The Greenhouses)

Reutilise les boutille plastique

Le fléau de la terre biologique

Comme des petits serres pour mes grains

Gloire au seigneir de les mettre dans mes main

Et bien! Les grains réussissent 

Le jardin grandit!

We reused water bottles as mini greenhouses to protect organic snap peas, tomato seeds and pimento seeds from birds as they sprout.

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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!