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

IMG_3737
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!

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

 

 

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.

 

Books, eating, natural, no pesticides, non-gmo, Organic, shopping

Nourish Book Review📚: The Organic Quest of Dr. Laufer

Rare is the non-fiction work that is hard to put down and keeps your senses aroused as

Book Cover Laufer
Courtesy: Good Reads

high as an exciting novel.  Dr. Peter Laufer, PhD achieved that in this enlightening work, Organic: A Journalist’s Quest to Discover the Truth Behind Food Labeling.

It was an exciting quest, the unacceptable, hard to swallow realities of the international food production and distribution system probed by the intrepid Dr. Laufer with a peppering of humor and the salt of consistency throughout.

He is persistent, and I admire that greatly!  Never satisfied with a cursory blow-off answer from corporate and government types and keen to decipher bureaucratic code, Dr. Laufer volleys everything they serve.    In the middle, almost when you think you are growing a little jaded, Dr. Laufer’s quest comes to a climactic finale that reveals both the virtues and the evils that coexist in the sprawling industry.

He is part bureaucracy sleuth, part double-talk interpreter, and all activist.  After exhausting my list of food documentaries with which I educated myself, sharing all I have been learning through this website, my food life ever evolving, I picked this book up at the New York Public Library, looking to continue my food education evolution.  In it, Dr. Laufer has challenged me to step my research game up, to think more deeply and not to accept opacity when it comes to the very life giving nutrient source my family and I rely upon.

Dr. Laufer is right, we really should be asking more questions about our food.  I knew that before I read his book though.  What I learned anew from its pages was that while we know we should be asking more questions, we (me included) don’t really know the intricacies of the world food system and therefore may not get true insight by which we could make actual decisions. Thanks to Dr. Laufer, I now know better exactly what questions to ask.

This book gets 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Amazon Button

(This is my first book review, so let’s say that is a top rating. This author set the bar pretty high 🙂)

apps, Boycott, food, non-gmo, shopping

[App Review] Buycott: The Revolution will be Downloaded.

I downloaded Buycott on my iPhone a couple of weeks ago and have been test driving both Buycott Logothe app and the website link access actively since.  Signup was simple using my Facebook account.

Crisco on Buycott
“You’re avoiding this product” in the Demand GMO Labeling campaign because the parent company, J.M. Smucker, donated more than $1.5M to oppose GMO labeling.

How it Works: You can join campaigns started by other users.  Each campaign you join has a list of corporations that you either should (Buycott) or should not (Boycott) patronize.  Then, as you shop, you can scan the barcode of any item you’re considering buying to see if it goes against your ethos – the large database of products are all linked to their parent corporations, which are linked to your campaigns, and, as long as there is a strong enough signal in the store, you get an instant answer.

How Well it Works: I cross checked many of the products via product labels and online research to determine the veracity of the corporate chain links on all the products we checked, and they all checked out to

The campaign has just under 440,000 members and counting!
The Demand GMO Labeling campaign has just under 440,000 members and counting!

be correctly identified and flagged.  In most cases, there were live source links for corporations and brands so you could quickly view the reasoning behind their presence in the buycott/boycott.

I did, nonetheless, find one corporation, Hain Celestial, that the GMO supporting companies to avoid & Good Labels to Buy campaign has on their “avoid” list.  The large natural and organic food supplier verified their support of mandatory GMO labeling in a March 2013 press release.  Unfortunately, there was no easy way to either communicate this or fix it.  We posted on that campaign’s comment board more than a week ago, but it appears that the comment has not been seen, and Hain remains in the wrong section of that campaign’s target list.  I just messaged the campaign organizer.  I will post in comments if I get a reply. 

The Weight Up on Buycott

Pros: 

  • Quick answers with detailed reasoning if you want it.Earthbound Brocolli on Buycott
  • Well stocked database of products identified by barcode
  • Largely accurate
  • Variety of campaigns across numerous industries
  • Easy to use – MUCH better than a printed boycott list!  Database is searchable by barcodes as well as by keywords.
  • Thorough synopses explain each campaign.
  • Stores your scan history in your profile.
  • Provides alternative options of products that keep you on track with your campaign.

Cons: 

  • Adding a new product to the database didn’t work
  • I was shocked to find out that this is a "don't buy" because their parent company, General Mills, donated more than $2.9M to oppose GMO labeling!
    I was shocked to find out that this is a “don’t buy” because their parent company, General Mills, donated more than $2.9M to oppose GMO labeling!

    No clear way to report an inaccuracy or out of date information

  • We’d like to see more communication ability in general with other users.  Boycotting is a group effort.
  • Some campaigns that seem to be going in the same direction may have brands that conflict between them.  Remember, big corporations spend lots of money on their image maintenance!

Overall: Buycott has been a huge help in supporting my civic duty to make conscious decisions in purchasing.  Caveat emptor still applies: be aware.  No app should ever replace your personal responsibility to do your own homework.

Thank you, Ivan Pardo, for this revolutionary contribution to the future of human empowerment!