**Thank You so much for taking an interest in Dominica! Please enjoy this brief article about the future we all share!**
I have written largely about food and wine in my adult life as a scribe. The thing about food in particular is that it is not just an extremely broad topic, but from the perspective of Really Nourish, it encompasses more than just the superficial consideration of what is at the other end of your fork. I am a food activist, and as such, I have touched on topics that seem to have little to do with food, but are all affected by the individual and collective choices we make about what we eat. This is why my investment in my motherland, the Commonwealth of Dominica, has taken this shape.
Instead of joining the cacaphony of prayer requests and GoFundMe campaigns, my tactic is to focus on the cause, effect and solutions that Hurricane Maria’s first landfall at her strongest force brought to light.
Yes, the situation at present, less than one month after that fateful night, is desperate. People need prayers, food, clean water, clothing and shelter, because at the moment, they have none of that. It is my hope that in the short term, opportunistic dumping of inferior, GMO, chemical-laden food doesn’t plague Dominicans. Miss us wit’ dat. Clean, nourishing food is their God given birthright, and since we know that the world is producing much more food than is needed to feed every living soul, a redistribution of food is quite in order, not just for Dominica, but for the more than 1 billion people living in food insecurity worldwide. One of my short term missions is to bring a high standard of food aid to Dominica’s shores. That has Really Nourish written all over it!
Apart from meeting immediate needs, the nation was decimated and needs to be rebuilt, from Marigot to Scott’s Head, literally from scratch. Future of Dominica is the incarnation of a vision of a Dominica rebuilt in this era of Climate Change.
Could Dominica be the place where new standards of building, powering, watering, schooling and farming be incorporated into a fully functioning society that is designed to withstand the consequences of global warming?
Will people from all over the world come to Dominica to see and experience how this amazing achievement works, looking for ideas to take back to their countries to make changes?
This is the future I would like to see for Dominica. Indeed, the future of the Commonwealth of Dominica can be pivotal in shaping the future of the world.
Being a child of immigrants from the Caribbean, the idea of fertile land and effortless nature – fruit trees spontaneously growing everywhere so much so that no one could really go hungry – was ingrained in my consciousness. I had never set foot in the West Indies until I was 19, but I had already been immersed in the culture growing up first-generation American in Brooklyn, NY.
The truth, I am learning quickly, about the food in the Caribbean is a story of post-colonialism and the struggle of small countries. Trinidad and Tobago is a leader in the region in many ways, and by some measures, is on par with developed nations. Such a position can be a double-edged sword.
On the one hand, the nation has an economy to speak of. She produces and packages a lot of her own food products, unlike many smaller, less developed countries that rely heavily on imports. The imports she does get are of generally higher quality with more choices compared to the aforementioned little sister nations. On the other hand, with a population of more than 1.3 million, she is an attractive market for food products, and because she’s behind the curve on GMO regulations and her people are not demanding clean, organic food loud enough yet, a lot of stuff that other countries may not want gets dumped here.
Case in point: Liza oils. This is a Cargill product, and Cargill is from the USA. This was my first experience actually seeing a product claiming to contain genetically modified ingredients. I wondered, since Trinidad’s government has not made a decision to require such labeling, what countries rejected this product that it ended up here.
I simultaneously wondered if Trinidadians are talking at all about GMOs and if any of them even know that this oil, which I am certain sells extremely well here based on the amount of shelf space the brand has in Sangre Grande’s Coss Cutters sumpermarket, is made with Frankenstein soy beans.
Thankfully, I brought along the Nutiva Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil that I got as a free gift from my most recent Thrive Marketpurchase of US$79.00 or more. But when that was about to finish I was rather concerned. For the first week or so I was preparing for this eventuality. I had assumed that in a country where one cannot walk a kilometer without seeing a coconut tree, there would be plenty good oil around. Not so much! I had finally found, after some searching, a coconut oil I could cook with,
but it was kind of orange-colored, a color indicating that it is not extra virgin cold pressed (The other process of making coconut oil involves heating up the separated fat in coconut milk and straining out nearly burnt solids, leaving you with an orangy-brown oil. Cold pressed extra virgin coconut oil is colorless.), and probably grown with agrochemicals, given the scale of the producers who make those brands. I finally found the good good – cold pressed extra virgin coconut oil in an herbalist shop in Arima, Trinidad, about 21 km (13 miles) away from where I live. To put that into perspective, the North Shore Staten Island neighborhood of Saint George where I have my New York apartment is about 14 miles away from the Whole Foods market I travel to TriBeCa in Manhattan to shop at to get these kinds of items.
But WHY COCONUT OIL?
Because saturated fats are good for you and have been determined to have no link at all to heart disease.
Because it doesn’t oxidize in high heat.
Because it also contains very beneficial fatty acids for your bod.
I’ve found so far, in essence, that the challenges here in Grande are similar to the challenges in New York for the active food revolutionary.
The Main Differences:
In the U.S., we have more internet access to apps and product to meet our food revolutionary needs.
In the U.S., we have organic labeling for produce. More about that in an upcoming post.
Outside of the U.S., some grocery items will actually indicate on the label that they are made with genetically modified ingredients. A few states in the union have that, but it’s not nationwide. Instead, we have the DARK act awaiting the attention of the U.S. Senate.
Outside of the U.S., we have organic grocery items from the European Union as well, where they actually have laws forbidding GMOs or at least demanding labeling.
So the trick is just to overcome the learning curve. It’s not any different than the life of a food revolutionary States-side, though. There’s a learning curve to overcome there too, one that most people haven’t addressed having lived there all their lives!
Bottom line: As a food revolutionary wherever you live, shop and eat, it is imperative in today’s world to arm yourself with knowledge about what is available around you – where it comes from, how it is produced, what the label is NOT telling you, how to get your hands on better quality versions. It is possibly dangerous to your health to make ANY assumptions. You will be richly rewarded for putting in the effort to accumulate your armament in the form of a better quality of life in general for you and yours.
Dark chocolate may reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, according to information from New York University’s Langone Medical Center. Cocoa powder has even more of the substances responsible for chocolate’s health benefits, and unsweetened cocoa has the advantage of being low in calories. It also contains essential minerals that support your heart, bones and immune system.
A popular breakfast drink in the Caribbean is Cocoa Tea. The following recipe is the base, most of us add lots of sugar and condensed or evaporated milk to make it sweet and creamy, some even thicken it with flour. Try it without the embellishments for a superfood breakfast experience with your saltfish and itals. Your first cup will be a strange voyage, but you will find that pure cacao has lots of flavors and textures by itself, and you will spare yourself more of the stuff that causes the problems the cocoa can help your body keep at bay.
One stick of Spice (or Cinnamon, in the Caribbean, there’s a different variety of Cinnamon than in the US, we call it Spice, but they are very similar and interchangeable)
One branch of Ginger, halved
One whole nutmeg, fresh grated (or 2 tsp ground nutmeg. Fresh grated is best if possible)
3-4 ounces of unsweetened Caribbean cacao or bakers chocolate (make sure it is pure nib with no additives)
In a large saucepan, place the spice stick, the ginger and the grated or ground nutmeg in about 1 quart (1 1/4 liters) of cold water. Bring to a boil.
Turn the heat down to a simmer. Add the cacao or chocolate in whole pieces – they will melt in the water. Strain into cups and drink.
For stronger flavor from the ginger and spice, boil those and then allow to soak in the hot water for at least an hour before turning the fire back on to a simmer and adding the chocolate.
More health benefits of unsweetened chocolate:
Just 1 tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder contains 3 to 9 percent of the recommended daily intake of iron, manganese, magnesium and zinc. In addition to carrying oxygen, iron helps make red blood cells and is essential for your immune system. Manganese is a component of enzymes that form cartilage and bones, metabolize nutrients and function as antioxidants inside every cell in your body. Magnesium helps produce energy and maintain a normal heart rhythm.Zinc is vital for the production and development of new cells, including immune system cells. Without enough zinc, the number of bacteria-fighting cells goes down and you become more susceptible to illness.
Flavonoids are the plant-based substances responsible for many of cocoa’s health benefits. There are many different types of flavonoids, but cocoa is a good source of two: epicatechin and catechin. Natural unsweetened cocoa powder has 196 milligrams of epicatechin in every 100 grams of powder, compared with unsweetened chocolate squares which have 142 milligrams and dark chocolate candy with 84 milligrams. Sweetened cocoa mix and milk chocolate have even fewer flavonoids. The flavonoids in cocoa function as antioxidants that help prevent systemic inflammation. Epicatechin relaxes the muscles in blood vessels, which improves blood flow and helps lower blood pressure, according to research published in the March 2012 issue of the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.”
Caribbean Reggae and Soca artists are well known for touting imbibing – life’s a party, right? Rising star reggae artist Chronixx puts the rum and Red Bull on the shelf and gives Spirulina a plug on The Dread and Terrible Project.
“Make your foodbe your medicine, yourmedicine your food”