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The Faith Garden Part 1

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

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Summer Gardening in the City

For the last two summers,

we have been using any available space we have in our 12th floor apartment in Staten Island, NY to grow our own food.  Now is the time, April in the northern hemisphere, to get your garden ready for the season!

Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it.

Proverbs 22:6 (NKJV)

Some of my fondest childhood memories growing up in Brooklyn were of our summer gardens.  I remember how my mom and dad used to go to the garden shop on Foster Avenue in April to get the little baby plants and lovingly plant them in our backyard, our mini Eden.  Even on those tiny plots of land (the small plot behind our home on Hubbard

IMG_0850
Summer memories!

Place, and the even smaller spot of backyard when we moved to our one family house on East 43rd) mom and dad grew enough food for us to have lots of fresh salads and homegrown veggies all summer long and into the fall some years, depending on how the cold weather started.

One summer, we grew so many tomatoes, my mom piled the surplus up in one of those big DuaneReade shopping bags and took them to work to share with her friends.  I have never departed from his spirit of growing my own food, putting my hands in dirt, and sharing some of what we produce at home.  It was important training indeed.  As soon as I had children flourishing under my care, my maternal spirit lead me to create the terrace garden.

This year, I’m excited to be moving to the Trinidadian countryside, where my father-in-law blessed my family with some land that we can build, live and cultivate on, but my heart is still with my fellow urban gardeners. As cities sprawled wider and wider over the last century or so, urbanites became more and more detached from the source of the very food that sustains them, so much so that many wouldn’t recognize the vine that a cucumber grows on.  Just think about that.  If you don’t know food or where it comes from, how can you take proper care of your body?

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.

Hippocrates of Kos

Also, if you have no idea how food grows and where it comes from, doesn’t that put you at a big disadvantage to whomever provides the food?  That is indeed the case.  What is even more cause for great concern is that we are learning that we can’t trust those who provide the food, specifically the corporations that are on the warpath to gain control of all the farms and all the minds and hearts of consumes nor the governments, whom we entrust with the task of ensuring that our food is safe to eat but instead put profit over people by allowing lobbying and campaign finance determine how they legislate the industry.

Here are some ways you can take back control of your food at home.  Combine these ideas with participation with the creation or the maintenance of gardens in your community and you can greatly increase your own control over your food and reduce your dependence on Big Food and, by default, Big Pharma.

EPSON MFP image
Summers in Brooklyn: My childhood urban backyard garden Circa 1990-sumpin.
  • Just get started
    1. Plant SOMETHING.  ANYTHING!  Watch it grow.  It will expand your consciousness.  Next year, you will want to plant more!
  • Any dirt patch is fair game
    1. Postage stamp-sized yard in the back and/or front of your house? Small sliver of dirt along the side? As long as there is soil, you can bring forth life and food!  Plant smaller plants like thyme and basil or bulbs like spring onion and garlic in these small spots.
  • Pots of many sizes and shapes, plus fences, railings and other resources
    1. Pots: It’s good to get a sense for how big the plant is going to be as you select pots.  Conversely, if you already have some pots, buy plants that would work well in the pot sizes you have and think about adding pots if you want to expand your repertoire.  I used my taller, deeper pots for bell pepper plants and tomato vines and my more shallow, rectangle shaped pots for herbs and leafy greens that didn’t need as much space for root growth.

      Urban Herbs
      Two varieties of Thyme and Greek Oregano in the NYC Summer Terrace Garden.
    2. Fences and Railings: For vine plants, plan those around the edges of your garden if possible so they can climb on existing structures.  Not only will it look great, but your plants will be happy as they reach for the sun and bear you good fruit all season long!
    3. Other Resources: Observe your plants as they grow.  One day last summer, my children and I went to the park to collect sticks.  We brought the sticks home and used them to stablize our tall, lanky tomato and pepper plants as they grew.  We stuck them into the soil next to the “trunks” of the plants, and loosely tied the plants to the sticks so when the wind blew them on our well exposed 12th floor terrace, they would remain standing.  They thanked us later with delicious produce.
    4. Soil: The term dirt cheap has real meaning, because bags of soil in the home good store are pretty cheap indeed!  The good news is that although organic soil is more expensive than stuff that is not labeled organic, it is still cheap so might as well go all the way with it!
  • Kitchen counter herbs
    1. You can keep some herbs on your kitchen counter.  Your kitchen light (yes the ceiling one) can substitute for the
      IMG_0932
      Genesis 1:29-30 Status! #SoDelicious #TheReallyNourishMovement

      sunlight if you don’t have a window in there – your potted thyme and oregano can still photosynthesize from that.  Just keep them watered and don’t be shy about pruning them often for use in your food.

  • Regenerate bulbs
    1. Ever notice that the bottoms of some of your veggies have little scraggly beards?  Like scallions (some call these spring onions or green onions ) for example. Some have had them chopped off, like celery, fennel and garlic. These are bulbs.  You can cut the tops off to eat, but don’t toss the bottoms!  Set them in some water and allow them to regenerate.  Then you can plant them out and keep repeating the process as many times as you like.  Here’s a link with a detailed list of these wonderfully nourishing gifts from God.  Now that’s what I call the gift that keeps on giving!
  • Seedling plants at farmers markets
    1. OK, this is my FAVORITE DETAIL: Check your local farmer’s markets right now img_3082because many of them will be selling seedlings.  But here’s the exciting part: You can buy them with your EBT card!  No excuse now, family!  The other great thing about buying these at the farmer’s market is that you can ask the farmers advice about how to plant.  Last summer, I even brought pics of my grown plants back for my local market guys to see.  Like “Look, the kids have grown so fast!”
  • Dwarf trees
    1. This is a great solution for city dwellers, one that you can eat from all year round.  Dwarf citrus trees can live in relatively large pots in your living room and bear delicious fruit that would cost you a small fortune in supermarkets with no chemicals necessary.  Choose a spot near a window that gets lots of sunlight – eastern facing works well, so the tree can get strong rising sun exposure all morning.
  • Savor and Share the experience! 
    1. The best part is harvest!  I enjoyed going onto my terrace to pick from my plants to enhance my meals with what I grew.  My children
      IMG_0931
      Ché is a happy garden princess!

      enjoyed picking with me.  We all learned together how to grow our own food, and when we had visitors, we were proud to show them what we were doing and give them a taste of the the bounty whenever we could.

 

 

Plants on sale at Whitehall Terminal Farmer’s Market

 

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A Biblical Case for Veganism

So you are considering going vegan now or have been vegan for a while and people in your church come at you with scriptural rebuttals for your choice.  As any good Christian would, you want to know what the Holy Bible has to say about all of this.  Here is a strong biblical case for veganism, a scriptural tour starting from day 3 of creation!

The First Menu: Herbs & Grains, Fruits & Vegetables

Genesis 1 (KJV)

11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.

12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

The scriptures start presenting a biblical case for veganism right from the beginning.  On day three of creation, God empowers the earth He had just created to provide for the inhabitants He was planning to create.  He next creates the sun and the moon, and then populates the infant planet with animals to inhabit the waters, the land and the skies.  “And He saw that it was good” (Gen 1:24).

His next decision is to make man in His image to steward this world He has just carefully300x600_Standard crafted and populated.  He makes man and woman and instructs them to be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth.

And then, He shows them their menu.

29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.

keep-calm-and-go-vegan-15 (1)“Check it out”, says the Lord, “Eden is a Vegan Paradise!”  Let’s have a look at what’s on offer:

Herb yielding seed – In French, the word “herb” means grass.  One bible version actually substitutes the word grass for herb.  The word picture is a grass that has seeds.  This would include the entire grain family – wheat, rice, even corn .  They are tall, skinny “grasses” with seeds at the top. Also members of the onion family are grasses in their own right – just look at chives, and the tops of onions and garlic, how they grow straight, green, leafless shoots when the sit around in your kitchen a while.

Fruit of a tree yielding seed – some other versions say “fruit with seeds inside”.  So that covers fruit, but it also covers a lot of other foods we have labeled vegetables.  From a biological standpoint, the fruit of plant is the part that contains the seeds.  So, for example, cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes (you can now tell your friends “I told you so!”), okra and avocados are indeed fruits.  Nuts are also considered fruit.  They are dried up versions of the same biological plant part.

Every Green Herb – This covers all your leaves – lettuces, cabbages, greens, herbs.

Every Tree – And since He said He gave us “every tree” (except for just one, we find out a little later!), and put no prohibition on what we can and cannot use from that tree, we can include root vegetables, sap and syrup, and anything else we can get from a tree or a plant and use without adulterating or processing.  What a huge bounty!

Notice that in this version, the most widely read version of The Holy Bible, He says “I have given every green herb FOR MEAT” (emphasis added).  How’s that for a biblical case for veganism???? Put a pin in that thought right there.



Don’t Name your Food: Adam and his Animal Friends

Genesis 2 (NIV)

19Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.

 

Biblical Case for Veganism
Judah and his pet goat Issachar

This is a cute but still strong biblical case for veganism verse.  We know that one of Adam’s first jobs as Commissioner of Eden Gardens was to name all the animals.  Anyone who has ever lived on a farm or read Charlotte’s Web can relate to the idea of NOT naming an animal that might end up on your dinner plate!  So we can presume, since there is no scripture saying that Adam named any plants, that God took care of that, simply so the man could have a way to identify one from the other, perhaps.  But God deliberately brings the land and air animals to Adam to name.  And name them all he does.

After the Flood: Desperate Measures

Picture it: Genesis 6.  The world is now populated, but the people are acting a real fool!  God decides to wash it down and start over.  He speaks to Noah.

Genesis 6 (NIV)

19 You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you. 20 Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive. 21 You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them.”

Noah obeyed.  God didn’t ask him to bring plant specimens with roots.   Can you imagine Noah, perhpas with just the help of his sons, rooting around, rooting up a representative of every single plant?   Building a greenhouse on the arc big enough to house all of them?

God does ask for the animals who, for the most part, could walk or creep onto the arc on their own under Noah’s authority.  Remember, man has dominion over animals (Gen 1:28), so the expectation that they would obey was intrinsic, but also notice, he separately instructed Noah to store food.  Here a biblical case for veganism exists.  There were no extra animals to be slaughtered for food and no refrigeration or preserving methods for preserving leftovers.

It was after this point, in Genesis 9, that God ordains meat eating:

Genesis 9 (NIV)

The fear and dread of you will fall on all the beasts of the earth, and on all the birds in the sky, on every creature that moves along the ground, and on all the fish in the sea; they are given into your hands. Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.

Wait, I thought we were establishing a biblical case for veganism.  How do we explain this?

At the end of the flood period, in the last verse of Genesis 8, God restores “Seedtime and harvest”.  In other words, God already made it in chapter 1, “and it was good”, so His design is still in function continuously.  We, bound by time on earth, would have had to wait for the return of plant life in such volume that could support all of mankind once again.  In the meantime, God said, you can eat the animals. (See our article: The Genesis Lifespan Shift:How Shortening Other Animal’s Lives Shortened Ours)

The New Covenant: Going Back to God’s Original Recipe

In ensuing chapters and books, we find that there are many restrictions placed on the eating of animals.  There are no restrictions in the scriptures on the consumption of plants, in fact, plants are not only food, but medicine.

Revelation 22:2 (NIV)

… And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.

Also, a lot of the opportunity for meat consumption in the Old Testament came from animal sacrifice.  The blood of the animal was used to cover up sins.  But fortunately, since Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29), came and died for us, animal sacrifice is no longer necessary for the believer.  So we can live and let live, no longer do we need to kill for food or faith!

Finally, in Revelation 21:4, the Lord says that when the end comes, there will be no more death.  So there will be no more animals slaughtered for food.  We will all be vegan in heaven!

Better Stewardship of Our Planet: Abstain and Contribute

God gave us dominion in the beginning.  As Uncle Ben says to Peter Parker “With great power comes great responsibility”.  In other words, we are responsible for our planet and, in general, we have really dropped the ball!Got Meat?

In this modern time, we are learning that the scale of livestock farming and over-fishing worldwide is making the largest and most damaging impact on ecology everywhere, including greenhouse gas emissions, contaminating drinking water, abusive land use, pollution of land and oceans, the list goes on!  (See the documentary Cowspiracy for a good overview).

So eating less meat, eggs and dairy, or none at all, can be your best contribution to the cause of saving the environment!  Interestingly, its a contribution that actually costs you less money, because meat and fish are more expensive pound for pound than anything in the produce section (except perhaps white truffles, but that’s about it).

In the spirit of presenting a biblical case for veganism to strengthen this point, here are the 3 best supporting scriptures:

Genesis 2:15 (NIV) The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.  In other words, we have been responsible for the well-being of the earth since creation.

Proverbs 12:10 (NIV) The righteous care for the needs of their animals, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel.  The operating principles Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) completely contradict this scripture.  That’s where most of the animal based food we buy comes from.

Isaiah 24:5 (NIV) The earth is defiled by its people; they have disobeyed the laws, violated the statutes and broken the everlasting covenant. You may not personally consider yourself a polluter, but continuing to support animal agriculture on a daily basis kind of make you one.  Nothing personal.  

Becoming Plant Powered: Applying your Biblical Case for Veganism

Just like kicking any habit, you can either go cold turkey or take your time with it.  One day a week, then two days, then three days, etc.  Over time, you won’t even crave meat anymore, the smell won’t tempt you as much as when you were on a daily meat diet.  Need a fix in those early days?  Check the meat alternative section for something to hold you over.  But beware: soy, being the most widely available plant protein, is used copiously in such products, so keep these to a minimum!  Also, anything made to mimic cheese may actually contain milk-based ingredients so read labels carefully – all vegetarian items are not necessarily vegan!

Celebrating at an omnivorous relative’s house for dinner?  Bring a few dishes along to contribute, and stick to those as much as you can.  Otherwise, make that day the one day that month that you consume non-vegan food, and keep it clean the other 29 or 30 days.

Out and about shopping and running errands?  Carry healthy snacks along – we keep sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, nuts, dried fruit and coconut shavings around and make mixed bags to carry on the run.  Whole pieces of fruit are great too.  That way you don’t get caught by a craving or actual hunger before you get home and end up having to make choices among processed food and meat options.

Also, beware of substituting sugar and starch for the meat you are not having.  Interestingly, meat is a great way to deliver damaging free sugars and starch into the system.  The good old hamburger is a classic example: the white flour bun and condiments like ketchup and barbecue are collaborators in health problems with the animal protein in the patty.

A Biblical Case for Veganism Case Study: Trust God – His Menu Was (and Is) Perfect

Daniel 1 (KJV)

15 And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king’s meat.

All of the nutrients we are supposed to be relying upon meat for – protein, iron, fats… that’s about it, I believe – are found in numerous plant sources.  Also, doctors have been documenting over at least the last 100 years that many of the illnesses that have become prevalent in humans today can be attributed in some way to meat consumption.

Think vegans are all skinny and weak and cold all the time?  Check out Daniel 1 to read about what a teenaged vegan boss he turns out to be by obeying God in the school cafeteria at Babylon Community College.

We hear a lot of meat eaters claim to still be “hungry” after having eaten a meat free meal.  That’s a mindset mostly that can easily be overcome by changing what you think and speak.  After the meal, perhaps say instead “that was so filling” or simply “I’m good”.  Remember Daniel.

Now that you have a thorough (but not exhaustive) biblical case for veganism, take a vegan challenge:

Do it for 2 months, even just 5 days a week.  Get a check up and blood work done before you start, and then again at the end to see if there are any changes or improvements in your health.  See how much better you feel overall in general.

Connect with seasoned vegans in your circle of friends (I’ll bet you have at least one!) for support, advice and well, of course, lunch!  Share your newly found biblical case for veganism with them too.

Leave wiggle room.  We still eat eggs and meat on occasion, like when we can get the eggs from a neighbor who raises truly free range chickens or perhaps when someone is cooking wild meat.  But define “on occasion” in specific terms, like the first weekend of the month is common fowl omelette day, or no more than one wild meat fete in a two month period…

Any sustained effort at focussing on your food life with a discerning eye will benefit you.  All the better if this is something you’re doing unto the Lord as an act of good stewardship of the temple, for we know the great benefits that come with that level of dedication.  Again, Remember Daniel!

OK kids, you now have a strong biblical case for veganism!!  Now Go VEGAN unto the LORD!

 

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ReallyNourish Bites: ‘Cado & Pro-Ve-lone on a Sprouted Muffin 

This

is our answer to the the proverbial New Yorker’s breakfast. We have eschewed that #BaconEggandCheeseonaRoll habit in favor of this variation, which is nutrient rich, toxin free, and absolutely scrumptious!!!

‘Cado & Pro-Ve-lone on a Sprouted Muffin:

We used these organic ingredients: 

Great on Sandwiches,  Wraps and mixed with pasta!
Great on Sandwiches, Wraps and mixed with pasta!
  • 1/2 ripe Avocado
  • 1/4 cup of Red Onion, diced
  • 3 large pitted Green Olives, diced
  • Fresh Basil leaves
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Himalayan Sea Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper to taste
  • Follow Your Heart Vegan Provolone-style slices
  • Food For Life Genesis 1:29 Sprouted English Muffins

Before we go on, let’s review that scripture, shall we?

29 Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant 🌽🌾 on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. 🍊🍎🍋They will be yours for food.

And just for good measure, let’s peep the next verse also:

30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.🌿🌱” And it was so.

I like to consider these verses while I’m shopping for food: 

🌾Seed-bearing plant = grains, including nuts and seeds = the English Muffins, the vegan cheese is made largely of Coconut oil

🍋Tree with fruit with seed in it = the avocado, olives & olive oil, pepper (yes, that’s a fruit!), apple cider vinegar

Three varieties grown from seedlings purchased at the Whitehall Ferry Terminal Farmer's Market in organic potting soil on my terrace in NYC.
Three varieties grown from seedlings purchased at the Whitehall Ferry Terminal Farmer’s Market in organic potting soil on my terrace in NYC.
🌿And to everything that has the breath of life in it – I give every green plant for food = the basil and the onions fit this description

💖Thank you God, You’re AWESOME!💖

The salt was the only thing that didn’t fit any of these, but the many positive references to salt in The Bible give me God’s go ahead on that – in moderation, of course.

Plant Powered Breakfast
Plant Powered Breakfast
So now this is what you do: 

  • Thaw and toast your muffin.
  • Scoop out the Avocado in to a bowl and add the diced onions, olives, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.  Mash it all together using the back of a fork to break up the avocado well.
  • Cut your muffin in half and put one slice of the vegan “cheese” on.  A little drizzle of olive oil on top or a schmear of vegan butter underneath will help it melt under the top broiler the way the dairy stuff would.
  • Put the avocado mix on, sandwich it up and dig in!  Or wrap it up in foil and pop it into a sandwich bag to go!

And now you have a:

  • Delicious,
    DYK? Organic Facts Organic Trade Association
    Click this image for a better view of this important information about Organic labeled food. #KnowledgeisPower
  • Nourishing
  • Chemical and GMO-Free
  • Low glycemic,
  • Inexpensive,
  • Monsanto Boycott Friendly
  • Easy to take along on your commute

Breakfast for you AND your children! 😊😊😊

#DontJustEat

#BoycottMonsanto

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Organic In Season – Best Price, Best Quality

One of the main parts of our mission at The Really Nourish Movement is that organic, non-GMO food should be available, accessible and affordable for every mouth.  We have a long way to go to accomplish that goal, but in the meantime, we can debunk the “organic is more expensive myth.” 

We all know that most of what we eat is seasonal, but with the technological advances

Courtesy: St George Farmer's Market
Courtesy: St George Farmer’s Market

spurred by the industrial revolution at the turn of the previous century, we have been able to access all kinds of food  all year round from all over the world.

That is a fact.  But the TRUTH is that the seasonal nature of cultivated food still exists.  Think about when something is on sale in the produce section.  If it’s on sale, the reason is usually because there is more of it available so they can charge less per unit or per pound, right?  But why does the quantity available change?

Answer: When food is in its God ordained season, it is abundant AND ALSO at its peak quality!

(Oh wow, that’s a WORD right there!!)

That’s true universally, even for chemically grown or greenhouse grown food.  As for their Really Nourish Whole Foods Local Organic Eggplantorganic counterparts, you may find that there are some times of year when certain items are

This local, organic Delicata Squash was only $.81! Judah was very pleased :)
This local, organic Delicata Squash was only $.81! Judah was very pleased 🙂

simply not available at all, but when they are in season, they are inexpensive and so delicious!

Judah and I went shopping yesterday and we found local, organic, in-season squash for only $.99 a pound!  We also bought some local, organic eggplant, which is still yummy but coming close to the end of its season for $2.99 a pound.

We are going to half the squash, scoop out the seeds, make a delicious mix with diced eggplant, red onion, garlic, sprouted brown rice and fresh herbs from our terrace garden and that is dinner for less than $2 a serving!

Do you still think organic is expensive?  Post your comments below.