Monday, January 31, 2011

Diet For A New America

To start I must say that I love the feedback that my last blog received. My last blog told the story of the world’s largest freighter ship that was recently put into our oceans to supply North America with all the stuff that fill the shelves of Wal-Mart stores. I also shared inspirational actions to inspire readers to realize the joyous lifestyles that can be achieved without ever setting foot in one of these stores. Since I have such a deep passion to inspire non Wal-Mart consumerism, I am beginning this blog with some more images to expose this environmentally destructive giant…

There!!! Now that’s out of my system.

It seems that the only way to ‘beat’ this system is to live like a scavenger – or a bottom feeder. I am very proud of my ability to have so few ‘wants’, so being a bottom feeder brings me much joy.

Almost all the items that surround me in my home are second hand. Five years ago I bought a non-motorized lawn mower, but all my shovels, rakes, composters and other gardening tools were either given to me or purchased at garage sales.

Joanne and I don’t like giving large cable companies our money so we’ve never had cable TV. Our TV was given to us and the movies that we watch were all bought at second hand stores. I love music and my vinyl album collection consists of used albums, thus supporting a local economy. My stereo, CD player, speakers and record player were either given to us or purchased at local pawnshops.

The computer that I’m now using to write this blog was given to me and the desk and cabinets in my art room were all found objects that other people were throwing in the trash.

“One man gathers what another man spills” The Grateful Dead.

By thinking about where our possessions come from – mines, farms, factories (and all the pollution created during these processes) - including all of the in between stages of consumerism – packaging, transportation and finally disposal – we can all focus more clearly on our ‘needs’ rather than our ‘wants’ and these ideals will shape a future for localized industries and marketplaces.

We can take these ideals one step further by also focussing on the foods that we eat…

Most of the foods that are bought by North Americans are processed and packaged foods imported from overseas – China, Spain, Morocco, Mexico, etc. Again, all of the processes needed to supply our ‘wants’ are destroying our global environment. If every person in North America spent time learning about Nature and growing some of their own food, then these problems would become less significant.

I read a book, almost fifteen years ago, that shocked me into a new reality and into a new way of living in harmony with our world.

Diet For A New America begins…

I was born in the heart of the Great American Food Machine. From childhood on, it was expected that I would someday take over and run what has become the world’s largest ice cream company – Baskin & Robbins. Year after year I was groomed and prepared for the task, given an opportunity to live the Great American Dream on a scale very few people can ever hope to attain. The ice cream cone shaped swimming pool in the backyard of the house in which I lived was a symbol of the success awaiting me.

But when the time came to decide, I said thank you very much, I appreciate the kind offer, but “NO!” I had to say no, because something else was calling me, and no matter how hard I tried, I could not ignore it.

There is a sweeter and deeper American dream than the one I turned down. It is the dream of a success in which all beings share because it is founded on a reverence for life. A dream of a society at peace with its conscience because it respects and lives in harmony with all life forms. A dream of a people living in accord with the laws of Creation, cherishing and caring for the natural environment, conserving nature instead of destroying it. A dream of a society that is truly healthy, practicing a wise and compassionate stewardship of a balanced ecosystem.

This is not my dream alone. It is really the dream of all human beings who feel the plight of the Earth as their own, and sense our obligation to respect and protect the world in which we live.

This is just the opening page in a book that has shaped the consciousness of millions of people around the world… even mine!

I read this book and shared it with my wife. Immediately we changed our diets and immediately we learned how difficult this transition is. I want to inspire people to realize that the future of our world greatly depends on each of making significant changes in our lifestyles, but more profoundly I want to inspire a change that doesn’t hurt as much as it did in my life. Ha!

My own desire to become more self-sufficient has not ended. In fact, it’s just beginning. Every year I learn more and every year I get better. I don’t want people to think that this change will happen over night and then that’s the end. I want to inspire people to make the first steps of change in their lives and then to prepare for the next step and then the next one.

Here are some simple examples showing how I live my life now, and how I think about the way I want to live my life in the future…

I like to grow many of my vegetables in and amongst my spring flowers.

Once the flowers have died, the vegetable plants then fill the space of my gardens.

What I don’t grow in my own backyard, I harvest from local farmers’ fields. Most of my harvested fruits and veggies end up in my freezer so that I can enjoy healthy food all year round.

When I come home from work, I’m usually very hungry and nothing satisfies me more than preparing a dinner made with food from my summer garden. On this night I made mashed potatoes that I grew, with a side of spiced cherry tomatoes. I thaw the tomatoes and put them into a frying pan with a little oil, dried herbs from my garden and wild garlic that is also grown in my garden.

These two chicken breasts were purchased at a local butcher shop. The chickens were not treated poorly, or filled with hormones. Jo’ and I will share one breast in this night’s meal and tomorrow the other chicken breast will be added to a cream pasta sauce that Joanne will make from scratch.

I was really hungry on this day and so I added some more beans to our meal. This freezer bag holds a mix of two varieties of beans that I grew in my garden. What a great, healthy, and environmentally friendly meal to enjoy and share!

The next morning, I had to prepare my lunch for work. In one container I will add two thin slices of Ontario grown canned peaches, with smaller handfuls of blueberries, strawberries and cherries, that I picked myself, topped off with some natural plain yogurt. The second bowl, that has just a few cut strawberries in it will soon be filled with some plain oatmeal and that’s what I eat before I go to work.

My plan for this coming summer is to learn how to can my own peaches so I don’t have to buy processed ones. This is what I mean by always thinking and planning ahead. Next winter my lunches will be even healthier for me and the world’s environment. One step at a time!

Does anyone remember when I posted a great recipe for zucchini bread, last summer?

One nice and thick slice of this bread will also end up in my lunch bag today. That is, if I can keep it out of my mouth!!!! It’s just so darned delicious!

A couple of nights later, Joanne and I enjoyed a simple spaghetti meal. In our spaghetti I like to grate carrots that I grew in my garden.

It’s a bit more work growing your own food, harvesting it, preparing it for the winter, but enjoying it is the greatest pleasure! These actions bring me closer to the Earth and my connections with the Earth’s life forces and energies.

Humans were not destined to work in factories and labour forces creating Elvis Presley dolls and cel phones. Humans were not designed to eat greasy processed foods shipped half way around the world. Humans are meant for something more glorious than what we have become. I believe that we were designed to evolve above such limiting lifestyles, to forge a future where we can build a relationship of love with each other, our world and all the life that flourishes here.


1 comment:

the Dyhanaverse said...

you're my hero :) I've been dancing around the edges of becoming self sufficient, I intend to dance further into the circle of life this year.