Petition: Stop GE Trees! 


Tree biotechnology company ArborGen is requesting an unprecedented USDA approval: a genetically engineered (GE) “freeze tolerant” eucalyptus. If approved, this will be the first-ever GE forest tree to be commercially grown in the U.S., allowing ArborGen to plant massive, unregulated GE tree farms that will wreak havoc on the environment by destroying natural forests, polluting and depleting water, and endangering biodiversity. Paper and biofuel companies are planning on growing these trees on intensively managed monoculture tree plantations. Unfortunately, the Trump USDA has now formally proposed the approval of these dangerous GE trees.

Click here to sign petition!

Your support is much appreciated🙏🏼

Resource:  Excerpt from: Center For Food Safety

Advertisements

Homeopathic Cough Remedy with Raw Honey

     My grandmother on my paternal side taugh me this homemade remedy for coughs and sore throats. Since the weather has changed here in New York, one of my kids already caught a sore throat. ‘Tis the season of battling sicknesses, so what’s the best remedy for treating a sore throat? It’s Honey!  I actually remember the first time my grandmother whipped this honey concoction up for me. I had a sore throat with a dry cough, and I was constantly gargling with salt water. I must have been between eleven or twelve years old. She said, I was irritating my throat even more and that I needed something to soothe it.  We went into the kitchen and she chopped up onions and covered it with raw honey in a glass. It sat for one hour before I had a table spoon full.  

     Surprisingly, it tasted good and within a few minutes my throat felt less irritated and after about ten minute my cough was lesser.  The taste of the onions was pronounced but the honey makes up for it.  My twist on my granny’s recipe is adding garlic. I make this every year around the fall and throughout the winter months. I give it to all my children from the youngest of six years to the eldest, who is fifteen.  It is a very simple and effective remedy, and it works for us, and it may even work for you.  
Recipe 

  • 2 Medium Onions
  • Raw honey
  • Half head of garlic (5 gloves) 

Directions

     Peel and slice the onions evenly. Peel and cut each garlic in half.  Place everything in your jar (I purchased mines from IKEA). Pour the raw honey over everything until majority of contents are covered. Cover lid and let it sit on your counter overnight for 6-8 hours. I like to give it a little stir after the times up.  I give 1 table spoonful which is equivalent to 2 teaspoons to my children. Depends on the severity of the situation, a child may get 2 spoonful an hour.  Overtime, I store on the counter or even in the fridge. You could always add more ingredients overtime if you’re running low. The onions will eventually breakdown. I usually eat them when I take a spoonful. The hardest part is to get the kids to eat it. 

     I highly recommend using raw honey for this recipe because store bought honey sometimes have additives like high fructose corn syrup. Please read your labels!  These three natural ingredients have the capability to fight colds, coughs, allergies, sore throats and even boost your bodies immunity.  Honey is truly an amazing substance.  It is a natural sweetener and it encompasses an intricate chemical composition of carbohydrates, free amino acids, vitamins, trace elements and flavonoids/antioxidants. Not to forget anti-bacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties.  Studies of the antimicrobial effect of honey have demonstrated its broad-spectrum antimicrobial actions against upper-respiratory tract infections.  Honey has been used in traditional medicine for the treatment of coughs for a very long time (1).  Research shows honey works as well as dextromethorphan, which is a common ingredient in over the counter cough medications to soothe cough(2).  This home remedy, works better according to the study.   Honey naturally soothes. 

     The antibacterial and antiviral properties of garlic controls infection from bacterias and viruses.  Onions and garlic are members of the Allium family, and both are rich in sulfur-containing compounds that are responsible for their pungent odors and for many of their health-promoting effects.  Onions antioxidant rich flavonoids provides us with the benefits to keep chronic unwanted inflammation under control (3). The use of honey is also prohibited under the age of one due to poor immunity against Clostridium Botulinum, a potential contaminant (4).  Richard S. Rivlin wrote in the Journal of Nutrition that the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates (circa. 460-370 BC), known today as “the father of Western medicine”, prescribed garlic for a wide range of conditions and illnesses.  Hippocrates promoted the use of garlic for treating respiratory problems, parasites, poor digestion and fatigue. It’s great for flavoring your food and to treat illnesses. 



Resources: 

(1) Study: Bactericidal activity of different types of honey against clinical and environmental isolates of Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

(2) Study: Honey for Treatment of Cough in Children

(3) Study: Antibacterial and antioxidant activities of quercetin oxidation products from yellow onion (Allium cepa) skin.

(4) Study: Incidence of Clostridium botulinum in honey of various origins.

WARNINGS ⚠️ 

Homey is NOT for children under one years old. My mission is to extend the knowledge of healthly eating through this blog. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health program.

Ugly, Not at All!

Check these carrots out. I plucked them up earlier this week from my garden. My children thought it looked hysterical.  Then my eldest son Justin asked, “what are you going to do with that?”  My response was simple, “eat it!” My youngest Lily said, “let’s juice it mommy!” So, we did just that.  I have a profound appreciation for these kinds of so-called “ugly” foods, and not because I grew these carrots, because it’s food not worth wasting. Huge problems exists in our food system today that we as consumers deal with on a daily basis. We have Big Agro over spraying pesticides and herbicides, Genetically Modifies Organisms (GMO) contaminating our foods, and so much more. One very important aspect that doesn’t get enough attention, is food waste.  In America alone, about 25% of produce is wasted before it even reaches the grocery store, and that’s just based off of looks.  The most notable new data showed that the United States waste $218 billion a year, or 1.3% of GDP, growing, processing, and transporting disposing food that is never eaten. Its food totaling 52 million tons sent to landfills annually. Those figures are disturbingly our reality. With high homelessness, starvation, and educational cut backs year after year, it’s disgraceful to know these staggering figures is due to food waste. 

We live in a world that is constantly judging looks, our socioeconomic status, religion and race. You probably didn’t realize it but, food also is highly judged.  Fruits and vegetables that are grown with disfigurations and scars are usually tossed to the side by retailers and consumers. They’re not considered edible by as many as 1:7 Americans. These foods end up as waste.  

Photo Credit: The Ugly Fruit And Veg Campaign

There’s nothing wrong with these foods and many consumers need to understand that.  Picking out the most perfect apple or the brightest orange doesn’t make them healthier for you. They are just as nutritious and edible as their unmarred brethrens.  Thanks to some amazing people over at the @UglyFruitAndVeg Campaign, change is slowly taking shape.   They started petitions that targeted huge retailers that got amazing responses from people and organization who want to stop food waste. The support from other anti-food waste campaigners like Foodtank and EndFoodWaste.org also contributes to the awareness with programs and petitions.   Today, relailers like Whole Foods Market and Walmart are selling “ugly” fruits and vegetables. Change is taking place slowly but consumers should support by buying these ugly fruits and vegetables.   The next time you come across an apple with a dent or a conjoined carrot, buy it.  Irwin Goldman, a professor of horticulture at the University of Wisconsin-Madison said, these fruits and vegetables aren’t genetic mutants. “They’re totally edible and in some cases, quite beautiful.” Don’t discriminate against disfigured foods. Buy’em, eat’em, cook’em or even juice’em and enjoy🤗
Resources:  ReFED – Rethinking Food Waste. Ugly Fruit – The 20 Billion Pound Elephant in the Room

Will Reducing Meat in your Diet Help the Climate?

“YES, beef especially.

Agriculture of all types produces greenhouse gases that warm the planet, but meat production is especially harmful – and beef is the most environmentally damaging form of meat. Some methods of cattle production demand a lot of land, contributing to destruction of forests; the trees are typically burned, releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Other methods require huge amounts of water and fertilizer to grow food for the cows.

The cows themselves produce emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that causes short-term warming. Meat consumption is rising worldwide as the population grows, and as economic development makes people richer and better able to afford meat.

This is worrisome: Studies have found that if the whole world were to start eating beef at the rate Americans eat it, produced by the methods typically used in the United States, that alone might erase any chance of staying below an internationally agreed-upon limit on global warming. Pork production creates somewhat lower emissions than beef production, and chicken is lower still. So reducing your meat consumption, or switching from beef and pork to chicken in your diet, are both moves in the right direction. Of course, as with any kind of behavioral change meant to benefit the climate, this will only make a difference if lots of other people do it, too, reducing the overall demand for meat products.”

This writing is an excerpt from Justin Gillis’s New York Times article titled, Short Answers to Hard Questions About Climate Change, November 28, 2015.  I coheartedly believe a diet that’s rich in organic whole food plant-base (WFPB) or vegan is the healthiest way of eating and not only for our bodies but, for the planet too.

To learn more about global warming and greenhouse gases please visit the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) website; and also, please check out their Take Action site for awesome ways to advocate for clean sustainable living for the planet.  Thinking of adapting a WFPB diet, check out Dr. T. Colin Campbell’s site for the scientific researches behind this diet and why this way of eating prevents and cures diseases. It’s that powerful people! Spread the word and eat your greens😋

Strawberries Are Back 

Strawberries are back and in full-swing of things at the Union Square Green Market.  They’re super sweet, juicy, and delicious!  You’ll never find these beauties at your supermarket.  What also sets these beauties apart from the regular store-bought brands is there texture. The strawberry from the local farmers are much more tender and delicate, thus making them more juicy.

They’re in season now so stop by your local farmers market and get’em while you can.  To find your local farmers market click here.  Nutritional information on strawberry can also be found here

Enjoy😋

Why Consume More Plants?

  

Weight control
Weight gain is generally correlated with high daily calorie intake, and eating a small amount of nutrient-dense foods full of dietary fiber and complex carbohydrates. Fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole-grain foods typically provide a feeling of fullness with fewer calories, compared to other types of foods. Putting more of these kinds of plants on the plate makes it easier to manage appetite and maintain body weight.

High dietary fiber
Only plant foods contain fiber. Dietary fiber is a complex form of carbohydrate. Several decades of studies have confirmed the health benefits of eating a fiber-rich diet. Specifically, diets rich in foods containing fiber — such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains — may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and improve regularity. A healthy elimination system allows bodies to get rid of toxins. Beans and legumes contain more dietary fiber than almost any other food, so they are an integral and versatile part of a balanced diet. The dietary fiber in legumes is both soluble — which is especially useful in helping control cholesterol levels to lower heart disease risk — and insoluble — which improves regularity. Beans are also filling, so they help promote weight management by satisfying hunger.

Chronic disease management
Consuming a diet featuring more plants is good for your health —today and tomorrow. Complex carbohydrates are easy to digest, and the antioxidants in plants help strengthen your body’s immune system. Dramatic results have occurred with the adoption of a more plant-based diet. Many people with heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and various autoimmune diseases have been able to alleviate their symptoms by eating more whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds, and consuming fewer solid and added fats, added sugars, and refined grains.

In a recent study, scientists finds that plant-based diets, without counting calories, leads to greater weight loss. The only way to succeed in a plant-based diet is to cut certain foods out of your diet.  Sounds easy right?  Well, everything in moderation, I like to say. Giving up cold turkey may be harder for some people.  

Resource: Nutrition StudiesPlant-Based Diet & Obesity Study 

Food Revolution Day: Jamie Oliver 

 Jamie Oliver’s Food Foundation was founded in 2002 with a mission to “shape the health and wellbeing of current and future generations and contribute to a healthier world by providing better access to food education for everyone.”   Every year around this time, Jamie hosts Food Revolution Day, which is a day of action where thousands of people all over the world make a stand for the right to make healthy food and essential cooking skills mandatory.  This year’s Food Revolution Day falls on Friday, May 15th, and this time he’s making it all about the kids. 

“By educating children about food in a practical, fun and engaging way, we can provide them with the knowledge and skills they so urgently need to lead healthier, happier lives. We need to make practical food education a compulsory part of every school curriculum across the world, and that’s why I’ve launched a petition calling on all G20 countries to action this. With enough support from millions of people around the world, I truly believe that we can create a movement that’s powerful enough to make governments take action.” Jamie Oliver

  
Read more and sign his petition and support the Food Revolution


An Epic Event: TEDxManhattan “Changing The Way We Eat” 2015

I had an amazing experience at this years TEDxManhattan “Changing The Way We Eat” conference.  I was humbly inspired and motivated by each and every speaker.  It was an epic event filled with like-minded people who are true ‘Food Warriors’ and ‘Food Heroes’. Conferences like TEDxManhattan create a platform for people to share their ideas and passions.  Diane Hatz, is the main organizer and host of TEDxManhattan.  She is also the Founder and Executive Director of Change Food.   This year was her forth conference, and it was definitely well attended globally.  She reported this year’s conference had 370 in-person attendees, 173 viewing parties with an estimated 8,500 people in 37 states and 14 countries, and 17,482 computers tuned into the event.  What a wonderful accomplishment.  Well, as an attendee I had a wonderful experience.  Here are some of my highlights. 

   Me and Tom Colicchio 
I got the opportunity to meet Tom Colicchio.  He was extremely pleasant, friendly, and funny.  I am a long time fan of Top Chef which Tom is an Executive Producer and a head judge on the Bravo reality TV show.  We obviously have a lot in common so we spoke briefly about the conference and my connections within the ‘Food Movement’.  I had a wonderful time chatting with him.  He’s truly a ‘Food Hero’.

Michele Merkel 
Michele Merkel is the co-director of the Food & Water Justice Program at Food & Water Watch, inspires me to never give up.  As a former attorney for the Environmental Protection Agency, Michele knew in her core the unethical practices the EPA stoodby wasn’t fair. She quit her job with the EPA and now Michele represents small traditional organic family farmers, and uses her legal knowledge to sue the EPA.  I thought, what a Bad Ass!  Although our judicial system is a tough one, Michele believes everyone could help support the fight by voting for candidates who are committed to change, send letters to your representatives, rally, sign petitions and demand for a better sustainable food system.  Michele also recommends researching these websites for more ways to help.  Food Policy Action, Food & Water Watch, and Socialy Responsible Agricultural Project.

 

Stephen Ritz
 
Stephen Ritz talked about the struggles his students face while living in one of the poorest neighborhoods in the South Bronx.  He founded Green Bronx Machine which teaches student K-12 the importance of eating healthy through growing organic fruits and vegetables in the classroom.  Get this, they grow more than 30,000 pounds of fruits and vegetables.  We need a Stephen Ritz in every Public School.  His hard work and dedication to his students at PS 55 is quite impressive and evident.  He is feeding the community and teaching his students simultaneously, which is brilliant.  Stephen inspires me to continue to educate my family and community.

Nikiko Masumoto reciting her poem “My Field of Dreams”
Nikko Masumoto works on her family’s Certified Organic Farm (Masumoto Family Farm) where they grow peaches, nectarines, and grapes.  Nikiko’s talk made me see the realization of how timing is extremely important when harvesting.  She was captivating!  Her poem, “My Fields of Dreams” fascinated me because we share the same dream — a sustainable future for everyone.  In honor of National Poetry Month April 2015, I celebrate Nikko’s poem.  In 2013 she published her first book The Perfect Peach (Ten Speed Press), co-authored with Marcy & David Mas Masumoto.  Family farming preserves traditional food products while safeguarding the world’s agro-biodiversity.  Nikiko is proudly learning the tools of the trade on her fathers farm.  
Danielle Nierenberg
 Danielle Nierenberg is the President of Food Tank and one of my idles. She has a long history in fighting to alleviate hunger and property, while protecting the environment.  Danielle’s talk about the forgotten farmers, which are women because it’s women who make up 43% of the global agricultural work force.  They are often denied education, refused by banking and financial institutions, and faced with discrimination.  Danielle opened up my mind to see that there are other women struggling to earn, farm and feed their families all over the world. I’m inspired to learn more about Food Tank, and to help continue to spread the word about women in agricultural work force.   

DJ Cavem & Alkemia Earth
Ietef “DJ Cavem Moetavation” Vita is an O.G. (Organic Gardner), vegan chef, educator, midwife, emcee, producer, b-boy, DJ, founder of Going Green Living Bling, founder of Eco-HipHop and award-winning activist.  His performance and message was awesome. He got everyone up and moving to the sounds and beats of, the “Kale Life”.  Ietef raps, performs and educates young children and communities through his music.  His  performance along with his wife Alkemia Earth was epic.  Check out how they use hip hop to educate others about healthy food TEDxManhattan talk and performance. 

 Conferences like TEDxManhattan create a platform for people to share their ideas and passions.  This was my first time attending one of TEDxManhattan conferences, and I was impressed by the whole experience.  

 Every aspect of that day was centered around the theme, “Changing the Way We Eat”.  From the speakers topics, the ambiance of the event, the healthy delicious foods they catered, fun interactive activities, the vendors, guest, prizes and even the wonderful gift bags I took home — the whole experience was amazing. 

 I’ve made some great connections and learned a tremendous amount of information about our food system.  It was a life changing event for me, and I am forever grateful for the opportunity.  I am already looking forward next year’s event.  I am and forever will be a TEDxSter!  To hear the TEDxManhattan 2015 talks click here.

 

 

 

 

 

  

Buy Local Honey

Buying local honey supports beekeepers. Plus, it’s great for the environment.  No one wants to deal with the middle-man, and that’s why I love my farmers market.   Beekeepers travel from upstate New York and from right here in NYC to sell at local markets throughout the Five Boroughs.  We have Beekeepers on rooftops and in many urban backyards.  Locals areas like Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx and all over.  Many of them like Brooklyn Grange and Bronx Bees offer programs to help others. You will also find local honey at Whole Foods

I purchased this bottle of raw honey from my local market at Union Square Greenmarket, and the beekeeper is Andrzej Kurosz from Warwick, NY.  Sweet Things Wild Thyme and Honey is raw, chemical free, and pure. 

Compared to other sweeteners, raw honey contains a variety of vitamins and minerals.  It is a potent anti-infection/anti-inflammatory bee product, which is a natural option to antibiotics. Plus, it is also great for building up your resistance to allergens.  I’ve already started taking a teaspoon a day and I sprinkle some bee pollen in my food as well.  The pollen is the male seed of flowers and it’s also rich in vitamins and minerals.  But get this, bee pollen is rich in protein.

In addition to that, taking bee pollen may reduce the presence of histamine, which can ameliorate many allergies. It works for me.  Around springtime my allergies starts to act up. My eyes are irritated, I sneeze constantly, and I basically feel and look like crap.  

Last year, I started taking the bee pollen and it really build up my tolerance and reduced my attacks. You might want to research it. Also, if you’re allergic to bee stings or have sensitivities to foods, it’s best you consult with an alternative medical doctor or any other qualified healthcare professional before trying bee pollen. 

Go out and support your local farm, and don’t forget the local beekeeper. 

Resources: Bronx Bees, Brooklyn Grange Farm, Bee Pollen As A Superfood, New York City Beekeepers Association 

 

Bee Colonies Declining | What Foods We’d Lose



Photo: Getty Images/Matt Cardy


Honeybees are on a decline if you’re unaware.  The Agricultural Research Service (ARS), USDA’s internal research agency, is leading several efforts into possible Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) causes. Scientist are looking at four general categories for the causes:

  1. Pathogens
  2. Parasites
  3. Management stressors
  4. Environmental stressors     

Not only American’s are unhealthy, but the health of our honey bees are as well.  David vanEngeladorp, Ph.D. an entomologist at the University of Maryland was the first to discover honey bees were in trouble 11 years ago.  The biggest factors affecting bees’ are the increasing use of pesticides, vaaroa mites and poor nutrition. They cause the bees immune system to be weaken — leaving them highly subseptical to the flu, other viruses and pathogens. 

We all should be worried and take the necessary steps to help protect our country’s most efficient pollinators.  Bees’ play an intricate part in our food system. They pollinate 33% of what we eat.  Just imagine if they’re exsistance were to decline tremendously, we may experience a food shortage.  

The Foods We’d Lose

  • Almonds
  • Asparagus
  • Apples
  • Blueberry
  • Avocado
  • Broccoli
  • Onion
  • Berries 
  • Squash
  • Cucumber
  • Tomato
  • Peppers 

That’s just a handful of them, the list still goes on and on.  So, how can you help?  Over at Food Democracy Now, you could sign a petition that will go to President Obama urging him to ban the use of neonics.  According to the petition, neonicotinoid’s this class of insecticides can kill bees’ outright, impair brain function and suppress their immune system — leaving them more vulnerable to diseases.  Also, Takepart is another website you could visit for petitions, awarenesses and pledges of all kinds of environmental crisis. Every vote counts! 

What Else You Can Do to Help

  • Buy local honey: Support local bee keepers. Where to find them? Your local farmers market
  • Make a garden: Make your outdoor space pollinator-friendly plants that are good sources of nectar and pollen. Visit pollinator.org/guides to pick out beautiful options. 
  • Safe Pesticides: Look for bee-friendly alternatives. Check out groworganic.com Don’t use commercial pesticides or herbicides. 
  • Go Organic: This certifies safer regulations on spraying and the fruits and vegetables are more nutritious. 

Join the movement and help save our bees! 

Resources:

North American Pollinator Protection

Bee Informed 

Dennis vanEngelsdorp, Ph.D