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preparing tea

Drew is preparing tea

what’s the most relaxing and serene way for four ladies to celebrate a 40+ birthday ?

It was original, it was beautiful, it was tasty, and it was ceremonial. It was a Japanese Tea Ceremony.

traditional seasonal meal

traditional seasonal meal

Drew Hanson demonstrated The Japanese Way of Tea. He’s a gardener and ceramicist and we had such a lovely time at his Boukakuan, a Japanese Tea House and Garden at his home, right here in NJ. All the elements were there: a gorgeous day, Japanese gold-fish in a pond, historic house at the background, neatly prepared Japanese meal and an informative hospitality.

zen composition

zen composition

Zen goldfish

Zen goldfish

Geta, my Japanese clogs

Geta, my Japanese clogs 🙂

I am considering of adding a photo of me in a Japanese Kimono, from Japan, from many years ago, as a bonus. Well, just considering…

?

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Where do I even start?

Well, it’s my inner instinct and logic to prefer food that does not contain chemicals (man made), toxins, pesticides, hormones, or any other synthetic additives, nor food that has been meddled with (genetically). I don’t need any books, studies, magazines or movies for that strong inner feelings. Yet, better know and be educated, informed, than not…

organic

organic

Lately I have read Robyn O’Brien’s book “The Unhealthy Truth: How Our Food Is Making Us Sick and What We Can Do About It“, who has started AllergyKids.com.

According to the book, most of Europe and Great Britain, Australia, Japan, and even Russia demand the clear labeling of food products that contain genetically engineered ingredients.  Several African countries even refuse to accept genetically modified (“GM“) grain as food aid. According to Reuters, Egypt just announced that it won’t be importing or exporting any GM foods.

Today I have also watched the film “The Future of Food” that has reinforced and better illustrated my gut feeling. I am already waiting to watch the much talked about film “Food, Inc.“.

It seems that while the world around us has long begun to understand the meaning of contaminated food and its consequences, here in the US, people are either too sleepy, or ignorant, or affixed and have their mind set, that the FDA or big agri-businesses or the government are taking real good care of the people and the food they are allowing us to eat.

That’s right, nobody is forcing us to buy GM food,      or do they?  When we try to buy any box of any food, and read the list of ingredients, do we know which was GM’d ? Do I know if the corn flour, the soy or any other grain was modified?

No, I don’t. In fact, I just learned about genetically engineered sugar beets in Kellogg’s products:

Organic Consumers Association and allies sent a letter to Kellogg’s on June 12, requesting that Kellogg’s not use sugar from genetically engineered sugar beets in its products or face a consumer boycott.

Kellogg’s has responded, claiming that US consumers do not care if their food contains Genetically Engineered (GE) food or not.”

So do I have any free choice in choosing the unmodified foods? not if I can’t identify them.

proccessed food

processed food

D’you hear the name Monsanto before? I bet that once you start to read a little more about any of those topics above, “Monsanto” will introduce itself right out of those articles you’ll be reading, because it is one of (if not the largest) multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation that has produced herbicides, genetically engineered seeds, and develops and markets Bovine growth hormones, just to name a few.

And guess what? Monsanto is fighting hard and lobbying with all its might (and mighty it is) to keep us consumers in the dark. It is fighting against labeling any of the GM foods as such. The Europeans, concerned about the food they eat, chose mandatory labeling of GM foods and ingredients. Here, Monsanto and big $$$ are still winning, and GM foods aren’t labeled. Read more about GM foods.

The more I dived deep into the food industry info, I became aware of the knotted political ties that thrive behind the scene of the food industry, the ones between government, pharma- business and agriculture business. I also became aware of the potential role of the chemical toxins added to the foods in the development of autism, allergies, asthma, and ADHD.

What is one to do in the meantime?

  • read, learn, watch the movies, get educated, and pass on the word.
  • try to avoid processed foods, or at least read the labels and make a rational decision based on what you know when choosing that product;
  • try to consume organic food products, or at least the basic ones, such as milk, and eggs.
  • try to purchase locally grown fruits, vegetables, dairy and support your local farmers.
  • take an extra step and write to your local newspaper editor;
  • take an even bigger step and write to your legislators (type your zip code to find your officials);

It’ll probably be long before the labeling of GM food will become a must, or maybe even banned, it’ll take some time before government will subsidize organic farms. But we shall overcome someday.

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food choices in school

fresh salad

fresh salad

More than 30 million American children eat lunch at school every day.

Sometime soon, Congress will review the Child Nutrition Act, and will have to decide, among other things, to reauthorize the principle of providing all children in school with healthy food choices. That means low-fat dairy choices, fresh fruits and vegetables, and whole grains, and most important, that schools should become soda and junk-food free !

President Obama addressed the issue today as he spoke at the American Medical Association’s annual meeting in Chicago today:

“The second step that we can all agree on is to invest more in preventive care…      It also means cutting down on all the junk food that is fueling an epidemic of obesity, putting far too many Americans, young and old, at greater risk of costly, chronic conditions. That’s a lesson Michelle and I have tried to instill in our daughters with the White House vegetable garden that Michelle planted. And that’s a lesson that we should work with local school districts to incorporate into their school lunch programs.”

What can we do about it?

* we can contact our legislators ;

*  we can sign a petition ;

* we can watch the movie Food, Inc.

* we can start at home. prepare and eat simple, healthy food.  have everyone sit together at meal time.

carrot juice - health food

To health !

yes, we can.

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bamboo forest

bamboo forest

They are magical and noble. They are famous in Japan and Panda Bears love them.

Walking through the bamboo forest makes one believe in fairy tales. I feel so blessed to have such a gem near me, a place to just sit, observe, reflect.

Bamboo is not only beautiful, but a big friend to the environment. It appears that bamboo consumes bulky amounts of CO2 that exist in the atmosphere, converts it into carbohydrates, thus releasing oxygen. Bamboo is respected at last for being such a great sustainable building material for all kinds of uses, from floors, to fences, furniture, and even knitting needles. For staying happy, One can eat it (bamboo shoots), play the flute bamboo, or even, errr, get drunk (read about the gorillas that got drunk on bamboo sap).

So, where is this little spot of tranquility? Right here in NJ, Rutgers Gardens.

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Hello world!

Hello,

I’m excited to share my thoughts, views, laughs, knowledge, images and enthusiasm over issues I care about.

Issues? What issues?

Ah… those kind:

  • wait, don’t throw! it can become a whole new thing, practical or not. projects to “greenify” your home, your life.
  • add and mix. my motto in cooking.  healthy simple recipes for my family.
  • pack n’ go. memories and the places I got them.
  • composition. salute to all those talented people out there. I’ll bring them to the public eye.

I care about other issues too, but for the meanwhile I’ll keep them to myself. Every once in a while I may angle off to voice some more serious things that touch me.

***

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