It Begins with Me

Posts tagged ‘spirituality’

Death by Intent

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Corporate America is killing you as sure as you sit reading this. They do it and they don’t care. All that matters to these individuals is making money and getting richer. Your life, who dies, who lives, how much someone suffers, all do not make it into the consideration room. Policies and actions slated to be implemented are all kicked into motion without one real thought to who will suffer, how much, or how often. The only part they consider is: can we be sued if someone figures it out, how much money will we lose when they do, and how much money will we make until them.

Lines on a graph for profit and loss. You aren’t even in the equation.

This callous disregard is not new and in fact, its probably more cautious now than it was say, 200 years ago. Litigation has made them wary and it has made them clever. They make choices based on collateral damage and plausible deniability. You are a speck on a graph. It’s important not only to understand that fact, but to understand that to the powerful elite, the little guy has never mattered and that isn’t likely to change in the near future.

That said, you have a lot more power now than you did even 100 years ago. The mob-mind can and does make choices that will effect the bottom line, so the fact that they even weigh the cost says a great deal about how things have improved for the common man. So, while it is disheartening to face that you don’t really matter to them, you can take heart that on some level, your power to retaliate against their profits does matter to them and choices are made with that in mind. It’s a start.

The biggest way to gain control over corporations is, logically, to stop giving them your money. Well, I hate to break it to you but that’s simply not going to happen. Everything we use, buy, sell, and covet is owned by a very small group of people in this world. Choice is an illusion and through advertising and flat out deception, we have all been played.

Take a look:

who owns everything

These companies are in cahoots with each other. So in the end, you can’t really outsmart them save living off the grid and growing everything, making everything from your food to your soap and your clothes yourself. Who has time for that? Not me. So in order to gain some control over yourself and your buying choices, for your own health and benefit, what can you do? You can, for starters, stop buying processed food. Learn to cook and make your own food. It’s a huge step forward for your personal and family health and welfare. And, even better, it’s within your grasp as a way to take back some control of your life from the giant mega-corps that run our country.

One of the ways you can win is doing your research, and giving your money to local people instead of chain stores. Buy pet food from small companies that are privately owned. Buy your food from stores that are employee owned or owned by local business people. Buy online from small businesses. It’s a process and it’s largely hit or miss, but it’s a place to begin.

Another way to outsmart the corporations is to stop buying processed food. Stop buying prepackaged food. Buy from a meat locker or local grocery store (not a chain) that supplies fresh meat. Learn to cook food yourself. It’s not hard and once you are used to it, you’ll never think processed food tastes better than your own.

So how do we navigate the grocery store to find food that is good for us, without going broke? Processed food is prepackaged and portioned, low priced and easy to get. Perfect right? Well, just like the old adage, “nothing good is free” and “nothing is ever free,” comes the “nothing worth doing comes easy.” The very fact that it’s easy, pre-packaged, and cheap should tell you something – they had to cut corners to do all those things and you will pay the price in the long run.

It’s also important to buy only what you need, to avoid wasting the food you bought. Part of the reason that the myth of good, green food being more expensive is that people buy too much at once. If you only buy your fresh food for recipes, and limit snack foods and extra items you won’t use in a recipe, not only are you going to contribute to your overall health by limiting fatty/sweet snacks, but you also limit your waste.

The best way to do this is to find a recipe site you like. Most sites offer the option of changing the servings, so you can shift the amounts to only what you need. I use “AllRecipes” and there’s not really a reason, other than I feel their site works better for me. My name there is “Jazybee” and you can drop by and take a peek at some of my favorites should you be inclined.

Due to my dietary restrictions, I have to “fix” any recipe I find, but I’m an accomplished enough cook that substitutions are not difficult for me and usually end well (not always!) and if not, I learn and try again. For instance, I tried to make cheesy broccoli soup with coconut milk and it was a total fail. I couldn’t even eat it. But live and learn, a little research and I’ll try again. Cooking is like that.

Processed food are full of sugar and cheap, unhealthy oils. Now that we know that it isn’t the fat that’s necessarily bad, but the sugar too, and that sugar can cause the body to overreact or underreact to the fat and other ingredients we consume, we can make proper choices and limit what isn’t good. This is wholly in our control. Shifting away from refined sugars and sticking to “healthier” fats, we can change our consumption and get healthier.

Your health is your choice. My gram always said that, and she’s right. It was easy to blame a lot of factors but in the end, your health is your choice. I can’t fix that I have Celiac’s and I can’t fix that my immune system is likely permanently out of whack but I can fix the rest of it. I can choose what I put in my mouth. I can choose what I buy and from whom and how often. I have choices and while they may be, in reality, limited, I still have choices and I will make them as much, and as often, as I can.

One of the most difficult battles I faced was giving up sugar. I also shifted my family away from refined sugar to “raw” sugar. Eventually we’ll make a full shift away from “white” sugar entirely, but I don’t want to give them too big of a shock. Baby steps and all that. :) We are cooking with less and less sugar and consuming less and less sugar on a daily basis. We switched to lard, coconut oil, olive oil, and ghee. We limit our fried foods to once a week. We upped their raw fruit and raw vegetable intake. We increased their overall vegetable intake. We increased their water intake. All in all, the transfer has been fairly smooth and I doubt they even really noticed.

While our change in diet wasn’t initiated or encouraged by desiring weight loss, it has been an unintended consequence. Every member of my family has lost weight, on a healthy level, since our switch away from sugar. I don’t think that’s a coincidence. I am seeing them snack less and make healthier choices. They still eat with gusto and everything on their plates. I am confident that as we gradually shift away from less healthy options, they will learn to eat well and healthy and never miss a beat.

Until later.

Jaz

Sugar is the Problem

Fake Sugar Isn’t Better

Truth About Sugar

Why Processed Food is Bad

Timeline of Processed Foods

 

Being Me: This is how it Starts

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I took the picture you see, with all the multicolored string. It’s a self portrait of sorts, stemming from a class I took at Iowa State during my time striving for my Bachelor degree in Design.

If I could be anything I wanted, I’d be an art photographer and a writer.

I turn 50 this year and it feels a bit surreal. I don’t feel 50. Does anyone feel 50? I don’t look 50 and I suppose that’s a good thing. When I was young, I was told I had an “old soul” and a wise mind. I never felt old or wise. I still don’t. I keep wondering when that will kick in.

I have four children, one through adoption and 3 from my body. My oldest was adopted in a previous relationship which ended badly and he wanted nothing to do with our son afterward. He has special needs and requires round-the-clock care. When J came into my life as more than a friend, he accepted my oldest as his and became in every way his father. That was part of what drew me to him, to be honest – I saw in him the most amazing ability to be a dad. And he certainly is.

He gave me three children who are now 14, 12, and 6. My oldest is 22 and will be 23 by year’s end. It truly is strange how time passes quick yet slow, and then you blink and it’s 20 years past. I can remember their first steps, their first laugh, their first true tears. I remember it all and watching them grow up has been both a joy and a terrible pain. As I understand it, that is simply how parenthood goes.

I have been many things in my life. I have done just about every kind of job imaginable in the service industry, spanning food service to administration. I have driven trucks and buses. I have run businesses and I have worked for others. I have handed out tools and I have processed pigs into meat. I am a jack of all trades.

I used to think that was an insult when I was young. Now, it feels like a badge of honor. There’s not much I can’t do or learn to do. I am not afraid of challenges. I have lived without running water and I have left signs of civilization behind to camp and hunt. I was taught to take care of myself: I can hunt, sew, clean, cook, and gather. I know how to make soap and I know how to chop wood. I love technology but can walk away from it and just be. I love to drink and I love to be sober. I have always been of at least two minds about everything. I like myself.

I set out as a young adult to be myself. I had no idea what that meant. In the last 30 years of tears, struggles, and triumphs, and quite a few disastrous failures, I have learned who I am and I have proven to myself that I am stronger, and weaker, than I could ever imagine. I am not going to live forever, despite my young assurances to the contrary. I am flawed. I am imperfect. I am a pain in the ass, but I am me.

I am coming to the realization that if I want to change things, I’m going to have to get out there and do it. It’s a terrifying thought that my opinions and what I am driven to say and do could get me killed, but it’s worse to think my children would be harmed. I’ve been living carefully since they were born, walking that fine line between being involved and being too involved. I need to raise my children.

The other night, one of my sons – the 12 year old – said he was surprised I didn’t attend the women’s march in DC. I told him I wanted to, but it wasn’t something that I could realistically do. He asked me why. I said, we can’t afford it and I can’t leave you guys alone that long – what would your father do? He gave me an odd look and said, “Pretty sure we’d be fine. We do fine in the summer when you travel. Maybe you just don’t really want to go and we’re an easy excuse.”

It gave me pause. Was he right? I suppose on some level, perhaps. I realized that I am sending a message by my inaction and I’m not sure it’s one that I want my children to learn. I suppose I will just have to jump in, and land where I can. I worry that my choices will hurt my children, either from action or inaction. I worry constantly if I am putting them first and being a good mother. I worry often that I put too much on my plate and then fall short of my goals, which puts a strain on our finances and on my husband. He never complains however, and has never fallen short in his support of me, my dreams, goals, and plans.

I’m slowly inching toward the idea of striving for human rights and change within the government, running for office and seeking to get face to face with the people that I have spent half my life angry at. I have no money and I am not a professional anything – can I run for office and do any good whatsoever? These are the questions that plague my mind late at night.

In the end, I suspect I will simply be laying the groundwork for my children to strive forward into the fight. There is pride in knowing I am raising good, decent, strong men for the next generation. I teach them patience and compassion. I enforce the idea that they are people and I don’t have a right to destroy their ability to choose, whether or not I agree with them. I feel strongly that these young men I am raising will one day rattle the status quo and challenge the world.

For now, that’s where I am and where I start my fight. We shall see where it goes from here.

Jaz

 

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