Saturday, November 21, 2015

Why I believe the FDA is more frightening than terrorist attacks

Day 44 of the #NakedTruth Challenge

Are you nervous to travel right now?  Do you live in a big city and feel wary about walking down the street?  Do you feel anger, sadness, hate, disgust, or defeat? We have been so focused on the recent violent attacks happening through Europe and the Middle East that we have forgotten that we hold power too.  You and I have just as much power as anybody else.  Yes, maybe they have weapons and financial backing, but they don't know how to trust their heart. And I think you do. I know it, actually.

Sir Richard Branson makes a good point in regards to Republican Governors who refuse to let Syrian refugees into the U.S., "These positions fuel a paranoia that tends to be more interested in confirming existing biases than the truth."

These recent mass murders and bombings are incredibly saddening, however it's not going to keep me from living my life.  I don't wish death on anyone, not even a terrorist.  In fact, I pray for them.  Mercenaries don't know how to listen to their own hearts.  They haven't heard what their hearts are saying.  The same goes for the powerful leaders in government, including the FDA.  Money-hungry corporations are much more frightening to me than a terrorist attack, because these corporations impact me directly.  They are really fucking scary.

I believe many people in government are fighting against the general population.  Big businesses like conventional farming and dairy and Monsanto are gaining power over our food industry.  These are the real terrorists, killing us slowly through our food system, contributing to devastating diseases like Alzheimer's and cancer rather than violent mass murders.

For those of you who aren't familiar with GMOs, let me give you a quick intro:

"GMOs (or “genetically modified organisms”) are living organisms whose genetic material has been artificially manipulated in a laboratory through genetic engineering, or GE. This relatively new science creates unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacteria and viral genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods.
Virtually all commercial GMOs are engineered to withstand direct application of herbicide and/or to produce an insecticide. Despite biotech industry promises, none of the GMO traits currently on the market offer increased yield, drought tolerance, enhanced nutrition, or any other consumer benefit.
Meanwhile, a growing body of evidence connects GMOs with health problems, environmental damage and violation of farmers’ and consumers’ rights."  -the non-GMO project

The New York Times just released this article explaining how genetically modified salmon (GMOs) is recently "approved for consumption."  What the fuck does that even mean? Yes, maybe it is edible.  But so are Crocs, and you don't see people eating those every day? Do you want to eat something created in a lab, when nature designed it to be perfectly nutritious and healing on it's own? When people and animals have been consuming whole foods like salmon for thousands of years, fully sustaining populations?
Sabrina Moore Photography 
We deserve to have a choice.  We deserve to know what we are putting in our bodies. And I believe with my whole heart that we can make a difference, right here and now. We can start buying REAL whole foods, locally sourced when possible, organically raised meat, and eggs from pasture-raised chickens.  We can plant our own gardens or eat what we find in our backyard.  We can share our abundance with our friends and neighbors.  Support local business, even if it's a little more expensive. We can talk about this, getting the message out and informing people who would otherwise have no idea.  We can stop focusing on the death and destruction and sadness, whether it be a murder or a cancer diagnosis.  Let's show love to our local communities, nourish our bodies and minds, and enjoy life fully, rather than living in fear.  Get to know our community. Learn where our food comes from.  Talk to farmers and distributors and retailers and all the hands that touch our food before it reaches our plate.  Stop eating in front of the TV where we are being forced to consume disappointing news along with our meal.  Eat with someone you care about, including yourself.  This mindfulness allows us to turn off the noise in our minds and begin focusing on opening our hearts.  The result: a more peaceful world.

Does it make any difference? We won't know if we don't try.


Sunday, November 8, 2015

How my shameful relationship with Marijuana transformed into a healthy, self-care habit

Shame, guilt, judgement, using drugs, getting stoned, lazy…these were the thoughts I used to associate with cannabis. Now I see a different side.

This is day 30 of my #NakedTruth Challenge.

My parents have predominately lived by the "Work hard, play hard" mantra.  They've worked in the wine and spirits industry most their lives, so you can guarantee they were a fun clan to be around.  I even have pictures of my dad in college smoking joints while hiking trails out in Colorado. And for as long as I can remember, my step-dad would come out of the garage after "taking out the trash," reeking of skunk and Listerine.

Nice doobie, dad
I remember one of my very first shows I smelled that same skunk perfuming the air of the concert venue in SF and I proceeded to feel light-headed and intoxicated.

From then on, I would occasionally smoke with friends, because I thought it was cool.  There was something exciting about sneaking around and experiencing an unfamiliar state of consciousness.  Most of the time though I didn't enjoy it fully.  It was hard on my lungs. I usually felt paranoid or anxious.  In the back of my mind, I knew it wasn't right for me at the time, yet I continued to smoke.

I created secrecy and shame around using marijuana because of judgement. It was an avoided topic in our home.

I thought my step dad was abusing the substance.  I could usually tell when he was high, which felt like a frequent occurrence.  When I put myself in his shoes, I understood why he would use substances, whether it was pain killers, alcohol or marijuana. He didn't want to live with his thoughts so he would numb the pain.  But I do this in my own way too.  I want to eat sugary fat-filled treats when I'm feeling stressed and out of control.  Or I'll put up a wall to keep from connecting with people, to protect myself from possibly getting hurt.  I'll even make myself smaller so I don't bother anyone.

I held onto these beliefs around marijuana through college, seeing a fiercely "negative" side of the plant. I saw potheads without motivation and kids spending their money and days off on drugs.  I saw how some people relied on it to get through their day. I listened to the negative mainstream views on plant medicine and cannabis, without coming up with my own ideas about it's therapeutic benefits. I believed my step-dad and my peers were letting the incredible potential between their ears waste away.  And here I was, smoking to fit in, and to avoid facing my own problems.  I judged myself just like I judged others, believing that I was a bad person for smoking marijuana.

Slowly, I started hanging around more people that made me feel good. In college, I found myself hanging out at The Shed, a garage near my dorm that a bunch of students designed into a peaceful gathering space with music, art, and of course, pot.  I loved escaping to this spot and for the laid back people it attracted.

I found myself experimenting with cannabis more, to see what I could handle, how it would affect my head or my body, make me sleepy or giggly or energized.  I played with it, learning about the strains, doses, applications, what worked for me and what didn't. In my heart I knew marijuana could be used therapeutically, but I wasn't sure how when I saw it being abused.

Holistic Entrepreneur and business leader Garyn Angel in an interview with Dave Asprey of Bulletproof, explains how cannabis can be used as a high performance drug,

 "It's not about cannabis, it's about herbs and just eating green and eating healthy, living well, drinking water, doing the things that you have to do and taking control of your health and happiness and it all comes as one."

As a natural chef and health coach, I believe whole-heartedly that food has the incredible power to heal if we allow it.  I'm sure you've experienced this before, where you ate a juicy peach in the middle of summer and your taste buds danced with pleasure.  Or on the other end of the spectrum, you drank too many margaritas at Taco Tuesday and Wednesday morning at work feels like death. What if we start thinking of food as medicine that can be grown in our backyards? Imagine how our view of health can change.  If we eat a meal prepared with love, sprouted from earth rather than a box or factory, if we enjoy the meal mindfully by giving thanks, surrounded by good company, could you see how this becomes powerful nourishing medicine?

"Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." -Hippocrates

Listen to your body, become more aware of what it's saying, pay attention to how to you really feel.  I often find myself having my deepest conversations and reflections when I'm tuned in and aware. Just like with people, the better you get to know them, the more you begin to see who they really are, and you love them for it. The more open you are to trying something new, the more you practice or spend time creating a positive habit, the stronger your connection with that food or activity or person becomes.  (This is your amazing authentic self that we all want to see!)

My purpose isn't to tell you to go take ayahuasca in the jungles of Peru or take psychedelics at a Phish show and then you'll have your life all figured out. That's for you to decide. I'm sharing with you my story of how marijuana helped me gain self-awareness so I can be more loving towards myself and others.  It helps me see situations differently. To have greater empathy towards others. I'm more aware of my physical body and the sensations I feel.  It gives me freedom to express myself without limits.  It lets me recharge my soul.  I don't want to use it to avoid my fears and obligations, but I do that sometimes. What I really want is to feel the emotional pain and discomfort and face it head on.  To face my truth. Who am I, really? What can I do to be better?

It does not matter which plant medicine you choose, whether it's a warm cup of tea, a bowl of homemade soup, or a different kind of bowl packed with greens.  All that matters is that you are serving a purpose, one far greater than what you think you are capable of.