Local Agriculture - the solution to sustainability



By Jordan Miller;

There was a time, not too long ago, where many cultures and/or societies around the globe embraced the tradition of growing and harvesting their own food. It was considered a common practice among tribal communities - as they believed it was the backbone to their cultural preservation and prolongation. Some of these customs have remained unchanged in certain parts of the world (i.e. the people of the Gamo highlands of Ethiopia); however, much of the communities today, particularly in the “western world”, have disconnected from this important practice.


The Corporate Invasion

Once accepted as the moral fiber of society and/or tribal structure, agriculture has since evolved into a multi-billion dollar enterprise. As a result of this evolution, much of the cultural significance behind local agriculture has heavily eroded. Today, our food is dominated by massive agricultural corporations who control a large percentage of the global food supply and, in effect, control much of the food we eat.

Is it any wonder that many people in our world today suffer from obesity and degenerative disease? Next time you’re in a supermarket or local grocery store take a real hard look at the food that is being sold. Much of it is pre-packaged, heavily processed or severely “jet-lagged”. In fact, food “staples” such as corn, wheat, dairy, meat, and soy are heavily subsidized by our governments making such products which contain these substances or isolates of these substances fairly cheap. Consequently, people often purchase these products over “healthy food” because they are much more economical. As a result of this, complacency sets in, resulting in continued profits for big business. In order to “break” this cycle, we must alter market demand.

Unfortunately, many have a hard time letting go of “fast food” because it is convenient and/or highly addictive. From a business standpoint, it’s all about the bottom line. Large agricultural corporations are into making the greatest return on their investment. Do they honestly care about the well-being and/or health of the people? That’s for you to decide. Simply put, there is no money in health. Sure, health makes a lot of cents, but it sure does not make a lot of dollars.

Regulators are not all that reliable either. Today, most companies are self- regulated, which means they can set their own standards. Furthermore, many federal regulators receive routine kickbacks from companies to ensure that the product remains on the market with little scrutiny or inspection. This further perpetuates the “revolving door” between business and government and promotes further propagation of “junk food”.

Large agricultural businesses generally operate under a “mechanized” farming structure. For the most part, this type of agriculture consists of farming acre upon acre of mono cultures (one crop). For example, crops like corn, soy or wheat are heavily grown in North America; the reason for this? Well, most of these “foods” or fractions of these foods are utilized as the main ingredient within a large number of the processed foods sold in your local grocery store today.

This very method of farming often leads to the destruction of forests and biodiversity. As a result, the soil becomes depleted of its nutrients (minerals) and thus its resistance to bugs and/or pestilence is heavily jeopardized. In the end, farmers have no choice to use an inordinate amount of artificial fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and in most cases, genetically modified seeds which have been created to resist such an onslaught of poisons. Does this sound like sustainable agriculture to you?

Sustainability and Supporting Local

Fortunately, there is a solution to all of this - support local agriculture! There is a growing movement among western nations as many are becoming aware of the erosion of local farming. The concept of buying local is slowly gaining ground. People are gathering worldwide touting the importance of local agriculture as a means to sustainability.

So, before you go out and pack your cart full of pre-packaged “goodies”, take time to reflect on your decisions. How are they impacting the community or environment? Are your food choices supporting the interests of the whole or are they simply satisfying short term, individual needs? Do you feel good purchasing and subsequently eating these foods? Many questions are bound to arise; however, when it comes down to it, it’s a choice we all have to make.

The concept here is to buy as much as you can locally, or better yet, start growing your own food – a garden can be both a sustainable food source as well as a welcomed challenge. In return, we are contributing to a stronger community and fostering closer relationships. Most importantly, we are eating the best food ever!

Make it your mission to buy fresh local organic whole food  or get involved in a local community supported agriculture (CSA) program. If you feel that it may be too much of a burden on your budget, start a garden. This way, you can grow the freshest organic produce and not have to worry if it has been treated with deadly pesticides or herbicides. You have the power to do what you wish ! After all, food really does matter!


Next time your out buying groceries, rather than opting for that twinkly or protein bar, why not grab a handful of cashews or a couple apples or even some grapes for a snack. Remember, if you want continued access to good food, support local agriculture - vote with your money!

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About the Author : Jordan Miller is the co-founder of guidinginstincts.com. He has overcome illness through dietary/lifestyle changes, and practicing a positive mindset daily. Jordan is currently learning about traditional North American medicinal herbs, in hopes of becoming a Certified Herbalist.

The Health Benefits of Water



By Jordan Miller;

The human body is a very complex system made up of several different parts (i.e. The brain, muscles, veins, bones, flesh, organs, etc…) all of which have a specific role to play. In order for the body to function properly, it requires that all of these parts work in complete harmony. When one of these parts begins to malfunction, and is thus left untreated, a series of chain reactions within the body are bound to arise and disease and illness are sure to propagate. To promote this “harmony of parts” or a symbiotic relationship within the body, we must provide it with the proper “fuel.”

As many of us are aware, the human body is comprised of about 70-80% water. Simply put, when we are not getting enough of it, our body begins to malfunction or it ceases to work (much the same as a car that is not receiving a routine oil change – interestingly enough, people often remember this rather simple task).

The problem in today’s world is that many people are either (1) not getting adequate amounts of water or (2) they are simply robbing their bodies of this precious substance (the reasons for which will be explained shortly). In effect, many of us (among other reasons) are suffering from regular headaches, constipation, muscle cramps, constricted airways (asthma), allergies, etc…

The Effect on the Brain

The brain consists of roughly 85% water. When the brain is “starved” of water or more precisely, hydrogen and oxygen (H2O), mental clarity and function declines and symptoms such as asthma, allergies and muscle cramps often proliferate. The reason for this is quite simple really.

The brain (our bodies’ central processing unit) requires plenty of quality water to function. When it’s “resources” begin to dwindle, the brain always looks for sources of water elsewhere in the body to compensate for its loss. Consequently, other “parts” within the body (i.e. muscles, organs, nerves, etc.) begin to malfunction or lag as a consequence of the water being dispatched to the brain (to keep it running).

Substances that Dehydrate the Body

Apart from not getting a sufficient intake of water, there are many foods/beverages that often contribute to dehydration if they are consumed in high quantities. Such materials include: alcohol, coffee, caffeinated tea, carbonated beverages, processed and/or pre-packaged "foods", etc. Many people today often consume inordinate amounts of these substances leaving them severely dehydrated. As Dr F. Batmanghelidj explains in his book Your Body’s Many Cries for Water, dehydration is, in most cases, the result of many conditions including asthma, allergies, arthritis, angina, migraine headaches, hypertension, raised cholesterol, chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple sclerosis, depression, and diabetes. Essentially, these conditions are often self induced.

As we age, our thirst for water decreases. This is why it is vitally important to get plenty of water throughout the day even though there is no real thirst for it. This is not to say that we should be following a particular scientific method regarding the amount of water to be consumed because we do receive some amount from what we eat (assuming we are getting plenty of fruits in vegetables in our diet). In retrospect, just keep it simple! Drink water, and only water as your primary beverage.

The Benefits of Water

Making sure we are getting adequate amounts of water on a daily basis should be a goal we are always striving for. In essence, water gives us energy and keeps all of our “parts” functioning properly. It helps us to maintain a clear mind, it keeps our digestion clean and liver functioning optimally, and it nourishes every organ in our body. Basically, it is what sustains us.

Sources of Water

In order to optimize the benefits of water, we have to make sure we are consuming it in its purest, unadulterated form. Much of the water that is available to us today is either laced with deadly substances like chlorine and fluoride (found in much of our city drinking water) or it is polluted with estrogenic mimickers like BPA or phthalates. For this reason, try to avoid bottled water stored in plastic (especially distilled) and unfiltered tap water. In any case, consume only water that has been filtered through a reverse osmosis system or even better, collect some of the best water in the world from a local spring.




If access to fresh, quality water is limited, there are some simple practices you can follow. Many people often drink from distilled (“dead”) bottled water and since much of the distilled water is stored in plastic bottles, BPA leaches into it much more quickly then mineral water. The water is essentially starved of minerals; therefore, BPA and other estrogenic mimickers from the plastic seep into it much faster. To alleviate this, simply “charge” the water (amount depends on size of bottle) with some full spectrum salt (Himalayan or Celtic sea salt) or store the water in glass jugs/carboys. Otherwise, if buying water in plastic, make sure it’s mineral or spring water. On the other hand, it is highly recommended that water in plastic be avoided if at all possible. Click here or check out the trailer below on the dirty secrets of the bottled water industry.



Well water is another source of water that is available to many; however, it should not be consumed each and everyday. Since it is pulled out of the ground unnaturally, there are many organic (“hard”) minerals within it that are not properly utilized by the body, and for this reason, they build-up in our bodies over time, contributing to calcification which often leads to a myriad of health complication down the road .

In an event, the moral here is to make certain that we are receiving sufficient amounts of water. Humans can often times survive weeks without food, but only days without water. The concept is simple really; water is our “life force”, our energy source; without it, we would not survive.

Your question: What is your primary source of drinking water? (post your comments below)

Sources:
1. Prescription for Nutrional Healing; Phyllis A. Balch
2. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Healing Remedies; C. Norman Shealy
3, Your Body's Many Cries for Water; Dr F. Batmanghelidj
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About the Author : Jordan Miller is the co-founder of guidinginstincts.com. He has overcome illness through dietary/lifestyle changes, and practicing a positive mindset daily. Jordan is currently learning about traditional North American medicinal herbs, in hopes of becoming a Certified Herbalist.

Let Thy Food be Thy Medicine



By Jordan Miller

It is quite evident that food plays an important role in building/maintaining a healthy mind, body and soul. As we have seen in Stop Building Disease, Dr. Thomas Lodi discusses the significance of eating the right foods in order to remain healthy and disease-free. It is clear that nutritious food is a vital element for building health, nevertheless, it is the commitment (to eating healthy) we make or rather, refuse to make, which has a greater significance.

There is certainly an abundance of wholesome food available to everyone; however, most are not willing to exercise the rather simple task of obtaining the right food because it is often “much more expensive” or it “isn’t all that appealing” (good food is much more than just “salad” or “carrots and celery”)! Don’t get me wrong, many people make an effort to practice the importance of a balanced diet, yet, (unfortunately) they are unable to stick with it because of how our society is structured today.

Regrettably, today’s society is geared around convenience. Much of the food in our grocery stores is either pre-packaged or heavily processed which completely eliminates the “inconvenience” of having to prepare a meal or eat healthy (note sarcasm). You see, we are creating a world that is becoming more reliant on convenience and less concerned about sustainability and well-being. As a result, many of our priorities get re-arranged and we end up with a society that is preoccupied mainly with greed, image, and social status. Accordingly, we are left with a nation suffering grave health and social consequences.

In order to break free of this instability, we must focus on re-aligning our priorities around health and sustainability while concentrating on the whole. We must be willing to make a collective effort in improving our environment. At the end of the day, we have to take responsibility of our actions!

An Oasis of Healing (an institute for cancer care) is a perfect example of how proper nutrition (aligned with other useful healing mechanisms) can reverse the symptoms and most times heal the body of disease . At the institute, Dr. Thomas Lodi uses nutrition and self healing to promote recovery of disease and maintenance of health. As a testament to the incredible healing powers of the body, Paul Lefebvre and Kim Davenport give us insight into how cancer can be reversed and virtually eliminated by fueling the body with proper nutrients and by eliminating the body’s exposure to toxic materials/substances.

Disease is a by-product of our very thoughts and actions. We can overcome any disease or ailment if we really try. After all, health is a choice – choose wisely.

Your question: Do you know anyone who used the healing power of food to overcome an illness? (posts your comments below)

Sources:
1. Never be Sick Again; Raymond Francis, M.Sc.
2. http://www.anoasisofhealing.com/
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About the Author : Jordan Miller is the co-founder of guidinginstincts.com. He has overcome illness through dietary/lifestyle changes, and practicing a positive mindset daily. Jordan is currently learning about traditional North American medicinal herbs, in hopes of becoming a Certified Herbalist.
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