Thursday, April 15, 2010

What’s with all the big-kid bullies?

With all the attention surrounding the case of the South Hadley bullies (a bunch of unhappy high schoolers in Massachusetts who allegedly harassed a fellow student until she committed suicide) I suddenly realized that many in this country are being bullied by a bunch of overpaid, misinformed, unhappy grown-ups.

I won’t even dignify them by naming names. But you know of whom I write!

These people call the president names. Call liberals names. Basically, harass anyone and everyone who doesn’t believe exactly the same way they do. They whine. They spit. They make up facts to support their case, use scare tactics, and practically stomp their feet in rage.

What a bunch of bullies.

I’m an independent and often find myself sitting back, as if at a vulgar tennis match, watching verbal attacks get volleyed back and forth. And the media treats it as sport. I don’t know about you, but I’m removing myself from the stands. If we the audience stop paying attention, the media will find other stories to cover, and the bullies will sulk at home (hopefully by themselves, in a corner).

I believe in the power of words, most especially the power of positive words, and so I’ll end this blog with my Top 5 Bully-Proof Facts to keep in mind:

1. The stock market hit 11,000 recently—the first time since 2008. (This is quite an achievement considering the mess President Bush left President Obama, and this country)

2. The housing market is making a rebound—where I live, houses that are put on the market are now selling within days. (Another achievement, thanks to the lousy legacy of the previous administration)

3. We’re paying less in taxes this year—I just read an article about how Americans are paying less in taxes this year, no matter what certain groups would have you believe. (Facts, anyone?)

4. All American are going to have health insurance—come on, how can anyone seriously have a problem with making sure every single American receives proper health care? (If they do have a problem with it, perhaps they're not Americans . . . where are their birth certificates?)

5. We’re getting greener—I see more hybrids on the road, more cloth bags being used in grocery stores, more organic cotton clothing options in retail stores, more eco construction happening . . . basically, more hope for the future. ("Hope"—now that's a four-letter-word the bullies don't have in their limited vocabulary)

It’s a beautiful world, and we don’t have enough time on earth to distract ourselves with stinking thinking. The bully negativity and hatred will eventually do them in—as they say, those that live by the sword, die by the sword. I wish for them a change of heart, and to know the power of hope and happiness.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Ready for the Food Revolution?

Forget the “War on Obesity.” There’s already a “War on Healthy Eating.” As a soldier for truth and tofu, I know of what I speak: I take the shots every day for the good and good-for-me food I eat (and enjoy).

And now, as a Mom, I take the shots for the nutritious, but apparently not “normal,” food I feed my daughter, like quinoa porridge. Processed chicken fingers are fine (says society), but an ancient grain that’s high in calcium and protein is highly suspect. Where are our priorities?

I do my homework. I read labels. I ask questions. I won’t settle. And, because of that, people around me think it’s okay to belittle me for feeding my daughter what is, essentially, real food. I honestly get asked questions like, “But you let her eat sugar, right?” And my daughter is not even one year old, yet.

Of course I don’t let her eat sugar! I am her parent, and I’m setting her up for a (long) lifetime of good health and good eating habits. It’s not always easy, but it’s always right.

I’ve been a vegetarian for 20 years, and a vegan for the last few, and I also eat a mostly organic, raw diet. Frankly, I’m tired of the abuse. As those around me get more and more obese and unhealthy, their attacks on my lifestyle now feel like desperate attempts to distract from the real issue: Eating unhealthy food is (get ready for it) unhealthy.

There are no two ways around it.

So, what is it about food? Why is it as bloody a battlefield as politics and religion? When I became a vegetarian, many of my relatives were upset. Upset? That I choose not to eat meat? That I care about other living things? That I want only what’s best to go into my body? What does that have to do with you?

I’ve come to understand that people are intimidated by change, never more so than when faced by change at the dinner table. Read Dr. Kessler's The End of Overeating, and you’ll see that it’s more than just all in our heads—it’s all in our society (and product marketing), too. But it is possible to buck the (sick) system, and make better choices . . . and to enjoy those choices, too.

Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution is a brilliant television show about just that. This show is on ABC Fridays at 9:00pm. This new series is “about how families eat, what kids get at school and why the diet of processed food and snacks is causing so many health and obesity problems.”

Sure, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution a reality show (of which I’m not a big fan) but I’m so in love with the concept of revolutionizing the way Americans eat, that I’m willing to overlook a little creative editing and product placements.

British chef Jamie Oliver is known around the world for his back-to-basics approach to truly yummy cuisine; if you’ve ever seen his cooking show, you’ll know he tends to cook with ingredients he plucked himself from his garden. I like that.

I watched the premier of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and am rooting for Jamie and his quest. I’m also in a state of panic over the highly processed crap that serves as “food” in many American schools. As far as nutrition goes, our school system currently earns an F. Here’s hoping that, once the Food Revolution erupts, we’ll be on our way to that A. And while that might never include quinoa porridge, I am hoping it means a lot fewer chicken fingers.

Go Jamie—If your revolution needs a cheerleader, I'm here!

P.S. If you support Jamie's mission, sign this petition that Jamie hopes to take to the White House after the TV series airs, to show The President and First Lady how many people across the country really care about this and ask for their support.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Is your mind like concrete?

While enjoying a walk this beautiful, blue-skied morning, I passed a business with a sign out front that said this: Some minds are like concrete: all mixed up and permanently set.

The idea accurately describes so many people . . . many in politics.

If you’re reading this blog, I have a feeling your mind isn’t anything like concrete. I certainly hope my mind isn’t! I follow an organic, vegan, mostly-raw-food diet; I exercise 6 days a week; and I'm totally green, which easily puts me in the "alternative lifestyle" category. In addition, I’m always open to new ideas and actually think it’s okay to be proven wrong from time to time (whenever that happens, it reminds me that my mind isn’t concrete).

Earlier today, before my walk, I stumbled on someone else’s blog . . . someone else who just happens to share my same name. It seemed like fate that I found it as Kristyn is currently embracing “the importance of organic food, exercise and spiritual well being.” Unfortunately, Kristyn’s enlightenment comes as a result of her husband's recent cancer diagnosis.

I can’t tell you how many people I know, some personally, who turned to my so-called alternative lifestyle after receiving an identical or similar diagnosis. Something has got to change.

Did you know that most Doctors take one—just one!—nutrition course during their schooling? And most harbor very antiquated views about the relationship between diet and health. Talk about concrete thinking. And we entrust our health to these people.

I subscribe to the idea of farmacies, not pharmacies. Food is the most powerful drug there is. And so I’m sending out my best positive thoughts to the other Kristyn Miller and her husband and children . . . and, Kristyn, if you need me to send any tried-and-true vegan recipes along with those positive thoughts, just let me know! I can be reached at info at

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Should you really be thanking “G” it’s Friday?

There’s only one food group that shouldn’t have to provide its nutritional information: Everything Mother Nature herself creates.

A peach, for instance, doesn’t offer enough real estate on its blushing backside for the 4-1-1 on how many calories it contains; it also doesn’t need to list its ingredients because, well, it’s a peach.

Providing nutritional information should be mandatory for everything Mother Nature does not create (and which, in most cases, involves men wearing hair nets and even beard nets . . . and chemicals, preservatives, fillers, and other nasty science experiments).

In the eye-opening, stomach-turning expose, The China Study, you’ll learn how the food industry works hard to make what we eat less healthy and more desirable (there’s even a revelation about how fast-food chains “pre-chew” their meat . . . gag).

So when I read this MSN article on America's Unhealthiest Restaurants, I couldn’t believe that Applebee’s, IHOP, Outback, and T.G.I. Friday’s still don’t provide the nutritional information on the “food” they serve.

Come on, guys, what are you hiding?

And come on, consumers, why are you putting up with this?

You are what you eat and if you choose to spend your money at a fast-food joint, at least respect yourself by ordering the healthiest thing on the menu. Remember, a garden salad doesn't always come out of a garden.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Do you think Kris Carr would ever read this blog?

To the witty, wild, and oh-so-wise Kris Carr:

This past Friday, I had my own miracle on the Hudson—on the Hudson River Valley, that is. I walked into a veg café in Woodstock, NY for a late lunch with the family and saw . . . you.

Did you experience the thrill of time standing still? Probably not. But, let me tell you, it did, and it was so cool.

You, champion of the Crazy Sexy Life, are one of the greatest teachers and cheerleaders of my crazy sexy life.

It’s because of you that I have a Vita-Mix blender and a Breville juicer (go green juice!). It’s because of you that I transitioned from vegetarian to partly-raw-food vegan (oh, yeah, I survived a detox with Natalia Rose). It’s because of you that I have a stack of books about healthy living on my nightstand (I just finished The China Studywow). And, most importantly, it’s because of you that I take the time, often, to appreciate all the awesome gifts I have in my life: beautiful baby (about to celebrate her first birthday on Earth Day!), terrific guy, amazing parents, great friends, and my dream job (freelance writer).

I’ve watched your documentary, Crazy Sexy Cancer, a handful of times and I always laugh, cry, and learn something new that improves my life. How do you thank someone for that? I don’t think you can, but the way I try is to share your inspirational story and kick-ass attitude with as many people as possible.

It would have been great to tell you all of this in person, but I’m shy . . . and I also didn’t want to interrupt your lunch (how rude!). And so I hope this posting somehow makes it way to you—maybe, just maybe, time will stand still again when it does.

Sending peace, love, and veggies to you,

P.S. During the drive to Woodstock, Mark and I were talking about how Food Network needs to include a show about healthy eating that celebrates the many pleasures of that lifestyle. “Of course, Kris Carr would make the best host,” I said. “She’s passionate, educated, and utterly motivating.” The current exploitation of a high-fat, high-sugar, high-salt, animal-based diet is truly (and literally) sickening. 30-Miracle Meals instead of 30-Minute Meals? Surely, this country is hungry for the change.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Just what is a "good night's sleep"? Hint: It starts with an organic mattress.

Aah, a good night's sleep.

This was something I certainly didn't appreciate until I welcomed my baby daughter into the world back on Earth Day (yes, she was actually born on Earth Day!). Since her birth, I've slept straight through the night a total of . . . two times.


While I'm up at all the wee hours, my daughter has been sleeping through the night (in her all-organic crib, naturally) since she was three months old. It must be the "new mom" in me that continues to wake up to check on her.

Anyway, since I've been up a lot more during the night, I've been spending many more awake hours in bed, and I've come to appreciate my organic mattress even more than I did before.

I bought mine from The Clean Bedroom last year, and I love it. That's also where I bought my daughter's eco crib, organic crib mattress, and organic bedding. The Clean Bedroom does extensive research and only recommends the best organic mattresses and eco accessories.

After reviewing all our options, Mark and I chose The Green Sleep, and we couldn't be happier with this European-designed bed and its organic cotton velour cover quilted with wool and silk, its genius dowel foundation, and its two sleeping zones (which is especially nice as I don't wake up Mark if I happen to be tossing and turning).

The Clean Bedroom's showroom is close to us, in Kittery, Maine, but the company also has a fantastic website (which often runs great sales on its organic mattresses and organic bedding). In addition, the answer to any question you might have about cleaning and greening up your own bedroom is literally just a phone call away (866-380-5892).

As we approach the holiday season, give yourself the gift of good health with an organic mattress. Sleeping without exposure to toxins, chemicals, and airborne allergens is certainly one way to guarantee 2010 will be better than 2009. At least, I hope I get more sleep in the New Year.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Are your cleaning products making you sick?

Brace yourself.

The conventional products we’ve been using to clean our homes are, themselves, rather dirty. Typical household cleaners—from laundry detergent to glass cleaner—traditionally have a number of toxic ingredients like mutagens, neurotoxins, and hormone disrupters.

Read the label and you’ll probably see red flag words like “Caution” and “Poison”; you’ll also find some products don’t disclose their ingredients, which makes you wonder what the manufacturers are hiding. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a term for the 1.6 million tons of common household product waste tossed into landfills every year: “household hazardous waste.”

We’ve always known housework wasn’t fun, but hazardous?

The EPA has a suggestion: Try alternative products when available. Green household cleaners are now easy to find. Big retailers like Target and Wal-Mart Stores sell eco supplies as do many chain grocery stores and every local health food store. In other words, there’s no excuse for adding to the household hazardous waste problem.

Here are a few of my favorite ways to clean green:

Sun & Earth Deep Cleaning Laundry Detergent
As the name implies, this product has a “deep cleaning” formula that’s tough enough to stand up to your worst stains, yet gentle enough for baby’s clothing and people with sensitive skin. It’s hypoallergenic, biodegradable, non-toxic, and free of allergens, dyes, perfumes, and petroleum-based solvents.

Seventh Generation Liquid Dish Soap
Washing dishes will never become one of life’s greatest pleasures, but it will come as close as possible with this dish soap, available in a number of delightful scents. It’s biodegradable, plant-based, packaged in recyclable bottles made partially from post-consumer plastic, and never tested on animals.

Ecover Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Cleaning the toilet isn’t enjoyable but at least you can enjoy knowing that you’re not harming Mother Earth. The process itself isn’t exactly a walk in the park, but this cleaner’s pine-fresh scent makes it somewhat like taking a hike in the woods.

Caldrea Window Spray
You can have clean, streak-free mirrors and windows without using harsh ammonia. Caldrea does a fantastic job (be sure to clean with a lint-free, reusable cloth) and comes in a number of pleasing scents that will have you almost looking forward to washing the windows.

Shaklee's H2 Organic Super Concentrated Cleaner
This nontoxic, natural, double concentrated, and biodegradable product is a super powerful and versatile cleaner. "Use a couple of drops of this, and it's amazing," Oprah Winfrey says of H2 on "You can clean the windows. You can clean the counters. You can clean everything!" Need we say more?

This list is just the beginning. You can (and should) stock your cleaning supply cabinet with all green supplies. Mother Earth, and your family, will thank you.

By the way, I was inspired to write this post when I read this article in my paper about how employees of a local company got sick simply unloading a truck carrying conventional cleaning products.

Question of the blog: How are you approaching spring cleaning?