Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Rivera Runs Through It

Two years ago I started a new blog called Rivera Runs Through It where I decided I would blog about everything except the great "FOOD FIGHT". I wanted to keep these two worlds separate: my creative in one corner and my activist in another. It was a great idea at the time, and while I won't go so far as to say it has become a bad idea, I will say that it is one that is no longer serving its initial purpose.

For the past couple of months I found myself silenced in both worlds, feeling that too much of what I wanted to say lived somewhere in the middle of them. I have decided there is only one solution: unification. Since Rivera Runs Through It was created with more diversity in mind, that is where this new unification will call home. It is my hope that when I do write "Searching for Sustenance worthy" posts, I will remember to come back here to redirect you to them, however, realistically, I know me - I am going to forget.

I understand that subscribers to Searching for Sustenance may not be interested in all of the meanderings of my mind, but I thought I would announce this "official" move thereby giving you the opportunity to make that decision yourself. Here is the new About Me & This Blog page for Rivera Runs Through It. If you like what you read, I'd love to see you over there!

Thank you so much for all of your support and your reading all these years!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Seed Saving

Let's be honest here: I have no idea what I am doing. With that said, I am not going to let that stop me from trying something new.

After Hurricane Sandy hit, my brother and I had some time to see where we stand in a state of emergency. Thankfully, I didn't get to really test out my resources, because... well, with the lack of any kind of solid financial backing in the last couple of years, I have none. My brother, on the other hand, had no power for nearly a week and found out he was pretty well equipped to hang out within his condo in relative safety. His one "weak link" in his prepping was food. He had enough to sustain himself for the short term, but had no real preparation for anything long term. He decided that he would like me to be the food expert in the family. (I'm guessing that's because I have the backyard!)

Anyway, since I have already started some of the exploration in this area and I have been wanting to bring my garden to life, I figured I better take him up on this challenge this way I have someone to cheer me on when things start going right. Also, since we starting having this conversation in December and my health is crawling back to the somewhat quasi-normal, I think there is enough time to really make this happen.

I started saving seeds. (This is where the "I have no idea what I am doing," comes in). I was watching one of those prepping shows (maybe Doomsday Preppers) and there was this family that had a really great self-sustainable garden going. The kid in the family was in charge of seeds. He saved all the seeds from anything they ate so that he could plant them the following year. A couple of things passed through my mind when I read this:
  • If a kid can do it, so can I! and
  • Those seeds are FREE!!
I started researching seed saving and quickly saw how easy it was. The only problem is, I am not sure what I am doing is actual legitimate seed saving, or if my seeds will actually grow. Here's my problem: I did not have a garden this year. The seeds I am saving are from store-bought produce. I don't even know if they will germinate in the Spring. Every site that I research about seed saving only discusses saving seeds from the fruits and vegetables grown in your own garden. I've tried to see if I what I am doing will work, but I have not recieved any answers. I guess only time will tell. When it is is time to plant I will probably buy seeds also, just to make sure I have some guaranteed growers, but it would be really great if I could do this for free since funds are super low!

If you have any suggestions for where I should do my research or any tips on seed saving and growing seedlings, I'd love to hear from you in the comments!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Thank You McDonald's!

While I am a big believer in positive change coming in all sizes, I can't help but get super-excited when big moves are made in the right direction. In reading Mark Bittman's Opinionator column from yesterday's New York Times I was overcome with glee over the great news about McDonald's change in policy.

McDonald's is going to join Whole Food and Chipotle in banning the use of gestation crates for the pregnant pigs (sows) from their pork suppliers. The crates represent some of the saddest animal situations I have seen - the sows are packed individually into the crates and cannot even turn around. 
You may wonder why they've been around, or why it has taken McDonald's so long to say they are not in support of them. Well, as with almost all cruelties imposed upon this planet, it has to do with convenience and economics.However, McDonald's executives are showing evidence that there might be more to business than those two classically capitalist ideals.
“McDonald’s believes gestation stalls are not a sustainable production system for the future. There are alternatives that we think are better for the welfare of sows,” said Dan Gorsky, senior vice president of McDonald’s North America Supply Chain Management. “McDonald’s wants to see the end of sow confinement in gestation stalls in our supply chain. We are beginning an assessment with our U.S. suppliers to determine how to build on the work already underway to reach that goal. In May, after receiving our suppliers’ plans, we’ll share results from the assessment and our next steps.”
 Here's hoping that those next steps take them back to the start, just like this wonderful video from Chipotle, because, as the fourth largest employer and the number one fast food chain in the world McDonald's is one company that has far-reaching influence!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

New Year, New Body, New Technique

I know what's going on this week.

It's weight loss time!

The gyms are packed (my brother, a gym rat by nature, hates this time of year).
The diets are started.
The promises made.
Everyone is being so good.... Everyone is being so healthy...

Please try something new!
Or are they?

What's your plan? Is it the same as last year? Is it your "faithful routine" you fall back on whenever you need to shed some pounds that "works for you every time"?

I have a suggestion. In fact, it is a plea.
I want you to try something new this year.
I want you to truly look out for your health.
I want you to break this cycle, I want you to feel better and I want you to start off 2013 thinking about SOMETHING ELSE!!

This is no quick fix, but I believe it is worth the investment of your time.

The Plan

  1. Assess your current health. Do you know your numbers? Not your measurements, your really important numbers like cholesterol levels, sugar levels, and blood pressure come to mind, but also anything that may be in your family history (I've been getting an annual colonoscopy ever since I reached my 30s). How healthy are you according to those numbers? If your doctor advises that you need to be on medication, ask him/her if any lifestyle changes can help you prevent that course.
  2. Find YOUR foods. This is, to me, the most important step, but it must come second. With numbers and personal information in hand, find a nutritionist. Share your information with the nutritionist. Go through the tests for allergies and/or sensitivities to foods. Discuss your desire to lose weight and become more healthy. Be honest with him/her about your level of activity and your cooking/meal preparation habits.
  3. Learn about food. Stop eating take out. Avoid packaged food as much as possible. Prepare your own meals, read labels and start experimenting with new fun good for you food. 
  4. Be realistic about your activity. Don't run to the gym every single day this week and workout for three hours each day if that is not sustainable. Pick out something you like doing and fit it into your life. Also, be ready to be flexible. If you have decided that the spinning class at your gym is the thing you want to do, but then keep getting locked out of it because the one you can get to after work is just too packed, you should not decide that your time would be better spent at the local Carvel with a frosty chocolate shake! Be flexible about your activity and find something else to stay active with.
The Pros
  • This is a plan for YOU specifically, no one else.You know how people tend to look 1,000 times better when they are wearing an outfit that was customized for them? Imagine what a customized lifestyle does for you!
  • If followed correctly, you won't just look great, but you will feel great. Your doctors will be able to back up all the "great feelings" with good news as well. Imagine just being healthier... it is possible.
  • You will learn more about yourself, your body and the food around you. You will be empowered to make better decisions for yourself every single day. Before long all of the "adjustments" you are making will become habits and become second nature.
The Cons
  • This is a plan for YOU specifically, no one else. This is not a type-o. This is both a pro and a con. If you aren't living on your own during this transition  or tend to share meals with others most of the time, then you might find yourself in a situation where you have to eat different things than those around you (particularly if those others have found their own personal plans!).
  • You may not (initially) be a big fan of all of the parts of your personal plan. I'll be honest, when my nutritionist first suggested that I had a sensitivity to gluten, I nearly smacked her upside the head and ran for the door. However, we are not perfect, so why should our plans be? I stuck it out, tried the crazy idea for a month and, in that short amount of time, I was a converted believer. Gluten (though I miss it so) has no place in my body.
  • Not everyone will understand. "How do you do it?" they might ask. "Why don't you just cheat today?" they may tempt. However, after a couple of months of being strong, your body will tell the story for you.

There's no book for this. There's no formula or stories of how much weight was lost using this exact technique. There's no data until you try it. If you have, drop a note in the comments section about your successes, your set backs and your suggestions for others who are on the journey.

Best wishes for a happy HEALTHY new year as you search for all of your sustenance!

Further Reading

eat right. - Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Uh Oh! Eating Out Is Making The Whole World Fat  - Living Fit, Healthy and Happy
Too little protein may equal too much body fat - CNN Health
 *Have a post or article you think should be shared here? Just let me know!*

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