Sunday, June 27, 2010

Joie de Vivre- delight in being alive! A Summer Meditation for All!

It's Summertime, the world is warm & green. All of Nature's verdant beauty is before us. Are we delighting in the lusciousness of living, or are we trapping ourselves in habitual dissatisfaction?

Noticing your feelings and actions, catch yourself if you tend to whine about the weather or other uncontrolable factors, like chores. Try not to overcommit yourself, making sure to slow down enough to recharge your mind and body & touch your Spirit as much as you can during these kind months.

Try to greet even the everyday chores of cooking, cleaning & yardwork with an attitude of blissful reverence. Try to touch each moment with love & a smile. Say yes to life. Embrace the Mystery and adventure of our human experiences, big and small. See radiant beauty in nature, in all things, all people, all living beings. Practice mindfulness to really take in the delicious textures, sounds, sights, tastes, emotions of each moment. Let your pallate expand, your heart expand, to see the sacred goodness in all moments. Feel connected to the Source & fabric of all being, as water is connected to a wave. We are part of the dance of life, the cosmic Spirit playfully enjoying physical manifestation through the material plane. We are here to love, to share, to learn & to enjoy Life.


Summer Meditation:
sitting outside, somewhere comfortable & undisturbed, with eyes closed begin mindfully breathing. Turn your awareness within, scanning the body without judgement, smiling Love to your whole being. Continue mindfully breathing, opening the sphere of your awareness to include the symphony of sounds around you. Mindfully breathing, smile to the whole of nature. Feel yourself as part of the Whole. Feel the blissful expansion in your heart & energy as you commune with Nature. You may keep your eyes closed or open them to a soft gaze, drinking in the richness of form, color, texture & beauty. When you feel completed, bring your palms together in loving gratitude, make a wish for all beings to share this wholeness, love and peace. Namaste.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Why we should avoid GMO's from Organic Consumers' Association

Generation Monsanto (GM) - Why We Need Labels on GM Foods Now

Gen-M, the first Monsanto Generation of humans force-fed genetically modified foods hasn't reached reproductive age yet (they were born in the late 1990s). But, if a critical mass of animal feeding studies are any indication, the millennial generation, reared on Food Inc.'s unlabeled "Frankenfoods" can look forward to a long-term epidemic of cancer, food allergies, learning disabilities, sterility, and birth defects.

Corn (85% of U.S. production is GM), soy (91% GM), cotton (88% GM), canola (85% GM) and sugar beets (95% GM) are all genetically engineered by Monsanto to withstand massive doses of the company's glyphosate herbicide RoundUp, or else to exude their own pesticide, Bacillus Thuriengensis (Bt). RoundUp, the favorite weedkiller poison of non-organic farmers and gardeners, causes brain, intestinal and heart defects in fetuses. And scientists warn that RoundUp, the most extensively used herbicide in the history of agriculture, "may have dire consequences for agriculture such as rendering soils infertile, crops non-productive, and plants less nutritious." In addition, hundreds of thousands of US dairy cows are injected with genetically engineered Bovine Growth Hormone (developed by Monsanto) in spite of studies linking BGH with cancer, and longstanding bans on the drug in the EU, Japan, Canada, and most industrialized nations.

With genetically modified foods and crops threatening public health and the environment, not to mention the next generation's reproductive capacity, why isn't there a massive consumer outcry to restrain Monsanto's biotech bullying and ban genetically engineered foods and agriculture?

The answer is disturbingly simple. Collusion between Monsanto and elected public officials (including the current Obama Administration) has obscured the fact that almost all non-organic foods in the US contain GMOs. Despite poll after poll indicating that 85-95% of US consumers want mandatory labels on foods containing GMOs, Congress has heretofore listened to Monsanto and corporate agribusiness, rather than their own constituents. In the European Union, Japan, or South Korea, where GM foods must be labeled, there are no GM foods on grocery story shelves (and little or none served in restaurants), since most consumers would not buy them and a significant number would complain if they saw GMO labels on products. Consequently there are very few GM crops being cultivated in the EU (mainly a small amount of corn in Spain for animal feed).

Most Americans simply do not understand that 80% of non-organic supermarket processed foods (basically every product containing soy, corn, canola, cottonseed oil, or sugar beet derivatives) are contaminated with GMOs. While nearly everyone in North America has eaten genetically modified foods, only 26% believe that they have.

People don't think they're eating genetically modified foods because they have no way of knowing whether they are or not. Genetically modified foods aren't labeled.

If we're going to save this generation from reproductive dysfunction and save our farmland from the ravages of RoundUp, we need to stop Monsanto.

The first step is to protect consumers' right to know whether their food is genetically modified.

We need genetically modified food labeled now!

Write your Congresspersons and 2010 candidates for the House and Senate. Tell them to support mandatory labeling of all genetically modified foods.


Baby Chicks Suffer Cruely- please sign the petition to end this needless suffering

Click on the title to link to's article on the egregious cruelties infiltrated by the group Compassion Over Killing in a California hatchery. This kind of abuse is NOT UNCOMMON in commercial hatcheries, factory farms, fur farms, slaughter houses and beyond. AND it is often defended legally as "standard practice" in the factory farm industry. WHY DO WE SUPPORT AN INDUSTRY WITH SUCH DEPRAVED AND VICIOUSLY CRUEL "STANDARD PRACTICES"?

Let us seek to end the callous bias against farm animals- all animals are beautiful sentient beings that do not want to suffer- kittens, goats, chickens, cows, pigs, horses, dogs, all alike. We can see it in their eyes. Live according to deeper truths. Don't be afraid to be different. Live from your deepest awareness and by the laws of your heart and you will be a gem in this world, a shining jewel of compassion, peace, health and an example for the next generation.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Strawberry season is here- have you been shopping the farmers markets?

This is the season of abundance!

We went to the Gloversville Farmers Market today- we saw an Irish step-dancing performance, bought Conbeer's pesticide & chemical-free strawberries, shell peas, and garlic scapes!

Saturdays, from 8-12, under the Elm Street Pavillion (between Church & Spring Streets, behind Bleeker Square) this exciting, 100% grower's market happens each week from May 1st to October 30th.

Amsterdam has two farmers markets of its own- Wednesdays from 3-6pm on Rt. 30, across from Walgreen's by the Sanford Barns, and Thursdays from 9am -12pm by the Roosevelt Apartments, across the street from the Inman Center on Guy Park Avenue.

Please support local agriculture! Without your support, without everyone's support, we are in danger of losing our precious local farms.

When you buy produce at the grocery store, it is a vote against your local farms. When you buy grocery store produce, you can't be sure always if its a GMO or not. Your grocery store veggie or fruit has probably traveled over 1,000 miles from the giant agribusiness farm to your home. If it is non-organic, it is likely to have a chemical cocktail and even sewer sludge as part of its raising. It was grown for conformity in appearance & long shelf life, picked underripe & if its not organic, it was grown in depleted soils that severly lower its nutrient content.

When you buy from your local farmers, you can ask if their corn is GM or if they use pesticides & chemical fertilizers. If you buy from local farmers, your produce travels a couple hours tops, its picked fresh that morning At the peak of its nutritional value, and its grown for flavor, not merely looks. Local family farms are local small businesses, & supporting them supports the local economy. Chemicals are expensive, so even the farmers that use them probably use far less than the agribusiness monster farms, but you can ask your farmers directly about their practices. Your food has a face- your farmer is your neighbor, they take pride in their crops & reputation for honesty. Unlike the anonymous industrial produce in the grocery store, your local farmer is held accountable for his goods, & would be embarased to sell you that tasteless, mealy knock-off tomato that the grocery store hocks.

Eating local, seasonal produce provides a socially responsible, nutritionally superior option for us all. The local farmers markets in Gloversville & Schenectady even accept EBT cards through the on-site purchasing of tokens.

When we choose to only eat local, seasonal produce, we are automatically shifted to an Earth-friendly diet filled with variety. In that variety we acheive abundant nutrition. Preserving the harvest is as easy as freezing, or for better taste, learning the old-fashioned, glorious science of canning.


Friday, June 11, 2010

51 Ways to Use Baking Soda & How Sustainable Dave Washes His Car

Baking Soda is cheap, natural, safe and able to be used in lieu of many toxic home chemicals. Be smart and don't let advertising and habits keep you stuck on products that hurt you and the Earth.

Sustainable Dave adds a nice article on washing (& not washing) your car, a funny and smart read, my Loves.

I found these on, an AMAZING SITE for simple activism, information on news you may care most to know, and more!!!!!! Please check it out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Is This Factory Farming's Tobacco Moment?

Will Allen's article on Factory Farming- Is This Factory Farming's Tobacco Moment? A good read, pass it on to those that think the standard American cheap food cancerous way if life is normal and good.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

natural method yoga- the definition

Natural Yoga- the methodology

Natural Yoga is a transformative practice that
inspires wellness and fitness in body, mind, heart
and spirit.

The four main points of Natural Yoga are listed
below. Each point builds on the last one.
Other frequent themes in class are non-judgment,
perspective, balance, compassion, choice &

Classes bring physical fitness & flexibility; meditation
via mindfulness practice; cardiovascular exercise
through deep breathing & a little mantra chanting;
& some insights and philosophy to inspire the heart.

Sadhana- living your yoga practice:

Yoga is a way of life- opening one self to the wisdom
& grace of nature, daily life and all living beings. Regular yoga
asana (pose) practice is key- once or twice a week or up to
everyday will strengthen your mindfulness and peace for life-
the ultimate yoga practice.

Mindfulness- unbiased observation of each moment:

As we practice mindfulness in yoga class & in the rest
of our life, it becomes the tool which helps us to see
the wisdom in all of our experiences. Mindfulness is crucial.

Avinabhava- we are inseparable from Nature, we are all one:

With our yoga practice & mindfulness we begin to see, feel,
know and live the truth of the inseperable, vast interconnection
that we all share. This includes our undeniable dependency on &
connection to the whole Earth as an eco-system. We are part
of the natural world, and the more our lives try to deny that truth,
the more we suffer disease & disaster. We need to live in a way
that blends sustainable & renewable resources, energy, & tech-
nology with a simpler way of life connected to nature’s rhythms,
including our diet. A whole food, plant-based (vegan) diet greatly
reduces our carbon footprint & our risk for many diseases.

Live a Love-Centered Life:

Once we realize our interconnection, we see that the happiness
of other living beings is as important as our own, it is the same. We
see their suffering as our own as well. We can make choices in life that put the welfare of the Earth first, because it will impact us all.

When we open our hearts in love to all of the joy and sorrow of life alike, we can truly live vividly. We can endure the ups & downs of life without suffering. We open ourselves up to see divine beauty everywhere, in everyone and everything.

Open, inclusive, unbounded love is ultimately what liberates us from suffering & negativity and brings us to a fulfilling life of deepest happiness, grace and joy.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Jivamukti Yoga- Be a Vegan to STOP Global Warming part 2

Part two... see previous post. on this post's title to see the video..

Jivamukti Yoga- Be a Vegan to STOP Global Warming part 1

Jivamukti Yoga shares close ties with Natural Yoga. These two videos show their Global Mala celebration, focused on a challenge to go vegan for one on this post's title to see the video..

Friday, June 4, 2010

Reading THE CHINA STUDY May Just Save Your Life!

Two years ago, dear friends of mine found out I was eating some dairy again and highly recommended that I read The China Study. I remember the strong feelings they shared about the book. I ended up turning vegan again of my own volition, and filed the book recommendation in my mind, but didn't seek it actively.

My veganism floundered & flopped in the face of 9 months of heavy nausea & strong aversions to my favorite dietary staple: beans. I drifted far and even for the first 6 months of Finn's life we've been using local cheese, milk & eggs.

I am always seeking ways to reduce our impact on the earth, so after much deliberation, we decided to go vegan again. I will share in another post the difference between "grocery store vegan" & "whole foods vegan", but we decided on a whole foods vegan lifestyle.

I finally felt the pull to read The China Study, for added inspiration. I deeply wish that I had only read it 2 years ago. It may have given me the power to have eaten even better for my baby & my self.

The China Study is loaded with the results of numerous studies, all professional and scientific, scholarly studies. Each study provides more & more weight to the theory that Western diseases (obesity, diabetes, cancer, autoimmune disorders & more) are link to animal fat and protein consumption.

The correlation was so strong between cow's milk protein consumption and tumor growth that they literally could turn tumor growth on & off like a switch by raising and lowering protein levels!

We are told meat, milk & eggs are important for our health, so how can it be that they are killing us slowly? The meat & dairy industry have BILLIONS in clout to advertise, advise government recommendations & more. Oprah Winfrey was sued by the meat industry when she did a show on factory farming & said "that's enough to keep me from eating another hamburger again", because special laws are in place to protect the beef industry from libel. That violates freedom of speech, as guarenteed by our constitution!

I have heard of people adopting an organic, wholefood vegan lifestyle, using herbs and surrounding themselves with positive people & attitudes and curing their own cancer. I have seen a video years ago about this. The China Study helps me to remember & to believe.

The China Study talks about studies and through sheer bulk of such information, it provides a startlingly strong case for at least trying a whole food, plant-based diet for a month.

Please don't take my word for it, PLEASE READ THE CHINA STUDY AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!

I will say that in switching from a vegetarian to a vegan diet, before reading The China Study I noticed that my energy is better, I feel more clean & well, and my metabolism has picked up. I am not deprived, and by eating whole vegan foods, as the book states, you can eat whenever you are hungry, you can trust your body once again.

Animal agriculuture has been around 10,000 years, but humans hae been around for 200,000 years. We ate meat at times, but a token amount compared to the Western diet now. Mostly, we ate plants. Even with animal agriculture, we ate far less of our animal products, still a mostly plant-based diet. Eating excessive animal products was a sign of affluence and was known to be extravegant. That knowledge has been buried by the powers that be.

Please read THE CHINA STUDY and decide for yourself!

The Breath


To breathe in yoga, we recognize our interconnectedness. We cannot breathe & cannot live without our connection to nature & especially plant life. As we animals inhale, we breathe in oxygen, & as we exhale carbondioxide, plant-life takes a deep breath, exhaling more oxygen. This is a basic cycle of interconnection- we need the plants, even more then they need us.

The breathing we learn in yoga is a deep, but comfortable breath. We relax the face & throat, keep the mouth closed, & breath entirely through the nose. Breath deeply and smoothly, in a natural way. Hear the subtle sound of your breath in your throat like distant ocean waves. Breathing in this way leads to relaxation, focus & rejuvenation.

We should aim to breathe fresh air fropm outdoors as much as possible, through open windows, or beong directly out in nature. We should spend a minimum of 15 minutes outside every day, even in the Winter time. Wearing sunscreen prevents us from receiving the vitamin D we need.

Yogic breathing should be done in a way that one can enjoy the scent of the air. If we are greedy & take too much air, we fill our lungs too fast, and smell nearly nothing. If we breathe too shallowly, we don't take enough air and smell nothing. If we breath gently but deeply, we can smell the freshness of the air & feel nourished.

Breathing is a physical & spiritual act when we are mindful of it. Your breath becomes mantra, a sound to focus & calm the mind.

Natural yogic breathing shouldn't only be used in yoga class, but while eating, relaxing, working- it serves us well in all of life. It helps us to experience peace, openess, strength, composure and to be present.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Yoga (reflections on what yoga is)

Yoga is trully poetic. Everything about it has both a literal & symbolic level. There is room for personal meaning, universal meaning and connection to the deepest & broadest views of our reality.

Yoga is an ever-evolving science. It is a fluid, living body of knowledge that changes as to adapt to the needs and circumstances of the practitioner. Thus, it has come from Hindu & Buddhist roots in India, originally only practiced by men, to be practiced by men, women & children of many faiths & backgrounds, all over the world.

Practicing mindfullness, especially mindfullness of the breath, is the center of it all. Slowly our attention becomes very astute, we can feel & experience everything more deeply. Life becomes sharper & more vivid. Through mindfullness we learn to slowly align ourselves in harmony with nature & our own deepest values. We have peace, contetment, fulfilment, greater love, creativity, physical & mental well-being.

Yoga is the catalyst for wholeness in life. Yoga awakens true "joie de vivre". It teaches us to be mindfull- to pay attention to the actual moment we are experiencing, instead of being washed away by mind-clutter. Then the true gems, the inspired thoughts, can shine through, and we can bask in the light of awareness truly & thoroughly savoring our blessing of life.

The stretching, the fit body it brings is a side benefit, and helps bring more health & thus more positive feelings. The confidence, strength, good posture & acceptance it fosters go even further to increase positive energy. But make no mistake, yoga truly is a mind-expanding experience, a pilgrimage. It is a way to journey, shedding the unneccesary, the meaningless, the harmful and the out-dated, finding the place within you and outside of you where only meaningful things dwell. This is a wholeness that no amount of stuff, status or credit can bring.

Yoga is only the tool, the practitioner is the artist, crafting a meaningful life through simply honoring the truth found & proved along the way.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Grocery-store Vegan vs. Whole-Food vegan

Grocery-store Vegan: Herbivore-abstaining from all animal products. Still eating produce out of season, eating highly processed meat substitutes often, and eating industrially made processed snacks & cereal bars. Synonym: junk-food vegan

Whole-food Vegan: Herbivore- abstaining from all animal products. Eats nearly 100% locally-grown in-season produce, uses whole grains & beans, rarely if ever eats industrially processed foods. Makes snacks from vegetables, whole-grains, beans & nuts, such as crunchy chickpeas, baked veggie chips & homemade crackers, hummus, and more. Doesn't depend on store bought tofu, but makes it easily in an hour per week at home (3.5 lbs from 3 cups yellow soybeans)! Doesn't buy soymilk from the store, as even organic soybeans can be GMO! Makes soymilk, or even cheaper, faster & easier, oat or other grain or nut milks. Flour, grains, beans & other staples are bought in bulk, as much as 10, 25, or 50 pounds at once to reduce negative environmental impact.
Synonym: sustainable diet, healthy diet

I know now through experience- it feels healthier, its less wasteful, its fresher, its cheap! It doesn't take much work at all! Well, it takes more work in Summer- canning & putting up food for Winter. Then all Winter cooking is all fast & convenient, unless you choose to bake or be fancy. Its living the high-life of a gourmet with out the disease or expense!