The Right to Know the Impact of What’s in Our Food

The Right to Know the Impact of What’s in Our Food

We all have the right to food! We also have the right to know the definition of food, the purpose of food, and the impact of each of the ingredients in our food. For that, we need to be educated—most likely, self-educated.

Food, noun is defined as:

  1. material consisting essentially of protein, carbohydrate and fat used in the body of an organism to sustain growth, repair, and vital processes and to furnish energy
  2. nutriment in solid form (more or less solid nourishment, as distinguished from liquids)
  3. something that nourishes, sustains or supplies

Source: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/food

 Nourish, verb is defined as:

  1. nurture; rear
  2. to promote the growth of
  3. to furnish or sustain with nutriment: FEED

Source: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/nourish

What should we be feeding ourselves and our families to ensure optimal health?

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025, presents overall guidance in choosing nutrient-dense food and beverages in place of less healthy choices.  The guidelines recognize that individuals ultimately decide what and how much to consume. However, it also states that health professionals, communities, businesses and industries, government and other segments of society all have a role to play in supporting individuals and families in making choices that align with the Dietary Guidelines and ensuring that all people have access to a healthy and affordable food supply.¹ 

Some nutrient-dense foods, like fruit, have a sweet taste and also contain fiber which we need. However, highly processed foods and added sugar are not nutrient-dense and are not part of a healthy lifestyle.

Danger in our Food

Harvard Health published an article titled “The Sweet Danger of Sugar” in November 2019. It said that too much added sugar can be one of the most dangerous threats to cardiovascular disease. Added sugar is sugar that manufacturers add to products to enhance flavor or extend shelf life. The article went on to say that in the American diet, the top sources are soft drinks, fruit drinks, flavored yogurts, cereals, cookies, cakes, candy and most processed foods.²

Even though there are more and more studies on the danger of sugar, you will find it in many items on grocery store shelves. The World Health Organization is challenging us to eat no more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar per day. Could you imagine putting 6 teaspoons of added sugar into your mouth each day? Even that seems like a lot!

Sugar conversion:

1g = 4 calories

4g = 1 tsp

12g = 1 tbsp

According to Eric Edmeades, designer of The Immunity Blueprint, sugar stimulates appetite and suppresses the immune system. It is a leading cause in today’s Diabesity epidemic in the United States. Added sugar has been linked to a number of health issues including: diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, dementia and even cancer. If you think that artificial sweeteners are a good substitute, think again. Dr. Marlene Merritt, author of Smart Blood Sugar, says most artificial sweeteners, such as Aspartame, are nothing more than toxic junk.

If you really want that sweet taste, Healthy Keto Expert, Dr. Eric Berg, DC, recommends “good sweeteners” such as:  Xylitol (non-GMO), Erythritol (non-GMO), Stevia and Monk Fruit.³ He also suggests the herb gymnema for those who need help to control sugar cravings.⁴

Interesting to note, the United States spends more on healthcare per capita (per person) than any other country in the world⁵ yet the US does not even rate in the top 10 healthiest countries.⁶ These are clear indications that something needs to change.

What actions can we take?

Read the labels! Educate yourself on the ingredients in the food you are consuming.

In summary, 1. know the purpose of food: to nourish an organism in order to sustain life. 2. consume nutrient-dense foods (if possible, work with a nutritionist to come up with the best plan for you or check with your PCP) 3. do your best to eliminate added sugar and artificial sweeteners from your diet. AND, 4. help educate others to do the same.  

Take responsibility for your nourishment. Contribute to a more healthy, free world for us all.

 

References:

¹https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/sites/default/files/2020-12/DGA_2020-2025_ExecutiveSummary_English.pdf

²https://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-added-sugar-who-six-teaspoons-per-day-20140305-story.html#:~:text=The%20World%20Health%20Organization%20is%20challenging%20you%20to,daily%20calories%20come%20in%20the%20form%20of%20sugar.

³https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jROu0Mo3A9M&t=23s

https://www.drberg.com/blog/gymnema-herb-the-best-herb-for-sugar-and-carb-cravings

https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/countries-with-the-highest-healthcare-expenditures-in-the-world.html

https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/10-healthiest-countries-in-the-world.html#:~:text=1%20Spain%20is%20considered%20to%20be%20the%20healthiest,in%20the%20country%20during%20the%20past%20several%20years.

 

Disclaimer: This blog page and website are for educational and general informational purposes only. It should not be used to self-diagnose and is not a substitute for a medical exam, cure, treatment, diagnosis, prescription or recommendation. Always seek the advice of a qualified health provider with any questions you have regarding a medical condition or changing your health regimen or diet.

The Right to Health and Well Being

The Right to Health and Well Being

Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Article 25: The Right to Health and Well Being

    • “Everyone has the right to a standard of living¹ adequate for the health² and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
    • Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.”

There is so much packed in this particular UDHR Article that it is difficult to address all in a short blog. This blog will touch on pieces of the Right to Health.

Merriam-Webster defines health as the condition of being sound in body, mind, or spirit; freedom from physical disease or pain; a condition in which someone or something is thriving or doing well².

If we can agree that there are 3 parts to a human being–body, mind and spirit–then, in order to have true healthcare or healing, we would need to consider and address all the parts–the whole–in any medication, treatment or therapy prescribed.

Some things to look at:

    • Are your medical care providers addressing you and/or your family members as whole human beings—body, mind, and spirit?
    • Is your current treatment or therapy getting to the source of the illness or injury resulting in true healing and you thriving and doing well?
    • Do you find yourself going deeper and deeper into the medical system (one doctor after another) or are you healed and thriving?
    • What kinds of things are you putting into your body, mind and spirit? Are they promoting health and healing or are they covering up symptoms, or worse, destructive?
    • Are you surrounded by people who build you up or people who have ways of nullifying³ you–making you feel smaller?
    • What changes do you need to make or actions do you need to take for you to thrive and do well?

Take time to answer the questions above and decide how much responsibility you are willing to take for your own health.

Another key point to consider about health is a famous quote by Greek physician, Hippocrates, “Let food be thy medicine and let medicine be thy food.” Not only does everyone have the right to food but the right to nutritious food so we are able to maintain healthy bodies and minds.

This quickly leads into the need to keep our environment clean (air, water and soil). Without nutrient-dense soil that is free from toxic pesticides and insecticides, our foods have little chance of being “medicine”. Organic foods tend to be more expensive, hence, the standard of living adequate for the health of self and family rises. However, one could argue that if nourishing foods are going into the body, it would reduce the high cost of medical care on the back end.

There is clearly plenty of work to do to bring this human right to life and make a fair and free world for us all. How do you want to help?

¹Standard of living – Standard of living refers to the material basis of well-being, which is reflected in a person’s consumption level. Standard of living of an individual or group of individuals is determined by their access to resources, which comprise of both cash and non-cash income. https://www.grossnationalhappiness.com/9-domains/standard-of-living-and-happiness/
²The derivation or origin of ‘health’ is before 1000; Middle English helthe, Old English hǣlth. See hale, whole, from dictionary.com
³Nullify – to make null, to make of no value or consequence. invalidate or cancel the effectiveness of something; to deprive of effective or continued existence. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/nullify

Post By:  Ellen Firestone

What Does it Take to Live the Pledge?

What Does it Take to Live the Pledge?

Do you remember back in grade school when we started our day with the Pledge of Allegiance? With right hand over heart, we recited this pledge every day while admiring our Flag. I remember feeling very proud but not sure I truly understood what I was actually pledging OR, that someday it might take something more than words to fulfill the pledge–it might require action.

My son said the same pledge when he was in school and my nieces still say it today.

I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, Indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for All.

So, what did that actually mean? And, more importantly, did we really mean it?

Pledge: to promise solemnly.¹

Allegiance: devotion or loyalty to a person, group or cause.²

Republic: a state in which the supreme power rests in the body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by representatives chosen directly or indirectly by them.³ 

Indivisible: not divisible; not separable into parts; incapable of being divided.⁴

Liberty: freedom from arbitrary or despotic control. Power of Choice.⁵  

Justice: the administration of law, especially the establishment or determination of rights according to the rules of law or equity.⁶ 

All: Everybody, Everything.⁷

Most of us have probably rarely considered the possibility of losing the liberties we’ve been so fortunate to have in the United States of America.  

If we truly pledge this allegiance (promise to be loyal to the cause), we need to be highly aware of decisions and events happening in our own country and around the world so as to prevent the slow encroachment and violation of our human rights and liberties.

We can begin by knowing our 30 Universal Human Rights and make sure others know them as well.

Freedom is not free. It comes with responsibility.  The Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 21, Section 3 states: The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government. Our responsibility does not end with a vote. Another action you can take is to continuously use your voice effectively with your Congress people.

Know Your 30 Human Rights. Live the Pledge. The power is in you!

Post By:  Ellen Firestone

What if We Truly Achieved the Full Development of the Human Personality for Everyone?

On December 10, 1948, 56 member countries of the United Nations came together and adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

This Declaration contains 30 separate articles or “Rights” that we all have simply by the fact of being born. We do not have to earn them; no one has to give them to us—they are ours.

In my opinion, it is an amazing, well thought out document. Even more amazing to me was that 56 countries came together in response to the atrocities of World War II and agreed on something that is so critical for all human beings to be able to live with dignity in peace and tolerance on this tiny planet.

There is a particular line or theme that was repeated in 3 of the 30 rights that stood out to me in Articles 22, 26 and 29 having to do with the “free and full development of the human personality”. Hmmmm. How do we achieve this? What does it really mean? What makes it so important to be repeated 3 times?

Article 26, Right to Education, specifically states: 2. Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.

Unfortunately, most people I’ve come in contact with over the past decade have not even heard of the UDHR and can name only a handful of the 30 human rights. So, even though we have this great document and did the hard work of having many countries agree on something, it is still not being taught or executed broadly enough. Hence, many continued horrific human rights violations.

My question is: what makes the free and full development of the human personality so important and how do we achieve it?

It was important enough to mention in 3 separate articles and yet I don’t see it being actively pursued by many individuals, schools or organizations.

I recently did a survey and one of the questions was did you learn this human right in school? Another was, did anyone ever talk to you about having a Basic Purpose while you were in school? There were very few who responded yes.

Great writers and philosophers have been teaching the concept of Know thyself for millennia.

Know thyself. – Socrates

Do thine own work, and know thyself. – Plato

Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom. – Aristotle

Man know thyself; then thou shalt know the Universe and God. – Pythagoras

Be yourself; not your idea of what you think somebody else’s idea of yourself should be. – Henry David Thoreau

In 1831, Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote a poem titled, ‘Know Thyself’, on the theme of ‘God in thee.’ The poem was an anthem to Emerson’s belief that to “know thyself” meant knowing the God that Emerson felt existed within each person. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Know_thyself

How much time and attention do any of us really put on knowing ourselves, our basic purpose, and achieving our full potential? What could the world look like if we did something to change that?

Not only would individuals be more alive and happier, the world would be more beautiful and peaceful. We would actually care for each other, our organizations and our environment.

It does make a lot of sense, like this human right states, for Education to be directed to the full development of the human personality. Once we reach adulthood, many of us lead very busy lives with lots of distractions and simply do not take the time to discover who we are or what our purpose may be or even acknowledge that we have greater potential than we probably could ever imagine.

The truth is, it is never too late to find and start living your purpose. The key is to set some time aside in your daily or weekly plan for discovery, find a coach or process that works for you. Then set some goals to consistently work on achieving your basic purpose and full potential.

The Persian poet, Rumi once said, “As you start to walk on the way, the way appears.” This has certainly been my experience. The secret is to simply start.

It’s time to bring this human right to life!

Post By:  Ellen Firestone

Where Does Peace Begin?

Where Does Peace Begin?

Each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on September 21st. The United Nations’ General Assembly declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, through observing 24 hours of non-violence and cease-fire.

Is peace simply the absence of war and violence? Or, do each of us contribute to peace every day of our lives?
On Saturday, September 19th, I made a trip to the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania to visit my family. I decided to stop at the local mall prior to arriving at my parent’s house. It was a beautiful Saturday with lots of people enjoying a day of shopping with family and friends which suddenly crashed to fear and chaos.

I was inside Macy’s looking at some clothing when I heard what sounded like a stampede and kids screaming. I looked up and saw a bunch of high school kids running so thought they were messing around. Then more and more people were running and someone yelled “Get out, get out someone has a gun.” My first thought was is this for real? Obviously, there was no time for analysis and I just ran to the nearest exit (with the suit jacket still on that I was trying), hopped in my car and quickly drove away. As I was leaving the parking lot, I saw a few police cars entering and then realized this is for real.

Thankfully the news report the next day was that no one was physically harmed—4 rounds shot inside the mall, but no one hurt. However, there were photos of children crying and stories of people hiding until police came to escort them out. Some of the emotional harm was traumatic. The terror and chaos created at that place and time was definitely not a contribution to peace.

We may not be on the top governmental lines to stop wars but we can certainly be responsible for our own inner peace and peace in our communities.

Where does peace begin? It starts with the thoughts we think and words we speak and actions each of us takes. True peace does not come in a pill or a bottle.

Serenity is defined as the state of being calm, peaceful or untroubled. We can work on that each moment for ourselves and our families and contribute to peace in the larger world. We either cause peace or we cause something else.

The short answer is, Peace begins with you and me.

“It isn’t enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isn’t enough to believe in it. One must work at it.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Post By:  Ellen Firestone