the TAO of CHANGE

a boots-on-the-ground view of the change that's a-foot

Archive for June, 2009

Friday, June 5th, 2009

Life is complicated. And it’s not just the big things. Things come up and maybe I give them too much thought, but I always learn something in the process.

So, here’s my little dilemma. After eliminating single-use glass or plastic drink bottles from my waste habits, I’ve become hooked on sparkling mineral water. I don’t know how it happened, but that stuff from Italy quenches my thirst like nothing else after a hot bike ride downtown.

Then reality crept in. A glass bottle filled with – water – shipped all the way from Italy – hmmm. Not in my green plan, but, oh so good. A bottle of wine or beer I can find from a local source and after discovering that I loved kombucha, I’ve started brewing my own. But this water? I just can’t come up with a solution to the bottles I am consuming almost daily.

Then yesterday, my friend turned me on to SodaStream.com – a way to turn my tap water into the sparkling stuff. I admit I was easily enthused. It not only solves my waste issue, but saves some bucks, too. I’m holding back for now because afterall, it’s a luxury “gadget” and I always question those. Hmmm. Worth the green? The last gadget I acquired – the electric teapot – has proved to be entirely worthwhile, so…

Does anyone have some advice for me?

Thanks. Tao

Average Rating: 5 out of 5 based on 179 user reviews.

Thursday, June 4th, 2009

by Greg Gillette, Glenwood Springs, CO

Speaking of refined sugar, popular “sweet tea” does not conjure up feelings of health and healing, unless we are talking about Kombucha Tea, the big wave of health that is in every health food store across the nation. Is Kombucha just another fad, or a real health elixir?

Kombucha is the real deal and a healthy and tasty drink that provides energy, many vitamins and minerals, good bacteria and enzymes for digestive health and organic acids, one of which is Glucuronic acid that aids the liver in the detoxification process. Kombucha Tea is a biological active product fermented with a living culture to become a natural living food high in enzymes. The fermentation process of Kombucha leaves it naturally sparkling and virtually sugar free.

Being in Colorado, I took the opportunity to visit High Country Kombucha, in Eagle, to see their operations and how they make the kombucha tea and all the different varieties, like Aloe, Chai Spice, Wild Root, Passion Flower, Ginger, etc.. The origins of kombucha tea is thought to have started in the Far East, as far back as two thousands years. The first recorded use was in China in 221 BC during the Tsin Dynasty.

If you want to save some money and not add more glass bottles to the waste stream, you can make your own Kombucha at home. Use organic refined (but not bleached) sugar and organic black tea, bags or loose. You are adding anti-oxidants to the process through the use of healthy green, black or white tea leaves. The kombucha culture looks like a beige or white rubbery pancake and it is often called a “scoby” which stands for symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts. The culture feeds on the sugar and black tea to create all its healthy benefits. The process is simple and you will have your kombucha to drink in 7-15 days. Visit kombuchacultures.com or organic-kombucha.com to read and see the step by step directions and/or order your kombucha culture.

Cheers!

Average Rating: 4.7 out of 5 based on 196 user reviews.

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

There are so many reasons to get a handle on your sugar consumption. Let’s review.

Refined sugar (meaning anything processed beyond it’s original, natural state) acts like a drug in the body (same goes for refined salt). When any food is processed, the molecule structure is changed. In the case of sugar, it is reduced to a free-form molecule, absorbed rapidly into the blood stream, wreaking havoc on your blood sugar regulating systems. Even small amounts, consumed regularly, can become addictive, cause mood swings, weight gain, insulin imbalance, disturbed sleep and digestion and decrease immune function.

If that isn’t enough, it has been revealed that over half of the sugar production in the U.S. comes from Beets – 90% of which are GMO crops. Medical research on genetically modified foods are showing health risks including immune function, accelerated aging, infertility and changes in major organs. Read more here.

It doesn’t mean that healthy individuals can’t handle some sweet treats. Your best choices are made from organic, non-gmo and natural sources. Think low on the vegetable food chain. Choose maple syrup or raw honey and keep in mind that some so-called, “natural” sugars have been refined more than 7 times (despite their pretty brown color). Organic fruit in it’s whole state is a wonderful in-season treat, but fruit juice is a mega-dose of “good” sugar that can still cause problems with blood sugar when consumed too often.

I’m a reformed sugar addict who knows the story. Year’s ago, I had to go cold-turkey to get my system back to normal and rid myself of exaggerated cravings. It was tough – mind over matter for the first weeks, but worth the struggle because my cravings all but disappeared. The good news is that once you get over that stage, you can most often return to indulging occasionally (a couple times/week) without upsetting your balance. When it comes to many food habits – remember it’s what you do most of the time that matters.

Average Rating: 5 out of 5 based on 166 user reviews.

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

I read Steven Kotler’s book, West of Jesus, recently (in two sittings – it was that good). No, it’s not really about Jesus or religion, but it does chronicle a spiritual journey. Although the stories of actual surfing experience are mainly a vehicle to share many other ideas, thoughts, obsessions and fears, I left the book thinking and dreaming about, yes, surfing.

Granted, I understand the allure of water sports – I was hooked on windsurfing when I lived in Seattle and Minneapolis, though never took on the big ocean waves. From what I’ve heard, surfers only know BIG and I learned a lot more about the surfer personality from this book. As often happens, when I started thinking about surfers, I started to stumble upon more surfers. And, I found that they all have a couple things in common: a certain kind of calmly energized determination – a kind of joyful willpower that sends them out, again and again, to do the “work”.

In last Sunday’s NY Times article, I read about the community of surfers spread over the West Coast who refuse to retire. It also happens to be where Surfrider Foundation, the national environmental surf group, has it’s largest chapter. With 55, 000 members nationwide, they use this same ‘don’t stop’ attitude when it comes to cleaning up the oceans they love. The favorite bumpersticker of this new/old generation of surfers? “I Surf. And I Vote.”

And I can’t help but wonder, where is our surfer spirit when it comes to changing how we live and eat and play? Where is the joyful willpower? After all, we have reached the stage where we are in a win-win situation. By changing our daily wasteful habits, we help the environment. By helping the environment, we become healthier, by becoming healthier, we become happier and all in all, rediscover our connection to nature and all it has to offer to us. Like surfing.

(photo by Nathan Smith, Surfermag.com)

Average Rating: 5 out of 5 based on 265 user reviews.



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