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

by Tao Oliveto, post-Brattleboro, VT

I sometimes enjoy good coffee, but I’m not a caffeine addict. I love the IDEA of coffee – the smell, the ritual of the morning brew, the little cup that espresso is served in, the foam on capuccino, the taste of a soy latte. And I LOVE that coffee drinkers can support the hard-working coffee farmers by purchasing through a Fair Trade network.

I enjoy the buzz, too, but not in that “I gotta have it” way. I drink caffeine occasionally enough that it takes only a small amount to get my recreational “high” and I use it and like it that way.

For my daily “energize me” boost, I rely on GREEN stuff. Although I don’t savor it like I would a cup a joe, I look forward to my daily drink of powdered green vegetables. I eat it real and raw whenever possible, but drinking the supplemental version every day is the way I know I’m getting enough of the good stuff. I’ve used many varieties over the years. Right now, my favorite is Perfect Food by Garden of Life.

On my second day driving back from VT, I was succumbing to that scary-sleepy feeling that you sometimes get behind the wheel. I stopped and walked the dogs around, but that only helped temporarily. I heard that “i need coffee” voice in my head, but instead, I pulled out a few stalks of the Vermont kale that I bought the day before.

I guess I shouldn’t have been so surprised, but I admit I was when it seemed to work quickly. I chomped away, and 15 minutes later, I felt wide awake and energized. My belly felt good. My mouth felt clean. I felt hydrated.

As the miles rolled on, I started thinking about how often we turn to not so healthy substances and/or drugs to feel how we want to, or need to feel, without stopping to consider the obvious health benefits of clean, real food. The human body is amazingly capable of functioning, healing and regaining balance – even after we’ve used and abused it. Although natural foods like coffee and chocolate are one of the pleasures of life in moderation, before you reach into the medicine chest, honestly and courageously consider these questions:

Are you eating in a truly healthy way – with only occasional indulgences?
Are you exercising and destressing all parts of your body daily – muscles, spine, organs and brain?
Are you open, curious and loving in your relationships?
Are you engaged in a purpose outside of yourself?

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