By Josephine Balzac, Esq., LL.M.
A recent meeting with Samadhi Artemisa has elevated me to explore healthier food options on a level that I never thought was possible. Being a lawyer with a Masters of Law in International Environmental Law, I have an in depth knowledge of environmental laws and food laws. However, this abundance of information can be both a blessing and a curse. Everywhere I turn I encounter toxic chemicals, unsafe ingredients, polluted air, water, and soil, GMOs, and highly processed “fake” food. It’s difficult to not get overwhelmed about what to eat and drink, especially with misleading labels and claims made on food.
Over the past couple of years I began speaking and educating about environmental and food law issues that we experience on a regular basis. But I realized that I couldn’t just talk the talk, I had to walk the walk and lead not only myself, but others to a healthier life. So the journey has begun focusing on mind, body, and soul. The first step to a healthier body was to adopt Hippocrates dictum “let thy food be thy medicine, thy medicine be thy food.” I became conscious of the fact that I never listened to my body and usually ate for taste and not for nutritional value. Although I was eating and getting full, I was still malnourished. So everything changed, processed food, fast food, fried foods, refined white sugar, dairy, starches, etc. were all out the door.
Although I was on the right track, meeting with Samadhi opened my eyes to a whole new world. She inspired me to take further action in creating my own foods with raw ingredients and empowered me to take control of what I put in my mouth and focus on what my body needs. It was a back to basics natural approach and exactly the extra push I needed to embark on this healthy adventure. During our meeting, I learned some great tips that I am compelled to share with you.
Tip #1: Dairy Alternative – Make it yourself!
As I no longer eat dairy, I have been experimenting with dairy alternatives such as almond milk, rice milk, and coconut milk. However, I explained to Samadhi how I hated all the processing and chemicals used to make these products. She simply tells me, “Make it yourself.” I was dumbfounded by her obvious response that I never thought of. She gave some simple recipes for cashew milk (the easiest), almond milk, and coconut milk. I have said goodbye to the milk in a box and now make it in my blender.
Tip#2: Make soup in layers and freeze it!
Eating a mostly vegetarian diet, soups are essential for me. I learned that I needed to make soup in layers, starting with the hardest root vegetables first. The secret is putting a big chunk of peeled ginger and cutting slits into it, to make a great tasting broth. Make a huge pot of soup, by spending a little more time chopping veggies and freeze the rest in glass mason jars (no plastic – that’s another blog). That way you can always have lunch or dinner in a flash.
Tip#3: Buy organic produce in season and support local!
I have always preached that there is an unequal access to healthy foods. Buying organic, non-GMO can be more expensive; however, paying a higher price for organic is worth it to me. I would rather spend money on my health and well being, than on fancy material things that I don’t need. Samadhi taught me that we can actually save money buying organic, if we buy in season because they are inevitably less expensive. When organic strawberries are cheap, buy them in bulk and freeze the rest. That way I don’t spend an arm and a leg making my morning smoothies. Also, buy produce and ingredients from your local farmers and local health food stores. In essence get your blueberries and peaches directly from the farmers. What a great way to spend the day with your family and friends picking fresh fruit and vegetables.
Tip#4: Cook at home and don’t eat out!
The only way to truly know what you are eating is if you cook it yourself. I strongly urge people to read labels and know the nutrients and ingredients that they are eating. I try to stay away from anything with more than a few ingredients, especially a chemical name, that I cannot pronounce. But when we still have a government that doesn’t require the labeling of GMOs, or define the term “natural”, or require restaurants to provide nutrition and ingredient information, then the truth is you will never know the truth. The only way to avoid, high fat, high calorie, high sugar, high sodium, chemicals, and processed foods, etc. is to cook it yourself with fresh, natural, and healthy ingredients.
Since meeting with Samadhi, I have been incorporating these simple but extremely important tips into my nutritional journey. These tips have opened my mind to all the other types of foods I can create from scratch in my kitchen. Most importantly I now know I am in control and the power is my hands to become a healthier happier person!
If you’d like more health tips, check out Samadhi’s book, Healthy Eating, Healthy Living, Healthy You.
Josephine Balzac, Esq., LL.M. – is a licensed attorney admitted to the Florida Bar and the U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida. She is the Chief Environmental Officer for the EarthWeb Foundation, Inc. Ms. Balzac is actively involved in the environmental community, frequently educating on environmental issues, including food safety, clean water, climate change, sustainable development, and social justice issues. She can be reached at email@example.com
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