Almost born on the Brooklyn Bridge, salvaged in Manhattan, and raised on the Brooklyn side. Sounds like a punk rocker was born, but it was the life beginning of this week’s guest, Samuel Robinson. Sam is a Green Living Consultant, Horticulturalist, Sculptor and blogger. He is the modern day Johnny Appleseed, as he cruises around the streets of NYC in his 1961 Willys Farm Jeep, distributing plant seeds and spreading the green message across the urban landscape. Sam is working on bio-remediation projects to help clean the water in the Gownaus Canal, which has turned into a toxic brew over the last several decades. We all need to take action and let our elected officials know that green spaces and clean waterways will improve the quality of life in the city, and legislation is needed to do that. If Paris can go green, NYC can go green. For more information go to greenwoodrobinson.com
It’s summer time, which means that your inner zen takes control, and dreams of lush green forests, cool lakes, warm oceans and tropical gardens become reality. Be a sustainable citizen, consider the environment, and tool around in an electric car. While camping, keep the bugs away with natural herbal products. Join me and my guests this week, Rusti (Paula) Wolintz, realtor extraordinaire, BFF and electric car owner to be. Bonnie Rogers, expert herbalist and founder of Bonnie’s Herbals, and Brian Horowitz, my co-host today, who is the host of The Rock and Roll History Show. Our discussion takes us from consumer concerns about plug-in vehicles to how lavender can keep mosquitos away. For more information, go to bonniesherbals.com, electric-vehiclenews.com, and rvvagabond.com.
By Susan Lutz
In 2005, my second child was born with Down syndrome. He underwent surgery on the third day of his life to untangle a defective digestive tract. Without the surgery, he would not live. I knew organic food and lots of exercise would have to be the huge part of his recovery, growth, and development. To believe in this principle was one thing – to implement quite another.
After discovering the benefits of breast-feeding with my first child, I pumped breast milk for my son, freezing the colostrum and bringing fresh bottles to the hospital every day. He received the milk from a drip in the NICU until he was able to eat on his own. After a few weeks in intensive care, an ultrasound exposed two cysts on his bile ducts. Left untreated, the doctor said, the cysts most likely would turn cancerous. As the surgeon drew me a picture what and where bile ducts were, she apologized and said, “I’m sorry, but he’ll need surgery again.” All I heard was a voice in my head that said, No he will not.
Through the years, I traveled between different paths in search of a healthier life. I figured I could get by with a “pretty-good-kind-of” healthy life. There was always room for beer and chocolate and if in small enough quantities, just about every other unhealthy food choice. My first child changed all that. Not long after her teeth came in, I noticed brown spots: rapid, fast-growing tooth decay. I took her to acupuncture. In our sessions, the acupuncturist talked about diets. It was the first time I’d ever heard of the terms alkaline, acid, and ash in the context of our bodies. He said if my daughter’s body changed to alkaline, the carries couldn’t survive.
I went and bought my first juicer – determined to make a difference without the invasive use of surgery. I doubled the amount of organic greens and found creative ways to hide celery, parsley, and kale in smoothies. After a few years, my daughter’s adult teeth came in straight, white, and free of cavities.
Believing my son’s cysts were going to go away amounted to nothing unless I took action. I searched for an alternative doctor, especially one that would implement diet as part of healing. I located a naturopathic doctor more than seven hours from my home. We set up a consultation on the phone. He gave me a list of vitamins and other things that might help. Then, he said one thing, as the acupuncturist did, that made the most sense of all: if the body is in balance, no cyst can live. I got the juicer out again.
At nine months, I took my son to check on the cyst in an ultrasound. If the cyst grew, there would be reason for concern. If the cyst had stayed the same size or, was smaller, we’d have reason to know something was going right. Since I couldn’t make heads or tails out of an ultrasound, I watched the doctor’s face instead. I held down my son’s tiny penis down with rough, brown paper towels. It was quiet. My son was calm. The doctor had a very blank look on her face. She moved the wand back and forth across his belly. “They’re not there,” she said.
“What?” I said.
“I can’t find the cysts,” she said. “They’re gone.”
Books and information about Down syndrome listed very matter-of-factly what limitations he could have: speech deficiencies, slow to walk, heart problems, digestive difficulties, fine and gross motor skills challenges, crooked teeth, physical abnormalities, lagging in emotional development, to name a few. Although he seemed to have high level of cognitive development, his walking and gross motor skills were very slow to develop. He struggled with a lot of mucus. Smaller nose and ear tubes made it even harder to breathe. At a young age he contracted a case of bronchitis, which put him in the hospital. Balancing the lists of “what ifs” with the reality of the child in front of me is a constant battle in raising my son.
Each health challenge raised the bar. What more could I do? What more could my son do? I installed therapy machines in my garage and converted my living room to an all-out gymnasium. I measured every step as a tiny victory, every green vegetable eaten a step in the right direction. Several times a day, we worked his lungs through laughing, respiratory therapy, (even crying worked out his lungs!) extracted phlegm and pushed his lungs to work harder.
Deciding what is best for me is one thing because I feel the effects when I make questionable food choices or slack off in exercising. Choosing what to give my children is confounding. Getting all those greens into a child is a daunting task. Yet over many trials, spit ups, tummy aches, and dodging food matter thrown at me, my children and I have settled into a healthy, organic diet that seems to satisfy and push of them to thrive. We eat sprouted lentils, avocados, alfalfa sprouts, celery, parsley, cucumbers and other greens for breakfast; we try to drink another super-green juice for lunch and dinner; and I work hard at limiting the sugar in their diet.
Looking back, I can see what a huge blessing, though uncomfortable, challenging, and painful, all the health challenges were. My children are now thriving. My son climbs, plays soccer, runs track, and plays baseball and basketball. My daughter glows and her smile – white and brilliant – shines. The issue of health care never stops. No diet solves everything; no exercise cures it all; I still indulge on less-than-perfectly-healthy foods. I’m no health guru, just a mom with kids that needed a solution.
I know the miracle was also fueled by of those who care for my children and me: family, coaches, and doctors, even the clerk at the health food store. The combined strength, healthy organic food, community and family support, and the tenacity of my children’s spirit make for a powerful cure.
Neither rain, nor fog, nor soggy dew could dampen the spirit of the Clearwater 2015 Festival. We spoke to many environmental activists and green entrepreneurs who are creating ideas, and spreading the message about the need to be proactive stewards of Mother Earth. Music echoed throughout the festival, with many performers motivating the populace to take a stand and raise their voices on environmental and social justice issues. Music icon David Crosby, sang new songs with lyrics that commented on the nation’s current state of affairs, and implored people to email, call or show up at the offices of their elected officials and make some noise. Pete Seeger would have been proud to see his vision perpetuated. For more info go to clearwater.org.
We eat too much. We eat the wrong things. According to Jamie Oliver, “Obesity is one of the three biggest social burdens created by human beings alongside smoking, and armed violence, war, and terrorism. Obesity costs $2 trillion dollars globally each year.” #FoodRevolutionDay is May 15th, a day Oliver wants us to join him in kicking off a campaign to change the way we eat at home, at school, and out. He’s got some highly talented help from Ed Sheeran, Hugh Jackman and Paul McCartney with this music video.
We’ve been buying into the corporate model since the advent of industrialism. Crops are modified; hormones and antibiotics are given to animals as routine business; pesticides flow freely; forests are cleared for immediate pay back; and the list grows. We’ve become robots of digestion and consumption.
The World Health Organization compiled this data on obesity:
– Worldwide obesity has more than doubled since 1980.
– In 2014, more than 1.9 billion adults, 18 years and older, were overweight. Of these over 600 million were obese.
– 39% of adults aged 18 years and over were overweight in 2014, and 13% were obese.
– Most of the world’s population lives in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than underweight.
– 42 million children under the age of 5 were overweight or obese in 2013.
– Obesity is preventable.
Time to connect the dots. A revolution doesn’t “just happen.” The consciousness for changing how we eat comes from the work of individuals, groups, and organizations like the Organic Consumer’s Association, The Cornucopia Institute, and The Food Tank, to name a few.
McDonald’s growth isn’t declining because society wants “to speed up customer service,” as reported by Business Insider. Steve Easterbrook, the new CEO, says he’s going to turn McDonald’s around by introducing a better burger and removing antibiotics and “hard to pronounce ingredients” from its chicken in the US. Not enough. What about the beef? Consumers want healthy food – simple food – that fulfills its mission: Nutrition, health, and energy, which give back to life rather than take from it. The mighty Mac food conglomerate began a slow descent when its ingredients went public. As consumers, we’re becoming smart.
Jamie Oliver takes on the tough subjects. His goal is to implement food education in the school system. Not easy. I’ve worked in schools, and I’ve owned my own restaurant where I’ve watched this organic, eat-better/grow-better food movement on a national and international level. From Central America to Europe to the US, organic food and better eating practices are shaking up the way tradition has boxed in food. Oliver also aims to pave a path towards better eating at home. Also not an easy task. Even for me, an organic girl from way back, I struggle to feed my family with organic food and as little sugar and fats as possible. Challenging? Yes. Impossible? No. We can’t continue stuffing ourselves as the conventional model wants us to do. The more we demand higher quality, the more we’ll get it – and at a better price.
Back up to the World Health Organization’s last point about obesity: It is preventable. Our health reflects the health of our planet. If we’re sick, so is our food system. #FoodRevolutionDay is more than signing a petition. It’s a movement in awareness reflecting a change we not only need to happen, but also want to succeed.
Take some action: Sign the petition; buy something organic; make a salad; take a walk with someone you love. We can do this. Our lives depend on it.
The First Earth Day took place on April 22,1970 and on this week’s episode, we celebrate the 45th Anniversary of Earth Day, as well as the 45th year of the EPA, with special guest, Dr. Joel Scheraga, Senior Advisor for Climate Adaptation at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The climate is changing, and we have to adapt to the results of those changes, which are coming in the form of more intense weather, super storms, droughts, pollution, and an increase in greenhouse gas emissions. The change in climate is causing the oceans to get warmer, and the temperatures are rising globally. This rise cannot continue, as it is causing degradation of natural resources, and is affecting human health and safety. We do have the power to help reduce our carbon foot print. Simple things like taking shorter showers, changing light bulbs to LEDs, recycling, reusing and reducing our consumption can make a big difference. We have to be more conscious of how our actions affect the planet, and take small steps to make things better. The EPA is working to help us adapt to climate change. For more information go to EPA.gov.
Watch the full “Cost of Inaction” video on youtube which plays on the show:
What steps can you take to enhance the flow of chi? How do you create functional, sustainable and balanced spaces in your home by using Feng Shui techniques? What does the color green represent on the BAGUA MAP, and how many shades of green are there? Find out by tuning in, as this week’s guest, and friend of the show Anjie Cho and I discuss how to put some Feng in your Shui. Her new book: 108 Ways to Create Holistic Spaces, is a must read to bring zen and harmony into your life. Anjie is a LEED certified green architect, and is a BTB Feng Shui practitioner. For information go to holisticspaces.com. Her new book is available on amazon.com