Wednesday, January 09, 2013
Last week when I wrote about my supersized potatoes, I was mainly interested in calories and portion control. SuzyMobile mentioned the possibility that they were genetically modified. Thatís something I wanted to investigate.
According to Rodale.com (The Organic Gardening people)
Hybrids are formed by taking 2 parents plants of the same species and pollinating them for desirable traits like disease or drought resistance.
Crossbreeding hybrids has been going on for centuries and it has a long track record of feeding humans and mammals effectively
In genetic modification genes from different species that could never be cross pollinated in nature can be modified in a lab using a ďgene gunĒ or bacterial infection.
The other side:
GMO advocates point to the fact that nature can make mistakes too. In June 2012 a report from Austin, Texas (examiner.com) tells of 15 of 18 cattle dying from cyanide gas poisoning. The gas suddenly began being emitted by a pasture of grass grown from hybrid (not GMO) seeds that the rancher had been using for 15 years.
However, his area was experiencing severe drought. The lack of oxygen in the soil caused the excess of carbon and nitrogen and the plants vented the excess as cyanide gas. I wonder if excessive use of nitrogen based fertilizer was also a factor considering the drought conditions.
Why does that not make me feel better about GMOs? The author's premise, echoed by some of the comments, is that we shouldnít be misled by anti-GMO hype.
Labeling our food as GMO-free seems a logical step to me. Way back in the fifties I remember companies resisting the requirement for ingredient labels on their foods. I also know the massive amount of money poured into California by agribusiness to defeat the GMO labeling initiative.
We canít discount the profit motive.
Hybrid seeds cannot be patented, but GMO seeds can.
OK, so how do we avoid this new technology if we want to. Itís not easy
The article below lists the most GMO enhanced products in the USA
Soy, corn, cottonseed, canola oil, U.S. papaya, alfalfa, milk, sugar beets and aspartame with accompanying explanations.
No mention of potatoes which started me off on this quest for information. Iíll have to check that out further.
Tuesday, January 08, 2013
Even in winter I still want to have fresh herbs. Hereís my happy little basil plants. Thereís oregano and parsley too on another shelf. After much trial and error and experimentation, I finally found the right location as well as amount and frequency of water needed.
Thereís a parallel here for me as well. After much trial and error Iíve settled into an eating plan that works for me. I love the SP environment and, as Iíve been writing lately, Iíve discovered a location where I can enjoy distance running again.
My plants naturally bend toward the sun. Similarly, itís up to me to take maximum advantage of my environment.
Monday, January 07, 2013
Iíve written once that change has to come from within and thatís still true. However, a community of like-minded people provided with resources can fuel that change and keep it recharged.
Since retirement 5 years ago Iíve lived in a rural area with a large retired population. I had become somewhat of a hermit. I do have church activities (25 miles away) and a small gym (10 miles away) and a few neighbors on my country road, but so many of the area activities are aimed at people with different needs and interests than me.
Fortunately, I found SP and my ďimaginaryĒ friends to keep me on-track for a healthy lifestyle. The online information, advice and support are wonderful.
Still Iíve noticed that my distance activities (running/walking/biking/swimming) have been reduced since retirement. My aerobic/weights class twice a week is very good, but my max time on a treadmill or stationary bike is less than an hour.
The roads are dangerous, - curvy, narrow, no shoulders. You really canít run or bike on them. I stay close to home where neighbors are used to ďthe lady who runsĒ and repeat Ĺ mile loops like a caged hamster.
The only indoor pool is 25 miles away and lap lanes are limited by numerous water aerobics and arthritis classes Ė very valuable for those who need them, but sharing a lane with a flip turning guy in a speedo or an oblivious backstroker can be dangerous in itself.
Itís been years since Iíve run a race longer than a 5K.
Yesterday, almost on a whim, I drove 25 miles in a different direction and joined a community event kicking off their ď100 mile in 100 days challenge.Ē Of course, we are encouraged to do more than that according to ability and the levels of fitness of the participants at the event varied greatly.
My first surprise was the location. It was a lovely, wide, paved trail at least 25 miles long judging from the mile markers Ė flat, scenic and safe. I walked 5 miles so I could interact with people and it was great. Real people with similar goals and interests! OK, itís still a drive, but no further than I drive to church, to swim or even to WalMart.
When I came home from the event, I joined a new SP team (The Virtual Walk/Run Challenge) where we log our distance traveling across America. Thanks SuzyMobile for telling me about this. Iíve also resolved to use the new trail to increase my mileage.
Weíll see how it goes. I know well how illness, injury or a stretch of bad weather can dampen enthusiasm and motivation, but as for now Iím ready for a new challenge. 300 miles in 100 days is my goal, but even more important, at the end of that time I want to have increased my ďlongĒ runs from 5 miles to 10.
Wish me luck!
Sunday, January 06, 2013
Yesterday when I visited my local running store, I saw a notice for a ď100 Miler.Ē At first I dismissed it as another of those ďultraĒ events for elite endurance athletes. Then I saw that the store has a ďteam.Ē Huh? There arenít enough endurance athletes around here for teams.
No, itís just a challenge the City Parks & Recreation Dept is holding for ordinary people to get/stay active during the winter months. The goal is to ďwalk, run, hike, pedal or paddle 100 miles (or more) in 100 days.Ē My running store is one of the sponsors.
I can do that. I should be able to run/walk more than twice that distance barring injury, illness or bad weather conditions. So, do I need an official ďchallenge?Ē Actually, yes I do, especially in the winter months when motivation decreases and excuses increase.
Iím also well aware of the benefits of connecting with like-minded people. Thank you SP! So I signed up, joined the team and this afternoon Iím going to attend the ďkick-off eventĒ as we begin our mileage journey as a group. Itís a self reporting activity after that.
Plus, I get a T-shirt with that ď100 MilerĒ logo that caught my eye initially. The text underneath explains ď100 miles in 100 daysĒ so the world will know that Iím not an elite athlete (if anyone gets close enough to read my chest).
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