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What resources do we need to protect the most? Water

Friday, May 11, 2012

I wanted to thank everyone who commented on yesterday's blog. I'm still thinking about some of the comments but am short on time so won't be able to comment, yet. My use of time is not sustainable for sure. emoticon
Today I just want to quickly mention what I consider the most important resource on our planet:
water: we drink it (the smallest portion), we need it to grow many foods, we use it for cleaning, to create energy (hydroelectric/dams), we need it for most manufacturing processes. The biggest concern is not the amount of water but the amount of quality drinking water.
We talk about drinking 8 glasses of water (or more or less) on Spark a lot. Clean water has healing power. Starting now I will drink every glass of water with thanksgiving in my heart for this precious resource and consider how I can be a better steward of it.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GOPINTOS 5/12/2012 4:32PM

    Oh gosh, I hear ya. Water is precious and taken for granted until you don't have it.

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HOUNDLOVER1 5/11/2012 10:37AM

    The fact that most of our fresh water reserves are used for farming (in California) should make us think about producing vegetables locally and turning lawn into garden space.

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JUSTBIRDY 5/11/2012 10:08AM

    I agree that for me at least, water is the most critical item. I can grow my own, or enjoy my home without any central heating or electricity if it comes to that (sure would miss y'all though) but it would be next to impossible for me to collect all the water I currently use, even if I quit watering the lawn.

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EGALITAIRE 5/11/2012 9:54AM

    I agree Birgit - being thankful for the water we do have is important, as we may not have it for long until there are dramatic changes.

Yes, low flow toilets, not irrigating our lawns, or having no grass, but that is not really saving water, per se, that is just saving the cost of recycling and processing the water.

Most of the available reserves of fresh water in the US are being used to irrigate crops, which then takes us back to population issues.

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SHERYLDS 5/11/2012 6:30AM

    the scary thing is ... the experts know this is coming
and from time to time we are aware of the problem when drought hits your area...
but no one is being proactive about preparing for the future.
Think of the clean water wasted in a toilet, or fire hydrant.
It is going to take a lifetime to reconstruct the infrastructure of our civilizations.

But knowing how business works...they will probably leave it as.
They will probably allow impure water into the system and
invent a device you have to connect to the plumbing system in your home
that will purify the water piped in. And they will charge you for the replacement filters.

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Ramblings on sustainability - opening a can of worms

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

This is a HUGE topic and has kept me thinking for a while. And I'm only starting to scratch the surface.
Sustainability is defined very differently by different people. It is linked to population numbers (global and local), political interests and many other "big issues" that make my head spin.
I will do some brainstorming over the next couple of days in all different directions in no particular order, hoping that at some point some order will develop out of chaos. Anyone who wants to contribute their thoughts or feelings is welcome to do so, but be prepared that it might not always be pretty.

I am reminded of the issue of sustainability frequently. Sometimes it seems like "yet one more issue to deal with" in this quest for healthy, and hopefully joyful living. Sometimes it seems like nothing I do to live a healthy lifestyle makes any sense long-term without thinking about sustainability. After all how could I feel good about doing what allows me to be healthy and teaching my daughter about it when her children will not have any natural resources left to use?

What is sustainability anyhow? Sustainable for who? Humans, wildlife, the planet?
Are we talking about local, regional, national or global sustainability?
Is life on earth sustainable for much longer?
I rented a documentary that may yield partial answers to these questions and hope to watch it this week. It deals with sustainability and the oceans:

I also found this short video clip on the unsustainablity of farmed salmon and it's effect on wild salmon:


In the meantime I am taking babysteps at home to make use of our small property and move one step closer towards feeding our family with what we can grow. I planted two Filbert (Hazelnut) trees, a gooseberry bush and two Italian plum (prune plum) trees in our yard. It will be a couple of years until there is a significant harvest. I may add a walnut tree if I can find one that does well in our climate.
We already have two apple trees, I added one two years ago and we should have some fruit this year. Our pear tree gives us bigger harvests than we can handle all at once so we will dry pears this fall.
I also started some rhubarb plants last year and this year we have enough rhubarb to share. We have a few vegetables that reseed themselves, one is a variety of onion, the other is a kind of chinese cabbage, both very prolific and requiring no fertilizing or maintenance of any kind. Sunflowers also reseed themselves and their seeds will get used for food this year.

Our ducks are providing us with eggs and also with a new generation of ducklings. I'm hoping to research miniature dairy cows and goats in the near future to see if it's possible to keep one or two dairy animals on a small property.
And no, I have no interest in slaughtering any of our chickens, ducks or rabbits for meat. But I'm not opposed to the idea of keeping a few steers or other meat animals around for people who have a few acres that would otherwise be lawn.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MARTHASPARKS 5/10/2012 12:13PM

    Keep the thought provoking blogs coming, Birgit!

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GOPINTOS 5/9/2012 7:57PM

    Great Blog!


Smile and Enjoy the Rest of Your Day!
Melinda (gopintos)
Wheat Belly Team

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DARA52 5/9/2012 5:46PM

    What a great blog. The locally vs global one is overwhelming. How could I affect the world balance? One person. But, I think one step at a time and what one can do is better than no steps. Whether it's cutting back on water use (making lawns in to food gardens), etc. or cutting back on beef consumption. There are a million ways to take a step, choosing one is doable for everyone.

I also am on small acreage and to date, we only have house pets. But are looking in to adding on farm animals/chickens for eggs and possibly goats for milk and cheese. We also want to be able to sustain ourselves more. I think the more we learn to take care of ourselves, the more it will spread.

Again, great blog!

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GARDENGIRL54 5/9/2012 2:30PM

    This is a GOOD can of worms - and well worth "opening up"! And here I thought this was going to be a blog on worm COMPOSTING!!!

My sister works wtih sustainable agriculture and has for years. It's really scarey to pick her brain but realistic as well. We can't let fear keep us from doing our part, however. I have been more motivated to stop wasting resources as I grow older. Many other nations are less wasteful than we are in America (I'm just assuming you're American).

Thinking about sustainability has to do wtih home gardens, the clothing we wear, and the cars we drive. Which light bulbs we use, where we set the thermostat, and how we mow our lawn. Just about everything we do could be improved if we learn more and work harder to be less wasteful. Additionally, working to improve the damage we have done to the planet will be a help. Things like worm composting is just one little thing we can do. I love the Margaret Mead quote in the prior response!!!

Just keep learning and working at careful use of resources and that will help. Don't let yourself feel overwhelmed. The more you learn, the more you will be able to affect our world.

Now go hug one of those trees! I often do!!!! emoticon

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NAYPOOIE 5/9/2012 2:22PM

    Something to think about before planting a walnut tree.


Comment edited on: 5/9/2012 2:23:08 PM

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EGALITAIRE 5/9/2012 1:29PM

    Thanks Birgit for getting this topic started.

I understand the "local" movement, however, in my opinion, if sustainability is not considered on a global scale, all the local work might be for naught.

I also understand and appreciate Margaret Mead's sentiment: "a small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, its the only thing that ever has".

I am not saying we should just give up and not do anything, on the other hand, I think it is important to understand planetary sustainability - at least for humans - will not happen given the current path and without watershed changes.

I have seen estimates that if we weren't using oil to grow crops (oil is the primary source of nitrogen for fertilizer and has a huge impact on crop yields), the land mass and oceans, using current technology would supply enough calories for about 2 billion people - anyone look at the current global population statistics recently? We're slightly over 2 billion.

Even with technological advances, not sure how we could possibly keep up with population growth.

So if whatever we do locally, isn't scaleable to the regional, national and global arenas, we won't achieve sustainability.

Not to be a doomsayer, but that doesn't even take into account the current environmental degradation from burning fossil fuels and other practices currently being used to "sustain" our lifestyles.

The Vegetarian Myth is a good read if you're looking for a place to start thinking about food sustainability - one of the most cogent and well researched pieces I have seen on the real issues - not just the political. And despite the title, the author, Lierre Keith, takes an objective perspective on our situation.

The book had the most impact on my thinking about food and global sustainability since reading Silent Spring 25 years ago.

Be Healthy

Comment edited on: 5/9/2012 1:31:55 PM

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I ate some bread yesterday

Sunday, May 06, 2012

This was not the kind of bread that most people eat in this country. And it did not contain any wheat. This bread was a sourdough bread made from only rye, sourdough and salt. Some of the rye was ground, some was steel-cut or even a few whole berries. It was not flavored with caraway seed as almost all rye bread is in the US or colored to make it look darker, but all-natural. I found this loaf which I had bought quite a while ago at a local bakery at the bottom of my freezer and did not want to throw it out since I myself don't seem to be gluten-intolerant. I ate 3 slices yesterday, in part because there wasn't much food in the house and I needed something to have with cheese.
A couple of interesting observations: Rye does not trigger the same types of cravings for me at all as wheat. It also does not taste good enough to really overeat on it, either. In fact in retrospect I would have preferred the cheese slices by themselves.
I did notice that I was hungry only about 2 hours later again and ended up eating a lot more all day, an experience that I had not had in several months since going low-carb except on a few days when I ate some sugar that pushed my carbs over 100 grams for the day.
Overall I have no desire to go back to eating bread. I guess I would eat bread that does not contain wheat when there is no other food available but certainly not because I particularly enjoy the taste.
I may experiment occasionally with flatbreads or pizza that is made from nut meals or coconut flour but even those are too much trouble to bother with on any regular basis. There are so many other wondeful foods to eat: a large variety of fruits and veggies, nuts, seeds, dairy, meat and fish that I don't feel the need for grain products at all.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HOUNDLOVER1 5/8/2012 6:30PM

I suspect your spark page is set to private as I can not send you a message there. So I hope you get it here.
It seems to be quite common to have carb withdrawal for about a week and in some cases for several weeks. I know there is info on several of the low-carb groups on spark so you may want to look around there. Maybe you can post the question on the wheatbelly blog as well if you don't find enough answers here.
Best wishes,

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OMAHAMAMA 5/8/2012 2:18PM

    I've read a few of your blogs now and wanted to say thanks for turning me onto Gary Taubes. I wish I could remember how I stumbled across your post but it had links to his YouTube videos.

At first I was skeptical. I mean, this is basically a prescription for the Atkins Diet and didn't Atkins himself die of heart disease? Never the less I kept finding myself drawn back to Gary's blog and videos. The science was compelling. It also didn't hurt that I'd completely plateaued on the Sparkpeople program and was working out harder but getting nowhere. Last week I finally decided to go for it and purchased "Why We Get Fat". I'm just in the beginning stages of radically cutting back on carbs but I already notice some differences, mainly (and most enjoyably) in my hunger. I was regularly eating a bowl of cereal with a banana and milk for breakfast. And I was also just as regularly hungry within 1 to 2 hours after eating it.

I also purchased "Wheat Belly". Much of the same science is presented in it as well. I'd pretty much given up bread anyway because on any program, bread has a lot of empty calories. But I believe I'm in the unlucky group that will have to go very low carb to lose weight. I'm going to give it the rest of May, see how far I get and then try slowly adding back in fruit and veggies. Hopefully I can even splurge and enjoy some corn tortillas again - they have been my go to since getting off of bread. But for now, it's meat, eggs, cheese, and greens until I can get the weight loss kick started again.

I do have one question if anyone can answer it. I know it is to each his own but I do find myself feeling rather lethargic after eating these high fat low carb meals. I don't know if it's just my body adjusting or if I need to modify what I'm eating. I do have hypoglycemia but not severe at all. For breakfast I'm eating 2 eggs, 2 strips of uncured bacon, and 2 oz of "natural" sausage (no preservatives). Lunch is a salad topped with meat, cheese, etc. Snack time is cheese. It is noted in the book that this can happen at the outset but I'm wondering how long I can expect this reaction? Thoughts are appreciated.

Thanks again for this blog, I'm happy to find other Sparkers giving this plan a go. emoticon

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HOUNDLOVER1 5/7/2012 12:35PM

    No problem, fixed it. emoticon

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CHEBBA 5/7/2012 12:29PM

    I no idea why this printed twice, other than the fact that when I sent it nothing seemed to happen. Apologies to all.


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CHEBBA 5/7/2012 12:24PM

    The fascinating thing about your blog and the different responses is that it, and they, all point to one thing - and that is that the entire business of relationships with food or particular ingredients is unique to each and every one of us. The old adage 'One man's meat is another one's poison' is so true and so, here in SP, we learn by reading other people's blogs tips and wrinkles which may work for us, not work for us - or we are educated about different foods, possible effects. Sometimes we get an answer to a mystery which has long eluded us.

The most important thing about all of this interaction is that we are able to cherry-pick the bits which apply to us or that we want to apply to us. We also learn that it's alright to have different responses to certain foods because we are all unique. That reassurance alone helps to give us the strength to accept our foibles and food weaknesses. Now, I am old enough and ugly enough to know that my relationship with bread is dangerous - even writing about it, especially warm and fresh-baked, is to dance with Satan himself! Reading your earlier blog, iiquorice is vile (an apt anagram of the word evil!) for me, but I am happy that many don't feel the same. Tomatoes are the Food of the Devil and many years ago I learned why black coffee makes me ill: it's because the flora of each individual's mouth is different and either a preponderence or scarcity (I can't recall which) of a particular chemical, actually induces nausea!

So, what does this all mean? For me, it means that if all I had in my larder was black coffee, liquorice and tomatoes I'd be very slender and have no need for SP!!! Seriously, though, it means that the usefulness of reading other people's blogs is beyond question. Throughout this journey we help each other to 'know thyself' and come to terms with what works, what doesn't, what are 'red light' foods and how to come to terms with it all.

Thank you and bless you!

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ARLENE_MOVES 5/7/2012 7:27AM

    Bread - in fact, any wheat product doesn't bother me when I see it. Don't crave it either. Plus, no desire to partake at all. I think, however, if I started in on it, I wouldn't stop!

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BEAGLEMAMA2 5/7/2012 6:18AM

    I don't know what kind of wheat they use...I know that its Certified Organic Grains. Ezekiel 4:9 is All natural-no preservatives. It claims to be the original flourless sprouted grain bread.
The website is www.ppnr.org. This is what is says on the package:

"The miracles of the sprouts...
Different frommost breads today, this unique bread is made from freshly sprouted LIVE grains and contains absolutely no flour. WE believe in sprouting the grains we use in our breads because sprouting is the best way to release all the vital nutrients stored in whole grains*

To unlock this dormant food energy, maximize nutrition and flovor, we add just the right amount of water to healthy whole organically grown grains which are already bursting with nutrients. Beneficial enzymes are activated which cause the grains to sprout and become a living food. OUr exclusive sprouting process not only significantly increases vitamins, but also causes a natural change that allows the protein and carbohydrates to be assimilated by the body more efficiently. And even better still,our exclusive baking process preserves these valuable nutrients and rretains the important natural fiber and bran.

You can see, taste, and smell the LIVE GRAIN DIFFERENCE! of Food For Life breads. As nutritutious as they are delicious, Food For LIfe breads are the substance of a meal-not just something that holds a sandwich together. See the difference fresh sprouts really make.

So when you're looking for nutrition in bread, reach for the sprouted grain breads from Food For Life and partake of the miracle. Your body and taste buds will know the difference!"

*source: price-pottenger nutrition foundation

I copied that off the back of the bread package.

If you look for it it is in the frozen food isle with the other frozen bread!

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GRACEMCDOG 5/6/2012 10:41PM

    At the moment I think there is no good reason to experiment with eating grains. I am reading Rob Wolf's book 'The Paleo Solution' and he goes into great detail about how and what grains do to destroy our bodies. My perspective at 61 is, of course, going to be different from yours as you are decades younger. I often wonder how different my life would have been if I'd had this information when I was 20. Maybe I'd have been like every other young person and decided to ignore it because, as we all know when we're young, we're invincible!!! I am here to attest from the downhill side of lifespan that we are not.


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SHERYLDS 5/6/2012 7:13PM

    right now I'm ultra strict....
but I am SCARED of going near processed starches...period.
I guess it's my carboholic mentality
It took me a while to get to this point...I don't want to regress

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BEAGLEMAMA2 5/6/2012 2:44PM

    Since i read the Wheat Belly book I found out I have a wheat intolerance. I gave up bread but one day I really wanted a sandwich. So off to the health food store I went. I discovered Food For Life" wraps made out of brown rice...very good and I also found "Food For Life" Ezekiel 4:9 bread. They have two kinds...I personally like the sesame one. The Ezekiel bread does have 100& whole wheat in it BUT it does not bother me at all. I'm not hungry after eating this bread. I only have once in awhile and that is when I want a sandwich.

The wraps made out of the brown rice I use to make my pizza. They are really good.

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WOUBBIE 5/6/2012 1:25PM

    :) My grandmother used to talk about how, growing up, rye bread was for poor folks, because only the wealthy could afford the fancy and expensive "white flour" bread. Oh, how the tables have turned! The poor these days can't get AWAY from white flour products.

Interesting experiment. I haven't touched more than a mouthful of bread since last July and, judging by peoples' comments here, I'm almost afraid to!

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SUPERMOUSE35 5/6/2012 11:42AM

    It sounds like an interesting experiment, thanks for posting the results. I do this once in a while too, and always remember immediately why I stopped eating bread in the first place.

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HELEN_BRU 5/6/2012 11:35AM

    Thanks for relating your experience! I still love a cheese sandwich with lettuce that crunches in my mouth but not when it settles in my stomach. Oh, well - one of these days!

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REJ7777 5/6/2012 10:43AM

    It helps to have a "reminder" once in awhile of why we aren't eating wheat anymore.

You seem to have mastered the *art* of not eating wheat. I still find it very difficult to go without. Sometimes I just don't know what to eat. I feel like having crackers and cheese, or toast and cheese. I keep opening and closing cupboard and freezer doors looking for the bread or Triscuits I don't have anymore. Habits are hard to break, and I still crave bread. I need to master this new way of eating!

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EGALITAIRE 5/6/2012 10:04AM

    Always useful to experiment and continue the journey of finding out what works and what doesn't. And what even tastes good anymore.

I used to love the Hawaiian pizza from a local store (ham, bacon and pineapple), but only had it about once a month because even pre-primal I knew it didn't sit well in my gut.

Now, I could have a piece sitting right in front of me and not even think about eating it. Chocolate torte on the other hand - not over that yet.

Be Healthy

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The times they are a-changin' in the medical field

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Take a look at this article that appeared in the New York Times. Lots of interesting things hidden in this article, definitely a hopeful sign:

Enjoy, emoticon


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DIDMIS 5/1/2012 11:08PM

    My doctor who was always on me about losing weight would not take the challenge I put out. I said ok, we will both lose weight and see who wins. He didn't want to. He is heavy also.
I lost weight, he lost some but put it back on.
He was impressed enough with Spark he took a card and put it on the bulletin board as some of his nurses are heavy also.

Comment edited on: 5/1/2012 11:09:26 PM

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PAPAMIKIE 4/30/2012 4:05PM

    Gramie Leanna is diabtic and so Carb counting is a bit old school for her, however, we have been doing a fair bit of research on carbs, protiens and fat in the diet and the remarkable amount of spin that the science on these things get. The "Spin" frankly makes my head spin.

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JTAYLOR2011 4/30/2012 11:42AM

    Excellent! Thanks for sharing :)

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MARTHASPARKS 4/30/2012 11:11AM

    Hi Birgit,
As I heal from that 7 hour surgery that took out 2 discs, a lot of bone debris and bone spurs and untangled my spinal cord before carefully encasing it in a ton of metal, I have gone wheat free. I can't say I miss it yet and I hope that stays. Your articles, research and insight have been so helpful to me. I just wanted to thank you!

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BOBBIENORTHERN1 4/30/2012 8:16AM

  You are right, this really is a very interesting article that really just tickled my fancy and gave me a new perspective on doctors. thanks for sharing this.

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BEAGLEMAMA2 4/30/2012 6:12AM

    Thanks for sharing...you are always full of interesting information! :)

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HOUNDLOVER1 4/30/2012 1:10AM

    I agree, it would be nice if the education about grains and fat were next. Fortunately there is a growing number of good blogs by physicians available on those topics. At least something that we can pass on to physicians who are willing to learn about nutrition.

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EXOTEC 4/29/2012 11:54PM

    I do love it that they're finally focusing on diet in a positive frame, instead of all the "don't-dos". However, I am still disappointed to see the "healthy grains" and derogatory butter (fats) remark. Perhaps they'll start to research diets as a result of this though, and find the research that might change their preconceptions. It's a start.

And it may be just my old-fart-eyesight ... but were those little *sliders* in mushroom caps?!?!? oh boy. If they weren't, they certainly are going to be here! I could get way carried away with that!

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GLC2009 4/29/2012 8:06PM

    the cooking class sounds great. but, i noticed that steak and butter are bad and more healthy grains are good in this article.

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DARA52 4/29/2012 5:59PM

    Thanks. It does sound like a postive step.

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WOUBBIE 4/29/2012 3:01PM

    My doctor, though a real sweetheart and not much of a pill-pusher, is quite chubby. I should send him this article!

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GRACEMCDOG 4/29/2012 2:34PM

    Well, a step in the right direction. Now they all need to go back to school and study nutritional bio chemistry and endocrinology to learn about insulin, leptin, ghrelin, cortisol and how eating high amounts of carbohydrates is poisoning humans. They might also ask themselves why Julia Childs ate all that butter and cream and meat and lived to be 93.
Sounds like Dr. Principle of Chicago may be on the right track.

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TAMPATINK67 4/29/2012 12:45PM

    I work in support of the medical profession, and this is the first thing I've seen in years that has been truly inspiring related to serious changes!!!!

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REDSHOES2011 4/29/2012 12:31PM

    Good article..

Comment edited on: 4/29/2012 12:31:28 PM

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Watch out: SERMON coming - but pictures added

Saturday, April 28, 2012

This is the first post I'm writing in about 3 weeks. There are lots of things that have happened that I want to write about: We have had new ducklings hatch, I've read a number of good books that I want to share, I've changed some things in my exercise routine...
but today I want to talk about something else. I call it a sermon because it is adressed primarily to my fellow Christians (I don't actually like this term but that's another story). But it is the term most commonly used to refer to followers of Jesus Christ, of which I am one.

The reason it is addressed mostly to Christians is because the issue I am planning to address is one that mostly Christians misunderstand. In fact I believe most people know that what I am about to say is true and relevant but it is in the background of their minds with disastrous consequences for this world.
It is this: Most Christians in the industrialized world act as if God were in church either all or most of the time. That's where they focus most of their attention when it comes to their spiritual life.
But consider this:
God made the World in all its natural beauty and intricate design, People built Churches

Jesus came into the World, not into the Churches

God so loved the World, that he gave His only begotten Son...

God is absolutely delighted with his Creation which includes Man, in spite of the fact that neither are perfect any more, the way he originally designed them.
Those that want to follow Jesus and consider themselves God's children along with Jesus should start acting more like his family by going into the world where they will find Him at work everywhere and can join him in what He is doing, in all venues, in all people groups, on the internet including on Spark, in schools, in businesses, in politics, in nature, in neighborhoods. In fact God is working wherever good things are happening, whether we are aware of it or not. It is a matter of personal listening to that quiet voice of truth in our hearts to know where we are called to join and the answer is different for everyone.
Just stop focusing on looking for God in churches.
I know that the word church can have two meanings: The one is that of a building. Buildings are useful to have at times but they are merely a tool. The other meaning of the word church is that of God's family, the community of believers that is in spiritual unity under the leadership of Christ, regardless of affiliation, denomination or location. It is world-wide and extremely powerful because it is lead by the Almighty. The organization of churches into denominations, dioceses, congregations and any other groups is primarily man-made and limited in its reach. It has its limited usefulness but should not be the primary way to for us to join Jesus in what He is doing.
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it."John 1: 1-5

Life and light for the world is what Jesus is about, also faith, hope and love, described so beautifully in 1. Cor. chapter 13. Let us join Jesus in the world and add joy, hope, love and faith where we can and watch them multiply. The result will be more peace in our hearts and around us.

And here is a little of the joy that I have experienced in the last week that I want to share with you:

Peace, Birgit

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WANNAREAD 4/30/2012 7:56AM

    Churches remind us that God is everywhere! Churches remind us that God is important! Remembering to worship God publicly at least once a week is so crucial to our life of faith. Many people (certainly not all) who start missing Church on Sunday just start forgetting that God even exists or that their actions have eternal consequences.
We need to live our faith 24/7 both inside and outside of church!

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GLC2009 4/29/2012 7:50PM

    love the duckies!!!

one of my favorite sayings -- i'd rather be sitting on my horse thinking about god, than sitting in church thinking about my horse.

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REJ7777 4/29/2012 10:59AM

    Sometimes Jesus was teaching in the synagogue, sometimes he was teaching on a mountain top. He stopped to raise a dead son while walking to get somewhere. I think that we should be doing good wherever and whenever we can.

You write: "The organization of churches into denominations, dioceses, congregations and any other groups is primarily man-made and limited in its reach." I would remove the word *primarily* from that sentence. I think that all divisions in Christ's church are man-made.

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JSTETSER 4/29/2012 6:12AM

    I am also a Christian, and am headed to a beautiful cathederal-Mt. Monadnock. Jesus and Moses both went to the mountains. They gained strength there. In fact, Jesus had most of his problems when he went in to the temple.
Imagine that.

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HEALTHY4ME 4/28/2012 9:58PM

    MY husband was brought up Catholic and taught that only catholics were christians. He lived in a very small town and was taught by nuns. HE started doubting his church when he was told he would die and go to hell if he didnt go to church every sunday all the time. He didn't go one sunday and wow he didn't die, didn't go to hell, and started wondering about other things in his religion. Go forward a few years and he met me, a United church person ( not sure if you have that in US we are from Canada and is the united church of Canada but is a combo of a few protestant religions) so we were talking and he mentioned christians and I wasn't such and OH MY I said where did you ever hear that? so we talked more and he said wow that was drilled into our heads.
Okay we were married, and he changed to United cos by then he was really disallusioned with the Catholic church, his mother still feels we are not truly married ( be 35 years this july!). So we had kids took them to sunday school, became very involved both taught sunday school, he became superintendant of sunday school I was secretary for the church meetings.
Then we moved ( military family) and again joined a church. Military churches are family churches cos you make friends cos you are away from your family for the most part. So he retires at 38 and we join a reg. church still united. Well right away it was hi, how can you help us, oh you taught sunday school, oh you have secretarial abilities. so after awhile we stopped going ... went to a diff one same thing.
Hubby is now pretty well athiest cos he says I still believe in God, Jesus, and the teachings but not the way churches are....

as Russel said "It is a very simple thing to be a Christian.. love your fellow man, and be a good person, help others if you can, comfort them if you can't. In short, try to emulate the teachings of Christ. If I ever find a church that does this, I'll join. "

Well I too and pretty sure hubby too would join. I do miss our military church family and wish we could find one that is similar here.
and btw sadly both my kids son 34, and dd 31are agnostic. they are both married by JP and both ironically married catholics. but esp. my son doesn't believe at all, and really believes in Darwins theroy. Not sure what made these changes but he wasn't taught like that at all and as he says he is as "Christian" as the next, in doing good for his fellow man and helping others that need it....

HUGS interesting blog and replies

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JENN03275 4/28/2012 8:04PM

    To start, the ducklings are adorable. Truly Springs blessing.

I am a Christian and consider myself a good Christian even though I don't go to church and I don't pray. I work in a catholic facility where we care for priests, sisters the rich and the poor. Many of other secular backgrounds. I feel that I follow my value and morals through my work and my day to day life. I also pass this on to my children.

I have never, until recently, asked questions about Christianity that I did not understand until I met one of my very special patients. He is my spiritual guide and hope at some point he can teach me some things that I should have learned when I was younger.

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HOUNDLOVER1 4/28/2012 6:18PM

    Thanks Russell and Grace for sharing your thoughts. I enjoyed reading them. emoticon
I'm always a little apprehensive when sharing spiritual thoughts in my blog because it seems that talking about religion and faith is often considered a taboo issue in our society, only to be topped by discussing politics.
But it is so much part of life, for me anyhow, and when the Spirit prompts I'll share.

thank you for your kind words but of course we are all a work in progress, a long way away from having reached our potential at many levels.
I'll have to admit sometimes I think you are pretty close to the truth in your view of church. On the other hand, I have seen churches that seem to function by Jesus standards and are doing a lot of good in their communities, but that is a minority unfortunately at least where I live.
I have reason to believe that churches in other parts of the world often function very differently and are true spiritual families that support each other and their communities. So I'm sometimes wondering how much of the problem is due to the fact that wealth and worldly posessions that most of us take for granted in the Western world destroy character and the joy of living.
I can so much relate to the beauty and wholeness you see and experience in nature. I don't know if it is just the beauty or also the seeming innocence that attract me.
Thank you for reading

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RUSSELL_40 4/28/2012 5:00PM

    Yes, we all know that churches are not the best places to find decent people. A great place to find people who believe they are superior Christians though..lol. I doubt God requires us to go to a building on Sunday, and be taught what is in a book, by someone. I understood this, when most of the people were illiterate, but totally unnecessary now. Also God can hear us just fine at home. Of course, if we need to let people know how superior we are as Christian, we could get dressed up in our finery, and parade down to said building.

I personally don't believe in hell, or punishment. The need to be worshipped, or revenge are human traits. I believe that we are on this Earth to help our fellow man, and be good people, but that is also the reward. The punishment is not having relationships, and being a bitter person. It is not vengeful though.

If you see the beauty of this world, and of people we live around, that is wonderful. I think not seeing, or ignoring it, is a huge punishment. I wonder why people think we are here together. It sure isn't so we can work, and buy things, or go to some church.

I love that I live by the river, and can go see the ducks, and geese. The beauty in nature, and the relationships with each other are the only true riches we have on Earth.
Makes you wonder , why does the Vatican have more wealth (gold ) than anyone else, while people starve over the world. If they are true Christians, why do they hoard wealth, while Jesus had very little money. I think the term Christian has been hijacked. It is a very simple thing to be a Christian.. love your fellow man, and be a good person, help others if you can, comfort them if you can't. In short, try to emulate the teachings of Christ. If I ever find a church that does this, I'll join.

We have one church that is open to feed the poor here.. ?? I was also surprised to hear that they are closed 5 days a week. The idea of a church that they show in movies, is very different than what they really do. I guess they just show up, click on the lights, and pass the bowl around. As a child we belonged to an Assembly of God, non-denominational church. We collected donations, and the church was open 7 days a week. It was a church in the second sense of the word. One big family, and we did a lot of charity, but never bragged about it. I can't remember the verse and chapter today, but we were always told that if a fuss was made over what we did, that was our reward, and we would not get a reward in Heaven, because we had already recieved it.

I see people talking about all the good they do, and wonder.. If you are such fine Christians, did you just not understand the Bible. Actions speak louder than words.

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GRACEMCDOG 4/28/2012 3:19PM

    Though I've never met you, Birgit, I have such a strong sense of you being truly what a follower of Christ's teachings should be: kind, compassionate, dedicated, empathetic, loving and true to what you believe. You make some excellent points in your thoughts here. I would have to disagree with

"The organization of churches into denominations, dioceses, congregations and any other groups is primarily man-made and limited in its reach. It has its limited usefulness but should not be the primary way to for us to join Jesus in what He is doing. "

I don't believe it has any usefulness and has only served to create spiritual, emotional and cultural dissonance among mankind. I try to live by the teachings of our great spiritual leaders such as Christ, the Buddha, Ghandhi--those who show us how to be truly good and lead worthwhile lives.

Your ducklings are lovely. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and the photos.

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