Fat Kid Suit


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7 BILLION lab rats? And other questions about Genetically Modified Food

Life is an Experiment

I am not a scientist, although I am all for experimentation.  Fat Kid Suit is an experiment.  A very personal one that I share with anyone who is curious about the experiment we call life.

 

7 BILLION lab rats

Perhaps the grandest experiment ever conducted by humans is playing out all around us right now.  While the experiment is being conducted by humans, it is also being conducted on humans.  In fact there are only a few scientist in this picture, working for even fewer companies.  The lab rats in this experiment are the rest of us billions.

 

The All-American Farmer

Some believe Genetically Modified food is a miracle which will help feed the earth’s swelling human population.  Others think that “playing God” with our food is deviant mad science which could doom our race to extinction.  Most seem to fall somewhere in the middle and see these “foods” as both a blessing and a curse.  Regardless of how we feel about these foods, there is one undeniable fact about GMO–it is an experiment.

 

What happened to having a "Control Group?"

My Questions

 

The new Russian Roulette

How is it right that foods (and packaged foods containing GMO ingredients) which have been genetically altered by scientist are not labeled as such?

Since when do our inalienable rights not include the need for our permission to be experimented on?

When Monsanto tries to shut down farms that have been pollinated with their patented Genetically Engineered “Round-Up Ready” seed, why isn’t the law squarely on the side of the farmer?

 

Don’t humans have an animal right to grow their own food and reuse their seed?

Why aren’t the farmers successfully suing Monsanto for crop degradation, contamination, and for unlawfully interfering with the very circle of life?

Why is the new untouchable human interest goal to feed as many humans as we can squeeze onto this rotating orb?  I’ll answer that with another question, “Would you rather have 7 billion customers, or 9 billion?”

Why do we continue to support these corporations and the politicians who support them?  We give them their authority. It isn’t the other way around, no matter how powerful that illusion may be.

If no proof is needed to bring to market, what proof is needed to take off the market?

I can’t prove or disprove anything with a post like this. My intention is simple provocation.  I wanted to share some of my questions and frustration about this topic, in hopes that in some small way it will get others talking about it too.  If nothing else, we should be demanding that we are given a choice, and that companies be required to disclose  the presence of genetic engineering.

If only we had this kind of honest disclosure...

And while there is a ton of documentation to refute any claims made by scientists and doctors that GMO’s may be dangerous to our health, it doesn’t require speculation on our part to understand the misinformation game that is always played when there is this kind of money on the table.

Here is one of many simple statements made by legitimate sources:

On May 19th 2009, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) called on “Physicians to educate their patients, the medical community, and the public to avoid GM (genetically modified) foods when possible and provide educational materials concerning GM foods and health risks.” (1) They called for a moratorium on GM foods, long-term independent studies, and labeling. AAEM’s position paper stated, “Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food,” including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system. They conclude, “There is more than a casual association between GM foods and adverse health effects. There is causation,” as defined by recognized scientific criteria. “The strength of association and consistency between GM foods and disease is confirmed in several animal studies.”

And finally a video I particularly enjoyed that I think sheds light on the big picture regarding GMO’s…



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People are kinda creeped by what I am keeping in my fridge

If you have read FAT KID SUIT lately you know that I recently started over.  One year is plenty of time to get in amazing shape.  Unfortunately it is also more than enough time to completely fall apart and double in size.

This past Saturday was the first time in a year I went to the local Farmer’s Market with the intention of buying almost ALL of my food for the week there.  I forgot just how different shopping for a true plant-based diet is…

 

When you truly buy enough plant calories, there is little room in the fridge for anything else!

Let me give you a tour of the fridge, which friends and family have called everything from “Gross!” to “Insane!”

Top Shelf

  • Hidden from view are amazing local dates and a couple jars of raw almond butter.
  • Tangerines
  • Apples (several varieties)
  • Snap Peas
  • Local Eggs
  • Red and Gold raspberries
  • Blackberries
  • Three colors of bell peppers
  • Red cabbage
  • Oranges

Middle Shelf

  • In what used to be the “cheese” drawer is cucumber, asparagus, broccoli, and cauliflower.
  • Hidden from view under that drawer is a huge bag of oranges, and a big bag of tangelos for juicing.
  • Sitting in water is celery and three types of carrots.

Bottom “Crisper” Drawers

  • The bottom is mostly greens.  Kale, spinach, mache, arugula, cilantro…bags and bags of greens!

In addition to the what is in the fridge we keep several bunches of bananas and a couple bottles of wine on the counter  at all times.  Next to the fridge are some little “dry” pantry shelves…

 

Basic staples I am using a lot of since changing the way I eat back to plant-based and including some cooked vegetables.

Some of the stuff on these shelves are left overs from different things I’ve tried and am no longer really doing.  For instance the powdered greens and greens in pill form.  As you can see from the fridge pics the focus is on fresh.

Why not 100% raw?

I am not wanting to do 100% raw right now.  By not pushing for 100% I am eating less nuts and almost no raw specialty foods.  In addition to the calories I get from raw fruits, veggies, and small quantities of raw nuts and oils–I get calories from simple cooked meals that are comprised of potatoes and other cooked vegetables, tomato sauces, and delicious fresh pesto.  I limit myself to having a few servings of whole grains and eggs each week.  The cans you see are cat food, which since October have been the only meat in the house…

In just a few weeks I have gotten off the coffee ride, am drinking a lot less hard liquor, and no beer.  Done are the nightly pizzas, the garlic bread, french fries, and junk sweets.  And guess what?  The out of control and disgusting acid reflux, which had reached a level where I couldn’t even lay flat to sleep, is 100% gone.  I am exercising almost every day now, and feel compelled to do so.  I will weigh myself soon, but from what I can see in the mirror I have already dropped a lot of toxic weight.  All thanks to avoiding industrial food and doing my best to choose the most nutrient rich foods I can eat.

 


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Why I Don’t Want To Dig Ditches Anymore

I live very simply.  I have no debt and my expenses are minimal.  It’s pretty much rent, my iphone, food and fun.  I know a lot of people aren’t in that position and have kids, mortgages, car payments, hospital bills, college loans, and credit card debt.  I feel for you if that is your situation.  I’ve been there, minus the kids.

Bike NOT For Sale

Now, while I don’t have debt and a lot of bills, it’s worth noting I also have zero savings or investments of any kind.  I always have some cash in a drawer or shoe, and that’s it.  My 1987 BMW has over 250,000 miles. Someone might give me a thousand bucks for it.  But it gets me around, and I only have to keep minimal liability insurance which costs me just a few hundred a year.  I have a cool fixed gear bike that I might get $500 for if I needed to part with it.  And that is IT!

And finally, I should note that I do not have health insurance, or life insurance, or anything resembling it.

A lot of people would be extremely uncomfortable with this scenario.  I guess there are many ways of looking at it.  I am not in this situation because I am extra thrifty, or because I never had credit.  I am in this situation because I had all that, and now it’s gone.  Like a lot of people, I’ve lost money, and stuff , and credit the past three or four years.  I gotta say, it feels great.  I feel like instead of losing anything I’ve gained a feeling of freedom and increased mobility.

That said, I am ready to figure out how to really use my situation to my advantage and free myself from working at a job in order to pay my most basic sustenance level expenses.

There are things about my job (tending bar in a little Italian restaurant) that I enjoy.  On a busy night there is a rush involved in handling an overcapacity bar and restaurant. I enjoy a degree of interaction with the public, although spending five nights a week catering to people’s needs is too much.  But whether you make drinks, wait tables, mow lawns, or sit behind a desk that belongs to someone else–this kind of work is all ultimately the same.  I call it digging ditches.  Someone needs a ditch dug.  They pay you to dig it.  And every day, no matter how many ditches you’ve dug before, you dig another.

We are all digging…

 

There is nothing wrong with digging ditches.  I want to go out for a nice meal occasionally.  For that to happen there need to be competent people in the kitchen and taking my order.  But I am not funding school, buying a Camaro, or feeding children.  I feel like in my case, I should be able to find a way, or a combination of things, that I can do to pay such basic expenses and free myself to spend more time writing, traveling, or whatever else I’m into. Without digging ditches, or mixing drinks.

I’m not sure how to do this.  I know people buy and sell stuff on eBay and craigslist.  I make a little money doing freelance editing for a financial writer.  I could do more of that type of thing.  But that is really just more ditch-digging.  My brain is searching for totally new ways to look at this, it is 2011 and it seems like all the technology around us can be harnessed in ways maybe we don’t even realize yet.  I will keep you all posted.


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Back On The Wild Wagon Ride Into Uncertainty

 

What Surprised Me About THE GREAT HEALTH DEBATE
Kevin Gianni

The Great Health Debate hosted by Kevin Gianni was more enlightening than I anticipated.

The “debate” didn’t really follow a debate format. It was actually a series of  interviews with various nutritional heavies.  While there were some interesting ideas presented, I can’t say it necessarily taught me a lot in regards to nutrition.

In fact the “experts” conflicting data was in many ways more confusing than clarifying…

But in an odd way, listening to so many gurus and so much info in one concentrated week freed me! I now see this diet world and all its associated conflict for what is–further evidence that life is unknowable and full of seeming contradiction. It seems that many want to hear stated something that can’t be–unassailable truth. It just doesn’t exist for diet, or anything else.

That realization–more like something I forgot again–was the extra push I needed to crawl back in the red Radio Flyer I tumbled out of a year ago, and really start living again. Whether you are hurrying by mirrors denying the degree of ill health you are in, self medicating your unhappiness with booze and pills, or even denying the sometimes scary awareness of just how uncertain all things are–denial is a powerful thing.

My Favorite Part Of The Debate

I especially enjoyed the perspectives shared on the evening David Wolfe and Daniel Vitalis were interviewed by Kevin Gianni.

A quick note: I think these two interviews illustrate what a shame it is that the debate wasn’t a true verbal exchange between the participants.  Much is lost when there isn’t a direct interchange, and I believe Kevin is not only an awesome interviewer but also an excellent moderator more than capable of keeping the discussions, and even arguments, on track.

Wolfe

Why I especially enjoyed Wolfe and Vitalis had less to do with their nutritional insights than their incredible openness and general take on life. Both refused  to talk about people, food, and nutrition in a simplified reductionist light; a path they both admit to once being on.

Vitalis

 

Both men–regardless of how you feel about their advice–strike me as individuals who find things out for themselves, and then share their experience more than their opinions.

As I said in yesterdays post RE opinions, this experential approach to life, which is less about judgement and knowing than direct experience appeals to me. Coming to any table vested in winning an argument means you are not really their to share info or listen to what others have to say.

What Now?

Immediately following the interviews with both David Wolfe and Daniel Vitalis I felt inspired to begin yet again on my very personal journey toward healthful eating.  I also felt empowered to do this in small ways, to do it without labels, and without subscribing to any particular guru’s unique approach.

For me that has meant being blatantly honest about which foods I know intuitively after 37 years on the planet do nothing for me nutritionally and in some cases cause harm to my organism.

At my current very low level of personal health and well-being it is clear to me the following  foods have to be eliminated from my diet:

  • All commercial dairy products and all cow dairy regardless of its source.
  • All gluten, all processed grains in any form other than whole, and very little if any of those.
  • Refined sugar in its myriad disguises.
  • Factory farmed anything.
  • Artificial anything.
  • Genetically Modified produce grown with pesticides.
  • Coffee.  Probably the most difficult to give up on this list, but a food that I have a long negative history with.
  • All foods cooked or fried in oil.
  • Added salt.

 

What Does That Leave TO Eat?

A lot actually.  The issue in some ways may actually be less about what to eat, than where to eat it, and where it came from?

During the debate there was a ton of discussion about what humans did or didn’t eat 10,000 years ago.  Most of this was centered around whether humans did, and whether we currently should, eat meat.  This being the primary item debated struck me as strange and limiting.

 

When 'To Eat or Not To Eat?' was the food question of the day...

While Kevin Gianni was extremely fair with all  participants, not once did I hear him try and sway the debates, it was obvious that the debates were the brainchild of a non meat eater, because every question was eventually reduced to one, “should we or shouldn’t we eat meat?”  Not an irrelevant question, and definitely juicy with controversy, but still a question that invariably limited the scope and depth of a discussion about health.

Who Should We Really Be Arguing With?

I can’t help but feel, and here I am proffering my opinion, which I am trying to do less of, that a true debate about health in our time would center much more on the merits of industrialized food VS non-industrial local sources of food.

Healthy meat VS unhealthy.  Healthy vegetables VS unhealthy.  Yes there will always be room to debate percentages and quantities of macro-nutrients.  There will always be a philosophical debate about  killing or using animals for food. But the carnivores, omnivores, herbivores, and fruitarians are all in the same boat when it comes to the industrialization of our food to the point that it barely resembles food. Have you walked through a modern supermarket lately?  It is frightening.

"cheese" puffs and pepsi

AISLE 9 - Corn Syrup - Aspartame - Phosphoric Acid

Look back at my hit list of foods I want to eliminate from my life.  It is essentially a  list of industrial food.

For me to avoid the foods on that list, it would be difficult to eat in most restaurants, and impossible to eat in many.  For me to source quality fruit, vegetables, eggs, whole grains and meat (if I choose to eat meat again in the future) would require finding a source other than the giant corporate markets.

 

 

 

Mono-crop agriculture and factory farms are the same thing.  A very bad response to ever growing numbers of humans who aren’t prepared psychologically, politically, and technologically to feed the next generation.   Mad Science and greed have taken only 40-50 years to bring us humans down to a frightening level of disease and ill health. Obviously there are healthy people who eat meat.  Obviously there are healthy people who eat no meat.  To argue otherwise is asinine.

 

While we argue (in an arguably entertaining fashion) about how much if any of our diets should come from animals, the state of all of our food is worsening.  Our options are lessening.  Our inherent right to grow food and share it with each other is being stripped away; perhaps irreversibly.

Maybe “You are what you eat” has less to do with which kingdom it came from than whether or not what you eat–plant or animal–was healthy before you ate it?

Will we start arguing with the companies and governments who are ruining our food supply?  Can we channel some of  the energy we use debating food philosophy and branded versions of health into effective change both in our back yards and through legislation?  Because somewhere in our current debate is a form of denial about the real elephant in the room.  And that can’t be healthy.

Either way, thanks Kevin Gianni for doing something!  You obviously worked extremely hard on this project, and in my own way, I benefited greatly from it. The last several days I have taken some concrete steps to better my health, which I will be sharing soon.

Cheers!


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Want my opinion? You can have it! I don’t want it anymore.

An Editorial About Opinion

Gone are the days when humans were solo buoys floating in foggy waters, signaling to each other with simple flashing lights or the occasional bleat of their horns.

The internet has changed that.  And while it may have spawned some new visual art and original storytelling; it appears that the primary byproduct created when humans swim in cyberspace is opinion.

What Is My Opinion Worth?

According to futurist Jacque Fresco, probably not a whole lot.

This guy fascinates me, and when I was watching him interviewed recently I noticed he was exasperated with an interviewer who kept asking Jacque what he thought, about what others thought, about what he thought.

As silly as that sounds, that is pretty much what it has come to, isn’t it?  Most discussions now seem centered on who thinks what about who said something, or a criticism of what was said about what was originally said. AKA the world as a “forum.”

When the journalist pressed Jacque and said something patronizing like “Don’t you want to hear everyone’s opinion?”, he made it very clear that he doesn’t.  He couldn’t believe others wasted their time weighing in on issues they knew little or even nothing about (interfering with meritorious discussion), or listening to and arguing with people who had no direct knowledge or experience to contribute.  I wonder if Jacque uses Facebook?

 

Facebook! What you talkin bout willis?

One More Stink Fish

Looking over my past blog posts I can see I’ve just been adding to this morass as if there were not already enough dead and dying opinions strewn across our cyber-shores. Like most webitorial, if you read between my lines you will find plenty of speculation and manipulation (try as I might the occasional adverb seduces me).

Recently I had one of those flash-of-light type personal revelations.  It was about opinions, and the result is that I no longer want to have them.

How could that possibly work? I don’t know.  And why would I give up that most holy of birthrights–my opinion?  Well, if I can’t be opinion-less, I’d like to at least have less opinions.

I will be exploring (on & off this blog) ways to experience things more fully than relying on my opinions/beliefs.  I suspect our beliefs and the compulsion to share them with others actually get in the way of us truly experiencing anything–other than the experience of sharing our opinion.

I’m in contact with several press agents, and am hoping that I can get Buddha, OSHO, and perhaps even Charles Fort to make guest appearances soon…

 

 


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Franken Pigs and other Monsters

In America — Justice Really Is Blind

When Annie and I visited a farm animal shelter for her birthday, we were introduced to some fairly young pigs the size of Volkswagens.

On our tour we learned that they were “rescued” genetically modified pigs.  These industrial hogs were not only unnaturally enormous, but their proportions were all askew. The pig designers work very hard to have the truckloads of calories their investments consume go to all the highest ‘price-per-pound’ spots.

 

The result are mutant pigs who cannot live out a natural life even when given the opportunity to do so, because their bodies literally COLLAPSE structurally while  they are still teens. And remember, the shelter is an environment where they are given no additional growth hormones (like they would at the factory) and are fed natural food!

Shelter staff sadly admitted to keeping them alive as long as they could do so with relative quality of life, and then putting them down once their respiratory system, organs, and limbs are no longer  able to handle their freakish mass.

Regardless of how how you feel about the ethical implications of eating animals, this freak show has to stop!  Take the blindfold off and actually look at what’s on your plate.

 

 


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My blog has a whole new look, now if I could just get one.

Fat Kid has a new Suit

I’ve changed a lot since I began writing Fat Kid Suit almost a year and a half ago, and it’s time for this ungrateful blog to grow and change some too.  Hello, it’s 2011.

For starters you’ll be reading about more than just raw food.  But don’t worry, I’m fat again.  So expect me to muster the courage to give raw another go with requisite candid field reports and embarrassing photos.

Food, Sex, and Self-Loathing

Having said that (props to Larry David & Jerry Seinfeld), my new tag line is “Food, Sex, and Self-Loathing.”

Self Loathing Sculpture (click image to see artist page)

The tag line should also include the word “writing” in there somewhere, but maybe self-loathing sorta covers that?  Several projects, including an unfinished screenplay that hates me for lacking drive and focus, need finishing.  And doing that is going to take energy.  Which I don’t have.  So welcome to perhaps the first ever blog that explores the correlation of  creative ups & downs with what goes in my mouth.

Some posts I may or may not write:
  • I’m getting sick of opinions, especially mine.  I want to share with you my recent attempts at going opinion-less.
  • Here I am again.  Fat, out of shape, and fairly disgusted with myself.  What am I going to do about it?
  • Low Fat Raw Vegan, AKA the “80-10-10 Diet.”  Can I really just eat fruit?!
  • Why cooked vegan just doesn’t work–for me.
  • Channeling your desire for food back into what it really is, a desire for “Sexy Time!”
  • Stories about Tijuana.
  • Pictures of our adopted children, I mean chickens.  Why something as seemingly ridiculous as a farm animal shelter makes more sense than I thought it did.
  • Why it’s not called “Red Wine Dick” and other things that suck about whiskey.

Feedback Needed

If you are considering a serious go at raw foods please let me know!  It doesn’t matter if you are considering a one week raw juice fast, or a longer commitment to vital eating, I am desperately seeking camaraderie and moral support!  I’d also love to feature some other raw stories here.

I’m not sure why, but I am having an extremely tough time motivating myself to take my health seriously.  I really miss the energy and overall good feeling I had when I ate raw.  If you are in a similar place, let’s talk.

Thanks for checking out the new and improved Fat Kid Suit!