Occupy the Food Supply

My living room veg garden: cabbage seedlings, burdock and sweet potatoesBy Dr. Susan Rubin

My journey from being a dentist to a food activist has been filled with twists and turns over the years. When the Occupy Wall Street movement started last fall, I was immediately intrigued. At the core of the Occupy movement is greed, corruption and the undue influence of corporations on our government. The corporate control of food in every level of our lives had been pretty darn clear to me for a long time, its a big reason I’m an active participant in the Occupy movement.

Corporate control of our food is every where you look. Here are just four examples (there are many more):

1. School Food: 25% of all school cafeterias are run by giant corporations such as Aramark, Chartwells, Sodhexo and others. These corporations are required by law to deliver a profit to their shareholders, that comes way before providing healthy, safe food to kids. In my 10+ years of school food advocacy, I saw first hand that the school cafeterias who made meaningful healthy changes came from school districts that did NOT outsource their food service to corporations.

2. Genetically modified organisms, aka GMOs. Approximately 70% of all processed and packaged foods contain GMOs. One corporation, Monsanto, controls more than 95 percent of our nation’s sugar beets, 94 percent of the soybeans, and 88 percent of the corn grown in this country. Pretty darn creepy. Learn more about Monsanto’s influence on our food system by clicking here.

If you live near me, get your seeds from the Hudson Valley Seed Library.

3. Seeds. Ready for another creepy fact? Five companies dominate the world’s seed market — Bayer (Aventis), Monsanto, DuPont, Dow, and Syngenta (Novartis and AstraZeneca). These are the corps who make pesticides and genetically modified organisms. Corporate control of seeds is terrifying, learn more by clicking here. The answer to this is save your own seeds or be involved with a local seed swap. I belong to the Hudson Valley Seed Library – check it out!

4. A flawed farm bill Sadly we live in a country where a happy meal is cheaper than a healthy meal. Multi-national meatpacking corporations like Tyson-IBP, ConAgra, Cargill and Smithfield are big players in the farm bill, keeping subsidies for corn and soy so they can profit from factory raised cows. Learn more about the farm bill by clicking here.

So what can YOU do to keep corporations out of your food supply?

Here are some suggestions:
1. Buy your veggies from a local farmers market. It is essential that we all do everything we can to support our local regional food systems. With climate change and resource depletion (fossil fuels), we must rebuild local food. Regular visits to farmer’s markets can be a delicious way to wean yourself away from corporate controlled food.

2. Join a CSA. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture- its a great way to keep corporations out of our food supply, you deal directly with a farmer for an entire growing season. Local Harvest is a website that can help you to find a CSA near you. (l I’m psyched that Kitchawan Farm is a starting new small CSA just minutes from my home. Learn more about their 2012 farm share by clicking here.

3. Buy your bread from a a local bakery. Get yourself some REAL bread! We have one a few towns away from here, in Port Chester, its called Kneaded Bread its a special treat and worth the trip. You’ll find that 99% of bread in supermarkets contains questionable ingredients that don’t belong in bread. Most of it contains GMO ingredients. Get your family off of this poison!

4. Prepare you own meals instead of buying fast food, take out or frozen dinners. If you stop to think about it, how did we ever lose this skill of preparing food for ourselves and our families? You guessed it! Food corporations and their slick ad campaigns turned cooking into “drudgery” and sold us “convenience” YUP, it comes down to re-skilling: learning how to cook, its really not rocket science. Get your kids started on this as well, child labor is appropriate, you’ll be teaching them life skills. By the time they’re out of high school, they should know how to cook for themselves. That way they will not be dependent upon the corporate run cafeterias at their college or worse yet, RAMEN! Note that there are colleges with great food, UMASS Amherst is a great example.

5.Buy your milk from a local farm. Find one in your area and support it. Corporate influence of our milk supply is truly disturbing. One thing you must make sure of and that is that the milk you drink does not contain Monsanto’s recombinant bovine growth hormone. rBGH increases your chances of breast, colon and prostate cancer.

6. Make you own cookies, cakes, and pies. With real ingredients. Organic butter. Fair trade sugar. Teach your kids that these forms of treats #1 taste better……teach them quality counts, #2 better for you and for the planet. Stay far far away from toxic corporate cookies like Girl Scout cookies. Support your local troop with a check instead and make your own cookies at home.

7. Start growing your own. I often tell people, “gardens are the answer. what was your question?” The benefits of growing food are enormous, let me start to count the ways. Getting your hands in the dirt, soil, has health benefits: anti-depressant properties, may help facilitate learning, may help people with asthma.


bio Dr. Susan Rubin is an eco-gastronomically focused food educator and leader in the world of school food activism as well as a mother of three.  She is the founder of Better School Food, a coalition of health professionals, educators, and concerned parents, whose mission is to raise awareness about the connection between better food and better health. She is one of the Two Angry Moms in the documentary film of the same name.  Dr. Susan has a private health counseling practice in Westchester, NY.  You can contact Dr. Rubin at www.drsusanrubin.com


Love Foods to Eat in February (or other months…)

Can food help us feel more loving?

There’s an abundance of published research and writings to support the ancient belief that certain foods contain properties that promote love, fertility and virility. From the Mayan reverence for cacao, used to make a beverage prized for its stimulating, sustaining and euphoric qualities to countless cookbooks, websites and blogs extolling the virtues of “love” foods, the connection between food and emotions continues to endure.

Have fun experimenting with “love” foods this month and see which ones work best for you.

Almonds, which are good for your heart, are one of the oldest symbols of love and fertility. Almond essence is well documented as a favorite for pursuits of love and seduction, particularly for stimulating passion in women.

Avocado contains vitamin B6 which is said to increase male hormone production and contains potassium which aids in regulating the female thyroid gland. The Aztecs called the avocado tree a “testicle tree” because they thought the fruit hanging in pairs on the tree resembled the male organs.

Bananas, with it suggestive shape and creamy texture is considered one of the most popular aphrodisiac foods used to stimulate sexual desire and increase sexual powers. Bananas also contain potassium and B vitamins which are essential for sex hormone production.

Chili peppers get their heat from capsaicin, which stimulates nerve endings and raises our pulse. It’s also believed to release endorphins, which give our bodies a natural high.

Chocolate – in it’s purest raw form – contains a sedative, which relaxes and lowers inhibitions and a stimulant, which increases activity and the desire for physical contact. No wonder more chocolate is sold on Valentine’s Day than any other day of the year.

Ginger soothes the stomach and stimulates the circulatory system, which can increase sexual powers and desire. Enjoy ginger root raw, cooked, or crystallized – it has the same stimulating effect.

Oysters, a rich source of zinc, (needed for testosterone production) has long held a favored place on the lists of aphrodisiac food. Some oysters change their sex from male to female and back, making them a food that allows one to experience the masculine and feminine sides of love. Folklore recommends only eating oysters in the months that contain the letter R, so you’re safe this month.

Truffles with their mysterious musky aroma, have long been considered to be an aphrodisiac. Truffle salt on French fries, yeah, I’d call that sexy….
Guest Blog post by

Jordana Halpern Geist, HHC
Healthy Happy You

Coffee: Drink up AND Scrub Cellulite Away!

Cup of joe in the morning, latte in the afternoon and an invigorating, aromatic coffee scrub after that!  Never had had one, actually never even heard of it before, but the description sounded like the miracle I’ve been looking for…all my life.

Invigorating Experiential Coffee Scrub ~  Deep nourishing experience as it exfoliates and cleanses away dead skin cells.  Clinically proven to provide powerful antioxidant and tightening benefits for the skin.  This scrub will stimulate circulation, and will scrub away cellulite. 

Yes, you read that correctly, “scrub away cellulite“!

Actually, they had me at “tightening benefits”.

Sign me up, right NOW!

Costa Rico, what a beautiful amazing place, where the coffee flows as freely as it’s many water falls. I am so grateful to have been able visit paradise, but also to immerse myself in, what else?  Coffee, organic, good for you, once in a while, coffee.

Imagine if you will:  It’s aroma filling the air you breath…ah… You’ve just made a pot of coffee.  Pour the coffee into your mug, its warm, wonderful, heaven on earth aroma fills your being.  Deep breath. You sip it, feeling comforted, loved and ready to take on the day.  Now taking the filter out of the coffee maker, the wet coffee grinds are on your finger tips,  you take a another nice deep breath, taking in again the aroma as you toss the the filter toward the garbage pail, you miss it.  The coffee grinds spill all over the floor.  You gather up the wet coffee grinds, scooping them up, go ahead….just slap some on yourself and scrub away.

My “Invigorating Experiential Coffee Scrub” was indeed like a massage, but with coffee grinds rubbed into my body, that felt a little like gravel.  My masseuse worked especially hard on my thighs, butt and upper arms, the more evident parts of my body that needed tightening.  I then showered, went back to the massage table for a light massage.  That was it?  $100 later and that was it.

The result:  I felt refreshed, and even energized, oh wait, that was the caffeine kicking in.  My skin felt a little tighter, but the cellulite was still there.

So, I did some research on the wonders of a coffee ground scrub and found that coffee does indeed break down cellulite, but you need to use it daily.  Coffee helps to redistribute fat cells, thereby reducing cellulite, but also another added benefit of a coffee scrub is it helps to reduce varicose veins.  Caffeine shrinks blood vessels, helping to contract varicose veins, by shrinking them away and helping to prevent more from showing up.

DIY:  Have a cup of coffee, wipe out cellulite, varicose veins and feel energized all for the price of a cup of joe, I say let’s do it!!!!!! (!!= caffeine)

Here’s how:

1.  1/4 C or more ground coffee (Caffeine)

2.  1 Tbsp olive oil or coconut oil

Optional add ons:   1 Tbsp sugar and sea salt.  1 tsp honey.  Warming spices:  Ginger for circulation; Cinnamon for reducing inflammation.  Essential oils, such as lavender, frankincense, or another of your favorites, creating a scent that works for you and gaining even more health benefits.

Your skin should be moist before applying the scrub.  Rub in a circular motion on the “problem areas”.  Give yourself a good 5 minutes of this. 1 minute or more per area. Rinse well.

My personal result after four days:  It is making a difference, but the jury is still out (my full length mirror, not my husband).  I will keep you posted.

Try it and let me know if it works for you.   My and Cynthia’s progress will be reported on our radio show, The Family Balancing Act.

Take a deep breath, smell the coffee and know that you’re not alone.

Sources:  livestrong, Spa Magazine

“Healthy” from the Plate of the USDA

Well, the USDA food pyramid has just gotten a “new” makeover!  MyPlate is the colorful, new, in your face, pay attention to me ad campaign!  MyPyramid, the prior ad campaign, was based on the Food Pyramid, and like Madonna or Brittney, it was just time for a redo.

Statistically, we as a nation are not getting healthier, we’re getting sicker.  So, it’s time to wake up the public because we, are in crisis!  Yep, we are a fat, overweight, diabetic bound, heart diseased, downward spiraling nation of fast food ad campaigns that scream louder than the USDA food pyramid, MyPyramid or MyPlate ever could – CRISIS!!

Wait, maybe the USDA and lobbyists in Washington are in cahoots?  No!?  They have our best interests at hand, right?!  Think again!  Take a look at the plate.  Here sits this bright, beautiful plate, telling us what we need to know as a nation to keep ourselves and our family healthy.  What’s a mom to do?!  READ the labels. Take responsibility for your own opinion, your own health and the health of your family.

Yes, there is some really great information to be gleaned from MyPlate.gov.  Vegetables, Grain, Fruit, Protein and Dairy. We all need to eat our vegetables! Greens, specifically, actually lots of them! (This I give them 5 stars, as it’s the largest section on MyPlate). Fruit, but as Dr. Andrew Weil has so aptly pointed out in his blog post: no distinction is made between fruit juices and fruits.

Protein come from MANY sources and guess what?! Grains and greens have protein.  So do nuts, beans and legumes.  It’s not all about animal proteins. MyPlate misses bringing awareness to these other sources of protein, BUT it does not push the over abundance of animal protein it used to!  Dairy, low fat precisely, is not necessarily healthier for you than full fat.  In fact in the Dec. 21, 2010 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine, it shows that there is a natural substance in dairy fat,( trans-palmitoleic acid), that may substantially reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

What is missing from the plate is, water (ah…not in the glass!).  Water is the basis of true health and wellness.  You can live without food for weeks, but you can’t live without water for longer than 3 days.  We NEED water to grow,  just like plants.

Watering yourself creates homeostasis, health:

  • Detoxifies
  • Natural food suppressant (want to loose weight?!)
  • Moisturizes the skin
  • Aids in digestion and prevents constipation
  • Gets rid of headaches and helps with reduction of migraines
  • Water is the transport system for everything that enters your body
  • The elixir of youth!
  • It hydrates you!!

Take a look at your plate and then take a look at MyPlate.gov.  It’s about getting yourself educated, demanding real information about what you and your family need to ingest. MyPlate.gov is an opinion by the USDA, not a decree.  Follow your own instincts, get educated.  The government is tied into big pharma, beef, poultry, dairy, grain, soybean, corn and their lobbyists at the expense of our health as a nation.  The thinking is if we keep people sick, we can keep big pharma happy!  The beef, poultry and dairy industry needs to be kept happy too.  Let’s not forget the GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) Monsanto monster corn, soybean and grains.  Just so you know, Monsanto develops and markets genetically engineered seed and bovine growth hormone, AND is extremely aggressive with it’s litigation, political lobbying practices, seed commercialization practices and “strong-arming” of the seed industry!  So, let’s make sure Monsanto is kept happy.

Follow the money trail and drink your water.