Killing Me Slowly

By: Jeremy J.

What is my favorite food?  I am not extremely picky but I also am not too adventurous either.  I don’t have just one favorite food group so my top three culinary enjoyments are Mexican, Sushi and Italian.  But, Chinese food is also a tie for third. In all transparency, I do not eat the way I used to. I have been watching my sodium intake diligently since 2006, but earlier this year I was diagnosed with high blood pressure.  I do not drink alcohol, smoke and rarely eat out (perhaps once a week, unless I am on vacation or guests are in town), so this startling revelation was disturbing.  

It led me down a rabbit hole of extensive research on the subject.  I discovered that according to a 2014 article in the New England Journal of Medicine, salt intake is at an all-time high, with Americans consuming around 3,300 milligrams of sodium a day, over double what is the recommended daily allotment.  For the last seven months I have read so many nutritional labels on products at the grocery store and the rarely produced nutritional menus at restaurants (most don’t have any!) and am shocked by what I have discovered. Salt is being dumped into food by the gallons.  It is a ticking time bomb. 

A high sodium diet can lead to many health complications such as strokes and heart attacks which can happen at any age and is not just an old person problem.  Also, all salts are not created equal. Table salt is the worst, (if you see “salt” on any product labels or in nutritional information, run for the hills) while some salts are fine to consume like sea salt and Himalayan salt in moderation. The American Heart Association recommends, “…no more than 2,300 milligrams (mg) a day and moving toward an ideal limit of no more than 1,500 mg per day for most adults.”  I encourage you to limit your daily sodium intake and do some research of your own. What is your favorite food? Do you care about sodium enough to start paying attention to what goes into your food and ultimately your body? 

Feel free to reply to the email if you’re a subscriber or comment if you’re a paid subscriber. We’d love to hear your thoughts.

The Journey Home

By: Jeremy J. 

For thousands of travelers, Santa Fe, New Mexico was the end of the line after months of a treacherous and sometimes deadly journey, yet to them, it offered hope and a start of a new home.  

The Santa Fe Trail was mainly established as a commercial transportation route, but soon became a main wagon trail thoroughfare for Americans traveling from Missouri, in search of owning large parcels of land and a freedom they could not find at home.  According to Wikipedia, “Travelers faced many hardships along the Santa Fe Trail. The trail was a challenging 900 miles of arid plains, desert, and mountains. The natural climate was and is continental: very hot and dry summers, coupled with long and bitterly cold winters. Freshwater was scarce, and the high steppe-like plains are nearly treeless.

Of course before the influx of people from the east, Indigenous Americans lived in this region for hundreds of years and they still flourish there to this day.  The city itself is full of their art and culture and I was lucky enough to meet one when I visited Santa Fe last weekend. I met this individual at the Palace of The Governors, located across from the main plaza, where he was with a group of 10-15 sidewalk artists who were selling their many arts and crafts.  I was immediately drawn to his paintings, especially a small one that depicted a horse running on the plains. He soon was explaining to me in great detail how he painted this horse and what it meant to him and his people. We started chatting further and he told me the story of how he never was one-hundred percent sure if he was apart of the Navajo tribe, but always identified with them.  When he arrived in Santa Fe, NM in the late 1990’s, he immediately felt at home, but didn’t exactly know why. He went on by explaining all the hardships he had endured with his personal life and his relationship with the Navajo nation. He finally decided to take a DNA test through Ancestry.com where he not only discovered that he was 89.9% Native American, but that he had ties to that exact region of Santa Fe through a grandparent and many ancestors before him.  He had found his ancestral home and made it his current one and though his journey is not over, it certainly has come full circle.

Going Green for Halloween Pt II

By: Shar

Costumes

A good way to not spend a ton of money/have clutter in your house is to co-opt your normal clothing for Halloween costumes. Or to at least buy clothes that could be used for a Halloween costume. You got Mary Janes and a black dress with a white collar? Congrats, you’re Wednesday Addams. Red/white striped long-sleeve and a beanie and jeans? Found you, Waldo. It gives you a chance to be creative and more versatile with your everyday wardrobe. Also, I see you procrastinators. Of course, if you do buy “normal clothes” with the intent to wear them as a costume later down the road, make sure you do actually wear those clothes on a normal basis. If you’re being particularly lazy that Halloween, just wear orange and black and call it a day.

There’s also thrift stores and pilfering your friend’s old Halloween costumes. Clothing swaps are popular now - why not also swap old Halloween costumes since most people don’t wear their costumes more than once? You could also be a rebel and just wear the same costume every year. Make it your thing. Dress like a witch or a wizard every year and change out some small accessories and make people guess what you’ve changed. 

Parties

Making Halloween parties green is mostly just about reducing waste. Make sure you get an accurate headcount and buy just enough food to cover that. If you have more, line up people who would gladly take the leftovers. 

Going Green for Halloween

By: Jeremy J.

Here are some tips on how to have an environmentally friendly Halloween!

Just Say No to Plastic Costumes

Cheap, store-bought costumes are not the best way to go to achieve the Halloween look you want.  Not only are they way too expensive, they have some of the worst hidden dangers for children and environmental impacts. Homemade costumes are the best solution for your wallet and the planet, plus you can get pretty creative when you put your mind to it. 

Facing the Facts

If you want to go all out with painting your face for Halloween, think about using organic, natural makeup for your transformation and avoid the bad stuff that come standard in most cheap “Halloween” makeup brands. 

Scary Sugary Treats

If you are like me, you love sugar and maybe have a small addiction to it.  When buying your candy this year, try stocking your bowl with organic, natural treats instead.  If not, you will be handing out chemicals and preservatives that are even scarier than your costume. 

Bye-bye Baggie

Are you used to using a big plastic pumpkin for hauling around all your treats?  A better and easier method for transporting your loot all over the neighborhood is a fun and reusable canvas bag.

Forget the Fire & Wax

The soft flickering of traditional candles partly gives Halloween its spooky feel and what's a jack-o-lantern without one?  Sadly though, wax candles release toxic chemicals. Soy candles are a great alternative but there are also battery operated ones that come in all sizes.  While batteries are not great for the environment, you can use rechargeable batteries instead.

Do you have any other tips for a Halloween that helps the environment?  Please reply to the email if you’re a subscriber or comment if you’re a paid subscriber.  We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Tell Me Comfort

Disclaimer: This post has a lot of quotes and metaphors - By: Shar

Words are what worlds revolve around. Music and visual art are both great fun for me but nothing comforts me quite like words. It’s neat how you can encapsulate common feelings and experiences into a 26-bit alphabet. 

The sayings about “this too shall pass” or “nothing is forever” or whatever that hints at how ephemeral emotions and situations are, does nothing to comfort me. A more comforting saying, in my opinion, is “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” Change doesn’t always work out - sometimes you revert, sometimes that reversion is a good thing. And sometimes the change is something you never thought would happen but was much needed and wanted. 

I also have a new favorite in “either things grow and change or they die” (Kim Edwards). Trees dying is part of the growth. 

Happiness and sadness are both temporary but I don’t believe contentedness is out of the question as a stable feeling. This is the motivation behind why I disagree with “This too shall pass” as a motivational quote. Not to mention, bad things can happen a lot at once. And I don’t know a single person who would say, “Ah, yes, I would like this happy moment to pass.” Sometimes what you consider to be a content moment changes. As people age, the more small things are appreciated. 

Another quote that is similar to both of the keystone ones above is, “Your mind is a galaxy. More dark than light. But the light makes it worthwhile…Even when the darkness is total. Always know that life is not still. Time is space. You are moving through that galaxy. Wait for the stars” (Matt Haig). The imagery of this appeals greatly to me. While it relates to “this too shall pass,” it puts more emphasis on how great the light parts are and how comforting sometimes the dark parts are when you’re moving through time and space. Also, stars and space are just cool hence my love for the quote. 

What sayings bring you deep comfort? Please reply to the email if you’re a subscriber or comment if you’re a paid subscriber. We’d love to hear your thoughts.

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