The Spirit of Giving

Christmas generosity has not been lost on the world of bloggers. Perusing my favorite blogs, I found several giveaways in the spirit of the holiday season. Here are some of my favorites:

Home for the Holidays Gluten-free Style

This is event is hosted by Shirley Braden at Gluten Free Easily, as well as many, many others in the community of gluten-free bloggers. The event runs from November 28 – December 23. That’s this Friday, so hurry on over and check this out! Each day, different gluten-free bloggers submit posts with a recipe that most exemplifies the holidays to them, as well as 3 giveaways for those lucky winners chosen at random from those that comment on the post. Each post is only available for 48 hours so you have to be quick! And best of all, in addition to the 3 giveaways each day, there are 3 grand prizes that will be chosen from all comments received throughout the process — each comment is an entry into the prize drawing so the more days you follow and post, the greater your chances of winning! Oh, and I almost forgot to mention the grand prizes — 1st prize: Vitamix, 2nd prize: $150 shopping spree at Free From Gluten, and 3rd prize: Cavemen Cookies giveaway package ($89 value)! For more information and a complete list of the participating bloggers, the daily giveaways, and the final prizes, hop over to Gluten Free Easily.

Mountain Rose Herbs: Best Recipes of 2011 Giveaway!

I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love Mountain Rose Herbs for purchasing an array of items — maca, spirulina, chorella, and of course, a variety of bulk organic herbs. Mountain Rose Herbs is committed to organic and ecologically responsible agriculture and products. You can find their weekly giveaways on the Mountain Rose Blog. This week the giveaway includes a package of the following awesome products!

32oz Organic Virgin Coconut Oil
1lb Organic Maca Powder
1lb Organic Arrowroot Powder
8oz Organic Hemp Seeds
2oz Organic Vanilla Flavor Extract
1lb Himalayan Pink Salt
The Herbal Kitchen by Kami McBride

Hurry, there are only two more weeks of Mountain Rose Herb giveaways to be had!

I’ll try my best to share any giveaway posts on Twitter (@livelocaliveraw). Follow me on Twitter to stay current!


The Countdown to Christmas

It’s a wonderful feeling getting Christmas shopping done early — beating the rush — no Christmas Eve shopping for me!

Here’s a preview of a product we ordered on Shutterfly. Our first Christmas card as a married couple!

Photo Card
View the entire collection of cards.

I’ve also been following Gluten Free Easily’s (GFE) Home for the Holidays give-away contest. Follow my Twitter (@livelocaliveraw) for updates on the give-aways and recipes by the featured gluten-free blogger each day!


My WAPF Love Affair

Once upon a time, I was lost and alone, betrayed by “fat-free” products, teased by store-bought whole grain bread, and bullied by preservative-infused lunch meat at the deli. Lies about nutrition crowded my sight as I gazed across product labels in grocery store aisles; they were shouted in my ears with each stroke of the doctor’s pen mechanically writing out prescriptions; and they were shoved down my throat at each TV commercial advocating sugar-coated imitations of what was once real food. It’s hard to find the truth amid so many lies.

But the only way to be freed of lies is to embrace research, knowledge, skepticism, an open mind — and to accept that I have lived largely in ignorance. We have all shown our ignorance, each time we religiously follow the doctor’s orders, randomly grab items in the supermarket without thought of its origins, or hop on the latest diet fad. But this government-sanctioned dream world has begun to crumble, and several organization and inspirational individuals have accelerated that process.

And that’s where WAPF enters stage left. Drowning in research and gasping for breath as wave after wave crashed into all of my prior convictions, I stumbled upon the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF). Though perhaps “stumbled” isn’t the right word since the Weston A. Price Foundation is to holistic and whole food researchers like what World of Warcraft is to hardcore gamers. Contained in this non-profit, volunteer-led organization is a wealth of solid research, leadership, and forward-moving actions.

In the Weston A. Price Foundation, I found community — a community of like-minded individuals who shared knowledge, offered support in the form of local chapters, and centralized the distribution of nutrition information, research, and action alerts.

A brief biography of Dr. Weston A. Price and his research, on which the organization was founded, is featured below.

The Weston A. Price Foundation advocates for a variety of nutrition issues, most (or probably all) of which are directly contrary to conventional healthcare officials, and the USDA, FDA, and essentially all other government agencies — advocating issues like raw milk and dairy products, cod liver oil, and fermented foods, while protesting soy, vaccines, antibiotics, and the USDA’s food pyramid. I expect this would be a doctor or government official’s worst nightmare — the official torn between prosecuting the entire organization and running breakneck in the opposite direction.

Sally Fallon Morrell, executive director of the Weston A. Price Foundation, criticizes the USDA’s 2010 Dietary Guidelines in the following videos.

Part I

Part II

Alternatively, I run into the foundation’s open arms. I live my life according to the Weston A. Price Foundation. I hope to raise my children with the same lifestyle — raw milk smiles; stomachs full of fermented foods, raw salads, and grass-fed beef; and skin free of unnecessary vaccinations. The Weston A. Price Foundation is my community, my family, my love affair.


Freedom of Choice in School Lunch & Beyond

Chicago school bans some lunches brought from home

Yesterday this article was ablaze across news outlets and blogs alike. Featured in the Chicago Tribune, the article received more than 800 comments and was labeled yesterday’s “most viewed” article on the Chicago Tribune‘s website. It was discussed on blogs such as www.foodfreedom.wordpress.com and www.naturalnews.com.

It is obvious from the article title why the article received such attention. The article explains that at “Little Village Academy on Chicago’s West Side, students are not allowed to pack lunches from home. Unless they have a medical excuse, they must eat the food served in the cafeteria.” Little Village Academy Principal Elsa Carmona instituted this policy 6 years ago, claiming that “her intention is to protect students from their own unhealthful food choices.”

Oh, where to begin. There are so many problems with this that I don’t know where to start!

First of all, the heart of this issue, as the title of this post suggests, is freedom of choice. A policy such as this is a direct infringement on our rights and freedoms, especially in terms of parental rights. I don’t understand it. We can smoke if we want. We can wear what we want. We can buy what we want. So why, why can’t we EAT what we want!

And moreover, why don’t we have control over what we feed our children? The rights of parents over their children are slowly being restricted, and that’s a scary thought.

The Alliance for Natural Health published an alarming article about this very issue titled “When it Comes to Natural Health for Children, We’re Living in a Police State.” The article detailed the stories of three children, and the legal action that was taken against each of the parents for their personal health and lifestyle choices, including their decisions to pursue alternative medicine and reject the conventionally-recommended treatment, or for their choice of maintaining a vegan lifestyle.

If parents and consumers alike do not fight back and support each other in such situations, then these cases may become more the norm than the exception. We have to take back the right to make our own decisions about food, health, and medicine.

I am not going to get the flu shot. I am not going to make my children take every vaccination they mandate. I am not going to take antibiotics. I AM going to use food as my medicine. I AM going to boost my immune system with probiotics and superfoods.

I am not going to allow my children to eat school lunches. I am not going to follow USDA dietary recommendations. I am not going to teach my children the food pyramid. I am not going to eat everything “fat-free.” I AM going to drink raw milk. I AM going to use coconut oil and raw butter. I AM going to eat unpasteurized nuts. I AM going to buy local, raw, and organic.

Those are the decisions that I make. Decisions that no one else should have control over.

Today, food and health are the most strictly-regulated aspects of American society. And with the persistence of cancer, heart-disease, obesity, and diabetes, I don’t think the government can claim that they have made the right decision in doing so anymore.

So, I will leave you in the spirit of the freedom of choice by ensuring you that, as a reader, you always have the option to agree or disagree or ignore what I have written here. And if you do disagree, you can be assured that I, at least, won’t prosecute you for it, but be aware that in health and nutrition issues, apparently the government could.


Why Blog?

Roaming the pages of the Technorati blog directory, I immediately clicked on the Health blogs category first (no surprise there) and then browsed the Food blogs (no surprise there either). I found several interesting and impressive blogs. Here are a few…

  1. Civil Eats (http://civileats.com/): This blog is a conglomerate of discussions on local foods, young farmers, food policies, environmental issues, sustainability, and more. The website is visually appealing, a satisfying combination of blues, greens, and browns. The content is diverse and offers several intriguing links, including “young farmers unite,” “roof garden rookies,” and “foodshed nomad” – cute.
  2. Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free (http://www.simplysugarandglutenfree.com/): This is a food/recipe blog that I already subscribe to. But beyond that fact, I choose this blog because I love the header with the title. It is very creative. And though it has a simply layout, the blog contains a vast amount of information. I also like that the blogger has included two “About …” links. One is “About Amy” (the blogger) and the other is “About SS & GF” (the blog). It is interesting that she chooses to distinguish herself from the blog, describing each on a separate page.
  3. Ecosalon (http://ecosalon.com/): This blog was focuses on sustainability and fashion, a topic that has been uncovered and growing in interest recently. I thought this blog was rendered notice because it used a three-column approach over the usual one or two columns for its main content pages.

The blogs I perused do bring up one question — how will my blog be different from the hundreds, thousands, hundreds of thousands of blogs that already exist out there in their mature form?  In comparison, my amateur blog appears to be just that, amateur.

Is the goal of a blogger to strive to be unique and different and to gain hundreds of followers? Or is it just to settle for normalcy, blog like everyone else and their mother, and let come what may?

Is this every blogger’s dilemma?


Breaking New Ground

I’m not a blogger by nature. This is out of my element, my comfort zone. Or perhaps, as I continue to blog or write or post, I will find that it is second nature after all.

And though creating this blog was an assignment for my social media class, I will attempt to continue blogging (that is such a weird word!) to my heart’s content.

It was not difficult to choose the subject matter for this blog. My life revolves around alternative or traditional (seemingly opposite words yet both descriptive of my focus) nutrition, medicine, and foods. This blog, then, is my meager attempt to spread this knowledge, this passion, and this appreciation for all those adjectives that I used in the title of this blog and more.

I do not, by any means, seek to force-feed my beliefs to readers; I mean only to present my opinions, to share information, and to gather resources so that we, as informed consumers, parents, and young adults, know that, if we so choose, our lives do not have to consist of fast food, Super Targets, Kraft macaroni-n-cheese, flu shots, and low-fat everything.

More about that later. More about me here.


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