Kale and Beyond

wpid-IMAG1531.jpg

In the past few years kale has taken the cake as being the new almighty vegetable and the symbol for healthy eating.  It’s good news, it means people are eating more vegetables and more greens. Go chlorophyll, antioxidants, vitamins and fiber! It’s my go to veggie as well–after all there are at least four kinds of kale.

But let me remind you that kale wasn’t born yesterday. It’s been on the market for quite sometime. My parents whom are organic farmers have been growing it since the 1980’s. There are a slew of other greens we might enjoy and one of the best things we can do health wise whether we are vegan, a carnivore or somewhere in between– is to eat widely. Eating a variety of plants, seeds and protein sources will offer our bodies an important spectrum of nutrients and phytochemcials. Becoming too narrow can be problematic health wise.

There is no secret ingredient that is going to make you healthy.

(Well, there are but it’s about 5 things including overall diet, exercise, stress and lifestyle.)

Kale eating has become a trend which is not inherently bad, especially not for kale. It’s also been declared a super food–which is a whole other discussion. Let me repeat: one single nutrient will not make you healthy.

I’d much rather that kale become popular than fast food eating. But health is much more than a trend and the culture of food and health in this country still seems to exist in extremes. While the organic industry and natural products are selling in the high billions, we are still poised between the nutty health people and those that are sticking to traditions.

The list is long for greens. We might consider:

Collards (also not the new kale, collards have been a staple of black Southern food for ages)
Bok Choy
Cabbage
Chinese Cabbage
Mizuno
Swiss Chard
Broccoli
Broccolini
Mustard Greens
Spinach
All the Lettuces
Romaine
Butter
Red Leaf
Frisee
Endive
Escarole

Greens of your favorite roots can be cleverly worked in soups, smoothies, bakes, sautees and are not just for compost such as:

Beets
Carrots
Turnips

And quite a few others depending on your markets or what you decide to grow in your garden.

Let us enjoy our kale and look beyond. I read in an article today in the Nation where healthy concerned Berkeley, California parents were referred to as kale-growing and health conscious. Another fitness maven I discovered recently put on their website as a tagline: I don’t eat meat. I eat kale.

Really, I get the sentiment and I am grateful. Eating a plant-based diet will go along way and it’s the foundation that our obesity/diabetes/cancer nation so desperately needs. I also see where we need to get specific. Just using the word healthy doesn’t cut it.

How would you describe people dedicated to putting the best nourishing foods our planet has to offer on our plates?

More about what I think it takes to be healthy here. 

Hello Ello

A bunch of people in my Facebook feed sought after invites to Ello today–the new social site that offers an alternative to sites that mine your data and then show you advertisements based on such data.

ello

Ello has promised, from the Ello Manifesto:

“Your social network is owned by advertisers.

Every post you share, every friend you make, and every link you follow is tracked, recorded, and converted into data. Advertisers buy your data so they can show you more ads. You are the product that’s bought and sold.

We believe there is a better way. We believe in audacity. We believe in beauty, simplicity, and transparency. We believe that the people who make things and the people who use them should be in partnership.

We believe a social network can be a tool for empowerment. Not a tool to deceive, coerce, and manipulate — but a place to connect, create, and celebrate life.

You are not a product.”

Continue reading

SF Mime Troupe “Ripple Effect”

Bay Area 004Seeing the San Francisco Mime Troupe every year is almost a pilgrimage for me.  Fortunately I was able to see this years production in their final show of the season at Dolores Park on Labor Day. As it got closer to attending and I was by myself, I realized I was completely okay with it. It’s my time to soak up ideas about revolution, problems with capitalism and the struggle that most of us 99% have to deal with in America. It’s my time to be inspired.

Bay Area 007

Continue reading

IMAG1995

Carnaval SF 2014

I took many photos as I was excited to participate in Carnival this year— that is as a bystander. When I lived in the Mission I almost got spoiled to the idea of Carnival. I could roll on out at whatever time I felt like. Even if I got there late there was still a lot to see. Now that I live in Oakland I made a point to get there early for the parade and cherish the spirit of Carnival I love so much.

One reason I love Carnival so dearly is that I started studying samba dance more than 20 years ago and was part of a samba dance troupe that performed in the Brazilian carnival style. I fell in love with Brazilian music and dancing samba instantly. I love the costumes, the feathers and of course the music! It’s a special joy one can experience through the drums, the colors and the smiles. I love Carnival in the Mission of San Francisco because it is an opportunity for people to come together and express cultural traditions from around the world including those from San Francisco! That opportunity extends for the people in the parade and the people watching. Baile!

Continue reading

See Ceasar Chavez, The Movie

chavez-movie-facebook

Warning: mild spoilers, mostly opinions about the film

I am glad I went to see this movie and I would see it again tomorrow. I was moved by the tenacity and bravery of Cesar Chavez illustrated in the film. He and rallying farm workers kept going fighting for decent working conditions and wages after dealing with so much resistance, fear of retribution and the danger of being hurt or killed.

Continue reading

Looking Like Potential

looking-hbo

By now it’s a bit past the first season of Looking on HBO, the new “gay” show. It has been renewed for season two which I am looking forward to, no pun intended.

Maybe you’ve seen the series by now and have your own sentiments. I caught up a bit late viewing via HBO Go. I still wanted to put my two cents in because for me–it’s a Bay Area show just as much as it is show about gay guys living in San Francisco. Actually I think it is a show about “people” living in San Francisco.

Continue reading

Money Tree Mission District SF

IMAG0657

This public art piece is long gone. It was at the corner of 15th and Van Ness for a long time, sitting inside an empty lot. It was around the corner from where I used to live in the Mission District. It had been up way before the recent surge of issues regarding the inhabitants of San Francisco. I’m glad I got to photograph it before it went away for good. Now they are building something–probably condos. Not that there isn’t anything wrong with making new housing–it was an empty lot–but what demographic will be able to afford them? It’s not easy to forget the poor when you are in San Francisco as there are many people living on the street there. But do you ever wonder if they get enough food? Food with nutrition? Continue reading

The Organic Hustle

Selling in Union Square Farmers Market, NYC
Selling in Union Square Farmers Market, NYC about 1984

I’ve been at this a long time. Saying it like that makes it sound like I am old, but I’ve been part of a movement since before I could walk, so then yes it has been some time.

My parents were organic farmers and they started in 1975. That was almost 40 years ago! Even before ’75 they were macrobiotic practitioners studying away with other yin/yang hopefuls chewing brown rice together.

The organic food industry is now worth over 30 billion dollars!

It’s almost hard for me to make the jump. When did it get so big?

Back in the early 80’s only a handful of people cared about organic.

Back then it was just us. There were other farmers of course but we could point to them on a map. Continue reading