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Tiny Houses

November 8th, 2013

Lately, I’ve been fascinated with the idea of tiny houses, pouring over pictures and stories of others who’ve downsized and simplified their lives in such dramatic and intentional ways. I find the concept both aesthetically and philosophically pleasing. :)

There’s generally a back-to-nature feel to these houses with the focus on lots of windows for natural light, the loft beds, and the cozy porches. Add solar power, etc. to get “off the grid”, and you’re clearly living more lightly on the planet.

Here’s a short PBS segment on the tiny house movement…

And a moving TEDx talk from Dee Williams of Portland Alternative Dwellings who was featured in the above story:

She’s inspired many people with her journey and perspective on life, including this couple who have found freedom by being debt-free and mobile due to their tiny home…

Definitely an attractive lifestyle, wouldn’t you agree? My dream would be to have a few friends join me in setting up a circle of solar-powered tiny houses surrounding a common area on a nice chunk of land with a big vegetable garden and time to live life unencumbered.

Dr. McDougall on Paleo, Gluten Free, and GMO

October 14th, 2013

Here’s an interesting video from Dr. John McDougall that might prove a bit controversial (and he knows it). It’s his presentation at the September 2013 Advanced Study Weekend (Flamingo Resort and Hotel) entitled “Paleo, Gluten Free, and GMO – Distractions from Real World Food Problems.”

I certainly agree with his views on the Paleo diet (low carb diets in general), and it’s probably true that most people with self-diagnosed gluten issues don’t really have a sensitivity/allergy/etc.. Of course, neither of these critiques come as a surprise from the author of The Starch Solution. ;)

What did come as a surprise to me was his take on GMOs (genetically modified organisms) which starts around the 36 minute mark. He seems to brush it off (he is calling these things distractions, after all), and suggests that while food labeling would be nice on principle, it’s not a big deal because we can just buy organic — at least for now — and check produce labels to ensure their numbers start with an 9. He suggests the health risks are overblown and that rise in the incidence of various diseases correlated to the introduction of GMOs actually started well before and thus is more likely attributable to other factors (diet being primary). Valid point. He also questions the integrity of the animal studies. However, even if we grant that health may be unaffected, the environmental consequences of gene transference to non-agricultural crops and microorganisms could be dire.

If you haven’t been following the whole GMO debate to this point or if you just want to hear the latest from the other side, i.e., those scientists and activists who feel genetically modified foods really are a danger all-around, then you’ll want to tune in to the upcoming GMO Mini-Summit from October 25-27.

Speakers:
⊙ Thierry Vrain, PhD
    The Former Pro GMO Scientist Speaks Out
⊙ Vandana Shiva, Ph.D.
    Food Security In A Global Community
⊙ Ken Cook
    Sustainable Agriculture for a Hungry World
⊙ Robyn O’Brien
    Fighting Food Allergies
⊙ Andrew Kimbrell
    Your Right To Know
⊙ Senator Lisa Murkowski (Unconfirmed)
    The Truth About “Frankenfish”
⊙ Michael Hansen, Ph.D.
    What Does The Science Tell Us?
⊙ Rachel Parent
    How to Debate Biotech Industry Apologists
⊙ Claire Robinson, MPhil
    The Science, The Spin, & The Truth
⊙ John Robbins and Jeffrey Smith
    Protect Your Family and Make a Difference
⊙ And many more in the “Second Wave” sessions to follow

Topics to be discussed include:
⊙ Studies revealing the health effects of GMOs on animals, humans and the environment
⊙ The possible GMO connection to allergies, autism, and leaky gut
⊙ How to help your family eat healthier and avoid GMOs
⊙ Ways to get involved and become active in the fight for GMO labeling and the future of agriculture

Register for free today to catch this online event.

Chickpea Pumpkin Curry

September 23rd, 2013

As we officially head into autumn, with the days and especially the nights starting to get cooler, I find my cooking naturally swinging away from the light and quick meals of the summer toward the hearty, rich, and sweetly spiced dishes of the new season.

I’ve already cooked up several batches of chili this month and more recently an 8×8 pan of apple crisp (from a bag of pick-your-own apples harvested with my Dad) briefly survived a couple days between the oven and my stomach. :)

Another meal that paid homage to the foods of fall was this impromptu chickpea pumpkin curry.

chickpea pumpkin curry

Near as I can recall, the ingredients, if not the exact measurements, were as follows:

  • 1 lb dried chickpeas, cooked
  • 1 15oz can pumpkin, unsweetened
  • 1 box Pomi chopped tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 green pepper (jalapeno, if you like)
  • curry powder, etc., to taste

Aside from the cooking time to ready the garbanzo beans, this was as quick as a summer meal and super easy. The pumpkin didn’t add much flavor of its own in comparison to the rest of the ingredients, but it did create a nice mouthfeel. Definitely a keeper.


My Cookbook:

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