Belated Thoughts on the Horsemeat Scandal

 

By Ewan McIntosh via Flickr

By Ewan McIntosh via Flickr

 

There’s been a great deal of fuss made over the horsemeat scandal and I’d like to throw my two cents in; this whole thing is ridiculous. Don’t get me wrong, I love horses, they are beautiful, elegant creatures and I wouldn’t be caught dead eating one…. But meat is meat, an animal is an animal, and if you can’t taste the difference when you bite into it, who cares? I know eating horses is taboo, but that’s really the only discernable reason as to why this seems so outrageous. Any rationale based on anything but personal feelings doesn’t hold up. Many scientists would agree that pigs are smarter than horses, yet we don’t seem too broken up over slaughtering Babe’s grandbabies, so the intelligence argument is clearly moot.

 

Besides,  in spite of the outrage at franchises substituting horsemeat for beef, did you know that horsemeat is actually more sustainable than beef? Cows are constantly burping and farting methane (a toxic gas more dangerous to our atmosphere than CO2); horses do not. This fact alone is enough to sway the argument in horsemeat’s favor. So my apologies, but if you are striving to be an eco-friendly meat –eater, which is an uphill battle as it is, you’re better off ditching the beef and embracing horsemeat.

 

That being said, I do not condone false advertising or corporate trickery, and I wholeheartedly believe that people deserve to know what they consume, especially with regard to food. The reality here though is that the meat industry is shady and if you are not consuming the meat of certified grass-fed organically raised animals, you are always going to end up with more than you bargained for in the way of strange additives (ammonia, antibiotics, horsemeat, etc.).

One Man’s Trash Is Another Man’s Art

 

By Tamara Albaitis

SAN FRANCISCO — When you think of the words “garbage dump,” the first thoughts or images that spring forth from your mind probably aren’t related to art.  But if you were to visit the Recology collection center in San Francisco, you would be seeing—and thinking about—trash in a whole new way.  What you would witness is not only the incredible amount of debris that comes in every day, but also the artists who thrive on it.  Twice a year, Recology SF brings in new artists to its Artist in Residence Program, a one-of-a-kind program that utilizes the center as inspiration, as a studio, and as an art supply closet. Created in 1990, the Artist in Residence Program creates greater awareness of what we throw away and how we can put our unwanted items to better use.

The residency itself is surprisingly competitive. “This residency is pretty much renowned here in the Bay Area as being one of the best,” said Tamara Albaitis, one of the program’s current resident artists. “The reason being that most of the time when an artist goes on a residency, they plan it out.  Here, you show up … and whatever comes into the dump becomes your material.  And there is something so inspiring and so spontaneous [about] that.” While in residency, the artists have 24-hour access to comb the collection piles in search of items that will help them achieve their artistic visions. Thanks to Recology, this process is not as dirty and taxing as it sounds. The center provides separate bins for different kinds of waste so artists can rummage through what is mostly building materials and e­-waste.

To read the full article click here.

Watch Michael Pollan’s “A Plant’s Eye-View”

[ted id=214]

This video is by no means new, but it was new to me, so I thought I would share it. Michael Pollan speaks in this video of the world from a plant’s perspective. He poses the idea (one I believe to be more fact than concept) that when we collaborate with nature, when we work with nature rather than against it, everybody wins. It details our false belief that we have somehow mastered nature, when in fact nature manipulates us constantly but in a way that is so subtle we fail to notice it. I want to share this talk not just because it’s enlightening, but it is also inspiring. We can be more productive, more efficient, and achieve more success in our endeavors if we just rethink how we do things. All things are possible when we partner with nature.

Natural Ways to Combat Stress

Pic by Ronel Reyes via FlickrStress can have a seriously detrimental effect on your life and your body.  Everyone experiences it at one point or another, so here are a few tips for fighting stress.

Deep Breathing: Sometimes when we are stressed we don’t even realize that our breathing has become shallow. When we take in more air we are able to think more clearly, giving us greater ability to deal with the stressor.

Yoga: I know you’ve heard it before, but yoga is the anti-stress gold standard for a reason. Try classical Hatha Yoga if you really want to relax while getting a workout. Unlike Hot(Bikram) Yoga and some other varieties, Hatha is more focused on being mindful, supportive, and in the moment without putting additional stress on the physical body. There is nothing quite so rewarding as something that allows you to unwind while still challenging you.

Writing/Talking about it: Sometimes the best thing to do about a stressful situation is to talk it out. Call a friend or someone really close to you who won’t mind you unloading on them a little bit. This is why we have friends, to share with and help each other when we are in need, right?

If you don’t have anyone you feel like you can talk to, then try writing about it. This will help you digest your thoughts a bit more. Once these ideas and feelings are committed to paper you will feel a release, and hopefully a little more objective distance from what has been bothering you.

Herbs: Personally, I’m not a huge fan of pharmaceuticals. If I’m going to take something for stress, I’d rather not take something that was created in a lab. I highly recommend seeing a Naturopath. They might suggest herbs such as Kava Kava, St. John’s Wort, or Aswaghandha to decrease stress levels.

Cardio: This suggestion may be a bit out there, but sometimes I find that the only way to clear my head is just to tire myself out. An hour of pushing yourself through cardio ought to do it. Stay well hydrated and always stop if you feel pain or discomfort.

Go outside: I’m an outdoors kind of girl, and I often find that if I spend too much inside, my perspective is slightly altered. Sometimes the best thing for stress is to go to a park for an hour and lie under a tree. Hearing the birds chirp and feeling the sunshine hit your skin is bound to make you feel more connected to the universe. Being in nature reminds us just how small we are in the grand scope of things and how to appreciate the beauty that exists even when our world feels ugly. Also, fresh air will make the deep breathing I suggested earlier more beneficial.

Make yourself laugh: This can be done a multitude of ways, but laughter is great medicine. Make funny faces in the mirror, decide that for the next hour you are going to narrate everything you do aloud and in a funny accent, or just watch the latest meme online. I know a guy who stockpiles every funny memory he has, just for the purpose of lifting his mood during difficult moments.

However you choose to relieve stress, make sure it’s something that ultimately makes you feel better about your situation.

 

 

Standing Up For Myself

In yoga, the ability to perform a headstand says you have arrived, that you are in fact, a serious yogi (or yogini, as the case may be).  I received my teaching certification in the later part of 2010 from the rigorous and traditional Sivananda 200-hour teacher-training course. In Sivananda, the headstand (Sirshasana in Sanskrit) is practiced at every class. However, I received my certification before ever having mastered this advanced posture. It wasn’t as though I didn’t try. My presence in daily asana class during training could always be confirmed by the sound of a heavy object smacking the wood floor. That object was my body. I would begin to raise my knees from my chest, and as I did so, I would lose my balance, toppling backward loudly. My instructors quickly learned not to help me, as I refused to become dependent on their assistance, leaving them to simply shake their heads and walk away as I made a spectacle of myself. I grew accustomed to my body’s resistance to the pose and I laughed at myself every time I plunged clumsily to the floor. So the headstand became a goal for me, something that reminded me of the value of humility and gave me something to shoot for.

I would be lying if I said that not being able to perform this posture didn’t shake my confidence as a teacher. How can you teach a pose to your students if you cannot model it for them? So I didn’t teach very much; I was ashamed. Nearly two years later, I still couldn’t fully invert myself. There are very few things, however, that cannot be conquered by persistence. In the beginning of 2012 I finally managed an unsupported (no wall, no props) headstand. I couldn’t hold it for very long and my descent was clumsy, but as my feet fell back to my mat on the correct side of my body for the first time all I could do was smile.  I had done it. I had found my way into a pose that I had always felt deep down, I would only be able to accomplish by channeling a gymnast or someone of similar skill.

We all start off wherever our bodies are and it’s our job to work with that, but we all strive to achieve the more difficult poses. Even just having recently achieved my headstand, I am already looking forward to doing harder variations. I imagine myself in Scorpion pose (an advanced variation of the headstand). But it is important to remember and savor our hard-won accomplishments, even if those accomplishments were easier to come by for those around us. More importantly, in yoga as in life, it is important to remember that tireless and relentless pursuit will eventually yield our desired outcome. That to be frank; persistence really does pay off.

Welcome to EcoKristina!

This is the brand spanking new blog belonging to myself, Kristina Rose Anderson. Here you will find rambling, research and reviews of topics, ideas and items that I care about. I plan to speak of everything from yoga, to toxins, holistic health, vegetarianism, psychology and all the way over to disease. Basically, if I find something interesting, you’re going to hear about it.