Food to avoid. Part 1.

I don’t often post on non-artisan foods. Today will be different.

There are many of problems in the world. Disease, poverty, food shortages. I will claim that most of these problems can be directly traced to over-population. That is something that, unfortunately, none of us as individuals can solve.  A great book on the problem can be found here.

What you can control, daily, is your diet. You can vote with your wallet and with your mouth. You can pressure those around you to make choices which are sustainable and support the worlds ecology. You can even pressure them to make healthy choices if you really care (but that’s a different idea all together).

I’ve been on a no additive diet for at least 6 years. That means I don’t consumer any artificial flavorings, coloring, sweeteners, or preservatives (difficult). Nor do I consume Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s), or animals that have been fed growth hormones and pumped full of spectrum antibiotics because of their corn modified diet.

I am far from a vegetarian. Humans are omnivores. This is all part of how I became interested in artisan products.

The system of industrialized agriculture and the reductionist NPK mentality, the over reliance on petro-chemical fertilizers, and the governments failed cheep food policies has had global repercussions including the desiccation of our farmland and the disfranchisement of small producers; yet worst has been its effect on human health. There is the obesity epidemic throughout the rich Western world, the rise of drug resistant disease originating from our medicated livestock, the over-reliance on mono-culture farming leading to poison fungicide and herbicides being sprayed into our food and released into the environment.

Simply eating organic does not help. The USDA is fine example of regulatory capture. Perhaps there is none better.

If you care about human health and the economics of industry, if you care about the future of the environment, or if you at least care about your own health, than you owe it to yourself to learn where your food comes from. You owe it to yourself to know what industries are supporting what policies.

These seemingly small organic companies are actually just a brand of mega-giant aggro-corp:

Naked Juice is owned by PepsiCo
Honest Tea, Odwalla and Simply Orange are owned by Coca-Cola
Alexia and Lightlife are owned by ConAgra
Kashi, Gardenburger and Morningstar Farms are owned by Kellogg
R. W. Knudsen and Santa Cruz Organics are owned by Smucker
Cascadian Farm, Larabar and Muir Glen are owned by General Mills

I don’t trust them. You shouldn’t trust them. They have all voted to keep you in the dark about what they use in their food. What they put in the food that they want to sell to you as organic and healthy and eco-friendly. and its all bullshit. Don’t eat bullshit.

Read the links. Read the books.

Best yet, buy artisan products because many, not all, of them exist because a small producer is passionate about making a quality product.

I’m not done with this topic.

– Jason

Server Problems

I’m not much of a sysadmin. At all really. Its great that I can even run basic Linux commands. So, in hindsight it may not have been the best idea to host this blog myself.

I self-host this blog on AWS using a t1.micro instance running 64 bit Linux. For the most part, it’s very easy and I’m very happy.

But every 2 months my blog unexpectedly crashes. No response from the server. No way to SSH into it. Nothing.

I have worked around this by making a new server every time it happens (3 times now) and loading the EBS, and restarting httpd and mysqld.

Blog back up and fixed in no time.

Yet it would be quite a bit nicer if this never happend.

If I can’t find a solution, I will probably have to change servers.

Very sorry about the blog being down!

– Jason

Totally Satisfied: Enterprise Rent-A-Car

Those of you who read my non tea/coffee/tasting related posts will remember the little problem I had with Enterprise Rent-A-Car on Aug 5th.

And while they never got back to me about handing out car keys like Greek Bonds, I am happy to report that they have forever won my favor (though a different location) .

My mother stopped by the new location with a warning light on the dashboard about low tire pressure around 2pm. The manager looked and decided it was fine, but by 5:45 the tires were flat, and my mother was stranded at a gas station soon to be late for a city board meeting (which she sits on).

The manager sent an intrepid employee to come to the rescue with a new car, traded with my dear mother, and she made it to her meeting on time. Paperwork was filled out on the spot, and their was no charge.

Very good service. This was far over and above what was expected, and they have won our business for renting a car in the future.

– Jason

Coffee Bean!

Look its a coffee plant! It starts off as a bean! (who knew?)

And this is the bulk of my ecology research in Panama… (kinda-sorta-not really).
The bean grows into a plant, which then produces more beans. (now that’s all I know!)

Also, loosing both of your big toe nails, at the same time, sucks!

– Jason

Dissatisfied: Enterprise Rent-A-Car

We needed a spare car for my week long jaunt in Miami (where I grew up most of the time), and this is what they gave us.

That’s right. 5 keys. 2 electronic and 3 hardware. Is that $1,000 worth of keys? On a sealed wire ring? Do they think adding weight will make you less likely to forget it? Or will it be the growing mass of hatred from trying to fit this in your pocket that reminds you?

Ya, One Thousand Dollars worth of keys.

I’m surprised they don’t higher the mugger to wait for you outside the lot.

Not OK.

– Jason