April 27, 2015

Baking Bread Might Be Good For You

"Going gluten-free seems somewhat faddish."

I am perplexed by the current anti-bread movement. How did such an ancient dietary staple get so badly burned?

I can understand if we are talking about the mass produced cardboard-like stuff that grocery chains sell. I bought some last week because it was half price. At 97 cents a loaf it still wasn't worth it.

What will we break if we don't break bread? Can we still refer to money as 'dough' or 'bread' as we once did in more leavened days? What will we give for wedding presents if toasters are now obsolete kitchen clutter?

Linda and I have been baking our own bread products for the past 13 years, and baking has become a welcome weekly ritual that nourishes physically, mentally and spiritually. Preparing bread is an intimate interaction with your food that is well worth making time in your life for.

How fortunate that I don't have celiac disease, a gluten intolerance, wheat allergy or other sensitivity to grains. It seems that not many other people do either, and that perhaps this whole anti-bread trend is a tad half-baked.

"There are certainly people who have a problem with gluten that’s not autoimmune or allergic. And yet, the data suggest that almost two-thirds of people who think they are gluten-intolerant really aren’t." 
- Darshak Sanghavi, paediatric cardiologist writing at Slate.com

If you have a wheat intolerance and can't eat bread I am sorry. If you don't, baking your own bread is a worthwhile, money saving, health bolstering activity you may wish to try. 

April 25, 2015

Children Love The Earth

When I was teaching in the grade school system I infused everything I did with my passion for nature. For a few years I taught grade four science, and it was there that the curriculum covered a section called "Waste and our World".

In class we did activities associated with the 3 Rs - reduce, reuse, recycle, and added several more after some raucous R brainstorming. The students always displayed an unbridled passion for anything they could do that would protect the Earth, like refusing, repurposing, restoring and recovering.

One day the mother of one of my students was dropping off her child after lunch. She told me that whatever we were doing in science was working. I asked her why and she relayed a story that had just occurred.

The mom was making lunch for her daughter, and after emptying some soup into a pot, went to the garbage and threw the empty can in. When she turned around her daughter was standing behind her crying.

"What is the matter?" the mom asked.

"Don't throw that away", her child responded while sniffling back tears and pointing at the garbage, "That can goes into the recycling!"

Teaching is like living simply - you are rarely shown how your efforts affect the people around you. But like this story, we can be assured that people and conditions are being affected, and that our hard work does indeed make a difference.

I thanked the parent for sharing her daughter's emotional environmental moment with me. I will never forget it, and I imagine they won't either.

Children love the earth deeply. We should too.

April 22, 2015

Mother Earth Is Sick

Yes, it is an emergency.

Mother Earth just called. She's in the emergency ward of the hospital and won't be able to make it to any of today's celebrations.

In lieu of flowers she would like us all to make changes that will improve her health. She said she loves us very much and wants us to be healthy, which can only happen if she is healthy.

Then she thanked everyone that is working toward getting her home in one piece, and reminded us to take comfort in her beauty. And there truly is lots of that left, if one takes the time to look.

"Where is it?" I asked. She responded without hesitation.

Beauty above.
Beauty below.
Beauty before.
Beauty behind.
Beauty all around.

Then she fell asleep and I hung up the phone. Shortly after a pileated woodpecker flew by and landed in a tree in the yard, red crest brilliant in the morning sun.
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