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I don't intentionally skew what I share about my life, though I realize I am certainly more inspired by certain things (plants, pottery, Tajer) than by other things (exercise machines, my day job). But that doesn't mean they are not big or important or even meaningful parts of my life. The gym has been a place I've spent a lot of time the past few months. I started weightlifting when I was 13 so while I am perfectly comfortable in a gym, it's not my favorite place to get fitness in and I spend years, decades even, avoiding them. I utilize gyms more in periods of great need: needing to get greater results out of limited time to put in. Working a day job during winter days with short daylight hours makes it more difficult to get out and active. Having other priorities and dealing with confusing health issues over the past few years has put me at a fitness deficit, so I'm enjoying my time catching up with my body moving needs.


arianna (37), exercise (1), gym (1), health (4), self-care (1), weights (1), winter (12)

Arianna (26), Degree (69)

Why Voting With Your Dollars is Not Enough

There was a time in my life I decided the most powerful way to vote was with my dollars. I spent several years refining my buying actions. I began boycotting stores like Walmart and Wholefoods and shopping more locally. I chose goods that lasted, rather than ones made to fall apart, needing replacement. By carrying my own canvas shopping bags with me, and stainless steel water bottles, and reusable to-go cups and tiffin boxes, I avoided contributing to landfills with all the disposables. I banked with a local credit union. I bought the car that got the best gas milage at the time and learned to hypermile. I tried to find clothes made by fair-trade with organic cotton or wool. I spent ten years as a vegetarian. I switched almost entirely to organic food, then almost entirely to local, seasonal, organic food. I cut most grains out of my diet. I learned about carbon sequestration, animals as a part of healthy farms, and made efforts to support farmers that use practices such as organics, permaculture, regenerative agriculture, no-till, or biodynamics. Farms that grow nutrition rich foods, grow top-soil, and support biodiversity. When I reintegrated meat and dairy into my diet I did so consciously, avoiding meat from Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) or dairy with recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH). I directed my dollars to grass fed and pastured. I integrated into my shopping routine the bulk purchasing of local meats and Community Sponsored Agriculture (CSA) memberships. Instead of looking for reliance on pharmaceuticals and the high cost of hospitals, I focused on disease prevention through healthy diet and exercise. I thought I was doing the best thing I could with my "votes." I was making great decisions with my money.

"'Eating is an agricultural act,' as Wendell Berry famously said. It is also an ecological act, and a political act, too. Though much has been done to obscure this simple fact, how and what we eat determines to a great extent the use we make of the world - and what is to become of it. To eat with a fuller consciousness of all that is at stake might sound like a burden, but in practice few things in life can afford quite as much satisfaction." ― Michael Pollan, The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals

Somewhere along the line, I learned that despite my efforts to spend my money only on things I believed in – to support better humanitarian, animal welfare, environmental practices, and local economy – I was still spending massive amounts of my money on things that I did not believe in... through taxes I payed to the government. Of course I already knew that most of that went to defense funding and wars for oil. But then I learned about how the large scale, monocropping conventional rice and wheat farms, genetically modified corn and soy farms, chemical cotton farms, the CAFOs, and rBGH milk producers were payed farm subsidies. Subsidies which artificially create a larger market for the product by incentivizing the farmers to produce more of it. While I was paying extra for organic food, I was also still paying for food grown with destructive practices.

Then, there was the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. The trillion dollar bank bailout, using taxpayer money to save the banks from their corruption, greed, and bad decisions.

It was utterly heartbreaking to find out that after all that work to make the best decisions I could and change habits, I was still paying into the horrors of animal abuse, human rights violations, environmental destruction, greed, and bad business practices. The despair I felt from it was intense. When you begin talking about trillions

It turned out that instead of the free market "supply and demand" economic model that I thought our country had, it was mixed with a good portion of "command economy," the type of system that's key in communism. The decisions for what types of food were being grown in this country were being made largely by the government, not by the consumers.

"Very simply, we subsidize high-fructose corn syrup in this country, but not carrots. While the surgeon general is raising alarms over the epidemic of obesity, the president is signing farm bills designed to keep the river of cheap corn flowing, guaranteeing that the cheapest calories in the supermarket will continue to be the unhealthiest." ― Michael Pollan, The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals

I thought that by showing my demand for the more expensive but healthier food options, I would be helping drive up supply and lowing the price for others. Instead, while paying extra for the better goods, I was also helping buy crap I'd never eat myself.

While I will continue to do everything I can to eat healthy and support the best environmental practices, I'll remind myself that the need to pay attention to the choices our politicians are making is very important. Can we really survive with a terrible healthcare system while subsidizing unhealthy food? Seems like a recipe for a very sick country of people.

degree (25), economy (1), farm (20), food (13), omnivores-dilemma (1), politics (3), research (1)

Degree (69)

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