Wednesday, March 28, 2012

How to escape from the pressures of society

It is no wonder we want to escape from reality if we have to wake up at 6:30am and prepare to go to a job we hate, to pay off 'things' that we're told we have to have (i.e. vehicles, cable, cell phones, etc.) My post on how single mothers can live for free similarly answers the question 'how can we escape from society (or pressures)?'

Vehicles and other transportation are one of the largest contributors directly associated with air pollution. Moreover, your food should be coming from your garden. We cannot keep depending on the reliance of vehicles for our convenience of imported food. Or else if we face some sort of collapse of oil, then we can say good-bye to Florida Oranges being shipped on a truck to Michigan; or California dates transported on a truck to New York. 
Our dependence on the grocery store is directly related to our dependence on oil. 
I admit I eat many imported foods but there is a reason why I am trying to grow as many fruit trees and fruit bushes and vegetable gardens. I would love to construct an in ground greenhouse for lemon, lime, mandarin, and banana trees. 

Once again, find a way to grow your own food -- I have a blog post on how apartment dwellers can grow food (if you don't have garden space to do so) here: Three Ways to Grow Food & Other Plants for Apartment Dwellers (Indoors/Outdoors)
Ask friends or family who own property, preferably more than 3 acres -- if you can build a garden or build a small house for you and/or your family. In return, you can give them your extra or leftover food you grew, in exchange for living on their land. 

If you do not have family or friends that can allow you to do this, find a spot in the woods that is less traveled by human/animal, has shade and sun, and is close enough to human contact in an emergency. Tutorials on debris shelters for living in the woods go to
Semi-Permanent Debris Shelters - Vegans Living Off the Land
and Construct your own home.
Screw anyone that tells you you have to own property! 
I am growing food on my Mom's and grandparents' yard, and building my Earth home in my Grandparents' woods because I intend to live for free.

I have mentioned our dependence on driving a vehicle, which leads me to my next tip: Reduce your use of other technologies like cell phones, washer, dryer, dish washer. These things are expensive and unnecessary in most cases. If you want to "escape" from the pressures of our society, you may want to remind yourself of what is most important. Once again, these machines are an unsustainable and finite resources (when coal cannot be used to power our luxuries.) However, technology is NOT the issue, it is powering these technologies and being obsessed with the technologies that are symbols of capitalism, greed, laziness, and sloth. Of all technologies, internet access is the best tool for teaching one another how to do things for FREE. It is one of the greatest Anarchist technologies.
With that being said, I would invest in solar panels when you can afford to do so. Small Solar panels will power at least the use of a laptop or one light of your house. 

If you plan to settle down (and own your own property): build your own house out of recycled materials (i.e. wood, straw, mud, and stone from the woods.) For more information on how to create a home using recycled materials, and innovative ways to construct your home for CHEAP, go here for inspiring videos: Kirstendirksen on youtube, also read The Hand-sculpted House for another approach to free and environmentally-conscience building.

Escaping the pressures of society would be to live as the other animals using your evolved skills of construct large shelters and growing food. Keep in mind, Humans are the only animals that heats (cooks) their food, we have all of these (wonderful and convenient yet unsustainable) technologies. 
It only makes sense to eat fresh, raw, ripe fruits and vegetables that you can grow in your climate. Forage for foods that grow in the wild. 

How to Take the Guess Work Out of Eating Vegetarian, Vegan, or Raw Food

When you're interested in changing your diet, you immediately look for recipes online or buy cookbooks -- not really looking for information on how to make the transition easier, or how to be healthy.

But, what if cooking is NOT your thing? What if you cannot prepare a meal for yourself because you're not good at it? What if you don't have time to prepare a meal? And what if you're just fed up with looking for recipes that end up costing you a butt-load, and they take so much time to make? Or what if you just don't know what to make to eat, because you're too tired?

The easiest, cheapest, and cleansing method, for taking the worry and guess work out of preparing a meal, is: eat mono meals. "Mono meals" is a phrase used to describe eating ONE vegetable or fruit (usually in large quantities to get your calories) at one meal. For example, for breakfast: 1 large watermelon; for lunch: 5+ apples; and for dinner: 9+ bananas -- strive for 2500 (women) & 3000 (men) calories a day on fruit!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Three Ways to Grow Food & Other Plants for Apartment Dwellers (Indoors/Outdoors)

3. Bottle & Terrariums: Terrariums are not typically used to grow food, however they are gorgeous for growing tropical plants in your kitchen, bathroom, and living room to create a peaceful and natural atmosphere in your home. Tropical plants love three things: heat, and dark moist soil.

The "art" of terrarium making is choosing the type of glass container. You could use an old, glass coffee pot, aquariums, mason jars, glass salad bowls, and glass viles. The pictures in this section will give you an idea of how to create innovative, recycled, and unique crafts for edibles or decorative plants.

Below are instructions on how you can make your own terrariums (from the Gardener's Eden):

photo Source: How to Reuse Your Plastic Bottles for Crafts 

Step One: Purchase pea gravel or find some small stones from nature (which is important for drainage.) Secondly, purchase sphagnum moss or find some moss from nature to hold in the soil and retain moisture (optional); and for native plants, purchase peat moss (if desired.) Lastly, purchase quality (organic), dry potting soil. Take this project to the next level by collecting materials from the park, woods, or stream for stones, bark, and twigs. Select and buy small plants from a local greenhouse/florist or through online resources. For food sources: grow strawberries, herbs, and aloe vera in terrariums.
Step Two: Fill the bottom of the glass container with about an inch or small layer of pea gravel.

Step Three: Add a layer of sphagnum moss (sometimes called sheet moss.)

Step Four: Add potting soil, and peat moss (if you are planting acid-loving natives like ferns and moss). Make a mound so the plant will be visible from all sides.

Step Five: Add materials you found -- just get creative with the structure; and moisten the jar thoroughly with a water-filled spray bottle. Let the contents settle for a few minutes.
Step Six: add your plant(s). Mist your terrarium thoroughly after planting and cover with the glass lid (if your jar or glass container came with one.) Check your plants over the next few days and water with your mister if they seem dry.

2. Vertical Gardening: This method for growing food and other plants is ideal, if you a fireplace or community gardening space in your neighborhood. Even if you have a little amount of space, you can make it work! Here are some photos that may inspire you to do the same:

Source: Eden Makers Blog

You can construct your own vertical tower or stand with old an old wood or metal ladder, book shelf, baby cribs, metal spring matress (to create trellises for cucumbers and squashes); or use pallets that are thrown out behind grocery stores. Another idea: you can purchase a Topsy Turvy planter for strawberries and tomatoes at Big Lots or Dollar Generals for dirt cheap! Topsy Turvys can be used outside or inside the house (perfect for renters.) The last photo, above, shows that someone used an old, cloth shoe wrack. 

For more ideas on how to recycle materials for vertical gardening, go here to scroll through photos: Pinterest "Vertical Gardening" or go here for using trellises at Pinterest "Trellis Gardening"

1. Container Gardening: The most common and most creative method of gardening, for apartment dwellers or renters, is using containers (because their cheap, and you can literally find containers for free on the side of the road.) Also, they don't have to be containers -- you can grow food in old boots, old stumps, or bottles. When it comes to gardening in containers, the options are endless, because there are varieties of plants that can thrive indoors or in a small space. Consequently, you need to be concerned about: what plants need more growing space (how big does the container need to be), what plants can grow in the shade (like parsley, garlic/chives, spearmint); and what plants need to grow in the sun (windowsill.) Actually, you can grow tropical fruit indoors, if you wanted to!
Source: Trash to Treasure
The first thing you should do is: choose plants you KNOW you will have time and resources to manage. The most popular plants to grow (for renters) are herbs, tomatoes, and peppers. But if you aren't a tomato or pepper eater, what's the point in growing those things? If you're favorite plants to eat are broccoli, strawberries, and kale -- then those are the plants you need to be growing. Choose 3-5 vegetabes and 4-5 herbs to grow.

If you cannot decide or you would like more of a variety and options, I would recommend buying the "Emergency Food Survival Seed Non-gmo Non-hybrid Variety Pack" on Amazon, which includes a large variety of organic, quality, vegetable, fruit, and herb seeds for VERY cheap. I bought this survival kit a few months ago, and I'll be using these seeds this summer to grow food. As of now, I have broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cilantro, peas, carrots, peppers, tomatoes, beets, and onions started indoors from the survival pack -- and they're doing great so far!

Source: Trash to Treasure

Source: Trash to Treasure

If you want EXPERT advise and tutorials (with videos) on how to create your own container garden, go here to check out CanarsieBK's youtube channel, which is full of information on this topic. He has lived in an apartment for years in New York; and he does videos on how to grow food with messages that are short, sweet, and to the point. Another expert gardener, whose messages are longer and in more detail, is John from Growingyourgreens on youtube -- he will give you MORE examples of vertical and container gardening, as well as how to make raised beds (if you have a yard); and John will give better tips on how to grow the best quality food.
Information on Terrariums from: The Gardener's Eden

Watch the video below by John Koehler discussing examples of Container Gardening, vertical gardening, and ways in which you grow food to conserve space:

How To Eat Healthy, Vegetarian, Vegan, or Raw for DIRT CHEAP!

Being vegan, vegetarian, and raw is only expensive if you are buying the products marketed towards people who are replacing meat with fake meat. If you cut out the pre-packaged meatless burgers, pre-made veg meals, soymilk, and gluten-free or organic health products...what's left for the veg to eat: DUH! FRUITS AND VEGETABLES! If you ONLY buy fresh (or frozen) fruit and vegetables, you will save hundreds of dollars a week!

If you go to the grocery store, stick to the fruits and veggies that are on sale or in season. If that isn't cheap enough for you, buy bananas in bulk. You can literally live off of bananas, just like I have seen people live off of ramen or bread (but the difference is: bananas have nutritional value...ramen and bread do not.)

Bananas cost approximately 0.50 cents/lb. I usually buy a 40 lb box of bananas for $20.
Not only would that save you money, it takes out the guess work about "what should I eat tonight?"; you don't have any dishes to wash; and above all, you're getting all your nutrients (high in potassium, vitamin C, B vitamins, protein, carbs, and calories if eating large quantities).

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Don't Be Fooled By the Supplements & Superfoods!

In the last year of my raw vegan research, I've noticed health gurus are always selling a product. One of the  world's leading authorities on nutrition, David Wolfe, is known to promote superfoods, but not real food! Why is he a health expert, if he is only selling a refined version of the food you should be eating? It's because there's no money in telling people: "EAT BANANAS!" or "EAT MANGOES!"

Photo by "Thai Food" on 
Actually, I was very fascinated by the maca, lucuma powder, cacao, and spirulina that I saw online. And I was fascinated because I thought I needed these superfoods, because the authorities were raving about how much better they feel on supplements. Luckily, I NEVER bought any of those products, because I realized some of the people in the raw food world was just as blinded by marketing schemes as someone saying you need to restrict your calories or your carbs to lose weight. If you need more vitamin C, eat a meal of oranges for breakfast, then for lunch have a meal of bananas...your vitamin C levels will go up tremendously (and that's cheaper than buying camu camu.)