Why Not?

Uncategorized

By Star Noor

Photos, what photos?

I’m going to go out on a limb here, politically speaking; and socially, and everything else.  Okay.  Here I go.

You know when you’re just sick of something?  Like you can’t stomach to watch the idiocracy (yes, I said it, idiocracy) of your times anymore, and you just can’t keep your mouth shut, because if you do, it’s a fait worst than death?  Yea, I’m having one of those moments.

Ladies and gents, we are at the brink of all out divide.  We are standing in opposite sides of the canyon, still with some bridges yet to be bombed, burnt, and destroyed holding our torches.  There’s still time, but it’s a luxury running out on all fronts, on all of our failures, all at the same time; and therein is the challenge all great massive human civilizations have faced; and no, it ain’t just about us Merica.

Here’s the deal.  Screw the Republicans.  Screw the Democrats.  Screw the Tea Baggers, the Moderates, the Liberals – screw all of the prepositioned and pre-notioned parties that we have been allotted.  I have to say it this way, because so long as we adhere we are stuck.  There are no if’s, and’s, or but’s about it.  None.

Okay, so here’s an idea – why not?

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We are always discussing these endless issues that truly only take logic to solve.  Logic, this thing God gave us, nature afforded us, we evolved to so that we may explore and become better.  Let me say that again – so that we may become better.  So why not protect the environment if we can, I mean big oil can become big air, can’t it?  Why not drive vehicles that reduce pain and suffering not only for the Earth, but for mankind?  Our kind.  I mean we still get there faster right?

Why not allow people to love as they will, within reason and respect of others?  Why not allow a woman the right to her own body?  Why not allow the free citizens, and that extends a wide net people – the free citizens of a country their right to vote, and the right for their votes to count as they stand?  Why not protect see that all land is sacred to all of us, and respect it?  Why not protect our waterways from being poisoned, if only possibly? Why not allow those who seek refuge from conditions we aided and abided to find solace and help is pay our ungodly national debt?  Why not teach our children to follow their own path to God and spirituality without disrespecting the very idea of something bigger than ourselves, nor embedding the idea that a thought otherwise will surely land us in hell? Isn’t that what God says to do?  So, why not?

Why not, allow ourselves the Democracy that was the aim and not the finish when the Forefathers created this new, savage, and fledgling world?  This New Country, where we were supposed to be free.  Where we were supposed to be living amongst a mixed and varied group of settlers who were generationally pouring in so that they may rest their weary bones, and live the American Dream.  I think, it’s time to remember that again so that we may truly make America great, even better than it’s ever been.  A great example, not a great tyranny.

Why  not feed the hungry, cloth them, educate them, and make them members of a productive, accepting, and loving society that cares for one another?  Why not?

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I mean do we really, really think that God Almighty, the one who creates all things and has therefore understanding of all things, truly wants us to be at a divide?  I mean why are we doing God’s job for him?  Why not listen to the immense amount of clues left behind, the clues that unravel so many great and timely mysteries for us; one that left keys everywhere –  in Holy books, cites around the world, and in the most mysterious of places – cannot be so devout of experience that he may want us to kill each other in his name, to protect HIS NAME.  Why not listen?  Haven’t enough died already?  So many, so that you may listen.  So why not?  Just remember Jesus, all of you, because he was no different than even Buddha in his message of love and unity; just ask a Muslim who’s true Islam is to know his forefather is Isa Masi, Jesus Christ.  Remember Jesus, if only in folklore and you remember love, my countrymen – so why not?

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So fuck the parties, and with all do respect fuck the people who keep telling us how God thinks.  Let’s just explore that in our hearts, with the brains that we have as humans to decipher, and the coding that has been placed upon our hearts to love and be loved.

Fuck the parties, and their mega-billionaire bourgeoisie ways; fuck it.  Let’s go back to Democracy.  True democracy.  You know where everybody counts.  Where no one is told that their views are null and void.  That their numbers are unseen, even if the numbers are small, or that they don’t count no matter what.  That they are not worth the simplest of luxuries in this world, nor the next.  Let’s go to Democracy where we have free education like the original first draft scribe of the Constitution, Thomas Jefferson, intended when he created the very first University in Virginia.

Let’s go to free healthcare, for the sake of Logic – why is the CDC not behind free healthcare, like shouting it from the rooftops everyday, all day?  Ask yourselves these simple, simple questions, and then you will slowly begin to see that this Democratic Republic, has been, perhaps through the fault of no particulars but just happenstance, hijacked and not by some foreign Islamic militant wanna be emperor, but by ourselves.

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We have been living in this fantasy world where we consume because God decreed as if God is a Capitalist.  We are Americans.  To sound completely cliché, and unfortunately full of shit as it were looking around our country for the most part, these day – and as Emma Lazarus put it best:

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

This is the spirit of America back before any of us had any clue of this place: long before America became this place of divide, and of constant war both in definition and in practice, when it was meant to be the exact opposite.  Before it became a place that wanted to build walls to keep people out.  Before it became a place that only Christians could exist, and don’ t let them tell you that this was supposed to be a land of Christian values as if those values are so far from the others.  Let’s go back to bare bones and build this place peacefully, without confrontation, the way it was meant to be.  And if it wasn’t as such at that moment, it was meant to be, read.  So why not?

 

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This is called proving a point through comic relief.

 

Let’s face it, even to religion there is a genealogy.  I mean just for the sake of putting argument to rest; with the prayers from the deepest corners of my heart that those who read this do so objectively, through the eyes of discussion, not through the eyes of religion so that it can be understood – Religion is something that has evolved just as we have through time.  Let’s hit the three major ones, the ones that truly wreak all the havoc – yep, you guessed it – Judaisim, Christianity, and Islam (of course there’s that fourth one, New Islam – created by those who need a big bad wolf to scare us with, and to hunt in the name of freedom and in the name of Democracy under a Christian God, who’s central figure by-the-way is His Son, Jesus, who preaches love, understanding, walking together in the light, shedding old robes to understand the oneness of it all.  That is Jesus’s message.  Do you see the ridiculousness?

Only through me ye shall find God – paraphrasing, but that’s what the Bible says.  Not because you have to utter his name ten thousand times a day to be a Christian, but because through his way, he says, you are closer to being made in His image.  Okay, so now let’s turn back the page.  Who was Jesus?  A Palestinian Jew who grew up with the customs of Abraham.  Abraham, the Jew who freed the slaves from Egypt.  I’ll stop there because, I mean after-all, this is a blog post.

Now, there’s the Christians and the Jews, but then came Mohammed who created the now largely assumed: Big, Bad, Islam!!  Did you know that he created Islam in accordance to the teachings of Abraham and Jesus?  Hmm??

Most folks don’t.  They also seem to always forget that in Mohammad’s Islam the Christians and Jews are not the enemy but the brethren of the Muslim, all that other stuff was later added.  Did you know that the reason why Mohammad created a structure in Mecca that you can’t really enter, as a place of worship is symbolic of the teachings of a roaming “Christian” profit, Son of God to Christians (definitely the barer of his message, either way), who went on a journey to preach his word, God’s word, and not in a big ole Church?  Did you know that?  Did you know that is why a Muslim’s place of the sacred is the same as the Jews and the Christians; because there is no divide in Mohammad’s mind when he created Islam.  Did you know true believer of Islam know this?  Abide by it in fact, and are of no threat to Democracy and freedom?

Why choose to feed the negative instead of the positive simply because the negative exists?  So again, I ask why not?

In that spirit, I purpose a new party.  A joined party, but not like the Communists, or the Socialists, or any of the other isms: most importantly these days – definitely not like the Fascists – a new party, perhaps called the New Libertarians?

In this party it’s okay not to have exactly the same-dang-views.  I say this like this, because come on, let’s face it – we’ve all been harping about wanting a “People’s Party” – but you know, not like the isms – okay!  Well, whether we like it or not, the people of the country are very varied.  So let’s just accept that, if we want the world that we want, where we can be accepted, even if only for not wanting to be accepting, we need to  say it’s okay to be different.  It’s the only way people, sorry; otherwise there’s constant war, and no one wins in war.  That’s why the victor oft must change the truth of history to be remembered as such -logic.

Atheists, you might want to skip over the next paragraph.

Okay, so here’s the thing.  If we take that argument for the new party, and just for this one second, apply God to it – because this is a democracy, and as such, no church of any kind should ever be attached to it; ever – but just for this one second, let’s.  Why would God not just crush us, as he has before?  Why would God allow the same ole debauchery as before to occur again, just so that HE may crush us?  Hmm??  I mean, is he really that bored in all the universes, which he created by the way; is he really that bored??  I mean as human beings, we kinda can see the silliness in that, even if we will bow to God’s will regardless.  Right?

Hey, no one is saying stop being a Christian.  Quite the contrary.  Be one, please.  We’re begging.

Same goes for the Jews.  The people who have this amazing belief and faith systems which stems from the teachings that go even further in human history to the beginning.  It led to the next great way to God.  It is written in such a way that even non-believers go, hmm.

At it’s core message is, be a good person and love people.  Seriously, lookup YouTube videos of Hasidic rabbis and just listen for hours, and patterns will occur.  Be a good person and love.  Give of yourself.  That is the basis of it all.

So why would God not want us to be all inclusive?

Okay, moving along.  So I purpose that in this New Libertarian Party we just try to say no to war.  Seriously, it costs trillions, it enslaves us to a banking system where humans must live and die to feed the machine and not the other way around.  It is a battle hardly ever truly won (like never), just ask the dead and those they left behind – ask those who have witnessed it.  Like our soldiers, who at a young age, to defend freedom must witness horror; because we are creating enemies to fight so that we may feed that machine.

Realistic Planet Earth with natural water

This is where you live.

 

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This where you are.

 

 

Democracy is not an American idea.  It actually began in the Middle East.

It began with the thoughts of a man named Zoroaster, and later was built upon by another man named Cyrus the Great who built the Persian Empire of the time around it’s decree, and it was declared a long time of peace as a result (Persia is Iran today).  It was only then taken to the Western World by the Greeks and the Romans through Alexander the Great and army, and Caesar the Great and army, respectively.  It was centuries later in Europe where the likes of John Locke and his pupil Thomas Jefferson (and others) took the ideal of Democracy to heart, built upon it further, and eventually brought it to America.

Democracy is not an American notion, nor a notion that is lost to the folks in the Middle East.  It is now however, an American pride.  A pride we so believe in that we are willing to go and march to our deaths to protect her.  So how can we allow for our fears to destroy her from the inside out simply because we are being told that WE ARE DIFFERENT.  But folks, we’re not.  We’re just not.

No war.  If we must, only to protect the rights that are inherent, the point is to end it with a settlement of sorts as quickly as humanly possible.  The point is to put down our weapons of mass destruction, bullet by bullet, and say man I will let you live.  I will let you breath, and if your ways are wrong (and no this doesn’t give everyone an excuse to become Sodom and Gomorra) then I will let the Almighty sort you out.  No war.  But that goes with decency.  Acceptance.  Kindness.  Consideration of all living beings and their beliefs.  You know, walking in the path of light.  The path where we might not have a utopia, but darn it, we’ll get much closer now.

The New Libertarians.  The folks who understand that government should work for the people, and people aren’t Corporations.  They are not machines.  They are not cats.  They’re people.  Do we people need our natural environment to survive and thrive, naturally and not artificially as we must; absolutely.  Without a doubt; and if for no other reason than that, that is a job for the Federal government, until the day that we are all bringing up our young teaching them the values of life and the planet on which we reside.

But, in this government, not everything is handed to us.  We are not put in a box.  We do not need a thought police.  We can take a God dang joke.  The color of our skin is melanin and we recognize that, and move on.  We know that no matter how devout, education in this world is key.  Key.  Key.  But, we will only regulate the quality of standard to a high level, and nothing more.  We will teach our children all of the tools they need to understand the vast and immense universe they have been granted so that may understand the teachings of God (sorry Atheists, (why not?)).

We will look upon each other with a knowing that one without the other might stand, but if no one ever lent a hand and if no one ever bothered with another, well shit, we wouldn’t make it past the age of 10; definitely never would’ve gotten that first job, or that football scholarship; because if you work hard and no one gives a shit, you just work hard and no one gives a shit.  Logic.  So in this party we preach compassion and respect for others as they wish to live, within reason (sorry child molesters, rapists, murderers, thieves).  We afford the law enough power to be able to uphold the peace, should we forget and break it.

I purpose a New Libertarian who looks upon his brother, even in disgust, and says okay, you have the same inalienable rights as I do.  As the Constitution stated in such a manner to allow for Amendments – again, penned by a man who while owning slaves who he treated like family across the board, believed whole heartedly that the race divide, which was still a fairly new concept by-the-way in the sense of American slavery, was disgusted so much that he believed, it should soon be abolished.  If you don’t believe me, read the man’s own hand.

Inalienable rights: the right to knowledge, the right to freedom of life, religion, and the pursuit of  liberty.  The New Libertarian.  Just for argument’s sake, if nothing more.

I purpose all these things, and so much more.  But the basis goes back just like any other message so sick and tired of all the hate that brings us all of this misery and bloodshed.  All of the hardships and enslavements we ALL experience as a result.  The same basis that the message of everyone who is sick of FEAR has said, is what I purpose.

So fuck the parties.  Fuck all of the people who are screaming for hours on the radio and the television about nonsense when we have so much to be done out there.  When we can accomplish everything, including proving that God’s word is the word embedded in most of us for a good reason.  We have so much to prove to ourselves too; and we should start there first.  We should understand that the biggest fight is the one we have with the self, and from there we move on.

Why not?

I for one believe in us the same way that I believe in the Almighty.  You ask why; I ask why not?

 

 

Being Eco-Land

Fashion

By Star Noor, Features Editor

Photos: Courtesy of Beezee EcoLand

FIRST PUBLISHED IN COCO ECO MAGAZINE, ONLINE

Fast fashion has come into our world of consumerism and has quickly taken ahold with our everyday practice of buy more, save more – a mantra that first began with the high savings super-stores that bring the global market to everyone’s doorstep with seemingly affordable prices for everything under the sun – a practice that soon became a part of the fashion world in order to bring a seasonal, trend driven market to every household, enticing fashionistas everywhere to buy, buy, buy!

A trend to let us keep up with the trends soon became the rising star and nearly everyone bought in. Giant bags of low-priced and often on-clearance styles (due to mass turnover and over-production) left giant storefronts in enthusiastic march to become closet-clutter-mashups compiled of everything the owners forgot they ever had, thanks to over-consumerism. These were the first days when we started accepting low-craftsmanship, high industrial pollution, low humanitarian, ethical working standards, and a surge in consumption and waste production rates as acceptable norms. BUY MORE, WASTE MORE, BE MORE…WHATERVER THAT MEANS.

Fast fashion – once a downfall of fashion expressionism altogether due to misguided consumer demand and short-sighted shareholders, has now begun to transform into the new dawn of the style world; the forward progression of conscious-consumerism and ethical production practices of the 21st century which will undoubtedly change the way we see the face of fashion forever.

We have finally come to realize that the past mode of fashion is not only heavier on the collective wallet in the long-run but also far more damaging to our environment and poor working nations than we had been falsely led to believe. We have come to resist the pragmatism of the past eras and revolt against a set system (as we humans often love to do), and begin to reshape our world (in fashion or otherwise) in many creative and conscious ways. One example of this change is BeeZee EcoLand, a label that is aware of its impact in every aspect of their business practices, even at the cost of profitability. I recently chat with Bianca Zvorc Morris about her post-traumatic creation, unique and proactive rather than ‘cookie cutter’ and reactive in its model; an approach which lends to the brand’s very unique personality in many ways.hollyecowood_wed_50ad92f99e16b

A brand that is truly noteworthy due to the wisdom and empathetic nature of its founder-designer, who above all else makes it her life’s mission to stay true to her ideals as an eco-preneur. In our discussions, the veteran PR executive turned designer and clean-living advocate had this to say:

Coco Eco: What brought you to BeeZee EcoLand?

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BZM: While living in NYC in 2009 the economic crisis moved to the EU and a lot of women I know lost their jobs in the textile industry in my birth town in Slovenia. I wanted to do something more in tune with my general ethical convictions and start a project that would use all of my skills to help others and make this planet a better place for all of us. In 2010 we moved to Germany and I got a job in an advertising agency working as an AD/CD [advertising director/creative director for H&M, C&A and Zara. That was the first time I learned how “fast fashion” is toxic and harmful. I left my job and started focusing on BeeZee EcoLand, a project that is supporting three single mothers in Slovenia with earned income.

Coco Eco: Your business model is designed with growth projections purposefully mindful of your brand’s mission as geared towards your personal purpose; why did you choose this model for your brand?

All of my life I was interested in ecology and a healthy, compassionate lifestyle. I like to think global, but wanted to act local. My time on Earth is short so I want to help and make this planet better for all of us – especially the future generations that are inheriting what is unfortunately a truly sad planet. My biggest happiness in life (and a privilege) is to be able to help others – especially children, animals and nature. When I learned about the cruelty and dangers behind fast fashion I had to do something. The topic has received some, but unfortunately not nearly enough, attention in the media. Organic fabrics with the lowest carbon foot print do not cause sickness in people or wildlife with herbicides, pesticides, insecticides, GMO seeds. Fair-trade where people get paid well and work in truly safe conditions were extremely important to me.  Only happy people can make clothes that are full of positive energy and love – I like to think they work as a protection shield in many ways for those who wear them.

Coco Eco: How much of an impact, in your opinion, does the dying process of textiles have on the environment?

BZM: The chemicals that we use to produce dyes are highly toxic, carcinogenic or even explosive! Chemical Aniline in AZO dyes are considered to be deadly poisons. Other harmful chemicals are dioxin (hormone disrupter), toxic heavy metals (chrome, zinc, copper…) and formaldehyde that is a carcinogen. They are dangerous for dye workers, cause environmental pollution around these facilities (dump water) [mainly] in underground water – many people in the undeveloped world even drink this kind of water – and the chemicals are not safe for those who wear these clothes – the final consumer! 

 

Email your order to info@beezeeecoland.com, and code “BeeZeeEcoLand-ModernRebel” for a 5% discount.

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Aquafonics: The Age of Chemical Man

What's Up World

By Star Noor

Photography: Stock Images, water.org

FIRST PUBLISHED IN COCO ECO MAGAZINE, ISSUE 32, 2015

Wastewater Pipe And Refinery At River

A wastewater pipe and a large oil refinery in the harbor of Antwerp, Belgium with blue sky and warm evening light.

If we are what we consume, then we are what we drink, and what our food eats and drinks. With much of the news about water shortage in the U.S. being largely centered around California these days, it seems that somehow a severe and broad crisis has been reduced and contained to the West Coast of the United States—that is, when it is actually getting media coverage. In the broader sense our problem nets much wider, touching all American lives and the lives of billions the world-over.
We all know without water there is no survival, yet the depth of how little drinking water we have left due to over-usage, droughts and pollution, and what this means in terms of human health and quality of life is still unclear. By last report to the United Nations, 1.1 billion people do not have access to improved drinking water. In the United States (U.S.) 9 states are currently experiencing water shortage, and by 2050 it is estimated that all U.S. states will be in crisis.
As water depletes and pollution increases, our populace will soon face the day-to-day challenge that over a billion face every day in other parts of the world—acquiring access to clean water. The lack thereof can lead to an array of health and nutritional problems as currently demonstrated in drought ravaged, war-torn  nations around the world.  Xenobiotics, pathogens, algae, heavy metals, radioactive minerals, and other contaminants along with natural dry spells aid in the deaths of 3.4 million people per year worldwide (as reported by the World Heath Organization in a 2009 study). Millions are hospitalized due to waterborne illnesses as a result from the lack of access to clean drinking water—a cornucopia ranging from sever bowl irritations to kidney and liver damage, to typhoid and neurological problems, to cancer and even to death, just to name a few.

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Water pollution is by far the most important environmental crisis we face today, as water is the life bearer of our entire eco-system. Today, we have 80,000 known contaminants, eighteen of which are not regulated under the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) and were found in over 1/3 of U.S. cities participating in a voluntary study in 2013 by the researchers from the Geological Survey and the Environmental Protection Agency. Of this total, only 5 of these contaminants are even ranked by the EPA, some with acceptable standards far greater than the recommended amounts for human consumption suggested by independent researchers. According to officials at the U.S. EPA:
“When the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) was enacted, it grandfathered in, without any evaluation, about 60,000 chemicals that were in commerce at the time. The statute did not provide adequate authority for the EPA to reevaluate these existing chemicals as new concerns arose or science was updated. The law also failed to grant the EPA effective tools to compel companies to generate and provide toxicity data.”
Water contaminants can occur naturally, but most are the result of agricultural and industrial run-off, faulty waste lagoons which can leak into the ground, direct contact of livestock with open waters, incorrect disposal of medications, the use of harmful pesticides, and poor garbage disposal methods. The most troubling of these are hexavalent chromium, glyphosate, radium, mercury, and plastic waste contaminants which poison marine life, livestock, produce, drinking water, and by way of consumption, us.
Some may remember the movie Erin Brokovich (2000), which brought to light hexavalent chromium and the tragedy of Hinkley, California. While some may have never heard of it, the film based on the journey of Brokovich and her colleagues in the lawsuit against Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is what definitively brought acute mainstream attention to hexavalent chromium, also known as chromium 6—found in 2,475 California water sources alone. According to Occupational Safety & Heath Administration (OSHA), chromium 6 can cause pulmonary congestion and edema, liver and kidney damage, lung cancer, and leukemia. Currently hexavalent chromium does not have a unique standard set by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) and is only included in the standards for all chromium. Interestingly, 15 years after the movie, the sleepytown of Hinkley is still not free of this contaminant, and California has just recently set a standard for the chemical, over a decade past the legal deadline set by SB351, passed in 2001.
In the U.S., hexavalent chromium has been found in 25 cities tested by the Environmental Working Group. Still, the EPA has not taken decisive action, and although pollutants in waterways also dually contaminate us by poisoning our food supplies, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not yet set standards for chromium 6 either.

 

Glyphosate, the key component of RoundUp® (brought to you by the creators of Agent Orange), is one such agricultural contaminant that packs a one-two-three punch. Monsanto’s genetically modified glyphosate resistant seeds are planted worldwide. RoundUp® resistant plants are additionally contaminated during the growth process when watered with polluted water, containing contaminants from runoff of agricultural pollutants that find their way into our waterways more and more with every passing year. Talk about a triple threat.
The 2011 U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Technical Announcement reported that “RoundUp® is used in all agricultural areas, but is most persistent in the Mississippi watershed where most applications are for weed control for genetically modified corn.” RoundUp® use exploded from 49,000 tons in 2002 to 128,000 tons in 2012. Glyphosate blocks gene receptors that help create enzymes, which help form and breakdown molecules that are essential for the normal functioning of our various biological systems. It has been linked to weight gain, depression, Alzheimer’s, kidney disease, cancer, and reproductive difficulties. Regardless of a multitude of credible independent studies the FDA site only issues an industry linked study by Pioneer, a Dupont Company, which states: “No single factor has been sourced as the primary indicator of allergenic potential, and no validated animal model that is predicative is available.”


Similarly, the EPA seems to have their heads in the sand. According to the EPA, “Maximum Contaminant Level Goal” (MCLG) for glyphosate is 700 ppb (parts per billion) while independent suggestions stand at much lower levels. The problem with regulatory testing is that they are not only industry sponsored but also geared towards testing only the “active ingredient” glyphosate. However, studies have found that RoundUp® and other commercial glyphosate herbicide formulations are far more toxic than the isolated glyphosate which is logical considering the added ingredients called “adjuvants” that are added specifically to increase toxicity. Furthermore, no long-term testing had been conducted for RoundUp® or other formulations prior to release on the market. According to officials at the U.S. EPA, “TSCA clearly needs improvement. The lack of deadlines, the ability to require needed data and burdensome regulatory standard have made it difficult for the EPA to ensure the American public that the chemicals used in the products they and their families use are safe.”
Radium, mercury, pharmaceutical residue and plastic contaminants from waste pollution such as dioxin and vinyl chloride further ravage our water systems. The ocean stands separate from our drinking water, but is not alien to our state of health. Much has been made of high levels of mercury in fish, particularly in shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish— though most recently the record die-off of oysters and scallops due to a rare form of leukemia believed to be caused by the radiation fall-out from Fukushima has also garnered concern as ocean chemistry becomes increasingly acidic. By 2040, if current practices persist, scientists believe the oceans may become barren.
Plastic contaminants enter the marine eco-system due to human negligence. As our archaic waste management practices become more and more imposing upon our natural systems, and as human consumption aggregates growth of plastic production we are seeing a sharp increase in plastic pollutants in ocean waters all across the world—560 fold in over just 60 years. This plastic, over time, degenerates into smaller pieces and resemble commercial fish food. Fish then consume these pieces thereby polluting their biological systems. Through the consumption of smaller fish by bigger fish, and then them by us, we too are contaminated.  As the threat to the global oceanic environment continues to grow and large die-offs occur our oceanic aquaculture become threatened, which is a staple that millions, especially in poor nations, are dependent upon. Therefore, through our own aquatic assault, we are delivering yet another death blow to human health and survival.

 

Plastic Garbage Washed onto Beach

A further problem actually propelling our water crisis is the bottled water industry.  Bottled water standards are set by the FDA, however testing is done by the companies themselves and they are rare. To get information on chromium levels in bottled water you must contact the manufacturing companies, and many are pumping water out of public waterways, even directly utilizing tap water which is then marketed as spring or glacier water. This act is not only deceptive to the public, but also extensively depletes public water. Companies like Nestlé® are making record profits paying only pennies on the dollar even in areas ravaged by water crisis, such as California.  Faulty industry-favoring regulations allow this with no suitable explanation.
So in the end of all of this, where do our environmental and health agencies stand?  We know that the EPA has no current standard for chromium 6, however, they did recently reclassify glyphosate in the 2a category; meaning that it’s classified as a “possibly harmful.” And, in March the WHO’s cancer research agency—International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)—classified glyphosate as possibly cancer-causing (stated in a paper published in Lanclet Oncology).

“Though glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide we know very little about its long-term effects,” said Paul Capel, the author of the 2011 USGS study.

Biologists testing water of natural river

Biologists testing water of natural river

Solutions are available. Organizations, like Water for People (WFP), are hard at work in countries most hard hit with lack of drinking water where they are utilizing the ingenuity of the people to provide long-term solutions. “Since 2006 WFP turned away from “popcorn” projects and helped design water and sanitation solutions that local authorities, local entrepreneurs, and communities can afford, manage, and sustain,” states the WFP. Some of these solutions include projects in water recycling and gathering rainwater for reuse. In much the same vein, scientists at University of Technology and Engineering (UTEC) have created billboards which collect atmospheric condensation and filters it to be drinkable water, currently available for free to the people of Peru. Similarly, the methods of ozone oxidation can provide an effective way for people around the world to achieve safe water availability in their communities. Further, the amendment of policy holds hope for change, if our policy makers manage to do the right thing for our environment and the people, and push to enforce said future amendments.

Currently, HR.1422, EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act 2014, sponsored by Representative Chris Stewart (R-UT) has passed the House. Critics of the reform claim that it is geared in favor of industry rather than accurate science, which helps keep the people safe. The Act is said to restrict scientists of studies to advise the EPA in any way as to their own research, while industry paid scientists are free to give their findings to the EPA. However, when we spoke to the U.S. EPA they stated, “We are pleased with the ongoing efforts in the House and the Senate to reform Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which seek to address the goals spelled out in the Administration’s Principles. We look forward to working with Congress to send strong TSCA reform legislation for the President to sign.”
In that, you have to wonder if someday the President (whoever it might be), will begin to hold the corporate polluters culpable and accountable for billions of dollars to help correct what they helped create. We must ask ourselves, companies that flush chemical waste into our natural waterways, companies that knowingly use chemicals that are harmful, yet spend millions to offset their damage by saving face through public relations,
politicians who simply turn a blind eye or help aid and abide criminals, and those who steal our natural resources only to sell it back to us at a higher price—should not they pay for what they knowingly do?  More and more people are saying yes.
It is not a utopian dream to want a better world. Even if a Thomas More-esque utopia might be out of reach or even an implausible anti-progressive dysfunctional bliss, human beings everywhere have a superlative right for the pursuit of happiness and progression. Wanting unpolluted air, clean water, un-poisoned naturally-sound food, clean architecture and industries, which leave less of our dirty footprints on our planet—these are our just rights as are the rights of corporate entities and governments to exist and create profit. Wanting a better world, nay, demanding it, is not socialist, communist, or liberal capitalist; it is not the summation of parts for an unreachable world but the summation of the human experience.  The rights to evolve, to ask questions and pursue true answers; to propel ourselves and write the condition of our future generations—these are the human condition. Our need for fairly available clean water is not just a biological one but an imperative and ever running pursuit of human progress in that we must take personal action to protect ourselves and each other, to ask the questions others do not want to answer, and to insist on doing things better for everyone, from everyone.

 

 

Food Diary of a Single Girl: Tequila Sunrise Chicken Tikka Masala with Porcini Mushrooms Couscous

food

By Star Noor

Photos: By Star Noor

Wooden spoon and ingredients

Wooden spoon and ingredients on dark background. Vegetarian food, health or cooking concept.

Every recipe has an origin and a story.  What’s in a name?  And, how did the mainstay dishes we so take for granted come from?  Does the story of food matter as much as the recipes themselves?

The answer, at least for me, is yes.  Yes, yes, yes.  Food connects us.  Food makes us join around the table to break bread (well, most of us); it inspires us to share; it teaches us about each other’s cultures.  It nourishes our mind, bodies, and spirits.  So yes, understanding food history is as important as understanding what each ingredient does, and how to put these elements together to produce our own original “traditional meals”.

Chicken tikka masala is an Indian dish, undoubtedly.  But, its inception is a subject of debate and mystery – not unlike much of the rest of the culture of beautiful, fragrant India.  In the U.S., Indian food is still “acquired taste”, but in countries like Scotland and Great Brittan, it’s as much a part of the food culture as meat, potatoes, and cabbage so much so that it inspired then British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook to exclaim it should be made a national dish back in 2001: “”Chicken Tikka Masala is now a true British national dish, not only because it is the most popular, but because it is a perfect illustration of the way Britain absorbs and adapts external influences.” He went on to explain that “Chicken Tikka is an Indian dish. The Masala sauce was added to satisfy the desire of British people to have their meat served in gravy.””

A British national dish, he says?  But, how can this be?  The origins of this dish, as mentioned before, are shrouded in creamy speculation.

According to some, it is a dish pre-dating British rule in India, made during the Mughal era.  The Mughal’s were Persianites who ruled over the Indian Subcontinent and Afghanistan.  Though a part of the vast reaching Persian empire, the Mughals were Turco-Mongol in origin, decedents of Genghis Khan (founder of the Mongol Empire which began in East Asia, through his son Chagatai Khan), and Timur (the Turco-Mongol conqueror who founded the Timurid Empire).  Why am I telling you all this?

If you know anything about the regional food of the Turic people, most evident in the culinary cultures of the Turks these days, which is heavily tomato based, you’d understand why this theory would make sense, as tikka masala simply is a spiced curry based creamy tomato sauce.  So, it would make sense that a culinary culture which adores the use of tomatoes a la carte, would create such a dish immersed both in the cultures of the conquerors and those they ruled.

But another, and perhaps more interesting idea has emerged.  One that has the British Isles concurring an Indian dish as a part of their beloved foods, the whole over.   The medley of this dish, is absolutely interesting indeed.  The story goes, as best described by the son of the Indian Food restaurant owner who operated out of Glasgow, Scotland in the early 1970’s.  Pakistani chef, Ali Ahmed Aslam, as told by Asif Ali, was working one evening and, “On a typical dark, wet Glasgow night a bus driver coming off shift came in and ordered a chicken curry. He sent it back to the waiter saying it’s dry. At the time Dad had an ulcer and was enjoying a plate of tomato soup. So he said why not put some tomato soup into the curry with some spices. They sent it back to the table and the bus driver absolutely loved it. He and his friends came back again and again and we put it on the menu.”

Either way this dish was created, it is a delish dish that I decided to share with two of my close and dear friends, Randy and Scott, a few nights back.  I wanted to share this sweet and sultry dish with you: creamy in constancy, with a bit of smoke, the savory taste of marinated chicken (traditionally grilled on open fire, but here simply seared and simmered); the crisp of the vegetable medley, the aromatic bite of the spices including jalapeno and chili peppers is a burst of goodness.  Traditionally eaten with naan, a type of bread also from the era of the Persian Empire, here it is served with another traditionally Mediterranean dish, couscous which is light, filling, and a lot good for you.  I am immersed in the beautiful culture of India any chance I get.  What this immense and long existing civilization and culture has brought to the cultures of the globe over is absolutely astonishing.  At the epicenter of civilization, this incredible land of people who the likes of Buddha arose from, and the amazing centuries long struggle of honor balanced with freedom, which flourished into the third biggest religion in the world, India’s cuisine is rich both in history and taste.

Note:  The word tikka in Hindu means pieces, but in this recipe I’ve kept the chicken whole.  I also have some none-traditional ingredients in this version like tequila.

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INGREDIENTS:

 

MAIN COURSE

Marinade

1 cup yogurt

2 tbsp. cumin

2 tbsp. lemon juice

1 tbsp. cinnamon

2 tbsp. red pepper

2 tbsp. black pepper

1 tbsp. salt

TIKKA MASALA 

Curry Mixture

1 tbsp. cumin

1 tbsp. garam masala

2 tbsp. coriander

1 tbsp. paprika

1 tbsp. herbs de Province (rosemary, sage, thyme – fresh, minced)

The Rest

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken pieces (you may opt to chunk into 1 inch pieces)

1 onion, sliced

1 cup baby spinach leaves

1 cup sweet peppers, halved

¼ bunch asparagus, cut into thirds

1 jalapeno, diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 cup anise stalk and leaves, chopped and veins of stalks removed

½ cup carrots, diced

1 cup half and half

¼ cup tequila (the better the quality of tequila, the better the sauce will taste).

2 large tomatoes, boiled, peeled, mashed

1 bay leaf

4 cups water

2 tbsp. coconut oil

Sea salt, and red pepper to taste

SIDE DISH

Couscous

2 cups couscous

¼ dried porcini mushrooms

1 tbsp. cilantro, minced

½ tbsp. garlic, minced

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 cups water

Black salt and pepper to taste

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INSTRUCTIONS:

 Tikki Masala

 In a large mixing bowl, add all of the ingredients for the marinade and mix well.  Add the chicken and mix well to coat evenly.  Cover and set in the fridge to marinade for at least 2 hours, up to two days.

In a medium saucepan, bring the water and the bay leaf to a rolling boil on high heat.  Add tomatoes and boil for 15 minutes or until the tomatoes are tender and the skins are cracked.  Strain, and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, in a large deep frying pan, add all of the curry spices save the herbs de Provence to the dry pan on low heat.  Roast the spices for about 20 seconds.

Add the coconut oil and onions.  Turn heat up to high.

Once the oil glistens sear the chicken to a golden color on both sides.

Meanwhile, peel and mash the cooled tomatoes.

Add the garlic and the herbs de Provence to the pan.  Turn heat down to medium.

Deglaze the pan with tequila.  Add all of the vegetables and crushed tomatoes to the pan and stir well to mix in with other ingredients.

Add the cream.  Mix well.  Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, making sure to stir occasionally to keep the cream from scorching.

Couscous

 Heat 2 cups of water to boil in a medium saucepan.  Add the mushrooms and couscous to the water and remove from heat.  Set aside for about five minutes, the couscous will swell and absorb the water.

Add the couscous and mushroom mixture to a medium mixing bowl.  Add all other ingredients and carefully fold them into the mixture.

Place in the fridge for at least thirty minutes, or keep at room temperature.

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Butterscotch Chicken and Vegetables with Aromatic Brown Rice and Quinoa, Served with Cucumber and Cherry Tomato Salad

food

Wooden spoon and ingredients

 

By Star Noor, Culinary Editor for Coco Eco Magazine

 Photos by Star Noor

FIRST PUBLISHED IN COCO ECO MAGAZINE, 2016

When you’re single, you sometimes have great aspirations, but not enough things. Take me for example, I live in a spacious three-bedroom house that is mostly empty. Between a crazy schedule, and a social life that bustles to say the least and other goings on, I have very little in the way of those amenities that most folks would consider cozy. My dishes are mismatched, my furniture is scarce, heck, I don’t even have a dining room table; but no matter because a lady can still have dinner with friends and make it classy without all those things.

Last night I, along with a few of my good friends, had dinner at my place. It was an eventful time, full of surprises and neighborhood happenings, which highly shifted the mood throughout the evening. But, hey that’s what happens when you put a bunch of folks in a small patch of land, or in a room for that matter. Add animals to that mix and well, you have a party.

On the menu was a simple fall dinner, full of flavor and the hearty goodness our bodies crave this time of year. As always, the ingredients were all nutritious, and the fats were all good and necessary. I even added a surprise ingredient in the mix – the underutilized, almost forgotten, crabapple.

Crabapple comes in a large array. There are over 35 species and 700 cultivated varieties. The small trees are grown for the brightly colored flowers in the spring ranging from pink or red buds when they first bloom, then paling to lighter shades after they’ve opened, creating the illusion of a fluffy pink cloud which last for weeks. These resilient trees are absolutely remarkable as they can withstand the cold and harsh winter climates and heavy soil of the North and Midwest. Crabapples are fat free, cholesterol free, sodium free, and a great source for vitamin C. In the Middle Ages, crabapple juice was used much the same way that we use vinegar today. You can make jams, jellies, preserves, and butters out of them. You can dehydrate them for some apple crisps. You can bake them, boil them, mash them, grill them. More than just ornament, they should be utilized as a food source in a world which begs for food and consumes GMO’s and processing preservatives.

That’s why I used this resourceful fruit in this scrumptious recipe, which I’m sharing for you to enjoy. I hope you too have the chance to share it with loved ones as I did. Though, even if you have to make a small pot dinner for yourself, enjoy! Life is too short to eat bad food, or feel alone. Make your heart warm by making your home warm and there ain’t nothing that can harm you.

There’s an Italian saying that goes: Figliuole e frittelle, quante piu se ne fa, piu vegon belle (Children and fried food: The more you make the better they come out) – practice makes perfect. A foody truth, which goes beyond the kitchen, indeed.

Mangiare! And remember, when eating, the first deep breath is your body telling you, you’re done.

 

9

INGREDIENTS & INSTRUCTIONS:

This recipe serves four 

Entrée

*1 cup chicken stock

* 1 cup butterscotch, pureed

* 1 onion, sliced

* 1 heaping tsp. garlic, minced

* 7 petit sweet bell peppers

* 1 Shitake mushroom, peeled and diced

* 1 cup baby carrots

*1 large jalapeno, de-seeded, chopped

* 1 cup crabapples, destemmed, cut in half, deseeded.

* 1 bunch basil, chopped

* 1 spring rosemary, leaves taken off of stem

* ½ cup artichokes

* ½ cup grape seed oil, hemp oil, or olive oil

* 1 lb. chicken thighs, or any cut preferred

*Himalayan pink salt, or sea salt, and red pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large oven-safe deep frying pan, heat oil to glistening hot. Sear the chicken on both sides until golden.

Meanwhile, chop all of the vegetables and herbs for the casserole.

Add the stock and puree into the pan. Add the herbs and vegetables to the pan as well. Salt and pepper to season, stir so that vegetables are submerged in the liquid. Cover and place in the oven. Bake for one hour.

4

Side

* ½ cup quinoa

* 1 cup brown rice

* 1 tbsp. cumin

* ½ tsp. ginger, minced

* 1 tbsp. olive oil, or any previously mentioned healthy alternative oils

* 2 ½ – 3 cups of boiling water

* Salt and pepper to taste (stay away from table salt)

Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan.

Meanwhile, was the rice and submerge in enough water to cover it.

When water is at a rolling boil, drain the rice in bowl and add to the pan. Boil for about 15-20 minutes, making sure that the rice does not become fully cooked.

Drain rice when the brown rice can be pierced with your nail. Use a spatula to get a few grains out while doing it, and make sure your hands are washed.

In the colander or a mixing bowl, use a spatula to fold in the cumin and some salt and pepper to taste. Add the oil in the same fashion. Place oil and water in the saucepan. Place the rice mixture into the saucepan. Cover with a lid and steam rice on low heat until rice is cooked through.

salad

 

Salad

* 1 ½ heads Artisan lettuce, chopped

* 2 cucumbers, diced

* 1 cup cherry tomatoes, yellow – sliced in half

* Small pinch of garlic, minced

* Cranberry Chevre Cheese

* 1 cup Greek yogurt

* 1 large lemon, juiced

* ½ cup grapeseed or olive oil

Chop the lettuce. Using your knife, slice through the lettuce heads horizontally, then chop the lettuce without removing the ends. This will ensure easy and even chopping.

Add all of the vegetables for the salad in your serving dish. Using a tong, toss the salad well. Sprinkle with dots of cranberry goat cheese. Cover and keep in the refrigerator.

Add all other ingredients to a mixing bowl and whisk well, until the dressing is smooth. Pour in terrine and cover. Also, put aside in the fridge.

Plating

Serve this meal family style, using a platter or large deep bowl for the rice mixture, heaped in the center; and, a large bowl or casserole dish for the chicken and veggies. A meal served as such is felt more shared and brings about togetherness more so than a buffet style, or a pre-plated service.

Dig in and enjoy!

 

6

 

 

 

Artisan Fall Salad

food
Wooden spoon and ingredients

Wooden spoon and ingredients on dark background. Vegetarian food, health or cooking concept.

By Star Noor, Culinary Editor

FIRST PUBLISHED BY COCO ECO MAGAZINE

As the weather gets colder, it becomes harder it seems, for us to eat light healthy foods for our bodies crave warmth and comfort.  But eating healthily is essential to our well being, and in doing that organically and in a manner that is sustainable, is essential to the health of our world.  We must be conscious in the choices we make in the foods we eat, and where and how this food comes to us.

This recipe combines the health benefits of light cooking with the savory taste of sausage and the warm goodness of a medium poached egg.  Though there is some fat, due to the use of low fat oils, low fat sausage, and other ingredients, this recipe is still rather healthy.  Not to mention an overall well balanced diet, especially if organic and devout of all the toxins that normally bog down our unprepared digestive tracks, allows for a degree of good essential fats. The spicy fall sausage is packed full of protein and various nutrients which come from the various herbs used including red pepper, which is full of goodness such as keeping our hearts and immune system healthy.  Himalayan pink salt is also a much healthier and beneficial choice in sodium than even sea salt, and is much lower in sodium than ionized table salt.

In this recipe you may use any of either organic grapeseed, hemp, or olive oil you want but bear in mind that hemp oil has a nutty taste.  I used grapeseed oil in creating this recipe.  Please  note that all our recipes call for organic, sustainable, grass-fed, cruelty free, cage free food products.  We all have different tastes,  and here at Coco Eco we believe that we should embrace our differences and even celebrate them, consciously and respectfully.

Here’s the recipe . . . Bon appetite!

INGREDIENTS:

SALAD:

1 small head of Artisan lettuce

½ small onion, chopped

1 regular link of low-fat spicy sausage,  thinly sliced

¼ tbsp. garlic, minced

1 egg

Goat cheese for sprinkling

¼ cup white vinegar

2 cups water, boiling

1 tbsp. grapeseed or hemp oil

Himalayan pink salt and red crushed pepper to taste.

DRESSING

1 tbsp. low-fat mayonnaise

½ tbsp. white wine

1 tbsp. grapeseed,  hemp, otherwise olive oil

1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

Himalayan pink salt, and crushed red pepper to taste

Instructions:

In a small frying pan, sauté onions, garlic, and sausage until cooked through, about 7 minutes on medium high heat.   Make sure to add garlic last to avoid burning.

In a medium saucepan, heat water and vinegar to rolling boil.  Carefully crack the eggs and pour content into water.  Using a slotted spoon, gather the whites onto the yolk until you have an oval white egg. Ta Cook to preferred temperature, for this recipe the egg was cooked to medium.  You may also use an electric egg poacher, if you have one. Take the egg out of the water and set aside on a towel lined plate.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients for the dressing.  Set aside In the refrigerator.

Plating:

On a dinner plate, pile the lettuce in the center.  Top with sausage mixture. Carefully place an egg on top.  Sprinkle with pieces of goat cheese, and drizzle with dressing. Serve.

½ tbsp. white wine

1 tbsp. grapeseed,  hemp, otherwise olive oil

1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

Himalayan pink salt, and crushed red pepper to taste

5

 

 

These Boots Are Made for Walking.

Celebrity, Fashion

These Boots Are Made for Walking

By Star Noor, Features Editor, Coco Eco Magazine

FIRST PUBLISHED IN COCO ECO MAGAZINE, 2016

In life, we are but stories contrived of the decisions we make, and those which are made for us that propel us into what we humans call, fate.  Like any other human story, Kat Mendenhall’ eventual plunge into a new found career as a shoe designer with a conscious, and vegan eats guru, was like many other stories, serendipitous.

For her, as fate would have it, her longstanding successful career as a telecommunications professional which had allowed her to raise and educate her daughter, became unfulfilling.  She explains that as an empty nester, “I was finally in a position to make a change. I wasn’t exactly sure what that change would look like but I set out to find it…I was able to discover a few hidden passions that evolved into my new career. My advice for others would be: do what you have to do to pay the bills, but on the side work on the thing that sets your soul on fire. No one deserves to be stuck on an unfulfilling career path.”

 

This introspection, combined with extended education brought Kat to designing Western style boots, with all the flair and personality of the designer herself, and true to form she spares no detail or weight to quality. She is particular about the degree of costumer satisfaction she delivers to her clients, as she feels that is as important as the carbon footprint her company leaves while delivering high quality at comfortable prices products.

 

She states, “We put a lot of effort in making our boots as sustainable as possible. The material itself is a high technology “polyurethane” and synthetic based material that contains no PVC; there is no off-gassing in the production. The USA facility where it is produced uses solar power, emissions control and energy reclamation systems, water based production, and power saver lighting. In addition to the material, our other components such as plastic or cardboard are used from recycled material. Our workshop located in El Paso, Texas is a small privately owned shop, not a production factory.”

 

In her business model, as well as her lifestyle she feels that:

 

Lindsey Miller Photo

Lindsey Miller Photo

Choosing a vegan lifestyle is also better for the environment. Factory farming is a huge contributor of waste and greenhouse gasses, which pollute our land, air, and water and contribute to climate change. Our land and trees are being destroyed solely for the sake of raising cattle. Lastly, we can no longer turn our eyes away from the unnecessary cruelty that exist towards the animals for the production of meat, dairy, and eggs. Most people have no clue about the severity of cruelty that exist and most do not want to know. If they knew, then they’d have to deal with their conscious for being a contributor to such cruelty by consuming animal products. We do have a choice though, that choice is to reduce or eliminate animal products from your diet and eventually your clothes and shoes too. We know that animals are smart soulful creatures that feel pain and have friendships and companions just like humans. It doesn’t make sense to love one and eat the other.

 

To some, this might be opinion hard to swallow, until Kat further explains the health reasons why her chosen path might be a better option for others as well, “Choosing a vegan lifestyle has so many positive benefits that can’t be ignored. Research has proven that consuming a diet of whole plant-based foods has tremendous health benefits. It has the ability to prevent, treat, and even reverse chronic disease such as diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, cancer, which studies show can all be food-borne related.”   She goes on, “In addition, obesity is a risk factor contributing to these illnesses and studies show that people that consume a vegan diet vs. a diet in meat and dairy typically weigh less. America is getting sicker; we need to reverse our mentality to choose plants over pills.”

lindseymillerphoto-katmendenhallboots-76

Regardless of how you feel about her life motto, one thing is for certain, leaving a lower carbon footprint and consuming more sustainable materials than less is better for the world as a whole, and that includes you.  Beautifully crafted and durable to last you more than one season, Kat Mendenhall boots are a stylish addition to any wardrobe coast-to-coast.

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Click on the image above to shop Kat Mendenhall.  Use Promo Code cocoeco16 for 15% off of you purchase, just in time for the Holiday season.