Evita Ochel, Consciousness Expansion and The International Fund for Agricultural Development
Part I: Evita Ochel, Consciousness Expansion
Evita Ochel is a consciousness expansion teacher, holistic nutritionist, optimal health expert, yoga and meditation teacher and web TV host. She is the author of the book ‘Healing & Prevention Through Nutrition’, and hundreds of articles on mind-body-spirit topics. Her health- and body-oriented teaching focuses on natural, whole, plant-based, alkaline and organic nutrition for optimal health and longevity. Her mind- and spirit-oriented teaching focuses on consciousness expansion, mindful and heart-centered living for optimal joy and inner peace. She is the creator of the Healthytarian lifestyle for the wellbeing of the mind, body and spirit, and the EBTV online video network. Her teaching inspires and empowers audiences worldwide to be the change they wish to see. To learn more, please visit: www.EvitaOchel.com
Part II: Caryn Hartglass talks about meeting Kanayo F Nwanze, president of the International Fund for Agricultural Development at the UN who spoke about “waking up the world” to the severe consequences of what happens when people are hungry.
Caryn Hartglass: Hello everybody, I’m Caryn Hartglass, how are you today? It’s October, what day is it today? The 14th of October 2014. It’s 10 14 2014! Why do those numbers always get me excited? I love playing with numbers. It’s 72 degrees Fahrenheit here in New York City on the middle October day. What’s going on here? It’s absolutely lovely but it’s normally a little chillier around now. Always things to keep things interesting right? Never what we expect. I’m not going to look into the cause of why we’re having such lovely weather but I’m going to appreciate it while we have it. I’ve got one very special guest today and later on the program I’m going to be giving some coverage on a meeting I went to yesterday: the UN with the International Fund for Agricultural Development it was fascinating and I want to tell you a little bit about that later. But first, let’s bring on my first guest, my first and only guest Evita Ochel. She’s a consciousness expansion teacher, holistic nutritionist, optimal health expert, yoga and meditation teacher, and web TV host. She’s the author of a book: Healing and Prevention Through Nutrition and hundreds of articles on mind, body, spirit topics. Her health and body oriented teaching focuses on natural, whole, plant based, alkaline and organic nutrition for optimal health and longevity. Her mind and spirit oriented teaching focuses on consciousness expansion, mindful and heart centered living for optimal joy and inner peace. She’s the creator of healthytarian lifestyle for the wellbeing of the mind, body, and spirit, and the EBTV online video network. Her teaching inspires and empowers audiences worldwide to be the change they wish to see. Evita, thank you for being here.
Evita Ochel: It is my pleasure, Caryn. Thank you so much for having me.
Caryn Hartglass: Thank you for being here today and thank you for being on the planet right now. We need you.
Evita Ochel: Oh thank you so much and likewise.
Caryn Hartglass: My dear listeners as you heard me reading Evita’s bio, were you thinking that: “Wow this is Caryn’s kind of guest!” This is all about what I’m all about and it’s always such a pleasure to meet like-minded people who are out there doing what I’m so inspired and passionate about. It only magnifies my own inspiration when I know other people are doing such great things. So, let’s talk about you and your work. First, let’s talk a bit about consciousness expansion.
Evita Ochel: Sounds good.
Caryn Hartglass: What is it and how do we do it?
Evita Ochel: Very very good question Caryn. We’re used to the word consciousness and being conscious. For the most part I think in our society still in a very simple kind of way where we as long as we’re awake, we’re conscious; if we faint etc. then we are unconscious. There is of course a different type of consciousness and this is what my work and so many other teachers today on the planet are referring to when we speak about consciousness. The very first aspect of that is to be aware, to be mindful and one might still think, “Well aren’t I that all the time whenever I’m awake?” But the truth is that we’re not. Most of the time we’re very much operating out of our subconscious mind so to speak, where we are basically running regularly conditioned programs, be it the mind living out of a lot of past, out of stories, out of habits. Sort of like on autopilot. That’s really the best way for people to understand it. While that is great and it is a great adaptation and part of our evolution to basically live on Planet Earth there of course comes various downsides with this. If we allow old programing and condition and if we are not conscious or careful, or mindful, or aware of what programs, what level of thinking are we operating from, then of course we are usually not making decisions or choices that are for our best, for the best of our health, our wellbeing, and also for the best and wellbeing of our planet etc. That’s really the summary of consciousness and I include the word expansion because it’s one thing to get back to that state of consciousness but it’s a never ending journey. There’s always a deeper aspect that we can go into and that’s where the expansion part comes in. That it is really any aspect, any topic, any area of life that we look at. There’s always a depth that can be increased and expanded upon in terms of how we see and understand it. In terms of how we can do it, there’s so many ways. For some people it comes easier than others and it could be about it’s as simple as in this very moment. I would ask the audience for example, just become aware of the breath. Become aware of what are you thinking right now, what are you hearing right now. What perhaps scents or, you know visual sights and such are around you, really look. That starts to change the mind to become fully present, fully mindful, rather than just oh yes, I’m in the same environment, I’m hearing the same people… Anything from yoga, meditation, tai chi, qi gong, various other holistic practices all can help us tap into the power of the conscious mind and if nothing more, access that subconscious mind. Figure out what beliefs, what perspectives do we hold about ourselves, about others in life, so we can figure out, “Are these really serving us or not?” More often than not, as we are seeing personally and collectively, we are living from programming and ideas that are not serving our greater good.
Caryn Hartglass: Can I give you an example?
Evita Ochel: Absolutely.
Caryn Hartglass: Yesterday, I was going into the subway here in New York City and I was on my way to the UN for a meeting I’m going to be talking about later on in the program. As I went down the stairs at the bottom of the stairs there was a body kind of curled up, almost fetal position on the ground in dark blue sweats. I couldn’t see who it was, their back was towards me. There was a body on the floor not moving. There were a bunch of other people that kept going down the stairs, walking past the body as if it were an everyday thing and went down into the subway. For a moment I was just stunned. What do I do? I was very much in the present moment but it really looked like nobody else was. They were someone else and it was just so matter-of-fact for them. I ended up calling 911 and when I found somebody in the subway who worked there, they were also, too, very numb and matter-of-fact to it, like oh yeah this is just an everyday thing. It was just a sad, sad example of the things we get numb to, the things we’re accustomed to, and how we’re not conscious of what’s going on around.
Evita Ochel: Absolutely and it translates to, again as I said, a theory of our life to including especially when it comes to even how we feed ourselves, the types of meals we choose, how we even drive, how we get around, how we do so much of our work, how do we interact and talk to others. There’s just so much that is simply coming out of habitual patterns rather than conscious choices that what really represents me right now. Not perhaps what I grew up with, not perhaps what I was taught to believe, but every single day we are changing, our world is changing, information is changing. We need to stay conscious as much as possible because that truly is where empowerment lies. To make the best choices for us and again in every single area of our life.
Caryn Hartglass: I think this is the most challenging thing for humans.
Evita Ochel: Yes.
Caryn Hartglass: This is it, being present being conscious. I think this is our biggest challenge. We’re not very good at it and a lot of people react to things that have happened to them in the past and they keep reliving them somehow and something triggers it and it strengthens those memories and brings them to the present and makes them stronger and fresher, but they’re living in the past. Big challenges. You have a number of different websites and they’re probably all connected but they focus on different things. I’m looking at your Evita Ochel site and it’s lovely, calming, pastel colors. So, the evolved being, evolving beings is where we would learn about consciousness expansion.
Evita Ochel: That’s one of the sites and that, again as you pointed out, they are all indeed interconnected, because as I continued on my journey of awakening and transformation and personal evolution, I realized that’s the very nature and essence of life is that everything truly is interconnected. When I thought about ok what is driving my passions to help people with, yes there is the aspect of the mind, the aspect of the spirit, but there was also the aspect of the body and that’s why I can’t today, for example, talk about health without mentioning the mind or how even spiritual matters tie into it. Or, if I talk about environmental topics and such, all of it connects and the more, again, we see those connections, and that’s something I help people with as well in the process of that expansion of consciousness, the more we get to see the bigger picture of how every single one of our choices, our thoughts, our words, our actions, is creating the reality personally and collectively that we live in. On evolving beings I do focus most on spirit and mind matters but that consciousness aspect ties right into all of my health sites and topics dealing with health and body as well.
Caryn Hartglass: I don’t remember all the details but I read about you awhile back when I first was introduced to you. I remember you were originally a teacher and then you decided you wanted to do what you’re doing now and you just took this risk of starting something new and giving up what you were trained to do. How does one get the courage to do something like that?
Evita Ochel: If anybody ever told me a few years before I did it that I would do something like that, I would have never believed them. Today, I can’t really say to people it could be a process, it could be something that you consciously decide and start to work towards and there’s many ways of doing that, but what happened and how it went for me, is that I just simply continued my journey of growth and expansion. As I continued to do that, there just came more and more points along my personal journey and, career wise specifically here, that I started to see things, again, from that bigger picture perspective. I started to also envision how I wanted my life to be once I realized especially that we are conscious life creators. Life doesn’t just happen, we are creating it, I realized my goodness the potential here is immense. Many, many factors were driving me basically to go beyond the traditional classroom where I can only do so much and basically teach on a global level, where I can reach more people, especially the adults who are influencing the high school kids and such who I was teaching at that time. The courage, I’d love to say again that it was some ten-step process, but it just came and that’s why I’m a firm believer in divine timing. We can’t do something by force or something before we’re ready. Things just don’t work out well when we try to force things and to be. There just came a point where one thing just kept adding up, kept adding up as I kept varying information and seeing how it all fits together, to the point that it was just like so obvious for me that I could not stay in the traditional school system, in the traditional system of work etc. That was really I think the pivoting point where the courage just naturally came with it rather than having to find it, to do it.
Caryn Hartglass: I agree with you and I do believe that we should all be doing what feels good to us. Unfortunately many people either don’t know how or they’re not ready, not really sure. I want to believe that we can all be doing what we want to do, but there’s a lot of work out there that needs to be done that doesn’t seem pleasant to many people and that’s unfortunate. I was just wondering when you were a teacher in the school system, the structured school system, now with all the work that you’ve been doing, do you think there’s a better way to teach?
Evita Ochel: Absolutely, and that was one of the things, too, that I just started to see. My typical students were around 17 years old and the hunger, the passion, the hope within them for new information, inquisitiveness, for creativity, for expanding the mind and thinking outside the box is there, but unfortunately the common school system, whether it’s Canada or the US, or many parts of the world is just, again I don’t mean to put it down but it is what it is, but it’s very limiting. It’s very limiting for the human mind. We’re basically taught what to think rather than how to think. That was definitely, again, part of my decision that I just couldn’t participate in it anymore, but it’s not that there aren’t other outlets that I wouldn’t have, for example, taught in, because I do for parents who are asking me, “Ok what’s an alternative that I can send my kids to?” Absolutely there are alternatives, but they’re not going to be generally speaking in a traditional public school system. There’s anything from various private schools, one of the very, very popular and really great for inquisitiveness and entertaining kids creativity and really trying to propel them to focus on their gifts and talents rather than just this is one way of doing it and that’s kind of it, is for example the Waldorf school system. Parents of course are moving towards homeschooling and I know that’s not a possible option for many yet, but it is an option, also, more so than perhaps it’s ever been before. So we do have choices and less students today I think, at least what I’ve been sensing from the statistics, are falling back for the idea that we have to, after high school, follow the traditional route of university or college. There are so many self made entrepreneurs and so much self learning can take place today that that’s also a very, very powerful pivotal point for many.
Caryn Hartglass: Very good. I’m wondering, now you work with people on a variety of different issues even though they’re all connected. I imagine each individual is different in terms of how you work with them. Is it mostly food related?
Evita Ochel: For the most part right now I do tend to focus more on holistic health and nutrition. I do sometimes a little bit of consulting into more mind and spiritual matters but it really all depends on my personal projects and things like that. For the most part any consulting and work that I do currently one on one with people is holistic health and nutrition related, but that always ties back to the mind in one way or another as well.
Caryn Hartglass: Some of the things that people are interested in when they’re trying to get healthy is they want things to be easy and fast.
Evita Ochel: Yes.
Caryn Hartglass: I struggle with this because if you get good at preparing your own food, you’re going to get better at it and faster and you can learn some shortcuts. How do you feel when people say, “I want to eat healthy and I want it to be easy and fast.”
Evita Ochel: It’s definitely sort of like a two way street where we have to consider that, exactly as you said. As you gain practice or as we get better at anything, we become more efficient. That aspect definitely is there, but I also do share with people that even though I can teach you how to teach absolutely amazing, wholesome plant based meals in 15 minutes or less, we can’t compare time or meal preparation time of wholesome, natural plant foods or really any foods, whatever someone might be eating, but as long as it’s whole, natural rather than packaged product, of something that you’re going to stick in the microwave, peel off the wrapper and stick into the microwave for I don’t know 50 seconds or so. But at the same time we shouldn’t eat and compare that. It’s like comparing a dune buggy to a complete four door car, that’s just a simple example, but they’ll both maybe take you from A to B but the point is that it’s going to be an extremely different experience, it’s going to be a completely different journey. When it comes to food and your body, the differences are huge for your present health, present weight, future health, future weight, wellbeing, happiness levels, longevity. So many things have to be factored in. What I mean by all this is that I do try to invite people to see food preparation not as a chore, not as something that, “How can I do it in the fastest time possible,” but invite them to see food preparation as one of your most amazing and most liked hobbies. I really do try to inspire people to really fall in love, fall in love with their food, fall in love with their meal preparation, fall in love with themselves, because that is what is going to propel this journey, and make it so powerful, so real, and so enjoyable. Whether it’s five minutes or 15 minutes, or even longer depending on the type of meal etc., it’s not seeing again as a chore. It comes down also to the fact that we give so much of our time to so many things that give no value, in fact degrade or destruct our health or society or environment, and we never think twice. When it comes to meal preparation, one of the most important areas of our life, and lead to so many high qualities of living on every single level of our being, that’s the one we’re trying to sabotage. Let’s get in and out in the shortest time possible.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, humans. I’m so fascinated by human beings. Another thing is, especially with adults, adults are really just older children and a lot of older children, adults, don’t like their vegetables and I’m a big proponent of kale and a lot of people tell me they’ve tried it, they don’t like it, and they’d really like to juice or eat more of it but they don’t like it. What do you do with people who don’t like to eat healthy foods but they want to eat healthy?
Evita Ochel: Several things here that can be done. First and foremost, and I’m taking this advice from [Dr. Popper] which is so great and I like her approach to it is that there’s such a variety of fruits and vegetables and leafy greens that if one particular one doesn’t agree with you, there are literally like 99+++ other ones. Even though kale is absolutely one of my favorites and on my top top list of really healthy and valuable foods and leafy greens to eat, if that one for example is an absolute no go, start somewhere where you will feel more comfortable, such as spinach. Spinach, generally speaking, especially baby spinach has literally no taste in salads or smoothies etc., unless you get the very mature spinach for example. Starting from what you can, starting wherever may be most available for you rather than going for something that maybe somebody who’s already very into a more holistic lifestyle and eating that is more aligned to wholesome, natural plant foods. The other tip I always give people is you have to factor in that your taste buds have to detoxify. Our taste buds in our society for the most part, are on like hyper alert due to the amount of excessive salt, sugar, additives, all sorts of flavors. Most people don’t know what natural cherries, for example, taste like because they’re so used to the artificial cherry flavors that are found in candy, juices, whatever the case may be. Of course it might be a little shock to the system when you try maybe a green smoothie based on kale or some kind of garlic kale salad let’s say. You might think ah this is so different, but it’s not that it’s bad, it’s just that you have to account for the fact that your taste buds need to calm down, really from this hyper state. That’s why detoxifying not just the body but part of this journey will include detoxification of the taste buds. Natural, wholesome foods begin to taste good again so no one is being punished by eating their kale. They actually are liking it and seeking it and then finding ways of course, the third tip is, of how to make it work for you. Not just the particular food, but when it comes to kale there’s so many different varieties of kale smoothies, so many different varieties of kale salad, so many ways we can add it as a steamed veggie to an amazing stir fry or something. You can make it ginger based, you can make it garlic based, lemon almost always makes kale taste absolutely phenomenal. It’s just about saying ok, I understand maybe the way I’ve had it or tried it somewhere wasn’t working for me, but let’s work with it. Let’s see what’s my favorite type of spice etc. How can I bring this together and that creativity aspect, that again comes usually as we get more enticed by this journey.
Caryn Hartglass: Did you figure all this stuff out on your own or did you have some mentors or an aha moment where all of this information just flooded into your consciousness?
Evita Ochel: I see it really as both, because there was a pivotal point in my personal journey, roughly I think it was back in the year 2006 where things literally flooded. Up to that point I was still, my personal education, my personal career up until that point was taking the usual turn. Around 2006 that’s probably what I’d call nothing short of either some major flood of information or expansion of consciousness, something deeper, call it some kind of spiritual awakening or something. For me I know that was such a pivotal point in my life that after that, nothing was ever seen the same and things just started to expand and widen and how I understood things, how I put things together. In terms of a health and nutrition front, not any personal mentors or anybody I’ve ever worked with, but when we get in touch with our inner being, when we really start to, and this is something else I always invite people to do, is find what means most to you. What are your standards? What are your priorities? This is something that, I find when I work with people, we don’t have. So no wonder we go with wherever the wind blows when it comes to nutrition advice or life advice, whatever the case may be. You have to figure out what do you want, what do you stand for, what are your priorities, values? Once I did that for myself, all of a sudden it’s like the right material, the right resources. It was just one amazing moment of synchronism after another. I know you’re also a fan of Dr. Fuhrman’s work, for example. That would come along. People whose work that I really resonated with I would just come by, read what they had to say, or hear what they had to say, integrate it with my personal understanding and I always say take the best of what resonates, put it together consciously with your belief system, rather than just “Oh this person said this now that’s my belief too,” or else we’re just going back to basically the way we’ve been living for much too long. We’re just not conscious of why we believe or think the way we do. We need to know what information is it, why do I feel this is appropriate for me, let’s say.
Caryn Hartglass: Back to your website, you have a wealth of information, you have this healthytarian series which I was fortunate to be a part of. If you go to responsibleeatingandliving.com, you can link to it on the homepage. You can see me and Evita together, chatting. That was a really lovely moment and I thank you for that. There are many other wonderful people that you’ve spoken to that you include in the healthytarian series, very nice. You’ve written Healing and Prevention Through Nutrition and now you have another book that you’re working on?
Evita Ochel: It’s actually the second edition of Healing and Prevention Through Nutrition. The first edition came out in 2011 and the new edition, the second edition is coming out actually next month which will be November 2014. It’s almost a new book because it’s almost doubled in size, I just included so much more. Everything that I do I try to empower people in every area and level of being. The first book was, again as the title states, focused on teaching people on how to eat, how to eat, just for optimal health, focusing around the food. Even then in that book I mention there’s so much more that has to be factored in to understanding why some people get sick and why others don’t, especially when we see people who have absolutely are living what seems to be very healthy, holistic lifestyles and still get sick, or other who are perhaps eating and drinking anything they want and seem to not come down with any disease or live well into their elderly years. In this edition, there is a brand new part, part three and it’s called beyond food. In there, I look at many things, offer more tips, and lots of advice, but one major chapter is on the mind-body connection. I help people understand how we think and how until we examine our thinking, our perceptions, our beliefs, that can continue to sabotage our health despite the perfect diet.
Caryn Hartglass: If we’ve got our mind all in sync and under control, does that mean we can eat anything we want? Some people can.
Evita Ochel: Here’s how it goes, truly, especially for those perhaps in the audience who are more interested in some of the quantum science and physics ideas or very deep spirituality of sometimes we hear these amazing feats that some yogis are able to do. The mind is extremely powerful and the truth is that we are not even scratching the surface of how powerful our mind is. Let’s just use the average, hamburger is a very popular food item for most people in North America. Most people are well aware that hamburgers for many, many reasons are really not a good idea for our health and weight, but if somebody were to say they exactly have their mind all aligned and things like that; would they be able to eat it and not suffer the negative consequences. I basically would not be betting on those types of risks or, roulettes, etc., as it sometimes is said. Here’s why: we have to consider the collective consciousness and in our collective consciousness, if you are basically going against the grain of something, it’s, and again it could be a very, very long quantum science discussion, but it’s not a very task to do. The odds are basically against you. Why not go with what is proven versus and basis on our collective understanding of a reality and how things work. When it comes specifically to our bodies and our health we know without a shadow of a doubt that wholesome plant foods are optimal foods for us. There’s no study that’s going to come out tomorrow and say, “Oh we were wrong; fruits and vegetables, they’re really not so good for us.” No, we know this pretty much since the beginning of time. These are the foods that have always sustained human beings when it came to boosting the immune system and keeping us vital and healthy. Other foods, they may have a role depending on which food it is, absolutely. It depends on the macronutrients and things like that, but that’s really what I’m getting at is that we have as a planet to go up to a much much higher understanding of our mind and evolution before we can even attempt to say, “Well maybe we could just eat anything and we’ll be just fine.” We’re not even close to there. Truthfully speaking, when we do evolve as a planet, that, I believe won’t even be a consideration because by then we will understand so much more of the natural laws of the universe and our planet and how our bodies work to understand why some things really just shouldn’t be in our body period and not even desire them.
Caryn Hartglass: I’m glad you said that I was just thinking the same thing. We’re probably tuned into the same collective consciousness. You have a garden and you grow some of your own food.
Evita Ochel: Yes, it’s an incredible journey.
Caryn Hartglass: What are you growing? What do you have?
Evita Ochel: This season I grew potatoes for the first time which was just fantastic and I look forward to doing it again. I really try to grow anything and everything that is something that, for example, I won’t be able to find easily locally or perhaps something that I eat a lot of. I always have lots of different leafy greens growing, although I also depend on wild leafy greens as well which I have an abundance around me. Carrots, beets, broccoli, I even have a strawberry patch, lots of different squashes: anything from zucchini to either buttercup or butternut squashes, different herbs, and anything from cilantro and basil and such, and lots and lots of tomatoes and cucumbers as those are always consumed in large amounts in my household, and garlic and onions. That’s something that I do include in a lot of my dishes as well. Those would be the most common things that I grow.
Caryn Hartglass: What’s your growing season? You’re somewhere in Canada right?
Evita Ochel: Yes, I am but where I am actually is a very short growing season and I’m not even that far north, I’m in Ontario. It grows for any gardeners who are listening or anybody who knows about their growing zones I’m roughly on the border of zone three and four so this is not a very friendly zone for one that provides you a good long growing season. We have the risk of a late frost right into the end of May, early June and the risk of an early frost which is your [didcom] on September 18. That doesn’t leave much time for growing but it still all works out so I say to people, “It doesn’t matter whether you have an apartment, just grow a pot of basil.” That connection with our food is so sacred. There are benefits beyond what most of us can understand until we start living it and then it catapults and picks up momentum.
Caryn Hartglass: When it’s not the growing season, where are you getting from food and what are you eating?
Evita Ochel: I try to put away a lot of the food so usually I have a lot of my own food right until the end of the year until December more or less. Sometimes I even had frozen kale right into the New Year. That depends also on how much I grow, how much I put away and such. I do also depend on the local farmers here and I also supplement with some of their stuff. For example, I just bought, because our potatoes were enough to pretty much make a few dinners throughout the season and we still have a little bit for this month. I do buy for example for the winter, like 50 pounds of potatoes, carrots and such, from local farmers that I can then also have and use as long as possible into the fall and winter months. Bushels of apples, they last really well, especially, too, you can keep a lot of squash for a long time. I freeze a lot of my kale or other leafy greens that freeze well. Fruits, especially when it’s a good season for awhile, blackberries and blueberries and things like that. It’s also about working with your availability, with your needs, but other than that I do depend on grocery stores. Our grocery stores, even though I live next to a very, very, very tiny community, I’m blessed that both of our small grocery stores do have an organic section and so I will depend on that when nothing is left in my freezer from local sources.
Caryn Hartglass: Sounds like you’re walking the walk while we’re talking here, doing what you believe in and that’s a good thing. Anything else you want to share with us before we go?
Evita Ochel: Really what you just finished saying, that’s really the biggest I think takeaway that I try to share. I love Gandhi’s words which perhaps have been over-said now but to me they are ever so pertinent and that’s really to “Be the change you want to see,” to really live that. At the end of the day, change comes from within. It’s not when the governments change, it’s not when our whatever society changes. We are the change, we really are and it’s people like yourself, like myself, who are seeking something different. Why? Because we understand that there are not just amazing benefits for our health and wellbeing, but also for other human beings and the planet as a whole. That is how, again, we can create a new society, one person at a time. I always say to people, “Start wherever you feel comfortable, wherever you may be, there’s no state of perfection here,” it’s just keep moving, keep expanding, one step at a time but moving towards a better state of quality and quality of life, health for yourself and for our entire planet.”
Caryn Hartglass: Such a good point and you’ve probably heard so many times that many people say, “Why should I bother? Nobody else is going to,” or, “The world’s not going to change,” and one reason to do it is because it feels better.
Evita Ochel: Absolutely.
Caryn Hartglass: It feels better for ourselves and you’re also making a positive difference for the planet, but number one it feels good when you’re doing the right thing.
Evita Ochel: Exactly and really in the end, it benefits you more than anything. If we don’t use as many chemicals in our home, yes it benefits the planet, but first and foremost it benefits you. It’s all those little things that when we start thinking, it’s not doing it for anybody else and why should you? It’s again because you can improve the quality of your health and life so much. Like you said, it feels really really good.
Caryn Hartglass: It feels really good, Evita thank you so much for joining me on It’s All About Food and for everything that you do.
Evita Ochel: You’re so very welcome Caryn. It’s been such a wonderful pleasure sharing and connecting with you.
Caryn Hartglass: I agree. Sometime perhaps we’ll meet in some physical space.
Evita Ochel: It would be wonderful.
Caryn Hartglass: Ok, take care.
Evita Ochel: Take care.
Caryn Hartglass: Well, that was good, evitaochel.com that’s where you’re going to get all of her good stuff. Let’s take a little break and then I want to share with you some interesting information on the event I just came back from at the UN. We’ll be back.
Transcribed by Meichin, 1/2/2015
TRANSCRIPTION PART II:
Caryn Hartglass: Hello everybody I’m Caryn Hartglass and we’re back for the second part of today’s show It’s All About Food here on October 14, 2014. So, I think I’ll tell you a little story. Once upon a time, actually once upon a yesterday morning, I was invited to what was billed as an exclusive breakfast with Kanayo Nwanze, who is the President of the UN Fund for Agricultural Development, and he was giving a presentation speaking about waking up the world to the severe consequences of what happens when people are hungry. That sounded like it was right up my alley so I was very delighted to go. I want to tell you what happened.
I knew it was a breakfast, and that was the first red alert for me so I’m thinking I wonder what these food-focused people are going to be serving for breakfast, and will their breakfast be a kind of a conscious breakfast or an unconscious breakfast. Do you know what I mean? Well, before I got there I had a little smug conversation with myself and I made sure that I brought my own tea made with my filtered and distilled water and my organic bulk blackberry tea and a little unsweetened organic soy milk and I carried it in a lovely little glass bottle with a rubber protective exterior. So I had my great tea and I brought a couple of organic pears with me. I was ready to go. When I got there, sure enough, what do you think they were serving for this exclusive breakfast? Well, we had coffee and tea, we had three kinds of cow milk, we had half and half, full fat milk and non-fat milk. There were a couple little bowls, one had every kind of sweetener imaginable, every kind of white powdered sweetener – Equal and Splenda and white sugar and there was Sugar in the Raw and did you know that sugar is the second most addictive substance next to cocaine? I just learned that. We’re going to be talking about that in a couple of weeks, but I want to get back to what I’m talking about. And then there was a little container with jellies in it, and it wasn’t a brand I was familiar with but the ingredients were, there was a little high fructose corn syrup in there – delightful – and then of course we had a selection of white flour bread foods – croissant, bagels – America’s favorite foods, but from my point of view, these are foods that are not only disease promoting, but they are also environmentally destructive. It just, I don’t know why I am always so surprised when I am going to an event with health experts or food experts and you get the same junk served, is that because that’s what we want to eat or is it because we don’t know any better? So I was a little frustrated there, but not surprised.
And then there were, this wasn’t a big event there was only about 10 of us, there were some people from the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg News, and the progressive radio network – me! And Kanayo Nwanze, who is the President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development, the acronym is IFAD, and you can find out more about them at www.IFAD.org. He is a lovely gentleman, charming and very articulate and shared lots of information and stories and some concerns. They do some really nice work there, where he was really clear to say that they don’t want to give subsidies to help people buying food. What they want to do is invest in people, they invest in farmers, they invest in farmers and their families – rural people. And he made it very clear that these people that they help primarily in Africa and other countries are not victims, they’re not looking for handouts, they’re looking to build their agricultural businesses. And this is great.
I really like that mission, but of course you know me, I always find something to be frustrated with and sure enough I was, so after we had a lovely presentation it was open to questions and my question was what kind of agriculture are you supporting? And then I clarified a little bit talking about here in the United States and in other countries we have made a lot of mistakes. We’ve made mistakes with pesticides and herbicides and genetically modified organisms and mono-cropping and growing foods for animals to feed people which is very inefficient and growing foods like wheat and sugar cane and sugar beets for sugar and corn for corn syrup in order to make processed foods and the result is we’re sick we have heart disease, diabetes and cancer, it’s expensive, we’re destroying the planet with these unsustainable methods of agriculture and I wanted him to know are these people going to learn from our mistakes? Are you supporting agriculture like organic agriculture? Are you using native, wild grasses and wild flowers like we learned a few weeks ago with Eric Mader using beneficial insects in order to balance the crop production so that pests don’t overtake the crops and you don’t have to dump toxic chemicals on your crops? Are you protecting the earth?
I didn’t really get a very good response. He wasn’t thinking the same way that I was. He shared some stories about people in China who are growing hundreds of thousands of chickens and how it’s a good thing and they’ve got a good business going. He was not focused on organic production; I think he’s just focused more on people growing food. And I can understand that, but there are opportunities here and there is a lot of funding that’s being used and why aren’t we doing the best that we possibly can? Is it because people don’t know what the best thing is, so they think they’re doing what’s best? I want to think that that’s what’s going on. But you have to understand that I’m extremely frustrated because why does history have to keep repeating itself? Why do we keep exporting bad ideas – you know what we’re talking about, we have India and China right now and as their economies grow, they’re eating more animals and more processed food and they’ve got diabetes. The numbers are hitting the roof. They’ve never had these health issues before. Do we want to trade poverty for bad health and a destroyed environment? You can imagine how frustrated I was.
Let’s see, what else. We talked about a number of things and one of the things you may have heard about with respect to Ebola is right now it’s primarily affecting three countries and it has the opportunity to affect other countries. One of the things he talked about is that the people in those three countries are not going to the fields to grow their food, and they do export food to other countries in the surrounding area. He said what we’re going to see is a food shortage, not just in those three countries that are impacted but all around those countries as well. And that’s a frightening thing. So as we always talk about how everything is connected, often times when countries are having food crisis, the United States and other countries will come in and provide subsidies, provide very low cost grains and things and often that puts the few farmers that are struggling to survive and grow food, it puts them out of business. They can’t compete with those cheap grains, those subsidized foods, and he made an important point that the consumers in those countries have to have a demand for wanting local farmers to produce their food. So we’re all kind of connected and we’re all responsible for everything that we want.
But I really like the concept of the IFAD of investing in rural people. You may visit their website at www.IFAD.org and see they’ve got hundreds of different products that they’re involved in, most of them are food related. He was talking about how some of these local farmers, for example he was just in California and he saw that somebody, what was the country he was from, well this one farmer had coffee beans in California. And that was a little flag for me too I mean it’s great that some of these small farmers can sell their products to other countries but is that really the way we want to go too? To have these poor folks sell coffee, sugar, tobacco, whatever – those commodity foods – sell them to the richer countries so that we can have our treats?
I just wish that there was a way to have a better plan in place so that the priority for everyone in every local region would be to grow nutritious food first for their people before they start growing and shipping out goodies for other richer places.
But he gave out some really fascinating numbers. He said that investing in agriculture is five times more productive than any other business at reducing poverty. And that’s really important. So what they’re doing, investing in rural farmers, really has a tremendous impact on poverty and it makes me think of the big corporations that are promoting genetically modified food, how they say it’s going to feed the world. Well it’s not going to feed the world. What will feed the world is investing in these farmers themselves so that they can grow their own food, whatever they want to grow, and make enough money to feed their families and send their children to school. Let’s see. That was my adventure.
I mentioned, it was really ironic that after leaving this food event I went back home and I took the subway. As I entered the subway, I saw three things in such close proximity to each other. There was a very frail man in frayed clothing. He had a cane. He had his hand out. He looked like he was blind or had a vision problem – I couldn’t really tell. Then right near by him were two young, vivacious women who were chatting together and they were standing behind a table of literature – Jehovah’s witnesses with the Awake magazine, you’ve seen that sometimes? And there were some headlines that said “What does the Bible teach us?” And behind them was someone sleeping on a bench and it looked like he could be parked there for quite a while, like a homeless person for example. And I just thought it was very odd to see this picture together. And when we talked about consciousness before, here are a couple people talking about doing good, what does the bible teach you, and yet there were two people in desperate need so close to them. But we are at this point in our consciousness because of everything going on around us, we either feel like there’s nothing we can do to help people that are just ten feet away from us. It’s fascinating to me.
The message that I got from the UN event yesterday, Kanayo Nwanze, what he said he wanted us to walk away with was to wake up the people. And we were just talking about consciousness. We need to all wake up a little and be aware of what’s around us. I didn’t eat my two organic pears that I brought with me to the lecture so I gave it to the guy who had his hand out. I hope that helped him. It’s really hard to know what to do. But being numb, I don’t think that’s a good thing. I think we should try and do as much as we can do. Even if it’s just looking in people’s eyes and giving them a little smile.
Well I just want you to digest that for a little while. I want to remind you of a few things. One is the video interview of Evita Ochel and myself on the home page of www.responsibleeatingandliving.com, it’s about 45 minutes and I enjoyed it, so if you watch it I hope you do too. I want to tell you next week we have Chef AJ and Maya Gupta. Chef AJ is a chef and culinary instructor. And Maya Gupta, I’ve been trying to get her on the program for a very long time and I think it’s really going to happen next week. She’s with the Animals and Society Institute and another thing I wanted to invite you too is a free event tomorrow evening with John and Ocean Robbins. It’s called ‘Healthy Kitchen Power Hour’. It’s free, again, but you have to sign up at www.healthy.foodrevolution.org. I’m working with them and kind of excited about this project. It’s at 5:30 Pacific Time and 8:30 Eastern Time tomorrow, Wednesday, October 15 at www.healthy.foodrevolution.org.
I want to thank you for listening today. I hope you’ve enjoyed it, I have. Remember, you can always send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I love to hear from you. Remember, have a delicious week, won’t you? Bye Bye!
Transcribed by Alyssa Moody 12/2/2014