Monday, January 18, 2010

the thing is...

...I hate suffering and discrimination. It hurts me. It saddens me. I cant watch the news about the devastation of the 7.0 magnitude earthquake in Haiti. I don't want to see anymore death and destruction, I've seen too much as it is. For the past 8 years all we hear about on the news is war, death, suicide bombings, child abductions, murder, hatred, suffering and discrimination.


I can't help but to think about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr today. The man was assassinated for speaking out for what he believes in. Yes, he mainly fought for equality for the African American minority, but he also fought for the equality of all.

"that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!".

The speech he is most well known for is the "I Have A Dream" speech. I've included a link to it. Please take some time to watch it.

While I was watching it again today, I noticed something. Throughout the speech, he looks down at his notes except during the "I Have A Dream" part. That part seemed to be ad lib and spontaneous. He never glanced at his notes, he spoke from the heart and he was sincere. The man truly had a dream, a vision, that one day ALL people would have the same rights and equalities.

There is one part in the speech that always gets me choked it is

"I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character".

The content of their character.

That reminds me of how far we have come and how far we have yet to go. See, when you die, the content of your character is what people will remember the most. Your reputation, your integrity.....the content of your character.

Hatred, bigotry and discrimination have no place in my life. I was exposed to many different lifestyles, religious beliefs and cultures during my childhood.
I grew up in a racially diverse neighborhood.
I Had black friends, Mexican friends, Asian friends and gay friends.
We all had a great time together and it really didn't occur to me that we were all different.

I guess we all judged each other by the content of our character.

Just a few days ago, Teddy Pendergrass died. This song seems appropriate. Take a listen.

The world will get no better if we just let it be....

Saturday, January 9, 2010

the thing is...

I'm not a big fan of New Year's resolutions. They're silly. Besides, you probably have already broken yours. I strongly believe that if you need to make a change in your life, a date on the calendar wont help you. That change needs to come from within, on your terms, when you feel its appropriate, no matter what the date. Coincidentally, I made a serious change in my eating habits exactly 4 years ago. I cut out High Fructose Corn Syrup from my diet. Not my family's diet, just mine. I had to do it for myself. I became exactly what I despise in people....a hypocrite. See, I was working as the chef at Paragary's Bar and Oven, educating the front and back of house staff about organically grown produce, sustainable farming practices, meat raised without growth hormones or antibiotics, in essence, a healthier lifestyle. But on my way home from work EVERYDAY, I would stop at my favorite fast food restaurant and load up on burgers, tacos, sodas, etc. I would feel so guilty, that I ate everything before I got home and discard the trash elsewhere in order to hide my addiction.

Yes, addiction.

HFCS does that to you, it tricks your brain into thinking your not full, so you eat and drink more.

You crave it.

You need it.

You'll lie and sneak around to get it.

You'll beg your friends to get it for you.

It's the worst drug of all, and it is EVERYWHERE! Try buying a loaf of bread in the grocery store without HFCS. You know that box of granola bars? That yogurt? That box of "healthy" cereal? That gallon of O.J. in your fridge? All of those healthy items contain the poison known as HFCS.

Ever wonder why our nation has the highest rate of child obesity in the world?
Look no further than

H I G H F R U C T O S E C O R N S Y R U P ! ! !

So, that is where I started. I cut out HFCS from my diet. Gradually, it would diminish from the shelves of my pantry, and subsequently, from my family's diet. My main goal was to get rid of HFCS, not sugar. If an item had sugar in it, fine, at least it didn't have HFCS. Did you know that in one year's time, you will lose 10 lbs. just by omitting soda from your diet? That's it, just stop drinking soda, yes even diet soda, and BOOM 10 lbs lost! What's even better, substitute water for the soda you drink and lose even more weight!

It gradually progressed from one end of the spectrum to the other. From processed foods to foods raised or grown naturally, locally and organically. We have been eating 100% organic food at home for the past year now. All produce, meats, dairy etc....everything...100% organic. I cant begin to tell you how much better we feel. We have more energy, we naturally lost weight, my blood pressure went down, we laugh more and argue less, since eating organically requires you to cook, we spend more quality time at the dinner table together, the food tastes way better than non-organic food, grades have improved and my kids actually prefer organic food over processed foods.

So if you resolve to do anything this year, to make any changes at all, take baby steps and set your goals to eat organic food. It's food to live by.

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

the thing is...

I'm old.
Yes, I am.

Not in mind or spirit, and not relatively speaking.

I'm old in the sense that I am banged up, bruised, wounded, scarred and broken. You see, Im a 39 year old chef, that's old in restaurant years. Ive been working in restaurants since I was 16, and I've never held any other job. I've been pounding the quarry tile and have slaved amongst raging fires and sharp blades for a long time; that's what makes me old. Because of this business, I have aged faster than you. I have more grey hair than most 39 year olds, especially in my beard. I have bad knees. When I squat, I have to pull myself back up and every time. It feels like this could be the time my knee finally blows out. I have a bad back. It's always sore and needing of a massage. It takes 20 minutes of stretching just to get out of bed. I get up way before the sun rises to go for a 2.5 mile walk, just like the old men I see on the way, to loosen up. I need to lie flat on the floor, at least once a day to relieve the pain , and usually it's in the banquet room at Esquire Grill. I have chronic pain and soreness in all my joints, just like you see in the commercials for old men. If I'm using my knife for an extended period of time, I have to stop and massage my hand and elbow joint. I cant grip with my hands. I need help opening jars, just like your grandmother does. The repetitive use of tongs all night turns my hands to unusable stumps by the end of service. My hearing has deteriorated over the years, probably due to the constant roar of the ventilation hoods I work under 11 hours a day. I have never in my life smoked a cigarette, never even held one in my hand, though I bet I inhale more toxic, carcinogenic carbon than your "pack-a-day" guy from the magma-hot mesquite I sweat over night after night. My feet? Always one step away from agonizing cramps, cramps that interrupt my REM sleep in the middle of the night while trying to squeeze in 5-6 hours before I return to work. My hands are worn with callouses, the hair is singed from open flame, skin is scarred from deep cuts requiring stitches and burns from hot splattering oil. My knuckles are arthritic and swollen, just like old man hands.

I'm old.
Told you so...

Monday, November 30, 2009

the thing is...

my kids don't need to see this crap!
There we were, just sitting around the couch after dinner, tv on a local station, (we weren't watching anything in particular the tv just happened to be on), kids about doing their thing and WHAMMO! OUT OF THE BLUE!, Tweens! their underwear!.....dry humping!....on the tv screen! She in a dark blue bra and low-cut panties, legs wrapped around a handsome square jawed, GQ, Preppy type with ripped, 6-pack abs....moaning! ecstasy! Seriously?
I couldn't find the remote quick enough to turn it off before the scene ended. My daughter goes " Whoa! what are they doing?" She didn't need to see that! This was on a Network channel!...during Primetime! When families are usually in the living room!
My jaw dropped to the ground, I look over at Nanci and her eyes were as big as softballs.

"Unbelievable" we said to each other.

How and when did television get so PG-13? and Why? Then I remembered a comment made to me by an old childhood friend I am fortunate enough to reconnect with via Facebook. He posted this comment: " I turn my tv ON when I want to turn my brain OFF" then a few weeks later I made a comment on facebook that I was tired of turning the tv on only to hear about horrible things going on in our world. He responded saying "where you go wrong is to turn that thing on at all, my brother. turn off the streaming corporate propaganda that lies to your children and teaches them to forever want more."
It got me know he's right! My children cant benefit from anything on tv, not the news, not primetime television, not the commercials that teach them to forever want more, not the cartoons that are WAY too violent for them, nothing.

This made me re-think something I have been against for a very long time, video games. I have never been a fan of video games, (wasn't a "gamer" when I was a kid) I vowed they would never enter my home and my kids would never be allowed to have one. I figured they would get enough of it elsewhere, I didn't need to be the one to give it to them.

My kids have played with a Wii, and I will admit it is pretty fun, G-rated fun as a matter of fact, whole family fun, no-need-to-worry-about-half-naked-twentysomethings-interrupting-my-family-night-fun. Besides, my son loves to kick my butt in dodgeball....of course I let him win!
So guess what kids! you're getting a Wii for Christmas! So I can control what you play and see and not the 'streaming corporate propaganda'

What else am I to do with a 50 inch LCD screen now that we don't watch tv?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

the thing is...

Show me one person that NEEDS healthcare, DOESN'T HAVE healthcare and DOESN'T WANT healthcare.