A Liquor Love Story: Humanity’s Relationship with Alcohol

sustainability.safety.happy.drinks.alcohol.newyear.love.give.care.saynotofoodwaste.food.foodwaste.sustainability.happy2With all the celebratory drinking going on over the holidays, it’s interesting to consider how and why people began consuming alcohol. After all, alcohol is a toxin, as anyone who has ever had a hangover can attest – so, what motivated humans to ingest, much less deliberately manufacture it?

Evolutionary biologist Matthew Carrigan has found the answer 10 million years in the past, before ‘humans’ had even been evolved. As their forest habitats were being affected by climate changes, animals began eating fallen fruit off the forest floor. To safely eat fermented fruit and use its sugars, vitamins, and proteins for energy, animals developed enzymes to break down the alcohol’s calories. By 10,000 BC, humans – the evolutionary descendants of these animals – had started fermenting beverages for themselves, unknowingly relying on the enzyme ADH4 to allow them to drink.

Over time, alcoholic beverages became appreciated throughout the world for a wide variety of uses in addition to pleasure. Firstly, they were actually a far safer means of quenching thirst than water, since water was unfiltered and lacked alcohol’s microorganism-killing antioxidants.

High levels of protein, fat, carbohydrates, and vitamins also made alcoholic beverages valuable nutritional supplements, and their medicinal and therapeutic uses trace as far back as Sumer, 2000 BC. Ancient Egyptians revered Osiris for bestowing the world with wine and beer (which was considered a life necessity), included alcohol in their offerings to gods, and stored drinks in tombs to be enjoyed in the afterlife. In ancient China, “alcohol was considered a spiritual (mental) food rather than a material (physical) food” (Hanson); drinking took place during memorials, ceremonies, and celebrations and before battles and even executions. Alcohol was embraced for practical, pleasurable, and ritual purposes worldwide.

sustainability.safety.happy.drinks.alcohol.newyear.love.give.care.saynotofoodwaste.food.foodwaste.sustainability.happy1Even though alcohol was prominent in all early cultures, drinking in moderation seems to have always been the norm. The adverse effects of drunkenness were recognized as shameful, if not dangerous, and alcohol was considered too precious to be irreverently imbibed in excess. Given how widespread drinking and intoxication is today, one might be tempted to say that those principles were lost to history – but that really doesn’t seem to be the case. Fact is, whenever drunkenness is seen in the media, be it in fiction or the news, it’s portrayed as something to be ridiculed, pitied, or learned from.

Modern society still values moderation, but we focus on the consequences of inebriation rather than the ‘preciousness’ of alcohol. Instead of being told to cherish drinks as holy gifts, we get reminded that the penalties of getting drunk range from making a regrettable decision to ending up in the hospital. We also have more sympathy for alcoholics, though, recognizing them as sufferers of a disease rather than vile sinners. Today’s variety and availability of alcohol has developed with an important understanding of how to take advantage of it responsibly.

So, drink up! Or don’t! There is neither shame in sobriety nor in controlled drinking. If you take advantage of those prehistoric enzymes and the delicious beverages that have been perfected over the course of history, just don’t take it too far. Alcohol is a toxin, but it’s a very enjoyable one in the right quantities.

Wishing everyone a wonderful New Year, regardless of whether or not you’re guzzling champagne,



‘80 drinks’ graphic credit: wineinvestment.com, Joe Shervell

Barclay, Eliza – Our Ability To Digest Alcohol May Have Been Key To Our Survival

Hanson, David J. – History of Alcohol and Drinking Around the World

Maynard, Lynnsay (NPR) – What Would Jesus Drink? A Class Exploring Ancient Wines Asks

Disco Soupe DC – Success!

saynotofoodwaste.discosoupe.nowaste.sustainability.happy.love.life.oneworld.tristram.feeding5k.grow620 pounds of food from Mexican Fruits and MOM’s  was to be thrown away. That was until Say No To Food Waste stepped in and decided to find a better home for these produce – in the hands of clients who are homeless and hungry. To celebrate this, we invited volunteers to help us chop and bag the produce for clients of two local non-profits, Bread for the City and Food Not Bombs.

About 60 volunteers, local musicians and poets came together. Our volunteers were from all backgrounds, races and religions. Some were in the corporate sectors, others in the non-profit, and a few, were still studying. There were also those who were looking for jobs, and this platform proved to be the perfect place to network!

But beside the success of doing good, feeding those who are hungry, and saving the planet’s resources, many volunteers were moved by the atmosphere that surrounded them. A feeling of community, sharing our talents and strengths to achieve one common goal- a better world.

Yes, it is difficult to achieve. And yes, people think you are overly naive or crazy to even think such a utopian world exists. For those who think that, I hope you come to our next Disco Soupe DC, because you will find yourself with a new feeling. One of hope and possibility. And even if it lasts for a few hours, being in that moment opens doors to unlimited possibilities. A world of magic.

saynotofoodwaste.discosoupe.nowaste.sustainability.happy.love.life.oneworld.tristram.feeding5k.grow2I want to express my deep gratitude and thanks to all the organizations and artists that came to the event: The Sanctuaries, DC Timebank, Get Lucid!, and Basswood, To National Geographic for being there to film the evening and help push this taboo topic into the mainstream. And of course, my dear friend Tristram, of Feeding 5k, for taking time from his busy schedule to join the event. He said this was the best Disco Soupe he’s been to, and I couldn’t ask for a better reward!!

Organizing such events isn’t easy, but they are worth all the time that goes into them. I’m thrilled to see the community of #foodwaste conscious individuals grow in the DC area. Let’s get the word out to even more people, let’s have Disco Soupes every month or every week, until they’re no longer needed!

Thank you to all who took part! You are amazing!

With much love and many hugs!

Disco Soupe is the answer

forest.saynotofoodwaste.outdoor.happy.food.nofoodwaste.organic.community.together.I have some good news – there is a solution! But there’s also bad news – we got an obesity problem that keeps getting worse.

A recent BBC article stated that the number of obese individuals has surpassed 2.1 billion. That’s more than individuals facing hunger! Sadly, new research shows that: “Not only is obesity increasing, but no national success stories have been reported in the past 33 years. Urgent global action and leadership is needed to help countries to more effectively intervene.”

Seems that the world around is truly becoming one of, haves and have nots. Unfortunately, finding a solution to both problems is difficult, but not impossible. We just need stronger communities. Ones in which individuals don’t shy away from getting together with friends, and find in-person interaction more rewarding than text or Facebook messaging. Or, as the new ad on the left shows (spotted by me yesterday), a world where kids prefer their friends rather than their TVs.

discosoupe.saynotofoodwaste.organic.sustainable.healthy.happy.communitySo regarding the good news, I have a solution! More Disco Soupes DC! Yes, an event that not only helps address the have and have nots issue, an event that not only links surplus food from supermarkets to people in need, but one that makes getting together fun!

With only a small 3 hour commitment, with live local music and upbeat environment, this is the solution to the obesity problem (ok, one of the solutions)! Healthy food, a fun atmosphere, a feeling of belonging and making a difference! What can be better? I’m not sure, you tell me.

But to make this a reality for all, we need more individuals talking about such grassroots initiatives. Too many times I witnessed brilliant ideas get overlooked because they didn’t come from a famous or popular source. So my challenge to you, dear reader, is to help find amazing local organizations, companies and events that help address vital issues locally and globally, and support them! Join them, spread their message and help build a better world!

Yes, you! You can help create a better world. Just give it a try. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is. =)

With much love!

What a waste

saynotofoodwaste.food.health.sustainability.happy.growth.love.earthThe past 5 weekends Say No To Food Waste helped recover 692 pounds = 314 kilos of surplus food from a local organic supermarket and donate it to those in need. This is a rewarding feeling, especially since agriculture is responsible for 70% of water use and 80% of deforestation. In addition to that, so many natural resources are preserved and greenhouse gases are avoided by having this food feed people and not landfills.

But for many, working in food recovery is synonymous with working with trash. Although there is a huge difference between the two, lots of people choose to avoid such work and refuse to talk about it. This fact always left me in wonder because trash and food waste is generated by people. Especially those who are wealthy, well dressed and work in shiny offices. And if one group of people is an expert in buying, consuming and wasting, shouldn’t that be balanced with a group of people who are becoming good at doing something with this waste so that it doesn’t build up and swallow us whole?

Screen shot 2014-04-09 at 3.16.18 PMBalance is something we as a civilization have found hard to achieve. All of us want something, and that is fine. What isn’t fine is when we tell people that certain jobs are more prestigious than others. That certain people have more rights than others because they dress, talk or look a certain way. That someone’s well paying job is more important than yours, even if that’s untrue in many ways.

What I want to focus on is finding a way to tell the story of people who have been marginalized, ignored and written off by society because their work seems unimportant. It seems not prestigious enough to make front news papers, but it is so vital and important for our day to day lives. This beautiful commercial by a Thai insurance company helps tell the story of individuals who have nothing, but give their everything and make the world a better place. Do you have any other ideas of how to tell the story of these individuals? If so, please comment or send me an e-mail, I’d love to hear it!

Take care of yourselves and thank you for being you!

Veggies prolong life

saynotofoodwaste.diet.healthy.sustainable.vegetables.fruits.life.love.nohunger.saynotofoodwaste.A new study in the BMJ journal demonstrated a strong correlation between consumption of fruits and vegetables and a reduced risk of mortality. The researchers followed the lives of 65,000 Brits in the span of 7.5 years. They noticed that increased consumption of these colorful and vitamin packed foods greatly reduced the risk of death.

Those who consumed seven servings of fruits and veggies saw their risk of death from any cause decrease by 42%. The cause of dying from cancer was reduced by 25% and heart disease by 31%. Those who consumed less than seven servings were still experiencing better results than those consuming no vegetables or fruits.

Below are benefits one can expect:
1-3 servings per day: 14% reduced mortality risk
3-5 servings per day: 29% reduced mortality risk
5-7 servings per day: 35% reduced mortality risk

The most incredible part is that these findings held strong even when data was adjusted to reflect factors such as age, smoking, alcohol intake, socioeconomic status, Body Mass Index, education, and physical activity. With further analysis, researchers found that for every additional serving of vegetable we consume, our mortality risk is reduced by 16%, as opposed to 10% with fruit.

The take home message is: eat more vegetables and fruits everyday and you will surely live a long and a happy life! Even if you have some vices. =)

Wishing you all lots of colorful eating!

462 pounds of food

food.recovery.foodwaste.help.hunger.saynotofoodwasteDear Readers,

First of all – THANK YOU! There are 100 amazing souls following this blog, which shows me that there are many people who are aware of the terrible effects food waste has on our planet, and these people are eager to help stop this problem.

When I hear scientists talk about how our world is falling apart due to climate change, I can’t help but fear for our future. The recent report by the IPCC hasn’t helped ease my worries, if anything it made it worse. But coming back to this website and seeing all of you makes me feel that we can make a difference, and we will!

Say No To Food Waste is doing it’s part in solving this issue. Today I wanted to share some images and figures with you. In the past 4 weekends this organization has saved 462 pounds = 210 kilograms of food from the landfill. Instead, this food went towards charities that help feed people in hunger and in need.

As this system expands, I can’t wait to see and meet many of you in real life. Possibly hear from you and your interest in helping volunteer to recover this food.

Cheers to all!

Earth Hour

earthhour.climatechange.energy.sustainable.community.global.happy.change.lightsout.alltogether.happyToday, the entire world will come together and celebrate our planet!
The Earth Hour movement, which is supported by WWF, started in Sydney, Australia in 2007. Since then, more than 7,000 cities around the world joined in.

This event helps us realize that our planet has no boundaries, no religions, and no separations. It is a breathing ecosystem, and we are all a part of it.

What a wonderful message to remember!

To join this movement, all you have to do is turn off your lights at 8:30PM!
I’ll be sharing pictures of this on our Facebook/Twitter accounts.
So join in and tweet with us for #EarthHour day!

Much love!