San Ignacio, Belize
Today was a very relaxing day, I expected to go to a metaphysics class at 9AM but that was canceled at the last minute so I ended up spending the entire day at the lodge. It was a very foggy morning on the mountain, this was my view as I walked out of my cottage:
I enjoyed a breakfast burrito with (nitrate-free) bacon, eggs, beans, and a side of fruit. I decided to have a week of staff meals which are mostly all traditional Belizean meals so I can get a real feel for the culture. I will end this week with a Belizean purge(detox) to show the native ways to cleanse the body and continue from there with a Grassfed diet. I had managed to stay away from dairy my whole time at the lodge until this evening’s dinner. I am currently feeling the consequences.
After breakfast, I spend some time brainstorming with Angus on some app ideas and with Tim on some video editing.The current goal is to build a solid team to tackle different needs that will have to be met to ensure success. Things like video editing and programming are far out of my skill set so I am trying to find people I trust who are passionate in those areas to help others achieve their dreams while building Grassfed as a company. If everyone does what they love to do and we all work together, the possibilities are endless on how much we can achieve.
For lunch I had an awesome native meal: Beans, salad, chicken leg, and corn tortillas. I have never been a fan of beans (other than green beans) until this week at the lodge. The chefs know how to pair them perfectly to make them very enjoyable.
As new guests come to the lodge, they are greeted with a welcoming drink. Sometimes it is freshly squeezed Orange Juice, Smoothies, or another refreshing drink but today it was freshly blended Piña Colada, without alcohol of course(the lodge does not serve any alcohol). Being in the kitchen cutting up my pineapple, I was in the right place to get the leftovers from the blender. That was the first time I ever actually enjoyed a piña colada, it was a majority pineapple and less coconut than normal which was probably why I liked it so much.
Since there are not many lemons in Belize, I was advised to use limes as a substitute to boost my metabolism, alkalinity, and digestion. I walk right past a beautiful Jamaican Lime Tree on my way to the dining room and there was a big fat juicy one waiting for me to pick so I had to grab it. It was out of my reach so I had to go find a stick to pull the limb down to me but I eventually got it. After juicing it into a glass, I poured a little into a few glasses of water and chugged them. Just as I was making my last glass, Carlos(one of the workers) came up to deliver a message so I offered him the last serving. Upon asking what it is healthy for, I was able to teach him about the Alkaline balance that we should maintain in order to keep disease away. 80/20 is a good ratio to maintain(alkaline/acidic) in our diets. Some examples of these are:
Alkaline Foods: Lemons, Limes, Spinach & other greens, avocados, and nuts
Acidic Foods: Meats, Dairy, & most grains
I get an extreme pleasure from passing along such valuable information as this, these are things that everyone should know but few do due to the lack of information on health.
Dinner was also delicious(I haven’t had a bad meal yet): Chicken and Veggie Quesadilla with salad and homemade pico. Also in this picture is the book that I am currently reading, The Seven Keys to Color Healing by Roland Hunt. This goes in depth on the history and practices of Color Healing, using different lights to represent Chakras in relation to healing a plethora of diseases. To top off my dinner I had a superb desert: Organic Chocolate Brownie with Mennonite Ice Cream. My first bit of dairy (besides light cheese in Placencia) in a few weeks. I can feel the difference in my stomach already.
Today I did some research on the Chaya Garden Ashram, a yoga and healing center very close to the lodge that looks super interesting. My new friend Mary had mentioned that she was going to take me over there sometime this week, from their website it seems like it will be an awesome place to learn many different types of yoga and meditation. The areas of The Grassfed Way that I am lacking formal education in.
Tomorrow I travel to a farm on the outskirts of Belmopan(the capital) for a class on composting and organic farming tips. Nana, the owner of the farm works very closely with our organizations to help achieve clean food and education for Belizeans.
Stay tuned for more blogs and within the next few days we should have our first YouTube video up.
San Ignacio, Belize
Every day is a blessing, waking up and doing what I love only makes it better. I love the work I am doing so it does not even feel like work, simply carrying out actions to better myself and those around me.
Today started with meeting a few incredible people. Before that, I had a traditional Mayan breakfast: Eggs with greens, beans, and corn tortillas.
The Tea of the day was ginger tea, one of my favorites. When cooked or dried, ginger releases a chemical called 6-shogaol that is proven to kill cancer cells at a rate 10,000x more effectively than chemotherapy. (http://www.naturalnews.com/052009_ginger_chemotherapy_cancer_treatment.html) More info on that coming soon!
First, Mary from Pro-Organic Belize met me at the lodge at 10 AM and we started walking towards San Ignacio. As we ventured towards the road she mentioned that a shuttle would probably pass by so we could hop in, but something even better happened. Her friend David drove by right as we turned the corner. This is just another example of the general friendliness that fills the Belizean air. We were headed into town to meet with her friend Kathryn.
Next, Kathryn (founding member of Kathryn’s Natural Healing: http://bit.ly/kathrynsnaturalhealing ). Kathryn is like a walking encyclopedia, if there is any information on a type of alternative healing, she is the person to ask. Even if she does not know the specific type of healing firsthand, she will know who to go to or have an article for you to read about it. Check out her facebook group, it is a fantastic source of information for alternative healing techniques and natural remedies from crystal healing to essential oils.
It is such an amazing feeling to be surrounded by like-minded people who have a common goal: Wellness and Natural Healing. Never in my life have I had such a feeling of accomplishment, not for a specific event but simply that I am following my dreams and continuing to live a life that makes me satisfied with every breath I breathe.
After meeting with Mary and Kathryn, I was waiting for the bus to take me back to the lodge so I dove into a small cafe: Mayaland. Run by a mother and daughter, Mary recommended them for their awesome veggie pasta. As a lasagna lover, I had to try the veggie lasagna and I was blown away with how good it was. Stuffed with tofu (which I prefer to avoid but it was good in this) and mushrooms, this was something that I had never had before but would definitely order again.As well as lunch, I was also able to get some all natural Mayan soaps made out of coconut oil and olive oil. Lunch and 4 bars of soap for just $6.50 US. Gotta stay Grassfed.
With a full belly, I walked across the street to San Ignacio Market to get some fruit for the evening. Only spending $6.50 US here as well, I got a bag of Cacao beans, A 10lb watermelon, and a pineapple. My favorite part of Belize is the cheap prices due to the surplus and ease of accessibility for produce.
So for just $13 US, I got: Lunch, 4 bars of soap, a pineapple, 10lb watermelon, and a bag of cacao beans. Not half bad if you ask me!
With my hands full of bags I headed to the bus. An old school bus had been turned into the connector between San Ignacio and San Antonio village, the true Belizean experience. As we got closer to the lodge I paid my $0.25 US and hopped off at my destination.
The rest of the day I spent working on Grassfed Media stuff, Tim is editing some videos and getting them ready to post, the YouTube channel will be booming in the next few months, my goal is to have 100 subscribers by January 1st. Make sure to check it out through the link at the top of our website www.wearegrassfed.com.
The ultimate Belizean issue, what’s for dinner?
Tonight I had red snapper topped with tomatoes and onions, served with potatoes and squash. The chefs here at Maya Mountain do a fantastic job of making meals that are both healthy and delicious. I finished my meal off with a big plate of watermelon and pineapple.
Today was another incredible day, tomorrow the plan is to spend the morning at the Ashram in a metaphysics class then work on some co-op organizational stuff. I hope to learn more and more every day that I am here.
San Ignacio, Belize
My first full day at the lodge started very similar to the past few..breakfast with my Mom, Dave, Aunt Birdie, and Jeanne. We enjoyed an awesome breakfast of “Suzi omelets”(named after the owner’s wife because that is how she makes them for him, packed with veggies and without cheese) with fruit, toast, and the best homemade mango jam I have ever had. This breakfast was a little different than the others because it was our last together before they head back to Placencia..that bitter-sweet moment when the Momma’s boy isn’t going to see his mom for a few months so he gets a little sad while he fights back tears(If I cry of course she will and that can’t happen).
After breakfast, we said our goodbyes and I headed to get ready for my first day of work. I was beyond excited to get right to work and meet the people that I would be working with, as I got down to the office I got a call from Bart(owner/mentor) saying that he wouldn’t be able to make it in today due to poor health. This being said I was a little bummed but he set me up with a project: Figuring out what types of organic produce we can get in the Cayo District(Districts are like American states), categorizing them and explaining the health benefits of each. This may not sound like fun but for me, it is the same type of work I have been doing on my own for the past few months so I was pumped. Along with being assigned this project, he informed me that we had a conference call with the leader of Pro-Organic Belize at 3 PM.
San Ignacio is home to one of the biggest markets in Belize, every Saturday vendors bring in everything from fresh fish & handmade blankets to the most exotic types of fruits the country has to offer. I was informed that I will be front and center at the market every Saturday to spread the word about the Co-op, a system where people can register for weekly shares of organic produce from a guaranteed clean source. We will receive large amounts of fresh organic fruits and vegetables every week and split them into portions fit for each family that registers. Even for you guys who are in the States, check out www.localharvest.com to find a CSA(Community Supported Agriculture) Co-op near you.
I am a huge fan of hot tea, today I tried a new kind called Strawberry Ceylon Tea. The aroma that poured out of the cup was like a big bowl of Strawberries, not to mention the awesome taste.
After getting my work done for the day, I went for a run in the neighboring One World Eco Village. This is Bart’s retirement project that is next door to the lodge. I was amazed by the beauty and serenity of the deep rainforest, especially all by myself. I ventured pretty deep into the jungle before I decided to come back. I will be going back tomorrow morning to take pictures and go even deeper. Hopefully I write another blog after this, if not I was eaten by a Jaguar.
After my run I was served an awesome dinner, I had failed to mention to the staff that I am leaning towards plant-based meals so waiting for me was a chicken kabob, Lebanese sweet rice, hummus, zucchini, and pita bread. My phone had died on my run so I was unable to get a picture but the meal was incredible. The thing about meals at Maya Mountain is that even if they have meat, there are more veggies on the plate than meat and it is all clean food. Free-range chickens and organic produce with Himalayan Sea Salt and Crushed Black Pepper.
It was a cool occurrence this evening at dinner because there were four of us guys all sitting along at our respective tables not saying a single word until I brought us all together through conversation. A simple, “Hey where are you from” turned the quiet dinner room into an awesome conversation-filled evening of people from 4 different places all conversing with one another. That is all it takes to meet completely new people that you otherwise would’ve never known to exist.
With one full day of working in the books, I am so excited about tomorrow that I should’ve already been asleep but as my mom used to say before we would go on vacation, “I’M TOO EXCITED TO SLEEP.” This is one of the many joys of doing what you love, Dave(my step-dad) refers to these in his book as “energy building activities” where you enjoy what you are doing so much that it literally creates energy within you. Check out his book on amazon: http://bit.ly/controlyourcareer
Tomorrow is a new day, an opportunity to learn and grow. An opportunity to change someone’s life and maybe even to change the world. That decision is up to you, be the best person you can be and the day after be even better.
Today is the day. The day that it all pays off. I have officially arrived at my internship in San Ignacio, Belize. From the day I quit going to my college classes, I felt that I had to prove that Grassfed was something that would be something more than a vision on a piece of paper above my bedroom door (That is what it started out as). Today I took my first step in making it a reality.
After an awesome sunset cruise last night (yes I skipped a day of blogging) I spent one last night at the house in Placencia before waking up and heading to San Ignacio. Our morning hit a slight roadblock when our rental car did not arrive until an hour past expected, last night’s storm knocked out part of the rental service’s roof. After finally getting on the road we were headed west towards Guatemala, stopping just short in the beautiful twin cities of Santa Elena/ San Ignacio.
Upon arrival I was blessed with the fantastic news that I was upgraded from a bed in the bunkhouse to a cottage of my own. A full bathroom, my own palapa with a hammock, and the most secluded part of Maya Mountain Eco Lodge with a beautiful overlook of the jungle and pool. This was a huge surprise to me as I expected to be living out of a suitcase for three months in a small bunkroom on a tiny mattress. I was able to unpack all of my clothes into a dresser, hang up what I needed, and make myself at home.
I thought life was good before, but I am officially an intern working with some of the most influential Organic advocates in Belize. Something that I would not have dreamed in a million years. I will say it again. LIFE IS GOOD. I have successfully obtained a position that most look for after their first few years of college, and I have done it through self-education. I will continue to spread the awareness that it does not take a college degree to get things done, there is a plethora of information (CREDIBLE information) out there that can be learned through independent research that will set you apart from others. Self-education allows you to dig as deep as you want into the subjects that you want to learn while bypassing the boring classes that make you lose interest in education as a whole.
I am not telling you college students to stop going to class and dropout, simply to follow your dreams and start researching into the possibilities of doing exactly what you want to do. There is always something that you can do to support your passion, whether you love to play Pokémon or paint pictures. DO WHAT YOU LOVE, and the money will follow.
I have decided to start waking up at 5 AM and getting a morning routine going. Meditation, Running, Yoga, and dedicated time to push Grassfed to the next level. I believe that in the next few months I can make these things a habit that will progress me not only as a person, but as the face of Grassfed. I will be laying out the specifics of The Grassfed Way through this blog and my YouTube Channel: Grassfed Health.
Everyone has certain dietary restrictions that they would like to meet, the following are the guidelines that I will meet as part of MY Grassfed Way: Whole Foods, Organic, GMO-free, Dairy-free, Soy-free, Gluten-free, Canola-free, as raw as possible, and the addition of as many superfoods as possible. I have been debating on whether I want to go vegan, but am not sure if I am ever going to go down that path again (I maintained a strict vegan diet this time last year for about 3 months). I am very happy with being “Grassfed”, knowing what I am eating and understanding the consequences of my actions in relation to food choices while staying away from as many animal products as possible. I do not like to be one of those vegans who ends up eating some sort of animal products and follows it up by a series of excuses unto why I ate it. If I want to eat something, I am going to eat it. The Grassfed Way is not about restricting yourself, it is about educating yourself and knowing what is going inside your body and how it will not only affect you but the universe as a whole. Sustainable food choices along with remaining happy and eating good food.
Thank you for joining me on this adventure and I encourage you to subscribe to this blog to follow me along my journey in advocating organic foods and educating the people of Belize.
As usual the morning started on the palapa, time with family that I will cherish forever. The only thing that was missing was my Kombucha so I had to head into town and get another bottle, a wine bottle full of the ginger probiotic drink for just $9 US. We usually take a pontoon boat across the canal to walk into town but I usually just take a little boat and paddle over so Edwin(the caretaker) doesn’t have to take me over. Also this week we have rented a golf cart so I took that into town rather than walking.
First Stop: Above Grounds
The Starbucks of the Peninsula, where most of the ex-pat business owners go to have their morning coffee and bagels. They also have a great selection of fresh fruit juices and local jams. My personal favorite thing to get here is a glass of beet juice followed by a glass of watermelon juice. They also serve green, pineapple, orange and many more juices.
Stop 2: Brewed Awakenings
My favorite place of all: Brewed Awakenings serves smoothies, coffee, kombucha, and some of the best quick breakfast options. I knew I was going to get another bottle of Kombucha but wanted something to drink on the way back to the house, Seaweed Sunrise it was. Packed with pineapple, seaweed, coconut milk, and much needed TLC from the awesome ladies that work in there..this is a must try. As I ordered I overheard an older man saying that he was from Florida and down here to avoid Hurricane Matthew. Throughout our conversation of course The Grassfed Way comes up..as people ask what I am doing here the conversation automatically leads to me explaining my story and philosophy. I find it very interesting that most older people believe that we cannot change the world. He expressed his opinion on how hard my journey will be and could not quite grasp that I did not care how hard it would be. I WILL change the world and the absurdly ridiculous health paradigm of the modern world. My goal is to hear out all of the opinions I can to get an idea of what I have in store ahead of me. Our conversation ended in him and his wife wishing me the best of luck but did not seem to truly accept that fact that we can do something huge.
Stop 3: Ming’s Superstore
One of the more upsetting realities of most of Belize is the Chinese takeover of the grocery stores. There are very few Belizean owned grocery stores left in the country. These big supermarts are similar to the Walmart situation in the US, buy 100x more than the local stores can afford at a much cheaper price to undercut them and drive them out of business. It is really upsetting. This being said, for most of your basic supplies you head to the supermart to get what you need. I just needed some baking soda to do laundry with so this was a short trip, in and out in just a few seconds. You can definitely tell which products are imported and which are made here in Belize because the imported products have crazy prices like $8US for Kraft Parmesan Cheese.
After getting home and doing laundry, we wanted to head to the beach to get some lunch and swim for a bit.
Stop 4: Tipsy Tuna
Yes Uncle Floyd came along too!
Filled with hand-painted signs with funny sayings and an amazing view of the beach, Tipsy Tuna is a really good place to go have good food and go straight into the water afterwards(Don’t tell on us…we did not wait 30 minutes). Tostadas, Conch Tacos, & Tuna Subs were for lunch today..all delicious. A pleasant surprise, Our waitress had waited on us a few weeks ago in Spanish Lookout(3 hours away) at a small hole in the wall. She mentioned that she recognized me for my interest in fruit juice..she introduced me to the wonders of mango juice. The small town atmosphere fills this whole country, just another joy of Belize! Not to mention the fresh watermelon juice with a view like this!!
After getting full, swimming, and soaking up our daily dose of Vitamin D, we headed back to the house to end the evening. After watching the sunset and visiting with the family we decided to watch a movie: The Free State of Jones.
Matthew McConaughey may have played the role of his career in this movie, an instant thriller from beginning to end. Based on a militia of deserted confederate soldiers and escaped slaves fighting for their freedom, this film shows many aspects of the Civil War that we did not learn in history class. For instance, after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed..Plantation owners had “Apprentice Programs” where they were still keeping slaves but instead of saying they were slaves they were referred to as “Apprentices”. McConaughey plays a deserted Confederate nurse that builds up his own army to fight for what they believe in: The Free State of Jones.
Another awesome day in paradise, only one more full day in Placencia before I head to San Ignacio to start my internship. I am so excited.