Libraries, Archives & Museums to Host Gothic Handwriting Workshops

The Division of Libraries, Archives & Museums (DLAM) is hosting a USVI/DK Archives Joint Centennial Project through a collaboration with…

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Three events are slated for the opening of the school year – V.I. Fathers Back to School Barbecue and Fun Day on Saturday, Aug. 27; the Back to School Days of Prayer on Saturday , Sept. 3, and Sunday, Sept. 4; and the V.I. Fathers March on Sept. 6, the first day of school for public schools in the territory. Organizers are encouraging fathers to take their children back to school starting on the first day.

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St. Thomas-St. John District Schools to Dismiss Early on Thursday, Jan. 26

There will be an early dismissal of all public schools on Thursday, Jan. 26. Dismissals will take place three hours before normal release times and are necessary to accommodate monthly job-embedded professional development for teachers.

2017-01-21 18:56:20
Beach Advisory for January 17-20

The Department of Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR) announces that the Beach Water Quality Monitoring Program, which evaluates weekly water quality at popular swimming beaches throughout the territory by sampling for enterococci bacteria and turbidity, which is a measure of water clarity, advises the public of the following:

2017-01-20 20:20:22
St. Thomas Starring in Upcoming HGTV Show

Two upcoming January episodes of the popular HGTV series “Beachfront Bargain Hunt” are expected to feature St. Thomas and several local professionals.

2017-01-20 18:28:46
Commentary — St. Thomas
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Voracious Vegetarian: Food: The Final Frontier

From the time I was 5 years old when we moved off our farm back to the city, I “lived” on a steady diet of Oreos, Coca-Cola, bologna sandwiches on Wonder Bread and Campbell’s tomato soup – in which I gleefully dipped my toxic sandwich. A gourmet meal in our house in the late 1950s was dry, oven-baked chicken, canned peas and instant whipped potatoes.

We had soda, canned potato chips and Charles Chocolate Chip cookies delivered once a week, along with the family ration of beer.

Today I am able to call myself a raw foodist, defining that as at least 70 percent raw. But that doesn’t mean I live on lettuce and carrots. Raw food is a high protein, plant-based diet that does include lots of greens, but also relies heavily on a variety of nuts, seeds and anything you can sprout.

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I didn’t go from zero to 70 percent raw in 8 seconds.

A friend, who started me on the road to healthy eating, once came up behind me as I was late-night slumming for junk food at a 24-hour grocery store and started tossing Cheez Doodles and cans of Coke into my cart. He was a devotee of 1970s nutritionist Adelle Davis who was best known for her stance against processed food, refined sugar and hydrogenated and saturated fats.

My friend gradually teased and informed me into looking at what I was eating. He gave me a copy of Davis’s “Let’s Eat Right to Keep Fit,” and thus began my 40-year battle with food.

After reading Davis and other books on nutrition – spurred by having two young children who I didn’t want to poison the way I had been unknowingly poisoned – I became a vegetarian.

The first 20 years were on-again off-again, depending on variables like being able to find fresh vegetables wherever I happened to be living. In Albuquerque, in the late 70s for example, there was nary a fresh green to be found, so back to meat. But it was free range meat and actually tasted like the fresh butchered meat my father used to get from our farmer-neighbor.

Eventually, however, when I moved back East, my feelings about the way most animals are raised on feedlots and in dark, crowded, filthy chicken prisons – before they are brutally slaughtered – overrode the convenience of being able to slap a slab of flesh on a grill.

I learned to cook delicious, nutritious meals for my children even as a single parent struggling sometimes with two or even three jobs. Sometimes that meant spending Sundays cooking a few different meals I could freeze and reheat during the week.

I have to admit much of my motivation was the boys. And don’t think they didn’t eat their share of fast food. But I didn’t worry about it because the baseline was healthy and they knew the difference. As adults both of them have chosen vegetarian lifestyles, though one does move in and out of eating meat.

The information I obtained in the early ‘70s has gone through many changes and has been refined and redefined. I just finished reading “Wheat Belly,” by William Davis, M.D., who confirmed what I already knew from experience about the pitfalls of wheat, gluten, and even whole grains. They’ve made me fat. And Davis makes a strong case for the fact they’ve made us all fat. Look around.

Fat is not fun. I’ve been there. Fat makes us feel bad about ourselves, it informs what we wear, how or even if we are able to exercise and even who we hang out with. I have struggled with it since I was a teenager and I still do.

I love food! And I don’t have an automatic “stop” sensor. Well, maybe I do, but I can eat faster than my sensor can function. Chewing my food will allow the sensor to win, however. But that’s for another story.

Today, I no longer have young children to motivate me. Today, I have only my strong desire to feel good. When I am eating a diet that is healthy and clean, I feel good.

The information I started to gather about the dangers of sugar and refined foods 40 years ago is today mainstream information. The CBS news show “60 Minutes” did a brilliant and courageous piece on sugar a few weeks ago – a piece I have been waiting to see for many years. They made the connection between sugar, heart disease and cancer and exposed the addictive nature of refined sugar, comparing it scientifically to that of cocaine. Gee – no wonder we can’t stop! And so, there is no shame in the struggle to change. It is really hard.

But if it were not hard, everyone would do it – and we wouldn’t need health insurance.

All of this is easy for me to say. I can afford to eat well. But what do we do about those who cannot? Those with fewer resources financially are far more likely to choose cheap, fast food, over that head of expensive broccoli that doesn’t look big enough to feed even one person, much less a family.

There is a battle being waged across the county to stop subsidies to big farm conglomerates that are raising genetically modified corn that mostly goes to feed cows, most of which are brutalized and slaughtered to feed the fast food industry. And I am on board for that battle.

But it won’t solve the problem of how to provide opportunities for healthier lifestyles to the poor. That’s our job as the more fortunate to figure out. If we don’t, the rising cost of health care will drag us all down.

But the first thing those of us who can afford to feed ourselves in a healthy manner must do is – eat mindfully. Be healthy. Have the energy then to help others onto the path of a healthy diet. It is your life. Feel good.

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Congratulations on your transition, Shaun. I've seen a similar light and am working my way toward "whole" foods, not necessarily raw, myself. Now if I could only convince my son.

Nice story and inspiration. I remember going over to my rich cousin's house and seeing all those products and asking my Mom why we couldn't get them and she said we did not have enough money. Then decades later I heard my son tell someone we didn't have enough money to buy cocoa pops.So now it is the other way, the richer one is, the easier it is to buy the organic and simple stuff. I have found that in the big cities if you buy from street stands day by day and use the veggie and fruit same day, you can save a lot. They are just a day or two older than the more expensive stuff in the stores.

A very informative article Shaun, I have drifted over the years to eating more and more raw food and agree with its benefits. I do have some reservations however, along with some insight into the processed food industry, having chosen that as my field many years ago. I remember my first introduction to quality control and food grading system at a large processing plant for frozen vegetables. It was my first day on the job and a seasoned food tech was showing me bins filled with different quality of green beans. After viewing the first three representing high A grade to low A beans that was to be sold to national food chains, he pointed to a bin that had considerable brown parts and stems. “And where does this go?” I asked. “To institutions “he answered. “Institutions” I asked with puzzlement in my voice. “Yes like schools, hospitals and prisons” he responded. “Oh” I said looking down closer at the bin and thinking how that explained the bad food served up in the school cafeteria. Prisons aside, I could not see how we could feed our young people or the ill such unhealthy trash, my career in the food industry did not last long.
Having grown up on a farm and lived around farming communities I have tasted good fresh produce, and that is not what the youth on our islands get to eat, nor what most of us pay for, no matter what the store it is bought from. If a youth here never tastes a fresh strawberries picked ripe and full of flavor and sweetness why would he or she choose the that over a highly processed candy bar loaded with unhealthy ingredients? Most of the raw food delivered here is junk, picked way to green stored way to long and in questionable conditions and then possibly sorted by way to many buyers on this end. Most the fruit & vegetables on the shelves of retail markets here would satisfy cattle feed lots on the mainland, and over the years we either get complacent that this is what you get, or perhaps we forget how good food should taste and look.

"But if it were not hard, everyone would do it – and we wouldn’t need health insurance."
That's the most ridiculous statement I've read on this site. Regardless of how you eat, there can still be other things that happen that require medical attention. Raw food, healthy can not prevent car accidents, HIV, some cancers, genetics, swine flu, etc. When a few days in the hospital without surgery easily costing over $20,000 in this country, the idea that "we wouldn't need health insurance" is absurd.
Is this writer in the VI? Maybe it's easier to say "we wouldn't need health insurance" when you're living stateside where an individual policy is obtainable (unlike here!).

Now that you've had your fill of "soda, canned potato chips and Charles Chocolate Chip cookies delivered once a week, along with the family ration of beer" you want to keep that from the rest of us! LOL! How about this: Each to his or her own. Yes, everyone should be healthy. And everyone should eat right. And everyone should walk their own path - a path that suits them. I think that there would be a lot less trouble in the world if everyone minded their own house instead of looking into mine.