BERLIN - There are more and more healthy food snobs in our society – and I’m probably one of the worst.
It all began when I was sick and a friend showed up with a green smoothie, telling me that drinking it would bring “pure light” into my body. I got better right away, and from then on was stuffing everything from chard to dandelions and parsley into my Philips blender.
But then I read that you need 30,000 blade rotations a minute (or was it a second?) to get all the good stuff – the chlorophyll, or what the article called “plant blood” – that your cells love so much. This is the stuff that keeps you young, beautiful and vibrantly healthy. I couldn’t rest until I’d ordered a Vitamix, the best and the fastest, the Porsche 911 GT2 RS of blenders. It calls itself a "Total Nutrition Center,” and costs as much as an iPad.
When it arrived my son said it looked like a defibrillator and made me promise to put it away when people came over. I spent the day happily mixing kale smoothies – kale has more Vitamin C than all the citrus fruits put together and cleans out your intestines like a brush.
It wasn’t long before I was filling a smoothie into a BPA-free plastic BlenderBottle and taking it to work in the morning. While everybody else in the editorial department was getting lattes from Starbucks I was – somewhat demonstratively I will confess – drinking liquid savoy cabbage, feeling all the better (and a tad superior) for it.
I started being health-conscious about eating in the 1990s when I was in my 20s – I bought a grain mill, ate spelt grouts, also filtered my water. My health consciousness back then made me feel pretty good, but it can’t compare to now – particularly after a friend told me, "Suse, you need wheatgrass, drink that and you’ll be high all day!" I’ve taken up her suggestion and drink a mixture of wheatgrass mixed with protein-rich hemp powder. Ever since I started doing that, I’ve been so high – in a fantastic mood as soon as I jump out of bed in the morning – that sometimes it seems a bit much even to me.
Make juice not love
Yes, I also drink alcohol, but only organic wine, and only young reds – that’s where all the antioxidants are. But wine doesn’t hold a candle to celery and cucumbers – those two are killer veggies, real alkali heroes. I have so much celery in my body that in terms of endurance I could keep a whole club of swingers happy except that I doubt there are many raw food orgies out there.
I remember years ago someone telling me that she ended a relationship because she was afraid that somehow some of the meat ingested by her boyfriend would get into her system. I thought she was crazy. But to be perfectly honest with you, nowadays the very thought of a little steak tartare making its way into my green blood turns me off big time – which limits dating options, but then again I’m not into dating right now. My motto of the moment is: Make juice, not love.
Now that I have a Vitamix, I’ve also bought the book by Victoria Boutenko, who is credited with inventing the green smoothie. She says she drinks several liters of green smoothies a day. She’s a little overweight, which irritates me, but I’ve nevertheless moved on to the breakfast she recommends for “advanced” raw food nuts, which is a liter of mixed fruit (20%) and green veg (80%). The fruit of course has to be low on the glycemic index, what insiders refer to as “low glyx.” That means yes to apples, pears, and also avocado, but watch the mangos, bananas and dates.
Contrary to what many people believe, avocadoes may be fatty but they’re good-for-you fatty and you can’t eat enough of them. Right here is a good place to say that my way of eating has nothing to do with dieting, I’m not a calorie counter and in fact don’t even own a scale. I just love the healthy feeling of clarity, freshness, strength that I get from the way I eat, and that makes me feel – after a glass of green colada (spinach, pineapple, coconut water and almond milk), for instance – as if I could rip trees up out of the ground with my bare hands.
I will say that I sometimes think my skin is getting a faint greenish tinge to it, but mostly I have that radiance they call the "inside glow."
Many find that eating the green way improves sex, and that they lose interest in drugs and coffee. It also has to be said that the food tastes better than most people think it will. Do I ever think I’m going too far? I wonder briefly sometimes – when I see the looks on peoples’ faces at the market after I ask the stand-holder to give me the kohlrabi leaves he’s going to throw out – the leaves actually have ten times more iron than the root. But feeling as good as I do, any doubts fade away pretty quickly.
A neo-Nazi has been buried in the former grave of a Jewish musicologist Max Friedlaender – not an oversight, but a deliberate provocation. This is just one more example of antisemitism on the rise in Germany, and society's inability to respond.
BERLIN — If you want to check the state of your society, there's a simple test: as the U.S. High Commissioner for Germany, John Jay McCloy, said in 1949, the touchstone for a democracy is the well-being of Jews. This litmus test is still relevant today. And it seems Germany would not pass.
Incidents are piling up. Most recently, groups of neo-Nazis from across the country traveled to a church near Berlin for the funeral of a well-known far-right figure. He was buried in the former grave of Jewish musicologist Max Friedlaender, a gravesite chosen deliberately by the right-wing extremists.
The incident at the cemetery
They intentionally chose a Jewish grave as an act of provocation, trying to gain maximum publicity for this act of desecration. And the cemetery authorities at the graveyard in Stahnsdorf fell for it. The church issued an immediate apology, calling it a "terrible mistake" and saying they "must immediately see whether and what we can undo."
There are so many incidents that get little to no media attention.
It's unfathomable that this burial was allowed to take place at all, but now the cemetery authorities need to make a decision quickly about how to put things right. Otherwise, the grave may well become a pilgrimage site for Holocaust deniers and antisemites.
The incident has garnered attention in the international press and it will live long in the memory. Like the case of singer-songwriter Gil Ofarim, who recently claimed he was subjected to antisemitic abuse at a hotel in Leipzig. Details of the crime are still being investigated. But there are so many other incidents that get little to no media attention.
The grave of Jewish musicologist Max Friedlaender
Crimes against Jews are rising
Across all parts of society, antisemitism is on the rise. Until a few years ago, Jewish life was seen as an accepted part of German society. Since the attack on the synagogue in Halle in 2019, the picture has changed: it was a bitter reminder that right-wing terror against Jewish people has a long, unbroken history in Germany.
Stories have abounded about the coronavirus crisis being a Jewish conspiracy; meanwhile, Muslim antisemitism is becoming louder and more forceful. The anti-Israel boycott movement BDS rears its head in every debate on antisemitism, just as left-wing or post-colonial thinking are part of every discussion.
Jewish life needs to be allowed to step out of the shadows.
Since 2015, the number of antisemitic crimes recorded has risen by about a third, to 2,350. But victims only report around 20% of cases. Some choose not to because they've had bad experiences with the police, others because they're afraid of the perpetrators, and still others because they just want to put it behind them. Victims clearly hold out little hope of useful reaction from the state – so crimes go unreported.
And the reality of Jewish life in Germany is a dark one. Sociologists say that Jewish children are living out their "identity under siege." What impact does it have on them when they can only go to nursery under police protection? Or when they hear Holocaust jokes at school?
Germany needs to take its antisemitism seriously
This shows that the country of commemorative services and "stumbling blocks" placed in sidewalks as a memorial to victims of the Nazis has lost its moral compass. To make it point true north again, antisemitism needs to be documented from the perspective of those affected, making it visible to the non-Jewish population. And Jewish life needs to be allowed to step out of the shadows.
That is the first thing. The second is that we need to talk about specifically German forms of antisemitism. For example, the fact that in no other EU country are Jewish people so often confronted about the Israeli government's policies (according to a survey, 41% of German Jews have experienced this, while the EU average is 28%). Projecting the old antisemitism onto the state of Israel offers people a more comfortable target for their arguments.
Our society needs to have more conversations about antisemitism. The test of German democracy, as McCloy called it, starts with taking these concerns seriously and talking about them. We need to have these conversations because it affects all of us. It's about saving our democracy. Before it's too late.
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