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Are We The Modern-Day Noahs Of Our Time? with Nick Watson and Brian Brawdy – Episode 126

There has been a lot going on this week that’s covered on today’s episode of Off the Grid Radio. We’ve had the last of the presidential debates, our very own Brian Brawdy has taped an episode of Nat Geo’s Doomsday Preppers, and we’ve touched base with our supplier of chia seed from South America to find out how things are going and if the chia supply shortfalls are going to continue.

After listening to the exchange between Bill and Brian, one couldn’t help but think that today’s preppers are the modern-day Noahs of our time. How many naysayers are there who stand around and tell us how foolish we are for trying to insure that we and our families are prepared for disaster eventualities? How many outlets like Nat Geo try to portray us as tinfoil hat nutjobs, all to satisfy their viewers with a bread and circuses venue?

Off The Grid Radio
Ep 126
Release Date October 25, 2012

Brian:   Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Off the Grid News—the radio version of Brian Brawdy here. As always with Mr. Bill Heid. Bill, how are you today sir?

Bill:      Brian, I am always well when you are around.

Brian:   Thank you.

Bill:      The energy level is high. We’ve been—just so the audience knows—we’ve been practicing pig squeals prior to the show so that you could debut… You’ve got a new one you’d like to…

Brian:   No. No way. But let me just say I’d take one for the team. I go through, you know, to get my voice ready and everything else and I got it all together. But speaking about interesting voices or noises coming from people’s voice box, I’ve got Phil Collins’ song—remember Genesis? “All I need is a miracle”—wasn’t that Phil Collins? Yeah, I think so. “All I need is a miracle”? And do you know why I bring that up? Headline today after the debate—“Needs a Miracle.” Guess whose picture is in it.

Bill:      Louis Farrakhan?

Brian:   Well, that was close to my pig squeal right there. That’s my little laugh. The kids say when I get really… When I laugh really loud my octave goes…

Bill:      No, President Obama needs a miracle. Of course he does.

Brian:   Needs a miracle. Yeah. Yeah.

Bill:      He needs a miracle. What are the polls saying that he’s down?

Brian:   Right now as we sit down here, straight up at the top of the hour, Rasmussen has it Romney 50—O 46, Gallup has it Romney 51—President Obama 46. So both of them just—just—outside of the three to four percentage points plus or minus so Romney basically, with a one point lead. But Bill, you have a bit of a take. Oh, stocks—the DOW- down 250 so that’s an interesting thing.

Bill:      So everyone knows, this is being recorded the day after the debate—the morning after. I just wanted to tell you my favorite part. If you go to… If you watch TV—whether you’re watching Fox or CNN—everyone gets to share their favorite part. What was your favorite part of the debate, Brian? Well, we’re going to do that. I’ll do that too. I’m going to share my favorite part. What I liked was when they both towards the end, it was going Kool-Aid Kumbaya and they were both drinking from the same cup and they were both sharing that they like teachers a lot. “I like teachers.” “Well, you know what? I like teachers too.” And so they ended up… What an amazing distinctive category is they both end up liking teachers.

Now teachers are extremely valuable. We both talk about what the value of education is but think about the culture that we are in where you can’t say that test scores are in the sewer, you can’t say that we can’t compete with other countries academically—it’s just off the… All you can say is “I love teachers.” And that’s… So you talk about a paradigm. At the beginning of the show we always talk about how we have a different paradigm. Think about a world where you can’t even say, “Hey, I think there are problems in the education system.” If anybody is old enough—like me—you remember Ronald Reagan. What did he say at the debate? He vowed to destroy the Department of Education.

Brian:   Right.

Bill:      Now I was thinking Ron Paul is way too liberal. He hasn’t said that, right?

Brian:   Right.

Bill:      Think about Reagan. He would not have a chance today in the dialogue. Our country is so liberal. I remember 1980 like it was yesterday because I worked on the Reagan campaign and Reagan was my guy and I know—don’t write me—I know he wasn’t perfect and I know he fell asleep a few times and all of that stuff.

Brian:   [snoring] I’m sorry—what? Tom, kick me, would you?

Bill:      So I just think that the world has changed so much a la frog in boiling water that it’s almost not even recognizable from that era and I know I’m not that… I mean it wasn’t that long ago. I remember Ronald Reagan like it was yesterday and Jimmy Carter and I can’t believe that that time has gone past but what strikes me is just the difference in not President Obama or Romney—I’m not worried about them—there will always be politicians pandering to what people want but just the level of what people have to pander to, to get the vote has changed. Reagan was openly talking about Christianity, openly talking about his faith, openly talking about gutting these departments and you sure didn’t hear that in the debate.

Brian:   No, not at all and it’s unfortunate for me because every time I see them carry on—and you know me, I’ve said it for years now, the whole time we’ve been friends—that what displeases me about any politician is how gullible they think we are. “Oh, well I like teachers too.” Oh, well that closing sentence saved my vote for you, you lucky guy. It’s like just how gullible, how stupid—what type of…? Just what do we look like to these people? President Obama saying… Oh you know, we need to hear the whole thing of what he’s going to do with the budget for the military coming after that. “Well, I’m not going to do that.”

Twenty minutes later, his spin people—which is another fascinating thing, which is… What always ticks me off is that we treat these politicians like rock stars. Why do I have to see the back of John Kerry’s head? Because he is commenting on how the debate went. You’re the same part of the problem and… And we have the spin room so that everyone on one side can—Oh, let me see. Oh, wait. They’re going to tell you their side won. Oh, oh! And guess what—breaking news—the guys on the other side? They’re going to tell you how their side won. Shocker! Stop the press. It’s just insulting. It’s… And I know people…

Bill:      It is insulting.

Brian:   It’s insulting. It’s insulting so I just… I don’t know why I watched. I think the remote had run out of batteries and I was too lazy to get off the couch. I think that was it.

Bill:      Well, Fox had a big night, as you mentioned.

Brian:   Yeah.

Bill:      And this, despite the fact that there was a football game on, of all things.

Brian:   Lucky you. You on the couch when your batteries ran out, at least the Bears game was on.

Bill:      Well, listen. Listen. When I heard that both candidates liked teachers, Kim had been traveling—my wife—had been traveling the whole day and I went upstairs and woke her up and said, “Honey, both of them like teachers. This is going to be harder this November, come the day we have to vote, than you could ever imagine because they both like… Now what are we going to do? Now what?”

Brian:   Right. How do we separate ourselves? We both like teachers. I hated my teacher. I’ll tell you that right now.

Bill:      You didn’t like Mrs. Crabtree.

Brian:   No, her last name was Basham. I probably shouldn’t have said that out loud but yeah, I have… I’m with you. But all of the teachers I guess you and I both…

Bill:      We’d better not bring up your childhood but I do want to bring something up about you.

Brian:   Why? You’ve got eleven hours?

Bill:      Yeah, we… Well, just… The therapist isn’t here.

Brian:   Year one to the opening eleven hours.

Bill:      Tom is here but the therapist is not. So what I wanted to talk to you a little bit about Brian—and we knew this for a little while going back but we have been a little remiss, not sure about how to talk about it—but National Geographic has been hanging out at your place doing a show, right?

Brian:   Yeah.

Bill:      And Doomsday Preppers.

Brian:   Doomsday Preppers. Yeah, when you first said, “We didn’t know how to talk about it,” I thought you were going to talk about my male pattern baldness.

Bill:      That’s the second half of the show. We’re going to talk about that.

Brian:   Good, because chia might help that. You never know.

Bill:      We’re going to talk with Nick Watson in a little bit about what happened with the chia crop this year. It’s an interesting story but before that, what did you…? Tell me what it’s like to have National Geographic at your house hanging out. Are they…? What’s it like? Is it stressful or is it…?

Brian:   It wasn’t… The first couple of days—they’re literally 20-hour days—I got about four hours of sleep each of the two days, working with the film crew. And I’ve worked with film crews Bill, as you know—Good Morning America, The Early Show, your film crew, CNN, Fox—I think last count over the last handful of years 2,500 live television appearances. So working with the crew, you just know what your stuff is, you hit your material and you move on. I will tell you that it was one of the most disappointing—and when we figure out when it’s going to air and people get to watch it—one of the most disappointing productions that I have been involved in because they want to sell survival and preparedness like we all run around with tinfoil under our baseball caps.

Bill:      So they wanted you to do something crazy like the guy… Do you remember the show—I haven’t watched all of them—but do you remember the show where the guy, he had trained his family to listen to the way the birds were chirping?

Brian:   Yeah. Yeah.

Bill:      And in some crisis, that’s what he was going to rely on to save his family and so they wanted you to be really a nut job, didn’t they?

Brian:   They wanted me to be a nut job and we fought a good bit about it and they would say to me “Well, when you do this…?” and I’d go, “Why? When was the last time you did that?” “Oh, we never did” and I go, “Well, I don’t do it that way so how about we do it my way since you’ve never done it at all?” So we filmed and filmed and filmed and filmed and filmed and I’m not going to mention him by name but the producer that I worked with, I would never work with again.

If you came to me right now and said, “Brian, I’ll give you a check for a million dollars to work with this guy,” I would turn it down. There is no way I would work with this guy. I just wouldn’t ever do it again and I hope that when the final footage is edited—because remember, it’s not live—it’s all edited and I just kept going back to saying, “Look, this isn’t… You don’t have to be crazed.” Survival is something we all need to do. You buy life insurance, don’t you? Do you wear tinfoil under your baseball cap if you buy life insurance Bill? Do you?

Bill:      No, not at all.

Brian:   No. So if you store food or the ability to do your own water, if you have a responsibility to your kids and your grandkids, does that make you an alien? Does that make…? Is the mother ship communicating to you through the top of your Chicago Bears baseball cap?

Bill:      It makes you a pet psychic.

Brian:   It makes you… Yeah, and I’m the one catching the hard time. A pet psychic. Oh, which reminds me of the girl in the other National Geographic Doomsday Prepper episode modeling shooting her cat as food source becomes tight. Apparently she is going to kill her cat to keep the cat food available for her and her boyfriend and in case you need vittles.

Bill:      That’s unbelievable. And so the impression I get from you is that—too—that they sort of wanted to catch you off guard or catch you in some way that would be embarrassing or inappropriate for you yet would be good video to make sort of a spectacle or a circus-like thing about someone that’s taking care of their family, getting ready—buying life insurance—taking…

Brian:   Buying life insurance. Right.

Bill:      Having a water filter or whatever.

Brian:   And you know me Bill. I don’t… For me, just it’s because my nature, especially with the crew around here—I love having fun. You can’t make fun of me because more times than not, I’m at the front of the line to make fun of myself. So I wasn’t so much worried about them holding me in a crazy light. What was disappointing is we were filming one particular episode at an RV park and there was a line of people coming up to meet me who had seen me on television, seen me doing other things—they weren’t crazed. It was just an RV park and go, “Hey, it’s… We’ve seen your rig. We saw the solar panels. We…” I had the Power Source 1800 set up next to the campfire and I had all this. “Oh, we’ve seen you on TV. We’ve seen your commercials. We’ve heard you on the radio.”

What really troubled me was their attempt to make people that have any inkling towards emergency preparedness, to make them look crazed. And it got to the point where the final night, before they were ready to leave, it was like, “I think I’m done.” And the producer looks at me and goes, “Would you like us to pack up and leave?” and I go, “You’re on my ten acres. The last thing I would do is threaten me. The very last thing I would do is threaten pulling out…”

Bill:      Great relationship you had with these people.

Brian:   Oh my golly. Yeah, so I’ll be… I hope it airs because we got a lot of good information in I’m very excited about—soup bean survival and the seeds—I mean everything that I packed into the rig to make it. And you’re going to see some fighting and there are some mock wars and I had to use my crossbow to save the day and… But I wouldn’t do it again and I think one of my closing lines—they have a group of Preppers that rate you and I think they said to me that I had the highest score or maybe the second highest score at 70. I had the second highest score ever rated and then they were disappointed because “Well, you’re mobile. You need a base camp. And so we give you six to nine months to survive” and I said, “Oh, it’s not going to take me six to nine months to come and find you.”

Bill:      Yeah, I was going to say, “Where do you live? In a crisis, your house is going to be my base camp.”

Brian:   Yeah. I’ll be by. It’ll take me six to nine hours. You won’t have to worry after the Apocalypse. You won’t wait very long. I’ll find you a good bit faster than you think. How do you like them apples pal? So it was one of those things where I was like, “Just get me out of here.” I ended up with poison sumac, as you know. Apparently traipsing around through the woods…

Bill:      That almost could have been a whole new episode.

Brian:   Oh my good golly. I had nickel-sized welts over 80% of my body—ended up going… Because I figured, “Ah, it is poison sumac. What’s it going to do to me?” Well, let me tell you—it puts you in the emergency room, it puts you one step away from life support because they were like, “Man, that stuff got into your system. We don’t know what you were doing.” And I’m out hacking around. I’ve got my Bushman’s Pal and I’m out whacking through the jungle that is my property and I got poison sumac.

Bill:      That’s why you didn’t get the highest score.

Brian:   It probably…

Bill:      Right? Because the sign that said, “Warning: poison sumac”—you didn’t pay any attention to it. Otherwise you would have had the highest score of all time.

Brian:   Yeah, and to give you an idea—apparently I’m not only that horrible at survival; I couldn’t survive it on my own property. So what kind of survival expert am I, right? You’re going, “All right, he can’t make it the opening 100 yards without getting tripped up by poison sumac” and apparently I decided to roll around in it. I just didn’t like brush into it. Wherever I hit it…

Bill:      Like a dog…

Brian:   Yeah, like a dog.

Bill:      …rolls around.

Brian:   Well, Brash was with me.

Bill:      Yeah.

Brian:   Yeah, I later thought maybe Brash rolled around in it. I don’t know if there is any botanist listening—please send us an email. I don’t know—can a dog roll around in poison sumac and is it on his coat?

Bill:      Deborah St. Clair may be listening. She may have a cure from some distant place. I’m sure a lot of people would have… What would happen if you got poison sumac and you couldn’t get to the doctor?

Brian:   That’s a great question.

Bill:      I think that’s a very real thing. What do you do with poison sumac? What do you do with poison ivy? Because as you said, these aren’t in some cases just little peripheral issues. Depending on your own proclivities, your own sensitivities to those things, they can be just like a bee sting for somebody is a big deal and a bee sting for somebody else is nothing.

Brian:   Not a big thing.

Bill:      I would say these two plant-based poisons fall into the same category and here’s another idea—better yet—why not use poison sumac on your enemy?

Brian:   Oh, you know what? Stop reading my notes. I am such a horrible human being Bill. Let me tell you why. The whole time I’m fighting with the crew at the very end I kept thinking to myself “There has got to be a way to weaponize poison sumac. I mean can I make a tea? Can I sprinkle it on brownies? Before they get to the airport, someone else is going down” and of course…

Bill:      You should have just said, “Hey guys, I’m over here. Can you come over here and help me”—kind of like a Star Trek episode.

Brian:   Yeah, hold this right here, would you? Let me… We’ve been fighting all day. Let me extend the olive branch. Here you go. Hold this olive branch. Ha! But no, I didn’t. So apparently I am the only one that was…

Bill:      So a great story—happy ending, right? It all worked out well and you’re going to be on but we don’t know when you’re going to air so we don’t… We can’t announce that—maybe at sometime in the future.

Brian:   It’s this October. It’s October or November, I think, is when their shows air.

Bill:      And you’re almost out of October.

Brian:   Oh, that’s right. Yeah. Okay, so sometime in the… You know what? Maybe it’s aired already. Oh, I’ll be happy when everyone watches it and goes, “Okay, you did okay. You did okay.” But they… I don’t want to steal whatever thunder there might be but I’m not killing people. My whole concept Bill was survival isn’t about 10,000 rounds of ammunition. If I… The whole ability to be a survival expert and to be able to have seeds and an herb bank and soup beans and the like is to be able to fall back.

I’ve got no fortress that I’m willing to risk my life and my kids’ life for. You want it? Take it. I’m out of here. See you at the movies. So they go, “Okay, let’s do fall back, fall back, fall back” and then the final night they want a big gun battle. I’m like, “I’m not doing a gun battle. I’m snorkeling across my river. I’m out of here.” “Well, we don’t have the cameras to shoot it.” Tough luck. I’m not going to kill people just because you want the glitz on a show. I am out of here.

Bill:      Yeah, you wouldn’t even kill a cat for them.

Brian:   I wouldn’t…

Bill:      You refused.

Brian:   Well, you know me.

Bill:      You openly refused to kill a cat.

Brian:   Do you own anything—other than your wife and your children and your grandchildren—do you own or are you in charge… I said “own” so everyone is going to be hollering at me, like a binder full of women from Governor Romney. Are you responsible for anything other than your family that you would kill another human being for?

Bill:      No.

Brian:   Well me neither really.

Bill:      I don’t know that it’s worth that. I think that… But your point is a good one and there is a time to run away, as the Monty Python…

Brian:   I remember that.

Bill:      Remember the big cows being…?

Brian:   Catapult—yeah—and the rabbits.

Bill:      …launched at people?

Brian:   Run away! Run away!

Bill:      I know we’re being playful about that but there is a time to be smart about things and I think many times you have to have the ability to just get out of there. That’s true in life. You have to pick your battles. That’s wisdom calling is picking your battles.

Brian:   Well, I think it’s nature talking to you to, right? Birds fly south in the winter. Guess what pelicans do when they know a hurricane is coming—they leave.

Bill:      Yeah, they get the heck out of there.

Brian:   They get the heck out of there. So if you’re going to imitate nature—the ultimate in survival experts—if you are surviving outside as a grizzly bear or a bison or an alligator and you’ve been surviving for quite a while, what do you do? You leave the threat. Alligators that stick around and go, “Hey, wonder what this forest fire is all about. I could use to be warmed up a little”—they don’t last very long.

Bill:      Well, and can I throw something in?

Brian:   Please.

Bill:      As someone that’s out in the woods quite a bit, I think most animals—and even if you watch something on TV—most animals don’t fight. They take the course of least resistance. Now chemically, this time of year deer go nuts and that’s something that’s programmed in them. You and I have been talking about DNA and sort of “What’s this progression towards fulfillment?” Well, male deer this time of year, there is something in them that says, “I want this territory.” But aside from that, animals generally—even if you watch lions in the Serengeti, a hyena comes up and growls at them—they get the heck out of there because they don’t want any grief.

Brian:   Right.

Bill:      Most animals don’t want any grief and you know what? That’s how you survive.

Brian:   Yeah.

Bill:      You don’t survive by fighting everything in front of you all of the time. That’s movie-land. That’s not something that’s real.

Brian:   And they weren’t happy with that as an outcome and so I wouldn’t get in the gun battle at the end and said, “Okay, I’m not going to do it because it’s not me. I wouldn’t do it.”

Bill:      I wonder if they’re even going to show it. Maybe they just… Do you think they’re going to show it?

Brian:   I don’t know. I mean they… They call from time to time and said, “Okay, can we…? Who is the contact person?” and they’ll give us this cutaway or that cutaway so they… I would imagine these guys—it’s a job, right? They invested time and money and energy to get there and invested three days so they want to come back with a widget to sell because it’s a production company that does it for National Geographic. They want to come back with a widget to sell so we’ll see. I hope that they look at the technique and the product that I talked about and if you can sense some of the tension in that… at the end—God love you. Then you knew exactly what I was thinking doing it. But I would never do it again. I would… It would be a long time before I’d do that again.

Bill:      All right, Brian. Well, let’s go to a little bit of a break here and we’ll be back with our guest, Nick Watson.

Brian:   Sounds good Bill. See you right after the break.

Bill:      We’re ready to go. Let’s just jump right into it Nick. We’ve got our guest, Nick Watson. Nick, tell us a little bit about what you do. I mean we’re fascinated by chia and we get so many comments, as you know. We move a lot of chia as one of your customers. We get so many good comments about chia. For the people that haven’t really heard about it, what’s the nature of the product that makes it something very special?

Nick:    Oh, thank you. Thank you Bill. First of all, I wanted to thank you again for inviting me on your program. It’s wonderful to discuss one of my favorite whole grain seeds. What really makes chia so special, I think, is the antioxidant that is constituted in the seed itself. It’s just really amazing. But if your listeners want to just know a little bit about chia—why is there that chia craze going on—I would say that it’s a very whole food, very much of a whole food. It’s very high in dietary fiber, which is—as everybody knows, it’s very important to get as much dietary fiber as one really can nowadays because we’re eating about half the amount of dietary fiber that’s being recommended by the food gurus, I’d say.

Another very, very important aspect or phytonutrients about chia is the omega-3. The omega-3 is a very important oil—essential fatty acid—EFAs, as they are known. Just recently in medicine and in food science, it’s being discovered that fish oil—DHA and EPA that comes from fish oil and the ALA omega-3 that comes from plants or the vegetarian area—very, very important for our diet. What’s it do for us? It gives us energy—and we can discuss that a little bit more—it promotes good immune system and good gut health, which I’m sure we’ll get into later on.

Bill:      Sure.

Nick:    So that’s fiber, that’s omega-3, the antioxidants and various other phytonutrients—calcium and vitamin C—very important and chia has got it all.

Bill:      And it has it all Nick, with not very many carbs and I think as a diabetic myself, one of the things that I was drawn to this—kind of as a survival food. Now you and I have talked about this obviously before but kind of as a self-reliance, a “just in case” food—here you’ve got what almost seems like one of the most perfect foods. It’s easily stored. It’s got all this… It packs this huge punch with respect to the nutrient side—nutritious side. And also, there is no cost associated with it. In other words, as a diabetic, it does a lot of things for me.

When you kind of gel it up, like you talked about the last time you were on the show, sort of making… You put some water, let it soak and you kind of have a gel. It sort of makes you feel full and that’s a good feeling but it also doesn’t have any carbs, which I really have to reduce my carbs so I think it’s kind of really a miracle for someone that has diabetes, if you want to just start to use it. I’m not a doctor. I’m not trying to prescribe it or anything but I can say anecdotally myself, I have actually empirically lowered my numbers with respect to my blood sugar using chia.

Nick:    Yeah. No. I mean that’s a good point that you are making—good points that you are making, really. And sure—the carbohydrate… When you look at carbohydrate profiles, we’re talking about complex carbohydrate in the chia, which normally a complex carbohydrate comes from dietary fiber. And what’s that do for you? For you, I’m talking about Bill, because you have diabetes—trying to control diabetes—well, it promotes a couple things. One is that it promotes satiety, which gives you that feeling of fullness. The other important thing is that it slows down your digestion and when it slows down digestion, it lowers that sugar peak after you eat that you probably…

Bill:      Yes.

Nick:    Exactly. As you know, you eat and your sugar shoots up, you know? And with a complex carbohydrate full of dietary fiber, what you do is you digest your food slower. This is very, very important. So it’s not a processed carbohydrate or empty carbohydrates, like some people say—or of course it’s not a sugar carbohydrate, to say it in its loose term. It is considered a whole food, as you mentioned. You can take it and it gives you a really great balance of vitamins, minerals, the fiber being so important, the protein.

That’s why the Aztecs—the tribes in Mezzo America with Central American Mexico… You know Mezzo America was known as Mexico. That’s why it was so important to their diet—the chia seed—because they could take it and not… They had to go on the road as a messenger, or if they had to do battle with the Spanish, for example or just, you know, [inaudible 0:26:15.8] when you can’t eat during the day and I guess go back home and have their evening meal. So it is very important as a whole food. It’s known as a whole food. Some people are calling it a superfood, you know? The big doctors that be nowadays in this world like Dr. Oz, I think has put it on his superfood list. And it’s a seed but it is a grain, in a sense but it is definitely a whole food.

Bill:      Now the Aztecs used to also… I have some books on chia because there is—as you say Nick—there is a fascinating history. This has been around a long, long time and other cultures have used this successfully and really as a mainstay—as part of their life. But they also—and we’re not prescribing it for medicinal use—but the history… It’s an interesting conversation about the history of chia with respect to medicine. I was reading when Aztec women would go into labor, you would get a little bit of possum tail and chia and that would help your labor. Now I don’t know what other uses but I found that fascinating as well, that it wasn’t just sort of limited to your daily sustenance but they also found very specific uses for it with respect to at least what their version of medicine was.

Nick:    Yeah. No, I mean I think that’s still in the discovery stage. That’s a very interesting point about going into labor and using chia to perhaps promote or to lessen the effects of it. I think medical science—the word is still out on all the uses that chia actually has been used for and can be used for. I mean new discoveries are coming out all the time on the effects of the omega-3s, for example, on our diet and on our general health. It’s just a… it’s an area that’s just recently in the past let’s say ten years—but really in the past five years has it been seriously investigated. And I like to say this in a good way. I mean the fish industry is a very, very powerful industry and they don’t like the idea that a vegetable is also claiming—or a seed, for example—is also claiming high omega-3s. So they are trying to lessen the effects that the marketing on chia might have in the world because they want you to eat more salmon, right?

Bill:      Oh sure. Sure.

Nick:    You know? But the thing about the fish oil is that it’s so… It’s so… How can I say this? It’s processed to a point because nobody likes the taste of fish so they have to deodorize it much as they do with some of the canola oils and other vegetable oils. They want to take that smell and even the flavor away—that nasty, rancid flavor. So many of the oils that come from…

Well, let’s get back to the fish oil. It’s deodorized, it’s processed, it takes up toxins—the chemicals are—as many of your listeners I’m sure are aware, the oceans and many of our lakes are contaminated now with mercury from acid rain and from pollution and so forth that the fish oil industry is really trying to push chia away because that high omega-3 value that recently science is discovering that it’s great for the heart, it’s great for eye sight. There is just so much. We wouldn’t have the time to explain it all but it’s a very good point that you mentioned.

Bill:      Well, and aren’t a lot of salmon…? Aren’t there really in terms of producing salmon, a lot of the salmon that we eat are genetically engineered so there is another reason to sort of be concerned about that. Your stuff that you grow, what I like about—and one of the reasons we chose you as a vendor, Nick—is you’re really on the authentic side of it and there is chia all over the world but you kind of made your business at the epicenter, at ground zero of where chia started and so talk a little bit about the differences in types of chia because I think there is a little confusion and then why you’ve made the decisions to grow chia in Mexico where you’ve decided to grow them?

Nick:    Well, no. It’s a fascinating discovery actually to go to the origin—ethno-botanic origin—of a plant or a seed, in this case chia and find the phytonutrient value at the source and it’s so much better than having taken—which we get a lot of—the corn, the rice. All these plant-based foods that we eat are being grown all over—genetically modified to grow in high altitudes and low altitude and it affects the plant. It changes the… I believe it changes, in a sense, the phytonutrient makeup of the plant itself. Sure you could say, “We grow chia in China—in the upper mountains of China” but it isn’t the same. The origin of the plant, where nature or God intended it to be and so that’s the beauty of growing in the ethno-botanic origin, where the Aztecs had been growing it for many, many decades, centuries and where chia has supposedly been growing—because we don’t really know when it started as a commercial crop—but certainly we can say thousands of years growing in this region.

And what we’ve done is we’ve gathered the growers together in order to have a quality of chia that’s exportable to the United States under the guidelines of the USDA and FDA rules and regulations so that people—consumers in the United States—feel comfortable that the chia that they are consuming is a chia that at least has the sanitary, the sanitary and the packaging and processing requirements that the USDA and FDA nowadays is requiring in something called “global gap”—that means get a good agricultural practices, which [inaudible 0:33:40.8] good manufacturing practices.

Bill:      Well, that does sound… That does seem to make sense Nick, since you’re… If you are growing anything, the most important part about what you just said—for the listener—is if you grow something where it really kind of had its origins, you maybe don’t end up having to do things to force its hand so you don’t need the leverage, you’re not pumping the soil full of nitrogen or whatever and you’re not stripping the soil out. You are just growing stuff where it’s always grown and you have a…

Nick:    Exactly.

Bill:      Yeah, you have an unusual situation since you’re sort of… You grow some of your own but you’re also in charge of sort of organizing the growers down there.

Nick:    Right. Exactly, because what… What we felt was really important was instead of walking in like a Monsanto—and I’m not Monsanto—but instead of sort of… And I don’t mean to use that negatively. It’s just it’s a very large agricultural company that grows on a massive scale. And instead of going in there and organizing them that way, we thought it would be really important to do it on a cooperative basis, to work with the growers in the region and so we developed a rural production society—a society of rural growers that felt like they belonged to a [inaudible 0:35:03.2], which is our cooperative.

And because of the skills and the education that I’ve had, luckily having grown up in the United States, I [inaudible 0:35:15.4] that how to condition and [inaudible 0:35:20.5] you know and to be able to have an export quality, especially for the US, which tends to be quite rigorous in its requirements. And we wanted to make sure that it was sustainable—that we didn’t hurt the socioeconomic lifestyle of the village and that we didn’t just change everything. So in that sense, we tried to be as sustainable as possible so that the grower is happy, we’re happy and most importantly so that our consumers of our seed are happy and nowadays it’s really important for the consumer in the United States… It’s amazing how they’re changing.

Bill:      It is amazing.

Nick:    They want to know where their product is coming from.

Bill:      Yeah, and that’s one of the… Exactly Nick and that’s one of the reasons why I like to have people like you, people—our venders—people we… We do careful choices before we purchase products from people and you were a great choice for us because you’re passionate about your product because you know your product because you live where the product is grown. You only… We just got done talking a little bit before the show—you only come to this country every so often, back to the United States and when you do, you’re on a tight schedule. That’s why we really appreciate you taking the time to talk to us. As we kind of wind down, I’m wondering—last year something unusual… Was it…? And we sell a lot of chia, as you know. What happened? And our chia supply got cut off mainly because… Was it fires or something that created the shortage?

Nick:    Yeah. No, it’s… You know in South America they began growing it about 20 years ago. They brought it in from Mexico into Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay and these different countries that weren’t used to that crop—I mean the land. And yes, that’s what happened was that there’s the wildfires going on down in South America for several years now like I mentioned to you during our last interview about a year ago, and it’s still going on. I mean it went… Google “Bolivia wildfire,” where a lot of the chia is grown.

The fires have been going rampant for several years and this creates erosion and with erosion, you can get flash floods and with those flash floods, many times the topsoil of the region is completely washed away and so as many of your listeners I’m sure—probably farmers or people that understand agriculture—are aware that erosion and topsoil disappearing can cause drought and this is the issue, you know? And that’s what’s happening in a lot of regions in South America because of deforestation, just no responsible agricultural programs—this is what’s happening. So there has been a huge shortage due to weather.

Bill:      Sure.

Nick:    Equally because of the huge demand for chia has created a supply vacuum.

Bill:      Well, and what’s happened Nick, for us—what’s interesting and I’ll just throw this in—is we could have bought chia from some other places but it’s not the same. We have discovered that there is a difference between the chia that you all—as they say in the south—harvest and what there is available in South America or in Australia or in other places and so we have been waiting patiently for you and we just basically said, “If we can’t sell Nick’s chia, we’re not going to sell it because it’s the highest quality chia we can find.” So all that being said, when is the chia coming? Because we’ve got a lot of customers that are listening to this, that are emailing us, calling us—we have ran out because you ran out and what’s the new crop look like and when do you think we’ll have some?

Nick:    Well, we’re very fortunate. We grow at 7-8,000 feet in altitude, which allows for a very high profile on antioxidants and this is what I was discussing with you, just to quickly mention what makes our chia different. It’s because of the origin, it’s got the right sun, it’s got the right rains, no irrigation—we don’t have irrigation, which in other regions of the world where they’re growing chia, they need to irrigate. And that brings on a whole other set of issues about chemicals that they are using to control the irrigation canals so that they don’t get weeded and so forth.

But getting back to it, I think it’s the overall profile that makes our chia so good—that phytonutrient profile—where we’ve got very high antioxidants, really good protein values, we’ve got high fibers, we’ve got very high oils, which is very important—not just regular oils—we’re talking about the essential fatty acids, the EFAs, which are very good for our bodies. And the omega-3 and the omega-6 that’s in that oil is very important for us.

Bill:      And can I mention one other thing Nick? I think what’s really important for people too is I’m a health guy, I’m a vitamin guy, I take vitamins—I take a lot of supplements and stuff—the truth is if you can get your vitamins from some plant-based origin rather than synthetic vitamins that you’re going to have a vitamin that can be assimilated into your body and actually used. The old Wallach “dead doctors” thing—“dead doctors don’t lie” thing—is really true but what’s even better than buying minerals from some of these guys is actually getting your minerals from plants.

And what I like about chia—I’ll just throw this in again, as we close—you got an amazing source of calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, copper—just to name a few. But it’s bioavailable. It’s not like taking a vitamin where it comes into your body and your body says, “What’s that? I think I’ll just pass that through my entire system.” Chia breaks down and gets assimilated.

Nick:    Yeah, that’s totally…  That is the key—what you just said—there is so much… For example—just one example—there is calcium out there. A lot of the calcium that we are taking, like the vitamins that you’re getting—the synthetics and so forth that we’re getting from the stores—I hate to say it right now but it’s true. A lot of it is… What you just said is true. A lot of that calcium is non-metabolizable. The metabolism—our metabolism—doesn’t absorb that calcium and it’s considered by doctors as expensive urine because you’re… Just being honest—if you don’t mind me saying so—you’re just peeing it out because the body—the metabolism—doesn’t absorb it.

When you get it from vegetables, like you said and plant-based foods and of course poultries and meats, fish—from the real sources instead of the synthetics—you’re going to metabolize it and you’re going to absorb it and you’re going to get everything that the body needs. What the body doesn’t require, then it just flushes it out. It takes only what it requires. So yes—this is extremely important. Chia has got a very high profile and a natural profile—it’s not calcium oxalate. It’s a natural source of calcium and this is very important—what you just said.

Bill:      You bet. Nick, as we close down—we’re about out of time—anything else you want to tell us about the chia that’s coming in or your career or where you’re heading next or what you’re up to? Like I said, we’ve just got a couple minutes here.

Nick:    Well no, I just want to thank you. It’s always a pleasure—a pleasure to talk to you Bill—and I hope that your listeners get to get some information and make a choice—important choice—for their lifestyle, their healthy lifestyle. And just wanted to say that the chia that will be coming in from our region is going to be very high quality. We got the late rains that we needed in October to have a bumper crop and we don’t have these other issues about the supply, because we just don’t have these plagues and things that are coming in from… where other countries have them. We’ve got a very, very good profile on the omega-3s coming in this year. It’s getting cold so that means that the plant will produce more oils and we have no issues with drought—nothing like that. So really look forward to being able to supply you with our top quality Aztec chia.

Bill:      Well, we’re looking forward to it Nick. Again, I just wanted to say thanks for being on the show. I know you are very busy when you do make it to the states and I really appreciate you taking the time to talk to us today. Thanks again.

Nick:    No, thank you. It was wonderful and I am always available for you.

Bill:      All right. Thanks so much. And to our listeners, we’d like to thank you as well. We know that your time is valuable and we’d like to thank you for taking the time to spend with us. We’ll talk to you next time on Off The Grid Radio.

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