A Complete Guide to the Practice o Meditation

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Expand your heart with green foods

 Expand your heart with green foods

Anyone who has taken a cooking class with me, knows I'm in love with green foods. They are my warrior ingredients whether I'm teaching about detoxification, weight loss, cancer, brain health, or gut health. Recently, I discovered a whole new reason I steer toward eating so many greens. The color green reflects the qualities of LOVE: openness, expansiveness, nurturing, compassion, abundance. The impact of color in our diet and the way it influences our health comes from the work of one of my nutritional sheroes, Dr. Deanna Minich. I'm knee, or I should say heart, deep into her new course Rainbow Food and Supplements. After 15 years studying nutrition she is rocking the way I look at color in our diet. In light of spring, let's look at the color green or what she refers to as our "LOVE system". 

 

Take a minute to reflect on how GREEN foods make you feel.

 

Think about how you feel when you work in your garden or take a walk in nature. Taking in the color green through your senses fills your heart with peace, and gives you a sense of being alive and in harmony with life. Similarly, eating green foods can have a strong sensation in the heart center. Some people claim that green foods makes them feel more vital. Others, have a hard time consuming green vegetables. There is no right or wrong feeling here. It is simply good information for your relationship with the LOVE system. 

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Honor Those You Love. Start Today

Honor Those You Love. Start Today

As I stood in the back of my church on Palm Sunday, I found myself thinking a lot. Actually, I came into church already thinking, as I had just spent an afternoon with a friend who was struggling with cancer.

A year ago, my friend was the picture of health—laughing, debating issues of the day, and planning her future like the rest of us. She is my age, and like my friend Nancy whom I wrote about last week, there is no future left to dream about for her, either. So instead, we reminisced about the past.

The past made us laugh. It was filled with adventures and possibilities. Dreams and opportunities. I called her on my way home and said, “Thank you for today. There’s nothing like an old friendship.” “So true,” she replied.

They say that youth is wasted on the young. So is our health. So, whether you’re young or old, I encourage you to value your friendships. Value your health. (I hope you’ll register and join me in June for Move for Minds 2018.) Value the moments you have now to let someone know that you care about them.

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What Should You Feed Dogs and Cats for Their Health and The Planet?

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Pets bring unconditional love and immense joy to many families. They also consume nearly 1/3 of the animal products in the United States — creating what is, for many people, an ethical and environmental dilemma. What’s the answer? Can dogs be vegan or vegetarian? Can cats be plant-based? Or must they eat meat to survive?

I grew up with cats. The sound and warm vibration of my beloved Popo purring in my lap is one of the happiest memories of my childhood.

Companion animals teach us about unconditional love and devotion, and they often bring out the very best in us humans.

Now, studies are showing that having a companion animal can be good for us, too.


How Dogs and Cats Can Improve Our Health

It’s no secret that children often love pets. But recent research has taken it a step further.

Children raised with pets are less likely to become asthmatic, more likely to be kind to other children, and more likely to have healthy self-esteem once they reach their teens.


Researchers are also finding that having pets positively influences children’s physical and emotional development and even their scholastic achievement.

But it’s not only children who can benefit from a loving relationship with a furry friend. One of the most celebrated “pet studies” was undertaken by Erika Friedmann and her co-workers at the University of Pennsylvania.

They found an unmistakable association between pet ownership and extended survival in patients hospitalized with coronary heart disease.

Those patients who had pets at home were far more likely to survive — even after accounting for differences in the extent of heart damage and other medical problems.

In 1991, the medical value of pets became unexpectedly apparent to researchers who were conducting the Cardiac Arrhythmia Suppression Trial. They were studying the effects of two pharmaceutical drugs (encainide and flecainide) on men who had had heart attacks and were now experiencing irregular heartbeats.

Paradoxically, the drugs were found to cause an increase in cardiac deaths. At the same time, however, it was noted that those patients who had dogs were only one-sixth as likely to die during the year of the study as those who did not have dogs.

Can you imagine what would have happened if the drugs rather than the dogs had been shown to cause a six-fold decrease in deaths?

The drugs might be prescribed for every heart attack patient in the world with an irregular heartbeat. And drug companies would be spending hundreds of millions of dollars telling physicians and the public how great the drugs were.

But because the loyalty and loving friendship of a dog cannot be bottled and sold, there has been no such publicity campaign. And most people to this day do not realize how much healing can be found in loving relationships — including ones with companion animals.


But There’s A Shadow Side, Too

man feeding dog

No offense to Fido or Buddy, nor to Leo or Cleopatra, but there are also shadows to pet ownership. It’s worth taking a fair look at them to round out the picture.

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Bring Prevention Back from the Brink

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A crucial fact about American medicine goes largely ignored, even by doctors. Dollar for dollar, more people will gain years of healthy lifespan from prevention than from drugs or surgery. We don’t tend to think that prevention costs money. Once you learn that cigarettes cause lung cancer, you can decide not to smoke. The choice is free if you were a non-smoker to begin with. If you get up off the couch and start a brisk walking program to help prevent heart disease, that choice also doesn’t cost a penny.

What isn’t free, however, is getting information out there. Poor and less educated Americans are known to have a higher prevalence of major lifestyle disorders like heart disease, obesity, hypertension, and type 2 diabetes. The reverse is also true: better lifestyle choices are made by the affluent and well educated.

You can’t prevent what you don’t know about. That makes it essential that we keep funding the most dollar-wise education for physicians so that young residents can go on to spearhead prevention programs. America cannot continue to rely on a reactionary stance of simply treating health issues. It must refocus its efforts and investments in prevention. The surgery to treat a lung cancer patient is highly unlikely to succeed and will be very expensive. Informing a middle-school classroom about the risks of smoking potentially saves lives at a fraction of the cost.

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Why Happiness Starts in the Stomach

Why Happiness Starts in the Stomach

In the 2004 documentary Super Size Me, a filmmaker decided to eat a steady diet of fast food for 30 days to see how it would affect his health. Although he and his doctors expected some changes, they were shocked by how quickly his skin turned sallow, his cholesterol levels and blood pressure skyrocketed and his weight shot up 27 pounds. Worse, his mood changed from one of vibrancy to depression.

According to Maharishi Ayurveda, there is not only a direct connection between the food you eat and your health, but food affects your happiness as well. You could even say that health and happiness have a common source in a single product of digestion — called ojas.

Ojas is the physical equivalent of both bliss and immunity. It is what causes the eyes to sparkle, the skin to look radiant and the immunity to be strong. And it's directly related to digestion.

"Ojas is the finest and most refined product of digestion and metabolism," explains Mark Toomey, Ph.D., the director of Maharishi Ayurveda programs and health practitioner at The Raj Maharishi Ayurveda Health Center and Spa. "It's very much related to how we digest and metabolize not just our food, but our very thoughts."

There is a lot written about ojas in the ayurvedic texts. Ojas is said to be slightly yellow in color, to reside in the heart and to also continually circulate throughout the body. It is cool, soft, sweet, stable, viscous, clear, and pure, and when lively in the body, these qualities can be felt in the pulse during an ayurvedic consultation.

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Mindfulness and Health

Mindfulness and Health

In essence, supporting your health is an act of gratitude and worship. You have been given this vehicle to express in the world and you must address the body’s requirements in a balanced fashion. Since you must eat, eat with mindfulness, eat with balance and eat what supports health. Since you must move, move and exercise with balance and grace. Since you may get sick and someday will die, do not become too attached to the body. The body allows you to be here, to evolve and know the essential self. You must kill to survive so always express gratitude and connect to what you eat mindfully. Allow the body to serve its purpose and support it in that.


Health also includes a healthy mind. Realize that every thought you think affects you and your state, including your body. You are ingesting what you take in through all of your senses and filling yourself up with whatever that is; beneficial or harmful. The beneficial will calm the mind and expand consciousness. The harmful will agitate you and create narrow vision.

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Ending the Dread of Cancer

Ending the Dread of Cancer

We will most certainly have entered a new era in medicine when the dread of cancer has abated. For decades this dread has been well founded. Both the disease itself and its treatments created anxiety, which is the worst of both worlds. Emotional attitudes tend to shift slowly. What would it take to turn the corner on cancer?

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30 Simple Ways to Create Balance and Connection

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...on all things life, wellness, love, transformation and spirituality...

 PLUS! Get your FREE Guide: 12 Mindfulness Practices to a Peaceful Mind