Reducing Stress with Mindful Eating

Our stress levels and our moods keep changing all the time. We feel that we can alter our moods by eating what we enjoy, mainly a craving for sweets settles in whenever we are upset or feeling stressed. You indulge in sweets and feel immediately satisfied, but this could also be followed by  a bout of irritability experienced due to a sugar crash following the binging.

 
Research in recent years tells us that just as eating certain foods have a certain impact on our moods , we need to monitor our food intake very carefully as this impacts our stress levels in a very major way. 
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Different Ways To Reduce Stress

Since stress seems to come from so many avenues, so does stress relief. There are so many ways to handle it. Most people believe in a certain particular and personal favorite strategy for stress relief, but in my opinion the most efficient way would be to create an overall effective plan that includes many different ways of reducing stress instead of a particular favorite and suitable plan that would deal with stress from one's own individual angle.

 
CLEAR THINKING STRATEGY
 
Bringing clarity to the mind is by far the most important way to eliminate stress. When the thinking is clear in our heads it is only then that we can take the most sensible and beneficial decisions for ourselves. So keeping the mind uncluttered and clear is our best bet in life.
 
REVERSE THE STRESS RESPONSE
 
If you are familiar with the concept of reversing the stress response you start thinking more clearly and you can actually avoid the negative effects of chronic stress. 
 
Mastering stress is an art that can be learnt. Being a master craftsman at this art is what is your real key to leading a beautiful life. Being a mastercraftsman at this one is your key to leading a beautiful life.
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Improve Your Mental and Physical Health With The Power of Laughter

Are you in need of a good laugh? Few things are more beneficial to a person’s overall well-being than laughter. In fact, the benefits of laughter extend to better mental health and is an indicator of better physical health as well.

 

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5 Benefits of Turmeric, Ayurveda’s Golden Botanical

Turmeric (a.k.a. Indian Saffron) is a relative newcomer to American spice racks, but it’s been a mainstay in Indian cooking—and medicine—for thousands of years. The twisty root that gives your bowl of curry its bright, yellow color and distinctive flavor also holds a place of honor in traditional Ayurvedic medicine.

 

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The Water of Life - Your Most Important Daily Practice

Water is magical. It sustains life. It exists simultaneously in three seperate states. It has been a part of human ritual and religion since the dawn of time. It covers the majority of the world and it comprises the majority of each of us. In a very real sense, water is where the physical and the spiritual meet. It is indeed aqua vitae - the water of life.


At this point in my life (especially now that I’m post-AARP) I have a profound appreciation for my good health. I call it feeling “star spangled”! You know what I’m talking about: energy is flowing, eyes sparkle, thinking is crystal clear, digestion is running smoothly, free from illness, and joints are pain-free as though they’ve just been WD-40’d.

 

When I’m in this state, I look and feel at least 25 years younger. I feel as though I’m glowing from the inside out. I can easily connect to my inner guidance, my compassion is endless, my energy is boundless, and my joy and positive attitude are infectious. It’s a fantastic feeling. It’s the way we’re supposed to feel.

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Resting for Better Digestion

Resting for 15-20 minutes after a meal is a great practice that Ayurveda encourages.

 

Resting for Better Digestion

 

Approximately 60% of our daily energy goes towards digestion. If we rest for a bit after eating, our body can perform this important function more efficiently – rather than sending the energy elsewhere – to the brain and other organs needed to do things like read, write, watch TV or exercise.

 

Did your mother always tell you not to go swimming after eating? Mine did – and for years I thought I would get a cramp and drown if I went swimming too soon after a meal. My over-reaction created more anxiety in an already anxious child. But Mom was definitely onto something.

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The Microbiome: How to Talk to Your 2 Million Genes

The term “microbiome” has become popular in the last decade, and most people now realize that their bodies are populated by an enormous quantity of microbes. Taking every location from the skin to the mouth to the intestinal tract into consideration, the microbiome weighs around 3 lbs., roughly the same as the human brain.

The radical importance of keeping your microbiome balanced and healthy is just beginning to dawn on medical science and biology. If you took a snapshot of a tiny portion of your digestive tract, it would be teeming with an array of life forms almost beyond comprehension (including bacteria, viruses, bacteriophages, archaea, fungi, yeast, etc. Since it has long been known that we can’t digest food without the aid of the so-called “flora” in our intestines, the microbiome didn’t spring out of nowhere. What wasn’t realized until recently, however, is its staggering extent.

 

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Eating With a Beginner's Mind

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.”  Shunryu Suzuki


In our culture we spend a lot of time talking about WHAT to eat, and not as much focus on the HOW of eating. Watch a baby try new foods for the first time and you can learn so much about eating with a beginner's mind. A beginner's mind is something we are born with and later on rediscover on a more conscious level. It is the mind that lets the knowing self fall back and a more curious and willing self emerge. Here are some insights of the last three weeks introducing new foods to Olive. 

  

Variety is instinctual

Olive is like any other baby in that she fixes her attention on color, which is why I try to prepare foods different in color from one another. One day her spoon has red from beets and the next day there's green from spinach. I've noticed she tires of something after I've given it to her three to four times in a row. Instinctually, we like variety on our plate. Most of us don't live in the wild Amazon with exotic plants all around us to forage. In our industrialized world we tend to eat the same thing day after day, missing out on a variety of fruits and vegetables that provides vital nutrition. Variety in the diet has beneficial upstream effects. For example, the Harvard-based Nurses Health Study, one of the largest and longest studies to date, showed eating a variety of fruits and vegetables can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke (1).  To improve the variety in your diet, try this exercise (I just took part in this with a nutrition practice group): see if you can eat 50 different foods in one week. If you have a smoothie every morning, that's fine, but you can only count the ingredients in it once. 

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To French Toast or Not to French Toast?

For my birthday this year I was treated to breakfast at one of my favorite seaside restaurants.I find that when I’m in a birthday frame of mind, I feel that I should eat and do what I want. Even if it is outside of the list of things that keep my well being intact. So I ordered the French toast! It was freshly made using large slices of artesian bread and house made whipped cream. It was outstanding. The chemical rush of sugar overload was surging through my body and mind.

 

At about the half way point, I started to feel nauseous. So nauseous that I was afraid that one more bite would result in literally needing to vomit. I stopped eating, and the sugary euphoria started to be replaced with sluggishness and a feeling of regret that I had ordered it. The small child inside me still believes that sugar it the ultimate treat. “She” had ordered breakfast. Not the health-conscious woman seeking vitality and a clear mind. Herein lies the conflict.

 

At this stage in our lives, seeking pleasure in the very temporary euphoria of a sugar rush will derail us from all the things that are important to us. People often get depressed or sad over the idea of giving up dietary guilty pleasures for health or weight loss reasons. They feel that one of the greatest joys in life is being taken away. The second their willpower is compromised, they go in the polar opposite direction and binge on the foods that they know will hurt them. We need to redirect our focus on the pleasures that are healthy and life sustaining.

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7 Ways to Improve Your Mood Through Diet

Pretending that food doesn't matter to health is at best denial, at worst a serious delusion. But we have all been there when we have reached for a sugary snack when stressed out or feeling grouchy. We had that fleeting moment of satisfaction followed by the inevitable blood-sugar crash, with added irritability to boot. Not nice! Well, I am here to help and I am going to help you improve your mood with these 7 tips.

1. REPLACE PROCESSED FOODS WITH FRESH ORGANIC WHOLE FOODS

Our bodies are extremely clever: when we try to feed them something that is processed, they recognise that they're eating something but cant quite figure out what it is, because its missing so many nutrients and its molecular structure has been altered. So, to make up for the missing nutrients, our bodies have to tap into our own reserves and they end up taking minerals from our blood and bones. This is obviously not a sustainable way to eat because our nutrient reserves need to be replenished and if all we do is eat processed foods then pretty soon we mill find ourselves malnourished and on a slippery slope to irritability and illness.

blueberry smoothie


2. EAT MORE SOLUBLE FIBRE

Fibre helps to slow down the absorption of sugar in your blood stream into your body and therefore lessens those dreaded mood swings. Oats, brown rice, barley, apples, pears, carrots, beans and sweet potatoes are good sources. Avoid processed grains like white rice, white pasta or white bread, which have been stripped of their fibre.

3. REPLACE COFFEE, SOFT DRINKS & BOTTLED JUICES

... with water, herbal tea & fresh juices

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Making Time for What You Value Most

This week was a good time to think about what you value in your life.


France’s President Emmanuel Macron delivered an impassioned speech to Congress this week about what he values and what he believes in. Hearing him speak got me thinking about my own beliefs and values.


“Our strongest beliefs are challenged by the rise of a yet unknown new world order,” Macron said. So true. There are so many forces these days that are testing our values and our beliefs — those we hold as individuals, and as nations.


That’s why I think it’s a good exercise for all of us to stop and think, “What do I believe?” “What do I value?”


Do you know what you believe in? Do you live your life according to those beliefs and values? None of us are perfect at walking our walk, but what I’ve found helpful is to stop and check in with one’s self and assess how one’s values and beliefs are lining up with one’s actual life.


For example…


Do you talk about saving the planet and then not recycle?


Do you talk about the importance of parenting and then look at your schedule and see that you are a workaholic? 


Do you talk about women’s empowerment, but as a business leader, you refuse to provide paid family leave?


Are you a registered Democrat, but in your mind and heart you are more purple than blue and yet you’re afraid to register as an Independent? Or vice versa?


Do you talk about brain health and then not follow what doctors tell you? (My daughter told me to add this because I need to do a better job at what I’m telling others to do, like managing stress and eating less sugar.)

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How Can the Regular Practice of Yoga and Meditation Be Helpful for the Brain?

Our brain is the source of all thoughts, emotions and feelings. It is the center for creativity, imagination and exploration. The brain is an information processing organ and keeps records of our past. The emotional residues, preconceptions and the negative thought patterns that are recorded in our brain keep us from reaching our full potential. We then develop addictions to numb these negative feelings hoping that the pain of our past will go away.

Yoga means “union” but it is mainly known to us as series of physical exercises (asanas). In my personal experience, during workout routines my brain is running in the opposite direction to my body. It is busy trying to problem solve, create to do lists and think about non-essential things. But during my yoga practice my body and brain are more connected. In actuality, every part of our physical body is connected with the brain. Information is constantly being exchanged between brain and body through the nervous system. By awakening the body’s senses through practices of yoga and by moving the body in new and different ways, we can awaken different part of our brain. In addition, a flexible body creates a more flexible and adaptive brain.

Meditation is the practice of focusing our mind. I realized that during the meditation portion of my class, my body, brain and soul were in alignment as my mind was focused inside by body on my True Self.

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Welcoming Change

  As I write this I’m flying home to Alaska. I had a fun weekend with our middle child. She happily committed to her future college, a life changing event. This weekend I connected with two people experiencing unplanned health issues, also a life changing event. My mind keeps returning to life altering events. We all have them. Some are happy, a birth of a child, marriage and job success. Some are not so happy, health scares, loss of loved ones and divorce. What they all have in common, good or bad, is the potential for positive life changes. It got me thinking. Why is it that we allow ourselves to struggle? This is in reference to the events that aren’t so happy. Often we don’t see any other choices in our life, until the Universe gives us reason to pause. What if we decided to pause where it feels really good? We could do that. We could design our life around feel good moments. Think about all the times that you feel wonderful. Maybe you’re on vacation and you feel free and healthy. You are practicing wellness habits, eating healthy, meditating, enjoying your family and friends. It is so easy to think these habits are related to time allowance. Living a happy life has nothing to do with time, or lack of time. A happy life requires each individual to look at how they want to fill up each moment. Who and what are you inviting into your happy life? A happy life is not dependent on the amount of money in your life. There is a young man that I have been lucky to spend time with. He delivers groceries for a living. Each time he delivers our groceries, I am happy to see him. When we hug good bye, his energy fills me up. He has that special gift, so many people are seeking. He is genuinely happy.  What would your life look like if you designed it for your optimal health and happiness? What might your mantra be?I AM HEALED I AM LOVED I AM HAPPYI personally have experienced life changes so sudden, I had no time to think. It is in those sudden changes that God speaks loudly. The first time this happened was when I came across a violent crime scene. I feared for my life, as well as others’ lives. It was the first time I channeled a message of love and healing. I didn’t recognize what was occurring. I have had life changes that are essentially a slow unraveling of life as I knew it. God still spoke to me, but I needed to stop and listen. This was when I experienced my health scare. I was offered the opportunity to recognize my connection to source. I was given the opportunity to create a life that allowed me to share peace with my family and others. This required letting go of some habits and even people that didn’t fit into the life I was building. I am still learning how I best receive the messages of God, and how I best share them. I feel blessed to have these experiences that helped me discover peace, awareness, love and happiness. When the Universe slows me down I answer with an open, happy heart. CHANNELING We come thru you and to you in all directions, all colors and all sounds. Yet just a small few will recognize the shift inside that creates a place for inspiration to land and bloom.. At all times you are surrounded by energy so pure and true, you only need to remember your true essence to allow it to take you away.. Is the fear of losing what you believe is truth; larger than the memory of eternal peace? It is inevitable that you also, (the essence that is enjoying the human form) you too, will fall into awareness.. You will experience the blending and churning of the beautiful energies that are always part of your story, always waiting to guide you back to Love.. Always waiting to remind you of your eternal wellness and connection to all.. There is an expanded version of you that rests with in your heart, mind and soul. This version of you will eventually want for more, want to experience the total of all that is. Returning to a state of only love and expressions of love.. there is no hate, fear or pain.. we reside in total harmony.. There is a part of you that rests with us.. You are dancing between the two worlds.. softly you will return to us as we have returned to you.. As you make your way home the sounds and colors don’t match your frequencies.. but soon the blending will take pace and you will experience all as one.. you will experience your human self, with a slight shift of awareness, you will experience the pure essence of your- self with an awareness of energetic exchange.. we will guide you to many planes and many frequencies.. We will always be with you, We will always carry you gently with us. You are experiencing all this now.. End of Channel In this channel there is reference to two worlds. I have written about this before. What it means is we have a world that has limitations and we have a world free of limitations; the choice is ours to make. I also want to clarify my statement on happiness not being dependent on money. The variable that connects happiness to money, is our relationship to money. I have been happy poor and I have been happy financially stable. I have also been unhappy and struggling financially and even unhappy financially stable. Living a happy abundant life is not always reflected by dollar amounts.God Bless You and may you experience peace and happiness, Polly  

Too much of anything is good for nothing

Some of us are overly sensitive. Mostly people will talk about themselves by saying, ‘I’m a very sensitive person’. But it is always in context to their own feelings.  They like to ignore the fact that they could be inflicting pain on every other person around, yet they carry this ‘injured’ air around them.

 

Special traits

Highly sensitive people emote on a very different level.  They have some special traits which are very different from the average person. It could also be considered as a positive thing but it has its drawbacks.

 

Highly sensitive

This is actually a trait which brings both strengths and challenges. Sometimes one is just easily offended by people who mean no harm or they could even be trying to be nice to you. Sometimes the reaction to everyday stressors is also extreme. You may be more affected by negative stressors than most people are.

 

Wild imagination

You like to believe that you are being bullied by people who mean no harm and then tend to become over emotionally aggressive. You are more deeply affected by others.  Try to manage your reactions, make it your strength rather than a challenge. 
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How to Use Tapping Therapy To Eliminate Fear, Anxiety & Achieve Your Goals (video)

Tapping Therapy intensely powerful tool that can help you quickly get over your biggest fears and help achieve all of your goals.

Thirty-four years ago, clinical psychologist Dr. Roger Callahan—the originator of tapping therapy—discovered that you could stimulate the instant release of stored emotions.

The instant release occurs by ty tapping along these meridians in acupressure-like fashion while focusing your mind on the past hurt or current stress (phobia, fear, or anxiety).

He called his method Thought Field Therapy or TFT, and today Dr. Callahan’s institute trains practicing therapists, healthcare professionals, and everyday people in how to use tapping therapy both in clinical settings and at home. Others have brought TFT to the masses as the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT Tapping) and Meridian Tapping Therapy.

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Stress and Immunity: The Microbiome Connection

Life has its ups and downs, and stress is a natural part of human existence. These days, though, American stress levels are at a record high, according to the American Psychological Association. We discussed the stress-microbiome connection with Robert Keith Wallace, Ph.D., who—along with his wife and co-author Samantha Wallace—wrote Gut Crisis: How Diet, Probiotics, and Friendly Bacteria Help You Lose Weight and Heal Your Body and Mind.

Dr. Wallace is a pioneering researcher on the physiology of consciousness and the mind/body connection as applied to behavioral medicine. His seminal research on higher states of consciousness has been published in Science, The American Journal of Physiology, and Scientific American. He’s currently Chair of the Department of Physiology and Health at Maharishi University of Management, of which he was a founding President.

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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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10 Simple Self Care Tips To Manage This Mercury Retrograde

(SPECIAL FOR EMPATHS AND HIGHLY SENSITIVE PEOPLE)

This week we are in the first week of the first Mercury retrograde cycle of 2018 which is a perfect time to retrace your steps and have a look at some of the ways in which you need to reaffirm your self-care. It’s also a great time to focus on ways to manage your experience especially if you identify as a highly sensitive person or empath. This particular retrograde in Aries is highly charged and can be quite combustible and combative. That said it’s also perfect for rigorous self-honesty, and really determining what you are enthusiastic about!

So, if you’re sensing the edge in the air and it starts to feel overwhelming you need to find a way to manage your experience. You don’t want to end up feeling like the energy of the world is assaulting you (and it really can feel like that sometimes.)

I’m going to include a video from Nick Ortner at the end of the blog to support you too since he has a great way to dial down anxiety. Bottom line is that intuitive people can suffer if they don’t have tools to manage their boundaries and feelings. (and they can also find it hard to release excess body weight, manage fatigue too etc. but that’s a whole other story)

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

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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Is Coconut Oil Good For You?

I get this question a lot! Mostly, when discussing cooking oils. So here are my thoughts on coconut oil. Yes, it is a saturated fat, it is actually one of the few found in the plant-kingdom, and a significant percentage of that saturated fat is composed of Lauric acid, which is (comparatively speaking) quickly and easily metabolised as a very good energy source.

This means you are likely to burn the kind of saturated fat found in coconut oil for fuel rather than pack it away as fat, provided you are sufficiently active and it isn’t digested along with something high in sugar to supersede & hijack your metabolism first. An example of this would be vegan treats such as cheesecake where coconut oil is mixed with lots of maple or date syrup and nuts to create the dairy-free cheesecake filling.

Coconut oil is the optimal oil to cook with — if you are going to cook with oil — due to the fact that it holds up (meaning it does not oxidize) better than other oils at high temperatures (translation – less free radicals). It is immune boosting, has anti-infection properties and some studies suggest it aids with the absorption of certain vitamins and other nutrients like beta-carotene and some amino acids.

That said I use coconut oil very rarely in my cooking. In fact, I rub more on my skin than I consume in my diet!

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