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23 Sep 12Posted by on
The changing of the seasons is symbolic of the cyclical nature of the heavens. In temperate climates, there are the seasonal rains that come and wash the earth during spring and autumn. The rains are a sort of announcement, a prelude, to the ensuing summer and winter seasons, respectively. It also during these times that some individuals commit themselves to seasonal cleanses and detoxes. Cleanse is short for Colon Cleansing. Detox is short for Detoxification Diet. In addition to setting the stage for enjoying a more vibrant life, cleanses and detoxes engender a higher degree of psycho-energetic sensitivity. People then can be more in tune to the seasonal vibrations.
Cleanses and Detoxes can be very beneficial to the body. They allow the body to slow down and recuperate from the abuse that results from overindulgence in nutritionally devoid foods, overindulgence in improper drinks (alcohol, soda pop, etc.), exposure to chemically laden foods, and lack of dietary fiber. “Despite all of our best efforts, we may not be able to prevent toxic substances from entering our body and affecting our well-being. Pollution, packaged foods, caffeine, smoking, drinking, and etc, over a period of time can, impair our immune function and affect our health”.
To the individual who initiates and undergoes the process, the benefits of improved digestion, greater energy and immunity, and a slimmer, more vibrant appearance can be the result. Honestly though, cleanses and detoxes are only, can only be, a part of a true effort to live a more healthy lifestyle. It has been said that many people care more about their cars than they do their bodies. Given the recent statistics concerning health in the U.S.A., that statement seems to be ‘Dead On Point’. However, it does not have to be. If they are undertaken with caution and awareness of what one’s body is ready for, cleanses and detoxes can be a part of the initiative to reverse the trend of ill-health.
Lately, attention has been focused on cleanses and detoxes as a way to lose weight. This method of weight loss is totally counterproductive to a ‘healthy lifestyle’. Cleansing and Detoxing can most certainly result in weight loss. However, because of the intense and drastic manner in which it occurs, the weight loss is usually short-lived. Remember, the reason for the cleanse is to purge the colon of catarrh and built up waste material while the detox helps in purging impurities and toxins from the body. Lifestyle is what will really enable people to maintain a ‘healthy weight’. Cleanses and Detoxes can really only be a compliment to a healthy lifestyle. They can only be a means to an end as opposed to an end unto themselves.
For me, spring and autumn are optimal times for this. It is a chance for me to cleanse my body and be in communion with the Source of All Creating/Sustaining/Dissolving (my concept of GOD). I use cleanses and detoxes to prepare for deeper meditation and other physical/spiritual practices in lieu of bringing in more of the new seasonal energies. On a personal note, I have been blessed to see 52 years of age and, as of last year’s (2011) check up, I had no polyps in my colon. I think that my observing a healthy lifestyle has helped. However, I think that my spiritual practices, to include the recent addition of cleanses and detoxes, since 2009, have enabled and will allow me to maintain much of my health, vitality and positive outlook.
We can all be healthier, if we so choose . . . .
Read more at Suite101: Health Risks of Cleansing Diets: Harmful Effects of a Detox Diet | Suite101.com http://suite101.com/article/health-risks-of-cleansing-diets-a99438#ixzz26eW2lqhF
31 Jul 12Posted by on
Breathing exercises, that utilize long, full, slow breaths (LFSB), provide benefits that enhance the gains obtained from conventional, western exercise. LFSB, as is encouraged through the practice of yoga, tai chi or meditation, allows for maximum oxygenation of the blood and the ensuing, corresponding development and exhalation of carbon dioxide. During exercise, the actions of skeletal muscles, and associated physiological processes, require that fresh oxygen (O2) constantly replace carbon dioxide (CO2) in the lungs. O2 supplies fuel for the bodily processes that supply energy.
Some of the benefits of LFSB include:
- Slows the heart rate – the heart rate slows when the parasympatheric nervous system is operating.
- Full diaphragmatic breathing increases the ratio of O2:CO2. Normal inhalations result in a 1:1 ratio. Full diaphragmatic inhalations create a 5:1 ratio. Thus, more O2 can be absorbed into the blood.
- Normalizes blood CO2 levels – full exhalations facilitate CO2 build up in the blood. This triggers and facilitates maximal uptake of O2 from the following inhalation.
- Reduces blood pressure – Dilation of venous-blood vessels decreases venous-blood pressure. This allows a slower heart rate and more efficient blood flow/O2 transfer.
- Reduces stress – Breathing deep, full inhalations and exhalations, synchronizes CO2/O2 blood levels and produces a natural autonomic relaxing effect.
- Increases the health of lung tissue – The lungs are completely expanded and contracted during deep breathing. This maintains the elasticity of the lungs, especially as we age.
Conventional exercise (Running, Tennis, Basketball, Weightlifting, Gymnastics, Aerobics) focuses on developing (1) the external muscles and (2) the body’s ability to make O2 consistently available in the presence of an O2 debt. In a totally complementary manner, LFSB exercises help develop the ability to fully expand the lungs, which is beneficial for maximal absorption of O2 into the lungs and into the body and contract the lungs, which exhausts CO2 from the lungs and increases blood CO2 concentration. LFSB exercises also provide a natural massage for the internal organs which has a beneficial and rejuvenating effect on the physical, physiological and psychological processes. This can greatly benefit the vigorous exerciser.
LFSB training is a methodology. It can shift the autonomic nervous system away from fight or flight (sympathetic) mode into a more relaxed state (parasympathetic). LFSB inhalations and exhalations have ‘been shown to positively affect immune function, hypertension, asthma, autonomic nervous system imbalances, and psychological or stress-related disorders‘ (Jerath et al., 2006). Jerath and colleagues add that investigations, regarding stress and psychological improvements, support evidence that deep, full breathing alters the brain’s information processing, making it an intervention that improves a person’s psychological profile.
LFSB exercises can enhance the benefits gained from vigorous exercise. The physical aspect of western exercise is good for muscle strengthening and development of aerobic capacity. LFSB practice benefits the body on the physical, physiological and psychological levels. Studies have demonstrated the beneficial effects of LFSB. Breathing to finish that mile run is good; breathing fully to assist the body in processing O2 more efficiently will provide long lasting effects throughout one,s life.
Some techniques that can be employed to develop one’s LFSB capacity is to breath full inhalations and full exhalations at a rate of 4 breaths per minute. As one’s ability improves, the rate can go to 3 breaths per minute, then 2 breaths per minute, and then one breath per minute. This practice should not exceed a period of 15 minutes and should be done no more than twice per day.
Please consult your physician before attempting any of these practices.
Yoga and Health, Yesudian and Haich, Harper and Row; pg 67
07 Mar 12Posted by on
To be successful in golf you must practice, eat well and exercise. A golf conditioning program should go hand in hand with a well-rounded nutrition plan. It goes without saying that proper nutrition and hydration is important for all of us.
If you are serious about shaving valuable strokes off your scorecard, you may need to make dietary changes. The typical foods and beverages offered at the golf course clubhouse don’t do much to advance your game; in fact they take away from your game. Eating overly processed foods is not good for you and consuming too much food within two of hours of tee time affects your game negatively. It diverts blood away from your brain and muscles, elevates your blood sugar quickly and then drops it rapidly which leads to fatigue. Skipping meals is not advisable either because you need a slow and steady release of energy to see you through an 18-hole match or 72-hole tournament.
Ideally you want to eat 5 or 6 small meals throughout the day which helps to increase metabolism and gives your body nutrition to last the length of the game. You can always keep a piece of fruit or a bag of raw nuts in your golf bag for when you need a little snack.
An often overlooked part of nutrition is hydration. To be on the safe side, drink 8 to 10 cups of water every day. When participating in physical activities the body relies on water to prevent muscle fatigue and loss of coordination. Coordination is vital to a successful golf game. Drinking water will aid in regulating the body’s temperature and prevent dehydration. Avoid caffeine and alcohol as they are diuretics and cause loss of fluid in addition to over stimulating your mind or muscles, making performance unsteady. By developing these components, a golfer will be in a better position to remain competitive and stand up to the challenge of their rival. The truth of the matter is, you are what you eat and what you eat affects how you play.
For optimal performance, consume a meal consisting of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats 2-3 hours before golfing.
A sample meal is Whole Wheat Pasta with Red Sauce.
01 Mar 12Posted by on
Fresh fruit smoothies are an easy way to consume several servings of fruit at one time. I prefer to make my smoothies at home so I know exactly what’s in it. I purchase fresh berries, freeze them and use them throughout the week. This smoothie is high in folate, potassium, manganese, magnesium, vitamins C and K, antioxidants and flavonoids. Fresh fruit smoothies are also a great source of fiber. The berries are my smoothie staples, but I will vary the other ingredients. Sometimes I add a fresh banana, pineapple, oranges, grapes, cherries, peaches, etc. Be creative.
½ cup Blackberries
½ cup Blueberries
2-3 tablespoons yogurt (optional)
½ cup 100% juice
Combine in the blender until all ingredients have liquefied.
23 Feb 12Posted by on
5 clementine oranges
½ cup sliced fennel bulb
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup aged balsamic vinegar
Gently peel the oranges carefully removing the pith. Separate the slices and place in a shallow bowl. Cut the fennel bulb in half and slice in whatever form you desire and add to the orange slices. Whisk together the olive oil and vinegar and drizzle over salad. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
This lovely salad is delicious as is or served atop a bed of arugula or mixed greens.
15 Feb 12Posted by on
1 box Near East whole grain wheat pilaf
2 cups water, vegetable, or low sodium chicken broth
1 cup diced cooked chicken without skin
1 cup chopped fresh asparagus, snow peas, or zucchini
1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, parsley, and/or mint)
1/3 cup chopped raw nuts (pecans, walnuts, cashews, or almonds)
In a medium saucepan, bring 2 cups of liquid and 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil just to a boil.
Stir in wheat and content of Spice Sack and return to a boil.
Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer 15-20 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed.
Add herbs, chicken, and nuts during the last 5 minutes of cooking.
Fluff lightly with a fork before serving.
Serve with a mixed green salad, raw or steamed vegetables.
15 Feb 12Posted by on
When it is time to eat, many of us want it quickly. It does not seem to matter that quickly comes at a cost. Fast food restaurants rob us of money, energy, vital nutrients, and fiber. Prepackaged, precooked, and processed foods are another culprit. These “foods” are loaded with salt and preservatives. Sure, they may be quick, but they are dangerous if you eat them regularly. Don’t get me wrong, I occasionally consume packaged foods and I enjoy eating out but the majority of the food I eat I prepare myself.
Cooking at home using fresh ingredients is an excellent way to get more nutrients. When dining out, we tend to gravitate toward all the wrong things. I don’t know anyone who goes to a restaurant and orders the steamed or raw vegetable platter. Experts believe up to one-third of cancers are related to diet.
Doing a little prep work ahead of time makes home cooking a lot easier. You can prepare your weekly meals over the weekend and freeze the meals until you are ready to eat them. Crock-pots also save plenty of time. You can prepare the meal in the morning and it will be ready by the time you get home, add a fresh salad and voila!
Home cooking does not mean that you are tied to the kitchen every night; it means you care enough about your health and the health of your family to put in a little effort.
If you are short on time and need something quick to eat, reach for one of these healthy alternatives.
1. High fiber, low sugar granola bar
2. Raw fruits and vegetables
3. Serving of raw nuts
4. 6 whole grain crackers
5. An ounce of cheese
*See Healthy Food blog for the “Healthy Fast Food” recipe.
15 Nov 11Posted by on
And the Lord GOD formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Gen. 2:7
In today’s society, there is little time to experience anything other than the rush of rushing. As we run from here to there and from there to here, the sense of connectedness to one’s self is lost. The act of rushing becomes one of normalcy. As rushing becomes more ingrained into our hectic routines, we do not take out time to even catch our breath. I would dare surmise that few of us even realize what comprises full and complete diaphragmatic breathing
Breath and breathing fully is the birthright of every human on the planet. Yet, as Esau sold his birthright for a mere bowl of food, many of us have tossed aside the fullness of our breath capacity for other things that we deem to be important: i.e. – tight-fitting clothes, developing poor posture, holding in our stomachs, etc. What could be more important than breathing consciously and fully? What could be more important that taking in the energy laden air that animates our bodies down to the very organelles of every cell?
Most of us are not aware of our poor breathing habits. The quality of our breathing can either bolster or restrict the quality of our life. The consequences of poor, incomplete and inadequate breathing can range from headaches to heart disease and sundry common maladies in between. Many people do not understand how they routinely impose restrictions and distortions upon their breathing. For example, habitually breathing high into the chest, breathing shallowly and breathing too fast are grossly endemic today. A trained eye need not be employed to grasp the extent of these patterns in ourselves and others: tight bodies, tight belts, tight schedules and the like are leaving us ‘breathless’.
This need not be the case. Bad breathing does not have to exist on the endemic level that it now does. Although we may be breathing poorly and inadequately 24 hours a day, 365 day a year, respiratory actions are completely malleable. Breathing is involuntary which is part and parcel of why many of us breathe badly. Breathing is also voluntary. Respiratory action and the associated musculatures are controlled by somatic motor neurons. As we give more awareness to posture and breath, we can bring more life-sustaining energy into our bodies and thereby circumvent many of the complications that can result from breathing poorly.
The most direct physical manifestation of the presence of and connection to GOD that all humans can experience is the fullness of the breath (Read Gen. 2:7). We need not stumble around wondering if GOD is present in our lives. We have a daily reminder with us, at all times . . . all we need to do is breath.
08 Apr 11Posted by on
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 garlic clove (more if you really like garlic)
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 15.5-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 cup sliced or slivered almonds
- 1/3 cup diced red bell pepper
- 1 package spinach or arugula leaves
- Rinse the quinoa under cold water for 1-2 minutes. Bring 2 cups of broth or water to boil. Add quinoa, stir, cover and simmer on low heat for 20 minutes. Check the quinoa after 10 minutes, you may need to add a little more liquid. Cook until it is tender.
- In the meantime mince, mash or crush the garlic. Place in a bowl and stir in the lemon juice, black pepper and salt; whisk in the oil.
- Add the cooked quinoa and the chickpeas, almonds, and bell pepper to the bowl and mix. Serve over the spinach or arugula leaves and drizzle with the dressing. Salad can be served warm or cold.
29 Mar 11Posted by on
- 4 (6-ounce) cans albacore or chunk light tuna (in water), drained well
- 6 ounces chopped artichoke hearts, drained
- 1/2 cup chopped red bell or piquillo peppers
- 3/4 cup sliced Kalamata olives
- 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or 2-3 tablespoons dried
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh or dried oregano
- 1/2 cup low-fat mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Put all ingredients into a large bowl and gently fold together until well combined. Serve on sliced whole grain bread as a sandwich or spoon over a green salad.