Remember when you were a child and you got so wrapped up in playing, imagining or creating that you didn’t want to stop when it was time to eat? Do you remember leaving your meal half-finished to run off and continue playing? Children innately understand that food is secondary to what is most nutritious and primary in life: fun and play.
As adults we seem to have lost our instinct to prioritize play. In our busy world, with its emphasis on work and responsibility, to be healthy and balanced we must work on more than just our bodies; we must feed our hearts, minds and spirits.
Have you noticed that when your body, mind and spirit are engaged in a creative project or happy relationship, your reliance on food seems to decrease? Likewise, when you are unsatisfied with your relationships, your job or other areas of your life, you may depend on food to cheer, soothe or numb you. When your life is out of balance, no amount of food can feed you where you truly need nourishment. The food that we eat is very important for health and balance, but what really feeds us—a full and fulfilling life—doesn’t come on a plate.
What is fun for you? What makes you light up? What excites you? Make time for it this week. Even if you don’t have much time for fun, try approaching a “serious” activity with an attitude of play. This can greatly reduce stress and anxiety and bring more pleasure to your day. Take your focus off food, try adding more fun into your life and watch the magic unfold.
Who among us doesn't love sweets? The sweet flavor releases serotonin in our brains, the chemical responsible for our sense of well-being and contentment. But when it comes to sweeteners, not all are created equal. There are side effects and health risks from refined sweeteners like white table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup, and from artificial sweeteners like NutraSweet, saccharin and Splenda. Because they have been stripped of vitamins, minerals and fiber, refined sweeteners can spike blood sugar, which can often lead to cravings and mood and energy fluctuations. Instead, using naturally and minimally processed sweeteners can reduce cravings for sugary things, level blood sugar ups and downs, stabilize moods and have a dramatically positive effect on long-term health.
Here are a few natural sweeteners to substitute in drinks, food and baking. Since they are all approximately 1.5 times sweeter than refined sugar, you can use less. You can find them in most supermarkets or natural food stores. When replacing sugar with liquid sweeteners in a recipe, reduce the amounts of other liquids.
Everyone seems to love honey, one of the oldest natural sweeteners on the market. Honey will have a different flavor depending on the plant source. Some are very dark and intensely flavored. Wherever possible, choose raw honey, as it is unrefined and contains small amounts of enzymes, minerals and vitamins.
Maple syrup is the concentrated extract of the sap of maple trees. It adds a rich, deep flavor to foods and drinks, Make sure to look for 100% pure maple syrup, not maple-flavored corn syrup. As with all sweeteners, organic varieties are best.
Adapted from "The Cane Mutiny," New Age Magazine, March/April 1999.
Have you ever wished for a few more hours in the day? Why is it that some people seem to get everything done effortlessly and others feel that time constantly eludes them? The secret to managing your time well isn’t working more hours. The secret is working smarter, not harder. It is about prioritizing the important things and learning to use the time you have more efficiently and effectively.
Some of us, by nature, organize and get tasks out of the way before we relax, while others of us play first and work later. It is important to first recognize which type you are and whether your style is allowing you to have the life you really want. Maybe you are super-organized at work, but burned out because you don’t know how to make time for yourself. Maybe you are naturally a less organized person who knows how to relax, but you are dissatisfied because you aren’t fulfilling your goals and dreams.
Rather than labeling yourself or beating yourself up, realize that time management is an area of your life that you can strengthen. Like a new muscle, it takes practice and repetition to make it stronger. To help you get started, here are some steps to streamline your days at Also take a look at the two biggest hindrances to using timework and at home. Try the first one or two that jump out at you:
Allocate time for planning and organizing
Create to-do lists that are realistic, not intimidating. Use only one to-do list.
Under schedule your time. Leave time for the unexpected and for interruptions. When you estimate how long something will take, add on a third of that time.
Schedule your time in a way that reduces interruptions that lower your productivity.
Practice the art of intelligent neglect. Eliminate trivial tasks.
Prioritize what is most important and do that first.
Consider your biological prime time: At what time of day do you work best? Plan to do important work at that time.
If you say yes to everything that comes your way, learn to say no.
Ask for help and delegate.
In the evening make your to-do list for the next day, so it will be out of your brain and on a piece of paper. Leave work with a clear head and a clean desk.
Acknolwledge yourself daily for all that you have accomplished.
Also take a look at the two biggest hindrances to using time effectively: procrastinating and lacking purpose. We usually procrastinate when a task seems too daunting, too large or too complex, or when we feel we won’t be able to handle it. When you get that “deer in the headlights” feeling, try “chunking”: break the large task into smaller, manageable action steps and start with the first one. We also often drag our heels or use our time inefficiently because we are bored, unengaged and uninspired. The most effective people will tell you that they love what they do and are aligned with a greater purpose. When it comes to managing your time, you may need to ask the larger questions, “Am I doing what I love to do? Am I doing something meaningful to me?”
As you strengthen your new time management muscle, keep your focus on getting organized so that you can live the life you came here for. Instead of being a chore, good time management can be your ticket to more fun, greater satisfaction and a vibrant, exciting life.
Think for a moment of a food from your past, one that makes you feel great after you eat it for no specific reason. Maybe it is macaroni and cheese, slow-simmered tomato sauce, ice cream cones or potato pancakes. Eating food like this (every now and then) can be incredibly healing, even though your rational brain might not consider it highly nutritious.
Food has the power to impact us on a level deeper than just our physical well-being. What we eat can reconnect us to precious memories, like childhood playtimes, first dates, holidays, our grandmother’s cooking or our country of ancestry. Our bodies remember foods from the past on an emotional and cellular level. Eating this food connects us to our roots and has youthening and nurturing effects that go far beyond the food’s biochemical make-up.
Acknowledging what different foods mean to us is an important part of cultivating a good relationship with food. This month when we celebrate lovers and relationships, it’s important to notice that we each have a relationship with food—and that this relationship is often far from loving. Many of us restrict food, attempting to control our weight. We often abuse food, substituting it for emotional well-being. Others ignore food, swallowing it whole before we’ve even tasted it.
What would your life be like if you treated food and your body as you would treat your beloved? With gentleness, playfulness, communication, honesty, respect and love? The next time you eat your soul food, do so with awareness and without guilt, and enjoy all the healing and nourishment it brings you.
A woman had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole which she carried across her neck. One of the pots had a crack in it while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water. At the end of the long walks from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full. For a full two years this went on daily, with the woman bringing home only one and a half pots of water.
Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it could only do half of what it had been made to do. After two years of what it perceived to be bitter failure, it spoke to the woman one day by the stream. "I am ashamed of myself because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house."The old woman smiled, "Did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path, but not on the other pot's side? That's because I have always known about your flaw, so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you water them. For two years I have been able to pick these beaufiful flowers to decorate the table. Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house."
Each of us has our own unique flaw. But it's the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding.
Who doesn’t feel as if there aren’t enough hours in the day? We rush through the day, running here and there, and end up exhausted. Somehow these days full of duties, obligations and busyness have begun to build up and become our lives. We spend our time doing things we don’t really want to do, yet feel we should. We’ve come to believe that being productive and crossing things off our to-do list is the ultimate goal.
The truth is, life on Earth is a brief gift, and our time is too precious to be used like this. If we want our lives to be balanced and healthy, we need to lessen our load and increase our down time. This means planning less in a day, prioritizing those things that make our hearts sing and de-prioritizing those things that are not imperative.
If we must accomplish many things each day, we can still change the quality with which we do things. How can we transmute that sprint for the train into something delicious instead of the usual gripping and tightening experience? Where can we find ease in the midst of stress? How can we cultivate the art of going slowly?
Take a few moments before you climb out of bed in the morning to remember your dreams and to think about what you want from the day. Leave your watch on the bedside table. Take the scenic route. Sit for a moment with your eyes closed when you start your computer. Check email only twice a day. Don’t pack your schedule so tightly that there’s no time for a short walk. Light candles before you start to cook dinner. Add one moment here and there for slowness; it can be done simply and will have a profound effect on your well-being.
Adapted from an article by Marco Visscher & Jay Walljasper, Ode Magazine, Issue #15, www.odemagazine.com
People like “stuff.” We tend to hold onto it year after year. We save and stock up on things that we don’t know what to do with anymore. Maybe we keep things because they hold precious memories of days gone by, or they remind us of our parents, grandparents, past loves or childhood. To part with these precious possessions seems out of the question. There is a saying that goes, “You have to get rid of the old to make way for the new.” If you are feeling stuck or stagnant in your life, try spring-cleaning. Throw out some of that stuff, say goodbye to your past and welcome the new energy of your happy, healthy future.
For good mental and physical health, we actually have two “houses” that need to be spring-cleaned: our physical homes and our physical bodies. Just as we accumulate “stuff” in the form of outgrown clothes, magazines, rusty bicycles, tools and random keepsakes, so do our bodies accumulate old food residues and toxins that need to be cleaned out.
To spring clean your body, give it a break from rich and complicated foods by either cleansing or fasting for a short period of time. Cleansing means paring down your food to just simple fruits and vegetables, lots of water and perhaps whole grains. Fasting means limiting most foods and drinking lots of water, fresh vegetable and fruit juices, teas and soups. Without much energy going toward digestion, more energy is available to the rest of your body and mind. Cleansing and fasting can sharpen your concentration, help you gain insight and promote spiritual awareness. It can also bring improved immune function and better digestion.
While you’re cleaning out your body and home, don’t forget to spring-clean your heart. Throw away negative thoughts and habits you’ve been harboring that no longer serve you. A clean, open heart will allow you to receive all the good that awaits you each and every day. If your heart and mind are cluttered, there is no room for life’s gifts and surprises to enter.
You have heard that it is important to include potassium rich foods in your diet, but you may not know why. Potassium serves multiple very important roles in your body’s health and well being, including regulating heart functions, reducing blood pressure, and converting glucose into glycogen. This last task is important in the process of using glucose for muscle energy. Additionally, potassium is important for carbon dioxide elimination from the lungs, normal nerve and muscle function, and maintaining an acid/alkali balance. This mineral is necessary for proper functioning across several body systems.
What to Eat The good news is that foods rich in potassium are plentiful, easy to find, and good to eat. Some fruits with high levels of potassium include papayas, prunes, cantaloupe, bananas, and raisins. Excellent vegetable sources include sweet potatoes, avocadoes, potatoes, asparagus, and pumpkin. There are more foods that have high or moderately high levels of this all important mineral. Consult the library or the internet for a more exhaustive list.
Symptoms of Potassium Deficiency A diet that does not include enough potassium rich foods or dietary supplements will soon lead to health complications. Symptoms of a deficiency of potassium in the body include water retention, heart arrhythmias, continual thirst, high blood pressure, nerve and muscle dysfunction, confusion, and vomiting. The vomiting will lead to a further deficiency in the mineral. These symptoms, affecting numerous body functions are caused by the electrolyte imbalance brought on by potassium deficiency.
How Much Potassium do you Need? The recommended daily allowance for potassium changes as you age. Infants and toddlers, ages 0 to 3, should be consuming 750 to 800 milligrams per day, and children from 4 to 10 years old should ingest 1,100 to 2,000 milligrams of potassium per day. From 11 years old through adulthood, the suggested amount is 3,100 to 3,500 milligrams of potassium every day. One banana contains 440 milligrams, and a medium baked potato contains 450. Take a look at your diet, and if you are not reaching these numbers regularly, you should adjust your diet or add a dietary supplement.
Mitigating Factors The above numbers are a baseline guide. Factors that will lead to depletion of potassium include heavy exercise that leads to sweating, excessive intake of caffeinated beverages, diarrhea, vomiting, and diuretic medications. Some antibiotics may also reduce the potassium levels in your body. If you any of these factors pertain to you, be sure to increase your consumption of potassium rich foods accordingly.
What foods are high in potassium? Bananas Oranges Apricots Avocado Strawberries Potatoes Tomatoes Cucumber Cabbage Cauliflower Chard Bell pepper Eggplant Squash Crimini mushrooms Brussels sprouts Turmeric Parsley Spinach Broccoli Tuna Halibut
Peter works so hard at reading, but it just never gets easier. He knows he's smart so why can't he read like the other kids? Peter has a problem called dyslexia.
Dyslexia (say: dis-lek-see-uh) is a learning problem some kids have. Dyslexia makes it tough to read and spell. The problem is inside the brain, but it doesn't mean the person is dumb. Plenty of smart and talented people struggle with dyslexia.
But dyslexia doesn't have to keep a kid down. With some help and a lot of hard work, a kid who has dyslexia can learn to read and spell.
How Does Reading Happen? To understand dyslexia, it helps to understand reading. Reading is a real workout for your brain. You need to do the following steps — and all at once:
Understand the way speech sounds make up words. Focus on printed marks (letters and words). Connect speech sounds to letters. Blend letter sounds smoothly into words. Control eye movements across the page. Build images and ideas. Compare new ideas with what is already known. Store the ideas in memory. Phew! Kids who have dyslexia struggle with the beginning steps, so that makes doing the rest of the steps even harder. It's no surprise, then, that trying to read and dealing with dyslexia makes a kid's brain really tired really fast.
(The above text is courtesy of http://kidshealth.org)