Benefits of Meditation

To name a few:

  • decreased respiratory rate
  • increased blood flow and slower heart rate
  • deeper level of physical relaxation
  • lowers blood pressure
  • lowers anxiety
  • reduces free radicals and tissue damage
  • decreases muscle tention
  • enhances immune system
  • enhances energy, strength, and vigor
  • helps alliviate chronic diseases
  • helps alliviate chronic pain
  • increases serotonin levels
  • helps control thoughts
  • slower aging of the mind
  • I could go on and on…





Follow your Bliss…

Waterfall in the jungle of Northern Thailand

“If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that had been there all along, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in your field of bliss, and they open doors to you.” –Joseph Campbell

Part 4 and 5 of Pollan’s Diet Switches

4. From leaves to seeds

As a whole, we’re eating less of the leaves on plants and more seeds in the form grains and soy.  Leaves, as my readers know I am crazy about, contain essential chemicals for human health—antioxidants, phytochemicals, fiber, and omega-3’s to name a few.

The decline in leaf consumption and the incline in seed consumption has lead to a major OD in Omega-6’s. 9% of American calories come from Omega 6’s—mostly from soy bean oil and processed foods.  What’s so bad about an overabundance of Omega 6’s?  They cause an inflammatory response in the body. If I created Advil, I’d be seriously pushing the food industry to load up our food with Omega-6’s. An imbalance between Omega 6 and Omega 3 has also been blamed for other issues such as depression, aggression (have an anger issue?  Maybe you’re eating too much Omega 6’s and not Omega 3’s!), and cardiovascular diseases.  Yuck.

 Plan of Attacks:  Eat your Greens, baby!  Reduce the amount of Omega 6 in your diet by consuming less processed foods and conventionally raised meat (grass fed cows have more Omega 3’s than conventional grain fed cows), consume other Omega 3 rich foods—chia seeds, flax, hemp oil!

5.     Food Culture to Food Science:

Growing up, my family almost always ate dinner together (and it wasn’t in front of the TV unless it was a very special event).  Meal time, was not about mindlessly shoving food into our bodies but a time to share our days and for me and my bro to learn such things as manners (not sure how well I did in this area).  Also, from a development standpoint, its often around the table that children learn language.  Listening to real people speak (as opposed to the TV) is crucial for language acquisition and early literacy.  Josh and I eat at least one meal together every day (sometimes all three!).  For me, it’s a very special time and a practice I plan to continue with your future little ones.

Eating, regardless of what nutrionism claims, is not just about nutrients.  Food and eating practices hold social and spiritual meaning for cultures.  Much of this has become lost in Western Culture.  We eat in our cars (guilty), in front of the computer (guilty) and TV’s, and alone.  We spend less time preparing and eating our food than we used to.

Plan of Attack:  Commit to making time to share a meal with your family/room mate/friend/co-worker every day.  Turn off the TV/ Computer.   Skip the drive thru. Don’t forget to chew!  Take a deep breath or two between bites. Try a new recipe.  Make food with friends and/or family members.   Something I love about holidays is that I’m usually sharing the kitchen with my mom, grandma, aunties, and cousins.  We’re all chopping, stirring, baking (and usually drinking wine—more on the benefits of a daily drink to come).  That crazy kitchen might be the most warm, loving place I know.


Diet switch-a-roo numero 3

 From Quality to Quantity:

This one tugs on my heart strings.  Our culture goes gaga for cheap stuff.  I catch myself often when I hear a great deal.  My first reaction is, “oooo, I should buy some…a lot…” But the deal really isn’t so great when we find out that the consequences of all that cheap crap is a lack of energy, weight gain, and disease.  I actually cannot go into a Wal Mart without my heart rate elevating and breaking into a sweat.  To me, Wal Mart epitomizes Americans love affair with cheap, low quality things.

Many people have commented to me that buying organic or even just eating vegetarian is too expensive.  Yes, quality food can be a bit on the expensive side.  The people producing it are not be subsized by the government and their putting in the work to produce high quality foods.

 Plan of Attack:  Let’s think long and hard about what is important to us and how much we REALLY need.  American’s spend a smaller percentage of their income on food than any other developed nation.  What if we rearranged our budget a little?  What if we spent more on food, but ate a bit less?

Dodgy Diet Switch Number Dos

 A switch Complexity to Simplicity:

Seriously?  Hasn’t our food become MORE complex in the past ½ century?  It begins with our soil, which in many cases has been over used and improperly cared for.  Degradation of our soil means a loss of nutrients which transfers into the plants it produces.  A conventionally grown apple today contains 1/3 the iron as the same apple in 1940.  So you eat the apple and your body is like, “What the hell?  Where’s the iron?” so you eat another one, and another one…or more likely, grab a candy bar because the apple. “just didn’t do the trick”. In order to meet our nutritional needs, we’re having to eat more calories.  Excessive calories leads to excessive weight which makes way for disease.
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Josh and I are in Nha Trang, Vietnam. I was scheduled for a 2.5 hour run for this A.M. I woke up early and was on the road by 7 AM, hoping to beat the heat. Fat chance. Within the first 30 minutes I was feeling horrible—hot, nauseous, defeated. I knew I needed to get my mind in a different place if I was going to complete the run. Within 10 minutes, I felt my mind and body make a 180 degree shift. For the next 2 hours, these were my mantras:

  • Keep drinking, you can stop to buy as much water as you need
  •  Keep your skin wet (with sweat)
  • You can take a dip in the sea whenever you need it
  • Pull into your center
  • You’re all over this shit (excuse the language)
  • You were born to run
  • You are in control of your mind
  • Focus on your breath
  • Look how beautiful it is—what a treat to run here

In Korea, people shout “FightING!” at sporting events to encourage the athletes. I often had people shout it at me when I was out running. It felt good. We tried to ask our Korean friend if they were really saying, “Fighting” and we think he said yes (wasn’t super clear). At any rate, while I was running today I was pondering this exclamation, and shouting it in my mind. I thought about how it had nothing to do with a physical battle with my body or anyone else’s for that matter. It is purely about the mind’s fight to stay present and to see the task through to fruition.

 The last few 30 minutes of the run were really tough. I had taken in over 50 ounces of water, my skin was still wet (good sign), but I felt like I was going to vomit. I paused for a few minutes to wet my hair in the sea. I walked for a minute to bring my body temperature down a little. With every step I said, “You’re so close. You’re so close…” Finally, I was back at the hotel, eating a big bowl of oatmeal and pumping my body full of fluid and Emercen-C (vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes). I felt great. This afternoon, I am having a massage on the beach and will enjoy every moment of it.

Nha Trang Beach

It’s all good.