Category Archives: Wanderings, Health

Nuts about nuts ;)

article-2549826-0AFFB236000005DC-712_306x423With my mind on health foods these days, I’m going to write about a few nuts ūüôā — no not crazy people, even though there are plenty of such¬†nuts¬†around in the world ;), but I’m going to write about nuts, which constitute food.

The first of these, my favorite, is Brazil Nuts! These grow in the Amazon forest, and nowhere else on the planet. Native Amazonians have cherished these delicious nuts since ages, which provide them much-needed protein, fats and other essential nutrients. They are also rich in selenium, which has attracted attention because of its antioxidant properties. Antioxidants protect cells from damage. There is some evidence that selenium supplements may reduce the odds of prostate cancer.

220px-Brazil_nut_DSC05477Brazil nuts grow near the tops of 150-foot-tall trees in hard casings similar to coconuts, but they are never imported in this form. Inside the case, 20 to 30 nuts fit together like the sections of an orange. The case and its contents are heavy and¬†can weigh anything up to 4.5kg, and individual trees can produce as many as 450kg of nuts. The trees grow only in the wild and aren’t cultivated. Collectors of these cases stop work when the wind is strong because a case landing on your head can literally kill you.

Although these nuts are called Brazil nuts their biggest producer is Bolivia, which produces about 50% of the world’s supply.

Scientists have researched¬† that a late-night snack of 6-8¬†Brazil nuts¬†‚Äď which are packed with selenium and potassium ‚Äď washed down with a calcium-rich glass of milk contains all the ingredients you need for a satisfying sleep. The research says that those with sleep apnea may benefit from this snack too. So, insomniacs could give this a try!

 

Eat those berries

blueberry-teaserBlueberries
Serving: 1 Cup –¬†57 calories
Benefits:

* Packed with powerful antioxidants                  * Research indicates links to good vision, acuity and brain development

For quite a long time, healthcare professionals and scientists didn’t give the little blueberry its due, since it had relatively low vitamin C content when compared with other fruit. Then it was discovered that the blueberry was a nutrition powerhouse, a superfood loaded with phytonutrients and a fruit that had benefits unlike any other.

raspberry-teaserRaspberries
Serving: 1 Cup Р52 Calories
Benefits:

* Rich in fiber and antioxidants, raspberries support heart health                                              * 44% DV of Vitamin C                                           * 7g Fiber                                                                  * Excellent source of fiber РMore fiber than a bran muffin

New research suggests that eating red raspberries (yes, they come in several colors) may prevent cancer by inhibiting the abnormal division of cells and promoting the normal death of healthy cells.

blackberry-teaserBlackberries
Serving: 1 Cup – 43 calories
Benefits:
  • * Excellent source of fiber
  • * 5g fiber
  • * 50% DV of Vitamin C
  • The berry’s striking dark color comes from anthocyanin, a powerful phytonutrient that may protect from diseases such as cancer

Studies show blackberries have one of the highest antioxidant contents per serving of any food tested. In a 2006 study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, scientists indicated that blackberries’ antioxidant content of 5.75 millimoles per serving was far above that of other foods. This means that regular consumption of blackberries may have a positive impact on health, athletic performance and disease risk.

strawberry-teaserStrawberries

Serving: 1 Cup Р50 calories
Benefits:

* 160% DV of Vitamin C                                         * More Vitamin C than an orange                        * Immunity-boosting

Every day, research confirms that strawberries are an important part of a healthy diet. Eating just one serving of strawberries, or about eight of these sweet fruits per day, may help improve heart health, lower the risk of developing some cancers and lower blood pressure.

My favorite berries have always been raspberries and blueberries, and I often tend to avoid buying blackberries…but this is going to change! ūüôā

(All the above information is from Driscoll, the fruit company, but verified from other sources.)

 

 

As Within So Without

There are several¬†different interpretations of this ancient and famous quote “As within so without”, and I¬†prefer¬†to stick with the very literal meaning conveyed by it. My own experience has taught me that these words¬†mean exactly what they say, that our inner and outer states are representations¬†of each other, they reflect each other. To explain how this happens, I¬†need to ask you, dear reader, to keep an open mind¬†and just read on. They do say, “A mind¬†is like a parachute; it only works when it is open!”¬†;)…so,¬†for starters let’s just¬†open up¬†to hearing some¬†new¬†ideas here, and later decide if we’ll accept them or not.

There’s a huge body of research and information that conclusively proves that¬†our inner state is¬†actually the very¬†creator of¬†the¬†environment¬†we find ourselves living in.¬†For example, a calm and relaxed¬†inner state creates¬†a calm and relaxed outer environment — everything goes well, and life moves along smoothly.¬†Then, quite suddenly, we find that there is a lack of harmony in our environment, and there are obstacles and frustrations.

This is a good time to do some investigation and look for areas of discord within. Investigate, what happened that disturbed your inner balance? Due to what reasons were you disconnected¬†with a sense of contentment and peace within? The answers to these questions, and their resolution are also the fix for an¬†outer environment that’s dysfunctional. Take care of the within, and the without will take care of itself! This is a new category I’m starting today, on health related issues…you’ll be hearing much more about all this in the near future! Ciao, ciao…

Food as medicine (3) — Chia seeds

2014-03-02 16_53_02Another item gaining a lot of popularity with healthy eaters nowadays is Chia. Chia is the seed of a plant whose botanical name is Salvia Hispanica. It is a species of flowering plant, in the mint family, native to central and southern Mexico and Guatemala. There is evidence that in pre-Columbian times the Aztec used it and economic historians have suggested it was as important as maize as a food crop. It is still used in Mexico and Guatemala, either with the seeds ground or with whole seeds, as a food source or made into for nutritious drinks.

Chia seeds are rich in nutrient content and a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, protein, calcium, phosphorus, and manganese. They are also rich in proteins, dietary fiber and antioxidants.

So, why should someone eat Chia Seeds? Here are some reasons why:

1. Combat diabetes

2. Add more fiber to the diet, and when mixed with water or other liquids, they expand forming a gel that can aid in weight loss by keeping you feeling full longer

3. Help stock up on Omega-3s

4. Stronger teeth and bones

5. Meet the body’s needs for manganese, phosphorous, protein

6. Fight belly fat

7. Improve heart health

2014-03-02 16_51_54How can we incorporate them into our diet, and into our life? This way:

The easiest way is to add it to everything and anything. Unlike flax seeds, chia seeds don’t have to be powdered, and being tasteless they can be added to anything at all, from sprinkling them on salads, to¬†adding them to soups, smoothies or anything at all, really! They may even be sprouted.¬†It has been suggested to sprinkle them even on ice cream :)…just keep a sprinkle bottle handy in your handbag or briefcase!

I’m so glad I write this blog and research different things. I’ve had a Chia Seed packet for six months and haven’t opened it — today I will :)))! The photos are¬†of this packet, and its content!

After writing this blog I put a teaspoonful in my mouth and started chewing. The seeds have a beautiful nutty flavor and started becoming gelatinous, and as I continued to chew them they got swallowed without an effort. Lovely taste too :)!

 

Food as medicine (2) — Quinoa

2014-02-28 11_30_49Quinoa*, a seed which is a native of Colombia and some other South American countries,¬†is one of my favorite foods. Teaching a lunchtime¬†ESL course at¬†a local Van Houtte Caf√© today,¬†I bought myself a soup and a quinoa salad. Noticing this, my student, a Colombian, informed me of an interesting story. He told me that when the Spanish Conquistadors** invaded South America, they found the natives, the Incas and the Chipchas, physically¬†very strong. Believing that their staple¬†diet consisting of¬†quinoa made them this way,¬†the conquistadores¬†burnt as many quinoa crops as they could find. Man’s inhumanity to man is very tragic, but¬†history is full of such stories ūüôĀ

2014-02-28 11_31_13 (1)

More on quinoa: Quinoa was important to the diet of pre-Columbian Andean civilizations and is considered a ‘superfood’.¬†It’s protein content is very high¬†(14% by mass), and¬†per 100 calories is higher than brown rice,¬†potatoes, barley and millet. Nutritional¬†evaluations of quinoa indicate that it is a source¬†complete protein. Furthermore, it is a good source of dietary fibre and phosphorous, and is high in magnesium and iron.¬†Quinoa is also a source of calcium,¬†thus is useful for vegans and the glucose-intolerant.¬†Because of all these characteristics, quinoa is being considered a possible crop in¬†Controlled Ecological Life Support System for¬†long-duration human occupied spaceflights.

Costco members may be happy to know that Quinoa Salad — yummm! — is one of the pre-prepared foods available there :)!

*Quinoa, pronounced Kinwa, or Keenoa

**Conquistadors were Portuguese or Spanish “conquerors”;¬†they were soldiers,¬†explorers, and adventurers at the service of the Portuguese and the Spanish Empires,¬†who sailed beyond Europe, conquering territory and opening trade routes. They colonized much of the world for Portugal and Spain¬†in the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries.

 

 

The angels in our lives <3

1017495_10152951367610370_506134639_nIn life, everyone who crosses our path, is an angel in disguise… but it takes a lot of personal growth to finally understand this!

Some of these ‘angels’ come into our life to bring us lessons, so we may begin to understand our fears and insecurities, and hopefully grow¬†and evolve enough to overcome them! This leads to deep inner healing, making us more complete, and authentic human beings!

Then there are ‘angels’ who¬†meet us with love… to help us open our hearts more, to experience an expansiveness we didn’t know we were capable of!

What we need to understand is that at a soul level we attracted each one of them to us — some of them for the lessons we needed to learn for our growth, and some others for the support their love brings to us, helping us to stay standing in the face of the harshness of the lessons to be learned in life!

In the final analysis, it’s ALL good…

 

The choices we make…

…take us to the heavens we find :)! In life, a day or a¬†moment will always come when there will be only two choices before us — to chicken out and maintain the status quo, or to take courage in both hands and break from the old mold, which we have outgrown, and which now is only causing constriction and pain by not permitting any growth, nor even allowing in¬†air to breathe. Which way will you go that day? Will you choose to fear the unknown and shrivel up and die…or will you risk the unknown, grow wings, and fly?

red_rose_204835 ~*~*~*~

French-born American author Anais Nin wrote:

“And¬†the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

~*~*~*~

Wishing you wings…applauding your flight ūüôā

 

What is our true essence?

This is an old post from November 2013, but a good revisit anytime ūüôā

*******************

There’s a beautiful quote that goes: “Our true essence is revealed in moments of unexpected change!”*¬†I first saw¬†the quote¬†more than¬†15 years ago, when one of the students in my Transpersonal Psychotherapy (Psychosynthesis)¬†class had¬†shared it¬†in one of¬†our workshops. The quote had had** a big impact on me, then. In fact, it¬†had truly startled me. You see, I had never made a connection between who I was as a person, to how I reacted to unexpected situations OR looking at it in reverse, I didn’t think that how I reacted to situations had anything to do with the person I thought I was. It stunned me, therefore,¬†to realize that one went with the other. If an unexpected situation arose, of course I was not going to be pleased, because I saw it as a disruption in my day, and a disappointment to me…

But then, it made me think about what kind of a person this made me… And how did I feel about being a¬†person who lost control, even though only on¬†the inside, when my wishes or desires were thwarted***???? Hmmm…it didn’t feel nice at all! I knew right away, this quote was a wonderful mirror to evaluate who I was as a person, and that I could use it to¬†grow as a person :)..and¬†that certainly was a very happy thought! As I continued on my journey, I changed and evolved and after a while didn’t need this reminder on a regular basis. But, being human, I go off track sometimes¬†and then remembering this quote makes me smile ūüôā

And, what about YOU? Did reading the above trigger something? Are you alright with being the person you are in moments of unexpected change? If yes, kudos to you — if not, don’t worry…life is a journey, and it’s quite alright to slip or¬†get lost, so long as we¬†reorient ourselves and get back on track ūüôā

*When I first read the quote I saw it attributed to the Sufi mystic Rumi whose real name was Jalal-ud-din Balkhi but subsequently have no verification of this on google, in fact if someone tries to google it today the link takes you to my old blog theradiantself.blogspot.com where I posted it a few years ago, so the author it seems is now lost

**had had — for ESL students, this is the past perfect tense ūüôā — yes, there are two ‘hads’ there ūüėČ

***Thwarted means ‘prevented from being accomplished’

So much wisdom in this

imagesI just came across this quote by transformational author Wayne Dyer: “Heaven on Earth is a choice to be made; not a place to find.”

I know too many people running from place to place, pillar to post, looking for that perfect place which will bring them ultimate peace and happiness. Few realize that this place exists ‘within us’, often between our two ears :)… and THIS heaven, nothing and no one can take away from us. And never forget, it’s the simple and the little things in life, that really count… I hope the accompanying picture tells you something ;)!

Make the time, take the time, to ‘discover’ this place/space/state, or you will keep running all your life, trying to run away, from yourself ūüėČ