Lifestyle Solutions for a Happy Healthy You!

Archive for July 4, 2011

10 Foods That Promote Brain Health

10 Foods That Promote Brain Health

Who doesn’t want to become smarter? Who wants to look better or feel healthier? Many recent studies have shown how certain nutrients can positively affect the brain, specifically in areas of the brain related to cognitive processing or feelings and emotions. Generally speaking, you want to follow a healthy diet for your brain that will lead to strong blood flow, maintenance of mental sharpness and reduce the risk of heart disease and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.

We know that foods play a great role in our brain, as concluded in several studies led by a phenomenal neuroscientist at UCLA, Gomez Pinilla.

According to one study, the super fats your brain needs most are omega-3 fatty acids. Your brain converts them into DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) which enhances neuronal communication and promotes neuronal growth.

Food and nutrients represent fuel to our bodies the same way that when we use our car we need to fill the gas tank. Unfortunately, we generally take better care of our cars than our bodies. Why is that? We are hearing frequently that consuming the right nutrients can help our health, aging process, and more efficient brain-body functioning.

With that said, I want to share with you ten foods you must keep in your diet to maintain brain health:

1. Apples: Eating an apple a day protects the brain from oxidative damage that causes neurodegenerative diseases such Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. This magical nutrient that acts as protection is quercetin, which is a phytonutrient.

2. Asparagus: Asparagus is rich in folic acid, which is essential for the metabolism of the long chain fatty acids in your brain.

3. Lean Beef: Lean beef is rich in vitamin B12, iron and zinc. These vitamins and minerals have been shown to maintain a healthy neural tissue.

4. Blueberries and strawberries: Studies show that people who eat berries improve their memory and their motor skills. In addition, their antioxidant properties can protect your brain from the oxidative process.

5. Dark chocolate: Dark chocolate offers incredible concentration powers. It is a very powerful antioxidant containing natural stimulants that increase the production of feel-good endorphins. Trick: you need to find dark chocolate with less than 10 grams of sugar per serving for optimal benefits.

6. Salmon: Salmon contains omega-3 fatty acids, which studies have shown to be essential for brain function.

7. Dried oregano: Certain spices have powerful antioxidant properties. In several studies, this powerful spice has shown to have 40 times more antioxidant properties than apples, 30 times more than potatoes, 12 times more than oranges, and 4 times more than that of blueberries or strawberries.

8. Walnuts: Walnuts are rich in protein and contain omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins E and B6 which all promote healthy neural tissue.

9. Whole grains: Whole grains deliver fiber and vitamin E that help promote cardiovascular health, which helps improve the circulation to the brain.

10. Yogurt: Yogurt and other dairy foods are filled with protein and vitamin B that are essential to improve the communication between nerve cells.

Make sure that from now on you select and plan a great menu that include these brain foods. Life is about choices and selecting the right nutrients can play a key role in your health.

Written by Michael Gonzalez-Wallace, who is the author of Super Body, Super Brain. You can read more from him at www.superbodysuperbrain.com or pick up his book Super Body, Super Brain.

Leesa recommends choosing organic and local as well as wild and grass raised (beef) when possible!

6 Ways to Strengthen Your Intuition

6 Ways to Strengthen Your Intuition

 You are driving home from work and you suddenly get the urge to go a different route. You follow the urge only later to hear on the radio that there was a major accident on your usual route. You think to yourself, “what good luck!”

You wake up in the morning and remember that you dreamed that a family member was ill. You call the person and find out that she is not well. You think, “what a coincidence!”

Was it really luck or a coincidence? Or is there something more going on? Absolutely…it was your intuition at work!

The dictionary definition of intuition is an immediate insight or understanding without conscious reasoning. Intuition or hunches are the whispers from your soul, offering you guidance and direction. Intuition is a powerful source of information, creativity, and inspiration. When you follow your intuitive voice life flows more easily, things seem to fall into place, and you will experience less stress.

Inventors, business people, law enforcement officers, healers, and many others use their intuition regularly to make decisions and to achieve success. Intuition can help you make decisions at work and in your personal life – especially when you don’t have time to gather all the pertinent information. It can help you avert difficulties and tune into potential problems on a project. Your intuitive voice can help you with simple choices (like which route to take home) and big decisions (like which job to take).

Everyone has intuitive potential – men and women. It is a natural talent that everyone possesses. It is not something special limited to only a few gifted individuals. As a child, you freely accessed your intuition. Unfortunately, over time you likely received negative feedback from your peers, teachers, or family. You likely began to doubt your intuitive voice and shut down this channel of information. The good news is that with a little patience and practice you can strengthen and hone your intuition to create a valuable guidance system.

The first and most important thing that you can do to develop your intuition is to acknowledge and honor the intuitive messages that you are currently getting. Your intuitive voice is still there, you just need to tune into it. Start paying attention to and trusting those little hunches or gut feelings that you have. If you did nothing more than start honoring your intuitive impulses, you would find a dramatic improvement in your intuitive abilities.

Intuitive messages can come as a sudden “knowing,” gut feelings, thoughts, images, emotions, or bodily sensations. It is important to pay attention to the way your intuitive messages generally show up for you. Think back to what it felt like when you got the sudden urge to take a different route home (or some other intuitive event). What did that feel like? Was it a feeling? A thought? An image? It is important to pay attention to the details of an event like this, because it will help you understand the way you receive intuitive messages. Once you know what your intuition feels like, it makes it easier to discern between intuition and other messages like fear or wishful thinking.

In addition, you can begin some specific exercises and practices to further enhance your intuitive abilities.

6 ways to strengthen your intuition:

Clearing your mind – It is easier to hear the whispers from the soul when your mind is quiet and open. Much of the time your mind is wandering and “going a mile a minute.” You likely have lots of thoughts running through your mind at any given moment. You probably spend much of your day multi-tasking. All of this “noise” makes it difficult to hear your intuitive voice. It is important to find some ways to quiet your mind. You can’t shut off your thoughts completely, but you can learn to slow them down. Let all the distracting thoughts flow out of your mind. Let them go. Picture your thoughts floating away on a cloud. Focus on your breathing and allow your mind and body to relax more with each breath. You might even try counting down from 10 to 1 and allow yourself to relax more with each count. Once your mind is clearer, you can then access your intuition.

Meditation – There are many forms of meditation and all are excellent ways to get centered and quiet the mind. Even a few minutes of meditation daily can increase your ability to hear your intuitive voice. Meditation is like priming the pump. As you get used to being in a meditative state, you will find that it is easier to hear the whispers from your soul and to distinguish these messages from other mental chatter. If you are new to meditation you might try sitting quietly and focusing your attention on a candle flame. When your awareness drifts (and it will), simply bring your attention gently back to the flame. You can also try focusing your attention on a short phrase or word (mantra) that you repeat over and over to yourself. Remember that the key is to gently bring your mind back to your focus point. Getting frustrated will only interfere with the process.

Imagery – You can use imagery to help you access intuitive answers to your questions. Imagine yourself in a quiet place in nature, surrounded by beauty and wonder. Make this image as vivid as possible by using all of your senses. Spend a few moments simply enjoying this place in your mind’s eye. Then, imagine a treasure chest nearby. You feel excited as you approach the chest because you know that the answer to your question is inside. Take a deep breath and imagine yourself opening the treasure chest. Don’t try to control this, let your intuitive mind guide you. Trust that whatever is inside the chest is your answer. You might receive a very clear answer or you might get a symbol that doesn’t make logical sense to you. Either way, it is exactly what you need. Trust that if the answer is not clear right away, it will become clear over time. Over the next few days, be open to feelings, songs, conversations, or any synchronistic events. Be patient! If you become frustrated or try to force an answer, you will block the flow of intuition.

Dreams – While you are sleeping and your conscious mind is at rest, your soul has the opportunity to bring intuitive information to you through your dreams. When you are working on a problem and looking for your intuitive guidance, take some time before you fall asleep to ask for an answer to come to you through your dreams. Be sure to keep a journal by your bed so that you can record your dreams the moment you wake up. Your answers may come symbolically and may need some interpretation. Look for the emotions and themes of your dreams and see if this sheds light on your problem. If the answer still is not clear, be patient and remain open. You may find more clarity with time.

Affirmations – You can use affirmations to focus your mind. It is best to use affirmations with some form of relaxation (such as deep breathing) in order to get the combined effects of a relaxed body and focused or centered mind. Affirmations are a terrific way to tap into the power of your subconscious mind to help you reach your conscious desires. Affirmations should be concise sentences stated in a positive way. When creating an affirmation remember to state what it is that you want, not what you don’t want. Another important guideline is to always use the present tense when creating your affirmations. The following are a few examples of affirmations to increase your intuitive abilities. I trust my intuition. My intuitive voice is consistently accurate. I access my intuition easily.

Practice – It is important to practice using your intuition. When you first start practicing you may want to begin with small issues that do not have a significant impact on your life. For example, try to guess who is calling before you pick up your phone. Guess which elevator will show up first when you are standing in front of a bank of elevators. Practicing with these simple issues will allow you to stay relaxed and focused without too much distraction from fear or other mental chatter. As you practice, you will get better at recognizing your intuitive impulses and you will gain confidence in using this skill. The more confident you feel about identifying your intuitive voice, the more you will trust it and be able to act on it.

As you practice using your intuition and build your skill, you will find that your intuitive voice is a precious resource – an indispensable gift. You can use this inner wisdom to guide you in all of your decisions at work, at home, and at play. The more you use and trust your intuition, the stronger it will get and the more confident you will feel about it. The whispers from your soul will always guide you to the path that is for your highest good.

By Kirsten Harrell, Intent.com

Intent.com provides content and community for who you aspire to be–personally, socially and globally.

 

You’ve Come a Long Way, Kombucha

You’ve Come a Long Way, Kombucha

You’ve Come a Long Way, Kombucha

Years ago I was told about a mushroom shaped fungus that people in the health food “know” were calling Kombucha, and using for medicinal purposes. At the time I was working with a pioneering medical doctor who insisted that we find some of this elixir and make it ourselves. Having the right connections brought this slimy little bugger to my kitchen where I placed it in a bowl of water with some sugar and bags of tea and let it do its thing. Not only did it ferment the water, but it grew another baby Kombucha, and therein lies the dilemma of making home brewed Kombucha, what to do with all the babies?

Needless to say, I spread the word to my friends and family, who, by now, knew my unorthodox interest in all things odd and alternative where food and medicine was concerned. At the time there was very little information as to how Kombucha worked, just that it was a great blood detoxifier that had emigrated from Russia and could heal a multitude of ills in a small amount of time. One unproven claim was that this odd looking mass of gelatin could heal cancer, which would only elicit a succession of raised eyebrows and unbelieving groans. Undeterred I continued to soak the Kombucha, drink the elixir, and give away the babies.

Having already spent years dancing around the media hype of the just-blossoming-health-food industry, I knew to take it all with a grain of sea salt and do my own research. Which usually means, to first try it out on myself in order to test the claims. The good doctor happily offered his body for additional research and for several months we soaked and sipped Kombucha until, seeing little or no results, we just could not take another sip of the vinegary solution. Alas, the last remaining baby was laid to rest in the woods and we all returned to drinking elixir from the green tea family.

Now, some 20 years later, and Kombucha appears to be one of the most popular health drinks on the market to the tune of $295 million dollars last year. Naturally, this means that the taste has to have greatly improved with the addition of cranberry, mango, ginger or berry flavors; but what hasn’t changed is that people still claim that they feel much better after drinking the Kombucha elixer. Even with that sharp vinegar taste devoted Kombucha fans find relief from a number of ailments, in particular digestive, intestinal issues.

But I make no claims here, only that if you are a Kombucha drinker you might like to know that you can make that four-something-a-bottle health soda into a delicious summer drink by adding:

  • a few ice cubes, and sparkling mineral water for a Kombucha Spritzer.
  • a few scoops of non-dairy ice cream for a delicious Kombucha Ice Cream Float.
  • 1-2 ounces of botanically infused Gin or requisite Vodka with a splash of flavored Kombucha for a liver bracing Kombucha Martini.

As the Irish are want to say when raising a glass or two, Slainte, “To Your Health!”

 by Delia Quigley

Delia Quigley is the Director of StillPoint Schoolhouse, where she teaches a holistic lifestyle based on her 28 years of study, experience and practice. She is the creator of the Body Rejuvenation Cleanse, Cooking the Basics, and Broken Bodies Yoga. Delia’s credentials include author, holistic health counselor, natural foods chef, yoga instructor, energy therapist and public speaker. Follow Delia’s blogs: brcleanse.blogspot.com and brokenbodiesyoga.wordpress.com. To view her website go to www.deliaquigley.com

Leesa’s favorite is GT Dave’s Multi~Green Organic Raw Kombucha!  Which is your favorite flavor?

Positivity Quest: A Summer of Gratitude

Positivity Quest: A Summer of Gratitude

Positivity Quest: A Summer of Gratitude

 

 

Gratitude is a quality similar to electricity: it must be produced and discharged and used up in order to exist at all. ~William Faulkner

Every positive psychology text you will ever find will name the practice of gratitude as one of the most direct routes to reframing your thinking and increasing the positive aspects of your life.  For instance, like love,  it is impossible to feel afraid while you feel grateful.  Your brain cannot hold those two disparate thoughts simultaneously. And yet, thinking grateful thoughts is a qualitatively different experience than the moments of grace when gratitude takes over your heart and transforms your perspective.

Like orgasm or forgiveness, I have learned enough about gratitude to know that you can’t force it.  All of these experiences share some fundamental characteristics – you can open to them, you can lean towards them in your thinking, you can invite a vulnerable space in your body to feel, but you can’t force the experience. Still paying attention to what we want to cultivate is the most powerful use of our mind’s eye and attention is often sufficient to make big changes.

So I am taking the summer gratitude challenge. Consider it an extension course of the positivity quest.  Every day I am going to practice holding my thoughts and leaning towards gratitude.  Maybe I will even wear a bracelet again to notice the times when I am not having grateful thoughts.  And every evening I will write about what I learned about gratitude and how it is changing my life.

I am excited for this next step of the positivity quest because I have a few mentors I have met through this endeavor who are living entirely blessed lives and the one thing that I believe to be most true about each of them is that gratitude, like love is the pulse that measures each beat of their lives.

Stay tuned and consider joining me on this summer of gratitude experiement.  It is the doorway to the goodness that is right in front of us.

(Leesa recommends a gratitude journal!  It keeps her focused on all the good in her life…She’s written in one every day since 1994!  http://www.healthyhighway.org/GratitudeJournal.html)

by Wendy Strgar

See more of Wendy’s Positivity Quest here.

Wendy Strgar, founder and CEO of Good Clean Love, is a loveologist who writes and lectures on Making Love Sustainable, a green philosophy of relationships which teaches the importance of valuing the renewable resources of love, intimacy and family.  In her new book, Love that Works: A Guide to Enduring Intimacy,  she tackles the challenging issues of sustaining relationships and healthy intimacy with an authentic and disarming style and simple yet innovative adviceIt has been called “the essential guide for relationships.”  The book is available on ebook.  Wendy has been married for 27 years to her husband, a psychiatrist, and lives with their four children ages 13- 22 in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

 

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: