Lifestyle Solutions for a Happy Healthy You!

Archive for July 3, 2012

Seeing Your Home Through ‘Feng Shui’ Eyes

Seeing Your Home Through ‘Feng Shui’ Eyes

At the foundation of Feng Shui is the belief that everything in our  home is  alive and talking to us. This may seem like a stretch to many,  but stop and  think about it; when the first thing you encounter when you  enter your home is  the unrelenting pile of clutter, how does it make  you feel? My sense is – not so  great about yourself. And who needs that? (See my article The Anatomy of Clutter)

Your home holds information about belief systems that may or may not be  serving you. You can train yourself to see them by looking at exactly what is  there. By acting on this information, you gain valuable tools for transformation  and personal growth.

My client Elinore’s living room walls were filled with large,  expensive oil  paintings of her husband’s dead relatives. Sort of like the ones you might find  in a castle with everyone looking very severe and disapproving. She hated them  but did not have the nerve to tell her husband. He had inherited them and as the  only son of a wealthy family, wanted to have them up, but they had a very small  home. She had no room to put any of the pictures that she loved. Her space had  an important message for her if she was willing to see it.

In Elinore’s case it revealed that she didn’t value herself enough to have  that “courageous conversation” with her husband about not feeling comfortable in  her own space. She didn’t feel worthy of asking him for this important thing.  She could have presented him with options; he could put them in his own office  or even give them to other relatives. Because she could not speak up about her  own needs, she was consigning herself to live with the “eyes of the disapproving  relatives” eternally following her around the house.

It is our  personality that resists confrontation. It fears we may lose all  by speaking up. The truth is that we may lose if our relationships are  built on  sand, but if they are substantial, our loved ones will come  around and  our  relationships will be better for it.

Feng Shui teaches that every object in our homes and gardens has a   consciousness, which is called energy or chi. It is  interacting with us  and we are interacting with it on subtle, and not-so-subtle  levels. We are continuously “painting” where we are in life into our physical  surroundings. Whether we like it or not, our  space is reflecting our inner  psychology. By reading the messages that are there in our  surroundings,  we can gain valuable insights, bringing us the personal growth that our soul  seeks.

As we study Feng Shui we learn to see our homes with a new pair of  eyes. I  have been eternally grateful for the simple messages that my homes have provided  about what is going on in my inner world. As a person who has always been on a  path of personal growth, I welcome these valuable insights.

One example was when I got it about the impacts of having too much stuff. I started making myself have just one or two  objects displayed on a surface rather than my usual seven or eight. I realized  my home looked like the homes I staged with lots of decorative objects filling  every corner. There were no unfilled surfaces. In meditating why this  made me uncomfortable, I suddenly saw the simple lesson that was embedded  energetically into my home. I realized that I filled my social calendar the same  way I filled my home. Every corner was busy! My home, like my life,  reflected a lot of doing and not much being. I was  uncomfortable creating more spaciousness in my life and there it was reflected  in my home!

By creating more spaciousness in my living space, I  created an environmental affirmation which reflected  my  intention to spend more time developing my inner landscape. This  translated to more time spent in self-reflection, meditation and yoga. As a  result of my home becoming more balanced, my life also came more into  balance.

There are invaluable messages embedded in our space that can change  our  lives for the better. Feng Shui teaches us to look at our space in new ways  which allows for many powerful “ah hah” moments. Subtle changes in our living  space often produce big changes in our lives.

Although everything in our environment provides valuable information about  our inner beliefs, the easiest way to start is by looking at your artwork. What  is it telling you about your belief systems? The overwhelming wall of family  photos in the hallway often reveals that the client’s life has been overwhelmingly about family in an un-balanced way. Often her children  have grown and she is now faced with not knowing who she is. I  recommend weeding out some of the family photos and adding pictures of the  client doing fun things with friends or by herself. By affirming this new way of  being, she brings it into prominence in her life. She begins to attract friends  and experiences that affirm her as a individual, enriching her life and filling  the “empty nest” with her new sense of self and purpose.

Perhaps you have some depressing pictures, or too many single women pictures – and you want to bring in a relationship? Or maybe  you have art work that simply matches the room but does not inspire you? Your  walls act as important real estate reflecting what it is you want to bring into  your life. Use them to move your life forward in a way that affirms, inspires  and uplifts. This affirmation in your physical space will begin to work  energetically on your internal space and your life will begin to shift in the  direction you desire. (See my article Your Home is Attracting your Future.)

You may also want to look at what is not there. Often a home with no  pictures on the walls or sparse furniture reflects an inability or fear of  commitment. A fear of making choices that are wrong, so no choices are made at  all. It can also reflect a lack of commitment to your living space. You may not  like it and are hoping to find something you like better when you can afford it.  I have found time and time again when a client fully commits to where they are  living now and makes it wonderful, the doors open pretty rapidly to a  better place. Many of life’s lessons can be found in the Feng Shui of  our space.

It’s quite simple really; when we feel better about our living  space, we  become happier people. Happier people attract others who want  to spend time  with them, who will often bring opportunities along as  well.

A home that lifts your spirits and reflects your true tastes, loves  and  desires, makes you happy. In doing so it is amplifying the happiness   quotient in your life and attracting more of it. Consequently, a home that  always drags you down  because of the accumulation of all the little things that  bug you, is continuing to attract more of what you don’t want.

Western Feng Shui, which is the form that I teach and  practice, is not about hanging mysterious crystals and  wind chimes in strategic  places. It is not about some “woo woo” superstition that is too  complicated to figure out. You will unfortunately encounter  many books that try  to make it mysterious, but the skinny on  Feng Shui is that is is  simple. By working on your home to make it a  more pleasing place for you and/or  your family to be, you are changing  your energy. You simply feel better, hence are  more enjoyable to be around and you start to experience a domino  effect of positive things happening  in your life!

By Erica Sofrina,  author of the book Small Changes, Dynamic Results! Feng Shui for the Western  World.

Erica Sofrina is a  motivational speaker, author and life coach specializing in connecting people to  their spiritual essence. She is also an Internationally recognized Feng Shui  speaker, teacher and the author of the book Small  Changes, Dynamic Results! Feng Shui for the Western World and the Founder of  the West  Coast Academy of Feng Shui.  She is also the founder of Earth Spirit  Adventure Travel which takes people on retreats to powerful energy vortexes such  as Bali and Hawaii to facilitate their deep earth/spirit connection. Find out  more at www.ericasofrina.com

7 Super-Healing Summer Berries

7 Super-Healing Summer Berries

 

Berries are a delicious addition to any diet.  But,  taste is not the only reason to love them.  Here’s why you should add these  seven super-healing summer berries to your diet:

Blackberries

Loaded with vitamin C, blackberries also contain ellagic acid—an important  phytonutrient that protects skin cells from damaging UV rays. Ellagic acid also  prevents the breakdown of collagen in the skin that occurs as we age and is  linked to wrinkling.

Blueberries

Blueberries are phytonutrient powerhouses.  They  contain: anthocyanins, ellagic acid, quercetin, catechins, and salicylic acid.  If the latter sounds familiar, you may recognize it as the drug we’ve come to  know as Aspirin. That’s right—blueberries contain natural aspirin, but in this  beautiful and delicious packaging offered by Mother Nature, there’s no worry  about harmful side effects. What’s more, blueberries are proven to reduce heat  shock proteins that are linked with some forms of brain disease, making these  little marvels potent weapons in the prevention of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s  disease as well as other neurological disorders.

 

Loganberries

A cross between blackberries and raspberries, these berries  strengthen blood  vessels, making them an excellent addition to help  fight heart disease or  varicose veins. They contain rutin, which  research shows strengthens  capillaries and improves circulation. They  look like long raspberries.

Currants

Currants contain gamma-linolenic acid that inhibit the body’s histamine—the  allergic response in reaction to pollens. That makes them great to help you  avoid or eliminate sinus congestion and itchy eyes linked to seasonal allergies.  Since they are tart, you might enjoy them best mixed with other berries.

Raspberries

Raspberries are still my favorite fruit. Raspberries, like other  berries,  contain an important compound that is 10 times more effective  at alleviating  inflammation than aspirin. Containing the phytonutrient  ellagic acid,  raspberries can help protect against pollutants found in  cigarette smoke,  processed foods, and may neutralize some cancer-causing  substances before they  can damage healthy cells. They’re delicious on  their own, in a fruit salad, in  a smoothie, or on top of a green salad.

 

Gooseberries

Gooseberries—the berries that resemble green grapes—help you to feel  happier.  In recent research in the journal Experimental  Neurobiology,   scientists found that gooseberries contain a flavonoid  called   kaempferol that prevents the breakdown of brain hormones serotonin and   dopamine. These brain chemicals naturally help us fight stress and keep   our  spirits up.

Strawberries

More than delicious, when it comes to disease prevention, these babies pack a  serious punch. Not only do eight strawberries contain more vitamin C than an  orange, they are antioxidant powerhouses. Whether you want to evade heart  disease, arthritis, memory loss, wrinkling, or cancer, these berries have proven  their ability to help. Plus, they’re just so easy to get into your diet on a  regular basis.

By Michelle Schoffro Cook

Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, RNCP, ROHP, DNM, PhD is an international  best-selling and twelve-time book author and doctor of traditional natural  medicine, whose works include: Healing Recipes, The Vitality Diet,  Allergy-Proof, Arthritis-Proof, Total Body Detox, The  Life Force Diet, The Ultimate pH Solution, The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan,  and The Phytozyme Cure.  Check out her natural health resources and  subscribe to her free e-newsletter World’s Healthiest News at WorldsHealthiestDiet.com.

Image credit (loganberry): ndrwfgg / Flickr

14 Ways to Keep Cool in Your Home Without Air Conditioning

14 Ways to Keep Cool in Your Home Without Air Conditioning

Here in the South, the weather has definitely taken a turn toward the  sweltering.  There have been some unseasonably warm days already, with highs in  the 90s, and the temptation to flick the switch on that A/C unit to “on” is very strong. Before using  the air conditioner, consider this: home cooling accounts for 5 percent of the energy we consume in the U.S.  each year. That’s about 140 million tons of CO2 emissions annually! Here are  some ways to fight that urge by keeping your house cooler naturally.

1.  Keep the shades drawn during the day. When sunlight  streams through the windows, it creates a miniature greenhouse effect in your  home.

Related: Cool Curtains: Non-Toxic and Eco-Friendly

2.  Reflect the heat. If you do want to open the windows,  consider investing in some reflective window film to help keep the heat outside where  you want it to be.

3.  Let the cool evening air in. If temperatures are on the  chilly side after the sun goes down, crack a few windows open to let a breeze  come through and cool the house.  Just be sure to close them before the  temperature starts to rise again!

4.  Insulate! You want to keep cool air inside, so grab that  caulk gun and seal off anywhere that air might be escaping.  A handy draft dodger can help seal up those tricky leaks at the  bottoms of doors and windows.

5.  Get rid of incandescent lights. Not only do those  suckers use more energy, they generate a lot more heat than CFL or LED light bulbs.

6.  Make sure your ceiling fans are running counter  clockwise. Most modern fans will have a little switch on the side to  reverse their direction.  You want the fan to go clockwise in winter to push  warm air down and reverse it in the summer to circulate cool air.

7.  Drink icy beverages. This one seems like a no-brainer,  but it still bears mentioning.  What better way to beat the heat than to cool  your body from the inside out?

8.  Dress appropriately. Loose-fitting, light clothing goes  a long way toward keeping you cool.  It’s time to bust out those organic cotton shorts and tank tops!

9.  Grab a towel. A towel soaked in cold water is a great  way to cool down.  Apply it to your neck, wrists, and forehead for some relief  during the hottest part of the day.

10. Avoid the stove and oven. Both of these will add  unnecessary heat to the house.  Instead, fire up that outdoor grill or whip up a salad or sandwich.   Your rice cooker, slow cooker, and pressure cooker are other alternatives to  heating up the house with the stove or oven.

11. Try a buckwheat pillow. If the heat is preventing you  from sleeping, switching to a buckwheat pillow can make a big difference, since  buckwheat doesn’t hold on to your body heat like conventional pillows do.

12. Learn from your pets. How does your cat cope with the  hottest part of the day? She snoozes!  If you can squeeze in an afternoon nap,  go for it.

13. Chill out. Turn on your table fan and stick a frozen  bottle of water in front of it to get some cold air circulating.

14. Plant a tree. If you can, plant trees on the side of  your house that gets the most sun.  The extra shade will protect your home from  the sun’s rays.

By Becky Striepe

Becky Striepe is a green blogger and independent crafter with a passion  for vintage fabrics. She runs a crafty business, Glue  and Glitter, where her mission is to use existing materials in products that  help folks reduce their impact without sacrificing style! She specializes in  aprons and custom  lunch bags. Like this article? You can follow  Becky on Twitter or find  her on Facebook!

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by olivander

13 Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds

13 Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are the only seed that is alkaline-forming; in this world of highly acidic diets, that  is a very good thing.

Pumpkin seeds taste so good that I add them to many of my meals. They are  easy to make highly digestible by soaking for only six hours. I have added a  video of this soaking process for you to watch on the last page.

Did You Know? History and Interesting Trivia

  • Pumpkin seeds were discovered by archaeologists in caves in Mexico that  date back to 7,000 B.C.
  • North American tribes were the very first to observe the particular miracle  in pumpkin seeds.  Pumpkins and their seeds were an important Native American  Indian food used for their dietary and medicinal properties.
  • Pumpkin seeds are called pepitas in Mexico and they are a  trademark of Mexican cuisine.
  • Pumpkin seeds were very popular in ancient Greece.
  • The nutrition in pumpkin seeds improves with age; they are among the few  foods that increase in nutritive value as they decompose. According to tests  made at the Massachusetts Experimental Station, squash and pumpkin seeds stored  for more than five months show a marked increase in protein content.
  • Pumpkin seeds are high in calories, about 559 calories per 100 g.

Nutritional Facts & Health Benefits Pumpkin  seeds:

  • Are filled with lots of minerals including phosphorus, magnesium, manganese,  iron and copper.
  • Are a good source of vitamin K.
  • Contain phytosterols, compounds that that have been shown to reduce levels of LDL cholesterol.
  • Contain L-tryptophan, which helps with good sleep and lowering depression.  Tryptophan is converted into serotonin and niacin. Serotonin is also very  helpful in helping us to have a good night’s sleep.
  • Are high in zinc, making them a natural protector against osteoporosis. Low  intake of zinc is linked to higher rates of osteoporosis. In a study of almost  400 men (age from 45-92) published in the American Journal of Clinical  Nutrition they found a correlation between low dietary intake of zinc, low  blood levels of the trace mineral and osteoporosis at the hip and spine.
  • Are a good source vitamin E; they contain about 35.10 mg of tocopherol per  100 g.
  • Are the most alkaline-forming seed.
  • Are an excellent source of vitamin B group (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin,  pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine) and folates).
  • Contain good quality protein. 100 g seeds provide 30 g.
  • According to studies, pumpkin seeds prevent calcium oxalate kidney stone  formation.
  • Reduce inflammation for arthritis without the side effects of  anti-inflammatory drugs.
  • Are used in many cultures as a natural treatment for tapeworms and other  parasites.
  • Are good for prostate health! The oil in pumpkin seeds alleviates difficult  urination that happens with an enlarged prostate.

How To Soak Your Pumpkin  Seeds

Soak the  seeds for six hours.  To learn more about soaking nuts and seeds click here: Sprouting Nuts and Seeds

Pumpkin Seed Recipes:

Pumpkin seeds are so valuable we put them in the category of powerfoods!

By Diana Herrington

Diana Herrington, now living in Northern Canada, turned a debilitating health  crisis into a passion for helping others with healthy, sugar-free, gluten-free,  eating and cooking. After testing and researching every possible healthy therapy  on her delicate system she has developed simple, powerful principles which she  shares in her recent book Eating Green and Lean, and as host to Care2  groups: Healthy  Living Network and Healthy  Cooking. She is the head chef at Real  Food for Life, where she shares recipes and tips. Catch her on Facebook  or  Twitter @DancinginLife.

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: