Archive for December, 2010

How to Keep your Body Alkaline

As 2010 comes to a close, I hope it was a healthy year and you are looking forward to an exciting year ahead. I know I have so much to be thankful for and so much to look forward to in 2011.

Each of us has a path we can take — the illness path or the wellness path. The choices we make determine whether we’re headed for illness or for wellness. We are in charge of our own body. We determine what to consume. We decide if we are going to challenge our bodies by exercising. We are constantly making choices — one choice is just as easy to make as another choice. Still, over a period of time, one will lead to better health and one will lead to your doctor’s office. Which will it be for you?

One of the ways to keep your body free of diseases is to keep it in an alkaline state. I’ve heard it many times — diseases cannot live in an alkaline body. How do you keep your body in an alkaline state? By consuming more alkaline foods than acidic ones. Approximately 75 percent of your food intake should be alkaline and about 25 percent should be acidic. So, a lot more alkaline foods than acidic ones. This helpful chart at betterbones.com puts the alkaline-forming foods on a scale from low to high.

There are various places where you can buy pH paper such as a garden center or pet shop or even one that sells swimming pool supplies. If you want one that covers a wider gamut, you may need to find a lab supply store.
Personally, to keep my body alkaline, I take a “greens” supplement with every meal. What I like about this company is that their multi-vitamin is also packed with a “greens” caplet. I also drink alkaline water. I was recently tested by a health practitioner and my body was in an alkaline state. This is not to say that I leave the job to the supplements. I do try to make smart choices about what I eat.

I wish all of you the best of health. Take care and see you next year.

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Stress Relievers — Reducing Cortisol

Are you stressed? Here we are in the middle of the holiday season and even running regular errands like grocery shopping can be stressful. Traffic is heavier, parking lots are more crowded, and you have more to do with the holidays upon us. Occasional stress is not harmful; it’s the continuous, relentless one that is the problem.

Cortisol is a “stress hormone” that is produced by the adrenal glands. It is secreted in greater amounts during your body’s “fight or flight” response. Small amounts of cortisol are fine, but when it’s continuous, many problems start to develop such as a depressed immune system, sleep problems, blood sugar abnormalities, and abdominal weight gain so it’s important to get the body back to a relaxation state.

Elizabeth Svoboda of Prevention magazine recommends the following:

  • Say “om” — practicing meditation can cut cortisol by 20%
  • Make a great iPod mix — listening to background music can cut cortisol by 66%
  • Hit the sack early or take a nap — there was 50% more cortisol in the group that slept 6 hours or less vs. those that slept for 8 hours which gave the body enough time to recover from the day’s stresses.
  • Sip some black tea — cut cortisol by 47%
  • Hang out with a funny friend — even simply anticipating laughter can cut cortisol by 39%
  • Schedule a massage — this can cut cortisol by 31% and not only reduces stress, but promotes production of dopamine and serotonin, the “feel good” hormones released when we socialize with friends or do something fun.
  • Do something spiritual — cut cortisol by 25%; church-going subjects had lower level of the stress hormone, but you can also take walks in nature’s “cathedral” in the woods or along a beach or even doing volunteer work.
  • Chew a piece of gum — cut cortisol by 12 to 16% to instantly defuse tension. Gum chewing increases blood flow and neural activity in select brain regions.

I hope you’ll find at least a couple of suggestions useful to you and can be implemented immediately. Happy Holidays!

When to Take the Keys from Older Driver

One of these days, as an older driver, we might become such a hazard on the road that it is best that we no longer drive. None of us is looking forward to that day. According to the January 2011 issue of Consumer Reports, in 2008 78% of Americans 70 and older had a driver’s license. That’s a rise of 73% compared to 1997 and reported by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. They expect the number to keep rising as baby boomers age. What is disturbing is that our vision, response time, and neuromuscular control worsen with age. As well, cognitive abilities including memory, perception, reasoning, and thinking can also decline.

People with mild dementia are higher-risk drivers, but as many as 76% are still able to pass a driver’s test. The American Academy of Neurology has issued guidelines to help doctors determine when their patients with dementia should stop driving. Among them are:

  • Crash in the past year to five years
  • Citation in the past two to three years
  • Aggressive impulsive personality

Other ailments that can impede driving are:

  • Glaucoma
  • Angina
  • Arthritis
  • Respiratory illness
  • Neurologic conditions such as Parkinson’s disease

In determining when to take the keys from an older driver, Orly Avitzur, MD, a board-certified neurologist and medical adviser to Consumers Union suggests the following:

Taking away the keys is more than just not being able to drive. There is a loss of independence. Going anywhere means depending on someone else so there are many issues to be resolved.

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Jyoti Sondhi — Lighting the Lamp Within

Guest author Jyoti Sondhi shares her path on how she came to write Lighting the Lamp Within.

Yet many of us seem to miss important turns on this journey. We get caught up in our day-to-day lives. The mind is constantly running after things that we do not possess, or looking after things that we have. I have often wondered why do we feel miserable and suffer when it is our real nature to be in joy and in peace? Why are we looking for happiness outside and not inside of ourselves? Why do we have low self-esteem and insecurities? Why are we looking for external power to feel complete when we are infused with the energy of love? Why do we allow a strong ego to run our lives when humility is our real nature?

I have lived such a life too, for many years until a kind of spiritual experience changed my life completely. The turning point crept quietly into my life some years ago, following Reiki immersion. I call it my spiritual awakening, something that I did not fully understand at that time. I did not know that ordinary people like me could have such a divine experience.

And then the inspirations came to me from the Universe.  I reached a point where I could not hold them and felt the need to express them. That was the start of my blog which led to my book, Lighting the Lamp Within.  One by one,  my life experiences started to make sense and  the jig-saw of my life began to feel complete. The inspirations did not come in any particular order, but when I started to put them into my book, I realized I could broadly arrange them thematically.

Lighting the Lamp Within is a collection of brief essays to help answer some of the questions that we all have as seekers in a simple and practical way. I am sharing what I have learnt in this process about my Self, and about practical lessons in spiritual living. I have identified various  hurdles in our spiritual growth and offered healing and practical techniques for ordinary people to live a spiritually enriched  life with a shift in perspective. I unravel key lessons on spiritual living — lessons that most people would be able to  relate to whatever their faith.

Jyoti Sondhi

These essays may illuminate your spiritual journey or may simply leave food for thought. As you go through this book, do take time to pause and reflect upon the ideas. These may become important landmarks for your own growth.

More information on my book is available at www.lightingthelampwithin.com and discussions on quotes from the book can be found at http://lampwithin.wordpress.com.

Lighting the Lamp Within (ISBN 978-14502-5528-8) is also available at several on-line retailers such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Edamame or Soy Beans

Soy Beans in Pod

Now that Thanksgiving is behind us and many of us have overeaten, are you thinking of perhaps incorporating some healthier foods into your diet? If you’ve never had edamame (pronounced eh-dah-mah-meh) or soy beans, it might be something to consider. It’s generally available as an appetizer in Japanese restaurants and readily available in the freezer section of Asian supermarkets either shelled or in the pod. Sometimes you can even find fresh ones in the vegetable section.

Edamame is one of the few plant sources of complete protein and is a great source of antioxidants and high in fiber. When shelled, they look like small lima beans. The taste is unique and mild. They make an excellent snack or a great addition to a salad.

What are the benefits of soy?

  • Keeps bones strong. It contains isoflavones which are estrogen-like compounds that improve bone density and hence, reduce fractures.
  • Fights heart disease. Edamame is one of the few non-fish sources of omega-3 fats which helps to reduce the risk of heart disease and inflammation. Soy can also lower your cholesterol.
  • Beneficial for dieters. Because it’s high in protein, it will fill you up quickly and you won’t overeat. It will also “stick to your ribs” longer. If you snack on the soy beans in the pod, it takes work so you’ll eat more slowly and eat less.

If buying the frozen beans in the pod, check the directions on the package. It’s very simple, but if you’re trying to reduce your sodium intake, eliminate the salt when boiling the beans. Happy, healthy eating!

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