Eat a Mostly Alkaline Diet for a More Positive Outlook

The connection between the effects of an alkaline environment in our body and the positive quality of our thoughts is profound.

In my practice I teach my clients how to eat a more alkaline diet not only because there is a long list of health advantages for keeping our bodies in a balanced pH range, but because it also helps you to maintain a positive attitude and clear thinking!

I cannot site any empirical data here, just personal experience and keen observation of others over the years. I can tell when the negative thoughts come creeping in that they are often related directly to my urine pH and my diet/ and lifestyle being acidic.

So how do we achieve a more alkaline pH?

The following information explains more about good dietary guidelines for an alkaline diet, which is a major aspect, but exercise and lifestyle choices that reduce stress are also factors.

http://greenopedia.com/article/alkaline-food-chart-degree

To monitor your progress you can purchase some urine pH test strips from your local pharmacy or if you are a current client of mine you can pick some up at my office. They come in a small roll like tape. Tear off a piece from the roll that is long enough to comfortably pass it through your first morning urine stream. You want to go with the very first impression of color you see and not wait for it to change. There’s a little color test chart on the packaging of the roll that you can compare the color with. The ideal range should be somewhere between 6.4 and 7.2. You are looking for an average here, so some days you may be higher or lower, but the goal is to be in this range more often then not.  

 

Intuition as a Practice


“Praying is talking to God, intuition is listening to God.” The Writings of Florence Scovell Shinn

Intuition is a form of listening that requires not only being mindful, but it also requires that you listen is a way that is relaxed, trusting, and open. This is a developmental process of being in the "here and now".  We can begin by teaching ourselves to be quiet, to let go of what we think is the answer, to admit that we may not know, and wait for that moment where an unfiltered thought enters into our conscious and we know it is truth from the physiological response that it elicits. There is a feeling of rightness, an "Aha" and sometimes the thought "what, really?" will come into our consciousness. What we have to do in that moment is not doubt that the information or the answer to our question is correct. It’s beyond thinking, beyond our conditioning and beyond any type of knowledge that we have memorized or experienced. When we engage in the intuitive process we are connecting to God and giving ourselves over to the wisdom that comes from that. 

For example, when someone comes to see me for a session I realize when they arrive that there is going to be a combination of knowledge that is conveyed from my thirty plus years of study in nutrition, and spirituality, and it’s application, but I basically don’t know what will be revealed that day from that well of knowledge or more importantly how it will be conveyed, and what other surprises will cork up in the process for that person. It could be something I have never said to anyone ever before, but it will be perfect for that moment to carry them to the next right step or understanding that they seek. I call this leaving room for God, a space that is reserved solely for those answers. I let that guide me in what is to be addressed in that session that is in alignment with their best and highest good and which they are ready to receive. This is the intuitive in action.

 

 

Listening Well Takes Practice

If the person you are talking to doesn’t appear to be listening, be patient. It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear.”

 Winnie the Pooh In Pooh’s little instruction book

 Photo courtesy of Ed Yourdon

Photo courtesy of Ed Yourdon

Mindful listening is an art. I found this out years ago when I went to work as a volunteer for the AIDS foundation. During the training we were partnered with someone and told to talk for a full 5 minutes to the other person. Our partner was not allowed to speak or make any obvious gestures or facial expressions that would indicate a feeling or judgment about what we were saying. It was really hard! But we had to get that our former mindless egocentric way of trying to connect with others was just not going to cut it when it came to helping someone to fully live or to die in peace.

After a few minutes of listening a miraculous thing started to happen. Both people in the conversation began to physically relax. The person speaking became more mindful of their speech and was able to form clearer thoughts. In the process we stopped getting ahead of ourselves and began to feel not just a connection with the other person, but a connection between our own mind and body. You could feel a profound sense of presence developing between us that took us past any issues of disagreement, or judgment. In the process we both felt like we really got to know the other person.

Mindful listening allows the other person to feel valued, opening the door for discussion, problem solving, negotiations, and the ability to be open to personal change as it stimulates growth in our self-esteem and self-expression.

Next time you are in a conversation with someone, take the time to mindfully listen, catch yourself to not interrupt the person who is speaking. Give them the time, attention and space to be heard. We’re all worth it!

Suggested reading The Zen of Listening, by Rebecca Z. Shafir



Understanding Digestion

“The best and most efficient pharmacy is within your own system.”  ~Robert C. Peale

 Photo courtesy of Chris Bentley

Photo courtesy of Chris Bentley

I recently had the wonderful opportunity to attend a day-long lecture on Digestive health. Well, that may sound a little boring, but a healthy digestive tract is the basis for a healthy disease free body and I find that fascinating! There are many factors that need to be examined when you are trying to create a healthy gut, and no two people are alike in this area, but here are the main standouts.

Eat a balanced intake of vital nutrients in the form of healthy protein, fat and carbohydrates.

Chew your carbohydrates and starches! The saliva in your mouth breaks down the starches into simple sugars that are taken up by the cells and used as energy. 20- 30 chews per bite full is adequate for most people.

Protein is digested by the stomach, pancreas, liver and small intestines. If you have low levels of stomach acid you will not be able to break down the protein to get the essential amino acids from protein that you need. Stomach acid also acts to sterilize your food and protect you from harmful bacteria, viruses, and parasites that tag onto your food.

Fats are digested by the liver, gall bladder, pancreas, and small intestines. The bile from your gallbladder emulsifies the fat, which is then broken down by enzymes from the pancreas.

We need fiber in our diet to move the digestive process along in a timely manner. Having 2-3 good bowel movements a day is healthy.

If you have a history of chronic bloating, burping, acid reflux, diarrhea, or constipation, these are not normal! And you do not need to suffer. These are issues that can be addressed in sessions with me and I would be happy to help!


Mighty Miso Soup

In traditional Chinese healing, sea vegetables correspond to the winter season and to the kidneys, adrenal glands, bladder and reproductive organs. 

Miso soup.jpg

The strengthening, balancing and cleansing properties of sea vegetables are known to help these organs as well as the hair, skin and nails. Sea vegetables (or seaweeds) provide a variety of minerals and vitamins, including calcium, iron and iodine, and can help balance hormone and thyroid levels in the body. Eating too many processed foods or foods grown in mineral-depleted soil can result in a lack of minerals in the body, leading to cravings for salty or sugary foods. Adding sea vegetables to your diet can help balance your energy levels and alleviate cravings.

You can purchase sea vegetables at almost any natural food store. 


Mighty Miso Soup

Prep Time: 5-10 minutes

Cooking Time: 10-15 minutes

Yield: 4-5 servings

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 cups spring water
  • 1-2 inch strip of wakame, rinsed and soaked 5 minutes in 1 cup of water until softened
  • 1-2 cups thinly sliced vegetables of your choice (see notes)
  • 2-3 teaspoons gluten free miso
  • 2 scallions, finely chopped

Directions:

  1. Chop soaked wakame.
  2. Discard soaking water or use on houseplants for a boost of minerals.
  3. Place water and wakame in a soup pot and bring to a boil
  4. Add root vegetables first and simmer gently for 5 minutes or until tender
  5. Add leafy vegetables and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  6. Remove about 1/2 cup of liquid from pot and dissolve miso into it. Return it to the pot.
  7. Reduce heat to very low; do not boil or simmer miso broth.
  8. Allow soup to cook 2-3 minutes.
  9. Garnish with scallions and serve.

Note:

Any combination of vegetables can be used in miso soup. Here are some classic combinations: 

  • onion-daikon: cleansing
  • onion-carrot-shiitake mushroom-kale: mildly sweet
  • onion-winter squash-cabbage: great in wintertime
  • leek-corn-broccoli: great in summertime

 Variations:

  • Add bean sprouts toward the end.
  • Season with 1/2 teaspoon ginger juice for an interesting twist.
  • If using dry shiitake mushrooms, let them soak for 20 minutes, slice and add at the beginning.



13 Ways to Nurture Your Spirit

“The roots of love sink down and deep and strike out far, and they are arteries that feed our lives, so we must see that they get the water and sun they need so they can nourish us.” Merle Shain, In  Hearts That We Broke Long Ago

What is your sun and water for nurturing spirit in your life and others?  

Here is  a brief list I composed that you can practice for the further development of your spiritual life:

  • Find a quiet place each day for 20 minutes to meditate.  Sit with your eyes closed in a comfortable, but upright position, and focus on a single meaningful word. When your mind wanders, come back to your word.  Increase to twice a day when you have time.
  • Set intentions for what you are wanting in your life, that will also serve the greater good. 
  • Work with affirmations to help bring your focus into living in the present and to integrate positive healing thoughts into the feeling self.
  • Practice the feeling of having gratitude for all that your life brings you until it becomes a habit. 
  • Be mindful of your language when you speak to yourself or others.  Do not use violent words.
  • Do something creative every day even if it is only for 10 minutes. This could be singing, writing, dancing, playing music or any other form of art. 
  • Go for a walk in nature at least once per week.  Take at least ten minutes during that walk to sit quietly and observe in detail one feature in nature that captures your attention. Ie. A leaf, a branch, a rock, a tree.  Allow your self to observe it in slow motion, let yourself get lost in the object and be open to a shift in your perspective about it. 
  • Spend time once a week with like- minded individuals who are also on a spiritual path. This can be at a church or with any group that meets on a regular basis.  
  • Find a way to be of service to others, as a volunteer or with your family or in your work or all three.
  • Read books on spirituality and growth to help you understand the process and help you feel supported in your journey.
  • Work with someone who can guide you through the process. There can be many twists and turns and it helps to have someone there when you get stuck. 
  • Take some classes like yoga, meditation, tai chi, chi gong, toning, etc., they help to slow down the mind and enhance your ability to meditate.
  • Seek help with your physical health. Spirit moves more easily in a body that is healthy and full of vitality. 

Love Your Food = Love Your Body = Love Yourself

“I Love You Just the Way You Are”, Billy Joel

If you want to be really healthy get involved in preparing your own food and put some love into it!

This month when we celebrate lovers and relationships, it’s important to notice that we each have a relationship with food—and that this relationship is often far from loving. Many of us restrict food, attempting to control our weight. We often abuse food, substituting it for emotional well-being. Others ignore food, swallowing it whole before we’ve even tasted it.

What would your life be like if you treated food and your body as you would treat your beloved – with gentleness, playfulness, communication, honesty, respect and love? The next time you prepare your food, do so with awareness and without guilt, and when you eat it enjoy all the healing and nourishment it brings to you.


Increase Down Time To Decrease Mental Stress

Slowing down and being more mindful in your actions is a great way to reduce mental stress.

The truth is, life on Earth is a brief gift, and if we want our lives to be balanced and healthy, we need to lessen our load and increase our down time. This means planning less in a day, prioritizing those things that make our hearts sing and de-prioritizing those things that are not imperative.

If we must accomplish many things each day, we can still change the quality with which we do things. How can we transmute that morning drive into something delicious instead of the usual gripping and tightening experience? Where can we find ease in the midst of stress? How can we cultivate the art of going slowly?

Take a few moments before you climb out of bed in the morning to remember your dreams and to think about what you want from the day. Leave your watch on the bedside table. Take the scenic route. Sit for a moment with your eyes closed when you start your computer. Check email only twice a day. Schedule time in your calendar for a short daily walk. Light candles before you start to cook dinner. Add one moment here and there for slowness; it can be done simply and will have a profound effect on your well-being.

Adapted from an article by Marco Visscher & Jay Walljasper, Ode Magazine, Issue #15, www.odemagazine.com