Tags: Body & Mind, books, health, meditation, psychology, Science, Spirituality
By Leonardo Vintini
According to Dr. Joe Dispenza, every time we learn or experience something new, hundreds of millions of neurons reorganize themselves.
Dr. Dispenza is known throughout the world for his innovative theory concerning the relationship between mind and matter. Perhaps best known as one of the scientists featured in the acclaimed 2004 docudrama What the Bleep Do We Know, his work has helped reveal the extraordinary properties of the mind and its ability to create synaptic connections by carefully focusing our attention.
Just imagine: In every new experience, a synaptic connection is established in our brain. With every sensation, vision, or emotion never explored before, the formation of a new relationship between two of more than 100 thousand million brain cells is inevitable.
But this phenomenon needs focused reinforcement in order to bring about real change. If the experience repeats itself in a relatively short period of time, the connection becomes stronger. If the experience doesn’t happen again for a long period of time, the connection can become weakened or lost.
Science used to believe that our brains were static and hardwired, with little chance for change. However, recent research in neuroscience has discovered that the influence of every corporal experience within our thinking organ (cold, fear, fatigue, happiness) is working to shape our brains.
If a cool breeze is capable of raising all the hairs on one’s forearm, is the human mind capable of creating the same sensation with identical results? Perhaps it is capable of much more.
“What if just by thinking, we cause our internal chemistry to be bumped out of normal range so often that the body’s self-regulation system eventually redefines these abnormal states as regular states?” asks Dispenza in his 2007 book, Evolve Your Brain, The Science of Changing Your Mind. “It’s a subtle process, but maybe we just never gave it that much attention until now.”
Dispenza holds that the brain is actually incapable of differentiating a real physical sensation from an internal experience. In this way, our gray matter could easily be tricked into reverting itself into a state of poor health when our minds are chronically focused on negative thoughts.
Dispenza illustrates his point by referring to an experiment in which subjects were asked to practice moving their ring finger against a spring-loaded device for an hour a day for four weeks. After repeatedly pulling against the spring, the fingers of these subjects became 30 percent stronger. Meanwhile, another group of subjects was asked to imagine themselves pulling against the spring but never physically touched the device. After four weeks of this exclusively mental exercise, this group experienced a 22 percent increase in finger strength.
For years, scientists have been examining the ways in which mind dominates matter. From the placebo effect (in which a person feels better after taking fake medicine) to the practitioners of Tummo (a practice from Tibetan Buddhism where individuals actually sweat while meditating at below zero temperatures), the influence of a “spiritual” portion of a human being over the undeniable physical self challenges traditional conceptions of thought, where matter is ruled by physical laws and the mind is simply a byproduct of the chemical interactions between neutrons.
Dr. Dispenza’s investigations stemmed from a critical time in his life. After being hit by a car while riding his bike, doctors insisted that Dispenza needed to have some of his vertebrae fused in order to walk again—a procedure that would likely cause him chronic pain for the rest of his life.
However, Dispenza, a chiropractor, decided to challenge science and actually change the state of his disability through the power of his mind—and it worked. After nine months of a focused therapeutic program, Dispenza was walking again. Encouraged by this success, he decided to dedicate his life to studying the connection between mind and body.
Intent on exploring the power of the mind to heal the body, the “brain doctor” has interviewed dozens of people who had experienced what doctors call “spontaneous remission.” These were individuals with serious illnesses who had decided to ignore conventional treatment, but had nevertheless fully recovered. Dispenza found that these subjects all shared an understanding that their thoughts dictated the state of their health. After they focused their attention on changing their thinking, their diseases miraculously resolved.
Addicted to Emotions
Similarly, Dispenza finds that humans actually possess an unconscious addiction to certain emotions, negative and positive. According to his research, emotions condemn a person to repetitive behavior, developing an “addiction” to the combination of specific chemical substances for each emotion that flood the brain with a certain frequency.
Dispenza finds that when the brain of such an individual is able to free itself from the chemical combination belonging to fear, the brain’s receptors for such substances are correspondingly opened. The same is true with depression, anger, violence, and other passions.
The body responds to these emotions with certain chemicals that in turn influence the mind to have the same emotion. In other words, it could be said that a fearful person is “addicted” to the feeling of fear. Dispenza finds that when the brain of such an individual is able to free itself from the chemical combination belonging to fear, the brain’s receptors for such substances are correspondingly opened. The same is true with depression, anger, violence, and other passions.
Nevertheless, many are skeptical of Dispenza’s findings, despite his ability to demonstrate that thoughts can modify a being’s physical conditions. Generally associated as a genre of pseudo-science, the theory of “believe your own reality” doesn’t sound scientific.
Science may not be ready to acknowledge that the physical can be changed through the power of the mind, but Dr. Dispenza assures that the process occurs, nevertheless.
“We need not wait for science to give us permission to do the uncommon or go beyond what we have been told is possible. If we do, we make science another form of religion. We should be mavericks; we should practice doing the extraordinary. When we become consistent in our abilities, we are literally creating a new science,” writes Dispenza.
Tags: Body & Mind, Food, health
As the barometer rises, good hydration is key
By Mareya Ibrahim
Growing up in a warm country, a prerequisite for a blistering hot day—which was about 10 months out of the year—was to pay a visit to the juice bar around the corner from our apartment. The proprietor would stack the counters up with colorful pyramids of oranges, beets, mangoes, guavas and pomegranates, depending on what was in season.
Vases filled with rods of sugar cane and long carrots anchored the artful arrangements to create an edible landscape. Once the juicers started to whir, the sweet scent of freshness would dance through the steamy streets, luring customers in like a pied piper. The proprietor would create his own signature fruit and veggie “cocktails,” mixing beets with oranges, carrots and mangoes, a soulful blend of sweet and savory.
Little did we know that fresh pressed juice provided us with pure goodness in a glass. Packed with live enzymes, vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants, fresh juice also helps boost metabolism, fight infection, build tissue and strong bones … and help everything move along the way it’s supposed to, if you know what I mean.
Before you reach for that diet soda or mega-can energy drink, you might want to think before you drink. Caffeine and artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives can zap you of vital nutrients that keep your system running smoothly.
Now that the barometer is rising, it’s more important than ever to stay hydrated. But before you reach for that diet soda or mega-can energy drink, you might want to think before you drink. Caffeine and artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives can zap you of vital nutrients that keep your system running smoothly.
How does proper hydration keep you fit and healthy? One of the most important features is to keep the body cool. When you’re active—hiking, biking, riding, swimming—it’s even more essential to keep replacing fluids lost through sweat. You may not feel thirsty but your body needs it. Try these simple tips to sip and quench your thirst for better hydration for the whole family.
Drinking half your weight in ounces of clear liquids each day is key to keeping everything running smoothly. In fact, every cell function requires hydration, but most people wait until they’re thirsty before they drink.
- Carry a lightweight, reusable water bottle everywhere. Pick a BPA, PVC, and phthalate-free model and make it part of your repertoire. My favorite is called the Bobble, and it has a filter inside, so you can fill it from any tap and enjoy clean, fresh water while doing your part for the environment. You can get the equivalent of 300 water bottles from one Bobble filter!
- Ditch the energy drinks. Most of the options out there are filled with stimulants and artificial colors and flavors that actually zap your body’s ability to recharge itself. Options like coconut water contain more give you a real pick-me-up while helping to regulate blood pressure and heart function. O.N.E. Coconut Water comes in a variety of flavors and kids’ varieties, mixed with juice in aseptic containers with straws for on-the-go convenience.
- Try rainforest superfruits instead of coffee. Açaí blends offer a natural kick along with an army of antioxidants to help raise immunity and fight disease. Smoothie packs make a refreshingly cool pick-me-up. Sambazon makes their blends ready to drink along with frozen smoothie packs so you can create your own delicious drinks.
- Make time for tea. Getting green tea and flavored water into your daily routine is a good way to keep it fresh. I love the Takeya Flash Chill Tea Maker and Fruit Infuser for an elegant, easy way to enjoy great iced tea and fruit-infused water with the beautiful pitcher system.
- Get your nourishment from Mother Nature. If the heat zaps your appetite, fill up on fruit and veggies along with a good quality protein powder—like Vega One All-in-One Nutritional Shake—into a glass. Fruit and veggies have a high water content and help keep you hydrated. Add watermelon, spinach, cucumber, and celery to your blender and get your daily supply of produce in a snap! Cucumber is also high in potassium, so it’s a good electrolyte replacement.
Mareya Ibrahim is The Fit Foody, an award-winning chef on ABC’s Emmy-nominated show “Recipe Rehab,” and author and founder of EatCleaner.com. Her book “The Clean Eating Handbook,” a guide on how to eat cleaner and get leaner, was released in May 2013.
More in Fitness & Nutrition
Tags: Body & Mind, health, Nature
The deep-golden petals of the common marigold Calendula officinalis have been used for millennia as an antiseptic in creams, ointments, poultices, washes, and tinctures. Everyone from soccer moms to mountaineers should have some on hand for occasions when an accident leads to cut or grazed skin, a burn or scald, or crushed body tissue of any kind.
Calendula ointments or creams can bring about such quick healing that it will amaze you. Even in severe trauma, calendula can eliminate any signs of inflammation, throbbing, and infection as early as the following day, without the development of scar tissue.
It is not only the main antiseptic ointment used by herbalists throughout the world, but also the petals contain resins that are anti-fungal as well. It acts to stimulate the lymphatic circulation, reducing swelling in lymphatic nodes and also mobilizes white blood cells, helping to fight infection.
Herbalists use calendula tincture or ointment instead of proprietary antiseptics and iodine tincture, which can be very harsh on the sensitive areas of the body. Since calendula can be applied to sensitive body areas, it is much more useful and effective for conditions such as diaper rash, bed sores, and ulcers of the elderly, or any itchy skin rash.
Making Your Own
While there are many creams and ointments on the market that contain calendula, I find that the best results are obtained from calendula cream or ointment that I have made myself. I use calendula that I have either grown myself or sourced locally so that I can be guaranteed of the amount and its freshness.
If you have not made your own creams or ointments before, calendula is an easy one to start with. Harvest the flower petals after the morning dew has dried and just after the flowers have opened in summer. Dry them at a low temperature and then mix well into the base of your choice—glycerin for creams and beeswax for ointments.
Marigolds are easy to grow, and once they are established in your garden, they will self-seed readily. The flower heads open and close with the rising and setting of the sun, and open flower heads in the morning forecast a fine and sunny day.
Plant marigolds in springtime in a sunny spot in well-drained soil without too much temperature variation. They are well-suited to growing in pots and window boxes. Plant in a standard potting mix combined in equal parts with composted fine bark. Deadhead or harvest the flowers regularly for your creams, as this will encourage continuous flowering.
Be careful not to confuse the medicinal calendula with the African marigold (Tagetes species). If you are unsure, check with your local nursery before attempting to make your own medicines.
A Long History
Calendula has an extremely long history, being first used in Indian and Arabic cultures. The Egyptians made use of its beneficial properties as did the Greeks, who flavored their food with the petals.
This long record of traditional use has commonly included the addition of the petals in soups for their taste, color (used instead of saffron), and of course medicinal properties.
In 17th century Britain, the peasantry considered the petals so important to the making of broth that none were considered well-made without the addition of dried marigold. Among its many other virtues, it was also said to strengthen and comfort the heart.
Traditionally, its principal internal use was for viral infections of the liver and the treatment of varicose veins. But this would have been prescribed with caution, as calendula can stimulate liver function too quickly and lead to nausea.
Calendula also contains high amounts of carotene, which can also be upsetting to the liver, gallbladder, and pancreas if taken in high doses. The plant contains high amounts of potassium, calcium, and sulfur, which together have a tonic effect on the liver, kidneys, muscles, and the heart, while also indirectly affecting the blood-flow rate.
Certainly the herb requires care when prescribed internally, and herbalists only rarely do so.
If you want to experiment with calendula, there are many recipes that include it, and many advise using it the same way the Greeks did—adding it as a garnish to either savory or sweet dishes.
The place it is most useful, however, is as an ointment in the medicine cabinet—the first remedy you should go to for first aid.
Luke Hughes is a classical Western herbalist and horticulturist based in Sydney, Australia.
More in Alternative Health
Tags: Body & Mind, health
NEW YORK—The average American takes only 5,117 steps a day—that’s just shy of 1.5 miles. While New Yorkers’ walking habits are poorly studied, anyone who lives in the city knows the distance of their daily trek is well above the national average.
Walking is certainly great for cardiovascular health, mood, and longevity. But before you laud yourself, think of how many of those numerous steps are taken in poorly constructed shoes, hobbled in torturous high heels, or are simply causing you pain.
“Your feet have to last you a lifetime of travel,” said Dr. Paul Betschart, a podiatrist at Midtown Podiatry. “In New York, you have to walk or you go broke—you can’t take a cab everywhere.”
The Foundation of a Healthy Body
“The more steps you take, the more strains you put on your feet, and the more the little problems people have are going to be magnified,” Betschart said. A search on WebMD’s directory turns up 821 podiatrists in the five boroughs, a testament to that statement.
As with anything, the health of any one part of the body is not isolated. Foot problems affect our posture, attitude, and range of motion, which in turn affect everything else.
“Quite often we have people who are overweight, they have foot problems, and can’t exercise,” Betschart said. “If we can get their foot pain under control, they can get their weight under control. If they get their weight under control, they get less foot pain, too.”
Not everyone has such pressing issues related to foot health, but everyone can benefit from taking some preventative measures. Heel pain is the most common complaint, followed by bunions, corns and calluses, and fungal infections—all of which are preventable.
Getting Properly Shod
“You need a shoe that allows you to walk comfortably without injuring yourself,” Betschart said.
Sounds pretty common sense, right? But many women (and men too) sacrifice function for form. Top shoe no-nos are too tight of a toe box, lack of arch support, inadequate cushioning, and improper balance.
The Louboutin-lovers out there don’t have to give up their collections; but do limit heel wear for short distances or indoor use.
“Back 40, 50 years ago, women used to walk around all the time in high heel shoes. Now we’re starting to wear flats more, and wear sneakers to get to and from work if they have a long walk,” Betschart said. “Heels in small doses are probably not too bad.”
But flats aren’t categorically better. Flip flops and ballet-style slippers that don’t provide protection and support for the foot’s structure can also lead to pain and injury.
A Note on Heel Pain
Heel pain is the most common complaint, but is also low-hanging fruit in the realm of solvable problems. For people whose jobs require them to stand or walk all day, it’s a bit harder to prevent, but for the rest of us, it all comes down to protecting the foot, and learning to prevent further harm while reversing the damage.
Heel pain, also known as plantar fasciitis, is an inflammation of the connective tissue that stretches from the base of the toes, across the arch of the foot, to the point at which it inserts into the heel bone. Walking on the edge of the foot is most common cause of plantar fasciitis. Over time, this causes inflammation.
Podiatrists use a variety of methods to correct this. For starters, anti-inflammatory medications and ice packs reduce the pain; orthotic devices adjust the position of the foot; and most importantly, the patient is taught to walk properly with stretching exercises and physical therapy.
Cautions and Considerations
1. Exercise builds up muscles in the feet and legs and improves circulation, which is especially important if you’re getting older or have diabetes.
2. Make sure to dry between the toes to prevent athlete’s foot and other fungal infection.
3. Posture is affected by the foot. Find out whether you have unequal limb length, scoliosis, and other structural strains that might be contributing to foot pain.
4. Summer’s coming—it’s OK to wear sandals, but make sure they provide proper support. Opt for walking shoes for long periods of walking.
5. Use the proper footwear for your sport.
“If you are a runner, wear a running shoe; don’t run around in your Keds—it’s not enough support, not enough cushioning. If you’re playing basketball or tennis, you have to have a court shoe that provides lateral stability [when you’re moving] side to side. A running shoe that has some heel raise to it can cause ankle instability if you’re doing lateral motions,” said Betschart.
6. The barefoot—martial artists, modern dancers—tend to get impact injuries. “People aren’t used to being barefoot in modern society, so the foot is more tender.” Betschart is not against shoes like Vibram Five Fingers, which promote a barefoot feel, but warns that the body needs to transition to a new way of moving. He recommends his colleague Dr. Emily Splichal, who trains people to run barefoot without injury.
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Tags: Body & Mind, CCP, censorship, China, environmental issues, Food, health, Society, sustainable development
By Gu Chunqiu
Following outrage among netizens, demands by Beijing attorneys, and media pressure, the Chinese Ministry of Land and Resources recently issued a report on the quality of the nation’s groundwater. The report has failed to address the scope or the severity of the problem, say critics.
Concern about groundwater seized the public’s attention in early February after blog posts by the journalist Dong Fei about the pumping of industrial waste water underground in eastern China’s Shandong Province. Chemical and paper plants in Jiangsu Province, just south of Shangdong, and in Huabei (a region of several provinces in northern China) were also reported using wells to dispose of their waste water.
By mid-February 2.9 million netizens published posts with pictures of water pollution in their hometowns in response to a request from Dong.
Three Beijing attorneys then publicly requested that the authorities publish official data on China’s groundwater pollution and media in China took up the issue.
In later March, a 400-page report titled “2011 Data on Groundwater Quality at Nationally Monitored Sites” appeared.
Environmental scientist Zhao Zhangyuan , a retired member of the Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences, told the state-run Jinghua Times (a subsidiary of Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily) that the report used outdated 1993 standards, which do not test for many organic pollutants that make up the bulk of modern pollution.
The Nanjing Survey Center of the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences monitored groundwater near the Yangtze River Delta—a heavily urbanized area in eastern China that includes Shanghai—and found that it contained cancer-causing chemicals such as dichloroethane and dichloromethane, and other organic chemicals known to affect the nervous system, kidneys, and liver, such as toluene and chloroform. None of these chemicals are covered under the 1993 standards.
Available evidence suggests that China suffers from groundwater pollution on a much larger scale than the authorities have been willing to disclose.
Studies done by the China Geological Survey since 2006 show that in the Huabei region, only 22.2 percent of the region’s groundwater was safe to drink. Groundwater makes up the bulk of the region’s drinking water supply.
The study found that throughout the region, groundwater at shallow levels was found to be heavily polluted. Although the groundwater at deeper levels was found to be cleaner, 12.86 percent of it was found to be polluted as well.
According to the Qianzhan Industry Research Institute, a Shenzhen-based think tank, China will increasingly turn to groundwater sources for its drinking water supplies between now and 2017, due to the country’s relative lack of water resources.
The research institute projects that approximately 70 percent of the Chinese population, or over 400 out of China’s 660 cities, will draw their drinking water primarily from groundwater sources.
China’s rural population draws most of its drinking water supplies from wells, which tap into shallow-level groundwater sources. However the indiscriminate use of fertilizer and pesticide has severely polluted groundwater in the countryside.
“Cancer villages” have appeared in Henan, Anhui, Sichuan, Guangdong, Heilongjiang, and Shandong provinces.
According to a Voice of America report, groundwater in the Huabei region has been found to contain heavy metals far exceeding allowable limits, including mercury, chromium, cadmium, and lead.
In addition, organic substance pollution has appeared in: the southern suburbs of Beijing; Shijiazhuang, the capital of northern China’s Hebei Province; Jinan, the capital of Shandong Province; and the Yuxi Plain in Henan Province. The main pollutants are benzene, carbon tetrachloride, and trichloroethylene, all of which can cause cancer and other health problems.
Besides these pollutants, at least 100 million people in China are drinking groundwater with dangerous levels of arsenic, which can cause cardiovascular problems and an increased risk of cancer, as well as fluorine, which is known to cause bone deformities in children and kidney problems.
According to the Voice of America report, companies throughout China have been digging wells for the sole purpose of discharging industrial effluent into the groundwater for the past 20 years.
Chinese netizens have since gone online to express their unhappiness over the issue. On Sina Weibo—a popular microblog service similar to Twitter—a user named Wang Pan wrote, “Large businesses are heartlessly pumping pollutants into our groundwater supply, and yet the government, blinded by political goals, has ignored and even openly tolerated this.
“Our rivers and streams suffer from the pollution of surface water, but our very water sources suffer from the pollution of groundwater. How is this different from nuclear waste? This will end the lives of our future generations. When there is no more clean water left in China, what will be the use of having GDP?”
Wang Pan’s account was removed shortly after the comment was posted, showing the regime’s unwillingness to allow free discussion of the problem.
According to Fan Xiao, a geologist and chief engineer at the Sichuan Provincial Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources, China currently lacks official regulations on the discharge of wastewater into groundwater sources, and state agencies lack the capability to enforce regulations.
“[We] are heavily reliant on our groundwater sources, and if they become polluted, cleaning them up will be virtually impossible,” Fan said.
Rapid urbanization has driven the growth of both the extent and severity of mainland China’s groundwater pollution problems. Key to this is the communist regime’s single-minded pursuit of GDP growth.
According to the 2012 Chinese Cancer Registry Annual Report, due to extreme levels of environmental pollution, there are 3.5 million new cases of cancer in mainland China every year, resulting in 2.5 million deaths annually. This is the equivalent of 8,550 new cases of cancer being diagnosed every day.
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Tags: Body & Mind, health, psychology
NEW YORK—No doubt you have personally experienced the benefits of a well-designed building—just as you have also been troubled or frustrated by one that is designed poorly, even if you couldn’t put your finger on why. Research shows that the design of a building could affect your health or even be an aid in your healing process.
Age-old design concepts aim to provide better living and work environments. Basic design principles include natural lighting, proper ventilation, and something as simple and obvious as a good view. A lot of these principles have been ignored over the past 50 years, mostly for financial reasons, lack of interest, and simplistic beliefs such as “bigger is better.”
Sustainable design has been of growing interest to architects and clients across the building industry. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) guidelines have played a key role in reprioritizing the importance of healthily designed buildings. More evidence is coming forth to prove the effectiveness of a well-designed building.
Anastasia Harrison, director of Sustainability at design firm Gensler Associates, has more than 22 years of professional experience in architectural design and LEED consulting. At a recent seminar, she talked about research in to the benefits of green buildings. For example, 80 percent feel more comfortable and more at home in green buildings; 29 percent have a higher satisfaction rate and are hence more actively engaged; and the number of sick days in green buildings are reduced by 2–5 percent per year.
A Good View Is Good for Your Health
Views are also proving to aid the healing process. A study conducted by scientist Robert Olbrich over 10 years compared patients. One-half had views of brick walls while the other half had a view of nature. The latter were able to heal faster, and their stay time was one day shorter, according to Harrison.
Harrison described the considerations that went into designing a cancer institute in Arizona. They asked themselves, “How can we take people to the outside, or bring the outside into them. … So there are interior gardens and exterior gardens?” Simple design considerations that orient toward views include gardens on site, and those that alter the building form to allow views from deeper within the buildings make a difference.
Other psychological studies by Thomas Joseph Doherty were able to prove that the effect of well-designed buildings could lower blood pressure, relieve anxiety, lower stress, sharpen mental states, and lessen hyperactivity experienced by children while suffering.
These concepts are actually not groundbreaking. These are simple concepts that we have known for centuries. Consider the courtyard castles and monasteries of Europe, or the classic buildings of Rome surrounding open forums. All these enable greater connection to the outdoors, natural light, and good ventilation.
As environmental conditions worsen and health problems abound, there is more of an effort to find the causes. Reintegrating simple environmental considerations in today’s buildings is one solution.
“Improving the health of our planet is intrinsically linked to our own health. … The unprecedented developing drive over the past 50 years is putting unsustainable pressures on our planet and our health,” said Breeze Glazer, who works in architecture and design firm Perkins + Will.
Tags: Body & Mind, Children, Food, health, Society
Thinking Shen Yun Performing Arts would be entertaining for my daughters, I bought tickets as soon as I heard about them. What I got from the performance was not only entertaining—it was enlightening. One historical story after another taught me about grace, kindness, and strength. That evening, I understood more about how to be a good woman than ever before.
Shen Yun is a performing arts company based in New York whose mission is to revive traditional Chinese culture. In honor of Mother’s Day, the Shen Yun website recounts stories of great mothers from Chinese history. The story of how the great philosopher Mencius came to be, and the role that his mother played, really stood out for me.
His father died when he was very young, and his mother was left to raise him. They lived near a cemetery and Mencius started imitating funeral processions. Noticing this, his mother moved them closer to the marketplace. But soon Mencius started speaking in the haggling way that merchants spoke. As a result, Mencius’ mother decided to move them again.
This time they moved next to a school, and Mencius started imitating scholars’ study habits. Pleased about this, Mencius’s mother did not move again, and Mencius grew up to become one of the greatest philosophers in Chinese history.
Just as Mencius’s mother gave him an environment to thrive in as a scholar, we can create the same kind of influence on our children when it comes to their health habits.
I’ve noticed that my children imitate me a lot. This is how they learned to speak, use body language, and react to things.
I had a lot of issues around my body image and my relationship to food, and I did not want to pass these notions on to my daughters. I have met many women who blame their poor eating habits (be it bingeing or starving) on their mothers.
I have more than one relative who suffers from an eating disorder, and I did not want my daughters to do the same. I needed to get clear about my food values so I could lead by example.
It became more important to me that I eat with ease, enjoyment, and respect for my health because that’s what I wanted to teach my daughters.
I stopped complaining about feeling fat or regretting my food choices if they weren’t optimal. It was surprisingly tough to do that. I had gotten into the habit of equating my body fat with my self-worth, and so I went through a bit of withdrawal from self-criticism.
Just as Mencius’s mother saw Mencius copying those around him, I saw my daughters copying me. I saw my clients’ daughters copying them, and I saw my friends’ daughters copying them. I wanted my daughters to learn confidence, healthy habits, and respect.
Helping Children Develop Healthy Habits
• Children love fun
Kids are fun-making machines. They love to explore with their hands and their mouths, so take advantage of this, and feed them foods they can interact with. For example, let them add their own sour cream and parsley to their black bean soup or place their own raisins on a celery stick with nut butter for an “ants on a log” treat.
I got my kids off the ice cream kick by letting them whip up really thick smoothies in the blender. They nicknamed these “smoothie ice cream.”
• Children are the best conscious eaters
Because most children approach things very simply, they have a lot of focus. I remember when my daughter had just learned how to tie her own shoelaces. She would breathe heavily as she carefully tied them. It took some serious focus.
Children pay a lot of attention to all of their various experiences. Have you ever seen a child get lost in a game? They aren’t just pretending, they are experiencing. With a little guidance, it is easy to teach them how to pay closer attention to what they are eating.
What does the texture of this food feel like? Is it smooth or rough in your mouth? Do the flavors change as you chew? How long can you chew before you swallow your food?
• Children love learning
Children are incredibly curious. They love to learn. Remember the endless “whys?” Take this curiosity by teaching them about food and health. The more you educate your children about what they are eating, the more they will choose healthy foods.
Get them excited about growing organic vegetables, and explain what happens to the earth’s soil when we use pesticides. Teach them about where dairy comes from, and how too much sugar will affect them.
Warning here: Keep it simple. If you get too technical, you risk your children getting bored, misunderstanding you, or getting scared of eating certain food for fear of illness or death. Keep it simple and light! They will make it fun.
• Children love variety
Notice how schools are often decorated with lots of colors, textures, and shapes. It keeps the children stimulated, interested, and engaged. With food, do the same. The more variety, the better. So build meals with a variety of colors, flavors, textures, and shapes.
When you follow these tips, your children will naturally learn to have a healthier relationship with food. It will become part of the way they live rather than an escape from life.
Give them enough guidance and boundaries with food to feel safe, yet enough freedom to explore, get interested, and be brave.
Mothers, we have a great role to play. Let’s be responsible to our children for better health and more confidence. Have a fabulous Mother’s Day!
Tysan Lerner is a certified health coach and personal trainer. She helps women attain their body and beauty goals without starving themselves or spending hours at the gym. Her website is http://www.lavendermamas.com
Tags: Body & Mind, Food, health
Probably the most beneficial and widely unknown use of linseed flax as a household medicine is the external application of the raw oil to any area where ligaments have been torn, cut, or strained, and even where they are too tight or loose. A small amount daily, massaged in thoroughly is all that is required. Too much and you will be left with oily stains on clothing.
When applied in this way linseed oil has the effect of toning and lubricating the affected tendons and ligament tissue.
If you are an office worker with repetitive strain in the wrists, or if you have recently twisted your ankle while out for your morning jog, or you are recovering from surgery or any accident that has resulted in damaged or cut tendons, then linseed oil applied every day can gradually soften and restore flexibility to tendons and ligaments. It should be a permanent fixture in your training bag if you are the type of person who is constantly pushing your body to its physical limits.
For the Skin
If you live in a hot dry climate or just suffer from dry skin at certain times of the year, then you should do as many desert dwelling cultures have and apply the raw oil to your skin to prevent dehydration. In ancient Egypt, linseed oil was used as an additive to preserve the paints that decorated the walls of the ancient tombs and temples. It can do the same thing for your skin, and when regularly applied it will help to prevent dehydration, and yes, prevent the formation of wrinkles!
Linseed oil is not an instant fix, nor does it have anti-inflammatory or warming properties, but if it is used regularly, it can in time restore elasticity to tendons, ligaments, and skin.
A tea brewed from the crushed seeds is helpful in cases of constipation if a dry bowel is the cause. The oil content along with other waxy and resinous substances that are present in the crushed seeds is sufficient to line and lubricate the intestinal tract. The seeds are readily available from health food stores. To prepare the tea just lightly bruise the brown outer cover of the seed and brew as you would any other tea.
Linseed meal has a nutty and slightly bitter flavor. It is sold on its own or sometimes included as an ingredient in muesli mixes, and can also be used as a healthy additive to flour. The seeds are high in vegetable protein, which is very helpful if you are vegetarian. It is also high in lecithin and other phosphorous compounds. Acetic acid is present, which has a stimulatory effect on enzymes and a balancing effect on blood viscosity.
The cultivation of linseed goes so far back into antiquity that it is unknown exactly where this plant originated. Educated guesses place its point of origin in Egypt or Central Asia. Its use was certainly well recorded by the ancient Egyptians, who set aside large tracts of land for its cultivation near the ancient city of Thebes. These fields of linseed produced all manner of essential products for that civilization, including medicine, cosmetics, fine linens for the noble class, as well as bandages for the process of mummification.
It was also important to the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations. The Roman author, naturalist, and military commander Pliny the Elder writes of linseed, “What department is there to be found of active life in which flax is not employed?”
In Teutonic mythology linseed was held to be under the protection of the Goddess Hulda, who was said to have first taught mortals the art of growing, spinning, and weaving it.
Remember to only eat the crushed linseed meal, not the whole seeds. Refined and cold pressed linseed oil can be added to other oils for cooking and salad dressings. Raw linseed oil should only be used externally.
Luke Hughes is a classical Western herbalist and horticulturist based in Sydney, Australia.
Tags: Body & Mind, CCP, China, Food, health, Society
By Li Wenhui
Recurring scandals are tarnishing the brand of Tongrentang, a Beijing-based, 360-year-old manufacturer and retailer of traditional Chinese medicine remedies that sells its products around the world. The firm’s difficulties reflect systemic problems with the production of traditional remedies in China.
According to a May 9 report in the mainland Chinese newspaper Southern Daily, on May 7 Hong Kong’s Department of Health ordered a recall of the remedy Jian Ti Wu Bu Wan from all retail outlets because its mercury content was found to be five times the permitted limit. The medicine was not even supposed to contain mercury, said a Department of Health spokesman.
After Jian Ti Wu Bu Wan was withdrawn in Hong Kong, sources in the traditional Chinese medicine industry told Southern Daily that two of the company’s other products, Niu Huang Qian Jin San and Xiao Er Zhi Bao Wan, were found to contain 17.3 percent and 0.72 percent of mercury sulfide by weight, far exceeding international safety limits.
The publicity about the high levels of mercury in these three remedies came just after Tongrentang’s subsidiary, Beijing Tong Ren Tang Chinese Medicine Co Ltd (8138:Hong Kong) launched an IPO on the Hong Kong stock exchange on May 6. News of the heavy metal contamination thus gained much media and public attention.
The Tongrentang brand has been considered a benchmark for traditional Chinese medicine. The company was established in 1649 and served the imperial court. Today, its website reports its products are sold in 40 countries and regions, and the Chinese regime mouthpiece People’s Daily has referred to the company as the largest producer of traditional Chinese medicine.
According to industry sources cited by Southern Daily in a May 21 report, the problems involving mercury contamination are not limited to a few Tongrentang products.
The sources say around 40 medicinal products widely sold by Tongrentong contain mercury sulfide. In addition, about 30 percent of the company’s medicine products for children also contain mercury sulfide, according to the insiders.
The Chengdu Business Daily in a May 22 article reported that the illegal additive mannitol was detected in January this year in the Pobifong pollen flakes produced by Tongrentang, which violates China’s National Food Safety Standards.
Dried Chinese foxglove slices produced by Beijing Tongrentang (Bozhou) Sliced Chinese Medicine Co. Ltd. failed in April to meet requirements over total ash content as well as acid-insoluble ash content, also according to Chengdu Business Daily.
Dr. Wang Quansheng, vice director of the Integrated Therapy of Traditional and Western Medicines at central China’s Wuhan Union Hospital, told the Hong Kong newspaper Wen Wei Po that according to China’s official pharmacopoeia, the daily intake of mercury sulfide should not exceed 0.1 – 0.5 grams per person. The long-term intake or overdosage of the compound could result in damage to the liver, kidneys, and nervous system.
Tongrentong issued a statement on May 22 on its official website, saying that cinnabarite (or mercury(II) sulfide) is a traditional Chinese medicine with a history of about 2000 years, and as long as patients follow the doctor’s instructions, it should be safe to take.
The quality control issues that have surfaced with Tongrentang are not particular to it.
Shi Lichen, cofounder of the Medical Business Unit at the Alliance PKU Management Consultants Ltd., a specialized management consulting company held by Peking University, said that Chinese companies need to adopt strict controls to ensure that the raw materials they use are free from heavy metal contamination, with possible sources including herbs grown in contaminated soil, and middlemen who secretly add heavy metals to raw produce to increase its market weight. Companies must also ensure that their manufacturing processes do not introduce heavy metals into their medicine products as well.
The public has in the past shown great concern over the issue of heavy metal contamination, and the Tongrentang incident has left some wondering.
Mr. Wang Jingye, a famous Chinese tenor who now lives in Singapore wrote on his Weibo, “If I can’t even trust such an established medicine brand as Tongrentang, is my best hope to await death if I fall ill?” “God, if even medicine is poisonous now, can you please tell us what is still safe to eat [in China]?”
Translated by Leo Chen. Written in English by Shu Yan Tan.
Tags: Body & Mind, health
The liver is like a heroic character who works tirelessly to keep your body clean of pollution and toxins. If it gets overworked or ill, you will end up feeling tired and irritated, like a driver stuck in traffic with road rage that may explode at any mishap.
The liver, located behind the right rib cage, needs a lot of love and care, because without a healthy liver, you will feel toxic—unable to handle strong smells and easily moved to anger or frustration. You will feel tired, moody, and tight. You may suffer from dry eyes, a bloated belly, allergies, and fatigue.
As there are floods and traffic jams on earth, there are also floods and traffic jams in your body, which ancient Chinese scientists wisely viewed as a miniature of the universe.
If you burden your protective defender with too many toxins, such as pesticides, medication, skin care creams, and body-made substances such as estrogen and cholesterol, eventually it won’t be able to care for you the way it was designed to.
How It Works
Potentially toxic substances line up at the front door of the liver and wait to get changed enough to be tolerable.
Once changed, the now less toxic substance will go down one of five pathways. In one of those pathways, it will get changed again—this time enough to be released back into the bloodstream.
Unfortunately, just like when too much garbage is created for the landfills to handle, if your body becomes too toxic, things will get backed up in one or all of the five pathways, causing a roadblock in the liver.
If that happens, the toxic substance will get excreted into the bloodstream without being changed into a nontoxic substance, possibly causing serious illness such as cancer.
What You Can Do About It
First and foremost, it is important to take an honest look at your lifestyle choices and diet.
What foods are you eating that may load your liver? Processed foods, non-organically raised produce and animal products, artificially flavored foods, sugar, and alcohol all strain the liver.
How much medication are you taking? Is there a way to replace solutions that resort to medications, like painkillers and statins, with natural solutions, such as acupuncture, physical therapy, and an improved diet?
What creams are you using? Although we do not ingest cream, it still gets absorbed into the bloodstream through the skin, and any toxins in the cream will get sent to the liver.
Your liver can become healthier and better at detoxification by eating healthier foods. The liver is associated with the color green and the sour taste, so go for lots of leafy greens, such as kale and broccoli. Enjoy them with some lemon.
Essential fatty acids are also wonderful for the liver. Whole plant-based fats that work well for the liver are avocados, nuts and seeds, and coconut.
When healthy, the liver is like a strong, patient general ready to take on any challenge to selflessly protect you. When it is healthy, you too will feel patient and giving.
Care for it well.
Tysan Lerner is a certified health coach and personal trainer. She helps women attain their body and beauty goals without starving themselves or spending hours at the gym. Her website iswww.lavendermamas.com.
Tags: Body & Mind, CCP, China, Food, health, Society
BEIJING— Authorities are investigating rice mills in southern China following tests that found almost half of the staple grain in one of the country’s largest cities was contaminated with a toxic metal.
The mills in Hunan province’s Youxian county were ordered to suspend business and recall their products after samples showed excessive levels of cadmium, according to an official notice issued Tuesday by the county government.
It said the mills had been operating legally and sourced their rice from local farmers.
The announcement followed reports over the weekend that government inspectors discovered that 44.4 percent of rice and rice products tested this year in the southern city of Guangzhou in Guangdong province showed high levels of cadmium. The carcinogenic metal can seriously damage the kidneys and cause other health problems.
Hunan is a heavily agricultural province that borders on Guangdong, although it wasn’t clear if there was a direct connection between the mills and Guangzhou’s tainted rice.
While investigations are continuing, cadmium is believed to have entered the rice from soil polluted with heavy metals. Air and soil pollution are chronic problems in China, caused by poor regulation of industrial emissions and heavy dependence on coal to generate electricity.
China’s food supply also suffers from deliberate faking or adulterating by unscrupulous operators, leading to occasional public panic over products from infant formula to cooking oil and a deep lack of trust in the government’s ability to ensure food safety.
In one of the worst scandals, at least six babies died and 300,000 became sick in 2008 after being fed milk powder tainted with the industrial chemical melamine, which was illegally added to watered-down dairy products to make their protein content appear normal.
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Tags: Body & Mind, health, Nature
By Luke Hughes
Epoch Times Staff
Ginger is an Asian herb that is particularly well known to us in the West. Over time, and with trial and error, its stimulating properties and piquant flavor have been integrated into both our herbal “materia medica” and cuisine.
By Luke Hughes
Epoch Times Staff
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” So goes the well-known quote attributed to Hippocrates, the ancient Greek physician who is sometimes referred to as the father of Western medicine. Whenever we include celery in our meals, we are doing just what Hippocrates advised.
Tags: archaeology, Body & Mind, CCP, China, Culture, environmental issues, film, funny things, health, human rights, IT and Media, labor camps, Nature, persecution of dissidents, Science, Society, sustainable development
And some more…
By Michelle Yu
“When I die, bury me on the sunny side of the hill, because I’m afraid of the cold,” a child, now nameless and faceless, said to his fellow teenage prisoners over half a century ago. For the 4,000-5,000 juvenile prisoners at the Dabao labor camp, such requests were common, as the children were surrounded by death every day.
By Gu Qinger
Chinese torture victims have confronted Xinhua, the official propaganda organ of the Chinese regime, over its publication of a report by Liaoning officials which denies that inmates are being tortured at a labor camp in the northeast of the country called Masanjia.
By Matthew Robertson
It would have been impossible even very recently in China to produce a documentary about torture and slavery in an officially-run labor camp, and not be thrown in jail for it. Chinese independent filmmaker Du Bin, however, has done just that, and he’s now in Hong Kong speaking at film screenings and blithely taking interviews from overseas media.
By Shar Adams
WASHINGTON—After five days and 40 testimonies from international witnesses from the military, scientific and academic fields, a committee of six former Congress members agreed to seek international support to break a “truth embargo” on encounters with extraterrestrial life.
By Jack Phillips
Some are questioning the origin so-called “ring around the sun” that appeared on Monday.Reports said that the ring is a 22-degree halo, also known as a sun halo, according to ABC News. The halo is formed by small ice crystals that are contained in cirrostratus clouds. The sunlight then refracts through the ice at the 22-degree angle, creating the optical phenomenon.
By Matthew Robertson and Carol Wickenkamp
A group of nearly a dozen Chinese human rights lawyers who attempted to investigate an extralegal “brainwashing center” in the southeast of the country were violently set upon by guards on May 13, before being handed over to police, who beat them further and held them overnight before releasing them.
By Cassie Ryan
While the latest official news from China says that the H7N9 bird flu outbreak is now under control, a new international study urges continued caution.
By Gao Zitan
Chinese media recently exposed quality issues in the bottled water industry, saying its regulation levels are from the Soviet era.
Beijing News reported May 2 that over 10 Chinese experts had found that the standards for bottled water are very low, with only 20 test indices versus 106 for tap water quality.
By Will Hickey
One reason behind greater pollution leading to global warming has been artificially lowered gas prices brought by subsidies. Governments have carried on this shortsighted policy to foster growth and satisfy consumers. But as world fuel prices begin rising again, the costs of subsidy—both budgetary and environmental—will come to the fore.
By Matthew Robertson
University professors and administrators in China have been given clear instructions recently about precisely what topics of discussion are off-limits in the classroom.
By Sally Appert
Communist officials in Shaanxi Province have resorted to hiring fake monks to collect donations in an attempt to recover the debt they incurred from a large development project near the ancient Famen Temple.
Accused of violating one-child policy, Zhang Yimou’s real crime was backing Jiang Zemin
By Xia Xiaoqiang
A successful Chinese film director becomes entangled with the propaganda schemes of a brutal dictator. The director enjoys a rich and privileged life, but then loses everything when the dictator’s political opponents charge him with violating the nation’s family-planning laws.
By Zachary Stieber
Byzantine mosaic floor: The “extraordinary” floor was in a public building during the Byzantine Period in what is today Isreal, according to the Israel Antiquities Authority.
Tags: Body & Mind, Culture, Food, health, Nature
Thyme is without a doubt one of the most useful herbs we have at our disposal, being a powerful germicide with carminative and anti-inflammatory properties. It is described by one of the preeminent herbalists of our time Dorothy Hall as being “powerfully protective and therapeutic”, and one of the “big three of herbal medicine”.
During the Middle Ages, thyme was grown in the monastic gardens of Italy, France and Spain and used to treat those suffering from poor digestion, intestinal parasites and a sore throat. Herbalists used thyme as a powerful germicide to treat patients infected with the plague that swept through Europe between the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries.
In 1725 a German apothecary ‘discovered’ thymol, the powerful disinfectant present in the essential oil of thyme, which is effective against bacteria and fungi. Thymol has been found to be very similar to carbolic acid in its action, though more powerful against infection and less irritating to the skin.
In fact cultures as far back as the ancient Sumerians employed thyme as an antiseptic. The ancient Egyptians also used thyme as an antiseptic and preservative in the process of embalming their dead. No doubt the learned physicians of these cultures also knew of and used thyme in all its therapeutic capacity.
Thyme was even used extensively in hospitals during World War I and well into the twentieth century to purify the air and dress the wounds of soldiers.
For medicinal purposes, classical herbalists today use both Wild thyme (Thymus serpyllum) and Common thyme (Thymus vulgaris) sometimes called Garden thyme.
Thyme is very effective when used to treat respiratory conditions. A cup of thyme tea brewed up can bring relief to those suffering from a sore throat, or better still make a cup at the first signs of a throat infection.
The tea is also very useful as a throat gargle for those people, like singers or football coaches, who use their voices a lot. Thyme tea can be quite strong for some people, so dilute with extra water to taste. Brew a cup of thyme tea only when required, as it is not suited for regular use.
A professional herbalist can prescribe thyme in extract or tincture form if this herb is indicated for you therapeutically.
Luke Hughes is a classical Western herbalist.
Title quote by Rudyard Kippling.
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Tags: Body & Mind, CCP, China, health, Science, Society
Single gene swap enables avian virus to change hosts
Chinese researchers have created a virus that can infect mammals via coughing and sneezing by hybridizing the H5N1 bird flu virus with the H1N1 swine flu strain that caused the 2009 pandemic.
Their paper was published in the journal Science on May 2, the same day a man from Henan Province died from the H7N9 bird flu virus–reportedly the first death outside of eastern China and the 27th death among over 120 cases to date.
The H7N9 virus is believed to be a reassortment of several avian flu viruses, but is relatively benign in birds, according to recent research by another Chinese team published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
H5N1 bird flu is highly pathenogenic, but does not easily infect people, whereas H1N1 swine flu infected many millions in 2009. As yet, there is no evidence that the two viruses have mixed in nature, but they do overlap geographically and share some host species.
In the controversial new research the Chinese scientists deliberately manipulated the two viruses to make them more dangerous, for what they said was for the purpose of improving their understanding of pandemic risks. Some of the resultant mutants easily spread through the air between guinea pigs in the lab.
“If these mammalian-transmissible H5N1 viruses are generated in nature, a pandemic will be highly likely,” said research leader Hualan Chen at the Harbin Veterinary Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
“High attention should be paid during routine influenza surveillance to monitor such high-risk H5N1 hybrid viruses in nature.”
While Chen believes her work could benefit disease control and prevention, other scientists are critical of these so-called gain-of-function mutation studies, as manipulating viruses requires excellent lab security standards to prevent the viruses spreading or being accessed by terrorists.
Microbiologist Richard Ebright at Rutgers University, New Jersey, said two other studies had already looked at how H5N1 mutations spread through the air between mammalian hosts–in that case ferrets. That flu research triggered a debate about biosecurity, and led to a one-year moratorium on any similar projects.
“This argument—even if one accepts it, which I do not—does not provide a rationale for the third, fourth, fifth, and nth research projects confirming the same point,” Ebright told Science Magazine via email.
Baron May of Oxford, a former U.K. government chief scientist, told The Independent that the work by Chen’s team is “appallingly irresponsible.”
“They claim they are doing this to help develop vaccines and such like. In fact the real reason is that they are driven by blind ambition with no common sense whatsoever,” he added.
Further research by Chen and colleagues has apparently been delayed by investigations into the new H7N9 virus.
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