Affirmation – 2.6.11

February 6, 2011

Today’s affirmation from the Center for Spiritual Awareness is: “The very moment I’m in right now is what I have to work with. I gently release the yesterdays and I hold lightly my thoughts of tomorrow. I accept a new outlook today. I see my work, friends, family and myself with new eyes.”

This affirmation is great for me because I often get caught up in dwelling on decisions I made in the past, (that I can’t change anyway!), and worrying about things that may (or may not!) happen in the future. Such an exercise in futility. I’ve wasted too much time that way.

For more information on the Center for Spiritual Awareness, visit their website. (www.csasacramento.org)

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Who Killed the Electric Car? – Documentary

February 5, 2011

Today is free museum day here in Sacramento, which obviously means you can get in to any of the museums for free. Awesome! Now I’m hardly an art museum nut, unless it’s a really cool exhibit, and you can only go to the Railroad Museum so many times, so this is when my daughter and I typically hit up the Auto Museum. Well today as we were rounding the bend for the last row of cars in the exhibit, they had a section of eco-friendly cars – hybrids, battery-powered, hydrogen cells, and electric. One electric car in particular caught my eye, because I knew I had seen it somewhere before.

 

 

 

 

 

 

But where? Ohhhhhh, that’s right. This is the car that was featured in the documentary Who Killed the Electric Car? (The answer is GM, by the way). This documentary was made in 2006, but if you haven’t seen it yet, you totally should. It is really good. And quite infuriating. It’s pretty much about how GM created a 100% electric car – the EV1, made a small batch of them (in LA only, I think), and the owners loved them.

But the oil companies, politicians, other auto makers, and auto body shops didn’t. Oil companies didn’t like the idea, because it would take away from their profits, since fewer people would need to buy gas. This is where government officials got involved, because of course that meant it was messing with Middle East politics. And auto companies and their repair shops didn’t like it because of the cost of developing new vehicles, combined with the loss of repair revenue, (because they require hardly any maintenance and no tune-ups, since they only contained a battery).

So never mind that the California Air Resources Board had passed the Zero-Emissions Vehicle mandate in 1990, (which required the seven major auto companies in the U.S. offer electric vehicles, in order to continue sales of their gasoline powered vehicles in California), and forget that they were an excellent, viable response to pollution and global warming, politics won out. In the end, the cars were taken back from the owners, since they were only available for lease, and destroyed. They literally crushed them all, because the owners were in such an outrage, and were offering to buy them outright, to have them back. So they smashed them. Uhhh, waste much, GM?

It’s such a good documentary. Even if you have no desire to own an electric car, or any type of eco-car for that matter, you should still check it out. It’s still shocking, and eye-opening, to see how far the government will go to protect what they value. I walked away from this movie saying “Is nothing sacred?”.

(www.whokilledtheelectriccar.com)

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Do Vegans Get More Canker Sores?

February 3, 2011

Alright. I have yet another canker sore. I can’t take this anymore! The only thing I can figure, is it must be coming from my new vegan diet. So I Googled ‘do vegans get more canker sores?’, and the answer appears to be – yes. Apparently vegans can sometimes lack certain vitamins or minerals, namely folic acid, Vitamin B12, and zinc. This, of course, is if you aren’t good about eating enough “real” foods – whole grains, legumes, beans, nuts, fruits, and vegetables. It is possible to be a junk-food vegan. This is when you can fall into vitamin deficiencies.

Shortly after I made the switch to a vegan diet, I did learn that vegans need more B12. I guess it is the most common culprit of canker sores for vegans. I bought a B12 supplement at Whole Foods, made by VegLife. But I’ll be honest, I haven’t exactly been very good about taking it. This brings up another issue for me though. I’ve been wondering, if a diet leads to vitamin deficiencies, can it really be a whole, nutritional diet? Is it really a good, balanced diet if it requires you take supplements?

But the reality is, even a conventional meat-and-dairy diet requires we take additional vitamin and mineral supplements. We are all advised to take a one-a-day multivitamin, plus a Vitamin D/calcium/magnesium, plus an Omega-3 fish oil. So really, what’s one more pill? It’s not like the vegan diet requires additional supplements, but a standard diet doesn’t. So when I look at it that way, then I’m fine adding one more pill. Plus I don’t mind the B12 pill, as it’s small, and you just put it under your tongue to dissolve. Not like my other supplements, which are like choking down massive horse pills.

*Update: I have put more of a concerted effort into ensuring I am eating plenty of legumes and leafy green vegetables, and I haven’t gotten any more canker sores. And I’m still not good about taking my B12 pill, so perhaps that was the key. Simply eating more plants.

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Image Source: http://www.consumerreports.org/health/conditions-and-treatments/canker-sores/what-is-it.htm

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Oprah and Staff Go Vegan

February 2, 2011

Yesterday Oprah did a show titled ‘Oprah & 378 Staffers Go Vegan: The One-Week Challenge’. Oprah challenged her Harpo staff to convert to a vegan diet for one week. She said some people felt better, some have been cranky, and the bathrooms have never been busier! NY Times best-selling author and vegan Kathy Freston led the challenge. Kathy has been eating a vegan diet for seven years, and says eating a plant-based, whole food, kind diet, can be a game changer in your life. To help Harpo ease into their new diet, Kashi and Whole Foods gave everyone a few bags of healthy vegan groceries. Must be nice! I sure didn’t get that when I switched to a vegan diet! haha  The Harpo Studio cafe added vegan entrees to the menu – tacos, Thai food, pizza, and burgers, that were all vegan. Now if these staffers can’t last one week, with free groceries from Kashi and Whole Foods, and a cafe full of vegan dishes, then I don’t know what to even say about that!

Michael Pollan was a guest on the show. He is a best-selling author (The Omnivore’s Dilemma, In Defense of Food, Food Rules, and The Botany of Desire), and last year Time Magazine named him one of the their 100 Most Influential People in the world, because of the way he makes us think about food. Michael said he thought the challenge was a good idea, he thinks everybody should do this for at least one week. He said we are so unconscious when we eat, and a challenge like this forces you to think about how much animal material is in your diet. Oprah said it forces you to step out of denial about where your food is coming from. Michael said we need to think about our food, and that anything that helps us become more conscious eaters, is the first step.

Oprah asked Michael why he thinks eating meat is such a hot button in this culture. He said because we are big meat eaters in this country, and always have been. So to say that you shouldn’t eat meat, is a moral challenge, an ethical challenge, and a challenge to tradition. Oprah said the purpose of the challenge isn’t to get people to stop eating meat, but rather to get them to think more about where our food comes from, and to be more conscious about it. Pollan said we are not going to get right with our food, and that has to do with our health, it has to do with the environment, until we think about what’s going on. He said it’s all opaque – you go to the grocery store and the meat doesn’t even have bones anymore, it’s just shrink-wrapped protoplasm, and kids don’t even know that it comes from an animal, and that the animal had to be killed for that meat to be on their plate. Pollan does eat meat, but is picky about it. He said he doesn’t eat “feedlot meat”, or “industrial meat”.

Oprah said it is amazing that we have more access than ever before, and yet we are unhealthier than we have ever been. Pollan said we do have access to a lot of healthy food, but the American diet is a catastrophe. He said when you hear the phrase healthcare crisis, or healthcare cost crisis, that is a euphemism for the catastrophe that is the American diet. 75% of our healthcare spending is on chronic diseases linked to diet. He said that is really what is bankrupting us, and that has to do with what we are eating – way too many calories, too much processed food, and tons of refined carbohydrates (white flour, sugar, soda). Our diet has changed more in the last 100 years than the last 10,000, and the result is our health is declining. He did say that cheap food is a great blessing in many ways, but is also a curse. He thinks people do not necessarily need to stop eating meat, but they do need to reduce how much they eat, and change the meat they eat. He says he eats meat in a very limited way – from places where he feels good about how the animals are raised, and what they are fed.

Oprah then asked Kathy Freston, author of Veganist, the question I’ve had people ask me – if the chickens are treated well, and they live in Santa Barbara, and every morning they lay their eggs to music, is it okay to have that egg? Freston said it is okay to have that egg, because it is the product of a natural cycle for that chicken, but that realistically that is not what people are having. Not everybody has access to those kinds of eggs, or humanely raised meat from small farms, like Oprah does. It is harder to find, and more expensive.

Over the course of the challenge, one of the staffers complained to Freston that while surprisingly he does feel full on the vegan diet, he is also having a lot of gas. (My ears perked up at this part of the show, because I experienced the same thing when I made the switch to a vegan diet. In fact, at one point it was so bad I told my daughter if it didn’t stop soon, that was reason enough to give up the diet!) Kathy said it is because it takes the body time to get used to eating fiber, and you eat a lot more fiber on a vegan diet. But the body will adjust, and that will stop. (Thankfully, I can testify that the gas does stop.)

According to the USDA, we eat nearly 10 billion animals per year, including 33 million cows. The Cargill Company is the biggest producer of ground beef, in the world. They allowed Harpo’s cameras inside one of their processing plants, for a look at how the meat we eat gets to our table. Michael said he thinks it’s great Cargill did this, since it is very rare. Oprah said 20 other companies turned them down. Michael said when he did research for his books, it was very hard to get access. He said he doesn’t think you should eat anywhere, where you can’t see in the kitchen. He also thinks people shouldn’t eat meat, if they aren’t willing to look at how it’s produced. Oprah sent reporter Lisa Ling to the slaughterhouse to show us how the meat is made.

Lisa Ling went to Timmerman Feedlot, in La Salle, Colorado, where she was escorted around by Dan Timmerman. There are about 12,000 cattle there, for one purpose only – to get fattened up so they can go into the food supply. They will be about 1,200 pounds when they leave. They are there for 200 days. The cattle gain about 3 pounds each day. They are fed a high-concentrate diet with a lot of protein, mostly from corn and corn byproduct. Dan acknowledged that the cattle are very curious animals. From Timmerman Feedlot, the cattle go to Cargill, where they will be processed.

The next day Lisa went to Cargill, in Fort Morgan, Colorado, the biggest producer of ground beef on earth. Lisa admits that she eats meat, but never knew how it gets from the animal to the plate. They bring in 4,500 cattle per day. They come in about 140 different truckloads of cattle (how much gas does that take?!). The cattle are penned up for a couple hours to calm then down. Then they walk through dark, winding corridors designed to keep them calm. A rep for Cargill said she does not ridicule people who believe you shouldn’t eat animals, but that they are committed to doing it right. She said she believes when animals are handled with dignity, and harvested carefully, that it’s the natural order of things.

Lisa said there was one part of the process they were not allowed to film – the actual killing of the cattle. She was allowed to watch though. She said the cattle come up on a conveyor belt. Their heads pop up, and a guy called “the knocker” shoots a 4 inch bolt into their head, and renders it lifeless. The Cargill rep said it is a requirement that the cattle are rendered insensible to pain. After that happens, they are “stuck”, and that is when the blood comes out. They die from the blood-letting, which they do not feel. The bodies are immediately washed to prevent the spread of diseases like e-Coli. (Now they didn’t say, but I assume the carcasses are not washed with soap and water! Based on the reading I’ve been doing, I would guess it’s more of an ammonia bath.) Then the slicing, dicing, and peeling begins. Within minutes they remove the hoods, hide, and head. The stomach is sliced out. The carcass is moved to a giant cooler, for up to two days, where it is then inspected and graded. The Cargill rep said they save every piece of the animal that they can. They make beneficial use of every thing, letting nothing go to waste, because they respect the animals. Huh? That’s how they show their respect for the animals?

Nicole Johnson-Hoffman, General Manager of Cargill’s Fort Morgan processing plant, was also on the show. She acknowledged that Americans are more interested today in learning where their meat comes from. She said the bolt is used to render the animal insensible to pain. They are essentially brain-dead at that point, which is a critical element to respecting that animal’s dignity. She said it’s very important for people to understand they never forget these are living creatures, that are due a dignified life, and a dignified death. Now, forgive me, but I hardly think jamming animals in a feedlot, where they are packed together standing in their own feces, then over-stuffing them full of food that is not native to their natural diet, all before sneaking up behind them and blasting a bolt into their head, doesn’t exactly sound like a dignified existence. But that’s just me. Pollan added that the Cargill plant is as good as it gets, that their plant is a lot cleaner than plants he’s seen. He said their way of slaughtering animals is a relatively new technique, a Temple Grandin system. He said it is more humane than other methods. Pollan then said vegans deserve some credit for that. It was the animal rights activists like PETA, that push the pressure on McDonald’s, who in turn put the pressure on many of the meatpackers to clean up their act on how they slaughter animals.

Kathy then joined Oprah and Michael on the stage. She said she thinks knowing through experience, that the vegan diet can really affect you in so many ways, in your body and your spirit, made it more powerful for people. Oprah then asked her the second most popular question I am also asked, and suspect many vegans are – “Where do you get your protein?” Kathy said protein is almost in everything. You can get it in beans, whole grains, legumes, tofu, seitan – which is a wheat protein. She said there are also a lot of high protein meat alternatives. Kathy said, and Michael agreed, that the best way to try the vegan diet is to just lean into it, by eliminating meat one day a week. Michael said this will help people realize that you can have a perfectly satisfying meal without meat.

But he did acknowledge that one of his concerns with going all the way vegan, is it will hurt the farmers in our country that are doing really good work. He thinks we need to reform the meat system, and not get rid of it altogether. He said he also worries that if you get off meat altogether, then you end up on a lot of processed foods. One of the things he likes about Kathy’s book, Veganist, is that she really warns against that. I have talked about this as well. Simply switching your meat and dairy products to the faux franken versions, is not much better. He says if you do a vegan diet the wrong way, you can actually end up gaining weight, because you are now eating too many refined carbohydrates (like potato chips and soda). Kathy said that you can definitely be a junk-food vegan. Kathy said that her husband is “veganish”. Her home is a vegan home, but when they eat out, he is allowed to have whatever he wants. She said it is not her business to tell anybody what to eat. He lets her be her, and she lets him be him. He leans toward vegan, because he has seen too much of the research that links animal products to obesity, and diabetes and things like that, because of all the saturated fat. She advises people to do it at their own pace. Kathy said if you eat a vegan diet for just three weeks, you get a lot of bang for your buck. She said within one week your weight starts to drop, within two weeks your blood sugar and blood pressure drop, and within three weeks your cholesterol drops significantly.

Freston then went grocery shopping with one of Oprah’s staffers, to help her prepare some vegan dinners. The idea was to “veganize” some of their family favorites – pizza, tacos, etc. Following are some of the substitutes she suggested:

  • Non-dairy cheese – Daiya, Soya Kaas, Teese. She said Daiya is her favorite, it is made from tapioca. Daiya is the only one of these three brands that I have tried, and it. is. awesome! It is the best faux-cheese I’ve had so far. She recommended this for their pizza.
  • Meatless alternatives – Gardein, Boca, Field Roast, Tofurkey. Kathy said they are very high in protein. She recommended Gardein’s scallopini. She said it is like a chicken breast – anything you can do with chicken, you can do with this. She suggested using Tofurkey’s Italian Sausage for pastas. She said to put it in a food-processor, and pulse it, then add it to the sauce.
  • Non-dairy milks – Almond, Coconut, Hemp, Rice, Soy. (I have also recently seen hazelnut and oat milk). Kathy said she rotates between them all, but that young kids may like to try the chocolate “milk”.
  • Mayonnaise substitute – Vegenaise. Kathy said it is one of her favorite products. I must say, I tried Vegenaise recently, and thought it was SO good! I never even liked mayonnaise, but I love Vegenaise.
  • Butter substitute – Earth Balance. It tastes, looks, and acts exactly like butter. It is made from cold-pressed oils. They make both sticks, and a spreadable version in a tub. I have tried this as well, and you honestly cannot tell the difference. My non-vegan daughter loves Earth Balance.
  • Desserts – Kathy says there are vegan alternatives for everything. There is vegan ice cream, made from soy milk or coconut milk. There is even vegan whip-cream, made from rice milk. You truly can substitute almost anything you currently like to eat.

The reason the shopping trip even came about, is because the staffer said when she went home and pulled everything out of her fridge and freezer that contained animal products, her fridge was empty. There was nothing left. She said she never realized how much animal they were eating. She just never thought about it. She said she will forever eat differently – not saying she has switched to a vegan diet all the way, but it did cause her to pause, and she will be making different choices moving forward.

Michael said he still feels there is nothing evil about meat, and some meat in your diet is really fine. Kathy said she completely agrees, but for her, watching videos about how animals are slaughtered, doesn’t sit right in her soul. She said she is on a path that she is trying to live to her potential, she is trying to grow, she is trying to evolve as a human being, she is trying to incorporate her values – like compassion and empathy and kindness and mercy – and when she sees that, she has to ask herself “Can I look into the eyes of an animal, and say that your pain or your suffering or your fear, is not as important as my appetite?” Kathy also added that Temple Grandin, who designed the more humane slaughter houses, does not design bird slaughter houses, and chickens and turkeys make up over 9 of the 10 billion animals slaughtered each year.

Oprah asked Michael how much meat he thinks we should be eating. He said the important thing is “for me”. He said we have to put it in its place, that meat is overwhelming the American diet. It is having enormous, devastating effects on the environment, by the way we are growing meat, as well as on the animals and the workers in the factories. He said the whole system is really brutal, and we need to disconnect ourselves from it. He said it’s important to reform that system, not just turn our backs on it.

For me, I think this is what it is all about – and not just the vegan thing, but my whole journey to live more consciously in general. I think in life, it is all about figuring out what resonates with your spirit, and living that. If you are comfortable eating meat, then keep on eating meat. However, I do agree with Michael Pollan. I think if you are going to continue eating meat, because you do contribute to that industry whenever you buy it, you should at least be aware of how it gets to your plate. And you should purchase organic meat, as much as you are able. This is what I did with my daughter. I had her watch a few documentaries, and then let her make an informed decision. That’s what I’m trying to do – be more aware, and live more consciously.

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A Doctor That Heals With Love?

February 1, 2011

Today The Dr. Oz Show was titled ‘Dr. Oz Exclusive: Man Claims to Heal with a Prayer”. The featured guest was Dr. Issam Nemeh. He says he can heal people not with surgery, or medicine, but with his bare hands and prayer. Dr. Nemeh has been called a faith healer. He does not like this term, because he feels it means you are excluding the science completely from it, which is not his calling. He said his calling is to bridge that gap between science and spirituality. He has cured people with serious diseases, and doctors do not understand how. Dr. Oz is trying to determine if he is a faith healer, or not. He asked if faith can be the reason the unexplainable happens?

Dr. Nemeh is a trained anesthesiologist, who has bridged his medical beliefs with his spirituality. He said his patients come to him with illnesses that the mainstream medical community does not have answers for. He works in two ways – in a medical office, where he treats people with a high-tech electrical form of acupuncture and an infra-red light, and in churches and meeting halls, where he heals people through his spirit. Hundreds, and sometimes thousands of people come to his meeting halls for treatment. Skeptics feel his unconventional methods cannot be scientifically verified. But do they have to be? Do they have to be scientifically verified to be true? Nemeh doesn’t think so. He believes you can heal people through faith and love.

Dr. Oz sent his Chief Medical Consultant, Dr. Mike Roizen, to observe Nemeh’s healings. Roizen said it is a real phenomenon. He said there is something there. He doesn’t know whether it is a placebo effect, or an actual gift, but the people he treats clearly feel better. Dr. Nemeh admits there are no guarantees you will be healed. He says a big factor in the success is the patients state of mind. Dr. Oz asked Dr. Nemeh how his process works. How does laying on of the hands heal somebody? Nemeh says there is a connectedness. Science has just recently started discussing this phenomenon. There is no disconnection when it comes to everything that is. He said he is not the energy source, but that we are a part of the all. He said when they have the right state of mind, God connects him and his patients together. He does communicate things to him. He can feel the things that are going on in his patients bodies.

Dr. Oz then discussed spontaneous healing. He said it’s when the body heals itself. The body has this power that we all acknowledge exists, but in medicine they don’t understand why. One of the patients he has cured appeared on the show. She acknowledged that she believes faith is a big component of the healing. Dr. Oz then brought out another doctor that has spent his career looking at matters of faith and medicine, Dr. Jeff Rediger. He is a Professor at Harvard Medical School, Psychiatrist at McLean Hospital, and has a Masters in Divinity. Dr. Oz asked him what’s the harm in believing that God can help you get better? Rediger said nothing, as long as you avoid either-or thinking. Both medicine and faith are great gifts. Oz asked him how he explains these miraculous recoveries. Rediger said we are not just physical beings, we are also spiritual beings. Physical beings need oxygen, spiritual beings need love. He said one research question is whether there is a connection between love and healing. He said that is something that modern science is just beginning to tiptoe into.

Dr. Oz then asked him about the placebo effect – the idea that just by thinking you’re going to get better, you will get better. Rediger said he thinks we use the placebo effect excuse to dismiss things we don’t understand. When someone is healed after taking a sugar pill, for example, he said this could be a spontaneous remission, a mis-diagnosis, faith, a certain mental state, we don’t know. Nemeh said it is an example of mind over matter. Dr. Oz asked Nemeh why he is able to heal people through prayer, when often times other people praying for them didn’t work. Nemeh said that everybody has the same access to healing, that he has. The only thing that is of importance is their state of mind, right where they are. He said the highest state of mind is the love that we have for everyone around us. One of the audience members asked him if you have to be religious to be healed. He said no, you can be an atheist. But the one important thing that matters is the love that we have, that’s where the truth is, because the heart of God himself is love.

Here is the video from the show: (http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/man-faith-healer-pt-1). For more information on Dr. Issam Nemeh, or Dr. Jeff Rediger, visit their respective websites. (www.drnemeh.com) (www.drrediger.com)

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Affirmation – 1.30.11

January 30, 2011

Today’s affirmation from the Center for Spiritual Awareness is: “I breathe in peace, I breathe out respect. I breathe in peace, I breathe out love. I breathe in peace, I breathe out creativity. I breathe in peace, I breathe out compassion. I breathe in peace, I breathe out greater self-love.”

I think this would be a good mantra to use in conjunction with meditation. I haven’t tried it yet, but think it would be effective to literally breathe these messages in and out.

For more information on the Center for Spiritual Awareness, visit their website. (www.csasacramento.org)

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Yogi Cameron on The Dr. Oz Show

January 28, 2011

Yogi Cameron Alborzian is clearly gaining in popularity. I had never heard of him before two weeks ago, when he appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Well he’s clearly making the rounds to promote his book The Guru in You, because today he appeared on The Dr. Oz Show. Dr. Oz referred to him as an alternative health guru, and said he is one of the most sought after people in holistic medicine. Cameron said he has a holistic health overhaul, that will make you look and feel younger in just 28 days.

Dr. Oz played a video which gave a little of Cameron’s back story: He said his first encounter with the word “spiritual” was when his best friend gave him a book about spirituality. His friend taught him about spirituality, taught him to do yoga, etc. When his friend passed away, Cameron made the decision to become a yoga teacher. He went to India, where he found his guru, which started his journey. He thought it would be a quick process, but it ended up being the last 10 years of his life.

Cameron believes that people need to practice what they preach, so he gets up very early every morning – between 5 and 6am. He then does a yoga practice that lasts 2-3 hours. He also does a practice at night. When he is treating clients, he analyzes them based on who they are, and what they need. He makes a treatment plan from there. He checks their eyes, their pulse, asks what they have been eating, when they go to sleep, where their mental state is, etc. He said it’s about mind and body, and he continuously goes back and forth between the two. He thinks there are very basic things you can do to change your life. He says it’s about will-power, intention, and wanting to change. He believes that in 4 weeks, you can really turn somebody’s life around.

Dr. Oz asked Cameron if it is really possible to change somebody’s life, with the program he is recommending, in just 28 days. Cameron’s response was absolutely, but of course it depends on how badly they want to change. He said 28 days is long enough to give people a good rooting, a starting point. He then outlined his 28 day plan for a holistic overhaul:

Week 1 is Detox & Diet: Cameron said the stomach is where health begins, in the Ayurvedic tradition. It burns off toxins, churns up food, and takes it for reabsorption in the body. So what you put into the body is the most important. Protect this at all costs. He said analyzing your tongue is a good way to determine how toxic you are. In the morning, look at your tongue – the head is represented at the tip of the tongue, and the stomach is represented by the back of the tongue. If the back of the tongue is coated, it’s an indication of the health of your stomach. Cameron said hot water is a great beginning to the day. If you start your day by drinking hot water, it gently massages the body awake, whereas coffee punches you in the kidneys. He also said to avoid packaged and processed foods, because they are not real food. He called them sub-foods, derivatives of the original food. For example, potato chips are made when you take a potato, dehydrate it, and then add salt. It’s not really food. He thinks we should eat what nature gave us, straight from the ground. He said this food is easier to digest, and more nutritious. Cameron recommended chamomile tea to calm down the nervous system, so is also a great start (if you don’t want to do hot water). He also finds that after drinking hot water in the morning, many people realize they aren’t that hungry.

Week 2 is Energy Boosting – He said energy boosting is somewhat about energy conserving. For example, when you come home, sit down for a moment, close your eyes, and regain energy. He said it is not about drinking coffee, soda, or other stimulants to get energy, but rather about conserving it. This brought Cameron and Dr. Oz to a point that they disagreed on, or vehemently disagreed on, as Dr. Oz said – Cameron argues that you shouldn’t have sex too much. Dr. Oz said in all his conversations about sex, besides the fact that it revs your engines, it brings intimacy. It is one of the ways we find connection, when we can’t find it otherwise. Dr. Oz asked Cameron, “Why do you feel so strongly about reducing the amount of sex people have?” Cameron laughed and said it depletes you when you have too much of it – it’s not about not having it, but rather about not having too much of it (which I doubt is a problem for most people!).

Week 3 is Stress Reduction – Dr. Oz asked Cameron for realistic, practical steps that people can actually do to help reduce stress. Cameron said when you are out all day, it stresses out your sinus area – the eyes, nose, mouth and ears are all connected. A good practice is cleaning out the nostrils with salt water. You put a little salt and water mixture in your palm, block one side of your nose, and suck it up the other side. (It sounds very similar to using a neti pot, sans the pot.) This will clear the sinuses out. He said when you take something out, you should put something back in. He recommends Ghee, which is clarified butter. It’s very greasy and fatty, and the nutrients are calming. He said you take a pinch, rub it inside the nose, and then massage both sides of the nose from the outside. Dr. Oz said this isn’t practiced in Western medicine, so he can’t really comment on it. However, he did acknowledge that when things have been done for 2,000 – 3,000 years, which means it’s been practiced by generations of people, there must be something to it.

Week 4 is Fighting Aches & Pains – Cameron said not to eat late at night. He said it brings great stiffness to the body early in the morning. A lot of joint pain comes from this. He also mentioned Tulsi tea. Tulsi is an Ayurvedic herb, which is great for the immune system. He said it calms down the nervous system, and is good for pulmonary problems as well. It drains all the mucous out.

Yogi Cameron said if you follow these steps, by the end of the 28 day period, you will notice a significant improvement in your well-being. And in the scheme of things, one month really isn’t a long time to do something that can turn your health around.

(www.yogicameron.com)

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The Celestine Vision – Book

January 26, 2011

Back in July I read The Celestine Prophecy, by James Redfield. It is a great book about energy. Then in August I read the follow-up, The Tenth Insight. It touches on energy as well, but also discusses coincidences, synchronicity, and intuition. I really enjoyed both those books. They were both written as adventure parables, so were fast, interesting reads. So when I saw his third book, The Celestine Vision: Living the New Spiritual Awareness, I snatched it up.

The inside sleeve reads: “When James Redfield wrote The Celestine Prophecy and The Tenth Insight, he crystallized a new spiritual vision for millions of people around the world. The books describe an emerging global renaissance already under way and point to exciting spiritual experiences we can all recognize. Now in The Celestine Vision, the author discusses for the first time the historical and scientific background of this planetary awakening… an awakening that will shape us and our world in the new millennium.

Focusing on our individual perceptions of synchronicity, Redfield cites examples from his own experience as he clarifies how mysterious coincidences lead us toward our special destiny. He examines one hundred years of discovery in physics and psychology to show an inevitable synthesis of Eastern and Western ideas. The unmistakable message in this convergence is that human history is purposeful, that both miracles and scientific discoveries are part of the same unbroken chain of evolution toward a better world.

Then with the same immediacy that made his earlier books so revelatory, Redfield guides us through the strategies that help us recognize and explore our own vision for our lives. He delves into the hidden energies of our personal dramas, the mystical experiences that resolve them, and the process through which we can discover our unique missions on this planet. Step by step, Redfield helps us explore the farther reaches of our memory, recalling the details of the Afterlife and a World Vision that can guide our actions in the future.

For everyone who read The Celestine Prophecy and The Tenth Insight and hungered for more about the ideas expressed there, The Celestine Vision further expands our consciousness about the changes coming to fruition in this historical moment. The truth of The Celestine Vision is that we are all spiritual beings acting to spiritualize the culture of planet Earth. All we have to do is hold this vision and act with courage, and the world will truly transform.”

The Celestine Vision is a great book, that is full of valuable information. Redfield expands on the ideas presented in The Celestine Prophecy and The Tenth Insight, and talks about how to live those new spiritual truths. Now don’t make the same mistake I did – it is not the next installment in The Celestine Prophecy series! So if you are expecting a similar read to those, you’ll be disappointed. This is written as non-fiction. When I checked out the website, I did see that he has written two more books in the adventure parable series – The Secret of Shambhala: In Search of the Eleventh Insight, and The Twelfth Insight: The Hour of Decision. Now those are two books I’d really like to get my hands on.

(www.celestinevision.com)

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Affirmation – 1.23.11

January 23, 2011

Today’s affirmation from the Center for Spiritual Awareness is: “My desires for success in my relationships, finances, health, creativity, and every other aspect of my life is simply Spirit expressing through me. Today I let Spirit come through me to bless me and the world!”

I like this affirmation because it reminds me of an element from The Secret that I really like as well, which is the idea that it is our divine right to have abundance, health, joy, and love in our lives. Somewhere along the line we are (re)programmed to believe that we can’t have it all, and that only a small percentage of the population live truly blessed lives in all areas. The reality is that we can all have those things in our life, when we are living in true alignment with our Spirit. I sometimes forget this, and get caught in the negative mindset that I don’t deserve to have all the good things I want. I am working to overcome this.

For more information on the Center for Spiritual Awareness, visit their website. (www.csasacramento.org)

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All Deodorant is NOT Created Equal

January 20, 2011

If you’ve been following my blog at all, you know I have been on a quest to find a healthy, natural deodorant. That actually works. To no avail. So far. See ‘Natural Deodorant – Strike 1’, ‘Natural Deodorant – Strike 2’‘Natural Deodorant – Strike 3’, and yes, ‘Natural Deodorant – Strike 4’. But I’m still hopeful! Or stupid!

Well unfortunately for my daughter, she has been drug along on this train wreck. And she’s sick of it. She’s had enough of having stinky pits. And quite frankly, I don’t blame her! She turns 13 in a couple of months, her body has started the whole puberty process, she started junior high last fall, and she has P.E. every day so has to change in a locker room. That age is hard enough, without adding stinky pits to the mix!

So I caved, and told her until I find a suitable natural deodorant, she can go back to smearing aluminum in her armpits every day. We went to the store, to pick a stick for her to use. She found one she liked the smell of, handed it to me, and asked if it was okay. Naturally, I read the ingredients, because I wanted to see exactly what we were dealing with. In doing so, I happened to notice the aluminum content. Something I have honestly never looked at before, in all my years… DECADES… of wearing deodorant. Then she handed me another one. Again, I checked the aluminum content and noticed THEY WERE DIFFERENT. Huh? Waaa? It never crossed my mind that deodorants would contain different levels of aluminum, unless you were looking at the prescription strength, or something like that.

Well to my surprise, the aluminum contents were all over the board! The average seemed to be around 14%, but we found some as high as 19%! That is a big difference! Especially when what you’re talking about is a toxin! Apparently even conventional deodorants are not all created equal. So that became the new marker of finding a deodorant for her. In the end, we settled on one that she was happy with, because it smells good, and I was okay with, because it had the lowest aluminum content we saw – 10%. If you are still using conventional deodorant, I urge you to at least switch to one with the lowest aluminum content you can find. That is a small change everyone can make.

For me, this experience was just one more example of how I have been an unconscious consumer all these years. But not anymore!

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