1. Avoid Refined Sugar!
Before refining technology existed, sugar was considered a rare, expensive drug like opium or morphine, now it’s a highly addictive substance added to virtually every manufactured food product on the market.
We frown at drug abuse and abusers, would never compare ourselves to crack addicts, but mention the evils of sugar and the average person angers and bristles at the thought of denying themselves even the slightest bit. Armed with excuses why sugar isn’t bad for you, sugar addicts are on constantly on the defensive, always ready to take up the sugar cause.
Food manufacturers adding refined sugar to everything from crackers to ketchup is meant to keep up the national taste for sugar, fueling the passion for sweetness, stoking the desire for more.
Worse, the Federal government supports the sugar industry in these three ways !!!!!!
- Price supports boosting artificially set high sugar prices
- Trade restrictions, keeping lower cost sugar from other regions out of the U.S. sugar market
- Domestic quotas keeping sugar growers wealthy.
According to the Government Accountability Office, 42% of sugar subsidies go to just 1 percent of growers!
These growers have become influential campaign supporters of members of congress to protect their monopoly on sugar!
Even with all of the research available on the negative impact of sugar on health, we still consume massive amounts of sugar! We feed it to our children as a reward and treat ourselves with something sweet to feel better. The only problem with this is, our kids are fatter…with historically high rates of ADD and ADHD and we don’t feel any better after that treat.
Refined sugar is bad!
The most important thing you can do for your health is to limit, or avoid refined sugar. Check food label ingredients for added sugar and avoid it, especially if it’s the first ingredient. Checking the carb count on a package doesn’t tell you the type of sugar, naturally occurring or refined? Or is there more than one kind of sugar?
Unfortunately, sugar takes many forms, so check out this article from the Harvard School of Public Health on How to Spot Added Sugar on Food Labels.
The Macrobiotic Guide has a more complete list of all the many disguises of sugar. Be sure you watch the film “The Hidden Story of Big Sugar”.
Will mos def give you something to consider…
Did you know the Anti-Slavery Movement is the model for modern political campaigns?
I gave up refined sugar a year ago and the improvement to my health is crazy! I don’t worry about my weight (much) anymore and have survived several rounds of colds in my family and at work without getting sick.
Being a long term loser, nearly 60 pounds for almost 20 years ( go me!), I can honestly say I’ve achieved many of my health goals while reducing my future risk of chronic disease. And I feel better!
2. Floss your teeth.
That’s right! This simple task has a huge impact on health!!
Infection in the mouth wrecks havoc on the rest of our body!
Low grade, chronic infection activates an inflammatory response throughout the body which is a critical factor in the development of a slew of conditions from preeclampsia during pregnancy, to clogged arteries, heart attacks, stroke, diabetes and even Alzheimer’s.
C Reactive Protien, or CRP, is a blood test to check for inflammation in the body. High levels of CRP could indicate a greater risk for stroke or heart attack
It’s estimated that approximately 75% of Americans have some form of peridontal disease. If you are taking the pill you are at greater risk for peridontal disease, so it’s important to have a yearly check up.
Low birth weight and prematurity have also been linked to gum infection, therefore it’s super important to see your dentist if you are pregnant.
Every year, my New Year’s resolution is to floss everyday and every year I get closer to my goal of flossing 365 days a year. It’s hard to fail at this resolution as everyday is a chance for success! No matter what happens I’ve come closer every year to improving my overall health.
Check out the American Academy of Periodontology’s website for more information about all things gum disease.
Stop.Pause.Reflect.Meditate.Take a Time Out.
You’ve heard it over and over again, “Meditation is good for your health”. But it’s hard!
Every passing day I didn’t get a chance to go into a trance, speak to spirit and hang out in my psychic space, I felt miserable because I was addicted to the pleasure meditation gave me, but then being miserable felt like a complete contradiction from my whole purpose of meditation which is to connect to inner peace and relaxation, spirit guidance and Universal love.
Then BAM! I found the book Urban Shaman, A Handbook for Personal and Planetary Transformation Based on the Hawaiian Way of the Adventure by Serge Kahili King, Ph.d. With Dr. King’s help, I learned about a special form of shamanic meditation called Nalu.
According to Dr. King, meditation Nalu is more like quiet contemplation because the essence of the technique is more a gentle, effortless resting of attention and awareness than anything forceful like trying not to think the thoughts coming into your head.
Most meditative practices have you strive for a neutral focus as a way of calming the spirit and increasing positivity, but the mere act of trying to achieve a neutral focus actually influences the focus of the meditation itself whereas with Nalu, you do not attempt to be neutral or emotional at all. The attitude to have with Nalu is one of calm, positive expectation like you would have before listening to your favorite piece of music about to be played by a new band. You expect it to be good and different, positive expectation for sure, and you have increased awareness because you are paying close attention.
Where attention goes, energy flows and when energy flows into a particular pattern being focused on, the pattern itself is energized and therefore changes. Neutral or positive attention will cause a positive change, whereas a negative focus, one of fearful attention will have the opposite effect. So, if you are trying to meditate, but are fearful you are not doing it correctly you will not get the positive effects of meditation and may in fact feel more stressed out afterwards because you feel like a failure!
The wonderful thing about Nalu is it hardly matters what you focus on as long as it interest you. Attention follows interest and energy follows attention. You’ll find it much easier to focus if something interests you, therefore all the benefits of meditation should come faster. Also, unlike traditional meditation, Nalu can be done anytime, anywhere for very short periods of time. There are days when I practice Nalu all day instead of sitting down for my usual hour long Chakra meditation.
Consciously and intentionally keeping your mind focused on one thing for even ten seconds can be difficult to achieve, but Nalu is designed to train us how to do just that.
With multisensory Nalu, one could practice while jogging, walking, eating, writing, consciously breathing or just being. Whatever the activity or center of focus it is important to pay attention to all of the sights, sounds, feelings, movements, tastes and smells around you. For instance, with a moving Nalu such as walking or running, your attention is turned to the way the pavement feels under your feet, the wind on your face, your breathing, the sky, sounds of nature and how you feel. I used to practice Nalu while doing an eight minute mile on the treadmill. It was much easier for me to focus my attention on my body while on the treadmill instead of dealing with the fear of traffic, bad weather or injury.
Simply paying close attention to your body, feeling yourself from the inside out, paying attention to everything, the way your toes feel, your breath, the environment, the dog, the smell of the room, paying attention brings you into the moment. That’s meditation! Every moment you pay deep attention, you are meditating.
With Nalu, you can practice being present at any time, many times a day if you feel like it. So STOP. Take a deep breath, feel your lungs expand and tap into the present. Even small amounts of quiet reflection, pause or time out throughout the day has benefit in the long term. Who knows…once you get started you may exceed your wildest expectations…all it takes is a start. Everyday.
That’s right. I’m sure you already know that moving one’s body everyday, in any way possible is necessary to good health. In fact, there is plenty of research to support the fact that ANY activity, taking the stairs, walking from the car, sweeping, gardening, etc can all help to increase fitness and reduce chronic disease like adult onset diabetes, hypertension and even obesity. This great article from the science blogs over at PLOS one highlights simple ways to add fitness into everyday life without going to the gym!
As underrated as sleep is, the fact is..we MUST sleep! There is plenty of research related to the importance of sleep, plenty of controversy regarding the lack of sleep among truck drivers, train operators, doctors, pilots, etc. , yet sleep endures as a limited resource in everyday life. Here’s a super informative podcast on the the role of sleep in the obesity epidemic. Did you know that in as little as six days without sleep, healthy people can develop a state of prediabetes? Yup. It’s true. So if sleep is a fleeting experience for you, consider retraining yourself to stay in bed and practice getting some zzzz’s cause your health depends on it.