03-08-2107 PELE Newsletter

We’re a couple of days behind, we had a severe winter and we’re still repairing damage from the ice and snow.

 

PELE March 08, 2017 Edition

Practical Everyday Life

Enhancement

Easy Does It:

Posture And Attitudes Are Reflections Of Mental Patterns.

Mindfulness And Photography:

Photography And Mindfulness.

Love, Connection And Flow Unify Life.

Thoughts On Creating Change.

Herbal Remedies:

The Dynamic Duo: Cinnamon And Garlic.

Exercises Oh My Aching Back:

Is that you after starting your new exercise program?

Copyright 2017 NewLifeRoadMap Larry and Celinda Miller



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EASY DOES IT

© Celinda Miller 3-8-17 Photos © Larry R. Miller

Once in awhile I notice myself in the middle of some messy scene, as if I were a silent witness or an alien suddenly transported down at an awkward moment. My mindless reaction is frozen in time by a momentary awakening that beckons to a potentially different future.

Often what’s happening is inside of me, an imaginary dialogue or a niggling thought messing with my head, or an “ain’t it awful” feeling coloring my day a murky gray. Subliminal nonsense, but persistent and persuasive.

Sometimes it’s out there, an impatient or irritating or faultfinding exchange started by having a bad hair day. Okay, maybe I did get out of bed grouchy, but it isn’t my fault. Overworked, underloved, stressed out, burned out, misunderstood, unappreciated …you’d be grouchy, too.

Sound familiar?

Mindfulness, a neutral self-observation, is cultivated by conscious deep breathing. Belly breathing with attention on the breath and awareness of what is happening within and without, calls in here and now, allowing me to be fully in the present. When I can calmly observe my reactions, I see myself creating my life in every moment. My choices make my habits and then my habits make the “me” that creates my biography. Eventually this biography is stored in and affects my biology.

Posture and attitudes are reflections of mental patterns. As the yogis say, “The posture of the body is the posture of the mind made visible.” Breathing deeply into the belly evokes the relaxation response. Only when I’m relaxed and feel safe can I broaden my perspectives, dance with a new understanding and embrace more options for my life.

What within myself is valid perception and what is misperception? What do I want to change and what do I want to keep? Not all change is beneficial. Such questions help bring me back to conscious breathing, to the present moment, to what my body’s feeling, thinking and sensing.

Slowly breathing in, I affirm that life supports me, that it’s safe to take in. Slowly breathing out, I give back to life, sharing my more than enough or letting go of what is no longer helpful. I rest, remember, renew, transform.

Attentive, aware, neutral noticing offers many choices, each having different outcomes. Dare I leave the past behind and the future alone to accept, enter, and dance in the only moment that is…this here, this now? It’s said that letting go clears the way for letting in.

Or, as Rumi would say: Feel yourself being quietly drawn by the deeper pull of what you truly love.

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Developing Your Photographer’s Eye Through Mindfulness.

AND

Developing Mindfulness Through Your Photographer’s Eye.

Text and photo© Larry R. Miller

When we first begin our walk down the path of photography, we think that if we have the latest and greatest equipment we’ll also be able to take the greatest pictures. Very often we’re disappointed and some of us decide TO put the camera in the closet, close the closet door, and the door on a part of our life that offers the possibility to be very fulfilling.

Good equipment is important but even more important is developing your personal photographers eye for what happening in the world, big and small, around you. We constantly hear, “You have to find your niche” where making money is concerned. The same is true with photography. What sets your pictures apart from the many out there is finding your niche by seeing the world through your eyes in a way that others don’t, and can’t.

 

I find practicing mindfulness with a camera in hand allows me to be in the present moment, to capture the world around me as it happens and to develop my unique view of the world that’s constantly in flux around me. All too often I’ve missed an opportunity because I “wasn’t here”, I wasn’t in the moment, I was somewhere else and in a different timeframe. We all know the feeling, not just those of us who are photographers.

 

In photography, aperture refers to the opening in the camera’s lens that allows light to enter. By opening and closing the aperture you change the depth of field. The human brain is the same: the more you open or close the mindfulness aspect of your brain, the more or less you can take in about the world around you, the more you’re aware of your depth of field, your field of focus.

When we’re in a mindful state, we’re in the present, aware of our surroundings and noticing all the details. When we’re mindful, we make conscious choices. In photography those conscious choices can be the difference between ho hum and….

WOW!

 

When you practice mindfulness photography, your camera can help you release anxiety, lower or eliminate depression by laser focusing on light, shadows, patterns, forms and those little things that we walk past in our rush through our daily lives.

Multi-tasking is a myth according to the latest neuroscience. The human brain can only be focused on one thing at a time. Most of us think we can multi-task but if we break it down we find we’re jumping from one subject to another and then back again, while giving none of them a full mind, our uninterrupted, internal full focus.

 

To get that WOW photo, focus your brain’s aperture on your chosen subject, compose the shot, capture it and if you got that WOW shot, you’ll know you just experienced a snapshot of mindfulness.

If you do that on a regular basis, not only will your photography improve, you’re likely to find your life works better.

 

So, how does one embark on their mindfulness photography journey?

If you live in the country like we do, you can take a hike. If a hike isn’t possible, take a walk or stroll around your neighborhood. While walking, think deeply about every step and what you see in that moment. You’ll be surprised how many new things you see in places where you’ve been hundreds of times before.

Focus your internal aperture and if the scene begins to fade or get out of focus, gently bring your attention back. Think about how the camera’s focus begins to blur the picture when you move off the subject, your mind is the same and neither get a real clear picture when that happens,

As you see new things that have been there all along, compose the scene, take your photo from a different perspective than usual. Try elevating yourself on a short wall or get down on your stomach. Instead of taking the picture the normal horizontal way, rotate the camera 90 degrees and see how that turns out. Play with your mindfulness, see how it feels and what new things in life you experience. Get that WOW photo you’ve always wanted AND…

Like the raccoon, “Be always curious.”



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THOUGHTS ON CREATING CHANGE

© Celinda Miller 3-8-17 Photos © Larry R. Miller

Life is very simple. Every choice is either a life wish or a death wish. Consider the Biblical theme of the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. It’s a great story to ponder.

Love , connection and flow unify life. Fear, alienation and control fractionate life. As a yoga teacher once said, “Always move towards love.” I think I’ll etch that on my heart.

I’m not my dysfunctions. Becoming aware of my inherent wholeness is an inside job. The magic healing elixir, formula or program isn’t “out there.” They exist deep within my being and are uniquely mine to create from the inside out.

I’m much more powerful than I believe. It’s simply a matter of redirecting my (will)power into more healthful, nurturing ways in service to myself and others.

Life is a series of choices, a smorgasbord of choices whether we know it or not. Choices have effects, so there’s no free lunch in this universe. Someone or something somewhere must pick up my tab if I refuse to be responsible for my bill.

My dysfunctions need remedy, so I do some kind of healing work, have some kind of positive spiritual support. Yoga, EFT, Touch for Health, Edu-K, qigong, tai chi, meditation, music or art, a 12 Step Program or other support group, an affirmative spiritual program, a trusted accountability mentor are all healing choices to guide me into a more informed and positive relationship with my life.

Languaging is also crucial. When mindful, I choose my words carefully. My unconscious is listening and remembers every thought and word. Habitual thoughts and words frame what I believe about my world and how I see it. Eventually they shape my behavior towards the world I see, reinforcing my sense of “truth” and “reality.”

As comedian Flip Wilson put it, “What you see is what you get.” Or as in the Talmud, “We do not see things as they are, we see things as we are.”

My subconscious judgement system (J.S.) comes from my subconscious belief system (B.S.), and they dictate how I will approach a person, thing, event, or my life. Even my deepest attitudes about life, others and myself are derived from my B.S and J.S.

So doing always follows feeling. Fortunately, belief is only a thought habit, and thoughts can be changed. Change the thought and the feeling changes. Change the feeling and the behavior changes. Change the behavior and I change.

I have three brains…a head brain, a heart brain and a body brain. (Think of the three legs of Yoga…knowledge, will and action.) Integration of my personality comes from the alignment and subsequent harmony of these three brains. That’s when my most fruitful learning shows up in Spades.

Paul Dennison, founder of Educational Kinesiology (Edu-K) wrote, “All finished learning is changed behavior.” When I see this statement as true, I envision my changed behavior before it even appears. My belief then propels me towards it, and Voila!, sooner or later my new behavior shows up in my life.

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Cinnamon And Garlic.

Herbal Remedies For:

Blood Pressure Control, Candida Albicans And The Flu.

Text and photo© Larry R. Miller

Multiple studies have shown that cinnamon is the single best natural form of blood sugar control. Cinnamon (the water based extract type appears to be most effective) helped lower blood sugar levels between 10 and 30 percent. Cinnamon alone won’t allow you to discontinue your prescriptions but it’s a big step in the right direction. Always consult with your health care provider before embarking on a new path. Low blood sugar can cause problems too.

Cinnamon has also been used for centuries to treat colds and influenza. Start with a saucepan, add two cups of water, a stick, or equivalent of powdered cinnamon or cinnamon extract, plus two drops of clove oil, or a few leaves of fresh clove leaves and slow boil for about three minutes. Remove from the heat and add some dark honey or molasses, one formula includes two tablespoons of good quality whiskey but that’s your choice. After the mixture has cooled sufficiently, so as not to destroy vitamin C, add two tablespoons of lemon juice. Drink half a cup every three to four hours.

If you don’t have a head cold or flu but do a fungal infection, cinnamon has anti-fungal properties both externally and when taken internally. A few drops of cinnamon oil can help if you have athlete’s foot and can fight internal fungus infections like the overpopulation of candida albicans (C. albicans), known as candidiasis or thrush, when taken as a tea.

C. albicans is a diploid fungus, meaning it’s a form of yeast, and is part of the normal gut flora. C. albicans lives in about 80% of the human population with no harmful effects, although an overgrowth can result in candidiasis. Diets high in sugars can cause an overgrowth of candida.

Candidiasis can range from superficial to systemic to potentially life-threatening. Immunocompromised, such as AIDS, cancer, organ and bone transfer recipients and chemotherapy patients are more susceptible to blood and other systemic fungal infections (fungemias).

My personal experience with candidiasis stemmed from a recommended high sugar diet while attending an Olympic training camp seminar. The diet contained large amounts of sugar, sugary foods at every meal and at least one large tablespoon of honey first thing in the morning. That diet put a person on a sugar rush and, in order to maintain it, you had to continue consuming lots of sugar. Everyone I knew on that type diet eventually burned out and had health problems of some sort from mild to life threatening.

Males aren’t supposed to get candidiasis, according to some authorities. I consulted with various doctors, including a sports specialist, and didn’t find out what the problem was until I read a book on the subject.

The doctor who wrote the book listed all the pharmaceuticals and their side effects. At the end of the book he mentioned, as and aside, that raw garlic did as well or better than any pharmaceutical and there were no medical side effects. The only side effect I experienced was people keeping more distance between me and them than usual. In some instances, that was fine with me. I hadn’t heard or read about cinnamon being an effective fungal fighter or I would have tried it first.

Garlic can be easily home grown outdoors during nice weather or indoors during the winter in pots.

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Oh My Aching Back!

Text and photo© Larry R. Miller

Oh, Ouch, Oh My!

Is that you after starting your new exercise program? Could it be that years of pushing the remote button haven’t kept you as fit as you’d hoped? Did doing too much too fast cause you to lose interest? Before getting into why we hurt, let’s see what we can do about not causing problems and the resulting symptoms in the first place.

Are your abdominal muscles sore from doing too many sit-ups? Before deciding you’re doomed to look like Jabba the Hutt, and making things worse by going into a state of depression, try approaching the problem differently. While sitting at the table, stuck in a traffic jam, anywhere it isn’t necessary to be alert or make much sense (does talking mindlessly on the cell phone qualify?), tighten the abdominal and chest muscles for 20 to 30 seconds and then relax them. Wait for 10 or 15 seconds, tighten them again and then relax. You can do that as many times as you feel necessary; keeping in mind if you do too many too soon you’ll be back to “Oh Ouch, Oh My.”

By combining that with an exercise known as Keggles, you can tone and strengthen all the muscles in the pelvic bowl, abdomen and chest and without anyone knowing what you’re up to. At first it may take a little practice to appear nonchalant but consider it a challenge; the rewards will be worth it. Since there’s more to Keggles than just tightening your muscles for 20 to 30 seconds, and the information is readily available, finding that information and giving it a try will test how interested in improving your health and fitness you really are. The complete exercise can be found at the library or by doing an Internet search. I could give you the URL but if you’re not interested enough to do a couple of minutes of internet searching, you’re not going to do anything anyway.

You say you have no time to exercise? Would you consider washing dishes or working at the bench in the garage while toning the legs, hips, and lower back muscles, plus improving your balance and coordination at the same time, to be worth while? If so, with your feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent, try rising up on your toes and rocking back on your heels the next time you’re standing at the sink, at your garage bench or when just hanging out. Slicing veggies and making a salad at the counter can also be a good time to work on improving your fitness while improving your diet, win-win.

Doing the following at your place of employment may not work out but, if you have jobs that require you to stand in one place for long periods, try standing on one foot and then the other. Rock back and forth from toes to heels, bend the knees, raise one leg out to the side and then alternate legs. Use your imagination! Staying fit isn’t just about blood, sweat and tears at the gym, you can be fit and healthy almost anywhere, almost anytime.

Being stiff and sore from excesses are symptoms and can have many causes. One thing we need to keep in mind is; muscles are more easily conditioned and brought up to strength than tendons, and tendons heal much more slowly when we abuse them. Tendinitis can be a long and painful ordeal.

When we exercise and experience muscle soreness, it’s usually because we’ve made micro-tears in the muscle fibers. This is a somewhat necessary evil: going overboard isn’t. When the tear is repaired, muscle size and strength increase. Slight discomfort, and seeing slow gains over a long period of time, is more acceptable than being stiff, sore, in a lot of pain then quitting and realizing no gain.

Overdoing exercise can have the same stress responses on the body as walking face first into a Black Widow’s web in the dark. (Bears and lions are over used and not something most of us have had personal experience with anyway). No matter the stressor, the reaction can still be the same.

Under stress, certain body functions shut down in order to channel energy to areas more in need during fright, flight or fight. Stress, including overly stressful exercise, releases hormones and other chemicals into the bloodstream. Upkeep, maintenance and rebuilding are put on hold until the current emergency is resolved. Digestion, removal of waste, flushing of free radicals and toxins from the cells and muscles cease. Waste products in the muscles can become toxic, shut off oxygen to the muscle and cause an occurrence in the affected muscle similar to a mini-stroke. Theses same overload conditions and their consequences can lead to a heart attack like what happened to the star/guru Bob Harper of The Biggest Loser.

In the repair scenario, damaged muscle fiber is patched and rebuilt. If we overdo, a small portion of the muscle can die and we develop micro-lesions of necrotic (dead) tissue or cicatrix (scars). When that happens, there’s the possibility of an ulcer like occurrence in the muscle, inflexible scar tissue forming with future tears at its edges and the body expending large amounts of energy disposing of dead tissue. All of which leaves us more tired and with less energy at the cellular level for repair and fat elimination.



 

PELE 02-16-17

February 16, 2017

PELE

Practical Everyday

Life Enhancement

You Are What You Eat:

Depression And The Junk Food Connection.

Learning Through Life Experiences:

Mustanging It.

Health Watch:

Arthritis And Essential Fatty Acids..

Holistic Homemaking:

Coconut-Curry-Pumpkin Soup.

Exercise:

Exercises For Computer Stress..

Copyright 2016 NewLifeRoadMap® Larry and Celinda Miller



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Depression And The Junk Food Connection.

Highly Processed Foods, Particularly Sugars, Lower Zinc And Raise Copper Levels.

Text and photo© Larry R. Miller

The photo was not photoshopped, layered or a composition. This is how it looked when seen or photographed through a double pane, glass window.

Keep the following in mind: Zinc is an antagonist to copper. In other words, if zinc levels are high, copper is more likely to be excreted from the system. When copper levels are high, the absorption of zinc is inhibited. Copper is essential for equilibrium, our sense of balance. If too little copper is in the body we can experience loss of balance and other symptoms such as dizziness. With zinc, as is the case with all things, if a little is good, a whole lot more isn’t necessarily better

Research has shown that high copper levels are connected to depression, violent behavior, schizophrenia and other maladies associated with certain areas of the brain. Excess copper has also been linked to tinnitus (ringing in the ears), high blood pressure, baldness, insomnia and facial pigmentation. Birth control pills can cause high blood copper levels. The estrogen in contraceptives promotes higher absorption of copper in the intestinal tract and contributes to the formation of additional copper binding proteins. The increase in copper levels caused by the hormone estrogen, no matter the source including hormone replacement therapy, has been shown to increase the symptoms of schizophrenia in women, cause headaches, depression, insomnia and contributes to high blood pressure.

During pregnancy the fetus requires high levels of zinc for growth. The zinc is taken from the mother, lowering her zinc levels and increasing the levels of copper. Depending on diet and other factors, it can take as long as six months for the mother’s zinc levels to return to normal and stabilize.

Mothers who have been taking zinc supplements as part of their prenatal vitamins and minerals, have calmer and better behaved infants. If the child is breast fed, and the mother is taking zinc supplements, the child receives the zinc from breast-feeding, which lowers the the infant’s copper levels.

People who are on medications generally have elevated copper levels. The elderly are most at risk because of deficiencies in their diet, lowered assimilation rates of zinc and increased use of medications, which deplete zinc.

High levels of copper can usually be controlled with zinc supplementation. Zinc is absorbed best when taken on an empty stomach. Avoid taking zinc with dairy products, alcohol, fiber rich foods, coffee or other sources of caffeine including sodas and whole grains. These foods and non-foods either bind to the zinc and make it more difficult to assimilate or they promote increased copper levels which decrease the levels of zinc.

Blood and tissue samples taken from 4,000 violent children and 800 convicted violent criminals, including 25 mass murderers like Charles Manson, showed they all had elevated copper levels and lower levels of zinc than their non-violent counterparts. (Society for Neuroscience Conference, 1994).

Alcohol affects copper levels by increasing the absorption of copper, which inhibits absorption of zinc, and beer contains copper. Studies have shown that even moderate beer consumption increases copper absorption and circulating blood copper levels.

Refined sugars lower zinc levels, thus increasing copper levels. Alcohol is made from sugars. Sugar, and the resulting alcohol, are poisons to the entire body’s system. Alcoholics usually harbor feelings of shame and guilt, both of which contribute to depression. The immune system is suppressed by alcohol and most drugs. If we don’t feel well, particularly for long periods, we become depressed. If we poison ourselves on a daily basis, it’s impossible to feel well and be healthy.

Complex carbohydrates and a balanced diet of whole foods, promotes production of tryptophan. Tryptophan is a naturally occurring amino acid and precursor to serotonin. Serotonin is a mood mellower and slows down reactions and outbursts in volatile situations. Alcohol lowers levels of tryptophan. Sugars and highly processed carbohydrates increase levels of dopamine and norepinephrine (adrenaline). Adrenaline and dopamine decrease reaction time, raise the blood pressure and are part of the “wired” fight or flight response, mostly the fight part.

Tryptophan used to be prescribed as a sleep aid until 1989. Tryptophan was sold over the counter for almost 25 years until reports of Exoinophilia-Myalgia-Syndrome (EMS) began to surface. The FDA recalled all the tryptophan on the US market. At that same time, Prozac was introduced as the miracle pharmaceutical prescription drug for depression. The contamination of tryptophan was traced to one source in Japan, the company Showa Denka, but since pharmaceuticals are deeply entrenched in our country, tryptophan was never allowed back into the US market. Tryptophan is still sold in other countries of the world. If you do research into Prozac and other pharmaceuticals for depression, you will find multiple and serious side effects on a massive scale.

Good sources of tryptophan are most cold water fish, dark meat turkey and chicken, almonds, sunflower seeds, Brazil nuts, brown rice, cottage cheese, peanuts and pumpkin seeds. Furthermore, pumpkin seeds have been proven to be beneficial in lowering the incidence of prostate problems. Pumpkin seeds contain large amounts of zinc, magnesium, phosphorous and essential fatty acids. Research from Thailand has shown pumpkin seeds to be effective in preventing kidney and bladder stones.

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MUSTANGING IT

Celinda Miller © 2017

Photo© Larry R Miller

I remember when the Navy allowed its exceptional enlisted men an opportunity to directly enter Officer Candidates School, accepting their service experience and expertise in lieu of a college degree. Upon graduating from OCS, these men become known as “mustangs”…officers who came up through the ranks.

Officers and enlisted men alike respected them for their seasoned skills and practical wisdom. Nobody considered them “less than” for not having a college diploma. Mustangs were known for their intelligence, courage, independence and feistiness …just like their namesakes.

I’ve learned to value this regard for common sense wisdom, empirical skills and hard won knowledge, and to appreciate the years of sweat labor involved in acquiring them. I’ve gradually lost my adulation of degrees and certifications, from watching many “schooled” people, including myself, struggle in the “real” world outside of ivy halls.

I value formal learning. It’s a standardized system that proves a person’s ability to stick through an academic discipline. Yet, I also value the School of Life experience, for the world tests and ultimately finds lacking, all learning not grounded in mature judgment, intuitive wisdom and practical application.

In the real world, a hands-on learner may have an edge due to a “see if it works” approach, while an academic may be impaired by a bias of personally untested theories or academic hubris. Likewise, a hands-on learner may be impaired by a disdain for formal learning or newfangled thinking, while an academic may have an edge due to theoretical reasoning. It’s not that one style of learning is better, but that both are respected, as each perspective can strengthen, support and enhance the other.

Several years ago I decided to “mustang” my way down life’s road for the second half of my life, relying on life experiences and self-taught skills for my professional expertise. Doing so is much more difficult now, since degrees and certifications are universally required for most job positions. Traditional apprenticeship, working under master artisans or trades(wo)men, is rare.

Some employers still heavily weight self-initiative and self-confidence gained from practical learning experience and personally honed skills. However, most demand or are required by policy to hire only applicants having the credentials of a formal education.

This homogenizing trend is caused by an urban worldview which overvalues titles, conformity and status, while undervaluing diversity, individuality and practical life skills. All are sacrificed on the altar of standardization. Yet they are essential to this planet’s continuation, for diversity, experience and essential life skills are nature’s most basic survival assets.

Would I become certified or degreed out of a need to be considered legitimate? No, but neither would I refuse certification or a degree, if the training were something I valued and really wanted to experience.

Mustangs know when to go to school and when to wing it, when to hold and when to fold. If given a choice, they prefer to pick up their education on the playing field of life. They self-evaluate the benefit of any learning, choosing from life’s limitless field of opportunities, experiences and possibilities.

Mustangs take charge of their own learning, just as they do of their lives. Autonomous, adventurous and unfettered, a mustang, even tamed, is still wild at heart. So, I say hurrah to all “mustangs,” wherever and whoever you are. May you live long, live strong and live free.



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Arthritis and Essential Fatty Acids

A Healthful Balance Between Omega 3 and Omega 6

Text and Photo© Larry R Miller

Looking through my notes I find most research states the ratio between Omega 3 (alfa-linoleic acid) and Omega 6 (linoleic acid) ideally should be from 1 to 1 or 1 to 6, depending on the authority. Most people who eat the standard American diet (SAD) consume 10 to 25 times more Omega 6 than Omega 3. A lesser known EFA is Omega 9 (oleic acid).

The main sources of omega 6 are hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils such as corn and soy which contain a high proportion of linoleic acid. Omega 3 is found in flaxseed oil, walnut oil, marine plankton and fatty fish. The main EFA component of flaxseed and walnut oils is alpha-linolenic acid. Fatty cold water fish and fish oils are high in eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Alpha-linolenic acid can be converted by the body to EPA and DHA, although not very efficiently, especially in older people. Food sources of omega 9 fatty acids are olive oil, avocados, almonds, peanuts, sesame oil, pecans, pistachio nuts, cashews, hazelnuts and macadamia nuts. None of the sources consist exclusively of only one EFA.

In the 1970’s Danish physicians found Greenland Eskimos had an exceptionally low incidence of heart disease and arthritis. Even though very high in fat, their diet was also very high in EPA and DHA.

Researchers found that EPA and DHA were highly beneficial not only in the prevention of heart disease and arthritis, but also rheumatoid arthritis, atherosclerosis, depression, and cancer. They are also helpful in treating diabetes, ulcerative colitis, and Raynaud’s disease.

Apparently, EPA and DHA reduce pain in people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis or ulcerative colitis by decreasing inflammation. As little as 2.7 grams of EPA and 1.8 grams of DHA were proven to markedly reduce the number of tender joints. Separate clinical research trials noted a decrease in morning stiffness. Arthritis patients who took fish oil supplementation were able to eliminate or sharply reduce their use of NSAIDs and other arthritis drugs.

Other research information found patients with ulcerative colitis have abnormally low blood levels of EPA. Supplementing their diets with fish oil (2.7 grams of EPA and 1.8 grams of DHA daily) reduced the severity of the condition by 50% or more. Many were able to discontinue anti-inflammatory medication and steroids.

Korean researchers found that prostate cancer patients have low blood levels of omega-3 and that daily supplementation with as little as 2.5 grams of fish oils was effective in preventing the progression from benign polyps to colon cancer.

Independent studies have shown high blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids combined with a low levels of omega-6 acids reduced the risk of developing breast cancer. Other research found considerable evidence that fish oil consumption can delay or reduce tumor development in breast cancer.

It is estimated that at least 85% of the people in first world countries are deficient in Omega 3 fatty acids and that most consume far too much Omega 6. Vegetarian diets tend to be very high in omega-6.

The recommended daily intake of EPA plus DHA is 650 mg and increasing to 1000 mg/day during pregnancy and lactation. Little additional benefit was observed at levels above 5 g/day of EPA and DHA combined.

Benefits involving blood parameters (triglycerides, etc.) may only take a few weeks but can take 3 months or longer to be evident in degenerative diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and atherosclerosis.



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COCONUT CURRY PUMPKIN SOUP

© Celinda Miller for PELE 2/16/17

Photo© Larry R. Miller

This is one of our favorite soups, a smashing combo with a salad and sourdough bread. Enjoy!

2-3 lb. Sweet, dense orange meat squash

(i.e., buttercup, butternut, kabocha)

Coconut oil for sauteing

Curry, black pepper and dried or chopped fresh

ginger to taste

Celtic sea salt or Braggs liquid aminos to taste

1/2-1 Can of coconut milk

Water

Directions:

Cut squash into small chunks, after removing the seeds and seed pulp.

In Dutch oven sized pot, add cut squash, coconut oil, curry, black pepper and ginger. Saute for about five minutes over medium heat.

Add water to cover squash or a bit more, and bring to a boil, then simmer until squash is done. Add coconut milk to creaminess desired, Celtic sea salt or Braggs liquid aminos to taste, or not as desired.

Mash soup with a potato masher, or if a smoother consistency is desired, cool soup some to put in a blender without danger of burning yourself, cover with lid and blend until smooth.

If you don’t have coconut milk, substitute a 1/2 C. of dried, unsweetened, preferably fine shred coconut, adding it to the saute mix. At the end of cooking, set some of the soup broth aside and add Vegenaise or mayonnaise to broth, blending well. Pour into soup and stir until thoroughly mixed.

You can also add a bit of onion and/or garlic to the saute mix after you’ve gotten the recipe down and know that you like it. We like to do so, but some people, an Ayurvedic vegan perhaps, would cringe at the thought of adding either one.

(As you can see, I’m a by guess and by gosh kind of cook, thanks to my little German grandma, who taught me the art of simple, “good enough” country cooking. She never suspected I’d ever use anything as exotic as curry, coconut milk or ginger. Neither did I, then.)

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An Exercise for Computer Stress

Text and photo© Larry R. Miller

Work your abs while at the computer.

Computers can be timesavers but they can also be detrimental to our health.

I don’t have a problem with a “spare tire” but sitting at a computer can contribute to having one. Fat carried around the waist significantly increases the chance of heart attack in both men and women.

Men who are comparatively slim, but have a spare tire, are at twice the risk of heart attack and stroke than a man who is overweight but carries the extra fat somewhere besides around the middle. Women who carry a spare tire are at even greater risk. If a woman carries her extra pounds around the middle, she is four times more likely to suffer from a heart attack or stroke than an overweight woman who carries the extra in her hips, legs and thighs.

The spare tire fat is a greater problem because abdominal fat cells release more artery clogging fatty acids more quickly than fat in the legs, buttocks and arms. Diet is one contributor to the problem, staying at the table is another and lack of exercise rounds out the top three causes.

I found the following exercises to be beneficial for computer related problems and they also work the abdominal muscles, lower back and legs. Consult with your health care provider to see if the following exercises are appropriate for you before starting any exercise program.

I use a stool, the couch is right next to my computer and a real representative picture isn’t possible.

The following exercises help strengthen the abs, adductors, abductors, lower back and quadriceps and can be done while you’re sitting at your computer. Sit up straight, knees bent with feet flat on the floor and cross the ankles. Crossing the ankles helps to protect the lower back. Place your hands on the sides of the chair, press the knees together as much as possible and lift the feet off the floor. Try to lift the upper legs beyond horizontal, or whatever the computer desk will allow. Keep the lower legs vertical, don’t tuck them under the chair. To increase the difficulty, don’t lean back on the chair and try to use as much arm strength as possible. The exercise is more difficult than it appears, so start with low rep’s and build slowly. If you’re doing ten rep’s, switch which foot is in front after five, etc. Some programs eliminate this exercise stating that it can cause high blood pressure problems or aggravate existing problems.

To strengthen the quadriceps, adductors and abductors take the same initial position, sitting up straight, feet flat on the floor, etc. You can either let the arms and hands hang down without touching the chair or if it works better for you, especially when starting a new routine, use the chair arms for support. . Now, slide the right foot straight forward until the right heel is beyond the ends of the toes of the left foot. Raise the right foot off the floor and, like a big slow moving pendulum, swing it back and forth to the left and right as far as is comfortable for you. When you feel you’ve done enough, switch to the other side. Keep in mind that you’re using the same basic lower back muscles for both sides so don’t overdo it on one side, or both. If you work in a cubicle, no one will see you so you don’t have anything to prove anyway. You can do the above exercises while talking on the phone and if the person on the other end asks what the noise is when you’re trying too hard, you know you’re doing too much.



PELE Newsletter 12-08-16

PELE December 08, 2016 Edition

Practical Everyday Life Enhancement

Are You Traveling This Holiday Season?

After Multiple Delays, You’re Finally On The Road: Maybe.

Money Matters:

Tis The Season.

You Love Garlic But Not Garlic Breath:

Here’s A Thousand Year Old Answer To The Problem.

Holistic Homemaking:

My Favorite Christmas Recycles.

Why Your Exercise Program Isn’t Working:

Fitness And The White Rabbit.

Copyright Larry and Celinda Miller NewLifeRoadMap 2016

Cover photo Larry R. Miller

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Murphy’s Law Reigns Supreme During The Holidays.

Text and photo© Larry R. Miller

Just when you think you have everything fixed, under control and able to save a few bucks, the stuff you have, or is it “the stuff that has you”, breaks down. The same is true for time and travel no matter who or what you are.

You’ve planned your trip and intend to leave on a certain day. Then, either something quits running or a problem you thought resolved months ago resurfaces. When traveling with another person you find they’re on a different time schedule, maybe even in a different time zone or the date of departure is moved at the last minute because of some unforeseen situation.

Inevitably, after everything appears under control the person you moved the departure date up for, calls and tells you that their schedule has changed again. So, now you’re back to the original date of departure but since you changed to the other date, you’re not ready. Changing back adds more stress.

Finally, you’re on the road the day after you thought you were going to leave, which was the day you had originally intended to leave, but had been changed to the day before you actually departed. Breathing deeply you attempt to regain composure and help clear the time sickness from your brain.

The first thing you notice after getting on the freeway is that some towns aren’t sure where to locate; any city is a good example. The highway sign says “Anysburg 58 miles, Big Town 212.” A few miles down the road the signs say “Anysburg 44 miles, Big Town 210.” Anysburg looked the same as the last time you were there, so you can only assume it was Big Town that had moved.

After months of preparing for a trip that will take you away from all the things you consider your daily life, you’re both lighthearted and ambivalent about the months ahead.

The first miles don’t produce any significant changes. Once in the mountains, everyone’s in a hurry, including you. Loaded down for an extended stay with clothes and gear and hardly enough spare room for a box of toothpicks, you row the pickup up the steep hills with the gearshift lever.

The first rain you’ve seen in a while streaks the windshield and the squawk, squawk on the windshield that sounds like someone’s choking a chicken reminds you you’ve forgotten to replace the wiper blades. It’s still warm outside and with the window down the smell of rain, ponderosa and juniper fill the pickup cab, replacing the closeness and essence of dog. As you wind your way down the western slope of the mountains a large gold/red sun drops below the clouds that resemble a giant steel wool pad from mountain range to mountain range. On the freeway at 75 you stay in the right lane, the cars in the left lane are passing you like you’re parked. Your Christmas trip destination is six miles ahead. But, finding an unlit driveway is difficult when you’re not sure which off ramp turn is correct: and everyone’s in a hurry.

The next few days are spent waiting for some items to catch up with you by mail that hadn’t arrived before you left: watching your grandson take his first unaided steps that will change his parents life forever: helping your kids move into their new home: hiking a creek forested by conifers and deciduous trees: helping your son’s neighbor move some building materials and undertaking the always difficult task of trying to change from hectic schedules, to one more healthful and fulfilling. When sitting idle, thoughts run through your mind, “I’m not moving. I’m not doing anything. Am I guilty of some 20th/21st century technocultural sin?”

Traveling can be more than just seeing new things. Travel can introduce us to different points of view and help us see that change is the only constant. Travel can help us understand and make shifts in our consciousness, assist us in removing ourselves from the daily routine, aid us in seeing who we’ve been, who we’ve become. It can also help us realize that what we surround ourselves with, isn’t who we really are. And, it can help us comprehend we really are; who we can become.

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TIS THE SEASON

© Celinda Miller for PELE 12/8/16

Photo© Larry R. Miller

Well, ‘tis the season of massive gift giving once again. Last year the average American spent $882 on Christmas, according to after-the-fact news reports. That’s average over the entire U.S. population which included babes, kids, the elderly and infirm, the many who were unable to give any gifts to loved ones and, of course, the multitudes who shopped ‘til they dropped.

To give from the heart is not easy. What is easy, is to spend time, energy and money on a gift out of obligation, guilt, expectation or habit. Sorting out motives for giving a gift can be daunting, as gifting behavior is habitual. People become very uncomfortable when looking at their habits.

If a gift-to-be is from other than the desire to express love in a tangible way, a choice is still available. A person can change the feelings about giving it, can not give it or can give it with the original intention, but knowingly rather than unknowingly. Awareness itself is sometimes enough to make an inner shift towards love.

When a record of all gifts is kept it becomes easy to see how much money is spent on gifts, and if it is too large a percentage of the total income. The challenge is to be able to gift more from the heart and less from other motives, which can quickly reduce overspending patterns.

The following questions can help clarify gift-giving habits:

Have I given gifts…

simply because people have always given me one?

at work, church or social settings because I was expected to

give?

to improve my social status or to make an impression?

to assuage my guilt for not spending enough time with someone or

to improve a troubled relationship?

because that’s what I’ve always done for such events or holidays?

in a last minute rush or for unplanned events, thereby spending

more than I intended?

All these patterns encourage habitual giving and overspending. To bring the “present situation” into balance requires more creativity and less spending, as well as a willingness to learn new ways. Card giving also falls into the gift giving category, as it is now rare to find a really nice greeting card for less than three dollars.

This is what I do to help reduce the cost of giving, without sacrificing gifts I’ve planned for or impulsively given:

I like to give gifts that reflect my values. I’m an avid reader and often pick up books at second hand stores or library book sales. A book’s value lies in the hands of the reader, so a good, “like new” used book keeps its value, no matter how old it may be. Often I buy a used book, thinking I will read it someday, only to realize later that I actually bought the book as a future gift for someone else.

I also share my values by recycling. If I get an especially beautiful or funny greeting or Christmas card with no writing on the back of the picture, I turn it into a postcard so someone else can enjoy its beauty. If I receive an unneeded gift, I eventually find the perfect home for it, to the delight of its new recipient.

I’m concerned about the cost to the planet for all the “stuff” being produced in order to keep us buying. So I buy second hand rather than new whenever possible and also because the quality of new goods has deteriorated over the past 30 some years. I often find second hand items of better quality than the equivalent new items.

I also don’t care to pay for depreciation, and second hand items have already lost most of their depreciation. Lastly, the cost of new goods is usually more than I’m willing to pay. I like the feeling of getting a real bargain, of getting the most bang for my buck, and not having to expend so much of my life energy and time working “to make a living.” Freeing up time by spending less is my gift to myself.

Whenever I feel guilt or another such motive, I try to find its cause so I can address the problem rather than cover it up with a gift. Talking to, spending time with, or some other sharing of myself with the person involved usually makes for a more loving, meaningful gift than any material item, no matter how costly.

Other families have “gift boxes,” large boxes in their closets, which are filled with lovely yet economical gifts for unexpected occasions, unneeded gifts or items family members can no longer use but still in like new condition and waiting to grace someone else’s life.

Another form of popular giving is donating to a charity someone supports, in the name of that person. Live plants, foods (especially with recipes), time and skills, self-written stories, family histories or photo albums filled with meaningful pictures are other low cost gifts that keep on giving. The choices are endless. It’s just a matter of noticing them.

This quote says it all: “The goal is not just saving money. It’s freeing yourself from unspoken rules about gifts and enjoying the positive side

of gift giving—the joy that comes from giving freely from a sense of abundance, love, and sharing.” (Real Money Magazine, Co-op America)

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Do You Know The Thousand Year Old Answer To Garlic Breath?

Text© Larry R. Miller Photo open source.

Do you love garlic and its health-boosting benefits but dislike the bad breath it can leave you with?

Black garlic is the answer to your dilemma.

What is black garlic and what are its benefits?

Black garlic is conventional white garlic that uses a fermentation process that was developed thousands of years ago in Asia. White garlic is fermented using a combination of controlled high temperature and humidity. The three to four week process raises the levels of melanoidin, natural sugars and amino acids dramatically, which turns the garlic black. Melanoidin is a colored substance formed from proteins and amino acids. Melanoidin is derived from the same Greek word as melanin, the pigment that darkens your skin.

White and black garlic both have antiviral, anti-fungal and antimicrobial properties, can boost heart health and reduce inflammation. The fermentation aging process increases white garlic’s well-known

health properties. Black garlic is a powerhouse of probiotics, can also help strengthen the immune system and stabilize the gut.

During the fermentation process, the compound allicine (which gives raw garlic its distinctive odor) is turned into s-allcystein,” explains registered nutritionist Robert Hobson from Britain. “This is water soluble, which means it is absorbed more quickly and easily by the body,” he adds. S-allcystein is found in greater concentrations in black garlic than white, which may help lower cholesterol levels. Black garlic boosts the absorption percentages of antimicrobial and antifungal agents that are found in regular white garlic.

Black garlic has twice the antioxidant level of the traditional white variety. Black garlic is truly a super food.

Antioxidants are essential for our immune system as well as preventing and repairing damage to the body’s cells,” Robert says. “Black garlic may offer some protection against infections since it’s a natural antibiotic,” he adds.

Black garlic can also have a positive impact on blood pressure and circulation, some research indicates it may be useful in preventing diabetic complications and is believed to be a potent natural cancer fighter. Early studies indicate that black garlic could be a tool at some future point for preventing and treating colon cancer.

So, how does black garlic differ in the bad breath category? Fresh garlic is packed with high concentrations of sulphur-containing compounds. Like onions, the chemicals that lead to ‘garlic breath’ aren’t present in un-chopped garlic. The chemicals are formed when the garlic clove is damaged and enzymes in the garlic break down the compound alliin, found in the cloves, to form allicin (allicine in British English). Allicin, the major compound that contributes to chopped garlic’s aroma, is broken down into a range of sulfur-containing organic compounds. Several of those compounds also contribute to garlic breath.. Since allicin is turned into s-allcystein during fermentation there’s no smell, so no bad breath. Black garlic has a sweet, subtle flavor and you can eat it raw or use it in meal preparation the same as white garlic.

Black Garlic mixes well with sauces or different types of salad dressing and can be added to your favorite vegetable dips. In addition to cooking with black garlic, you can also get it in supplement form.

You can purchase black garlic cookers/ovens from Amazon or Ebay.

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MY FAVORITE CHRISTMAS RECYCLES

© Celinda Miller for PELE 12/8/16

Photo© Larry R. Miller

 

My favorite Christmas items to recycle are cards. I save my cards and ask others to save cards for me. This gives me a large supply from which to select the ones I like best. As mentioned in “‘TIS THE SEASON, I send recycled Christmas cards made from previous years’ cards and turn them into postcards or transform them into Christmas ornaments or montages…the possibilities are endless.

I also reuse Christmas cards for decorating gifts. After wrapping a present, I fold small pieces of scotch tape so they stick on both sides, place one in each backside corner of a card and stick it on the wrapped present. When I’ve many cards, I may stick another card on the back of the present, or more on the present if especially large. It’s a good way to reuse all those beautiful cards with writing on the backs of the pictures.

The presents are then pretty enough to forego ribbons, saving another unnecessary expense. When a present is to be mailed, there’s no worry about flattening a bow. If ribbons or bows are used (many are easily recycled), they can enhance the card’s effect. I also save pretty wrappings, whenever I can do so.

When I substituted at an elementary school, the children showed me how to make pretty tree ornaments from Christmas cards. They drew a same-sized circle around the pictures of three cards. Then they pasted the right backside of the first circle to the left backside of the second circle, the right backside of the second circle to the left backside of the third circle and the right backside of the third circle to the left backside of the first circle, with the desired pictures facing out. After the glue dried, the children poked holes in the tops and put ribbons through the holes so they could hang them on Christmas trees. Sometimes they added glitter, ribbons or sequins to their ornaments for greater effect.

Whenever I can, I save boxes and padded or manila envelopes I receive in the mail. They always come in handy. Just today I mailed the first of my Christmas packages in a reused box and three reused manila envelopes. Marking pens block out the old addresses and stamps. I write the address on the other side. It saves me from having to buy new mailing supplies, the pennies add up and I feel I’ve done a little something for the planet.

I enjoy my recycling ventures and the challenge of seeing how creative and artistic I can be with Christmas throwaways that would otherwise end up in some landfill or the ocean…half spent, wasted potentials of lost opportunities for sharing anew their beauties and treasures. It’s such a small, joyful event to be a wrapping or card, to sparkle gloriously for one moment and to know it will sparkle gloriously at least once more to the delight of someone new.

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“I’m late, I’m late, I must hurry, I can’t wait.”

Text and photos© Larry R. Miller

In our too busy modern lifestyle most of us feel like the White Rabbit in Alice In Wonderland. One of the pillars of radiant health is regular exercise and if we give up our regular exercise we complicate our lives even more.

In order to squeeze everything into our day one of the things we do while exercising is multi-task. When we do that we’re removing ourselves from being in touch with what’s going on in our body. This results in a poor quality workout that leads us to believe that it just isn’t worth it for the results we’re getting. Or, because we’re off somewhere else instead and not listening to what’s going on, we get injures…which leads us to believe it just isn’t worth it for the results we’re getting and how bad we feel.

Eliminating bad habits that reduce your exercise results will save time and pain in the long run. Here’s a list of the most often made exercise mistakes that keep us from realizing the results we want.

  1. Reading while exercising. Reading tends to slow the cadence and lower the intensity. Exercise is a mind-body event and if you want the results you have to be present.

  2. Skipping the warm-up. Many of us feel we can save some time and get to the sweat quicker if we skip the warm-up. Did you ever stretch a cold rubber band and have it stretch out and not return to its original shape or worse yet, have it break? Think about your muscles, joints, tendons and ligaments as that rubber band. I believe we need to loosen up before we stretch and stretch before we exercise. Taking the time to get loose first, will save a lot of injuries. Aggressively stretching a cold muscle can be as detrimental as jumping right into a hard workout without warming up first.

  3. Doing the same exercise routine over and over. In order to get the most from exercises we need to vary them so that we’re not working the same set of muscles in the same way, over and over. Where getting the most from exercise is concerned, variety truly is the spice of life.

  4. Plan your exercise and set your goals in advance. If you’re short on time, trying to figure out what you need to do in the middle of your program is a big time and energy waster.

  1. Not taking time to recover can put you down for extended periods. I had that problem to a limited extent this week. My heavy workout days were scheduled to be Monday-Wednesday-Friday. Tuesday I was ready and in need of a light day to recover but it snowed 6” Monday night. In order to get out of our driveway plus have a place for Celinda’s yoga students to park, Tuesday ended up being a three hour shoveling marathon.

    Fortunately, I’m the one who sets my schedules so I looked at the weather forecast and decided Thursday and Saturday were more likely to be workable than pushing through on Wednesday. I had the rest of my week scheduled and it was an inconvenience but not as inconvenient as being down for days. It worked out for the best: today is Thursday, it’s snowing and my workout will be on the end of a snow shovel. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday would not have been good. And, it’s supposed to snow tonight and tomorrow too.

Here’s the science behind the need for recovery time where building and maintaining muscle mass and increasing endurance is concerned.

Exercise causes micro tears in the muscle fiber. The increase in strength and endurance comes when muscle repair takes place during the recovery phase between workouts. The repair that occurs doesn’t just bring the muscle back to where it was before exercising. Recovery time brings it to a slightly higher status. In order to achieve fitness, you need the right kind of exercise but in order for the exercise to be effective there has to be a recovery period between exercise sessions. In order to get maximum results you have to have an exercise plan that varies in intensities, the muscles being exercised and includes days for recovery.

PELE Newsletter 11-23-16

PELE November 23, 2016 Edition

 

DSC_0006 copy

Practical Everyday Life  Enhancement

How To Lower Stress And Sleep Better:

Dangerous Drugs, A Cup Of Tea Or The Color Blue?

Holistic Homemaking:

One Cluck At A Time.

Quick, Easy And Unexpected:

A Benefit Of Cold Weather.

Money Matters:

Quotes For The Times?

5 Tips To Easily Build And Retain Muscle Mass:

Very Important As We Grow Older.

Copyright 2016 NewLifeRoadMap Larry and Celinda Miller



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Reduce Stress With A Cup Of Tea And Soothing Colors.

relaxing-colors-500

 

Text and photo© Larry R. Miller

Is Stress Keeping You Awake At Night..Or…Is Not Being Able To Get A Good Night’s Sleep Causing You To Be Stressed Out?

Either way, there are natural remedies that don’t have the serious side effects of dangerous drugs.

Whether it’s post election anxiety, pressure at work or keeping up with home and family, stress can be a killer. It can leave you lying in bed staring at the ceiling or restlessly tossing with your monkey mind adding more problems to the mix.

Sleeping pills seem to offer the perfect answer, especially when an ad or your health care provider tells you that one type of sleeping pill is specifically made to calm a racing mind.

Benzodiazepines (BZPs) fall into the broad category of “hypnotics.” They’re generally prescribed for problems involving anxiety and insomnia. Drugs that contain BZPs are designed to trigger the release of Gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA) in your brain.

GABA is an amino acid that acts as a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system. GABA blocks impulses between nerve cells in the brain and is your body’s top calming neurotransmitter. It’s normally released by your brain when it’s time to sleep. GABA slows racing thoughts, calms your mind, lets you slow down, relax, and drift off to sleep.

But, studies indicate that BZPs may have serious side effects. Side effects like raising your risk of an early death.

BZPs are among the most commonly prescribed drugs in the US. Here’s a brief three year studies history on BZPs that indicate the serious side effects with the use of BZPs.

  • 2012 – A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns BZPs alter brain function. Studies show these drugs raise your risk of car accidents.
  • 2012 – The Scripps Clinic found BZP users more likely to die from all causes including cancer than non-users. People taking BZPs less than 18 times per year triple their risk of early death.
  • 2013 – A study published in “Thorax” showed BZP users are over 50% more likely to suffer from pneumonia and have a 19% to 22% higher risk of death from pneumonia than non-users.
  • 2014 – A study of people taking BZPs showed they were almost 3.5 times more likely to die from any cause than non-users over the 7.6 years of the study.
  • 2014 BZPs are often prescribed to heart failure victims to help them sleep. A Japanese study shows heart failure victims taking BZPs are 8 times more likely to die than those not using the drug.
  • 2014 Regular use of BZPs for over about half a year doubled the risk of Alzheimer’s. BZP use is linked to a 50% higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

2015 – A Finnish study, backed by data from the CDC, shows BZP users are more likely to commit homicide than non users.

Here’s a list of some of the more popular BZP drugs. Diazepam, Xanax, Librium, and Valium. Generic names include alprazolam, diazepam, clonazepam, and clorazepate.

Most of the studies don’t outright prove cause and effect, they show a relationship. But, do you want to take the risk when so many studies show BZP are a “possible” cause? Are dangerous drugs worth that risk? There are natural ways to get a good night’s sleep that have no side effects?

One natural way to boost GABA is with lemon balm. Lemon balm boosts GABA without side effects.

Lemon balm has been used for thousands of years as a calming agent and has been studied extensively for its effect on GABA activity. The studies found that lemon balm not only boosts GABA levels, it also helps maintain balanced levels of glutamate, an enzyme that lowers GABA levels.

Before you try a drug with dangerous side effects to ease your sleep problems, having a cup of lemon balm tea may prove to be a better choice. There are also lemon balm supplements.

Lemon balm is a mint and very easy to grow. You can grow it in pots or in your garden. Like most mints, it can be aggressive.

You can reduce stress levels by surrounding yourself with colors that can cool down stressful situations and lower the feelings of tension. The colors blue, light blue, blue gray, pink and beige are hues that sooth.

===================================================Around the Cluck

© Celinda Miller for PELE11-23-16

photo© Larry R. Miller

 

plumpella-500

Here’s a really corny joke, but it makes a good intro for my chicken article:

Q: How long do chickens work?

Give up?

A: Around the cluck!

In September some friends of ours took a six week vacation and asked us to take care of their home, garden and chickens while they were gone. Of course, that meant we had access to free eggs, a commodity our refrigerator always seems short of, but we also enjoyed our strolls down and back, being short on them this fall.

We didn’t realize just how attached we’d get to these feathery girls over the six weeks time we cared for them or how entertaining chickens can really be if we hang out with them for a while.

Twice a day found us trotting down to the chicken yard to see “the ladies,” usually with a bucket in hand with some delecacy or other from our gardens, orchard or grassy areas. They really got excited when I thought to bring them some old wheat berries from our pantry.

Two of the ladies were Houdinis at flying the coop, so we christened them Wanda and Roama. Clipping all the hennies’ wings took care of that, but we had to clip five of them since they all looked the same, except for one very large lady who couldn’t fly the coop if her life depended on it.

Our friends have these six hennies, all leghorns we assumed, although one was either an offspring of a woodshed affair or the fattest, funniest looking leghorn we’d ever seen. She somewhat resembled a turkey, as if her genes had accidentally mutinied behind her back.

We christened her Plumpella and nicknamed her Mama Dumpling, but she didn’t seem to mind. And was she ever a talker, clucking and crooning whenever we’d show up! (Still does whenever we come avisiting “the ladies” now that our friends are back.)

What’s really interesting is even though Plumpella is three times broader than the other hennies, she’s on the bottom of the pecking order. Go figure. Furthermore, she’s so broad in the beam, she can’t walk up the plank to the roost, so ends up roosting on the floor next to the nesting boxes, which she can’t hop up into either. Or, the other ladies won’t let her up in the roost or in the nesting box. Whichever, the end result is banishment to the basement, so to speak.

We keep telling Plumpella to just sit on them if they give her a bad time, but our sweet girl pays no mind in spite of a baseball sized circle that’s totally sans feathers and a bright cherry red on her backside. I have to say it does color coordinate nicely with the deep pink pecked bare spots above her wings.

This is not to say we take her caste position lightly, being aware of the danger of pecked blood letting. No matter what we put on our Dumpling girl that wouldn’t hurt her to deter the others from pecking, nothing worked. Now her fate is in our friends’ hands, although I’d still appreciate receiving any homespun wisdom on pecking prevention that I could pass on to them.

If it were springtime and not the onset of winter, I’d consider asking for Plumbella’s wing in adoption, along with her other live body parts of course. I fear she may end up in the stew pot if she’s pecked too much or doesn’t lay up to the speed of her ugly stepsisters. (Oh my, did I really say all that?)

We found out upon our friends’ return that Plumpella isn’t a leghorn after all, but of meat bird ethnicity. She does lay beautiful large buff colored eggs whenever she can, in her makeshift nest behind a wide board leaning against the barn wall. That and her sweet personality does account for clemency, right?

Dear Plumpella, may you live long, live strong and live happy.

Viva la Dumpling!

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Fresh From The Garden.

Text and photos© Larry R. Miller

The other day when I was stuffing the last forkful of Celinda’s bok choy salad in my mouth I thought, “I should write a short piece about this and let others know how easy it is to grow and how good it tastes.”

baby-tatsoi-500-wdescription

We were running out of growing season and I still had greens growing in the garden. I harvested some bok choy before it was fully grown when the weather forecast said it was going to be below freezing. The amount in the small bed was more than expected and more than what we could eat right away so the excess went into a gallon sized ziplock on its way to the deep freeze. Frozen it makes a good addition in stews, soups and stir fries. No need to thaw it, just toss it in the pot. There was still quite a bit left in the garden bed and it was doing so well even with the colder weather that I covered it and we still have more to harvest. We also had some tatsoi, this one is spelled lots of different ways, and radishes that were not getting any bigger so I harvested them too.

The other ingredients of the salad were fresh lemon balm, oregano, cherry tomatoes, tatsoi and radish sprouts. All are easy to grow in pots or a planter if you don’t have space for a garden. Celinda added olive oil, fresh squeezed lime juice, sea salt to taste and a dash of Bragg Liquid Aminos and voila, it was ready.

 

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But you say you aren’t big on salads? How do you feel about stir frying? I saw a recent study that compared the availability of lutein between bok choy when steamed as opposed to stir fried. Researchers in the study compared 3 minutes of steaming to 6 minutes of stir-frying (with constant stirring during the stir-frying) and found much improved availability of the carotenoid lutein after stir-frying versus steaming.

One cup of bok choy contains 84% of the daily value (DV) of vitamin K, 59% of DV for vitamin C, 40% DV vitamin A, 18% DV, 18% of potassium, 17% of folate plus lots of different B vitamins, calcium, magnesium and more. It is considered to be one of the worlds healthiest foods.

You don’t need a big garden to grow bok choy, a planter box will do. You wouldn’t be able to eat every meal from what you can grow in a single planter box but having a really fresh salad once a week or a stir fry is a real treat. We have a very large garden and a greenhouse but winter can pose a problem where fresh produce is concerned. That’s when we switch to making sprouts. Wheat sprouts are thriving on the counter in the back room at this time.

We grow 100% organic and by interplanting, and not mono-cropping, we can get two harvests at different times and as a bonus not have the insect problems connected with single cropping. Mono cropping is like putting out a neon sign inviting insects that prefer that particular plant to COME AND GET IT! If you understand and practice interplanting for pest control the insect problem can disappear almost completely.

We also had a hornet nest in our fence this year. I had heard they are predator insects so I left the nest, and the hornets, alone. Every time I was browsing in the raspberries, filling my mouth and a bucket, I would see hornets cruising the vines and leaves. When they saw a delicious looking insect, at least to them, they would zap it and haul it off. I guess their destination was the nest and their hope was to find favor with the queen. The side benefit for them and us is, no chemical poisons and no reason to believe we need GMO. GMOs is a four letter word for junk food.

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Quotes for a Post-Election Evening

Photo© Larry R. Miller

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In light of the recent elections, this quote by Dr. Jonas Salk is especially relevant and worthy of reflection, regardless of one’s political persuasion:

We are living at a turning point in our development. At such a time great tensions naturally develop. Depending on whether we choose to focus on what is dying or what is being born, we will be apocalyptic or optimistic. Because of the urgency, because we see not only the hand writing on the wall but also the cracks in the wall and its crumbling, people are beginning to take notice.

We are the cause of the effects we are feeling. We can choose to influence the process and stop ourselves from being drawn into our own destruction. Instinct compels us to bring out the best in ourselves and each other, to recognize our inter-connectedness with everyone else.

Loving and forgiving will release a power in the nucleus of each individual, a power much greater in its positive effects than atomic power in its negative.”

And a quote by Grace Lee Boggs:

People are aware that they cannot continue in the same old way but are immobilized because they cannot imagine an alternative. We need a vision that recognizes that we are at one of the great turning points in human history when the survival of our planet and the restoration of our humanity require a great sea change in our ecological, economic, political, and spiritual values.”

And finally this unknown author’s gem:

Today may there be peace within.

May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be.

May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others.

May you use the gifts that you have received and pass on the love that has been given to you.

May you be content with yourself just the way you are.

Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.

It is there for each and every one of us.”

===================================================5 simple but powerful muscle building tips.

Text and photo© Larry R. Miller

Building and maintaining muscle mass is very important as we get older. Lack of muscle and muscle tone is a major contributor to falls and broken bones.

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Tip 1: Sleep for eight hours a night.

Getting an adequate amount of sleep properly regulates your hormones and gives your body an opportunity to rebuild itself.

Tip 2: Make your workouts more intense.

Look into HIIT (high intensity interval training) or SIT (sprint interval training) routines. If you’re not realizing the gains you desire, you’re probably are not exercising intensely enough.

 

Tip 3: Lift heavy weights

To gain significant amounts of muscle, you NEED to do compound exercises using proper form with weights heavy enough to do between 5-12 repetitions. If you can do more than 15 reps, the weights are too light for maximum muscle building.

Tip 4: Find other people dedicated to fitness and spend more time with them.

A big part your success will be the people you surround yourself with. You want to surround yourself with positive influences and spend less time with people who are negative influences. This will help you keep motivated even when your willpower falter.

 

Tip 5:Eat more frequent meals

How do you get the calories you need to build more muscle?Simple, eat more meals.

If you’re focus is on building more muscle, eating three large meals a day is actually bad because it gives you too much food too infrequently. What you want to do instead is eat between five and seven small meals every day so that you consistently give your body energy.



PELE Newsletter 11-08-16

PELE November 08, 2016 Edition

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Practical Everyday Life Enhancement

Your Attitude And Your Health:

A Positive Attitude Can Do Wonders For Your Health.

The Lesser Of Two Evils:

Or A Win/Win Life? It’s Your Choice.

Living Longer Is Hot Stuff?

Here’s A Tasty Way To Add Years To Your Life.

Towards The Fun:

What’s Your Color Code?

Easy Way To Improve You Brain:

Defeating Dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Sorry, The Magic Pill Doesn’t Exist:

But Don’t Give Up, This Works!

Copyright 2016 NewLifeRoadMap Larry and Celinda Miller

Cover photo-art ©Larry R. Miller



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Your Attitude And Your Health.

Text and photo ©Larry R. Miller

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Did You Know: a positive attitude can lower stress, depression and high blood pressure?

Here are some excerpts from an article that will be published in my weekly newspaper column 10-21-16. As soon as it’s published I’ll post the rest of the article on my larryrmiller website.

Scientists from Harvard and Boston University analyzed the personality style of 1,306 men and then tracked the health of these men over a 10 year period. At the end of the 10 year period, the pessimistic men were twice as likely to be depressed and develop heart disease. And, the optimistic men were much healthier overall than the pessimistic men.

A study conducted by researchers in Finland found that over a four-year period, men with a pessimistic disposition were three times more likely to develop hypertension and high blood pressure than their positive peers.

A positive attitude boosts your immune system response…Researchers in a 2006 study examined the personality traits of 193 volunteers and then exposed them to a common respiratory virus. The people with a positive personality style were less likely to develop symptoms of the virus than their negative peers.

A 2015 study found that optimistic people were less likely to be readmitted to the hospital after a heart attack.

An optimistic outlook has also been proven to help you live longer…Pessimists had an 18 percent higher risk of dying from any cause over a four-year period.

How can you teach yourself to be more optimistic? Here are two of the six techniques in the article:

  • Cultivate friendships with positive people. Optimism is contagious.

  • Focus on the things you can change for the better in your life, be proactive about changing them and remove what you can’t change from your life and thoughts.

One other thing that has been proven to improve health and slow the effects of aging is interacting with nature. Even if you live in the city, research has shown that merely looking at a nature scene, like the photo attached, can be instrumental in lowering stress, reducing depression, boosting your immune response and generally improving health and your outlook on life.

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I wrote this article almost two months ago, hoping to get it published or posted before the election but that didn’t happen. Perhaps it wasn’t controversial enough or too controversial. It’s more than just about politics and really applies to any apparent lose/lose scenario. There are always more choices than either/or extremes. If we focus on what we want, commit to win/win solutions and stop trying to force outcome, other possibilities are sure to show up.

THE LESSER OF TWO EVILS

© Celinda Miller revised 11/08/16

Photos ©Larry R. Miller

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Your Life Can Be

                                 This

 

 

 

pear-trees-w-purple-sky-250Or This.

 

One doesn’t discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of

shore for a very long time.” Andre’ Gide

Due to contentious election rhetoric this year and disappointing major party candidates, I hear “the lesser of two evils” tossed around on both sides of the political camp. With sighs of resignation, true grit party loyalty or conviction that only major parties can win an election, those so believing roll out the lesser of two evils argument as if it were indisputable.

In the joy of inquiry I’d like to offer a minority view of the lesser of two evils. Diversity is life’s insurance for survival, and I like to think that includes the diversity of all our viewpoints. So, here goes.

I’ve come to believe that the lesser of two evils is, at heart, a vote for no change. It’s about the status quo and focusing on what we don’t want rather than what we do want, which assures that things stay as they are. As Flip Wilson said, “What you see is what you get.” A profound spiritual statement, when we stop and think about it.

In regards to thinking, “the lesser of two evils” is so common and so ancient it’s become an entrenched belief, by which I mean that few people stop to think about what it implies or all of its results when acted upon. No other viewpoint is taken into account, no question asked, no shaking of the lesser of two evils tree.

Actually, thinking about it isn’t such a bad idea for any belief we hold tightly. As Aristotle once said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” So why is it we as a species have fallen into such thinking, or not thinking, as if this is the only choice we have, rather than being no choice at all?

Looking for payoffs may be a good place to start. As I said earlier, the lesser of two evils guarantees nothing will ever change. So one payoff is about how we fight, coerce, manipulate and control to keep things as they are, and especially to be right.

We say we’re sick and tired of whatever it is that we’re sick and tired of, yet we’re terrified to do anything different. We know what we already have, but there are no guarantees that come with doing something different. After all, it could be worse. Well, yes, but it could be better too.

As a mentor once said, we unconsciously know that if “one thing changes, everything changes.” This deep knowing fuels human resistance to change, which is rampant on this planet. We demand a risk free universe that always stays the same, so we work very hard rowing upstream to keep no change in place. It takes courage to let go of control and float downstream with Life.

Nothing is static on this planet, nor with life on it. Or haven’t we noticed? Actually, we have noticed, but we’re so afraid of change, of not knowing and of trusting Life’s process, that we see any change from the familiar as a threat to our safety and existence.

It’s all about who’s right, who’s going to be in control, who’s going to win. Well, we either row together or we sink together. Remember “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” that we learned in kindergarden? Think about the words, hear the tune. We knew it was true then, so what happened?

A second payoff for relying on the lesser of two evils, is we’re convinced it’s somebody else’s fault. We haven’t given this a lot of thought either. Another of Flip Wilson’s sayings is, “The Debbil made me do it!” So much for self-responsibility. I’m responsible whether I choose to be conscious or not of my co-creative power, having been “made in the image and likeness of God.”

I’m certainly responsible for my part in creating whatever scenario I happen to find myself in, good or bad. To believe otherwise is to play the blame and shame/right and wrong game, an ages old strategy for starting a war. Humans for milleniums have created suffering and chaos out of fear, hate, greed and beliefs that neither support them, each other or the planet.

Speaking of fear, this is a third payoff for lesser of two evils thinking. There are two kinds of fear, one is body fear that senses immediate danger and responds in fight, flight or freeze…an instinct necessity for our physical survival. It’s a present time event. The other is mental fear learned from personal, cultural, religious and political beliefs, from decisions made in a past time event.

The ego mind has a negative bias because it wants to keep us safe, yet this often results in self-fulfilling prophesy loops that keep us trapped in an endless state of fear, distrust and a very narrow focus of not allowing any other viewpoint our own. Very narrow focus is an aspect of survival mode.

Life is an interconnected whole, but our vision is too small to encompass the all of it. We need each other for a bigger picture of what is and what can be. Each of us holds a unique piece of this great cosmic puzzle. It’s called perspective and diversity.

Either/or thinking, like “the lesser of two evils,” makes us unable to see, and therefore access, the rainbow of possibilities that lie between two extremes. It throws us into survival, cutting us off from our human qualities of curiosity, compassion, empathy, connection, cooperation and love…character traits so needed in our world and on earth. Developing them expands our horizons and helps us avoid either/or thinking in any area, allowing for better choices.

The lesser of two evils argument prevents us from investigating, listening, finding common ground and honoring diversity. It prevents unified effort in co-creating a vibrant, integrated, diverse, functional and just world in which our planet can heal. It infects all of our choices, no matter how small, for every choice impacts our life and world.

As for this election, may we vote from introspection rather than the lesser of two evils, from love rather than fear and from the vision of what we’re for and not what we’re against. When we’re willing to give up controlling outcome, Life can work freely in us and others to co-create the best outcome for all concerned.

To ponder all party platforms with an open heart and mind, to be still and listen, and to vote as our deepest values direct us is a powerful act of conscious co-creation toward sanity, peace and wholeness. I propose we begin today.

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Want to Add Years to Your Life?

Here’s a tasty way to do it.

Text and photos ©Larry R. Miller
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Researchers in China have discovered a simple solution for lowering your overall death risk by 10%. According to researchers, you don’t need to make a lot of major lifestyle changes.

Researchers found people who ate chili peppers just once a week were 10% less likely to die for any reason. People who ate them almost every day lowered their death risk by about 14%. 487,375 participants between the ages of 30 and 79 were involved in the seven year study.

Lifestyle factors were also taken into account. That means everyone can get the protective benefit regardless of age, physical activity level or sex.

No special preparations or costly supplements were used or found to be necessary. The chili peppers, dried or fresh, were used to spice up meals. The people using fresh chili peppers saw the most benefit.

The researchers found participants had lower risk of death from cancer, diabetes and heart disease. They believe it’s because fresh chili peppers are high in nutrients like capsaicin and vitamin C.

Capsaicin is the compound that gives hot peppers their bite. Eating capsaicin-rich foods can speed up metabolism by 20% for about 30 minutes. Other research has shown capsaicin lowers LDL cholesterol levels, is an anti-inflammatory and may help prevent colorectal cancer from developing.

But more isn’t necessarily better and a word of warning.

If you have an ulcer or a sensitive stomach you’ll want to start slow. Too much spicy food could aggravate your digestive problems. Pouring on concentrated hot sauces can put you over the top. Do like the study participants and add sensible amounts of fresh peppers to the foods you already enjoy. Hot, spicy foods including chili peppers can cause kidney problems: that’s where the saying “curry kidney” came from.

All hot chili peppers contain capsaicin. Chili peppers is a catch all phrase that covers many different varieties including banana, cayenne, habanero, jalapeño, poblano, and serrano peppers and more. Different varieties have different amounts of capsaicin. Bell peppers are the only ones that don’t contain a significant amount of capsaicin.

One reference source claimed that chili pepper was a separate variety. If you want the scoop on lots of different chili peppers go to www.chilipeppermadness.com

A friend of ours was raised in Patagonia and her family raised and processed a major part of their food. She said they put items, like chili peppers, in or on cardboard when they were being dried. Celinda tried it with the peppers in the photo and it appears the egg carton absorbed any excess liquid. That would help prevent any problems with mold during the drying process.

References:
1http://www.cbsnews.com/news/could-eating-spicy-food-help-you-live-longer/

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Towards The Fun!

© Celinda Miller 11/8/16

Photo ©Larry R. Miller

In June of 2000, I flew to Hawaii to attend a graduation and while I was there a friend gave me a book titled THE COLOR CODE A NEW WAY TO SEE YOURSELF, YOUR RELATIONSHIPS AND LIFE by Taylor Hartman. Fascinated by the book’s contents, I read most of it on my return flight to the mainland.

Hurrying to get off the plane when it landed, I forgot the book in a seat pocket. The agent laughed when I called to see if anyone had turned the book in, informing me that nobody returns a forgotten book. They simply go home with it.

I thought about the book off and on, but didn’t buy another copy. A few years later I serendipitously found it on the discard shelf of the local library for the hefty price of fifty cents. Sold!

As so often happens when a book comes home with me, I intend to read it as soon a I get around to it. Around to it came about four years later, with THE COLOR CODE just as fascinating a read the second time. Even now I still like to dip in for a reread, if only to remind myself of all I’ve forgotten but would like to remember.

Now I can’t help but notice people’s “colors” and am amazed at how accurate and detailed Taylor Hartman’s personality profiles are. Case in point: we have two friends who are classic examples of red and yellow personality types. What’s more intriguing is they both have both colors in their profiles in slightly different amounts… one with more red, the other with more yellow.

Did I say the book was fascinating? Having it prove itself true in our friends’ personalities is even more so. Reds are active, productive and visionary while yellows are happy, fun and carefree.

These are attractive yet elusive qualities for me, so it’s a mystery to see all six of them juggled well by one personality, let alone a partnered pair whose favorite expression is, “Towards the fun!”

I’m mostly a blue personality with a secondary white. Blues are committed, nurturing and detail oriented while whites are peaceful, patient and tolerant. I’d like to think I have these qualities in spades, but I do aspire to them. Mostly what I know is that I take life way too seriously.

There are many traits each personality color has, both positive and negative. For the sake of this story, I’m focusing on a few of the positive ones. The book is accurate, insightful, practical and a hoot to read. (Wouldn’t you know, the author describes himself as a yellow?)

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When David, Laura and Tocayo, their sweet blue heeler, show up on our doorstep, Larry and I know we’re in for some fun. Delighted to have their company, I see the yellow in their enthusiasm, laughter and playfulness. We’ll have the chance to meet the red when we visit them this winter at their ranch and see their work and home space.

I’ve no doubt that there’ll also be plenty of yellow floating around their homestead to remind us that life’s to love, adventure’s to beckon and serendipity’s just around the corner. Besides, there’s always a road heading straight “Towards the fun!”

===================================================

Can Exercise Affect Your Brain Power?

Text and photo ©Larry R. Miller

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One way your brain benefits from physical exercise is via a protein called Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF). Exercise triggers the production of a protein called FNDC5, which stimulates the production of BDNF. In your brain, BDNF preserves existing brain cells, activates brain stem cells to convert into new neurons and effectively makes your brain grow larger.

Exercise protects and boosts your brain health in various ways:

  • Reduces plaque formation: By altering damaging proteins inside your brain, exercise may help slow the development of Alzheimer’s disease. In one animal study, significantly fewer damaging plaques and fewer bits of beta-amyloid peptides, associated with Alzheimer’s, were found in mice that exercised.
  • Decreasing BMP and boosting Noggin: Bone-morphogenetic protein (BMP) slows down the creation of new neurons, thereby reducing neurogenesis. High levels of BMP, cause your brain to grow slower and to learn more slowly and easily. Exercise reduces the impact of BMP, so that your adult stem cells can keep your brain functioning and agile. Reduced BMP increases another brain protein called Noggin, which acts as a BMP antagonist. Exercise reduces the detrimental effects of BMP and boosts the more beneficial Noggin as well. This complex interplay between BMP and Noggin appears to be yet another powerful factor that helps ensure the proliferation and youthfulness of your neurons.

A research study by Kirk Erickson, PhD, followed seniors aged 60 to 80 who walked 30 to 45 minutes, three days per week for one year. The followup test results showed a volume increase of their hippocampus of two percent. The hippocampus is a region of your brain important for memory.

Erickson told WebMD: “Generally in this age range, people are losing one to three percent per year of hippocampal volume. The changes in the size of the hippocampus were correlated with changes in the blood levels of the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).”

If a person “normally” loses one to three percent and exercise increased the hippocampus by two percent, the sum total is an impressive figure.

In the study it was also found that higher fitness levels were associated with a larger prefrontal cortex. Erickson called exercise “one of the most promising non-pharmaceutical treatments to improve brain health.”

Exercise Prevents Both Brain and Muscle Decay

BDNF is also beneficial to the neuro-muscular system where it protects neuro-motors from degradation. The neuromotor is the most critical element in your muscle. The neuromotor is like a spark plug for the muscles, if it’s not firing properly nothing works. Neuro-motor degradation is part of the age-related muscle atrophy process.

  • BDNF is actively involved in both your muscles and your brain. The muscle/brain cross-connection is considered a major part of the explanation why physical exercise has such a beneficial impact on your brain tissue. BDNF and the cross connection helps prevent, and can even reverse, brain decay as much as it prevents and reverses age-related muscle decay. The message from the studies is that mental decline is not inevitable and that exercise is good for your brain as well as your body.================================================Did You Know: The Magic Pill Doesn’t Exist?

Text ©Larry R. Miller photo open source
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Have you been looking for a magic pill that will eliminate your risk of dementia, Alzheimer’s and help you retain muscle mass as you age? Almost everyone is looking for magic little pills.

After two failed “Decades of the Brain,” as one doctor calls it, mainstream medicine has yet to come up with a pill that can protect the brain from Alzheimer’s disease (AD) or a pill that can keep you physically fit.

What if you were to discover something that does all of those things and is free and easy; would you be interested?

According to a new study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, the answer’s been around for a very long time and has been hiding in plain sight. Using it you can maintain a healthy brain and body well into your 70s, 80s, 90s and beyond.

What is it? Simply engaging in activities most people consider fun hobbies, like dancing, working in the garden, going for a swim, brisk walking or strength training. And, none of them require going to a gym or having a room full of expensive equipment.



PELE Newsletter 10-23-16 Edition

PELE October 23, 2016 Edition

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Practical Everyday Life Enhancement

Stress and Depression:

The Revolving Door Of Poor Health.

Dear Angela:

Addressing The Loss Of A Loved One

Exercise:

When Is The Best Time To Exercise?

Choosing Not To Live In The Red Zone:

Looking At One Of Life’s Challenges In A Different Way..

Did You Know:

Fidgeting Is Good For Your Health.

Copyright Larry and Celinda Miller NewLifeRoadMap 2016



===================================================

Stress And Depression Are Like A Revolving Door.

The question is: which comes first stress or depression?

Text and photo© Larry R. Miller

 

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If you tell your doctor you’re feeling depressed, you’ll probably get a prescription for an antidepressant. There are many different natural ways that are as effective as drugs for defeating stress and depression. The natural ways I’ll be covering in my future series on stress have no serious or deadly side effects.

Antidepressant use has increased more than 400% since the late 1980s with 11% of American adults now on some type of antidepressant medication. Depression, including bipolar disorder, shouldn’t be taken lightly; neither should taking an anti-depressant drug. Antidepressants and other pharmaceuticals can have serious side effects including suicide among young people and birth defects in babies of mothers who take antidepressant medication during pregnancy or while breast feeding are only two of the many.

A recent new study done at Rutgers University shows there’s a better way to fight depression and the results were a 40% reduction in symptoms. Most people don’t realize those kind of results on an antidepressant drug. One major study showed antidepressant medications are no more effective than a placebo.

The Rutgers University study was simple, easy and required very little time. Scientists had patients exercise and meditate twice a week for two months. Participants did the practice twice a week for a total of 2 hours per week. Some of the scientists said, “The results were astounding.” Dr. Brandon Alderman, the lead author of the Rutgers study said, “I was quite surprised that we saw such a robust effect after only eight weeks.”

Exercise and meditation have been used for centuries to ease depression but this was the first time they’ve been scientifically tested in combination. Here’s the outline of the study:

  • First, subjects meditated for 20 minutes. The meditation used is called focused attention. That type of meditation involves sitting comfortably while focusing on your breath. First you count your breaths up to 10 and then backward from 10 to 1. A complete inhale and exhale cycle is one repetition. If your mind wanders, don’t worry, just start over counting from one.
  • Next the participants did 10 minutes of walking meditation. Walking meditation consists of focusing intently on each step.
  • Finally, they ran on a treadmill or rode a stationary bike for 30 minutes at a moderate pace. They did that twice a week for a total of 2 hours per week.

Spring and winter are the highest times of the year for depression and suicides. They are also the time of the year when we have the lowest levels of vitamin D.

I’m in the final stages of finishing a series on stress and how to naturally defeat it. Exercise and meditation are only two of the topics that will be covered. Eating seasonally and eating locally can dramatically increase vitamin D. At this time the intent is to publish the series on Amazon kindle and as digital downloads.

Someone you love may be endangering his or her life and they may have no clue there are better ways to beat depression.

===================================================

Happy Trails, Dear Angela

© Celinda Miller for PELE 10/23/16

photos© Larry R. Miller

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In the wee morning hours of Saturday, October 15th, our sweet Angela passed on to new horizons, leaving us with heavy hearts from our loss. You’d think that a five pound bundle of purring companionship wouldn’t be that big of a deal, but she was to us and in a big way.

It all happened so suddenly. Even though we’d noticed that Angela was slowing down this past year due to being a “senior” cat, nothing really seemed out of the ordinary. Funny how things creep up unnoticed, until one day nothing is as it was anymore.

The last week of her life, Angela simply fell off her little “wagon,” never to crawl back on again. Painfully we watched as she grew weaker and weaker. We snatched at straws of hope, imagining her rallying one day only to see her slip further away the next.

Our angel didn’t seem in pain, just frailer and more unsteady on her feet. At first she began eating less and drinking more water, so I bought a reduced protein cat formula, thinking it’d be kinder on her kidneys. But Angela didn’t really like it and ate it begrudgingly.

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When it became obvious that she was failing, we agonized about whether to take her to the vet, or let her die at home in peace. We decided to make an appointment for the following Thursday when the vet was coming to our small community in her vet van to serve those who couldn’t take their animals to the clinic, some 54 miles away.

When we realized that Angela was in pain, our anxiety rose: drive the distance to the clinic, or wait it out until Thursday’s appointment? Angela hated to ride in her carrier and we didn’t know how she’d take the long ride. Besides, we wanted her here at the end, at home with her “pride” by her side. We thought that’d be the best final gift we could give her.

Friday was the unkindest day of all. By late afternoon, Angela was going fast…no more rumbly purring when we petted or stayed close by, but labored breathing that grew faster and shallower and meows that sounded just like “ouws.” I couldn’t help but wonder if “ouw” is a universal animal sound for pain, not exclusive to humans.

Were we doing the right thing? We didn’t know. We were in pain too, emotional pain and the pain of not knowing how best to help Angela. Feeling helpless to relieve suffering brings suffering of its own.

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Then the meows suddenly stopped as if she’d gone through a portal of some kind. Angela’s breathing was so soft, we almost couldn’t see her little belly and rib cage move, but they did. Since she seemed to be beyond the pain, we finally fell exhausted into bed and a troubled sleep. When we awoke early the next morning, Angela was gone.

A constant rain greeted us as we went out the door carrying Angela in her little cardboard coffin we’d made and messaged all over to help her wing her way to kitty heaven. We buried her under the big pear tree, in front of the catmint which she loved to catnap in almost as much as the catnip, which we’ll soon plant on each side of her little grave of stones, close to a sitting rock we’ve placed nearby.

Our friend, who’s a cat lover and has the last name of Cairns, is going to come make a cairn with us to show Angela the way back home whenever her sweet spirit wants to come visit. It also will be a monument to our love for our little guardian angel, teacher and companion of these past twelve years.

Angela, you adopted us and we’ll always be grateful that you did.

Happy trails, lovely lady. You’re off on a new mission. May your way be sunny and smooth, your breezes light and warm. We miss you, Munchkin.

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When Is The Best Time To Exercise?

Text and photo© Larry R. Miller

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We all know that exercise helps you de-stress and maintain a healthy weight. A group of Belgian researchers wanted to know if the time of day you exercise makes any difference.

The 27 men who participated were divided into three groups. The first group did no exercise. The second group worked out after eating breakfast. The third group exercised first thing in the morning before breakfast. The researchers had all 27 men eat 30% more calories and 50% more fat than normal.

At the end of the six week study, the researchers weighed the men and looked at their markers for metabolic health.

  • The group that did no exercise gained an average of 6 pounds of fat and developed insulin resistance.
  • The men who exercised after breakfast put on 3 pounds and also had insulin problems.
  • The group that exercised first thing in the morning gained almost no weight and they had healthy insulin levels. They were also found to be burning fat all day.

Dr. Peter Hespel, a professor in the Research Center for Exercise and Health at the University of Leuven, who led the study said, “Early-morning exercise in the fasted state is more potent than an identical amount of exercise in the fed state.”

The six week study was small but the results were very conclusive and confirmed a previous study which found people burn up to 20% more body fat when exercising in the morning on an empty stomach. Would you gain the same benefit if you exercised later in the day after fasting? I haven’t seen any information on that but it’s not likely that most of us would fast eight or more hours during the day and then do a hard workout.

Here are some other benefits to working out first thing in the morning:

  • Lower blood pressure: A 2011 study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research tracked blood pressure in subjects ages 40 to 60. Each participant walked on a treadmill for 30 minutes three days a week. After a month, participants who exercised early in the morning had an average 10% drop in blood pressure. Those who exercised at other times had little or no change in blood pressure.
  • Better sleep: The same study found that people who walked early in the morning achieved up to 75% more restful deep sleep at night.

All exercise requires a warmup period. I don’t recommend or practice stretching before doing a very light warmup. Have you ever tried stretching a cold rubber band? Your muscles, tendons and ligaments react the same as the rubber band when cold.

Morning exercise requires a longer warmup.

Your body’s temperature tends to be lower and your muscles less flexible upon waking. Your body needs more time to warm up than it does for a workout later in the day. Start slow and easy and build from there. If your normal warmup takes ten minutes, to make sure your joints and muscles are ready for exertion, add five or ten minutes to your morning warmup.

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Stress Busting Life’s Challenges

© Celinda Miller for PELE 10/23/16

photo© Larry R. Miller

Recently Larry shared a definition of stress that placed all my years of gathered stress information into a beautiful, interrelated pattern that took my breath away. An aha moment smacked me right between the eyes. Was stress busting really that simple? How come it’s not easy, and so hard to do?

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I began collecting my stress data in the early 1990s, when I came upon Hans Selye’s book STRESS WITHOUT DISTRESS: How to Use Stress As a Positive Force to Achieve a Rewarding Life Style in a second hand bookstore. It was old, published in 1974.

Hans Selye researched stress for some 50 years. His scientific data on stress, along with his suggested lifestyle attitudes and actions for successful stress management, are still valid today. I’d highly recommend it for anyone serious about reducing the effects of personal stress.

So here’s what Larry said: Stress is the body’s response to a challenge. Why was that so illuminating? Because I’ve been learning about epigenetics, the science of the mind’s influence over the body’s genetic structure. For understanding of this cutting edge research, google Dr. Bruce Lipton on YouTube or read his book THE BIOLOGY OF BELIEF and later works.

Using the knowledge of decades of later research on the mind and genetics, Dr. Lipton has come to similar conclusions: changing the conscious and unconscious beliefs about life and our life experiences, and therefore our actions, changes our biology and our reality. For our actions are fueled by our emotions and our emotions depend on our beliefs. Moreover, if we change one thing everything changes, and reality exists between our ears, as in the Spanish saying, “Each head is a world.” (Cada cabesa es un mundo.)

Now I “know” all this in my head and my heart somewhat “knows” all this because in my better moments I choose to live knowingly. But obviously my body doesn’t have a clue, because I still have habitual attitudes, beliefs and reactions that often put my stress level in the red zone. Many of us have noticed that our unconscious runs the show pretty much 24/7. Working to change the negative writing, or programming, on the inner and outer walls of our minds can be very discouraging, if not downright depressing.

So, why was this definition such an aha for me? Because I suddenly connected the dots between all the random stress and mind/body information I’d collected over the years. A couple of months ago I gave Larry and myself a card that has a meaningful poem on the front:

For a long time

it had seemed to me

that life was about to begin.

real life.

But there was always some

OBSTACLE

in the way…something to be

got through first,

some unfinished business,

time still to be served__

a debt to be paid

Then life would begin.

At last it dawned on me

that these obstacles were

MY LIFE.

B. Howland

Now I substitute the word “challenge” in place of the word “obstacle,” which brings up my usually hidden belief of “To try is to fail.” So I’ll reprogram myself for “Just do it and win no matter what.” Simple, yes? Easy, no.

And the work begins: be mindful, awake, aware, focused, here now, proactive, willing, content, cheerful, still. Focus on goals, trust life’s process/Divine love, transform negativity, quit victimhood, relax, give and receive, serve, act with vision/purpose.

See challenges as opportunities, skill building, stepping stones, strength exercises, growth experiences, mind mastery. View life through lens of beauty, abundance, nurturing and grace; see opportunity for good in every moment/situation; hold that vision no matter what shows up.

This is the way to transform stress (my body’s response to life’s challenges) from being harmful to being helpful. Quick, where’s my inner and outer walls eraser? There’s much work to be done before I leave this wondrous, mysterious planet I call home!

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Bad Advice From Our Childhood.

Text and Photo© Larry R. Miller

When we were kids, adults told us to stop fidgeting! Well, it turns out that if your day is like most people in the modern world, low exercise and high stress, that was bad advice.

Fidgeting can save your life.

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Recent information from the University of Missouri-Columbia showed that frequent fidgeting can keep your leg veins healthy during periods of prolonged sitting and that can help prevent strokes.

In the study, researchers asked healthy men and women to sit for three hours. During that time, they were told to fidget one leg intermittently by tapping their foot for one minute and then resting it for four minutes. Their other leg remained still for the entire three hours. After the time was up, researchers compared the blood flow in each leg.

The leg that was periodically moving during the three-hour period had significantly better blood flow and showed to have better vein and artery health. Better vein and artery health translates to less chance of a deadly stroke or heart attack.

We wanted to know whether a small amount of leg fidgeting could prevent a decline in leg vascular function caused by prolonged sitting. While we expected fidgeting to increase blood flow to the lower limbs, we were quite surprised to find this would be sufficient to prevent a decline in arterial function,” said the study’s lead author Jaume Padilla, Ph.D.

Three hours of sitting can negatively impact leg artery function regardless of your health or age. In one study, three hours of sitting significantly decreased leg artery function in healthy children.

Next time you’re sitting at your computer, traveling or watching TV, tap your foot, wiggle your toes, raise and lower your heels, tighten and release your calf muscles. Any movement that will keep the blood flowing will be beneficial.

If you’re at your computer or otherwise sedentary, make it a habit to get up and walk around every half hour. Stand up and stretch, roll your shoulders and flex your spine. Rock and roll.

The same University of Missouri-Columbia study showed that a short ten-minute walk can restore vascular function after sitting for six hours.

***If you’re wondering about the picture, a friend flies ultralights and takes his dog along. The jacket has holes in the back that the seat belt goes through and Takaia, I think that’s the correct spelling, wears it plus the sunglasses and helmet. He also wears them when riding in their Miata with the top down.



PELE Newsletter 10-08-16 Edition.

PELE October 08, 2016 Edition

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Practical Everyday Life

Enhancement

Stress:

The Body’s Reaction To A Challenge.

Holistic Homemaking:

Baby Kale Salad, Super Nutrition Fresh From The Garden.

The Soy Problem, Not Just For Vegans:

If You Eat Soy, You’ll Want To Read This Article.

Homemaking Revisited:

A Whole Food, Unprocessed, GMO Free Potato Salad.

Get Fit Without Hardly Moving:

Simple Exercises That Can Keep You Fit.

Copyright 2016 NewLifeRoadMap Larry and Celinda Miller



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Stress: Too Much Or Too Little Of Anything Can Be A Stressor.

Text© Larry R. Miller Graphic Open Source

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The common denominator in health complaints across the entire spectrum of humans is stress. Statistics show that 76% to 85% of humans around the world see stress as one of their major health concerns. I’ve been pondering and studying the subject for quite a long time while looking for simple solutions for maintaining health, wellness and improving our quality of life by lowering stress levels.

  • How we view the world around us and our place in it affects our levels of stress.

A positive mindset helps us appreciate what we have and how we interact with others, elevate serotonin levels, improve emotional health, mental health and ultimately our immune system. One study I read stated, “high positive affect was associated with a significantly reduced risk of all-cause mortality.” An “attitude of gratitude” creates neural correlates in the brain that improve mental health and interpersonal relationships.

Most of us live in the past or the future. There is no past or future, only the now. We can’t change the past and the future may never happen. Doing and making the best of the now, regardless of circumstances, can lower stress, anxiety and most other wellness issues. How we see the world and our place in it has strong effects on our health, wellness and quality of life.

  • Food and water are vital to life.

When we consume poor quality food and not enough fresh water, we die a slower, more painful and disease-based death. High blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol and obesity are all related to what we eat and drink. Radiant health, fitness and our outlook on life are also related to what we consume.

Start your day with nutrient density by making a green drink or fruit smoothie. Most recipes I see combine fruit and vegetables. The main reason for this isn’t nutrition, it’s our sweet tooth. More often than not, this leads to problems with digestion. My recipes with pictures are posted on www.larryrmiller.com

  • Move it or lose it.

The lymph system is part of the circulatory system. One of its main functions is the defense of the immune system. Lymph is very similar to blood plasma: it contains lymphocytes and other white blood cells.. It also contains waste products and cellular debris together with bacteria and proteins. The lymph system unlike the main circulatory system has no pump i.e. the heart.

In order to get rid of toxins, the lymph system requires movement and muscle contraction. Hotchkin’s disease and non-Hotchkin’s lymphoma are believed to be caused by buildup of toxins in the lymph system. Sweating out toxins, keeping muscles supple and joints mobile, managing blood pressure, reducing stress, boosting metabolic function, burning calories and elevating mood are all improved with exercise. A sedentary lifestyle is associated with increased stress, risk of disease, hospitalization and death.

Exercises doesn’t have to be planned or in groups; just get up from the couch or computer and move it. I keep a set of 6.6 pound weights close at hand and try to break away from what I’m writing, reading or editing every half hour or less to do a few quick high intensity reps. A three-minute burst of aerobic activity works wonders on insulin resistance and cardio health. If you have chronic pain or no space to get up and move, you can check out the isometric exercises in the Get Fit While Hardly Moving article. Other great ways to get moving are yoga, tai chi and qi gong.

Managing and lowering stress levels can vastly improve our lives. There are lots of ways to lower stress and we’ll be looking at them in future issues.

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Kale Surprise

© Celinda Miller for PELE 10/8/16

Photo© Larry R. Miller

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Larry seeded a garden bed for fall. Unknown to him, one of the old, pulled kale plants had beat him to the punch. When he went to find out if his seeds had come up, what greeted him was a sea of baby kale that totally covered the wide bed.

Obviously, the situation called for massive thinning and pronto. And what to do with all the thinned babies so tender and sweet? Make kale salad, of course!

Baby Kale Salad

4 to 6 Cups baby kale, washed and cut to bite-size

1 Cup red onion, chopped

3 to 4 small cloves garlic, minced

1 to 2 Cups cherry tomatoes, quartered

1 small carrot, grated

10 to 12 radishes, sliced

1 lime, juice only

2 or more T. extra virgin cold pressed olive oil

to taste Celtic sea salt or real salt, ground

to taste black pepper or red pepper flakes (opt.)

Toss all the above, serve and enjoy.

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This is a reprint of a recent article I posted on Facebook but I believe it is an important piece if you’re a vegan or eat soy products.

Text © Larry R. Miller

Photo Open Source

Before I get into the soy information, let me clear the air of any possible misinterpretations. I have nothing against being a vegan, my wife is, I’m not. Since we’re individuals with different nutritional needs the differences in diet don’t cause problems. I found years ago that my athletic performance diminished radically when on a vegan diet or lacto/ovo vegan diet. Dairy causes mucus buildup and lowers my VO2max. I don’t have problems with the ovo, vegan approach but still have more endurance when consuming a small amount of meat. The same performance problems are true if I’m on a heavy meat diet. Moderation is the key.

There could be a problem with the soy you’re eating. This information pertains particularly to the US but may be worth investigating if you live elsewhere.
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The soy and tofu “meats” popular in the U.S. may make your mouth water but they don’t actually contain any real, natural, organic soy. Most of it isn’t anything like the healthy soy foods found in Japan and other Asian countries. The majority contains a stripped down version of soy called “soy protein isolate.” If you see soy protein isolate (SPI) on the label, it’s a sign that all of the nutritional value associated with soy is missing. During SPI processing, non-soy ingredients are added. The SPI drying process uses extremely high temperatures which changes the molecular structure of the soy and destroys the enzymes.

The only thing in the end product you’re left with is the protein which does, or can (depending on the source you read) contain potential cancer-causing toxins. High heat destroys enzymes and probably damages the protein. Plus, the soy you’re eating is probably genetically altered.

Like the vast majority of people, I don’t like GMO foods and we don’t knowingly eat them. I wrote about the possible health problems GMO could cause years ago and those problems have proven true and are now mainstream knowledge. More than 90% of U.S. soy crops are genetically altered. All GMO crops are subjected to large doses of weed killers and other poisons like Round Up®.

Glyphosate, the main ingredient in Round-up, is a poisonous chemical that has its heritage in chemical warfare. Many research studies have shown it kills your good gut bacteria, affects your liver’s enzyme detoxification system and damages your DNA. Research shows it also promotes the development of cancer and acts as a hormone disruptor in human cells. Every time you eat a soy burger, you’re probably getting an unhealthy dose of it.

The health benefits of soy even in its natural state is controversial.

Soy contains extremely high amounts of “anti-nutrients.” Anti-nutrients are toxins that block the absorption of critical nutrients.

Soy contains high percentages of phytoestrogens. Description from Wikipedia: “Phytoestrogens are plant-derived xenoestrogens (see estrogen) not generated within the endocrine system but consumed by eating phytoestrogenic plants. Also called “dietary estrogens”, they are a diverse group of naturally occurring nonsteroidal plant compounds that, because of their structural similarity with estradiol (17-β-estradiol), have the ability to cause estrogenic or/and antiestrogenic effects, by sitting in and blocking receptor sites against estrogen.”

In large quantities, estrogen mimics may act as feminizing agents in men. Too many phytoestrogens in the male diet can deplete testosterone levels, pack on the pounds and lead to the development of chest fat or “man-boobs.” In women, soy phytoestrogens are linked to an increase in “boob tissue” density and changes in gene expression. Both have direct links to cancer cells in the chest.

Soy and soy products are also goitrogens. Goitrogens can wreak havoc on thyroid function. Thyroid problems are a major health issue in today’s world.

When you analyze all the information it’s easy to see that a large percentage of vegans are probably eating the wrong kinds of soy. But, should you avoid it altogether? Not necessarily.

Undoubtedly you’ve heard about all of the health benefits associated with soy or you wouldn’t be eating it.

When you do a deep and thorough research study on soy you find it comes with a wide array of health advantages; if eaten like the Japanese and other Asians do.

They eat on average about 10 grams of soy protein daily with their meals. You can get that by eating less than two ounces of natto or tempeh each day. Since most SPI is a concentrated form, you’re getting a 100% to 200% increase in a quarter pound of processed tofu burger.

Natto and tempeh are fermented soy foods that the Japanese traditionally eat. Natto takes getting used to, to say the least. Miso and soy sauce are also good sources of fermented soy.

The fermentation process cuts down the levels of phytoestrogens and anti-nutrients making fermented soy, and other fermented foods, much easier to digest and to absorb vitamins, antioxidants and other nutrients.

The bottomline is:

if you want the cancer-fighting, heart protective and blood sugar regulating benefits of soy, skip the fake soy meats and soy protein isolate SPI products.

Insist on properly fermented soy products from organic sources and consume modest quantities each day.

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Better than Mayo Potato Salad

© Celinda Miller for PELE 10/8/16

Photo© Larry R. Miller

This is a potato salad I created as a result of removing mayonnaise from our diet, because of the GMO soy that’s in so many processed foods. (90% of the U.S. domestic soy produced is genetically modified.) I’ve found that I actually like potato salad better with olive oil, as it has a lighter feel and taste to it.

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Celinda’s Potato Salad

6 Cups steamed potatoes, cubed and cooled

1 Cup kale, arugula or spinach, cut bite-sized

6 eggs, hardboiled and diced (Leave out if

a lighter salad is desired.)

1/2 Cup Bubbie’s dill pickle relish or chopped dill

pickle (opt.)

1 tsp. dill seed, freshly ground

1 lemon, juice only

1/4 Cup extra virgin, cold pressed olive oil

to taste sweet red pepper flakes (opt.)

to taste Celtic sea salt or real salt

to taste black pepper, course grind (opt.)

Toss, serve and enjoy!

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How To Get Fit Without Hardly Moving.

Text© Larry R. Miller Photo© Celinda Miller

You can increase metabolic function, prevent osteoporosis, improve bone density and reduce calcium loss and do it on the cheap with exercise. If you have chronic pain or are limited for space, don’t have or want special equipment, isometrics may be your answer.

Using the following isometric exercises can exercise your muscles, support your heart and lung functions and boost your metabolism all without hardly moving an inch. Isometrics are an effective way to contribute to optimal health.

The most common exercises for health and fitness are isotonic. “Isotonic exercise: involving a constant level of resistance on the muscle as it is moved through its full range via the bending of the joints.” Walking. Running, dancing, playing tennis, swimmming, lifting weights and all sports that involve movement are isotonic exercises. Isotonic exercises improve range of motion, strength, muscular endurance and athletic performance.

Isometric exercises are: a flex and hold exercise where a position is held static for a period of time. Isometric exercises can improve your muscular endurance, strength and cardio health in a short amount of time and with no equipment required, all you need is the motivation and your own body.

If you don’t believe holding a static, unmoving position can be difficult, try this:

isometrics-300

Stand upright with feet shoulder width apart. Bend your knees so that your thighs are flexed. Hold a water bottle in each hand, extend your arms out in front of you and don’t move. Continue to hold the position without moving.

In the beginning it’s easy and takes little effort. It may seem that you’re not using your muscles but the muscles of the legs and shoulders have to keep stabilizing themselves, constantly contracting and lengthening to hold your position. This requires the metabolizing of energy and oxygen and fatigues the muscles. The longer you hold the stationary pose the more difficult it becomes. With isometric exercises, even the lightest object, or just holding your arms out in front, can feel like a hundred pounds if held for a long period. Isometrics develop strength at a particular point in a muscle and angle position of a joint. Holding a position for as long as you can will produce big benefit.

There are many different isometric exercises. Here are some you can do in your living room. I’m working on a series of videos that will include the following.

  • Wall Press – This is one of the most basic isometrics. Stand near a wall and push against it as if trying to push yourself away from it but don’t allow your body to move. Press and hold for as long as you can.
  • The Plank – Hold your body horizontally straight by balancing on your forearms and toes and hold the position. 30 seconds is tough for many.
  • Side Plank – Balance on one arm and one leg while keeping your body still for as long as you can.
  • Wall Sit – Put your back against a wall and bend your legs as if siting on a chair and hold.
  • Sit up- Stop half way through a normal sit up or crunch exercise and

hold that position as long as you can. The closer you get to horizontal, the tougher it is.

  • Push Up- Stop half or two-thirds of the way through a push up and hold.
  • Squats – Do half the squat motion and hold for as long as you can. Similar to the wall sit but without the wall and more difficult.
  • Yoga poses – Poses like Tree, Sun Salutation, Stick and Warrior pose are all great examples of isometric exercises.
  • Bar Hold – Hold a weight bar, or barbells, in a position between extension and curl flexion and hold it for as long as you can. The heavier the weight the faster you’ll fatigue.
  • Try any of the above using the following: when you’re a quarter of the way through an exercise, a push-up for instance, stop and hold the position. After a period of time, selected by you, drop down to half way and hold, then three quarters of the way through the exercise and hold. You can do this with any of the exercises to help get a complete muscle group workout. Isometrics can even be done while working at your computer. The only thing that limits you is your imagination.

The only caution where isometrics are concerned appears to be if you have high blood pressure. Holding your body in a fixed, rigid and weight bearing position for a long period may possibly raise your blood pressure. As with any exercise, check with your health care provider before starting a new program.



PELE 09-23-16

PELE September 23, 2016 Edition

sunset-jackman-full

Practical Everyday Life Enhancement

Can Diet Lower The Risk Of Osteoporosis:

What Foods Are Best For Bone Health?.

Community Beautification:

The Halfway Petunia Project.

No Gym Fee Exercises That Work:

Simple, Easy And No Special Equipment Required.

Holistic Homemaking:

A September Harvest Day.

Did You Know:

Prunes Improve Bone Health.

Copyright Larry and Celinda Miller NewLifeRoadMap 2016



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Can a Good Diet Lower the Risk of Osteoporosis?

Text and photo© Larry R. Miller

We start to lose bone mass in our 30s, women in particular.

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Calcium is the first bone building element that comes to mind. Magnesium also plays a major role in bone health. Magnesium is the #1 deficient element in the Standard American Diet.

50% of the body’s magnesium resides in our bones. Low levels of magnesium are linked to fragile bones and calcium loss. Magnesium is the “door opener” for calcium at the cellular level. Magnesium and calcium compete for the same cellular receptor sites and should be either obtained from food or taken at separate times. Natural, non-GMO, foods have a built in time release.

Bones are flexible, living organs with live cells and fluids. Bone cells break down and build up. That’s how they remain strong and heal after a break.

All seeds are good magnesium sources but pumpkin seeds rank highest.

Walnuts are rich in alpha linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid. ALA decreases the rate of bone breakdown and helps keep bone formation constant. According to the National Institute of Health, sea buckthorn is high in ALA. Brazil nuts are good sources of magnesium.

Other foods with alpha linolenic acid include: flaxseed, soybeans and canola oil. Most canola oil is a GMO (genetically modified organism unless stated otherwise on the label) and most soy products in the US are GMO. Oils have a tendency to go rancid quickly, grinding whole seeds as needed is a better solution.

Leafy greens, salads and lightly steamed greens are packed with bone-building nutrients, particularly calcium, magnesium and vitamin-K. Vitamin-K is critical in forming bone proteins and cuts calcium loss in urine. Research shows vitamin K deficiency increases risk of hip fractures. One cup of raw or a half-cup of lightly steamed greens provides several times the recommended daily value (DV).

Beans, especially pinto, black, white and kidney beans, lentils and other legumes have high percentages of magnesium and even some calcium. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends consuming at least 2-1/2 cups of beans and other legumes weekly. Beans reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease and obesity. Sprouting increases nutrient values 10 to 100%

Dairy doesn’t work for me, it causes excess mucus. Dairy provides calcium and, if it’s fortified, Vitamin D.

30 minutes of physical activity daily, like brisk walking, running, dancing and weight bearing exercises, stresses your bones in a good way. Exercise, especially weight bearing exercise, signals your bones to make more bone cells, which strengthens bones and increases bone mass.

Smoking increases the risk of bone fracture. Caffeine causes calcium loss one to three hours after consumption. Drinking more than two cups of coffee per day is associated with bone loss in postmenopausal women. The jury I still out on where alcohol goes from neutral to detrimental but most agree that more than one drink a day puts you at risk for bone breakdown.

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Community Is As Community Does

© Celinda Miller for PELE 9/23/16

Photos© Larry R. Miller

Today I’d like to explore community, what it is, how I envision it and how to nurture it. Halfway’s summer petunia basket project is a perfect example of a community operating in its own best interest.dsc_0010

About twenty years ago a bee got into the bonnet of one of our most liked community members. A “just do it” kind of person, she decided the town of Halfway needed a bit of beautification. From this observation was born the Halfway Community Improvement Project, or HCIP. I like to call it the petunia basket project, since that’s been its purpose all these years.

Now when we were negotiating our lease option with the owners, Bill and Melanie, one of the items thrown into the possibilities basket the four of us were exploring was Melanie’s desire to have me become coordinator for HCIP, as she’d been doing it for the previous three years.

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I really didn’t want to, as anything having to do with being in charge of projects or people isn’t my cup of tea, especially after serving on the board of two nonprofits and being a member of a third. However, I found out that HCIP was a local community affair, organized like a bowling club or other local group.

However I saw that Melanie and Bill were totally caught up in getting themselves moved, and she was finding it hard to locate a new coordinator amongst the ranks. I became the candidate most in view and as I often like to say, hope springs eternal in all of our breasts, and especially so in Melanie’s at that moment.

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With great trepidation I said that I’d take it on. The relief in Melanie’s eyes was worth the yes, but didn’t relieve my fears that somehow I’d be a bust at the job.

Now, two years later, I realize it was a life expanding choice, a turning point that allowed me to explore myself as a take charge person in a community committed to its own best welfare. From this community commitment came a more beautiful town, broad based community support and a another example of Pine Valley “can do” pride at its best.

dsc_0015450-1Having said all that, I’m the first to admit that I would’ve been a total bust if it hadn’t been for the knowledge, support and forbearance of all my volunteers and past coordinators, who help me undo my mistakes, get through my learning curve and hold my hand through the ordering, potting and caring for all my tender petunia babies until the late spring weather allows the babies in their baskets to go to town.

going-to-town-1200Down the road they go on the “petunia” wagon, which is actually a local farmer’s hay wagon. It’s a real event when the wagon comes to town. I keep saying, we ought to hitch work horses to the wagon, have a petunia parade along the way and celebrate the magnificence and beauty of spring’s floral abundance. However, the horses are out in the fields plowing with their owners or involved in other farming chores, as well as many of the community, for this is a rural America and there’s no season leisurely enough to allow for days long in hammock and short of chores to be done.

What is a community? According to my faithful Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary (Yes,

it’s been around the block a few times, just like me.), community is a unified body of people, or people with common interests living in a particular area. These are good definitions for what community means to me. Webster’s says the Latin “com” means “with, together, thoroughly” and “unity” means oneness, from the Latin “unus” meaning “one.” So, coming together in unity sounds really sweet to my ears.

dsc_0027450-1And how does a community nurture itself? By having a vision for how it wants to be and taking committed action for grounding it in the here and now. By honoring creative, out of the box thinking and inviting all members, beliefs and concerns to the table. By focusing on and finding common ground on which to unite. By crafting win-win-win scenarios that everyone is willing to support. By respectful honoring of each other. By patient confidence that all this is possible, for where the will goes, the ways and means follow.

The most delightful result of community coming together in good will and good faith, is seeing the results of everyone teaching and learning from each other. Good ideas and projects begin to spread through the community, often taking just one idea, inspiration, person or family to get the ball rolling.

dsc_0028450-1This has happened with our lovely petunia project. What started out as only baskets twenty years ago, has morphed into planter boxes and pots as more and businesses include them with their baskets. Halfway truly rocks in petunia glory from May through October.

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Did You Know: Falling Is One Of The Most Feared Aspects Of Getting Older.

Text and Photo© Larry R. Miller

Most people find it hard to stay motivated to exercise. One reason, it seems to me, is because most think of going to a gym or having to run a 10K when that’s really not necessary. It is important to get 3 or 4 days a week of some type of exercise that gets your heart rate up and keeps you moving.

I haven’t been in a gym since 1985. I’m a self-motivator and some need a group atmosphere. But, when money’s tight one of the first things most of us do is cut the self care from our lives. This is a bad choice because without our health the rest of our life will suffer.

Here are a few ways that health and fitness can be incorporated into our daily lives without spending any money on special equipment, gym fees and very little extra time.

Strength training is vital to quality of life and building and maintaining strong bones to prevent falls and avoid osteopenia (Osteopenia…weak bones).

One of the most often broken bones where falls are concerned is the wrist. You can strengthen the wrist and help prevent osteopenia using a can of soup and do it while puttering around the house.

Here’s how you can start in order to get the hang of it. Sit in a chair with your wrist an inch or so beyond your knee. Raise and lower the weight 10 times and then switch sides. After you get the feel of how it works, you can do the exercise while doing other things, walking around, talking on the phone or any number of things and you don’t have to rest your arm on your leg all the time. By not resting your wrist on your knee, you’ll exercise the muscles in your arms and shoulders at the same time.

When you get dressed in the morning, try putting on your pants while standing up. This helps improve balance and also helps with muscle motor integration. As we age, falls can be the difference between being mobile and enjoying life and finding yourself removed from the flow and watching life pass you by. Simply walking at a pace faster than normal can help coordinate muscle motor integration. Understanding all the details isn’t required, staying active and flexible is.

Walking has lots of benefits including boosting the metabolism, strengthening the legs, the lower back and keeping the hip flexors supple. A 20-minute brisk walk while swinging the arms can burn in excess of 100 calories.

If you don’t have time for a special walk, here’s easy ways to get the benefits with very little extra time spent.

  • Park at the far end of the parking lot and walk to the office, or where you plan to shop or eat.

  • Skip the elevator and take the stairs.

  • Forget driving to your local market or store and walk instead.

  • Ask yourself if walking a block to visit with a neighbor makes more sense and is more time effective than getting in the car, fastening the seat belt, waiting for traffic to pass and driving.

  • When you’re doing your daily or weekly chores, instead of riding the lawn mower try walking behind a self propelled mower or get a push mower, if that will work for you.

  • Walk briskly or run to the mailbox. Take a lively dog for a walk.

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  • If you’re doing house work, turn on some lively music and get in time with it as you vacuum, iron clothes or clean the windows, sinks, counter tops and mirrors. You’ll be surprised how simply adding a little fun to the mundane dailies can get your heart rate up, improve muscle tone and burn extra calories.

  • Go outdoors, get some sunshine, soak up some vitamin D and walk, run, bike or play. Exercise, getting fit and staying healthy doesn’t have to be limited to weekends or only when you can go to the gym. Use your imagination and you’ll find multiple ways to stay active mobile and flexible.

Here’s a simple way to test your flexibility. After you’ve put your shoes on, stand up and bend over to tie them. If you can’t tie your shoes with straight legs, bend your knees. Keep track of how you progress until you can tie your shoes with straight legs. Keeping track will give you some incentive to keep working at it. Not only will you become more flexible, you’ll also boost your self esteem. If you can’t see your shoes when you bend over, you’ve got a lot of work to do.

Whether you’re a serious gym rat, a weekend warrior or a couch potato who’s looking for ways to make some changes in your routine and life, there are always ways to do that if you just give it a little thought.

Yoga, T’ai Chi and Qi Gong can help with strength, flexibility and balance.

Once you get moving and in the groove of it, you’ll begin to see the benefits that staying active can make in all aspects of your life. People who stay active and fit are less likely to suffer from depression! Little things can make big differences, I know you’ll be surprised!

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ON A SEPTEMBER HARVEST DAY

© Celinda Miller for PELE 9/23/16

Photos© Larry R. Miller

When I was younger and lived in cities and suburbs, I thought the word bucolic meant the laid back rural life…walks out in nature (Well, yes…on the way to and back from outside chores or caring for a neighbor’s chickens.), rocker afternoons on the front porch (nope) or warm day naps in the backyard hammock (not so).

Imagine my surprise, upon settling into the rural life, that bucolic meant rural, nothing more. I referred to Mr. Webster to be certain, and sure enough there it was, 1: “of or relating to shepherds or herdsmen: PASTORAL” and 2: RUSTIC syn see RURAL.

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So, okay. Let’s see what Mr. Roget has to say, since a thesaurus is my right writing arm, considering that I’m left-handed, and a great resource for my overtaxed left brain. No escape here, as he flatly said, “rural, rustic, countrified.” So much for the citified definition of a bucolic life; in short it doesn’t exist.

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So here’s true bucolic in the life of amini-homesteader given a balmy September day. Get up around 7:30 (I know, I know…no self-respecting ruralite would forego getting up at dawn. I’m workin’ on it. Really.), pet the cat, feed the neighbor’s chickens (Nice walk for Larry and me), make the bed, eat breakfast, wash dishes, take dried fruit off the dehydrator trays, wash trays, panic about the fruit yet to process before it goes off, panic about more fruit coming.

Go outside, harvest plums, harvest pears, harvest grapes, harvest rosehips, harvest raspberries, check tomatoes in green house (Ripen up, wouldja?). apples-full

Go inside, think about lunch, see what’s in the frig, check out the garden…ah yes, there’s lots of kale and the winter squash is almost ready.

Go back inside, start lunch from scratch, serve lunch, wash dishes, take a nap (maybe), go outside and work in the garden or stay inside and write articles, work on my business strategy or study business programs.

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Walk down just before dark to put the chickens in for the night (Second walk for Larry and me.), get on the computer again, process fruit for drying, play cards (seldom), watch a YouTube video (sometimes), go to bed.

grapes-in-bowl-fullThis doesn’t include weekly or irregular events like going shopping in town or selling plums to the local market, attending potlucks or local functions and meetings, volunteering, teaching yoga, getting haircuts in Richland or driving to Baker City.

produce-backroom-fullI’m sure I’ve left out many things, and of course not everything I’ve mentioned would even fit in a given 16 hour day, but some might show up anyway. For example, the chickens are only in our care for five weeks and haircuts pop up every six weeks or so, but you get the idea.

Larry’s day, which I suspect he’ll write about sometime soon, makes my day look like a stroll in the park. He’s a genuine Energizer Bunny and can get more work done than just about anyone I know. Although there are a few in the Valley who might come close, especially a woman friend of mine, whom I call Energizer Bunny II.

Lest it seem that I’m complaining and would like to crawl back into my old city/suburbs persona, let me say that I’d not trade my former (sub)urban life for any of this rural hustle and bustle. For although there’s just as much hustle and bustle in the city, most of it feels meaningless and hollow to me now.

winter-pears-fullThere’s something about getting into the soil, planting, harvesting and working seasonally which just seems so natural and renewing. So all you city and suburban folks out there, go experience the bucolic life in your own backyard or in a community garden. Get rural, rustic, countrified and pastoral. You just might be surprised, if not amazed.

For holistic homemaking see: www.celindamiller.com

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More Ways Whole Food Can Improve Bone Health.

Text and Photo© Larry R. Miller

As long as we’re on the subject of bone health, let’s look at another way we can slow or stop osteoporosis an osteopenia.

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, more than 200 million people worldwide have osteoporosis, a bone condition that results in bone loss and osteopenia, weakened bones. In the United States, 10 million people have osteoporosis and 18 million more are estimated to develop it. With 34 million Americans unknowingly having or having been diagnosed with osteopenia, low bone mass and weakened bones, which raises the risk for fractures and other complications, we have a genuine health problem.

How can we as an individual deal with it? Multiple research studies have proven that a diet high in fruits and vegetables, particularly prunes (dried plums) have the potential to increase none mass and foster new bone formation. Prunes have shown to be able to boost bone health and even reverse bone loss.

If you have a dehydrator you can make your own.

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There are two types of bone cells that keep your bones healthy.
Osteoclasts chip away at the old bone and osteoblasts form new bones.

When we hear about free radicals we’re lead to believe they should be completely eliminated. Free radicals are necessary for the bone-building process. Osteoclasts use free radicals to break down old bone, leaving tiny holes to be filled by bone-building osteoblasts. An excess of free radicals land low levels of antioxidants leads to excessive bone breakdown and interfere with bone buildup.

Women with osteoporosis have test high in free radicals, higher levels than women without osteoporosis. Low levels of antioxidants increases bone loss.

A diet high fruits and vegetables that are high in antioxidants help lower levels of free radicals. Research has shown that a diet made up of mostly vegetables, fruits and legumes reduces the risk of hip fractures. Another study concluded that women who ate lots of fruit as children had higher femoral neck bone mineral density than did women who ate medium to low amounts of fruit.

Various animal studies and two human studies have shown tht prunes have positive bone enhancing properties. In one study a group of women either ate 12 prunes or 12 dried apples per day. At the end the 3 month study, the women who ate the prunes had a 5.8% increase in BSAP, bone specific alkaline phosphatase, an enzyme that is an indicator of increased bone formation. The women who ate apples saw no increase in BSAP. A urine sample test is used to test for BSAP. BSAP tests can also show other medical conditions.

Nine years later, the British Journal of Nutrition published a similar study showing the same benefits, but over a year’s time. Prunes and apples both showed a bone-protective benefit, but the women who ate prunes showed increased bone formation in the forearm and spine, while the apple-eating group did not. all fruits and vegetables offer the benefit of antioxidants even if they haven’t been tested for bone building qualities.

If prunes aren’t your thing, try eating what they were before they were prunes. Plums have a list of nutrients as long as your arm. One source calls them the “Worlds most perfect food.”



For more health information and nature photography see: www.larryRmiller.com

Here’s a link to a website that gives the breakdown on the vitamins, minerals and other health benefits of plums. This is the time of year for plums and the best time of year for their price. With four very prolific plum trees, we eat a lot of plums both fresh and with two dehydrators going 24-7 we have lots of dried fruit and veggies all winter. The website in the link also has recipes.

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=35

For Sale By Owner.

Property is in Columbus, New Mexico zip code 88029.  Property includes main house and studio apartment. Some photos are of main house, some show studio apartment (casita in Spanish) and one shows the small workshop. 

 

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Main house and casita have 1 bedroom and 1 bath each.

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Each has separate water, sewer and electric hookups and separate meters.

dsc_0077Both have LPG gas ranges.

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Main house has LPG water heater, studio apt. has under counter electric water heater. Both are steel frame, super strong, super insulated, straw bale construction. Double pane windows, solar heat source from south facing sun room/solarium/atrium, cat in solarium picture is not included.

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There are entryways on main doors for extra insulation from heat and cold and a small wood stove in the living room. Living room could be partitioned to make extra room.

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The office could be made into a spare bedroom.

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The property is on the edge of town with city water and sewer.

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All ceramic tile floors and counter tops.

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Can be winter home or year round. Perfect for people who are caregivers. We were caregivers for my mother the last ten years she was alive and having separate units worked extremely well.

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The caretaker for us may want to stay. That has worked out very well for us as non full time residents.

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The above photos are the main house.

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The studio apartment has been used as a rental and I don’t have current interior pictures.  There are three off street carports, one car carport on the west side of the apartment and two car carport on the east side. 

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dsc_0111This is the workshop/toolshed.

Close to Mexico for dental, medical and pharmaceuticals at reduced prices. Has large percentage of area residents who are pilots and vintage aircraft aficionados.. Multiple private airstrips. Columbus is the birthplace of the USAF. Lots of service help available at reasonable prices. Good highway to Walmart, supermarkets and shopping in Deming, NM. High speed internet, cable TV or satellite dish, cell phone reception and landline telephone. Low maintenance property with drought resistant, flowering desert trees, shrubs and cactus. Roof gutters are plumbed for watering shrubs, trees and plants around the house. Has a small workshop and full hookup RV site. RV site has separate gate/entrance. We had nice summer and winter gardens. The winter gardens were sunken with gardeners plastic row covers. The water would condense on the inside of the row cover during the night and freeze when it was cold enough, then thaw and drop back into the gardens during the day, saving both water and labor. No earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, if it snows it’s gone in a few hours, well staffed and stocked local library with free computers and access to the high speed internet. Has a small arts community.

Asking price $45,000.00

 

You can contact me by email larryrmiller@mail.com and we can schedule a time for a call.  I’m very hard to catch around a phone and I don’t carry a cellphone.  Use home for sale in the subject line so the email doesn’t end up in the trash.

Health, Nature Photography and Holistic Homemaking PELE Newsletter 09-08-16

 

PELE

September 08, 2016 Edition

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Practical Everyday Life Enhancement

Forget Acai, Acerola And Goji:
Eat Local: The Health Benefits of Raspberries.

Just For Fun:
In Bed Yoga

Fun With Frogs:
While Watering The Garden And Dust Abatement.

Poets Corner:
A Friend’s and Celinda’s Poems.

Exercise:
A power Hike Into The Wilderness.



Copyright Larry and Celinda Miller NewLifeRoadMap 2016
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Forget Acai, Acerola and Goji—Eat Local

Text and photo© Larry R. Miller

Look around your neighborhood and check out the farmer’s markets, you may have local access to some of the world’s best superfoods.

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Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health tested the effects of antioxidant intake on about 130,000 participants over a 20- to 22-year period. They found those who ate a lot of berries lowered their risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. Berries are high in anthocyanins and contain high amounts of antioxidants. Antioxidants have shown to decrease and even reverse the effects of free radicals that are closely linked with heart disease, cancer, arthritis, stroke and respiratory diseases.

Goji, Acerola and Acai, the more glamorous berries because someone is making money on them and most of us can’t grow them in our garden, have gotten the most attention, the most press.

But, most of us who live in a temperate zone can grow raspberries and black raspberries score higher than all the others.

A recent study from the University of Agriculture in Krakow (Poland), has shown that the black raspberry, native to Central Europe, has even greater health benefits than its better known cousins, red raspberries or blackberries.

A group of researchers led by Anna Małgorzata Kostecka-Gugała measured the content of phenolics and anthocyanins in black raspberries, red raspberries and blackberries to chart their health benefits and antioxidant potential.

It turns out that the amount of antioxidants in black raspberries was three times higher than red raspberries and blackberries. And, black raspberries had 1000% more anthocyanins.

In research trials, anthocyanins have demonstrated the ability to reduce cancer cell proliferation (growth/multiplication) and to inhibit tumor formation.

In another research study, fiber from whole foods, was shown to have the most benefits where anti-aging was concerned. Raspberries, all types, were amongst the top foods in percentages of fiber contained per gram.

Doesn’t it make sense to grow your own foods that are extremely high in health benefits than to buy something that doesn’t measure up and has been shipped half way around the world?

We have one black raspberry that was planted last year but isn’t large enough to put out any fruit yet, unless you consider two berries putting out. Celinda ordered two but when we received them one was looking pretty puny and later died.

I have another article with pictures titled “Picking Blackberries” about blackberries, raspberries and avoiding hornets, sounds like a strange combination doesn’t it, on www.larryrmiller.com
More nature photos and health information here: http://www.larryrmiller.com

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IN BED YOGA
© 2002, Revised 2016 Celinda Miller for PELE 9/8/16

Photos© Larry R. Miller

This is a series of simple “in bed” stretches for after waking up or before going to sleep. The entire sequence should take about 15 minutes. This sequence can also be done as a short session on the floor, using a mat.

Use common sense and pay attention to your internal signals. As in any yoga practice, let breath and sensation guide you into the correct pose for the moment. It is not the intensity of a pose that determines success in yoga. It is the integrity of a pose linked to regularity of practice that determines success.

A primary intention of yoga is non-violence. Injury happens from forcing the body to go further into a pose than it wants. Postural misalignment, more tension and stress or injury is never the intent of yoga. Listen to your body. Let your breath and first physical sensation be the indicators for any pose, for what is far enough.

Accept your limitations and challenge yourself at the same time. This requires being fully present, attentive and aware to what is going on within yourself here and now, as well as to what outside influences are impacting you in the moment. Self-acceptance, patience, a non-competitive attitude and a willingness to honor body messages are all essential to a successful yoga practice.

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LEG TO CHEST: Remove any pillows from behind your head and lie flat on your back. Inhale and bend right leg to chest, leaving left leg straight and tucking pelvis (tailbone pointed toward ceiling when lying on the back) to protect the lower back. Hold pose for 5 complete* breaths. Exhaling, straighten right leg. Repeat with left leg.
*A complete breath is a slow, deep inhale (through the nose only, unless stopped up) followed by a slow, deep exhale.
This is a natural breath, with lungs filling and emptying completely and with exhales at least as long as inhales.

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EAGLE BENT LEG TWIST: Bend legs, placing feet on the bed a comfortable distance from buttocks. Tuck pelvis. Extend arms straight out to the sides, palms down.
Inhale and cross right leg over left, tucking right foot under left ankle, if flexible enough. If not, simply lay right leg on outside of left leg. Exhaling, bring both legs to the left and towards the bed, keep both shoulder blades on the bed, and look to the right, focusing beyond right middle finger. Hold for 5 complete breaths. Inhale legs and head up to center. Exhale right leg back to right side of left leg.
Repeat with left leg.

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STOMACH STRENGTHENER: Inhaling, tuck pelvis, interlock hands behind head, lift head and shoulders off the bed, flex heels and look at feet. Hold for 5 complete breaths. Exhaling, lower shoulders and head to the bed, supporting head with interlocked hands, and relax feet. Inhale, release hands and exhale them down to the sides of body.

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SINGLE SIDE LEG AND CHEST LIFTS: Lie on right side with body in a straight line, one leg on top of other and right arm bent as a pillow for the head. Left arm is bent with palm on bed to help keep the body on its side. Tuck pelvis.
Inhaling, flex both feet and lift left leg, with side of leg facing the ceiling. Hold for 5 complete breaths. Exhaling, lower leg to bottom leg and relax feet.

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Still lying on side, inhale and lift upper torso off the bed, placing right forearm on the bed for support and keeping left arm where it is. This stretches the right side ribs. Hold for 5 breaths. Exhale and lower upper side of body down.
Roll over, repeating lower and upper body lifts on other side.

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SINGLE LEG LIFTS: Lie on back and bend left leg, placing foot on bed a comfortable distance from the buttocks, right leg straight. Wedge hands (thumb side and palms down with fingers pointed towards feet) under sides of buttocks for lower back support.
On inhale, raise right leg towards ceiling, straight legged if there is no strain on the lower back, otherwise bent legged to chest and then straightened to vertical. Hold leg and use hands to bring leg straighter or allow knee be somewhat bent, depending on flexibility. Hold for 5 complete breaths. Re-wedge hands under buttocks, exhaling straight or bent leg down to bed in reverse of leg lift.
Repeat with left leg.

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RECLINED COBBLER: Inhaling, interlock hands behind head. Exhaling, bend legs, bring soles of feet together with heels as close to the perineum as is comfortable and let knees fall out to sides. Make sure pelvis is tucked, with tightened stomach and buttock muscles. (Support the under sides of knees with the hands or bolster with pillows, if needed.) Hold for 5 complete breaths. Slowly inhale the knees together, then exhale the legs straight.

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GENTLE COBRA: Roll over on stomach and lay forehead on bed. Legs are together and straight. Firmly tuck pelvis (tailbone pointed toward the bed when on stomach), pressing pubic bones into the bed and tightening stomach and buttock muscles to protect lower back. Inhaling, raise chest off the bed using back muscles for the initial lift, then continuing pose by using hands to push against the bed. Forearms cab remain on or lift off the bed. If forearms come off the bed, keep elbows well bent, as beds will not support the back in an intense cobra stretch. Hold for 5 complete breaths. Exhaling, lower to the bed.

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SINGLE LEGGED LOCUSTS: Place hands under body with arms straight and palms either on thighs or turned toward the bed, whichever feels more comfortable. Forehead or chin is on the bed. Legs are together and straight. Firmly tuck pelvis, pressing pubic bones into the bed and tightening stomach and buttock muscles to protect lower back.
Inhaling, slowly raise right leg up with the back of the leg lifting toward the ceiling. Do not lift right pelvic bone (hip) off the bed, only the leg. Hold for 5 complete breaths. Exhaling lower straight leg back to bed.
Repeat with left leg.

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FINAL TWIST: Roll onto back, tuck pelvis and extend arms straight out to the sides, palm down.
Inhaling, bend right leg and place it on the left thigh. Exhaling, lower leg to the left and look to the right, softly focusing beyond the right middle finger. Lower bent leg only as far to the left as the right shoulder blade can remain on the bed. Hold for 5 complete breaths.
Inhaling, return head and leg to center. Exhaling, lower leg to the bed, next to the left leg.
Repeat with left leg.

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FINAL RESTING POSE: Rest for at least 5 minutes in the final resting pose: arms out to the sides and about 45 degrees from the body, palms up and fingers relaxed. Lay the legs straight on the bed about 6 to 12 inches apart.
(If lying straight legged makes the pelvis tilt, compressing the lower back or making the head tilt up and compressing the neck, bend legs and place feet a comfortable distance from buttocks, parallel and hip width apart. Let the knees float together to support legs. This should relieve any tension or compression in the lower back or neck.)
Float on the waves of your breath. Keep the mind focused on the breath, so it will stay in the present moment and relax. A tense mind makes a tense body. A thinking mind is a tense mind. Let it rest.
Slip through the gap between thoughts, into the silence within. Let go, breathe and be. After 5 minutes, or longer if possible, you will be ready for a day of activity or a night of restful sleep.
NAMASTE’ The One in me honors the One in you.
More yoga and holistic homemaking here:http://www.celindamiller.com




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Frogs, Watering The Garden And Dust Abatement.
Text and photos© Larry R. Miller

About a week and a half ago I was out early watering my garden when I saw what I thought was a grasshopper in the grass under an apple tree in the orchard. My first thought was to catch it and dispose of it. Until last year the pond had enough water in it to warrant stocking it with an extra fish or two from a fishing trip to the river. Last year I stocked it twice and the raccoons had a couple of smorgasbords. I had been tossing grasshoppers in the pond for the fish but that wasn’t an option this time.

As it turned out, I didn’t need to do anything with it because it wasn’t a grasshopper it was a small frog.

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Very seldom do you see frogs out and about during the day and this one probably felt safe hiding in the grass since I haven’t mowed the orchard for a couple of weeks. Keeping the grass cover deeper when we’re short on rain helps slow evaporation and it gives me a break to do other things.

After seeing what it was that I had flushed from the brush, I went in and got my camera, got down on my stomach and got these photos. My finger is in one photo for size comparison.

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I have more pictures of this guy.

 

 

 

 

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That’s the end of my little finger for size comparison.

 

 

 

The Friday before Labor Day I planned to oil the road in front of our house. It seems that most people want to be at their next destination before they leave where they are and try to make up the time by driving 65, or faster, down the back roads where we live which are gravel. The county grades the roads in the spring and fall and snow plows them in the winter but after a couple of weeks of no rain in the spring the roads can be very dusty until the fall rains return.
Most of people have a service come and oil the road in front of their house. The oil process lasts about six/eight weeks and then the dust returns. The oil process costs around $600, from what I’ve been told, depending on how much road you want oiled.

When we lived in Joseph, OR we had access to the deep fat fryer oil from the Safeway store. They were tossing it in the dumpster and I made an applicator and with lots of oil we never had a dust problem. Now, everyone sells the oil or freezes it and ships it somewhere to be repurposed, probably gets reused in the deep fat fryers again after being strained and deodorized.

Anyway, paying for a band-aid fix wasn’t what I had in mind so when we first moved in I experimented with sawdust we got from a friend who had a portable sawmill. The first year I put a lot of sawdust on the road and wasn’t sure it was going to work. That fall when the county graded the road the sawdust was mixed in with the dirt and gravel and this year I have only added sawdust a couple of times.

The problem with the sawdust is when someone goes by at freeway speeds, the sawdust eventually ends up on the side of the road. $600 was not what I wanted to fork over so I bought 10 gallons of vegetable oil from Wal-Mart to experiment with it. At $6 per gallon, and they paid the freight on 10 gallons, even if it didn’t work it would be worth a try. We still have almost 2 gallons left and most of the high traffic season is over. Here’s how I put it on the road.

First I tried mixing it with the sawdust in a big plastic half barrel; that was OK but marginal. My next experiment is what I’m still using. I took one of the empty bottles and drilled some holes in the cap, then filled the bottle 1/3 full of oil and topped it off with water from a hose. The water wants to settle out so you have to apply the mix to the road like a giant pepper shaker. As long as you keep pumping it up and down the water and oil stays mixed. I found in Joseph that the oil was better dispersed if I sprayed water on it right after applying it but with the gallon jug that didn’t work. Mixing it and shaking it does a good job at 1/10th the cost. With the amount of labor I have in the dust problem this summer my time, minus the cost of the oil, was worth about $54 per hour. I can handle that.

Where I originally intended to go with this story was: when getting the bottle out of the shop for last Friday’s road oiling adventure, I use adventure because sometimes it can be like playing dodge car, I saw something moving in the corner and thought it was a mouse. When I snuck up to see how I could deal with the mouse I found it was another small frog.

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Frogs must have some chameleon in them because this one matched the plastic that it was sitting on in the corner. I took it out and put it in the yard after taking some pictures.

I put it on the light gray plant shown hoping it would stay there to see if it turned color to march the plant. When I went back to check, it was off looking for bugs or on some other enterprise.

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You can tell they’re the same variety of frog if you look at their markings, like the eye band.
More nature photography and health information here: http://www.larryrmiller.com

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Poet’s Corner

Photo© Larry R Miller

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This is another poem by my good friend Mim, given to me in the early 1990s. I’m embarrassed to say that then, even though the poem resonated for me, I didn’t understand it. Having lost all the older generation of my families before I was wise enough to make space and time to ask or to deeply listen to their stories, I now fully understand.

Mim Lagoe’s Poem

Kinship

“He who loses the way feels lost.”
— Lao Tsu

while  the  living  ancestors
are  still  here
would  be  the  time

while  our  tribe  is  still  firm
and  sound

before  the  familiar  forms
that shaped  us
fall  away, this

     would  be  the  time:

as  we  breathe
the  same  breath
and  their  eyes
ask  ours

would  be  the  time

to  listen —
hear  the  voices
of  the  river

to  forgive
the  chill  stones  their  coldness,
their  unlived  language
of  old  thought

to  return —
walking  once  more  the  widening
path

     of  kinship

and  giving  back         (gently as leaves
swirling
on  water)

whatever  smiles
there  were

M. E. Lagoe 1991

GARAGE SALE MOTHER LODE
© 2006 Celinda Miller

Photo© Larry R. Miller

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Ten cent unbought discard
in a bookstrewn box
Bluefeather illusions face up,
framed in black

Termite read from back to front,
soul calling soul
Who’d have guessed deep within,
silver veined eternity

An ode to the novel Illusions by Richard Bach

More holistic homemaking information here:http://www.celindamiller.com
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A Round-Trip Power Hike Into The Wilderness.

Text and photos© Larry R. Miller

Last month I was trying to figure out how I could do some fly fishing if I only had a couple of hours. Driving down to the river or the creek where I usually fish would take most of the time I had available and instead of a fishing trip, it would be drive, drive, drive.

I called a couple of neighbors to get their permission to cross their land and during one conversation I was asked if I had ever been to Pine Lakes in the Eagle Cap Wilderness. Like I told the neighbor: I’d never even heard of the lakes.

When we lived on the north side of the Wallowas I’d hiked into the lake basin but hadn’t been in from the south side.

I got permission to cross both neighbor’s land but the fishing was less than hoped for. The fish were small plus few and far between. But, the thought of hiking into the wilderness was worth the effort and the calls.

The next time I saw a day coming that wasn’t going to be filled with computer stuff and trying to get garden work done plus all the other things that keep popping into life’s stream that you think you have under control, I took a day off. I packed some, too much as it turned out, camera gear, a lunch (actually Celinda did that for me) an extra pair of shoes which I didn’t use and some other stuff I could have done without and drove up to Cornucopia where I wandered around looking for the elusive trailhead.

I had gotten a map at the USFS office but the trailhead was nowhere to be found. After wandering around for about half an hour I stopped at the lodge and got directions. No signs, no trailhead marker and I had to drive through the area where the lodge had its corrals, barns and other buildings.

My original intention had been to power hike into the lakes and then get back before dark but I got involved in taking pictures and never made it all the way. I never did take any video like was in the original program. But, the shinrin yoku folder has quite a few nice pictures in it. The plan is to put together a shinrin yoku program that people who can’t do the on-sight program can use to destress, lower depression and anxiety and reap the other healing benefits that forest basking (shirin yoku) offers. If you’re not sure what shinrin yoku is, do an internet search.

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The picture was taken about ½ way to my turn around point, the yellow 0 marks the approximate spot where the trailhead begins.

The plan was; if I didn’t get to the lakes by 1:30 I would turn around no matter where I was. The picture taking was worth not getting to the lakes.

About 1:00 I was at the bottom of some switch backs taking pictures when I saw a couple of people about 100 yards up the mountain. I didn’t recognize who they were but we waved. They continued on up the mountain while I took some more pictures. As it turned out by way of the switchbacks they were about ½ mile ahead of me and when I got to where they had been, it was turn-around time.

Above the waterfall at the top of the rock face in the picture below is where I had intended to go. The yellow 0 marks the approximate spot where I turned around.

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Three days later I got an email from a neighbor asking if I had been hiking, he wasn’t sure if I was who had waved back. When I emailed back to tell him it was me, I asked how much farther it was to the lakes and he said about 1-1/2 miles. Turning around was a good decision because it would have been 3 miles round trip, I wouldn’t have had any time to sit and enjoy the views plus I took more pictures on the way down and got home a little before dark.

There were lots of wildflowers and other nature photo opportunities along the way.

dead-tree-pine-lake-trip-400

I wasn’t able to see the small hairs on the flower in the picture below  through the viewfinder and really didn’t see the full beauty of it until I got it on the desktop in a larger size.

purple-flower-whairs3-400
More nature photos and health information here:http://www.larryrmiller.com



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