Superfoods Promote Super Health in 2017!

At the beginning of each New Year, I take time to reflect on the past year, acknowledge what has gone well, and learn from what has not. Armed with this wisdom, I set my intentions for the coming year. Looking back over 2016, I saw that my health and well-being were a priority. I made more lifestyle changes to reduce stress, took my spirituality to a new level, and made food my medicine!

Because my regular supplements made my heart race, I stopped taking most of them. I relied on food and spices to keep my blood pressure normal and strengthen my immune system. I also used acupuncture and energy work. It paid off because this December I visited the greater NYC area with high pollution and freezing temperatures without ever having to use an asthma spray—a sign my body is happy. And, after five years, my latest bone scan indicated no change in my bone health.

As I made food my medicine, I learned about the superfoods–foods that pack large doses of antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins and minerals. These nutrients shield the body from cell damage and help prevent disease. Below are a few that you might want to include or increase in your health goals for 2017. Of course, eat what tastes good to you, does not cause an allergic reaction, is easily digested, and does not adversely affect a drug you are taking. The good news: You have many choices.

Here are 10 common superfoods that work for me:

Avocado – Protects our bodies from heart disease, cancer, and degenerative eye and brain diseases as well as stabilizes blood sugar levels. This fruit is rich in healthy fats (especially monounsaturated) and high in protein and dietary fiber. It is also high in vitamin K and folate, pantothenic acid, vit B6, vit C, and potassium and is a source of glutathione. I put avocado in my green smoothie and mash it as a side (seasoned with turmeric and salt).

Quinoa – Improves blood sugar control, triglyceride levels and metabolic health and may reduce the risk of heart failure. This small seed is a substitute for white rice or pasta. It is gluten-free and high in protein, fiber and minerals. Contains two antioxidants—kaempferol and quercetin, has a low glycemic index, and is high in manganese and magnesium. I eat cooked quinoa as a breakfast food or in a salad.

Blueberries – Help prevent certain types of diseases because of their powerful antioxidant properties and protect brain neurons from the damaging effects of oxidation and inflammation. They also have a beneficial effect on insulin sensitivity. They are low in calories and high in phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals and fiber.

Spinach – Improves blood glucose control, lowers the risk of cancer and asthma, lowers blood pressure, improves bone, skin, hair, and eye health and is anti-inflammatory. It is rich in nutrients and antioxidants: beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, vit K, vit C, alpha-lipoic acid, potassium, iron, calcium and magnesium.

Broccoli – Fights cancer and reduces plaque buildup inside arteries because of its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It contains vit K, vit C, chromium, folate, vit B6, vit E, vit A, Manganese, and sulforaphane (a cancer fighting nutrient).

Pumpkin – Helps our heart, bones, eyes and skin and may reduce the risk of some types of cancer. It is a rich source of beta-carotene, tryptophan and potassium. The seeds are packed with protein, magnesium, potassium and zinc.

Raw nuts – Lower our risk of heart disease and diabetes and help us feel full. They provide healthy doses of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals—iron, magnesium and calcium.

Beans – Maintain healthy blood sugar levels, lower blood cholesterol and blood pressure, and improve heart health. They are a good source of magnesium, potassium, iron and phosphorus, soluble fiber, and protein (helps us feel full and satisfied).

Salmon – Reduces plaque buildup in blood vessels, reduces levels of harmful triglycerides, and improves cardiovascular and brain health. May also prevent late-onset Alzheimer’s disease. It is high in omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, vit D, selenium, protein, phosphorus, potassium and amino acid taurine.

Cucumber – Flushes out toxins, improves hydration, relieves heartburn, reduces the risk of cancer, stabilizes blood pressure, strengthens hair and nails, reduces cholesterol, and reduces muscle and joint pain. It has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It contains lignans and is rich in pantothenic acid, fisetin, vit C, vit K, potassium, magnesium, manganese, silica and fiber.

The experts differ on what they consider their top rated superfoods, but some are commonly listed. Consider making food your medicine in order to get well and stay healthy. The right foods for your body have no negative side effects. More important, even foods that are good for you can taste delicious. When I bite into a fresh cucumber, I like the fullness of its flavor. And, recipes abound to turn simple foods into succulent meals that fuel your body and pleasure your taste buds.

Click the words “Leave a Comment” at the top of the page under the title.

If this information has been helpful to you, please share it with your friends.

Give the Gift of Kindness

“Kindness is like snow—it beautifies everything it covers.” – Kahil Gibran

Let the joy, compassion and kindness of the gift-giving season begin.

After almost a year of political incivility, I feel as though my body and soul need a reminder that human beings are also compassionate and kind. While the media aggrandizes and normalizes aggressive behavior, it is easy for compassion and cooperation to go underground or be viewed as weak. During this festive season of Christmas, Hanukah, and Kwanzaa, I encourage you to allow compassion and kindness to lead the way.

Kindness is described as a state of being gentle, considerate and caring. When we give from the heart, the giver and receiver feel uplifted. A smile goes a long way to brighten someone’s day and increase the happy chemicals in our own bodies.

This holiday season place your focus on being an ambassador of kindness through your thoughts, words and actions. Being kind and compassionate makes a difference in the world. For every kindness you extend toward yourself and others, hatred, violence and aggression are counter balanced with compassion.

To fill your holidays with the spirit of kindness, take the time to:

Listen with caring – Listen to a child or adult with an attitude of unconditional positive regard and a desire to learn. This intention is communicated from your heart to theirs and creates a connection that is free of judgments and filled with curiosity. Let the other person know that you really hear them with a gesture or phrase. The gift of listening allows others to feel special.

“Every act of kindness grows the spirit and strengthens the soul.” – Lisa Weeden

Speak with courtesy – Use words and body language that honor and empower instead of diminish. Look into another’s eyes with a caring attitude and monitor your tone of voice. Avoid critical statements and labels, do not interrupt, paraphrase what you hear, and offer compliments. The gift of respectful conversation honors you and the other through your words.

“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness.
Kindness in giving creates love.”
– Lao Tzu

Act with compassion – Behaviors grounded in compassion spread harmony into your environment and enhance your sense of well-being. The behavior says to the person receiving your help, gift, or hug that you value them. Smiles and compliments are easy to do every day. The Internet abounds with ideas of how to turn random acts of kindness into a habit. The gift of compassionate action reminds people they are not alone.

“A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.” – St. Basil the Great

During this season of Light and Love, I intend to make kindness a priority. Through my words and actions, I hope to make a positive contribution to myself, others and my community. Kindness allows each of us to do something thoughtful for another, and by giving, we also receive. Life seems to be at its best in those moments. I leave you with these two inspirational quotes about the value of kindness:

“Acts of kindness, even in the simplest ways, are what makes our lives meaningful, bringing happiness to ourselves and others.” – The Dalai Lama

“Compassionate people are geniuses in the art of living, more necessary to the dignity, security, and joy of humanity than the discoverers of knowledge.” – Albert Einstein

Click the words “Leave a Comment” at the top of the page under the title.

If this information has been helpful to you, please share it with your friends.

The Three Faces of Forgiveness

A favorite quote in A Course in Miracles:
“The holiest of all the spots on earth is where an ancient hatred has become a present love.”

When we allow a past disappointment or betrayal to linger in our minds and bodies, we pay a price. Anger, guilt, hatred, resentment, bitterness, and despair can lead to disruptive relationships, emotional illness, physical disease and less enjoyment in life. When someone says, “I cannot forgive this person” or “I cannot forgive myself,” s/he prevents the possibility of grace entering the “wound” and healing it with divine Love.

Horrific things may have happened to us that appear to be beyond human forgiveness. However, even these things can be turned over to a Higher Power that transcends judgment and makes whole that which has been shattered. The transgression and transgressor are given a full pardon leaving only acceptance and light. Forgiveness occurs with a shift in awareness and a willingness to let go in love.

The human ego has a tendency to forgive yet hold on to a judgment, but Grace sheds so much Light and Love that the grievance eventually disappears and inner harmony is restored. In my search for healing, wholeness and inner peace, I have found forgiveness to be a complex phenomenon.

Forgiveness appears to have three dimensions beginning with human intention, followed by Grace and Acceptance. To forgive fully, we are challenged to:

Forgive with the human heart – The egoic mind makes a choice to forgive yet it cannot forget the grievance. Even with a certain amount of love and acceptance, there may be lingering unresolved issues or emotions. However, a positive reconnection is possible once we understand the perpetrator’s perspective and our negative emotions have been replaced with compassion. This is a powerful step in the forgiveness process. Compassion and willingness enable us to “love our perceived enemies.”

Around the age of 35, I began working on myself to become a more loving and peaceful person. I needed to eliminate underlying anger and resentment as the result of a childhood filled with physical and psychological abuse by my mother. I did the inner work of forgiving my mother, and I was able to let go of old wounds and develop an understanding of my mother’s wounds and how they affected her ability to parent me. After this, she did not trigger my emotions as much.

Forgive with the spiritual heart – The unconditional love that Grace bestows releases all judgment against the offence and the offender. A full pardon is granted and the slate is wiped clean. Grace restores inner harmony and empowers us to set external limits with others. (This type of Love also accepts us even when we cannot forgive.) Each offence we turn over to divine Love enables us to forgive with our spiritual heart. When we ask grace to help us forgive from a deep desire to move on in love instead of blame, we are able to “transcend our perceived enemies.”

After breast cancer, grace touched me so deeply that I had more love to give others, including my mother. I realized she and I were doing the best we could throughout our stormy relationship, and there was absolutely no reason to blame her or want anything from her. I experienced more inner peace as I changed my perception and cut the negative ties we once had. The past was done. When I hugged her, I allowed compassion to fill both of us even though we were not emotionally close.

Accept life the way it is – Through the spiritual eyes of Acceptance, we are able to witness events, past or present, instead of label them as good or bad. Love and Acceptance enable us to understand that everyone is doing the best they can based on their level of awareness. Offences are viewed as part of a greater process: The negative leads to something worthwhile in the long run. Divine Acceptance enables us to see that “there are no enemies” to be judged by the mind. The action to protect ourselves, families and society is appropriate, however, we no longer hold mental grievances against anyone (a challenging concept for the egoic mind to grasp).

After my mother’s death at 92, I took a final step in forgiveness. I told her spirit that for my part she was free of any karmic debts she had to me (not that I had this power). I accepted our whole relationship because I saw how we were both playing a script set into motion by a power greater than ourselves. She was exactly the mother I needed in order to become me. There was truly never anything to forgive because she was never my enemy.

Let’s use the analogy of a kite to bring this concept into focus: The kite is the symbol of forgiveness and the string the egoic mind. When we forgive with the human heart, we are holding on to the string as the kite flies, and we feel lighter and uplifted. When the spiritual heart forgives, we let go of the string and kite; the grievance is neutralized in Love and set free. Finally, when we accept instead of judge or resist what happened, the string and kite disappear because the person and event are lifted into the heavens. It feels as though the offence never occurred.

Any level of forgiving is a liberating act of self-love because it changes for the better the person offering it. Forgiveness appears to involve human and spiritual aspects. Many people are already doing all three of these processes. We have forgiven at the highest level when we no longer have any emotion around an offence and do not want anything from anyone. At this level, apologies are meaningless because in the present there is nothing to forgive, only acceptance and inner peace exist.

Click the words “Leave a Comment” at the top of the page under the title.

If this information has been helpful to you, please share it with your friends.

Walk in Your Own Shoes

Time for you to walk out, walk in your own shoes,
lay down your footprints wherever you choose.
– Sarah McLachlan

While speaking with a health care provider recently, I said these words: “I feel as though I am walking in my own shoes.” In that moment, a stillness filled my body as I allowed this truth to resonate with me. I could see how after more than 40 years of self-discovery, my life reflected ME—what is important at the core of my being. In that moment, life felt sacred and I felt exhilarated. I wondered how many people truly enjoy lives that reflect their own agenda, not an agenda set in motion by an external someone or something. Read more »

Your Intentions Matter in Developing Conflict Free Conversations

Have you noticed that your words and actions get misinterpreted by others and do not bring you the outcomes you want? Words and actions can be easily misunderstood. When that happens, I suggest you look at your intentions and attitude. When they are positive and constructive, your interactions will have less conflict and your relationships will be more fun and rewarding. Read more »

The Mind-Body-Soul Connection: What Is Your Symptom Trying to Tell You?

 “The human body is the best picture of the human soul.”
— Ludwig Wittgenstein, philosopher.

As I listen to people struggling with their illnesses or physical discomforts, I continue to be amazed that most do not make the connection between how they live their lives and their physical health. It seems so obvious to me that dealing with a physical ailment is a great opportunity for self-reflection and life-affirming changes. Read more »