Binaural Beats

Binaural Beats

Binaural beats are something that I just discovered, and so I thought that I’d write about it here to help spread the word.  Binaural means to hear with both ears, and in this case, means to hear two different sounds, one in each ear.  The history of this dates back to Carl Stumpf a German philosopher who referred to listening to two separate stimuli for each ear in order to create different effects on the brain.

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Today you can go to YouTube and find all different kinds of tones to help with a variety of issues.  You can listen to these for relaxation, creativity, anxiety, focus, etc.  You can listen to just the tones, or the tones with music.  I’ve found that listening to the tones on a very low volume works best for me.  I also like listening to the tones along with music.  There are quite a few videos on YouTube that let you listen that way.

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As a person who is always looking for ways to improve my focus, creativity and reduce my stress levels I found this to be a pretty interesting study of scientific research.  Do you use Binaural beats?  How do you like it?  Has it helped you in life?  Let me know in the comments below.

http://www.web-us.com/thescience.htm

My Engine 2 Rescue Diet

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I’ve been following the Engine 2 Rescue Diet (a plant-based, whole foods) diet for six weeks now.  It’s been an interesting ride.  I have to make everything myself, including hummus and salad dressing, since this is a no oil, no salt, no preservative diet.  There has been a pretty high learning curve, and I’ve learned that it can be a little bit difficult to cook with no oil.  Also, I have to admit that I use a lot of spices which is a good thing, since they make everything taste really good.

The first two weeks were the worst, and I ended up going to bed early to avoid temptations.  But sometime during the third week I discovered the wonderful sweetness of grapes, and life has been much better since.  In the interests of truth-telling, I did indeed try some delicious vegan chocolate for Easter.

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So far, I’ve lost 13 pounds and I have no idea how many inches.  Last week was a hard week for me (depressed) and I did not get up and exercise.  I did however, go on my daily walk – so I did get some exercise.  I started back up yesterday with getting up early to exercise.

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Sweet Potato Bowl

I am mostly eating meals from the book, but there are many variations that you can use.  The recipes are quite easy, and the best thing that you can do is just decide that this is the way that you’re going to eat from now on.  Prepared foods, while convenient, are extremely harmful to your health.  And there is really no amount of oil that is good for you.  I do get take-out once a week, either Chinese food (steamed) with only Soy Sauce, or pizza with no cheese and lots of veggies.  So, I’m not totally doing without take-out.  However, I did learn not to get any sauces on my Chinese, and to only get it steamed.  I had the worst stomach ache the first time I got regular Chinese veggies.  So, there is a learning curve here.  Also, and this is the most important thing, I do not count calories.  Sometimes I fill my dinner bowl all the way!  I eat if I’m hungry.  I’m just not eating anything that isn’t plant based or filled with oils.  So, yes…I’ve been known to eat two bananas, two oranges and a ton of grapes in one day.  There are no limits on my food intake.  I’ll have a large (huge) salad with chickpeas for lunch along with a baked potato. Then, in the afternoon I’ll have one or two oranges.  If I’m hungry, I’ll eat.  There is little caloric density in plant-based foods.  So, you eat a lot, and often.

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As far as benefits, I have had less over-all aches and pains from Fibromyalgia, but they haven’t gone completely away.  I do feel healthier, and just to let you know, potatoes can indeed be eaten with no vegan butter on them.  I throw them in the microwave (or oven), bake them and put spices on them.  Also, they only have about 60 calories each.  So, yes, you can eat potatoes and be healthy.  I make sure that I don’t let myself become too hungry.  I buy a lot of fruits, including oranges, bananas and grapes.  I’ve also been buying frozen fruits, usually blueberries, mangoes and peaches.  I’m so excited for the summer fruits to start coming in.  I can’t wait!  If you want, I’ll give out some recipes in another post.  So far, this has been the best way of eating I’ve found, for me.  It takes more work, but I love the food!

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What I Want to be Like when I’m “Old”

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Have you looked into the future and decided what you want your life to be like when you’re 85 or even 90 years old?  I know, not everyone lives to be so old, but have you considered it?  I was in a doctor’s office with a client of mine when a woman walked in the door.  She walked with great difficulty, holding onto her cane for dear life.  Once my client went in to see the doctor this woman began telling me all about her aliments.  It turned out that she too suffered from Fibromyalgia (just like I do), and was on all kinds of medication.  When I told her I had the same ailment, she promised me that when I hit 50 (her age), I’d be unable to walk without medication.  I simply smiled, told her that I was 52 and didn’t take any medications. In fact, I did all the things that her doctor had warned her off.  I exercised, did yoga, lived a vegan lifestyle, and took various herbs for help in coping with the insomnia, pain and “brain fog”.  She got quite huffy and told me that I must have been misdiagnosed, since she’d been told that all people with Fibromyalgia needed medication.  I told her that I’d gone to a specialist to be diagnosed who had told me to inform myself and look into alternative ways to deal with the disease.  He never even offered to medicate me, which suited me just fine.  I’ve had this disease for almost 20 years, and try to keep up with all the new information that comes out, as well as all the new ways of coping.  I have good days and “bad” days, but never once have I been unable to walk.  I often think about this women and wonder how she’s doing.

My point is, that even though we’re not given a choice concerning certain things in our lives, we are usually given a choice on how we deal with it.  So, how do you intend to live out your life? Do you want to be infirm, or do you intend to go into old age as healthy as you can?  Here are a few people to emulate.  Enjoy, and choose well!

 

 

Problem Talk (Complaining)

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Problem talk is something that we all do.  Some of us do it more than others.  Sometimes we can get so caught up in the problem talk and completely forget that there is usually a solution.  We are the ones who usually have the solution inside ourselves, if only we spent some time thinking about solutions, and not wasting our time by complaining.  Sound familiar?  I’m guilty of it and almost everyone I know is guilty of it, also.

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While complaining about a problem has its place; there is a lot to be said for venting, after all, frustration is a valid emotion, problem talk is not a solution.  It’s just not going to get the problem solved.  And, at the end of the day isn’t that what we really want?  To get the problem solved.

Here are some questions to ask yourself the next time you find yourself caught up in the never-ending problem talk.  Is there something you can do to change this situation?  Can you think of a way to take your focus off this situation and put it into something that is beneficial to you?  I’ve found over the years that when I focus on what I can do to change my reactions or focus, I can manage problems that have no solution much better.

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As a simple example of this, when I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia I immediately thought that there was no solution and nothing that I could do.  I wallowed in my depression for about two weeks, and then I got on the internet and found things that I could do.  Since I’m not a person who likes to take pharmaceuticals I found natural ways of dealing with the pain and managing my problem.  So, yes, I’m aware that not all problems can be “solved”, however, there is usually something that can do done to help deal with a problem (besides problem-talk).  Let me know what it is that you do to either solve a problem, or to deal with it in a more positive manner.

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How the Engine 2 Seven Day Rescue Diet Worked for Me

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I wrote a post two weeks ago, about going to see Rip Esselstyn talk about the plant-based rescue diet he recommends in his latest book, and how I was planning to use this rescue diet in order to reboot my diet.  I’d been relying on prepared vegan foods too much, and since prepared food is not good for you, even if it is plant-based, I needed a rescue.

So, here I am, after my initial seven days to tell you how it all went.  First of all, most of the meals I prepared were his “bowls”, and they were all delicious!  I also tried some of his oil-free dressings, and they too were really good.  In the future, I’m going to make my own hummus, since it’s really easy and you can make it without any oil.

Talking about oil, on Thursday I did have a terrible craving for “naughty” foods, including potato chips.  I can tell you that I didn’t eat any and instead had some red seedless grapes that astonished me by how good they tasted.  One of the most difficult things I found on this diet is that I had to eat, not drink my food.  So, no morning smoothie for me.  I missed that, but found that I really like drinking cold water in the morning.  I still drank my coffee, only without sugar, and I put some non-sweetened almond milk (even though that wasn’t recommended).  The other huge change is that I ate oatmeal every morning for breakfast.  I’ve never really enjoyed oatmeal, but I was able to put some maple syrup in it, along with cinnamon and various fruits.  I’ve used oranges, bananas and blueberries, which were good and pretty filling.  Some days I have either a Halo orange or a banana around ten o’clock or so, and other days I’m good until lunch.

My lunches either consisted of a large salad with one of the oil-free dressing along with a good number of chickpeas thrown in, or a concoction of fresh veggies that I cooked up, oil free, which I put on some toasted oil-free multi-grain sandwich thins.  Again, if I got hungry in the afternoon, I just had one or two pieces of fruit.

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Again, my dinner usually consisted of the “bowls” that I got the recipes out of the book.  Thursday night I made whole-grain pasta along with fresh vine ripened tomatoes, mushrooms, onions and broccoli that I cooked up with some oil-free tomato paste.  That was also a good meal, and I served it with a large salad.

The physical results from these seven days are that my pain that’s associated with Fibromyalgia has lessened somewhat, and I have less brain-fog.  I’ve also lost about 4 pounds, which is always nice.  Am I going to continue?  The answer is yes!  I like the way I’ve been feeling, and want to see if I continue to feel better the longer I stay on this plant-based, no oil or preservatives diet.  Has it been easy?  No, this is not something that you should do without a meal plan.  Also, like I said I plan on making my own hummus, and continue to make my own salad dressings.  This requires planning and cooking – not my strong points.

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While this diet is not easy, and it does come at a cost – time to plan, time to cook, I am trying to look at it this way – What is the cost of your health?  Do I want to be sick and have to pay for that with my time and money, or do I want to stay as healthy as I can for as long as I can?  This choice is up to me, and I choose health!

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72 year-old Annette Larkins, Vegan

Rebooting my Diet

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I’ve been Vegan for a few years now, and while I feel really good on this lifestyle, as a fifty-something woman dealing with chronic pain from Fibromyalgia and the other aches and pains that come from (those dreaded words) growing older, I felt that I really needed to make a change with my diet.  No, I’m not talking about beginning to eat meat and dairy again.  Instead I mean that I want to start eating the way Dr. Michael Greger promotes in his book How not to Die.  So, luckily, I was able to go and see Rip Esselstyn on his book tour promoting his new book, The Engine 2 Seven Day Rescue Diet: Eat Plants, Lose Weight, Save Your Health.

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While my diet is mostly healthy, I haven’t been eating the way that I should.  As you probably know, there are a lot of prepared food products out there for Vegans.  While these foods make life easy, they’re not exactly healthy.  I’ve been eating half-a-bagel at breakfast with vegan butter, and then there is the wonderfully delicious mandarin orange chicken (I prefer the Gardein brand).  However, since these are prepared foods, they of course, are not really good for you.

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Due to the increase of pain related to my Fibromyalgia, I decided that I really had to change my food consumption to only whole plant-based foods.  Lucky for me, along came the Rip Esselstyn book tour.  I’m so glad that I went to see him.  A lot of the recipes for vegans require that you are able to both afford and go to a store such as Whole Foods.  While Whole Foods is a wonderful experience, I absolutely cannot afford to buy much there.  That’s what’s so good about the recipes in the Engine 2 book.  I will be able to buy everything I need at my local grocery store.  So, I originally thought that I would start this on Tuesday, however, I just realized that I should probably read the book and then start – know, what a novel idea!  I’ll let you know when I start, and how it goes.  Wish me luck!

 

Some Information on Ayurveda

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I’ve been thinking about health for a while now.  My Fibromyalgia has been gradually getting worse as I’ve been getting older.  I let myself stop working out and now that I’m back at it, it seems to be taking me a long time to get some flexibility back.  I don’t want to be a little old lady who can barely walk at the ripe old age of 60 (when I do get there).  One of my resolutions this year was to go to the Doctor for a physical, so I’ve got to do that.  I don’t think that other than my Fibromyalgia I’ve really got anything else going on, but since I haven’t been to the doctor for quite a few years, I think a physical could be a good idea.

Since I like to research things, I found myself looking up information on Ayurveda.  For those of you who don’t really understand what it is, here is an explanation, copied directly from the website.

“The two main guiding principles of Ayurveda are 1) the mind and the body are inextricably connected, and 2) nothing has more power to heal and transform the body than the mind. Freedom from illness depends upon expanding our own awareness, bringing it into balance, and then extending that balance to the body.”  http://www.chopra.com/articles/what-is-ayurveda

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When I read that, I thought it was a great way to look at health.  Of course, everything is interrelated, and we really do need to learn how to meditate, slow down and care for ourselves.  This is such a problem for me.  I’m one of those people who, when told in an airplane that I would have to place the oxygen mask on myself before placing one on my child, recoils.  Intellectually I know it makes sense, but why would I put myself before my child?  See my problem?

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I’m determined to explore this “self-care” more this year, and encourage you to do so too.  Since I hate pharmaceuticals, I don’t want to be put on any.  I want my health to come from natural sources such as what I eat, how I think and how I take care of my body.  Let me know what things you do to stay health in mind and body.  I’m going to explore this Ayurveda path, and I’ll probably talk about it in some future posts.