Saturday, March 26, 2011

And broccoli is good for you, too

Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable, part of the same family as cabbage, cauliflower, and brussel sprouts. It has cancer fighting compounds like sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol. Broccoli is also  beneficial for the immune system, with anti-viral and anti-bacterial activity. It's effective against the bacteria that causes stomach ulcers. And it's been shown to help prevent heart disease.

Broccoli is easy to prepare, just steam it for 4-5 minutes. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon, and some ripe avocado for a special treat. Or saute it in some olive oil and garlic. Add a splash of water for the last minute of cooking to steam it slightly. Broccoli sprouts are also good for you.

Populations that eat the most fresh fruits and vegetables have the lowest rates of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Laugh all the way to the bank

Laughter is a great response, when confronted with something that you have no control over. Like being stuck in a traffic jam. Or missing the bus by a minute. Or finding that one dirty sock, after you finished doing laundry. Research is showing the benefits of laughter to your cardiovascular system, it improves blood flow to your heart. And laughing gently massages your abdomen, helping your digestion. And it lifts your mood. Laughter can help us cope, when things get too much. When it rains for days. When the news starts to read like science fiction. It can help you take a deep breath, and carry on.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

River Flow

"...But the river, though it flowed so slowly, had still a sense of movement and it gave one a melancholy feeling of the transitoriness of things. Everything passed, and what trace of its passage remained? It seemed to Kitty that they were all, the human race, like drops of water in that river and they flowed on, each so close to the other, and yet so far apart, a nameless flood to the sea. When all things lasted so short a time and nothing mattered very much, it seemed pitiful that men, attaching an absurd importance to trivial objects, should make themselves and one another so unhappy."
The Painted Veil, W. Somerset Maugham, 1925

We spend a lot of time and mental energy on things that, in the long run, don't matter very much. Instead of worrying about those five lbs, or laugh lines around our eyes, or the silver appearing in our hair, we could focus on being kind to ourselves and one another. Seeing this week, the awesome power of Mother Nature, realizing we are only here for a short time, let's let go of the small petty stuff, and love each other, the best we can.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Thought Menu

An interesting exercise is to pay attention to your thoughts- the running chatter that accompanies you throughout your day. Are most of your thoughts about worrying about the future? Are you judging yourself or others? Are you busy liking and disliking things all day long? Listen to the tone of your self talk- are you berating yourself for not getting enough done, or are you cutting yourself some slack? Or are there times you can just accept what is and find compassion for yourself when you come up short. Are you as kind to yourself as you are to others? Peace of mind is the ultimate goal.

There are times when you have a choice about how you react to events. Say someone takes your parking space in a crowded parking lot. You could get mad, and that would probably be your first reaction. But you could decide to laugh instead. Laughter Yoga is wonderful training in changing the way you respond to frustrations. You can't change the situation, but you can change how you choose to respond.