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Stay tuned as we bring updates monthly on our yard transformation, news on our plant selections, and the sheer fun of needing to re-create our front yard. I'll be traveling to the Optimum Health Institute at the end of the month for a clean up and look forward to sharing my 3-week odyssey with all of you--it's going to be quite the journey. I will be making daily blog entries, so check in with me from time to time. This journey is the first step towards writing my e-book later this year, "Staying Fit Not Feeble."
Visit our blog to watch this street corner
as we create a springtime transformation!
During this winter season Oregon has had a lot of rain. With this great abundance came the loss of three pine trees in the front yard. Pine trees have a very shallow root system and with this water saturation our trees came crashing down. Trees in the front yard represent our children and or our creative projects, so in either case it is a big and unexpected loss. We gave thanks to our lovely trees for their years of beauty and grace, for the shade provided during the summer, and manner in which they graced the south corner of our property. We burned sage while they were being cut up and saw to the wood being placed in homes were its energy and fuel power would be used and appreciated.
Feng Shui is about creating an environment that is nurturing, comforting and strengthening. At the heart of Feng Shui is the concept of Chi. Chi is an energy that exists in all things. It is in the earth, in the mountains and rivers. It is in the cities and towns and villages. It circulates in our houses as well as our bodies. Chi energy, the balance between Yin (the female, yielding energy) and the Yang (the male, penetrating force) winds its way like a river through everything around us. Sometimes this energy moves quickly and is strong. Strong Chi can create mountains, forests and prosperous cities. Sometimes the energy is weak, diluted and wanders. It creates valleys, deserts and closes down businesses. Feng Shui is about locating Chi, attracting it to where you want it to be, letting it pool, and reaping the benefits of that collection of good energy.
Here in our home we place special emphasis on live bouquets of flowers, diffused essential oils burning during the day, avoiding clutter, paying bills in a timely manner, and recognizing that every action has a force, an energy, supporting it.
Our next step is to re-create the space to support our lives, our work and the energetic balance of the entire property. Much like building a friendship or business, the same principals are utilized: planning, timing, compatibility and a fertile foundation to assure success.
Lastly, I'd like to thank our long-time customers, Dr. Cheng Koh and Charly Emery, for contributing to January's Vibrant Living Newsletter. First, it's an acknowledgment of two extraordinary women, and second, it's about being grateful for having them in my life, and being able to share each of them with you.
In vibrant health,
Pure Energy Rx
We're proud to announce our affiliation with the Spiritual Cinema Circle, a movie subscription service that provides movies with a specifically spiritual theme. Such titles as "What the Bleep," "The Five People You Meet in Heaven," and "Whale Rider," as well as videos by such popular authors as Depak Chopra, Neale Donald Walsch, Wayne Dyer and Louise Hay are featured. For our part, we'll be doing monthly movie reviews of movies we've received from the Circle. Next month we'll be featuring our experiences with "What the Bleep?," so stay tuned for that. Meanwhile, please check out the Spiritual Cinema Circle!
How To Manifest What You Dream of...Today!
January has arrived full of a myriad of resolutions set by hopeful people all over the globe. Did you create a list of one or more New Year's resolutions for yourself? What do you believe the chances are you will be successful with your goals? Are any of your resolutions the same as last year? Some look at repeat resolutions as having little expectation of happening. These repeat goals however hold valuable information in relation to manifesting other aspects of your life you desire. >>> MORE
Profound Chinese Medicine
Toronto-based Cheng Koh grew up in a culture where Chinese medicine was just a part of everyday life. Her grandmother was the village barefoot doctor, and her father ran the local herbarium. "I never, ever thought I would study the Chinese medicine until I went to England to study massage therapy and aesthetics," says Cheng. "But once I touched on that subject, it drew me like a magnet. I haven't stopped since--the most interesting medicine ever." Now she is a respected teacher and successful practitioner with a lot to say. >>> MORE
F.Y.I. - Interesting Health News Tidbits
Sunshine for your lungs...
Vitamin D seems to be getting a lot of attention lately now that we're in the depths of winter here in the Northern Hemisphere. A recent feature I caught on one of my local TV stations reported on the anti-cancer benefits of vitamin D. Of course, the report concluded with a note that milk is a good source of D. And, of course, there was not a peep about sunlight exposure being the very best source--worlds healthier than a glass of commercial milk. Some things never change. Vitamin D popped up again in a recent study from Australia's University of Auckland (UA). The down-under team used data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) to determine a relationship between proper pulmonary function and blood serum levels of vitamin D. Data was collected from the records of more than 14,000 subjects. Each had undergone spirometry (a test that measures lung capacity), and vitamin D levels were measured from blood samples. Analysis revealed a significant relationship between D concentrations and the vital capacity of the lungs. The UA lead researcher, Peter N. Black, M.B., Ch.B., told NutraIngredients-USA that the results demonstrate a strong influence of vitamin D on lung health, "with greater levels of vitamin D associated with greater and more positive effects on lung function." >>>> MORE
Napping is back...
Thanks to the light bulb and the later invention of television, sleep quantity (per person) has decreased by about 20 percent since 1900. Furthermore, 76 percent of Americans have a sleeping disorder at least a few days per week, contributing to our society's epidemic of daytime sleepiness, depression and adrenal fatigue, sleep therapist Dr. Rubin Naiman said in his November lecture at the 2005 Complementary and Alternative Medicine Conference (CAMCON) in Tucson, Arizona.
Modern Western society doesn't comply with our natural biorhythms. Humans are built to nap, according to Dr. Naiman. When we override our natural desire for mid-day rest, the conflict carries over to sleep disturbances at night. Furthermore, similar to the problem of our junk food-laden diets, we're overfed yet undernourished when it comes to light. During the day, we receive dampened light from fluorescent bulbs rather than the vitamin D-rich sunlight that our bodies need. Then, during the night when we need the dark to trigger essential melatonin production, excessive light at night (LAN) erodes our "lunar consciousness" and throws our body rhythms out of balance. In short, we have too much light when we don't need it (at night) and too little when we do (during the day).
Melatonin, a neurochemical released from the pineal gland, is as essential to the human body today as it was during our evolution. Accordingly, Dr. Naiman talks in great detail about this product of serotonin, even looking back into the ancient Greco-Roman perspective of it and sleep in general. From a purely biological standpoint, melatonin, which is produced during absence of light, communicates the fact that it is night to our bodies, triggering the release of GABA (Gamma Aminobutyric Acid), our body's natural tranquilizer. LAN suppresses melatonin production, hindering this entire process and setting the stage for a phenomenon many of us know all too well: Daytime sleepiness.
Although it has gotten a bad rap in today's industrial society, in fact, napping can provide amazing health benefits. It lowers diastolic blood pressure, improves mood, improves work and school performance (bosses and educators take note) and helps readjust our nighttime sleep patterns back to the way our ancestors slept before the Industrial Age and, according to some experts, the way our bodies were designed to sleep at night.
Three hundred million cups of coffee are consumed in the United States each day and it is the second-most commonly traded commodity in the world. Unfortunately, our misguided "solution" to daytime sleepiness only adds to the sleep disorders we experience at night, as caffeine's half-life is 7.5 hours, meaning that you still have half the amount of caffeine in your bloodstream more than seven hours after you drink or eat a caffeinated product. No wonder we can't fall asleep at night, or even get a "good night's sleep" when we do. The real solution to fatigue is easy enough: Make time to rest. Taking a break from time to time doesn't mean that you're lazy; it means that you want to be healthy. Plus, keep in mind that attaining healthy sleep will actually increase your overall productivity and your enjoyment of life. >>>> MORE
Garbage for pet food...
What most consumers don't know is that the pet food industry is an extension of the human food and agriculture industries. Pet food provides a market for slaughterhouse throw aways, grains considered "unfit for human consumption," and similar waste products to be turned into profit. This waste includes intestines, udders, esophagi, and possibly diseased and cancerous animal parts. Three of the five major pet food companies in the United States are subsidiaries of major multinational companies: Nestlé (Alpo, Fancy Feast, Friskies, Mighty Dog), Heinz (9 Lives, Amore, Gravy Train, Kibbles n Bits, Recipe, Vets), Colgate-Palmolive (Hill's Science Diet Pet Food). Other leading companies are Procter & Gamble (Eukanuba and Iams), Mars (Kal Kan, Mealtime, Pedigree, Sheba), and Nutro. From a business standpoint, multinational companies owning pet food manufacturing companies is an ideal relationship. The multinationals have a captive market in which to capitalize on their waste products, and the pet food manufacturers have a reliable source from which to purchase their bulk materials.
There are hundreds of different pet foods available in this country. And while many of the foods on the market are virtually the same, not all of the pet food manufacturing companies use poor quality and potentially dangerous ingredients. It would be impossible for a company that sells a generic brand of dog food at $9.95 for a 40-lb. bag to use quality protein and grain in its food. The cost of purchasing quality ingredients would be much higher than the selling price. The protein used in pet food comes from a variety of sources. When cattle, swine, chickens, lambs, or any number of other animals are slaughtered, the choice cuts such as lean muscle tissue are trimmed away from the carcass for human consumption. However, about 50% of every food-producing animal does not get used in human foods. Whatever remains of the carcass--bones, blood, intestines, lungs, ligaments, and almost all the other parts not generally consumed by humans--is used in pet food, animal feed, and other products. These "other parts" are known as "by-products" or other names on pet food labels.
The ambiguous labels list the ingredients, but do not provide a definition for the products listed. The Pet Food Institute - the trade association of pet food manufacturers - acknowledges the use of by-products in pet foods as additional income for processors and farmers: "The growth of the pet food industry not only provided pet owners with better foods for their pets, but also created profitable additional markets for American farm products and for the byproducts of the meat packing, poultry, and other food industries which prepare food for human consumption." Restaurant grease has become a major component of feed grade animal fat over the last fifteen years. This grease, often held in fifty-gallon drums, is usually kept outside for weeks, exposed to extreme temperatures with no regard for its future use. "Fat blenders" or rendering companies then pick up this used grease and mix the different types of fat together, stabilize them with powerful antioxidants to retard further spoilage, and then sell the blended products to pet food companies and other end users. >>>> MORE >>>> PET FOOD COMPARISON CHART
Green: the best color for carpet...
According to the Carpet and Rug Institute, carpet covers about 70 percent of the floors in U.S. homes and workplaces. This may not be surprising considering that carpet is relatively inexpensive, helps reduce noise, and is easy on the feet, but few people realize the environmental impact it can have over its lifetime. Carpet and rug manufacturing consumes large quantities of energy and water, and involves chemicals (especially in the dyeing process) that contribute to air and water pollution. Furthermore, the synthetic fibers used in most carpets are made from petroleum--a non-renewable fossil fuel--and take an extremely long time to biodegrade. That's a significant concern when approximately 3.5 billion pounds of carpet are added to landfills every year. Nevertheless, it is possible to enjoy the benefits of carpet while reducing your impact on the environment. Here are some suggestions:
· Avoid carpet containing adhesives, which emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that affect indoor air quality.
· Choose natural fibers such as wool, hemp, corn leaves/stalks, cotton, sea grass, jute, sisal, or coir. Look for those that have been treated with as few chemicals as possible (including adhesives and mothproofing or stain-resistance treatments).
· The best synthetic-fiber option is solution-dyed, which requires much less water than conventional dyeing methods.
· Avoid wall-to-wall carpeting. Area rugs are available in large sizes and are easier to remove for cleaning or replacement. If you do choose wall-to-wall carpeting, have the carpet tacked down instead of glued down; this will reduce your exposure to the VOCs in adhesives, reduce floor damage, and make the carpet easier to remove later. Or, consider using carpet tiles that can be replaced as they wear out, avoiding the need to dispose of the entire carpet. Some companies offer refurbished tiles that have been cleaned and re-dyed; in some cases, this option will cost less than new carpet.
· Consider recycled carpeting. Some carpeting is made with fibers recycled from post-consumer materials such as plastic soda bottles or old carpeting.
· Consider donating good-quality used carpet and rugs to charities rather than discarding them.
· Depending on the material, a local company may be willing to remove your old carpet and recycle it into new carpeting or carpet backing (known as closed-loop recycling), or other items such as automotive parts (known as recycling down).
· Do not incinerate carpeting, which releases harmful toxins into the atmosphere. >>>> MORE
Gal pals for health...
Friendships between women are special. They shape who we are and who we are yet to be. They soothe our tumultuous inner world, fill the emotional gaps in our marriage, and help us remember who we really are. But they may do even more. Scientists now suspect that hanging out with our friends can actually counteract the kind of stomach-quivering stress most of us experience on a daily basis.
A landmark UCLA study suggests that women respond to stress with a cascade of brain chemicals that cause us to make and maintain friendships with other women. It's a stunning finding that has turned five decades of stress research--most of it on men--upside down.
The discovery that women respond to stress differently than men was made in a classic "aha!" moment shared by two women scientists who were talking one day in a lab at UCLA. "There was this joke that when the women who worked in the lab were stressed, they came in, cleaned the lab, had coffee, and bonded," says Dr. Klein. "When the men were stressed, they holed up somewhere on their own. "I commented one day to fellow researcher Shelley Taylor that nearly 90% of the stress research is on males. I showed her the data from my lab, and the two of us knew instantly that we were onto something."
In one study, for example, researchers found that people who had no friends increased their risk of death over a 6-month period. In another study, those who had the most friends over a 9-year period cut their risk of death by more than 60%. Friends are also helping us live better. The famed Nurses' Health Study from Harvard Medical School found that the more friends women had, the less likely they were to develop physical impairments as they aged, and the more likely they were to be leading a joyful life.
In fact, the results were so significant, the researchers concluded, that not having close friend or confidante was as detrimental to your health as smoking or carrying extra weight! And that's not all: When the researchers looked at how well the women functioned after the death of their spouse, they found that even in the face of this biggest stressor of all, those women who had a close friend and confidante were more likely to survive the experience without any new physical impairment or permanent loss of vitality. Those without friends were not always so fortunate.
Yet if friends counter the stress that seems to swallow up so much of our life these days, if they keep us healthy and even add years to our life, why is it so hard to find time to be with them? That's a question that also troubles researcher Ruthellen Josselson, PhD, coauthor of Best Friends: The Pleasures and Perils of Girls' and Women's Friendships (Three Rivers Press, 1998). "Every time we get overly busy with work and family, the first thing we do is let go of friendships with other women," explains Dr. Josselson. "We push them right to the back burner. That's really a mistake, because women are such a source of strength to each other. We nurture one another. And we need to have unpressured space in which we can do the special kind of talk that women do when they're with other women. It's a very healing experience." >>>> MORE]
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