The Mindfullness of the Beginner

 

Summer Cookout

In practicing mindfulness we enter into the essence of the thing. We become one with the action we are performing. In Japan there is a word shoshin, which means “beginner’s mind.” As a beginner, the first time you do something you have to concentrate on it in order to do it correctly, but as you become adept at it you soon stop paying attention to the doing of it. The idea of shoshin is to retain the mindfulness of the beginner even as the task becomes routine. In this manner you are able to enter into the essence of what you are doing and that makes all the difference. Doing anything mindlessly is pointless. However, the more fully you enter into something, keeping mindful of it, the more point or meaning it has and the more alive youfeel by doing it.Musicians, dancers, or artists who are able to enter into the essence of their art, become their art – they transcend the doing and are just being. In the same way our eating habits can be instilled with much more meaning by entering into the essence of it. The quality of the food we eat is enhanced by the presence of mind we give the act of eating.

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Monsanto-Resistant Weeds Take Root, Raising Food Prices

Monsanto-Resistant Weeds Take Root, Raising Food Prices

BY Michael J. Coren

Wed Jul 20, 2011

Monsanto’s Roundup was supposed to make it easy for farmers to get rid of weeds, but it’s working on fewer and fewer plants, including some monsters that can grow three inches a day and destroy farm equipment.

For decades, farmers had it relatively easy when it came to weeds infesting their soil: apply herbicides, wait for the weeds to die and grow more crops. Those salad days, alas, are coming to an end.

A new series of studies released by Weed Science this month finds at least 21 weed species have become resistant to the popular herbicide glyphosate (sold as Monsanto’s Roundup), and a growing number survive multiple herbicides, so-called “super-weeds.” The same selection pressure creating bacteria resistant to multiple antibiotics is leading to the rapid evolution of plants that survive modern herbicides. If the trend continues, yields could drop and food costs climb as weeds grow more difficult to uproot.

“The herbicide resistance issue is becoming serious,” said journal editor, William K. Vencill, in a recent statement. “It is spreading out beyond where weed scientists have seen it before.” More than 11 million acres, up from just 2.4 million in 2007, are now infested with Roundup-resistant varieties. The herbicide, a relatively low-impact chemical since it biodegrades quickly, has ranked among the most popular for farmers since Monsanto introduced its genetically engineered Roundup Ready crops that are unaffected by the chemical, accounting for about 90 percent of the soybeans and 70 percent of the corn and cotton grown in the United States.

Even more worrisome is the steep (and unabated) climb in the number of weeds resistant to multiple types of herbicides. Super-strains of plants like pigweed–which grows three inches a day and is tough enough to damage farm machinery–have emerged, which may dramatically reduce the options for farmers to control them. The alternatives are usually more dangerous chemicals or plowing and mulching fields, undermining many of the environmental benefits biotech crops are supposed to offer. It’s “the single largest threat to production agriculture that we have ever seen,” claims Andrew Wargo III, president of the Arkansas Association of Conservation Districts.

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12 Worst Pesticide Contaminated Fruits & Veg

Eat your fruits and vegetables! The health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure. Use the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides to reduce your exposures as much as possible, but eating conventionally-grown produce is far better than not eating fruits and vegetables at all. The EWG’s Guide to Pesticide in Produce will help you determine which fruits and vegetables have the most pesticide residues and are the most important to buy organic. You can lower your pesticide intake substantially by avoiding these 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables.

EWG’s 12 Worst Pesticide Contaminated Fruits & Vegetables

Buy these organic

1 Apples
2 Celery
3 Strawberries
4 Peaches
5 Spinach
6 Nectarines –  imported
7 Grapes – imported
8 Sweet bell peppers
9 Potatoes
10 Blueberries – domestic
11 Lettuce
12 Kale/collard greens

For more information on EWG please visit

http://www.ewg.org/about

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The Natural Foods Growing Around Us

For me, mindful eating starts with the unlimited potential contained in one, tiny seed. One, small seed holds inside an infinite amount of life energy and also many teaching for us humans if only we are able to slow down and be mindful enough to notice. Many of the wild plants that can be found growing in a natural state are a source of nourishment for our body, mind and spirit. These naturally occurring plants are full of trace minerals that are bodies need but lack. Nature, if left to its own devices is able to provide for all of our wants and needs. Wildcrafting is a term used to describe the gathering of wild foods and medicinal herbs from nature to be freely used for our benefit. When the healing effects of being outdoors are combined with the gathering of food we start to reconnect to that primal part of ourselves that was once an integral part of the natural world as a whole. We begin to feel a deep satisfaction with ourselves as we become aware of our connection to the environment around us for which we are an integral part. Include a good nature guide of edible plants on your next forage into nature. Take your time, taste, touch, smell and allow yourself to truly experience and become one with the object of your nourishment and health. I recommend adding some adventure to your next excursion into mother nature and discover some of the natural foods that are there waiting for you!

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Slimming Secrets of the Zen Goddess

Have you ever noticed that our sisters from the Eastern hemisphere are comparatively slimmer than our sisters in the West?
What’s their secret?
In the far East, meals are prepared to nurture the spirit as well as the body.
The pace is more relaxed, meals are eaten mindfully and never rushed. An Eastern Goddess customarily observes ritual before and during a meal, as well as taking pleasure in her food in a devout, almost sensual way.
Sensual eating connects our body to our mind and our mind to our spirit.
Anything done mindlessly, creates a dis-connection of some kind. Eating in front of the TV, eating while driving or working, standing around and talking, are all mindless ways of eating. It’s easy to do. But it’s a habit that not only causes poor digestion but causes us to consume extra calories by way of over eating.
It should come as no surprise to discover that fast-food was actually designed to be eaten mindlessly.
Our brain is very sensitive to chemical changes in our body and often relies on sensory signals to prompt it into action. If we are too distracted while eating, our brain won’t receive the full message and therefore may not release specific hormones needed to inform us we are satisfied. Thinking we are still hungry, puts us at risk of over eating.
Over eating combined with eating the wrong foods lead to a cycle of perpetual weight gain.
We don’t need to eat all the time. Nor do we need to eat overly large portions.
It’s time to realise that you will not starve yourself if you take a short break from food. If the thought of fasting, skipping a meal or not snacking makes you uncomfortable, than a simple lack of discipline may be creating a setback on your road to good health and permanent weight loss.
Instead of focusing on not eating, go for a walk in nature. Spend that time to breathe, clear your mind and get a fresh perspective.
These are the times when revelations come to us.
Practice being mindful and learn to break your mental attachment to constant food intake.
Practice eating less.
Eating should be a sacred ceremony. We nurture our spirit with each opportunity we take to appreciate and nourish ourselves with high quality, high vibrational, healthy food.
Being a Zen Goddess is easy. We don’t have to come from the far East, all we need is to practice a little daily mindfulness.
Mindfulness is being fully present in each moment. Life is a series of present moments. Each one literally bursting at the seams with potential.
It’s True!
There is no such thing as boredom, boredom is an affliction of the mind and promotes negative inaction… Blah.
We’ve all felt it.
Focusing on what we can do right now instead of thinking about how we got here and what may or may not happen in the future, promotes positive action.
We live in the now because we know that now is all we have and all we ever need to focus on.
It’s very ZEN.

 

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Life Without Dieting

In days long past, the word Diet did not exist. People walked the earth in gratitude and appreciation of life and of their bodies. Gathering, preparing and partaking in the nutritious gifts of Mother Earth’s creation, without all the depreciating and absurd body issues that have insinuated themselves into the psyche of our modern culture. Our ancestors would never of heeded or needed diet gurus or duplicitous weight loss programs and fads.

Is it possible for us to live like our ancestors did – living free, healthy and in harmony with nature in a world choked full of chemicals, additives and pollutants?

Yes it is. We can start by putting away all the diet books and magazines that tell us we are not good enough by way of comparison to another. We can STOP DIETING and start paying attention to our OWN body! That doesn’t mean we scrutinize it in front of the mirror, looking for every conceivable flaw by the way. It means we develop a tender, loving relationship with our physical body. We learn to appreciate just how special it is and in time truly begin to treat it with the respect it deserves.

When we adopt and nurture this perspective in our hearts, our body naturally responds in a positive manner. There is a cellular intelligence driving our body, infinite in its capacity. You’ll be amazed to discover just how cooperative your body can be when treated right. An organism cannot function effectively when it is overburdened with toxins, chemicals, fats, sugars and stimulants. Our body is one big outstanding organism always and instinctively trying to attain a state of homeostasis – a state of balance in the body. That’s why we find it cooperating with us when we give it what it needs. Our body wants to be free from pain and dis-ease at all times. It actively seeks out every opportunity for healing to take place within it. Our body has an innate wisdom and capacity to heal itself- if it is allowed to do so. If we mistreat our body over a period of time it’s ability to maintain internal equilibrium decreases, our health declines and we become susceptible to dis-ease, weight gain and lots of other problems too. When this happens we sometimes get the notion that our body is our enemy without realising that neglect or ignorance on our part has been the real culprit. Now that we understand that our body is NOT the enemy, but in fact our ally, we can re-kindle our relationship with it. We can learn to trust in our body’s ability to heal itself and finally, we can respect and love it. Without any grudges!

This is what our ancestors knew. They understood the sacred relationship that exists between our Body, Mind and Spirit and how that relationship runs parallel with our Mother Earth.

The journey begins – inside us.

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2011 – Year of the Rabbit

2011 – Year of the Rabbit

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Stress & Weight Loss

By now, one would hope that most people understand that mindful eating combined with effective movement and proper breathing are vitally important for overall health. Practicing these principles will allow you to feel better, look better and be healthy. As I’m sure you are aware, many people who read diet books are primarily concerned with weight loss. Instead of being the goal, weight loss should be a natural result of putting these principles into practice in your life.

However, it is possible that despite the best efforts in being mindful and establishing a breathing and movement routine, high levels of stress may be preventing weight loss. In addition to all the other problems stress brings to our lives, it also prevents the metabolism from burning fat.

Unfortunately, there is no magic pill. The best way to deal with stress is by changing behavior patterns and altering the situations we put ourselves in. The interesting thing about stress is that it feeds on itself. A little bit of stress can quickly become a serious dysfunction if allowed to take hold. Stress can also be generated by taking on too much responsibility, which demands high-speed efficiency and productivity. You may make commitments or promises you are unable to keep. Simply put, the amount of stuff you are working on exceeds the actual time and effort you need to put into it. As you fall further behind, the more anxiety you generate.

There is hope, however. Mindful eating and gentle movement are exactly what we need in for dealing with stress. It may seem overly simplistic. But the truth is that it is often the simplest of things that can make the biggest difference. Deep, relaxed breathing stimulates the Parasympathetic Nervous System, which decreases blood pressure, slows the heart beat and allows the digestive process to function properly. Gentle body movement calms the bodily systems and helps the adrenal glands to regulate the amount of cortisol being secreted. Becoming mindful of the food we eat and adjusting our diet to more healthy choices gives the body the energy it needs to fend off the debilitating influences of stress.

Once we are in control of the situation, weight loss becomes less of an issue as the body seeks balance. Excess weight is lost gradually and permanently as we begin to feel more comfortable and relaxed in our own body. It only gets better.

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Poor Diet Addiction

Having a poor diet is probably one of the worst habits we can get caught up in. While the debilitating effects of habits like smoking and drinking are generally long term, a poor diet can rapidly affect the body’s ability to function properly. High-fat fast foods, while quick, cheap and easy, have very little to offer the body. Yet they have become prevalent in our fast-paced society. Fast food in general is very high in salt and fat, especially saturated fat. A salty diet is known to be a factor in the cause of high blood pressure. A diet high in saturated fat has been associated with increased blood cholesterol, which is linked with cardiovascular diseases like coronary heart disease and stroke. A high saturated fat diet in general is also associated with certain cancers as well as obesity. Fundamentally these foods lack essential nutrients and vitamins. This robs the body of the proper materials needed to produce energy. We are left with a tired, sluggish, and lazy body that has become complacent. This laziness becomes comfortable as a general feeling of heaviness pervades the body.

Sugar-filled soda or coffee high in caffeine has become the drink of choice as an energy supplement, but in reality this saps the body of even more energy. Caffeine is a stimulant of the central nervous system and therefore makes you more alert. It also seems to decrease absorption of calcium and iron. Roughly 400 mg or more of caffeine a day (3 cups of strong coffee or 8 glasses of coke) has been associated with poor job performance and insomnia. That’s not an ideal trait if you’re meant to be creating a contents Insurance comparison and supplying it to a customer. With only caffeine as an energy supplement, the body’s defensive systems are weakened. Sickness comes more often and stays longer. Arteries begin to clog as fat and cholesterol build up. Gastrointestinal and digestive problems mount as the body struggles to maintain operation without the proper materials. Excess fat, not burned off, deposits itself in unsightly places around the body. The body struggles to carry more weight with fewer and fewer reserves of energy.

Today, obesity is second only to smoking as a contributor to illness and premature death. Other illnesses known to be related, in varying degrees, to obesity are: sleep apnea, gall bladder disease, infertility, and degenerative arthritis of the knees, hips, and ankles caused by the stress on joints from carrying the extra body weight. Obesity can also lead to the onset of diseases such as noninsulin dependent diabetes, hypertension, coronary heart disease, kidney failure, and certain cancers. It’s a downward spiral leading to an inevitable failure of bodily systems. The good news is that nutritional issues are now widely discussed in the media and eating better has almost become trendy. The bad news is that nutritionally poor food is still consumed by millions of people – which will no doubt increase as fast food chains continue to spread around the globe.

Don’t become addicted to a poor diet. Take control of your life, be healthy and feel better.

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Zen Anti-Diet Basics

Zen Anti-Diet Basics

The Zen Anti-Diet is based on the idea that diets do not work as a long term solution to weight loss. Instead of looking outside ourselves for answers, we need to learn to turn our attention inwards and carefully listen to the messages from our bodies. It is about learning to pay attention to your body and the way that food affects your body and mind.

When you increase the awareness of the connection between your body and mind this will automatically allow you to pay attention to what you are eating. By learning to replace unhealthy habits with mindful eating habits and a positive attitude you will then start to create a healthy lifestyle that will allow you to reach your ideal weight.

Some of the practical tips of the Zen Anti-Diet include enjoy eating and savor food slowly so that the body has time to send the message when it has had enough. Avoid eating while driving or watching TV and always eat in a peaceful environment. Chewing for a long time is recommended because it increases our ability to absorb the nutrients from foods. Small frequent meals are preferred because this is much easier on our digestive system and helps to reduce appetite, stabilize blood sugar levels and boost metabolism.

A major focus of the Zen Anti-Diet is to avoid processed foods. People need to change their relationship with food to one that is more focused on avoiding foods that could be potentially harmful. Harmful foods include those that are filled with pesticides, chemicals and additives. By avoiding these types of food, one bypasses a great many potential health problems.

The importance of exercise is central for its ability to increase metabolism. It helps to think of exercise as ‘movement’ because many people are anxious about the idea of exercise.

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