But Now We’re Stressed Out

It’s election day and most people have been feeling very overwhelmed by this heated political campaign.  It’s been a great source for high emotions, differing opinions and general stress for many Americans.  Given our current events, along with upcoming holidays and the everyday workday grind, high stress levels don’t seem to be going away. 

This is why it’s so important to find balance in your hectic life and adopt methods to kick stress to the curb.  Healthy coping strategies are ways we are able to relax our mind and body to bring us out of a stressed state.

The more stress we take on, the more susceptible we become to health issues. If we are constantly in a level of distress, physical damage like headaches, upset stomach, elevated blood pressure, chest pain, and insomnia are likely to follow. 

Many techniques can be used to overcome stress, but pick 1 or 2 you like and make them apart of your routine.  Whatever methods you choose, it should focus on relaxing both the mind and body. 

Take yoga for example; there’s a reason why the last pose is always the Shavasana (Corpse Pose).  After stretching and flexing your bodies for an hour, your mind needs to relax as well.  This dead mans pose has you close yours eyes, while laying completely flat on your back.  This allows the you to focus on breathing and gives an awareness to the rising and falling of the chest.  As a result your body, mind and spirit are rejuvenated.

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If yoga’s not your thing, you could go for a run by the river, then stop and rest for 5-10 minutes and soak in the nature around you.  The exercise from the run will relax your body, while the tranquil nature of water will ease your mind. 

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Another example could be cleaning your house and then meditating in the newly decluttered space.  The act of cleaning will physically exert your body and relax your muscles once finished.  Then taking a few minutes to sit down in a quite space and focus on your breath will bring awareness to your present surroundings.  Living in the present, instead of worrying over future tasks, is one of the best ways to relax the mind. 

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Find what works best for you and your situation.  Working through different combinations of body and mind relaxation techniques will greatly benefit your overall well being.  Find your balance that will keep you moving forward.

Some more examples of natural ways to relax.

Sometimes blasting music is the best way to deal with stress:

The Water Protectors: The Dakota Access Pipeline

Is climate change something you believe in?  Are environmental issues a cause for concern?  Would you care if you no longer had access to clean water?

These questions are becoming a harsh reality for a Native American tribe called the Standing Rock Sioux.  The reality of the Dakota Access pipeline project directly endangering the tribe’s way of life.

The Dakota Access pipeline project aims to build a 1,172 mile long pipeline that would connect North Dakota to Illinois, in which to transport crude oil to refineries on the Gulf Coast or East Coast.  Supporters of this project see the potential to increase the region’s surrounding economy, while decreasing the need for imported oil.  However, members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe see things differently.

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The pipeline would cross directly cross under the Missouri River at a place called Lake Oahe, which is only half a mile away from the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.  This lake is used as the primary drink water for the reservation and is an integral part of their economy.

Although builders of the pipeline insist they’ve taken all necessary measures to protect against disasters, history shows leaks are almost inevitable.  The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has reported more than 3,300 incidents of leaks and ruptures at oil and gas pipelines since 2010.  The smallest crack will have detrimental impacts to the surrounding water supply.   Even with all these risks for contamination, the Energy Transfer company was able to find loopholes to pull the proper permits for construction.

Additionally environmentalists argue the pipeline would only fuel man-made climate changes by increasing the country’s oil infrastructure.  For these reasons we are seeing a vast majority of protestors on site at Standing Rock, physically halting the pipeline’s construction.

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Various groups of people from all different backgrounds have come together to stand alongside the Sioux Tribe (including a huge social media presence).  Even after controversial reports of brutal treatment (guard dogs, rubber bullets, sound devices) from police authorities, activists are still standing their ground.  Camps filled with tents and tipis will continue to occupy the space throughout the winter.  All united together to enforce the one message of “Water is Life”.

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How do you perceive this situation?  Do you believe nature should be protected at all costs?  Does water actually equal life?

If you believe in this cause you can sign the petition to stop this construction.

Are You Eating Healthy?

Are the foods you eat considered healthy?  Do you think these foods consist of valuable nutrition to your body?  A recent survey conducted by the New York Times talks about the perception of food by Americans.

This survey asked Americans if they think certain foods are healthy for you.  The same questions were then asked to nutritionists.  The results showed that 75% of Americans think they eat healthy, while a majority of the nutritionists disagreed.  

Foods like “granola bar” showed a 71% healthy rating from surveyors, while only 28% of nutritionists agreed.  These results show the lack of education about food and healthy dieting, as well as mass marketing campaigns around food.  It is also a problem of portion control, as many people are unaware of the correct ratios for food servings.

Supermarkets and fast food chains have greatly diluted the perceived portions that we need to be using.  What you think is normal, should actually be cut in half for most cases.  The average female needs about 1500 calories per day and the average male about 2500.  To give an example of how easy it is to exceed this limit; a large fry is 1000 calories, add a cheeseburger and a large soda to that and you get over 2000 calories worth of food in one meal.  That is your whole day’s worth of calories in one sitting.

Now if we cope this excessive attitude towards eating with the general lack of awareness on healthy foods, we result in a society plagued with obesity (36% of U.S).  It is important to learn the proper information in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

This Infographic shows the correct portion sizes to be used for meals.

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Click here to check out tips on the proper types of foods to eat.

Dieting To Balance A Vata Dosha

 

When dieting to balance out a Vata Dosha, it is crucial to stick to a routine and take things slow.  This will clean out bad habits by creating a process that will keep Vata’s grounded.  There are a few basic principles to abide by that revolve around what you eat and when you eat.

Vata’s should be eating 3 or 4 meals a day, leaving 2 hours between each meals.  So eating a snack is very important to stick to this timeframe.  You want to consume your last meals 2 or 3 hours before you go to sleep.  With lunch being the biggest meal, Vata’s can consume only poultry and fish during this time.  Red meat and raw foods are hard to digest for a Vata, as you have a delicate digestive system.  The key hear is to keep foods warm, cooked and moist.

As a Vata think one pot meals.  Things like crock-pot meals, rice mixes and lots of grains should be your recipes.  The most nutrition you will get comes from whole grains like barleys, rice and quinoa.  When it comes to vegetables, always cook them as they can aggravate a Vata.

Other items to eat are beans that will cook in under 30 minutes.  Using easy to digest beans, split peas and lentils will avoid upsetting the cold nature of Vata.  Nuts, seeds, honey, oils and spices are all things to be incorporated into the diet.

Vata personalities are the most addictive.  When it comes to addictive substances like caffeine and alcohol, moderation is essential.  You should cut back on your caffeine intake to once a day.  While alcohol should be limited to 2 or 3 servings a week, with those servings spread out from each other.  Avoid iced beverages and processed foods completely.  Know when your falling into bad habits and keep yourself in check with a schedule.

Using Yoga to Equalize Your Vata Dosha

In a previous blog post, I spoke about the three Doshas that define the energies in your body.  It is important to know which of these Doshas you align with and act accordingly to them.  The video above gives advice to Vata Dosha’s who are imbalanced.

Vata is known to be cold, mobile, light and expansive.  To combat any imbalances, you want to encourage the opposite qualities.  In this case it will be warmth, stability, grounding and focus.  You want to be focused on the present moment to bring health and well being.

While performing these exercises, you want to increase your inhalation, which warms and builds your body.  Extending the length of your inhale, while increasing the depth of your breath will promote grounding.

Stability is another element to work on by grounding your feet and hands.  In standing positions use your ball mounds on your feet to help balance yourself.  If in the downward dog position, use your thumb and index finger to root your hands.

Make sure to keep your gaze level low to below the horizon.  Your eyes should be facing slightly downwards towards the earth, focusing on one fixed spot.

Movement should be slow, fluid, gentle and easy.  Use a steady pace to assist with inner movement.  With this slow pace, synchronize your movement and breath to transition from one posture to the next.  It is important to pause at each posture and hold.  The results should leave you feeling warm, stable, grounded and present.  Feelings of nurture, support and strength means you are back in balance.

 

 

 

The Power Of Meditation

Meditation can be a powerful tool to not only your mind, but your body as well.  It function to make our mind peaceful and calm so we can accomplish tasks with a clear head.  It relieves our stress and strain, while enhancing our ability to face challenges.  It keeps our body in shape, helps our nervous system, helps our minds, our alertness, improves our perception, and helps us to properly express ourselves.  Meditation is food for the soul and a lifeline for the body.  It facilitates a disease free body, a confusion free mind, inhibition free intellect, and sorrow free soul.  By meditating, you are helping to create a violence free society.

It only takes a few minutes a day to gain more energy and focus for the day.  Many people believe they don’t have an extra 10-15 minutes to sit down and meditate.  However, meditating will actually clear your mind to focus on tasks, which will free up more time in the long run.

Watch this video below for a quick and simple breathing exercise to help clear your mind.

AOL.co.uk -Video – Om Meditation Anywhere Anytime

A Healthy Diet to Combat Lead Exposure

Doctors in Flint, Michigan are pushing residents to consume a health diet in order to counteract lead exposure.  With the recent devastation that has occurred to Flint’s tap water, lead exposure can be very high in some residents. 

This is why doctors recommend consuming foods high in iron, calcium or vitamin C to mitigate the effects of lead exposure.  This healthy diet will help limit the exposure of lead in your body, as well as promote its excretion.

By consuming vitamin C, you enhance your body’s ability to absorb iron.  When you combine citrus juices, or other foods rich in vitamin C, at the same time as high-iron foods, your body will efficiently absorb the iron. 

Here are some examples of the foods you should be sticking to:

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Vitamin C: bell peppers, dark leafy greens, kiwi fruit, broccoli, berries, citrus fruits, tomatoes, peas, and papayas.

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Calcium: dark leafy greens, cheese, low fat milk and yogurt, bok choy, fortified tofu, okra, broccoli, green beans, almonds, and fish canned with their bones.

Iron-rich foods, including eggs, spinach, peas, beans, red meat,
Iron-rich foods, including eggs, spinach, peas, beans, red meat, liver, and raisins. Isolated on white.

Iron: red meat, pork, poultry, seafood, beans, dark green leafy vegetables (spinach), dried fruit (raisins and apricots), iron-fortified cereals, breads, pastas, peas.

 These foods still have many benefits to your body,even if you don’t have a high exposure to lead.  Vitamin C is essential for developing and maintaining scar tissues, blood vessels and cartilage.  Calcium is required in order to grow and strong bones, teeth, nerve signaling, muscle contraction and secretion of certain hormones and enzymes.  While iron is a necessary mineral for the body and often time leads to anemia if deficient.

Finding Balance In Your Everyday Life