Quinoa, Roasted Beet and Walnut Salad

Posted October 30th, 2011 in Grains, Recipes by Rebecca Lane

Quinoa, Roasted Beet and Walnut Salad - spring version!

This is my favourite salad – originally from Ricki’s Kitchen (http://www.dietdessertndogs.com/)- but I’ve made it so many times now that it has evolved (or devolved as the case may be). Anyway I found out that it wasn’t available on my site when I tried to find it for @SandiKrakowski a twitter friend. Imagine my embarrassment!

Quinoa, Roasted Beet and Walnut Salad

 The brilliant crimson of roasted beets lends a gorgeous hue to this mineral- and protein-rich salad. Roasting the beets brings out their true sweetness and tender texture in contrast to the chewy quinoa and crunchy walnuts.

3-4 medium beets, washed and trimmed (do not peel)
1 cup dry quinoa
2 cups water
½ cup walnuts, lightly roasted and cooled (or you can use the spicy pecan recipe here)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced or grated
Grated rind of one lemon
Juice of one lemon (about ¼ cup)
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp. Maple syrup
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Pepper to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 425F. Wrap beets in foil and bake until extremely tender, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Let cool, then slip off the skins and dice into 2 cm cubes. Set aside.
  2. Bring water to boil in a small heavy saucepan. Rinse quinoa well and add to water. Return to boil, then reduce heat to low and cover. Allow to simmer, untouched, for 25 minutes, then check to see if water has been absorbed. If not, continue simmering until all water is absorbed, then uncover and allow to cool. (If you are in a hurry, you can turn the hot quinoa into a glass bowl at this point and place it in the fridge for about 30 minutes).
  3. In a nonstick frypan, heat oil and add garlic and lemon rind. Cook and stir for 2 minutes, then add balsamic vinegar, lemon juice and maple syrup. Remove from heat.
  4. Add beets to cooled quinoa. Break walnuts into pieces and add to the bowl. Pour dressing over and toss well until quinoa becomes pink. Add cilantro and combine well. Season to taste with pepper. This salad is even better the second day, after flavours meld.

Serves 4

Artificial Sweeteners

Posted October 29th, 2011 in Artificial Sweeteners by Rebecca Lane
Un-sulphured Gogi berries are high in antioxidant power and not sweet

I have been getting several questions about artificial sweeteners from my daughter and her teenage friends. So I asked a fellow blogger for permission to reprint her article because it’s excellent! I encourage you to visit her site for more great information: www.insightfulnutrition.ca.


Artificial Sweeteners

by Helen Papaconstantinos

As more and more health-conscious consumers are trying to reduce their refined sugar intake and lose weight, Canadians are turning to artificial sweeteners in hope of a quick fix. Consider this: a 355 ml can of soda pop (which contains 10 teaspoons of sugar and 150 calories), daily can add up to a whopping 55,000 calories yearly. When it comes to losing weight, and maintaining health, however, it is not clear that artificial sugars are helping.

Artificial sweeteners are a mix of laboratory chemicals, combined to create a ‘sweet’ taste. Since artificial sweeteners have been introduced, rather than reducing our sugar intake, they have increased it. In a study published in the summer of 2007, researchers from theUniversityofAlbertafound that young animals became desensitized to diet foods, and tended to over-eat during meals of regular-calorie food. The researchers contended that children who consume low-calorie versions of foods that are normally high in calories, may develop “distorted connections between taste and calorie content, leading them to overeat as they grow up”.

Why should this worry us? Artificial sweeteners were created to trick the body into thinking it is getting something sweet. The body, however, is never really tricked and is always looking for balance. Your body still produces insulin in response to artificial sweeteners. When your blood sugar does not increase upon ingesting artificial sweeteners, hypoglycemia may occur, resulting in cravings which lead to increased food intake and sugars at the next meal.

Links between Artificial Sweeteners and Disease
Independent researchers, particularly inEurope, have found popular sweeteners such as sucralose and aspartame to be harmful to human health. Other research studies have linked artificial sweeteners to weight gain, disruption of sleep patterns, fertility problems, development of multiple sclerosis-like symptoms, increase in metabolic syndrome and Type 2 diabetes, and other pathological conditions. ,

The most widely-used artificial sweetener, ‘Aspartame’ is made up of three chemicals: the amino acids aspartic acid, phenylalanine and methanol. In this unbound or ‘free’ form, the body breaks aspartame down rapidly into the toxic by-products formic acid (an irritant found in red ant venom), and DKP (aspartylphenylalanine diketopiperine), an agent linked to gene mutations. It may also contain unknown toxins. Until 1999, people were unaware that Monsanto, the GM food giant, used genetically engineered bacteria to make aspartame for theUSmarket.

At temperatures above 95 degrees (the human body is 98 degrees) aspartame converts to formaldehyde. Formaldehyde, an embalming preservative for laboratory specimens, is no longer used because it has been shown to be a powerful carcinogen. According to Neurosurgeon Dr. Russell L Blaylock, damages various cellular proteins, including enzymes, microtubules and other functional proteins. Even in small concentrations formaldehyde can weaken cells and impair DNA function.

To date, there have been no long-term studies done on humans to determine long-term effects for any sweetener. NutraSweet scientists have claimed for years that most commonly ingested fruit juices contain 140 mg of methanol per litre. This is a fallacy. The 140 mg/litre figure was obtained from a very old conference paper presented by Francot and Geoffroy, who state that they did not perform many of the tests and give no original sources for the work except for the grape juice and black current juice. No methodology was given in their 1956 research.

In nature, methanol never appears alone. In every case, ethanol is present, usually in higher amounts. Ethanol is, in fact, an antidote for methanol toxicity in humans. Aspartame on the other hand, has NO ethanol. Humans are seven times more sensitive to the toxic effects of aspartame or methanol than animals because they lack a couple of key digestive enzymes (such as pectin esterase) to release methanol. Animal testing for methanol or aspartame, therefore, does not adequately reflect the danger for humans.

Why do pop cans have quick expiry dates?
Ever notice how soft-drink companies quickly collect any unsold products from grocery shelves? Soft drinks do not suddenly lose their sweetness when they sit on the shelf — they increase creation of Diketopiperazine (DKP) after being stored more than 6 months. According to FDA toxicologist Dr. Jacqueline Verret, in her testimony before theUS senate, DKP has been implicated as a cause of uterine polyps and changes in blood cholesterol, as well as brain tumour formation. Dr. John Olney, a neuropathologist who worked at the FDA, also noted that DKP, when ‘nitrosated’ in the gut, produced a compound which is similar to N-Nitrosourea, a powerful brain tumour-causing chemical.

How much is too much?
Studies on average daily consumption of artificial sweeteners vary widely. HealthCanada guidelines advise that one can safely consume 40 milligrams of aspartame per kilogram of weight. This means a 68-kilogram person would have to drink about 20 cans a day to get into the aspartame danger zone (a 12-ounce can of diet Coca-Cola contains 120 mgs). One study funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute, estimated average daily intake to be quite low – the equivalent of just one 12-ounce can of diet soda per day. The researchers, however, made estimates based solely on consumption of beverages containing aspartame, used senior citizens as subjects, relying on their recall of amounts consumed. The Aspartame Information Centre, however, points out that dry goods contain far more aspartame than beverage products.

The bottom line is that people may be consuming more artificial sweetener than they think. Presently, many estimates are inaccurate because they fail to include common daily-use artificial sugar products like table sweeteners, candies, yoghurts, nutrition bars, and chewing gum. The European Ramazzini Foundation’s estimated daily level of 910 mg/day is said to more accurately reflect average daily use of artificial sweeteners. If that sounds excessive, consider that dieters may be consuming even higher amounts. The popular South Beach Diet heavily endorses the use of sugar substitutes despite reports showing that aspartame functions as an appetite stimulant. And when diet is not sufficiently monitored, many people use artificial sweeteners in addition to sugar products.

Independently funded verses industry-funded studies: Whom do we believe?
Questions have been raised about aspartame’s safety and the appropriateness of industry sponsorship of medical research. An analysis of peer reviewed medical literature using MEDLINE and other databases was conducted by Ralph G. Walton, MD, Professor of Clinical Psychiatry, Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine. Dr. Walton analyzed 164 studies felt to have relevance to human safety questions. Of the 90 non-industry-sponsored (independent) studies, 83 (92%) identified one or more problems with aspartame. Of the 74 aspartame industry-sponsored studies, all 74 (100%) claimed that no problems were found with aspartame.

Today, despite controversy and safety issues, artificial sweeteners are used in all types of products – from sports drinks (diet and “regular”), to snack foods, to flu remedies, toothpastes and lozenges. As holistic nutrition professionals, we believe that food should be in its natural, whole state. The best thing to do is avoid all artificial and chemically made sweeteners. They are not real food, trick the body into thinking it is eating something sweet, and carry concerns over safety. Below is a brief overview on a number of artificial sweeteners:

Acesulfame-k or Ace-k (Sunette) – The K is for potassium. Discovered in 1967 this derivative of acetoacetic acid was approved by the FDA in July 1988. Unfortunately, several potential problems associated with the use of this product include lung and other tumours, leukemia, and chronic respiratory disease – even when less than the maximum dose was given. Later it was petitioned for a stay of approval by the FDA due to doubts about its danger.

Aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal, Neotame) – Aspartame has remained controversial since its acceptance as a ‘generally recognized as safe’ (GRAS-listed) additive in 1982. Neotame is Aspartame that has been hydrogenated and linked up with another chemical to make it 30 to 60 times sweeter than Aspartame. Although made from amino acids, aspartame is not a natural substance and many people have experienced nervous system and ‘irritant’ effects such as feelings of agitation, and changes in mood. It has effects similar to those MSG (monosodium glutamate), leading some experts to call it an ‘excitotoxin’. Despite its FDA approval, many members of the health-care profession continue to question its use.

Cyclamate (Sugar Twin, Sucryl) – this chemical sweetener was banned in 1969 in theUS because of cancer-producing tendencies. It is still legal in countries that feel cancer study results on rats are not a cause of concern to humans (i.e.,Latin America). This sweetener is approved as a drug but not a food additive. The Sugar Twin package now carries a label stating that it should only be used under your doctor’s advice, and that it is not safe to use during pregnancy.

Saccharine (Sweet ‘N Low) – In the 1970s there were concerns that saccharine could be cancer causing in laboratory rat studies. Saccharine was not permitted by HealthCanada as a food additive however it allowed consumers access to it as a table-top sweetener. As of November 2009, HealthCanada scientists are still considering re-listing this substance in the Canadian Food and Drug Regulations, following their own safety assessments. Saccharine may be present in drug formulations in substantial amounts.

Sugar Alcohols (Polyols and Polydextrose such as Sorbitol) – Alcohol sweeteners may be better tolerated than aspartame, however, problems such as diarrhoea, dehydration and weight loss may occur because they are not fully digested by the small intestine. Additionally, when undigested carbohydrates reach the colon, the normal bacteria present there, ferments with sugar alcohols to produce gas and bloating. Not surprisingly, sorbitol has been linked to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). In diabetics, side effects may be more pronounced, because blood glucose is converted into sorbitol at an accelerated rate. Symptoms include damage of the nerves, blood vessels, eyes and kidneys, and formation of cataracts.

Sucralose (Splenda) – was discovered in 1976 by British scientists seeking to create a new pesticide. It is comprised of a sucrose molecule except that three of the hydroxyl groups in the molecule have been replaced by three chlorine atoms. Dr. James Bowden, a physician and chemist explains that once chlorinated, sucralose becomes a chlorocarbon (pesticide) in the family of Chlorodane, Lindane and DDT. He warns that chlorocarbons are wholly incompatible with normal human metabolic functioning, and that they damage the liver’s metabolic cells and destroy them” The manufacturer’s own short-term rodent studies showed that very high doses caused shrunken thymus glands, enlarged livers, and kidney disorders. Adverse reactions in humans collected by the Sucralose Toxicity Information Centre include skin rashes, migraine headaches, panic-agitation, dizziness, numbness, diarrhoea, swelling, muscle aches, intestinal cramping and bladder issues.

As holistic practitioners, we believe it is always preferable to eat ‘naturally sweet’ foods such as whole grains, vegetables, and fruits, rather than look for natural sugar substitutes. ‘Natural’ or not, too much sweetener, in any form, can have a negative effect on health. Fundamental holistic nutrition views fructose ingestion as being at the core of obesity, insulin resistance, vascular disease, fatty liver, diabetes and other diseases. Pasteurized fruit juices, agave and even raw honey should be limited since ‘natural sugars’ often contain a much higher percentage of fructose than high-fructose-corn-syrup (HFCS). Going sugar-free will also ensure you have a better chance at obtaining an adequate level of fibre, vitamins, and minerals. Fructose levels should be kept to below 25 grams a day. If you do insist on using a natural sugar substitute, however, consider:

Stevia – has been championed by holistic/natural foods advocates inCanada and theUS, and is used in several countries –Japan, especially, where it has been safely used for over 30 years. This green-leaf herb is commonly known as ‘the sweet leaf ofParaguay’, contains no calories, no natural sugars, and can be used by people with diabetes, hypoglycaemia, or candidiasis issues. Stevia’s phytonutrient profile includes betacartotene, dulcosides, steviol, and stevioside.

Pure coconut palm sugar – is a natural product made from the nectar of the coconut palm tree. Pure coconut palm sugar has a naturally low glycemic index (35GI) –a measure of how fast the sugar contact of a food is released into your bloodstream. (Regular sugar is 68GI). This has led to claims that it is an ideal sugar substitute for people with diabetes, those looking to control blood sugar, or those on a low-carbohydrate diet). Coconut palm sugar contains minerals such as magnesium, potassium, zinc, and vitamins B and C, and has also been called the most environmentally sustainable sweetener by the Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.

Yacon – this raw, low glucose sweetener made from the root of a tuberous vegetable related to the sunflower, and is grown inColumbia and northwestArgentina. It does not cause a rise in blood sugars due to its lower (34%) level of FOS (fructooligosaccharides) and low proportion of simple sugars (e.g., glucose, fructose and sucrose). The human body lacks enzymes to hydrolyze FOS, so it passes through the digestive tract without being metabolized. In this way, FOS acts as a prebiotic. Its marketers claim that the undigested portion of yacon serves as food for “friendly” bacteria, such as Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus species, in the colon. Yacon roots also contain potassium and antioxidants. Its taste is similar to caramel and molasses.

Raw Honey – Although it is higher on the glycemic index, raw honey contains many nutrients. Raw honeys such as manuka honey, have been demonstrated to have antimicrobrial properties and is rich in antioxidants, phytonutrients and enzymes. LifeMel honey is made by bees fed on Siberian ginseng, Echinacea and Uncaria tomentosa and other herbs. This is the only honey that has been subjected to clinical testing (it was found to prevent chemotherapy-induced pancytopenia – a lowering of red and white blood cells and platelets).

Agave nectar – Very recently, agave syrup has been maligned as having the highest fructose content of any commercial sweetener. This is not entirely accurate. Differences in the plant, and collection practices can mean that the fructose content can average from 70 to 97 percent, whereas high-fructose-corn-syrup (HFCS) averages 55 percent. One brand, Madhava, only uses sap from the Salmiana species of the agave plant, which does not require extensive processing. The juice is collected by hand, and no heat is involved in its removal. Low heat, (below 113F) is only used in processing/removal of water. Nonetheless, the majority of of agave manufacturers do not use Salmiana species and instead rely on chemical or thermal methods to process the starch from its root bub. The Weston A Price Foundation cautions that conventionally made agave is worse for you than HFCS, and should be avoided.

Because sugary, convenience foods satisfy hunger, they often replace more nutritious foods and weaken disease resistance.  When you feel like snacking or having something sweet, try some of these healthier options instead:

  • Because protein helps to stabilize blood sugar and keeps you feeling full longer,  aim for protein based snacks such as a soft boiled egg, or a protein smoothie  made with hemp seeds, fresh apples, carrots and ginger root;
  • Sweeten your organic tea with a cinnamon stick or a vanilla bean;
  • Add a splash of blueberry or pomegranate juice to your green tea instead of honey;
  • Skip maple syrup. It adds 50 calories and about 12 grams of sugar per teaspoon. Instead use ‘jam’ made of 2 tablespoons chia seed mixed into 1/2 cup organic pomegranate or cherry juice and leave to thicken;
  • Make some ginger syrup using stevia. Chop a 5 inch piece of peeled ginger and boil it with 4 cups of water and a half teaspoon of stevia powder. Simmer gently for 8 minutes. This syrup can be stored in the refrigerator for several days.
  • Try mock instant tapioca pudding: mix 2 TBS chia seeds into a half cup of     almond milk. Leave to gel in the fridge for 2 hours;
  • Instead of reaching for ice cream, try a semi-frozen mashed banana with a dusting of finely ground organic cocoa nibs or carob powder;
  • Snack on plain organic yoghurt. Vanilla, cinnamon or nutmeg may be added.
  • Eat more high-fibre foods such as brown rice, lentils, dried beans and peas. Foods high in fibre help you to feel full. They also stabilize your blood sugar levels.
  • Snack on Pumpkin seeds (Pepitas) sprinkled with curry powder;
  • Drain and rinse 4 cups of cooked organic chick peas. Toss in olive oil and spices of choice.  Place in slow oven (200 F) for 3 hours. They turn out like corn nuts.
  • Dried fruits can be high in natural sugars. If you are going to reach for dried fruit,   try un-sulphured gogi berries. They are high in antioxidant power and not sweet;
  • Most of all, avoid all soft drinks, energy drinks, and so-called vitamin waters (high sugar water with low quality nutrients). Most soft drinks contain phosphoric acid which blocks absorption of calcium and magnesium in the intestines, leading to early osteoporosis, kidney stones, fatigue,  high blood pressure, lowered immunity and other health issues.

Click here for the full bibliography for this article [PDF].

This article originally appeared June 2010 on the IHN website: http://www.instituteofholisticnutrition.com/ihn.asp?section=nutrition_research_artificial

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Friends and Carrot and Leek Soup

Posted October 18th, 2011 in Meatless, Recipes, Soups to warm you by Rebecca Lane

I should have taken a photo – but as usual I forgot! But on Saturday we had friends from highschool Natalie and Joe stop by for the night. I spent the morning preparing by shopping at the market! As usual, I got talking with everyone and was late getting back, so I quickly put together this delicious soup. Since I haven’t given any recipes for quite some time, here you go!

Carrot and Leek Soup

1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 whole leek (clean, then slice all of the white and part of the green)
4 large carrots, peeled and cut into rounds
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups vegetable broth
4 cups water
2 cups dried red lentils, rinsed
1 can (14oz) of diced tomatoes, organic
1 bay leaf (or 3 small pieces in this case!)
1 tsp chevril
Pinch of pepper

Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Add leeks, carrots and garlic and cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Add broth, water, lentils, tomatoes, spices and stir. Cover pot and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes until lentils are soft. Discard bay leaf and serve.

Alkalising the body for healing

Two Phases of Disease and Health

A couple of weekends ago, I had the privilege of attending a META-medicine weekend taught by Richard Flook (www.whyamisick.com). META-medicine combines many energetic tools with the research of German New Medicine (http://www.germannewmedicine.ca/). I’m not going to go into a lot of detail, but if you want to learn more about both or either of these methodologies I encourage you to visit their sites and read Richard’s book (Why Am I Sick) for a new way of looking at disease.

From a nutritional perspective, I wanted to discuss the two phases of disease so that you might be able to understand how our body works with respect to the food it craves.

According to both META-medicine and GNM, after the body undergoes a shock, there are two main phases – stress (immediately after the Significant Emotional Experience 2) followed by rest.

During the stress phase, the body is reacting from the Sympathetic Nervous System programming of fight, or flight. The blood thins, the blood pressure increases – the body is in a state of alertness and needs to be naturally acidic. To maintain this state, the cells are working and need energy. We need energy foods, and supplements or drugs that keep the body in this state of alertness. We crave foods like red meat, dairy, high sugar and salt foods, processed foods (quick energy), drinks like alcohol, caffeine, tea, high energy drinks, supplements such as caffeine tablets, drugs such as cortisone, smoking and chemotherapy. These foods both give quick energy and are acidic.

Activities such as sports, watching certain sports, intensive travel, fighting, arguing, worry all increase acidity further.

In the second phase, our body needs to heal and rest. The body is reacting from the Parasympathetic Nervous System patterns of digesting, relaxing and repair. The blood thickens, the blood pressure drops, the body becomes more alkaline.

To heal, the body needs to eat foods that alkalise, such as vegetables, some fruit, beans, grains and nuts, drinks such as camomile teas and fruit teas, supplements like Magnesium and Selenium.

This rest and regeneration phase is assisted by activities such as massage, meditation, energetic healing, yoga, emotional clearing techniques and naps during the day.

Our diets reflect what we are going through in our lives as well. We are naturally attracted to the foods that our bodies require in order to do the job they need to do. In addition, many of us are eating foods through habit, which keep our bodies stuck in the stress phase. The longer our bodies stay in the stress phase the harder it is to remove all of the toxins built up through the energy production and the break down of the cells.

In our current stressful lifestyles, it often takes the combination of an alkalising diet, meditation and mental clearing, and a detoxification program in order for our bodies to be able to regenerate and heal.

There’s a lot of information available online about alkalising diets, but I personally like best the information from Robert and Shelly Young who wrote The pH Miracle. Their blog is an excellent resource: Articles of Health. And you can get a free list of alkaline foods if you sign in at Energise for Life. A vegetarian diet that focuses on lots of raw and steamed vegetables (juicing is great too as long as you’re eating fibre elsewhere in your diet), sea vegetables, protein from the combination of whole grains (brown rice, kamut, quinoa, oats, teff, spelt, bulgur, amaranth), nuts and seeds, and beans, lentils and peas. Small amounts of fish and chicken can be added once the pH of your saliva starts to stabilize around 7.365. The longer you’ve been living a stress-filled lifestyle, the longer you’ll need to alkalise.

One caveat – If you decide to take alkalising supplements, I strongly recommend that you have the support of a naturopathic or homeopathic practioner. Also, your stomach needs to be acidic in order to digest food so you don’t want to be alkalising within one hour of eating.

Steve Jobs’ Commencement Address – 2005

Posted October 7th, 2011 in Psychology of Disease by Rebecca Lane

Steve Jobs gave this as his second story of his Commencement Address at Stanford University on June 12, 2005.

Love and Loss

I was lucky. I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation – the Macintosh – a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started?

Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

I really didn’t know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down – that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me – I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT.

I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple’s current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

I’m pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn’t been fired from Apple.It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers.

Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking.

Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.

Steve Jobs

PS > Thanks to www.insightoftheday.com for bringing this to my attention this morning!

Why spiritual connection is essential for physical health and healing

Posted October 4th, 2011 in Cancer Prevention Strategies, Psychology of Disease by Rebecca Lane

Caroline Dupont will be interviewed on the Health Lady tomorrow!

This Wednesday, October 5th at 4 pm (EST) Nancy Desjardins will be interviewing me to explore: ‘Why spiritual connection is essential for physical health and healing’
  • How are physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health connected?
  • How do emotions affect our health? our health choices?
  • How do we let go of emotions that are no longer serving us?
  • How do we get beyond the stress and worry of our health challenges?
  • How do we connect to the best choices on our unique health journey?
  • Why is it so important to have a meditation practice for our physical well-being? 

I hope you can join us!

If you can’t make it for the live call, you will have access to the live replay later.

Something is not quite right

Posted October 4th, 2011 in Cancer Prevention Strategies, Psychology of Disease by Rebecca Lane

Your meditation practice is personal to you. It doesn't need to be perfect, it just needs to be!

I just received this wonderful letter from my colleague Caroline Dupont and wanted to share it with my readers too in hopes that you will enjoy the message as much as I did. Sherri Doak and I will be cooking for Caroline at her Deep Healing Retreat in October in Midland and look forward to meeting lots of new people and sharing great ideas there! Enjoy the letter (by the way, the woman to the left is neither Caroline nor me – it’s a pic I found online. I would like to meditate here, but on a cushion!):

“‘Now’ is just what’s happening – minus everything that you think.” Adyashanti

Dear friends,

I hope this finds you happy and well.

One of the things that I’ve noticed in me and others is a fundamental tendency to evaluate our lives on a moment to moment basis with an overall sense that something is not quite right, or even that something is deeply wrong. 

The object of our dissatisfaction, the ‘something’ itself, generally changes from one day to the next, or one year to the next. It could be our weight, our health, our partner, or lack of partner, our job, our financial situation, our children, time constraints, or tiny details like the temperature of the soup, the scratch on our car, the way our hair looks today… no matter how hard we try to make things ‘perfect’  there is always something lacking.

Is it possible to move beyond this existential tension?

Many people have asked this question and the answer most often seems to be a regular meditation practice. Ask Carolyn Myss, or the Dalai Lama, or Deepak Chopra, or  Wayne Dyer.

We need stillness to see the truth.

The beauty of a regular meditation practice is that it gives us a rare glimpse of our lives from the very ground of our being, that sees no fundamental problem and in fact sees from deep and far enough to grasp that no matter what is going on in the physical world, no matter how our mind interprets current circumstances, there is actually never a single molecule out of place. To experience this fully is a deep gift because from this new perspective we cease to move through life from a place of dissatisfaction and problem solving. 

This is not to say that change is not needed because it is, but when we approach change from this deeper place we are engaging an energy that will help us to respond to life’s challenges, not with resistance, but with greater clarity, accuracy and access to appropriate action.

This is how lives are transformed.

In order to experience the best that meditation can offer…

  • Do your best to maintain a daily meditation practice.
  • Incorporate body-based awareness in your meditation practice rather than using techniques to by-pass to ‘spiritual’ states.
  • Regardless of the techniques used in your practice, incorporate ‘no technique’ regularly – put it all down and completely let go for at least some of your practice.
  • If you’re having a difficult time staying with your meditation practice you are likely very close to a significant emotional layer and subconsciously avoiding it. Get some help. This is something that I do in one-on-one consultations in person, over the phone, or on skype.
  • Take a meditation class.
  • Attend retreats. They are one of the most powerful ways to move through significant emotional layers to access your true nature, and transform your life. Each retreat is an opportunity to show up with sincerity and openness to the mystery of the deepening process.

Here are some upcoming opportunities:

“The mind doesn’t rest as a result of getting its questions answered; it comes to rest when we see through the incessant drive to know.” Adyashanti

All blessings to you,

PS > that last quote really resonates with me. Thank you so much Caroline for adding it!