Thursday, December 16, 2010

A wonderful day

Today I am feeling all kinds of inspired. I made it up to Mt. Tabor on my walk this afternoon. Mt. Tabor park is 28 blocks up hill and I did it! I was ready to stop at 20 blocks but a little voice that sounded just like Paul came to me and said if I could do it with cancer in my body than your healthy body can do it. And I did! Two years ago we took this walk with Jordan from their house, my new home, to Mt. Tabor. I had to sit down on a bench that overlooks the lower reservoir when I got there and I felt such peace and amazing chi energy...probably from all of the tall, old evergreens. I just felt wrapped up in positive chi and love. I shed a few tears but these tears were tears of happiness for both Paul and myself. I am also proud that I can say that. Breathing in I felt alive and I was keenly aware of Paul's new role in my life. He is in the air I breath and in my heart. It was beautiful. It kinda feels like I turned a new corner today. It is now my goal to do that walk at least twice per week. Twenty eight blocks up hill and twenty eight blocks back plus a trail while in the park. It just feels good!
This leads me into another topic. Last night I took a very interesting class from a Naturopathic doctor on longevity insights from the "blue zones" and Naturopathic medicine. The "blue zones" are places in the world where the average lifespan is 11 years longer than in the US. The average lifespan of a man in the US is 78 and a woman is 82. In "blue zones" 1/3 or more of the population reach 90 to 100 and are 10 times more likely to reach 100. These people are still having sex in thier 90's and appear to be much happier..maybe those two things are related??
The known "blue zones" are Loma Linda, CA. , Nicoya, Costa Rica, Okinawa, Japan, Sardina, Italy & Ikaria, Greece. Vegetables are an important part of the diets in these places as is moderate daily exercise (the activities of daily living not going to the gym), having ways of dealing with stress, enjoying a (one) glass of red wine in a few of these zones, staying social, finding a purpose in life, having an active spiritual life (whatever that might be for an individual), having a close connection with family, community, and/or friends.
A few ways to implement these things in our lives is as follows: Mindful Eating is one of them and it has two meanings for me. As a Buddhist this idea is practiced in being grateful for the food, acknowledging it's health benefits (only taking in foods that are healthy) and the fact that hard work went into producing it for us. We savor our food and are mindful of the taste, smell, texture, etc. and from a Naturopathic point of view in general this means eating until we feel about 80% full not 100% stuffed. The power of a plant based diet is important. The focus should be on the freshest and most colorful fruits and veggies possible. Eat the rainbow! Also include legumes like peas, lentils, beans and whole grains like oat groats and brown rice. Meat is not thrown out but is should only be 100% pasture raised and fed.
I mentioned the red wine and one glass is the suggested limit. More than this puts stress on the liver and pancreas and it does need to be red. Resveritol is found in red wine. Now if you have a serious health issue like cancer than usually you are advised against all alcohols and this doctor supports that. From past nutrition classes if you want the benefits of resveritol then you eat the red grapes. Although I am considering breaking my almost 4 years of no alcohol with a glass of red wine tonight. Staying social by volunteering, joining any number of groups or clubs and staying close to family and friends helps us to remember and experience that it is truly better to give than receive because givers get in the end. "life is a gift and our moments alive are few and precious...treasure them." Another important way to stay social and belong is by practicing your belief systems. People with belief systems and rituals find peace and comfort when stressed or challenged. I can attest to this personally. It gives one an important source of purpose. Married people tend to live longer. I hope being widowed does not throw me out of this group. Children tend to extend family connections and encourage us to invest in the present and the future. Daily exercise like walking is beneficial. The daily activities of life can be the best exercise. If you can run errands on foot do it. Leave the car parked as much as possible. People living in cities tend to have less cardiovascular disease than those living in the suburbs because people in the cities walk more places. Walking promotes lymph gland drainage, reduces blood pressure,improves circulation, tones muscles, etc. Gardening was found to be a daily activity in all "blue zones". Think about it you have a purpose in it, you are producing your own fresh, hopefully organic, food and it is a physical activity. Stopping smoking was big on this doctors list for obvious reasons. Just give these things a try and if you get the chance try to learn more about the lifestyles in these "blue zones". It really is pretty interesting.

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