There is something about eating that soothes and relaxes us. We can enhance our relaxation by our choice of foods. Instead of munching on cookies or potato chips, we can enjoy healthy foods to calm our mind. Stock these foods in your home or office and you can be sure of feeding your mind and soul while nurturing your body!
Oranges are loaded with Vitamin C – an important stress-busting vitamin. Eating oranges may also help fight your sugar craving because they are sweet. They are also loaded with magnesium, calcium and fiber – all good for your body. Not fond of oranges – try other fruits? Consider berries – blackberries, cherries, strawberries – they are loaded with antioxidants, fiber, natural sugars and other powerful nutrients. One of my friends Madhu always buys boxes of berries during our business trips and I have found that it is very relaxing and revitalizing, munching on them at the hotel or in-between customer visits. Try fruits that you have never tried before – Have you ever eaten persimmons, mangoes, pomegranates or papaya?
Did you know spinach came to us from Persia (modern day) Iran? Nearly half of your daily needs of magnesium are provided by one cup of spinach. Addition of spinach prevents magnesium deficiency, associated with migraine headaches and a feeling of fatigue. Leafy vegetables like spinach, lettuce and collard greens are super-packed with iron, vitamins and healthy fiber. Salad or lightly cooked/ stir fried vegetables are filling, delicious and make you feel more energized and revitalized. Consider adding different color vegetables – egg plants, red/green orange peppers, avocados and mushrooms to your diet and see the difference!
Do you feel sluggish in the afternoons after a large beef sandwich and soda? Try a grilled salmon dish with salad and skip dessert. As you may be aware salmon is a good source of Omega-3 – an essential fatty acid and a delicious source of protein.
OK – let us get done with the “gas” jokes. Food containing beans do tend to make us gassy at times. Often, the condition improves as your body adjusts to the new diet. Two easy ways to get rid of the gas in beans – wash the beans after you cook them or you can add a drop of Beano – a food ingredient that contains a natural food enzyme that helps breakdown the fiber and prevent gas. Beano is available in most grocery stories and pharmacies – check out http://www.beanogas.com/
Beans are a great source of fiber, vegetable protein and micro-nutrients. Try a variety of beans – kidney beans, garbanzo beans, lima beans and soy beans. Try them from cans (easy to use – rinse and add to your salad) or buy dry beans, soak them overnight and cook them in a slow cooker. Fresh green beans are perfect when you sauté them with onions, garlic, ginger and a touch of paprika/chili powder. Check out Indian recipes if you like them spicy.
Cashew nuts, almonds, peanuts, walnuts and pecans make a great snack by themselves. You can add them to your salads or top your entree. Nuts are a great source of protein, fiber, vitamin E and essential fatty acids.
Hydration – drink plenty of water. Green tea is a good choice – you know that soda (even diet cola) is not a good choice! Coffee is okay in moderation (1-2 cups daily).
For more information: Many so-called health experts tend to bash government sources on health nutrition. I often heard people complain that FDA recommendations cater to the Beef, Pork or Agriculture lobbies. However, the NIH, CDC and other government agencies provide scientific and authentic recommendations (often better than literature passed out by food supplement industry!). Check out this website below and download free a great report from the CDC website – see link below:
For more information:
Many so-called health experts tend to bash government sources on health nutrition. I often heard people complain that FDA recommendations cater to the Beef, Pork or Agriculture lobbies. However, the NIH, CDC and other government agencies provide scientific and authentic recommendations (often better than literature passed out by food supplement industry!). Check out this website below and download free a great report from the CDC website - see link below:
30 ways in 30 days to Stretch Your Fruit & Vegetable Budget (PDF-408k)
Check out the website http://www.fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov/index.html
Healthy Food Photo by JustAnotherHuman
What is Meditation & Mindfulness? Is it really about stopping thoughts?
Meditation is a practice of awareness and focus using our five senses and feelings to increase awareness of the present moment. Mindfulness is similar to meditation – the focus is often directed on the task at hand. Mindfulness is often related to external activities such as focusing on your conversations, walking through a beautiful park or even mundane, routine activities like showering, brushing your teeth or washing dishes!
There are many meditation techniques, some that do include reducing or eliminating “mind chatter”. I choose simpler and yet powerful techniques based on breathing, visualization and “loving, kindness and peace” meditation.
Mindfulness and Meditation practices are easy to learn, but to have them become more natural way of our lives requires patience and practice.
Are there benefits to meditation and mindfulness?
Of course there are benefits to meditation and mindfulness! These practices reduce the body’s stress reactions, help us see our thoughts more clearly, and lead to greater resilience in dealing with our daily challenges. They can improve our ability to pay attention to the work we do, with increased efficiency and satisfaction. We can cultivate better relationships.
But Isn’t meditation is a Hindu or non-Christian prayer or practice?
Actually, most religions, including Hinduism and Christianity, advocate some form of contemplative practices as part of their spiritual tradition – some even believe that prayer is a form of meditation. I prefer to stay out of these discussions.
I believe meditation is to the mind; what physical exercise is to the body/muscle tone. Recent scientific research shows that regular meditation (whether it be religious or non-religious) based on visualization, deep-breathing and a relaxed focus help build mental resilience, reduce stress and anxiety. I prefer to focus on these benefits.
I don’t have days and months to spend mastering the technique of meditation!
A good instructor can help you master the basics of meditation and mindfulness practice within a few hours. Most of my students spend 10-15 minutes 5 days a week to recharge and re-energize themselves. You don’t need hours of meditation to acquire these simple and powerful benefits of meditation.
I worry a lot and I doubt that I can sit and focus my mind for even 5-10 mins!
Surprisingly, my experience has been that people who worry constantly tend to be good meditators! I think such people tend to have active imagination. These people can also visualize very well – an ability that is helpful to create vivid and positive images in the mind to relax and energize. Also, meditation is not about “stopping” your thoughts. It is about bringing back awareness and focus to your mind and the thoughts generated.
There are several forms of meditation and mindfulness practices and I encourage you to explore many of them before selecting the one that suits you. If you feel restless sitting down for meditation, I recommend that you try Tai-Chi or Walking meditation.
Do you recommend sitting or lying down for meditation?
I suggest that you sit in a comfortable straight back chair. Lying down for meditation is a good practice if you plan to take a nap or sleep after the meditation sessions. Many of my students prefer to lie down for long 20+ minute meditation sessions.
Are relaxation CD's with nature sounds, i.e. water, bird song, etc. helpful as background while meditating?
Music/ nature sounds are powerful aids to meditation and relaxation. While much research continues on the human brain on different frequencies and beats, music still tends to be a very individual experience. My business partner J S Epperson has a very powerful instinct for music and I feature his music in all my classes. Check out preview of his music.
Is 15 minutes of Meditation enough?
"You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day- unless you are too busy; then you should sit for an hour"
- Old Zen Adage
Jokes apart! Some meditation is better than nothing. If you are consistent about spending at least 10 minutes every day on a mindfulness practice, the practice will grow with time. While I practice 15 minutes of daily meditation, I make time for longer sessions in the weekends or at nights. I feel energized and very productive with these long sessions.
I am not very good at being disciplined BUT I really want to relax. How?Most of my students start their mindfulness/meditation practice by attending my weekly classes at Tribalance Yoga or by listening to guided meditation/music from my website. They incorporate mindfulness by incorporating it in their daily life. Simple examples include - paying attention to brushing their teeth or being mindful when they are taking a shower. With regular practice, you will find it easier and easier to build more time for this activity. Many students find that consistent (not perfect) practice helps them be more calm, resilient, happier and more productive.
Shameless plug – check my contact information below for one-on-one coaching and group lessons.
I already eat healthy, exercise, read and have good friends? How can meditation help me?Good for you! Meditation and mindfulness practices are no substitute for good nutrition, regular exercise and making time for relationships. I personally believe that meditation and mindfulness exercises help me enjoy and keep my healthy eating and regular physical exercise routines going. Being mindful of my personal and professional relationships have helped them grow to bring more love and meaning to my life.
Many of my students report similar benefits because of their consistent practice.
I want to learn more!
Your public library is a great resource for free books, CDs and videos on meditation and mindfulness practice.
Contact me at Sudesh@meditation-magic.com, 847-497-0380.
I offer one-on-one or group coaching. I can help you develop a customized stress reduction program based on your strengths and routines.
Check out my website for guided meditation programs - audio mp3 that you can play on your phone / digital device or CDs for your music system.
a guided finger meditation
Engage your senses with soothing music, guided imagery and a labyrinth tracing activity which leverages the power of touch. Click the album cover to learn more.