Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Wonderful Water

We have a critical need for water
Several people have recently asked me about drinking water – its importance, how much, what kind, etc., so I now offer some thoughts on the very large and critical subject.  Today I’ll talk about the why and the how-to, and next time, I’ll address some of the choice-making involved in getting the most from your water-drinking.  Stay with me here. 

Most of us are aware of the importance of drinking water. Getting our daily requirement of water helps our organs function, keeps our skin clear and hydrated, and allows physical action in our body to flow smoothly. We tend to pay good attention to our water consumption in the warm summer months when we tend to be more active and spend more time in the sun.  I suggest, though, that the need for water in these cooler months may go unnoticed, and so getting enough water becomes a bigger challenge.  Drinking plenty of water is critical all year long. Not drinking enough water may lead to poor digestion, sluggish thinking, skin breakouts, headaches, bad breath and general fatigue.  
Jumpstart your day!
One good practice is to drink a glass of warm water with the juice of ½ a lemon in it when you first get up in the morning. (Lemon adds and additional boost to your kidneys and helps to alkalinize your body.  See my earlier blog here Lemon Water - Morning Jumpstart - 6/10/13). With or without the lemon,  a large glass first thing when you wake up in the morning will  pull out toxins left from the previous day and refreshes your system, preparing it for the day ahead. Keep a bottle of water accessible throughout the day, whether you’re on the go or sitting at a desk. Having water close by will remind you to take a sip when thirsty. The first sip of water will usually let you know how much you need. If you have most of your water before early evening, the possibility of interrupted sleep will not be an issue because you will not crave a big glass before bed. 
What about quality? Some people like bottled, while others prefer filtered. I’ll address some options next time. The key is that you should like the taste of the water you are drinking and the water should agree with your body. Try different options to see what you like best. Adding a few mint leaves, a wedge of lemon, a sprig of parsley, a few slices of cucumber, a twist of lime or a squeeze of orange to your water is a great way to mix up your routine---and might make it more tempting to sip often. By drinking tea and juice and eating raw fruits and vegetables high in water content, you will also be contributing to the hydration process.  

Please, if you have ideas about this important subject, share them in the comments section below.  And if you enjoy this blog, you can regularly receive it by entering your email address on the sidebar on the right.  
Live Well ~  ~  Eat Raw 
For more information on water, check out Your Body’s Many Cries for Water, by Fereydoon Batmanghelidj, M.D. and Integrative Nutrition, by Joshua Rosenthal, pages 186-189. 

For finding spring water ---

Thursday, October 10, 2013

When Sleep Won't Come

 Do you ever lie awake in bed, wanting to sleep, but your mind just won’t shut off?
What’s frustrating about this situation is that I know I need to have good, restful sleep every night.  When I don’t fall asleep in a timely way, and then I find myself tossing and turning, anxiety kicks in with thoughts like, “Oh, no, I’m still awake."  "I need to be asleep."  "I have a big day ahead of me tomorrow."  "I need the rest……damn it!”  So much for the relaxed state of being which will help me to drift into peaceful slumber.
Falling asleep fairly quickly isn’t a problem for me any more….most of the time, that is.  Over the years I guess that I’ve developed some night time rituals that serve me well. First, here are some questions to pose as to the reason for sleep resistance.
 Were you racing around all day and haven’t had a moment of down time? 
Journal - food, exercise, 3 blessings
Our minds needs time to process the day and relax before we head for the bed.
Try building in one hour of down time with no technology before you go to sleep. Develop a ritual that you enjoy. Read a book, spend time with loved ones, straighten up or prepare for the next day. I usually journal my food and exercise for the day, and add on three blessings, or things to be grateful for during the day. The reflection does me good, and there are other rituals that can be developed as well.
Did you have caffeine or an energy drink in the afternoon?
Sometimes it’s helpful to have a warm drink, even if it’s just plain water, to flush your body, as you help it to relax. Better yet, in the future, try not having caffeine or energy drinks after 11 am, or skip them all together.  Stimulants are stimulants, and as such are counter to relaxation that we need for good sleep.
Are you stressed about all you have to do tomorrow?
Stressed?  Problem Solving?
Worry that may not have even surfaced to consciousness can sometimes produce just enough stress to keep us tense enough to prevent easy sleep.  One antidote for this problem is to keep a pad of paper near your bed, and write a list of all the things that have to be taken care of. Rank ordering their importance takes power from them and gives it to you, so you can leave them and go to sleep, knowing that all will be tended to in due time. A mind at ease is one that can rest. 
Are you problem solving a situation, rehashing possible solutions to no avail?
Whatever it is, we can’t do anything about it in the middle of the night, even though we think we’re thinking it through fairly clearly.   Preparing or rehearsing for a conversation or an event may or may not be helpful in the actual situation when it occurs. The best thing we can do is be present and open, and for that, we need sleep. And that part about rehashing a past event? None of it will change.  It is what it is.  It’s best if we just accept it, let it go, and let it float right out of our mind.
Tense mind+tense emotions=tense mucscles
Techniques that help
At the top of this list is deep, controlled steady breathing. Start by taking two or there deep cleansing  breaths.  Then breathe in for a count of eight, breathe out for a count of eight.  Try that for four rounds and see if you aren’t considerably more relaxed.  If not, do another cycle. 
When my own system is being more stubborn, and the deep  breathing doesn't do the trick, I get up, get a glass of warm water,and then do 5 minutes of gentle stretching.  If I am emothionally and/or mentally tense, my muscles are tense as well.  Stretching all sorts of  muscle groups, including some gentle twists, along with some more deep breathing, has never failed me, even when sleep has been very difficult in coming.
I think that I’m not alone in occasionally struggling with getting to sleep easily.  I’d love to hear some of your best remedies.  Do share.  We can all benefit!


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Apples -- Weight Loss Made Easier

There is just nothing like the month of October for Apples!  Some of our grandchildren have started the month a little early and visited the u-pick orchards already.  It’s just that time of year when apples in all their many varieties can be had and enjoyed.
Big help with weight loss
Chances are that you have only tasted a few of the many varieties of apples, because the supermarkets offer a comparatively small selection that typically includes Gala, Cortland, Granny Smith McIntosh, and the ever popular, Red Delicious.  Regardless of the type, apples are a perfect addition to your weight-loss plan for a number of reasons.
Apples are low in calories and fat, low in sodium, and contain vitamins and minerals as well as fiber.  These can all help you to lose weight in different ways.  The fiber helps you feel full longer because it expands in your stomach, so it takes less food to satisfy your hunger.  The low-sodium content prevents excess water weight, or retention.  And the vitamins benefit you by increasing health and vitality.  Being more active helps burn extra calories to speed up weight loss. In addition to all of this, the enzymes found in apples help you to digest food more efficiently.

Eating an apple or two before a meal is a good way to curb your appetite, and at the same time get plenty of nourishment. Apples also make good mid-morning or mid-afternoon snacks.  One of my favorite ways to enjoy an apple is to slice it and then smear it with raw almond butter. (Admittedly, this practice cuts into the possible weight loss benefits of eating apples, but it’s a mighty tasty treat!) 

There are claims that eating three apples a day can account for about a 1/2 pound weight loss each week, up to 8 weeks or so.

Always wash and scrub your apples, especially if they are not organic.  Supermarket apples are often waxed, which seals in pesticide residues that may be on the skins.  Peeling apples will remove the film, but also a lot of the fiber. All apples will brown when cut, though the degree of browning varies among varieties.  Sprinkling a little lemon juice on cut surfaces will curb the browning somewhat.

If you’re interested in some very good raw  recipes which keep all the great apple nutrients in place, take a look at access it by going to my website .
While you’re there, you might also want to sign up on the right sidebar to receive my monthly newsletter.
I’ll be watching for you!  Enjoy this beautiful autumn month, and have lots and lots of apples!.