Delicious Zensations

DSCN1991As a rule, we should aim for two to three cups of vegetables a day, and that includes leafy greens. One of my favorite greens because of its rich flavor is swiss chard. It is available fresh from June through November, and it is easy to grow in a home garden.

Swiss chard is full of vitamins such as K, A and C and Omega 3 fatty acids. It is rich in minerals like magnesium, potassium and iron and phytochemicals, which may offer special benefits for blood sugar regulation and excellent eye protectors.

Swiss chard is rich in betalain, the same phytonutrient that makes beets so healthy. Swiss chard is also anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and detoxifying. It is also rich in fiber, which gives you a feeling of being full, and can lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Fiber is a blood sugar stabilizer.

Swiss chard is crisp and slightly bitter when raw and it can be mixed with other salad greens. It can also be added to soups and stews, or sauted for a side dish.

My favorite way to eat it is with stir fried with garbanzos and onion. It is easy to make, fast, and delicious.

 

Swiss chard with Garbanzo Beans

Ingredients

2 cups of boiled garbanzos

2 cups swiss chard (chopped)

½ cup onion (finely chopped)

2 garlic cloves (finely chopped)

2 tbsp coconut oil

Preparation

Add oil, onion and garlic to a skilled at medium/low heat. When browned, add the garbanzos and let it cook for 5 minutes. Stir frequently with a wooden spoon, so they don’t stick to the skillet. Add the chard and turn a few times until the leaf starts to break and get softer.

Dinner is ready to be served

The Fountain of Youth

Doctors and scientist are finally accepting some ideas that many healers and wise women have known and practiced for centuries, our thoughts influence the body’s health, it only makes sense.fuente

Experts say that we have an average of 50,000 thoughts a day. Many of them are repetitive, some of them original, most of them subconsciously triggered. Each thought produces an emotion, and each emotion activates a neurochemical circuit that will affect the 50 plus trillions of cells in our bodies.

The main chemical triggers are our emotions, which in turn have been created by thoughts and responses to experiences. These experiences can be past regrets, present surprises or future anxieties. The brain is not concerned with when the action occurred; it acts up regarding the situation in which the thought triggers the emotion and the quality of the thought. Whether the thought/emotion combination is positive or negative will determine the kind of commands that those circuits will transmit. Attitudes will trigger emotions and feelings associated with the original thought, making the impact more intense, whether positive or negative.

As a consequence of these chemical messages, the body understands whether we are happy to be alive or so unhappy with our surroundings that life may not be desirable any longer. Chemical substances are the way that our brain communicates and ultimately, they are the way we see life.

The way we see the world, what we think about and how we behave generate emotions that will set patterns. We all get scared and bored, even angry sometimes. And our body is ready to handle this changes, having everyday troubles is not really a health hazard. The problem begins when we have a tendency towards negativity and anger. When we are depressed it is a lot easier to get hurt or sick. Have you noticed that when people are upset they end up with a headache, or when a big let down happens, they may get sick? Being upset and depressed changes our chemistry in negative ways.

Faith and positivity will move mountains. More importantly, faith in life will keep us alive; love and wanting to do bigger and better deeds will keep us healthy and more resistant to disease.

Meditation, visualization and positive thinking will be your best ally for your health, as they will promote the brain to produce the right chemicals for a healthy happy life. Add a good, balanced nutrition and you can count on a healthier longer life. You may have found the fountain of youth.

Awareness of the Self

 

For many of us, it is difficult to differentiate between our opinions and beliefs and birdladywhat we have been told that we should like and admire. It is even hard to realize that our thoughts and opinions may not be ours. We may think that we are how we want to be and that what we like is inherently the best. But, think about fashion for example. What we see as beautiful today was considered horrid a few years ago, and what was thought to be right be last century is totally out of our mind today.

 

That is just a very simplistic example, but it illustrates my point. We are somehow preprogrammed to like or dislike, and not just with fashion, as in the previous example; but, with a myriad aspects of life, such as religion, vocations, friends and many other likes and dislikes form our everyday life. Living in society influences us and changes the way we process thoughts and live our lives. Living in society influences the way we process thoughts

As humans, we are conditioned or preprogrammed by nature to seek acceptance by our group and to minimize unessential efforts. Our instincts are telling us that we may need that energy later. So we go with the flow, we make our life easier by doing as others do and by making others’ ideas our own.

Ideas, communication patterns, relationships, and even expectations are changing really fast nowadays. After years of submitting to group norms, being told to follow, what to buy, how to dress and what to eat, now we are told that different is good. We hear more and more that we don’t have to be like the rest, that we can take responsibility for our lives and make them better.

We are told to be ourselves, but what does that mean? Aren’t we ourselves? Well, the way it turns out oftentimes we are not. A big part of us is the product of our upbringing and our environment. We are influenced by our parents, education and society and it takes awareness and work to differentiate ourselves from all that.

In a previous post http://pacawellness.com/2014/06/25/remembering-to-forget/ I mentioned how we develop through our parent and elder’s influence from the time that we are born. At the time of birth we don’t have concepts or opinions, so we get them from our elders. That is actually a great way to start our lives, as we can spend most of our time exploring the world and learning many other things; our basic likes and dislikes are already cared for. It also adds to familial ties, we spend our early lives agreeing with our parents and siblings for the most part.

As infants we came in to this world with a very plastic brain, capable of recording even the most minute details, and to remember readily. We were potty trained, learn to walk, talk and eventually read and write, because the brain is primed to do this, really receptive and ready to store information.

In fact, we remember a lot from our childhood. We remember how to walk, talk and the social mores that we received. We have a harder time remembering explicit conscious memories than those that become a habit. The ones that go directly into our subconscious to be stored as automatic behavior, such as walking or using utensils to eat. At some point out limbic system gets a spurt of growth, and the memories stay, but they are somehow “misplaced”. Even though we remember the message we don’t remember the instance in which we acquired the knowledge.

Not many people remember being born, learning how to walk or even how to talk. It is all stored somewhere in the brain, as for the most part it is not needed. It may have been an evolutionary advantage to be able to forget some of those events, I really don’t know, but nature usually doesn’t work unless there are advantages to the changes. http://www.nbcnews.com/health/body-odd/brain-overload-explains-missing-childhood-memories-f6C10070729

Today’s adults having children are much more aware of the receptivity of children, the plasticity of their brains and how they change as they become adults, even though it is not totally clear why and how it occurs. Many 21st century parents are much more careful in how they refer to their children, what they condition them with and how education is influencing their child. They can help guide their children into their own minds, directing them to a higher consciousness. Many children nowadays are more aware, partly due to their parents and partly due to media; the options are endless in the world of Internet.

As children are naturally curious, they develop new ways of looking at things, evolving into beings that can make choices for themselves. Emotional and mindful evolution is a great thing for new generations.

Some of us are already grown up and are finding this awareness at a later date. We find out that much of what we were told was wrong, that we have been conditioned with bad habits, and fears stuck in our minds. Most of all, we have opinions about everything, that we might have never bothered reconsidering, as we assumed that they were ours. Regardless of what we learned as children, we keep on being influenced by society’s rules through our entire life.

But as time goes by, we are evolving and we are looking at things in different ways. Self-awareness is beautiful, a great personal discovery. It allows oneself to be the director of one’s own life, being in charge of our decisions, allowing us to think with less prejudice and fewer preconceived ideas. But it is also a lot of responsibility. When we discover our new found awareness, and our true self, we realize that we are in charge of our lives. Awareness comes with responsibility for oneself and others.

Through awareness we may realize that when we were nervous and there was nothing we could do about it, it might have just been an erroneous belief. We can see that we are really a lot more open to new foods than we thought we were. We can even realize that a bad moment doesn’t make for a bad day and that we are in charge of our emotions, we can be happy or sad, it is up to us.

Being conscious brings us the awareness that it is not the world happening to us, but us happening to the world. We don’t have excuses any more for bad moods or bad days or mishaps. We are in charge of the good times and the bad times.

The discovery that we have a lot more to say in our own life is very relieving, but at the same time is hard to assume that we are in charge. Being in charge of our lives makes us responsible for what happens to us. We don’t have anyone else to blame for shortcomings (what went wrong) and that can be hard.

The fact that no one is to blame means that we did it, and that we have to suffer the consequences. On the other hand, it also means that if we did it wrong we can do it right as well. Once we recognize that we are responsible we can try as many times as it will take to do it right. It also means that, when we do it right, it is us that made it happen, no one else can take the credit for our success.

Now we are aware, but changing habits is not that easy. The old time saying that “the truth will set you free” rings true in this instance, and acquiring awareness is a fabulous accomplishment, but it is only half of the work, “knowing is half the battle.”

One can take responsibility for oneself and make an effort to understand that most everything is an opinion and that very few things are set in stone.

Most important is to see life with different eyes, doing things in a different way, just to force oneself to see the other side of things. This can be as simple as eating with the non-dominant hand, changing the morning routine or the route taken to go home at night. This will challenge the brain and keep it alert, ready to perceive changes in the outside world and in our inner personal space.

One can challenge oneself and start a journal and look for patterns in behavior, analyzing what triggers moods and emotions. Highlight what went right. Consider how things may have turned out if you behaved differently. This may help you realize why you act the way you do.

Realizing that we can all be right although disagreeing, that we may be all looking at the same “truth” from different angles, and that reality is constructed based on personal experiences will help us realize that we can control our thoughts, our actions and ultimately our lives.

 

 

 

The Best Adventure

This is an adventure, the best adventure that anybody can imagine. I have had the opportunity to meet incredible people through my writing and exposure to social media.untidy desk

I have been writing on and off now for almost two years, something I never thought I would be able to do. I feel accomplished.

I have learned to relate to myself and to others in a different way. I have been using my intuition to be able to gauge where people are coming from and what they have to tell me, what can I learn from them. I am now able to express myself and I feel that I can inspire others through the written word. I sense myself maturing.

Gazing inside and being able to bring it all out, what is important, what is worth looking at, for the lessons and the messages. I have been able to strip myself of the drama and look at things for what they were, how they are. Being able to learn from my experiences is priceless.

It all started as a challenge. I wanted more from life and I had not been able to get it. I realized that I was too much in my head; I was over thinking it all. I decided to start a journal and let it develop. It was magical; I was able to see myself in perspective.

I had seen my heart crack, so many times, and I didn’t know what to do with it, so I had put it away. I am not someone to gloat in pain and misery, so I decided to forget about it. But I was not forgetting, I was just keeping it inside, hiding it from myself and others. For years, and more so after this entire ordeal started, I had been stressed and sad. Keeping a smile on my face and what I thought was a good attitude, but really undermining myself and my relationships. I was not able to channel my emotions, to let them flow. All the meditation in the world could not help me, as I could not open up and relax; I had refused to understand myself.

I had not allowed myself to really look in to the pain, in to the sorrow, the feeling of loss. I was sour for what had happened even though I had been trying to make the best of it. But writing brought to me the tool that I needed to recognize my feelings for what they were.

To start with writing was hard, painful. Too many things were coming out, things that I didn’t want to look at, things that had been hiding in the deepest corners of myself, my whole entire life. My insecurities, fears and shortcomings; my veiled anger, my self-numbing and sarcasm, where all in the white canvas. And I didn’t like it. I didn’t like what I saw. It was too raw. How was I to reveal myself like that, how was I to share all those feelings. They made me look bad, even to myself. I would get tears in my eyes and shaky hands, and I had to stop writing for a while and go take a walk, or leave it till the next day.

Although it was painful it was also liberating. I didn’t know why, but it was. To begin with, I though that may be I was being a masochist. All that pain for what? Nevertheless I wrote for moths, just pouring it all out. Somehow, even blind, I was getting something out of it.

After a while the writing tamed, I calmed down and my spirit started to find peace. I was finally able to write about my life and experiences. The truth, the real me was coming out. The drama had stayed behind, had been worn by the pressure of the pen over the paper. I was starting to understand myself. It was not so much that I was a better writer, but that I was a better person to myself. I was beginning to understand who I am, and what I am doing in this world.

Was it the writing? The way I see it, writing was a discipline that allowed my to look inside and look hard. It allowed my to see myself from an outsider’s point of view. It allowed me to pour my soul out and then go and revisit what I wrote, to organize my thoughts and review them.

Through all this process I was able to discover the real me, the one that suffered, but also the one that brought me to that suffering. Ultimately, it brought to light the woman that wants to live, leaving behind the pitiful survivor, that was always too concerned about fear to be able to live, and too scared to live to be able to thrive.

I don’t know that writing a blog is for everyone, that is a very personal decision, and we all have different paths. But writing, putting down on paper what is going on in your life, whether you want to journal for later review, or just scraping to be able to clarify your head, is a great discipline. It will bring light to your thoughts and to your mind. By putting your worries in a peace of paper or in a computer file, you will be able to hear yourself in the privacy of your own notebook, and you will be telling your brain that all the information is safely stored, so you won’t have to remember it any longer, or worry about it again.

For me, publishing was the thing to do. I have always been a reader, and have admired others’ recollections and exposure of their thoughts. Once I found myself, and found my story on the paper, I realized that I wanted to share my experience. Not the grueling moments or the despair, but the experience of living through hard times and overcoming, the lessons and understanding that this life circumstances brought to me. Above all, it brought me the sense of being alive, not just a survivor.

The truth is that I add garlic to most everything nowadays. I eat it roasted, sautéed, boiled, fermented and DSCN1425raw. I just love garlic. It is a wonderful, aromatic bulb with great culinary and medicinal value.

Garlic is loaded with phyto-nutrients that have proven benefits against cancer. One interesting fact about garlic is that its healing power is enhanced after it has been crushed, and it will increase further when left to sit for a few minutes before cooking or added to dressings. It takes some time its compounds to become allicin, a nutrient proven to reduce cholesterol and lower blood pressure. Garlic is rich in potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, and selenium, as well as vitamin C and B6.

The regular consumption of garlic can help cell metabolism and organ health. It is also cardio protective, vasodilator and a great anti-inflammatory. Garlic is antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal. It is an apothecary in delicious packaging.

This fabulous bulb can be used to prepare most every meal; in fact, it is present in the majority of cuisines in the world.

I love to add garlic to my stews and soups. The flavor and aroma of garlic really enhances breads and sauces. Roasted garlic is a great compliment to grilled meats and vegetables and I really enjoy it in my salads.

Since we are going towards the heat of the summer I would like to once again share a salad with you, in which I use raw and sautéed garlic to mix the caramelized and pungent flavors and complement the mixed greens and meats.

 

Warm brussel sprouts and buffalo ribeye salad

1 ½ cups of brussel sprouts (chopped)

1 cup lettuce (chopped)

½ cup arugula

½ cup dandelion (chopped)

½ cup of onion (sliced)

4 oz ribeye buffalo steak (buffalo can be substituted with beef)

2 tbsp coconut oil

2 tbsp olive oil

4-6 garlic cloves (chopped)

2 tsp rosemary (chopped)

1 tsp cilantro (chopped)

Salt to taste

 

-Preparation

Steam the brussel sprouts and set aside

Cook the steak to your desired temperature in a pan (or grill, if you prefer), with the coconut oil. Set aside.

Place the onion and half of the garlic cloves in the same pan that you cooked the steak. Cook at a low temperature. Once the onion and garlic are lightly brown, add the steamed brussel sprouts and turn for a few of minutes, just enough for the vegetables to get the garlic and onion oil through it.

In a salad bowl, place the lettuce, arugula and dandelion, add the steak, brussel sprouts, onion and garlic, still hot from the pan.

-Dressing

Mix garlic, cilantro, rosemary and olive oil in a mortar and crush it together. Adding coarse salt helps the process, just as much as you would like for your salad. Once all the dressing ingredients are processed to the desired consistency, add to the salad bowl.

Your warm salad is ready to be served

Remembering to Forget

Many of us grew up with misconceptions and misunderstandings that led to confusion and a lack of childgraffiticlarity concerning our values.

Our parents didn’t know better; they gave us the best they could.

They educated us with the tools that they knew, tools that they believed would make for success; the very same tools that their parents used with them. History repeats itself. They told us not to lie, to be honest and caring and that hard work pays. Their goal was for us to be part of a society in which they believed; they wanted us to be successful.

Parental education is a precious gift, one of selfless dedication in the best cases, and something for which to be grateful.
However, it was not necessarily the most efficient or accurate education. They taught us to conform to a society that had passed; they educated us to live in their world.

They also passed on to us their fears, traumas and shortcomings. They unconsciously passed the buck. Many people have to recover from childhood, no matter how loving their parents.

Our upbringing is greatly influenced by matrilineal teaching, in which the mother, grandmother, great grandmother and so on, teaches the newest generation the family’s values, mores, and folklore goes back to the beginning of time.

Very little has changed in the way that children were educated, and although some families are more liberal, and some are more totalitarian, people fall into the same familial patterns.

Part of the issue is a lack of knowledge and understanding of thehuman brain.

From birth until we are about 14 years old, but particularly till the age of 7 or 8, our brains are very impressionable. As infants, humans believe everything that they are told, and do not have a critical mind.

The brain at the time of birth is a clean slate that will have to be populated with ideas and opinions as the child develops. Children will start forming their own opinions at the age of 8, but the beliefs that were planted on their brains from the time of birth, may remain with them for their entire lifetime.

In the preverbal child, communication occurs through words, emotional tone, and actions. These important early impressions can remain as law in the ‘child mind’ for a lifetime and become the base of one’s own critical thinking skills’ foundation.

Infants and children use their elders as egos; believing whatever the elders say or do is the truth, and this trait remains until critical thinking develops. They perceive adults as authority figures that will give clues about feelings, thoughts, and survival techniques.

If one has supportive parents that freely offer praise one grows up to be confident. Inversely, if one’s parents push for better behaviors and actions, one may grow up to be a perfectionist. If a child is constantly told how disappointing, lonely, and sad life is, the child will perceive life as an empty, disappointing experience.

Previous generations of parents and educators had no idea about the brain’s inner workings, and they had little concern for children’s emotional and spiritual intelligence. It was understood that children learn more quickly than adults, and education was focused on practical knowledge. No concern was given to the development of emotional or spiritual intelligence, children were considered to either “have it or not”

Some people were born with a star, with charisma or with a cloud over their heads. Some people were judged to be “happy go lucky” or “jinxed”. But nobody is born that way. We are all a product of our environment, the family we were born in to and the teachers and peers we had. How our experiences developed and how we were encouraged or discouraged to go through life.

We may think that much of what we do is natural or intuitive, and some is, but much of what we “just know” comes from what we have seen others doing. From eating certain foods, to political and social opinions as well as religion and personal likes, all of is acquired knowledge, nurtured as opposed to natural or inherited. We may just think that we are “a nervous person” or “good at math”. There maybe some genetic background in all this, but scientists are finding out that much of our beliefs about the world and about ourselves are learned from others, and we spend a lifetime reinforcing those believes until they become our reality. Immovable truth. We also learn fear and anxiety, which again maybe useful, but in many cases we learn to just be afraid. What is fear any way? Is fear worth our time? Can we differentiate between being respectful and aware of danger, being cautious and being concerned, too concerned, to the point that we are afraid all the time?

As we are seeing we learn many useful things that help us live in this world. But we also learn a lot of bad habits, we learn about other’s traumas and misunderstandings, making them our own. We are led to believe that that is the way to live, the way to behave. As we don’t have a recollection of when we learned it or from whom, we turn learned opinions in to deep beliefs. This can be very distracting and damaging to relationships with ourselves and others.

We may not like some people just because our parents, teachers or childhood friends were wary of them, or because they were raised under circumstances that warranted ignorance about circumstances or groups of people.

What do we do with all this? How do we differentiate between what is really helpful to us and what is just boycotting and undermining our possibilities? Is all this saving us from danger or actually stopping us from being successful? Can we still aspire to have happy and fulfilling relationships?

Looking at our emotions helps.Untitled 2

Following our instincts may bring some light in to this chaos. Modern men and women are so out of touch with their bodies and their true selves, often assuming that their thoughts are Truth. In many instances Ideology, religion nationality, or majority rule has replaced individual thought.

We are constantly evolving and what was good yesterday may not be good today. Our environment has changed and we, as society, are developing through science and experience, we move forward. We are evolving in our society and our values, indeed, in the evolution of our minds.

We are coming to the awareness of how important it is to give children respect and a fair chance, to protect them and allow them to thrive. Children need to learn about love and awareness. There is no need to sacrifice practical living skills for the development of a child into a whole human being.

We are learning that stable, confident, loving people will be very successful in most areas of their life. This is evidence of the learning evolution.

But what do we do with all the beliefs that we have, that could be shortchanging us in life?

We can learn to forget. We can remember to forget and get over ourselves. Most of our deep-rooted beliefs are directly attached to our egos.

By personal experience I am learning that is mostly wrong to try to be right. Everyone is right in the sense that one can be right while otherswith a different opinion can be right as well.

The understanding that nothing is written in stone, that all is an opinion lead one to see things more clearly, finding deep truth in Self and Other.

Leniency, loving actions and compassion wins the day.

A wondrous herb, it has been used for centuries for medicinal and culinary purposes.rosemarysalad

It is useful for stimulating the immune system, increasing circulation, and improving digestion, used to garnish lamb and other red meats. Rosemary helps relief gall bladder and liver congestion, increases the appetite and counteracts the damage done by meat charring in our health. It removes the carcinogenic substances produced by cooking the meat at high temperature. It is great to add in to all your dishes whenever you barbecue, so popular in the summer. It is also used to prevent gout, high blood pressure and aids headache relief.

Rosemary is delicious in salads and meat dishes alike; it has a very unique pine-like fragrance that mixes with other aromas, while savoring your dish. It also helps remove the greasy feeling after a heavy meal.

I love to add it to my stews, it makes them lighter to digest, and it is great aid in my salads in the summer. Today I like to share with you a great salad, easy to make, very nutritious and healthy, boosted with rosemary to make sure that the meat I eat is as healthy as it can be. The sweetness of the chicken and the bitterness of the greens mix wonderfully with the Rosemary, you may want to give it a try.

Endive and chicken salad with rosemary

1-2 grilled chicken thigh

1 cup endive (chopped)

4-5 dandelion leaves (chopped)

1 cup orange-fleshed sweet potato (cubed small)

1 tsp parsley (chopped)

2 tsp rosemary (chopped)

2 cloves of garlic

2 tbsp olive oil

 

Place greens, sweet potato and chicken in a salad bowl. Mix garlic, parsley, rosemary and olive oil in a mortar and crush it together. Adding coarse salt helps the process, just as much as you would like for your salad. Once all the dressing ingredients are processed to the desired consistency , add to the salad bowl as dressing. Mix it well. Your deliciously aromatic salad can be served

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