New Chinese Dietary Guidelines To Cut Meat Consumption By Half, Slashing Carbon Emissions

This is not the only problem here, as overall health continues to decline from diets that are based largely around meat, causing heart disease, diabetes, and cancer to be at an all-time high. Governments are starting to note the detrimental effects this is causing people and the planet. Because of this, new initiatives are popping up everywhere that aim to reverse or at least slow down this growing problem.

 The U.K. government has recommended citizens consume less dairy, and the Netherlands releaseda new set of dietary guidelines suggesting citizens consume less meat due to sustainability and environmental concerns. Even the U.S. has issued a federal report outlining the benefits of adopting a plant-based diet for health and environmental concerns.

Recently, a monumental announcement has been made: the Chinese government released a new set of dietary guidelines that, if followed, have the potential to see the overall consumption of meat in the country drop by a whopping 50%.

The Chinese Ministry of Health (the government entity responsible for the health guidelines and health-related laws and regulations) is advising the citizens to limit meat intake to only 200 grams per day. At this time, the current consumption of meat and eggs in China is on average 300 grams per day.

The new guidelines were developed by the Chinese Nutrition Society with a goal of reducing obesity rates among its citizens. This couldn’t have come at a better time, considering a recent study found that obesity and other diseases related to diet have been growing in the country, and this could potentially be related to the increasing consumption of meat and dairy products.

How Will This Help?

These new guidelines can definitely benefit public health, but because the population of China is so large, a report from WildAid indicated that if these guidelines are taken seriously by the Chinese population, they would have the potential to reduce China’s greenhouse gas emissions related to meat consumption by an amount that is equal to 1.5% of all global emissions.

It is important that this report has been released, as meat and dairy consumption have been on the rise in rapidly developing countries like China and India. Still, in the U.S. the average amount of meat consumed daily is more than China, at around 384 grams a day. There is hope, however, as Americans are generally eating less meat: 30% are opting out of meat for every meal more frequently and the overall consumption of meat in America has dropped by around one third since the 1970s.

Because China’s population is currently around 1.38 billion, the implications of their new dietary guidelines are huge.

What Most People Are Unaware Of

The production of meat has a tremendous cost on the planet. 45% of the Earth’s landmass is occupied by animal agriculture, and if that wasn’t bad enough, another 33% is used to grow the feed for animal livestock. What’s baffling about this information is that it is still not addressed during the UN climate talks, even though a 2006 report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization stated that the livestock business generates more greenhouse gas emissions than all forms of transportation combined.

In a clip from the increasingly popular documentary, Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret, (available on Netflix) Dr. Richard Oppenlander, environmental researcher and author of Comfortably Unawarehad this to say:

 “My calculations are that, without using any gas, or oil, or fuel ever again, from this day forward, that we would still exceed our maximum carbon equivalent greenhouse gas emissions…by the year 2030, without the electricity sector or energy sector even factoring into the equation. All simply by raising and eating livestock.”

Yet the main concern is to carpool more, drive less, and use hybrid vehicles, all of which can certainly help, but it won’t help nearly as much as if everyone simply consumed less meat.

So, How Can You Help?

Well, there is the obvious choice that was mentioned above: you could simply choose to consume less meat. I don’t want to tell you to go strict vegetarian or vegan, but something as simple as just consuming less meat can have tremendous benefits for the planet, and your health. There is an initiative called Meatless Mondays that encourages people and families to consider having one meat-free day a week. This is something that no doubt everyone is capable of, and it’s very likely you can even take it farther than this, but it is a great way to get your feet wet, and step into a new dietary realm.

Aside from all of the amazing new advancements with plant-based alternatives to meat and other animal products, there are also many delicious, unique, and simple vegetarian recipes just waiting for you to try out. Sacrificing meat more often can lead to greater health for you, less torture overall to the factory farmed animals, and is likely to lower greenhouse gas emissions and thus potentially save the planet. What have you got to lose?

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Your Cells Are Listening: How Talking To Your Body Can Help You Heal

“Every part of your body has its own consciousness or its own soul.” These transformative words, spoken by indigenous medicine women, began my journey within to discover the extraordinary healing capacity of the human body.

When this perspective was introduced to me, I was suffering from a severe chronic pain disorder. I suddenly imagined incorporating this concept into my meditation routine. I thought, Can my body hear me…can I talk to it to gain its cooperation in healing this condition?

That night, after reaching a state of deep calm through meditation, I inwardly engaged my body in a heartfelt conversation, with hope, but having no idea what to expect. After about one hour of this focused communication, something amazing happened. My tissues began to respond. Connective tissue pulled and stretched apart layers of scar tissue. Nerves fired and my calf muscles began to perform flexion and extension exercises independently of my conscious control. As this response continued, one of my calf muscles that had become paralyzed by the neuropathic condition — diagnosed as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy — came back to life as electric-like jolts shot through the area.

My heart pounded as I realized that the path to my freedom from this condition had finally begun. With a background in acupuncture and Oriental medicine, I knew too well how prevalent chronic pain is in this country and I wondered what the implications of this phenomenon could mean to so many others who were suffering. As I continued to make progress with my condition, I organized my approach into a system that I could teach to clients and shifted my professional focus to hypnotherapy.

When instructing my clients, I explain that a regular meditation practice is necessary to train the brain to enter alpha and theta brain wave states. While in these states, communication between the conscious mind and the physical body is dramatically enhanced. I have found that when communicating, there are three key steps to gaining the cooperation of the body:

Approach your body with genuine compassion, understanding that it is made up of conscious cells who experience emotions.
Build trust by engaging your body in mental conversations about your desire for the two of you to cooperate and overcome the ailment.
Allow changes in the conversation by using different thoughts and words that elicit spontaneous elevated emotions.
From my experience, the above guidelines are necessary to achieve dynamic healing responses in the body. I recently came across a very similar set of factors that were discovered by researcher Cleve Backster, who spent 36 years studying biocommunication in plant, animal and human cells. He referred to these factors as real intent, attunement, and spontaneity.

Backster, formerly an interrogation specialist for the CIA, wrote about the defining moment which led him to his real work in this world, in his book Primary Perception. This moment occurred one February morning in 1966 when he decided to monitor the Dracaena plant in his lab utilizing polygraph equipment. He attached the electrodes to a leaf and began to think about ways that he might induce a surge in electrical activity in the plant. In humans this surge in electrical activity is associated with intense emotions. He suddenly imagined burning the electroded leaf. The same instant this idea entered his mind, the polygraph pen shot to the top of the chart showing an extreme reaction on the part of the plant. Amazed, he walked to his secretary’s desk to retrieve a set of matches while pondering the possibility that this plant was somehow detecting the force of human intention.

When he returned with the matches, the plant was still showing the same high level reaction which would interfere with tracking additional changes on the chart. Backster decided to “remove the threat” by returning the matches to the desk. At this point, the chart displayed a downward trend as the plant apparently began to calm down. When Backster attempted to repeat the same results by pretending that he was going to burn the plant, there was no reaction. The plant seemed to sense the difference between real and artificial intent. He eventually discovered that plants become attuned to their primary care takers, responding to both their positive and negative emotions and to their return after being away for a time. Chart findings also showed that plants prioritize the emotions of their primary care takers over the emotions of others nearby.

Backster later expanded his research to include testing human cells for signs of consciousness. He collected white blood cells from human donors, electroded them in a test tube and then recorded the cells’ reactions as the donors experienced different emotional states. He found that spontaneous emotions were necessary in order to elicit an electrical reaction in the cells. For instance, if a donor forced herself to feel an emotion, the cells would not respond. However, when she received a distressing phone call from her daughter, the cells reacted significantly.

He noted that distance seemed to be irrelevant in these experiments. For example, a donor left his electroded cells behind in the lab, then kept a detailed log of any stressful emotions experienced on his trip home to another state, such as missing a turn on the freeway, standing in a long line at the airport, and the take-off of his plane. Later, his logged incidents compared with the chart recording showed strong correlations between the timing of the stressful events and the electrical reactions in his cells. The chart became quiet again when he arrived home and went to sleep.

These experiments were conducted while using equipment that screened out electromagnetic radiation — the usual energies used for information transmission. The cells behaved as if the screens weren’t there, suggesting that this communication is carried by a field still unidentified by conventional science. Some scientists believe that the further development of quantum physics may help guide us to understand this field that communicates emotional intent between living things. Quantum Entanglement is a process where two particles of matter which have interacted with each other, still behave as if they are connected after being separated by many miles. When an energetic change is made to the properties (position, momentum and rotational spin) of one of the particles, the properties of the other distant particle will change at the same instant.

This scientific phenomenon and the research of Cleve Backster, point to the Eastern concept of oneness — the view that all of nature is interdependent. Ancient cultures understood this interconnection as a living universal energy field that sustains life while guiding the evolution of consciousness throughout the universe. The meditation techniques involved in my practice bring the mind into attunement with this field. Energy from this field is then focused into a physical healing event through clear intention — delivered by means of a conversation that evokes spontaneous emotions — and attunes the physical body to the conscious mind. This method which I call Antara (Sanskrit for within), enables one to experience the raw creative healing ability generated by an alliance of the mind and body with this living universal energy field.

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3 Transformational Processes Within the Spiritual Growth

There are three transformational processes within the evolution of the Consciousness. These are, in fact, three levels of development.

At these different levels of development the state and functions of the Consciousness show entirely different signs.

If we are aware of these characteristic signs, we may easily recognize what state of development of the Consciousness we are in: ordinary Consciousness, awakening or the level of complete freedom.

The Level of Ordinary Consciousness

This is the lowest level of the evolutional process of the Consciousness. Ordinary Consciousness is rooted in, and feeds on, past times. The present moment is less important for it, it is only a gateway leading to a future we long for. Future is nothing but an improved and beautified version of the past, a future in which we will be successful in the all the things in which we have failed in the past. For ordinary consciousness, only past and future exist, it lives in those and feeds on those.

In that state of Consciousness the appreciation and opinion of others are very important for us. We want to meet the expectation directed at us, we are pleased to play the social roles that are dictated by our community. We thrive to be good parents, a good husband or wife, useful employees and law abiding citizens. Our willingness to play these roles is caused by our complete identification with those roles. Our entire indentity is based upon those roles. We do not look for true answers to the question ”Who am I?;” we are content to be told that by others.

In the state of ordinary Consciousness, the dominant character of our life is the Ego; we wish to make it larger, brighter and more individual. That is why we are learning, gathering knowledge from others, until the end of our life, in the belief that we will thus become more and more intelligent. Still, we become less and less self-confident, and we do not have enough courage to face the challenges of life on our own. We therefore need a guide, a support. We do not long for complete freedom, we follow pre-determined rules and respect authority.

The Level of Awakening

The advent of that level is indicated by moments in our life when we wake up from our ordinary life, and recognize the reality that we in fact live in the captivity of our thoughts, emotions and social roles. Under the effect of those moments, a profound desire for freedom and truth arises in us. We then begin to search for the paths leading to the desired freedom. We intend to become more conscious and alert, to find the truth for ourselves about who we are and what our mission in the world is.

We no longer want to obey the old rules, old leaders, traditions and authorities. We no longer accept ready-made, second-hand theories and explanations. We are not ready to depend on the opinion of others any more. Instead, we want to acquire knowledge and experience from the world for ourselves. We take pleasure in discovering new things, and we embark on new journeys without fear.

It is at that level that real self-control is created in us. This self-control is not rooted in fear of punishment or hope of reward. Many people are able to develop a high degree of self-control in the fear of Hell or the hope of Heaven, or merely because they want to work together with something they regard as larger than themselves. That kind self-control will, however, only produce temporary results, since it is the based upon suppression. Its maintenance requires constant effort from us. If, for some reason, the degree of effort declines, the suppressed desires, anger and emotions burst out, causing us even more suffering.

Real self-control is not born in us out of suppression, but out of the recognition and understanding of the meaning of Life. That kind of self-control will liberate our Consciousness from the state of identification with the world of Shapes and Forms. It will create a space between us and the functions of the Mind, and in that space the ability of seeing and understanding will be born.

Real self-control does not have any rules, and there is nobody around to tell us how to do that. Everybody must create that self-control in themselves without any external pressure, putting aside all kinds of authorities, and using their own personal experience. Everything created for us by others is transitory, but what we create for ourselves will be lasting and permanent. Everybody must find himself or herself what he or she is looking for.

The Level of Complete Freedom

This is the highest peak in the evolution of the Consciousness. The most important characteristic feature of this level is alertness, the acceptance of the present moment, an openness to the existence, and a celebration of life.

In that state of alert Consciousness an entirely new dimension of existence opens up for us, showing us Existence from a completely new perspective. The unity behind the controversies is revealed in front of our eyes, and we no longer insist on looking on the sunny side of life, as we are able to discover beauty on the dark side, too.

We accept life as it is, and it is not done under pressure, since that acceptance is the result of our complete freedom. The freedom is, in turn, a fruit of our escape from the world of Shapes and Forms. We have understood and experienced the process of awakening. The time has come for us to take control over our mind whenever it is required by the circumstances. When we do not need the work of the mind directly, let us give it some rest.

Everything will be quiet and peaceful in us. We are beyond all good and evil, we are a mere Consciousness that does not analyse or judge, only contemplates. We realize that the same contemplating soul lives in everybody, so the differences between human beings are only superficial, and deep inside we are all the same. Experiencing that unity will bring us the perfect joy of Existence.

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Addicted To Being In The Moment

Everyone agrees it’s important to live in the moment, but the problem is how. When people are not in the moment, they’re not there to know that they’re not there, therefore overriding the distraction reflex and awakening to the present takes intentionality and practice.

Living in the moment involves a profound paradox: You can’t pursue it for its benefits. That’s because the expectation of reward launches a future-oriented mindset, which subverts the entire process. Instead, you just have to trust that the rewards will come. There are many paths to mindfulness—and at the core of each is a paradox. Ironically, letting go of what you want is the only way to get it.

Too often, the beautiful moments of life are drowned out by a cacophony of self-consciousness and anxiety. So what can we do to hush the buzzing mind?

confused-woman

You Are Not Your Thoughts

Life unfolds in the present. But so often, we let the present slip away, allowing time to rush past unobserved and unseized, and squandering the precious seconds of our lives as we worry about the future and ruminate about what’s past. “We’re living in a world that contributes in a major way to mental fragmentation, disintegration, distraction, decoherence,” says Buddhist scholar B. Alan Wallace. We’re always doing something, and we allow little time to practice stillness and calm, which is something we should also dedicate more time into.

When we’re at work, we fantasize about being at home or on vacation; on vacation, we worry about the work piling up on our desks. We dwell on intrusive memories of the past or fret about what may or may not happen in the future. We don’t appreciate the living present because our “monkey minds” jump from thought to thought like monkeys swinging from tree to tree.

Most of us don’t undertake our thoughts in awareness. Rather, our thoughts control us. “Ordinary thoughts course through our mind like a deafening waterfall,” writes Jon Kabat-Zinn, the biomedical scientist who introduced meditation into mainstream medicine. In order to feel more in control of our minds and our lives, to find the sense of balance that eludes us, we need to step out of this current, to pause, and, as Kabat-Zinn puts it, to “rest in stillness—to stop doing and focus on just being.” – To concentrate on the sensations of our body rather than on emotions.

Living in the moment—also called mindfulness—is a state of active, open, intentional attention on the present. When you become mindful, you realize that you are not your thoughts; you become an observer of your thoughts from moment to moment without judging them. Mindfulness involves being with your thoughts as they are, neither grasping at them nor pushing them away. Instead of letting your life go by without living it, you awaken to experience.

Cultivating a nonjudgmental awareness of the present bestows a host of benefits. Mindfulness reduces stress, boosts immune functioning, reduces chronic pain, lowers blood pressure, and helps patients cope with cancer. By alleviating stress, spending a few minutes a day actively focusing on living in the moment reduces the risk of heart disease. Mindfulness may even slow the progression of HIV. It’s alarming how stress can lead to so many physical illnesses.

Mindful people are happier, more exuberant, more empathetic, and more secure. They have higher self-esteem and are more accepting of their own weaknesses. Anchoring awareness in the here and now reduces the kinds of impulsivity and reactivity that underlie depression, binge eating, and attention problems. Mindful people can also hear negative feedback without feeling threatened. They fight less with their romantic partners and are more accommodating and less defensive. As a result, mindful couples have more satisfying relationships.

Mindfulness is at the root of Buddhism, Taoism, and many Native-American traditions, not to mention yoga.

Here are a few tricks to help you along:

1: To improve your performance, stop thinking about it

That’s the first paradox of living in the moment: Thinking too hard about what you’re doing actually makes you do worse. If you’re in a situation that makes you anxious—giving a speech, introducing yourself to a stranger, dancing—focusing on your anxiety tends to heighten it.
“Focus less on what’s going on in your mind and more on what’s going on in the room, less on your mental chatter and more on yourself as part of something.” To be most myself, I need to focus on things outside myself, like the music or the people around me. Mindfulness blurs the line between self and others. When people are mindful, they’re more likely to experience themselves as part of humanity, as part of a greater universe. That’s why highly mindful people such as Buddhist monks talk about being at “one with everything.”

2: To avoid worrying about the future, focus on savoring the present

Often, we’re so trapped in thoughts of the future or the past that we forget to experience, let alone enjoy, what’s happening right now. We sip coffee and think, “This is not as good as what I had last week.” We eat a cookie and think, “I hope I don’t run out of cookies.”
Instead, relish or luxuriate in whatever you’re doing at the present moment—what psychologists call savoring. This could be while you’re eating a pastry, taking a shower, or basking in the sun. You could be savoring a success or savoring music.”

When subjects in a study took a few minutes each day to actively savor something they usually hurried through, like eating a meal, drinking a cup of tea, walking to the bus, they began experiencing more joy, happiness, and other positive emotions, and fewer depressive symptoms.

Why does living in the moment make people happier? Because most negative thoughts concern the past or the future. As Mark Twain said, “I have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.” The hallmark of depression and anxiety is catastrophizing—worrying about something that hasn’t happened yet and might not happen at all. Worry, by its very nature, means thinking about the future—and if you hoist yourself into awareness of the present moment, worrying melts away. Savoring forces you into the present, so you can’t worry about things that aren’t there.

3: If you want a future with your significant other, inhabit the present (breathe)

How does being in the moment make you less aggressive? Mindfulness decreases ego involvement. Focusing on the present reboots your mind so you can respond thoughtfully rather than automatically.

Of course, during a flare-up with your significant other it’s rarely practical to duck out and savor a raisin. But there’s a simple exercise you can do anywhere, anytime to induce mindfulness: Breathe. There’s no better way to bring yourself into the present moment than to focus on your breathing. Because you’re placing your awareness on what’s happening right now, you propel yourself powerfully into the present moment. For many, focusing on the breath is the preferred method of orienting themselves to the now—not because the breath has some magical property, but because it’s always there with you.

4: To make the most of time, lose track of it (flow)

Perhaps the most complete way of living in the moment is the state of total absorption psychologists call flow. Flow occurs when you’re so engrossed in a task that you lose track of everything else around you. Flow embodies an apparent paradox: How can you be living in the moment if you’re not even aware of the moment? The depth of engagement absorbs you powerfully, keeping attention so focused that distractions cannot penetrate. You focus so intensely on what you’re doing that you’re unaware of the passage of time. Hours can pass without you noticing.

Flow is an elusive state. As with romance or sleep, you can’t just will yourself into it—all you can do is set the stage, creating the optimal conditions for it to occur.

The first requirement for flow is to set a goal that’s challenging but not unattainable—something you have to marshal your resources and stretch yourself to achieve. The task should be matched to your ability level—not so difficult that you’ll feel stressed, but not so easy that you’ll get bored. In flow, you’re firing on all cylinders to rise to a challenge.

To set the stage for flow, goals need to be clearly defined so that you always know your next step. It could be playing the next bar in a scroll of music, or finding the next foothold if you’re a rock climber, or turning the page if you’re reading a good novel.

You also need to set up the task in such a way that you receive direct and immediate feedback; with your successes and failures apparent, you can seamlessly adjust your behavior. A climber on the mountain knows immediately if his foothold is secure; a pianist knows instantly when she’s played the wrong note.

As your attentional focus narrows, self-consciousness evaporates. You feel as if your awareness merges with the action you’re performing. You feel a sense of personal mastery over the situation, and the activity is so intrinsically rewarding that although the task may be difficult, action feels effortless. This is even more true when you’re engaged in something like your own personal and unique natural talent to create something you love.

5: If something is bothering you, move toward it rather than away from it (acceptance)

The problem is we have not just primary emotions but also secondary ones—emotions about other emotions. We get stressed out and then think, “I wish I weren’t so stressed out.” The primary emotion is stress over your workload. The secondary emotion is feeling, “I hate being stressed.”

It doesn’t have to be this way. The solution is acceptance—letting the emotion be there. That is, being open to the way things are in each moment without trying to manipulate or change the experience—without judging it, clinging to it, or pushing it away. The present moment can only be as it is. Trying to change it only frustrates and exhausts you. Acceptance relieves you of this needless extra suffering.

Suppose you’ve just broken up with your girlfriend or boyfriend; you’re heartbroken, overwhelmed by feelings of sadness and longing. You could try to fight these feelings, essentially saying, “I hate feeling this way; I need to make this feeling go away.” But by focusing on the pain—being sad about being sad—you only prolong the sadness. You do yourself a favor by accepting your feelings, saying instead, “I’ve just had a breakup. Feelings of loss are normal and natural. It’s OK for me to feel this way.”

Acceptance of an unpleasant state doesn’t mean you don’t have goals for the future. It just means you accept that certain things are beyond your control. The sadness, stress, pain, or anger is there whether you like it or not. Better to embrace the feeling as it is.

Nor does acceptance mean you have to like what’s happening. “Acceptance of the present moment has nothing to do with resignation,” writes Kabat-Zinn. “Acceptance doesn’t tell you what to do. What happens next, what you choose to do; that has to come out of your understanding of this moment.”

If you feel anxiety, for instance, you can accept the feeling, label it as anxiety—then direct your attention to something else instead, observing your thoughts, perceptions, and emotions go through your mind without getting involved. Thoughts are just thoughts. You don’t have to believe them and you don’t have to do what they say.

6: Know that you don’t know (engagement)

You’ve probably had the experience of driving along a highway only to suddenly realize you have no memory or awareness of the previous 15 minutes. Maybe you even missed your exit. You just zoned out; you were somewhere else, and it’s as if you’ve suddenly woken up at the wheel. Or maybe it happens when you’re reading a book: “I know I just read that page, but I have no idea what it said.”

These autopilot moments are what can be called mindlessness—times when you’re so lost in your thoughts (not actions) that you aren’t aware of your present experience. As a result, life passes you by without registering on you. The best way to avoid such blackouts, is to develop the habit of always noticing new things in whatever situation you’re in. That process creates engagement with the present moment and releases a cascade of other benefits. Noticing new things puts you emphatically in the here and now.

We become mindless, because once we think we know something, we stop paying attention to it. We go about our morning commute in a haze because we’ve trod the same route a hundred times before. But if we see the world with fresh eyes, we realize almost everything is different each time—the pattern of light on the buildings, the faces of the people, even the sensations and feelings we experience along the way. Noticing imbues each moment with a new, fresh quality. Some people have termed this “beginner’s mind.”

Orchestra musicians who are instructed to make their performance new in subtle ways not only enjoy themselves more but audiences actually prefer those performances. When we’re there at the moment, making it new, it leaves an imprint in the music we play, the things we write, the art we create, in everything we do. Once you recognize that you don’t know the things you’ve always taken for granted, you set out of the house quite differently. It becomes an adventure in noticing—and the more you notice, the more you see and the more excitement you feel.

One of my latest experiences was a curious one. I was in the flow of the moment whilst listening to a song I created years ago and that I also had already listened many times before, but suddenly I saw how there was something special about this moment, as if I was seeing my past self that had sent a message to the future me. The message was simply about me now being aware for the first time of the intricacies of the song, something that I’ve never listened in the same way before, as if I was yet not ready for it even though it was a past creation. Does this make sense? Well, if it doesn’t it doesn’t matter anyway, because the sensation was powerful.

Mind-full-or-mindful

“So mindfulness is the only intentional, systematic activity that is not about trying to improve yourself or get anywhere else”, explains Kabat-Zinn. “It is simply a matter of realizing where you already are.”

You can become mindful at any moment just by paying attention to your immediate experience. You can do it right now. What’s happening this instant? Think of yourself as an eternal witness, and just observe the moment. What do you see, hear, smell? It doesn’t matter how it feels—pleasant or unpleasant, good or bad—you roll with it because it’s what’s present; you’re not judging it. And if you notice your mind wandering, bring yourself back. Just say to yourself, “Now. Now. Now.”

Here’s the most fundamental paradox of all: Mindfulness isn’t a goal, because goals are about the future, but you do have to set the intention of paying attention to what’s happening at the present moment. As you read the words printed on this page, as your eyes distinguish the black squiggles on white paper, as you feel gravity anchoring you to the planet, wake up. Become aware of being alive. And breathe. As you draw your next breath, focus on the rise of your abdomen on the in-breath, the stream of heat through your nostrils on the out-breath. If you’re aware of that feeling right now, as you’re reading this, you’re living in the moment. Nothing happens next. It’s not a destination. This is it. You’re already there.

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31 Uses for Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is incredibly popular, and for good reason.

It offers many health benefits, has a delicate taste and is widely available.

It’s also an extremely versatile oil with a number of uses you may not be aware of.

Here are 31 clever uses for coconut oil.

1. Protection From Sun

Coconut oil may protect your skin from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays, which can cause wrinkling, brown spots and raise your risk of skin cancer.

In fact, one study found that it blocks about 20% of the sun’s UV rays (1).

However, keep in mind that it doesn’t provide the same amount of protection as conventional sunscreen, which blocks about 90% of UV rays.

Another study estimated that coconut oil has a sun protection factor (SPF) of 7, which is still lower than the minimum recommended in some countries (2).

2. Increase Your Metabolism

Coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). These are fatty acids that are quickly absorbed and can increase the amount of calories you burn (3).

Controlled studies have shown that MCTs can significantly boost your metabolic rate, at least temporarily (4, 5).

One study found that, on average, 15–30 grams of MCTs increased calorie expenditure by around 120 calories over a 24-hour period (6).

3. Cook Safely at High Temperatures

Bowl of Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has a very high saturated fat content. In fact, about 87% of its fat is saturated (7).

This feature makes it one of the best fats for high-heat cooking, including frying.

Saturated fats retain their structure when heated to high temperatures, unlike the polyunsaturated fatty acids found in vegetable oils.

Oils such as corn and safflower are converted into toxic compounds when heated. These may have harmful effects on health (8).

There is no reason to fear the saturated fats in coconut oil. New studies show that they have no link to heart disease risk.

4. Improve Your Dental Health

Coconut oil can be a powerful weapon against bacteria, including Streptococcus mutans. This is the bacteria in the mouth that causes dental plaque, tooth decay and gum disease.

In one study, swishing with coconut oil for 10 minutes (known as oil pulling) reduced these bacteria as effectively as rinsing with an antiseptic mouthwash (9).

In another study, swishing daily with coconut oil significantly reduced inflammation and plaque in teenagers with gingivitis (inflamed gums) (10).

5. Relieve Skin Irritation and Eczema

Research shows that coconut oil improves dermatitis and other skin disorders at least as well as mineral oil and other conventional moisturizers (11, 12, 13).

In a study of children with eczema, 47% of those treated with coconut oil had major improvements (13).

6. Improve Brain Function

A Jar of Coconut Oil and a Teaspoon

The MCTs in coconut oil are broken down by the liver and turned into ketones, which can act as an alternative energy source for the brain (14).

Several studies have found MCTs to have impressive benefits for brain disorders, including epilepsy and Alzheimer’s (15, 16, 17).

Some researchers recommend using coconut oil as a source of MCTs to increase the production of ketones (14).

7. Make Healthy Mayonnaise

Commercial mayonnaise often contains soybean oil, added sugar and other unhealthy ingredients.

However, it’s easy to make your own mayo with much healthier ingredients, including coconut oil or olive oil.

Recipe number two on this list uses coconut oil as one of the fats for a healthy homemade mayonnaise.

8. Moisturize Your Skin

Coconut oil makes a wonderful moisturizer for your legs, arms and elbows.

You can use it on your face as well, although this isn’t recommended for those with very oily skin.

It can also help repair cracked heels. Simply apply a thin coat to your heels at bedtime, put on socks and continue on a nightly basis until your heels are smooth.

Coconuts, Soap and Cream on a Wooden Table

9. Fight Infections

Virgin coconut oil has strong antibacterial properties that can help treat infections.

One study found that it helped stop the growth of the intestinal bacteria Clostridium difficile, commonly known as “C. diff,” which causes severe diarrhea (18).

It also appears to fight several other bacteria and yeasts — an effect generally attributed to lauric acid, the main fatty acid in coconut oil (19).

10. Increase Your HDL Cholesterol

Coconut oil has been shown to raise cholesterol levels in some people.

However, its strongest and most consistent effect is an increase in HDL cholesterol, which is known as the “good” cholesterol (20, 21, 22).

One study of women with abdominal obesity found that HDL increased in a group consuming coconut oil (22).

In contrast, women consuming soybean oil had a decrease in HDL cholesterol (22).

11. Provide Relief from Insect Bites and Stings

Coconut oil’s anti-inflammatory properties can help relieve the pain or itch caused by insect bites or stings. It may also reduce swelling and decrease risk of infection.

To try this, gently rub a small amount onto the bite and cover with a bandage.

12. Make Sugar-Free Dark Chocolate

Coconut and Dark Chocolate Slab

Homemade dark chocolate is a delicious way to get coconut oil’s health benefits.

Just remember to store it in the refrigerator or freezer, since coconut oil melts at 76°F (24°C).

Here’s a delicious recipe for sugar-free dark chocolate candy bars made with coconut oil.

13. Reduce Belly Fat

Coconut oil may help reduce belly fat, also known as visceral fat, which is linked to increased health risks such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes (21, 22, 23).

In one study, obese men lost 1 inch (2.54 cm) from their waist fat by adding 2 tablespoons (1 oz or 30 ml) of coconut oil to their diet (21).

Another study looked at women on calorie-restricted diets. Those who took 2 tablespoons of coconut oil per day had a decrease in waist size, while the soybean oil group actually had a slight increase (22).

14. Protect Your Hair from Damage

Coconut oil can help keep your hair healthy.

One study compared the effects of coconut oil, mineral oil and sunflower oil on hair.

Only coconut oil significantly reduced protein loss from hair when applied before or after shampooing. This result occurred with damaged as well as healthy hair.

The researchers concluded that the unique structure of lauric acid, the main fatty acid in coconut oil, can penetrate the hair shaft in a way that most other fats can’t (24).

15. Massage Your Newborn

Half a Coconut and a Spoon with Coconut Oil

Massaging newborns with oil has been shown to promote normal weight gain and growth.

One study suggests that coconut oil may be the best type of oil to use for this purpose.

Premature babies who were massaged with coconut oil for 30 days gained significantly more weight than those massaged with mineral oil for the same time period (25).

16. Decrease Hunger and Food Intake

The medium-chain triglycerides in coconut oil may help reduce hunger, leading to a spontaneous decrease in calorie intake (3, 26, 27).

In a small study, men who followed a high-MCT diet took in fewer calories and lost more weight than men who ate diets with low or medium MCT content (27).

17. Improve Wound Healing

One study found that rats whose wounds were treated with coconut oil had a reduction in inflammatory markers and increased production of collagen, a major component of skin. As a result, their wounds healed much faster (28).

To speed healing of minor cuts or scrapes, apply a little bit of coconut oil directly to the wound and cover it with a bandage.

18. Boost Bone Health

Animal research suggests that the the antioxidants in virgin coconut oil may protect bone health by neutralizing free radicals, which can damage bone cells (29, 30).

A 6-week study of rats showed that the group receiving 8% of their calories from coconut oil had significantly more bone volume and improved bone structure (30).

19. Make a Nontoxic Insect Repellent

Jar of Coconut Oil With a White Lid

Some essential oils may be a natural way to keep bugs away and avoiding bites and stings.

However, rather than applying these oils directly to your skin, they need to be combined with a carrier oil.

In one study, combining Thai essential oils with coconut oil provided over 98% protection from the bites of certain mosquitoes (31).

20. Combat Candida

Candida albicans is the fungus responsible for yeast infections, which commonly occur in warm, moist areas of the body such as the mouth or vagina.

Test-tube studies suggest that coconut oil may help fight candida infections (32, 33).

Researchers found coconut oil to be as effective as fluconazole, the antifungal medication typically prescribed for candida infections (33).

21. Remove Stains

Coconut oil can be used to get rid of stains, including spills on carpets and furniture.

Combine one part coconut oil with one part baking soda and mix into a paste. Apply to the stain, wait 5 minutes and wipe away.

22. Reduce Inflammation

Two Coconuts and Coconut Oil in a Jar Without a Lid

Several animal studies show that eating coconut oil provides strong anti-inflammatory effects (34, 35, 36).

Human studies suggest eating coconut oil may reduce markers of oxidative stress and inflammation, especially when compared to highly unsaturated oils (37, 38).

23. Natural Deodorant

Sweat itself has no smell. However, the bacteria living on your skin can produce undesirable odors.

Coconut oil’s strong antibacterial properties make it a great natural deodorant that contains no chemicals.

Here is an easy recipe for an effective natural deodorant made with coconut oil and other natural ingredients.

24. Quick Energy Source

Coconut oil contains fats called medium-chain triglycerides, which are digested differently than the long-chain triglycerides found in most foods.

These fats go directly from the gut to the liver, where they can be used as a quick source of energy that won’t raise blood sugar levels (3).

25. Heal Ragged Cuticles

Coconut oil can be used to improve your cuticles, including hangnails.

Simply apply a small amount of coconut oil to your cuticles and massage for a few moments. Do this several times a week for the best results.

26. Relieve Symptoms of Arthritis

Coconut Oil

Arthritis is characterized by pain and immobility of the joints due to inflammation.

Animal research suggests that antioxidants called polyphenols found in coconut oil may be able to relieve some symptoms of arthritis.

A study of arthritic rats found that treatment with polyphenols from coconut oil reduced swelling and several inflammatory markers (39).

27. Make Your Wood Furniture Shine

Coconut oil may help keep your furniture looking shiny and well-cared-for.

In addition to bringing out the beauty in natural wood, it seems to act as a dust repellent. It also has a pleasant, delicate aroma, unlike many commercial furniture polishes that contain strong fragrances.

28. Remove Eye Makeup

Coconut oil is a gentle and effective eye makeup remover. Apply with a cotton pad and wipe gently until all traces of makeup are gone.

29. Improve Liver Health

Animal research has found that the saturated fats in coconut oil can help protect the liver from damage due to alcohol or toxin exposure (40, 41).

In one study, mice treated with coconut oil after exposure to a toxic compound had a decrease in inflammatory liver markers and increased activity of beneficial liver enzymes (41).

30. Soothe Chapped Lips

Coconut oil makes an ideal natural lip balm.

It glides on smoothly, leaves your lips moist for hours and even provides some protection from the sun.

Here’s an easy recipe for making your own lip balm with coconut oil.

31. Make Homemade Salad Dressing

Commercial salad dressings are often loaded with sugar and preservatives.

Here’s a great recipe for a coconut oil salad dressing that tastes wonderful and is made with nourishing ingredients.

Take Home Message

Coconut oil has several health benefits, but it also has many other clever and practical uses that you may not have considered before.

Make sure to always have plenty of coconut oil on hand. You never know when you might need it.

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12 Things Your Soul Wants You to Remember

“You don’t have a soul, you are a soul. You have a body”- C.S Lewis

Although it may feel like it, your soul is not separate from you. In truth your soul is your true essence, your true existence. We are simply shadows of all that we are.

It is easy to forget who we are, where we come from and all that we can be and sometimes we need a reminder.

Here are 12 Things Your Soul Wants You to Remember

1. You are exactly where you a supposed to be.

time alone1No matter the circumstance, no matter the ride that got you to where you are in this very present moment. The choices, the outcomes, the paths you could have taken and didn’t. Your soul wants you to know, that everything happens for a reason, and nothing happens by chance. Have faith, it will all work out.

2. Everything is temporary

Nothing lasts forever, the good the bad and the ugly, nothing is permanent. So be impermanent. Be like water and flow with the ups and downs of life.

3. Everything you need is already within you

12 thingsKnow yourself, sit with yourself and understand yourself. Everything you need, your strength, courage, compassion and love, all exists within. You have the choice as to which you need to find and bring out into the world.

4.You’re OK just as you are

The main goal of life is to not force change upon yourself or undergo a major transformation. It is to be at peace with who you are at any given moment despite what you have done or not done; said or not said. Transformation is a choice we all have, but it is not to be forced due to under satisfaction. True transformation comes first with acceptance.

5. Self Worth is measured by you, and only you

9 Serious Reasons You Should Spend More Time AloneIf you constantly seek outside yourself for approval and validation, you will never be happy. We are all different and we all perceive things in different ways but your reputation is not something you can really control. Your reputation is not really in your hands, so stop trying to please everyone around you and start pleasing your own self.

6. When times get tough, change your perspective

All emotions of worry , strife, guilt regret and sadness come from not living in the present moment. It is only by experiencing the present moment to the fullest that we can shift our perspective and understand that life’s hiccups on a grand scale are minor. To put it in perspective your incarnation in this lifetime and when it is done, will be summed up in an hour.

so that leads us to…

12 Things Your Soul Wants You to Remember7. Live in the Present

Don’t dwell in the past or dream of the future. Find your passion and take action. The next moment in your life is not more important than this moment right now. Do today what you dream of later, and understand that your past actions were meant to occur so that you can learn and grow. So let them go, let them be and appreciate all that you have right now.

8. Release Your Fears

There are only two truths in the entire universe, the first is Love and the second is Fear. In equal opposition to each other. In order to dwell in a state of true and pure love, the essence of existence and life itself, one must not carry fear.

“Fear knocked, love answered and no one was there”- unknown

9. Release Your Need for Control

soul rememberHolding on to the fallacy that you can have control over the outcomes of life is an illusion that you have created for yourself. We do not know what the future will bring and we cannot perceive to understand the consequences of each action and reaction, therefore we must Love without attachment, live without expectation and perceive without judgement.

10. Remember Where You Come From

When you know the beginning you will know the end– When we understand that our consciousness is eternal we understand that we are in fact energy. An energy, a soul, a consciousness that is always evolving, learning and growing. With each incarnation comes new lessons, and new experiences. We come from energy and to energy we will return.

11. Accept

How to Heal the Hidden Roots of UnworthinessBy placing your disposition into a state of acceptance, acceptance of all that is good and bad. You release your need for control, you release your fears and you release your expectations in order that you can live in the present moment. Without acceptance, nothing can flourish. This is true prayer, not asking for what you want– the desires of your heart, but accepting all of life’s blessings and giving gratitude for everything in return. A cycle of love that continues growing.

12. You are never alone.

It is said that Albert Einstein believed that there was indeed an alternate reality or another world, beyond our own vision. As the physical eyes were only capable of viewing the 3D spectrum in a limited amount of colors. What is beyond the veil of our physicality is energy. Immense energy, sometimes you can feel it, other times you may pick up slight irregularities, such as orbs on cameras. We are never truly alone. You are always surrounded by the unseen, and if and when you choose to call out, trust me, you might just be surprised with an answer.

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