December 19th, 2008 cate
For those of you interested in staying healthy and happy, here’s a must-read book, the super-bestselling book that’s enhancing America’s health. It’s a book that will help increase the longevity of anyone who reads it.
While some unfortunately uninformed people do not relate health to what they eat, the more informed and educated people know better. By eating the 14 super foods highlighted in Dr. Steven Pratt’s instant bestseller, you can actually stop the incremental deteriorations that lead to common ailments and diseases. Really. Don’t believe me? Try it and find out. What harm could it possibly do to give it a try? Here are the super foods to focus on and why:
* Beans — reduce obesity
* Blueberries — lower risk for cardiovascular disease
* Broccoli — lowers the incidence of cataracts and fights birth defects
* Oats — reduce the risk of type II diabetes
* Oranges — prevent strokes
* Pumpkin — lowers the risk of various cancers
* Wild salmon — lowers the risk of heart disease
* Soy — lowers cholesterol
* Spinach — decreases the chance of cardiovascular disease and age-related macular degeneration
* Tea — helps prevent osteoporosis
* Tomatoes — raise the skin’s sun protection factor
* Turkey — helps build a strong immune system
* Walnuts — reduce the risk of developing coronary heart disease, diabetes, and cancer
* Yogurt-promotes strong bones and a healthy heart
SuperFoods includes recipes created by Chef Michel Stroot of the Golden Door Spa and teaches you how to incorporate SuperFoods and their sidekicks into your diet. SuperFoods Rx is an indispensable guide to a healthy, long, and energetic life.
Read SuperFoods Rx: Fourteen Foods That Will Change Your Life
October 1st, 2008 cate
Increasing awareness of breast cancer through education, research, community-based outreach programs and by providing mammograms for those in need, is of utmost importance. Do your part by supporting foundations, associations and other groups whose goals are to increase breast cancer research, which will lead to a better understanding of the disease and a better foundation to find a cure. Every time you purchase a participating product at Amazon, partial proceeds go to those people who need it the most. Please take the time to consider supporting breast cancer reasearch and THINK PINK.
August 17th, 2008 cate
As a family that has abandoned the city and suburbs for the countryside, the very presence of a book like John Seymour’s “The Self-sufficient Life and How to Live It” is enough to inspire fits of joy. A perfect companion to works like Hemenway’s “Gaia’s Garden” and Mollison’s “Permaculture: A Designer’s Manual,” this book is a must for would-be urbanites fleeing the cities. Covering every topic relevant to self-sufficient, sustainable living and farm life, Seymour’s classic provides a great way to start a different life. An update from the venerable mid-Seventies edition of the book, this 2002 release is a fine improvement.
The book has quite a bit going for it:
1. Beautifully made, illustrated and laid-out, this book is meant to last and be used readily and often. Typical Dorling Kindersley quality.
2. An eye-friendly typeface and bright, semi-gloss pages make this easy reading.
3. The shear breadth of the information here is outstanding. Packed into 306 letter-sized pages are the following chapters:
*The Meaning of Self-Sufficiency
*Food from the Garden
*Food from Animals
*Food from the Fields
*Food from the Wild
*In the Dairy
*In the Kitchen
*Brewing & Wine-making
*Energy & Waste
*Crafts & Skills
*Things You Need to Know
4. Good specifics on all the categories of info listed above. You should be able to get started on your way to being people of the soil. Need to know how to kill, gut, and prepare your cattle? It’s in here. Got a hankering to get off the electrical grid altogether? Helpful windmill buying advice is here. Can’t tell rye from barley? You will after reading this book.
5. A helpful list of contacts and companies that can get you started on your dream are included.
This is a fine primer on self-sufficiency. Anyone looking to escape the rat race could hardly do better than to pick up a copy of “The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It.”
Get it now
August 14th, 2008 cate
Educate yourself on environmental subjects. You can do so by starting or joining an environmental group. This will keep you informed and sociable at the same time. You will surely meet like-minded, caring people and make new friends. Also watch DVDs and read up on books related to the environment and eco-living.
Compost your kitchen scraps and other waste. Even if you live in an apartment you can compost material and use the end product as soil for flower pots or herb planters. Take a look at these awesome composters that you can keep inside your home.
Reduce your water consumption. Instead of taking a bath, take a shower and limit yourself. Don’t linger in the shower or you’ll end up using more water than if you’d taken a bath! If you absolutely MUST take a bath, take them only once in a while, and don’t fill the tub as much.
Use energy-efficient appliances. Don’t go out and replace all of your appliances at the same time. Let them run their course and then properly dispose of them. Then, purchase energy efficient ones (graded A, B). If you feel you have to replace your appliances and they are still functioning properly, donate them to an organization that helps needy families. (i.e., Salvation Army, St. Vincent’s, Goodwill, or better yet, a very local group helping out others.)
Use environmentally friendly cleaning products. Using poison-free products at home is not only good for the environment, but it’s also good for you and your family’s health. Chemical cleaning products may clean your counters, floors, windows, tables, etc, like crazy, but they can harm you and damage the planet. Eco-friendly cleaning products can equally clean yet not harm anyone or anything.
Use phosphate-free laundry detergent. This is easy to do. Just replace your big-name-brand detergents that you’ve been loyal to forever, but cost a fortune, and replace them with environmentally sound detergents. Many people are now opting to use soap nuts.
Reduce energy consumption. These are so obvious but you do forget them more often than you should or like. Turn off lights in rooms no one is using. If you have a large home, only provide heat or cool to rooms that are actually being utilized. Use energy-efficient lightbulbs and solar power when possible.
Donate old items instead of trashing them. Some people go through items like they’re going out of style. Oh. Maybe they ARE going out of style but put those things to good use and donate old clothes, furniture and other items to people who need them. Another note: if you’d rather sell these items, go ahead and make a little cash on the side from e-bay or whereever. This is a great way to earn some money while getting rid of stuff.
Harvest your own rainwater if possible. Use the power of Mother Nature to water your yard, lawn, plants and vegetable garden if you have one. They are so easy to set up and the water will have no chemicals. Put up gutters on your house and/or garage with a large receptacle to harvest the water. This will lower your water bill, help you use less city water and have pure rainwater for the garden. These wooden rain barrels are pretty cool.
Properly dispose of toxic materials. These products should not be in your house. Period. Go through your house, garage, attic, basement and discard of leftover paints, paint removers, floor finishes, cleaners that are toxic to you, your house, your family AND people who come to your house.
July 31st, 2008 cate
Here are several suggestions for some of the best yoga retreats or “zen dens” in the world.
1. WILDFLOWER HALL
Where: Shimla, India
Guru says: Yoga was invented in the Himalayas, in caves where acolytes of Tantric bliss experimented with astrology, nutrition, sex, medicine, and asanas (postures). But cave dwelling is so 5,000 years ago: Stay instead at this cliff-side manor, once home to British commander-in-chief Lord Kitchener and now a luxury Oberoi property. Instruction with local masters who grew up practicing yoga can be arranged in private sessions or with a group. Most programs last one week and include spa and Ayurvedic treatments.
Classmates: Wealthy Indian families looking to escape the heat of New Delhi and Mumbai, as well as many European couples. The Himalayan environment attracts a steady stream of fit, young professionals into adventure travel.
Om factor: Didn’t we mention yoga was invented here? Teachers are often part of a guru-disciple lineage dating back centuries.
Prerequisites: A simple mountain pose. Better: the sweat-inducing headstand.
Extracurricular: Day-trips on the white water of the Sutlej River, hikes and single-track mountain biking trips leading to king-of-the-world views, tennis in the summer and ice skating in the winter.
When to go: The summer is warm, but not hot; wildflowers bloom in late spring; and snow falls regularly in January and February. Take your pick.
Doubles from $390; morning yoga classes included, individual yoga programs extra
Tel: 800 562 3764
2. COMO SHAMBHALA AT PARROT CAY
Where: Turks & Caicos
Guru says: This is the spot for well-heeled yogis whose idea of Zen minimalism doesn’t extend to thread counts and evening meals. The private 1,000-acre island in the Turks + Caicos has snow-white sand and turquoise coves, and the rooms are unfussy but gorgeous, all teak and white cotton. Instructors give daily yoga classes, but the resort also attracts some of the biggest names in American yoga for retreat weeks.
Classmates: A yoga rule of thumb: When the price goes up, so does the average age of the clientele. Don’t expect the barefoot, stringy-haired hard-bodies you share floor space with at home. Instead, you’ll get moneyed couples and a smattering of New Age yuppies.
Om factor: With American yoga luminaries such as Rodney Yee and Erich Schiffmann as retreat week regulars, the level of instruction is excellent, with an average of five hours per day during retreat weeks.
Prerequisites: Downward-facing dog. If you don’t already know this pose, just watch your dog stretch when he gets up from a nap.
Extracurricular: Dive or snorkel in the most pristine waters and healthiest reefs of the Caribbean region. Or just collapse on the beach for an extended savasana.
Doubles from $680 including group yoga classes; $120 an hour for private instruction; retreat weeks $6,240 all-inclusive
Como Shambhala at Parrot Cay
Tel: 877 754 0726
Where: Hua Hin, Thailand
Guru says: This retreat, my budding spiritual narcissist, is all about you. Thailand’s top destination spa ensures no annoying classmates and no early mornings unless you want them. Upon arrival at the luxurious, secluded seven-acre property located 135 miles south of Bangkok, you’ll be assigned a Health and Wellness advisor who’ll design a personal yoga program, ranging from 3 to 21 days (or longer), and augment it with spa treatments and a nutritional program.
Classmates: There may be no one on the mat next to you (all instruction is private), but other guests do exist. Between yoga and spa sessions you’ll hobnob with British, Swedish, and Australian thirty- and fortysomethings. Most guests are women traveling with their girlfriends or mums to detox or lose weight, but there are plenty of soloists, so you won’t have to dine alone.
Om factor: High. Every morning Buddhist monks wander along Hua Hin beach draped in faded red robes.
Prerequisites: Half lotus with breath of fire (kalabati breathing). You aren’t going to be able to fake this one.
Extracurricular: While most guests don’t leave the property, we suggest shuttling into town to explore the market and local Buddhist shrines.
When to go: The most comfortable time is the dry season, October through April. But prices drop during the summer rains, May to September.
Three- to 21-day retreats from $1,530 to $10,710, including meals and yoga instruction
Tel: 949 487 0522
4. BEGAWAN GIRI
Where: Bali, Indonesia
Guru says: Bali seems tailor-made for serenity: The Balinese culture is based on harmony, and locals couldn’t be more hospitable. If you don’t come away from here feeling balanced and fulfilled, you need a personality replacement. The only decision is how upscale to go. The tippy-top is Como Shambhala Estate at Begawan Giri, where the guest villas are architectural masterpieces and the sumptuous spa overlooks the Ayung River. Yoga instructors are on staff, and the hotel hosts retreat weeks throughout the year. But Balinese tranquility isn’t limited to the elite. Australia-based yoga studio Inspya Yoga offers a handful of affordable Bali retreats each year, most of them hosted by renowned teacher Lance Schuler in the town of Ubud (just a stone’s throw from Begawan Giri). Retreat guests are lodged in a simple but comfortable compound with two-story bungalows, an open-air restaurant, and a spring-water swimming pool.
Classmates: Donna Karan at the Begawan Giri; attractive, down-to-earth Aussies with Inspya Yoga.
Om factor: Spirit saturates Bali. There are thousands of temples on the island, and even if you don’t know anything about Hinduism, it’s hard not to be intrigued.
Prerequisites: Wheel pose. Bali attracts types that do full back-bends in their sleep.
Extracurricular: Visit the mother temple complex, Pura Besakih; scale the sacred Mt. Agung volcano; dive in the pristine waters of North Bali; or learn to surf on the south coast.
When to go: Lance Schuler’s next Bali retreat is in July 2007. Begawan Giri announces its retreat week calendar in November 2006; check the website for details.
Begawan Giri: Doubles from $495, including daily yoga; retreat weeks from $3,882. Inspya Yoga: 10-day retreats from $1,009, including accommodations
Tel: 62 361 978 888
Inspya Yoga Retreats
Tel: 61 2 6687 2717
Read the rest of this entry »