Guest Blogger: Sally Writes
Seniors represent 14.5% of the US population according to the Census Bureau. This means that the number of elderly people, 65 years or older stands at 46.5 million based on the 2014 statistics. Aging has many repercussions including declining mental and physical functioning. Good health, therefore, is key in coping with the effects of getting old with exercise or physical activity an essential part of lifestyles. However, for seniors who have not been exercising before retirement, this can become a difficult task or a daunting prospect.
Luckily, there are several ways seniors can ease into physical activity. One is to hire a fitness trainer to help seniors exercise safely if clearance has been granted by a physician. Trainers can also design and monitor a fitness program for the elderly. With the right exercises, seniors can benefit from cardiovascular fitness, improved muscle strength and healthier bones & joints. Risks of dying from certain diseases such as heart attack and cancer are also reduced. In addition, physical activity lessens feelings of depression & anxiety and helps improve moods & emotional well-being. Additional tips on how the elderly can improve their health are explained in this article.
Technically, spring is here, but the weather still feels like winter. Last March Seattle had 80-degree days and the cherry blossoms were done by this time. Somehow spring has found its balance. Cool weather, grey skies and wet roads - Seattle's traditional spring climate is back.
Society is shifting. Between using my logic and intuition, I am prepping for an unknown future. One way that I combat hefty expenses is through grocery shopping at home. My refrigerator contained odds and ends of kale, swiss chard, potatoes, celery, carrots and so forth.
Grocery shopping in my cabinets inspired me to make a soup packed with white beans, greens and parsley. In Germany, I noticed that parsley is one of the main ingredients used in vegetable broth.
Eating parsley raw is not my favorite but I love it cooked in soups. Parsley, and many herbs, are a misunderstood food. We know its good, but we really don't know how important it is to consume them.
Parsley has been used for over two-thousand years and is common in Middle Eastern cooking. Parsley naturally flavored this soup with minimal use of bouillon cubes. Vitamin K is an important part of parsley, which aides bone health. The Vitamin K acts a modifier to bone proteins, improving calcium absorption and minimizing calcium excretion in the urine. The kale and swiss chard are the main sources of calcium in this recipe.
Parsley also contains Myricetin, which lowers blood sugars, aiding in Diabetes health. It is important to get these nutrients from it's whole food form since supplements may not provide the same health benefits.
Vegan White Bean, Kale & Swiss Chard Soup
Prep Time: 7 minutes
Cooking Time: 20-25 minutes
4.5 cups water + 1 bouillon cube (or vegetable broth)
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
3 swiss chard leaves, chopped
1.5 cup kale, chopped
1 large potato chopped (used russet)
1 can of white beans, drained and washed
1 tbsp olive oil
3/4 cup Italian parsley
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Prep the vegetables as you add them. Heat the olive oil and add the garlic, followed the the onion, celery and carrot. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, continuously mixing. Next, add the remaining ingredients, except for the white beans. Simmer until the potatoes and vegetables are edible. Add the white beans and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and enjoy warm.
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Human life is, and will always be, complex. Psychology, ideologies and advancement in technologies, human life is becoming more complex than it ever has been.
Today, consumerism, the need to fit in and praise from the external world makes our lives extremely complex. Dealing with a miserable boss, living within your means and obsessing over your selfies is literally driving people insane.
Many years ago in my early twenties, I got so excited for this new age. I couldn’t wait for people to “wake up” and realize how beautiful life is. Now, in my thirties, I see a completely different life, and it scares me. I experienced a shift because of living in Germany.
Our European brothers, sisters & ancestors live(d) differently, most of them peasants, work, live and eat their way through simple living. America, the capitalist society that is, is so damn complex because we think everyone else lives the same way we do. Everyone feels that they need the latest technology to stay relevant in the work force, follow the edgiest diet trend and no one can have a balanced approach to politics without labeling or judging people.
There are many reasons why people live a complex life, some of it is societal desires and pressures, but most of our issues are caused from our own actions. Consumerism, I believe drives people to become shopaholics, or addicts to either fulfill their emotions temporarily or to boost their ego while flaunting their new hairdo and handbag.
From an outsider’s perspective, our world is driven by this self-obsessed, “look at me” and “got ya” attitude that strives for perfection. Deep down we know that we are imperfect but wave our hands at, and blast our twitter account, shouting “asshole” to the person, peasant or politician who messes up in their personal life. We want to be redeemed for our sins but lack forgiveness to others.
The first step to simple living is through detachment. Detachment from your ego. Detachment from external praise. And detachment from material goods.
This doesn’t mean that everyone should to live in a cardboard box, we can still enjoy nice things, especially because these goods last longer, but there is a difference between being hooked to consumerism and the practical necessities of things that last. Some industries like legalities are driven by external appearances. Would you rather see your lawyer in a Primark or a Gucci suit? Would you trust your dentist if he or she had crooked and stained teeth?
Most people need to downscale their life in order to find the happiness that they seek.
Technology & Consumerism
Technology is getting insane. In some ways, my soul is bleeding because I love things all natural. I love nature. I love going to a bakery and picking out fresh bread and I enjoy disconnecting from technology.
There is a need to stay up with technology for work, say via Microsoft office and understanding all of its functions. But is getting an Alexa or an Amazon prime account necessary for human living?
No. Absolutely not. Understanding Alexa is not part of the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. It’s a consumerist fad that gives power to the elites to drive our lives to be more complex. First it’s Alexa, but what’s next?
In fact, I believe Amazon services are making people MORE lazy and MORE like brain-dead-idiot drones. Not only do you have to rewire your house for Alexa to work (more dollars and time going to corporate), if Alexa has a malfunction, most people will spend more time figuring out why the fuck it’s not working than actually researching the question on the Internet.
Technology is making life quicker, but it's disconnecting people from research and survival skills. People love the one-two hour delivery, but fail to realize that if they got in their car and went to the store - you can get everything you need in 30-minutes or less.
Living within Your Means
Most people live at, or above, their means and income levels. Most of us middle class people want a caviar lifestyle on a sardine budget. The world is shifting and loyalty is going out the door.
Many companies are no longer loyal to employees and when raises, benefits or their job is put on the chopping block, people freak out because they either have no money in the bank or their lifestyle is so expensive (technology adds expenses) that they are stuck with large bills (on top of debt they may already have). They can’t afford a pay cut, though they know they’d be happier with a lower job title (or less responsibility).
When you live within your means, you are giving your happiness away. Your employer owns your happiness. Your bank that gives you your mortgage holds your checkbook by purse strings. Your Facebook likes fulfills your inner world.
The people who suffer the most are the poor and the lower middle class. In terms of today’s changing demographic, people can’t escape changing or bad neighborhoods because they are stuck. Some of it is not their fault because they work a low-paid skilled job, but humans naturally want what they can’t have and many people are stuck in the consumerism cycle.
In my book, Finding Om, I discuss my frustrations about this very subject. Even at 22 while traveling India, I knew the American Dream was absolute bullshit unless one was wealthy. It’s a debt sentence and most Americans swim in a swamp of college debt, and will be dead before they ever escape.
Many people appear rich on the outer world, but spiritually poor and depleted.
The Art of Simple Living
How many people live in a home where the basement (or second bedroom) is basically a storage unit?
I learned the value of simplicity by living out of a suitcase when I lived abroad four times. I brought one to two suitcases and still wore 25-percent of the clothes in my bag.
Simple living is “living in a way that is outwardly simple and inwardly rich. This way of life embraces frugality of consumption, a strong sense of environmental urgency, and a desire to return to living and working environments which are of a more human scale." (Duane S. Elgin and Arnold Mitchell)
Simplicity changes your perceptions on life. You appreciate the sound of fine music or the way a butterfly soars through a field of wildflowers. You see nature and it’s natural creations as beautiful, not just as something that is there.
I believe with my heart that the global elites have always wanted us to be spiritually poor, so we are addicted to their products. I am not against capitalism, but one must have a sound mind to determine what they actually need versus pissing their paycheck down the drain for retail therapy. This also interplays with our emotions and mental state. When we let external things drive our happiness, we are not in control of our ourselves. Yes, we will all shop at some points to make ourselves feel better, that is normal, but how many more jeans or pairs of shoes do you really need?
Simple living does not mean boring living. Simply put, when shit hits the fan in life, it’s much easier to navigate change when you don’t have as much baggage weighing you down.
Since this blog post is long enough, stay posted to my next blog with further thoughts about simple living.
Planet earth is an incarnation of polar opposites: right and left, good and evil & north & south.
Polar opposites also exist internally and its not uncommon to see knowledge and ego work in opposition of each other. Why is it that a true spiritual teacher lives a simple life, wears simple clothes and yet does need to feed his ego with fame, riches and popularity?
Why is it that a shirtless, man-bun wearing "enlightened" power yoga instructor struts around class verbally vomiting the Yoga Sutras, while wearing mala beads, and snapping pictures for his Facebook account? He may have the textbook knowledge, but lacks in spiritual knowledge, or life experience, which drives his ego to shine.
Don't be fooled by fake gurus as there is a complete difference between the two. But, usually the more knowledge you have, the less your ego. Today there are people who "know it all." They may be a barista, but somehow are climate-change experts and understands everything about politics. Most of them come from an ego-centric place that believes that THEY and no one else is right.
As always, inspired by the sun,
Join Mind Body Soul Food Every Sunday for some inspiration -Sunspiration. Inspiration Every Sunday in 150 Words or Less. Get inspired everyday with our Instagram account, sunspiration_everyday with inspirational quotes, motivational messages & sweet nothings.
I hope your transition into spring is doing well. I created this recipe in January, but forgot to post it until now. The irony is that this recipe is lighter and is another meal that easily transitions us from the winter to the spring diet.
Mushrooms are mysterious in nature. Some are beneficial where others are poisonous. Besides being low in calories, mushrooms feature numerous health benefits. Each specie of mushroom contains their own "special healthy power." I normally use brown crimini mushrooms as they are easy to find, affordable and delicious.
One lesser known nutritional value about crimini mushrooms is that it contains CLA or conjugated linolenic acid, "a type of fatty acid that can bind onto aromatase enzymes and lessen the production of estrogen." Thus, crimini mushrooms are an important part of a woman's diet who are at risk of hormone-dependent breast cancer.
According to whfoods.com, "Since some breast cancer tumors are dependent upon estrogen for their growth, this blocking of the aromatase enzyme by the mushrooms' CLA may lower risk of this breast cancer type. The presence of CLA in mushrooms is fascinating, because we typically expect to find this type of fatty acid exclusively in animal foods like milk, cheese, and meats."
Cancer is something that every-body should be concerned about. In fact, the human body is so resilient that I can't believe we all don't have cancer due to the exposure we have to chemicals from our food to our air. The American Cancer Society notes that there will be over 1.6 million new cases of cancer diagnosed in 2017.
If you know anyone who has breast cancer, tell them to research the effects of mushrooms and CLA. Happy eating!
Vegan Mushroom + Kale Ragout served with Creamy Polenta
Cook Time: 30 minutes
5 cups of crimini mushrooms, sliced
2 cups kale, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
1/3 cup veggie broth
2 sprigs od fresh thyme
1 tbsp olive oil
1-2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
Optional: 1 tsp vegan butter
1 cup of corn meal
4 cups water
1 cup almond milk
optional: 1-4 tbsp vegan butter
salt + pepper to taste
Bring the liquid to a boil in a pot. Gradually, add the corn meal, continuously mixing. Lower the heat to a simmer. Continue to stir the polenta, scraping the sides of the pot, until edible (approximately 30 minutes). When done, add in the spices and butter. If you want a creamier taste, substitute another cup of water for almond milk.
Cook the garlic and shallot with olive oil in a pan until translucent. Next, add the mushroom and the thyme. If the mixture gets dry, add some of the broth. Cook until the mushrooms shrink. Add the remaining ingredients, except for the cilantro and butter. Cook until fragrant and flavorful. Once complete, add the cilantro and butter. Serve on top of the polenta.
Spring is here, and we are transitioning between the biological desire to eat hearty winter foods to a more lighter fare. Most people do not realize that citrus fruits are technically a winter fruit.
With the harvest of Meyer Lemons, I could not help but crave something lemony and creamy.
My love for lemons is something that is deep within my soul. I remember as a college student I would dream of living and traveling in Spain and Greece. Naturally a sun baby, I have found a deep appreciation of the winter season, specifically the clouds and the rain in the Pacific Northwest.
The rain is spiritual. It cleanses the land and symbolically cleanses the soul. It's no wonder why things feel and smell fresh after a nice, hard rain. The rain is magical, just like its polar opposite buddy, the sun.
Most people are happiest when it's sunny because the light affects our circadian rhythm. The lemon, like the sun is symbolic to this time of year in many ways. It's no wonder why I named travel blog The Lemon Tree. Lemons have such an interesting history of migration and have been used for medicinal purposes in the past.
This craving for something hearty yet light inspired me to concoct a comfort-food favorite, vegan style.
The camellias are also one of my favorite spring-time flowers. With them blooming, I realized their color matches a specific table cloth that I bought in Hannover, Germany. The beauty of the brightness between the lemons and camellias prove that nature is the true artist in life.
"A little lemon juice makes everything taste better."
Elizabeth Rae Kovar M.A. is Author of her memoir, Finding Om and is a Fitness Trainer, Yogi, Reiki Master, Presenter and Lover of Life. To view her portfolio please visit www.elizabethkovar.com