Posted on October 10, 2013
“You Are Stardust” begins by introducing the idea that every tiny atom in our bodies came from a star that exploded long before we were born.
From its opening pages, the book suggests that we are intimately connected to the natural world; it compares the way we learn to speak to the way baby birds learn to sing, and the growth of human bodies to the growth of forests.
Award-winning author Elin Kelsey — along with a number of concerned parents and educators around the world — believes children are losing touch with nature.
This innovative picture book aims to reintroduce children to their innate relationship with the world around them by sharing many of the surprising ways that we are all connected to the natural world.
Grounded in current science, this extraordinary picture book provides opportunities for children to use their imaginations and wonder about some big ideas.
Soyeon Kim’s incredible diorama art enhances the poetic text, and her creative process is explored in full on the reverse side of the book’s jacket, which features comments from the artist.
Young readers will want to pour over each page of this book, exploring the detailed artwork and pondering the message of the text, excited to find out just how connected to the Earth they really are.
I have recently added this book to Pure-Li Marketplace.
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I Love Books.
To receive a book as a gift is rarely a disappointment for me!
And it is often my choice of gift to share with someone else.
I’m particularly fond of giving books to children as gifts … here are just a few of my reasons:
1. They’re not plastic!
2. A book is a work of art.
3. Books fire the imagination.
4. Books can improve vocabulary, help us communicate more easily, improve conversation, put words on our emotions, and help us connect with and relate to others.
5. Books can bring families/parents & children together for ‘story time’, this creates bonding. They can also bring people of all ages and backgrounds together, finding similarities over the shared love of a particular book.
6. Books provide an escape, a rest, and a pause from the daily grind, and so counteracts stress.
7. Reading creates mental stimulation which is important for the brain in order to keep it fit and working. Studies have shown that staying mentally stimulated can slow the progress of (or possibly even prevent) Alzheimer’s and dementia.
8. Reading can improve analytical and critical thinking (though some of us don’t need any help there!).
9. Books can be shared, recycled and donated. This means books can be FREE!! Free is good!
Need I say more? No. But I will. Just a bit more.
So while its important to move with the times and be a part of this internet-crazed world (hello!), we mustn’t forget to include reading as a hobby.
It’s difficult with distractions such as mobile phones, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and email checking, which have us multi-tasking and screen staring. Perhaps we believe we’re getting more stuff ‘done’, yet we are sort of moving through life in a mindless and distracted way, it still seems we are rushing from one thing to the next, pretty much constantly.
So while we might feel like we are multi-tasking and achieving more, this kind of ADD-like behaviour, is in fact, shortening our concentration span, raising our stress levels and lowering our over-all productivity.
Counteracting that by including a little bit of book reading in our day, can act like a balm, soothing us, focussing our mind, and encouraging a cultivation of absorption in the present moment.
Apparently reading fiction books increases your ability to empathise with others.
Without even reading (the above headlined) scientific research, that statement makes a lot of sense to me. The reader is part of a journey that they choose to undertake (by deciding to read the book), so they are willing and open participants. That’s a good start to absorbing new concepts. Then they are shown the world through the eyes of another – perhaps one person, perhaps more than one, depending on how the book is written. They are brought through the emotions and experiences and view-points of others, helping the reader’s mind to broaden. Seems pretty recognizable, the more I think of it. But I am an empathetic person, so perhaps that’s why it makes sense to me?
On the other hand …
If you asked someone who doesn’t score highly on the ol’ empathy scale (no judgement), and doesn’t/didn’t ever read much fiction, they might just say:
‘People who are empathetic enjoy reading fiction books and/because they are drawn to them …. ‘
Isn’t that an interesting viewpoint and worth taking into account. But I am digressing from a post about Reading Books to one on Is Empathy Inherent?!!!
An article in The Age newspaper, relayed how Melbourne researchers have PROVEN that the more parents read to their children from an early age, the greater the positive effect on their reading and thinking skills.
“The Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research has not only proven a causal effect between the frequency of reading to a child and his or her development, but have also for the first time measured the benefits.
Children four to five years old who are read to three to five times a week have the same reading ability as children six months older (who are read to only twice or less a week).
Reading to children six to seven days a week puts them almost a year ahead of those to whom are not being read. It was also found that reading to small children has a positive effect on the development of numeracy skills.”
I found it interesting also, that the Institute worked with children representing a whole range of families, from all different backgrounds and economic circumstances. They found it doesn’t matter if a child is from a poor or rich family, or if the parents are highly educated or not, their research showed that doing this basic thing of reading to them leads to better developmental outcomes.
Like music, I find comfort in books.
When I am having a bad day, books can lift me out of my slump. And I don’t even have to read one to get the effect!!
The simple fact that there is a reading genre for every person out there, whether you’re an inhaler of tomes, or a slow digester, whether your taste lies in classical literature or self-help guides, there is something to capture everyone’s imagination and curiosity.
Hang on a minute, just think about that. That is just abso-feckin-lutely gobsmacking!
We will never in a lifetime be able to read all the books in the world, we will never run out of something to read, we will always have a book we can fall back on …..YIPEE!!
When I add to that thought, what a rich culture we are and have, just because extraordinary people have sat down and devoted their time/lives to the art of capturing our imaginations, the art and work of writing, I get such a rush … it gives me hope for humanity, and inspiration and an insane amount of gratitude.
It can turn any bad day into a day in which I am grateful to be literate, and alive.
Book Review For You Are Stardust
The Evolution of You Are Stardust
You Are Stardust App available at the iTunes US store
Do You Like Reading And Why?
Feel Free To Share Your Favourite Reads Here!
Doesn’t ‘You Are Stardust’ Look Like A Beautiful Book?
Posted on October 1, 2013
I made this up last week after a period of eating poorly, and feeling like it was time to be nice to myself. Eating too much sugar makes me short-tempered, as well as giving me aches and pains I don’t get when I don’t eat sugar …
It had been a while since I made a sweet cake, and as I tend to buy ingredients in bulk, it was time to get busy in the kitchen, and use some up! Avocado and cacao mousse was swirling in my mind, and so I made:
Chocolate Cherry Superfood Pie.
My first attempt at this delight, and there are a few changes I would offer to you.
FIRSTLY, I used 2 tablespoons of chia, but I suggest you use 3, as it will give the cake a little more firmness, which I feel it needs, apart from upping it’s superfood-ness!
SECONDLY, it doesn’t take long to do, but it’s important to defrost the cherries (or whatever fruit you’re using) in advance. A little forward thinking was required and I was working spontaneously, so I’d thrown them on before thinking! I was by then in full flight and working towards a deadline, so I, perhaps foolishly, didn’t take them off and drain/defrost them.
Basically, the excess water from the frozen fruit will bleed down around the cake, and won’t allow the base and topping to meld together so well, it might mean also the mousse top separates from the base when you slice and plate it. It just doesn’t work as well aesthetically. Taste-wise however, it didn’t make much difference. It may make the crust a bit soggy (in this recipe it didn’t harm the overall effect, but in others it could ruin it). It still tasted gorgeous and didn’t stop me scoffing it down!
I sourced my freeze dried raspberries from a local deli, but they can be tricky to find. If you’re having trouble, I suggest googling it to try and buy some online – you don’t need to worry too much about them taking a few days to arrive, as they are freeze-dried and therefore less perishable.
I popped mine into a zip-lock bag and bashed them with a rolling pin to make the powder dust for topping. Any excess not used, can then be stored for next time in the zip-lock bag.
Alternatively, if you’ve no joy with the freeze-dried stuff, use the real thing! Oooh fresh blueberries would look cool too?!
1 cup of desiccated coconut (preferably with no sulphites/additives)
1 cup of raw unsalted macadamia nuts
1/2 -1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup Medjool dates, washed & pitted (no sulphites or additives is best)
1 tablespoon raw cacao butter, melted
Pinch celtic sea salt
*Optional: If you don’t eat nuts, you could use 2 cups of desiccated coconut instead.
I used a 300g box of fresh frozen cherries with no additives from the supermarket
2 avocadoes (ripe ones but firm green ones work best)
1 ripe sweet banana
3-4 tablespoons of raw organic cacao powder
3 tablespoons of Rice Malt Syrup
10 Drops of liquid Stevia
3 tablespoons of chia seeds sitting in 3/4 tablespoons coconut cream to soak for about 10 mins
1 teaspoon vanilla powder
1/2 – 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Handful of freeze-dried raspberries, crushed to dust
Drain the frozen cherries over a bowl in a sieve until pretty much defrosted and any excess water has dripped off. (You could add the coloured drippings to your smoothie?!). You may like to further drain the cherries on some kitchen paper towel.
To Make The Gluten-Free Crust:
Place your cacao butter in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water on low heat until it’s melted. (Don’t allow the simmering water to touch the bowl).
Wash & pit (if necessary) your dates.
Place the dessicated coconut, cinnamon, macadamia nuts, pitted dates, salt and melted cacao butter to the food processor and process till it just sticks together. (Take care not to over-process when using macadamia nuts – if you do they release all their oil and the texture of the base will be too sticky).
I lightly greased the sides and base of my cake tin with coconut oil.
Press into a 9 inch cake/pie tin, preferably with a removable base/springform pan, pressing down the top to get a smooth finish.
Halve your drained cherries and spread them over the top of your pie base.
Refrigerate whilst you prepare the filling.
Place your banana, avocados, vanilla, cinnamon, coconut cream with chia, cacao, rice malt syrup, and stevia into a food processor and BLEND until smooth.
I would check for taste here – you might want to ADD more cacao, or sweet banana or stevia, depending on how sweet/chocolatey you want it. The avocado provides an unusual tang.
Spread the avocado chocolate mousse over the top and SMOOTH over with a palette knife.
Refrigerate for about an hour until set.
Place your freeze-dried raspberries in a zip-lock bag and LOCK with as little air as possible inside. Then BASH with a rolling pin or chef’s knife handle or something flat and sorta heavy!
Before serving, USE a hot, wet palette knife (ie. run it under hot water!) and SLIP it down between the cake and edge of tin, SLIDING it all the way around to LOOSEN.
Then OPEN the spring form tin and RUN the palette knife carefully under the pie base to LOOSEN.
CAREFULLY SLIDE IT onto a serving dish with no raised edges (to make it easier to slice and plate).
Before serving SPRINKLE the freeze-dried raspberries over the top of the pie and maybe around the edges of the plate for effect.
This will also work beautifully with fresh or frozen raspberries (less fructose too), or with any berry really.
Alternatively you could leave the berries out altogether, in which case you could keep this as a frozen dessert, just eating a piece whenever you’re short on pudding or fancy a sweet treat that won’t send your blood sugar sky rocketing, and then sticking what’s left back in the freezer for the next time!
And if you like to be super-organised, you could make one of each so you can eat the berry one now, and put the other on ice for a rainy day!
I don’t normally do this sort of ingredient breakdown on here, but I thought as I used ‘Superfood” in the title, I might give you a rundown of what is MY point of view on the ingredients I use. The way I see it, there is a universe of information out there on what foods are good for us, and what are not. One scientist says this, another says the opposite. It basically depends on what or whom you choose to believe (/sells their brand best!). For me, there is no wrong or right – only what’s right for ME. Everybody is different and reacts differently to different stimuli. Food is a stimulus, and therefore, what suits me, may not suit you.
In fact, even some of the foods I choose to eat, and ‘foodosophies’ I choose to follow, don’t fully suit my body – while I may feel healthier from eating in a certain way, I have a sneaking suspicion that it affects a skin condition I have called rosacea. But I’m simply not prepared to give up the many foods I love to see if I’m right! So it’s really very hard to do the ‘right’ thing here …
All we can do is try to be more aware, and question what food companies and governments sell us, but at the end of the day, it’s comes down to making a personal decision. I’ve posted before on how it’s hard to know what to believe anymore when it comes to food, so I try to see it as one big experiment, and expect I will find out some new information every now and then that will alter my perspective somewhat … and I’m happy enough with that.
So for now, here are my beliefs on:
Chia Seeds – Mega Super Benefits, Everyday Food!
Chia is a type of seed well known to the Aztec, Mayan and Native American cultures. For this reason, I believe in buying mine from this part of the world. You can talk about how much nutrition is in this, that and the other, but if the soil it’s grown in does not contain the nutrients, then neither does the food, necessarily.
I have already written about the benefits of chia HERE, if you haven’t read it, I highly recommend that you do. You could be adding a tablespoon of the-new-improved-healthful-you to your food, so easily each day! If you’re still eating packet cereal for breakfast, Im sorry to hear it, but you could always add a tablespoon of chia to it to get some more rounded nutritional benefits!! (Like any high fibre food – always drink plenty of water to keep chia from getting stuck in your system!)
Avocados – Super Benefits, Every Day/Couple of Days Food!
Avocados are high in good fats, have anti-inlammatory properties are high in phyto-nutrients and anti-oxidants, and are rich in:
- Vitamin E
- Potassium (more than twice the amount found in a banana)
- Essential heart-healthy fat: oleic acid a monounsaturated fat
- Folic acid
Read all you need to know about avocados HERE, including how to peel them to get the most nutrients out of you avo!
Macadamia Nuts – Healthful Natural, Once or Twice a Week Food!
These fellas are also high in monounsaturated fats, as well as containing lots of vitamins and minerals such as calcium, phosphorous, potassium, sodium, selenium, iron, and the B-complex vitamins that are so important for metabolism; thiamine, riboflavin and niacin.
Macadamias are an excellent source of minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese and zinc. 100 g nuts provide 3.6 µg of selenium.
Studies suggest that monounsaturated fats in the diet help lower total as well as LDL (bad) cholesterol and increase HDL (good) cholesterol levels in the blood.
Cacao – This Jury’s Still Out, But Still Would Eat Probably A Little Every Day!
To be clear, I’m talking RAW organic cacao not cocoa (which is usually processed and containing sugar).
I’m still not confident which side to take on the cacao topic. Some claim it to be a superfood, while others say it can be in fact harmful to health in high doses! As yet another superfood debate rages, I need my chocolate!
So I choose one that’s raw, organic and as unprocessed as possible. And then if it’s true what the “for” team say, I get the most nutrients and antioxidants out of it. And it hasn’t got a whole pile of sugar and additives thrown in like cocoa and shop-bought chocolate. I’m just choosing to believe that’s healthier. But it’s still under scrutiny in my mind. Something I’ll have to revisit!
As I’m on the “FOR” side, for now, the team say RAW CACAO provides:
- Magnesium, and other essential minerals including calcium, sulfur, zinc, iron, copper, potassium, and manganese
- Polyphenols called flavonoids, with antioxidant properties
- Vitamins: B1, B2, B3, B5, B9, E
- Essential heart-healthy fat: oleic acid a monounsaturated fat
When buying, look for labels that read “raw” chocolate or cacao. Raw beans are not roasted, and are only fermented and dried, conserving their ‘superfood’ composition.
Avoid labels that read “roasted” chocolate or cacao. When the beans are roasted, they are stripped of their antioxidant properties.
Cacao Butter – Again, This Jury’s Still Out – A Couple of Times a Week Food!
Cacao butter is made by pressing ground, milled cacao nibs to make a cocoa paste. This process separates the thick and creamy butter from the fibrous powder. What we want in our pantry is a good quality raw organic cacao butter which uses only low temperature processing to ensure that quality standards are met, and no chemicals or solvents to ever be used in the process.
Cacao Butter is an excellent source of healthy omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids, and also contains natural antioxidants, as well as nutrients that support mood and the immune system.
If you melt a little more than the recipe requires, you could always rub the remainder into your skin for a natural moisturising treatment!
Coconut Cream – Superfood! Every Day Food! (If not Cream, Then Oil/Water/Flakes etc)
I found the Ayam brand to have the least amount of ingredients. Do we really need guar gum, or sugar or other crap in our coconut cream and milk? No we don’t. Ayam claim their coconut products are processed and canned within 48 hours of harvest., and are 100% natural.
My rule of thumb if we’re buying canned or packet produce, we just want to try and buy ones with the least amount of ingredients inside.
I’ve been drinking fresh young coconut water by the boxful for the past few years, use coconut oil liberally, and coconut milk & cream much more than I used to, since reading more and more about it’s benefits, over the past few years. I’m always banging on about it.
If it’s all news to you, click HERE to read Dr. Joe Mercola’s research and findings.
Cherries (Sweet) – Superfruit, Once or Twice A Week Food!
Cherries are pigment rich fruits. These pigments, in fact, are polyphenolic flavonoid compounds known as anthocyanin glycosides. Anthocyanins are red, purple or blue pigments found in many fruits and vegetables, especially concentrated in their skin, known to have powerful anti-oxidant properties.
Cherries however, are quite high in fructose, (as are dates used in the base, so we eat sparingly), so I wouldn’t be eating bowlfuls of them even though that can be very tempting! No fair! But life ain’t a bowl of cherries!
Scientific studies have shown that anthocyanins in the cherries are found to act like anti-inflammatory agents. Thus, consumption of cherries has potential health effects against chronic painful episodes such as gout, arthritis, fibromyalgia (painful muscle condition) and sports injuries. HOWEVER, if you eat cherries as a therapeutic measure for gout etc, I believe guidelines that say it’s wise to limit it to about 10 cherries a day, as the fructose in cherries generates the uric acid that exacerbates gout, and the inflammation that causes joints and injuries to ache. It’s a real shame as they’re mmm very delicious, but again folks, life ain’t a bowl of cherries, heh heh heh!
Cherries are also mild source of zinc, moderate sources of iron, potassium, and manganese and good source of copper and fibre. Potassium is a heart-healthy mineral; an important component of cell and body fluids that regulate heart rate and blood pressure.
Now, do I need to go into the details of why having NO PROCESSED SUGAR IN THIS SWEET TREAT is perhaps the best thing about the whole recipe?! Because this post is long enough as it is! Maybe some day. Just not this day.
Spelling the plural of avocado perturbed me somewhat.
The Oxford Dictionary said this:
noun (plural avocados)
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary said this:
noun \ˌä-və-ˈkä-(ˌ)dō, ˌa-\
: a fruit with rough dark green or purple skin, smooth light green flesh, and a large seed in the middle
Posted on September 26, 2013
”What is a human being? Complex to the point of absurdity, a whole person is both greedy and generous. It is foolish to think we can’t be both artists and entrepreneurs, especially when Henson was so wildly successful in both categories.
Since he was in college, Jim Henson was a natural capitalist. He owned a printmaking business and made commercials for lunchmeats. In the 1970s, he became a merchandizing millionaire and made Hollywood movies. By 1987, he had shows on all three major networks plus HBO and PBS. … Of course, Henson was not just another Trump. Believe the beard.
When Henson joined on to the experimental PBS show Sesame Street in 1968, he was underpaid for his services creating Big Bird and Oscar. Yet he spent his free nights in his basement, shooting stop-motion films that taught kids to count. If you watch these counting films, the spirit of Henson’s gift shines through. I think any struggling artist today could count Henson among their ilk. He had all the makings of a tragic starving artist. The only difference between him and us is that he made peace with money. He found a way to make art and money dance.” from Elizabeth Hyde Stevens’ book: “Make Art Make Money”
I just have to share this article with you from Maria Popova’s magnificent Brain Pickings website, to which I subscribe and recently started sending a small monthly fee to support her excellent work, and from where the above quote is taken.
Maria tells us’ Brain Pickings is a human-powered discovery engine for interestingness, a subjective lens on what matters in the world and why, bringing you things you didn’t know you were interested in — until you are.’
I love that! And it’s true. I find her work quite captivating and thought you might too, if you’re not already a fan.
This week, I really enjoyed the piece on Jim Henson, creator of The Muppets. Well, actually, it’s a piece about a book called ‘Make Art Make Money: Lessons from Jim Henson on Fueling Your Creative Career’ written by Elizabeth Hyde Stevens. In it, Stevens sets out to debunk the toxic myth that is the assumption that tells us art is necessarily bad if commercially successful, and commercial success necessarily unattainable if the art is any good, through the life and legacy of the beloved Muppeteer.
Click on THIS link to take you through to the article.
REMEMBERING THE MUPPETS:
Posted on September 26, 2013
I came across these ‘fundamentals” on Paolo Coelho’s blog, and I thought about how closely aligned they were with the philosophy of YOGA, which ain’t no surprise – it IS Gandhi!
Perhaps a new manifesto for my wall … and at the same time not so new to me as I am from a good Irish Catholic family!
The principles are all coming from the same place … I’m still with the school of thought that Jesus travelled to India and learned YOGA!
BACK TO GANDHI:
So, as an aside, I’ve added in brackets and blue, how I can see Gandhi’s words through Yoga’s Eight Limbs Philosophy …
Gandhi’s Top Ten Fundamentals1. Change (Lila sees: Ahimsa, Aparigraha) “You must be the change you want to see in the world.”“As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world – that is the myth of the atomic age – as in being able to remake ourselves.” ”2. Control. (Lila sees: Bramacharya, Dharana, Pratyahara)
“Nobody can hurt me without my permission.”
3. Forgiveness (Lila sees: Ahimsa, Aparigraha)
“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”
“An eye for eye only ends up making the whole world blind.”
4. Action. (Lila sees: Asana, Pranayama, Dhyana)
“An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching.”
5. The present moment. (Lila sees: Santosha, Ishvara Pranidhana, Dharana)
“I do not want to foresee the future. I am concerned with taking care of the present. God has given me no control over the moment following.”
6. Everyone is human. (Lila sees: Asteya, Saucha, Satya)
“I claim to be a simple individual liable to err like any other fellow mortal. I own, however, that I have humility enough to confess my errors and to retrace my steps.”
“It is unwise to be too sure of one’s own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.”
7. Persist. (Lila sees: Tapas)
“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
8. Goodness. (Lila sees: Saucha, Santosha, Asteya)
“I look only to the good qualities of men. Not being faultless myself, I won’t presume to probe into the faults of others.”
“I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people.” 9. Truth (Lila sees: Satya, Ahimsa)
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”
“Always aim at complete harmony of thought and word and deed. Always aim at purifying your thoughts and everything will be well.” 10. Development. (Lila sees: Svadyaya)
“Constant development is the law of life, and a man who always tries to maintain his dogmas in order to appear consistent drives himself into a false position.” This came to you via Paolo Coelho’s Blog.
What do YOU think?! I think I need to stick these up in my car!
Posted on September 20, 2013
On October 8th in Paddington’s Chauvel cinema, the Conscious Club strikes again, introducing a new string to their bow: MOVIE NIGHT!
I LOVE MOVIES!
This one’s called “CONNECTED“
Here’s what CC are saying about it: ‘
Connected is a thrilling exploration of modern life…and our interconnected future. With wonderful heart and an impressive sense of scale, Tiffany Shlain’s vibrant and insightful documentary, Connected, explores the visible and invisible connections linking major issues of our time-the environment, consumption, population growth, technology, human rights, the global economy-while searching for her place in the world during a transformative time in her life. Employing a splendidly imaginative combination of animation and archival footage, plus several surprises, Shlain constructs a chronological tour of Western modernization through the work of her late father, Leonard Shlain, a surgeon and best-selling author of Art and Physics and The Alphabet Versus the Goddess. With humor and irony, the Shlain family life merges with philosophy to create both a personal portrait and a proposal for ways we can move forward as a civilization. Connected illuminates the beauty and tragedy.’
”An intensely personal exploration of what HUMAN CONNECTION MEANS in our modern, technology-obsessed world.” The Atlantic
“Brilliantly questions EVERYTHING” The Examiner
“LAUGH out-loud funny” – J Weekly
“With humor and CREATIVITY all her own” Al Gore
“It will CHANGE your thinking” Paste Magazine.
“Touches the HEART and provokes the MIND” Cine Source Magazine
“Beautiful, PROVOCATIVE and deeply personal.” Boingboing
I’ve posted about Conscious Club before HERE. This is what I’m talkin’ bout people! I love it and I’m so thankful and grateful for what they do.
This event is taking place in Sydney. Still, I thought it would be good to bring awareness to the movie no matter where you are.
If you click HERE you’ll be taken to the CONNECTED website where they sell the dvd.
It’s also available on iTunes to buy for Au$11.99 or to rent for Au$4.99. Just click HERE.
So go on! Let’s all watch it together all round the world!
And then let me know if you see it and what you think in the comment boxes below! There’s nothing stopping you having your own movie night, wherever you are in the world. (There’s one score for technology!) And isn’t it a nice idea to make it a bit of a gathering, so you’re all … connected …. like!!
For those of you in Sydney available to come along here are the details and I would be buying my ticket asap as they sell out fast! (I’ve got mine already!)
Click HERE to go to the Conscious Club site to book.
Tuesday October 8th at 6.30pm
Paddington Chauvel. Cnr of Oxford and Oatley St, Paddington, NSW, 2021, Australia
$35 (it says on the website additional fees may apply but I paid only $35 so not sure what that’s about.)
And notice what it says on the poster above: FILM MEDITATION SOCIAL DINNER TEA DESSERT!! Yeehooolie!
See ya there!
Love Lila, xo
Posted on September 13, 2013
I made this up for dinner the other night & it was fast and tasty.
Himself was pretty happy with it too!
To make zucchini spaghetti and noodles, it’s easier if you have a SPIROOLI contraption, I bought mine HERE, but I’m pretty sure Julie sells them too in Earth To Table, Bondi Junction, if you’re local and wanted one today!
For this meal, I was making it up as I went along, so the measurements are approximate – don’t be afraid to try more or less of something, I don’t think you can muck it up really! And you can always stick to olive or coconut oil if you didn’t like butter in it … whatevs babes!
So for a serving for two I used:
2 -3 zucchinis approx. (Organic or skins well washed)
300g baby spinach
3 garlic cloves
A handful of chives chopped
70g butter & a few glugs of olive oil
1 large fillet of flathead (or whatever fish you like)
16 shelled, deveined prawns (tails on)
Salt, Pepper & a swish of apple cider vinegar
1/2 a large lemon (or 1 small one) sliced in quarters
A handful of toasted pinenuts nuts.
Put your pinenuts on a dry pan over a medium heat, and toss at intervals until browned and crunchy. MIND THEY DONT BURN!
Get your spirooli out and make your zucchini spaghetti.
Chop up the fish fillet roughly to same size as the prawns & sprinkle with sea salt & black pepper.
Heat half the butter and a glug of olive oil in a large fry pan (or a wok would work too).
Crush a couple of garlic cloves into the fat. Inhale the aroma, and tell yourself how amazing you are!
Throw in your prawns & fish, chives, another garlic clove crushed, and take care not to overcook, approx 2 mins each side for seafood would be plenty.
Squeeze one quarter of the lemon over the seafood for a juicy sizzle.
Add the spinach, and then the gradually the zucchini spaghetti, using a tongs, so you can mix it well through the sauce, trying to coat all of the spaghetti in the garlic butter, adding more butter and oil gradually when needed. The zucchini spaghetti is just warmed but no need to cook it through.
Squeeze another lemon quarter over the top, tong through one more time and toss your toasted pinenuts over the top to serve.
Posted on September 11, 2013
This week, I posted about having laryngitis.
I believe my laryngitis is my body telling me something. That I am doing too much. I haven’t been listening to my body very well.
At first I thought it meant that I was TALKING too much.
But while I can get a little verbal diarrhoea at times, I also spend long spells alone and in silence, and am quite comfortable with not speaking.
Over the past month, I have had a bit of a run in with my body, first feeling a little run down, then I damaged my shoulder somehow – so that it was completely dropped on one side, and as soon as that started to fix up, I contracted laryngitis.
I searched for answers, took a step back and had a look at myself. My head thought ‘I am not doing too much?’ Theoretically I don’t need to be doing much. But if I wrote down all the things I do in a day, and the effort and intensity with which I do them, and the amount of time I spend on some things that largely go unnoticed, or at least it seems that way to me, I can see that I am being ineffectual and not gaining the most out of my privileged position in life.
It’s like I set myself up theoretically and practically so I can not be in the rat race, not lived a stressed out life, no I didn’t want to be like everyone else, running around like a mad thing! I would have time to live a more mindful, yogic life … and then I somehow seemed to have stuffed all this other ‘little’ but hugely time consuming ‘stuff’ in around the edges of everything.
So I am mindfully and ‘yogically’ cutting back.
It’s not like I need to look for magic. I have the most magical, and magnificent life. I just need space to FEEL it! Mmmmm … I’m ready!
And it starts here.
With Lilapud. I’ve decided that I’ve been trying to say too much each week. I didn’t read the other signs from my body. Laryngitis didn’t worsen when I spent time talking with family, friends and loved ones. It worsened as I struggled to make time for Lilapud.
Since I’ve started writing this blog, I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of time gathering information and learning the WordPress process as I go along. It’s been hugely exciting, but now I’m just going to take it down a notch.
Less is enough. Enough for me to write, and enough for you to read.
Yippee!! I feel free already!!
See you in real life!
Love Lila, xo
Posted on September 11, 2013
Last week, I suffered my first ever experience of Laryngitis.
Suffered is not the most appropriate word. I didn’t mind being quiet at all. In a way it was actually a relief to not have to speak!
And I found it interesting how people responded to and interacted with me. Some seemed to think that using a raised voice to speak to me was suddenly appropriate, others went quiet themselves and gestured to me as if they themselves had lost their voice, some slowed down and used other senses rather than just words to understand me, and others just continued on as normal.
Overall, I was most impresed with my dog’s response.
She just got me! She would look at me, her eyes sweeping my face and body, searching for a gesture from me, she desperately wanted to know what I wanted from her, which task to perform. The only thing for which she needed to hear my voice, was her dining command “OK”. Until I say this, she will not eat the food in her dish! So that was a bit tricky, but still we managed!
Apart from losing my voice, I didn’t have too many other nasty sufferings. I had a sore throat, but I’ve had worse, and I hadn’t much energy, I could feel my body was trying to stave off something more damaging, and for this I was grateful with my lot. I took some time off work and just tried to listen to my body and rest. (This was harder than I thought it would be, but that’s another blogpost!).
So my mum was giving me motherly advice on how to convalesce, and one of the things she was adamant I do, was OIL PULLING.
I didn’t actually know what oil pulling was, exactly. So I finally got round to looking into it a bit more and here is what I found.
MY NEW FAVOURITE CURE ALL?!
Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic ritual.
Traditionally, cold-pressed sesame or sunflower oils are used.
Although some use unrefined/virgin sesame /sunflower or virgin coconut oil as an alternative.
It involves taking a tablespoon of oil into the mouth, and swishing it around in there for at least 20 minutes, first thing in the morning before eating.
After the oil swishing there is another very important step – swishing with salty warm water. This is very important, as it works to expel any lingering toxins left in the mouth on any oil that remains. SO DON’T SKIP THIS BIT!
It all sounds a bit gross and time-consuming, but I found it’s not so much, and sooooo worth it! As I had started my research early that morning – and I got so excited about how much positive anecdotal evidence for the myriad benefits this practice brings – I was in a good state to jump up and get swishing myself, and so I did!
There are many videos and articles on oil-pulling you can find on the net …
I thought I would share my experience of how it’s working for me.
First let me tell you with what they say this practice can help.
FIRST AND FOREMOST, it is an excellent remedy for most oral & dental ailments, as well as giving your teeth a really good clean and shine!
But here is a list of the most common conditions people have reported that respond to oil pulling, and I estimate that I know at least one person, suffering from one or more of these conditions, which is why I’m posting about this! :
Acne, Allergies, Arthritis, Asthma, Back and Neck Pain, Bad Breath, Bronchitis, Chronic Fatigue, Colitis, Crohn’s Disease, Constipation, Dental Cavities, Dermatitis, Diabetes, Eczema, Hemorrhoids, Hypertension, Insomnia, Migraine Headaches, Mucous Congestion, Peptic Ulcers, PMS, Periodontal Disease, Bleeding Gums, Sinusitis, Tooth Abscess
I think that it’s worth bearing in mind that there are many ailments and diseases that can be directly related to oral health and may respond to oil pulling therapy, so I feel it’s worth a trial period no matter what your ailment!
Do you remember the olden days, when a visit to the doctor meant us sticking out our tongue and saying ‘aaahhh’ so doc could have a look in our mouths? Both modern and Chinese medicine, and also ancient Indian healing systems acknowledge the importance of the mouth and the tongue as indicators of well-being or ill-health, as the case may be.
So to give you a rough explanation of how it works:
The process of oil pulling attracts bacteria, toxins and parasites that live in the mouth or lymph system. It also pulls congestion and mucous up from your throat and it loosens up your sinuses. When mixed with the saliva in the mouth, this bad stuff binds with the oil SO IT IS IMPORTANT NOT TO SWALLOW IT!
There is no shortage of information out there on oil pulling. A lot of anecdotal evidence and a little science. Dr. Karach M.D. has a site devoted to what he thinks is all we need to know about oil pulling, which I found realistic, and from which I am gathering most of the information for my experiment. Click HERE for Dr. Karach ‘s science behind oil pulling .
HOW I DO MY OIL PULLING
Today was my 7th day oil pulling.
I am using coconut oil, just because I have it to hand and because I have found that others using it have had positive results. Also I think it might be easier to stomach, so to speak, than sesame oil, but I do intend to try sesame oil sometime.
I started off using 1 tablespoon of solid coconut oil. This is way too much – even for my big mouth! I think 1 teaspoon of solid coconut oil or 1 tablespoon of liquid oil will do the job and is where I’m up to now. It took me a couple of days to get the right amount, so experiment yourself ’til you find your own level. The first time I did it, my facial muscles felt tired, which shouldn’t happen, and I even let some escape forth involuntarily, so I advise carrying a tissue for the first few times in case of accidents! This happened simply because I had too much oil in my mouth, and hasn’t happened me since day 2.
Swish it all around your mouth for at least 20 minutes. Pull and push it through your teeth, and try to get it moving around all parts of the mouth. Don’t stop swishing. But remember, there is no need to use a lot of force here, it shouldn’t hurt in any way, so refrain from adding tension or stress to the muscles/body and try to keep relaxed as you can be.
Here is one part of the day that I do encourage a bit of multi-tasking! I would advise you to avoid focusing only on the activity in the mouth for this 20 minutes. It just gets all a bit too much! On my first day I was doing this and I ended up gagging a couple of times, I let some slip forward out of my mouth, and I also let some slip backwards and swallowed a teeny bit! Now this was partly due to me having too much volume in there in the first place, and I think your first couple of times, of course your going to focus on it a bit, but after day 2, I advise getting some stuff done while oil pulling! I read some emails, watched videos, etc, and now I have my shower, put on my make-up, feed the dog, prepare my lunch for work etc etc … that way it needn’t be a time-consuming experience!
One other tip I would share, is avoid tilting your head backwards as this may induce gagging and swallowing! If anything I would keep a slight tilt forward, but remember, no need for tension.
DO NOT SWALLOW THE OIL. As I said, I did swallow a little bit of oil on my first day, nothing bad happened. But as the oil soon contains the bacteria and toxins the practice is working to expel, you must spit it all out. Don’t freak out if you swallow a bit in the the experimental stage, it will work its way out the other way through the digestive system, and as Dr. Karach says “Nothing is to be done” (love this – so yogi!!)
Some sources say not to spit it down the sink when done, as it may clog your sink/drains? However, I am not sure about that. They suggest spitting into the bin or the toilet (wouldn’t it do the same thing in the toilet drain?). Anyway, after 20 minutes of swishing, that which was once oil, jettisons as a watery milky like substance, and isn’t really oil anymore. You’ll have to come to your own conclusion on that one.
WARM SALTY WATER RINSE
Then I rinse with warm-hot salty water and really swish it around – think about what you’re doing – you’re trying to reach any remaining oily residue in the mouth to cut through the toxins therein. If you omit this step, you are going to be swallowing down the bacteria you have just spent 20 mins gathering into your mouth, see?
After the warm salty water rinse, I then brush my teeth and finally use my tongue scraper to finish off the treatment.
Tip: Seems a bit obvious but I am always conservative – do make sure you are not allergic to the oil you are using!
Click HERE for a little video from Dr. Karach’s site on how to do oil pulling, I found this helpful!
My Experience So Far (the boring details – feel free to skip!)
I have shared most of my experiences so far. I would like to add these:
On day 1 after oil pulling, I immediately felt fresher in myself, not just in my mouth. Yes, my teeth were sparkling clean and rubbing my tongue over my teeth before brushing told me so! But my head felt clear and de-fogged. The sore throat I had from laryngitis eased, and I felt energised. This really excited me!
On day 2, after oil pulling I felt better again, and thought my laryngitis had gone. I started to speak again, only to find that night, that my glands were swollen, my throat was sore and there was some kind of a lump inside my throat, the back of my neck and all around it ached and I felt exhausted.
I woke up on day 3 (a Saturday) feeling a little better … oil pulled … felt a lot better …went for breakfast and a gentle walk … and tried really hard not to speak. When I got home, I felt worse than I had since contracting the infection – so bad I thought I was going to have to take the next week off work!
I was pretty upset, as I had a big family function to attend that day, and a friend’s dinner party that night. I didn’t know how I was going to get through it all. So I lay down for 90 minutes in a restorative yoga pose – a version of supta savasana (I lay with a big bolster under my knees, and cushions supporting my back so that I was on an incline with my head higher than my heart). I slept a little. I went out to the first function, and tried really hard not to speak for fear of worsening. In the end, I caught myself talking quite a bit, it was just too hard, and dammit – I was enjoying myself!
I came home, rested again in the same way for an hour, and went out to the dinner party. Not only was I talking, but I ended up shouting over music, thinking for sure, I am rightly mucked up now for tomorrow and the rest of the week. That night I slept on the couch in the same position as earlier.
I woke up better than ever. Sorry for the lengthy details, but I thought it was important to document it. I think what was happening was, the toxins were working their way out and I had to feel worse before I felt better.
And did it cure my laryngitis? Well, I don’t know. I still have a little huskiness in my voice, and I’m still feeling tired like I might have something viral, but my sinuses are clear, I have no congestion in nose, throat or chest, and no headaches or neck aches and my glands haven’t felt sore since Friday night, AND I have slept like a baby so …. I believe this has been a really positive experience, and I intend to keep it up as part of my daily routine!
Have You Tired Oil Pulling? Or Will You Try It?
Please Share Your Experiences Here With Us In The Comment Boxes Below?
Love Lila, xo
Posted on September 10, 2013
I’ve posted about his before here. Do you know someone who suffers from anxiety or depression, it’s pretty common out there these days.
Yoga is the antidote.
Please forward this poster to anyone you think may benefit from taking part in this research? Just letting you know that FREE private yoga lessons for eligible participants are available at Vaucluse now as well as Cammeray. Please follow the instructions in the poster below for more information, and good luck!
Posted on September 5, 2013
You See What You Believe
You often hear “seeing is believing” .. but is that really the case?
One of my Yoga teachers, Judith Hanson Lasater says, we see what we believe, not believe what we see. I see this. And I also believe it!
I always read a line from Judith’s teaching in my yoga class from her wonderful book A Year of Living Your Yoga. In it, you’ll find these brief, powerful insights which reflect the author’s knowledge of classic yoga philosophy and years of experience. Humorous, inspiring, and surprisingly down-to-earth, they guide seekers both on and off the yoga mat. Sometimes I read a line and it resonates deeply. This was one of them … we see what we believe, not believe what we see …
What DO you believe? This insight highlights for me, the importance of yoga and meditation, being able to stand back and observe ourselves, our thoughts, from a distance. With more perspective and objectivity and less learned behaviour and emotional attachment.
Anyway, I then came across this article in Ulterior Motives … and thought I’d share it with you …
An interesting question is the degree to which your beliefs influence what you are seeing in the moment. This question was explored by Christos Bechlivanidis and David Lagnado in a fascinating paper in the August, 2013 issue of Psychological Science.
They created a simple computer-based environment in which basic shapes (like squares and rectangles) could move and influence each other. By playing with the environment for a while, participants could learn how the various objects worked. For example, when a green square collided with a barrier, it caused the red rectangle to become a star. The blue square would only allow stars, but not other shapes to enter its borders. So, in order to get the red rectangle inside the blue square, the green square had to collide with the barrier first.