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Bliss

Point Reyes

I’m still can’t believe I live one hour from the ocean.

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Lunch

I love experimenting with food, and surprisingly today was the first time I have ever cooked brussels sprouts! Growing up I wouldn’t go near these things, so I guess that means I’m growing up! Or at least my taste buds are. I used this recipe, and I really liked the cranberries and agave. The sweetness with the brussels sprouts was very tasty.

I also want to stress the importance of eating foods you love. I know salad isn’t every ones cup of tea, but that was makes us all unique, we all have different tastes, and different needs. I LOVE salads. I love adding different textures, flavors, and colors. My salad today consisted of: olives, feta, artichoke hearts, butter leaf lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots and celery. I then added a simple vinaigrette and dug in.

Well, the quarter is almost over (2 weeks left!) and I feel like I might be ready to explain what Holistic Health Education (HHE) is all about.

Did you know that the US spends billions of dollars on health care each year? We have the most advanced bio-medical research and technology, and yet we are only ranked 37th for overall quality of health care?? Obesity and diabetes are becoming an epidemic. Something is obviously not right. As I have been learning in class, the Western (allopathic) medical model is only focusing on disease and how to cure it, instead of focusing on prevention, the individual, and the mind, body and spirit.

Western medicine only treats the patient once the symptoms appear. This means, they constantly have to put out fires. This also makes it harder to heal the person (think about, it’s harder to get rid of cold then it is to prevent it, now think about more extreme examples), not to mention very expensive (surgeries, prescriptions).

In HHE we realize that the mind, body and spirit all affect each other and the health of the individual. The first step should be prevention, such as educating people about: optimum nutrition, fun movement, the value of community and positive thoughts, way to release stress, the importance of having a job that you love, and having a meaning in life. It’s also important to note that HHE doesn’t ban the Western Approach to health care, it just recognizes that there is more to health care than popping pills or quick fixes. Western health care has it’s place, but it’s only a part of the big picture, and should be the last resort in some cases.

As a holistic health educator I want to empower the people I am educating. I want to let them know their options, including the Western approach when needed, and teach them about prevention and all the aspects of our lives that have an effect on our body, mind and spirit. I feel that the patient can be their own healer, sometimes even more so than a doctor can heal them, so I would like to help my patient to connect back to there internal wisdom to figure out what they need as a unique individual.

Yumm

It tasted better than this photo makes it look!

Today I made a really simple, but amazing, butternut squash soup. Here is how I made it:

I cut the butternut squash in half, rubbed the insides with coconut oil and cinnamon, and put it into the oven at 300 for about 1.5 hours (just poke it with a fork, if it’s very soft it’s done!).

I then scooped out the squash and put it in a pan with water and coconut milk. I added some ginger and some salt and let it boil for about 20 minutes. When it was done cooking I put it in the blender, and volia, ready to eat! Simple, yet very delicious. I didn’t have many ingredients, but you can always add other things to your liking.

I know I don’t have amounts, I started by added a small amount of water and coconut milk, and kept on adding it as the soup was cooking until it was the consistency I wanted.

The most important thing is to have fun with your cooking!

Benefits of butternut squash: it’s high in fiber and full of antioxidant-rich vitamin C to mention a few. To read more about the benefits click here!

Benefits of coconut milk: did you know it’s a super food?? Everyone should be using it. There are way too many benefits to list here, so if you are interested you can read about it here. It also is safe to cook with high heat.

Food in Hospitals

I’m reading Len Saputo’s book called A Return to Healing, and I was appalled when he was talking about the food they serve at hospitals. When a patient is sick or recovering from a surgery, the main thing they need to eat is something high in nutrients and nourishing not only for their body, but for their soul. Food that is beautifully presented, fresh, and full of nutrients would help heal the patients in the hospitals.  As Saputo explained, in “normal” circumstances our bodies have a hard time detoxifying all the chemicals and toxins we ingest and that are in the environment. Think about how hard it is for our bodies when it is recovering or fighting off an illness, yup, hard.

Beautiful and Nourishing!

This is the perfect time to introduce herbs, supplements, and healing foods. The problem is, many hospitals are run by people who are clueless about optimum nutrition, and unfortunately base their opinions on money. Did you know that many insurers won’t cover services made by departments of clinical nutrition? Or that the hospital bases their food menus on the FDA guidelines, and not only are these guidelines not meeting the needs of the people,  but the FDA itself is being influenced by the pharmaceutical companies?

I am passionate about food, and this is something I would love to change in our country. Maybe someday…

One idea I have (which I’m sure is not new) is to have community gardens at hospitals. I think this would be a great place for patients and family members. They would be spending time outdoors, being active, and being with the earth. Community members could also come and volunteer their time. The food from the gardens could then be used for the hospital food! It’s a win, win situation!

Forgiveness

In a book I’m reading for class, Consciousness and Healing, a chapter on forgiveness by Frederic Luskin made an impact on me, so I thought I would share.

Luskin has been researching the effects of forgiveness on the health of an individual at Standford University, and he has found some amazing discoveries. The first thing he learned is that forgiveness can be taught, so he brought groups of people together that had been in similar situations (unresolved interpersonal hurt, family members killed by murder, etc) and had them take workshops on forgiveness. What he found is that these subjects not only had a decrease in stress, hurt, anger and physical symptoms, but they also had a greater outlook on life and were more forgiving overall, not just towards the particular person or situation.

An interesting thing to note is when Luskin talks about forgiveness he’s not saying you have to condone the offense, forget what happened, or reconcile with the person. In fact, you can sometimes forgive someone and decide to never talk to them again. But the main thing is once you forgive you are letting go of the power the person holds over you and are able to love and trust again.

He lays out some steps for forgiveness which I found useful:

1. Know exactly how you feel about the situation. Put it in words and tell a trusted person.

2. Commit to do what you have to do to feel better. Do what you need to do, this is all about you and what you need.

3. Understand your goal.Remember you are after peace, not necessarily reconciliation or condoning. Forgiveness might be taking this experience less personally and changing your grievance story.

4. Put it into perspective, understand that your distress is coming from your hurt feelings.

5. When you feel upset, have some stress management techniques to try.

6. Don’t expect things from other people, such as happiness, love, health. You are in charge of your life.

7. Shift your thinking to positivity. Stop replaying the hurt, and shift that energy towards getting with you want.

8. Living your life well is the best revenge. Look for the beauty, love and kindness around you. By focusing on your wounded feelings the person who caused you pain still has power over you.

9. “Amend your grievance story to remind yourself of the heroic choice to forgive, and focus your converstaion on what you have learned about yourself and life.”

All of this information is from Conscious and Healing by Marilyn Schlitz et al.

Tip of the Day

“Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.”
Michael Pollan

Basically, eat fresh, whole foods. Also, if you can’t recognize something on a food label don’t eat it!

In my class, nutritional biochemistry, we are learning about the healing powers of food. Many of the illnesses that are prevalent these days- diabetes, obesity, etc – could be avoided by just eating fresh, whole foods. If you are used to eating heavily processed foods, start slowly. Add some fruit for breakfast, try eating vegetables with different colors (eat the rainbow, but not skittles!), drink more water. These small steps will make a big difference!

A wonderful way to enjoy food is to cook with a group of people you love. Take the morning to prep, cook and talk. Then sit down to a meal that all of you cooked with love. You will probably notice that the food tastes better! You are not only nourishing your body, but you are nourishing your soul.