Share Your Inspiration: Meet Jae Bradford

My Miracle

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After 3 ½ years of rather severe health issues with my aging parents (who I love dearly), I realized my stress level was “off the chart”. I was anxious, depressed and nervous all of the time. I started taking Yoga classes with Sandra in June of 2012 because I knew I needed to have something in my life that was just for me. I really didn’t know what Yoga was all about so I signed up for 1 month, then signed up for the next 3 months. I had found something that was all mine and I enjoyed the classes so much. The peace and positively that I had been looking for began to seep into my life. I became more patient, accepting and my stress level much more manageable.

Sandra held a breathing class on September 22, 2012, which I decided to attend.  I had started smoking cigarettes when I was 17 (40 years ago) and had been trying to quit smoking for 39 of those 40 years. No program, health issue, drug, hypnosis, acupuncture or anything else that came along lead me to stop smoking.  Smoking had become such a burden and just plain exhausting but I just couldn’t quit. I had not planned to stop smoking when I attended the breathing class, but that next week I started really concentrating on breathing in a new way. One week after that special class, I stopped smoking. Today December 28th, marks my 3rd month without a cigarette. I am overjoyed to be relieved of the burden. I truly feel like a miracle has happened for me.

Last month I went for my annual “well woman” exam. My doctor said “I see that you have stopped smoking…did something happen to lead you to this”?  I said “Yes, I started taking Yoga and am learning how to breathe”. She asked me what class I was taking, I told her about Sandra and INDRA’S GRACE, she said “That is wonderful, I have a lot of patients that take her class, I am so happy for you”.

I wanted to share this before January 1, 2013. This year on New Years day, my #1 resolution won’t be “Stop Smoking”, because I already did that and I know in my heart that I will never smoke again. Yoga and Sandra have improved my quality of life and probably saved it. Thank you, Sandra

Another Breathing class is on January 26th and I will be at that class as well. If learning to breathe has helped me this much, it can help anyone do anything!

Happy Breathing, Blessings and Love,

Jae Bradford
Feel free to email me.  jaebeach@bellsouth.net (Subject Indra’s Grace)

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Meditation By Eknath Easwaran: Chapter One Book Club Notes

Book Club October 13, 2012
Meditation:   A Simple 8-point program for translating spiritual ideals into daily life.
by     Eknath Easwaran
Thank you to all who joined us today to discuss this interesting and informative book.  It was fun to get together and discuss some of the ideas Eknath Easwaran addressed in the Intro and Chapter 1.
Eknath Easwaran is from a small village in India and came to live in New York City in the 1970’s.  Coming from such a small village where people moved slowly, he was shocked to see how rapidly Americans moved from place to place.  He states that the first time he rode in a car on the Freeway, he thought there was a race going on and he was in it!  We take as normal our everyday rushing about, driving fast, eating fast, multi-tasking, meanwhile as a nation we are getting sicker, more stressed, more depressed and generally going about feeling unfulfilled.  This book is about slowing down, living mindfully and finding inner peace.
Eknath states that Meditation is a systematic technique for taking hold of and concentrating to the utmost degree our latent mental power.  Pg9   It consists in training the mind, especially attention and the will, so that we can set forth from the surface level of consciousness and journey into the very depths.  Pg 10 As we become more and more adept at this our “fits of emotion begin to lose their power to dictate our behavior.”  We begin to see choices, we live more in the moment and we feel freedom.    Pg 11 He goes on to state “all that we are is the result of what we have thought”.  By changing the very mode of our thinking, we can remake ourselves completely.  Pg 11.
This Eight Point Program consists of:
Meditation
Repetition of the mantram
Slowing down
Giving one-pointed attention
Training the senses
Putting the welfare of others first
Spiritual companionship
Reading from the scriptures and mystics of all religions

Discoveries of meditation are that we are not the body (stage one), we are not the mind (stage two) and in the third stage of meditation we find out who we really are and in doing so we develop a skill in living that brings out the beauty to your relationships, you discover that you and others are one. Pg 27

Chapter 1 Meditation
Eknath suggests it is virtually impossible to have a blank mind, so he suggests that we use a prayer with which to meditate, it needs to be spiritual, positive and with the idea of putting others first.  The prayer that he uses and suggests that we start with is the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi.  “This beautiful prayer has an almost universal appeal, holding so much spiritual wisdom he (St. Francis of Assis) drew upon as he undertook the almost total transformation of character, conduct, and consciousness. “ Pg 29 The prayer itself is also on page 29.
He recommends that we be seated with eyes gently closed, then having memorized the prayer, we recite it silently at a slow and steady pace.  It is important that the pace is slow, as if the pace is quick, the mind does not slow down.  “Concentrate on one word at a time, and as you concentrate on the sound you will automatically be concentrating on the meaning as sound and sense are one. “ Pg 33
The mind will try to distract us with jumbling the words, replacing the actual words with silly words, thinking of what needs to be done today, but do not be distracted, go back to concentrating on the prayer and the rate at which you are repeating it.
The reason for an inspirational passage is to focus the mind first and foremost and getting it focused on something that will help us when in real life we are in a difficult situation.  It helps us determine the essentials from the non-essentials.  The second reason for an inspirational passage is so that we begin to resemble and actually become whatever we give our attention to.  Pg 38 “all that we are is the result of what we have thought.” Pg 39
The best time for meditation is first thing in the morning.  “The dawn brings freshness, renewal.  Birds and other creature know this; we the “crown of creation’” do not seem to.”  Pg 41” Strike a bargain with yourself, no meditation-no breakfast.”  Pg 42 “Half an hour every day at the same time until it becomes a reflex, this is the best way to meditate. “ pg 44  The place should be calm and clear and should be the same every day.
“The correct posture for meditation is to sit erect with the spinal column, the nape of the neck and the head in a straight line.” You may place your hands wherever they are comfortable.  You can sit in a straight back chair or cross legged on the floor, sitting on a cushion or rug.  Pg 46
When you feel yourself getting drowsy, as so often happens as you start to relax,” move away from your back support and give your full attention to the prayer.“  Pg 48 “If from the earliest days you can remain awake throughout meditation, you will be able to descend from the surface level right into the unconscious and walk about completely aware.” Pg 48
It is important that we get enough exercise, eat a well balanced diet and get enough sleep if we want to meditate without so many distractions.  The mind will still try, so it is important to once again go back to the words of the prayer.  Pg 51
It is important to meditate for 30 minutes at a time and no more or less.  Staying in meditation longer than 30 minutes may trigger deeper emotional responses, so stick with the set time.  If in that period of time you feel fear about what is happening, open your eyes for a moment, go back to the prayer and then when you are comfortable close your eyes again.  If you see bright lights, hear sounds, just keep focused on the prayer, do not be distracted by these images.
To make progress in meditation you must be regular.  Put your meditation first and everything else second.  “…learning to control your mind is difficult…(yet)what you are seeking is glorious beyond compare.” Pg 56
Come join us next week October 20th  at 2PM for Chapter 2.  Also, next Saturday Sandra will be leading a meditation class at 11 so come join us as we share our meditation time together.  Contact Sandra if you plan to be at the Meditation Class.  Have a great week and peaceful meditating!

Share Your Inspiration: Marcy Atchley

My Piece of Peace…Why I Meditate
By Marcy Atchley

I relish my time alone with God, my Divine creator…mind calms…attention is focused…body relaxes…stress does not exist… a complete feeling of inner peace abounds…I desire this… I practice this.
Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years, just look at Genesis 24:63…Issac went out to the field one evening to meditate!  Just imagine… sitting outside… full day of work accomplished… feeling grateful that it’s over, that it went well or what on earth do I do next?  Stop…give it to the One who gave me the work to begin with!  Listen and be still…still in body…still in thought.  Psalms 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God… Be grateful…be blessed…Worship.
When I meditate it is my intention to seek harmony with my mind, body, and spirit..to be aware..not to judge!  I find answers when I look inwardly.  Ephesians 1:18…I pray also that the EYES OF YOUR HEART may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you.  This is a priceless gift.  Ephesians  4:23 tells me that I can be made new in the attitude of my mind.  Romans 8:6 tells me that when my mind is controlled by the Spirit, I have life and peace.  Romans 15:13 tells me that I can overflow with hope and be filled with joy and peace.  Philippians 4:4-9 tells me I was created to be happy…rejoice in the Lord…present my petitions.not be anxious..Let Christ guard my mind…practice pure, true, noble, admirable, praiseworthy thoughts and the God of Peace will be with me.
Meditation is an avenue that I use to build my faith.  I love God.  I am loved by God.  I feel it.  I know it.  I own it.  I can only give to others out of my abundance whether that is time, money, wisdom, or energy.  I feel blessed with all when I stop and turn my thoughts inwardly.  I try to carry this love and inner peace with me through out my day.  Whatever I am doing, wherever I am going, it balances me…even when my thoughts turn negative, my joy drains….how quick can I get it back?
Like daily bible reading, prayer and meditation, I also have discovered a need for a daily practice for my body.  Yoga has led me to a stronger mind, stronger breath, stronger bones, stronger muscles, I stand taller, I feel whole which in turn makes me more holy.. for the movements are done in rhythm to my breath…My God given breath working with my God given and created body…meditation in motion!  How cool is that! By the way…did you know that yoga means union? Union of the body with the mind and the mind with the soul.
The work I am doing with Sandra at Indra’s Grace, is helping me rebound more quickly and more gracefully…thus more pleasing to my Creator. A positive thought is just a thought away, but it is up to me to look for a positive one!  Life is hard…disappointments abound…but so does Love.. Joy.. Peace… Patience… Goodness… Kindness… Gentleness… Self Control…the choice is mine to make. This application is huge when I look inside…I used to be very quick to judge myself…I should have…did I…will I… have I…wish I…scattered thoughts had a tendency to plague me. Now, when I feel unbalanced I return to my breath…my Spirit…once again I calm…I breathe…I meditate and I am at peace.

Share Your Inspiration: Meet Jerry Wiggins

I want to tell you about my success story.


I have a rough medical history. Brain surgery from Chiari Malformation, a kidney removed from renal cancer, and some autonomic issues such as Central sleep apnea, gastroparesis, and POTS. My ears ring so loud 24/7. Of all this, the headaches, the nerve damage, and the pain from Chiari are my biggest issues. I have had doctors give up on me, tell me it was all in my head…well Chiari is in my head…and in general with some bad experiences.

I had to medically retire from a job I enjoyed which changed my way of life. I had become very non-mobile, with high blood pressure, and was suffering from declining health. I had become so pale and had lost so much weight that I went through early cancer screening but nothing was found. I found a new neurologist that was a nerve specialist with several Chiari patients. I think I flunked every phase of my initial examination. My doctor told me pain management was now the treatment, but that I might see benefits from yoga, that I needed to keep moving. Thus I sent my first email to Indra’s Grace. I then made contact over the phone and I knew Sandra was special. Sandra had even taken the time to find information on Chiari.  I was very impressed and very excited.

I started my first session in a chair and got so dizzy I thought I was going to fall out of it during my first breathing exercise. I was staggering all over the place doing basic exercises. Although it was  slow progress, I was amazed that it was progress. I had so many failed medications, long waits for doctor appointments and just time, if that makes any sense. After several years of declining health any progress was fast. A few sessions and my color started coming back. Then my blood pressure went down and I quit blood pressure medications.

So many emotions hit. It was very hard not being able to do simple things, stumbling, falling, and easy fatigue. I was shocked seeing a shadow of my old self. Sandra started turning my sad to hope and determination. My body started getting stronger. Something happened. It was like something turned on. My autonomic nervous system I think? It was to me the impossible.

My pain has lessened. I am now getting worried I will have to diet after gaining so much weight!  Yes, I still have many Chiari symptoms but now I know there is hope. My graduation to group class was fun and interesting. I didn’t get embarrassed; no one cared if I staggered around. Somehow, I hung in there and continued to grow. I have gone from barely hanging in to holding my own.

My cardiologist is very impressed with my progress. I am off my BP medications. He expected to see something on my echocardiogram that most people with central sleep apnea show. He was surprised because nothing showed. My rheumatologist was happy that I was moving better. She is a yoga fan also. And, of course, my neurologist is thrilled. She noticed I wasn’t constantly squirming from pain. Sandra had made that comment a few days before she did. All made the comment that my progress was from nothing they had done.  I had done it on my own. I know better, my progress is due to yoga and Sandra’s help.

I truly look forward to yoga and appreciate how it has helped me and how it will continue to help. No, there is no cure to Chiari but yoga has helped fight the symptoms. Yoga and Sandra have helped my body, mind, and spirit. She is a very special lady.

Book Club: Crazy, Sexy, Diet Chapter 9 & 10

September 1, 2012
Book Club Chapter 9, Supplements
Thanks to all who came to group on Saturday, it was fun to see everyone and to get caught up on the happenings over the last 2 weeks.  We chatted so much we didn’t discuss the chapter, so I will just briefly go over it for our blog.
Kris’s message throughout the book is the importance of getting nutrients from the fresh foods we eat and she starts the chapter by reiterating the point.  She then goes on to say there are a few supplements she suggests and they are:
Probiotics,  the ones high in lactobacillus and bifidobacterium.  Probiotics are meant to restore the balance of bacteria in your intestines.  Pg 166
Superfoods; these are rich in phytochemicals which can reduce the risk of certain forms of can, reduce inflammation, and strengthen the immune system.  Pg 167
Examples of superfoods are blue/green algae, spirulina,and chlorella.
Vitamin B12 is a vitamin needed if you are following a vegetarian diet, because B12 isn’t found in plant food.
Many people are low in Vitamin D, and she recommends Vitamin D3 2000- 4000 iu daily, pg 169 (Frank Lipman, MD)  It is very interesting the many signs and symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency (fatigue, general muscle pain and weakness, tender sternum, muscle cramps, joint pain, weight gain, restless sleep, etc.) pg 169
A good multi-vitamin is ok to be on the safe side.  
Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid, particularly the ones that get the omega 3 from algae.
Digestive enzymes,  2 per meal just to help your digestive system and to let your body divert this energy to other places where it is needed.
Aloe Vera can be taken as a boost for your overall immune system.  A capful of aloe vera in 1 liter of water and drink it all morning.
As you can see this chapter was brief yet once again full of good information.

Chapter 10 The Adventure Cleanse Begins!
The 21 day cleanse that is outlined in the book is meant to “tune your body, mind, and spirit”.  “This is not about obsessing about every mouthful of food you eat but to have a peaceful feeling in your heart and in your body”. Pg 177   Each day starts with meditation, affirmations  and then a healthy green drink.
Kris has included many recipes in her book and I will print the recipes of the dishes we had in class to add to your repertoire of healthy food options to incorporate into your life.  The whole idea is to “honor the angel inside” pg 178 and to have fun as you explore this new way of living life.  The chapter has 21 days containing “a focus, affirmation, prayer, diet or lifestyle tip and God pod motivation to get your ass in gear”. Pg 178
We decided to have a potluck in class today as a way to help people get started.  We have now tasted several of the recipes in the book and today many people brought recipes that they found elsewhere.  We know how they taste and which  ones we enjoy, so that when we get started we can be kind to ourselves and serve some of our favorites.  The food today was delicious, pretty and so healthy.
Good Luck to all who attended group and to those of you who followed along online.  This book is a challenge, yet a gift to us all if we change even one part of our diet and lifestyle, releasing what no longer serves us well and incorporating new and refreshing ways into our daily lives.
Recipes Follow:

1)Marinated Kale Salad  (Karen Henckell)
Marinade:
1 clove garlic, finely diced
1 lemon, juice from
1T agave nectar or your favorite sweetener
pinch Himalayan salt
pinch pepper
¼ cup flax seed oil
Salad:
1 bunch kale, stems removed and torn into bite sized pieces
1 cup cherry tomatoes
2 avocados, chopped
¼ head purple cabbage, chopped
¼ cup hemp seeds
¼ cup purple onion

Combine Kale with marinade.  Massage for a few minutes to coat well, set aside.
Prepare tomato, avocado, cabbage and onion.
Stir into kale mixture and mix well
Sprinkle hemp seeds on top and mix in.

2)Broccoli Avocado Salad
2 ripe avocados
2 ripe mangos
2-3 cups broccoli chopped into small pieces
½ cup red onion
¾ cup raisins
pinch of sea salt

Combine all and serve
Ramen-Broccoli Slaw

Dressing
½ cup sugar (stevia or whichever sweetener you like)
1/3  cup white vinegar
½ cup vegetable oil
Salad
1 12 oz bag broccoli slaw mix
2 (3 oz) packages ramen noodles
4 scallions, sliced thin
1 cup shelled roasted sunflower seeds
1 cup slivered almonds, toasted
Whisk sugar and vinegar in medium bowl until sugar dissolves.  Gradually whisk in oil.  Set aside
Combine broccoli slaw, ramen and flavor packets, scallions, sunflower seeds and almonds in a large bowl.  Drizzle dressing over salad and toss until well coated.  Refrigerate salad, covered at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.  Toss again before serving.

4)Green Juice
Turnip greens (6 leaves)
1 cucumber
1 lime
1 bunch cilantro
grapes 1 bunch
2 red apples
2 green apples
3-4 shakes of cinnamon
Put through juicer and enjoy.
5) Quinoa Summer Salad
2 cups vegetable stock or water
1 cup quinoa
4 cups combined vegetables of fruit such as:
(raw diced cucumber, tomatoes, stone fruit, peppers, mushrooms or grapes, or lightly steamed veggies such as corn, broccoli, asparagus, zucchini, green beans, peas, etc.)
½ large red onion minced
1 T wine or vinegar
2 T freshly squeezed lemons
3 ½ T extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and ground pepper to taste
3 T sliced or slivered almonds toasted
½ cup finely chopped parsley or cilantro
Cook quinoa according to directions, allow to cool.  Combine veggies, lemon jce, vinegar, olive oil, and seasonings.  Toss in the cooked quinoa, almonds and parsley/cilantro.  Serve chilled.

6) Nutty Pulp Power Bars
2 cups rolled oats
2 carrots
3 medium apples
1 cup chopped almonds
½ cup sunflower seeds
½ cup pumpkin seeds
¼ cup toasted sesame seeds
½ cup honey
¼ cup maple syrup or agave nectar
1 tsp cinnamon
½ cup flax seeds
¼ cup cacao nibs
Yields;  2 dozen bars

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 320
Cut carrots and apples and run through juicer, saving both pulp and juice
In a large mixing bowl toss rolled oats in ¼ cup of the juice.  Add in all the remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly.
Spread onto a greased cookie sheet and bake in 320 oven for 45 mins or until dry and set.
Let cool and cut into bars

Crazy, Sexy Diet: Book Club Notes: Chapter 7 & 8

Book Club August 11, 2012
Chapter 7
First off thanks to you hardy souls who stayed for Book Club after a 2 hour work out with Sandra!!  You are terrific!
Chapter 7 is a bit of a switch within the book, going from food intake for self-care, to outer physical care and mind/soul/emotional self-care.  As Kris says “self care extends beyond the food in your fridge.”  It is important to take time for reflection, exercise, rest, relaxation and paying attention to what you are applying to the outside of your body.  So much of how we live our lives is dependent on what our inner message is telling us.  Our narrative becomes our life.  Our narrative can be either positive or negative, and whichever we choose will determine how we live our lives.
Kris encourages all to “create new habits and new routines that support your highest good.” Pg 124  Treat yourself with compassion and love.  She encourages daily morning meditation as a way to start the day feeling balanced and relaxed.  This quiet is important for self-reflection.  “The space between the noise is where God/dess lives.  There are many answers there.  Don’t shy away from visiting.” Pg 125  The more consistent you are, the stronger you get.  Sharon Gannon shares two beautiful prayers with which to start the day.  “Lord make me an instrument for thy will… “ and finishes with a blessing for all beings upon the earth “May all beings everywhere be happy and free…” pg 127  Start each day in this way and sending blessings to particular people in your life.  It is interesting to notice the changes all around you as you change your early morning habits.
Yoga is important for purifying the physical body.  “Roll out your mat and tend to your temple.” Pg 129  “ (Yoga) sages knew that the ultimate hot spot waits for us in our mind.  The only way to get there is to meditate regularly.  However, if your body is frozen and squeaky, it can be wicked painful to sit in lotus position while trying to clear your mind and focus.  Let asana – yoga positions-thaw you out.” Pg 129  This comment surprised all of us in the group.  “The body heals eight times faster when you exercise regularly.” Pg 130
What you put on your skin gets absorbed into your body, so know what is in the creams, make-up and perfumes you are using.  There is not much testing done on these products and many contain toxic compounds.  (pg 131)  Another chemical hazard to avoid is antibacterial products.  Someone in the group said that if you go to the site mentioned on page 134 (safecosmetics.org) you can put in whatever products you are currently using and find out if it is safe or not.
Dry brushing of the skin before a bath or shower feels so good and is so good for exfoliating .  Kris states that we dump about a pound of waste from our skin on a daily basis.  Pg 134  She recommends using a natural bristle brush or loofah gloves.
Essential oils can be soothing, relaxing and healing. “These oils harness the healing power of plants.”  Pg 135 There are many essential oils on the market, do some research and get the best quality there as well.  Essential oils can be applied to the skin, into a diffuser, into bath water and into a drink of water.
Sinus problems are one of the main reasons why people visit doctors.  Cleansing the sinuses is a daily must as and she recommends using the neti pot to do this.  This is a natural and gentle way to irrigate the sinuses using lukewarm salt water.
Do a body scan, check your breathing.  Focus on breathing deeply and focus on the exhale.  (In other words do Sandra’s breathing!)
Massage and acupuncture are both good for removing blockages, stimulating energy flow, and improving circulation.  Instead of thinking of these as luxuries, see them as one more step in self care.
Craniosacral Therapy restores harmony to your central nervous system by manipulating the cerebral spinal fluid.  This can help with stress, migraines and neck pain.  Pg 138
Lymphatic drainage massage uses light sweeping strokes that gently move the “waters” (lymphatic fluid) pg 139  You may notice your urine smell changes as the toxins are released from your body.
Reiki means universal life force energy.  If you life force is low you are more likely to get sick.  When high you are more apt to be happy and healthy. Pg 138  You can do Reiki on your self, by applying the energy that comes from your hands and applying it to any part of your body that needs it.
Saunas and Steam Baths are a good way to detox, especially organs such as your liver and gallbladder.  Therapeutic baths are calming and deeply therapeutic.
Sleep is a very important part of overall health and well being.  Eight hours is the ideal for nightly sleep, preferably between 10 pm and 6 am.  Also, when you are able take a nap in the afternoon for about 20 mins.
Taking care of your self is not trivial, it is an important part of living a happy, balanced and healthy life.

Chapter 8  Getting Started
This chapter discusses the planning for changing your old habits and creating new ones.  Clear the cabinets of those things that no longer serve you, like junk food that will be tempting when you are at low ebb.  She then discusses the shopping plan, as this will be very different from what you have been doing.  (for many of us)  Follow these guidelines when shopping:  if it has a longer shelf life than you don’t buy it and if it was made in a laboratory, it takes a laboratory to digest it.
Guidelines for shopping:
The longer the ingredient list the more processed the food. Go for the short list.
Avoid artificial colors
Avoid artificial flavors
Avoid artificial sweeteners (and not so artificial)
Avoid preservatives
Do buy lots of veggies, gluten free grains and noodles,  gluten and non-gluten breads and snacks, (pg 150 she makes recommendations of brands she thinks are good), beans and legumes, fruit but do limit this to 2-3 servings per day, sweeteners such as stevia, agave syrup and yacon syrup, organic and stone-milled flours (pg 151)  she gives suggestions for egg replacements but recommends against the processed egg substitutes as they “contain chemicals and aren’t really food” pg 152, mock meats are also an option and she gives suggestions on pg 152 for ones she likes, also nuts and seeds , seaweed, and naturally fermented foods (pg 153) and purified water and teas.
On page 154 she lists many snack ideas that are gluten-free.  She even includes Green and Black’s Dark Chocolate which is available at Central Market!
It is important to eat good fats, as they help with absorption of vitamins and minerals and they can help increase metabolism which helps with weight loss.
Avoid trans fats and saturated fats.  Use extra virgin olive oil, flax seed oil, hemp seed oil, walnut oil and Udo’s Choice.  For cooking use sesame oil, coconut oil in moderation and grape seed oil.
When buying veggies try to research your local growers and find organic close by.  Look for Food Co-ops, or community supported agriculture (158) if it is in your area.  Try to buy organic when possible, and she has included a list of dirty and clean veggies.  I made a copy and carry it in my purse, to help me decide when to go organic and when it is ok to buy regular. Buying frozen is a good option as well, Cascadian brand is her recommended brand for veggies and fruits.   She also suggests taking up gardening and growing your own produce, that way it is fresh and you know that no chemicals have been sprayed on it.  Plus, gardening is good for the soul.
I like her paragraph at the end of chapter 8.  “If every dazzling person would make just a few changes, just think how much healthier we could be.  Our planet would thank us; the animals would lick us.  That’s the goal my friend.  Do the best you can and if you stumble, don’t marinate in guilt.  Get back on the shiny wagon and start anew.”

Book Club will meet again on September 1 to complete the book and to share a healthy dish and it’s recipe.  See you then.

Book Club: Crazy, Sexy, Diet: Chapter Four

Book Club Notes, Chapter 4
Thank you everyone for your participation in this group.  It is fun to hear your thoughts on the chapter and to gather new ideas for meals.  I always come home ready to try some new and different healthy recipes.
Today’s chapter on Animal Products was a bit of a tough read, and there were some paragraphs that I did not read too thoroughly.  We talked about loving and caring about animals and yet liking to eat meat.  It is a tough call to make and I continue to eat meat, but in much smaller portions than before reading this book.
Kris Carr believes that for optimal health we need to “reduce or better yet dump animal products” (pg 61) from our diets.  She points out that the ”American Dietetic Association recommends that meat, poultry, and fish portions should be no more than the size of a deck of playing cards, about 3-4 ounces”. Pg 63   She says to “think of meat and milk products as the supporting cast, grains as the costars and veggies as the center-stage divas.  Animal products should be a side dish or treated as a condiment (if consumed at all), while plant-based foods make up the main course.  This very simple and inexpensive change will rock your world, up your life span and vanquish the scariest C of all – cellulite!” (pg 63)  “Cellulite is formed because of fluid retention and the accumulation of waste products and toxins in the body.  … Breaking down these foods, (animal products), results in a ton of toxic waste products floating around our systems, and they are visible from the outside in the form of nasty cellulite.” (Pg 63)
When people ask “what about protein?” she states that we get all the protein and calcium from a varied plant-based diet. (Pg 63) The healthiest people on the earth are those who eat the fewest animal products.
“Many children have the beginnings of heart disease before they pick up their high school diplomas.” (Pg 64)  It was believed that once a person built up plaque from particles of cholesterol the process was irreversible.  “But Dr. Dean Ornish,…changed that dismal scenario.  … He asked his heart patients to make some powerful lifestyle changes based on four simple steps:
A vegetarian diet 2. Regular exercise 3.Stress management 4.Avoidance of tobacco.
…After one year…the participants arteries had actually opened up, so much so that a difference was clearly visible on angiograms in 82% of the people in the study.” (Pg 64-65)
The primary foods they avoided were meats, dairy products, eggs and oily foods. (pg 65)
“In the 1960’s researches observed … breast cancer, for example was common in North America and Europe, but surprisingly rare in Japan.  …When cancer did strike the Japanese women, they were much more likely to survive…” (pg 65)  “By the late 1970’s Japanese women who had Westernized their diets and ate meat everyday had an eight times the risk of breast cancer, compared with poorer women who continued traditional rice-based diets.” (pg65)
Diabetes is becoming a very concerning issue as well.  With Diabetes, “glucose is having a hard time getting into your cells, (resulting in too much sugar in your blood.) “When sugar builds up in the bloodstream,…it can damage the delicate blood vessels of your eyes, kidneys, heart, and legs.” (pg 66)  “Why is glucose having trouble getting into the cells?…It turns out that the cells can get gummed up… fat particles from the foods you eat can enter the cells and interfere with the insulin’s ability to open the cell membrane to glucose.”   “When you avoid eating fatty foods, it is like cleaning gum out of a lock.  Fat leaves your cells and insulin starts to work better.” Pg 66
In further support of Kris’s belief that animal products are not good for us, she states that our bodies are “ill equipped to fully digest and absorb meat.”(pg 67)  She compares us to the “lioness who eats her food raw, and therefore receives all the enzymatic benefits.  Her short digestive tract ensures that zebra goes in, zebra comes out.  Now think of our intestines, about 26 twisting, curving feet.  Pig goes in; pig stays in for days and weeks at a time.  Pig makes us bloated and bitchy.  Our personal thermostat hovers around 98.6.  What happens to pig at that temperature? Stink city!” (pg67)
Our concerns over having enough protein are myths that we have grown up with.  She states that overdosing on protein is one of the reasons we have become so unhealthy. (pg 68) Dr. Furhman suggests that we need only 20-35 grams of protein per day, instead most Americans are consuming between 100 and 120 grams of protein a day.  (pg 68)
Once again, she points out the fact that big business executives have become government regulators, making up the regulations and guidelines we follow which are now impacting our health.
There are charts in this chapter for plants high in protein, (pg 70), and plants high in calcium (pg 75) When protein and calcium are ingested in plant form, they are more easily absorbed and used by the body.
There is a lot of information in the chapter on the inhumane treatment of animals, which is heartbreaking.  Kris says that after reading this chapter, if you still must have meat and dairy in your diet, research local organic meat producers and to look for labels that say free range, then research as best you can, as many labels are misleading.
There was also a site listed as a place to go to look for meat free meals.  It is http://www.meatlessmonday.com  As she says if there is one meat you can’t give up, keep it and give up all the rest and focus more on vegetables.
Thank you Marci for doing Book Club last week, I so appreciate your filling in for me on short notice.  Next week Marci will be facilitating the group as you discuss chapters 5 and 6.  Come and be a part of a very interesting, interactive and fun group.
Sample today was Granola.  Recipe follows.
Granola
2 cups of oatmeal, (quick or old-fashioned)
½ cup olive oil ( I use extra light for this)
½ cup agave or honey
1 cup raw almonds
1 cup raw walnuts
1 cup raw pecans
½ cup sunflower seeds
½ cup pumpkin seeds
½ cup flax seeds (ground)
½ cup coconut flakes
If you are not watching gluten you can also add ½ cup wheat germ.
Combine the oil and agave or honey set aside.  Mix the remainder of ingredients together in a large bowl and pour the oil/honey mixture over all.  Mix well and bake in a preheated oven (275) for 20 minutes, remove and stir then return to oven for another 20 minutes. (If using honey and old-fashioned oats, I repeat this one more time, but when using agave and quick oats twice is plenty.)
Remove from oven, cool and put into airtight container.  In the summer I keep this in the fridge.
*You can also add raisins, dates or craisins halfway through so they don’t get too dry.

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