health | pg.2

3 Steps to Perfection on Purpose

Kaedrich Olsen by Kaedrich Olsen | March 25th, 2013 | No Comments
topic: Personal Growth | tags: active approach to life, acutely aware, be present, brain, choice, choices, clothes, communication, connect with yourself, consciousness, demands, ears, element, emotions, evolving perfection, exploration, explore, exploring the environment, external expectations, eyes, focus outward, full experience, fully present, future experiences, health, hear, immediate surroundings, in the moment, inspiring experiences, intent, interpretation, inward focus, knowing who you are, life creations, listen, listen to your body, listen to your life, live life to the fullest, making choices, manifest, moment, music, no judgement, not to feel, open senses, pain, passive, past choices, past experiences, perfection on purpose, personal joy, purpose, rewards, secrets, see, sensation, sense of smell, sense of touch, sensory organs, signals in the body, smell, sound, subtle signals, take in every detail, take in every moment, taste, touch, turn attention inward, whole being

You know who you are based on all of your past experiences and choices. If you choose to remain who and what you are now, and not look ahead, then you will forever be at the mercy of your own future life experiences. Instead of taking this passive approach, allow yourself to understand that you have a choice in all of your future experiences and make those choices.

Here are three ways to to take an active role in shaping your life:

“Natural Capital”: Will Putting a Price on Nature Help Protect It?

Candice Gaukel Andrews by Candice Gaukel Andrews | March 19th, 2013 | 7 Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living | tags: africa, American Forests, Belize, conservation, conserve, Costa Rica, Eco Travel, ecotourism, environment, environmental messages, green settings, green spaces, Guatemala, health, healthy, lions, Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, natural capital, Natural Capital Project, nature, preservation, preserve, Tanzania, tourism, travel, U.S.

Oak tree

The benefits of green spaces and natural settings are becoming more apparent all the time: reduced stress, depression and feelings of aggressiveness; an increase in overall happiness; faster post-operative recovery; a decline in ADHD symptoms in children — all of these outcomes have been verified when people spend time in nature. The outdoors make us happier, cause us to be kinder and can even give us bigger brains.

While you could say these kinds of benefits are priceless, there’s a new trend afoot. By assigning a monetary value to natural elements in a healthy environment, it is hoped that governments, businesses and others in positions of power will come to see that protecting nature makes good financial sense.

This concept of pricing ecosystem services and natural features — and allowing them to be bought and sold — is gaining wide acceptance among conservationists. But could this approach end up obscuring the unquantifiable, soul-restoring advantages of natural places and put them at even greater risk?

Exchange Your Rush for Hush

Cheryl Terrace by Cheryl Terrace | March 15th, 2013 | No Comments
topic: Green Living, Health & Wellness, Healthy Home, Personal Growth | tags: acreage, auditory person, bear, bed, bird calls, bird suet, bodies, cd sounds of nature, chaos, chronic noise, city dwellers, coyotes, debilitating noise, ears, environmentalism, estate, flashlight, front porch, garbage trucks, health, Heaven, home blessings, home environment, howls, human, husband, internet noise, investigate, jarring sounds, keep calm and carry, man-made sounds, meditation, minds, nature sound machine, nature sounds, New York City, noise and stress, owl, peaceful environment, quality of life, quiet time, sacred sounds, seasonal birds, sleep, slippers, soothing sights, soothing smells, soothing sounds, sound machine, sound of your breath, sounds of nature, soundscape, soundtrack, spirit, subway car, tone/volume of voice, turn off the tv, TV, wildlife, wind, Yoga

Recently, my husband Andy and I were jolted out of deep sleep at 5 am by a huge CRASH. We jumped out of bed to investigate (with me grabbing slippers and a flashlight). I assumed a bear had climbed onto the front porch table to get at the bird suet (not the first time).

As the only humans living on a two-thousand-acre estate, we are surrounded by wildlife and are accustomed to myriad nature sounds. Many nights we listen to the primal howls of coyotes, which I love. (Sometimes I even howl along with them!) We know our seasonal birds by their calls and occasionally hear an owl in the night whoo-whoo-whooing.

As an auditory person and lifelong environmentalist, this is heaven for me. It was just a short time ago I needed a sound machine (of nature!) to help me sleep in New York City, with all of its jarring, man-made sounds. (I swear the garbage trucks have amplifier speakers.)

It’s no wonder the number-one complaint of city dwellers is noise. Chronic, debilitating noise is more than just an annoyance — it plays a huge factor in our quality of life. Studies confirm that noise and stress are closely related to our health, and I am always surprised that more people don’t plug their ears (like I do) when a subway car rambles by.

What we hear transforms our brains and our lives. That’s why it’s critical to take control over your ‘personal soundscape.’ Customize your home environment as you would a beautiful soundtrack to create a haven of soothing sounds (and sights and smells). Here are a few tips to do that:

How to Fix Your Gut: 7 Steps to Intestinal Health

Mark Hyman, M.D. by Mark Hyman, M.D. | February 11th, 2013 | 29 Comments
topic: Detox, Health & Wellness, Healthy Aging, Healthy Eating | tags: acid reflux, acne, arthritis, autism, autoimmune disease, bacteria, bloating, cancer, celiac disease, chronic fatigue, constipation, dementia, diarrhea, diet, digestion, digestive health, digestive system, fiber, food, food allergies, functional medicine, gas, gluten, gut, gut health, health, healthy-eating, heartburn, holistic medicine, immune system, inflammation, intestinal health, intestines, irritable bowel syndrome, Mark Hyman, mercury, metabolism, mood disorders, nutrition, probiotics, rashes, stomach, stress, sugar, toxins, UltraWellness, wellness, whole grains

Learn how to have great gut healthThere might be something wrong with your inner tube, and it could be making you sick and overweight. You may not even realize you have a problem … But if you have health concerns of any kind, or you are overweight, your inner tube could be the root cause. Of course, I’m not talking about a beach toy. I mean the inner tube of life — your digestive system.

Artificial Reefs: Ocean Junk or Help for an Endangered Ecosystem?

Candice Gaukel Andrews by Candice Gaukel Andrews | February 8th, 2013 | 8 Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living | tags: climate change, coral reefs, Eco Travel, environment, environmental awareness, environmental impact, environmental toxins, Florida, green, Green Living, Gulf of Mexico, health, marine creatures, marine environment, marine habitat, nature, New York, ocean, ocean health, PCBs, reefs, save the environment, travel, World Wildlife Fund

Sea turtle

Coral reefs around the world are in trouble. According to the World Wildlife Fund, about one-quarter of coral reefs are considered damaged beyond repair, with another two-thirds under serious threat. Some suffer from heavy fishing pressures, while others are succumbing to pollution or careless tourism. Climate change, with its attendant rising sea temperatures, is exacerbating the problem, speeding coral deaths.

More than half a billion people live near corals, relying on them for food, shelter from storm surges and the income that tourism brings. With natural reefs diminishing, artificial reefs are increasingly gaining favor. These structures usually take the form of sunken ships, decrepit oil platforms or other human trash.

But is depositing more human refuse in the oceans in order to create artificial reefs healthy for the environment — and for us?

New Year, New Beginnings

Cheryl Terrace by Cheryl Terrace | February 4th, 2013 | No Comments
topic: Green Living, Personal Growth | tags: change, eco decor, Eco Decorating, gratitude, Green Living, habits, happiness, health, hibernation, home, meditation, new year, reflection, resolutions, season, soups, warmth, wellness, winter

It’s hard to believe that it was only a few weeks ago that we were contemplating the end of the world. Not only did we survive the apocalypse, we survived the holidays!

Now the conversation is all about ‘New Year = New You!’ and making huge life changes now!

I prefer to work with the earth’s gentle cycles as my guide. For me, the winter season is for hibernation and quiet contemplation … a time to go deep ‘inside.’ It is a time for rest (with so many hours of darkness) and for reflection, a perfect time to tap into dreams and journal.

When we attune ourselves with the seasons, we allow our inherent natural rhythms to flow, which are easy to follow and feel good about.

The Shaman and Ayahuasca

Alyson Charles by Alyson Charles | December 6th, 2012 | No Comments
topic: Conscious Living News, Health & Wellness, Inspirational Media, Personal Growth | tags: Amazon rainforest, ancient ritual, art, blessing, confidence, disease, documentary, Don Jose Campos, filmmaker Michael Wiese, gaiam tv, GaiamTV.com, health, mind, mind-altering, painter Pablo Amaringo, Peru, psychoactive, realms of consciousness, south america, spirituality, tea ceremony, The Shaman and Ayahuasca

The Shaman and AyahuascaIt all starts with a simple discussion. The next thing you know, you’re off to the Amazon rainforest in South America, drinking tea made from a psychoactive plant and taking part in an ancient ceremony intended to heal and open the realms of consciousness.

That’s what happened to filmmaker Michael Wiese as he was searching for a cure after being confronted with a serious disease. Michael realized the universe was co-conspiring to aid in his mission, and soon he, his wife and his translator were off, embarking on a mysterious and deeply personal adventure.

The Shaman and Ayahuasca on GaiamTV.com follows these three on a thought-provoking journey, providing unique personal perspectives, majestic and stunning visuals of Peruvian surroundings, and wisdom from a famed shaman. It also piques the viewer’s curiosity: What does this psychoactive elixir taste like? How does it feel to be whisked away to other realms and connected to the cosmos? How does it feel to return to reality? Here are a few of the most intriguing and eye-opening moments from this fascinating documentary:

Recipe for a Grounded Holiday

Cheryl Terrace by Cheryl Terrace | November 20th, 2012 | No Comments
topic: Green Living, Health & Wellness, Healthy Home, Personal Growth | tags: animals, books, Brain function, detox, diet, food, Green Living, Grounded, health, healthy-eating, holiday season, love, meditate, nature, nutrition, read, reading, self-love, sleep, soul, thanksgiving, toxic, toxic environment, walk, Yoga, You are what you eat

The holiday season is upon us, with many of our thoughts turning to food. The popular adage “you are what you eat” is literally true, according to new research that claims a person’s diet has a profound influence on their brain function and overall health.

Just as our eating style reflects and affects who we are, I believe how and where we live reflect ‘us’ even more. Our homes are intimate expressions of ourselves. Similar to the correlation between poor diet and disease, living in a toxic environment — in any sense, physical or emotional — also impacts our health in a negative way. Luckily, the opposite is also true. By creating an environment that supports our well-being, health and happiness, our bodies and minds will respond in positive ways.

The holiday season inundates us with recipes galore (as well as stress and temptations to overindulge). To balance that, choose an ingredient (or two, or three!) from my “healthy-self’ holiday recipe below, and treat yourself to a generous helping of grounding — whatever that means to you.

S-U-M-M-E-R: That’s How I Spell Fun, Fresh and Fit!

The FIRM Master Instructor Team by The FIRM Master Instructor Team | July 23rd, 2012 | 3 Comments
topic: Fitness, Health & Wellness, Healthy Eating, Personal Growth | tags: clothes, Clothing, diet, exercise, fashion, Fitness, food, fruits, health, healthy, hydrate, hydration, nutrition, relax, relaxation, SPF, stress, summer, summer produce, summer wardrobe, sun, swim, swimming, the firm, vacation, vegetables, veggies, warm weather, water, work out, workout

SummerBy The FIRM Master Instructor Robyn Smarr

I love summer! If you were listening to this post rather than reading it, you would surely hear me shouting this sentence as loudly as I possibly can.

Maybe it’s because I was born in the crazy heat of August. (I have a theory that people tend to favor the season in which they were born.) Or maybe it’s because I practically lived at the pool and the beach as a child. Or maybe it’s because I can wear flip-flops every day during the warm summer months (the best “shoe” ever invented)! Regardless of the reason, I find so much joy and rejuvenation during the summer.

Here are my favorite tricks for making the most out of your S-U-M-M-E-R:

Objects on Foot Are Closer Than They Appear

Ginny Figlar Colón by Ginny Figlar Colón | July 13th, 2012 | No Comments
topic: Family Health, Fitness, Green Living, Green Tech, Health & Wellness, Personal Growth, Weight Loss | tags: car, car-free, children, community, dad, drive, driving, exercise, exerise, family, Fitness, Google Maps, health, healthy, kids, mom, neighborhood, parenting, pedestrian-friendly, running errands, stroller, take a walk, walk score, walkability, walking, walking directions, WalkScore, weight-loss

Happy family walking togetherIt usually takes me seven minutes to get to my daughter’s preschool. Today, it took 27.

That’s because, for the first time in 18 months, I strapped my 11-month-old son into the double stroller and walked there.

I like to walk. Our family of four has one car, and in the two years that we’ve owned it, we’ve only put 14,000 miles on the odometer.

I’m not alone. According to a 2011 survey conducted by the National Association of Realtors, nearly 80 percent of respondents look for homes in pedestrian-friendly areas and 59 percent would choose a smaller home if it meant less driving.

Still, I find that once I’ve gotten into the habit of driving someplace — my daughter’s preschool, the Trader Joe’s on the other side of the highway, the garden store — I tend to keep on driving there, deeming it too far to reach on foot. The funny thing is, once I decide to test walking to a destination once, I realize not only how doable it is but also how satisfying running that errand becomes.

So now I’m on a quest of sorts: to debunk the myth that certain places in my everyday life are too far to reach on foot.