Posts tagged ‘health’

May 25, 2012

Where are you on the jerk-o-meter?

By now most of you have probably heard the report that those of us who eat are exposed to organic food are jerks.  That’s right, a study just published online in Social Psychological and Personality Science has now proven that once exposed to organic food you will become all “judgey”.

Okay, so I mock.  As with any study, I’m sure there is truth to it in whatever capacity it was taken. But I can’t take this study seriously.   Seriously!  Part of what I find humorous about it though is how fast it spread.  Even Leno was talking about it tonight.

But I have to be honest, when I first heard this report I thought, “Organic food make you “judgey”? Ha, whatever! Oh, wait, ew… Did that sound harsh?  Was that judgey?”  Then I read the part where those who eat organic food volunteer less.   Holy smokes!  If that’s true I don’t know what to think.  I just spent the past 3 months volunteering so many hours to my son’s school I’ve literally lost count.  Just imagine what I could have done if I’d only looked at a brownie instead of looking at a picture of organic food!

By the way, did you notice the word “exposed” earlier?  Yes, the study “exposed” people to a picture or organic food versus a picture of a brownie.  Again, really?  Oh, my!  What would have happened if they had actually eaten the organic food (God forbid)?  I can’t bear to think about it!

More humor, the Abstract of the study reads:

Recent research has revealed that specific tastes can influence moral processing, with sweet tastes inducing prosocial behavior and disgusting tastes harshening moral judgments.  Do similar effects apply to different food types (comfort foods, organic foods, etc.)?

Really?  The equivalent study is sweet vs. “disgusting”?  In other words suggesting that comfort foods, like a brownie are sweet (and good) and organic food is disgusting (and bad).  Nice study!  Who wrote this?  My second grade son?  I’m sorry, but I had to laugh.  (And I had to keep checking to make sure I wasn’t reading The Onion.)

I’m sure some aren’t finding humor in this report or my comments, but I honestly have to say that if someone has the time and the money to spend on such a study to find out if looking at organic food makes people judgey then all the power to them.

In the mean time, I’m going to go eat some, shhhh…. (organic) food, then quit volunteering and go judge all my neighbors.  And watch out!  I sure hope you don’t need anything today because I’ll have already done my good deed for the day by looking at my organic food before I ate it.

However, you might get lucky.  After all,  I was thinking about a brownie while I was writing this.  Do you think that can un-do the organic apple I ate?   Nevermind.  I did see organic salad in the fridge on my way to get the apple.   Oh, and the organic milk while I was closing the door…

Yep.  You’re out of luck.  If you run into problems, definitely ask the person with chocolate brownie stuck in their teeth for help, because I’d just let you sit there and rot.


May 15, 2012

Do your plants look like you?

As I sit down tonight, hundreds of thoughts swirl through my head.

What am I forgetting?  What’s left to be done?  What have I started?  Did I water?  Did you see the wind today?  Oh, no!  I forgot to water.  Those poor little things are going to die!  When am I going to get back over to school?  The chemicals.  How do we deal with the chemicals?  When is the soil coming?  What’s the bigger picture?  Measure in the morning, design mid-day, consult, baseball game.  I think I have time to measure!  Wait, finish plan, then measure, then design? Not sure I’ll have time…

Life has been crazy lately.  While I’m doing things I love, I’m burning the candle at both ends so to speak.  Yesterday my body tried to give me a wake-up call, it knocked me down for a while.  Sore throat, worn down.  I’m doing better today than yesterday, but honestly ignoring the leftover warnings.  I just have to get through this week and then I can take a breath.  Or at least that’s what I tell myself.

Life is funny that way, at least for me.  When it rains, it pours and I hate to say “no”.  I want to make it all work, especially in areas that I’m passionate about.  But when it comes to living mindfully, I know that what I’m doing is flat-out flying in the face of mindful living.  How on earth can I take in each moment when I’m going mach 10 and my mind is racing 100 miles ahead of my body?  And when my body is waving red flags like an accident in a NASCAR race I ignore them.  I’m really a fool.  For what am I going to do if I maintain this speed?  Crash.  Hard.

But here I am.  Trying to make it all work, trying to make it all happen, trying to make sure I follow through on my word because if my word means nothing, then what does that say about me?

Please tell me you’ve been there.  That you’ve had your days or your weeks, where things keep piling, and you keep pushing, thinking the end is near, then pile on more until the pile gets deeper.  You whittle away until finally you can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Tell me I’m not alone.

So what does all of this have to do with gardening or sustainable living?  I thought you’d never ask.  Like people, plants have needs.  We both need ample amounts of water.  We need sunlight (heard of Vitamin D?) so do they.  We need firm ground, so do they.  We need air, so do they.  (Thankfully we exchange our air with each other.)

Our bodies wave flags when something is wrong.  So do plants.  We get tired, get headaches, get run down and finally get sick.  They get run down, wilt and finally get sick.  But if we’re paying attention to ourselves and our plants, we can stop it before it gets that bad.  Plant leaves get dull, cup toward the sky (to catch water), then if we continue to ignore them, they wilt.  Wilt in a plant is called stress.  Funny, we have that word about us too, don’t we?  When we get stressed our skin gets dull, eyes look dull or red, we feel run down… and wilt.

But what’s the long-term effect of stress?  In plants, repeated stress equals death.  Thankfully plants are a little more dramatic than we are.  When we have repeated, long-term stress, we get sick.  Our bodies go into survival mode.  Remember, we started as hunters and gathers except the difference is that the stress then really was life or death.  Now?  It’s “just stress”.  Or is it?  Stress is linked to many problems today including obesity and long-term illness and I guess, if we don’t take care of ourselves and continue that pattern… yes, perhaps even death.

Loving this post, right?  Okay, I’m not meaning to take a sour turn or to bring anyone down, quite the opposite, in fact.  What I’m suggesting is that if you get home, like I did today, and find your plants looking limp, wilted and thirsty, grab a mirror.  How are you doing?  How are you feeling?  Limp?  Wilted?  Thirsty?  Often times the care we give our plants reflects the care we give ourselves.  Too busy to take care of your plants?  Chances are you’re too busy to take care of yourself.  So the next time your plants need water, grab a glass for yourself.  If your plants are getting leggy because they need more light give it to them, then get outside, go for a walk.  Do they just look sickly?  Give them food.  Good food.  Compost.  And while you’re at it, grab yourself an apple, bring it outside and take a break to care for both of you.  Before long you’ll have yourself and your plants looking fabulous!


March 2, 2012

The Journey Continues

March 26th will be the first anniversary of the beginning of the Walnuts and Pears blog and the first step for me in pursuing my dreams, my passion in life without fear.  The past year has brought a lot of changes.  It’s brought happiness as well as some tears, but I wouldn’t change any of it because it’s brought me to where I am today.

When I started Walnuts and Pears, my goal was to build the foundation for a future physical space for people to go to learn about all things related to living a centered, healthy, fulfilling life.  That first block in the foundation was to be the Walnuts and Pears blog: a virtual place to share thoughts, observations and tidbits of information on landscaping, gardening, harvesting, cooking, eating, preserving, and healthy, mindful living.  A place with purpose, passion, caring, love and respect for self, others and Mother Nature.

Over the past year, I’ve been reading other blogs and comparing what they are doing to what I’m doing.  Most of the blogs I follow have very specific topics.  I had originally set goals of sharing more tips and observations about gardening, landscaping, cooking, eating, preserving, harvesting and living a healthy, mindful life with the thought that all of these things tie together and in essence feed each other.  Reflecting on the past year, I feel that I’ve shared more personal stuff than I had intended, but then things don’t always go as we plan.  When things happen in life we need to adjust our sails, tack, drop anchor for a while or just lean back, let the wind blow through our hair and enjoy the ride.  When I’ve shared personal stuff, the stuff that’s gone on in my life, I’ve tried to make the posts have some value to others, whether it’s acknowledging feelings, fears and failures, celebrating the successes or anything in between.

At Christmas time I was given the book The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho by a friend and co-worker.  While I was excited to read it and kept it on my nightstand, I didn’t actually crack the cover until I started the 8 Weeks to a Better You! mini-challenge (4 Weeks to a Better You!).  I decided that this would be a perfect time to read it because as part of the challenge I am supposed to read at least 15 minutes of uplifting reading or scripture each day.  I couldn’t be more grateful for choosing to read The Alchemist.  It’s really been perfect for me because while it’s not scripture, per se, it has helped make sense out of a lot of things in my life, particularly over the past year.  In the story “the boy” is on a journey, following the path to his Personal Legend (his dreams).  Throughout the story he is told to listen to his heart and follow the path to his dreams.  Sounds simple doesn’t it?  But is it?  How many of us have really done that?  It’s not that easy, or at least that what we tell ourselves.  Have you ever noticed that if you really listen to your heart and do what you follow what you think you are meant to do without holding back, without fearing loss, that it feels right?  It feels good.  It’s like your heart, your head, God and the Universe all know you’re on the right path and reward you for it.  But if we don’t listen to our heart, don’t follow our dreams, we can pretend to be happy, or be happy for a while and then start to question “What if I had done…?”.  Following the path to our dreams doesn’t mean we won’t have challenges along the way. We will. But those challenges are there to help us gauge how committed we are to following the path to our Personal Legend.  The challenges are tests and the only way we can fail these tests is to give up, give into fear or surrender our dreams to something that seems more achievable that’s right in front of us instead of pushing forward.

I can say that in the last year I’ve definitely had challenges.  Some of them were really tough, heart wrenching, but I’ve gotten through them and looking back I can see that I was being tested.  And during some of these tests I made decisions that I have no other way to explain why I did what I did than to say “it just felt right”. Something told me it was the right thing to do.  So I’m learning that when I start to doubt where I’m headed or doubt the decisions I’ve made or get scared about my future, I now know that is just my heart fearing pain or failure or even fear of success.  But if I trust in myself, my God and the Universe and keep my eyes forward I’ll be okay.  I love what I’ve been doing.  I love expressing myself through writing, art,  and cooking.  I love that I’ve been able to put new focus on my health and have had the strength to clear out old things in my life to make room for new possibilities.  I love that I have been given this time in my life to follow the stars and trust in myself.  I know that with each challenge I get through it makes me stronger and reinforces my commitment to my dreams.

So as I head into my second year of blogging, I look forward to continuing to share info on gardening and landscaping, and add more info on harvesting, cooking and preserving, and more info health and well-being and sustainable living and continue to share about my journey.  Because, to me, that’s what life is about, sharing the good stuff as well as the challenges, about being authentic.  And that’s what Walnuts and Pears is about, because we’re all on this journey together.

Until next time, I wish you peace, happiness and success in your pursuit of your Personal Legend.


February 10, 2012

4 Weeks to a Better You! – Challenge Starts Feb. 12! Join Me!


A few days ago I happened upon a website called 8 Weeks to a Better You! Challenge.  What I like about this challenge is that there is a physical challenge as well as an emotional/spiritual challenge.  The physical challenge incorporates the Clean Eating principles, but the emotional/spiritual challenge incorporates many things I have on my daily “to do” list.  I’ve been wanting to give myself a little extra incentive as well as been looking for some comradery in my efforts (without going to a gym).  I think this challenge will help give me a little more focus as well so I’ve decided to take the challenge.

The cost is $10 USD per person which enters you in the running for rewards.  That is, rewards in addition to creating a better you!

By following through on the challenge you have the opportunity to earn points.  Possible points earned are 10 per day, 70 per week.

Another thing I like about the challenge is that it is practical.  You get a FREE DAY where you get the full 10 points whether or not you complete all the requirements. You can choose which day of each week is your free day each week, but you cannot choose different days for different points.  The only exception to this rule is exercise.  Your free day from exercise can be different if you choose.  For example – you may choose Saturday as your free day but choose to workout that day and take Sunday off from exercise.

Here’s how you earn points…

Physically Better Yourself

1. Exercise at least 45 minutes a day!

2. Get AT LEAST 7 hours of sleep a night (if you are short a little just squeeze a nap in to make up for it).
3. Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day
4. No Sugar
5. No Soda, Fast Food, or Junk Food
6. Eat at least 2 servings of fruit and 2 servings of vegetables
7. No eating after 8 p.m. (unless it’s your dinner-but try really hard to get dinner in earlier)
Emotionally/Spiritually Better Yourself
8. Write in your journal EVERY DAY.
9. Complete at least 15 minutes of uplifting reading or scripture study.
10. Complete an act of service or random act of kindness.  Whether it be a small one or a big one, do something kind for someone else that is out of your normal routine.
The challenge starts in two days.  You can be anywhere in the country or the world for that matter.  I would love for you to join me!