Monday, March 5, 2012

Recommended Reading

Rewire Your Brain for Love: Creating Vibrant Relationships Using the Science of Mindfulness

By: Dr. Marsha Lucas Hayhouse, Inc. 2012

On the way to finding and creating vibrant, successful relationships, too many of us end up tangled in the same old patterns, tripped up by relationship habits that get in our way whether we “know better” or not.

In Rewire Your Brain for Love, neuropsychologist and psychotherapist Marsha Lucas, PhD, helps you untangle those relationship snarls, bringing together the latest neuroscience with a practice consistently heralded by top academic institutions for its effectiveness in changing the brain: the practice of mindfulness meditation.

Dr. Lucas’s clear, unintimidating, often laugh-out-loud style invites you to explore how the brain functions in relationships, helping you understand how your current relationship wiring developed and showing you how you can rewire your relationship brain through mindfulness meditation.

A down-to-earth therapist and self-described neuroscience geek, Dr. Lucas has written a chapter-by-chapter guide with compassion, wisdom, and humor. In Rewire Your Brain for Love, she takes you on a journey through seven high-voltage relationship benefits—everything from keeping your fear from running the show to cultivating healthy, balanced empathy—and offers specific mindfulness practices to help bring those benefits into your life.

With a few minutes of practice a day, you can change the way you interact with everyone around you . . . especially those closest to you. You can transform your brain from an enemy to an ally in all matters of the heart, creating more loving communication, building emotional resilience, and reducing overreactivity—not to mention enjoying better sex.

You don’t have to become a monk, or a vegetarian, or spend hours contemplating your navel—you just need to update the relationship wiring of your brain. The simple practice of mindfulness can help get you there, with Dr. Lucas showing you how.

Rewire Your Brain for Love (Inside Cover)

Parent'sCorner - Breakfast Can be Healthy Too!

It’s long been known that breakfast is an important start for kids and parents alike. Here are some ways to make it yummy and healthy for everyone!

* If you’ve got 30 minutes to spare, make yourself a bowl of creamy oatmeal. Oats are high in fiber and contain vitamin E and some B vitamins, as well as iron, calcium and other minerals. Oatmeal can be started the night before, just cook it halfway and refrigerate, the next morning reheat, add everything you want in it and once it’s reheated, it’s ready to go.

* Make your oatmeal even better, by stirring in grated apple, raisins and/or chopped nuts while it’s cooking, you can pretty much add anything you like, other examples: raw sunflower seeds, banana, pumpkin seeds, coconut flakes, Ground flaxseeds, etc

In too much of a hurry for oatmeal? Try:

* A slice of wholegrain toast, boiled egg, a banana, or other fruit. Couldn’t be simpler, or quicker. Very nutritious and sustaining.

* Boiled eggs. Cook and peel ahead if you like.

* Live yogurt, topped with fruit, seeds, chopped nuts, ground flaxseed and unsweetened shredded coconut.

* A fruit and veggie based smoothie or shake and to add protein, either add a protein powder or a handful of nuts which have been soaking overnight, or, a nut butter .

* Unsweetened homemade muesli with nuts, seeds, dried fruits, etc. Use almond, rice, soy or any other milk instead of cow’s milk.

There’s no need to give up on cooked breakfast just because you want to eat healthily. Ok, the traditional fry-up is heavy on fat and salt, but it’s very possible to cut down and still have a hearty breakfast. Try these suggestions:

* Choose low-salt sausages and bacon, and grill.

* Poach, coddle or scramble eggs rather than frying, or try an omelet. Then include with your eggs, vegetables like tomatoes, sliced avocado, lettuce, onions mushrooms, ETC... Toast a slice of bread. Use wholegrain bread rather than white.

* Slice and poach button mushrooms in milk or a little water. For a crispier finish, buy portabella or flat cap mushrooms, slice, brush with a little oil and bake in the oven or grill. Add a slice of whole grain toast.

* Just gotta fry something? Use olive, coconut, or sunflower oil rather than butter or lard, and drain foods on kitchen paper to soak up surplus fat before serving.

* Add healthy ingredients to a cooked breakfast – tomatoes, baked beans. Or try fish for breakfast: smoked salmon and scrambled eggs for example.

Anne Brown, Health Coach

301-712-9015, Ext 1026

Get Ready to Sing Spring!

What a wonderful time for new beginnings! I am very excited to be joining the Healing Circles community here in Frederick. Through my chosen healing modality of using herbs and nutrition, I'd like to offer another possibility of viewing the human body in the wellness model of healing rather than the sickness model in which our society has been dwelling. If we nurture areas of the body that need extra care and enhance the strength of the body, sickness has no place to take up residence and withers away. One way to do this is to follow the seasons and cycles of nature and the way traditional cultures handled these fluctuations. Spring, a season full of promise and abundant energy, is a great place to start.

If you've been following the daffodils peeking out of the earth, this warm weather and sunshine we've been having lately may be gearing you up early for the spring season. Spring is a time of new beginnings and incredible growth. The green plants of the earth reawaken and sprout out of their hiding places in the soil. The birds sing their songs as the sun returns to bring life and the rain nourishes the new plants with moisture.

In traditional cultures around the world, spring has been celebrated as a time to clear out old stagnant energy and create new goals for the year. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, a cosmology that makes sense of the natural world by observing relationships between things, spring is ruled by the Wood element and is associated with the gallbladder, liver, spine, limbs, joints, and eyes. The liver is especially important in spring, as it governs the smooth flow of energy and the coordination needed for the burst of life through the crusts of winter. The liver purifies toxins from the blood, which brightens the eyes and frees toxins from the joints so that they are allowed to be limber and put a "spring" in your step. Folk traditions in the United States used wild roots as "spring tonics" to purify the liver and clear the kidneys after a winter of eating heavy starchy food. Wild-crafters would dig for sassafras, sarsaparilla, burdock, and dandelion to cook into soups and rich teas. They would search the fields for the first greens of the season- chickweed, mustard greens, dandelion leaves, and the wild onions called ramps. It was common to dedicate at least a week to drinking herbal teas and eating cleansing raw salads to remove winter's stagnation and prepare for a busy season ahead. All of the way across the world, Traditional Chinese Medicine also taught that eating bitter, sour and pungent foods will assist the liver in its restorative functions. Humans intuitively developed these philosophies and practices by relating to the natural world and observing cause and effect and the ebb and flow of the seasons.

To align with the ascending movement of spring it is good to rise early with the sun and take frequent walks. We want to stretch our connective tissue and honor our muscles, ligaments, and joints that give us strength and flexibility, and our spine that holds us upright. This is a good time to do early morning sun salutations and gentle neck exercises to encourage good blood circulation. Now is the time to capture the energy of spring and start that exercise program that you resolved to do this year (not sleepy new year's day in the middle of winter). It is important to let go of unresolved emotional issues. The Chinese believe that suppressed anger is stored in the liver and is harmful to the organ. You may notice increased episodes of old anger or emotional outbursts as you work on cleansing your liver. Anger is the emotion of spring! It rules the upward thrusting movement of the spring plants. We know it as a "bad" emotion, but anger can be an extremely helpful emotion when fully harnessed to get something done. Allow yourself to experience these emotions as transitory, use them for your spring goals, and release them. As old, heavy emotions and toxins leave the body, they make way for new growth, the essence of spring. To truly embody spring, try planting some seeds and watching the tremendous changes as they grow into little plants. Let this remind you of beginnings, innocence, and possibility. Love yourself and enjoy the emerging signs of spring!

Spring Liver Tonic Tea

-good for the liver, skin, and joints

2 oz dried sarsaparilla root

1/2 oz dried burdock root (or fresh gobo rt from health food stores)

1/2 oz fresh dandelion root

2 T dried orange peel or 3 T fresh

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and shredded

1 1/2 C fresh lemon juice (6-8 lemons)

1/4 cup of organic honey

1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper

4 C quality organic apple cider

Put sarsaparilla, burdock, dandelion and orange peel in a pot and cover with 4-5 cups of water. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Add cinnamon. Combine the ginger, 1/2 c of lemon juice, and honey in a blender and process until smooth. Add remaining lemon juice and the pepper and blend. When roots are ready, strain through a fine sieve, pressing firmly to extract all of the liquid. Add 1 cup of the root tea to the blender with the lemon juice combination and blend. Combine contents of the blender with apple cider and remaining tea. Drink hot or chill before serving and enjoy!

Spring Cleansing Salad

fresh dandelion leaves

fresh chickweed leaves (you can use lettuce or snap peas)

fresh mustard leaves (you can use watercress or arugula instead)

1 whole apple, cut into cubes

1/2 red onion, minced

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

Other foods for stimulating, harmonizing, and assisting the liver:

-pungent spices like onions, turmeric, ginger, cumin, dill, mustard, rosemary

-beets, brassica vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, radishes, kale,

and cauliflower- these vegetables contain a compound called indole-3-

carbinol, which helps the liver to metabolize hormones

-asparagus and artichoke

-sour foods like strawberries, apples, lemons, peaches, cherries, vinegar

- Susan Hirsch, Clinical Herbalist, Certified Nutrition Specialist

(special thanks to Paul Pitchford, Healing with Whole Foods, 1993, and Elson Haas, Staying Healthy with the Seasons, 1981)