PowerUp Cereal n Berry Breakfast, Good Carb Formula

Good morning! This is a lazy day I can tell. Sleep played hide-n-seek with me last night, so feeling mellow.

I poured 1/2 c. of high fiber cereal into a bowl, sliced organic strawberries, chopped a two inch strip of organic lemon rind and tossed it in, poured almond milk over all and then sprinkled freshly ground flax-seeds to top it off.

That is a bowl full of nature's magic!... high fiber, healthy fat from flax seeds and more fiber, super anti-oxidant berries and lemon peel, and healthy fat in almond milk.

Note: When you shop for cereal make sure it has less than 4g of sugar per serving.  Also, it's critical that you calculate the Fiber to Carb ratio. You don't want to spike your blood sugar...that's the critical consideration when eating carbs.

Good carb formula: Multiply the fiber by 10.  It should exceed the carb count.  For example Trader Joe's High Fiber Cereal (that's what it's called!)  has 23g of carbs and 9g of fiber per serving.  That means the ratio is  (9x10 to 23) 90 fiber to 23 carb! An excellent choice.

If it had 3g of fiber the ratio would have been 30 fiber- 23 carb, kinda ok but not so great.

~ PowerUp!

Laughter Yoga

It always amazes me how many things children can find to giggle or laugh about in a day.  What happens to our ability to laugh as we get older? My boyfriend's girls, 10 and 12, are constantly giggling at something. I seem to judge each thing on my internal laugh index before I deem it worthy of my laughter!  Sheesh! Don't get me wrong, I have a wicked sense of humor, and use it often.  Ask my relatives!  But when it comes to expressing hilarity at something someone else does or says ... her come da Judge! lol

I've made a promise to myself to laugh at every attempt someone makes to be funny. I get the benefit of the laughter, and they get the benefit of feeling good about making me laugh! Talk about a Win-Win.

Kataria is a physician from Mumbai, India, and is the founder of and chief proselytizer for Laughter Yoga. Based on his teachings over the past fifteen years 5,000 laughter clubs have sprung up worldwide. People meet just to laugh.

So far there are around 200 clubs in the United States, including ones in Atlanta; New York; Orlando, Florida; St. Louis; and Tucson, Arizona. Kataria hopes to change that over the next few years, by training more teachers.

“Our objective is to build an international community of people who believe in love and laughter,” Kataria says.

Near Pasadena, California about 20 people—yoga instructors and health care providers, and retirees—have gathered in a spacious 1910 Craftsman bungalow for this workshop. The five-day training includes sessions on the health benefits of laughter, starting and running a laughter club, and working with particular populations, such as children and the elderly. Most of the time is spent on what Kataria calls his “breakthrough technology”: exercises designed to get people to laugh for no reason.

Combining simple yoga breathing techniques and “laughter meditation” we get to the heart of Laughter Yoga. Kataria promises that Laughter Yoga relieves stress, boosts immunity, fights depression, and eventually makes people into more positive thinkers.

How Laughter Heals

Kataria says, “When you start laughing, your chemistry changes, your physiology changes, your chances to experience happiness are much greater. Laughter Yoga is nothing more than prepping the body and mind for happiness.”

According to Kataria laughter has two sources, one from the body, one from the mind. Adults tend to laugh from the mind. “We use judgments and evaluations about what’s funny and what isn’t,” he says. Children, who laugh much more frequently, laugh from the body. “They laugh all the time they’re playing. Laughter Yoga is based on cultivating your childlike playfulness. We all have a child inside us wanting to laugh, wanting to play.”

The idea that laughter has beneficial effects is not new. Norman Cousins, editor of the Saturday Review, documented his own laughter cure in the 1979 book 'Anatomy of an Illness as Perceived by the Patient'. Cousins was diagnosed in the mid-1960s with ankylosing spondylitis, a painful degenerative disease of the connective tissue that left him weak and barely able to move. Doctors gave him a 500-to-1 chance of recovery.

Instead of undergoing conventional treatments, Cousins checked out of the hospital and into a hotel, where he set up a film projector and played funny movies. He took massive doses of vitamin C and submitted himself to hours of the Marx Brothers. “I made the joyous discovery that ten minutes of genuine belly laughter had an anesthetic effect,” he wrote, “and would give me at least two hours of pain-free sleep.”

Cousins recovered and lived for another 26 years. And, in part inspired by his experience, a handful of scientists began researching the healing power of laughter. William Fry, then a psychiatrist at Stanford University, was one of those people.  Fry documented some of the health benefits of what he calls “mirthful laughter.” In a series of studies, Fry and his colleagues found that laughter increases circulation, stimulates the immune system, exercises the muscles, and even invigorates the brain. Other researchers have found that laughter reduces stress hormones and may even help prevent heart disease.

What about forced laughter?  Fry believes that aside from the mental stimulation that comes in the moment of discovery when you hear a good joke or appreciate a pun, the effects should be largely the same. “I think it’s definitely beneficial,” says Fry.

How do you laugh when nothing’s funny? Just open your mouth and force the breath out with your belly!  Trust me, it’s going to feel silly at first, but you know, if you get a bunch of people together and do this...you’ll all be genuinely laughing in no time! Try it with your kids, they’re experts at it.

Do you remember the scene in Mary Poppins when Uncle Albert is singing "I Love to Laugh"?  Well that should be your training video!

So let’s get started:

Lion laughter Stick out your tongue, widen your eyes, and stretch your hands out like claws and laugh.

Nasal laughter Laugh with your mouth closed and push the air out through your nose.

Silent laughter Open your mouth wide and laugh without making a sound. Look into another person’s eyes and make funny gestures.

Gradual laughter Start with a smile then slowly start laughing with a chuckle. Turn up the intensity of your laugh until you’ve achieved a belly laugh. Gradually bring your laughter back down to a smile.

Heart-to-heart laughter Hold hands with another person and laugh. If you feel comfortable together can touch or hug.

~Hilariously yours!

Reduce Your Stress!

My personal feeling from observing friends and family that developed cancer, as well as myself, is that stress may be a trigger. One of the main pieces of advice given to cancer patients by most doctors is: reduce the stress in your life. I opened a Cafe 3 years ago, after getting laid off from a job of 15 years, and the stress of renovating the space, getting city permits and being there all the time did me in.  Within a few months I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

We may not be able to control stress, but we can manage it. Here are some stress-management tips that may help you feel:

  • Accept that there are things in our lives we cannot control.
  • Religiously guard your positive attitude; don't give in to the brain's defaulting to the negative. Repeat positive affirmations cheerfully and believe them!  ''I will make it through this'', "Nothing is worth feeling stressed about".
  • Halt stress in its tracks; if you feel overwhelmed, take a walk or a leisurely drive , or watch a funny movie or video.
  • Give yourself time to get things done. Manage the timing of events so you don't have to feel rushed.
  • Do things that bring you pleasure, reading, writing, walking or gardening are all good.
  • Spend 15-20 minutes each day sitting quietly. Learn and practice relaxation techniques like meditation, yoga or deep breathing.
  • Exercise for 30 minutes every day. You can bike, walk, hike, or work out. Your body handles stress better when it is fit.
  • Avoid alcohol and recreational drugs. And don't smoke.
  • Eat healthy, well-balanced meals.
  • Get enough rest and sleep. Your body repairs itself at night.
  • Reach out to supportive friends, and family. Invite them for a cup of tea.

Resource: Click here for article on Relaxation Techniques.

~ You will be fine!