Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Eco Snobbery


"For as long as only the affluent can afford organic food on daily basis, many people will have to maneuver between the supermarket aisles trying to find food that is relatively safe." - Dominique Allmon

I heard it more than once: Organic food is too expensive; Only idiots spend money on organic products; There is hardly any difference between organic and conventional produce; etc, etc.

So why buy organic? Why bother? 

Organic products are made from natural materials that help us minimize the exposure to toxins and carcinogens, be it in personal care products, household cleaners, wall paint, carpets, furniture, or garments.

Organic foods are produced with traditional organic farming that relies on ancient farming techniques such as crop rotation, natural pest control, compost, and green manure.

Ideally, everything we buy should be chemical free. No one consciously decides to buy produce laced with cancer-causing chemicals, but if produce is so expensive that only very few can afford it, is "conscious" living only for the rich? Is "organic" the new label for social distinction? 

Many people who have never been to stores like the Whole Foods Market would be surprised to find there aisles filled with junk food. Yes, junk food. But it is organic! Organic potato chips made with organic potato. Only for the "enlightened" ones while the ignorant crowd shops at Walmart or some other conventional store.  

The original organic movement was not a fad. It has its roots in an almost mystical reverence for Nature. It began in early 1900s as a response to emerging industrial agriculture and ever growing use of chemicals that resulted in increased occurrence of cancer and other diseases.

Today we somehow assume that organic companies are more ethical than the conventional ones. We want to believe that business decisions are motivated by reverence for nature and not by greed. This may not always be true. Sometimes it looks as if the "organic"  companies venerated the green buck more than anything else. The products are overpriced and the organic certification may seem dubious. Who cares? The snobs would always buy the stuff no matter how expensive it is. They will buy it. If not from a genuine concern for the planet than at least to prove that they are better than anyone else. 

We are living in strange times. We worry about the climate change, we worry about the melting ice caps, we drive electric cars, but we still waste our resources and produce enormous piles of garbage. Our toxic waste ends up in the third world countries where it is conveniently out of sight. 

We may have reached the turning point, but for as long as there is a choice between conventional and organic we will be tapping in the dark. There should be no question of whether the thousands of chemicals we are exposed to daily cause cancer or not; or how much money could be made or saved if the shelf life of a produce was increased to months, years or decades. Things would only change if the right to clean food, clean air and clean water was as important as the right to vote. 

Wishing everyone a consciously peaceful and happy Earth Day - Dominique Allmon

P.S.

I buy organic products whenever I can. I recycle. I try to minimize my ecological footprint. And I do it out of respect for myself and out of respect for the Nature. 

I still remember the time when you could go to a store where everything was safe to eat. I remember the time when you could turn the tap and drink a glass of water without fear that you would get poisoned with countless chemicals. I remember the time when we recycled paper, glass and metal. I remember the time when everyone had a shopping net and plastic bags were a rarity. I remember the time when mineral water was sold in glass bottles. I remember all that as it were only yesterday...

I decided long ago that I will support honest business practices and a hard work of people who dedicate their lives to organic farming and the manufacture of products that last for more than one generation. I hope you would too.



Image source unknown, but greatly appreciated

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Heart Chakra



The heart chakra or Anahata is the fourth of the seven chakras in the energy body. It is believed to be the seat of love and compassion which is located at the level of the physical heart, at the center of the chest.

The heart chakra is dedicated to overcoming separation and division. When the heart center is blocked, there is a sense of alienation from others. When the heart center is open and flowing, you feel connected at a deep level to all beings in your life. 

The Law of Giving and Receiving governs the heart chakra. Love can take many different forms at different stages of life. The love of child for her mother is different than a mother’s love for her child. A friend’s love is different than that of a passionate lover or the love of a student for his teacher. However, the common thread in each of these expressions of love is the impulse to unify - to overcome separation. This is the true nature of the heart. 

Every act of giving is simultaneously an act of receiving. Each time you welcome a gift into your life, you are providing the opportunity for someone to give. Just as a healthy physical heart receives blood from the periphery which it then oxygenates and pumps back out, your emotional heart stays healthy by receiving and giving love in all its forms.

If you have an under active chakra, you may possess these traits:
  • Low self-esteem
  • Low self-confidence
  • Lack of concern for others
  • Respiratory and circulatory disorders
  • Heart disorders
If you have an over active chakra, you may possess these traits:
  • A tendency to always feel responsible for others
  • A dominating personality
  • You tend to be over controlling in relationships
  • Respiratory and circulatory disorders
  • Heart disorders
If any of these symptoms sound familiar to you, you may have an unbalanced heart chakra. Meditation and mindfulness will help you work on correcting these tendencies. You will not only be able to balance the energy flow in heart chakra, but also express your emotions in a free and honest way. Simple heart opening yoga exercises will support this process.



Article and image source unknown, but greatly appreciated

Friday, April 4, 2014

How to Sleep Well?



Tips For a Better Sleep at Night

Peaceful, relaxed, uninterrupted sleep is as important to your health and productivity as your exercise routine and your nutrition. Unfortunately millions of people all over the world suffer from chronic sleep disorders or insomnia.

If you are not getting enough sleep every night, you will not be able to stay healthy and productive for a long time. The sleep deficit will not only affect the quality of your performance; it may cause serious health problems. 

The following tips can help you achieve a good night sleep and the benefits that come with it. These tips are intended for healthy adults, but may not necessarily work for children or people suffering from medical conditions that require medication. Prescription drugs may interfere with sleep patterns and therefore sleep disorders caused by such drugs have to be addressed in a different way.
  • Maintain a regular bed and wake time schedule. Stick to it also on weekends.
  • Establish a regular, relaxing bedtime routine such as taking a hot bath and then reading a book, listening to soothing music or doing calming yoga exercises and meditation.
  • Create environment that is conducive to sleep. Dark, quiet, comfortable and cool bedrooms are best. Air the bedroom before sleep if you can.
  • Remove all electronic devices and TV from your bedroom.
  • Sleep on a comfortable, natural mattress and pillows.
  • Reduce chemical pollutants such as scented candles, room fresheners, scented fabric softeners, etc., from your bedroom. Use natural organic fabrics if you can and wash them in detergents that have been formulated to minimize chemical exposure and allergies. The only scent that would really allow you sleep well is the essential oil of lavender. It can be used to perfume bedsheets. Few drops of lavender oil in the drawer where you keep your bed linens will not only keep them fresh, it will keep moths away.
  • Use your bedroom only for sleep and sex. Do not eat in bed and do not work on your laptop.
  • Finish eating at least 2-3 hours before your regular bedtime and take a short walk after a heavy meal. If you have to eat late in the evening, eat foods that are high in tryptophan such as bananas, dairy products, eggs, poultry, oatmeal, almonds, honey, and whole grains. Tryptophan is converted in the body to amino acid L-tryptophan which is used by the brain to produce two sleep inducing substances - serotonin and melatonin. Both substances are needed for a deep, restorative sleep.
  • Exercise regularly, but remember to complete your workout at least a few hours before bedtime. 
  • Take supplemental magnesium. Magnesium is the best antidote to stress. It helps us relax and may help improve sleep. The suggested dose is 400 mg per day.
  • Avoid caffeinated drinks such as coffee, tea, or soft drinks close to bedtime. Caffeine can keep you awake. Drink a cup of relaxing herbal infusion such as camomile, hops or passionflower, instead.
  • Quit smoking. Nicotine used close to bedtime, it can lead to poor sleep.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol close to bedtime. Alcohol is a depressant that relaxes the muscles and slows dawn the breathing. It seems that it helps us fall off to sleep easily. Unfortunately, alcohol interferes with our sleep process. People who drink a lot of alcohol before sleep go straight into deep, restorative sleep missing the REM (rapid eye movement) phase. When alcohol wears out in the body, a person returns to the light REM phase and can be easily awaken by noise or a slight disturbance of another kind. The time spent in the deep sleep phase is not sufficient for a person to feel fully rested. Going back to sleep seems almost impossible without additional aid. If you are drinking in the evening, allow few hours for the alcohol to be digested in the body before you go to bed.
  • Avoid arguments and quarrels of any kind close to bedtime. Anger, worry, regret are emotions that might keep you awake for many hours. 
  • Avoid watching news and violent or distressing movies before sleep. 
  • Never ever tell yourself that you cannot sleep. You are creating unnecessary anxiety and programming your neural response in a negative way.
  • If nothing helps, take a small dose of melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone naturally synthesized and secreted by the pineal gland, but its production diminishes with age. A dose as small as 1,5 mg can make a big difference. Make sure, however, that you consult a certified medical practitioner before resorting to supplementation. 

By Dominique Allmon

For more information about sleep solutions please click here 

Additional information about sleep at the National Sleep Foundation



*Information in this article is for educational purposes only. It not meant to diagnose or cure a disease. 

Image source unknown but greatly appreciated
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