Night Blindness

You may have seen the video of neuroscientist and sleep author, Penelope Lewis, discussing the link between Alzheimer’s disease and lack of sleep. She goes on to share that sleep is critical to innovation and creative processes.

Regardless of what I’m doing, I tend to throw myself into it wholeheartedly—including sleep. With that in mind, I wear a “black out” sleep mask and soft foam earplugs to induce a cocoon-like ambience that nothing but a cold wet nose in the face (Willa’s, not Len’s) can stir me from.

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A person who’s normally alert, curious, and enjoys observing the smallest details, when it comes to sleep, I choose to turn a blind eye, to block it all out.

Do you ever intentionally turn a blind eye?

© Laurie Buchanan

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Game On!

Len is the recipient of a gorgeous bocci ball set from Heineken (yes, the beer people — don’t ask). A super cool gift because we happen to live just two blocks from a park that boasts a beautiful bocci ball court.

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Studies show that play for adults — not just children — isn’t a frivolous use of time. In fact, play is a vital component to health and wellbeing. Just a few of the many benefits include:

  • Stress relief. Endorphins (one of the brain’s feel-good chemicals) are released during play.
  • Connection. Shared laughter promotes a playful disposition and boosts our relationship with others.
  • Enhanced brain function. Play stimulates creativity and can even help to stave off depression.
  • Physical vibrancy. Play promotes vitality (energy) and stamina (endurance).

When was the last time you played?

© Laurie Buchanan

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Burned Out

A few weeks ago while out walking, we happened upon a burned out vehicle. There wasn’t any police tape indicating foul play; there was nothing about it in the newspaper or online, so we don’t have any idea how it happened.

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The scene reminded me of a conversation I had with a person many years ago who opened the conversation with, “I’m burned out.” When I asked for details, she said:

 “My schedule is so over-committed that I don’t have any ‘me’ time. I don’t have time to exercise, and because of time constraints, meals have become a steady stream of fast food. I’m not sleeping well so I’m physically exhausted. I can’t seem to focus at work, and my relationship is falling apart. Frankly, I’m not enjoying life anymore.”

It all boiled down to her inability to say “no.” A people pleaser, she said “yes” to everything requested of her. Quite some time ago I learned how to effectively say no with finesse from my friend and personality expert Sheila Glazov: That does not work for me.

Is it difficult for you to say “no?”

© Laurie Buchanan

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The Elixir of Life

Author of several books, Dr. Masaru Emoto was an internationally renowned researcher who gained worldwide acclaim by showing how water is deeply connected to our individual and collective consciousness. His message was simple, profound, and far-reaching — water reflects the intention of our thoughts and words. His landmark water study shows that words positively change the molecular structure and vibration of water and other substances.

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Consumed once a day, Len and I each place a glass of water on the kitchen window sill with personal words of intent written in indelible marker on each one.

My words are: Joy, Laughter, Health, Vitality, Forgiveness, Creativity, and Peace of Mind.
Len’s words are: Health, Strength, Wisdom, Abundance, Love, Clarity, and Gratitude.

What words would you write on your glass?

© Laurie Buchanan

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Laughing Buddha

It’s still too early to plant flowers in the terra cotta pots by our front door, but we can tell that spring is just around the corner. Regardless of the weather, our year-round resident — Laughing Buddha — greets us with his buoyant body language and effervescent smile that never fails to trigger a chuckle.

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Anatomically speaking, we all know that the most important bone in our body is the Funny Bone. For full health benefits, it’s imperative to exercise it on a regular basis.

Scientific studies show that humor stimulates the brain’s reward center in the same ways as sex and chocolate. In turn, this reward center secretes two hormones into the brain:  dopamine and serotonin. Also known as “happiness molecules,” these anti-stress chemicals are associated with the feeling of happiness.

As we grow older, the production of these chemicals in the body decreases, so laughing becomes all the more important with increasing age.

When was the last time your funny bone got a workout?

© Laurie Buchanan

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Buddha Bowl

One of the many things I talk with my clients about is how we fuel our body — the physical package we reside in. A Buddha Bowl is one of the daily staples in our home. So in the spirit of a healthy new year, here’s how it’s done:

Find a unique, large-sized bowl that for you symbolizes nourishment and gratitude. And perhaps a pair of chopsticks to enhance slow eating and mindfulness. Preparing this meal should be enjoyable, relaxing, and creative. As you fill your Buddha Bowl, remember that you’re creating food art.

I found my Buddha Bowl at a resale shop — it’s 10-inches across the top and 3.75 inches deep

I found my Buddha Bowl at a resale shop — it’s 10-inches across the top and 3.75 inches deep

Farm-to-table means little to no processing involved. The closer to the earth we eat, the healthier the food is for us. I’m all about nutritionally dense fuel — foods with a high nutrition-to-calorie ratio. And it goes without saying, buy organic whenever possible and avoid anything that’s genetically modified (GMO).

50% of the Bowl — Greens
Raw organic greens: kale, arugula, watercress, spinach, Swiss chard, turnip greens, collards, romaine lettuce, cabbage (red and green), and a bit of cilantro and/or parsley. Greens are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. Note: the darker the color, the more nutritionally dense it is.

25% of the Bowl — Vegetables & Fruit
Raw, steamed, or roasted vegetables; mix textures and tastes — crunchy, sweet, bitter, juicy, bland — sprouts (my favorite are alfalfa), asparagus tips, onion, garlic, peppers, mushrooms, broccoli and/or cauliflower florets, Brussels sprouts, carrots, tomatoes, avocado, peas (snow, sugar snap, or English), papaya arils, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, diced fruit; the choices are endless.

25% of the Bowl — Protein
Protein: beans (garbanzo, black, kidney, pinto, lima), cooked lentils and/or quinoa, diced hardboiled eggs, tofu, and/or maybe a bit of brown rice. Did you know that 1 cup of cooked brown rice has 5 grams of protein? Another great source of protein are raw seeds and nuts: walnuts, pumpkin seeds, almonds, hemp seeds, cashews, sunflower seeds, sesame, ground flax seed, pecans, pine nuts, chia seeds.

Dressing the Meal
Like the rest of the bowl, the final touch will vary from meal-to-meal, depending on what you have available:

  • Drizzle your favorite oil — olive, avocado, coconut
  • Splash on balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
  • Spice it up with a dash of sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, maybe some cayenne
Eat slowly and savor your meal with gratitude.

Eat slowly and savor your meal with gratitude

What’s your recipe for a healthy new year?

© Laurie Buchanan

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An Apple a Day

“Ait a happle avore gwain to bed, an’ you’ll make the doctor beg his bread.” — A Pembrokeshire proverb

Translated from Elizabeth Mary Wright’s 1863 Rustic Speech and Folk-lore, today we say, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”

And while apples—especially organic—enhance good health, there are a number of things we can do to promote wellbeing.

A mainstay in my whole health regimen—body, mind, and spirit—is restorative yoga, a slow and gentle style where each asana (posture) is supported by props such as bolsters, straps, blankets, blocks, chair, or wall. This support enables the practitioner to comfortably sink into a pose and hold it for up to five minutes, allowing them to let go, be present, and completely relax in the moment.

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What is your “apple a day?”

© Laurie Buchanan

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