Practicing Nonviolence toward yourself … a thought provoking concept originally proposed over 2000 years ago by the Indian sage Patanjali, and brought to my attention by Yogi Cameron Alborzian, in his book “The One Plan”.
I have learned a lot about taking care of my physical health. With the help of my family I have healed myself over the years from some very dark depths. And there are times like last summer when I was feeling on top of the world, indestructible, fully alive…I was doing brilliantly what Patanjali would describe as practicing nonviolence towards my body. And there are times when I make some very poor eating and health choices … even though I know better. Yogi Cameron would say that I was committing physical violence against my body.
Every once and awhile I come across something that shifts my perception of reality…and this concept of practicing nonviolence was one of them.
“Physical violence is any violence that harms someone else’s body or our own.” Yogi Cameron states that making poor food and eating decisions cam be considered as committing physical violence against yourself.
Here are some selected behaviors that Yogi Cameron feels most of us consider a normal part of life but that actually do harm to our bodies. Think about them … they hit me in-between the eyes, because they rang with truth:
We eat late at night – causing us to wake up feeling stiff and lethargic
We eat processed and genetically modified foods – we ingest toxicity into our body
We eat foods from far away – this compromises the nutritional value of the food
We eat meat – most animals come from farms using artificial growing practices and polluted water. As well the more difficult foods are to digest the more resources our bodies have to commit to processing them.
We eat large meals – when we give the stomach too much to digest, it has to work overtime to process everything…this can compromise the immune system as well and also causes us to be sick more often
OK … can you check off “yes” to any of these?
I am certainly better than I used to be at practicing nonviolence .. but I still fall prey to these things way too often. I’ll tell you, having Yogi Cameron look me in the eyes (well through the print of a book…lol) and tell me that I was being violent to my own body, certainly hits harder than telling myself I am just sneaking a cheat food.
We are always on a journey through life. We may have a certain destination in our lives … but we go on and off course all the time, just like a jet flight from Toronto to Punta Cana. The key, when we temporarily fall off course is to just re-adjust our settings and get back on course.
This concept of practicing nonviolence just straightened out my course again. It is causing me to redefine my definition of normality again.
I love it when things just come together! Isn’t life amazing!
Ahh…an exotic vegan chili! Sometimes I go though food slumps, where I couldn’t care less what I eat…and then all of a sudden I try something and it just re-inspires me! That is what this delicious vegan chili did for me. I found the basis for it in the office of an excellent Oesteopath I took my daughter to called Balance Point. I didn’t follow the recipe word for word…but here is what I did. Mmmmm!
Ingredients Needed for the Vegan Chili:
2 medium sweet potatoes
1 medium onion
4 mini bell peppers (different colours)
1 red chili pepper (seeds removed)
2 cloves of garlic
touch of cayenne pepper
touch of cumin (what an interesting taste it adds)
touch of black pepper
touch of sea salt
540 g tin of chickpeas
540 g tin of chopped tomatoes
Extra virgin olive oil
Cooking Instructions for Vegan Chili
Preheat the oven to 425F, peel the sweet potatoes, cut into roughly bite sized cubes. Put some olive oil on a baking tray, spread out the sweet potato cubes, then sprinkle generously with cayenne pepper, cumin and some sea salt. Cook until brown on the bottom and soft to chew.
In a pot, put some olive oil on med high and cook the diced bell peppers, onions, and chili pepper for about 5 minutes.
Rinse out the chickpeas and add, along with the can of tomatoes, and add a little water if you want it more liquid. Bring to a boil, then turn down to med low, cover and let simmer. Stir as needed. Add some black pepper, cumin, cayenne and sea salt to taste. When the potatoes are ready, throw them in and stir…adding a touch more water if needed.
Let simmer on low, covered for at least 30 minutes.
I had lots left over for lunch the next 2 days, and it was even MORE flavourful the next meals!
You can eat with some nacho chips if you want…it’s up to you.
Mmm Mmm Mmm…a super tasty Vegan chili that made me sweat…but not want to pass out!
For a number of years, I have been drinking something that I feel is worth its weight in gold…Matcha Green Tea.
I had read about it in various magazines and sites, and finally journeyed into the health food store to purchase some. One stuck out to me (DoMatcha) because it had a really cool “ancient” looking label. (Yes marketing really does work…lol!) So that is the tea I originally bought and continue to do so…tastes good, is healthy, and looks cool…what more could I ask for?
Matcha Green Tea Finally Allowed Me To Avoid Colds?
I drank it over that winter, and whether it was a coincidence or not I am not sure, but that year was THE year I broke free from getting winter colds! (Amen bothers and sisters!)
The cost of matcha green tea is…well it is not cheap…you get a small container…but it lasted me for a long time because I only added a tiny bit of the powder. And some days (being a financial advisor I try to think of small ways to save money here and there) I would just keep refilling it with hot water as there was still powder in there, and the flavour was always still great! It truly was the gift that just kept on giving.
Matcha green tea is a high-quality green tea that is covered before picking to accentuate the color, then stone-ground after being picked and before being sealed into small tins. Matcha tea can be enjoyed in many ways. I know they say you can just make a paste out of it, or you can drink it as a tea…or I am sure there are other ideas.
Here are some claims that have been made about the health benefits of matcha green tea. I am simply reporting what I have found and I do not support any of these as truth necessarily…use your own judgement.
“A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition demonstrated that matcha green tea extract has unique thermogenic properties that promotes increased fat oxidation” (taken from this website). So basically some people are claiming that drinking matcha green tea could help you burn fat quicker and lose weight.
Other claims are such (and again…I am just reporting what others say may happen)
That matcha green tea is very high in antioxidants, some claiming it could be over 100x more (I guess it depends on who is selling it…lol!)
Theanine (ingredient in matcha green tea), may help to reduce mental stress reactions…and that sounds good to our readers who are planning to participate in the next 21 day health transformation!
And according to the website Miss Olive studies seem to indicate that consuming matcha green tea may potentially help with:
So wow! With all that how can you not help but go and buy some right now! lol!
Listen, whether or not matcha green tea can actually do any of those things, I cannot tell you with any certainty. All that I can tell you from personal experience is that since I started drinking matcha green tea about 4 years ago, I have been able to escape/fend off/elude colds almost completely (knock on wood). Of course I have also done other things, eaten healthier, exercised, ect…but my intuition tells me that this tea plays a role in it.
Here is a quick and simple recipe for veggie tacos (with no soya in it)
Naturopath says avoid soya…
We went to a naturopath the other day, and one of the things she suggested was to avoid soya products as much as possible.
Yikes…but we love veggie tacos!
One of the things we love of late are veggie tacos, and we use the fake meat soya product in it, because we were always used to ground beef in our tacos from years back. So being told not to eat soya (which I know is a good thing to avoid as much as possible) was a bummer. My daughter really wanted tacos, and so was disappointed. So I went to the grocery store, got some salsa, and … actually bought some ground beef (that hasn’t been in my shopping cart for years). The problem is that after I brought it home my wife and both agreed that it just didn’t seem right to do that…there had to be a better way. So I went through my memory banks, looked through the internet a bit, and came up with an idea I wanted to try.
Veggie tacos instructions
Step 1: sauté a medium minced onion in a bit of virgin olive oil
Step 2: add some diced red and yellow bell peppers
Step 3: add one cup of water and regular taco seasoning
Step 4: add one can of black beans fully rinsed
Step 5: cook until most of the water is gone, but still juicy
Step 6: Heat up taco shells (we like the hard taco shells because they give a satisfying crunch)
Step 7: We add LOTS of all of the following….grated carrots, shredded lettuce, salsa, guacamole (cheese if you want)
Step 8: Serve with water to drink, place mats and napkins because it is VERY messy!!!
Anyway, I thank my family for trying my quick experiment, and everyone agreed it was quite delicious. There are left overs, and they are going to go great over top of my salad tomorrow.
Eating better will definitely help reduce your stress in soooo many ways.
Over the years at certain times I have had my difficulties in getting a good nights sleep. I would often be restless throughout the night, and would wake up feeling very tired and unrested. It is hard to have your “perfect” day when you wake up wishing you could just stay in-between the sheets in bed all day! So getting a good night’s sleep is critical for our health.
Of late I have been getting some really good night’s sleep, in fact, I believe some of the best sleeps I have ever had.
Whenever I pictured my perfect day, it always involved myself getting up early, say 6am, and feeling energized and ready to take on the world. I would have had a good night’s sleep, I would awaken fully refreshed, and then I would tackle my day with vigor. However all to often I would instead wake up hitting the snooze button a number of times, and finally groggily stumble to the shower. This morning however, I woke up at 5am! Are you kidding me? And I felt WIDE awake and ready to go! How is this possible? Well through the years I have discovered a number of secrets to a good night’s sleep, and I will share the top 7 with you.
Good Night’s Sleep – 7 Secrets
1) If you want a good night’s sleep, don’t get yourself all wound up just before you go to bed by watching something stimulating on TV. If I watched an exciting sports event that went down to the wire, or if I watched a scary show that got me all riled up, then your adrenaline gets pumping….which is basically exactly the opposite state you want your body in to get a good night’s sleep. So if you do end up watching something like that, make sure you do something afterwards to calm yourself down before you try to sleep.
2) For me, little noises can wake me up throughout the night. So a major key for me to having a good night’s sleep is to have background noise on, or what they call white noise. The easiest thing I have used is a fan. There are actually machines you can get that play white noise (just like a low static with nothing identifiable in it), but I find a fan works perfect. If we stay over in hotels for vacations or sports tournaments the room itself might have a great fan/air-conditioning unit already, but just in case we always bring a small portable fan.
3) Black out the light in your room. This is something my wife introduced. She works shifts and so she would have to try to sleep during the days, and she bought these super black curtains that blocked out all the light ( I think she got them pretty cheap from Ikea…a good night’s sleep is definitely worth spending a couple of bucks). We close them at night and it blocks out all the street lights…it is simply amazing.
4) Watch what you eat! To get a good night’s sleep you have to ensure that your body is not all jacked up on sugar before you go to sleep. Just like stimulating TV can get your adrenaline flowing, so can sugary foods! As crazy as this sounds to me now, I would often have think it a good idea to have “comfort” foods to help myself sleep. So that would involve eating chocolate and other various sweets…laden with sugar. And I was surprised when I lay awake in bed for hours just staring at the ceiling! Also watch how much you eat, because you don’t want your digestive system to have to work over time when you are trying to sleep, so don’t eat large amounts of food just before bed time either.
5) I will also spell out separately…watch what you drink! I was VERY bad at this. My big one was drinking a large pepsi just before I lay down. Not ony sugar…but can you say caffeine over kill as well! Talk about waking up your body…killing any attempt at a good night’s sleep. But don’t laugh at me too hard. What about you? Ever have coffee before bed? Ever have regular tea before bed? So a key is not only watching what you drink, but also I have had to keep an eye on how much I drink. Even if I am drinking something healthy like water, if I drink too much, then I have to wake up a number of times just to go to the washroom.
6) Exercise if critical for me to having a good nights sleep. Exercise clears the toxins from your body that build up. Exercise clears pent-up stress from my body. Exercise keeps my muscles working and in shape. Exercise keeps my mind sharp. Exercise keeps the blues away. Exercise allows my body to feel tired in a good way. The only thing I have to personally avoid is exercising too close to going to bed because it does get me all pumped up…and then it takes a while to come back down. But for me, if I don’t exercise, the quality of my sleeps goes downhill quickly.
7) Getting myself in the right mental frame is the last big secret I will share about having a good night’s sleep. I cannot sleep if I have things on my mind. I will just review them over and over and over. So I have learned (my dad shared this with me many years ago) to take a few moments and just clear my mind, and write down everything I am thinking about. As well I have to tell myself that I have done everything I can do about things today…and that tomorrow I will complete them…however I will need all my energy to do it…and so I need to allow my body to get a great rest tonight. Another thing I try to ensure is that I am in a positive frame of mind, and that my body is at its purest and highest energy level…by thinking good thoughts and appreciating things. I review in my mind all the things I am thankful for, including my health, my family, my friends, my career, the fact I have a roof over my head….and any and every other thing I can think of. I am thankful for ____, I am thankful for _____ ……
To feel fully alive, to feel fully energized, to have great health, to move about your day with passion and purpose……your body needs to recover and rebuild itself each night. So a good night’s sleep is of critical importance.
Got any tips that help you get a good night’s sleep? Please share comments below and maybe you can help inspire another reader.
Here is a quick video showing me making my Tony’s Kick Ass Salad!
Why do I call it Tony’s Kick Ass Salad you ask?
Because, including things like this in my diet on a consistant basis has helped elevate my energy so that when I do my walk, or get ready for my day I feel like I am going to totally kick ass no matter what I take on!
This is just one example of things you can put in your salad. Mine changes all the time. And I am sure you have some favorite veggies that are much more creative than me!!
The key is just eat as many veggies and greens as you can…and create your own Kick Ass Salad!!
Quinoa is a food you can do so much with, and is super healthy for you to boot!
I first heard of Quinoa years ago (I can’t even remember exactly how we came across it). We immediately got into a “how do you pronounce it?” quandary. I said well, obviously it is “kin-oh-ah’. My wife said a friend of hers at work called it “keen – wah”. Well I laughed at her friend (but turns out maybe I was wrong…which is impossible, because I don’t think I am ever wrong…lol!) And then last year at our local fall fair, they actually had a cool food stand that cooked nutritious food (is that even possible at a fall fair…hidden amongst the fries trucks and jumbo ear stands)…and I order “kin-oh-ah”…and the guy actually rolled his eyes at me (like it was an onerous chore for him to correct the masses), and repeated to me, “so you would like to order some “keen-wah”? Believe it or not they were actually sold out, and I had to come back in 20 minutes, because they were overcome by the demand! Good food is catching on…even at fall fairs!
Quinoa is easy to cook
It is really easy to make quinoa, especially if you have a rice cooker, just put 2 parts water to 1 part quinoa. It can be cooked in a pot. I love quinoa with veggies! In fact one of my more favorite things these days is I take a soup stock, pour it in a pot, add a cup of quinoa, whatever cut up veggies I fell like that day (I always try to add different colours, like green and red and orange) and let cook over a low heat until the quinoa is all sprouted (yes it actually sprouts as you cook, which makes it even more nutritious), and it still has some soup present. I eat some right away, it is hot, filling, but also goes down easy. I always cook more quinoa than I want, then snack on it for the rest of the day, and refrigerate what ever is left.
Quinoa is highly nutritious
Quinoa is often labeled as a grain, but is in fact a pseudograin…actually a seed. It does not contain gluten, which makes it an alkaline-forming, easily digestible option for those who are gluten-intolerant. (and this number seems to grow every day).
Quinoa is very light. It has high levels of vitamin B, which helps convert carbohydrate into energy. It is a source of potassium, iron, and protein, as Quinoa is about 20% protein. It has all 8 essential amino acids. It also is said to have 2 antioxidant phytonutrients, and contain anti-inflammatory nutrients (which may help against cardio vascular diseases).
Here are two links you might find interesting. This link talks in-depth about the health properties of quinoa, and this link I include because they have a crazy amount of quinoa recipes (I am sure not all of them are good for the 21 Day Health Transformation, but you can have some fun looking at them!)
Years ago, I gave up using white rice (and so has my wife…and believe me that is no easy feat for a Philipina…as rice is so engrained in their culture!) Try it! I really think you and your family will like it!
Comfort eating is what we may do when we are feeling blue. Maybe sad, depressed, tired, bored, lonely…when we are looking for something that will make us feel better. Comfort eating might have started when we were young babies and children. If we got an ouchy, or were sad…our mom and dad might have bought us an ice cream or some other treat. I know that as parent myself, that is something I did for my daughters. If they had a rough day for some reason, then it was a great reason to go to Baskin Robbins and get a nice hot fudge sundae.
As we get older comfort eating might occur when we have a problem with a relationship, or a tough day at work. It may occur if we feel a low esteem, and that at least this Caramilk bar will love us if no one else will…well at least the sugar rush will make us feel good!
I know that when ever I have been stressed out in life I did comfort eating. If I was sad because my sports team lost I did comfort eating. If I was feeling sorry for myself for some reason (boo hoo) I did comfort eating. I did this for as long as I can remember. And in fact what is worse is that I would sometimes go see a movie (bye bye money) and then eat a large popcorn, large coke and large chocolate (bye bye money and hello pounds…lol)
I want to give you a real life example of comfort eating … that didn’t happen to me this week! I think this will help you, especially those of you registered for the upcoming 21 Day Health Transformation which is coming up really soon!
On Tuesday, I received a phone call with what seemed devastating news to me. My very first reaction was I decided I needed to go to the corner store and buy a chocolate bar. Can you say comfort eating?
And here’s where I owe it to all of you out there, and to this blog: I did not do comfort eating.
So yes I thought about it, my brain said to do it…it wanted an immediate rush of Dr. Feelgood (sugar). But I asked myself “Ok, so what will happen if I do that?”
1) I will be out $1.50 (because although it may be convenient, a convenience store is never cheap) = financial stress
2) I will eat calories I don’t need , and the chocolate bar basically offers absolutely no sustenance to the body = health stress
3) Mentally I will feel like crap afterwards because I let myself down by doing something I did not want to do = mental stress.
So although the comfort food may have given me some comfort for a few minutes, ultimately the comfort food would add to a lot of dis-stress and potentially dis-ease.
I am giving myself a pat on the back right now as I read this because I can say to myself “Good Job Tony”. Often we love to give praise to others, but sometimes we have to stop and acknowledge ourselves for the good deeds we do for ourselves….we need to show ourselves the love too!
For additional information on comfort eating, here is a link you might find interesting.
We would love to hear your stories of comfort eating, and how your life will change by being aware of it and altering your habits.
At all times, I try to have a small bag of almonds around me somewhere…just in case I need them. Why you ask, would I do need almonds?
I need almonds when:
I want something crunchy (do you ever just get that feeling?)
I want something quick, easy and nutritious
I feel an urge to grab a chocolate bar
I want to put some “sustenance” in a dish like chilli
I make my amazing energy bars
I want to nibble (instead of chips or something)
They go great on salads!
There are so many times, when having 6 or 7 almonds will just fill me up enough to stop that urge for something not good for me, that I give it rave reviews. For example. The other day I had to walk to Shoppers Drug Mart to buy stamps. Well…it just so happens that in Shoppers Drug Mart they have a section dedicated strictly to chocolate…and man was I ever a chocolate hound. (notice I say “was”) By association if I was feeling tired, I would immediately find myself walking over to Shoppers to buy a 4 pack of Caramilk bars. (and on certain days I ate them all!). But this time, I knew what I would see there. I also knew that just thinking about going was starting to set a bell off in my head…alarm…time to buy Caramilks. So what I did was grab a handful of almonds, and on my way to the store I very slowly crunched them one by one, fully chewing them. And by the time I had got to Shoppers my urge had passed, and I was able to walk safely to the stamp section, passing the chocolate aisle both on the way there and the way back! Yes a few almonds now and then have really saved me in my 21 Day Health Transformation so far!
Almonds are quite high in vitamin B12, fiber (to make sure stuff moves through your body) and antioxidants (to fight against the free radicals that can do such harm to our body).
Although I like them raw the best, if you soak almonds it actually makes them easier to digest, and makes them more nutritious…try them both ways and see what you like.
Don’t get roasted almonds, don’t get them salted or smoked, and try to keep your hands off the chocolate coated ones! Stick with plain old raw ones…they will grow on you.
Did you know almond milk is a great substitution for milk? My whole family has given up milk, and daughter Sierra now thinks that milk tastes weird! You can either buy almond milk at the store, or make your own. Here is a simple recipe for almond milk!
Enjoy almonds….chew them slowly and really savour them.
Moo! The milk cows will like this post, but the dairy farmers may not…lol!
Looking back, another thing that has positively impacted my health is decreasing my milk and dairy intake. I first read about it years ago. At the time I was interested because research seemed to suggest that dairy products might somehow create more mucous, and might somehow agitate my sinuses…which kept leading to sinus infection after sinus infection. I have to tell you that it was hard for me to even think about it at first. All my life I had cereal (processed sugary crap that I had to beg my mom to buy like Count Chocula…she tried to help me choose better things…but who could resist my “please ….”) for breakfast, along with milk! The media always promoted milk as good, that it would build my bones, that it would give me protein and energy and that to top it all off, when you drank milk you had an amazing time sporting that white mustache. I remember so vividly the slogan they used that was so catchy … Got Milk? I remember they even did “hip” ads showing some diary farmers grooving and rapping to a milk song. Heck there was hot chocolate, there was Nestles chocolate milk powder. And cheese! Cheese and crackers was great! Ice cream! Yogurt! Yum yum yum. But I kept getting sick, sick, sick.
However I have seen too many things that suggest that maybe dairy products aren’t as good for us as we have been led to believe. I have read of many instances where dairy increases dis-ease in the body. Many people seem to be allergic to it now…lactose intolerant. They pump tons of growth steroids into cows to increase their milk productions….where do those steroids end up? (and by the way haven’t we banned steroid use in most sports?) I coach basketball, and see many of the young men playing…is it coincidence that they kids are getting taller and taller and taller at younger and younger ages? Milk cows are also given antibiotics to decrease infections. And it was a wicked cycle of antibiotics that I was caught on when I was ill. These materials (like growth hormones and antibiotics) become contaminants in the milk and their impact on the human body is not entirely known. The more you research the subject, the more mystified and alarmed you may become.
And before you read below, just allow yourself to ponder this: Are milk and dairy products a HUGE business? Is there a lot of money to be lost by some people if dairy consumption decreases? Things that make you go hmmm…
I found a very interesting article (see here) written by Dr. Mark Hyman about milk and the many reasons to decrease your milk or pass on it altogether. Amongst other things the article discusses the work of Walter Willet, M.D., Ph.D Following are some clippings from the article I read:
The Truth about Dairy
Based on such findings, Dr. Willet has come to some important conclusions:
• Milk doesn’t benefit sports performance.
• There’s no evidence that dairy is good for your bones or prevents osteoporosis — in fact, the animal protein it contains may help cause bone loss!
Our bodies just weren’t made to digest milk on a regular basis. Instead, most scientists agree that it’s better for us to get calcium, potassium, protein, and fats from other food sources, like whole plant foods — vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and seaweed.
What can you drink instead? Try almond milk. (I will discuss this more in a following post)
During the 21 Day Health Challenge I will be challenging you to give up milk for 3 weeks. Give it a try and see how you feel. You may be surprised what nagging things quietly disappear.