Thursday, November 27, 2008

Picture of the day.


Heres me on a rope swing on an East coast beach called Apotere. My bro took this pic.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Picture of the day




Ahh heres Mount Cook! The biggest mountain in New Zealand. it's really amazing standing at the bottom of it. You can hike up and stay in a hut on the mountain next to Mount Cook. It's only a 2-3 hour walk. I stayed the night there once but I didn't stay in the hut I stayed out in nature with my mates and looked up at the stars. It's pretty cold though even in the summer.

Thinking About Health

Happy Feet
We take the way our feet are designed for granted- that is until the start to hurt and even then we still don't treat them properly cramming them into shoes that are too tight(mainly women :D) and then walking.No wonder foot problems are such a common complaint. Most foot problems are actually preventable by understanding the way the foot works and using good footwear to support them.

These feet were made for walking, and thats just what they'll do
Each time you step, your heel strikes the ground first then you roll through the arches, over the ball of your foot and onto your toes. Your arches flatten slightly as they absorb the wight of your body. One foot continues to bear your weight until the heel of the other touches the ground. As you walk your big toe maintains your balance. The two outer metatarsals move to accommodate uneven surfaces, while the inner three stay rigid for support. So the worst think you can do for your foot is put on wrong fitting shoes because it stresses the foot. The hight heel is the worst thing you can do for your foot. 80% of foot problems are women actually. So forget about your long legs and save your feet! High heels actually make the body's weight fall onto the forefoot so the arches of the foot are not allowed to absorb the force.
A good shoe has a sole that is strong and flexible and provides a good gripping surface. Cushioned insoles help protect feet from hard surfaces. Arch supports help distribute weight over a broader area, just like the arches in your foot. Everyone looks for the perfect shoe that will make them look "fantastic" but the truth is no one ever even looks down there haha.A high-quality shoe is only worth buying if it fits! Shop for shoes later in the afternoon when your feet are at their biggest. One foot is just about always bigger than the other. The shoes you try on should feel comfortable immediately.
So happy feet for everyone :D

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Animals, more responsible than humans?

My only girl dog just had a puppy. I thought that she had a full on miscarriage mid-pregnancy because she started bleeding, but thankfully, she didn't. :) I was starting to think it was a phantom pregnancy or something of the sort!

Here's a picture of both of them:


December last year, this same pet dog of mine had 3 puppies, one of which died at birth, and the other two, a boy and a girl, died on Christmas morning. Needless to say it was a rather heart breaking experience for my dog and me. I've never seen a dog or animal- really, as depressed as she was when her puppies died... that morning her pups died I started folding the blankets she and her puppies used and started crying. She was across the room and when I started crying- she did too! Not tears of course, but perhaps, even worse than tears, and since I was the only always with her and her puppies, each time she'd see me, she'd let out the same pitiful cry and look at me in a questioning manner as if asking where I brought her puppies.

This dog of mine is a hyperactive chow-hound. Seriously, I've been thinking of putting a big F on one side of her head and D on the other side, her eyes can serve as the "OO". Seriously. But whenever she has puppies, she is extremely calm, doesn't run around like her usual crazy self, and - even more surprising, actually chews her food slowly instead of her signature chomp-swallow style. She even leaves food on her plate overnight. Anyway, dogs are definitely the only good animal mothers. Like the story of the dogs who adopted tigers.. a tiger who adopted piglets, a chicken that adopted ducklings and what not.

It's gotten me thinking a lot about how a lot of animals are more responsible than human beings. With Nebraska's child abandonment law and Japan's Kumamoto Hospital where you can leave your children anonymously- it's a sad, sad world. I am not saying all humans of course, but at the very least, at least animals try to face their responsibilities as parents as best they can.

Here in the Philippines there are many very poor people. Go to any of their areas and it's a common sight to see children of all ages - say, anywhere from 14 or 12 to 2 years old running around in ragged clothes (if any) or half dressed. These kids beating each other, yelling, screaming, beating each other, etc. Worse- the mother is probably pregnant, again, and the father is either no where to be seen or can be found someplace drinking beer and smoking his cigarettes all day. Idyllic indeed.

Anyway... this is definitely something some humans can learn from animals.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Gmail's new look..

I'm sore all over from all the tennis and martial arts I've been doing the past week. I'm pretty glad it's Friday night now.. I'm looking forward to the weekend. My weekdays are so hectic now. Yoga and meditation keep me going happy, and Sammy. :D

I love the new look(s) of Gmail!
Spice up your inbox with colors and themes
Wednesday, November 19, 2008 12:21 PM
Posted by Annie Chen, Gmail engineer

Gmail fans have been building unofficial extensions to spice up their inboxes for a while, but up til now themes haven't been an integral part of Gmail. We wanted to go beyond simple color customization, so out of the 30 odd themes we're launching today, there's a shiny theme with chrome styling, another one that turns your inbox into a retro notepad, nature themes that change scenery over time, weather driven themes that can rain on your mailbox, and fun characters to keep you in good company. There's even an old school ascii theme (Terminal) which was the result of a bet between two engineers -- it's not exactly practical, but it's great for testing out your geek cred. We've also done a minor facelift to Gmail's default look to make it crisper and cleaner -- you might notice a few colors and pixels shifted around here and there.

As you can see from these photos taken around our office in Zurich, Switzerland, themes have made their way into more than our inboxes -- that's a character from the ninja theme made out of pixel blocks, customized laptop decals, and a giant Zoozimps character on a beam next to my desk:

To customize your inbox, go to the Themes tab under Settings. We'll be rolling out themes to everyone over the next couple of days, so if you don't see them yet, check back soon. As for which theme to choose, don't ask us. We're neutral ;)


Source

Monday, November 17, 2008

Picture of the day.



I like taking pictures of power lines. you can take some nice little arty shots if you get it right. this one is alright but nothing spectacular. I like it because it looks black and white but it's not just a real flat day.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Picture of the day.


Heres a little pic taken from whiritoa, This tree is a pohutakawa tree. One of the most popular trees in the north island.

Thinking About Health

Too much of a good thing.
As most of us have well noticed. People are fat! Yea, they're really, really fat haha. People just don't seem to care about it either. Too much fat leads to health problems which can include hypertension, poor blood sugar regulation, heart disease, certain cancers, gallstones, arthritis and lower back aches. People with increasing Adipose tissue (fat tissue) have a higher risk for health problems than people who are only slightly fat. But the health effects of excess fat depend on several important factors besides quantity of adipose tissue.
Family medical history
Excess body fas is really risky for people who have already developed fat-related health problems, or who have a family history of these disorders. On the other hand, people over 70 years old may benefit from a little extra fat tissue. Many health professionals recommend an extra 10 or 15 pounds for people over 70 to help them resist wasting away if the become ill.
Beware of the deadly sins:gluttony and sloth :D
people with a moderate amount of excess adipose tissue who eat a health diet and exercise regularly have health risks similar to those of the leaner body shape. So in other words the health risks seen in overweight people may be caused by poor health habits (too much food, too much alcohol, or too little exercise) rather than by the presence of excess fat. So do a little exercise, stop eating KFC and try not to party too much.

Atheist Billboards, Up for Christmas

I'm disgusted to see this. Whatever these people do, they will not be able to convince everyone in the world to become atheists. Thankfully, there are still Christians and other people in the world who are intelligent enough to believe in Christ.


Atheist Billboards To Debut During Holidays
Message Questions Existence Of God
Russell Haythorn, 7NEWS Reporter

POSTED: 9:22 pm MST November 13, 2008
UPDATED: 10:38 pm MST November 13, 2008

DENVER -- A controversial billboard will likely be popping up in a neighborhood near you, just in time for the holidays.

The billboard is paid for by a Colorado atheist group. The message sits against a blue sky backdrop and says, "Don't believe in God? You're not alone."

Ten billboards will pepper metro Denver, while one will be put up in Colorado Springs.

"And we're putting them up in November and December because of the holidays, when church and state issues tend to come up a lot," said Joel Guttormson, with Metro State Atheists. "To let non-believers, free-thinkers and atheists know that they are not alone, especially in a country like ours that is predominantly Christian."

Pastor Willard Johnson of Denver's Macedonia Baptist Church called the billboards a desperate effort to discredit Christianity.

"The Bible is being fulfilled. It says that in latter days, you have all these kinds of things coming up, trying to disrupt the validity of Christianity," Johnson said. "If they don't believe in God, how do they believe they came about? We denounce what they are doing. But we do it with love, with gentleness, with decency and with compassion."

Bob Enyart, a Christian radio host and spokesman for American Right to Life, said it's hard to ignore the evidence.

"The Bible says that faith is the evidence of things not seen. Evidence. If we ignore the evidence for gravity or the Creator, that's really dangerous," said Enyart. "Income tax doesn't not exist because somebody doesn't believe in it. And the same is true with our Creator."

The billboards will go up Nov. 17. The atheist group, called Colorado Coalition of Reason or COCORE, also wanted to put up signs in Fort Collins and Greeley, but a billboard company there refused to carry the message.

Johnson said atheism is a rebellion against Biblical principals and the billboard will likely offend many Christians.

COCORE said this is about First Amendment rights.

"And I've read the First Amendment up and down and nowhere does it say that I have to care about your feelings. We're either 10 to 16 percent of the population, and the reason we don't really know is because people are scared to come out because they're ostracized by the people around them," said Guttormson.


Source

Thursday, November 13, 2008

UN: Pollution Huge Threat to Asia

Brown clouds of pollution a huge threat to Asia: UN
BEIJING (AFP) – Enormous brown clouds of pollution hanging over Asia are killing hundreds of thousands of people, melting glaciers, changing weather patterns and damaging crops, the United Nations said Thursday.

Car traffic, factory emissions and indoor cooking are among the culprits for the "Atmospheric Brown Clouds", which are up to three kilometres (1.8 miles) thick, according the UN's Environment Programme (UNEP).

Releasing a landmark report on the phenomenon, the UNEP said getting rid of the clouds could help ease many environmental problems in Asia.

"The Atmospheric Brown Cloud is both complex and in need of a great deal more attention," UNEP executive director Achim Steiner told reporters.

Unlike greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming, which take decades or longer to disperse, the clouds would disappear in a matter of weeks if the sources of the problem ceased to pollute, the report said.

Five Atmospheric Brown Cloud (ABC) hotspots have been detected around the world, three of which are in Asia.

Asia's dense population and heady development of recent decades are two of the main reasons for the clouds, with one vast expanse of soot hovering across the Arabian Peninsula through to China and the western Pacific Ocean.

The clouds are so prevalent that black soot has been detected at Mount Everest base camp at levels normally expected in urban areas, according to the report.

The soot that has fallen on the glaciers of the Himalayas and other mountainous regions of Asia have amplified the effects of climate change, because the black particles absorb more heat.

However the clouds can both magnify and mask climate change, because the pollutants also block sunlight.

But the report said many of the consequences of the clouds were indisputable, such as accelerating the melting of glaciers, which in turn has a long-term negative impact on water resources and crop yields across Asia.

The pollutants have also contributed to decreases in the Indian summer monsoons and a north-south shift in rainfall patterns in China.

"The human fatalities from indoor and outdoor exposures to ABC-relevant pollutants have also become a source of grave concern," the report said.

The UNEP estimated that as many as 340,000 people died each year in China and India alone from cardiovascular, respiratory and other diseases linked to exposure to the pollutants.


From: Yahoo News!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thinking About Health.

Effective stretching.
A certain amount of flexibility is a must for you muscles. The more elasticity your muscles have the bigger range of motion your joints will have. If your not stretching at all, gradually your muscles will “seize up”. I teach yoga so I know how important it is to stretch properly so here’s some tips:
To see an improvement in flexibility, stretching exercises must be done regularly-daily if possible- for many weeks. Your muscle tissues will stretch best when you apply gradual pressure or gentle force at elevated tissue temperatures. 10 or more minutes of warm up is good to do before stretching. Exercise heats the muscle more deeply. That’s why the call it “warm up”. Flexing cold muscles does not increase flexibility and can cause injuries in extreme cases.
Just relax.
The easiest and safest way to increase flexibility is with static stretching. A good static stretch is slow and gentle after warm up. Get into a comfortable stretching position and relax into the stretch. Take some deep breaths and go into the stretch as much as you feel comfortable. Try to hold it for at least 30 seconds. If your tensing up then your stretching too much.
So the most important tip to stretching is to relax. You may have gone to some sort of exercise class and looked around at a person trying their hardest to stretch as much as the person next to them. Pushing their muscles to the limit so they don’t look silly or something haha. They are unintentionally activating the motor neurons that initiate muscular contraction in the muscles they are supposed to be relaxing, which of course means they are tightening the very muscle they are trying to stretch. Pretty silly right? So next time you stretch remember to relax- Sam

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Learn Tagalog

Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1) - Cite This Source - Share This
Ta⋅ga⋅log
   /tɑˈgɑlɔg, tə-/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [tah-gah-lawg, tuh-] Show IPA Pronunciation
–noun, plural -logs, (especially collectively) -log for 1.
1. a member of a Malayan people native to Luzon, in the Philippines.
2. the principal language of the Philippines, an Indonesian language of the Austronesian family.

It's a beautiful language, for one- and unfortunately I can only speak the "low class" type. I love hearing people speak in the old Tagalog, so to speak. It's a very poetic and descriptive language.

For the most part, Tagalog is very easy to learn. Harden your tongue a bit, and read the words as they look. Not much to think about on the pronunciation side of things- at least for the most part, until you're faced with a word like nginunguyanguya.

Anyhow, here are rules and some simple and quick phrases to learn:


Each Filipino vowel sound consists of only one sound.
Compare with English "a" as in "baby, which has two sounds: "bEIbi"
or English "o" as in "post": "pOUst"
or, finally, English "i" as in "bike": "bAIk."

In this sense Filipino vowels are pure
like vowels in Spanish or Italian.

Pronounce every vowel as a separate sound.
There are no diphthongs in Filipino; diphthongs are vowel combinations pronounced as one syllable.

Pronounce as in English Example
a father Magandang umaga, good morning
e egg Nene
i each ibig, want
o long totoo, true
u food kukunin, will take

Pronounce consonants as in English with the following considerations:

1. "g" is always hard, as in "get," never as in "gel."
2. "c, f, q, v, x" exist only in words adopted from other languages.
3. Pronounce adopted words as in their home language.
4. All other consonants are pronounced as in English.
5. In addition, there is the "ng" consonant; in the Filipino alphabet, it comes after "n"
6. More on the pronunciation of "ng" shortly.

To produce the "nga" sound, do the following.
a. Say "hanger"
b. Say "hang a."
c. Say "ang a."
d. Say "ng a."
e. Say "nga."

Practice "nga" with the following words:
· ang
· mga (short for "manga," the plural marker for nouns and pronouns)
· nang
· ng (pronounced like "nang," but is a different word)
· mangarap, to dream
· sanga, branch
· ngayón, now
· kailangan, need

There are four classes of word stress and accent. All Filipino words fall into one of these four classes:

malumay no accent
malumì grave accent
mabilís acute accent
maragsâ circumflex accent

Each class name is an example the stress and accent of the words in the class, that is, the words in each class have the same word stress and accent as the class name. Thus, all words in the malumay class have no accent. All words in the malumì class have the grave accent. All words in the mabilís class have the acute accent. All words in the maragsâ class have the circumflex accent.

Technically, the accents are part of the written language. In practice, many Filipino writers omit the accents. If you grew up with the language, you would know how to pronounce words from the context. If not, you would find the accents useful aids to pronunciation.


Kumustá Hello (casual)
Kumustá pô Hello (respectful)
Mabuti I'm fine (casual)
Mabuti pô I'm fine (respectful)



Go to Tagalog1 to learn more.

Eat, be happy, and healthy

MSN's got a nice little collection of good foods going there... here's a bit of what they posted about:

Bananas

Athletes and performers are familiar with the calming effect of bananas—a result of the fruit's high concentration of tryptophan, a building block of serotonin. But their real benefit comes from potassium, an electrolyte that helps prevent the loss of calcium from the body.

"Bananas also bolster the nervous system, boost immune function, and help the body metabolize protein," says Bass. "One banana packs a day's worth of potassium, and its carbohydrate content speeds recovery after strenuous exercise."




Kiwis

Like bananas, this fuzzy fruit is high in bone-protecting potassium. "They're also rich in vitamin C and lutein, a carotenoid that can help reduce the risk of heart disease," says Bowerman. "I try to eat at least one or two a week after exercising." Freeze them for a refreshing energy kick, but don't peel the skin: It's edible and packed with nutrients.



Broccoli

George H. W. Bush may hate this cruciferous all-star, but one cup of broccoli contains a hearty dose of calcium, as well as manganese, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and iron. And that's in addition to its high concentration of vitamins—including A, C, and K—and the phytonutrient sulforaphane, which studies at Johns Hopkins University suggest has powerful anticancer properties.

"One cup a day will do the trick," says Bowerman. Try cauliflower, kale, brussels sprouts, or cabbage for variation, as all possess many of the same nutritional qualities. "Broccoli may also help reduce excess estrogen levels in the body, thanks to its indole 3-carbinol content," says celebrity trainer Gunnar Petersen.


Spinach

A renowned muscle builder, spinach is also rich in vitamin K, which has been shown to bolster bone-mineral density (thus protecting against osteoporosis) and reduce fracture rates. Spinach is also high in calcium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, and even selenium, which may help protect the liver and ward off Alzheimer's.

One more reason to add it to your diet: A study in the Journal of Nutrition suggests that the carotenoid neoxanthin in spinach can kill prostate cancer cells, while the beta-carotene fights colon cancer. "Popeye was on to something," says Bowerman. "Eat one cup of cooked spinach, or two cups raw, four times a week."


Leeks

These scallion-like cousins of garlic and onions are packed with bone-bolstering thiamine, riboflavin, calcium, and potassium. Leeks are also rich in folic acid, a B vitamin that studies have shown to lower levels of the artery-damaging amino acid homocysteine in the blood.

What's more, "Leeks can support sexual functioning and reduce the risk of prostate cancer," says Michael Dansinger, M.D., an assistant professor of medicine and an obesity researcher at Tufts-New England Medical Center, in Boston. "Chop the green part of a medium leek into thin ribbons and add it to soups, sautés, and salads as often as possible."

Friday, November 7, 2008

House pollution

Here's an interesting article on health:

Got Gas?

Your house sure does—and it's bad for your health.

By the Editors of Women's Health

We humans breathe in 3,000 gallons of air daily—65 percent of it indoors. Not exactly great news. Why? Because indoor air pollution can be two to five times as high as levels in the great outdoors, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Blame building materials, fuel-burning appliances, and stuff you use to clean your castle: They all emit pollutants that, over time, can contribute to health problems like asthma, headaches, fatigue, heart disease, and even cancer, says Helen Suh MacIntosh, Sc.D., of the Harvard School of Public Health. Snuff out these bad guys and breathe easier:

Carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and tiny, sootlike floaters called particulate matter can seep out from improperly maintained stoves, fireplaces, and chimneys. Low-level exposure to carbon monoxide leads to headaches and nausea; high levels are deadly. Nitrogen dioxide can cause eye, nose, and throat irritation. Particulate matter can damage lung tissue.

Do this: Snag a carbon monoxide detector ($20, lowes.com). Use a fan when cooking with a gas stove, and make sure the flame tip is blue. (Yellow indicates that pollution emissions are too high; call your gas company to adjust the burner.)

Phthalates are chemicals used to disperse scents and make plastic flexible. Found in detergents, air fresheners, vinyl flooring, and vinyl shower curtains, they're linked with reproductive and developmental problems and, studies indicate, an increased risk for asthma and allergies.

Do this: Switch to phthalate-free detergents (like Seventh Generation products), use baked lemons as natural fragrance, and hang hemp or cotton shower curtains (from $35, greenhome.com).

PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers), flame retardants added to plastics, foams, and fabrics, are found in some TVs, computers, and furniture. Exposure can cause brain and reproductive problems in developing animals.

Do this: Clean with a damp rag to avoid stirring up dust (which may contain PBDEs) and cover or replace exposed foam pads in cushions.

Radon is an odorless, naturally occurring radioactive gas. It arises from the breakdown of uranium in the bedrock beneath your home. Among nonsmokers, it's the leading cause of lung cancer, resulting in about 20,000 deaths in the U.S. annually.

Do this: Measure levels in your home with a certified home test like the Kidde Radon Detection Kit ($17, lowes.com).

VOCs (volatile organic compounds) are chemicals that are gaseous at room temperature; they're in paint, all-purpose cleaners, wood preservatives, carpet glue, and dry-cleaned clothing. Possible health effects range from eye, nose, and throat irritation to headaches, nausea, and cancer.

Do this: Look for cleaning products that have simple ingredients (such as those by Seventh Generation and Ecover), and avoid products made from pressed wood, such as particleboard—it contains the VOC formaldehyde, a probable carcinogen. Find low-VOC paints and flooring at ecologo.org. ID perc-free dry cleaners at findco2.com.

Taken from: MSN

Picture of the Day


Gotta love the smile of that kid. Ironic enough, this kid is from one of the very poor areas in the Philippines

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Cross cultures… where to meet? We’ll figure it out someday.

Sometimes I wonder how Sam and I will manage- being from totally different cultural, racial, and family backgrounds. It'll be interesting, for sure, and as long as we're both willing, I know we'll get past the little kinks I'm sure we'll run into. Where exactly we're going to meet is kinda hard sometimes. We haven't even decided where we'll settle. It's a long time from now that we'll actually get married anyway, so it's all right, we'll figure it out later on.

I can cook- and he can' really cook well, so and so I'm at a certain advantage. :D
So far he seems to like a lot of Filipino stuff, which is good. Ayaw niya lang ng mga ginataan ganon. Bwisit. Dibale, masasanay rin sya! And even better, he eats a lot. I've always liked to feed people, so this will be okay. I just have to watch the sugar I guess. :/

Filipino Breads
This website has a few samples of Philippine breads. I've never had bread from this bakery before. Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of my favorite bakeries and their breads.

Pandesal- very easy to make, rather fattening (if made right) but worth it anyway- and well, insanely cheap!! The very best place to buy Pandesal is no where else but Binmaley, Pangasinan, a small town before Lingayen. If you happen to be going in that direction, it's a must to stop by Louella's Bakery, which is found soon after the welcome sign and bridge entering Binmaley. mmm. Always hot, and crunchy on the outside, and beautifully soft inside. For 2 straight weeks I would buy my friends and I 5 pandesals each for our dinner when we were doing community work in Lingayen.

Pandecoco- my sister's favorite bread. It's bread with sweet coconut inside. Masarap (yummy) rin (too/also)! The best place to buy this is in Baguio, in a much beloved bakery on the road going to the Philippine Military Academy.

Spanish bread- really really yummy too. The best place to buy this stuff is also in the bakery I mentioned right above this.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Picture of the Day (with a story to go with it)




This is a place called Piha on the wild west coast of New Zealand. It's about 45mins from Auckland City. I grew up in Piha so I'll probably be posting a lot of pics.
I almost died in Piha surfing. Theres a lot of jagged Rocks and caves all around the west coast. I was surfing with one of my friends just around the bay from this photo. I caught a big wave and ended going over the falls. I got smashed by a few waves and when I came up I was right against the rocks. A cave was about 5 meters away from me and the current was sucking me in there. That was about the freakiest time of my life because I couldn't see what was in the cave. So I ended up getting sucked in the cave which was like a washing machine. Very freaky. I got stuck in there for over an hour until I managed to climb up onto a ledge then climb out of the cave. My board was smashed already. I climbed out of the cave and sat on a perch. I decided I wasn't going anywhere until a helicopter came to save me haha. while I was in the cave my friend had gone to get the life guards so they ended up coming round in their IRB (rescue boat) to save me. I tell you that was the best sight of my life. I thanked the lord at that point because I thought that was it for me :D.

These pictures are taken of Lion Rock. From some angles it really looks like a lion sitting down but you can't really tell from these pics.

Simple tips for stress relief

Meditation always goes a long way. One thing Sam and I agree on (or at least, one of the things) is that we start our day with meditation. We both do hatha yoga too, but he's way better than I am at it. Anyway... here's a little article I found helpful.

Dr. Mao's Secrets of Longevity
7 Ways to Slash Stress Posted Mon, Oct 27, 2008, 1:29 pm PDT

Chronic stress seems to be our national disease, especially these days. Millions suffer from symptoms of stress: nervous tension, restless sleep, difficulty focusing and remembering, irritability, and health complications. Generally speaking, stress speeds up aging. Learn the ways to manage stress, and you will look and feel younger.

1. Start your day with meditation
Spend time every day in meditative relaxation, with calming music if you desire. Start with five minutes and work your way to 15 or 20 minutes each day. Meditation is your number one way to reduce the output of stress hormones and avoid adrenal exhaustion, serious threats to your health.

Try this Stress Release Meditation: Breathe consciously, relax, and with each exhale focus on relaxing each area of your body in sequence, starting from the top of your head and moving all the way down to your toes.

2. Manage your mood with diet and herbs
Chinese Medicine considers the liver to be the center of your emotions. To allay stress and balance your emotions, keep your liver healthy and happy:

• Every day, eat lots of green leafy vegetables, barley grass, seaweed - anything high in chlorophyll - to keep the liver in good health.

• Take 500 mg dandelion daily for a month or longer to cleanse the liver and help release built-up anger.

• Take 400 mg white peony root daily for 1 to 3 months to soothe the liver and balance your mood.

• Schisandra berry protects the liver from chemicals and calms the spirit. For emotional anxiety, take 200 mg daily for a month.

Take these herbs anytime during the day and before bed in tea or capsule form. All the herbs are available from health food stores and Eastern medicine practitioners. Many of my patients have had remarkable results with Calm-Fort Elixir, an all-natural formulation of herbs to calm your spirit. For more information, click here.

3. Suppress stress with positive thinking
Instead of letting your thoughts run wild with anxiety, say affirmations to yourself, such as "I can handle the tasks I have ahead of me. I enjoy my responsibilities and fulfill them well." In fact, repeating positive affirmations can actually suppress the cortisol that the adrenal gland releases in times of stress - leaving you peaceful and calm.

4. Get stress out of your head and on paper
Writing in a journal every day can help you release thoughts and emotions that are causing you stress. Write from the position of an observer, recording your thoughts without any judgments. Just write it down so that you can see clearly what is going on inside. The next step is to identify the source of any anger or stress so you can begin to make changes. Looking into your thoughts give you the opportunity to gain insight into your feelings and reflect the underlying issues.

5. Unblock tension with exercise
The constant pressures of your job and family can lead to chronically elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which is a direct cause of muscle and joint pain. Clenched jaw? Lump in your throat? Chronic back and neck pain? These can all be manifestations of stress in your body. Release physical tension and clear these emotional blockages by using massage therapy, exercise, yoga, tai chi, or qi gong to get the circuits moving.

6. A Retreat to Avoid Burnout
Overloading your brain is a recipe for stress and health problems. Information overload is particularly harmful at midlife because we have less tolerance for stress, which can contribute to high blood pressure and heart disease. Press the "reset" button on yourself. Give yourself a retreat from the stresses of modern life. Take one day out of the seven-day week to minimize "screen" time. Don't watch TV, don't check email, and don't look at the news - it will be there tomorrow, and after a day of rest, you will be refreshed and ready to look at them.

7. Perspective from the Natural World
Use nature to reduce stress. Go outside, hike in the woods, walk on the beach, anything that puts you in contact with the natural world. It is difficult to feel stressed when you are surrounded by nature's abundance of vitality and wonder.

I hope you find the ways to have less stress! I invite you to visit often and share your own personal health and longevity tips with me.

May you live long, live strong, and live happy!

-Dr. Mao

From: Yahoo!

Kicking the sugar habit

I love sweets. I'm the only one in our family who does... :/.. well, no my uncle and I see things in the same way for the most part, even with our love for sugar. Caramel, chocolates, pies... ahh.. but more recently I've been reading more about sugar, and it's worrying me. I don't want to get sick, cause endless trouble for myself and for family and etc just because I ate too much sugar!

Here's an interesting little snippet from the author of a book I've been avoiding to read:

76 Ways Sugar Can Ruin Your Health

Contributed by Nancy Appleton, Ph.D
Author of the book Lick The Sugar Habit

In addition to throwing off the body's homeostasis, excess sugar may result in a number of other significant consequences. The following is a listing of some of sugar's metabolic consequences from a variety of medical journals and other scientific publications.

1.

Sugar can suppress your immune system and impair your defenses against infectious disease.1,2
2.

Sugar upsets the mineral relationships in your body: causes chromium and copper deficiencies and interferes with absorption of calcium and magnesium. 3,4,5,6
3.

Sugar can cause can cause a rapid rise of adrenaline, hyperactivity, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, and crankiness in children.7,8
4.

Sugar can produce a significant rise in total cholesterol, triglycerides and bad cholesterol and a decrease in good cholesterol.9,10,11,12
5.

Sugar causes a loss of tissue elasticity and function.13
6.

Sugar feeds cancer cells and has been connected with the development of cancer of the breast, ovaries, prostate, rectum, pancreas, biliary tract, lung, gallbladder and stomach.14,15,16,17,18,19,20
7.

Sugar can increase fasting levels of glucose and can cause reactive hypoglycemia.21,22
8.

Sugar can weaken eyesight.23
9.

Sugar can cause many problems with the gastrointestinal tract including: an acidic digestive tract, indigestion, malabsorption in patients with functional bowel disease, increased risk of Crohn's disease, and ulcerative colitis.24,25,26,27,28
10.

Sugar can cause premature aging.29
11.

Sugar can lead to alcoholism.30
12.

Sugar can cause your saliva to become acidic, tooth decay, and periodontal disease.31,32,33
13.

Sugar contributes to obesity.34
14.

Sugar can cause autoimmune diseases such as: arthritis, asthma, multiple sclerosis.35,36,37
15.

Sugar greatly assists the uncontrolled growth of Candida Albicans (yeast infections)38
16.

Sugar can cause gallstones.39
17.

Sugar can cause appendicitis.40
18.

Sugar can cause hemorrhoids.41
19.

Sugar can cause varicose veins.42
20.

Sugar can elevate glucose and insulin responses in oral contraceptive users.43
21.

Sugar can contribute to osteoporosis.44
22.

Sugar can cause a decrease in your insulin sensitivity thereby causing an abnormally high insulin levels and eventually diabetes.45,46,47
23.

Sugar can lower your Vitamin E levels.48
24.

Sugar can increase your systolic blood pressure.49
25.

Sugar can cause drowsiness and decreased activity in children.50
26.

High sugar intake increases advanced glycation end products (AGEs)(Sugar molecules attaching to and thereby damaging proteins in the body).51
27.

Sugar can interfere with your absorption of protein.52
28.

Sugar causes food allergies.53
29.

Sugar can cause toxemia during pregnancy.54
30.

Sugar can contribute to eczema in children.55
31.

Sugar can cause atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease.56,57
32.

Sugar can impair the structure of your DNA.58
33.

Sugar can change the structure of protein and cause a permanent alteration of the way the proteins act in your body.59,60
34.

Sugar can make your skin age by changing the structure of collagen.61
35.

Sugar can cause cataracts and nearsightedness.62,63
36.

Sugar can cause emphysema.64
37.

High sugar intake can impair the physiological homeostasis of many systems in your body.65
38.

Sugar lowers the ability of enzymes to function.66
39.

Sugar intake is higher in people with Parkinson's disease.67
40.

Sugar can increase the size of your liver by making your liver cells divide and it can increase the amount of liver fat.68,69
41.

Sugar can increase kidney size and produce pathological changes in the kidney such as the formation of kidney stones.70,71
42.

Sugar can damage your pancreas.72
43.

Sugar can increase your body's fluid retention.73
44.

Sugar is enemy #1 of your bowel movement.74
45.

Sugar can compromise the lining of your capillaries.75
46.

Sugar can make your tendons more brittle.76
47.

Sugar can cause headaches, including migraines.77
48.

Sugar can reduce the learning capacity, adversely affect school children's grades and cause learning disorders.78,79
49.

Sugar can cause an increase in delta, alpha, and theta brain waves which can alter your mind's ability to think clearly.80
50.

Sugar can cause depression.81
51.

Sugar can increase your risk of gout.82
52.

Sugar can increase your risk of Alzheimer's disease.83
53.

Sugar can cause hormonal imbalances such as: increasing estrogen in men, exacerbating PMS, and decreasing growth hormone.84,85,86,87
54.

Sugar can lead to dizziness.88
55.

Diets high in sugar will increase free radicals and oxidative stress.89
56.

High sucrose diets of subjects with peripheral vascular disease significantly increases platelet adhesion.90
57.

High sugar consumption of pregnant adolescents can lead to substantial decrease in gestation duration and is associated with a twofold increased risk for delivering a small-for-gestational-age (SGA) infant.91,92
58.

Sugar is an addictive substance.93
59.

Sugar can be intoxicating, similar to alcohol.94
60.

Sugar given to premature babies can affect the amount of carbon dioxide they produce.95
61.

Decrease in sugar intake can increase emotional stability.96
62.

Your body changes sugar into 2 to 5 times more fat in the bloodstream than it does starch.97
63.

The rapid absorption of sugar promotes excessive food intake in obese subjects.98
64.

Sugar can worsen the symptoms of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).99
65.

Sugar adversely affects urinary electrolyte composition.100
66.

Sugar can slow down the ability of your adrenal glands to function.101
67.

Sugar has the potential of inducing abnormal metabolic processes in a normal healthy individual and to promote chronic degenerative diseases.102
68.

I.V.s (intravenous feedings) of sugar water can cut off oxygen to your brain.103
69.

Sugar increases your risk of polio.104
70.

High sugar intake can cause epileptic seizures.105
71.

Sugar causes high blood pressure in obese people.106
72.

In intensive care units: Limiting sugar saves lives.107
73.

Sugar may induce cell death.108
74.

In juvenile rehabilitation camps, when children were put on a low sugar diet, there was a 44 percent drop in antisocial behavior.109
75.

Sugar dehydrates newborns.110
76.

Sugar can cause gum disease.111

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