“Blue Blocker” Sunglasses

A Pair of Sunglasses

 

Excuse me, what?

This is a relatively unknown topic related to modern living that is getting more and more attention these days.  Like sitting at desks, eating processed foods, and sitting in bad electronic pollution; we are finding another caveat to our modern lifestyle.  Enter “BLUE LIGHT.”  Light itself has its own complications, but blue light seems to be more problematic.  What is blue light?  We are talking neons.  We are talking the blinker lights on your wireless routers and television screens.  The glow from the alarm clock.  The blue LED nightlight in the bathroom.  It is hard to escape this stuff in a modern household.  What is the problem?  Our bodies have evolved rhythms revolving around the sun for thousands of years.  It isn’t just light for us.  It literally stimulates the production or restriction of certain hormones in the body.  Sun comes up, wake up, move around, think, exercise, etc.  Sun goes down, slow down, sleep, recover, rest.  What happens when these hormones get tricked?  

More and more research is piling up suggesting that light (especially blue light) interferes with our bodies own mechanisms for producing or inhibiting hormones.  A big one is melatonin.  So logging onto your email at night may end up keeping you awake.  Is your insomnia actually from looking at your computer or television screen late at night?  Can you not fall back asleep because you check your cellphone at night?  Maybe that blue light in the bathroom wires you back up.  The problem is that we are only subtly aware that these things are happening.  So what is an average “JOE” to do?  Surely you don’t want us to sell or give away all of our technology, ask us to turn the T.V. off, and check all emails before 7 at night RIGHT?  Correct =)

Enter “Blue Blocking Sunglasses.”  These are inexpensive.  They are effective.  They don’t interfere with our lives much at all.  What are they?  Basically just plastic sunglasses that have strong filtering technology.  They are specifically designed to filter out 100% of that specific light spectrum.  Keep a pair or two around the house for work at night.  Just pop these babies on and go about your business.  This is even more important in the winter when the sun goes down early.  

BENEFITS?  Better sleep.  Improved mood.  Deeper sleep.  Easier to “unwind” at night.  Better recovery from exercise and stress.

That’s it guys.  Simple.  Other tips?  Replace as many “blue” or LED lights from your living space as possible.  Switch to old-fashioned night-lights and battery or wind-up alarm clocks.  Try to get as much computer work done before bedtime as you can.  REST WELL.

-JOE 

 

Foundational Health Building

GM Sky Scrapers

What do I mean by foundational health building?

We build houses.  We build skyscrapers.  We build cars and trains and buses.  We build computers.  We build countless different things in our country.  What do they all have in common?  They have FOUNDATION.  They have a structure that has to be in place before the other stuff can be added.  Health and our lives are no different.  We simply cannot have healthy lives or bodies without having some foundational support first.  Without going into too much detail, what are these foundations?  Let’s take a quick look.

ENVIRONMENT:  This is step number one.  Make sure your living environment and workspace are good.  Clean air, low stress, good lighting, etc.  Hectic, stuffy environments just will not work long-term.  Taking in fresh air, clean water, sunlight, and grounding are great foundations.  These are the basics.  

NUTRITION:  We have physical bodies guys.  We simply need good nutrition for our bodies to perform optimally.  This is like having the right parts and tools to build your house.  The directions may be great, but if the materials are not there it just doesn’t work.  Different people have slightly different “parts required.”  This may be akin to different genetics, and why people tend to do best on different diets.  Focusing on super-foods and fresh local food is best.  Fruits, vegetables, organic animal products are great.  Let your body guide you.  Cutting out the junk, as always, is a good step as well.

GOD/SOURCE:  This is a super-deep topic that is beyond the scope of this post.  Ultimately, you need to personally figure out who or what GOD means to you.  Is he a good guy?  Is he a bad guy with a whip?  Does he owe you something?  Are you thankful for him in your life?  Your view of God is HUGE in your personal life.  This may be one of the most important foundational principles to work on.

FAMILY:  Family is big as well.  Having healthy family relationships is paramount to a healthy life.  When we are running around with conflicted relationships, unresolved issues, and unspoken resentments; things don’t tend to work out too well.  Focusing on fixing these damaged or broken relationships is challenging work.  However, working on family issues is critical if you want to have solid foundations.

MOVEMENT:  Life is movement guys.  We were born to move.  Not to sit at desks all day.  We don’t need much.  Anything helps.  Light cardio, jogging, biking, swimming, kayaking, mini trampoline, strength training, hiking, walking, bodyweight stuff, whatever.  Anything you will stick to is great.

SLEEP/R&R:  Sleep is where we recover.  It is where we integrate our day.  Dreaming is where our unconscious mind comes out to play.  Are you sleeping enough?  Are you relaxing enough?  Sometimes we are relaxed but don’t get enough sleep.  Sometimes we get enough sleep but we can’t relax.  Both are foundational to health and healing.

Those are the big ones guys.  Everything else comes on top of these.  Let’s fix the foundations and build from the ground up.

-JOE

BALANCE Series: THE BRAIN

Brain Hemispheres

Short series guys.  Life and health are all about balance.  Want to see where you need improvement?  Look at where you are out of balance.  Maybe it is in fitness. Maybe its in fun or love.  Whatever it is; it is usually about coming into balance.  So let’s take a look at a major piece of this puzzle here.  THE BRAIN.

Do we use our brains anymore?  We have a lot of technology that does some of the jobs we used to do.  We have GPS for the car instead of using maps.  We have sophisticated calculators and computer programs doing our math.  We use specialists instead of doing things for ourselves.  This is just for the left brain.  For the right brain, we are out of touch.  Often we don’t know how we are feeling, what we are passionate about, or how to interpret signs from the world around us.  It seems that a lot of us end up on autopilot.  Do I blame us?  Not at all.  This is just the way our modern world has evolved.  The brain however, suffers.  It suffers because it was designed to be used.  Like most muscles, when they are not used they start to atrophy.  They start to decline.  More and more studies are coming out discussing the problems we are having with the brain and what we can do to improve them.  Let’s take a quick look at 5 big factors that affect your brain.

FUEL:  Our brain needs fuel like anything else.  It is actually a pretty greedy organ.  The more we use our brains, the more fuel we need.  For most of us this often comes in the form of fears, worries, and over-analyzing the world around us.  What fuel do we need?  Dozens of vitamins and minerals, fresh air, clean water, protein and good fat.  Fresh fruits and veggies.  GOOD Fat is great fuel for the brain.  Things like avocados, olives, coconut oil, raw or lightly cooked egg yolks, bone marrow, raw butter, etc. Especially helpful are omega-3 in things such as cod liver oil, fatty fish, sardines, etc.  Amino acids from quality protein is also essential.  Eating junk will CLOG the brain over time.

CIRCULATION:  This is huge as well.  Our brain clogs up just like everything else. Exercise is critical to mental function.  What type of exercise?  Well there are several kinds of exercise that may help improve cognitive functioning.  Cardiovascular exercise is great.  This helps pump blood throughout your entire body.  CHIROPRACTIC and massage are excellent tools as well.  Your nervous system likes to BREATHE!  Let’s make sure all the wiring is fixed up.  Correcting pathways into and out of your brain is essential.  Most of us have poor posture, stiff necks, bad backs, and muscular tension.  Do we think this affects the way our brain functions? This negatively affects our the way our nervous system functions.  A good chiropractor can be invaluable in correcting these problems.  Another type of circulation is deep breathing fresh air.  Yet another is hot/cold therapies.  This is a topic in itself.  Basically you are relying on the bodies need for homeostasis and using it to your advantage.  When we take a hot shower and finish cold (especially over areas of stagnation), we dramatically pump the body to adapt to the rapid temperature change.  This breaks through blockages in the brain and body.

SLEEP:  This one is a “no brainer.”  Sleep is when our bodies repair.  Going to bed at a reasonable time and getting at least 6-9 hours of sleep daily are critical.  If sleeping is hard to accomplish, look at your nighttime routine.  Are you on the computer soaking up blue light disrupting your natural hormones?  Are you arguing or having stimulating conversation?  Maybe you have some emotional stuff you need to deal with.  Whatever it is; figure it out.  Sleep is critical for repairing and building brain function.  We can all attest to our thinking abilities after a few nights without much sleep.

USE IT LEFT:  Use it left guys.  We have two hemispheres of our brains.  They both need some work.  It isn’t too hard to figure out which side needs the most help.  The left brain is used primarily for tasks related to math and science.  This is where our logic, probabilities, calculus, statistics, and rationality come from.  When we lack on this side we have a hard time doing math, keeping up with finances, and generally have a distaste for stimulating math or science based conversation.  What is the answer?  DO SOME!  It doesn’t have to be much.  Pick up a book or two on a tough subject.  Maybe a little quantum physics?  Maybe an old math book.  There are plenty of puzzle books out there that are extremely challenging.  The key here is CHALLENGING.  It is supposed to be hard.  It is supposed to be stimulating.  If it makes your brain “hurt,” good.  After time what happens to muscles?  They get stronger.  Smarter in this case.

USE IT RIGHT:  The right side often gets a bad name in our culture.  Touchy, feely, emotional, intuitive.  These are some words that come to mind.  A lot of us are brought up not to use this side much at all.  Does it get us into trouble?  You bet it does.  A lot of us grow up suppressing who we are, what we are feeling, and where we want to go in life.  This translates into an unbalanced brain and being generally disconnected from what is REALLY going on in our lives.  This side is a little harder to work with when it has been neglected for a while.  Reading and thinking are not the specialties here.  FEELING is what this side is about.  This ties into the heart as well.  We have senses that some of us rarely use.  These involve energetically sensing what is going on in our environment, with our loved ones, and within ourselves.  INTEGRITY is the key here.  Own your emotions.  Listen to your “gut.”  This is a tool that needs to be worked on to evolve as well.  Any kind of ART or MUSIC are great for the right brain.  

There are several other factors that affect brain health.  These are some of the big ones.  Take a few minutes and figure out which categories you are deficient in.  Create a game plan to help create a “balanced brain.”  I believe learning a foreign language is one of the best ways to improve brain functioning.  Especially a language that contains characters or symbols such as Mandarin Chinese.  Hope you guys enjoyed.  The next in the series will be on the chakras.

-Joe

“Dis-eases” Versus Health Challenges

 

 

Natures

 

 

 

You have a disease.  You have an illness.  Or rather IT has YOU.  A “dis-ease” usually comes in the form of bugs, problems with organs, cancers, diabetes, high blood pressure, on and on.  Getting diagnosed here makes it seem that there is no hope.  You have been labeled.  What options do you possibly have?  Maybe a new way of looking at the problem?

 

What is a “dis-ease?”  First off, I’m no doctor here.  But it would appear that a dis-ease is usually nothing more than a health condition that is affecting your body at any given time.  Your “diabetes” is not the same as someone else’s.  We get very stuck with these diagnoses.  Once we agree to the label we agree to the outcome.  This may mean a lifetime on medications, surgeries, etc.  Why do we do this?  Usually because we fail to realize that most of these are caused by our own actions.  We have given our responsibility and power away.  Do we simply have no power over this stuff or do we have a choice?

 

I say we all have a choice.  We all can choose whether to see ourselves with “health-challenges” instead of “dis-eases.”  This creates a picture that looks workable.  We can work with our bodies instead of aiming on fighting disease.  By focusing on lifestyle strategies and root causes we can aid the body in overcoming any health challenge.  Believing that you have the power to do that is probably most of the battle.  So let’s stop fighting dis-ease and start building health.  Let’s choose to view ourselves as people with health-challenges and not people with “diseases.”  Remember, a disease has YOU but YOU have health challenges.  Let’s take that responsibility back and accept the predicament so we can start doing something about it =)

 

Food Files: Liver

Gently panfried slice of Berkshire pig's liver...

Liver you say huh?

I know it is not as pretty as some of the other foods out there.  It isn’t as bright, as sweet, or as appetizing all the time.

However, liver is one of the foods that most of us miss out on.  When it comes to nutrition, liver is a superstar.  It contains basically all of the B-vitamins in large quantities.  The all-important vitamins B12 and A are available in extremely high amounts.  As these are two vitamins that are very commonly deficient in the American diet, this is a great supplement to add in.

Cost?  Grass-fed organic liver is one of the cheapest cuts of meat you can buy.  That is, until everyone catches on to how powerful it is.  Organ meats in general have been an important part of almost all historical cultures.  They knew the potent nutritional properties to it.  Just eating some liver a few times a week will blast deficiencies of B12, iron, vitamin A, B vitamins,etc.  It  also works wonders to heal….wait for it…our livers.  This is very important in our society.  Most of us have muddied up livers and gall bladders from years of abuse with things like fried foods, pasteurized dairy products, sugars, gluten, and processed foods.

How do you eat it?  I do understand that this is not something you really want to just pick up and munch on like say, an apple or a juicy avocado.  So what do we do with it?  Let’s start on how to acquire it in the first place.

Find a local farmer that produces free-range grass fred beef products.  Make sure they use no hormones, antibiotics, or GMO crops in their feed rotations.  Purchase some liver from these sources.  Freeze the liver for up to 14 days to kill off any parasites or bugs that may be hiding.

After thawing, you may pretty much do whatever you want with it.  The classic “liver and onions” is a very good dish.  Lightly cooked liver and sautéed onions in maybe some raw butter is very good.  A little garlic also does wonders.  You may mix in liver with hamburgers on the grill.

For the truly brave, you may eat the liver raw.  This is the most potent way to enjoy liver.  Always make sure it is from a good source that you trust.  One way to get past the taste is to mix it in a Nutribullet or similar blender with things such as tomatoes, cucumbers and garlic.

All in all, liver is a superfood that doesn’t quite get the credit it deserves.  Let’s start giving this nutritional powerhouse a place on our menu.

-Joe

Benefits of Napping.

Is he really writing about how amazing naps are?  I thought that was a given.  Well of course everybody really loves a good nap, but some of us forget that we “have time.”  Maybe we have too much to do and no time to do it.  Maybe our job prevents us from accomplishing this.  I agree that our society isn’t exactly set up for nap-time…yet.  I keep reading more studies about big corporations having paid nap time during work.  They are realizing that the productivity of their employees actually goes up when  they take time off for naps.  Almost as if it gives them a second wind.  So ask take a few z’s at break time.

So let’s define a “nap.”  To me a nap is a rest period during the day.  This could be a “cat-nap” of 10 minutes to a full-scale 2 hour zonked out sleep-time.  There is something about daytime sleep that feels so regenerative.  Is there a proper way to nap?  I think any way is great, but there are a few tips of maximizing your energetic gains from a nap.

1. Nap outside if possible.  If the weather is nice, if the sun is out, if it’s not cold and wet, then try napping outside.  If there is sun, get it on your skin.  Breathe fresh-air.  Ground your feet.  You now have no less than 3 energetic inputs pumping into you while you are asleep.

2. Let yourself mentally let-go for the duration of your nap.  Part of the benefits here mean taking a break, or RELAXING.  So don’t be thinking about what you have to do after you wake up or what is going on in your relationship.  Just drop it all.  If it helps the fears, tell yourself you can pick back up all of your worries and problems after nap-time. =)

3. Use naps as a gauge for how tired you really are.  If you are scared to fall asleep because you know you will be out for hours that may be telling you something.  If you have great energy and feel powered through the day and just want a 10 minute siesta then that is great too.  Listen to your body.  It will let you know.

4. Don’t be afraid of the “non-nap.”  This is literally a 5-10 minute rest period.  Instructions:  Let go of all worries and stress, lay down for 5-10 minutes.  Take a few deep breaths.  It is amazing how much this little period will rejuvenate you.

5. If late napping is interfering with your sleep, then do it earlier.  Perfect napping times will differ for people but usually anywhere between 11 am and 4 pm are good times.

So in all, naps are great.  They are a very useful healing tool.  Use them to rest, repair, relax, and gauge how you are feeling.  I don’t think there are any downsides to napping (unless done really late in the day).  So kick off your shoes, lay out in the sun, on the couch, in your bed, and take a nap.

-Joe

Facing the Music

 

 

A grand piano with music

 

You just got a divorce.  You are 100 pounds overweight and just diagnosed with diabetes or heart disease.  The country and economy are in horrible shape.  A friendship fails.  There is a death in the family.  You got abused.  You come down with a life threatening illness.  Your business fails.  You are in serious financial debt.  These are all terrible circumstances that happen to people every day.  Unfortunately, some of this is just the nature of life.  Some of it is created by us, some of it not.  These are harsh realities in life, but they are a part of life.  The interesting thing is that you don’t really hear about this stuff all too often.  You know that it happens, you see the news, you see the statistics.  But most people seem very private about their lives.  Many of us are so afraid of these circumstances that we do not come to terms and accept them for what they are.  We are taught to avoid pain and to not face up to it.  In my view, this is not a good way to live our lives.  You need to accept what the problem is before you can start working on a solution.  We are falling more and more into debt and disillusion in this country but we don’t seem to want to look at why.  We get a divorce and don’t want to accept the realities and just try the best we can to move forward with our lives.  Maybe a daughter gets abused by her father.  This is painful stuff, but at some point we need to “face the music.”  This is not an easy task, but i fully believe that in order to really solve the problem and better your life, you need to come to terms with things just as they are.  This does not mean liking them.  This does not mean wanting them to keep happening.  It just means taking a good hard look at them for what they are and NOT running or distracting yourself.  Develop a spiritual practice, get some counseling, talk with friends, keep a journal, whatever helps you to look at things how they are.  Once we look at things with truth we can start to develop plans to change things.  How many times have you heard sad stories?  This person never was the same after that abuse, divorce, illness, etc.  This does not have to be the case.  The problem is that we truly need to DEAL WITH our issues if we want to move past them.  Otherwise, you are not really living your life, you are living in the past.  As long as your past is unresolved, it will always haunt you because it wants to be resolved!  We can run and fight and kick and scream the whole way, but you can’t outrun your problems.  In the end, they are with you.  They are part of you.  You cannot run away from yourself no matter how fast or far you go.  This is not an easy process, especially in a country that teaches us to always keep the illusion of a happy life at all times.  Its not easy for people to be vulnerable because they don’t think that they can.  I believe this country was founded on taking a stand on the hard issues.  These were the ones we went directly towards because we knew they were the ones that really made a difference in peoples lives.  So many people are out of touch with who they are emotionally and spiritually.  We often live robotically on the physical plane.  A lot of us have gotten programmed to think that what is in your heart, gut, and spirit are not important.  These are the MOST important.  We will never be happy, healthy, sane, or at peace without caring for these parts of ourselves.  So when something bad happens, or there is some situation that seems overwhelming, don’t attempt to run or hide from it, or put it aside for “tomorrow” or “next week.”  Obviously the idea is not to overwhelm yourself. Remember the story of the Turtle and the Rabbit.  Going slow and steady will get the job done.  You will find that dealing with your issues causes you to live a lot more appreciative, conscious life.  You will also find that not dealing with things will lead to confusion, numbness, and a general depressed attitude towards life.  So my advice to you is to Face The Music!

 

-Joe