Monthly Archives

May 2015

Body & Mind

Vegetarianism for your Health and the Environment

May 31, 2015

When it comes to meat, most of us are aware of the cruel factory farm conditions that our livestock is being raised in. It’s easy to turn the other cheek and put those horrific images out of your head when you bite in to a delicious Big Mac— but the cruel reality of raising meat doesn’t stop at the farm. The harm that meat production has on our bodies and our environment is becoming more and more evident, and perhaps considering vegetarianism (or even reducing your weekly consumption of meat) sounds like an appealing— AND EASY— way to give back to your body and the environment.

Vegetarianism for health and environment

For Your Health

Eating red meat is strongly tied to cancer. When meat is cooked, carcinogens can form on the surface of the meat. Carcinogens increase risk of DNA damage in our cells, causing the uncontrolled division of cells which causes cancer. Processed meats (salami, hot dogs, bologna) usually contain nitrosamines which are all carcinogens. Eating an alkaline diet (mostly vegetables) has been strongly linked to preventing and even fighting cancer… which means no meat.

When studies were released that saturated fats in red meats lead to higher blood levels of artery-damaging cholesterol and subsequent heart disease, many people were prompted to eat leaner meats and more skinless poultry and fish. This led to a nationwide reduction in coronary death rates with a drop in average serum cholesterol levels. Eating red and processed meat is also associated with elevated blood pressure.

About 80% of antibiotics sold in America are used on livestock, and those antibiotics get passed down to us. The stomachs of cattle aren’t made to digest grain— but feeding them grain versus grass means that they’ll gain weight more quickly. This causes numerous health problems, thus the administration of antibiotics is routine. The really crappy thing is that the FDA hardly regulates the antibiotics used on livestock, so we don’t really know how detrimental the effects are, even on humans. This lack of regulation also keeps us from having any idea how wide spread antibiotic-resistant bacteria are in our supermarkets.

hamburger

For the Environment

Meat has makes more of an environmental impact than any other food we eat because livestock require much more water, food, land, and energy to raise and transport than plants. The global livestock industry also uses dwindling supplies of freshwater, destroys forests and grasslands, and causes soil erosion, while fertilizer runoff and animal waste create deadzones in coastal areas and smother coral reefs. Researchers at the University of Chicago concluded that switching to a vegetarian diet is more effective than switching from a standard car to a hybrid.

Raising animals requires butt-loads more water than growing plant products of equal nutrition. The biggest contribution to the total water footprint of all animal products comes from growing their feed. 68% of the grains produced in the U.S. are used for animal feed. Most livestock aren’t raised near their food source, which is usually grown in places without an abundance of water, ultimately depleting the global amount of potable water. When we eat a measly quarter-pound hamburger, we’ve just taken over 52 gallons of water from the Middle East.

Even though manure has huge environmental benefits when deposited responsibly, it is currently poorly managed in livestock operations and causes severe water contamination. Livestock grazing has negatively affected countless streams and riparian habitats, resulting in increased phosphates and nitrates, decreased dissolved oxygen, increased temperature, and reduced species diversity. Waste release from pork farms has been shown to cause large-scale eutrophication of large bodies of water in the U.S., including the Mississippi River and Atlantic Ocean. Eutrophication is when nutrients in water increases rapidly, causing an overgrowth of algae, depleting the water of oxygen, and causing the death of other organisms, such as fish.

Then there’s farting. Livestock produce 28% of global methane emissions from human-related activities, which is a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to global climate change.

Make Your Impact

If you aren’t quite ready or your body doesn’t want to give up on meat all-together, perhaps just try to cut down!

Meatless Mondays

The Meatless Mondays movement is pretty inspiring, and spreading quickly. Making a come-back from WWI’s family meat moderation days, Meatless Mondays is helping spread awareness of the overconsumption of meat… and becoming a standard fare in corporate cafeterias, restaurants, schools, and home kitchens.

“If all Americans did not eat meat for one day a week, they would save 99.6 megatons of greenhouse gas emissions. This would be the equivalent of removing 46 million round trip flights between Los Angeles and New York, or taking 19.2 million cars off the road for a full year.” — Huffington Post (read more about equivalents here)

Buy Local

Another great way to make your impact on your health and the environment is buying your meat local— plus, it supports your local economy! Local livestock farmers are usually involved in their animals’ lives from birth to slaughter, as they graze free-range and eat small amounts of corn. A local butcher cuts and wraps the meat and the animal has traveled under a hundred miles to get into your freezer. That’s not much of an environmental footprint per quarter-pound. Plus, the animals are much less likely to need antibiotics, the meat isn’t injected with dye to make it a deep red color, and it’s not full of preservatives.

Body & Mind

Tools: Affirmation Flashcards

May 27, 2015

Altar and affirmations flashcards

The truth is that I never wanted to be the type of person who used affirmations. Hippies, woo-woos, positive people use affirmations: I didn’t want to be associated with them! Most of all, I just wanted to be grounded, successful, perfect and rad all on my own. When I first began hanging out with one of my best friends, Julian, what initially drew me towards him was that he had a calm, positive, supportive air about him. Without being fake, like many of the “calm”, “positive”, “supportive” people I’d been around. How was he so genuinely likable? What was his secret? Then it hit me — I asked, “Do you have, like, a list of affirmations or something?”

He did.  He’s posted it here.  It’s really long.

He was that type of person.  After reading over his list I looked at him and realized that he really seemed to embody every single one of those affirmations.  That day I began saying his list out loud during my commute to school in the mornings, spending about 30 seconds on each affirmation to allow myself to believe it.

Within 2 days my life had changed.  I woke up happy and energetic, I was more patient, I smiled at strangers, I talked to strangers, I formed genuine relationships with strangers. I was confident, I saw myself as equal to the world, and I felt like I was enough. Suddenly public speaking, social events, and older, “cooler” people stopped intimidating me.

Then I fell off the wagon, and I forgot about being enough.  Since Julian gave me his list of affirmations two years ago I have stopped and started saying the affirmations more times than I can count.  Each time I start again it only takes a day to recognize their positive effect.  Falling off the affirmation-wagon reminds me how powerful affirmations are, but it also shows me that I never return to the same place I was to begin with.  The act of practicing saying affirmations actually changes the patterns in which your brain operates, so you’ll never think the same again.

My practice

It’s nice to have Julian’s complete list on-hand from all over the world (as long as I have my phone or a computer), but after saying them hundreds of times now, I’ve deleted and added some, and modified how I use them.

I have a stack of tiny affirmation flashcards on my altar in my bedroom. I keep them in a bowl, and in the morning I go through each of them quickly, spending a few seconds reading each one. When I pick up one that I feel I really need time to truly believe, I place it face-up on my altar and continue through the stack. After I’ve run through all the cards in the bowl, I then turn to the ones laid out and spend about 30 seconds on each one, lining them up, and I leave those out for the day.  Before bed I return to my altar and go through my selected cards again and spend a few moments thinking about each one as I place it back in the bowl.  This act of review allows me to see how I’ve come to embody the words.

I AM Affirmations

These simple “I AM” affirmations are my favorite because I feel that they are the foundation to all other affirmations. For example, I can just cut to the chase by saying “I am committed” and that’s broad enough to mean a number of different things, depending on what I’m needing for the day.

What I also like about this specific list of I AM affirmations is that when I go through them, I don’t feel like I’m kidding myself. One time I tried out an “I am free of debt” affirmation, but it took a lot of work to try to convince myself that I was “free” from debt in one sense, when I wasn’t free from it in “all” senses. I find that “I am in sync with the infinite universe” works much better for me because it makes me feel like I can’t ever fuck up — thus, getting 20k in debt doesn’t bother me.

I AM affirmation flashcards download

I AM affirmation flashcards download

If you’d like to give these affirmation flashcards a shot for yourself, click the link below to download. I laminated mine before I chopped them up, which I found makes them easier to handle. With different definitions of success and infinite ways of thinking, this is only one method, one list. Maybe you don’t want them. Maybe you want to make your own. Maybe you just want to cut out 5 of them and trash the rest. I wont be offended, but I would love to hear about your experience if you choose to try them out!

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD

Style

Matchy Matchy Mama & Son

May 21, 2015

Sometimes I like to match my son…

wyatt&I-01

Wyatt

  • Cherokee striped onesie from target
  • Harem pants made by Mama
  • Argyle socks from Target

Mama

  • Forever21 color blocked dolman blouse
  • Forever21 high waisted trousers
  • Thrifted Merona Flats
  • Extreme cat eye sunglasses from Downtown LA Fashion District

wyatt&I2-01

Wyatt

  • Handmade tie dye onesie by family friend
  • Thrifted leggings
  • Color blocked socks from Target

Mama

  • Camisole from Ross
  • Vintage high waisted, early 1960’s, box pleated, wool, A-line skirt by Koret of California from antique store
  • Vintage beaded necklace from thrift store
  • Vintage straw-patent look 1960s hat by Marche from antique store
  • Thrifted Merona Flats

wyatt&I3-01

Wyatt

  • Skeleton onesie from Pop Killer
  • Carter’s Baby Boys’ Black Wayfarer Sunglasses
  • Socks from Target

Mama

  • Tank from Ross
  • Forever21 lace skirt
  • Gifted jersey braided belt from friend
  • Vintage beaded necklace from thrift store
  • Vintage clip on heirloom earrings from my Grandma
  • Off to the Laces Ballet Flats from Pinup Girl Clothing
  • Extreame cat eye sunglasses from Downtown LA Fashion District
Beauty Style

The Language of Rings

May 15, 2015

Ring PlacementOne of my friends wears thick, chunky rings on four of his fingers.  I’d once heard that in Japan each of the fingers represents different members in your family, and I wondered if he knew about that.  He didn’t, but he said that they each had a special, more abstract meaning for him.  I was jealous.  I wanted meaning!

So I started researching the meaning of rings, and treated myself to some retail therapy after a pretty emotionally exhausting/enlightening few weeks.  What I found was that the language of ring placement is fairly universal, kind of like mathematics.  In all cultures, the circle is a symbol of the all-encompassing eternity.  Rings simbolize unity and life.  In ancient cultures, rings were considered to bind the wearer with power and energy, bestowing protection on them.  Priests and shamans wear rings on their pointer fingers for spiritual guidance and leadership, and couples bind themselves together by placing them on their ring fingers.

Rings Meaning

I have bought six new rings this month, and made three— I’m a little obsessed.  It has become my morning ritual to decide who I am for the day, what I need spiritually, and I project my intentions.  Even if the rings are not harnessing extra energy from the universe, my mini-ceremony is in no doubt changing my life with the law of attraction.

Here’s what I found…

Fingers, Planets and the Yin & Yang

Your hands are essentially an energy map of consciousness, with each finger having a quality that it represents and stimulates.  Rings act as a filter, enhancing or decreasing our innate energetic characteristics.

The Two Hands

Based on the age-old art of Palmistry, your right and left hands hold distinct energies— the yin and the yang.   The passive hand holds the yin energy, the active hand holds the yang.  For right-handed people, the left is considered the passive hand, the active hand will be the right. With the left hand we receive energy, and with the right we give.

Placing a ring on the left hand aligns in to our bodies and our lives with the qualities associated with that particular finger.  When we place a ring on the right hand, that ring channels the giving/creating qualities associated with that particular finger.  The hands/energies are opposite for left-handed people.

The Thumb
The will, both personal and universal, and Self-assertion

Index Finger
Leadership, Executive Ability, Self-esteem, Power, Money, Spiritual/Religious Authority

Middle Finger
Responsibility, Universal & Human Law, Justice, Sense of Right & Wrong, Self-Analysis

Ring Finger
Love of Beauty, Creativity, Expression of Self, Relationship with Others

Pinky Finger
Intuition, Communication, Quick Intelligence

 

fingers ring meaning

The Greek Gods

Mercury (pinky finger)

Mercury was the messenger of the gods.  He symbolizes intellectual capacity, thought process, comprehension, and all intellectual activities in general.  He is the planet of communication and exchanges.

Sun (ring finger)

The Sun is a star of warmth, life, and light. He emphasizes courage, loyalty, nobleness and generosity, but also pride and self-centredness.  He represents the source of life itself, and therefore, creation and creativity.

Saturn (middle finger)

Saturn is a sign of ambition, maturity, wisdom and asceticism.  He is associated with the elderly, the wise, and all people who can help others overcome an ordeal such as priests, medical practitioners, etc.

Jupiter  (index finger)

Jupiter is associated with wealth, glory and honours, and he also is a success factor.  He symbolizes abundance, warmth, blossoming, good luck and self-confidence.

The Elements

varung mudraThe five elements of the body have a close relationship, with each finger representing a specific element.  The meanings of each finger in relation to the elements are key in understanding the power of Hindu/Buddhist mudras.  It is interesting to note the relationship between the planets (above) and the elements (below), and observe how the power of the mudras correlates with planetary descriptions.  For example, the Varun Mudra is the mudra for the higher mind, or mental clarity, to symbolize openness and fluid concentration.  It is formed with the thumb (universal will) and pinky (intuition).  What better way to find mental clarity than connecting your intuition to the universe?!  Mudras are effective through reflexology, as putting light pressure on specific areas on your hands triggers certain areas in the brain to activate.

Water (pinky finger)

Water characterizes change and represents the liquid state.

Earth (ring finger)

Earth represents the solid state of matter. It manifests stability, permanence and rigidity.

Ether (middle finger)

Ether is the subtlest of all elements, which is everywhere and touches everything.  It is a vessel in the mind which receives all impressions, and in the heart space accepts love.  Ether is receptivity and non-resistant to what is true.

Air (index finger)

Air is the gaseous form of matter, which is mobile and dynamic. It is a key element required for fire to burn. Air is existence without form.

Fire (thumb)

Fire has the power to transform the state of any substance: to transform solids into liquids or gas, and back again.  It is the universal force in nature that produces heat and radiates light. Fire removes doubt from the mother-substance of human heart and replaces it with joy.

With all of this laid out to enjoy and contemplate, our fundamental intuition is truly the best guide of all.  What matters most is what feels right to the ring wearer.

Additional Information on Rings & Hands

Body & Mind Productivity

Clearing Space & Expanding Time

May 11, 2015

expand space increase time

How to defy physics to create productive, supportive environments for getting shit done:

  • Create a quite space in the morning— a half hour.
  • Journal or write an email to a distant friend for 20 minutes, unload. Life events, mind, body, and soul.
  • Meditate for 2 minutes. Sit and listen to your body at that very moment: feel what it’s like to be. you. now.
  • If you think about Facebooking or watching Breaking Bad, pause and remind yourself of all the really cool things you could be doing instead.
  • Don’t listen to music in the car. Be with yourself and allow yourself to come up.
  • Clean up your desk, kitchen, work table, or bedroom. Create clarity.
  • Turn down invitations if you have something productive you’d rather do instead.
  • Give your full attention to your loved ones, and listen, absorb.
  • Mentally acknowledge 5 things your are grateful for before digging in to breakfast, lunch, dinner.
  • Be mindful with each bite you take.
  • Take a break between work/creation every 15 minutes to stretch and lengthen.
  • Make time for a 20 minute walk. No music. Open your senses.
  • Take a breath between actions.