A funny thing happened recently: a few months ago, while looking for inspiring content for the lectures I give at Wellspring (Cancer Support Centre, Sunnybrook Hospital, Toronto), I came across a series of sermons by an evangelistic pastor named Joel Osteen. Now, at first glance, Joel Osteen is a little over-the-top! My partner and I had a little chuckle over the extravegant performance given to some 40 000 individuals who made up the congregation. Without listening to anything beyond the first 30 seconds, I stopped the video and resumed my search for "better" content.
Fast forward to last week: after having a heartfelt conversation with a beautiful, spiritual friend of mine, she sent me an email stating "it is at the other extreme of spirituality, but well worth a listen". Attached to the email was a link to Joel Osteen's "Knowing What to Ignore" video! Who knew that I was destined to listen to this guy?!
I think that it is good to remember that appropriate, spiritual messages come in all shapes and sizes and from a variety of sources. It is not our role to judge the source of the wisdom but to accept the wisdom itself and use it to find our own path to our spiritual growth and destiny.
In Joel Osteen's video, he discusses the things (situations, people, etc) in life that try to pull us away from our potential: the critical co-worker that minimizes your efforts, the disgruntled ex who finds power in spreading negative gossip, the acquaintance who is continually "one-upping", the family member who never quite accepts us for who we are. I could go on of course, but you get the idea! What is truly important to realize is that the energy wasted on situations and people who do not support your growth, is energy that could be directed towards you reaching your potential. This is where the ignoring piece comes in: the more we can "ignore" negative situations that drain our energy, the more energy is left for our own happiness!
Joel Osteen has more to say along the same lines. Watch the video: if you can get past traditional Christian speak and simply listen to the overall message, it is excellent! My friend was right, it is certainly at the other extreme of spirituality, but well, well worth a listen!
Monday, February 18, 2013
It's -20 degrees Celsius. The bike ride I had intended for today went down with the temperature! In its place, I set my sights on a hardy vegan meal to keep us all warm. Here's the recipe for a yummy, healthy, vegan meatloaf!
Note: this recipe makes 2 loaves. In the picture, one is lined with parchment paper and one is lined with aluminum foil. Typically, I like to use parchment paper simply because aluminum foil has aluminum in it! However, it is a holiday, none of the stores are open and, before you, in this photo, is my last little piece of parchment paper!
1 cup organic dried green lentils
3 cups vegetable stock or broth (I use the organic vegetarian bouillon cubes)
1 large onion
1 large organic carrot
1 organic yellow or orange bell pepper
2-3 tbsp olive oil
2-4 tsp minced garlic
1 cup ground white chia seed or 1/2 cup of chia seed, not ground (this is an excellent breadcrumb replacement).
3/4 cup blanched almonds
3 tbsp ground flax mixed with 1/2 cup water (as an egg replacement for binding)
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp oregano
3/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
Sauce for top of loaf (added before baking)
2-3 tbsp organic tomato sauce
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Simmer the dried lentils and broth for about 30-45 minutes or until the lentils are tender and have absorbed broth.
Chop onion and bell pepper. Peel and grate the carrot. Saute the onion and bell pepper in olive oil over medium high heat for 6 minutes, or until tender (do not brown the onion and pepper). Add the garlic and carrot and cook for about another 4-6 minutes. Add the blanched almonds to the onion/carrot/garlic mixture on the stove and stir well.
Add the oregano, salt and pepper and take the mixture off the stove and transfer to a large bowl.
Use a coffee grinder and grind 1 1/2 tbsp of flax seeds (this will make 3 tbsp of ground flax). Add the ground flax to 1/2 cup water. Let thicken.
Grind 1/2 cup of white chia seed in the coffee grinder (this will produce approximately 1 cup of ground chia seed as a replacement for bread crumbs).
Add the ground chia, flax/water (egg substitute) and cooked lentils to the vegetable combination and toss well. Line loaf pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Be sure the foil or paper lines the pan so the paper is over the sides of the pan - this makes it easy to lift the loaf out of the pan. Press mixture into the lined loaf pan. Set aside while you make the topping.
In another small bowl combine the organic tomato sauce, maple syrup and balsamic. Spread on top of loaf. Bake for 40 minutes. Let cool for 5-10 minutes covered with a tea towel before serving. Cut into slices and plate.
Keep warm and enjoy your Family Day everyone ...
Saturday, February 2, 2013
There is no more gratifying complement than to receive a referral or be voted the best practitioner by your community!
This blog entry comes with heartfelt thanks and exceptional gratitude for the recognition that I have received in Markham as "best" naturopathic doctor and "best" homeopath. Thank you so much to my patients who have taken the time to not only vote but, more importantly, who have committed the time, energy and perseverence to their own process of natural healing and have carried the process out to experience results.
I always say that my patients are the ones who do the REAL work: I am simply a facilitator on the journey. And how blessed I am to work with such amazing and wonderful individuals on a day-to-day basis.
With many thanks,
Gail Sauer ND
Monday, January 21, 2013
"Horseshoe got a big dump of powder last night!"
Sometimes we get a call-to-action, a message that moves us to embrace an adventure, an intervention of communication that justifies stepping away from our norm and into a exciting journey of originality.
Skiing called, I went.
It was in the adventure of -12C, gliding through cold, cotton-covered branches that I found "the Now". Everything disappeared into the beauty of my surroundings. I was in harmony with what was: the silence of the snow, the soar of the falcons above, the whispers of the trees.
Eckhart Tolle (and other such enlightened souls) speak about our tendency to complicate the Now (or life) with our "life situation", or those stresses of the past and the future. Tolle advises us to narrow our lives down to the current moment, for it is in the moment that the past and potential future grievances do not exist. When we come into the Now, we allow ourselves to find the joy of our lives, separate from the drama that we perceive.
It is not always easy to find the Now in the business of life. Spontaneous adventures that take us out of our usual environment can provide us with the separation we need to see and feel the Now. Allowing ourselves the experience of the Now aids us in realizing that the joy, ease and lightness of the Now is available to us in every moment of our lives. However, spontaneous adventures are a good place to start!
For more information on Eckhart Tolle and "The Power of Now", visit Eckhart Tolle's website
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
I make an effort to live a life of peace. I make an effort to eat well, to give myself time, to find joy, to feel love. I make an effort to be in harmony in all aspects of my life. But, on occasion, something will happen that drives me into a state of passionate rage. Inside me, it feels like an unyielding ocean storm liberating a wave of devastation.
From time to time, we all feel anger. Anger is human. From time to time, we all blame others for our anger. Blame is also human. In an effort to resolve anger in a healthy way, we need to suspend both the anger and blame, and .. from time to time .. we all need to take a good, hard look in the mirror.
Anger towards another human being or situation is an excellent opportunity to take a step back and see what it is about the situation or other person that you are not willing to accept within yourself. People and situations that evoke a volatile emotional response are simply mirrors for us to see our own unloved parts: places of shame, resentment, judgement. Often our resentment and dislike towards others reflects our resentment and dislike towards ourselves.
I've been looking in the mirror lately, and it is not a pretty sight.
In finding peace with anger, first we need to welcome the anger as a teacher. Second, evaluate what it is about ourselves we are angry with or not accepting. Third, let go of our anger and work on coming into a place of love for self. Once that happens, acceptance of the other person or situation will necessarily flow.
I leave you with this Rumi wisdom:
This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor.
Wecome and entertain them all! ....
The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughting and invite them in.
be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.
Thursday, November 8, 2012
After asking him whether he was wearing lipstick or not, my cycling-crazed, mountain climbing friend Steve, responded, "Noooo, it's my newest thing: beetroot juice to improve my time on the bike"!
You see, Steve tries everything he can to have an advantage over me up the mountain and has a distinct habit of taking complete advantage of my naivety. So, despite the fact that, as a naturopath, I've been drinking beet juice and eating beets for years, there was a cynical part of me that imagined Steve feeding me pints of liquid beet and laughing all the way up the mountain, as I suffered on the side of the road from beet-induced (red) .. shall we say .. digestive distress!
Beetroot juice for athletic performance, Yay or Nay? This is how it works: beetroot has high levels of nitrate (NO3). When ingested, NO3 reduces to NO2 (nitric oxide) and can decrease the need for (inhaled) oxygen for muscle contraction and efficiency. Because there is an increase in oxygen in the blood as a result of the reduction of NO3 to NO2, muscles are necessarily supplied with more oxygen, thus reducing the perceived, necessary amount of inhaled oxygen for optimal muscle efficiency. In essence, when tested on rats, the rats that received a dose of beetroot juice before exercise had improved blood flow and increased O2 delivery to fast twitch, type-II muscle.
Studies were conducted initially out of the Netherlands and have been repeated since with varying results: some favourable, some inconclusive.
Regardless of improving muscle efficiency and performance, we should all be eating beets anyway: they are an excellent source of antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, including B's, and minerals including iron, potassium, magnesium, copper and manganese. In addition, beets contain glycine betaine which lowers homocysteine levels in the blood. High homocysteine levels are associated to increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
Eat the green tops to maintain vision, which is high in vitamin A!
Cooking is easy: the roots can simply be baked in foil in the oven. After baking, you can remove the tough, outer skin before eating (I don't bother)!
The greens can be steamed and eaten as a side, put in soup, or lightly sautéed as a salad topper.
Whenever possible, try to buy organic!
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
I first saw the "sexy" video of Michelle Jenneke a few days ago when I was between patients at work. Sometimes I click on random "Yahoo News" videos to pass the five minutes of waiting: one of my guilty pleasures! Conscious of the other practitioners and patients at the clinic, I turned the volume off before I played the video. At first glance, I observed a beautiful, spirited 19 year old girl, warming up for her race. What was striking to me about the video was, not only how stunning a woman Michelle Jenneke is, but also how much she smiled while she was both warming up and coming to the end of her race: the smile was plastered from cheek to cheek before she reached the finish line! In addition to her absolute and obvious joy in the experience of her sport, I noticed her complete focus and strength throughout the entire 100 metres of hurtles. It is refreshing to see a woman so talented, so focused, so committed to training and competing and so blatantly blissful in the experience of racing. With all of these positive things to focus on about Michelle Jenneke's performance, I find it interesting that she is being celebrated for solely the sexiness of her warm up.
In the many articles depicting the particular roles and talents of the various riders in the Tour de France 2012, I've seen glorious pictures of beautiful male cyclists moving through picturesque French landscapes. Interestingly and surprisingly though, I have not seen any photos of Bradly Wiggins (the winner of the 2012 TDF ) with captions referencing how sexy he looks in his yellow jersey and bib shorts. Perhaps this is because Mr. Wiggins looks more goofy than sexy - but THAT is beside the point!
As female sport has become popularized, I have noticed more focus on the sexiness of the athletes than the grandeur of their accomplishments. Although this disappoints me to some extent, the silver lining comes with the recognition of females in sport. Part of being a woman is being beautiful. If this fact leads to more women in sport obtaining media exposure, I suppose it is a start. Perhaps this will lead to the eventual appreciation of their talents opposed to just their appearances.
**To fully appreciate Michelle Jenneke's hurdle performance, I would suggest turning your computer's volume off!**