Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Good, Hard Look in the Mirror

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

Can't Be "Beet"!

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!