Sunday, November 03, 2019

Stop Your World for a While With Mindful Meditation. A Review.

Are you feeling that your brain is in overload? Finding it difficult to relax? Tossing and turning at night, thoughts crowding your head? This was me.

It felt as if had been a long time since I had totally relaxed and had sound sleep. I had tried all the recommended ways of gettting to sleep - a warm, milky drink, turning off tv and technology an hour before bedtime, keeping my bedroom at a comfortable temperature. Nothing worked. I resorted to over-the-counter sleeping pills on nights when I was feeling desperate. But they made me feel quite groggy in the morning and are not a good long-term solution. The more tired I was, the more I became stressed and bad at decision-making. Was my brain showing signs of ageing? I am about to have my seventy-second birthday.Something had to be done. So I have been trying mindful meditation.

Meditation takes practice and perseverance. Initially, I found it difficult to release tension from my muscles and quieten my brain. . I needed some guidance so I checked out a few uTube channels. I've had a few sessions with Michael Sealey self-hypnosis and with relaxing sounds for bedtime. I particularly like the Mindful Movement guides and for three weeks have been practicing with them for around twenty minutes every morning and at bedtime. Repetition is the way to improvement. I'm getting there. My sleep is definitely improving, evidenced by my Fitbit readings, and I am more motivated and focused on what I want to achieve during my days.

If you are feeling the need to step back from the turmoil of daily life, smell the roses, I suggest you try mindful meditation for a couple of weeks. I found it as restful as a short holiday once I got into a routine. Let me know how you get on.

P.S. Another good focus for mindful thoughts is the didactic poem,Desiderata.
 (The link takes you to my Owlcation article about the poem).

An English Garden in June. Images From Sissinghurst Garden, Kent

I visited this wonderful,world famous, garden with Winthorpe Gardening Club in June 2019. The garden was created by the writer Vita Sackville-West and her husband Harold Nicholson.  During the wet winter months, it's a reminder of a beautiful summer day in England.

Open the video and then click lower right to enlarge to full page.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

The Game Changers Documentary About the Benefits of a Plant Based Diet

Hello and welcome!

I haven't posted on this site for a while - been totally preoccupied with Brexit and sharing my opinions about it on Twitter  (as if anyone cares what I think. But it made me feel better). But I have joined the ranks of the deeply frustrated about our government and have given up tweeting about it.

I watched a documentary about diet yesterday evening and  found it so interesting that I want to share with you. The film was recommended by my super-fit son (who took part in a 24-hour cycle race around Ben Nevis last weekend). He has been persuaded by the documentary to try to improve his diet, as have I.

The documentary is The Game Changers and it's available on Netflix. To summarize - it covers how  both health and athletic performance can be improved by eating a plant based diet and avoiding meat. Executive producers of the film include Lewis Hamilton, Jackie Chan and Arnold Schwarzenegger (who knew that they are vegetarians!).  The film includes interviews with Olympians, American footballers and firemen  -among others - all of whose health has improved on the plant-based food regime. The fundamental rationale is that animals act as a middleman between us and plants. The animals eat the plants - we eat the animals. Why not avoid the middleman and get straight to the plants? Plants have, it has been proved, more than enough protein to satisfy the requirements of the human body.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Yummy Spiced Fruit Loaf Recipe

Hello, and Happy Sunday!

I have been baking. Not a frequent pastime these days as the end products are too tempting for one determined to lose weight. But the man about the house takes a packed lunch to work every day and needs plenty of calories to sustain him during a long physically demanding day (or so he tells me).  Often he takes a few breakfast biscuits for snacking but I've decided that they contain too many chemicals (and can be rather expensive). Which is why this light spiced fruit loaf is now resting on my worktop.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Four Cheap and Healthy Student Meals With Beef Mince Base

I think that this recipe is ideal for young people living away from home for the first time and just learning to cook on a budget. It's cheaper, healthier, and possibly quicker, than popping out to buy a takeaway meal.  No need to buy larger quantities of vegetables than are needed - baking potatoes, carrots, and onions can all be purchased as single items from the veg counter in many supermarkets, from market stalls, or from greengrocers shops.

Once the basic recipe has been prepared any leftovers can be refrigerated for a couple of days. Here's how to ring the changes with  400g of minced beef to make four meal's.

The first meal feeds two people (for those hoping to find a way to somebody’s heart via the stomach) and the remaining mixture makes two single meals.  You could add more vegetables, if desired, to make the mince stretch further.

Day I - a variation of spaghetti bolognaise - 

  • Make the traditional Italian Holy Trinity by dicing onion, celery and carrots in the proportions 2:1.1 (One onion is sufficient for 400 g mince) Note - cooks who are short of time or enthusiasm for chopping can buy this mixture in some supermarkets. It's in a pack labelled 'Sofritto'.