Just chew

chewAwareness in action is what makes life tasteful. If we only cultivated this ability a bit more we would live our lives much happier and healthier. Awareness means to stay in the present, enjoy the moment in all its flavours. When awareness is lost we either worry about future or delve in the past. Or, we’re multitasking, like watching TV whilst eating.

What’s wrong with multitasking? It messes up with your concentration. Things are best done with, yes, full awareness, especially eating. What’s wrong about TV dinners is that the television takes priority. It takes priority from what should be one of the most important things in our lives. Instead, we have started considering eating as something secondary, something we can do whilst carrying out work by the computer, on the go, whilst driving.

The idea that food is a commodity of second order has had tremendous consequences on our health. Obesity, late onset diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and certain cancers are directly related to faulty eating habits. If we only sat down and ate with awareness we would experience a drastic drop in the occurrences of these conditions.

So why is it bad to concentrate on something else whilst eating? It is because our brains, when engaged in eating prevent us from sending food down without proper chewing. The process of chewing becomes much longer and this has amazing benefits in terms of digestion.

When our minds are on the TV screen the food is able to pass down to the stomach only after two bites. Incompletely chewed food is very hard to digest and causes bloating, gas, acidity and other digestive issues. But, if we chew properly the stomach and the enzymes in it are able to process the well-chewed bulk easily. Why? Because of the mechanical break down and mixing of saliva. Saliva has enzymes that are necessary to digest carbohydrates. Most digestive problems with bread and wheat products are due to not chewing properly and not mixing enough saliva in them. Gluten is a hard to digest protein and if it has been let to bypass the first phase of digestion i.e. chewing it becomes even harder, if not impossible to digest.

To prove I’m right about chewing and eating with awareness, try eating with your eyes closed. This way the brain is directed to survey the full eating process. You’ll notice that it is virtually impossible to send food down without it being well chewed. You will also notice that you eat less. Proper chewing makes you feel satisfied faster. Also, when the brain monitors how much volume and nutrients go down it will turn your appetite off when you’ve had enough. Even if you had the tastiest food on your plate you just don’t have the taste sensation anymore to enjoy it. Try this trick and see what the right consistency of the food should be and what is the ideal portion size for you.

Every process that starts well is easy. When the foundations are laid well you need less effort for the rest. So it is with digestion as well. If you chew properly you should be able to avoid overeating, make sure you absorb all the nutrients and eliminate the waste in a satisfying manner. Once this is happening you notice not only that you are physically healthier but also, you enjoy higher levels of concentration and awareness.

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Minestrone

minestroneI think the best winter warmer food is Minestrone. A simple traditional Italian soup with a selection of vegetables, beans and pasta is just the comfort you want after a cold day out, warming your cold bones. It is nourishing but still quite light, full of perfuming garden herbs that wake up the appetite and make the soup easy to digest. I shared it tonight with my friends and we just couldn’t stop humming with pleasure. There are many ways of making it. I prefer it without tomatoes, with clear broth and a nice sprinkle of parmesan cheese on top. Here’s my recipe:

3 tbsp olive oil

1 large onion

1 stalk of celery

2 carrots

3 big potatoes

1 can of beans (mixed, borlotti or cannellini)

1 cup of frozen peas

Handful of green beans

1 cup of small pasta

1 clove of garlic

1 stock cube

Pepper

Thyme

Sage

Parsley

Himalayan Rock Salt

Fry chopped onions and celery in olive oil, add all the rest of chopped vegetables, herbs and stock cube. Let boil until potatoes are soft. Add pasta, beans, crushed garlic, pepper and salt. Cook until pasta is al dente. Serve with a dash of olive oil and grated parmesan cheese.

Tip: if you know you’re cooking more than you’ll eat, you should cook the pasta separately. It will become soggy and lose being al dente if you leave it in the soup. If you freeze the soup only you can always cook some more pasta alongside with it.

 

6 dangerous toxins in your skin products

toxic_beauty_image_grande_grandeIt is the Organic Beauty week by Soil Association. We are proud to inform you that all the products we offer for beauty in our shop are as organic as you can get.

I will give you here a list of all the nasties our products don’t have. Each one of these is already a pretty mad thing to have in a product you put on your body. Think about having a variety of them in one product and you have a cocktail for…? I won’t say it but do keep away from this stuff.

Six dangerous toxins in your skin care products:

Propylene glycol is used as a skin sensitizer. It causes scaling, hives, burning, itching and blistering. It allows other chemicals to get further into the skin increasing the level of toxins found in the blood. Propylene glycol can be found in body washes, shampoos, hair sprays, toothpastes, baby lotions, colognes, shaving creams, and liquid hand soaps. It is toxic to the immune system.

Parabens are used to stop microbial growth and to extend the shelf life of the product. They will cause skin rashes, and other allergic reactions. They are extremely toxic and an immune system destroyer. Parabens are found in deodorants, perspirants and moisturizers. Paraben is known as methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, and ethylparaben.

Glycerin is found in numerous skin products, especially soaps. It is considered toxic orally in large doses. It can cause hemolysis, hemoglobinuria and renal failure. Glycerin is found in facial cleansers, conditioners, body soaps, hand soaps, bubble baths, bath oils, and after shaves.

Triethanolamine is another immune toxicant found in many products especially skin moisturizers. It is a possible carcinogen, a respiratory toxicant, skin or sense organ toxicant. It is used in facial moisturizers, mascara, styling gel, and tanning oil.

Sodium Laurul Sulfate (SLS) is one of the most common chemicals found in human hygiene products. SLS is a foaming agent used for scrubbing garage floors and cleaning drains. Steam from SLS has been known to cause lung damage and throat cancer. It is easily absorbed by the skin. SLS is found in hand soaps, facial cleansers, moisturizers, shampoos, toothpaste, and anti-aging cream.

Mineral oil is a petroleum by-product; it clogs pores and stops the skin’s ability to get rid of toxins. It causes acne, and other disorders, as well as premature aging. It is found in lip gloss, concealers, foundations, and facial cleansers.