Cliff Notes of Ayurveda

medical picWhat is the Ayurveda? It’s a lifestyle, a holistic approach to medicine, and ancient wisdom. The Ayurveda is from India and actually the oldest form of medicine that is still in practice. At its very root it categorizes people into three types: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. I’m not an expert by any means and I don’t necessarily believe all of it but if you’re interested I can at least summarize the book I read on it.

Vata:

These are high energy people. They tend to be slim naturally and sleep very little. These people have an overactive metabolism. They may suffer from ADD/ADHD. When people reach retirement age this dosha (group characteristic trait) becomes dominate.

Pitta:

These people also have high energy but tend to have a medium build and are prone to acne. These are high functioning people that are very productive. These people have a normal metabolism. This dosha is dominant in the 20’s and 30’s

Kappa

These people are more relaxed. They tend to have a stocky build and sleep a lot. They may be prone to depression. These people have an underactive metabolism. This dosha is dominant in childhood and teenage years.

The Ayurveda believes that all illness is psychosomatic (ie. heart problems come from a lack of love). I’m not sure if I believe heart problems are caused by lack of love so much as excess of fast food, but I can see what they are getting at. There are some illnesses, like allergies, that are caused by lack of exposure to the natural environment with a psychosomatic element. There are also illness like psychogenic seizures and fibromyalgia which are, by definition, psychosomatic.

Followers of the Ayurveda believe in practicing yoga, being mostly vegetarian, good hygiene and limiting sleep and sex. They also use all herbal treatments including, but not limited to, cannabis and opium. To be fair, those were and still are, forms of medicine today. They also believe that food enhances certain doshas and that through diet you can have all three doshas in harmony and be perfectly balanced. For more information on Ayurveda follow the links below.

Quiz: http://www.naturesformulary.com/contents/dosha-test

More info: http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-1117/Ayurveda-Dosha-Types-for-Beginners.html

Healthy Living and the rule of 3s

food pic 1

Some of you may know that I have a chronic health condition and with pills comes side effects. I’ve dealt with all sorts of things from neck pain to fainting. I became a Beach Body coach a few months ago and I worked really hard and lost 10 pounds.

I was proud of the way my body changed. I went through a med change about a month ago and it wreaked havoc on my body. I was prescribed a med just to deal with the side effects. Well, like I said in the opening, with pills come side effects and boy do I have them. The first week I was on them felt like Suicide Tuesday. I also gained those ten pounds back. I know 10 pounds doesn’t sound like a lot but to a person who’s weighted 230 and 125 pounds from side effects of pharmaceuticals, it matters.

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I know a lot about nutrition from being around Beach Body and looking at eating food as a chemical process in the body. I feel like I’m forced to know these things to navigate the world of pharmaceuticals. I forced myself to deal with my unhealthy eating habits and in one day I turned it all around. No coffee, no processed sugars, and no oils except olive oil and peanut oil, and 10,000 steps a day.

I know that sounds crazy but I was watching a PBS special by Mark Hyman, author of “Eat Fat, Get Thin.” I don’t have to will power to limit myself to 60 grams of carbs a day but I did take his lecture to heart. It made me think about food differently. The premise of the book is that fat isn’t the enemy –  it’s carbs. This is the same science that Atkins is based on. While I can’t give up bread, I did listen to the fact that not all carbs are equal. Brown rice, potatoes, and whole grains (like oatmeal) are good carbs; they digest slowly. Bad carbs have a low glycemic index which means your body turns them to sugar as you digest them. Flour and corn are some of the worst.

With that knowledge I follow the rule of 3s. I use a small plate and divide it into thirds. I eat 1/3 meat, 1/3 vegetable and one third good carb. I use a 4 ounce crème brulee cup. I’ve only been on my new diet 2 days and I can tell a difference. The first day was the hardest between no coffee, no refined sugar, and no fast food with lots of trans-fat I… honestly stayed up all night. It was the scariest thing. I actually went to see my doctor to try to score some sleeping pills. She said no, of course, because she’s a good doctor. This ended up being a good thing because I did a new oat meal recipe that night which put me to sleep naturally.

oat meal

I’m obviously not a doctor but I believe in toxins affecting health. I also bought 2 cast iron skillets, a ceramic nonstick sauce pan, and a stainless steel stock pot to cook in. By cutting all the junk I feel a lot better. I’m not giving medical advice but I have been able to counter the side effects I have. I believe medicine is a good thing but every action has a reaction and I can at least help navigate the reaction part.

Everyone Sins Differently

life and deathReligion teaches conformity, while having a relationship with God teaches people to follow a path of self-improvement. Some people will become Christians and believe that since they stopped doing things traditionally identified as sinful (premarital sex, drinking, cursing) that they are saved and somehow better than someone who is still doing those things. What if I told you the majority of people Christian or not is in inherently sinful. Mankind, by nature, is selfish, self-centered and makes mistakes. The bible is clear it states that all people have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, Romans 3:23. Just a few pages after that verse is Romans 8:1 there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

So what does that mean? It means it means at the time that you except Christ into your life you may have big problems like addiction, or more socially acceptable problems like gossiping. But regardless of what your sinful tendency is we all missed the mark and need a savior; someone (Christ) to seek after and try to become a better person for the sake of our relationship with him.

You can look at amazing people that have very solid relationships with God and they still struggle with something sinful. It could be a pray warrior who is in their 80’s and has been in church their entire life and never strayed from their faith. Who knows what they struggle with but I’m guessing at one time or another one of their relationships became an idol. They may have put their children before their marriage and put their marriage before their walk with God.

You could look at an accomplished pastor. Someone who has reach thousands for God. Maybe they lean more toward pride or wrath. You could look at a successful business person. Are they motivated by greed? Have they made their career an idol? Look at a young person who is consumed with fear 2Timothy 1:17 the spirit of fear is not of God.

I’m not saying that anyone of these previous examples is a bad person. I’m just illustrating that the bible is true. I don’t think the pray warrior, pastor, business person, or child is in any danger of hell if they seek God. I’m just warning Christians not to be too comfortable in our own abilities and not offer the same grace to others that God allows us. Instead of looking at people in terms of good people and bad, look at people as a work in progress. We should acknowledge our own imperfections and inspire people to be like us instead of condemning people for not living up to our standards.

Relationship Over Religion

free-inspired-light-of-heaven-hd-wallpapers-400x484Christianity is the only religion that teaches grace. Some religions like Taoism, Buddhism, etc. are based on self actualization and introspective growth. Other religions like Hinduism, Judaism, and Islam are based on works. As far as I know, Christianity is unique in that it teaches people to have a personal relationship with God through the profit/messiah Jesus Christ. It’s not my place to say who is right, who is wrong, who is saved and who is damned. All I can say is that I found healing through my faith. I took a religious studies course in college and I briefly sampled the major religions out there. Christianity is unique, not every church is right for everyone, not every bible translation speaks to the reader the same. I’m not here to say there is a right way to experience God. After all, Jews, Christians, and Muslims all consider Adam to be the first man and trace their lineage back to Abraham. The bible says God made a promise to Abraham to make him the father of many nations. All I know is that I was taught by my church and the Bible that I read that Christianity looks at spirituality as a marriage.

Many religions focus on God as a father figure archetype. Christianity is unique in that Jesus is referred to as the Bridegroom and the Church is the bride. This suggests an egalitarian partnership, rather than an authoritarian discipline. Legalism teaches rules, grace teaches forgiveness. I look at salvation as a relationship. You know if you’re interested in someone, you know if you’re dating, engaged, married, separated or divorced. Anyone who’s ever been in a relationship knows they will never be perfect; they can only try to become a better person for the sake of their partner. Expecting perfection is impossible. People are selfish and sinful by nature. We will never be good enough on our own. We are justified just as Ephesians 2:8 explains, “It’s by grace that you were saved. It is a gift from God not based on works that no one may boast.”

In the Kingdom of God, Mother Theresa and the thief that hung on the cross next to Jesus are equal in the kingdom. Paul the murderer and Peter “the Rock” are both equal and justified by a free gift. In any relationship, people grow together. Don’t expect to say the sinner’s prayer and spontaneously become a perfect, sin-free person. Jesus only expects people to seek him and grow. John 15:5 “He is the vine and we are the branches.” We must maintain a relationship just as we maintain relationships with friends, family and partners. People know the health of their relationships at any given moment based on the effort they are putting into it. God doesn’t want perfect people, just effective effort.

Feel the Bern

ht_bernie_baby_lb_151016_16x9_992 (1)Bernie Sanders is running on a Quasi-Socialist platform. He wants to provide all people with Medicare and free education. This may sound like a scary idea to some people. A lot of people say we can’t afford it and it would ruin our country. I disagree that these things would hurt us. I actually believe that our country desperately needs reform in these areas.

Our country would look a lot like our military. As a daughter-in-law of a career serviceman, I have first hand experience of the freedom the military provides. Both my mother-in-law and father-in-law have Tri-Care for life. They can get free treatment on a military base, (both the doctor visit and medication). If they need to be seen at a private hospital their co-pay is only $25 flat no matter the extent of the treatment. My father-in-law can also go to school for free until the day he dies under the GI Bill. He served 20 years and is a Gulf War veteran.

The military provides free healthcare for life by being pretty much self sufficient. They use aptitude testing to train service people in a trade. Depending on how someone scores when they join they could be a doctor, mechanic, pilot, medic, etc. If America followed the principals of the military we could educate and provide medical care for everyone. As it is right now Medicare is paid for by a tax on our income (Social Security). People only pay this tax on the first $100,000 they earn. Bernie isn’t proposing class warfare; Robin Hood style, take from the rich to give to the poor. He’s simply trying to level the playing field. Just so you know, the poverty line of New York City is $90,000. By having people pay Social Security Tax on all of their income, we could pay for single payer Medicare for all. The only problem is that drug companies, hospitals, and doctor networks will have to be converted to non-profits. Fo- profit medicine is disgusting anyway. People shouldn’t have to file bankruptcy to pay for chemo.

Education will also have to be reformed. As it stands right now, for-profit schools are out of control. GCU pays a staff to cold call leads to raise enrollment numbers. They have, at one time not so long ago, lost both their Christian accreditation, as well as their academic accreditation. If this happens again, GCU students who largely rely on loans, will be in the same position as the Corinthian College students were just last year. I believe, in order to level the playing field and give every student the ability to earn a living wage, for profit institutions will have to go; this includes big time national offenders like University of Phoenix. We must also include aptitude testing for competitive programs (not just ability to pay).

Employers must stop asking for 4 year degrees in Liberal Arts as a requirement to review an application. A lot of certifications will need to be handled at the community college level and students should either live at home or be offered a work studies program to pay for cost of living associated with out of state schools (not rely on loans). Degree programs should be restructured to provide career readiness and degrees should be extensive enough to gain entry to employment. There is no reason people can’t work in the psychology field unless they pursue a masters. Also, I believe that degree programs should be directly transferable to the career you want. Programs in History and English should be provided out of a teaching program. Social Science programs should be divided into teaching tracks or research tracks and programs should actually prepare people for the jobs that they want. Nursing, therapy (psych), physical therapy, medical doctor, dental, and surgical programs should all be taught out of a medical school. All of these degree programs should come with both a theoretical curriculum as well as a work studies portion to prepare students for career readiness. If someone wants to go to a religious institution they should be studying theology and that should be paid for by an organization that wants them to pursue a degree in that denomination with an agreement of employment. A lot of pastors quit ministry in the first five years because they don’t know what they are getting themselves into. College and medical coverage for all is not only a big idea, it’s a feasible one too.

Bernie VS. Hillary

democtratic partuWho is the stronger candidate for the party? The democratic primaries are currently underway. So far, the front runners are almost even. Before, candidates were chosen based on their ability to appeal to the base then pivot to the middle and attract the swing vote. In 2008, Obama proved elections can be won by inspiring people who usually don’t vote to come out in favor of a cause. He won the presidency twice on the promise that “Yes, we can _______”. He ended the dark days of the term ‘un-insurable’ and pushed through lots of reforms.

Bernie Sanders has the same ability Obama had to inspire people who don’t normally vote, to come out and have their voice heard. Clinton is more moderate and has never once been called a socialist. With the rise of the Tea Party, we see that politics in this country have shifted. People are scared. Politics are polarized. America has changed. If you’ve ever taken a poly-sci course you know Republicans win when turnout is low and Democrats win when the turnout is high. I personally want to stay out of politics for the most part (it causes me to lose friends sometimes).

It’s an interesting conundrum though; on one hand you have a woman who, 4 years ago, beat every other republican in Gallup Polls. On the other, you have a man who seems to have an energy that can actually bring people to the polls. Given that the election is 9 months away, it seems that this could be the year of the outsiders. On the right, you have Trump; people didn’t take him seriously when his campaign started. With the election in just a few months, he has held on to his spot at the forefront. Similarly, Bernie was also not seen as a serious candidate. He held office in Vermont as an Independent and is a self proclaimed quasi-socialist.

The election of 2016 will be the election of the outsider if Sanders and Trump get the nominations to represent their parties. It would be a historic election that would make Citizens United essentially irrelevant. Both Sanders and Trump claim to fund their campaigns honestly. Sanders claims to have no super pac and Trump claims to be self funded. Both of these men have the same charisma that Obama had to inspire the people to feel as though they have a voice again. In 2008, Obama’s campaign was largely funded by individual donations ranging from $5.00-$100.00. Political parties in this country have changed. This isn’t a new thing. In the early years of America we saw the rise and fall of the Federalist Party, Democratic-Republican Party, and even a short lived Anti-Masonic Party. The rise and fall of political parties is nothing new. It’s just a sign that ideas, attitudes and political appeal is a fluid thing, constantly in flux.

The 5 “S’s” of Lyrical Themes

another_silver_treble_clefSome people say all music sounds the same. I’m not so quick to make sweeping generalizations but I would say there are very few themes to music. As a faithful connoisseur with varying tastes, I can say that I love all music. Both of my brothers were teenagers when I was born and they’ve been professional DJ’s most of my life. I’ve been listening to music since birth, in large part thanks to my family. I don’t like everything I hear but I’ve been exposed to everything from Insane Clown Posse to Christian Hymns; Bach to Beatles to Backstreet Boys. I feel confident saying that lyrics fall into only five themes, even across generations. Let me explain below and feel free to challenge me to a spritely debate. Let’s take a look at the five “S’s” of lyrical themes that I have identified

1. Street Credibility

They are club songs or party music. These songs maybe have sex appeal or showcase lifestyle (*negative lifestyle such as drugs and gang life also fall into this category).

Elvis Presley “You Ain’t Nothing but a Hound Dog”

Bruno Mars “Uptown Funk”

2. Showing Affection

These are songs about the people you love. It can be familial love, romantic love, or lost love.

2Pac “Dear Mama”

Adel “Hello”

3. Self-Actualization

These are songs that make people think and are based on life experience. Many great songs fall into this category.

Harry Chapin “Cats in the Cradle”

The Beatles “Let it Be”

 

Black-Eyed Peas “Where is the Love”

 

4. Spirituality

These songs have a religious/spiritual nature.

Allison Krauss on The Voice singing “Down to the River” from the ‘Oh Brother Where Art Thou?’ Soundtrack

*Christian

“Adi Shakti” von Sada Sat Kaur

*Meditation Music

 

5. Systematic Political Discourse

These songs challenge the government to change course.

Buffalo Springfield “For What it’s Worth”

Written in response to the Vietnam War

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis featuring Mary Lambert “Same Love”

Written before SCOTUS Legalized Gay Marriage Nationally

The Sharing Economy and the Age of the Freelancer

There have been numerous reports of the “Sharing Economy” being the demise of American business. It’s safe to say that business people that don’t evolve with our ever changing world are sure to fail. With every new generation comes new innovation. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs (Baby Boomers) made home computers a reality. Sean Parker (Gen X) was the 1st person to start the sharing economy by creating Napster (Music File Sharing Service). Mark Zuckerberg (Millennial) created Facebook and perfected social networking platforms. With these men laying the groundwork, economists fear that we’re entering the sharing economy. Joe Gebbia and Brian Chesky recently made it into the Forbes Billionaire Club with a little site called AirBNB.

Economists fear that a Sharing Economy will destroy American business as we know it. As mentioned, AirBNB is changing the hotel and lodging market while Lyft and Uber are changing taxi services and cooperative work spaces are taking over commercial real-estate. It seems that in the coming decades, very few businesses will own major assets and virtually everyone will be their own boss. Freelancers have followed this business model for years; keep overhead low, hire contractors, and undercut the market by charging less than a fully staffed brick and mortar competitor.

Millennials have found out the hard way how much the job market has changed. Most of us are Freelancers out of necessity, not choice. Sick of being unemployed, underemployed, and taken advantage of, we left the corporate world in waves with broken hearts, salvaging overpriced degrees, and whatever real world skills we gained. We moved on to chasing our passions on Ipsy, Ebay, and Freelancer.com. We cashed in our 401k to fund the dreams we studied for. If you don’t already know your expensive degree and a set of wheels pretty much only qualifies you to drive for Uber or Lyft, and not much more on graduation day.

I’ve been a freelance paralegal, account manager, and SEO Copywriter for almost 2 years now. It’s not perfect but it’s a living.  Maybe it’s because I’m part of the generation challenging established business but I’ve never been one to be scared of an ever changing world. I’m young enough to adapt and see change as an opportunity, not an obstacle. The only thing that stays the same is that everything changes.

Crossroads

crossroads blog picI think it’s safe to say my quarter life crisis is over. I no longer stress about decisions I’ve made growing up. At the same time, though, I feel at a loss sometimes. Right now I have more jobs than I know what to do with. Almost exactly two years ago I left my stable job in insurance to pursue my dream of teaching. I guess God had other plans for me, because that dream didn’t work out. Now a little over a year later I’m trying to decide where my life will take me. I currently work as a paralegal doing liquor law. In a few weeks I’ll start training as a beach body coach. I also write SEO Copy and do some basic account management for my husband’s business. In January I start school to become a certified paralegal which, will be followed by a program to be a certified legal document preparer program. I never thought I’d be working in so many areas at the same time. I never wanted to own my own business and now I’ve got my hands in three. It’s a little overwhelming and some days are very hard. Between working, being a wife, and trying to stay on top of all of my goals, I don’t know how I keep up with things; yet alone how I’ll fit school in the mix.

I think back to one of my favorite biblical based quote that isn’t in the bible at all: “God never said it would be easy, he just promised it’d be worth it.” I can be anxious, I can be neurotic and I’m full of self doubt on the inside. I worry that I’ll never find time to raise kids and that by following three dreams I’ll never fully succeed at any of them. I’m not sure when it happened but I came to the realization I’d never be happy in the corporate world. I simply wasn’t built to sit at a desk and stare at the walls 40 hours a week, while putting out one fire after the next. I was not made to be placed in a cubical. As much as I resist going back to a corporate job, there is a security and comfort in employee sponsored insurance for everything (health, dental, vision, life, disability and retirement). There’s a comfort in a guaranteed pay check. I seek stability and certainty yet, my current endeavors offer none. In a strange way, everything all sort of came together for me. I’m still in my 20’s barely 5 years out of college and I’m finally feeling a sense of accomplishment. I can take pride in what I do because it makes me happy. I don’t dread getting up on Monday morning because my weeks are more fluid. I have the perfect mix between stimulation and down time; I also don’t have to wait till the weekend to make time for an outing. I guess I hope to encourage all of you, life is hard and beautiful, exciting and challenging, fun and scary all at the same time, and none of us are gonna make it out alive. Enjoy it while it lasts and do what makes you happy.

Antibiotic Resistant Infections

germs 1I read an article today that states, “by 2050 75million people could be effected by antibiotic resistant Tuberculosis”1. I read another article that states, currently, hospitals are seeing the first waves of antibiotic resistant Gonorrhea2. It’s just a matter of time before most bacterial illnesses stop responding to antibiotics at all. Very soon we will be living in a day when antibiotics simply don’t work. Some may ask, what happened? There isn’t just one culprit to the problem but rather, contributing industries.

First, my generation of Millennials fell victim to helicopter parenting. Most of us simply suffering from allergies, colds and the flu where pumped full of antibiotics by doctors until they stopped working, on the things they actually treat. I personally, am penicillin resistant, so if I need an antibiotic the go to amoxicillin won’t work for me. I have a friend who is so resistant to antibiotics she has to start with a Z-Pak as her first line of treatment.

The second contributing factor is agriculture, specifically livestock. Many Americans don’t know or care to know, the conditions in which our food is produced. In many farms that produce poultry, beef, and pork the animals are crammed into barns shoulder to shoulder, living in their own waste, unable to turn around, or really move at all. Because of these conditions, farmers pump the animals full of antibiotics simply to keep them alive. It’s gross but it’s a reality when organic is rejected by the majority of Americans. Agricultural farms have to deal with high demand. Their goals are profits at all cost. The industry got creative to keep profits high and stay on top of demand. Animals are routinely pumped full of growth hormones, antibiotics and steroids, to produce bigger animals yielding more money at time of sale.

When antibiotics are over prescribed and pumped into the food supply it’s no surprise that their effectiveness would wane. I’ve seen doctors in recent years pull back on antibiotic prescribing. You pretty much have to be wheezing and cough up green mucous during your appointment to get a prescription for antibiotics these days. What’s equally sad and scary is that it might actually be easier to get a prescription for promethazine (the active ingredient in lean) than antibiotics now.

http://www.theguardian.com/drug-resistant-gonorrhoea (1)

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/tuberculosis- (2)