was successfully added to your cart.
Monthly Archives

September 2011

Insights on the Mediterranean Diet: Notes From Our Tour in Tuscany

By | Uncategorized | No Comments


The American diet is known to be high in saturated fats. Not so in Italy. Olive oil rules the day. Olive oil is a monounsaturated fat (one double bond, whereas polyunsaturated oils have more than one double bone… for those interested). Between the olive oil (served with lunch and dinner), a glass of red wine ( lots of antioxidants to help regulate cholesterol levels) and many great spices, from garlic to basal to sage and rosemary, what has become known as the “Mediterranean diet” is renowned for decreasing the risk of coronary heart disease. Here are some interesting facts we learned about olive oil while here in the Tuscany region: Olives are generally harvested in the fall (FYI the drought here has taken its toll on the olives). Once collected, they are pressed immediately for their oil. Virgin olive oil is pressed a cool temperature. The reason being: heat and light make oils go rancid (aside from not tasting good, rancid oils can act like free radicals and destroy cell membranes, RNA, DNA and mitochondria— Not good!). Virgin olive oil must have a low pH; with a higher the pH, it gets a different classification. A bottle of olive oil should be kept in a dark place, (not over the stove, and from what we learned, no Italians keep it in the fridge where it solidifies). The best containers are tin or dark glass, to keep the light out, and we were told on our tour that a good bottle has a years’ shelf life …at most! (Check your kitchen). As a side note, I am convinced that a BIG part of the Mediterranean diet, never discussed, is eating with friends and family. Support groups certainly affect one’s health status, and no Italians eat alone!

Stress Tip for the Day:

Check the oils your kitchen, particularly the olive oil. Open it and smell it. Rancid oils typically don’t smell good. If you have had the bottle for more than a year, you might with to consider replacing it with a fresh bottle. Italians love to cook with olive oil, so consider placing a bottle on your dinner table to have with a piece of bread, or over a dish of pasta (covered in ragu, pesto or cream sauce). Include more monounsaturated oils in your diet…

Links/Books/Movies Worth Noting:

For more information on the Mediterranean diet, here are a few links…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mediterranean_diet

http://www.lifeinitaly.com/food/mediterranean-diet.asp

Quote for the Day:

“Every now and then consider gifting a friend of family member with a bottle of great olive oil.” —Luigi Pascatore

Photo for the Day:

I am writing this blog entry from our Spirit of Tuscany tour (more about that later), and the other day we took a tour through an olive oil pressing plant (pictured above) where, after the tour of the plant, we were invited to sample the oil… We also went to a winery and everyone was invited to sample the wine, but that’s a different story. Simply fascinating… Enjoy….Ciao!

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (7E) and the forthcoming, A Beautiful World; The Earth Songs Journals. He can be reached through his website: www.brianlukeseaward.net

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Under A Tuscan Sun: Lessons on life from Italy!

By | Uncategorized | One Comment

Greetings from Tuscany! Today’s blog entry comes to you from Pienza, Italy; a land where people really know how to live! And manage stress. The pace of life here is comfortable. People don’t know the meaning of the world “rush.” They embrace life through the five senses: the aromas, the music, the artwork, the cool autumn breezes, and the food. Did I mention the food? Fresh tomato sauce. Basal picked fresh out of the garden. Pasta (gluten free, even) in a delicious cheese sauce, virgin olive oil spread on top and tiramisu for desert. People walk everywhere. They look into their friend’s eyes when conversing and everyone greets you hello. There is even romance in the air for those inclined in this direction. Life is bigger than life, and that is how life is supposed to be.

Stress Tip for the Day:

Follow some advice from the Tuscans… relax! Cook a meal from scratch tonight. Enjoy the company of friends this afternoon. Chew your food slowly and savor each taste. Listen to some Vivaldi, Corelli, Scarlatti or Andrea Bocelli. Go for a sunset walk. Enjoy a gelato. Enjoy the good life, no matter where you are! Life is too short to worry or fret. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!

Links/Books/Movies Worth Noting:

There are scores of movies to add to the Tuscan ambiance including the most renown: Under a Tuscan Sun. But don’t stop there: Enchanted April or A Room With a View are also great movies.

Here is a link to some books about Tuscany. Enjoy

http://goitaly.about.com/od/tuscany/tp/tuscanybooks.htm

Quote for the Day:

“The world cracks open for those willing to take a risk.” — Frances Mayes, author, Under A Tuscan Sun

Photo for the Day:

It may be iconic, but hey, that’s why people come to Tuscany… the land of icons, from Florence to Siena. This photo was taken earlier today moments after sunrise from my hotel room…. Enjoy!

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (7E) and the forthcoming, A Beautiful World. He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Time To Meditate

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

If you have ever tried to keep up with all the daily postings on Facebook, if you have ever tried to surf the internet and find yourself getting sucked into the vast web of content, if you have ever tried to scan all the cable TV channels looking for something good to watch, then you are well aware that indeed, we are headstrong into “the information age.” There is a line in the Jefferson Airplane song, Go Ask Alice, stating: “Feed your head”, and while it didn’t refer to digesting information, there really is no difference in the feeding process. Don’t stuff yourself! Experts in the field of stress management say with great regularity these days that our brains (while quite extraordinary) were not designed (or even capable) of the incredible sensory bombardment of information that we are exposed to today. At the same time, spiritual luminaries remind us of the importance of meditation, which simply defined means this: “increased concentration which leads to increased awareness.” A regular practice of meditation helps clear the head of superfluous details and ego chitter-chatter (distractions) so that we can begin to focus on what really matters, rather than become distracted by all the information eye-candy on the information superhighway. Meditation is not a religion. Meditation is simply a healthy behavior for mental clarity.

Stress Tip for The Day:

So.. it’s time to meditate. Find a quiet spot to sit or lay down, close your eyes and focus on your breathing. If you get bored doing this, know that boredom is part of the meditation process. If your mind wanders (as it surely will), direct your thoughts back to your breathing solely on your breathing. Start off with 5 minutes and work your way up to 10 minutes, then 15 minutes after a few weeks until it become routine: second nature. Meditation should become as regular as taking a shower or brushing your teeth everyday. The benefits of meditation are many, from increased attention span and quality of sleep to an improved immune system and lower resting heart rate and blood pressure. It’s time to meditate!

Links/Books/Movies Worth Noting:
There are scores of books and websites on meditation, and since meditation is incorporated into nearly every religion, most websites have a religious inference (meditation is not a religion, if someone says otherwise…run!) While working with Olympic Athletes years ago, we called exercises in sport psychology mental training, of which meditation is a part. A great book on meditation (mindfulness meditation) is Peace is Every Step by Thich Nat Hahn. There are also several daily meditation books, with a meditation thought per day (my favorites are The Promise of a New Day and 356 Tao).

Quote for the Day:
“I finally get meditation…. It’s like deleting old emails.” —8th Grader at Sunset Middle School

Photo of the Day:
One day while doing some photography at the Denver Botanical Gardens, I saw a man meditating and thought it would make a great photo… Enjoy!

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart, Managing Stress (7E) and his forthcoming book, A Beautiful World; The Earth Songs Journals. He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Success is:

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

What is success? The answer appears to vary from person to person, country to country, and age to age. Some see success as having lots of money or possessions (he who dies with the most toys wins). Others see success as having fame and recognition. Perhaps being successful is being happy with what you have, no matter the situation. Thousands of books have been written about what success is and how to get it. Again… it’s all a matter of perspective as the joke below
suggests:
This is the bell curve of life:
At age 4 success is… not peeing in your pants
At age 12 success is…. having friends
At age 16 success is…. having a driver’s license
At age 20 success is…. having sex
At age 30 success is…. having money
At age 50 success is…. having money
At age 60 success is…. having sex
At age 70 success is…. having a driver’s license
At age 75 success is…. having friends
At age 80 success is…. not peeing in your pants!

Stress Tip for The Day:
What does success mean for you? Is a goal to achieve, as state of mind to behold? Or is it merely a state of mind, a feeling of contentment. Today the stress tip is to honor your successes in life. Rather than worrying about what may be, take a deep breath and enjoy what you have, the things you take for granted. Being successful means recognizing that you are a beautiful soul regardless of what anyone else thinks.

Links/Books/Movies Worth Noting:
Bookstores are filled with self-help sections on everything from codependency to the art of success. Here is one link that we can add to the mix…
http://www.successmagazine.com/

Quote for the Day:
“To laugh often and love much; to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children; to earn the approbation of honest citizens and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give of one’s self; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived—this is to have succeeded.” — Ralph Waldo Emmerson

Photo of the Day:
Sometimes success is simply enjoying vacation time, in this case, a secluded beach in the Virgin Islands… Enjoy!

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart, Managing Stress (7E) and his forthcoming book, A Beautiful World; The Earth Songs Journals. He can be reached through his website: www.brianlukeseaward.net

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

The Body as a Temple

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Many cultures around the world speak of the body as a temple, a sacred place in which we inhabit. This universal message speaks to the inherent connection between body and spirit, for the wisdom keepers the world over remind us that within this temple resides the soul. From what we eat, even what we wear to how we exercise, and what ideas we fill our head all these constitute care for this temple. Fasting was and still is encouraged, not as a means to lose weight, but as a way to cleanse the temple. Likewise meditation is a means to fast the mind’s mental chitter-chatter, produced by the ego. The ego too, can make a mess of the temple. For millennia, wisdom keepers have reminded us to not only honor our bodies, but to honor the temple within; to honor the body-spirit connection. And true to form, this message is often unheeded today. Nutrition habits are abysmal. Exercises habits are not much better. Everywhere on the planet ego’s have run amuck. Simple stated, the state of the body temple is not only stressed, it’s a mess! To quote your mother, “Clean your room!”

Stress Tip for The Day:
What is your relationship with your body? Do you view it as a temple… or a convenient store? Are you what you eat? Do you feed your head with negative news and junk food entertainment? Does your temple need a good sweeping with a broom (perhaps a shovel)? Consider the concept of the fast today, but not as missing calories or news content, but as a way to cleanse the temple of your body-mind. In doing so, take comfort in the emptiness where the divine resides within. Honor your temple!

Links/Books/Movies Worth Noting:
Sometimes cleansing the temple means clearing out some emotional baggage as well. This film (link) won an award at the Cannes Film Festival for short (3 min) film… Enjoy

www.porcelainunicorn.com

This is the page/link where I pull the two quotes below and there were so
many, I decided to include the link here. Enjoy!
http://www.quotegarden.com/body.html

Quote for the Day:
“ To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear. ” —Buddha

“Our bodies are our gardens – our wills are our gardeners.” —William Shakespeare

Photo of the Day:
The Earth (by extension) is also a temple, and although the entire planet is sacred, many places are considered the epitome of sacredness, including the Tetons. This group of the Tetons is known as the Cathedral Group. Enjoy.

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 12 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart, Managing Stress (7E) and his forthcoming book, A Beautiful World; The Earth Songs Journals. He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Join Us for a Relaxing Autumn Weekend in New England!

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Dear Friends, Fans and Colleagues,
The renowned Kripalu Yoga Center in Lennox, MA has invited me to do a weekend retreat Oct 28-30th based on my bestselling book, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water. If you have an interest is unplugging from your fast-paced lifestyle and finding your center of balance, come join us in the beautiful and relaxing Berkshires mountains this October. Kripalu has even secured some CE’s as well. The Earth Songs documentary film will be screened on Sat night, too. Below are two links with more contact information. Hope to see you in October.

Links Worth Noting:
http://www.kripalu.org/program/view/yogamed/RSHS-111/

http://www.kripalu.org/presenter/V0006748/brian_luke_seaward

Quote for the Day:
“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and sorry I could not travel both and be one traveler.” — Robert Frost

Photo for the Day:
A New England road less traveled, taken when I lived in Vermont many moons ago. Enjoy!

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart, Managing Stress (7E) and his forthcoming book, A Beautiful World; The Earth Songs Journals. He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Stress and the Daily Email Avalanche

By | Stress and email | One Comment

Unless you don’t have an email address (and if so, you can stop reading now) you are not immune from the onslaught of emails and Facebook notifications that appear daily in your inbox. The onslaught of emails supports the premise that information is in great supply, but wisdom is scarce. The creator of the now famous TED lecture series, Chris Anderson, has initiated an Email Charter; rules of etiquette for corresponding with emails. While it may seem like common sense, the fact that there are no agreed-upon rules, makes opening, reading and responding to email a major stressor for a lot of people. Compounding the problem is the addiction many people have to checking their email inbox, coupled with the need to respond right away (immediate gratification) or the guilt associated with not responding right away. Several years ago, the leaders of many high tech companies (Google, Apple, Microsoft, Oracle, etc.) got together to discuss the new high tech monster called email. While no solution was reached, the stated problem was very real. Not long afterward, the founder of TED decided to create an Email Charter (see the links below for details& specifics).

Stress Tip for the Day:
There is no shortage of suggestions about healthy boundaries regarding emails, but here are a few. After the obvious (such as deleting all emails that have been forwarded, not reading emails that begin with Re: or have attachments, here are a few more things to remember:
1. Set healthy boundaries when checking your email (e.g., five times a day), and not before breakfast or after dinner.
2. Do not bring technology into the bedroom (no emails or texting from your bed).
3. If you would rather send an email to avoid someone directly, ask yourself what are you really
avoiding.
4. Remember, checking email in the presence of another person is rude, particularly if you are in the midst of a conversation with him or her.
5. Communicate to close friends that you would rather have them call you or visit in person than deluge you with emails or Facebook updates.

Links/Books/Movies Worth Noting:

The following are two links with suggestions for good email etiquette. Enjoy!
http://blog.ted.com/2011/06/30/the-email-charter-an-idea-worth-spreading/
http://tedchris.posterous.com/help-create-an-email-charter
http://emailcharter.org/

Quote for the Day:
“Men won’t read any email from any woman that’s over 200 words long.” — Doug Coupland

Photo for the Day:
While prepping new photos for the 7th edition of my textbook, Managing Stress, I took some photos for the new chapter, The Sociology of stress, including this one (my neighbor who modeled some images…) Thanks, Shaan.

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (7E) and the forthcoming, A Beautiful World. He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

The Importance of Fiber

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

While visiting a friend in Aspen a few weeks ago, the topic of diet came up over dinner. Have you heard of the book, The China Study, I was asked? The book explores the eating habits and health status of the Chinese and other Asians. The “take-home” message is that the typical Chinese diet is high in fiber (and low in animal protein), suggesting this is the reason why the Chinese have a lower rate of heart disease, cancer and diabetes when compared to Americans. The World Health Organization recommends between 50-60 grams of fiber per day. Note: The typical American consumes about 5-10 grams/day, if that. Processed foods, junk foods, comfort foods and fast foods typically don’t contain fiber. And as one of my guest speakers in my Nutrition, Health and Performance course would say, “There is not a whole lot of fiber in iceberg lettuce, gals.”
Why is fiber (also known as roughage) so important? Fiber (cellulose tissue that cannot be digested) acts like a broom that cleans out the gastro-intestinal tract. As such, it helps flush out cholesterol, and various other substances (and toxins) that might otherwise be absorbed into the bloodstream. Fiber, it is believed, is the first line of defense in regulating blood sugar levels. The Standard American Diet (SAD) is filled with empty calories (and little fiber). The goal of each meal is to eat nutrient-dense foods, lots of fruits and veggies and only a small portion of protein. While the premise of the book, The Chine Study, promotes veganism (not necessarily the intent here), the message here is that we all need to eat more fiber in our diets, regardless.

Stress Tip for the Day:
Foods high in fiber include fruits and veggies (broccoli, carrots, kale, cabbage, and many legumes (garbanzo beans, black beans, kidney beans, etc.) and whole grains (such as quinoa) etc.). By no coincidence, these same foods contain a host of vitamins and minerals necessary for optimal metabolism. So what’s for dinner tonight? Think fiber! Eat Fiber!

Links/Books/Movies Worth Noting:

Like every diet book, there are advocates and critics. Here are two links, one of each as well as the book title itself.

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/07/nutrition-advice-from-the-china-study/

http://www.cholesterol-and-health.com/China-Study.html

Campbell, C., The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-Term Health. 2005.

Quote for the Day:
“Let food be your medicine and medicine be your foods.” — Hippocrates

Photo for the Day:
As part of a slide show I put together, called The Low Stress Diet, I went to Whole Foods one day and purchased a few bags of produce, including some cabbage for a photo-shoot. Afterward, I had one tremendous meal. Enjoy!

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (7E) as well as the forthcoming book, A Beautiful World. He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Stress and The Art of Creative Problem Solving

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

I watched with interest and curiosity as a friend became incredibly
worked-up over a software malfunction. In what could have been an easy solution soon became a series of frustrating tech support phone calls (lasting days), which only compounded his frustration no end. The expression, “Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy” came to mind several times. Creative problem solving is one of the most empowering techniques in stress management, because it enables the individual to stop spinning one’s wheels and move on. The biggest impediment to the creative process is the ego, which can either override any idea of merit, or play the “I’m right and I’ll prove it,” game. To get the most out of the creative solving process you have to step outside of the situation (also known as getting “outside the box”) to gain a sense of clarity of not only the problem, but all the possible solutions (and there is always more than one viable solution to a problem). The creative process involves several steps: (1. the search for ideas, 2, the incubation of ideas, 3) the selection of the best idea and 4) making the idea happen). The key is to do them in the right order.

Stress Tip for the Day:
Call to mind a problem that has been camped out on the landscape of your mind for a while, or perhaps has appeared recently. The first step in creative problem solving begins with identifying the problem. How would a child see the problem? How would a person from New Zealand or Australia or an alien see the problem? Once you have a good fix on the issue, come up with a least four viable options as well as one zany solution (zany ideas may not be viable, but they can open the door to new possibilities.) After surveying the list of ideas, select the best one and then put your game plan into action. Remember, there is no room for ego in the creative process. Whereas stress can be immobilizing, creativity is liberating….Be creative! Become empowered!

Links/Books/Movies Worth Noting:
My ultimate favorite book on creativity is Roger von Oech’s books, A Whack on the Side of the Head and A Kick in the Seat of the Pants. His Creative Whack Pack is now an App on the Apple store.

Quote for the Day:
“Every act of creation is first an act of destruction. ” —Pablo Picasso

Photo for the Day:
This photo is of a stained glass window located in the Blasket Island Museum on the Dingle Peninsula of Ireland, created to depict the story of the Blasket Islands visually. Enjoy!

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D
. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 12 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (7E) and his forthcoming, A Beautiful World. He can be reached through his website: www.brianlukeseaward.net

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.