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March 2013

Stress and Honey: In Honor of Bees

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By now you may have heard that hundreds of honeybee colonies around the country (and Europe) are in great decline (the terms is bee colony collapse). Though the reasons may not be clear, much evidence is pointing toward pesticides. Some also say that cell phone towers may also have a role in this as well (and some say parasites). Honeybees pollinate the trees and plants that bear fruit (and even nuts) of great many foods that we eat. So important are these bees, that companies drive trucks with bee hives from farm to farm in California to ensure that pollination takes place. Not only do we benefit from the fruit born in the process, but some great honey as well. If you are a fan of honey, once again, let the buyer beware. A lot of honey sold in the country comes from China, and tests reveal that it’s not really honey. Moreover, industrialized honey (from big companies) are regulated to pasteurize (heat) the honey, which often kills valuable nutrients. Your best bet is to buy local from small farmers. How valuable are bees to your life? In the words of Albert Einstein, If the bee disappeared off the face of the earth, man would only have four years left to live.”
Stress Tip for the Day:
The last blog on sugar didn’t mention a sugar detox (oops), but as a continuation of that theme, consider substituting fresh honey for sugar. And when you start up your spring and summer gardens, do not use petrochemical pesticides (e.g., Roundup). Take time to appreciate the small parts of nature that make big contributions…. Give thanks to the honeybee this year.
Books, Movies and Links worth Noting:
Here is a description of Bee Colony Collapse
http://npic.orst.edu/envir/ccd.html
There is no shortage of links about the benefits of honey on the net.
Here are a few of my favorites:
And on a related note, if you haven’t see the movie, the secret life of bees, I highly recommend it.
Quote for the Day:
“Honey consumption (as compared to refined sugar or HFCS) leads directly to the formation of liver glycogen, thus stabilizing blood sugar levels. Honey thereby reduces metabolic stress and improves fat metabolism and disposal, thus combating two of the key parameters of the metabolic syndrome, Type 2 Diabetes and obesity.” — Dr. Ron Fessenden
“The pedigree of honey does not concern the bee; A clover, any time, to him is aristocracy.” —Emily Dickenson
Photo of the Day:
While in Ireland last year, I happened to come across a wonderful garden, and even the bees thought so…. Notice the yellow pollen clump… 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 the newly released, A Beautiful World: The Earth Song Journals. He can be reached through his website: www.brianlukeseaward.net
© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Sugar, Obesity and Stress

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Last week I had the privilege to hear renowned researcher Kelly Brownell, Ph.D. at a national health conference. His keynote address was on the topic of nutrition and obesity, but the real focus of his presentation was on the impact of sugar on the American diet. As a whole, our national consumption of sugar is mind-blowing. It has been suggested that each person consumes his or her own weight in sugar each year. Most likely, this is a very conservative estimate. Refined sugar  (not to mention high fructose corn syrup) is associated with obesity, which is associated with Type II diabetes, which is associated with heart disease. Estimates suggest that in the coming decade, over one-third of Americans will be diagnosed with Type II diabetes. The news is even more grim for India, as we export our lifestyle worldwide. From cereals to soft drinks to processed foods you wouldn’t even believe have sugar in them, food companies do their best to win your addiction to sugar. Brownell is the author of a new book on food addiction. Pulitzer prize winning author, Michael Moss, has just come out with a new book on the food industry’s attempts to win you over with salt, sugar and fat, in fact this is the title of his book, Salt Sugar Fat. Well worth the read. Sugar is also associated with a suppressed immune system and an increased stress response. Yet when people are stressed, the first thing they turn to are comfort foods, processed foods and junk foods that are loaded with these empty calories.
Stress Tip for the Day
Have you ever stopped to think about the amount of sugar you consume in a day? Refined sugar is in a great many foods, from salad dressings to breads. High fructose corn syrup is also in a great many foods as well. Here is a challenge: Try to go a whole day without eating any refined sugar or any foods that contain refined sugar. It’s hard but not impossible. Consider imposing a personal ban on refined sugar for a 24- hour period. Longer if you can. So, here is your chance to substitute foods with sugar to fresh veggies, nuts and even fruit (not fruit drinks). Good luck, and remember, if you slip (through no fault of your own) do your best to continue the sugar fast. Healthy eating is not about feeling guilty. It’s about starting today with healthy behaviors.
Links, Books and Links Worth Noting
These two links will educate you on the marketing efforts of the food industry to win your dollar over your health.
And check out this link about a food industry insider:
Nancy Appleton, Ph.D., author of Suicide by Sugar, has written several books on this topic. Here is one link to her writings:
http://www.whale.to/w/appleton3.html
Quote for the Day
“The bottom line is that sugar upsets the body chemistry and suppresses the 
immune system.  Once the immune system becomes suppressed, the door is 
opened to infectious and degenerative diseases.  The stronger the immune
 system, the easier it is for the body to fight infectious and degenerative 
diseases.” –Nancy Appleton, Ph.D.
Photo For the Day
Not that we need one more photo of people trying to lose weight, but even though Colorado (where I live) is said to be the state with the lowest nationwide obesity levels, our numbers are increasing dramatically too, as evidenced here at the Colorado Irish Festival last summer.
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 the newly released, A Beautiful World: The Earth Song Journals. He can be reached through his website: www.brianlukeseaward.net
© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Stress and Your Approaching Retirement

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Baby boomers take note: Financial experts are worried about our future and for good reason… the percentage of working adults who are not preparing themselves for retirement is alarming. Millennials should take note too. There is a real paradox in the message of stress management. The goal is to live in the present moment, not feel guilty of the past or worry about the future. When it comes to saving for retirement, many people, too many people, however do live in the present moment (this behavior borders on denial yet not amount of meditation will make money manifest out of thin air). Here is the catch; to live in the present moment does not mean to avoid preparing for the future. With pensions evaporating in thin air, fluctuations in the stock market, health care issues social security, and other financial turbulence these days one cannot expect to live comfortably in the golden years without a serious sound financial strategy. Living in a society of instant gratification often leaves one empty handed in the senior years and that is code for a life of stress. To borrow the boys scout motto, “Be prepared.”
Stress Tip for the Day
If you don’t already have a financial planner, it’s time to get one (even if you have a 401k Plan at work). Ask around…querry your friends. Do your homework…A good financial planner will tell you straight up how you can expect to live based on what you have already and will suggest what you need to do if you wish to continuing living in moderate comfort (or end up being a Walmart Greeter the rest of your life).  As my financial planner said to me year a decade ago, “Don’t feel guilty about what you haven’t done. Start today and keep with it.”It’s to your advantage to know what a 401K, Roth IRA, SEP accounts are as well as the concept of multiple streams of income and passive income as well.
Links, Books and Movies Worth Noting:
Here is a PDF Financial Planner link to get you thinking about financial planning for your retirement no matter how old/young you are: Please download this and give it a serious review:
Quotes for the Day
“To enjoy a long, comfortable retirement, save more today.” —Suze Orman
“I love the Roth IRA. Tax free income in retirement is truly a great deal.” _Suze Orman
Photo For the Day
I found this image on line and thought it might reinforce what happens without a good retirement plan. 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 the newly released, A Beautiful World: The Earth Song Journals. He can be reached through his website: www.brianlukeseaward.net
© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Time to Lighten Up! Smile

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Back by popular demand, today’s blog is about the importance of comic relief in our lives. Once again we will skip the theory and go straight for the application… Enjoy!
The Burglar
A burglar broke into a house one night. He shined his flashlight around, looking for valuables when a voice in the dark said,
“Jesus knows you’re here.”
He nearly jumped out of his skin, clicked his flashlight off, and froze. When he heard nothing more, after a bit, he shook his head and continued. Just as he pulled the stereo out so he could disconnect the wires, clear as a bell he heard:
“Jesus is watching you.”
Freaked out, he shined his light around frantically, looking for the source of the voice. Finally, in the corner of the room, his flashlight beam came to rest on a parrot.
“Did you say that?” he hissed at the parrot.
“Yep,” the parrot confessed, then squawked, “I’m just trying to warn you that he is watching you.”
The burglar relaxed. “Warn me, huh? Who in the world are you?”
“Moses,” replied the bird.
“Moses?” the burglar laughed. “What kind of people would name a bird ‘Moses?’”
“The same kind of people who would name a Rottweiler ‘Jesus.’”
One Night in Shannon, Ireland
Young Paddy invited his mother for dinner, during the course of the meal his mother couldn’t help but notice how lovely Paddy’s flat mate, Joanne, was.
She had long been suspicious of a relationship between the two,
and this only made her more curious.
Over the course of the evening, while watching the two interact,
she started to wonder if there was more between young Paddy and his flat mate than met the eye.
Reading his mum’s thoughts, Young Paddy volunteered,
‘I know what you must be thinking, but I assure you,
Joanne & I are just flat mates’.
About a week later, Joanne came to young Paddy saying,
‘Ever since your mother came to dinner,
I’ve been unable to find the frying pan, you don’t suppose she took it do you??
‘Well I doubt it, but I’ll e-mail her just to be sure’ said Paddy.
So he sat down and wrote
DEAR MOTHER,
I’M NOT SAYING THAT YOU ‘DID’ TAKE THE FRYING PAN FROM MY HOUSE.
I’M NOT SAYING THAT YOU ‘DID NOT’ TAKE THE FRYING PAN
BUT THE FACT REMAINS THAT IT HAS BEEN MISSING
EVER SINCE YOU WERE HERE FOR DINNER.?
LOVE, PADDY
Several days later, Paddy received an email from his mother which read
DEAR SON,
I’M NOT SAYING THAT YOU ‘DO’ SLEEP WITH JOANNE,
AND I’M NOT SAYING THAT YOU ‘DO NOT’ SLEEP WITH JOANNE,
BUT THE FACT REMAINS THAT IF SHE WAS SLEEPING IN HER OWN BED, SHE WOULD HAVE FOUND THE FRYING PAN BY NOW!

LOVE. MAM.

Quotes for the Day
• “No matter how cynical you become, it’s never enough to keep up.“ —Lily Tomlin
• “Some guy hit my fender, and I told him, ‘Be fruitful and multiply,’ but not in those words.“ —Woody Allen
•“I used to be Snow White, but I drifted.” —Mae West
• “My wife was afraid of the dark… then she saw me naked and now she’s afraid of the light.” —Rodney Dangerfield
“Depression… is anger without the enthusiasm.” Steven Wright
• “A word to the wise ain’t necessary – it’s the stupid ones that need the advice.” —Bill Cosby
Photo For the Day
I found the photo on the Internet…Somebody had a sense of humor. 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 the newly released, A Beautiful World: The Earth Song Journals. He can be reached through his website: www.brianlukeseaward.net
© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Stress and Belief Systems (Keeping and Open Mind)

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The other night I had the opportunity to hear a Peruvian speaker, Renato Longato, talk of his experience as a contactee (apparently not an uncommon experience in Peru). A contactee is someone who has had (conscious) contact with non-human life forms (aka: Aliens). Those who are familiar with the organization called IONS (Institute of Noetic Sciences) may be familiar with Edgar Mitchell, not only the founder of IONS, but the 6th Apollo astronaut to walk on the moon.  Years ago he said publically that an alien spacecraft didcrash at Roswell. In 1996 the Vatican (who has several observatories around the world) stated publically that “ET’s our brothers” (humm!) Each week, astronomers make public announcements of newly discovered planets outside our solar system (some even in the Goldie Locks zone). In giving an historical perspective of well-documented UFO history, Friday night’s speaker shared a few things that I felt worth sharing as well:
• We are not alone in the universe, we never have been.
• Aliens (from various star systems) have been visiting planet Earth for millennia.
• Several governments around the world (except ours) have released their files about UFO activity. Don’t hold your breath about the US files.
• Geomagnetic solar flares affect consciousness on planet Earth
• The human race has got to come together to solve our world problems (e.g. Global warming, nuclear power, etc) and we are at critical time to act
• Aliens are not going to save us from ourselves (Prime Directive), yet they are extremely concerned at the slow rate of progress/consciousness.
Stress Tip for The Day:
How strong is your belief system? How flexible is your belief system?  How you answer these questions might just predict your stress levels when the appearance of our space brothers becomes common place which, very likely, will happen in your lifetime. When a person’s belief system (faith) crumbles, the earth shakes (metaphorically) beneath his or her feet. STRESS! In an attempt to understand, one begins to question reality, every aspect of it. It can be a very stressful time. But it doesn’t have to be. It is important for each of us to question our beliefs every now and then, and see if they still hold water.  It is also very important to be open to new information, insights and experiences that add to our life experience; in this case, the bigger picture! The speaker from Peru invited us to cultivate a healthy cosmology as up-coming events begis to nudge people see things differently (perhaps). Time to open your mind.
Links, Movies and Books of Note:
There is no shortage of books on this topic, but here is a link to a show made my Disney (but pulled shortly thereafter) in 1998 or so. Enjoy!
Quotes of the Day:
“If they are not an advanced race from the future, are we dealing instead with a parallel universe, another dimension where there are other human races living, and where we may go at our expense, never to return to the present? ”– Jacques Vallee
Photograph of the Day
Sorry, I don’t have any photos of UFOs. I don’t have any of Sasquatch either…. But I have seen a UFO (near Machu Picchu Peru, common as squirrels they say). I took this photo of the moon, Venus and Mars in my back yard last year…. 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 the newly released, A Beautiful World: The Earth Song Journals. He can be reached through his website: www.brianlukeseaward.net
© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Stress and the 8-Minute Dinner

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A story on NPR last week spoke to the problems Americans have with regard to planning, cooking and eating meals, specifically dinner. In trying to understand the obesity epidemic various people were interviewed. To no surprise, the vast majority of people questioned said they didn’t have time to prepare meals the way they wished. Long days at the office followed by picking up kids at their various enrichment programs left moms (and dads) with enough time to nuke some prepackaged meals in the microwave or worse, trips to the fast food drive up window. Several kids stated they usually don’t eat dinner till 8:30 or 9:00 p.m. YIKES! Processed foods, junk foods or comfort foods contain very little in the way of nutrients (hence the expression: empty calories). Moreover, these processed foods are stocked with refined sugar, salt and fat. The conclusion to be drawn from this series is that lifestyles greatly impact eating behaviors and not always for the better. Secondly, Americans cram their lives with too many activities, short changing eating and sleeping, two aspects when in a deficit,  great affect one’s health status. Many people in the story explained they have dinner time down to 8 minutes so they can squeeze in everything else. My thought is this: If you only have time for an 8-minute dinner, there are more problems going on than how to prepare a meal. Time to reevaluate your life.
Stress Tip for the Day:
Back in the 70’s (perhaps earlier) people began to cook with crockpots. Although today it may seem like a dated technology, the use of crock pots (great for stews, soups, chili and many other culinary delights) is a great way to eat nutritious meals. With little effort, you can throw ingredients into a crock pot and let it simmer all day (while you are work). When you come home, the meal is hot and nutritious. The time you save can be spent having a decent 30-minute conversation with your family (no conversation of any great depth can happen in 8 mins). Please consider getting and using a crock pot as a beneficial time management technique.
Links, Books and/or Movies Worth Noting:
Here are some links with more information about crock pots, and some recipes to go with them.
Quote for the Day
“There is no app to increase the number of hours in a day, so you have to learn to manage time better yourself.”  —Anonymous
Photo For the Day
On the menu this week are heaping portions of turkey stew, as seen here brewing away in my crock pot. Yum! 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 the newly released, A Beautiful World: The Earth Song Journals. He can be reached through his website: www.brianlukeseaward.net
© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.