Saturday, May 31, 2014

How to Use Cinnamon As a Medicine

cinnamon as a medicine 

Cinnamon is one of my favorite spices. I use it a lot for flavoring food and I absolutely love its sweet scent. What’s good about it is that it’s not only smells and tastes good, it’s also full of medicinal properties that can contribute a lot to your health. This article will cover the main ailments in which you can use cinnamon as a medicine. 

Cinnamon is a spice that human kind has been familiarized with for thousands of years. Our generation has become most familiarized with the flavoring properties and aromatic benefits it has to offer. We use it to add a little kick to our baked meals, mixed into hot beverages, and in all sorts of aromatics that give off a warm cinnamon smell. The usefulness of cinnamon goes far beyond these common comforts however.

Types of cinnamon and which one to prefer

There are two major types of cinnamon for culinary use: Ceylon cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum or Cinnamomum zeylanicum, also known as “true cinnamon”) and Cassia cinnamon (Cinnamomum aromaticaum and Cinnamomum burmannii, also known as “Saigon cinnamon”). Ceylon cinnamon is native to Sri Lanka, whereas cassia cinnamon is native to Burma and also grown in China and Vietnam.

You are more likely to find cassia cinnamon in the United states and Canada which is less expensive. While both cassia and Ceylon cinnamon are derived from the inner bark of Cinnamomum trees, Ceylon cinnamon is preferable. Ceylon cinnamon is typically more expensive than any of the cassia versions, and it is also the cinnamon more closely associated with potential health benefits involving blood sugar regulation. Another advantage to Ceylon cinnamon is its very low coumarin levels. Coumarin is a naturally occurring toxin which has the potential to damage the liver in high doses, and cassia cinnamon is a main source of coumarin. So for people who are cinnamon lovers and consume large amounts of cinnamon, Ceylon Cinnamon is the best choice.

How to tell the difference between the cinnamon types – Ceylon cinnamon has a sweeter and more delicate flavor whereas cassia cinnamon is slightly darker in color and has a stronger flavor. The problem is that there is no way to distinguish between Ceylon cinnamon and cassia powders. So when you purchase cinnamon powder, try to find on the label the source of the cinnamon or call the customer service or manufacturer to find this information. If you buy a cinnamon stick, Ceylon cinnamon has a different texture than cassia stick. The bark of Ceylon cinnamon is thinner and the stick will show multiple layers of a thinner bark. Cassia stick, on the other hand, is thicker, comes in one piece and doesn’t show multiple layers of any kind.

Medicinal uses

The use of cinnamon for medicinal reasons is becoming an increasingly popular natural health practice for several reasons. First of all, it has a wide variety of medical benefits, ten of which will be discussed in this article. Then there is the natural and safe appeal it has to offer. Finally, it is one of the easiest and most delicious ways to incorporate natural health into your diet. Listed below are a few of the main reasons people use cinnamon medicinally. At the end you will find the recommended dose for this great spice.

1. Lowering Blood Sugar
If your blood sugar levels aren’t stable, neglecting to monitor them could result in serious consequences. Individuals that have difficulty with their blood sugar levels, particularly diabetics, have used cinnamon because it helps the body respond to insulin more effectively, which encourages healthy blood sugar levels. And indeed cinnamon is one of the 6 best foods to control diabetes which I wrote about in the past.

2. Lowering Cholesterol
When you’re levels of low density lipoproteins (LDL) aren’t controlled, you may face major health risks and reduced heart health. Studies have shown that a minimum of 1 gram of cinnamon a day encouraged healthier blood sugar levels amongst type 2 diabetics. You can find more information in my article how to lower cholesterol naturally.

3. Treating Yeast Infections
Treating yeast infections is one of the most surprisingly effective medical benefits that comes from cinnamon. Trials have shown that it had the ability to prevent the infection from developing even when it became resistant to medication. Cinnamon oil is the most common way for people to get the best results for this issue. For more natural treatments have a look at my article how to treat yeast infection naturally.

4. Reducing Inflammation
There were medical studies done at the University of Texas that tested how well cinnamon could help with diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer. These studies found that the cinnamon actually helped prevent inflammation in brain tissue. This secures a longer and healthier life for your brain. Read here more about the top 5 food and supplements to delay Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

5. Antioxidant Effects
When it comes to the most potent and effective antioxidants in the world, cinnamon actually places in the top seven. The body uses antioxidants to cleanse itself and keep harmful radicals from forming. They also help the cells from every part of your body recover much quicker from damage. Read here more about antioxidants and the best ways to combine then in your daily diet.

6. Anti Bacterial and Anti Fungal
When used in oil form, cinnamon has potent anti-bacterial properties and it is a great way to disinfect things in your home when mixed with water.  It is also commonly used to fight stubborn fungal infections like athletes foot.

7. Helping Digestion
Cinnamon uses the antibacterial properties mentioned above to help infected digestive tracts and promote the healthy breakdown of food. It also has been shown to ease symptoms of bloating, prevent nausea, help digest dairy, and treat diarrhoea. This has been a well-known medical use in Chinese culture for hundreds of years. You may also be interested to read about 11 eating tips for a healthier digestive system.

8. Reducing Pain
Cinnamon can effectively keep away prostaglandins, which are receptors that make your neurons more sensitive to pain. The large amount of manganese also helps encourage bone health and prevent pain brought on by arthritis.

9. Reducing Weight
Believe it or not cinnamon can also help you achieve your goals with weight loss. It increases the circulation of blood, which leads to a faster metabolic rate. It also keeps hunger at bay by metabolizing sugars and suppressing cravings. Read here more about the top 10 foods to increase your metabolism.

10. Healthy Blood Clotting
There has been a lot of medical research surrounding cinnamon’s ability to thin the blood. The studies found that it kept blood platelets from being clumped together, a problem that usually results in serious health issues.

How Much To Take

It’s hard to believe that something that we have strictly associated with holiday dishes and scented candles yields so many benefits for our bodies. With natural health practices on the rise, people are curious as to how much cinnamon they should have in a single day for optimal results.

There aren’t many strict guidelines when it comes to using cinnamon. Some professionals advise that you can get up to one teaspoon a day if you are ingesting it in powdered form. The oils and concentrates tend to vary in potency, so you should always read the instructions before using them. Although it takes a large amount, it can be toxic when used excessively. The only other piece of advice is to avoid cinnamon altogether if you are already on some form of blood thinning medicine. 

If you are interested in natural and herbal remedies, you can find more useful information in my book the Herbal Remedies Guide. This guide will teach you how to treat common ailments using herbs:

Herbal Remedies Guide

Friday, May 30, 2014

7 healthful reasons to add peas to your diet
by: Reuben Chow
There are three major types of peas - garden peas, snow peas and snap peas. When Gregor Johann Mendel, an Austrian monk and botanist, cross-bred two different types of peas, he found that the "child" had the characteristics of both "parents". The discovery that physical traits are passed from generation to generation laid the foundation for modern genetics. Today, close to 80 percent of the world's pea crop is used dried as supposed to fresh; in the US, however, 90 percent of the peas are actually consumed as fresh green peas. Here is a brief rundown of some of the health benefits of peas.

Lowers cancer risk

 Peas contain the green pigment chlorophyllin, a substance related to chlorophyll whose molecular shape enables it to combine with cancer-causing chemicals in the body. According to Mary Ellen Camire, PhD, a professor in the department of food science and human nutrition at the University of Maine in Orono, "when you eat peas, the chlorophyllin attaches to carcinogens and helps prevent them from being absorbed."

Other green vegetables also contain chlorophyllin. The greener, the better.


Peas are good sources of fiber, containing over 4g in every half-cup serving. And sufficient fiber intake is not only crucial for good digestive and intestinal health, it also helps lower one's risk of many chronic diseases.

The soluble dietary fiber contained in peas also helps to keep one's blood sugar levels steady.

Cardiovascular health

In addition, the fiber in peas helps to reduce cholesterol levels in the body, which in turn lowers one's risk of heart disease.

Furthermore, research has found that consuming peas can lower triglyceride levels too, again offering protective benefits against heart disease. For example, a Danish study found that people who added small amounts of pea fiber to their regular diets experienced an almost 13 percent drop in total triglyceride levels within a fortnight.

Peas also contain good amounts of folate and vitamin B6. These nutrients help the body to keep homocysteine levels in check, which is useful for cardiovascular health because high homocysteine levels are linked to high risks of heart disease and stroke.

Vitamin C

Half a cup of green peas has more than 11mg of vitamin C, a vitamin which contributes to human health in many ways, including fighting colds, lowering cancer risk and boosting immunity.
Vitamin K
Another vitamin which peas provide an abundance of is vitamin K. This vitamin plays a role in blood clotting as well as having strong bones.


Peas are a good source of protein. According to experts at the Mayo Clinic, a half-cup of peas has as much protein as one tablespoon of peanut butter, without the fat the latter also contains.


Peas contain numerous essential minerals as well, including manganese, magnesium, iron, phosphorous and potassium.

Eating peas

One point to note is that while green (fresh) peas are a good source of vitamins C and K as well as carotenes, dried peas actually contain very little of them. Furthermore, due to their lower water content, dried peas contain a higher proportion of calories than fresh green peas.

Thus, broadly speaking, fresh peas would provide better nutrition than dried ones. Go for the greenest peas, and avoid darkened pods as well as those which look pale or are dotted with mildew specks. Water-soaked peas would not taste very good.

Dr. Camire also suggested that a half-cup of shelled peas would provide better nutritional value than an equal amount of podded peas, as the peas themselves actually contain most of the fiber, niacin, phosphorus, thiamin, vitamin A, riboflavin and folate found in the food.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

50 Great Ways to Use Coconut Oil
by Anthony N.
1) Cooking at High Heat - Some oils are unsafe to cook with at high temperatures, coconut oil is a great alternative. Check out our Guide to Cooking Oils to find the healthiest cooking oils for whatever meal you are creating.

2) On Toast Instead of Butter - Simply use coconut oil instead of butter on your toast.

3) Eat it by the Spoonful - Coconut oil is that delicious and healthful. Enjoy one spoonful each morning.

4) Smoothies - Add one tablespoon of coconut oil into your favorite smoothie recipe and increase your energy with the oil's MCTs. Check out this post for the Top Smoothie Ingredients.

5) Fry Eggs - Lightly coat the bottom of your skillet with coconut oil to create a non-stick surface and delicious eggs.

6) Popping Popcorn - A sweet twist on a classic snack! To make stovetop popcorn, you need a heavy-bottomed pan. First, add the coconut oil and popcorn to the pot. Coat the area of the pot with the oil, and use just enough popcorn to make a single layer over the bottom of the pot. Give the pot a little shake to make sure all of the kernels are coated with oil. Next, place the pot over medium heat. Put the lid on the pot, leaving it slightly open so that steam can escape. It should take about five minutes for the popcorn to pop completely.

7) Popcorn Topping - Instead of butter, melt a little coconut oil and pour it over your popped popcorn. Then sprinkle lightly with Himalayan crystal salt.

8) Oven Baked Sweet Potato Chips - Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Thinly slice sweet potatoes to about 1/8” thick.  Place slices on a baking sheet and brush lightly with coconut oil. Bake for about 15 minutes or until chips are lightly brown.  Add salt to taste, and serve with salsa or dip. (Or just eat them plain – either way they’re delicious!)

9) Replace Vegetable Oil for Baking - Next time you make your favorite brownie recipe, replace the vegetable oil with coconut oil. Your friends will be begging you for the recipe.

10) Pan Frying - Next time you fry up a batch of sweet potato fries or a piece of chicken, use coconut oil.

11) Grilled Cheese with Coconut Oil - No need for butter the next time you are making a grilled cheese sandwich. 

12) Coconut Oil Coffee - Adding a spoonful to your coffee is a delicious way to start your day with a huge energy boost! Here is a great recipe for coconut oil coffee.

13) Homemade Granola - Check out this delicious recipe for coconut granola.

14) A Spoonful in Tea - Allow some coconut oil to melt and mildly flavor your next cup of tea. 

15) Salad Dressings - A simple recipe for a salad dressing with coconut oil can be found here.

Coconut Oil Skin Care

16) Cheekbone Highlighter - Apply a small amount on cheekbones over makeup.

17) Shaving Lotion - Close shave and a moisturizer at the same time.

18) Facial Scrub - Combine coconut oil with Himalayan crystal salt and apply to face each night. Washing it off is optional.

19) Body Scrub - Combine coconut oil and sugar. Check out this DIY Sugar Scrub recipe.

20) Makeup Remover - Healthier, stronger and longer eye lashes are just a bonus!

21) Homemade Deodorant - You only need a few ingredients in addition to coconut oil to make this simple deodorant recipe.

22) Homemade Lip Balm or Lip Gloss - Apply directly or create a flavored version with this simple lip balm recipe.

23) Diaper Rash Cream - Apply regularly to the baby's bottom to improve skin health.

24) Sexual Lubricant - Our Facebook fans swear by this one :)

25) Stretch Mark Preventer During Pregnancy - This safe, healthy oil can be applied multiple times each day to help moisturize your stretching skin.

26) Nipple Cream During Breastfeeding - Coconut oil is a popular choice for nursing mothers because it is a natural safe product.

27) Massage Oil - Coconut oil is the perfect choice for a massage oil. Not too greasy and with a relaxing scent.

28) Body Moisturizer - Apply directly after showering. 

29) Fade Age Spots - Rub on hands or other areas daily.

30) Sunburn Care - A great moisturizer to use after you've gotten a bit too much sun.

31) Facial Moisturizer - After you wash your face, massage a light layer on your skin.

32) Mix in Bath Water - Melt about 1/4 cup in the microwave and add it to your bath water and soak.

33) Tanning Oil - Put in a spray bottle and bring to beach. Spray on to keep skin moisturized.

34) Dry Feet Treatment - Mix with salt to form a foot scrub.

35) Elbow Rub - Helps manage the dry skin on your elbows.

Coconut Oil Hair Care

36) Leave-in Overnight Conditioner - Looking for a deep conditioning hair treatment? Rub a small amount of oil into hair (mostly at ends), comb through and put hair in a loose bun before bed, and wash out in the morning.

37) Hair Flyaway Tamer - Use very sparingly on ends or areas with flyaways.

38) Defrizzer of Split Ends - Just put a tiny amount on your hands and run them through the frizzy areas.

39) Static Reducer - Rub your hands together with a little bit of coconut oil on them and run them through your static-y hair.

Other Healthy Uses for Coconut Oil

40) Homemade Toothpaste - Combine equal parts coconut oil and baking soda. Sweeten with stevia and flavor with your favorite essential oil.

41) Aromatherapy - Whether you like coconut or not, the soothing aroma of coconut oil is pleasing to us all and can help us wind down after a long, stressful day. Read The Beginner's Guide to Aromatherapy.

42) Wound Care - Although you may not be ready to give up your Neosporin, coconut oil can even be used as a topical protector for wounds, shielding them with a thin chemical layer from outside contaminants. You can apply a small amount of coconut oil to small scrapes and cuts.

43) Metabolism Booster - 2 tablespoons per day are proven to rev up your metabolism.

44) Thyroid Supporter - Regular coconut oil consumption has been shown to support healthy thyroid function.

45) Energizer - 1 teaspoon can give you a burst of energy instead of turning towards a caffeinated energy drink.

46) Oil Pulling - Swish coconut oil around in your mouth for 10 minutes before brushing. Read next: Oil Pulling: Health Benefits or Healthy Hype?

Using Coconut Oil Around The House

47) Season a Cast Iron Pan - Here is a nice explanation of how to season a cast iron pan with coconut oil.

48) Use it as a lubricant on small motors/electronics - One Facebook fan uses it to keep his juicer's motor in top working condition.

Coconut Oil for Animals

49) Feed it to your Dog or Cat - Coconut oil isn't just healthy for humans. Here is some good info on the benefits for dogs and cats.

50) Put It On Your Cat's Paw - Put half a teaspoon on your kitty's paw to keep a shiny coat and cut down on hairballs.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Garden update 5/27/14

 5/27/14 - View from North East of the garden
  5/27/14 - First row - 2 Pineapple ground cherry tomatoes, Red Russian kale, 1 Red cabbage and one green cabbage (seeds planted today), 10 Swiss Chard, 2 rows of Spinach and 3 rows of lettuce (2 rows left to plant seeds later)
    5/27/14 - Third row - Chamomile, 3 Dino kale, leaf lettuce, Michihili cabbage, 2 Zucchini.  Seeds planted today for Iceburg lettuce, cinnamon basil and sweet Italian basil.
    5/27/14 - Fourth row - White Habanero pepper, Chinese 5 colored hot pepper, Bok Choi, spinach and Curled Scotch kale...spaces waiting for 2 more sweet pepper plants (1 Giant Szegedi sweet pepper and mini red bell Pepper)

 5/27/14 - Bok choi getting big fast! And spinach growing great from seed:)

  5/27/14 - Closeup of spinach

  5/27/14 - Curled Scotch kale doing great:)
 5/27/14 -  Supports up for the Marketmore 76 Cucumber plants 
 5/27/14 - 6 Red Russian kale...2 in the back might not make it...which is perfectly fine...soon it will be hovered over with raspberry bushes
 5/27/14 - 10 Swish Chard plants
 5/27/14 - Two rows of lettuce seeds are sprouting nicely
 5/27/14 - Clove Scented basil...I doubled them up in a few spots
 5/27/14 - The three Dino kale
 5/27/14 - The Dino kale with its neighboring camomile...growing in rich and full!
 5/27/14 - Looks like several of the collard green seeds sprouted...
 5/27/14 - Will only need one collard green plant, as they get humongous! I used a seed donated to our community I'm not sure it's the Giant Collards variety I had grown the last 2 years, but I'm sure they'll still be big:)
5/27/14 - Transplanted lettuces
5/27/14 - My Black Beauty Zucchini plants look fine...but not so much close up!
5/27/14 - My 2nd Black Beauty Zucchini plant
 5/27/14 - My Black Beauty Zucchini plants were burrowed by some bug right at the base of the stems:(
5/27/14 - Not sure if either will like last year I will plant a couple more by seed and see which will last and go from there...last year it happened too, but not quite as hollowed out as I recall, and they did end up pulling through!

 and last but not least favorite part of my garden...

  5/27/14 - I believe it's spiny burr grass...soo painful! and goes right through any gardening glove, cloth shoes, and sticks on absolutely everything! Leaving you with needle thin splinters. So this year I put plastic along the fence where the neighboring gardener doesn't weed them out at the edge, causing them to grow through my fence, it's been an ightmare the paste 2 years so I made sure to do something about it this year! This lil guy is stuck from last year, as I wasn't smart enough to not leave that row cover outdoors all was covered in them, I got most of them off.  

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

May Conscious box - Gluten-Free

May Conscious Box 2014 - Gluten-Free

How Does Conscious Box work?

Conscious Box is the best way to discover the most ethical and sustainable products on the planet! Focusing on strict tenets of organic, fair trade, and pure and natural products, each month Conscious Box will introduce you to healthy and honest alternatives for every aspect of your life and for every member of your family. Discover the best natural products, earn points for leaving feedback and reviews, and buy your favorites at incredible discounts!

  • Get a variety of unique pure & natural products every month!
  • From organic food to vegan beauty products, you’re sure to find new favorites!
  • Discover ethical and purpose-driven businesses of all sizes!
  • Get content on daily living tips, exciting monthly themes, and creative ways to use your box!
  • Easily earn points you can apply to full size products for unbeatable discounts! 

ECOVER Dishwasher Tablets
ECOVER Dishwasher Tablets

Flents Biodegradable Lens Wipes
Flents Biodegradable Lens Wipes

Crystal Body Deodorant Towelettes
Crystal Body Deodorant Towelettes
San Francisco Bay Gourmet Coffee
San Francisco Bay Gourmet Coffee

Spatone PurAbsorb Iron
Spatone PurAbsorb Iron

Mrs. May's Trio Bars
Mrs. May's Trio Bars
Vita Coco Pure Coconut Water
Vita Coco Pure Coconut Water 

Nordic Naturals Omega Boost
Caveman Foods Bar
Lovely Candy Co. Caramels
BioBag 3 Gallon Bag

    Monday, May 26, 2014

    Garden update 5/25/14

     5/25/14 - Tomatoes transplanted! Still 4 more to plant. I ordered two new small tomato plants,  Isis Candy cherry & Snow White cherry, from Lazy Ox Farm.  Then two more I've grown...I underestimated my space...lots of tomatoes this season!
     5/25/14 - Planted only two Corno di Toro Rosso red bell peppers, with several new hot peppers joining the garden this year, along with a mini bell pepper (yet to arrive from Lazy Oz farm too)
      5/25/14 - Transplanted tomatoes from the back view
       5/25/14 - Chamomile growing full...from last year
     5/25/14 - Transplanted chocolate habanero, from Lazy Ox Farm
     5/25/14 - Two Cossack Pineapple Ground Cherry plants transplanted (from Lazy Ox Farm)
     5/25/14 - Sugar Snap Peas

    Sunday, May 25, 2014

    12 ritual practices Happy, Successful People do daily

    12 Rituals Happy, Successful People Practice Every Day
    “The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.”
    ―Ralph Waldo Emerson

    by: Marc Chernoff

    Every day Angel and I work with coaching clients who say all the right things and then do the exact opposite.  They hope to experience growth, but they resist change.  They want less stress, yet they indulge in drama.  They long for better relationships, and then they refuse to trust anyone.

    In other words, what they say they want and what they do with their time are hopelessly disconnected.  And the two will never meet without intervention.
    It’s important to note, though, that I get it.  I understand where they’re coming from.  I used to make the same mistakes.  Change is hard to deal with.  Needless drama can be addictive.  Relationships take a lot of work.  I’m sure you can relate.

    In a nutshell, when it comes to working hard to achieve a substantial life goal of any kind – earning a degree, building a business, fostering a relationship, raising a family, becoming more mindful, or any other personal achievement that takes time and commitment – one thing you have to ask yourself is:
    “Am I willing to spend a little time every day like many people won’t, so I can spend the better part of my life like many people can’t?”

    Think about it.  We ultimately become what we repeatedly do.  The acquisition of knowledge doesn’t mean you’re growing – growing happens when what you know changes how you live.

    And isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back everything is different?  That’s the power of daily rituals.
    Here are twelve daily rituals for long-term happiness and success: 

    1.  Exercise your integrity.

    Living with integrity means:  Not settling for less than what you are capable of.  Communicating clearly and asking for what you want and need from people.  Speaking your truth, even when others judge you for it.  Behaving in ways that are in harmony with your morals and values.  Making choices based on what you believe, and not what others believe.  And, of course, always doing the right thing, even when it’s hard, and even when nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not.

    2.  Steer clear of drama and those who create it.

    There comes a time in life when you have to let go of all the needless drama and the people who create it.  Staying out of other people’s drama is an incredibly effective way to stress less and smile more.
    A good rule of thumb: If you can’t say it to their face, you shouldn’t say it behind their back.  As Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, and small minds discuss people.”  Life is much too short to waste time talking about people, gossiping, and stirring up drama that has no substance.  If you don’t know, ask.  If you don’t agree, say so.  If you don’t like it, speak up.  But never judge people behind their back.  (Read The Four Agreements.)

    3.  Replace judgment with encouragement.

    No one truly knows what they will do in a certain situation until they are actually in it.  Yes, it’s very easy to judge someone else’s actions by what you assume your own actions would be if you were in their shoes.  But you only know what you THINK you would do, not what you WOULD do.
    The truth is, we tend to judge others by their actions and ourselves by our ideals.  So do your best to catch yourself when this happens.  Remember that when we judge or criticize another person, it says nothing about that person, and everything about our own need to be critical.
    Bottom line:  We have enough critics in this world.  Be an encourager.  You’ll see why.

    4.  Be positive and spend time with positive people.

    Happiness is not the absence of problems, but the ability to deal with them.  Raise your awareness to your own inner strength and positivity.  You are in charge of how you react to the people and events in your life.  You can either give negativity power over your life, or you can choose to be positive instead by focusing on the great things that are truly important.  So talk about your blessings more than you talk about your problems.  Just because you’re struggling doesn’t mean you’re failing.  Every great success requires some kind of worthy struggle to get there.
    In addition, do your best to spend more time with positive people and less time with negative ones.  People that deliberately doubt, judge and disrespect you are not worth your long-term time and attention.

    5.  Make new choices as needed, rather than letting old ones make you.

    You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world, but you do have some say in who and what hurts you.  After all, who we ultimately become depends, in part, on who and what we let into our lives.  So don’t just settle for relationships and situations that have proven to be unworthy.  Exercise your right to choose differently.
    Be the hero of your life, not the victim.  You may not control all the circumstances that happen to you, but you can decide not to be continuously reduced by the same ones.

    6.  Simplify whatever you can, whenever you can.

    As E.F. Schumacher once said, “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent.  It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.”
    Simplifying is not seeing how little you can get by with – that’s poverty – but how efficiently you can put first things first, and use your time accordingly to pursue the things that make a lasting difference in your life.  Less really is more.  Instead of adding, improve your life by subtracting.  Get rid of unnecessary clutter, negative influences and toxic relationships.  There is a big difference between what you want and what you need – between what’s excessive and what’s essential.

    7.  Uphold your truth.

    Too many of us prefer gentle lies to hard truths.  But make no mistake, in the end it’s better to be hurt by the truth than comforted by a lie.  Especially if this lie is tied to your identity in any way.  Because you can pretend for a while, but you can’t get away from yourself.  You can’t decide not to see and feel yourself anymore.  You can’t decide to turn off the noise in your head and be someone else entirely.
    Don’t try to be what “they” like – be who you are.  The people worth spending time with are interested in others who are confident enough to be themselves.  And that works out well, because you won’t be happy being anyone else.  (Read The Gifts of Imperfection.)

    8.  Express your love without reservations.

    Love is a verb.  Act on it.  Today, be the reason someone feels incredibly loved and needed.  Give your love away like your life depends on it.
    Many moons from now, people won’t remember what clothes you wore, the car you drove, and maybe not even your name.  But they will remember how you made them feel and the positive memories you gave them.  The true impact you make on people will depend on the time and attention you give to teaching those who know less, caring for those who have less, supporting those who are striving, and tolerating those who are different than you.  All of which represent the full expression of your love.

    9.  Nurture your relationship with your significant other.

    Intimate love is not just about finding the right person, but working with them to create the right relationship.  It’s not about how much love you have in the beginning, but how much love you build and nurture until the end.  A relationship should be healthy, caring, loving, kind, upbeat and positive.  It should make your smile a little wider and your life a little brighter in the long run.
    A relationship like this sounds great, but it isn’t easy.  It takes time and attention, and two people who are willing to work together every day to build something special.

    10.  Loosen your grip on what’s not meant to fit in to your life.

    Things will happen that you will not always understand, but maybe you’re not supposed to understand everything.  Maybe you’re just supposed to have faith, accept it and let it happen.
    So never force anything.  Give it your best shot, and then let it be.
    Most negative circumstances are only a part of your life because you keep thinking about them.  Positive things happen in your life when you emotionally distance yourself from the negative things.  So stop holding on to what hurts, and make room for what feels right.  Don’t let what is out of your control interfere with all the things you can control.

    11.  Embrace your humanness.

    “Human” is the only real label we are born with.  Yet we forget so easily.
    To become attached to an opinionated label of depressed, divorced, diseased, rejected, or poor, is to be like the rain, that doesn’t know it is also the clouds… or the ice, that forgets it is water.  For we are far more than the shape we’re currently in.  And we, like the wind, water, and sky, will change forms many times in our lives, while forever remaining beautifully human.

    12.  Ask yourself the right questions.

    Voltaire once said, “Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.”  This is such sound advice, because if you keep asking yourself the wrong questions, you will never get an answer you like.

    What questions are you asking yourself?  Are they helping you better understand your purpose?  Or do they have your mind spinning in circles?
    Truth be told, the questions you’re regularly exposed to act as guideposts that have a powerful influence on the direction of your life.  And, not surprisingly, the questions you hear most often come directly from YOU.  So instead of looking outside yourself for answers, start asking yourself the right questions.  For instance…
    • “Who am I?”
    • “What do I need?”
    • “How do I function best?”
    • “What do I have to give?”
    • “What’s the next step I can take right now?”
    It’s all about self-inquiries that help you stay true to your principles, pursue your desires, grow through adversity, and add value to the world around you.  (Angel and I cover hundreds of important life questions as a theme that radiates through every chapter of our book, 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
    Photo by: ePi Longo

    Saturday, May 24, 2014

    Garden update 5/22/14

     5/23/14 - 1st row - of Red Russian kale, Swiss chard, spinach and lettuce
      5/23/14 - 2nd row - Snap peas
      5/23/14 - 3rd row - Chamomile, Dino kale, lettuce, collard greens and Black beauty zucchini
      5/23/14 - close up of the 3 dino kale
      5/23/14 - Close up of the black beauty zucchini
      5/23/14 - 4th row - Bok Choi, spinach, Curled Scott kale and Marketmore 76 cucumber
      5/23/14 - Close up of Curled Scott kale and spinach (growing from seed, all sprouted:)
      5/23/14 - Close of up lettuce (transplanted)
      5/23/14 - Collard green sprouted:)
      5/23/14 - Michinili cabbage
      5/23/14 - close up of Marketmore 76 cucumber
     5/23/14 - Close up of Bok Choi and spouted Spinach