Category: Health (Page 1 of 5)

Wherever You Go There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn

wherever you go there you areThe title of this book, Wherever You Go There You Are, speaks to the present moment. No matter what we think about, the present moment is truly all we have. In this simple book, Kabat-Zinn helps us to be more mindful of the present moment. This book is written for those who are new to the practice of mindfulness or those who have cultivated a meditation practice.

Buddhists warn of ignorance or mindlessness when we become too involved in the past or the future or even in the actions of others. Kabat-Zinn presents the practice of mindful meditation as a way to understand the present self as it unfolds, moment by moment. It is a practice that is beyond any Eastern philosophy. The author presents mindfulness that is self-responsible and not self-absorbed.

The book is organized into three parts: Part One provides the background to introduce and deepen practice of mindfulness into your life; Part Two examines formal meditation practice; Part Three explores a variety perspectives on mindfulness. Occasionally, Kabat-Zinn shares some poems, like this one:

The heavy is the root of the light.

The unmoved is the source of all movement.

Thus the Master travels all day

without leaving home.

However splendid the views,

she stays serenely in herself.

Why should the lord of the country

flit about like a fool?

If you let yourself be blown to and fro,

you lose touch with your root.

If you let restlessness move you,

you lose touch with who you are.

Lao-Tzu, Tao-te-Ching

This is the 10th Anniversary Edition of Wherever You Go There You Are; I hope to see a 20th Anniversary Edition. I have read other books on meditation, and they sometimes seem a little austere. Kabat-Zinn makes meditation accessible. He delivers a kindness that adults often find difficult to allow themselves. Kabat-Zinn gives us permission to stop the hectic pace of our modern lives and find a place of quiet within.

Original to Well-Being Magazine

A Boundary-less Life: From Brokenness to Healing    

There is no denying that books have the power to change our lives. The extent to which their contents affects us may vary, but there is not a one that has not gifted me with additional insight, understanding, and knowledge. I have come to realize that books are like people; you learn something from even the worst of them.


While viewing all books as an opportunity for personal enrichment, I must also distinguish those that have affected my life more deeply than others. The book, Boundaries, by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend is one that not only impacted me deeply, but changed my life. I read it after graduating from college the summer of 2014. I walked away from Boundaries a different person, a much healthier person. My only regret is that I didn’t read it sooner; that it wasn’t recommended to me sooner. I have spent the last year shouting its merit from every available rooftop, and I am thrilled to be able to share its impact on me with those that walk through the door at Lemuria.


Jacket (12)The book claims that it tells you “when to say yes, how to say no, to take control of your life.” The claim is not made falsely. In reading its pages, I found both healing and empowerment for the broken person I had become. With the best of intentions, I had drained my personal resources to a scary number well below zero. With a naturally empathetic heart, I had taken on my shoulders the responsibility for those around me. They needed my help. They needed to be shown what it looked like to be loved and cared for, because I truly loved and cared for them. Most importantly in my mind, and also the most draining and difficult: I needed to be what they needed me to be for them. These were all lovely ideas, that ended badly for me. They were unsustainable, as all unhealthiness generally is. I ran into the foundational principle of economics, in that we are faced with scarce resources; and I realized first hand that that principle not only applies to the market place, but to my personal life as well. I am so thankful for the brokenness in my life that led a dear friend to loan me her copy of Boundaries.


I hope that everyone discovers their own personal boundaries sooner than I did, via this book or from another source. I also do know that there are some people out there that do not struggle with boundaries as much I did, but I still recommend this book to you. I firmly believe that there is something valuable in its contents to be gleaned for everyone. For those that do struggle like I did (and do), I hope that the knowledge of personal boundaries and their necessity for healthy relationships can be understood sooner and in a more pretty fashion than mine were. I recommend the contents of Boundaries to both the young and old. I cannot think of a season in life where boundaries are not important. I particularly challenge you to consider buying this book for the young people in your lives, that are just embarking on their path in life. You never know, you might gift them with something incredible; you might change their life.



Slow Gardening by Felder Rushing

Slow Gardening is inspired by the Slow Food movement, a movement which supports local food sources and biological and cultural diversity. Felder Rushing’s Slow Gardening supports a similar movement in gardening which encourages us to pay closer attention to the rhythm and seasons in our own gardening community and follow our creative intuition.

Felder’s book is geared toward the new or intermediate gardener, but as a veteran gardener, I found it a refreshing read. The book is laid out in a beautiful and reader friendly format with stories and examples from Felder’s and other gardens. Each section is peppered with quotes which speak to life lessons and gardening. Some of Felder’s advice might seem like common sense, but even the most experienced gardeners can use these reminders because gardening can be trying at times! Perhaps that is why Felder includes an entire section on “Garden Psychology.” Felder also deals with the “Nuts and Bolts” of gardening, dealing with pests, and learning how to compost and fertilize properly.

Slow Gardening is the perfect gift for yourself or your gardening friend as we gear up for another growing season.

Written by Lisa Newman

Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition

wholeMaybe you’ve read The China Study by the father and son team T. Colin Campbell and Thomas M. Campbell at the urging of a doctor or family member.  The 79-year-old father, T. Colin Campbell, has just published a new book this year called Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition. You might ask: Why read another book on nutrition? While The China Study centered on the evidence that a plant-based diet is the best for us, Whole focuses on why it is so difficult to get this information to people and what needs to be done to bring about real change in the human diet and the Western health-care system. It is not necessary to have read The China Study to benefit from Whole.

Campbell divides Whole into three parts. In Part I he shares background on how he came to write The China Study and some of the criticisms that have come out since its publication in 2005 as a way to understand the philosophies presented in Whole. In Part II Campbell argues that one of the biggest barriers to health and long life is the “mental prison” of Western science and medicine. Thousands of researchers work in specialized medicine with no awareness of the big picture, as if each problem stood alone disconnected from any other problem; research with a big-picture is shunned and rarely funded by the medical establishment. In Part III Campbell takes a look at how profit is the rule of our health-care system and how it stops us from making sound decisions about our quality of life. Part IV looks at how economic forces of government and private institutions manipulate public information to increase profit.

Whole is a rigorous examination nutrition science with some direction from Campbell about what we can do to change our culture. At the very least, Whole will put you in the frame of mind to reevaluate how you care for your self and your community.

Click here for Pat’s blog on The China Study.

The Happiness Diet

happiness dietThe title, The Happiness Diet, did not lead me to believe there was much to this book. My first impression was that it was just going to tell me a lot of fluff about some foods believed to make you happy. Well, I was wrong. This book is an easy-to-read, in-depth yet pragmatic look at the ills of the Modern American Diet (MAD) and how we got there, an explanation of how nutrients work together to do wonderful things for our bodies, and solutions to leave behind the MADness.

The Modern American Diet (MAD) consists largely one of simple sugars and refined carbohydrates which fool us into thinking we’re hungry when we’re not. MAD’s second largest source of calories are from refined vegetable and seed oils which have been linked to increased risk for depression. Another contributor to our MADness is factory farmed meat pumped full of antibiotics and hormones. With MAD you can “expand your waistline and starve your brain at the same time.” Studies are also showing that individuals on MAD have increased levels of depression, anxiety, mood swings, hyperactivity and a broad range of mental and emotional problems.

I have been carrying this book around with me for about two weeks. I have enjoyed it so much because it reaffirms the healthy choices I already make. One of my favorite parts of this book explains how different nutrients work together and the subsequent suggestions on food pairings. It also gave me new ideas on healthy eating as the last part of the book contains a diet plan and recipes. For example, I made hummus with red beans (antioxidant champions) instead of chick peas.

mississippi farmer's market

Mississippi Farmer’s Market


Yesterday I went to the Mississippi Farmer’s Market to get fresh veggies as our garden is not quite in full production yet. Here is a list of places to get Local Happy Foods. Each of these markets is unique.

If you know of any other markets in the area you like to go to, please add a comment.

 Mississippi Farmer’s Market Facebook Page

Located in Downtown Jackson off High Street.

Open every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 8 am until 2 pm.

Fresh eggs on Saturday!

Fresh Local Produce in Fondren

3139 North State Street

I think this market is open almost every day. I have not been yet!

Livingston Farmer’s Market Facebook Page

129 Mannsdale Road, Madison, Mississippi 39110

Thursdays 4-8, May – October

Fresh produce, music, wine garden, kid fun!

Fat for Thought: How the Food Giants Hooked Us

salt sugar fatThe book Salt, Sugar, Fat was written by investigative reporter and Pulitzer prize winner, Michael Moss. The book is the result of Moss’ outrage and curiosity; why are Americans succumbing to diabetes (26 million Americans)? why are 1 in 5 children in the USA considered obese? why is the “health crisis” costing our country 300 billion dollars a year?

With his nose to the grindstone, his head buried beneath copious stacks of paper, and his ears buzzing from interviews with food industry higher-ups (to the likes of Coca-cola, Nabisco, Kraft, Kellogg, Nestle and more), Moss exposes the machinations of the industry that processes hard-to-resist foods and thus has bought bulging American bellies.

According to Moss, these companies use manipulative advertising as well as scientific research–hundreds of scientists are paid to study the mechanisms of digestion and food selection–in order to addict us to our food. He relates food addiction and people’s inability to stop eating to the powerlessness of drug addicts and alcoholics over drugs and alcohol.

blue bell no sugarEven after people fearing diseased bodies demanded healthier alternatives to many processed foods be made available, the food industry continued to produce harmful, processed. In fact, the industry began to manipulate foods by changing the ratios of fat, sugar, and salt. For instance, on the freezer-aisle of your local grocery store, you can happily pick what you think is a No Sugar ice cream and never realize that in the process of reaching the “bliss point”–the perfect balance of taste that makes us crave something–the fat and salt have been increased to make up the difference in the loss of sugar.

The “bliss point” is merely the highest delectibility of a food, the point at which we reach the highest pleasure. The term is one coined by the industry and is a very important point for sales. Taste buds are not isolated to the mouth; they go all the way down, through the esophagus and the stomach. That is a big audience for food to please, and by altering their products, the food industry seeks to sing to them all.

john harvey kelloggToward the beginning of the book, we meet a young medical student John Harvey Kellogg in the 1890’s who recognized the relationship between food and health. He founded the Battle Creek Sanitarium near Detroit to provide health-treatments for health-conscious people. The facility was comprised of a gymnasium, a solarium, an exotic enclosed garden where a staff of 1000 per 400 “guests” provided purging enemas, exercise regimens, soaks and strict diets. No sugar was allowed in the sanitarium. Meat and fat were practically non-existent. “He served wheat gluten mush, oatmeal crackers, graham rolls and a tea made from a South African grass.” He crowned whole grains as the ultimate healthy prince of all foods. His intentions were good.

kelloggs corn flakesHowever, a Kellogg brother joined the business and things began to change. This Kellogg, Will, was the money maker and he dreamed up some new grain foods that were enticing. One day while John Harvey was in Europe minding his business, Will bought some sugar and threw it in a corn flake the two had created. The sanitarium guests went wild, their bliss points excited, and thus began Kellogg’s Toasted Cornflakes. Moss goes on to describe how the food industry progressed through the next century.

Fast forward to the now generation. In the 21st century our country is getting fatter and suffering from diabetes, clogged arteries, fluid retention, and is just, plain nutritionally sick. Moss relates a story of concerned parents in Philadelphia teaming-up on a cold, blustery day to detain schoolchildren going to buy their breakfast in the convenience stores lining the path to school. Rather than boycotting or coercing the students, the parents sought to educate the kids: nothing in those stores will substitute a nutritious, balanced breakfast at home.

yogurt barSome of the kids were convinced not to go into the stores, but some went anyway. One of the men on the team saw his wife coming down the street with their two kids. She rushed into one of the stores in search of a healthy snack. They had been in such a rush to get to school on time, they had skipped their breakfast. She came out with fruit and yogurt breakfast bars, thinking they were a healthy alternative since the label claimed they were high in calcium. However, the so-called calcium enhanced bar “had more sugar, and less fiber, than an Oreo.”oreo

Moss is such a superb writer. Much like Curtis Wilkie’s The Fall of the House of Zeus, this expose reads like a fast paced thriller. The book is eye-opening; peppered (not salted) with stories that are as vivid as those a parent tells a child before lights-out at bedtime.

Moss concludes that we need to become more conscious of what we put in our mouths, outraged that our diets can be manipulated by industry, and educated to make better choices of the food we eat. Perhaps with a big enough percentage of concerned people who want to live healthy, long lives, our choices will begin to turn the industry around, i.e. better products as well as a profit.

In the meantime, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and stay away from the inner aisles of the grocery store.

Wheat Belly Cookbook

wbcA Gluten-Free Diet may seem like one of the many passing diet fads, however Dr. William Davis’ Wheat Belly Cookbook makes what may seem like an impractical or impossible diet a possible lifestyle. “Wheat is not the ‘healthy whole grain’ it was pretending to be…it is in reality a major contributor to the world’s worst epidemic of obesity” says Davis in his introduction.

mini-pizzas-410x290_0Between recipes for Pecan-Breaded Pork Chops and Chocolate Almond Biscotti, Davis intersperses success stories from people who have become healthier by steering clear of gluten. For some the change in diet was due to health problems, but for most it was a desire for change and a healthier lifestyle.

By far the best part of this recipe book are the gluten-free bread recipes: herbed focaccia, breadsticks, walnut raisin bread, the list goes on. Not only are these recipes gluten-free, but they also use carbohydrates that don’t raise blood-sugar. Even if you aren’t willing to commit to staying away from your favorite pasta or sandwich, these recipes are a wonderful way to introduce a healthier lifestyle to your family, even if it is just one night a week.

Get Thinner This Year

As people move into middle age, most of us get fatter. Since I was 30, I’ve felt that exercise was my path to good physical and mental health. Now over 30 years later, I’ve realized how important an early decision concerning this truth has been for me.

younger_next_year-656x1024Around 10 years ago I read Chris Crowley’s first book Younger Next Year. I quickly identified with his message and put some of his ideas into practice. Over time, I’ve added more of his suggestions and have been waiting for his next book, Thinner This Year.

Now, not only is Thinner This Year finally here, but Chris Crowley and Jen Sacheck are coming to Lemuria February 6th at 5 PM.


Chris Crowley

Thinner This Year is very much about the science of nutrition and the role nutrition plays with exercise in weight control and losing those extra pounds. Chris argues that exercise IS an elixir of youth and can reverse the aging process inside cells. As I’m growing older, I want to keep enjoying my lifestyle. Thanks to Chris and Jen, I’m better identifying what matters most to me. They challenge us to take aging into our own hands. By sharing their ideas in alternating chapters, the co-authors’ enthusiastic approach to a healthier lifestyle helps us stick to our diet and fitness regiments.


This book is NOT about extremes. It does not cast severe judgement, it just increases your health awareness and initiates you on the path to better health. Exercise leads to weight control which leads to better health; the healthier we are the more fun we can have. The choice is ours. We choose how we want to age, it’s our responsibility to our body and mind. A balance of our physical work with our conscious choices leads to proper aging. Proper aging is rewarded with a joyful attitude.

Since I’ve read Younger This Year and applied Chris’s ideas to my own lifestyle, I have been better off. As I said in my last blog, I’ve never met Chris, so I’m excited to hear him speak and to thank him for helping me make my time at 62 healthier.

However, I’ve been a little sluggish getting started with my diet and exercise in 2013. I’m selfishly hoping Chris and Jen will give me a swift kick in the pants to get me motivated. Please join us come out and join me this Wednesday at 5PM for an evening of fun conversation about health. You never know, maybe you might get a swift kick, too.

Critical Decisions by Peter A. Ubel, M.D.

The other night I found myself frozen in front of the television as I watched a couple work out the details of the husband’s end-of-life care. It was heartbreaking and brave. It was also frightening when I imagined myself in their shoes.

This couple was being interviewed because they were at an unusual hospital where self-directed care was the norm. As hard as it was, patients were empowered by making their choices for their end-of-life care with their physician. As a result, patients could devote their time and energy to their loved ones and to the activities they enjoyed the most.

In a typical visit to the doctor we can all understand how easy it is to forget questions we need to ask and to sometimes not understand what the doctor is telling us. The fault lies on both sides. Doctors and patients can make mistakes in communication that can result in serious consequences. Furthermore, if the patient does not understand her situation, how can she explain it to her family members?

Needless to say, I was primed for the topic, when a friend recommended Critical Decisions by Dr. Peter A. Ubel, a physician and behavioral scientist. Dr. Ubel has combined his own research in doctor/patient relationships with his personal experience of caring for loved ones during difficult times. With Dr. Ubel’s compassionate reflection on medical care choices, Critical Decisions shows how patients and doctors can improve their communication skills.

Initially, this book made me uneasy, but once I read Dr. Ubel’s stories I felt I could use these lessons to make better decisions and increase my quality of life. I like what Dr. Ubel says in his bio: “My research and writing explores the quirks in human nature that influence our lives — the mixture of rational and irrational forces that affect our health, our happiness and the way our society functions. My goal is to show you, in an entertaining way, why the key to living better, healthier lives, and improving the societies we live in, is to understand human nature.”

Critical Decisions by Peter A. Ubel, M.D. September 2012, HarperOne.

well-being jan-feb 2This review of Critical Decisions was featured on The Book Shelf of Mississippi’s very own Well-Being magazine. We are proud to contribute to Well-Being and always enjoy working with the Well-Being team. Mississippi is lucky to have such a great magazine and Lemuria has copies to pick-up for free at the Fiction Desk! Well-Being magazine is great way to keep up with local healthy events and fitness activities. You can also follow Well-Being on Facebook.

Get off the couch! Chris Crowley & Dr. Jen Sacheck are coming to Lemuria!

A couple of years ago, as I turned 60-years-old, I wrote a blog about Chris Crowley’s Younger Next Year. I expressed how much I was affected by Chris’s lifestyle suggestions.

At 55, I had been jogging for 25 years, and my legs were nearing a running end. I didn’t want to give up that lifestyle, but that’s what I was facing. Chris’s younger book inspired me to find other exercise pleasures. I started more stretching and explored strength building. My biggest change was switching to stationary bike riding and not minding its boredom. I don’t watch television so getting into this exercise was a mental challenge. With enough diligence and practice, I’m now enjoying my jogging replacement. This pleasure has led to outside biking, enhanced by the convenience of the Ridgeland bike trails. My back and knees told me biking was my new path.

thinner this yearI’ve never met Chris or just been able to say thanks for sharing his helpful book about increasing your lifestyle pleasures. However, on February 6th, I will be able to thank him. After many requests to his publisher, Chris Crowley and Dr. Jen Sacheck will visit Jackson to discuss his new book Thinner This Year: A Diet and Exercise Program for Living Strong, Fit, and Sexy.

Chris Crowley and Jen SacheckI can’t share my excitement about Chris and Jen’s visit enough. If you haven’t found your Younger Next Year for men or Younger Next Year for Women, check them out. They might be good guides for your own lifestyle change.

Also, if your body is carrying a few extra pounds, consider Chris’s new book, Thinner This Year. Thinner is not really a diet book but a book for changing your lifestyle permanently. It will give you ideas on new ways to live happier and be more content with yourself as you age.

Chris Crowley and nutritionist Dr. Jen Sacheck will be signing and speaking at Lemuria at 5:00 & 5:30 on Wednesday, February 6th. Grab a friend or two and get ready for some no nonsense inspiration for better living! More details here.

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