Walking and Creativity

Hilton Head Walking 700 x 400

In our last two segments, we learned how important walking is for our health—besides burning calories—and the benefits gained when we put one foot in front of the other.

But that isn’t all there is to walking. I recently read an article on Leslie Sansone’s Walk At Home Facebook page that highlighted a Sanford University study on walking and creativity. How does walking help you? Does it contribute to your better health? Does it enhance your mental capacities? Does it boost creativity?

These were some of the questions Stanford researchers had when they looked at two groups of people: those who walked and those who just sat at their desk. We already know that walking is beneficial for all of us and contributes to our better health but could walking boost our creativity levels enhancing mental capacities? According to co-authors Marily Oppezzo and Daniel Schwartz, both with Stanford Graduate School of Education, creative thinking improves while a person is walking as well as shortly thereafter.

Maybe you can related if you’ve been stuck on something you’ve been working on for some time, and you even got up and paced back and forth in an effort to come up with some new ideas. Did it help? Probably more times than not, walking as you paced actually enhanced your mental ability to think.

The study found that walking—either outdoors or indoors—boosted creative inspiration. They concluded that the walking itself was the main factor, not so much the environment in which they walked. Another of their experiments found that walking indoors or outdoors produced twice as many creative responses compared to a person staying seated at their desk. Creative juices flowed for those sitting yet the ‘walkers’ had increased creativity.

Many well-known CEO’s have practiced the creativity increase when they’ve held some of their meetings ‘on foot’. Steve Jobs was one to have walking meetings as well as Mark Zuckerberg.

We definitely agree with Marily Oppezzo when she concluded that physical activity is important and sitting too long in unhealthy. They discovered that walking can increase your creativity and thinking ability.

So, do you need a new idea? Do you need some inspiration? Get out into God’s world, enjoy the beauty He’s created, and expect that He’ll give you some new creative ideas as you walk, walk, walk.

More About Walking

Grandpa and Braeden Hiking

Yesterday we touched on some of the basic health benefits of walking, and today we’ll look at these in more detail. Walking is the most natural exercise that keeps the blood flowing in your body. Without proper blood circulation, you aren’t able to do as much, and you’ll end up sitting more than you should.

I know people with diabetes often have more trouble with their circulation. It’s so important to keep the blood flowing through your body, keeping your heart pumping so you can enjoy this life God has given you. Walking, even at a slower pace, helps circulate the blood throughout your body. When you start walking, you may feel out of breath but if you keep at it, you’ll find your breathing gets easier and you have more energy. Don’t give up because you’re tired. Do a little more tomorrow than you did today and you’ll notice a change. You’ll also burn more calories and along the way lose some weight.

Walking also helps lubricate your joints. As you age your joints may get a little stiffer. If you feel stiff, you just need to get the blood flowing and loosen up your muscles. Daily walking can definitely keep your joints loosened up so it is easier to move.

Walking also keeps your muscles strong so they don’t atrophy—lose their strength—and you definitely don’t want that to happen. I’ve watched some weight-training videos for ‘seniors’ where they use an unopened soup can as weight. They start by lifting the can up with one hand and then with the other hand. It isn’t a heavy weight, but even doing something like this could keep you from getting to a point of total inability or use of your muscles.

The exercise you derive from aerobic walking is probably the most beneficial. It’s also referred to as interval walking, and it’s where you start walking at a slower pace and increase with a faster walking pace for a few minutes before slowing back down. Then repeat this for at least 15-20 minutes. This type of aerobic walking gets your heart rate to an accelerated level, allowing you to burn more calories.

Start with what you CAN do and build it up from there. Tomorrow we’ll connect walking with creativity.

What About Walking?

Gatlinburg Trail Hike

Let’s talk about walking. Most of us would say that walking is mainly for exercise, especially people detained by physical limitations who are told by their doctors to start putting one foot in front of the other. So, what about walking? I say it is the most natural form of exercise; and even before our little toddling legs were strong enough to hold us up and actually walk, movement was part of our life. We learned to crawl, scoot, stand, and then walk. Movement, walking, needs to be a part of our everyday life no matter what age we are.

Today in our fast-paced world, people don’t walk like they use to. Gone are the days where you could walk to work. Of course in our mobile society we don’t necessarily all live a block or two from our jobs so walking to work just isn’t practical anymore. Walking is an important activity that should be integrated into our daily schedules not matter how old you are or how much time you have available before/after work.

Some health enthusiasts and exercise gurus emphatically declare that walking is the best exercise for you and that you should walk, walk, walk. Those three words, in fact, are Leslie Sansone’s favorite in her walking videos. (By the way, we highly recommend them and we use them regularly).

Realistically speaking walking isn’t expensive. You can walk right where you live. You can walk at a Mall, on a nearby walking trail if that’s convenient for you, or even in your home. There really aren’t any excuses for not walking except that you don’t want to walk. I say it’s time to get up and start walking.

Walking keeps you limber, uses your muscles so they stay strong, keeps the blood flowing, and perks you up. The alternatives to not walking aren’t good, so let’s get excited about walking.

Tomorrow we’ll delve into more benefits of walking. I encourage you to get up off the couch, push away from your desk or PC, and start walking…today—right now. Don’t put it off. You’ll feel better when you start walking.

God’s Amazing Pharmacy

When God created the world and all that is in the world, He planted a garden, and He put everything in this garden that man would need to life a healthy, long life. Doctors tell us these foods listed below are good for you and have more nutrients in them when eaten raw. I trust you’ve already incorporated many into your daily eating. If not, I encourage you to add some because they’re good for you. I think you’d have to agree that God has thought of everything after you read this list and why wouldn’t the Creator give us all things to enjoy?

The Carrot – A sliced carrot looks like the human eye. The pupil, iris, and radiating lines look just like the human eye…and science now shows and confirms that carrots greatly enhance blood flow to the eyes and with the function of the eyes.
tomato picture The Tomato – A tomato has four chambers and is red. The heart is red and has four chambers. All of the research shows tomatoes are indeed pure heart and blood food.
grape bunch picture Grapes – Grapes hang in a cluster that has the shape of the heart. Each grape looks like a blood cell and all of the research today shows that grapes are also profound heart and blood vitalizing food, and they taste good.
walnuts picture Walnuts – A walnut looks like a little brain, a left and right hemisphere, upper cerebrums and lower cerebelums. Even the wrinkles or folds are on the nut just like the neo-cortex. We now know that walnuts help develop over 3 dozen neuro-transmitters for brain function. Fascinating, isn’t it?
eggplant Egg Plant, Avocados and Pears target the health and function of the womb and cervix of the female – they look just like these organs. Today’s research shows that when a woman eats 1 avocado a week, it balances hormones, sheds unwanted birth weight, and it helps in preventing cervical cancers. And how profound is this? It takes exactly 9 months to grow an Avocado from blossom to ripened fruit. There are over 14,000 phytolytic chemical constituents of nutrition in each one of these foods but modern science has only studied and named about 141 of them so far.
fig picture Figs – Figs are full of seeds and hang in twos when they grow. Figs increase the motility of male sperm and increase the numbers of sperm as well to overcome male sterility.
grapefruit orange picture Grapefruits, Oranges,etc. – Grapefruits, Oranges, and other Citrus fruits look just like the mammary glands of the female and actually assist the health of the breasts and the movement of lymph in and out of the breasts.
olive picture Olives – Olives assist the health and function of the ovaries.
Onions picture Onions – Onions look like body cells. Research shows that onions help clear waste materials from all of the body cells. They even produce tears which wash the epithelial layers of the eyes.
bananas picture Bananas, Cucumber, Zucchini – Bananas, Cucumber, and Zucchini are especially good for men as they target the size and strength of the male sexual organ.
peanuts picture Peanuts – Peanuts have a profound effect on the testicles and sexual libido. Peanuts were banned as a food for males by the church during the middle ages. Most people don’t realize that arginine, the main component of Viagra, comes from peanuts.
sweet potatoes picture Sweet Potatoes – Sweet potatoes look like the pancreas and actually balance the glycemic index of diabetics.
kidney beans picture Kidney Beans – Kidney Beans actually heal and help maintain kidney function and yes, they look exactly like the human kidneys.
Celery picture Celery, Bok Choy, and Rhubarb – Celery, Bok Choy, Rhubarb look just like bones. Interesting because these foods help replenish the skeletal needs (bones) and aid in other functions of the body.

It is fascinating how these foods work within the human body that God created.
Here’s to your health!

Chocolate – Good or Bad?

cocoa tree with beansHow good is the fruit of the cocoa tree for you…otherwise known as chocolate? You’ve probably haven’t asked yourself that question recently. In fact, you’re at the checkout stand at the grocery store and what do you see when you put your groceries on the conveyor belt? Chocolate bars and chocolate candies. How does this fruit of the cocoa tree entice you to reach for one or two candy bars? Simply put, you’ve tasted chocolate before, enjoyed it, and you want to enjoy it again….and again…..and again. I recall my mother telling me that the pediatrician told her if she could keep me away from chocolate until I was 5-6 years old or so, I wouldn’t crave it. I’m not sure that happened because I enjoy chocolate today and at times all I want is a taste of it. Maybe it’s not really a craving.

Looking at the history of chocolate we find that the fruit of the cocoa tree has been around for countless years; in fact, it was the Aztecs who believed that wisdom and power came from eating this particular fruit. They enjoyed it and said it had nourishing, fortifying, and even aphrodisiac qualities. That doesn’t sound so bad, does it?

Years later, it was Columbus who introduced the cocoa fruit to Spain. cocoa beansIn 1492, he presented King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella with a few dark brown beans that looked more like almonds. They didn’t pay a lot of attention to them. Other cultures used these brown cocoa beans as currency, and it was enticing for many explorers to cultivate cocoa plantations, thus also cultivating a profitable business.

But it was Hernando Cortez who considered that if this bitter beverage blended with sugar, it would become a delicacy. So Spaniards started mixing the cocoa beans with sugar and vanilla, even nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and cinnamon to make a tantalizing, coveted, and fashionable drink reserved for Spanish nobility. Chocolate was a secret that Spain managed to keep from the rest of the world for almost 100 years! But years later other Kings and nobility found the enticing drink and many began to cultivate their own chocolate production, which spread throughout the world.

Why are we so taken with chocolate? Why do we find it so satisfying, comforting, and enjoyable?

To answer these questions we need to look at some of the pros as well as the cons to this delicious flavor we’ve grown to love.

Tingredients for sweetened chocolate-1oday, the modern forms of chocolate combines cocoa paste with cocoa butter, sugar and cream or milk, adding a variety of additional flavorings such as vanilla, nuts and even liqueurs that may improve the flavor, but overall reduce chocolate’s health value. Dark chocolate which does not have all the sugar added is the best for you. When you start adding cocoa butter, cream, and sugars, you change chocolate from its pure form into a more addictive form and not as healthy for you.

The Pros – The main reason chocolate gets the ‘thumbs up’ from researchers is because it contains large quantities of antioxidants. Those are the chemicals that help neutralize the harmful chemical reactions occurring during exposure to pollutants, thus stopping us from “going rusty inside”. Scientists have found that just 40g of chocolate contains more than 300mg of polyphenols which helps protect your heart. Dark chocolate, of course, provides twice as many polyphenols and large quantities of oligomers, which can prevent harmful LDL-cholesterol from becoming oxidized in your body and taken up into artery walls.

When you eat chocolate, it makes you feel good, right? Chocolate increases brain levels of PEA (phenylethylamine), which produces a mild feeling of confidence. It also contains tryptophan – a chemical that converts to serotonin in the brain which lifts your mood, increases euphoria, and peps you up. There is a small amount of caffeine in chocolate. Researchers say that low intakes of caffeine is beneficial, improving fat metabolism, exercise endurance, and increase alertness, thus decreasing fatigue. silky chocolate picture

Chocolate is unique in that it melts in your mouth at body temperature, produces a silky, luscious sensation adding to its appeal; and, is one of the main reasons why chocolate proves so addictive according to psychologists and chocolate lovers alike.

There are two sides to the chocolate coin, so in all fairness, we must look at the cons.

The CONS – Besides an expensive enjoyment if eaten daily, sweetened chocolate contains lots of sugar. Undoubtedly that is one of the dangers of sweetened chocolate. It can produce glucose swings which are increasingly linked with development of obesity and type 2 diabetes. It also encourages you to not only want more, but eat more sweetened chocolate. Dark chocolate, tdark chocolate pichough, contains the least sugar, and is better for you than the milk chocolate and white chocolate choices.

Those with weight issues or diabetes must be cautious of their chocolate /sugar intake. Many will search out sugar-free chocolate choices. For those just wanting a taste of chocolate, a piece of chocolate will suffice. For the rest of us, be careful not to over indulge. Watch the sugar-craving. If you’re going to eat chocolate, start introducing dark chocolate in small amounts into your diet.

Here are some helpful suggestions when enjoying chocolate.

•Eat it after a meal when you are full and less likely to over-indulge.

•Buy small-sized bars, not family-sized slabs.

•Enjoy eating chocolate with fresh fruit – chocolate fondues make it simple.

•Let chocolate rest in your mouth long enough to melt and coat your taste buds and the roof of your mouth to experience the full range of flavors and textures.

•Learn to savor the lingering memory of each bite before immediately devouring the next.

eating a bite of chocolateYou can enjoy chocolate, but savor it one bite at a time. Don’t indulge in the entire bag of candies! Find enjoyment and satisfaction in less. After all, isn’t eating less helpful in losing weight and staying healthy?

Seashells on the Seashore

seashells - multiple ones pic

Have you ever wondered why seashells are different colors? I have, and I finally decided to do some research and learn why.

Seashells are the remains of sea mollusks that washed ashore,seashells on beach pic some small, some larger. Their shells are made mostly of calcium carbonate along with a little protein. The calcium carbonate portion is made by calcium ions secreted from the cells of these little creatures and the carbonate ions present in the water. Another interesting fact is that the seashell grows outward, so the newest part of the seashell is the outer edges.

If you’ve enjoyed the various colors of seashells, you know that there are many assortments, not only in the type of shells (mollusks) but in the assortment of colors. The colors of a seashell often camouflage it, thus enabling these small critters to hide from their predators. But their different patterns and shell coloring also become a means by which the different species communicate with each other.

So, besides camouflage and communication, why do they display a rainbow of colors? The shells are composed mostly of calcium carbonate (CaCO3), brownish seashell with colored rings picwhich is also found in rock, eggshells, and pearls. I’m sure you’re also familiar with it as the main cause of hard water. But what color is CaCO3? It’s white. Not ALL seashells are white, are they? I have found a few beautiful pure white seashells; but from my shell collecting, they are rare. The color or coloration of the seashells is dictatedIMG_3251-1 mostly by the diet of the mollusk and the water environment in which the creature lives. Impurities and waste from the organism are captured in the shell when it is formed, thus adding more variation to its color. The food the mollusk eats causes it to produce pigments in the mantle covering (layer) of the mollusk. If the pigment is secreted continuously it creates a spiral or radial band of the shell (see picture to the left) but if it is periodic the shell develops sports or flecks. It is also interesting that shells that are red in color usually have carotene or what is called pterodines in them. Shells that have brown or black hues have melanin in them.

You may also be thinking about the iridescent shellsmother of pearl pic that are multicolored and shiny. It is a different process that creates that effect. This iridescence is called mother-of-pearl and is caused by a coating of nacre on the shells, which is secreted by oysters and some other mollusks to protect their bodies from parasites and disease. This coating is usually very thin, in the range of several hundred nanometers thick, yet it is very strong, very resilient. The nacre is also the same seashells at beach picsubstance that composes pearls.

So, as you can see there’s a lot more that goes into a seashell than you may have considered. Next time you’re at the beach, take a closer look at the seashells spread across the sand in front of you. Indeed God has created some fascinating examples oIMG_3335-1f His infinite creativity and beauty, and we are the beneficiaries.

Here’s some beautiful and colorful seashells I collected from North Myrtle Beach, SC earlier this month. Notice the variety in colors.

Healthy Benefits of Cinnamon

spices and cinnamon pic-wideThis information I found on a friend’s page and it brings out some interesting facts and helpful ideas for adding Cinnamon to your eating regiment. You’ve probably used it in baking or cooking, and the research into this fascinating spice shows that it’s healthy for you as well as tasty. When you buy cinnamon at the store, though, make sure it is true cinnamon and not cassia. (Cassia is a member of the same family as true cinnamon, but it has a stronger flavor thus requiring less in volume in recipes. Many times it is combined with cinnamon which is permitted in the United States).  I just checked our cinnamon container and it says cinnamon with nothing else added. You’ll notice at many coffee places along with the cream and sugar, they’ll also include a shaker of cinnamon.

We’ve covered cinnamon under articles on Spices earlier this year, but today we want to zero in more on how this spice benefits our health in particular ways.

Researchers have found 10 Health Benefits of Cinnamon, and we list them below. Cinnamon might just be something you should include it in your daily eating—we’ll leave the decision up to you.

Lower Cholesterol Studies done show that just adding 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon to what you eat each day can lower LDL cholesterol.

Blood Sugar Regulation More than one study suggests that cinnamon may have a regulatory effect on blood sugar, which makes it beneficial for people with Type 2 diabetes.

Yeast Infection Help Cinnamon has shown an amazing ability to stop medication-resistant yeast infections through some studies.

Cancer Prevention Even researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Maryland published information stating in their study that cinnamon reduced the proliferation of leukemia and lymphoma cancer cells.

Anti-Clotting Cinnamon has an anti-clotting effect on the blood because one of its components, cinnamaldehyde, helps prevent unwanted clumping of blood platelets.

Arthritis Relief An interesting study conducted at Copenhagen University had patients receive half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder combined with one tablespoon of honey every morning before breakfast. Those participating in this study showed significant relief in arthritis pain after just one week and within one month patients could walk without pain.

Anti-Bacterial Cinnamon is a natural food preservative. When you add it to food, it inhibits bacterial growth and food spoilage.

Brain Health

Would you think that smelling cinnamon could enhance your brain health? One particular study found that smelling cinnamon boosts cognitive function and memory.

E. Coli Fighter Kansas State University researchers found that cinnamon fights the E. coli bacteria often found in unpasteurized juices.

High in Nutrients Cinnamon is also a great source of manganese, fiber, iron, and calcium—all nutrients your body needs to maintain optimum health.

We’re getting close to pumpkin pie time and cinnamon is always one of the spices included in the delicious dessert and other goodies we enjoy during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Why not get started now. Try some cinnamon in oatmeal or coffee, and I’m sure you’ll want to incorporate with other foods in your diet as well. 

 (For further information you can check out various websites for more information on cinnamon – www.whfoods.com and www.healthdiaries.com)