This blog centers around healthy eating, pulling in information from various sources to form a nexus of applicable ideas for the home cook and entertainer alike. We all need food to survive, however, food does not only provide our bodies energy, it can also be used as an aid for common ailments as well as a preventative tool against maladies. In consuming natural foods that offer essential nutrients and fight off life's ills we set ourselves up for more flavors than can ever be reached in a box.
The past two posts (Sunshine and Structureand Good Vibrations) were enjoyable to write but demanded a level of research far greater than I'm used to conducting. As stated in the latter article, the sources I use have become of greater importance but there seem to be few scholarly articles that fuse the esoteric (read: chakras, healing crystals and the like) with the scientific. Perhaps I should get the hint and question if a link even exists but, for now, I'm happy to look for one. However, after searching high and low for information on both solar and musical vibrations, I found myself left with a ton of residual information that didn't make it into either post. Here, I've included some additional points that I wanted to touch upon in a more relaxed fashion. Plus, it saves me from a week of research 😉. Enjoy!
In Sunshine and Structure, I got a little weird, talking about high vibrational foods - a theme brought up more in hippie-dippie publications (thanks HuffPo!) than more medically based ones. But, ironically, in my research for Good Vibrations, I came across a post written by Dr. Mitchell L. Gaynor which touches upon the benefits of phytonutrients, a term covered before. While eating foods that match the colors of our chakras is still under investigation, the phytonutrients that lead to such colors are important indeed. You can read the article here.
Additionally, a few alternate ways to sneak some direct sunlight as opposed to obtaining it indirectly from plants goes as follows:
• Top Down Driving: As Macklemore claims in his song, "I'm rollin' out, roof off, letting in the sky/ I'm sure the city never looked so bright." If you've got it, flaunt it, as they say. A sun roof provides a great way to sneak some rays in the summer. As uv rays can't travel through glass driving with the windows or "top" down provides a great means of catching some sun. And while you're at it, pump up some songs that carry good vibes. Below is one that didn't make the first cut.
Brimful of Asha
Also, if you're up for it, driving in silence can sometimes be the best "medicine." As the (car) tops come down in summer, the volume of music seems to go up. But sometimes, it's nice to just let our minds rest. Recently, I've been struggling with some difficult choices (see next week's article) and I noticed that driving in silence allowed me to process some of the emotions I was afraid to deal with. Plus, (if you're in Connecticut especially) it's therapeutic to drive and simply enjoy the summer scenery. ☀️🌳
In Sunshine and Structure, I spoke about how rays from the sun (and the foods that grow from them) can be beneficial to our health. However, while information in the article was simple enough, the research done beforehand took me down a veritable rabbit-hole of both pseudo and real Science. As I increasingly write on the blog, the sources used to gain information have become more important to me. While there are "healing powers of crystals" touted on various websites, I've found it pertinent to search sources that are generally well established and academic. But what is a source anyways? In my research done towards the last article's creation, I learned that, according to Einstein, "everything [from brain waves to buildings] is a vibration." And if light waves or vibrations can add positivity to our health, I began to think that sound waves could do the same thing.
Music of the Spheres in ya ears.
Within the next few weeks, I plan to come out with a post that talks about some quotes which have resonated with me and a specific one which has not. But, like a source, what does it mean if something "resonates" with you? In general, I've taken it to mean that it sits well with you or affects you instantaneously without having to think about it. But the field of physics has its own definition of the term, claiming it occurs when, "a vibrating system or external force drives another system to oscillate with greater amplitude at a preferential frequency." To some extent, people are said to hold different and individual "vibes". There are people who give off good vibes and others who give off bad ones. And to an extent, I've always found someone's vibe to generally "resonate" with or match the music they prefer (which is why I don't associate much with people who like Dave Matthews). Within my family, we tend to suffer from high-blood pressure and, to some extent, I've sometimes thought it explains why I like hip-hop so much with the thump-thump-thump of the overworked heart matching the thud-thud-thud of a Bone Thugs song. But, beyond the music we enjoy, if my trip to China has taught me anything, it's that humans have more in common than not and that, to some extent, there is music we can all jive with.
Returning to resonance, there are certain universal sounds we find pleasing and ones we do not - which might have more to do with our physical makeup than our rational one. You'd be hard pressed to find a person who doesn't enjoy the sound of waves crashing on a beach or enjoys the sound of nails against a chalkboard (which is probably why schools put whiteboards in classrooms today). And, in terms of universality, there are certain sounds said to be made by cosmic objects like the Sun and/or Earth. When studying the effects of the sun's rays for my last article, I came across a video which was a supposed recording of the sounds made by the star (to view, click here). Just as light travels in waves, the article states that solar flares from the sun cause vibrations in its nearby magnetic field which then produces sounds (which scientists then dubbed "music"). I used to think that sounds given off by the planets and other cosmic entities were what were referred to by the term "music of the spheres" but really, Pythagoras's study of "musica universalis" had more to do with how different pitches jive in a way that is pleasing to most humans, thereby setting order to what seemed to be a subjective matter. While we as humans hold our individual preferences towards certain music (even though almost everyone likes the Beatles) our bodies can sometimes hold similar responses towards the sounds and noises it interacts with. If Einstien is right and everything is a vibration, it can be determined that sound waves could affect the waves and frequencies of our bodies... for better or worse.
With the exception of myself and a few others, women who blog seem to be this generation's "ladies who lunch". Admittedly, it's how I get a lot of my information but many of the health blogs I read feature authors writing about spas in Germany which they had the pleasure of visiting. But someone has to do it because quite literally, new advances in holistic/alternative medicine can have truly healing effects... and at better price points to boot. One such "treatment" that has popped up on the radar is a sound bath. Using quartz singing bowls, gongs and didgeridoos to create sounds within a space, a sound bath is meant to relax and clear the mind of its participants. While most articles featured journalists who claimed to experience intense relaxation through the process, one article cited Dr. Mitchell L. Gaynor who spoke of the benefits of a steady heart rate and deep slow breathing (thought to be brought about through the vibration of instruments used in a sound bath). In general, it's thought that vibrations can affect or resonate with the frequencies of our own bodies, going so far as to "lower heart rate[s],... relax brain wave patterns and reduce respiratory rates," according to the article above. And while I haven't made it over to my own sound bath (although they're relatively cheap at around $35 a pop), I began to think that some songs we hear on the radio could carry either positive (read: beneficial) or not so positive vibes. Below lay a few finding categorized by genre. Enjoy! Rock
Positive Elvis: They don't call him "the king" for nothing. When listening to music through the lens of vibrations, the songs of Elvis seemed to produce good ones. As I'm relatively clueless about musical mechanics like pitch and tone, I'm not sure why his music seemed good... I'm just glad he has his own station on Sirius XM. Also, before voices were able to be electronically modified, they had to be good to please most people. In this regard, talented singers from the 50's and 60's such as Patsy Cline and Ella Fitzgerald also seem to send good vibes from their music.
Mariah Carey: Girl can hit "crazy" high notes. Also, whatever she does, from her early work to her reinvention as less-innocent singer (more horrible actress) seems good. Also in the same vein, some of Nora Jones and Shakira's songs are on point.
This video always sends out good vibes.
Negative Papa Roach: Papa Roach is likely not on anyone's radar anymore but, thanks to 90's on 9, they make an appearance every now and then on my radio. And while they're fun to rock out to, their choppy music seems not to jive well with anything.
Hip-Hop Positive Biggie: Biggie seems to be in balance. Weighing up to 380 pounds while alive, one expected him to move and maybe rap at a slower pace (perhaps needing a greater intake of air between lines). But Biggie could spit like no other, keeping pace with fast rappers like the Bone Thugs and putting his voice over beats that always get me energized.
DMX: Not only did I want to be one of DMX's Ruff Riders in high school, so to speak (which I heard through the grapevine suited him just fine age-wise) I also really liked his music. While he's a little cray-cray, his music carries the thud-thud-thud I so scientifically referenced above.
Biggie obviously puts out good vibes.
Negative Nelly: Nelly sucks.
So there you have it. A few artists which might resonate well from a physical standpoint or that might get you up and dancing! Either way, your body will thank you! ;)
I was struck by the idea for a post involving the effects of sunlight after reading an article which featured a woman who lay in the sunshine to reset her body with the star's "positive vibes". But after scouring the Internet and unable to retrieve said article, I was left with little correlation between the sun and "good vibes" but was able to locate a lot of information about how the sun is good for our health.
Long before the iPad, people worshiped the sun. There was Quezecotal in present-day Mexico, Ra in Egypt and so on and so forth. Ubiquitous was the sun god because, irregardless of location or empire, humans (and the things they eat) need the sun's rays to survive. But just like the oscillations produced through light waves, there has been some back-and-forth as to whether sunlight (and sunscreen) is beneficial.
In my endeavor to find a link between the sun's rays and positive vibrations, I came across the fact that the sun emits electromagnetic radiation which helps to make up the spectrum of colors we see and also the ultraviolet rays which we cannot. And it is these particular (uv) rays which can do us some good in the health department.
Nothing wrong with being a little sun-kissed ;)
Recently, uv rays have gotten a bad rap, what with global warming and cancer; two extraordinarily serious conditions but ones that have seemed to make us throw the baby out with the bath water. According to the website Mind Body Green, ultra violet rays help our bodies build viatmin D which it then turns around and applies to building our bone strength, boosting immunity, protecting us from cancers and loosing weight (among other benefits). And while Havard Health Publications note that both UVB and UVA rays can do our bodies harm in the forms of sunburn and or cancers, respectively, it also notes the importance of such wavelengths in the creation of viatmin D. And just as there are positives and negatives of sunshine, 2016 has shown us that the same holds true for the use of sunscreen.
Within the past year, a slew of articles hit the feeds of Facebook noting harmful chemicals present in many sunscreens on the shelves. While I'm one for common sense (use sunscreen) I do believe that many things mass produced do contain elements which can be harmful (that being said, I found the article Excuse Me While I Lather My Child In This Toxic Death Creamhilarious). Turns out though, the aforementioned Mind Body Green article as well as an one put of by Dr. Oz which ironically attempted to "burn" common sunscreens both note a small window of time in which it is beneficial to go without the substance.
In general (and according to the articles above), it is looselyrecommend that we, as humans, receive between 10 to 20 minutes of "unblocked" sunlight each day in order to allow our bodies to develop the vitamin D it needs for optimal functioning. And while the dog-days of summer can be a bit unstructured (particularly if you're a teacher or have kids)scheduling some time in the sun can be a helpful way to routinize your routine. Below are a few ways I like to sneak some sun in the summer. Enjoy!
Dine "en plein air": In art class growing up, we learned about artists painting "en plein air" which was a fancy way of saying they painted outdoors. As I suppose I was more of a realist back then, I particularly enjoyed the Dutch still-life paintings or (full disclosure) the Carravagios which seemed to be painted in some dark, damp room where some dark things were going on. But as I've grown older (and seem to have lost more touch with reality) I've grown to love dining "en plein air". If there's a restaurant with patio seating, you can rest assured I'll take it. And while many tables conveniently hold umbrellas for some safety from the hot, hot heat, you can squeeze some time in the sun... preferably with a cocktail.
Go for a walk: You have Pokemon Go so there's no excuse.
And if you want to get weird...
Eat "high vibrational foods": This seems to be the one link I was able to identify between the sun's rays and good vibrations. When I stated earlier in present tense: "humans [and the things they eat] need the sun's rays to survive," it was a bit of a misnomer. Today, many things we eat don't directly rely on the sun for survival (think Chex Mix). But just as processed food can be created in a factory indirectly powered by the sun, our bodies can gain benefits from foods grown with the help of our favorite star.
So far, with waves and frequencies, we can see colors of the electromagnetic spectrum and hear sound waves carried through a medium but is it possible to use our sense of taste to identify energy? While the sun acts as a life force for plants and animals, it can be surmised that the same force is carried on through the plants and animals we eat. In South Korea, they believe that the closer to death you consume and animal, the more of its energy you take in and with "high-vibrational" foods, fruits and veggies plucked straight from the plant and eaten are said to hold more nutrients. And let's be honest, fresh fuits and veggies and meats taste worlds away from their frozen counterparts. So, to help in your endeavor to eat high-vibrational foods, I've included a link for "high vibrational nice cream" here).
And if you want to get really weird...
Within the Aurvedic tradition, a color is associated with each chakra or "energy center" of the body. Just as there are seven colors of the rainbow, there are seven chakras throughout our body beginning with the root chakra which holds a deep red color and traveling through the crown chakra which appropriately holds the color historically associated with royalty: purple. According to gaia.com, when we eat foods the color of a particular chakra we're struggling with they can help to alleviate our symptoms. Even Eating Well claims that blue blueberries can be used to, "keep your mind sharp" and the lycopene in red tomatoes can help defend against prostrate cancer. To help, a chart on chakras and their associated colors lies below.
Eating for your chakras will only get you so far, however. It seems as though the closer our food is to the sun, the better it is for us. So, in conclusion, stay close, my friends, whether it be recieving the sun's rays with #nofliter or consuming its byproduct through plants, it can only serve to do us some good.
Recently, I've been posting (and looking) and interacting a bit more with Instagram. In Social, Media, I spoke about my pretty horrible photography skills, a fact which is compounded by the beautiful, albeit staged, photos which pop up on my feed. But such beauty has brought about a poignant discovery: that Instagram, despite all its filters and opportunities to edit, is a bit of a classist platform.
Unlike CNN, or the Huffington Post or any other news outlet for that matter, which makes you work (read: read) for your knowledge, Instagram provides an instantaneous fix of (visual) information. And, as humans are an oft intelligent species with a few politics exceptions, I feel as though Instagram is thus used for the purpose of entertainment where we can sit back, relax and quite literally be informed through a "feed" tube. Even Twitter, with its 140 cumbersome words can't compete. And that's ok... it should just make us careful because it's one thing to relax and another to be lazy. (Whatever, it's a health blog).
Who knows why we can process information so quickly? Perhaps, long before the invention of written language (a result of settling down and becoming "civilized") we used our vision to make snap judgements as to whether we should fight or take flight. Thus, according to the author of The Power of Visual Storytelling "the human brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text," (typically at a rate of 13 milliseconds). But as the rapper Eve states in one of my favorite songs from high school, "easy come, easy go". When we can process a photo instantaneously (as on Instagram), we can also make snap judgements as to whether we literally "like it" or choose to move on. But perhaps in all of our efficiency, we miss the deeper trends of what is considered "likeable" and what is not. Because, the way I see it, when one has more funds to put towards their Instagram posts, the more "likable" they become.
Just as humans naturally comprehend visual information in the blink of an eye, we are also naturally drawn to certain physical characteristics we deem "beautiful". Smooth skin containing symmetrical and proportional features has generally been deemed as preferable across cultures. And just as there are universal standards of beauty, there are also universal standards for photography.
Simply summarized from an article on the TED blog, quality photography includes the adequate use of light, viewing our subject from an appropriate angle (think "above" as in selfies) and even the use of a reflector -- to control the use of light. But beyond how a picture is taken, we also like the content of photos on Instagram to take us to new places (again, assuming the platform is used for entertainment). So here is where things get a bit class-y.
To some extent, we can't really control what goes on in our environment. Yes, we might catch a flash of lightning or rainbow or whatever anomaly rolls past our view but even capturing such images can be enhanced when using expensive equipment. But, suffice it to say, if we use Instagram as a vehicle to gain new experiences, it's those with means who can deliver. Never been to Dubai? @followmeto has got you covered (they're also looking for retouchers). Never seen the inside of a Ferrari? Head over to @richkidsofinstagram. Even if it's not the subject that beguiles us, photos taken in good light with good equipment (and a team of retouchers) can often catch our eyes over those which are not.
So, when a company can stage a photo with an abundance of flowers, high-end goods or whatever or when beautiful scenery is part of a wealthy lifestyle it's sometimes easy to default to "liking" such images more than others. But, perhaps if we listen to what each image tells us we can become more open to a variety of experiences... not just that of @kendalljenner.