Laughter is the best Medicine

Laughter is the best Medicine

For great health, the diet plays an important role, yet that's not all there is to it. To achieve optimal health, you need a combination of a healthy diet, exercise, and a positive mood. This is where “Laughter is the best medicine” comes in.

Every fall I travel to the South of Europe a nice warm village to stay over the winter. Usually, it's a great time of the year. I enjoy planning and packing, yet, this year it was stressful for me. It started the month before, not knowing if we were going at all, something was needed and fast. Then it was I remembered Laughter Therapy – After a few laughs I started to feel much better,  I stayed stress-free and enjoyed the planning, packing and trip.

Laughter can be infectious. When you hear the sound of laughter, you can’t help but laugh yourself. When laughter is shared among others, it causes a binding between people. It increases both intimacy and happiness.

It is well known that laughter triggers healthy bodily changes and healthy changes in the mind. Laughter can increase your energy level, lessen pain, strengthen the immune system, and protect you from stress. Laughter is the best medicine because it is free, fun, and easy.

Every fall I travel

Laughter is Strong Medicine

Laughter can be a strong antidote to conflict, pain, and stress. There is nothing else that works more dependably or quicker to bring your body and mind into balance than laughter. The use of humor can lighten your burdens, connect you to others, inspire your hope, and keep you focused, alert, and grounded.

With this ability to renew your health and heal you, laughter can be a great resource for whatever problems you may have. It can also strengthen your relationships. It can support your emotional and physical health and well-being.

How Is Laughter Good For Your Health?

Laughter can do many things for your health. These include the following:

  • Laughter can increase your immune system. It can decrease the level of stress hormones within the body and increase the number of immune cells and antibodies you have, which will help you become more resistant to disease
  • Laughter is relaxing. A wonderful laugh can relieve you of stress and physical tension so that your muscles can be relaxed for up to 45 minutes following laughing.
  • Laughter releases endorphins. Endorphins are the body’s feel-good hormones. When your endogenous endorphins are released, you feel a sense of well-being and a reduction in the sensation of pain
  • Laughter can help the heart. Laughter can increase the ability of the blood vessels to nourish all parts of the body. It can increase your blood flow, which can help prevent heart attacks and other types of heart diseases.

The Benefits Of Laughter

Laughter is known to have many health benefits, including physical, emotional, and social benefits.
Some of these include the following:

•    Decreases your stress levels
•    Increases your immunity
•    Relaxes your muscles
•    Protects your heart
•    Lessens pain
•    Lessens fear and anxiety
•    Relieves stress
•    Adds joy to your life
•    Enhances your mood
•    Improves your resilience
•    Attracts other people to us
•    Promotes the bonding among group members
•    Improves teamwork
•    Strengthens relationships

Laughter Can Help Your Emotional Health

Laughter simply makes a person feel good. This good feeling persists even when you are done laughing. Laughter helps you maintain an optimistic and positive outlook. Which means  you can easier get through situations of loss, disappointments, and other difficult situations.

Laughter is more than just a protection against pain and sadness. It gives you the strength and courage to find other sources of hope and meaning. Even when you find yourself in the most difficult of times, laughter or even a smile can take you far when it comes to feeling better. Laughter really is a bit contagious. When you hear someone else laugh, it primes your brain and sets you up to join that person in laughing, too.

Laughter And Mental Health

Laughter is associated with better mental health. Some things laughter can do to improve your mental health include the following:

•    Laughter allows you to relax. A good laugh can lessen stress and increase your energy levels so that you can remain focused and get more things accomplished.
•    Laughter can lessen distress. It is hard to feel sad, anxious, or angry when you are instead laughing.
•    Laughter shifts your perspective. It allows you to see things in a less threatening and more realistic light. Being humorous helps create a psychological distance between you and stressful events so that you don’t feel so overwhelmed.

Laughter Has Social Benefits

When you use humor and engage in playful communication with others, your relationships become stronger. You trigger positive emotions and an emotional connection with those you are laughing with. A positive bond develops—one that can act as a powerful buffer against disappointment, disagreements, and stress. When you laugh with others, this is a more powerful thing than when you laugh alone.

How To Create More Opportunities To Laugh

There are things you can do to increase your chances of laughing. Here are some you might try:

•    Attend a comedy club
•    Watch something funny on television
•    Watch videos of funny animals there are tons on YouTube, or just add the search term “funny   into the YouTube search bar
•    Read the comics in the newspaper
•    Be with people who are funny
•    Share a funny story or joke with another
•    Read a funny book
•    Sponsor a game night with your friends
•    Play with your pet
•    Play with children
•    Do something you think is silly
•    Engage in activities you consider fun

Laughter can do a lot to help you feel better on a physical, emotional, and cognitive level. Don’t be afraid to share a good laugh with others for all around better health.

If you still need suggestions for laughter then click the book cover below:

 

Interesting fact about we can cheat the brain with laughter PubMed

Share:

A Guide to Vegan Boots

A vegan guide to buy boots

Vegan Boots: A Boot Whose Time Has Come

I got a pair of vegan boots a Target about four years ago for $30. They are adorable, durable, and still get plenty of compliments. If you’re looking for hiking boots or for fashion boots to wear downtown, it may appear challenging to find leather-free options. Yet, with a few tips, finding cruelty-free boots becomes a piece of cake.

When you begin your search for the perfect pair of boots, you’ll want to consider two things:

  1. Material is the most significant. Luckily shoe labels make it easy to distinguish between animal materials and vegan materials. You can expect boots are made from leather or other animal fabrics unless the label says, “All Man-Made Materials” or “100% Synthetic.” Then you’re in the clear! Just be careful, some shoes have a synthetic outer but a leather sole or a wooly interior.
  2. Glue is one of those “how vegan are you?” questions. It can be difficult to determine whether the glue that binds the boot together is vegan or made using trace animal ingredients. Many vegans decide not to worry about such details. Others commit to buying only vegan-certified footwear.

Vegan Boots List For Mindful Shopping

We are including two lists, the first with 100% vegan shoes and boots. The second with retailers that carry footwear made without leather or wool, yet, could contain trace animal ingredients in the glue.

100% Vegan Boots And Shoes Companies & Shops:

Big Retailers That Carry Man-Made Boots:

We wish you the best of luck in finding the perfect cruelty-free boots this season!

Share:
Guinness no longer fishy

Guinness no longer fishy

If you are a beer drinker you already know about Guinness´ plan to go vegan in 2016. What is the buzz about? Guinness has been around for 256 years and it that time never felt the pressure from vegan, that is until now. Maybe it´s an Irish thing. The brand has decided it is time for an improvement, although they call it change. Great news for vegans either way.

Since the 19th century, Guinness has filtered out yeast from its signature stout with isinglass. A by-product of fish bladders. Most of the isinglass is removed before the beer hits the market. Guinness answered in several emails, that there are still leftovers in the finished product. You may want to check the answers at http://www.barnivore.com/beer/26/Guinness . This is the reason, Guinness is off-limits.

Yet, many of us vegans still love our Guinness. According to CNBC, online petitions have been circulating asking Guinness to change their filtration process. The brand has announced that, indeed, they are planning to open a new filtration plant in 2016. A plant will finally make our beer vegan-friendly. “Whilst isinglass is a very effective means of clarification, and has been used for many years, we expect to stop using it as the new filtration asset is introduced,” a spokesman told Ireland’s The Times.

Now if only we can petition Baileys to replace  cream with coconut cream, finally we vegans can drink our favorite drinks. 🙂

Should you wish to check other beers for being vegan here´s a fine website dedicated to inform you about just that.

http://www.barnivore.com/ – their search base also includes wine and liquor.

Share:
How To Buy Fruit: Fresh Or Frozen?

How To Buy Fruit: Fresh Or Frozen?

Hola my friend!

I'm having such an amazing odyssey this fall, then I just wanted to tell you about what I'm doing. I'm learning a lot about how to buy fruit from the locals on this tropical island where I am currently living.

This winter snowbird season 2015-16 I am spending on the Spanish island Tenerife. The weather is great! But the real reason I stay there is for the wine and fresh fruits and vegetables. I have been here for more than a month now. But I haven´t visited one of the outdoor farmers´ markets yet. It´s a bit embarrassing, as one of them is only 2 km from our house.

How to Buy Fresh Fruit: Go to the Farmers' Market

A Finnish couple who is staying in the same village as us told us about the local farmers' market. You can find loads of fresh produce from the local farmers. It's open every Saturday and Sunday. At the moment bananas, or plátanos as they are called here, are in season. In fact, it seems they are in season all year round. Must be this amazing climate.

My dear readers in more northern climates are moving into the winter season. From what many of you tell me, Saturday morning farmers' markets are quite popular through the winter. As the weather gets colder the weekend market moves inside.

Back here in Tenerife, mangos are nearing the end of their season. The end of November will be last harvest this season. My American friend in Hawaii told me she'd buy a big bag of them, chop them up into chunks, and then freeze them. She put them separately into serving size plastic bags and containers.

For the most part, I buy fresh whenever I can. I'm not a big fan of pre-frozen anything. That's just my personal preference. Nevertheless, frozen fruit – as long as you don't leave it in there forever – still holds nutrients and taste, a welcome addition to a smoothie.

Ask the farm experts for tips on how to buy fruit

When you go to the farmers' market, ask questions at the stands about recipes, and how to choose fruit to buy. Depending on the fruit, you may want to smell it, and see if it is hard or gives a little to your touch. Color may make a difference as well.

  • Cherimoyas, or Buddha fruits, are grown here.  They are also called Ice cream fruit because they do taste like ice cream. I bet they are great in fruit salads, too.
  • Dragon fruit is the most exotic fruit I have ever tasted. They are commonly grown in private gardens. But if you are lucky, you can find them at farmers' markets, too.
  • Tomatoes here have a special, crisp and romantic flavor.The pineapple tomato is what I use when I make salsa. And last but not least is the…
  • Avocado. It also grows all year round. If you go to a fruteria (special fruit and veggie shop) you can always ask for “avocados to eat today” and the owner will have a few put away for you.

Well, I don't know what the chances are of you coming to lovely Tenerife. Wherever you are, you can make a similar list of local produce. If your region is challenged to find fresh, frozen is the next best thing. It lasts longer, and the nutrients  last.

Life is good.

Share:
These Stuffed Squash Recipes Will Stuff Your Parties With Cheer

These Stuffed Squash Recipes Will Stuff Your Parties With Cheer

At a party last week, I saw a big platter of stuffed squash at the buffet table. Many other vegan choices filled the space. Yet those fat little acorn squash halves attracted me like a moth to a flame. In previous years, I gravitated to the vegetarian dishes, filled with cheese and eggs. But the more steps I take on the vegan journey, the more excited my body gets about trying new combinations of vegan ingredients, bursting with flavor.

Tasty Stuffed Squash To Drool Over

Here are a few tasty recipes that I can't wait to try:

stuffed squash

Monster Boston Marrow squash!

Three Sisters Squash Recipe from NYT Cooking. I love how the three native American staples – beans, corn and squash – are called the three sisters.

Roasted Acorn Squash With Wild Rice Stuffing. After all my years in Asia, I got into the habit of eating only white rice. Exploring with all the wonderful wild rice variations available now is adding delicious dimensions to my meals. This recipe is a meal in itself.

Quinoa-Cranberry Stuffed Acorn Squash. New England has the best cranberries anywhere, ever. Ya, I'm a little biased. The first time I tried them with quinoa, the flavor burst in my mouth. I'm bringing this one to the Thanksgiving table, for sure.

Avocado & Quinoa Stuffed Squash. Avocado in stuffing, yummy. What more can I say?

Stuffed Squash With Jasmine Rice, Cranberries & Raisins. If a recipe calls for vegan butter, you can always make a quick substitute with your favorite oil, or coconut oil.

Do you have a favorite stuffed squash recipe? Please share!

Boston Marrow squash image by Janelle Orsi

Share:
Are You Throwing Away The Big Healthy Banana Peel Benefit?

Are You Throwing Away The Big Healthy Banana Peel Benefit?

Healthy banana peels are a shock to find out about for us Westerners. I can't believe I've been throwing away this great source of nutrients all these years. But it makes sense. If fruits and vegetables are so good for us, why bother cutting off ends and skins that contain the same rich elements? So much of the food preparation I grew up with – cutting the tops off strawberries, tossing beet greens in the trash bin – seems a bit crazy now.

The Healthy Banana Peel Secret

Organic bananas, like any organic choices, will probably be better to eat than the common store variety. Yet even this claim I challenge. We've read so much over the years about things that are good or bad for us, only to find out, years and much research later, the opposite holds true. So regardless of whether the peels come from organic fruits or not, I'm going to give them a try.

Dr. Paul Haider from Om Times writes that banana peels help lower cholesterol and are a great source of probiotics. And given that heart disease and cancer are the two top killers in America, I love what else he has to say:

Cardiovascular Health – And Banana Peels can help eliminate atherosclerosis from your body by preventing cholesterol from sticking to the walls of your arteries.

Anticancer Agents – Banana Peels contain powerful anticarcinogenic compounds that help to prevent cancer. And they also contain cytoprotective agents and antimutagenic agents that reduce your chances of coming down with cancer. At the same time have lots of carotenoids and polyphenols like that found in green tea that help to keep your immune system healthy. Read the whole report at OmTimes.

Add a healthy banana peel to your smoothie

I have been quite good about cutting back on my chocolate addiction, especially the more committed I become to eliminating dairy from my diet. Cravings are taken care of with vegan protein shakes, and I use vegan chocolate protein powder for mine, with a banana. Now, I don't bother peeling it any more. I just throw the whole banana in.

vegan protein shake

Click to the next page (the round 2 below) to see a video how to make fried banana peels, and other healthy banana peel recipe resources.

Share:
Happy World Vegan Day 1st of November

Happy World Vegan Day 1st of November

World Vegan Day came to life on November 1, 1994 as a way of celebrating the 50th anniversary of the UK Vegan Society and the term “Vegan”. Then Vegan Society president Louise Wallis said the group chose November 1, because it is an auspicious day. This is now recognised as the date of establishment of the Vegan Society as well. Wallis said:

“We knew the Society had been founded in November 1944, but didn’t know the exact date, so I decided to go for the 1st November. Partly because I liked the idea of this date coinciding with Samhain, Halloween and the Day of the Dead – traditional times for feasting and celebration. Both apt and auspicious.” Read more about World Vegan Day at Wikipedia.

Along with celebrating the Vegan Society's birthday, Vegan Day is also an opportunity to promote the benefits of a vegan diet and veganism in general. The term Vegan was formed by Donald Watson.

Each year, vegan societies hold festivals and exhibitions around the world. It's a great time of year to find vegan supporters and vegan curious individuals celebrating with local events, talks and cooking demonstrations.

Check out these cool vegan events resources:

At VeganSociety.com you can find a list of vegan events in November and December 2015 word wide.

At Vegan.com you can find even more vegan events world wide.

We have decided to spend the day spreading the word about vegan compassion, together with a few good recipes on Facebook and Twitter – like the perfect chocolate mousse and Delicious Apple Crisp.

If you are on Twitter you may want to follow along with World Vegan Day tweets.

Enjoy this World Vegan Day however you choose to celebrate it. 🙂

Click below to the next page to check out one of the world's sexiest vegans.

[wpob id=”1″]

Share:
Going Bananas Over Vegan: We Don’t Need This

Going Bananas Over Vegan: We Don’t Need This

The video below from Bananiac on YouTube is not the latest top news. But it does point out a growing epidemic in the meat industry in recent years. Animal viruses are becoming more frequent, driving up meat prices. Does eating less meat mean less heart disease and strokes? What a travesty! (Yes, my tongue is in my cheek.) No, we don't need this kind of craziness. I don't mind skinning a few bananas, for the sake of a healthy, vegan lifestyle. Live on, dear piggies.

Jon Stewart and his wife, Tracy, are animal lovers. Jon started poking holes in the animal industry a few years ago on his Comedy Central Show. Here's a clip:

[videoframes src=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eND7mXRVCbk” skin=”10″ autoplay=”1″ controls=”1″ headline_text=”Jon Stewart is going bananas, too” headline_color=”#000000″ headline_size=”22″]

We don't really need to point out the miserable circumstances that animals suffer, ending up on the average dinner plate. It doesn't seem to make much difference for those who continue to proudly consume animals. Yet many of these same people are fanatics about washing their vegetables. They make sure there is not a speck of B-12 rich soil left on them, before finally cooking all the nutrients out. This is sheer insanity. Is going bananas really such a crazy thing after all?

Speaking of bananas, I share some recipes that use banana skins in this post. Here in the West, we throw these away. Many places throughout the world know the health benefits and cook with bananas skins. I'll never let a healthy banana peel slip away again. 🙂

Share:
Take Care Of These Two Deficiencies And Get Your Vegan Sexy On

Take Care Of These Two Deficiencies And Get Your Vegan Sexy On

Deficiencies in our diet is not something many of us think about until we get sick. The more committed I become to a vegan lifestyle, the more people I meet say they are ex-vegan because it was not a healthy way to live. What? Check out the sexy young woman here below who is committed not only to compassionate living, but to keeping herself healthy, too. Yes, it does matter what we eat. Take care of your vitamin and mineral deficiencies (if you have any). It's the best way to feel great, stay healthy, and preserve your vegan sexy self.

Here's the video, where RawYogaNurse talks about what she discovered from her blood test. The two main deficiencies she found, B-12 and Vitamin D, are not only problems with vegans but meat eaters, too. Check out what she has to say:

[videoframes src=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1aoq5iqV10E” skin=”10″ autoplay=”1″ controls=”1″ ]

If you put flaxseed in your recipes, you may find yourself feeling healthier – and yes, more sexy. Do you know why some chicken egg cartons tout high levels of Omega-3 essential fatty acids? It's because they are feeding all those chickens flaxseed! I think I'll choose the flaxseed over the dead chicken.

According to WebMD, studies show that it may help fight heart disease, diabetes and breast cancer:

Although flaxseed contains all sorts of healthy components, it owes its primary healthy reputation to three of them:

  • Omega-3 essential fatty acids, “good” fats that have been shown to have heart-healthy effects. Each tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains about 1.8 grams of plant omega-3s.
  • Lignans, which have both plant estrogen and antioxidant qualities. Flaxseed contains 75 to 800 times more lignans than other plant foods.
  • Fiber. Flaxseed contains both the soluble and insoluble types.  [Read more at WebMD]

When we know our health deficiencies long before getting sick, we can ward off a number of preventable illnesses that plague our society today. It may make all the difference in enjoying life and keeping your vegan sexy.

Share:
Transforming Into A Healthy Lifestyle The Vegan Way

Transforming Into A Healthy Lifestyle The Vegan Way

The road to a healthy lifestyle has not been an easy one for me. Sure, I love being active, but I can't honestly say I've cared that much about my eating habits over the years. Then I started volunteering in an animal sanctuary and making friends with the exotics that, through whatever unfortunate circumstances, found themselves living there. These animals should be free. But because of human folly, they lost their rights to live in freedom.

The only things we volunteers been able to give these unfortunate beings is a safe place to live and a healthy diet. I saw transformations before my very eyes from animals who had come from homes whee all they were fed was junk. I found a great reason to care about healthy foods.

Changing focus to a healthy lifestyle

No, it's not easy. Many of us see the horrific news shows and declare, “I'm a vegan now!” But then someone offers us ice cream, or we get sick and blame the illness on a lack of meat. Rubbish. Rationalization about why we should eat meat, or addictions to habits we are too lazy to break is just not good enough. I'm not preaching here. I'm the first to admit that I forget and enjoy a piece of cake that has eggs in it. There was a time when I kept my mouth shut and ate what was put in front of me, because I couldn't stand the ridicule for not eating meat. Trust me, I've got plenty of weaknesses, and they don't spell healthy lifestyle.

Yet, it's a wonderful thing to start questioning our choices and trying new things. Habits do not change overnight (and I do wonder why so many vegans use the saying “cold turkey” — isn't there a vegan alternative for the phrase?). We don't need to beat ourselves up for making bad choices, nor beat others up for their choices. We can, nevertheless, help ourselves and help others to make baby steps towards a more healthy lifestyle.

On the next page (click that round 2 below) you'll se what I'm talking about.

Share:
Vegan Doctors and Healthcare: Are They Better?

Vegan Doctors and Healthcare: Are They Better?

We are living in a pretty cool world now. We don't have to take anybody's word for anything. Take, for example, the argument that a vegan lifestyle is deficient and you will get sick if you don't eat meat. If you're doctors aren't vegan, they may give you that same argument. I bet plenty of ex-vegans in the past believed this one, because there just was not enough research done to find out exactly what the deficiencies were.

Vegan doctors understand about B-12 vitamin deficiencies, among other things

Here's a brief explanation about B-12 deficiencies in the video below, and why it's so important:

[videoframes src=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1_1J8Lw4WnY” skin=”10″ controls=”1″]

FullyRawKristina says that B-12 is only found in organic, nutrient-rich soil grown vegetables. She also points out that, before taking supplements, get checked first to see if you have the deficiency. You may be fine! Of course, it never hurts to get a blood test to make sure you are getting all the nutrition you need. For busy lifestyles that don't have time to prepare foods everyday, nutritional supplements can give the extra support you need.

Vegan doctors may know better

I don't know if it's true, and I don't want to diss any doctor who has taken the Hippocratic oath. Yet if you want to stay true to yourself and your vegan lifestyle choices, you may want to check out vegan doctors and healthcare, if these services are in your area. Here are a couple of resources that may help:

Vegan Diet Support

Plant-based Doctors List

Share:
Vegan Make Up Is Saving My Skin

Vegan Make Up Is Saving My Skin

Vegan make up came as a surprise to me when I heard about it. When first studying about vegan diets, I didn't give much thought to anything but food. It wasn't long before I stopped wearing my leather jacket, and replaced my shoes with non-leather pairs (well, after my favorites wore out anyway – every day I thanked the generous animal where the shoes came from). But what? My make up relied on dead animal ingredients? Shudders. I switched immediately to brands that I know are vegan make up.

Is your makeup vegan? Know the ingredients.

Don't be fooled by the ingredient names. According to PETA.org, companies are careful about the words they use, so as not to turn off consumers. Just like the word “leather” is used for “dead animal skin”, knowing the trick to words and hidden meanings helps us see clearly. In a path towards a vegan lifestyle, our best defense is to educate ourselves on what exactly is meant by some of these words, like “collagen” for example.

Here's what PETA has to say about cosmetics and vegan (not):

Cosmetics companies use animal ingredients such as tissue and tallow (fat) because they’re cheap, not because they’re better than plant-based or synthetic ingredients. Slaughterhouses kill billions of animals every year and have to dispose of the “byproducts” somehow; selling them to cosmetics manufacturers is one easy solution.

Unfortunately, even avid label-readers can’t always determine what they’re putting on—and in—their bodies. There are thousands of technical and patented names for ingredient variations, and many ingredients known by one name can be of animal, vegetable, or synthetic origin. And if that’s not confusing enough, some companies have slyly removed the word “animal” from their labels in order to avoid turning off consumers. For example, instead of saying “hydrolyzed animal protein,” companies may use a term like “hydrolyzed collagen.”Want to know more? Read PETA’s factsheet about hidden animal ingredients.

[NOTE: We know some of you think PETA is hypocritical. But any information that reveals how we mistreat animals is better than saying nothing at all, we believe. Thank you for your tolerance.]

Even though there are more and more companies that are not using animal products, many still use a lot of harsh ingredients. On the next page is my favorite of all time that uses mostly natural botanical ingredients. Click on the round “2” or arrow below to see the video.

Share: