• Sweet, Sugary Cakes
    Health & Fitness

    Why Giving up Sugar is Hard, and Why you Must Try

    Sugar is hard to give up, not because you don’t have the willpower, but because of the biology surrounding sugar. You can’t overcome your biology with willpower. You will fail every time. So you need to approach it scientifically. Science Over Willpower The science of sugar is fascinating: It not only drives mechanisms that make you gain weight because it produces more insulin and so stores belly fat, but it makes you hungry, it slows your metabolism, and it locks the fat in the fat cell so it can’t get out – it’s like a one-way turnstile. I think we can agree these are not desirable effects. When you look…

  • Sunlight through trees illuminating walkers on a path
    Health & Fitness

    The Essential Role of Vitamin D for Immune Response

    A friend sent me a video this week showing Dr JoAnn Manson discussing the efficacy of Vitamin D against COVID-19. The video was produced in May 2020 and you can watch it in full here. It is about 5 minutes long but I can’t embed it here. A recent study (published May 2021) supports this showing a 78% lower risk of death with Vitamin D. The video discusses the role of Vitamin D in the immune response against viruses based on clinical trials (and not just COVID-19) as well as how it benefits bone health and more. As health should be our number one priority since it is the foundation…

  • Morning Routines: Breakfast
    Health & Fitness,  Life Hacks,  Intellectual Life,  Character

    Turning Morning Routines into Morning Bliss

    Do you have a morning routine? And do you struggle with it somedays, or every day? The problem here is the word ‘routine.’ If the first things you are going to do in the day don’t light you up, you’re more likely to snooze than excitedly leap out of bed. 生き甲斐 – IkigaiThe thing that gets you out of bed in the morning – your sense of purpose. There are a gazillion morning routines in books and all over the Internet. You may have tried one or more of them and given up. No single routine is better than any of the others because the question is not “What is…

  • Forest Bathing - A Walk on the Wild Side
    Health & Fitness

    The Therapeutic Benefits of Forest Bathing

    I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees Henry David Thoreau Walking among the pines and catching a shaft of sunlight is a magical thing. Letting yourself feel the joy in the moment (and nothing else) is one of the greatest reliefs there is. The Japanese practise of Shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing is the simple and therapeutic act of spending time in a forest. If you’ve ever been in a forest, listened to the birds, and watched the sunshine filtering through the leaves, you’ve already participated in one of the best things you can do for your physical and mental well-being. Even Japanese doctors…

  • Woman tying up her trainers
    Health & Fitness,  App Reviews

    App Review: HIIT by Down Dog

    Down Dog are possibly most well-known for their yoga app (hence the name – it’s a pose in yoga), but recently they have released a slew of related health-and-fitness apps which have been up to the same excellent levels of craftsmanship. I use the yoga app and recently added their HIIT and meditation apps to my roster. This review is about the HIIT app. For a long time, I have not settled on a preferred fitness app. I have been into running recently, tried push-up quests and a variety of styles over the years. But with the very cold winter weather, plus the heavy rains, I decided running was not…

  • Man Meditating Outdoors
    Health & Fitness,  Emotional Life,  Inspiration,  Spiritual Life

    Meditation Made Easy

    In this video, Mingyur Rinpoche explains the essence of meditation and describes some common misunderstandings about practising meditation. He also shares some tips for bringing meditation into our day-to-day lives. From my own learning about meditation and mindfulness since my initial forays with meditation 30+ years ago, these are 2 key essences of meditation: We are not our thoughts. We are the observer of our thoughts. Meditation is not about achieving the absence of thought, but remaining aware and centred while the thoughts ebb and flow around us. Over time, the thoughts will learn they don’t have your undivided attention and will recede. We will feel greater serenity and greater…

  • Singing Bowls & a Rain Stick
    Health & Fitness

    Can Sound Heal the Body?

    The Mystery of Sound In my teens, I explored the mysteries through the study of different belief systems ranging from shamanism to Buddhism. I experienced various esoteric practices which are now finding their way into the mainstream. These included Tibetan Overtone Chanting and Singing Bowls. Sound has always been important to me; everything from melodies and key changes in music in general through to more metaphysical experiences with New Age music, Gregorian Chant and the aforementioned Overtone Chanting and Singing Bowls. Headphones are great for experiencing the technical intricacies of modern music, but there is something more primal in feeling the music on the body, especially the chants, bowls and…

  • Banana
    Health & Fitness

    Avoiding Bananas? Stop! Here are 5 Surprising Reasons why you should Eat them.

    I have always liked bananas since I was very young, but didn’t really eat fruit for many years. After my doctor said I needed to eat more fruit more regularly I decided to go back to what I remembered as a child. I remembered they were soft and easy on the stomach, and I remembered they had lots of potassium, but that was about it. I added a healthy slice of research after my stroke so I better understood the foods I was eating and looked for more details that weren’t around in my youth. I stumbled across Anthon Williams’ Life-Changing Foods which says the following about the not-so-humble banana.…

  • Cacao Pod
    Health & Fitness

    Is Ceremonial Cacao the amazing superfood you have been looking for?

    Ceremonial Cacao: Where Chocolate Begins I’ve always been conscious of what I eat, careful of processed foods and the hidden ingredients in the things we buy. I don’t profess to be a purist by any means, but I think it’s important to understand what we do to ourselves. After all, we only have one body to get us through life and keeping it well maintained seems to be the best option. My younger years certainly weren’t a paradigm of healthy eating – Coke and chocolate for breakfast – but I weaned myself off fizzy drinks at 13 after watching a video which showed Coke dissolving teeth overnight. That was 40…

  • Honey & Lemon Drink
    Health & Fitness

    The Amazing (and Simple) Health Benefits of Honey & Lemon

    In the UK, the autumn is closing in, the nights are getting longer, the wind is blowing the coloured leaves all over the place, and people are wrapping up warm against the elements and the oncoming cold and flu season. 2020 is made more unusual with the existence of the COVID19 pandemic, and while this isn’t a post about that specifically, this easy-to-make drink is a really great health booster, tonic and pick-me-up. The recipe was given to me by an old friend who has since passed away and is based on what I call “the wisdom of the elders.” In the past, people turned to nature as their medicine…