Category Archives: Exercise

Why walk 5 miles a day, every day?

When it comes to walking, it’s all good.

In case you hadn’t heard, there is a health and fitness trend that says walking 10,000 paces a day is good for your body, mind, and soul.  For me, ten-thousand paces equates to about 5 miles on level ground, and will usually take me the best part of two hours to accomplish.  Which begs the question; is it really worth my while to devote two hours a day, every day, just walking to somewhere, or even to nowhere and back again?

Well, actually, yes it is, and these are the reasons why.

Let’s start with something scientific and anatomical ~ blood flow in the legs.  The circulation in our feet and legs only works because we use our calf muscles, and because of non-return valves in the veins.  If we sit still, we have bugger-all blood flow in our feet and legs ~ which is why there’s a risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis during long flights.  If you sit at a desk for 8 hours a day, you are in danger of developing poor circulation, which is nasty.

So if you want to have healthy circulation, one of the things you can do is just get out of your chair, and walk.

My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was sixty.  She’s ninety-seven now, and we don’t know where the heck she is.  ~  Ellen DeGeneres

Walking more, whether it’s to go somewhere, or for leisure, or part of your health and fitness programme is an easy way to be more active without all that unpleasant sweating, huffing, and puffing that comes with some other forms of exercise.   A brisk walk is classed as moderate-intensity activity, and does count towards your recommended 150 minutes of weekly exercise.  Walking is a form of exercise that’s easy to fit into your daily routine, for example instead of taking the elevator up a couple of floors, take the stairs.

If you’re not used to taking much exercise, then don’t start off by trying to walk 5 miles.  The Mayo Clinic recommends that you add 1,000 steps a week to your baseline average.  This means you are going to need a pedometer, and the first thing you should do is measure how many steps you take in an average day.  Very Well says that if you are an average American you will most likely be walking 5,000 steps in an entire day, (HA! I don’t believe a word of that, I’m certain the average Californian walks about 2,500 steps a day.)

The respected Mayo Clinic is very keen on walking as a form of exercise and even has a 12-week walking schedule based on work done by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

The benefits of walking include improving your blood pressure, energy, happiness, mental health, skin tone, sleep, stamina, strength, stress levels ~ as well as reducing the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, dementia, joint problems, obesity, a stroke, and nasty diseases in general.  On top of that you are going to look and feel a hell of a lot better.  The key to walking for health and fitness is to build walking into your daily schedule.

These days I am keen on meditation and mindfulness, but I find it difficult to meditate in the traditional fashion.  So, I meditate during yoga, and I also practice a form of walking meditation.  I have never been taught, nor led through yoga meditation or walking meditation, these are mindfulness practices which just came naturally to me.

All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.  ~  Friedrich Nietzsche

All of us should also do some strength exercises, at least twice a week, particularly as we get older.  Personally I like to do some yoga, but I also add an isometric workout into my daily walk.   This two-for the price of one routine means that I make the most use of the couple of hours I spend in the fresh air and sunshine, (we sometimes get sunshine in England).

You don’t have to believe me that walking 10,000 steps a day is a good idea.  Just google 10,000 steps and you will come across loads of articles by people such as the well-respected Dr Mercola who say that walking 10,000 steps a day is a basic requirement for good health and fitness.

In life a couple of things now scare me; having a stroke and developing dementia.  If I can improve my chances of avoiding these life-destroying conditions, then a couple of hours walking every day seems a small price to pay.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Being Overweight

It’s simple, if it jiggles, it’s fat.

These past few weeks, I have been lacking a little in energy and bounce, and I decided that one reason for my lack of ‘get-up-and-go’ was that I’ve been putting on weight.  So, I decided to look into what being overweight really was, and if I was actually overweight, what it was doing to me.  Quite frankly, I was horrified at what I discovered.

I hate overweight, because it implies there is a weight standard I should be adhering to.  ~  Camryn Manheim.

You know what?  There is a weight standard, and we should all be adhering to it.

There are lots of health and fitness problems attached to being overweight ~ and the older you get the worse the health problems of being overweight become.

To begin with, are you overweight?  How does one know the difference between a little curvier and softer than we used to be, and truly overweight?  What is the difference between being overweight, obese, or morbidly obese.  Well, the chances are you’re overweight or obese ~ in the UK 68% of men and 58% of women are overweight or obese.  In the USA more than two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese.

One easy way to tell if we’re overweight is to forget the scales and just grab a tape-measure.  Measure you height, and your waist at your belly button, (without sucking in your gut).  Your waist should not be more than half your height.  If your waist measurement is more than half your height you’re overweight with the worst kind of fat ~ visceral fat, (which will kill you).  More scientifically you can calculate your Body Mass Index, (BMI), but that won’t tell you as much about visceral fat as will a tape-measure.

There’s also a cut-off point to assess the overall risks to health just by waist measurement.  In men it’s 40 inches, and in women it’s 35 inches.  So if your waist is bigger than that, you’re officially overweight / obese and in danger of suffering serious health and fitness problems.  Having love handles is another bad sign, presaging heart and liver disease in your future.

Medically defined, a healthy BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9,  overweight is having a BMI of more than 25, obese is having a BMI of more than 30, while morbidly obese is having a BMI of more than 40, (or 35 if you also have something like diabetes or high blood pressure).  There are plenty of online BMI calculators.

There are a myriad of downsides to being overweight, and even more downsides to being obese.  Some of these are;

We know a great deal more about the causes of physical disease than we do about the causes of physical health.  ~  M. Scott Peck.

The above are the worst of the medical problems.  But look at it another way ~ just how fit are you?  Can you walk up three flights of stairs without getting out of breath?  Can you run for a bus?  Can you walk five miles without collapsing?  Can you easily find clothes that fit, or do you have to buy plus size?  Can you still play sports, or are you limited to gentler activities?  What’s your performance in bed like?  The chances are if you’re overweight, then you’re not happy with your honest answers to any of those questions, because you know you’re not as fit as you would like to be.  Maybe you should take an online test?

It turns out my BMI today, as I write this, is 25.7.  However, according to another set of criteria I’m quite fit ~ much fitter than my chronological age, by 25 years or so.  But do you know what?  I’m going to lose some weight, starting right now.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

I can do that yoga position, but I don’t look as good as that.

 

Yoga for Men

Yoga is a type of meditation ~ and done properly it’s difficult.

Calling this post Yoga for Men isn’t as sexist or as misogynistic as you may think.  When I was a much younger chap, far more cynical, and much less worldly-wise, I used to think yoga was a bit ‘strange’.  In my mind yoga was something that girls did, and perhaps men who were a bit metrosexual.  Now that I’ve grown up a bit I realise that yoga can be a strenuous and difficult workout ~ the kind of workout that hurts while you’re doing it and makes you ache afterwards.

It turns out that there are lots of reasons why more men should regularly practice yoga.  Some say that yoga strengthens your immune system and relieves stress.  And, that regular yoga improves muscle tone, flexibility, agility, posture, stamina, and core strength.  All I know is that regular yoga exercises and nurtures my body, mind, and spirit.  Some also say that yoga will give you a better sex life.

Just in case you don’t know, yoga involves holding postures, and holding some of these postures for any length of time can be damn difficult.  Even the few, (simple), postures I use require a great deal of strength, balance, and concentration.  Because holding these postures take a lot of strength and stamina, your muscles become more toned and develop greater power and endurance.

Yoga also helps with proper breathing, better posture, better balance, better concentration, better digestion, and increased mindfulness and serenity.   Regular and difficult yoga improves the way you look, stand, walk, and talk.  I have been told, by a very close friend, that regular yoga also greatly improves one’s sex life, and increases the pleasure you can give to your partner.  Also, some yoga poses work as great sex positions and increase the intensity of the female orgasm.  Allegedly, it’s possible for women to have an orgasm just from doing yoga.  Who knew?

So, these are the yoga positions I use regularly, and if I have the names wrong… well I’m not a yoga instructor.

The Tree.  This classical, impressive, and elegant position promotes strength and balance in your feet, ankles, legs, and core.  Like all yoga positions I’ve tried it also aids concentration, calms your breathing, and improves your grasp of mindfulness.  Don’t worry too much if at first you keep losing your balance, what’s probably happening is that you’ve lost your mental focus.  The tree pose puts all your weight on one leg at a time, but the balance, poise, and elegance has to come from the whole body.

~

Downward Facing Dog.  Allegedly, this is one of those yoga poses that’s also a great sexual position ~ I can see that.  This position throws a lot of weight on the upper body, wrists, arms, shoulders, and chest.  It stretches the whole of the back of your legs and  body ~ your spine, arms, shoulders, ankles, calves, and hamstrings.  For me, unless I’m doing it wrong, it also strengthens my knees.

~

The Bridge.  This position is especially designed to strengthen your pelvic floor, (and backside), which is good for all kinds of reasons, up to and including sex.  The bridge position builds strength in your core and lower body ~ personally I can really feel this in my lower abdomen.  This is another of those yoga positions which is also a fabulous sexual position ~ or so I’m told.  When I do this, I keep my back straight and my belly flat ~ I have no idea if that’s a good idea or not.

~

The Plank.  I find this pose tremendously difficult, not because I don’t know how to do it, but because it calls for a tremendous amount of strength.  Done properly the entirety of one’s body weight is brought into play to build core body strength, exercise the arms and shoulders, and increase one’s fortitude.  There are three basic variations of the plank, and the easiest is to rest on your knees rather than stretch out your whole body and rest on your toes.  The second easiest is to support your upper body on your forearms, while the hardest of all is to be in a push-up position with all one’s weight on your toes and hands.  Right now, I can hold this position for one minute only ~ which is a bit pathetic really.

~

The Warrior.  This should be so easy, trust me, it isn’t.  The warrior pose stretches and strengthens the legs and core muscles of the body.  For me it also works the arms and shoulders.  More than that, this is the one position that should be so easy that I want to do it properly and elegantly.  Where that gets difficult is the whole being straight, having one’s belly and backside tight, steadiness and ease thing.  The lady in the picture looks a bit wimpy because her right arm is dropping.

Right now I only use these five positions, and the list above is in the order I do this stuff.  I hold each position for as long as I can, and that varies from 5 minutes per position, to less than a minute, depending on the pose and how I’m feeling that day.  And, again depending on how I’m feeling, I’ll probably run through all five positions a couple or maybe even three times.

However, there are stacks more great yoga positions, and if you really want to learn about yoga, then I should strongly suggest that you take a proper class, there will be one near you.  There are even a bunch of good online yoga classes.  (I took one actual class at my local gym, once, and never went back ~ but that’s just me).  Who knows, you may find yourself alongside some fit, supple, young women.  Who will probably make you feel totally inadequate.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Walking Meditation

Through meditation the higher self is experienced.

True health and fitness can only be experienced and enjoyed when the body, mind, and spirit are all in balance.  You cannot be healthy in one part of your being, if you are not healthy in all.

You should pray for a healthy mind in a healthy body.  ~  Juvenal

To be truly fit and healthy one must exercise, take care of, and nurture all aspects of our being.  Although physical health is deeply connected to mental and emotional health, I believe there is little point in just ‘hitting the gym’ because all that is likely to do is strengthen our body at the expense of our mind and spirit.  I firmly believe that to balance our body, mind, and soul we need to incorporate an integrated health regime into the totality of our lives.

When people tell me they can’t afford to join a gym, I tell them to go outside; planet Earth is a gym and we’re already members.  Walk, run, climb, sweat, and enjoy all of the natural wonder that is available to you.  ~  Steve Maraboli.

One of the activities I use to balance the physical, mental, and spiritual parts of my being is to get out into the sunshine and fresh air for a couple of hours brisk walk every day.  Walking is excellent exercise, but more than that I can also practice walking meditation.

When I was much younger I thought that meditation was weird, nonsensical, even ‘girly’.  But back then I also thought that prayer, self-discovery, spirituality, and yoga were also distinctly odd.  These days I embrace all of these good practices ~ although I still don’t consciously pray to a ‘God’.  With maturity I have begun to understand that these are methods by which I can know myself and become an emotionally healthy man.  To be truly healthy we all need to get outdoors for at least an hour every day.  We all need to exercise our own mind and spirit if we are going to escape from the fortress prison we have built for ourselves.

If there was a mature and peaceful woodland nearby I would take my daily walks there, enjoying forest bathing, what the Japanese call shinrin-yoku.  This is a meditative and spiritual activity that is known to improve one’s mindfulness.  Trees are well-known to possess healing powers.

However, in the here and now of my life it is more appropriate that I take my daily walk by the sea, under the open and  ever-changing sky.  Both the sea and the clouds are peaceful, they help me to experience serenity and mindfulness.  The clouds fire my imagination.  The sea is a primeval and primordial force of nature, a part of the Mother Goddess to which all things return at the end of days.

Walking meditation is an easy thing to do ~ providing one is not distracted by everyday activities.  I don’t use my cell-phone on my meditative walks, I don’t use my camera when I’m in a meditative state, I walk alone, and I don’t talk with anyone ~ as a matter of fact I don’t even notice other people.  Walking meditation is a peaceful part of my life where I can be in touch with the more enlightened part of myself.  Time and space cease to exist in the normal way, the world becomes fully open for me to explore in my mind, I become open to appreciate all things with acceptance and understanding.

The secret to walking meditation is to get outside, on your own, and walk in nature for a while ~ an hour or more is good.  Empty your mind of all immediate concerns.  But most of all, walk.

Even if you have to walk fast for 30 minutes, five days a week, by all means do so.  Never make excuses to why you don’t have time to work out.  Your body deserves to enjoy the taste of a good health.  Never settle for less.  ~  Edmond Mbiaka.

Obviously, just taking a walk each day isn’t enough exercise to keep me fit and healthy.  Walking does little for strength and mobility.  For that I practice yoga.  I used to believe that yoga was the sole preserve of incredibly fit and supple young women, but then I learned that yoga is also for men like me.  Done properly, yoga will improve your health and fitness in body, mind, and spirit.  Done properly, yoga for men hurts a little bit.  If it feels right, you can incorporate yoga into your daily walk.

We can experience so much, appreciate so much, and understand so much, if we are brave enough to open our minds to the wonders of the Cosmos.

I enjoin you; get outside into the fresh air, and walk.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder

There Is A Sunlit Garden Just Ahead.

P1030721For almost as long as I can remember, and I can remember a long, long way back, I have felt odd, weird, strange, different, unhappy.  I used to suffer from extreme mood swings, I had a morbid fear of abandonment, every relationship I’d ever had was dysfunctional, I would isolate myself for long periods, and I could do strange and ‘dangerous’ things on just a whim.  Not to mention that I took to relieving the anxiety and stress I suffered from by self-medicating with too much booze.

In short, I had just about every symptom there is of a quite serious mental illness called Borderline Personality Disorder.  Of course, I didn’t know I had BPD, well mostly you don’t, why would you?  How can you self-diagnose BPD, when you haven’t even heard of it?  Anyway, I thought perhaps I was bipolar ~ I wasn’t.

My awareness came because I want to see a counsellor about my alcohol problem.  Over several months Sue got to know me quite well.  She didn’t say that I had Borderline Personality Disorder, she mentioned a book to me, a book called I Hate You, Don’t Leave Me, which just about summed up the way I used to feel about every woman I’d ever had a relationship with.

I was prompted to take on-line tests for Borderline Personality Disorder to see if there was a real likelihood that I was suffering from this horrible psychological illness.  Each and every time I came out at the red end of the scale.  I fully accepted and embraced these results.  This was the beginning of my recovery.  When I knew and fully accepted what was wrong with me I could start to heal myself ~ with the help of others.

My problem probably started at birth, (many psychological problems seem to start at birth).  I was small, premature, separated from my mother, and placed in an incubator for many days, (so I’m told).  I never, ever bonded with mt mother.  I did bond with my maternal grandmother, and never understood or got over her death when I was about four-and-three-quarters years old.

A major part of my recovery was recognising these early trauma.  Eventually,  I wrote a letter to myself, aged four-and-three-quarters, and that was a very traumatic and very healing process.

Being very honest and open with my counsellor, my doctor, and a trusted friend helped me enormously.  My doctor even arranged for me to see a psychiatrist, a specialist in BPD.  After three long and gruelling assessments this guy said that I had been suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder, but that I had mostly cured myself.  Well, thanks very much for that vote of confidence.  (A little English irony there.)

How did I manage this remarkable recovery?

  1. I fully accepted that I had a problem, and that it was most likely Borderline Personality Disorder.
  2. I fully accepted that booze wasn’t helping, and I stopped drinking, got sober, and became completely abstinent from alcohol.
  3. I fully embraced honesty in all my dealings, being determined to always tell the whole truth to myself and to others, (when I needed to tell others anything at all that is, which isn’t all the time).
  4. I did not take any mood altering drugs, neither prescription drugs nor street drugs.  Obviously my doctors offered me everything, starting with Prozac.
  5. I got physically fit.  (Mens sano in corpore sano.  ~  Juvenal)
  6. I continued with formal counselling, from professional therapists, and with informal counselling from a trusted and knowledgeable friend.
  7. I embraced self-help techniques from getting lots of fresh air, to meditation, to reading appropriate inspirational books.  (I did not use inspirational videos, or group therapy, and I never will.)
  8. I became completely willing to recover from the debilitating, life ruining, destructive symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder.
  9. I looked at my past in an honest, open, and dispassionate way.  I learned from my past, but I did not go back there, and I didn’t let it hurt me again.
  10. I learned to to completely accept, understand, care for, cherish, and love other people ~ no matter what.

segovia-castleAnd things got better.  My life got much better, my relationships with others improved.  I was sleeping well.  I felt fit, strong, and healthy in body, mind, and spirit.  And I felt empty inside.  I felt imprisoned in the dark and forbidding fortress of my own mind.  All was not well, and even though a psychiatrist and professional counsellors were telling me that I had made a remarkable recovery, changing my whole life and attitudes around, I felt unfulfilled and empty inside.

It seems that what I needed was an awakening of spirit, an epiphany, an understanding of life’s ultimate questions as they applied to me.  Then, and strangely, out of nowhere, I had a spiritual awakening.  Suddenly I was filled with genuine self-belief and a vision of the future for me.

I will not tell you how it happened, or exactly what happened, or why I am now a completely different and much better man than I could ever have hoped to become.  You need to find your own spiritual awakening, and I strongly believe that each man and woman’s connection with ultimate reality will be different, personal, powerful, special, and moving.

I can tell you that I now understand The Divine Mother, my place in the Cosmos, and how to completely love and accept other people.

Alcoholics Anonymous, and other proponents of 12 step recovery programmes probably have it right.  The first step to recovery is fully accepting that you have a problem

Step 1.  We admitted we were powerless over alcohol ~ that our lives had become unmanageable.  ~ Alcoholics Anonymous

I substituted  ‘feelings’ for the word ‘alcohol’ because that was the problem making my life a complete Hell, and I had the first step on the long road to recovery.

I admitted I was powerless over my feelings ~ that my life had become unmanageable.

There is a road to recovery, and it begins with admitting we are ill.

~

P1030116these opinions are mine and mine alone

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

21 ways to save money

Easy Lifestyle Changes Could Save You A Small Fortune.

Red_RoseThere some very basic things you can do which, added together, will save you a great deal of money.  These changes to the way you live your life are not difficult, they’re not complicated, and they will not take up a lot of your time.  In fact, all of these things are what my granny used to call; ‘basic common sense’.  Get on with it, smell the roses, save yourself some money, and live a better life.

  1. Pay off all your credit and store card bills.  The average interest rate on credit card debt is around 16%, with some banks charging as much as 79.9% per annum, this is just extortion and usury.  Far better to borrow elsewhere, at a cheaper rate, and pay off your plastic.
  2. Use the internet and find cheaper providers for your gas, electricity, water, mobile phone, (cell phone), land line telephone, internet, cable television, and car insurance.  Switch to the cheapest provider because customer service will always suck, no matter who you are with.  And, by the way, do you really need all those rubbish TV channels?
  3. Lower the temperature of your heating, and raise the temperature of your air conditioning by a couple of degrees.  We all pay far too much for heating and cooling our homes.
  4. Lower the temperature at which you wash your clothes.  There is a 30C setting on my washing machine, (about 90F), and most of the time that’s what I use.  This gets rid of most dirt and stains, but it does not get rid of germs, and it’s not hot enough to get whites clean.  So, I still always wash my bed linen and whites at 90C, (about 200F).  Mind you, I always use biological washing powder which works well at lower temperatures.
  5. Always make a shopping list.  Far too many people go into a store and come out with a whole bunch of stuff they don’t really want or need, while forgetting the important thing they went in for.  Make a shopping list and never, ever make impulse purchases.
  6. Try own-brand goods.  Very often the own-brand products are just as good as the more expensive named-brands.  Quite often own-brand products are made in the same factories and on the same production lines as named brands.  Stores always try to make you buy the most expensive, premium goods.
  7. Never buy ‘designer labels’  ~  don’t be a logo whore, and who wants some other guy’s name on their clothes and shoes anyway?  It’s pathetic.
  8. Learn to do DIY.  I hate contractors, repair men, decorators, gardeners, with a passion.  If it needs doing then 90% of the time I do it myself.  Learn to decorate, put up a shelf, fix a leaky tap, (faucet), and save yourself an absolute fortune.
  9. Make your travel arrangements early and do it on the internet.  Always shop around for the cheapest deal.  Always pay by credit card.  Get a brochure from the travel agent for information and to give you a comparison.
  10. Learn to drive properly.  Almost everyone I know is a crap driver, especially women.  Almost everyone I know drives too fast, races between the lights, uses the accelerator hard and the brakes hard, and sits in the wrong gear.  Drive a little slower and learn what anticipation means and you will not only use less petrol, (gas), there will be much less wear and tear on your car.
  11. p1020966Don’t always buy the newest, top-of-the-range car.  A low mileage used car, or the basic model in the new car range can save you thousands.  Remember, the biggest cost of owning a car is depreciation.  Most cars will lose between 50% – 60% of their value in the first 3 years.  (Just don’t buy an Edsel ~ people will laugh.)
  12. Walk, don’t drive.  If you don’t have far to go and don’t have much to carry, don’t drive, walk instead.  That won’t only save you money, walking will do wonders  for your health and fitness.
  13. Give up smoking / vaping.  Both will seriously damage your health, both can kill you, and both will cost you a fortune.  A pack of 20 cigarettes will cost you about £7 in the UK and about $7 in California, (USA prices vary by state).  So, a 10 a day habit will cost you about £1,300 per annum in the UK and $1,300 a year in California ~ a lot of money for a disgusting habit that’s killing you.
  14. Cut down on your drinking.  Too much booze will make you fat, ill, and temporarily or permanently stupid ~ it will eventually kill you.  How much booze is too much?  If you drink  a bottle of wine a night, or 4 bottles of beer, or a quarter of a bottle of spirits, then you are drinking far too much.  Decent booze is hellishly expensive.
  15. Cincinnati KidSTOP GAMBLING.  Gambling is exactly the same as throwing your hard-earned money in the trash.  Gambling is an addiction, and all gamblers lose heavily over time, always, with no exceptions, (not even the Cincinnati Kid).
  16. Never, ever, join a gym, and if you have gym membership, then cancel it.  Most people with gym memberships don’t go often enough to get their money’s worth.  Gyms are poor value for money and bad places for most people to exercise ~ you’re breathing stale air, being made to listen to loud music, and you’re indoors under artificial lights.  Nasty.  Exercise for free instead.
  17. Plan ahead and buy stuff in the sales, at discount stores, and in thrift stores.
  18. Claim all your tax and other benefits.  Use the internet at learn what you can really claim.
  19. Never use pay per view TV or TV services such as Netflix ~ this is just stupid.  Do you really need to dumb down so much as to sit in front of the TV, and pay extra for the privilege, over and above whatever stupid cable subscription you are already paying for this crap?
  20. Never, ever buy extended warranties on things like a car, new washing machine, or television.  These warranties are scams, not worth the paper they’re printed on, and cost a fortune.
  21. Stop buying expensive pre-prepared, ready meals.  Learn to cook instead.  ‘Ready meals’ are full of unmentionable crap, and are terrible value for money.

Remember, when you want to save money, when you want to stop wasting money, the internet is your friend.  You may think you don’t have the time to spend on internet research, trust me, you do have loads of spare time, it’s just that you waste that too.  Stop ruining your mind by watching hours of drivel on the TV, stop ruining your health by spending time in your usual sleazy pub / bar, and stop making excuses.

Never, ever, sign anything you don’t understand.  Never, ever, trust a salesperson.

Take back control of your own life, and take control of your finances, it’s a lot easier than you think.

~

Wall Streetjack collier

jack collier7@talktalk.net

Food on Friday ~ 2017 Cleansing

How many of us overindulged a little over the Holiday Season?

In some parts of the world the holidays began with Thanksgiving, November 24th 2016, and in some other parts of the world the holidays continued until Epiphany, last Friday, January 6th 2017.  Most of the people I know partied and overindulged on food and booze right through December 2016 until January 1st this year.  A lot of the people I know put on a little weight, and have New Year’s Resolutions to eat better and exercise more.  Good Luck with that.

However, perhaps to help a little, here are some nutritious, simple, cleansing dishes to tempt our jaded palates.  As far as exercise goes, in addition to my usual long walks, this year I’m checking out something called PiYo, which is an amalgam of Pilates and Yoga ~ allegedly.  (There is no way I’m spending any money on video courses / programs ~ but take your choice.)

All of these easy, cleansing dishes would make a great light dinner and something fabulous to take to work for lunch.

First up this week, from Andrea at Cooking with a Wallflower, we have a simple cilantro and lime rice, (please, it’s called coriander in England).  Andrea says this would go well in a burrito, but that’s really missing the point, isn’t it?

cilantro-lime-rice-1-1024x683

Cilantro and Lime Rice

Found for us by Jessica at how sweet it is, I am seriously going to make this fabulous looking winter salmon salad.  I would strongly encourage my friend in SoCal to give this the once over as it also contains radishes and avocado, along with salmon another couple of her favourites.

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Winter Salmon Salad

A very healthy vegetarian recipe from Kate Taylor at Cookie + kate we have chickpea salad with carrots and dill.  This is crisp, fresh, sharp, and protein rich ~ if you want a change make it with cilantro instead of dill.

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Chickpea Salad with Carrots and Dill

And now, from Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest we have these wonderful looking spicy brown rice seared tuna roll bowls.  As well as tuna this dish uses lots of cleansing superfoods; mango, cilantro, garlic, radishes, and avocado.

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Spicy Brown Rice Seared Tuna Roll Bowl

Recovering pastry chef, the Bojon Gourmet, has a great recipe for a winter salad; beet citrus and chicory salad with ricotta salata and pistachios.  This is a seriously low calorie dish, (when it comes to the calories you can actually use), and beets are one of these superfoods we hear so much about.

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Beet Citrus and Chicory Salad with Ricotta Salata and Pistachios

Next from Heather Christo we have a 3 day soup cleanse, which looks a lot nicer than some ‘cleansing recipes I’ve seen.

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Three Day Soup Cleanse

Finally this week, another great collection, this time from Delicious; 50 fast recipes to kick start that winter cleanse.  One of the 50 featured recipes is this nice and easy sweet miso steak with ramen.  What’s not to like?

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Sweet Miso Steak with Ramen

~

dscf0002a big thank you to all the great cooks featured in this week’s Food on Friday

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

2017 Resolutions

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The Four Great Truths I will follow in 2017;
  1. Accept that Life is difficult and painful.
  2. The underlying causes of my problems and pain are giving in to my own cravings, lusts, desires, and my blaming of others.
  3. I can’t change what happens to me, but I can change how I react.
  4. The path to freedom from suffering is through self-discipline in body, mind, and spirit.

These are not the ‘normal’ kind of New Year’s Resolutions, but I believe they will work for me in 2017.  My spirit can be free to fly through blue skies.

~

p1050118jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Aging Disgracefully Well

Nobody gets out of this life alive.  Aging is inevitable.  Senior citizenship isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.  But it doesn’t have to be quite like that.

Old age may have its limitations and its challenges, but our later years can be the most rewarding and fulfilling of our lives.  ~  Paul Silway

It isn’t all bad news.  Life is full of compromises, and as we get older we really have to change the way we do things.  After we have reached the milestone of 40 or 50 or 60, what we really need to do is follow that old adage; Don’t Work Harder, Work Smarter‘.  And remember this, you know a hell of a lot about life.

The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected.  ~  Robert Frost

There is some very solid advice for the more experienced among us.

dentist-toothTake Full Control of Your Life.  Don’t let others ever again tell you what to do.  Don’t blindly follow the advice of others.  This includes family, friends, lawyers, doctors, dentists, accountants, financial advisers, insurance agents, government officials, contractors, salespeople of any kind, store clerks…  Always question their knowledge, experience, motives…, because usually they aren’t doing things for your benefit, but theirs.  Don’t ever do things you don’t want to do.  In the end, do whatever you want to do, it’s your life.  If you want to take up skydiving at 70, why not?  Realistically, what have you got to lose?  (The statistics are interesting.  If a 25 years old guy kills himself skydiving he’s lost maybe 60 years.  If you kill yourself at 70, doing something stupidly dangerous, what have you lost, maybe 15 years?  No worries.)

Stay Fit.  Exercise needs for the older person are different from the twenty-something keen sportsman.  It seems that strength and mobility training is more important than athletic training.  Sex is one of the best exercises you can get.

Believe me, an old broom knows the dirty corners best.  ~  Hannah Kent

Eat Right.  Dietary needs change as we age.  Despite anything anyone tells you, really cut down on carbohydrates and give up wheat completely.  Don’t eat so much red meat.  Think about a Paleo Diet.  Try to really cut down on refined sugar and salt.  Find a healthy drink to replace coffee.  Don’t get fat, it will kill you.

Stay Active and Interested in Life.  Don’t just sit around in your chair with a blanket around your knees.  As soon as you do that you’ve put one foot in the grave.  Live every single day to the full ~ being well-educated you know what carpe diem means.  Do it.

There is no old age.  There is, as there always was, only you.  ~  Carol Grace.

Don’t just ‘retire’.   Retiring early can kill you.  You need to find something to keep you in the ‘working’ frame of mind.  Start a business, volunteer for charitable work, get politically active…  Whatever you do, don’t stay in bed until noon and then stay up half the night drinking beer and watching sports TV.

Be Optimistic and Happy.  Pessimism and Depression will make you physically ill and kill you fast.  Negative thoughts and feelings, being grumpy and miserable lead to increased blood sugar and higher blood pressure ~ and all those lead to strokes, heart attacks, dementia, and cancers.  Don’t worry, be happy.  As we get older it’s time to learn some spirituality and true happiness.

Realise Your Assets and Spend the Money.  What’s the point of being the richest corpse in the cemetery?  Having spare spending cash helps you to do all the good things in life, and it’s your life.  You want to go on a round the world cruise with your new romantic interest?  Why the hell not?  There may be those among us who worry about a ‘legacy’ for their kids / relatives / the cats’ home…  Stop worrying about that because worrying, scrimping and saving, and not having fun will kill you.  Downsize your home, or rent, and enjoy the money, spend the savings you’re not actually going to need to live on, don’t buy excessive life assurance cover….

Wall StreetNever Pay For Advice.  You know more about money, risks, and life than any young ‘professional’ you are ever going to meet.  What’s more you have the time and experience to do the proper research.  So, when you’re working out your pension plan, don’t let some financial adviser tell you what to do ~ all they are interested in is their own fees and commissions.  So very many older people discover that their nice little nest eggs have just vanished due to avaricious fund managers and insurance companies.  Keep your own cash and manage it yourself.  You can always borrow money if you really need it.

Never Let Anyone Treat You Like A Senior Citizen.  You’re wiser, better educated, and more experienced than some young doctor, nurse, government official, member of your family…  They will all expect you to be diffident and compliant, maybe take the ‘happy pills’ ~ just tell them to fuck off.  Don’t ever do things just because someone else thinks it’s best for an old person like you.  The only time to admit your age is if it leads to getting a discount somewhere.

There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of the people you love.  When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.  ~  Sophia Loren.

Sadly there are some things you should give up or cut down on.  You must stop smoking, you should at least severely restrict the booze, salt, and sugar.  And, don’t take too many drugs, prescription or stuff you buy on the street.  Follow some of this advice and you will want as much time as you can get.

The wisest are the most annoyed at the loss of time.  ~  Dante Alighieri

Don’t spend your life looking over our shoulder, maybe regretting what you did or what could have been different.  Enjoy each new sunrise and make the most of your life.

~

sophia-lorenthese thoughts are very well researched,

but in the end, they are mine alone

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

the warmth of a real a log fire

Now that autumn is drawing in, there’s nothing much nicer than sitting near a crackling log fire.  Cats love being near the warmth, and the flames seem to fascinate the little assassins.  Almost every woman you meet will love to curl up in front of a log fire, if you’re lucky right next to you ~ or the cat anyhow.  Burning wood is environmentally friendly, (more or less), and it’s a much cheaper and nicer way to heat your living-room than oil or gas.

Well, let me tell you, if you’ve never had a log fire, (or a wood burning stove), then it’s all a lot more complicated than you’d think.  First of all do you have a fireplace, or a wood burning stove?  Do you even have a chimney?  Look outside, are there neatly stacked plies of seasoned firewood?

Start with the basics, and assume that you at least have a fireplace.

When was the last time the fireplace / stove was used, and when was the chimney last swept?  Burning wood creates ash, smoke, soot, and tar, which then goes up the chimney, and some of it sticks there.  Birds and other creatures nest in chimneys, or on top of chimneys.  Dead stuff and other crap falls into chimneys.  If in doubt thoroughly clean out the fireplace and chimney, (this should be an annual job anyway).  If you’re a useless wimp and in real doubt get some guy to do it for you, (if you have never seen a fall of soot you have no idea how filthy, stinking, dirty that is).  If you don’t have a clean chimney some very bad things could happen; the fire may not light, your house may burn down, you may die.

Do you have some firewood?  Have you any idea how much seasoned firewood you can get through in one winter ~ even if you only light the fire / stove at weekends?  Do you know the difference between hardwood and softwood?  Have you ever used an axe, log splitter, saw, chainsaw?  Do you own a truck?

We could see that gas was costing us too much money.  That’s why we made the choice to go to the wood burner.  It’s easy to do.  Cutting firewood is putting a little sweat equity into it, is all.  ~  Jerry Lambert.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAn average sized home could easily get through two cords of wood in a winter, just to heat the lounge in the evenings ~ Jerry Lambert must be one fit actor, or he buys in his firewood by the truck load.  I have cut, hauled, split, stacked, and brought firewood into my home ~ and let me tell you it’s hard work requiring some expertise in everything from forestry to using hand tools.

The Finns have a proverb; Judge a man by his firewood.  If you can haul enough firewood to heat your lounge in a cold winter, then you’re a real man.

Open log fires can spit sparks onto the hearthrug, burning embers can fall out, and they are quite inefficient, (maybe 10 to 15%).  Really, an open log fire is for looks, cooking the odd whole side of lamb, (cooking with wood is by far the best way to do a lot of meat), and for snuggling near in the flickering light, (much better than scented candles).

vermont_encore_woodburnerTo actually get some heat into your home by burning wood, what you need is a wood-burning stove.  These are heavy, expensive, usually iron or steel, use much less wood for the amount of usable heat you get, and you can also get your hot water and central heating from the thing.  Some come with pretty glass doors so you don’t lose the joy of watching the flames, (or you can open the doors while your girl is snuggling with the cat).

If you don’t already have a stove, you may need a professional installer to put the thing in for you ~ or you could start learning some practical skills.  One benefit of a wood-burner is that you do not need a working chimney, you can run a steel flue outside of the house.  (If you don’t understand that, then you do need a professional installer.)

The choice of stoves is huge, and mostly limited by your wallet.

The last time I built my own place I had a pretty little stove with glass doors in the lounge, and a much bigger, utilitarian, stove in the kitchen for cooking, central heating, and hot water.  I also owned 18 acres of woodland, a tractor, and passed my chainsaw certificate.  My cat, Pyewacket, loved those stoves, but I was always too damn busy shifting firewood to take his picture sitting next to one.

~

Pyewacketjackcollier7@talktalk.net

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