A dog, a wife, and a walnut tree, they more you beat them the better they be.
It looks like a simple change to our diet, like eating a few walnuts a day, boosts our health in some amazing ways.
I’ve long thought that eating nuts was a good idea, and now some scientists at the Louisiana State University agree with me. After some experiments they say that eating a couple of ounces of walnuts a day improves your digestive health. Seems it’s all to do with prebiotics again, and that walnuts have their beneficial effects by nourishing the friendly bacteria in our gut, helping them to thrive and multiply.
These good bacteria have anti-inflammatory properties, and chronic inflammation is now thought to be central to the onset of arthritis, various cancers including prostate and breast cancer, depression, early aging, various heart / circulatory diseases, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.
It’s better to get the nutrients for healthy skin from food, not supplements. Salmon, walnuts, blueberries, spinach… lots of my favorite foods happen to be amazing for skin too. ~ Gail Simmons
Scientists and nutritionists say that the health of our digestive tract is central to the health of our whole body. Walnuts act as a prebiotic, meaning that eating these nuts helps keep our digestive system healthy.
Gut health is an emerging research area, but we are seeing greater bacterial diversity may be associated with better health outcomes, whereas low diversity has been linked to conditions such as obesity and inflammatory bowel disease. ~ Professor Lauri Byerley.
Walnuts and hazelnuts are just about the oldest tree foods known to man; their importance going at least at far back as 7,000 BC. Walnuts in particular;
- Help with weight loss.
- Improve good sleep if eaten late at night~ walnuts contain lots of melatonin.
- Are good for your hair, in fact eating walnuts may help prevent hair loss.
- Are very good for your heart and circulation.
- Help to lower your bad cholesterol.
- Help to prevent type 2 diabetes.
- Makes your skin healthier.
- Can keep senile dementia at bay.
- Help to prevent various cancers, especially breast and pancreatic cancers.
- Will help you to live a longer, healthier, and less stressful life.
Personally, I firmly believe that eating almost any type of nuts and seeds is a beneficial addition to one’s diet, but walnuts may be better than most as they are the only nut that contains a lot of omega-3 fatty acid. And, as we already know, omega-3 fatty acids are good for us. Walnuts also have a lot of protein, fibre, phytochemicals, and antioxidants in them.
Walnuts are a tree nut, along with Brazils, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia, pecans, pine nuts and pistachios ~ each of these has it’s own nutritional properties, (I can’t abide macadamia nuts and I hate pecan pie).
Walnuts have the vitally important amino acid l-arginine, which give loads of benefits to people with heart diseases, or who may become prone to suffering from heart and circulatory problems.
These almost magical nuts also contain neuroprotective compounds, such as vitamin E, folate, and melatonin. Research shows that eating a half a cup of walnuts a day may stave off senile dementia.
Allegedly, walnuts also make men more sexually potent, and are good for pregnant women…..
There is one nut which is not generally thought to be quite so healthy; peanuts. These are legumes anyhow, and basically legumes are either peas or cattle food. The main reason that early farmers grew legumes is that they improve the soil, and not because they’re good to eat.
Nevertheless, there are health benefits to be found from the humble peanut; they’re full of fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals, the anti-aging molecule resveratrol, and phytosterols that help reduce bad cholesterol.
Nuts and seeds are a far better snack than the other disgusting crap many people munch on, especially late at night. So don’t snack on potato chips, crackers, popcorn, blue cheese, ice cream, doughnuts, pretzels, candy, chocolate, cookies, cake, s’mores… have some walnuts instead, or almonds, or hazelnuts, (or any nuts and seeds).
The good news is, that glass of red wine you like late at night is good for you too.
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The prudent distrust witches promises.
so listen while I call you a fool
she walks in beauty like the night
the moon and stars her tender light
their celestial adoration her soul incites
Selene rises for her love’s wonderous light
an enchantress erotic promise darkly excites
and later she will lie that her feelings were true
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Is there anything a Mediterranean Diet can’t cure?
Specifically, I wonder if a Mediterranean diet can help to cure this terrible head-cold I’ve suddenly contracted? Or more likely stop me from catching a cold in the first place? Well yes it could ~ but only if I really upped the amount of raw garlic I eat.
A diet rich in oily fish, fresh vegetables, olive oil, garlic, and nuts protects our bodies and our brains, especially as we get older. However, to get the most benefit from a Mediterranean diet we also need to cut down on alcohol ~ one drink a day for women, (try not to spill it, and drink red wine, not white), and one or two drinks a day for men. Lucky for me I don’t drink at all these days. But, a glass of red wine every day is actually very good for you.
It isn’t only the Mediterranean peoples who ate that type of diet, the Vikings did too, and nobody ever accused a viking of being a sickly wuss.
Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food. ~ Hippocrates
People from the Mediterranean region have longer life expectancies and are generally healthier than people from Northern Europe and the United States of America. The United Kingdom ranks 19th and the USA 31st in terms of average life expectancy, (out of 183 counties listed).
People from around the sunny Mediterranean have lower risks of suffering; Alzheimer’s disease, type 2 diabetes, cancers, colitis, depression, heart diseases, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, pancreatitis, and strokes. Trust me, you do not want to get type 2 diabetes, and you really, really, don’t want to have a stroke.
A proper Mediterranean diet isn’t all baguettes, pizza, pasta, and roasted lamb with lots of herbs. A healthy Mediterranean diet consists of the region’s fruits, vegetables, (especially leafy greens like spinach), seafood, olive oil, cheese, and a couple of glasses of a robust red wine. These are all anti-inflammatory foods.
But you also need to add a lot of fresh air, sunshine, and lots of physical activity to the mixture to obtain the most benefits. If you are not already doing so, then you should walk 10,000 steps a day, both to improve your health and help prevent an early death.
Modern scientific evidence suggests that many, (some), of the health benefits of a Mediterranean diet accrue directly from all the good olive oil included in just about every recipe, dish, meal eaten around the Mare Nostrum.
Olive oil is full of monounsaturated fatty acids, (MUFAs), which are supposed to be good for you ~ at least the Mayo Clinic says that MUFAs are good for you. In fact the well-respected Mayo Clinic says that olive oil is good for you ~ in moderation.
So; your Mediterranean diet should include;
- The very best extra virgin olive oil you can get. Extra virgin olive oil is the healthiest fat on Earth. Only ever buy extra virgin olive oil.
- Fresh fish. The oily fish such as salmon, trout, mackerel, pilchards, and sardines are full of vitamins D, B, omega 3 fatty acids, and selenium. Eating oily fish a couple of times a week is said to help prevent; arthritis, cardiovascular diseases, dementia, prostate cancer, schizophrenia, and blindness / impaired vision.
- Green fruits and vegetables. It seems that eating green plant stuff can reduce the risk of cancer, helps maintain strong bones and good teeth, and promotes the health of your eyesight in your senior years. Popeye was right all along, spinach is good for you ~ and so are kale and dandelion leaves.
- Garlic. Everyone knows that Mediterranean people eat a lot of garlic. The Ancient Egyptians used garlic as a medicine. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, prescribed a hell of a lot of garlic. The health benefits of garlic include; fighting off allergies, keeping bacterial and viral infections at bay, improving your skin, prevents colds and sore throats, reduces the risk of thrombosis, lowers blood pressure, reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases, helps prevent type 2 diabetes, reduces cancer risks, helps beat anaemia, and improves your sex life, (if she can stand the smell). If you can manage it, eat raw garlic, especially if you have dental problems.
- Nuts and seeds. Walnuts, almonds and other nuts are good for your heart. It seems nuts and seeds contain lots of unsaturated fats, omega-3 fatty acids, plant sterols, fibre, vitamin E, and something called L-arginine. Allegedly L-arginine does wonders for your sex life.
- A glass of a robust red wine, (when I was drinking I would always choose an Italian red). The health benefits of red wine were known as far back as the ancient Egyptians. It seems a regular glass of red wine boosts heart health, lowers bad cholesterol, reduces the risk of degenerative diseases, helps reduce he risks of type 2 diabetes, stops you being so obese, and may prevent Alzheimer’s
However, some things about the Mediterranean lifestyle are very, very bad for you. Men from the Mediterranean coasts of; Spain, France, Corsica, Italy, Greece, (and less desirable places like Slovenia, Bosnia, Croatia and Albania), smoke far too much, drive like maniacs in unroadworthy heaps, drive when they’re drunk, and sleep in the afternoons when they’re drunk. In medieval Hell-Holes like Turkey, Syria, Morocco, Algeria, Libya, and Egypt you will just get ripped off and / or assaulted / shot / blown up.
And yet, parts of the Mediterranean are among the most beautiful, most magical, most spiritual places on this Mother Earth. Guys, take your girl there, soon and often.
I’m glad I am a woman who once danced naked in the Mediterranean Sea at Midnight. ~ Mercedes McCambridge
A Mediterranean Diet is not only good for you, it has some utterly fabulous, great tasting recipes. Mix Mediterranean with Paleo and you may well have the perfect diet for your health, fitness, well-being, and gustatory satisfaction.
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Life is not merely being alive, but being well.
If you adopt a healthy lifestyle, not only will you feel better, you will also add ten or more years to your life. But, what is a healthy lifestyle? Turns out that not smoking, (nor abusing prescription or street drugs), drinking booze only in pretty strict moderation, and keeping to a healthy weight are the three pillars of a healthy lifestyle.
Smoking and drinking may look cool, for a short while, but after a short while those pastimes will turn an attractive women into a cackling, wrinkled, old hag.
The reason fat men are good-natured is that they can neither fight nor run. ~ Theodore Roosevelt.
Personally, I would add another three things we should all do if we want to be fit and healthy well into our senior years; get plenty of good quality sleep, get plenty of appropriate exercise, and eat a good, healthy diet. Therefore, if you don’t want to suffer a horrible and early death, from this moment on you should;
- Stop smoking. Stop smoking weed too. Smoking is dirty, disgusting, anti-social, and it will kill you in a selection of particularly nasty ways.
- Drink only in moderation. If you regularly take more than a couple of drinks in an evening, if you empty a bottle of wine in a couple of days, if you have a cupboard full of half-empty bottles of spirits ~ then you have a drink problem, and eventually it will make you very ill.
- Don’t be fat, don’t be obese. It is very easy to stuff yourself with burgers, take-outs, canned food, and other unhealthy crap calories. Type 2 diabetes will make you very ill, and then it will kill you. There are three foods / ingredients you should never, ever, knowingly have in your diet; sugar-free / diet soda, high fructose corn syrup, wheat, wheat flour, wheat products.
- Get plenty of good quality sleep. Lack of sleep doesn’t just make you feel tired and grumpy. Lack of enough proper sleep causes accidents, makes you stupid, kills your sex drive, and puts you at greater risk of; heart disease, heart failure and heart attacks, high blood pressure, strokes, and type 2 diabetes.
- Take enough appropriate exercise. Just a daily walk can add 7 years to your life. You don’t need to join an gym and lift heavy weights. Both yoga and tai chi have a myriad of health benefits, improving your balance, control, fitness, flexibility, reducing the risks of falls, sprains, and other injuries, easing pain, and reducing the symptoms of depression.
- Have a good quality and healthy diet. And, there are lots of cool diets to choose from; Atkins, Paleo, Mediterranean, Pritikin… The key is don’t eat junk, have plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, eat slowly and chew your food properly, and don’t stuff yourself at every opportunity.
Americans and the British are much less likely to live long and healthy lives than do the inhabitants of most industrialised western countries, and it has nothing at all to do with the standards of medical care in the USA and the UK. In fact, the Japanese have the highest average healthy life expectancy in the world ~ and it doesn’t have anything to do with either sushi or rice.
Japanese people give attention to health in all aspects of their daily life. Professor Kenji Shibuya.
Some things you can do today to work towards that fitter, healthier, happier life in your senior years are;
- Change your attitude ~ tell yourself, convince yourself, that you will be fitter, healthier, stronger, more capable, filled with self-confidence, and more self-aware.
- Get your blood pressure checked.
- Eat a better diet ~ stop eating junk.
- Stop knocking back the booze in the evenings. Especially DO NOT drink just before you go to bed.
- Stop smoking.
- Start exercising. There are both mental and physical benefits to regular exercise ~ at least 30 minutes a day for at least 5 days a week. Walk, (at least) 10,000 steps every day.
- Walk don’t drive. Learn to drive in a slower, calmer, more relaxed manner.
- Don’t get stressed. Practice meditation and mindfulness ~ just relax.
- Don’t hang out with people who eat junk, smoke, drink, and slob about just watching sports TV all day. Stay out of pubs, bars, and down-market restaurants. If you can’t do those things you need to get to an AA meeting.
- And for goodness sake, stay out of hospital. Hospitals are incredibly unhealthy places to be for very long.
These are all simple lifestyle changes, and each one is pretty easy on it’s own. Taken together these lifestyle changes will make a massive difference to your health, fitness, and happiness. As a side effect you will stop throwing huge hunks of change down the drain.
A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world. ~ Paul Dudley White.
Being angry, hateful, jealous, negative, stressed…, will all damage your physical, mental, and emotional health. In fact, just believing you are healthy cuts your risk of an early death by three-quarters.
Mens sana in corpore sano ~ a healthy mind in a healthy body.
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Folklore connects us with the wisdom of centuries past.
Modern science has ‘proved’ that old-fashioned weather lore is pretty accurate ~ for England anyhow, and what Gentleman really cares about any place but England? We shouldn’t call them old wives’ tales because much true ancient lore comes from sailors, soldiers, and farmers. Weather lore is often very accurate. And while older people often give good advice, the wisdom of ages past, seniors don’t much like taking advice from the young.
Advice in old age is foolish; for what can be more absurd than to increase our provisions for the road the nearer we approach to our journey’s end. ~ Marcus Tullius Cicero.
Going back beyond Roman Times, our oral history is full of rhymes, anecdotes, adages, warnings, and axioms. They wouldn’t have lasted this long if there wasn’t a lot of truth in them.
- Red sky at night, sailors delight. This appears in the Bible, where it relates to shepherds. It means that if the sky is red at sunset, then tomorrow will be a fine day ~ and this is mostly accurate. In fact this saying is utterly reliable when the weather comes in mostly from the west, as happens in Great Britain.
- Mackerel sky and mares tails make tall ships carry low sails. If there are high clouds that look like the scales of a fish, (altocumulus), and / or streaky clouds like a horse’s tail, (cirrus), then we are due for a storm with high winds within the day ~ allegedly. As it goes, this is always true. A prudent skipper will be ready to shorten sail if he sees a mackerel sky.
- St. Swithun’s Day. If it rains on St. Swithun’s day then it will rain for the next 40 days and nights. This lore, and the poem that goes with it can be traced back to the 14th Century, but probably goes as far back as the 9th Century in Southern England. It’s mostly not true ~ we never get 40 days and nights of consistent weather in England. However, St Swithun’s Day, (or St. Swithin’s Day), is on July 15th, and you can guarantee that if it does rain on that day England will have a wash-out of a summer. As a matter of fact, it rained all day here on St. Swithun’s day this year, and the weather has been very wet ever since then.
- It’s too cold for snow. In England this saying is true. It can be too cold for it to snow. Actually the whole saying is a misconception, it should really be ‘it’s too dry to snow’. Very cold air is always dry air, because only warmer air will carry water vapour, and you need water vapour in the air to have snow. It almost never snows in bitterly cold Antarctica.
- A ring around the moon means rain or snow is coming soon. This is very true, and also applies to predicting the arrival of a hurricane. The ring around the moon, (less frequently a ring around the sun), is due to ice crystals forming in cirrus clouds in the high atmosphere. If you remember cirrus clouds are also the mare’s tails that predict storms.
- A stitch in time saves nine. This saying goes at least as far back as the 18th century in England, and it’s completely true, relevant today, and utterly applicable to our lives. What is means is that if you sort out a small problem now, it will save you from it growing into a much bigger problem in the future. It is exactly analogous to that other saying One year’s seeds is seven years weeds, which appears in Shakespeare’s Richard II. Ignore a small problem and it will soon grow into a great big problem. Ignore acorns and before you know where you are you will be up to your armpits in oak trees.
- There will be the devil to pay. Meaning that if we do something very bad there will be terrible consequences later. This is always true. This saying has nothing whatsoever to do with Satan ~ like many English epigrams it has maritime origins. ‘The Devil’ was the longest seam on a planked wooden ship, and ‘Paying’ means caulking. If you’ve ever done it you’ll know that caulking a seam on a boat is a heartless task, involving thick string-like stuff, tar, a special caulking chisel, a hammer, and a lot of time.
A hell of a lot of English folklore goes back at least as far as the Roman occupation of Britain; for example ‘If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need’. This saying is supposedly from Marcus Tullius Cicero, who died in 43 BC.
The snag with using folklore for your weather forecasts is that you don’t get to see the cute weather girls on TV. Seems a guy can’t have everything.
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All of us have to accept some anxieties.
Back in the day, when I was working all the hours God sends, I suffered terribly from the effects of stress. Everyone around me suffered too because I was bad-tempered, impatient, irritable and moody.
We all experience stress, to a greater or lesser degree. In fact without some stress we couldn’t function ~ our minds and bodies need a little stress to feel alive. However, too much stress is bad, and far too much stress can kill you.
Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one. ~ Hans Selve
The proximate causes of stress and distress vary from person to person, but the usual suspects are: Bad News, City Life, Too Many People, Mindless Bureaucracy, Being Discriminated Against, Bullying, Work, The Rushing Woman’s Syndrome, Dysfunctional Relationships, Failed Relationships, Sex, Sexual Dysfunction, and the Death of Someone Close to You. And then you might have your own particular reason to feel that you’re under intolerable stress. Of course, there is also a chance that you are seriously mentally ill with something like Borderline Personality Disorder.
People with BPD are like people with third degree burns over 90% of their bodies. Lacking emotional skin, they feel agony at the slightest touch or movement. ~ Marsha M. Linehan.
The warning signs that stress is adversely affecting your mental and physical health are;
- Apathy and Depression
- Chest pains
- Drinking too much
- Inability to relax
- Intolerance of and over-reacting to noise and disturbance
- Irritability and a bad temper
- Lack of concentration / brain fog / poor memory
- Palpitations (oh Gods, did I suffer from heart palpitations!)
- Tiredness and an inability to get things done
The symptoms associated with stress are in themselves so distressing that they are likely to make you even more stressed.
Many of us will approach our doctor if we feel under intolerable stress and are suffering from one or more of the very serious symptoms listed above. What your doctor is most likely to do is prescribe you some powerful psychoactive drugs; Celexa, Cymbalta, Klonopin, Lexapro, Librium, Paxil, Prozac, Tofranil Valium, Viibyrd, Wellbutrin, Xanax, Zoloft… to name but a few of the very powerful chemicals your doctor could give you.
All of these drugs come with a load of side-effects, from tiredness, to sexual dysfunction, to feelings of dread, to wanting to commit suicide… Reading the leaflets that come with these drugs can be a very sobering experience. In my experience these drugs will either detach you from reality so you don’t worry about anything at all, or they will have an adverse effect.
If you’re lucky, then your doctor will also / instead refer you to some ‘talking therapy’ such as; Cognitive Analytic Therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Counselling, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, Gestalt, Group Therapy, Hypnotherapy, Mindfulness, and Psychoanalysis. Alternatively you could take yourself off to a 12-step group like Alcoholics Anonymous.
I love going to my AA meetings and I don’t think I will ever stop. ~ Davina McCall
Drugs act fast, but all they do is mask the symptoms and make you ill from the nasty side-effects. Talking therapies and 12-step meetings will eventually make you well again ~ but the key word there is ‘eventually.
So what can you do to help yourself overcome stress?
Breathing is good. I mean slow deliberate breathing with serene and peaceful visualisations is good.
When I was under extreme stress I would take myself off to somewhere quiet, maybe into a church or public garden or down to the beach, stand or sit, or lie down comfortably, and really slow down my breathing, and at the same time I would breathe very deeply. Concentrating on my breathing I would listen to the sound of each breath, imagining it was the gentle sound of soft surf washing in and out on a white sandy beach under a blue sky. My breathing in and out exactly matched the sea gently washing in and out. After just a few minutes of this breathing exercise I always felt immeasurably more peaceful, and ready to face the next thing the day was going to throw at me.
Learning how to relax is the cornerstone of helping yourself to overcome stress.
‘Ha!’ You say; ‘If I knew how to relax I wouldn’t be so stressed…’
Breathing exercises are recommended by doctors and psychiatrists everywhere as a method of relaxation to overcome stress and anxiety.
Being better organised also helps alleviate stress. The best way to begin being better organised is to start writing things down, keep a journal, keep your diary and day-planner up to date, make lists, always have a to-do list, never go shopping without a shopping list… If you think of something you need to do, write it all down and then stop worrying about it.
Break big tasks into a number of smaller parts, and write a list of those smaller tasks with the date and time they need to be completes ~ then stop worrying about it all.
Learn how to say NO. Being at everyone else’s beck and call all the time is a sure-fire way to put yourself under extreme stress.
Stop using social media first thing in the morning, or late at night, and especially don’t look at crap like Twitter and Facebook when you are pressed for time.
Get plenty of good quality sleep. It’s hard to sleep when you’re under stress. If you really have insomnia, then it may be worth asking your doctor for something to help you sleep. But only rely on sleeping medication for a couple of weeks ~ these drugs are addictive.
Make reducing the stress in your life your #1 project, something you practice all the time, every single damn day.
Happiness is a choice. You can choose to be happy. There’s going to be stress in life, but it’s your choice whether you let it affect you or not. ~ Valerie Bertinelli.
And please, please don’t resort to booze or recreational drugs, they make things worse very fast, and you can trust me on that one.
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then I was just a pathetic nobody
it felt like no one could hear me cry
and now my race to hell has been run
I’m out of the darkness and into the sun
feeling the warm breeze hearing the ocean
I’ll never forget the real love of the true one
but life isn’t the same since she has been gone
her leaving wasn’t easy, she had to say goodbye
seems I’m barely hanging on and it’s all so wrong
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(p.s. I’m not actually feeling like that today.)