The Simplest Yet Most Empowering Habit To Transform Your Life

Written by Les Dahl on May 11th, 2016. Posted in Health, Sage's Scroll

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Happened upon an interesting question this week.

If you could give one piece of advice to a very smart but lazy guy, what would it be?”

Graeme Austin’s answer piqued my curiosity.

If you truly want to go from lazy to motivated in all aspects of your life, you should do one thing, and one thing only: Exercise.”

So, I did some research to see if Graeme’s answer has merit.

After wading through substantial evidence, I came up with 4 convincing reasons to support the claim that

 

Exercise is the simplest and most empowering habit

that transforms anyone’s life.

 

1. The Health Benefits

 

Of the many studies done to determine health benefits of exercise, I found these three intriguing.

  • It reduces your risk of the common cold.

    • A brisk, 40-minute walk 4 days a week, can reduce the number of colds you experience by 25 to 50 percent and can shorten the colds you catch by half.

  • It helps prevent and treat Osteoporosis.

    • The impact of your feet hitting the ground as you walk stimulates cells in the bones of your legs, hips, and spine to strengthen and build new bones. Activities such as dancing, hiking, jogging, jumping rope, climbing stairs, or playing tennis stimulate bone growth even more and maintain bone density.

  • It battles chronic fatigue syndrome.

    • A group of chronic fatigue syndrome patients in Britain engaged in 30 minutes of walking or aerobic exercise 5 days a week. After 3 months, these patients found their symptoms improved, but within a year, three-quarters resumed normal daily activities, and some returned to work.

2. The Emotional Benefits

 

Studies show exercise has significant benefit to emotional well-being also.

  • It battles depression without drugs.
    • In a study of patients suffering from depression, one group walked briskly or jogged, a second group took the antidepressant sertraline (Zoloft), and the third group took the drug plus exercised. After 4 months, all three groups showed similar improvement. At 6 months, however, those who kept up the exercise, had the lowest rates of remission.
  • It reduces stress
    • Working up a sweat with a brisk walk or a workout in the gym increases the release of norepinephrine, a chemical that helps the brain respond positively to stress.
  • It creates feelings of happiness.
    • Exercise releases endorphins, the ‘happy chemicals’ that make us feel euphoria. As little as 10 minutes 3 times per day or 30 minutes 3 days per week will give you a ‘happy buzz’ and help keep you in a positive mood.

 

3. The Convenience Factor

 

The term exercise is sufficiently broad so that anyone can do it. Exercise for some may be a rigid program of strenuous physical training under the guidance of a personal trainer, but for others it may be a recreational sport like tennis or just a brisk 20-minute walk 3 times a week.

I call this the convenience factor. It can easily be incorporated in daily routine by anyone. What other “prescription” costs so little, yet promises so much?

 

Not only is exercise of notable physical and emotional value,

it is convenient.

 

Look for opportunities to walk. Instead of parking as close to the mall entrance as possible, find a space that allows you to walk—it doesn’t have to be the farthest corner, just enough to give you a nice ‘feel good’ walk. It’s a healthy mindset and a healthy habit you are creating.

So you like dancing? Enroll in a dance class.

Gardening? Swimming? Yoga? Rock climbing? The options are endless.

Even at work you can reap the benefits of exercise. A study at Florida State University found that elite performers sustained peak performance by working no more than 90 minutes per session.

Exercise is any physical activity that gets you up and moving (breaking a sweat, if possible and appropriate), gets your heart pumping a little faster and your lungs breathing a little deeper.

 

When you commit to exercising with regularity,

you’re on your way to creating a healthy habit

that will transform your life.

 

4. The Ripple Effect

 

The health benefits, the emotional value and the convenience factor are convincing arguments to the question. The clincher, however, is the ripple effect.

Exercise is a keystone habit. In his book The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg identifies certain habits that initiate a chain effect of other good habits. The end result is positive transformation.

Of exercise Duhigg writes,

“When people start habitually exercising, even as infrequently as once a week, they start changing other, unrelated patterns in their lives, often unknowingly. Typically people who exercise start eating better and becoming more productive at work. They smoke less and show more patience with colleagues and family. They use their credit cards less frequently and say they feel less stressed. It’s not completely clear why …‘Exercise spills over,’ said James Prochaska, a University of Rhode Island researcher. ‘There’s something about it that makes other good habits easier.'”

 

Are you convinced yet?

I am, and I’m renewing my commitment to exercise. I can think of several enjoyable ways to get up and get moving toward a healthy, well-balanced life.

How about you?

 

Shalom

ps. Here’s Ida Keeling, one more very convincing study.

Her story adds depth and credibility.

 

Image courtesy by Madrolli / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Sources

Graeme Austin

Readers’ Digest

Sophia Breene

A Healthier Michigan

WebMD

 

 

 

 

The World’s Rarest and Most Expensive Coffee

Written by Les Dahl on April 30th, 2016. Posted in Health, Sage's Scroll

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What is the world’s rarest and most expensive coffee?

 

Black Ivory Coffee

 

What makes it rare?

  • only 150 kg in total were produced in 2015 (i.e. very limited production)
  • sold primarily to five-star hotels in Thailand, Maldives (i.e. very selective market)
  • available in only one retail store in the world—The Elephant Store in Comfort, Texas

 

What makes it expensive?

  • 33 kg of beans (10,000 beans) are required to make 1 kg of roasted beans
  • the entire operation, from picking, selecting and roasting the beans is done by hand
  • the coffee is brewed by a special machine—the design dates back to 1840 France
  • an unusual presentation of an extraordinary coffee creates a unique experience for the adventurous connoisseur

 

What is unusual about the coffee?

  • the beans that make Black Ivory Coffee are processed through the digestive system of Asian elephants (i.e. beans are fed to elephants before drying and roasting)
  • the digested beans are ‘recovered’ from the elephant droppings for further processing
  • all the elephants used have been rescued kept in an elephant sanctuary in northern Thailand operated by the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation

 

The bottom line?

  • $50 to $70 per cup ($1200 per kg) of this exotic coffee experience

 

Read and see more (you’ll enjoy the NPR and ABC news reports)

http://www.blackivorycoffee.com/

http://the-elephant-story.com/pages/black-ivory-coffee

 

Shalom

p.s. Try the Organo Gold experience—a healthy coffee with a rich taste but not anywhere near as expensive as Black Ivory Coffee.

www.rebekahdahl.organogold.com

 

Mushrooms in Coffee?

Written by Les Dahl on April 11th, 2016. Posted in Health, Sage's Scroll

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When it comes to coffee, there are drinkers, lovers and connoisseurs.

 

Drinkers want a hot beverage, but not tea or chocolate. Brand, quality, and even taste doesn’t matter much, as long as it’s cheap (i.e. inexpensive) and tastes like coffee.

 

Lovers must have their coffee. Their day doesn’t begin until they’ve had their cup of brew. They savor the aroma, the taste, the pleasure, even the grinding of beans. Coffee lovers are happy to spend a little more on a preferred brand of quality. Coffee is an experience, not just a beverage.

 

Connoisseurs bring art and science to the coffee experience. Knowledgeable and experienced, connoisseurs can identify the quality of coffee and recognize the nuances of its taste. From grinding the beans to boiling the water—actually, the water should be heated between 92-96º C not boiled—to brewing method, connoisseurs are exacting. Coffee is the elixir of heaven—magical, divine.

 

Well, it seems like the search for the holy grail of coffee stills goes on.

 

Various efforts are made to find the added ingedient to create the exceptional coffee experience. From radical selection (Kopi Luwak and Black Ivory coffee) to blending beans from different regions, to unique preparation (Aeropress or Chemex), the choices are endless. After careful scrutiny, the Coffee Review found 508 coffees and espressos that earned an outstanding score.

 

Mushroom-Coffee: A Healthy Blend?

 

One interesting blend of mushrooms and coffee claims to have created a tasty and healthy coffee. The claim is arguable, but final judgement is really a matter of personal preference and acquired taste.

 

Organo™ Gold adds organic ganoderma lucidum, either finely ground or as spores, to its coffee. The result, it claims, is “a healthy alternative to regular coffee that not only tastes great, but makes people feel great.”

 

Medicinal uses of lingzhi are recorded in Chinese texts as far back as 2000 years. The various meanings of the Chinese name—divine, spiritual, miraculous, effective, plant of longevity—shows the respect for this “auspicious mushroom.”

 

Our western mindset views Chinese medicine with suspicion. Scientific studies are proving the wisdom of these oriental herbal masters, however. Each of the benefits of ganoderma listed below is confirmed by research.

 

7 Benefits of Ganoderma

 

  • a natural source of bio-chemicals (antioxidants and phytonutrients) which provide rejuvenating energy and health benefits without interfering with our body system

 

  • calms the nerves and is highly effective in dealing with “environmental stress”

 

  • lowers blood pressure and blood cholesterol

 

  • strengthens immune cells and improves the immune system without side-effects

 

  • as an anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory, ganoderma significantly inhibits all four types of allergic reactions and is effective in treating asthma, bronchitis, stiff neck and shoulders

 

  • effective in treating liver failure and chronic hepatitis

 

  • the Beta-D-glucan (a polysaccharide) in ganoderma produces an anti-tumor (i.e. anti-cancer) effect

 

Organo™ Gold Coffee

 

By infusing “gourmet coffee” with organic ganoderma lucidum, Organo™ Gold has “scientifically developed a healthy alternative to regular coffee that not only tastes great, but makes people feel great.”

 

Some of my “coffee drinker” friends won’t even try a cup of OrganoGold coffee. They are not enticed by the supposed healthy benefits (even if scientific research backs the claims). Besides, a cup of coffee at Tim Hortons or a can of ground coffee from the grocery store is a lot cheaper.

 

My “coffee lovers” are intrigued by the benefits of ganoderma—most are in need of support to their health. But, “I don’t drink instant coffee.”

 

As I said before, whether you are a coffee drinker, a coffee lover or a coffee connoisseur, the coffee experience is really a matter of personal preference and aquired taste.

 

Personally, I’m somewhere between coffee lover and coffee connoisseur. Coffee is not just a convenient beverage, it is a pleasureable experience. I enjoy grinding the beans, smelling the aroma wafting through the cool morning air, savoring the robust taste of a perfect roast, and I can taste the difference in quality. (Some of the best coffee I’ve tasted is the home roasted beans from my farmer-friends in the hills of Jamaica.)

 

Research assures me that the cup of java I enjoy has benefit for my health. Now there is a coffee that adds the benefits of ganoderma. I’m interested. I want to live a full, healthy life.

 

Get the Best of Both

 

I drink an invigorating cup of brew in the morning to awaken my mind, my senses and my body to the pleasant side of life. As I start to feel a little sluggish about mid-afternoon, I resort to a tasty cup of OG Black. The unique blend really does rejuvenate my energy flow, and it doesn’t interfere with my sleep.

 

My wife, Miriam, loves coffee, but gets an allergic reaction with just one sip. She discovered that her body has no negative reaftion to OrganoGold. She mixes it into her smoothies or just has an energizing cup of OG Black in the afternoon.

 

A friend of ours, also a coffee lover who cannot drink coffee without severe negative effects, enjoys OG Black with no adverse effects. In fact, she credits OrganoGold for relief from her excruciating migraines.

 

So, I say, “Give it a try.”

 

Unfortunately, you can’t download a sample of OrganoGold. But if you will copy and paste one of the following options into a return email along with your mailing address, I will send you a FREE sample sachet of either OG Black or OG Latte by snail mail. (It will take about 10-15 days to find you.)

 

Option 1:

Yes, please send me a FREE sample of the OG Gourmet Black Coffee. My mailing address is:

 

Option 2:

Yes, please send me a FREE sample of the OG Gourmet Cafe Latte. My mailing address is:

 

Shalom

 

Image by Eric Steinert (Creative Commons)

Resources:

The Sacred Mushroom “Reishi”  A Review by P. Dinesh Babu and R.S. Subhasree published in the American-Eurasian Journal of Botany, 1 (3): 107-110, 2008

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-459-germanium.aspx?activeingredientid=459&activeingredientname=germanium

 

Is Coffee Healthy or Harmful?

Written by Les Dahl on February 27th, 2016. Posted in Health

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Caffeine affects perception, emotion, mental activity, mood and behavior. There is no question about that. The issue is— is it healthy or harmful?

Caffeine, in the form of coffee, tea and cola soft drinks, is one of the most traded commodities in the world. Coffee is outranked only by oil in value of exports by developing countries. More than 75 million people depend on coffee for all or most of their livelihood.

That’s interesting, but why are coffee and other caffeine beverages so popular? Are the reputed benefits back by science or is it just marketing hype?

Actually, researchers have conducted numerous studies and come up with some interesting results.

  • caffeine increases alertness and improves performance of various tasks including those that require sustained response and focus
  • caffeine releases norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter and hormone that stimulates emotional and cognitive centers of the brain and produces a sense of well-being
  • low levels of norepinephrine can result in depression, low energy, memory problems and loss of interest in everyday activities
  • high levels of norepinephrine can result in anxiety, restlessness, irritability, muscle tension, jumpiness and increased heartbeat
  • dopamine, another neurotransmitter released by caffeine, produces as sense of pleasure and helps improve working memory, focus and attention
  • low levels of dopamine can contribute to ADD (attention deficit disorder), social anxiety, withdrawal and apathy
  • caffeine improves physical endurance and affects the perception of fatigue—i.e. you may be exhausted but after a cup of coffee (or tea) you feel you can keep on going
  • caffeine affects mood by helping you to calm down, relax and feel rejuvenated
  • tea produces similar positive effects despite lower caffeine levels but is less likely to disrupt sleep
  • caffeine does not produce dehydration as is thought
  • even though this may be true, we recommend drinking 6-8 cups of water daily—the health benefits of this habit are substantial 

 

There you have it.

Coffee lovers, tea drinkers—science supports your pleasurable habit.

Enjoy your cuppa…

And check out the added benefit of ganoderma in OrganoGold coffee

Shalom!

7 Morning Rituals That Set Us on Track for a Great Day

Written by Les Dahl on December 29th, 2015. Posted in Health, Peace, Prosperity, Sage's Scroll

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Rituals. We think we can do without them but quite the opposite is true. Athletes create rituals to prepare physically and mentally for top performance. The right morning rituals set us on track for a great day, empowered to handle pressure and stress.

Why are rituals important?

We are creatures of habit. What renders our best endeavor ineffective is poor habits or lack of habits all together.

Steven Covey observed, “There are three constants in life; change, choice and principles.” His clarion call is for all who desire true success and meaning in life, “We must be principle-centered in all areas of life.”  This is theme of his best-known book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. (*)

Habits require discipline, a quality that runs contrary to human nature. Habits are cultivated with grit—diligent resolve and sustained effort. Rituals can be effective in creating habits.

A ritual is “a series of action or type of behavior followed regularly and invariably.”  Although rituals are usually thought of as religious ceremony, the idea aptly describes the kind of application required to set us on track for consistently great days.

 

7 Morning Rituals That Set Us on Track for a Great Day

Morning rituals are similar to pre-race warm ups. Their purpose is to ready our body, soul and spirit for a great day—at work and at home.

 

1. a glass of lime water

As soon after arising, drink a glass of lime water. This somewhat unusual ritual is first because its greatest benefits are derived on an empty stomach. 

 

2. prayer and meditation

Prayer is my personal conversation with my Father. Some mornings I have a topic in mind selected from a ‘menu’ of print-outs—personalized Psalms and Scriptures that express my thoughts and feelings. Other mornings I intuitively sense a topic that Father has selected for consideration.

Meditation is mindful reflection. Moments of silence while praying allow my mind to be infused with the Father’s thoughts contained in the Psalm or Scripture selected. Attentive listening allows His ‘still, small voice’ to instruct me.

This ritual is an expression of personal relationship not religious duty. It’s objective is to nurture a sense of connection with the Creator of the Universe. Thus empowered, I am ready for a great day.

 

3. physical exercise

For a working person, time is a premium, especially at the start of a day. The objective of physical exercise as a morning ritual is to awaken the muscles and blood flow. It is not intended to be a workout in the gym!

An effective, time-efficient exercise program is 10BX (10 Basic Exercises for Women) and 5BX (5 Basic Exercises for Men). These daily routines can be completed in 12 minutes with amazing results. Neither require any equipment. 

 

4. breakfast with the family

This may well be the hardest to execute of our morning rituals. To get everyone together in a happy frame of mind around the breakfast table is no easy feat. In fact, for some it is a miracle. Nevertheless, today more than ever we need to war for the unity and well-being of our family.

 

5. high-energy nutrition

Food is the fuel in our tank. Some foods, like whole foods and fruit, are high-octane energy fuel that prime us for a great day. Others, like refined carbohydrates, processed foods and added sugars, are energy-sucking sludge-producing fuels to be avoided. Choosing good food, especially at the start of our day is a vital ritual. Dr. Georgia Ede’s well-balanced approach to health and nutrition issues provides helpful guidelines. 

 

6. coffee or tea

Caffeine is a controversial issue with ‘research’ cited for and against. Moderation and common sense are the key. My morning preference is tea, but I can enjoy a good brew of coffee, too.

Organo Gold is a new coffee that my family has come to enjoy because of the added boost called ganoderma. It’s like adding ‘STP’ to the gasoline in your car. A cup of Organo Gold coffee is especially good at mid-afternoon when you need a pick-me-up. 

 

7. one for the road

Commuting to work can be ‘dead time’ or it can be a final ‘warm up’ ahead of a great day. One of my life coaching clients uses the one-hour drive to work for her private conversation with the Father.

It’s like having Him riding in the passenger seat!” she says.

She also uses the time to establish inner calm using the 5-minute Meditation”, a free app.

This young professional, whose job can be very stressful, has a lot more great days since her morning routine has become her daily ritual.

 

Question: Does your morning routine set you on track for a great day?

 

(*) Disclosure: As an affiliate of Amazon, I receive a commission from purchases made through this website.

 

 

 

 

 

BLUEPRINT FOR SHALOM (Peace, Health and Prosperity)

Written by Les Dahl on November 30th, 2015. Posted in Health, Peace, Prosperity, Sage's Scroll

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Life is not without struggle and we are easily burdened with its pressures. Often we have more than enough on our plate on a daily basis and we are weary from the load we carry. It is precisely to us in our battle-worn condition that Yeshua (Jesus) extends the invitation:

“Come to me, all of you who are struggling and burdened, and I will give you rest (shalom). Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Shalom—peace, health and prosperity—is a gift of God’s grace. Although we have a part to play in procuring shalom, it is not the product of our will-power nor of our self-help. It is an endowment from our Father in heaven. However, conditions apply and shalom is not obtained in our daily experience until these conditions are met.

Condition #1: “Come to Me…”

We must want shalom.

That is self-evident, you say. Who wouldn’t wish for peace, health and prosperity? I am surprised, however, how many people are quite happy in their misery, sickness and lack (poverty). You very likely know some of these people—probably have to put up with them at work. They complain a lot and prey on your sympathy. No matter what you say or do, they really have no intention to change. They love the attention and pity drawn to them by their doleful condition and whining.

Condition #2: “Learn from Me…”

We must be willing to learn.

Creating shalom is a process that involves learning and comes with a learning curve. It takes time, study and practice to develop of shalom. We apply ourselves to His Word (the Bible). We attune ourselves to the lessons (parables) embedded in Nature. Fueled by our quest to learn, we discover insights otherwise hidden. We pay attention to people around us, particularly our elders, and garner knowledge. We hearken as experience teaches us discretion and wisdom.

If we are willing to learn, our Father rewards us with insights and promises relevant to the shalom (peace, health and prosperity) we need to live well. As a loving, caring father mentors his son and daughter, teaching them the art of living well, our Father in heaven disciples and instructs us.

Condition #3: “Take my yoke…”

We must be willing to change.

One of the great obstacles in our pursuit of shalom is the comfortable and familiar. We just don’t like change. Change requires giving up old habits, thoughts, beliefs. Change demands letting go of hurts, bitterness, anger. Change calls for surrender of our will and way to His. That’s not easy.

Fully aware of our struggle, our Father reassures us with the words, “I am gentle and humble in heart.” Have you ever thought of God as humble? But that’s exactly what our Father is like—rock solid and firm (tough love) but gentle and humble with a big heart of love for us.

So if you accept the conditions which apply, here is a blueprint for shalom that I have discovered in my quest. (In subsequent articles, I will elaborate on each concept. Your feedback is greatly valued.)

THE BLUEPRINT for SHALOM

1. Set your compass
Prepare for the day by properly aligning yourself.

2. Chart your course
Determine your path from here to there.

3. Create your aura
Create the eye of the storm and stay in it.

4. Activate universal laws
Cultivate good seed in good soil and give generously.

5. Engage in active personal development
Make necessary changes to achieve clarity and growth.

6. Expand your power source
Cultivate spiritual growth.

7. Stay in rhythm
Sing your melody, play your instrument in symphony of the universe.

 

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing so that by the power of His Spirit you will abound in hope and overflow with confidence in His promises. (Romans 15:13)

 

Blessings…

 

Image courtesy of lkunl / FreeDigitalPhotos.net