Tuesday, October 06, 2009
OK, this poem simply burst into my heart this morning, begging to be shared...and so here it is...in all its outrageousness. Sufi poetry (Hafiz, Rumi, Kabir, etc.) is not for everyone, but oh how it resonates with my heart and soul.
Hafiz is Sufi, the mystical arm of Islam which is universal in nature, those crazy-wisdom teachers, including the whirling dervishes. Remembrance of the Divine is the most basic teaching and practice of Sufism.
I have a deep *knowingness* that if I can somehow intuitively learn to move to a rhythm closer to the pulsing of the universe, my mind and body and spirit will align with it and I will be healthy and at peace in all ways in spite of outer circumstances. Ahhhhhhhhhhh....
OUT OF GOD'S HAT
The stars poured into the sky
Out of a Magician's hat last night,
And all of them have fallen into my hair.
Some have even tangled my eyelashes
Into luminous, playful knots.
You are welcome to cut a radiant tress
That lays upon my shoulders.
Wrap it around your trembling heart and body
That craves divine comfort and warmth.
I am like a pitcher of milk
In the hands of a mother who loves you.
All of my contents now
Have been churned into dancing suns and moons.
Lean your sweet neck and mouth
Out of that dark nest where you hide,
I will pour effulgence into your mind.
You can find me rolling in the fields
They are exploding in
Of scents, of sounds - everything is
A brilliant colored nova on a stem.
Forest animals hear me laughing
And surrender their deepest instincts and fears,
They come charging into meadows
To lick my hands and face,
This makes me so happy,
I become so happy
That my rising wink turns into a magic baton.
When my soft-eyed creatures see that wonderful signal
We all burst into singing
And make strange and primal beautiful sounds!
My only regret in this world then becomes:
That your shyness keeps you from placing
Your starving body against God
And seeing the Beloved become so pleased
With your courage
That his belly begins to rock and rock,
Then more planets get to leap
Onto the welcome mat of existence
Of your previous love.
The Friend has turned my verse into sacred pollen.
When a breeze comes by
Falcons and butterflies
And playful gangs of young angels
Mounted on emerald spears
Take flight from me like a great sandstorm
That can blind you to all but the Truth!
Even if you have no net to catch Venus
My music will circle this earth for hundreds of years
And fall like resplendent debris,
Holy seed, onto a fertile woman.
Wants to help you laugh at your every
Wants you to know
Your life within God's arms,
Your dance within God's
(The Gift -- versions of Hafiz by Daniel Ladinsky)
And for those interested:
The whirling dervish is a mystical dancer who stands between the material and cosmic worlds. His dance is part of a sacred ceremony in which the dervish rotates in a precise rhythm. He represents the earth revolving on its axis while orbiting the sun. The purpose of the ritual whirling is for the dervish to empty himself of all distracting thoughts, placing him in trance; released from his body he conquers dizziness.
Sunday, October 04, 2009
A wonderful article along with special fall foods ideas. Definitely worth the read!
I, for one, love the idea that there are superfoods -- certain edibles that go the extra mile in terms of nutritional chutzpah. They may not leap tall buildings, but superfoods are purported to fight the evil villains of heart disease, high cholesterol, cancer and a host of other diseases. Blueberries, for example, have become a superfood darling for their powerful punch of antoxidants -- and I have to say, they do seem pretty mighty to me.
That said, I think some of the trendy superfoods are stealing the spotlight from the true heart of the matter -- from the everyday heroes. It seems to me that almost any grain or produce that is grown organically, unprocessed and prepared gently, has much to offer. I just can't see a list of ten superfoods that earn obvious rank. In fact, if you look at 10 "Top 10 Superfoods" lists, you will see that they vary widely.
The truth is, most good food from nature is pretty super. So with that in mind, I like taking a seasonal approach. Rather than debating the merits of acai berries over goji berries, I prefer to look at what's in season, and work with the nutritional workhorses that I can get here and now. These are my favorites for fall, based primarily on nutritional variety and strength, but that also give me that primal, sensuous satisfaction that comes with eating what's in season:
1. SWEET POTATOES AND PUMPKIN
I go crazy for these flavors come fall, and no wonder: The dark orange vegetable family outdoes all others in vitamin A content. Sweet potatoes are also packed with antioxidants, vitamin C, calcium, and potassium. Other dark orange vegetable standouts include pumpkin, carrots, butternut squash, and orange bell peppers.
2. CRUCIFEROUS VEGETABLES
Crucifers such as broccoli, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, collards and turnips contain indole alkaloids that may help prevent cancer. They are also high in fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Along with their fabulous flavor, once you get the hang of cooking them, they may have an added bonus: they may help bolster memory as you age. Researchers at Harvard Medical School found that women who eat the most of these foods are the least likely to be forgetful.
Pomegranates have very high antioxidant activity, offering brain and memory protection. And research shows that drinking pomegranate juice may help with lowering the risk for hardening of the arteries or atherosclerosis.
The pigment that gives beets their super-beautiful fuschia depth-betacyanin-is also a powerful cancer-fighting agent. Beets' potential effectiveness against colon cancer, in particular, has been demonstrated in several studies. Beets are also particularly rich in the B vitamin folate.
5. THE ALLIUMS
Garlic, onions, leeks, scallions, chives and shallots contain sulfur compounds that may protect against heart disease and some cancers, they can all help the liver eliminate toxins and carcinogens.
An excellent source of protein, antioxidants, folic acid, potassium, dietary fiber and complex carbohydrates, beans are flavorful, nutritionally dense, inexpensive and versatile. Read about heirloom varieties and cooking tips.
7. OLIVE OIL
Several large studies suggest that the monosaturated fat in olive oil is good for the heart. Olive oil lowers bad cholesterol levels and increases good cholesterol. It is hgih in antioxidants -- and is one of the superstars of the Mediterranean diet. Recent research shows that heart-attack survivors on a Mediterranean diet had half the death rates of those on an ordinary low-fat diet.
The caffeine content in tea is useful for stimulating alertness, mood and motivation, but is also a rich source of the antioxidant called catechins. Studies suggest that catechins protect the artery walls against the damage that causes heart disease and prevents formation of blood clots. It also does wonders for the spirit on a cool autumn day.
9. RED WINE OR GRAPE JUICE
(Hello! I LOVE that grape juice is FINALLY getting the equal *press* that it deserves!!!)
Grapes provide vitamin C, vitamin B1 and vitamin B6 -- red grapes also contain powerful phytochemicals (especially phenolics) that may help decrease risk of cardiovascular disease. These phenolic compounds are housed mostly in the skin of the red grapes, which is what makes red wine red and dark grape juice red or pruple. Resveratrol, a polyphenolic stilbene found in the skins of red fruits including grapes, may be responsible for some of the health benefits ascribed to the consumption of red wine. Resveratrol has been shown to have anti-oxidant, anticancer, and anti-inflammatory activity.
Thursday, October 01, 2009
Humans have been fermenting foods to aid in digestion for as far back as we can trace. Primarily they were fermented to improve holding and storing properties of foods. The milk from camels were fermented naturally to produce some of the first yogurts. Stored in goat bags and dropped over the back of camels in the hot deserts of North Africa with temperatures reaching 40C (110F) it was the ideal environment for lactic acid-producing bacteria to go to work. Pickles date back to ancient Egypt and vinegar was used by the ancient Greeks and Romans as a digestive aid, and to promote a healthy liver and gallbladder.
Every culture in the world has some form of fermented foods they eat with meals to aid in digestion. It isnâ€™t necessary to eat very much, just enough to provide the proper enzymes to help break down food and make the nutrients available for absorption in the small intestine. Common in Indian, Korean, Chinese, and Japanese cuisine are sweet, sour and salty pickles; while in North and Central Europe you will find sauerkraut and, again, pickles; the Mediterranean countries serve a small glass of red wine, cider or beer with meals to provide digestive enzymes.
When foods are fermented the bacteria, yeasts or molds used in the process, predigest the food, meaning they break down the carbohydrates, fats, and proteins to create microflora, friendly, life giving bacteria beneficial to the gastrointestinal system. These colonize in your intestines and work to keep the unfriendly intestinal organisms under control, such as yeast, parasites, virus, and unfriendly bacteria. Fermented foods come in many guises, some you might eat on a regular basis, such as aged cheese, beer, and wine, while others can have medicinal qualities that support the immune system and aid in healing the digestive system.
Acidophilus: Lactobacillus Acidophilus is a beneficial micro-flora commonly found in yogurt, kefir and fermented vegetables. It can also be taken in capsule form.
Cultured Vegetables: cultured vegetables are made with a base of shredded cabbage and a few other grated vegetables packed tightly into an airtight ceramic container and fermented for up to a week or more. The process creates an acidic environment for friendly bacteria to reproduce. Korean Kimchi and raw sauerkraut are good examples of this.
Miso: made from either rice, soybeans, barley or chickpeas, miso is a fermented paste aged in wooden kegs for 2 months to 2 years. High in beneficial enzymes, with traces of B-12 and antioxidants, it is said to be helpful in removing radiation from the body. (Maha also enjoys tempeh from time-to-time.)
Pickles: Pickles contain large amounts of lactobacilli bacteria, which are important to the digestion of grains and vegetables. One property common to all pickles is high fiber, which is important to proper intestinal functioning.
Vinegar: specifically apple cider vinegar is rich in beneficial enzymes and used medicinally is said to strengthen the immune system, control weight, promote good digestion, and balance blood pH levels.
-- Delia Quigley
Director of StillPoint Schoolhouse, where she teaches a holistic lifestyle designed to achieve optimal health and well being, based on her 28 years of study, experience and practice. She is the creator of the Body Rejuvenation Cleanse, Cooking the Basics videos and classes, and Broken Bodies Yoga. Deliaâ€™s credentials include holistic nutritional counselor, natural foods chef, yoga instructor, energy therapist and public speaker.
Quigley is the author of seven books on health and nutrition, including: The Body Rejuvenation Cleanse, The Complete Idiots Guide to Detoxing Your Body, The Everything SuperFoods Book, and Empowering Your Life With Meditation, available on Amazon.com. To view her website go to: www.deliaquigley.com
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