Here is a wonderful guiding principle from the Greek philosopher Epictetus, whose teachings were beautifully interpreted by Sharon Lebell, in her A Manual for Living (HarperSanFrancisco): “Who exactly do you want to be? What kind of person do you want ...

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"Steer Your Own Canoe" - 5 new articles

  1. Who Do YOU Want to Be?
  2. Get Comfortable With Your Dreams
  3. Just Getting Back...
  4. The Fat on Fats
  5. Why, oh WHY??
  6. More Recent Articles

Who Do YOU Want to Be?

Here is a wonderful guiding principle from the Greek philosopher Epictetus, whose teachings were beautifully interpreted by Sharon Lebell, in her A Manual for Living (HarperSanFrancisco):


“Who exactly do you want to be? What kind of person do you want to be? What are your personal ideals? Whom do you admire? What are their special traits that you would make your own?

“It’s time to stop being vague. If you wish to be an extraordinary person, if you wish to be wise, then you should explicitly identify the kind of person you aspire to become. If you have a daybook, write down who you’re trying to be, so that you can refer to this self-definition. Precisely describe the demeanor you want to adopt so that you may preserve it when you are by yourself or with other people.”

Action Steps:

Get out your journal and thoughtfully answer the questions that Epictetus poses in his essay.

Work on your self like a work of art. Sculpt your character and your future. Set down who you want to be with clarity and intensity.

Commit wholeheartedly to the New You.


Get Comfortable With Your Dreams

“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in uncommon hours.”


Henry David Thoreau

Something that I have been noticing during my seminars is how uncomfortable people are with talking about their dreams--especially OUT LOUD. Individuals are generally willing to share their dreams with me privately, but, then, only in a circumscribed manner; and I find virtually no one willing to go out on a limb and say out loud, in front of a group, what it is they want for themselves. But without being comfortable and open with our dreams, how can we expect to manifest them in our lives?

The Law of Attraction runs contrary to keeping our dreams under wraps or compromising them in any way. The Law of Attraction rests on the idea that whatever we focus our thoughts on expands. If you are focused on how rotten your life is, then that is what expands around you; likewise, if you are focused on how beautiful your life will be when your dreams are realized, then that’s what will expand in your life! can we manifest our dreams if we aren’t comfortable thinking or talking about them?

Our culture seems to dictate that being open and unabashed about what we want for ourselves is taboo, as if we were too demanding or expecting too large a slice of the pie for the universe (or, at least, the people in it) to handle. We are taught to be self-deprecating and to deny ourselves the perfectly natural impulse of talking about our dreams. And yet, if we deny ourselves our dreams, we deny ourselves the ability to act on them!

It is important to get comfortable with our dreams--thinking about them, talking openly about them, and planning for them to show up in our life.

Forward Movement:

Make a personal commitment with yourself to get comfortable expressing your dreams. Write them down and post them in conspicuous places in your home and office. Get used to yourself AND others seeing them hang there out in the open.

Make friends with your dreams, relax into them, allow them a loving, active presence in your life. Review your dreams every morning when you arise and again at night before you retire. Keep them fresh in your mind, until in their absence they are missed.

Get comfortable telling others openly about what you want for yourself. Start with close friends or family members and tell them in frank, clear terms what you want. You will probably be pleasantly surprised at their responses! I will bet that they welcome whatever it is that you tell them--and don’t be surprised if they want to help you realize your dreams. Once you are comfortable discussing your dreams with close friends and family members, expand to others in your life. Continue doing this until it becomes quite natural for you to express your dreams openly and unabashedly to whomever you spend time with.

Remember, what you focus your thoughts on expands. If you suppress, compromise, or otherwise diminish the value of your dreams, you literally will cut off their lifeline!

For further reading: You’ll See It When You Believe It, The Way to Your Personal Transformation, by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer.


Just Getting Back...

Hi All!
Whew! I haven't posted in a LONG time! Life got in the way for sure. I just finished my studies and have been awarded my Ph.D in Natural Health and my H.D. (Hygienic Doctor) degree. Give me a chance to catch my breath and I'll be back shortly to begin posting again. Lots of stuff I want to share with you!  Love, Ana 

The Fat on Fats

~Please note that some of what follows might be disturbing to some, due to its graphic nature~

Have you viewed the DVD, called "Eating"? [There is another DVD, called "A Diet for All Reasons," which is equally compelling.] Well, it was enough to scare me away from overeating on fats! One part of this DVD dealt with a man who was in the process of having a heart attack. In the emergency room, the attending doctor drew this patient's blood for the usual battery of tests. Within a few minutes, the drawn blood in the beaker separated, and the excess blood fat floated to the top of the blood--just like the fat in, say, chicken broth separates and floats to the top of the broth. (I inquired about this phenomenon, called "lipemia," to a phlebotomist I knew, and she described how sickeningly disgusting and smelly this is!) One of the truly amazing things about this is that it occurs every time we overeat on fats! It isn't a slow, gradual occurrence. It happens EVERY time we overeat fats. 

The DVD also showed an example of blood fat in the bloodstream. It looked just like melted butter swishing around in the arteries. Then it showed blood fat derived from animal fat, which had actually coagulated to form a rubbery coating on the walls of the blood vessels. This is known as "plaque," and it leads to atherosclerosis, commonly known as hardening of the arteries. The surgeon on the DVD very graphically pulled this rubbery tube-shaped plaque away from the vessel walls, using tweezers. It looked just like a yellow-colored vein! Although plaque is a rubbery consistency, it eventually literally hardens in the arteries, by transforming into a thick, stony wall inside the blood vessels; hence, the literal "hardening" of the arteries.

It takes little stretch of the imagination to comprehend that, in the presence of fat swishing around in your blood, or the rubbery plaque, or stony walls of atherosclerosis, in your arteries, very little by way of oxygen, nutrients, hormones, enzymes, etc., are getting through these barriers to the cells, where they do their work. Moreover, the presence of excess blood fat can cause a backup in your blood of such things as toxins, leading to untold numbers of diseases and disorders. 

Imagine this--or better--DO this as an object lesson: Scoop up some butter, margarine, shortening, lard, vegetable oil, or other "free" fat, like peanut butter, and massage the greasy goo into your hands. Experience its stickiness and the way it coats your skin; notice how it creates an actual barrier on your skin, preventing anything else you apply to your skin from penetrating it. Now, try to rinse the fat off with water. It won't budge, will it? In fact, it seems to get slimier and stickier! Well, that's what fat is doing, quite literally, in your blood stream!

When you eat "free" (also known as, "overt") fats and eat fatty foods to excess, the greasy fat coats your blood vessel walls, enzymes, nutrients, and everything else in your blood--good and bad--and prevents their movement out of the blood to their ultimate destinations. The transfer of blood sugar and nutrients into your cells is inhibited; everything gets backed up in the bloodstream, and the proper functioning of every bodily process is thwarted. 

Dr Graham describes the consequences of a high-fat diet in his book, "The 80/10/10 Diet." He writes, "A steady flow of research comes out regularly relating high-fat diets to almost every type of digestive disturbance, blood disorder, and degenerative disease. Much of this is caused by the body's reduced ability to uptake, transport, and deliver oxygen to our trillions of cells...In addition, too much fat reduces the actual number of viable red blood cells. Excessive fat consumption may be commonplace, but it is nothing short of a nutritional disaster." 

Have I put you off of eating excessively and inappropriately of fats? No? Well, read on. Here are some more facts about fats and the consequences of its excessive consumption, in no particular order:

1. There is a difference between food fat and body fat. Optimal body fat is derived from carbohydrates, whose excess is stored as body fat; in-optimal body fat is derived from food fat, which contributes no nutrients and can only add to your health problems.

2. Although fats are important macronutrients for our bodies, we need exceptionally little dietary fat for the optimal functioning and health of our bodies--so little, in fact, that we don't have to eat any "free" fats whatsoever to get enough. ALL overeating of fats contribute nothing but problems for our bodies.

3. Fats are extremely difficult for the body to digest. They require more time than carbohydrates and proteins to digest. So, when fats are eaten with other foods, the fats delay their digestion by 2-3 hours more that it would take them to digest when eaten without fats. Meanwhile, these carbohydrates and proteins ferment and putrefy in the stomach, becoming toxins in the body.

4. It takes a full 24 hours for fat to clear from your bloodstream. On a high fat diet, more fat is coming in everyday, if not at every meal, so there is little chance of your bloodstream clearing ever of excess blood fat.

5. Due to the difficulty of fat digestion, it is possible for fats to be only partially broken down by the body. Doctors can biopsy belly fat and tell you what animal or fat source it came from!

6. Even on a "healthy" diet, tossing a vegetable salad with oil or salad dressing only serves to coat the greens and vegetables with a nasty, greasy layer of fat and prevents the breakdown and absorption of their nutrients until the fat clears. By then, fermentation has probably already occurred, so the salad ends up being a toxic mess. 

7. Food fats, in general, can be broken down into two basic categories--"fat-soluble" fats and "water-soluble" fats. Water-soluble fats are those fats found in whole, raw fruits and vegetables. You can detect water-soluble fats by the fact that they don't leave an oily residue on your hands and dishes, and they can by rinsed away easily with water (without the aid of soap). They are the optimal fats--the only fats our body uses effectively and efficiently. All other fats are fat-soluble and they only serve to wreck havoc on our bodies (not to mention dishes, dish towels, etc., without the aid of soap). 

8. Products of digestion are transported in a water medium. Since fat-soluble fats are not soluble in water and are incapable of being transported in water, they have to undergo special changes in order for these processes to occur, requiring extra metabolic steps--and hence, the waste of precious vital energy.

9.  There are 4 sources of fat in today's SAD diet. They are: water-soluble fats of whole, raw fruits and vegetables; free (overt) fats, as in concentrated oils and avocados, coconuts, nuts and seeds; animal fats; and the newest (and scariest) fat on the market: chemical fats. These are the most dangerous fats known. Chemical fats are petroleum by-products, which are found in ice cream, synthetic coffee cream, artificial butters and margarine, manufactured pastries and cookies, peanut butter, and junk foods. These fats are also known as "plastic" fats. They are dangerous because they aren't even recognized by the body as food. Additionally, since they have only been in existence for a decade or so, their effects on the body are completely unknown.

10. Studies reveal that infants fed on artificial baby formula are shown to have large amounts of cholesterol already deposited in their arteries by their first year of life.

11. Here is a non-exhaustive list of diseases and disorders associated with excess fat consumption: heart diseases, stroke, diabetes, cancers, obesity, auto-immune disease (arthritis, asthma, fibromyalgia, impaired circulation, hearing loss, mental disorders, loss of concentration, mental fogginess, baldness, hormonal disorders, shortness of breath, ageing, dizziness, tissue damage, candida, pancreatic fatigue, adrenal fatigue (aka chronic fatigue), insomnia, malnutrition...

12. Humans cannot taste fat; they can only (sometimes) detect its texture.

13. Because humans need so little fat, and because fat is found in every food known, we have no inherent craving capacity for fats; so, if you sense you crave fat, think again. It's impossible. (Although it is possible to miss the habit of feeling its greasy texture in your mouth) 

14.  Because humans aren't designed to eat fats other than the water-soluble fats of whole fruits and vegetables, we have no natural mechanism for signaling we've eaten enough (water-soluble) fats.

15.  Contrary to popular belief, oils are not good for dry skin. Dry skin is due to impaired function of the sebaceous glands and not a lack of oil in the diet.

16.  Fat-soluble fats go rancid very, VERY quickly, and become carcinogenic. Due to the rapidity of rancidity, it would be difficult to find a concentrated oil or oily food at the market that hasn't already gone rancid.

17. Cooked fats prevent the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins.

Our bodies are designed to eat a low-fat diet. When we add extra fat to our diets we gum up our beautiful bodies, inhibit their natural, healthy functioning, and set ourselves up for practically every disease and disorder known. A high-fat diet will cause us absolutely nothing but trouble! This is true even for raw-foodists who feed on exorbitant amounts of so-called "good fats." The absolute best diet we can eat is one exclusively of fresh, raw, ripe organic fruits, supplemented with adequate amounts of leafy greens and vegetables. No raw seeds and nuts are needed. This diet provides us with the exact amounts and percentages of healthful, water-soluble fats, and it presents us with extremely little chance of overeating eating fats.

But if, for whatever reason, you find yourself unable or unwilling to eat of such a diet, above all, make the first criterion of your alternate choice of diet LOW FAT. Do this as if your life depended on it!

Why, oh WHY??

My latest favorite word is "why?" Actually, it's sort of evolved now into a phrase of fascination, like "Oh really? Why?" and the ever more probing, "Wow. What's your evidence for that?" My love affair with "why?" started right after a friend of ours recommended a movie for us to see. It was awwwful. I mean REALLY bad--loads of gratuitous sex, female bashing, violence...the works. So, later, when I ran into the guy who recommended it, I asked him why he recommended the movie, he replied, "Oh wow, man, cuz it was soooo raunchy!" Lessoned learned. Mental note: when someone tells you something, always ask why?

So, a couple of days ago as I was buzzing through one of those warehouse superstores with my supersized grocery cart in tow, I passed one of the ladies who does the sampling of the foods they sell and had a chance to put my new word into action.  She was handing a sample of soy bratwurst to one of her unwitting victims and said, "Soy is the healthiest food on the planet." Screech! I brought my cart to a halt in front of her station and asked, "Oh really?.......why?
The both of them stared at me for a moment and the guy chimed in, "Yeah, why?"

"Because it's a fact," she replied in total disbelief at my question, "everybody knows that!"

"Yeah, but....why?" I continued my probing. 

"Cuz ever since I was I little girl, I was told that." She was getting irritated by now.

"So what kind of health properties does soy provide?" I couldn't stop myself.

"Huh." She took a deep breath and rolled her eyes. "Total body benefits! Where have you been?" I think she wanted to add "you jerk" to the end of her explanation.

"So it does everything good for you?" I was on a roll.


And here's the my zinger clincher question: ".....What's your evidence for that?"

End of discussion.

With so much thrown at us these days, and with so much information available through the Internet, the TV, radio and so on, I think we've become very sensitized to the rot people heave on us and often times just take it in stride. We're too busy and overwhelmed to actually think about what's being said, much less insist that people back up their information with hard core facts. The really wrong part about it is that, eventually, mindless statements just get woven into our discourse so much that we begin to accept it as the truth. That's how this lady could so easily back up her "facts" with the blanket statement, "everybody knows that!" Well, honey, that don't make it fact...

Intrigued, I spent some time in front of the TV really listening to what kind of baloney is being fed to us on an institutionalized level. Let me share with you some of the so-called statements of "fact" that came from the food channel and the Fit TV channel:

"A great way to get your kids to eat fruit is to put raisins in your cookie recipes."

"Put salt in the water when you steam your vegetables to bring out their flavors and nutrients."

"Drizzle with olive oil to make it heart-healthy."

"To neutralize unhealthy excess salt [in your recipe], add some sugar."

"Nuts are a high energy snack. Stick them in your purse and in kids' lunch boxes for a high energy pick-me-up anytime."

"Ground chicken breast and extra lean ground pork are perfect protein sources and they have NO fat!"

"For a healthy snack, only use egg whites (in your recipes) because egg white is where all the protein is; so they're REALLY good for you. It's the egg yolks that have all the bad stuff."

"Add 1/2 cup sugar to the water when you make couscous, for the perfect healthy snack."

"This [brand x] contains more vitamin C than a glass of milk."

"To make your everyday hamburgers better for you, top with slices of tomato and lettuce, and swap out the processed cheese for blue cheese--this one's made from goat, cow and sheep's milk!"

Don't give your kids nasty sodas, instead blend 1 2/2 cups pomegranate juice concentrate with 1 1/2 cups of cranberry juice and 1 1/2 cups sugar syrup and blend with club soda for a healthy beverage on those hot summer days."

"To give your artichoke dip a healthy twist, substitute yogurt for the mayonnaise and use mozzarella cheese instead of cheddar cheese."

"To make your indoors more natural and healthy, make your own picture frames out of twigs your kids collected..."

"If you have arthritis or aching joints, drink this [brand x]. It goes straight to your joints and makes them really juicy." 

With statements like these proliferating all over the TV and elsewhere, how's a girl (and guy) supposed to steer her own canoe??  How can we make good decisions when the information we're exposed to so clearly undermines clear, informed thinking? That's why I've started asking the "Why" and "What's your evidence for that?" questions.  Even though I have yet to get a good answer for my queries--and I doubt I'll change the world by asking them--at least I can keep the ball in my court by empowering myself proactively, instead of just turning a blind eye. 


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