Monday, November 24, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

What are your Thanksgiving traditions? Thanksgiving is my favorite Holiday of the year. Giving thanks is a very good habit and can lead to a more fulfilling life. I believe that many of us today should practice the habit of gratitude more often.

Growing up in Germany it comes closest to our “Erntedanktag,” which is mainly a celebration of all the harvested foods of the season. Everybody brings their best fruits and vegetables to the church, and it is there shared with the rest of the community.
Thanksgiving has a similar meaning but also has a deeper, spiritual root.
The Pilgrims came to America because of religious persecution. They had a clear vision that when they arrived here on this continent that their first priority was to worship God in freedom.
We all learned of their ordeal of crossing the ocean and arriving in winter “in the new world.” With the help of the local Indians they survived that first winter. When their first harvest the following fall brought plenty of grains and vegetables, they decided to celebrate.
The year was 1621. Although they did have a three-day feast in celebration of the good harvest, and the local Indians participated, the first Thanksgiving was not a holiday yet, simply a gathering.
Not until President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, Thanksgiving was declared a holiday at the end of November.
Here is an interesting perspective of the first colony's pursuit of liberty and the delegation of responsibilities of their inhabitants.

Today, the most popular food for the big meal is a turkey. Turkeys are raised all year around, but the Thanksgiving Day, almost 80% of the population is preparing the bird. The smaller turkeys up to 15 pound are mostly hens (the female), while the larger birds are the tom (male). They are exclusively used for deli purposes.

Did you know that the average Israeli eats more than 34 pounds of turkey each year, about two times more than the average person in the United States? Turkey was introduced to Israel about 50 years ago, and became popular because it is kosher (unlike pork) and less expensive than beef or lamb.
Here are some other interesting facts about turkey meat which I found in a health newsletter:
It's Fun to Know: Dark Meat or White Meat?
It's the perennial turkey carver's question: "Would you like dark meat or white meat?"
The reason for the difference in color and taste? The muscles in the legs and thighs of the turkey are more active, which means they need more oxygen. This, in turn, means those parts have more blood vessels and more myoglobin, an oxygen-carrying protein. Myoglobin also carries a pigment that darkens the meat.
Breast muscles, used for flying by most birds, are rarely used by turkeys. (At least not by the specially bred for size, flightless, waddling wonders that end up on our tables.) As a result, less myoglobin - and fewer blood vessels and darkening pigment - is present.
(Source: Library of Congress)

One cannot think of Thanksgiving without including the pumpkin. Event hough, you may not like pumpkin pie or pumpkins in general, pumpkins are part of the holiday fare. While we use the big pumpkins for lanterns and carving at Halloween, the smaller pumpkins are cooked and pureed. Did you know that Morton, Illinois is considered the pumpkin Capital of the world? Most of the pumpkins consumed by Americans are grown around Peoria, in central Illinois. That's where the Libby company is located.

Besides the pretty orange color, pumpkins have quite a nutritional value, too. They contain important anti-oxidants, in form of beta-carotene.

And there is the CORNUCOPIA, korn-yoo-KO-pee-uh:

One of the most recognizable symbols of Thanksgiving is the cornucopia, also called horn of plenty. It is a decorative motif, originating in ancient Greece, that symbolizes abundance. The original cornucopia was a curved goat's horn filled to overflowing with fruit and grain. It symbolizes the horn possessed by Zeus's nurse, the Greek nymph Amalthaea, which could be filled with whatever the owner wished.
I hope you enjoyed this Thanksgiving journey.
Please follow the links, to learn more about each symbol of this important holiday.
I like to conclude with a quote by President Ronald Reagan (Thanksgiving Proclamation in 1986):

"Perhaps no custom reveals our character as a Nation so clearly as our celebration of Thanksgiving Day. Rooted deeply in our Judeo-Christian heritage, the practice of offering thanksgiving underscores our unshakable belief in God as the foundation of our Nation and our firm reliance upon Him from Whom all blessings flow."
Americans are strong because of their faith and their tradition to honor God.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Water - drink more water

Our body is made of more than 70 percent of water. Blood is 83% water, muscles are 75%, the brain is 74% and the bones contain 22% water. Water plays an important role in controlling our body temperature, cushioning our joints, removing waste (via the lymphatic system), transporting nutrients and oxygen to cells and protecting organs and tissue.

Water is the single most important nutrient for our body. Our body loses about two quarts of water every day through perspiration, urination and exhalation.
Instead of reaching for soda, drink pure water throughout the day.
Even during the winter months we need to make sure that we appropriately hydrated. Try a humidifier in the bedroom.

Our bodies were created to move, to keep the fluids in our body moving. During illness or bed rest, the water in our body becomes stagnant, creating a breeding ground for disease. During exercise or manual stimulation like massage, we stir the water, refreshing our body, renewing our energy and regaining strength.

Some sources say that we need 8 glasses of water no matter what. Some calculate bodyweight cut in half, and we should drink that amount in ounces (150 pounds, would be 75 ounces a day).

In any case, water can even help with weight loss. Water may as well be the most important catalyst in losing weight and keeping it off.
Although most of us take for granted, water may be the only true "magic potion" for permanent weight loss.
The kidneys can't function properly without enough water. When they don't work to capacity, some of their load is dumped onto the liver. One of the liver's primary functions is to metabolize stored fat into usable energy for the body. But if the liver has to do some of the kidney's work it can't operate at maximum capacity. As a result, it metabolizes less fat and more fat remains stored in the body and weight loss stops.

Drinking enough water is the best treatment for fluid retention.
When the body gets less water it perceives this as a threat to survival and begins to hold on to every drop. Water is stored in extracellular spaces (outside the cell). This shows up as swollen feet, legs and hands.

Other Benefits of water:
-> Improves energy
-> Increase mental and physical performance
-> Removes toxins and waste products from the body. Through perspiration, the body eliminates toxins. Sweating is a sign of being healthy.
-> Keeps the skin moisturized and makes us look younger
-> Helps with weigh loss
-> Reduces headaches and dizziness
-> Allows proper digestion
-> Keeps the body alkaline
-> Helps relieve constipation. When the body gets too little water, it siphons what it needs from internal sources. The colon is one primary source. Result? Constipation. But when a person drinks enough water, normal bowel function usually returns.
-> Benefits the heart.
The findings of a six-year study of more than 20,000 healthy men and women aged 38-100 in the May 1, 2002 American Journal of Epidemiology found that women who drank more than five glasses of water a day were 41% less likely to die from a heart attack during the study period than those who drank less than two glasses. The protective effect of water was even greater in men.
-> Eliminates dry mouth
-> Input and output of fluids will be the same.

When to drink water?
It is best not to drink water with meals since this will dilute hydrochloric acid which helps with digestion.
It is best to drink in between meals, 15 minutes before the meal and 2 hours after eating.

Benefits of the right balance of fluids in the body:
* Endocrine-gland function improves
* Fluid retentions is alleviated as stored water is lost.
* More fat is used as fuel because the liver is free to metabolize stored fat
* Natural thirst returns
* Loss of hunger

Any time we stop to drink enough water, our body fluids will be thrown out of balance again, and we may experience fluid retention, unexplained weight gain and loss of thirst. To remedy the situation we'll have to go back and force another "breakthrough."

Most valuable book to read on water instead of medicines: Your Body’s Many Cries For Water by Dr. F. Batmanghelidj

To learn more about TEAM’s leadership development system, please visit: or send me an email:

Monday, November 10, 2008

Today is a Gift

Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift – that’s why it is called the present!

Even though it isn’t Christmas yet, I like to give you a gift today. Although the past, present, and future appear separated, they are tightly intermeshed. For example, as soon as I speak a sentence, by the time I am done with my thoughts, the beginning is already in the past. Every word I speak is created in the present, while the end of the sentence remains dangling in the future.

When your mind is focused on yesterday or tomorrow, your involvement of the present moment is impoverished and today passes you by.
Do you ever reach Saturday and wonder where the week has gone? Do you feel that your children are growing up too fast? Do you know where your thoughts are when you are driving?

Awareness of the present moment will make you feel in control of your life. Of course, learning from our mistakes, reminiscing over the past or planning for the future have their places but after you’ve done so, let these thoughts go.

There is power in the NOW. Eckhart Tolle, the German-born author who lives now in Canada, wrote a whole book about it. Focusing on the present moment expands our awareness, leads to good habits and allows us to perfect certain skills, like playing an instrument, climbing a mountain, cooking a meal, or repairing a car.
Eckhart Tolle suggests: Free yourself of the mind. Become conscious or aware of yourself – that’s being present. Since Being, consciousness, and life are synonymous, we could say that being present means consciousness becoming conscious of itself. Most of us, however, are identified with our mental and physical forms.

Here are my gifts to you where I felt being present:

Slow Down, be present:
Remember when you were a child? Time seemed to pass very slowly. Children have no concept yet of past, present or future. For them everything happens in the NOW. Watch children play, get engrossed in their light-heartedness. Feel the happiness and joy, become detached from your own life and dream with them of a better future.

Baking a cake:
Baking a cake or other pastry is one of my favorite past-time. I can get so engrossed in it that I forget time and space, usually making a mess along the way. But I don’t mind to clean it up afterwards. I enjoy the aromas baking creates around the house. I especially like the compliments I get from my family and friends when the creation turns out well and everybody loves to eat my cake.

Outdoor adventure:
I used to go mountain climbing. One time, we started before the crack of dawn. We had to find our way with flashlights. By putting one step in front of the other, we moved along the path. Even when the sun rose, we were still climbing. The path often became very narrow, with rocks becoming loose. It took my focused attention to stay on the trail and not loose my balance. Keeping my mind on the summit, or if it wasn’t visible, picturing myself standing on the top, helped to keep moving. By keeping this focus, I felt safe and eventually reached the top.

A starry night:
Look into space on a starry night, feel the peace and harmony of the universe, let go of yesterday’s burden’s and have no worry of tomorrow. Feel the stillness, listen to the sounds of nature, smell the sweet smells of a blooming bush and become one with the essence of it all. The open space fills you with wow’s and ah’s. You are in the presence of holiness, aware of the creator who made it all. Let gratitude fill your heart.

Pay attention:
I used to pride myself of multi-tasking: doing my homework while listening to music, walking along the street knitting, cooking and talking on the phone, etc. When I learned about the power of focus, I understood why I don’t have many memories of details. And even memory is a skill. The older we get, we have more data stored in our brain. With focus and stillness we can retrieve names, phone-numbers, etc. We say: pay attention, it takes effort to focus and listen. Focus on one person or situation at a time.

I am sure you have your own special moments where you felt awareness, peace and synchronicity.
By focusing on the present moment we have control over the “stimulus and response,” talked about in Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl. "Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lays our growth and our freedom." He discovered that even in the most adverse circumstances we still have a choice. We can chose to react as a victim or find meaning in whatever happens.
From the Bible we learn that we don’t make things happen. God does it. God sends us precious experiences all the time. He wants us to grow and mature and therefore provides for us opportunities. We just need to show up, be available, notice, be aware, pay attention. Be present to the moment.

Anytime we are focused in the NOW, we don’t feel regret, we can find meaning and eventually live up to our full potential.

To learn more about TEAM’s leadership development system, please visit: or send me an email:

Monday, November 3, 2008


Blueberries are loved not only for their rich blue color but also for their taste and flavor. Some concider them as one of the Superfoods.

Scientists are now praising their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Blueberry antioxidants include flavonoids (catechin, epicatechin), anthocyanin (which gives the blue pigment to the fruit), beta-carotene, phenolic compounds and ellagic acid (ellagitannin).

The antioxidants work by defusing the harmful effects that free radicals inflict on our DNA, organs, and reproductive cells.

Blueberries contain a huge list of phytochemicals - phenolic acid, anthocyanins (the pigment that makes them blue), ellagic acid (which may inhibit tumor growth), alpha-carontene, beta-carotene (precursors to vitamin A), caryophyllene (possible anti-inflammatory), chlorogenic acid, eugenol, limonene, thymol (antiseptic and antifungal properties), catechins, tocopherols and tocotrienols (vitamin E family), to name a few. Talk about your nutrient powerhouses!

According to the USDA Data bank, blueberries contain many vital minerals and vitamins and other compounds:
1 cup fresh blueberries contain:
Calcium 9 mg.
Magnisium 9 mg.
Phosphoros 19 mg.
Potassium 114 mg.
Vitamin C 14.5 mg.
Vitamin A 40 IU
Vitamin E 0.84 mg.
Lutein 118 mcg.
Vitamin K 28.6 mcg.

For detailed ingredients and content, please visit:

Health Benefits of blueberries:

Improve Neurological Functions
Tufts University neuroscientist James Joseph called the "Blueberry- the brain berry." Studies have shown that blueberries are beneficial for lessening the effects of neurological sicknesses.

Prevents Cholesterol Build Up
The second healthy benefit derived from blueberries is that it prevents the build up of cholesterol and stops blood cots from forming in the body.

Improves Eyesight
The third healthy benefit of blueberries is that it can improve your eyesight and prevent age related loss of vision, as studies conducted in Europe have shown.

Urinary Tract Health
The fourth healthy benefit of blueberries is that it keeps your urinary tract healthy by stopping bacteria from lining your bladder walls.

Anti-Aging and Anti-Inflammatory Benefits
As I mentioned before, the antioxidants neutralize free radicals and prevent aging.

Mental Function
A June 2006 study, published in Pharmacology and Biochemical Behavior, demonstrated that supplementation with blueberries improved performance on memory tasks in mice and has a protective effect on DNA damage, likely due to the antioxidant activity of the berry’s polyphenols.

To learn about the MonaVie juice with 19 fruits, please visit: