13 November 2011

How to Limit your PASSIONS

“It all depends on whether you have things, or they have you.” ~Robert A. Cook

Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Barrie Davenport of Live Bold and Bloom.

Simplicity. It is a lovely ancient spiritual tradition that has seen a recent resurgence in popularity. As we try to make sense of our erratic economy and the accompanying financial anxiety, it is natural to leap to a less risky lifestyle extreme — stop spending, scale back, live lean.

If you are a regular reader of Zen Habits, you are probably intrigued by the idea of simplifying. In fact, you may have even given up many material things and actively live a very simple life. People who have adopted this level of simplicity, especially in the land of consumerism, are incredibly inspiring and fascinating.

But let’s be real here. In spite of embracing the concept of simplicity, most people really love their stuff, and they love acquiring more stuff. Like our attitudes about a healthy diet, our feelings about material things are complicated. We know what’s good for us, but we just don’t want to give up what we like. Our stuff makes us feel good.

Is it possible to live a simple life and still love stuff? How much letting go of stuff really counts toward simplifying anyway?

Living simply and detaching from material things will make you happier. There is real research and lots of anecdotal evidence to support the truth of this. But is it possible that some material things can add to our happiness, sense of contentment and joy in life? If so, how do you go about deciding what’s good stuff and what’s bad?

Perhaps the deciding factor is motivation. Do the things that you own or wish to buy support your ego, or do they enliven your soul? Some material things can afford you a sense of warmth, coziness, beauty, fond memories, or comfort. There are other things that offer only that fleeting rush of acquisition.

If you infuse mindfulness into your ideas and actions around material things, you can create a gentle balance between loving stuff and living simply.

Here are some thoughts that might be useful.

1. Look around your house now.

Walk from room to room. Do you see things that you never use and don’t really care about? Why not give them away or sell them? Clear physical and psychic space by removing the “dead wood” in your environment. Someone else might really need these things.

2. Examine why you are hanging on to something.

Is it truly useful or meaningful, or does it feed your ego in some way? Are you holding on to it just to impress others or to make yourself feel better or more important?

3. Look at how you spend your time.

Do you have things you own for hobbies that you never pursue? Do you have a kitchen full of gadgets but you rarely cook? If you truly think you will come back to a hobby or activity, box things up and put them out of sight until you do. Be realistic about how much time you have to use your extraneous stuff.

4. Are you in a career that is thing-focused?

Decorators, car dealers, retailers and others involved in creating, buying, selling and marketing merchandise, can have a hard time detaching from material things because they are always surrounded by the newest and best. There is beauty and art in many things, but consider this: you don’t have to own them all to appreciate them. Eckhart Tolle once suggested to Oprah Winfrey that she not buy everything she likes or wants — just savor it for the moment in the store.

5. Consider experiences rather than things.

On the whole, experiential purchases provide far more pleasure than material purchases. The memory of experiences improves with time, but material purchases are harder to think about abstractly. Experiences also encourage social relationships which provide long-lasting happiness. If you are itching to spend, spend on a great experience with someone you enjoy.

6. When you think about your things or want to purchase something new, consider these parameters:
•It brings beauty into your life and stirs your soul.
•It supports a passion or hobby.
•It helps bring family and friends together in a creative, meaningful way.
•It educates and enlightens.
•It makes life profoundly simpler so that you can pursue more meaningful things.
•It helps someone who is sick or incapacitated.
•It is useful and necessary for day-to-day life.
•It’s part of a meaningful tradition or a reminder of a special event.

7. You will know you are buying mindlessly if you:
•Buy on a whim.
•Buy to impress others.
•Buy because you feel you deserve it.
•Buy when you can’t afford it.
•Buy just to update something that still works or looks fine.
•Buy because someone else has it and you want it too.
•Buy because the advertisement seduced you.
•Buy because you are bored.
•It’s purchased because buying soothes you.

It is possible to balance a simpler life with owning and acquiring material things. You can enjoy stuff without living the life of an aesthetic. The exact balance you create is a matter of personal preference. But realize there is a diminishing point of return with accumulation and materialism that undermines authentic joy and fulfillment in life.

Apply mindful purging to your current lifestyle and belongings, as well as thoughtful consideration to your future purchases. Carefully examine your motivations for keeping possessions or buying new things. Once you allow things to serve your soul, rather than you being a slave to your things, your life will evolve into an artful harmony between what you have and who you are.

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12 November 2011

Record your inspiration

Sometimes a pen and paper aren't at hand and that important idea gets lost in the million-and-one things that need doing in a day. Try carrying with you a mini dictaphone or tape recorder to record ideas, meetings and inspiration at any time of the day.

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05 November 2011

Diet Chart for Loosing Weight

Contents and information on your diet chart

Making your own diet chart for weight reduction is simple and it would be different from others since we all have our unique dietary requirements. There are several elements that your diet chart should have, but you can start by drawing a small food pyramid on a piece of paper. Add sections to your food pyramid for the following headings: "meat, fish, eggs and poultry", "vegetables", "fruits", "breads, cereals and rice", "dairy products- cheese, milk, yogurt", and so on. These food headings should be the foods that you are likely to eat or would eat during your weight loss program.

Write the nutrients from each of the food items listed on your chart. Write how much calories are burned by eating those foods. Include in the number of servings that you can have, serving size, fat content and foods that can enhance your cholesterol levels, improve your metabolism and energy, and so on.

With weight loss comes a huge amount of discipline for eating the right foods, avoiding the wrong foods and doing the right exercise. It is typical for weight loss diets to include fiber, vitamins, proteins and other essential nutrients to help your body shed off the pounds and build leaner muscles.

Include in your chart the goals you are capable of fulfilling and make sure that you stick with only the realistic ones.

* Some tips and guidelines:

- It is recommended for people who are trying to reduce their weights to eat 4 to 6 small meals and snacks per day to help control hunger and for the body to meet its nutritional requirements.

- Start out simple by keeping an eye on your calorie intake. You can ask your physician regarding calories and how much you should take per day.

- Your meals should be planned in advance to keep away from junk foods. And make sure that you have fresh and low fat foods in your pantry.

- Avoid foods that are high in calories, sugar and fat. You can make a wise choice by listing down the foods that your physician and/or nutritionist will recommend.

- Add variety to your healthy diet by always having fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, fish and lean meats. It's also best that you will learn how to prepare them.

If you need a single resource that can provide you with complete information about the right diet plan and weight reduction program that will suit you best, it's advisable that your check out Mike Geary's The Truth About Abs. This is an e-book that is recommended for people who want to reduce weight and improve their abdominal muscles. The author included various meal suggestions and diet plans which can help enhance weight loss. The Truth About Abs e-book advocates multi-joint exercises and abdominal muscle exercises. To find out how this e-book can benefit you, go to the Truth About Abs website.

When you order a 21 or 40 day kit, the Diet Manual contains another 17 hCG Diet Recipes for main dishes, drinks, marinades and desserts in the manual when you order the 21 or 40 day kits.

Green Onion Soup

Green onions (allowed amount)
2 c vegetable broth
1-2 t liquid aminos
1 t parsley
1 t zsweet
1/2 t paprika
1/2 t salt
1/2 t dill
1/2 t thyme
1/8 t cayenne or red pepper flakes
1/8 t celery seed

Briefly steam the green onions until tender.
Preheat saucepan over MED heat.
Chop steamed green onions.
In a saucepan, saute the green onions in a bit of vegetable broth for a couple of minutes, then add the parsley, zsweet, paprika, salt, dill, thyme, celery seed, and cayenne. Saute 1-2 mins more.
Add remaining vegetable broth, reduce heat, cover and simmer 20-30 mins.

Lemon Pepper Fish

100g whitefish
juice of half lemon
1-3 cloves minced garlic
1/2 t black pepper
1/4 t salt
1/4 t cumin powder
1/8 t turmeric

Place fish in small bowl. Add garlic, black pepper, salt, cumin, and turmeric. Ensure to coat both sides.
Cover & marinate at least 1 hour in refrigerator.
Preheat oven to 400.
Place the fish in a non-stick baking dish, & cover with the marinade.
Bake 10-20 minutes depending on thickness, until fish easily flakes.
Squeeze with lemon juice.

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