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Accepting Change with the Vibration of Autumn!

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Red Power is SunMoonYinYang

The season of change is upon us! Equinox energy is abundant with opportunities for transition and transformation. In the northern hemisphere, the fall equinox celebrates balance with the pinnacle day of equal dark and light, presaging a shift into more dark than light. Although not everyone will be ready—or willing—to embrace this change, fall equinox is a great time to think about your own balance.

Saying “So long!” to summer is bittersweet for many, and just plain bitter for some!  Aside from the obvious, undeniable shifts we see outside in nature, there’s a lot going on inside our own personal nature. Autumn provides a fantastic opportunity to acknowledge that we all change and that transformation is natural and a normal part of life. 

The subtle and not-so-subtle seasonal shifting is multi-faceted and its effects are deep-reaching. Harnessing the energy of autumn is a beautiful way to accept the changes and create more harmony in your life, and it’s a powerful way to welcome winter! But our reluctance to go with the flow has the potential to amplify our discontent.

Have you been hitting the snooze button lately?

Getting up in the morning may not be as easy now as it was when the energetic rays of summer slipped through our windows to give us a gentle nudge. Sunlight stimulates the production of serotonin, the “happy hormone.” Serotonin is “the precursor for melatonin; it helps regulate the body’s sleep-wake cycles and the internal clock” (www. medicalnewstoday). Sunlight directly affects this internal clock, or circadian rhythm, “a roughly 24 hour cycle in the physiological processes of living beings, including plants, animals, fungi and cyanobacteria” (http://www.sciencedaily.com), and shorter days with dimmer light means less serotonin production and less melatonin. Our sleep cycles will shift in response to this decrease.

The dynamics of this natural change slows down our biochemistry; the bear in hibernation is slow-down in its extreme! The body will seek to compensate for this initial decrease in energy, possibly by seeking out the quickest fix with caffeine, sugar, and carbs—just a heads up to avoid the potential “fall.”

Our bodies may require more sleep as we adjust to the seasonal shift. So, first off, pay Screen Shot 2018-10-26 at 3.04.55 PMattention to your sleep/wake cycle and ditch any guilt about it. I don’t believe there is a single bear on the planet who is feeling guilty about hibernation. Why should you? Negative emotions are like sludge in the energy flow. With our energy already slowing down, adding to it with feelings of guilt is a recipe for mood swings and depression.

Why not embrace the changes in your circadian rhythm with a salute to nature’s ability to willingly let go and celebrate the shift? We’ll be affected physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, so let’s take a look at what we can do to remain as balanced as possible during this time and increase our vitality and well-being.

EmBODY the Spirit of Autumn

Being mindful of your nutritional input can make all the difference in relation to your energy levels and your ability to be fully alive! The decrease in serotonin is a good place to start. Despite the fact that serotonin plays a major role in your brain chemistry, it is actually produced in your gut!  Gut health is critical for balanced brain chemistry. We often start with diet changes by removing items, which can start our change process with the energy of loss and/or scarcity. Try adding something to your nutritional regime that can make a positive change in your gut health, like drinking fermented drinks such as kombucha (fermented tea) or kefir (fermented milk). Improving your acid-alkaline balance will yield results on many levels and will reduce inflammation, helping that belly feel summer-slim.

Screen Shot 2018-10-26 at 3.10.10 PMAnother dual-role player in our biochemistry alongside serotonin is Vitamin D. Not commonly referred to as a hormone, vitamin D plays a major role in the dynamics of our biochemistry. Since our natural doses of Vitamin D come from the sun, the lack thereof can lead to deficiencies. Some symptoms of vitamin D deficiency are: bone, back and muscle pain; fatigue and tiredness; depression; bone loss; hair loss; and an overall compromised immune system, making us more susceptible to allergies and the cold and flu “season.”

To counteract these deficiencies, increase Omega 3s by eating more fatty fish (like mackerel and salmon), cheese, and egg yolks. Vegans and vegetarians can eat more mushrooms and drink fortified soy and/or almond milk. Plant-derived supplements (www.peta.org) are more bioaccessible, absorbable, and good for everyone. The Five Element Theory of Traditional Chinese Medicine “associates the energetic vibration of Autumn with that of our Lung and Large Intestine organs” (www.tcmworld.org). To support these organs, include pears, roasted almonds, chick peas, honey, celery, mint, and white sesame seeds into your diet.

EnvironMENTAL Cues

Fall is a time for self-reflection and introspection. With the shorter days and colder temperatures, we begin to turn inward. Because we are more inwardly focused, our Spirit becomes more accessible. It’s a great time to take a deeper look inside, to ask questions like: Who am I? What am I? Am I fulfilling my human potential? We don’t necessarily need answers; we are simply checking in to see whether the outside world we live in supports the inside world we live within. 

The autumn season gives a big shout-out to the act of letting go. With the changes in sunlight and temperature and the need for change of habit, our moods are directly affected.  It’s often easier to make changes and start new routines when you have a partner. Why not choose the environment to help you? The environment will not oversleep, cheat on a diet, or let you down in any way in terms of commitment.

The trees must release their leaves in order to conserve the dwindling supply of energy that they will receive from the winter supply of sunlight. Perhaps the bounty of color is nature’s way of celebrating this release? Those leaves don’t go straight to brown, dry up, and die straight away. Instead, there is a generous and beautiful transitional shift. Our spirits brighten and our moods lift each time our eyes fall upon the colors of autumn.

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For regions that don’t have these visuals, the energy of this shift mingles with the energies of the planet so that subtle shifts can be felt and experienced with enough power to announce the arrival of autumn. It’s simply Nature’s way.

EMOTIONal Effects of the Season

Change does not occur in the comfort zone, and although the autumn season lures us Screen Shot 2018-10-26 at 3.16.44 PMwith cozy sweaters and comfort foods, these pleasures do not guarantee a smooth transition. The onset of SAD (Seasonal Affect Disorder) or “winter depression” can be triggered by the fall season. With all the changes in our biochemistry that come with the season, it is no wonder that some of us may have a very difficult time adjusting!

Another factor possibly exacerbating this issue is the fact that the vibration of grief and loss is powerfully present in autumn. The fading of sunlight, vegetation, warmth, and long, lazy days are obvious losses that can set off any residing blocked energy of loss within you. Again, Traditional Chinese Medicine acknowledges grief and loss as an elemental force of the season. Whether you have experienced the loss of a loved one, place, thing, or even a belief, the energy of loss can get triggered during the season of loss.

Screen Shot 2018-10-26 at 3.29.34 PMAs difficult as it may sound and seem, embracing the loss may help the flow of the energy pass through you more swiftly. Viewing the flow of grief as a river sweeping through your energy body and cleansing it of emotional blocks is a great way to embrace your grief. For those of you who may be in the throes of sorrow, this may be an important time to seek extra support or to make a greater effort to stay connected to people who help you feel safe.

SPIRITUALly Spry

Spiritual spryness refers to our energetic fitness. There is a robust flow of energy out there at this time of year—we can see it in the colors of nature and feel it in the bite of the breeze. It’s definitely an invitation to increase our sense of vitality.  In order to do this, we need to enhance our energetic flow. The carefree days of summer offered an opportunity for a more relaxed living routine, which might have led to things piling up. It makes sense for us to remove clutter and get more organized now.

The energy of this season is about letting go, organizing, list-making, and the like. This is a great precursor for our natural desire to start the upcoming New Year off with a fresh, empowering start. Clearing away clutter of all kinds is a wonderful way to fine tune your intentions in preparation for the upcoming season of rebirth and renewal.

This act of clearing can be just as overwhelming as it is inspirational, so take the concept

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http://www.turbosquid.com

in small doses. Try not to think “weekend” or “dumpster.” Instead, invite the idea that the next time you come across a small item that you haven’t used or needed in a long time, you will consider tossing it. Start small, similar to clearing a few twigs at a time from a blocked stream. Clear a few more, and then a few more, and the next thing you know, the stream will be flowing full force and you may not recognize your own home!

The same goes for thoughts, behaviors, and habits. Think about how much more available attention you can put to use to not only gain a deeper sense of peace, but to apply yourself to achieving goals and enhancing your life! There are many ways to help retrain your mind; meditation, for instance, or EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique or “tapping”). Again, you don’t need to go big! Just  commit to a 5-minute meditation. Begin by simply becoming mindful about taking a single breath. Our life starts with a single breath—don’t underestimate the power in that!

Some Simple Steps to Autumn Solace

Autumn carries the frequency of change. The season vibrates with the energy of transition and transformation. Seasonal change is going to happen and there is nothing you can do about it except to resist it—but will that serve you?  Resistance may be a necessary part of your tradition of change, but keep in mind that holding on for too long to what has passed can have adverse effects on your overall health and wellbeing.

When you are ready, here’s a brief list of suggestions to help you increase your sense of vitality and enhance your sense of wellbeing:

  • Take time for introspection. Meditate or vegetate, whatever makes you chill.
  • Cleanse your body. Add fermented food and/or drink to help improve your acid-alkaline balance. Invite a gentle cleanse or fast, or simply eat lightly for a short period.
  • Drink plenty of water to help flush out toxins and energize your cells.
  • De-clutter. Start small if needed; recall the twig-blocked stream, and take away one twig at a time until the flow increases.
  • Get organized. Initiate list-making and restructuring on all levels—with your “stuff,” with your schedule, with the way that you think.
  • Practice letting go. Join the spirit of the season and invite letting go of unwanted anything. A simple exercise can be taking a mindful breath. Think “in with the new” with each inhale and “out with the old” with every exhale.

Thank you for aligning your energy with me. May you enjoy an abundant harvest this season and approach the winter months with a sound spirit, strong immune system, and a fantastic flow of vital energy!

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Sources in order of appearance:

http://www.fpvforums.org/yin-yang-in-nature-yin-yang-in-nature/red-power-is-yinyangsunmoon-zps4ca755e1.html

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/kc/serotonin-facts-232248

https://www.sciencedaily.com/terms/circadian_rhythm.htm

https://www.peta.org/living/food/5-ways-to-increase-your-vitamin-d-intake/

https://www.tcmworld.org/092217-2/

https://www.turbosquid.com/3d-models/3d-pile-branches-pbr-model/1127662

https://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/101939742/autumn-expected-to-be-warmer–and-wetter–than-usual

 

 

9/11 Compassion Re-set for Global Healing

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The Phoenix from the Ash 

This piece is dedicated with love to all those affected by the 9/11 tragedy, and with gratitude to “D” for sharing her story. May your healing be amplified.

What is your first thought when someone says, “9/11”? The majority of people in the U.S. would reply without effort: “Twin Towers,” “World Trade Center,” or “terrorist attack.” The magnitude of devastation on September 11, 2001 was unprecedented in the United States and its immediate effects were cataclysmic and far-reaching. In the aftermath, those two numbers—9 and 11—were branded into our brains with the power of fear and destruction.

Where were you when you first heard the news? Take a breath and be with that for a moment. Time stood still for many of us…and almost instantly, the collective global shock and disbelief radically shifted our energy patterns and neuropathways to realign us with a very different reality than the one in which we had been previously living. Our memories of 9/11 play a critical role in perpetuating our fear and our hold on the energy of suffering.

Time for a Change

We need a 9/11 memory reset. We need to first set the intention that the task shall be done and then we need to find something electric and magnetic that has the power to override and replace the fear and devastation thrust upon us from that attack. We need to connect to the phoenix that rises from the ash.

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From the Last Spark by amorphisss

What if we retrain our minds to pull up something beautiful and positive that will assist in the healing of these ailing souls? Instead of calling up death and destruction right away, let the mind call upon love and compassion.

Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive. (Dalai Lama)

Do you know someone who was directly affected by the 9/11 tragedy? Nearly 3,000 people were immediately killed in the attacks on the Twin Towers in Manhattan, at the Pentagon in Arlington County Virginia, and on the downed airplane near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Over 6000 people were injured on that day. (CNN.com) Long-term health effects have emerged as complications arising from that deeply-imprinted psychological trauma, and the numbers of fatal illnesses and chronic issues related to the release of toxic airborne debris continues to rise to this day. Further, “It is estimated that there are between four and 50 psychological victims for every physical casualty in a terrorist attack” (WBUR.org/Cognoscenti). The exponential effects of the tragedy are mind-boggling.

The Energetic Reality

Seventeen years have passed since that devastating event. For those indirectly affected, daily life may not have shifted much. The reminders and emotional triggers—the energetic connections—are likely to be random and infrequent, and to be spurred on by the media, the source from which many of us have logged our memories and established associative neural connections.Screen Shot 2018-10-05 at 9.26.03 AM

For the growing numbers of those directly affected, it may seem as though the event occurred yesterday. For these victims, life has forever shifted. So when behaviors, thought processes, and communication affected by the trauma show up, they may not be identifiable as an outcome of the event and are perhaps not even consciously related to it!

Clinical social worker “D” (a fictitious identifier to hold confidentiality) was part of a FEMA-assigned first response support team. In spite of previous training and preparation for dealing with trauma, the magnitude of the 9/11 trauma was unprecedented and, once the team was immersed in the chaos, there was no tried-and-tested way to know what to do.

D recalls that “it was a 24/7 vigil.”  Every moment became a prayer, an asking for help, an opening for higher wisdom to channel through and assist. As it turned out, she felt as though the victims were helping the supporters understand how to minister to the needs of other victims through their innate state of compassion for one another.

The deep-reaching effects on her psyche that D absorbed during the body recovery and victim-support process eventually gave way to a fresh perspective, a perspective that unfolded preciously and naturally during D’s interview on Energy Amplified! The realignment was so subtle that it wasn’t until the interview was over that D realized just how much the energy of compassion had vanquished chaos and taken over the mechanics of rescue, recovery, and healing. D is now riding on the wings of the phoenix.

For most victims of 9/11, the world moved on while the fragmented pieces of their own lives came together only somewhat and at a much slower pace. The tendency for those affected by 9/11 to feel pushed to move on with the rest of the world may have placed unwarranted pressure on many of them to get themselves “back to normal.” Recovery and grief are unique to each individual, however; there is no format or timeline. Such unrealistic expectations and inaccurate measures of health create a wide separation between victims’ inner and outer worlds and make for a painful disconnect.

Our Deeper Connection

There is no way to relate to such an unprecedented event without experiencing it; sadly, there is no real go-between, only islands of separation in a universe where everything is connection.

And everything truly is connected; perhaps more so than what is commonly acknowledged. Our ancestors understood this without effort. Ancient communities knew instinctively how to foster this knowledge and utilize its presence as a threshold for developing ways and means to keep unity alive and awakened. Long before the arrival of the internet, our ancestors were living by the creed that we are all connected and they didn’t need scientific proof to believe it.

All things are connected like the blood that unites us. We do not weave the web of life, we are merely a strand in it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. (Chief Seattle)                                                                         

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Chief Seattle was indeed talking about the World Wide Web (and beyond), but not the one we presently pay for. And although his quote may not have directly spurred on the direction of science at the time, it certainly paralleled the discoveries and conceptual understanding of connectedness borne of the scientific minds that came forth shortly thereafter.

Albert Einstein and his colleagues were probing the constructs of our micro-world just decades after the death of Chief Seattle, and their work led to the creation of String Theory.String Theory states that our universe is made up of tiny little string particles and waves. These strings are the building blocks of the universe we experience”(learning-mind.com). Einstein himself thought String Theory to be “spooky.”

So, given the fact that our spiritual ancestors and our scientific ancestors agree that we are all somehow connected by strands and strings, I’m proposing that we use this concept and perspective as a tool for healing, as our rising phoenix.

Tune into Energy Amplified! and listen to D’s story in The Transformational Energy of Compassion episode. Take it in. Be with it. Imagine you are witnessing compassion-inspired support. Feel the authentic, raw emotion in her recall and make it yours. Remember how she speaks of the victims exiting the train covered in ash. Then see the Phoenix. See it rising from the ash. See its wings of compassion.

Just as the negative effects of those fatalities can multiply, so can the positive effects when our first response to 9/11 is connected to the vibration of Compassion. Reset the mind. Create a new groove. With a single intention sent out into the web, we can initiate a rise in our collective vibration. Together, we can override the vibration of fear each and every time it gets triggered.

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If Everything is Connected, So Am I by Jill Slaymaker

Sources in order of appearance:

https://www.deviantart.com/amorphisss/art

https://www.cnn.com/2013/07/27/us/september-11-anniversary-fast-facts/index.html

http://www.wbur.org/cognoscenti/2017/04/17/boston-bombing-three-years-mental-health-richard-beinecke

https://www.learning-mind.com/dimensions-string-theory/comment-page-1/

https://www.saatchiart.com/art/Painting-If-Everything-is-Connected-So-Am-I/314593/184649/view

An Oracle for Everyone

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Each one of us has an experience of being human that is particular to who we are at our core and what we’ve lived over time. But we also share with each other the peculiar experience of being human, of being a unique consciousness that exists within (and, arguably, without) a body on this planet and in three-dimensional space. Becoming aware of ourselves as existing with a body that is separate from the body within which we were gestated is one common aspect of being human. And once we find ourselves inhabiting a body of our own, we are tasked with learning how to care for and feed that body, which is another commonality of the human condition that we all share.

Screen Shot 2018-08-19 at 8.16.10 PMAnother persistent aspect of the human condition is a need for stability; a desire to keep things running smoothly with as few disruptions to our “normal” life as possible. Or, more accurately, no disruptions at all, ever! If you’ve lived as a human for any amount of time, you know that this ideal is far from the reality of everyday life. Most of us live through times of disorder and disarray in our personal lives. And most of us have thought, Wow, if only I’d seen that coming! Because if we had seen it coming, we could have been better prepared and being better prepared would have cut down on the chaos and confusion that resulted from not being prepared and then we could have sailed right through whatever it was like a champ!

Let the Dust Settle!

One method for getting a heads up on what’s coming our way is divination. Divination has been used by humans all over the globe and as far back as we have evidence for human life. There are countless forms of divination, ranging from Abacomancy (through Screen Shot 2018-08-19 at 8.19.13 PMstudying dust) to Zygomancy (through studying weights). Consulting an oracle—someone or something that can connect with the deity(ies) or spirits—has a long history in human culture. You’ve probably heard of the Oracle at Delphi, even if you’re not sure of what exactly it was. Delphi was a location in ancient Greece where a priestess would go into trance and receive messages from the god Apollo. Those messages were interpreted by the priests of Delphi and delivered as prophecies to those seeking answers.

The Oracle at Delphi is probably the most well-known oracle system in western culture, but there are many other oracle systems from many other parts of the world. Some oracles weren’t people, but statues. Typically a representation of a god or goddess, the statue would move or speak or make some kind of sound that could then be interpreted by the experts in such things. In some oracle systems, like incubation, it was the person seeking the prophecy who was the oracle. They would sleep in a section of a temple or other sacred place (sometimes wrapped in a fresh sacrificial animal skin) and receive their answer in dream form.

One of the most ancient oracle methods comes from China and requires that a turtle shell or shoulder blade of an ox be inscribed with a question and then burned until it Screen Shot 2018-08-19 at 8.05.44 PMcracked. The cracks were then interpreted and an answer transcribed. Many African cultures see the oracle as someone with a strong connection to their own spirit double. The diviner and their client may hold hands or both hold a stick and the movement of the hands or stick are interpreted for messages. Some diviners in certain African oracle systems work as pairs, using chains of seed shells cast on the ground, each interpreting the other’s chain and effectively “doubling” the answer. Some indigenous cultures in the Americas used grains of corn for Screen Shot 2018-08-19 at 8.06.55 PMdivination, which were thrown onto a white cloth or into water. The kernels were then interpreted based on where and how they landed. This was actually a pretty common method in many cultures, with variations in what was thrown: sand, beads, shells, stones, bones, dice, and so on.

What’s Your Oracle?

Many of these oracle systems are still practiced today. The stars and celestial events (such as eclipses and comets) have been looked to for information about the past, present, and future by just about every known culture for thousands of years and is still widely accepted as valid or, at the very least, intriguing. Free of the stigma usually attached to tarot cards, oracle cards have become a very popular way of gaining insight into a situation or circumstance. The ever-increasing numbers of oracle card decks, featuring themes from a nearly countless number of inclinations and belief systems, speak to our enduring conviction that there is some way to know what’s happening next. And also to our boundless optimism that we can be, somehow, better prepared for it when it comes. 

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To hear more about oracle cards and how they can work for you, check out the latest Tarot Talk podcast.

If you want to learn more about the types of oracles discussed above, try these places:

Oracles and Divination

http://www.worldhistory.biz/ancient-history/58945-4-oracles-and-divination.html

http://www.psychicstudent.com/types-of-divination/

The Oracle at Delphi

https://www.ancient-origins.net/myths-legends/pythia-oracle-delphi-001641

Ancient Chinese Divination

http://www.indiana.edu/~e232/02-Shang.pdf

African Divination

https://bulletin.hds.harvard.edu/articles/summerautumn2013/silent-voices-african-divination

South American Divination

http://www.faena.com/aleph/articles/divination-by-means-of-maize/

Pinot Grigio, But I Love Thee!

The Pinot Grigio Prejudice

Americans love wine. We drink so much of it that we actually consume more wine than any other nation in the world! It’s the Millennials who are largely responsible for pushing our charts of wine consumption skyward. It has been speculated that the media is a big influence on their choice of beverage du jour, through movies and television shows rife with young, hip, main characters imbibing wine in ever-increasing amounts (Thach, 2015).

Of all the wine drank on our star-spangled shores, Pinot Grigio is the third most popular wine in the US, right after first-place Chardonnay and second-place Cabernet Sauvignon (Thach, 2015). Despite Pinot Grigio’s great popularity, it has largely been rebuffed by the wine community as the Muzak of the wine world. The great wine glass maker Riedel doesn’t even make a Pinot Grigio glass! They make glasses for Daiginjo, Kalterer See Auslese, and Rheingau, but nothing, nada, zip, for Pinot Grigio. Why not, you ask? So glad you asked!

The Pinot Grigio Prejudice abounds mostly because some wine aficionados believe Pinot Grigio wines to be too one-dimensional to warrant the admiration bestowed upon other white varietals. But this unfair judgment is mostly due to the great numbers of mass-marketed, low-budget Pinot Grigio wines produced (Thach, 2015), and not the better quality, refreshingly high acid, bright, minerally, quaffable wines also produced, but at a slightly elevated price point (VinePair).

Pinot Grigio Done Right is Like a Hemingway Novel

Another factor in Pinot Grigio’s bad rap is, in part, due to it being promoted as a “training wheels wine” (Frazier, n.d.a.), second only to white zinfandel. Oh contraire! Pinot Grigio done right is like a Hemingway novel: sharp, dry, and with no flowery artifice to mask its salinity. A good Pinot Grigio brims with fresh notes of lemon, lime, apples, and honeysuckle. Pinot Grigio pairs beautifully with fish and shellfish, white pastas, appetizers, and summer salads. It also goes great with mild cheeses (although I have paired it with an extra-sharp Vermont aged white cheddar and it held its own!).

What’s in a Name?

Are Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio the same wine? Yes and no. Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are the same grape, just grown in different regions of the world and produced in different styles. The grape actually originated in Burgundy, France (hence the Pinot Gris appellation). The name Pinot Gris was derived from the French word pinot for the grape structure, which resembles a pine cone; and gris, because the grape, a cousin of Pinot Noir, is actually gray in color rather than the green of other white varietals (Schmitt, 2017). Pinot Gris style wines pair well with heartier fare such as hard cheeses, squashes and yams, cheese casseroles, and chicken and pork dishes. Pinot Gris is sort of like Pinot Grigio’s older, college-aged sister; more sophisticated, with greater depth and character, but with a little less sassiness, in my book, at least. And I must confess, I am a sass woman!

In the 1300s, the Pinot Gris grape migrated to Switzerland and eventually to northeastern Italy (Lombardy, the Veneto Fruili, Trentino, and Alto Adige), where its name and production style became known as Pinot Grigio (VinePair, n.d.a.).  Even though the wine is French in origin, it was the Italians who popularized it and brought the wine to the global market (Gorman-McAdams, 2014).

In Italy, Pinot Grigio wines are grown and produced in the Italian style and are often crisp with lively fruit, flowery bouquets, and a dash of zing on the finish (Gorman-McAdams, 2014). According to Wine Folly (2014), regions with chillier temperatures are likely to produce wines in this method. Some regions to look for with Pinot Grigio of this type are: Trentino-Alto Adige, Italy; Veneto and Lombardy, Italy; Austria; Hungary; Slovenia; Romania; Pfalz, Rheinhessen, and Rheingau in Germany; and Okanagan, Canada.

On the other hand, Old World Alsace style Pinot Gris wines are more fruit forward, higher in alcohol, less acidic, denser in flavor, and provide a slicker mouth feel. Stone fruit flavors balance the citrus characteristics in Alsace style Pinot Gris wines. According to Wine Folly (2014), several of the countries that make this style are, interestingly, the New World wine regions of Fruili-Venezia Guilia, Sicily; Abruzzo and Tuscany in Italy; Australia; New Zealand; Chile; Argentina; and California, Oregon, and Washington in the US. Alsace style Pinot Grigios are also considered to be a better investment if cellaring your wine is a priority.

Terlato Pinot Grigio is Liquid Summer

Admittedly, I have a peculiar fixation on rooting for the underdog. It’s been a lifelong preoccupation: befriend the bullied kid; join the Rolling Stones camp versus the megalithic Beatles one; love jazz and blues when rock was king; and, most recently, be in pursuit of the perfect Pinot. Pinot Grigio, that is! I think I may have found it in Terlato Pinot Grigio, 2015, (no affiliate marketing ploy—just the love of wine). For $20 a bottle, I think you’ll find it’s like liquid summer; evocative of a warm sunny day with low humidity and bright blue skies, a delicious salad on the patio and Frank Sinatra crooning in the background in chorus with the birds.

Those are my unconventional Pinot Grigio tasting notes, backed by extensive hands-on-wine-glass research. Please share with us the magic that slides out of your next bottle of Pinot Grigio. Together we can defeat the Pinot Grigio Prejudice for the good of all wine drinkers—present and future! We also welcome recommendations of other great Pinot Grigio wines as you discover them. Keep us posted!

Resources:

Frazier, K. (n.d.a.) Best white wine for beginners. Love to know. [Blog]. Downloaded from

https://wine.lovetoknow.com/wiki/best_wines_for_beginners

Gorman-McAdams, M. (2014, April 25). What’s the difference between Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio? [Blog]. Downloaded from https://www.thekitchn.com/whats-the-difference-between-pinot-gris-and-pinot-grigio-126507

Learn about Pinot Grigio white wine. VinePair. [Blog].  Downloaded from https://vinepair.com/wine-101/learn-pinot-grigio-white-wine/

Schmitt, P. (2017, September 1).Everything you need to know about Pinot Grigio. Downloaded from https://www.thedrinksbusiness.com/2017/09/everything-you-need-to-know-about-pinot-grigio/

 

Thach, L. (2015, January 24). The state of wine drinking in America today. The Week. Downloaded from http://theweek.com/articles/532653/state-winedrinking-america-today

The 3 types of Pinot Grigio. (2014, June 18). Downloaded from  https://winefolly.com/review/3-types-pinot-grigio/

Wine in America. (2017, December). Pbs.org [Blog]. Downloaded from  https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/wine-america/

 

Thriving on Supplements by Janice Messino

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I live by the idea that the status of my health is mostly maintained by my lifestyle and, to some degree, my genetics. Even so, I know I miss the mark on a balanced diet on many days! To offset those less balanced days, I choose to support my health with specially chosen supplements that assure my body is getting what it needs—not just to live but to thrive. I am not alone in this quest to feel my best. 

Screen Shot 2018-07-24 at 9.00.07 PMAs consumers, we have been misled in a multitude of ways, but many of us have learned better. We no longer blindly accept a prescription; we now know to ask questions. We are learning how to take better care of our health in order to ward off the need for taking a pharmaceutical. We now have easy access to a great deal of health information, making us better-informed patients. And as patients, we have developed a preference for being treated as an individual, not a collection of symptoms. In other words, we have shifted our health paradigm and, in doing so, have become empowered. Screen Shot 2018-07-24 at 9.00.28 PM

As we learn to take better care of our health, the supplement market has expanded to meet our newly-informed needs. This might explain why the supplements market is predicted to grow at a rate of almost 10% for the next seven years and reach a value of $280 billion by 2025. This upswing is, of course, driven by you.

Thriving–or just Surviving?

The late Dr. Linus Pauling, a Nobel Prize-winning physical chemist and peace activist, was a wellness pioneer who strongly advocated for high-dose vitamin C for some specific conditions and for a better state of health overall. The daily amount of vitamin C recommended by Pauling was well over the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) set by the Food & Drug Administration. The RDA claims to be a “level that is sufficient to meet the nutrient requirements of nearly all healthy people.” But, according to a study of 4,700 adults in the US that used only a modest health assessment, less than 3% of participants were considered healthy. If most Americans are not considered healthy, then the RDA’s guidelines inappropriate for most Americans. It seems that the RDA allows for just enough nutrients to sustain ourselves. Pauling campaigned for levels of nutrients that would allow us to feel our best and to thrive, not just survive.Screen Shot 2018-07-24 at 9.06.03 PM

Pauling was not well liked by his fellow health professionals and was often called (at the very least) an unorthodox thinker.  Many years later, his research findings are taken more seriously. According to Dr. Joseph Mercola, “newer evidence suggests there might be something to Pauling’s heretical claims after all. In fact, a lot of the scientific literature published on vitamin C in the two decades since Pauling’s death support his claims.”

More than 170 million Americans take dietary supplements such as vitamins each year. According to the most recent report from the American Association of Poison control Center’s National Poison Data System (NPDS), not one person in the US died from taking a supplement in 2013. That’s not to say that there isn’t a quality difference between brands. There is! Many supplement companies take extraordinary pride in the production of quality products. To insure safety and effectiveness, supplements should be cleanly sourced and backed by scientific evidence. So, choose a high-quality supplement from a manufacturer and reseller you trust.

 Prescription Death

Unlike the safety of supplements, “about 128,000 people die each year from drugs prescribed to them. This makes prescription drugs a major health risk, ranking 4th with stroke as a leading cause of death.” In light of the high degree of safety of supplements and the considerable number of well-documented deaths caused by prescription and over-the-counter medications, we might ponder why the FDA isn’t investing more time into making prescriptions safer and less time looking for the disadvantages of supplements.

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According to Dr. Christiane Northrup, prescription and over-the-counter medication accounts for close to 80% of the deaths reported by U.S. Poison Control Centers. Even seemingly-harmless acetaminophen, the ingredient in Tylenol and other pain-relieving products, has a dismal track record. The US Poison Control Centers report that “there are 100,000 calls to Poison Control and 56,000 visits to the emergency room, 2,600 hospital admissions, and nearly 500 deaths per year.” Deaths from properly-prescribed medications taken as directed are estimated at 2,460 per week. That number doesn’t even include deaths from prescribing errors, overdose, and improper use! Clearly, in a side-effects contest between vitamins, minerals, and other supplements versus prescription and over-the-counter medication, nutritional supplements come out on top!Screen Shot 2018-07-24 at 9.19.07 PM

In my supplement-taking regimen, I make it a point to include supplements which can potentially raise my longevity. Cutting-edge research shows that NAD (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide), a chemical compound found in every cell in our bodies, can promote longevity. NAD is said to slow down the aging process by “mitigating chemical stress, inflammation, DNA damage, and failing mitochondria.” Its neuroplasticity-enhancing effects can reverse some age-induced deterioration, such as the cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer’s disease. NAD seems to have the same wonderful longevity effect that is associated with calorie restriction and exercise, and we can’t get it from our diet, no matter how healthy our diet is. But we can take it as a supplement.

All the evidence points to the benefits of supplements, along with a healthy diet and moderate exercise, to make all the difference in our health and longevity. For more information on how to make supplements part of your wellness practice, contact Create Health, where we follow the latest research and carry only the finest supplements.

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Source for citations in order of appearance:

Global Dietary Supplements Market Industry Trends and Forecast to 2025. Data Bridge Market Research. Accessed July 11, 2018. https://databridgemarketresearch.com/reports/global-dietary-supplements-market/

Mercola, Joseph. Was Linus Pauling Right About Vitamin C’s Curative Powers After All? Mercola. Accessed July 11, 2018. https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/11/23/vitamin-c-curative-power.aspx

Nutrient Recommendations: Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI). National Institutes of Health. Accessed July 11, 2018. https://ods.od.nih.gov/Health_Information/Dietary_Reference_Intakes.aspx

Preidt, Robert. Less Than Three Percent of Americans Live a Healthy Lifestyle. WebMD. Accessed July 11, 2018. https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/news/20160322/less-than-3-percent-of-americans-live-a-healthy-lifestyle

Mercola, Joseph. Was Linus Pauling Right About Vitamin C’s Curative Powers After All? Mercola. Accessed July 11, 2018. https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/11/23/vitamin-c-curative-power.aspx

Over 170 Million Americans Take Dietary Supplements. Nutraceuticals World. Accessed July 11, 2018. https://www.nutraceuticalsworld.com/contents/view_online-exclusives/2016-10-31/over-170-million-americans-take-dietary-supplements/

Light, Donald W. New Prescription Drugs: A Major Health Risk With Few Offsetting Advantages. Harvard University Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics. Accessed July 11, 2018. https://ethics.harvard.edu/blog/new-prescription-drugs-major-health-risk-few-offsetting-advantages

Northrup, Christiane. Vitamins Versus Drugs: Which is Safer? Accessed July 11, 2018. https://www.drnorthrup.com/vitamins-versus-drugs-which-is-safer/

Schroeder, Michael O. Death by Prescription. US News and World Report. Accessed July 11, 2018. https://health.usnews.com/health-news/patient-advice/articles/2016-09-27/the-danger-in-taking-prescribed-medications

Harrington, Stephen. Anti-Aging Mechanisms of NAD+. Life Extension Magazine. Accessed July 11, 2018. http://www.lifeextension.com/Magazine/2018/2/Anti-Aging-Effects-Of-NAD/Page-01

 

Can the Wine Cork Help Save the World?

There is a recent movement away from using traditional cork closures due to some inaccurate and bad press. In investigating the cork for this blog and for the Spaz on Wine, Uncorked Podcast,  I was delighted to find that there are many reasons, all good, to buy wines with natural cork stoppers. The history, romance, and earth saving qualities of the natural cork is captivating. Read on, my friend!

History of the Wine Cork

Even though the natural cork is under hot debate right now, the cork as a stopper may date back as far as the ancient Egyptians. Modern legend often attributes its promotion to Dom Perignon, the famous 17th century French monk. Wine myth contends that he may have popularized the use of cork stoppers over the more commonly used wooden plugs. Four hundred years later and the cork continues to be a topic of discussion. The good news is the wooden plug is out, but the concern now is that screw caps and plastic stoppers are gobbling up market share in the world of wine closures (Gifford, 2016). These competitive stoppers are eating away at the tradition, the ceremony, and the sexy sizzle of the traditional cork.

Let’s face it, it’s the wonderful anticipation when the bottle is offered, the unwrapping of the foil capsule, the dignified pull of the cork, the gentle pop of its release, and the presentation of the cork that sets the scene for that marvelous first sip of wine. The slow expectation heightens the total wine experience. Just as it’s the sizzle that enhances the taste of the steak, it’s the looking forward to, the delayed gratification of that first sip that builds our anticipatory desire.

The Sexy Sizzle of the Wine Cork

For centuries wine enthusiasts, both novice and expert alike, have waited for the cork to be pulled, and when in public, presented to them. (Listen to Why Does Your Waiter Hand You the Cork? on Green Ink Radio to discover the answer to this age old question.) It was the love affair of ritual that continued to entice the modern wine consumer up until the last couple of decades.  Sadly, the pomp, the sizzle, the anticipation has all begun to fade. Other players have entered the wine closure field and devoured almost 40 percent of the traditional cork market share (Gifford, 2016) and in many ways are stripping it of its old world elegance and tradition.

Fast forward to the aluminum screw cap; in terms of ceremony, it just doesn’t measure up. Sure, it’s quick and easy, but it’s about as romantic as a TV dinner. Yes, it does reduce spoilage, a little. And yes it is convenient as hell. But it’s sort of like putting on sneakers with a prom dress, practical but inelegant. Nonetheless, it has gained popularity, particularly amongst millennials, and now accounts for 20 percent of the wine-closure market. Then there’s the plastic stopper. Need I say more? A plastic plug in a living thing? Eegads. Nevertheless, it too has extracted 10 percent of the stopper trade from the cork industry (Gifford, 2016).

What’s so Great About a Cork?

There’s such a rich history of the cork, it is infused with legend, romance, and a little mystery (answers found on Spaz on Wine, Uncorked Why Does Your Waiter Hand You the Cork?). But in addition to that, there are numerous economical, enological, and environmental reasons why we should select natural cork stoppers when making our wine purchases:

  • It is made from the bark of the evergreen oak. No trees are killed and it is sustainably harvested (mantoncork).
  • The cork is biodegradable, aluminum screw caps and plastic plugs are not.
  • The Mediterranean Cork Forest is comprised of over 7 million acres, which would be neglected or chopped down if not for the production of cork (Gifford, 2016).
  • It’s environmentally friendly. The Mediterranean Cork Forest offsets 20 million tons of Co2 annually (Gifford).
  • The Portugal Cork Forest has the greatest plant biodiversity of anywhere on the planet, with over 135 different thriving and unique species (Gifford).
  • It provides a safe habitat for the endangered Iberian lynx and the Barbary deer (Gifford).
  • It offers the ecological benefit of providing over 100,000 wine cork related jobs, which are among the last well-paying agricultural jobs available (Gifford).
  • There is very little risk of getting a tainted wine from a natural cork stopper (currently about 1 percent due to recent technological advances) (Gifford).
  • Corklins! Corks are made from the bark of the evergreen oak, so using them as stoppers creates some of the same effects as aging in oak barrels (Pomranz, 2018). The phenolic compounds released are tannins, polyphenols, and phenols (Schmitt, 2018). These phenols interact with catechins and malvidins and form different, enhanced compounds, named Corklins (Pomranz).

Sell the Sizzle, Baby!

My father often repeats the old sales saying, “You sell the sizzle, not the steak.” Well, my recommendation to the Cork Forest Conservation Alliance is Sell the sizzle, baby. Opening a bottle of wine with a natural cork is a sensual experience. It speaks of old world charm and days of yore that can be recaptured in that brief, timeless moment of drawing the cork away from the mysteries held within. A screwcap is just not going to be able to provide that sort of classy pomp. Let’s return to the prom dress analogy for a moment. Don’t get me wrong, I love my sneakers (probably more than I should), but nothing, and I mean nothing can compete with a pair of high heels to complete the overall prom look and experience. Go to a prom in sneakers or go in high heels. What is the more elegant choice?

The Cork Forest Conservation Alliance has a big job ahead of them. At Green Ink Radio we wish them the best! They are working to save the Mediterranean Cork Forest and its inhabits. Their slogan is “Pop a Cork, Save a Tree.” Hey, I’m doing my part saving the world, one bottle at a time. Why don’t you join me? Salute!

Resources:

Gifford, J. (2016, February 25). How millennials (almost) killed the wine cork. The Atlantic. Retrieved from: https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2016/02/wine-cork-comeback/470961/

Mantoncork.com. The history of cork. Retrieved from: https://www.mantoncork.com/cork/

Pomranz, M. (2018, June 8). Are ‘corklins’ the reason wine bottled with a cork tastes different? Food & Wine. Retrieved from: https://www.foodandwine.com/news/wine-cork-taste-different-corklins

Schmitt, P. (2018, June 7). Compounds called corklins found in cork-stoppered wines. The Drinks Business. Retrieved from: https://www.thedrinksbusiness.com/2018/06/compounds-called-corklins-found-in-cork-stoppered-wines/

 

Transforming Transgender Treatment

When did it Happen?

I don’t know exactly when it happened; I have no recollection of the exact moment in time when working with the transgender population became a focus of my therapy practice. Like all things in life, it was a confluence of events and knowledge, a synergistic melding of intention, experience, and information. It was a slow drip to the realization of one of my life’s purposes: to be there, to show up for people who need me.

It all started several years ago with a homosexual student at the college where I work. He began to educate me extensively about the LGBT+ community. I was enthralled and soon realized how little I actually knew. Then my nephew came out as a transgender woman (he has since gone back to his biological gender, so my pronouns are correct).  My sister struggled mightily with this decision and was genuinely heartsick and that led me on an odyssey of exploration in support of her. I’m sorry to say that I continued to call my nephew by his birth name during this time of transition. It wasn’t in defiance, in hindsight, it was because I didn’t try hard enough to break myself of the habit of using his birth name.

Tony Ferraiolo Blasts It

A transgender male college student helped me work through my confusion and ignorance. He is an advocate and activist and is changing the world, so thank you Ben Crowley! He graduated this May, so I will need him on speed dial to make sure I get it right when working with trans clients in the future. And then the brilliant Tony Ferraiolo came to town. He gave a presentation at Three Rivers Community College and showed his amazing, award winning documentary, A Self Made Man. Simply put, it shook my world. My lingering heterodominant and gender binary biases were blasted to smithereens.

We Reject it Because we Don’t Understand it

And just about then the calls started coming into my practice from trans folk looking for support. I took every client. They taught me so much about the human experience—not just the gender one—for which I am forever grateful. As we sit across each other in my little living room and they share their stories, I am profoundly attuned to how universal our experiences are… and how dissimilar. I have gleaned that it is within these whispers of difference that the world germinates its seeds of cruelty to trans people. Why? My guess is because we don’t understand it and so therefore we reject it. The bigger question then becomes: What can we do to make their world better? How can we ameliorate the transgressions? (Pun intended.)

Be an Ally

Well, I’m glad you asked! There are a lot of great resources out there. I suggest you educate yourself on how to become a true supporter. We can actively enhance the lives of trans people and be an ally by supporting the following National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) and Slate recommended initiatives:

  • Providing gender neutral bathroom facilities in all public places to keep them safe and promote laws that allow them to use the facilities of their identified gender. Remember: They are far more likely to be victims of violent crimes than perpetuate them.
  • Support the informed consent model for medical treatment not the gateway model that insists on medical professionals making the final determination of eligibility (Urquart, 2016).
  • Promote the ineffectiveness and actual harmful effects of conversion therapy counseling through legislative action.
  • Ensure that your state and insurance company support the medical necessity of transition-related medical care.
  • Promote social justice through advocacy for fair labor practices for transgender people.
  • Use their identified names and pronouns!
  • Refrain from asking them about their surgeries or treatments. You don’t talk to people about your genitals and they don’t want to talk to you about theirs. Geez.
  • Support comprehensive anti-bullying policies.
  • Advocate for gender identified justice system housing and fair treatment if incarcerated.

The above list is just a very brief summary of a few of the things we can do to help and support our trans friends and relatives. For more comprehensive information and recommendations, please visit www.transequality.org

Pure Joy Podcast

I was recently interviewed on the Pure Joy Podcast about my work with the transgender population in my therapy practice, Spaziani Therapy. Co-hosts Joy and Jennifer approached the questions from two different perspectives—Joy’s questions were thoughtful and deep, even profound, and Jennifer’s were joyful and practical.  Listen to the interview on Green Ink Radio on Spaz on Health. But don’t forget to tune into our sister podcast, Pure Joy Podcast where Joy and Jennifer explore trans’ issues and a lot of other cool topics.

Please remember that when in doubt, err on the side of compassion and sensitivity. Trans folk are just that—folk. We are all in the same boat of human experience, reaching, evolving, grasping, and being. So, be kind and… show up.

Resources

National Center for Transgender Equality. Downloaded May 25, 2018 from www.transequality.org

Urquart, E. (March 11, 2016) Gatekeepers vs. informed consent: Who decides when a trans person can medically transition? Slate. Downloaded June 2, 2108 from http://www.slate.com/blogs/outward/2016/03/11/transgender_patients_and_informed_consent_who_decides_when_transition_treatment.html