Brazilian school districts make historic switch to 100 percent plant-based meals

With the mission of reducing the cities’ environmental footprint (especially water consumption), Brazil’s goal is to aid local produce farmers and foster humane and healthy eating habits for students.

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Image Credit: Food Industry Bid Network

Four cities in Brazil have pledged to transition all of the meals served at its public school cafeterias to 100 percent plant-based by the end of 2019, with the mission of reducing the cities’ environmental footprint (especially water consumption), aiding local produce farmers and fostering humane and healthy eating habits for students.

The cities of Serrinha, Barroca, Teofilandia and Biritinga in the northeastern state of Bahia will soon be home to the world’s first school districts to make such a commitment, program organizers touted.

The “Escola Sustentável” (Sustainable School) project—spearheaded by Humane Society International (HSI) in Brazil and the local Public Prosecutor Office—covers 30,000 students and will impact more than 23 million meals a year. It will reduce meat, dairy and egg consumption by an estimated 25 percent per semester.

The program kicked off last week and included four days of plant-based culinary trainings for the cities’ school cooks, led by HSI’s chef André Vieland. The vegan cook shared cost-effective and nutritious recipes made with accessible, local ingredients.

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School meals in those cities typically feature animal proteins such as beef, lamb, poultry, fish, eggs, milk and butter, Brazilian publication Correio reported. Under the new, two-year experimental program, lunches will consist of soy, rice milk, peanut butter (instead of butter), vegetables, root vegetables, grains, and whole-wheat bread.

Definitive implementation of the program will depend on health outcomes of the students after the trial period, according to Correio. Students will undergo periodic tests that count blood, ferritin, vitamin B12, total cholesterol, triglycerides and blood glucose levels. Weight, height and body composition will also be measured.

Families who do not agree with the newly imposed diet can send their students to school with packed lunches from home, Escola Sustentável leader Leticia Baird, the Brazilian public prosecutor for the environment in the state of Bahia said.

“Providing our school districts with plant-based meals will help save environmental and public financial resources, allow for a future of healthy adults, and build a fair world for the animals,” Baird said in a statement.

In addition to animal welfare concerns, animal agriculture uses up massive amounts of water, land and energy. Raising animals for food is one of the biggest contributors to man-made greenhouse gas emissions that drive climate change.

Read the full article at  – NationOfChange 


A new vegan restaurant just moved into Brooklyn, one of New York City’s up-and-coming restaurant hubs. But instead of following the neighborhood’s hipster dining scene and charging $10 for a green juice or $16 for a salad, Sol Sips is making plant-based food accessible to everyone.

Twenty-one-year-old Francesca “Sol” Chaney opened her new vegan venture on a mission to provide healthy, delicious, and convenient food to the inner-city community. As a city dweller working three jobs, she could relate to the struggles many people face when deciding what to eat. She believes that people in low-income areas may not prefer fast food over healthy food, but in a world of expensive green juices and superfoods, those with fixed incomes may not have much of a choice. “The wellness community can be really classist,” Chaney said to Essence.

Chaney insists that the wellness community is not just for the upper-class. As a full-time student, she discovered the benefits of a plant-based diet. She began making her own smoothies for on-the-go meals, and she noticed how this plant-based fuel propelled her through her demanding days. “I was feeling more energized and lighter,” she claimed.

Sol Sips Smoothie

Encouraged by her own improved health, Chaney began making smoothies and juices for her friends and family. Fast forward three years and Sol Sips was born. Nowadays though she’s making more than just smoothies. The menu offers cafe staples, such as vegan omelets, soups, wraps, and juices. On weekends, brunch is served on a sliding scale menu, where anyone can purchase a complete vegan meal (including a beverage) for $7-$15. “My mission to help close the accessibility gap in wellness,” she said. Chaney also wants to close the gap in minority underrepresentation. As a black female entrepreneur, she feels that her community has not been given its proper recognition. “Clearly, we’ve prepped the table, we’ve yet to get a seat at it,” she remarked.

However, Chaney is not deterred. Her plans for Sol Sips include a farm-to-table component, in addition to launching an internship program for “brown girls” in East New York, Brownsville, Bushwick, and Bed-Stuy.

Source – LiveKindly

 A 2013 study on mice  published in the journal Brain, Structure and Function used differed types of noise and silence and monitored the effect the sound and silence had on the brains of the mice. The silence was intended to be the control in the study but what they found was surprising. The scientists discovered that when the mice were exposed to two hours of silence per day they developed new cells in the hippocampus. The hippocampus is a region of the brain associated with memory, emotion and learning.

The growth of new cells in the brain does not necessarily translate to tangible health benefits. However, in this instance, researcher Imke Kirste says that the cells appeared to become functioning neurons.

“We saw that silence is really helping the new generated cells to differentiate into neurons, and integrate into the system.” 

In this sense silence can quite literally grow your brain.

The brain is actively internalizing and evaluating information during silence

A 2001 study defined a “default mode” of brain function that showed that even when the brain was “resting” it was perpetually active internalizing and evaluating information.

Follow-up research found that the “default mode” is also used during the process of self-reflection. In 2013, in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, Joseph Moran et al. wrote, the brain’s default mode network “is observed most closely during the psychological task of reflecting on one’s personalities and characteristics (self-reflection), rather than during self-recognition, thinking of the self-concept, or thinking about self-esteem, for example.”

When the brain rests it is able to integrate internal and external information into “a conscious workspace,” said Moran and colleagues. 

When you are not distracted by noise or goal-orientated tasks, there appears to be a quiet time that allows your conscious workspace to process things. During these periods of silence, your brain has the freedom it needs to discover its place in your internal and external world.

The default mode helps you think about profound things in an imaginative way.

As Herman Melville once wrote, “All profound things and emotions of things are preceded and attended by silence.”

Silence relieves stress and tension.

It has been found that noise can have a pronounced physical effect on our brains resulting in elevated levels of stress hormones. The sound waves reach the brain as electrical signals via the ear. The body reacts to these signals even if it is sleeping. It is thought that the amygdalae (located in the temporal lobes of the brain) which is associated with memory formation and emotion is activated and this causes a release of stress hormones. If you live in a consistently noisy environment that you are likely to experience chronically elevated levels of stress hormones.

A study that was published in 2002 in Psychological Science (Vol. 13, No. 9) examined the effects that the relocation of Munich’s airport had on children’s health and cognition. Gary W. Evans, a professor of human ecology at Cornell University notes that children who are exposed to noise develop a stress response that causes them to ignore the noise. What is of interest is that these children not only ignored harmful stimuli they also ignored stimuli that they should be paying attention to such as speech. 

Source – LifeHack 

“Our hair fashions might be just a trend, but if we investigate, we may find that we have been depriving ourselves of one of the most valuable sources of energy for human vitality.” -Yogi Bhajan

Consider the possibility that the hair on your head is there to do more than just look good. Man is the only creature who grows longer hair on his head as he grows into adulthood. Left uncut, your hair will grow to a particular length and then stop all by itself at the correct length for you. From a yogic perspective, hair is an amazing gift of nature that can actually help raise the Kundalini energy (creative life force), which increases vitality, intuition, and tranquility.

Cut Hair

Long ago people in many cultures didn’t cut their hair, because it was a part of who they were. There were no salons. Often, when people were conquered or enslaved, their hair was cut as a recognized sign of slavery. It was also understood that this would serve as punishment and decrease the power of those enslaved.

The bones in the forehead are porous and function to transmit light to the pineal gland, which affects brain activity, as well as thyroid and sexual hormones. Cutting bangs which cover the forehead impedes this process.

When Genghis Khan conquered China, he considered the Chinese to be a very wise, intelligent people who would not allow themselves to be subjugated. He therefore required all women in the country to cut their hair and wear bangs, because he knew this would serve to keep them timid and more easily controlled.

As whole tribes or societies were conquered, cut hair became so prevalent that the importance of hair was lost after a few generations, and hairstyles and fashion grew to be the focus.

The science of hair was one of the first technologies given by Yogi Bhajan when he came to America.

“When the hair on your head is allowed to attain its full, mature length, then phosphorous, calcium, and vitamin D are all produced, and enter the lymphatic fluid, and eventually the spinal fluid through the two ducts on the top of the brain. This ionic change creates more efficient memory and leads to greater physical energy, improved stamina, and patience.”

Yogi Bhajan explained that if you choose to cut your hair, you not only lose this extra energy and nourishment, but your body must then provide a great amount of vital energy and nutrients to continually re-grow the missing hair.

In addition, hairs are the antennas that gather and channel the sun energy or prana to the frontal lobes, the part of the brain you use for meditation and visualization. These antennas act as conduits to bring you greater quantities of subtle, cosmic energy. It takes approximately three years from the last time your hair was cut for new antennas to form at the tips of the hair.

Kundalini Hair Care

In India, a Rishi is known as a wise one who coils his or her hair up on the crown of the head during the day to energize the brain cells, and then combs it down at night. A ‘rishi knot’ energizes your magnetic field (aura) and stimulates the pineal gland in the center of your brain.

“This activation of your pineal results in a secretion that is central to the development of higher intellectual functioning, as well as higher spiritual perception.” -Yogi Bhajan

During the day, the hair absorbs solar energy, but at night it absorbs lunar energy. Keeping the hair up during the day and down at night aids in this process. Braiding your hair at night will help your electromagnetic field balance out from the day.

Split Ends

Loose scattered hair can develop split ends. Instead of trimming them and losing your antennas, Yogi Bhajan recommends applying a small amount of almond oil to your hair overnight so that it can be absorbed before you wash it the next morning. Keeping your hair coiled on your crown and protected with a head covering during the day will help your antennas heal. If you have long hair, see if your experience is different when it is clean and coiled at your crown, or down and loose.

Wet Hair

One year after Winter Solstice, when Yogi Bhajan was sitting in our living room with wet hair, he explained that he was drying it before putting it up in order to avoid a headache. When you put your hair up wet, it will tend to shrink and tighten a bit and even break as it dries. A better idea is to occasionally take the time to sit in the sun and allow your clean, wet hair to dry naturally and absorb some extra vitamin D.

Yogis recommend shampooing the hair every 72 hours (or more frequently if the scalp sweats a great deal). It can also be beneficial to wash your hair after being upset to help process emotions.

Yogis also recommend using a wooden comb or brush for combing your hair as it gives a lot of circulation and stimulation to the scalp, and the wood does not create static electricity, which causes a loss of the hair’s energy to the brain. You will find that, if you comb your hair and scalp front to back, back to front, and then to the right and left several times, it will refresh you, no matter how long your hair is.

All the tiredness of your day will be gone. For women, it is said that using this technique to comb your hair twice a day can help maintain youth, a healthy menstrual cycle, and good eyesight.

If you are bald or balding, the lack of hair energy can be counteracted with more meditation. If you are finding some silver strands in your hair, be aware that the silver or white color increases the vitamins and energy flow to compensate for aging. For better brain health as you age, try to keep your hair as natural and healthy as you can.

Tagore’s Hair

Yogi Bhajan told us this story about hair many years ago at Women’s Camp in New Mexico: Recognize how beautiful and powerful your hair is—when you keep it, you live a life of fulfillment in this world. When Rabindranath Tagore, the great poet who found God within himself, tried to meet a friend on a steamer ship, the friend didn’t recognize him and so wrote him a letter.

“We were on the same steamer, but I didn’t find you.” Tagore said, “I was there.” His friend said, “I understand you are now a God-realized man, and I would like to know what your first action was when you became aware of the Oneness in all.” Tagore said, “When I realized the Oneness of all, I threw my shaving kit into the ocean. I gave up my ego and surrendered to nature. I wanted to live in the form that my Creator has given me.”

When humans allow their hair to grow, they are welcoming the maturity, the responsibility of being fully-grown, and fully powerful. That is why you will find grace and calmness in a person with uncut hair from birth, if it is kept well. The Creator has a definite reason for giving you hair.

It is said that when you allow your hair to grow to its full length and coil it on the crown of the head, the sun energy, pranic life force, is drawn down the spine. To counteract that downward movement, the Kundalini life energy rises to create balance. In Yogi Bhajan’s words, “Your hair is not there by mistake. It has a definite purpose, which saints will discover and other men will laugh at.”

 

Source – ConsciousReminder 

We all know that spending time outdoors is good for you on both a physical and mental level, but the benefits of spending time specifically at the beach have just been revealed.

That incredible feeling of peace and calmness that you experience at the beach is now being referred to as “blue space.” That’s what scientists have dubbed the effect that the combination of soothing smells and sounds of water have on your brain. The blue space is enough to make you feel at ease in a hypnotic sort of way.

When you notice how relaxed you feel at the beach, it’s not just all in your head. Science says that it’s a change in the way your brain reacts to its environment leaving you feeling happy, relaxed and reenergized.

Overall, this blue space effects you in four different ways.

1. Going to the beach reduces stress

Water is nature’s cure to life’s stressors. It’s full of naturally occurring positive ions that are known for having the ability to make you feel at ease. So whether you jump in for a swim or simply dip your toes in the water, you’re sure to experience a feeling of relaxation. That’s one instant mood booster we could all use from time to time!

2. The beach boosts your creativity

Feeling like you’re in a creative rut? Well, scientists now believe that the solution to this is the beach. Being in blue space allows you to clear your head and approach problems or projects in a more creative way. Much like meditation, the beach triggers a feeling of calmness that allows you to tune everything else out and reflect on what it is you’ve been needing to focus on.

3. Going to the beach can help reduce feelings of depression

Much like the effects that the beach has on feelings of stress and creative ruts, the beach also provides some relief to feelings of depression. The hypnotic sound of the waves in combination with the sight and smells of the beach can put you into a meditative space. In turn, you can clear your mind and reflect on life in a safe space away from the chaos of your daily life.

4. Overall, spending time at the beach will change your perspective on life

And that perspective is going to change for the better! Nature in general has always been a factor in healthy happy lives, but the beach in particular is so good for the soul.

So grab the SPF and pack a picnic, because it’s time to head to the beach!

Via CoreSpirit

 

Teff is the smallest grain in the world with an earthy flavor similar to amaranth or quinoa. It is an ancient staple grain cultivated in Eritrea and Ethiopia, surviving through centuries without any hybridization.  Like most ancient grains Teff is packed with a range of vitamins and minerals essential for the body.

Promotes Growth

With eight different amino acids, including a slightly rare one called lysine, teff can deliver substantial support for growth and development. Our bodies need protein to create new cells, repair old ones, and general development throughout our lives. While animal proteins can be helpful, our bodies can more easily break down vegetable proteins into their constituent amino acids, which is why having something like teff in your diet is important for everyone, not just vegetarians and health food fans.

Celiac Support

As the amount of people suffering from Celiac disease continues to rise, it will be important to have alternative options to gluten-containing foods. Celiac disease (gluten intolerance) can be very painful and dangerous for people who suffer from it, which is why gluten-free options like teff grain, particularly since it’s so nutrient-dense, make for healthy, delicious options for people avoiding gluten.

Healthy Bones

Teff contains a wide range of minerals and nutrients, but in terms of calcium, it is truly impressive. Calcium is an essential mineral for bone growth and development, and helps contribute to solid bone mineral density as we age. If you are susceptible to osteoporosis (perhaps due to lifestyle) or have a lack of calcium in your diet, than adding teff can help protect your bone integrity as you age.

 

Stronger Immune System

Although most grains have a wealth of minerals, they aren’t as well known for having a significant level of vitamins, particularly of vitamin C. As you probably know, vitamin C is a crucial part of our immune system, as it stimulates the production and activity of white blood cells. However, vitamin C is also a key component in collagen, which is needed for the creation of new cells, blood vessels, organs, and muscle tissue. Together with the high protein content of teff grain, the vitamin C found in this useful dietary staple can have a significant impact on your overall health.

Increased Circulation

Speaking of minerals, the most unusually high mineral content comes in the form of iron. In fact, teff is commonly recommended for patients suffering from anemia. Iron is a key element in our red blood cells, and when there is an iron deficiency in the body, weakness, dizziness, cognitive impairment, muscle cramps, and headaches can often follow (these are symptoms of anemia). If you want to boost your circulation and increase oxygenation to important organ systems and areas of your body, then add some teff grain or injera bread to your diet immediately!

Diabetes Control

One of the side benefits that is often overlooked from teff grain is its ability to help diabetics manage their condition. By helping to slow the release of insulin into the bloodstream, teff can help diabetics prevent the dangerous spikes and plunges that can occur if you aren’t careful. This is partially due to the fiber content of teff grain, but there are more complex chemical pathways also at work in this regard, although research is still in the relatively early stages.

Relieves Menstrual Problems

Teff grain has been known as an anti-inflammatory and menstrually soothing agent for generations, so if you tend to suffer from heavy menstrual flow, severe cramping, or other physical manifestations of the monthly event, adding teff to your diet could help reduce the severity and live in comfort.

Boosts Digestive Health

Teff grain has been used for thousands of years as a laxative, or at least a means to speed up the digestive process. This is likely due to the high content of dietary fiber in the grain, which can bulk up stool, stimulate peristaltic motion, and increase the regularity and quality of your bowel movements. Dietary fiber is also able to balance cholesterol levels in the body by eliminating excess omega-6 fatty acids, in addition to relieving constipation, bloating, cramping, and more serious gastrointestinal issues.

Supports Energy Production

Another mineral in high concentrations in teff grain is copper, which plays important roles throughout our body, including in energy production, growth and repair, enzymatic reactions, nervous system function, and red blood cell creation. Without proper copper levels, many of our body’s systems will begin to fail, so adding a copper boost with teff is never a bad idea.

Healthy Heart

Last but not least, teff grain has been shown to be very beneficial for heart health. The low sodium content ensures that the body doesn’t clog up the arteries too much, and the grain has been shown to effectively reduce blood pressure in research studies. This can reduce your chances of suffering from heart attacks or strokes, and reduce the overall strain on your cardiovascular system.

 

Source: Organicfacts.net

So why is squatting so good for us? And why did so many of us stop doing it?

It comes down to a simple matter of “use it or lose it,” says Dr. Bahram Jam, a physical therapist and founder of the Advanced Physical Therapy Education Institute (APTEI) in Ontario, Canada.

“Every joint in our body has synovial fluid in it. This is the oil in our body that provides nutrition to the cartilage,” Jam says. “Two things are required to produce that fluid: movement and compression. So if a joint doesn’t go through its full range—if the hips and knees never go past 90 degrees—the body says ‘I’m not being used’ and starts to degenerate and stops the production of synovial fluid.”

A healthy musculoskeletal system doesn’t just make us feel lithe and juicy, it also has implications for our wider health. A 2014 study in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology found that test subjects who showed difficulty getting up off the floor without support of hands, or an elbow, or leg (what’s called the “sitting-rising test”) resulted in a three-year-shorter life expectancy than subjects who got up with ease.

In the West, the reason people stopped squatting regularly has a lot to do with our toilet design. Holes in the ground, outhouses and chamber pots all required the squat position, and studies show that greater hip flexion in this pose is correlated with less strain when relieving oneself. Seated toilets are by no means a British invention—the first simple toilets date back to Mesopotamia in the fourth millennium B.C., while the ancient Minoans on the island of Crete are said to have first pioneered the flush—but they were first adopted in Britain by the Tudors, who enlisted “grooms of the stool” to help them relieve themselves in ornate, throne-like loos in the 16th century.

The next couple hundred years saw slow, uneven toilet innovation, but in 1775 a watchmaker named Alexander Cummings developed an S-shape pipe which sat below a raised cistern, a crucial development. It wasn’t until after the mid-to-late-1800s, when London finally built a functioning sewer system after persistent cholera outbreaks and the horrific-sounding “great stink” of 1858, that fully flushable, seated toilets started to commonly appear in people’s homes. 

Today, the flushable squat-style toilets found across Asia are, of course, no less sanitary than Western counterparts. But Jam says Europe’s shift to the seated throne design robbed most Westerners of the need (and therefore the daily practice) of squatting. Indeed the realization that squatting leads to better bowel movements has fueled the cult-like popularity of the Lillipad and the Squatty Potty, raised platforms that turn a Western-style toilet into a squatting one—and allow the user to sit in a flexed position that mimics a squat.

Source – QuartZy 

Tiger Mushroom Farms is a small Family owned business located in Blacklick, Ohio. We grow Gourmet Shiitake Mushrooms, Yellow Oyster Mushrooms, and Gray Oyster Mushrooms. The company was founded by our 9 year old son when he was just 7. It all started after a cub scout project ended where Te’Lario grew Cat Grass and Basil. He enjoyed his project and wanted to keep growing stuff. It was winter and our family tried to think of things we could grow indoors. Te’Lario came up with the idea to grow mushrooms because as he says it, “Mushrooms can grow in the dark.” Pretty soon we had too many mushroom for us to eat so we decided to sell them at Farmers Markets during the summer. After doing some research we discovered that you have to have several licenses to sell products at Markets. We decided to start a business and called it Tiger Mushroom Farms because Te’Lario was a Tiger Cub Scout when he came up with the idea.

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