Malcolm X Park x Bali Daisha

Washington DC … my friend Daisha made note that I’m in Dc quite often these days. It’s a nice in between place before getting to New York! In about a week Daisha will be flying off to Bali for a 6 month yoga teacher training. Im excited for her to start a brand new adventure. Traveling let’s us see life from a different space. We had to link up once more before she goes and it happened to be a drum circle popping off at Malcolm X park. The energy was high and the circle instantly brought back memories of Central Park drum circles I would go to years ago.

It was great to seeing those I rock with the most as usual! It took us 5 minutes to setup the camera for these lil shots so appreciate it! The people walking up the steps watched us fumbling around with iPhone cameras and negro rigged tripods had a laugh. We made plans to link up on that side of the world once our planets align!

How does diet affect gut health?

Learn how healthy gut bacteria affect overall wellbeing, the best foods for digestive health, and how antibiotics, sugar and stress can affect the microbiome.

Our digestive system, or ‘gut’ as it is more commonly known, is a complex system comprising of tissues and organs, all with a unique role to play in the digestion and absorption of our food. These include the mouth, oesophagus, stomach, pancreas, gall bladder, liver, and the small and large intestines.

Housed within the gut is also something known as the microbiome: a ‘community’ or ecosystem of microbes (microscopic organisms). These microbes, of which there are about 500 known species, are largely made up of bacteria. Each person carries around 100 trillion microbes within their body, mostly within the digestive tract, although the microbiome can be found in different parts of the body including the nose and mouth. There is emerging research to suggest that it may well influence your health as much as your inherited genes do.

How does the microbiome affect health?

One of the major roles of our gut bacteria, besides digesting our food, is the regulation of our immune system. Recent research has linked the health of our gut to conditions such as acne, allergies and even depression.

There is still lots of research to be done but already scientists have found links between our microbiome (gut bacteria) and neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s, as well as the long-term condition chronic fatigue syndrome. There is also growing evidence around the role of our microbiome in obesity and weight management, as well as autoimmune conditions such as Type 1 diabetesand rheumatoid arthritis.

Woman standing on weighing scales in bathroom

Why is the gut considered to be the ‘second brain’?

Your digestive system is also known as the ‘second brain’ thanks to the millions of neurons that line the gut and release important chemical messengers known as neurochemicals or neurotransmitters. These allow the gut to keep in close contact with the brain and influence our moods and emotions.

Our gut bacteria play a key role in the production of certain neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, which is manufactured in the gut and known as our ‘happy hormone’.

What can affect gut bacteria?

Just like fingerprints, every one of us has a different microbiome, and this can be influenced by a wide variety of factors, including the mode of delivery at birth, the method of infant feeding, the use of medications (especially antibiotics) and the diet. The most common culprits that can affect gut bacteria include antibiotics and a diet low in fibre, fruit and vegetables. Antibiotics are used to treat or prevent some types of bacterial infection by killing bacteria in the body. While they are an important medicine, they cannot distinguish between good and bad bacteria, so they wipe out both.

Stress can change the number and diversity of our gut bacteria, which in turn dysregulates the immune system and may explain why certain conditions, such as eczema or acne, flare up when we are more stressed.

How can I improve my gut microbiome?

The good news is that there are plenty of things you can do to look after your digestive system and support a healthy microbiome. Start by looking at your diet and increase the amount of fibre, fruit and vegetables that you eat, as these are really good sources of soluble fibre which are very important for ‘feeding’ the good bacteria. Other high-fibre foods include beans and pulses, such as chickpeas and lentils, wholegrain breads, brown or wholegrain rice, nuts and seeds, oats and jacket potatoes. Fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, kimchi and kefir, are increasing in popularity too thanks to their gut-friendly benefits.

If your GP has prescribed a course of antibiotics, it’s important to follow them as directed. However, as per NHS advice, you should only take antibiotics when necessary. If you are concerned that antibiotics may have a negative effect on your gut bacteria, ask your GP about following them with a course of probiotics, which may help to reset the balance of bacteria.

Activities such as mindfulness or meditation can help you to relax and reduce your stress levels so that they don’t have such an impact on your digestive system

BBC Future: What we do and don’t know about gut health

Book Select: Your money or Your life

For more than twenty-five years,  Your Money or Your Life has been considered the go-to book for taking back your life by changing your relationship with money. Hundreds of thousands of people have followed this nine-step program, learning to live more deliberately and meaningfully with Vicki Robin’s guidance. This fully revised and updated edition with a foreword by “the Frugal Guru” ( New Yorker) Mr. Money Mustache is the ultimate makeover of this bestselling classic, ensuring that its time-tested wisdom applies to people of all ages and covers modern topics like investing in index funds, managing revenue streams like side hustles and freelancing, tracking your finances online, and having difficult conversations about money. 
  
Whether you’re just beginning your financial life or heading towards retirement, this book will show you how to:  
  
• Get out of debt and develop savings 
• Save money through mindfulness and good habits, rather than strict budgeting 
• Declutter your life and live well for less 
• Invest your savings and begin creating wealth 
• Save the planet while saving money 
• …and so much more! 

You can find a copy on Amazon or PDF for free.

3 Queens Statue in Denmark

COPENHAGEN — The statue of the woman is nearly 23 feet tall. Her head is wrapped and she stares straight ahead while sitting barefoot, but regally, in a wide-backed chair, clutching a torch in one hand and a tool used to cut sugar cane in the other.

In Denmark, where most of the public statues represent white men, two artists on Saturday unveiled the striking statue in tribute to a 19th-century rebel queen who had led a fiery revolt against Danish colonial rule in the Caribbean.

They said it was Denmark’s first public monument to a black woman.

The sculpture was inspired by Mary Thomas, known as one of “the three queens.” Thomas, along with two other female leaders, unleashed an uprising in 1878 called the “Fireburn.” Fifty plantations and most of the town of Frederiksted in St. Croix were burned, in what has been called the largest labor revolt in Danish colonial history.

“This project is about challenging Denmark’s collective memory and changing it,” the Virgin Islands artist La Vaughn Belle, one of two principal forces behind the statue, said in a statement.

Read the full article at NYTimes

Pedro Bell : The Psychedelic Artist

Pedro Bell, a Chicago artist who helped create the powerfully trippy mythos for George Clinton and Funkadelic, designing colorful album covers that looked as if they might have been birthed in outer space, has died, according to Clinton and bassist Bootsy Collins.

It was psychedelic from a black perspective,” Mr. Bell said in a 2009 interview with the Chicago Sun-Times.

At the time, he was suffering from multiple health problems, had fallen on hard times and was living at the Hyde Park Arms, a single-room-occupancy hotel at 53rd Street and Harper Avenue.

He was near-blind and on dialysis as a result of kidney damage from hypertension and “recently beat an eviction order on a court technicality.”

The details of his death weren’t immediately clear.

In the interview, Mr. Bell said he hadn’t profited financially from his artistic association with some of the primogenitors of Afrofuturistic funk and soul.

Talking about how he started, he said he offered to create art for Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic after hearing their music on WXFM, known as Triad, an underground 1970s Chicago radio station. “I found the record company and sent a letter and said I wanted to do stuff,” he said, and began by doing concert posters and playbills.

In a post Tuesday night, the Facebook page for George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic referred to him by his artist’s name, Sir Lleb — that’s Bell spelled backward: “RIP to Funkadelic album cover illustrator Pedro Bell (1950-2019). Rest easy, Sir Lleb!”

In additional posts on Wednesday, it said: “He rose above it all. Pedro Bell aka Sir Lleb. (1950-2019)” and “One of the great aspects of Pedro’s artistry is the fact that many of his illustrations come from actual pictures. Mainly promo shots. Art imitates life which imitates Funk! Now that’s Zeep! Rest well, Sir Lleb!

Going by Sir Lleb, Mr. Bell would write album liner notes using punny phraseology and terms like “Funkapus” and “Thumpasaurus.”

Robert Harris, manager of the Hyde Park Arms, said Wednesday he remembered Mr. Bell and his undulating artwork even though he moved out years ago. 

“He was a nice guy,” Harris said. “Everybody got along with him.”

 Jean Lachat / Sun-Times

Collins tweeted: “We lost the Master Mind behind the Graphic’s & Artwork of Funkadelic. Mr. Pedro Bell is an American artist and illustrator best known for his elaborate cover designs and other artwork for numerous Funkadelic and George Clinton solo albums. Thxs for yr service our brother.”

His work was included with pieces by Andy Warhol and Ed Paschke in a 2007-2008 exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art, “Sympathy for the Devil: Art and Rock ’n’ Roll Since 1967.”

Read the full article at Chicago Times

How to Clone Mushrooms 101

How To Clone Mushrooms

Remember Dolly the sheep?

It’s the first thing I think of any time I hear the word “clone.” It took scientist many years, but eventually they were able to create the worlds first mammal cloned from an adult somatic cell.

Luckily, cloning mushrooms isn’t nearly that complicated.

In fact, it’s something any budding mycologist can easily do at home.

Why Clone Mushrooms?

  • Capture Wild Strains

    Cloning wild fruits allows you to copy mushrooms from the wild and cultivate them.

  • Finding Valuable Traits

    Cloning allows you to copy fruits that have interesting genetic variations, color, shape, ect.

  • Clone Cultivated Mushrooms

    You can also copy store bought mushrooms, or mushrooms that you have cultivated yourself.

There are several reasons why you’d want to clone mushrooms.

First of all, the forest is the original source for all commercial mushroom strains. Now, you could try to collect spores to propagate these wild mushrooms- but it would be a gamble, not knowing what type of genetics you’d end up with.

Cloning, on the other hand, allows us to take new mushroom strains from the wild, easily make identical genetic copies in the lab, and eventually cultivate them for food or medicine. With cloning, you have a better chance of getting a prolific strain. If growing outside, it will already be genetically adapted to your local environment.

Cloning also allows us to copy mushrooms with interesting characteristics and unique genetics- such as larger fruits, faster colonization times, or a whole array of other potentially valuable traits- and capture those traits for future benefit.

The Cloning Process

The process of cloning mushrooms is relatively simple, and basically the same whether cloning wild species, cultivated species, or even store-bought fruits.

All you need to do is harvest a piece of tissue from a mushroom fruitbody, place it on agar, and allow the mycelium to grow out until you have pure culture.

Easy!

cloning-mushrooms-process

This strategy works because the mushroom fruitbody, even after being picked, is still a living, breathing, manifestation of mycelium.

The cells are still willing and able to reproduce.

By transferring the live tissue to a nutrient rich agar media, the cells can spring into action, propagating mycelium across the plate.

Why Not Start From Spores?

You could always search for novel strains by starting from spores, instead of creating a clone.

The problem is that spores are a total crapshoot. When you dump millions of spores on an agar plate, they will germinate and start to grow “hyphae”, single celled filaments which contain exactly half the genetic information required to form a fruitbody.

To form mycelium, two hyphae need to meet. When they do, they essentially create a new strain- with any number of potential genetic variations. The results are very unpredictable, which is why commercial growers start from copies of proven strains, rather than spores.

Cloning is a way to guarantee that the genetics of your culture will be the same as the genetics of the fruit which the clone was taken from.

That being said, starting from spores does have it’s applications, just not if you are looking for predictable results.

Harvesting Tissue

The tissue can be taken from any part of the mushroom fruitbody, but some of the best sites to harvest reproductive cells are the stem butt(which often contains remnants of mycelium), close to the gillsunderneath the cap, or smack dab in the middle of the stem.

NOTE: It is not recommended to harvest actual gill tissue, mainly because it will be difficult to ensure cleanliness, and because it will be covered in mushroom spores- which may germinate and create a novel strain different from your clone.

It is also hard to ensure cleanliness if taking tissue from the stem butt, since it has been exposed to contaminate rich environments.

If possible, I like to take tissue from the inside of the stem, because that is where you get the cleanest sample- even though it may be a little slower to grow than the rapidly reproducing cells directly under the gills.

mushroom-tissue-clone


Cloning At Home

You can easily perform clones at home… so don’t be afraid to give it a shot.

Step 1: Select Fruit and Clean

First thing you want to do is select the fruit.

Try and find a relatively large fruit body, since extremely small specimens, or thin fleshed species can be hard to obtain clean tissue samples from.

You’ll then want to clean the outside of the fruitbody by thoroughly wiping it down with an alcohol soaked cloth. This will damage the mushroom and make it not suitable for eating, so you’ll need to be willing to sacrifice it for the clone.

The reason we do this is because the outside of the fruitbody has been exposed to air and is no doubt covered in all sorts of contaminates- which could easily find their way on to the plate. Wiping the fruit down won’t completely eliminate the hazard, but it will significantly reduce the potential for contamination.

cloning-king-oyster

Step 2: Tear Fruit In Half

Once the fruitbody has been cleaned, tear it in half in a sterile environment. In front of a flow hood is best, but this can also be down in a SAB (still air box).

You should tear the fruit rather than cut it to prevent pushing contaminates from the outside of the fruit into the center of the fruitbody. The inside of the mushroom will be naturally sterile and contain nothing but fertile mushroom cells.

If using a flow hood, remember to always keep the fruitbody downstream of the flow hood.

taking-tissue-samplestransfer-mushroom-clone

Step 3: Transfer Tissue

Take a flame sterilized scalpel and remove a small piece of tissue from inside of the fruit body.

I usually like to flame sterilize the scalpel before tearing the fruitbody in half, allowing it to cool in the stream of the flow. You can also force it to cool by dipping it in the clean agar plate before transfer.

Either way, the scalpel should be cool before contacting the mushroom, otherwise it will likely kill the tissue.

There are many places to remove tissue- but the easiest to work with is the thickest, fleshiest part of the mushroom. This is typically the center of the stem or the center of the cap, and will vary depending on species.

Just keep in mind that basically anywhere you take the tissue will contain cells that are suitable for cloning.

Remove the tissue by scraping your scalpel along the fruit a few times. You can also cut a small 1/8” square, but this is usually more cumbersome.

Bring the tissue upstream and place it on the agar dish.

This motion should be smooth and quick as possible, minimizing the time that the agar plate is open. This is especially true if using a SAB.

I like to put at least three pieces of tissue in a triangle pattern on one single plate. Not every tissue will take off, and some will be contaminated, so placing multiple pieces of tissue on each plate will be more economical.

king-oyster-clone

Step 4: Clean, Colonize, and Store

Once the plates have been inoculated and wrapped in parafilm or masking tape, store them on a shelf at room temperature away from direct sunlight. I like to also place the plates in a Ziploc bag to keep them free from dust or other airborne contaminates.

Watch the plates closely, and over the next 2-3 days you should see mycelium starting to grow radially from the tissue.

It is possible to get a clean culture on the first shot, but there is also a good chance that your plate will contain contamination, especially if working with wild clones.

If that is the case, simply perform culture transfers by removing a piece of clean mycelium from the contaminated plate onto a new dish. Repeating this process a few times should eventually give you a clean culture to work with.

Of course, if your plate is overly contaminated, and there is no visible clean mycelium, it may be best to throw it out and try again.

king-oyster-clone-growing-on-plate

Source – freshcapmushrooms   

The Mystical Breath

The Spiritual Teachings of Hazrat Inayat Khan

Volume VII – In an Eastern Rose Garden

THE MYSTERY OF BREATH

To a mystic the subject of breath is the deepest of all the subjects with which mysticism or philosophy is concerned, because breath is the most important thing in life. The very life of man is breath. He lives in the presence of breath, and in the absence of breath man is called a corpse. After death the organs of the body are just the same as before; the only thing that is lacking is breath.

Breath is that within ourselves which keeps all the parts of the body in connection with one another, working together, depending upon one another; it is that which enables man to move, to put his muscles into action, to keep the whole mechanism of the body at work. There is no other force or power concerned with all this than the power of breath.

Mystics know that it is regularity of breath that brings good health; that irregularity of breath is the cause of all illness. Many teachers and students of physical culture know that it is not the exercises and practices of this culture that cause the muscles to develop, that impart strength and vigor to the body. They know, as did the ancient mystics in India, that it is a matter of the breath. To practice for one moment with the help of the breath will do more than a whole day’s exercises carried on without considering the help of the breath. In the latter case the muscles cannot be developed, whereas in the former case the physical body is easily developed with little physical practice. That this is true, is easily shown by looking at the porters at railway-stations in India. If physical labor were the only thing needed to develop muscles, would they not all be veritable Sandows?1

In India we can study particularly well how men work with heavy things. Sometimes a man will carry on his shoulder a burden that it would ordinarily be impossible for a man of his physique to carry. Yet such a man cannot only lift it, but he will walk with it. And when one watches him one will find that the secret lies in his way of breathing. If he did not breathe correctly he could not possibly carry such a weight over the shortest distance. There was in India a man called Rama Muti. He could lift elephants and stop motorcars running at speed. When this man, who was not extraordinary in build, was asked where he got his gigantic strength, for he looked like an ordinary human being, not like a monster, he said, ‘You know, and yet you do not know. The secret lies in the breath, which is all power.’

Read the full article on https://wahiduddin.net/mv2/VII/VII_13.htm

Book Select – Mystic Scuba

I stumbled across this book with a random search pertaining to deep breathing and blood pressure. For recreation I practice deep breathing and for the first time I actually decided to time my breathing. Surprised myself at a little under 2 breaths per minute 15 second inhale / 15 second exhale. Casual pacing, in a meditative state I probably could get to one per minute. Either way it led me to a passage in a book called Mystic Scuba.

They broke down a few simple concepts I’ve never heard of relating to breathing underwater.

Absolute atmospheric Pressure

How oxygen becomes enhanced at depth

Air is a gas mix (never thought of it that way)

Compression of oxygen molecules

I remember one meditation session where I felt a similar sensation to what is being described as compressed oxygen. I was doing a deep breathing exercise sitting in the bathroom. The sun was beaming to my left and all of sudden I felt like I should stop breathing, then I stopped. The urge to take more breaths just faded in a way I never felt before. It was as if I had taken in a compressed version of oxygen that lasted long enough to where I didn’t have to breathe for I’d say a minute or two without the body pulling for oxygen. So when I read the science behind partial pressure

If your interested in this type of information here is a link to a pdf on Google Books

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