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How To Be Genuinely Mindful With Christmas Shopping Without Buying Nothing Or Spending Too Much

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Here we are again — another year, another holiday shopping season. This is the time of the year where we become bombarded with expectations: buying presents, attending holiday parties, sending out holiday cards, a nonstop frenzy that brings both joy and frustration. It is also one of the rare times that we buy things for others out of obligation. Though we say we want to, we only seem to want to around the same time… every year.

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Our acts of kindness are met with “thanks,” hugs, and smiles, but once the afterglow of the holidays wears off, the gifts we receive are likely to collect dust while they wait out their ride to the landfill. This isn’t only due to our disinterest, but the inevitable degradation of nearly every product in circulation today — both with disposable and durable goods alike.

Built to Break

But this is not news. Planned Obsolescence has been with us even before the term was coined in 1932 by Bernard London in his pamphlet “Ending the Depression Through Planned Obsolescence.” But, what’s different now is how every business seems to be employing the same tactics London praised all those years ago.

Why? To put it in the words of industrial designer Brooks Stevens, “We make good products, we induce people to buy them, and then next year we deliberately introduce something that will make those products old-fashioned, out of date, obsolete. We do that for the soundest reason: to make money.”

And that’s it — each year the “new” is released to replace the new of yesteryear, not because of improvements to functionality or improved cost of goods, but because its time has come. Not only are these habits a waste of time and money, they are literally creating more waste — which is a very lucrative business in itself.

Take a look at the stats from 2010 according to ElectronicsTakeBack.com.

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23,600,000 TVs! No telling what that number is going to be this year with stores like Wal-Mart and Best Buy slinging Black Friday “deals” like a “Sharp – 50″ – Class – LED – 2160p – 4k – Ultra HD TV” for $179.99. What’s even more upsetting is that even if you already own an LCD TV, chances are it won’t last more than another year or two because consumer electronics like TVs, MP3/DVD players, and computers are designed with their “Death-Date” built in. So even if you aren’t putting a new TV on your holiday wish list this year,  electronics companies are betting you will do so next year.

Take a glance at the most popular Black Friday sales listings for this year and you will notice that most of the items are electronics. Why? Because they’re cheap to make, have good margins, and need to be liquidated to make room for the new stuff.

Our Needs and Wants Are Subjective

I know what you’re thinking: You’re not one to get caught up in all the holiday consumer frenzy, you’d rather get yourself and the people you know things that they need. If this is the case then I have to ask why you didn’t just buy what was needed sooner? If someone needs something, does it make sense to make them wait until some arbitrary date to receive it? To quote sociologist Juliet Schor in her book The Overspent American, “What we want grows into what we need, at a sometimes dizzying rate.”

The truth is, what we want has now become what we need. Which when broken down makes sense; we bring something new into our lives and we then become dependent on it — even if we were doing just fine without it. In a short span of time, we’ve created a dependency. With every new app or gadget that makes our lives easier, something is lost in the process. Think I’m making this up? Next time you have to drive out of town, try doing so without the help of Google or Apple Maps.

What Needs to Change

We need to shift our attention away from wondering what we are going to buy next and instead focus on what our core needs are; to be honest about them and not twist them to include superficial desires. Most of us see the flaws in giving gifts as a symbol of love and affection — but we do it anyway because that’s what we have been groomed to do.

If contributing to waste, both literal and financial, concerns you, then stop participating in its vicious cycle. Understand that you, more likely than not, do not need a new TV, computer, cell phone, or whatever’s hot right now. What you do need is nutritious food, good health, and a roof over your head. If you have these three things, you are wealthy in every way that matters.

So unless you are going to gift food to someone who’s hungry, or lend a head in improving someone’s life in a very real way, think more deeply about why you participate in the things that you do. Is it a choice you consciously made? Or was it subconsciously made for you?

Free Franco DeNicola Screening: The Shift In Consciousness

We interviewed Franco DeNicola about what is happening with the shift in consciousness. It turned out to be one of the deepest and most important information we pulled out within an interview.

We explored why things are moving a little more slowly with the shift at times, what is stopping certain solutions from coming forward and the important role we all play.

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1 % of the World’s Population Doesn’t Sleep Like Everybody Else – Are We Doing It Wrong?

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Professor Ying-Hui Fu of the University of California is the name behind the ongoing research on short sleepers. His work shows that there are natural born 'short sleepers' who function off of a few hours of sleep each day, as a result of genetics.

  • Reflect On:

    Are we sleeping correctly? We don’t all require the same amount of sleep. But the thing is, each one of needs to find their specific rhythm, and we’re much too constricted by society telling us. Consciousness plays a huge role, our own beliefs.

You’ve surely heard somewhere by now that Tesla slept only two hours each night, and Margaret Thatcher slept only four. And they’ve lived well into old age, and never seemed to have been stopped by daytime fatigue!

We marvel so often at famous geniuses, successful entrepreneurs, political leaders and others who’re known to thrive on less than 5 hours of sleep each night. We love to talk about it – doesn’t this make it obvious that we don’t, after all, need 7-10 hours of sleep per night? Did they have specific methods? Is there a direct correlation between their ingenuity and unusual habits?

But let’s leave the notion of history’s giants and their influence for a while – their prominence inevitably steers the discussion about sleep in another direction. The thing is, they don’t all actually fall into the same category regarding sleeping habits. While some relied on alternative sleep cycles or maybe forced themselves to adopt a certain sleeping schedule, others were, in fact, natural-born short-sleepers. There are people – regular, non-famous people just like me and you – who fall into this category as well.

The world of natural-born short sleepers

You’ve surely encountered plenty of people who get by with six or less hours of sleep each night. But while the majority of adults who sleep little actually have a sleeping disorder or are restricted by busy schedules, natural-born short sleepers are completely different.

They simply don’t have the need to sleep more than a few hours. They wake up refreshed and well-rested and they don’t experience daytime fatigue, whereas the majority of us would definitely feel shattered. They keep their sleeping schedule consistent even on weekends, rarely ever sleeping in – and none of it feels remotely like a burden to them. They’re simply guided by their biological clock.  

It’s fascinating to even imagine that someone can get by their entire life with approximately four hours of sleep each night, at their own will, and actually thrive and be entirely healthy. But there are people like that, and although this topic has gained interest in the scientific community fairly recently, it’s estimated that about 1% of the worldwide population are natural short-sleepers.

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Just how is this possible, you may ask?

What the research says

Professor Ying-Hui Fu of the University of California in San Francisco is the prominent name behind the ongoing research on short sleepers. She started examining the phenomenon back in 1996, when a woman reported to her that her entire family got by on only a few hours of sleep. Having seen that none of them suffered from insomnia or any other sleeping disorder, but on the contrary, woke up energetic at dawn and stayed that way throughout the day, Fu delved into the family’s genetics and expanded her research.

The result: Fu and her team of researchers discovered a mutation in the gene DEC2 among all the subjects who were short-sleepers, but the mutation wasn’t present among their family members who slept longer or among other unrelated participants.

Although more research needs to be conducted, it seems that we have an invaluable clue: being a short-sleeper is the result of a gene mutation. Essentially, our genes largely dictate how much sleep we need, and we don’t all require the same amount of sleep. But the thing is, each one of needs to find their specific rhythm, and we’re much too constricted by society’s views of what presents a “normal sleeping pattern”.

Do you wish you’d sleep less too?

Let’s not kid ourselves – you probably do. Even if you didn’t wish you’d get more done each day, spending more time awake would mean you could take things slowly. The problem is – we wish we’d be short-sleepers too, so we try and sleep less. But it doesn’t work; we’re fatigued and miserable, waiting for vacation so that we can cram in some decent sleep.

So instead of forcing ourselves to sleep less, let’s first try and find out how much sleep feels good to us. This is actually not that easy to determine, and not just because we don’t have the luxury to sleep in most of the time. It’s because the number of hours we sleep each night is affected by the quality of sleep.

With noise and light pollution being the major issues, the quality of our sleep is largely trumped, so we actually require more sleep than usual in order to get proper rest. If you want to determine how much sleep you actually need, focus on sleep hygiene first: wear a sleeping mask to align your circadian rhythm, ensure your bedroom is entirely quiet or wear earplugs, avoid electronics two hours before bedtime, calm your thoughts down, and so on.

It takes time and conscious practice, undoubtedly, but the truth is that we all need to pay much more attention to our sleep. And for the most part, we need to start ignoring all the jabber about when we’re supposed to go to bed and how much sleep we need. We’re not all the same and our collective knowledge about sleep is very poor actually. So if you’re eager for some experimentation, you can even try a different sleep cycle to sleep less and see the results for yourself (just do it responsibly, of course).

Lastly, let’s not forget that there are long-sleepers too – people who need more than 10 hours of sleep each night to function their best. Who knows, you might even fall into this category. It’s kind of a bummer because your days are literally shorter if you end up sleeping as much as you should. But let’s not look at it that way. We need to embrace our sleeping patterns, whichever they are, just as long as we’re positive that they’re the most natural and healthy to us. Forget the sleep recipes of various productivity gurus – find your rhythm and structure your day around it to maximize your time on Earth.

Free Franco DeNicola Screening: The Shift In Consciousness

We interviewed Franco DeNicola about what is happening with the shift in consciousness. It turned out to be one of the deepest and most important information we pulled out within an interview.

We explored why things are moving a little more slowly with the shift at times, what is stopping certain solutions from coming forward and the important role we all play.

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Tips On Overcoming Sleep Problems During Pregnancy

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Getting a Good Night’s Sleep in the Third Trimester is a Challenge

As the body changes, a pregnant woman may suddenly find a handful of reasons she can’t get to sleep at night. Try these tips for an uninterrupted night’s sleep.

A common complaint among pregnant women, particularly those in their third trimester, is the inability to fall (and stay) asleep at night. Many factors are often to blame, making it difficult to know exactly how to address the issue. From growing size to frequent urination, there seems to be no break for a rest. But some very basic techniques can help pregnant women get the sleep they need.

Why Can’t I Sleep?

As the body changes throughout the first and second trimesters, some women may notice changes in their sleeping pattern. Most, however, aren’t too affected until they reach month seven or so. As the body rapidly adapts to the growing baby, some issues may arise:

Frequent urination can be a huge annoyance. As the kidneys do double-duty to filter the increased blood volume (about 40% more than normal), the body produces more urine. At the same time, the baby’s growth has increased pressure on the bladder, making the time between bathroom trips very short. Babies active at night may also increase the number of trips for some mothers.

A rapid heartbeat is needed to pump that extra blood throughout the body, but some women find it difficult to relax in these circumstances.

Shortness of breath, due to pressure on the lungs and the release of certain hormones, can make it a challenge to fall asleep at night. As the fetus grows, the diaphragm will compress more and more, increasing the pressure on the lungs.

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Aches and pains are quite common, since a pregnant woman’s center of balance shifts and places extra pressure on new areas. Leg cramps and lower back pain are a typical night-time complaint since the hormone relaxin is working to stretch out and loosen the ligaments to prepare for delivery. Injuries and strains become more likely later in pregnancy.

Digestive problems, like heartburn and constipation, abound as the process of digestion slows down. Food backs up in the digestive tract, taking longer to break down, and the result is mom’s discomfort.

Get Comfortable

Doctors recommend that pregnant women lay on their side at night to allow proper blood flow throughout the body. For stomach- and back-sleepers this might be difficult, but it’s important. Choosing a comfortable mattress and pillows is a must as they will help make a pregnant woman more comfortable at night. Use pillows under the belly, behind the back, and between the legs. Try experimenting with different pillows (body pillows, wedges, etc.) and different positions.

Get Prepared

When it’s almost time to get to sleep, start preparing the body for bedtime. Take a relaxing bath, have a glass of warm mylk, or a night-time massage. Putting the mind at ease can help make the transition to sleep easier. For some, foods high in carbohydrates, like a snack of bread or crackers, will help with sleep troubles. And to limit bathroom trips, be sure to avoid drinking fluids too close to bedtime!

Get Healthy

The right nutrition and exercise can go a long way, especially during pregnancy. Certain things should be avoided and added to optimize sleep:

Adding calcium to the diet will help to curb those painful leg cramps.

Protein-rich diets can ward off those unpleasant pregnancy nightmares.

Skipping caffeine, or limiting it as much as possible, can have a dramatic effect. Many pregnant women’s bodies cannot break down caffeine, so it remains in the system much longer than usual.

Avoid foods that trigger heartburn.

Get enough fibre to reduce constipation.

Try yoga for relaxation, walks to keep joints limber and moderate activity to help promote sleep. Adding exercise every day might be the key to getting to bed at night.

Paying attention to the body, staying relaxed, and getting the right nutrition is essential to quieting the mind and getting a good night’s sleep during pregnancy. Follow these tips and try to stay positive; only a few more months (or weeks) to go!

Free Franco DeNicola Screening: The Shift In Consciousness

We interviewed Franco DeNicola about what is happening with the shift in consciousness. It turned out to be one of the deepest and most important information we pulled out within an interview.

We explored why things are moving a little more slowly with the shift at times, what is stopping certain solutions from coming forward and the important role we all play.

Watch the interview here.
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Lifestyle

10 Quick & Nourishing Smoothie Recipes That Taste Great

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Smoothies are a great way to pack a lot of nutrients into a filling, delicious meal any time of the day. In our fast-paced world, they help provide a great way to stay healthy on the go.

  • Reflect On:

    If you find combining sugars and fats bloat you, keep them separate. Sugar that comes from eating whole fruit is not the same as added sugar!

Have you ever compromised on a nourishing and filling breakfast because you are running late for work? Well, it has happened to all of us, especially women with kids.

And the good news is, smoothies! That’s right! Smoothies are nutrient-rich, delicious and can be made within minutes. You can replace it with your coffee on-the-go as it is much more healthy, filling, and tasty.

Here are 10 such smoothies prepared using a variety of fruits, veggies, and other ingredients. Some of the ingredients are rich in antioxidants, some are protein packed, and a few others are the best anti-inflammatory foods. So indulge in a smoothie marathon and try out one of the below smoothies each day; either as a fully-loaded breakfast or as a filling snack.

Breakfast Smoothie

This is a protein-rich breakfast which is clean and detox-friendly. It consists of,

  • 180ml of coconut milk
  • 1tsp cacao 1tsp coconut oil
  • 120 ml coconut water
  • 25 grams of oats
  • half a banana (either fresh or frozen)
  • 1tsp almond butter
  • 3 ice cubes

Blend everything together and you are ready to kick start your day on a super healthy note. It contains protein, fibre and all the essential nutrients required for a wholesome breakfast.

Peanut Butter Banana Apple Smoothie

Another protein packed smoothie that is just delicious! This recipe is as easy as it comes.

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  • Add two tablespoons of peanut butter
  • a banana
  • some sliced apples and
  • a few ice cubes

There you go! Banana will give you instant energy, protein from peanut butter, and loads of vitamins and minerals from apple. Nothing can get better than that!

Watermelon Basil Smoothie

Another simple and quick smoothie with just three ingredients. It is healthy, quick and delicious. This smoothie includes watermelon, basil and coconut water. It is super-hydrating and healthy. Watermelon is a rich source of antioxidants, vitamin C, and many other nutrients. It aids conditions such as inflammation, obesity, diabetes and heart diseases. Basil is an amazing source of vitamin K, magnesium, copper, vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, calcium, and omega 3 fatty acids. What more do you need?

Cherry Vanilla Protein Smoothie

Cherries are the best summer fruit ever! Put one cup of cherries along with one cup coconut milk and one scoop of protein powder. It is naturally sweet, creamy and full of deliciousness. This will fulfil your daily dose of protein in a single gulp! Cherries are packed with antioxidants and cancer-preventing elements. Studies show that it also promotes sleep by increasing melatonin levels, relieve arthritis pain, reduce belly fat and is an excellent post-workout snack that can reduce muscle pain.

Strawberry Banana Smoothie

 This healthy and tasty smoothie has only three ingredients; Strawberry, banana and non-dairy milk or water. Just throw all the ingredients and then blend! It’s creamy, colourful, healthy and delicious! Strawberries are a rich source of vitamin C, folic acid, and dietary fibre good for skin health and can beat the top moisturizers in terms of the benefits offered. It will help to keep skin healthy and glowing and fights aging, acne, and wrinkles. The banana provides increased energy throughout the day. It can be consumed as a perfect healthy breakfast or as a snack.

Pineapple smoothie

With just two ingredients, it is possible to have a tropical beach experience at home. Don’t know how? This pineapple smoothie is just what everyone needs. Frozen or fresh pineapple and almond milk are the only ingredients in this. It is quick, easy and a perfect after workout drink. This combination can never go wrong. Pineapples improve bone strength, eyesight, delays muscle degeneration and aids in digestion. Having this smoothie first thing in the morning can help with smooth bowel movement.

Banana Blueberry Chocolate Smoothie

Who doesn’t love chocolates? This smoothie can fix the craving for chocolate and in a healthy way. Adding sugar and other sweeteners can ruin the whole purpose of having a healthy smoothie. Cocoa powder is a perfect substitute that can solve this issue. And blueberries offer a myriad of benefits such as regulate cholesterol and heart diseases. It has fibre, potassium, Vitamin C and other essential nutrients.

The ingredients are

  • 1 sliced banana
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • Water or crushed ice can be added.

Mint Chocolate Smoothie

This is a nutrient-packed smoothie with simple and easily available ingredients. Simply put 1 avocado, 1 banana, 1 scoop of green powder, one tablespoon vegan yogurt, two handfuls of spinach, some almond milk, few mint leaves and 1tsp cocoa powder. The greens offer plenty of vitamins and minerals along with the benefits of avocado. Mint acts as a palate cleanser and improves digestion and bowel movements. It also reduces the symptoms of inflammation, depression, asthma, respiratory diseases, promotes oral care, cures nausea and headache and even prevents cancer.

Post-Workout Smoothie

Tired of the same old peanut butter? Try this smoothie recipe with non-dairy milk, almond butter, bananas, one tablespoon of flaxseeds, natural oats, and honey. It is packed with protein, dietary fiber, omega 3 fatty acids and plenty of other nutrients. Needless to say, extremely delicious. Makes up for an excellent post-workout snack that promotes muscle strength, repair of damaged cells and provides energy.

Beetroot Cinnamon Smoothie

The ingredients are,

  • 1 small raw beetroot
  • 1 handful of almonds
  • 1 handful of baby spinach
  • ripe banana
  • ripe avocado
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon raw honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence

This smoothie can be customized by adding more fruits or greens. It is perfect for breakfast or as a snack option. Beetroot is a good source of iron, nitrates, magnesium and other antioxidants. It also improves skin health and glows, lower blood pressure and prevent dementia. This smoothie is an ideal option for a pre-workout meal.

So what are you waiting for? Try out these incredibly easy and healthy smoothies and pamper yourself with a great breakfast that nourishes your soul. It’s time for some self-love!

References

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/266886.php
https://bellatory.com/skin/Top-5-Benefits-of-Strawberry-for-Skin
https://www.livescience.com/45487-pineapple-nutrition.html

Free Franco DeNicola Screening: The Shift In Consciousness

We interviewed Franco DeNicola about what is happening with the shift in consciousness. It turned out to be one of the deepest and most important information we pulled out within an interview.

We explored why things are moving a little more slowly with the shift at times, what is stopping certain solutions from coming forward and the important role we all play.

Watch the interview here.
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