The Truth Hurts – The Truth is like the Sun

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Happy National Pistachio Day!!! (Jan. 26th) – Health Benefits of Pistachios

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Heart Health
 – Pistachios have been shown to reduce LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and increase the good HDL cholesterol after only a short period of regular consumption. High in antioxidants such as vitamins A and E, they fight inflammation, protecting blood vessels and reducing risk of heart disease. Even a moderate intake of pistachios has been shown to increase levels of lutein, an antioxidant well known for protecting against oxidized LDL, reducing heart disease.

Diabetes Help
 – Eating pistachios may help to prevent Type 2 diabetes. 60 percent of the recommended daily value of the mineral phosphorous is contained in just one cup of pistachios. As well as breaking down proteins into amino acids, phosphorous aids glucose tolerance.

Healthy Blood
 – Pistachios are an incredibly rich source of vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 is essential to make hemoglobin, the protein responsible for carrying oxygen through the blood stream to cells, and is also shown to increase the amount of oxygen carried.

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Nervous System
 – The vitamin B6 so abundant in pistachios has wide-ranging effects on the nervous system. Messaging molecules called amines require amino acids to develop, which in turn rely on vitamin B6 for their creation. Furthermore, B6 plays a crucial role in the formation of myelin, the insulating sheath around nerve fibers that allows optimal messaging between nerves. Furthermore, vitamin B6 contributes to the synthesis of serotonin, melatonin, epinephrine and gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA, an amino acid that calms the transmission of nerve impulses throughout the nervous system.

Eye Health – 
Pistachios contain two carotenoids not found in most nuts. These carotenoids, called lutein and zeaxanthin, function as protective antioxidants, defending tissues from damage from free radicals. They have been linked with a decrease in the risk for developing age-related macular degeneration, which is the leading cause of visual impairments and acquired blindness in the United States.

Immune System – 
A healthy immune system requires adequate intake of vitamin B6, which pistachios abound in. A surfeit of vitamin B6 can retard brain activity as well as decrease the effectiveness of the immune system for fighting infections. Vitamin B6 found in pistachios also helps the body make healthy red blood cells, and helps maintain the health of lymphoid glands, such as the thymus, spleen and lymph nodes, ensuring the production of white blood cells that defend the body from infections.

Skin Health
 – Pistachios are a great source of vitamin E, a powerful fat-soluble antioxidant, essential for maintaining the integrity of cell membranes and often recommended for healthy and beautiful skin. Vitamin E does an excellent job protecting the skin from UV damage, providing daily defense against premature aging and skin cancer.

iHealth BP5 Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor for iPhone and Android

Artsy Fartsy – Vhils (Chinatown, Los Angeles) Courtsey of Birdman Photos (BLW Contributor)

  Vhils

Portuguese artist Alexandre Farto (1987) has been interacting visually with the urban environment

under the name of Vhils since his days as a prolific graffiti writer in the early 2000s.

His groundbreaking carving technique – which forms the basis of the Scratching the Surface series

and was first presented to the public at the VSP group show in Lisbon in 2007 and at the Cans Festival

in London in 2008 –, has been hailed as one of the most compelling approaches to art created in the

street in the last decade. 

Vhils
Check out other Artistic Photos from Birdman Photos

VHILS Selected Works

Survival of the Fittest – Are you Vitamin D Deficient? Symptoms & Reasons why you need Vitamin D

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Vitamin D deficiency is incredibly common in the US, but many Americans mistakenly believe they aren’t at risk because they consume vitamin-D-fortified foods (such as milk).

There are very few foods that actually have therapeutic levels of vitamin D naturally and even fortified foods do not contain enough vitamin D to support your health needs.

Despite its name, vitamin D is not a regular vitamin. It’s actually a steroid hormone that you are designed to obtain primarily through sun exposure, not via your diet.

Signs You May Be Vitamin D Deficient

  1. You Have Darker Skin

African Americans are at greater risk of vitamin D deficiency, because if you have dark skin, you may need as much as 10 times more sun exposure to produce the same amount of vitamin D as a person with pale skin!

As Dr. Holick explained, your skin pigment acts as a natural sunscreen, so the more pigment you have, the more time you’ll need to spend in the sun to make adequate amounts of vitamin D.

  1. You Feel “Blue”

Serotonin, the brain hormone associated with mood elevation, rises with exposure to bright light and falls with decreased sun exposure. In 2006, scientists evaluated the effects of vitamin D on the mental health of 80 elderly patients and found those with the lowest levels of vitamin D were 11 times more prone to be depressed than those who received healthy doses.3

  1. You’re 50 or Older

As mentioned, as you get older your skin doesn’t make as much vitamin D in response to sun exposure. At the same time, your kidneys become less efficient at converting vitamin D into the form used by your body and older adults tend to spend more time indoors (i.e. getting even less sun exposure and therefore vitamin D).

  1. You’re Overweight or Obese (or Have a Higher Muscle Mass)

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble, hormone-like vitamin, which means body fat acts as a “sink” by collecting it. If you’re overweight or obese, you’re therefore likely going to need more vitamin D than a slimmer person — and the same holds true for people with higher body weights due to muscle mass.

  1. Your Bones Ache

According to Dr. Holick, many who see their doctor for aches and pains, especially in combination with fatigue, end up being misdiagnosed as having fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome.

“Many of these symptoms are classic signs of vitamin D deficiency osteomalacia, which is different from the vitamin D deficiency that causes osteoporosis in adults,” he says. “What’s happening is that the vitamin D deficiency causes a defect in putting calcium into the collagen matrix into your skeleton. As a result, you have throbbing, aching bone pain.”

  1. Head Sweating

According to Dr. Holick, one of the first, classic signs of vitamin D deficiency is a sweaty head. In fact, physicians used to ask new mothers about head sweating in their newborns for this very reason. Excessive sweating in newborns due to neuromuscular irritability is still described as a common, early symptom of vitamin D deficiency.4

  1. You Have Gut Trouble

Remember, vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means if you have a gastrointestinal condition that affects your ability to absorb fat, you may have lower absorption of fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin D as well. This includes gut conditions like Crohn’s, celiac and non-celiac gluten sensitivity, and inflammatory bowel disease.

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Vitamin D also fights infections, including colds and the flu, as it regulates the expression of genes that influence your immune system to attack and destroy bacteria and viruses. In this interview above, Dr. Holick expounds on these and many other health benefits of vitamin D. For instance, optimizing your vitamin D levels can help protect against:

  • Cardiovascular disease. Vitamin D is very important for reducing hypertension, atherosclerotic heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. According to Dr. Holick, one study showed that vitamin D deficiency increased the risk of heart attack by 50 percent. What’s worse, if you have a heart attack and you’re vitamin D deficient, your risk of dying from that heart attack creeps up to nearly 100 percent!
  • Autoimmune diseases. Vitamin D is a potent immune modulator, making it very important for the prevention of autoimmune diseases, like multiple sclerosis and inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Infections, including influenza. It also helps you fight infections of all kinds. A study done in Japan, for example, showed that schoolchildren taking 1,200 units of vitamin D per day during winter reduced their risk of getting influenza A infection by about 40 percent. I believe it’s far more prudent, safer, less expensive, and most importantly, far more effective to optimize your vitamin D levels than to get vaccinated against the flu.
  • DNA repair and metabolic processes. One of Dr. Holick’s studies showed that healthy volunteers taking 2,000 IUs of vitamin D per day for a few months up-regulated 291 different genes that control up to 80 different metabolic processes, from improving DNA repair to having effect on autoxidation (oxidation that occurs in the presence of oxygen and/or UV radiation, which has implications for aging and cancer, for example), boosting your immune system and many other biological processes.

Credit: Mercola

Healthometer 349KLX 2-Piece Scale (400 lb x 0.2 lb)

The Dragon’s Philosophy – The Intercepting Fist

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Jeet Kune Do (JKD) literally translated from Chinese means “way of the intercepting fist”. It reflects Bruce Lee’s concepts, philosophy and training methods with regards to martial arts . Bruce Lee who started his base with Wing Chun Kung Fu eventually rejected the notion of sticking to one art and began exploring various other martial arts styles including boxing, judo, wrestling, savate and fencing . Bruce Lee disposed with ideals within a style adopting a flexible approach to seek what works best. He christened his martial art as Jeet Kune Do.

Tao of Jeet Kune Do: New Expanded Edition

Trust your Spidey Senses-!!! – Ways to Better listen to your Intuition

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“There is a growing body of anecdotal evidence, combined with solid research efforts, that suggests intuition is a critical aspect of how we humans interact with our environment and how, ultimately, we make many of our decisions,” said Ivy Estabrooke of the Office of Naval Research, who is investigating the power of intuition which has helped troops make important and quick decisions during combat.

Whether it’s deciding which job to take, which direction to turn when you’re lost, or how to handle a conflict in your family, intuition sometimes knows better than the rational mind. The problem is that many of us have buried that little voice so deeply within, we have a hard time hearing or feeling where it is guiding us.

The good news is that your intuition is still there, you merely have to learn to hear it again.

THE INTUITIVE WAY: THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO INCREASING YOUR AWARENESS

TO BETTER LISTEN TO YOUR INTUITION, TRY:

  1. Meditation:  Spend time in silence, simply listening.

  2. Commune with nature:  Aim to get at least sometime outside every single day.

  3. Creativity:  Tap into your internal artist by drawing, writing, painting, or making music.
  4.  Learn to listen:  In general, listen to friends, families, silence, and yourself.
  5.  Be body conscious:  Learn to appreciate the little signs and signals from your body, when it tells you it’s tired, joyful, in need of love, or getting sick.
  6.  Let go:  Warm up to the idea that you don’t have to control everything. Life is going to happen whether you overthink it or not. Relax.

  7. Stay positive:  A 2013 study in the journal Psychological Science found that being in a good mood boosted participant’s abilities to make intuitive calls in a word game. So smile!

Working on becoming more intuitive requires you to adopt healthier habits and a healthier mindset. These are things that are good for your mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing, no matter your end goal. And if cultivated regularly, they could lend themselves to better decision making and more happiness overall.

Credits: Elizabeth Renter 

Happy National Peanut Butter Day!!! – A History of Peanut Butter

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It’s National Peanut Butter Day! Peanut butter is a staple in over 90% of American households and the average person consumes more than six pounds of peanut products each year. Women and children prefer creamy peanut butter, while most men go for the chunky variety. 

George Bayle, a St. Louis snack food maker, started making peanut butter in the 1890s. For many years, manufacturers struggled with the oil separating from the grainy solids of the peaut butter. In 1923 Heinz became the first company to homogenize the peanuts into the spreadable butter we know and love today. Before long peanut butter was a classic American food.

Did you know that it takes 550 peanuts to make a 12 ounce jar of peanut butter? Peanuts are cholesterol free and an excellent source of protein. In fact, it’s the high protein content that causes peanut butter to stick to the roof of your mouth.

To celebrate National Peanut Butter Day, bake some peanut butter cookies, spread some tasty peanut butter on toast, or enjoy a spoonful right out of the jar!

Priority Chef Knife Sharpener, 2 Stage Knife Sharpening System, Black

Happy Flashback Friday!!! – Vivrant Thing (Q-Tip)

Whatever: The 90s Pop & Culture Box

Happy National Pie Day!!! (Jan.23rd) – Tell us what’s your Favorite Pie?!!

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It’s National Pie Day! Pies have a long and illustrious history, but the sweet filled treats we enjoy today are a relatively recent innovation. The Greeks and Romans made some of the first pies in history. People filled pastry shells with different kinds of meat or seafood, flavored them with a variety of spices, and served them as part of the sweet course of the meal.

When the Pilgrims made their voyage to the New World in the late 1600s they arrived with English pie recipes for beef, lamb, duck, or pigeon. It wasn’t until the late 1800s that the first sweet pies emerged. These featured the ingredients we’re accustomed to today, and by the 1940s, pie had become the iconic American dessert.

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Whether you prefer apple, berry, pumpkin, or sweet potato, bake your favorite pie recipe tonight in honor of National Pie Day!

Wisdom Wednesdays – The Writing is on the Wall

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