08 August 2017

How-to-improve-memory–through-nutrition-and-exercises

Can you imagine turning over a pack of cards, glancing at each card and then remembering each card in order? Can you believe at the recent World memory Championships the winner, Sweden’s Jonas Von Essen memorized the order of cards in 26 packs in one hour!!! Did you also know this dual memory world champion is a vegan?

So what diet and what exercises might help us mere mortals to improve our own memories, and what might hasten any memory losses? This week we find out courtesy of some fascinating recent research, but first


                      Thought for the day

       Finish each day and be done with it.
      You have done what you could.
      Some blunders, losses, and absurdities no doubt crept in;
      Forget them as soon as you can.

                                       Ralph Waldo Emerson



How do we exercise, or train our memory?
This is the “easy” bit in that Von Essen is very clear – we need to learn a good technique and practice. Fairly regularly if we want good progress. Sounds a bit like meditation!

Von Essen; “Mostly it is about learning the most efficient techniques, and once you know them,
simply training on using them faster and faster.

Basically, they are all based on the concept that you come up with images symbolizing the things that you want to remember and then “place” these images on different locations in a building or along a journey that you visualize in your head.

It probably sounds a bit odd, but once you get it you can memorize anything (in any quantity!) you want using this technique”.


Von Essen also recommends How to Develop a Brilliant Memory by Dominic O'Brien as a very good one. He says we need to try out a few techniques and examples to appreciate the power of this. There are also great forums on the Web, e.g., Mnemotechnics.org

How does food affect memory?

A lot! Here is some recent research that consistently points towards what we would be wise to eat if we are to minimize any risk of dementia and to feed a healthy and reliable memory.

Bad fats, young people and memory loss  


As young adults increase their intake of trans fat, memory worsens.

After analysing the diets and
memory of nearly seven hundred 20 to 45 year-old men, it was found that as trans fat intake increased, word recall decreased.

Findings were replicated in women.

Golomb BA, Bui AK. Trans fat consumption is adversely linked to memory in working-age adults. Research presented at: American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2014; November 18, 2014: Chicago, Ill.


Large body of evidence links meat, dementia and Alzheimers

1. A review – diet is a major risk factor
Diet may be the most important risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease risk, according to research published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. The author used dietary data from 10 countries and several other studies on diet and Alzheimer’s disease and assessed disease risk for several dietary factors.

Consumption of meat increased disease risk the most, followed by eggs and high-fat dairy, while high intakes of fruits, vegetables, and grains reduced the risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Possible mechanisms include increased intakes of metal ions, such as copper, and saturated fat, both prevalent in meat.

Grant WB. Using multicountry ecological and observational studies to determine dietary risk factors for Alzheimer's disease. J Am Coll Nutr. Published online July 25, 2016.

2. Metabolic Syndrome Linked to Dementia
Metabolic syndrome, a group of risk factors including high blood sugar and blood pressure and a large waistline, leads to dementia, according to a study published online in JAMA Neurology.

Those with diabetes, obesity, dyslipidemia, and other cardiovascular disease risk factors were up to four times as likely to develop dementia or experience cognitive decline.

Ng TP, Feng L, Nyunt MSZ, et al. Metabolic syndrome and the risk of mild cognitive impairment and progression to dementia. JAMA Neurol. Published online February 29, 2016.

3. Fat and refined carbs lead to a high risk
The intake of saturated fats and simple carbohydrates, two of the primary components of a modern Western diet, is linked with the development of obesity and Alzheimer's Disease.

This research shows how the Western diet is associated with cognitive impairment, with a specific emphasis on learning and memory functions that are dependent on the integrity of the hippocampus.

Also, saturated fat and simple carbohydrate intake is correlated with neurobiological changes in the hippocampus that may be related to the ability of these dietary components to impair cognitive function.

Finally, a model is described proposing that Western diet consumption contributes to the development of excessive food intake and obesity, in part, by interfering with a type of hippocampal-dependent memory inhibition that is critical in the ability of animals to refrain from responding to environmental cues associated with food, and ultimately from consuming energy intake in excess of that driven solely by caloric need.

Kanoski, S. E., & Davidson, T. L. (2011). Western Diet Consumption and Cognitive Impairment: Links to Hippocampal Dysfunction and Obesity. Physiology & Behavior103(1), 59–68. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.physbeh.2010.12.003

4. First randomized trial - Diet reduces cognitive decline in the elderly
Along with physical and mental exercise, diet may play a key role in the prevention of dementia, according to a study published in The Lancet. For two years, researchers tracked the cognitive health of 1,260 participants in the Finnish Geriatric Intervention Study to Prevent Cognitive Impairment and Disability (FINGER) study.

The intervention included diet, exercise, and cognitive training compared to a control group who received standard health care. Nutritionists advised participants in the intervention group to limit fat intake and increase fiber consumption via fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.



The intervention group scored 25 percent higher on cognitive tests with a 150 percent increase in processing speed when compared to the control group. Intervention group participants also saw improvements in BMI and other health outcome measurements.

This is the first randomized controlled trial to investigate the effects of a multifaceted intervention on dementia, and shows the important role preventive measures such as diet have in alleviating rising dementia rates worldwide.

Ngandu T, Lehtisalo J, Solomon A, et al. A 2 year multidomain intervention of diet, exercise, cognitive training, and vascular risk monitoring versus control to prevent cognitive decline in at-risk elderly people (FINGER): a randomised controlled trial. Lancet. Published online on March 11, 2015.

5. Midlife Obesity Increases Alzheimer’s Disease Risk
Obesity increases Alzheimer’s disease risk, according to a study in Molecular Psychiatry.

Researchers studied 1,394 participants of the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (BLSA) and tracked their weight at age 50 and evidence of Alzheimer’s later on.

The results indicate that with an increase in weight, onset of Alzheimer’s disease occurred 6.7 months earlier than when compared to those who were not obese. Autopsies and scans also showed higher body weights resulted in more Alzheimer’s-specific deposits in the brain.

This study suggests that lifestyle changes earlier in life can influence the course of disease.

Chuang YF, An Y, Bilgel M, et al. Midlife adiposity predicts earlier onset of Alzheimer’s dementia, neuropathology and presymptomatic cerebral amyloid accumulation. Mol Psychiatry. Published online September 1, 2015.


AND FINALLY – IT IS NOT ALL IN THE FOOD

Stress Linked to Alzheimer’s Disease

Stress may influence your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, according to a study published by the British Medical Journal. Researchers tracked 800 women enrolled in the Prospective Population Study of Women for 37 years to investigate the effects of common psychosocial factors, such as divorce, relative’s illness, and job loss.

Psychiatric examinations, questionnaires, and other medical assessments linked midlife stressors with late-life dementia, especially Alzheimer’s disease.

Johansson L, Guo X, Hallstrom T, et al. Common psychosocial stressors in middle-aged women related to longstanding distress and increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease: a 38-year longitudinal population study. BMJ Open. 30 September 2013;3:e00314.


RELATED BLOGS
1. Dementia-and-Alzheimer’s-Disease-easily-explained?-Can-we-prevent-or-cure-them?

2. Alzheimer’s-Disease,-Type-3-Diabetes-and-its-causes

3. One dozen proven things you can do to prevent Alzheimer's disease


COMING SOON


NEXT MEDITATION RETREAT 

Bringing Mind and Heart Together  21 – 27th October 2017 Ruth and Ian Gawler with Liz Stilwell

Amidst the tranquil beauty of the Coromandel Peninsula, 2 hours from Auckland New Zealand

A mind with no heart is cold and empty.      A mind with heart is warm, creative and full of potential.

Ready to learn how to use meditation and Guided Imagery to open your heart and bring balance to your mind?                       

Join us for this very special retreat!   LINK HERE












MEDITATION TEACHER TRAINING


The delight of teaching others one of the most useful things possible ...

This training, led by Ian and Ruth personally, is based on a comprehensive and fully documented manual. You will learn how to teach two 4 week programs - one featuring guided imagery, the other contemplation; both covering the stillness of meditation as well. These training have been booking out, and like all our retreats, it is wise to register early.

 LINK HERE

NEXT SPECIFIC CANCER PROGRAM

CANCER, HEALING and WELLBEING 

Accessing the heart and science of Mind-Body Medicine
Offering genuine hope for all those affected by cancer

20 – 24 November 2017 with Drs Ruth and Ian Gawler

Located amidst the natural beauty of the Yarra Valley


This life-changing program provides the opportunity to experience the food, practise the meditation and to be in a supportive, positive atmosphere. The program is evidence based, highly experiential and practical. The focus is on the therapeutic power of the Healing Diet, the mind and meditation, emotional health and positive psychology. The aim is to provide clarity, understanding and confidence.   LINK HERE

31 July 2017

Mindfulness-for-busy-people

Want a calm and clear mind? Struggling for time? No worries! Many people tell me that they know they need help to settle their mind but are busy and ask “is there a quick answer?”

Well... we know mindfulness practices help us think more clearly, be more creative and effective, sleep better and have more energy and resilience. So this week, a quick solution – an exercise in mindfulness that works in just 2 minutes! But first



        Thought for the day

Cultivating a close, warm-hearted feeling for others 
Automatically puts the mind at ease. 
It helps remove whatever fears or insecurities 
We may have and gives us the strength 
To cope with any obstacles we encounter.

It is the principal source of success in life. 

Since we are not solely material creatures, 
It is a mistake to place all our hopes 
For happiness on external development alone. 
The key is to develop inner peace.  

                         HH The 14th Dalai Lama


Rapid Mindfulness
This is a simple technique. It takes all of 2 minutes. And like its counterpart – the Rapid Relaxation exercise - it does actually seem to be quite helpful. Well worth a try… Contrasts with the month retreat Ruth and i are about to begin :)

1. Notice what 'mental programs' are open
If your active, thinking mind was a computer, which is close to the truth, at any given time it would have a number of open programs.

Look inwardly, select the first “program” that seems to be open, (for preference the one taking the most headspace), and name it.  No need to dwell on this. Whether it seems to be a small issue or large; just choose one, and name it. Such-and-such a project, a particular issue with a colleague, friend or family member, a financial issue; whatever. Just give it a name.

2. Identify the emotion  
Again, just whatever first comes to mind. Once you have named your open program, identify the strongest emotion you are aware of that goes with it. Fear, joy, sadness, rage – it may be pleasant or unpleasant, no need to dwell on that; aim not to get stuck going into that, simply label the emotion with a name and leave it at that.

On the scientific side, apparently labeling our emotions helps to settle our limbic system.



3. Affirm what you would like to do
What would you like to do with this program?

The aim is to shut down all the open programs.

So maybe it is as simple as saying to yourself “For now, I am shutting this program down”.

Maybe you say “I will drop this for now and come back to it later”.

Tell your self, tell your mind, what you would like to do.


4.      Enjoy a few moments peace
Maybe closing down just one program is enough for today. Maybe you come back tomorrow and try this exercise again. Or maybe later in the day. Two minutes. Simple and effective. Give it a go…

Rapid Mindfulness.


COMING SOON


NEXT MEDITATION RETREAT 

Bringing Mind and Heart Together  21 – 27th October 2017 Ruth and Ian Gawler with Liz Stilwell

Amidst the tranquil beauty of the Coromandel Peninsula, 2 hours from Auckland New Zealand

A mind with no heart is cold and empty.      A mind with heart is warm, creative and full of potential.

Ready to learn how to use meditation and Guided Imagery to open your heart and bring balance to your mind?                       

Join us for this very special retreat!   LINK HERE














MEDITATION TEACHER TRAINING


The delight of teaching others one of the most useful things possible ...

This training, led by Ian and Ruth personally, is based on a comprehensive and fully documented manual. You will learn how to teach two 4 week programs - one featuring guided imagery, the other contemplation; both covering the stillness of meditation as well. These training have been booking out, and like all our retreats, it is wise to register early.

 LINK HERE

NEXT SPECIFIC CANCER PROGRAM

CANCER, HEALING and WELLBEING 

Accessing the heart and science of Mind-Body Medicine
Offering genuine hope for all those affected by cancer

20 – 24 November 2017 with Drs Ruth and Ian Gawler

Located amidst the natural beauty of the Yarra Valley


This life-changing program provides the opportunity to experience the food, practise the meditation and to be in a supportive, positive atmosphere. The program is evidence based, highly experiential and practical. The focus is on the therapeutic power of the Healing Diet, the mind and meditation, emotional health and positive psychology. The aim is to provide clarity, understanding and confidence.   LINK HERE

17 July 2017

Is-brown-rice-better-than-white?

Last post featured the remarkable benefits of the Kempner white rice and fruit diet. Challenging stuff. Bit confusing. Created many questions.

Most health conscious people believe white rice to be problematic and many “experts” currently claim the sugar in fruit make it dangerous. But Kempner’s diet is documented to have cured advanced kidney disease, diabetes and other conditions.

So this week lets explore whether brown rice is in fact better, but first

Thought for the day

Spring comes with its flowers,
Autumn with the moon,
Summer with breezes,
Winter with snow;

When useless things do not stick in the mind,
That is your best season.

Wu-men Huai-kai
– Zen master of the 12th/13th century



When in the Philippines way back in the seventies, I was impressed by a Government program exhorting the locals to eat B Grade rice. It was a major program and it was quite puzzling… why eat B Grade rice? On investigation, it turned out that in that place, at that time, B Grade rice was wholegrain or brown rice; white was regarded as the A Grade stuff! The government was trying to make the population healthier!

So given rice is the single most important staple and feeds around half the people on the planet, why is white rice so popular and what are its consequences?

Back in the Philippines of the seventies, many rural people were subsistence farmers with just enough to eat and very little cash.

Yet they would trade some of their harvested rice to the threshers who travelled around and mechanically turned their natural, wholegrain, brown rice into the refined white stuff.

The husks and kernels were feed to the pigs – they grew fat and sleek - and the people struggled on.



Seems that brown rice has a strong association with being poor and unrefined, and people with very little will pay to rise above that notion. Wow! And at what cost?

A recent meta-analysis links eating white rice with Type 2 Diabetes – T2D. The analysis examined 350,000 people over 20 years and found each serving per day of white rice was associated with an 11% increase in the risk of developing T2D.

Also, we know there is a strong correlation between obesity and T2D. Yet places like China and Japan, while they have very little obesity, still do have high T2D rates. Japan actually has more than the US which has about the same level as Australia and China. Why? Maybe it is all that white rice.

Here is a hint. Whole fruit consumption IS associated with a lower T2D risk; whereas fruit juice at best is neutral and may well be detrimental.

Eating whole grains (like brown rice or wholemeal bread) IS associated with a lower T2D risk, where-as processed grains (white rice, white bread) at best are neutral, and may well be detrimental.

But we also need to consider history.

Even as recently as 2000, China had one of the lowest T2D rates in the world - despite its high levels of white rice consumption.

But now they are right up there with us.

What changed in these last few years?


During the last 50 years in China, consumption of animal source foods has tripled. In just the last 20 years, pork consumption is up 40%, and rice consumption down 30%. So while white rice is still one part of the problem, for T2D it seems there is more to it. Consumption of animal proteins may actually increase the basic risk associated with white rice.

To explain, diabetes is associated with insulin spikes. You get these spikes from eating foods with high glycaemic indexes; foods like white rice, white bread, potatoes that have their skins removed, or refined, white spaghetti. But if you add tuna or meat to the potatoes or sphagetti – more or less of an insulin spike?

Despite the fish or meat having virtually no sugars, no carbohydrates and no starch, the insulin spike is twice as much!

Animal protein makes the pancreas work twice as hard.

Also, it is the same if you drink sugar in water and add some meat - you get a much bigger spike than without meat.

But there is another crucial point. A very small amount of meat added to grains has little adverse affect. However, after more than the equivalent of about a third of a chicken breast, the insulin spikes start to happen.


Maybe this is why in more traditional times when meat consumption was very low, eating so much white rice did not create much of a T2D problem. It may also help to explain why eating a predominantly wholefood, plant-based diet is so good at preventing T2D – along with all the other chronic degenerative diseases.

What to do?

Simple. Follow the evidence and eat a plant-based wholefood diet with minimal or no meat and dairy. And yes, brown rice is better than white.

RELATED BLOGS
1. Are the sugars in fruit dangerous?
If you are still in any doubt that the sugars in whole fruits are not the problem some would have you believe, and are in fact very healthy - CLICK HERE

 2. Kempner’s Rice Diet explained - CLICK HERE

COMING SOON
NEXT SPECIFIC CANCER PROGRAM

CANCER, HEALING and WELLBEING 

Accessing the heart and science of Mind-Body Medicine
Offering genuine hope for all those affected by cancer

20 – 24 November 2017 with Drs Ruth and Ian Gawler

Located amidst the natural beauty of the Yarra Valley


This life-changing program provides the opportunity to experience the food, practise the meditation and to be in a supportive, positive atmosphere. The program is evidence based, highly experiential and practical. The focus is on the therapeutic power of the Healing Diet, the mind and meditation, emotional health and positive psychology. The aim is to provide clarity, understanding and confidence.   LINK HERE


NEXT MEDITATION RETREAT 

Bringing Mind and Heart Together  21 – 27th October 2017 Ruth and Ian Gawler with Liz Stilwell

Amidst the tranquil beauty of the Coromandel Peninsula, 2 hours from Auckland New Zealand

A mind with no heart is cold and empty.      A mind with heart is warm, creative and full of potential.

Ready to learn how to use meditation and Guided Imagery to open your heart and bring balance to your mind?                       

Join us for this very special retreat!   LINK HERE












MEDITATION TEACHER TRAINING

October 9 – 13th Meditation Teacher Training – Module 2

The delight of teaching others one of the most useful things possible ...

This training, led by Ian and Ruth personally, is based on a comprehensive and fully documented manual. You will learn how to teach two 4 week programs - one featuring guided imagery, the other contemplation; both covering the stillness of meditation as well. These training have been booking out, and like all our retreats, it is wise to register early.

 LINK HERE

03 July 2017

The-Rice-Diet-as-therapy

The rice mono-diet has been a cornerstone of the nutritional therapy component of our anti-cancer program since its inception in 1981. Now, history reveals a rice and fruit diet was validated in major US Hospitals, saving the lives of thousands of people with kidney failure and high blood pressure.

So what are the secrets here? What is Kempner’s Rice Diet? How does it work and what can we learn from it? This week we delve into the past to find some really useful tips for today, but first, as Ruth and myself take time for a longer personal retreat, a similarly longer and hopefully useful

Thought for the day

If we were to put our minds to one powerful wisdom method and work with it directly, there is a real possibility we would become enlightened.

Our minds, however, are riddled with confusion and doubt. 
I sometimes think that doubt is an even greater block to human evolution than is desire or attachment. 

Our society promotes cleverness instead of wisdom, and celebrates the most superficial, harsh, and least useful aspects of our intelligence. We have become so falsely “sophisticated” and neurotic that we take doubt itself for truth, and the doubt that is nothing more than ego’s desperate attempt to defend itself from wisdom is deified as the goal and fruit of true knowledge.

This form of mean-spirited doubt is the shabby emperor of samsara, served by a flock of “experts” who teach us not the open-souled and generous doubt that Buddha assured us was necessary for testing and proving the worth of the teachings, but a destructive form of doubt that leaves us nothing to believe in, nothing to hope for, and nothing to live by.

Sogyal Rinpoche


The rice mono-diet is an excellent step for people wanting to embark on a serious therapeutic nutritional program. Details are in You Can Conquer Cancer (there is a new edition just released).

But what of Dr. Walter Kempner?

Heard of him?

Me neither, until quite recently.

This remarkable doctor worked at Duke University in the days before drugs were available to treat advanced kidney disease and uncontrolled high blood pressure.

This was before 1950 when these diagnoses almost invariably led to an early death.

Similar patients in other hospitals at this time commonly died quite quickly.



Kempner’s results based upon 18,000 cases were in such stark contrast many experienced physicians suspected he falsified his results. However, his work was replicated and validated. This therapeutic nutritional program really did work!

The people Kempner hospitalised with kidney disease and high blood pressure had a life expectancy of around 6 months. In one study; of those who started the Rice Diet but stopped within a year, 80% died. Of those who gave up on the diet after staying with it for a year, 50% died, while of those who persevered long-term, only 10% died!

In the late 1950’s, drugs became available that effectively reduced blood pressure and hypertension, and while Kempner’s Rice Diet is still used and its results stand comparison with the best multi-drug treatments, it has clearly lost favour in the mainstream.

What did Kempner do?
Based on the notion of reducing the protein and electrolyte load on the kidneys, all medication was stopped, people were hospitalised for a few weeks and started on white rice and fruit and water.

Nothing else!

Most improved rapidly and after several months if all continued well, small amounts of lean meat and vegetables were added to the diet.

Positive “side-effects” of the diet that have been documented include lowering intracranial pressure, reducing distended heart size, reversing adverse ECG changes, reversing heart failure, reducing weight, and significantly improving diabetes.

Many came to Kempner for specific diabetes therapy.

So the obvious question. 

Is it wise to start with a natural, effective and cost-efficient therapy, saving drugs for patients who fail to respond or who are unable or unwilling to restrict their diet?

These days we know a plant-based diet has therapeutic value for a range of conditions. In Kempner’s day, after being cured by his Rice Diet, patients were often able to gradually transition to a more relaxed diet without medication and still maintain stable blood pressure.

If the Kempner sequence of a strict plant-based diet to a more open plant-based type diet offers a quick, safe, natural, reliable and effective therapy, why is it not in greater use?

Kempner wrote rather caustically to a patient in 1954
“Since patients, physicians, and the chemical industry prefer the taking, prescribing, and selling of drugs to a treatment inconvenient to patient and physician and of no benefit to the pharmaceutical industry, the mortality figures for these diseases are still rather appalling.

High blood pressure kills around 9 million people each year, despite the many drugs marketed for this condition. Maybe the old ways are not so bad. Maybe, as in the words of Maimonides, a physician from 800 years ago, “Any illness that can be treated by diet alone, should be treated by no other means”.

Postscript – courtesy of Wiki

Kempner retired from Duke in 1974, but consulted until 1992. The commercialization of drugs to treat hypertension reduced both demand for his program and the need to make it strict in order to prevent death.

In 2002 the program became independent of Duke University, and in 2013 the Rice House Healthcare Program opened in Durham, North Carolina. The Rice House Healthcare Program is an inpatient facility where people are put on a diet akin to the original diet and are monitored.

Resources
Book       Walter Kempner and Rice Diet : Barbara Newborg

This first-hand account of Kempner's life and of his work comprises two dramatic interrelated narratives. The story of a charismatic but always controversial personality and his circle of accomplished followers, and their wartime experience as refugees and exiles, will interest general readers, including thousands of ''Ricers.''

For medical professionals and scholars, the book documents historic research that elucidated underlying principles of kidney, diabetic and cardiovascular disorders, and their successful treatment without drugs.

The book includes many rare personal photographs (which Kempner suppressed during his life) and clinical images including graphs, x-rays, eye-grounds, and photos.

COMING SOON
NEXT SPECIFIC CANCER PROGRAM

CANCER, HEALING and WELLBEING 

Accessing the heart and science of Mind-Body Medicine
Offering genuine hope for all those affected by cancer

20 – 24 November 2017 with Drs Ruth and Ian Gawler

Located amidst the natural beauty of the Yarra Valley


This life-changing program provides the opportunity to experience the food, practise the meditation and to be in a supportive, positive atmosphere. The program is evidence based, highly experiential and practical. The focus is on the therapeutic power of the Healing Diet, the mind and meditation, emotional health and positive psychology. The aim is to provide clarity, understanding and confidence.   LINK HERE


NEXT MEDITATION RETREAT 

Bringing Mind and Heart Together  21 – 27th October 2017 Ruth and Ian Gawler with Liz Stilwell

Amidst the tranquil beauty of the Coromandel Peninsula, 2 hours from Auckland New Zealand

A mind with no heart is cold and empty.      A mind with heart is warm, creative and full of potential.

Ready to learn how to use meditation and Guided Imagery to open your heart and bring balance to your mind?                       

Join us for this very special retreat!   LINK HERE













MEDITATION TEACHER TRAINING

October 9 – 13th Meditation Teacher Training – Module 2

The delight of teaching others one of the most useful things possible ...

This training, led by Ian and Ruth personally, is based on a comprehensive and fully documented manual. You will learn how to teach two 4 week programs - one featuring guided imagery, the other contemplation; both covering the stillness of meditation as well. These training have been booking out, and like all our retreats, it is wise to register early.

 LINK HERE



19 June 2017

Is sex the only way to get our attention?

We all know mindfulness is good for us. Yet new research claims the average person spends 46.9 % of their waking hours thinking about something other than what they are doing, and commonly this leaves them unhappy. Unless what they are doing is having sex.

So this week, what gets our attention and how can we be happier, but first

                 Thought for the day

         Since everything is but an apparition,
         Perfect in being what it is,
         Having nothing to do with good or bad,
         Acceptance or rejection
         You might as well burst out laughing!

                                      Longchempa







Modern technology is getting fancier and fancier. A new app has been used to collate 250,000 data points examining the thoughts, feelings, and actions of people as they went about their daily lives.

Those of us who have done some mindfulness or meditation practice will be all too aware of our mind’s capacity to wander. During our practice, one of the key things we learn to do is to bring our attention back to a point of concentration, ideally without judgement or commentary. Then is the challenge to continue our mindful awareness into daily life.

As well as the capacity to give attention to what we are doing, we human beings seem to have a unique ability to give thought to what is not happening. To ruminate over the past, to fantasise about the future. We contemplate a lot about what might have happened, what might happen or even what did not happen.

And it is pretty evident that a wandering mind is an unhappy mind. 

Plenty of studies have confirmed this; adding to what is probably just simple common sense…

To examine what is really going on amidst our thoughts and emotions, two psychologists developed an app that examines how attention correlates with happiness.

The app made it possible to randomly and frequently contact 2,250 volunteers (ranging in age from 18 to 88 and from a wide range of socioeconomic backgrounds and occupations). 



At each point of contact, people were asked to record how happy they were, what they were doing, (choosing from 22 activities like walking, eating, shopping, and watching TV), and where their head was at – paying attention to what they were doing, or wandering onto something else that was pleasant, neutral, or unpleasant.

Results were interesting… 

Overall people’s minds were wandering 46.9 % of time. During any particular activity, their minds wandered no less than 30 % of the time - except during love-making. Sex it seems is good for holding our attention! No surprise there!

However, one of the researchers did comment “Mind-wandering appears ubiquitous across all activities. This study shows that our mental lives are pervaded, to a remarkable degree, by the non-present.”



What leads to the most happiness? 

This research reported people were happiest when making love, exercising, or engaging in conversation. 

They were least happy when resting, working, or using a home computer. 

Further, the researchers suggested that their subjects’ mind-wandering was generally the cause, not the consequence, of their unhappiness.




 “Many philosophical and religious traditions teach that happiness is to be found by living in the moment, and practitioners are trained to resist mind wandering and to ‘be here now’. Mind-wandering is an excellent predictor of people’s happiness. In fact, how often our minds leave the present and where they tend to go is a better predictor of our happiness than the activities in which we are engaged.”

This new research, the authors say, suggests that these traditions are right.

If you are interested to track your own happiness and contribute to this research, CLICK HERE

COMING SOON

MEDITATION TEACHER TRAINING

October 9 – 13th Meditation Teacher Training – Module 2

The delight of teaching others one of the most useful things there is...

This training, led by Ian and Ruth personally, is based on a comprehensive and fully documented manual. You will learn how to teach two 4 week programs - one on guided imagery; the other contemplation. These training have been booking out, and like all our retreats, it is wise to register early.

 LINK HERE



NEXT MEDITATION RETREAT

Bringing Mind and Heart Together  21 – 27th October 2017 Ruth and Ian Gawler with Liz Stilwell

Amidst the tranquil beauty of the Coromandel Peninsula, 2 hours from Auckland New Zealand

A mind with no heart is cold and empty.      A mind with heart is warm, creative and full of potential.

Ready to learn how to use meditation and Guided Imagery to open your heart and bring balance to your mind?                      

Join us for this very special retreat!   LINK HERE












NEXT SPECIFIC CANCER PROGRAM

CANCER, HEALING and WELLBEING 

Accessing the heart and science of Mind-Body Medicine
Offering genuine hope for all those affected by cancer

20 – 24 November 2017 with Drs Ruth and Ian Gawler

Located amidst the natural beauty of the Yarra Valley

This life-changing program provides the opportunity to experience the food, practise the meditation and to be in a supportive, positive atmosphere. The program is evidence based, highly experiential and practical. The focus is on the therapeutic power of the Healing Diet, the mind and meditation, emotional health and positive psychology. The aim is to provide clarity, understanding and confidence.   LINK HERE

05 June 2017

You-Can-Conquer-Cancer-New-edition-2017

Shopping in my favourite nursery for new plants a few days ago and this somewhat elderly gentleman approaches. “You don’t know me,” he says “but back in the mid eighties I had cancer with a bad prognosis, bought your book, followed all the recommendations and here I am.”

You Can Conquer Cancer has been in continuous print for 33 years. A new edition just released has a new cover. So to mark the occasion, thought it would be fun to document how the covers have changed over the years and to tell a few stories.

Plus a gentle reminder that Ruth and I will be presenting the retreat Mindfulness and Meditation in Daily Life in Queensland July1 -7th and there are still a few vacancies, but first



       Thought for the day

   What can we gain by sailing to the moon 
   If we are not able to cross the abyss 
   That separates us from ourselves? 

   This is the most important of all voyages of discovery, 
   And without it, 
   All the rest are not only useless, but disastrous.

                                     Thomas Merton






1984. A very evocative year. Sir Edward “Weary” Dunlop officiates at the launch of You Can Conquer Cancer, gives a stirring speech, and causes me to shed a tear. True. It was deeply moving to have the great man, then Patron of the Anti-cancer Council (now the Cancer Council of Vic), speak so strongly in support of what was a radical idea for those days – that people with cancer could contribute not only to their own wellbeing, but to their chances of surviving the disease. Weary became an important personal mentor and remained a strong advocate for the work throughout his life.

The first cover probably remains my favourite, not only for the photo taken by fashion photographer Derek Hughes, but for the circumstances around the taking of the picture.

The book was ready for publication; just waiting for the cover. Derek had a junior colleague die recently of the same cancer that I had recovered from – osteogenic sarcoma. He was keen to help by taking the cover shot, but was about to go away on a long shoot. It was mid winter and the weather had been terrible, all the more problematic as Derek wanted this early morning, very still sea on a pier at Melbourne’s bayside.

We waited days for a suitable break in the weather, but just one bad day after another.

Finally, despite the forecast of more wind and rain, the day of Derek’s leaving arrived and we decided we just had to make the best of whatever the weather offered.

So at dawn we gathered. Unbelievable. The wind was non-existent; the sky clear. We took the shot and within half an hour it was windy and raining again! Synchronicity at its best.



A new cover, the second, was again taken by Derek in the mid nineties.

This time he wanted a wave bursting up into the sky to provide a white backdrop to me resting on the rock.

Was never sure this really worked… What do you think?


The actual copy of the book remained as it was in its first edition up until 2001 – 17 years!

Given that the book speaks of fundamental lifestyle related things people can do to maximize their quality of life and their healing potential; nothing much really changes over time.

These are well tried and proven basic recovery techniques.







Anyway, a minor update was made to the text in 2001,
for which Peter McConchie took a lovely portrait at our home.

Peter also took my favourite garden photo that you may have seen – me with a basket brimming full of summer vegetables.












Then came a major new edition, released in 2013 that did involve the first really major re-write of the book; so much so that it was close to being a new book altogether.


Much detail was added on things like nutritional medicine, including why particular recommendations are made.

There was debate about whether to rename it, but given its long track record, the decision was to stay with the existing You Can Conquer Cancer.

The cover for this re-write was shot in a studio and literally involved walking in, sitting down, being instructed to look directly into the camera with a good heart – and click. Literally a 5 minute portrait. That is a true professional. Many thanks to David Johns.









And now with this latest edition, released in 2017,
a decision to use the same word based cover
as has been used for the book’s recent re-releases
in the USA and the UK.










And finally, just for something completely different, the cover of the recently released Chinese edition.

You Can Conquer Cancer has now been translated into 13, maybe 14 languages and around 350,000 copies have been printed. They say the average book is read by around 4 different people, so this one has been read by around 1.5 million people.

The book stands as a tribute to the difficulties I went through in the seventies, but more-so, to all that has been learnt for the thousands of people who attended groups and gave feedback as they tried the recommendations and reported back on what was helpful and what was not.

My wish is that the book continues to be helpful to many more people and that many more like the fellow in the nursery use it to transform their lives for the better.


AVAILABILITY
Please consider supporting the Gawler Foundation's bookshop and order through them :

LINK HERE

COMING SOON 
WINTER MEDITATION RETREAT AND TRAINING








July 1 -7th Mindfulness and Meditation in Daily Life

We have had many requests to present a meditation retreat in Queensland, so this is it. This retreat will focus on integrating mindfulness and meditation into daily life.

I know when I first started, meditation was something I did for a few minutes (or hours) every day; but at first, I then went back to my day as if nothing much had happened. The real benefit of these practices is in how they inform our daily life, so this retreat will be very practical.

We will practice mindfulness and meditation together formally, and then use the rest of our time to bring the qualities of the practice into our daily experience – in a way that we can take them home and maintain them. My sense is that for many this could well be life changing.

We are fortunate to be able to use the facilities of the Chenrezig Institute – a purpose built Retreat Centre in the hills back of the Sunshine Coast.

October 9 – 13th Meditation Teacher Training – Module 2

In this training we use a fully documented manual to learn how to teach 2 4 week programs one on guided imagery; the other contemplation. These training have been booking out, and like all our retreats, it is wise to register early.



22 May 2017

One-dozen-proven-things-you-can-do-to-prevent-Alzheimer's-Disease

Dementia, and its most common form, Alzheimer’s disease, is well recognised as another chronic degenerative disease. While most of us are pretty worried about developing dementia, and many families really struggle when it affects one of their members, the good news is that it is highly preventable.

This week, we investigate Alzheimer’s specifically and examine proven ways to prevent it. There is a crucial need to act. A 2007 study published in the Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association estimated that 26 million people throughout the world at that time were affected by Alzheimer’s (the most common form of dementia), and that by 2050, the prevalence will quadruple; by which time 1 in 85 persons worldwide will be afflicted with the disease. But first,



                  Thought for the day

               Beginning today, treat everyone you meet 
                As if they were going to be dead by midnight. 
                 Extend to them all the care, kindness, 
                  And understanding you can muster, 
                   And do it with no thought of any reward. 
                    Your life will never be the same again. 

                                   Og Mandino




HOW TO PREVENT ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE 
In the 2 previous posts on dementia (follow the links below), we examined what dementia is, and its causes. Clearly, there are many causal similarities between AD and other chronic degenerative diseases like heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Just as those conditions are all highly preventable, the good news is that AD is also highly preventable. Here is how…

1. Avoid smoking
Enough said.

2. Avoid excess alcohol
Safe limits are being constantly reduced by the authorities. Anything more than occasional social drinking is a risk factor for AD.

3. Plant based, wholefood diet 
This is a lot simpler and tastier than many might think. A diet rich in vegetables, fruits and other plant-based foods, with minimal or no animal protein and minimal or no processed and refined foods is anti-inflammatory and regenerative. It both prevents and reverses chronic degenerative disease. Research says this dietary approach prevents AD, we do not know yet what potential it may have for reversing it.

We do know this approach prevents obesity, insulin resistance and diabetes, and, as we have seen, the rise in these health issues has paralleled the rise in AD.


Eating lots of green vegetables provide plenty of folate (derived from the word foliage), and other phyto-micronutrients.

These are the foods with the most powerful degree of protection.

Berries, especially blueberries, contain a purple compound called anthocyanins, which have been shown to be particularly beneficial for the brain.

In fact, September is World Alzheimer’s Month, and purple is the colour theme, and this was not co-incidental.


Also important for proper brain function is to avoid known food allergens and foods you are sensitive to. Gluten is notorious for triggering not only physical symptoms, but also cognitive loss in those sensitive to it.  As is lactose, found in most dairy foods. These poorly digested molecules can cross into the blood leading to meta-inflammation (systemic, low level, chronic inflammation that is a recognised pre-cursor of all the chronic degenerative diseases) that also affects the brain.

4. The special case of the elderly
Many elderly people often eat very poor diets, even if cared for in specialised facilities. Tea, coffee, biscuits, sweets and cakes, meat and other animal protein eaten more than once a day, with only a few vegetables and very little fruit, are all common.

Combine all this with many drugs routinely given to the elderly, low vitamin D through little sun exposure, constricted life space and very little activity, and we have a recipe for metabolic dysfunction, including Alzheimer’s and cognitive deterioration.

The elderly often suffer unnecessarily through eating an appalling diet, not getting out of their constricted environment, no sun exposure, little exercise and profligate drug prescriptions.

We need to make sure we not only encourage ourselves to go more plant-based, but also the elderly. Their brains and minds depend on it!

5. Exercise
Regular exercise significantly reduces the risk of developing cognitive impairment and AD (17)

Combine aerobic activity with some anaerobic (lifting, pulling etc), as this provides a more complete health benefit. ). Aim to combine exercise with forms of activity you enjoy. Walking, running, cycling, rowing, tennis, golf, gardening, gym – whatever you enjoy and can sustain. Regularity and consistency is the key, more so than the intensity.

6. Avoid Copper, Iron and Aluminium
These heavy metals are implicated in the development of plaques and tangles in the brain, particularly when the diet is also high in cholesterol and saturated fat (op.cit ref.2). There seems to be an accelerated oxidative effect on cholesterol in the body when inorganic copper from sources previously mentioned is present. The organic copper found in trace amounts in natural foods is, however, essential.

7. Sleep
Make it a priority to get regular, adequate sleep. This is more easily achievable when alcohol and caffeine are minimised or avoided and when we get regular moderate exercise.

8. Use it or lose it

Evidence bears out what we all intuitively know.

The brain responds to what we do with it.

Neuroplasticity has confirmed the benefits of exercising the brain.

Crosswords, Scabble, good books, uplifting music, thought-provoking movies, meaningful discussion.

Show an interest in other people and the world around you.


Limit newspaper- reading and television time and be mindful of spending too much time on technology like mobile phones and computer games and screens. The long-term effect on the brain of all this technology remains to be seen, although it would appear to be undesirable.

As life moves on take a pride in developing new friends, hobbies and interests. Explore new things. Ask questions.

9. Mindfulness and meditation
Many people’s minds today are continually “psychobabbling”, never still. This drains the nervous system and is a real problem.

Lean to focus on one thing at a time. Learn to meditate or learn relaxation techniques. Think more positively and less negatively. This happens as a matter of course when you read less newspapers, watch less television and listen less often to radio talk- back, all of which seem to thrive on negativity.

10. Fasting
New evidence suggests fasting carries benefits not just for the body but also for the brain (18).

Dr Richard Isaacson stated: “ There is evidence that fasting (through ketosis) may have anti-ageing effects on the brain. The ketone bodies that are produced while fasting can actually be protective of the brain. You are doing something protective to slow ageing which can lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease”(19).

Further, from another source: “ It is clear that fasting can change brain chemistry, mood and mental function to the point of reducing risk for neurodegenerative diseases”(20).

Fasting is the voluntary and complete abstinence of all food, except water, while nutritive reserves remain intact. It must be emphasised that fasting should be done under qualified supervision, especially if the person has a serious health issue or the fast is longer than a few days.


11. Avoid Drugs As Much as Possible

This includes over the counter drugs and recreational drugs.

Stay away from painkillers, anti-inflammatories and antibiotics as much as possible.

If in ICU do your best to minimise the intake of sedative drugs. Delirium is closely linked to sedatives. These drugs can scramble the brain and cause long-term physical and cognitive problems and need to be minimised wherever possible.


12. Special mention for turmeric and possible reversal
Turmeric has been used in India for over 5,000 years, which is related to India’s rural and urban populations having some of the lowest prevalence rates of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in the world.

Incorporating small, high-quality culinary doses of turmeric into your daily diet may be enough; ‘adding to taste,’ in a way that is truly enjoyable, may be the ultimate standard for determining what a ‘healthy dose’ is for you for prevention. 

But reversal? A recent small study on patients with AD found that less than a gram of turmeric daily, taken daily for three months, resulted in ‘remarkable improvements’. Turmeric is attracting huge interest from the scientific community, and more trials are needed in this arena to be confident of how useful it may be.

For details of what type of turmeric to use therapeutically, and how much, link to the 2 posts below.

CONCLUSION
Dementia and AD, like most if not all diseases, are not “just bad luck”. Alzheimer’s Disease and cognitive decline is not an inevitable consequence of ageing.

We know a great deal about what causes these conditions and we know the biggest factor is how we live our lives – our lifestyle. This is good news as we can control how we live.

Make poor choices, get into tough habits, and old age could be very scary.

Make wise choices, get into healthy habits and not only today, but old age could be full on delightful – and free of chronic degenerative disease including dementia and AD

REFERENCES   (this is a complete list that includes references from the previous 2 posts)
1) Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, Feb, 2005,7(1); 63-80;
2) Physicians Committee of Responsible Medicine Special Report: Dietary Guidelines for Alzheimer’s Prevention, July 2013;
3) Dr Lori Laffel, CNN.com, 15/04/2003 ;
4) National Review of Medicine, Dec 15, 2005, Vol 12, No 2;
5) Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, Nov, 2005;
6) NEJM, Aug 8, 2013, 369: 540-548;
7) Neurology, 16/09/11;
8) Science Daily, November8, 2007: “Copper damages protein that defends against Alzheimer’s”;
9) Dr Fuhrman’s Healthy Times Newsletter, Jan, 2008 “ Dementia is Not a Natural Part of the Ageing Process”;
10) Archives of Neurology, 2003; 60: 194-200 “ Dietary Fats and the Risk of AD”;
11) Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease,  Aug, 2013;
12) NEJM, Oct 3, 2013;
13) American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, April, 2011;
14) op.cit reference 1;
15) British Medical Journal, May 20, 2010;
16) Archives of Neurology, 2006; 63: 1545-1550;
17) Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, August, 2013;
18) Scientific American, January, 2013;
19) “The Alzheimer’s Diet” by Dr Richard Isaacson;
20) Mind The Science Gap.org, April 2013;
21) “ Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease” by Dr Caldwell Esselstyn, 2010
22) “ The Complete Program for Preventing and Reversing Heart Disease” by Dr Dean Ornish, 1990;
23) “ The Brain That Changes Itself”, by Dr Norman Doidge, 2007

Special thanks
Greg Fitzgerald - Health for Life Clinic & Seminars. www.healthforlife.com.au
email: info@healthforlife.com.au   Phone  02 9544 0445

RELATED BLOGS
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Alzheimer’s Disease, Type 3 Diabetes and its causes

What form of turmeric is best?

How much turmeric how much curcumin?


COMING SOON 
WINTER MEDITATION RETREATS AND TRAINING

June 5 – 9th Deepening Your Meditation

Our only 5 day meditation retreat, this program is all about taking time out, entering into a meditative environment and being supported to deepen your experience. Then, with this deeper experience, being able to take it with you so that your ongoing practice is more rewarding, more beneficial, more enjoyable.








July 1 -7th Mindfulness and Meditation in Daily Life

We have had many requests to present a meditation retreat in Queensland, so this is it. This retreat will focus on integrating mindfulness and meditation into daily life.

I know when I first started, meditation was something I did for a few minutes (or hours) every day; but at first, I then went back to my day as if nothing much had happened. The real benefit of these practices is in how they inform our daily life, so this retreat will be very practical.

We will practice mindfulness and meditation together formally, and then use the rest of our time to bring the qualities of the practice into our daily experience – in a way that we can take them home and maintain them. My sense is that for many this could well be life changing.

We are fortunate to be able to use the facilities of the Chenrezig Institute – a purpose built Retreat Centre in the hills back of the Sunshine Coast.

October 9 – 13th Meditation Teacher Training – Module 2

In this training we use a fully documented manual to learn how to teach 2 4 week programs one on guided imagery; the other contemplation. These training have been booking out, and like all our retreats, it is wise to register early.