29 June 2020

Do vegetarians need to combine proteins?

Do you get enough? Do you get the right sort? These are the 2 basic questions for any food group, and for many vegetarians and vegans it is one of real concern when it comes to protein.

How many of us have been told “the only way to get enough protein is to eat meat’, or “vegetables and grains do not have the right proteins; only meat does”.

So this week, what are the facts? What to do? Also, did you know You Can Conquer Cancer is available as an audio book? But first

  Thought for the week
    Addiction is any behaviour or substance 
    That a person uses to relieve pain in the short term, 
    But which leads to negative consequences in the long term. 

   Without addressing the root cause of the pain, 
   A person may try to stop 
   But will ultimately crave further relief 
   And be prone to relapse. 
                           Dr Gabor Mate

Actually, the protein issue is incredibly easy
Bottom line, the research is clear. It is almost impossible for a reasonably healthy vegetarian or vegan in a Western country who is eating enough calories to get a protein deficiency. It is that simple.

But maybe you need more detail; a little convincing…

A brief context – what protein does
Protein is a nutrient your body needs to grow and repair cells and for it to work properly.

How much is enough?
How much protein you need varies depending on your weight, gender, age and health. The average sedentary woman needs around 46 gms of protein daily; the average sedentary man needs 55gms.

There is no need to labour this; all the authorities agree, this is in easy target to reach. The fact is a plant‑based diet commonly delivers close to twice the average daily protein requirement.

But do we get the right type of protein?
The issue here is protein is made up of 20 different amino acids. Humans can make 11 of these within their bodies and so these ones are called non-essential amino acids

There are nine amino acids your body cannot make, and so these ones are known as essential amino acids.

Foods that contain all 20 amino acids are called complete proteins.

Meat, fish and dairy are complete proteins with high levels of all amino acids.

But here is the news - vegetables and grains also are complete proteins, it is just most have low levels of some amino acids and could be said to be “less complete” than meat, fish and dairy.

However, to call them “incomplete proteins” is factually incorrect.

Certain lobbies and old school nutritionists spread the myth that vegetarians are at risk of protein deficiency because they are eating incomplete proteins. The implication is they need meat.

Also, older thinking used to emphasise the need of vegetarians to combine different vegetables and particularly grains to ensure a balanced intake of amino acids.

There was a good deal of talk about “complementary proteins” – particularly in reference to grains that combined to produce a high level of all the amino acids.

The implication here was vegetarians needed to eat 2 of the correct complementary protein sources at any given meal to achieve a complete protein intake.

So here is the latest good news.

Do not worry.

All the best recent research says as long as you are eating a variety of foods, there is no need to combine particular protein sources at a given meal.

Complementary proteins are a non-issue.

Given what you are eating has enough calories for your needs, is very difficult, almost impossible, to get this wrong and create a protein deficiency for yourself.

All of this is both incredibly complex in its detail, and incredibly simple in its conclusions...

Our bodies are incredibly smart, so here are a couple of mechanisms it uses to ensure the right amino acid balance.

1. Storage
Yes, the body simply stores a range of amino acids to use when intake on any given day is low.

2. Recycling
Each day, around 90 grams of protein is recycled through the digestive tract. The proteins are broken down, reassembled, reabsorbed to ensure we have what we need, when we need it.

Clever right?

So relax.

If you must worry about something to do with what you are eating, protein is not one of them!

Want even more detail?

Read You Can Conquer Cancer or listen to the audio book - LINK - where there is more information on protein and all food groups.

Go to the Victorian Government Health website that has lots of facts and numbers :)

15 June 2020

Manifestation: the simple secret - you will see it when you need it

The universe is a huge place. Our own world is ripe with possibilities. In each of our own communities there is so much potential.

So why when we have a real need do we often doubt it will be met?

Sometimes it comes down to not seeing what is there. So this week, how to find what we really need along with a classic account of not seeing the extra-ordinary, but first

  Thought for the day
Look at the birds of the air; 
They do not sow or reap or store away in barns, 
And yet your heavenly Father feeds them. 
Are you not much more valuable than they? 
Can any one of you by worrying 
Add even a single hour to your life? 
And why do you worry about clothes? 
See how the lilies of the field grow. 
They do not labour or spin. 
Yet I tell you that not even Solomon 
In all his splendour was dressed like one of these. 
If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, 
Which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, 
Will he not much more clothe you – oh you of little faith? 
                                                            Matthew 6: 26-30

This is a true story.

2007, a cold winter’s morning, Washington Metro station. An unassuming man busking with a violin for around 45 minutes. Around 2,000 people pass him by. A child pulls at his mother’s arm to pause, but she hurries him along. This happens again with several other children. A few slow on passing, 6 actually stop for a moment, a few drop coins; he pockets the $32. One woman actually does recognise him and is in awe.

Two days earlier, this same world renowned violinist - Joshua Bell - sold out Boston’s major arts theatre where seats averaged over $100. He played the same pieces while busking – extremely intricate music of Bach, and he played on a violin worth $3.5 million; and this was in 2007!
Watch the amazing video...

What can we take from this intriguing social experiment?

Perception is a curious thing. Can we see – or hear - beauty out of context? If we cannot recognise what is on offer, be in too much of a hurry, be too pre-occupied to notice the beauty around us, what else might we be missing out on?

When my children were young we had a rubber boat to play with in our dam. The boat perished and we replaced it one Christmas. I mistakenly had thought the oars were still good so did not buy new ones – mistake.

So on going back to work in the New Year, I wondered where I might buy just new oars.

Travelling the same route as I did every day for the past several years – about an hour’s drive – a startling discovery!

Over the Christmas break, 4 new stores had opened along that route that potentially had what I was looking for.

Now of course these stores had not really just opened, they had been there all the time in this abundant world we live in, but I had no need of them, was not looking for them, so for all intents and purposes, they were not there!

The moral of these stories? Once we are really clear about what we are looking for, it is likely to be there; we simply need clarity and persistence to go looking.

And that in simple terms is the art and science of manifestation.

Simple really.

Oh, and trust in an abundant universe - like birds do.

And lilies seem to do alright too..

As well as the dahlias...

And the ...

May we all find what we are looking for…

01 June 2020

In times of need, how best to boost creativity – drugs or meditation???

Taking the next big steps in history has always required substantial doses of creativity. As we all lurch forward in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, is our own creativity up to it? What can we do to boost our creativity and respond in a creative yet effective manner?

Steve Jobs created Apple – and lauded drugs to stimulate creativity; LSD and marijuana in particular. Both for himself and for his staff. Yet he also meditated a lot. So this week, we go Out on a Limb once more, compare different pathways to creativity and detail 3 great possibilities. Enjoy the trip…, but first

    Thought for the day 

Taking LSD was a profound experience, 
One of the most important things in my life. 
LSD shows you that there’s another side to the coin, 
And you can’t remember it when it wears off, 
But you know it. 

It reinforced my sense of what was important
—creating great things instead of making money, 
putting things back into the stream of history 
and of human consciousness as much as I could.

                                         Steve Jobs

Sources of creativity 
Seems like there are 4 main ones - trauma, necessity, drugs and inner experiences (most reliably accessed via meditation and contemplation).

Many draw on suffering for creativity; or find suffering generates creativity. The tortured artist is a real thing – simply look at just about any modern art! But let us not wish this avenue to creativity on anyone; maybe just celebrate it when it happens almost like some form of compensation or happy side-effect.

Did you grow up with this too??? “Necessity is the mother of invention”. I did and it is true, yet what is the process that activates invention and creativity? Seems many get stuck with deep seated needs and fail to find answers; what helps with break throughs?

Many indigenous traditions have used drugs in a ritualistic fashion to open the mind and launch

LSD, ganja or marijuana, peyote, psilocybin, magic mushrooms…

There is quite a list, yet the key point is traditionally these drugs were used ritualistically, not recreationally.

So then we come to Steve Jobs.

The master of cool. The master of minimalist, beautiful design of great objects that do their job. Apple stuff looks good and it works. It has an elegance, along with a high level of functionality. A rare combination.

So the man… We know from Steve Jobs’ biography and via FBI files on him from the days when he needed government clearance to work on Pixar that as well as being a serious meditator, he had been a serious drug user.

Throughout that period of time [1972–1974] I used the LSD approximately ten to fifteen times,” Jobs is quoted to say.

I would ingest the LSD on a sugar cube or in a hard form of gelatin. I would usually take the LSD when I was by myself. I have no words to explain the effect the LSD had on me, although, I can say it was a positive life changing experience for me and I am glad I went through that experience.

Jobs also smoked marijuana or hashish, or ate it cooked into chocolate brownies, once or twice a
week between 1973 and 1977.

He employed many maverick types at Apple, especially in the early days when he was chasing innovation, and he seemed very warm to their drug use.

So let us be clear.

I have never taken LSD and am not advocating its use. However, what Jobs’ usage points to is that creativity often flows out of an altered state of mind. What has interested me for decades is how we might tap into that same altered state of creativity - independently of drugs.

And a spoiler alert. Speaking personally, virtually all my creativity, all my good ideas, all my clarity of direction have come out of meditation and contemplation. So how do we tap into our own creativity more directly?

4. How to develop more creativity - directly courtesy of your own mind

i) Meditate regularly

Yes – it is as simple and as difficult as that.

When we do meditate regularly, the practice takes us past the confines of our ordinary,
day-to-day thinking.

Regular meditation expands the mind;
expands our awareness.

Creativity flows naturally, effortlessly.

What we need to accomplish this flow is the self-discipline to do it – regularly, and the confidence it will happen – the confidence that over time, our creativity will flourish when needed.

It is as simple and as difficult as that.

ii) Boost creativity with contemplation
The contemplation that works for this purpose has 2 components.

Firstly we active think about a topic that needs a creative solution. If you need help how to actually do this most effectively, my latest book, Blue Sky Mind offers techniques.

But more than, we balance the active thinking with periods of stillness. Regularly in this practice we let go of the Active Mind and wait for insight and creativity to arise and become apparent – from within the Still Mind.

This is my own go to method and it has served me exceptionally well over many decades. Well worth experimenting with…

iii) Use Creative Imagery
It is possible to use the Active Mind more directly to foster creativity. In common usage, brainstorming and mind mapping are expressions of these techniques and if you want pointers here, better go to The Mind that Changes Everything where specific techniques are detailed.

So it is possible. Without trauma or drugs we can expand our minds, generate heaps of creativity and solve challenging problems.

Speaking personally, the is a strong intention to make these techniques available to our current youth.

Heaven knows they will need them…

Happy meditating…

Blue Sky Mind

The Mind that Changes Everything

Downloads for Relaxation, mindfulness and meditation available in both Ruth and my own voices



One of the very best ways to learn something is to teach it. All being well, Ruth and I will lead a training for meditation teachers keen to teach contemplation. It is one of my very favourite programs to present and hopefully will go ahead as planned …

MEDITATION TEACHER TRAINING   with Drs Ruth and Ian Gawler

Ian and Ruth have been teaching teachers of meditation for decades. This is a unique opportunity to learn from them directly in two 5 day residential trainings – Module 1 on meditation, Module 2 – contemplation. Attending both modules will meet the requirements for provisional membership of the Meditation Association of Australia. Both trainings will be highly experiential and be based upon comprehensive manuals.

Venue     The Yarra Valley Living Centre,  55 Rayner Crt, Yarra Junction, Victoria

Dates     Meditation Teacher Training 3 - 7 Octomber 2020 : Full details  : Click here

          Contemplation 7-11 September, 2020  ;  Full details :  Click here

Inquiries  and Bookings   Call 1300 651 211 or www.gawler.org


7 day Residential Meditation Retreat with Ruth and Ian Gawler and Melissa Borich 

Modern culture has taught us to look externally for solutions to feeling better… substances we can take, new and exciting experiences, the acquiring of new ‘things.

However, to regain balance and cultivate reliable, sustainable joy, we learn to go within.

Meditation provides real answers.

And all of this amidst the nurture and beauty of the Yarra Valley Living Centre…

Dates     Saturday 14th to Friday 20th November

Venue   The Yarra Valley Living Centre, 55 Rayner Crt, Yarra Junction, Victoria

More details   CLICK HERE

Inquiries and Bookings    Call 1300 651 211   or  www.gawler.org