In this brave new world of Internet overload, the message must be brief or it is simply lost in the flood. It's not just an ever-shortening concentration span that is an issue – it is the parallel, fast-fix mentality where everything must happen yesterday. In keeping with the spirit of our time-challenged world, you are about to learn ten two-minute strategies that can literally be game changers. In fact, I would suggest that it is impossible to dedicate twenty minutes a day to this ten-point program without achieving profound gains. The following list is not necessarily in order of importance. Do any of them and you will be grateful, do all of them and you will be changed.
1. Plant wheatgrass every week
You must have seen the lineups at juice bars and heard the hype about this superfood. It costs around $4 AUD for a 50 mL serve and many people won't miss their morning shot. Wheatgrass juice is truly something special. It is jam-packed with goodies like enzymes, antioxidants and the abundant phytonutrients found in the juice of the young wheat plant. There is no doubt about the benefits, just check out Ann Wigmore's cancer research. People don't realise how simple it is to grow your own wheatgrass. You just need to remember to dedicate two minutes each week to the project.
Here's how you do it. Buy yourself a 5 kg bag of wheat (or spelt) from the health food store and, one day a week, walk out to some bare soil and scatter three large handfuls (about 600 grams) over about half of a square metre area. The seeds should be distributed very densely. Then, you simply rake a few centimetres of soil over the top. About two weeks later you will have a thick, lush patch of juicy, young wheatgrass. When the plants reach 10 cm high you snip off the amount you require each day for your juice. Often you will get some re-growth that you can snip a second time.
If two of you are enjoying a daily wheatgrass shot, this first planting will be sufficient for one week’s supply. That is why you need to dedicate two minutes every week to walk out to the garden and spread another batch of seed. Your bag of seed will last ten weeks and you have harvested sufficient for around 150 wheatgrass shots. That works out at 15 cents per serve. You will need to buy a manual wheatgrass juicer – they are not expensive, but it is essential that you use the correct equipment. You can't juice wheatgrass in a conventional juicer. The fragile enzymes will be oxidised and you will have just devalued a superfood.
2. Tap your stress away
You may have heard about the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). You can learn this simple DIY treatment from YouTube. It sounds too good to be true, but a growing body of research suggests that this fusion of intent, positive affirmation and tapping on key acupuncture points can be remarkably effective. It was originally developed to help address phobias, but the technique has since proven to combat a wide range of ailments. It is particularly effective when used to counter stress. We have created a crazy, stress-filled world and we need all the tricks we can muster to battle this plague. It is amazing how many ways "stress kills", so we all need to reduce our anxiety levels.
Here's how you can do it: the tapping involves the first two fingers on either hand. You begin by tapping the point between your eyebrows at a rate of six times per second. While tapping you make the following declaration, preferably out loud: "Even though I am suffering from stress I would rather not feel, I love and deeply accept myself". Then you move to the point on the outside corner of your eye and tap while you repeat the same statement. Next you move to the spot directly below either eye, tapping and repeating your statement of intent and affirmation. Next, you tap below your nose, then in the centre of your chin, then on your collarbone. Finally, you tap a spot under either arm that is parallel to your nipples. Each change of location, you repeat the same statement. You can usually complete three full rounds within two minutes, and that is often all that is required.
You should rate your stress before you start and again after the three rounds. If there is not a significant reduction, you can repeat the process. It seems like the stimulation of key pressure points, while stating your intent to reduce stress and your message of love to yourself, triggers the brain to step in and solve the problem. It really is the essence of mind/body medicine.
3. Bake your own spelt bread
The way we have treated our daily bread is a classic example of the bastardisation of an important base food, in the name of progress (or profit). The green revolution involved the fast-tracked development of smaller, more compact grains to counter the lodging that was becoming increasingly common in the original, open-pollinated wheat varieties. The plants were falling over in the wind and often became unharvestable. The reason for this "lodging" was a copper deficiency, but rather than address the root cause, we chose to change Nature's blueprint. The new hybrids were fast-tracked with radiation, where the genetic freaks were often selected to become the new variety.
Hybridisation seems like a good idea, but there is invariably a price to pay when we move genes around for a selected purpose. Their original purpose is compromised and this generally relates to reduced capacity for the uptake of minerals. The green revolution grains contain much more gluten and much less nutrition than the original, open-pollinated varieties. However, this is only the start of the bastardisation. 90% of the bread we consume has had 80% of the remaining nutrition removed, when the flour is converted from wholemeal to white (89% of the bread sold in Australia is white bread). Then they start adding the chemicals. In my seminars, I often recite Charles Walter's version of the Lord’s Prayer when discussing this issue. It goes like this:
"Give us this day, our daily calcium propionate (spoilage retarder), sodium diacetate (mold inhibitor), monoglyceride (emulsifier), potassium bromate (maturing agent), calcium phosphate monobasic (dough conditioner), aluminium potassium sulphate (anti caking agent in baking powder), chloramine T (flour bleach), sodium benzoate (preservative), butylated hydroxyanisole (antioxidant), mono-isopropyl citrate (sequestrant), synthetic vitamins A and D, genetically modified soy flour (and the glyphosate residues it contains) and FORGIVE US DEAR LORD FOR CALLING THIS STUFF BREAD!"
So how do we avoid eating this abomination, this shadow of its former self? It's simple, we invest two minutes and we scoop the four ingredients required into our $200 bread maker the night before. Then we awaken to the delicious aroma of freshly baked bread with none of the crap. If we use spelt flour, then we are dealing with an ancient grain that has never been hybridised. It has much less gluten, far more protein and much greater nutrition than the store-bought rubbish and, thankfully, the great list of chemical additives is missing. Spelt is also one of the few grains that is alkalising, as opposed to the highly acid-forming hybridised wheat. Most of us need to increase our alkaline inputs.
4. Make your own kefir
Lacto-fermented foods are a tremendous inclusion in your daily diet. The fermenting organisms have already worked on the food, making all of the ingredients much more available. Nutritionists claim that the nutrients in fermented food are five times more available after the microbes have been at work. There is also the advantage that we do not have to draw from our “enzyme bank account” when digesting this food. In fact, fermented food introduces a range of enzymes into our digestive system to boost digestion. This food also contributes an army of beneficial organisms (probiotics) to compensate for the attrition rate from environmental contaminants, antibiotics and food stabilisers. Digestion is the starting point of wellness and many of us suffer some form of digestive aliment.
The daily introduction of an army of gut-boosting organisms is of immense value and it need only take two minutes each day. Kefir is a substantially more comprehensive probiotic than yoghurt. The problem with commercial yoghurt is that most of it has been pasteurised to extend shelf life. Pasteurisation means that there are no living organisms left and the yogurt now becomes nothing more than a sugar-packed lolly!
Here's how easy it is to make your own kefir. It requires no equipment and it is ridiculously simple. It would be great if you could source an existing "mother" from a kefir-loving friend, but if that is not possible, you can buy a commercial starter. You only need to start the culture once, and then you have your "mother". You remove and consume 80% of what you have made, after 24 hours, and you leave the remaining 20% in the jar to start the next batch. You just top the jar up with milk each day, wait 24 hours, and decant your 80% to drink. It is a delicious, nutritious, living food that costs the price of the milk each day and your "mother" will last forever. If you are going on holiday, you just give her a break in the fridge for a few weeks. She will kick back into action the moment you bring her out into room temperature and add the milk.
5. Embrace the two-minute “Golden Cockerel”
Zhong Li Ba Ren is a Chinese health master who has written a hugely popular book. In fact, his book has been reprinted twelve times in the last six months. The book that has truly captured the attention of the Chinese market is entitled "Self Help Is Better Than Seeking Doctor's Help", and it is further evidence of a global trend where people are reclaiming responsibility for their own health. In his book, and in his many lectures around the globe, Zhong Li Ba Ren has singled out a simple, two-minute practice, which he considers to be the most important health strategy we all should adopt.
He cites evidence of remarkable benefits associated with this minuscule investment of your time. The most important of these claims, in a world where 1 in 4 people over 65 now succumb to Alzheimer's Disease, is his contention that this two-minute practice prevents dementia. However, it doesn't stop there – the likelihood of contracting two of the largest killers on the planet is also apparently seriously diminished. Hypertension and high blood sugar are both impacted, along with neck and spinal diseases. It is no surprise that reduced dementia is part of the main trio of benefits, because both hypertension and high blood sugar are common precursors for Alzheimer's – in fact, Alzheimer's is now commonly called "Type 3 Diabetes". A general boost in immunity and improved gout management are also part of the protective package.
So, what exactly is this miracle method? It is called the Golden Cockerel or "Jin Ji Du Li" and originates from Tai Chi. It was only when Zhong Li Ba Ren researched the wider benefits, that it was discovered just how important this technique could be. Essentially, it simply involves standing on one leg for sixty seconds and repeating the process standing on the other leg. The key, however, is that your eyes must be closed for the full two minutes. That is the hard part. It is relatively easy to complete this exercise with your eyes open, but the moment they are closed, it is a different story. Your ability to complete this challenge can actually be used as a diagnostic tool as to your state of imbalance and associated rate of aging. If you can only last ten seconds this is considered to be equivalent to an age of 60 to 70 years, where the lifetime accumulation of imbalances have really kicked in. If you are forty and unable to last more than ten seconds, then it is time to make some changes.
Like the Ayurvedic healing tradition, Chinese Traditional Medicine is primarily concerned with balance. In this system, disease (“dis-ease”) appears when the various internal organs are no longer operating in sync. This lack of coordination is the root cause of many problems and the imbalance translates to a literal loss of balance in the body. If we can reclaim that balance, we can reclaim our health. If you can work your way up to one minute on each leg every day, the benefits are apparently immediately obvious. Your sleep will improve, there is more clarity of thought and your memory is enhanced. It is pretty easy to test this for yourself. If you have high blood pressure just work your way up to one minute on each leg (with your eyes closed) and monitor your progress with a blood pressure meter.
Click here to view Part 2 of this article.