In the last issue, I introduced five of ten 2-minute strategies that can help the time challenged achieve a big, positive response with a very small time investment. In this issue I will introduce the remaining five strategies.
6. Embrace Turmeric
This popular Indian spice contains a remarkable anti-inflammatory component called curcumin. Inflammation is a root cause of many degenerative diseases, so the regular consumption of anti-inflammatory food and condiments is of immense value. In fact, curcumin has been described by researchers as "the most powerful natural anti-inflammatory ever discovered". The good news here is that this yellow spice is really inexpensive, so we can all access the benefits at very little cost. The multiple benefits are only as far away as your spice rack. The daily consumption of a teaspoon of turmeric in half a glass of water or juice is such a simple yet effective wellness strategy. A heaped teaspoon contains the equivalent of five capsules and this dose can be repeated morning and night if there is inflammation to address. This takes less than two minutes, but there is a two-minute suggestion that will magnify the benefits you can achieve with this herb. It involves growing your own turmeric roots and here is how it's done. Buy a minimum of 500 grams of turmeric roots from the greengrocer or local farmers’ markets. They will look a lot like raw ginger. Break up the roots into pieces about 2.5 cm2 (roughly). Now push each piece about 5 cm deep into the soil, about 25 cm apart, and that's it!
It takes a couple of minutes to plant them and in 20 weeks’ time you will have large turmeric bushes with multiple edible roots beneath each plant. You have just turned $10 AUD worth of turmeric into a minimum $200 AUD worth of this wonderful herb and you now have fresh turmeric, which is even better than the spice. You can add it liberally to stir-fries and stews or you can put a piece of root in with your green smoothie each day. You can chop up enough roots to fill 80% of a 1 L screw-top jar and then fill the jar with vodka. Seal it and leave it sitting for a minimum of three weeks – you have just produced your own turmeric tincture. This remarkable supplement can be taken at the rate of one teaspoon, three times a day for inflammatory problems, or to simply avoid them. Turmeric has become the flavour of the month in the research world during the past two years and the findings have been really exciting. Here are some of the proven benefits:
1) Protection from Alzheimer's – India has half the percentage of Alzheimer's disease that we suffer in Australia and there is a growing body of evidence to suggest that turmeric might be the protective factor involved. The powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory impact is thought to be able to break down the amyloid plaques that are a dominant feature of this disease. Oxygen supply to the brain is optimised if the clogging of veins can be minimised with turmeric.
2) Reduces risk of stroke and CHD – research has shown that turmeric can help lower cholesterol and reduce levels of LDL (the so-called bad cholesterol). The main problem with LDL is that it is more prone to oxidising and it then it becomes a pipe-clogger. The powerful antioxidant action of curcumin can prevent this problem and the subsequent increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
3) Can replace anti-inflammatory drugs – in some cases, turmeric can be just as effective as drugs in managing inflammatory conditions. The big bonus here is that there are no side effects. Recent studies have shown this herb to be highly effective in both Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Multiple Sclerosis. Arthritis sufferers have also experienced good relief without the harsh stomach problems often associated with anti-inflammatory drugs.
4) Aids blood sugar management – turmeric has been shown to drop blood sugar levels and help in the management of insulin. This has serious longevity implications because it is now understood that low blood insulin is a major factor in determining how long we live.
5) Improves digestion and sponsors weight loss – curcumin stimulates both the gallbladder and bile production and bile helps to digest fat. Poor fat digestion is a major player in weight gain, so regular supplementation with turmeric may be a weight loss tool. There are also some studies that have shown that turmeric improves digestion and reduces bloating and gas.
6) May help to reduce cancer – there have been several dozen studies demonstrating that curcumin can reduce the number and size of tumours. It has been specifically shown to exhibit anti-tumour effects in cases of colon and prostate cancer. There are also indications that it may help prevent skin cancer, childhood leukemia, multiple myeloma and pancreatic cancer.
7. Exercise Your Eye Muscles
Our eyes are a pretty important part of a happy, vibrant life but in many cases, we completely ignore their wellbeing. We roll up to the optometrist with our problems but do nothing proactive to prevent degeneration. During my recent stay at an Ayurvedic clinic in India we all headed to the rooftop for 90 minutes of yoga every morning. I had not had much previous experience with this practice, but most of the positions just made obvious, common sense. At the end of a good session every muscle in your body has been stretched and exercised. This included a simple workout for the eyes and I will share this here because it takes just two minutes to do something proactive for your windows to the world.
Here's how it is done: You can do it anytime, anywhere. It simply involves moving your eyes from the top left hand corner of your scan down to the bottom right hand corner – i.e., you move them diagonally without moving your head. You repeat the exercise with this slow diagonal scanning motion from top to bottom and from bottom to top seven times. Then you repeat this exercise on the other diagonal – i.e., moving from the top right hand corner to the bottom left and back for a total of seven times. Next you slowly scan clockwise in a circle seven times and then repeat this in an anti-clockwise direction. The whole process should take just two minutes and you can repeat it more than once a day if you feel that your eyes need some special care.
8. Start Living In The Moment
Eckhart Tolle produced a publishing phenomenon with his books "The Power Of Now" and "A New Earth", but the central theme in both books was not a new idea. The Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu, proposed the exact same idea two thousand years earlier. He nailed the concept perfectly when he suggested that "If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present”. The only place where the game of life happens is right now, right in this moment. The challenge becomes identifying how to divorce ourselves from the 50,000 thoughts that flow through our frantic brains each day. How do we tune in to everything around us and forget all of this distortion? The key is to get into a space where you really feel that "all is one", because that is the space where you are living in the moment and at peace. The focus on breath has been an integral part of all meditative techniques because, despite how good you are at multi-tasking, you cannot think about anything else while focusing on your breath. Try it. It is not possible.
Here is a two-minute strategy that can serve as a roundabout in your crazy thought traffic. It can literally give you some breathing space. Set your phone to beep every hour. When you hear the beep you know it is time to set up the roundabout. It simply involves focusing on your breath for about a minute. Take three deep breaths, inhaling from your stomach rather than your chest. Inhale and exhale for three breaths and then return to your normal life. The beep is set for every waking hour and you repeat that focus on three deep breaths every hour. Trial this as an everyday practice, for a period of two weeks. After about ten days, your body will start to do this by itself and you will suddenly feel more relaxed and more often "at one" with the world. It can be life-changing.
9. Compensate For Your Alcohol Intake
Alcohol restriction can be difficult living in a nation of drinkers. Many of us know we drink too much, but it is not discussed because it has almost become sacred ground. The simple fact is that alcohol is a destructive drug. It rapidly becomes toxic ethanol in our bodies and there are multiple health implications. Your two-minute challenge involves taking B group vitamins before you drink, matching each glass of booze with a glass of water and eating something rich in fat to protect your liver.
You might also reconsider your choice of poison. Beer delivers both ethanol and the highest Glycemic Index (GI) of any input (hence the beer belly). Cider is a better choice, if you like something fizzy, because it contains significant antioxidant value. Red wine is a better choice than white wine due to its heart protective, resveratrol component. The calorie count of alcohol is a major concern, if we acknowledge that calorie restriction is a proven longevity enhancer. Often your two glasses of wine will contain more calories than your meal. The best choice, calorie-wise, is a vodka with lime and soda. You simply mix some good quality vodka with soda water and the juice of a lime. Add some stevia drops to sweeten, and you have the lowest calorie alcohol hit of all.
10. Turn Off Your TV
This one just takes two seconds, but it can prove immensely valuable. We have become media junkies, and there is not much enlightenment, peace or happiness in being constantly at the mercy of the advertising industry and the ruling elite. They might prefer to have us in our places on the couch, numbed down, dumbed down and apathetic about everything except sports. However, you are here to achieve more peace and happiness. You won't find it from your next material possession, despite what the ad hucksters would have you believe. Read something uplifting, play some music, meditate, or do something constructive and relaxing – or, most importantly, spend some quality time with your loved ones. You will feel so much better than falling asleep in front of the box.
Click here to view Part 1 of this article.