Feeding Body & Soul

If you’d asked me a few years ago whether I’d be following a virtually wheat free, 90% vegetarian — hell, 90% vegan diet, I’d have said, “That’s nuts.” Now I’m likely to say, “That’s raw cashews to you, and by the way, do you know how many recipes you can make with them?” It’s safe to say that I’m not alone in making a big diet and lifestyle change, either. Based on the latest bestsellers, opinion pages in the New York Times , increase in vegetarian and vegan websites and buzz on the Internet, it seems we have reached some kind of “tipping point” toward a radical change in the way we eat and what we will accept from the food industry.

As with any other great societal shift, it seems that there are many different roads to the same destination. For some it starts with a health crisis and stern warning from one’s doctor to avoid certain foods. For others, it’s the inhumane conditions and disease ridden factories of commercially produced meat and dairy. For me, it started with pleasant memories of trips to India and the masterfully delicious vegetarian meals I had there. These and other Asian meals taught me that there is life beyond tofu and salads.

Over the years I attended a lecture from the Dalai Lama that I really took to heart in which he called for reduced meat consumption. Later I started one of the popular low-carb diets, but after reading about the animal abuse, disease, and horrors of the giant food conglomerates I ended up watching carbs AND watching my meat. Things really got serious when I turned 50, started getting a Wheat Belly and had to worry about things like high cholesterol and bone density.

It turns out that everything is converging to the same point: save the planet, save your body. The same diet that will not exhaust and deplete the earth will not exhaust and deplete me, either. I believe that others are coming to this realization as well, and that this will have long term repercussions for the food industry. We can’t turn the ship around on a dime but now, every time I hear of another friend or relative who has eliminated or greatly reduced their cheap carbs, sugar, or meat intake I think, “Mmhh, another person voting with their wallet.” And that’s a guaranteed recipe for change.


Visions of the Future

| by Cheryl Shainmark

Several years ago I had a vision of the future that transformed my life and helped me to determine what new career path to pursue. Leading into that moment was the fact that, at the age of 40, after years of working in computers, I was back at school. I was an adult returnee in my “senior” year at college and my three most favorite professors had each approached me about entering into their field of expertise: Asian Studies, the School of Journalism, and Psychology. What a wonderful compliment! — each thought that I would excel in their profession and offered me mentoring, contacts and references for further graduate work. I was both flattered and immobilized with indecision

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Take A Walk on the Wild Side: Encounters With Animals in Nature

| by Cheryl Shainmark

Most of us have had the experience — wonderful, heart-stopping, sometimes terrifying — of unexpectedly encountering an animal in the wild. It may be the tranquil sight of deer off in the woods, or a hawk circling in the canyons of Manhattan. It can be scary, as in some of the recent bear sightings on the East Coast, or inspire reverence for the raw beauty of the creature sighted.

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Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It

| by Cheryl Shainmark

I just finished reading “Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends on It,” by Kamal Ravikant. I have to say that this slim volume completely jumpstarted a whole new spiritual practice for me. I don’t usually rave (in print, at least)… but this is one of the most accessible, transformative books I have ever read — and at 57 pages, you’d have to be in a coma not to get through it. Actually, if you are in a coma I will come and sit by your side and read it to you, because I want “Love Yourself” to be the earworm that gets stuck in your head. You’ll thank me later.

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Tell Me A Story: Stirring Up Cellular Memories with Meditation

| by Cheryl Shainmark

I have been meditating for over fifteen years now and find it an essential part of my life. Many have written about the substantial physical and emotional benefits, and while I’ve certainly found that to be the case, too, I’ve also noticed that there is a component of releasing “cellular memories” that is rarely addressed. People shy away from phenomena that are not so easily explained, but whether you call it “cellular memories,” “past lives,” or releasing “old patterns,” I have found that there is something extraordinary happening that also brings welcome relief to the body and the spirit.

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Zen and the Art of Home Buying

| by Cheryl Shainmark

It used to be that buying a home – a house or condo – was one of the more fraught experiences we had as adults. People seem to move more frequently now, but I think for many of us it can still be stressful. It’s still one of the most expensive purchases many of us will ever make and, no matter how well researched, represents both a gamble… and a commitment. Most of us would be immobilized and still living in our first home if we really thought about it too much — so we do our due diligence and then take a deep breath, cross our fingers, and jump.

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Everything’s Coming Up Qi Gong

| by Cheryl Shainmark

Several weeks ago I went through a spate of night sweats and hormone induced tossing and turning that left me wide awake at 2:30 or 3:00 every morning, heart pounding from the surge of adrenaline and completely unable to fall back asleep…. Each wee hour I’d grab a fresh dry night shirt and plod downstairs, resigned to Law & Order reruns and arguing with the cats for four hours about why they couldn’t go outside right then. After several nights of this I decided that I really had to do something better with my time.

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If 50 is the new 30 then why do I have to exercise so much?

| by Cheryl Shainmark

I miss the ability to eat at will: sweets and nacho chips, macaroni and cheese, and sour cream on just about anything that wasn’t moving. I miss the metabolism that allowed me to burn off the extra calories with almost no effort. But most of all, I miss my natural athleticism: my body’s ability to do anything from walking to gardening, from the balance beam to Step aerobics, from hiking to swimming to bowling, all for hours on end and with nary a creak nor a protest. If 50 is the new 30, then why has no one informed my body?

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“Proof” and “Sense8”: New Shows That Explore Consciousness and Evolution

| by Cheryl Shainmark

I’m always up for a good show that investigates consciousness, the paranormal, or mankind’s possible evolution of greater mental powers, i.e, ESP, psychism, bending spoons, etc. Whether it’s Scully and Mulder outwitting Cancerman in their search for the truth, those hunky brothers who hunt for bad demons, or the young autistic boy who can predict events by focusing on numbers, I’m there with a bag of popcorn and the hope that this time, maybe, the show will have legs and maybe even offer, well — something new.

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Anchoring the Reality That We Want

| by Cheryl Shainmark

We’ve all experienced this phenomenon before: you’ve never heard of a particular item, idea, or person and then once you do you find it popping up all over the place. It’s as if the whole world (or at least everybody you know on Facebook), all got the same buzz at the same time. Of course, we all know that someone had to be “the first” — the first to think that thought, invent that item, do the research, say or do or discover something new — and that everybody else caught on later….

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