Five Things that are Healthier the Natural Way

“The closer you get to the way God made it,” someone once told me, “the healthier it is.” With the exception of raw meat–I’d rather not host parasites, God-given or not–I’ve found this to be increasingly true over time.

Here’s a list of 5 things that are healthier when done naturally. Things I hadn’t even thought of until I took time away from philosophy to think about them.

 

1) Food

Well, duh. You might think. Of course natural food is better. Anything with corn syrup or sugar isn’t going to be too healthy. My personal revelation, however, has very little to do with waist-lines and diet plans. I recently realized that the way something is (or is not) cooked has a huge impact on its nutrition.

There are a few foods, like garlic and spinach, which seem to be healthier when uncooked. Yet there are others, like fish and meats, that need to be grilled in order to rid it of parasites or fat.

It amazes me that choosing either to steam or boil your dish could have a different impact on the nutritional value!

Not only that, but local grown food seems to be the healthier choice. Local grown foods (like local honey) can help build an immunity to pollen during allergy season and are free from foreign bacteria and parasites that might sneak into food flown from place to place.

Eating local grown or caught food also may help suffering fish and animal populations in the long run. Several species of fish are going extinct due to over fishing. Perhaps sticking to our local fish for a while may give them the chance to flourish again?

 

2) Hair Colour

Deciding to go blonde over the summer was a terrible idea. Not only did I have trouble pulling it off, but my hair was left insanely damaged.

Whoops.

After murdering my hair by dying it the day after to cover up the mistake, I found out that there is a range that needs to be considered when dying hair. You need to dye within three shades of your natural colour.

So for someone like me, someone born with dark brown hair, going blonde is a terrible idea. Conditioner’s been able to slightly ressurect my hair and I’ve learned a lot from the experiment, sure, but it seems like hair has its own limits and I, for one, am going to be loathe to push past them again.

(Not to say that you shouldn’t dye past three shades of your natural colour. Just be sure to look into it and or get a stylist’s help. Hair is actually very important in people’s perception of you–believe it or not–and so it’s very important to care for it properly.)

 

3) Communication

I hate talking on the phone or in person–I’m an introvert that way, I suppose. The interesting thing, however, is that talking over text or e-mail is much more difficult.

At first, you would probably disagree. I know several people who argue that over text and e-mail they’re able to say things they would never say in person. They know some people better over the internet than they do in person. That may be true, of course, but there is a catch to texting and e-mailing: you don’t get to see a person’s facial expression.

A person’s facial expression, or the tone of their voice, are very important. They help us to judge and to understand the person with whom we are interacting with.

But wait. You might say. I don’t want to judge anyone! That’s not right.

Unfortunately, despite what we preach about judging others, our brains automatically judge and categorize them so that we can make subconscious decisions toward them.

Do I trust this person? Are they dangerous? Are they approachable? Are they like me?

No matter how hard we try, we will always analyze these questions and more when meeting a person–often subconsiously.

A great deal of how we make this judgement is actually by appearance. Studies show that people who mirror other people’s actions while interacting them are actually seen positively. Also, certain facial features (such as pinched browns or frowns) can be precieved as aggressive despite a person’s actions.

In e-mail and text, however, we can’t see the person and so we run into the danger of making up the facial expressions–or sometimes even their appearance.

This is why you may have a misunderstanding with a friend over a text you wrote. You might write a long invitation to a party and she’ll write back, “k.” Not knowing her expressions or actions–or even how she says this–you may think that she’s being aloof and disinterested. Perhaps she’s insanely busy, though. Or what if she has a horrible phone for texting?

 

4) Exercise

The note here isn’t just that “exercise is healthy and you should do it.” I already knew that.

What I found interesting was that certain exercises, such as swimming and running, are seen as healthier for you. Most of the articles I read, also, suggested treadmill or running outside as opposed to machines. Perhaps this is because they’re more natural?

Another thing I found is that exercise alone isn’t what burns calories. It’s the time you spend sedentary versus the time you’re up and moving. Sitting still for too long doesn’t seem good for you. So stretching every once in a while or taking a walk or playing with your dog are better choices than watching a day-long Law and Order Marathon (as much as I love Law and Order: Criminal Intent… 😦 )

 

5) Beauty

The more I read about beauty tips, the more I learn that natural is the best way. Certain makeup can massacre your skin and styling your hair tends to damage it–unless you use heat-protectant spray, I suppose?

There’s nothing wrong with dressing up, in my opinion, but what I’ve been learning is that we need to give our bodies some time off every once in a while.

Not only that, but a big part of beauty seems to be caring for oneself. I always thought that “Beauty Sleep” was a joke, a myth, but it’s actually true. The skin needs time to recover and it does this while sleeping. So a lack of sleep actually damages your appearance.

Also, eating healthy is a big part of hair and skin care. So far, the main suggestions for healthy eating with regard to improving the hair and skin seem to be fish and nuts.

It also amazes me that many beauty specialists advocate smiling and laughing daily. Apparently the body and the soul are closer connected than Descartes may have proposed. 🙂

Dreams Versus Aspirations

Working at McDonald’s is teaching me that “Dreams” and “Aspirations” aren’t the same things–even though we sometimes use the words interchangeably.

 

Dreams are ideas we like–ideas of ourselves, of where we want to be, of how the world should be–but don’t strive toward. Dreams can be simple, but more often, they are far-fetched and difficult to reach.

A perfect example of a dream is the slothful McDonald’s worker who claims they will “be rich when [they] grow up” or will “be going to college someday.”

People with dreams are like Eugene O’Neill’s “Jimmy Tomorrow.” They want something but they don’t plan for it.

“I’ll have it/do it someday,” they say, “but not today.”

 

Aspirations, however, are goals that we want to reach.

There are three differences between having a dream of becoming a doctor and aspiring to become a doctor. Aspiring to become a doctor means that you have researched (or are willing to research) how to become a doctor, you are on the path to become a doctor and you are willing to pull yourself over and around obstacles to become one.

These are the McDonald’s workers who tell you, “I’m doing this to cover college expenses for now” or “I’m saving up money for medical school.” They view their undesirable situation as a stepping stool rather than a job–and yet they’re often the harder workers.

 

Hopefully you don’t just have dreams, hopefully you have aspirations that you are working toward.

A Christian Guide to Changing the World

It is a universally accepted fact that no one is completely satisfied with the world as it is. There is always something wrong, something broken–no matter your beliefs or political affiliation. This is one of the reasons why people are always pushing for change or advancement.

We aren’t satisfied with the world we have.

Now, that’s certainly not a bad thing since this world–in the Christian perspective–is broken and we are awaiting the coming of a new–perfect–world. Of course, this opinion becomes a bad thing if the response to it is moping. You can’t just complain that the world isn’t perfect–you have to, at least, try to change it. But how do you change the world in a Christian way?

Through God, of course.

Although, it isn’t fair to pray for a few seconds, sit on your couch, watch television and then complain that God isn’t answering your prayers. There’s a part of the work you have to do too.

You have to observe.

Look at nature, look at pre-existing work in your field–regardless if it’s Christian or not. God is the Lord of all creativity, of all nature, and He makes Himself known in all things–even if his reflections in these broken mirrors is perverted. It is then your job to pull God out of this perversion, dust Him off, and allow Him to shine with the original strength He intended.

Take, for example, Doctor David Hyde’s attempt to change the world through Zebrafish. For years, Hyde was searching for a cure for macular degeneration but he found a possible cure in the strangest place: in Zebrafish. Unlike human retinas, Zebrafish retina repair themselves when damaged. By noticing the curious ability that God gave these fish and through researching them, Hyde could be able to change the world.

God gave us all the materials we need to turn the world on its head, we just need to be diligent in seeking for them.

The Deer Syndrome

The heart of Colorado beats with wild-life. Mountain Lions, bears, skunks, dragons–you name it, we’ve seen it.

Especially deer.

Driving to work, it’s not uncommon to see a family of deer crossing the street–especially since the recent fires have chased them away from home. I’ll be honest: I never used to care about deer. My mother or father would usher me over to the window with an ecstatic, “LOOK, THERE’S ONE IN THE BACKYARD,” but I would usually respond out of obligation rather than genuine interest.

Until today.

Today, it dawned on me that I have more in common with deer than I thought. I suffer from The Deer Syndrome. Psychologists have probably given the condition a fancier name, but I think I’ll stick with this one.

How To Know If You Are Suffering from Deer Syndrome:

Doe especially seem to run from everything

1) People suffering from Deer Syndrome, or deer as they are commonly referred to,  are always at the bottom of the food chain.
Like actual deer, people suffering from Deer Syndrome don’t fight back. They don’t argue. Rather than try and smack an attacker in the face, they prefer to run away from conflict.
This often puts them at the bottom of the food chain. People take advantage of them because it’s common knowledge that they won’t fight back. They’re easy prey.

2) Things that probably shouldn’t frighten deer actually do.
The hint of a frown on someone’s face can drive a person suffering from Deer Syndrome crazy. They dwell on the opinions and thoughts of others, uncomfortable unless they know the other person is happy. Just like real deer who tense at the slightest rustle of leaves, these people are always tense, always anxious and almost always miserable when they think others are on edge.

3)  Putting Deer on the spot is a terrible idea.

Why hello there

Have you ever seen a deer stuck infront of a car’s headlights?
They freeze.
People suffering from Deer Syndrome end up this way when shoved into the middle of a conflict or, sometimes, when the attention is focused on them and them alone. They have no idea what to do. They break down. They break. They stop working. And, unless the driver of the conflict decides to swerve and hurt themselves, the person suffering from Deer Syndrome will be hit.
Hard.

 

Rat’s Nest

Ever since I’ve started on this mindfulness journey, my inner scholar has been suffering. Well, not actually suffering. That’s not the right word choice. Perhaps struggling is better. I’m not entirely sure what to write about any more as ideas seem to crop up everywhere–but I never really have the time to analyze or dissect them before more appear.

Is this how normal people think?

It’s so strange.

Moses and the Pharaoh

Regardless, within my rat’s nest of personal insight, I noticed something interesting about God’s methods in the old testaments. Often, He will send his people out to do a task despite knowing full well that their efforts will fail. For example, He sends the prophets out with a message and tells them, “but no one will listen.” Also, when He sends Moses out to speak with Pharaoh, Moses knows full well that the Pharaoh isn’t going to let the Israelites go.

But he sends them out anyway.

Methodists would probably call this Prevenient Grace, a grace that God shows to

Noah

all people regardless of whether they’ll accept it or not. Knowing full well that his words will be ignored, God sends prophets out to warn his people about the consequence of their actions. Knowing full well that his gospel will be rejected, God sends his people out to spread this news with others.

In the old testament, there is another recurring theme that fascinates me.

“Search [Israel] to see/If you can find a man,/one who does justice/and seeks truth/then I may parden her.” (Jeremiah 5:1)

God never lets those who seek him perish. Never. Whether it be the story of Lot or Noah or Jeremiah, God never forgets nor overlooks those who follow him. Instead, the presence of one of these faithful people has the possibility of saving the whole of Israel–or even the human race.

However, human beings do not naturally do justice nor seek truth. We become slaves to our own ideas of justice and truth–it is INCREDIBLY easy as a human being to be blinded from reality–and follow them, however unintentionally, placing ourselves above God. We make our own Gods, often, and mistakenly follow after them–even if we think we’re following the one true God.

Often, when God speaks, He gives us words we do not wish to hear and so, like the people who heard the prophets, we respond violently. We convince ourselves that God would never say such a thing, that a God that says such things shouldn’t be allowed to exist, that whoever carried His message must be mistaken.

Isn’t it funny how things work?

Lost Importance of the Physical

In a culture focused on perfect features and political correctness, there are many things we have lost.

The importance of our own bodies for example.

Of course, we pay attention to our bodies when they can serve us in a certain way. We’ll look into how to dye our hair efficiently or how to prevent wrinkles, we’ll make our way to the gym once or twice a week and starve ourselves on salads–but as a culture we tend to praise the mind above all else.

“It doesn’t matter how you look,” we say, “it only matters how you act.”

In movies, in games, in books, our characters are near flawless, with beautiful, sweatless figures.

It’s no wonder we have trouble accepting our bodies when the only importance we give them–looking impossibly beautiful–is a goal impossible to reach.

We must learn to not only accept who we are, but rejoice in it. This isn’t to say that we shouldn’t take care of our bodies or refuse to wear makeup, but it is to say that everyone sweats, everyone bleeds and no one is free from the physical realm–so we might as well embrace it.

As Christians, we need this lesson more than ever. Often we reject the physical in exchange for the spiritual, but God, himself, formed our bodies and our world. He not only made us minds, but bodies as well. Why should we reject one gift and extol another?

 

Confidence

“The cleverest of all, in my opinion, is the man who calls himself a fool at least once a month.”
–Fyodor Dostoevsky

 

I haven’t the slightest idea of what confidence should be. The one thing I have come to realize, however, is that it cannot be a feeling.

If confidence is a feeling, I am royally screwed over.

Often I will feel confident about getting one thing right (keeping the Drive-thru line at McDonald’s moving quickly, for example) but doing a single thing wrong (messing up on one person’s order) will shatter this feeling all-together.

I can’t be perfect.

Hopefully, then, confidence is not just a feeling. Hopefully it’s a choice in behavior rather than a feeling–or else my life will become one big rollercoaster of slight confidence and depression.

More On Martial Arts Films

No genre, I believe, conveys simple life truths as well as Martial Art Films.

Take, for example, the classic Martial Art training scene.

When being trained to become a warrior, the protagonist hardly ever practices in a way we might recognize. Instead of spending hours practicing their combat skills, the protagonists often squeeze rocks or wash cars or, in the case of Kung Fu Panda, try to eat a meal.

It is this training that makes the protagonist the great warrior. The worthy warrior. The only warrior able to defeat the antagonist.

I’m beginning to think that Philosophy is like that.

As a lab rat (see Archetype Analysis: Lab Rat) myself, I find myself more focused on books and ideas than life. But philosophy is the love of knowledge and knowledge, whether I like it or not, comes from life and life experiences.

Famous philosophers observed things around them–they didn’t stay stuck in their own minds. I’m willing to best that famous authors are the same way. They lived life and then wrote about it.

I need to do that.

So starting today I’m going to take a break from Philosophy texts, from popular fiction–just for the remainder of the summer, anyway–and focus on life, try to understand it, to see it, without relying on other people’s interpretations.

How can I expect to contribute to the world if I’ve never spent the time to become familiar with it?