SIESTA! SIESTA!

I love taking naps! I mean it is one of my favorite afternoon rituals. When I traveled abroad in West Afrika the entire place shut down from like 12 noon to 2 pm to Siesta. They called it something else and I don’t remember…possibly something in French. Anyway, I think that most people really need to find a way to jump into a good little nap in the middle of the day…or possibly whenever they can. There are amazing health benefits:

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Siesta Facts

– More energy
– Improve productivity by over 30%
– Improve alertness by up to 100%
Reduce stress and the risk of heart disease by 34%
– Better negotiation and communication
– Reduce risk of accidents at work and on the road
– Happiness and wellbeing
– Warning – Possible slight risk of developing Diabetes Type 2

The Siesta has existed for thousands of years and was previously regarded as a physical necessity rather than a luxury. While the traditional Spanish style siesta can last for up to two hours to avoid the hottest part of the day, there is actually a biological need for people in all climates to have a short rest in the afternoon to revive energy levels. The form of rest recommended for health and productivity benefits is a short 10-20 minute nap, and not the 2 hour long siesta normally associated with Spain, enjoyable as that may be!
Research shows that the majority of people suffer from tiredness twice in every 24 hour period. We are what’s called Bi-phasic; we need two periods of sleep; a long one at night and a shorter one during the day. The early afternoon brings a drop in energy levels, not as severe as night time, but sufficient to make it difficult to concentrate and think clearly. By having a short nap we can help ourselves think more clearly by more productive and reduce the risk of heart disease. Tiredness can also be a cause of accidents. A short 10-20 minute nap is all that is needed to restore our concentration, alertness and improve productivity for the afternoon.

Biological need for naps

In recent years, studies have suggested that we have a biological need for afternoon naps. Contrary to popular belief, eating lunch does not bring on drowsiness, although a heavy lunch, carbohydrates and alcohol can make us more tired.

Our ‘biological clock’ regulates certain bodily functions such as blood pressure, heart rate, body temperature and hormonal secretions as well as telling us when we need to rest, to maintain health and wellbeing. The Circadian Rhythm regulates daily rhythms in the body. Studies show that there is a strong biological tendency for humans to become tired and possibly fall asleep in the early or mid afternoon as well as at night. It happens about 8 hours after we wake up in the morning. There is a drop in body temperature at this time too which may be more pronounced in men. The afternoon level of fatigue is not as pronounced as our night time pattern, but sufficient to reduce our effectiveness and performance.

If we do not get enough sleep at night time, then the need for another rest during the day is even greater. However, sleep deficiency in the long term can be a serious problem and medical help should be sought. Occasional late nights and loss of sleep can be recovered at weekends and by short naps, but should not be made a daily pattern. Napping does not make up for serious sleep deficiency.

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Research (published 2007) by Harvard School of Public Health in the US and the University of Athens Medical School conducted over a 6 year period with 24,000 men and women have found that a short nap in the early afternoon can reduce the risk of heart disease by 34%.

Warning

However research by the University of Birmingham and from Guanzhou Hospital in China has also shown in a study involving 16,480 people, that those who napped were 26% more at risk of getting Tpe 2 Diabetes than those who did not nap. Several factors which may be behind the link included disrupted night-time sleep and an association between napping and reduced physical activity. Apparently factors like genetics and being overweight are more significant in the possible development of Type 2 diabetes. Walking up from napping also activates hormones and mechanisms in the body that stop insulin working effectively. and this could predispose people to Type 2 Diabetes – which can develop when the insulin the body makes does not work properly. People who are overweight or obese and therefore more at risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes, can have problems sleeping. In terms of being major risk factors for developing Type 2 diabetes, disturbed sleep or napping are likely to remain less significant than already established risk factors such as being overweight, being over the age of 40 or having a history of diabetes in the family. Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/glasgow_and_west/7931508.stm also see: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/4957365/Taking-naps-increases-diabetes-risk.html Anyone concerned about their health or about developing Diabetes Type 2 should consult their doctor before adopting napping on a regular basis.

NASA has done studies for astronauts and pilots, to determine what the best sleep patterns are to maintain maximum performance. They discovered that after a short nap there was a 34% improvement in performance and 54% in alertness. Although these tests were performed for astronauts, the benefits would apply equally well to any industry. It is hard to imagine any other method of productivity enhancement having such profound effects.

In 1975 Dr Roger Broughton of the Universtity of Ottowa first proposed that naps were a natural part of the human sleep cycle. He found that, even after a full night’s sleep, people have a strong tendency to fall asleep in the early afternoon. When volunteers were put into a time-free environment, they tended to sleep in two time periods; one at night and another about twelve hours later in the early afternoon. The Circadian Rhythm of the body is actually 25 hours, so the sleep pattern in a time-free enviroment would get pushed forward an hour each day. We tend to ignore this for reasons of practicality and work routines by regulating our waking time to the same time each day. The second wave of tiredness happens about 8 hours after we wake up in the morning. So during the early afternoon between 1.30pm and 3.00pm we are likely feel tired again. A short nap of 10-20 minutes, can satisfy this desire for sleep and allow us to wake up feeling refreshed and much more alert.

Tests with volunteers have shown that a short nap can restore energy levels so they can take on more tasks, feel more alert and do significantly better in tests of mental performance.

How long should the nap be?

The ideal nap should be between 10-20 minutes.

Sleep has been found to follow a cycle where we go through five stages or depths of sleep. These are measured by muscle tone, eye movement and the electrical activity of the brain. Brain waves are measured according to speed with the quickest being Alpha-rhythms followed by the slower Beta-rhythms and the slowest being Theta and Delta.

One sleep cycle (which includes all five depths of sleep) lasts around 90 minutes and is repeated 5-6 times each night. Stage one is the transition from wakefulness to sleep which may last around 5 minutes. Stage two is characterised by slower breathing and heart rates and will last for up to 30 minutes, after which we enter stages 3 and 4 which are the deepest levels of sleep. Stage 5 brings REM and the dream state. To benefit from a short nap it is important that we do not enter the deepest stages of sleep. We need to wake up before we enter stage 3, otherwise we are likely to find it difficult to wake up again. When people experience grogginess after napping it is probably because they have over slept. If they are chronically over tired, they may pass more quickly to stage 3 sleep which will make it difficult to wake up. The short nap is not a replacement for proper night-time sleep. Anyone suffering from chronic fatigue or difficulty in sleeping at night should consult their doctor. The ideal length of time is between ten and twenty minutes although even two or three minutes can be beneficial. The use of a timer, mobile phone alarm or a nudge from a friend is encouraged to avoid over-sleeping.

Tradition

The siesta rest has origins in Islamic Law and is written about in the Koran. However the word siesta is Spanish, originating from the Latin “Hora Sexto” meaning “the sixth hour” (six hours from dawn is noon). Siesta means “midday rest”. Although Spain is often considered as having invented the ‘siesta’ it’s origins go back much further in history within Islam.

Romans had a regular siesta; it was considered to be a physical necessity rather than a luxury, but it is unlikely that they had a health policy that included this, as was the case in Islam.

The Spanish have become known for their liking for a long 2 hour siesta, but this was introduced centuries ago to allow their farmers to rest during the hottest part of the day. Consequently they work longer into the evening. Traditionally in Spain the siesta can last up to two hours or more. Firstly there will be a good lunch with friends or family then they will rest. Although tradition would have them go to bed in pyjamas, these days any sofa, bed or chair or shade will suffice and they may have a short nap as part of the overall siesta. However not all will have a sleep and the Spanish siesta is more about taking a break away from the heat of mid day sun.

Today, with modern equipment and most people working in air-conditioned offices, there is not the same need for a long siesta, so the Spanish are now trying to make less of it and adopt a working day schedule more in keeping with northern Europe. However, this does not mean that they do not need a short rest. The biological need for rest in the early afternoon applies to all people on all continents. Humans are mammals just as any cat, lion, cheetah, horse or dog and we are all bi-phasic; we need more than one session of sleep within a 24 hour period. All other mammals nap, yet many humans, particularly in the British and US cultures try to struggle through the natural tiredness that occurs about 8 hours after waking in the morning. By having just a 10-20 minute nap as part of our lunch break we can restore our energy levels for the afternoon and be far more productive and alert. The two hour siesta is no longer seen as necessary, but a 10-15 minute nap can do wonders for us all.
From: http://www.siestaawareness.com

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COMPERSION is the opposite of JEALOUSY! hmmmmmm

I interviewed Kenya K today on my Ustream channel. We were talking about Progressive Love.  I mean this woman really knows her SHIZ!  She asked me….Do you know what the opposite of jealous is?  Honestly, I never even thought about it.  She said… COMPERSION!  I was like…This I have to look up. So in my little googleing….that is how we research now…I stumbled upon this article that I thought I would share that demystifies this new word…well, at least to me:

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A crazy little thing called…

By Eric Francis

Compersion begins the first time we are turned on by someone else’s pleasure, or the idea of someone else’s love for anyone besides us. You may think this is totally out-to-lunch. But for some people it’s totally natural. There are those who are not the “jealous type,” and then there are those who just love love, no matter who’s it is. We all know it’s possible. We may have an idea of how good it would feel to dissolve into the safety, freedom and unconditional acceptance of our lovers and all that they are, including the other people that they may love, and how great it would feel to let them experience all that we are, including the other people we may love.

This way of being is called compersion.

We’ve all found ourselves in a corresponding reality at one time or another: trapped by love. Loving someone, feeling open and real with them and sensing it could last forever, and then, mysteriously, another soul enters the scene of our lives, conversations develop, minds meet, sexual interests may grow…we know that there’s not really a conflict, or that there should not be one…but there is, or seems to be…and we are left with a huge question of what to do, because our present partner will probably just freak out if we tell them about our experience. And the contradiction is that the experience of this new person is so good. It is so real. And yet it threatens to destabilize what we call love.

When informed that love is growing with someone outside of a primary relationship, most people are, at first, unlikely to respond with compersion. They may not quite be washed over with joy and tell you that your love for this other person is thoroughly beautiful. Usually, at first, people respond with fear — usually, the fear of loss of control. And it’s that control that we are called upon to give up when we embrace compersion.

If what I hear is true, then a lot of people reading this are already getting nervous. The idea of allowing our partner to be free may seem like a wild concept, the last thing we would ever do. Visions of this person, our very lover, in another person’s arms, can burn through us like hot coals. But more to the point, the whole idea of really feeling our feelings without denial or resistance is a daring thing in itself. For so much of what we call love is really about resistance, and hiding who we are, and possessing the other and hence ignoring their reality, and judging ourselves for being imperfect because we are so controlling. Hardly what you could call the divine light of freedom. But many people feel that freedom is dangerous.

Now, relationships are complicated enough without adding other people to the equation. Yet these other people seem to somehow add themselves. We notice them in this insanely isolated, fragmented world we live in, especially so because the way we create our relationships is extremely isolating, in a time in history in which we so desperately need community. So when people we really like show up in our jobs and in our email boxes and move into apartments next door, when we pick up on their scent and want to include them in our lives, it’s not something we typically want to resist or hide from the world. It’s something to celebrate.

Having noticed reality, we may feel a need to keep going, to keep exploring. We need to allow ourselves to be free. And this will take work. We need to teach people to love us for who we are. We need to learn compersion for others — to feel and express the love that loves them for who they are. This is not as hard as it sounds. And taking the journey is all the more appealing if we realize that all the fear and insecurity that emerged when a second love interest entered the picture were already there all along, a kind of festering toxin we were living with in a secret shadow world that always seemed to haunt the relationship. When the light is brought in, and the toxins are purged, and we are seen for who we are, we can really begin living.

So one thing you can count on, if you are in a situation where you need to teach another person compersion, is that they may relate to the fact that it’s better to be alive than dead. And the only way they can love you is when they are alive. That means really free. Really understanding and aware and loving you, not an image they have of you. And you need to learn to love them, not an image you have of them. It is tricky. It is challenging. But it is possible.

Compersion is an idea that emerged from something called the “polyamorous” culture, a segment of society in which people openly choose to have more than one committed lover. In such arrangements, it obviously becomes necessary to work through jealousy, but in the early days of the polyamorous movement, something else was discovered: once jealousy was understood and hearts opened, great feelings of warmth, pleasure and appreciation became available at the idea of peoples’ partners loving others. In other words, the bliss of love and sexual ecstasy would expand in a wave-like ripple. When people drop their guard and just feel, so much pleasure is possible — more than we ever imagined.

Sure, other stuff comes up, but it was already there, and it’s as though love is washing it out of us so that we can really be free. And that other stuff — resentment, anger, fear of abandonment, and the rest — all needs to come up in order to give the relationship a chance to have life. Swept under the rug, these things are far more damaging.

Growing through them is a process. It’s relatively easy go get turned on witnessing another human being’s ecstasy or erotic joy. It’s a lot more challenging to live with the implications this experience seems to have in our relationships, and is part of the delicate walk of negotiating our sense of security in the universe. We don’t want to lose this other person who is so dear to us, whether we lose them to another person, or because they can’t deal with their fear of losing us.

Love, as we often define it, is usually considered to be an exclusive rather than inclusive game. Someone loves you and therefore doesn’t love anyone else. But when you add it up, this usually comes out to a loss, because in our short visits to the planet, in a healthy state of mind, we might want to love everyone who is righteous and true, and to return the love of everyone who touches our hearts, and call that safety and nothing else. For living in the constant fear of loss and betrayal is hardly safety; it is hardly the security we say we seek; it is a setup for total paranoia, but strangely, sadly, it’s called love.

And as for sex — it’s no big secret that we’re turned on by many people. But it’s only been the “moral high ground” of certain, let’s say, social movements, that has instigated the idea anything but strict heterosexual monogamy and sex for reproduction only is permissible. In this world, do we need to live by these ancient codes? Well, not if we are honest.

It is true that if one’s lover has sex with another person, or even gets close to another person, they may choose to be with that person and not you. And this is a possibility we have to face no matter what. Living the way of compersion brings this to the surface where we can see it and work with it.

Yet remember that more often, jealousy has nothing to do with one’s partner actually having sex or sharing love outside the relationship. It is about the imagined fear of loss. We can become jealous at the mere idea or suspicion of this, or at our partner’s fantasies, and even at the love shared with him or herself. In plenty of relationships people stop masturbating (and creating art or music or writing or taking long walks in the woods) because it’s perceived as a threat by their partner. And that is not life.

Compersion takes us to the next realm beyond. It is about being with and appreciating our partners for their desires, dreams, wishes and their personal journey to selflove. It’s about being real, and having relationships as real people.

And how do we get there?

Start by telling the truth. This is what we need anyway. Sharing this truth we possess in our hearts, the essence of our being, is supposedly why we got involved with this other person in the first place. It’s important to tell the truth gently, clearly and without the fear or the intention of hurting the other person, but not holding back, either. Then, because we are claiming the birthright of love, we must love them through their reactions and responses. This is a commitment it’s best to go into the situation with. And we must love ourselves through their reactions, which is to say, not feeling guilty about who we are. So listen carefully, and let your partner own his or her feelings.

We must be ready to put love — real love, which I am calling compersion — above any given relationship. So we must, on one level, be ready to let go of those relationships in which we cannot be free, if what we seek is the freedom to be who we are. This does not hold just for sex and affection; it holds for those walks in the woods and those paintings that never get painted and the short stories that never get written. It has to do with not living where we want and not following all our other dreams. It is all part of the same thing, and it never ceases to amaze me to what extent sexual freedom parallels all these other freedoms. And freedom means that change is possible; freedom by definition implies change.

In the context of a close relationship where these matters arise, it’s important to stay focused on selflove. Selflove is the basis of all love anyway. If the process of your relationship is moving toward compersion, what you may notice is that sex with your primary partner was never hotter. Aware of the potential for change, we tend to appreciate what we have ever more. So enjoy these enhanced experiences, and don’t expect them to end as long as you’re really being honest, because honesty leads to intimacy and intimacy is a good doorway to erotic passion.

But selflove is an extraordinarily powerful tool in this process. I suggest you masturbate together, one at a time, without touching. This will assist greatly when both partners are willing to work through a jealous crisis because it creates a very clear picture that the other is sexually independent of us. And it is a fairly easy vision of sexual independence to see the beauty in. Let your erotic energy and that of your partner wash away the fear, the discord, the pain and the insecurity of what you once called love.

Feel, if you can, how how erotic a jealous experience can be. When you are feeling jealous, swim into the core of the experience. Encourage your partner to do the same. Help them if you can. Right inside the jealous episode is a fiery core of erotic passion. It may surprise you how good it feels, and if you get there, you can be sure you’re stepping right into compersion.

Last — or actually first — ask for help. Talk to understanding friends who you know will not encourage you to lie about your feelings, or judge you for being honest. But if you are on a spiritual path, ask your inner teacher for help. Whether you call this teacher the Goddess, God, the Holy Spirit, angels or by any other name, the only way spiritual agency responds is if we open the door. The movement from jealousy to compersion is one of the most direct spiritual paths there is, because we are learning so much of what spiritual programs attempt to teach: unconditional love, surrender, forgiveness, freedom, safety, and, most important, loving the way Spirit loves us: equally with everyone else. Loving this way may be the only spiritual lesson there is.

We know we live in a harshly moralistic society which serves to deny creativity, love and pleasure at every turn. The very fact of being willing and daring to explore another person’s sexual responses, ideas, desires, feelings and realities is a challenge to this morality and control. To do so outside the bounds of a one-on-one relationship is even more daring, but, it seems, for many people, to be an inevitability.++

What do you think?

Product Reviews: Raw Power Superfood Blend!

Raw Power! Protein Superfood Blend – Original (Vegan, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free)

by Alisa Fleming

The second I saw the name Thor Bazler at the helm of Raw Power, I was sold. Seriously, that is a very cool name for someone who produces protein and nutritional supplements. But behind the name lies a company that is very passionate about quality.

Raw Power is of course raw, vegan, certified organic, and made with a crazy load of superfoods, including Maca, Goji Berries, Brazil Nuts, Hemp, Mesquite, and … wait, that’s everything. Yes, no fillers of any kind; this is truly a whole food powder.

I heard about this product from a press release stating that they had increased the protein content by over 30%. Since my husband and I were about to embark on a new fitness program, and I needed some good dairy-free sources of protein, I decided to give it a go.

In terms of the protein levels, I think it is excellent for a post-workout recovery drink or for spiking an energy smoothie with a bit of protein and some high antioxidant ingredients. One serving previously had 8 grams of protein, but they have upped it to 10.5 grams. Since I was fairly new to protein powders, I was surprised that one serving was basically 1/4 cup, quite a bit! At first, I was a bit stifled, because I couldn’t find serving instructions anywhere on the package. Luckily they were on the site, 2 scoops (1 serving) of Raw Power in 12 ounces of water … or of course you can make a smoothie with it.
Raw Power Protein Supplement

To give it the run through, I tried it with just water first. Since it has some hemp protein powder in it, there was a little bit of that sandy texture, but it was much smoother overall than pure hemp protein powder. I put it in my “sippy cup” with a lid, which was good to shake it up as I drank it, since a little bit tends to settle. The taste wasn’t really sweet or bitter, but it wasn’t bad. I found it drinkable, but not something I would crave. However, some juice, almond milk with a little sweetener, or a fruit smoothie took it up to that pleasure level. It did add some texture and thickness, along with the slightest berry and nutty notes to the overall beverages, which was nice. Since I am a newbie to protein powders, the full blown smoothie was still my preferred medium for Raw Power, but the others were pleasant enough.

But when we were about halfway through the canister, an idea came to mind. I keep seeing all of those chocolate bars spiked with goji and maca and the latest superfood of the month … why not make my own? So, with a good chunk of dark Callebaut chocolate in hand, I melted it down, let it cool, and stirred in a serving of Raw Power. I poured the chocolate into some silicone muffin tins, put them in the freezer for about an hour, and viola … homemade Superfood Chocolate! While you could still detect a little bit of that hemp grit, it was overall very delicious, and a great way to enjoy all of the latest names in antioxidants if you ask me.
Raw Power Protein Supplement

Some more pluses about Raw Power … though it is made from hemp and brazil nuts, it is pretty low in fat, just 2g per servings. Since most people using protein powders are seeking lean protein (including myself!), I was happy to see this. Unlike many protein powders it also has a good does of carbs, which I actually like. They say the perfect ratio for a recovery drink is 4:1 of carbohydrates to protein. With this in mind, blending one 1 serving of Raw Power with 1 cup of orange juice or a banana (and some water) will yield a good ratio for post-workout. Also, I like that the protein is from pure raw foods. Many proteins powders are from concentrates or isolates, removing the protein from its source.

When purely protein is my goal, I do reach for something with more lean protein per ounce, but for a whole food nutritional supplement, I am definitely impressed with the make-up of Raw Power. Raw Power also comes in Vanilla, Chocolate, and Green (with barley grass powder) varieties, but thus far, I have only tried the original.

This is a third party review by Alisa Fleming, author of Go Dairy Free: The Guide & Cookbook. For more information or to purchase this product, visit Chef Skai’s ONLINE STORE!