Detox…

As with most other Earthly inhabitants, and as with most years, January is always a month of reflection, reflecting on the events of last year and the plans and anticipation for the year to come, along with the perennial screaming pleas from the weighing machine to “get the f*ck off me!”

I spent sixteen days off over the Yuletide period with the family, with good quality time alongside everyone that was allowed to be around the table, around the table. As is customary, we ate too much, drank in moderation but often and put on the inevitable hip inches. It’s allowed.

Now that the festivities are well and truly behind me, I instantly turned to my rack of well-being books, naturally gravitating to the paleo and meat-free tomes as a way to start shredding the excess pounds. As I did that though, my higher-self seemed to stop me dead in my tracks, as my lower-self was sending a very loud and clear message that other things needed to be considered this time.

My material body is in pain, as penned my times before over the years and in my last post, my tinnitus is absolutely raging at the moment and my recent venture into “mushroom stacking” wasn’t the only thing required to abate my invisible and subjective malady.

As the first few days in January are quiet, I took to the internet and discussions with my hippy friends to see whether other things may be needed. Commence Operation Detox!

Research and chatter has revealed that tinnitus is thought to be an inflammation of the inner ear (among other things) so a diet avoiding items that inflame to body (wheat being a classic example, our ancestral DNA was never meant to take it from the beginning, the agricultural revolution really does have a lot to answer for!) and to take items that are rich in anti-oxidants was the way to go. Not only that, but sodium also has a part to play in the downfall of our well oiled meat machine, too much salt can also play unwanted tin whistle tunes inside the head it seems.

Why didn’t I take the blue pill…

Not only am I now taking a variety of supplements as outlined above (left stack of Lion’s Mane and Niacin for tinnitus – right stack of vitamin D3 and zinc for Covid prevention – yes it’s a thing!), my mind-body-soul coach “L” suggested that I get onto Anthony William (aka the Medical Medium), who has an interesting backstory of contacting “the other side” to provide nutritional advice to his clients and the general public. One of the main approaches in the morning is to kick start the detox process by consuming a flagon of celery juice. Let’s see what state the guts are in over the coming weeks, clean and gurgle-free I hope.

Juice Dalek…

So here we are at the start of the New Year, regressing to a well established, free to all (no subscription required) and age old lifestyle and optimized way of life. Ladies and gentlemen, let me re-introduce you to The Mediterranean Diet!

Before launching into what that entails, two things spring to mind. Firstly, my wife lived in Sicily for a number of years before we met and recalled this morning that her diet / lifestyle whilst there was great and her joie de vive was never better (youth playing its part of course!). Secondly, I reminded myself to watch the video below, which was a Ted Talk I saw a few years back which gave some insights into several studies completed from various parts of the world, including Sardinia which for the geographically challenged is an island slap bang in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. Whether we actually want to live to one hundred is a moot point, the take-aways from the talk are well worth taking note of:

The Mediterranean Lifestyle

Whilst the focus on the below is a scientific approach to food and drink, lifestyle choices do go beyond diet. As Dan mentions above, exercise (especially the use of natural techniques and not putting the body under too much strain/pressure), mindfulness (in whatever form of that suits) and community (traditional ways of exchanging ideas and information via verbal dialogue and body language, not via technology) all play their part too in the enjoyment and fulfillment of life as a whole.

Live well, live longer…

The Mediterranean Diet:

A diet that is high in healthy plant foods and relatively low in animal foods (although eating fish and seafood is recommended at least twice a week) is a good rule of thumb to bring optimized nutrition. The following outlines the basic principles of what to eat and what to avoid:

Eat Often: Vegetables (tomatoes, broccoli, kale, spinach, onions, cauliflower, carrots,, sprouts, cucumbers, fruits (apples, bananas, oranges, pears, strawberries, grapes, dates, figs, melons, peaches), nuts & seeds (almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds), legumes (beans, peas, lentils, pulses, peanuts, chickpeas), tubers (potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, yams), whole grains (Whole oats, brown rice, rye, barley, corn, buckwheat, whole wheat, whole-grain bread and pasta), herbs & spices (garlic, basil, mint, rosemary, sage, nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper), fish & seafood (salmon, sardines, trout, tuna, mackerel, shrimp, oysters, clams, crab, mussels), healthy fats (extra virgin olive oil, olives, avocados and avocado oil), water & wine (red wine – one glass maximum per day) and tea (herbal or black tea without milk or sugar).

Eat Moderately: Poultry (chicken, duck, turkey), eggs (chicken, quail and duck eggs), cheese & yogurt (cheese, Greek yogurt).

Eat Rarely: Red meat (beef, pork, lamb, venison).

Never Eat: Sugar-sweetened food and beverages (incl. table sugar), processed meats (sausages, hot dogs), refined grains (white bread, pasta made with refined wheat), refined oils (Soybean oil, canola oil, cottonseed oil and others) and other highly processed foods (incl. those marked “low-fat” or “diet”, butter/margarine and various processed foods.

Low-Sodium Diet

A low-sodium diet limits foods that are high in sodium (salt). Following a low-sodium diet will reduce the likelihood of high blood pressure, kidney disease, heart failure and hopefully in my case, tinnitus. We still need sodium in our diets for the salts lost during exercises and trips to the toilet, but moderating our in take is something to consider.

Salt – not worth its – well salt…

The recommended daily limit of sodium will vary depend on factors like gender and age, but generally speaking the daily recommendation is between 1.5g – 2g per day.

Nowadays, food labels tend to display the sodium they contain and a quick walk down the aisles at Morrison’s this morning revealed the same so it does become easier to calculate and regulate should you wish to be scientific about it.

Foods that have less than 5% of the daily limit of sodium are considered low in salt. Foods that have 20% or more of the daily limit of sodium are considered high in salt, and the following lists which food to avoid:

Processed Foods: Mixes for bread, biscuits, cake, and pudding, ready meals.

Instant Foods: Packet mash, cereals, noodles, and rice.

Packaged Foods: Stuffing, rice and pasta mixes, snack dip mixes, and macaroni and cheese.

Canned Foods: Canned vegetables, soups, broths, sauces, and vegetable or tomato juice.

Snack Food: Potato chips, popcorn, pretzels, pork scratchings, salted crackers, and salted nuts

Frozen Food: Ready meals, entrees, vegetables with sauces, and breaded meats
Meats / Cheeses: Smoked or cured meat, such as corned beef, bacon, ham, hot dogs, and sausage, canned meats or spreads, such as potted meats, sardines, anchovies, and imitation seafood, delicatessen or lunch meats, such as bologna, ham, turkey, and roast beef, processed cheese spreads

Condiments & Seasonings: Limit use of salt, such as such as garlic salt, celery salt, onion salt, and table salt salt. Regular soy sauce, barbecue sauce, teriyaki sauce, steak sauce, Worcestershire sauce, flavored vinegars, ketchiup and especially monosodium glutamate (MSG)

Bread and cereal: Choose breads with less than 80 mg of sodium per serving.

To keep the flavours up during cooking, replace salt with herbs and spices to foods instead of salt during cooking. No one wants to eat bland food, else the mind will wander quite easily over to the cookie jar (though if the above is put in practice, then it would be fine as it will be empty!).

Time will of course tell whether the above actions yield the positive outcomes and planned noise reductions inside my noggin, if at first you don’t succeed…

My Mycelium…

One of the big takeaways from my inaugural foraging trip last year was just how incredible mushrooms are.

Not only do they possess their own kingdom (neither animal, vegetable nor mineral) which is impressive in itself, but, when the right ones are consumed (and there are plenty of poisonous ones out there to be avoided), they provide many benefits, including mind (neurogenesis creating/repairing neural pathways), body (nutritional boosts via vitamins and anti-oxidants) and soul (altered states of consciousness leading to an improved human experience).

Whilst I’ll come back to the mycelium later, stoned ape theory and psychedelics in future posts, it’s clear that my friends and family have cottoned on to the fact that I’m looking to grow more of my own produce more this year.

As a result, I received not one but two “grow-your-own-mushrooms” kits, one which cultivates oyster mushrooms via old/used coffee grounds, and a second which grows the standard breakfast white mushrooms via mycelium soaked wood chippings.

I decided to start off with the white mushrooms and got quite excited to unbox it and get mushrooming.

Arch-Duc White Mushroom Kit (£15.99 on Amazon)…
Don’t’ eat the orange one…
Instructions for the polyglot…
First peak inside…
Step-by-step guide to fungi food…
The substrate, mycelium-based wood clippings…
Small bag of peat…
Operation Pete completed…
100ml of misted water…
Plastification…
Safely ensconced on top of the kitchen cupboard…

I have become patient in terms of waiting to harvest the fruits (and vegetables/herbs) of my cultivation activities (apropos my smart garden) so will do the same for the mushrooms.

Can’t wait to taste them in twenty-three days from now.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I have suffered from tinnitus for almost three decades now and from time to time, spikes over a period of several weeks can negatively influence my mood, stress and sleep patterns.

I have habituated this well over time (on the basis that I had no other option as there is no cure for tinnitus) but was interested to find that mushrooms may be the answer.

Known as the ‘Mushroom of Immortality’, Lion’s Mane mushroom is one of the most important Chinese herbs and is a symbol of success, power and longevity.

Its benefits allegedly include the stimulation of nerve growth (reparation and new), especially in the brain, and as tinnitus is likely to be the noise generated by misfiring neurons connected to the synapses in the ears, and if damaged neural pathways can be repaired, then in theory the noises in side my head (excluding the voices, that’s a different topic altogether!) can diminished or be silenced.

There is also the notion that vitamin D3 can be stacked with the Lion’s Mane too and I have started taking this too today.

The final part of the stack is the micro-dosing of psilocybin mushrooms, which in small quantities again may also have curative powers, re-wiring the brain and improving perception of the five (and possibly sixth) senses. Clearly the untaxable and criminalised acquisition of such mushrooms is illegal in the UK (and most of the world), so my stack may just contain a double not a treble…

In darkness, look to the light…

We can guarantee that as each day dawns, the darkness of the night will inevitably give in to the light of the day, and with it the opportunity to refresh. Photosynthesis would simply not exist if the intergalactic “F5 button” wasn’t pressed every twelve hours and as a result nor would we (on the basis that life is not an illusion of course).

Conclusion: We need light.

I have recently started to re-watch the nineteen-eighties cartoon Dungeons & Dragons with my daughter as it was a personal favourite of mine many decades ago, and the first sitting saw us take in three episodes:

  • The Night of No Tomorrow
  • Eye of the Beholder
  • The Hall of Bones

As a child I looked forward to coming home from school (can’t remember which day of the week it was) knowing that a new episode was on. I would later go on to develop a love affair for Gary Gygax (his creative outputs rather than his physical form) and took up pencil, paper, maps, dice and lead figures – all accompanied by his trusty Dungeon Masters Guide and Monster Manual. Days would go by where my friends and I would get lost in Forgotten Realms, setting forth upon quest after quest, gaining experience points and magical items at speed, all suffering real-life bouts of depression if any of our party was killed by a gnarly beast.

As we sat on the sofa, her eyes were fixed on the TV (enjoying Uni the Unicorn’s air play time when he (or she) bounded joyfully on to the screen), my crusade to bring “K” along with me on my trip down memory lane an easy and triumphant one. As each episode played out, I couldn’t help but thinking that Dungeon Master (DM) was an on screen majestic, medieval and magical Buddha (albeit with a red cloak, not orange).

DD-DM-screenshot

It appeared that DM’s long list of quotes were resonating with me on a different level now; quotes taking on new purpose, new meanings, such as:

  • The right road is not the left…
  • Evil energy is like evil force. Change its direction, and it changes to good…
  • In darkness, look to the light…

As we watched The Hall of Bones, it was the last one that grabbed me. There I was sat on the sofa next a true beacon of light, an innocent beautiful creature whose caring and sharing nature was guiding me through a rather difficult time (not that she was aware of course). Earlier in the day, I had been to the hospital for a rather uncomfortable MRI scan on my brain, as the headaches I’ve been suffering from the last four weeks had not subsided; my ENT consultant had booked me in to get a scan to see if there was an underlying issue that needed immediate attention (my current tinnitus spike possibly acting as an energetic cranial early warning system).

“K” is one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met and she is only eight, and I am lucky to recall having similar thoughts of my two boys when they were younger before taking their own paths to maturity. She really is a positivity magnet, who also possesses what they called in the film industry a “Paul Newman Smile”. It is pretty impossible to spend any time with her without being uplifted and forgetting about the troubles of the self or the world. I guess I am lucky to have someone in my life so special, but concur that good parenting probably has a part to play in that too. I get the results of the scan tomorrow and no doubt “K” will be close by whatever the outcome.

We all live with the subjective reality of our own existence (shared or otherwise) each day and I have of late often questioned the true nature of reality itself.

In describing what reality was, Einstein once said:

  • What is reality? What we have called matter is energy (light), whose vibration has been so lowered as to be perceptible to the senses. There is no matter. Matter is Energy. Energy is Light. We are all Beings of Light…

So here we have one of the most brilliant minds of our time confirming from a scientific perspective that we are all beings of light not darkness, no more so than my daughter.

We went walking with the whole family yesterday, during which my wife and I were having a conversation about her complementary therapy business, which she said gave her a lack of confidence in succeeding this time around as her two previous opportunities crashed and burned rather disappointingly through no fault of her own. I consoled her by saying that she was doing great in her new venture and told her not to worry as everything would turn out just fine.

As we made the bed this morning, we found this:

IMG_9041

Without knowing, two little ears were listening in attentively to our conversation and took it upon herself to place her Guatemalan Worry Dolls underneath mum’s pillow before she retired for the evening. It’s not surprising that my wife wept, almost as much as I did. “K” really is does banish the darkness.

In darkness, look to the light…

Breadcrumb Diary: Week 1 – 2015

It’s been a while since I have had the time to catalogue my synchronicities, serendipities and coincidences, but with a fully charged and de-stressed noggin (following sixteen glorious days off work) the time is right to start again…

#1: Don’t scry over spilt milk…

Due to everyone being off work or school for 2 weeks, our stocks and supplies depleted at an incredible rate during the holiday period and as a result, I found myself making many a trip to the local store to replenish rations. After a scan of the fridge, I made a mental note that we also needed milk as well as a few other bits. What struck me as peculiar was a sense of foreboding about my future dairy purchase, not that I would get run over by a Morrison’s lorry on the way, but that I had what can only be described as a future echo, a premonition of leaking milk. Thinking nothing more of it, off I trundled to the shop at the bottom of the hill and acquired the needful.

When I got back I placed the milk in the fridge, the bread in the bin and collected the pooch for his evening exercise. I was accompanied by Dr Ervin Laszlo via a podcast I had downloaded earlier, in which he described the Akashic Field, a theoretical and mystical cosmic field that connects and informs everything, everywhere and everywhen, both at the quantum and material level. It was very interesting and I look forward to reading his new book (with Anthony Peake) I gifted myself as a Yuletide present over the next few weeks.

After de-leading the dog, and putting the kettle on to thaw out my frozen digits, I turned to look at the fridge, and lo – there was a white substance oozing from the door. I opened the fridge door to see that the milk I had placed there forty-five minutes earlier had in fact leaked, dripped into the salad compartment below and out through the ageing front.

I don’t recall ever having such a strong feeling of precognition before (albeit on an incredibly mundane scale), but I’m certain this was a full on premonition. Why it occurred and why it was shown to me through the medium of milk, I cannot comment…

#2: Together in Electric Dreams…

I guess it is never wise to watch a “thinking man’s film” just before one retires for the evening but that’s what I did last night anyway. The film in question is called Primer, a sci-fi time travelling affair created in 2004 for a mere seven thousand dollars (grossing five-hundred-thousand dollars since then), which for the very limited budget was and is quite remarkable. It’s one of those Inception type movies where you will have a general idea about, then you’ll go and do some Googling, then watch it again, have a chat to some friends then watch it again, satisfied that you still don’t have a clue…

My youngest son had watched it over the holidays and said he’d like to watch it again so with the females in the house safely tucked up in bed, the three amigos (my eldest included) sat down to watch, deliberate and cogitate the films content before during and after the movie. We all came away a bit confused but in agreement that it was a bloody good effort.

I crawled into bed near midnight my mind still fizzing somewhat at what I had just seen. When I woke in the morning, the wife was not impressed. By all accounts, I spent the night ‘fitting again’ as she calls it. The dream I had was a tremendous one. I was in a town somewhere in the US minding my own business with the wife and daughter when all of a sudden dark clouds appeared on the horizon and quickly made their way towards us. As they approached, the winds started to whip around us and all too soon there was a panic in the streets and my wife and daughter where swept off in the midst of the crowds, separating themselves from me and then my vision. I made for a nearby hill to get a better look to see if I could spot where they were, when all of a sudden the buildings that lined the road to the top of the hill slipped down the hill (all in one piece though as if on a conveyor belt), and there I stood high the grassy peak, as the storm’s epicentre made it way directly for me.

It was then that it hit me, literally. There was a huge white flash as the lighting strike hit me directly on the top of my head. I recall a loud sound accompanied the blast as well as the force which came with the bolt, but it did not harm me, instead it gave me a gift, the gift of foresight. I made my way down the hill which one again turned into a town and made my way towards the train tracks. Thankfully the train was still stationary at the station, so I made my way towards the first carriage in which there were two passengers. The first passenger (who my message was not for) was David Bowie dressed as Ziggy Stardust who sat calmly and statically as I ripped the entire side off the train with my bare hands. The second passenger (who my message was for) was still seated, and looked over at me.

“You don’t know me Anthony [Peake], but you must get off this train now as I have had a premonition that it will crash as it approaches the main station at Liverpool”. He took my advice and the pair of us left and made our way to some sort of lab / facility where he worked. Oddly when we got there a friend of mine “M” was there and I introduced him to Anthony and Anthony to him, quipping that up close he looked like Sting with white hair – which he quickly corrected “light blonde”. He shuffled some papers and I turned to him and asked what he thought was going on and as he opened his mouth to answer the scene faded and I woke up…

This morning I looked up nocturnal epilepsy to see how that was defined and what the symptoms of it were. Although that sounds a bit over the top, I do on occasions suffer from something rather interesting. I have a strange ability to fall asleep instantly, sometimes within thirty seconds of my head hitting the pillow I’m gone. Sometimes I also experience strange sensations which wiki defines as either Exploding Head Syndrome or Hypnic Jerk (my wife concurs with the jerk tagline).

Exploding Head Syndrome
Exploding head Syndrome (EHS) is a form of hypnagogic auditory hallucination and is a rare and relatively undocumented parasomnia event in which the subject experiences a loud bang in their head similar to a bomb exploding, a gun going off, a clash of cymbals, ringing, an earthquake, or any other form of loud, indecipherable noise that seems to originate from inside the head.

This noise usually happens at the onset of sleep or within an hour or two of falling asleep, but is not necessarily the result of a dream. Most episodes occur just after falling asleep or just prior to waking up, and are not associated with occurring in any certain sleep stage. EHS is an uncommon, usually nocturnal parasomnia that arises from the transition between different sleep stages.

Interestingly these noises are a common feature of out-of-body experiences.

Hypnic Jerk
A hypnic jerk, hypnagogic jerk, sleep start, sleep twitch or night start, is an involuntary twitch which occurs just as a person is beginning to fall asleep, often causing them to awaken suddenly for a moment. Physically, hypnic jerks resemble the “jump” experienced by a person when startled, often accompanied by a falling sensation. Hypnic jerks are associated with a rapid heartbeat, quickened breathing, sweat, and sometimes “a peculiar sensory feeling of ‘shock’ or ‘falling into the void.’

As I have tinnitus, then it’s logical to some extent to link the EHS / HJ to the point at which I fall asleep, my inner ear balance changing as I drift between states. I’m not overly concerned by it all and from what I have read do not think I have any links with epilepsy, nor do I get stressed about having EHS / HJ episodes. I know that I have more of these when I’m overworked or overtired, and restoring the balance via meditation and improved sleep patterns is the cure should I need it.

But that’s the logical view point, what if it is not that at all…

ADDENDUM: I just got a cold call from a life insurance company, should I be worried now?