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For Your Well Being: Topsy Turvy

April 2, 2009, Vol. 7 Issue 4

Dear Friends,

My whole week was literally turned upside down last week when my cat, Drella, flipped my laptop off the desk. Heaven only knows how an 8 pound cat managed that but she was the only one in the room when I heard the thud and found the evidence — with a couple of loose keys scattered around for good measure. Oh, what a sickening feeling.

The cat, however, was unscathed by either the computer or human hands. I really do love that little stinker. Do you think she was trying to tell me something? Later that evening, after the laptop went to the computer doctor, she was cuddled up on a legal pad sitting right where the computer usually sits . . . Hmmmm.

Anyway, I tell you all this because that was Tuesday, and I didn’t get back online until Friday, and that’s why this e-news is totally off schedule. It’s spring and Zonya Foco, RD, is on the road sharing a new program about the food culture we live and eat in, with several of the state dietetic associations. And, with all the turmoil that’s going on in the world, I thought that you might enjoy some harmonious thoughts from Britt Bensen Steele who has been in Bali studying Ayurvedic Medicine and practicing yoga since November.

The Right Channel

Whoops. In my last issue, I was so excited to tell you about our channel on YouTube that the link was incomplete. Here’s the correct link.  You can go in there anytime and look at my Favorites, predominantly speaker videos. But I’ve also included other neat things, like Nia, speaker’s media interviews, and generally cool stuff that I like. I’m also working on some Playlists. More on that and other developments in future issues.

Food Culture Gone Crazy:
Zonya Foco Brings Solutions to the Table

Zonya Foco, RD, CSP, is out speaking to half a dozen of the state dietetic association annual meetings this spring – Tennessee, Georgia, Wisconsin, Colorado, North Dakota and Ohio. She’s sharing her hot new topic, “Convenience vs. Conviction – An Enlightening Look at Where Our Food Culture Has Been and Where It’s Going.” This particular version is for RD’s but she will also adapt and re-title it for lay audiences.

“The problem is that we’ve fallen victim to convenience,” she says. “That’s a huge piece of the growing obesity numbers, and I’m not talking about fast food drive-ins, and take-out food. Products like refined grains, trans-fats, and high fructose corn syrup were developed for convenience and because they’re cheap. We Americans like our food cheap and easy.”

And colorful, Zonya has plenty to say about food colorings. In fact, I think she is a leader in exposing the prevalence and negative effects of food colorings. Think about that when you’re buying your Easter candy, etc., this year. I even looked at my cat’s dry food and was shocked to see the food colorings that are in there. Zonya and I talked about it – does the color of the food influence the cat’s interest in it? Um . . . no, we don’t think so.

As a dietitian, Zonya relies on science-based information, yet real life in the grocery store is her laboratory. In this short video clip, she shares a story about grocery shopping with her 8 year-old son, Ridge. They’ve established a routine in the store aisles where, together, they determine whether a food is a “grow” food or not. Watch and enjoy! Farm or laboratory? It’s a great game and very effective. You’re welcome to copy this teachable moment on your next trip to the grocery store with kids or grandkids in the shopping cart.

In exploring the difference between “convenience” and “conviction” in our food culture, Zonya delves into research, health trends and advertising power. This is a 95 minute talk, so I can’t begin to summarize it in this small space. If you’re interested, I’ll be happy to email you the eight-page handout. Simply reply and put FOOD CULTURE in the subject line. Her message to dietitians is to encourage them to create a future food culture that embraces natural, healthy foods with conviction and convenience.

Interested in having Zonya speak for your women’s event, conference, heart health or diabetes event? Please see Zonya Foco’s page on our website or give us a call at 503-699-5031.

Incidentally, a new edition of Zonya’s lifestyle cookbook, Lickety-Split Meals, is now available for diabetes patients. It can be ordered at 888-884-LEAN or go to the website.

Britt Bensen Steele:
Message of Harmony from Another Culture, Another Lifestyle

Britt Bensen Steele has been living and learning in Bali since November. She’s been studying ayurvedic medicine and practicing yoga. In her blog, she reported that everyone is not living in a sea of bad news there. She said they hear stories about the U.S. economy, and challenges people are facing, as people arrive fresh off airplanes from the States. But there isn’t the pervasive bad news we hear here.


“Here, in Bali, we don’t feel it like so many of you back in the U.S. are feeling it. So many people here live hand to mouth, so there is little talk of foreclosure, bankruptcy, the Dow, or being laid off. Many locals make less than $50 per month, and work long, laborious days. And still, I often wish you could be here and see how they live. And feel how happy they are. You’d know everything is all right in the world.

“In these times, somehow, I feel the need to continue to be even extra grounded within myself. Who knows where any of us will be taken in this ‘lifeboat.’ I believe it is worth remembering that each of us is complete. We are perfect in our essence and we are not our jobs, our houses, our cars, or even our bodies. We are perfect in our true essence, and we are okay. Right now, right here. Just like this. Each of us is whole.

“When fear surrounds us, this can be a difficult thread onto which to hold. We can be influenced by others’ pain and fears and begin to worry about our own lives and securities. Truth is, nothing is secure. We know this deep within. No job. No house. No life. Nothing. Everything on this planet, in this life, is impermanent. Nothing lasts. Not even our bodies. And., this, too, is wholeness in its essence. And it is Grace.

“Our work is to do our work . . . to create sustainable, meaningful, purposeful practice in our lives. In Yoga, we call this ‘Sattva’ — ways in which to harmonize our lives, relieve our bodies of tension and our minds of fear. To soothe painful emotions and to create spaciousness, harmony, and contentment without reason in our lives. To be in this moment and to feel clear about the richness of this blessed life. Everything is what we call ‘prasadam’ or grace. Even something that hurts. It is all grace. When we label an experience as ‘crisis’ it is only because we don’t understand it. Painful life experience, when coupled with consciousness, encourages us to pray, to be humble, to seek refuge, to surrender to the grace of peace and the natural laws of the universe, and to go deeper into ourselves and into Love. It is only when we resist pain, that we experience suffering. When we accept pain as grace, as prasadam, we grow. We learn, we evolve, we aspire to realize our wholeness, right here and now.

“In Yoga, there are teachings about living a ‘Sattvic Lifestyle.’ This is about living in harmony.” She included examples of the living practices, but I felt it was a little long to include here. For those of you who are interested, just reply to this email and write LIFESTYLE in the header, and I’ll email the list to you. Britt says that in time, by practicing even a few of these Sattvic living practices, you’ll experience more balance, inside and out, and peace will become a predominant emotion in our lives.

“I leave you with this: Be compassionate with your heart. Gentle with yourself. And ask yourself, ‘What can I do to increase my happiness, exactly as I am and as things are in this time and space?’ There is nowhere to go for you to be more relaxed and at peace. Practice being peaceful and content right here right now without any expectation or wish for things to be different than they are.”

It was a message I really needed earlier this week when this already delayed March issue of FYWB turned into April, as my internet service and my computer went down for another day. All fixed now and back in business. Is Mercury in retrograde or something?  Oh well, the cat is contentedly napping and I have a backlog of email to handle. Ah, yes, be gentle with myself. A nap sounds good.

Until next time, take care of yourself for your well being, and those you love.


PLEASE NOTE: The information shared in this e-news is designed to help you make informed decisions about speakers and the programs they offer. It is not intended as a substitute for any treatment prescribed by a doctor. If you suspect you have a medical problem, seek competent medical help.

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