Sunday, November 21, 2010

Moody in November?

Today, November 21, starts the Full Moon as we progress into winter (or Summer in some countries). Astrology says it is time to reevaluate our wishes that were made with the New Moon in November. Also because it is the month of Taurus, we may experience anger or become upset with people or situations that we normally would be able to handle or as we become aware of how current circumstances may not be supporting our larger goals. Then maybe we should take it easy these few days as the Moon stirrs the emotional energy around us. (This Moon cycle is definitely working on me, I feel the change in the energy around me so I believe in this now). It is also the time to dismiss negative thoughts as we exhale and welcome positive ones as we inhale. When I vision this while breathing especially during meditation it gives me strength and happiness and satisfaction as I realize again and again that the energy we spread inside and outside of our bodies with slow, deep yogic breathing is enough to move us forward in our lives.
Just some thoughts for you to consider as the month of November is coming to an end and December is coming closer where festivals and traditions start spilling into our lives. Remember that Patience is golden, Breath is essential and the Self is sacred. Close your eyes and remember who you are and where you are going, set aside the interruptions and focus on your personal do you feel now? Can you take a step forward or maybe 2 steps forward? or do you need to rest in peace for some more time? Consider your thoughts and open your eyes as you reach your decision on what you feel you need to do now to reach your personal goal.
Remember to nourish your body and soul with seasonal and local foods as much as possible which allows your body to get the maximum benefit from the foods to help you adjust to the changing seasons. As in Ayurveda, it is said that we should go with our instincts when winter and cold weather comes, when we want warming foods, such as soups and root vegetables as potatoes, carrots, beets, onions, garlic, etc. and some extra whole grain starches to make energy so we can warm our bodies. Of course this is said assuming the person isn't living a high stress life in which case you may think of reconsidering your goals.
Love, Peace and Beauty for us all!

Note the picture is how beautiful Bodrum is in Winter..

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Would you like a Tangerine or Mandarin or Mandalina?

Tangerine, also known as Mandarin and Mandalina in Turkish is this very tasty citrus fruit, bigger than lemon and smaller than orange that come out especially in autumn and right now Bodrum is sparkling with orange lights from tangerine trees. It is grown on a citrus tree, Citrus reticulata, cultivated for its small edible orange-like fruits. End of October to November is the time for Tangerines. They especially smell and taste best picked right off the tree which I had the pleasure to experience this past week with some friends. See pictures.
What was interesting to find out that Tangerine also means a native of inhabitant of Tangier and it has originated in 1842, from tangerine orange  (1841) "an orange from Tangier,"  seaport in northern Morocco, from which it was originally imported to Britain. The place name is from L. Tinge . As a color name, attested from 1899. On the other hand, Mandarin which is supposed to be the same fruit is also known to have originated in China since Mandarin is the Northern Chinese dialect, spoken in and around Beijing and some places its called an Asian citrus fruit bearing lance-shaped leaves and flattish, orange-yellow to deep-orange loose-skinned fruit, some varieties of which are called tangerines. In the Chinese Empire, Mandarin was a member of any of the nine ranks of public officials, each distinguished by a particular kind of button worn on the cap. My favorite meaning: Mandarin is a person of standing and influence, as in literary or intellectual circles. So they all resemble each  other, possibly Morocco and China had some similar citrus trees that produced similar fruits and they were dispersed into our world in variety of kinds known as Tangerines and Mandarines and Mandalina.
And more interestingly and a quite amusing find is that there are about 18 varieties of Mandalina in Turkey which include names such as Nova, Okitsu, Satsuma, Ankor, Clemantin, Yerli, Fairchild, Minneola, Marisol and Ovari. Wow! Who thought of the name Ovari for a Tangerine:)) Hey would you like an Ovari?..:) Apparently, they originated in Japan in 1878 and I think the ones we picked and I'm eating right now are also Ovari kind and Satsuma kind, because this website says the Satsuma is very common in Aegean region of Turkey and they are in the same group as Ovari and both are seedless. Some great info in this Turkish website about citrus fruits, the varieties and where they come from and more:
Well, in terms of nutritional value (of course I have to mention this since I am a Dietitian after all:)), these juicy fruits are a rich source of Vitamin A, which is important for eye, and skin health and it helps protect you from cancer. They're also good source of potassium, good source of vitamin C, which helps protect you from infections, helps to keep your skin smooth, heals wounds and cuts and helps to renew your red blood cells and repair them, and are good sources of soluble and insoluble fiber important for a healthy digestion and bowel. And 1 Tangerine is only 37 Calories! So you can eat many in confidence and increase the nutritional benefits. (Of course there can be slight variation in nutritional quality depending on if they are organic, which soil it grew with and what environment it grew in which is true for all foods we consume by the way!). Oh! Almost forgot, don't forget to get organic, you don't want to poison yourself do you, instead of protecting yourself with vitamins to fight the flu season! They also stay well in room temperature. If you have a yard full of these trees or actually they are like bushes, small trees, and can't possible eat them all before they fall of the trees or are bitten by worms or bugs you can try to add them to your cooking...For example, try to add peeled slices into salads, or vegetable dishes such as mixing it with cooked green beans and olive oil. You can peel the thin inside membrane or skin as well when adding to dishes but I recommend try it all natural, just peel the outside soft orange skin and pull apart the segments and add the segments to your dish. The skin and the inside membrane is full of fiber, both soluble and insoluble. You can eat the outside skin as well, you can cut it into small cubes and use it in marmalade or jelly making or in a marinade or you can zest it and add pieces of the skin to salads or dishes too.
Have a delicious and Tangy month:)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Life is Beautiful! La Vie Est Belle!

is a wonderful Italian movie which I highly recommend you watch if you haven't already. But regardless of this movie, and regardless of what might be going on in your life, Life! is really beautiful and that is what I would like for all of us to realize. Okay, don't be skeptical please, I'll explain how I come to this realization and how you can do it too...
Lately, I have been going in a spiritual direction, practicing yoga and meditation and chanting quite a lot (well about 2 hours per day or more sometimes which is more than I've done before) which could be why I've been feeling that every day is a beautiful day and life is really beautiful. And the more I do these rituals of mine I'm feeling I'm in a very special and new beginning where I can see material life and spiritual life separately and feel some beautiful energy around me like the cool wind blowing from all directions in a storm. I feel it in every little part of my physical body. It's an amazing feeling and I can see beauty everywhere with this energy. I'm inspired by Hare Krishna Consciousness and the Bhagavad Gita as well, and Kirtan music by Dave Russell and music by Mercan Dede who is an amazing DJ delicately composing sufi-electonica type of music inspired by the sufi poet Mevlana. Check it out on his website:
Now, although I don't think we really need 2 hours or so of daily devotional practice for us humans to realize life and every moment of it is beautiful, these practices and my 6 years of yoga practice has helped me realize that we need some kind of practice every day to be able to keep this beautiful, heart-melting, loving feeling inside ourselves which then has the potential to dissolve and pass into other living beings.
But, please don't get offended if you're not spiritual or not into yoga at all. I do believe there are many ways you can achieve this feeling or at least get pretty close to it. It has to be an internal and very personal/intimate desire or yearning you have for a daily practice. A practice sure could be yoga and chanting but also could be some other exercise such as running, tennis, walking or could be journaling, singing, dancing or simply lying down on fresh green grass or warm sand and staring at the sky and simply BREATHING!...just something where you are really silent, alone and only listening to yourself, your breath, your inner feelings, your gut. So that you can connect with your inner-self, and learn about yourself, your feelings, real thoughts and desires and grow (mentally/spiritually). This will not only make you happy and feel every day is special and life is beautiful but also it will help you stay positive and get through every day of your life, and stay connected with the universe or whatever you want to believe in, but best of all it will make you love yourself! Love is a very powerful word...I wish people used it more wisely, knowing what it really means.
Anyway, you can also receive multiple benefits from this practice if you plan it well. For example, if you try out some daily simple exercises every day, not only is it making you feel happy and fall in love with your life but also its helping to strengthen your physical body which is important for you to do every day for your health and in order to think clearly and get through each day of your life. So, although you may prefer to just lay down on the grass or sit in a comfy chair and watch the sky or waves or something, if you can maybe just try to add some walking and then stretching your arms and legs a bit then you are going in a great direction and one day you may even feel you can start fast walking or running too or maybe different breathing exercises:)
Other benefits are if you haven't realized already, when you're happy and positive you look more beautiful and have an amazing glow surrounding yourself which attracts happy and positive people to you too and allows negative people or situations to pass by. So, in all aspects you will be in the direction to being happy yourself and also spreading that same positive energy around you which pretty much is a wonderful service for the community. Believe me, I have bad moments too where I feel angry, ugly, too fat for my bikini or moneyless, jobless, lost or hopeless and depressed. BUT NOooooooo! I wake up!! and you should also. Love yourself, Life is Beautiful!
And remember when I said in my previous post that I decided to make change within myself and share my energy with as many other souls as possible and asked Why in Turkey? Well...the south of Turkey, Bodrum is where I feel I belong to the community that really needs me, I can feel peace and love and freshness in Bodrum and feel that I can exchange these feelings with the community here and make it an even more beautiful place. I will let you know how it goes...

A side cute story from me:
Just before I left Boston, I was in moody days and came across one of those street sellers selling stone statues from Africa and bought this very interesting statue that has a carving of only half of a face and the other half is empty, carved completed as a hole in the middle of the stone. When I asked the beautiful seller lady what it meant she told me the artist meant it to mean that we should only look at the positive sides of any situation and that is why only half of the face is carved for our eyes to see. So, you see, I realized there is always and always a negative and a positive side to every thing and situation in our lives and it is up to the individual person to decide which side to see...well do you prefer to see negatives and be miserable or see positives and be happy. I am working on the positives and hope you can try it too, its wonderful!
So, let us all work on leaving negatives behind and welcoming positives, especially new ones to allow room for more growth and happy experiences and opportunities. I hope you feel and can share my positive energy once you read this and stay with that feeling. :)

And I apologize for writing so long. What can I say, I have so much energy in me that I like to share! Thank you for reading it all.