We talked a little about how some foods affect our Circadian rhythm and sleep patterns in our last post. This is very true, and for those of us who have sleep issues, this may be your path to sawing a forest full of logs! We all have a hormone in our bodies that controls our sleep cycles, seasonal cycles and Circadian rhythms, called Melatonin. This hormone is secreted by one of our endocrine glands, called the Pineal gland. The Pineal gland is a little pea sized gland situated in a small groove between the two hemispheres of our brain, where the thalamus join. It is shaped like a pine cone, thus the name “pineal”. The weird thing about this little gland, is that it is made up of the same rod and cone shaped cells as our eyes and has the same fluid that is found in our eye. How weird is that? It is referred to as the “third eye” in mystic circles and as the “eye of Horus” in ancient Egypt. Several studies have been conducted on this weird little gland and some of them are interesting indeed. All vertebrates, except one or two on the planet, have this gland. When studying lab rats, some researchers found that when void of all light, rats preferred to drink alcohol over water. When their glands were removed, it had the opposite effect. In some humans with dysfunctional Pineal glands, a craving for alcohol was also noted. What a weird connection eh? Maybe that’s why bars always have such dim lighting? The study also found that people who worked nights, stayed up late and didn’t get outside in the sunlight much, overtaxed their Pineal glands, and exhibited signs of menstrual cycle irregularities, sore breasts and increased alcohol consumption. Some studies linked stress, intake of refined sugars and epinephrine as causes of Pineal dysfunction. One of the things that inhibit Pineal function, is calcification of the gland itself. Scientists have found that most humans over fifty have calcified Pineal glands. There are varying degrees of explanations why this happens, some say its from the intake of fluoride. Our drinking water, fluoride toothpaste, dental rinses, and from other environmental exposures to fluoride containing chemicals. Some say its because many people live most of their lives in artificial light, and their gland overtaxes and then atrophies from non use, being photo-sensitive and not being exposed to natural sunlight. Whatever the case may be, you don’t hear of any products out there being advertised as Pineal gland supportive or any aids for Pineal health. I guess Americans are more interested in a cat’s urinary tract health or whether their dog is getting pure meat in their gourmet dining routines. So, the takeaway from this should be that we all should get more sunshine and eat foods that promote Pineal health. Foods that are high in Lecithin help to produce more melatonin, Soy being the most Lecithin rich. The same old list shows up again as foods that are good for us, vegetables, legumes, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, Cauliflower and leafy greens. Dairy products such as milk and cheese are also foods rich in Lecithin. We’ll explore the mystic side to this gland in our next post……i’m going to go outside and eat some cheese in the sunshine!!
When was the last time you felt grass on your feet, in-between your toes? For those of us who live in the concrete jungle of the city, this is a legitimate question. Sneakers, Boots, Flip Flops, Tennis shoes, Bowling shoes, Cleats, Pumps, Flats, High heels, Low heels, etc, etc. It’s almost like there’s a conspiracy to keep our feet all wrapped up with leather or plastic of some kind, with rubber soles to make sure our feet never touch the ground. When we were kids, growing up in South Louisiana, our parents had a hard time keeping shoes on our feet. We were forever barefoot and probably would have gone to school, shopping, Bowling or any activity, if social convention and our parents would have allowed it. Our feet stayed dirty of course and even got bloodied sometimes, but there was something about the feel of the earth, the feel of the gravel or rocks, the feel of grass, mud, sand and dirt, that just made us feel part of our environment. I once worked with a man, who was a Cajun, by the name of Duet, who joked about how he married a girl from so far in the backwoods, he had to put rocks in her shoes to get her used to wearing them! Of course, this same guy once told me, that he could take me to a place where we could catch crabs so big, they came eight to the dozen! But that’s a story for another time. But, even if your wearing Army boots, reconnecting with nature is always a good idea, just getting out away from the carbon monoxide ridden environments and breathing in some good fresh air in an organic surrounding. Get a good Organic Download if you will. My wife and I at one time in our life, were making trips between Columbia, SC and Gatlinburg, TN. If any of you have ever been to the Smoky Mountains you know how breathtakingly beautiful it is. While making these trips we would pass through Asheville, NC. We thought Asheville was just the coolest place and there was just something, about those mountains! Well, we wound up moving to Asheville and living there for 10 years. There was just something, about those mountains! As I reflect upon it now, I think what it was, is the Organic environment there. You are always surrounded by nature and the people there make laws against anything that would impede that environment. The people who live there, most I would say, are outdoor enthusiast who are always talking about or promoting the wonderful nature that exist in that beautiful mountain town. It made you feel good to be there! I think in our world of concrete and steel, plastic, sheetrock, air conditioning and overwhelming electronic technology, we have lost that connection to our earth, to Mother Nature, and at last to ourselves. So, I would encourage you to find a little nature somewhere, be it in a park, or a common area at your apartment complex, and take off your shoes, get your feet on that wonderful ground, sit by a pond, go to the beach. I think that we were meant to be connected to the earth, and be a part of it. Just a thought from the Curious One, remember that old song “Barefootin”? I think he may have been on to something!
Twenty four hour news cycles, Internet fads and constant social media. Music channels galore and more movies than Carter has pills! Our brains are constantly exposed to electronic media in overdrive. What are we doing to our brains? You know, we liken our brains to computers all the time, and one of the basic idioms of computer programming is “junk in, junk out!” Is that why TV shows are called “programs”?? Hmm? I observe people all of the time, constantly looking at or interacting with their cell phone, people sitting at a restaurant, supposed to be enjoying a nice lunch or dinner together, constantly texting or shopping or watching “the game”, or playing a game. Most people can’t be away from Facebook for an hour before they start getting anxiety about maybe they missed something or so and so was supposed to answer my post! How many likes did I get? So and so didn’t put a like on my post! Now I’m angry! Wow! What are we doing people? There is no way that 16 hours a day of constant visual and auditory stimulation is not having some, and I venture to say, negative, impact on our brains. Take a break from it sometimes. Turn the TV off and enjoy the quiet. Take the earbuds out of your ears while you are jogging and listen to the birds sing. Turn down the sound on your cell phone and put it away for a while. There’s a big beautiful world out there that we are ignoring and missing out on because of technology. I think that is a shame. We don’t have dinner table conversations any more as a family, and the list goes on and on. One thing that I’ve been trying, and it might work for you as well, is meditation. I try to set aside just 15 minutes in the morning to go to a quiet place, sit and just try to quiet my mind. I don’t do any mantras or do the “ooooohhhmmm” thing. I just sit and try my best to quiet my brain down, which is actually hard for me. After 40 years of being a musician, I constantly have music playing in my head. I can get complete silence for just a few seconds at a time, but i’m sure the more I practice the longer I can stay silent. The rest of the time I let my thoughts go and try to examine them, and wonder “why the hell am I thinking that?” But anyways, it seems to give me a little peace and helps me get focused for the day. I hope it can help you too, so, just a little tip for the mind today. Other posts coming soon…….Namaste!