Sparks: Ten Jump-Start Tips

Read: “Action Plan for the New Year” by Dr. Mercola
Mercola-2016-0101--healthy-life Happy New Year! This year, what do you say we all skip the New Year’s resolution? About half of Americans make them, and most start out strong but come February or March, many have already thrown in the towel.

Mercola’s Story At-a-Glance
– Ninety-two percent of Americans fail to achieve the resolutions they commit to on New Year’s Day
– In place of a New Year’s resolution, make a commitment to simply live better this year
– My top 10 steps for living better in 2016 are discussed

This is an ongoing process, a lifestyle change, not an impulsive resolution that you blurted out at midnight and have all but forgotten by morning. It’s also not something you can achieve overnight. Rather, this is a plan you can live by.

10 Steps to Changing Your Life for the Better in 2016

It’s the start of a new year — what better time to start fresh with some positive changes? The 10 that follow are the crème de la crème of lifestyle tricks you can use to live better and be happier — and isn’t that really what virtually all of us are after?
[Read full article]

Lest I steal Dr. Mercola’s thunder and become guilty of plagiarism, below I simply offer my thoughts on his recommendations

Be sure to check out Mercola’s comprehensive nutrition plan.

For starters, the Ten Jump-Start Tips are great to implement at any time; so don’t wait for annual resolution time–you can begin today!

1. Give Up Soda – There are better ways to hydrate the body and still get that dopamine pleasure kick. Want fizzy? Try kefir or kombucha. [Learn more]

2. Eat Two Meals a Day, Within an Eight-Hour Window – Heck many ofus are too busy to eat “three squares” anyway. Eat less, digest more . . . then you can focus on quality intake instead of quantity and ditch calorie counting! One trick is to get to sleep before the late night munchies set in . . .

3. Get Eight Hours of Sleep Each Night – Early to bed…healthy, wealthy, and wise–early is . . . before “munchies” set in (see Tip #2). Sleep time is body-repair time; the rejuvenating sleep cycle allows the body to assimilate the good food and gather waste for elimination–have a good morning poop!

4. Eat More Healthy Fats and Fiber – It’s true, butter is better and enjoy the coconut. Veggie and fruit fiber beats shredded wheat. [Learn more from]

5. Eat Fermented Vegetables – What could be better than fresh garden veggies? Consider fermented goodies with an amazing shelf life and increased nutritional content–let those good little bacteria whip up a potent batch of enzymes, antioxidants, probiotics, and other nutrients for you!

6. Sit Less and Walk More, Work on Your Flexibility – An “active” lifestyle is not necessarily about spending hours in a gym or on the court(s). Here’s an AFoRMation for you: If you move it, you’ll improve it — Agility, Flexibility, Range of Motion.

7. Have Your Vitamin D Level Tested – In school we worked to avoid D’s especially on tests but Dr. Mercola suggests we get tested for vitamin D and pray our levels aren’t low–25(OH)D or 25-hydroxyvitamin D. However, don’t be quick to grab D-fortified drinks and foods because synthetic vitamin D is not what we need. We want the ideal ID, the internal not infernal D!

8. Eat Nutrient-Dense Protein (Quality not Quantity) – Moderation in all things works but one needs ALL things–whatever your source: pastured-based meat, fish, free-range/soy-free eggs, grassfed dairy products, or GMO-free legumes and nuts. You may not need much so seek protein that is PRO-Team: terrestrial (pasture-based), ecological (GMO-free), amicable (humanely cultivated), and manageable (assimilates well with you). Mercola suggests additional protein sources.

9. Meditate for 5 to 10 Minutes a Day – Check out Seduction of Spirit

10. Help Others and Be Active in Your Community – We applaud those who invest themselves in the welfare of others…hands for healing hands! The cycle of giving primes the pump for receiving.

Visiting the Life & Times of Muhammad

Imagine what it would be like to live in the desert-like conditions of sixth century Arabia among traveling merchants stopping in Mecca, the nomads venturing into the city for brief periods each year, and the annual pilgrimage to the Kaabah–“home” of a multitude of revered deities.

Christians rarely venture south into Arabia; they’re mostly concentrated around Constantinople, north Africa, around the Mediterranean and Europe. The Americas have yet to be “discovered” and Asia is humming along mostly with Hindu and Buddhist traditions. The Israelites have long been scattered and Jewish communities can be found in many places. The voice of monotheists is rarely heard among the hubbub of Quraysh-controlled Mecca.

Recognized as descendants of Abraham through Ishmael, the inhabitants of the region were nevertheless deprived of access to biblical accounts of their ancestry. Even copies of “New Testament” scriptures were nearly impossible to acquire. It were as if this corner of the world had been left in the shadows despite the vast dissemination from Palestine of the teachings of Jesus the Christ [i.e., Anointed One] over the past five centuries.

    In the year 610 CE, Muhammad, a forty-year-old businessman known as Al-Amin, “the trustworthy,” marched down from the mountains…looking shattered and frightened….An angel had visited him….ordered him to “recite.”[p. ix]

Reminiscent of a stuttering Moses being told through a burning bush to return to Egypt and “speak” to Pharaoh and persuade him to release the descendants of Jacob, Muhammad is commissioned to return Arabs from polytheism back to monotheism–the one God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and Jesus.

Cleverly written in the voices of key characters in the life of Muhammad, Deepak Chopra captures the nuances of the era and provides an opportunity to become acquainted much like an introduction at a party–no long biographical sketches are offered, just the heart-connecting nod of glimpsing into the eyes of another. Such a likable spark compels further conversation and opens the doors to further exploration.

Below are a few of the morsels I gathered in my first read of the book; I look forward to dining with it again. In the meantime, I’ll keep putting hors d’oeuvres on the plate below.

Muhammad: A Story of the Last Prophet

Muhammad_book_Chopra_1New York Times Bestseller! In this riveting novel, beloved international bestselling author Deepak Chopra captures the spellbinding life story of the great and often misunderstood Prophet. Islam was born in a cradle of tribal turmoil, and the arrival of one God who vanquished hundreds of ancient Arabian gods changed the world forever. God reached down into the life of Muhammad, a settled husband and father, and spoke through him. Muhammad’s divine and dangerous task was to convince his people to renounce their ancestral idols and superstitious veneration of multiple gods. [Read More]

Morsels from Muhammad

Chp 1: Restoring the ancestral fountain, Zamzam, “the water that accumulates”
Every family has some remnant of collective wisdom from the past–some a larger stock than most, others perhaps have just a saying or two. If “charity begins at home”, perhaps we reclaiming what we already possess is a wise move.

Think of Dorothy’s trip to Oz only to return cherishing her home. Recall, if you can, the fervor of the followers of Jesus after his death; the Jews who had converted to “the Way” held a greater appreciation and understanding of their heritage in Judaism–the prophesies began to make sense, the holy days were more meaningful, the spirit of the Mosaical law became practicable. Next holiday or family gathering, look past the “skeletons in the closet” and rediscover the gemstones garnered long ago.