This is what chronic stress can do to wreck your immune system. A year of subconcious stress caused by my day job and a simple spider bite turned into three days on the couch with a fever. Plus antibiotics and antivirals. Not fun. And hopefully not again. Making the lifestyle changes required to eliminate the stress.

Fifteen Things to Give Up in Order to Be Happy ...  My friend Delphine posted this link on FB. Totally agree, a nice summary list...do this and your life becomes happier and more satisfying. As I read the 15 items, I can see how over the past six years I've embraced them and my life now is so much better than in 2006.
Been busy experimenting with new healthier snacks...need something with crunch. Introducing Rice Crunchies & Millet Crunchies. Soaked/fermented organic rice or millet, flax, sunflower, sesame & pumpkin seeds, wakame & sea salt (for iodine & minerals plus veggies (kale, pumpkin, spinach, butternutsquash...depends on what's fresh & available). Pair it with a green smoothie and that's healthy. Rich & Faz over at Active Lifestyle are having a Green Smoothie Challenge this month. Find out how your life improves with just a green smoothie a day.
This holiday season, ditch the trans fats, Crisco, & refined oils and eat coconuts and butter and steak. This has been an incredible learning journey, how to be healthy, have a strong immune system and never again stressing about weight gain. No counting calories, no measuring, no weighing...just simply eating real food that tastes good whether it's a juicy steak or an incredible raw kale salad. I had the opportunity this week to hear Dr. Gabriel Cousens speak at the Rasayana Retreat in Bangkok. Dr. Cousens is one of the leaders in the raw food movement. He extolled the virtues of coconut oil and the need to have enough fat in your diet. I learned that using coconut oil in conjunction with flax, chia or hemp seeds help to convert the short chain omega 3 fatty acids (these are the good ones) into longer chain omega 3 fatty acids (the kind we get from fish oil and seafood). Fats are key to having healthy hormones and brain function and more. Dr. Cousens and his team at the Tree of Life are reversing diabetes with his raw foods protocol.

Then while reading about the recent Weston Price Foundation's Wise Traditions conference that was just held, I stumbled upon this video from cardiac surgeon Dr. Donald Miller on why saturated fats are good for us. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRe9z32NZHY. This is almost an hour long speech, but well worth making time to watch to understand why the cholesterol theory of heart disease is wrong and how our politicians and government bureaucrats have steered America down the wrong eating path.

What is common to both Dr. Cousens and Dr. Miller's talks is that trans fats are bad, refined seed oils are bad, refined carbohydrates, i.e. white flour and white sugar is bad for our health.  And they both agree that we need saturated fats for good health. Dr. Cousens & Dr. Miller agree that the chloesterol theory of heart disease is wrong. The science used to justify this theory was taken out of context. Researchers and doctors manipulated the data to get the results they wanted...hmmm.

Bottom line takeaway no matter where you are on the spectrum of diets, whether, vegan, vegetarian, omnivore, paleo or primal...ditch the modern processed junk peddled to us by corporations. Crisco = crystalized corn oil created by P&G and originally sold for candles and soap. When the candle market started shrinking, the smart marketers at P&G created a new use. Corporations are concerned about the bottom line first & foremost. And if it so happens that it's also good for humanity, then we just got lucky.
Back just over a week in Bangkok after seven weeks in the US. It was hectic, one week in Northern Virginia to clear out a storage unit where stuff had been stored since 1999. I had opened a few boxes up about five years ago, but what was I thinking when I put those craft supplies in storage. Now it's all off to a better home. In August, I attended a three day workshop on Healthy Lifestyles by the Chek Institute. Still going over my notes as there was lots of information covered. I did learn how much a cold environment can stress the body. Three long days in aircon and I had the sniffles, a very rare occurrence. No regular exercise classes while away, but I walked & did some yoga. Ate fairly well until my last week when I was officially "on vacation" and we went out everyday for a meal. I did experiment with juicing, it's interesting how I didn't feel as hungry and ended the trip learning how filling green smoothies are. No severe damage to the weight or waistline and as of yesterday, trying a twice weekly TRX training class. My muscles are just starting to talk to me tonight, so obviously they need the workout. Not sure what the yoga schedule will be as my membership at the studio expired last May and the yoga teacher I had planned to study with has cancelled her local classes to take on some new challenges.
Just spent the better part of two days walking through the Thai Food Ingredients trade show. Healthy is in. Snacking is the trend and so is making food functional. However, some things that at first glance seem healthy, aren't after perusing the ingredients list. Dole had individual fruit & nut packs...great idea...except that the yogurt coating uses partially hydrogenated oils. Lots of dried fruits are available. But many contain sugar as the preservative. There were more low sugar offerings and even some companies who've figured out how to make tasty natural dried mango.
Coconut water is the new hot beverage. Think I must have seen a dozen companies at least with coconut water packaged in bottles, cans, aseptic packs and souvenir coconut containers. Some even with chunks of meat. But beware, not all coconut waters are created equal. I think coconut water is naturally sweet Apparently not everyone thinks so, so watch out for added fructose in the coconut water. There are even coconut water mixed with juice products with high fructose corn syrup added.
Vinegars are up & coming. It was being made from corn, honey, mixed fruits and more. Also lots of germinated brown, red & black rice. Also rices that have been bred to be more nutritious. Germinated brown rice baby food and flours, think these would be an interesting replacement for whole wheat, especially for the gluten sensitive. Also lots of aloe vera products like chunks in syrup
On many items, the buzz phrase is 'no sugar added'. CAVEAT, this does not mean some sort of sweetener has not been added. I saw sorbitol, xylitol, sucralose and honey listed on ingredients for 'no sugar added' offerings.
Superfruits are big...lots of antioxidant juices, elixirs that should be taken daily by the shot glassful. $3 a shot. And then the different wheatgrass blends. What was interesting is the fermented tonics from Korea. It's been TCM, Ayurveda, TTM, think perhaps TKM may be next.
I did meet a 65 year old American at one of the antioxidant fruit juice booths. We had a chat about how he has been studying health foods since he was sixteen and has always eaten a whole food diet. If he's an example, then eating healthy works because he looked much younger than 65. Today his regimen includes Hershey's dark cocoa poweder, miso soup & tumeric.

Three weeks since I moved and it's still chaos, but progress is being made. This is the challenge of moving to smaller spaces but also the opportunity to purge and be ready for the next chapter of life. Challenges are making sure one continues to eat well with the disruption plus manage the stress. Missed a few yoga classes, but Bollywood classes started the week after the move so that helps. It's keeping the priorities straight and knowing that taking care of me comes first, the stuff will always be here...or perhaps not...the earthquakes, the tsunami, the flooding...it clarifies what is important and what is just stuff. I admit that living solo does have the advantage of  being able to let stuff sit, but it also makes me realize that having less stuff would be better as just the sight of stuff can be stressful. 
Fitness friend has been posting old Jack videos. Jack had it right then and he was doing what he preached until the end.  

It seems that coconut oil does not raise your cholesterol. My friend who has been taking a tablespoon per day just did some blood work. The only change he made to his diet was adding the oil, his exercise routine is the same. Number-wise, his cholesterol was down 10 points, his HDL was up, his LDL down and the triglycerides the same. He does occasionally take a day or two off from the oil. He reports a surge in energy when he does take the oil and lately has been adding it to his coffee. Yes, this would not pass the standards of a double-blind test. However, for a easy jumpstart, I think trying a daily dosage of virgin cold-pressed coconut oil is worth experimenting with.
Friend who is a fitness trainer posted Jack's Unhappy People video which led to my watching Jack's 10 points. Funny if we had all been listening to Jack all along, the US probably wouldn't be in such overweight shape now. Reviewing his 10 points, I think I've got it covered, though there is always room for self-improvement.
I've been listening to an overwhelming number of the free webinars on health, wealth, LOA that are now available. There are more than I can keep up with, January being the traditional month when we all decide to make resolutions for the new year. My inbox if filled with trainers selling their programs for the new year, all ways that could possibly help with your goals, if you follow through, but all designed to make your wallet a bit lighter. Tom Venuto had a couple of posts that were key...focus on the deficit, i.e., it boils down to calories in/calories out no matter what diet plan or lifestyle change you choose. Second, as you are successful at losing the weight, then one needs to recalibrate as you will need fewer calories in to maintain your new body. So unfortunately for us shorter people, it's harder to maintain a large deficit as generally most diet plans have a minimum number of calories they suggest which is usually 1200. Many of the webcasts I've listened to talk about the subconcious and how they may be sabotaging your success. I do remember years ago, parenting advice that said focus on the positive when working with children, for example instead of 'don't run', 'please walk' as the child's brain doesn't interpret the negative as easily so instead of your child slowing down, she'd run faster. I think this can apply in other areas of our life. I started thinking about what I tell myself about making my goal of 50 kilos.
Okay, so a little CRS (Can't Remember Stuff) :-)  When I started this post I knew the phrase, then forgot it, but I've remembered it again. It is to say I am WORKING on rather than TRYING TO be 50 kilos. Working means I make better choices. Trying means if I slip up, well I was ONLY trying and perhaps not making a real effort.