Saturday, October 31, 2015

Studies Show Fake Honey Is Everywhere. Here’s How To Know The Difference

Studies Show Fake Honey Is Everywhere. Here’s How To Know The Difference

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Geocaching: Easy and Cheap Whole Family Fresh Air, Exercise and Fun

  Allow me to appeal to the inner pirate in each of you; That secret part of every person that loves to find a prize, a hidden gem, and to be in that small group who know where the "goodies" are hidden.

 Geocaching, just like the backyard Scavenger Hunts, is both simple to learn and easy to employ into your weekends and various downtime.

 Great outdoor fun for all ages, geocaching has evolved from it's fairly exclusive roots where you needed specialized equipment (a handheld GPS unit), to a game that everyone with a smartphone can play.

 This has opened the doors to this worldwide treasure hunt to nearly everyone who wants to spend a few hours walking in beautiful locals with the kids, or just as a romantic yet inexpensive fresh air date.

 Drop by and signup for your free account to get started, and then download the free app to get started right away!

 When you're ready to start hiding a few treasures of your own, reference our previous post about an Etsy shop that makes the coolest upcycled hides here: Upcycled OOAK Geocache Containers Hides: One Of A Kind Geocache Containers, Hand-made from Upcycled Industrial Cast-off Materials!    


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Upcycled OOAK Geocache Containers Hides

One Of A Kind Geocache Containers, Hand-made from Upcycled Industrial Cast-off Materials!

 Please allow me to introduce you to a truly unique item that we recently ran across while browsing Etsy shops for recycled and upcycled crafts.
 If you're not familiar with Etsy click any of the links in this post and see for yourself what an online crafts - artisan fair looks like.  Everything from jewelry and accessories, to home decor and arts, to children's clothing and toys; All made by hand, by artists and craftspeople around the globe.

 Etsy is also one of our favorite places to find those environmentally sound products that are crafted ingeniously from materials that would otherwise have ended up in a landfill, or worse.
 The artist is doing the Earth a small service, and we are keeping this cycle of positivity in rotation by shopping Etsy instead of one of the corporate outlets who routinely rape the planet and poison our grandchildren's future in the name of increasing profits.
 (OK, getting down from my soapbox now...Sorry.)

 One of our new favorite shops on Etsy is called Pops Gifts
Owned by the Reverend of the True Life church (TLC. I like that.), this shop has been an outlet for Pop's offline photography shop, selling a few tablet and phone backgrounds and wallpapers.
 Recently however, Pop has started turning industrial castoff materials into clever containers for Geocaching, a global game that is being played by millions using simple GPS devices or smartphones.
  *Look at for more details on this fun outdoor activity for all ages!

 Pop starts with the heavy role cores that held plastic sheeting. These are made with a water-based and non-toxic glue for the recycling option. Sadly however, only a few companies take advantage of this option.
 These cores are then transformed into cleverly artistic containers that can be filled with small toys (swag) and tradeable items for your little pirates to find and trade.

 Geocaching is an excellent way to get the kids away from the television for an afternoon, and to spend a day in the fresh air, getting excited about finding hidden treasures and without realizing it, actually getting some exercise while they discover new places.
 Pop's Geohides are intended for geocachers who like to place hidden caches of their own.
 Originally made for that other fun outdoor activity Family Scavenger Hunts, these (FiSH) containers were sold on Pop's Ebay store for the last two years, for about double the Etsy price.
  Pop is currently in the process of closing the Ebay store for that same reason: The high fees are pushing up the prices to the customer, which is unfair to both seller and buyer.

Geohides can be filled by Pop with fresh swag, ready to be found by your little pirates!

Each is weather sealed to resist warping and Nature's damage, and if you need a bit more room Pop also makes a footlong version shown below.

Drop by Today and see for yourself that this kind old preacher - grandfather with busy hands is creating just what Nature is prescribing for your family: A fun new way to get the children excited about being outdoors again!
 My grandchildren are in Love with both Geocaching and backyard Scavenger hunts, and Pops Geohides are a big part of the fun!

Friday, September 25, 2015

The next Food You Should Stop Eating: Margarine

To be and feel healthier, there are a few convenience foods you should stop eating today:

  In order to support your healthier lifestyle, you will need to make smarter and more informed food choices. We are all being hit every day with catchy words and phrases like "all natural" and "low fat" and similar triggers designed by food manufacturers to trick you into thinking that their wares are healthy for you, regardless of facts to the contrary.

 Sadly, there is an entire industry based on deceiving consumers with catchy and misleading terms like those worn out examples above.  When you hear the terms "low fat" and "sugar free" you should be thinking "chemical soup".

 Some go so far as to create and manage a campaign of propaganda designed to promote their foods as a healthier option, despite countless studies* that have disproved those claims.
* Another favorite tool of the Food Marketing industry is "fixed results' lab studies wherein the manufacturer sponsors a study with predetermined results stating that their product is healthy.

 Another example of this deception is also the next food you should stop buying and eating: Margarine.

 Originally crafted in 1869 from beef tallow and skimmed milk, margarine was intended as a butter substitute for the soldiers and lower classes of France by Napoleon III. Two years later the process here in the US was converted to animal fats and vegetable oils, mainly cottonseed oil.

 The other big difference in the US was the original design. While the French wanted to express yet another form of separation between the classes, the Americans of 1871 simply wanted to find a cheaper feed for their pigs that would also help to fatten them up.
 To meet this need: Margarine was born.  

When we look back over the last 40 years in an attempt to determine where the roots of our current obesity epidemic began, one of the primary turning points was the heavy marketing of margarine as the "healthier alternative" to butter.
 The motivation was simple and fairly obvious. While dairy farms are messy and unpredictable, a chemical plant can be controlled and far more profitable. Profits that don't need to be shared with a farmer.
 Margarine today is in fact one chemical reaction away from being plastic.
  Rancid oils such as cottonseed (Cotton is one of the most heavily sprayed crops) and Canola ([Rapeseed] considered a healthier oil, despite being banned from infant formulas because it causes vitamin deficiencies) are leeched from seeds with the toxic cancer causing solvent Hexane.

 The oils used in making margarine are the Big Four GMO crops: Soy, Corn, Canola, Cotton.
 The raw oils are steam cleaned, thus destroying all vitamins and antioxidants. Not all the pesticides, but any trace of healthy benefit. They are then mixed with finely ground and highly toxic nickle, as a catalyst for the hydrogenation process.

 Emulsifiers (soaps) and another steam cleaning, along with bleach and deodorizers are all a typical and necessary part of the process of turning undesirable GMO seeds into a tub of chemical sludge that can be sold to the unsuspecting public under the "Healthier Option" label.

 The bottom line is this: A good organic butter is going to be far healthier than any commercial margarine on the market today. Fresh jellies and jams are an even better choice.


Monday, September 7, 2015

Contaminated Marie Callender's: Hair

Contaminated Marie Callender's Pot Pie

  Some may call it a rant, but a recent event involving a frozen Marie Callender's Chicken pot pie made me feel that this issue needed to be addressed.

 Now, as far as I know the process is such that contamination by foreign matter is nearly a non-issue, but as you know, no system is perfect when humans are involved.


   The contamination in this case is a human hair. Clean, sweaty, coated in Who Knows What?
 A rather long and dark human hair, sealed inside the pie like a Crackerjack prize. Gross.


 I contacted ConAgra, the parent company of the Marie Callender's brand. I have yet to hear a reply from their Customer Service dept. Not sure what to expect from them, but my primary question was, "How does something like this happen?"

 I've spent nearly half of my working life in production, and I know the basics of a sterile line job. This is why the human hair in my food is such a mystery that I would like to solve.

 Obviously, the food was inedible at that point and had to be thrown out.
 We buy a few of this type each week because it's an easy meal that the granddaughter can make for herself. I am as yet undecided about whether or not to buy in the future, but for now we will not be putting any Marie Callender's in the shopping cart.

 I would like to hear from any of you who may have had a similar experience.



Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Care and Feeding Of Your Zombie

 You may have a pulse inside, but on the surface you're dead.  You Beautiful Zombie You.

  When you consider that your body is in a constant state of repair due to the regeneration of cells, from the major organs to the skin that holds it all together, you realize that we are all looking at a zombie in the mirror every morning. That's because the skin is rebuilt from the inner layers outward, thus the outer layer that everyone sees is comprised of already dead skin cells.
 Caring for those zombie cells is not nearly as hard as most corporations would have you believe, but it will require a few special considerations.


  First: Avoid Axes To the Head:

 There are a few tips to skin care that most people are barely aware of. All of the expensive creams in the world are useless if your zombie is dealing with suicidal habits.

  •  Avoid touching your face.

 Dirt is transferred from your fingers that can become lodged in the pores. Use an oil-absorbent paper or get in the habit of carrying a packet of Kleenex. Acne-prone skin types are especially susceptible to those finger germs.

  •   The Sun is not your friend.

  Drying and premature wrinkling are just the beginning. Skin cancer can take decades to brew to the surface, so the Summer tans that you enjoy showing off in your twenties can easily become the melanoma that drops you to your knees in your fifties.

  •  Garbage In, Garbage Out. 

 Healthy skin starts and ends with a healthy diet and lifestyle. Fruits and veggies are vital, especially those citrus fruits that are high in vitamin C, along with lean meats and at least thirty minutes of heart healthy exercise every day. Dump the trans fats and fried foods that are adding toxins to your diet.

   Basic Zombie Care:
 Proper skin care doesn't have to be expensive, and you don't need to get up an hour earlier just to look good. You will however need to use a little common sense to keep your favorite zombie from falling apart and scaring the neighbors.

  The hardest part for most people is learning to ignore all of the misleading marketing from companies that want you to feel insecure about your ability to care for your body, so that you will pay anything for their "magic solution" that does little, if anything, for your skin.
  Look at it this way: The profits to be made from a cure are a drop in the bucket, compared to the ocean of profits to be made from treating your problems.
 The cancer industry has fallen into this profitability model, and as long as corporations are allowed to control the health industry, this won't be changing anytime soon. The real money is in the treatments.
 The point of this rant is simply that nearly all of the big promise products start with a natural ingredient like Aloe or Lanolin and then add nasty chemicals and perfumes that you don't want or need as their signature.

 Respect yourself and your wallet by keeping it simple. A six month supply of Aloe Vera gel runs about five bucks, so why would you pay a company ten times as much to whip it up with toxins?

 The care part is just as simple, and should include the two prime steps: Clean and Moisturize.

  > Exfoliate.
  You've heard it before because it not only works, it's vital to healthy skin. Scrubbing those dead flakes of skin from your face allows the world to see those healthy, pink skin cells underneath, as well as removing the dirt and oils trapped between them.
 Loofah or sea sponge, washcloth or spinning brushes, proper cleaning is best served daily.
For my money, it's natural sea sponge. Cheap to replace, easy to rinse clean after use, and gentle enough for even the most sensitive skin types.
Habits are the key, and new, healthier habits are easy to start. Simply decide, and do.

Finding the right cleanser for your skin type is not quite as simple, but simplicity is still the theme of this story. Did you know that you can cleanse the skin with milk or yogurt? Not many do, but it's not only true but for the organic types out there, it's the best solution to proper zombie care.

 > Moisturize.
 Between your soaps and shaving, air pollution and the Sun, your skin takes a beating and tends to dry out. It is dead, after all. Replacing lost moisture isn't hard and starting a daily habit of lotion or oils is just as easy.
 Choose water-based lotions and avoid those that use an alcohol base. Apply a thin layer after the shower to replace the oils that you just scrubbed off.
 Dry skin types will benefit from a routine of vitamin E oil instead of lotions. A bottle runs just a few dollars (I found it at a dollar store once), and makes an excellent prime for those who like to blend their own moisturizers as I do.

 I mentioned Aloe Vera gel earlier in Basics: I have an Aloe plant on the kitchen windowsill that grows very well, and provides me with organic Aloe gel for my twice-weekly moisturizing treatment.
 I just snip a half-leaf and squeeze one of Nature's greatest moisturizers directly onto the face and massage it in.   The plant cost me $4 at a local farm, and has paid me back for years.

 Told you it was simple.
Here are a few extra tips to keep in mind, though they won't apply to everyone.

 - Avoid the sun during peak hours (10-4). 
  Drying and wrinkles are avoidable. If you must go out, use a sunblock of SPF15 or more.
  - Quit smoking.
 Premature aging and wrinkles are the free bonus, Especially around the mouth.
 - Keep showers under 15 minutes.
 Hot water is harsh on the skin, and long showers remove too much of the good oils.
 - Wait 20 minutes after a shower to decide if you need a moisturizer.
 If the skin starts to feel tight, apply a good lotion or natural oil.
 - Wash the face in warm water and rinse in cold water.
 Warm water helps to open the pores, but again, hot water has minerals that dry the skin.

 - Use olive oil as a natural makeup remover.
 Not only is it one of the natural oils that are good for your complexion, but this one tip can save you from those ugly crows feet in the sensitive areas around the eyes.

  Copyright JB Stran  2015

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The First Convenience Food You Should Stop Eating: Microwave Popcorn

To be and feel healthier, this is one of those convenience foods you should stop eating today:

  In order to support your new healthier lifestyle, you will need to make smarter and more informed food choices. We are all being hit every day with catchy words and phrases like "all natural" and "low fat" and similar triggers designed by food manufacturers to trick you into thinking that their wares are healthy for you.

 Sadly, there is an entire multi-billion dollar industry based on deceiving consumers with catchy and misleading terms like those worn out examples above.
 For example, the term "All Natural" pretty much applies to any food stuff or compound derived from Nature. The hair from a pig's anus is all natural, so are insect parts and rat droppings...but I don't want it in my child's food.
 By the same token; When you hear the terms "low fat" and "sugar free" you should be thinking "chemical soup".

 Some go so far as to create and manage a campaign of propaganda designed to promote their foods as a healthier option, regardless of the truth and countless studies that have disproved those claims.

 A good example of this deception is also the first food you should stop buying and eating: Microwave Popcorn.

 With millions to spend on marketing, the microwave popcorn industry has done a great job of selling you the sizzle and burying the fact that the steak is toxic. From the bag to the corn itself, there is so much poison in each serving that your best bet is to either start popping your own organic kernels, or just lay off the stuff altogether.

Nearly all varieties of microwave popcorn line their bags with perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). This chemical is the same toxic compound found in teflon pots and pans, and it can stay in the human body for long periods of time. When heated this chemical has been linked to infertility, cancer and other diseases in lab animals and it is listed as a carcinogen by the EPA.  Another study has found an acid that can be extracted from the chemical causes cancer in animals and is “likely to cause cancer in humans.”

 While there are no current sources of GMO kernels, there are plenty of GMO ingredients anyway in the form of oils and emulsifiers. Because the major brands do not use organic kernels, you can bet the farm that they contain pesticides.
 Popsecret and Jollytime still use trans fat, one of the most deadly fats available that is associated with 20,000 heart attacks a year and over 7,000 deaths according to the CDC. 
 Proply Gallate, TBHQ (When they need to hide an ingredient's name with initials you should see red flags flying), and that universal catch-all "artificial flavoring" round out the myriad of reasons why you should start making your own popcorn.
 By the way: TBHQ stands for “Tertiary Butylhydroquinone”,   is a chemical made from the  toxic gas Butane and eating only 1 gram of this toxic preservative has been shown to cause all sorts of issues, from ADHD in children, to asthma, allergies and dermatitis to dizziness and even has caused stomach cancer in lab tests.

 As if you needed more: Another serious health danger lies in that fake butter flavoring. 
 Specifically in an FDA-approved chemical known as Diacetyl. There's even a debilitating respiratory disease known as "Popcorn Worker's Lung" (medical term: Bronchiolitis obliterans) that is suffered by the employees of the popcorn factory, caused by extended inhalation of the chemical's fumes.
  Want to make your own?  Easy and Fast!

  2015   JB "Pop" Stran  All Copyrights apply. No reprint without full link intact.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Handy Hacks: Summer Edition

Handy Hacks  part 3

  We all like to learn a new trick that will make our lives easier, save us money, and even impress friends and family in the process.
 Here are a few of my favorites for the Summer months:

* Remove Crayons from Walls with WD40:
Use the lubricant and a cloth to remove stubborn crayon marks from the walls just by spraying the wall and wiping with a cloth.

* Keep Ants and Slugs Out of the House with Chalk?
Ants and Slugs Won’t Touch Chalk. So, simply draw a line in front of your doorway where you are having problems with these pesky critters.   Better yet, cut the kids loose with a box of sidewalk chalk and make sure that they draw you a beautiful doormat all around the front steps. Don't forget the area under the windows, and the ants won’t cross it, meaning they won’t be able to get into your house.

That reminds me: Chapstick will stop the bleeding if you nick yourself shaving.
 - assuming of course that a few of you still enjoy an old-school shave as I do.

**and That reminds me:  Olive oil is an excellent replacement for shaving cream! Slick and smooth enough to ward off nicks, it also moisturizes the skin as you shave.

* Vinegar: Kills Weeds and Helps Flowers Grow
Vinegar is a magic wonder when it comes to gardening. It not only kills weeds but they help flowers grow as well. Douse vinegar all around your garden to prevent weeds from popping up and to help your flowers to grow healthy and strong. A spray bottle with the tip opened to a jet works fine.

* Remove A Bumper Sticker with Mayonnaise?
Spread mayonnaise on the bumper sticker and let sit for at least thirty minutes. Then, rub the sticker off with a towel, leaving a clean bumper!

* Clean BBQ Grill with Baking Soda:
Mix a cup of baking soda with half a cup water to make a paste. Dip your brush into the paste and scrub the grill. The caked on pieces and black residue will come off much quicker and using baking soda is much safer and cheaper than using cleaning chemicals.

That reminds me: Clean your grill with an Onion:
  Close and warm that dirty grill for 10 minute. Slice a fresh onion in half and rub the cut face of onion back and forth on the grilling surface until the juices have loosened all that stuck-on crud. Hit it with your grill brush and repeat if necessary.  Not only will the onion make cleaning much easier, but your next round of steaks will have an awesome hint of extra flavor!

 ...and, One to impress the ladies:

* Freeze Candles to Make Them Last Longer:
Put candles in the freezer for at least 2 hours before using. Once you burn them, the wax will melt at a much slower pace, making them last much longer!

*...and That reminds me:  Never buy Dryer Sheets again:
  Ball up a sheet of aluminum foil and toss it in the dryer. Make it two, if you like. This will eliminate the static cling while freeing you from those nasty chemicals that commercial dryer sheets leave on the clothes. 
 A hand-sized ball of foil (worth about a nickle) will last up to a YEAR! 

  So...Do you feel smarter yet?   You will when you get to pass these old school tips on!
- You're welcome.


2015  JB "Pop" Stran  All Copyrights apply. No reprint without full link intact.

Friday, June 12, 2015

5 Basic Truths Even The Smartest People Forget

5 Basic Truths Even The Smartest People Forget

It’s so easy to get caught up in the business and demand of life that we can often for the most simple of truths.  Even some of the truths that hold together the foundation of our experience, that give life meaning, and that bring us joy often get buried beneath a concoction of thoughts, obligations, and responsibilities.
While it can be excited to experience life and go with the flow, a life without reflection is not worth living.  There has to be some time set aside each day to examine yourself and see if there is something you can improve on.  The funny thing is, it’s usually the case that the solution to our problems is so obvious that we failed to see it.
If you find yourself feeling stuck, upset, or unfulfilled, the solution may be as simple as remembering some of the basic truths that we may have taken for granted.  Here are 5 of the most basic truths that even the smartest people forget...
Read more:

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Use This Simple Meditation Secret and Never Have Trouble Falling Asleep Again

 This easy meditation trick from the Sixties has just been confirmed to end those sleepless nights

  From staring at small screens to late snacking or just plain unreleased stresses, there are plenty of reasons why so many people have a hard time falling asleep at night. Tossing and turning, or just staring at the ceiling and cursing the brain for refusing to quiet down long enough for slumber to take hold, needing to get that deserved sleep for the next day and being denied rest is horrible at best, and in some cases just plain dangerous.  

 Whether you are a decades-long practitioner like myself, or have never tried any form of meditation, there is a simple and very easy method of beating insomnia that works so well that many people are reporting falling asleep in One Minute or less. Real REM sleep, in a minute or less, naturally, and without drugs of any kind.

 Commonly referred to as the 4-7-8 method, the secret to falling asleep fast is nothing more than controlled breathing that forces your mind to calm itself and allow sleep to take over. Used by gurus to create a calming state that can replenish the body and the mind equal to a full night's sleep, with only a ten minute meditative state, the short version of the 4-7-8 can be used by anyone to fall asleep easily.

 Easy as ABC, you breathe in through your nose for four seconds, hold it for seven seconds, and exhale through your mouth for eight seconds.  Simple enough, right?  Now just lather, rinse and repeat.
  Count off in your head as you breathe, "yullymin 1, yullymin 2, yullymin 3, yullymin 4." or whatever term you are comfortable with. Your mantra should be a simple yet generic phrase that won't start your mind wandering and distract from the task at hand, ie: falling asleep.  "Big boobs 1, cheesesteak 2..." are the types of words that create a distracting image and simply won't work.  Of course I'm kidding, but the point is this: Your total focus must remain on your breathing and nothing else.

 This method is also great for other times of stress and mental distraction, and can be valuable for a myriad of situations.  My first exposure to this life-tool was in the military through an advanced combat training class, intended as a means to help remain clear and focused in moments of extreme stress. It works so well that I have carried it with me for nearly 40 years, and have always been the cooler head when things get hot. 
 When you are stressed, your endocrine system releases adrenalin through the adrenal glands. This boosts your heart rate and can make you feel unsteady and jittery, and in some cases you may even feel sick. This is usually followed by shallow and rapid breathing.

 Using the 4-7-8 method will counteract the effects of the adrenalin, which forces your heart rate to slow down. She simply doesn't have a choice in the matter. This is you taking back control, and it feels wonderful to be back in the driver's seat.

 As a beginner you may feel a bit uncomfortable with this, but as you learn to calm your mind by focusing on nothing but breathing it will get easier. 
 But you don't have to take my word for it.  The 4-7-8 method of stress relief was recently confirmed by the Harvard-educated wellness practitioner Dr. Andrew Weil as the ideal method of overcoming stress that is simple enough for anyone to use on a daily basis.

 Give it a try tonight, and remember to drop back here and tell us how it worked for you.

 2015   JB "Pop" Stran  All Copyrights apply. No reprint without full link intact.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Happiness Pursuit: Destination Addiction Secrets

 The Pursuit of Happiness:  Beware of Destination Addiction

  First of all, your happiness is never guaranteed. Never was, and never will be.
 Even our founding fathers were smart enough to understand that too many people suffer from a condition known as "destination addiction" (DA), which is why you are only granted the right to pursue it.
 Having it, and keeping it, is entirely up to you.

 So what is "Destination Addiction"?
In the simplest terms, it means that you subscribe to the belief that your happiness, and I mean real happiness, lies just around the next corner. When you get the next job; when you meet the next short-term goal; when your divorce comes through; in the next prescription; or with the next new love affair.

 Notice in the last two examples that I have touched on the root cause that applies to nearly half of those affected by DA: Placing responsibility for their own happiness on someone else's shoulders, in this case the doctor who is happy to charge you for chasing the uncatchable, and the boyfriend or girlfriend who shouldn't be asked to bear an extra weight that is destined by design to fail.
 Sadly, the core fault that causes far too many divorces can also be traced back to a partner who simply refused to acknowledge the individual's responsibility of providing their own personal happiness. Naturally, they found over time that their life partner had neither the interest, nor the resources, to provide it for them.

  "Happiness Depends Upon Ourselves"

- Aristotle

So, are you ready for the simple truth?
 It's rather ironic, actually. The truth of personal happiness, this thing that so many people will spend an entire lifetime searching for but never find, while others seem to be born with it, is this:  You Had It All Along.

   You already have it, but environmental influences have trained you to ignore it and to start a lifelong quest to hunt for it. A rather expensive and personally exhaustive quest; but don't worry, there's a pill for that, too.

  You can call these influences society in general, peer pressure, commercialism, television advertising, specialized marketing (or Madison avenue, if that one actually applies anymore), retailers, or any of a hundred reasons (excuses?) that the AD victim can offer to define the path that led them to becoming hopelessly addicted to the BBD*.

*Sorry, this may be a bit "old school" for today's readers, but in my youth AD was called chasing ghosts and the destinations were referred to as the Bigger, Better Deal (or, the BBD as in "he's addicted to the BBD").  Kinda rolls off the tongue, doesn't it?

 The real reason that so many people seem to be born into their own happiness, regardless of personal wealth or societal standings, is because they fully grasp, at a young age, the concept of personal happiness being the individual's responsibility.
 You can credit this to good parenting if you like, and in many cases you would be right, but the truth is that some people just get it. It clicks for them, and no further explanation is required.
 Like water rolling off a duck's back, they just seem able to repel troubles and remain happy.

 I have seen this first hand over many years.  This rollercoaster of a life has found me homeless more than once, and one of the most valuable memories that have endured is of genuinely happy families that literally had nothing material to offer, but were willing to share none the less.
 In some cases all they had to offer was a hug. And in my case, at that time, it was enough.

 I have also known some extremely wealthy families, and found only one that I can recall who was really happy, but to be perfectly honest she was what most would call totally clueless.
  She was blissful, if you get my drift.
  It's easy to hide personal misery under new vehicles and a lot of alcohol, but a lack of personal fulfillment is one of those things that simply won't stay hidden for long. 
 Either you have it or you don't, but you definitely can't buy it. Many have tried, and all have failed.

 In case you missed the answer, here it is again:  BE.

  Stop chasing happiness. Just Be.  Yes: it really is that simple.  No one can sell it to you, though many are going to offer.
 Car dealers, drug manufacturers (and their licensed drug dealers, aka your local doctor), home builders, cosmetics retailers, and dozens of others who are staking millions on your ignorance will continue to promise to sell you some happy. Be smarter. Learn to see through the smoke & mirrors, and choose to be happy.

 Step off the treadmill, even for a minute, and try becoming less hamster and more human. A responsible human who is willing to accept full responsibility for the thoughts that are coming from your own mind.
 Because what you think, you become: Happiness included.

Whether you believe that you can, or you believe that you can't: You are never wrong.      ≈ JB

 Happiness is a gift that that you give to yourself. Happiness is a gift that cannot be taken away from you, though again, some are going to try. 
 In a society that is peppered with so many truly miserable people, seeing someone who appears to have found actual happiness has a way of plucking a lot of people's nerves. Even a few friends may even try to sabotage your apparent self-satisfaction, albeit unconsciously.
 Misery, after all, really does enjoy company. This too is just more smokescreen, so don't fall for it.

 Understand them and the motivations behind their negative actions, and you will manage to hold firmly to your newfound happiness as a sailor holds his compass through rough seas.
 Learn to be more present, to live in the NOW.  Let the past be, stop worrying about the future, and be right here, right now. Then, be happy. Right here, and right now.
 It has always been nothing more than a simple choice, so Choose Happy.  Get it? Got it? Good.

 ≈ namaste

2015   J.B. Stran     § Copyright

Friday, April 24, 2015

Self Defense: Beware The Energy Vampires!

Givers -vs- Takers

How To Defend Yourself From Low Frequency people Eager To Drain You

  We all know at least one. You may know a whole room full of them. Maybe you work with a few, or even (shudder) have to live with one.
 Nearly every parent of teenagers has at one time or another felt their happiness and love being sucked from their heart like someone had stabbed a straw into your back...but this is little more than a phase that passes (hopefully) in time, and not quite what this is about.
  I'm talking about fully grown adults who behave in much the same fashion.
 Some are subtle and quiet about what they want, slowly sucking the happiness from your life in tiny drops like a tick. Others don't know subtle. They don't do subtle; In your face and loud as a jackhammer; they induce a headache before they even start to speak.

 The energy vampires come in many forms, but all create that same feeling of being pulled into emotional quicksand because: spending ten minutes with them can drain you like hours of hard labor; they are the reason you have developed a poker-face that any Vegas gambler would envy; they are likely the real reason that vacations were invented.

Energy Vampires just need to feed. Your lifeforce, or the next guy's, it's all the same to a leech.

 Unfortunately, many of these love-pits simply can not be avoided because they are family, co-workers, the boss, and other essential members of your current reality. So, is there really a way to defend yourself from this constant source of low frequency vibration and needless pain?
 Start by first identifying the culprits.

The four most common forms of these psychic leeches are:

  • The Needy Friend
 Appearing friendly and kind, overly needy people are constantly seeking (begging?) advice they have no intention of heeding. "You're so smart. Tell me what to do!". 
 A common trait among the emotionally needy is that they rarely, if ever, manage to shift their focus from their own wants to the needs of others. This is because the hopelessly needy are never quite satisfied no matter how much they seem to have, and this selfishness will drain you if you let it.
  • The Drama Queen
  Facebook has become the playground of choice for this type of attention-seeking, narcissistic personality. Prone to bursts of emotions and negativity, the drama queen is also everyone's critic.
 Listen to the way they talk about others behind their backs, and you will know exactly how they speak of you when you're not around.
 Though it's not easy, don't take it personally. The problem is theirs, and not really with you...not yet.
The goal is to suck you in and begin draining your happiness and higher vibrations before moving on to the next victim, so simply step aside and remember these wise words:
 The only winner in a rigged game is the one making the rules.  Simply refuse to play.
  • The Hyper-Talker
  Some people just seem to love the sound of their own voice, attempting to fill every minute of the day with it. This uncontrollable need to speak and be heard is often manifested in inappropriately loud volumes, regardless of the surroundings. Using your "Inside voice" is not a term they are familiar with.
 The "squawker-talkers" are yet another damaged attention seeker who must be avoided if you are to retain your own vibrational level. They are experts at seeking out the listeners among us, and will latch on until you are fully drained by the needy droning of their endless sagas. 
  • The Self-Pity Victims
  Locked in their own prison of sad stories and victim status, this negativity pump will bury you in a landslide of complaints until you feel that you can't breathe.
 Prone to sudden mood changes, hostile outbursts, and in some cases even violent tirades, the permanent victim simply refuses to believe that they are worthy of happiness.
...and if they can't have it, then neither should anyone else, especially you.

 People aren't against you, they are just for themselves.       

 These people are very good at spotting the emotionally vulnerable and latching onto them.  Your kindness and support may begin with good intentions, but can quickly turn into a trap that will allow the users control over your state of mind. 

 Some will seek constant advice and attention from you, making you feel important to their self-esteem, but they simply can not and will not feel any form of respect for your sacrifices.
 Since their actions are mainly unconsciously motivated, you may not feel any immediate effects. 
Most givers will ignore the negative impact that a taker is having on their well being until the onset of a depressive state triggers the awareness that you have been toting around a vampire who is systematically pulling you down to a new low frequency level.

 The sad truth is this:  All Givers have a limit, while the Takers have none.

 Your own self esteem is a valuable tool in dealing with an energy vampire. Limiting the amount of access they are allowed to your thoughts is a good start, and being more assertive when you do have to deal with them will help you to at least feel in control to some degree.

 Many users will go out of their way to help you with the small practicalities of your life, such as shopping and picking up the kids from school when you can't, but be aware that the average Taker is always keeping score of favors, and you need to limit your indebtedness to them.

 Remind yourself that it isn't personal. These people often detest life in general, and keeping this in mind will help you to be less reactive in their presence.

2015    § Copyright    by: JB Stran, reverend of the Church of Universal Truth

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Three Simple Powerful Changes To Start Your New Healthier Life

Make These 3 Simple Changes To Be Healthier Now

  We all want to feel better, have a bit more energy, and live a little longer than most.
 Even if we can't keep up with the little ones, at least we won't look so hopelessly out of breath when we try.

 Fortunately, there are a few easy changes to your daily habits that can help.
I'm not saying it will be easy for everyone, but I am saying that it will be worth it.

Change #1:  MOVE.

  Research and statistics are proving beyond any further traces of doubt that our sedentary lifestyles are killing us, in record numbers.
 Lack of adequate exercise is causing too many Americans to fall into a poisonous cycle of inactivity. 
 After a day's work, we fall into a semi-conscious state on the sofa and grab the remote for a full evening of mind-numbing nothingness, with nothing to show for it but a few minutes of chat the next day.
 For others, this is the time for beer in the easy chair. Lots of beer, and lots of easy chair.
An easy meal and more sitting before falling into bed to start the cycle over again the next day is about the sum of the average American "walking comatose" adult, and no spare energy is the primary result.

 Here's my first secret:  Your extra energy is waiting  just outside your comfort zone.

 Take a walk.  Research has proven that a twenty minute walk in nature has the same effect on the brain as a single dosage of any popular mood-leveling prescription drug.
 When you feel good, you will want more of that. Walk 3 times next week.
Take your mate for a nature hike near water next weekend. Start a garden. Really get your hands in that soil (this also has a calming effect on the brain). Dust off that old bike. Whatever floats your boat.
 The key is to MOVE. And to keep moving.

Change #2: Garbage In, Garbage Out.

  You Are What You Eat.  No statement is more true today, especially since the transition from family farms to corporate food processing plants has turned your local grocery store into a chemical retailer.
  We were sold the idea that it is far easier to add water to a box of dry stuff, or ground beef to a pack of chemicals, than to cut and prepare the vegetables and herbs for a fresher meal. And do we ask a lot of questions about the contents of that box? Nope. Why would we? They wouldn't hurt us, would they?
 You are told to trust them, and you comply. 
 Just eat it. Don't ask a lot of questions. It's cheap, so just be happy with that, and don't ask why each generation of kids becomes less tolerant of whole foods than the last. 
 Peanut allergies. Wheat (gluten) allergies. Allergies to healthy foods that would mean a death sentence in some countries, where a child who is allergic to food is little more than a myth.
  Don't ask why the instance of child obesity has multiplied itself by 1200% over the last four generations, or why instances of autism in children have exploded over the last 20 years.

Remember that first secret?  Step outside your comfort zone at the grocer, too.

 Try a new food each week. Heard of zucchini pasta? Spiral cut the vegetable into a far more nutritious meal that your body will thank you for.
 Look for Coconut oil.   Smear it on your bagel in the morning, or just drop a spoonful into your sauces for a secret healthy kick. Get back in the habit of browsing the fresh vegetables when you shop, and start trying a new type each week. Surely there are a few you have never tasted, so what are you waiting for?

  Healthy eating habits will likely become a family tradition. Set a good example.

This leads us naturally into the third change you will need to make in order to begin your new life of looking and feeling healthier. Last, but surely not least...

Change #3: Wake Up.

  You have no doubt noticed that the recurring theme of the first two changes has been changes.
Shake things up. Break the grind and climb out of the rut that is wearing you down and sapping your vital energy.  Remember when you could play ball all day long? Riding your bike from breakfast until your mom called you home for dinner?  
 I'm not promising that you will be twelve years old again, but it is not out of the question to at least feel that twenty years of abuse and neglect have been undone by just a few simple changes of habit.

 It's really not your fault: There's so much good stuff to watch on tv; Your boss is draining you daily and you consider yourself lucky just to get a meal on the table before you collapse on the couch; Tonight's game is far too important to miss; You deserve to rest your feet after the day that you put in...
 All excuses aside, wouldn't you really want more from your life than to simply work and grow fat until you die (early) with your face in a plate of that GMO Mac & Cheese that pushed you into the grave?

  This third change is a bit deeper, but just as important (if not more so) as the first two, because without this change, the others won't stand a chance in the long term.
 Your new healthy feeling will have to start with a new healthier mindset.
Don't laugh. Anyone can swap out bacon for turkey strips for a week, but most will slide right back to their old unhealthy habits when they don't see immediate results.
 This is because they are waiting and secretly hoping for failure. That would be the perfect excuse to bounce back to the old ways like crawling into their favorite pajamas.

  Once you can understand how you got where you are, and are committed for the long haul, you are better equipped to anticipate a relapse and nip it in the bud.
 Baby steps are a fine manner of progress, because the most important thing in this system of change is to keep moving forward. Keep pulling for that healthier you that you know is still trapped inside those few extra pounds and being drowned by the habits of convenience.

 Motivate yourself to turn off the television a couple of hours earlier than usual and read a book. On the back porch. On the treadmill. How about an audiobook while you power-walk the neighborhood?
 After a light dinner (for some people, smaller portions are a good start), spend an hour trimming the bushes as you listen to the birds singing. 

 Keep the basic keys in mind:
  •   Cut the junk food. Try new natural recipes.
  • Get vertical more often. Move.
  •  Decide that now is the time.
  • Clean your mind, so that as you clean your body it will have a better chance of staying that way.
  • Exercise, in any form, is always better than being dormant.

 Of course, your new healthier lifestyle will need to evolve as you get stronger and more active, so stay tuned to Pop's blog (Hit the Subscribe link Now!) for more advanced ways to keep growing into your reverse-aging body and reclaiming your youthful energy.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Simple Smart Personal Hacks part 1

  A Few Simple Life Hack Secrets That Make You Look and Feel Smarter

 We all love learning a new trick, especially when it's something that can save us time or money.
Here's a few of my favorites:

>  Buff a CD/DVD or Clear a Hazy Headlight with Toothpaste:
Apply toothpaste to a cotton ball and wipe the disc. Wash with water afterwards and you’ve got a brand new disc!
  Dab plain white toothpaste on the plastic headlight shell and polish with a lightly dampened cotton rag. Work it around real good. Wipe clean with a wet towel and your headlight is clear again!

 Buff Dings out of Wood Furniture with a Walnut:
Get rid of unsightly scratches and dings on wood furniture by rubbing a walnut on the areas. The blemishes will vanish quickly and your furniture and pocket book will be saved.

 Remove Permanent Marker with Rubbing Alcohol:
Dab the surface that has the permanent marker on it with a cloth or cotton ball covered in rubbing alcohol to make it disappear quickly.

Neat, Huh?

  More to follow...

  § Copyright   J.B. Stran

Friday, April 3, 2015

Evolution of Medical Theory: Coconut Oil and Saturated Fats

The Jury is Out: Forget everything you were told about Saturated Fats

  You may have heard that the AMA is beginning a complete reversal of the traditional practice of arbitrarily removing juvenile tonsils as a solution to persistent throat infections.
 This is due to the fact that doctors are finally ready to admit that the medical community of the last few generations didn't fully understand the actual, and as it turns out quite vital function of this organ.

 Similarly, many doctors and nutritionists of the 20th century were claiming that anyone who expects to live a longer, healthier lifestyle must eliminate all saturated fats from their diet at once. This tune has begun to change recently, based primarily on further research and some new evidence.

 Similar to the completely unjustified generalizations that were laid upon many gentle family pets of the Pitbull breed, all forms of saturated fats have been demonized in the public eye based on the discovery that a few certain fats were unhealthy.
 These researchers failed to mention (or notice at the time) that there are just as many forms of saturated fats that are not only healthy, but in some cases vital to your overall nutritional health.

  Like most rumors, this one about fats was based in truth, and then exaggerated to sound like you were getting the whole story. So, here's the rest of the story...
  It is true that many saturated fats, such as those found in meat and cheese for example, are mostly made up of Long Chain Triglycerides (LCTs), which need to be broken down in the intestines before your body can use them for fuel. In other words, you are forced to store these fat cells in your body while waiting for this lengthy process to complete itself.

 Conversely, a previously maligned source of healthy fats that is being spotlighted lately is Coconut Oil, which is comprised primarily of Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs). These fats are metabolized quickly and rarely stored in the body as fat cells.
 The MCTs are a source of many helpful health benefits, including actually losing weight instead of gaining, just the opposite of the earlier fears.

 Fortunately, we are now beginning to understand that the saturated fats found in coconut oil, contrary to popular belief, are actually very beneficial to your nutrition.
 This is due in part to the discovery that the Tokelauan and Kitavan peoples of the South Pacific, who consume large quantities of coconut oil, are among the healthiest peoples on Earth.
 This evidence has sparked a renewed interest among nutritionists in the benefits of coconut oil.

 A Brazilian study found that women who consumed 30 milliliters of coconut oil daily for 12 weeks saw a reduction in their waist circumference and Body Mass Index, compared to a similar group who consumed equal amounts of soybean oil, which contains LCTs, and did not see similar benefits.
The results of this study were published in Lipids in 2009.

 Add in such bonuses as anti-viral properties, antifungal, and the fact that the MCTs can deter and even reverse the effects of Alzheimers Disease, and you can see why coconut oil is seen by health conscious consumers as the new natural must-have item today.

 Oh, and did i mention that it's actually very tasty?
While I've never been a big fan of coconut, in the form of a spread similar to butter, coconut oil is one of the exceptions to the old saying that anything good for you must taste bad.

 You should consider adding a spoonful of coconut oil to your daily diet immediately, in any way that you can.  A few friends are mixing it into their favorite recipes in place of margarine, and others simply eat it plain as a booster to their daily vitamin regime.

    § Copyright   §  JB Stran

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Five For Your Face: Easy and Natural Secrets for Skin Care

Easy and Natural Skin Care: Five Secrets for Your Face

 From smile lines to age spots, you're not as helpless as the cosmetics companies want you to believe.  In fact, many natural remedies are far better for your skin, along with being a whole lot cheaper! 

- Simple Skin Toner:
     After washing, splash your face with a 1:4 mix of Apple Cider Vinegar and tap water.
 You'll restore the ph balance in 30 days or less, and that relates to sporting softer, prettier, and more radiant skin.
  *(1:4 ratio means, for example, 1 cup of ACV to 4 cups water.)

- Bags Under the Eyes?
     Grate a raw potato and wrap it in clean gauze. Lie down, and place the compress over your eyes for 20 minutes.
 Want to cut that time in half?  Cut a thin slice of potato for each eye, and skip the gauze.
 (but the compress works a bit better)

- Clogged Pores?
     Nuke a package of gelatin with a splash of raspberry juice!
 Mix the gelatin in a microwave-safe bowl with a quarter-cup of room temp unsweetened raspberry juice, and nuke for about 1 minute on high, or until it begins to bubble.
 Allow to cool to the touch, and apply to the whole face as a mask and allow to set (about 30 minutes), and peel the blackheads off!

- Anti-Aging Mask:
     Mash half of an Avocado, and blend in a half-teaspoon of Vitamin E oil, and a tablespoon of plain yogurt.
 Apply to your face, and pay special attention to laugh lines and crow's feet.
Leave on for 20 minutes and rinse away with warm water.
 Hello Gorgeous!

Avocado is so rich in healthy fats that it's more emollient than those fancy face creams.
 *Vitamin E oil is available at many dollar-stores, if you have a hard time finding it.

- Satiny Smooth Skin. All Over:
     Pamper yourself at home with a simple yet spa-level sea salt scrub.
  Mix a quarter-cup Sea Salt with a tablespoon of Baking Soda. Blend in enough Almond Oil to make a paste.
 Smells delicious, right?
Rub the mixture all over your body and face, then step into the shower to rinse it off.
 You'll be relaxed, refreshed, and silky smooth!

--Bonus> Winter season Cough Syrup for pennies:

  Here's a classic with it's roots in the days of the Great Depression when cost mattered most, but it had to work, because waste in any form simply wasn't tolerated!

 Slice a medium onion into rings and place them in a deep bowl.
Cover with 2 cups of honey and let the concoction stand for 10-12 hours.
  Strain out the onion and take 1 tablespoon 4 times a day until the cough disappears.

   § Copyright  

Friday, February 13, 2015

Roses Love Garlic

Roses Love Garlic, and so should you! 

 Aren't we all getting a bit anxious for Spring?
 Of course we are, and the snow and cold won't last much longer, so here's a tip from Pop's gardening notes to get you ready:

   To protect your roses from Black Spot, Rose Chafers, Cane Borers, and even Japanese Beatles, pick up several garlic bulbs in the grocery aisle.
  Plant the individual cloves around the rosebed and anywhere else in the garden that the pests are causing trouble.

   When the garlic plants come up, they will work like knights in shining armor to keep your beauties healthy and happy...and pest free!

  ** Remember to save a few bulbs for yourself! One of my favorite secrets to staying away from prescription drugs is fresh garlic, and I sneak it into any dish that will support it.
 Sliced fine and sauteed, or crushed into pasta sauce, a few cloves of fresh garlic keep the blood young and fresh.

 § Copyright