Spring cleaning of the mind

Each Spring, we get all giddy and excited about life as things start sprouting out of the ground.  Somehow, the end of the long Winter (even when it’s mild) begs us to take a cue for a little mental renaissance.   Here’s what we are reading, thinking about, and doing for ourselves this season.

1.  Slowing down the time we have together

Tim and I are both working full time now, and it is easy to let busy days and interrupted nights continue for days on end.  This morning, I saw this on Pinterest and I was reminded once again how much our culture approves of the hectic life.  We find the meaningful conversations only happen in the evenings if we turn off the technology and leave the workday out of the dialogue.  Turn the radio off and listen to the birds.  Sit somewhere with sunshine on your face for a few minutes.

2.  Educating ourselves on food 

With all the emphasis on Paleo, eating clean, 100daysofrealfood.com, and other attempts to help us all clean up our ingestion acts, there is no better time to take a closer look at what foods are really feeding our bodies and what should probably go by the wayside.  For us, we are on the look out for GMO foods and ingredients we can’t pronounce, and we choose to only eat ethically raised meat if we eat it at all.   We also are really digging our themed dinners for making sure we get good foods in on a daily basis.

The best way to determine whether something is really good for you?  Ignore the funding based recommendations and go with research based material.  For example, the dairy industry funds the American Medical Association.  Automatic bias is involved, which makes both of these poor sources of nutrition advice in my book since they are no longer recommending things based on the best interest of my health.  Everyone knows there is a decent amount of calcium in milk BUT the part the advertisers leave out is the high level of phosphorus in milk that prevents it from being absorbed by human bodies.  Most of the American population has no idea.

Too much work to mess with finding out who is funding whom?  Stick with research based studies from places like Harvard.  Here is the image of the Harvard based healthy eating plate.  Read the small print.  Notice that it differs from myplate.gov in the dairy recommendations.

Image

For overall education on how foods affect the body, we are re-reading and recommending Skinny Bitch.  Crass, but highly educational.  This book promotes absolute veganism.  We’re not vegans and don’t plan on going back down that road, but that doesn’t mean we don’t want the facts about the things we put into our bodies.  It will completely change the way you eat for the better, and it will probably creep you out.

  

3.  Being our own fact checkers

Regardless of partisanship, I think we can all agree that the election media coverage was enough to make a person gag.   I think election time is the window during which American media displays its true, ugly colors.  One station says this, the other station says that, each nastier than the first.  No, thanks.  I have an allotted amount of energy each day, and I don’t want to sift through insults and opinions trying to decide if anything is relevant to our life.  I have searched high and low for some “nonpartisan think tanks” that provide facts with minimal drama.  If you’re fed up with news story negativity, swap out your news app for one from these top contenders instead:

AlterNet is one of my favorite online news sources. Their mission describes them as “award-winning news magazine and online community that creates original journalism and amplifies the best of hundreds of other independent media sources.” Their goal is “to inspire action and advocacy on the environment, human rights and civil liberties, social justice, media, health care issues, and more.”

The Real News is another one of my favorites. The header of their website proclaims, “NO GOVERNMENT, CORPORATE OR ADVERTISING $$$,” which stands as a marker of self-proclaimed nonpartisanship, political and otherwise. They report on news from all around the world, offering stories ignored by most other major outlets.

Reuters, an international news agency stationed in London, is so dedicated to journalistic objectivity that they sometimes receive criticism for it. After the September 11 attacks, they were accused of insensitivity because of their reluctance to use the word “terrorist” except when in quotes.

The Independent is a U.K. newspaper that reports on news from around the world. While its status as “independent” often garners accusations of liberalism, the paper does not endorse any political party and offers a wide range of views on different topics.

PBSBBC and CSPAN are also major notable outlets. When compared to others, such as Fox News, MSNBC, and CNN, they offer unprecedented objectivity.”

4.  Watching crappy television

We are pretty cerebral and boring most of the time, but we love our crappy TV shows.  We are still digging Castle in the fifth season, which is drawing to a close.  We are totally stoked about the summer series Rookie Blue coming back on for a third season, and later in the year for Downton Abbey to return.  We are also getting ready to start BBC’s North and South again in tandem with my parents.  Nerdy miniseries get us going.  What can we say?

    

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