#Gratitude

In between …15 December 2015

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Dear Me,

I just need to remind you how fortunate you are as a woman in our world just by where you were born. I am truly grateful.

  • You were born in a country that allows women to go to school–it’s the law. In fact, you as a woman, can go into higher education and study whatever you want.
  • You have the right to voice your opinion about anything. 
  • You are able to get a driver’s license and drive in your own in your own car that you bought yourself.
  • You can VOTE. Full stop. Thank you Suffragettes. Truly. Thank you.
  • You can have (pre-marital) sex (with a man or a woman). Just be safe. Use birth control if you choose because this is an option for you. And if you do not want to have sex. You can choose not to. You control your reproductive rights.
  • You can choose who you want to marry … and you can choose to divorce that partner too. You can choose to not ever marry. That is okay too.
  • You can get a job and work and live in your own house independently. You will get paid less than a man, yet we are not there yet.
  • You can choose your own God(dess) or not, and you can talk about it freely.
  • …And the one freedom I want you to always be thankful for … You are free to move in and out of your home country and then come back home again. Never forget that. Many people have to leave their homes and are never allowed to come back by reasons beyond their control. 

So, Susi…do you understand what I am telling you? NEVER EVER FORGET THAT YOU ARE FORTUNATE, ONE OF THE LUCKY ONES, FOR WHAT YOU ARE ABLE TO DO IN THIS WORLD JUST BY WHERE YOU WERE BORN. Now. What are you going to do with this gracious freedom?

~me

 

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Vegan Girl

18 July 2014 
Ubud Bali 

Dear Vegan Girl,

We started chatting when you sat next to me in a cute little cafe in Ubud.  You told me you are visiting from Colorado, USA for two weeks in search of matching your actions with your spirituality…and finding ways to balance a ‘sustainable lifestyle’.  I applaud you for taking a step outside of the USA to broaden and to expand your viewpoint.  You told me you have done a lot of traveling for your 27 years and that Europe is good for holidays, yet poor in spiritual harvesting.  I really like that phrase you used:  Spiritual Harvesting.  I like things that can be cultivated.

You were very proud about the way you bumped up your vegetarian lifestyle to vegan. I like how our conversation proceeded.  It really provided valuable insight into you and your choices.  You were so beautiful in spirit and honesty, I would not speak my other thoughts, yet here, I am going to showcase what they were.  I truly think you, Vegan Girl are true to yourself and your actions (almost) meet your own expectations.  Thank you.

S:  Why are you Vegan?

Vegan Girl (VG):  (pause) I love animals.

S:  How long have you been vegan?

VG:  I was vegetarian for 4 years, and now it has been almost 2 years since I have been fully vegan.  No animal anything–not even honey!  I buy products that are not made of leather or animal products for my bags, shoes, belts and all that stuff.

(My thoughts not spoken:  Well, what about that petroleum plastic bag you are carrying?  …looks so disposable)

S:  So, you do zero animal products?   That is amazing!

VG:  Yup…I do not eat or wear any animals!  Nothing with faces!

(awkward silence)

S:  Are you enjoying your time in Bali then?  There are a lot of like minded people here practicing good healthy living practices.

VG:  Oh yes!  I love it here!  The people are great, the choices for eating are easy to manage and organic…. and the shopping is amazing!  I just got this new dress yesterday.  It’s 100% silk and it was so cheap!

(My thoughts not spoken:  Um Vegan Girl….do you know that they have to BOIL live silk worms and MURDER them for the process of making silk?  Factories that make dresses like the one you are wearing are sweat shops, who knows, maybe even children are working in these factories just so you can have a ‘cheap silk dress’?)

S:  Wow.  The colors in the dress really suit you.

VG: The silk is so soft! I also want to also get some silk pants.  I have seen a few people walking around in them and I would love a pair or two!!

(Pucci—just keep your pie hole shut)

wishing you the best vegan girl #ignoranceisbliss, 

Susi

Salt

Long Overdue 15 April 2014–for Tonya and Katie….two lovely thinkers 

salt linesSalutations friends!  (Base root of Sal*utations = sal =  salt, life)

Salt.      If it came down to either salt or sugar, I would choose salt 100% of the time.  I love salt.  If it were socially acceptable, I would carry around a salt lick.   I hate to admit it because these days salt is a 4-letter word in our social ‘dangerous-bad for you food’ category.

I often wonder why salt & I are in love, and our relationship sometimes makes perfect sense.  FYI, I do not eat a lot of salt, I am a low salt person, yet, I love salt, I am very aware of my love for salt and keep myself in check.  🙂

Are you ready for my MANICAL rant?  (and mind you, I consider my need for salt a huge co-conspirator to the way my mind perserverates with over enthusiastic thoughts)  Here it comes:

1. Salt is the original builidng block of life.  When the mountains were pushed up, the salt molecules were pushed into the water systems that is the ocean.  Salt = building blocks of the life in the sea.  Without salt, the microbes and beasties would not have evolved or eventually walked up on land.

2. Salinity of water = eggs.  The sea has a salinity of about 3.5% and humans about 0.9%–with the exception of the water in homo sapiens in utero–then that saline womb ocean egg raises to 3.5%.  Cool hun? Women carry around the ocean!  But WHY?

–> Evolution:  Earliest forms of life “microbes” lived in the salty sea…then they evolved into swimmers, tadpoles, and in turn amphibians that moved from the salty ocean to the non-salty land.  Hun? How’d they do that?  They took the ocean with them! These cool new land beasts laid HARD SHELLED eggs. (sweet factoid yes?) The saline concentration of eggs?  3.5%. (Go ahead, look up all my numbers.  I did my research and have for years.  Yet because this is a blog post, everything I write could actually be a lie). Evolution has transported the ocean with the new land beasties for procreation.

3.. Salt is in essential in the wiring of our brains.  Our brain fires with neurotransmitters, which are chemical charges with many needing Na+ /  Cl-  (together human intakes these minerals as salt–see how cool the salt puzzle is?)  The most interesting of the 5-neurotransmitter type family is the “Monoamine Transporter” (MATs) group.  This group activates the dopamine transporter (DAT 6)–this is a serious section of our reward system linked to ADDICTION.  Want your dopamine system to work extra well?  Have that salt content available to be utilized in the brain.  Furthermore, norepinephrine (NET) & serotonin (SERT) transmitters are part of the MATs group.  Can you make these connections?  (If your brain is sufficiently lubed with Na+ / Cl- you may be experiencing some dopamine reward -ding-ding-dings right about now). In short, the MATs group of the 5 categories of neurotransmitters has some very interesting implications.

Okay…let’s go deep with the MATs group and talk about addiction.  Let’s say a brain that is not efficiently doing its job of re-uptaking their associated amine chemical neurotransmitters, and the body is left with an abundance of (serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine) the feel good chemicals…that wouldn’t be such a bad thing would it?  Who doesn’t want to feel good all the time?  See how addiction is starting to fit into the scene Daddy-O?  If you are smoking, or using heroin or cocaine, the dopamine system is flooded and inhibiting re-uptake of dopamine and that is what in modern layman term is called an “Addiction”.  A chemical (nicotine, cocaine etc..) is a surrogate for the natural dopamine chemical workload, new ‘receptors’ are created for housing some of the extra chemicals and voila!  You have an addiction. Now, we are talking about an addiction from the neural lens, not the ‘behavioral’ lens–that is a whole different blogpost.

The MATs groups has an interesting categorical group of disorders, which have serious implications stemming from perhaps…yes, too much or too little salt and the brain.  Here is a list of some disorders regarding failures of the MATs neurotransmitter group.  Needless to say, chemical drug therapy is VERY effective in treating these disorders:

  • Schizophrenia
  • Depression
  • ADHD (not ADD) Attention deficit HYPERACTIVITY disorder
  • Parkinson’s
  • Tourette’s
  • Cocaine, other opiates or alkaloid addictions… and what I would consider, yet the science is not there yet:  Smoking.

Now…how many smokers to you know that are not only hyperactive, yet also highly stimulated with major ups and downs?  Are they skinny?   It is my experience that people who are smokers have naturally expressed needs to ‘feed’ the brain with stimulants AND THEY LOVE SALT (unless you are envisioning a large obese humanoid who does little exercise of mind or body and just smokes and sits on the couch eating chips–well, did you salt is also connected to depression?  Depressed people can be eaters and hoard salty snacks like chips.  Offer a coke-head cake or chips?  When they do eat, usually salt.  Fat smokers addicted to salt is another blogpost in which I do not want to cover here.)  

A body that moves A LOT needs A LOT of Na+ Cl- to keep the synapses firing…A brain that does a lot of thinking and connecting uses a lot of Na+ & Cl- (think about school and learning–are you more hungry during focused learning sessions?  Have the munchies for something salty?) What about a brain that is schizophrenic?  Those brains makes WAY more connections.  Personally, I do not know any schitzos, yet if I did, I would ask them what they like to eat. 

As I tend to be more on the mover/shaker/neurotic & vain type of personality, I like to learn about myself and I have spent a LONG time thinking about why my body likes so much salt.  Just for the record:  My blood pressure is normal, and I display a lower than average resting heart rate.  Wonder if my low heart rate has anything to do with my craving for salt?  Hmm…

Saludos,

Susi

ps. i altered the photo above.  I don’t know who took the original or i would give props yo!

pss.  here are some links about salt.  here and here   and thank you Big History* for your program on SALT 🙂