Addiction, Straight Edged,  and Somewhere In-Between 

After so many superstar deaths from legal drugs in the last few years, there’s no doubt that the most addictive things in live are legal. They are even often free and very often encouraged.  

I have had many people come to me with various problems to rectify that were treated almost strictly by recognizing there was an addiction involved.  A common one was addiction to work which eventually leads to burnout. Another is addiction to sex which often leads to a decline in performance at work and an overall neglect of friends and family.  These are the 2 most common addictions I have encountered that were not very difficult to accept,  understand,  and overcome. 

The number one overall addiction I have come across that was not easy to overcome was addiction to prescription drugs. This is especially difficult when you believe they are a necessity for life. Many clients have lost their jobs and relationships from addiction to these drugs. Most of them were drugs for pain and anxiety. 

It is tough to realize and accept addiction in any form, mainly because of the guilt and societal norms that discourage it. People die from addiction to legal drugs every day. The road to empowerment is one of the hardest when it comes to drug addiction. But like most serious addictions,  there is pain involved,  whether physical or mental. 

Pain is generally easy to recognize,  but the source often takes some digging.  Very often,  it is not necessary to get to the source. It is just important to overcome it. There are many places that help with this. 

I have experienced addiction to Tylenol. It may sound silly, but my brain was programmed to take my apparent back pain away before bedtime just by taking some acetaminophen.  Then I would go back and forth from acetaminophen to ibuprofen,  thinking this would alleviate any harm done in any way. I went off all those when I saw the acidity they were causing in my body. In the past year, I have given up alcohol completely.  My infrequent want for beer with lots of stout had to be stopped immediately because of my IBS.  The only addiction or habit I may have that prevents me from being straight  edged is coffee. 

This is the definition I tend to get for straight edge . But most people I know who are straight edge believe it to be no drugs, cigarettes,  coffee,  promiscuous sex,  and a respect for your body. I don’t necessarily see this as the end goal. The end goal should be no addictions. 
My latest addiction is having to write blogs from my specific seat in the café. Harmless perhaps.  But my girlfriend thinks I’m not home enough and people see me as a unique preofessorial type at the café.  The second one I don’t mind. And I know I can stop doing it whenever I want. Right? 

This is Christina Ricci when straight edged. 

This is a body full of pills. 

Optimal Empowerment has hurdles. And many are more difficult to overcome than others. 

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Deepak Chopra as my Empowerment Gateway to Healthier Breakfasts 

At over 50 years old,  Elle Macpherson still looks in stunning shape. In a future article I will feature her health empowerment and focus on pH levels.  For now, let’s use her as a perfect example of outer beauty and inner health. 

Though vitamin peddling by people like Dr. Andrew Weil is usually helpful,  it is always better to take nutrition through natural means. And while I recommend reading and listening to much of what Dr. Weil has to say,  I have seen him turn into a salesman more than a doctor in the past few years. 

Then there’s an interest little site featuring ayurveda – related health by Dr. Deepak Chopra. 

I highly recommend the book below.

It gives a very concise and detailed regimen to Optimal Empowerment when it comes to regulating and overpowering your body towards good health through ayurveda, a traditional Indian method to Optimal health.  Like lots of Eastern medicine,  Dr.  Chopra’s method has been scrutinized by some. What is important is to understand the basic tenets of the ideology. This book opened my mind at a time of great upheaval in my digestive tract,  but even more so in my sternum,  where I had moderate to serious GERD keeping me up at night. I invite you all to read this enlightening book which helped me understand that I needed to interpret it according to my situation and current and long term needs. It may seem overwhelming and undoable,  but it is not expected to be followed literally. 

So let’s tackle breakfast. No more bacon. Ever. No exceptions.  Eggs are very welcome,  but should never be fried. Poached is good but time consuming. There are 2 choices. Let’s make it clear that if the eggs are not free range and organic they are harmful to your health.  The first choice is to boil them anywhere between 7 to 10 minutes, 7 giving you a nice runny yolk and 10 a hard Easter egg one. Less than 7 would make them too runny. Make sure the water is boiling before you put them in the pot. The second choice is scrambled. Those are best mixed with avocado and goat cheese. 

Tired of eggs? Looking for more calories on top of that or less calories than the aforementioned? Yogurt is the answer. There is no reason to have any yogurt other than Greek.  It packs more calories,  protein, and overall healthier fat than other yogurts. It has natural Probiotics and can be bought lactose free if desired. Maple syrup is a perfect addition to sweeten it. I add camu camu in it for my boost. Please see above and read my last post. 

Almost nothing is more harmful to your health than sugar.  Stevia is a natural sweetener with about 2 times the sweetness of sugar. Put that in your coffee instead. 
 Or you can be like a famous celeb and have  breakfast smoothies.

Russell Brand is modelling a green smoothie, the newest trend in the genre. Just make sure you are putting healthy whole ingredients in the blender with natural sugar,  like the one from dates. 

Finally, something that I am still having a bit of problems digesting. Some good old fashioned uncooked oats. 

Here are some great ideas.
Remember, having about 1/3 of your calories at breakfast gives you energy and also makes it easy for your body to digest it throughout the morning and day. 

Food Can Kill —Keys to Everlasting Health 

It was about 2.23 in the morning as I looked at my cable box clock and felt a big shooting pain in my small intestine.  The pain was coming at intervals of 3 minutes. Some times I would stay half asleep but woke up completely with the big shooters. I felt the area and it was inflamed. I managed to survive 2 hours of this torture and woke up again at 7 o’clock.  The pain had come back again. The doctor at the clinic looked at me slightly worried.  She asked why I hadn’t gone to the emergency room. It could’ve been a life -threatening situation. I had never heard of diverticulitis before. 

Soon, I started hearing a lot about it and how it often ended into cutting a bit of your small intestine off.  The doctor gave me very strong antibiotics and told me that I need to eat enough fibre when I become well. It sounded like a serious clinical diagnosis. The dietitian told me that I could have no fibre for 10 days.  I ate white bread,  boiled chicken breasts,  and white rice.  For 10 days. I lost about 1 pound a day. There were so many side effects,  both mental and physical,  that have an atheist praying to get better and he’ll always eat his fibre.  Please God,  the atheist would say. 

The biggest culprit in poor digestive health is processed food. They offer almost no health benefits. They are packed with carcinogens. They deplete digestive enzymes your body needs to digest food properly. The worst of the bunch are cold cuts. Yes,  those delicious sandwiches were no healthier than eating the wrappers they came in. It would have been healthier to not eat at all. And yes,  that eliminates a lot, if not all,  of the fast food chains. 

Anyone with a healthy gut will call me a fear monger,  but diverticulitis exists almost exclusively in Europe and North America,  bastions of modernity and fast paced living that doesn’t allow for one to have a nice 2 hour traditional French lunch.  Working lunches, anyone?  That’ll kill you. 

The answer is whole foods with no genetically modified organisms and organic. We’re not tree huggers. We’re astute observers of the lack of health running rampant. 

Look for the above sign at the labels of the food you buy at your local supermarket. 

The first picture is of Himalayan salt,  a much healthier alternative to table salt. Another thing I was encouraged to have were healthy fats. I started drinking a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil every day.  200 calories of magnificent fat. 

The avocado is a superfood full of good fat and tons of fibre and plenty of protein and nutritious calories. An average sized one gives you about 300 calories,  6 grams of fat,  and 3 grams of protein. 

This woman is enjoying a delicious banana.  Every organic fruit is an unaltered whole food. 

Eggs are a delicious source of nutrition. They need to be organic and free range. An unhealthy chicken lays unhealthy eggs. 

Camu camu is a tropical fruit usually found in powder form in your health food store. It is overloaded with vitamin C and is great to put in your morning Greek yoghurt.  It’s amazing how it can jolt you more than coffee ever could. 

Here are some interesting tables. 

Don’t wait to be forever marred in not enjoying food to its fullest. My gut health has improved,  but I still have to avoid some foods because I have irritable bowel syndrome. I’ve made strides.  But it’s like an alcoholic. Once an IBS victim, always an IBS victim. But you cope. You manage. You empower yourself and persevere. 

But why go through all that when all you need is fibre and a healthier diet? 

 

Rat Race Rant

​There is something seductive about letting go and dropping out of the rat race, in the same way that a drowning man can be tempted to cease struggling. We’re not supposed to live in constant fighting and fear.  Refusing to compete is a way to affirm values, in an era with few alternatives.  

The earth is crowded with isolated humans.  So many people have lost their jobs, their social ties, traditions, and sense of self.  We have to find a way to empower ourselves and our communities.  Not like a sinking ship, but more like sustainable entity who knows better.

Happy Birthday to my Best Friend

Though thousands of miles away, I wish I were in the humid winter cold of southern Greece just to be with my best friend. He’s also a second cousin, but that doesn’t matter. I will always call him a friend before calling him a cousin. 

He’s my friend not because he’s nice. He usually is, but thats not what’s important. It’s not his interests. His background. It’s not his vision of the world either. We very often disagree. And that’s fine. All that is part of being human.

Knowing he’s there, in another continent, makes me feel comfortable because I know he’ll be there for me. As he once said, ” I dobt care about whether you or the other is right. I just care about your happiness.” And that’s what it’s all about. Not passing judgment. Someone who does little things behind the scenes to make things a little better. Someone who’ll hide their moment of weakness to emphasize yours.

I hope I’ve been a good enough friend to him.

Βγήκε η Ζωή μας στο Σφυρί 

Γράφω με ντροπή στα ελληνικά κάτι που δεν μεταφράζεται. Μια εικόνα. Ένας άνθρωπος που άλλαξε τη ζωή μου με το άνοιγμα του στόμα του.  Κάποιος που τραγουδούσε την αλήθεια που συνήθως δεν λεγότανε. Ο Δημήτρης Μητροπάνος με συγκίνησε στην τελευταία συναυλία του στην Αμερική. Μια συναυλία που είχε χάσει την μισή του φωνή.  

Αλλά κατάφερε να βάλει μαζί την τριλογία 2 νύχτες/αλίμονο /βγήκε η ζωή μας στο σφυρί. Ικανοποιηθηκα. 

Methoni Castle —Premier Tourist Destination 

As a Methonian, you become spoilt by the castle as a resident of Niagara becomes spoilt by the falls. It’s not a world wonder,  but the castle is part of the landscape of Methoni; something that Methoni just wouldn’t be the same without. From the family home I grew up in,  late at night is a magical time to be on the veranda and just look at the lights that keep the outside of the castle visible. Then you relax,  go to bed, shut everything off, and go to sleep with the sound of the rippling waves hitting the eroding beach that the castle faces. 

This is an aerial shot that comes in one size. 

This is the view from my beach chair at the eroding sandy beach. Government austerity measures have made it impossible for the town to spend money on keeping the tide from rising each year. And the citizens are being incredulously depleted financially that only a quick dissolution of the EU would save the beach and other environmental problems facing the area and the nation.  Ironically,  as some natives tell me,  Trump not supporting the EU may be an opportunity to make this happen. But this nation-building deserves a post of its own. Suffice it to say, I believe there’s plenty of hope for restoring the full beauty that once existed. 

The walkway above is the entrance to the castle.  It was once free but now is at 2 Euros. Still a bargain for hours of Venetian architectural and historical tourism.  

It is best to start at about 10 in the morning to beat the crowds and the heat. The latter can at times be debilitating. Take plenty of water and head south till there nowhere else to go. What you are entering is a fortress build by the Venetian to stave off enemies. It was a perfect location because Methoni is situated at the southern tip of mainland Greece and ships can be seen from way off and it is a very difficult area to attack. There’s lore about how armies started avoiding the area altogether. This was true through the colonization of the Ottoman empire.  This area was enslaved by many empires throughout the centuries because of its strategic location. To this day,  the southern Peloponnese is new to tourists. 

This is one of the main roads in the castle. It remains a historic landmark and can’t be touched except for upkeep. Most of the castle is a government -designated historic landmark. 

The outskirts of town can be seen over the fortress walls. This is an example of the enormity and open space of the fortress /castle7, the place believed to be where all Methonians lived at the time. 

This is the western,  least popular,  border of the castle where the beach turns into a turbulent water mass where you can go fishing or see some corals if you go in deeper by boat. Caution is always needed and it is prohibited to enter the water from inside the fortress. On a hot day,  this is a welcome refuge to cool off. There could be at least a 5 degree Celsius difference when you’re near the turbulent waters. 

This used to be a way to sneak into the castle from the beach mentioned at the beginning of this post.  Again,  better to go here last, especially if it’s hot. The fishing boats of the modest town harbour are usually docked here. It is the only place where you can’t swim. 

You need to be careful going into one of these caverns,  which must have been living quarters back in the day.  There could be bats inside, although I never heard of anyone encountering any. It may be a rural myth to keep entrances to such abodes to a minimum. Entering them is yet another form of cooling off. 

Great architecture here. 

This is the entrance to the piece de resistance of the whole adventure. The tight road to the bourtzi is captivating. The coolness of the fresh water blowing on the castle re-energizes you and gives you a view of the northern tip of the Mediterranean. A picture which I’ve lost. Please go to Google for more fantastic pics and history. 

A must see destination for the morning before you go have a fish lunch prior to spending a lazy day at the crowded or secluded beach. 

Tim Raines Is the Best Base Stealer Ever 


For those of you who may have been on the moon this week, Tim Raines will finally be entering the Baseball Hall of Fame. My favourite baseball player ever,  on and off the field,  has finally gotten his prime reward. He is the best base stealer ever. But don’t just take my word for it.

I’m too young to remember Rock coming into the league, butI remember him at a time when he and the other 2 Expo Hall of Famers took up 3 of the first 4 hitting spots in the order. In those days,  your no.2 guy was there to help put the runner in scoring position. You gave up an out to get 2 whacks from the big guys. André Dawson and Gary Carter were reliable players and the Expos had the making of a dynasty. But somehow they fell short because the Pittsburgh Pirates were just one game better,  they didn’t get the call from the umpire,  or their best season ever was strike shortened. But this isn’t about the Expos. It’s about “Rock” Raines. 

I remember it was a Thursday evening on the balcony. My transistor radio with me and my scorecard out. I was one of those fanatic baseball nerds,  scoring my games and all.  And it was to be a classic Tim Raines top of the first. We were playing the St Louis Cardinals on the road. The middle of a grueling 10game road trip. Steve Rogers was pitching and everyone was healthy. I don’t recall the Cardinals pitcher. Could it be Magraine? Don’t quote me on that. 

HOW TO MANUFACTURE A RUN :

It’s dangerous to have Timmy at bat with a 2-0 count. He will almost always take the next pitch. 2-1. He fouls off the next. And the one after that. Low and away. Magraine breathes, winds up, delivers,  misses away. Raines draws a walk. 

Rodney Scott was one of the most underrated 2nd place hitters in baseball. He was having problems batting that year. His average was. 201 at the time of this at-bat.  He had the pleasure of batting after Rock. He also had the burdenof batting after Rock.  He seemed to be so cool out there. He knew his job was “make sure Timmy somehow finds himself in scoring position “. The role of the classic 1980s 2nd place hitter was to sacrifice his stats for the good of the team. Scott’s stats could not be quantified. There’s no stat for swinging knowingly at a bad pitch,  for example. There’s equally no stat for most productive bunts. 
So Rodney’s at the plate. He let a pitch go for a ball. Raines was leading at 1st. 3 erratic throws to 1st by the St Louis pitcher. In comes a pitch high and Scott takes a big swing through it.  Raines runs for second. SAFE. Now Rodney can be more selective. Raines almost never stole 3rd. He didn’t want to take the bat out of Hawk (Dawson) or Kid’s (Carter) hands. Rodney surprised the infield with a small bunt down the 1st base line. Raines easily goes to 3rd. Scott’s average remains at. 201 with the sacrifice. Only he and Dave Kingman can get away with such abysmal averages 

Dawson walks. Up comes Carter. Swing and a miss. Dawson allowed to trot to second.  Carter with a weak fly to right. Raines runs and scores anyway. 

And that’s how you manufacture a run. No hits. It happened so often in the mid -80s.  

I love Raines because he was human. A good human who never seemed to lose his smile and who exemplified how someone at the peak of their life should treat others. And Raines became a cocaine addict and overcome and never faltered again. Again, part of being human. 

I’m so glad that Tim Raines will finally be inducted in Cooperstown this year. It’s been a long time.