Saturday, 30 April 2016

Miracle seeds?

I have been taking chia seeds for quite a while now. They're very nice mixed with unsweetened fruit purée. I do hope they live up to all these claims! 

Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Chia seeds are rich in polyunsaturated fats, especially omega-3 fatty acids. Chia seeds' lipid profile is composed of 60 percent omega-3s, making them one of the richest plant-based sources of these fatty acids -- specifically, of alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA. The omega-3s in chia seeds can help reduce inflammation, enhance cognitive performance and reduce high cholesterol.

Fiber is associated with reducing inflammation, lowering cholesterol and regulating bowel function. Chia seeds are an excellent source of fiber, with a whopping 10 grams in only 2 tablespoons. That is one-third of the daily recommended intake of fiber per day.

Chia seeds are rich in antioxidants that help protect the body from free radicals, aging and cancer. The high antioxidant profile also helps them have a long shelf life. They last almost two years without refrigeration.

Two tablespoons of chia seeds contain 18 percent of the DRI for calcium, 35 percent for phosphorus, 24 percent for magnesium and about 50 percent for manganese. These nutrients help you prevent hypertension and maintain a healthy weight, and are important for energy metabolism and a part of DNA synthesis.

Fewer cravings between meals
Satiety is the feeling of being full and satisfied, which helps lower food cravings between meals. The combination of protein, fiber and the gelling action of chia seeds when mixed with liquids all contribute to their satiating effects.

Chia seeds contain no gluten or grains. Therefore, all of the nutritional benefits of chia seeds can be obtained on a gluten-free diet.

A study published in the "British Journal of Nutrition" showed that chia seeds as a dietary fat source can lower triglycerides and cholesterol levels while increasing HDL or "good" cholesterol. The study also found that when substituting chia seeds for other fat sources, such as corn oil, the ALA was able to prevent high triglyceride levels and reduce central obesity.

Blood Sugar Regulation
Chia seeds can play an important role in regulating insulin levels. They can reduce insulin resistance and decrease abnormally high levels of insulin in the blood.

[I read an article about chia where the author states that taking dry chia seeds followed by liquids can be dangerous, as the seeds are sticky and swell, possibly causing occlusion of the oesophagus. If you decide to add chia seeds to your diet, it would be better to mix them with liquid or fruit purée and let them swell before ingesting the mixture, just to be on the safe side...]

Friday, 29 April 2016

The delicate art of quilling

These pictures, a mix of quilling and watercolour, are very cheerful. They were made by Romanian artist Diana Marie. I looove the elephant!

Thursday, 28 April 2016

A waking nightmare

I found an article about sleep that really caught my eye, as I absolutely dread sleep paralysis. I'm sure I'm not the only one to experience this disturbing event, so I decided to share it with you. Here's a slightly edited version of the article:

As you fall asleep each night, the electrical nerve impulses are cut off between your muscles and your brain. Your brain can still tell your body to do stuff, such as run away from some terrible danger (REM), but your body won’t respond (atonia).
  • REM stands for Rapid Eye Movement (the sleep phase linked with dreaming)
  • Atonia means lack of muscle tension
Having atonia while dreaming is ok, it keeps you safe by stopping you from acting out your dreams, but if you wake up when your body is still in a state of atonia, you experiment sleep paralysis. It's quite frightening, but here are some tricks that may work for you:
  1. Relax your body into the paralysis. Don’t fight it forcefully, as this creates panic and increases the chance of having scary hallucinations.
  2. Try to gently wiggle your fingers and toes. These tiny movements will eventually tell your brain that your body is awake and to stop the atonia.
  3. Try to move your eyes by blinking and looking around the room. Again, the goal is to establish waking-like movements to fully awaken your brain and body together.
  4. Try to move your lips and facial muscles.
  5. Focus on breathing as slowly and deeply as you can. If your breathing feels restricted, remember that you have been breathing fine like this while asleep for hours.
  6. Maintain a calm and positive mental state. Focus on relaxing thoughts. Imagine a beach in the sun, a million miles away from the darkness of your bedroom. Sing an upbeat song in your mind.
  7. The Ultimate Method We know — we said 6 ways, but this is the single best way to wake up from sleep paralysis and it’s really in a class of its own. When you realize you are in SP, scrunch up your face. In other words, make a face like you just smelled something bad. Snarl and squint. Do this two or three times in a row and the paralysis will break IMMEDIATELY. We’re not sure why it is so effective, but unlike the pinky wiggle, this method is foolproof.
After you wake up, get out of bed immediately and turn on a light. Wash your face with cold water. If you just stay in bed, the chance of sliding right back into sleep paralysis is pretty high.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

It's all a matter of opinion...

We're long overdue for a frivolous post, so here goes: According to Americans, these are the sexiest nationalities. People from other parts of the world would beg to differ about some of them! I agree that this particular Irish guy is sexy, but I'm skeptical about the Armenian woman...

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Breathtaking photographs

These photographs are very different from each other, but they're all very beautiful in their own way.

    Photo by Robert Davis

    Red Lotus Sea, Thailand (photographer unknown)

    Super Moon (photographer unknown)

     Photo by André Villeneuve

    Photo by Liz Nolan

Monday, 25 April 2016

A very special nurse

A little black cat was taken to an animal shelter in Poland in a bad way. A serious upper respiratory infection led the vet to consider putting the poor animal to sleep. Then it started to purr, so the vet reconsidered and initiated treatment. Not only did Radamenes pull through, but he became a valuable asset to the shelter:

Once Radamenes regained his strength, he started to befriend the other animals at the shelter. The shelter staff noticed he was particularly fond of animals who had just undergone major surgeries or procedures. Sometimes when you’re sick, all you need is a loving cuddle or a warm hug to help you through it. This is where Radamenes comes in. 

Sunday, 24 April 2016

I love these paintings

These paintings by Catrine Welz-Stein take us to a magic world. Lovely and calming.

Saturday, 23 April 2016

This is soooo tempting...

This video shows what happened to some politicians in the Ukraine. I could make a long list of useless, corrupt politicians that deserve to meet the same fate, especially in Brazil, where the most corrupt congress in history voted to impeach the democratically elected president. Grrr!

Friday, 22 April 2016

The bag monster

I follow this brilliant cartoonist on Facebook and this cartoon rings true to us. Pirouette attacks the bag monster regularly, but unlike the cat in the cartoon, she's not afraid!

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Let's party some more!

I hope you're not too tired after yesterday's party because there's more to come... Today we celebrate GrannyJ's birthday, which is shared with Amy because nobody knows when her birthday is! Happy birthday, dear friends!

Cupcakes for all!

... And drinks!