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You can choose to have 99 percent of your attention on your breath and only 1 percent on the sensation. They are bad for us . We have very compelling evidence regarding the kinds of foods and diets that are associated with reduced risk of premature death and chronic disease -- and they are not diets high in saturated fat. The Lyon Diet Heart Study compared a Mediterranean-style diet rich in monounsaturated fats to a typical French diet much richer in saturated fat among people who had had a first heart attack. So much for the French paradox. The same results have been achieved on a plant-based diet, very low in total fat . No such results have ever been seen with any diet high in saturated fat. Around the world diets high in saturated fats are associated with high rates of heart disease. But, of course, diets that derive lots of their calories (and, consequently, saturated fat) from meats, dairy, fried foods and so on, must derive less of their calories from alternatives--such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils and so on. One of the perennial blind spots in nutrition epidemiology is that eating more of A either just means eating more altogether, which brings ills of its own--or eating less of B. And thus, the harms of A may be partly explained by losing the benefits of B. I have an extra ticket to a jazz concert this weekend, if you're available. Eleanor was speechless. She hadn't been asked out in thirty years. Regaining her composure, she had a million thoughts in her head but simply replied, I'd love to. At the next meeting, we asked Eleanor about her date with Eugene. Blushing like a schoolgirl, she gushed, All those years of being married to Harold, somehow I forgot how much I liked to be kissed. Just as good fences make good neighbors, time limits, guidelines for behavior, and clear expectations are necessary for good meetings. Some of the biggest spoilers we have found are detailed below so that you can be on the lookout for these situations in your group and correct course when necessary. It's a giant waste of precious energy to attempt to find a date and time that work for everyone, always.

Many of your group members will be busy single moms managing complicated schedules. Dip in and out of it so it does not feel overwhelming. However, if at any time it does feel too much, then just stop. Sometimes it is wiser to avoid something difficult altogether until you are feeling stronger and better able to be with it (see article 45). THE POWER OF THE BODY Many of us spend most of our time in our heads, problem-solving our way through life. While this can be effective with practical issues, it is less helpful when it comes to emotional ones. Trying to think our way out of emotional distress actually works against us, as we get stuck in a never-ending loop of thinking that just perpetuates and exacerbates anxiety. For those predisposed to depression, this type of rumination can tip them into a depressive episode. However, mindfulness teaches us to do something different. We can tune into the body--the physical sensations arising as a direct result of what we are experiencing. In our perennial rush to judgment, such subtleties are routinely trampled. Simple reflections of this sort begin to suggest how we might have exaggerated the harms of saturated fat. Switching saturated fat to starch or sugar or trans fat could well be trading sideways, or even down. As ever, the best defense against all the ways there are to be wrong, is to adopt the one strategy sure to be right (see: article 6 ). In all matters of human construction and refurbishment, the distribution of materials on hand is obviously germane. Just as the construction of a well-made house depends on the right materials in the right proportions, so too the manufacture and maintenance of the human body and brain . One very well characterized illustration of this is the relationship between omega-6 and omega-3 fats . These fats have opposing effects, which may be simplistically described as pro and anti inflammatory. As a result, they can compete with one another both in their effects and in their use of the available assembly lines.

Too much dietary omega-6 fat, for instance, relative to omega-3 fat will co-opt the machinery required to make long-chain omega-3s, and use it to crank out long-chain omega-6 fats instead, notably arachidonic acid. Having predictable meetings will help them plan their lives and likely improve attendance. We found that having meetings on the same day and at the same time each month is ideal. Make the meetings the third Tuesday of every month with the exception of holidays and school breaks. Let all your group members know how you will communicate with them so there is consistency. Whether you email, post to the Facearticle group article, or post notices on your town website, be consistent. Too much responsibility on one person When Jill and Suzanne began writing this article, on top of their respective jobs and family duties, one of the results was that they had less time to devote to the club. When you rely only on one or two women to keep a group going, anytime those women have extra responsibilities or activities going on in their own lives, the group will suffer. The way to circumvent this is to make sure all the work doesn't fall solely on the shoulders of whoever started the group. Try to find ways for every woman who participates to share in keeping the group going and to feel invested and engaged. Even if there are no apparent sensations, the act of tuning into the body is what is significant. We can explore our experience through bodily sensations (or the absence of them). We can be curious about the different sensations arising--what they are like, where they are, and how they are changing moment by moment. When we do this, we move into an approach mode or mind-set, which is characterized by curiosity and openness (activating the left prefrontal cortex). When we are in the approach mode, we are more creative and able to handle difficulties with more equanimity. This is the opposite of the avoidance mode or mind-set, characterized by fear, negativity, and worry (activating the right prefrontal cortex). The body also stores tension and emotions. When we tense up--against an emotion or as a result of our posture--the body stores that tension, and it may become so habitual that it creates long-term problems due to poor posture and alignments. Every time we suppress our feelings, we are just pushing them away so they lie beneath the surface.

This can create a pressure-cooker-type feeling. The right way to think of all this is not in terms of good and bad, but rather in terms of balance. Omega-6 and omega-3 fats are Yin and Yang to our metabolism. We need them both, and we need them in proportion to achieve the right balance between the pro-inflammatory molecules that help us fight off microbes and cancer cells, and the anti-inflammatory molecules that defend us against allergy, autoimmune disease, and chronic degenerative diseases as well. In addition to this role, essential fatty acids are of structural importance to our cells, contributing to the composition of cell membranes. This proves to be of singular importance to brain development and function. The human brain is, apart from adipose tissue itself, the fattiest organ in the body, and it preferentially soaks up docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a long-chain omega-3 fat. Numerous studies suggest functional, developmental, and cognitive liabilities from a deficiency of this crucial, structurally important molecule. Humans get this nutrient from one of two sources. My friend and colleague, Dr Tom Brenna , a nutritional biochemist formerly at Cornell University, now at the Dell Medical School at the University of Texas, has described research showing that when malnourished children are given a therapeutic food with a relative excess of omega-6 fat (particularly, linoleic acid), they wind up with a relative deficiency of DHA in their blood -- and thus, their brains. The concerning implication of this, then, is that supplemental ALA (or eating plant foods rich in this omega-3) would not fix the problem, and the research findings indicate exactly that. Invite members to volunteer for annual or ongoing positions, such as greeter, new member liaison, treasurer, secretary, etc In this way, it will be up to the collective group to keep the club going. When everyone in the group benefits, and contributes--either by hosting or by taking on a leadership position--the club thrives. Nothing brings everyone down more than a person complaining about her ex without including how she's handling it better or learning how she can still be happy no matter what he's doing. You will likely find that regardless of the limits you set, Complaining Colleens will pop up. They will appreciate having an audience and will work the crowd to get validation and sympathy. Carlotta initially used her time to talk about how her husband abandoned her for the whore. A typical share: He never appreciated all I did for our marriage, she would begin. He always thought about himself first. He hasn't even called to see how I'm doing.

Can you believe how he treats the mother of his child? Tuning into the body mindfully can help us to release stored tension and emotions safely, as long as we are patient and let things unfold in their own time. Intentionally tuning into the physical manifestations of thoughts and emotions also helps us to explore them in a different way than usual. Practicing curiosity toward unpleasant physical sensations allows us to approach difficulties in a roundabout way that feels more manageable and less overwhelming--provided we do so mindfully (see Turning Toward All Experience, article 28). Historically it was believed that once we were adult, our ability to handle difficult emotions was fixed--some of us were better able to handle it than others and that was just how it was. However, research has discovered the brain is a lot more plastic than previously thought and change in adulthood is possible. Studies have shown that people who regularly practice mindfulness meditation experience increased activation in the left prefrontal cortex--the area of the brain better able to handle difficult emotions and characterized by the approach mode. This shift from right-sided activation (avoidance mode) to left-sided activation (approach mode) occurred in an eight-week period of practicing mindfulness meditation. Every time we actively turn toward our experience, we reinforce the neural pathways of the approach mode. NOTICING THE NARRATIVE Our thoughts drive our actions and behaviors, affecting how we feel physically and emotionally (and vice versa). The same has been seen in post-menopausal women. These findings pertain directly to a massive, population-level dietary trend. Over recent decades, more and more of the oil in the typical American diet has come first from corn, and then from soybeans. In both cases , that oil is an unusually concentrated source of omega-6, linoleic acid . The direct metabolic implication of excessive omega-6 is clear: the production of DHA is being inhibited at an enormous scale. The public health ramifications are less clear, but clearly worrisome. Is widespread interference with the production, and brain uptake of DHA, a contributing factor to trends in autism , ADD, and other disorders of behavior and cognition? I get emails routinely - every week, and most days - from those convinced that their one concern about diet is the right one, and everyone else is chasing a wild goose. Among the many competing claims is that the one, true thing wrong with our diets and health is omega-6 fat .