NEW CASTLE —
Right now you are breathing or you wouldn’t be reading this — for the obvious reason.
Laughing is also a very useful activity because that “Hahahahaha” is really just a jovial exhale (more breathing) that releases toxins from your body. Laughing forces stale air out of your lungs and releases “feel good” hormones.
When my kids were little, we would have tickle fights. It kept us laughing, which is so important to keeping life in balance. Now that my kids are raised, I watch “America’s Funniest Home Videos” to get some great belly laughs.
Just consider that better breathing is good medicine for the body and for the mind. Statistically, 70 percent of the toxins that leave your body leave through your exhalation. The other 30 percent of waste that leaves your body is through excrements and sweating.
Many of us are not even aware of our breath, unless we have a cold and have a stuffy nose. Then, when you can’t breath, you notice. I am writing this, sensitive to those of you who may have breathing difficulty other than the common cold. You know how precious breathing is, but most of the population doesn’t consider that quality breathing can contribute to quality of life.
When your breath is rapid instead of slow and smooth, or you are breathing shallow, you are not fully oxygenating your brain, organs, glands and muscles. You also are not eliminating tension and toxins that get trapped in the lower lobes of the lungs.
Before going to bed, and again before rising in the morning, you can greatly improve your breathing patterns if you practice breathing exercises. This exercise increases the oxygen you breathe in and the toxins and stress you need to release. Over time, after practicing twice daily, you also will be more aware of your breathing as you move through your activities. If your breathing is choppy or feels stuck, start some of that deep, long, slow breathing. Your breath will even out.
To practice better breathing, start by lying on the bed on you back, bring your hands to rest on your belly. Inhale through your nostrils and expand your belly, like you a filling a balloon with air. Take in as much air as you can.
Exhale by blowing out through your lips, as if you are preparing to whistle, and feel “the balloon” empty completely. Keep blowing out until you have squeezed out every last drop of air. Start with six to eight rounds both morning and night. Then work up to 20 or more repetitions twice per day.
The purpose is to pattern the life-giving reflex of breathing to “breathe better” for you. It may seem simple, but twice daily consistently takes discipline. Over time, this will pattern more rhythmic breathing which soothes the body and the mind.
The body’s systems begin to understand and produce the “relaxation response,” a term that was coined by Dr. Herbert Benson, a Harvard cardiologist. When you can stay awake and aware of feeling the expanding and emptying of your breath the relaxation response is conditioned to sooth your systems. Intend to feel your breath during the whole exercise.
This changes the chemistry of your body to a more restorative environment which recovers and repairs damage that can result from stress. Before you know it, you may be sleeping better at night, waking up more refreshed, and feeling better during your daily activities — such as telling one liners to encourage laughter.
•How do chickens dance? Chick to chick.
•What do you call a woman who stands between two goal posts? Annette.
•What do you call a country where everyone drives a red car? A red carnation.
•Energizer Bunny arrested — charged with battery.
Each week this month, look for the healthy recipes I’m suggesting to include in your Thanksgiving meal. We start with Old-Fashioned Bread Dressing.
Old-Fashioned Bread Dressing
This wonderful, low-fat bread dressing is fragrant with herbs and chunky with vegetables to include as a healthy addition your Thanksgiving meal. It may become part of your year round repertoire. On other occasions, serve it with green salad and tomato soup.
- 2 cups quartered mushrooms
- 11⁄2 cups diced onion
- 1 cup diced greed bell pepper
- 3⁄4 cup diced celery
- 1⁄4 cup raisins
- 21⁄4 cups vegetable broth
- 2 cups unpeeled diced apple
- 1 pound stale whole wheat bread, in ? inch cubes (about 8 cups)
- 1⁄2 cup egg whites (from approximately 4 large eggs) or Egg Beaters
- 1⁄2 cup minced parsley
- 1⁄2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, either nonstick or lightly sprayed with nonstick spray.
In large nonstick pot, combine mushrooms, onion, bell pepper, celery, and raisins. Add 1⁄4 cup vegetable broth. Bring to a simmer over high heat, cover, cook 1 minute.
Uncover and add apples. Simmer until liquid evaporates, about three more minutes.
Put bread cubes in a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk egg whites lightly just to break them up. Stir in remaining 2 cups vegetable broth, parsley, thyme, sage, salt and pepper. Pour egg white mixture over bread. Add sautéed vegetables and blend well.
Put stuffing into prepared dish. Pack it firmly with a spatula. Cover with aluminum foil and bake 20 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 5 minutes to crisp the top.