Consumed by Waste?

Consumed by Waste?

WALLE, a Disney movie released in 2008, is perhaps one of the films that best reflects how the earth will be in the future if human beings continue upholding the same lifestyle.

It is undeniable that since the industrial revolution, there have been significant advancements  which have ensured better conditions in nutrition, hygiene, and medicine, and therefore a greater life expectancy. In addition, other inventions have facilitated some of the tasks that were challenging for our ancestors, such as machinery for operation in the field, vehicles as a means of transport, and mobile devices that make possible communication.

However, new consumer habits and rapid population growth have caused one of the most sensitive problems we face today: the excessive generation of waste. According to the World Bank, around 2.010 million tons of urban solid waste were generated during 2016. This is an exorbitant figure, which generates more concern when considering the participation of the methods of its disposal worldwide. Around 37% of waste is deposited in sanitary landfills, 33% in open landfills, 19% is recovered through compost and recycling and the remaining 11% is treated by plants heat treatment or incinerators.

Waste discarded in open dumps and landfills that do not have an adequate gas collection system, cause the emission of greenhouse gases and consequently climate change. For its part, waste deposited in the sea is causing the extinction of species and negative effects on human health due to the consumption of microplastics. 

It is true that waste has been present since the beginning of the development of human civilization. However, in ancient times, the largest proportion of the waste generated was organic which means that it was deposited on the ground and decomposed easily. In contrast, most of the waste produced in modern society takes long periods of time to biodegrade. For example, a plastic bottle can take between 450 and 1,000 years to decompose, plastic cutlery 400 years, and disposable masks 450 years. While other materials such as Styrofoam © (The white material that is usually used in boxes to protect delicate products such as computers and televisions and is also used to pack food and beverages) and Tinfoil cannot decompose due to their chemical characteristics and will remain in the landfills forever.

ZERO WASTE

Faced with this situation, different movements have appeared, such as the “Zero Waste” ideology that is based on the conservation of all resources through responsible consumption and environmentally friendly production processes. The principles established in this approach can be visualized in the Zero Waste hierarchy:

Many people tend to think that recycling is the main solution to this environmental problem. However, recycling is not the answer to solve the waste crisis considering the efforts required for this process, such as the use of new resources, the consumption of water and energy, transportation, packaging and so on. Although recycling is part of the solution, it cannot be an excuse to ignore the underlying problem: OVERCONSUMPTION.

On the other hand, not all packaging or items that are considered recyclable or have this symbol 

   are able to be recycled because each local government has its own recycling system. 

Waste management in each city varies according to the technology available in the sorting plants and the needs of the companies to which the material is sold.

For this reason, every  citizen should take the time to educate themselves on the particularities of the waste management program of their city.

BE PART OF THE SOLUTION!

According to information reported by the World Bank, North America is the region with the highest generation of garbage per capita. In 2016, the total garbage generated was 289 million tons, with an average of 2.21 kilograms per capita per day. The good news is that public and private actions are being generated to solve the environmental crisis generated by waste. For example, Montreal is implementing a plan with the  objective of being a zero-waste city by 2030.

IT SOUNDS IMPOSSIBLE BUT IT IS POSSIBLE!

Kamikatsu is a small city located in Japan that is listed as the world’s first zero-waste municipality. Sweden is another successful example in the field of waste management through an innovative waste-to-energy (WTE) program. This system has been so successful that the country has begun to import waste from other regions.

In both cases, one of the greatest factors that has allowed this environmental revolution is the commitment of each citizen.

BE PART OF ZERO WASTE REVOLUTION

Here are some recommendations that you can implement to be part of the change:

  1. Rethink and redesign: Open your mind and apply changes in the way that you consume. Choose eco-friendly products and options that reduce waste. Vrac & Bocaux, Loco, and Megavrac, are just a few of the zero-waste grocery stores in Montreal.
  2. Refuse: Refuse to use items that are not necessary such as single-use plastic. 
  3. Reduce: Whenever you go to consume something, think if it is really necessary. Think about the resources that had to be used in its manufacture and the destination that it will have after being used.
  4. Recycling: 
  • Check your city’s waste program to find out what can be recycled.
  • Download the APP: Ça va où? This will help you clarify the bin in which each item should go.
  • Identify the Ecocenter closest to your home, to bring there electrical objects, clothes in good condition, construction materials and Hazard materials.

5. Composting: If the collection of organic waste is not available in your neighborhood, you can take the material to the community composters or dare to use it in your own garden.

The garbage crisis is a reality that is causing irreversible damage to the environment. A big part of the solution is to have a responsible consumption, incorporate environmentally friendly habits, and be aware that every decision you make in your daily routine counts! 

Your second life might start if you “Follow Your Heart”!

Your second life might start if you “Follow Your Heart”!

A review of Andrew Matthews’s book

Looking back at 2020, we can all say that we went through lots of worries and difficulties. We were afraid of what the future might bring us. Fortunately, I read this book in those months. While reading, I realized that even in the most stressful days of my life, I must try to advance my thoughts and feelings.

If you feel the same, maybe you want to give it a chance and read it. This article is here to introduce a book that is perfect to enlighten your life.

Who is Andrew Matthews?

Andrew Matthews is an Australian author and speaker. According to his site, he has published his books in 47 languages and addressed over 1000 international corporations in happiness, well-being, and prosperity. He also appeared on over 5000 radio and TV programs.

He gives you a better understanding of your life and your relationships. He also shows you some new ideas of thinking, those you can use to be happier and healthier. 

“Follow Your Heart” has ten chapters, and it talks about over three original concepts of well-being in each chapter. One of the biggest strengths of this book is that it is easy to digest. 

Dedicate Time to Your Soul

Give fifteen minutes per day to Andrew Matthews and start an incredible journey with him. Listen to his practical advice with all of your heart. I assure you he will inspire you, and you will change at least some of your beliefs or thoughts after finishing this book.

What does the book talk about?

“Follow Your Heart” will show you a new horizon and engage you in lots of thinking. There are dozens of ingenious messages and useful advice waiting for you to consider and use.

It also talks about that you are enough, even with all of your flaws. The only thing you need to do is to embrace the changes and be happy with the existence of your challenges. Working on your weaknesses can strengthen you.

We are continuously being presented with small challenges which we must learn to overcome. “Unless we learn the lessons, we get to take them again… again… and again.” (Matthews, 1997. p16).  Accepting the full responsibility for our obstacles will make this growth process smoother and more pleasant. Our problems are our treasures, which can bring us spiritual growth. 

Matthews covers some significant concepts like the subconscious, the miracle of gratitude and peace of mind, passion, the secret of power, luck, family and forgiveness, and love and fear are other concepts that Andrew brought you with his interesting methods of writing.

Individual’s stories

The author suggests that even though we all have a story, we are not defined by them. We do not belong to a particular category. We can change the narrative of our lives if we are feeling unhappy with the direction we are going in.

He believes we can deal with our problems reasonably. If we are not happy with what we do, there are always jobs out there that belong to us. We can earn money and love what we do at the same time. Matthews teaches us to be comfortable with money, and to enjoy what we have in life. Thus, there is a chapter that helps us understand more about the benefit of the detachment of money, lovers, etc.

The school of life

Hard work is necessary to our growth. There is almost no way out of it. It is important to learn how to navigate the ups and downs of our lives. Life can be compared to school, which means that as long as you are breathing, the class is in session. 

Sources:

Matthews, A. (1997). Follow Your Heart. Seashell publishers. Lessons. Pp.16.



The Power of Imagination

The Power of Imagination

IMAGINATION: 

“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.” ―Mark Twain

Imagination is like a soul to its body. According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, “The act or power of forming a mental image of something not present to the senses or never before wholly perceived in reality is what we call imagination.” Everyone has an imagination. It is an important part of the human mind. 

Positive VS Negative Imagination

Positive Imagination: E.B. Kevin defines imagination as what we create in our minds. Positive imagination, then, can be defined as the ability to visualize the things that we crave.,Positive imagination works in tandem  with the law of attraction. Simply put, the law of attraction states that positive thoughts attract positive results and negative thoughts attract negative results. If you are habitually thinking of abundance and good health, you will inadvertently  put yourself in a situation that allows you to receive these things. The imagination works based on  the state of your mind. Here’s an exercise that E.B. Kevin recommends you try: every day, spend at least 15 minutes imagining the things you desire until you get them. Using positive imaginations will make you feel good and believe that you can get the things you desire and imagine.

Benefits of imagining positivity:

  1. It sharpens your focus.
  2. It gives you a can-do attitude in life.
  3.  It increases your creativity.
  4. It allows you to tap into your subconscious

Negative Imagination: E.B. Kevin defines negative imagination as all the negative ideas and images that can completely take over our minds. The negative thoughts come mostly from the fears within us. Whenever we are afraid, we predict negative outcomes to the situations we are dealing with in our lives. For instance, iIf you are afraid to fail an exam, you’ll imagine yourself failing it. Negative thoughts also come from the things you see and hear. Right now, the pandemic is on our nerves. Everyone is afraid. Listening to the news may make us feel anxious and depressed. We should try to eliminate things that cause us to have negative thoughts from our lives such as watching news channels which predict doom, certain movies, and hanging out with pessimists. Instead, try listening to positive music, reading inspirational books and spending time with people who uplift your spirits.

Ways to Uplift your Imagination:

According to an article written by Siobhan Harmer there are several ways to boost the imagination.

  • Know your worth: Everyone should realize their potential and then they should try to work according to that. Think about what you are capable of accomplishing and act upon those thoughts.  “The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Mindfulness: “Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and the surrounding environment.” With this practice comes bright colours and a heightened sense of self-awareness. Use this new way of looking at the world to tap into your artistic juices. 
  •  Clear your head: Exercise and meditation helps calm the noise in your mind. Never underestimate the power of meditation and exercise.
  • Explore and ask questions: Always be curious and most importantly, actively listen to others without trying to formulate your reply. You have so much to learn from your peers. Inspiration can come from anywhere and can take you by surprise. 
  •  Decide where to focus your energy: If you imagine your success, you will create a path for success to find you.
  •  Let go of your preconceived notions: What is it that you have always told yourself? Stop thinking negatively about yourself. Always believe in yourself.
  • Make time for yourself: Take time to just be. Life is about creating a balance. Let your imagination run free and discover the most magnificent version of yourself.

Now, I would like to sum this up with some quotes which will, hopefully, change your attitude:

  • “Trust that little voice in your head that says, ‘Wouldn’t it be interesting if…’, and then do it.”- Duane Michals
  • “Imagination creates reality.” -Richard Wagner
  • “The man who has no imagination has no wings.” ―Muhammad Ali
  •  “Laughter is timeless, imagination has no age and dreams are forever.” – Walt Disney
  • “ Reality leaves a lot to the imagination.” – John Lennon
Food, Diet and You An insightful interview with yogis Harpreet and Sanprem

Food, Diet and You An insightful interview with yogis Harpreet and Sanprem

Introductions

Harpreet is a P.h.D student in biomedical engineering. She is an entrepreneur who has already founded a few companies, including a vegan catering company and an all-natural ingredient cosmetic company that allows skin pores to breathe. Sanprem has been in computer engineering and is currently exploring new dimensions within himself, including 3D animation and graphic design.

Q: Thank you for doing this interview with me. Can you introduce yourselves to our readers?

A: Our names are Sanprem and Harpreet, we are Kundalini yoga teachers. 

(Sanprem): When I discovered Kundalini yoga, I realized how miseducated we are about our bodies. We know so much about the outside world, we know about stars that are billions of light-years away but we don’t know who we are and what we should eat, or how to maintain our health. When I realized Kundalini yoga holds all these answers, I decided to go through with it, that’s why I do what I do. 

(Harpreet): A little of the same for me as well, because in Kundalini yoga you find so many answers to plenty of topics that nobody talks about. First, of course, do it for yourself. Begin to practice. With this practice, you learn how to be present in life, how to use your personality, how to build it and clean it so you can have a beautiful projection of yourself and interact accordingly with people. 

Q: Is yoga a cult?

A: (Sanprem): A “cult” in most languages has a very negative connotation. Anything can be a cult. In practicing Kundalini yoga, you are so sharp and perceptive that it’s hard to be fooled into a cult against your best interest. 

(Harpreet): As he said, a cult can be seen in any activity, for example, someone that goes to the gym every day. When someone goes to the gym, they have a very specific way to dress, specific types of food they would like to eat, etc. In that sense, yeah sure, but really it is a way of life.

Q: What is Kundalini Yoga? 

A:  This branch of yoga has been practiced for thousands of years in India. It is an energetically powerful activity and a lifestyle. If you look at your body like an instrument, i.e: a computer, there are many ways to use a computer. Kundalini Yoga is a broad and deep “program” or technique to achieve certain results. It is fast, effective, demanding, engaging, allows a person to not have to dedicate their entire life to monastic life in order to see results [relating to body, mind, and spirit] in 20 years. If you commit to your practice, you will start to see changes. you will start to see magic, to feel your body differently, breaking through your traumas, past experiences, etc. Everything changes, you will feel like you are being pushed by this energy. Most of the time, when a person does Kundalini yoga for the first time, they can feel that something is way different even when it is a simple sequence. 

Q: What kinds of diets are there again?

A: There are many. There is a carnivorous diet (includes animal flesh), pescatarian (only includes fish), Lacto-vegetarian (includes milk), There is vegetarianism, and the most restrictive, would be vegan diet (no animal products, sometimes even honey), and raw diet. 

Q: What are food groups?

A: The body needs 3 different food groups, proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Proteins for building muscle, fats are used for energy, carbs are for structure. The challenge is to recognize these 3 categories in the foods on our plates. Fruits are made of a lot of vitamins and water, they are a burst of energy and help make the body feel alive. The natural sugar in them is good for brain activity. Fruits are strongly recommended when you are a student. Do not eat after a meal because they ferment faster than the other foods in cue to be digested. This produces alcohol in the body, which is not helpful for the liver. Many people say “we are what we eat”, well it is true. It follows that ingesting an animal that was fed the same thing, that grew in some crowded, tight space and that never saw sunlight, we risk being negatively affected. Food production, the meat industry especially, has alienated us from our food so much that we can pet a cow and eat a burger with the other hand! We do not connect these things. In yoga, there are three types of food; sattvic, rajasic, and tamasic. Tamasic meaning dead food (stagnate), rajasic is more active, and sattvic is pure energy or simply, light. 

Q: How do you personally eat? 

A: It is always a process of discovering and readjusting all the time. The transition to vegan happened slowly. I never made a decision to cut off milk, but somehow it happened. The diet can never be forceful. You need to understand or feel some sort of urge to do this. Listen to your body. For some people, it is easy and quick to transition when they receive the information. Other people will take way more time to transition, perhaps due to emotional trauma, etc. 

(Harpreet): My advice to someone interested would be to start the transition by removing dairy. In one week, you will see it in your skin! It is a very fun experience. I lost 20kg in 2 weeks of dropping dairy. After that, I said no more dairy. Many people are actually lactose intolerant. Cow milk is full of hormones intended for veals to grow a lot and do so quickly. If you stop milk for a week, you won’t feel inflated anymore.

(Sanprem): To transition, it was very important for me to have an understanding that we don’t need meat to survive. That’s for sure. It is very powerful, almost like a drug, it is so exciting for the body to eat meat that you are addicted. There is going to be a little withdrawal. But first comes a decision, one backed by good information.  Historically meat was a luxury. It was only eaten on a special occasion. Peasants bred pigs for the lords in castles, whom, having never interacted with the animals when alive, called the meat pork. In this same way, cow became beef and so on. The first time I cut off meat, I did so without replacing it with anything! Just eating salads left me starving. Then I learned some recipes. It is a learning curve. I suggest a very easy hi-tech solution if you are thinking of switching diets, follow hashtags on Instagram like #veganbeautifuldishes, etc. So you know, at least on a visual level, that there are appealing alternatives. Careful not to get overwhelmed. In our minds, we tend to think that vegan is grass from the lawn. But in actuality, it is in the vegan department that I have had some of the tastiest meals.

Q: What are the organs most affected by a long-term, junk-food diet?  

A: Well, the liver a lot since it filters everything, the intestines a lot since they absorb everything. It’s hard for the body to absorb all these high energy meats, it wears out the organism more. The heart because food goes into the blood at some point, and arteries can clog. Cardiovascular diseases are actually the leading cause of death. I think stroke is second. The skin is also very affected by a highly acidic diet. This can often be witnessed on the sensitive skin of the face.

Q: What would you add in conclusion?

A: A general way to replace meat (which is protein+carb) is by a combination of beans or nuts, with cereals. No need to reinvent the wheel, just make the same recipes, but slowly change the ingredients that are not needed anymore. Also, if it is just the taste of meat that you like, nowadays we have many options for fake meat. Burgers, sausages, salami, chicken, and more. Available at any store and online (Maxi, Wal-Mart, Metro, Provigo). People think becoming vegetarian costs a lot. This is not the case. I believe meat costs way more in the quantities that we take it. The first step is what you eat. Then maybe what you see, the music you hear, who you surround yourself with. Everything you consume makes up your building blocks.

Thanks to Sanprem and Harpreet for doing this interview. You can find them on Facebook under Kundalini Nomads. There, you will find videos of full yoga sets for you to follow along to! You can also attend live sessions every week via Zoom. With home confinement, the economy, politics and the winter setting in, now would be a good time to invest in our well being. Kundalini yoga can help us find that inner youthful energy and ease tension build-up in the body, mind, and spirit. Thank you.

According to Llaila O. Afrika, African Holistic Health:

“Cooked foods (fried, salty, sugary, slimy, pasty) causes a rise in organ temperature. The constant demand on digestive organs to try to metabolize cooked foods and neutralize the harmful chemicals made by cooked foods causes thermal fatigue. The United Nations World Health Organization data indicates that 97% of primary cancers start at heat exhausted organs such as the prostate.”(pp. 199)

“Flesh eating increases the workload of the kidneys and liver. It is usually cooked, which dehydrates the meat and dehydrates the consumer of meat. Consequently, this decreases immunity and degenerates the body. Aside from this, the animals secrete adrenaline into their bodies as a reaction to the fear caused by the slaughterhouse. This adrenaline poisons the flesh, creates toxins and becomes a chemical stress when eaten.” (pp. 215)


When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going

When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going

 “What do you do these days?” 

“Nothing much, I am lingering at home.”

Do any of you feel familiar with this situation? I strongly think that you do. We are living in a pandemic-stricken world. This period is deemed to be the hardest time ever for most of us for many reasons. As Quebec is entering the second wave of the outbreak, we are repeatedly told to stay at home and avoid contact with other people, and this is not the end. Furthermore, the longer the pandemic lasts, the more pessimistic we become due to the soaring cases and deaths, not only in Canada but also around the world. Some people are even coping with mental problems such as depression and stress. The only way that could survive our unlucky days is to stay motivated by cleaning up our own act.  Let’s have a look at some ways that could help boost your motivation and productivity.You can ensure a wonderful day by making yourself a planned morning.  

Have you ever thought of a morning routine? If not, let’s make one right now! Quarantine seems to be an opportunity to stay up a little bit late and wake up a bit tardy. However, these new habits could lead to lazy and tired “you”. What would be different if we wake up 30 minutes earlier, do some exercises, make breakfast and grab a book? You could feel very energized and well-prepared for a nice day. The morning is a vital foundation that matters for the rest of your day.

  • Create a to-do list for every single day  

You might be too occupied to come up with your to-do list in daily life. Now, let’s grab a pen and a book to make one. It could be monotonous staying at home without any specific goal besides working and studying, so a daily plan can motivate you to be active and productive. At the end of the day, when you look back at what you have accomplished, at least you find out that it is not utterly meaningless during the quarantine. 

  • Friends color your life. 

“I am so lonely in quarantine.” Wait, why don’t you grab your phone and talk to someone?  According to Dr. Eva Stubits, a Houston-based clinical psychologist whose major is in stress management, speaking diminishes stress level. 

Reaching out to your friends is a totally effective way to survive your uninteresting and stressful days. Get some chatty conversations with your friends whenever you miss them or feel down. Friendship brings incredible power to our souls. Maybe just seeing your friends faces or talking to them for a couple of minutes can totally change your feelings. 

  • Go out for some exercise and get some fresh air.

Minimizing as much social contact as possible does not mean you have to stay in one place. Go outside to get yourself some fresh air, and do simple exercises like going for a walk or running. I am not telling you to go to crowded places. It could simply be your garden or your neighborhood. Remember to keep two meters of social distance. Come out of your shell and expose them to the outside world in a different way.

  • Quarantine is not meaningless with your family. 

Quarantine is mundane but profitable. This period of time could help us balance work and family life. We were too occupied at work to arrive home on time and have dinner with family. Or some of us were so busy hanging out with friends after school that we came home late and missed dinner time. After dinner, we had our own affairs to deal with, which led to the lack of communication among family members. If any of you didn’t have much time for family, now’s the right time for more conversations and understanding each other.  Clint Edward, the author of “Silence Is a Scary Sound,” “I’m Sorry … Love, Your Husband” has done this. He agrees that quarantine has accidentally resumed his family’s activities. He has more spare time for his children and wife because schools are closed and no activities are allowed to run. At the moment, everyone has time for meals, watching movies and regular weekends together that would have been missed due to workload and personal affairs. 

  • Organize your place  

Marisa Wolch suggests that keeping organized increases your productivity and reduces stress level. When everything is in order, you can easily look for important tasks whenever you need them. Moreover, your stress level can also be lessened. Any time you feel down, try to leave where you’re at and tidy up. That could mean simply putting your books on the shelves or making your bed, but it really matters how you feel. Give it a try to know how much of a difference it makes.

  • Learn something brand-new

 Pandemic time could really steer some people’s lives if they know how to manage their time smartly. We have more extra time than ever because we are working from home, which means there is no need for the daily commute. Why don’t we seize this time for self-learning? You can learn new languages or skills thanks to online courses. Who knows, that new knowledge you gained during quarantine could even polish your future path and shape who you are. For example, if writing is your passion, find a writing class online which enhances your skills in addition to the limited time in class. Judicious decisions in time management make a different “you” during pandemic-stricken world time.