Book Review – “Perfect Health: The Complete Mind/Body Guide”

I have become very interested in Ayurvedic medicine over the last few years. I recently read a great book written by Deepak Chopra about Ayurvedic medicine, and I wanted to tell you about it. I found this book to be a wealth of interesting information and definitely an excellent resource for me to consult in the future. If you’re interested in Ayurvedic medicine, then this is definitely a great place to start.

This book has a great treatment of the history of Ayurvedic medicine, which is essentially preventative medicine dating back several thousand years ago to practises in ancient India. Interestingly, the word Ayurveda comes from two Sanskrit words meaning life and knowledge, or the science of life. Chopra comments that an even more accurate interpretation of the word, and a more precise reading, would be “the knowledge of lifespan”.

The book describes the guiding principle of Ayurvedic medicine, which is the principle that the mind exerts the greatest influence on the body. Arising from this principle is the concept that eliminating illness from the body requires bringing our mind and awareness into balance, which then extends to putting our body into balance. According to Ayurvedic medicine, this state of greater balance of the mind and awareness can create a greater state of overall health in the body.

I also learned that the principles of Ayurvedic medicine have different implications depending on a person’s “doha”. There are three kinds of doshas: kappa, pitta, and vatta. Each of these three doshas are described in detail throughout this excellent book. I learned that I am a pitta type, which has important implications for my ideal diet and lifestyle. All of this information is very well described, which makes this a great resource for someone wanting to learn about Ayurvedic medicine, identify their dosha type, and plan out a diet and lifestyle that best suits that type.

That’s all from me for now! Happy reading… 🙂

Joshua Tree Park – Such a Special Place!

The other day I went to Joshua Tree National Park. For those of you who don’t know, this is an amazing national park about a 1 hour drive from Palm Springs. The park is famous for its joshua trees, as well as its incredible rock formations. The rock formations almost appear to be piles of stacked rocks, which have led many people to wonder how they came to be stacked! In actuality, the rock formations are the product of volcanic eruptions thousands of years ago. Overtime, parts of the formations wore away making it appear that the formations are a combination of many smaller rocks. Pretty incredible, huh?

The weather at the park was great! In the summer, the temperatures can be so high that it’s unpleasant to step outside your air-conditioned vehicle! On the other hand, during the winter months, the weather is much more moderate making it much more pleasant to get out of your car and experience the park the way it was meant to be experienced. Luckily, the weather was very moderate the day that I went.

If you visit the park during the winter months, make sure to prepare yourself for weather that will be a little bit colder than what you experience in Palm Springs. Due to the location of the park, the weather tends to be a few degrees lower, and becomes dramatically colder at night. Once the sun sets, temperatures can fall below zero. In fact, during one of my hikes through the park a few months ago, I saw plenty of snow in places where the sun was unlikely to shine directly during the day. That’s pretty good evidence of how cold it can get during the night!

Also make sure you stay well hydrated throughout your stay in the park. It can be tempting to think that you don’t need much water, but the sunshine and dry conditions will keep you parched unless you’re taking swigs of water every now and then. I took my trusty copper bottle (which I’ve become obsessed with – see my blog post on the subject of alkaline water) to the park and carried it in my hand whenever I was outside so that I had easy access. There aren’t many freshwater sources in the park, so consider bringing a few large bottles of water with you to the park so that you can refill your handheld bottle every now and then.

An interesting feature of the park is the way it’s laid out. Unlike other parks with a central parking lot, Joshua tree park has a variety of different parking lots connected by miles and miles of roads. As a result, you need to park your car for an hour or two, take advantage of the hiking and sites in the area, and then load back in the car and go to your next destination. Rinse and repeat. I actually very much enjoyed this, as the time in the car provides an opportunity to rest your legs, drink some more water, and have a little snack.

That also aren’t any restaurants or stores in Joshua tree park, so make sure you stop at a supermarket before you go to the park and load up on snacks that will keep you well energized throughout the day. There’s so much to do in the park, and so little time, so it’s a good idea to buy some smaller snacks that you can stuff in your pockets and have on the go. Granola bars and peeled eggs are a great idea, and certainly a healthy option to keep you energized.

If you visit the park make sure to go to Keys’ viewpoint, which offers incredible views of the surrounding area, as well as the San Andreas Fault! Here is a great picture of the view on a clear day. Apparently the view is far less clear on a hot day, mostly as a result of air pollution. So we were very lucky to get such a clear shot this time!

I’m not much of a driver, and prefer to get around by way of bicycle or public transit. Unfortunately, however, Joshua tree park is not a place that is easily accessible by any method other than car. In particular, there is no public transit access, and no convenient road for biking. As a result, your best option is to carpool or rent a car. Depending on the time of year, you may be able to get a fairly good rate for your car. Make sure to get the economy size, which will be more cost-effective, and also more likely to keep you in mother nature’s good books!

Another great place to visit is the dam. Interestingly, Joshua tree park used to be home to many more springs and streams them it is now. Today, pretty much the only source of water remaining is a place called breaker dam, which is a largely man-made reservoir which gathers rainwater. As a result, the spot attracts plenty of wildlife, including some lovely birds. The area is also very peaceful, and the water and rock formations create some incredible reflections.

If you are a fan of rock climbing or bouldering, then Joshua tree park is definitely for you. While we were in the park, we saw plenty of people scaling huge rock formations. Rock climbing has always fascinated me, but unfortunately I suffer from an ailment that makes it very difficult for me to take it on: I’m afraid of heights! Oh well, can’t win them all!

All in all, Joshua tree park is an incredible place, and, if it isn’t already, ought to be named one of the wonders of the world. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience there and I’m sure you will too! Until next time!

Drinking Alkaline Water!

I have been reading a lot about the benefits of alkaline water and have been interested in trying it out for myself. Have you heard about this?

As I understand it, alkaline water is water with a higher pH. While acidic substances (like soda pop) have a lower pH, less acidic substances have a higher pH. There are plenty of health benefits associated with having a non-acidic body, and drinking alkaline water can apparently help keep down your body’s acidity levels. 

Based on my research, there are two types of alkaline water. The first kind of alkaline water is natural in the sense that the water has become alkaline as a result of its environment. For example, water can become alkaline by picking up minerals as it trickles down a mountain stream. The second kind of alkaline water is unnatural in the sense that a human made machine has been used to increase its alkalinity.

Being someone interested in health and wellness, I have obviously been more interested in the first kind of alkaline water, being natural alkaline water. I was having coffee with my good friend Betty a few months ago when she suggested that I try using a copper water bottle. Apparently storing water in a copper water bottle increases the pH of water and can also have a multitude of other health benefits.

After spending a few hours researching, I was interested to learn that certain cultures have been using copper vessels to store drinking water for hundreds if not thousands of years. I also discovered that copper water vessels can be very beautiful! My favourite design, and the one I ultimately purchased for myself, is this copper water bottle made by a company called Copper H2O.

Copper H2O has a very informative website with plenty of information regarding the health benefits of drinking from a copper vessel, including an explanation of how to make alkaline water using a copper water bottle.

I use my copper water bottle every day, and have been testing the water with litmus paper to see how alkaline it becomes. If I store water in my copper bottle overnight, the pH of the water tends to increase by one or two points, which is perfect for me. I haven’t experimented with keeping my water stored in my water bottle for longer than that, but I bet that doing so would increase the water’s pH a bit more!

Talk to you next time, and in the meantime, don’t hesitate to let me know if you’ve had an interesting experiences with alkaline water!  I’d love to hear from you.

Vist to Palm Springs!

Greetings from beautiful Palm Springs! Every now and then, I go down to Palm Springs for a few days to visit some friends. I have been down for a few days now, and the weather has been very sweet! People always ask me what the weather is like in Palm Springs. During the spring and summer, the weather can be downright unbearable. It isn’t uncommon for days to get scorching which means that your options for the day are quite limited! During the winter, the situation is very different: it can range from a cloudy, chilly day to a perfectly pleasant day for sipping drinks by the pool.

There are plenty of things to do around Palm Springs, which makes it an excellent destination when you’re looking to take a break. For example, I generally stay in an area close to Mesquite St., which is home to a lovely hike that takes you up into the mountains. The views of palm springs are tremendous! In addition, it’s a great workout. A lot of my friends have expressed surprise that Palm Springs isn’t completely flat! As it turns out, the geography is far more varied than anything you’d expect.

Once you have spent some time hiking in the mountains, chances are you’ll have worked up a pretty good appetite! Luckily, Palm Springs is also home tons of great food. One of my favourite places to eat in Palm Springs is called El Mirasol – it’s this lovely Mexican place, and there are a few locations around town. I went there the other day and was treated to some lovely quesadillas while an excellent musician strummed on his guitar, all while fellow diners danced in their seats. What a lovely experience!

If you haven’t got the appetite for a full meal and you just want a little snack, you can also consider taking a walk around your garden! Citrus fruits are very common here in Palm Springs, and the area I stay in has plenty lemon trees, orange trees, and grapefruit trees. The fruit is absolutely delicious and much sweeter than the fruit I normally buy from the store.

When I stay in Palm Springs, however, I don’t eat out all that much. I much prefer to treat myself to a lunch or dinner out every now and then, and otherwise prepare healthy meals for myself. Luckily, Palm Springs is also home to a fabulous Trader Joe’s! You can get tons of healthy, organic, and relatively inexpensive things from Trader Joe’s. I went there the other day and loaded up the trunk of my car – that should last me for a while!

Anyway, it’s a beautiful day today, the sun is out, and the swimming pool is beckoning. I think it’s time to take a nice dip! Talk to you next time!

Hello, My Name is Martha!

Hello, my name is Martha Talks! I am a holistic nutritionist and very interested in discovering new things and staying healthy. I was born and grew up in England and emigrated to the United States number of years ago. I currently live in beautiful San Francisco with my trusty beagle, Keiko.

I am happy to finally have my own blog and will use this space to write about things I discover on the subjects of nutrition, health, wellness and fitness. I will try to write as often as I can, although Keiko likes to keep me active and outdoors, so I may not always be as active as I would like!

I am always delighted to connect with like-minded people, so if you would like to get in touch, or even co-author some posts with me, I would be delighted to hear from you! You can always reach me at martha@marthatalks.com.