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November 19, 2015

“Just in case those obsessed by body mass in weight management (#LCHF) have forgotten the role of #physicalactivity “ – Tweet from @gpwhyte (Greg Whyte OBE[i])




Torah Parsha (Portion) Vayeitzei in a Nutshell from

Jacob leaves his hometown of Beersheba and journeys to Charan. On the way, he encounters “the place” and sleeps there, dreaming of a ladder connecting heaven and earth, with angels climbing and descending on it; G‑d appears and promises that the land upon which he lies will be given to his descendants. In the morning, Jacob raises the stone on which he laid his head as an altar and monument, pledging that it will be made the house of G‑d.

In Haran, Jacob stays with and works for his uncle Laban, tending Laban’s sheep. Laban agrees to give him his younger daughter, Rachel—whom Jacob loves—in marriage, in return for seven years’ labor. But on the wedding night, Laban gives him his elder daughter, Leah, instead—a deception Jacob discovers only in the morning. Jacob marries Rachel, too, a week later, after agreeing to work another seven years for Laban.

Leah gives birth to six sons—Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar and Zebulun—and a daughter, Dinah, while Rachel remains barren. Rachel gives Jacob her handmaid, Bilhah, as a wife to bear children in her stead, and two more sons, Dan and Naphtali, are born. Leah does the same with her handmaid, Zilpah, who gives birth to Gad and Asher. Finally, Rachel’s prayers are answered and she gives birth to Joseph.

Jacob has now been in Charan for fourteen years, and wishes to return home. But Laban persuades him to remain, now offering him sheep in return for his labor. Jacob prospers, despite Laban’s repeated attempts to swindle him. After six years, Jacob leaves Charan in stealth, fearing that Laban would prevent him from leaving with the family and property for which he labored. Laban pursues Jacob, but is warned by G‑d in a dream not to harm him. Laban and Jacob make a pact on Mount Gal-Ed, attested to by a pile of stones, and Jacob proceeds to the Holy Land, where he is met by angels.

I noticed the following headline this week “Will 2015 be remembered as the year words finally failed us?[ii]” Oxford Dictionaries seems to think so. For the first time, the Word of the Year is not even a word. It’s a pictograph: an emoji officially called ‘Face with Tears of Joy‘.

emoji“There were other strong contenders from a range of fields, outlined below, but [😂] was chosen as the ‘word’ that best reflected the ethos, mood, and preoccupations of 2015,” according to the Oxford Dictionary blog.

How did Face with Tears of Joy emerge victorious, defeating such formidable contenders as they, Dark Web, lumbersexual and refugee in the pitched battle to embody the year that was?

In my Blog last week I mentioned that by reading/ Podcasting etc. I come across many new “Buzz” words. I have often tried to think how many new words have entered our vocabulary in the last 20 years, including EMOJI. Try think of some – Podcast, Social Media, Superfoods, Cross Fit, Paleo, Tweet, Selfie and then some fairly unusual words like a Fecal Microbiota Transplant (FMT) or Stool Transplant or fecal bacteriotherapy.

The idea of a FMT is to replace good bacteria in your gut. This is related to another buzz word – microbiome. Microbiome is all the bacteria, viruses, and fungi that live in or on our bodies. The study of gut bacteria is becoming very important in a number of fields including nutrition, addictions, diabetes, auto immune diseases and mental well-being. I have seen the following quote – “Nourish Your Microbiome, and It Will Nourish You” More and more people are focussing on PH balance in their diets, probiotics and foods such as sauerkraut and kimchi.

One of the lessons of this week’s Parsha learnt from Rabbi Channan is the Power of Silence – when to use words and when to be silent. This is highlighted in the story of Rachel and Leah. (See link to the Shiur – )

BUT, I wanted to focus on two other words and try to link them:

Orthorexia is an Unhealthy Obsession with Healthy Eating. This is a medical condition in which the sufferer systematically avoids specific foods that they believe to be harmful. It is a ‘Disease Disguised as a Virtue’

Orthorexia: “A healthy balance vs unbalanced health obsession”

A difference with orthorexia is that its associated behaviours are socially acceptable, but the message here is certainly not that exercising, eating carefully, determination, working towards goals and looking after yourself are bad things!

The second word is Neuroplasticity or brain plasticity. This refers to the brain’s ability to CHANGE throughout life. The brain has the amazing ability to reorganize itself by forming new connections between brain cells (neurons).

Loren recently went to a lecture on this topic relating to young children and to older people. In older people this may help in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. The comeback from the lecture was that anything new is stimulating for the brain and it helps develop learning and memory by increasing your brain’s plasticity. For older people this may be by swapping crosswords for bingo or Sudoku.

But in a recent article[iii] Melbourne physiologist and neuroscientist Paul Taylor says the brain also benefits greatly from adding some novelty to your day.

Regular exercise creates growth factors, known as BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor), which helps you to grow new brain cells and make new connections. The magic combination is regular exercise with regular novelty. But it’s also important to refresh exercise routines.

“It’s time to change your exercise when it’s becoming easy for you,” Taylor says. OR even change the route of your run or ride!

“A novel group exercise is good because it’s great to combine exercise with social connection. If you can get those two things at once, it’s awesome and if you get novelty, exercise and social connection combined, you have the highest form of brain stimulation.”

Taylor is not a big fan of the games as mentioned above to enhance brain elasticity or of doing extreme sports which he says can have a disastrous effect, but says something that is important – “It’s about being in the middle ….”

I noticed a very good quote from Blogger Ellie Lafner that I think links these two words so well –  “My motto is: Health should ENHANCE your life, not BE your whole life.” – @Healthycleantimes (Ellie Lafner) on Instagram

I would like to end with a quote from the late great legend Jonah Lomu “Imagine what I could do if I was healthy…” This is a great motivating factor to keep healthy, but also not take for granted our health and well-being. I choose a #healthylifestyle, but understand there is time for a #lovecraftbeer or a treat.

NOTE: Orthorexia is a very serious eating disorder related to other eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia. If you are suffering from such conditions or you have any concerns you should speak to an organisation like the Butterfly Foundation that supports people with eating disorders . I recently read a very good Blog from a young girl suffering from Anorexia that is worth reading Titled – In and Out – Reflections of my eating disorder, by Amy Preskow[iv]








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One Comment
  1. Mom permalink

    Very interesting thanks for sharing.

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