Living By Design: Make Stone Soup!
Do you remember the story of Stone Soup? It is one of my favorites!
In this Portuguese fable, a kindly old, hungry stranger was walking through the land and comes upon a small village. As he enters, the villagers move fearfully toward their homes to lock their doors and windows. The stranger smiles and asks, “Why are you frightened? I’m a simple traveler just looking for a place to stay.” He had a pot but no ingredients to put into it. He walked to the river and filled his pot with water; he came back to the village, started a fire, and dropped a stone into the pot.
As curious onlookers passed by and asked what he was making, the hungry stranger replied, “I’m making Stone Soup!” Eventually he convinces the villagers to each share a small amount of food — potatoes, carrots, meat, spices, cabbage, and on and on. Before long, everyone from the village had contributed one small thing to make a delicious soup that they could all share and enjoy together.
The moral of the story? It wasn’t the stone that made the soup wonderful, it was all the villagers coming together to make it.
Quality social connections enhance your healthspan – the number of good years that you have to enjoy your life.
It a positive feedback loop! Staying connected socially makes you feel better in every way and when you feel better mentally and physically, you have more energy for nurturing those relationships.
These added health benefits have more to do with how you feel about your social life than the number of friends or the amount of social activity that you have. It is the feeling of connection that makes the difference.
Here are some related key points from this week’s blog posts:
Tuesday: Social Connectedness is a key to health and vitality. So often we concentrate only on diet and exercise. Quality social connections are proven to be just as critical to health as nutrient-dense food, movement, and sleep. Research consistently shows that isolation is a risk factor for early death from varying causes. People with strong social connections have better immunity, recover faster from illness and surgery, suffer less from anxiety and depression, and have better emotional regulation.
Wednesday: Social scientists have created a broad and deep body of scientific literature affirming the health benefits of marriage. While there are certainly people who are happier and better off unmarried, they are the minority, according to piles of research. While 40 percent of married people state that they are “very happy,” only 25 percent of those single or cohabiting claim to be “very happy.” Researchers have found this to be cross-cultural, based on a study of 17 developed nations. The health benefits of marriage become particularly evident in midlife, termed the “marriage gap of longevity.” The phenomenon affects men more than women. Studies consistently find that nine out of ten men who are alive at age 48 are still living at 65, compared to just six of ten single men. While nine out of ten married women will be living at age 65, eight out of ten single women will reach this age. Generally, married people are less anxious, less depressed, and less prone to suicide.
Thursday: Because “we are the average of the average of the five people that we spend the most time with,” your top five friends matter! Those closest to us influence our decisions, our health habits, our view of the world, and even our self esteem. Often, people erroneously believe that lifestyle diseases like Type 2 Diabetes and Heart Disease “just run in my family,” and conclude that there is nothing that can be done about these illnesses. Nevertheless, they are related to the habits people develop and we naturally eat, drink, and move like those that we spend the most time with
START SOMEWHERE adding more movement to your day, eating more whole food, getting restorative sleep and finding real people to connect with. You can do it. I will help you!
Dolly Parton’s Stone Soup
Everything tastes better in the company of those you enjoy! This down-home recipe is sure to enhance your social connectedness as well as your vitality and joy! I’ve adapted a few of the ingredients. You can find the original recipe via the link above.
Here’s what you need:
2 quarts Chicken Stock
1 pound Sweet Potatoes
1 (14.5 oz) can diced Tomatoes
1 small head Cabbage, coarsely chopped
1 pound Turnips, peeled and diced
2 large Carrots, diced
1 large Onion, chopped
4 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 Ham Hock or Beef with bone-in (preferably pastured)
1 very clean Stone (optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Here’s the drill:
Combine all ingredients in large soup pot and bring to a boil
Reduce the heat to simmer and boil about two hours or until the vegetables are “fork-tender.”
Remove the meat from the bone and chop it into ½ inch pieces.
Add the meat back into the soup and season to taste.
#AskDrDebbie: “I’m having surgery soon. Do you have any tips for recovering from anesthesia?” -Rebecca S.
Although surgical anesthetic may wear off within a few hours, the after effects can last for days or even months. General anesthesia brings a risk of mental decline in every age, but especially in people over 60 years of age. This can include memory loss and difficulty concentrating. Known as “postoperative cognitive dysfunction,” this condition affects as many as 40 percent of patients over 65 and can last for six months or more. Here are some safe, effective ways to prepare for and recover faster from anesthesia:
1.Milk Thistle: Used for over 2,000 years as an herbal remedy for a variety of ailments, including liver, kidney, and gallbladder problems, Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum) has been researched and shown to protect the liver from toxins. This includes the effect of certain drugs on the liver like anesthetics and acetaminophen (Tylenol). It has been shown to help the liver repair itself by growing new cells because it promotes the body’s detoxification process by preventing the depletion and increasing the level of glutathione, the body’s “master antioxidant.” Milk Thistle appears to be safe and well tolerated; those with allergies to ragweed, marigold, or daisy (etc.) may experience some allergic reaction. It can lower blood sugar in some people. Avoid it if you have a history of hormone-related cancer such as uterine, breast, or prostate because it can affect hormone levels. The typical dose for Milk Thistle is 70 mg three times a day starting at least one week before surgery and continuing at least two weeks after surgery.
Pharmaceutical-Grade Vitamins and Minerals: Start taking a high-quality vitamin and mineral formula that provides a variety of nutrients such as Daily Multi-Vitamin from Healthy Host. These nutrients and those in fresh food contain antioxidant properties that enhance the body’s detoxification systems. A quality multivitamin and mineral helps the body clear anesthesia more efficiently. Surgery can be a source of oxidative stress to the body and extra antioxidant protection is essential.
Foods To Enhance Recovery: While recovering from anesthesia, it is wise to avoid refined sugar and alcohol. Because anesthesia is a fat-soluble toxin, it may be beneficial to minimize or avoid fatty foods that may compete for clearance. Water-soluble dietary fiber such as pears, oat bran, apples, and legumes enhance bile secretion to further break down the anesthesia. Vegetables from the cruciferous family like broccoli, cabbage, and brussels sprouts also contain compounds that detoxify the body, as do cinnamon, turmeric, garlic, onions and eggs.
Water: It is so easy to dismiss the goodness of pure water! Dehydration makes it difficult to clear toxins; once you feel thirsty, you are already mildly dehydrated. START SOMEWHERE today building up slowly to one-half of your body weight in ounces of pure water everyday. Take a water break about every two hours throughout the day. You will be amazed at how much better you feel!
Prior to any surgical procedure, be sure to inform you doctor about any and every supplement you are taking. The above suggestions are safe for most people but some supplements can interfere with anesthesia or thin the blood and decrease clotting. Thank you for this thought-provoking question. This information will hopefully help you and others. I enjoyed researching it!
This is a good quote to remember as you START SOMEWHERE on your journey to enhanced joy and vitality: “Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out. (Anonymous)