Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Moodstreams is Going Green!

If you've been by moodstreams.com recently, you've noticed that some changes are afoot - Moodstreams is going green! All of the audio products, starting Oct 1, 2009, will only be available as MP3 downloads, and the store will no longer be carrying CD inventory. In fact, we've already been able to let the CD inventory run out for the vast majority of our products.

It's a decision I've wanted to make for a long time, since I've always been big into minimizing impact on the lovely natural world that has been such a big part of my life experience (and many of yours, too, I'd guess). With MP3 products, no waste is generated because there are no raw materials and no packaging/shipping materials. And since our MP3s are encoded at the highest bit rate, there is no loss of audio quality compared with CDs, so no one has to compromise.

So in a time when MP3s are taking over as the standard format for consumer audio, it made sense for us to ride, and maybe even help to drive, this wave of change. And you wonderful listeners and customers have made the decision easy. Over the last year that the website has been up and running, MP3 downloads have been outselling CDs by such a wide margin - due mostly to cost difference, customers' listening preference, and the immediate gratification that digital goods provide - that it became entirely impractical to continue to produce and stock CDs. And quite honestly, the other reason I'm happy is that MP3 downloads create a lot less work to do after the purchase, because there's no packing and shipping.

So, thank you listeners for encouraging this transition. It genuinely feels like a weight has been lifted off my back now that I can run my web business in a more environmentally-friendly way.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Floss Your Way to Better Memory

I found this interesting article on how to boost your memory by treating your brain right. Surprisingly, the first piece of advice is to FLOSS! Hold on, before you press the BACK button on your browser, hear me out: neglecting to floss leads to a build up of plaque on the teeth, causing an immune reaction that attacks the arteries that deliver nutrients to your brain!

My cat's vet tells me that the plaque on his (my cat's) teeth could lead to kidney disease. I wonder if it's also affecting kitty's memory. He can never seem to remember where his toy mice are. Maybe I should brush his teeth.

Back to the article: It also mentions some other important ways to preserve memory (including proper diet and exercise), and breaks down the advice by decade, i.e. what to do in your 30s, 40s, and 50s. I guess if you're 60 and you have poor memory, you're a lost cause.

One of my favorites for 50 somethings: Use chopsticks: "Studies show that engaging the concentrated areas of nerve cells in your fingertips directly stimulates your brain," says Maoshing Ni, Ph.D., author of "Second Spring: Dr. Mao's Hundreds of Natural Secrets for Women to Revitalize and Regenerate at Any Age." Truth is, any fingertip activity--using chopsticks, knitting, or even rolling a pen or pencil between your fingers--also helps your brain by boosting your circulation. And good circulation helps eliminate waste products that can prevent nutrients from reaching your brain.

Video games, here I come!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Nighttime Grub Puts On The Chub

Now that summer is officially wrapped up and the cooler weather is rolling in, we can take the focus off of such summer-related themes as mosquito control and put it back on to another one of America's most pressing concerns regardless of season: eating.

In my hypnosis practice, I see plenty of clients for issues concerning weight and overeating. In fact, it's my number one business (yes, I finally found a way to avoid saying that it's my biggest business, so I don't have to pull the ol' "no pun intended" bit which is getting corny and trite). Most people who have weight problems invariably are snackers, and more often than not, they are nighttime snackers, meaning they are snacking an hour or two after dinner, or just before bedtime. My clients often don't realize how big (there it is again) of a factor night snacking is with regards to weight gain. Yet when they do a session with me and are able to eliminate night snacking from their daily life, they suddenly lose 2-4 pounds (and sometimes more) the very first week! This is so often the case, that I can now guarantee that eliminating night snacking is the quickest way to start losing weight naturally; more so than eliminating daytime snacking, more so than portion control at meal times, and more so than exercise.

And so of course I love it when a study comes along that scientifically validates my own very unscientific observations. We live in a society wants to see proof before believing anything. So here's the proof: An article I came across in WebMD details the correlation between eating at the wrong time of the day and putting on weight. One study was done in mice (which I don't condone, but it proves my point nonetheless) which were divided into two groups. Both groups were fed the same diet, but one group was fed during the normal waking time, and the other group was fed at the time when mice should be sleeping. The mice who ate at the wrong time gained more than twice as much weight as the mice who were fed at the right time.

A second study was done on humans. 94 people, 29 of whom were night eaters and 65 of whom were not, were followed for 3.5 years. The night eaters gained 13.6 lbs, and the non-night eaters gained only 3.7 pounds. What a difference!

The researchers wouldn't say for sure why the mice (or the people) who ate at the wrong time gained so much weight, because that would require another study. Considering the pace of medical research, I'd check back on that in, oh, two or three years for an answer.

But in the meantime, allow me to speculate: During the time of day when a creature - any creature whether it be a human, mouse, armadillo or hippopotamus - is supposed to be sleeping, the metabolism slows way down. Eating at those times means that the calories from food will not be metabolized, but will instead need to be stored. And storage of calories occurs by producing fat. So for us, eating at night goes against our natural circadian rhythm and results in our bodies not knowing what to do with those calories other than storing them by putting fat on our bodies, which results in undesirable weight gain. Not bad for an unscientific yet logical explanation, no?

Or perhaps you need to hear it from an actual scientist with a PhD from an accredited institution. Arlene D. Salbe, PhD, a senior research fellow at the Kronos Longevity Research Institute says very elegantly, "Eating too much late at night is not good."

And so there you have it. A scientific principle is born. It's good to know that our tax dollars and donations go towards those types of profound conclusions, isn't it?