INSIDE MY HEAD

I usually post frequently on my Facebook Page so I thought I would copy a few posts for everyone to get inside my head. I don’t ask for anyone to agree with me. That is the beauty of our individuality but I love seeing and reading others’ posts and figured a few of you might like a change of pace. Here are a few of my latest posts:

Thursday Morning Thought: Jesus is the true symbol of Unconditional Love which means He Loves Everyone without conditions. This means no matter what color of the skin, intelligence, physical appearance, social standing or poverty driven, education, or where anyone is born, and religious preference. Think about that and now apply it to what people who want to divide us by those same things. We are unique and to try to dissolve any factors of God’s creations is to diminish His World. Looking at the world as a whole, people are weak and people are not ever going to be perfect or even close (me included) and feelings of hurt and disappointment are part of being human. Forgiveness is a part of being Godly. If all of the focus is placed on whether a person welcomes another because of the skin color, what about what people do to hurt people of the same skin color? It doesn’t have anything to do with just skin color, it has to do with the state of our hearts. Let us begin with understanding the Love of Jesus. I will be blunt….I don’t understand how Our Merciful and Loving God can love us with all of our faults (and that comes in all colors), with our hurtful words to each other, and the disregard for those struggling (which also comes in all colors). I fear that our problem is not skin color within itself, it is the lack of true love for our family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, and yes, even strangers. May God touch our hearts of all colors, wipe away the sinful beliefs that one is better than another, and beg for forgiveness for any bitterness against anyone. Hate the sin; Love the sinner.

Photo courtesy of Alexander Pope

Tuesday Morning Thought: I saw an ad with a place setting of some beautiful dinner setting so I clicked on the ad and then came the sticker shock. On sale, one place setting, ONE mind you, was over $200. How quickly my mind went from that is really pretty to why on this earth would I spend that much money and couldn’t even have another person eat with me. Remember, ONE place setting! I use this as an example of how we can lose our common sense in life and “spend” our life dollars foolishly. Why not invest those same dollars on more quality than quantity? Why try to obtain the items of life that may impress others but does nothing to our inner selves? Why not take a walk in the park with a picnic with paper plates, but oh the lasting memories of children laughing and yes, adults too, making sure no ants or bees, but laughing if you have to outrun one. Sharing the cookies and/or cakes and pies and loving the beauty God created without placing a big entrance fee to his amusement park. You may love those plates, I loved the design, but looking at all of the free stuff God has given us to look at, why not help someone in need, or just be generous with what you have. Live Life; Love Life; and Live and Love Life to the fullest by taking advantage of God’s Free Stuff!Photo courtesy of Greg Miller

Today is a great day to encompass the reality of life. When trials, challenges, heart breaking situations, or other plights of life stare us in the face, we have to choose whether to stand up straight, stare right back at it and say, “If I succeed, great….if I don’t, I will have this experience to draw from and learn from it” No one is assured that we will make the right decision but we have to give it our best. ALM on Facebook

Morning Thought: It is a wise person who has had some disappointment, hurt, and/or loss who doesn’t expect to be fine instantly. The quote: It takes time to heal a broken heart means the equivalent of a physical injury. It has to have time to form a scab, get stitches out, and apply the proper ointment so that even though the injury will usually leave a scar, it is a reminder of the event and in life, little reminders are implanted in our minds. We must nurture, not wallow in pity but relish in life allowing us to live and experience love, success, adventure, and faith. Live Life; Love Life, and Live Life to the Fullest by taking care and time for all of life’s events to resonate and restore us. God will furnish the gauze to patch and protect the wounds until they heal. ALM

So that you really get inside this blogger’s head, I love to cook and bake, decorate, and take more picture than I should when I have the best photographer as my husband, but I love to photograph food I make. Here are some photos from those cooking episodes.

Additional goodness…Greg made a pan of Jiffy Corn Muffins perfectly baked. Yummy 🤤 Early to bed early to rise makes a good soup with great family ties. Making this big pot of soup gives at least 3 meals after the initial meal that I only have to warm up. YummySaturday night note: soup was separated and a big food seal bag BBC was filled and into the freezer it went while we have enough for some lunches during the week. Nice way to double the pleasure when I want soup later and all there is to do is take it out and warm it up

My homemade double pecan pie when we had a moment of craving sweets. My cajun seasoned boiled shrimp prepped and then part of a great salad plate.

Now, you see there are many facets to our minds, especially a blogger and/or writer. Never is it a single channel and a single interest. I hope you enjoy the journey your life takes and turn down several roads of adventure. Thanks for allowing me to share “Me”. Side note: I probably drive my friends on FB crazy but I cannot bypass a lost pet post and share it in hopes my post might be the one that signals the owner. We can only do our part and our part is a big section of our life puzzle. Live Life; Love Life; and Live and Love Life to the Fullest by filling it with fun, love, charity, and kindness.

(C) Copyright 2012 – 2021 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material is sourced, if known, to the original source for credit reference.

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THE GARDENER’S GLOVE III

Good gardening produces tasty and healthy foods so we can make great salads and other dishes.

I sometimes return to older posts for refreshment of thought. I dedicated it to a great gardener Linda Christian and who is genuinely missed by so many of us.

Contained garden to keep out unwanted guests who like to serve themselves.

THE GARDENER’S GLOVE was a popular message and I love the lessons behind it. We have a beautiful growing container garden this year. I have mentioned our garden before but in watching our “crop” grow, I am amazed at how the rain, the pruning, and the feedings affect the amount of growth. It led me back to how proper care of ourselves can affect our growth and especially our health. Stay tuned and when we begin the harvesting, I will share some recipes and photos.    

TODAY THE WORDS are THEGARDENER’S GLOVE  This topic may seem a little strange coming from a lady whose husband does all of our landscaping and who considers herself blessed to not have to pull weeds (but he doesn’t do a lot of that with his routine weed control). I have several FB friends who grow beautiful gardens (Linda Christian whose birthday is today and she can make us envious of her gardening skills and beautiful spirit of sharing with others) , some who are in their rose gardens and flower beds, and there are my friends who do not like the outdoor gardening at all. I love flowers and there is nothing better to eat than fresh home grown vegetables but I think my resistance stems from my childhood.  

Let’s return to my childhood to give you my thoughts. In order to make some money, my Mother grew turnip and mustard greens in our back garden. Before school, and sometimes in the bitter cold, we would go to the garden, gather the greens which were ready, clean them off and bundle with string. Off to the grocery store they would go and off to school we would go. It wasn’t the work as I had too much energy; we didn’t use gloves. In those days, you used your hands (maybe others had enough money to buy gloves; not us). It was the smell of the greens on my hands and mind you, I washed my hands several times and they were as clean as they were going to be. I see my husband prepare, by putting on gloves, before he goes out to do yard work, gardening, and/or pruning. He is very particular about how the gloves have to fit as a proper fit will not slow him down. He jokes with other guys that his wife does yard work. He says “She tells me where to put everything and walks back in the house.” He smiles when he says it but I know he loves being in the yard and in control of its beauty. I am usually the one who is in charge of the interior of our home and I love doing it.  

Now for the deeper thought….as important as gloves are to a gardener or landscaper…..gloves of life are as important to our being. Gloves are a protective covering to avoid scratches, cuts and sometimes bites from insects. They wrap around the hand and fingers securely and when properly fitted, are an extension of our very bodies. They become a second skin in other words. Our “character” is a pair of gloves of life. We start, at an early age, to develop (or put on) our character which comprises of several things: our personality; our integrity; our work ethics and our moral ethics (may be the same or sometimes not); our nurturing persona; and our spirituality. With the proper gloves of life, we can garden our souls and protect ourselves from the scratches, bites, and burns which the garden of life brings. I am not discounting God’s influence in our gardens, but we as His Children, need to put on our gloves and protect ourselves too. Good gardening, my friends, and don’t forget your gloves. 

FEATURED BIBLE VERSE:Genesis 2:9

And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

(C) Copyright 2012-2021 Arline Lott Miller. The material here copyrighted, use only by permission. Third party material, if known, is sourced to the original location for reference.

WHO IS IN CHARGE OF YOU?

Good morning, blog followers! I had an early morning thought that was so riveting, I thought I should share with you. Recently, I have discussed how mind over matter in eating, and being positive. Those were received and gave some moments of personal evaluation. This morning’s blog is a little more intense so hang in there and let’s see where this blog thought goes.

When we are born, we are helpless by ourselves and we require a lot of care including feeding, hygiene, and nurturing. Our parents or a caretaker furnish our needs and we are not required to use our brains to live. We can observe while we learn how to do the simplest gestures and activity. We continually need care from another source. As we grow into teenage years we loosen the ties somewhat on day to day activities but require some guidance, even if we rebel, to make good decisions.

Then comes adult life and at this life changing event, we are on our own, or at least we should be. At this time, who takes over and makes decision? Who is in control of our minds? Sometimes, we marry at an early age and our thinking even though we want to say we think for ourselves, it can become a team thinking exercise with “What do you want to do?” “What do you think?” or “You decide.” statements. One dominant personality can seize control or it becomes a bilateral action. I have seen couples who have lived together for long periods finish each others sentences or speak for the other partner.

All of this information is pretty normal and is not the destination of this blog. I want to ask the question for each of us, separately from any affiliation or relationship, “Who is in charge of you?” Let me bullet point for you what I am asking behind this question.

  • When a decision is to be made, do you have to have others input or can you make a decision by yourself?
  • Do you value research or do you take what you hear either from others or media outlets, social media, friends, etc?
  • How confident do you feel in making decisions or do you second guess your decisions?
  • Do you seek counsel but make the definitive decision once you have listened to others?
  • Are you willing to make your own mind up on a subject no matter if your decision is an unfavorable one?

If you have answered these questions frankly, you have your answer to who controls you. It is advisable to research, seek other people’s thoughts, but you are in control of your mind if the last question was Yes. One of the problems in our world today is many people who are more than capable both intellectually and emotionally to decide for themselves are swayed by news media, celebrities, professors, community leaders, family, friends, and yes, even church leaders. Do not fall into this trap. Search for the truth, look at the history, practice critical thinking, and by all means, think for yourself. What might be right for me would not be right or at least comfortable for anyone else.

Here are some ways to practice thinking for yourself and regain your personal control:

  • Do not make a hasty decision before looking at the situation.
  • Consider short term and long term repercussions and outcomes from your decision.
  • Think before acting or deciding, “Can I live with my decision?”
  • Think before acting or deciding, “Can others live with my decision?”
  • Think back to previous situations and evaluate the outcome of prior decisions.
  • Decide to accept the adversity if others will not agree with your decision.
  • Finally, when making a decision, how do I feel about this decision? If you feel content that you have made this decision with as many of the facts involved, after weighing the conclusion and outcome, knowing that you and you alone came to this decision and can move on from this action, then make the decision and Move On.

As a self thinker, who loves to research and who values input but is totally capable of making my own decision, I encourage all of you to think for yourself but do it with respect of others who may think differently. Also, I consider the purpose behind others’ thinking and all factors which affect or relate to their conclusion. Their reasoning may not be appropriate with my reasoning but I can emphasize with them. I still want to make my own decisions after I have my mind equipped to make wise decisions. Do I accomplish this all of the time? Absolutely……not.

Live Life, Love Life, and Live Life to the Fullest by stepping up, voicing your thoughts, and love the fact you were given intelligence and the ability to think.

(c) Copyright 2012 – 2021 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material is sourced, if known, to original location for reference credit.

CUPID WENT INTO WITNESS PROTECTION


CUPID WENT INTO WITNESS PROTECTION was previously posted in 2019 but I found it an interesting read and decided to repost for this Valentine season.


EARLY HAPPY VALENTINES DAY to all! I thought I would get your attention with the heading. Let’s have some fun in the midst of all of the hoopla of hearts flying, gifts given, love showed and shared with lovers all over the world, but why did Cupid have to go into hiding? I had forgotten the story behind Cupid, have you? Here is the caption on google to jog our memories of how Cupid developedE

Psyche is a princess so beautiful that the goddess Venus becomes jealous. In revenge, she instructs her son Cupid to make her fall in love with a hideous monster; but instead he falls in love with her himself.
10 JULY, 2015 – 03:59 RILEY WINTERS
The ancient fairy tale of Cupid and Psyche, where love endures against all odds
The mythological tale of Cupid and Psyche is one of the few Greek and Roman myths that has not fully become assimilated into modern consciousness. Though adapted somewhat into the better known “Beauty and the Beast”—first written by French author Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont as “La Belle et la Bête”—the correlation to the earlier ancient text is relatively unrecognized. Cupid is often still portrayed as a chubby baby cherub with a fondness for arrows, and Psyche is still predominately unknown outside the psychological community –”psyche” means “soul” in ancient Greek and was subsequently utilized in the literature of psychologists. However, in the ancient world, Cupid and Psyche’s love was well documented and appreciated among the literary scholars. Despite that its original Greek form is now lost, the length of the text remains within Lucius Apuleius’ The Golden Ass , a side anecdote that—in many ways—overshadows the remainder of the novel.

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Once upon a time…
Cupid and Psyche’s narrative begins as most modern fairy tales do: with a kingdom, a daughter with an insurmountable burden over her head, a trial, and a subsequent moral. It is as follows: a king and queen give birth to three daughters, but only the third possesses unearthly beauty. Apuleius’ text claimed that her beauty was so astounding the “poverty of language is unable to express its due praise.” Rumors spread of this girl, Psyche’s, astounding loveliness, eventually reaching the ears of the Roman goddess Venus. Angry that so many mortals were comparing Psyche’s beauty to her own—and in many ways claiming that the mortal surpassed her—Venus calls upon her son Cupid to demand that he use one of his arrows of desire to ensure Psyche fall in love with a human monster.

Obedient as always to his mother, Cupid then descends to the earthly plane to do as she wishes. Yet he was so astonished himself by the mortal princess’ beauty that he mistakenly shot himself. From that moment, Cupid was irrevocably in love with the princess. Around this time, it became evident to her parents that Psyche’s attractiveness had angered the gods, as no mortal man would take her hand in marriage. Imploring the temple of Apollo, they learn that Psyche is destined for a much worse fate than celibacy: “The virgin is destined for the bride of no mortal lover. Her future husband awaits her on the top of the mountain. He is a monster whom neither gods nor men can resist.” Psyche, conscious of the mistakes of her mortal kingdom for praising her so highly, is content to follow the oracle’s advice

From the top of the highest cliff, dressed in funerary garbs, Psyche is swept away by the west wind, Zephyr. She is brought to a striking valley, in the center of which stands a palace so magnificent it could not have been built by any hands other than the gods’. Surrounded by luscious trees with a crystalline fountain at its heart, Psyche soon comes to the conclusion that this golden hall is her new home, further reiterated by the voice of her new husband echoing through the halls. This faceless stranger begins to visit her in the night, every night, to make love to her in the darkness. But despite his nighttime tenderness, Psyche is haunted by the oracle’s claim that he was a monster.h
Psyche’s Wedding (Pre-Raphaelite, 1895) photo by Edward Burne-Jones
Psyche’s Wedding (Pre-Raphaelite, 1895) photo by Edward Burne-Jones ( Wikimedia Commons )

Psyche’s Betrayal
When allowing her two sisters to visit, they are jealous of her beautiful home and insist that Psyche’s husband really is a monster and she owes it to herself to find out. So Psyche is convinced to break her husband’s only request of allowing his face to remain a secret and look upon him in the night. In doing so, she damns their relationship.

A single drop of oil falls from the candle Psyche lights to gaze at his face, waking him, and Cupid, in all his majestic beauty, flees their home, distressed by her betrayal. Distraught, Psyche goes in search of her husband, traveling for many days, until she comes to the temple of Ceres, the motherly goddess of grain.

Day of Love – the Complex Origins of Valentine’s Day
The Intriguing Origins of Aphrodite
The Abandoned Heroine Archetype in Greek and Roman Myth
The Trials
Ceres instructs Psyche to surrender herself to Venus and take whatever ill will the goddess throws at her. Obeying Ceres’ advice, Psyche is thus given three seemingly impossible tasks to complete. First, the princess has to separate the grains of Venus’ temple’s storehouse into piles of barley, millet, beans, etc. Second, Psyche has to steal golden wool from a herd of sheep; third and finally, Psyche is ordered to travel into the underworld and request from Queen Proserpina a little of her beauty to pass along to the goddess of love. This task, however, demands a further challenge: that Psyche keeps the box in which the beauty is placed tightly closed, for fear of terrible repercussions.

Unknown to Psyche, throughout these trails, Cupid is constantly at her aid. He instructs ants to help her sort the grains; and then the river god offers her instructions of how to steal the prize fleece from the shepherd. Finally, Psyche is given divine advice on how to surpass the dangers of Hades.

Her failure—foretold by Venus herself—comes when Psyche, greatly upset by the trials she had to overcome, opens the box and is overcome by the Stygian sleep, a sleep so strong she is considered the living dead. By that point, Cupid has had enough of his separation from his wife, and he flies to her rescue, lifting her sleeping form to the heavens, and pleading with the great god Jupiter to talk sense into his mother. Venus lifts her terrible curse from the girl, and once Psyche is awake, she is transformed into an immortal, and is properly wed to the young god of desire. (for the full article and photos you can go to: https://www.ancient-origins.net/myths-legends-europe/ancient-fairy-tale-cupid-and-psyche-where-love-endures-against-all-odds-003393

Note from blogger: As always, I have a deeper thought about love and life. When we read a myth, may we retrieve some thoughts to use in our lives. Out of the confusion, the betrayals, the trials, we can notice one consistency of Cupid. As the story unfolded, Cupid was constantly at her aid and made the effort to make her life and chores easier. Isn’t that what true love is all about? Also, this story confirms that we do not choose who we fall in love but when Cupid’s arrow is shot in the heart, life as we know it is changed forever. I made a remark about Cupid going into hiding but hopefully he is out and about today shooting love arrows into the hearts of many.

Whether you get chocolate or not, love yourself by pampering your mind and soul with loving thoughts.

(C) Copyright 2012-2021 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material, including photos, if known is sourced to original location for credit reference.

MANAGE WEIGHT by MANAGING YOUR MIND

I am turning 72 in June and have lost 37 pounds. No, not by any miracle diet, not by restricting or avoiding any particular food……Smaller portions and when I eat the good foods outweigh the bad ones….Literally. Today, I am not an expert but I want to share my experience in a lifetime of fighting the bulge. I used to be an exercise advocate and to all of you who exercise, Kudos. As I got older, the thought of having to exercise is not as exciting as it used to be. I do stay active for my age but never do I hit the gym or track like the golden years of youth. Here is how I have gotten to where I am today and maybe, some of it will make sense to some of you and you get off the diet track and get on the eating the amount of food that you can digest without a lot of digestive side effects and maintain and/or lose some pounds. This is not a solicitation for any method of culinary preferences, just a woman who struggled for as long as she wanted and found a way to make it happen for her.

Arline Miller, 71 years old, 37 pounds lighter, and still loving life.

About 8 to almost 9 years ago, my husband encouraged or maybe the better word is demanded I go have blood work. I was the worst person as I felt good almost all of the time but had somehow began to fall asleep in the late afternoon even sitting up. I say this lovingly, and now appreciatively, I went to get him to stop saying everyone needs a check up at least once a year. Okay, so I gave in with no idea of what I was about to find out. First, I had always been on some kind of “diet” or “program” since I didn’t want to be fat so I could name so many diets I tried. My thoughts are any diet will work for the time you can stay on them. It is the harsh truth that it is almost impossible to stay on any diet for a long period of time. We get bored eating the same foods; we feel victimized and controlled so we rebel; or the excuse event such as a wedding, birthday, anniversary, cruises, trips, etc and we make the almost guarantee to fail on the diet statement of “I will eat a little now and go back on my diet, just this one time and it will be fine.”

PHOTO OF ME before the weight loss and I wish i showed a picture of my whole body at the time. This is me at my highest weight.

On to the chapter of the doctor’s appointment: I go and cheerfully think I will be fine. I was just tired, no problem. I am a go getter and workaholic so that is why I feel tired. Right? No, Wrong. I will repeat the words my doctor said to me, “You are a walking time bomb. You are diabetic with your A1C at 8 with hypertension, overweight, and your cholesterol and liver enzymes are out of sight.” What was he talking about? I was close to tears, in shock, and thought he was a jerk. He had to be talking about someone else, not me, not superwoman. Oh, did I walk out of his office in a fog, a stupor, and thinking he doesn’t know me. I had always had a mental theory I was okay as I kept a positive attitude.

When I got over my pity party. Yes, I had a big one and even contemplated accepting the bad news and not doing a blasted thing about it and go on with my bad self. Then it hit me that he actually said, walking time bomb. Uh oh, that meant if I didn’t do something to change or diffuse this bomb in me, it was, or rather I would explode. I woke up in the reality, what I was doing was not the path I had to choose.

Food satisfies when it is dressed up for the celebration of a meal.

Next, all of the dieting experiences I had previously performed looked like the way to go. On one program, then to the next, and then trying another one as I had a hard time either eating all salads or meats, or only bland food. I am a rebel and this jerked my chain and I would think even when I was losing weight that I am not living; I am existing.

I decided once I had lost 17 pounds and wanted more off that me restricting my foods only raised the element of rebellion in me. One day, as I wake up very early, I had an epiphany to try to eat small portions of those foods I crave and eat healthy foods in larger portions so here came my new eating way of life. If I made potato salad, I took out a heaping tablespoon of it and placed it with my other food. If I made a cake, I cut a small slice, almost a sliver, but I ate it. I cut my portions of meat down to 1/3 of a fried chicken breast and yes, it was fried or from the air fryer. I eat a tablespoon or two of mac and cheese, rice, potatoes, and I will eat 5 or 6 french fries. I don’t ever take out large portions and I eat a half bowl of soup, spaghetti, or a small plate of mini portions. I eat a good size salad and use my dressing of choice but I don’t pour it on, I use it sparingly. The surprise from this change is I am full even with smaller portions and find I cannot eat a large quantity of anything. I retrained my mind and that is why the title of this blog is Manage Your Weight is To Manage Your Mind.

Make your plate pretty and now, my plate would be a salad plate and a lot less quantity.

If you want to try this method, don’t do it all at once. Try cutting the portion of the highest carb or sugar foods first. Breads can be cut out or lessened in amounts. Just be conscious of the amounts not what you eat. If you have a sandwich, cut it into four (4) square pieces. The mind will adjust and feel you have eaten more. The next time, make a half sandwich and cut into two (2) pieces. You will be amazed at how you will feel satisfied since the separate pieces will give you the satisfaction of more than one. Cut pieces of meat into smaller pieces prior to beginning to eat as you will see more pieces and it will feel like more. The next time, cut a larger piece of meat in half and do the same thing and so on and so on. Peel fruit and go ahead and separate the slices on your plate. The next time cut the fruit in half and you will find yourself eating a lot less over time. Make your plates pretty no matter what you are eating. That is something I do feel I do that makes whatever, even if small portion, is enticing and calms the cravings and satisfies my desire from food.

The old saying of make sure you eat everything on your plate is the root of all food evil. On this luscious and healthy meal, there is nothing wrong with eating small portions and repurposing food for another meal. I will have some blogs on my repurposing food anther time.

As I think that i will spend some blogs on how this process has changed my life and how much sweeter it is now that I know a small taste of something good, instead of feeling deprived keeps me on track. It’s the mind, not the diet, that causes the best things to happen.

(C) Copyright 2012-2021 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material is sourced, if known to the original location for credit reference.

CHOCOHOLICS, IT’S THAT TIME AGAIN

FOR THE BEGINNING OF FEBRUARY 2021, I found a great post about the big event so I thought I would repost it on the first of February to whet our appetite.

Calling all Chocoholics (Chocolate Lovers who might need intervention)! Valentines Day is coming soon so excuses are not needed as it is the reason for the season but WHY? Let us consider the pros and cons of downing the chocolate, milk, white, dark, or mixed with nuts, fillings, or whatever form we can get it. Is there a link to Love? Is it a feel good reason we have to have it. Today, we enter the river of flowing chocolate and get our mouths drooling. Here is an enlightening article I found giving us the psychological reasons and we already know the real reason is “we can’t live without it.”

Why Do We Crave Chocolate So Much?

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Why Do We Crave Chocolate So Much?

The psychology behind why we love chocolate

Posted Feb 11, 2014

Source:Why do we crave chocolate so much? I consulted a professor of psychology and neuroscience, Dr. Amy Jo Stavnezer, to help us understand why we desire chocolate so much (just in time for Valentine’s Day!).

Dr. Albers: On a biological level, why do we crave chocolate?

Professor Stavnezer: We crave chocolate because it is good! It tastes good. It smells good. It feels good when it melts on our tongue. And all of those ‘feelings’ are the result of our brain releasing chemicals in response to each chocolate experience. The experience of eating chocolate results in feel good neurotransmitters (mainly dopamine) being released in particular brain regions (frontal lobe, hippocampus and hypothalamus—definitions a bit later).

Dopamine is released when you experience anything that you enjoy—sexlaughing, or watching your favorite Olympian claim the gold. This reward circuit is partially hard-wired by genetics, but it learns, changes and responds to your specific preferences based on your life experiences. This malleability of the brain is what makes each of us unique. In fact, there are supposedly people in the world who do not like chocolate.

By simply using one neurotransmitter system to associate rewards with actions, an efficient and powerful brain network evolved so that a positive outcome would be repeated. The dopamine signal sent through the reward circuit brings about positive feelings and assessments of the situation in the frontal lobe (just behind your eyes), creates a memory of the experience including where, who, what and why and links that to the positive experiences via the hippocampus (about an inch inside of each ear), and when food is involved, the hypothalamus (a few inches above the roof of your mouth) gathers information about the caloric and nutrient content for future hunger and satiety signals.

It was originally thought that chocolate contained compounds that could activate this dopamine system directly (like cigarettes and cocaine do). Chocolate does contain theobromine that can increase heart rate and bring about feelings of arousal, caffeine which can make us feel awake and increase our ability to work and focus, and fat and sugar which are preferred food sources for humans because they are calorie dense. However, elegant experiments in which the components of chocolate were separated out indicated that just ingesting the chemicals in chocolate without the mouth-feel and taste does not decrease craving.

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Photo courtesy of goodhousekeeping.com



Maybe this is why we eat chocolate?

I found an excerpt from an article on the history of how chocolate became the ruler of Valentines Day. It is from National Geographic and is titled Why We Want Chocolate for Valentines Day

THE PLATE

Why We Want Chocolate for Valentine’s Day

3 MINUTE READBY APRIL FULTON

So how did chocolate become the ultimate Valentine’s Day treat?

The origins of the historic combination are far from clear. Chocolate has been considered an aphrodisiac since the time of the Aztecs, and was once only available to the wealthy. Spanish conquistadors brought it back to Europe, and according to The Oxford Companion to Food, Italian chefs were shaving blocks over their risottos in the late 17th century. The French made pastilles in the 18th century, a favorite of the marquis de Sade. But it wasn’t until the cocoa butter extracted from the beans was processed into the rough form of a candy bar in England in 1847, according to Cadbury, and later rounded out with milk, that its appeal began to grow. Once candy became cheaper to produce, more people got to taste it. And once they tasted it, well, you know the rest.

Meanwhile, the origins of Valentine’s Day are even more complex. They can be traced to Roman times and Lupercalia, a Pagan festival that involved fertility and feasting in mid-February. The Romans “were drunk. They were naked,” Noel Lenski, a historian at the University of Colorado at Boulder, told NPR in 2011. Young women lined up for the men to hit them, Lenski says. They thought would make them fertile.

Not too romantic, was it? It gets crazier. The early Catholic Church martyred a rebel priest named Valentine and tried to take the nakedness out of the Lupercalia festival by declaring Feb. 14 as St. Valentine’s Day. Chaucer combined the essence of the pagan rituals with courtly ideas of love in one famous Valentine’s poem about bird sex: “And, Lord, the blisse and joye that they make! For ech of hem gan other in wynges take.” And then Shakespeare took the notion of romantic love even further in the sonnets.

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Hopefully, this will get your Valentine craving for chocolate flowing and from this Sipping Cup of Inspiration blogger, Happy Valentines Day and now it is official, you have a natural reason for loving chocolate. My deeper thought is to LIVE LIFE, LOVE LIFE, AND LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST by digesting all that life has to offer as long as you add to other’s lives and not make their lives unhappy. Eat chocolate or don’t, but love always.

(C) Copyright 2012-2021 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material, if known, is sourced to original location for credit reference

A RIVER BED BEGINS WITH ONE STONE

Beautiful Pebbles in Boise River Idaho Photograph by Vishwanath Bhatpixels.com · In stock

As we see our country moving through the COVID 19 Virus Pandemic and a change in our government with a new administration, with a lot of blame thrown around, it came to me, we should look at the significance one person or one event’ s impact on the whole schematic. Let me use a simple life example if I may to show the importance of a single stone.

I looked up Does Pebble Removal Have An Effect on River Beds and here is the excerpt from the article. The link for the full article is below:

Gravel removal causes the stream bed and banks to become unstable, sometimes for miles upstream and downstream. The resulting head cuts and bank failures impact farmlands, wetlands, recreational areas, and infrastructure. Contrary to popular belief, removing gravel bars does not help control floodwater.
Fact Sheet Gravel Removal from Streamseec.ky.gov › Water › Reports › factsheet

I saw the words become unstable in the description and that is the basis of my thought for today. I also saw where this impact could spread for miles in both directions. Please notice the statement “Contrary to popular belief, removing gravel bars does not help control floodwater.” Let’s dive into my analogy.

Looking at the beautiful river bed photo, I noticed several notable observations.

  • The different sizes of the pebbles make it more interesting. How boring it would look if all the pebbles were the same size.
  • The different shapes of the pebbles add dimension and help fill the gaps actually giving strength by their association and placement in the river bed.
  • The different shades and colors of the pebbles add more visibility to the eye, again offering distinction and uniqueness.
  • Placement of the pebbles are random, with some similar pebbles being in close proximity while at the same time, many different pebbles are side by side existing in harmony with each other.

I imagine the concept behind my thought is beginning to form in your mind at this time viewing the color, size, shape, and uniqueness of each pebble, while at the same time, the visual of the togetherness of all of the pebbles becoming one image is obvious.

We live in a world where we are each a single pebble and while we have true differences, some of which are blatantly obvious, together we form a river bed in life. We have to learn to exist together, each with its own value and significance. This world can only work and be strong if we realize the value of each pebble and humorously, I add, even if the next pebble rubs us the wrong way.

One of the interesting things about my pebble analogy, is we pebbles need each other, and yes, we need the different aspects of each pebble to be a formidable river bed element. Disruption only weakens the bed (or as I like to refer the base) and it is hard to maintain the purpose for functionality.

In life, pebbles or in reality, people, will rub someone the wrong way, but we should keep in mind that it is the unity, not the individual pebble, which supports our lives. I have met so many interesting people in my life and I can assure you my list is composed of different races, ethnic groups, wealthy and poorest people, famous, infamous, and totally unknowns. I have talked with super educated and surprisingly uneducated people who shine brighter in the universal language of common sense and enlightenment. No two people I have encountered are the same composition and each person has added a brilliance to my life.

In summation, I would encourage this world, our country, our government, our communities, churches, service organizations, schools, and neighborhoods to analyze their “River Beds” and see if we are including all pebbles to help with the beautiful sound of water flowing in a good direction.

Live Life; Love Life; and Live Life to the Fullest by building a strong bed of connecting pebbles to hear the lovely sound of water flowing into every nook and cranny of your life.

Arline Miller, blogger and author of three novels, and Sipping Cups of Inspiration

(C) Copyright 2012 – 2021 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material is sourced to original location if known for credit reference.

FREE ISN’T EVER ACTUALLY FREE

I wrote this post several years ago, but somehow, we are back to the idea of I want free healthcare, free food, free education, free housing, etc. but again, let’s use logic. Someone, most likely the hardest working people, has to pay. Actually, it may seem free to the recipient, but SOMEONE has to pay! We are entering a new phase of administration for our government who has spiraled out of spending control, so think about our future lives. Let us be frugal and make good decisions on how we spend. Here is the original post:

SO YOU THINK FREE IS GOOD? Today, I am addressing a popular concept and I want to apply it to all phases of our lives, not just the political consequences. Below, please find my back to work post on FB to kick off this thought process. I worry that a bait and switch swindle is being played on many young people and even some older folks that should know better. The phrase “No Such Thing as a Free Lunch” didn’t originate from nothing. Someone had found out the truth.

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Back to work thought: I have seen all of the Socialist Democrats use the word “free” pretty freely, but as a hard working 69 year old I beg to differ. Let’s use an example of how nothing is “free”…..Think of the ads on facebook and other media outlets which say free this and free that or 2nd one free if you buy the first one at a low price, right? You know you have seen these free item ads. Ok, now the real truth, the “processing” fee is a cost. If you get the free item, you will find that a subscription, upgrade, shipping are all costs. When I was in the car business, it was a known fact and they even had a name for it “Bait and Switch” where you advertised the “deal of the century” which was a vehicle that barely had an engine and transmission knowing full well that the customer wanted and really needed more so you switched them when they came in asking for that car or truck that was advertised. I look at the Socialist concept the same way….there is no free health care, no income guarantee, no free education, and no free housing….Believe me, it costs so using the Bait and Switch Socialist concept, you use these “free” items (that the cost is passed on to the average tax payer who then can’t afford anything other than essentials and there goes the economy and stability for them to work) and then when you have been baited that this sounds like winning the lottery, they have you hooked so the only thing left to take is your freedom. To all of you that this “free concept” would be better off getting a job, working in a fairly taxed job, and have pride in taking care of your family instead of a government controlled environment. One final thought is how many of you think government takes care of the programs now? They spend foolishly and are thinking of what it means to their futures not ours……so what makes you want to put them in charge of everything you own or work for? Hmm??
Remember Bait and Switch is only meant to get you where they want you so they can switch your way of life and the payment is always higher than you planned on paying.

  Next, let’s address the idea of “free” in our everyday life. This past holiday you may have gotten a free meal but was it totally free?  Maybe you didn’t have to buy it, but did you have to drive somewhere to eat this free meal? Does your car drive without fuel? Did you brush your teeth and take a bath to be presentable before leaving? Doesn’t toothpaste and water cost? The point I am making is everything that we do has a cost even if it appears to be free. Ponder that thought and No Such Thing as Free will come to mind.   I saw universal Income advertised from the liberal socialist members of Congress a few minutes ago. This, simply baiting ploy is you would be guaranteed a basic income to eliminate work……..What? Then, frankly I ask, who the blazes pays for it? I am telling you if you buy this, go ahead and buy lottery tickets with your money as the probability of this type of system to work is about the same chances of winning the lottery.   Finally, let’s examine how many “free” things can cost you. You begin a relationship, that’s free, right? Wrong! First of all you put a lot of energy and your time into it. If you were not spending this time, you could be applying that energy and time into productive work. It is the reward of getting something in return for your “work” in a relationship that causes us to input the energy and time and that is worth the effort. What if the relationship fails? You are right…..free hurt, pain, and loss but wait a minute, that isn’t even free because if you sit around and waste more time and energy over the loss, you have even more cost involved.  

  Here is my final thought: If you want to achieve anything that is worthwhile, work is a necessary part of this process. I believe in this philosophy “If it is not worth working toward, it is not worth having” In all things apply your talents and the rewards will come and you are not obligated to a controlling entity. You can take a bow as you achieved a goal. LIVE LIFE; LOVE LIFE; LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST BY WORKING HARD AND ENJOYING THE FRUITS OF YOUR LABOR. 

(C) Copyright 2012-2021 Arline Miller with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material is sourced to original location if known for credit references.

GOODBYE 2020, GOOD RIDDANCE

If you want any more of this ridiculous year, go on with your bad self, but I for one want to see it gone and praying 2021 will be a peaceful, recovery year from COVID all over the world. As I was thinking of this year going away, I wrote a poem. I thought I would share this poem with my best wishes to all.

YEAR 2020, I AM GLAD TO SEE YOU GO

Years have come and years have gone before in my life.

However, 2020 I can’t remember a year with more strife.

You tangled your aggravating web like a spider with intention

To capture seemingly innocent victims with a deadly conviction.

The virus was unleashed and with a mysterious origination

It had no mercy on the old but grabbed on and surpassed imagination.

The young became vulnerable and the death numbers soared.

While the lockdown was ordered, and we all sat still while bored.

Politics have become so corrupted and the lines have blurred

Who to trust, I think none, and all of our emotions have stirred?

What happened to civility and good manners where did you go?

It seems it was replaced by “I will get you before you can know.”

2021, come on in and boot this disastrous year 2020 out the door.

We will as Americans have to struggle to get up off the dingy floor.

Let’s find a way to come together and fight each other no more.

A kind word here, a good deed there, and morality can we restore?

Let us wish each other, no matter who we meet and greet

A Happy Year for all to enjoy and may we have the success we seek.

Let’s laugh again and work for a good and healthy life for all of us.

Happy 2021 and may 2020 come no more; in God we trust.

Written with hopes for a better year in 2021 by Arline Miller

(C) Copyright 2012 – 2020 Arline Miller with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material if source is posted, will credit original source.

DID WE GIVE UP, GIVE IN OR GIVE IT OUR BEST?

NOTE FROM ARLINE MILLER, BLOGGER: As we close 2020, I think almost everyone can say Good Riddance 2020, you have made me miserable with quarantine, viruses, politics, changes, losses, and other tragedies. Hurry up 2021, we need some happy news. While we have been locked down, has our weight gone up? I thought I would repost this blog as it is meant to encourage and believe me, we need some encouragement. Happy New Year and Happy New You!

HAPPY NEW YEAR OR IS IT? Here we are again, the beginning of a new year and with it comes the ongoing, well meaning, resolutions one more time. This year is going to be different but is it? I am reposting a message that is a reality check for us. Watch for the hint/tip at the end. This has helped me avoid so many snacks and desserts….not all of them but some! Remember this quote from A L Williams, promoter of term insurance…All you can do is all you can do but all you can do is enough!

GIVING UP, GIVING IN, AND GIVING TO FOOD. We are in a new year with new goals and new intentions. Let’s make resolutions and promises but let’s get real…..Are you really going to Never Eat a Donut the rest of your life? On this blog, I want to recognize our human side of our thinking on the subject of eating. The answer to my question is probably not, even though on this first few days of the New Year; you may have answered Yes! Let us look at a few reasons why this normally doesn’t work.One of the reasons we eat is Emotional or Comfort Eating and I am referencing to an article on WebMD on this subject. (Link is included for entire article)Emotional Eating: What Helps By Joy Manning, Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on July 28, 2014 on webmd.com      Does stress, anger, or sadness drive you to eat? Do you turn to food for comfort, or when you’re bored? Many people do. If you often eat for emotional reasons instead of because you’re physically hungry, that can be a problem.       Obeying the urge to eat more than you need is a sure-fire way to gain weight. It’s an even bigger problem if you already have health conditions like diabetes, obesity, or high blood pressure. You can get back in control of your emotional eating. The surprising part is, it’s not really about food at all. You might not even realize you’re doing it. One of the biggest clues: “Eating until you are uncomfortable and stuffed is a sure sign something is going on,” psychologist Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD, says. Another clue: You’re gaining weight and you don’t know why. Don’t assume that it’s just that you’re getting older or slacking on the treadmill. Consider how you’re doing emotionally, and whether that might be affecting your eating.   Another reason for eating is Habitual or I Can’t Stop Eating.Even though this is a form of emotional eating, it should have its own category. We form habits as eating a certain food during a specific time during the day. Some people want something sweet at night or at least a bowl of cereal, a few cookies and milk, a sandwich, chips, etc. Think about it; is there a certain time of the day only a certain food will satisfy you? If you find yourself eating at this certain time, my tip for today is change what you do at that particular time. Even a big glass of lemon water or a cup of hot tea, or hummus on a celery stick, can alter what can happen. Taking a shower or a little activity can break this chain of habitual eating. If eating at 10 pm is the witching hour, try to schedule other activity instead of sneaking into the kitchen. If cereal or cookies are the demonic foods (which I say can tempt anyone) get them out of the house. You might be surprised how the urge will leave you if they are not handy. Keep other healthy items easily accessible. You most likely will not eat them at this time, but you are breaking a habit. Another tip is remember it takes up to 30 days to break a habit.

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This is me, Arline Miller age 69 with diabetes type II and managed with diet and small amount of meds.
Now at 71, numbers still going good and this method of small portions works the best for me.

Ask yourself this question: Can I make it 30 days without my usual habit food? At least give it a shot. Even if you make it two weeks, pat yourself on the back. If you give in; start the countdown again.

HEALTHY BITES has been created to include a good variety of healthy foods to eat and I suggest you check it out for recipe ideas. If you follow me on Pinterest, one of my boards Healthy Bites, is also directed to some of the recipes I have found not only healthy but tasty. There are so many great sources to eat healthy and know how to develop good habits and a healthy life.

2019 Note from Blogger: I pulled up this post message from 2016 for a reason. Most of us eat emotionally. Only a few actually eat only when we are hungry and not dehydrated. If we would make one change, it would help dramatically. Drink water first! Even if you feel you are going to eat that donut, chip, cookie, whatever, do yourself a big favor…..Drink a big glass of water. Place the goodie by the water glass and only eat when the glass is empty. This one change will slow the brain’s urge to splurge and can make a huge difference in the amount of junk you will consume. You may find that this small hedge will diminish the urge and actually prevent a snack accident!

(C) Copyright 2012-2020 Arline Miller of Sipping Cups of Inspiration with all rights and privileges reserved. Third party material including photos are credited to original source if known for credit references.