You Can Eat Bread — as Long as You Make It was written by Janet Ashforth for Heated/Medium, 7 February 2020.  She claims, “Homemade sourdough renders grocery store loaves unacceptable.”

There are plenty of sourdough bread-making enthusiasts in the world, and I’m one of them. I’ve been lovingly producing weekly loaves for about a decade, and it’s the only bread I’ll eat. Once you try it, commercial bread will fall so short it won’t even be an acceptable backup.

Baking and eating sourdough bread can magically transform your life in unexpected ways, and there are several reasons why.

    • It’s far more nutritious than anything you’ll buy. Sourdough bread is a fermented food made with wild yeast gathered from the air. 
    • The bacteria pre-digests and breaks down the gluten in the bread, so your finished loaf is much easier to digest. And you can choose quality flours from small, family-owned mills to use for your dough that is much higher in nutritional value and isn’t overprocessed.
    • Baking your bread offers lessons in patience. In a fast-paced world where everything is instant, the sourdough bread-making process gives you a chance to slow down, live in the moment, and make something with care and pride.

The best part is the learning experience.  Flour, water, and salt. With time and care, these simple, inexpensive ingredients wondrously morph into a loaf of lovely, crusty, airy, delicious, nutritious bread. You’ll be mesmerized.

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Call it the “L.A. hug.”

It’s easy to see how, in the land of sunshine and MoonJuice, heart chakras and alternative milks — where most people spend most of their lives in their vehicles — there would be a common need for, well, human contact.

As Amma, a Hindu spiritual leader who has been called “the hugging saint,” may tell you: Hugging is a natural human need. And it has all sorts of health benefits. Hugging can release oxytocin, which is associated with happiness, lower blood pressure and less stress.

It’s not that people don’t hug in New York. But when we do, it’s often quick and to the point: a handshake leading into a quick embrace; a perfunctory one-armed wrap around the back; or an efficient two-armed squeeze — in and out — before you each part ways, because, for God’s sake, we have stuff to do.

Andrea Bendewald, an actor and healer originally from New York said, “In New York, you’re around people all the time. You’re sardined in a subway car. All you want is your own space and thoughts.”

Cut to Los Angeles, and “the sun is shining, everybody is in their cars, there is all this space,” said Ms. Bendewald, 49, who now hosts “goddess circles” in Los Angeles, which sometimes include her childhood best friend Jennifer Aniston. “It’s much more, ‘I want to meet community.’ ‘I want to collaborate.’ So you come out here looking for your tribe, like, ‘How can I connect with you?’”

One way: A lengthy, drawn-out embrace that sometimes feels longer than a Martin Scorsese movie. “Oh, they’re endless. Some people you hug and you end up having a conversation in there,” Ms. Bendewald said.  She noted that if you want to really lean into it, you can try the “heart chakra” approach: left shoulder to left shoulder, so that you and the subject of your hug’s hearts are touching.

INTERESTING!!! So okay, I live in southern California (originally a born and raised New Yorker) … I believe in hugs … I often sign emails, “hugs … joanne” … and I even have “HUGS” on my license plate.  Guess I’m really a So Cal convert!

Read more:  In Los Angeles, a Hug That Seems to Never (Ever) End

Just Look at These Two Brains – One is running on exercise, the other not so much was written by Robert Roy Britt for Medium/Startup, 3 February 2020. 

We’ve all heard exercise is good for us. But to see it in the brain is another thing. A new study found that people at risk for Alzheimer’s disease but whose brains were still healthy improved their thinking skills by exercising. Their brains also got better at metabolizing glucose, the sugar that powers the mind.

Compared to the control group after 26 weeks, those on the exercise program did better on tests of executive functioning— things like planning, focusing attention and juggling multiple tasks — which are known to decline with the progression of Alzheimer’s. They also improved their cardiorespiratory fitness, as you’d expect, and they had an associated increased brain glucose metabolism in the posterior cingulate cortex, an area of the brain linked to Alzheimer’s, the researchers explained. Glucose is the brain’s main energy source, and its efficient metabolism is a sign of healthy neurons.

The findings are detailed this month in the journal Brain Plasticity.

Exercise has been shown beyond doubt to improve physical health and extend life. Several studies have also found that physical activity, even just moderate activity like walking, boosts brain power.

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