Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Article: Intentionality and Food by Annemarie Colbin, Ph.D.

Intentionality and Food
By Annemarie Colbin, Ph.D.,
Author of The Whole-Food Guide to Strong Bones: A Holistic Approach

"Made with love" is an ingredient I have often seen on home-made packaged cookies and other home-made foods in health food stores. It always seems like a sweet and nice thing to say, but without real meaning, a friendly, new-agey kind of sentiment. Turns out it's quite real, and measurable.

Let me set the context for this column for you. At this time, I am the president of a small non-profit organization called Friends of the Institute of Noetic Sciences (FIONS). The organization it sprang from, IONS, was started by astronaut Edgar Mitchell, Ph.D., after he had an epiphany on his return from the moon that everything is connected. We offer a variety of programs, events, and dialogue groups in the NYC area, with a focus on consciousness and multiple ways of knowing.

One program we offered a few years back was a presentation by Dean Radin, author of The Conscious Universe (HarperSanFrancisco, 1997) and Entangled Minds: Extrasensory Experiences in a Quantum Reality. (New York: Simon & Schuster -- Paraview Pocket Books, 2006). Dr. Radin has been Senior Scientist at IONS since 2001, and has been studying the effects of mind on matter for quite some time. He even worked on a classified program investigating psychic phenomena for the US government. During our event, he talked about his experiments with random number generators, which generate strings of 2 numbers at random. When an operator or study subject tries to influence the numbers with their intention, these machines seem to show some responsiveness -- they skew towards what the subject intended in a statistically significant way.

As he was talking, I realized that his straight data supports the idea that mind interacts with matter. Then I thought of the very common idea of "cooking with love" -- which suddenly seemed entirely plausible. At dinner later with Dr. Radin I mentioned to him that perhaps there should be some research on the effects of the mind on food and cooking.

Well, Dr. Radin is a man of action. He set about to do just that, and published a paper in the fall of 2007 where he shows, in a placebo-controlled trial, that the focused intention of shamanic healers enhances the beneficial effects of chocolate. See his video on this at (Radin DI, Hayssen G, Walsh J. 2007). Effects of Intentionally Enhanced Chocolate on Mood, Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing, Volume 3, pp. 485-492) He was kind enough to credit me with sparking the idea.

You realize what this means: that the mood of the cook can affect the mood of the people eating the food. As mentioned, this is not a new idea. If cooking with love enhances the flavor and energizing effects of your dinner, what happens when you cook with anger? Years ago my then-husband and I found ourselves in a nasty fight after leaving a restaurant, and the fight was over nothing at all. It was just the mood. We finally figured that the chef must have been really cranky.

How about cooking with sorrow? You may remember a well-known movie called "Like Water for Chocolate", where the tears of the cook ended up saddening everyone at a wedding. Apparently, that notion is no longer so far-fetched.

So what to do with this information? You cannot always control how you feel. But what you can do is be aware of it. When you get ready to cook your family's meal, take a moment to focus and center yourself, acknowledge any disturbing feelings, and try to let them go. Put on your favorite feel-good music. Sing along. Think of pleasant places, people you love. Corny, isn't it? But it works. If it doesn't work, leave the kitchen, and either get someone else to cook, or order in from your favorite local restaurant. You will all be much happier, even if the food is not as good as your own.

Same idea if you are cooking for yourself. If cooking is an activity you really enjoy, if it helps you get out of your daily grind and move into a more pleasant mind-space, then cooking for yourself is an excellent idea. But if you've been out at work all day, come home tired, and try to throw some dinner together, the meal may not feel nourishing at all. If you cook for yourself out of obligation and you resent it, careful -- you could make yourself sick from your own crankiness. Better delegate the cooking to a professional, which is a much better idea than trying to subsist on dinners of protein bars and dry cereal. Nourish yourself by delegating the work, and spending a little money on decent food that someone cooks for you. Great if it's organic, but even if it's not, it's still worth it.

When I was writing my book Food and Healing, I couldn't cook for myself. I could cook for my children and for my classes, but for myself, I couldn't because I had no energy left. So I ate lunch out at the coffee shop most days that I was writing -- isn't that ironic? And the book came out good enough that it's still selling after 20+ years.

There is another aspect to intentionality in regards to food, and that has to do with the mood of the eater, not the cook. I know plenty of people who are so worried about eating right, that they think everything they eat is not good enough. They think, "this is not organic, it is full of pesticides," "the chemicals are going to kill me," "for sure this will put weight on me," and so on and so forth. Such a negative mindset is guaranteed poison in the energetics of your meal. Think of the alternative -- you are lucky enough to live in a time and place where you have enough food to choose your meal ingredients. Your main problem is what you will eat, not if you will eat. Be grateful that you have such abundance, and that your body knows what to do with it.

To show your gratitude, bless the meal. Saying grace, "gracias", is an ancient ritual that still lives today, and it helps elevate the mood. While Dr. Radin asked trained shamans to enhance the chocolate, all of us human beings have the ability to affect matter with our minds. Even if it's not statistically measurable, it will be measurable by feeling. You may want to run a little test: eat the same meal, if you can, with two different attitudes: one, where you're cranky and you don't like anything, the other where you are full of love and gratitude. Then notice the feelings -- and don't discount them. They are ingredients in your food just as much as the onions and the flour.

Here is a simple recipe to try this with.


2 tablespoons organic butter or olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 small carrots, sliced
1 rib celery, sliced
1 quart water or stock
½ cup red lentils
½ teaspoon salt or to taste
Abundant loving intentions

1. In a 4-quart soup pot, heat the butter or olive oil and add the onions. Sauté for about 2 minutes, then add the curry powder, sauté another minute. Add the carrots and celery and stir around another minute. Add the stock, then the lentils. Bring to a boil, stir well, lower the heat, cover, and cook for about 30 minutes. Add salt and cook another 5 minutes; adjust taste if needed. Loving intentions should be added throughout the stirring. Serve hot. 

Makes 4 servings.
©2009 Annemarie Colbin, Ph.D., author of The Whole-Food Guide to Strong Bones: A Holistic Approach
Author Bio
Annemarie Colbin, Ph.D., author of The Whole-Food Guide to Strong Bones: A Holistic Approach, is a health educator and award-winning writer, consultant, and lecturer. She is the founder and CEO of the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts in New York City. She is author of several books including Food and Healing and writes a column, "Food and Your Health," for New York Spirit magazine.
For more information please visit


Here are my latest giveaway winners:

Wanda wins I Used to Know That: Stuff You Forgot From School by Caroline Taggert which was a giveaway offered by Caitlin Price at FSB Associates

Freda Mans wins the Caridad Pineiro Sins of the Flesh lunchbox which I offered since I won one and got two so I wanted to share.

Thanks to all that entered.  More giveaways coming in the next few weeks.

Giveaway - 5 copies of Points of Power by Yolanda Adams

Thanks to Valerie Russo at Faith Words I have 5 copies of Points of Power by Yolanda Adams which will be published January 5, 2010.

About the Book:
Over five million listeners tune in to hear Yolanda Adams's Points of Power, a segment in her daily radio show that inspires people by applying biblical truths to present-day realities. In her first book, Yolanda Adams transfers that winning segment into a reader's delight. In this highly accessible manual for daily living, she shares stories from her and others's personal experiences, showing readers how to access God's love and grace in their modern world and troubles. By revealing how Yolanda and other human beings have transcended the world's difficulties, POINTS OF POWER empowers readers to face trouble with confidence in the God who never fails.

About the Author:

Yolanda Adams is listed among the artists who have achieved the greatest critical and commercial success in blending R&B styles with gospel music. She has released twelve albums, two of which were certified platinum, one gold, and has won over twenty awards for her music. She currently hosts The Yolanda Adams Morning Show and makes her home in Houston.
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To enter the giveaway simply comment and leave your email address if it's not available in your blogger profile.  The giveaway is open to the US and Canada only (no PO boxes) and will run through 1/1/2010.

Additional entries for being a follower, subscribing to my blog, following me on twitter, tweeting (1 entry per day) and posting on your blog.  Just let me know what you do in your comment. 

FIRST Wild Card Tour and Review: Wisdom Hunter by Randall Hunter

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Multnomah Books (September 20, 2003)

***Special thanks to Staci Carmichael of WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for sending me a review copy.***

My Review:
Rating: 4.25/5.0

I found this to be a very enjoyable, uplifting and thought-provoking book.  Jason was once a prominent pastor who led a very large congregation, but then difficulty comes into his life and he learns that his Christianity was not all it was cracked up to be.  So he resigns and heads off to find himself.  Never abandoning Christianity he learns more about God and being a Christian while he is out trying to find his granddaughter.

I enjoyed reading of Jason's travels and the adventures and happenings that lead to his true revelations about the faith and his return to the ministry.

Several passages really spoke to me and this one was my favorite - it's a discussion I've had with my husband and it's a discussion we've had in our church about church membership and how important it is that you stay true to the church you gave your membership to and don't get up and leave when someone upsets you.  This is the quote that reminded me of that and led to more discussion with my husband:

Yoma responded quietly "The church in America has a great potential for diversity.  But Christians there too often run away from it. They start new churches to get away from diversity. Every city maybe has too many  churches for the wrong reason.  That's where the weakness lies."
Overall I thought this book was well-paced and I enjoyed seeing Jason through the highs and lows.  It starts with a bang and a little ways into it it gets a little tough, the subject matter and the pace slows a little, but don't let that stop you because the book quickly picks back up and is hard to put down until you have finished with it.

A great look into the Christian life showing that Christians aren't perfect and also giving a new look into what is wrong with when we make religion fit into the box we want it to fit into.  Suspense, drama and great character development make this a very enjoyable book to read.


Randall Arthur is the bestselling author of Jordan’s Crossing and Brotherhood of Betrayal. He and his wife have served as missionaries to Europe for over thirty years. From 1976 till 1998, he lived in Norway and Germany as a church planter. Since 2000, he has taken numerous missions teams from the United States on trips all over Europe. Arthur is also the founder of the AOK (Acts of Kindness) Bikers’ Fellowship, a group of men who enjoy the sport of motorcycling. He and his family live in Atlanta, Georgia.

Product Details:

List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Multnomah Books (September 20, 2003)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1590522591
ISBN-13: 978-1590522592


PART 1: 1971-1972

Jason cleared his throat. His wife knew what was coming next, and the pain within her rose again. At every evening meal for the last five hundred and fifteen days he had prayed aloud for their daughter, always working his way slowly through the prayer, emphasizing each word as if to prove his sincerity.

"0 God," he said tonight, "wherever Hannah might be right now, we ask that she'll know your protection. Thank you for watching over her. And thank you even more that one day you'll honor our faith and bring her home."

He paused, as if to arrest the Almighty's attention, then continued with a faltering voice. "Just-just make it soon. We miss her... "

LYING ON THE living room couch, Hannah Freedman proudly realized once again that she was the reason Cody had emerged from his loneliness. He was absolutely consumed by her-and the thought was enthralling. Admiring her diamond-studded wedding band, she gratified herself with the reminder that Cody always treated her like a princess, as if by royal decree she had somehow granted him a new life.

At this very moment, alone in their suburban Miami home, she could feel his infatuation. It lingered in every room, echoing in the easy recall of Cody's loving words and embraces.

Hannah turned heavily upon her side, the baby in her womb preventing her from rolling all the way over onto her stomach. She smiled. It was like a fairy tale. She and Cody had met only ten months ago-she a runaway, not yet eighteen; and he a well-bred, 25 year-old professional. Now they were together forever. How could it be real? How could they have it so good?

She reached over her head, retrieving from behind her a framed photograph of Cody that sat alone on the end table. The picture had been taken only weeks before she met him. It was the same handsome face, the same green-eyed, ash-blond man who was now her husband-but he had been so different then. There was a smile on the face, but it was hiding a sense of loss that had governed his life ever since the death of his parents in a plane crash two years earlier. From that seemingly unshakable disorientation, she had rescued him. Likewise, Cody had taken her from a miserable existence and placed her on a lofty pedestal of fulfillment beyond her wildest dreams.

Her spirit soared with gratefulness as she pressed the photograph to her chest. Lost in blissful thoughts, she relived for the thousandth time the nonstop passion of the last ten months. First, the explosive romance-the instant chemistry, like gunpowder contacting fire. Then came the unplanned but welcomed pregnancy, followed by the exchange of wedding vows seven and a half months ago. Every day had been glorious. If she could live all of it over, she would not change a single detail.

A wall clock across the room began to chime the hour, and Hannah closed her eyes and stilled her thoughts to listen: Four o'clock. It was four o'clock, Friday afternoon, December 15th. The "Christmas spirit" with its commercialism was in full swing-and she, Hannah Freedman, had everything in life a woman ever dreamed of: a large and beautiful home, a flaming love life, and emotional security. In only forty minutes her lover would be home from a day's work at his veterinary clinic, ready for their usual early and intimate dinner together. And in only fourteen days, according to the doctor's calculations, she and Cody would cuddle their first child.

She lifted the photograph and contentedly stared through tears at Cody's picture. For the first time in her eighteen years, she knew what it was to live and to love.

She slowly reached over her head and carefully returned the photograph to its place. She contemplated getting up from the couch. But due to an early morning burst of energy she had already put in a full day of cleaning house and baking Christmas cookies, and the work had left her exhausted. Her small frame, now carrying an extra twenty-six pounds, simply refused to rise.

AT 4:40, CODY came in the back door. He slipped quickly through the kitchen, moving his six-foot-three, 170-pound athletic body with the fluidity of a cat, and began singing: "Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way. Oh what fun it is to live with a blue-eyed Georgia girl, hey!"

On the living room couch Hannah awoke from her light sleep, and broke into a smile as Cody continued singing heartily off-key: "Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way. Oh what fun it is to love my blue-eyed Georgia girl!"

When Cody poked his head around the corner, Hannah was applauding. "Coe," she said, extending tired but inviting arms, "you can love this blue-eyed Georgia girl anytime you want to."

Like a moth to a flame, Cody was drawn into her arms. Kneeling on the plush gray carpet beside her, he kissed her full, moist lips as if he had been starving for her for weeks. When he finally withdrew, he looked into her eyes and said with intensity, "Hannah, you're so beautiful-even when you're tired"

So often before he had told her she was beautiful-and had never stopped, even after her pregnancy began showing. Spreading her arms playfully like wings, Hannah nodded toward her body. "You like it, huh?"

Cody smiled his reply, then ran his fingers slowly through her long, thick auburn hair. "Hannah," he moaned in earnest, "I'm missing you, bad."

"How much?" she asked with delight.

"You really want to know?"


Cody grinned. "Well, I'll tell you. I accidentally gave overdoses of antibiotics to four different dogs today and killed them all," he joked, "simply because I couldn't get my mind off you. All I've done today is dream about being with you."

Feeling aroused, Hannah slowly pulled him into another fiery kiss.

It took every ounce of self-control Cody could muster to keep from going further. When Hannah finally released him, he fell reluctantly to the floor and stretched out on his back. "Just you wait," he said with gusto, "till we're able to be together again. I'm going to make it unforgettable."

Hannah laughed seductively. "Are you sure you can hold out until then?"

With surprise, she watched Cody's mood turn sober. He rose to kneel beside her again, and took her hands in his. "Hannah, if I had to, I'd be willing to wait the rest of my life for you."

There was no doubt in Hannah's mind that he meant every word. She felt his sincerity as certainly as if it were rain pouring down on her. Instinctively she pulled him into another tight embrace.

“Cody,” she confided in his ear, “this will be the best Christmas I've ever had. And the reason is you…”

AFTER DINNER Cody raved as Hannah placed the tray of Christmas cookies on the dining room table beside him. "Better looking than Mother's used to be," he said. Taking a bite, he nodded, "And every bit as good!"

An LP of instrumental Christmas music was playing softly in the background. Hannah sat down to hear Cody finish telling her about his day: setting a German shepherd's broken leg, diagnosing an old tomcat that was refusing to eat, bobtailing a four-day old boxer, and giving an array of shots.

"And Mrs. Gravitt brought in her Dalmatian again," he said, then paused.

"And?" Hannah asked.

"And it should be the last time!" he smiled with satisfaction. "He's fully recovered, and Mrs. Gravitt is as happy as any client I've ever had."

"She should be," Hannah reassured him. "That dog was nearly dead two months ago when she first brought him to you. It was a miracle anyone could save him. But what can I say? You're the best!"

"Well, maybe not the best… But..."Cody tucked his thumbs beneath imaginary suspenders, in a mocking pose of greatness. They both erupted into laughter.

"Say," he said after finishing another cookie, "I called Reed's Travel Agency this morning. They promised they could reserve the cabin-"

Before he could complete the sentence, he saw Hannah suddenly gasp for breath, tense in her chair, then let out a low groan. Cody was immediately face to face with her, gripping her shoulders. "Are you all right?" he demanded.

She finally began breathing, then looked him in the eye and gave the most surprisingly beautiful smile he had ever seen. "I think so... I... uh... yeah, I'm okay," she answered. "My water just broke." She could feel the warm fluid puddling around her buttocks and running down her leg. For a moment she was embarrassed, but the feeling was quickly overcome by an acute surge of pain.

Still trying to figure out what to do, Cody saw Hannah tense again. He gripped her hand in silence, stunned by the piercing hurt locked on her face.

Several seconds later, Hannah relaxed and took a deep breath. "I'm not positive," she said, "but if that was my first contraction, we may be mommy and daddy two weeks earlier than we thought."

Elated, Cody held her in a big hug and said, "Can you believe it?" He started dancing around the table. "We're going to be a family!" he shouted, as Hannah laughed.

THEIR CELEBRATION was soon tempered by the quickly recurring pains, and the rush to leave for the hospital. Within twenty-five minutes from the time Hannah's water had broken, she was seated beside Cody in their Ford station wagon. He was timing her contractions, which now came at less than three-minute intervals. The quickly paced labor pains, coming so soon, made Cody nervous. He tried to relax, but it was all so new. And this was his wife, his baby.

This is happening too fast, he thought, calculating that the trip to the hospital would normally take twenty-five to thirty minutes. This time, he decided, it would have to be less than twenty. No stranger to speeding, he was confident he could meet the challenge.

He glanced at his wristwatch-5:51-just as they were leaving their residential area and approaching the nearest main road. One look ahead quickly confirmed a rising worry: It was rush hour. Traffic on the main road was packed, moving at only a fraction of the normal speed.

For the first time, Cody felt panic. To hide it, he forced a grin and said to Hannah, “I love adventure, but this is a little too much of the good stuff.”

She smiled briefly, before yielding to the start of yet another contraction.

Soon the eruptions of pain were less than two minutes apart. Hannah bravely fought back. Everything's under control, she kept telling herself. Be strong, be strong. Impossible as it seemed, each contraction hurt worse than the last, worse than anything she had ever felt in her life.

"Just hang in there, babe," Cody said. "I'll get you there."

The line of cars crept forward to an intersection which he realized was approximately their halfway point to the hospital. The flow of traffic halted again as he saw the same set of stoplights change to red for the second time. With mounting fear he looked at his watch: 6:16.

Suddenly, Hannah leaned forward, grabbed the dashboard with both hands, and screamed. Cody reached out and touched her shoulder. He was now almost beside himself with panic. "Are you going to make it?"

When her pain had passed its peak, she found her breath and shot back, "I don't know... Just hurry!"

He knew then what he had to do. And on impulse, as if the adrenaline surging through him had switched on a machine, he did it.

Trying to take charge of this desperate situation, he lurched the station wagon out of their traffic lane. Sounding his horn and flashing his headlights, he charged through the intersection and down the avenue, straddling the middle line.

Hannah did little more than flinch. The thought of how crazy it all seemed flashed in and out of her mind.

"I'll get you there," she heard Cody say again.

Waiting on Wednesday - Decmber 16

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Okay - I actually have an arc of this one, but I am eagerly awaiting reading it so I think it counts for my Waiting on Wednesday.

Lessons in French

Lessons in French by Laura Kinsale
Release: February 1, 2010
Publisher: Sourcebooks

"It was quite settled by now. She was born to be a spinster. The gentlemen would have to declare their undying devotion to other ladies. Callie would be too much occupied with developing a delicate constitution and a dependable recipe for tapioca-jelly."

She is, after all, Lady Callista Taillefaire, jilted three times in spite of her fortune and her father's best efforts to find her a husband. Now her greatest desire is to win the silver cup at the agricultural fair with her gigantic prize bull, Hubert. But when Callie's only old flame returns from his long and mysterious absence in France, her quiet spinster life turns upside down.

Dark-eyed, elegant and a magnet for trouble, Trevelyan d'Augustin has given Callie lessons in more than his language in the past. Her father put a harsh and humiliating end to any dreams of romance with a French émigré scoundrel, however, and Callie never thought to see him again. Swallowing his pride, Trev has finally come home to care for his failing mother, but his secrets and misdeeds follow him.

Callie soon remembers that nothing is ever peaceful with Trev around. The enormous Hubert vanishes into thin air, one of her former jilts comes back to woo her in a most determined manner--and her bull takes the town by storm! In the midst of these misadventures, Callie finds herself falling in love again with the worst possible man for her...

So what are you waiting on this week?