Simplify Your Life

During my Google research of slow living info this morning  I found the website simplify.de (unfortunately only German) by Werner Kuestenmacher, a protestant theologian in Bavaria, who started in 1990 as a freelance writer, cartoonist and speaker.

The cartoon with the seven-stage simplify pyramid reminded me a little bit of my own mess, so I immediately subscribed to the newsletter … and also ordered the book Simplify Your Life by Werner Kuestenmacher and Lothar J. Seiwert.

In the next few weeks I’ll tell you about my self-experiment with the implementation of the tips.  I will keep myself largely to the seven-stage simplify pyramid, but also include other sources, for example, The 7 Secrets of the turtle by Aljosha Long and Ronald Schweppe (unfortunately this book is only available in German), Cut the Clutter by Cynthia Ewer and others.

And now a brief description of the Simplify pyramid:

  • Level 1: Things
    Simplify things on your desk, in your wardrobe, in your apartment, in the garage, in your car – in that order and without separation between private and business utensils.
     
  • Level 2: Finances
    A difficult issue that is more difficult to manage than the chaos at home and in the office. We are talking about cash, account balances, debt, loans, savings, expenses and about mental blocks in dealing with money.
     
  • Level 3: Time
    Organizing the daily 24 hours, in order to get more meaningful free time. Time for your partner, children, friends, bosses, relatives, but also for the daily routines, hobbies, and especially for yourself, time to reflect, recharge your batteries, do nothing.
     
  • Level 4: Health
    Avoid diseases in the long run, achieve a healthy interaction between body and mind, and thus a healthy relationship with your own sexuality, eg. by losing weight, healthy diet, relaxation exercises.
     
  • Level 5: Relationships
    Social relationships can be complicated and often lead to intrigues, disputes, jealousy, bullying. Therefore, it is important to become free for contacts that really enrich.
     
  • Level 6: Partnership
    A partnership does not necessarily exist between spouses or partners; this can also be special friends, relatives, or other important relationships or God for religiously oriented people.
     
  • Level 7: You yourself
    The top of the pyramid. The goal is the realization of your own idea of happiness and fulfillment, the meaning of life.
     

I am looking forward to the result and to your comments.

Literature:

Links der Woche – Natural Antibiotics and Natural Remedies

The day before yesterday I noticed the first signs. Chills and fever, headache, sore throat … Although the flu epidemic already faded away. I think I have to grasp some natural remedies.

  • Elderberry juice
  • hot lemonade with ginger and honey
  • chicken broth

A DAK (German health insurance company) study has determined that we take too much antibiotics – and especially children. That does not have to. Nature offers an alternative especially for urinary and respiratory tract infections. For thousands of years herbal antibiotics are used with success and without the known side effects of chemical antibiotics.

Hypericum perforatum - Common Saint John's wort
Hypericum perforatum – Common Saint John’s wort

This week’s favorite links für natural antibiotics and remedies.

  1. Natural Antibiotics
  2. Top 10 Natural Antibiotics Hiding In Your Kitchen
  3. 5 Powerful Antibiotics That Don’t Require A Prescription!
  4. Natural antibiotics to stockpile now: 10 herbs and foods that kill superbugs
  5. 24-Hour Flu Treatment
  6. The Cold Buster – Anti-Inflammatory Concentrate
  7. Modern Alternative Mama – Natural Remedies
  8. 22 Natural Sore Throat Remedies to Help Soothe the Pain
  9. Home Remedies & Natural Cures
  10. At Home Cold and Flu Remedies

 

And again … the home remedies helped. 🙂

I wish you a happy and healthy easter,

Gabi

 

Warning: Disclaimer and common hint on medical subjects.

 

Links of the Week

This time I have to disappoint you … I can only provide German “Slow Living” Links at the moment. But in a short time you may find also English homepages here. So please come back soon.

I wish you a great weekend

Don’t toss it – repair it

Reparatur-Café

We live in a throwaway society. Unfortunately, one of our gadgets is broken and we consider whether it is worth to have it repaired. We quickly decide that a repair is more expensive than buying a new device.  And certainly the item ends up in the waste.  Often enough in household waste, although it is actually e-waste.  Admittedly for many repairs you need a certain expert knowledge and appropriate tools.

One solution for non-amateur crafters: why not ask your friends or neighbours.  And in return offer your expertise.  Sure you can find a bulletin board somewhere in your vicinity, e.g. in the supermarket.

Repair Café

Another positive trend are Repair-Cafés, originally from Holland – initiated by Martine Postma in 2007.  Usually they are organized by local economic agents, volunteers and repair experts; you can bring your defective items to fix them and – most of all – together with the experts.  You receive valuable tips and instructions for making it yourself.

The particular benefit of this project

  • waste prevention
  • environmental protection
  • sustainablility
  • learning
  • knowledge preservation
  • contacts
  • appreciation

The required tools and materials for the repair of furniture, appliances, clothing, toys and bicycles are largely available, e. g. carpentry tools, tools for electrical appliances, sewing accessories.  Having coffee, tea and cake you can now screw, solder, cut, sew.  You may also find interesting books about repair and home improvement on a reading table.  The chance of success is actually the greatest when you bring all the cables, accessory and operating instructions.

Locations

There are now Repair-Cafés in 15 countries worldwide, e. g. the Netherlands, Germany, France, USA, Australia.  Here you will find a list of cafés near you.  By the way, if you want to open your own Repair-Café, you receive a lot of support and information – and all at a very reasonable price.

What do you prefer? Repair it or toss it? Please tell me your experiences?

Get rid of old and odd things

declutter 15 minutes

In a previous post I have already written about decluttering.  Our goal is to lead a “simpler” life with more time for ourselves and our loved ones.

Let us look around.  Do the files pile up on your desk? What is the appearance of your apartment?  The garden? You hope to get a better overview? Too many knick-knacks in the way.  The stunted plant on the windowsill is not motivating, too.  Piles of documents, all waiting to be read.  And then the kitchen, the wardrobe, the nursery, the garage, the attic …  Pretty much ballast …  And this ballast blocks us.

The first important discovery:  Clutter cannot be organised.

 

With what do we start?

Everything visible.

 

Where do we start?

Everyone needs to find out for oneself.  I start in the living room and work my way from there to the other rooms. The garden follows later.  It’s winter now … (At least in the Northern Hemisphere)

 

How do we start?

I set a timer to 15 minutes, take a garbage bag and a box or more bags and grab a duster and a damp cloth.  Anything can be done for 15 minutes.  For each part, I now have to make a tough decision:

  • waste or not repairable – into the garbage bag
  • seasonal items – in a labelled box
  • keep it – clean it

    I take pictures of valuable items and file them with purchase date and price (ideally with proof of purchase) in an inventory folder

  • items with emotional value that don’t match the furnishings – in a labelled box
  • items that you do not like, but are too good or too valuable for waste – give away or sell

    Books to the public library, dresses for second-hand shop, tableware and decoration to the flea market

You will see, in 15 minutes you can accomplish a lot.  And now have fun with decluttering.  Important: throw the filled garbage bag immediately in the bin!

And now we repeat this every day!

How do you declutter?  Do you have any other suggestions? Just write me.  The best ideas will be published here?

Healthy Diet – Part 3

Gesund durch Ernährung

We take a lot of medications and are still sick.  The Nutritional Docs Anne Fleck, Matthias Riedl and Jörn Klasen say diet can be a chance to become and stay healthy. Food = medicine.  The third part of an interesting TV documentary in German TV showed three more examples. So here’s a brief summary.

  • Extreme obesity
  • Migraine
  • Rheumatism

The NDR homepage http://www.ndr.de/fernsehen/sendungen/die-ernaehrungsdocs/index.html  provides plenty of easily understandable background information, videos, tips and recipes – unfortunately only in German.

Extreme obesity

Lack of exercise, poor diet, psychological problems, hormonal imbalances or genetic factors – the number of overweight people is more and more increasing in industrialized nations.  A Body Mass Index (BMI) over 30 is considered to be overweight.  Exception:  People who have a lot of muscle mass. Obesity is a major risk factor for high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, diabetes, joint disease and even cancer. For people with extreme obesity often only remains sleeve gastrectomy.  But this should be the last resort.  There need to be other possibilities.  For example a formula diet described by the doctor. This diet is low in carbohydrates and high in protein to prevent muscle breakdown.

Therapy:

  • Proper diet: vegetables, legumes, low-carb, lean meats and fish
  • high protein diet
  • Exercise!

Additional Information:

 

Migraine

Raging, throbbing, stabbing headaches that occur in attacks often accompanied by nausea, sensitivity to light and noise – this is migraine.  Triggers for migraines are often stress, weather, hormonal disorders, and even certain foods, such as sugar, flavour enhancers, preservatives.  It is important to have a regular schedule of meals.

Therapy:

  • Diet
  • Lifestyle change
  • Endurance sports!
  • muscle relaxation
  • acupuncture

Additional Information:

 

Rheumatism

Joint pain, morning stiffness, muscle tearing are part of everyday life:  rheumatism is a widespread disease. About 400 different diseases are summarized under the term rheumatism: these include gout, lupus, and most commonly rheumatoid arthritis.  The causes are still not fully resolved; but it is ensured that it is an autoimmune disease.

Therapy:

  • Special anti-inflammatory diet
  • little meat
  • Omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish
  • linseed oil
  • Green smoothies with green leafy vegetables
  • Exercise,  physiotherapy

Additional Information:

 

Warning: Disclaimer and common hint on medical subjects.

Slow Living and Art

Gallery and Landscape in Bissee

Is deceleration art? Is Slow Living culture?

Of course we are inclined to reply with “yes” to both questions immediately. Slow Living Blog will deliver the detailed answer, the “know how”, over time. And in this section of our blog we deal with this question of how art and culture can be practiced and enjoyed according to the ideas of Slow Living.

In addition to providing people with basic necessities such as food and shelter to a decent life includes music, art, culture and a healthy community life; things that have a value for their own sake without the view of yield and without a “must”.

It makes sense, to give this area of life enough space and time initially, that the individual less edifying “time wasters” are done as efficiently as possible.  That may be shopping for basic needs, the cleaning of the household, or washing the laundry, for some it might also be garden care, which will take up room elsewhere in our blog as a source of edification and relaxation.

Those who learn to get over and done efficiently and quickly with activities that prove to be the anything else but relaxing , to speed them up rather than slow down, those gain time for the experience or creation of art and culture.

Our articles and tips will be about the contrast between speed and slowness (up to a stillstand, which has been of particular fascination to artists), and about the concept of time in visual arts, music, film.

When art and culture are closely connected with communication (or build a form of communication) we want to take into consideration of how to slow down this form of communication in order to increase the pleasure they give us.  A definition of culture might incidentally be “civilization extended to moral components”.  Civilization would therefore be a refrigerator, culture its contents.  If the moral components may be brought into alignment with the objectives of Slow Living , then – you can guess it – Slow Living is culture itself.

But be warned, the word “culture” derives from the Latin “cultura” (care, cultivation), and it will not be possible without your efforts; enjoyment and quality of life need to be earned.

 

Healthy Diet – Part 2

Gemüsebratlinge

Swallowing many pills and being sick anyway, that’s not necessary. Take the chance to become and stay healthy by nutrition.  This is not a utopia.  The second part of an interesting TV documentary in German TV showed three more examples. So here’s a brief summary.

  • Fatty liver
  • Hypertension
  • Multiple sclerosis

The NDR homepage http://www.ndr.de/fernsehen/sendungen/die-ernaehrungsdocs/index.html  provides you with plenty of easily understandable background information, videos, tips and recipes – unfortunately only in German.

Healthy Diet – Part 1

 

Hypertension

Hypertension is a common disease in industrialized countries.  More than one in four adults in Germany has too high blood pressure, many without knowing it.  High blood pressure often causes hardly any discomfort, but is extremely dangerous: fat deposition in the arteries, thrombosis, myocardial infarction and stroke may result.  Often caused by overweight, lack of exercise, alcohol, smoking and poor diet, but also job-related or personal stress.  In addition, the reason for high blood pressure may be a genetic predisposition.  Also the hormones may adversely affect the blood pressure, eg. the “pill”, pregnancy or menopause.

Therapy:

  • Proper diet: vegetables, fruits, fish, little salt. Drink plenty of water and herbal teas.
  • Exercise!
  • Weight reduction
  • Little alcohol, no cigarettes
  • Stress reduction!

Additional Information:

 

Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

Multiple sclerosis is a chronic inflammation of the nervous system.  Women are affected more often than men with MS. Often the disease is diagnosed in young adulthood.  The development of MS is not yet established.  Possible causes include a genetic predisposition and certain environmental influences.  Also a possible vitamin D deficiency and childish overweight.  MS is not curable but can be treated.

Swiss Chard
Swiss Chard

Therapy:

  • Ketogenic diet:  vegetables, high-quality oils, nuts, seeds.  Daily rich sources of protein:  meat, fish, poultry, eggs, milk fat, rich dairy products, omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Preferably no carbohydrates.
  • Physiotherapy, ergotherapy, speech therapy
  • Psychotherapy
  • Alternative methods:  acupuncture, homeopathy, anthroposophical curative methods

Additional Information:

 

 

Fatty liver

Fatty liver is a common disease.  Almost one in four adults is affected by this disease of civilization. Particularly strong overweight, diabetic, and many obese children suffer from it.  Causes are usually overweight, alcohol abuse, drugs. Due to lack of protein also lean people can be affected.  The risk of fatty liver increases during pregnancy.

Therapy:

  • Diet
  • No alcohol
  • Weight reduction
  • Possibly special protein drinks prescribed by a doctor
  • Exercise!

Additional Information:

 

Warning: Please read the disclaimer and common hint on medical subjects.

Slow Living and Technology/Mobility

Technik und Mobilität

Let’s face it:  the word deceleration is somehow suspicious for us (shortly I will explain why) and the more accurate word slowdown, we preferably tend to use even less.

Deceleration, which is slightly less acceleration, still a fast pace, but with the concession of a slower pace growth.  The word is a discomfort causing tribute to the dictates of “higher, faster, further, bigger”.  Anyone who questions growth, increase as value, will be marginalised quickly.  That is why we have difficulties talking about the word slowdown, because it rather represents the desire to use the brake as a slight lift of the accelerator pedal.

In the category technology and mobility, it will be necessary to put the cards on the table when it comes to Slow in Slow Living.  Where does pace play a role, if not there?

Are you extra technophilic ? I suspect your attitude will change during the intense preoccupation with Slow Living in technology and mobility.  At present, Slow Living does not mean “as slowly as possible” but “adapted speed”.  So adapted that specific operations may run at a frenetic pace, if they are inevitable and their temporal extent would jam the remaining interests.  In this sense, a fast movement and the use of technology may turn out to be productive as long as they do not contradict the other purposes of Slow Living, like sustainability and social responsibility.

In everyday life the maxim “the path is the goal” may not always be practical, which quickly becomes clear in an inner-city traffic jam.  Efficient locomotion in the present, the difference between vacation and travel, a moderate use of technology … a huge variety of reports and contributions is recognizable on these topics, a diversity that could make us dizzy.

But, fortunately, we have jointly dedicated ourselves to always choose a good pace …

Wintertime – Detox-Time

Winter

We are eagerly decluttering our home at this time. Why not also declutter your body? We are feeling tired, slack, pale after the holidays … Even the weather is not really appealing for a long stay in fresh air now. Except for those lucky people in the Southern hemisphere 😉 I, for one, do not feel like walking through ankle-deep mud on the trails in dirty weather. So I was looking for something to silence my conscience and found many sources about detox cures (detox = detoxification).

Whether a detox cure really works is controversial and not scientifically proven. I do not intend to write a complete guide for such a treatment. But some aspects are definitely interesting and practical and provide a welcome change.

One point of such a treatment is “drinking a lot”. This is one of my weaknesses. I am not a delighted water drinker. I find it too boring – no matter with or without gas. I prefer fruit juices or spritzers … but only the self-mixed ones. In this case you must not underestimate the considerable amount of calories. Therefore I tried some of the recipes for detox-waters and summarized them here. All ingredients are available fresh during wintertime (and in summer, too … especially in regions where these fruits grow). Drinking a pitcher full a day would be great.

Cucumber Lemon Detox
Cucumber Lemon Detox Water

 

Cucumber Lemon Detox Water

  • 2 l water
  • 1 washed and thinly sliced cucumber
  • 1 washed and thinly sliced lemon
  • 10 to 15 fresh mint leaves
  • (1 handful of ice)

Put all ingredients in a pitcher and let it steep in the fridge for about 30 minutes. I usually omit the ice, especially in winter. You can infuse the mix up to 3 times before tossing the ingredients.

Apple Cinnamon Detox Water

  • 2 l water
  • 2-3 washed, cored and thinly sliced apples
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 piece of ginger (approx. 3 cm)

Put all ingredients in a pitcher and let it steep in the fridge for about 30 minutes. You can infuse the mix up to 3 times before tossing the ingredients.

Apple Cider Vinegar Detox Water

  • 2 l water
  • 2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 washed, cored and thinly sliced apples
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Put all ingredients in a pitcher and let it steep in the fridge for about 30 minutes. You can infuse the mix up to 3 times before tossing the ingredients.

I am very interested in your opinion of these drinks. How do you like them? Do you have other recipes?

Have fun trying them 🙂