FIRST & FOREMOST
At the expense of sounding cheesy, I wanted to say THANK YOU to every single one of you that I managed to trick into receiving my silly musings :) gotcha! Jokes aside, you have no idea how sincerely I do appreciate your support in all its varied shapes and sounds -- from silent subscriptions, kind words & emojis, to active prodding and pushing every week (you know who you are). Thank you <3
For now, I am planning on sending these on Fridays, because (i) Everyone. Loves. FriYays! (ii) it gives me enough time to p̶r̶o̶c̶a̶s̶t̶i̶n̶a̶t̶e̶ diligently consume content throughout the week and summarize it at the end (iii) it evokes fond memories of Beer Fridays (yes, despite my refusal to actually drink any “cold cats” or “brewskis,” I did enjoy bonding with the bros).
Going forward, I will be playing with the layout and format, so bear with me as I try different things out! Like, hopefully next week I won’t have such a lengthy intro...
Lastly, I really love alliterations… And obviously, this week’s are F-words ;)
This week I learned about Nitric Oxide, or ·NO, which is a cell-signaling molecule produced in the lining of blood vessels. That means its key function is regulating blood flow, which is critical to our body’s proper functioning and optimal performance (i.e. trying to remember where you put the keys = increased blood flow to certain brain regions; running a marathon = increased blood flow to skeletal muscles and heart; perform sexually = self explanatory). The following are my takeaways:
The scary stuff…
Inadequate ·NO production is related to hypertension and cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance and related issues like Type-2 diabetes and Alzheimers, erectile dysfunction :(
Things we can do to maximize ·NO production:
Moderate exercise boosts endothelial cells with the enzyme (·NOS) needed to produce ·NO from other stuff (L-arginine)(1)
Inflammation and oxidative stress reduces ·NOS
Taking L-arginine supplements when ·NOS production itself is impaired is akin to adding fuel to a car with a broken engine
Eating nitrate-rich foods like arugula, spinach, beets... .___.
And, if I am going through the trouble of eating the above not-my-favorite foods, I want to make sure that every. bite. counts. by:
Avoiding antiseptic mouthwash and fluoride toothpaste, because both kill the good oral bacteria that help me convert the nitrate into ·NO
Avoiding antacids and other things that reduce stomach acid, which is crucial in capturing all the ·NO from foods
I can now enjoy bacon and salami without fear of nitrates/nitrites! Apparently the “nitrate-free” marketing is outdated BS because science has already exonerated sodium nitrate from its carcinogenic allegations
Since the 1970s, by federal law, all sodium nitrite enriched foods also must have a certain amount of vitamin-C, which effectively neutralizes any nitrosative chemistry
In 2001, the National Toxicology Program, which sounds legit, came out with findings, which conclude that sodium nitrite isn’t the carcinogen that it was painted to be
FLASH & FLOW
I’ve been thinking a lot about ‘flow’ lately, and I’m not talking about Andrew’s hair. What I mean is energetic flow, in the context of Tao (not the nightclub). While I am still flummoxed by its definition, my current version of it is “universal life force” or maybe “force that dictates life.”
Osho(2) describes (i) life as light (ii) Tao as the circulation of light (iii) and meditation as the practice of turning the light inward:
Light is life. Light is eternal. Every being is light: forms can change, but the light doesn’t. Modern physics agrees with this [assume he is referring to wave-particle duality]. Many scriptures begin with light or equate light with god / the ultimate (i.e Bible ‘let there be light’; Quran ‘god is light’; Buddhism’s ‘enlightenment’)., because if there was to be a beginning, it has to have started with light.
Tao is about circulating the light (not fixing it), which works naturally with the mind (which likes to wander, not stay focused or concentrated). Taoists developed acupuncture, as a way to circulate the light in the body. They found 700 points in the body, which modern medicine has corroborated, called meridians. In comparison, Yoga is about fixing the light (focusing on the third eye). [I don’t really agree with this yoga point because I think of yoga as flow and movement, but who am I to say!].
When you see an object, say a tree, your eyes are emitting light onto it and that is how the tree takes shape in your perception. Similarly, you must turn the light inward so that you can achieve self-knowing. To ‘repent’ originally means to ‘go back’ to yourself, turning back into yourself. Self-seeing or self-knowing brings freedom (from conflict, worries, anxieties). [And the way to achieve it is through] meditation, when light circulates within.
To my de-light, when I joined group Reiki sessions for the first time last week, the guided meditation used the metaphor of “light” ingeniously. It served both as a visual of energy flowing within our individual bodies, as well as the thread knitting person-to-person, each represented as a star (ball of light), into a group constellation. This metaphor helped illuminate the flow, connectivity, and universality between me and all other beings.
Hope this note has sparked joy in you!
I welcome your any feedback / comments / and thank you for sharing with others.
Happy weekend-ing <3
Notes&such: I need to figure out how to stylize font in the substack editor to have proper superscript / footnotes :’( Halp.
(1) I obviously went to Brown to not have to take any science classes, so all you Orgo/Ochem fiends, please don’t come at me, love you! Source: Genius Life Podcast Ep. 130.
(2) Ohso was this Indian ‘mystic / guru’ (1931 - 1990) guy, who was apparently quite controversial and scandalous. I am reading his stuff out of curiosity since his philosophy is based heavily on Taoism. These are paraphrased excerpts from “The Secret of the Golden Flower,” which is available on Audible.