Posts Tagged ‘health’

Coolest tech gadgets for your pet

This stat kind of surprised me: Did you know that the market for high-tech wearables for pets is going to explode over the next 10 years? According to a recent report by market research firm IDTechEX in Cambridge, England, the market for wearable tech for pets is expected to hit a staggering $2.6 billion by 2025.

My dog is pretty low-tech at the moment, but perhaps that will change in the future. Especially after discovering these amazing new high-tech products! Though not all of the techy products below qualify as “wearables,” one thing’s for sure: Companies are finding smart ways to keep us better connected to our animals, whether we’re at work or traveling. And some are even going that extra mile to help us keep a watchful eye on their health and wellness.

Binatone Scout 500 dog tracker: This product is so much more than your average pet collar; it’s more like a smartphone for your dog. The Scout 500, available this summer for $199, provides GPS tracking, a microphone for voice commands so you can talk to your dog no matter where they are, and video streaming so you can see what they’re up to.

FitBark : This dog activity monitor syncs to your smartphone and tracks your dog’s activity levels (rest, active and play time) 24/7. The FitBark, available in a variety of colors, attaches to your dog’s existing collar and lets you set health goals, compare your dog’s activity levels to other dogs, and notice important changes in your dog’s behavior. Cost: $99.95; available in March 2015.

Petcube Camera: Video chat with your pet? Yes! When you’re at work or out of town, you can use the wireless Petcube Camera to stay in touch with your favorite furry friends (and even play laser games with them!). Features an HD camera, two-way audio and smartphone compatibility. Cost: $199.

Petnet SmartFeeder: This high-tech food dispenser lets you manage your pet’s meals from your smartphone, tablet or laptop. You can adjust feeding times, manage portion sizes and even the speed at which you want food dispensed; you’ll also get notifications with meal confirmations, info about food inventory and more. Cost: $249 (for sale in Q4), or pre-order for $199.

Tagg GPS Plus Pet Tracker: This techy pet tracker, which attaches to your dog’s existing collar, aims to prevent your animal from getting lost. Once you create a “safe zone” around your home, the product offers 24/7 animal monitoring, real-time notifications if your dog runs away, nationwide GPS pet tracking and a temperature sensor. Cost: $99.95.

Voyce: This waterproof “smart collar” is basically a wearable computer for your dog. The Voyce monitors your animal’s health, sharing vital signs like resting heart rate, respiratory rate, activity levels, calories burned and so much more. All that info grabbing lets you see wellness trends over time, which can then be shared with your vet. Cost: $299 plus $9.95/month membership plan; available in March 2015.

What do you think? Are you ready to fit your animal with high-tech gadgets?

How to practice mindfulness with your animal

This fascinating article in The New Republic declared 2014 the year of mindfulness. Because meditation is such an important (and beneficial) part of my life, I love that it’s starting to take off in such a big way and that people in general seem more open to this idea than ever before. But the article left out a very important factor: animals. In my work with Reiki, I’ve realized they just “get” meditation and the idea of living in the moment more than we ever will. In fact, by following their lead, it’s easier than ever to find that mindful “ideal” we’re all striving for.

With that in mind, here are some easy ways we can all practice daily mindfulness with our animals (a.k.a. our best meditation teachers):

1. Savor the sun and smell the roses. Yes, it’s cliché. But next time you’re on your daily walk with your dog, instead of rushing through so you can get back to your next task, take a few moments to experience everything around both of you in nature. Smell the salty air, breathe and feel the sun on your skin. Resist the urge to do your daily walk on autopilot. You can even wander in a new direction; the two of you can just enjoy the moment and see where it takes you. If you’re more of a horse person, take the same approach on your next trail ride with your horse.

2. Give 100 percent full attention to your animal. This isn’t always easy. Next time you cuddle with your cat and talk sweetly to her, do so without any other distractions—no TV, laptop, phone, magazine or the like. When grooming your horse, focus on the moment and truly take it in: the sweeping of the brush, his nickers, the shine of his hair. Sit with your dog and give him your 100 percent attention. Really try to feel and embrace every aspect of the moment—sights, sounds and so on—instead of letting your mind fall back on other distractions, like your to-do list or what you’re cooking for dinner tonight.

3. Practice mindful eating—for both you and your animal. We all know the benefits of thinking about what you put into your body. Support your health by eating fresh, wholesome foods—and support your animal’s health, too, by doing the same and serving natural, nutritious foods. Thankfully, due to consumer demand, premium and organic dog and cat foods are easier to find than ever before. And when you want to spoil your favorite dog, whip up some easy (and deliciously healthy!) homemade treats.

4. Meditate and “be” Reiki with your animal. I’ve created a special series of six 20-minute meditations to help you tune into and connect energetically with your animal, with the natural world around you, and with that deep inner space of peace and strength within yourself—all important ingredients to mindful living. Click here to get started.

5. Take 10. Whether it’s first thing in the morning or the very last part of your night, take 10 minutes to breathe, be calm and just “be.” If they’re not already, your dog or cat will probably end up in your lap!

How do you practice mindfulness in your daily life?

Ahh … time for forest bathing!

I think everyone has experienced this (am I right?): You have a terrible day (or week, or month), then you go to the woods or your favorite trail and … almost magically, you feel a noticeable lift in your spirits. I’ve experienced this so many times that I truly make an effort now to listen to my inner self when I’m needing to reconnect with the natural world and seek out peaceful “me” time in nature.

I’m not the only one. “Forest bathing,” as it’s called, is an actual, real practice with scientifically measurable health benefits (including reducing stress and depression, lowering blood pressure and upping your immune system). The term is a literal translation of the Japanese term shinrin-yoku. And how wonderful is this: Japan has nearly 50 official Forest Therapy trails.

Elizabeth Weil in the December issue of Vogue writes, “In 1982, the Japanese Forestry Agency put forth the idea that if the nation’s stressed and depressed citizens—the Japanese have among the highest suicide rates in the world—would just walk their forest therapy trails, they would soak up the sensory splendor and soothe their weary minds.” Studies have since been conducted worldwide, and the results have been so positive that many are rethinking how a holistic approach like this can help treat a variety of psychological and emotional problems.

One of the leaders in the ecopsychology movement is Richard Louv, author, journalist, Audubon Medal winner and co-founder of The Children & Nature Network, which aims to get kids outside and reconnected to nature. He’s written several books, including these (which look like great reads!):

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder: On how vitally important it is to “unplug” our kids and get them back playing outside.

last child

The Nature Principle: Reconnecting With Life in a Virtual Age: Offering inspiration and explanations on why adults need nature, too (not just kids!).

nature principle 2

What are your thoughts on forest bathing? As for me, I think I have some “redwoods bathing” to get to. …

{P.S. This article offers more info on forest bathing experiments, plus 10 tips for ensuring a “proper” forest bathing experience (scroll down a bit to get to the tips).}

Can a daily green smoothie transform your life?

For me, the answer is a resounding yes! While going through radiation treatments a year ago for my second bout of cancer, I decided to completely overhaul my diet. Part of that meant getting more greens than I ever had before. The easiest way to do that? Blend ’em up into a tasty green smoothie.

I’m feeling more energetic than ever and enjoying my new eating habits. But I’m not the only one realizing the raw power of a simple green smoothie. A 2014 documentary by author, entrepreneur and natural health aficionado Sergei Boutenko, called “Powered by Green Smoothies,” examined the effects of one quart of green smoothies per day on marathon runners and CrossFitters. The results? Nothing short of amazing: fewer aches and pains and speedier recovery times.

Some have taken this idea even further: Can changing your diet change the world—and extend your life? The results of a study published last month in Nature support this idea, showing that unhealthy eating habits negatively impact not only a person’s health, but also the environment, stripping habitats and emitting greenhouse gases. Conversely, switching to a vegetarian, Mediterranean or Pescetarian diet is less damaging to the environment and (bonus!) can substantially increase your lifespan.

If you’re looking for a green smoothie to try, here’s my favorite. All you need is: your favorite nondairy milk, strawberries, an orange, some lemon zest and some fresh spinach. (Just make sure to rotate your greens if you’ll be greening it up every single day.)

Friends, what are your favorite recipes? Please share them here. I’m always looking for new ways to freshen up my rotation!

{P.S.: A smoothie to cure jet lag, and a wintery green smoothie I can’t wait to try (think pomegranate and chocolate). Yum!}