In 2010, our five-year-old daughter, Lily, was diagnosed Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). Whenever Lily was released from the hospital, and the weather cooperated, we headed outside. We really started to depend on these adventures, these outdoor excursions, to get us through the bad days and help Lily along her road to recovery. According to the National Environmental Educational Foundation, exposure to nature can reduce stress levels by as much as 28 per cent in children. Health benefits of nature may include reduced anxiety and depression, increased energy and immunity, decreased stress and improved mental health.
The United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland has recently published a unique cookbook, Recipes for Peace, Rights & Well-being, which shares the secrets of many "recipes" for its peace and humanitarian initiatives that have changed the world, combined with superb recipes from some of Geneva's most celebrated chefs.
Italy is lucky to have wild truffles all year round. With impatience I've been awaiting the spring truffle or the Tuber aestivum, which grows here in the Sibillini Mountains of Central Italy. These truffles grow closer to the surface than the more expensive black or white truffle that are both harvested in the autumn and into the New Year.
Too often, as we age, we lose the ability to be filled with awe by the most simple things that surround us, and seeing beauty in its pure state is slowly stripped of all its magic and replaced with doubt, fear and cynicism. It has to fit in a box, have meaning in the proper context and be absolutely practical, of course.
For many hikers the environment above the tree line offers the most poignant mountain experience. This is where the feel-good factor kicks in and multiplies. Mountains are intensely symbolic in almost all world religions and play a large role in western culture, but new research is revealing why climbing one makes us feel so good.
When I was 25 years old, I went mute. Not for a few seconds, not for a few days, or weeks, but months. Talking, for me, evoked acute panic attacks. When I found my way to Figueroa Street in Eagle Rock, Los Angeles, I panicked over how I was to teach a group of juvenile delinquents without any training let alone without a voice. I was to work with one student. He was 17 years old. He was over six feet tall and his name was Anthony. I learned that this 17-year-old Anthony was awaiting trial. He was allegedly involved in a gang shooting where one individual died. I feel like I owe much of my life to Anthony.
What are the things that I want to achieve in my life? What do I want to do? How do I structurally lay it out? Are there places that I can visit that are relevant to what I want to do, to whatever will make me happy. I try to be clear on those things that are important in my life as opposed to those things that are not important. And I try to eliminate all those things that have nothing to do with me focusing on things that are relevant to my passion, my purpose, my skills, my development.