Monday, 8 May 2017


Ever since I can remember, I've experienced this phenomenon that just seems to happen out of the blue.

My eyes are closed -at any time of the day- and suddenly I start to see yellow or white lights. Either a donut shape that starts out big and becomes smaller and smaller, until it fades away or dots all over, more often than not, in motion. Sometimes if I rub my eyes I can get these visions up and running too. I have also experienced more than once that after looking at something in the sunlight and then closing my eyes, I see shapes in lights and shadows of what I was just looking at. Like and after-image.

What the phosphene?

Apparently, this light is coming from inside our eyes. In the same way that fireflies and deep-sea creatures can glow, cells within your eyes emit biophotons, or biologically produced light particles.
Phosphenes are like visual noise our retinas make, they can also be activated by stimulating our retinas with pressure. Even without pressure it is a completely normal biological function, determined by the way our eyes and brain communicate with each other, agreeing on what kind of light it is we are seeing, outer or inner.

Please read these articles to understand a little bit more in depth, otherwise sit back and enjoy the show. I know I do. 

All italics are quoted from these.


Friday, 24 February 2017

The fifth taste

One of my all-time favorite things in the world is undeniably food. It is among my top 3 reasons to travel, and in my daily life, I generally put a lot of thought into it.

I lived in Indonesia for a year in 2015-16 and like I stated on my previous post, I've recently returned. One of my favorite things about Indo is its food. Yet it is only a few days ago that I found out about MSG and ultimately made the connection to already knowing about this decades ago from home and the famous use of Ajinomoto in Ecuadorian cooking.

But what on Earth is Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)?

Long story short, it is a very commonly used flavor enhancer. It is known to trigger the fifth taste known as umami* or savory taste. FYI, the other basic tastes are sweet, sour, bitter and salty. It tricks your brain (via your tastebuds) into believing it is consuming something tastier and actually nutritious. Unfortunately, it is not only added to industrial ready-made foods, such as chips, frozen goods or broths, but also to households and local cuisine everywhere and I mean everywhere in the world; Japan, USA, Ecuador, Indonesia, to name just a few. 

Simple made complicated, it is an excitotoxin, which like the name suggests, overexcites the cells to potentially harmful levels that can in the long run cause serious cell damage and we all know what that can lead to.

Funny thing is, the idea for MSG came from a natural seaweed broth that once upon a time blew the tastebuds out of someone.

Before ever moving here I thought it'd be though to stick to a healthy vegetarian diet, but when I arrived I was pleasantly surprised that it was pretty simple given the fine array of veggie options in the local warungs or food stalls around. I, blissful in my ignorance, enjoyed this last year to the fullest, now that I have this information, I can't yet let it go. What I've done is I found a local warung that I love and just asked if they use it, they said no. Is it true or not? I guess I will never know and I can honestly say that I will keep going back either way 😔

*Discovered by MSG (Ajinomoto) creator, Japanese chemist Kikunae Ikeda more than a 100 years ago.


Sunday, 19 February 2017

Signs of venom

After 2 years of living my life in such a way that I didn't allow myself to blog anymore, I'm back.

Reading my own old posts is like looking at old pictures, brings back memories of who I was back then. The focus of these new posts has shifted from the original one. The actual inspiration to return came from my never-ending curiosity -that hasn't changed- to answer all those questions that my life experiences give way to, regardless of its nature. Meaning I will be my own personalized Google and Wikipedia.

I've recently moved back to Indonesia, this time to Labuan Bajo in the island of Flores. Living in the tropics has its perks and downfalls. You gotta definitely, among other things, roughen-up. I personally don't think I'm afraid of much, except for certain human-inflicting-damage-on-others situations. 

But let's talk phobias. Among the most feared things by humans are (in no particular order) spiders, thunder & lightning, darkness, dogs, heights, open/crowded spaces, small/enclosed spaces and snakes. Dogs, really?? 

The other day I found a small snake in the bathroom of the house I stayed at the first days. The experience itself was out of this world. When I found the snake, the owner of the house; a small Italian girl with severe Ophidiophobia (new word) couldn't even go into the house, and my boyfriend; an almost 2-meter tall, 36 year-old farm-raised man, hid behind the words "you're from Ecuador, you should be used to dealing with this." So after some very manly 😅 attempts on his behalf, I had no choice but to take care of it myself, thankfully it was a small one so I made it curl-up with a broom, then I put a tupperware over it and with the lid of the pizza box we had the night before, I slowly, but surely picked it up and threw it "far away" back into the green. 
What question rose after the experience? Was it a venomous snake? Which brings me to today's topic:

How to recognize a venomous snake?

First, look out for a triangular shaped head -they say-, in my experience and after seeing pictures, I think the actual shape is more a rhombus or diamond shape, rather than triangular. Most venomous snakes have this head shape, which is characterized by a fat, wide neck, then again, a few don't, plus some non-venomous might also have it. ◊  Mine had it. 

As with most animals, look at that color. There are just colors that scream "you can't touch this". Some are just plain. Mine was black, for example. Some also have special patterns that allow you to immediately recognize if it's venomous or not. 

Snakes are not even aggressive, again, like with most predators they will attack if they feel threatened or are in need. They will go through great lengths to avoid confrontation. If your snake takes an attacking, striking pose, that should be another sign. 🐍  Mine did, after some time of being chased around, patted with brooms or cloths and cornered.

All the other signs are rather hard to look for, specially if you are in a panic over having a snake in your house. Like the eyes, most venomous snakes have vertical eye slits. Most have heat sensors between the eyes and nostrils. Some don't. Either way, I doubt that you will be able to look for these in the moment of the encounter.

As with everything there are exceptions to what I've written here, of course, and he most important thing is actually that you stay calm in such a time rather than start wondering if it will kill you. You can do that afterwards, like I did.


Monday, 10 November 2014

One thing beautiful I remembered today

I am in a period of transition at the moment for many reasons I won't bore you with now. Let's just say that has brought me back to just a few months ago when I went diving in Malta for the second consecutive year.

Diving has become an eyeopener in many ways and definitely, a new passion.

So without further ado, here's a short video I made with a GoPro we purchased prior to the trip, using one of my all-time favorites songs EVER as a soundtrack.

I hope you enjoyed. The underwater world certainly is to me one of the most beautiful, most inspiring things our planet has to offer. Let's take care of it OK?

As opposition to the beauty intended to be portrayed in the previous video, I suggest you watch the documentaries "The Cove" and "Chasing Ice" (both available on Netflix) so that you can get a clearer picture of what is happening to and in our planet Earth and its womb, the Ocean. Don't look away, if it is happening to mamma Earth is happening to you.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Wanna live longer?

As an addition to my last entry I would like to state the following.

Absolutely everybody fervently vowing for a specific diet claims that their choice is the best one out there and that it's gonna grant you a healthier, longer lifespan. I believe that as long as you make your choices wisely, and by this I mean listening to your own body and its needs, that's what's gonna make you live longer -speaking here only in terms of nourishment- because unfortunately, you cannot foresee your death outside the realm of "natural causes".

If you live too fanatically, living by an eating rulebook, you will almost definitely fail, because you cannot always account for everything that happens around you. Believe me, I say this out of personal experience. There are exceptions, of course, maybe a lot of bloggers, media yogis and foodies, authors of diets and so on, can. Instead, if you allow yourself to break the rules, to make mistakes without punishment and keep going forward even if you think you took a step back, then you will achieve health, because then your mind is at peace, ergo your body is too. Inform yourself though, do intensive research, carry on test drives, make up your own mind and let everybody else do the same, even if it leads them to a whole other path than yours. You don't know if it is the right path for them, but you don't know if it's the wrong one either. So live and let live. You'll get much more out of that, I promise.

In my case, I chose to live as clean as possible. Today my option is vegetarianism. That's one of the main reasons I don't eat meat, because at the rates the meat industry is moving I just don't want to have anything to do with it, nor do I want to eat what they offer anyway. Maybe one day, if I live in a community where it's members account for one another, providing what their fields provide, be it honey, be it beets, be it limes, be it meat (natural death), be it eggs. I will go for it. Because if it comes from balance, it doesn't really matter what it is, it will provide balanced health. Wanna live longer? Lead a balanced life, making all kinds of balanced choices in your habitat, including what you fuel your body with.

Friday, 15 August 2014

My choice, today

My 10 year old nephew asked me a few days ago: And why are you a vegetarian? Don't like the taste of meat? He is not only generally curious, but also very interested in experimenting it himself. Although I think it is mostly because vegetarian options -for the most part- taste so darn good, as his excuse for eating meat is: well, you know, if it is already dead... it would just be a waste!

To be honest, I haven't completely made up one straight answer for my reason to cut meat out of my menu. Normally my answers vary depending on who is asking. But the fact that I couldn't give him a very convincing answer has been hammering my head these days. This is the third time in my life that I've given vegetarianism a go. The first time I had no choice, as it was imposed by my father. The second time was purely out of my love for animals and the cruelty that is involved in the meat industry. Today, I have many reasons that complement each other.

I have been following -on an off, unfortunately- a more conscious path of self-discovery, physically and spiritually. This path has lead me to the understanding of the functions of my body as a whole, and of my digestive system as a part of it, not just a separate automated entity. It has also open the door to the magnificent world of nourishment, the knowledge of the properties of everything we call food. It simply makes more sense now to work together with my inner machinery by fueling it properly and routinely, rather than just allowing it to go on auto-pilot, checking back only when something seems to go wrong. Now, what is "proper"? How to know what the body needs? Well, in my case case it's been 1) research: investigating my options 2) experimenting: I am my own lab and 3) concluding: by making a habit of what feels right. So, my research and experiments -in the end, a very simple pro et contra strainer- leave me with one clear option.  

I am a vegetarian today because MY reality is: I don't NEED meat -or animal products for that matter- to survive. I'm lucky enough to be able to have a choice, and I don't have to fight for my survival. That's an incredible advantage. Plants are pretty impressive, you know? they make their own food out of sunlight, water and carbon dioxide. I choose to nourish form these powerful beings and live alongside other animals at peace, regardless of how good they taste. I stand on top of the food chain by default, but that precisely gives me the possibility to decide where I take my aliment from. In my mind and understanding, the closer to the source of riches, the better and eating plants and their derivates is the closest I can get to eating actual sunlight. 

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Unclench and

I believe that if we can comprehend and accept the changing nature of things we would be more at peace with ourselves and ergo everything/everybody that surrounds us will work better in harmony for our own benefit. Especially that which shakes a negative reaction out of us. Because it is mostly when things don't fit in our way of perceiving what is presented to us in form of daily life situations and people, that we get mad or sad and tend to do or say senseless things. 
If we were to welcome change as the only true constant in our lives, we would suffer less. Because we then know that whatever happens, happens because there is no other way it can, should, would be. It just is. BAM, your mind is free-er. 

I have never been a routine lover, au contraire, I've fought it fiercely. Call it aging or whatever, but I enjoy my few routines these days. I suffer from some levels of OCD -as most of us do, I like to believe- which goes horribly together with routines. Because! I tend to obsess when I break them and end up screwing up even more because I beat myself up about being dumb enough to break them in the first place. "I'm just good for nothing... Why even try?..." I guess most people can to some level relate to this vicious circle. 

I am very good at observing what needs to be done or where I've gone wrong, but very bad at doing something about it. And if something has helped me take the first step ahead after each breakdown, each mistake, each mess-up, each mood, each state of mind, it is to finally accept that I have no power over this, it is simply not the same now and today as it was before and always, unclench and let it go. Once you've let go, you can see it all from a more objective perspective, making it easier to work with.