How YouTube decided it was time I learn Greek

9 μηνες

When I moved to Greece in 2012, I imagined I would be fluent in Greek within a year. I’m not sure why I thought that was possible, but this dream has proved to be one of life’s big disappointments. It’s been four years, and my Greek continues to be appalling. This is not for a lack of honest effort. I’ve attended almost every Greek school in Athens, I’ve had private tutors, I’ve read books, I’ve watched cartoons, I’ve tried nearly everything. It seems, in the end, I am not good at foreign languages—a devastating realization. But the one thing that is helping me turn the corner was the day YouTube decided I should learn Greek.

 

It began simply enough. I am a big fan of Monsieur Minimal and while I was working on my book, I would listen to his new album in the background on YouTube. Until one day, the album ended, I forgot to press replay, and YouTube decided what I would listen to next: 9 μήνες.

 

9 μήνες is a Greek soap opera based mainly in Cyprus. I’m not sure why YouTube decided to link a Greek musician to a Cypriot soap opera, but the Universe has its own method…  🙂  It took me about 30 minutes to notice I wasn’t listening to music, but when I realized what I was listening to, I was immediately sucked in. And so it began. Each day I would listen to more.

 

For the first 20 episodes I couldn’t really understand what they were saying but it didn’t matter. The show is so dramatic, you can speak no Greek and generally follow along. A girl is crying, she keeps patting her stomach, she takes a pregnancy test and then a sonogram, hmmm..she must be pregnant. And so I learned: είμαι έγκυος (I’m pregnant).

 

I’m now at episode 72 and I’ve learned a fascinating array of words and phrases:

 

Η Δάφνη κινδυνεύει:              Daphne is in danger!

Με απειλείς;:                          Are you threatening me?

Θα φρικάρω!:                         I will freak out!

Πρέπει να μιλήσουμε για τη συμπεριφορά σου χθες το βράδυ: We must talk about your behavior last night.

Βαρέθηκα με τις υποσχέσεις σου: I am bored with your promises.

 

And many, many more…

 

My current system is to listen to one episode per day, over and over and over. It’s thrilling and inspiring as I never know what relevant vocabulary will be presented in each new show. It’s really the combination of Google Translate and 9 μήνες that makes it work. The soap opera is totally repetitive so I hear the same words over and over. And Google Translate has auto correct so Ι write what I think Ι heard, Google Translate corrects me and gives me the meaning. Genius.

 

So for all of you out there who are struggling to learn Greek, try it–9 μήνες. I swear it works. 🙂

 

And don’t get me wrong–despite my struggles with the language, I love living here.  You can read more about that here.

Thank you for reading!

Why You Should Eat Fermented Vegetables Every Day

Fermented Vegetables

Fermented foods–>Probiotics–>Strong Immune System–>Healthy Living

 

In Kundalini Yoga teacher training, we were taught that the human body, on average, gets cancer at least five or six times per lifetime. However, for most of us, we never know it. Why? Because our immune system kicks into action, kills the cancer cells and they never spread. A robust immune system is your top defense system against all disease.

80%

What I learned more recently is that an estimated 80 percent of your immune system is actually located in your gut (your gut is essentially your digestive tract). And one of the best ways to keep your digestive track healthy is probiotics (good bacteria).

Fermented foods are full of probiotics. A wide range of research has demonstrated how the ideal balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut forms the foundation for physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

paros island

Day One of our Paros Island holiday, we’ll learn how to make our own fermented vegetables. And you’ll be given a nice jar to take them home so you can stay healthy after the holiday.  🙂

 

What is Fermentation?

Fermentation is the process in which a substance breaks down into a simpler substance. Microorganisms like yeast and bacteria usually play a role in the fermentation process. Examples include active-culture yogurt, kefir, kombucha tea, tempeh, kimchi, sauerkraut, pickled vegetables (in brine – not vinegar).

 

The History of Fermented Foods

It turns out people have been eating fermented foods for centuries.

  • During the Roman era, people consumed sauerkraut because of its taste and health benefits.
  • In ancient India, it was common to enjoy lassi, a pre-dinner yogurt drink. This traditional practice is anchored on the principle of using sour milk as a probiotic delivery system to the body. It is still seen today.
  • Bulgarians are known for their high consumption of fermented milk and kefir, and for their high level of health.
  • Ukrainians consumed probiotics from a fermented food list that included raw yogurt, sauerkraut, and buttermilk.
  • Various Asian cultures ate pickled fermentations of cabbage, turnips, eggplant, cucumbers, onions, squash, and carrots, and consume these fermented treats until today.

 

How Do Fermented Foods Help Us Now?

From the Dr. Mercola post, research shows the following areas are positively impacted by the consumption of fermented foods:

  1. Behavior.  A study published in Neurogastroenterology & Motility found that mice lacking in gut bacteria behave differently from normal mice, engaging in what would be referred to as “high-risk behavior.” This altered behavior was accompanied by neurochemical changes in the mouse brain.  In fact, your gut serves as your second brain. It produces more of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is known to have a positive influence on your mood, than your brain does.
  1. Gene expression. A probiotic-rich beverage has been shown to influence the activity of hundreds of your genes to help them express in a positive, disease-fighting way. This makes your gut health a very powerful variable of epigenetics, a cutting-edge field of medicine showing that your lifestyle plays a significant role in your genetic expression.
  1. Diabetes.  According to a study from Denmark, bacterial population in the gut of diabetics differs from non-diabetics. According to the authors, the results of their study indicate that type 2 diabetes in humans is linked to compositional changes in intestinal microbiota.  A healthy diet – low in sugar and grains; high in whole raw foods and fermented foods – allows your beneficial gut bacteria to flourish.
  1. Autism. Establishment of normal gut flora in the first 20 days or so of life is critical in appropriate maturation of your baby’s immune system. Hence, babies with abnormal gut flora have compromised immune systems and are particularly at risk for developing ADHD, learning disabilities, and autism, especially if they are vaccinated before restoring balance to their gut flora.
  1. Obesity.  Probiotics may help fight obesity. Restoring your gut flora is therefore a crucial consideration if you’re struggling to lose weight.

Try this simple recipe to make your own fermented vegetables. Or just join us on Paros Island in September.  🙂

Sources:

http://articles.mercola.com/fermented-foods.aspx

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/10/11/probiotics-healing-power-impresses-researchers.aspx