Laughter and Healing with Verne Varona

Verne Varona and Patricia Joy Becker

Verne Varona and Patricia Joy Becker

This week I had pleasure of attending the Monday Night Vegetarian Dinners in Palo Alto, CA with my friend Patricia Joy Becker. The dinner was sponsored by the Peninsula Macrobiotic Community where head chef Gary Alinder has been preparing macrobiotic meals since the group’s inception in 1987.

The Macrobiotic diet is similar to a whole food plant-based (WFPB) diet emphasizing locally-grown, non-processed foods: grains, legumes, vegetables, sea-vegetables, fruit, seeds, nuts and a variety of fermented foods.

In macrobiotics, any and all foods can be consumed depending on the person’s constitution and condition. A person’s lifestyle, health issues and the climate they are living in also has a strong determining factor as to what foods will provide optimum health.  Macrobiotics offers dietary and lifestyle guidelines based thousands of years of oriental wisdom.

The delicious Moroccan-inspired macro vegan dinner on Monday was prepared by Chef Chuck Collison and included:

  • Moroccan Carrot Soup with Garnish of Tofu Yogurt
  • Chickpea and Summer Vegetable Tagine
  • Quinoa with Dried Apricots, Cashews and Herbs
  • Lemon Marinated Cucumber, Beet, and Tomato Salad with Pickled Red Onion
  • Sautéed Green Beans, Zucchini and Kale with Garlic
  • Pistachio Golden Raisin Spice Bars

After dinner, special guest speaker Verne Varona treated the audience to his lecture entitled “Dare to Laugh! Discovering Humor in Everyday Life.” Verne has been promoting a healthy lifestyle for over 35 years through his lectures, workshops, and one-on-one consultations. In addition, he is the author of Nature’s Cancer-Fighting Foods and Macrobiotics for Dummies. He studied with Michio Kushi, macrobiotic teacher, author, and leader who brought the macrobiotic message from Japan to the United States in the 1950s.

Throughout the talk, Verne had the audience laughing at his jokes and even had us get up and move around the room, walking in silly ways. Verne encouraged us to become more aware and conscious of our bodies and to be spontaneous. When we laugh, we are in the moment, not living in the past, not worried about the future or fearful of being judged. Laughing…

  • improves the immune system
  • increases endorphins
  • stimulates white blood cells
  • alkalizes your blood through the release of carbon

To find humor:

  • Watch funny movies like Norman Cousins who found that his belly laughing by watching Marx Brothers movies would temporarily eliminate his pain.
  • Go onto YouTube or other sites to watch funny videos
  • Attend shows at comedy clubs
  • Take an acting or improve class
  • Don’t hold back on making silly pun jokes (my favorite)

Verne’s parting advice – find things to laugh about, look for the humor in everyday life and reap the health benefits of being present.

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