Posts Tagged ‘Accelerated Learning’

Peachy Keen (Why eating in season makes delicious sense!)

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

A few years ago, my husband planted several apple, pear and peach trees on a sloped, sunny spot alongside our garden in the backyard.  We’d dream of the day when we could pick our own fresh fruit right from the tree – for free!  The first year, we got nothing, nada, zilch – Did we do something wrong? Were these dud trees or something?  Perhaps they were too young to bear fruit?

The next year, the trees grew larger and we started to get tiny little red pears on one of them.  They were so cute! A few days later, due to the dry weather, the tree snapped in half and all the little pears fell and never made it to ripeness.  The following year, a herd of deer (or something!) had a field day and devoured pretty much all of our fruit and most of our garden for that matter while we were on vacation – tomatoes and everything  – GONE!

So this year, we were not even going to get our hopes up – we pretty much gave up and were content with looking at our pretty, bare trees, feeding the wildlife, without tasting the fruit ourselves. Until one summer day in early August, there they were!  Beautiful, yellow, red and orange colored  (albeit smaller than store bought) PEACHES!!!  Finally!!!

We picked a dozen or so and they were DEE-VINE!  I’ve only picked and eaten apples and pears from PYO picking orchards before – the taste and juiciness of our peaches were amazing!  The natural fruit enzymes of the peaches popped in my mouth they were so fresh and alive.  We decided to make a peach cobbler, found a recipe online and tweaked some ingredients to make it a little healthier.   Our first, fresh Peach Cobbler was, to quote Rachael Ray, DEE-LISH!

Our fruit tree experience reminded me of the benefits of eating seasonally, locally and from your back yard (if possible).  The taste, cost, nutritional value and personal satisfaction of that peach cobbler couldn’t be bought anywhere!  It took some patience, yes (a few years!), but it was so worth it!

Oh, and before I share the Peach Cobbler recipe, let me share a little bit more of our peach story.  We decided to let the other 30 or so peaches that remained on the trees ripen and grow a little larger, so we left them alone for a few days.  Can you take a guess at what happened?

We came home from a weekend away and found that we were robbed again!! The herd of deer (or whatever “it” was/”they” were), sauntered in the backyard and ate them all – not one peach was left for us to enjoy!  (On the bright side, at least they left the tomatoes this time.)  The lesson learned was that you have to strike while the iron’s hot and harvest as soon as nature’s bounty is ready — or someone (or something) else will!

Here’s an easy Peach Cobbler recipe from Whole Foods.  I use most recipes as a template – feel free to substitute ingredients to suit your taste and dietary preferences:


6 cups peeled and sliced fresh peaches (we had about 8 cups of peaches)
1 3/4 cups flour (we used Gluten Free)
6 tablespoons sugar (we used about 4 T of Xylitol/Birch bark natural sweetener)
2 teaspoons almond extract (we used 1 t vanilla)
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
10 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces and chilled, divided (we used 5T)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup half-and-half (we used almond milk)


Preheat oven to 375°F.

In a large mixing bowl, combine peaches, 1/4 cup of the flour, 2 tablespoons of the sugar, almond extract and lemon zest and juice. Pile mixture into a 10-inch baking dish or pie plate, then dot with 2 tablespoons of the butter; set aside.

In another bowl, combine remaining 1 1/2 cups flour, 2 tablespoons of the remaining sugar, baking powder and salt. Using a pastry cutter, two knives or your fingers, work butter into flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal. Add half-and-half and lightly toss together until a soft dough forms. Drop dough by the tablespoon onto peaches until surface is almost covered. Lightly pat down dough to evenly distribute over the top, but leave spaces for the peaches to show through. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and bake for about 40 to 45 minutes, or until top is golden and peaches are bubbling.


Per serving (221g-wt.): 330 calories (120 from fat), 13g total fat, 8g saturated fat, 4g protein, 50g total carbohydrate (2g dietary fiber, 31g sugar), 40mg cholesterol, 290mg sodium


About the Author:  Evelyn DeDominicis is a certified Holistic Health Coach and Workplace Wellness Consultant whose intention is to guide individuals and organizations on their journey to living in optimal, sustainable health and life balance.  She offers 1:1 coaching, group coaching, cooking classes and wellness consulting to individuals and organizations.  Evelyn recently joined the Cheetah family to launch Cheetah Wellness – a unique wellness education and behavior change approach using Cheetah’s Accelerated Learning and Project Management techniques.  You can learn more about Evelyn at and more about Cheetah at

Creating Your Own Rules for Learning – Power Learning Radio Show 29

Saturday, May 16th, 2009

Michelle LaBrosse, PMP

Creating Your Own Rules For Learning

Creating Your Own Rules For Learning

Scot Nichols – the Executive Director of the Center for Advanced Learning Concepts , and I do a weekly radio show that is broadcast over short wave radio worldwide at frequency 11885 every Saturday and Sunday. You can also hear it streaming over the weekend at You can hear past shows Power Learning radio shows at

This week’s show – show 29 – is on how to create your own rules for learning. As part of that show to illustrate how to discover your own rules for learning, Scot and I explored our own unique rules for learning.

Improve Mental Processing Abilities At Any Age

Sunday, February 1st, 2009

by Michelle LaBrosse, PMP

“>Your Brain On I CAN

Your Brain On "I CAN"

I love working with younger people because their brains work so fast and are so nimble.   My older brain sees patterns over years of seeing the same patterns – and the question I have is am I really seeing the patterns that exist, or am I seeing the patterns I think should exist because of years of neural network formation that is creating that observation?   By hanging out with young people – like my sidekick Kristen on this blog, I get to experience seeing new patterns of the world through their younger brains and younger eyes.   And I egotistically think they get the benefit of my wisdom garnered through more years of experience (this may or may not be true – my years of experience may also handicap me in some regards).  

When I created Cheetah’s Accelerated Exam Prep system 9 years ago, I recognized that as we age, we can create new, enhanced abilities of mental processing, but it takes a focused and concentrated effort.   I get reminded of this daily by hanging out with the young adults in my life.   Here are some things you can do to improve your mental processing capabilities at any age:

1. Feed and Care for Your Mind – this means the foods  AND the information you are ingesting.  For foods, moderation is the key.   Proteins and complex carbohydrates are the best.   Sugar and caffeine are the worst.   A little bit (very little bit) of caffeine can get the creative juices flowing, but the amount that most people consume these days will impact abilities of both short and long term retention.   Your brain needs a little bit of sugar for optimal functioning – but the type of sugar is key.  The sugars in complex carbohydrates and lower glycemic fruits and vegetables are the best.  With information, variety is the key.   If you get all your information from a few sources, you aren’t doing your brain any favors.  Get your information from a wide variety of sources and teach your brain to grasp the bias inherent in whoever is creating and delivering the information.   Become a detached observer of the information you are consuming.  If you find yourself getting emotionally involved in what you are hearing, reading, or seeing, you are reinforcing neural networks that will keep you stuck in conditioned responses to information.   You are literally creating physiological responses that over time become habits.   These habits can impact your decision making abilities as you age.   Remaining a non-reactive, detached observer that takes a more investigative view on what you’re reading,  hearing and seeing keeps those neural networks forming and performing instead of storming and norming.  

2. Stay Curious – look at the world with beginners eyes.   Yes as you age, you may want to take the easy route and do things the way you have always done them.   When you get stuck into this type of patterned response, you tend to get the results that you have always achieved.   This works when the world keeps working the way it always has.   But one of the fun things about life on this planet, is just when we think we have everything figured out, all the rules change.   By staying curious, you get to try out new ways of reaching for your goals.   The benefit of doing this is that as you age, you actually develop skills and capabilities that you didn’t have when you were younger.  For example, if when you were younger math was a challenge, you might find it a lot easier to learn math when you’re older.   This leads to our next tip….

3. Learn something new – like radically new.  If you were very bookish when you were younger, work on learning new sports.   The kinestetic kick will get your neural networks firing.   And you might be amazed at your uptake time.   If you struggled with math – try your hand at learning math.   You might be pleasantly surprised how easy it is with an older, more world seasoned mind.    Every year I work on learning a new type of technology, a new sport, a new game, a new skill that might have once even scared me.   

4. Control your emotional states.   Numerous studies are showing that even mild depression can accelerated mental decline.   Excessive stress over time can lead to depression.   You don’t need to run off to your doctor for the latest prescription in anti-depressant drugs (if you do have a serious medical condition by all means see your doctor).   This is what you can do to stave off mild depression – daily exercise – at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise every day can keep the blues at bay.   If you find yourself getting down, get up and move.   The more you move, the more you’ll be on your groove.  Avoid alcohol, and refined sugar.  Yes they might make you feel good for a short period of time immediately after you ingest them, but they will cause a longer term crash.   Eat smaller more frequent meals of high protein, complex carbohydrates.  And evaluate your life philosophy – yes we do all get to pick our life philosophy.   The one that I like best is one that looks at all of life’s events as learning experiences that help me become better, stronger and happier.   If you get into a tiff with someone, forgive yourself and them fast,  make up and move on.   When you carry the emotional weight of anger and grudges towards others or past events, it’s harder to interact in the present for what is really there and create a more uplifting future for yourself. The more you can control and choose your emotional states, the more power you have to increase your mental processing capabilities.

5. Give it a Rest – your brain needs time to rest and relax.   I learned a technique last year called “purple breaks.”  Joy Baldridge who’s dad started an accelerated reading company almost 50 years ago created this technique.   When your eyes are in complete darkness they release some type of chemical into your brain that gives it time to unwind.   What a purple break is, is a 10 to 20 minute break you take lying down with an eye mask covering your eyes.  Just let it go – if you get an idea that comes into your mind, watch as it comes and goes.   While relaxing, if you have a hard time letting ideas go, focus on your breathing for a short period of time.   Sometimes when I’m incredibly amped up, I’ll listen to an audio program of binaural beats that push my brain into a more relaxed brain state (you can get these at   Also, take time to get the optimal amount of sleep for you – this will vary with the season and with your age.   Be wary of folks who give you prescriptions for how many hours of sleep you need – get enough sleep for you – you know what this is.