Walk with Your Ears

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Do you know that one of the main stressors in our lives is noise?

From traffic sounds to construction work to people talking to loud music or the television blaring in the background to the constant ding and chime of our electrical devices, we are bombarded daily with noise.

My activity this week, from the book 52 Ways to Walk, led me to a stroll through nature with the goal of disconnecting from all the noise in my life.

This is walk number 14, Walk with Your Ears.

Walk with Your Ears title meme

Bombarded with Noise

Noise is a by product of our lives, especially for urban and city dwellers. Various studies show that city noises result in an increased risk for high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and heart disease. Exposure to noise also elevates stress, creating inflamed blood vessels which raises the risk for stroke.

Studies of schools near busy airports found that students tested more poorly in cognitive and literary skills than those not near an airport. The World Health Organization believes that traffic noise alone contributes significantly to the loss of a healthier life. And even in a deep sleep, noise affects heart rate and blood pressure.

A study at Brighton and Sussex Medical School monitored the heart rate and brain activity of healthy adults as they listened to a variety of sounds. The brain region that’s active when we are resting and relaxed, referred to as that default mode, changed according to the sound listened to.

When participants listened to ocean waves, their brains switched into an outward focus of attention. Traffic sounds caused the brain to focus inward, in a state observed in people with anxiety, trauma and depression. And interestingly, the participants bodies followed their minds. In a more relaxed state their heart rates slowed, muscles relaxed and their digestive systems worked better.

Walk with Your Ears path
Walk with Your Ears – walking in the woods near Shoal Creek.


Walk in Nature

The answer to all the noise in our lives, is to take time frequently to walk in a quiet, natural area. Nature sounds bring powerful healing to the body, reducing stress and anxiety, lowering cortisol levels and boosting overall health.

The following nature sounds seem to positively impact health the greatest:

  • birdsong
  • moving water in a river or the ocean
  • rustling tree leaves
  • silence
  • twigs snapping underfoot
  • animal sounds
  • wind whistling through the trees
  • rain falling
  • acorns hitting the ground
  • squelching mud

And experiencing these sounds outdoors is better than listening to recordings of nature sounds. People report feeling happier and more relaxed after walking in nature, verses listening to an app with nature sounds. Additionally, the activity of walking contributes to the powerful effects of listening to nature.

Walk with Your Ears creek
Walk with Your Ears – stopping by a gurgling creek.

Tips for Walking with Your Ears

Following your ears as you walk in nature guides you to fresh experiences and an outwardly directed focus.

Choose an outdoor area away from traffic and city noises, preferably with trees and a river or stream nearby.

Walk alone, so that other than nature sounds, you walk in silence.

Listen for nature sounds such as birdsong, animal noises, water gurgling over rocks and the wind shushing through the trees. This is called susurration, which is defined as a whispering, murmuring or rustling sound.

Cup your hands around your ears, to amplify sounds around you.

Close your eyes occasionally, to turn focus from the visual to the auditory.

Follow a nature sound that you hear, to see where it leads.

Record your walk, catching some of the sounds you hear, to replay later.

Walk with Your Ears river
Walk with Your Ears – Shoal Creek

My Walk with My Ears

I chose a wooded area south of my city, for my walk with my ears. The Shoal Creek area offers walking trails along the river and paths through the woods, making it an ideal location for this activity.

There were other people around, walking dogs, jogging along the paths and playing in the river. However the walkers passed by with a smile and a nod and my walk took me deeper into the woods, where it was quiet except for birdsong, insect noises and the gentle breeze moving through the trees.

Near the river I discovered that one animal noise is somewhat annoying…the incessant barking of a dog. I’m an animal lover, however when out walking for the benefits it brings, a barking dog is low on my list of what I hope to experience. Fortunately, away from the river, I couldn’t hear the dog.

The auditory focused walk soothed my body, which felt tired after a very busy week. I loved the sound of the breeze stirring the leaves and listening to different bird calls and insect sounds. The cicadas sang their undulating song of summer while crickets chirped. I heard small animals rustling in the underbrush although I never saw them. And I stopped to talk to my old friend, Oak Tree.

I left the woods and the creek refreshed and feeling happy.

You can watch a ten second video of my nature walk HERE.

Pick Up Your Copy of 52 Ways to Walk

Is walking an important form of exercise and relaxation for you? Then you would enjoy this book as well. The activities are so varied and the information in each chapter is well presented and motivational.

I appreciate that the book contains a full year of weekly walks. You can read about my first walk from the book HERE. Throughout the next year, I intend to randomly select walks from the book.

Pick up your copy of 52 Ways to Walk by clicking this LINK. And watch for future posts. I’ll share occasional highlights of some of the walks.

Do you have a quiet, nature area to walk in?

Walk with Your Ears me
Loving the Walk with Your Ears activity!


Walking in Nature finds from Amazon:



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Green Beans and New Potatoes

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This week is National Farmers Market Week. These markets are a great place to gather fresh produce, organic ready made meals, handmade goods and a variety of other products such as herbs and plants.

In my community, the Webb City Farmers Market sets up every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday under an open air pavilion. It’s one of my favorite places to visit, especially during the summer and fall months when there is such a bounty of fruits and veggies.

On a recent trip to the market I picked up fresh green beans and new potatoes, along with other veggies. Although I grew up eating green beans and new potatoes that included bacon or ham, I knew I could create a tasty vegan version.

And I did just that! It’s such a simple, wholesome recipe too. Paired with fresh sliced tomatoes, this easy to prepare meal is one of my favorite eats on hot summer days.

Green Beans and New Potatoes title

Health Benefits of Green Beans and Potatoes

Before sharing the recipe, check out why green beans and potatoes are a good for you meal.

Green Beans

These veggies are one of the oldest cultivated vegetables in the world. And they are highly nutritious. Green beans contain vitamins A, C and K along with folic acid, calcium and fiber.

Green beans are also rich in iron, containing about twice the amount found in spinach, which means they are great for boosting energy and metabolism. They also offer an easily absorbed type of silicon, which is crucial for healthy connective tissue, nails and skin.

Because of their vitamin K content, green beans supports bone health, strengthening them from the inside out. And they are loaded with antioxidants that prevent free radical damage in the body’s cells.

The calcium in green beans protects heart health and helps prevent blood clots in arteries. And finally, these nutritious beans help prevent macular degeneration while maintaining good eyesight and night vision.

New Potatoes

Potatoes have a bad rap as an unhealthy food. They are, in fact, a very healthy and nutritious food.

The entire potato is edible, with the skin being very high in nutrients. Because they develop underground, potatoes draw trace minerals from the earth. They are high in potassium, B6 and amino acids…in particular Lysine in its bioactive form. Lysine fights against cancers, viruses such as Epstein-Barr and shingles, liver disease and inflammation.

Potatoes strengthen the kidneys and liver, soothe over excited nerves and help the digestive system to heal from Crohn’s, irritable bowel syndrome and ulcers. They are antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial, relieving stress, supporting the brain and helping us to feel centered and grounded.

New potatoes are simply small potatoes dug up from the ground before they fully mature.

Green Beans and New Potatoes from the farmers market
Green beans and new potatoes fresh from the farmers market.

Simple Vegan Recipe

Excited to prepare the fresh from the market green beans and new potatoes, I considered how to season them for the best flavor. I didn’t want to add bacon or ham…but what could I add?

Instead, I came up with a very simple seasoning…smoked paprika. I loved how it gave the green beans and new potatoes a subtle “meaty” flavor and created a rich broth as the veggies cooked.

Here’s what you need for this recipe:

  • 12 small new potatoes, skin on, scrubbed and halved or quartered
  • 2 pounds of fresh green beans, washed and ends cut off
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 6 cups of water or veggie broth

Cooking green beans and new potatoes:

  • in a large cooking pot, cover prepared green beans with 6 cups of water or veggie broth (make your own vegetable broth HERE)
  • add smoked paprika and sea salt
  • bring to a boil and then reduce heat, cover and simmer for up to an hour, checking beans for tenderness after 45 minutes
  • add prepared new potatoes, stir to combine with green beans
  • bring mixture of veggies back to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes or until potatoes are tender
  • makes 4 – 6 servings…store leftovers in refrigerator
Green Beans and New Potatoes plated
Ready to eat…green beans and new potatoes

Enjoying Green Beans and New Potatoes

I tell you sincerely that this recipe is so delicious! I love the combination of these two vegetables. And the flavor added by the smoked paprika was perfect. In fact, the broth is so good you’ll want to drink it if you have any left.

I didn’t miss the bacon or ham at all. With a sliced garden fresh tomato, this is the perfect summer meal. No oven use to heat up the house, one cooking pot and easy clean up. I kept the leftovers in the covered cooking pot and popped it into the refrigerator.

If you don’t have a farmers market near you, or a garden to grow your own veggies, look for fresh green beans and new potatoes in the produce section of your favorite grocery store.

Do you like fresh green beans and new potatoes combined together? If you make this simple recipe, let me know what you think!

Ready to eat
Ready to eat!


Cooking helps from Amazon:


Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.