December 2010 Archives

Happy New Year from Sydney, Australia!

Image by Leorex via Flickr

Most New Year Resolutions last only six weeks. That's largely because we set the bar too high and simply don't have the time or energy to do what we optimistically resolved. Here are some Ayurvedic New year resolutions that take only a few minutes a day while potentially adding years to your life.

1. Floss every day~2 min
 Many Boomers did not grow up flossing and it can take a while to incorporate a new habit. Flossing doesn't only protect your teeth and gums. It also protects your heart, which is vulnerable to inflammation anywhere in your body, including your gums. So brush, floss and rinse with tea-tree oil.

2. Scrape your tongue each morning~1 min
Invest in a tongue scraper and scrape your tongue each morning to prevent bad breath and protect your teeth, gums and heart. link for tongue scraper: http://www.banyanbotanicals.com/prodinfo.asp?number=5211&variation=&aitem=3&mitem=3

3. Daily breast massage for women, weekly prostate massage for men~2 min
Your breasts need daily attention just as your teeth do. Daily breast massage may be helpful in preventing breast cancer. Massage in circles, bottom, middle, top, outer margins. For tender breasts use coconut oil, for fibrocystic concerns use castor oil. Almond oil is also good.
Men, to help prevent prostrate concerns, massage very gently using a rubber glove or finger cot, applying castor oil to your prostate.

4. A hundred Kegels for sexual and reproductive health~5 minutes
A hundred Kegels a day supports sexual and reproductive health, helping prevent prostate troubles, premature ejaculation, prolapses  and stress incontinence. Not much time to spend for great results!

5 .Ten full yogic breaths a day~5 minutes
Especially valuable for those with asthma or depression, taking ten full yogic breaths a day can help retrain us to breathe more completely. For instructions http://www.ehow.com/how_2127473_practice-full-yogic-breath.html

6. Pause~30 seconds
Take a moment to pause--before you get on your bike, before you turn on the ignition, before you walk through the door, before you turn on the computer....pause, do nothing, take thirty seconds of mindfulness.

7. Pray before you eat~1 minute
Praying before eating introduces a grateful and mindful space in which food will nourish you more deeply. Use Alakananda Ma's prayer or the prayer of your choice. Ma's prayer:
May the Earth be blessed that bore this food
And may they prosper who grew it!
May the hands be blessed that cooked this meal
May all grow strong who eat it!
May the hearts and wills of humankind be moved
To feed the hungry of the world
And may all come to eat the bread of life
From Wisdom's table!

8. Count your blessings
If you're reading this, you are one of the most fortunate of people. You have both eyesight and literacy. Millions don't. And you have internet access! And contact with Ayurveda and dharma. How many more gifts and blessings does this moment afford?  Gratitude is a key to health, happiness and longevity.
 




 

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Pumpkin and Bean Soup: Ayurvedic Mediterranean Diet

This soup affords us the cancer-fighting carotenoids of pumpkin, blood sugar and cholesterol-lowering benefits of fibre and amazing antioxidant flavonoids of sage. If you smoke or are exposed to cigarette smoke, eat plenty of pumpkin for the carotenoids that help prevent lung cancer.
Recipe adapted from Italian Vegetarian Cooking by Emmanuela Stucchi, Pavilion Books, London.

2 cups dried cannelini beans (original recipe calls for borlotti beans, which we couldn't source)
1 pie pumpkin (about 2 lb) seeded, peeled and cubed
4-5 red potatoes, cubed (we never peel potatoes as the iron is in the peel)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

3 garlic cloves, chopped
10 fresh sage leaves
1 celery stalk, sliced

Soak beans overnight, rinse and drain in morning. Cook in pressure cooker for one hour. Take off pressure, add pumpkin and potatoes and cook for a couple of hours, until very tender. Mash the potatoes a bit with a fork to thicken the soup. Add salt and pepper to taste. Meanwhile, fry the garlic, celery and sage in olive oil until they turn golden. Add to the soup and stir in well.
Sage adds agni kindling properties to this recipe.  







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This soup turned out to be a favourite and quite like borscht although not having any cabbage, a traditional part of Russian borscht. The ground was so frozen that we had to harvest the beets with a pick!  Delicious on a chilly day.

Garden Beets 1.jpg

Ingredients:
1 bunch garden beets, washed and cubed
2 carrots, sliced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
2" piece of ginger, finely chopped
6 cups boiling water or vegetable stock
1 can red kidney beans
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
Fresh dill, finely chopped
Salt and pepper

Recipe for vegetarian beet carrot ginger soup
Heat oil in heavy bottomed pan, add garlic and ginger and cook until browned. Now add beets and carrots, cook for 5 minutes and add boiling water or stock. Cook until vegetables are fork tender. Process in blender or food processor. Now add the kidney beans, vinegar, salt and pepper and cook a few more minutes to combine flavours. Garnish with dill and if desired add a dollop of yogurt.



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Today, the FNB has failed millions...
Dr. John Cannel, Executive Director of the Vitamin D Council
November 30, 2010
 
After 13 year of silence, the quasi governmental agency, the Institute of Medicine's (IOM) Food and Nutrition Board (FNB), today recommended that a three-pound premature infant take virtually the same amount of vitamin D as a 300 pound pregnant woman. While that 400 IU/day dose is close to adequate for infants, 600 IU/day in pregnant women will do nothing to help the three childhood epidemics most closely associated with gestational and early childhood vitamin D deficiencies: asthma, auto-immune disorders, and, as recently reported in the largest pediatric journal in the world, autism. Professor Bruce Hollis of the Medical University of South Carolina has shown pregnant and lactating women need at least 5,000 IU/day, not 600.

The FNB also reported that vitamin D toxicity might occur at an intake of 10,000 IU/day (250 micrograms/day), although they could produce no reproducible evidence that 10,000 IU/day has ever caused toxicity in humans and only one poorly conducted study indicating 20,000 IU/day may cause mild elevations in serum calcium, but not clinical toxicity.

Viewed with different measure, this FNB report recommends that an infant should take 10 micrograms/day (400 IU) and a pregnant woman 15 micrograms/day (600 IU). As a single, 30 minute dose of summer sunshine gives adults more than 10,000 IU (250 micrograms), the FNB is apparently also warning that natural vitamin D input - as occurred from the sun before the widespread use of sunscreen - is dangerous. That is, the FNB is implying that God does not know what she is doing.

Disturbingly, this FNB committee focused on bone health, just like they did 14 years ago. They ignored the thousands of studies from the last ten years that showed higher doses of vitamin D helps: heart health, brain health, breast health, prostate health, pancreatic health, muscle health, nerve health, eye health, immune health, colon health, liver health, mood health, skin health, and especially fetal health. Tens of millions of pregnant women and their breast-feeding infants are severely vitamin D deficient, resulting in a great increase in the medieval disease, rickets. The FNB report seems to reason that if so many pregnant women have low vitamin D blood levels then it must be OK because such low levels are so common. However, such circular logic simply represents the cave man existence (never exposed to the light of the sun) of most modern-day pregnant women.

Hence, if you want to optimize your vitamin D levels - not just optimize the bone effect - supplementing is crucial. But it is almost impossible to significantly raise your vitamin D levels when supplementing at only 600 IU/day (15 micrograms). Pregnant women taking 400 IU/day have the same blood levels as pregnant women not taking vitamin D; that is, 400 IU is a meaninglessly small dose for pregnant women. Even taking 2,000 IU/day of vitamin D will only increase the vitamin D levels of most pregnant women by about 10 points, depending mainly on their weight. Professor Bruce Hollis has shown that 2,000 IU/day does not raise vitamin D to healthy or natural levels in either pregnant or lactating women. Therefore supplementing with higher amounts - like 5000 IU/day - is crucial for those women who want their fetus to enjoy optimal vitamin D levels, and the future health benefits that go along with it.

For example, taking only two of the hundreds of recently published studies: Professor Urashima and colleagues in Japan, gave 1,200 IU/day of vitamin D3 for six months to Japanese 10-year-olds in a randomized controlled trial. They found vitamin D dramatically reduced the incidence of influenza A as well as the episodes of asthma attacks in the treated kids while the placebo group was not so fortunate. If Dr. Urashima had followed the newest FNB recommendations, it is unlikely that 400 IU/day treatment arm would have done much of anything and some of the treated young teenagers may have come to serious harm without the vitamin D. Likewise, a randomized controlled prevention trial of adults by Professor Joan Lappe and colleagues at Creighton University, which showed dramatic improvements in the health of internal organs, used more than twice the FNB's new adult recommendations.

Finally, the FNB committee consulted with 14 vitamin D experts and - after reading these 14 different reports - the FNB decided to suppress their reports. Many of these 14 consultants are either famous vitamin D researchers, like Professor Robert Heaney at Creighton or, as in the case of Professor Walter Willett at Harvard, the single best-known nutritionist in the world. So, the FNB will not tell us what Professors Heaney and Willett thought of their new report? Why not?

Today, the Vitamin D Council directed our attorney to file a federal Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the IOM's FNB for the release of these 14 reports.

Most of my friends, hundreds of patients, and thousands of readers of the Vitamin D Council newsletter (not to mention myself), have been taking 5,000 IU/day for up to eight years. Not only have they reported no significant side-effects, indeed, they have reported greatly improved health in multiple organ systems. My advice, especially for pregnant women: continue taking 5,000 IU/day until your 25(OH)D is between 50-80 ng/mL (the vitamin D blood levels obtained by humans who live and work in the sun and the mid-point of the current reference ranges at all American laboratories). Gestational vitamin D deficiency is not only associated with rickets, but a significantly increased risk of neonatal pneumonia, a doubled risk for preeclampsia, a tripled risk for gestational diabetes, and a quadrupled risk for primary cesarean section.

Today, the FNB has failed millions of pregnant women whose as yet unborn babies will pay the price. Let us hope the FNB will comply with the spirit of "transparency" by quickly responding to our Freedom of Information requests.

John Cannell, MD
The Vitamin D Council
 

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