Monday, February 28, 2011

Soda as the primary cause of obesity in America?

I was shocked to read this morning in Dr. Mercola's newsletter that,

"Researchers studied the reported diets of a large nationwide sample of American adults. Among respondents of the 1999-2000 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES):
-  More than two-thirds reported drinking enough soda or sweet drinks to supply them with a greater proportion of daily calories than any other food.
-  Those who consumed sweet drinks had higher obesity rates."
I know I have family members who drink soda and who struggle with their weight.  I imagine most of us do, if these numbers are to be believed.  If this research is true (and the American Dietetics Association also did a study that came to the same conclusions), maybe this is THE primary cause of obesity.  Could losing weight be as simple as cutting out soda?  
Note that diet soda may be even worse because, as a Harvard study found 35 years ago (I read the study when I was still in college), diet sodas trigger the release of insulin but there is no sugar that needs to be shoved into cells, and so the blood sugar plummets.  And the sugars get put into adipose tissue because there is nothing to trigger the Glut4 receptors which tell the glucose to go to the muscles instead of being stored as fat.
Even eating a lot of fruit (fructose) can cause you to store fat rather than feed your muscles.  Oh, dear, this is truly a much longer story.  I'll have to get back to you in another post.  Let's consider this the tip of the iceberg, just enough to get you interested in doing your own research.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Polio vaccine now found to be causing cancers . . .

Of course it's disappointing to find out, too late, that the vaccines you had as a child may now cause serious forms of cancer.  And this is not coming from some crackpot, this is coming from the horse's mouth, the very scientist who developed the vaccines at Merck decades ago.  To read the whole story, click this link:

Cancers traced to back to simian viruses in original polio vaccine

Friday, February 25, 2011

Don't use antibacterial soaps to wash hands

I've known this for years because I read an article about a young student who performed an experiment for a Science Fair and proved that antimicrobial soaps not only do not work any better than soap (physical removal of microbes) but actually contribute to the development of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria.  (That was 15 years ago.)

Here is a current study that shows the same results.  Happy reading!

Myths About Hand Hygiene

Playing the muse . . .

I was reading about in the magazine Fast Company, and was inspired by the idea that perhaps we can change the way our country funds various projects.  I realized that people enjoy giving money directly to the people who can most use it, rather than paying money in taxes and seeing a lot of it wasted on jumping through various administrative hoops, all of it is used to buy school textbooks or microscopes or whatever.  That hit me.

We should fund our government's various projects--war, schools, hospitals, railroads, highways, research, etc.--allowing those paying for them (taxpayers like you and me) to choose where we want our monies to go, rather than letting a lot of crooked senators and representatives, both at the federal, state and local levels, funnel them into their favorite special interest projects, the things that will enrich their posse rather than make life better for those of us footing the bill.

BRILLIANT!  Hey, any genius politicos out there, some young Turk willing to do things differently?  This is a truly democratic way to do things, and you may argue, but maybe everyone will want to fund war instead of schools, but I doubt that.  More people will choose to fund their neighborhood schools than a war no one wants to send their kids to, believe me.  Yeah, there will be billionaires who own a lot of private equity stock in the military-industrial corporations where all the money goes when we pay for a war, and they will funnel all their tax dollars into the war, so their tax dollars come right back to them.  But most of us are going to fund our local hospitals, our local schools, our local homeless shelters, our local services for the blind, etc.

Go online and read the article on p. 96 of the March 2011 issue of Fast Company, and you will see what I mean.  It is thrilling to see first hand how your money is being spent, and how deeply and completely it is appreciated by the students it has helped.  You will never want to pay your taxes through the government again!

Come on, innovators!  Come on, policy wonks.  Let's have America lead the world into a new era of direct funding.  DONORS CHOOSE!!!!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Here's a lovely description of the Tibetan Buddhist practice of Tonglen = "Giving and Receiving"

Tonglen is a spiritual practice that helps people feel more compassion, for the pain and fear in themselves and others.  It is a lovely meditation.  Here is Pema Chodron's description of that practice:

I hope it helps you to fall in love with yourself and the entire world, just as it is.  It is not only possible, it is inevitable!  How sweet is that?!

Friday, February 11, 2011

From Rigpa's Glimpse of the Day

Sogyal Rinpoche wrote today:
"Your compassion can have perhaps three essential benefits for a dying person: First, because it is opening your heart, you will find it easier to show the dying person the unconditional love he or she needs so much.
On a deeper, spiritual level, I have seen again and again how, if you can embody compassion and act out of the heart of compassion, you will create an atmosphere in which the other person can be inspired to imagine the spiritual dimension or even take up spiritual practice.
On the deepest level of all, if you constantly practice compassion for the dying person, and in turn inspire him or her to do the same, you might heal the person not only spiritually but perhaps even physically. And you will discover for yourself, with wonder, what all the spiritual masters know: that the power of compassion has no bounds."

(I don't think there is anything I could possibly add to that.  It is perfect.)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Military turns to acupuncture as alternative to prescription painkillers - Stripes - Independent U.S. military news from Iraq, Afghanistan and bases worldwide

Most people would agree that the various branches of the U.S. military are rather conservative folks. They have to be, since the battlefield conditions require them to be able to follow a strict chain of command under the worst kinds of pressure. So when all the branches begin to adopt acupuncture as a healing modality in their field hospitals, their hospitals back here in the states, and when wounded warriors swear by acupuncture's efficacy, I think that's a pretty darn good testament to the efficacy of acupuncture. Who needs double blind trials when you have tens of thousands of wounded vets saying it has helped with their pain and helped them avoid addictive painkillers with severe side effects. This article is from "The Stars and Stripes," the military's own newspaper.

Military turns to acupuncture as alternative to prescription painkillers - Stripes - Independent U.S. military news from Iraq, Afghanistan and bases worldwide

Monday, February 7, 2011

An Empty Cup

For some reason, human beings want to be special, gifted, accomplished, respected, and well paid.  OK, let's be honest.  I want to be special, gifted, accomplished, respected and well paid.  But when I read the Daoist sages, it is clear they have a different perspective.

If you want to be a conduit for the divine energy that created the universe (or, more accurately, that IS the universe), you need to be an empty vessel.  You must empty yourself of all preconceptions, of all judgments, of all desires, of all opinions, of all concern for self in order to be useful to the divine.  You must empty yourself if you want to be filled.

It does make sense.  How can you be guided by the subtle voice of the divine if you have already made up your mind where you are going, what you want to happen, and how you are going to accomplish it?  How can you follow the subtle movements of the divine flow if your opinions are already set in stone?   (Ahem.  I know, I am the most opinionated person I know.  Well, except for maybe Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh.)  Opinions close the door of your heart.  Can you imagine living life without any set ideas?  Without any judgments about how things should be?      A good meditative practice.

I was reading through Steven Mitchell's translation of the Tao Te Ching this morning to start my day off right.  I was searching for a quote that embodies this blog entry, and found myself browsing through his explanatory Notes at the end of the book.  I ran across this:

"There is no God when there is nothing but God."

What could I possibly add to that?