Friday, August 27, 2010
I have found the paradox that if I love until it hurts, then there is no hurt, but only more love.
-- Mother Teresa
This is Mother Teresa's 100th birthday year (August 26, 1910 - September 5, 1997). KarmaTube has done it again... how can I NOT share this in celebration of this unique and wondrous saint who walked among us, totally giving her life in loving service???
I will offer at least one small act of kindness for someone today in the name of unconditional love, to honor her work and life.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
I just got the latest e-newsletter from Organic Consumers Association.
Since it takes so little time to transfer the primary information into a blog format, I decided to take that time to pass this, to me, urgent material on.
How many acquaintances, friends and loved ones do YOU have who have had cancer??? I have MANY more than I can count on both hands, beginning with my beloved father who died of lymphoma and maternal aunt who died of breast cancer.
FOUR PATHS TO HEALTH
1. Eat Organic to Avoid Cancer
A landmark report released earlier this year from the President's Cancer Panel, "Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk, What We Can Do Now," recommends eating organic food as a strategy to reduce cancer risk.
Though the "O" word itself is scarce, the authors referenced organic food in everything but name.
"Exposure to pesticides can be decreased by choosing, to the extent possible, food grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers Similarly, exposure to antibiotics, growth hormones, and toxic runoff from livestock feed lots can be minimized by eating free-range meat raised without these medications," the report states.
Food produced without antibiotics, hormones, or toxic agrichemicals is, by definition, organic. Certified organic farms are inspected at least once a year and subject to surprise visits to make sure the harmful chemicals and drugs referred to in the President's Cancer Panel report are not being used.
2. Subsidize Organic - Not GMOs and Junk Food - to Reduce Obesity
Fast-food restaurants charge low prices for "value meals" of hamburgers and french fries because the government provides billions of dollars in subsidies for the genetically engineered corn and soybeans used for animal feed and vegetable oil, says Barry Popkin, a professor of nutrition at the Gillings School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
"We have made it more expensive to eat healthy in a very big way," says Dr. Popkin, who has a doctorate in agricultural economics and is the author of a book called The World Is Fat: The Fads, Trends, Policies and Products That Are Fattening the Human Race.
The inflation-adjusted price of a McDonald's quarter-pounder with cheese, for example, fell 5.44 percent from 1990 to 2007, according to an article on the economics of child obesity published in the journal Health Affairs. But the inflation-adjusted price of fruit and vegetables, which are not subject to federal largess, rose 17 percent just from 1997 to 2003, the study said. Cutting agricultural subsidies would have a big impact on people's eating habits, says Dr. Popkin.
3. Truth in Labeling - "Warning: Eat This, You'll Get Fat & Sick"
Full Disclosure of Hidden Dangers
It takes a food chemist to translate the eight-syllable words commonly found on ingredients lists into plain English, but many of the most dangerous substances found in food today are additives, contaminants, or packaging and processing aids that don't get listed on the label, such as Acrylamide, Bisphenol A, and more. Here is a more complete list:
Health Warnings on Junk Food
Leading public health experts around the world are warning that fatty foods should carry official health warnings, similar to those on cigarettes.
The U.K. is instituting front-label nutrition summaries at the insistence of scientists like Professor David Hunter of Durham University who urged:
"The problem of obesity needs to be tackled by strong action from the government. There are many products which contain such high levels of fat and other ingredients that they are contributing to health problems. Rather than banning foods it would be a system of food labeling and working with the food industry to phase these products out. [Removing unhealthy foods from sale] would be in the interests of industry as well. After all, consumers can't keep buying their products if they are unwell or even dead."
-- Professor David Hunter, Durham University, Britain
4. Junk Food Taxes - Scientists & USDA Say Taxes Can Cut Obesity
To pay for the enormous public health damage caused by junk food, OCA supports a heavy tax on junk foods and beverages, similar to taxes already in place for toxic tobacco products.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service found that a 20 percent increase in the price of high-calorie, sweetened beverages, such as soda and sports drinks, could result in a decrease in the daily calorie intake of beverages by 37 calories for an average adult and 43 calories for children. That translates into an average reduction of 3.8 pounds over a year for an adult and 4.5 pounds for a child.
Similarly, research published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine estimates that an 18 percent tax on pizza and soda could push down U.S. adults' calorie intake enough to lower their average weight by 5 pounds per year. The researchers concluded that taxes could be used to offset and reduce the health care costs of obesity, estimated $147 billion a year.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Oh my! Diane Ackerman purdy much says it all...the anguish...the feelings of cosmic loneliness...of indelicacy...of fragility...of giant dreams....
I am feeling very pensive...and this piece of Ackerman's reflects it deeply and accurately.
WE ARE LISTENING
As our metal eyes wake
to absolute night,
where whispers fly
from the beginning of time,
we cup our ears to the heavens.
Avid, we are listening
on the volcanic lips of Flagstaff
and in the fields beyond Boston
in a great array that blooms
like coral from the desert floor,
on highwire webs patrolled
by computer spiders in Puerto Rico.
We are listening for a sound
beyond us, beyond sound,
searching for a lighthouse
in the breakwaters of our uncertainty,
an electronic murmur
a bright, fragile I am.
Small as tree frogs
staking out one end
of an endless swamp,
we are listening
through the longest night
we imagine, which dawns
between the life and time of stars.
Our voice trembles
with its own electric,
we who mood like iguanas
we who breathe sleep
for a third of our lives,
we who heat food
to the steaminess of fresh prey,
then feast with such baroque
good manners it grows cold.
In mind gardens
and on real verandas
we are listening,
rapt among the persian lilacs
and the crickets,
while radio telescopes
roll their heads, as if in anguish.
With our scurrying minds
and our lidless will
and our lank, floppy bodies
and our galloping yens
and our deep, cosmic loneliness
and our starboard hearts
where love careens,
we are listening,
the small bipeds
with the giant dreams.
~ Diane Ackerman ~
(Jaguar of Sweet Laughter)
Diane Ackerman, 61, is an American author, poet, and naturalist known best for her work A Natural History of the Senses. Her writing style, referring to her best-selling natural history books, can best be described as a blend of poetry, colloquial history, and easy-reading science. She has taught at various universities, including Columbia and Cornell, and her essays regularly appear in distinguished popular and literary journals.
She received her Ph.D.from Cornell University in 1978, where her dissertation advisor was Carl Sagan. Ms. Ackerman has received a D. Lit. from Kenyon College, Guggenheim Fellowship, Orion Book Award, John Burroughs Nature Award, and the Lavan Poetry Prize, as well as being honored as a Literary Lion by the New York Public Library. She also has the rare distinction of having a molecule named after her --dianeackerone. She has taught at a number of universities, including Columbia and Cornell. Her essays about nature and human nature have been appearing for decades in The New York Times, Smithsonian, Parade, The New Yorker, National Geographic and many other journals, where they have been the subject of much praise. She hosted a five-hour PBS television series inspired by A Natural History of the Senses.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
With classes just around the corner, this poetry selection from Panhala especially touched me this morning. I hope I learn to think that way and that my university experience supports this process! Robert Bly is definitely high on my list of heroes.
THINGS TO THINK
Think in ways you've never thought before.
If the phone rings, think of it as carrying a message
Larger than anything you've ever heard,
Vaster than a hundred lines of Yeats.
Think that someone may bring a bear to your door,
Maybe wounded and deranged; or think that a moose
Has risen out of the lake, and he's carrying on his antlers
A child of your own whom you've never seen.
When someone knocks on the door,
Think that he's about
To give you something large: tell you you're forgiven,
Or that it's not necessary to work all the time,
Or that it's been decided that if you lie down no one will die.
~ Robert Bly ~
Monday, August 23, 2010
Irby Hall, World Languages Building
I've been having a very hard time since I got back from my summer road trip odyssey. Those three months definitely left me in a different frame of mind than I started it with. Finding myself back here in Conway, AR, readying myself for the fall semester, has been tough. Clearly it's hard to compete with the wondrous experience I just got back from a week ago. I had registered for nine units last spring, three hefty upper division courses taught in Spanish with Spanish language texts:
Afro-Caribbean Cultural Studies
I have felt VERY anxious about returning to classes...and wondering if I should even continue...this after my rousing beginning and enthusiasm last fall and spring semesters. So this morning I went in to see a friend/yoga buddy, who is director of the university language lab. I needed some counsel!
As we were talking, the prof of the Spanish Civilization stopped by. The three of us began conversing and I let her know about being registered for the class. Well, between that lively repartee and the private dialogue with my friend, I left her office a bit more grounded and positive about returning.
Me with Krishna Das at the retreat
I have had something else on my mind since the Krishna Das _Heart As Wide as the World_ chanting retreat I participated in at the beginning of the summer odyssey. Music has always held a special place in my reality. Actually I started university studies as a music major, having studied classical piano through elementary and high school, and sung in various ensembles and choirs.
Soooooooooo...I was thinking about adding music back into the equation as a way of rebbing up the passion quotient, though I had no idea how to approach it. Since I was on campus, I decided to wander over to the music building. I began speaking to staff and, wouldn't you know, vocal auditions were being held this very morning! I ended up auditioning on the spot (I sang "Oh Rest in the Lord" from Mendelssohn's Elijah -- I had memorized it for a recital in 1960 and never forgot it), being accepted, and thus declaring a voice/music minor! I have thus added one more unit for the semester:
Individual Vocal Study
I'm still in a state of imbalance and emotional upheaval. I've decided that I need to significantly limit my SparkPeople participation during the school year. This will be VERY difficult, since SP fills many needs, not the least of which is contact with wonderful friends! I plan to post gratitudes online as much as possible, and that's about the extent of Spark time...other than answering notes to me. No blogging; no reading others' blogs; no following friends on SP. WAAAAAH! I believe this is what I need to do to make success this semester viable and though it's not my first choice(!) I intend to do my best to follow through on this resolve.
AND I need to find ways to CONSISTENTLY weave exercise into each week. My ongoing good health depends upon it, as well as my overall performance in life! I want to begin using free weights on a regular basis again and return to the fitness center to use the ARC machine (similar to the elliptical) several times a week. I have a 6-week yoga series ahead, that will begin on September 4 and I plan to ride my bicycle to classes regularly.
That's my pledge to myself. NOW let's see how I do! The semester begins Thursday, August 26.
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