Monday, September 26, 2011
With a sweet tartness, rose hips are part of the apple and crabapple families. Almost all roses create rose hips, as they are the natural product of a dead flower, but the ones that are said by many to be the best tasting are rugosa roses. In addition to tasting the best, these roses also produce the largest and most numerous hips.
Harvesting rose hips is very straightforward. They should always be removed from the stem of the rose plant after the first frost, when they are the sweetest. At the time of harvest, hips should be firm with a little give in texture and bright red or orange in color. If any of the hips on the plant are shriveled or are not the right color, do not collect them; they will not go to waste, as they will provide a great treat for the birds, rabbits, squirrels, and deer in the area.
Preparing rose hips is also simple; however, make sure that they are prepared as quickly as possible after being harvested, as waiting to do so will compromise a lot of their nutritional value. Once they have been collected from the rose plant they can be used whole, but they have seeds inside of them that have a hairy surface and can cause irritation if eaten. If the rose hips are to be incorporated into anything other than a jam, it is recommended that the insides of the hips are removed before further preparations are conducted. To remove the seeds, trim the ends of the hips and then cut them in half using scissors (the hips will be too small to accurately trim and slice with a knife). Then remove seeds, rinse the hips in cold water, and drain them thoroughly.
After the rose hips have been drained, they should air dry to remove any additional exterior moisture. Once the rose hips are trimmed and ready for use, they can either be prepared fresh or dried. To dry them, lay them out evenly with a lot of space between them. Place them in a dark, dry, and warm location until they shrivel up, much like a raisin. Once dry, rose hips can be refrigerated or frozen.
Rose hips are great to use in jellies, sauces, soups, seasonings, or tea. If the recipe in use calls for them to be cooked, do not use aluminum pots, pans, or utensils, as it will deplete the vitamin C levels and alter the color of the rose hips.
Vitamin C is an important part of a balanced diet, and rose hips are a wonderful source of Vitamin C. Anyone looking for a natural, delicious, and easy to prepare source of this important vitamin will benefit from harvesting his/her own rose hips and from the beautiful roses that will grow in the process!
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Propionibacterium acnes is the bacteria most frequently linked to acne. This bacteria is almost always present on the skin of adults and adolescents. The bacteria feed off fatty acids found in sebum. If a follicle becomes blocked, the bacteria grow rapidly and secrete substances which break down the skin and form an acne lesion. Therefore, much of the research on natural substances that treat acne have centered around finding substances that are effective against Propionibacterium acnes. Try the following five natural substances for a powerful anti-acne defense.
1. Licorice: Researchers at the Skin Research Institute in Korea conducted research published in July 2008 that explored the role of Chinese herbs as agents against acne. They discovered that Glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice) had anti-bacterial properties against P. acnes. Apply licorice root extract directly to blemishes and use licorice root tea as a facial wash.
2. Echinacea: Another in vitro study conducted at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada used a standardized preparation of Echinacea against P. acnes. This research was published in September 2009 and showed that Echinacea both killed the bacteria and helped reverse inflammation brought on by the bacteria. Consume Echinacea internally in the form of either organic tea or capsules and apply Echinacea extract directly to pimples as an "on the spot" treatment.
3. Resveratrol: Researchers at the University of Naples in Naples, Italy published research in April 2011 that showed that the administration of a resveratrol containing gel improved acne symptoms in patients previously afflicted. Resveratrol is a substance naturally produced by grapes and other plants. The researchers in this experiment applied resveratrol gel once a day to acne-prone skin.
4. Basil Oil: Researchers at Naresuan University in Thailand conducted an in vitro study on the effect various basil oil preparations have on P. acnes. They discovered that sweet basil oil and holy basil oil were shown to have significant anti-bacterial effects against P. acnes. In this study, the sweet basil oil had higher activity against P. acnes than the holy basil oil did, although they both were active against it. Dilute basil oil in a carrier oil (such as coconut oil) and apply to the skin to control acne.
5. Hops: Another study conducted in Washington D.C. and published in July 2007 showed that hops extract had significant activity against the most common acne-causing bacteria. Hops extract can be used externally as an astringent to cleanse the skin and to prevent acne outbreaks.
Acne is an embarrassing and annoying condition, but using one or more of the aforementioned lesser known home remedies for curing will get your skin looking clean and clear again.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
In the research, which examined the diets of 20,000 adults over a ten year period, authors investigated the association between the color of consumed fruits and stroke incidence. Participants were required to complete a food frequency questionnaire, which segmented the fleshy part of fruits and vegetables into four color groups: orange/yellow, red/purple, green and white. After comparing the stroke incidence with the diet of the participants, researches found no link with the quantity of brightly colored fruits and vegetables. Conversely, participants who had a daily intake of 171 grams of white-fleshed produce had a stroke incidence 52% lower than those whose daily intake of such foods was less than 75 grams. White-fleshed produce includes apples, pears, bananas, cauliflower and cucumbers, and the quantity of 171 grams correlates to one medium-to-large apple.
Although it is unclear why white-fleshed produce dramatically reduced stroke risk, scientists made some postulations. The fiber found in apples and pears is beneficial for cardiovascular health. Additionally, apples and pears have a high content of a flavonoid called quercetin, which studies have shown to reduce inflammation. This anti-inflammatory benefit could be a significant contributing factor, since inflammation is associated with hardening of the arteries.
Upon evaluating the results of the investigation, author Linda M. Oude Greip provided some recommendations. She cautioned that the findings need to be confirmed by further research; however, she stated it might be beneficial to eat plenty of white produce, and eating one apple a day is an easy method of increasing the intake of these healthful foods. On the other hand, Oude Greip emphatically advised the public to consume brightly colored fruits and vegetables as well, since they are protective against other chronic ailments.
It should be emphasized that the phytochemicals found in vibrantly colored fruits and vegetables have been associated with a reduced risk of cancer, along with a benefit to heart health. Jessica Shapiro, a wellness dietitian in New York City, adds her voice to Oude Greip's recommendation of continuing to include brightly colored produce in the diet: USA Today notes. Shapiro points out that the rainbow of fruits and vegetables contribute nutrients that work synergistically with each other.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Decades of over-farming has left the world's top soils severely depleted of essential minerals. For the most part, the only minerals replaced have been those needed for optimal growth and not vital minerals such as magnesium which are needed for optimal health.
Foods on our grocers' shelves frequently have had true nutrition processed out (and often harmful additives processed in to enhance shelf life, taste, color and texture). In many instances most of the claimed nutrition comes from added synthetic petrochemical vitamins and crushed rock minerals - which are vastly inferior to natural vitamins and minerals found in food.
This author has repeatedly challenged balanced-diet proponents to devise a weekly 2000 to 2500 calorie a day diet plan which provides all of just the measly nutrient amounts on the limited RDA chart. Thus far no one has come close. Keep in mind that in many instances RDA amounts of vitamins and minerals are merely the theoretical amounts needed to prevent deficiency-related illness. Besides the fact that RDA amounts are often far below the optimal amounts, the RDA list does not include literally hundreds of other valuable nutrients which we have evolved and adapted to utilize.
If it is so easy to get all the nutrition needed from diet alone, why is it that up to 95% of us are deficient in magnesium? For that matter, why is it that most of us are deficient in other vital nutrients as well - even those of us who regularly eat a so-called balanced diet?
Another related myth is the idea that doctors are good sources of information and advice about diet and nutrition. In most instances, mainstream doctors are woefully deficient in information about diet and nutrition. Doctors are taught in medical schools where the primary funding source is the pharmaceutical industry and where curriculum is controlled by the AMA. Not surprisingly, doctors are taught that the way to treat illness is to prescribe drug company medications and to perform mainstream medical treatments. What they are not taught is the vital role that diet and proper nutrition play in our health.
One longtime doctor turned naturopath told this author that during his entire mainstream education he had but one single lecture on diet and nutrition. Other doctors, including more recent graduates, confirmed that their educational experience was much the same when it came to diet and nutrition.
In the world of mainstream health misinformation about vegetable and fruit servings, a serving of a fortified "fruit drink" is considered equal to a bowl of fresh organic blueberries and an order of french fries is equal to a bowl of fresh organic spinach.
A good plan for obtaining plenty of nutrition to insure a maximum of good health and a minimum of illness is:
1. Eat a healthy and varied nutrient-dense diet with as many fresh organic items as possible.
2. Avoid junk foods, processed foods and inorganic meats - especially processed meat products.
3. Utilize supplemental items such as organic superfood powders and whole food derived nutrients to insure that you get all the vital kinds and amounts of nutrition needed.
"Build a Good Natural Foundation for the Best Health and Longevity"
Monday, September 19, 2011
Native to the Mediterranean region and the Near East, this perennial plant yields pale yellow blossoms that sometimes also bloom white or lilac. The blossoms are clustered in groups, and the leaves have jagged edges that are dark green on the top and light green on the bottom. With long stalks and oil glands on the underside of each plant, lemon balm grows between one and three feet in height. According to history books, monks living in the 10th century grew lemon balm to use in tonics. The herb is also known as bee balm, as it has traditionally been used by bee keepers to attract bees to hives.
Lemon balm is highly valued because of its many applications as a natural treatment for a variety of health issues. The benefits of bee balm include:
* Soothing effects on the nervous system
* Treatment of insomnia, tension, and stress
* Relaxation in a lemon balm bath
* Soothing effects when consumed in tincture or juice
* Heightened longevity
* Enhanced mood of homes and offices when used in potpourri and other decorations
* Calming of stomach issues and digestive disorders, including nausea, vomiting, poor appetite, colic, dysentery, and colitis
* Enhanced liver and gallbladder function
* Quieted anxiety and depression
* Relaxed menstrual cramps and irritability related to PMS
* Treatment for headaches, migraines, vertigo, ringing in the ears, and blood pressure (when combined with linden flowers)
* Reduced fever and treatment of infections and coughs, as well as bronchitis, when used in a hot infusion
* Treatment of cold sores and overactive thyroids
* Cleansing of skin when added to natural cosmetics
Lemon balm is easily cultivated, harvested, and prepared. The herb, which requires minimal maintenance, can be grown in garden plots, containers, or window boxes and loves both sunny places and protected environments (though it does thrive in moist soil with good drainage). The plant spreads quickly and does require weeding, which must be handled delicately, as bee balm has shallow roots.
Lemon balm is ready to harvest in May and June, just before the blossoms develop. At this point in development, the herb will contain the most essential oils. Its leaves can be harvested at any time, but it is best to pick them in the morning. When handling the leaves, be careful not to bruise them, as they are fragile.
To harvest the full plant, cut it 2 inches above the ground and either hang it to dry in an airy, shady location or lay it out on a tray. Be sure that the plant is dried quickly, as it will turn black if not promptly prepared. To store parts of the harvest for later, can it in airtight jars or freeze it with ice cubes. Keep in mind that the first year's plants may be scarce, but more will grow during the second year.
Lemon balm is a low-maintenance and highly versatile herb that can provide many health benefits for those that use it, including soothing of several digestive issues as well as the alleviation of stress and anxiety, among other things. Anyone looking for a natural way to enhance their health would do well to grow, harvest, and prepare their own lemon balm.
Friday, September 16, 2011
A recent report from Mother Jones explains that the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) cherry-picked data from varying studies on methyl iodide in order to paint the chemical in an artificially positive light. The agency then used this deceptive data to justify allowing smaller buffer zones between farms that use methyl iodide and farms that do not use methyl iodide. DPR also used the flawed data to increase the permitted spray concentration maximum for the chemical.
Early on, DPR's own scientists decried the agency's intended actions, having noted in an internal memo that numbers cited in the agency's report endorsing methyl iodide had been extracted from "different risk assessment methodologies that are not interchangeable." They added that such data was "not scientifically credible," and that any data of that type is only accurate when compiled from the same source.
But DPR refused to listen to these scientists, and instead approved methyl iodide in spite of the evidence against it. Not long after, environmental protection groups, farmers, and ordinary citizens together sparked a burgeoning battle to force the state to ban methyl iodide, including a recent rally that took place on the steps of the California State Capital.
Methyl iodide causes miscarriages, thyroid dysfunction, cancerArysta LifeScience, the chemical company that produces methyl iodide, claims that it is largely safe, and that the neurotoxic damage it can cause is "transient." But according to data cited by leading scientists, this is simply not the case, and permanent brain damage can ensue from exposure to methyl iodide.
Back in 2007 before methyl iodide's approval, a group of more than 35 esteemed scientists wrote a letter to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) urging it to deny approval for the chemical on the grounds that it is "highly toxic," and has a "significant adverse impact on public health."
After methyl iodide was approved anyway, the same group sent another letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson once again urging the agency to withdraw approval for the chemical (http://www.panna.org/sites/default/...).
"Due to the potent toxicity of methyl iodide, its transport and ultimate fate in the environment, adequate control of human exposure would be difficult, if not impossible," wrote scientists from California's Scientific Review Committee (SRC) concerning methyl iodide. "We have concluded there is little doubt that the compound possesses significant toxicity."
SRC's thorough report also notes that, despite claims made by Arysta about methyl iodide's supposedly transient neurotoxicity, "no robust studies of neurotoxicity (were) actually conducted." If they had been, it would have been revealed, of course, that methyl iodide is a highly neurotoxic substance that is known and recognized by the state of California to cause cancer (http://www.oehha.ca.gov/prop65/prop...).
Methyl iodide, of course, is the same chemical that scientists have used to deliberately create cancer cells in laboratories for research purposes that is how powerfully dangerous it is!
The Pesticide Action Network - North America (PANNA) also notes that methyl iodide is responsible for causing late-term miscarriages as well, especially at the 100 pounds (lbs) per acre spread rate to which it has been approved for California strawberries (http://www.panna.org/cancer-free-st...).
Methyl iodide has no legitimate place in American agricultureOn December 30, 2010, Earthjustice and California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc. filed a lawsuit against DPR for approving of methyl iodide, which ignored all available evidence against the chemical, as well as the more than 53,000 comments submitted by Californians against the chemical's use. The use of methyl iodide violates the California Environmental Quality Act, the California Birth Defects Prevention Act, and the Pesticide Contamination Prevention Act, according to the suit.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of PANNA and numerous other groups representing farmers and consumers, many of whom stand to be affected most by the pumping of soils with toxic methyl iodide gas. Many of the farm fields that spray methyl iodide are located directly near homes and schools, where high-risk individuals like pregnant mothers and young children face routine exposure.
In truth, there really is no need to use methyl iodide on strawberries, peppers, or any of the other varieties of produce for which it has been approved. Several large strawberry growers, including Swanton Berry, Driscoll's, and Martinez Farms, have been able to develop thriving organic strawberry operations that require no pesticides -- surely the rest can make modifications to avoid pumping toxic poisons into the soils of one of America's major produce production regions.
Sources for this story include:
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Silly me. I thought flying on 9/11 would be easy. I figured most people would choose not to fly that day so lines would be short, planes would be lightly filled and though security might be ratcheted up, we’d all feel safer knowing we had come a long way since that dreadful Tuesday morning 10 years ago.
But then armed officers stormed my plane, threw me in handcuffs and locked me up.
My flight from Denver landed in Detroit on time. I sent a text message to my husband to let him know we had landed and I would be home by dinner. The plane stopped on the tarmac, seemingly waiting to have the gate cleared. We waited. I played on my phone, checking Facebook, scrolling through my Twitter feed. After a while of sitting there, I decided to call my husband to tell him the plane was being delayed and I would call him when I got off the plane.
Just as I hung up the phone, the captain came over the loudspeaker and announced that the airport authorities wanted to move the airplane to a different part of the airport. Must be a blocked gate or something, I thought. But then he said: Everyone remain in your seats or there will be consequences. Sounded serious. I looked out the window and saw a squadron of police cars following the plane, lights flashing. I turned to my neighbor, who happened to be an Indian man, in wonderment. What is going on? Others on the plane were remarking at the police as well. Getting a little uneasy, I decided the best thing for me to do was to tweet about the experience. If the plane was going to blow up, at least there’d be some record on my part.
Stuck on a plane at Detroit airport…cops everywhere
Soon the plane was stopping in some remote part of the airport, far from any buildings, and out the window I see more police cars coming to surround the plane. Maybe there’s a fugitive on the plane, I say to my neighbor, who is also texting and now shooting some photos of the scene outside. He asks me to take a few, as I have a better angle from my window seat. A few dozen uniformed and plainclothes officers are huddled off the side of the plane. I don’t see any guns, and it isn’t clear what’s going on.
So I continued to tweet:
A little concerned about this situation. Plane moved away from terminal surrounded by cops. Crew is mum. Passengers can’t get up.
Then what looked like the bomb squad pulled up. Two police vans and a police communication center bus parked off the road. I started to get nervous and rethink my decision to fly on 9/11.
Cops in uniform and plainclothes in a huddle in rear of plane.
We had been waiting on the plane for a half hour. I had to pee. I wanted to get home and see my family. And I wanted someone to tell us what was going on. In the distance, a van with stairs came closer. I sighed with relief, thinking we were going to get off the plane and get shuttled back to the terminal. I would still be able to make it home for dinner. Others on the plane also seemed happy to see those stairs coming our way.
I see stairs coming our way…yay!
Before I knew it, about 10 cops, some in what looked like military fatigues, were running toward the plane carrying the biggest machine guns I have ever seen–bigger than what the guards carry at French train stations.
My last tweet:
Majorly armed cops coming aboard
Someone shouted for us to place our hands on the seats in front of us, heads down. The cops ran down the aisle, stopped at my row and yelled at the three of us to get up. “Can I bring my phone?” I asked, of course. What a cliffhanger for my Twitter followers! No, one of the cops said, grabbing my arm a little harder than I would have liked. He slapped metal cuffs on my wrists and pushed me off the plane. The three of us, two Indian men living in the Detroit metro area, and me, a half-Arab, half-Jewish housewife living in suburban Ohio, were being detained.
The cops brought us to a parked squad car next to the plane, had us spread our legs and arms. Mine asked me if I was wearing any explosives. “No,” I said, holding my tongue to not let out a snarky response. I wasn’t sure what I could and could not say, and all that came out was “What’s going on?”
No one would answer me. They put me in the back of the car. It’s a plastic seat, for all you out there who have never been tossed into the back of a police car. It’s hard, it’s hot, and it’s humiliating. The Indian man who had sat next to me on the plane was already in the backseat. I turned to him, shocked, and asked him if he knew what was going on. I asked him if he knew the other man that had been in our row, and he said he had just met him. I said, it’s because of what we look like. They’re doing this because of what we look like. And I couldn’t believe that I was being arrested and taken away.
When the Patriot Act was passed after 9/11 and Arabs and Arab-looking people were being harassed all over the country, my Saudi Arabian dad became nervous. A bit of a conspiracy theorist at heart, he knew the government was watching him and at any time could come and take him away. It was happening all over. Men were being taken on suspicion of terrorist activities and held and questioned–sometimes abused–for long periods of time. Our country had a civil rights issue on its hands. And, in the name of patriotism we lost a lot of our liberty, especially those who look like me.
I never had any run-ins with the law. Since 9/11, though I felt a heightened sense of how my appearance would affect my travel plans, I never had any concrete reason to think I would be targeted. I passed through security without excessive searching (except that one time they thought they saw a pocket knife in my husband’s backpack, which they couldn’t find anyway even though it was there). Because I am my father’s daughter I am aware of the possibility of anti-Arab and anti-Semitic sentiments that have increased dramatically, but luckily no members of my family nor myself have had to endure what so many others have gone through in this country and throughout the world. As Americans we are scared and horrified by acts of terror. But I am not sure that what we are doing to dissuade and protect are working.
We arrived at an offsite building and remained in the squad car for a few minutes. The Indian man was taken out of the car first, and an officer stood at the door to make sure I didn’t go anywhere. I asked him several times what was going on and he wouldn’t answer me. It was like I was invisible. I felt so helpless and shocked. I was being treated like a criminal.
Then it was my turn. I got out of the car and was led, still cuffed, to a cell. “Are you serious?” I asked the officer, and he said yes. The heavy metal door was shut and locked behind me. Again, I asked what was going on and why was I here. Finally he said, they will let you know later. They are going to ask you some questions.
I sat down on the metal cot that hung off the wall. It had a thin, green vinyl mattress–mattress is a generous term–that offered no comfort. It was about a 6-by-10 cell, the concrete walls were painted a light yellow but were streaked with black dirt. The floor was some sort of stainless steel, and a stainless steel toilet that has probably never seen the good side of a scrubbing brush, instructed me to keep holding my stretched bladder as long as I could. Near the ceiling above the toilet there was a video camera.
A plainclothes officer stood came to my door and asked me if I spoke English. Something in me snapped at that question. Of course I spoke English I’m an American citizen, you asshole! Well, I left the expletive out. “Ok,” he said and stood watch outside my door saying he wanted to make sure I didn’t “flush anything.” He also wouldn’t tell me what was going on.
As I sat and waited, quietly contemplating my situation, the other Indian man was getting questioned in the main room outside. I couldn’t see what was going on, but I could hear a bit. They asked him where he was from, did he have any family, where were his shoes. He talked quietly and agreeably. I wondered if he was as incensed as I was or if he had entered this country expecting harassment from the American authorities.
They took him to another room, and I heard an officer tell him to remove his clothes. He was going to be searched. I could not fully grasp what was happening. I stared at the yellow walls and listened to a few officers talk about the overtime they were racking up, and I decided that I hated country music. I hated speedboats and shitty beer in coozies and fat bellies and rednecks. I thought about Abu Ghraib and the horror to which those prisoners were exposed. I thought about my dad and his prescience. I was glad he wasn’t alive to know about what was happening to me. I thought about my kids, and what would have happened if they had been there when I got taken away. I contemplated never flying again. I thought about the incredible waste of taxpayer dollars in conducting an operation like this. I wondered what my rights were, if I had any at all. Mostly, I could not believe I was sitting in some jail cell in some cold, undisclosed building surrounded by “the authorities.”
I heard the officers discuss my impending strip search. They needed to bring in a female officer. At least they were following protocol, or something to that nature. Still, could this really be happening?
Eventually a female uniformed officer came in. She looked like a fat Jada Pinkett Smith, and in a kind but firm voice explained what was going to happen. I was to stand, face the wall in a position so the camera above the toilet couldn’t see, and take off my clothes. I complied. She commented on my tattoo, saying, “Oh you have one of those things–good and evil, right?”
“Yin and yang. Balance,” I said, grabbing my clothes to redress.
“You understand why we have to do this, right? It’s for our own protection,” she told me.
Because I am so violent. And pulling me off an airplane, handcuffing me and patting me down against a squad car didn’t offer enough protection. They also needed to make sure all my orifices were free and clear.
She apologized for having to do the strip search, and I asked her to tell me what was going on. She said she didn’t know but someone would come and talk to me. She put my handcuffs back on and left. The other officer stood guard outside. I told him I needed to call my husband. He said I could use the phone later.
As I sat in my cell trying not to think about my full bladder, they brought another man in. I wondered if he had been on the plane as well. Were they going to bring everyone in or had they just singled us out? He spoke belligerently, and I couldn’t understand much of what he was saying. But I did hear two officers talking about the man who stole a $3,000 watch at the security checkpoint. Now there’s a real crime. What was I doing here?
I had no idea how much time had passed. It was about 4:00 when I sent my last tweet on the plane. I couldn’t tell if it was day or night. I was tired, confused, angry and bored. I wanted my phone. I wanted to call my husband so he could come to Detroit and rescue me. I wanted to update my status so my friends weren’t freaking out. Did I also want a lawyer?
Another female officer, this one in jeans and a t-shirt came to visit me. She introduced herself as an agent–Homeland Security. She removed my handcuffs and had me follow her to a different room down a long hall and through a few doors. As we walked, I got a glimpse of the watch-stealer, a chubby middle-aged white guy with a buzz cut. He didn’t look too different from some of the officers.
She led me to a small, white room where a man who introduced himself as an FBI agent was waiting for me. I sat on one of three chairs at a small metal table, and the female agent sat across from me. They both offered me their badges for inspection, not that I would have known the difference, but they were calm and not pushy. I appreciated that. The male agent proceeded to ask me a series of questions about where I had been, where I was going, about my family, if I had noticed any suspicious behavior on the plane. The other agent took notes while I talked. They asked if I knew the two men sitting next to me, and if I noticed them getting up during the flight or doing anything I would consider suspicious.
I told them no, and couldn’t remember how many times the men had gotten up, though I was sure they had both gone to the bathroom in succession at some point during the flight.
They had done some background check on me already because they knew I had been to Venezuela in 2001. They asked about my brother and sister and asked about my foreign travel. They asked what I did during the flight. I told them I didn’t get up at all, read, slept and played on my phone (in airplane mode, don’t worry). They asked about my education and wanted my address, Social Security, phone number, Facebook, Twitter, pretty much my whole life story.
Again, I asked what was going on, and the man said judging from their line of questioning that I could probably guess, but that someone on the plane had reported that the three of us in row 12 were conducting suspicious activity. What is the likelihood that two Indian men who didn’t know each other and a dark-skinned woman of Arab/Jewish heritage would be on the same flight from Denver to Detroit? Was that suspicion enough? Even considering that we didn’t say a word to each other until it became clear there were cops following our plane? Perhaps it was two Indian man going to the bathroom in succession?
He warned me that the last time an incident like this happened back in December, they had to interview everyone on the plane and no one got to go home for six hours. It was going to be a long haul.
They asked me if I wanted to add anything that they hadn’t asked. I said no. Then they asked if I needed anything. I said I needed a real bathroom, and the female officer, saying she didn’t blame me, offered to take me to the officers’ bathroom. I must have peed straight for five minutes.
She walked me back to my cell, telling me it was for my own protection as they had brought in the rest of the passengers for questioning. They would fetch my stuff from the plane and allow me to call my husband. My cell had been occupied by the Indian man I had sat next to on the plane and in the squad car. So I waited for them to move him to the second cell that was holding the watch stealer. As I passed by the small window in that room I could see the watch stealer splayed out on the cot. He appeared to be asleep. I wondered where the Indian man would sit.
After fingerprinting me and asking me about my height/weight/place and date of birth and so on, a middle-aged white cop with a beer belly and a flat top returned me–without handcuffs–to the cell. I waited, wondering if I would be spending the night locked up. I thought about the last words my husband said to me while I was still on the plane waiting on the tarmac, “They must have found out there was a Hebshi on the plane.” We joke about this at times, that because of my ethnicity I am being scrutinized but I had no intention of putting that out to the universe and making it happen.
I thought about Malcom X and how bravely and fastidiously he studied and wrote while he was in prison, how his solitude enabled him to transform his anger into social change and personal betterment. That’s when I decided to write this post. I needed to explain what had happened–was happening–to me. I was not going to be silent. Still, I wondered what my rights were, and though I felt violated and scared I wasn’t sure that our new laws protected me from this treatment.
The female agent returned to my cell with my cell phone. She wanted me to show her my tweets–that were simultaneously posted onto Facebook–I had composed while on the plane. She joked that she didn’t even have a Facebook account. She left for a few minutes then returned and allowed me to call my husband. She said I would be released in a few minutes.
The sound of his voice brought me to tears, but I tried to remain calm. I gave him a one-minute recap of my situation, which only left him confused. I told him I would call him when I got to my car, which was parked in an airport lot.
I hung up the phone and followed the officer out of the cell and into another small room where the male FBI agent was waiting accompanied by another FBI agent–possibly the head honcho on duty. He said the three of us were being released and there was nothing suspicious found on the plane. He apologized for what had happened and thanked me for understanding and cooperating. He said, “It’s 9/11 and people are seeing ghosts. They are seeing things that aren’t there.” He said they had to act on a report of suspicious behavior, and this is what the reaction looks like.
He said there had been 50 other similar incidents across the country that day.
I was led out another door and down a long hall where I gathered my bags, which had been removed from the plane and searched. In the hallway I saw the other two men who had also been detained. They seemed happy to be being released as well. It felt strange to smile at them, and I didn’t know what to say, so I said nothing.
We walked outside of the building, and for the first time I saw that we were at the airport police station, which also doubled as the spot for the local Homeland Security office to reside–an office that didn’t exist 10 years ago. It was starting to get dark. But I still didn’t know what time it was.
Another officer drove me to my car in the airport parking lot. As he plopped into the drivers seat and me into the passenger’s seat of the unmarked sedan, he apologized for not having air conditioning, but being a descendant of desert people I obviously didn’t mind the heat. He asked me if I was OK to drive back to my home in Ohio, and I said I was, though I wasn’t sure I was. I wasn’t sure how this would affect me. I am still not sure.
All I know, is I probably won’t be flying again on Sept. 11.
In the aftermath of my events on Sept. 11, 2011, I feel violated, humiliated and sure that I was taken from the plane simply because of my appearance. Though I never left my seat, spoke to anyone on the flight or tinkered with any “suspicious” device, I was forced into a situation where I was stripped of my freedom and liberty that so many of my fellow Americans purport are the foundations of this country and should be protected at any cost.
I believe in national security, but I also believe in peace and justice. I believe in tolerance, acceptance and trying–as hard as it sometimes may be–not to judge a person by the color of their skin or the way they dress. I admit to have fallen to the traps of convention and have made judgments about people that are unfounded. We live in a complicated world that, to me, seems to have reached a breaking point. The real test will be if we decide to break free from our fears and hatred and truly try to be good people who practice compassion–even toward those who hate.
I feel fortunate to have friends and family members who are sick over what happened to me. I share their disgust. But there was someone on that plane who felt threatened enough to alert the authorities. This country has operated for the last 10 years through fear. We’ve been a country at war and going bankrupt for much of this time. What is the next step?
You can read more about the ordeal from this AP report: http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2011/sep/11/us-airline-passengers-detained/By Melissa Bell
Read full article here
News from www.Borganic.org
Monday, September 12, 2011
One of the main reasons for not being able to lose weight effectively is because the body`s metabolism is not up to speed. According to Ayurveda, the body`s main digestive fire, or Agni, is responsible for the remaining 12 sub-types of digestive and metabolic processes at various levels. Metabolic disruption in any of these can impede weight loss and overall health.
In conditions which cause an excessive accumulation of adipose or fatty-tissue, the medo dhatu agni (fat tissue metabolism) is invariably compromised. To reactivate it, there are a number of Ayurvedic therapies which can be done both internally and externally. Here are some of the easiest ones to try at home:
1. Add one teaspoon of Trikatu, Pancha Kola, or Hingu Ashtaka powder to meals
These powders are three of the best classical digestive appetizers. They promote the main digestive fire (Agni), which then helps to stimulate metabolism throughout the body. They also help to metabolize remnant toxins (Aama) in the digestive system and purify the alimentary canal. These powders can be added to a bowl of soup or rice and used for flavoring.
2. Massage your body with sesame oil and sit in the sun
Over time, the accumulated adipose or fatty tissue begins to harden, making it all the more difficult to remove. Sesame oil helps to penetrate the micro channels of the skin and increases circulation to the underlying tissue, thus promoting metabolism and the removal of toxins. Self-massage should be done for 15-30 minutes in a warm room, and then the body should be exposed to moderate sunlight until it sweats. Cover the head with a hat, and only stay in the sun until comfortably warm. Then rest for 10 minutes in the shade before taking a warm shower.
3. Take a hot salt-water bath once a week
Generalized swelling throughout the body can impede the removal of toxins, particularly from the lymphatic system. Usually this is due to an accumulation of the Kapha dosha (liquid element) in the body. Bathing once a week in a hot, salt-water bath helps to draw out these toxins through the sweat glands. The body, but not the head, should stay submerged until you feel comfortably warm and you sweat. After the bath, wear enough clothes to continue sweating and increase the excretion of toxins.
4. Dry massage with Triphala powder
Triphala powder is one of the greatest Ayurvedic remedies for a wide range of conditions. Its ability to break up toxins and scrape them away can be very useful to reduce fatty tissue all over the body. Take a warmed handful of powder and rub it firmly over the area against the direction of the hair follicles. Repeat this for up to 45 minutes and then brush the remaining powder off of the body.
5. Drink hot water
One of the simplest, most inexpensive, and effective ways to increase metabolism is to drink plain hot water. You can also spice it up by boiling the water for a few minutes with ginger, clove, cardamom, cinnamon and black pepper. Keep a hot flask of this water readily available in the kitchen or office. Clear green tea is also good but can cause excessive hunger when taken frequently.
Sources for this article include:
- Charaka Samhita, Sutra sthana & Chikitsa sthana, Chowkhamba Publishers (Sanskrit text and translation by Dr. RK Sharma and Dr. Bhagawan Dash)
- Ashtanga Hrdaya, Sutra sthana, Chowkhambha Krishnadas Academy (Sanskrit text and translation by Dr. K.R. Srikantha Murthy)
Friday, September 9, 2011
How L-Glutamine is Connected to Gut Health
Glutamine provides cells in the digestive tract with a vital source of energy that is required for regulating their production. Its role in strengthening the gut lining is well known. Glutamine also helps water absorption in the gut, aiding in hydrating the whole body - certainly a necessary component for good health.
What is lesser known is that glutamine also plays a role in the health of the pancreas, liver, mouth and esophagus. The function of all of these parts will impact digestion and therefore the health of your gut. Glutamine can help ensure the entire digestive process runs more smoothly, which may help prevent future damage to the gut system and may even aid the body in healing any damage already done.
Because of the strong connection between gut health and general health, using l-glutamine to strengthen your gut can lead to benefits such as:
- Increased immunity
- Reduced allergies
- Better moods
- Improved nutrient absorption
L-Glutamine Supplementation Tips
L-glutamine is best taken in powder form to avoid additives that may irritate an already sensitive gut. Its taste is not entirely unpleasant and is masked easily with a small amount of juice.
The general dosage recommendation starts at one gram three times daily. However, some alternative health experts recommend much higher amounts of up to 30 grams per day in divided doses. The average diet naturally contains several grams of glutamine, and it is thought that doses of up to 14 grams per day is quite safe for most.
Note: those with bipolar disorder may experience mania from too much glutamine, so supplementation may be contraindicated in this case. Those with kidney or liver disease, or women who are pregnant or nursing may want to consult with their physician before starting a new supplemental regimen.
For more information:
by: Elizabeth Walling
News from www.borganic.org
Thursday, September 8, 2011
Bromelain can refer to either of 2 enzymes: Stem Bromelain and Fruit Bromelain. These are referred to as sulfhydryl proteases since a cysteine side-chain of free sulfhydryl group is present in the structure. The stem form is the most common commercial source due to the wide availability after the fruit is harvested. (1-2)
Bromelain has been used as a therapeutic supplement since 1957. Research was first conducted in Hawaii but has now spread around the world. Germany is the most involved in research on this unique nutrient. Bromelain is currently the thirteenth most used herbal supplement in Germany. (1-2)
Bromelain has shown through a number of research studies to be effective at modulating inflammation and lessening the severity of a number of inflammatory based diseases. These include multiple sclerosis, pleurisy, arteriosclerosis, osteoarthritis, ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis and allergic asthma. (3-16)
Bromelain is also great at relieving sinus congestion. Bromelain has been shown to ease congestion, reduce nasal mucous and heal areas of swelling by mediating the inflammation caused by infection or hay fever. The German Commission E approved bromelain for the treatment of sinus and nasal swelling following ear, nose, and throat surgery or trauma.
Bromelain has been shown to remove certain CD128 receptors for interleukin-8 (IL-8). IL-8 is an immune cell that stimulates neutrophil activation. Increased neutrophil activation is associated with increased inflammation. By modulating the receptors for IL-8, bromelain helps control this immune reaction. Other studies have shown bromelain to effectively reduce other known inflammatory prostaglandins, cytokines, and chemokines. (17, 18)
Bromelain has shown itself to be comparable to strong anti-inflammatory drugs such as dexamethasone and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents (NSAIDs). While these medications can be addictive and have very dangerous side effects, bromelain is non-addictive and side effects happen less often than what occurs with these medications.
Most common side effects associated with bromelain include nausea, diarrhea and indigestion. Other side effects include tachycardia, fatigue and heavy menstruation. People with allergies to pineapple should avoid bromelain. Allergic reactions may also occur in people who are intolerant to celery, fennel, carrot, papain, & latex. People with peptic ulcers should not use bromelain either.
Bromelain and supplements utilizing this enzyme are particularly useful for athletes and people involved in intense exercise. Although studies show mixed results, bromelain may reduce swelling, bruising, healing time, and pain following surgery and physical injuries. It is often used to reduce inflammation associated with tendinitis, sprains and strains, and with other minor muscle injuries such as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). (19,20)
DOMS is the typical muscle soreness associated with an intense bout of exercise. Athletes and lay people frequently encounter DOMS as they alternate training frequency, intensity and time periods. A 2004 study showed that bromelain in combination with other proteolytic enzymes significantly reduced DOMS in downhill runners. (21)
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
#1 Oregano Oil
The phenols in oregano oil are highly concentrated and extremely effective in fighting bacterial infections, fungal infections and candida overgrowth. Wild organic oregano oil is known to be especially effective in fighting conditions like candida.
#2 Olive Leaf Extract
The oleuropein in olive leaf extract is used by the body to fight fungal infections caused by candida overgrowth. A high-potency standardized olive leaf extract can obliterate candida quite effectively.
#3 Pau D`Arco
Another popular anti-candida herb, Pau D`Arco is often brewed into a tea. Drinking one cup per day is an easy way to harness its antifungal properties.
Garlic is a powerful antibacterial and antifungal agent. Candida cannot survive when garlic is present, so consistency is the key. Garlic can simply be added to your normal meals, but most find it more convenient (and less odorous) to take standardized garlic capsules three times per day.
Used extensively in Ayurvedic medicine, neem is known for stimulating the immune system and fighting infections and fungal overgrowth. It is also a potent detoxifier. Neem oil can also be applied topically as needed.
#6 Apple Cider Vinegar
Not quite an herb (but too effective to leave off this list), apple cider vinegar balances the pH level of your body and can prevent harmful pathogens like candida from growing out of control. A teaspoon to a tablespoon taken before each meal can aid digestion and prevent undigested food particles from feeding candida in the gut.
Although echinacea is best known for stopping a cold in its tracks, this herb also provides anti-candida benefits. It supports your immune system in the fight against candida as well as other infections.
#8 Black Walnut
Black walnut is a natural herb which contains tannins that not only kill fungal overgrowth like candida, but also kill parasites. It may be especially useful for those who suffer from both candida overgrowth and a parasitical infection.
#9 Coconut Oil
Also not an herb, but coconut oil`s anti-candida properties are too powerful to ignore. The medium chain fatty acids that make coconut oil such a great energy source are also what fuel its ability to fight candida. Fatty acids like caprylic acid and lauric acid are potent antifungal agents. Work up to taking three tablespoons of coconut oil per day to harness its anti-candida power.
Note: Avoid jumping into any anti-candida regimen too quickly. Killing off candida too fast can produce a die-off reaction that includes symptoms like foggy thinking, headaches and chills. For some this can be quite uncomfortable. If you notice these symptoms, cut back on your dose and start again more slowly when symptoms subside.
For more information:
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Essential oils in general contain some excellent antibacterial properties. However, some of them are not suitable for use on the skin because of their volatile nature. They may either burn the skin or need to be diluted to such a weak solution that they lose their effectiveness.
Two of the most powerful antibacterial oils that are also safe and gentle enough for topical use are lavender and tea tree oil. Tea tree oil is popular for skin applications due to its gentle nature and rare occurrence of allergic reactions. Some don't care for its rather medicinal smell while others like the distinct aroma.
Tea tree oil is derived from the leaves of a tree that grows in Australia called the Melaleuca alternifolia. The leaves of this tree were commonly used as a substitute for tea. Hence, the term "tea tree oil" was born. Prior to its use as an acne remedy, it was primarily used to disinfect scrapes and cuts.
It also may be used as a natural remedy for athlete's foot due to its excellent antimicrobial and antifungal properties. While tea tree oil has many topical applications, it may not be taken orally. Side effects including diarrhea, nausea, and sleepiness may occur if it is taken orally.
Lavender is an essential oil that may be surprising to some as an acne treatment. Lavender is mostly known for its calming qualities. Studies have shown that simply inhaling pure lavender essential oil had calming effects on the brain. It is used in many bath and body products due to its pleasant aroma.
Lavender oil also contains several potent antibacterial compounds. It is gentle enough that it can be used topically on the skin without causing irritation. In the proper dilutions, it can be a wonderful addition to an acne skin care routine. It is also excellent as an additive in natural acne skin care products.
Lavender oil is commonly used as a burn salve and as a natural cleanser for skin cuts and abrasions as well. It contains properties that help accelerate the wound healing process. This means it may also help accelerate the healing of existing acne lesions.
Another essential oil that may be one to consider for oily acne prone skin is lemongrass. Lemongrass has a pleasant lemon scent. It is great for oily skin since it acts as a natural astringent without over drying the skin.
Lemongrass also contains antibacterial and antimicrobial components. This combination of astringent and antibacterial qualities makes it an excellent choice for acne prone skin.
Thursday, September 1, 2011
Culinary spices have peaked interest among nutritional scientists in recent years as both turmeric and cinnamon exhibit powerful antioxidant properties that may halt dangerous metabolic imbalances prompted by poor dietary choices. To conduct the study, researchers added 14 grams of a combined turmeric-cinnamon spice blend to a 1200 calorie high-fat meal, and compared the results to a control group not receiving the spice mixture.
Blood samples were taken prior to the meal and then again at 30 minute intervals for the next three and a half hours after eating. Participants were tested again one week later, and the two groups were switched to verify the accuracy of the results. Researchers found that blood levels of insulin were reduced by 21% and triglycerides dropped 31% in response to the turmeric-cinnamon mix.
The study authors found that the spices significantly improved two critical metabolic markers that are associated with increased risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disorders. They commented "Adding spices to the meal significantly increased the ferric reducing antioxidant power, such that postprandial increases following the spiced meal were 2-fold greater than after the control meal." They also found that the two spices interact synergistically and the impact was significantly greater when both spices were administered concurrently, compared to individual results.
Most health-conscious adults can benefit from a wide array of natural spices added to and consumed with many popular foods, regardless of specific dietary approach. Penn State authors concluded "The incorporation of spices into the diet may help normalize postprandial insulin and TG (triglyceride) and enhance antioxidant defenses." Include turmeric and cinnamon to your favorite meals, or take a high quality supplement with meals to maximize your defense against metabolic dysfunction and heart disease.
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