Thursday, July 9, 2009

FastGirls Feature Food: Tamarind

(Photo: How to Peel a Tamarind Pod)

Recently I have fallen head over heels for Tamarind. Not only does the salty/sweet taste thrill me every time I pull one of the pulpy seeds into my mouth but the calming effect that it had on my digestive system sent me delving a little deeper into the possible nutritional/health benefits of this quirky looking little fruit. There was plenty to recommend it.

Among the many nutritional values and health benefits of tamarind, quite a few of these benefits stand out, namely that:

- Tamarind is a good source of antioxidants that fight against cancer. Tamarind contains carotenes, vitamin C, flavanoids and the B-vitamins

- Tamarind protects against vitamin C deficiency

- Tamarind reduces fevers and provides protection against colds

- Tamarind helps the body digest food

- Tamarind is used to treat bile disorders

- Tamarind is a mild laxative

- Tamarind lowers cholesterol

- Tamarind promotes a healthy heart

- Tamarind can be gargled to ease soar throat

- Tamarind applied to the skin to heal inflammation

Tamarindus is monotypic (having only a single species). It is a tropical tree, native to tropical Africa, including Sudan and parts of the Madagascar dry deciduous forests. It was introduced into India so long ago that it has often been reported as indigenous there, and it was apparently from India that it reached the Persians and the Arabs who called it "tamar hindi" (Indian date, from the date-like appearance of the dried pulp), giving rise to both its common and generic names. The fruit was also well known to the ancient Egyptians and to the Greeks in the 4th Century B.C.E.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Best Health Insurance

"To insure good health: Exercise, walk, breathe, eat lightly, live moderately, cultivate cheerfulness and maintain an interest in life." -William Louden

Monday, May 11, 2009

FastGirls Feature Food: Kale

Kale and collard greens are very similar. Both are considered warming , with a sweet, slightly bitter-pungent flavor similar to that of cabbage. Kale and collards are rich in iron, potassium, sulfur, beta-carotene, vitamin-C, folic acid, chlorophyll and calcium – in fact, 1 cup of kale or collard greens has more calcium than 1 cup of milk. They also contain indoles that protect against colon, breast and lung cancer.

Kale and collards have antibiotic and antiviral properties, they benefit the stomach, dispel lung congestion, rejuvenate the liver and have been used to treat arthritis, constipation, dental problems, gout, obesity, pyorrhea, skin disorders and ulcers.

Select tender, dark green or even bluish-green leaves, avoiding those that are yellowed. Kale and collard greens can be finely chopped and added to salads, steamed, stir-fried, made into soup or included in vegetable juices

Note: People with an overly acidic condition may find that kale and collards are intestinally cleansing and may therefore cause flatulence when initially being added raw into the diet. This can be prevented by adding a bit of ginger, cumin, or caraway to the greens.

Excerpted from “Rawsome: Maximizing Health, Energy, and Culinary Delight with the Raw Foods Diet” by Bridgette Mars

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Connecting at the Threshold

Along with drinking at least sixty-four ounces of distilled, purified or filtered water and breaking the fast in a healthy and safe way, mindfulness is an essential component of our fasting. Being in each moment fully, just as it is, with compassion and without judgment, helps us to see the true perfection in all things and the truth that there is nothing but Now. We cannot fix what is past, nor can we move beyond today to some more appealing future. When we understand this, we are able to access the present moment and use for all of its inherent advantages, knowing that the answer to the critical question, the insight we've been searching for and the grace we know to be available to us, all exist in the Now.

Fasting is a particularly opportune time to practice mindfulness. While fasting we are so much more aware of our physical selves; experiencing the body as it goes from full to a gentle emptiness. So it is a natural transition to train the spotlight of that awareness on each moment of the day. Although this is a simple practice to perform, the difficulty comes in remembering to do it. We spend so much of our day focused on the past or worried about the future that it rarely, if ever, occurs to us that the gift of the present moment – the encouraging smile of the one sitting across from us or the kindness of our neighbor – is there as the answer to the prayer we've been praying for so long.

When I am having a particularly difficult time staying in the moment I do what my husband and I have termed the "threshold practice." Mindfulness practitioners all over the world have some version of this practice that they employ in an effort to stay present. It requires only that I drop into the Now each time I cross a threshold in my home. If my telephone rings and I have to go to the kitchen to answer it, I make sure that when I move through the doorway from the living room to the kitchen I am fully aware of my breath, movements, and state of mind. This has been a revealing practice in that I have caught myself being a million miles away from the spot in which I am standing, feeling anxious or melancholy, frustrated or even overly excited. Crossing that threshold allows me to reconnect with the present moment, to just be walking to the telephone. Just breathing in a normal measured pace. Just being in the safe space of my home where nothing is happening except that I am moving towards the steady ring.

Practicing in this way keeps the stress at bay, keeps me available and responsive (as opposed to reactive) when my presence or attention is suddenly needed elsewhere. It regularly leads me towards a calm where I can hear what needs to be done or said next, so I error in word and deed less frequently.

Jon Kabat-Zinn writes about his own version of the threshold practice in his seminal book on Mindfulness entitled "Wherever You Go, There You Are."

"Try to use ordinary repetitive occasions in your own house as invitations to practice mindfulness. Going to the front door, answering the telephone, seeking out someone else in the house to speak with, going to the bathroom, getting the laundry our of the dryer, going to the refrigerator, can all be occasions to slow down and be in touch with the present moment. Notice the inner feelings which push you towards the telephone or doorbell on the first ring. Why does your response time have to be so fast that it pulls you out of the life you were living in the preceding moment? Can these transitions become more graceful? Can you be more where you find yourself, all the time…..Can you make your entire day as it unfolds into an occasion to be present or to bring yourself back to the present over and over again?"

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The influence of one who fasts

"All of the vitality and energy I have comes to me because my body is purified by fasting."

Walking mile after mile in village after village in 1930's India, Gandhi, father of the Indian Independence Movement, gave people courage and hope that a better life was coming to them. Leading a resistance firmly founded in ahimsa - total non-violence - his internal strength was so powerful that weak people felt strong after seeing him and hearing his timeless wisdom. He offered his unlimited strength to both the discouraged and the sick. He brought light and love to so many who knew only darkness.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Fast Facts: Reducing Toxicity

During a fast, the natural process of toxin excretion continues, while the influx of new toxins is reduced. This results in a reduction of total body toxicity.

According to hygienists, it is internal pollution causing so much malfunction of our vital organs, depleting minerals from our body and interfering with biochemical processes inside our cells that are crucial for our health. Accumulation of mucus, parasites and toxins in our cells is prevents nutrient absorption, polluting whole body.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Trouble With Natural Healing

The trouble that we run into most often with natural modalities of healing is this:

People would rather be told that something dreadful is happening to them, something outside of their control and beyond their ability to solve, than to be assured that their poor health is a direct result of their own misguided choices. Despite the fact that they are also told that by making new choices, optimal health can be achieved. 

Someone once said, "It is easier to change a man's religion than to change his diet."

The fasting journey

This journey we are on is a miraculous one, where the days yield knowing and the nights bless with beauty.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Fasting: Faith Demonstrated

To fast is to demonstrate knowledge that there is a sustainer who already has you written in the plan.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Diagnosis: Death by MBRF

According to Physician and Hygienist Dr. Isabelle Moser:

"Another truism of natural hygiene is that we dig our own graves with our teeth. It is sad but true that almost all eat too much quantity of too little quality. Dietary excesses are the main cause of death in North America. Fasting balances these excesses. If people were to eat a perfect diet and not overeat, fasting would rarely be necessary."

To substantiate this unfortunate reality the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics reported in the year 2000 that the 10 leading causes of death in the United States were, respectively, heart disease and cancer followed by stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, accidents (unintentional injuries), pneumonia and influenza, diabetes, suicide, kidney diseases, and chronic liver disease and cirrhosis. Together these leading causes accounted for 84% of all US deaths.

In a more veiled presentation, the Journal of the American Medical Association found that in that same year the second leading cause of death to Americans was something they obscurely termed “Modifiable Behavioral Risk Factors”. Later in the reported findings JAMA explains that these modifiable risk factors are more specifically observed as poor diet and physical inactivity, resulting in the death of more than 400,000 Americans in a single year. Only 35,000 less deaths than those resulting from Tobacco (also a modifiable risk factor). 

If we go again to that first AAP statistic of the leading causes of death and do even a small bit of deduction what we see is that what precipitates at least nine of these ten leading causes of death, begin in and end in the gut. More than heredity could ever claim, Americans are committing nutritional suicide, dozens of times a day, every day of our lives.

Diseases that physicians have for generations told Americans were an unfortunate part of their family inheritance turn out to simply be a case of eating too much food with too little nutritional impact. A simple matter of unchecked "Modifiable Behavioral Risk Factors."

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Big Trouble With "Modern" Medicine

“In the matter of disease and healing, the people have been treated as serfs. The doctor is a dictator who knows it all, and the people are stupid, dumb, driven cattle, fit for nothing except to be herded together, bucked and gagged when necessary to force medical opinion down their throats or under their skins. I found that professional dignity was more often pomposity, sordid bigotry and gilded ignorance. The average physician is a fear-monger, if he is anything. He goes about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may scare to death.” - Dr. John. H. Tllden, Impaired Health: Its Cause and Cure, Vol. 1, 1921.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


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