Thursday, April 30, 2009

Swine Flu

Great. Just what we need-a world-wide pandemic. It's really scary to read about it, and it's scarier to imagine what may become in the future...

Every newsite is reporting on this. And, today, I read that the World Health Organization (WHO) has raised the world pandemic level to Phase 5, which means a "strong signal that a pandemic is imminent and that the time to finalize the organization, communication, and implementation of the planned mitigation measures is short.”

The latest: There was one death in America. A toddler died in Texas.
But, I only later did I learn that the child was visiting from Mexico City. And In addition to swine flu, the boy had several underlying health problems." (Dallas Business Journal)
So, really, there have been no deaths (as of now, and it should only remain so!) outside of Mexico, and the reported cases have been mild.

Apparently, there is the vaccine, Tamiflu, out there-which should bring us some relief. I didn't even think about it, but I also recently learned that "more than half a dozen pharmaceutical companies, including Gilead Sciences Inc., Roche, GlaxoSmithKline and other companies with a stake in flu treatments and detection, have seen a rise in their shares in a matter of days, and will likely see revenue boosts if the swine flu outbreak continues to spread."

Revenue boosts?
Hmm....Wait a sec, is everything as true as they appear?
We're hearing news from all the mainstream newsites and being bombarded with the same messages. Let's hop off to a "road less travelled" and read another side of this story at

Here's some highlights...
On Sunday, April 26, The Independent reported that more than 1,000 people had contracted the swine flu virus in Mexico, 8 but by the afternoon that same day, Mexican President Calderon declared that more than two-thirds of the 1,300 thought to have contracted the disease had been given a clean bill of health and sent home.9

Just last month I reported on the story that the American pharmaceutical company Baxter was under investigation for distributing the deadly avian flu virus to 18 different countries as part of a seasonal flu vaccine shipment. Czech reporters were probing to see if it may have been part of a deliberate attempt to start a pandemic; as such a "mistake" would be virtually impossible under the security protocols of that virus.

this isn't the first time the public has been warned about swine flu. The last time was in 1976, right before I entered medical school and I remember it very clearly. It resulted in the massive swine flu vaccine campaign.
Do you happen to recall the result of this massive campaign?
Within a few months, claims totaling $1.3 billion had been filed by victims who had suffered paralysis from the vaccine. The vaccine was also blamed for 25 deaths.

And the swine flu pandemic itself? It never materialized.

This should grab your attention. Read the article 'cuz there's more...
Let's not blindly accept what mainstream media is telling us.

People are saying different things. What is the truth? Is the flu deadly or isn't it? Is the vaccine deadly or isn't it? This whole affair seems to raise more questions than answers! But there is something we DO know. There is an illness in the world. Call it swine flu, call it greed. We have to fight to protect ourselves from these physical and spiritual germs. That means paying attention to what/who we come in contact with-paying attention to what we let our eyes see. What we allow to enter our bodies and our minds. And we have to try our BEST to boost our immune system/the good part of ourselves-to eat the foods that will protect and vitalize us. To let into our lives influences that will strenghen us (intelligence, G-d's Word, self-esteem) and not weaken us (lust and greed).
We must try...

G-d bless!
and G-d save us from our true enemies...

Check out

Sunday, April 26, 2009

When it Strikes...

when IT strikes, you may have known it was coming. Or not. Or you pretend like you were unaware. But there is thunder...and there is wind. Something in the air changes, the smell perhaps? and the sky vaguely remember hearing the forecast...
and even your spirit is unsettled...

And it happens.

Swiftly. Done.

And it could strike again...

Question is

what do we do?

Before the strike...

We listen.

which direction is the wind blowing? Is she whispering "east" or whispering "west?" Who can tell us? Is she screaming "north!" or "south!"

What's our gut telling us?

We listen.

We summon our courage.

and ACT.

G-d bless!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

When it comes to oils, extra virgin olive oil is ahead of the game. It is rich in monounsaturated fat, which is full of health benefits. In a study published in Clinical Cardiology, researchers write that, "Exclusive use of olive oil during food preparation seems to offer significant protection against coronary heart disease, irrespective of various clinical, lifestyle and other characteristics of the participants."

Wh foods writes that olive oil has a large amount of antioxidants, including chlorophyll, carotenoids and other compounds that neutralizes free radicals and protect the Vitamin E found in olive oil.

Olive oil and antioxidants? I would have never guessed!

Actually, the oleic acid that is in the the oil is resistant to free radical/oxidative damage.

Not only that, but "it turns out that people who use olive oil regularly, especially in place of other fats, have much lower rates of heart disease, atherosclerosis, diabetes, colon cancer, and asthma." (

There are several methods of extracting oil from olives. Extra virgin olive oil is produced from gently crushing the olives between stone or steel rollers. There is minimal heat or oxygen involved, and therefore the nutrients and antioxidants are kept intact. There is also a smaller amound of acid in this oil-less than 1%. Unrefined, this oil is best kept in dark, opaque bottles/ in a dark area. And it's wonderful to add to salads or steamed vegetables!

In order to squeeze out more oil, there are modern techniques which do subject olives to heat, light, and oxygen. This process destroys the natural nutrients and later, chemicals are often added to replace the vitamin E, etc that were lost from the heat. Thus we have "pure" olive oil or just olive oil-refined and civilized....

A possible benefit from refined olive oil is that b/c it's more heat resistant than vegetable oils (like corn), it may be a safer option when frying. Since the oil will not break down as fast as it's vegetable counterparts. (It's important not to heat any oil past it's smoke point: the point where visible gaseous vapor is evident from the heated oil. 'Cuz that means the oil is decomposing...)

So, if and when we can, let's opt for extra virgin or virgin oilve oil. And keep them in the cupboards when we can remember. It is more pricey than, say, corn oil. True.
But considering the benefits, I say, pray to the Almighty, save our pennies/shekels and get the best...

Sages say that olive oil strengthens and sharpens the memory.
G-d bless!

Check it out: Olive oil

Sunday, April 19, 2009

And the green prophet says, "Water!"

Apparently due to the lack of adequate rainfall, the Israel government hopes to take action in water conservation by rationing water usage. The Water Authority plans on "distributing low water flow faucet aerators heads calleds chaschams to 1.2 million households around the country, limiting the watering of public parks and imposing a 'drought fee' on high-use domestic consumers."

Oy vey.

Environmentalist I've spoken to have long been concerned with the amount of water we use in showers, washing dishes, etc. The situation is already like so in Australia and and in Cyprus, the cost of water is so high that in four star hotels, water to the shower taps are being turned off.
It's true in some places water is a luxury, and we should be mindful of our water usage.

'Cuz if we aren't, the Israeli government will kindly step in and give us a squeeze...

On the other side of things...
A young company founded in 2007, called Cequesta, is going where...well, where no man don't wanna go! They are getting down and dirty and are cleaning up the wastewater from industrial and agricultural operations in America and around the world. From hotels to cowsheds, Cequesta is applying it's technology (ie. compressed air) to separate sludge from water. They claim they can clean up to 70% of a building's wastewater. The recycled water, for example, might be used to water the garden.

Cequesta's prez. David Waimann says the technology is more cost effective and uses less energy.

And that's the kind of clean technology I like.

G-d bless!

Check out:

Are we hungry yet?

G-d just don't play!

When He made kiwis, peaches, and pears clearly He had "mouth-watering" in mind...

G-d bless!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

April 16

Did you know that last year Wal-Mart announced that its store-brand milk, Great Value, will only come from dairies that have pledged not to treat its cows with rBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone aka rBST)?

Wal-Mart is the lastest of the retailers that are responding to consumer demand and changing its products. Safeway, Inc also changed its store brand milk. Sam's Club will also being offering milk choices from cows not treated with the hormone.

Thank G-d, there are now options.

Conventional, non-organic milk mostly comes from cows treated with rBGH. So, what's the problem?

RBGH/Posilac is an animal drug manufactured by Monsanto. It's injected into cows to increase milk production. Treated milk has "higher levels of the hormone insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). IGF-1 is one of the most powerful growth hormones in the human body and is naturally present in cows' milk."
There have been evidence showing that a link b/w rBGH and breast, colectoral, and prostate cancer.

Check out the Harvard study:

Not only that, injected cows get mastitis infections which are treated with antibiotics. The antibiotics doesn't just go away, folks. We become more anti-biotic resistant-which causes other problems!

RBGH is banned in the European Union, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan.

This cancer link prompted the "American Nurses Association to call for the elimination of rbGH in dairy production. The American Medical Association's past president urged hospitals to serve only rbGH-free milk, and over 160 hospitals have already pledged to do so. Schools nationwide have also banned drugged milk."
(I'm hoping these include schools in African American neighborhoods...)

I am thrilled for retailers like Wal-Mart and organizations that are making changes. Since last year, Starbucks have been only using rBGH free milk!

There is still more work to be done.

On April 3, a bill was passed in Kansas. Milk products that are from non-injected cows will be labeled as such. OK. Here's the catch: In the similar font and size will be an accompanying label stating "The FDA has determined that no significant difference has been shown between milk derived from rbGH-supplemented and non-rbGH-supplemented cows."

Is that really true?
"Studies normally used to determine whether a drug is carcinogenic will test two different species for about two years--the lifetime of mice or rats. But Monsanto tested rbGH on rats for 28 or 90 days. FDA official John Scheid later admitted to the Associated Press that the agency had never actually examined the raw data from Monsanto's rat feeding study; rather they based their conclusions on a summary provided by Monsanto."

Check out

This can cause a lot of confusion in consumers.

There have been 29 groups writing letters to Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebilius (who was chosen by Obama to become Secretary of Health and Human Services) to veto the bill.

The deadline to veto this bill is April 16.

Here's a copy of the letter:

Consumer protest IS effective. It has made changes already, and it can do MORE. Not just for us but for future generations.

You can take action by either writing a letter to Governor Sebilius or sending an email via website

G-d bless!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Blessing of the Sun

Today we recited the blessing on the sun. According to the Jewish sources, the sun returns to the exact position as it was in the fourth day of Creation. This happens every 28 years.

Early morning, I stood with a congregation of people outside in the beautiful city of Jerusalem. The sun had just risen, and the air was crisp and cool.
People were spilling out into the streets in every direction. Some were praying; others singing. Others chatted as they waited for the time to bless.

When it was time to recite the blessing, everyone gathered round in a circle to hear the speaker who led the ceremony. A hush came over the crowd. And then it was time. In a loud voice, in unison we cried out, "Blessed are You....Who performs the work of creation!"

Wow! It gives me goosebumps. A truly amazing time...

G-d bless!

A Wonder...

Pesach/Passover is tomorrow!
We learned the story of the Hebrew slaves leaving Egypt. Charlton Heston's Ten Commandments always comes to mind.

The story here is slavery

and being liberated

Sages say that time is like a spiral. Each moment in time carries with it an energy signature. And although years may pass, we keep going back to the same energy track.
For example, there's this Tuesday, and there's next Tuesday. Two very different days. But two very similar days in that the "Tuesday energy" exists in both days (and in every Tuesday that was and will be!)

So, right now, we're celebrating Pesach/Passover which is all about liberation. That means the energy of freedom is in the air. The energy of breaking free from constraints. The energy that propels us to step out of old boxes. The energy of sawing off chains. Removing bitterness. Changing our mindsets. Looking forward to a better future and a new life. Life.


"The wind is blowing in another direction..."

And I want to know how I can tap into this energy and effect the changes that I WANT!!! People naturally want to be free. And, in fact, we're taught to imagine ourselves leaving our "Egypt" every day But we get blocked. We get stuck. We get ensnared.


Lazer Brody writes about modern-day "slavery":
"Lack of self-respect, self-deprecation, and ignorance of one's own marvelous qualities and heritage are tickets to the slave train. Shame or embarrassment about one's ethnic or religious background is tantamount to carrying around an iron shackle with a 50-lb. ball and chain.

These feelings of inferiority are an invitation to let society dictate how you should live your life. People who feel inferior are weak; it's easy to exploit a person with no backbone. Controlled and exploited people are the most miserable creatures on the face of the earth."

And we have to know, G-d made no mistakes when He created us. He made us EXACTLY how He wanted.

He made you and I perfectly.

The depth, the beauty, the widsom that exists in you are beyond words. BEYOND! Here you are. You! There has never ever been anyone exactly like you in the whole world before! Your DNA... how you think...what you say...your potential...


are a wonder.

Hmm...what is your life like?
Can we even begin to understand what you go through? How do you endure? Where do you find your strength? What makes you happy?


And know!
Your depth and beauty has the upmost value because of your source.

Your source being the Creator.

Who took and takes the time to "build" you. To free you!

Faith/Emuna is the key. And it's not just believing G-d made you, end of story.
Oh no. It's knowing that life isn't a purposeless vacuum. It's understanding and appreciating that He is intimately involved in your life.

loving you every second

waiting to hear from you

and WANTING good for you

yes, even when you fall...

and, even when it seems He's out to get you! But hold on and believe this truth.

"Faith/Emuna helps you feel good about yourself. As soon as you begin feeling good about yourself, you become free. Every human has an inherent right to freedom; that's the universal message of the Passover holiday."

G-d bless!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

From the Depths of the Sea comes KOMBU!!

I told my friend that I started eating seaweeds.

"Seaweeds?" She exclaimed, "Why are you eating weeds?!"


Next time, I'll say sea vegetables!

Japanese cultures have been consuming sea vegetables for over 10,000 years. And Japan, today, stands as the major producer and exporter of sea veggies. Since ancient times, other countries near waters have used them, like Scotland, Ireland, the Pacific Islands.

Sea veggies are actually algae, growing in the water in coral reefs or rocky landscapes. There are many kinds, (kelp/kombu, nori, hijiki, etc) and they offer a broad range of minerals: iodine, calcium, magnesium, iron, and folic acid.

They also offer a range of health benefits: The phytonutrients protect against cancer; the folic acid prevents colon cancer and prevents birth defects in babies; the magnesium reduces high blood pressure and heart attacks; Magnesium also helps prevent migraine headaches and reduce the severity of asthma attacks. etc. etc.

I like throwing kombu into my soups. Kombu, a brown algae, takes atleast 20 minutes to cook, and why not add some vitamineral punch in my meals? It comes in dried strips and is usu. put under running water/soaked until soft. And then add it in the pot to cook.
It can have a strong taste. If it's too much, the soaking in water for a bit will do the trick.
Later, with bowl of carrot/kombu soup in hand, I know I'm eating well! This I like...
FYI: Apparently, kombu is a tenderizer and can help beans cook faster.

A word of caution: Sea vegetables are like sponges in the sea. That is why they contain so many minerals. So, if the water is polluted with heavy metals, like arsenic, the sea veggies will take it all right in...
Hijiki has been found to be the most high risk for arsenic. (Unless you get organic certified)

Whfoods reports: The levels of arsenic found in other types of sea vegetable have been relatively small.

That's good news.

As with anything new, start slowly. See which kind is appealling. Be moderate.

Eating sea vegetables can be a different and new, yet old way of fishing up much needed vitaminerals!

G-d bless!

Friday, April 3, 2009

A Few of My Favorite Things!

1. Kombu (sea vegetable)

2. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

3. Raw Honey

4. Almond Butter

5. Brown Rice

6. Flax seeds

7. Homemade bread

8. Green smoothies

9. A steamer

10. A blender

Hmmm, there is more...

G-d bless!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Lactose Intolerance

Did you know that 30-50 million Americans are lactose intolerant?

Around 80% of African Americans (some source say 70%)

80-100% of Amerian Indians

90-100% of Asian Amerians

The condition is less common among those of Northern European descent.

Everyone is born with the enzyme called lactase that helps to digest the milk sugar lactose. Thus, babies can drink breast milk. After age 2, lactase production decreases. (A natural state...) Northern Europeans and their descendants have adapted more to dairy food consumption than other groups.

Lactose intolerance usually results in gas, bloating, cramps, or diarrhea as the lactose simply doesn't get digested in the body.

I don't remember being lactose intolerant, but I remember my mom suffering from pains from it. So she would drink a glass only once in awhile.

The condition varies from person to person. One might be able to drink three glasses of milk w/o symptoms while another can only do one, etc.

Interestingly, aged cheeses like Cheddar/Swiss wouldn't pose a problem (for most folks) b/c it has little or no lactose. Also cultured yogurts are stomach friendly b/c the culturing (bacteria) restores enzymes, including lactase that was destroyed in pasteurization. Basically, fermentation makes dairy more friendly to those who can't support it.

So, as an African American, am I supposed to stop consuming dairy products?
Again, I don't remember being lactose intolerant...

Well, dietician Byers writes in Journal of the American College of Nutrition that "The ‘African-American diet’ is more likely to be low in a variety of vitamins and minerals, including calcium. African-Americans consume low amounts of dairy foods and do not meet recommended intakes of a variety of vitamins and minerals, including calcium."

Well, I understand why we're eating less dairy foods if many of us can't digest it! But, the fact that our diet is low in a variety of vitamins and minerals, including calcium IS a concern.
B/c for people who can't tolerate it, milk isn't the only calcium source. (Calcium is absorbed best with the presence of other vitamins, ie Vitamin D)

However, with the ads pushing milk drinking, and with the tendency to avoid veggies where exactly are we going to get these vitamins and minerals?? Hmm...

According to Sally Fallon, only in the West is milk consumed in an unfermented state. Before industrialization, traditional societies would consume yogurts, cheese, curds and whey. The tall, Massai tribesmen of Africa have milk as their principal food-always in a soured or cultured form.
Remember, with fermentation there is no lactose intolerance problem.

And today, in Europe and Asia, friendly bacteria-containing foods (called probiotics) in yogurts and drinks, etc are more popular than in the US, where supplements are consumed frequently.

So do you have a "condition" if you're lactose intolerant? Why, if afterall, lactase decreases naturally for most? A problem does exist if you have no good sources of calcium and other vitaminerals. And it's good to remember that the degree of intolerance varies from person to person (if at all for you).

And so the questions persist: How to improve the African American diet? How to improve my diet? Can we start eating something green? And how can I make cultured yogurt taste good? ('cuz with a name like that....!)

G-d bless!

(If you can get organic dairy products, it's always best...)

Check it out:
Fallon, Nourishing Traditions