Monthly Archives: March 2014

A marvelous flamenco evening :)

What a treat it was on Sunday evening to see a show by  Israel Galván! This flamenco dancer has been variously called “revolutionary”, “avant garde”, and quite simply “a genius”… It was my first time to see him, and my first time to be exposed to a contemporary, if I may call it that, flamenco style. Israel was born to flamenco dancing parents, and at age 18 decided to take up flamenco professionally, and what a stir he has created in the dance world with his talent.

imagesThe brochure I was given at the Theatre described his dance as complex, with rapid-fire footwork and movement and in the show I saw it all! In the world of dance, Israel has won every possible flamenco prize there is to win, including the Giradillo prize at Seville’s flamenco biennial, the Flamenco Hoy critics’ award for best dancer of the year, which he received in both 2001 and 2005, and Spain’s national dance prize — I have to say it was a humbling experience to be in his presence, simply because to be so good one has to put intense and long practice into what one has a passion for, and that is something to be admired and appreciated always!

I’m posting a video of his, so you know what I’m talking about… OLÉ!!!

 

Our beliefs ‘make’ us

Londonderry Air is an ‘air‘ (music) that originated from County Londonderry in Ireland (now Northern Ireland). It is popular among the Irish diaspora and is very well known throughout the world. The tune is played as the victory anthem of Northern Ireland at the Commonwealth Games, and the song “Danny Boy” set to the tune, is hugely popular.

For some inexplicable reason, this song has always brought up a lot of haunting sadness in me, since I first heard it at the age of around 12. Now that this has come up again today, I think I need to investigate the connection ;)…

But another lovely poem/song that is set to the same melody, Londonderry Air, I learned and memorized during my school years. It is something that moulded me to become the person I am in my life. Here are the words, written in 1906 by Howard A. Walter, learned at around age 12, and never forgotten:

I would be true, for there are those who trust me;
I would be pure, for there are those who care;
I would be strong, for there is much to suffer;
I would be brave, for there is much to dare.

I would be friend of all—the foe, the friendless;
I would be giving, and forget the gift;
I would be humble, for I know my weakness;
I would look up, and laugh, and love, and lift.

Here’s the best youtube link I found, although the words are slightly changed in it!

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Interesting though, that upon checking this poem out online, I found the original version that I never knew existed… very Christian, but lovely, all the same (I’m not Christian). If I removed the religiously-inclined words, it still makes perfect sense to me :)!

If only more people… but let’s not go there! I can only speak about MY truth 🙂

 

5 mind-boggling facts about Canada

I took 5 out of ’10 mind-boggling facts about Canada’ from the Reader’s Digest, those that impressed me the most, and here they are…for your perusal and appreciation!

220px-Canada_(orthographic_projection)_svgThree Million Lakes

Canada has a lot of great things in abundance, like hockey players, parkas and Tim Hortons franchises. But did you know we also have more lake area than every other country in the world? It’s true. The Great White North has 563 lakes larger than 100 square kilometres. The Great Lakes alone contain about 18 per cent of the world’s fresh lake water. That’s a lot of water. Makes you wonder if all of our country’s allies are just thirsty! 😉

Bigger Than the European Union

Ever had someone ask you if you know Joan from Vancouveror Paul from Toronto when you told them you were from St. John’s? The vastness of our great country seems to be a little known secret to outsiders. Here are some facts to put Canada’s size in perspective: It’s bigger than the entire European Union (33 times bigger than Italy and 15 times bigger than France), more than 30 per cent larger than Australia, five times as big as Mexico, three times as big as India and about the same size as 81,975 Walt Disney Worlds put together. So, in other words, no, you don’t know Joan or Paul. 🙂

650px-Political_map_of_CanadaThe Longest Coastline

If you walked and walked and never stopped — not to eat, not to rest your feet, not to get some sleep— it would take you four and a half years to walk the length of Canada’s coastline. While our country might not conjure up images of blue waters and white sandy beaches, Canada has the world’s longest coastline, bordered on three sides by three different oceans: the Atlantic, Arctic and Pacific. To put that in perspective, Canada has 202,080 of the world’s total 356,000 kilometres of oceanfront property. The only other country that even comes close is Indonesia, which has 54,716 km of coastline.

10% of the World’s Forests

Sure, everyone knows we have a lot of trees but did you know that Canada actually has 30 per cent of the world’s boreal forest and 10 per cent of the world’s total forest cover? An incredible 396.9 million hectares of forest and other wooded land can be found across the country — about 68 per cent of Canada’s forests are coniferous. The best part of all? Most of Canada’s forest land is publicly owned.

National Parks Bigger Than Countries

Canada is so big that even our parks are bigger than countries. Just look at Nahanni National Park Reserve in the Northwest Territories: not only is it a sight to behold with massive waterfalls, it’s also an incredible 30,050 square kilometres — bigger than Albania and Israel. Wood Buffalo National Park in Alberta and the Northwest Territories is even bigger at 44,807 square kilometres, which makes it bigger than Denmark and Switzerland.

O Canada :)! As a 20 year immigrant here, not a day goes by when I’m not grateful that my home is here now… but, as someone who believes in reincarnation, I KNOW this is not my first time in this great and lovely country! I just feel it in my bones I have lived here before 😉 …go figure! I believe this is true for everyone who connects very deeply with another country and culture…

 

Wine as medicine

imagesWine and health is an issue of considerable discussion and research. Wine has a long history of use as an early form of medication, being recommended variously as a safe alternative to drinking water, and antiseptic, for treating wounds, a digestive aid, and as a cure for a wide range of ailments including lethargy, diarrhea, and pain from child birth.

Ancient Egyptian Papyri and Sumerian tablets dating back to 2200 BC detail the medicinal role of wine, making it the world’s oldest documented man-made medicine.[2] Wine continued to play a major role in medicine until the late 19th and early 20th century, when changing opinions and medical research on alcohol and alcoholism cast doubt on the role of wine as part of a healthy lifestyle and diet.

In the late 20th and early 21st century, fueled in part by public interest in reports by the United States news broadcast 60 minutes on the so-called “French Paradox”, the medical establishment began to re-evaluate the role of moderate wine consumption in health.

Early medicine was intimately tied with religion and the supernatural, with early practitioners often being priests and magicians. Wine’s close association with ritual made it a logical tool for these early medical practices. Tablets from Sumerian culture and papyri from Ancient Egypt dating to 2200 BC include recipes for wine based medicines, making wine the oldest documented man made medicine.

250px-Château_Lafite_Rothschild_and_glassThe French Paradox

The 1990s and early 21st century saw a renewed interest in the health benefits of wine, ushered in by increasing research suggesting that moderate wine drinkers have lower mortality rates than heavy drinkers or teetotalers*. In November 1991, the U.S. news program 60 Minutes aired a broadcast on the so-called “French Paradox”. Featuring the research work of Bordeaux scientist Serge Renaud, the broadcast dealt with the seemingly paradoxical relationship between the high fat/high dairy diets of French people and the low occurrence of cardiovascular disease among them. The broadcast drew parallels to the American and British diets which also contained high levels of fat and dairy but which featured high incidences of heart disease. One of the theories proposed by Renaud in the broadcast was that moderate consumption of red wine was a risk-reducing factor for the French and that wine could have more positive health benefits yet to be studied. Following the 60 Minutes broadcast, sales of red wine in the United States jumped 44% over previous years.

And so, based on all the above ;), I consider drinking a daily glass of wine my beauty régime, and believe me, it’s working ;)! Santé**!!! 🙂

Thank you, Wikipedia, for all this information!

*Teetolars are people who don’t drink alcohol

**Santé – French for Health!, in other words, ‘to (your) Health’!

 

 

More ‘Food as Medicine’

untitled1. Pineapple is a natural painkiller. The fruit contains anti-inflammatory enzymes that bring pain relief from conditions such as arthritis, according to a study at Reading University, UK.

2. Pomegranate juice could prevent a heart attack. This wonder juice is believed to improve blood flow to the heart and lower blood pressure.

3. Onions are natural antibiotics. They might make your breath pong but onions contain allicin, a powerful antibiotic that also protects the circulatory system.

4. Mushrooms can ward off colds. They contain more of an immune-boosting
antioxidant called ergothioneine than any other food, say researchers at Pennsylvania State University.

5. Blueberries can boost memory. A study at Tufts University in Boston showed eating half a cup of this fruit regularly could delay age-related deterioration in co-ordination and short-term memory.

6. Eat chocolate, live longer…hurray! Harvard University scientists say that eating a couple of chocolate bars a week could extend your life by almost a year.

7. Grapefruit juice can stop medicine working. If you’re taking medication, avoid washing it down with grapefruit juice as there is evidence that it prevents some drugs being broken down.

8. You should never drink tea or coffee with meals. Tannins in tea and coffee prevent absorption of certain nutrients. A cup of tea with a meal will halve the iron you get from it, whereas a glass of orange juice will double it.

9. Cherries can cure gout Cherries contain compounds that significantly reduce the chemicals in the body which cause joint inflammation.

10. Eating curry could help prevent Alzheimer’s. According to a report in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, a yellow pigment used in curry, curcumin, can stop amyloid plaques in the brain that cause the condition.

11. Sniffing a lemon could help you beat asthma. The UK’s 5.1 million asthmatics could find lemons ease their symptoms. Studies in rats found that breathing improved after they inhaled limonene, the chemical that gives lemons their smell.

12. Kiwi fruit can improve your eyesight. This fuzzy fruit is a surprisingly good source of lutein, an antioxidant that protects your vision.

13. Garlic can cure mouth ulcers and verrucas. Here’s an old wives’s tale that works: halve a clove of garlic, squeeze, and apply a drop of the juice to the offending growth at bedtime.

14. Too much salt isn’t good for us but neither is too little salt. Not getting enough can trigger low blood pressure in those susceptible. Consult your doctor before making any major diet changes.

15. Figs can delay brittle bone disease. Good news for the three million osteoporosis sufferers in the UK – it is possible to slow its progress by eating calcium-packed figs.

16. Soya can mimic breast cancer drugs. A team of Cambridge researchers discovered that a diet high in soya can have a similar effect to anti-cancer drug Tamoxifen.

17. Cinnamon can help diabetics. Just half a teaspoon a day of this spice can significantly reduce blood sugar levels in diabetics, says US research.

18. Chillies can help you breathe more easily. Capsaicin, which occurs in chillies, shrinks the mucous membranes which can ease blocked noses and sinuses.

19. Watermelon is good for the prostate. Men will be glad to know that the red flesh contains the antioxidant Lycopene, which helps keep the prostate gland healthy.

20. Coriander can lower your cholesterol levels. This aromatic herb can reduce cholesterol levels and prevent heart problems.

21. Nibbling on nuts can prevent blood clots. Nuts boost nitric oxide, a compound that relaxes blood vessels and eases blood flow.

22. Banish bad breath with natural yoghurt. A few spoonfuls of natural yogurt can neutralise halitosis, according to Japanese researchers.

Food IS medicine :)! Isn’t that good to know? 🙂

 

Do you know how this works?

This post is in two parts… DON’T miss the second part below ;)!

Defibrillation is a common treatment for life-threatening cardiac dysrhythmias, ventricular fibrillation and pulseless ventricular tachycardia. Defibrillation consists of delivering a therapeutic dose of electrical energy to the heart with a device called a defibrillator. The point being made in this blogpost is, if you saw someone in distress at a public place with a defibrillator available, would you know what to do???

Defibrillators can be external, transvenous, or implanted, depending on the type of device used or needed, but external units, known as automated external defibrillators (AEDs), are available, more and more, in public places, and although they’re they’re considered easy to use, with little or no training at all, just being familiar with the working of one could save a life!

Here then is a youtube video, explaining what exactly to do. Watch it once, to get familiar with the workings… hope you never need to use one but if you do, wouldn’t it be awesome to save a life?!

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AND, while we’re on the subject, how’s YOUR heart doing ;)?! If you are more sedentary than active, perhaps click on the link below, for an hour-long workout 😉 !!! Then, repeat daily!!!

Be well… <3

 

Melted cheese… ooooh!

enhanced-buzz-29096-1385768472-0It was in a certain inflight magazine, during a certain flight taken some years ago that I read a food article with interviews with a few chefs. One of them said that all restaurants have at least one dish with melted cheese on their menu, and this was the most popular dish of all. Being a huge melted cheese lover myself, I wasn’t surprised to see this information and yet it WAS new information, vis a vis restaurant menus 🙂

In trying to find out why, I stumbled upon the Popular Science website and this is what they say about this phenomenon, in an article titled: ‘Why does cheese taste better when melted?’ The writer says the reason is mainly how it feels in the mouth. Melted cheese has a creamy texture which most people find very appealing, and the warmth of the cheese adds to the taste.

gratin-of-potatoes_article

All together, the sensations associated with melted cheese—smoothness, gooeyness, and warmth—speak of a fatty delight…and humans love fat :)! Ivan de Araújo, a researcher at Yale, has studied how the nervous system responds to fatty foods. He says, “Receptors in our mouths are keyed in to the texture of oily, calorie-dense foods.” This sort of food, evidently soothes the nervous system, and in today’s world, and our fast-paced life our nervous systems can use all the help they can get from us! Everyone, agree? 😉

I don’t know about you all but writing this post has got me craving a dish with melted cheese! There’s none at home, so I’ll just have to go and eat out 😉 — nice excuse, eh?

Do be sure to get white wine to drink with warm or hot melted cheese dishes. That’s my preference at least…so, until you experiment and find other wines to go with melted cheese dishes, just trust this choice ;)! You won’t be sorry…

 

A never-arriving spring ;)

People in Canada, and in many parts of North-America are just plain tired of the winter not making its exit — it’s just going on and on and on and on…. The ‘real-feel’ temperatures early this morning in many places hovered between -16 and -18 degrees C. Feeling a little glum I set out to work and this is what truly brightened my day. I opened facebook and there it was, this hilarious depiction of the ‘national’ mood of Canadians everywhere! I burst out laughing, and couldn’t stop :)))))… Here, take a look, and see if it doesn’t put a smile on your face too :)!

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Laughing Out Loud :)))

The health dangers of MSG

The dangers and prevalence of MSG (Mono Sodium Glutamate) in our foods will shock you! This dangerous food enhancer is linked to numerous health problems including fibromyalgia, obesity, fatty liver, high insulin and blood sugar, high cholesterol, liver toxicity, metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, disturbance to the gut-brain connection, neurological and brain-damage prevalence. The danger lies in the fact that MSG is almost impossible to avoid. 

Why? The reason is twofold:

1. There are over 40 different ingredients that manufacturers use, that all have MSG, and so it is not separately listed. 

2. It is not just a flavor enhancing additive – it is a natural by-product of processing proteins. These MSG by-products are found even in many of your favorite organic health foods.

Keep reading to discover how to avoid this insidious poison.

What Is MSG? MSG, or monosodium glutamate, got its reputation as a flavor- enhancer which was extracted from seaweeds in China. In the early 1900′s, the process was perfected in Japan and the product became commercially available. The expression “Chinese Food Syndrome” was coined by the New England Journal of Medicine as approximately twenty minutes after eating Chinese food, some sensitive people would experience tingling, numbness, brain fog, chest pressure and pain. In the 1970′s, researchers found that pharmaceutical MSG would kill brain cells in a laboratory. Shortly thereafter, they realized that commercially available MSG would have the same effect.

Not Just A Flavor Enhancer:

By now most of us have heard of MSG’s role as a flavor enhancer. But how does this work? Concentrated free glutamic acid or MSG act as nerve stimulants and will change how the taste buds taste food. A really bad tasting food will taste fantastic when high levels of glutamic acid are introduced as a flavor enhancer.

The form of MSG that is a byproduct of processed protein is not considered as MSG, and this is where the real danger lies. Unfortunately the FDA does not require manufacturers to label these foods as having MSG unless the “added ingredient” is 99% pure MSG. And sadly, a product labeled ‘No MSG’ may still have MSG or ‘free glutamic acid’ as a result of protein processing, as long as pure protein was not added.

The truth is that protein-hydrolysis-based glutamates or MSG are found in just about every highly processed food. Even vegetable proteins are hydrolyzed to make veggie burgers and many other frozen or pre-prepared vegan and “health foods.” Do your homework on the internet, and begin informing/education yourselves about additives. For starters, when purchasing processed health foods, look for these common ingredients loaded with MSG, that do not require an MSG listing on the label:

  • Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein
  • Textured Vegetable Protein
  • Yeast Extract

Here’s one link to start you off with :)! http://www.msgtruth.org/whatisit.htm

Happy investigating — DO IT… it’s for your own good health!