Monthly Archives: March 2014

Doctrine of Signatures

In yesterday’s post I wrote that the walnut, looking as it does like the brain, supports the functioning of the brain. In researching this further I came across the term ‘Doctrine of Signatures’. This is its history:

stock-photo-nuts-and-dried-fruits-mix-116210527Paracelsus* (1491–1541) developed the concept, writing that ‘Nature marks each growth…according to its curative benefit’.

The writings of Jakob Bohme** (1575-1624) spread the ‘doctrine of signatures’, suggesting that God marked objects with a sign, or “signature”, for their purpose. Parts that resembled the human body, animals, or other objects were thought to have useful relevance to those parts, animals or objects. The “signature” could sometimes also be identified in the environments or specific sites in which plants grew. Böhme’s 1621 book The Signature of All Things gave its name to the doctrine.

Böhme did a great service to the cause of foods as medicine, but by changing Paracelsus’s word ‘nature’ to ‘god’ did some disservice too! You see, allopathic medicine has attempted to write off the Doctrine of Signatures as superstition, even though studies have repeatedly shown that its core principles are true. The kidney bean, for example, not only resembles a kidney in shape and color, but also helps to maintain kidney functioning when regularly consumed. Let’s take a look at some other examples:

Walnuts – for Brain

With its two hemispheres, cranium-like shell and knotted folds, the common walnut looks like the human brain on many levels – and the brain is exactly what it benefits. Walnuts are the only nut that contains large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which help to prevent cognitive decline since mammalian brains are composed of, and require, the exact same acids.

untitledGrapes – for Lungs

Bunched grapes closely resemble the branches of alveoli that comprise our lungs, and which allow oxygen to pass from the lungs into the bloodstream. Grapes are proven to reduce the risk of lung cancer, and the chemical proanthocyanidin – present in grape seeds – can minimize the risk of allergy-related asthma.

Tomatoes – for Heart

Like the human heart, tomatoes are red and usually contain four chambers when sliced. They are an unbeatable source of lycopene, a plant chemical that helps prevent coronary heart disease and which neutralizes the harmful effects of LDL cholesterol. Furthermore, tomatoes are rich in folate, which aids the production of oxygen-carrying red blood cells – the very cells that the heart pumps around the body.

Carrots – for Eyes

A sliced carrot strongly resembles the human eye, even down to the complex pattern of the iris. Is nature telling us something? Carrots are extremely rich in beta-carotene, a plant chemical that minimizes the chances of contracting cataracts and developing age-related macular degeneration (a common eye condition that affects approximately 25 percent of individuals above the age of 65).

Avocados – for Womb

The womb-shaped avocado takes approximately nine months to grow from blossom to ripened fruit and contains an unusually large seed (‘baby’) in its center. Eating avocados helps to stabilize female hormones, remove excess birth weight and prevent cervical cancer.

Figs – for Testicles

If avocados were designed for female health, then the testicle-shaped figs were surely designed for male health. These sweet fruits hang in pairs, are protected by a delicate skin and, when sliced, reveal thousands of stringy white seeds. Figs are known to increase sperm count and sperm mobility and can help men overcome sterility.

Celery – Celery sticks contain identical amounts of sodium (23 percent) to the bones they resemble. Like calcium – which celery also contains in high amounts – sodium is essential for healthy bones.

Ginger – A piece of ginger looks a lot like the stomach it is renowned for settling.

Sweet potatoes – Sweet potatoes closely resemble the human pancreas and help to stabilize the blood sugar levels of diabetics.

Impressive, no? What do you think?

*Paracelsus (/ˌpærəˈsɛlsəs/; born Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim, 11 November or 17 December 1493 – 24 September 1541) was a Swiss German Renaissance physician, botanist, alchemist, astrologer, and general occultist

**Jakob Bohme (1575 – 1624) was a German Christian mystic and theologian. He is considered an original thinker within the Lutheran tradition

 

Nuts about nuts — Walnuts

untitledWalnuts are rounded, single-seeded stone fruits of the walnut tree. The walnut fruit is enclosed in a green, leathery, fleshy husk. This husk is inedible. After harvest, the removal of the husk reveals the wrinkly walnut shell, which is in two halves. This shell is hard and encloses the kernel, which is also made up of two halves separated by a partition. Interestingly, the seed kernels — commonly available as shelled walnuts — are enclosed in a brown seed cover which contains antioxidants. These protect the oil-rich seed from atmospheric oxygen and prevent rancidity.

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Walnut seeds are a high density source of nutrients, particularly proteins and essential fatty acids. Compared to certain other nuts, such as almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts, walnuts (especially in their raw form) contain the highest total level of antioxidants, including both free antioxidants and antioxidants bound to fiber. Walnuts, like other tree nuts, must be processed and stored properly. Poor storage makes walnuts susceptible to insect and fungal mold infestations.

I also read somewhere that whatever part of our body, a fruit, vegetable or nut reminds us of, that’s the body part or organ it’s good for. For example, the likeness of a walnut to our brain means that they are good for nourishing the brain. To me this sounds very plausible!

 

Nuts about nuts ;)

article-2549826-0AFFB236000005DC-712_306x423With my mind on health foods these days, I’m going to write about a few nuts 🙂 — no not crazy people, even though there are plenty of such nuts around in the world ;), but I’m going to write about nuts, which constitute food.

The first of these, my favorite, is Brazil Nuts! These grow in the Amazon forest, and nowhere else on the planet. Native Amazonians have cherished these delicious nuts since ages, which provide them much-needed protein, fats and other essential nutrients. They are also rich in selenium, which has attracted attention because of its antioxidant properties. Antioxidants protect cells from damage. There is some evidence that selenium supplements may reduce the odds of prostate cancer.

220px-Brazil_nut_DSC05477Brazil nuts grow near the tops of 150-foot-tall trees in hard casings similar to coconuts, but they are never imported in this form. Inside the case, 20 to 30 nuts fit together like the sections of an orange. The case and its contents are heavy and can weigh anything up to 4.5kg, and individual trees can produce as many as 450kg of nuts. The trees grow only in the wild and aren’t cultivated. Collectors of these cases stop work when the wind is strong because a case landing on your head can literally kill you.

Although these nuts are called Brazil nuts their biggest producer is Bolivia, which produces about 50% of the world’s supply.

Scientists have researched  that a late-night snack of 6-8 Brazil nuts – which are packed with selenium and potassium – washed down with a calcium-rich glass of milk contains all the ingredients you need for a satisfying sleep. The research says that those with sleep apnea may benefit from this snack too. So, insomniacs could give this a try!

 

Eat those berries

blueberry-teaserBlueberries
Serving: 1 Cup – 57 calories
Benefits:

* Packed with powerful antioxidants                  * Research indicates links to good vision, acuity and brain development

For quite a long time, healthcare professionals and scientists didn’t give the little blueberry its due, since it had relatively low vitamin C content when compared with other fruit. Then it was discovered that the blueberry was a nutrition powerhouse, a superfood loaded with phytonutrients and a fruit that had benefits unlike any other.

raspberry-teaserRaspberries
Serving: 1 Cup – 52 Calories
Benefits:

* Rich in fiber and antioxidants, raspberries support heart health                                              * 44% DV of Vitamin C                                           * 7g Fiber                                                                  * Excellent source of fiber – More fiber than a bran muffin

New research suggests that eating red raspberries (yes, they come in several colors) may prevent cancer by inhibiting the abnormal division of cells and promoting the normal death of healthy cells.

blackberry-teaserBlackberries
Serving: 1 Cup – 43 calories
Benefits:
  • * Excellent source of fiber
  • * 5g fiber
  • * 50% DV of Vitamin C
  • The berry’s striking dark color comes from anthocyanin, a powerful phytonutrient that may protect from diseases such as cancer

Studies show blackberries have one of the highest antioxidant contents per serving of any food tested. In a 2006 study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, scientists indicated that blackberries’ antioxidant content of 5.75 millimoles per serving was far above that of other foods. This means that regular consumption of blackberries may have a positive impact on health, athletic performance and disease risk.

strawberry-teaserStrawberries

Serving: 1 Cup – 50 calories
Benefits:

* 160% DV of Vitamin C                                         * More Vitamin C than an orange                        * Immunity-boosting

Every day, research confirms that strawberries are an important part of a healthy diet. Eating just one serving of strawberries, or about eight of these sweet fruits per day, may help improve heart health, lower the risk of developing some cancers and lower blood pressure.

My favorite berries have always been raspberries and blueberries, and I often tend to avoid buying blackberries…but this is going to change! 🙂

(All the above information is from Driscoll, the fruit company, but verified from other sources.)

 

 

How many…

…countries are there in the world?

Ans.  Strangely enough there is no firm answer to this question. Depending on the source, there are between 191 to 196 countries in the world.

…languages are there in the world?

Ans.  Wikipedia claims there are 7,300 languages spoken in the world, not taking into account the dialects. An interesting aside is that half the world speaks 13 main languages, and the rest are spoken by the other half of the world

…religions are there in the world?

And.  There are 21 major world religions and roughly 2,400 minor religions.

…how many species of animals are there in the world?

Ans.  Zoologists, scientists who study animal life, have recorded 20,000 species of fish, 6,000 species of reptiles, 9,000 birds, 1,000 amphibians, and 15,000 species of mammals.

…McDonald’s restaurants are there in the world?

Ans.  Till the end of 2012, there were over 33,000 McDos, in 118 countries in the world, of which over 14,000 are in the U.S.

We live in a strange but very interesting world :)!

 

 

Do you have Spring Fever :)?

untitledSpring Fever is a term which applies to physical and psychological symptoms associated with the arrival of spring. In general it refers to an increase in energy and vitality, often particularly strong in those suffering from SAD, seasonal affective disorder, and thus experiencing lows during the winter months.

In some, however, it refers to the opposite, an unexpected loss of energy with the onset of spring when people have difficulty in focusing, concentrating, being productive etc. In the northern hemisphere the symptoms usually arise from mid-March to mid-April, and depending on the person may be more or less pronounced. Weariness (despite an adequate amount of sleep), sensitivity to changes in the weather, dizziness, irritability, headaches, and sometimes aching joints and a lack of drive are the most common.

untitled

Although the causes of spring fever have not yet been fully resolved, hormone balance may play a role. According to this hypothesis the body’s reserves of the “happiness hormone” serotonin, whose production depends on daylight, become exhausted over the winter, making it especially easy for the “sleep hormone” melatonin to have its effect. When the days become longer in springtime, the body readjusts its hormone levels, and more endorphin, testosterone and estrogen are released. This changeover puts a heavy strain on the body, which responds with a feeling of tiredness.

In addition, temperatures usually fluctuate greatly in springtime. When temperatures rise, blood pressure drops, since the blood vessels expand. Food also plays a role. In winter one tends to consume more calories, fat and carbohydrates than in summer. But during the hormone adjustment period the body requires more vitamins and proteins instead.

It must be because of all the above reasons that this post is late today ;)… I think I need a pre-dinner nap :)… ciao, ciao!

 

March 17 is St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day, is celebrated in Ireland and everywhere the Irish have made a home, because St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland, and March 17 is his feast day, the day he died. St. Patrick’s Day is also celebrated in many areas of the United States and Canada due to the Irish immigrants who crossed the Atlantic and made their home in these countries.

Celebrating the Feast of St. Patrick is a big occasion. On the nearest Sunday to the day, parades are held in different cities and the color green is all-pervasive — people try to wear something or everything green; pubs are popular places to visit, and even serve green beer (adding the color green to it); there’s merrymaking on the streets and most people I know, feel a solidarity with the Irish — I always buy a button that says “Irish for the Day”, and wear it when I go see the parade! This is also the one day I drink my two Guinnesses of the year — the thick, dark beer 😉

The thriving Irish populations of North America had a very sad beginning. Between the years 1845 and 1852 was the Great Irish Famine, also known as the Irish Potato Famine which resulted in a million deaths and the population fell by 20 – 25 % due to death and emigration. These led to permanent changes in the country’s demographic, political and cultural landscape. But wherever the Irish went they took their culture, their sense of humor, their self-deprecating humor, and their irrepressible love for life. To all this, let’s raise a glass… Sláinte*!

Here’s a link to a wonderful site I found with information on the Irish culture…I hope you’ll check it out http://www.irishindeed.com/page.cfm/Ireland%20Stories.html

*Sláinte is pronounced ‘shlanta’, and literally means Good Health

 

It’s been too l-o-n-g a winter

Canada has had a record breaking winter this year. I’m usually not a whiner or a complainer when it comes to things I have no control over. We all know that weather is something no one has any control over and griping about it is futile, but the length and the intensity of the winter this year, the cold temperatures, and the amount of snow that has fallen can dampen anybody’s spirits.

I have found what helps me deal with these conditions is making travel plans — just get up and go! Go away for a week, a few days, or even just the weekend and it will take your mind off the constant fretting over weather conditions. Even if the short trip is somewhere close by, it will help. There’s something about movement and a change of scenery that brings good cheer to humans.

Also, even if not actually traveling, making travel plans has an equally soothing effect on most people… the plans may be weeks or months away. I’m having great fun planning some short and long trip in the near future, from day trips to several weeks long. Some I’m really looking forward to are a visit with family in April; the Tulip Festival in Ottawa in May, and in the summer a trip to Seville, in Spain. Lots to dream and get excited about, and then I can easily ignore Mother Nature’s vagaries! 😉

 

My friend from Belfast :)

thumb_saint_patricks_day_Four_Leaf_Clover_13I met up with an acquaintance, today, who started discussing languages with me.

“How many do you speak?” he asked.

“Five”, I replied, “English, French, and three Indian languages”.

thumb_saint_patricks_day_Four_Leaf_Clover_13

“Well,” he said, “everyone in Ireland speaks three languages.”

“Wow,” I said, “which ones?”

He replied, tongue in cheek, “English, sarcasm, and profanity.

And sometimes, all in the same sentence.”

I’m still laughing… 🙂

 

Anyway: The Paradoxical Commandments

― by Kent M. Keith, The Silent Revolution: Dynamic Leadership in the Student Council 1968 

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People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.”

****************

Right from my childhood/adolescence I have collected beautiful quotes, and this poem, Anyway, is a part of that collection. It first came into my hands sometime in the early 1970s. It is sometimes mistakenly attributed to Mother Teresa because it was found on her wall after she died. The real author of course is Kent M. Keith. What wonderful sentiments 🙂