The Real Alternative

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Looking Good Feeling Great Ladies 50 and Over

women50plus1Copyright © Nina Bagnall, 2012.

Ladies, when we reach our fifties we need to be more self aware.

The appearance of a lot of women when they reach their middle forties seems to change. Inexplicably they, with gusto I might add, suddenly begin to look older.

It might have something to do with how our bodies start to change and it gets to be more of a chore to keep that stomach flat, hips thin and bottoms pert. Does this sound familiar? “I don’t care anymore, I just want to eat and drink what I want and not worry about my figure.”

Our bodies are a miracle, of which we should all be very proud. It’s not just for the young to be thinking of their hair, figure, and what they eat.

This practise should be carried through no matter what age we have reached.

Never should looking after your self be an “afterthought,” as it often comes to be later in life.

Its time, ladies, to bring this afterthought to the forefront of your life and to prioritize your day by setting aside time in the morning and evening for the body, mind and soul.

Stop lamenting, visit:

Remember the body has to have balance otherwise it’s out of sync.

Buy the book. It will act as your reference bible. You will wonder how you ever got along without it.


The Healthy Vegan: What you never knew about veganism

A diet rich in soy and whey protein, found in ...

A diet rich in soy and whey protein, found in products such as soy milk and low-fat yogurt, has been shown to reduce breast cancer incidence in rats. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Copyright © Galina Pembroke, 2009.

We must do more than take the hot dog out of the bun; we must find a complete protein to fill it with.

I meet Karen at our favorite coffee shop. Karen adores their Fair Trade hot chocolate. I do too, but this isn’t the only reason we frequent this trendy café. On the counter I find a large metal jug of soy milk. Jackpot! I pour a decadent amount into my organic decaffeinated coffee. I don’t drink milk or consume any dairy. Neither do I eat meat. I am a vegan.

Many people think a vegan diet isn’t capable of meeting all nutritional needs, especially protein. But it isn’t true. In a June 2003 issue of JAMA, the Dietitians of Canada agreed that: “Well-planned vegan and other types of vegetarian diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including during pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence.” The key words here are well planned. We must do more than take the hot dog out of the bun; we must find a complete protein to fill it with.

Together with fats, protein stops carbohydrates from causing an insulin Roller Coaster. My soy milk coffee topper has both. Plus it is far from being a second-rate substitute for dairy fats and protein. Unlike other beans, the soybean carries the entire chain of essential amino acids, otherwise known as complete protein. Karen accepts this, but her eyes raise when I tell her that my soy milk has 10.98 grams of protein per cup. She remembers that her 2 percent milk has 8.6 grams of protein and 5 grams of fat. “Soy milk has almost the same amount of fat at 4.7,”  I share. “But it’s low in saturated fat and has no cholesterol. You’ll need to switch to 1 percent or skim milk to limit that unhealthy fat, but if you don’t want cholesterol you’ll have to choose soy. Even skim milk has cholesterol.”

“Are soy products the only way you can get complete protein?” asks Karen. I shake my head. “Hemp products also contain complete protein.  I have a tablespoon of hemp oil every day. And I know which foods to combine to get complete protein: Tempeh burgers on a whole wheat bun, corn tacos with pinto beans, brown rice with almonds and cashews-the list goes on.”

“Sure, but dairy is the absolute best source of calcium right?” asked Karen. I proceeded to explain that equivalent amounts of calcium could be found in soy versions of both milk and cheese. ” But I don’t want to limit myself to soy.” protests Karen. I understand. “There are an enormous variety of foods available that help provide the 800mg of calcium necessary to meet the daily Recommended Nutrient Intake. These include egg substitute, almonds, hazelnuts, figs, spinach, dried apricots and sunflower seeds.”  I remind her that the Endangered Species Chocolate Company, which she respects for being Free Trade, is also vegan.

“Okay,” she concedes. “A vegan diet can provide adequate protein and calcium, but isn’t it better to get your iron from meat?” I think for a minute. The iron from meat is more bio-available than from vegetables. “On the surface, one cup of trail mix has more iron than a serving of beef. Yet to actually get this amount I need to eat it with a source of vitamin C, which increases absorption.  This food combining isn’t always necessary though. Many iron rich foods, such as broccoli and bok choy, are high in both iron and vitamin C. I’ll never eat these with soy or any other high calcium source though, since calcium decreases iron absorption.”

“Yes, but even with all your attention to detail. How can you be healthy without B12, which isn’t found in today’s plant foods.” Ostensibly Karen has a point. Though the bacteria in the small intestine produce small quantities of B12, I can’t rely on this to prevent deficiency. Getting B12 is challenging. Thankfully I can small amounts from fermented foods like tempeh and miso, and obtain the rest from fortified cereals, soy and mock meat. For extra security I take a supplement.

“Sounds complicated. Like you’re following the rules of a secret society. Do you have to be sworn in?” laughs Karen. She may be joking, but some people truly believe veganism is a cult. Veganism is a reasonable and logical alternative to an omnivorous diet, and it’s becoming more mainstream than ever. Alicia Silverstone and Shakira are vegans, and so are Carl Lewis and Canadian Ironman triathlete Brendan Brazier.  “Anyone can go vegan,” I tell her. “There are more foods, books and resources than ever.”

Selected Sources

Brazier, Brendan. The High Performance Vegan Athlete: It is possible. The Los Angeles Vegetarian Society, 2003

Henkel, John. Soy; Health Claims for Soy Protein, Questions About Other Components.  FDA Consumer magazine. US Food and Drug Administration. May-June 2000

Calcium.  USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 17. 2004

Iron. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 17. 2004

Dietary Reference Intakes-Calcium and Related Nutrients . National Institute of Nutrition. Ontario:2001

Mangels, Reed, Ph.D., R.D. .Iron in the Vegan Diet. The Vegetarian Resource Group. Maryland: 2003

Celebrity Vegans

Ives, Brian and Bottomley, C. Shakira: Live in Your Living Room. VH1: 2004

Parsons, Sarah. Celebs’ Quick Slim-Down Diet Secrets: Alicia Silverstone 2004

Brazier, Brendan. Thrive: A Guide to Optimal Health and Performance Through Plant-Based Whole Foods. Oceanside Publishing: 2004

Bennett, Jannequin. Carl Lewis On Being Vegan. Excerpt from Very Vegetarian. Rutledge Hill Press: 2002

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Galina Pembroke was an internationally published writer specializing in health. She passed away on September 12, 2009 at the young age of 34 after a very brief illness.

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Holistic Beauty

Beauty by Nicola Rinaldi via Flickr

Beauty by Nicola Rinaldi via Flickr

Copyright © Galina Pembroke, 2009.

Why beauty comes from within

From tradition to trends, there’s always been a secret knowledge of the parallel between good health and beauty. The oldest of this knowledge may be found in the ancient science of Ayurvedic medicine.

Youth ends at 60

Dr. Scott Gerson, medical director of the National Institute of Ayurvedic medicine, writes that “According to Ayurveda, youth ends at 60. ” This contrasts dramatically with television images showing youthful vigor declining after 30. Isn’t this youthful vigor a measure of beauty? In Ayurvedic medicine, the key to this outer radiance is internal balance.

Part of this balance is obtaining health of both mind and body. The first step in attaining this goal is through detoxification. The Ayurvedic term for this is pancha karma. Generally this is aided or performed by clinical ayurvedic specialists. The treatments usually consist of a warm oil massage, special cleansing diets, lots of pure fresh water, breathing practices and meditation. After gaining basic knowledge of these steps through an ayurvedic specialist, we are encouraged to regularly use basic Ayurvedic grooming techniques. These consist of massaging oil to the body, bathing daily, rubbing the body with herbal bath powder and applying oil to scalp.

Massage is an essential component in Ayurvedic medicine, and the addition of herbal extracts and essential oils increases its already impressive healing capacities. According to Dr. Nancy Lonsdorf, author of A Woman’s Best Medicine (New York: Tarcher/Putnam) the benefits of herbalized oil massage include the following: “Improving circulation in the body, providing a purifying and cleansing influence to the physiology, increasing the secretion of hormones from the skin and maintaining the suppleness and youthfulness of the skin.”

The Ayurvedic diet also aids in keeping us youthful and vibrant. The Ayurvedic diet is rich in disease-killing antioxidants, as it encourages eating many fruits and vegetables. These antioxidants also protect the cells. This is important to maintaining beauty, since cellular death is responsible for both the inner and outer effects of the aging process.

Thriving during menopause

For a portion of women, one of the biggest traumas during aging is menopause. Yet, as Dr. Sharon Lieberman reminds us in her book Get off the Menopause Roller Coaster (Arizona: Avery books), “menopause is not a disease.” In fact, the methods we use to ease ourselves through this transition may aid in improved health and enhanced beauty.

Along with proper diet and exercise, the most pivotal of these methods is supplement use. Since estrogen-loss is responsible for the unpleasant symptoms of menopause, considering replacing this estrogen is worthwhile. Yet conventional Hormone Replacement Therapy is dubious in its side effects. Thankfully we have other options. “For most people black cohosh and chasteberry work really well for menopause, and if you add some ginseng it can really help,’ says Dr. Lieberman. “Black cohosh is completely safe and effective.” We can trust our source. Besides being an author, Dr. Lieberman has a Ph.D in Clinical Nutrition and Exercise Physiology and is the recipient  of the National Nutritional Foods Association 2003 Clinician of the Year Award. The positive effects of black cohosh extend beyond its estrogen balancing abilities. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, black cohosh is one of the herbs that prevent premature aging and hair loss. Dried rehmannia and Chinese yam are other examples.

“The other herb that I love is Ginseng,” reveals Dr. Lieberman. “Ginseng  is a wonderful supplement for women to take, and it helps  control hot flashes.”  Remarking on the power of Ginseng, Dr. Lieberman says: “It’s one of the few herbs in Traditional Chinese Medicine that’s actually used alone. Most Traditional Chinese Medicine is taken as a formula, but the strength and adaptability of ginseng is sufficient enough to merit its independence. Ginseng is an adaptogen. Adaptogens are aptly named, as they adapt to a broad range of problems. They achieve this by facilitating overall balance. For example, ginseng has been shown to reduce blood sugar levels in Type 2 diabetes. Yet if you have normal blood sugar but are stressed, ginseng will lessen tension without dramatically dropping blood sugar. Other studies, quoted in The Merck Manual of Medical Information, suggest that ginseng also increases HDL (healthy) cholesterol.

Ginseng is also aids in attractiveness. “Ginseng has long been used by men and women as an anti-aging tonic,” says Dr. Lieberman. “It’s  great for your hair, skin and nails.”  Though ginseng is completely safe, it’s important to select the best quality. Dr. Lieberman suggests Panax ginseng, because it’s the most widely studied. She also advises choosing 8 percent ginsenosides (the active ingredient in ginseng).

For those who prefer traditional western methods, Dr. Lieberman says: “If you take nothing else take a good multivitamin and multimineral complex.” Specifically, she suggests a “4-6 a day multivitamin/multimineral, since you’re not going to get what you need through food anyway.”

De-Stress Through Diet

If you want to slow down the aging process, lessen stress. In 2004 a study at the University of California at San Francisco found that chronic stress appears to hasten the shriveling of the tips of the bundles of genes inside cells. This in turn shortens their life span and speeds the body’s deterioration.  Popular methods of stress reduction include meditation and exercise, even caffeine reduction. But a complete overhaul of diet?

Amanda Geary, founder of the UK’s Food and Mood Project, thinks this is a splendid solution. The Food and Mood Project recruited 200 individuals between the ages of 26 and 55 who lived in London or SE England. They found that the effects of diet on stress were substantial. Says Geary: “From the Food and Mood Survey results, those using this form of self-help found that cutting down or avoiding potential food stressors like sugar (80%), caffeine (79%), alcohol (55%) and chocolate (53%) and having more food supporters like water (80%), vegetables (78%), fruit (72%) and oil rich fish (52%) had the most beneficial effects on mental health.”

A side effect of this stress-less eating is that it improves overall health. We’ve been meaning to eat more veggies and drink more water anyway. Eating oil rich fish may be a different matter. This is a low priority for most, and the controversy over contamination may be keeping us away from the tuna aisles. Thankfully, the essential fatty acids-omega 3’s in particular- that are responsible for the mood elevating effects of fish come from other sources. Flaxseed, for example, is superior to fish in its quantity of omega 3’s. Dark leafy green vegetables and walnuts also contain linolenic acid that the body converts to the same type of omega-3 found in fish.

Omega 3’s are most active in the tissues of the blood vessels, immune system, eyes and skin. Due to this, regardless of why you initially take omega 3’s you’ll receive the side benefit of healthier skin. Udo Erasmus, author of Fats That Heal, Fats That Kill (Burnaby: Alive Books) describes essential fatty acids as “natures perfect moisturizer.” Why? When we have the right amount of omega 3’s they help our skin form a barrier against moisture loss.

Beauty may seem like a dubious motivation for keeping healthy, but it’s a definite consequence. We may not want to throw out our beauty creams just yet, but we need to acknowledge that they’re most effective when applied to a healthy body.

~ ~ ~

Galina Pembroke was an internationally published writer specializing in health. She passed away on September 12, 2009 at the young age of 34 after a very brief illness.


Review – Animals: Friend or Food?

Goat kids will stay with their mother until th...

Image via Wikipedia

Title: Animals: Friend or Food?
Writer/Director: Jason Young

Additional Authors: Kent Martin, Jason Young
Editor: Lawrence Jackman

Media: VHS, 74 min. 2 sec.
Produced by: National Film Board of Canada, 2003

In this National Film Board of Canada production Jason Young buys a farm to prove to himself that he can kill the meat he eats. Footage of animals being treated harshly should upset some viewers. Ethical issues are explored, particularly the Biblical view of animals and humanity’s evolutionary place at the top of the food chain.

Young overcomes his initial resistance as he makes his first few kills. He doesn’t practice any organized religion but likes the idea of ritual. From this he creates an outdoor killing space called the “sanctuary,” premised on the belief that animals will be happier in nature just prior to their death. The idea backfires, however, when one pig is forcibly dragged out squealing to the sanctuary. This is sad footage. And why didn’t Young just kill the poor animal right away instead of prolonging its suffering with a prefabricated philosophy of kindness?

On the whole, however, the cinematic treatment of the slain animals is respectful. But it is difficult. The paradox of not wanting to harm innocent creatures while meat-eating doesn’t really disappear, despite Young’s running philosophical commentary. And Young doesn’t want it to. To his credit he discusses his own misgivings and pangs of guilt.

This documentary is not for the faint of heart. But it wouldn’t be fair to confuse the film’s harsh content with its educational value. It is extraordinary, if upsetting.


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Shocked Hindus demand UK Parliamentary enquiry into chicken injected with beef

Photo Credit: hddod / poppy

Photo Credit: hddod / poppy

Special to

Perturbed Hindus have demanded Parliamentary enquiry into the reported sale of chicken secretly injected with beef and pork in United Kingdom.

Acclaimed Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that it was highly disturbing for the people of faith that this illegal act was allowed to go on for quite some time. He demanded immediate halt to the sale of such misleading products and strong action against those found responsible.

Rajan Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, said that for mercantile greed, some businesses played with the sentiments of the faithful. UK should have better enforcement and efficient check system so that illegal acts like this did not happen in the future,

In a study, United Kingdom Government’s Food Standards Agency headquartered in London indicated that proteins from beef or pork were also present in injection powders that claimed to contain only chicken protein. Agency states that it is carrying out further studies and gathering more information in partnership with other European Member States.

London based “The Independent” newspaper says that this fraud was run by firms in three European Union states to fetch a higher price for chicken breasts. “The fraud has been taking place for at least the past two years, and still continues because of inaction by the authorities in three EU states, believed to be Germany, Netherlands and Spain,” it wrote in its June four edition. This adulteration was first detected in UK in 2001.

Cow is held sacred by Hindus and they do not eat beef.


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