Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Outreach Yoga Challenge - Day 15 Moooooo!

If you are a student like me, you can soak up exam worries in an Epsom Salt bath, candles and good old Al Green. Dry body brushing helps eliminate dead skin but also stimulates your lymph glands to secret toxins picked up in the system called our daily ‘toxic loads’. Soaking in epsom salts will also draw out these toxins from your body and soak them up, leaving you feeling amazing. This is great for long hours spent in front of a computer, radiation, flying, driving long distance, pollution, anything thats nasty, the Epsom salts will draw out of your body, and you can shower after your shower to rinse away any residues. Candlelit baths, and Al Green go hand in hand really, sing your ass off, feel good and spend some time with yourself, being kind on yourself and loving yourself, it’s great for our mind, body and spirit connection, it’s just good for us!

I’m drinking a lot of organic almond milk and organic coconut milk lately. I stopped drinking dairy a while ago mainly for environmentalism reasons and the quality of milk available, and had been using soy instead. I’ve also stopped consuming soy now, 90% of soy available on the market is ALL genetically modifed. Here are some facts about both these products if you don’t need more of a reason to swap to yummy almond and coconut milk (coconut has so many amazing nutrients for our body, its a superfood packed with antioxidants and growth hormones)

 Milk: Does it do a body good? This is what the dairy industry and marketers say: Milk is necessary for strong bones; Milk is a wholesome ‘good-for-you’ food.

The Reality: Living conditions for cows are generally poor – they are kept in confinement in individual stalls, on hard cement floors, hooked upto milking machines for ten months of the year. Cows kept in this way only live for 42 months on average as opposed to 12-15 years for a pastured cow. Cow’s are essentially kept pregnant to produce the milk, and most bobby calves don’t live past 2 days old as they are not profit in the dairy world. They are slaughtered for waste, or animal feed.

Environmental concerns: The massive amount of waste produced on a factory farm can have a devastating effect on the surrounding environment. Much of that waste is forced unnaturally into the environment, polluting lakes, rivers and streams YOUR DRINKING WATER. A small farm with pastured cows is able to recycle manure back into the earth to enrich the soil.

Diet: A cow’s natural diet consists mostly of grass. A factory farmed cow eats mostly corn and soy which receives 80% of the herbicides and pesticides used in the US. Animal feed manufacturers regularly add garbage, fats emptied from restaurant fryers, newspapers, human sludge, cattle and hog manure, bakery wastes, undigested proteins and aflatoxins from mouldy grains.

Aren’t cows vegetarians?: At the time of the BSE scare (mad cows disease), the FDA ordered a halt to feeding euthanized dogs and cats, slaughterhouse wastes like blood, bone and viscera to dairy cows, who are naturally vegetarian. At that time 75% of the nations 90 million cattle had been eating feed containing these products. URRRGGHHHHH!!!

Trying not to take antibiotics?: Over 50% of all the antibiotics produced in the US are mixed directly into animal feed. Due to the sickly nature of factory farmed animals, they are fed a constant supply of antibiotics from birth to slaughter. If you drink commercial milk or eat commercially raised meats and poultry, you could be consuming antibiotics on a daily basis. Milk alone contains traces of upto 80 different antibiotics. Fancy a biscuit with that glass of milk???

Hormones: Monsanto has just announced that they will stop making rBGH, a hormone that was routinely injected into cows so that they would produce more milk. (google Monsanto and buckle in for the horror show here is a quick one http://wideeyecinema.com/?p=87) This increased more sickness in cows and produced many dead calves, increased need for more antibiotics and increased udder infections. It is more likely that milk from treated cows contains more pus and bacteria than milk from rBGH free cows.

Pasteurisation: Pasteurisation is a process of heat treating milk to kill bacteria. It also kills friendly bacteria, enzymes, antibodies, lipase, amny of the vitamins, and greatly diminishes the nutrient content of the milk. Phosphatase, which is essential for the absorption of calcium, is completely destroyed during pasteurisation.

Gasp! – Raw Milk!: There are far more risks from drinking pasteurised milk than raw milk. Raw milk contains healthy bacteria that inhibit the growth of undesirable and dangerous organisms. Modern equipment such as milking machines, stainless steel tanks and refrigerated trucks, make it entirely possible to bring raw clean milk to the market.

Homogenisation: This is the process of breaking up the fat globules in milk to an unnatural size. The body does not recognise these particles as fat and does not deal with them correctly. Homogenisation unnaturally increases the surface area of fat increasing the exposure to air and causing oxidation. Homogenisation is linked to heart disease and atherosclerosis.

Alternatives: Remove pasteurised milk from your diet – use good quality organic rice (soy if its organic) almond or coconut milk. Use better dairy products like raw cheese, good quality whole yoghurt, butter and cream BIN THE MAGERINE. Find a source of raw milk or even a cow share, head to your local farmers market, or a local farm and find out more about dairy in your area. DRINK RAW MILK! Support your local farms, turn off TV and find out the info for yourself. We are actually only meant to drink milk during our building years as a baby... BUT we need good probiotics from organic live yoghurt, and good fats from raw cheese (goes well with a glass of vino yah!)

Alternative Calcium sources: sesame seeds, almonds, collards, broccoli, nettles, salmon, homemade stock, blackstrap molasses, sea vegetables.

Industrialised agriculture does not provide a healthy life for cows. How then, can their milk or their meat be healthy. This isn’t limited to cows either, chickens all over the world are kept in far worse conditions.... Know your product, buy organic, question where you food is from and what’s in it! I worked on an organic farm in New Zealand called Centre Hill Organic Farm, check it out http://www.centrehillcottage.com/ they operate WOOF scheme http://www.wwoof.org.uk  which gives you an opportunity to learn all about organic farming, ITS AMAZING!!! You work for free and get your board and food and MORE LEARNING that you could ever imagine. Centre Hill also have a private cottage you can stay in and help out on the farm too. The farm was mainly organic spuds and eggs! But the organic farmer also grazed dairy cows for other farmers too, they do exist, and they are healthy loved cows fed on organic grass and rotated around the 32 paddocks daily. The farmer had rescued a bobby calf from the slaughter house, and it was fed on dairy milk from other cows through a babies big bottle CUTEEEEE! My job involved taking the tractor out  (and playing silly games with the controls) and moving the cows daily to the fresh paddocks of lovely grass, alternating them over 32 fields of fresh organic grass. Yeah I may have given them a bit of love too, everyone deserves to be loved and to live a happy life right, dairy cows included, they are such timid animals and follow you as you walk across the field :) So if you do drink milk, think about where its from, a happy cow living a natural life or one that gets 42 months living on concrete in a factory pumped with hormones, antibiotics and has its kids slaughtered???

Somehow in the milk scare everyone, including me started drinking soy! It’s everywhere we go now, including all of those rainforests that produce the oxygen we breathe, have been chopped to grow the genetically modified ‘Soy’ plantations. Here’s some truths about Soy, turn off the TV and make up your own mind?
All soy is industrial growth, it carries the same issues for environmentalism, it is always a refind end product, and 90% is genetically modified allowing farmers to use large amounts of herbicides creating toxic runoff. In 3rd world countries soybeans replace traditional crops and transfer the value added of processing from the local population to multinational corporations.

Babies fed soy based formula and milk have upto 22000 times more estrogen compounds in their blood, that’s the equivalent of 5 birth control pills a day. Baby boys undergo a testosterone surge as high as an adult male, disrupt learning and develop attention deficits. Girls show signs of puberty before the age of eight, and some show sexual development before the age of three.

Soy disrupts the endocrine function (hormones) and has the potential to cause infertility and promote breast cancer in women. Women with high levels of estrogen in their blood had the lowest levels of cognitive function. Soy foods increase the bodys requirement for Vitamin D. Toxic synthetic vitamin D2 is added to soy milk. Foods also contain high levels of aluminium, which is toxic to the nervous system and kidneys. MSG, a potent neurotoxin is formed during soy food processing and additional amounts are added to many soy foods to mask soys unpleasant taste. Processing of soy protein results in formation of toxic lysinoalanine and highly carcinogenic nitrosamines. The soy phytoestrogens are potent antithyroid agents that cause hypothyroidism and thyroid cancer. High levels of phytic acid in soy reduce assimilation of calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc. Its not neutralised by preparation methods like soaking, slow cooking. High phytate diets cause growth problems in children. Trypsin inhibitors in soy interfere with protein digestion and can cause pancreatic disorders.

Just as an experiment, pick up some almond or coconut milk, warm a little bit and add to your breakfast porridge with some cinnamon and dried cranberries, a perfect winter warming get up and go tasty and healthy, safe alternative to a bowl full of antibiotics and birth control pills?

With so much talk of digestion, I stayed home for my yoga practice and concentrated on some deep stretches, which are perfect to stimulate digestion, and also for period pain. Reclining hero pose (Supta Virasana) loosens thighs, knees, hip flexors, and ankles. It stimulates digestion, alleviates arthritis and respiratory problems and is also great for period pains too. Begin in heros pose (Virasana) which is kneeling on bum with feet and calves pushed to the sides of your thigh. Be comfortable here first, then lean back gradually putting your hands on the floor behind you for support. Lower yourself onto your elbows. Recline all the way back until your back reaches the floor, move your arms to the sides and relaxing them palms up or rise them above your head holding onto each elbow. Squeeze your knees together so that they don’t separate wider than your hips and don’t allow then to lift off the floor. Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute, deep breaths. You can also place folded blankets underneath your back and neck for support. Avoid sliding your knees beyond width of hips, and pushing yourself down – just relax and breath through the reclining action.

Autumn is such a beautiful colourful time, and I get to ride my bicycle on one of the friendliest bike roads home each day from school, called west 8th Avenue in Kitsilano. Its hard to avoid crashing when you’re constantly looking up at the leaves and grinning like a crazy person J



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