Wednesday, June 24, 2009


This WORLD News article, dated 24th June 2009 - reflects former UN Secretary General KOFI ANNAN's concern on how environmental risks arising from global warming can and will undermine both the rich and poor nations in terms of security and safety.

SOURCE : THE STAR (24/6/2009)

INTERVIEW - Global warming is a security threat - Kofi Annan
By Laura MacInnis

GENEVA (Reuters) - Global warming must be seen as an economic and security threat, former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan said on Tuesday, calling on poorer countries to speak louder about their climate change needs.

In an interview, Annan said he chose to focus his retirement energies on environmental risks because he believes that left unchecked, they could destabilise both rich and poor countries.

"We do have economic bases for conflict, and tensions, that we sometimes ignore," he told Reuters in Geneva on the opening day of his Global Humanitarian Forum's two-day meeting on the human impact of climate change.

"When we talk in terms of security and safety we tend to focus on political conflicts, military conflicts, when some of the sources can be fights over scarcity and resources," he said.

Politicians focused on salvaging the troubled global economy should not forget the risks their populations face from global warming, Annan said. "They need to pay attention because there will be tensions over scarce resources."

The six-year-old conflict in Sudan's Darfur region, which the United Nations estimates has killed 300,000 people, is an example where environmental pressures morphed into war, and the drylands of East Africa and the Middle East are also vulnerable to added stresses from global warming, he said.

Low-lying countries such as Bangladesh and the Maldives also face the risk of disruption and panic if sea levels rise as scientists predict in response to a build-up of heat-trapping emissions from cars and factories, the former U.N. chief said.

"For these people there is nothing abstract about climate change," Annan said, while underlining the risks are not limited to poor, small, and island states.

New York City will need to ensure its bridges and tunnels are passable during a major storm or tsunami, and other cities worldwide need contingency plans for emergencies, Annan said.

"It does require planning and creativity. This is something that we should think about not only for the poorer countries," he said. "We are all in this together. We are all affected."

Earlier on Tuesday, Annan told his group's meeting that he was optimistic the world could agree on a climate change accord with the support of the U.S. administration of Barack Obama.

"Every year we delay, the greater the damage, the more extensive the human misery," he said in remarks to the conference attended by senior U.N. and government officials.

Annan, 71, said he hoped their discussions on "the greatest environmental and humanitarian concern of our age" would set the stage for a deal in Copenhagen in December on a successor to the Kyoto accord, which regulates emissions of greenhouse gases.

"A new president and new administration in the United States have demonstrated their seriousness about combating climate change. Given that the U.S. is the greatest source of emissions, this raises optimism for Copenhagen and beyond," he said.

Annan said it was "too early to tell" whether poor countries would get fair treatment under a successor deal, saying: "there are still quite a bit of negotiations and discussions to go."

Climate experts have warned pledges by industrialised nations to cut emissions by 2020 fall far short of the deep cuts widely advocated to avert climate change.

Overall emissions cuts promised by industrialised nations in the run-up to December's meeting now average between 10 and 14 percent below 1990 levels, according to Reuters calculations. U.N. climate experts say cuts must be in the 25-40 percent range below 1990 levels to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

(For more information about climate change and its human effects please see:

Copyright © 2008 Reuters

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Back in July 2006- when I was visiting my sister in Perth, Australia - I had the good fortune to travel further south of WA for a short holiday in Pemperton and put up at a farmstead for a night. My sister's friend who was with us took us out into the cold wintry night and told us to look up to the heavens. What I saw literally took my breath away! It was the MILKY WAY - in all its splendour like a piece of art in the inky black skies! I have seen lots of picture of it before but to actually see it was really an experience. I felt an encompassing solidarity with the UNIVERSE then. In that instant I was in tune with the Creator and His creation .... an awesome feeling!

Our friend told us that the Milky Way is always there in the heavens but cannot be viewed because of the constant smog and light pollution in the cities.Far in the outback, where the skies remain inky dark, and the air crisp and clean from pollution, the Milky Way can be easily seen with the naked eye.

I remembered in my younger days, whenever we looked up at nights, we had a great time trying to count all the stars in the skies. These days, you'd be lucky to find many of them , especially if you live in a city/town.

So, what else is new if our air remains 'light' polluted? The following article may shed some light (forgive the pun) and alert us to what we are doing to our environment and worst, to our animal co-inhabitants.

(By: Verlyn Klinkenborg / National Geographic)

If humans were truly at home under the light of the moon and stars, we would go in darkness happily, the midnight world as visible to us as it is to the vast number of nocturnal species on this planet. Instead, we are diurnal creatures, with eyes adapted to living in the sun's light. This is a basic evolutionary fact, even though most of us don't think of ourselves as diurnal beings any more than we think of ourselves as primates or mammals or Earthlings. Yet it's the only way to explain what we've done to the night: We've engineered it to receive us by filling it with light.

This kind of engineering is no different than damming a river. Its benefits come with consequences—called light pollution—whose effects scientists are only now beginning to study. Light pollution is largely the result of bad lighting design, which allows artificial light to shine outward and upward into the sky, where it's not wanted, instead of focusing it downward, where it is. Ill-designed lighting washes out the darkness of night and radically alters the light levels—and light rhythms—to which many forms of life, including ourselves, have adapted. Wherever human light spills into the natural world, some aspect of life - migration, reproduction, feeding - is affected.

For most of human history, the phrase "light pollution" would have made no sense. Imagine walking toward London on a moonlit night around 1800, when it was Earth's most populous city. Nearly a million people lived there, making do, as they always had, with candles and rushlights and torches and lanterns. Only a few houses were lit by gas, and there would be no public gaslights in the streets or squares for another seven years. From a few miles away, you would have been as likely to smell London as to see its dim collective glow.

Now most of humanity lives under intersecting domes of reflected, refracted light, of scattering rays from overlit cities and suburbs, from light-flooded highways and factories. Nearly all of nighttime Europe is a nebula of light, as is most of the United States and all of Japan. In the south Atlantic the glow from a single fishing fleet—squid fishermen luring their prey with metal halide lamps—can be seen from space, burning brighter, in fact, than Buenos Aires or Rio de Janeiro.

In most cities the sky looks as though it has been emptied of stars, leaving behind a vacant haze that mirrors our fear of the dark and resembles the urban glow of dystopian science fiction. We've grown so used to this pervasive orange haze that the original glory of an unlit night—dark enough for the planet Venus to throw shadows on Earth—is wholly beyond our experience, beyond memory almost. And yet above the city's pale ceiling lies the rest of the universe, utterly undiminished by the light we waste—a bright shoal of stars and planets and galaxies, shining in seemingly infinite darkness.

We've lit up the night as if it were an unoccupied country, when nothing could be further from the truth. Among mammals alone, the number of nocturnal species is astonishing. Light is a powerful biological force, and on many species it acts as a magnet, a process being studied by researchers such as Travis Longcore and Catherine Rich, co-founders of the Los Angeles-based Urban Wildlands Group. The effect is so powerful that scientists speak of songbirds and seabirds being "captured" by searchlights on land or by the light from gas flares on marine oil platforms, circling and circling in the thousands until they drop. Migrating at night, birds are apt to collide with brightly lit tall buildings; immature birds on their first journey suffer disproportionately.

Insects, of course, cluster around streetlights, and feeding at those insect clusters is now ingrained in the lives of many bat species. In some Swiss valleys the European lesser horseshoe bat began to vanish after streetlights were installed, perhaps because those valleys were suddenly filled with light-feeding pipistrelle bats. Other nocturnal mammals—including desert rodents, fruit bats, opossums, and badgers—forage more cautiously under the permanent full moon of light pollution because they've become easier targets for predators.

Some birds—blackbirds and nightingales, among others—sing at unnatural hours in the presence of artificial light. Scientists have determined that long artificial days—and artificially short nights—induce early breeding in a wide range of birds. And because a longer day allows for longer feeding, it can also affect migration schedules. One population of Bewick's swans wintering in England put on fat more rapidly than usual, priming them to begin their Siberian migration early. The problem, of course, is that migration, like most other aspects of bird behavior, is a precisely timed biological behavior. Leaving early may mean arriving too soon for nesting conditions to be right.

Nesting sea turtles, which show a natural predisposition for dark beaches, find fewer and fewer of them to nest on. Their hatchlings, which gravitate toward the brighter, more reflective sea horizon, find themselves confused by artificial lighting behind the beach. In Florida alone, hatchling losses number in the hundreds of thousands every year. Frogs and toads living near brightly lit highways suffer nocturnal light levels that are as much as a million times brighter than normal, throwing nearly every aspect of their behavior out of joint, including their nighttime breeding choruses.

Of all the pollutions we face, light pollution is perhaps the most easily remedied. Simple changes in lighting design and installation yield immediate changes in the amount of light spilled into the atmosphere and, often, immediate energy savings.

It was once thought that light pollution only affected astronomers, who need to see the night sky in all its glorious clarity. And, in fact, some of the earliest civic efforts to control light pollution—in Flagstaff, Arizona, half a century ago—were made to protect the view from Lowell Observatory, which sits high above that city. Flagstaff has tightened its regulations since then, and in 2001 it was declared the first International Dark Sky City. By now the effort to control light pollution has spread around the globe. More and more cities and even entire countries, such as the Czech Republic, have committed themselves to reducing unwanted glare.

Unlike astronomers, most of us may not need an undiminished view of the night sky for our work, but like most other creatures we do need darkness. Darkness is as essential to our biological welfare, to our internal clockwork, as light itself. The regular oscillation of waking and sleep in our lives—one of our circadian rhythms—is nothing less than a biological expression of the regular oscillation of light on Earth. So fundamental are these rhythms to our being that altering them is like altering gravity.

For the past century or so, we've been performing an open-ended experiment on ourselves, extending the day, shortening the night, and short-circuiting the human body's sensitive response to light. The consequences of our bright new world are more readily perceptible in less adaptable creatures living in the peripheral glow of our prosperity. But for humans, too, light pollution may take a biological toll. At least one new study has suggested a direct correlation between higher rates of breast cancer in women and the nighttime brightness of their neighborhoods.

In the end, humans are no less trapped by light pollution than the frogs in a pond near a brightly lit highway. Living in a glare of our own making, we have cut ourselves off from our evolutionary and cultural patrimony—the light of the stars and the rhythms of day and night. In a very real sense, light pollution causes us to lose sight of our true place in the universe, to forget the scale of our being, which is best measured against the dimensions of a deep night with the Milky Way—the edge of our galaxy—arching overhead.

BLOGGER'S NOTE : If you have been as lucky as I to have seen the MILKY WAY - you would sure appreciate what this is all about!

Monday, June 22, 2009


FERN MARSHALL BRADLEY is a writer and editor whose favourite topics are gardening and sustainable living. Take a peep at what she has to say on the money-saving ways of organic gardening....

Saving the earth and protecting children and pets from dangerous chemicals are the reasons most gardeners cite for giving up pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, but guess what? Making the switch to organic gardening methods will save you money too! Here are six examples of how going organic will put money back in your pocket.

1. Plant veggies, spend less on doctor bills.

A recent article by a Texas research biochemist summarizes some bad news: many scientific studies show that the vitamin content of fresh fruits and vegetables is on the decline. That's alarming, because fresh produce should be an important source of vitamins and minerals in our diets. Without them, we're more vulnerable to getting sick.

Fortunately, there's a simple way to protect your health and reduce what you spend on costly doctor visits, cold and flu medications, and vitamin pills: plant some vegetables. Fresh-picked home garden produce is brimming with nutrition, and recent studies confirm that organically grown produce can be even richer in nutrients than conventionally grown fruits and veggies.

2. Fire your lawn care service.

How much do you pay for a lawn care company to care for your lawn? Chances are it's way too much. So ditch the lawn service and hire a local teen to mow for you instead.

To encourage a healthy lawn the organic way, have your hired help set the mower high—at least 3 inches. That way, your lawn grass naturally shades out weeds. (No more herbicides needed.)

Be sure your helper uses a mulching mower that returns grass clippings—which contain valuable nitrogen—to the lawn. (No more bagged fertilizer needed.) Once a year, have your helper spread good-quality compost too, about 1/4 inch thick. The compost will melt into the lawn almost immediately, adding a wide range of nutrients as well as beneficial microbes that help prevent lawn diseases.

3. Fight pests with flowers instead of pesticides.

More than 90 percent of the insects in your yard and garden are your friends, not your foes. Ladybugs, lacewings, and even many kinds of flies and tiny wasps are an important natural pest control force. Their larvae (the immature stages of the insects) gobble up aphids and other pests, or parasitize the caterpillars that would like to turn the foliage of your flowers and veggies into a holey mess.

One easy way to attract these good-guy insects to your yard organically is to plant a garden of perennials and herbs with tiny flowers, because the adult beneficial insects eat pollen, not bugs. Yarrow, purple coneflowers, daisies, tansy, cosmos, marigolds, and zinnias are great plants to start with, and you'll love how they look growing in sunny spots all around your yard. Buying a few packets of annual seeds and several potted perennials is much cheaper—and much more fun—than buying pesticides and a sprayer!

4. Forget the bagged fertilizer—buy seeds instead.

It's true! A packet of cover-crop seeds such as buckwheat or oats will add as much fertility to your garden beds as any bag of synthetic fertilizer can. And that's just the start of the story. Using synthetic fertilizer is a vicious cycle, because the chemicals in the fertilizer kill or repel beneficial earthworms and other organisms that help build a healthy soil. Plus, chemical fertilizer easily washes down through the soil when it rains, ending up in the groundwater we drink!

Not only will you save big in the long term by planting cover crops instead, they also prevent soil erosion, they encourage earthworms and other good guys, and they enrich your soil naturally. Simply sow the cover crop seed on lightly loosened soil, rake it in lightly, and water it to speed germination. Within 4 to 8 weeks, you can cut down the crop with shears or your lawn mower, and all that rich green material will naturally break down, leaving you a nutrient-primed planting bed that will produce bumper crops of veggies, fruit, or flowers.

Not only will you save big in the long term by planting cover crops instead, they also prevent soil erosion, they encourage earthworms and other good guys, and they enrich your soil naturally. Simply sow the cover crop seed on lightly loosened soil, rake it in lightly, and water it to speed germination. Within 4 to 8 weeks, you can cut down the crop with shears or your lawn mower, and all that rich green material will naturally break down, leaving you a nutrient-primed planting bed that will produce bumper crops of veggies, fruit, or flowers.

5. Reduce your water bill by capturing rainwater.

Depending on where you live, as much as 50 percent of the water you use goes to keeping your garden green and growing. That's a big expense that will only get bigger as water supply problems increase around the country.

But for less than $100, you can buy and install a rain barrel that will capture the rain that falls on your roof, providing you a free supply of water for your gardens virtually indefinitely. Rain barrels are available from home centers and mail-order suppliers, and it takes no special skills to install one.

6. Grow gourmet salad toppings on the cheap.

Microgreens are all the rage at fancy restaurants and farm markets, but boy are they expensive!

Here's a secret: you can grow your own microgreens at any time of year on a sunny windowsill for a fraction of the price. Simply save leftover clamshell containers from the deli and buy some organic transplanting mix that's enriched with compost. Clean the containers well, use a barbecue skewer to poke several drainage holes in each one, and fill them with moist potting mix. Then sprinkle veggie seeds—be sure the seeds haven't been treated with pesticides—generously over the soil surface, cover then lightly with more mix, and set the containers in a catch tray on the windowsill. Mist daily until sprouts appear, then water as needed to keep them growing.

Within three weeks, the sprouts will reach the two-leaf stage, and you can snip them with scissors to garnish salads, sandwiches, and entrees. Use lettuce, arugula, and other salad greens, as well as broccoli, kale, dill, cilantro, basil, even peas.


Saturday, June 20, 2009


Hi all... take a listen to what an expert has to say about STRESS and what it can do to your digestion....

In this interview, Marc David, an expert in the psychology of eating, talks about the important role stress plays in digestion.

Marc is the founder and director of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, and has written two excellent books on this topic: The Slow Down Diet: Eating for Pleasure, Energy, and Weight Loss, and Nourishing Wisdom: A Mind-Body Approach to Nutrition and Well-Being.

The fact is, you can't separate your wellness from your emotions. Every feeling you have affects some part of your body. And stress can wreak havoc even if you’re doing everything else “right.”

What is “Stress”?

The classic definition of stress is “any real or imagined threat, and your body’s response to it.” Celebrations and tragedies alike can cause a stress response in your body.

Some stress is unavoidable. Some mild forms of stress can even be helpful in some situations. But a stressor becomes a problem when:

* Your response to it is negative.
* Your feelings and emotions are inappropriate for the circumstances.
* Your response lasts an excessively long time.
* You’re feeling continuously overwhelmed, overpowered or overworked.

It’s important to realize that all your feelings create physiological changes. Your skin, heart rate, digestion, joints, muscle energy levels, the hair on your head, and countless cells and systems you don't even know about change with every emotion.

Marc notes that Americans, in general, tend to eat under a state of stress and anxiety.

While under stress, your heart rate goes up, your blood pressure rises, and blood is shunted away from your midsection, going to your arms, legs, and head for quick thinking, fighting, or fleeing.

All of these changes are referred to as the physiological stress response.

Under those circumstances, your digestion completely shuts down. So a major problem with eating while your body is under the stress response is that you could be eating the healthiest food in the world, yet you won’t be able to fully digest and assimilate that food, and your body will not be able to burn calories effectively.

How the Stress Response Affects Your Digestion and Health

The stress response causes a number of detrimental events in your body, including:

* Decreased nutrient absorption
* Decreased oxygenation to your gut

As much as four times less blood flow to your digestive system, which leads to decreased metabolism
Decreased enzymatic output in your gut – as much as 20,000-fold!
Many nutrients are also excreted during stress, particularly:

* Water-soluble vitamins
* Macrominerals
* Microminerals
* Calcium (calcium excretion can increase as much as 60 to 75 mg within an hour of a stressful event)

As if that’s not enough, your cholesterol and triglycerides also go up, while gut flora populations decrease. You’re also more likely to experience increased sensitivity to food and gastroesophageal reflux, or heartburn.

But perhaps most importantly, when your body is under the stress response, your cortisol and insulin levels rise.

These two hormones tend to track each other, and when your cortisol is consistently elevated under a chronic low-level stress response, you’ll likely notice that you have difficulty losing weight or building muscle.

Additionally, if your cortisol is chronically elevated, you’ll tend to gain weight around your midsection. We’ve known for some time that body fat, and especially visceral fat (the fat that gathers around your internal organs, around your midsection) is a major contributing factor to developing diabetes and metabolic syndrome

The bottom line?

When you eat under stress, your body is in the opposite state of where you need to be in order to digest, assimilate nutrients, and burn calories.

Everyday Stress Relief
There’s no doubt that finding ways to relieve your everyday stress is an important, if not essential, aspect of optimizing your health. All the organics in the world can’t help you if your body can’t assimilate the nutrients you put into it.

Stress is a serious factor in the illness of nearly all of the patients seen at my clinic. Because in addition to everything mentioned above, stress also plays a major role in your immune system, and can impact your:

* Blood pressure
* Cholesterol
* Brain chemistry
* Blood sugar levels
* Hormonal balance

You cannot eliminate stress entirely, but you can work to provide your body with tools to compensate for the bioelectrical short-circuiting that can cause serious disruption in many of your body's important systems. By using techniques such as meridian tapping, you can reprogram your body’s reactions to the unavoidable stressors of everyday life.

But there are many other strategies you can employ to help you deal with stress and unwind each day, including:

Exercise. Studies have shown that during exercise, tranquilizing chemicals (endorphins) are released in your brain. Exercise is a natural way to bring your body pleasurable relaxation and rejuvenation.

Proper sleep

Meditation (with or without the additional aid of brain wave synchronization technology)

I also highly recommend you read the book Feelings Buried Alive Never Die. If you’re experiencing any type of physical or emotional challenge in any aspect of your life, this book does a great job of explaining feelings: what they are, how you experience them, how they are integral to your physical health, and, most importantly, how to work with and overcome those that are pulling you down.

Find about more about Marc David perspectives/thoughts :


Ever wonder if we are in the throes of recession yet? Here are some indications you may find funny or true....have a nice day!

SOURCE : Candice Lee Jones / 15th June, 2009 /

These off beat barometers of the economy can give you much needed guidance for your portfolio or simply a good laugh.

Everyone is scrambling to get their fingers on the pulse of the economy. When will it turn around? Have we seen the worst? The answers may not be as elusive as you might think.

In the past, you might have relied on the old Hemline Theory to determine which way the market was heading: As hemlines rose, so did stock prices. Think model Twiggy in her super-short mod dresses of the '60s, followed by falling hemlines in the '70s as the economy weakened.

But these days you'll find all sorts of clues in everyday life to help determine where the economy really stands. Dry cleaners, for instance, may seem a bit more cluttered these days, and it's true -- many people are stalling an extra week before shelling out to pick up their clothes. Eyeliner sales are surging these days, and a cutback in eye makeup may signal a resurgent economy in which people are spending on costlier personal luxuries.

1. Packed Theaters

During the last seven recession years, box office sales have increased in five of them. The new Star Trek movie pulled in more than $200 million in the month of May, just one example of how well cinemas are faring these days. According to the National Association of Theatre Owners, the number of movie tickets sold in the first quarter of 2009 increased more than 9% from last year.

Better films? Hot new actors? People continue to fill theater seats, NATO says, because movies are one of the least expensive entertainment options out of the house. The average ticket price in 2008 was $7.18. So when the lines get shorter, go buy some stock.

2. Green Thumbs

The National Gardening Association finds that the number of households who will grow their own fruits, berries, vegetables and herbs this year is 19% higher than in 2008.

That makes 43 million gardeners in the United States this year. It's fun and relaxing, no doubt, but 54% of the respondents say the prospect of saving money on groceries motivates them to till the soil.

3. First Dates

Misery loves company, eh? Online dating service notices a pattern in its site activity during tough times. The fourth quarter of 2008 was their busiest in seven years (the site has been around since 1995). Match had a similar surge in late 2001, right after 9/11.

The company believes people are looking for someone with whom to try to forget about money troubles -- or share the pain. When the Dow Jones industrial average dropped to a five-year low last November, had its second busiest weekend of the year.

4. Romance Novels

The economy has broken your heart and stomped it to pieces and now you need to put it back together. At least that's what Harlequin, the giant romance novel publisher, says is happening. In 2008, Harlequin's sales were up 32% from the year before. In 2009, its sales are still rising.

The publisher credits this its uplifting stories that offer a haven, and to the low prices of the books relative to other entertainment. This theory has stood the test of time. Harlequin saw a similar sales increase during the recession of the early 90's. So if these stories start piling up unwanted on the discount table at the bookstore, alongside all those mis-timed guides to real estate riches, better news is on the way.

5. Droopy Eyes I

America is all tuckered out. A poll by the National Sleep Foundation found that nearly one-third of Americans lost sleep because they were worried about their finances. The 2009 Sleep in America Poll also found that 10% of those people tossed and turned specifically worrying about their jobs -- roughly the same percentage of Americans who are out of work.

6. Droopy Eyes II

Americans spent $10.3 billion in 2008 to endure 1.7 million cosmetic surgeries, which is 9% less than in 2007. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons cites the bad economy.

Without as much extra cash -- and facing depleted retirement funds and much less home equity -- fewer people can spend freely on plastic surgery. The number of liposuction procedures was down 19% in 2008 and tummy tucks down 18%. If you can get an appointment with a top surgeon without much of a wait, that's a sour sign for the economy. But, then again, maybe you can strike a deal.

7. Goopy Eyes

You've got that recession look in your eye. Total eye makeup sales at supermarkets and drugstores were up 8.5% in the one-year period that ended on March 22, compared to the previous year. In that time period, more than $260 million was spent on eye makeup -- in particular, eye liner was up 9% and mascara almost 13%.

The leading lipstick indicator -- the idea that lipstick sales rise in economic downturn as consumers settle for inexpensive luxuries -- is not holding up. Lipstick sales are down 11%. But eye make-up has replaced lipstick as the indicator, so the principle is the same.

8. Gators

What do 100,000 alligators have to do with the economy? The gators are all residents at Savoie's Alligator Farm, one of the largest alligator farms in Louisiana. The farm, which sells gator skin hides to tanners who in turn sell them to luxury designers like Louis Vuitton, has not sold a single hide since November, according to Savoie's.

This business is awful because people are not buying alligator skin handbags and luggage. The makers of designer labels therefore don't need to buy hides. This is tough on the gator farmers who are losing money fast and trying to keep the hides they already have in stock from spoiling. But it's good news for alligators everywhere -- if they only knew.

9. Dry Cleaning

The International Drycleaning and Laundry Institute is hearing gripes from many of its 5,000 members. The poor economy has customers are visiting less frequently and leaving clothes for longer. Weekly customers visit every two weeks, monthly customers visit bi-monthly, and some people delay their pickups even longer to avoid the bill. This has been a staple indicator of hard times before.

10. Mosquito Bites

We know the real estate bust has done a number on the economy, but did you know it can actually make you itch? In Maricopa County, Ariz., enormous numbers of foreclosed or abandoned homes have vacant swimming pools and unattended ponds. The stagnant waters -- known as green pools -- are a hotbed for mosquito breeding.

Maricopa County Environmental Services Department's Johnny Diloné says crews have treated more than 4,000 green pools already in 2009. During the same period in 2007, before metropolitan Phoenix's housing market collapsed, they had treated only 2,500. While most of the "green pools" are on vacant properties, some do belong to residents who just cannot afford to maintain their pools and ponds.

Copyrighted, Kiplinger Washington Editors, Inc

Friday, June 19, 2009


To all environmentalists and fans of BE VEG! GO GREEN! SAVE THE PLANET!..... here's a day for celebration!

Hot news! Read all about it!!!

SOURCE : THE IRISH TIMES / 15th June, 2009 / FRANK McDONALD, Environment Editor


THE INTERNATIONAL Finance Corporation (IFC), private lending arm of the World Bank, has withdrawn a $90 million (€57 million) loan to Brazilian cattle industry giant Bertin, following complaints that it was using the money to expand further into the Amazon region.

“It is good news that the World Bank is withdrawing these funds, yet scandalous that it was feeding a company that causes Amazon deforestation and climate change in the first place,” said Paulo Adario, Greenpeace Brazil’s Amazon campaign director.
The move came two weeks after a Greenpeace report, Slaughtering the Amazon, revealed that financial backing for the Brazilian cattle industry had turned it into the largest single source of deforestation in the world.

The report, based on a threeyear undercover investigation, showed how Bertin and two other Brazilian companies supplying the global market with cattle products for top brands and supermarkets buy cattle from Amazon farms involved in illegal deforestation.
By helping Bertin to expand into the Amazon, Greenpeace said the IFC had been driving further destruction of the rainforest, a haven for biodiversity and one of the world’s key defences against climate change because of its crucial role as a “carbon sink”.

For a bank that portrays itself as the ‘knowledge bank’, this was a very ill-conceived and thoroughly destructive use of its resources”, Mr Adario said at the weekend. “It must now guarantee that it will not invest in such damaging projects in the future.”
The last $30 million (€21.4 million) loan from the IFC will no longer be given to Bertin and it is anticipated that the World Bank subsidiary will ask that the $60 million (€35.6 million) it had already invested in the company be returned early.

Tropical deforestation is responsible for approximately 20 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, and Brazil has been ranked by Greenpeace as the world’s fourth biggest “climate polluter”.
Following the slow progress of climate talks in Bonn over the past two weeks, Greenpeace is calling on world leaders to “take personal responsibility for securing an effective climate-saving deal” by attending the UN Climate Summit in Copenhagen next December.

“This would include providing $110 million a year for developing countries to tackle the climate crisis, $40 million a year of which should go towards forest protection in return for commitments to end deforestation in the Amazon by 2015 and globally by 2020.”

Last week, Brazilian president Lula da Silva announced that he would veto clauses in an Amazon land reform Bill that would legalise the landholdings of millions of people who have settled in the region – a move that could spur more deforestation.
“We want to be an example to the world in taking care of our own things,” he said, adding that Brazil was now open to adopting targets to cut its own greenhouse gas emissions if rich countries agreed to do more.

Thursday, June 18, 2009



Proper environmental management is the key to avoiding the quarter of all preventable illnesses which are directly caused by environmental factors. The environment influences our health in many ways — through exposures to physical, chemical and biological risk factors, and through related changes in our behaviour in response to those factors.

Thirteen million deaths annually are due to preventable environmental causes. Preventing environmental risk could save as many as four million lives a year, in children alone, mostly in developing countries.

Indoor air pollution
Exposure to indoor air pollution from solid fuels has been linked to many diseases, in particular pneumonia among children and chronic respiratory diseases among adults.

More than three billion people worldwide continue to depend on solid fuels, including biomass fuels (wood, dung, agricultural residues) and coal, for their energy needs.

Cooking and heating with solid fuels on open fires or traditional stoves results in high levels of indoor air pollution. Indoor smoke contains a range of health-damaging pollutants, such as small particles and carbon monoxide, and particulate pollution levels may be 20 times higher than accepted guideline values.

According to The world health report 2002 indoor air pollution is responsible for 2.7% of the global burden of disease.

WHO’s Programme on Indoor Air Pollution
To combat this substantial and growing burden of disease, WHO has developed a comprehensive programme to support developing countries.

WHO's Programme on Indoor Air Pollution focuses on:

(1) Research and evaluation
Research constitutes a key building block along a spectrum of activities that are required in working towards the reduction of the health burden from indoor air pollution.

WHO particularly emphasizes the importance of ongoing and planned intervention projects but also encourages research into the impacts of indoor air pollution on a range of health outcomes.

A thorough evaluation of the various health and broader impacts of interventions to reduce indoor air pollution will help generate the evidence that is required for making sound policy recommendations.

(2) Capacity Building
WHO is committed to building the capacity of researchers and policy-makers working in the areas of household energy and indoor air pollution at the regional and national level.

WHO provides technical advice to and organizes training workshops for researchers and organizations involved in exposure and health outcome assessments as part of ongoing and planned intervention projects.

WHO also encourages and supports the assessment of the national burden of disease due to indoor air pollution, and cost-effectiveness or cost-benefit analyses of interventions.

(3) Evidence for policy-makers
Current evidence on the effectiveness of different interventions is insufficient for providing clear guidance to decision-makers on suitable strategies to reduce the health effects caused by indoor air pollution.

The medium-term goal of WHO’s Programme on Indoor Air Pollution is to provide a catalogue of intervention experiences to decision-makers.

Working towards this goal, the following questions will need to be addressed over the coming years:

*Do interventions reduce the disease burden?
*What are the broader impacts of interventions on livelihoods?
*Do interventions pay off in economic terms?
*How can we make interventions sustainable?
*How can we scale up effective interventions?

WHO aims to conduct a comparative evaluation of intervention experiences in different settings. This evaluation will investigate the effectiveness of interventions as well as the enabling factors that facilitate long-term, sustained adoption and use of suitable improved technologies.


SOURCE : Larry West,

Burning fossil fuels such as natural gas, coal, oil and gasoline raises the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and carbon dioxide is a major contributor to the greenhouse effect and global warming.

You can help to reduce the demand for fossil fuels, which in turn reduces global warming, by using energy more wisely. Here are 10 simple actions you can take to help reduce global warming.

1. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Do your part to reduce waste by choosing reusable products instead of disposables. Buying products with minimal packaging (including the economy size when that makes sense for you) will help to reduce waste. And whenever you can, recycle paper, plastic, newspaper, glass and aluminum cans. If there isn't a recycling program at your workplace, school or in your community, ask about starting one. By recycling half of your household waste, you can save 2,400 pounds of carbon dioxide annually.

2. Use Less Heat and Air Conditioning
Adding insulation to your walls and attic, and installing weather stripping or caulking around doors and windows can lower your heating costs more than 25 percent, by reducing the amount of energy you need to heat and cool your home.

Turn down the heat while you're sleeping at night or away during the day, and keep temperatures moderate at all times. Setting your thermostat just 2 degrees lower in winter and higher in summer could save about 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide each year.

3. Change a Light Bulb
Wherever practical, replace regular light bulbs with compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs. Replacing just one 60-watt incandescent light bulb with a CFL will save you $30 over the life of the bulb. CFLs also last 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs, use two-thirds less energy, and give off 70 percent less heat.

If every U.S. family replaced one regular light bulb with a CFL, it would eliminate 90 billion pounds of greenhouse gases, the same as taking 7.5 million cars off the road.

4. Drive Less and Drive Smart
Less driving means fewer emissions. Besides saving gasoline, walking and biking are great forms of exercise. Explore your community mass transit system, and check out options for carpooling to work or school.

When you do drive, make sure your car is running efficiently. For example, keeping your tires properly inflated can improve your gas mileage by more than 3 percent. Every gallon of gas you save not only helps your budget, it also keeps 20 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.

5. Buy Energy-Efficient Products
When it's time to buy a new car, choose one that offers good gas mileage. Home appliances now come in a range of energy-efficient models, and compact florescent bulbs are designed to provide more natural-looking light while using far less
energy than standard light bulbs.

Avoid products that come with excess packaging, especially molded plastic and other packaging that can't be recycled. If you reduce your household garbage by 10 percent, you can save 1,200 pounds of carbon dioxide annually.

6. Use Less Hot Water
Set your water heater at 120 degrees to save energy, and wrap it in an insulating blanket if it is more than 5 years old. Buy low-flow showerheads to save hot water and about 350 pounds of carbon dioxide yearly. Wash your clothes in warm or cold water to reduce your use of hot water and the energy required to produce it. That change alone can save at least 500 pounds of carbon dioxide annually in most households. Use the energy-saving settings on your dishwasher and let the dishes air-dry.

7. Use the "Off" Switch
Save electricity and reduce global warming by turning off lights when you leave a room, and using only as much light as you need. And remember to turn off your television, video player, stereo and computer when you're not using them.

It's also a good idea to turn off the water when you're not using it. While brushing your teeth, shampooing the dog or washing your car, turn off the water until you actually need it for rinsing. You'll reduce your water bill and help to conserve a vital resource.

8. Plant a Tree
If you have the means to plant a tree, start digging. During photosynthesis, trees and other plants absorb carbon dioxide and give off oxygen. They are an integral part of the natural atmospheric exchange cycle here on Earth, but there are too few of them to fully counter the increases in carbon dioxide caused by automobile traffic, manufacturing and other human activities. A single tree will absorb approximately one ton of carbon dioxide during its lifetime.

9. Get a Report Card from Your Utility Company
Many utility companies provide free home energy audits to help consumers identify areas in their homes that may not be energy efficient. In addition, many utility companies offer rebate programs to help pay for the cost of energy-efficient upgrades.

10. Encourage Others to Conserve
Share information about recycling and energy conservation with your friends neighbors and co-workers, and take opportunities to encourage public officials to establish programs and policies that are good for the environment.

These 10 steps will take you a long way toward reducing your energy use and your monthly budget. And less energy use means less dependence on the fossil fuels that create greenhouse gases and contribute to global warming.


Source : Christine Dell'Amore /NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC NEWS (June 4th, 2009)

Mother Nature has a previously unknown cleaning agent that scrubs away toxic air pollution, scientists have discovered.

What's more, the existence of the still mysterious substance has shaken up decades-long assumptions about our atmosphere's self-cleaning process.

Many studies have shown that trace gases and pollutants in the lowest level of our atmosphere break down naturally, thanks to molecules called hydroxyl (OH) radicals.

But the breakdown spews out ozone, itself a toxic pollutant and a greenhouse gas. (Get global warming facts.)

Not so in China's heavily polluted Pearl River Delta, where experts were stumped to find lots of OH radicals but relatively small amounts of resulting ozone.

(Related: "China's Olympic Pollution Efforts Paid Off, Expert Says.")

"It was a complete surprise to us [that], after such a long time of scientific research, such a big gap has been found," said study co-author Franz Rohrer, of the Institute of Chemistry and Dynamics of the Geosphere in Jülich, Germany.

Global Advantage

Highly reactive OH radicals are continually recycled in the atmosphere through reactions with water vapor and nitric oxide, both naturally present in the air.

Part of nature's self-cleaning mechanism, the reactions break down trace amounts of pollutants, Rohrer said.

But when the radicals are recycled by nitric oxide, ozone is created.

In the Pearl River region, about 37 miles (60 kilometers) northwest of Guangzhou (Canton), OH radicals were more concentrated than in any other place measured by the team worldwide, Rohrer said.

Meanwhile, the delta's air contained relatively little ozone.

This suggests the existence of another method of recycling OH radicals—one that occurs without nitric oxide, the team suggests in this week's Science Express
Such a process is so unexpected that scientists likely did not have the right tools with them at the time to measure it, Rohrer said.

The team, led by Rohrer's colleague Andreas Hofzumahaus, plan to test Chinese air samples in a simulation chamber in their laboratory.

If they can solve the puzzle, the yet unknown ingredient could have a positive impact on the global atmosphere, Rohrer added.

"You have the advantage that the harmful pollutants are degraded fast, but you don't have the misfortune that ozone is generated for it," he said.

"You are gaining on both sides."

Big Change?

Jingqiu Mao, a postdoctoral research fellow at Harvard University's Atmospheric Chemistry Modeling Group, said there may be other explanations for the high level of OH radicals found in the Chinese delta.

But he added in an email that the new study's findings are different than all previous field-research results around the world.

"This paper will largely change our understanding of ozone production in many scales," Mao said, if the findings "can be confirmed by more evidences from field studies or laboratory experiments."

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Source : GinaMarie Cheeseman / Care2

The Obama administration released a report today by the U.S. Global Change Research Program about the impacts of climate change in the U.S. Every four years federal law requires comprehensive reports on the impacts of climate change. The Bush administration was sued by the Center for Biological Diversity in order to force the release of an early draft of the report. A report had not been written since 2000.

The report states that reducing carbon emissions “would lessen warming over this century and beyond.” Particularly, “sizable early cuts in emissions would significantly reduce the pace and the overall amount of climate change.” However, earlier emissions reductions “would have a greater effect in reducing climate change than comparable reductions made later.” Reducing emissions of “shorter-lived heat-trapping gases would began to reduce warming within weeks to decades.” Methane is cited as an example.

There are two ways to deal with climate change: mitigation and adaptation. The report cites several examples of mitigation: energy efficiency, energy sources that either do not produce carbon or produce less of it, and capture and storage of carbon from fossil fuels.”

Some impacts of climate change will continue despite reductions of greenhouse gas emissions, so adaptation is also needed. Among the examples of adaptation the report cites are growing crops better suited to either a dry or wet climate, and businesses relocating from coastal areas vulnerable to sea-level rise and hurricanes.

The ten key findings of the report are:

1. Global warming is unequivocal and primarily human-induced.
2. Climate changes are underway in the United States and are projected to grow.
3. Widespread climate-related impacts are occurring now and are expected to increase.
4. Climate change will stress water resources.
5. Crop and livestock production will be increasingly challenged.
6. Coastal areas are at increasing risk from sea-level rise and storm surge.
7. Risks to human health will increase.
8. Climate change will interact with many social and environmental stresses.
9. Thresholds will be crossed, leading to large changes in climate and ecosystems.
10. Future climate change and its impacts depend on choices made today.

The report listed the following recommendations for dealing with climate change:

Expand our understanding of climate change impacts

Refine ability to project climate change, including extreme events, at local scales

Expand capacity to provide decision makers and the public with relevant information on climate change and its impacts

Improve understanding of thresholds likely to lead to abrupt changes in climate or ecosystems

Improve understanding of the most effective ways to reduce the rate and magnitude of climate change, as well as unintended consequences of such activities
Enhance understanding of how society can adapt to climate change
A call to action

This report provides the concrete scientific information that says unequivocally that climate change is happening now and it's happening in our own backyards and it affects the kind of things people care about," said Jane Lubchenco, head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "We need to act sooner rather than later.”

"This is the clearest of wake up calls — climate change is here and the time for action is now," said World Wildlife Fund President Carter Roberts


Good Morning, one and all....
How was your night? Hope you have had a good night's rest and are ready to face another day ...

Just came across a news article on sleep, dreams and their meanings which may be an-eye opener for many...interesting for me, to say the least.

(Source : Tiffany Sharples /TIME / June 16th, 2009)

Dreams may not be the secret window into the frustrated desires of the unconscious that Sigmund Freud first posited in 1899, but growing evidence suggests that dreams - and, more so, sleep - are powerfully connected to the processing of human emotions.

According to new research presented last week at the annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies in Seattle, adequate sleep may underpin our ability to understand complex emotions properly in waking life. "Sleep essentially is resetting the magnetic north of your emotional compass," says Matthew Walker, director of the Sleep and Neuroimaging Lab at the University of California, Berkeley. (See the top 10 scientific discoveries of 2008.)

A recent study by Walker and his colleagues examined how rest - specifically, rapid eye movement (REM) sleep - influences our ability to read emotions in other people's faces. In the small analysis of 36 adults, volunteers were asked to interpret the facial expressions of people in photographs, following either a 60- or 90-minute nap during the day or with no nap. Participants who had reached REM sleep (when dreaming most frequently occurs) during their nap were better able to identify expressions of positive emotions like happiness in other people, compared with participants who did not achieve REM sleep or did not nap at all. Those volunteers were more sensitive to negative expressions, including anger and fear.

Past research by Walker and colleagues at Harvard Medical School, which was published in the journal Current Biology, found that in people who were sleep deprived, activity in the prefrontal lobe - a region of the brain involved in controlling emotion - was significantly diminished. He suggests that a similar response may be occurring in the nap-deprived volunteers, albeit to a lesser extent, and that it may have its roots in evolution. "If you're walking through the jungle and you're tired, it might benefit you more to be hypersensitive to negative things," he says. The idea is that with little mental energy to spare, you're emotionally more attuned to things that are likely to be the most threatening in the immediate moment. Inversely, when you're well rested, you may be more sensitive to positive emotions, which could benefit long-term survival, he suggests: "If it's getting food, if it's getting some kind of reward, finding a wife - those things are pretty good to pick up on." (See more about sleep.)

Our daily existence is largely influenced by our ability "to understand our societal interactions, to understand someone else's emotional state of mind, to understand the expression on their face," says Ninad Gujar, a senior research scientist at Walker's lab and lead author of the study, which was recently submitted for publication. "These are the most fundamental processes guiding our personal and professional lives."

REM sleep appears to not only improve our ability to identify positive emotions in others; it may also round out the sharp angles of our own emotional experiences. Walker suggests that one function of REM sleep - dreaming, in particular - is to allow the brain to sift through that day's events, process any negative emotion attached to them, then strip it away from the memories. He likens the process to applying a "nocturnal soothing balm." REM sleep, he says, "tries to ameliorate the sharp emotional chips and dents that life gives you along the way." (See the top 10 medical breakthroughs of 2008.)

It's not that you've forgotten. You haven't," he says. "It's a memory of an emotional episode, but it's no longer emotional itself."

That palliative safety-valve quality of sleep may be hampered when we fail to reach REM sleep or when REM sleep is disrupted, Walker says. "If you don't let go of the emotion, what results is a constant state of anxiety," he says.

The theory is consistent with new research conducted by Rebecca Bernert, a doctoral candidate in clinical psychology at Florida State University who specializes in the relationship between sleep and suicidal thoughts and behaviors, and who also presented her work at the sleep conference this week.

In her study of 82 men and women between the ages of 18 and 66 who were admitted into a mental-health hospital for emergency psychiatric evaluation, Bernert discovered that the presence of severe and frequent nightmares or insomnia was a strong predictor of suicidal thoughts and behaviors. More than half of the study participants had attempted suicide at least once in the past, and the 17% of the study group who had made an attempt within the previous month had dramatically higher scores in nightmare frequency and intensity than the rest. Bernert found that the relationship between nightmares or insomnia and suicide persisted, even when researchers controlled for other factors like depression. See TIME's special report on how not to get sick.)

Past studies have also established a link between chronic sleep disruption and suicide. Sleep complaints, which include nightmares, insomnia and other sleep disturbances, are listed in the current Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's inventory of suicide-prevention warning signs. Yet what distinguishes Bernert's research is that when nightmares and insomnia were evaluated separately, nightmares were independently predictive of suicidal behavior. "It may be that nightmares present a unique risk for suicidal symptoms, which may have to do with the way we process emotion within dreams," Bernert says.

If that's the case, it may help explain the recurring nightmares that characterize psychiatric conditions like posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Walker says. "The brain has not stripped away the emotional rind from that experience memory," he says, so "the next night, the brain offers this up, and it fails again, and it starts to sound like a broken record ... What you hear [PTSD] patients describing is, 'I can't get over the event

At the biological level, Walker explains, the "emotional rind" translates to sympathetic nervous-system activity during sleep: faster heart rate and the release of stress chemicals. Understanding why nightmares recur and how REM sleep facilitates emotional processing - or hinders it, when nightmares take place and perpetuate the physical stress symptoms - may eventually provide clues to effective treatments of painful mental disorders. Perhaps, even, by simply addressing sleeping habits, doctors could potentially interrupt the emotional cycle that can lead to suicide. "There is an opportunity for prevention," Bernert says.

The new findings highlight what researchers are increasingly recognizing as a two-way relationship between psychiatric disorders and disrupted sleep. "Modern medicine and psychiatry have consistently thought that psychological disorders seem to have co-occuring sleep problems and that it's the disorder perpetuating the sleep problems," says Walker. "Is it possible that, in fact, it's the sleep disruption contributing to the psychiatric disorder?"

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Remember this saying???
"Early to bed and early to rise.... Makes a man HEALTHY, WEALTHY AND WISE"

So, sleep tight and don't let those bed bugs bite!!!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Hi all.... a timely safety alert for all drivers when re-fueling at gas stations - THANKS TO THE SHELL OIL COMPANY for the advice:

Safety Alert! Here's some reasons why we don't allow cell phones in operating areas, propylene oxide handling and storage area, propane, gas and diesel refueling areas.

The Shell Oil Company recently issued a warning after three incidents in which mobile phones (cell phones) ignited fumes during fueling operations

In the first case, the phone was placed on the car's trunk lid during fueling; it rang and the ensuing fire destroyed the car and the gasoline pump.

In the second, an individual suffered severe burns to their face when fumes ignited as they answered a call while refueling their car!

And in the third, an individual suffered burns to the thigh and groin as fumes ignited when the phone, which was in their pocket, rang while they were fueling their car.

You should know that:
Mobile Phones can ignite fuel or fumes

Mobile phones that light up when switched on or when they ring release enough energy to provide a spark for ignition

Mobile phones should not be used in filling stations, or when fueling lawn mowers, boat, Etc.

Mobile phones should not be used, or should be turned off, around other materials that generate flammable or explosive fumes or dust, (i.e., solvents, chemicals, gases, grain dust, etc.)

To sum it up, here are the: Four Rules for Safe Refueling

1) Turn off engine
2) Don't smoke
3) Don't us e your cell phone - leave it inside the vehicle or turn it off
4) Don't re-enter your vehicle during fueling

Bob Renkes of Petroleum Equipment Institute is working on a campaign to try and make people aware of fires as a result of 'static electricity' at gas pumps. His company has researched 150 cases of these fires.

His results were very surprising:
1) Out of 150 cases, almost all of them were women.
2) Almost all cases involved the person getting back in their vehicle while the nozzle was still pumping gas. When finished, they went back to pull the nozzle out and the fire started, as a result of static.
3) Most had on rubber-soled shoes.
4) Most men never get back in their vehicle until completely finished. This is why they are seldom involved in these types of fires.
5) Don't ever use cell phones when pumping gas
6) It is the vapors that come out of the gas th at cause the fire, when connected with static charges.
7) There were 29 fires where the vehicle was re-entered and the nozzle was touched during refueling from a variety of makes and models. Some resulted in extensive damage to the vehicle, to the station, and to the customer.
8) Seventeen fires occurred before, during or immediately after the gas cap was removed and before fueling began.

Mr. Renkes stresses to NEVER get back into your vehicle while filling it with gas.

If you absolutely HAVE to get in your vehicle while the gas is pumping, make sure you get out, close the door TOUCHING THE METAL, before you ever pull the nozzle out. This way the static from your body will be discharged before you ever remove the nozzle.

As I mentioned earlier, The Petroleum Equipment Institute, along with several other companies now, are really trying to make the public aware of this danger. You can find out more information by going to Once here, click in the center of the screen where it says 'Stop Static'.

If you absolutely HAVE to get in your vehicle while the gas is pumping, make sure you get out, close the door TOUCHING THE METAL, before you ever pull the nozzle out. This way the static from your body will be discharged before you ever remove the nozzle.

I ask you to please send this in formation to ALL your family and friends, especially those who have kids in the car with them while pumping gas. If this were to happen to them, they may not be able to get the children out in time. Thanks for passing this along.


If you are looking to live a long and healthy life - here's is something you will find helpful:

SOURCE : Matt McMillen /Women's Health

The fountain of youth has yet to be found, bottled, and sold for $3.99 at Whole Foods. But that doesn't mean the secret to living a long, healthy life can't be bought at the supermarket. "By eating right, you maximize the probability that you won't develop conditions like diabetes or Alzheimer's," says James Joseph, Ph.D., a neuroscientist at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University. Beyond choosing the best foods, new and intriguing evidence shows that eating less — less than you probably think — can reduce the toll time takes on your body.

We pored over the latest research on how food affects your life span and found seven no-fail food rules. Follow them — plus the detailed eating plan we created — and you'll have the best possible chance of blowing out 100 candles on your birthday cake. Not to mention keeping your much older self out of the rocker and on the dance floor, yoga mat, mountain bike — or wherever else you want to be.

RULE 1: Go For Color
The biggest anti-aging breakthrough in recent history comes from new discoveries about the power of antioxidants. For those who have heard the word but are fuzzy on the details, here's a crash course. As the cells in our bodies metabolize oxygen, unstable molecules called free radicals form. These cause cell damage that has been linked to age-related illnesses like Alzheimer's and heart disease. Many scientists think that all symptoms of aging are the direct result of free radicals attacking our cells.

Antioxidants (cue the superhero music) neutralize free radicals, preventing them from doing any damage — and thereby slowing the aging process. "Antioxidants can even reverse damage to our cells," says Bonnie Taub-Dix, R.D., a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. While there's ongoing debate about how many of the large variety of food-derived antioxidants our bodies can actually use and how efficiently we can use them, a convincing pile of research points to a strong connection between foods loaded with antioxidants and a longer,healthier life.

Luckily, spotting foods high in the amazing stuff is easy, thanks to a handy trick of nature: They're the ones bursting with color. Berries have tons of antioxidants, and according to Dr. Joseph's research, they help maintain cognitive and motor functioning as we age. Pomegranates have been found to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. And results recently published in the British Journal of Cancer show that broccoli and brussels sprouts — which will probably taste better to you now than they did when you were 5 — contain compounds that help prevent breast cancer.

RULE 2: Rely On Real Food, Not Supplements
Given all the hype about antioxidants, your local health-food store is probably already shilling an antioxidant pill with a label covered in promises. Well, stroll past it. Supplements have nothing on fresh, whole foods. Case in point: the massive Iowa Women's Health Study. Researchers found that among the 34,492 women participating in the study, those who ate foods rich in vitamin E, such as nuts, lessened their chances of suffering a stroke. Vitamin E supplements, on the other hand, provided no protection.

Natural foods contain "thousands of compounds that interact in complex ways, and if you take one out, there's no predicting how it will function on its own," says Frank Hu, Ph.D., associate professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health. He points out that large-scale trials of individual antioxidant supplements have been largely disappointing.

RULE 3: Avoid Processed Foods
Processed foods — those full of preservatives, chemicals, and added colors — simply aren't as nutritious. And every time you eat a highly processed food, you're bypassing another food that actually can help delay the effects of aging.

The classic example is whole-wheat bread versus white bread. Whole wheat is proven to fight heart disease, thanks to its abundance of fiber and other nutrients. White bread isn't. "Many nutrients are taken out during processing, and few are put back," says Lisa Hark, Ph.D., R.D., director of nutrition education at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

Your body also typically digests whole food more slowly than processed food, which keeps blood sugar and insulin levels from fluctuating rapidly. "In the long term, this may help you avoid diabetes," Dr. Hu says. And because whole foods pack fewer calories per gram, they ward off weight-related illnesses like heart disease and stroke.

RULE 4: Don't Be Afraid Of (Good) Fats Fat is not a four-letter word. "Unsaturated fats from vegetable oils, nuts, avocados, and fish improve insulin sensitivity and reduce blood lipids," Dr. Hu says. That translates into lower risk for heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.

Healthy fats help make the Mediterranean-style diet — consisting mostly of vegetables, nuts, beans, olive oil, and fish — so superior. The Harvard School of Public Health and University of Athens Medical School found that this type of diet reduces the risk of death from heart disease and cancer by 25 percent. And a recent Columbia University Medical Center study reported that it can lower the risk of Alzheimer's disease by 40 percent.

Treating yourself to salmon and other fish that deliver omega-3 fatty acids two to four times a week, along with a small handful of nuts a day, may reduce your risk of heart disease by 30 percent and lower your cholesterol as well, according to research from Harvard. Your looks will benefit too: Early evidence suggests that omega-3s will have your grandkids crooning, "Grandma, what soft, wrinkle-free skin you have!"

RULE 5: Sip Red Wine
Another revelation of the Harvard/Athens study was the benefits of red wine. Drinking one glass a day, four to five times a week (preferably with a meal), has been shown to reduce the risk of heart attacks, diabetes, and other life-threatening illnesses. Part of the credit goes to the alcohol, which helps soothe inflamed arteries. But specific to red wine — especially pinot noir — are antioxidants called flavonoids which are particularly good free-radical fighters.

Consuming wine conservatively (pace yourselves, people) will help you reap all the heart-healthy benefits, but you should go easier on the bottle as you age: Alcohol consumption has been linked to increased risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women.

RULE 6: Guzzle Green Tea Packed with powerful antioxidants — this time called catechins — green tea may be the single most life-prolonging substance you can put in your cup. A mug a day will decrease your chance of developing high blood pressure by 46 percent. (A good thing, since 35 million women are currently hypertensive.) Drink more and reduce your risk by 65 percent.

Enough studies have shown green tea's ability to inhibit the growth of cancer cells that the National Cancer Institute is conducting trials on both a tea-based pill and a topical ointment to treat cancerous skin growths.

The best of the best? A recent study in the Journal of Food Science found that, of all 77 U.S. brands tested, Stash Darjeeling Organic Green Tea delivers the greatest number of catechins — 100 per gram.

RULE 7: Eat Less
Want proof that staying slim is linked to a longer, more enjoyable life? Just look around: The 90-somethings running after their grandkids on the beach or dancing at weddings aren't the overweight ones.

Science backs this up. Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health found that women who stayed closest to their weight at 18 — yes, 18 — throughout their lives had a 66 percent lower risk of developing heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and gallstones compared with women who put on 11 to 22 pounds by middle age. Another study found that women who gained 60 pounds after age 18 were up to three times more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer.

Of course, as we age, extra pounds seem to materialize out of nowhere. "If you keep the physical activity the same and food the same, you will put on a pound or two a year," says Walter Willett, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health and one of the lead researchers of the study. Thanks to a natural decrease in hormones that help maintain muscle mass, "those muscles shrink, you burn less energy, and you accumulate fat," he says.

There's a two-part solution. First, start weight training, if you don't already, and keep it up through the years to retain calorie-burning muscles.

And, more important, start cutting calories — while keeping nutrients. In 2004, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis reported that people who consistently ate 10to 25 percent fewer calories than the average American, while still keeping a balanced diet, had remarkably low blood pressure and low levels of bad cholesterol and triglycerides — too much of which can spell "heart attack." Reduced calorie intake has also been linked to lower risk of cancer and Alzheimer's.

The National Academy of Science has several theories about why eating less makes such a difference. While we often strive to boost our metabolism to stay slim, some researchers believe we need to do the opposite to live longer: A low-cal diet slows your metabolism, and a slow metabolism produces fewer free radicals. When you eat less, you also produce less glucose, which has been linked to cell damage. And low-calorie diets reduce your body's core temperature and its response to insulin, both of which may increase longevity in humans.

Okay. If you start skipping snacks, how many years will you add to your life? Doctors aren't sure — but studies have shown that calorie-restricted rats live 30 percent longer than rats that eat normally.

This rule is the toughest one of all to follow. But if it makes you feel better, Sergei Romashkan, M.D., Ph.D., chief of clinical trials at the National Institute of Aging, says that eating 25 percent less than usual caused very little crankiness in his study subjects. "Our participants were quite happy and full," he says.

And that's the best news about the longevity diet — there are enough filling, delicious, life-saving foods out there that you can stay happy and satisfied. Does knowing this make resisting ice cream any easier? Probably not. But if you find something that does, let us know.

BLOGGER'S NOTE: Please go careful on pointers where meat/fish/alcohol are recommended here. Go for alternatives..... thanks.

Monday, June 15, 2009


Hi friends...

Here's something interesting everyone should know about. Our world's eco-systems play an essential part in mitigating global warming. Read about it here:

Ecosystems are nature's ways of absorbing carbon dioxide and can play an important part in mitigating climate change, according to a report released last Friday by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP titled, The Natural Fix: The Role of Ecosystems in Climate Mitigation. The report identifies three ecosystems are priorities: tropical forests, peatlands, and agriculture.

Much of peatland degradation could be avoided through restoration, and agriculture could be "carbon neutral" by 2030, the report states. The report also recommends a 50 percent reduction rate in deforestation by 2050, and maintaining it until 2100, which equals 12 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions reductions needed to keep atmospheric concentrations of carbon below 450 parts per minute (ppm).

"We need to move toward a comprehensive policy framework for addressing ecosystems," said co-author Barney Dickson.

Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director,pointed out that billions of dollars "are being earmarked for carbon capture and storage at power stations with the CO2 to be buried underground or under the sea." Steiner added, "By some estimates the Earth's living systems might be capable of sequestering more than 50 gigatones (Gt) of carbon over the coming decades with the right market signals."

Activist groups issued consensus statement aboutde forestation
Activist groups issued a consensus statement about halting deforestation on June 9 at climate talks in Bonn, Germany. The consensus called for measures to be included in the Copenhagen protocol "to reduce consumption of forest products." The Copenhagen protocol should also exclude "any form of carbon offsetting," the statement said.

Monoculture tree plantations should not be established and managed, according to the consensus statement, “including genetically modified tree plantations, and the practice of industrial logging from these policies.”

The consensus statement called for developed countries to make “immediate and drastic cuts in their domestic greenhouse gas emissions." The statement specifically called for a 45 percent reduction by 2020, and a 95 percent reduction by 2050.

"The magnitude of emissions from forest degradation represents at least 30 percent of total emissions from the forest sector," according to a recent report by the Nature Conservancy. Reduced impact logging (RIL) would help reduce GHG emissions from degradation. Studies indicate that RIL methods may reduce carbon emissions per unit of wood extracted by 30 to 50 percent.

The report lists two other ways to reduce emissions from degradation:

Forest certification—Certification from groups like Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) help reduce carbon emissions

Integrated Fire Management (IFM)—Evaluates and balances the risks of fire with the “beneficial or necessary ecological”

"My major concern is that until we talk about these issues in a meaningful way, we aren't talking about a real solution," Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) Forest Campaigns Director Andrea Johnson said.

(Source: Gina Marie Cheeseman / Care2)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Thanks to JENNA for sharing this piece of good news :


Taiwan is to enact the world's strictest law on labeling vegetarian food at the request of Buddhists and people who eat vegetarian for health reasons, the health ministry said Monday. Starting from July 1, Taiwan food manufacturers must use five categories, up from the current two, to identify the content of vegetarian food. Violators will be fined from 40,000 to 200,000 Taiwan dollars (1,200-6,000 US dollars), the Department of Health said.
Currently the labelling only indicates whether food is pure vegetarian or contains no meat but egg and milk. Now added are categories separating egg and milk as well as vegan.

Pure vegetarian refers to food which does not contain meat, egg, milk or plants including onion, garlic or leek, which are spicy and considered unclean and bad for meditation. They are banned for strict Buddhist practitioners. Vegan, on the other hand, may contain the "unclean" vegetables.
The new rule also bans food manufacturers from labelling food as vegetarian if it is fermented - like chilly sauce - and its alcohol content exceeds 8 per cent.

"We request clear labeling of vegetarian food to meet the needs of the growing number of vegetarian food users of about 2 million, and to help religious practitioners not break food taboos," health department official Hsu Ching-hsin said.

Most Taiwan food manufacturers support the government's labelling requirements, but find it difficult to implement them.

"We will comply with the rule, but we are afraid that it could be confusing to consumers if we print too much information on the food packages," Wu Hsu-hui, a spokeswoman for Uni-President Enterprises Corp, Taiwan's largest food conglomerate told the German Press Agency dpa.
But Pasadena Bakery, which sells more than 100 kinds of cakes and bread in three outlets in Kaohsiung, south Taiwan, sees no difficulty in following the new rule.

"We are already using the pure veggie and egg/milk veggie labels. It is easy for us for us to expand that to five labels," Chien Su-ling, the bakery's brand name manager, said.
Publication date: 6/9/2009

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Happy Fathers' Day - In memory of dear old Pa !

It's true what they said about how much one will value a person/thing after you've lost them forever.

FATHERS' DAY is just round the corner.... and as with many others, I will light a special candle in memory of my dear old dad. Dad passed on at aged 74 in early 2002 January 19th to be exact .... a day I will never forget .... forever etched in the deepest recesses of my mind. A fateful day which changed me forever. Why? Because I was not by dad's side when he breathed his last. When he needed a hand to hold his as he crossed life's last threshold. I never had the chance to tell him how much I loved him and missed him.

Among the 5 sons, dad was the good-looking one - he had to be otherwise mom wouldn't have married him in the first place. He joined a sawmill at age 19 and never changed job till his retirement at aged 65. He was a very talented and alert young man and in the course of his job, he took the initiative to improve himself. So much so, he finally became a 'saw doctor' - where he was in charge of honing the big saws used for cutting up logs in the sawmills. Before that, he was like the others sawmill workers... sawing logs into planks for local use. It was hard work.... and I remembered he would come home in the evenings all tired out from the day's work.

One thing that I admired about dad was his frugal usage of everything-- from his hard-earned money to recyling of anything he could get his hands on! He would used scraps of metal, wood and turn them into useful household stuff. He had made toilet rolls holders,soap dishes, clothes hangers, rings, etc. Although these were crude replicas... they refelcted the creative urge in him. I truly believe (to this day) that in his past life, dad must have been a craftsman of some sort. And the memory of his past talents still showed up in his last life. I still have some of the things he had made... they are precious treasures for me to keep as long as I live this life.

Being the eldest of his 5 children (a boy and three other girls) I had the advantage of being his favourite child. Dad was only 24 years old when he held me in his arms the very first time. I can imagine how proud he must have been to have sired a child.... and in the years that followed... he moulded me into what I am today. As tough as he was .... he had always mentioned that he wished I was borne a boy!

We grew up poor... no luxuries like we are so used to now. No big house, no car. We all slept in the same room.... big enough to have a built-up platform bed (like the shao lin monks) for the 5 of us kids. BUT we were the happiest bunch of mischievous imps in the neighbourhood. I remembered we could not even afford to have apples and oranges... and when we do, we all shared one slice each of the fruit. Bananas was cheap then, so my mom, smart woman, would buy them for us. There was no special treats during birthdays... except for two boiled eggs.... and that was a luxury for us kids.

Dad was very careful with his money.... whereas mom was too generous with it... so there was never enough of it (money) to go around. I rememebred when I was in standard one (I attended an English medium school in the morning and then rushed off to a Chinese school in the afternoon session) Dad's company was in the doldrums... and there was not much work.. which meant no wages. Not realising what was going on, I pestered him for money to pay for the school fees. He could have stopped my schooling then... but no.... he went and pawned his ring so that I could continue on with my education. Dad, blessed him, value education very much as he only received four years of it during the Japanese Occupation of Malaya. But he was always reading newspapers and periodicals in his later years... so he was very up-to-date with news around the world. He enjoyed the coffee-shop sessions with his buddies where they would argue and debate over world issues.

When I started working.... I gave him a part of my first pay packet (RM100). You know what he did with the money? He saved it up in his post office account... it was too precious to spend on himself. That was dad. I wished I could have been like him always thinking twice before spending my hard earned money. When we could afford it, my siblings and I bought dad things he had forgo when were were still dependent on him to put food on the table. But for all the money we spent on him - it was never enough to repay him for what he had sacrificed for us all in our growing up years. Having 5 hungry mouths to feed was not something to joke about. I can never remember anyone of us going to bed without food in our stomachs during those hard times... all thanks to dad and mum who saw to it that we were fed and clothed well.

Mum used to nag dad for 'sparing the rod and spoiling the child' because he would rather not raise the cane on us if he could help it. The very, very few times he did, he would immediately go out and buy a toy or a favourite delicacy just so to pacify and 'manja' the disciplined child. So, we were never, ever afriad of him. My mum was the disciplinarian in the family - and if she whack you, she packed a good wallop anytime! Both my parents loved us to no end... and would give up their very lives for any of their children. Their love for us is so very unconditional!

Dad was a man of very few words and sometimes curt with his opinions. But he was a kind and good man with clean habits... he was the only person I know who throughout his lifetime... have abstained from smoking, drinking and gambling. It may have been due to circumstances then but even when we were independent and he was freed from having to support us, dad never indulge himself in any way. Oftentimes, it was the children who 'forced' luxuries on him.

Many times my siblings and I got angry with him for 'putting' us down in front of his friends. Whenever they compliment us for our achievements in life, dad would said something like this: "aiyah... where got? They are good for nothing compared to your son/daughter." It would riled us to no end when we heard this and we would all confront him later and asked why he made such remarks on his own flesh and blood. Poor dad would then sheepishly said that he didn't want to show off and tell the whole world he was really damn proud of us all! He was like that! But deep down, he was really proud of us his own special way. He saw in each of us what he couldn't be and he made it his responsibility to let us have the opportunity to be what we can become.

The last few years of his life were not happy ones for him. He was strickened with age-related illnesses ; gout, high blood pressure, heart problem, and diabetes. The endless visits to hospitals was draining his morale and energy. A last chance to add another short span to his ebbing life proved fatal. He succumbed to complications barely a month after a heart surgery and passed on - alone in the house.

Now, every morning and in the evenings, I will remember to light an incense stick in dad's memory.... he was the light of our lives, a mentor and a role model in our growing years. He is gone now but will always remain safe and warm in our hearts.

Personally, I have not only lost a father, but a companion, an adviser and a friend. I will never find anyone to replace him in my life. I wish I could have done more for him when he was alive and well..... to hold his hands and listen to his complaints with love and compassion. To be there when he needed to be loved .... I wish I could have a second chance to do just that....

I love you dad and miss you ... and if you are looking down from heaven.... please watch over me....until you hold me in your loving arms again.... soon.

Friday, June 5, 2009


Hi all,
Received a happy message that I would love to share with you......

Penguins and Seals Rejoice - South Africa Approves Marine Sanctuary!
Target: Marthinus Van Schalkwyk, Environment Minister, Republic of South Africa
Sponsored by: Care2

Penguins, albatrosses, killer whales and of course people can all jump for joy at the latest news from the Republic of South Africa! The country is set to establish one of the world's largest Marine Protected Areas (MPA) around its Prince Edward Islands. This inspiring achievement will help reduce the ecological impacts of fisheries, particularly on endangered seabirds.

The Prince Edward Islands in the Southern Ocean are amongst the world's most important and diverse regions. But until now, the islands have been threatened by illegal and irresponsible fishing practices.

Send a note to South Africa's Environment Minister thanking his department for creating this 11,846 square mile (180,000 square kilometre) ocean sanctuary.

(Let's all thank South Africa's environemntal department for this kind and compassioante act. May all of God's creatures and men live harmoniously in peace and tranquility.)


Thanks to Jenna for sharing this article with us:

How Dr Wu rid himself of cancer with a vegetarian diet

Published: 7/05/2009 at 12:00 AM
Newspaper section: Mylife

At the age of 30, Chinese doctor Tom Wu was diagnosed with advanced stages of lung cancer, and was told he had only a few months to live.

However, Dr Wu, who recently spoke with Mylife, has already reached 70 years old, and to our surprise, he still looks like a young and healthy man in his 50s.

Not only has he survived, but the doctor has maintained a healthy life. The cancer is all gone, and he said he's never caught a cold or other illness for 40 years.

He has stopped going for blood tests.

"My body and feelings tell me I'm well, that I'm truly in good health," says Dr Wu.

His secret lies in the power of natural healing.

Dr Wu always says that no wonder drug can cure diseases. But our own internal healing power,
our immune system, can. And what can strengthen our immune system are simple foods from Mother Nature, and a healthy lifestyle.

In his view, diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease can be overcome by changing the diet.

Dr Wu says people get sick because they eat the wrong foods. Fried food, for example, causes blockage in the arteries, bad circulation, cholesterol, and heart disease.

"Instead of taking a cholesterol lowering drug, I would urge them to stop eating greasy food. My suggestion is to eat clean food, which is high in phytochemicals," he says.

Phytochemicals are natural cleansing agents that will help rid plaque from your arteries. They come from natural foods such as vegetables, fruits with their seeds, and common garden herbs. Phytochemicals will nourish the body's cells so they can fight against any foreign substances that invade your body.

Dr Wu's outstanding contributions to the development of natural medicine earned him the "World Famous Doctor Award" from the UN in 2001, and the "Best Wellness Doctor of the World" award from India's World Wellness Open University in March.

The secrets of how he won the fight against lung cancer and maintains a healthy body are revealed in his first book, Dr Wu's Principle of Natural Cures, which has recently been translated from its original Chinese version into a Thai edition, Thammachart Chuay Chewit, published by Nanmeebooks Publications.

It was launched in Thailand in March.

Dr Wu says what's written in the book is unique and easy to understand because "the author is both the doctor and the patient himself".

All the ideas and guidelines suggested in the book come from his own experience as well as what he has learned from his patients.

Dr Wu turns to natural medicine.

Dr Wu had first studied Western medicine in France, and then furthered his education in alternative therapy, earning a doctorate degree.

The turning point arrived when he was diagnosed with lung cancer at the age of 30. Modern medicine gave him no hope; it was too late to remove the damaged parts of the lung. The cancer had already spread to other organs, and the doctor told him he had only a few months left.

In his despair, Dr Wu picked up the Bible and prayed to God. Then the Bible fell to the floor, and he read the page it opened to carefully.

The chapter talked about the days God created the Earth and everything needed for human beings. Then he created Adam and Eve, and told both of them that plants, vegetables and seeded fruits growing on Earth have been provided for them to eat.

"I thought about what I had eaten in the past - meat, fish, fried and grilled food, sweet cake, but God simply wanted us to eat vegetables and sour fruits.

I was confused and doubted whether I would become weak if I ate too many vegetables and less meat," says Dr Wu.

Yet he decided to follow the Bible's guidance. He ate a lot of vegetables and fruits, drank clean water, and completely adjusted his lifestyle - his sleeping, breathing and exercise habits.

Nine months later, he went for a check-up, and surprisingly no cancer cells were detected.

He advised people in his family and in the neighbourhood about his discovery, and studied natural medicine until he received a doctorate degree in naturopathy and nutrition from the US.

Dr Wu has been a frequent speaker at worldwide forums, spreading his knowledge on natural cures and the use of organic food.

He advises people to use the most simple foods in the most natural way in order to fight illnesses and maintain good health.

Published 07/05/2009 at 12:00AM

Newspaper section: Mylife

The human body has the power to heal itself. The immune system has a self-defence mechanism to block and destroy bacteria or viruses that invade our bodies, while the self-healing mechanism will get us back on the road to recovery. When you have a cold and take medicine, the medication may kill the virus but your immune system will not fully function, and its efficiency will decrease. As a result, your body will be more vulnerable to germs.

Dr Wu's principle is to strengthen the immune system, and avoid medication as much as possible. In his book, he offers the following guidelines to good health:

1. Have at least three bowel movements a day.
Other health experts may advise one bowel movement a day, but Dr Wu says that's not enough. You need three to four bowel movements a day in order to excrete all the accumulated faeces from your intestine. Your liver will not be overburdened and it also helps reduce cholesterol in your body.

2. Drink at least three glasses of fruit or vegetable smoothies each day.
This is a way to ingest enough phytochemicals to strengthen the body's cells and immune system.

Use not only the flesh, but also the skin and seeds of fruits and vegetables to make smoothies, as they are rich in

Most of the fruit seeds have small amounts of cyanide which kill bacteria and viruses without damaging the body.

Actually the recommended smoothie diet is six glasses a day, two in the morning, one before lunch, two more in the afternoon, and one more before dinner.

However, if that's too much, you may start with three glasses a day. Use a high powered blender (at least three
horsepower) as it can release phytochemicals from the fibre. It's best to choose sour fruits like green or red apples, grapes, pineapples, kiwi and lime.

3. Sunbathe 30 minutes daily.
We often hear that the Sun's UV rays will damage our skin, and many people apply sunblock before going out.

But Dr Wu says the opposite. He says the UV rays will help convert cholesterol underneath the skin into vitamin A which helps moisten the skin and prevent skin cancer, and also vitamin D that helps prevent colds, osteoporosis, and certain kinds of cancer.

"Therefore, use the Sun. Expose yourself to sunlight about one-half hour a day, at noon or another appropriate time based on your local climate.

The Sun will make you healthier," says Dr Wu.

4. Exercise 30 minutes a day.
Don't exercise for more than 30 minutes. If you go beyond that, your body will be overworked.

"If you do it more than half an hour, that will become labour, not exercise. Your heart and your body will be working too
hard," he says.

5. Shower with hot, then cold water.
Try an alternating cold and hot water shower: Three minutes of hot water followed by 30 seconds of cold water, then repeat twice more.

This process will bring a rush of blood and energy to your body. It helps increase your immune system, blood circulation, and metabolism.

6. Drink a lot of water, in the correct way.
How much water you need to drink each day depends on your specific situation. If your office is air-conditioned, drinking six glasses of water a day is enough.

If your work involves lots of walking, you have to drink 8-10 glasses a day. If you work under the hot sun, then 10-12
glasses of water are required.

The way you drink is also important. The correct way is to sip it little by little, to give your body cells time to absorb the water.

If you drink the whole glass down at once, your cells can't absorb it all, and the water will be excreted as urine.

7. Eat according to your blood type.
Your blood type determines what you should eat. Eating the wrong foods will make you sick.

People with blood type O have to eat a certain amount of meat. If they eat only vegetables for a long time, their body won't absorb all the substances they need to strengthen their immune system. The recommended diet for this group is 75% vegetables, 10% fruits, 10% meat, seafood and goat's milk (avoid cow's milk), and 5% grains.

People with blood type A, however should avoid milk and meat, while increasing grains and fruits.

People with blood type B should also avoid meat, while those with blood type AB should avoid chicken and beef.

8. Eat according to your biological clock.
Every human being has a biological clock that tells us when to eat, sleep, and wake up. If you don't follow your biological clock, the organs will lose their balance.

Toxins and wastes won't be excreted from your body, and soon you'll get sick.

According to Dr Wu, the biological clock is divided into three phases.

From 4am to noon is the time for bowel movements, so in the morning you should eat foods with lots of fibre. Fruit and vegetable smoothies are recommended.

From noon to 8pm, your body will absorb food so lunch is the most important meal. A vegetable salad with grains is recommended.

Fish or boiled eggs can be added to your lunch. Avoid meat at dinner as the amino acids in the meat will disturb your sleep. Try to finish dinner by 6pm.

From 8pm to 4am, the nutrients and energy from food will be distributed throughout your body organs. The golden time for your sleep is between 10pm and 2am, as your immune and self-healing system will function at its best.

SPECIAL NOTE : If you are a vegetarian/vegan - you may want to skip out point (7)
which touches on meats. As for the others, the option is for them to
make the right choice.