Archive for February, 2011

All you got to do …

by Birjoo Vaishnav

Oh my dear mind,
All you got to do
Is Let go!
River flows
Wind blows
Time runs
Sometimes fast
Sometimes slow
All you got to do
Is let go!

Catch the clouds
Or chasing the rainbow
you will be found
coz the earth is round,
Right Where you started,
Perhaps tired
perhaps sound!

All you got to do
Is let go!

If you are tired
No use running around
Come back
To the silence
Beyond the sound…
All you got to do
Is let go!

Future passes
Into the past
Brings presents too
If only you
Let the wrapping paper go!
Holding on and on,
The trashy streaks of past
You may not see-

All you got to do
Is let Go!

Wind moves away,
Clouds come and go
Sun stays
Raindrops glow
And if you look
In the drop you’ll find
Trapped, a tiny little
To see it shine
All you got to do
Is let Go!

All you got to do
Is let the tears go…
All you got to do
Is let the old leaves fall,
As the Earth spins around
Like a dancing Beau!
All you got to do,
Is protect the
sapling of bliss
In your humble heart
Let it Blossom
let Your smile aglow…
It’s real easy
All you got to do
Is just

It is easy to dream
It is easy to wake up.
All you need to know
Is that that which
Is you
And that which goes
Let what is be
And let what isn’t -go!
And if you hear me
You will see
Right now
That it’s easy
Actually it’s silly
The gone is gone
What are you holding on?
And if you are
It’s easy
All you got to do
Is open your arms
Breathe in the life


Read Full Post »

We interviewed John Tortorello, one of our New Jersey Sri Sri Yoga teachers.

Q. John, what do you like about yoga?
John: Yoga is the most natural science for the well-being of the body and the mind. Some people play video games to distract themselves. Yoga, for me, is an excellent distraction that leads to a good mental state. I don’t feel restless or de-energized afterwards. It is an energizing activity.

Yoga brings so much life into the body. It removes any discomfort or tension. It brings such awareness of the body. Yoga improves the communication between different parts of the body. It balances the various systems like the respiratory, circulatory, nervous and hormonal systems.

John teaching yoga at
the Art of Living center at Metuchen, New Jersey

The feeling of satisfaction and bliss that comes out of it is unmatched. I can’t get that from anything else. Hiking comes close and also gives me a great feeling. I like nature and fresh air! With yoga, sukha (happiness) increases and dukha (sorrow) decreases. It takes away misery, brings joyfulness and makes us aware of our true nature.

Yoga makes me transcend gross physical things like if the room temperature is not perfect or if the environment is not perfectly peaceful. I get that peace from inside. It puts me in touch with that peaceful space inside where there is perpetual satisfaction.


Read Full Post »

Got Milk?

by Vikas Chawla
Everything you ever wanted to know about milk (but were afraid to ask)

This all started over a dinner conversation with our dear friend Prashant Bajaj who is a chemist by training and he educated me on the nuances of homogenized and ultra-pasteurized milk. Even though I am a health nut I was quite clueless about these facts so I thought it would be a good idea to do some research and share the findings.

Ever wonder why milk in its natural state goes bad in a day or two but store-bought milk has a shelf life of 4 weeks or more? Think “Ultra pasteurization”.

Ultra pasteurization
Ultra-pasteurization is the sterilization of food by heating it for a short time, around 2 seconds, at a temperature exceeding 135°C (275°F), which is the temperature allegedly required to kill spores in milk. I am sure it kills some harmful bacteria but you can bet your paycheck that it kills some useful bacteria too.

Why do we do it? It increases the shelf life to 60 days. 
I am sure that is great for the grocers and the milk producing companies and also great for driving the local dairies out of business. As a minor side-effect ultra-pasteurization adversely influences the taste of the milk. More importantly, heating the milk at such a high temperature changes the molecular structure of milk.

I remember when I was a kid, a layer of cream floating to the top of the glass of milk but that does happen now. Ever wonder why? Think “Homogenization”.

Milk is not homogenous in nature, that is, when a cow is milked, and as the milk settles, a layer of cream forms at the top of the milk. This used to be the way people would judge the quality of milk. A thicker layer of cream meant better quality milk, and especially when milk was still normally sold in bottles, you could easily see into the bottle to judge the cream layer.

When milk is homogenized, it passes through a fine filter at pressures equal to 4,000 pounds per square inch, and in so doing, the fat globules (liposomes) are made smaller (micronized) by a factor of ten times or more. These fat molecules become evenly dispersed within the liquid milk.

Through homogenization, fat molecules in milk become smaller and become “capsules” for substances that bypass digestion. Proteins that would normally be digested in the stomach or gut are not broken down, and are absorbed into the bloodstream.

In theory, proteins are easily broken down by digestive processes. In reality, homogenization insures their survival so that they enter the bloodstream and deliver their messages. Often, the body reacts to foreign proteins by producing histamines, then mucus. And since cow’s milk proteins can resemble a human protein, they can become triggers for autoimmune diseases.

Why is homogenization done?
With pasteurization, milk could be shipped long distances. In transit the cream rose to the top, which meant that the most valuable part of the milk-the fat-was unevenly divided from one customer to another. Homogenization distributes the cream evenly, so everyone gets a share.

The only benefit of homogenization is that it prevents the cream in milk from separating and rising to the top by keeping its fat molecules evenly dispersed. This is nothing more than a matter of convenience and aesthetics, neither of which justify the alteration of a food’s molecular structure.

Milk and Hormones

The only growth hormone approved for use in dairy cattle is called bovine somatotropin (bST) or recombant bovine growth hormone (rBGH). The hormone is administered through injection and simulates another naturally occurring hormone (IGF-1) which the cow uses to convert nutrients into milk. Simply put, cows given bST produce more milk than non-injected cows.

Since November 1993, with FDA approval,[citation] Monsanto has been selling recombinant bovine somatotropin (rbST), also called rBGH, to dairy farmers. Cows produce bovine growth hormone naturally, but some producers administer an additional recombinant version of BGH which is produced through a genetically engineered E. Coli because it increases milk production. Bovine growth hormone also stimulates liver production of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1). Monsanto has stated that both of these compounds are harmless given the levels found in milk and the effects of pasteurization,[citation] however, Monsanto’s own tests, conducted in 1987, demonstrated that statistically significant growth stimulating effects were induced in organs of adult rats by feeding IGF-1 at low dose levels for only two weeks. “Drinking rBGH milk would thus be expected to significantly increase IGF-1 blood levels and consequently to increase risks of developing breast cancer and promoting its invasiveness.”[citation]

Why is American Milk Banned in Europe?
American dairy milk is genetically-modified unless it’s labeled “NO rBGH”. Genetically-engineered bovine growth hormone (rBGH) in milk increases cancer risks. American dairy farmers inject rBGH to dairy cows to increase milk production. European nations and Canada have banned rBGH to protect citizens from IGF-1 hazards.

Q. Is there any milk not contaminated with rBGH and IGF-1?
 A. Yes. Milk that is clearly labeled “NO rBGH” is free of rBGH and does not contain excess levels of IGF-1.

Q. What about cheeses?
A. American-made cheeses are contaminated with rBGH and excess levels of IGF-1 unless they’re labeled “NO rBGH”. Imported European cheeses are safe since Europe has banned rBGH.

Early onset of puberty and menstruation and milk

It used to be that the average age of beginning of menstruation in the 1800s was 16-17 years, whereas now it is between 12-13 years. Some girls are seen developing breasts as early as 7 or 8 years old. So girls are maturing much earlier than they used to. Something in modern life has made this change, and probably the girls in ages past were better off. An 8-9 year old girl still has a child-like mind that is not ready for the changes of maturity if her body jumps ahead
Linda Folden Palmer, DC (Doctor of Chiropractic), wrote in her May 1999 article in Dynamic Chiropractic, “Coming of Age in America (Much Too Soon)”:

“Girls in the U.S. and other industrialized nations are now reaching puberty at drastically earlier ages… Two factors proven responsible for precocious puberty are detached parenting and consumption of cow’s milk…
Cow’s milk has a high fat content, high levels of biologically available hormones and growth factors, and other chemical contaminants from highly medicated cows fed environmental trash. These are all linked to early puberty.”

Diane Marty, a journalist, wrote in her Apr. 30, 2007 article “Empowered Shopping Tips From the Green Side of the Aisle,” for E: The Environmental Magazine:

“People don’t recognize the importance of organic dairy products… More and more evidence points to a relationship between hormones in milk and early puberty in teens, preteens and even grade schoolers. If you buy only one organic item for your kids, make it milk.”

2% Milk

Whole milk contains, on average, 3.25% fat. Thus, when you hear about 2% milk it is not reduced from 100% to 2% but from 3.25% to 2%. It was a big shocker to me and you have the wonderful marketing apparatus of this country to thank for this.

Skim Milk

Skim milk is a dairy product with an extremely low fat percentage. In some nations, skim milk is labeled as “fat free” milk, since many labeling laws allow foods with negligible fat contents to be labeled as “fat free”. Most grocery stores and dairies stock skim milk, along with low-fat and whole milk products. For people who are concerned about the amount of fat in their diets, skim milk has been promoted as excellent alternative to whole milk.

It is standard practice for dairy producers to improve the protein content of skim milk and low fat milk by adding dried milk powder to it. This dried milk is produced by forcing skim milk through tiny holes at high temperatures and pressures which damages its nutrients. This also causes the milk’s cholesterol to become oxidized which is a legitimate risk for heart disease. Ironically, the milk’s natural and nutritious saturated fat is removed because it is supposedly unhealthy, but then a more likely promoter of heart disease is added. Although the amount of oxidized cholesterol in skim milk and reduced fat milk may be small, there’s really not much point in taking the risk.

Another potential problem with consuming skim milk or low fat milk is vitamin A deficiency. Because vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin, its concentration in milk is reduced through the removal of fat. As a result, when skim milk or low fat milk is consumed and digested, the vitamin A needed for the assimilation of its protein is drawn from the liver. This can deplete the body’s reserve of vitamin A, and in turn, increase the risk of autoimmune disease and cancer.


Now that I know this, I have become paranoid and what do I drink?
The answer lies in “raw milk from pasture-fed cows” (Boil it before you drink it )
How do find that kind of milk?
Let me know if you find out.
At the very least buy Organic Milk and go for the pasteurized instead of the ultra-pasteurized kind.

Other blog posts by Vikas Chawla
Snakes and Ladders
The Chaos Theory
Acceptance, Meditation and Guilt


Read Full Post »

Previous Posts »