Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Fifteen Minutes Yoga

So now I am ready to start Yoga. How do I go about it. What should I do. When do I perform Yoga, morning or evening. Where do I do Yoga, inside, outside, noisy or quiet surroundings. All these questions must be clearly answered for a person starting to do Yoga.

Why am I doing Yoga, what is my goal, what shall I achieve after practicing for a month, two months, a year.

One can perform Yoga at a time that one is available, preferably in a quiet place, covered from above. There should not be food in the stomach, that means four hours after meals, or two hours after snacks. Early morning is a good time, sure, but most of us get up late and then rush through the morning essentials, grabbing a bite, and get to our place of work.

If you are advised to get up at 5 AM and do Yoga, you may find it difficult. Whatever time is available to you, it is OK. You may use a mat, and be bare-foot. No belt and no accessories, like spectacles/watch on the body to distract or constrain. If the place is less noisy, it is better. Wear comfortable clothes. Your body should not be constrained. Indoors is better initially.

Sit down, say a little prayer with eyes closed.

If you got 15 minutes, start with a fifteen minute session. Do one or two systematic breathing exercises synchronising breath with body movements (total three minutes), and one relaxation exercise (three minutes)and five minutes of Pranayama say Anuloma -viloma, and 'sectional breathing'. This followed by a small prayer should take you 15 minutes.

What will you get, it will certainly be worth the time and effort. Relaxed body and rested mind to start with. Hopefully, much more....let's see.

Non violence starts with the body. Dont force the body (or the mind). Be kind to them. Slow and steady. Remember your body and your mind are friends. Treat them with respect. Be patient. Allow them some playfulness. Gently bring them around. Remember Robert Bruce, the king who got inspired by a spider.

Any questions (like what is a systematic breathing exercise), ask me 91 9999 49 57 42.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Why booze is bad for women

Why booze is bad for women

Times Online - UK

A new research study told us that just one small glass of wine a day was enough to significantly raise a woman's risk of breast cancer. ...

Go to the link below to read more on this topic.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Story telling

Hello everyone out there:

I recently read an article in TOI center page. It says writing something every day is very therapeutic. Write in one place (note book) everyday. Don't think who is the audience, who will read it. Write for the sake of writing. Whatever, whatever..... is the theme. When you read such writings after sometime, you will be amazed. These writing-sessions help in healing. They bring out your inner turmoil and give a sense of relief.

Reading the stories which we read as a child, is another nice activity. Our fables, stories, myths, religious anecdotes all pack a lot of hidden meaning in them. Short and crisp, they can bring a smile to your lips. Think of small jokes, which can shake you out of your depression very quickly. Talking to your(or anyone else's) young children and telling them stories is fun for them and you. Mahabharata is a treasure house of stories. I will now relate to you one which is close to my heart.
Once, there was a Tapaswi. He was doing great Tapasya, sitting under a tree in a forest. Without moving, without eating, without talking, eyes closed, in meditation. Years paseed.

One day what happened. One crow from the tree had his 'dropping' on Tapaswi's head. Tapaswi got disturbed, and opened his eyes, looked at the crow in anger. The crow got burnt instantaneously, and fell to the ground. The Tapaswi got up. He was very hungry. He had not eaten for a very very long time. He went in search of food, and reached a village. He came to a door and rang the bell, a woman came out and looked at the person at the door. The Tapaswi said," I am hungry, give me food". She said,"Ok" and went in side. Meanwhile her farmer husband happened to come back from the fields. The woman got busy in helping him. He washed his face and hands, and sat down. The woman gave food to her husband.

While the woman was busy taking care of her husband, the Tapaswi got angry standing outside, waiting. He knocked at the door again. The woman came out of the house with food and an apology. The Tapaswi shouted at her, for her being late.

She very calmly replied,"I am not a crow!"

The Tapaswi touched her feet, his anger was gone. He realised that this Karmayogini standing in front of him has achieved a higher level just by doing her householder's duty.
Om shantih shantih shantih.....

Quick Cancer Facts

Cancer affects everyone – the young and old, the rich and poor, men, women and children – and represents a tremendous burden on patients, families and societies. Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the world, particularly in developing countries.

Yet, many of these deaths can be avoided. Over 30% of all cancers can be prevented. Others can be detected early, treated and cured. Even with late stage cancer, the suffering of patients can be relieved with good palliative care.

* Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide: it accounted for 7.9 million deaths (around 13% of all deaths) in 2007.
* Lung, stomach, liver, colon and breast cancer cause the most cancer deaths each year.
* The most frequent types of cancer differ between men and women.
* About 30% of cancer deaths can be prevented.
* Tobacco use is the single most important risk factor for cancer.
* Cancer arises from a change in one single cell. The change may be started by external agents and inherited genetic factors.
* About 72% of all cancer deaths in 2007 occurred in low- and middle-income countries.
* Deaths from cancer worldwide are projected to continue rising, with an estimated 12 million deaths in 2030.

There are more than 100 types of cancers; any part of the body can be affected.

Worldwide, the 5 most common types of cancer that kill men are (in order of frequency): lung, stomach, liver, colorectal and oesophagus.

Worldwide, the 5 most common types of cancer that kill women are (in the order of frequency): breast, lung, stomach, colorectal and cervical.

All patients in need of pain relief could be helped if current knowledge about pain control and palliative care were applied.

More than 30% of cancer could be prevented, mainly by not using tobacco, having a healthy diet, being physically active and preventing infections that may cause cancer.

Ref: downloaded on 19.3.09

Friday, March 13, 2009

Food pyramid: An option for better eating

Original Article:
Food pyramid: An option for better eating

A healthy-eating plan can be illustrated in many ways, but it's often found in the shape of a pyramid. Food pyramids outline various food groups and food choices that, if eaten in the right quantities, form the foundation of a healthy diet.
The food pyramid plan

Guidelines for choosing foods are widely represented in various food pyramids. The triangular shape of the pyramid shows you where to focus when selecting foods. Foods to eat the most of create the base of the pyramid, and foods to eat in smaller amounts or less frequently are shown farther up the pyramid.

A food pyramid familiar to many Americans is MyPyramid (formerly known as the Food Guide Pyramid), established by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Health and Human Services. Many other pyramids exist, however. These include the Asian, Latin American, Mediterranean and Vegetarian diet pyramids developed by Oldways Preservation Trust, and the Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight Pyramid, just to name a few.
Basic principles of all food pyramids

With the variety of food pyramids available, you may wonder which one to follow. It may help to know that the basic principles of food pyramids are largely the same and generally emphasize the following:

* Eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
* Reduce intake of saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol.
* Limit sweets and salt.
* Drink alcoholic beverages in moderation, if at all.
* Control portion sizes and the total number of calories you consume.
* Include physical activity in your daily routine.

Food pyramids place foods in categories — such as dairy products or meat and beans — to help guide your food choices. No single food provides all of the nutrients that your body needs, so eating a variety of foods within each group ensures that you get the necessary nutrients and other substances that promote good health.
Food pyramid differences

Although food pyramids reflect the same general principles of healthy eating, they demonstrate different food choices. These differences reflect dietary preferences, food availability and cultural eating patterns. For example, the Latin American Diet Pyramid might include tortillas and cornmeal within the grains food group, whereas the Asian Diet Pyramid might emphasize noodles and rice.

Other differences include:

* Food groups. The food groups among food pyramids may vary somewhat. For example, some might group plant-based proteins — soybeans, beans and nuts — separately from animal proteins found in meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products. This is because animal proteins are often higher in fat and cholesterol, and some diets limit or avoid animal proteins.
* Serving recommendations. How food pyramids address servings also varies. The Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight Pyramid, for example, recommends a daily number of servings from each food group. And it specifically defines serving sizes; for example, a serving of cooked brown rice is 1/3 cup and a serving of milk is 1 cup. But other plans offer more general guidelines, such as eating particular foods at every meal, or on a weekly or monthly basis. For example, the Latin American Diet Pyramid recommends that you eat whole grains, vegetables and fruits at every meal but eat red meat, sweets and eggs once a week or less.

How to use a food pyramid

To see how your diet matches up to any of these pyramids, keep a food diary for several days. Then compare how much of your diet comes from the various levels. If you're top-heavy, work your way toward the bottom of the pyramid by making small, gradual changes, such as eating more vegetables, fruits and whole grains and limiting fats and sweets.

Here are a few simple practices to help get or keep you on track:

* Choose a variety of foods from each major food group. This ensures that you get all of the calories, protein, vitamins, minerals and fiber you need. Choosing a wide range of foods also helps make your meals and snacks more interesting.
* Adapt the plan to your specific tastes and preferences. For example, a serving of grains doesn't only mean a slice of wheat bread. It can be wild rice, whole-wheat pasta, grits, bulgur, cornmeal muffins or even popcorn.
* Combine foods from each major group however you like. For example, you might make a meal of tortillas (grain group) and beans (meat and beans group). Or you could top your fish with fruit salsa or serve steamed vegetables over pasta. The possibilities are endless.
* Select your meals and snacks wisely. Make the most of what you eat by choosing nutrient-rich foods within each group. And if you need to avoid foods from one or more food groups — for example, if you don't consume dairy products because of lactose intolerance — choose other foods that are good sources of the nutrients found in those foods.

Remember to be open and creative, and go for good taste! Eating well and eating healthy are very compatible.

Breast Cancer Screening

Women must be given better breast cancer screening advice

* Published: 03 March 2009 17:15
* Last Updated: 03 March 2009 17:15
* Reader Responses

Balanced, accurate information is essential to ensure that the benefits of breast cancer screening outweigh its risks, says Hilary Jefferies

Serious shortcomings in the information given to women in the UK who attend for breast cancer screening have been raised by research published online by the British Medical Journal (Gøtzsche et al, 2009).

Three years ago, researchers at the Nordic Cochrane Centre found that breast screening leaflets in six countries, including the UK, omitted to mention the most important harms of screening – the overdiagnosis and overtreatment of healthy women (Gøtzsche et al, 2009).

Now they argue that, although the UK leaflet Breast Screening: The Facts has been updated, it continues to emphasise the benefits and little advice is given about the risks of false positive diagnoses.

Routine breast screening in the UK detects twice as many cases of breast cancer each year than 10 years ago, with 14,110 cases diagnosed in 2007–2008. This may be as a result of an increase in compliance, as more than 1.7 million women were screened in 2007–2008, a rise of 4.3% on the previous year.

However, several authors (Thornton et al, 2003) have expressed concerns over this, and state that, with a doubling of the detection rate of breast cancer, there may also be a doubling of harm. False-positive needle core biopsies – the mainstay of non-operative diagnosis – may lead to mismanaging women. So, while it may be presumed that screening leads to less invasive surgery or simpler treatment, it may actually result in more surgery because of overdiagnosis.

Screening for cervical cancer remains poor, with only 81% of women in England, 83% in Scotland and 74% in Wales being screened. In England in 2003–2004, 4.4 million women were invited for screening and 3.5 million attended, and 260,000 abnormal smears were detected. Reasons often given for not attending for a smear are anxiety and pain. However, early detection of precancerous changes in the cervical stroma may lead to the removal of the affected tissue, or conservative management by keeping the woman under review. Any cervical cancers detected at screening can be treated quickly.

So how do you reply to the question 'Do I go for my screening or not?' The answer must be 'Go for it' and to encourage your patients, friends and families to attend routine screening, particularly if there is a family history of cancer of the colon, breast, endometrium or ovary.

But what about the risks of overtreatment?

Our role as nurses is to give information with the latest evidence about the disease for which the screening is being performed and to be aware of the benefits and the potential harm so informed decisions can be made. Positive results may be confirmed and the risk of false positive results reduced by immunohistochemistry tests on biopsies and blood tests for tumour markers.

While there may be anxiety and fear associated with screening, without it there may be a significant risk that a cancer may not be detected, treatment may not be available if the disease is advanced, and prognosis poor. We need a balanced view of all the information to ensure screening benefits outweigh the risk of harm.

Hilary Jefferies, Macmillan clinical nurse specialist, Birmingham Women's Hospital, Birmingham


Gøtzsche, P. et al (`2009) Breast screening: the facts – or maybe not? British Medical Journal; 338: b86.

Thornton, H. et al (2003) Women need better information about routine mammography. British Medical Journal; 327: 101–103.


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