Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Victory: Monsanto drops GE Wheat

I dont even know what to say. I know this is old news but it makes me want to jump for joy, yell from the roof tops and do cartwheels.

I am overjoyed that Monsanto is starting to be put in their place. Hopefully this is just the begining.

Thanks to years of pressure from environmental groups, the consumers, our cyberactivists and Greenpeace, today we can annnounce a victory for the environment following the announcement by Monsanto that they would suspend further development or open field trials of its genetically engineered, Roundup Ready wheat.

"This is a victory for the environment, farmers and consumers," said Pat Venditti, our GE campaigner in Canada. "Strong rejection of GE wheat from virtually every corner of the globe once again showed the resistance to GE foods."

Monsanto announced today that they will defer all further efforts to introduce Roundup Ready wheat, and that they will discontinue breeding and field level research of the crop. This follows a similar announcement in 2003 when the company announced its withdrawal from the development of pharmaceutical crops.

"Let's hope GE wheat permanently joins GE flax, GE tomatoes and GE potatoes in the dustbin of bad ideas. Rather than having to restage this battle in four years time, we hope that Monsanto has heard loud and clear that genetically engineered wheat is a non-starter," continued Mr. Venditti. "The Canadian Government should make a note of this and re-think its devotion to this unnecessary technology."

Take Action: Stand up for your rice!

Rice is daily food for half of the world's population. Genetically modified (GM) rice, on the other hand, is a threat to our agriculture, our biodiversity and a possible risk to our health.

At present, GM rice is not grown commercially anywhere in the world. But Bayer, the German chemical giant, has genetically manipulated rice to withstand higher doses of a toxic pesticide called glufosinate, which is considered to be so dangerous to humans and the environment that it will soon be banned from Europe.

In just a few weeks, the European Union will decide whether or not this GM rice can enter EU countries, appear on supermarket shelves and end up on our dinner plates. If the EU approves the import of Bayer GM rice, farmers in the US and elsewhere may soon start planting it.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Detox Phase II

Phase I of the detox was the prep. Now I am on to Phase II – Liver detox

My naturopath gave me 21 days of MediHerb LivCo tablets to take 3x’s a day and according to my googling, the LivCo tablets will do the following:

*Aid in the elimination and cleanse the liver
*Enhance the productions of antioxidants in the liver
*Increase the natural synthesis of proteins in the liver
*Support healthy liver function
*Protect again the damaging effects of free radicals

That all sounds pretty good to me. I'm still feeling great from Phase I and am still sleeping better and feeling well rested every morning.

I'm also still drinking at least 1.5 litres of distilled water a day and I have noticed a big difference in my skin and complexion. Almost no acne now (FINALLY! At 31 … geeze) and a more even tone and texture overall.

Again, as before, these are all good things.

I have also started a massive overhaul on my gym routine. Aside from adding in at least 20 minutes of running, I have started working on the circuit training as outlined in the Jillian Michaels’ book MAKING THE CUT. It’s a pretty intense workout based on circuit training, plyometrics and stacking and it’s kicking my ass, literally.

The promise of the plan is to, as you can gather from the title of the book, get cut. And of course, she says that you can make this promise a reality in a mear 30 days. I suppose if you do nothing but work out everyday and follow her routine to a T then sure, you may get ripped in 30 days. Me, I’ll be more than happy to look “cut” by June. That’s me being realistic.

I already hit the gym 3 times a week and so sure, I’m game for adding a few more days in there to make it an even 5, but that’s it. I have a life, school and work to balance outside of the weight room so that’s as much as a commitment as I am able and willing to make.

But just from the last two days, I think that June is more than realistic. I am gonna look ripped, and toned and strong on the beaches of Thailand.

Monday, March 15, 2010

My Fitness Personality

Took a quick little quiz this morning that was sent to me in my weekly Healthy Monday newsletter from about.com and thought it was pretty darn accurate:

Your answers indicate that you tend to be more of a leader than a follower, that you like to be in charge and that you're likely a goal-oriented person. (YUP!) You may enjoy the process of setting goals and mapping out the steps you need to reach them. You're also disciplined and self-motivated, so you may not need a buddy or group activity to keep you supported.

Because of these traits, you're the kind of person who is consistent with exercise and doesn't have a problem committing to a regular exercise program. You may lean towards more athletic activities and you may also have a tendency to get stuck in exercise ruts from time to time, having difficulty changing things up on a regular basis.

Best Exercises for Your Personality

You tend to go solo when it comes to fitness and, because you're so disciplined, it's easier for you to stick to a more regimented routine. You might enjoy activities where you're in control -- of your movements and your schedule -- rather than following along in a fitness class or video. Just a few ideas:

Walking, Running or Cycling
Any one or all of these activities might appeal to you because you're in charge of these kinds of workouts. There's no instructor to follow, no rules -- you create your own workouts and move at your own pace, which is just how you like it. These activities also offer opportunities to improve; you can go faster, find bigger hills and increase your distance. Tracking these things might help keep you motivated.

Training for Races
Beyond basic running or walking programs, training for a race (whether it's 5K or a marathon) may be a good goal to set for yourself. Training for a race requires specific, timely steps which may appeal to the goal-oriented part of your personality. You may also like to get your competitive juices flowing.

Strength Training
While strength training is good for all of us, it might appeal to you more than the average person. Lifting weights is a solo activity that requires a specific plan as well as a specific list of exercises for each muscle group. You might enjoy the act of creating your own program just as much as carrying it out and keeping track of your progress.

Martial Arts
Though more of a team activity, martial arts offers many aspects of training that fit your personality. The moves you learn are regimented, require regular practice and you also have the ability to earn different belts and move up into more complicated training programs. Because you may prefer to exercise alone, pursuing something with group interactivity may actually be good for you, helping you learn how to rely on and support others. (I did LOVE boxing when I was training with my PT and am dying to do more ... does that count?)

What to Watch Out For
Because you're smart and self-disciplined, there are some downsides to that personality type that could cause some problems. Just a few things to watch out for:

Being inflexible. You like routines and habits, but they may turn into ruts if you don't make changes now and then. Make it a point to take stock of your situation every few weeks and make changes in your schedule, workouts or activities to keep things fresh.

Being afraid to try new things. You're good at a variety of things, but you may also have a tendency towards perfectionism. That may stop you from trying new things, since it's hard to be perfect on your first try. Test your boundaries every so often with new activities and allow yourself to be bad at them.

Being a know-it-all. You may spend time researching exercise and fitness. You may also have a lot of personal knowledge about fitness, which can keep you from having an open mind about new ideas. Listening to what others have to say, even inexperienced exercisers, can teach you more than you realize.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Detox Update

Its been a week since I started my first ever cleanse/detox, whatever and I have to admit I am feeling pretty darn good.

The first few days I was met with "flu like symptoms" such as a bit of a stuffy head, a tad groggy and a little throat irritation, all of which are apparently very normal for the first time detoxer.

They passed within a few days and since then I have been feeling great.

I also seem to be sleeping better and have far more energy than before.

Oddly enough, with the sleeping thing, I seem to actually be needing less sleep then before and am no longer waking up feeling tired and groggy. Last night for example, I went to bed at 10:30pm as per usual, read for a bit and then attempted to drift off to lala land. But I couldn't fall asleep. I wasn't fidgety, or over tired. I wasn't uncomfortable or achy. I just wasn't tired.

So I laid there until 1:00am trying to fall asleep, dreading the alarm going off in just 6 hrs. However, when 6:35am arrived and P got up and hit the showers I woke up and was STUNNED to realize I felt fine. Sure, I didn't have to get up for another hour, but I was very aware of the feeling of rest that I had with only 5 hrs sleep behind me. I dozed off again and got up an hour later when my alarm sounded. Again, the feeling of restfulness was unexpected but warmly welcomed.

And this has been the case for a few days now, starting on Sunday.

An odd but not at all bad effect of cleansing the body.

Another fantastic side effect has been some very unexpected weight loss. Not loads, just 5 lbs, but to have dropped that in a week is unreal.

I have not changed my diet other than to remove sugar and have added in a ton of water (1.5 liters a day or more) and exercise wise I am still at the gym 3 times a week. I've switched up my routine a bit and have started to do 20 minutes of running, followed by about 30 minutes of weights (chest and shoulder presses, curl squats, triceps curls and leg presses).

The loss is most noticeable in my gym pants (which are starting to fall down as I run!) and my work pants (the butt is getting baggy and I'm back to my original belt loop!)

So clearly something is working and I am loving it.

I wonder what kind of results I will see after moving to Level II of the program next week ...

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Prohibit Genetically Engineered Alfalfa

Resulting contamination of non-GE and organic alfalfa hay and seed would devastate livelihoods and organic industry

The National Organic Coalition (NOC) today announced that more than 200,000 people submitted comments to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) critiquing the substance and conclusions of its Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) on Genetically Engineered (GE) Alfalfa. Groups, including NOC, Center for Food Safety (CFS), Organic Consumers Association, Food & Water Watch, CREDO Action and Food Democracy Now, mobilized their communities to help generate the unprecedented number of comments.

In addition, more than 300 public interest organizations, farmers, dairies, retailers and organic food producers from the U.S. and Canada delivered a strongly worded letter to USDA, calling upon it to deny approval of Monsanto’s genetically engineered, Roundup Ready alfalfa (GE alfalfa). The letter cites the inevitable contamination of organic and non-GE alfalfa hay and seeds and threats to the viability of organic dairies, livestock, and meat and dairy producers as reasons for urging the denial. NOC, Organic Valley, Whole Foods, National Cooperative Grocers Association, CFS and others agree that it would be irresponsible government policy to approve GE alfalfa in the absence of legal requirements holding companies accountable for GE contamination, as is currently the case.

More Soy

Wow, it seems that the soy debate is a raging and more and more information and studies are coming out.

Its kinda like when you get a new car and all of a sudden you start see that same car everywhere you look. Ya know what I mean?

I found this article to present some great information on both sides of the debate.

Some stand out pieces are:


There is a debate about whether soy prevents or causes breast cancer. Some women have estrogen-positive breast cancer, meaning their tumors have estrogen receptors and are thought to grow from contact with estrogen. Soy contains isoflavones which are weak estrogens. It is not known if this is good or bad. The isoflavones could stimulate estrogen positive breast tumors, or they could dull the effect of real estrogen on the tumor. There has been little research performed on humans.

In April of 2009, a paper was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, written by Mark Messina and Anna Wu.6 Here are highlights from this paper:

-Daily per capita isoflavone intake in the United States and in Europe is about 3 mg per day.

-Daily per capita isoflavone intake among older adults in Japan and in Chinese cities such as Shanghai is about 25-50 mg per day.

They noted that the study by Trock et al (mentioned above) found no statistially significant protective effect of higher intake on breast cancer rates in Asian countries.

Reduced risks were found for both pre- and postmenopausal breast cancer.

When you pick apart these various studies, there appears to be evidence that eating soy early in life is important for gaining a protection against breast cancer.

Four studies have taken breast tissue biopsies before and after exposure to isoflavones and none found any increased breast cell proliferation.

Two epidemiologic studies looking at survival after breast cancer diagnosis found no reduced survival among women eating more soy.

The authors conclude, "The concern that products containing isoflavone might be contraindicated for patients with breast cancer and women at increased risk of breast cancer is based almost exclusively on results from rodent studies. In contrast, however, the clinical and epidemiologic data suggest that isoflavones pose no risk to such women. This suggestion is consistent with the relatively unimpressive data showing that postmenopausal therapy with oral estrogen increases breast cancer risk.

Nevertheless, it must be acknowledged that, because there is an imprecise understanding of the effect of soy and isoflavones on breast tissue, women at high risk of developing breast cancer and patients with breast cancer should first discuss any dietary changes with their primary health care provider."

Also in April of 2009, a prospective study on soy intake and breast cancer risk in the Shanghai Women's Health Study was published. They found that among premenopausal women, higher soy intake was protective, but not among postmenopausal women.


A 2008 study from Indonesia found that among people aged 52 to 98, increased tofu consumption was linked to slightly worse memory scores (-0.18, p = .05).9 Tempeh, on the other hand, was linked to slightly better memory scores.
The authors state that:

"According to the Departments of Public Health at the Universities of Jakarta and Yogyakarta, formaldehyde is often added to tofu (but not tempeh) to preserve its freshness. Formaldehyde can induce oxidative damage to the frontal cortex and hippocampal tissue...."

As of September 2008, the government was trying to end the practice (Formaldehyde-laced tofu still selling despite raids, The Jakarta Post, 09/11/2008). In light of the formaldehyde problem and how slight the differences were in memory scores, there is probably little to worry about.

The authors surmised that tempeh might be good for memory because the bacteria used in the tempeh starter, Rhizopus oligosporus produce folate, which is thought to protect memory.


There is evidence that soy intake may be protective against heart disease, prostate cancer, osteoporosis4, 10, and menopausal symptoms. Tempeh is also a good source of absorbable zinc.

Of course, some people are allergic to soy and should avoid it. Other people say they feel better when not eating soy. And other people feel better when they do eat soy. But the research indicates it’s “not unsafe” for most people at 2 to 3 servings a day

This is another good read if you are interested:

Is It Safe to Eat Soy? by Virginia Messina, MPH, RD & Mark Messina, PhD

Oh and before I forget:

Soy milk and infants:

A study published last year in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that the highly concentrated phytoestrogens in soy formula might weaken the immune systems of babies. The formulas have more of these compounds than soy foods do. But researchers emphasized that this risk is largely theoretical. There's no evidence that soy formula is unsafe, or that infants drinking it have been harmed. Breast milk is still the first choice, however, followed by milk-based formulas. Only infants allergic to milk should drink soy formula.

Source: http://www.wellnessletter.com/html/wl/2002/wlFeatured1102.html

During pregnancy, isoflavones from the mother's diet appear to be passed on to the fetus. High levels of isoflavones were found in healthy Japanese infants whose mothers also had high blood levels of isoflavones, probably due to high intakes of soy.18 These levels of isoflavones have not been associated with any health problems in infants. One report has found that a birth defect of the penis called hypospadias occurred more frequently in infants whose mothers followed a vegetarian diet during pregnancy.19 Although some have attributed these results to use of soy, there was no significant association between use of soymilk and other soy products and development of hypospadias.19 Isoflavones from the mother's diet also appear in breast milk, although the daily isoflavone intake of breastfed infants remains negligible,20 even when breast milk levels are increased as much as tenfold by the mother's use of soy foods.21 At this point there is no scientific evidence of a need to avoid soy foods in pregnancy or during breastfeeding; 2-3 servings a day is a reasonable amount.

Ideally, all infants would be breast-fed. There are circumstances, however, where soy formula is the next-best alternative. Researchers have concluded that use of soy formula appears to have no effect on fertility, miscarriage rate, birth defects in offspring, or maturation.22 Based on the results of this study, and calculating isoflavone intake on a body weight basis, and assuming that older children absorb and metabolize soy isoflavones similarly to infants, a daily soy intake of 2-3 servings per day appears reasonable for children.

Children can use soy products as a part of a healthy diet. Sometimes, perhaps because of convenience, or perhaps because they look like what other children are eating, vegetarian children become over-dependent on soy products like veggie burgers, veggie dogs, and veggie deli slices. Using seitan or bean burgers, peanut butter sandwiches, or other foods can encourage some dietary variety rather than focusing strictly on soy.

Source: http://www.vrg.org/journal/vj2003issue3/vj2003issue3hotline.htm

Monday, March 8, 2010

Moroccan Chickpea Stew

I grabbed this recipe from last weeks Metro and man, what a good call that was. It is delicious and amazingly filling.

I chose to use crushed tomatoes instead of diced and am very happy with the results. It’s a thicker, more substantial stew and really sticks to your ribs.

Served over rice it makes a good 6-8 servings and freezes very well.

شارك و استمتع:


1 tbsp olive oil
2 small onions, chopped
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp each salt and pepper
¼ each turmeric, cinnamon and chilli powder
1 can crushed tomatoes
2 cups vegetable broth
2 yams, peeled and chopped
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 zucchinis, chopped

In a Dutch Oven or large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat.

Add onions, ginger, salt, pepper, turmeric, cinnamon and chilli powder. Cook until onions are soft, about 7-10 minutes.

Add broth and tomatoes and yams, scraping bottom of pan to loosen up any bits on the bottom of the pan.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cover.

Let simmer covered for 10 minutes.

Add zucchini and chickpeas and cook another 7-10 minutes or until zucchini is tender.


Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Soy Debate

I get so much flack for soy.

People (who are mostly uneducated on the subject) are constantly telling me that soy is bad for me, that if I include it in my diet I will harm myself, develop cancer and all sorts of other crap.

Watch out!!! Its killer tofu.


Where these people get their info I don’t know, but it is beyond irritating to have to keep hearing this garbage.

So when I read articles like this: Settling The Soy Controversy, it take an incredible amount of willpower not to email it off to each and every one of those people with a giant I TOLD YOU SO tacked to the end!

I’m sorry, what was that?:

Studies show that “women who include soy products in their routines are less likely to develop breast cancer, compared with other women”

Or was it that the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2009 stated that women diagnosed with breast cancer can reduce the risk of recurrence by adding soy products to their diet.

Or was it that “soy products may reduce the risk of fibroids, knots of muscle tissue that form within the thin muscle layer that lies beneath the uterine lining”
Maybe it was “Clinical studies show that soy products do not cause hypothyroidism”

Ok, deep breathes ….

I understand that as I vegan I challenge people (intentionally or not) to look at and evaluate their own personal lifestyle choices.

I understand that the most common and immediate reaction to veganism is one of defence and argument, mainly out of ignorance and fear.

But I don’t go around standing on a soapbox, preaching and ramming my vegan ideals down people throats. If I am asked for information or to comment on something then I will, however until then I keep my comments and feelings in check (while inside I may scream), presenting a calm and composed front.

I’m not out to lead any sort of vegan war. Sure, it would be lovely to go on a rampage, telling everyone that I encounter about the dangers and disgusting facts about meat and dairy, about animal cruelty and the environmental impacts of the aforementioned.

I would be lying it I didn’t admit that I would love it if every single person chose to adopt the vegan lifestyle.

But let’s get real. I have no delusions of this happening anytime soon.

Maybe, in my lifetime I will see more people convert to a plant-based, cruelty free lifestyle, but that’s a maybe.

So in closing, let me just say this one more time


That is all.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Run, Run, Run .... and Detox

This week has seen the start of a few new developments in the land of Moi.

One of them was planned; the other has been more surprising.

The planned event was the start of my first ever detox/cleanse. Oh what a sterotypical Vancouverite I have become.

So far it’s been pretty chill. Nothing more exciting than 45 drops of Chelidonium Plex which is: a “combination of specific homeopathics synergistically formulated to promote hepatic, renal, lymphatic and intestinal detoxification and drainage. Liver function can be impaired by stress, environmental pollutants, narcotic and alcohol abuse, and chemotherapy treatment, leading to hormonal imbalances, headaches and immune suppression. Clinical studies show detoxification to be effective in helping individuals who suffer from allergies, arthritis, headaches, fatigue as well as environmental and chemical sensitivities. Chelidonium Plex is indicated for all conditions that associated with liver dysfunction, including fatty degeneration, high cholesterol, and constipation; for heavy metal toxicity and skin disorders; and for all conditions that require detoxification and lymphatic drainage such as from the overindulgence of food and alcohol” in 1.5 litres of water each day for 14 days to ‘open the doors of my detoxification organs: liver, digestive track, skin and kidneys” in prep for my bigger, more involved cleansing - that party starts on the 18th.

I am going about this cleanse with the help and direction of my naturopath after inquiring about doing the Wild Rose Detox that a few of my friends are doing right now. His suggestion was to avoid the health store cleanse kits, and rather start off a little gentler since this would be my first cleanse, working my way up to the big guns.

But nothing to note happening yet, just peeing a lot.

The second development has been the more suprising one. And it has been that of a new relationship. Well, more like the return of an old relationship, one that I actually broke off a few years ago and thought that I would never return to.

But something happened over the last few weeks and it seems that I've had a change of heart.

But may not be what you think.

I have rekindled my relationship with running.

Over the last month or so I have had a very strong desire to run. I can't really pin point why, but its been almost overwhelming.

Could it be that in 2 months I will again be participating the annual Vancouver Sun Run?

Oh right, that!

Yup, again I will be running 10 km though the beautiful Van City with a gazillion strangers, all just for fun. Ok, not a gazillion, but a good 60,000 people take part in the run.

So here I find myself, back in the saddle and LOVING it. I forgot how Zen running can be, how calming and relaxing it really is.

And I am shocked with how fit I actually am. When I first did the run a few years back, it was painful. I could barely run 10 minutes without feeling gross amounts of pain and total exhaustion. I was so out of shape. This time however in my first run in years I was able to bang out 30 minute no problem, at a good and steady pace without any pain or fatigue, just a good sweat and a solid heart rate.

This bodes well for my 2010 goal. The goal this time is to finish the run in less than 60 minutes. That will be 10 minutes faster than my previous time.

I am confident I can do it.

Wish me luck!