Archive for June, 2013

Obesity is now considered to be a medical condition. A huge population in the US is obese or overweight according to the June 2013 issue of the National Institute Health newsletter–more than two-third of adults and a third of the children. A scientific survey was done on the effectiveness and dangers of various complementary treatments.

Yoga and Meditation

Possibly helpful are yoga and mindful meditation and there are no side effects.

According to a 2013 review of the current evidence base of yoga for weight loss, overall, therapeutic yoga programs can be frequently effective in promoting weight loss and are a potentially successful intervention for weight maintenance and prevention of obesity.

The programs are therapeutic, require regular practice over an extended period of time, have a yoga diet component, as well as residential program component with an understanding of yoga.

Therapeutic yoga was also considered a possible tool for those at high risk for diabetes 2. Yoga also looks promising for the reduction of “cardiometabolic risk factors”.

Meditation is generally considered safe. However, there may be some risk to people with psychiatric issues.

Dietary Supplements

Acai berry, bitter orange,  and ephedra indicate no scientific evidence of weight loss. In fact, studies indicate they can be quite harmful.

Green tea is safe but there is no statistical proof of weight loss.

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Cancer patients receiving chemotherapy experience fatigue, sleep disturbances, anxiety, stress, and depression. Drugs to treat these symptoms can be expensive, ineffective, and have undesirable side-effects. A 2008 study approved by the University of California San Francisco tested the feasibility of the yogic breathing practices of pranayama and measured the effects on the quality of life (QOL) in patients. The study stated that yoga is inexpensive and has no side effects.

The study tracked the patients over one year beginning October 2008. Sixteen patients completed all the study measures. Participants were tracked over two consecutive chemotherapy cycles and the control group was given yoga training in just the second cycle. A trained yoga instructor gave a 60-minute class every week and then the participants had a home practice–twice a day for a total of 20-30 minutes daily.

Four specific techniques were taught: breath observation, ujjayi (victorious breath), kapalbhati (skull shining breath), and nadi shodhana (alternate nostril breath).


This first study of a pure pranayama intervention in a population of patients with cancer successfully demonstrated that yoga breathing is feasible and can be safely recommended for patients with cancer receiving chemotherapy. Any increase in the yoga breathing practice was correlated with improvements in both cancer chemotherapy associated symptoms and QOL. Pranayama may be helpful for improving sleep disturbance, anxiety, and mental QOL among patients undergoing chemotherapy. Definitive conclusions on efficacy await further study.

Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3353818/ Yoga Breathing for Cancer Chemotherapy–Associated Symptoms and Quality of Life: Results of a Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial

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Roasted Chevdo (chivda) is a popular rice snack, vegan and gluten-free,  stored in big jars or steel dabbas (containers) in homes all over north India. Instead of the traditional fried ones we have a roasted version. It is a family recipe from Kanaklata who lived in Nagpur–it is one of the best we have tried.

The second recipe is a quick, green stir-fry of harissa spiced broccoli and sugar snap peas. Harissa is a Moroccan spice blend. You can adjust the spice level to your taste. It is vegan, gluten-free, low carb, and it is delicious.

Happy eating!

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