24 November 2014

Is milk OK? No whey!

In 1962, there was only one household in all of Adelaide that had commercial size quantities of Peters ice-cream delivered to its door. My father had personally appealed to the company’s CEO for help, citing his son’s capacity to eat vast amounts of ice-cream daily.

So why, 50 years later, do I now recommend avoiding dairy products? Certainly it has nothing to do with taste or old habits; in fact, they took a bit of getting over. So this week, lets go way Out on a Limb once more and examine another of the sacred cows of modern nutrition (OK not a great pun, but as an ex veterinarian, I love bringing animals into the conversation), and then make mention of a great option for New Year’s Eve, but first

   Thought for the day

      Four out of five cows agree
      Soy milk is best

             Based on a straw poll

Over the previous 30 years, based on the research as well as the clinical experience of working with literally thousands of people adding or subtracting dairy products from their diets, I have become increasingly convinced that the best approach is to minimise or avoid dairy on the Wellness Diet and leave it out altogether from the Healing Diet.

1. Saturated fat
Cow’s milk contains a large amount of saturated fat. This can be minimised in low fat milk, but many cheeses actually concentrate the fats and butter is usually around 50% saturated fat.

2. Biochemistry and a confused immune system 
The protein in human milk is a short chain protein. This means it is a small molecule. By contrast cow’s milk is a long chain, large and angular molecular protein.

When a young child is introduced to cow’s milk early in life, the contrast with human milk is stark. The child’s developing immune system may become confused. Is this large molecule a food that needs to be digested, or an invader that must be attacked?

It seems many youngsters do mount a low level immune reaction to milk; a reaction that may cause immediate problems. For example, children who suffer from recurrent inflammation of the ear (along with attendant infections) or tonsillitis, often clear up when strictly taken off all dairy products.

However, often, even worse, the result is chronic, low level, generalised inflammation – meta-inflammation – that can last throughout childhood and into adult life. Meta-inflammation is a known pre-cursor to chronic degenerative disease. This is a major issue as we see the sad but rapid rise in chronic degenerative diseases in young adults and more recently, even in children.

Meta-inflammation is also a potentiator of cancer (that is, it speeds cancer growth), hence another major reason why people keen to recover from cancer are recommended to avoid dairy products.

Also, be aware that during times of extra stress - through environmental pressures, unsuitable food, disease, emotional or mental stress - meta-inflammation may flare, making inflammation more acute.


What about goat or sheep’s milk? These milk varieties have smaller chain proteins so that issue is lessened. Many children with full-blown allergies to cow’s milk can manage goat’s milk.

However, these sources of milk are high in fat and naturally homogenised. That means that the fat is suspended in the liquid of the milk, does not naturally settle out and is not so easy to separate. Therefore, goat and sheep’s milk tends to be high in saturated fat with all the issues that relates to. They too are best avoided or minimised.

3. The science
There is a growing body of evidence pointing to better health outcomes when dairy is left off the menu. Here are a couple of important recent papers:

No dairy, less lung, breast, and ovarian cancers
Removing dairy products from your diet may lower your risk of certain cancers, according to a study in the British Journal of Cancer. Researchers followed 22,788 lactose intolerant participants from Sweden. They also monitored cancer rates of their immediate family members. The incidence rates for lung, breast, and ovarian cancers decreased among the lactose intolerant - those who avoided dairy products.

Family members and the general Swedish population who included dairy in their diet did not experience the same reduction in cancer risk. Researchers suspect the avoidance of high amounts of saturated fat and hormones found in dairy products may account for the decreased risk.

Ji J,et al. Lactose intolerance and risk of lung, breast and ovarian cancers: Aetiological clues from a population-based study in Sweden. Br J Cancer. Published online October 14, 2014.

Drinking Milk Associated with Fractures and Death
High cow’s milk intake is associated with increased risk for bone fractures and death, according to a new study in the British Medical Journal. Researchers followed 61,433 women and 45,339 men for more than 20 years and 11 years, respectively.

Among women, those who consumed three or more glasses of milk per day had a 60 percent increased risk for developing a hip fracture and a 16 percent increased risk for developing any bone fracture. These results are similar to previous studies showing no protective effect of increased milk consumption on fracture risk.

Additionally among women, for each glass of milk consumed, risk of dying from all causes increased by 15 percent, from heart disease by 15 percent, and from cancer by 7 percent. For the women who consumed three or more glasses of milk per day, compared with less than one glass, risk of dying increased by 93 percent. Men had a 10 percent increased risk of dying when consuming three or more glasses of milk per day, compared with less than one glass.

MichaĆ«lsson  K, et al. Milk intake and risk of mortality and fractures in women and men: cohort studies. BMJ. 2014;349:g6015.

A Vegan Diet Proves Most Effective for Weight Loss
A vegan diet leads to the most weight loss, compared with other dietary patterns, according to a new study in the journal Nutrition. Sixty-three overweight adult study participants were assigned to one of five different dietary patterns for a six-month period: omnivorous, semi-vegetarian, pesco-vegetarian, lacto-ovo vegetarian, and vegan.

At the end of the study, the vegan group lost, on average, more than twice the percentage of body weight (7.5 percent), compared with omnivores (3.1 percent), semi-vegetarians (3.2 percent), and pesco-vegetarians (3.2 percent). The lacto-ovo vegetarian group lost an average of 6.3 percentage points.

The vegan group also had the greatest reductions in total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol and greatest increase in dietary fiber intake—all protective against chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.

Turner-McGrievy GM,et al. Comparative effectiveness of plant-based diets for weight loss: A randomized controlled trial of five different diets. Nutrition. 2014. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2014.09.002.

4. Environmental issues
Cows produce large amounts of methane and require large tracts of cleared land. Soy products are way more environmentally friendly.

5. Animal care
Long gone are the days of the much loved house cow. A few do still exist, and of course, many modern dairy farmers dearly love their animals and care for them well, but this is amidst a large herd environment where the pressures of cost efficiency lead to modern practices that I find very difficult to justify.

Eat and drink soy products or other dairy alternatives.

Save the cow the trouble and enjoy better health for you, your family and the planet.

Is soy safe?

Is soy safe? - Part 2

Meditation in the Forest  

Pre- Easter 7 day residential meditation retreat, March 27th to April 2nd  2015

During this, our first meditation retreat for 2015, Ruth and I will be focusing upon the deeper stillness of meditation. We will explore the theory, but moreso, the actual practices that help us to go beyond the activity of the thinking mind into a more direct and profound experience of the still mind.

Deep, natural peace. A calm and clear mind. So many possibilities follow…..

Full details, CLICK HERE

New Year's Eve Chanting and Meditation 

Book early and save considerably!

Buy tickets now at www.trybooking.com/GCAT  

Share it on the Facebook event page

Read more at www.jarekc.com/new-years-eve/

Start the new year with inner peace. Sing universal chants, meditate, dance, relax, share vegetarian supper snacks with friends, drink chai, and enjoy the charm of the air-conditioned venue, and the garden.

At midnight immerse yourself in an active meditation of free-flowing OM chanting. No alcohol, no drugs, and all love. Discover how good you can feel!

Jarek Czechowicz (guitar, chants, meditation) performs chants and mantras that embrace you with a feeling of love, intuitive improvisations that soothe your soul, and guided meditations that fill you with a sense of inner peace and freedom.


Ami Hasson, percussion; Michael Arvanitakis bass and cello; Mermaid Music (voices, tambura, harmonium, harp) comprises Samantha Fernandez, Angela Hina Gates, Eilish De Avalon, and Janet Borg.



$65/$60 Earlybird tickets to 30 November

$75/$70 Standard tickets to 30 December

$90/$85 At the Door on 31 December

17 November 2014

How to avoid a disaster

Have you ever had a special night out spoiled by poor service, poor staff? Lets go Out on a Limb once more and investigate how to avoid such a disaster in the future, plus details of a major new research review from the National Cancer Institute in the USA that recommends meditation for women with breast cancer, and news of the next Happiness and its Causes Conference (that will feature HH the Dalai Lama!) with a special offer to you the reader of a big discount, but first

               Thought for the day

  We can never obtain peace in the outer world 
  Until we make peace with ourselves

                     HH The Dalai Lama 

Imagine this. You have a special occasion to celebrate. Maybe a special birthday, an anniversary. Completion of a challenging piece of work, a loan paid off, a sporting triumph….  All sorts of possibilities, but definitely time for a big celebration.

So you gather the family, maybe some friends; and decide it will be your shout, no expenses spared, and you book into a fancy restaurant.

The evening arrives. Some anticipation. You head into the restaurant, the manager’s greeting is a touch cool, but then this is a classy place, maybe that is how things are done here?

But then the waitress. Definitely cool. Even remote. Hardly much of a welcome at all.

She tells you of the specials for the evening. Almost disinterest. No verve, no enthusiasm. You start to wonder??? This is not how it I imagined it would be. Fancy restaurant. I expected better service than this. The place must have a management problem. They should be employing better staff than this. Or supervising them better; making sure they are doing their job.

You order.

Everyone else seems happy enough.

Maybe it is OK after all.

But your soup arrives and THAT waitress manages to actually spill a little on your lap! Spilled the soup. Good grief! Everyone apologizes profusely, but your worst fears are confirmed. The night is gone for you.

Things go from bad to worse. An error in the mains that arrive, very expensive wine tastes ordinary, dessert not what you hoped for. Big bill. No tip. You try to put on a brave face for your guests, but you leave feeling miserable, swearing you will never go back to that place again.

An unmitigated disaster.

Now, imagine re-running the same scenario - up until the time you arrive at the restaurant. This time, the manager greets you, welcomes you with some reserve and what seems like a little trepidation, then explains.

It seems one of his waitresses had her own disaster just 6 weeks ago. Her husband was killed in a car accident and she has 3 young children to support. She need to work. This is actually her first night back. Everyone is unsure of how she will go, but he asks for your patience and understanding.

So knowing this, how differently things unfold. You welcome her warmly, understand the lack of verve. Laugh off the spilled soup, make good everything else that could have gone “wrong”. The wine tastes sweet; the dessert spectacular. You have a great night. Maybe even make a new friend.

So how much of an explanation in day-to-day events do we need to display compassionate awareness? How often do we stumble into mindless intolerance?

It would seem that compassionate awareness is a big part of Emotional Intelligence, and requires quite some work on our part to over-ride what is often an immediate, unaware, instinctual reaction.

Next time you are at a restaurant, maybe pause for a moment to wonder what sort of day those who are serving you have had.

And smile.

Finding our true identity

1. Meditation recommended for women with breast cancer
A major new review article has recommended the use of meditation and some other complementary and/or integrative therapies for a range of conditions affecting women with breast cancer. This is such an important piece hat the entire abstract is offered here. The full article can be read by following the link below.

Background The majority of breast cancer patients use complementary and/or integrative therapies during and beyond cancer treatment to manage symptoms, prevent toxicities, and improve quality of life. Practice guidelines are needed to inform clinicians and patients about safe and effective therapies.

Methods Following the Institute of Medicine’s guideline development process, a systematic review identified randomized controlled trials testing the use of integrative therapies for supportive care in patients receiving breast cancer treatment. Trials were included if the majority of participants had breast cancer and/or breast cancer patient results were reported separately, and outcomes were clinically relevant. Recommendations were organized by outcome and graded based upon a modified version of the US Preventive Services Task Force grading system.

Results The search (January 1, 1990–December 31, 2013) identified 4900 articles, of which 203 were eligible for analysis. Meditation, yoga, and relaxation with imagery are recommended for routine use for common conditions, including anxiety and mood disorders (Grade A). Stress management, yoga, massage, music therapy, energy conservation, and meditation are recommended for stress reduction, anxiety, depression, fatigue, and quality of life (Grade B). Many interventions (n = 32) had weaker evidence of benefit (Grade C). Some interventions (n = 7) were deemed unlikely to provide any benefit (Grade D). Notably, only one intervention, acetyl-l-carnitine for the prevention of taxane-induced neuropathy, was identified as likely harmful (Grade H) as it was found to increase neuropathy. The majority of intervention/modality combinations (n = 138) did not have sufficient evidence to form specific recommendations (Grade I).

Conclusions Specific integrative therapies can be recommended as evidence-based supportive care options during breast cancer treatment. Most integrative therapies require further investigation via well-designed controlled trials with meaningful outcomes.

REFERENCE: Clinical Practice Guidelines on the Use of Integrative Therapies as Supportive Care in Patients Treated for Breast Cancer. Greenlee H et al; J Natl Cancer Inst Monogr 2014 (50): 346-358.   LINK HERE

2. Happiness and its Causes 2015 with HH the Dalai Lama

Special discount to readers of Out on a Limb


10 November 2014

The Connection - now available online – 25% discount available

The difference between life and death?

At 24 years old filmmaker Shannon Harvey was diagnosed with a severe, debilitating autoimmune disease. Her immune system had become hyperactive and was attacking normal, healthy tissues. Her muscles and joints were inflamed and she was told if her disease progressed she could end up with organ failure, or wheelchair bound.

In search of a cure, Shannon tried everything from drugs to alternative therapies and everything in between. But she was still sick.

There was one thing she did know. When she was stressed, she got worse and with a background in journalism, Shannon sought answers in pioneering science. On her journey to getting better, Shannon realized that in order to change her health she needed to change her mind.

In the process she made The Connection, details of which, including how you can purchase copies or download with a  25% discount follow, but first

         Thought for the day

We will not understand important things like “love” 
By knowing the DNA sequence of homo-sapiens.
If humanity begins to view itself as a machine, 
Programmed by this DNA sequence, 
We have lost something really important.

          Francis Collins, 
               Head of the Human Genome Project

The Connection is a film about how frontier research is proving that there is a direct connection between your mind and your health. It will come as welcome confirmation for many of us, and provide a great way to introduce less knowledgeable friends and family to the rapidly expanding body of science that validates Mind-Body medicine.

The film features scientists, researchers, writers and doctors, as well as remarkable true stories of people adding mind body medicine to their healing toolkit to recover from severe back pain, heart disease, infertility, cancer and multiple sclerosis.

Yours truly has a cameo appearance – discussing the crucial difference between belief and conviction – or faith as it is often known.

While the science is complex, the solutions for people suffering with illness are astonishingly simple. The film shows that we can counter the harmful affects of stress with an equally powerful relaxation response triggered through specific techniques such as meditation.

It shows that emotions can impact the course of an illness for better or for worse and could even be the difference between life and death.

The film explains the mechanisms behind belief, which scientists now know contributes 30 to 50 percent of the effect of any known biological cure and explores how scientists at the cutting edge are now learning that the mind can even influence the expression of genes and the rate at which we age.

This is a film that offers answers and proves that you can change your mind, change your health and change your life. The Connection is highly recommended for personal viewing – inspiring, confirming, empowering. But then, give it as a Christmas present, or just send it to those you care about, or watch it with them. It will help confirm the possibilities and just maybe lead someone to do something that does make the difference between life and death; between misery and real happiness.

The feature length film is now available to stream, download or purchase in DVD format from the Official Website for as little as $9.95 (streaming).

Having been involved in the film, the producers have offered me to offer you a 25% discount on orders received until the end of November 2015 – a really nice offer – and the code you need to use is on the link below. There is also a trailer to watch.

I highly recommend The Connection. It seems to me to be the most important documentary in the field we are all interested in for some years. It warrants being  viewed widely.


The Connection

Accelerated Healing 101 

Accelerated healing 101 – Part 2

In related news, Ruth and I attended the New Zealand premiere showing of The Connection in aid of the NZ cancer charity Canlive, and led a discussion after the showing this Sunday just gone. The film was very well received and a lively, engaged conversation ensued.

Meditation in the Forest  

Pre- Easter 7 day residential meditation retreat, March 27th to April 2nd  2015

During this, our first meditation retreat for 2015, we will be focusing upon the deeper stillness of meditation. We will explore the theory, but moreso, the actual practices that help us to go beyond the activity of the thinking mind into a more direct and profound experience of the still mind.

Deep, natural peace. A calm and clear mind. So many possibilities follow…..

Full details, CLICK HERE