Two New Sannyasis

            I am pleased to announce that there are two new ISKCON sannyasis.  Purnachandra dasa is now Purnachandra Goswami and Jagat Guru dasa is now Bhakti Narasimha Swami.
In the service of Srila Prabhupada,
Prahladananda Swami
Posted by Prahladananda Swami on 10/4/08;

What are We Really Eating

By Madhava Smullen on 25 Jan 2008


Image: Gavin Bell

We live in a world of enticingly packaged, processed foods where nobody really cares what they’re eating, so long as it looks good. As a child, I remember seeing a guest on a TV chat show say that they were allergic to various products, and therefore had to check the ingredients on everything when they went shopping. “Oh my God!” the host exclaimed in horror. “That must be such a pain! I could never do that!”

More recently, I was traveling in California with some friends and decided to visit Universal Studios in Hollywood. When hunger struck, we searched for the most vegetarian restaurant we could find and discovered one with a delightful buffet-style line featuring a variety of salads, pasta and pizza.

The girl at the counter filled up our plates with pasta once she’d let us know, none too confidently, that it didn’t contain eggs.

Then the fun really started.

“Do you know if there’s animal rennet in the cheese?” My friend Janmastami asked.

The girl looked blank. He tried to rephrase the question. “What is the cheese made with?”

This time she stared at him with an expression reserved for the severely mentally retarded. Her jaw slackened a little. Her eyes opened wide.

“Cheese is made with milk,” she said. “Milk comes from a cow.”

If only it were that simple. As a vegetarian, I may find this kind of routine ignorance funny – at least in retrospect – but it doesn’t inspire confidence in our eating establishments. Food companies themselves, while presenting a slightly more sophisticated front, aren’t much better. For a start, there is no law in any country that requires retailers to mark their products as vegetarian.

When you do find a “vegetarian” label, it’s simply a voluntary practice on the part of the manufacturer, and doesn’t reflect any universally agreed upon standard. Different manufacturers have their own opinion on what is or isn’t vegetarian, so even if a product announces to you that it’s fine for you to eat, it may actually contain, for example, animal-derived glycerine. Certain labels, like that of the Vegetarian Society in the UK, are reliable – but ISKCON devotees must be sure to double check, as they generally consider eggs suitable for vegetarians.

So what can you do? Shock that poor TV host from the eighties, and check your ingredients every time. It’s the only way. Checking once and creating a list of “safe” products isn’t reliable, as manufacturers often change the ingredients in a product without warning – for instance, a rennet-free cheese may start using rennet again at any time.

But you’re still not in the safe zone yet. When you do check your ingredients, you’ll probably find that most of them might as well be written in Arabic. Packages don’t inform you that your ice-cream contains a gelling agent derived from animal ligaments, skins, tendons, bones and hooves. No, that would take up far too much space, and ruin your appetite. So instead, they use a neat little word like “gelatine.” You might be surprised to know how many ISKCON members don’t know this – a disturbing thought.

Here are some more common animal ingredients you should watch out for:

Cochineal, also known as E120, is a red dye often used in ice-cream, yogurt, glacé cherries, jams and drinks. Sound delicious? You’ll stop licking your lips after you’ve heard that it’s made from the crushed female un-hatched larva of the Cochineal beetle.

Animal rennet is an enzyme made from the stomach of calves and lambs, and is often used in cheese. Fortunately, it’s usually listed in ingredients as “animal rennet,” since rennet can also be made from vegetables.

Gylcerine is a type of animal fat that is often blended with vegetable fats. Many soap products contain it, and do not always state whether it is plant or animal-based. If in doubt, contact the manufacturer. Glycerine is also found in some chewing gums.

Lecithin is found in egg yolks, the tissues and organs of many animals, and some vegetables such as soybeans and corn. It’s often used in butter and margarine, and other foods high in fat and oils. If it’s vegetarian, the ingredients will state “Soy Lecithin.” Luckily, Lecithin is usually made from soy these days.

Beware of the phrase “Natural flavors,” on a product. Sounds friendly, doesn’t it? But often, these will be derived from beef or other meats. Contact the company and ask them what they use in their natural flavors. They may not always tell you, but the more people that do this, the more they’ll be likely to start making it available knowledge.

The world of processed foods is a strange one that seems to be intent on making sure you don’t know what you’re putting in your mouth. Today’s world, as Srila Prabhupada’s guru Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati so succinctly put it, is “No place for a gentleman.” But while you’re here, you would do well to brush up on your knowledge of animal ingredients.

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) have a comprehensive list [2] that should get you started. Good sources of additional information are the Consumer’s Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients and the Consumer’s Dictionary of Food Additives, available at most libraries or bookstores. And of course, if you have a question regarding an ingredient in a product, just call the manufacturer.

#Prahladananda Swami – 26/1/08

Red Meat and Cancer


People who eat a lot of red meat and processed meats have a higher risk of
several types of cancer, including lung cancer and colorectal cancer, US
researchers say.
The work is the first big study to show a link between meat and lung cancer.
It also shows that people who eat a lot of meat have a higher risk of liver
and esophageal cancer and that men raise their risk of pancreatic cancer by
eating red meat.
"A decrease in the consumption of red and processed meat could reduce the
incidence of cancer at multiple sites," Dr Amanda Cross and colleagues at
the US National Cancer Institute wrote in their report, published in the
Public Library of Science journal PLoS Medicine.
The researchers studied 500,000 people aged 50 to 71 who took part in a diet
and health study done in conjunction with the AARP, formerly the American
Association for Retired Persons.
After eight years, 53,396 cases of cancer were diagnosed.
"Statistically significant elevated risks [ranging from 20 per cent to 60
per cent] were evident for esophageal, colorectal, liver, and lung cancer,
comparing individuals in the highest with those in the lowest quintile of
red meat intake," the researchers wrote.
The people in the top 20 per cent of eating processed meat had a 20 per cent
higher risk of colorectal cancer – mostly rectal cancer – and a 16 per cent
higher risk for lung cancer.
"Furthermore, red meat intake was associated with an elevated risk for
cancers of the esophagus and liver," the researchers wrote.
These differences held even when smoking was accounted for.
"Red meat intake was not associated with gastric or bladder cancer,
leukemia, lymphoma, or melanoma," added the researchers.
Red meat was defined as all types of beef, pork and lamb.
Processed meat included bacon, red meat sausage, poultry sausage, luncheon
meats, cold cuts, ham and most types of hot dogs including turkey dogs.
Meats can cause cancer by several routes, the researchers wrote.
"For example, they are both sources of saturated fat and iron, which have
independently been associated with carcinogenesis," the researchers wrote.
Meat is also a source of several chemicals known to cause DNA mutations,
including N-nitroso compounds (NOCs), heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and
polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).
Jeanine Genkinger of Georgetown University in Washington, DC, and Anita
Koushik of the University of Montreal in Canada said the findings fitted in
with other research.
"Meat consumption in relation to cancer risk has been reported in over a
hundred epidemiological studies from many countries with diverse diets,"
they wrote in a commentary.
#Prahladananda Swami – 13/1/08

The Ganges


On 25 December 2007 NPR – National Public Radio reported: New scientific
evidence supports the claim that water flowing in India’s Ganges river —
where millions of people bathe daily — has special self-purifying
properties, which act as a disinfectant that kills bacteria, and prevents
disease. Global Good News service views this news as a sign of rising
positivity in the field of science, documenting the growth of
life-supporting, evolutionary trends.
Millions believe that if you bathe in the water of the Ganges, then you
purify yourself.
In the fourth installment of a six-part series recorded for NPR,
independent film producer Julian Crandall Hollick investigated the claim
that the Ganges had something special in its water, which he called the
‘mysterious X factor’.
The report stated, ‘Hindus have always believed that water from India’s
Ganges River has extraordinary powers. The Indian emperor Akbar called it
the ‘water of immortality’ and always traveled with a supply. The British
East India Co. used only Ganges water on its ships during the three-month
journey back to England, because it stayed ‘sweet and fresh’.’
Hollick found a retired professor of hydrology, DS Bhargava, who has been
investigating water samples from various parts of the river. He says that
the oxygen levels in the Ganges’ are ’25 times higher than any other river
in the world’, which gives it its self-purifying quality.
Hollick also interviewed Jay Ramachandran, a Molecular biologist and
entrepreneur in Bangalore, who explained why the Ganges doesn’t spread
disease among its bathers.
The high amount of oxygen in the water helps assimilate organic materials,
and helpful bacteria destroys harmful bacteria. Large amounts of people
bathing in the river seems to stimulate the helpful bacteria to act upon
the bacteria that is harmful to humans.
The Ganges alone out of all of the world’s rivers is a self-purifying
system. #Prahladananda Swami – 9/1/08

Longer Life
Healthy living ‘can add 14 years’
Flats on an estate
Social class was
Taking exercise, drinking moderately, eating sufficient fruit and vegetables
and not smoking can add as much as 14 years to your life, a study has found.
Research involving 20,000 people over a decade found those who failed on all
criteria were four times more likely to have died than those who succeeded.
The findings held true regardless of how overweight or poor they were.
The Public Library of Science Medicine study suggests many could increase
their lifespan through simple changes.
The research was carried out by the University of Cambridge and the Medical
Research Council in the English county of Norfolk between 1993 and 2006.
Participants were aged between 45 and 79. They were socially mixed although
overwhelmingly white, and as far as they were aware at the time, did not
have cancer or any heart problems.
Taking off the years
A point was awarded for each of the following: not currently smoking,
consuming between one and 14 units of alcohol per week (the equivalent of
between half a glass and seven glasses of wine), eating five servings of
fruit and vegetables each day and not being inactive.
It means a large proportion of the population really could feel health
benefits through moderate changes
Professor Kay-Tee Khaw
University of Cambridge
This last category was defined as either having a sedentary occupation and
taking half an hour of exercise a day, or simply having a non-sedentary job
like a nurse or plumber.
Not only did the team find that those with four points were significantly
less likely to have died over the period than those with none, they also
found that a 60-year-old person with a score of zero had the same risk of
dying as a 74-year-old with the full four points.
"We’ve know that individually, measures such as not smoking and exercising
can have an impact upon longevity, but this is the first time we have looked
at them altogether," said Professor Kay-Tee Khaw, who led the research.
"And we also found that social class and BMI – body mass index – really did
not have a role to play.
"It means a large proportion of the population really could feel health
benefits through moderate changes."
Everyone gains
It was in the reduction of deaths attributed to cardiovascular disease where
the findings were most pronounced, with those scoring zero five times more
likely to succumb than those scoring four.
But there was also a relationship between score and cancer deaths.
While the main analysis excluded people with known disease, the researchers
found that those with serious conditions fared better the higher they scored
than those who scored lower.
Health campaigners welcomed the study.
"This is good news and shows that by living a healthy life, people can
reduce their risk of dying from heart and circulatory disease," said Judy
O’Sullivan of the British Heart Foundation.
"By not smoking, drinking alcohol in moderation, taking regular physical
activity and eating a diet rich in fruit and vegetables, people can improve
their chances of living longer."
A Department of Health spokesperson said: "Everyone has responsibility for
their own health, which was highlighted last year when we kickstarted the
Small Change, Big Difference initiative to show people that there are simple
changes they can make in their lives that will have a direct impact on their
#Prahladananda Swami – 8/1/08