Reiki Jin Kei Do: The Way of Compassion & Wisdom
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- A Bunch of Old Promos…
- Relaunching ‘Focus: The Journal of Reiki Jin Kei Do & Buddho’
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- A Vegetarian New Year
- The Rise of the Vegans (Arabic version)
- The Rise of the Vegans
- Review: Look Who’s Back
- Reiki in a Nutshell
- The Importance of Art Education in Academic and Career Success
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What I’m Reading
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My rating: 1 of 5 stars
I really wanted to like this book, and eventually, after much effort, I did. It was hard work. I started reading it, some years ago. I read about a quarter of it and lost interest. But I don’t give up on books. It needed to be finished. So I carried it around a lot intending to carry on with it, put it on my coffee table ready to pick up when I had nothing better to do, and flew back and forth from Cairo to London with it several times thinking it could be finished during the flight. I rarely opened it, and then often to read no more than a few pages. Today, I finally finished it!
I really wanted to believe all the principles that are outlined in this book. They sort of make sense on one level. But something… something deep down wasn’t resonating. I’d read all those ‘power of positive thought’ books many years ago. Napoleon Hill, Wayne Dyer, Dale Carnegie ad infinitum. I’d read them all, so some of what The Diamond Cutter had to say, dovetailed in with all of that. But like many of those books, something… something just wasn’t gelling for me.
So I did a little research on The Diamond Cutter. Hacking through the forest of links to The Diamond Cutter Institute and other sites inspired by the book, I finally found what I was looking for. Commentary by those who understand the Buddhist philosophies on which the book is based, and they didn’t have anything good to say about it.
It had already struck me as a little odd, that The Diamond Cutter Institute were running all of these motivational, inspiring, business-success orientated seminars, and yet there didn’t seem to be any taking place in the UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand… Why? Because the philosophy that the book is founded on is simplistic and naive. An educated audience, living in a culture where Buddhism is well understood, well practiced and has many adherents, is going to see right through the naivety of the teachings in The Diamond Cutter.
If you want more evidence of the vacuity of this book, it would be worth checking out this site: https://michaelroachfiles.wordpress.c…
As Traleg Kyabgon Rinpoche says in the quote in the sidebar of the Michael Roach files blog, “Buddha does not teach that there are linear causal relationships, where a single cause can bring about a single effect. Buddha teaches that there are many causes and many conditions… We are presented with a very complex picture of how things work. Just because a certain thing seems to have caused something to happen does not mean the particular cause we identified was solely responsible.”
Worldly success just isn’t as simplistic as The Diamond Cutter would lead us to believe. Having finished the book all these years after first buying it, I now understand why I took so long to read it, and why in the end I had to force myself through the last pages: something deep inside knew the truth of this book: the method doesn’t work.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I picked this up on a flight from London to Cairo figuring, from the cover, that it would be both light and inspirational. Perfect flight fodder.
I didn’t buy this because I love Shonda Rhimes’ work, or because I am an avid fan of her TV shows. I had never heard of her before picking up this book and I haven’t watched any of her TV shows. In fact, I haven’t watched any TV shows of any kind for over 10 years. So I have not a clue what ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ is.
This book irritated me for a long time. The writing was light, accessible, punchy, but oh my God, Shonda, get to the point! So many times I was editing it in my head, and cutting vast chunks of text, that made not the slightest difference to the point being made. By the time I got to the end of the book (two months after starting it), I’d sort of got used to this never-getting-to-the-point style of beating her readers up, and I started to enjoy, rather than wanting to chuck the book out of the window. But by then it was too late. The book was done.
But it’s message? Yes, we could all do with a lot more saying ‘Yes’ to life. Too often, it is easy to throw away the great gifts that life brings our way, out of fear. Fear of consequences that may never come about. Fear of the unknown. Fear of ourselves. Shonda showed that all of these things can be overcome. That actually, we can all say ‘yes’ to life (and ‘no’ when it is appropriate). It reminded me of a book I read years ago by Stuart Wilde. Can’t remember the title now, but the message was the same: grasp the opportunities that life throws at you because you don’t know what they might lead to.
If you are into the work of Shonda Rhimes, you might like this book. If you are looking for a good self-development/motivational book to get you up and at it, then maybe you’ll like this but frankly, there are better books out there covering the same topic.
I remember the first time I gave a radio interview back in 1997. I was just getting into my stride as a teacher of Reiki (‘Reiki Master’ they call it… at least those with egos and those who need to look up the word ‘Master’ in the Oxford English, do). Reiki was pretty new in my stretch of the woods back in 1997. My stretch of the woods being the little market town of Rugby, in Warwickshire.
So Reiki being new, I got to appear on a local BBC radio show, with one of my students, to talk about Universal Life Force energy. I was scared stiff, and I fluffed it. You can probably tell that I fluffed it, and you don’t have to listen too hard between the cracks. You can tell.
Since then, having gone on to write a book about Reiki, having created an epic failure of a global peace project called ’12seconds for Peace’, having bummed around Sudan working on another book that eventually didn’t happen, I have appeared all over the place in magazines, and on the web and done a whole bunch of radio interviews. I don’t crap myself at the thought anymore.
But all that stuff was scattered. All over the place. Dusty nooks of once Big-Time websites such as BlogTalk Radio (does anyone use that anymore?), fish and chip wrapper newspapers, and forgotten blogs that haven’t been updated in years.
It was time to pull it all together and put it here on my own, just out of the box website. Why waste all that good promo stuff? So you can find everything that I have managed to scrounge up so far here: In the Press. There’s more. Mostly sitting in a box in the roof space of my house, back in the UK. When I can get my hands on it, I will put that up too.
I guess, I just started to realise, it’s time to get real and push my work out there more. Now I finally kicked the dreadful school-teaching habit. So please go check out some of my interviews. Dip into my past, and try not to listen too hard between the cracks.
Maybe ‘Focus: The Journal of Reiki Jin Kei Do & Buddho’ is a bit long winded, and I am working on that, but for sure, this journal needs to resurface again. It originally ran for four issues (plus a supplement) between June 2012 and December 2013 and was the in-house magazine for Reiki Jin Kei Do UK (which I founded in 2010). You can download the old copies from my Reiki website here: ‘Focus: The Journal of Reiki Jin Kei Do’ – Free Download
This new incarnation, will not be attached to Reiki Jin Kei Do UK, which remains comatose. I have no intention of resurrecting that organisation, but the journal is very much needed.
There is nothing out there being published in the world of Reiki, apart from William Rand’s rather fluffy, new age subservient ‘Reiki News’. There is a need for something with a little more rigour, a little more intellectual engagement, a little more credibility. And with a little more respect for the concept of tradition and lineage than is the pervasive norm these days in the wider world of Reiki.
So Focus is coming back. I am not sure when, but soon. I am starting to get some content together (in between working on my novel), arranging some interviews and requesting some material from others.
I’ll keep you posted as to when to expect the next issue. Soon I hope!
The following review appeared in Cairo West, January 2017
Type of Cuisine: Traditional Egyptian street food with a modern ‘fusion’ twist.
Signature Dishes: Traditional Liver dish (grilled, breaded or Alexandrian), Sausage (grilled, breaded, Alexandrian, Turkish, Eastern or cheese), the Cumin Special (liver, sausages, kofta or mombar), Sandwich 4×4 (with sausage, liver, kofta and sakalans), Om Ali and a delicious Couscous dessert.
Dishes sampled: The menu contained everything you would expect from a classic Egyptian restaurant. There was a wonderful breakfast selection on offer, and we dived right in with the Feteer Meshaltet. There was too much for one person, so this was a sharer. It was prepared to perfection, with plenty of honey, molasses, and cream to dip into.
We followed up with salads and the main course, starting with a generous helping of a delicious Egyptian standard: Baba Ghanoug and a Chicken Caesar Salad, along with a mouth-watering helping of Plain Hawashi cooked on the grill. The Hawashi was amazing and definitely something you should try. We also sampled the king of all Egyptian classics: Koshiary. It was cooked to perfection, and the chick peas had just the right slightly nutty texture; something to get your teeth into. The sauces were delicious! To complement this, we had a helping of Pickled Potatoes. Boiled and then fried and doused in parsley and spices, they were truly delicious!
We were already feeling quite full at this point, but who can resist Om Ali, the mother of desserts? It’s rich textures and flavours were a delight. The Mahalabeya was also irresistible and ended a wonderful meal.
Other menu options that appealed: If I had to pick out something from the extensive breakfast menu, it would have to be the Cumin Combo 2 which consists of foul, falafel, fries, two boiled eggs, cheese with tomato, fresh juice, and tea or coffee. The Stuffed Tomatoes from the salads and the Breaded Chicken or Cumin Special (meat) from the mains, also looked too good to not try. From the desserts, the Couscous and the Sweet Potato with Nutella stood out.
Beverage Options: There is an extensive range of hot and cold drinks, including Tamr Hindi and Sugarcane, a good selection of juices, canned drinks and shakes available.
Décor: Street-style fusion, including an open kitchen area, with classic Egyptian motifs. The furniture is all handmade and decorated to the restaurant’s specifications by Earth Gallery. High up on the walls, mock windows with washing hanging, mimics the streets of Old Cairo, clean and presentable for the 21st Century.
Ambience: The combination of the décor and the background music of Hisham Kharma’s modern fusion take on the classic Egyptian sound, creates a feeling of modernity and tradition. Street style and airiness combine in this relaxed environment. Complementing that is the soon-to-come Egyptian movie nights.
Clientele: Families and an upper social class, mainly in the 18-30 age group.Also great for those who just want a quiet coffee and a shisha.
Home Delivery: Yes.
Price Range: moderate.
Opening Hours: 10am to 1.30am.
Good to Know: A percentage of the profits go to the Mashro3e Kheir NGO for the benefit of disadvantaged children.
Address: Twin Towers Mall (Rivulet Plaza), Sheikh Zayed, 6th October.
Alexandria Style Liver
250gms of liver
50gms green pepper, finely chopped
25gms yellow and red pepper, finely chopped
2 teaspoons of crushed garlic
Salt and pepper
Put the oil in the frying pan and turn on to a low heat.
Cut the liver into thin slices and place into the oil and cook for about 4 minutes.
Put the chopped green, red and yellow peppers into the pan, along with the garlic, spices and salt and pepper.
Stir together and cook for 6-7 minutes.
Serve with bread and tahini.
The following article was originally written for the website of Identity magazine and was scheduled for publication in December 2016.
For a variety of reasons, that never happened, so rather than waste it, I am posting it here, though it is a bit late in the day to be making New Year’s resolutions perhaps! Still..the advice in the article still holds!
It’s that time of year again, and like the last one, I’ll be making a list of New Year’s resolutions to eat better, exercise more, and generally improve my life. I might even keep some of them, but usually, by the end of January, most are forgotten. And I don’t think I’m unusual in that. Good intentions are easy. We start with strong motivations, and then it comes to an end. Life gets in the way, or maybe our intentions weren’t realistic in the first place.
So, here’s a resolution, that’s easy and fits in around your normal routine. Becoming a vegetarian is the perfect, healthy, energy boost that will make you feel good all year long.
Abstaining from eating meat and fish, might seem a daunting option. And it’s often the case that those around you will find your decision a bit odd, or even dangerous. So, let’s arm you with some facts to allay those fears.
The scientific evidence against eating meat is stacking up.
A study by the National Centre for Biotechnology showed that there is something called Neu5Gc (an acid-sugar molecule) that is always found in meat. This molecule is almost always found in cancer tumours and can harden your arteries. You don’t produce these molecules yourself, they always come from meat. There is a significant amount of evidence now that meat consumption is linked to the development of various forms of cancer. Even the World Health Organisation has confirmed that there is strong evidence that processed meats cause cancer. Arthritis and the development of various allergies are also linked to eating meat.
But it’s important to recognise, that just cutting meat from your diet, doesn’t automatically make your food choices healthy. You need to consider carefully what you eat. So here is some guidance on a healthier you.
Switching to a vegetarian diet will help you lose weight. There are overweight vegetarians of course, just as there are skinny meat-eaters, but on average vegetarians are about a tenth less likely to be overweight as their meat-eating counterparts. Replace all those high-fat meat products with healthy fruit and vegetables and grains, and your waistline will thank you.
You could even consider going vegan. The difference between a vegan and a vegetarian is that vegans also abstain from milk and milk-based products, eggs and honey, whereas a vegetarian would be fine with consuming these, but there are health consequences if you do so!
Cutting milk from your diet, for instance, would give your arteries and bones a chance. According to the ‘Save Our Bones’ campaign, along with almost every other scientific study in the world, drinking cow’s milk, gives the lie to the old wives tail that drinking milk is good for you. Cow’s milk leaches calcium away from your bones and makes them weaker. The pasteurisation process makes the calcium in cow’s milk almost completely non-absorbable. Non-dairy milks such as rice milk, almond milk, and soya milk are great sources of calcium. Non-dairy milks are easily made in your own kitchen with a little effort if you can’t find them in your local supermarket. And guess what? Milk too is implicated in the development of cancer. According to T Colin Campbell; Professor of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University, in 2000:
“cows’ milk protein may be the single most significant chemical carcinogen to which humans are exposed”.
And eggs? They will shorten your lifespan, according to The Harvard Physician’s Health Study. Honey? According to an article in The Journal of Nutrition, it’s no better for you than refined sugar. Veganism is definitely better for you!
If you’ve ever seen the cartoon character, Popeye, you will know that he eats a lot of spinach. It’s no coincidence that Popeye’s gigantic biceps are due to his mono-vegetable lifestyle. Spinach, along with many other leafy greens can give you all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients your body needs. Vegetables are a prime source of iron, calcium, vitamin C and beta-carotene (which helps with your immune system). Meat sources, on the other hand, are always of a much poorer quality. And don’t forget, vegetables are low in calories, which is great for keeping your weight down.
Apart from the benefits that your body will feel from switching to a vegetarian diet, the planet will also thank you. The meat and dairy industries are the number one cause of environmental destruction around the world. You may think you live on a planet, but you actually live on a gigantic farm. According to an article in ‘Time’ magazine, over 40% of the world’s land mass is used for keeping us 7 billion humans fed, and most of that (30% of the world’s ice-free land mass) is used to raise animals of various kinds for human consumption. That’s a lot of land, and we’re running out of it.
All that meat production is having a devastating impact on the climate and the state of the environment. An article from the Smithsonian Institute pointed out that:
“Livestock species contribute direction and indirectly to deforestation, water pollution, air pollution, greenhouse gasses, global warming, desertification, erosion and human obesity… Dry and scrubby Greece, once a nation of woodlands, has gone to the goats. In Brazil, forests are falling before the advance of soybean fields, cultivated largely as beef fodder.”
So, if you are going to make any resolutions this year, then switching to a vegetarian diet would be a great one to commit too. It doesn’t take a lot of effort, but it does need you to be conscious about what you eat. You will do yourself and the environment a big favour. And if the idea of switching to a meat-free diet forever scares you, why not commit for just one month and see it goes? Or if you can’t do that, what about cutting meat for one or two days a week as a starter. You don’t need to do it all at once, but every little helps.
The Following is an Arabic translation of my article on the rise of veganism in Egypt, ‘The Rise of the Vegans’, and originally appeared in The Community Times for December 2016. You can find the original English language version here.
Not being able to read Arabic myself, I am not aware of where the paragraph breaks should go in this translation, so have left the text as originally posted on the ‘Plant Based Diet (Egypt)’ page where it first appeared. Translation by Dahlia Ali.
ممكن ماتكونش عارف إن فيه ناس ڤيجان حواليك. أعدادهم صغيرة آه، وشكلهم عادي يعني ماتفرقهمش عننا في حاجة، لكنهم بينشروا رسالتهم الصحية في كل مكان.
ورسالتهم بتنتشر بسرعة مش في مصر بس بل في العالم كله. أتباع المذهب الڤيجان في بريطانيا زادوا ٣٩٠٪ في السنوات الأخيرة طبقاً لجمعية النباتيين بالمملكة المتحدة. عددهم في انجلترا يقدر بحوالي نص مليون ڤيجان. يقدر عددهم في أمريكا بأكتر من مليون. العدد في مصر أقل بكتير. مفيش مؤشر واضح لانتشار ‘الڤيجانزم’ في مصر لكنه يقدر بالمئات، لكن العدد في ازدياد سريع.
بس يعني إيه شخص ڤيجان؟ المفروض تتصرف إزاي لو قابلت واحد ڤيجان؟
أول من استحدث كلمة ‘ڤيجان’ كان دونالد واطسون في بريطانيا سنة ١٩٤٤، اللي ألزم نفسه بنظام حياة خالي من استغلال الحيوان. الموضوع أشبه بال vegetarian بس متقدم عنه. الvegans مش بس بيمتنعوا عن أكل اللحوم والأسماك بل كمان بيبعدوا عن البيض واللبن والجبنة والعسل ومش بس علشان بيعتبروها غير صحية بس كمان علشان بتتسبب في معاناة للكائنات الحية الأخرى.
لسنين طويلة فضلت الڤيجانزم معزولة بتكافح وتقدم أدلة لمجتمع علمي عدواني ولصناعة أغذية شرسة، ولرأي عام كان رد فعله دايماً بالسخرية والتجاهل. الڤيجان كانوا أضحوكة التجمعات. بس الوضع اتغير. وبالنسبة لسؤال ‘تتصرف إزاي لما تقابل حد فيهم’ الإجابة هي: إسمع. رسالتهم اللي دلوقتي مدعمة بشدة من المجتمع العلمي ممكن تغير حياتك. الڤيجان بدأوا يظهروا وينتشروا. حتى الأمم المتحدة بتتجه نحو حركة عالمية من أجل نظام غذائي خالي من اللحوم ومنتجات الألبان.
من أهم أسباب التحول للنباتية هو الصحة. الأدلة العلمية اللي بتدعم التحول من استهلاك اللحوم إلى نظام غذائي نباتي مبهرة.
طبقاً لأكاديمية التغذية وأطباء التغذية الأمريكية، آكلي اللحوم أكثر عرضة لأمراض القلب والسرطان والسكر والبدانة أكتر من الڤيجان. الڤيجان بيتمتعوا بضغط دم منخفض وصحتهم أفضل عموماً. النتايج دي بتتكرر بشكل مستمر حول العالم من خلال كل المجتمعات العلمية. حسب تقرير اتحاد أطباء التغذية الأمريكي سنة ٢٠٠٩:
“الأنظمة النباتية المُعدّة جيداً صحية، كافية غذائياً ومن الممكن أن تساهم في تفادي وعلاج أمراض معينة، وهي مناسبة للأفراد من جميع المراحل العمرية بما فيهم مرحلة الحمل والرضاعة والطفولة والمراهقة وللرياضيين.
لكن الجدل النباتي مش بيدور بس حوالين تحصيل كل العناصر الغذائية اللازمة للجسم، بل كمان حوالين أضرار استهلاك اللحوم مراض القلب ومشتقات الحيوانات الأخرى.
في دراسة لمستشفى ماساشوستس العام على مدى ٣٠ سنة على أكتر من ١٣٠ ألف متطوع، ظهر إن زيادة حصة البروتين الحيواني في الأكل ب١٠٪ فقط أدى إلى ارتفاع نسبة الوفاة عموماً ب٢٪. وفي حالة أمراض القلب ارتفعت النسبة إلى ٨٪. استبعاد البيض من الطعام أدى لانخفاض بنسبة ١٩٪ بينما أدى استبعاد اللحوم الحمراء إلى انخفاض بنسبة ١٢٪
مشكلة اللحوم هي إنها غالباً بتكون ملوثة بالفضلات والدم والأدرينالين وسوائل أخرى، بالإضافة إلى مركبات كيميائية زي الهرمونات الصناعية المصممة لزيادة نمو الحيوان بشكل أسرع. وكمان بتكون مليانة مضادات حيوية. لما بناكل اللحوم بنستهلك كل السوائل والكيماويات دي. في دراسة لمدرسة جون هوبكنز بلومبرج للصحة العامة اكتشفت إن ٩٦٪ من نوع معين من شركات الفراخ فيها نوع خطير جداً من البكتيريا اسمها كامبيلوباكتر. البكتيريا دي بتتسبب في ٢.٤ كليون حالة إصابة بالتسمم الغذائي سنوياً في أمريكا. منظمة الصحة العالمية وصلت لأنها أعلنت اللحوم رسمياً كمادة مسرطنة بإمكانها زيادة خطر الإصابة بسرطان القولون أو المستقيم ب١٨٪
طيب إيه البديل؟ أحسن مصادر البروتين والحديد وكل المعادن والڤيتامينات الأخرى اللي بيحتاجها الجسم موجودة في الأكل النباتي. الكلام ده بتأكده تقارير الاتحاد الطبي البريطاني وآخرون.
من مصادر البروتين العدس والحمص والفاصوليا وزبدة الفول السوداني والسبانخ والرز والعيش المعمول بالقمح الكامل والبطاطس والبروكولي. الحديد ممكن نلاقيه في فول الصويا والعدس والفاصوليا الحمرا والحمص والطحينة والزبيب والبطيخ والشوفان. لزيادة حصتك اليومية من الكالسيوم جرب دبس السكر أو التوفو أو عصير البرتقال المعزز بالڤيتامينات أو الطحينة أو اللوز. بي١٢ والزنك وأوميجا٣ والدهون ومواد غذائية تانية كتير كلها ليها مصادر نباتية وغالباً بتكون جودتها أعلى من النظائر الحيوانية المصدر.
طب والحليب؟ مش كلنا محتاجين الكالسيوم لتقوية العظام والأسنان؟ الحقيقة إن شرب الحليب دي أكبر كدبة في حياتنا.
أظهرت حملة ‘انقذوا عظامنا’ البريطانية إنه بينما بيحتوي الحليب ععلى بعض الكالسيوم لكنه من النوع اللي مايقدرش جسمنا يمتصه خصوصاً المبستر. عملية البسترة بتخلي امتصاص الكالسيوم مستحيل. المذهل إن استهلاك الحليب أثبت إنه بيزود معدل فقد الكالسيوم، بسبب إن الجسم بيضطر يسحب من مخزون الكالسيوم في العضم علشان يعادل التأثير الحمضي للحليب في الجسم. تي كولن كامبل أستاذ الكيمياء الحيوية الغذائية فيجامعة كورنيل لاحظ في سنة ٢٠٠٠ فيما يخص استهلاك الحليب:
بروتين حليب الأبقار ممكن يكون المادة المسرطنة الأكبر اللي بيتعرض لها الإنسان.
ده اتهام خطير للحليب والدراسات عليه لايمكن تجاهلها. المجتمع العلمي كل يوم بيثبت عدم صحة الأكاذيب بخصوص فوائد الحليب.
في مصر بسبب نقص المعرفة بفوايد النظام الڤيجان وأضرار أكل المنتجات الحيوانية، اللي بيتحول للأسلوب ده بيواجهوا معارضة شديدة. ياسمين نظمي صاحبة مطعم The Vegan Kitchen في المعادي سابقاً، اللي اتحول إلى Earthly Delights، واللي بيقدم خدمة توصيل الأكل الڤيجان للمنازل واجهت معارضة عنيدة:
” الاعتراضات اللي قابلتها كانت أكتر من الدعم. زي أي مجتمع بياكل لحوم ونباتات، المجتمع المصري بيعتبر اللحوم ضرورة وإن النباتيين/الڤيجان دول ناس ضعيفة ‘ماشيين مع الموضة الجديدة وخلاص.’ معظم اللي بينتقدوا النظام الڤيجان بتنقصهم المعرفة العلمية، بالتالي طبيعي تتوقع رد فعلهم العدواني.”
تجربة ياسمين مش غريبة. بسبب المعرفة المتوارثة من الأجيال السابقة، معظم الناس بيلاقوا صعوبة في فهم إن فيه بديل صحي للواقع السائد.
هبة طالبة مصرية عايشة بره مصر حالياً، بتقول:
“صحابي كانوا متضايقين جداً من النظام ده، بس خلال المرحلة دي بعضهم اتأثر بيا وبدأوا تدريجياً يتحولوا إلى نباتيين أو ڤيجان.”
الدليل على إن النظام الڤيجان (وأخوه الصغير ‘النباتي’ الأقل تزمتاً) بينتشر في مصر بسرعة ممكن نلاقيه في صفحة المجتمع النباتي/الڤيجان في مصر على فيسبوكThe Vegetarian/Vegan Society in Egypt . حالياً الصفحة فيها حوالي ٣٥٠٠ عضو. كمان في صفحة Plant-Based Diet (Egypt) على فيسبوك. الجروب حالياً فيه أكتر من ٢٠٠ ألف عضو. أعضاء كتير من الجروب ممكن مايكونوش نباتيين أو ڤيجان بس الأرقام دي شهادة على حقيقة إن فيه اهتمام كبير ومتنامي بالنظام الغذائي ده. مصطفى حلمي، أحد المؤسسين لصفحة Plant-Based Diet بيقول:
“في رأيي النظامين النباتي والڤيجان هيستمروا في الانتشار في مصر وفي العالم. النظام المعتمد على النبات صحي أكتر، والنظام الغربي هو اللي بيقتلنا. مصنعي الأغذية هيحاربوا ده، زي مصنعي الدخان ما عملوا من سنين. هيغشوا وهيكدبوا في المحاكم، وهيمولوا أبحاث معيبة، هيعملوا كل اللي يقدروا عليه علشانيخبوا الحقيقة لأطول وقت ممكن. لكن في الآخر هيخسروا لأن الحقيقة واحدة بس، والنهارده مع وجود الإنترنت مش هيقدروا يخبوها.” كمان ممكن تزوروا www.kouhl.com أول مجلة أونلاين للطريقة الڤيجان مع التركيز على تمصير الأساليب الڤيجان.
The Following article appeared in The Community Times, December 2016.
You may not know it, but there are vegans in your midst. Few in number, and indistinguishable from other folks, vegans are spreading their agenda of health, compassion, and well-being to all who will listen.
It’s a growing movement, not just here in Egypt, but around the world. In the UK, adherents of veganism have multiplied by over 390% in recent years, according to the UK Vegan Society. There are now estimated to be around half a million vegans in the UK. In the United States, it’s estimated that there are over a million. In Egypt, that number is substantially lower. There are no good indicators for the spread of veganism in Egypt, but it’s possibly in the hundreds. A number that is, however, growing rapidly.
But what is a vegan and what should you do if you meet one?
Veganism is a term first coined in the UK back in 1944 by Donald Watson, who adhered to a lifestyle free from all animal exploitation. It’s something like being a vegetarian, but more so. Vegans not only do not eat meat and fish, they also avoid such products as eggs, milk, cheese and honey, seeing all of these things as not only unhealthy for human consumption, but also contributing to the suffering of other living beings.
For many years, veganism has been on the back-foot, fighting its corner, presenting its evidence to a hostile scientific community and food industry, and a public whose main response has been dismissive ridicule. Vegans were the fringe crazies at the party. But no more. And to answer the second question; if you meet one, listen. Their message, now backed overwhelmingly by the scientific community, will change your life. Vegans are moving into the mainstream. Even the United Nations is pushing for a global move to a meat and dairy free diet.
One of the main reasons for vegans to adopt the lifestyle is concern over their own health. The scientific evidence for moving away from meat, towards a plant-based diet, is staggering.
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in the United States, meat eaters are much more likely to develop heart disease, cancer, diabetes and suffer from obesity, than their vegan counterparts. Vegans have much lower blood pressure and are generally much healthier. These findings have been replicated consistently around the world, by all scientific communities. According to the American Dietetic Association in a 2009 report:
“Properly planned vegan diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases…are appropriate for individuals, during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes.”
The vegan argument, however, is not simply that it is possible to get all of the body’s requirements from plant-based foods, but that the consumption of meat and other animal-derived products, is actively harmful.
In a study carried out at the Massachusetts General Hospital over a thirty-year period, with more than 130,000 participants, it was shown that raising the share of animal protein in one’s diet by only 10% led to a two percent higher risk of death from all causes. In the case of heart disease, this figure rose to eight percent. Eliminating eggs from the diet, led to a 19% reduction in death risk, whilst eliminating red meat, led to a drop of 12%.
The problem with meat is that it is often contaminated with faeces, blood, adrenaline and other bodily fluids, as well as chemical compounds such as artificial hormones, designed to make the animal grow more quickly. It’s also stuffed full of antibiotics. When you eat meat, you consume these fluids and chemicals. A study at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health reported that 96% of a particular brand of chicken contained a highly dangerous bacterium called campylobacter. Campylobacter causes 2.4 million cases of food poisoning in the United States every year. The World Health Organisation has gone so far as to officially declare meat a carcinogen, that can increase the risk of colon or rectum cancer by as much as 18%.
So what’s the alternative? The very best sources of protein, iron, and all the other minerals and vitamins a body needs, come from a plant-based diet. This is backed up by reports from The British Medical Association as well as The Vegan Society and others.
Rich sources of protein are lentils, chickpeas, peas, peanut butter, spinach, rice whole wheat bread, potatoes, and broccoli. Iron can be found in soybeans, lentils, kidney beans, chickpeas, tahini, raisins, watermelon, millet, and molasses. For your daily intake of calcium try molasses, tofu, fortified orange juice, tahini, and almonds. B12, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, fats and other nutrients, all have plant-based sources, and often of a higher quality that their animal-product derived counterparts.
But surely drinking milk is okay? Don’t we need all that calcium to strengthen our bones and teeth? No, actually, it isn’t okay. Milk is the great lie of our age.
The ‘Save Our Bones’ campaign in the UK has shown that whilst milk does contain an abundance of calcium, it is of a kind that the human body simply cannot absorb. Even more so when pasteurised. Pasteurisation makes the calcium impossible to absorb. Ironically, milk consumption has been shown to actually increase calcium loss, due to the body drawing on stores of bone calcium to neutralise the acidifying effects of milk on the body.
T Colin Campbell; Professor of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University, made this damning observation in 2000 in relation to milk consumption:
“cows’ milk protein may be the single most significant chemical carcinogen to which humans are exposed”.
That’s a pretty damning indictment of milk. And the studies are overwhelming. Time and again, the scientific community around the world, is revealing the old-wives’ tale about the benefits of milk, to be the nonsense that it is.
In Egypt, as a consequence of the lack of knowledge about the benefits of veganism and the harmful effects of eating animal products, those that are turning to the lifestyle, are facing stiff opposition. Yasmine Nazmy, the former owner of ‘The Vegan Kitchen’ restaurant in Maadi, which has metamorphosed into ‘Earthly Delights’, a vegan home-delivery service, ran into some stiff opposition:
“I have…had more objections than support. Just like in many other omnivorous societies, the Egyptian society regards meat as a necessity and vegetarians/vegans as weak people who are ‘just going through a weird phase’. Most people who criticise a vegan diet often lack a lot of scientific knowledge, so it’s normal to expect an aggressive reaction…”
Yasmin’s experience isn’t unusual. With nothing more than the hearsay wisdom of previous generations, most people find it difficult to understand or acknowledge that there is a different and healthier alternative to the prevailing norm. Heba, an Egyptian student currently living overseas, also said,
“My friends were so upset from that lifestyle. (But) …through that hard process, some friends were influenced by me and they started gradually to be vegetarian (or) vegan.”
The evidence that veganism (and its less draconian little brother, vegetarianism) is growing in Egypt can be found by visiting the Vegetarian/Vegan Society in Egypt Facebook Page. Currently, it has nearly three and a half thousand members. Alternatively, you could check out the Plant-Based Diet (Egypt) page, again on Facebook. This group has over two hundred thousand members. Many members of these groups may not be vegetarian or vegan, but their numbers are testament to the fact that there is a huge and growing interest in this dietary regime. Mostafa Helmy, one of the founders of the Plant-Based Diet page, said,
“I think vegetarianism and veganism will continue to expand in Egypt and all over the world. A Plant Based Diet is a much healthier diet, and the western diet is what is killing us, food industries will fight this, like the tobacco industry did years ago, they will cheat, they will lie in court, they will fund flawed research, they will do whatever they can to hide it for longer, but in the end, they will lose, because the truth is the truth, and in this day and age with the internet and all, they can’t hide it.”
And you could also check out http://www.kouhl.com, Egypt’s first online vegan lifestyle magazine “…with a focus on Egyptianizing the vegan and raw lifestyles.”
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
In the end, I had to grit my teeth and force myself to finish this. It took me two months. Look, it’s a great concept: Hitler waking up in the modern world and then having to orientate himself, whilst plotting his rise to power and reboot of the Third Reich.
The satire, on the whole, didn’t work for me. There were a couple of genuinely funny moments in Hitler’s dialogue and some minor smiles from cleverly worked misunderstandings between Hitler and his colleagues at the ‘Flashlight’ production company. ‘Flashlight’ has taken Hitler on as a political satirist and given him his own TV and YouTube show.
The problem with this book is that it is really hard to feel any sympathy or connection with the main character. He’s Hitler after all. And he’s pronouncements on Jews, Russians, Poles, Turks, Asians, foreigners of all kinds, violence, gas chambers, concentration camps, the SS, ad infinitum is genuinely distasteful and at times horrific.
I wanted to like this book a lot more. It’s well written. It’s a great concept, but it is incredibly difficult to get past a distaste for the protagonist. And I guess what makes it also quite an unsettling read, in the end, is the sheer blind stupidity of everyone else in the book. Their inability to grasp the real agenda of Hitler and constantly misconstrue every single thing he says cannot be very far off the reality of what happened back in the 1920’s and 30’s that lead to his rise to power. People will see what they want to see, and not what is actually in front of them.