Saturday, October 14, 2006

Lara Bars

these things seem to be all the rage right now - they're the latest "nutrition" or "sports" bar but with an un-processed, all-natural, all-raw, "healthy" twist. after checking out the ingredients online it seemed to me that they were nothing more than a new take on that old seventies classic, the dreaded date roll.

out of curiosity i picked one up at trader joes the other day for a buck something and gave it a nibble. i was expecting something overly sweet yet bland. i was disappointed. it was good. too good really. if you read the nutrition information, one bar has about 220 calories, which is a lot of calories and more like a light meal than a snack. but they are handy for when you do need something to eat and there's nothing to be had and you're starting to get that headache that signals the imminent onset of extreme, pms-mimicing grouchiness. i'm keeping one in my car. next time i travel i'll pack a few along. if you're a bike rider or long-distance runner or something like that, they could come in handy. these also could be a good all-natural snack for kids. the recipe that follows is my approximation of the base. add whatever suits your fancy. the quantities are for one bar only, so be sure to multiply to get your desired amount.

homemade lara-type bars
makes 1 bar
1 Tablespoon dates, pureed
3 Tablespoons dry ingredients (nuts, dried fruits, coconut, oats, etc.)

pit dates and whir in a food processor or mash by hand until they're one sticky mass. this will be the base, the "glue" that will hold it all together. to this base, add about 3 Tablespoons of finely diced dried ingredients - the nuts of your choice (almonds, cashews, pecans, hazlenut, etc.), dried fruit, oats, spices, etc. with your hands mix it all together and form into a tight ball. roll this ball into a rope and then pat it flat into a rectangle. tightly wrap in plastic wrap (the wrapping will help the bar hold it's shape as you further mold it) and apply pressure to the top using a flat surface - a cutting board works well. to shape the sides you can take two knives and apply pressure to opposite ends of the bars. refrigerate wrapped. for larger batches shape into a larger square, chill and cut into desired bar shapes with a very sharp knife.

some tasty combinations:
cashew: 1 Tablespoon dates + 3 Tablespoons cashews
almond coconut: 1 Tablespoon dates +2 Tablespoons almonds + 1 Tablespoon unsweetened coconut
almond spice: 1 Tablespoon dates + 3 Tablespoons almonds + 1/4 teaspoon each: cinnamon & nutmeg + 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger.
cranberry coconut: 2 Tablespoons minced dried cranberries, 1 Tablespoon unsweetened coconut

(from the Bunnyfoot blog)

Friday, October 06, 2006

Orange Creme Smoothie

1 frozen banana
1 orange
1/4 c raw almonds
1 T Flax seeds
1 cup almond milk
6-8 ice cubes

Blend in Vita-mix on high until smooth

Makes about 3 cups of smoothie. Yummy!

Shifting Memories

Are Keys to Reality Selection

"We observe memory sequences when we observe time. Hence there is no
time; there are only memory sequences. Or in other words, what we
call time is actually a memory sequence. These sequences are
recordable in arbitrary ways, and they can be replayed. Thus what we
call the past is only a matter of record. There is no such thing as
the past; there are only memory sequences that are somewhat related
to each other."-- Fred Alan Wolf, Matter into Feeling

This month I got my ears pierced for the first time. As I was
cleaning the earrings the very first day I wore them, I had the
distinct memory that I had done this all before. The earrings felt
familiar, the cleaning felt familiar, and I even could recall having
worn a variety of beautiful dangly earrings over the years. At this
moment, I don't own a variety of beautiful dangly earrings. When I
told a friend that I'd just gotten my ears pierced, she replied with
surprise, "But aren't your ears already pierced? I always love seeing
what earrings you're wearing, and I could have sworn your ears were

Memories are much more than factual recollections of the past.
According to the parallel universes model of reality, parallel
versions of you are at this very moment actively exploring all
possibilities, although you typically only recall having chosen one.
While you may be traveling through numerous parallel realities, you
are typically conscious of only experiencing one reality at any given
time. Your memories can therefore be the keys by which you can
retrace your path through time.

While memories show us the path by which we have experienced the
world, they are extremely flexible. This flexibility allows our
memories to be altered in ways that demonstrate how we may, in fact,
have experienced parallel universes. For example, let's take a look
at scientific evidence that suggests how easily our memories can be
modified in ways that profoundly affect our future behavior.
Psychologist Elizabeth Loftus and her colleagues have recently
published findings that report how people whose memories have been
modified to recall negative experiences in childhood with specific
foods can develop new aversions to those foods, leading them to avoid
those foods after their childhood memories have been altered to
include new "false memories" of food-related trauma. I would suggest
that rather than remembering previous trauma, it may be more
beneficial to recall having been fully and completely loved. Such
positive memories have the power to bring a sense of confidence and
resilience to people who might otherwise feel sad, lonely, and afraid.
CSL MeditationMeditate and improve your brain!

Turning our attention to how our beliefs affect the future, we can
investigate how our self-fulfilling prophecies have the power to
create in the external world exactly what we predict or "remember-in-
advance" to be true. Our beliefs affect others as well, most
noticeably when we forecast difficulties, and share those negative
views of the future, according to a recently published study on self-
fulfilling prophecies published in Psychological Science. What "false
memories" have in common with self-fulfilling prophecy is that both
our memories about the past and our beliefs can be modified, and both
can affect our future reality and the realities of others.

Recent brain studies have shown that people who are highly
suggestible can be hypnotized in ways that demonstrate their brains
have been altered by mere suggestion, giving hypnosis increased
credibility in the field of neuroscience. Hypnosis isn't the only
thing that's been demonstrated to modify the brain; neuroscientists
have recently discovered that frequent meditators experience
measurable, positive changes in brain development, in terms of
increased cortical thickness. Study team member and Yale psychology
professor Jeremy Gray notes, "... meditation practice can change
anyone's gray matter... you don't have to be a monk."

See for yourself what difference you notice in your life when you
take time to remember positive memories about the past, as well as
positive feelings about what you "remember-in-advance." It might help
to know that this exercise in itself is a form of meditation, so just
spending some quality time with these energizing thoughts and
feelings will do you a world of good.

lots of love,
Cynthia Sue Larson

Milk Linked to Ovarian Cancer

Milk Linked to Ovarian Cancer:
U.S. Experts Issue Recommendation Based on New Swedish Study

WASHINGTON-Nutrition experts with the Physicians Committee for
Responsible Medicine (PCRM) are available to comment on a new study
reaffirming the association between milk consumption and ovarian
cancer. Conducted by researchers at Sweden's Karolinska Institute,
the new meta-analysis found that the strongest evidence of the milk-
cancer association came from three prospective studies. Every 10
grams of lactose (the amount in one glass of milk) ingested on a
daily basis increased ovarian cancer risk by 13 percent. Case-
control studies, a weaker line of evidence, produced conflicting
results. The study, authored by Susanna Larsson and colleagues,
appears this month in the International Journal of Cancer.

"For more than ten years, researchers have reported on the
association between milk consumption and ovarian cancer risk," says
Neal D. Barnard, M.D., nutrition researcher and president of
PCRM. "There is now sufficient evidence to recommend that women
avoid dairy products in order to avoid this potentially lethal

In Harvard's Nurses' Health Study of over 80,000 participants,
researchers found that each daily glass of low-fat or skim milk was
associated with a 20 percent increase in serous ovarian cancers (Int
J Cancer 2004). Researchers hypothesize that galactose, a component
of the milk sugar lactose, may damage ovarian cells, making them
more susceptible to cancer. The Iowa Women's Health Study of more
than 29,000 postmenopausal women showed that the highest consumers
of lactose (milk sugar) had a 60 percent increased risk of ovarian
cancer as compared to those who consumed the least lactose (Am J
Epidemiol 1999).

Milk Myths

New Study in Pediatrics
Shatters Milk Myth

For Strong Bones, Kids Need Exercise,
Sunshine, and a Dairy-Free Diet

WASHINGTON-In a new scientific review scheduled to appear in the March issue
of the peer-reviewed journal, Pediatrics, Cornell-trained nutritionist Amy
Joy Lanou, Ph.D., and co-authors show that dairy products do not promote
bone health in children and young adults. Physical activity does have a
positive impact on bone health, while evidence linking bone health with
dairy product consumption is weak, at best.

"Under scientific scrutiny, the support for the milk myth crumbles. This
analysis of 58 published studies shows that the evidence on which U.S. dairy
intake recommendations are based is scant," says Dr. Lanou, lead author of
the study. "A clear majority of the studies we examined for this review
found no relationship between dairy or dietary calcium intake and measures
of bone health. In the remaining reports, the evidence was sketchy. In some,
the effects on bone health were small, and in others, the results were
confounded by vitamin D intake from milk fortified with vitamin D. To build
strong bones and healthy bodies, children need exercise, sunshine, and a
diet rich in fruits and vegetables that helps them maintain a healthy body

The level of dairy product consumption in the United States is among the
highest in the world, and yet osteoporosis and fracture rates are also among
the highest. This "calcium paradox" was an impetus for the current
investigation. "We found no evidence to support the notion that milk is a
preferred source of calcium," the authors conclude. Dr. Lanou is nutrition
director for the non-profit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
(PCRM), and her co-authors are Susan E. Berkow, Ph.D., C.N.S., and Neal D.
Barnard, M.D.

For a copy of the new paper published in Pediatrics, an interview with one
of the authors, or b-roll of children engaged in activities that promote
bone health, contact Jeanne S. McVey at 202-686-2210, ext. 316 or

Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for
Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes
preventive medicine, especially good nutrition. PCRM also conducts clinical
research studies, opposes unethical human experimentation, and promotes
alternatives to animal research.

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