Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter, Food, and Cancer

Welcome back, fans of Latin and Greek root words as they pertain to English vocabulary!  Happy Easter to all!  The word Easter derives from the Celtic goddess Eostre, the goddess of the dawn.  Easter, of course, is all about new beginnings and new life: consider the fecund rabbit that loves to have so many little bunnies; consider the dyeing of eggs, the former which remind us of the beautiful flowers of the vernal season, the latter which is of course another ultimate symbol of animal life.  Just as daylight is resurrected each and every day, just as Dionysus was torn apart by the Maenads each and every year only to be reborn every successive spring,  so too do the flowers and plants regain life each and every spring, all wonderful symbols of the resurgence of life.
     Easter, too, is a time to eat brightly colored, well, candy.  Milk chocolate rabbits.  Brightly colored Cadbury creme eggs.  Jelly beans of every hue.  All permutations of sugar, sugar, and more sugar.  Not necessarily a bad thing, if eaten as rarely as Dionysus rising from oblivion each year.  Really bad if eaten every day.
      Etymology moment:

Cancer: comes from the Latin root word cancer: crab, tumor, malignant disease.

Carcinogen:  come from the Greek root word karkinos: cancer, crab.  Root of such words as carcinogen ("gen" simply means "engenders"), carcinoma (cancer body), carcinogenesis (producing cancer), and teratocarcinoma (a "monster" cancerous tumor). 

       And, unfortunately, what with processed foods, which contain all kinds of high fructose corn syrup and every other HGI (high glyemic index--meaning--too much sugar) sweetener, all of which are conveniently located in the center aisles of mass chain monolithic grocery institutions (highly profitable, I might add, because of a long shelf life and very cheap to produce), Americans eat them all the way to contracting cancer.  Recent research has suggested that  cancer tumors (we ALL have them--it's just a matter of whether they metastasize or not) feed on sugar.  It's their favorite food, by far.  The human tongue, unfortunately, loves sugar.  The problem is is that most humans do not have enough discipline to not eat sugar, ignore obsesity or signs of ill health, and then when they contract cancer they blame it on elements beyond their control.
     Pretty convenient.  Just like processed foods.
     OK, I know it's impossible for most people to give up processed foods, to give up candy, to give up sugar.  But what can one do to combat the types of things ingested (hate to call processed food, well food, 'cause it's not)?  To stop that food from feeding tumors (through angiogenesis)?  It's actually quite simple, and does NOT require a trip to the doctor's office.
      I recently read a fabulous book entitled Foods to Fight Cancer.  In it, the authors make the startling claim that it's not what you are exposed to in the outside environment, but it's rather what you eat that can put a halt to tumor growth for good.  And be cancer free.  Imagine eating what you want (within Apollonian moderation, while at the same time occasionally enjoying Dionysian wantonness) while still retaining the ability for your body to fight off cancer generation.  All you have to do is eat the following foods (and these are actual foods):

1.  Dark Chocolate.  Make it dark:  70% or more.
2.  Red Wine.  Note that this is Red wine.  Organic preferred.
3.  Turmeric.  Mix the turmeric with ground pepper (our human bodies cannot process turmeric very efficiently without piperine, a constituent of pepper).  Ever wonder why there's a very low rate of cancer in India?  Curry!
4.  Garlic, garlic, and more garlic.  Don't cook it,  or lightly cook it.  It's easy to grow.  OG not necessary.  Chew it raw, mix it with your favorite food.  This is the most anti-carcinogenic substance known to humankind to date.  Did I mention you should eat garlic?  Onions too.
5.  Blueberries.  Blueberries.  Blueberries.
6.  Broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage.
7.  Tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes.  But you have to cook them to release the lycopene.  Pasta sauce, anyone?  With garlic ... a sure winner.
8.  Oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary.
9.  Oranges and grapefruit.
10.  Were you paying attention to numbers 1 and 2???????????

So, enjoy your Easter candy.  It's an important part of life.  Enjoy your dessert, moderately.  But eat that which stops cancer from forming--it's NOT beyond your control, and some might lead you to believe.  Rather, it's all about what you eat. Think of it as pre-cancer therapy.  As a way of injecting your body each and every day with cures for cancer.  Yes, cures for cancer before it manifests.  Doesn't have to come from a drug company, who stands to make billions from an artificial cure.  Ingestion.  Read the book for more information.
     And watch what you put into your digestive system.
     Especially that sugar.  (try LGI: Agave syrup, coconut nectar, wild honey--better).


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Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Bhagavad Gita's Primary Message

Welcome back, fans of Latin and Greek root words as they pertain to English vocabulary!  I and my colleagues in Portland, OR have just finished putting out our SAT and GRE vocabulary online learning system  that has been a labor of love.  Hence, I have a few moments to discuss yet another amazing text that I've just perused, The Bhagavad Gita as translated by Eknath Easwaran.  This Hindu/Yoga text, probably the most enlightening religious text I have yet to learn from, has one primary message in it that supersedes all others: The Freedom That Comes from Renunciation.  Let's first take a quick look at the Latin roots of the word "renunciation:"

re-:  from the Latin root "re" meaning "back, again."
nunciat:  from the Latin root word nuntio, nuntiare, nuntiavi, nuntiatus: "announce, report, send a message."  Thus, renunciation is the taking in of something, and sending it back out into the world, or not acquiring the desire for the "message" you want in the first place.  SAT and GRE English vocabulary words that come from this root include:  renounce, denounce, denunciation, enunciatem and annunciation.

The freedom that comes from renunciation is a simple concept, and it works like this.  In chapter two of the Bhagavad Gita, we find the following verse:

You have the right to work, but never to the
fruit of work.  You should never engage in action
for the sake of reward, nor should you long for

This, to me, is almost the meaning of life itself.  Imagine that, if you were to do work with no selfish thoughts of what you were going to get out of it; that is, you renounce all results of the work, all that which you hope to gain from the work, such as material success, power, wealth, etc.  This would bring about a state of moksha, or freedom.  One would never have to worry again, scheme again, be disappointed again when things didn't work out.

In point of fact, Krishna, the Lord of Yoga in The Bhagavad Gita, tells Arjuna, his disciple, that those who do not desire or hanker for the fruit of their actions, the desired results, attain spiritual perfection, and in fact get everything they want.  Whereas those who strive and think only about what's in it for them gain, in the end, nothing but disappointment.  This renunciation of the fruit of action (note this is not giving up the action itself!) is, in Sanskrit, tyaga.  Imagine working selflessly.  And thereby freeing yourself from the bondage and pain that comes from lack of success (or sometimes even from success itself, which often brings about unintended entanglements in the swirling mass that is maya).


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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Greek Root Words of Autobiography of a Yogi

Welcome back, fans of Latin and Greek root words as they pertain to English vocabulary!  I and my colleagues in Portland, OR have just finished putting out our SAT and GRE vocabulary online learning system  that has been a labor of love.  Hence, I have a few moments to discuss a truly amazing book that I've just perused, the Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda. Being true to this English vocabulary blog's mission, to fully analyze the Greek and Latin roots of the English translation of Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, rest assured that I shall return to that labor of love in my next post.  But this cannot wait.

First, let's discuss two words in the title:

autobiography:  This word is comprised of the prefix auto-, which comes from the Greek root word autos, which means "self."  A few GRE (and more difficult) words that come from this prolific prefix include autochthonous, automaton, autodidactic, and autonomous.  From the stem, or primary morpheme, of this word, which derives from the Greek root word bios, "life," comes multiplicitous English vocabulary words:  biology, biome, biochemistry, bioethics, bionic, and bioengineering.  And lastly, the suffix -graphy, derived from the Greek root word graphein , "to write", come a whole host of English vocabulary words, such as: geography, paleography, cartography, selenography, and epigraphy.  Can you see what each of these has to do with writing? 

yogi:   This word comes from a Sanskrit word meaning "to join."  It is a yogi's and yogini's task to "join" with the Self, not to be confused with the phenomenal self, thereby recognizing her or his own true divinity.  This word is cognate with the Latin root word iungo, iungere, iunxi, iunctum, "to join," whence: junction, adjunct, conjunction, conjunctivitis, juncture, adjoin, etc.  Interested in more English derivatives that come from the aforementioned Greek and Latin roots?  Check out, the most exhaustive etymological dictionary in terms of visually displaying the power of Greek and Latin vocabulary as the foundation of the English language. 

Now, on to the phenomenal and I dare stay outstanding Autobiography of a Yogi.  If you have ever "done" yoga, or been interested in a modern-day experience and/or life of a fully accomplished yogi, this book sheds a great deal of light on those very topics.  Paramahansa Yogananda, founder of the Self-Realization Fellowship in California, engagingly and eruditely covers his variegated and colorful life from his origin in India, his days of schooling there (not a model student, I might add, but certainly a most interesting one), his apprenticeship in Yoga under Sri Yukteswar, and his eventual coming to the United States to bring the message of Kriya Yoga here.  Many yogis that Yogananda met in his travels are fully discussed, such as the ageless Babaji, The "Perfume Saint," the Levitating Saint, The Sleepless Saint, Giri Bala (a yogini who never eats), etc. etc.  He also discusses bilocation, a particular interest of mine.  Patanjali discusses various mystic powers of a yogi that are derived from the path of Yoga, most of which were shown to be physically possible from the people that Yogananda met and so eloquently speaks of.  I must admit that this book was a true eye opener, and has added dimensions to my own yoga practice that I had not even considered prior to its reading.  It's almost a modern-day corroboration of the seemingly far-removed expostulations and aphoristic conundrums of Patanjali, giving us all hope in this crazy modern-day world of a better way, possible for each and every human being on this planet.
      Even if you only have a small interest in yoga, read this book anyway.  Its verbiage uses exalted levels of English vocabulary, and it's a highly entertaining and informational read.  It's probably the best non-fiction work that I've ever perused.


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