This definitely was a tough weekend for us. It was a normal Sunday until about 1pm that afternoon. Hubby was watching his Sunday football and the girls and I were in my bedroom. When Alia decided it would be fun to roll on my bed….and like she usually does ignored my constant scolding of “Stop it you’re gonna get hurt!” Of coure nothing usually happens well at least nothing dramatic, that is until today. (more…)

September 6, 2007; Page D2

WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration is evaluating whether consumers, like workers in popcorn plants, can develop lung disease from inhaling a chemical additive used for butter flavoring in microwave popcorn.

A Denver physician said in a letter to the agency in July that a patient who had eaten several bags of extra butter-flavored popcorn each day for several years had developed symptoms similar to those of some microwave popcorn-plant workers.

The letter “does not present evidence” that consumer exposure to vapors of the chemical diacetyl, generated by microwaving popcorn, causes lung disease, said FDA spokesman Michael Herndon. He said the agency is studying the situation, and “carefully considering the safety and regulatory issues it raises.”

ConAgra Foods Inc., the nation’s largest maker of microwave popcorn including the Orville Redenbacher’s and Act II brands, said it is eliminating “within a year” diacetyl from its microwave popcorn.

“While we are fully confident that microwave popcorn is safe for consumers to prepare and consume, we plan to eliminate the use of added diacetyl in products in order to eliminate even the perception of risks for consumers and to provide our employees who handle large quantities of diacetyl regularly with the safest possible work environment,” said spokeswoman Stephanie Childs.

The industry in 2004 sold more than three billion bags, with sales totaling more than $1 billion, ConAgra said.

In 2000, a physician reported to the Missouri health department that eight workers from a microwave popcorn factory developed lung disease. Studies conducted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health concluded that cumulative exposure to diacetyl vapor over time has the potential to cause serious lung damage and a condition known as bronchiolitis obliterans.

In April, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said workers at factories that make food flavorings as well as popcorn factories are at risk of contracting the hard-to-treat condition.

NIOSH has recommended that manufacturers substitute the chemical with less-dangerous ones, and that workers don masks and other protective gear. Links between the chemical and lung disease have been less clear in consumers, and the FDA has labeled the chemical “generally recognized as safe.” Last year, David Michaels, a professor at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, petitioned the FDA to drop the designation.

Source: Wall Street Journal

 Health Blog: Microwave Popcorn and Lung Disease

Write to Jane Zhang at

My beloved children both my son and daughter returned back to New York yesterday. This has been a bittersweet summer to say the least. I learned many things about motherhood, patience, and tolerance. It’s definitely not easy being a mother of 4 on a fulltime basis. I have no idea how moms do it everyday, every second of their lives juggling responsibilities as a mother and wife. (more…)

The mysterious knight that stole your heart has left you with only his tracks of dust which dissipate quickly once you lose sight of him. It has taken quite sometime to heal from those inner wounds. Your dark and handsome knight discarded you because you suddenly weren’t good enough for him. (more…)

By Leila Aboulela 

 Sunday, July 22, 2007; Page B03

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates

The West believes that  Islam oppresses women. But as a Muslim, descended from generations of Muslims, I have a different story to tell. It starts like this: You say, “The sea is salty.” I say, “But it is blue and full of fish.” (more…)

As a reminder for all of us, both parents, soon-to-be parents, and the ummah. 😉

Having the most expensive or lavish wedding has become a fiasco lately. Many Muslims have taken this blessed day to be a day to impress people instead of pleasing Allah (swt). What this brother lighheartedly jokes about is the reality for many people in today’s society. I just like the way he said it because its a true fact that many have adopted. It’s become an obsession for many families and pressure for the brothers/sisters who try to meet these demands. 

I would like to urge all my Muslim readers to please take this survery.It is a very important survey. The explanation for this survery will be explained shortly.

There hasn’t been enough survey submissions these past few weeks so we are urging you to please take 5 minutes of your time to complete the online survey. We know everyone is busy  but I want to stress it will only take 5 minutes, and the poll closes in just 4 days! 

 About 4-6 weeks ago a research group in the US, the Pew Research
Institute released a study that made certain claims about Muslims in
America that were viewed with great negativity in many media circles.
Particularly they tried to extrapolate one of their figures to “prove”
that over one million terrorists live in the US and that they are
under the age of 25. The poll that I have arranged of course doesn’t
have the financial or institutional back-up to discredit the Pew
report nor is that the main intention; yet our poll does show the
public that we take these issues seriously enough to do some internal
investigation and find ways to address the problem. Furthermore, from
the responses received thus far there is a great deal of valuable
information that can be used to benefit our community.

There have also been those who viewed the questions with a lot of
skepticism and wondered why the focus on terrorism. As Muslims, we
cannot live with our heads in the sand and ignore the issues around
us. People around us in the West are very scared due to what they read
and hear. This does concern us greatly since Allah has sent us to
spread peace and with that security. The Prphet (saas) has commanded
us with “bashiru wala tunafiru” – bring people closer and don’t drive
them away. I already know that the overwhelming majority of Muslims
are those who are tolerant, peaceful and concerned about making this
world better and safer. Yet, your neighbors don’t know that and the
public in general doesn’t know that. So make your voice heard on these
issues and remember that this is primarily an internal study meant to
help give us direction. It has no intention of hurting anyone and is
totally anonymous.

The survey again can be accessed from or directly right
now through:

For those who have already taken it – may Allah reward you for your
time and concern – please don’t take it again of course, but try your
best to encourage your friends at the mosque and of course your
parents, siblings and/or children to also take it. You can help so
much this way. The deadline is Monday insha’Allah and afterwards it
will take a few days to process the results and then post them with
analysis and recommendations insha’Allah. Please once again forgive me
for taking your time but I wouldn’t if this wasn’t so important. Barak
Allahu feekum wa jazakum Allahu khayr.

Seven million people in the United States call themselves vegetarians—those who don’t eat meat, fowl, or fish (but often include dairy products and eggs). But while vegetarians claim their diets are healthier, many carnivores and omnivores extol the virtues of eating high on the hog: Consuming meat, after all, is simply following nature’s dictate, for hungry humans have been devouring everything they could lay their hands on through at least the past 100,000 years of evolutionary history, and probably much longer.

So who’s got legitimate bragging rights?

Evidence has been building for two decades that people who eat a mostly vegetarian diet have the upper hand. But even scientific studies may not be enough to convince meat eaters to give up their lust for flesh in exchange for a longer, more disease-free life. 

What we eat, of course, isn’t the only determinant of health. For instance, even with the best diet in the world people who aren’t active will fall prey to diseases of sloth. Sedentary Death Syndrome is estimated to cause 300,000 premature deaths a year in the U.S., mostly due to cardiovascular diseases and cancer.

The types of food consumed within a specific diet also will have an effect on health.

“It is important to point out that both [omnivorous and vegetarian] diets can be disastrous or healthy,” says Ryan Andrews, a dietician and exercise physiologist with the Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center. “Jujubes and beers constitute a vegan [plant-only] diet. Cheese and sausage constitute an omnivorous diet.  Obviously we know these aren’t the best food choices for optimal health.”  

A well-designed vegetarian diet, as opposed to a junk food vegetarian diet, would be low in fat and high in plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts and seeds, says Susan Bowerman, Assistant Director of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition.

“These foods are all cholesterol-free, low in total fat and saturated fat, rich in vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals which offer numerous health benefits,” Bowerman says. “The diet would also naturally be high in fiber, which is also of benefit.”

And what are these benefits? Numerous studies from around the world have shown that plant-based diets not only extend life spans but also protect people from a number of diseases that plague heavy meat-eaters. The longest-lived peoples in the world all consume a mostly vegetarian diet, with a small percentage of protein derived from meat.

Take Okinawans elders, for example. They live longer than any other people on the planet, with an average life expectancy of 81.2 years (the U.S. average is 76.8). Inhabitants of this Japanese island have 80 percent less heart disease and cancer of the breast and prostate than Americans, and half the rate of dementia and cancer of the ovaries and colon. Although genetics contributes to their longevity and superior health, the major player is lifestyle, scientists have found. Besides high levels of physical activity and low body fat levels, Okinawan elders  eat a lot of soy, vegetables, and fish, plus a moderate amount of alcohol. Compared to Americans, they  consume twice as many vegetables and three times more fruit, but 10 times less meat, poultry and eggs. (But paradise is being lost. Younger generations of Okinawans have switched to a more modern diet and lifestyle. Consequently, they have twice the rate of obesity as other Japanese, and more risk factors for heart disease. Dying at a younger age than their elders, younger Okinawans may eventually lower the average lifespan of the island.)

“Okinawan elders eat an average of seven servings of vegetables and fruit a day [the National Cancer Institute recommends five], two servings of flavonoid-rich soy products per day; omega-3 rich fish several times a week; and minimal dairy products and meat,” report the authors of The Okinawa Program.

What Research Has Shown

Research has shown that vegetarians are healthier than those who consume a lot of animal protein. “Vegetarians are at lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease and dying of ischemic heart disease,” says Sarah Trist, a clinical dietitian at Children’s Hospital in Seattle. “They have lower blood pressure, and lower cholesterol levels of LDL or “bad cholesterol.” They are less likely to be overweight or obese and have lower rates of type-2 diabetes, diverticular disease, gallstones, as well as some cancers including prostate and colorectal cancer. It may also be beneficial in the early stages of renal disease, protect against dementia, and slow the rate of bone loss women experience after menopause.”

And we’re not talking a few percentage point differences, but 25 percent to 35 percent less risk.

A meat eater might ask, “But aren’t humans designed to be omnivorous? Why would eating meat make us sick?” While it’s certainly true that our bodies are capable of digesting both animals and plants, our ancestors probably relied more on the latter than the former. Meat was a luxury, rarely eaten because it was hard to come by. Plants grew abundantly and didn’t run away. So the difference is in the amount of animal protein we eat today. Our bodies evolved to eat a little, but we now consume much more.

But what about protein and vital nutrients that animals provide, like iron, vitamin B-12 and calcium? Aren’t vegetarians pale, gaunt and weak?

Vegetarians can be deficient in these and other vital substances found mainly in meat—but not if they choose foods wisely. The reason many vegetarian diets rely on soy is that it’s the only plant that contains complete protein (all the essential amino acids). Beans, peas, and lentils are other good sources of protein. “Iron is more difficult to obtain,” says Bowerman, “because animal sources generally contain more iron per serving and is more readily available to the body. Iron can be found in iron-fortified cereals, as well as beans, nuts, and seeds.”

Fortified cereals and milk are also good vegetarian sources of another vital nutrient, vitamin B-12, which plants don’t offer. And while the dairy industry would have you believe that milk is the best source of calcium, research suggests otherwise. “When we think calcium, we tend to think dairy,” Andrews says. “But when you take a step back, the main source for all minerals-including calcium—is soil from the ground.” So plants such as bok choy, broccoli, collards, and kale are a good source of calcium. In fact, calcium from these plants is absorbed by the body twice as readily as calcium from cow’s milk.

One of the most convincing arguments for the health benefits of a vegetarian diet comes from China. In an exhaustive, large-scale study of Chinese eating habits and disease, spearheaded by Dr. T. Colin Campbell, a Cornell University nutritional biochemist, scientists found that those who ate the most protein—mostly from animals—had the highest rates of heart disease, diabetes and cancer. The wealthier a person was, the more likely he was to eat animal protein. “Usually, the first thing a country does in the course of economic development is to introduce a lot of livestock,” Campbell told Jane Brody of The New York Times. “Our data are showing that this is not a very smart move.”

But it appears that little can be done to stop this trend. As Dr. Junshi Chen, the primary Chinese scientist involved in the Cornell study, told The Washington Post: “The natural tendency when you have more money in your hand is to buy more meat. For some reason, people just don’t want to buy vegetables, except when they have the knowledge and understanding. And even then …”

 Source: Health & Fitness at MSN

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