Archive for May, 2009

Ballet for Los Angeles

Posted on May 22, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

If you are one of the many people who have long wished that Los Angeles had a good resident ballet company, I would urge you to support the new Los Angeles Ballet. They were formed in 2007 and are a very strong young company. Jack and I attended all of their first season performances and their Director’s Choice program this season.

The corps de ballet is quite remarkable for a second season company, better than the last local ballet company, whose name I forget. One of the artistic directors, Colleen Neary, studied with Balanchine and is authorized to do Balanchine choreography, which is represented in each year’s repertory. The company also has done some excellent original work, including new works in previous programs.
They are performing August Bournonville’s romantic 1836 ballet La Sylphide this Saturday and Sunday (May 23 and 24) at the Freud Playhouse, UCLA and the following Saturday, May 30th, at the Alex in Glendale. The principal roles are danced by Eddie Tovar and Corina Gill, who are extremely accomplished dancers. Tickets start at $24.

Here is a chance to encourage a very strong young company and help assure Los Angeles of truly excellent ballet for years to come.
–Julia Stesney

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Three Generations Celebrate CSUN’s 50th Anniversary

Posted on May 22, 2009. Filed under: California State University at Northridge, CSUN | Tags: , , , , , |

My family was honored at the CSUN 50th Reunion on April 25th because we hold the distinction of being the first identified Three Generation Family to have graduated from what is now California State University at Northridge.

It was a very nice warm day out in the Quad at CSUN. When we arrived, we were told to call a special phone number and a cart to transport our entire family was sent for us. The cart accommodated my mother-in law, Eva Angelin, (97) who was in her wheelchair. Eva received her teaching credential in 1958. The cart had room for her son, Wayne; Susi, who received a bachelor’s degree in English and Art in 1969; and our two daughters. Both of our daughters graduated in 1996. Catrina received her degree in deaf studies and psychology while Stephanie was awarded her bachelors of science in biology.

We were all whisked away and transported to the campus to meet Gray Monger, Assistant Vice-President of Alumni Relations. He planned a full schedule for us from the moment we arrived to the time we got back into the cart and returned to our car.

First we were introduced to Dr. Sylvia Alva, Dean of the College of Health and Human Development, who greeted us and informed us of services available to alumni who are 60 years and older. These services are available in the Center of Achievement at the Brown Center in the form of rehab, exercise programs, and even the ability to take classes on campus with the fee being waived. These activities are part of a state-sponsored 60 Plus Program).
A reporter from one of CSUN’s newspapers interviewed us and snapped our photos to give us photographic memories of the day. Other visitors joined us in the special tent set aside for us.

Just before we were ready to leave the campus, President Jolene Koester came to call on us. Another photographer showed up for some more pictures.

My daughter Catrina had a chance to view the plaque from the 1994 Northridge earthquake. Her name is one of those inscribed on it for helping on campus after the quake. When I came to SAGE, I met Joyce Linden, one of Catrina’s intructors when she was a student at the university.
I also had the opportunity to remember Dr. Addie Klotz, for whom the Health Center is named, and inform another generation that she was a wonderful lady. I was a student at San Fernando Valley State College, as the school was called at that time. Dr. Klotz started keeping the Health Center open all night during finals so that students could come in to study, sit and chat with someone, or find an empty couch and sleep, just so they were not alone during that stressful time.

Dr. Klotz brought in her dogs at night for added company, and around 3:00 a.m. someone would go over to Western Bagel and buy fresh bagels and cream cheese for everyone to snack on. There was a special feeling that someone really cared about the student.

What a wonderful day that was on campus! We also were able to visit the wonderful Botanic Gardens managed by Brenda Kanno, who gave us a personal tour. She was Stephanie’s former lab teacher. They were able to meet up years later as Stephanie, along with SAGE’s Barbara Caretto, became volunteers at the gardens. –Susi White

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Burn Him at the Stake?

Posted on May 10, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , |

A few years ago I had the opportunity to read and review a book that has had a profound influence on me. Since I am the author of the review and publisher of the magazine it appeared in, I have the distinct privilege of approving its publication in this blog.


The China Study:
the Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition
Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications
For Diet, Weight Loss and Long-Term Health

By T. Colin Campbell with Thomas M. Campbell II
Benbella Books, 2006
$16.95 Paperback

If T. Colin Campbell were living 500 years ago, he might have been burned at the stake. He would have been denounced as a heretic who dared challenge the prevailing information. Although this is the 21st Century, there are still individuals and groups who relish the thought of burning him at the stake for his views on proper human nutrition.

In the book The China Study Campbell, Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University, and his son Thomas M. Campbell II present information that is a definite challenge to the dairy and beef industries by revealing how dangerous their products are to human health.

What credentials does Campbell possess that give him the credibility to attack these industries that are so prominent in our society? First, he is a professor who has spent 40 years in nutrition research. Second, he was the leader of the China Study, labeled by the New York Times as “the Grand Prix of Human Epidemiology.” The study was a combined effort of Cornell University, Oxford University, and the Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine.

The study involved 65 counties in 24 different provinces of China. Most of the counties were in rural areas where people lived in the same area all their lives and ate food produced locally. Those living in rural communities and consuming mostly plant protein had fewer chronic diseases that those who lived in communities where more animal protein is available.

In rural China 9 to 10% of total calories comes from protein, yet only 10% of that amount is derived from animal foods. In contrast the American diet features 15 to 16% of calories from protein with 80% of that from animal foods. The rural Chinese were less likely to die from the diseases of affluence (cancer, diabetes, and heart disease) than diseases of poverty (pneumonia, parasitic disease, tuberculosis, diseases associated with pregnancy, and others). Campbell says that diseases of affluence might be more appropriately named “diseases of nutritional extravagance” because they are tied into eating habits.

The dairy industry would definitely like to silence Campbell who has announced results from an earlier study he conducted in the Philippines that showed children consuming high protein diets were most likely to get liver cancer. Included in this high protein diet were milk products.

In previous experiments with rats Campbell was able to show that with a diet of 20% casein (a milk protein) rats developed carcinogenic tumors. Switching the rats to a plant-based diet resulted in a decrease in tumor growth. Switching back to the casein diet brought renewed tumor growth. He was able to conclude that animal-based foods increased tumors while plant-based foods decreased the development of tumors.
Campbell further indicts dairy products showing they are linked to Type 1 diabetes, and breast, prostate and colorectal cancers. Countries with the lowest consumption of dairy products have lower incidences of these diseases.

The data gleaned from these studies led him to conclude that many of the chronic diseases found in society result from human consumption of animal protein. “There is enough evidence now that doctors should be discussing the option of pursuing dietary change as a potential path to cancer prevention and treatment,” he writes. “There is enough evidence now that local breast cancer alliances, and prostate cancer institutions, should be discussing the possibility of providing information to Americans everywhere on how a whole foods, plant-based diet may be an incredibly effective anti-cancer medicine.”

The book is divided into four major sections: The China Study, Diseases of Affluence, The Good Nutrition Guide, and Why Haven’t You Heard This Before.

The Good Nutrition Guide emphasizes his Eight Principles of Food and Health:
• Nutrition represents the combined activities of countless food substances. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
• Vitamin supplements are not a panacea for good health.
• There are no nutrients in animal-based foods that are not better provided by plants.
• Genes do not determine diseases on their own. Genes function only by being activated, or expressed, and nutrition plays a critical role in determining which genes, good and bad, are expressed.
• Nutrition can substantially control the adverse effects of noxious chemicals.
• The same nutrition that prevents disease in its early stages (before diagnosis) can also halt or reverse disease in its later stages (after diagnosis).
• Nutrition that is truly beneficial for one chronic disease will support health across the board.
• Good nutrition creates health in all areas of our existence. All parts are interconnected.

The Good Nutrition Guide concludes with a chapter called How to Eat that offers advice on how to transition to a healthy plant-based diet. Featured here is a chart labeled “Eat All You Want (While Getting Lots of Variety) of Any Whole, Unrefined Plant-Based Food.” The chart lists specific fruits, vegetables, legumes, mushrooms, nuts, and whole grains. It advises minimizing refined carbohydrates, added vegetable oil, and fish and avoiding meat, poultry, dairy, and eggs.

The last section of the book, “Why Haven’t You Heard This Before?” shows how government, science, medicine, corporations, and the media have concentrated on profits instead of health. Together they have created confusing information about nutrition and have stifled and attempted to destroy viewpoints that challenge the status quo.

Campbell relates how he personally was almost expelled from a committee of scientists because he dared to suggest a link between diet and cancer. In discussing the personal consequences for him, he writes “In the world of nutrition and health, scientists are not free to pursue their research wherever it leads. Coming to the ‘wrong conclusions,’ even through first-rate science, can damage your career.”

The authors show how the food industry claims nutritional benefits for their products and works diligently to protect their products from being labeled unhealthy or causing disease. By hiring research scientists as experts, the industry uses science to increase the demand for its products. These same scientists may organize workshops, become leaders of scientific groups, choose committee members and thus be in a prominent position to develop public policy and publicity. Campbell refers to this “conflict of interest” that allows industries “to exercise their influence through the side door of academia.”

Like Marion Nestle in her book Food Politics, Campbell shows how government has failed to promote health by avoiding statements that certain foods are damaging to health. “But instead of doing this the government is saying that animal products, dairy and meat, refined sugar and fat in your diet are good for you!” Not only is the government failing the people in its reports and pronouncements, it is also failing to promote research in nutrition.

“Big Medicine” is another target for criticism. The medical industry is aware of the research that suggests that chronic diseases of affluence are the result of poor nutrition and yet pays little or no attention to nutrition in the treatment. Campbell cites the work of Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn and Dr. John McDougall who both have had successful results in treating patients through nutrition. Yet both men have experienced rejection from the medical establishment that is focused on surgery and drugs instead of nutrition as standard treatment for chronic diseases.
Instead of burning Campbell at the stake Americans should place T. Colin Campbell on a pedestal and honor him for his 40 years of research and discovery. It’s time for the nation to begin to heed his warnings about animal protein` and work to change a system that has led to the current health crisis. Campbell, a man of great integrity and scholarship, presents a message that is supported by sound research. The book cites over 750 references, many from primary sources.

Some have already attempted and will continue to try to prevent the message of this book from reaching a wide audience. And yet our society needs people like Campbell who step forward to say we need to change the system in order to safeguard the health of this nation.

The China Study is a book that should be in every home. Instead of buying one copy, purchase another to give to a friend you care about. Better yet, buy a few more to make certain the message reaches a wider audience.
–Reuben Allen

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