Welcome to the world Xavier Huskings…

IMG-20170916-WA0003

I’m so proud to announce that in the early hours of September 16th 2017, after some painful complications, little Xavier entered the world. I am now a proud and overjoyed Grandfather, thank you Zachary and Naomi for this wonderful gift of life. x

Tubes are out now and he’s drinking his milk… 

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Posted in Peace & Banana's, Photographs & Pictures, Xavier Huskings | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The benefits of Turmeric and Grape Seed Extract to beat Chronic Pancreatitis… 

It’s been exactly a year to the day since I was diagnosed with Chronic Pancreatitis, I can honestly say it’s also been the most painful year of my life, I’m 52 years old now. For the last 3 years I have been fighting stomach pain with strong opiate painkillers, such has Tramadol, or Zapain which is codeine based. When I was admitted into hospital twice in 2016, I was given Morphine to fight the pain, more opiates.  In the long term I found myself addicted, and was popping pills like smarties, feeling so spaced out, I would often forget how many I had taken, before I knew it, I had turned into an addict, buying prescriptions on line and begging friends for more, more and more.  I read somewhere once that pancreatitis was in the top ten in the pain scale, it’s like being stabbed through the stomach and the assailant is twisting the knife around, absolutely excruciating, that’s the best way I can describe it!

My dependency effected my relationship, my work and added further problems to my health. I will document my addiction further in due course, God willing.

For now I just want to explain what you see in the above photo.  Fighting pain can be easy with drugs, but as your dependency gets stronger, not matter what you’re on, the drugs gets weaker, so in the end they have little effectiveness, you just become immune.  It’s no way to live, it’s hard to be happy when you’re in so much constant pain, it’s a vicious circle which I got so depressed with, I started thinking I’d be better off dead!  It was then I started contemplating ways to end my life, my suicidal tenancies got so bad I looked in the shed for some tidy strong rope to swing on, I even had the perfect tree, to tie the noose too.  I realised then I needed help and made an emergency appointment at my doctors.   I poured my heart, pain and anxieties out to my GP, I broke down crying in hysterics, I was immediately referred the community mental health team, had some shrink counselling, which was useless, then quickly I was signed off as stable and thrown back into my cruel world of pain, along with a weeks course of sleeping tablets.  Well I decided on that day, enough was enough and I was not leaving this world without a fight.  My family cared for me so much, my son Zach was expecting his new born son, Xavier to enter this world, which would make me a grandfather, how could I just throw in the towel without a good fight.  So with all their support, my mind was made and I was going to fight this bastard disease, as Dylan Thomas once wrote I will rage, rage against the dying of the light!  I now hated the opiates more than anything, I felt itchy and dirty all the time.  There was only one way to get off them, cold fucking turkeying!  I will write about this experience at a later date, it was horrendous!
Anyway after two weeks I got clean, Jesus Christ!!  I sound like a class A substance misuser, but basically I legally was.
Very quickly I was waking up from the opiate haze, being more motivated, I started doing some on- line research about beating chronic pancreatitis, I stumbled upon a few forums, mainly American sites that gave me the insight into what worked for them,  I was slowly buying into the fact, that you have to fight the inflammation and not the pain! Beat the 
inflammation and the pain will reside.
Many people were endorsing the benefits of the two natural substances that you see in the above photo, Turmeric/Curcumin and Grape Seed Extract.  What the hell, I had nothing to lose, I went down to the surgery to see Dr Stuart Thomas, I wanted to see if he could 
prescribe what I wanted, he said that he couldn’t. The National Health Service doesn’t support herbal medicines, quite bizarre I thought, they can give you drugs that turn you into an addict, fuck your life up, but when it comes to harmless herbs they don’t see them as beneficial.  Not my Doctors fault, he’s been brilliant over the years, his hands were tied, probably by the British Medical Council and the robbing pharmaceutical companies. I left the surgery a bit pissed off and I was thinking that Chinese Herbal Medicine was light years ahead of our modern day medical establishments, they must see them as a threat!

When I got home, I went straight onto Ebay, herbs easily found, I spent around £40 on both.  The Curcumin will last me two years, grape seed extract six months, that’s not bad I thought.
Well they arrived today 14/09/2017, I immediately took the required amounts.  Both of these herbs are extra strength, so I’m hoping they go to work straight away, I’m going to keep you all posted on my progress.

Here is some information on the alleged miracle benefits that these two herbal substances actually do:

Firstly, our pancreas produces digestive enzymes and insulin that controls blood glucose levels in the body. When the pancreas gets inflamed, the condition is called pancreatitis.
The condition can be acute or chronic and leads to tissue death around the pancreas and bleeding. The body is unable to absorb required nutrients and long term pancreatitis can cause diabetes or malnutrition.
Symptoms include upper abdominal pain (mild or severe), fever, sweating, nausea and vomiting, rapid heart rate, abdominal tenderness, weight loss and rapid breathing.
Excess alcohol consumption, gallstones, drugs, infections, high triglyceride levels, cystic fibrosis or other hereditary diseases are some causes of pancreatitis.
Treatment options depend on the type of pancreatitis and could include medications, surgery, alcohol de-addiction, complementary or alternative therapies, improved nutrition through diet or supplements and use of certain herbs.

So how can turmeric help in this condition? Let us find out….

What is turmeric?

Turmeric or Curcuma longa is a rhizome (a swollen underground stem) of the family of some popular spices, Zingiberaceae.
It has been an integral part of many Asian cuisine and traditional medicines since time immemorial. Its bright colour and flavour brings a new dimension to the dishes.
Moreover, turmeric is cherished for its medicinal properties in the traditional medicine, such as its antiseptic properties and pain relieving action.
There are a number of compounds identified from turmeric that give it medicinal properties. The most important of these compounds are the curcuminoids, especially curcumin.
The other nutrients found in turmeric are Potassium, Sodium, Iron,Vitamin C, Vitamin B, sugars, proteins, α-linolenic acid and many more.

11 Benefits of Turmeric in Pancreatitis

The constituents of turmeric enable it to have anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-microbial and anti-cancer properties.These properties can be very useful in case of pancreatitis.

1.Turmeric can reduce pancreatic inflammation

turmeric powderThe initiation of pancreatitis goes hand in hand with the start of inflammation triggered by the causing factors of this disease.
This inflammation is mediated by various pro-inflammatory molecules such as cytokines.
Curcumin from turmeric is known for its significant anti-inflammatory action in various inflammatory diseases.

The anti-inflammatory response of curcumin is mediated by suppression of the pro-inflammatory molecules such as cytokines, TNF-α etc. This is done by decreasing the expression of these molecules through interference in various molecular mechanisms.
Curcumin also works by increasing the activity of PPAR-γ (an anti-inflammatory molecule) in the cells.
These mechanisms are found to be responsible for reducing the inflammation in pancreas, making turmeric an effective agent against pancreatitis.

What does it mean?
It means consumption of turmeric can be beneficial in decreasing the inflammation in pancreas. This can prove to be very effective way of the treatment and prevention in this disease.

2.Turmeric can relieve pain

Abdominal pain is the primary and most common symptom of pancreatitis. Therefore, pain management is an important part of its treatment.
Turmeric is long known for its pain relieving properties. It has been found that the essential oils of turmeric have anti-nociceptive (suppression of pain signals)action.
Curcumin exerts anti-nociceptive effect through Potassium-ATP channels (cell signalling elements) to suppress pain signals.

What does it mean?
It means intake of turmeric can be used to relieve the pain associated with pancreatitis.

3.Turmeric serves as an anti-oxidant

The role of oxidative stress is also a factor in triggering the inflammatory response in the pancreatic cells. The over-production of free radicals leads to series of reactions that cause inflammation.
The attenuation of oxidative stress is also an approach in the pancreatitis treatment.
Various components of turmeric possess anti-oxidant activity. These are capable of scavenging the free radicals and reduce oxidative stress.
Curcumin has been found to be effective in decreasing oxidative stress in pancreatitis patients.
It was found to significantly reduce the level of oxidative markers like malonydialdehyde (MDA) and increase the level of glutathione (an anti-oxidant) in the blood.

What does it mean?
It means use of turmeric in diet can decrease the oxidative stress in the body. At the same time, it can improve the anti-oxidant status of the body which is useful in the treatment and prevention of this disease.

4.Turmeric can prevent tissue damage in pancreas

Pancreatitis is characterized by the damage of the pancreas tissues caused by the attack of enzymes produced by it.
Depending on the severity of the damage, the fatality of this disease is decided. Permanent tissue damage can even cause death.
Turmeric has a potential of preventing pancreatic tissue damage. The anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant action of curcumin helps in slowing down the damage.
It acts on the pro-inflammatory molecules which lead to the activation of the stellate cells of pancreas. These stellate cells are responsible for inflammation, fibrosis (thickening of tissues) and related tissue damages.

What does it mean?
It means consumption of turmeric can be beneficial in preventing the damage to the pancreatic tissue. Preventing this damage can treat as well as delay the progression of pancreatitis.

5.Turmeric can stimulate insulin production

There is impairment in insulin production in case of pancreatitis as the cells are damaged and hence, cannot produce insulin.
If insulin is not properly produced, the carbohydrates are unable to metabolize, making blood sugar levels high and causing diabetes.
Turmeric has anti-hyperglycemic effect, i.e. it can reduce blood sugar levels. It is also capable of stimulating insulin production.
Curcumin can improve the functioning of pancreatic cells by regulating certain gene expressions and controlling inflammatory responses.

What does it mean?
It means intake of turmeric is effective in controlling the insulin imbalance in the body associated with pancreatitis. It stimulates the production of insulin and also reduces blood sugar. This can prevent the development of diabetes.

turmeric for pancreatitis

6.Turmeric can improve digestion

Pancreas is responsible for secreting various digestive enzymes. In the case of pancreatitis, the ability of pancreas to produce these enzymes is affected.
As a result of this, digestion of food eaten by the pancreatitis patients is not proper causing the digestive disorders.
Turmeric is also known for its digestive stimulant properties.
It has been confirmed that various properties of turmeric is effective in treating a number of gastrointestinal disorders.

What does it mean?
It means pancreatitis patients can take turmeric to avoid the digestive problems caused by this disease.

7.Turmeric can decrease gallstones and prevent their formation

Gallstones are found to be the most common cause of pancreatitis. These stones often block the bile duct posing obstruction to the pancreatic enzymes to reach small intestine.
This leads the enzymes to stay in the pancreas and cause damage to the pancreas tissues.
Turmeric has been found to be an effective dietary measure against the gallstones.Studies have shown its efficacy in reducing the size of gallstones.
The reduction in gallstone size can prevent the obstruction of bile duct thus can be an effective way of preventing pancreatitis.
Curcumin is also found to prevent the induction of cholesterol gallstones as a result of their hypolipidemic (lipid reducing) action.
However if suffering from active gall bladder obstruction consult a health physician before taking turmeric. (Read Does turmeric cause gallstones?)

What does it mean?
It means dietary intake of turmeric can be useful to decrease the size of gallstones as well as its formation. This can help in avoidance of the onset of pancreatitis caused by bile duct obstruction.

8.Turmeric can prevent alcohol related damage

Heavy alcohol consumption is another common causative factor of pancreatitis.
Metabolism of alcohol in the body can produce free radicals and also interfere with various metabolic and signalling pathways. These actions result in injury to the pancreatic cells, influencing their ability to produce digestive enzymes and hormones.
In a study, curcumin from turmeric has been found to suppress the abnormalities caused by heavy alcohol consumption.
Thus, turmeric has a potential to avoid the destructive effects of alcohol on the pancreas.

What does it mean?
It means turmeric can be used to prevent the destruction of pancreatic cells by alcohol. However, it does not mean that one can continue to have alcohol and rely only on turmeric to save from its ill-effects.

9.Turmeric can reduce triglycerides and cholesterol

Although rare, but high level of triglycerides and cholesterol are also causes of pancreatitis. These can induce gallstone formation or may result in inflammatory responses in the pancreatic cells.
Curcumin from turmeric is known to reduce the lipids and cholesterol levels in the body in various disorders.
Therefore, turmeric can be effective against cholesterol and triglycerides induced pancreatitis as well.

What does it mean?
It means turmeric intake can maintain the level of triglycerides and cholesterol in the body. This can be helpful in prevention of pancreatitis induced by them.

10.Turmeric protects from drug side-effects

Pancreatitis can also be caused as a result of side-effect of a number of drugs.
Turmeric has found to be efficient against drug-toxicity as well. Its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant activities help in ameliorating the inflammatory responses induced by the drugs.
It also prevents drug-induced pancreatic cell damages.

What does it mean?
It means turmeric consumption can be beneficial in preventing the damages to pancreas induced by various drugs. This can help to avoid drug induced pancreatitis.

11.Turmeric can prevent infections

A number of microorganisms (viruses, bacteria or fungus) have found to cause pancreatitis induced upon their infection.
Turmeric is a well known agent against a variety of microorganisms. Its components interfere with the various essential metabolic pathways of these organisms, killing them.
Turmeric also works synergistically with antibiotics and can act against antibiotic resistance.  It has been found that infection of the bacteria Helicobacter pylori can lead to pancreatitis. Curcumin has shown its efficacy against many ailments associated with the bacteria.

What does it mean?
It means turmeric consumption can guard the body against infections which lead to pancreatitis. The anti-microbial activity of turmeric is effective against a large number of infectious agents.

Dosage of Turmeric for Pancreatitis

Turmeric and turmeric powderThere is no specific dose of turmeric prescribed in case of pancreatitis. Turmeric is known to be safe in diet and its dietary intake can be beneficial in this disease.
However, turmeric has a poor absorption in the body. (Read How to improve turmeric’s bioavailability?)

To increase the absorption, turmeric can be consumed in the form of Golden Paste (consists of black pepper and healthy fats along with turmeric).
Find the recipe of Golden Paste using turmeric powder here. If using fresh turmeric rhizome, find the recipe here.
Turmeric consumption should be started with quarter or half a teaspoon per day for a week. If no gastric side-effects are observed, the intake can be gradually increased by quarter or half a teaspoon per week.  1-2 teaspoon twice or thrice a day is recommendable (specifically 1 teaspoon thrice a day).  Taking turmeric in on an empty stomach should be avoided. (Read Does Turmeric cause acid reflux?)  Its intake should also be avoided at the same time of taking medications. A gap of 3-4 hours should be maintained. (Read Black pepper in GP: Does it cause drug interaction?)  The ideal dose of turmeric differs from person to person; some may require less while some more. The dose depends on what suits you and how much can be tolerated by the stomach.  There are some delicious ways of taking turmeric in the form of Turmeric milkand Turmeric tea.  To spot some good organic brands of turmeric, check our recommendation on best organic turmeric brands.  Turmeric supplements can also be opted for, but consultation of a medical practitioner prior to it is important.

Precautions

Turmeric consumption in diet is considered very safe. The cuisines that have regular use of turmeric have never encountered any adversity on account of turmeric. However, some precautions are necessary especially in the case of turmeric supplements. (Read Side effects of Turmeric)  Turmeric intake should be avoided on empty stomach. Turmeric may cause acid reflux in sensitive individuals. (Read Does turmeric cause acid reflux?)  Turmeric supplements should be taken with caution if suffering from bleeding disorder. Turmeric has blood thinning action therefore, advice of an expert is important before using these supplements. Turmeric consumption is however, safe in dietary amounts. (Read Is turmeric a blood thinner?)

People at the risk of gout or kidney stone should limit turmeric intake.Too much of turmeric is known to pose risk of developing kidney stones and aggravate gout. (Read Is turmeric safe in gout? Does turmeric cause kidney stones?)
Turmeric consumption should be discontinued prior to surgery.Turmeric increases the bile flow. Those who are suffering from gallstones, this can lead to obstruction of the bile duct. This can be painful.(Read Is turmeric safe in gallstones?)  Turmeric has blood thinning action which can cause problems in blood clotting after surgery. Therefore, it should be discontinued about 2 weeks before a surgery.  Pregnant and lactating women should avoid turmeric supplements.

Conclusion:
Turmeric is quite evidently a wholesome approach towards pancreatitis.  The wide range of biological properties of turmeric is capable of preventing and treating this disease. Turmeric has a holistic action that works by suppression of the symptoms, alleviation of damages and counter-action on the causative factors.Consumption of turmeric, with other lifestyle changes that can reduce the risk factors of pancreatitis, has a great potential and positive implication in the fight against this disease.

Ok, here is what I found on the net about Grape Seed Extract….  It’s more amazing than Turmeric…

Grape Seed Extract

grape-seed-extractOne of the best supplements for pancreas health is grape seed. Grape seed extract is my favourite supplement, period. It’s incredibly powerful. In high doses it kills cancer cells. Grape seed contains large amounts of polyphenol flavonoids called OPC’s (oligomeric proanthocyanidin complexes). Most polyphenol flavonoids have one thing in common. They reduce inflammation. If you are even considering that I may be full of horse apples read what a NY medical centre has to say about the efficacy of grape seed extract and OPCs. When the medical community begins to recognize something as possibly life changing chances are it’s either poison and will kill you or in this case, which is rare, actually good for you!

Since pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas grape seed extract works to reduce that inflammation. It also helps with nausea [1] and I am guessing it helps with nausea simply because it reduces the inflammation [5]. When the inflammation is resolved most people see their symptoms resolve as well or at least are given relief.

best-supplements-for-pancreas-healthIn one very small study of three (3) chronic pancreatitis patients grape seed extract was found to be beneficial in one patient. “Treatment with narcotic analgesics and pancreatic enzyme supplements had failed to control their symptoms. The addition of a commercially available IH636 grape seed proanthocyanidin extract (commercially known as ActiVin) to their treatment regimen led to a reduction in the frequency and intensity of abdominal pain as well as resolution of vomiting in 1 patient [1].”  That translates to a 30% success ratio in that particular study. So IF that holds true throughout larger populations it would seem that grape seed extract, by itself, could help a lot of chronic pancreatitis sufferers. BUT …

I use a cocktail of three (3) supplements. Grape seed, curcumin and vitamin C. There is a reason for that. ALL three supplements fight inflammation. All three supplements have DIFFERENT chemical compositions and very likely address inflammation via different modalities. So if grape seed alone helps 30% on average what will the cocktail of THREE highly anti-inflammatory supplements do? IF just HALF of those who used the cocktail properly, in dosages that were right for them (depends on damage) and 50% saw resolution of pain, nausea and vomiting would that not be a good thing? What if they also followed a strict low-fat, pancreatitis diet? What if that total regimen resolved the inflammation and symptoms in as many as 75% of chronic pancreatitis sufferers? How cool would that be?

Grape Seed is one of those very rare natural remedies that actually does produce amazing benefits.
I personally have used this amazing extract for years and quite frankly without it I may not have been able to be alive today, writing this blog post on the benefits of grape seed.
I’m not going to post any unbelievable testimonials that may be true and then again may be as phony as a 3 dollar bill.

I’ll not tell you that extract from grapes cures everything from hangnails to prostate cancer because as far as I know the extract does nothing for hangnails. 🙂 Instead …
I am simply going to share with you what I know about GSE, throw in some scientific research to back up what I say and you can judge for yourself the credibility of the information I pass on in regards to the benefits of this miracle of nature.
The important fact to consider when trying to determine whether or not you may benefit from using the extract, made from the seeds of grapes, is to understand that grapes contain highly anti-inflammatory antioxidants called polyphenols.These little polyphenol super heroes, theoretically speaking, due to their anti-inflammatory properties make it highly conceivable that any inflammatory condition may be improved by using liberal amounts of the extract.

WHY I Use Grape Seed Extract

grape_seed_extractI personally discovered this incredible extract made from the seeds of grapes in 1994 and …
I thought that its benefits were simply to good to be true. You know if it sounds to good to be true it probably is thing?
But I gave GSE a try because I had chronic pancreatitis along with some all to common acute pancreatitis episodes and quite frankly I was searching for some way to beat the condition.

What did I find out?
I found out the proclaimed benefits of grape seed extract are true, at least in my case, as real and true as the nose on your face.
I don’t recall exactly how long it was before I saw some real benefit but I don’t believe it was more than a few weeks.
I started feeling better, the pain began to be less frequent and the tenderness in my abdomen began to fade.
I thought these finding about grape seed and what it was doing for my pancreas was nothing short of amazing.

Why Does Grape Seed Help My Pancreatitis?

grape-seedGrape seed is full of flavonoids, called OPC’s (oligomeric proanthocyanidins), and it is these flavonoids that seem to be responsible for the benefits seen by those who consume grape seed extract.
In my case and most likely yours as well the reason grape seed works for beating pancreatitis is that it eliminates inflammation and pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas.
Previously I mentioned that I believe it is because of grape seed extract I am still alive and in essence that is what I believe but there are several other factors involved as well such as a 
particularly low fat diet and several dietary supplements, one of which is grape seed extract.

Who Discovered The Benefits Of Grape Seed?

Jack-Masquelier-OPC'sJacques Masquelier (aka Jack Masquelier, born in 1922 in Paris, died 24 February 2009) is the French scientist credited with the discovery of oligomeric proanthocyanidins or OPCs.
Masquelier actually discovered OPC’s in the skin of peanuts however he went on to find it in grape seed and French Maritime Pine Bark as well.

He developed an extraction process and then proceeded to trade name his product

Grape Seed is one of those very rare natural remedies that actually does produce amazing benefits.
I personally have used this amazing extract for years and quite frankly without it I may not have been able to be alive today, writing this blog post on the benefits of grape seed.
I’m not going to post any unbelievable testimonials that may be true and then again may be as phony as a 3 dollar bill.
I’ll not tell you that extract from grapes cures everything from hangnails to prostate cancer because as far as I know the extract does nothing for hangnails. 🙂 Instead …
I am simply going to share with you what I know about GSE, throw in some scientific research to back up what I say and you can judge for yourself the credibility of the information I pass on in regards to the benefits of this miracle of nature.
The important fact to consider when trying to determine whether or not you may benefit from using the extract, made from the seeds of grapes, is to understand that grapes contain highly anti-inflammatory antioxidants called polyphenols.

These little polyphenol super heroes, theoretically speaking, due to their anti-inflammatory properties make it highly conceivable that any inflammatory condition may be improved by using liberal amounts of the extract.

WHY I Use Grape Seed Extract

grape_seed_extractI personally discovered this incredible extract made from the seeds of grapes in 1994 and …
I thought that its benefits were simply to good to be true. You know if it sounds to good to be true it probably is thing?
But I gave GSE a try because I had chronic pancreatitis along with some all to common acute pancreatitis episodes and quite frankly I was searching for some way to beat the condition.

What did I find out?
I found out the proclaimed benefits of grape seed extract are true, at least in my case, as real and true as the nose on your face.
I don’t recall exactly how long it was before I saw some real benefit but I don’t believe it was more than a few weeks.
I started feeling better, the pain began to be less frequent and the tenderness in my abdomen began to fade.
I thought these finding about grape seed and what it was doing for my pancreas was nothing short of amazing.

Why Does Grape Seed Help My Pancreatitis?

grape-seedGrape seed is full of flavonoids, called OPC’s (oligomeric proanthocyanidins), and it is these flavonoids that seem to be responsible for the benefits seen by those who consume grape seed extract.
In my case and most likely yours as well the reason grape seed works for beating pancreatitis is that it eliminates inflammation and pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas.

Previously I mentioned that I believe it is because of grape seed extract I am still alive and in essence that is what I believe but there are several other factors involved as well such as a particularily low fat diet and several dietary supplements, one of which is grape seed extract.

Who Discovered The Benefits Of Grape Seed?

Jack-Masquelier-OPC'sJacques Masquelier (aka Jack Masquelier, born in 1922 in Paris, died 24 February 2009) is the French scientist credited with the discovery of oligomeric proanthocyanidins or OPCs.

Masquelier actually discovered OPC’s in the skin of peanuts however he went on to find it in grape seed and French Maritime Pine Bark as well.

He developed an extraction process and then proceeded to trade name his product Pycnogenol. In other words nobody, neither manufacturer or seller of grape seed and/or pine bark products, can call their concoction Pycnogenol. Masquelier who is now dead as of 2009 is the only one with that right.

Masquelier promoted that his Pycnogenol could relieve symptoms of or cure almost anything, from hangnails to cancer.
Other promoters say similar things but I rely only on what I can discern from my own personal experience and the scientific research I have been able to dig up. You of course need to do your own research and make your own decision in regards to using grape seed extract.

Grape Seed Research

grape-seed-researchI have my own personal experience to draw from but you don’t know me from Paul Bunyan so …

It is important that you do your own research on grape seed extract.
I have compiled some sources here for you to begin with, a “One Stop Shop” so to speak on the benefits of grape seed extract and OPC’s.

One thing I want to point out in regards to research on grape seed extract or any supplement or drug for that matter is that …
The research is NOT iron clad proof that anything will help you, grape seed extract included.
All you can do is to try grape seed and see what happens over 30 – 60 – 90 days or longer. If it works for you, you will either FEEL the difference or medical tests (CT scans, EUS etc) may actually show improvement that can not be explained away – that would be great right?

1) “Topical application of GSPE enhances sun protection factor in human volunteers, as well as supplementation of GSPE ameliorates chronic pancreatitis in humans. These results demonstrate that GSPE provides excellent protection against oxidative stress and free radical-mediated tissue injury.”[1] – Science Direct (last two sentences of the abstract)

By the way the word ” ameliorates” is the above article quote means to make better or more tolerable.

2) “Three patients with chronic pancreatitis (two with a history of alcohol excess and one idiopathic) are reported. Treatment with narcotic analgesics and pancreatic enzyme supplements had failed to control their symptoms. The addition of a commercially available IH636 grape seed proanthocyanidin extract (commercially known as ActiVin) to their treatment regimen led to a reduction in the frequency and intensity of abdominal pain as well as resolution of vomiting in 1 patient.”[2] – PubMed

What Grape Seed Do I Use?

Grape-Seed-ExtractI use Now Foods GSE and it works well. It is gluten free. It is also free of other common allergens. The Now Foods product is a good value as well because you get two hundred (200) 100 mg caps for around $20 and each capsule contains 90% polyphenols. This means you get 90 milligrams of pure grape seed in each capsule.

Plus you also get 300 milligarms of vitamin C in each capsule which is a good thing. Vitamin C is another highly anti-inflammatory antioxidant which has been proven to help fight pancreatic cancer. This is important because chronic pancreatitis increases pancreatic cancer risk. So this GSE product by Now Foods provides a “two-for.” A good bang for the buck.

For a complete list of the supplements I use daily, including grape seed extract and some info about WHY they are necessary go here.

References:

  1. – ScienceDirect – Free radicals and grape seed proanthocyanidin extract: importance in human health and disease prevention – Debasis Bagchia,  Manashi Bagchia, Sidney J Stohsa, Dipak K Dasb, Sidhartha D Rayc, Charles A Kuszynskid, Shantaram S Joshid, Harry G Pruesse
  2. – Beneficial effects of a novel IH636 grape seed proanthocyanidin extract in the treatment of chronic pancreatitis – Banerjee B1, Bagchi D. – 1Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, MO 63106, USA. bbanerje@im.wustl.edu

. In other words nobody, neither manufacturer or seller of grape seed and/or pine bark products, can call their concoction Pycnogenol. Masquelier who is now dead as of 2009 is the only one with that right.

Masquelier promoted that his Pycnogenol could relieve symptoms of or cure almost anything, from hangnails to cancer.

Other promoters say similar things but I rely only on what I can discern from my own personal experience and the scientific research I have been able to dig up. You of course need to do your own research and make your own decision in regards to using grape seed extract.

Grape Seed Research

grape-seed-researchI have my own personal experience to draw from but you don’t know me from Paul Bunyan so …
It is important that you do your own research on grape seed extract.
I have compiled some sources here for you to begin with, a “One Stop Shop” so to speak on the benefits of grape seed extract and OPC’s.

One thing I want to point out in regards to research on grape seed extract or any supplement or drug for that matter is that …
The research is NOT iron clad proof that anything will help you, grape seed extract included.
All you can do is to try grape seed and see what happens over 30 – 60 – 90 days or longer. If it works for you, you will either FEEL the difference or medical tests (CT scans, EUS etc) may actually show improvement that can not be explained away – that would be great right?

1) “Topical application of GSPE enhances sun protection factor in human volunteers, as well as supplementation of GSPE ameliorates chronic pancreatitis in humans. These results demonstrate that GSPE provides excellent protection against oxidative stress and free radical-mediated tissue injury.”[1] – Science Direct (last two sentences of the abstract)

By the way the word ” ameliorates” is the above article quote means to make better or more tolerable.

2) “Three patients with chronic pancreatitis (two with a history of alcohol excess and one idiopathic) are reported. Treatment with narcotic analgesics and pancreatic enzyme supplements had failed to control their symptoms. The addition of a commercially available IH636 grape seed proanthocyanidin extract (commercially known as ActiVin) to their treatment regimen led to a reduction in the frequency and intensity of abdominal pain as well as resolution of vomiting in 1 patient.”[2] – PubMed

What Grape Seed Do I Use?

Grape-Seed-ExtractI use Now Foods GSE and it works well. It is gluten free. It is also free of other common allergens. The Now Foods product is a good value as well because you get two hundred (200) 100 mg caps for around $20 and each capsule contains 90% polyphenols. This means you get 90 milligrams of pure grape seed in each capsule.

Plus you also get 300 milligarms of vitamin C in each capsule which is a good thing. Vitamin C is another highly anti-inflammatory antioxidant which has been proven to help fight pancreatic cancer. This is important because chronic pancreatitis increases pancreatic cancer risk. So this GSE product by Now Foods provides a “two-for.” A good bang for the buck.

For a complete list of the supplements I use daily, including grape seed extract and some info about WHY they are necessary go here.

References:

  1. – ScienceDirect – Free radicals and grape seed proanthocyanidin extract: importance in human health and disease prevention – Debasis Bagchia,  Manashi Bagchia, Sidney J Stohsa, Dipak K Dasb, Sidhartha D Rayc, Charles A Kuszynskid, Shantaram S Joshid, Harry G Pruesse
  2. – Beneficial effects of a novel IH636 grape seed proanthocyanidin extract in the treatment of chronic pancreatitis – Banerjee B1, Bagchi D. – 1Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, MO 63106, USA. bbanerje@im.wustl.edu

    Thanks for reading…  All credit must go to the scientists and those who done the research.

    Kind regards
    Viv Huskings

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The Eye of the Sea (Olhos d’ Agua)

I’m so blessed to have lived and worked here for a short time in the late 90’s.  Olhos d’Agua (Eye of the Sea) is one of Portugal’s best kept secrets, nestled halfway between the busy holiday resorts of Vilamoura and Albufeira, there is a peacefully quaint little fishing village with a coved beach it’s a travellers delight!

It hasn’t been sold out to the mass tourism that spoils many places along this coast, Olhos still retains it’s simple past.  Along a short promenade, there are a few little fish restaurants, from the net to the grill, you can enjoy Sardines caught from the sea, or if you are feeling flush, splash out and pick a live Lobster from the tank.  If you are not hungry you can just sit and listen to the wild ocean and watch the world go by with a nice chilled glass of Vinho Verde……

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Marrakech Review: Riad El Farah…

We had an absolute bargain, £152 for 3 nights B&B, flights from Bristol and airport transfer all through Easyjet.

Our transfer driver was waiting with my name outside the arrival gate, he drove us in a roadworthy jeep through the crazy scootered city.  He had to pull up outside a cornered herbal spice shop, as you can’t fit a car down the narrow alleyways of the Kasbah, but what you can fit is donkeys & carts, numerous scooters, musicians, beggars, Zouks/Shops and kids out actually playing worthwhile games in this day and age!  He walked us to the Riad.

Cut a long story short after a half hour drive from the airport, we got there to be greeted by Mr Mohammed’s photogenic smile.   We chose the Riad El Farah for it’s amazing location within the 800 year old Ochre City/Kasbah…  It’s so full on real with it’s romanticism and escapism amongst total madness outside.

Another factor for choosing this place was the good reviews and the nice friendly/helpful character, previously mentioned known as Mohammed the delightful owner (Who is now a friend called Momo)  On our 1pm arrival Momo greeted us with  fresh mint tea, fried fish salad and an informative tour of his little gem of a Riad!

The first sight of the picturesque courtyard took our breath away, the fountain, authentic  Moroccan  tiling, soft furnishings and artwork absolutely sublime.  What shocked us more was the  peaceful ambience inside these aged red walls; so soothing, it was even the children’s school holidays this week!  The coolness from the beating sun was refreshing after a long journey as it was well into it’s 70’s; this was bloody January man!  The simple adequate room with it’s sweet little bathroom, nice firm mattress and well socketed walls met our needs/expectations perfectly. There’s also a beautiful roof garden with a sheltered soft seating area, again the ceiling is colorful weaved moroccan plasterwork, also two comfortable towelled sunbeds to lap up the rays.  If you want to smoke I suggest you come up here as the rooms are understandably non-smoking.  It has a lovely view of the Bahia Palace rooftops, where these great storks nest and fly eloquently over you. Come up here to watch a champagne supernova and almost touch the stars in the cosmic evenings….

The showers take 3 minutes to get warm, which Mo explains in your initial tour guide.  He’s very ecologically friendly man and warms the water tank up from solar panels that are on the roof terrace.  We respected that he values the environment and has to keep costs down to a minimum which helps to make staying here such value for money.  This holiday was now turning into a steal!  Momo introduced us to an immediately friendly feeling lady called Fatima, whose smile is infectious, she’s Mo’s industrious little helper;  chalet maid, cleaner and chef all rolled into one!

Mo will offer you a tour so you can get your bearings in and out of the metropolitical Kasbah.  He will show the two Aerial masts, which you can use for landmarks.  We chose to find our own way as I’ve never got lost before in any cities which include, Delhi, Mumbai, Moscow, Paris, Madrid and Rome.  My magnetic compass memory would suffice, so I thought!  My wife Allyson laughing at my ego!  Well on our final day, I got cocky; we decided to just go for a walk into the centre of the Kasbah and Medina, my confidence was high!  Four hours later and a few Dirhams lighter, we eventually found our bearings to get back on track!

Luckily enough we got taken to The Tazir Hotel, which thankfully is the only bar in the old town that sells beer 😉  at a cost of 35 Dirhams for a small bottle of Heineken, but who cares?  After the ordeal of me getting us well and truly lost on a road to nowhere the beer was worth the price!  Mo sells wine back at the Riad, which for about £10 per bottle is reasonable, rather than the stress of bartering in the Zouks.  Alcohol is banned in the Old Town due to respect for the Arab religion.

Hotel Tazir

There’s Wifi in the Riad, which is about 2 Euros per day, we are not ones to share our every move into the whole world of social media, so we can’t give info on Wi-Fi reception.  Mo allowed me to use his laptop to do some important business free of charge.  Mo showed us the trips that were available, he does offer you a full itinerary that he can arranged at a competitive rate.  There’s no pressure, your choice.  We were very fortunate as we were the only people booked into the Riad for the next few days.  Mo could offer us us a VIP trip up to the Atlas Mountains Ourika Valley!  It took an hour and half to get there in the comfort of his new Duster Dacia jeep, Mo gave us all the history and info on the way in his communicable broken English mixed with French.  He will apologise profusely about his poor English, but he put us to shame, he’s really quite good!  He never failed to answer our many questions and we now wish we asked him more questions.  Mo is a genuine wise man, respect him and he can make your time memorable, he has a lot of connections in the Ourika Valley and the Kasbah if you get our drift…  He took us to a Berber mill and we had a tour of how they mill grain for bread by the power of the river, greeted once again with aromatic mint tea and fresh milled bread.  There is a shop if you with wish to support their education and existence by buying something, if not show respect and just give them 10 dirhams for their time. (Less than £1 as the exchange rate was 13.8 Dirhams to the £1)  The drive up the valley is majestic, the vistas breathtaking!  If you want to stop for pictures just feel free and ask Mo, he will gladly pullover.  At about 11am we reached the end of the road, there was a small town with Zouks and many tagine restaurants, there was hundreds of seats spread along the river below and the opposing side.  Not just chairs, but cushioned settees and single armchairs.  Mo said that on weekends all these would be full.of Marrakech locals escaping for the sophoric air of the mountains.  Mo took us on a 30 minute undulating trek up a creek to a Waterfall, due to not having much rain or snow the flow was reduced, but still it was a lovely little hike, Mo stayed a little bit below the falls and allowed us the alone time that was needed in such a special location.  The walk down was a little easier and Mo diverted to make a short cut and cross a wobbly bridge made out of blanks of pallet wood…  We jumped up and down to make it creak, this freaked my wife out, lol.

Ourika Valley

Ourika Valley

Once on the otherside, Mo called lunch, he asked if we wanted to find our own restaurant or invited us to eat with him?  We both decided to accept his offer and so glad we did as we had the most amazing 3 person Special Tagine, full of tender lamb, carrots, olives, aubergine, potato, onion and courgettes, all cooked in 35 spices.  Accompanied by a fresh crisp salad and luscious berber bread, out table was armchairs with the river Ourika lapping at our feet!  Berber musicians serenaded us with whirlish dervish singing and haunting sounds!  Such a perfect day, the meal worked out about £7.50 per person.  Excellent value for money with added everlasting memories.

Special Tagine Ourika Valley

Special Tagine Ourika Valley

The trip back down the valley to Marrakech was equally as smooth and scenic, we stopped off at a herb/aromatherapeutic garden, where we had a tour and was told the health benefits of all the plants.  They have a shop and offer you miracle creams, herbal viagra and the renowned Argan oil.  Their prices are very inflated compared to the herb shops of Marrakech, so be careful not to be taken in and fleeced.  We didn’t buy a thing and just left a 10 Dirham tip for the tour.

When we got back to the Riad, Mo invited us for a free/gratis evening dinner, but we was so tired from the Atlas mountain air, we declined and agreed to have it the next day.  My wife hit the sack whilst I had a walk to the The Jemaa el-Fnaa, which is one of the best-known squares in Africa and is the centre of city activity and trade.  At sun down it turns into a huge multi stall restaurant, market and street theatre with snake charmers, henna tattooists and shady looking arabs who will throw a monkey on your back and demand money if you’re not vigilant.  Beware of pickpockets as its very dark in places.  If you choose to eat, make sure it’s busy with the locals and not just tourists, this will insure it’s of decent quality and safe.  We ate the snails for two nights running and used stall Number 5 on both occasions as the cooking sauce was nice and peppery.  Tried quite a few Orange Juice sellers, the best we found was Stall 40, well worth the 4 Dirhams a glass, so refreshing.  I recommend trying the Blood Orange too, you can feel the goodness as you drink it.

Bartering is a way of life, whether you love it or loathe it, you can’t get away from it in Morocco.  Many reviews suggest offering a quarter and settle for half;  when I have done it this way I always felt a bit ripped off!  I do it different as I spent some time in India.  Offer a quarter of the asking price with a smile on your face and settle for a third of the price, many will refuse, so just walk away; they will either follow you and come to some agreement, or remember you the next time you walk passed.  The nearest shop to the Riad El Farah, is run by a friendly Berber lady also called Fatima, she’s really lovely.  I had my eye on one of her Berber hats and my wife on a real leather handbag.  We knew they were quoting the bag at 700 Dirhams at the leather/tannery market.  Fatima gave us the initial price on our first day of 400D.  My wife is useless at bartering, so I went in with an offer of 100D, each day we walked past Fatima slowly brought the price down to 250D.  On the final day I went out on my own to do some last minute shopping, went to Fatima’s, with a raised offer of 150D for the bag, she then came down to 200D, I smiled and picked up the Berber hat I had my eye on, threw it on top of the bag and said final offer 200D for the two;  Fatima snapped my hand off, we both laughed and hugged each other.  It was so much fun, so always barter with a smile on your face…

img_20160128_105600845.jpg

On our final evening Mo was cooking us evening dinner at 8pm, his helper had the day off and Mo was the chef, he had set the table in courtyard instead of the dining/breakfast room, all the candles were lit and the stars shined bright in the cloudless dark sky, it was such a beautiful romantic setting with traditional music playing softly in the background.

We had a Salade El Farah for starters, mixture of tomatoes, fresh black & green olives, lemon juiced grated carrot and potato; washed down with zesty moroccan white wine. Mo requested we ate slower, as he wanted it to be a lasting memory, he was right, this was such a special evening!

We chatted nonchalantly away despite language barriers; about music, politics, religion and lifes ups and downs.  Mo has an eclectic taste in music, very similar to our own, we soon had Bob Marley playing and due to the wine found ourselves dancing around the courtyard.  Apparently Marley spent some time in Morocco, smoking the hash and gathering inspiration, also the Rolling Stones tuned in and dropped right out for a while too!

Another thing I should mention is Mohammed is a professional golf instructor and back in the day he won the Moroccan Open!  Golf is his religion and he organises trips for keen golfers who come from all over Europe.  So if you’re into golf, this is an added bonus.  He has contracts with Easyjet, British Airways and Hotels.com for the Riad El Farah.  How he keeps his prices so low is a miracle!

Next up on the menu was the Creme de la Creme, the famous 35 Spiced Meatball Tagine El Farah!  We can honestly say that these were the best meatballs ever tasted, even blew Sweden’s out of the window.  They are simply magnifique! Washed down with a bottle of Red Moroccan Cabernet Sauvignon!  The clementines we had for dessert, were fresh off the tree, juiciest ever!  This evening will live long in our memories as one of the best holiday experiences ever.

Mohammed had earlier arranged our transfer pick up with ease and he was escorting us to the pick up point at 9am prompt the next morning.  He even provided us with some coffee and light breakfast beforehand. We said our sad farewells, then Mo gave us a little present each as we got into the car…  What a guy!

El Farah Celebration

El Farah Celebration

All in all, this was the best value short-break holiday we had ever had, we highly recommend the Riad El Farah and the unbelievable hospitality Mohammed offers. The Riad El Farah is a hidden gem and Momo you are an absolute diamond geezer!

We’ve tried to cover everything, if you have any other questions feel free to ask, we would be glad to answer.  If you like this review, hit the button…

Happy Holidaying Folks!

P.S All rooms are enclosed within the Kasbah walls and alleys, they are authentically simple, the cool darkness makes you feel snug and appreciative to the shades of light that enter the red/ochre domain. Our bathroom and basin were quaintly unique!

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Bitter but Proud

You’re the land that taught me to stand proud
In our Celtic hearts we sing so loud
Foundations dug deep for out black gold
Lives were lost
The coal was sold.

English masters tried to rule our hills
Still in our hearts the red blood spills
Onto the pitch where the dragons roar
Fighting hard to settle
The score.

Land of Wales, all things Welsh
Bitter but proud with the blood of a Celt.
Bread of heaven in our hands
No-one will ever take our land!

Your roaming, rambling beauty
That makes me shiver with pride.
The remote moors, desolate shores
with rivers guiding the Mountainside.

Our green fields.
Hide the scars of old
Ich Dien Cymru
Forever more.

Run mouse over the link below, click to play and sing along……

bitter-but-proud1

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Out for a duck…

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Giggs not my choice, I preferred Craig Bellamy! 

He never put his country first…. 

Ryan Giggs: Manchester United legend set to be named Wales manager – http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/42684241

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The Oldest Restaurant in Kabul: Where Tradition Trumps Rockets

For over 70 years, Bacha Broot, located in the center of the Old City of Kabul, has been serving chainaki — savory lamb stew — despite Soviet occupation, civil war, and the Taliban.

Maija Liuhto | Longreads | September 2017 | 10 minutes (2875 words)

 

In the Old City of Kabul, there is an area known as Ka Forushi, the bird market. Visiting this old, roofed bazaar with its tiny lanes, spice sellers, and dancing boys is like walking into a scene out of “One Thousand and One Nights.”

It is here, among the clucking chickens, crowing roosters, and cooing doves, that Kabul’s oldest restaurant, Bacha Broot, has been serving delicious chainaki — traditional lamb stew — for over 70 years. Bacha Broot, named after the original owner who had peculiar facial hair, is from the Dari, meaning “boy with a mustache.”

While wars have raged on the restaurant’s doorstep, very little has changed inside. The claustrophobic stairs, the sparse interior, the tiny door easily missed in the maze-like bazaar; all in their original state. While modern fast food joints lure Afghanistan’s younger generations with pizza and burgers, Bacha Broot stays loyal to its recipe for success. The famous chainaki — lamb on the bone, split peas, and onions cooked for four hours in tiny teapots — has drawn customers for decades, during war and peace, good times and bad.

To get to Bacha Broot, one must first walk past the old Pul e Khishti mosque and the jewelry and watch sellers outside on the sidewalk. It is rumored that in the early 20th century, the mosque’s imam was a British spy, as any true Kabulian knows.

After the mosque, the bird cages appear. Take a right by the man selling roosters the size of a four-year-old child, step into a narrow lane, and you enter a different world. The bazaar is an assault on all five senses: the smoke from the open-fire kebab stands hits your eyes and nostrils as hawkers yell in your ears trying to sell you anything from bottles filled with a dark brown liquid — suspiciously reminding you of whiskey — to massive Afghan carpets. The bazaar is packed at any time of the day, mostly with men in traditional Afghan clothes, but there’s also the occasional woman in a blue burqa floating by.

After the carpet shops, there is a tiny blue doorway, with a sign reading: “The bestchainaki from goat meat.” This is where you enter Bacha Broot. The rich, oily smell wafts from the restaurant as you climb stairs that seem like they haven’t been repaired in 70 years.

Upstairs, there are two rooms: one for women and one for men. Behind the counter on the men’s side stands Faridoon Bacha Broot, 37, one of the three brothers now in charge of their father’s business.

On the wall behind him, there is a picture of the sons with their father — an old man wearing traditional clothes and a turban. Faridoon pulls out a much older photo of his father from under the counter. In it, he wears a blue western suit, his hair neatly separated in the middle. The most striking feature is his full mustache.

“His mustache wasn’t actually that long, or anything special. People just called him [Broot] because he was so handsome,” Faridoon says and smiles.

The brothers grew up running around the restaurant while their father cooked and served customers. Their father encouraged them to go to school — he didn’t want them to follow in his footsteps. “He used to tell us that if we end up working here, it will make us sad.” Now, Faridoon believes his father was right. “We come here at three in the morning and go home at nine in the evening. It is only during Ramadan that the restaurant is closed and we can finally sleep,” Faridoon says.

It is unusually quiet today at Bacha Broot, and Faridoon has time to chat. It is Friday, a holiday in Afghanistan, and most men are at the Pul e Khishti mosque for afternoon prayers. One man has decided to perform his prayers inside the restaurant, in the corner under a picture of Ahmad Shah Massoud, a legendary mujahideen leader (Islamic freedom fighter).

An old TV set attached to the wall is switched to a channel playing nonstop melancholic songs of Ahmad Zahir, an Afghan singing legend from the ‘70s.

In the kitchen, Wahidullah Bacha Broot, 40, supervises the careful, time consuming preparation of following his father’s recipe. The wide, traditional stove is filled with dozens of bubbling teapots of chainaki. In the corner, there is an old Russian samovar where waiters prepare the chai they serve customers. “We make about two hundred servings of chainaki every day,” Wahidullah says. “We cut the meat, cook it, and distribute it in these teapots.”

It takes three to four hours for the meat to become tender. It is cooked with garlic, tomatoes, split peas, and salt — a simple recipe with a surprisingly delicious result.
In the dining area, old bearded men wearing prayer caps slowly pile into the restaurant. Some of them have been coming here for decades. They sit down and solemnly wait to be served. The young waiters bring them naan, a traditional flatbread, and doogh, a savory yogurt drink. Finally, the waiters pour the chainaki onto their plates from the teapots. Most of them eat in complete silence.

“I have been coming here every day for 35 or maybe 40 years,” says Mirza Mohammad, a 70-year-old man sitting next to the counter, slurping his tea. “I was Faridoon’s age when I first got to know their father. Now I’m getting old,” Mohammad says. “He was a good man, he cooked food for us and we always prayed for him. This restaurant hasn’t changed at all in all these years. The only change you can see here is in the people — many of them left the country during the wars and some of them were killed because of rockets or suicide attacks. All of my friends who used to come here have died,” he says. “My name is next on the list.”

During the four decades of war that Afghanistan has been through, the Broot family never left the country. They kept their restaurant open and continued serving chainakito the hungry people of Kabul as rockets rained on their neighborhood, bombs exploded, and regimes changed.

During the four decades of war that Afghanistan has been through, the Broot family never left the country. They kept their restaurant open and continued serving chainaki to the hungry people of Kabul as rockets sometimes rained on their neighborhood, bombs exploded, and regimes changed.

Kabul once looked quite different. The Broot sons were all born in the ‘70s and ‘80s, when Afghanistan was under communist rule and Soviet troops invaded the country. Then, women could be seen wearing miniskirts in Kabul and there were clubs even in Lashkar Gah, Helmand, a city in the now conflict-ridden and extremely conservative south of the country.

“Back then, women would come here without headscarves. They were free, like foreigners today,” Wahidullah says.

Mohammad Eshan, 55, started coming to the restaurant with his father when he was little. Later, during communist rule, he started working at the Ministry of Interior. “I used to come here with my friends. The place has become much cleaner, but the people here are still very honest and pure like before,” he muses.

But the communist times were also riddled with violence. “When the Russians came, they killed everyone. Women, children, men… everyone was being killed,” Mohammad says. During this time, he left Kabul for his home in Panjshir, a province 60 miles from Kabul. The Soviets never managed to capture the province, because Ahmad Shah Massoud, the mujahideen leader, made it his base for the guerilla war against the occupying troops. The Soviet troops killed at least 900,000 civilians in Afghanistan (others estimate millions more), mostly in the countryside.

In 1988, Soviet troops finally withdrew from the country and four years later, in 1992, the mujahideen forces captured Kabul from the last communist leader of the country, Dr. Mohammad Najibullah. But internal power struggles soon led to a bloody civil war between different mujahideen factions.

“We were all going to school, like our father had told us to. But then, when I was in second grade, the war started,” Faridoon says. The heavy fighting forced schools to shut down in Kabul, and the boys ended up having to help out their father in the restaurant.

During the civil war, Faridoon remembers how they sometimes had to lock the door of the restaurant when fighting broke out in the street outside. The area around Bacha Broot is inhabited mainly by Tajiks, one of the many ethnic groups of Afghanistan. In the civil war, the country’s ethic groups organized behind rival mujahideen commanders and their forces; the area of Ka Fourshi was under the Tajik commander Massoud, and the militias of the Uzbek Abdul Rashid Dostum and the Pashtun Gulbuddin Hekmatyar often attacked the area.


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“We would have to wait for the fighting to finish, for our security. Then we would just go back to cooking, like always. This was quite usual those days,” Faridoon recalls.

Mohammad says he saw countless rockets land in this area. “One morning, twenty rockets landed here. There were dozens of dead bodies lying outside in this alley.”

Behind the restaurant, there used to be a big three-story building. “It was entirely destroyed by Gulbuddin’s [Hekmatyar] rockets.”

“Whenever rockets were being fired in this area we had to escape and leave the restaurant. But after that, we always came back and continued our work,” Faridoon says. He remembers how one day a rocket landed in an alley behind the restaurant. It didn’t explode, and remains there to this day.

The war and mujahideen infighting gave the Taliban the perfect opportunity to emerge. In 1996, the group entered Kabul, forcing the mujahideen to flee the capital. The last communist ruler of Afghanistan, Dr. Najibullah, had sought protection from the UN and had since been living inside their compound in Kabul. Before the Taliban took over,Massoud had offered to take Najibullah with him, but he refused, thinking the Taliban would spare him. But the Taliban came for Najibullah and brutally tortured and killed him by dragging him behind a truck. Then, they hung his body for public display.

‘We would have to wait for the fighting to finish, for our security. Then we would just go back to cooking, like always. This was quite usual those days,’ Faridoon recalls.

Under the Taliban, the bird sellers had to leave Ka Forushi. Keeping songbirds is an old tradition in Afghanistan, popular even among the poor, but for the extremist Taliban, birdsong was a distraction from religion.

“The Taliban came and told [the bird sellers that] they had to free the birds from their cages. They threatened them with punishment,” Faridoon remembers. The punishments the Taliban regime inflicted were horrific — public floggings, stonings, and executions were common. “I never went to see them, they were so brutal,” Wahidullah says. But he remembers how he heard about people’s hands being cut off by the Taliban.

Although Ka Forushi lost much of its liveliness, the restaurant kept its doors open. Women, who were then largely forced to stay indoors, could no longer come. Then, it was the Taliban’s turn to come eat chainaki.

“One of my father’s friends was a police officer in one of the police districts of Kabul. When the Taliban took over, he joined them. When they came here, he asked my father if he knew him. My father replied, ‘yes, I know you’,” Faridoon recalls. “They only asked us to pray regularly, nothing else.”

Whenever the Taliban came to the restaurant, they would secretly listen to music, something that had been strictly prohibited by the regime. “We asked them, ‘mullah sahib (sir), why are you listening to music but won’t allow us to do it?’ They claimed music was good for them, but not for others.” Ironically, the Taliban loved listening to the songs of Naghma, a famous female singer who often sang love songs, Faridoon remembers.

Whenever the Taliban came to the restaurant, they would secretly listen to music, something that had been strictly prohibited by the regime.

Thus, music could now only be heard from Bacha Broot when the Taliban were paying them a visit.

After the U.S. invasion in 2001, following the attacks on World Trade Center orchestrated by Al-Qaeda’s leader Osama bin Laden, Kabul was suddenly the center of world’s attention. The U.S. airstrikes on the capital sent the Taliban and al Qaida fleeing.

“We all know what the bombing was like,” Esham, the former Ministry of Interior employee, says and laughs dryly. He had to leave Afghanistan after the mujahideentook over, but returned shortly before the Taliban regime collapsed. “I saw the Taliban escape the city to the mountains. They gathered their weapons and left. They were in a bad condition,” he says.

In only a few days, the Taliban regime was finished. A new, Western-supported government was soon installed, with President Hamid Karzai at the helm. With the arrival of Americans in Kabul, money also followed.

“Karzai was at least a little bit good, because he brought dollars to Afghanistan,” Mohammad says jokingly, referring to the regime’s alleged corruption. “He didn’t bring money for us, just for himself and others with a big belly.”

As Afghans started returning from asylum, new businesses mushroomed in the city and modern restaurants opened, serving Western food. Soon there were even bars in Kabul where foreign aid workers, contractors, and spies went to spend their dollars on alcohol.

But the people of Kabul still appreciated the old fashioned style of Bacha Broot.
“Boys and girls started coming here, wearing jeans,” Faridoon says.

But then, as quickly as everything had started, it ended. The Taliban had slowly regained their strength and were now knocking on the gates of Kabul. Suicide bombers started blowing themselves up near embassies and government installations. The city was unsafe again, and foreigners stopped coming to Bacha Broot.

In 2014, new president Ashraf Ghani was elected and international troops began to withdraw. Unemployment rose exponentially, and the Taliban now holds more territory than at any point since 2001.

“This is the worst time I have seen in Afghanistan,” Mohammad sighs.
He used to have a small secondhand shop in Ka Forushi but is now unemployed. “Things have become expensive. All the bad things happen to common people, not politicians.” But despite his financial troubles, Mohammad still comes to Bacha Broot every single day for lunch, just like he has for the past few decades.

“People are poor, and the food is expensive,” says Shadana, a 40-year-old widow. She has sat down in the half-empty women’s side with her cheeky-looking eight-year-old nephew. Shadana’s husband started bringing her to Bacha Broot in 2002, after Karzai came to power.

“My husband used to bring me here. It has been nine years since he passed away. That’s why it has been a long time since I was last here,” she says as she watches her nephew devour his plate of chainaki. “All of Kabul has changed and only this place is like the past.”

Someone from the men’s side tells Shadana it’s time to leave. Her nephew quickly wraps the leftover flatbread in a scarf and slips his bottle of water in his pocket. “Little boys like this food,” she says and smiles as they leave.

It is still mostly men who come to Bacha Broot.

“Women rarely come to this area because it has a bad name. There were prostitutes here before. Now, poverty is a very big problem here in comparison to the past,” Muhammad Hashimi, 58, says.

Hashimi comes to Kabul twice a year from Germany where he has lived for 38 years. Each time, he makes sure he has time to come for chainaki, like he did in the ‘80s with his friends and brothers. “Places like this don’t exist anymore. The tradition has been lost. Being born and growing up in Kabul, the city itself was an adventure,” Hashimi says. “But that was before. It’s like a jungle now. So when we come here, we have a certain longing for everything that is no more,” he adds as he tears his flatbread into little pieces and dips them in the broth.

Faridoon and Wahidullah plan to keep this nostalgia alive, although they are looking for a new, larger space for the restaurant to accommodate a growing clientele. “Around us, everything has changed. There are many new restaurants that have modern interiors and serve different kinds of foods. But here we have changed nothing. The building is still the same, the food is the same and also the people,” Faridoon says. “We don’t want to lose that feeling.”

At Ramadan, the restaurant closes for a month as Muslims around the world fast from sunrise to sundown. For the Broot brothers, this means a month of well-deserved rest: lazy afternoons spent in prayer and sleep and long evenings eating at home with the family. But once Ramadan ends, the brothers will once again return to the bubblingchainaki teapots, aging guests, and clucking chickens of Ka Forushi.

No matter what happens in Kabul, at least chainaki will always be served here.

***

Maija Liuhto is a freelance journalist based in Kabul, Afghanistan. She covers Afghanistan for the Los Angeles Times and the largest Finnish daily, Helsingin Sanomat. Her work has appeared in Foreign Policy, Al Jazeera English, the Christian Science Monitor, and VICE.

***

Editor: Krista Stevens

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What Is an Egalitarian-Style Company? 

The functional structure is a vertical hierarchy of increasing power.

Most corporate structures are either hierarchical or egalitarian. In a hierarchical corporate structure, there are multiple tiers of management, and an employee may have supervisors and subordinates. In an egalitarian-style company, however, all employees share equal responsibility and power. At the time of publication, egalitarian-styles of management are gaining in popularity.

About Egalitarian Companies

In the tradition hierarchical corporate structure, each employee operates under a specific job description. Each employee also reports to a superior who monitors his progress and issues instructions. Egalitarian-style companies eliminate most of this structure. Employees in an egalitarian company have general job descriptions, rather than specific ones. Instead of reporting to a superior, all employees in an egalitarian company work collaboratively on tasks and behave as equals.

Pros

Egalitarian companies don’t impose the same boundaries on employees that traditional company structures do. In a hierarchical business, employees can avoid performing certain tasks that aren’t explicitly stated in their job descriptions. However, egalitarian companies eliminate this problem. Egalitarian styles of management also promote employee morale because all employees receive the same rights and privileges. In addition, egalitarian management encourages employees to think independently but collaborate when necessary.

Egalitarian-style management doesn’t always work in large companies. Some workers require direction to complete their tasks effectively. Hierarchical structures provide this direction by organizing workers based on their talents and explicitly describing the tasks that each worker must complete. Because each worker completes a specific set of tasks each day in a hierarchical company, management can be sure that all of the jobs are finished. Moreover, when a task is completed poorly or exceptionally, management can easily pinpoint the worker responsible. This is not possible in an egalitarian company.

Blended Styles

Though egalitarianism is a popular management structure, few companies that implement it are purely egalitarian. Most companies use a blend of egalitarian and hierarchical philosophies. Instead of eliminating boundaries altogether, a blended management style makes boundaries more flexible.

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Egalitarianism 

Egalitarianism

Egalitarianism is an ethical theory that defends that a situation is best if the happiness present in that situation is distributed as equally as possible. According to some egalitarians, equality is good because inequality is bad in itself or because it’s unfair. According to others, equality is good, and inequality bad, because we should give priority to the interests of those who fare worst. This last type of egalitarianism is often called prioritarianism, as it prioritizes helping those who are worst off.

So, according to egalitarianism, it’s better if everyone lives at a satisfying level of happiness, rather than if some enjoy paradisiacal conditions while others are in a very bad situation. What matters in egalitarianism is not only that the amount of happiness be as high as possible, but also that happiness is experienced, and suffering not experienced, by as large a portion of the population as possible.

Egalitarianism has been criticized as follows. Most of us would agree that if increasing equality meant greatly decreasing happiness (including the happiness of those who are already the worst off), then doing so would not be ethical. The claim could then be made that equality isn’t really that important, and that only the sum of happiness is. However, egalitarians reject this claim because they care not only about equality, but also about happiness. Therefore, they can agree that in a situation such as the one described above it wouldn’t be worth it to reduce everyone’s happiness in order to have less inequality. But, unlike some others such as utilitarians or right theorists, they also care about equality. So, against utilitarians, they argue that decreasing total happiness is worth it if it means a significant increase in the happiness of those who fare the worst. And, against right theorists, they claim that no right should be respected if it prohibits improving the situation of the worst-off.

Since egalitarianism is concerned with equality, it is opposed to any view that defends discrimination against beings whose lives can be good or bad. Egalitarianism thus entails that the interests of nonhuman animals must be taken into account, as authors such as Ingmar Persson,1 Peter Vallentyne,2Nils Holtug,3 and before them the 19th century pioneer Lewis Gompertz4 have pointed out. Egalitarianism has important consequences for nonhuman animals because countless billions of them are subjected each year to discrimination and neglect, which means that they are worse off in comparison to most humans.

Other theories also defend nonhuman animals from the harms they suffer because they claim that it’s not justified to cause them harm or to not help them when they need it. Egalitarianism accepts this, but claims that we have additional reasons to care for the interests of nonhuman animals. This is because currently, the majority of humans enjoy far more happiness than nonhuman animals. To be sure, some humans suffer terribly. However, if we consider majorities, the situation of nonhuman animals is clearly worse than that of humans. Those who are used as resources by humans suffer terrible fates. Billions of animals are exploited on farms in which they suffer terribly their whole lives. Plus, their lives are very short. They are killed at the earliest profitable opportunity so they can be eaten and used for other purposes. If we consider the lives of animals living in the wild, the picture is also very far from being idyllic. They suffer significantly and in many ways, and their lives normally end abruptly soon after they are born.

The above defenses of egalitarianism suggest that not only should we consider or defend nonhuman animals, but we should make defending them our main concern. Because their situation is far worse than ours, egalitarianism implies that the satisfaction of nonhuman interests should become a priority.


References:

Arneson, R. J. (1989) “Equality and equal opportunity for welfare”, Philosophical Studies, 56, pp. 77-93.

Arneson, R. J. (1999) “What, if anything, renders all humans morally equal”, in Jamieson, D. (ed.) Singer and His Critics, Oxford: Blackwell, pp. 103-128.

Berlin, I. (1955-1956) “Equality”, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 56, pp. 301-326.

Casal, P. (2006) “Why sufficiency is not enough”, Ethics, 116, pp. 296-326.

Cohen, G. A. (1989) “On the currency of egalitarian justice”, Ethics, 99, pp. 906-944.

Crisp, R. (2003) “Equality, priority, and compassion”, Ethics, 113, pp. 745-763.

Dworkin, R. (1981a) “What is equality? Part 1: Equality of welfare”, Philosophy and Public Affairs, 10, pp. 228-240.

Dworkin, R. (1981b) “What is equality? Part 2: Equality of resources”, Philosophy and Public Affairs, 10, pp. 283-345.

Faria, C. (2014) “Equality, priority and nonhuman animals”, DILEMATA, 14, pp. 225-236 [accessed on 16 April 2014].

Holtug, N. (2006) “Prioritarianism”, in Holtug, N. & Lippert-Rasmussen, K. (eds.) Egalitarianism: New essays on the nature and value of equality, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 125-156.

Holtug, N. & Lippert-Rasmussen, K. (2006) “An introduction to contemporary egalitarianism”, in Holtug, N. & Lippert-Rasmussen, K. (eds.) Egalitarianism: New essays on the nature and value of equalityop. cit., pp. 1-37.

Horta, O. (2016) “Egalitarianism and animals”, Between the Species, 19, pp. 109-145 [accessed on 20 August 2016].

McKerlie, D. (1994) “Equality and priority”, Utilitas, 6, pp. 25-42.

McMahan, J. (1996) “Cognitive disability, misfortune, and justice”, Philosophy and Public Affairs , 25, pp. 3-35.

Parfit, D. (1995) Equality or priority, Kansas: University of Kansas.

Persson, I. (2007) “A defence of extreme egalitarianism”, in Holtug, N. & Lippert-Rasmussen, K. (eds.) Egalitarianism: New essays on the nature and value of equalityop. cit., pp. 83-97.

Raz, J. (1986) The morality of freedom, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Temkin, L. (1993) Inequality, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Temkin, L. (2003) “Equality, priority or what?”, Economics and Philosophy, 19, pp. 61-87.


Notes:

1 Persson, I. (1993) “A basis for (interspecies) equality”, in Cavalieri, P. & Singer, P. (eds.) The Great Ape Project, New York: St. Martin’s Press, pp. 183-193.

2 Vallentyne, P. (2005) “Of mice and men: Equality and animals”, Journal of Ethics, 9, pp. 403-433.

3 Holtug, N. (2007) “Equality for animals,” in Ryberg, J.; Petersen, T. S. & Wolf, C. (eds.) New waves in applied ethics, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 1-24.

4 Gompertz, L. (1997 [1824]) Moral inquiries on the situation of man and of brutes, London: Open Gate.

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What are some examples of egalitarian societies?

According to an online article in Times Higher Education, the most egalitarian societies existing today include Japan, Sweden, Norway and Finland. In these societies, the principles of Egalitarianism are demonstrated economically, through low incidences of poverty, and socially, in that all citizens are given access to resources and treated equally.  

It is important to note that the ideals of many different political doctrines are founded on Egalitarian principles of the fairness and equality of all citizens. The political ideologies of socialism, Marxism, communism and the modern democracy found in the United States all are based on the inherent equality of individuals and are therefore egalitarian to some degree. In practice however, much of the power and influence in societies still resides with an upper or ruling class, as opposed to the general public.

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Epicurean

Epicurean

ˌɛpɪkjʊ(ə)ˈriːən/

noun

  1. 1.

    a disciple or student of the Greek philosopher Epicurus.

  2. 2.

    a person devoted to sensual enjoyment, especially that derived from fine food and drink.

    synonyms: hedonistsensualistpleasure seekerpleasure lover, sybaritevoluptuary; More
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