Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Straight from the Heart - Book Review

Straight from the Heart
By Jean Chretien
Key Porter Books
Originally published in 1985
Updated in 1994

I'm sure you have all read this book. If you haven't, well you need to read it. There are several different covers for this book.

This cover is NOT the one I have. Its just the best picture I can find. My cover is BLUE. It has a blue background and Chretien wearing a blue denim shirt. My version is the 1994 updated edition.

When I came to Canada in 2000, Jean Chretien was the Prime Minister of Canada. He was voted into office on a landslide after Brian Mulroney had resigned and Kim Campbell became PM for just 4 short months. When Kim Campbell's Tories lost all but two of their seats in the 1993 election, Jean Chretien became the new Liberal Prime Minister. He left that job in 2003 after 10 years. He was succeeded by Paul Martin about whom I shall say nothing.

This book is about Chretien's career as a political leader in the various governments of Canada from 1963 to 2003, with one gap of 8 years. Chretien served under great names in Parliament such as Leston Pearson, Pierre Trudeau, and Brian Mulroney before finally becoming Prime Minister himself.

Pearson was PM for 5 years, Trudeau for a total of 14 years, Mulroney for 9 years. Clark, Turner and Campbell were all PMs for just 1 year or less.

Chretien held a number of Ministerial positions over the years. One of them was Minister of Justice and Attorney General. In this role, Chretien was a major force in the 1980 Quebec referendum, being one of the main federal representatives "on the ground" during the campaign. His fiery and emotional speeches would enthrall federalist crowds with his blunt warnings of the consequences of separation.

Chretien also served as Minister of State for Social Development and Minister Responsible for Constitutional Negotiations, playing a significant role in the patriation of the Constitution of Canada in 1982.

In 1986, Chrétien resigned his seat and left public life for a time. Now working in the private sector again, Chrétien sat on the boards of several corporations. Chrétien would be a major focal point of dissatisfaction with Turner, with many polls showing his popularity.

His 1985 book, Straight from the Heart was an instant best-seller.

After Turner's resignation as leader in 1989, Chrétien announced he would run for the party leadership in June 1990.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was easy to read. My one problem with this book is that Chretien did not say enough about his childhood. He literally jumps in and starts at age 15. His mother gave birth to 19 babies. Jean Chretien was number 18, born in 1934. 10 of those babies did not survive their childhood.

I read this book (Straight from the Heart) for the Canadian Book Challenge. I didn't need to read this book. It's number 40. I have done this challenge 3 times in 10 months. 13 books times 3 is 39. I prefer to finish on an even number, so I have read 40 books for this challenge. Thats enough Canadian books for me.

Now that Chretien has retired, from politics, he has written a sequel to Straight from the Heart. This book is called My Years as Prime Minister. It starts oin election night in 1993. I glanced through it at the library yesterday. But I chose not to get it out simply because I am already over loaded with Canadian politics for now. I may read it some other time.

Monday, April 20, 2009

MSG horror story and more stuff about MILK.

I realise this blog is not supposed to be a healthy food blog, but since I started losing weight, I have become much more of a food activist. Anyway I found this story today (dated August 2008) that adds more information to the Liberation Diet book I reviewed last week.

MSG is being sprayed right on fruits, nuts, seeds, grains, and vegetables as they grow -- even those used in baby food.

This is just HORRIBLE.

While the MSG is presently only being sprayed in USA, I dread the day that Canada fails to stand up for itself and does what it is told by the USA just because it is the most expedient (or politically SAFE) thing to do.

I remember a long time ago (20 years at least) and my family went out to dinner at a chinese restaurant one evening. The very next day I was as sick as a dog, with a major migraine, vomiting and generally very sick. I spent the whole day in bed. I used to get these "attacks" (as I called them) on a regular basis when I was growing up.

It took me a very long time to figure out that those "attacks" usually only happened after I had eaten TOO MUCH of a comfort food. Foods like a whole uncut loaf of fresh white bread, several large chocolate bars all at one time and sometimes just too many bottles or cans of soft drinks. Stress also played a part as well.

I finally figured out that the MSG in the chinese food was the cause of the first attack, and since MSG is in white bread and chocolate, my body is very sensitive to MSG. So I have now stopped eating processed foods. I no longer eat cheddar cheese, processed meats, dairy products, most junk foods and any other food with MSG. I have also stopped drinking soda pop (fizzy drinks). I never realsied just HOW much sugar there is, in one can of soda.

Something else the Liberation diet book mentioned, was that when MILK is pasturized, it is heated up to very high temperatures. It is quite probable that the good bacteria in milk (the stuff that is in raw milk and seems to keep us healthy) is killed off so that the milk actually has NO value at all. And as for the calcium, I would not be at all surprised if the milk companies actually add the calcium.

The fact that heated pasturised milk has NO real food value, it is no wonder that the milk companies are desperate to have us drink THEIR pasturised useless milk, and NOT the raw milk that is actually a lot more healthy for us. They even tell lies about raw milk being full of bacteria and thus being bad for us. There are stories about this in the Liberation Diet book. The dairy companies dont bother to tell us that the bacteria in milk is very good for us. That is probably why so many Europeans have milk intolerances or allergies. The pasturized milk is of no value to us at all and we dont have the enzymes to break it down. Thats the job of the bacteris in the raw milk - and they have been killed off in the pasturization process.

In fact since I stopped drinking milk, and stopped eating icecream, and stopped drinking soda pop, my system has vastly improved and I have lost 40 pounds.

For more ionformatin, please read the Weston Price Foundation website.

What is Real Milk

The source of most commercial milk is the modern Holstein,* bred to produce huge quantities of milk--three times as much as the old-fashioned cow. She needs special feed and antibiotics to keep her well. Her milk contains high levels of growth hormone from her pituitary gland, even when she is spared the indignities of genetically engineered Bovine Growth Hormone to push her to the udder limits of milk production.

Pasturization DOES harm the Raw Milk.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Starting out in the Afternoon - Book Review

Starting Out in the Afternoon
by Jill Frayne
Random House 2002
(picture is a LRGE file)

In 1989, writer Jill Frayne, was hit by a motorist while cycling. At first it was thought she wouldn't live, then never walk and then the prognosis was amended to always needing a cane. Frayne proved them all wrong.

In 1990 Jill Frayne's long-term relationship broke up, (probably over her injuries and recovery) and Jill decided she needed to rediscover herself. So she packed up her car and drove (from Ontario) to British Columbia. She went on a canoe trip around the Haida Islands off the coast of BC at Piince Rupert.

After the canoeing, Jill travelled up through the panhandle of Alaska to Juneau, taking the ferry boats that ply between Seattle and Juneau on a regular basis. After a brief trip across the border at Skagway to Yukon and White Horse, Jill then travelled to a remote town in northern BC called ATLIN. After spending some time in Atlin, Jill then went back down to Vancouver, and then visited Granville Island where she participated in a yoga workshop.

The last few chapters are updated to the "present day" covering the years between 1990 and 2002 when the book was published. Jill fell in love with Atlin and has continued to visit this town over the last 12 years. She also has a new relationahip.

Jills' daughter Bree was born in the early 1970s and was 17 years old when Jill left for BC. In 2002, Bree would be 29. In 2009 she would be turning 36 years old.
Jill Frayne's mother June Callwood was a well known writer and activist who died in 2007.

This was an interesting book. Written in the first person. Some details do get quite personal and other parts of this diary do wander a bit.

But otherwise I enjoyed it. I certainly enjoyed reading about the Haida Islands and the panhandle of Alaska.

I read this book for the 2nd Canadian challnge - ABM genre.

Monday, April 13, 2009

School on Easter Monday

In New Zealand, Australia and a few other countries, Easter Monday is a holiday.
In Canada, Easter Monday is NOT a holiday. At least not any more. It used to be.

Consequently those businesses that have the Easter Monday holiday in their Union Contract are still closed on Easter Monday. These includes the city hall and all its departments, such as Public Libraries, Daycares and Schools. Also included is the FEDERAL post office.

Not included are Private Career Colleges, such as Trios. Which means I had to go to school on Monday, while my son stayed home. Since the teacher is currently doing the same two accounting classes every day, it was actually easy for me to switch to the afternoon class just for one day. Normally I attend morning classes. Thus I was able to baby sit my son in the morning and have my husband babysit the son in the afternoon.

On the Friday of Easter weekend, my son and I went to High Park. This is the Toronto equivalent of Central Park in NYC.
On the saturday, my son and I went to the movies. We saw the cartoon Movie - Monsters versus Aliens.
On the Sunday of Easter weekend my son and I went to see the Beaches Easter Parade. The wind was very chilly.
Monday was actually a relief for me to have some time to myself at school.

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Liberation Diet - Book Review

The Liberation Diet
By Kevin Brown and Annette PResley
Self published 2008
ISBN - 1-4392-0739-9
ISBN-13 - 9781439207390
Yes I know we are not supposed to read or review self published books, because if a book is not published by a reputable publisher then it probably is not very good. At least that is what the publishers claim.

BUT what if there is another reason why publishers won't touch a book?
What if the information in the book is "supposedly" too dangerous for humans to know about.
What if the information goes against the corporations and the status quo that we humans all live under.
What if we are not being told everything that we have a right to know?
Why do we HAVE to listen to the publishers?
What if we are NOT exercising our free will and we are slaves to the corporations.

I say we are. This is something I discovered for myself after I left the church that I grew up in. The church was trying to tell me that humans do rise from the dead and that God is love and he does love us. And all time I was thinking - why has NO other human being has ever risen from the dead in the last 2000 years, and if God is love, then why does he allow all these wars to go on.

In this technological era of humanity, we humans are not being raised as freethinkers. We are growing up NOT being permitted to think for ourselves, but instead we are raised to beleive what we are told to beleive.

This book is called the Liberation Diet and it is one of the few books I have seen that tells the truth about our food and our health. This book is truely liberating.

How many of you have heard that herbs and vitamin supplements are dangerous for us?
How many of you have heard that artifical sugar is good for us and that if we use it, we will lose weight?
How many of you have heard that we only need to exercise to lose weight and that what we eat does not really matter?
How many of you have heard that fat is bad for us and that we must eat a low-fat high-cardohydrate diet?

Well this books tells us that every single statement made above is WRONG and FALSE.

How many of you know that there is a obesity epidemic in the world today. This is true. Everyone has heard that. So then how many of know that this obesity epidemic has really only drastically increased since the end of World War 2? So what is the correlation between World war 2 and being Obese. The correlation is TECHNOLOGY.

In the 19th century there were very few obese people. For thousands of years before the 20th century, people ate natural and UNPROCESSED foods - the vegetables grown on the farms, the honey from the beehives, the berries and nuts from the trees and ground, the eggs from the chickens, the fish from the lakes and rivers and they drank the raw milk from cows. There were no fake foods anywhere.

The first fake food was called CRISCO. In 1907 the company called Proctor and Gamble discovered a subsitute for Lard and Butter. They called it Crsico. It was made from cotten seed oil and hydrogen molecules added with extreme heat and pressue, creating a solid stable product that looked like Lard. So the company sold it as a substitute for lard. It was certainly cheaper than lard. The company then printed a recipe book with over 600 recipes using this crisco and that is what got the public hooked. There were NO scientific studies done to verify that this Crisco product was good for human consumption.

Crisco is still being sold today. In fact just this week, I saw a photo of Crisco. The caption said it was so easy to use. Obviously it has now been updated to a spray-on form.

The next fake product was Soy Lethicin. This is actully a waste product left over from the extraction of soy bean oil from the soy bean. Soy Lethicin is now used in many products - not just food.

Here are two statements about Soy Lethecin.

One comes from the US Dietetic associaton...

Soy Lethecin is a substance that is extracted from soybeans using a solvent such as hexane, and it’s a by-product of soybean oil.

As an additive, it is found in many everyday foods, but it’s normally used in such small amounts that it rarely exceeds more than 1 percent of the weight of any food product. It works as an emulsifier in candy bars, keeping the cocoa and cocoa butter from separating. Soy lecithin also can be used in baking to make the dough less sticky and help it rise. It works as a so-called wetting agent, too, making cake mixes easier to spread into a pan when liquid is added.

According to registered dietitian and national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association Tara Gidus, soy lecithin is not bad for you.

...and the other is from the Weston Price Foundation.

Soybean Lecithin comes from sludge left after crude soy oil goes through a "degumming" process. It is a waste product containing solvents and pesticides and has a consistency ranging from a gummy fluid to a plastic solid. Before being bleached to a more appealing light yellow, the color of lecithin ranges from a dirty tan to reddish brown. The hexane extraction process commonly used in soybean oil manufacture today yields less lecithin than the older ethanol-benzol process, but produces a more marketable lecithin with better color, reduced odor and less bitter flavor.

In theory, lecithin manufacture eliminates all soy proteins, making it hypoallergenic.

In reality, minute amounts of soy protein always remain in lecithin as well as in soy oil. Three components of soy protein have been identified in soy lecithin, including the Kunitz trypsin inhibitor, which has a track record of triggering severe allergic reactions even in the most minuscule quantities. The presence of lecithin in so many food and cosmetic products poses a special danger for people with soy allergies.

So do you still want to eat anything with Soy Lethicin in it? No, I didnt think so.

A third fake food that has crept into the diet is Cool Whip.

Cool Whip is made of water, corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated coconut and palm kernel oil (CPKO), sodium caseinate (a milk derivative), vanilla extract, xanthan and guar gums, polysorbate 60 (glycosperse), and beta carotene.[4] In some markets, such as Canada and the United States, Cool Whip is available in an aerosol can using nitrous oxide as a propellant.

Not a single natural product in there except water. High fructose corn syrup is a major reason why obesity is such an epidemic.

Most people would never open a bag of sugar and then feed themselves 10.5 teaspoons of the stuff. But that's exactly what you're doing if you drink your average can of soda pop. Except it's not called sugar. It's high fructose corn syrup and it's been a cornerstone of the food and beverage industry since it began to be produced on a large scale in the 1970s.

High fructose corn syrup is made from corn. After it's milled, the resulting starch is processed into a syrup. By adding enzymes, the syrup is converted into fructose. Glucose syrup is then added to the mix to make high fructose corn syrup. The most common form of the syrup contains 45 per cent glucose and 55 per cent fructose


Other fake "foods" in our diet that we must look out for are Aspartame and MSG. Aspartame and all other articial sweeteners (splenda, equal and nutrasweet) are NOT good for the human body. I mentioned this in the Sweet Poison review I posted recently.

MSG is simply a food enhancer - its designed to make the food taste good - so that you eat more of it. MSG triples the amount of insulin the pancreas creates; causing humans to become obese.

And then there is the matter of Milk. Up until 100 years ago, everyone drank raw milk from the cow and were none the worse for it. Raw milk is milk that has not been pasteurized or homogenized.

Most states impose restrictions on raw milk suppliers due to concerns about safety. The FDA reports that, in 2002, consuming partially heated raw milk and raw milk products caused 200 Americans to become ill in some manner.

Many governmental officials hold to the need for pasteurization. Before Pasteurization, many dairies, especially in cities, fed their cattle on -- to put it bluntly -- garbage, and their milk was rife with dangerous bacteria. Pasteurizing it was the only way to make it safely drinkable.

However - after many years of pasteurization, just about everyone simply assumes that raw milk is dangerous stuff.

Raw milk lovers (in the U.S.) advance two basic health arguments. The first (flatly denied by regulators and most nutritional scientists) is that pasteurization destroys or damages many of milk's most valuable nutrients. The second is that while it may kill dangerous bacteria, pasteurization also kills off all the good bacteria in raw milk -- some of the same ones that big dairy companies are now selling as "probiotics" in pricey new yogurt and drink concoctions.


Children raised on dairy farms probably drink raw milk every day - and they are certainly none the worse for drinking it. In fact it was proved by Dr J.E. Crewe MD, a founder of the Mayo Foundation (before the Mayo Clinic) that raw milk from grass fed cows actually cured many diseases. People drank raw milk and were cured of ailments such as diabetes, TB, heart diease, renal disease, nervous system problems and hypertension.

The milk cure died out because milk cannot be patented. It does not require a doctor or any medication, and it uses a relatively cheap product. Big Businesses (Big Pharma) is NOT looking for a cheap and easy cure. They want a cure (or at least be able to treat the symptoms) that will put millions, if not billions, of dollars in their pockets.

This is why Cancer cures are not (and probably will never be) forth coming - and if they are - then they are quickly made illegal and the clinics distributing the cure are shut down. One famous example is the Hoxsey clinic.

There are other food myths also mentioned in this book. The diet part of this book is a small part of the book that states that it is a variation of the the GI diet (Glycemic Index diet). I have been using the GI diet for the last 8 months and have at long last been successful in losing weight.

One more thing - there are a few very brief mentions of giving thanks to God as the creator of the unprocessed foods available to humans. I have no problems with these brief mentions.

WHY then do we need to eat fake foods and chemicals? The answer is that we DO NOT.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Drifting Home - Book Review

Drifting Home
By Pierre Berton
McClelland and Stewart 1973

For those of you who have read this blog regularly, will know that I come from New Zealand. And how since I have been in Canada, I have fallen in love with the Yukon Territory.

For two reasons. 1 - its history and 2 - its wonderful geography that is so reminescent of New Zealand. It is my solemn vow that I will see Dawson City, Yukon and the Northern Lights before I die.

So when I found this book in a Goodwill store last week, I jumped on it. First because it was by Pierre Berton, one of my most favourite Canadian authors, and secondly because it was another personal memoir, this one being somewhat different from his two previous biographies.

This memoir is about an 11 day boating trip taken by Pierre Berton, his wife Janet and all their 7 kids down the Yukon River in August 1972. The book includes many personal stories about Pierre and his childhood in Dawson city and along the Yukon River. Some of these stories I have read in his other autobiographies (previously reviewed on this blog) and some are new. All the stories about his kids are new to me and it was exciting to get to know them.

This book has photos of Pierre's kids - as they looked in 1972. His eldest daughter was 24, and the youngest daughter, Perri, turned 8. I was also 8 in 1972, so Perri was born the same year as me and is just a few months younger.

This is not a long book. Just 174 pages (well the first edition hardback I have is 174 pages). I know the book has been reprinted as a paperback with a more interesting photo on the cover, but I love knowing that I have an original first edition black cover.

I read this book for the Canadian Book Challenge

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Serendipity Road - Book Review

Serendipity Road - North American title
By Catherine DeVrye
McArthur & Co, Toronto 2007 (PB)
Published in Canada (HB) in 2006
Australian and UK title - Who Says I Cant?
Originally published 2002
Catherine's website

This is the story of a Canadian woman trying to find herself in two countries. Catherine was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and adopted at 6 months of age by Hank DeVrye, a Dutch immigrant and his wife Marg Smart (Canadian born of Scottish born parents).

Catherine did not find out she was adopted until she was 15 years old. In the middle of a fight with her mother (as all teenage daughters do) and her mother screamed, I should send you back to the Salavation Army where you came from.

That was a shock to Catherine. She tried to forget that she was adopted. In the 1960s, it was still a social stigma to admit you were adopted.

Catherine finished high school, and went to university. She graduated with a sports degree and became a physical educaton teacher. Shortly after Catherine graduated in the early 1970's, both her adoptive parents died - within months of each other.

Catherine was distraught and she left Canada. She found herself in Australia and started working there. She worked at various jobs but eventully got a job with the Sports Ministry of Victoria state. During this time, Catherine was married for a few years, but the marriage did not last. In the early 1980s Catherine became an Australian citizen. Which makes her a dual citizen - of both Canada and Australia.

Some time later Catherine got a job as a Sales Representative with IBM. This was her job for the next 20 years and she has travelled all over Asia. She even lived in Japan for a number of years. She was promoted numerous times, and eventually resigned around the year 2000 to start her own business as a consultant and speaker. Catherine has written several books about how to improve and change your life.

While she was in Japan, Catherine (who seems to have already obtained her original birth certificate) started writing letters to all the familes named Bachman in Alberta that she would find in the telephone directories located at the Canadian embassy in Tokyo. Bachman was her mothers name but Catherine had no idea if her mother was married or not.

It took some time, and several wrong turns, but in February 1988 Catherine received a telegram from a couple in Alberta. It was signed Harold and Pearl Mandeville and your mother Trudy.

It turns out that Trudy Bachman was Catherine's birth mother, and Harold Mandeville was Catherine's birth father. Pearl was Harold's wife. He did not find out about his daughter until after Catherine had been born and adopted. But he had never stopped hoping to find her.

In May of 1988 Catherine flew back to Canada to meet her biological parents. and her half siblings of which there were quite a few on both sides. She also met her maternal grandmother - Frida Bachman - the matriarch of the family. Frida Bachman was born in Switzerland.

Harold Mandeville was a very well known cowboy on the rodeo circuit. He and Catherine had 20 years to get to know each other. Last year (2008) Catherine's father Harold Mandeville was killed in a freak farming accident.

Catherine has lost two fathers in her life time. No human should ever have to go through that. BUT all adopted children do. Those who are lucky enough to find their birth parents and those who are not.

While I myself am not adopted, my mother was adopted. So I know a little something of what Catherine has gone through. I grew up with the uncertainty of not knowing who I was. It didnt help that I developed an interest in history and genealogy. There was always a huge blank on my mothers side of the tree. This may be WHY I became interested in genealogy.

However, since my mother has obtained her original birth certificate, I have been able to trace my biological grandmothers family back to Cornwall (UK) in the late 1600's. My maternal grandfathers side of the family tree is still blank - because her fathers name is not written on the birth certificate. But I am no longer uncertain about who I am.

I have never met my biological grandmother. She would be 90 years this year, if she is still alive. I am half thinking about writing to her son (she later did get married - that much I have discovered) and ask him if he knows he has a half sister. I am a bit scared of doing this, but if Catherine can do it, then why cant I? My mother will probably tell me its a bad idea.

I read this book for the Canadian Book Challenge.