Friday, October 9, 2015

Avoid Cancer, Live Like A Monk ....

A Foolproof Anti-Cancer Diet... With Just One or Two Drawbacks

If you want to avoid cancer, live like a monk. That is the inescapable conclusion from research into one of the world’s most renowned monastic communities.

The austere regime of the 1,500 monks on Mount Athos, in northern Greece, begins with an hour’s pre-dawn prayers and is designed to protect their souls.

Their low-stress existence and simple diet (no meat, occasional fish, home-grown vegetables and fruit) may, however, also protect them from more worldly troubles.

The monks, who inhabit a peninsula from which women are banned, enjoy astonishingly low rates of cancer.

Since 1994, the monks have been regularly tested, and only 11 have developed prostate cancer, a rate less than one quarter of the international average. In one study, their rate of lung and bladder cancer was found to be zero.

Haris Aidonopoulos, a urologist at the University of Thessaloniki, said that the monks’ diet, which calls on them to avoid olive oil, dairy products and wine on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, helped to explain the statistics. “What seems to be the key is a diet that alternates between olive oil and nonolive oil days, and plenty of plant proteins,” he said. “It’s not only what we call the Mediterranean diet, but also eating the old-fashioned way. Small simple meals at regular intervals are very important.”

Meals on the peninsula, which the Prince of Wales has visited regularly and which can only be reached by boat, are ascetic and repetitive affairs that have changed little over the centuries, although there are variations between the 20 monasteries.

The monks sit in silence while, from a pulpit, passages from the Bible are read in Greek. They eat at speed – as soon as the Bible passage is over, the meal is officially completed.

The staples are fruit and vegetables, pasta, rice and soya dishes, and bread and olives. They grow much of what they eat themselves. Agioritiko red wine is made locally from mountain grapes. Dairy products are rare – female animals are banned from the autonomous semi-state.

Life on Athos has changed little over the past 1,043 years. Breakfast is hard bread and tea. Much of the day is taken up with chores – cleaning, cooking, tending to crops – followed by a supper, typically of lentils, fruit and salad, and evening prayers.

Some of the seaside monasteries specialise in catching octopus, a delicacy that is softened up by bashing on the rock. Fish also feeds the Athos cats, protected by the monks for their mouse-catching prowess. Of all domestic animals, only cats are exempt from the ban on females. Some of the monks live in hillside huts or cliff-side caves perched above the sea as satellites of the main establishments, perhaps the closest that modern Christianity gets to medieval hermits. They depend for their sustenance on handouts of bread and olives.

On holidays and feast days such as Christmas and Easter, when other Greeks are feasting on roast meat, the monks prefer fish, their only culinary luxury. Father Moses of the Koutloumousi monastery, one of the 20 organised cloisters scattered over the Athos peninsula, said: “We never eat meat. We produce most of the vegetables and fruit we consume. And we never forget that all year round, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, we don’t use olive oil on our food.”

The olive-oil routine, which also applies to wine and dairy products, appears to have no religious significance, but is a way of eking out their supplies.

All the monks stick to the rigorous fasting periods of the Orthodox Church, in which a strict vegan diet is prescribed for weeks at a stretch.

Michalis Hourdakis, a dietician associated with Athens University, said: “This limited consumption of calories has been found to lengthen life. Meat has been associated with intestinal cancer, while fruit and vegetables help ward off prostate cancer.”

The lack of air pollution on Mount Athos as well as the monks’ hard work in the fields also played their part, the researchers said. There was no mention, however, of whether the absence of women had any effect on the monks’ renowned spiritual calm.

Salad days: Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday

Breakfast: Hard bread, tea
Lunch: Pasta or rice,vegetables, olive oil
Dinner: Lentils, fruit and salad, olive oil. Red wine

Monday, Wednesday and Friday: no olive oil

Holidays and feast days: Fish and seafood

Which Saint to pray to for a specific problem....

To Have a Child

St. Anna, Mother of the Theotokos
St. Elizabeth, Mother of the Forerunner
St. Sabbas the Sanctified of Palestine
St. Irene Chrysovolantou

For Safe Childbirth

St. Eleftherios

For the Care & Protection of Infants
St. Stylianos

For Young People
Holy Great Martyr Demetrios the Wonderworker

Delivery from Sudden Death
St. Barbara the Great Martyr

Against Drinking
Holy Martyr Boniface & the Righteous Aglais

For Travelers
St. Nicholas: in general, & specifically for sea travel
St. John the Russian: for transport, auto, busses
St. Niphon, Patriarch of Constantinople: for safety at sea

For Cobblers
St. Eustathius the Cobbler of Georgia

For Physicians
St. Panteleimon
The Holy Unmercenaries, Saints Cosmas & Damian

For the Kitchen, Home
St. Euphrosynos the Cook
St. Sergius of Radonezh: for baking
Sts. Spyridon & Nikodim of Kievo-Pechersk: Prosphora making

For Trading

St. Paraskeva

For Headaches

Holy New Martyr Demas of Smyrna

For Eyes
St. Paraskeva

For Ears
St. Spyridon the Wonderworker

For Teeth
St. Antipas of Pergamum

For Hernias & Intestinal Disorders
Holy Great Martyr Artemius
St. Artemius of Verkola

For Throat
St. Blaise of Sebastia

For Finding Employment
St. Xenia of St. Petersburg

For Help in Studies
The Three Hierarchs: St. Basil the Great, St. John Chrysostom, St. Gregory the
St. Sergius of Radonezh
St. John of Kronstadt
St. Justin the Philosopher

For Church-Chanting

St. Romanos the Melodist

For Iconographers
St. Luke the Apostle and Evangelist
St. John of Damascus

For Patient Endurance of Affliction
St. Job the Much-Suffering
Holy Forty Martyrs of Sebastia: especially in freezing cold weather
Holy Forty-Two Martyrs of Amorion

For Protection Against Thieves
St. Gregory the Wonderworker of Kievo-Pechersk

For Stone-workers
Holy Martyrs Florus & Laurus

For Soldiers

Holy Archangel Michael
St. George the Great Martyr
St. Barbara the Great Martyr

For Spiritual Help, Consolation & Compunction
St. Ephraim the Syrian
St. Alexis the Man of God
St. Seraphim of Sarov

For a Good End to One's Life
Holy Archangel Michael
St. Niphon, Patriarch of Constantinople

For Captives and Court Cases
St. Onouphrios the Great
St. Peter of Athos
St. George the Great Martyr

For Help in Distress, Poverty, Etc.
St. Nicholas the Wonderworker
St. John the Almsgiver of Alexandria
St. John of Kronstadt

For Finding Things
St. Phanourios the Great Martyr
St. Menas the Great Martyr of Egypt

For Meeting a Difficult Situation, an Interview, Etc.
St. David the Prophet, Psalmist & King
The Holy Unmercenaries & Healers
SS. Cosmas & Damian of Rome
SS. Panteleimon & Hermolaus
St. Julian the Martyr
St. John of Kronstadt
St. Nectarios of Aegina
Holy Archangel Raphael

For Animals & Livestock

St. George: cattle & herds
St. Parthenius of Radovysdius: cattle
SS. Spevsippus, Elesippus & Melevsippus: horses
St. Tryphon: geese

For Protection of Crops from Pests
St. Michael of Synnada

For the Protection of Gardens Against Pests

Holy Great Martyr Tryphon: also for hunters and Patron of Moscow

Against Demons & Witchcraft

SS. Cyprian & Justina
St. Theodore Sykeote
St. Mitrophan of Voronezh

For Chastity & Help in Carnal Warfare
St. John the Forerunner
St. Demetrios the Great Martyr
St. John the Much-Suffering
Holy Martyr Theodore the Byzantine
Holy Martyr Ignatios of Athos
St. Mary of Egypt
St. Joseph the All-Comely
St. Susanna [Old Testament]

For Mental Disorders

St. Naum of Ochrid
St. Anastasia
St. Gerasimos of Cephalonia: the possessed

Against Plague

St. Haralambos
St. Marina the Great Martyr

For Help Against Quick-Temper & Despondency
St. Tikhon of Zadonsk

For Workers in Hospitals
Holy Unmercenaries Saints Cosmas & Damian
St. Dositheus, Disciple of Abba Dorotheus

For Guilelessness & Simplicity

Holy Apostle Nathaniel & St. Paul the Simple