Pakistan Assessment 2014


Terrorism in Pakistan has already resulted in at least 460 fatalities, including 241 civilians, 86 Security Force (SF) personnel and 133 militants in just the first month of 2014, according to partial data compiled by the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP). 38 major incidents (each resulting in three or more fatalities) have inflicted at least 309 fatalities, and 70 explosions have also been recorded, accounting for 167 deaths. In one of the worst attacks of 2014 targeting civilians, at least 24 Shia pilgrims returning from Iran were killed and another 40 were injured in a bomb attack targeting their bus in the Khusak area of Kanak in the Mastung District of Baluchistan Province, on January 21, 2014. The Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) claimed responsibility for the attack.

Clearly, the ‘terror industry’ that was established by Islamabad decades ago with the primary intention of exporting mujahideen into neighbouring countries, including India and Afghanistan, to secure Pakistan’s perceived ‘strategic interests’, continues to thrive. This vast misadventure, however, turned progressively against its very creators, and, since 9/11, Pakistan has itself become the increasing target of several formerly state sponsored terrorist formations that have ‘gone rogue’, even as international pressure has forced Islamabad to undertake visibly reluctant operations against some of these groups. The process escalated after the creation of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in the aftermath of the Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) operations in 2007, causing a spiral of violence that now threatens the very existence of the country. Pakistan’s undiminished tolerance for religious extremists has not just destroyed lives and alienated entire communities; it is destroying Pakistani society and the very idea and edifice of the nation.


Despite continuing terrorist depredations, according to a survey by the British Council published in April 2013, a majority of respondents – 38 per cent – expressed the opinion that Islamic Sharia was the best system for Pakistan, and another 32 per cent backed military rule. The smallest proportion, just 29 per cent, favoured democracy. The survey covered over 5,200 youth across the country. Ironically, more than 90 per cent of the youth surveyed also believed that the country was heading in the wrong direction.

That direction is dramatically illustrated by trends in terrorist violence, including one of the most glaring among its various parameters – the suicide attack. Before 9/11, Pakistan had witnessed just one suicide attack, when a suicide bomber rammed a pickup truck packed with explosives into the gate of the Egyptian Embassy in Islamabad, killing 15 and wounding 59, on November 20, 1995. Since 9/11, however, the country has recorded at least 387 suicide attacks, resulting in 5,964 fatalities and 12,379 injuries. Five such attacks have already been executed in 2014, killing 28 and injuring 71. Indeed, the number and lethality of such attacks appears to be increasing again, with 43 such incidents resulting in 751 fatalities and 1,411 injuries, recorded through 2013, as against 39 such attacks resulting in 365 deaths and 607 injuries in 2012. A very dramatic decline had been recorded in 2011, with 628 killed in 41 incidents, after the peak of 2010, with 1,167 killed in 49 incidents. In one of these attacks, the Superintendent of Police, Crime Investigation Department, Karachi Police, Chaudhry Aslam Khan, was killed, along with another two Policemen, when a suicide cadre of the TTP rammed his explosive-laden car into Khan’s convoy near Essa Nagri on the Lyari Expressway in Karachi, the provincial capital of Sindh, on January 9, 2014.

Though total terrorism related-fatalities have shown some decline over the past years, current levels remain alarming, and much of the decline is accounted for by the diminution of terrorist fatalities, the result of operational paralysis among state Forces. According to SATP’s partial data, at least 5,379 terrorism-related fatalities were recorded across Pakistan in 2013, as compared to 6,211 fatalities in the preceding year, a decline of 13.39 percent [since media access is heavily restricted in the most disturbed areas of Pakistan, and there is only fitful release of information by Government agencies, the actual figures could be much higher]. Much of the decline was accounted for by the 31.14 per cent drop in terrorist fatalities, from 2,472 terrorists killed in 2012, to 1,702 killed in 2013. Confirming the reluctance of state Forces to confront the terrorists is a significant drop in SF fatalities as well, with 676 SF personnel killed in 2013, as against 732 in 2012, a decline of 7.67 per cent. Civilians, however, continue to pay the price for state inaction, with 3,001 killed in 2013, almost the same as the 3,007 killed in 2012. Crucially, the number of civilian fatalities in Pakistan now exceeds the number of civilian fatalities in neighbouring ‘war torn’ Afghanistan (an estimated 2744 in 2013), widely regarded as the most volatile and unstable country in South Asia.

Pakistan recorded 355 major incidents (each involving three or more fatalities) resulting in 3,268 fatalities, through 2013; as compared to 451 such incidents, resulting in 3,396 deaths, in 2012. While the total number of incidents and total fatalities declined, the lethality of these attacks has risen from an average of 7.53 fatalities per attack in 2012, to 9.21 fatalities per attack in 2013. Similarly, the number of explosions and resultant fatalities stood at 574 and 1624, respectively, in 2013, as against 652 explosions resulting in 1,007 fatalities in 2012, indicating a dramatic rise in lethality, from an average of 1.55 to 2.83 fatalities per incident. At least 128 sectarian attacks, resulting in 525 deaths, were also recorded in Pakistan through 2013, as compared to 173 such attacks and 507 killed in 2012, once again demonstrating a substantial rise in lethality, from 2.93 to 4.11 fatalities per attack, though the overall incidence declined.


The worst attack targeting civilians in 2013 occurred on January 10, when at least 105 persons were killed and over 169 were injured in two separate bomb blasts on Alamdar Road in Quetta, the provincial capital of Baluchistan. The worst attack targeting SFs in 2013 was on August 8, when 38 persons, including 21 Police officials, were killed, and another 40 were injured in a suicide blast at a funeral at the Police Lines in Quetta. January 19, 2014, has already recorded a massive attack targeting SFs, with at least 20 soldiers killed and another 30 injured when a bomb ripped through a military convoy in Bannu Town, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).

Pakistan maintained its ‘status’ as the most dangerous country for journalists in South Asia, with a total of 10 journalists killed in 2013, according to the South Asia Media Commission’s Media Monitor Report. 13 journalists were killed in the country in 2012.

The Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) remain the worst affected region in Pakistan recording at least 1,716 fatalities, followed by Sindh (1,668 fatalities), Baluchistan (960 fatalities) and KP (936 fatalities). The Punjab Province remains the least afflicted region of the country with 81 fatalities. In terms of civilian fatalities, however, Sindh maintains primacy, accounting for 1,285 deaths. Further, the volatile region of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) recorded 18 killings, including 12 civilians, through 2013.

The pervasive and unbridled terrorism related violence has belied expectations that had been aroused with the formation of the new Government under the premiership of Nawaz Sharif, on June 5, 2013, after Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) secured a convincing victory in the May 2013 General Elections. In evidently misplaced optimism world leaders and pundits had conveniently overlooked Sharif’spast misadventures, his entrenched connections with terrorist formations, as well as his obsession with Kashmir and India. Nawaz Sharif brought this obsession out into the open once again, in his speech at the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly on September 27, 2013, declaring, “Suffering of the people of Jammu and Kashmir cannot be brushed under the carpet. Kashmiris should be given the right to self-determination.” He remained silent, of course, on the comprehensive denial of rights and the abysmal conditions prevailing in Pakistan occupied Kashmir.

Sharif’s unchanged orientation was also reflected in one of his first major steps, on June 12, 2013, with the announcement of a substantially augmented defence budget of PKR 627 billion for the current fiscal, year as compared to PKR 545 billion in the previous year that ended on June 30, a hike of 15 per cent.

On the other hand, describing the situation in Baluchistan, Major General Ejaz Shahid, Inspector General, Frontier Corps (FC), complained, on January 22, 2014, that, out of PKR 28.5 billion promised to the FC in Baluchistan for 2013-14, the Government had released only PKR 15 billion. He added that a further 30 per cent had been slashed by the Finance Division, even while “we are struggling to establish the writ of the Government along Baluchistan’s western border. We are quite far away from even playing the national anthem in state-run schools in Panjgur, Turbat [Kech] and adjacent cities in Makran Division.” 

Conspicuously, despite vaunting rhetoric on fighting a ‘full throttle war’ against the TTP and its affiliates, and arguing that the “cancer of terrorism needs to be treated before it eats up our country”, Sharif’s overwhelming emphasis has been on talks with the terrorist outfits. His latest initiative in this direction was announced on January 29, 2014, with the formation of a new four-member non-political team to help Government in its efforts for peace with TTP. Sharif told the National Assembly, “Entire nation will stand by Government if it decides to eliminate terrorists by force, I know it. However, we want to give peace another chance since offer of talks has come from the other side.” Sharif, however, conveniently ignored the fact that the TTP had earlier declared, “Democracy is the system of the infidels… If we believed in democracy, we would enter the political arena.” Crucially, TTP’s long-standing objective has been the enforcement of Shari’ah (Islamic Law) in the country “whether through peace or war”.

Moreover, Sharif has stalled operations against terrorists in the North Waziristan Agency, the epicenter of terror in the country. During a meeting with Chief of Army Staff (CoAS) General Raheel Sharif on January 28, 2014, Sharif asserted that no decision on launching an offensive in NWA could be taken without consensus among ‘all stakeholders’ and that any such decision must be in the best ‘national interest’.

While the Prime Minister appears conciliatory in his approach to terrorist formations in the country, his Government is pushing hard in its efforts to prosecute former President General (Retd.) Pervez Musharraf for ‘high treason’, among other charges. The Federal Government has leveled five charges against Musharraf, praying to the Special Court to award the former military ruler the death penalty or life imprisonment, setting the stage for a major potential confrontation between the civilian Government and the Army. In an effort to safeguard himself against any military misadventure in this context – his nemesis during both his earlier tenure as Prime Minister – Sharif appointed General Rashid Mehmood as Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) and General Raheel Sharif as CoAS, on November 27, 2013.  Both appointees are reported to be close to Sharif’s family. Significantly, however, Pervez Musharraf had been ‘hand-picked’ by Sharif to head the Army, superseding two senior Generals, before the coup of 1999, when he deposed and subsequently exiled Sharif.

As Sharif fails to take any effective action to rein in terrorist formations operating in and from his country, the international community, particularly the US, has once again intensified efforts to cajole Pakistan to shut down its ‘assembly lines of terror’. The US interest, however, is overwhelmingly to secure the safe withdrawal of its Forces from Afghanistan through Pakistan, and Washington continues with its policy flip-flops on Pakistan, despite overwhelming evidence, provided by its own officials, among others, of continuing Pakistani malfeasance. Indeed, on December 20, 2013, after long deliberation, the US Congress passed a USD 552 billion Defense Authorization Bill for 2014, providing for USD 80.7 billon for operations in Afghanistan and USD 1.5 billion for reimbursements to Pakistan, through 2014. The Bill is now pending with the White House for President Barrack Obama to sign into law. The White House has already indicated that the President will sign the Bill.

Reciprocating the US gesture, on December 27, 2013, Nawaz Sharif warned his political rivals against the ongoing anti-drone protests, and the growing isolation of the country, declaring, “Our effort is to transform the existing friendly ties (with other countries) into mutually beneficial partnerships. We live in a globalised world where no one can afford isolation at any level.”

Indeed, on December 4, 2013, the US had announced the suspension of NATO shipments to and from Afghanistan via the Torkham Gate route of KP, following violent protests across the Province by the Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and its partners – Jama’at-e-Islami (JeI) and Awami Jamhoori Ittehad Pakistan (AJIP) – in the KP Government. The protests escalated following the killing of then-TTP chief Hakimullah Mehsud on November 1, 2013. Significantly, the Federal Government had claimed, on October 30, 2013, that 2,160 suspected terrorists had been killed in 317 drone strikes since January 2008, while 67 innocent civilians had died in these attacks. Ministry of Defence data also claimed that no innocent civilian had been killed in a drone strike since January 2012, while more than three hundred terrorists had been targeted. The official data negates the claims by local political and religious parties that US drone strikes in Pakistan have mostly killed innocent civilians, including women and children.

Despite the overwhelming damage terrorism has inflicted on Pakistan, the country’s establishment shows no signs of abandoning this device as an instrument of state policy, particularly for its strategic ambitions in India and Afghanistan. It is useful, in this context, to note that, while Pakistan has lost an estimated total of 15,000 SF personnel in the four wars that it has fought with India since 1948, it has lost at least 50,943 lives to terrorism just since January 1, 2003, according to the SATP database, including 18,373 civilians, 26,992 terrorists, and 5,578 SF personnel.

Islamabad’s long sustained policy of appeasing the extremists and terrorists has promoted their unrestrained growth, even as some of these groups have gone renegade. This unmitigated trend has neutralized the limited positives that may have emerged after the restoration of democracy. The current regime’s overtures towards extremist formations in the midst of sustained waves of terrorism can only push the country into further chaos.


Why aren’t we protecting our children?

From a basement in Austria to impoverished communities in Asia to convents around the world, child abuse is happening again and again.

In the wee hours of the morning or the dead of night, it goes on and on, over and over.

What can be done? When will it ever stop? Will adults ever realize that we only borrow the world from our children? That the damage brought about by just a single act of child abuse could not be undone?

That each and every act of child abuse is larger than life itself?

In the Philippines, the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB), the government’s statistics agency, recently released the latest figures on child abuse.

The statistics are stark, disturbing, alarming, heinous and telling.

The number of cases of child sexual abuse and child labour handled by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) remained major problems in the country from 2009 to 2010, even as the total number of child abuse cases declined during the period, the state agency said.

In its report, ‘Abused Children’, NSCB said the number of cases handled by the social welfare agency declined from 2009 to 2010 but noted that cases of certain types of abuse have gone up.

Child abuse cases, as defined by the government, are those where the child is ‘abandoned, neglected, sexually abused, sexually exploited, physically abused, maltreated, victims of child labour, victims of illegal recruitment, victims of child trafficking, victims of armed conflict and emotionally abused.’

The number of child abuse cases served by the government went down to 4,749 cases last year from 6,524 cases in 2009.

But the government can’t rest on its laurels just yet.

According to the report, cases of sexual abuse are still the second most common cases handled by the social welfare department, next to neglect and abandonment. These cases accounted for 27.3 per cent in 2010 from 29.6 per cent in 2009.

Despite the Anti-Rape Law of 1997 – the country’s anti-rape legislation – the most common sexual abuse during the period is still rape, followed by incest and acts of lasciviousness.

‘Rape victims are predominantly female – 97.6 per cent in 2009 and 90.5 per cent in 2010. One wonders whether the prohibition under Republic Act 9346 in 2006 of the death penalty originally possible for convicted rape offenders under certain conditions has contributed to this social problem,’ the statistics office said in its report.

Alarming, too is the fact that under types of sexual abuse, the number of incest cases has gone up to 37.5 per cent of total abuse cases in 2010 from 32.9 per cent in 2009.

The problem calls attention to the breakdown of the family as a social institution.

Tracing the roots of the problem, the social welfare department also found out that most sexually exploited children are either victims of prostitution or cyber pornography.

The numbers increased to an alarming 52 per cent and 31.5 per cent last year, respectively from 48.5 per cent and 33.8 per cent in 2009.

Child prostitution cases went up to 66 in 2010 from only 63 in 2009, statistics also showed.

In the area of child labour, the statistics office said there were five cases of child labour in 2009 and this increased to nine cases in 2010.

Some of the victims are only five to 10 years old.

The facts and figures speak for themselves. It’s heart-wrenching, to say the least. Image


The following is an article that appeared in the “Environment” section of “The Caymanian Compass”
on 1 December 2000. 

“Nusa Dua, Indonesia (AP) – Ever wondered why some of the tropical salt-water fish you bought at the pet shop died so soon?
Chances are, a diver in Indonesea or the Philipines caught them by first squirting cycanide into the water, which stuns the fish and allows them to be easily scooped into a net.
After a few days, a fish usually appears to recover. It is then exported to the United States, Europe and elsewhere to be sold in pet stores for anything up to US$400.
After a month or two, though, traces of cyanide in the fish’s system often attack its liver, eat away at its digetive tract and corrode its respiratory system, until it dies.
But not only does cyanide irreversibly poison the fish it’s used on, the toxin also damages the ocean environment, killing other marine life.
So widespred is the problem that 1,000 environmentalists, marine biologists and pet-fish collectors have set up a worldwide organisation – the Marine Aquarium Council – to try to eradicate the illegal practice.
Up to 20 million tropical salt-water fish are sold in the United States every year, said Paul Holthus, head of the Honolulu-based group. Not all are poisoned, but many are, he said.
‘Fish buyers are unknowingly contributing to the destruction of coral reefs and marine ecosystems,’ he said.
Marine scientists meeting on Indonesia’s tourist island of Bali warned recently that more than a quarter of the world’s coral reefs had been destroyed by pollution, global warming and poor fishing practices, including the use of cyanide.
They said that unless urgent measures are taken, the remaining coral reefs may be dead within 20 years.
Mark Erdman, a San Franscisco marine biologist who has long worked in Indonesia, said almost all aquarium-bound fish caught in Indonesia are poisoned.
Fishermen often store the cyanide in cans on the ocean floor to escape detection by authorities. They then dissolve a cyanide tablet in water in a plastic bottle. The deadly mixture is then squirted at schools of fish living around coral outcrops.
Holthus said cyanide is also used widely in the Philippines.
Aquarium fish from the two cuntries account for much of the tropical salt-water fish imported by the United States and Europe, he said.
The international aquarium fish trade is worth about
$1 billion a year, experts said.

In two warehouses on Bali, hundreds of brightly coloured fish float in small dirty tanks, waiting to be packaged in water-filled plastic bags and flown out of the country. Clown tiger fish, with bright yellow lips, sharp teeth and pink dorsal fins, lie on their sides seemingly comatose from cyanide.
Holthus said the use of poison is limited to only some tropical salt water varieties. More popular fresh water fish mostly come from commercial fish ponds and are chemical-free.
He said that by reforming the salt water segment of the industry, the welfare of marine life could be improved and healthier fish would be provided for collectors.
Walt Smith, a businessman from Los Angeles who exports live fish from Fiji, said the problem is not as widespread as some fear. He said all the fish he sends to the United Sates are caught without poison.
The marine council plans to start monitoring fish exported from various parts of the world to ensure tht they have not been caught by divers using cyanide and that they are handled professionally. Fish buyers in the United States and Europe will be able to look for Marine Aquarium Council-certified fish in certain pet shops by the end of next year.
“We will test everything from the reef to the retailer,” Holthus said.
Mike King, a pet-fish retiler from Grand Rapids, Michigan, said everyone will be a winner if environmentally sound fish-collection prctices are observed.
“Most consumers want to do the right thing for the environment and the fish,” he said. “They are prepared to pay a little more for it.”‘Image

We must unite and protect our coral reefs from destruction! 


What are enzymes?

Living cells and tissues require basic nutrients and essential substances to divide, grow and perform their normal activities. Most of these substances are synthesized from components of ingested food, water, and other nutritional supplements, or from breakdown products of tissues. The biochemical reactions to synthesize the basic elements required by living cells depend on a steady supply of energy from these sources. Ordinarily, this energy is supplied by a step-by-step oxidation of food components. In addition, the biochemical reactions themselves sometimes release energy. During times of stress or disease, there is am increased demand for the nutrients and essential supplies required by cells. Without very special helpers and at normal body temperature, it would be impossible for the cells and tissues to perform all the essential biochemical reactions required fast enough to meet the basic needs of the body. Fortunately, very specific and remarkable helpers initiate, accelerate and terminate these biochemical reactions. The helpers are highly specific organic substances which have evolved in living organisms and developed the capacity of performing these accelerated tasks to perfection via remarkable and specific catalytic actions. These remarkable substances are called enzymes.

Enzymes are catalysts. They make things work faster. For example, the chemistry of the body is all about utilizing one substance to produce another. Let us call it turning chemical A into chemical B. The biochemical reaction to do this may require energy or release energy, depending on whether molecules A or B contain their own energy.

Regardless of whether energy is required or released, the reaction time is shortened by its specific enzyme, without the enzyme being used up. The reaction is accelerated through the use of enzymes. This acceleration without consumption is the nature of a catalyst. For practical purposes, most biochemical reactions require enzymes since the reaction A to B might take hundreds of years without them.

It seems that enzymes are the fountain of life. Enzymes serve as the labor force to perform every single function required for our daily activities and are required to keep us alive. Digestive enzymes are only a part of the total amount of enzymes in the body. There are about 3000 known enzymes. They are responsible for all the functions of every organ system in our bodies.  At the same time they are most important in supporting our body defenses and immune system to protect us from harmful forces and specific dangers to our health. The immune system depends heavily on enzymes to conduct its protective function. In addition we require enzymes not only to eat, digest and absorb our nutrients, but also to see, hear, smell, taste, breathe and move. Enzymes are required for our blood and coagulation system, cardiovascular functions, kidneys, liver, elimination of toxic products, excretion, reproduction, etc. They are required even to think, dream or for sexual excitement. When enzyme activity stops, life stops and the person or organism dies!

There are two major enzyme systems in the human body. One is digestive and the other is metabolic. The digestive enzymes help break down all of the food that we eat so that it can be absorbed by the body. The metabolic enzymes help to run all of the systems of the body from respiratory system to the nervous system.

The seven categories of food (digestive) enzymes and their activities are:

  • Amylase: breaks down starches.
  • Cellulase: breaks down fibers.
  • Lactase: breaks down dairy products.
  • Lipase: breaks down fats.
  • Maltase: breaks down grains.
  • Protease: breaks down proteins.
  • Sucrase: breaks down sugars.


Health Issues

Enzymes are extremely important to our health. When enzymes are short in supply, or become inactive, the body will suffer. As the body is built from the food we eat, paying attention to what we eat is one of the most important things we can do. Unfortunately we do not eat what our instinct and common sense tells us to do. We do not eat the right quantities of the right foods at the right times and in the proper manner. The results can include digestive disturbances, deposition of fat, and becoming overweight. These findings can be associated with further health problems including disorders of the circulation which lead to more severe cardiovascular disease and disorders of the heart. The reducing diets often recommend generally provide only temporary weight loss and many of them may be even more detrimental to health in the long run.

We should all eat properly and follow a balanced diet  containing a substantial amount of fresh foods in each meal. We should also avoid highly processed foods and high levels of preservatives, additives or chemicals. We can also take natural digestive enzymes in order to support the digestion of processed or cooked foods. Every food that has been cooked, boiled, heated, grilled, baked has lost its enzymes and is a burden to our organs which have to supply the digestive enzymes. As almost nobody in our modern age is willing to eat everything raw, you can take digestive enzymes with your cooked, etc., food. (An informative site about raw food is Living and Raw Foods) It is also good to stay away from processed foods as they often contain enzyme inhibitors (to prolong shelf life), chemicals, and sugar (white sugar is destructive to our bodies, and contributes big time to obesity).


Information about Enzymes

The European scientific community has generated great excitement in the field of enzymes, which can be used preventively to prevent illness and give us a longer, healthier life. However in the United States the average person does not know much about enzymes and their importance.

Enzyme supplements

After you have read all about enzymes and why they are so important to our health, the next question is “what can I do about it? We will focus here only on digestive enzymes. Ideally you should eat everything raw. As raw food contains all the necessary enzymes to digest the food, our body does not have to deplete its organs of their necessary enzymes. And thus our body stays healthy. But in this modern age, who can eat everything raw? Make sure you eat enough raw food, but for the rest, supply your cooked or baked food with enzyme supplements.

There are several enzyme supplements on the market, but one of the best supplements is Dr. Howell’s N-Zymes, the enzyme supplement we ourselves are using. Dr Edward Howell was an enzyme pioneer who questioned the use of cooked, processed food for human consumption. He found that heating food to 118°F (47.78°C) for more than 15 minutes destroyed all the enzymes. Obviously then, heating foods at higher temperatures for shorter periods also destroys enzymes. Dr Howell wrote two books reporting his life’s work: Food Enzymes for Health and Longevity and Enzyme Nutrition.

N-Zymes is made by the National Enzyme Company, and distributed by Enzymes Inc, Parkville, Missouri. The digestive enzyme supplement we are using is called “Genuine N-zymes, Dr. Howell’s Original Formula“. The capsules contain the enzymes protease, amylase, lipase and cellulase). N-Zymes is available through health food stores. For their other enzymes products, visit Genuine N-Zymes.


Advice on Taking Enzymes

When taking enzyme supplements, remember to

  • open the capsules and sprinkle the enzymes on your food (not too hot please). This way they can start working. Otherwise it will take time for the capsule to dissolve in your stomach.
  • also drink water with your food, as enzymes are only active when water is present.
  • One also needs to chew one’s food well because the digestive enzyme cellulase is trapped inside the fiber itself and must be liberated in the chewing process—otherwise, one experiences the gas and bloating.
  • Eat plenty of fresh raw fruits and vegetables to maximize your enzyme intake.
  • Raw seeds or raw nuts, contain enzyme inhibitors which will neutralize some of the enzymes your body produces. In fact, eating foods with enzyme inhibitors causes a swelling of the pancreas. All nuts and seeds contain these inhibitors. Raw peanuts, for example, contain an especially large amount. Raw wheat germ is also one of the worst offenders. In addition, all peas, beans and lentils contain some. Potatoes also have enzyme inhibitors (concentrated in the eyes of the potato). In eggs the inhibitor is contained mainly in the egg white. There are two ways to destroy enzyme inhibitors. The first is cooking; however, this also destroys the enzymes. The second way, which is preferable, is soaking, rinsing and germinating or sprouting. This destroys the enzyme inhibitors and also increases the enzyme content from a factor of 3 to 6. Taking extra enzymes is the third way to neutralize the enzyme inhibitors in ungerminated or unsprouted seeds and nuts.
  • Fermentation also removes the enzyme inhibitors and it has other benefits too. Fermentation neutralizes unhealthy chemicals found in grains and beans. Second, it adds a host of beneficial micro-organisms to food, making them more digestible and increasing the healthy flora in our intestinal tracts. Grains and beans all contain an acid, myoinositol-hexa, or phytic acid. Phytic acid blocks the absorption of calcium, phosphorus, iron and zinc. A diet high in unfermented whole grains can lead to mineral deficiencies and bone loss. Fermenting grains and beans before eating them neutralizes phytic acid. It also neutralizes enzyme inhibitors and breaks down gluten, sugars, and other difficult to digest elements in grains and beans. The simplest way to lacto-ferment grains and beans is by adding whey and water, and letting them stand for at least seven hours. Beans should ideally stand for twelve hours or more. Yogurt can be added instead of whey, which is a by-product of cheese-making and is commercially available as a powder (sold in health food stores).
  • Make sure you also read our article about Kefir, a special culture used in the fermentation of milk that adds a lot of enzymes in the process. It is very easy to make kefired milk and it is very healthy! It also is a way of making excellent whey for fermenting your grains and cooked veggies.
  • Salt is an indirect enzyme inhibitor, so use it sparingly.


Other Sources of Enzymes

There are four major types of proteolytic enzymes: trypsin, chymotrypsin, papain, and bromelain.

Chymotrypsin is a proteolytic enzyme crystallized from an extract of the pancreas gland of the ox.

Trypsin is a proteolytic enzyme also crystallized from an extract of the pancreas gland of the ox.

Papain is derived from the green papaya fruit.

Bromelain is extracted from the pineapple. Because of the relative value of the fruit, the difficulty of processing the juice, and the improvements of methods to extract bromelain from pineapple stems, the source of most bromelain is the stems.

Proteolytic enzymes are enzymes that help you digest the proteins in food. Although your body produces these enzymes in the pancreas, certain foods also contain proteolytic enzymes. Papaya (the unripe fruit) and pineapple are two of the richest plant sources. Papain and bromelain are the respective names for the proteolytic enzymes found in these fruits.

The primary use of proteolytic enzymes is as a digestive aid for people who have trouble digesting proteins. However, proteolytic enzymes also appear to reduce pain and inflammation, which has made them popular in Europe as a treatment for sports injuries and as an aid in recovery from surgery. Supplemental proteolytic (protein-digesting) enzymes also enhance immune function, helping to destroy pathogens; and proteolytic enzymes seems to be good for people with pancreas problems.  Digestive enzymes are classified as a food by the FDA., but if you want to take proteolytic enzymes you should discuss this with your doctor.

Another source of enzymes is brewer’s yeast which stimulates enzyme activity in the intestines. There are also enzyme preparations available from the pharmacy for digestive disorders. Fermented foods are full of enzymes, like yogurt, sauerkraut, soy sauce and kefir.


Small Business Ideas

If you are aspiring to start a small business, one of the first things that would come to your mind is what business to do, how much investment will be required and what would be the skills that should be learnt. In these uncertain days of layoffs and panic, it is good to have a backup plan in life, so that one can remain unaffected. Taking the first two points into consideration, I have put together a collection of small business ideas, some of which can be started from home and most requiring low investment. This list also makes sure that one need not have a formal degree or education to get started; most of these skills can be learnt quickly. Thus everyone can use their capability & talent to start one, without worrying about having to spend a couple of years of their life in college and spending the next decade paying education loans.

Senior care services;

In many countries the concept of joint families still exists. Sons usually stay with their parents after getting married. Sometimes such a situation arises where they would need to stay in a different country or state for working and might not be able to take their parent along with them because of factors like availability of passport, cost factor and climate. While some of them turn to relatives to take care of their parents and other elderly persons in the house, not everyone has that luxury. Hence the senior care services come as a boon to the travelling employee. It involves setting up a homely atmosphere for elderly people, having all the amenities from medicine to food to entertainment. If one has a spacious house or apartment, they might want to start such a center. The charges can be collected on a monthly basis from the customer (either the senior persons themselves or their sons or daughters). One also needs a couple of employees for managing the house, taking care of the senior people, giving them medicines if required and keep them happy. This business also gives repeat income every month and can also be expanded to other parts of the city if the demand is more. Since the absolute investment required can vary depending on the country, only a list of things to be bought and list of expenditure is given below. Using this list you can arrive at an approximate start-up capital required and the monthly list of expenditures.

  • House or flat or apartment (can be rented)
  • Beds, cots, furnishing
  • Kitchen items required for cooking for many people
  • Money for advertising in newspapers and on the internet
  • A cook or chef
  • A few employees for cleaning the house, running errands etc.

If you are aspiring small business

If you are aspiring to start a small business, one of the first things that would come to your mind is what business to do, how much investment will be required and what would be the skills that should be learnt. In these uncertain days of layoffs and panic, it is good to have a backup plan in life, so that one can remain unaffected. Taking the first two points into consideration, I have put together a collection of small business ideas, some of which can be started from home and most requiring low investment. This list also makes sure that one need not have a formal degree or education to get started; most of these skills can be learnt quickly. Thus everyone can use their capability & talent to start one, without worrying about having to spend a couple of years of their life in college and spending the next decade paying education loans.

PHOTO BLOG: The state of girls’ education around the world

Originally posted on World Education Blog:

To tie-in with the release of the Gender Summary of the Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2013/4 published by UNESCO and events taking place to mark International Women’s Day, this photo blog tells the story of the state of education for girls and young women around the world. 

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The Gender Summary of the 2013/4 Education for All Global Monitoring Report highlights the serious gender imbalance in global education that has left over 100 million young women unable to read a single sentence. The summary, launched for International Women’s Day in partnership with the UN Girls’ Education Initiative, calls for equity to be at the heart of new global development goals after 2015 so that every child has an equal chance of learning through quality education.

Half of the 31 million girls out of school are expected never to enroll or have the chance to learn. Despite some progress, in…

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