Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov

And… One More Reason to Fast!

Posted in Fasting by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 26 October 2015

When the Church calendar says “no wine,” observing this is not only good for your soul, but is also good for your health! 

1-month break from alcohol can ‘slash risks of cancer’ – study

Avoiding alcohol for just one month can slash the risk of developing life-threatening diseases such as cancer and diabetes, a new study has revealed.

The study, carried out by University College London, found that a four-week break from alcohol can heal the liver function and lower blood pressure levels.

It also revealed that “going dry” for a month can lower one’s chances of developing cancer, diabetes and becoming obese.

As part of the study, researchers monitored 102 healthy men and women in their 40s taking part in a “dry January” campaign.

Beforehand, the women had been drinking an average of 29 units per week while men were consuming 31 units a week, both above the government’s guideline levels.

After the month of abstinence, participants lost nearly 6lbs (2.7kg) in weight and reported improvements in their concentration and sleeping.

Researchers also found that their “liver stiffness” – an indication of damage – had been reduced by 12.5 percent while their insulin resistance had decreased by 28 percent.

‘Substantial improvement’

Liver specialist Professor Moore said there was “substantial improvement” in the participants’ livers after their four-week alcohol break.

These subjects were probably average drinkers – they drank in excess of the guidelines. We studied them before and after the dry month,” she told the Telegraph.

There was certainly substantial improvement in various parameters of the liver. The other parameters, blood pressure, cholesterol, how well the subjects slept were also substantial,” she added.

Moore said public health bodies should be “interested” by the findings of this study.

Does it have a sustained impact? We think we will find people drink less going forward.

The next thing would be to extend the dry January beyond one month to two months, three months.”

According to the Times, the Department of Health is examining the study’s results as it prepares new guidelines on safe drinking.

‘Excited’ by findings

Liver specialist Gautam Metha, who oversaw the study, said she is “excited” as some of the findings are “pretty novel.”

I am excited. There are some findings that will be pretty novel. It’s an important study which shows the benefit from a month’s abstinence. What we can’t say is how long those benefits are, how durable those benefits are,” the Daily Mail on Monday reported her as saying.

The National Health Service (NHS) advises Britons to consume not more than the recommended alcohol intake to avoid related diseases in the future.

Under the official alcohol unit guidelines, men should not drink more than 3-4 units per day and women should not exceed 2-3 units per day.

Alcohol’s hidden harms usually emerge after a number of years, when serious health issues, such as liver problems or high blood pressure can develop.

However, alcohol isn’t the only sugary treat that people should be avoiding.

‘Bacon and sausages major cause of cancer’

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has revealed that bacon, ham and sausages are a major cause of cancer.

The report, published Monday, said there is sufficient evidence to rank the meats as group 1 carcinogens because of a causal link with bowel cancer.

Head of the International Agency for Research’s monographs programme Dr Kurt Straif said the risk of cancer increases with the amount of meat consumed.

For an individual, the risk of developing colorectal cancer because of their consumption of processed meat remains small, but this risk increases with the amount of meat consumed,” he said.

In view of the large number of people who consume processed meat, the global impact on cancer incidence is of public health importance,” he added.


Note: It important to remember that these studies and health facts have little to do with the Orthodox discipline of fasting. But the problem is that in many cases, modern Orthodox Christians began to understand fasting merely as a vegan or near-vegan diet. This is incorrect, but sadly, it is a fact of our modern Orthodox mindset. So, for those who wonder why we need to go on a vegan diet for a month-or-so a few times a year, there is at least one reason–it is good for your health!  


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Why We Should Fast More!

Posted in Fasting by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 26 October 2015

After thoroughly reviewing the accumulated scientific literature, a Working Group of 22 experts from 10 countries convened by the IARC Monographs Programme classified the consumption of red meat as probably carcinogenic to humans (Group 2A), based on limited evidence that the consumption of red meat causes cancer in humans and strong mechanistic evidence supporting a carcinogenic effect. This association was observed mainly for colorectal cancer, but associations were also seen for pancreatic cancer and prostate cancer

WHO Press Release:

Processed meats pose same cancer risk as smoking and asbestos, reports say


The World Health Organisation is expected to issue new guidelines warning that processed meat products such as bacon and sausages are a cancer risk on the scale of smoking and asbestos.

Reports have claimed the UN’s health body will highlight the dangers of eating processed meats on Monday by putting bacon, burgers, ham and sausages on its list of cancer-causing substances.

Even fresh red meat is expected to be listed as unhealthy. According to the latest survey of the British diet, the average adult eats around 71g of red meat a day.

The warning on the “carcinogenicity of red and processed meats” is expected to come in a WHO and International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) evaluation published in the Lancet. The WHO has not denied the reports, but has said there was no leak of the findings.

The guidelines would bring the UN’s position in line with the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF), which says there is convincing evidence that processed meat can cause bowel cancer.

But Dr Jill Jenkins, a GP and member of the Meat Advisory Panel, an industry sponsored body, said she would not be advising her patients to stop eating meat, but she did recommend caution over highly processed meat products.

“I think certainly that we should be keeping a low level, so everything in moderation,” she told the Today programme on BBC Radio 4.

“From the same body we have had advice about the carcinogenic effects of the air we breathe and the sun on our skin, so I think we have to take it within reason in that if you are stuffing in burgers and sausages and bacon every day, yes you are at risk.

“If you have some healthy, locally made high-protein sausage once a fortnight, well, I personally don’t consider that a risk.”

The Daily Mail, which reported on the WHO shift, said it had received the information from a “well-placed source”. In a note to the media, however, the WHO said: “Following random reports [on] Friday 23 October in the British press postulating on the outcome of the IARC evaluation on the carcinogenicity of red meat and processed meat, please note that there was no breach of embargo, as no embargoed material was shared with any news outlet, in Britain or elsewhere.”

See also:

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The Joy of a Life in Christ

Posted in D.Min. Study Notes by Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov on 15 October 2015

When we speak about spiritual or religious things, all too often we use words without truly understanding their meaning. We speak of love, for example, but how many pause to ponder what it actually is? As priests, we repeat Christ’s commandments like a mantra to our parishioners: “Love God, love your neighbor, and love your enemies.” And our parishioners get the hint; they come back to us during confession and confess the sin of not having enough love. How many priests and parishioners ever stop to wonder just how one is to get more love? By being ‘nice’ (whatever this means)? No, this is not love, this is just being ‘nice.’ By being kind? No, kindness is very good, but it is different from love. By being polite? This very useful trait seems even further from the nature of love than is kindness. Perhaps by helping others? This also is not love, per se. What kind of commandment is it–to love–when there does not seem to be a good way to fulfill it, let alone an “easy and light” one (cf. Matt. 11:30)? (more…)

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