Category Archives: Thoughts

Egyptian life: On TV, in a veil

Egyptian life: On TV, in a veil

Egyptian television presenter Ghada El Tawil was allowed back on air last week after a six-year absence, in which she won the legal right to wear an Islamic headscarf, known as hijab, on screen. She tells BBC News about her fight.

Ghada El Tawil presenting her programme

Ghada can wear what she likes on screen as long as it is doesn’t look ‘strange’

I have waited six years for this moment – to present television wearing my hijab.

 

I only started wearing it in 2002. The rule is, when a girl gets her first period, she has to cover her hair. I didn’t – but sometimes you don’t do many things you should.

But as the years passed, I began to feel I wanted to do what God wanted. I struggled for about a year, before deciding to wear it.

More and more women are wearing the hijab, especially here. Only one or two in 10 Alexandrian women are not covered, so I was part of a wider movement of change. But I don’t think I was aware of that at the time.

Cairo is different, because it is such a big, cosmopolitan city.

Anyway, when I put the hijab on in February 2002, I was banned from being on screen.

There have been many cases like this – female presenters losing their jobs when they want to wear the hijab on air. A colleague, Hala el-Malki and I were the first to take it to court.

Ghada El Tawil
When I covered my hair, I didn’t lose my ability to read the news

We got two rulings in our favour, the most recent in July 2005. It said we could wear what we liked on screen so long as it wasn’t ‘strange’. It’s taken until now for our employers [Alexandria's Channel 5, a state channel] to apply it.

There are now five of us wearing the hijab on screen.

I don’t know for sure why the management doesn’t like us wearing it. Maybe they thought we belonged to a very religious group, or something. They never gave us a proper reason.

But the reality is, most women here cover their hair. I come from Alexandria and as a presenter, I now reflect and represent my audience more closely than before.

I present a discussion programme focussing on social issues, it’s mainly aimed at women. On my return to the programme last week, so many people congratulated me in live phone calls on air!

However, my employers still haven’t let me return to my other job of reading the English-language news bulletins. I did this job for 12 years before I was stopped – but now they said I needed to pass another test. I refused to take it on principle.

When I covered my hair, I didn’t lose my ability to read the news. I can’t see the point of the ban, can you? To let me do one of my previous jobs, but not the other.

I hope I will win this next case, too.

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To Bleach or Not to Bleach

Loreal denies digital lightening of Beyonce Knowles

So now all heads turn to Beyonce Knowles, as allegations of the R&B spokesperson of L’oreal was said to be digitally bleached in an advertising campaign by the cosmetic giant.

We say…

Photobucket


You be the judge.

For more on Skin Bleaching check out my other popular post:
Fair and Lovely ..Heavy cost of Light Skin.

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DIY-Pottery Barn Inspired

Okay, so I’ve been shopping day and night for my new home, and I came across this at Pottery Barn.

Framed New York City Mural

Framed New York City Mural

$799.00

 

Bring bold style to a big space with our wall-sized multiframe mural. The striking aerial image of Manhattan and the Empire State Building is presented in nine individual 18 x 24″ prints that form a grid when mounted together, creating the illusion of seeing the city through a large loft window. Simple black wooden frames surround the prints, which are covered in glass.

I was feeling the design and idea, but not the price. 799? What?

Nonetheless, I came to the conclusion that it was a must have for my study/office/guest room.

I got a great photo in black and white of the net…and I am having it blown up at Kinko’s…

I’ve asked them to cut it up in 9 pieces equal size. I bought some large black frames at Ikea, and voila I am on my to having my own customized art piece. I’ll post some photos soon. Of the actual turn out. I am really impressed, and no where near 800 dollars…

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London’s Muslim Girl Power!

A recent visit to the corner Barnes & Noble store led me to a cozy corner near the magazine section where I picked up a copy of Swindle Magazine.

I love this magazine for their great artwork and neat articles. I happened to be drawn to this issue in particular because of the cover.

JULY SWINDLE

JULY SWINDLE

The issue focuses upon the city’s absorption of a rising Muslim population—and we feature the young Islamic artist Sarah Maple.

Here is an excerpt:

If you want to see where London’s future lies, look to its Muslim demographic. Today, about 40% of Britain’s Muslim population resides in London, where they make up just below 10% of the residents. And half of the city’s Muslim population is under 24—the youngest age profile in the capital. According to the BBC, over half of all British Muslims were born in the U.K., making this subgroup an increasingly intrinsic part of British society. “We’re the second generation, we’ve grown up here like the kids around us and we haven’t faced the strains most of our elders felt such as not understanding English,” says Warsan Nur, a 19-year-old anthropology student at the University of London, and aspiring journalist. “Racism isn’t so common because people are growing to accept us, so the possibilities for this Muslim generation are endless.”

Fore more visit: http://swindlemagazine.com/issue16/

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Eyes over Africa

The wonderful  Eyes Over Africa shows aerial photographs by Michael Poliza, taken on an epic helicopter adventure from the north to the south of Africa.

Nile cruise ships, Luxor, Egypt. © Michael Poliza.

A Maasai market scene North-East of Maasai Mara, Kenya. © Michael Poliza.

Grassland plains in Northwest Katavi, Tanzania. © Michael Poliza.

Water meets land in Cabo Delgado, Mozamibique. © Michael Poliza.


Deserted flamingo nests in the red salty patches of the Pans, East of Kubu Island, Botswana. © Michael Poliza.

See more of these amazing images at the Eyes Over Africa website, and order the book through Exclusive Books or Amazon.

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Satire? I think not!

Magazine's Obama Satire Sparks Furor // New Yorker magazine cover depicting Barack & Michelle Obama (© 'Today')

Publication shows candidate dressed as a Muslim, his wife as a terrorist…

WASHINGTON – Barack Obama‘s campaign says a satirical New Yorker magazine cover showing the Democratic presidential candidate dressed as a Muslim and his wife as a terrorist is “tasteless and offensive.”

The illustration on the issue that hits newsstands Monday, titled “The Politics of Fear” and drawn by Barry Blitt, depicts Barack Obama wearing traditional Muslim garb — sandals, robe and turban — and his wife, Michelle — dressed in camouflage, combat boots and an assault rifle strapped over her shoulder — standing in the Oval Office.

The couple is doing a fist tap in front of a fireplace in which an American flag is burning. Over the mantel hangs a portrait of Osama bin Laden.

“The New Yorker may think, as one of their staff explained to us, that their cover is a satirical lampoon of the caricature Senator Obama’s right-wing critics have tried to create,” said Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton. “But most readers will see it as tasteless and offensive. And we agree.”

In a statement Monday, the magazine said the cover “combines a number of fantastical images about the Obamas and shows them for the obvious distortions they are.”

“The burning flag, the nationalist-radical and Islamic outfits, the fist-bump, the portrait on the wall? All of them echo one attack or another. Satire is part of what we do, and it is meant to bring things out into the open, to hold up a mirror to prejudice, the hateful, and the absurd. And that’s the spirit of this cover,” the New Yorker statement said.

The statement also pointed to the two articles on Obama contained inside the magazine, calling them “very serious.”

Republican John McCain‘s campaign spokesman, Tucker Bonds, agreed that the cover was “tasteless and offensive.”

 

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Two Dead in Djibouti, Eritrea Border Clash

Wed 11 Jun 2008, 16:27 GMT

By Omar Hassan

DJIBOUTI, June 11 (Reuters) – Djibouti called up retired police and soldiers on Wednesday after a clash with Eritrean troops killed at least two and wounded 21 others on their shared border over looking strategic Red Sea shipping lanes.

Eritrea, without confirming or denying the clashes, dismissed Djibouti’s statements as “anti-Eritrean”.

The first fighting since 1996 between two of Africa’s smallest states broke out on Tuesday, after a nearly two-month standoff. Djibouti hosts French and U.S. military bases and is the main route to the sea for Eritrea’s arch-foe Ethiopia.

Djibouti said the clash began after Eritrean soldiers deserted and the Eritreans fired on them, prompting return fire. A second outbreak followed when Eritrean soldiers demanded their deserters back.

Fighting continued on Wednesday in the Mount Gabla area of northern Djibouti, Djibouti’s Defence Ministry said.

Police officers and soldiers who retired from 2004 to 2008 were ordered to reintegrate with their units, a government statement said.

Mount Gabla, also known as Ras Doumeira, overlooks the strategic Bab al-Mandib straits, which are a major shipping route to and from Europe and the Middle East.

Eritrea’s Foreign Ministry said it would not “get involved in an invitation of squabbles and acts of hostility”.

“(Djibouti) has been making continued futile attempts to drag the government of Eritrea into its concocted animosity,” a statement said.

A Reuters witness at a French hospital in Djibouti said helicopters had ferried in dead and wounded soldiers.

 

“PICKING A FIGHT”

In mid-April, Djibouti accused Eritrea of digging trenches and building fortifications on the Djiboutian side of the frontier. Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki told Reuters in a recent interview that was a “fabrication”.

“It’s just another case of Eritrea picking a fight and finding itself in a position of hostility towards the main Western players in the region,” said Patrick Smith, editor of the Africa Confidential newsletter.

“Eritrea is sending out a warning to Djibouti in particular saying if it chooses to go with Ethiopia then it’s opening itself up to conflict with Asmara,” he said.

Djibouti’s army says nearly 75 percent of its 11,000 troops are now along its boundary with Eritrea, which is one of Africa’s most militarised states and has more than 200,000 soldiers as part of a mandatory conscription programme.

Djibouti and Eritrea are two of Africa’s smallest nations with populations of 820,000 and 4.7 million respectively.

Djibouti hosts two foreign military bases, including one of France’s biggest overseas contingents and a U.S. counter-terrorism task force of about 2,000 soldiers — many of them elite special forces who work with Ethiopian troops.

Former colonial power France signed a mutual defence pact with Djibouti after independence in 1977.

It is also a vital route for landlocked Ethiopia, which has vowed to protect its shipping access in Djibouti if necessary.

Ethiopia blamed Eritrea for the clash.

“Ethiopia firmly believes that such unwarranted action should be stopped immediately and peaceful and diplomatic solution must be sought for the problem,” Bereket Simon, special adviser to Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, told Reuters.

Djibouti has turned itself into a regional shipping hub after massive investment from Dubai.

Eritrea and Ethiopia fought a border war in 1998-2000 that killed 70,000 people, and lingering enmity has fuelled conflict in neighbouring Somalia and in Ethiopia’s Ogaden region. (For full Reuters Africa coverage and to have your say on the top issues, visit: http://africa.reuters.com/ ) (Additional reporting by Jack Kimball in Asmara, Tsegaye Tadesse in Addis Ababa; Editing by Bryson Hull and Matthew Tostevin)

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My Summer Smoothie Recipe!

 As the summer weather creeps in I have a recipe for a smoothie that I think everyone can enjoy! It’s refreshing, but not for those who are afraid of a little spice! It includes cantaloupe, honey, milk, yogurt, and cardamom.

I’m sure most readers of my blog are familiar with heyl (cardomom), for those of you who aren’t it’s a seed that most Arabs, East and North Africans, and South Asians use with tea or coffee and sometimes dessert!

For this smoothie depending on your taste you can grind the cardamom seeds for more impact or just drop in the seeds. Mind you, might get seeds in your drink that way. For someone who has never had cardamom seeds it might be a bit overwhelming.

Blend cantaloupe, cardamom, honey, milk, and yogurt for about 3 minutes and voila you have a tasty treat!

Be sure to take seeds out of the cantaloupe when cut into. And you can save whatever you don’t use in your fridge.

Enjoy!

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Text Tricks

1. Remember Your Appointments and Schedule New Ones
10 Killer Texting Tricks // Google Calendar -- add events via your phone; Google Calendar lets you add new events straight from your phone, and it understands English. (© PC World)

Can’t remember what time your next meeting takes place? If you’re a Google Calendar user, you can find out in a flash: Just send a message with the word “next” to GVENT (dial 48368) and you’ll get back the time and details of your next scheduled event. Send “day” for a full list of today’s appointments and “nday” for tomorrow’s.

Google Calendar also lets you add new events via SMS — and you can use plain English to do it. For example: “Lunch with Joe at Panera Bread tomorrow at noon.” Shoot a message like that to GVENT, and Google will add it to your calendar with all the appropriate details.

Finally, you can configure Google Calendar to send automatic reminders in advance of an event. For any existing entry, click Edit Event Details, then Add a Reminder. Choose SMS from the list of options, and then specify how far in advance of the event the notification should arrive.
Before you can leverage Google Calendar’s SMS features, you have to configure it for use with your phone. In your Web browser, open Google Calendar and click the Settings link, then choose Mobile Setup. Follow the simple cues to enable cell-phone notifications, and you’re all set.
Of course, Google Calendar isn’t the only game in cyberspace. Services like PingMe and Sandy can deliver notifications to your phone and process new reminders that you send from it. And Kwiry helps you remember things you’re supposed to do by routing text messages created on your phone to your e-mail inbox.
2. Track Packages, Calories and Cash
A number of Web services now offer alerting and information options via SMS to help keep you in the loop. For example, are you dying to know when your newly ordered MacBook Air will arrive? Forward your delivery-confirmation e-mail to TrackMyShipments.com, and you’ll subsequently receive SMS updates on your package’s status, location and delays (if any). You can also monitor your own shipments by sending its tracking number to a special e-mail address.
10 Killer Texting Tricks // Diet.com SMS; Curious about calories? Text any restaurant menu item to Diet.com and you'll get all the details in a text-message reply. (© PC World)

If you’re watching your weight, Diet.com can help you count your calories. Text any major restaurant chain’s name and menu item to DIET1 (dial 34381) and Diet.com will shoot you back the nutrition stats: calories, fat, carbs and protein.

Quicken Online can send you a text-message reminder when a bill is due, so you won’t have to worry about racking up late fees. Other Web-based money managers like Buxfer and Mint offer even more SMS-alert options: They can notify you of low balances, unusual spending and large deposits (such as a paycheck). You can even record transactions (great for tracking expenses on the run) or request an account balance.

3. Compose Text Messages with Your Voice
10 Killer Texting Tricks // The BlackBerry Curve and its keyboard; The RIM BlackBerry Curve is the kind of phone that makes text messaging easy on the thumbs, thanks to its spacious QWERTY keyboard. (© PC World)

Most people who hate text messaging do so for the simple reason that it’s such a hassle to compose messages using a cell-phone keypad. You could always upgrade to a keyboard-equipped phone like the AT&T Tilt, LG Voyager or RIM BlackBerry Curve, but even those models are “all thumbs” when it comes to text input. Plus, it probably seems excessive to spend hundreds of dollars on a new phone just for the sake of easier text messaging.

Instead, let your voice do the legwork — or fingerwork. A free service called Jott will transcribe your spoken message into text and deliver it via SMS to anyone in your contact list (which you have to set up in advance on the Jott site). Just speed-dial Jott from your cell phone, say the name of the person you want to contact, and then start talking. (Remember to keep it short: Text messages can’t be longer than a few sentences.) This is also a much safer way to send a message while you’re at the wheel. (Note, however, that some states ban or discourage using the phone while driving, or are considering laws against it.)

4. Get Driving Directions
If your phone lacks GPS and you need to find your way between points A and B, let SMS be your guide. Before you hit the road, head to MapQuest in your desktop browser and input your destination. Once the site generates the driving directions, click the Send to Cell option and enter your cell number. In seconds you’ll receive a text message containing a link to turn-by-turn directions for your route.
10 Killer Texting Tricks // Get directions from Google via SMS; If you need help finding your way, text your starting location and destination to Google SMS, and you'll receive turn-by-turn directions in a return message. (© PC World)

If you’re away from your PC, tap Google SMS for on-the-fly navigation. Create a new message with your starting point and destination, then send it to GOOGLE (dial 466453). In return, you’ll receive Google Maps directions in one or more text messages (depending on the length of the route). You can also get an actual map by texting “map” and your location.

Need directions but don’t want to take your hands off the wheel? Dial 800-FREE-411, 800-GOOG-411 or DIRECTIONS (dial 347-328-4667) for voice-prompted assistance. State your starting address and where you want to go; all three services will whip up directions and shoot them to your phone via SMS. Best of all, they’re free. You pay only standard calling and text-message charges.

5. Search Google From the Road
Google SMS offers more than just driving directions: You can text your way to stock quotes, movie show times, currency conversions and much more. The trick lies in remembering the proper syntax to receive the information you want. To access Google’s glossary, for instance, your message should read “Define” and then the word. Looking for a particular business in your area? Send the business name (or category, such as “pizza”) and the Zip code or the city and state. If you can’t remember the proper format for a particular inquiry, just send “help” or “tips” to Google SMS (dial 466453), and the service will send you a cheat sheet.
10 Killer Texting Tricks // 4INFO SMS; You can fetch all kinds of info from 4INFO -- everything from sports scores to drink recipes. (© PC World)

4INFO offers a similar batch of SMS services, but adds helpful extras like package tracking and a Wi-Fi hotspot finder. You’ll find fun stuff, too, such as jokes, drink recipes and pickup lines. You can also sign up for text-message alerts: 4INFO will send you the game scores for your favorite teams, educate you with a word of the day, and even deliver Craigslist ad updates (so you can swoop in the moment playoff tickets go on sale).

6. Keep Tabs on Flights …
10 Killer Texting Tricks // Flight status via Google SMS; Among other information, Google SMS can provide flight status for almost any airline. (© PC World)

Jet-setters can also tap Google SMS and 4INFO for flight information. Just text your airline and flight number to receive up-to-the-minute arrival and departure times. If you’d rather have flight updates pushed to your phone, head to FlightStats, sign up for a free account, and then set up some Flight Alerts. The site will send you a status report up to three hours before departure, notifications of any flight delays or cancellations, and a notification when the flight lands (helpful if you’re on airport-pickup detail).

7. … And Keep Tabs on Friends
Their updates will arrive on your phone. (© PC World)

Fans of Twitter, the micro-blogging service that lets others know what you’re doing at this very minute, will find SMS virtually indispensable for sending and receiving updates. Start by configuring your Twitter account to support text messaging: Click the Settings link and then click Phone & IM. Follow the instructions to enable your phone, then set Device Updates to “on.” (While you’re at it, click the Notices option and set “sleep” hours so you’re not bothered by new messages all through the night.)

To receive text-message updates from your friends and family, click the Following link in your profile and set Device Updates to “on” for each person. To broadcast your own updates straight from your phone, text your messages to 40404.

8. Transfer Files to Your Phone
Savvy users know that the easiest way to move a file between PCs is to e-mail it to yourself. So why not take the same approach for transferring a file to your phone? Unfortunately, it’s not always that easy: Many phones balk at e-mail file attachments due to size or format. And what if your phone isn’t set up to fetch e-mail anyway? Your only option is a traditional PC-to-phone connection, which usually requires a special cable or a complicated Bluetooth configuration.
10 Killer Texting Tricks // Beam It Up Scotty; Looking for an easy way to copy a file to your phone? Beam It Up Scotty handles all file types and can even optimize audio and video for mobile devices. (© PC World)

Enter Beam It Up Scotty, a free Web-based service that leverages SMS to send just about any kind of file to your phone. Just browse your hard drive for the desired file — document, photo, MP3, movie or whatever — and then choose a compression setting. Beam It Up Scotty can automatically optimize video and audio files for mobile-phone playback and can compress other kinds of files for speedier transfer.

Finally, enter your cell-phone number. Within a few minutes you’ll receive a text message containing a link to download the file straight to your phone.

9. Send Text Messages From Your PC
Suppose a text message arrives on your phone while you’re sitting at your desk. Do you really have to peck out the reply on the phone’s tiny keypad? Not if you know the recipient’s phone number and carrier. Just fire up Outlook or any other mail client and compose your reply like an ordinary e-mail. The trick lies in knowing the proper way to address the message.
For example, e-mails sent to phones on the Sprint network must be formatted like this: phonenumber@messaging.sprintpcs.com. To send e-mail-via-SMS to a Verizon customer, use phonenumber@vtext.com. You can find a full list of carriers and their text-message addresses at SMS 411.
If you don’t know the recipient’s carrier or can’t remember all those different suffixes, take a shortcut: Send your e-mail to phonenumber@teleflip.com. The free Teleflip service does the legwork for you, routing your message to the appropriate carrier. Whatever method you use, keep in mind that replies will come to your e-mail inbox, not to your cell phone — which can be a good thing if you’re spending the day at your desk anyway.
10. Archive Your Messages
Need to save an important message for posterity (or a pending court case)? In an ideal world, you’d simply connect your phone to your PC and copy the messages to your hard drive. Few phones can do that out of the box, however. But the free utility BitPim makes this possible for many models from LG, Motorola, Samsung and Sanyo. You’ll also need a USB cable that’s compatible with your phone; check with the manufacturer (or eBay) to hunt down the proper cable.
10 Killer Texting Tricks // Save text messages; Forward any text message to Treasuremytext and you can save it indefinitely. The service lets you organize messages into folders and add notes to them. (© PC World)

To preserve only a select few messages (and avoid the hassles of software and cables), check out Treasuremytext. This free Web service archives and manages all messages forwarded from your phone. Later, you can visit the Treasuremytext site to review your messages, add notes and organize them in custom folders.

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I got a cold, ugh!

I’ve been sick almost the whole weekend and last night I came to an all time low looking for ways to get rid of cold fast…lol

I got some of the best advice that people tend to overlook…

Read for yourself below…

by Frederic Patenaude

Everyone wants to know what’s the best way to get rid of a cold, and it seems everybody has her own remedy for it. In this article, you will learn how to eliminate a nasty cold the PURE HEALTH way, which is Nature’s Way.

I probably won’t be very popular for saying this, but the truth is that “there is no cure for the common cold.” That’s right. Even modern medicine is aware of this.

All of the remedies sold, at the drugstore or from your health food store, only alleviate the symptoms of a problem that shouldn’t be stopped in the first place!

Let Your Body Heal

Here’s a little known truth: all attempts to “cure” the common cold are completely futile, since the cold isn’t something that should be fought or stopped in the first place. The common cold is a *symptom* that the body is undergoing a healing crisis. The body is trying to get well!

Whether you can “catch” a cold is another subject of controversy, but without even going into that, only the body’s own powers are able to take this healing crisis to a favorable conclusion.

The common cold is believed to be viral in nature, and there is no treatment that directly fights the virus. In fact, there are hundreds of those viruses, with new ones being discovered all the time!

The more you interfere in the process, either by taking a drug or making some sort of herbal concoction, the more you add on to the body’s stress of dealing with the situation. You might be able to get rid of the symptoms, but the root problem is still there. Is that what you want?

Instead, get rid of a cold the Pure Health Way, in 2 easy steps:

Sleep It Off

The main problem people have when they get a cold is that it interferes with their already busy life. How are you supposed to work if you feel like crap? So you take drugs or even just herbal medicines to alleviate the symptoms, and you continue working like crazing, staying up late, going out, eating out, and *never giving your body the chance to heal.*

When you get a cold, you should do this opposite. Think to yourself, “Great! A cold! That’s my opportunity to catch up on the rest I desperately need, and my chance to let my body heal itself!”

What you’ll need to do is start spending long hours in bed. Rest as much as possible. Cancel those appointments that are not urgent, those nights out, and other activities. Stop your exercise program for a few days, and rest as much as possible.

If that’s not possible, at least take it really easy, and go to bed super-early. Give your body a chance to heal and it will do an amazing job at it, I promise.

Eat Properly

95% of people I’ve met still think that there’s some kind of food they should eat that could “increase their immunity” or “boost their metabolism” and help them “fight” the cold better.

They still haven’t realized that *the common cold isn’t something that should be fought or stopped!*

Here is however a few recommendations that will definitely help you recover from a cold in the shortest time possible.

- Eat only fruits and vegetables. Those are the easiest foods to digest. Avoid protein foods or fat, or starch.
- Drink plenty of warm water.
- Eat a very simple diet. Smoothies, fresh juices, raw fruits in vegetables. No cooked foods except at the most, steamed vegetables.
- Eat according to hunger and if not hungry skip a few meals. There’s no harm and only good in doing that.

Eating a simple raw food diet (such as the one I described in my book “The Raw Secrets”) when you have a cold will help you recover in the shortest time possible, without doing any harm to the body. A short fast is also advisable (2-3 days max).

Combine that with plenty of rest, and you’ll have a winning formula to getting rid of that nasty cold.

By learning proper nutrition habits, you’ll also make sure that you stay healthy all the time and never have to go through that again!

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