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Archive for December, 2011

December solstice in 2011 on Thursday, 22

December solstice in 2011 on Thursday, 22

The December solstice will occur at 05:30 UTC on December 22, 2011.

The December solstice is also known as the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere and the summer solstice in the southern hemisphere.

See when the solstice happens in your city

The end of the world in 2012?

Many prophecies about the end of the world surround this date because it corresponds to the last day of the Mayan calendar. The 2012 December solstice will be on December 21, 2012.

What happens at the solstice?

Solstice in DecemberThe North Pole is tilted furthest away from the sun at the solstice. (Not to scale)

The December solstice occurs when the sun reaches its most southerly declination of -23.5 degrees. In other words, it is when the North Pole is tilted 23.5 degrees away from the sun. Depending on the Gregorian calendar, the December solstice occurs annually on a day between December 20 and December 23. On this date, all places above a latitude of 66.5 degrees north (Arctic Polar Circle) are now in darkness, while locations below a latitude of 66.5 degrees south (Antarctic Polar Circle) receive 24 hours of daylight.

Use the Sunrise and Sunset calculator to find the number of daylight hours during the December solstice in cities worldwide.

The sun is directly overhead on the Tropic of Capricorn in the southern hemisphere during the December solstice. It also marks the longest day of the year in terms of daylight hours for those living south of the equator. Those living or travelling south from the Antarctic Circle towards the South Pole will see the midnight sun during this time of the year.

On the contrary, for an observer in the northern hemisphere, the December solstice marks the day of the year with the least hours of daylight. Those living or traveling north of the Arctic Circle towards the North Pole will not be able to see the sun during this time of the year.

The December solstice in the calendar

December 20 and December 23 solstices occur less frequently than December 21 or December 22 solstices in the Gregorian calendar. The last December 23 solstice occurred in 1903 and will not occur again until the year 2303. A December 20 solstice has occurred very rarely, with the next one occurring in the year 2080.(*)

Seasons, Equinoxes and Solstices

As with the June solstice, the December solstice’s varying dates are mainly due to the calendar system. The Gregorian calendar, which is used in most western countries, has 365 days in a common year and 366 days in a leap year. However, the tropical year, which is the length of time the sun takes to return to the same position in the seasons cycle (as seen from earth), is different to the calendar year. The tropical year is approximately 365.242199 days but varies from year to year because of the influence of other planets. The exact orbital and daily rotational motion of the earth, such as the “wobble” in the earth’s axis (precession), also contributes to the changing solstice dates.

Over the course of history, many different schemes have been devised to determine the start of the year. Some are astronomical, beginning at the September or March equinox, or at the June or December solstice. Solstices are more readily observable either by observing when the midday shadow of a gnomon is longest (winter solstice in the northern hemisphere) or shortest (summer solstice in the northern hemisphere). The solstices can also be observed by noting the point of time when the sun rises or sets as far south as it does during the course of the year (winter in the northern hemisphere) or maximally north (summer in the northern hemisphere).

(*) All dates refer to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). Dates may vary depending on the time zone.

December solstice in relation to seasons

It is important to note that earth does not move at a constant speed in its elliptical orbit. Therefore the seasons are not of equal length: the times taken for the sun to move from the vernal equinox to the summer solstice, to the autumnal equinox, to the winter solstice, and back to the vernal equinox are roughly 92.8, 93.6, 89.8 and 89.0 days respectively. The consolation in the northern hemisphere is that spring and summer last longer than autumn and winter (when the December solstice occurs).

The relative position of the earth’s axis to the sun changes during the cycle of seasons. This phenomenon is the reason why the sun’s height above the horizon changes throughout the year. It is also responsible for the seasons through controlling the intensity and duration of sunlight received at various locations around the planet.

Solstice’s influence on cultures

The December solstice has played an important role the lives of many people in ancient times. To this day, the world is still influenced by various traditions linked to the observance of the December solstice.

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Get Your Good Cholesterol With A Vegan Diet

Get Your Good Cholesterol With A Vegan Diet!

Get your good cholesterol with a vegan diet!

What is the difference between good cholesterol and bad cholesterol? The mere mention of cholesterol is enough to make people wince. Its reputation often precedes it in such a way that finding it in a nutritional label of a product is more than enough for anyone to put it right back in the shelf. Well, let’s not be quick to judge and give cholesterol a chance. After all, despite of cholesterol’s unsavory reputation, it actually plays an important role in several of your body processes. Cells use cholesterol to build membranes. It is also used by the sex hormones and by the digestive system. Approximately 20% of your total body cholesterol comes from dietary sources and the rest is synthesized in the liver. In an article entitled “Vegetarian Diets”, published by the American Dietetic Association, Volume 109, Issue 7 (July 2009), several benefits of the vegan diet were identified, and one of which is its role in lowering low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol level. With the aid of a special kind of protein called lipoprotein, cholesterol is transported through the bloodstreams from the liver to the cells and tissues that need it. There are two kinds of lipoproteins: LDLs and HDLs, and each have different functions. LDL cholesterol is referred to as the “bad cholesterol”. They are your body’s main transporter of cholesterol from the liver, to all the cells of your body.


As such, it is heavily loaded with cholesterol. HDL cholesterol, on the other hand, is the “good cholesterol” and plays the role of cholesterol scavengers. After the LDLs have performed their function, and the cholesterol needs of the cells and tissues were met, LDLs releases the cholesterol in the bloodstream. Ideally, the HDLs role is to pick up the excess cholesterol and transport them to the liver for storage. However, on instances when the cholesterol level in the bloodstream is high, and there is not enough HDL to pick them up, the cholesterol builds up in the walls of the arteries. If this happens, then there is one word to describe this—Trouble! T

hese build ups are called plaques, and may eventually cause narrowed or hardened artery walls, leading to heart diseases. This is why HDL is considered the good cholesterol and the LDL is the bad cholesterol. Vegan Diets Lower Cholesterol Levels! You read that right. No amount of cholesterol lowering medications can beat the effectiveness of a raw vegan diet in lowering cholesterol levels. A diet that consists of animal products is high in cholesterol. On the other hand, a raw vegan diet has relatively low cholesterol content and at times, none at all. Amazing, right? And that’s not all. It is also effective in lowering your LDLs because, unlike animal products, vegetables are low in saturated fats. Saturated fats are “bad fats” and these are the fats you don’t want to mess with since they are known to cause high cholesterol level. Another way a healthy vegan diet is effective in lowering cholesterol level is through its high soluble fiber content. With fibers in your intestinal tract, cholesterol is not easily absorbed by the body. You see, there are several ways you can benefit from a vegan diet or vegetarian diet. By feeding your body with the good cholesterol, you’ll reap the rewards of good health. Not only will it reduce the risk of heart diseases but it is also able to provide you the nutrients for important body functions.

the 30-Day Vegan Challenge

The 30-Day Vegan Challenge
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The Ultimate Guide to Eating Cleaner, Getting Leaner, and Living Compassionately

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Whether you want to improve your overall health, shed a few pounds, demonstrate your compassion for animals, or help the environment, expert Colleen Patrick-Goudreau gives you the tools and resources you need to make the vegan transition – healthfully, joyfully, and deliciously. Addressing your every question and challenge, Patrick-Goudreau – dubbed the “Vegan Martha Stewart” – holds your hand the entire time, helping you to break free from old habits and to experience lasting benefits – both tangible and intangible.

Colleen Patrick-Goudreau is the award-winning author of five books, including the bestselling The Joy of Vegan Baking, Color Me Vegan, and Vegan’s Daily Companion. Through her writing, inspiring lectures, and popular podcast “Food for Thought,” she has guided thousands of people to living compassionately and healthfully.


In this one-stop, comprehensive guide, Patrick-Goudreau

  • debunks common nutrition myths and explains the best sources of such nutrients as calcium, protein, iron, and omega-3 fatty acids
  • helps you become a savvy shopper, restock your kitchen, read labels, and prepare nutrient-rich meals without feeling overwhelmed
  • offers practical strategies for eating out, traveling, hosting holiday gatherings, and attending social events
  • empowers you to experience the tangible and intangible benefits of living a healthful, compassionate life

Color Me Vegan

Color Me Vegan
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Maximize Your Nutrient Intake and Optimize Your Health by Eating Antioxidant-Rich, Fiber-Packed, Color-Intense Meals That Taste Great

In Color Me Vegan, award-winning author and renowned vegan cooking expert Colleen Patrick-Goudreau brings an edible rainbow of plant-based cuisine to your kitchen table with 150 flavorful recipes designed to boost your health and perk up your palate. With color as the guiding principle behind each section, Colleen shows you how to harness the antioxidant power of every natural food in the color spectrum – from ruby red fruits to leafy green vegetables, to earthy brown grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds – and how to expertly prepare these foods for the greatest nutritional punch. And as always, each dish features Colleen’s trademark flair for bringing taste and fresh innovation to the table.

In the “Color Me Blue/Purple” chapter, for example, you’ll learn how the anthocyanins found in blue and purple plants can help protect you against high blood pressure and high cholesterol – and you’ll be treated to delicious recipes that showcase these plants, such as Lavender-Roasted Purple Potatoes and Purple Plum Pie with Crumble Topping.

In other chapters, you’ll find even more culinary delights, including:

  • Ginger-Roasted Parsnips
  • Apricot Red Lentil Stew
  • Seared Tempeh with Cherry Balsamic Reduction Sauce
  • Cashew and Red Lentil Burgers
  • Quinoa, Tofu, and Kale with Walnut Pesto
  • Lemony Pan-Fried Chickpeas with Chard Mango Saffron Mousse
  • Strawberries with Lavender Sauce

From sensational starters and salads, to filling mains and sides, to crave-worthy desserts—in every color—each recipe is not just a feast for your stomach, but a feast for your eyes as well!

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