Opt Out Of The TSA Airport Scanners
- Created on Sunday, 22 May 2011 12:52
Five eminent professors from three prominent universities have issued a position paper stating that "there is still no hard data for the safety of x-ray airport passenger scanners." They declare that the claimed safety of the scanners by the TSA is based on "rigged tests." First, they didn't even test the machines. The testing was done on a custom combination of spare parts rigged together by the manufacturer (Rapidscan). The actual machines used at airports have never been tested. Second, the names of the researchers who conducted the tests have been kept secret, and their work has never been subject to peer review. These were secret tests, using secret methods, done by secret people, But, it's worse than that: the researchers did not do the testing. They were simply invited to observe tests that were done by the manufacturer on the manufacturer's turf and on the manufacturer's terms. Furthermore, all crucial numbers were redacted for being "proprietary."
The professors point out that the intensity of the TSA x-rays are comparable to a CT scan, which is the most intense diagnostic x-ray used in Medicine. They claim that the radiation detection device used by Rapidscan to measure the output of the machines – an ion chamber – is incapable of accurately measuring the high-intensity burst of radiation produced by the scanners. And, since the amount of electrical current applied to the X-ray tubes has been redacted by the TSA, it is impossible for third-party scientists to accurately calculate the actual radiation exposure.
The TSA adamantly refuses to allow independent testing of the radiation levels being emitted by the machines, and they claim it's because terrorists might gain an advantage. But that's ridiculous. These university scientists are offering to test the machines themselves. Can they not be trusted?
One professor, John Sedat, a professor emeritus in biochemistry and biophysics at UCSF and the primary author of the letter says, "..the best guess of the dose is much, much higher than certainly what the public thinks." Another professor, a physicist from Arizona State, Peter Rez, estimates that the actual dosage of radiation is 45X higher than what the TSA is saying.
There is also the danger of mechanical failure. The machines emit a high radiation beam that moves quickly back and forth across your entire body. But, if it gets stuck- if the wheel fails for any reason- it would focus an extremely high level of radiation to a very small cluster of body cells, mutating their DNA. The TSA has allowed no independent testing of these mechanical devices nor the software that controls them.
On its website, the TSA says that only .66% of travelers opt out of the scan. If true, I find it amazing that so many people submit to this. Why do they believe the government? It is the same government that lied us into war so many times. They lied about the swine flu to get us to take the shots. They have lied about the safety of other vaccinations. They said the air was safe to breathe at Ground Zero after 9/11-and now the workers are dying. And speaking of 9/11, over 1000 architects and engineers have signed a petition demanding a new independent investigation of the collapse of Building 7, which was never hit by a plane. They say that the government's scientific analysis of its collapse was preposterous and absurd. The point is that in matters of science, the government cannot be trusted.
My best advice to you is: don't let them x-ray you at the airport. Opt out. That is what i am going to do. Or, I won't fly at all.
Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human
- Created on Saturday, 14 May 2011 05:01
This is the title of a book by a famous anthropologist, Richard Wrangham. And, he is really a fan of cooking. I think this is a book that every raw-fooder should read. And it’s precisely because it goes against the grain of their thinking. It’s important to challenge our own beliefs and put them to the test.
Much of his book is devoted to his theory of how cooking drove the whole process of biological evolution of humans via random mutations and natural selection. But, as you may know, I do not subscribe to Neo-Darwinism in any form. So, that part of the book did not register with me. I’ll add that all such theories about how evolution took place are pure speculations. All they prove is that the individual has a vivid imagination.
However, my interest in the book relates to his theory about how long humans have cooked. And he estimates that it is 1.8 to 1.9 million years. So, nearly 2 million years. That’s a long time, and if it’s true, then it certainly challenges the idea that cooking is unnatural for humans. Anything that humans have done for nearly 2 million years, and mostly in a state of nature, can hardly be called unnatural.
Of course, I am using the word “people” loosely. Anatomically-modern homo sapiens, in other words, people like you and me, are believed to have first appeared about 100,000 years ago. So, when Dr. Wrangham refers to humans cooking 1.8 million years ago, he is referring to humanoid ancestors.
Keep in mind that he does not provide concrete evidence of cooking that goes back that far. Concrete evidence would be, for instance, a cooking hearth. Such concrete evidence only goes back about 300,000 years. Instead, he makes his case based on the known anatomical characteristics of human ancestors 1.8 million years ago. Even then, says Wrangham, human ancestors had small mouths, small teeth, jaws with limited moblity, and short digestive tracts, and all that points to one thing: a creature that cooks.
And he highlights the biological advantages of cooking: increased digestibility, increased opportunism about food and wider range and choices of foods, lower risk of food-borne illness, easier extraction of calories from food (which may not be considered an advantage today with an obesity epidemic going on but was an advantage then), and even the fact that food could be consumed more quickly.
Regarding raw-foodists, Wrangham has studied them and interviewed them. He makes an interesting point that raw foodism is entirely a modern concept. There are no ancient traditions of eating all-raw food anywhere on Earth. And he makes the interesting point that it is only possible because of modern circumstances, where through modern agriculture and commerce and distribution, raw foodists can obtain all the foods they need without much difficulty yearround. However, living in a state of nature, as humans and pre-humans did for most or all of their existence, raw foodism would have been much less feasible. In fact, he goes so far as to say that it would have been impossible under most of the conditions that human beings have lived, both pre and post agriculture. He makes the case that human beings are- first, last, and always- the apes that cook.
I don’t say that I agree with him entirely. He seems to disparage raw food, whereas I think it is an important part of the diet. I think it would be dreadful not to have any raw food. But clearly, he succeeds in challenging the belief that cooking is unnatural for humans. Just because animals don't do it does not mean that we shouldn't cook.
Clearly, no other creature besides us wears shoes. Does that mean that humans should also go barefoot? Well, here in Texas where I live, you can’t even walk across the green grass barefoot. Between the razor-sharp grass burrs, the fire ants, and the stinging nettle, it will leave you in tears. And this comparison to wearing shoes is directly relevant to the issue of cooking. We wear shoes because our feet are delicate and tender. And likewise, you can say that we cook some of our food because our digestive tracts are delicate and tender. You can argue that our feet “evolved” that way precisely because we started wearing shoes, but again, that kind of argument doesn’t interest me. It’s pure speculation. The fact is: our feet are delicate and tender, and we need to protect them. How they got that way is anyone's guess, and it hardly matters.
But getting back to cooking, again, we cook because our digestive tracts are tender and delicate, and some foods suit us better if we cook them. Consider kale. It’s extremely nutritious, and you can eat it raw if you grow it yourself and pick it when it’s very young and tender, like lettuce. But, if you are buying kale at the supermarket, you had better cook it. It’s mature, which means that It’s too tough and fibrous to eat and digest raw. And even if the cooking destroys some of the vitamins, it doesn’t matter. There are so many vitamins there that you can afford to lose a few. So, don’t worry about it. You will get more good out of that vegetable if you cook it. Your bottom line (the amount you digest and absorb) will be greater, and that's what matters.
So, where I stand on the issue of cooking is: I eat all of my fruits raw; I eat all of my nuts raw (and that includes ordering totally raw almonds online which I cannot buy in stores because of government edict); and I eat some of my vegetables raw- the ones that are tender and succulent enough to eat raw. And that’s it. The rest of my foods I cook, including many vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. I think it is a good balanced and practical approach. I do think it is important to eat a generous amount of raw food, but I don't think it is necessary or desirable to eat everything raw. It narrows, confines, and limits the diet too much and all for the sake of adhering to a philosophy of extreme naturalism. But, is an all-raw diet all that natural for humans? Dr. Wrangham doesn't think so, and neither do I.
A Tale Of Two Doctors
- Created on Saturday, 07 May 2011 19:01
The other day, I came across a couple of interesting stories online that could not be more disparate.
First, there was Dr. Mehmet Oz, who endorsed the new movie, Forks Over Knives, which is a documentary about people who have overcome serious diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease, by adopting a low-fat, vegan (plants-only) diet. It featured some famous vegetarian doctors, including Dr. Collin Campbell, Dr. William Esselstyn, Dr. Neal Barnard, and Dr. John McDougall. They all recommend a diet of fruits, vegetables, (including starchy vegetables like potatoes) beans, and whole grains, and that’s all. I found it amazing that the film is being offered as a regular, big-screen movie that you have to go to the theater to see. I wish them all the luck, but moviegoers today tend to be quite young, and well, I have my doubts that this is going to work, commercially speaking. But, I agree that unrefined plant foods are tops when it comes to disease prevention. I have not seen the movie, but I am concerned whether they mentioned the need to take Vitamin B12 on a vegan diet. I suspect they didn’t because they are trying to sell a big idea, and it would come across as negative to say, “Be sure to take a B12 supplement on this diet or you could get into serious trouble.” I know that would be poor salesmanship, but I hope they were responsible enough to do it anyway because I know that people have died from B12 deficiencies on vegan diets. What I mean is that I have personally known people who have died from B12 deficiencies on vegan diets. And beyond that, I am concerned about the ultra-low fat aspect of their diet. Demonizing fat, categorically, makes no more sense than demonizing carbohydrate. Both occur widely in nature. Both appeal strongly to human senses. An Australian study from last year demonstrated how keen and sharp the fat-sensing mechanism is in human beings. It seems that we are driven to eat fats, the healthy kind that occur in plants such as nuts, seeds, and avocadoes. I realize that that is a long-standing debate., but not for a second do I doubt the claims that they make. I just think that people could do every bit as well including healthy plant fats.
By the way, my understanding is that Dr. Oz is mostly vegan. His wife and children are completely vegan. I recall that he has said that he does sometimes eat animal foods, but to a very limited extent. He strongly appreciates and respects the health benefits of going vegan. And he devotes many episodes of his television program to extolling the virtues of a plant-based diet.
The second thing I came across online on the same day was a report about a trip made by Dr. Michael Eades, who is an advocate for a very different kind of diet: the paleo diet, which emphasizes meat and other animal foods Dr. Eades and his wife (who is also an MD and whose initials are MD) travelled to a hog farm in New Jersey where they raise a rare breed of hog called the Mangalitsa, which is from Holland. The Mangalitsa is known as a “lard hog” because it has so much fat compared to other breeds. They have a fat-to- lean ratio of 80 to 20, which is very high. The resultant pork chops have thick layers of fat and are marbled throughout with fat. Dr. Eades pointed out that commercial pork today is dry and tasteless because, as part of the low-fat hysteria, they have been breeding pigs to be lean, turning them into “the other white meat.” I don’t eat pork and I haven’t in decades, but I can still relate to what he is saying. For instance, when I buy an avocado, if it’s low in fat and therefore watery and bland, I don’t enjoy it as much as when it’s high in fat and rich-tasting . There is no getting around the fact that human beings like the taste of fat.
So, Dr. Eades took part in the whole process from killing the hog, to slaughtering it, to preparing it. And he said it is a real delicacy with most every part of the animal being deliciously edible, including the liver, kidneys, heart, and lungs. He did not speak well of the hogs. He said that they were very dumb due to their very small brains. I was amazed by his callousness towards them. But, one of the owners, a young man who gave a tour of the farm, wasn’t that way at all. He seemed very respectful and kindly towards the hogs almost like they were his pets- despite the reality of their fate.
I like to keep track of Dr. Eades just because he is so extreme. I have never heard him say anything positive about any plant food- not a fruit, not a vegetable, nothing. There are other paleos (such as Dr. Loren Cordain) who exalt meat but also rave about fruits and vegetables and also nuts and oil-seeds. But, Dr. Eades is only interested in animal foods: meats, fish, eggs, etc. I get the feeling that he avoids dairy products, except for butter. He’s not opposed to salt, and he loves his alcohol too. Of course, he does eat some plant food, how could he not? But, in one post he spoke of eating broccoli as part of a ribe-eye steak dinner, and he said that “a little butter, salt, and pepper helped it (the broccoli) go down.” Clearly, Dr. Eades is the most anti of the anti-vegetarians that I know of.
So, there you have it: two prominent, well known doctors who are as polar-opposite about diet as could possibly be.
In some fields, we expect there to be a lot of divergence of opinion. Who is going to win the next World’s Series? Is the recession over or is it about to get worse? Is the price of silver going to rebound or fall further? But, human nutrition is studied scientifically, and it has been for nearly 100 years. How could there be so much divergence of opinion about diet today after all the research that has been done? Yikes!
But, allow me to finish with a suggestion. All of these diet doctors- including McDougall, Barnard, and Esselstyn from the veggie side, and Eades, Cordain, and Mercola from the paleo side- they should all agree to undergo a carotid artery ultrasound at the same time so that we can find out the condition of their carotid arteries and compare. The test is harmless, and it’s not that expensive. And it tells a lot about a person's real internal health. The only caveat is that age is a factor as arteries tend to worsen with age. So, an adjustment would have to be made for that. However, some of the above-named doctors are close in age (60-ish), so a straight-up comparison would be fine. I am 60, so let me be the first to volunteer. I’ll do it; I’ll pay for it: and I’ll share the results with the world. Doctors, are you willing?
Vitamin D2 vs. Vitamin D3
- Created on Sunday, 01 May 2011 19:01
I have been asked by a customer why we do not offer Vitamin D2, the plant-form of Vitamin D. since there are a lot of vegetarians who want to avoid animal products. And I know there are some prominent vegetarian doctors who recommend Vitamin D2, but I do not. And let’s get one thing straight: there is no question that Vitamin D3 is far safer and far better. If you want to take a dubious, second-rate product just because it’s vegetarian, you can; but don’t kid yourself. You are compromising.
Vitamin D3, cholecalciferol, is natural Vitamin D. It is identical to the Vitamin D that your body makes from cholesterol when you are exposed to sunlight.
However, according to the Vitamin D Council, headed by Dr. John Cannell MD, “Vitamin D2, otherwise known as ergocalciferol or ‘vegetarian vitamin D’, is not vitamin D at all, but rather, a vitamin D-like drug whose patent has expired. It does not normally occur in the human body and is probably a weak agonist at the receptor site, meaning it may actually partially block vitamin D actions. Ergocalciferol is the villain in most of the reported cases of Vitamin D toxicity in the world's literature. All bets are off in terms of measuring blood levels if you take ergocalciferol. Some of the labs can pick it up and some cannot. Do not take ergocalciferol—it is not vitamin D.”
Dr. Cannell also said that of all the reported cases of Vitamin D toxicity in the medical literature, all involved ergocalciferol except one. And that one exception involved a man who accidentally took a super-gigantic dose of Vitamin D3 for two years. And he recovered spontaneously with minimal treatment and no reprocussions. All the rest, including every single death, and every single major disability, with both children and adults, involved Vitamin D2. What does that tell you about the safety of D2?
But even apart from catastrophes, there is evidence that D3 is clearly superior. A recent study involved giving subjects 50,000 IUs weekly in the form of either D3 or D2. Those getting D3 showed a much better response in terms of raising 25-hydroxy-Vitamin D levels in the blood. Also, subcutaneous levels of Vitamin D were found to be much higher in the D3 group.
The researchers concluded, “D3 is approximately 87 percent more potent in raising and maintaining serum 25-hydroxy-vitamin D concentrations and produces 2- to 3-fold greater storage of vitamin D than does D2. Given its greater potency and lower cost, D3 should be the preferred treatment option when correcting vitamin D deficiency.”
It’s important to note that provding Vitamin D2 has never been shown to prevent fractures, as has Vitamin D3.
The truth is that Vitamin D2 came about just so that a drug company could have a patentable drug to sell at a high price. And to this day, most of the Vitamin D offered by drug companies is in the form of D2, and that, in my opinion, is a crime because Vitamin D2 is toxic.
So, what should vegetarians do about Vitamin D? I think they should make an exception and take Vitamin D3. That’s what I do. I do not eat meat, but I do take Vitamin D3. Look, Nature made us the way we are with the needs that we have. There’s no use in fighting that. I am as enthused about vegetarianism as anybody and have been for over 40 years. But here we are talking here about a crucial nutritional compound that is of utmost importance: life or death importance. Vitamin D2 is unsafe; sunlamps are unsafe; and sunbathing is very unreliable. And the older you get, the less reliable it is. Taking Vitamin D3 is, by far, the most practical, most safe, and most effective strategy. And, anyone who tells you that taking Vitamin D2 is just as good has got an agenda, and it is not your best health.
Humphrey Bogart: Tough Without A Gun
- Created on Sunday, 24 April 2011 21:44
The above is the title of the newest biography of Humphrey Bogart, written by Stefan Kanfer. The American Film Institute ranks Humphrey Bogart the #1 male movie-star of all time. Kanfer agrees with that, but he also points out that Bogart has had the most enduring and successful afterlife of any film star. Bogart died in 1957, but today, his popularity is still soaring.
I have to think that his enduring popularity is due, in large part, to his role in Casablanca. As Rick Blaine, he was not only the ultimate tough guy, but the ultimate strong and heroic American: hard-boiled and unwavering on the outside, but compassionate and duty-bound on the inside. That’s pure Americana.
Casablanca was made in 1942 when he was 42. His co-star, of course, was the beautiful and luminous Ingrid Bergman. She was only 27 at the time, so he was 15 years her senior. It’s interesting that the rather large age difference between them was never a factor in the story, not then, and not now. The very realistic toupee he wore certainly helped mitigate the age difference. Another obstacle that, if unaddressed, would certainly have marred their screen chemistry was the fact that Ingrid was at least two inches taller than Bogie. That was solved with various props, and when necessary, he wore 3 inch shoe-lifts. And besides being short, he was rather small; he typically weighed in the 130s -so not a big guy. I really think they padded his white dinner jacket in Casablanca. I have never read that anywhere, but I believe it. He looks beefier wearing it than he does in other scenes. Another movie in which they did that, and even more exaggerated, was In A Lonely Place. They made him look like a linebacker.
But, there is another reason why Rick Blaine is often considered the ultimate personification of the real Humphrey Bogart: and that’s all the smoking and drinking his character did. In real life, Humphrey Bogart smoked and drank heavily. Was he an alcoholic? He reportedly was at times in his life, but they say that he never let alcohol interfere with his work. His most famous quote is: “There are two kinds of men: professionals and bums.” On the set, he limited himself to one beer, and that was it until shooting stopped.
Bogie looked good in Casablanca, but just 15 years later, he died an agonizing death from esophageal cancer. It wasted him down to 80 pounds. Was it mainly the smoking or the drinking that killed him? Considering that it was esophageal cancer, it is impossible to say because both are strongly linked to it. If we say both equally, we won’t be far off.
Also, it’s worth noting that the culture of his day truly celebrated smoking and drinking. The status of alcohol was actually elevated by Prohibition. Bogart once said, “I don’t trust a man who doesn’t drink because it means he’s afraid to reveal himself.” The anti-smoking movement did not begin until the 1960s, which was after Bogart’s death. Bogart was a product of his era. His habits were commonplace, especially in Hollywood circles.
Unlike other stars of whom I have written, Bogart did not dream of being an actor as a child. He stumbled into it by chance. After a lackluster stint in the Navy at the tail-end of WW1, he returned to New York and drifted aimlessly from job to job. Then, an old boyhood chum, Bill Brady, got him a job as a stage hand at his father’s theater company. That led to small roles for Bogart because it was common to use stage hands to fill out scenes. Right away, he found out that he enjoyed acting and had a knack for it.
They say that Bogart came from wealth, but it hardly benefited him. His parents had no role in facilitating his acting career. His father was a prominent physician and surgeon in New York, but he became an alcoholic, a morphine addict, and a compulsive gambler. He died penniless and in debt, and young Humphrey assumed all his father’s debts and paid them off- even though he was under no legal obligation to do so. Bogie’s mother, Maud Humphrey, was one of the leading commercial illustrators of the early 20th century. She did the first Gerber baby illustrations that were used in advertising and on labels. She lived quite long and did leave some assets to her two surviving children (one daughter had died of alcoholism). However, Bogart saw to it that the money went to the care of his surviving sister Frances who was mentally ill her entire life. Bogart paid for Frances’ expensive care throughout, and it was something that motivated him to succeed in his career.
It was the Great Depression that took Bogart from Broadway to Hollywood. Hard times stifled the demand for live theater, but in contrast, the popularity of movies soared. Bogart was type-cast as a gangster, and he had some memorable roles, such as in High Sierra and The Petrified Forest. But then, the role of Detective Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon gave him a cooler, hipper image with audiences. And that led to his casting in Casablanca, which put him at the top of his profession, where he remained for the rest of his life.
But now, let’s delve into his health in more detail because that is always our focus on this blog. My impression is that, despite his bad habits, Humphrey Bogart was remarkably healthy most of his life. Unlike other stars, such as Clark Gable, Elizabeth Taylor, and Marilyn Monroe, no movie ever had to be postponed because of his ill-health. And he made 75 of them!
As I mentioned, Bogart was always thin, and he struggled to maintain his weight, and I mean to hold on to it. Why? It was probably due mainly to his smoking and drinking. Both undermine digestion and assimilation. However, adding to that in Bogart’s case was the fact that he was simply not a food person. He had little interest in food. He ate to live, but he certainly didn’t live to eat. He was a conventional eater with working class tastes. He famously said that a hot dog at the ball park was better than a steak at the Ritz. The book I read said little about Bogart’s diet, but there was one incident concerning a stray cat that he adopted that shed some light on it. It said that he fed the cat whatever he ate, including half-raw meat, organs, milk, steak, rabbit, venison, and chicken. The cat also enjoyed potatoes, so Bogie named him Potato; and the cat lived for 15 years.
There was mention of food during the making of The African Queen. There was great concern about parasites and dysentery in Africa, so they did not drink the local water or eat the local food. Bogart said that he lived on canned baked beans and canned asparagus that they brought with them. I suspect a person living on such limited fare would lose weight, and he does look bone-thin in The African Queen.
What about exercise? Bogart was naturally athletic. He was an excellent golfer, and he was also an excellent sailor, which can be very physical. Reportedly, he also had his share of barroom brawls- also physical. And on the mental side, Bogart was a tournament chess player, just one level below Master. He once played to a draw against a leading grandmaster. He loved chess, and it was his idea to insert chess in his introductory scene of Casablanca.
Humphrey Bogart started getting sick in a serious way at the age of 55 in 1955. He was married to his 4th wife Lauren Bacall at the time who was surely the love of his life despite being 24 years his junior. It started with non-stop, uncontrollable coughing. He avoided seeing doctors at first, and his cancer was not diagnosed until 1956. He underwent multiple surgeries and chemotherapy. My impression is that nothing they did prolonged his life, and they probably shortened it. After all, radical treatment imposes a huge strain on the body, and we are talking about 1950’s Medicine. But when his death spiral set in, it was frightening, his weight falling off rapidly and his energy withering away to nothing. He was wheelchair-bound in his final months. Temporarily, on doctor’s advice, he would quit smoking and drinking, but never for long. He would leave the world the same way he went through it, and apparently with no regrets.
I am a non-smoker, a teetotaler, and a vegetarian. So, how did I wind up becoming such a Bogart fan? I’ll answer that by quoting another actor, Rod Steiger, who I believe was speaking for a lot of people when he said:
“Bogart has endured because in our society the family unit has gone to pieces. And here you had a guy about whom there was no doubt. There is no doubt that he is the leader. There is no doubt that he is the strong one. There is no doubt that this man can handle himself- and others; that he can protect the family. This is all unconscious, but with Bogart you are secure; you never doubt that he will take care of things.”
That was the image Bogart had in his life- and it only grew bigger after his death.
Blueberries inhibit fat cell formation
- Created on Wednesday, 20 April 2011 18:51
A recent study out of the University of Texas found that blueberries confer an inhibitory effect on the development of adipocytes (fat cells) in mice. They found that giving blueberry polyphenols to mice resulted in the formation of fewer adipocyte cells. There is a differentiation that has to take place in order to for fat cells to materialize, and that differentiation process- from preadipocyte to adipocyte- was inhibited by the blueberry polyphenols. The result was fewer fat cells. The effect was found to be dose-dependent with the highest dose causing a 74 percent reduction in lipid content. The concluding remarks were:
"We still need to test this dose in humans, to make sure there are no adverse effects, and to see if the doses are as effective. This is a burgeoning area of research. Determining the best dose for humans will be important. The promise is there for blueberries to help reduce adipose tissue from forming in the body."
Meanwhile, last year, a study out of Israel concerning pomegranates found that college students (both male and female) who were given 8 ounces of pomegranate juice every day for six weeks lost significant fat weight- without altering their diets at all.
For a long time, the prevailing wisdom was that a calorie was a calorie, and fatness was entirely a numbers game. If you consume more calories than you burn, you get fat, regardless of what the source of the calories is. But, that is rubbish. Some calories are definitely more fattening than other calories. And some foods, such as blueberries and pomegranates, which do contain some calories (as all foods do) actually help you lose weight.
That’s why I have been saying for years that it is much more important to control what you eat than how much you eat. If you are going to eat junk, then even if you skip meals occasionally, your body is going to undergo a gradual but relentless fatification. It’s not so much a caloric numbers game as it is a degenerative disease resulting from chronic malnutrition.
The key is to eat a lot of unrefined plants, and it’s a good idea to eat plenty of them raw too. At least, eat raw the ones that can enjoyably be eaten raw, which includes all fruits, all nuts except chestnuts, and whichever vegetables you find tender, succulent, and sweet enough to eat and enjoy raw. They myriad of phytochemicals in whole plant foods not only protect us against disease; they help keep us lean.
- Created on Saturday, 16 April 2011 02:52
I have been asked by a faithful customer to write a blog about the elderly. So, I am just going to muse a little bit here about what I think are important issues for the elderly. First, I think the elderly should be very cautious about taking drugs. Older people do not clear drugs from their bodies as efficiently or as rapidly, and there is greater risk of harm. Note also that the effects of drugs are cumulative. For instance, painkillers- including both prescription and over the counter ones- damage the kidneys. The same is true of anti-inflammatory drugs. So, you really want to avoid them as much as possible. For instance, if you have a headache, instead of taking a painkiller, try applying an ice-pack. Try to steer clear of those drugs as much as you possibly can.
Another example is statin drugs for high cholesterol. I don't think they should be taken by the elderly, and certainly not prophylactically. What I mean is that if you have no history of heart disease, and no particular signs of heart disease, but you happen to have high cholesterol, just leave it. Of course, you can always improve your diet and try to lower it that way. I'll never object to that. But don't take statins. For one thing, the association between high cholesterol and heart attacks falls apart after age 70. And more important, elderly people with higher cholesterol actually live longer than those with lower cholesterol. It's believed that cholesterol protects against cancer and infections-two of the leading causes of death among the elderly. But the most important thing, in my opinion, is to refuse to take statin drugs. Read the book, Lipitor: Thief of Memory by Dr. Duane Graveline. If you do, you'll want no part of statin drugs.
An invariable effect of aging is atrophy. That's where your good tissues (such as bone, muscle, even your brain) shrink and shrivel up. The result is that you get weaker, slower, more frail, more fragile, etc. This happens to everyone to some degree,. It's natural and you might even say universal. However, we need to fight it as much as we can. There are various causes of it, including the loss of youthful hormone levels, and also habitual inactivity. However, another reason that applies specifically to the elderly is malnutrition, which relates not only to what the elderly person eats but also to how well he or she digests and absorbs the food. Digestion, like everything else, gets weaker with age. In particular, hydrochloric acid production in the stomach declines a lot with age, and you need hydrochloric acid to properly digest your proteins. I think there are many elderly people who should consider taking digestive support, in the form of hydrochloric acid and digestive enzymes, to help them make better use of their food. And of course, their diet has got to be properly constructed and balanced. No "tea and toast" elderly diet will do. I should add that dental problems often compromise nutrition for the aged. Obviously, you should work closely with your dentist and practice careful, thorough, and regular dental hygiene- as should everyone. But, if your choppers just aren't up to par any more, you need to find ways to work around it. If you can't chew raw green salads any more, then you should blend them. If you can't chew raw nuts any more, then you can grind them in a coffee grinder. Don't compromise your diet just because of bad teeth. Find ways to work around it.
You have to exercise if you intend to live. There is nothing better than walking. If you can walk at all, you had better do it. Even if you do other things, make it a practice to walk regularly, faithfully, and daily, if possible. Realize that walking is the most bio-mechanically sound exercise you can do. There is nothing better. There is nothing kinder and gentler to your body. There is nothing more rythmic and smooth and balanced. Swimming and pool exercises are also very good. Gym machines like stair climbers and stationary bicycles aren't bad either, but nothing beats walking. Games like tennis, golf, and racquetball are fun, but many people get hurt playing them. There is lots of strain involved when you're twisting and turning and reaching, etc., as you do in those sports. So be cautious with those activities.
I mentioned the need to be cautious about drugs, but the same is true of surgery. Older people do not tolerate anesthetics as well. The shock of surgery, the blood loss, the trauma- it's all much more arduous for an older person. So, don't be overly enthusiastic about having surgery. For instance, if you are an 80 year old man, and if you are not in pain and if you are able to pass your urine freely, don't submit to prostate cancer surgery. I certainly wouldn't. I'm 60 and I wouldn't.
One surgery I do believe in for the elderly is cataract surgery. Just make sure you have a highly experienced surgeon.
Should the elderly get flu shots? I don't and I wouldn't. For one thing, the serological (antibody) response of the elderly to the flu shot is much weaker. There are plenty of authorities within mainstream Medicine who say that flu shots are useless for the elderly. Are you aware that those who have had multiple flu shots have a much higher risk of developing Alzheimer's disease? I think that a much better, safer, and more effective option is to take high-dose Vitamin D3: 5000 IUs daily. That's what I do. Yes, it's safe, even for the elderly.
I'll finish by pointing out that it's in your senior years that the idea of "leaving well enough alone" should carry a lot of weight, especially when it comes to radical interventions. I hate to have to say this, but in my opinion, medical abuses far outweigh medical miracles even in 2011, so be wary!
Sign of the Times
- Created on Wednesday, 13 April 2011 16:49
I recently heard from a man who was advised to have a CT scan of his brain, which he underwent. The reason was that he has a hand tremor. His age is 63. He got a second opinion before submitting to the brain scan. Both doctors strongly urged him to do it because they thought it was highly possible he could have a brain tumor. And ultimately, he did it because he was freaked out about that. Who wants to live with uncertainty about whether or not you have a brain tumor? So, he did it, and fortunately, the scan came back negative. But, how likely was it that he had a brain tumor? The most common symptoms of a brain tumor are headaches, seizures, visual problems, hearing problems, garbled speech, gait problems, cognitive and personality disruptions, and nausea/vomiting. This man had none of those symptoms. The chance that a brain tumor would present with one-sided hand tremor and nothing else is exceedingly small. Laughably small. However, to treat peripheral neuropathy, he has been taking two anti-seizure drugs, Neurontin and Tegretol, for decades, and both of those drugs are known to cause tremors with longterm use. Weren't those drugs the most likely cause of his hand tremor and not a brain tumor? He received a whopping dose of radiation from that CT scan, and the dye they injected into him is hardly safe either. I think it was medical malpractice for them to order that scan. There was no justification for it. And in the tiny, remote possibility that he had a brain tumor, other symptoms would have manifested soon enough to point to it. There was no need to go fishing for it. This is prime example of medical exploitation, and it happens countless times every day. And we are all victims because the costs get passed down to all of us through higher medical insurance premiums and the taxes that we pay. And of course, it is only going to get worse under Obama Care. Now, more than ever, you need to be wary and remain independent when it comes to all medical decisions. It's a jungle out there, and the system is rigged against patients. Don't be overly impressed with any doctor. Be prepared to make your own decisions concerning your health.