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*** UPDATED on Aug 23 ***
Please be ready to have some of your dearest beliefs shattered. There's basically two camps when it comes to health and nutrition: those who believe in science, medicine and the establishment; and those who believe everything that falls under the "alternative" label, instead. Both groups have it all wrong. The truth is neither here nor there nor anywhere in-between, either; it is somewhere else entirely. Science is good in its principles. but they are not always applied, and when you read about a study you have to question who paid for it. Medicine is subservient to big pharma, and therefore highly suspect, and doctors are not nutritionists; --they know much about illness, but little about health, generally. Finally, alternative medicine is a catch all, with snake oil and mummified cat soup vendors everywhere. Magnets for your foot, chrystals to dangle over your head, and all kinds of herbs and powders (some of which work, mind you, but where many do not), not to speak of $2000 water ionizers that supposedly restore your body's alkalinity... Anything to make you part with your money.
Then there's alternatives indroduced by or living alongside medicine, like Physiotherapy, which is often prescribed when a doctor can't diagnose the cause of your pain; or disciplines quietly embraced, bank-rolled and pushed by big pharma, like "controlled opposition", enter Homeopathy, which was originally un-diluted, but became more and more diluted over time, and which was to be Allopathy's killer, --and it succeeded at that; Allopathy is dead--, but is now pitted (by who?) against the present medical establishment, which would be good, if it were any good... But its tenets are a wee bit dated... Anyhow, the drug industry had been toying with the idea of a commercial placebo, so doctors wouldn't have to prescribe so many unnecessary antibiotics, and then... enter Homeopathy! With just a bit of tweaking it became a really believable mother of all placebos, with a whole history behind it. So, homeopathic preparations (--i.e. pricey water) are believed to be such a grassroots "alternative", yet they are sold in pharmacies! No kidding? No red lights flashing? Alternative medicine, sold at pharmacies? Think about it...
People who believe in Homeopathy often believe in it so strongly it is almost hopeless to try and wake them up. To them it's like if Homeopathy is a hoax, then the whole world might as well go to Hell. A friend of a friend of mine, about a year ago, comes in shouting with excitement "You know? There is now a cure for cancer! And it's homeopathic!!!". My question to her was not about double-blind, controlled experiments to prove it works, but rather "Who says it is homeopathic? Who decides what is homeopathic and what isn't?" By its very definition, a homeopathic remedy should be some herb that brings effects similar to the symptoms of your illness, but what are the symptoms of cancer? Pain and Death. So you need a herb that causes pain and death? Hemlock?
But okay, let's move to less controversial stuff, like trans-fats. They ARE bad, even if everybody tells you they are bad. And omega-3's are good, even if everybody tells you they are good.
But just about everything else IS controversial, though...
Bread, pasta. breakfast "cereal"...? Serial killers. Read "Good Calories, Bad Calories", or "Grain Brain", or "Wheat Belly", or "The Primal Blueprint". or ... Why-grains-are-unhealthy.
Good vs. bad cholesterol...? They don't even exist. Surprised? It's true: HDL and LDL are lipo-proteins; they are NOT "types of cholesterol". Cholesterol is not a protein. Please ask your doctor next time, "If HDL and LDL are lipo-proteins, NOT cholesterol, then why are they called "The Good Cholesterol" and "The Bad Cholesterol?" See what he or she says... Wear a helmet, their head might explode... All this HDL and LDL stuff is a huge make-believe without a shred of real research to back it up. All parts of that hugely complex sales pitch that leads to cholesterol control drug sales --the biggest selling drugs in pharmacological history. Trillions-worth scam; no exaggeration. So, what are these lipo-proteins? They are containers for the safe transport of fats in the blood. They are like beach balls of protein, water-soluble on the outside, lipophilic on the inside. They can transport cholesterol, and/or fatty acids, and/or triglycerides. HDL are bigger. One HDL molecule can fit over 1000 cholesterol molecules. The LDL molecule is smaller. Anyways, to call them "good" and "bad" is like saying that 48-roll cardboard boxes of toilet paper are "good toilet paper", but 12-roll bags are "bad toilet paper". The toilet paper is the same. Similarly, whether found in HDL or LDL lipoprotein containers, cholesterol is same.
Cholesterol bad for you? Absolutely not. Cholesterol is the ancestor molecule to all our steroidal hormones --pregnenolone, progesterone, testosterone, DHT, estrogen, estradiol, etc. Cholesterol is the main ingredient in myelin, the insulating substance that wraps our nerves, and that is lost with MS (Multiple Sclerosis). Cholesterol is our first layer of protection against body-fat rancidization, by acting as a decoy, attracting free radicals. Cholesterol is also used by the immune system to suffocate invaders. And only about 5% of our cholesterol comes from food, anyways; our bodies manufacture 95% of it. People on cholesterol control drugs have been increasingly reporting MS-like side-effects. Unfortunately, those are not side-effects; they are direct effects. Cholesterol control drugs are a commercial genocide. Look up "The Truth About Cholesterol" in Youtube.
Cholesterol causes atherosclerosis? Nope; it is the other way around: atherosclerosis causes raised levels of LDL lipo-protein, rather. Atherosclerosis is caused by hardening of arterial walls, resulting in lesions which get infected, for which cholesterol is dialed up as immune response. The hardening is produced by excess calcium. Do you take calcium supplements? Should you? There's a book titled "Death by Calcium". Look it up in Amazon, or read the first chapter here.
Is osteoporosis caused by insufficient dietary calcium? Not usually. Calcium deficiency is not common, though the dairy industry wants us to believe it is. Most of the time, lack of vitamin C inside the bones (localized scurvy) is the more common cause of osteoporosis. The cause of this localized scurvy is not understood yet, but it goes usually with sedentary lifestyles, and lack of pressure on the bones, so everybody should be supplementing vitamins C, D3, and lifting heavy weights. See The Root Cause of Osteoporosis.
UV-blocking sun tan lotion is good for you? Well, it protects you from UV-induced melanoma, but it also prevents your skin from synthesizing vitamin D3, which is why we all need to supplement with D3, --or else walk around naked all day, without sun-tan lotion.
Is sunlight bad for you? At high noon it may be, but what is far worse than sunlight at noon is those sun-tanning beds at tanning saloons. You'd think they have some "special UV rays" ... that somehow tan you but don't give you melanoma? Think again... People getting melanoma from tanning salons is like an epidemic in North America. But don't expect government to ban them; government doesn't appear give a damn wheather we live or die. They pretend to care, but obviously don't really. Their only concern ought to be with the balance between the taxes we pay and the health costs we incur and retirement we collect. If melanoma comes right after retirement age and kills many of us quickly, so much the better. This is not cynicism; just plain and honest logic.
Are eggs bad for you? Not at all. But you might want to eat the yolks and throw away the white part, if you eat too many. Yes, the exact opposite of what you've heard. Also, eggs are rich in cystine, so you need to supplement an extra tablet of vitamin C for every egg you eat, to avoid cystine stones. See this page on glutathione, NAC, vitamin C, etc. (NAC is a form of cystine). Also, if you eat the eggs raw, you'll need extra biotin. See biotin-and-eggs.
Saturated fats increase your cholesterol? One would wish it were true...
Salt increases you blood pressure? Nope. If it did, every time a nurse at the hospital takes a reading of your blood pressure, he or she would ask you "did you have a lot of salt in the past 24 hrs?", so as to take that factor into account. But they don't, because they know that salt does not affect blood pressure at all. Salt is good for you; and your own taste is a good moderator: too much and you get sick of it.
Chips bad for you? Yes, but the worst part is not the salt, or the "chemicals", or even the grease, but rather the potatoes or the corn. Too much starch; not enough fiber. Plus, they dehydrate you if you don't drink enough water with them, --or if you drink soda instead of water, like many people do.
Are whole grains better? Not really. The only thing a whole grain has, that the kernel doesn't, is the fiber; but their fibers are not usually water-soluble. The fiber that's good for our guts' health is water-soluble fiber. You'll find water soluble fibers in flax seeds, chia seeds, fruits, etc.; but not in grains. However, whole grains tend to take longer to digest, and therefore cause a slower release of their carbs, and therefore a lower insulin spike than refined grains, --but the best thing to do about grains is to NOT eat them at all. We don't need grains. A totally neolithic solution without a problem.
Poly-unsaturated oils are the safest to consume? Absolutely not. Avoiding them is best. In fact, preliminary evidence suggests that Multiple Sclerosis may be caused by insufficient saturated fats and excessive poly-unsaturates in the diet. Eat coconut oil by the table-spoons (99% saturated fats), and avoid most vegetable oils and salad dressings. Monounsaturates, like olive and avocado oils, are good, when they are fresh (smelling nice and fragrant); but don't fry with them; and preferably buy them in small bottles, as rancidization proceeds quickly once the bottle is opened. If it smells rancid, don't consume it! Trust your nose.
Fried foods bad? Only if you fry with vegetable oils. Foods fried in Coconut Oil and/or Ghee, or even Palm Oil, are healthy --at least as far as the oil on them. Saturated oils survive the heat of frying much better; unsaturated oils tend to rancidize (oxidize) quickly when heated.
Eating low-fat foods reduces your body fat? Absolutely not. Totally un-related; yet most people religiously look at the amount of fat in food labels, thinking it will help them become or stay thin. Body fat comes from dietary carbs (carbohydrates); NOT from dietary fats. The easy path: Glucose -> Glycogen -> Triglycerides. Turning dietary fats into triglycerides is more difficult. Dietary fats are used as fuel or in various metabolic processes, but are not usually converted to triglycerides and stored. Look at the two weight loss diets that actually work: Atkins and Ketogenic; and you'll see they are both low on carbs and high on fats.
MSG is bad for you? Gives you headaches? No and no. Look up MSG on Wikipedia, and read about all the studies that were done on it, never to find anything. It was all either a defamatory campaign, or just infectious paranoia.
Preservatives bad? Each is different. No general rule. Butylated hydroxytoluane (BHT) is an oil preservative that is so good that when it was fed to rats to establish toxicity, the rats lived twice as long as their normal longevity. So, what happened? It was nearly banned by the FDA, accused of causing cancer, just because those rats that lived twice their normal lifespan tended to die of cancer more often than the control group... In other words, if something is really healthy, the powers don't want you and I to have access to it. Got it?
Food *should have* all the vitamins I need, no? No. The idea that food *should have* all we need comes from the religious idea of a God that created everything in the world to feed us. Such an idea holds no water: If God made potatoes, tomatoes and olives to feed us, why did he make so many more things (99%+ of plants) to be poisonous to us? And why did he make them in limited quantities? It makes more sense to assume that all species are in competition, and that what we can expect from food, if at all, is enough nutrients to survive, rather than thrive. Plus, how do you define "need"? Do you NEED to live till 100? Do you NEED to live healthy to the last day? Do you NEED to not need hip replacements?
But a square meal satisfies the RDA's, no? Yes, but that is because the RDA's were established by analysis of a square meal. The question of how much we NEED of each vitamin was not even raised in the process. RDA's = square meal, therefore square meal = RDA's, but it tells us nothing useful, really. See Standard of Evidence in DRI.
So, we should all take vitamin pills? Yes, but most vitamin pills pass through people's stomachs AND intestines, and wash up intact by the billions at municipal sewage treatment plants. You need to know exactly how to take vitamins properly. In all likelihood, 90% or more of vitamins sold are wasted.
Are carrots good for your eye-sight? Nope. Beta carotene is good for the eyes, but we get plenty of it from various vegetable sources, we are not nearly deficient. The story of how carrots came to be associated with better eye-sight is an amusing story from World War II, when Americans discovered that red panel lights were less blinding than white panel lights, and allowed bomber pilots to see their targets on the ground at night. So they changed all cockpit lights to red, but feared that the Germans were going to find out and do the same; so as a way to divert attention from the color of the lights, they started feeding carrots to their pilots, saying they'd see better at night. The Germans found out and believed the story and started feeding carrots to their own pilots, to no effect.
Are Pesticides bad? One thing is for sure: the alternative presently in place is much worse, and is making companies like Monsanto very rich. They thank you for your pesticide complaints. As for pesticides sprayed on fruits and vegetables, they come off easily with soapy water, as they are all oil-soluble, but most people don't bother washing their fruits and vegetables with soap. So, do people really care about their health?, or do they merely want to protest for the sake of protesting? Do you?
What about Probiotics? Probiotics, also known as acidophilus capsules, usually contain anywhere from 2 to 6 or 7 strains of bacteria. Gee, how wonderful! But the thing is, we have about 150,000 strains of bacteria in our guts, and new ones are being discovered all the time. Would a handful of strains of acidophilus in a capsule make a really big difference to my gut's ecosystem? Ah, you say, but perhaps these ones that come in the capsules are very special ones, --either the most important to us, or the most vulnerable to antibiotics? Nope and nope. Neither. Not only are those acidophilus bacteria not the most important to our guts, but in fact they don't even belong in our guts, at all. Our intestines are not in the business of making yogurt. The only claim to fame for acidophilus bacteria is that they manage to survive passage through the stomach, and reach the intestine. Any other bacteria would die from the stomach acids. It is a very commendable feat, worthy of a medal; but that does not make acidophilus bacteria somehow belong in your intestine, or mine, and in fact, they die after a few hours in the intestine. Probiotics are a totally useless rip-off; and I'm sorry if you've spent money on them for many years; so, now you know. I've had people freak out when I tell them this. Hey, I freaked out too when I learned about it; I had spent a lot of money on them, myself. Remember, just because you see something at health food stores doesn't mean it's good or useful. (Other things you see at health food stores, like wheat germ, wheat germ oil, and alfalfa sprouts, are poisons!)
And don't get me started on GMO's ... You know what the alternative is? What's really happening in the industry now is much worse than the feared GMO's ... all thanks to our complaints...
But you DO want to know the Truth, right? If you were in the movie The Matrix, and had to choose between the blue capsule (happiness) and the red capsule (truth), would you take the red one without hesitation? If so, stick around.
I think our first meeting will be a bit chaotic, "playing it by ear", as people will come with too many questions and concerns and info/ideas to share, that we might as well deal with up-front. From the second meeting we'll start on a more structured approach, discussing one particular health related topic each week, probably from the topics I listed in the "About us..." link button on the left. Please read it if you haven't yet.
A $3 donation is suggested but not required, to offset the monthly meetup running fee, photocopying, and other costs.