Greece is poised between remaining a member of the eurozone or leaving it. In fact, as WSJ's Stephen Fidler explains, there are five possible future currency arrangements for Greece. Here they are...
1. Greece stays in the eurozone: This is the option likely to cause the smallest short-term disruption to the Greek economy. The Greek central bank would retain access to liquidity from the European Central Bank, and the Greek banks would stay on life support. This looks increasingly likely to be accompanied by some kind of further negotiated debt relief. To get it, Greece would almost certainly have to agree to more conditions of the sort successive Greek governments have found it hard to accept.
2. Greece keeps the euro, but sits outside the eurozone: Jacob Funk Kierkegaard of the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington calls this the “Montenegro option” and argues this is the most likely outcome should Greece exit the eurozone. This would not be “a new drachma, but Montenegro—i.e. Greece becomes just another relatively poor unilaterally euroized non-EU Balkan economy,” he writes here. In some ways, this would be the worst of all worlds because Greece would lose access to the ECB. Countries using a foreign currency as legal tender have no access to a lender-of-last-resort, which means that every bank liquidity crisis becomes a solvency crisis. They therefore tend to have stunted domestic financial sectors — which almost every academic study shows is bad for growth — or have a banking system owned by foreigners, which exports the lender-of-last resort role to other countries’ central banks. (Mexico didn’t adopt the dollar after the 1994-95 financial crisis — but in order to avoid an undue shrinkage of its banking sector, it allowed most of its banks to be bought by foreigners.)
3. A currency board: In this case, Greece would create a new currency but lock it to the euro – as Estonia did with the German mark in 1992 after it gained independence from the Soviet Union. The amount of new drachmas in circulation would be limited by the size of Greece’s international reserves: about $5.8 billion at the last count. Advocates argue that this would impose discipline on the Greeks — poor economic policies lead to an outflow of reserves and therefore of the domestic monetary base, which pushes up drachma interest rates, while good policies have the reverse effect. The drawback is that again the central bank is limited in its lender-of-last resort powers because it cannot create money freely. It also imposes discipline that, for now, may make it look unappetizing to Greece’s current rulers. It’s not much talked about, has a few enthusiastic and long-standing cheerleaders, but is a theoretical possibility. Here’s Steve Hanke arguing in favor.
4. A dual system: Here the drachma and the euro would circulate side-by-side. This has many historical precedents going back centuries. In practice, a dual system is likely to emerge when the Greek government runs out of euros and has to pay its domestic bills in government IOUs. The IOUs could at some future date be redeemed in euros, or could be eventually redeemed in drachmas, but they would initially be euro-denominated obligations of the government that would have a lesser value in the public mind than euro notes or coins. This state of affairs could continue for a long time, but there is an economic tendency called Gresham’s Law: ”Bad money chases out good.” Over time, euros would disappear from circulation because people would hoard them as a store of value – and people would spend the government IOUs. De facto, the drachma, whether or not it would so be called, would become the main means of exchange.
5. The new drachma: The move to the new drachma may well not come with a bang, but gradually — as described in 4 above. But an eventual formal switch of the currency would give Greece control over its own monetary policy. However, a new currency — which would likely float against the euro and other major currencies — would likely create enormous short-term disruption, not least because a heavy devaluation would follow and the banks would in effect be insolvent. Longer-term, it could be a motor for future growth of the Greek economy — because it would stimulate demand for Greek exports by lowering in real-terms the price of goods and services produced in Greece. Longer term, the effects of a devaluation depends on the quality of economic policies that accompany it. It will create inflation, by increasing the costs of imports. One important issue is how much the government raises wages and pensions to compensate for higher inflation. The more domestic wages and pensions are allowed to rise, the less impact the devaluation will have in simulating Greek exports longer term and the lower the benefits to economic growth.
* * *
Place your bets.
Environmental toxicity and its effects on chronic illness is, in my and many prominent scientists’ minds, one of the most important health crises facing us today. While adults are certainly adversely affected, it is our children who are hurt the most. According to Dr. Leo Trasande, “We are in an epidemic of environmentally mediated disease among American children today. Rates of asthma, childhood cancers, birth defects and developmental disorders have exponentially increased, and it can’t be explained by changes in the human genome. So what has changed? All the chemicals we’re being exposed to.”1
The issue of toxicity and our children was most disturbingly reported by the Environmental Working Group’s release of an investigation called Body Burden in July 2005.2 The report revealed that they detected two hundred eighty-seven chemicals in the cord blood of newborn babies, one hundred eighty of which are known carcinogens, two hundred seventeen of which are known neurotoxins, and two hundred eight of which have been shown to cause birth defects or abnormal development in animals. This insult to newborns is unprecedented in human history and lays the groundwork for a dramatic upswing in chronic illnesses as these children mature into adulthood.
The cost of managing chronic illness in the U.S. alone is staggering. Estimates from the Centers for Disease Control put the number at nine hundred eight billion dollars a year.3 Three out of every four dollars spent in today’s healthcare system is on chronic illness.4 Obesity has become epidemic, which is a grave concern to health experts as it dramatically increases the risk of developing coronary heart disease and diabetes. The most disturbing part of this situation is how it is affecting the young. Over the past twenty years, the rate of obesity amongst two- to eleven-year-olds has almost tripled while in twelve- to nineteen-year-olds it has tripled.5 One in three children born today is likely to develop type 2 diabetes in his or her lifetime.6
If we do not face the reality of the cost—both in dollars and in suffering—of chronic illness, our society faces a crisis far greater than the threat of terrorism. In 2004, I gave a speech in Bellevue, Washington where I proposed that the healthcare system in the U.S. would financially collapse within twenty years if this emergency of chronic illness was not addressed and dealt with. No amount of healthcare reform would resolve this catastrophe.
Much can and needs to be done in order to deal with the issue of chronic illness, and the first step is to acknowledge the problem with environmental toxicity. Rachel Carson warned us in 1962 in her landmark book, Silent Spring.7 It would eventually lead to the formation of the Environmental Protection Agency a decade later, but now we are faced with a government more interested in corporate profits than in the health of its citizens as legislation is being drawn up to strip the EPA of much of its power.
The only way for people to have their voices heard is through education, personal responsibility, and the power of the purse. If we educate ourselves as to which toxins we are exposed to and how to avoid them through our choices as consumers, we can make the necessary changes. In this article I hope to inform readers on how to protect themselves and their families as well as society as a whole.
Before we delve more deeply into the subject of toxicity and chronic illness we need to define the term toxicity and the study of it, toxicology. Here I would like to quote the authors of Principles of Toxicology, Drs. Karen E. Stine and Thomas M. Brown, “Toxicology is the science of poisons and has as its focus the study of the adverse effects of chemicals on living organisms. Although any substance in sufficient quantities (even water) can be a poison, toxicology focuses primarily on substances that can cause these adverse effects when administered in relatively small quantities.”8
While the topic of toxicity and how it affects human health is a complex and difficult one, I believe that if you know your enemy (toxins) you are better able to defeat them or avoid them.HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE
When we look at the historical records we find that humans were aware of substances that adversely affected our health for millennia. The ancient Romans were well aware that the smokestacks that belched toxic fumes from metal smelting caused birth defects. The writer Strabo commented that they needed to build taller and taller chimneys to force the fumes further from the cities.9 By looking at the ice caps in Greenland we have noted that lead levels in the atmosphere during the time of Roman prominence were much higher than the times immediately before and after.10
It has also been postulated that the fall of the Roman Empire was in part due to their exposure to lead.11 Much of this came from lead-based goblets and water pipes, especially those used by the wealthier citizens. We now know that lead, even in the smallest doses, can lower IQ, especially in children.12 In a paper published in The New England Journal of Medicine, the authors saw that drops in IQ were higher even in the lowest exposure levels. Their conclusion was that no level of lead is acceptable in children.
Other civilizations have grappled with toxicity problems but none in quite the same quantity as in today’s world. If even small amounts of toxins can cause neurological problems, why are we not surprised by the explosive increase in disorders like autism and ADHD in children and Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s in adults?13
While heavy metals have a long history with human populations, petrochemicals do not. Although the use of petroleum goes back thousands of years, its uses were limited. It wasn’t until 1847 when Scottish chemist James Young was able to distill petrochemical byproducts that its use vastly increased.14 From the 1850s through the early 1900s, production began to ramp up dramatically worldwide. What few knew was how toxic these chemicals are.
In the twentieth century society began to regulate the uncontrolled release of toxins into the environment, but that was for gross amounts. What we face today is a world where we come into contact with more than eighty thousand chemicals, many of which have not been tested for safety.THE MOST VULNERABLE
All of us are vulnerable to the effects of environmental toxicity, but those most susceptible are the unborn and the very young. Before a child is even conceived, the effect of toxins can influence their propensity for developing any number of chronic illnesses, especially neurologic ones. The concept, known as transgenerational epigenetics, and which has been proven in numerous studies, says that an exposure to a toxin can cause an illness to future generations even if the individual is never exposed to the toxin again.20 There are studies showing this effect on obesity. Women exposed to certain toxins increase the risk of obesity to their offspring as well as to numerous generations in the future.21 One study suggested it could carry out to twelve generations.22 Exposure to DES (the synthetic estrogen diethylstilbestrol) can epigenetically cause a greatly increased risk of developing reproductive tumors in future generations.
What we are now beginning to understand is how our actions today affect the lives and health of children who will be born twenty to fifty years from now. They are susceptible to any number of chronic disorders before their existence is even imagined.
The next most vulnerable groups are those who are about to be born, neonates, and infants. Studies on one family of toxins called phthalates, which I will revisit later, indicate they can affect gonadal development, impair socialization, and cause endocrine disruption.23-26 We are still in the early stages of our understanding about how a child’s risks of developing chronic illnesses during adulthood are affected by environmental toxins.
It is well known that there is an epidemic of childhood obesity, unprecedented in human history. According to one study, in 2003–2006, 31.9 percent of two- to nineteen-year-olds had a BMI (body mass index) greater than or equal to the 85th percentile for age and sex.27 Children who are already obese are at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and potentially cancer.28-30
So what is causing this epidemic in children? First off, we know that their diets need a lot of work. They consume far too much sugar and other unhealthy foods along with not getting enough exercise.31-33 But there is another factor that is causing our children to become overweight, and that is the environment. The number of studies that have linked obesity to environmental toxicity is staggering. A paper I urge everyone to read is entitled, “Environment and Obesity in the National Children’s Study” by Dr. Leo Trasande, et al. It is from the prestigious journal Environmental Health Perspectives and can be found online at ehp.niehs.nih.gov/11839/#b78-ehp-117-159.
This matter is such a sober concern that a twenty-one-year prospective study was proposed to examine one hundred thousand children. The National Children’s Study unfortunately was halted in 2014 due to funding troubles as well as the difficulties of determining what the researchers were seeing. No doubt, industry pressure was involved as well.
The elderly is another group exceedingly vulnerable to the effects of toxicity. This part of the population is increasing rapidly and for the first time in human history soon there will be more people over the age of sixty-five than are under the age of five.34 Because they have been around a long time, they have been expoxed to toxins for a long time. Toxins are known to increase oxidative stress which increases the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease.35
We have only recently been faced with the problems of toxicity and aging as many people in earlier times succumbed to infection, injury or illness before they reached an advanced age.36 Now with expanded life expectancy and the dramatic increase in environmental toxic exposures, we must meet new challenges. We are still working under an old and outdated medical model. Few healthcare providers look at toxicity as a cause of many chronic health disorders and instead look to managing illnesses, such as type 2 diabetes. Focusing on the root cause of disease, especially when environmental in nature, may result in a longer and healthier life.
Another great concern when talking about our aging society is of course cognitive function as it relates to toxic exposures. An example: as with children and lead we are becoming increasingly aware that the elderly lose cognitive function when exposed to this heavy metal.37 Alzheimer’s disease is rapidly becoming an epidemic. In 2014, over five million Americans were diagnosed with the disease. In 2050, the number is expected to rise to over fifteen million.38 A number of studies link different environmental toxins to this rise. One such study links the exposure of a fetus to lead to a far greater propensity to develop β-amyloid plaque when they get older.39 This plaque has been implicated in the development of Alzheimer’s.
As you can see, children and the elderly present unique challenges regarding the effect of environmental toxicity. In the article, “Aging Society and Environmental Health Challenges,” author Yun-Chul eloquently states that “Children are not just smaller adults, nor are the elderly just older adults; they are individuals with unique challenges and medical needs different from those of younger adults.” 40,41THE TOXIC OVERLOAD
We’ve established that environmental toxins are all around us, but which ones should we be most cautious about and what are their sources? Can we reduce our load and exposure to prevent chronic illness or at least avoid as many of these toxins as possible?PHTHALATES
Phthalates are a group of chemicals used to soften and increase the flexibility of plastics. They are also heavily used in personal care products, especially those that are scented. You will also find them in air fresheners that use heat to release the aroma. Even if you avoid all of these sources, you will be exposed because phthalates do not bind very tightly to the plastics and therefore are released into the atmosphere quite easily. This means that the main sources of exposure are inhalation, dermal absorption and ingestion.42
Several recent studies have revealed that many of the metabolites of phthalates (DEP, DnBP, BBzP, and DEHP) are found extensively in the general population.43,44 There is evidence that the exposures also have socioeconomic and sociodemographic divides, which place a greater burden on children of the poor.45,46
One of the mechanisms behind phthalate toxicity is its depression of testosterone. Growing evidence shows that phthalate exposure may express its effect on reproductive health, especially in developing males.48,49 It has also been implicated in miscarriages and birth defects.
Arguments against phthalate’s toxicity include its relatively short half-life, which is less than twenty-four hours.50 This assertion does not hold true, as we are constantly exposed to the chemical; thus, its effects are persistent, with a percentage of the population having unacceptably high levels of phthalates.51
The question is how to avoid exposure. To begin with, it is important to make sure that the personal care products you use do not contain them. A resource to find out which toxins are in your products is available through the non-profit Environmental Working Group at www.ewg.org. The site offers a database called “Skin Deep” which rates various products, lists their toxins, and suggests safer alternatives. Another quick tip to detect phthalates is whether the product emits an aroma; if it does, it likely contains this toxin.
A few years ago, I received a call from a physician at a midwestern university who was concerned that she was finding more and more males between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five with testosterone levels you would normally find in fifty- to sixty-year-olds. When we began testing we found that almost all of the young men with high phthalates had low testosterone. To me this was not a surprising finding given the popularity of body sprays.
The third major source I would caution you on is soft plastics like those used in water bottles. Phthalates are very heat sensitive, and if you ever suspect that a bottle has gotten hot, such as being left in your car during the day, discard it. When Whole Foods opened in Reno a number of years ago, they had a display of bottled water outside the store when the temperature was over 90 degrees F. I called the assistant manager and informed him that this was a good way of increasing the toxic load of his customers and that it might be a good idea to change the display.BENZENE
The “-enes” are a family of petrochemical refining byproducts (benzene, xylene, toluene, and styrene). They are also found throughout the environment. Benzene is the most carcinogenic and one of the reasons why smoking is so dangerous. 52 An estimated fifty percent of the public’s exposure to benzene is due to cigarettes.53 The other exposures come from automobile exhaust, predominantly from diesel-powered vehicles.
In a report written a number of years ago, researchers found trace amounts of benzene in sodas that were formulated with vitamin C and sodium benzoate, a common preservative.54 When confronted with the problem, many of the manufacturers reformulated their products, not by eliminating the obvious source of benzene, sodium benzoate, but by removing vitamin C, which had caused a chemical reaction converting some of the benzoate into benzene. Mind you, vitamin C is also a preservative, but blame for the chemical conversion was laid to the vitamin.
Benzene itself is the most toxic of this group having been linked to an increased risk of leukemia. 55 A byproduct of diesel fuel combustion, it has also been implicated in neural tube defects, decreases in birth weight and head circumference during pregnancy and at birth, and impaired mental development in fetuses.56 Fortunately, it seems that some of these toxic effects can be mitigated with a diet high in antioxidants.57XYLENE
Xylene is a very common petrochemical available at any home improvement store as a paint thinner and remover. It is also found in certain nail polishes, rust preventives, shellacs, air fresheners, degreasing cleaners, as well as cigarette smoke and carpet adhesives.58
Pesticide manufacturers add xylene to their products and claim that xylene is an “inert” chemical. You can go to your local hardware or home improvement store and see for yourself. Now to be fair, xylene is far less toxic than the actual pesticide. The main reason for xylene’s use as a carrier is its ability to penetrate wood, brick, and the soil to carry the poison to the pests. Of course, this ability to penetrate hard materials also makes it much more likely to be absorbed through your skin.
Xylene is a known carcinogen and neurotoxin that increases the risk of miscarriages and birth defects.59 The recreational use of alcohol should be avoided at all costs for anyone with xylene toxicity as it impairs the body’s ability to detoxify.60
Toluene is the “anti-knock” agent that replaced lead in gasoline back in the 1970s.61 While significantly less toxic than lead, it is still a suspected carcinogen, endocrine disruptor, and interfering factor in fetal and childhood development.62 The U.S. produces about three million tons of toluene annually, which amounts to one-third to one-quarter of the world’s total production.63
The best way to find out what products contain toluene is to go to the National Library of Medicines’ Household Products database at householdproducts.nlm.nih.gov/. Avoidance is important in lowering your exposure.STYRENE
Styrene is one of the most prevalent of all of the “-enes.” It is found in Styrofoam, which is ubiquitous in our everyday lives. While the least toxic of all, when added to the overall chemical onslaught we are exposed to, it compounds the demands made on our detoxification systems. Styrene was detected in the blood of Americans as a chance discovery in the 1970s. The first test to look specifically for styrene in the blood was done in 1982 and has continued to show the same ubiquitous results to this day.64
With this class of toxins, the best way to help detoxify the is using the simplest amino acid, glycine. During Phase I detoxification, the chemicals are transformed into a benzoate compound. In the case of xylene and toluene they become 2- or 3-methylbenzoate, a chemical more toxic than the original one.65 Luckily for us, glycine has a strong affinity for benzoates and conjugates (binds) with them to create a hippurate molecule like 2- or 3- methylhippurate, which is easily excreted in the urine.
The conjugation of glycine to benzoate to create hippurate is the oldest known biosynthesis, first reported in 1842. Students in the early days of toxicology would ingest sodium benzoate and glycine and then measure the levels of hippurate.66
If you think you’ve heard about glycine from the Weston A. Price Foundation, you’re right. The main and best source of glycine is in the collagen-rich unctuous food known as bone broth. Collagen is about fifty percent glycine, so every time you drink a cup of broth you’re helping your body detoxify itself. If you need to supplement glycine, it should be taken at a dose of about three to five grams per day for an adult and one to three grams daily for a child under age twelve.BISPHENOL A (BPA)
Another toxin that we come in contact with on a daily basis is bisphenol A (BPA). It is used to stiffen plastics so you find it in harder plastic bottles. You will also find it in the lining of canned food as well as on store receipts. Absorption through the skin and ingestion are the two main ways it enters the body, but inhalation is also a possibility because of the sheer volume produced, about 1.6 billion pounds annually.67
This estrogen mimicker was first discovered in 1891 as a major building block in what is now known as polycarbonate plastic, but it was first found to be estrogenic in 1936.68
One of the main problems with bisphenol A is that it is a reproductive toxin. Not only does it affect the female ability to reproduce because of its estrogenicity, but it has been shown to affect men as well.69 The industry argues that the amounts of bisphenol A humans are exposed to and assimilate are minute and therefore not a significant threat to health. They cite a single study.70 Other researchers are bewildered by this assertion as the number of studies showing quite the opposite effect is numerous.71-73
BPA is a very big business, and there is strong resistance to its being banned; however, pressure is mounting because of the growing number of studies demonstrating its toxicity. In what I would call a classic “bait and switch” tactic, many manufacturers are removing BPA but replacing it with bisphenol S and F, which have had extremely limited testing and which, in the end, may not be deemed less toxic.
The best way to deal with this ubiquitous toxin is avoidance. First, avoid using canned goods. Can linings contain BPA and it has been shown to leach into the food.74 The second source and more difficult to avoid is from store receipts. When asked if you want the receipt in the bag, say yes. When asked if he wants his receipt at the grocery store, one of my friends, who is a world renowned trainer, typically says, “No, I’m trying to give them up.”
When it comes to reusable water bottles, because of the switch from BPA to BPS or BPF, many sellers of these products proudly put “BPA Free” on the label, but does that make them non-toxic? Maybe or maybe not. My recommendation is to use glass bottles whenever possible, or stainless steel as long as they are not lined.HEAVY METALS
I could devote an entire article to the subject of heavy metals. Our knowledge of the dangers of heavy metals like mercury, lead, arsenic and cadmium is extremely thorough. Because of the constraints on the length of this article I will only briefly cover two of them, lead and mercury.LEAD
Lead toxicity has brought down a mighty civilization (the Romans) and has damaged the brains of countless millions of people. According to the CDC, there is no level of lead that is acceptable in children.75 Yet we have tens of thousands of tons of lead in our soil and atmosphere as well as in ground waters because of our indiscriminate use over the past few thousand years.
The major sources of lead contamination before 1970 in the United States were paint and gasoline fumes.76 While banned at that time, it persists in our environment to this day. Anytime an old house, office, or apartment is renovated the dust that is released contains lead, due to its use in white paint. The research focus on lead should be shifted from what the effects are into detoxification strategies including, among others, chelation therapy.MERCURY
Mercury is one of the most toxic of all heavy metals; mercury exposure and its effect on chronic illness is an ongoing issue. We have extreme exposures such as those at Minimata Bay in Japan between 1953 and 1960, where a large number of deaths and congenital birth defects were documented.77 This is an example of a high-level exposure, but there have been numerous other studies showing that low levels of this toxic metal, especially methyl mercury, have wide ranging effects on fetal development, cardiovascular disease, cognitive function and other chronic illnesses.78 The authors of this study, led by Karagas, warned that while there is some evidence on low-level effects, more research is needed. In my personal opinion, much like with lead toxicity, the evidence should point us primarily towards the treatment of mercury toxicity and further research into its effects on chronic illness.HOW TO DETERMINE YOUR TOXIC LOAD
Since 1996, I have been looking at different testing protocols to determine toxic loads in people. For many years, fat biopsy and blood tests were the gold standard, and to many, they still are. I feel that this approach is no longer necessary as it is expensive and painful. Why, you might ask? It is because we all have a large number of toxins in our bodies as we have seen in this article.
Unfortunately, in today’s medical environment, little thought is given to finding the causes of chronic illness. Instead, the main focus is on management of the disease once it has appeared in an individual. This ill-advised strategy is one of the main reasons why our healthcare system is overwhelmed and expensive.79 Seven out of ten deaths are due to chronic illness, often due to lifestyle choices, but in many cases are owing exposure to environmental toxins.80
Since we all have toxins in our systems, the testing method I recommend is looking at what we are excreting. The body has three main excretion avenues to rid itself of its burden. First is through the skin, second through feces, and third through urine. Urine analysis generally provides the most helpful results, although in the case of screening for heavy metals, fecal testing is also very useful.
Urine testing is beneficial in determining the level of exposure to petrochemicals and their by-products, and in many cases, the source. There are two commercial laboratories in the U.S. that do an excellent job of testing urine for toxins: U.S. Biotek (usbiotek.com) and Genova Diagnostics (gdx.net).
Over the years I have used the U.S. Biotek test extensively because of its ease of use. Using your first morning urine, you dip a dry strip into the collection, allow it to air dry for a few minutes then put the dry strip into a bag of desiccant and into an envelope for mailing. Within a few weeks you get the results for the markers for styrene, benzene, toluene, trimethylbenzene, parabens, phthalates and monoethyl phthalates. A comprehensive interpretation is also available which will provide you with safe and scientifically validated detoxification protocols along with listings of potential sources of exposure.
There is one more test that is quite important. It is the LEAP-MRT from Oxford Biomedical (nowleap.com). Xenobiotics (toxins) are a leading cause of inflammation which in turn triggers many chronic illnesses. They are also the main reason why people react badly to foods and food additives. If we take the path of detoxification, we also need to address any underlying inflammatory reactions until we are clear of the toxins.
LEAP-MRT is a blood test that looks at inflammatory reactions to food and food additives. When my daughter took the test at age nine and followed the recommended diet, her seizure activity dropped by eighty percent within five days. Since then, I have seen countless people show dramatic improvement in their health after detoxifying themselves and removing inflammatory foods from their diets.CONCLUSION
Chronic illness in the Western world and in particular the U.S. is reaching epidemic proportions. Exposure to environmental toxins is one of the leading causes of this crisis in health. It is imperative that each and everyone be aware of the toxins they are exposed to, how to avoid them, and how to detoxify themselves. Choosing less toxic products will send the strongest signal possible to manufacturers of consumer products that the status quo is simply not acceptable.
Organizations like the Weston A. Price Foundation and the Environmental Working Group are at the forefront of education and activism in dealing with this plague of toxicity. All of us must be proactive in this venture. If we aren’t, the health and very future of our species are in peril.
A PLETHORA OF TOXIC EXPOSURES
It would be hard to cover all of the major environmental toxins in one paper, or for that matter in one book. This paper will focus on the major culprits that affect chronic illness. Some of them are released into the atmosphere in enormous quantities. Here are some prime examples:
• An average of 2.3 billion gallons of benzene, a known carcinogen, are produced each year in the U.S. alone.15
• Fifty-six billion pounds of styrene, another petrochemical, which is used to make Styrofoam and is a known neurotoxin, are released into the environment each year in the U.S..16
• Over 1.3 billion pounds of one of the most toxic phthalates (a plasticizer) are released into the environment.17
• An estimated twelve million pounds of arsenic and arsenic-related compounds (a toxic heavy metal) were released into the environment in 1999.18
• Dentists use approximately forty metric tons of mercury a year. They are the largest source of mercury in our wastewater treatment plants.19
3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Chronic Disease Overview: Costs of Chronic Disease. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/overview.htm.
5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Overweight and Obesity. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site.
Available at http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/obesity/trend/index.htm.
6. American Diabetes Association. The Dangerous Toll of Diabetes. American Diabetes Association Web site. Available at http://diabetes.org/diabetes-statistics/dangerous-toll.jsp.
7. Carson RL, (1962), Silent Spring, Houghton-Mifflin, New York City.
8. Stine KE & Brown TM. (2006) Principles of Toxicology, 2nd Edition Boca Raton, Taylor & Francis, p. 1.
9. Strabo, Geography, 3.2.8, C147.
10. Hughes J. (2001) An Environmental History of the World: Humankind’s Changing Role in the Community of Life, New York, NY, Routledge, p. 74.
11. Hughes J., Ed. (1988). Land and Sea: Human Ecology and the Fate of Civilizations. Civilization of the Ancient Mediterranean; Greece and Rome. New York, NY,
Charles Scribner’s Sons, p. 89-133.
12. Rogan WJ and Ware JH. Exposure to Lead in Children – How Low is Low Enough? N Eng J Med,
348(16), April 17, 2003.
13. Cummings, JL, Jeste, DV. Alzheimer’s Disease and Its Management in the Year 2010 – Psych Svcs,
50(9), September 1999, pgs 1173-77.
14. Russell, Loris S. (2003). A Heritage of Light: Lamps and Lighting in the Early Canadian Home.
University of Toronto Press.
15. Benzene, CAS No. 71-43-2: Known to be a Human Carcinogen. Tenth Report on Carcinogens. U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, National Toxicology Program,
16. Styrene Chemical Backgrounder. National Safety Council. 1998, http://www.nsc.org/library.chemical/
17. Di (2-Ethyhexyl) Phthalate Chemical Backgrounder. National Safety Council. 1998 http://www.nsc.
18. “Arsenic Compounds” Tenth Report on Carcinogens. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,
Public Health Service, National Toxicology Program, December 2002
19. Dentist the Menace? The Uncontrolled Release of Dental Mercury. Mercury Policy Project, Health
Care Without Harm, Sierra Club, et al., June 2002.
20. Schmidt, CW. Uncertain Inheritance: Transgenerational Effects of Environmental Exposures. Environ
Health Perspect, 121(10): A299-A303 October 2013.
21. Chamorro-Garcia R, et al. Transgenerational inheritance of increased fat depot size, stem cell reprogramming, and hepatic steatosis elicited by prenatal exposure to the obesogen tributyltin in mice. Environ Health Perspect 121(3):359–366 March 2013.
22. Ho DH, Burggren WW. Epigenetics and transgenerational transfer: a physiological perspective. J
Exp Biol 213(1):3–16. 2010.
23. Rey R, Josso N. 2013. Sexual Differentiation. Posted on 8 February 2013. http://www.endotext.org/
24. Bergman Å, Heindel J, Jobling S, Kidd K, Zoeller RT. 2012. State-of-the-science of endocrine disrupting
chemicals, 2012. Toxicol Lett 211:S3
25. Bornehag CG, Nanberg E. 2010. Phthalate exposure and asthma in children. Int J Androl 33:333–345.
26. Miodovnik A, Engel SM, Zhu C, Ye X, Soorya LV, Silva MJ, et al. 2011. Endocrine disruptors and
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"Diva Of Distress" Dissed: Court Tosses Lynn Tilton's Lawsuit Against SEC, Which Is Suing Her For Fraud
It took the SEC nearly two years after Zero Hedge first warned in September 2003 that something is very wrong with the CLO's issued by Lynn Tilton and her Patriarch Partners, to admit just that.
Zombie CLO’s are not Paying-Down – Underlying “Loans” are not True Loans
With absolute power over the whole closed system, as the Zombie collateral manager also controls the equity in the Zombie CLO’s (so much for the purported benefit of the new risk retention rules) and is also the controlling shareholder (in some cases CEO) of nearly all borrowers of Zombie loans and is also the “Agent” on nearly all the Zombie “loans” >>> the “loans” are not really loans. As both borrower and lender, any element of any “loan” can be amended at any time, as needed (maturity, covenants, interest rate, frequency of payment, etc.). Taken to the extreme, we have heard stories of (a) Patriarch Partners companies being liquidated/having substantial assets sold and leaving in-place Zombie collateral loans to a then shell entity devoid of meaningful assets and (b) companies with existing Zombie collateral loans filing for bankruptcy, then selling-to and being repurchased-via additional new Zombie loans, with both the old and new Zombie loans continuing to be held on the books of the Zombie funds. How can this be - who would let this type of circular arrangement without any checks-and-balances persist?
39 Small/Middle-Market Private Portfolio Companies Listed on the Patriarch Partners Website May be Difficult to Sell/Liquidate
- The www.patriarchpartners.com website lists 39 companies (some of which are essentially the same company by a few different names), which we believe contain nearly all of the Zombie funds’ collateral loans.
- Nearly all of these small/middle-market companies seem to be controlled by affiliates of the collateral manager – furthermore, many have limited franchises and continue to operate in distress; these companies may not weather the tumult of protracted uncertainty well (along with no ongoing funding), further limiting potential recoveries.
- The following (also from the Patriarch Partners website) is not what one would expect to read about the portfolio of loans in a CLO: "Although comprised of individual private equity investments, our portfolio of assets is managed as a global conglomerate, with a continued focus on synergies and ventures between companies that will enhance value. The investment funds managed by Patriarch currently hold equity positions in more than 70 companies, approximately two-thirds of which are control positions, spanning almost a dozen industries."
- We understand that nearly 100% of the capital for these 39 portfolio companies came from the Zombie funds, aside from a handful of true first-priority, third-party working capital facilities (asset-based loans/factoring lines, which will also tend to limit Zombie recoveries – a key question is therefore, how much of the meaningful (larger) companies’ equity is owned by each of the Zombie funds (vs. other/personal funds controlled by the collateral manager)?
Then, on March 30, the SEC finally putt the hammer down on the Diva of Distress when the SEC "Announces Fraud Charges Against Investment Adviser Accused of Concealing Poor Performance of Fund Assets From Investors."
The SEC alleged "that instead of informing their clients about the declining value of assets in the CLO funds, Tilton and her firms have consistently misled investors and collected almost $200 million in fees and other payments to which they were not entitled,” said Andrew J. Ceresney, Director of the SEC’s Enforcement Division. “Tilton violated her fiduciary duty to her clients when she exercised subjective discretion over valuation levels, creating a major conflict of interest that was never disclosed to them.”
Just hours later, knowing well in advance the lawsuit would hit, Tilton countersued the SEC to stop it from pursuing its civil charge, alleging the SEC violated her constitutional rights or something. As Reuters reported, "In a complaint filed in Manhattan federal court, Tilton and her firm Patriarch Partners LLC said the SEC violated the U.S. Constitution by bringing its case in an in-house administrative proceeding rather than in federal court.
Critics of administrative proceedings, which are handled by judges on the SEC payroll, say they can be unfair to defendants because discovery is limited, defense lawyers generally cannot take depositions, and there are no juries.
"I hold hope that our nation will allow a fair fight for truth, to defend integrity and intent against allegations and provides fair forums," Tilton posted on Twitter on Wednesday.
Our nation did not.
As District Judge Ronnie Abrams of the Southern District of New York just opined, the court has no jurisdiction to hear this case, saying that "Congress has created a remedial scheme applicable to claims such as Plaintiffs', pursuant to which the exclusive avenue of review of an ALJ's decisions is through the administrative process, with subsequent judicial review by a federal court of appeals. Plaintiffs are therefore obliged to further litigate their claims in the Commission's administrative forum and seek review, if they so choose, in a circuit court of appeals. Because this Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction to decide the merits of Plaintiffs' constitutional claims, their motion is denied and the Complaint must be dismissed."
Congress has carefully delineated the distinct roles of the Commission and the courts in cases such as this. It rests first with the Commission to determine whether to commence an action at all, and if so, whether to do so in federal district court or in its own administrative tribunal. Having chosen the latter, it rests with an ALJ and then the Commission to rule on Plaintiffs' claims. That decision in tum is subject to appeal to a federal court of appeals. In this Court's view, there is no basis to allow Plaintiffs to bypass this congressionally created remedial scheme. Accordingly, this Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over this action.
True: after all we are talking about a commission that has decided to never commence an action against a TBTF banker (because that's where the SEC's employees go to work after their drudgery at the dungeon is over) or a HFT firm (because their lobby pays the bills). But when it comes to people like the Diva of Distress, well...
Of course, further litigating her claims in the SEC's forum is precisely what Tilton wants to avoid in her ploy to delay and pull a Greece (i.e., kick the can indefinitely). End result, the court just tossed Tilton's lawsuit.
There is just something about the summer of 2015: it has turned out to be a very bad period for indefinite can kicking. Although she is clearly not giving up:
We're disappointed with Judge Abrams decision that she lacks jurisdiction. We will seek expedited appellate review.
— Lynn Tilton (@LynnTilton) June 30, 2015
We are hardly the only ones who can't wait for this to escalate all the way up to the Supreme Court.
The full court decision, courtesy of Reuters, can be found on the following link.
So in conclusion we leave readers with a clip showing Tilton, who recently retweeted a proposal to become Donald Trump's running mate which would be just delightful...
— rodney raanan (@rodneyraanan) June 30, 2015
... during better days. One wonders how much of these much prized material possessions Lynn will have to liquidate (in a stalking horse sale or otherwise) to satisfy the SEC's monetary damages which, once all settled, will be sure to dethrone the Diva from the three commas club (and maybe even two).
Despite rumors from The Time of Malta (seriously!!), Greece's largest creditor by far - the European Financial Stability Fund (EFSF) - has confirmed that "it's over":
- EFSF CONFIRMS GREECE FINL ASSIST PROGRAM EXPIRES TUESDAY
- EFSF: GREEK AID EXPIRATION MEANS LAST AID TRANCHE UNAVAILABLE
- EFSF SAYS REMAINING BANK-RECAPITALIZATION FUNDS TO BE CANCELED
So no extension, no suspension of referendum, and no talks until the referendum is over.
The Eurogroup conference call has ended and Finland's Alex Stubb explains what they have...
— Alexander Stubb (@alexstubb) June 30, 2015
...request for ESM-programme is always dealt with through normal procedures.
— Alexander Stubb (@alexstubb) June 30, 2015
And the Happy Jack market does this...
Any rumors from now are simply both sides showing willingness to act in good faith since Merkel has already made it clear - NOTHING happens until after the referendum.
Watching the ongoing Greek saga unfold is enough to make a blind man grimace. Capital controls which could be seen coming down the track like a freight train are but one more notch on the disaster stick called European Monetary Union.
Why talk of Greek debt negotiations is even taking place at all is the height of absurdity. It’s akin to discussing how large an area of the desert should be dedicated to growing lettuces. The answer which no Eurocrat is prepared to acknowledge is, “Who cares? Nobody should be so daft as to grow lettuces in the desert”.
Let’s all be honest, shall we. What we’re talking about here is foreign aid. It’s not about debt repayments. Nobody is getting repaid. Anyone still clinging to that hope is simultaneously still waiting for Santa to come down the chimney, the Easter bunny to show up and for “liberating” forces to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
Let’s just table debt talks, call them what they are, which is foreign aid, and move this thing along. The problem with acknowledging the ugly truth is that German banks would then have to write down those “assets” on their balance sheets: “Jeez, it’d just be so much easier if we could keep them at par value and ensure we pick up that bonus at year end. And so we must endure more saga and carry on this game of pretense”.
While I could spend time on Greece, what I’m more interested in is what few are paying attention to while this Greek saga unfolds.
That is what is going on with the Chinese yuan.
We’ve recently made the argument for a weakening yuan. My friend Brad and I both went up against the yuan late last year and Brad detailed his thinking in October of last year, then again in December, where he delved into the Chinese banking system, and once again in March of this year.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is our current bias. We’re currently short. It’s important to establish one’s bias early on in order to attempt to understand any argument, so now you have ours. Often fund managers are selling a product which leads them into making decisions which have more to do with an agenda than with sufficient critical thought.
Let me say therefore that we have an opinion right now. But since we are not selling any product, hopefully we can keep our minds open.
Let’s see where we get to and then I’m going to show you why we have a decent crack at making money without having an opinion either way.
By many accounts the yuan is one of (if not THE) most overvalued currencies in the world right now. But there are just as many well thought arguments arguing the opposite saying that it is indeed undervalued.
Both sides have credible and well thought out ideas so let me attempt to summarise the most credible I’ve found.Why the Yuan will Rise
Chinese policy makers are unlikely to let anything take place which rocks the yuan exchange rate boat.
The yuan fell to 6.28 in early March of this year before the PBOC stepped in and threw $33 billion at the “problem”, reversing the decline and sending it back up to where it trades today around 6.21. They have around $4 trillion in reserves so if, like us, you’re a speculator looking at firepower this is well worth looking at. Clearly the monetary authority is prepared to dip into their vast currency reserves to offset capital outflows and stabilize the yuan.
The IMF discussions around including the yuan into the SDR basket of reserve currencies (currently the dollar, euro, yen and pound) is something which China has long been courting. Right now, the yuan has posted it’s biggest monthly advance since December 2011, on the heels of or in anticipation of inclusion in the SDR basket by the IMF.
Amongst other things, what is required is for the yuan to be “fairly valued”. Wild swings in the yuan – whether up or down – would kill their chances of joining the hallowed ground of the other terrible units of payment.
In order to meet their criteria it’s essential that the yuan remain stable. Another IMF criteria is that the currency is “freely usable”. In other words, free floating. I’ll come back to this in a minute as I think it’s something overlooked by many observers.Why the Yuan will Fall
On the other side of this argument is the fact that China’s economy is slowing and is facing increased competition from regional players, such as Japan, who are playing the currency card, devaluing their currencies and sucking up export market share.
A weaker exchange rate would help boost exports and while China is certainly moving towards a domestic consumer supported economy, they are not there yet and manufacturing and exporting to the developed world is still their “bread and butter”.
Remember I mentioned that part of the IMF criteria is that the currency float freely?
Well, many believe – and perhaps correctly – that when (or if) the yuan is added and floats freely there will be an almighty rush INTO the yuan. I’ve seen few who believe that this wouldn’t at least in the short-term allow the opposite to happen.
Consider for a moment that most Chinese have been going to great lengths to get OUT of the yuan. Does it not make sense that when they are allowed to do so there will not be a decent amount of them quite excited with the prospect of moving out of yuan?In the simplest of terms the question boils down to the following…
Upon inclusion into the IMF and a subsequent floating of the yuan, does capital flow into the yuan or out of it?
The problem with China is that nobody knows the real numbers. Nobody!
What are the insiders doing? They’re shoveling their money out of the country so fast it’s going to catch fire from the friction. This is what the insiders are doing. That doesn’t mean that suckers won’t come in the other way and we get a strong yuan rally. It’s certainly possible and maybe it’s even probable.
Fortunately, the market is gifting us an opportunity right now and we don’t have to make that decision.
I just got off the phone with Brad who told me about me the below pricing of an at the money call option on the yuan (or the offshore yuan, to be more specific). Currently, you’re paying 2.5% premium for a 12-month call option.
Now, take a look at the below chart. You’ll see that buying a 12-month at the money put we’re paying just 0.3%. You can buy 100,000 USD/CNH puts for 12 months at the money and it’ll cost you a mere $300!
To break even on the first trade we need the currency pair to move by 2.5% in our favour within 12 months and on the second trade we need the pair to move by just 0.3% to break even. Pardon me for saying so but that is almost as insane as the Eurocrats discussing Greek debt.
Buying both is what traders term a “straddle” but don’t get hung up on terminology. The point is that for a 2.8% premium (2.5% + 0.3%) we can hold both positions. We don’t much care which way it moves but simply that it MOVES!
What could make it move? Well, inclusion at the hallowed table of disreputable currencies currently making up SDRs or of course non-inclusion.
Either of these events have the potential to create capital flows one way or the other causing the USD/CNH pair to move substantially more than a mere 2.8%.
Or any of the reasons we delved into in our USD Bull Market report where we detailed why we are short the yuan.
I’d suggest we’re likely to see MORE not LESS volatility over the next 12 months and the current lack of volatility being priced into the market is just the sort of golden gift which Brad looks for.
“Eppur si muove (And yet it moves).” – Galielo Galilei
When Konstantin Kosachyov, the head of the Russian Federation Council's International Relations Committee, said the protests in Armenia against a 16.7 percent power price hike follow a color revolution scenario sponsored by Western powers, many commentators rushed to compare the crisis in Yerevan with the 2014 protests in Kyiv that toppled the pro-Russian president, Victor Yanukovych.
However, the street protests in Armenia have more to do with the overall economic situation in the country than with proxy clashes between foreign countries. Although the main power supplier, the Electric Networks of Armenia (ENA) company, 100 percent-controlled by the Russian state-owned energy giant Inter RAO United Energy Systems, is behind the proposal for a steep power price hike, Armenian activists reject the notion that the protests are anti-Russian. What they have demanded is a halt of widespread corrupt practices in the power sector, which ultimately are the real reason why prices have to go up.
As in other former Soviet countries, the energy behemoth ENA remains a heavily mismanaged enterprise. This was confirmed by a recent probe, in which the energy regulator has found that suppliers and traders often use shady intermediaries to push energy managers to inflate procurement costs or steal electricity. This has led to more than EUR 70 million in losses for the company in just the last three years, according to the energy ministry.
The company’s overall debt has reached $250 million. Initially, ENA has suggested a 40 percent increase in electricity tariffs in order to cover its obligations. The government of the pro-Russian president Serge Sargsyan and the quasi-independent energy regulator initially refused but ultimately had to accept a 16.7 percent rise after a series of high-level visits from Moscow. Although the government has confirmed the results of the regulator’s investigation, it has decided to look the other way.
Even after the hike, power tariffs would still be just EUR 0.11 cents/kWh, or about half of what average EU households pay. At purchasing power parity, though, their impact on household budgets is much greater. According to a World Bank study, Armenians spend around 8% of their income on energy use, while consuming three times less energy per capita than people in Central and Eastern Europe, also a region where energy poverty is a widespread phenomenon.
In addition, if accepted, this would be the third consecutive power price hike in two years at a time when the economy is facing slow growth and high unemployment rate. The Armenian economy, which is heavily dependent on Russia, has faced a major downturn since the start of economic troubles for its powerful neighbor to the north. Russia is the key destination for labor migrants, who contributed more than 20% of the national income in the form of remittances in 2013 and 11 percent in 2014. In the first five months of 2015, cash transfers have halved.
The economic link with Russia is most profound in the energy sector. Apart from ENA, the Russian state, through Gazprom, owns 100 percent of the country’s wholesale gas supplying company. The bulk of FDI inflows also have Russian origin, and 40 percent of them are targeting the energy sector.
In addition, Armenia imports almost all of its gas from Russia and natural gas imports comprise around 80 percent of all energy imports. Furthermore, 60 percent of the country’s total primary energy supply is derived from natural gas, which is responsible for the majority of residential energy use, especially in big cities.
However, the increase in gas import prices in 2010 and the subsequent 40 percent hike in household gas tariffs pushed some urban residents to switch from natural gas to electricity for heating, which became comparatively cheaper (about one-fifth of Armenia’s electricity is generated from natural gas, with the rest supplied by a number of hydro power plants and a nuclear power plant, which is currently being modernized). Hence, when power prices began to increase, the outrage in the capital, Yerevan, was easy to understand.
According to the protest leaders, the rallies are not anti-Russian in nature and the main demand of the people is a reversal to the government’s power price decision. President Sargsyan seemed have backed down after he told senior officials on 26 June that the government will cover the difference between the old and the new price with budget subsidies until the end of a comprehensive audit of the ENA’s activities.
Protesters, however, seem determined to stay on the streets. Deep-seated mistrust in the government’s ability to implement reforms could trigger an impulse for a regime change. This is the biggest fear in Moscow, which sees the current Armenian government as an important ally in its natural backyard. Russia has been able to preserve its influence in the small Caucasian state by expanding its control over key economic sectors. This was done by recruiting senior government officials, who used Russia’s influence to limit outside competition and preserve the dominant position of Russian companies in the energy sector.
If there is a change of guard in Yerevan, the established connections that have served Moscow so well, could crumble. Not surprisingly, similar to the aftermath of Ukraine’s Maidan rally in early 2014, Moscow’s propaganda has presented the street protests in Yerevan as a Western plot to contain Russia’s influence.
In a sign of full support, Moscow provided the government with $200 million in military aid on 26 June. Armenia relies for its security on the 3,000 Russian troops stationed in the country, which have so far deterred efforts by Azerbaijan to try to reclaim the separatist republic of Nagorno Karabakh, occupied by Armenia during a bloody five-year war in the early 1990s.
Paradoxically, Russia’s attempts to secure its influence and, more importantly, its energy interests in the neighborhood could backfire. While Armenian demonstrators have largely limited, domestic aims, the Russian insistence on turning the protests into an East-West clash could incite protesters to demand that the Armenian government take a sharp turn away from Moscow.
Faced with such a choice, president Sargsyan might have to abandon his close ties with Kremlin in an attempt to stay in power. This is likely to lead to economic retaliation from Russia such as gas supply cuts. The alternative, though, may be to follow the path of Ukraine’s former president, Victor Yanukovych.
The idea of cleansing the body and soul is a very old one. In both Eastern and Western traditions, cleansing the body to atone for or rid the body of one’s sins was an ancient notion tied to the Western Judeo-Christian-Islamic and Eastern Buddhist-Hindu religious traditions. Methods to cleanse the body utilizing herbs and other means were practiced throughout the world. The elaborate routines of Panchakarma from India are one such example of an ancient cleansing therapy.
The idea of cleansing the body to eliminate our physical dirtiness is more alive and well today than it’s ever been. While the history of detoxing the body from its ills through physical cleansing is an old notion, the modern roots of cleansing can be traced to the early natural hygienists. Dr. John Kellogg, of Kellogg’s corn flakes fame, was an early American pioneer of bodily purification.
Kellogg ran the Battle Creek health sanatorium in Michigan, which was owned and operated by Seventh Day Adventists. At the sanatorium, Kellogg recommended yogurt enemas, strict vegetarianism and a bland diet because he believed that spicy, protein-rich foods increased sex drive while bland foods reduced it. He and his brother developed flaked cereals along with a number of super-bland foods for consumption at the sanatorium including, by accident in 1896, corn flakes. Corn flakes, with their high fiber content, were created to be an anti-aphrodisiac.
In the early twentieth century, John Tilden and others promoted many ideas to cleanse the body of toxins. Toxemia or blood pollution was thought to be the cause of all diseases. Cleansing through diet, fasting, juicing, herbs, colonics, exercise and other methods were taught to be the cures.
During this time, many erroneous nutritional theories were conceived to explain the cause of toxemia. These included concepts such as the putrefying effect from eating meat and dairy foods, an improper balance of acid and alkaline foods, the supremacy of vegan diets, and various food-combining theories. I’ll explain why these theories hold no water later in this article. Unfortunately, these ideas are still promoted today by many contemporary proponents of cleansing protocols.THE MODERN CLEAN-UP
For decades I was a teacher, counselor, and promoter of a primarily vegan diet for cleansing and better health. I have to admit that I taught most of the theories listed above—except for Kellogg’s theories on sex. I saw first-hand that in most cases not only did the vegan approach not clear toxins from the body but in many cases did not promote healing. I had my epiphany that something was wrong when one of my teachers, Aveline Kushi, developed cancer. Over time, everyone I encountered on an unsupplemented vegan-leaning diet either developed illness or poor health. In recent years, several prominent teachers of a vegan-style macrobiotic diet died at younger ages than the average person from serious diseases such as cancer and heart disease. Sally Fallon’s book, Nourishing Traditions, and the Weston A. Price Foundation were instrumental in helping me fill in the gaps of my nutritional awareness to address the growing problems associated with vegan diets. Many discussions with natural health education colleagues such as Carlo Gugliermo, Steve Gagne, and Steve Acuff were also extremely helpful as they had walked a similar road.
As I awoke from my dietary dream, I saw an explosion of methods that I had followed—lots of health gurus promoting cleansing through diet, remedies, fasting, and a host of other means. Cleansing has become big business, promoted by everyone from Dr. Oz to the Juice Man and, of course, late night infomercials. Books and websites advertising everyone’s favorite cleanses as the answer to weight loss, healing all kinds of diseases, and anti-aging have taken off.
Even when I was promoting a vegan-style diet as a cleansing method, I was suspicious of cleansing protocols. My suspicions arose from the teachings of oriental medicines. In ancient oriental medicines there are two basic approaches to cleansing therapies. One can cleanse by taking substances that speed up the function of the elimination organs such as the colon, liver, and kidneys, or one can cleanse toxins by strengthening the function of these same organs through food, lifestyle practices, herbs and exercise. The second method was considered the most basic and safer way of getting rid of toxins. The first method was only recommended for very strong people.
Today all of the popular cleansing methods focus on stimulating, rather than strengthening, the organs of elimination. For the majority of people, these methods can have very detrimental effects on health.TRUTH AND MYTHS ABOUT TOXINS
The truth about toxins is that we live in a very polluted world. Air and water pollutants abound. There are chemicals in our food, our homes, our household products, body care products, and in our environments. There is evidence that these toxins can accumulate in the body causing harm.
Ridding the body of toxins can be a very important part of healing diseases. The problems with the most popular detoxing approaches today arise from the methods being used. Just about all of the cleansing methods promoted today do not cleanse the body of the chemicals that we are exposed to. I will explain why most of these methods cause real harm to overall health by weakening the organs of elimination and hampering or even halting the healing process.
There is some truth to the saying that you don’t see the things you aren’t looking for. After my epiphany about my mostly vegan diet, I started to see more evidence that this was not a good way to eat for cleansing or for overall health.
My wife and I were amazed when watching a documentary on ocean pollution by environmentalist, explorer, and film maker, Jean Michel Cousteau. Jean Michel found large amounts of human-made environmental pollutants when testing killer whales and harbor seals. He then decided to test his staff. His vegan-style vegetarian assistant and her son had the highest level of certain environmental pollutants in their bodies, while Jean Michel’s other assistant, who stated she ate everything except fish, had low levels.
This point was brought home to me when one of my clients, through testing by a holistic doctor, was found to have high levels of a contaminant from gasoline in her body. She showed me the supplement that was recommended by her doctor to remove this toxin from her body. The main active ingredients were two amino acids. I found it fascinating that these amino acids are only found in animal products.MEAT AND THE COLON
Many dietary restrictions are being used today in the name of cleansing. Depending on the teachings of the diet gurus, the avoidance of sugar, salt, dairy, saturated fats, all fats, red meat, all meat, or other categories of foods will be recommended in order to cleanse the body.
For most people, the foods the diet gurus condemn are handled easily by the body. Various foods are claimed to clog the colon, but there is no scientific evidence that this really happens.
Vegan advocates promote the idea that meat, and by association all animal products, rot in the colon creating toxins, or toxemia, which interfere with the elimination of environmental toxins and create illness. In reality, protein-rich foods such as meats stimulate the production of stomach acid. Stomach acid is essential for the digestion of all proteins. In the presence of adequate stomach acid, the protease enzyme pepsin is produced, which initiates the digestion of protein.
When the stomach pH is low enough, that is, when it is acidic enough, enzymes are produced by the pancreas to break down fats, carbohydrates and proteins. When meats or high protein animal products enter the small intestine, pancreatic enzymes that break down fats and proteins mix with these foods. The amino acids or protein components of the meat are then absorbed by the small intestine. By the time what is left of the meat or any animal foods enters the colon (large intestine), it has been completely digested.
Some people do have trouble digesting some animal proteins, especially dairy products, but the protein that is the most difficult to digest is wheat gliadin, a vegetable protein. The food that rots in the colon is the darling of the natural foods movement: fiber.
Here is an interesting fact that contradicts what the “meat-clogs-the-colon” proponents suggest: protein-rich foods such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs and other animal-source foods cause the stomach to produce adequate amounts of stomach acid. Without adequate stomach acid, the pancreas does not produce sufficient digestive enzymes. If high-protein foods are not eaten, digestion suffers due to low stomach acid.
Vegan diets are very low in complete proteins because grains, beans, and vegetables have very small amounts of proteins. I have found that vegetarian protein sources are good complementary protein sources if adequate complete protein sources are consumed, ideally from meat, poultry, fish or other animal-source foods.
In my counseling practice I have commonly found many vegans or near vegans to have digestive disorders from a lack of stomach acid because of inadequate protein in their diets. Eating some complete protein from animal sources at every meal helps you digest all the food in the meal more completely.FOOD COMBINING
Closely related to the “meat-and-dairy-rotsin-the-colon” theories of cleansing are the food combining and acid-alkaline theories. Food combining was first popularized by William Hay in the 1920s. Herbert Shelton wrote one of the early bibles on food combining in the thirties. The book, Fit for Life, by Harvey and Marilyn Diamond, brought back food combining in the eighties. Contemporary versions of food combining are promoted in the Body Ecology Diet and even by Dr. Mercola.
The basic theory behind food combining is that foods with different concentrated nutrients have different digestive demands. It is thought that if foods with concentrated protein such as meat or poultry are eaten with grains, they will rot in the stomach rather than undergo digestion.
Even years ago, before knowing as much as I do now about the science of digestion, I thought that food combining was an odd idea. I couldn’t imagine our ancestors thinking much about food combinations when deciding what to eat. The evidence of what traditional peoples ate around the world shows that they didn’t consider this when choosing their foods. All combinations of foods were eaten in the healthiest and longest-lived cultures.
When following food combining principles, one’s diet becomes extremely low in protein, carbohydrates and calories. There is no solid science behind food combining. The scientific evidence demonstrates that all foods are digested successfully together.
Early food combining theories were based on incomplete science and for some dubious reason, these outdated ideas keep returning. The key to digestion is adequate stomach acid and a healthy, active metabolism.ACID-ALKALINE
The acid-alkaline theory also severely limits both one’s diet and health. The idea behind it is that we must eat an alkaline diet to keep our blood alkaline. According to the acid-alkaline proponents, acidic blood causes all manner of diseases. They say that eating more alkaline foods, such as fruits and vegetables, is the key to good health.
The reality is that we can’t regulate our acid-alkaline state by diet. The kidneys regulate our acid-alkaline status. The kidneys are aided in this by lung function. One nutrient that aids the kidneys in maintaining an acid-alkaline balance is adequate complete protein from animal foods. The popular method in acid-alkaline circles of measuring urine or saliva pH does not reflect the blood pH. For more information, read Chris Kresser’s excellent articles1 that explain the science that invalidates the myths of the acid-alkaline theory.NECESSARY NUTRIENTS
The ironic fact is that many of the foods that people restrict in their diets are necessary for the proper functioning of the organs of elimination, and cutting such foods out of the diet weakens these organs.
Protein in the concentrated forms of meats is needed for colon health. Cholesterol is needed for liver and gall bladder function. Saturated fats aid the functioning of the kidneys, colon and lungs. Sugars and starches are needed for the liver and all the organs.
For many reasons, people may feel good when they first embark on one of the restricted diets. One major reason is the rush of energy that comes from the catabolic hormones, adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones liberate energy into the body and mind. Initially, this stress reaction feels good. Reducing chemicals, pesticides, and high amounts of refined sugars is another reason for people’s positive experience. Eating more vegetables as the acid-alkaline and vegan proponents suggest is a healthy practice.
Eventually, though, most people fail with all dietary restrictions whether it is carbs, sugars, or meats. The body needs an array of nutrients to function well. My experience from carrying out thousands of personal health consultations is that the body needs all the macronutrients—carbohydrates, fats, and proteins—in substantial amounts, with smaller amounts of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.
Appetite, taste and an understanding of the overall effects of foods are the best indicators as to what we should eat. It is important that no major category of food be left out. Even people who are eating traditional nutrient-dense foods should vary the frequency and quanity in the diet of the important and necessary concentrated foods such as liver, butter, meat and other similar foods to ensure long-term health. One size never fits all. A nutritionally complete diet with variability over time is important for everyone.
The worst of the extreme diets that are promoted for cleansing and health are zero-carb and all raw. In zero-carb diets, the body is starved of a major energy source, carbohydrates, while on all raw diets, complete proteins, calories, and many nutrients are missing. Depending on one’s health condition, different types of carbohydrates and some raw foods are helpful.
Some foods cause real health problems for people, such as artificial sweeteners and the industrially produced polyunsaturated vegetables oils—corn, soy, and others. Certain natural foods such as unfermented soy show evidence of harm if eaten regularly or in large amounts.
Some people are allergic or highly sensitive to foods such as gluten, dairy products and even the nightshade family (tomatoes, potatoes, etc.). In my own consultation practice I suggest that people avoid foods that they are sensitive to with one exception. Often a person who has not eaten a food for months or longer, will react negatively to it. This happens to many people after a long period of avoiding gluten, sugar, carbs, meat, dairy or other natural foods. After reintroducing the restricted foods over an appropriate amount of time for each individual, most do fine eating them again.THE MYTH OF CALORIE RESTRICTION
Many cleansing approaches recommend intended or unintended calorie restriction by juicing or other methods of fasting, green smoothie meal replacements and drinking excessive amounts of water. The major problem with these approaches is that by reducing calories the metabolism drops. When the metabolism drops by undereating, all bodily functions decrease. As the metabolism drops, elimination slows down. The major myth about fasting is that it causes your body to dump toxins. The only truth to this is that when you put your body in a stress mode by calorie or nutrient restriction, or other methods such as extreme exercise, there is a temporary increase in stress hormones. The stress hormones speed up all functions of the body including elimination. This stress “honeymoon” doesn’t last. With the repeated stressors of calorie or nutrient restriction, bodily functions slow down.
The kicker is that if a person has been under repeated stress from nutrient-deficient diets, poor lifestyle habits, or habitual negative thinking, there is no stress honeymoon. Any added stress such as calorie restriction drops the function of the body even further. Elimination and all body activities slow down in these cases. Many modern people and health food followers have already pushed the stress envelope. In these cases, their health will only continue to worsen.
There are additional concerns for health regarding the above-mentioned methods beyond those of calories. Green smoothies contain goitrogens (from cruciferous plants such as kale) in concentrated doses. Goitrogens suppress the function of the thyroid, which lowers the metabolism and weakens the elimination of toxins in addition to all other body functions.
Juicing, smoothie meal replacements, and excessive water consumption add large volumes of liquids to the body. The excess liquid dilutes sodium and causes swelling in the cells, leading to a condition known as hyponatremia. This also causes the metabolism to drop, slowing down elimination and all bodily functions.DEEPER CLEANSING
As you can see, the most popular cleansing methods are worthless at best and dangerous at worst. Real cleansing is effected by a balanced, nourishing diet, a healthy lifestyle, a positive mental attitude, and doing what you really love in life.
In my health counseling practice, I employ a form of East-West visual, touch and symptom diagnosis to understand the detox or cleansing needs of my clients. In Eastern diagnostic systems, there is a holistic idea that a person’s overall health condition affects that person’s wellbeing.
There are certain states of health that benefit from strongly stimulating the organs of elimination to function more robustly. Certain herbs, foods and supplements can accomplish this.
Other types of health conditions benefit from a fundamental strengthening or toning of the organ functions. Certain foods, herbs, and supplements can foster the strength of the eliminative organs: kidneys, colon, liver, and lungs.
Stimulating the eliminative organs to become active can weaken people who have an overall nutritional or energy deficiency. For the majority of people, a better cleansing method is to eat and live in a way that best supports the healthy functioning of the body.
A diet that supports proper elimination needs ample calories to fuel the metabolism, adequate protein from natural animal foods to support organ functions and structures, saturated fats, adequate carbohydrates from grains, sweet vegetables, tubers, and fruit with moderate amounts of fiber, cooked and raw vegetables, and natural sugars. A diet that is primarily natural, organic and wholesome is best. Natural seasonings, healthy beverages, optional moderate alcohol intake and other wholesome foods round out this healthy regimen. An occasional intake of not-so-healthy foods will not harm healthy persons or hamper their elimination if their routine, daily diet and lifestyle are sound. Diets that are missing any of the macronutrients of carbohydrates, proteins or fats are the worst for our body’s natural detoxification systems.
When the body is in a stress mode, all systems of the body lose their proper functioning. Natural lifestyle practices along with diet aid in countering stress. The right amount of moderate exercise, being outside especially in the sun, stress-reducing practices such as yoga, meditation and quigong, good sleep, engaging in activities, including work, that you love, and a good mental approach help us to thrive and quickly restore balance in times of stress. These activities keep the metabolism high to fuel proper detoxification.
Some people need extra nutrients and herbs to aid in detoxification and natural cleansing. Cleansing nutrients and herbs include vitamin C, alpha lipoic acid, B-complex vitamins, milk thistle, dandelion root, and triphala (an Ayurvedic herbal combination).
The elements of health listed above support the body’s natural cleansing ability. Unlike the dangerous cleansing methods that are popular and outlined in this article, the marvelous side effect of eating and living in a healthy way that supports detoxification is vibrant health.
FURTHER CLEANSING METHODS
Other cleansing methods that are popular today range from worthless to harmful for health. These methods include vigorous exercise and sweating, colon cleansing, coffee enemas, eating more fiber, laxatives, and the liver-gall bladder cleanse.
SWEATING OUT TOXINS:
Moderate to high intensity exercise done over a sustained period of time is recommended to induce sweating to get rid of toxins. Advocates think that toxins will be released in the sweat. The truth is that toxins are not released in sweat. Sweat is composed of water and small amounts of salts, proteins, carbohydrates and urea. The main purpose of sweating is to lower the core body temperature. Exercise done in this way can lower the ability of the kidneys to excrete urine thus reducing the amount of toxins excreted. In addition, sustained exercise if overdone lowers the metabolism, thus lowering the body’s ability to excrete toxins.
Exercise that raises the metabolism would increase detoxification. Such exercise includes weight training and high intensity interval training. Two to three times per week is enough to obtain benefits.
Flushing water through the colon is promoted as a cure for all kinds of ills. As with most things in health and life, the proof is in the pudding. If someone finds coffee enemas helpful, I think it is best to employ this on a limited basis for a short time. In ancient Ayurveda, enemas were given very cautiously. Weak people were not given enemas as it was thought to drain too much energy or life force from the body. From my clinical experience with thousands of clients, I feel there is wisdom to this idea.
HIGH FIBER CLEANSE:
Eating more fiber is thought to help stimulate the bowels to increase function. Fiber, especially in the form of whole grains, creates tears in the bowel that stimulate it to move. Over time, these tears can create high inflammation and lower the function of the bowels.
The original fiber theories are flawed. I suggest Anthony Colpo’s excellent e-book, Whole Grains, Empty Promises to learn more about fiber’s sordid history. Whole grain brown rice was never eaten in Asia. Traditional methods to hull rice in Asia removed much of the fiber from brown rice and other whole grains.
Fiber advocates state that plaque and other material build up in the colon and that fiber removes it. Serious researchers and autopsists have investigated this matter and have not found evidence of mucoid plaque or any other sort of residue or buildup in the intestines. Consuming fiber in large amounts fills you up before you have eaten enough calories to fuel the body. This is not good as it lowers all body functions. I mentioned a low metabolism as a consequence of many of the cleansing methods. This is a real issue because many degenerative diseases including cancer and heart disease have been linked to a low metabolic state. Lastly, fiber can irritate the colon when taken in excessive amounts.
LIVER-GALL BLADDER CLEANSE:
Lastly, is the liver-gall bladder cleanse. It is still circulating among health seekers despite the fact that it is physiologically impossible, unpleasant to do, and the results don’t hold up to the promises.
This cleanse has many variations. The central feature is drinking large amounts of lemon juice and olive oil. People swear that the little green balls that are discharged in the stool are gall stones. They are, in fact, saponified, or soapy, olive oil balls.
The gall bladder is a very small organ. At maximum capacity, it is three inches by 1.5 inches. The amount of green blobs expelled during this cleanse is more than the gall bladder can hold. Olive oil, not gallstones, as advocates of the cleanse think, is being discharged. Another claim for this cleanse is that more bile with toxins from the liver is being produced. The liver cannot produce more bile in response to large amounts of olive oil ingested. Fewer globs are expelled if the cleanse is repeated. Proponents think that this means you have no more stones. What it really means is that your body has adapted to you consuming large amounts of olive oil.
The major danger of the liver-gall bladder cleanse is irritation to the colon. Large amounts of olive oil taken at once, sometimes with a large amount of apple juice, create inflammation in the colon.
TWO PROGRAMS OF DETOXIFICATION
In my clinical experience, the visual signs that indicate a condition that needs more eliminative herbs, supplements or foods are the following: a consistent overly loud voice, a red face, hard and rigid pressure points used in acupressure or oriental medicine, strong body odors, a strong pulse, and a thick yellow coating on the tongue. In oriental medicines, these are signs of heat from excess energy. In diet, this excess condition arises from over consumption of poor quality foods such as meats, vegetable oils, commercial cheeses, and a lack of vegetables and fruits over many years.
A person with this type of condition can benefit from taking in foods, herbs and supplements that stimulate the liver, large intestine, and kidneys to function more strongly. Lighter forms of animal foods such as poultry and fish, raw vegetables and fruits, beets, fermented drinks that are stimulating such as kombucha and beet kvass will cool the body through the stimulation of these elimination organs. Higher doses of vitamin C and bitter herbs such as dandelion and Oregon grape root will also stimulate these organs to eliminate the excess energy. How long a person emphasizes these foods, herbs and supplements depends on the degree of excess in the body.
Signs of deficiency include a weak voice, pale skin, a slumping posture, weak pulse, pale tongue, lack of vitality, clear urine, thin cheeks, and dark circles or bags under the eyes. These signs indicate the person has either been running on empty (not eating enough), using stimulants such as coffee, drugs, and sugars to function, or has not been eating nourishing foods.
Habits that create this condition include eating a nutrient-deficient and/or calorie-deficient diet or a diet that is lacking the maxi nutrients such as proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. People who have been on vegan or raw foods diets for many years or those who have the habit of under-eating, dieting, not eating adequate animal products, not getting enough sleep, over-exercising or working long hours will create a condition of energy drain or deficiency.
This type of person needs to eat a nourishing diet of properly prepared whole grains, cooked vegetables, natural animal foods and dairy at every meal including naturally-raised beef and lamb more often, saturated fats, less sweet foods and no raw foods until the strength of the body and mind returns. Rest and sleep are essential.
Digestive aids in the form of pancreatic enzymes, Chinese formulas containing ginseng or ginseng-like roots such as Ten Tastes Tea, cod liver oil, liver pills and B12 are helpful to restore this kind of deficient state.
1. Chris Kresser: http://chriskresser.com/the-ph-myth-part-1
2. Anthony Colpo “Whole Grains, Empty Promises” eBook
3. Hyponatremia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyponatremia
4. Jean Michel-Cousteau:Call of the Killer Whale (1:18:18 Pilot Study Results) http://video.
Coming To America: The Hoarding Begins: Greeks Rush To Grocery Stores, Gas Stations and ATMs In Anticipation of Collapse
(Pictured: Greeks rush to grocery stores to stock up on food and supplies ahead of bank holidays)
What happens when your country collapses to such an extent that it can no longer pay its debts, your banking system is bankrupt and the populace loses confidence in its government’s ability to mitigate the crisis?
The events taking place in Greece provide some insight and are a harbinger of things to come in America.
It was a seemingly normal Sunday — except it was anything but normal.
For many people in Athens, it was time to prepare for an approaching storm. A short walk from Plaka, a line of people waited to withdraw cash from an A.T.M., hours before the official announcement that banks would be closed starting on Monday. Some bank machines in central Athens had run out of money or were out of service, as screens blamed “technical difficulties.”
Elsewhere, some people had started hoarding gasoline and groceries. “We don’t know what the new day will bring,” said Katerina Vorreadi, who was among a group of retirees waiting in line outside the National Bank of Greece on Saturday night.
Source: New York Times
Uncertainty breeds panic and if there’s anything that will get people lining up at local venues that provide essential services like money exchange and foodstuffs, it’s the fear of not being able to acquire those items when they’re needed most.
And while some will argue that America is an advanced economy and Greece is not even on the same playing field, the fact is that as a country we are much worse off. In a country where nearly 100 million people are dependent on government monthly government benefits just to survive, even a short-term financial shock could lead to widespread panic.
But how likely is such an event?
Well, according to Representative Brad Sherman, during the height of the 2008 crisis Congress was told that if taxpayer funds weren’t used to bail out the system to the tune of trillions of dollars that we would literally have tanks patrolling the streets of America.
Many of us were told in private conversations that if we voted against this bill on Monday, that the sky would fall, the market would drop two or three thousands points the first day, another couple thousand the second day, and a few members were even told that there would be martial law in America if we voted no.
House Representative Brad Sherman (D-California)
Debate on the House Floor, October 2, 2008
It was a testament to just how bad things were and how much worse they could have gotten. But more importantly, it shows just how close to the brink of total collapse our nation was… and still remains.
Just this week the Bank of International Settlements – essentially the central bank for the world’s central banks – said that governments and banks will be unable to fight the next financial crisis because they used up their ammunition fighting the last one.
Keep in mind that these are the people that essentially control the monetary policy of the entire world. And they just said that once the next set of dominoes starts tipping over they aren’t going to be able to stop it.
So the reality of the situation is that not only is this contagion soon to reach America, there will be no stopping it when it does.
In his latest article Michael Snyder of End of the American Dream warns that Americans are woefully unprepared for such a scenario.
Should America be faced with the same situation as Greece, we can fully expect similar results here.
(Pictured: Greeks line up at ATMs. Withdrawal limits were set to about $75 per day)
People will rush ATM’s in the hopes of getting cash, but like Greece, they’ll be met with restrictions allowing them to withdraw just $75 a day.
They’ll make their way to grocery stores hoping to buy a food supply for a week or two while things settle down, but they’ll be met with long lines and empty shelves, much like we’ve seen during previous emergencies.
(Greek grocery stores quickly running out of food. Picture via Zero Hedge)
And, just as we saw in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, within 72 hours of a destabilization of our systems of commerce people will be facing starvation and supply shortages.
Multiple factors contribute to societal breakdowns including failure of adequate government response, population density, citizens taking advantage of the grid being down and overwhelmed emergency response teams.
3-5 days following a disaster is the bewitching hour. During this short amount of time, the population slowly becomes a powder keg full of angry, desperate citizens. A good example is the chaos that ensued in New Orleans following the absence of action from the local government or a timely effective federal response in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In such troubled times, people were forced to fend for themselves and their families, by any means necessary. This timeline of Hurricane Katrina effectively illustrates “the breakdown,” and within three days, the citizens of New Orleans descended into anarchy, looting and murder (Source).
If this scenario isn’t bad enough, at the end of this time frame, there will be an increase in illnesses due to cramped living quarters from emergency shelters, sanitation-related illness,compromised water sources and exposure to natural elements. In the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake, sanitation- related epidemics became a large concern for the disaster victims. In fact, the outbreak erupted into the world’s largest cholera epidemic despite a huge international mobilization still dealing with the effects of the Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake.
Source: The Anatomy of a Breakdown
We can pretend like everything is peachy and that happy times are back again. But even a precursory look at what’s happening around the world suggests that the global economy is derailing. Greece has essentially collapsed (for the fourth time in a decade) and China’s stock markets are in the midst of detonating.
The situation remains fluid, but dire, because if China and Europe go, guess who’s next?
Americans aren’t ready for it. As Michael Snyder notes in his aforementioned article, most people don’t have any emergency cash, or even a three day supply of food on hand in case something happens.
Now, consider what happens when banks shut their doors for a week like they have done in Greece. Next, imagine a scenario where confidence in the U.S. dollar is lost and foreign creditors pull out.
The result is an intense, almost immediate collapse of the system as we have come to know it. When the debt bubble bursts, notes analyst Greg Mannarino, millions of people could die:
Millions upon millions of people are going to die on a world-wide scale when the debt bubble bursts. And I’m saying when not if…
When resources become more and more scarce we’re going to see countries at war with each other. People will be scrambling… in a worst case scenario… doing everything that they can to survive… to provide for their family and for themselves.
We could be wrong, of course. But what if we’re not?
It took years (after our initial report in 2011) but finally the Greeks realized that the main reason the Troika had been fleecing them all along, is that of the €227 billion in bailout funds disbursed to Greece, the amount that actually reached the Greek population was... 11%. The rest went back to repaying Greek creditors in some form.
This is another way of explaining why while the PIIGS countries raged against "evil austerity", their debt load as a percentage of GDP was consistently rising year after year, and has hid new all time highs as of the most recent reading.
So what was really going in Europe over the past 5 years, if the debt load kept creeping higher, and yet little money was actually making its way to the broader population?
The answer is simple: abuse of taxpayer funding, also known as fraud and corruption. And while it may come as a surprise, more European tax money has been lost to fraud in Italy than in any other European country, Greece included (perhaps because most of the free cash was already earmarked for creditor repayment).
As Italy's TheLocal reports, the EU anti-fraud office, Italy currently has 61 open investigations into fraud involving EU funds. This means Italy has the second highest number of investigations in the EU, ranking just below Greece's neighbor to the north, Bulgaria.
As the Local reports, fraud with EU money is commonplace in Italy, but is far from an Italian-only phenomenon. Here is a list of some of the most dastardly, or as the Italian outlet pegs it "insane" cons pulled by Italians with EU money.
1) Digitaleco's dodgy DVDs
From 1998 to 2005 a fake company known as Digitaleco received over €3 million in EU funding to produce DVDs. However, by 2005 the company plant was still missing a roof and was not connected to a waste system. Still, it had mysteriously been certified as completed by regional officials in Calabria.
Strangely, regional authorities in Calabria made no attempts to recoup the money and subsequent raids across the country implicated a former public official in Calabria, the treasurer of the Catholic UDC party and a fundraiser for Silvio Berlusoni's Forza Italia party in the scandal...
2) A lift to nowhere
Over €2 million of EU taxpayers hard-earned cash was used to build a lift in the small Italian town of Sutera, Sicily. The lift was finished in 2012, but has never been used as the costs of running the lift were too expensive for the small town.
Now it is feared that much of the budget may have ended up lining the pockets of local mafiosi...
3) Clean electricity? Clean money!
Italy's poorer south is a prime target for EU development funds: unfortunately it is also the nerve centre of the global mafia. Between 2007 and? 2013 the EU structural fund granted €350 million to Sicily - money local mafia were looking to get a slice of.
Vito Nicastri used some of these funds to build up a huge empire of renewable energy on Sicily that was used as a front for the Mafia, which is suspected to have used green businesses to launder illegally earned money.
Nicastri had over €1.2 billion euros worth of assets seized by anti-mafia police in April 2014.
4) Crime Doesn't Pay
It's not always the case that EU funds disappear in Italy - at least not forever. In 2012, Italy was ordered to repay the EU a whopping €420 million after anti-fraud investigators found evidence of foul play in the way EU funds had been used to rebuild the A3 Motorway between Salerno and Reggio Calabria.
The A3 is symbolic of the challenges Italy faces in its war on corruption. The project has been dogged by repeated scandals. In May this year, Italian Premier Matteo Renzi declared that the motorway would be finished within a year. Construction began in 1966 - so watch this space!
5) Rocket Man goes to Napoli
But that's not the only time the EU has asked Italy for a refund. In 2009 the regional of Naples was forced to pony up the EU dough it had spent on an Elton John concert.
Following a Brussels led investigation, Naples was ordered to repay the €720,000 of the regional development fund it had splashed out on the gig.
EU officials stated that the money should have been used for longer term cultural projects.
When It comes to Italy and EU money, sorry often seems to be the hardest word.
* * *
So, dear PIIGS citizens, while we understand you are angry that so little of the taxpayer funds meant for you reached the general public, please don't blame it on austerity - the truth is what is taking place in Europe has little to do with actual belt-tightening or spending cuts as the record (in both absolute and relative terms) debt load across Europe shows, and everything to do with your corrupt politicians and crony capitalists abusing what little funds were destined to improve your living standards.
And if you do want to blame someone, blame your corrupt politicians: it is they who sold you all out, with or without Goldman's debt-masking FX swaps (which the ECB still refuses to probe as they will reveal Mario Draghi's direct responsibility for the imminent Greek default).
On a more personal level, how can public service be promoted as an ideal to young people when this sewer corrupts our Republic? At this point in early twenty-first-century America, the greatest service our nation’s young people could provide is to lead an army of outraged young Americans armed with brooms on a crusade to sweep out the rascals and rid our capital of the money changers, rent seekers, revolving door dancers, and special interest deal makers and power brokers and send them back home to make an honest living, that is, if they still remember how to do so.
Our ancestors did not depart Europe and elsewhere to seek freedom and self-government alone. They came to these shores to escape social and political systems that were corrosive and corrupt. Two and a quarter centuries later, we are returning to those European practices. We are in danger of becoming a different kind of nation, one our founders would not recognize and would deplore.
In addition to the rise of the national security state, and the concentration of wealth and power in America, no development in modern times sets us apart more from the nation originally bequeathed to us than the rise of the special interest state. There is a Gresham’s law related to the republican ideal. Bad politics drives out good politics. Legalized corruption drives men and women of stature, honor, and dignity out of the halls of government. Self-respecting individuals cannot long tolerate a system of election and reelection so dependent on cultivating the favor of those known to expect access in return. Such a system is corrosive to the soul.
– From the Gary Hart article, Gary Hart: America’s Founding Principles Are in Danger of Corruption
A former senator from Colorado, Gary Hart, has written an extremely powerful and accurate critique of the unfathomably corrupt and crony state of the U.S. government in 2015. It covers several very important angles, including how appalled and disgusted our founders would be at the current state of affairs. How a once great republic has devolved into a thieving oligarchy in which the pursuit of money at power at the expense of the public good has been elevated into something that’s not just tolerated, but actually celebrated and encouraged amongst an ethics deprived status quo.
Don’t take it from me though, here are several of my favorite excerpts:
By that standard, can anyone seriously doubt that our republic, our government, is corrupt? There have been Teapot Domes and financial scandals of one kind or another throughout our nation’s history. There has never been a time, however, when the government of the United States was so perversely and systematically dedicated to special interests, earmarks, side deals, log-rolling, vote-trading, and sweetheart deals of one kind or another.
What brought us to this? A sinister system combining staggering campaign costs, political contributions, political action committees, special interest payments for access, and, most of all, the rise of the lobbying class.
Worst of all, the army of lobbyists that started relatively small in the mid-twentieth century has now grown to big battalions of law firms and lobbying firms of the right, left, and an amalgam of both. And that gargantuan, if not reptilian, industry now takes on board former members of the House and the Senate and their personal and committee staffs. And they are all getting fabulously rich.
Frustrated, irate discussions of this legalized corruption are met in the Washington media with a shrug. So what? Didn’t we just have dinner with that lobbyist for the banking industry, or the teachers’ union, or the airline industry at that well-known journalist’s house only two nights ago? Fine lady, and she used to be the chairman of one of those powerful committees. I gather she is using her Rolodex rather skillfully on behalf of her new clients. Illegal? Not at all. Just smart . . . and so charming.
There is little wonder that Americans of the right and many in the middle are apoplectic at their government and absolutely, and rightly, convinced that the game of government is rigged in favor of the elite and the powerful. Occupiers see even more wealth rising to the top at the expense of the poor and the middle class. And Tea Partiers believe their tax dollars are going to well-organized welfare parasites and government bureaucrats.
Never forget this Venn diagram:
The advent of legalized corruption launched by the Supreme Court empowers the superrich to fund their own presidential and congressional campaigns as pet projects, to foster pet policies, and to represent pet political enclaves. You have a billion, or even several hundred million, then purchase a candidate from the endless reserve bench of minor politicians and make him or her a star, a mouthpiece for any cause or purpose however questionable, and that candidate will mouth your script in endless political debates and through as many television spots as you are willing to pay for. All legal now.
To compound the political felony, much, if not most, campaign financing is now carried out in secret, so that everyday citizens have a decreasing ability to determine to whom their elected officials are beholden and to whom they must now give special access. As recently as the 2014 election, the facts documented this government of influence by secrecy: “More than half of the general election advertising aired by outside groups in the battle for control of Congress,” according to the New York Times, “has come from organizations that disclose little or nothing about their donors, a flood of secret money that is now at the center of a debate over the line between free speech and corruption.”
Of this handful, the largest by far is WPP (originally called Wire and Plastic Products; is there a metaphor here?), which has its headquarters in London and more than 150,000 employees in 2,500 offices spread around 107 countries. It, together with one or two conglomerating competitors, represents a fourth branch of government, vacuuming up former senators and House members and their spouses and families, key committee staff, former senior administration officials of both parties and several administrations, and ambassadors, diplomats, and retired senior military officers.
WPP has swallowed giant public relations, advertising, and lobbying outfits such as Hill & Knowlton and BursonMarsteller, along with dozens of smaller members of the highly lucrative special interest and influence-manipulation world. Close behind WPP is the Orwellian-named Omnicom Group and another converger vaguely called the Interpublic Group of Companies. According to Mr. Edsall, WPP had billings last year of $72.3 billion, larger than the budgets of quite a number of countries.
I’m not sure exactly where this number came from, as I’ve seen numbers around $15 billion thrown around, but not $72 billion.
With a budget so astronomical, think how much good WPP can do in the campaign finance arena, especially since the Citizens United decision. The possibilities are almost limitless. Why pay for a senator or congresswoman here or there when you can buy an entire committee? Think of the banks that can be bailed out, the range of elaborate weapons systems that can be sold to the government, the protection from congressional scrutiny that can be paid for, the economic policies that can be manipulated.
The lobbying business is no longer about votes up or down on particular measures that may emerge in Congress or policies made in the White House. It is about setting agendas, deciding what should and should not be brought up for hearings and legislation. We have gone way beyond mere vote buying now. The converging Influence World represents nothing less than an unofficial but enormously powerful fourth branch of government.
America’s founders knew one thing: The republics of history all died when narrow interests overwhelmed the common good and the interests of the commonwealth.
What would our founders make of this nightmare of corruption? We only know, in Thomas Jefferson’s case, for example, that his distrust of central government had to do with the well-founded and prescient suspicion that its largesse would go to powerful and influential interests, especially financiers, who knew how to manipulate both the government and the financial markets. In particular, Jefferson envisioned sophisticated bankers speculating in public-debt issues with some if not all the interest incurred going into their pockets.
The scope and scale of this genuine scandal (as distinguished from vastly more mundane behavior that passes for scandal in the media) is the single greatest threat to our form of government. It is absolutely incompatible with the principles and ideals upon which America was founded. At the very least, we Americans cannot hold ourselves up to the world as the beacon of democracy so long as we permit, as long as we acquiesce in, corruption so far beyond the standards of the true republic that our government cannot be proclaimed an ideal for other aspiring nations.
On a more personal level, how can public service be promoted as an ideal to young people when this sewer corrupts our Republic? At this point in early twenty-first-century America, the greatest service our nation’s young people could provide is to lead an army of outraged young Americans armed with brooms on a crusade to sweep out the rascals and rid our capital of the money changers, rent seekers, revolving door dancers, and special interest deal makers and power brokers and send them back home to make an honest living, that is, if they still remember how to do so.
When a former senator accurately notes that the best thing young Americans can do is instigate a successful rebellion against the incredibly corrupt and powerful monied interests running the county into the ground, you know things are very bleak.
A harsh judgment? Indeed. But it is impossible to claim to love one’s country and not be outraged at how corrupt it has become. For former senators and representatives to trade a title given them by the voters of their respective states and districts for cash is beyond shameful. It is outrageous.
“I tremble for my country when I contemplate that God is just.” Those words of Thomas Jefferson, enshrined on the walls of his memorial, referred to the institution of slavery. Today he might readily render the same judgment about corruption in and of the American Republic.
It is an error of serious proportion to dismiss corruption in twenty-first-century American democracy on the grounds that this has all been going on from the beginning, that boys will be boys, that politicians are always on the take. Past incidents of the violation of public ethics provide no argument fozr accepting the systemic and cancerous commercialization of modern American politics.
Our ancestors did not depart Europe and elsewhere to seek freedom and self-government alone. They came to these shores to escape social and political systems that were corrosive and corrupt. Two and a quarter centuries later, we are returning to those European practices. We are in danger of becoming a different kind of nation, one our founders would not recognize and would deplore.
Even as politicians and pundits alike pummel the fiscal deficit, we are developing an integrity deficit of mounting proportions. And one is not disconnected from the other. Because of the erosion of the integrity of our governing system, and the principles and ideals underlying it, the fiscal deficit increases. The government spending so many conservatives claim to abhor includes not only the social safety net of Roosevelt and Johnson, but also the war-making excursions of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. It is all government spending. And it includes favorite pork-barrel projects of every member of both houses of Congress of both political parties, and every one of those most loudly condemning “wasteful government spending.” Those projects are produced by the lobbying interests that raise money for those members of Congress in direct proportion to their effectiveness at bringing government-financed projects to their states and districts. By definition, if it is a project in my state or district, it is not wasteful.
We were not created to be like other nations. We were created as an alternative to monarchy, aristocracy, oligarchy, and corrupt political systems. The more we follow the easy path, the one paved for the benefit of the wealthy and powerful, the more we stray from our originally intended purpose and the more we lose our unique purpose for existence.
In addition to the rise of the national security state, and the concentration of wealth and power in America, no development in modern times sets us apart more from the nation originally bequeathed to us than the rise of the special interest state. There is a Gresham’s law related to the republican ideal. Bad politics drives out good politics. Legalized corruption drives men and women of stature, honor, and dignity out of the halls of government. Self-respecting individuals cannot long tolerate a system of election and reelection so dependent on cultivating the favor of those known to expect access in return. Such a system is corrosive to the soul.
As bad as things are, the fact a former senator is not only aware of the problem, but is willing to publicly write a scathing article condemning it, is ultimately a very good thing.
In yesterday's discussion on the technical underpinnings of the market, I pondered the question of whether Greece was really the primary issue of concern for investors.
"Whether, or not, a Greek exit from the Eurozone or a potential debt default is "the thing" that sparks the next major correction in the markets is unknown. Historically, such a widely "known" event is generally already factored into the markets and has much less of an impact when that event eventually comes to fruition. As Art Cashin suggested this morning:
'I think China may be more important than Greece. Stick with the drill – stay wary, alert and very, very nimble.'"
I think that Art may be onto something. While Greece is indeed an issue, and did confirm that they would default on their debt payment to the IMF, this is something that has been long in the making. China, on the other hand, is very a different story.
Today's chart(s) of the day is a look at the history of "bubbles and busts" of the Chinese Shanghai index.
Emerging markets have a long history of speculative investment bubbles and bursts. Whether it has been South American debt or emerging market stocks, they speculative push to garner higher yields or returns has always ended up badly.
As shown in the chart above, the first bubble and burst occurred in 2001. It took almost 4.5 years before that particular investment bubble was unwound.
The second bubble began in early 2006 and after a blistering run popped in mid-2007. Almost 7-years later that bear market ended as the fuse was lit for a new surge to record highs over the last several months.STOP
Take a very close look at the chart above as there is something eerily familiar about it.
As I stated, throughout history emerging markets have gone through a continuous series of booms and busts driven primarily by speculative greed. Whether it was chasing higher yielding debt instruments or just hopes of more lucrative stock market returns, these chases occurred very late in the market cycle when returns became lean in more mature markets.
The chart below shows why the chart above is so familiar.
The boom/bust cycle of the Chinese Shanghai index has a relationship to the S&P 500 index. The first bubble in China occurred as the "Dot.com" bubble in the U.S. moved into a full speculative frenzy.
After the bursting of that bubble, money primarily stayed domestically oriented until late in the "real estate/credit" bubble. At that late stage, speculation had once again reached the "irrational exuberance" phase as beliefs of ongoing stable economic growth, and the rise of emerging market dominance filled the airwaves. In just a few short months, those dreams were rapidly shattered as economic, and market realities, came to the fore.
Following the "financial crisis," money once again stayed focused primarily in domestic indices as the Federal Reserve flooded the system with liquidity to boost asset prices in hopes of stabilizing a weak economic backdrop. However, as the Federal Reserve ended its last liquidity program, money flooded into China once again chasing liquidity and hopes of higher returns.
The recent plunge in the Chinese market may, or may not be, the sound of the latest bubble popping as I write this missive. However, there are two very important warnings be given here:
1) The current bubble will eventually end, just as the last two have, in a rather disastrous plunge for those chasing returns.
2) The plunge will also likely be coincident with an unwinding of excesses in the S&P 500.
The current belief is that the economic environment is stable, and growing enough, to support and foster continued expansion in domestic markets for the foreseeable future. Of course, that was also the belief at the peak of the previous two bubbles as well.
I think that Art Cashin could very well be right. Greece may not be "the thing." We need to keep a close eye on China as it may well be the leading indicator for what happens next in the U.S.
* * *
But then again there's this from Goldman Sachs this morning:
Although Chinese equities have taken quite a hit, the manner in which they have fallen seems bullish in nature.
Like it or not, Bitcoin is an alternative to the fiat fraud money that is the backbone of the status quo. Since Tsipras announced the Greferendum, Bitcoin has surged 12% as perhaps - away from the cornered and manipulated precious metals markets - faith in fiat is faltering...
While perhaps not on the scale of China or Russia assistance, Turkey has thrown its hat into the Troika-Greece farce by offering financial assistance to its embattled neighbor. As ekthimerini reports, "We are ready to help Greece survive its economic crisis with cooperation in tourism, energy, trade," Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said and Turkey's left-wing parties showed solidarity by adding, "we believe that apart from imposing austerity policies on peoples of Europe, there can be more reasonable agreements." While no aid has been asked fro Turkey says it is ready to evaluate options.
Turkey on Tuesday said it was "ready to help" Greece out of its escalating financial crisis as its embattled neighbor edged closer to default.
"We are ready to help Greece survive its economic crisis with cooperation in tourism, energy, trade," Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said in the capital, Ankara.
"We want Greece to be strong... Therefore Turkey will be positive toward any proposal for cooperation," he said in televised comments.
Davutoglu added that a Turkish delegation would travel to Greece for a high-level cooperation meeting as soon as possible to consider joint steps on the financial crisis.
Turkish Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci said on Monday if an official proposal for financial aid is made by Greece, "we will evaluate it."
Turkey's left-wing and Pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) also issued a message of solidarity with Greece, saying: "We are together with the Greek people and their government in their struggle for justice, equality and democracy and against austerity."
"We believe that apart from imposing austerity policies on peoples of Europe, there can be more reasonable agreements, which will be acceptable," said the co-chairs of HDP, considered the Turkish equivalent of Greece's ruling SYRIZA party.
It seems Greece has friends after all, and as we 'joked' previously:
Greece really just needs a DIP not bigger than $10 billion to last it 6 months. Should be easily 5-6x oversubscribed in 24 hours
— zerohedge (@zerohedge) June 28, 2015
Perhaps Turkey will provide the DIP?
Meanwhile, work goes on with other options... Greece hasn’t sought aid from Russia, support wouldn’t hurt, Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis tells in intw with Russia’s state TV channel Rossiya 24.
- Lack of money from EU isn’t end of world
- Greece expects EU to be reasonable, sees too much pressure from Brussels now
- Lafazanis reiterates that accord with Russia on gas link isn’t aimed at Europe
- Greece might get “hundreds of millions of euros” from Russian gas transit after link starts in 2019
I was distressed to receive the press release from the Weston Price organization (westonaprice.org/press/ studies-show-that-vaccinated-individuals- spread-disease/). I recently joined, as I think it is a valuable voice in the advocacy for a traditional, nonprocessed food diet—this despite some of the articles and assertions on your site appearing to be only loosely related to scientific evidence.
In this time of polarization and high emotions surrounding the issue of vaccinations, to publish a piece titled “Studies Show that Vaccinated Individuals Spread Disease” only serves to further the impression that the Foundation is a “fringe” organization, despite any more balanced opinions within the article itself.
Please consider carefully your press releases and articles, so as not to undermine the very good work you are doing to educate people about maximizing health.
Julie Kern, MS,OTR
New York, New York
I AM AN ANTI-VAXER
I am an “anti-vaxer.”
I wish my child had lived long enough to get measles, but sadly she died a few hours after receiving a vaccine. At a routine “well baby” appointment, she had her first shots. I had no idea adverse reactions were even possible. I trusted my doctor completely. I trusted my doctor blindly.
The doctors believed it was the pertussis vaccine that caused her death, but they did not know for sure because she was given a combination of four vaccines, all at the same time. How could we possibly know which one caused her death?
I lost the most precious gift of all, to “the greater good.” I sacrificed my beautiful child. . . for your child.
What did I get in return? I was labelled an “anti-vaxer.” You see, I have a very healthy eleven-year-old son who is completely unvaccinated. He is alive! Did I attend Google University? Or get my advice from Jenny McCarthy? Absolutely not! I spent years poring over the peer-reviewed medical journals, FDA, CDC, WHO and Health Canada files and speaking to doctors and politicians. I had to pay to access my daughter’s vaccine records through Freedom of Information at Health Canada. I did all this to figure out the facts, so that my other child did not also die! I did this so that your children do not die from vaccines!
In Canada we do not have a vaccine injury compensation program, so legal recourse is not an option. In the U.S., the vaccine compensation program has paid almost three billion dollars for injuries and deaths, while Canada has paid nothing! They simply deny that vaccine injuries exist. A company that publicly reports yearly profits—in the billions—is not held accountable for vaccine injuries and deaths. The manufacturers of vaccines conduct their own, very limited, safety studies, and many vaccines are licensed and used without any safety studies at all. Health Canada told me it is more cost-effective to release vaccines and then watch for reactions later.
There are serious problems with many of the vaccines starting with the fact, which their own studies show, that vaccines are often ineffective. After the previous pertussis vaccine caused thousands of deaths and brain injuries, many mothers worked together to demand change. The pertussis vaccine was then replaced with a different one, which was less reactive but also turned out to be less effective. As a result, we began to see many whooping cough outbreaks in North America. At first they blamed the outbreaks on “anti-vaxers,” but then it became undeniable that the vaccine was failing, the vaccine was responsible!
There has not been a measles death in over a decade in North America, while there have been deaths from vaccines. We have measles outbreaks in North America every year. Many years ago they increased the MMR shot recommendation from once to twice, and we have a vaccination rate of over 90 percent, yet they still have outbreaks of measles! At first they blamed the “antivaxers,” but according to their own studies, the measles vaccine is failing and is responsible!
In a three-year study, in Ontario Canada (March 2006-April 2009), it was discovered that several infants died and one in 168 Canadian children end up in the emergeny room after receiving the MMR vaccine (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3236196/?tool=pmce ntrez http://www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation/statisticsreport.pdf http://journal.cpha.ca/index.php/cjph/article/view/2936).
Parents need to stop pointing fingers at other parents and work together, for the greater good, for the good of our children. Parents everywhere need to ask questions and demand safer and more effective vaccines for our children. Pharmaceutical companies should be given a clear message that we want them to put more money and research into the existing, basic vaccines, which are presently failing to protect our children, instead of rushing to develop and license dozens of new, untested vaccines for non-life-threatening illness. Parents everywhere need to demand that the manufacturers of vaccines be held liable and accountable, to ensure the quality of the products they manufacture. Canada needs to create a vaccine injury compensation program for the thousands of children killed and injured by vaccines. Pharmaceutical companies should be monitored by an unbiased committee, or council of watchdogs, to ensure they are putting the health and safety of our children before profits. Our children deserve to be protected! Our children deserve better!
Measles has not killed a child in over a decade in North America but vaccines have killed and injured thousands. That is a painful fact I live with. Rather than “anti-vaccine,” I am pro-health and pro-safety of my children and your children.
Do your research and demand better vaccines. From the heart of one mother to another.
What is going on regarding measles is truly frightening and clearly wellcoordinated. It is clear that the rate of non-vaccination has reached such a level that the powers that be will do anything to strip us of our rights, spread fear, and yes, lie, or at the very least withhold the truth.
The last I looked there were about fourteen hundred news stories on Google related to a measles outbreak affecting seventy people. That is it, just seventy people. To put this in context, there are about one million kids in this country with autism, but that does not seem to be an emergency. And roughly 18-20 percent of all children have learning disabilities or developmental delays.
Health authorities have been conspicuously quiet about where the outbreak began, perhaps because it might have started with a vaccinated person who transmitted it to others—the science is clear, vaccinated folks can and do transmit disease, though this is an uncomfortable truth. What we do know is that two of the original five workers who got measles were fully vaccinated; status of the others was not known last I looked. What is also clear is that original reports said most folks who got the measles were unvaccinated but recent reports say that some of the folks who got it were unvaccinated, which implies that most were vaccinated.
When we combine this information with Fox News’ call for a federal mandate to force vaccines, and CNN’s assessment that non-vaccinators are as dangerous as drunk drivers, and recent legislation in several states to rescind philosophical exemptions to vaccines, my takeaway is that this is a coordinated effort to scare the public, defend a wrongheaded public policy statement, and take away our rights.
There are simply too many folks doing their research and opting out, and health authorities have lost control. They have lost control because too many families have seen first-hand the damage vaccines can wreak.
In addition, we now understand that the premise upon which vaccines originally were built is flawed: antibodies (the reason we vaccinate) do not mean a person is immune. A person can be immune and have no antibodies or conversely have antibodies but not be immune. Moreover, the promise of life-long vaccine-induced immunity was empty: we now know that vaccines wear off, often much faster than admitted and that the only true immunity is natural infection. These unfortunate truths that stand in the way of the vaccine market going from twenty-seven billion dollars in 2012 to a forecast one hundred billion dollars by 2020.
There is another major issue, which is that vaccines damage the immune system, making it more vulnerable to future challenges. Research in the past couple of years has demonstrated that getting the flu vaccine makes one more vulnerable to flu. Our understanding of the immune system is vastly improved from the time when vaccines were originally conceived. It is time medical authorities admitted this fact that vaccines harm the immune system.
When one considers the fact that vaccines cause gut damage, autoimmune disease, brain damage, autism, death and more—and that they are filled with toxins and are impermanent—it is hard to defend them.
Although I used to think that there were many shades of gray in relation to vaccines, I have come to the conclusion that they are never safe, although in many folks the damage is subclinical or delayed so that one never connects the two.
Leslie Manookian, Producer of the film, “The Greater Good”
Thirty years ago, I worked in the vaccine industry as a quality control PhD scientist. I was responsible for testing vaccines and assayed them regularly to look for contamination in accordance with FDA regulation. I found contamination and then personally experienced the industry’s corruption to cover up these issues. I will never forget the horror and disdain that I felt when they told me, “This vaccine is all over the world; it’s too big to recall,” and “Don’t worry, we will send the rest of that batch to the Third World.” I reacted strongly. Then I was abruptly removed from my position.
The company that I was working for doesn’t exist anymore. Soon after I was removed, it was acquired by a larger pharmaceutical company. That was the strategy back then when vaccine companies were still liable for bad drugs they merged with other companies so that they could not be sued. In recent years, these companies lobbied for and got a federal law passed making them above the law for any injuries due to vaccines, so that they are not liable and cannot be sued.
Beverly Rubik, PhD
My first-born daughter was very little; she was never “quite right.” She was pale and very lean. She had dark rings under her eyes. She would often cry for hours and have meltdowns daily, seemingly without cause.
However because she was reaching all her developmental milestones, the medical profession made me feel that I was a paranoid first-time mother. I thought we had a healthy diet: she was breastfed until twenty-one months. But the rest was lowfat, lots of fruit, rice crackers, sugary homemade sweets, gluten-free pasta, cheap meat, commercial yogurt, rice cereal, etc.
As a veterinarian who had been indoctrinated by mainstream medical and pharmaceutical practices I didn’t think twice about the recommended childhood vaccination regime.
However after my daughter’s eighteen- month vaccinations her demeanor was worse: crying, irritable, and I was terrified that her language had regressed. A month after this vaccination she had an acute, systemic anaphylactic reaction to one-fourth of a cashew nut. Holding her blue, floppy body in my arms was the worst day of my life. Living with an anaphylactic child is living on edge.
This started us on an amazing journey of real food discovery and healing. Although it took us almost two years to find WAPF, we have never looked back. Bone broths, ferments, organ meats, no processed foods, no sugar, raw dairy, grass-fed meat, pastured eggs, organics, real fat and lots of it, cod liver oil, etc. And needless to say there were no more vaccinations.
My daughter’s disposition and health continued to improve over the years. Then in November last year, when she was six, we did our final nut challenge without a reaction! No more EpiPens, action plans or medical alerts.
Thank you, WAPF, for your continued dedication to finding the truth about food and commitment to our future generations.
DISEASE FROM A VACCINATED CHILD
They say you can’t get the disease from a vaccinated child—yeah right! My pal Doug—a super strong, healthy guy—had his kid get a whooping cough booster to get into seventh grade. Within days the boy developed whooping cough. Within more days both his sisters developed whooping cough (they did not get the booster). And within days, Doug got whooping cough (no booster).
Doug told me that the whooping cough itself was nothing more than a nuisance—a chronic cough that took a month or so to clear.
But then Doug developed a Guillaine-Barré sequelae to whooping cough or his kid’s shot, became paralyzed, was in intensive care for twenty-one days, barely escaped with his life, and had a medical bill approaching three hundred thousand dollars.
He slowly recovered, first a wheelchair, then crutches, then a cane. It took nine months to get better. He was told that his syndrome was caused by stress. As we speak two California state senators (one is a pediatrician) are introducing legislation repealing California’s personal belief exemption.
Bruce West, DC
A few years ago, I watched Natasha Campbell-McBride’s WAPF presentation, in which she talked extensively about the microbes in our body and especially our gut. She suggested we have hundreds of species of bacteria, fungi, and viruses, friendly as well as pathogenic, and the reason we did not get disease from the pathogenic bacteria was because the largely healthy bacteria “crowded” out and neutralized the effect of the minor numbers of pathogenic bacteria. She said that it was only when this healthful balance was subverted that pathogens took over and that having this immense diversity of friendly as well as unfriendly microbes was critical to good health.
This was a beautiful idea that made instant sense to me, especially because I was in the midst of inundating my family and imbuing my house with ferments of every description.
Mainstream medicine in the mean time has continued its blitzkrieg on pathogenic bacteria, treating them as “infections” instead of symbiotic colonizations. Then I came across the research of microbiologists hot on the trail of something called quorum-sensing bacteria. It appears that many, if not all, bacteria communicate with each other through hormone-like signaling molecules called auto-inducers. These auto-inducers transmit information to the bacteria about their co-located brethren. That is, they signal population density to the microbe. This molecular signaling brings about the expression of certain bacterial genes that were previously switched off. This “knowledge of their numbers” in turn guides all new bacterial behavior. This behavior can be friendly to the host environment, or it can be toxic. Thus, it can be harnessed for good or for bad. For instance, when pathogens reach certain critical numbers, they can start to exude toxins in concert, which make their host very sick. These are the bacteria that were previously dormant or commensal, living in harmony within their host’s ecosystem and secreting non-toxic metabolites that were either neutral or healthful. Thus the lowly bacteria can change their fundamental behaviors in response to their increasing population density. They have remarkable and sophisticated ability to communicate and synchronize their behaviors based upon these signaling mechanisms.
This is what occurs in marine bacteria called Vibrio fischeri. These bacteria colonize the light organ of a certain squid’s body. When gathered in large enough numbers, they possess the ability to generate luminescence and enable the squid to mask its shadow, thereby preventing detection by predators. This is a friendly action. On the other hand, the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus is normally a harmless resident in our nose and on our skin, and exudes benign proteins—until it reaches a certain population density. When it does, it turns from a quietly commensal bacterium into a malignant bacterium, and exudes toxins that can infect the skin and lungs, cause endocarditis, inflame organs and kill us. The questions to ask ourselves are: Why does it turn against us? What causes its numbers to increase suddenly? And how should we treat it when it proliferates?
The important point here is about balance between the commensal and the pathogenic. The bad can become good under the right circumstances, and vice versa. Our body houses an immense and healthy microcosm of these tiny creatures.
The quorum-sensing mechanism explains why killing off bacteria with antibiotics is so harmful to health. Our body, and as a matter of fact, the entire world, contain mainly friendly, symbiotic bacteria. But it is these larger quantities of friendly microbes that get killed in programs designed to massacre the minority of the pathogens. The pathogenic bacteria that survive turn into mutated, drug-resistant microbes, and come back, ever more ferociously, into a largely competition-free environment. But far more deadly is what happens when their numbers grow. Once their numbers grow, their quorum-sensing mechanism signals these microbes to express genes that cause them to secrete toxins they were previously unable to exude. These previously harmless creatures now become deadly to their host. This is because there aren’t enough commensal bacteria left to curb their destructive forces. In a two-pronged attack on our health, our body becomes deprived of the life-giving metabolites these friendly bacteria once served up, and at the same time we become viciously attacked by pathogens that are now capable of doing immense damage.
All this of course was as yet undiscovered by science for many decades. In the meantime, we poured on the antibiotics. But our wise ancestors figured out these complex relationships with great perception over the centuries. They might not have spoken to us in terms of quorum-sensing bacteria, nor did they have access to genomic sequencing, but they were giving us the right counsel— make and eat ferments, add commensal bacteria to your internal and external biome, and you will live in health.
Somewhere between refrigeration and our arrogance in the belief that science has discovered all there is to know, we got lost on eating and medication. While double-blind studies and genomic analysis will carry on for decades, it is unwise to put our health on hold as we wait for results to trickle in.
In eating fully with our senses, in eating the way nature intended us to eat, and in eating the way our wiser ancestors ate, we are not taking a leap of faith in the dark, but rather operating on the sound premise that the laws of nature are far more important to follow than the dictates of partially understood science.
FERTILIZE OR DEFERTILIZE?
I saw this on ScienceDaily: “Longterm nitrogen fertilizer use disrupts plant-microbe mutualisms” (sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/02/150223142254.htm).
When exposed to nitrogen fertilizer over a period of years, nitrogen-fixing bacteria called rhizobia evolve to become less beneficial to legumes, the plants they normally serve, researchers report in a new study.
Fertilize or defertilize? Another snafu. Can we beg for forgiveness, for we knew not what we did? But how much longer can we go on discounting Nature’s ways, because we know better—and there’s money to be had from it—and then pleading ignorance when the lessons come home? Science supposedly should let us appreciate the consequences before we act, but sadly that’s not how it’s being applied. Poco a poco, enlightenment!
PASTEURIZATION ALWAYS BAD
I just finished watching the debate sponsored by the Harvard Law School with Sally Fallon Morell and David Gumpert debating Fred Pritzker and Heidi Kassenborg. I have a couple of observations to share (www.youtube.com/watch?v=iLRdihFi6gwsponsored).
First, I was amazed the attorney got away with saying the Constitution does not give us the right to eat what we want. This is a staggering misunderstanding, and is either intentional deceit or this lawyer is a tribute to the misinformation being taught in law schools. The Constitution is not the source of any of our rights. Those are explicitly defined as coming from God (see the Declaration and other early writings of the Founders). The Constitution is mainly there to limit government. According to the enumerated powers clause and the Tenth Amendment, the federal government can only function in the areas listed in the enumerated powers, nowhere else. Therefore most of the actions of the federal government today are criminally illegal. Apparently the public is so dumbed down we don’t even notice. This is a really important issue. Ignoring it has allowed almost the complete destruction of our inherent freedoms. How could the two of you in the debate not have jumped on this as soon you had the opportunity to rebut this nonsensical statement?
Second, I have been an independent holistic health scientist since 1965 and have done decades of deep research and experimentation into nutrition, detoxification and other health aspects in order to see how to prevent and cure most or all degenerative diseases as well as most of what is now considered normal “aging.”
What I have found is that the arguments you have in favor of raw milk are one hundred percent correct. Even organic milk is in my opinion not edible after pasteurization and becomes a health-destroying food. Commercial poisoned milk is far worse. Yes, I am one hundred percent against pasteurization, whose only real use is to allow the sale of contaminated food. Even once the bacteria are dead, the “food” is still not fit to eat.
Not only is the process of pasteurization itself a complete scam, but so is the theory that all these conditions are caused only by micro-organisms. According to that theory, a totally sterile world would be completely healthy. One of the strongest attributes of fresh organic raw milk is its ability to inoculate the body with helpful living microorganisms. Pasteurizing milk is wrong for the same reasons that antibiotics destroy your body’s immune system. The entire foundation of the medical paradigm in looking at disease is wrong. Those organisms come in and cause harm because the body’s normal balancing defenses are not working. This is the case now in many people who are medical drug addicts or otherwise damaged by medicine and sub-standard poisoned food and water. For them, unfortunately, good food becomes dangerous in some cases, although bad food will also hurt them. Their systems have to be healed by someone who knows how to oversee this, but it can be done, and has been done successfully, after which they can eat food with lots of good microorganisms safely.
Also, no one mentioned that when good raw milk sours, it does not “go bad” but becomes very beneficial as long as it is clean.
Now here is a point that you may not like, but my interest is in telling the truth, and then seeing the best way to deal with it. This requires courage and honesty. What applies to raw milk also applies equally to other natural organic fresh whole foods. When you cook them, their value is mostly destroyed. Not only that, but as in the case of milk, they become a source of a lot of waste for the body in what used to be full of vibrant life energy. I have spent decades experimenting with the implications of this. By using a combination of various forms of fasting and raw live foods, most diseases can be cured, even in late stages.
This is completely known to those at the top of the power structure, and the information is hidden very carefully from the public. Those unwittingly helping our malevolent top-level rulers are mostly oblivious to what they are doing, and they don’t understand how thoroughly they have been brainwashed by their wonderful “education.” I do; I’ve been through it.
No one jumped on the attorney for making fun of conspiracy theories. Yet conspiracy is the rule in real life, not the exception, especially at the high levels of power (collaboration toward a common end). The reason the non-thinking public has come to believe there is no such thing as conspiracy is because they just repeat what they hear all the time, and the media have worked hard to make fun of this concept. Now the religion of the day is “science,” which is full of misconceptions and used as a weapon by big corporations (members of conspiracy to carry out agendas constructed at top power levels, partly elaborated in Agenda 21 documents and many other places, assuming the public will never read this material). Conspiracies are not only real, they are a major threat to the survival of the entire biosphere, and at the top, they are not about money.
So the bottom line is, I am sorry no one brought up the point our rights exist without being specifically listed in the Constitution, and that is a super-important point that no one stood up for. Second, not only is raw milk a superhealth food (as is proven by the SWAT team attacks on raw milk producers and vendors, when the same authorities are fine with the unlimited production of deadly drugs by the medical industry which kills millions), but it is a clue which all of you should be following to its logical conclusion. That is, the correct use of raw foods with other associated measures like fasting, etc. could almost totally eliminate disease in America, and make the criminal “health care” system irrelevant other than in cases of accident and a few necessary surgeries.
Editor’s Note: Thank you for your interesting letter. However we have to disagree that the “logical conclusion” to the fact that pasteurization is bad for milk is that cooking is bad for all foods. Many foods—such as grains and many vegetables— are indigestible or even toxic when not cooked. And all healthy populations studied by Dr. Price cooked some or even most of their foods. Meat and fish were consumed both raw and cooked. To balance any enzymes lost by cooking foods, we suggest eating “super-raw“ lacto-fermented foods which are so rich in enzymes (and good bacteria) that they more than compensate for the enzymes lost in cooking meat, grains and vegetables.
NOURISHED BY BLOOD
My family and I have eaten a WAPF-style diet for more than ten years now. About six years ago we started a micro-dairy and began raising our own meat, vegetables and staple crops like heirloom corn, sweet potatoes and cassava. We have always tried to eat liver about once a week. Even so, I still take supplements like calcium and magnesium, feeling like I need them after ten years of breastfeeding and/or being pregnant (all my kids are at least three years apart though).
We have processed our own chickens, turkeys, rabbits and pork for years now, and we always like to get the most out of everything. Recently we slaughtered our first beef steer. He was an American milking Devon, raised from birth on only grass, hay, mama’s milk, kelp and various natural mineral licks. We saved the blood from our beef steer and I made black pudding with lard, bread crumbs, eggs, cream and spices. I am writing to say it is the most nourishing, intense food I’ve ever tasted, even more so than liver, and I think it bears mentioning in the WAPF literature.
After just one single serving of black pudding, I felt so totally nourished, I didn’t feel like I needed anything extra—supplements felt extraneous that night, as did even cod liver oil!
I know there are many traditional recipes that use blood beyond black pudding—the traditional French coq au vin, for example, as well as a Hungarian duck soup made with blood. I keep telling people I know who are struggling (despite a good WAPF-style diet) with nutritional shortfalls about this, because it just felt so incredibly, intensely nourishing. All week after the black pudding was gone, I would look at other foods and think to myself how poor they seemed to be, nutritionally speaking. We ended up freezing the rest of the blood (we got about two gallons) so we can have black pudding about once a month. I am hoping this will rebuild my nutritional stores, and I have already felt like just that one black pudding has helped me feel healthier!
I am sending along a photo of my WAPF baby stirring the cooling beef blood so it would not coagulate. She is wearing a t-shirt extolling the virtures of white blood—raw milk!
Editor’s Note: WAPF has published an article about cooking with blood: westonaprice.org/health-topics/cooking-with-blood-boudin-noir-and-czarnina/. For recipes by Angie Minno and others, see our Food Feature, page 70.
I want to thank Julia Hattori for bringing to our attention additional information on the subject of lighting choices and their benefits and drawbacks (Letters, Winter 2014). Some of it we already planned to address and have written about in a forthcoming article on the issues and dangers of blue light. Some we will briefly respond to here.
First, it is important to note that at least one of the major studies used to cite the dangers of LEDs involved albino rats (I was unable to get an original copy of the Madrid study to evaluate its experimental design), whose unpigmented eyes are far more sensitive to damage from all types of light, including blue. In commentary on the article a number of researchers pointed out that additional study is needed to determine how great the risk is and under what circumstances and for which people. Some scientists have expressed skepticism at a link between blue light and AMD (age-related macular degeneration), especially given that what matters is not just the light spectrum in question, but the intensity (strength) of the light and the duration of exposure. As one article noted, even incandescents can cause damage to the eye. LEDs are just able to do this more quickly. This single albino-based study does little to illuminate what will probably end up being a very complex final picture.
Two, the damage the study found wasn’t caused by blue light in general, but by looking directly at the light. As the Madrid scientist herself put it, “Eyes are not designed to look directly at light—they are designed to see with light.” Given that this is how light bulbs function (people rarely look directly at them), the greater issue isn’t with lighting choices but with the technology many people use. Also, the studies and research are not at all totally clear or in agreement. A number of studies show significant benefits to exposure to this portion of the light spectrum, such as protection from myopia, help with SAD (seasonal affective disorder), and for those who have no choice but to work indoors and receive little sunlight exposure, help with regulating circadian rhythms, among others. They have also found other possible drawbacks, some dependent on the timing of exposure to this particular wavelength of light. If blue diffuse light in general is a concern, we are in very big trouble not solely from the light indoors but the sun outdoors, which produces this spectrum as well.
Third, given that incandescent bulbs are now banned in many countries (and had their own drawbacks), and given the drawbacks I discussed regarding CFLs (which also have the blue light issue, albeit to a slightly lesser degree), people have little choice but to use LEDs unless readers can point us all to yet another new (and untested?) option.
In a future article, I will address how to use all blue light-emitting devices as wisely as possible. It is also good to note that the LED industry is aware of these concerns and is studying the issue and actively making changes as they do risk assessments in conjunction with a number of European regulatory bodies. Who knows? In another decade, we may have lights that adjust their brightness throughout the day to better mimic natural light and its effects.
Finally, the researchers also pointed out that the most likely mechanism for damage is oxidative stress. We may end up discovering, as with sun exposure, that the culprit isn’t the light, but the poor nutritional and health status of those exposed to it. Thus, a traditional, nutrient-rich (especially in the all important fat soluble vitamins, but especially vitamin A) and antioxidant-laden diet is really the best option for people who have little choice but to look at light, along with employing commonsense (learn to sit farther away from technological gadgets when being used, read real books instead of e-books) technological fixes that we will discuss in the forthcoming article.
COD LIVER OIL & DENTAL DECAY
I have a personal story about cod liver oil. Twelve years ago, when I had just turned forty and was experiencing the breakup of my family, I was also in the process of adjusting to proper nutrition à la WAPF, after years of being a tall, skinny vegetarian—six foot six inches tall and one hundred sixty-five pounds. I plunged into a diet that included lots of raw meat and raw organ meats, and I discovered that too swift of even a dietary change‒even a positive one‒seemed to plunge me into further mid-life chaos. After a terrible year, I learned to take it easy with adopting the new regimen, as well as all else.
The point being that, some five years later when I started taking cod liver oil, I only took about one-fourth teaspoon daily. Better than nothing, right? And so it went for another five years, until a few months ago, when I started to have severe dental pain due to long-neglected teeth. I had begun seeing a dentist months prior and I had several cavities. Priority was placed on the most urgent issues, but my ability to pay for the procedures has slowed progress.
When the pain became chronic, I was forced to survive on ibuprofen while waiting for my next dentist appointment, ten days away! Then one day, I remembered reading about Dr. Price’s work in reversing cavities in his patients with improved diet using cod liver oil and butter oil. I suddenly realized that I needed to increase my cod liver oil intake, and did so—to two full teaspoons per day.
After two days of this, my dental pain began to subside! I soon didn’t need painkillers, and within a week or so, I could comfortably eat foods that previously would have caused me great pain.
I’ll complete the remaining dental work, of course, which is amalgam-free. My dentist says other than the cavities, my gums and teeth mineralization are excellent. By the way, my weight these days is around two hundred fifty pounds. Thanks for everything you do!
Thank you for covering the electromagnetic radiation (EMR) issue so well in your latest edition (Winter 2014).
I am an anti-“smart” meter activist in Arizona and longstanding WAPF member. When I first got into the “smart” meter issue four years ago I thought the health/EMF aspect of the issue was our weakest argument against the meters. I thought that perhaps the people with EMF-related health problems were hypochondriacs. But I kept an open mind and became aware of the huge health impacts that EMF has on all of us, not just those currently manifesting symptoms.
As someone who has spent his life focused on diet as the source of good health or ill health, it was quite an eye opener to realize that something we cannot even detect with our senses, EMF, could have such an effect. I have a friend who measures EMF and remedies home and workplace environments for a living. The consistent before-and-after stories he has of people’s health are nothing short of miraculous—but not really since it is all based on sound science.
I urge everyone to heed the advice in the Winter 2014 edition of Wise Traditions. Also, consider finding an EMF professional in your area and get measurements and remediation for your place, especially your bedroom since it is extremely important to get good, rejuvenating sleep, something your body will not get under constant EMF bombardment. Professionals can often be found by doing an Internet search for your location and Bau Biologist.
Amy Worthington’s article on smart meters (Winter, 2014) is an opinion not based on any scientific evidence. It’s basically snake oil. It is based on hysterical stories from women who clearly do have issues, but they have little if anything to do with smart meters.
A far greater worry should be our use of cell phones and cordless phones (worse than cell phones) which we all have in our homes.
We also like to go wireless and now use WiFi for our TVs, our computers, wireless keyboards and mouse.
We spend hours sitting in front of our computers, and don’t recognize the radiation from them. We also fail to be concerned about the microwave ovens in our homes because we are so used to them and are basically ignorant of their harmful radiation we expose ourselves to daily. But we now create hysteria over a smart meter because it is new, and we are basically clueless. So we attribute all our ailments to the smart meter.
I have one and since it emits far less radiation than my cell phones or my cordless phones, my attention goes to limiting my cell phone use and putting my cordless phone on “speaker” and put it on the table. I have checked your site and so far agree with everything I have read with the exception of your smart meter article.
West Palm Beach, Florida
I am a sixty-nine-year-old master carpenter who was conceived and raised on raw milk and nutrient-dense food, as were all of the farmers before me. When I was five or six, a supermarket came to the area, and things seemed to change overnight. People who refused to switch to the industrial food were called “old-fashioned.” My parents had a difficult time getting me to eat the new food, particularly the pasteurized milk, which I still dislike. I literally lived for the times I could eat food that tasted good at my grandparents’ house.
It was a time when most of our people had either forty or eighty acres, before they bought into the mantra “ Get Big or Get Out.” Neighbors shared and helped with planting and harvesting, and took up the slack to keep things going if a farmer died or was incapacitated. The most intoxicating smell I have known was the rich Midwestern humus as it warmed in the morning sun. By the time I was eight or nine, those smells were gone. After reading The Unsettling Of America by Wendell Berry, it became clear what I had lived through.
About eight years ago I was beginning to have knee pain and stiffness (even though I ate organically), and considered giving up carpentry. About that time I was introduced to WAPF, and began drinking at least two cups of bone broth a day. In a little more than six months, all of my joint problems were gone, and today I enjoy hard work more than ever.
If you have the capacity, please get out on the farms, pitch in and stand beside real heroes. In the time I have left, my purpose is to do everything I can to help build a future where more children wake up to that most intoxicating smell.
HEALTHY ANCESTOR GALLERY
How about an ancestor gallery so this generation knows what people used to look like? This is a photo of my parents, Catherine and Del Wilson, (Dad once published an article in the Wise Traditions journal about the farm food) taken in 1951 when Mother was pregnant with my younger brother.
I love to see their radiance, beautiful smiles and beautiful teeth. Both were raised on farm food and Dad was a farmer. No orthodontics here, no makeup but lipstick, and no hair dye, unlike today’s crowd. This picture always makes me happy.
This is a great idea! Please send your ancestor photos with caption to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
LARD FOR WEIGHT LOSS
Here is a true story an Amish friend told me today about lard. He has a non-Amish friend who weighed about four hundred pounds whose doctor was always on him to eat healthier foods. Problem is this guy was into fishing and hunting, and he deep-fried all the food he ate—meat, fish and vegetables—and he was not going to change.
Last year he bought a hog and asked my Amish friend to fatten it and then butcher it, which he did. The guy was going to throw the back fat away but my friend asked if he could render it. In turn he gave the large friend enough lard to replace the vegetable oil in his fryer.
That was last June. Come October the guy goes to his doctor who commends him for finally taking his advice and changing his diet because his cholesterol was the best it had been in over ten years! However he told the doctor he had not changed his diet except swapping the vegetable oil for lard. And not only had he not cut back on his fried food, he was eating more since the food tasted so much better when fried in lard. He had also lost sixty pounds!
MEAT, EGGS AND BROTH
My husband and I have been watching this melodramatic period series (1900s), “Gran Hotel,” produced in Spain 2011-2013. In episode sixteen the young maid Belen gives birth to twins and almost dies, losing lots of blood. The doctor examines her and says, “She’s very weak. She needs meat, eggs and broth.” Loved that! Would like to know the screenwriter who put that line in!
Tucson, AZ and Fort Jones, CA
WAPF FOR DANCERS
As a dancer, I always struggled to maintain my energy levels and my physical and mental health. My health hit an all-time low the summer before my senior year, while I was living in Phoenix dancing with Ballet Arizona. I was attempting raw veganism, and I grew very thin and had no energy for ballet, let alone energy to put towards living a vibrant, joyful life. I searched for answers, and finally I discovered the Weston A. Price Foundation.
I spent last year recovering by applying the Foundation’s teachings and my life has dramatically turned around. I have never experienced such vitality and happiness in my entire life! I am so grateful for WAPF. I have become so passionate about physical and mental health as well as farmer rights, and I’m so eager to become involved in sharing knowledge about these things.
Eden Garcia Thaler
JUNK FOOD IN ARGENTINA
I am English traveling in Argentina. Argentinian people are warm and friendly and I am made to feel welcome whereever I go. It saddens me to notice how many of the indigenous people are seriously overweight. They seem to be reacting badly to modern foodstuffs, in particular refined carbohydrate and sodas.
I have just been lucky enough to spend time in the home of a mixed Argentinian and Paraguayan family, the kindest, most generous people, but suffering from all types of illnesses. The mother has type 2 diabetes, which she is not looking after as the demands of the family come first; she has what I suspect is gout, very painful. I did talk to her about it. She told me that her doctor advised her not to eat meat or fat, only vegetables and fruits, impossible for her in the land of beef production. I asked about the diet of her grandparents. It was soups, vegetables, fish, a little meat and fruits. They used to keep a cow so they had raw dairy for sure. I suggested eating what they ate in those days but that is too radical a concept; they are fixated on the all-American supermarket diet. Huge bottles of Coca Cola and jars of mayonnaise appear at every meal time. On the other hand, they are farmers and prepare a lot of food from their own animals.
I believe it would not be such a huge jump to the Weston Price-type diet but I didn’t have enough time with them or the language to explain. I would like very much to send them Spanish translations of Nourishing Traditions.
Our main brochure and our Healthy 4 Life booklet are available in Spanish.
We are a group of people in beautiful New Zealand who are developing an eco-village, Kotare Village (kotarevillage. co.nz), where we are committed to regenerating our health and the health of the ecosystem we live in. This means we are creating our own food culture out of the Weston Price principles and it also means the land use design for the entire village is based around our food requirements put together with what works on this land in this climate.
It all looks something like this: A small dairy farm producing raw milk which meets all of our dairy requirements, the dairy also provides curds to feed poultry and whey for pigs, poultry follow cows around the pasture or they are in forest gardens, pigs are free-range or in perennial polyculture systems, we catch fish in our river, we eat our own lamb, beef, pork, poultry and wild goat, all grazed following holistic management practices, and perennial polycultures. We grow nutrient dense vegetables and fruit and nuts and are experts in this field. We are all currently gardeners although we recognize that everybody isn’t a gardener, we garden our own gardens as well as a main crop community garden. We make and eat lots of ferments and we teach all of this to others through the Koanga Institute.
The Koanga Institute (koanga.org. nz) is at the heart of the Kotare Village, where we are currently running an urban garden research project to see how much of a family’s nutrition can be provided from a 200 square meter garden. We have a How To Grow Nutrient Dense Food research project in its early stages as well. Plus we are growing and saving the New Zealand national heritage vegetable seed collection and an important heritage fruit tree collection. There is much potential for eco-village settlers in these fields and we envisage a cooperative as soon as we have enough families invested. The way we have structured our business plan means we will have money to invest in businesses that come out of our passion and the land for the good of the whole.
Kotare Village is actively looking for like-minded people who want to support a shared dream of embracing a regenerative future through independent village living, local economies and co-evolution. There are opportunities for settlers, investors and supporters.
It is a very exciting time in the village! Through this venture we are planning to have around 30 families live in Kotare Village to ensure we have enough of a population to create a strong economic base.
We’d love to hear from you NOW if you are interested in investing in your future or becoming a settler. Email us at email@example.com
Havelock North, New Zealand
I can’t think of anything more terrifying than chest pain that doesn’t go away, followed by an ambulance trip with lights and sirens, and a frantic rush into the emergency room. The first time was justified by two 80 percent blockages in a major coronary artery. Stents were installed, and then the horrible journey through medication side effects from the one-size-fits-all treatment protocol. This treatment doesn’t work very well if you’re not the right size.
Three months later, still in the throes of side effects, there was another trip to the hospital. Crushing chest pain again, just like the first time,. Two nitroglycerin tablets didn’t stop the pain. This time, the EKG didn’t show any abnormalities. I was puzzled. The doctor was puzzled. Finally the doctor asked if I’d eaten anything unusual. “Just turkey,” I said in bewilderment. I’d roasted a commercial turkey and my son and I had been eating that for three days. I went home, and the cardiologist arranged for more tests, which I came through with flying colors. My heart was doing fine. I didn’t think any more about it. A month later, the same thing happened. Intransigent chest pain. Nitroglycerin. Ambulance. ER. Nothing showed up. “Did you eat anything different?” “Just turkey.” I went home and wondered what was in turkey that we didn’t know about. Google being my friend, I quickly discovered: ractopamine.
Ractopamine isn’t exactly a household word. It’s a beta-adrenergic agonist which is used as a feed additive in the commercial production of beef, pork, and turkeys. Red flags went up! Weren’t beta-blockers used to treat angina? Wasn’t that what I had? What’s going on? The answers were: yes, yes, and who knows? Further research showed that ractopamine was used in 20 percent of commercial beef, 80 percent of commercial pork, and some unknown quantity of commercial turkeys. I raise my own organic beef and pork. Being an engineer as well as a farmer, I decided to test my hypothesis. I had canned some turkey and broth, and made some soup. Yes, the reaction was the same. I didn’t call the ambulance this time, just waited out the pain.
Ractopamine use as an animal feed additive is banned in much of the world—such as the European Union, Russia, and China. This is the reason that we cannot export meat to these countries. Residue testing in those countries has shown significant residues in US-produced meat. But in this country, we have no restrictions on its use. It can be fed up to the time of slaughter. No residue testing is employed. No withdrawal time is mandated. This is an anecdote. The plural of anecdote is not data. But I will never again eat commercially grown turkey.
Groton, New York
Can one have too much of a good thing? The well-read of course know the answer. Some of us know that it can be tempting to have more of something that “must be good for us.” I once met a young man who had seriously compromised his health with an overconsumption of water leading to brain edema.
In New Zealand, one can, relatively easily, find a source of raw milk, and being New Zealand, it tastes wonderful and, as so many of us believe, is a very rich source of calcium. It is also balanced for carbohydrates, protein and fat.
My devotion to raw milk in recent years did not figure in my puzzlement over difficulties I was having with muscular soreness following exercise. It was severe enough to have me walking with considerable discomfort; and enough discomfort to prevent my skiing for over a week.This was not an isolated incident; normal activity on a sailing boat had resulted in similar outcomes. In retrospect I was probably consuming enough milk (over 700 ml daily) and supplementing with molasses (high in calcium) to be well in excess of normal intake values.
In Dr. Thomas E. Levy’s hard-hitting book, Death by Calcium (MedFox Publishing 2013), he notes that calcium supplementation of more than 500 mg per day gives us a 30 percent greater chance of a heart attack, and up to a 20 percent greater chance of a stroke. His advice, following personal contact, has resulted in my abandoning my two large glasses of milk daily, and of course no more molasses.
Mortality from all causes will come sooner, rather than later, the research tells us. Very quickly, my muscle stiffness disappeared.
I can imagine a certain stiffening of backs and necks from many who may pause to consider the ramifications of these words, given the almost religious excitement which surrounds the “magic” of raw milk. But we are intelligent people—most of us—and those of us with a research background know how important it is to have an open mind, but not too open that our brains fall out, or so closed as to prevent curiosity and motivation for some detective work.
Neil G. Hilford PhD
There is no food that can be consumed safely by everyone. Some people get deathly ill from shellfish; others are allergic to beef. And there are individuals who for one reason or another can’t tolerate milk, even raw milk, or other dairy products. But that does not mean that everyone should avoid raw milk. After all, raw milk has supported healthy populations for thousands of years and in all parts of the globe. Many have reported to us that muscle stiffness and joint pain improve when they begin drnking raw milk. And we have documented cases in which osteoporosis was reversed in individuals who began drinking several glasses of raw milk per day. Raw milk is a particularly important food for growing children.
My health has been failing. Nothing specific, just thought I was aging at fifty-nine. I bought raw milk the other day and I’m hooked. Instantly calm. I think my body has been starving for nutrients. It has amazed me that it has had an instant effect and I feel like a flower that finally got water. Louis Pasteur has done nothing good for the milk industry. Loving the taste, and the effect on my health and well-being is astonishing.
“Get Real”—the dairy industry’s newest ad campaign—is their latest effort to increase milk sales, which began a downward trend in the 1970s. The dairy industry blames this decline on the growth of non-dairy alternatives such as soy and almond milk, PETA, the paleo diet and vegan groups. They also blame a recent study published in The British Medical Journal, which suggests that drinking lots of milk could lead to earlier deaths and higher incidents of fractures. The real problem for the industry is that this study used pasteurized milk.
More than fifteen years ago, the Weston A. Price Foundation launched the “A Campaign for Real Milk” to promote full-fat, grass-fed raw milk. The “Get Real” word play is clearly an attempt by the dairy industry to piggyback on their success. Not only were people buying alternative non-dairy drinks due to trendy diets of various beliefs, thousands of people also started buying milk directly from farmers who were dedicated to producing high-quality, grass-fed, raw milk.
Humans have been drinking milk for thousands of years; maybe not quite as far back as the Stone Age, but the milk we did drink was produced by cows raised on pasture, not confinement feed lots, and it was raw or fermented, not skimmed or ultra-pasteurized. It is full-fat, raw milk that does a body good and my smart, healthy, beautiful daughters —who have been drinking raw milk for more than ten years—are a living testimony.
Falls Church, Virginia
When we founded “A Campaign for Real Milk” in 1999, we had only thirty-eight sources in the whole U.S. to list; today there are more than two thousand!
Thankfully, Russ was always very health conscious and became even more so when he was introduced to the WAPF protocol at age sixty-six. From that day until his death at age seventy-eight, he not only followed this program faithfully, but he became a hero advocate in getting the word out to anyone who would listen.
He lectured locally, in cities along the Wasatch Front, and in several states as he promoted the program in person. DVDs were made during his active lecture time. And at home he was often on long phone calls assisting those with questions about this protocol.
Our eight children, thirty-seven grandchildren and the twenty-one plus great-grands have been and are, thankfully, influenced by the WAPF program due to Russ’ example.
Thank you all so much for your enthusiasm and dedication in keeping the Weston A. Price Foundation going. Our lives are so much better for having had our membership in it. And though Russ is not with us physically, his powerful influence will always be felt for good through the generations to come. And, those of us who continue to follow what he taught will always be grateful that he “happened” on to this program because we have all benefited greatly from it.
This tribute is in gratitude for him who lived and promoted this program. And it is also in gratitude for all of you who are now still dedicated to spreading the WAPF word. You have made, and are still making, lives better through your dedication to this wonderful program.
I thank you. Norma N. Silver, Layton, Utah
Is it just election fever, or is Argentina serious about reclaiming the Falklands Islands?
Presidential elections loom in the country in October, so perhaps it’s not surprising that a Lilian Herraez, a federal judge in Tierra del Fuego, Argentina’s southernmost region, ordered the seizure of $156 million in property and bank holdings of oil drilling companies, including Noble Energy of the United States.
The government in Buenos Aires said on June 27 that the other targets of asset seizures were Edison International of Italy and three British-based companies, Falkland Oil and Gas Ltd., Premier Oil Plc and Rockhopper Exploration Plc.
Reuters quoted a source which it said was knowledgeable of the situation as saying none of these four companies tends to have financial holdings in Argentina or to work in Argentine waters. But a statement by prosecutors said Noble Energy “has a local office registered in Argentina,” and that its assets there would be frozen.
“The [Argentine] foreign ministry will be notified of the court order so that by diplomatic means and in compliance with international treaties it can be carried out,” the statement said.
The Falklands, an archipelago within 450 miles of the Argentine mainland, have been under British rule continuously since 1833. Buenos Aires still claims the islands, which they call the Malvinas, as its territory, although a majority of the islands’ approximately 3,000 residents say they prefer to remain under British rule.
In 1982, Argentina’s military dictatorship tried to seize the Falklands from Britain, but were beaten back during a brief war. The matter was considered settled for nearly 30 years when oil deposits were discovered in the vicinity of the archipelago, due east of Tierra del Fuego. Drilling in the waters around the islands began in 2010 over the objections of the Argentine government.
The prosecutors had asked Herraez on June 1 to fine the energy companies and to order the seizure of five ships, a drilling platform and what is known as a floating dam. They argued that all these assets had been used to conduct illegal exploration and exploitation of Argentine waters.
In her order, Herraez granted a request by prosecutors that she order the energy companies to end exploration of Argentine waters for fear of a negative environmental impact on them.
The Buenos Aires Herald quoted government sources as saying they doubted Herraez’s order could be enforced because the judge’s jurisdiction doesn’t include the Falklands and because that jurisdiction doesn’t extend to the countries in which the companies are based.
Government prosecutors, however, say they believe the judge’s ruling will carry weight. “I strongly believe the judge’s resolution is going to have a practical effect,” said one, Carlos Gonella, the head of the Attorney General’s Economic Crime and Money Laundering Unit. He didn’t elaborate.
But will oil drilling off the Falklands remain a political issue in Argentina once the October election are past?