- KEYS TO GOOD HEALTH -
THE MOST POWERFUL HEALTH ANALYSIS AVAILABLE
RECENT KEY DOCUMENTS
SOLUTION TO THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC
Available now is my policy document MANDATORY GLOBAL MASKING, providing:
The realistic and effective solution for the complete or near-eradication of the coronavirus, that still seems to be eluding the world.
In fact, one of my key rules for eradication actually stands in complete opposition to what the Trump Administration had recommended.
Insightful, explicit, and detailed guidelines for personal protection against the coronavirus, in the meantime.
LEGALIZATION OF DOPE
Please carefully read, and promulgate, the free online draft of my upcoming book GRASS NOT GREENER: THE DARK ROAD AHEAD FOR ALL AMERICANS IF DOPE IS LEGALIZED, a tour-de-force body of argumentation against the legalization, and even decriminalization, of dope (i.e. marijuana).
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Keys to Good Health, this Internet health resource, is akin to an old wooden drawer, oaken and heavy, containing ancient keys to good health. Age has laid them with a thin veneer of tarnish in spots, yet their gleam of solid gold remains. Acquisition of the knowledge represented by these keys costs little. Pull the drawer open with deliberation, and carefully remove the keys. Then, satisfy the ancient rites by leaving a good copperpenny in their place, and close the drawer with a firm push. Last, simply turn your keys in their manifold waiting locks.
Some keys unlock doors to the renewed good health of those with a compromised immune system, such as the elderly or the ill. Other keys open doors to the good or better health of apparently healthy adults. Yet other keys unlock doors to the good health of humans under development, such as your children both born and yet unborn--and inclusion of this latter category need not constitute as much a theological assertion, as a recognition of the broadening perspective informed by recent research more pointedly than ever before, that it is important and necessary to understand the unborn as a distinct health class since the activities of people and conditions of environment external to the embryo, then fetus, can affect their development.
It should be understood that the health to which this site name refers is both the health of we humans, and the physical envelope in which we're immersed and in which we live, the environment upon which we depend for our lives and survival, known commonly as planet Earth.
I'm vitally interested in the notion of human physical and psychological "actualization," a condition of existence characterized by optimal human function in all areas, that we approximate with use of the word "health." Indeed, I've had a strong interest in health and nutrition for many years, and when my father developed dementia in the form of Alzheimer's disease around 2001 my interest in health and my consequent body of knowledge expanded even further. I am not a credentialed health professional. However, I possess a strong measure of knowledge in this area, and on a good day some might even assert my insight. There seems little question that certain aspects of my view of health are unique. I am a health educator; perhaps a health philosopher. The fact is, you are going to find cutting, indeed bleeding, edge health perspectives here at this Internet resource, KEYS TO GOOD HEALTH.
Indeed, I assert that this Internet resource Keys To Good Health contains and presents not just health information, but health wisdom.
As my brother or sister in our human family I want to bring you under my knowledge umbrella through the freely-given content of this website. Fueled by what you learn here, I encourage you to begin to reshape the world around you in the direction of health; in so doing, you will create a healthier world for me, as well.
Why do we get sick in America, and in larger terms, the world? Why do we and our family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors, sooner or later, suffer physical or mental illness?
We get sick in America and elsewhere because we can't not get sick.
Just about everything in our culture is oriented to sickness; little to genuine health. You will not live in this world, as presently constituted, and not get sick.
In America, and every other nation:
The neighbor to your left will love you and make life easy for you--while the neighbor to your right will despise you and make life a Hell.
You'll attempt to relax in your quiet, carefully architected backyard--while next door, a guy with a leafblower blasts your psyche into kingdom-come. And your local law enforcement will say there's nothing they can do. It's perfectly legal.
You'll relax and destress by hiking a serene and rugged natural environment--while jet planes roar overhead every fifteen minutes.
You'll buy an organic product--in a plastic container.
(The former, good for you and your natural environment, the latter, bad for you and your natural environment.)
Your neighbors next door will experience obvious joy in their boisterous game of basketball, or the noisy antics of their new dog--while said noise is intolerable to you, has ruined your existence in your own home, and is now seriously affecting your mental health.
When you approach said neighbor about the problem, no matter how serious and credible your complaint, and how graciously you present it, their response, if they respond at all, will comprise some varying degree of "tough luck."
These are Neighbors of Death.
A woman will value her own life in the strongest possible terms, doing everything to maintain it over her lifetime, right down to studiously selecting organic foods or the most nontoxic nail polish--yet wish, and often insist, on the freedom to arbitrarily terminate the obvious second life growing within her.
A trusted and sometimes revered business associate, friend, or even family member will unilaterally terminate the relationship--without a word, and will never speak to you again. You'll never know why they behaved this way.
You'll buy a food item with one or two natural or even organic ingredients--while one or two of its other ingredients are artificial, even genetically modified. The package or bottle label will extol the first group, while studiously avoiding mention of the second.
Your home and property, and those of your neighbors, are pristine and beautiful--while the toxic army of lawn treatments, driveway asphalt and sealers, housepaints, and the million-and-one other chemicals required to create and maintain this state coalesce in the environment and are slowly killing all of you, and everyone else.
Said home, property, and vehicles, through extensive and continuous use of varying kinds of wireless security systems are also deemed completely and comfortably "safe"--while the hornets nest of electromagnetic signals and fields transmitting kinetically through the air, slicing effortlessly through walls, cars, and the bodies, and brains of you and your neighbors, are also slowly killing all of you, and everyone else.
Ditto for the "convenience" of wireless cell phones, cordless home phones, and wireless routers.
A caring and knowledgeable neighbor attempts to inform you and the other residents of these harms and potential harms--but is foolishly dismissed as a busybody, alarmist, or pest.
When you begin to scrutinize these harms and potential harms, especially as they exist and injure concomitantly--you begin to realize that research is relatively sparse. Industry has little interest in discrediting its own profit-making products and services, while government, supporting industry implicitly or explicitly, has neither the resources nor much of the will, either.
Though you're experiencing righteous and legitimate anger at the insensitivity or other injury of someone toward you, you find yourself with an inability to approach them to express and discuss your feelings, while for their part, they possess an inability to competently receive such an overture, anyway--so the injury is never addressed, may thus happen again, and you respond by internalizing your own anger, resulting in such pathological and sometimes neurotic behavior as overeating or drinking, alcohol or other narcotic abuse, development of physical or mental illness, suicidal thoughts, or even violent outward expression through use of firearms or other weapons.
Have you really thought about why there are mass shootings in America and elsewhere every other week?
If the synthetic chemicals cited briefly above don't kill you--which they are and will--the natural ones, such as Cortisol released in the bloodstream to excess during periods of unresolved anger, will.
America, and in some measure the balance of the planet, has seen colossal economic growth over the last 200 years that has benefitted, if not everyone, than many--but because of the economic illogic and immorality of the ruling class, said growth has been accompanied by a large-scale insult to the environment, now called climate change, that may finally doom our species.
And on it goes--there are innumerable examples of injury and erosion of health from every sphere, quadrant, and sector of society.
Ergo, as just stated, you will become sick. It's simply a matter of when, and by what particular mechanisms. And trying to ascertain these two parameters will often be difficult, and sometimes impossible, as the mechanisms of injury can be subtle and indiscernible, impediments to knowledge and understanding aided and abetted by industry, and sometimes government or other institutions with a vested interest, economic, egoistic, or both, in obscuring or obfuscating, if not concealing, the truth and the facts from you.
Moreover, you will likely will not notice yourself or your family becoming ill. In anthropomorphic terms, your cells are the strong, silent type--they won't tell you that they're becoming sick. They'll try to stick it out. The body has its defenses. But eventually those defenses will be overrun, and you'll find yourself sick. Sometimes very sick. Then, your cells won't have to declare their compromised state--you'll know it yourself, without question.
The answer, surprising to most, to this apparently convoluted, complex, and corrupt quandary? Elimination of the profit motive, and its symbiont, ego, referring to the negative or narcissistic expression of ego.
Don't attempt to judge or assess this solution yet. Just keep reading.
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Your personal pedagogy, meaning, here, what you will learn in health, depends on more than simply reading KEYS TO GOOD HEALTH.
Firstly, you must not simply read this site, you must study it. If you're like the average person, you are dangerously ignorant in the matter of health. You must study this site, and use it and its concepts and terminology as a springboard for even further education.
I am Vincent Frank De Benedetto, writer and philosopher of Love. I presently maintain about 25 web sites, each of which I conceived, built, researched, and wrote. In some measure they address disparate themes, but all are underpinned by the only factor for health that ultimately matters--Brotherly Love.
Secondly, then, you must read and study all or some of that material, as well. As much as you can.
The rewards for such study are several and salient, including:
Avoidance of the pain of physical and psychological illness for you and your family. You will not have to see the tortured look, or hear the anguished cry, of your sick child, or elderly parent, as they fall ill, sometimes inexorably. Or your own pain.
Conservation of the Earth, our home and sustainer--and our only one.
Construction of the Brotherhood of Man, the only form of government and social organization that will, at worst, prevent the self-destruction of our species, and at best, bring us to our existential zenith, our point of moral and functional perfection as a species.
Your increased fitness to reside in a democracy, a form of government that requires knowledgeable management by you and your fellow citizens.
And of course, the joy of learning, itself.
The online Free Dictionary defines wisdom as:
"the quality or state of being wise; sagacity, discernment, or insight."
Merriam-Webster online defines wisdom as:
"ability to discern inner qualities and relationships : insight"
Memidex online defines wisdom as:.
"a deep understanding and realization of people, things, events or situations..."
There are numerous web sites and pages on the Internet. How many of them contain words and perspectives of genuine wisdom? Though perhaps a grand claim, as the writer and researcher of this, and all my, websites, I assert that if you carefully read and consider every word and idea here, you will indeed read words and perspectives of genuine wisdom. This is as rare on the Internet as it is in general life. Please realize what you're getting here, and value and cherish it.
In the best of cases, please give thanks and show your gratitude for the wisdom you'll receive here by making a financial donation using the PayPal button at page bottom.
Not a Doctor
I'm not a doctor or other credentialed health professional, but a Teacher and Health Educator: informed, analytical, vitally interested in health, specifically and in broader terms, and disposed to share what I learn. Most fundamentally and importantly, I'm an Agape Master, one well-versed in the unique, powerful, and indispensable principal and art of Agape (uh gop' ay), which is Brotherly Love, in the language of Greek philosophy. This site, and all my work, argues that Brotherly Love, properly understood, is the most powerful force available to humankind. With it, you will have health, without it--you simply will not.
This is true not just in terms of affecting, influencing, and changing larger pernicious social forces such as what corporations do, but also in immediate or local terms. For example, if you think your next-door neighbor's chemical lawn treatments are injuring you or your elderly parents, and you ask the neighbor to discontinue the treatments, if they have no regard for you, regard being a function of Love, they will likely refuse your request, thus, continuing their injurious behavior--and denying you and your family an enhancement to health. And what of the lack of Love in the corporate profit-objected distribution of injurious lawn chemicals in the first place? Whether micro or macro, small or big picture, personal or political-economic, the reality is the same and inescapable: no Love, no health.
Indeed, Love is the founding principle, the linchpin, the string theory, indeed the alpha and omega of health of the individual, and every social grouping, that is, every group of individuals.
Though not a doctor, in key respects I'm better than a doctor; perhaps a lot better. I'm not on anyone's payroll; my analysis and conclusions are completely unaffected by the money or other influence of drug companies, medical equipment manufacturers, lawyers or fear of litigation, H.M.O.s, the A.M.A., shareholders, blind allegiance to this or that medical belief system, or zeal to maximize income or build a practice. Moreover, I'm not focused on any one area of expertise as a specialist might be, but deal in the "big picture" of health; I'm not bound by the limitations of a medical education that is five, ten, or even twenty years old. And, I give my information away free. In fact, to pay the fees associated with this website to keep it running costs me money that I don't have. Moreover, I also pay a significant price in "opportunity cost," since I could be utilizing time spent building this site and researching its content providing further needed assistance to my family or father, who suffers dementia.
Based on my level of knowledge of health, nutrition, and environmental health, as well as on conversations with standard allopathic (symptom-oriented) doctors, I have come to the loose conclusion that in some or several areas and regards, especially the specifics of environmental health, I know more than many doctors, and I've had at least two doctors tell me exactly this.
There is a tradition of productive and legitimate health assistance provided by thinkers, writers, and researchers not credentialed in health, including, for example, such modern-day individuals as Kevin Trudeau and Debra Lynn Dadd. I mention these individuals as examples, and have no financial or other affiliation with them, their products, or services.
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My home page, the specific page you are presently reading, is extensive. In fact, all my most important health information in core form resides on this page. This is why throughout this site you'll find the strict recommendation that you read this entire page, preferably even before reading any other page at this site.
Yet, I realize that you may wish to quickly acquire information on a topic. If so, you can search this home page using the Search mechanism of your preferred browser. After such selected reading, however, please begin at the top of this page and carefully read the entire thing.
Praise for this Site
To date, this site has received the following unsolicited plaudits:
October 31, 2010
"I was indeed the person who wrote to you in praise of your web site and how it
benefitted me. I have lost 70 pounds in the last two years. I looked again this morning and saw all the great new material. I especially like the section on love, health, and agape. My father was a Lutheran minister and he often spoke of agape."
June 07, 2010
"Dear Vince, I would be intersted [sic] in sending support for your profound website. I have been self educating myself for many years (I am 70 years old); your information affirms all that I believe and has greatly improved my own understanding on many levels. Thank you so very much."
Traverse City Michigan"
April 05, 2011
"...I wanted to write a quick thank you, and let you know that I've been referring to your resource page (at http://www.keystogoodhealth.org/links.html) in putting together some toxic pollution lesson materials for my students! There are some wonderful resources there!"
All the best,
The Most Powerful Health Analysis Available
Short vs. Long Term Healing
KEYS TO GOOD HEALTH presents the most powerful health analysis available because of its uncommon inclusion of, and focus on, the combination of the three core elements that must be considered in understanding and improving health. Virtually no health site presents this tripartite analysis.
THE THREE CORE ELEMENTS
Physicality, or Physical Health. Insofar as our physical body malfunctions our health is said to be poor and our happiness is compromised.
Under the general heading of Physical Health, this website advocates the Paleo or "Caveman" paradigm of food and nutrition, that posits that the most healthful dietary regimen for modern human beings, by far, is that of our "Paleolithic" human ancestors 1,000,000 or more years ago. It is the view of this writer that Paleo is the most consistent and logical approach to diet and nutrition.
Psychology, or Psychological Health. Increasingly understood as critical. Recent studies indicate, for example, that over 90% of visits to doctors for physical symptoms are actually caused by emotional disturbance.
Unexpressed or unaddressed anger, for example, is a huge problem in this regard.
Economy, or Economic Health. In assessing and improving health, it is essential that we consider the comprehensive and overarching role in our lives of capitalism (KAH pih tul ism), the economic system on most of planet Earth. Capitalism is like gravity: it's all around us all the time, and has a profound and decisive effect on virtually every aspect of our existence, including and especially health, yet we barely ever think about it, or realize that it's present and operating. In fact, most people have absolutely no knowledge whatsoever of the existence and operation of capitalism; they barely even know the word.
Such ignorance or inattention is a profound mistake, since the reality is that the operation of capitalism shapes, if not determines, every aspect of our existence.
In the modern day, today, political matters have become relegated to a distinctly secondary or even tertiary (i.e. third-level) status. We can plainly see based on our daily experience that the matters that occupy our minds almost constantly, and have the most profound and immediate effects on we and our families, are economic matters: jobs, wages, working conditions, benefits, pensions, taxes, prices, and the like.
Those for whom this particular Key to Good Health seems too "political," or too far afield from common issues of "health," are advised to stand with intellectual and emotional courage, and maintain an open and receptive heart and mind. Whether you come ultimately to realize and accept it or not, under our present global economic system of capitalism virtually every question of health reduces quickly to a question of sales, money, and profit. If you have no knowledge of this, you simply cannot, and will not, develop a competent and effective understanding, and practice, of health.
If you really want to understand issues of health, you must understand issues of economics. Indeed, inclusion of this particular Key is why this website can rightly claim to provide "the most powerful health analysis available."
Have no fear, the larger scope and content of this site as described above notwithstanding, the bulk of this site does indeed treat in detail such topics as diet, nutrition, children's health, ADHD, autism, environmental health, chemicals and pesticides, noise, air pollution, cancer, cell phone and computer radiation, and Alzheimer's disease.
How to Properly use this Site
At present, content at this site is principally organized by "Key" to Good Health, including air, water, stress, noise, chemicals, food, and twenty-five others, not by particular subtopic, and my home page, the page you are presently reading, explains each of these keys. I conceptualize health this way, and have elected for a corresponding site organization, because these broad themes, or "keys," are vitally applicable to the health of everyone.
Thus, for example, if you seek information on children, such information will likely be part of a section on the home page discussing a larger theme applicable to all age and gender groups, with content specific to one group, children in this case, discussed separately within that section if required.
Additionally, topics whose content is extensive, common, or especially important are sometimes linked from the home page to their own subject page. Children and Elderly, for example, is one of the subtopics that I have assigned its own separate page.
What this means as a practical matter is that to acquaint yourself with all my information on a given topic (like children), you are advised to begin by carefully reading the entire home page (this page), unless you see that your topic of interest (like children) has its own dedicated link at page top, in which case you can click that link and begin reading there. After this, however, you must engage in a careful read of this entire home page, or you will miss critical foundational information relevant to everyone, no matter their age, gender, or other characteristics.
In other words, the home page contains the main body of health information here, providing you the context and background knowledge required to properly and fully understand the other material at this site.
Links & Other Information
Each or almost every section below is followed by a link entitled Suggested Links that jumps you to the list of links on my Master List of links page specific and appropriate to the content, the themes and topics, particular to section you just read. I have personally selected all links and consider each important.
Additionally, after carefully reading the homepage you're looking at right now, North Jersey, N.J. residents are strongly urged to read my presently-available, special supplemental page for North Jersey Residents.
Take Charge of Your Health
A foundational political and indeed existential principle is that of self-determination. Yet to self-determine, to control our own fate, we must have an intimate knowledge of our options. These realities are no less true in health, and in the modern age, especially, most of us have realized that we must control our own health. Blind obedience to the instruction and perspective of the doctor has thankfully gone the way of the dodo, in large measure.
In acquiring the health information necessary to control our own well being, many of us rely on the internet, and utilization of this global tool requires, of course, a computer of some kind. Having just acquired a new laptop computer, I can recommend purchase from Tiger Direct, as I was pleasantly shocked to find that this online company offers something that few others do: a 30-day return policy on computers with no restocking fee, even if the customer opens the box and uses the computer. I purchased my laptop from this company, Tiger Direct, at www.TigerDirect.com. I was also impressed with the methodical way that its website is laid out.
This wisely liberal return policy is not stated at the website but both staff and supervisory management will confirm on the telephone. At the time of my order, for example, supervisor Karl categorically confirmed the policy.
(Note: the return policy requires the intact return of the product and all packing and related materials.)
Are you aware that there exists a multi-layer invisible world around, inside, and even through, you? This world has a profound effect on your life, including most significantly on your health.
Gravity, for example, is part of this invisible world: it's an unseen force that affects us every moment of every day. We can't see it, yet we know that it's there. Other forces and agents that, though invisible, have a profound affect upon the character and quality of our existence include:
Air pollution, outdoor, including particulates.
You can't generally "see" air pollution.
Air pollution, indoor, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and particulates.
Electro-magnetic fields (EMFs), including those emanating from such devices as your cell phone, alarm clock, and electric blanket.
LFRs (definition pending).
Very Low Frequency fields (VLFs); (definition pending).
Pesticide residues: they're present in most foods save those that are organic. After consumption of these foods, they're present in you.
Hormones, antibiotics: they're also present in many foods save those that are organic, especially animal-based products such as meat and milk. And again, after consumption of these foods, they're present in you.
This invisible, imperceptible world even extends to your state of health: your state of health does not necessarily correlate to how you "feel." For example, there is often a deadly silence to a tumor growing inside you; it will not necessarily produce any pain or discomfort (until it's too late). In a second example: noise in your environment of sufficient volume or character to erode your hearing will not necessarily irritate or "bother" you. Yet the hearing damage is occurring, all the same; "silently," as it were.
If you have a child, especially a very young child like an infant that cannot yet articulate its own internal condition, their hearing, and degree of comfort in the world, may be affected without your awareness. As the parent of a child, you are their proxy as they exist in the physical world. It is up to you to educate yourself as to everything and anything that can compromise their existence.
Given that so much of this invisible world can, and in fact is, harmful, a principal purpose of KEYS TO GOOD HEALTH is to alert you to the presence of this world, present a reasonable exploration of its manifold constituent elements, and provide concrete steps so you can avoid its harms, or at least compensate for its presence.
Do you think it's far-fetched to believe in the ability of a crystal ball to reveal the future?
However, in some areas of life it's relatively simple to predict the future--simply examine the firmly established patterns of the past. With regard to health, for example, if you permit yourself and your family to live the way most people in the United States live, I can predict with certainty--even without my trusty crystal ball--that you and they are going to end up, sooner or later, the way most people in the United States end up: suffering severely debilitating if not life-threatening maladies like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, stroke, Parkinson's disease, and/or Alzheimer's disease. Moreover, you and they will likely also end up suffering one or more "second-tier" maladies that, while not life-threatening, will be devastating to your and their quality-of-life, nonetheless. These maladies include arthritis, glaucoma, cataracts, deafness or other hearing impairment, vestibular (balance) disorders, and many others.
"If you do as you've always done, you're going to get what you've always got."
The "common knowledge" view that all or some of these are unavoidable diseases of old age is largely incorrect. The newer, more correct cutting-edge understanding is that these are diseases brought on by a lifetime of exposure to a slew of toxic and injurious environmental elements, as well as a lifetime of assault on the body by incorrect dietary and other lifestyle choices, as well as psychological stress. For example, the development of Parkinson's Disease, and most recently Alzheimer's disease, is now understood to occur through exposure to pesticides.
The excellent news, however, is that you do not have to live the way most people live, with illness of this or that variety the inevitable result. With this Internet resource, Keys to Good Health, as your roadmap, you can choose to live in a manner that produces a lifetime of good, not bad, health, hence a lifetime of happiness, not misery, for you and your family.
What You'll Learn at this Site
In speaking with people, I routinely hear assertions such as "I'm already very health-conscious" or "I already know about health." However, with love I assert that believing you are informed about, or conscious of, health does not equate to full, genuine, or correct knowledge. This reality is not surprising, given the complex and often contradictory character of much of the health information we encounter. The modern day sees every manner of entity throwing health information at us, from organizations and individuals selling health-related products or services for a profit, to entities from the non-profit or public-interest sectors presumably carrying more altruistic motivations.
Moreover, the health issues and topics of today have become irrevocably tied to various questions of technology, whether GMOs and genetic manipulation, irradiation, microwaving, nanotechnology, nuclear power, pesticides, or a thousand other complicated and complicating issues. It's clear that we are forced to deal with health in a way our ancestors never did. Who is proffering accurate information? Who can we believe? What is the best way to approach the overall question of health, as well as the numerous individual issues?
To help assess your present level of health knowledge, consider how many of the following health and environment questions you can answer correctly:
What extremely common lawn care product that is probably on your lawn right now consists mostly of sewage sludge, which is actually processed human waste and all other items people flush down their toilet?
Which little-known certification must you look for to ensure that the version of this kind of product that you buy does not contain this sludge?
What are "phthalates" (thay' lates), what extremely common food or beverage item contains them, and what are your two basic alternatives for obtaining this food or beverage without these harmful chemicals?
What essential body chemical do you miss if you retire later than 2 am in the morning? Night workers and night "owls" must both acquire this health fact, and heed its reality.
If you routinely have your lawn treated by a company like TruGreen/ChemLawn, Davey, or Lawn Doctor, they may attempt to assure you that their pesticides and herbicides are safe by pointing out that the liquid droplets are heavy and thus fall only where they are sprayed. However, why does this argument completely miss the point regarding safety for you, your family, and your pets? And what are your alternatives for a green, beautiful, and safe lawn and garden, that the kids can play on without fear?
Why is it considered necessary to take some level of supplementation even if you "eat healthy"?
If you regularly exercise at home, on a treadmill, for example, instead of engaging in outdoor exercise, what critical nutritional element will you miss?
Good nutrition and proper diet are all the rage in the health community and amongst the public, rightly. However, what single element of health is actually far more injurious to the body and mind than even a poor diet? And what single recuperative activity uniquely and actually reverses the effects of this pernicious element?
Of the three food types, fat, protein, and carbohydrate, which is absolutely unnecessary to include in your daily diet, and in fact considered harmful to the body?
Which food component, present in the dietary fare of a certain East-Asian culture, is thought responsible for the extremely low incidence of dementias in that society?
Fish is considered one of the healthiest foods to consume. While most people are aware that mercury or other chemical contamination is a danger in consuming fish and must be considered in its selection and purchase, there is another absolute downside to consumption of fish that must be compensated for to maintain health. What is this other important consideration? And which relatively simple dietary change will effectively address it?
What popular anti-oxidant vitamin, considered especially potent and effective in fighting free-radicals in the body, was recently shown in a U.S. study of 77,000 individuals to substantially increase the chance of developing a certain major kind of cancer?
Could you be taking this supplement right now?
Knowledgable persons are aware that in determining the component ingredients and hazards of a given product or chemical, its "M.S.D.S." or Material Safety Data Sheet can and should be consulted. There are few other sources of information. However, what two serious deficiencies are typical of the M.S.D.S., rending its product profile dangerously incomplete?
Friends, were you able to accurately answer a majority of the above questions? Were you able to accurately answer any of them? You will find the answer to the above queries in the content throughout this website. If you were able to answer few of the above questions, I'd submit that you will, indeed, benefit from the content of Keys to Good Health, this website.
My Health is Fine
Besides the assertions above such as "I already know about health" or "I'm already guarding my health," there are sometimes unspoken assertions, feelings, or beliefs about health, such as:
"My health is fine."
"Everyone seems fine in my family."
"I don't have time to worry/think about health."
"I'm not worried about my health."
"I don't want to be a worrier."
"I don't want to obsess about health."
Friends, if you hold any of these attitudes, I'd suggest you drop them immediately, as you are gravely mistaken in entertaining them, and in allowing them to influence your decisions and actions regarding the health of you and your family. In your life you'll find that two of the most critical parameters or factors that will determine your degree of happiness and satisfaction are:
How much money you earn.
Your state of health.
Of these two, which do you think is the more important?
If you're healthy, you can always continue working toward earning more money. But if you're earning well though in poor health, sooner or later you can kiss your earnings ability goodbye as your health status forces you to stop or reduce the quality and/or duration of your work. We thus find ourselves in humble agreement with age-old truisms such as "If you have your health, you have everything," "As long as you have your health," and "Health is the most important thing."
Of course, we often find such wisdom inconvenient and we ignore it--until we fall ill, that is, or notice a diminution of our talents or capabilities in one or another area. By then, however, it is sometimes too late in one respect or another. The reality is, you'll either invest time and money now pro-actively attending to issues of health, or you'll likely do it later at a distinct disadvantage, after illness has already struck.
Read this web site and do it now!
Change is Good
Some of my proscriptions or prescriptions may clash with established and cherished ethnic or religious culinary traditions. Does optimal health require a complete abandonment of such practices? This will depend, of course, on how unhealthful or injurious a given practice is, how traumatic you would find its elimination or modification, and how committed you are to maintaining good health.
In my case, for example, as my knowledge of the practices and requirements of good health deepened, I realized that I'd have to transition largely away from pasta, Italian bread, and pizza, foods I'd been eating my entire life. Yes, these items, especially in their common white flour forms, are very unhealthy, and pizza cheese, unless it is organic, is also unhealthy as it contains relatively high levels of pesticide residues, among other problems.
What follows are the keys to good health, as I've come to understand them; some are in the form of observations, others find expression as principals, others as simple facts presented. Together, they comprise a powerful set of guidelines that are sure to produce excellent health, or as close as one can come. Perfect health cannot be assured, given that the mechanisms of power in our society such as our all-powerful economic system, were designed and operate not fundamentally to produce health but profit. Other realities that prevent or impede the achievement of perfect health include the fact that some individuals suffer fixed maladies congenitally, that is, from birth based on their genetic makeup, as well as the fact that some maladies or conditions of dis-ease are sufficiently advanced in a given individual and cannot be reversed no matter what steps are taken or health regimens followed.
These realities notwithstanding, however, the overwhelming majority of us can achieve a level of health that is, at minimum, one order of magnitude greater than we presently possess. The keys to doing this are what this website is all about!
Let us begin, then! Before delineating my specific Keys to Good Health, I must explain several basic overall principles of health. I will then present the list of principles, the keys to good health. Please use as many of these keys as you can, as the more keys you turn, the more you will suddenly find various doors to health swinging wide open for you.
What specific kind of food and liquid did we as a species evolve to consume? These are the kinds organically understood by, and beneficial to, the human body, and obviously comprise a critical and foundational consideration. Over our millions of years of evolution, for example, we did not consume bread, pasta, coffee, milk or cheese; needless to say, neither did we consume cake or soda. Thus, these items are something of a mystery to the body, and typically cause illness, sometimes overt, sometimes subtle. Moreover, many of these foods happen to be those that are highly acid-forming. They must be avoided.
In fact, considerations of food are but a part of the larger tableau of the long arc of our history as beings that have developed and evolved in very specific, if not explicit, ways. Good health requires that we consider every aspect of our existence, not just what we put in our mouths to feed and sustain us. We must assess every existential parameter, testing and comparing each against its ancient analogue. In so doing you will find, as I have, that much of our modern way of life simply does not comport to the way our ancestors lived, and to the way our bodies and brains have evolved.
Indeed, when you bring your mode of living in congruence with what our evolution requires, disease and misery in many cases simply disappear, deprived of their modernity-based fuel.
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This website devotes much space and attention to the problem of chemicals, as it is one of the most powerful and important of our time from a health standpoint. The category Chemicals includes pesticides, herbicides, cleaning agents, preservatives in food, ingredients in cosmetics, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in paint and other products, and an army of other compounds, solvents, and other chemical categories.
There are at least six specific problems with chemicals:
We are awash in them; they are literally all over the place. They are all around us and inside us: in our air, water, soil, food, beverages, personal products we rub on our skin and scalp, those we inadvertently inhale such as hair spray and deliberately inhale such as so-called air fresheners, in carpeting, mattresses, plastic wrap for food, car care products, lawn equipment, paints, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, anti-perspirant, household cleaners, computer monitors, and infinite others, present in our air, water, soil, food supply--and our own bodies.
Testing of chemicals is largely non-existent or incomplete. And much of the incomplete testing pertains to children. Moreover, testing of the possible harms of chemicals working in concert with each other is virtually non-existent.
Many chemicals are harmful, individually, and in combination with each other. There are firmly established links between many different kinds of illness and various chemicals and kinds of chemicals, and new evidence is continuing to emerge.
One of the most recent, credible, comprehensive, eye-opening, and especially potent studies pointing to the egregious harm caused by pesticides and other chemicals, is the brand new Environmental Threats to Healthy Aging. This study and the website that presents it are easy to read and understand. This is an extremely important new and groundbreaking study, especially for preventing Alzheimer's and Parkinsons diseases, as well as protecting general health. Please take a cursory look, at least.
Companies are continually introducing new chemicals. Because of the backwards way our government handles chemicals, companies are allowed to include new chemicals into their product with little or no safety testing.
Harm from chemicals is often subtle and long-term, so we tend not to notice that we're being injured. Physical damage happens slowly and often imperceptibly.
Chemicals are harmful, even in minute amounts. Indeed, if the various strains of bleeding-edge health research agree on one thing, it's that the old adage The dose makes the poison is simply not true. All bodies of research increasingly reveal that even miniscule amounts of pesticides and other chemicals, as well as particulates and other airborne contaminants, can have serious adverse effects on the human body, especially those of children, the elderly, and others whose immune system is compromised or otherwise not functioning optimally.
These points are explicated in many media sources both on-and-offline, but in regard to our food supply are driven home most recently in comprehensive, disturbing, and well-researched detail in the acclaimed new book The Unhealthy Truth: How Our Food Is Making Us Sick and What We Can Do About It.
The answer, of course, is to live as simply and naturally as possible, a lifestyle that is described in great detail throughout this web site. Even as recently as twenty years ago such a lifestyle would have been difficult, as products, services, technology, and general awareness was undeveloped. Today, it's relatively easy.
Below you'll find more information on chemicals that, while basic, is absolutely essential.
One of the chemicals that is most potent, pernicious, and categorically damaging to health is cortisol, a natural stress chemical produced, in fact, by your own body. Evolution has prepared us for short bursts of cortisol production; in our modern world, however, most of us commonly produce this chemical for extended periods, thus causing the slow breakdown of every bodily system. Polluted air, water, and food stress the body and absolutely must be avoided, but emotional stress is what generates cortisol production. Ultimately, emotional stress can be even more damaging to health than a poor diet; thus, amelioration and eradication of stress, especially emotional stress, is one of your very first Keys to Good Health.
The topic of stress is treated below, in a section whose present brevity belies its critical importance.
Inversion of Food Production
As you read and consider the keys to good health, below, you may find yourself bristling at my food-related prescriptions and proscriptions: eat this; don't eat that. Don't eat that; eat this! And an overarching part of your vexation might revolve around my unyielding insistence on purchase and consumption of organic foods, exclusively. You will likely better understand my view if you first understand what I refer to as the concept and phenomenon of food inversion that has characterized the approach to, and methodology of, food production in the United States and the rest of the industrialized world for many years now.
For most of human agricultural and general history, crops were not subject to large-scale application of pesticide or herbicide sprays. In other words, all food was grown in a manner that we today refer to as "organic." Because our entire "modern" food supply is treated with pesticides and other agricultural chemicals, it is the common variety of food, that stream that is untreated, that receives a special appellation, that of "organic." Moreover, for most of human history, sneaky food manufacture tricks such as addition of hydrogenated fats and oils and high fructose corn syrup were unknown, because A.) food was not shipped far away from its point of origin, but produced for local sale and consumption, and B.) economic production generally was not characterized by the ultra-competitive hyper-capitalism of the modern world with its obsessive emphasis on merciless cost reduction and profit maximization, characteristics resulting in such food production tricks as addition of hydrogenated fats and oils to increase shelf life and taste appeal, and replacement of sugar with less costly high fructose corn syrup.
It's a strange inversion; a neat conceptual and economic trick, that impure food that should be the more rare and out-of-the-ordinary and thus be the food class or category accorded a special moniker, has become ubiquitous, thus rendering pure food the more rare and out-of-the-ordinary, and thus the class or category of food accorded a special name: organic!
It is simply this previous sort of food, produced and consumed by our species for the overwhelming part of its history, neither treated with pesticides and herbicides, adulterated or otherwise modified with additives of every sort, nor altered at the genetic level, that I am instructing purchase and consumption of. In other words, in the area of food production I advocate a return, if you will, to our so-called "primitive" past. Primitivism is a fundamental theme throughout this website across not merely food production, but other key dimensions of human existence, as well, because primitive or ancestral views and practices have so readily and overwhelmingly proven themselves superior, in health and every other way, to those of the modern age!
There is little question that we must "Go Primitive" if we are to return to the happy and natural equilibrium our species requires, and indeed possessed over the long arc of its history that resulted in the victory of our species over all previous forms of humanoid and its general proliferation, but whose compromise and transgression in the modern age has resulted in catastrophe in both personal and planetary health.
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This phrase and the notion it represents does not mean you must live in a cave or start walking around the streets with no shoes on. It does mean that in your chosen lifestyle, including such things as your selection of job or career, where you choose to live, the products and services you elect to purchase, the manner in which you choose to operate your household, and the degree to which you permit complexity in your life, you elect for that closer to the traditional ways our ancestors lived. By ancestors I refer to our ancient human ancestors that lived and evolved successfully over millions of years; I do not refer to our recent antecedents, those humans who lived over the last 10,000 years.
This latter period of time is very much considered "recent" history for us, and the lifestyle of these relatively modern individuals is the one that introduced many of the modes of existence that are now partially suspect in terms of the health of our species and our planet. Such practices as consuming cow's milk and eating grains, for example, that began and developed over this latter period ore now pointed to with increasing scientific reliability as injurious to the health and ecology of we and planet Earth.
The closer you get to nature, natural processes, and the modes of living of our primitive ancestors, you'll find happily that the healthier, safer, more satisfyingly, and more simply you'll live. Moreover, over the long term, especially as more people adopt this lifestyle, the more cheaply you'll live, as well.
Organic & Natural
To this end, then, in every aspect of your life, household, and property, in all that you do and everything you purchase, elect for a "natural" lifestyle, and the same in products and services. However, in this area of selection of products and services, it is better still, far better, to elect for organic over "natural." The latter is an amorphous term routinely usurped by marketers that can mean anything, whereas "organic" is more precise and guarantees the greatest purity and healthfulness. Of organic products, especially food and beverages, USDA Organic is the very highest standard, and should always be what you look for. More on this, below.
Nor does a natural, or better yet, organic, approach necessarily involve greater expense and less convenience; often the opposite is true. In the area of pest control, for example, suppose your household suffers a cockroach infestation. Which of the following two options is cheaper, easier, safer, less intrusive--and more effective? The first is natural; the second is not:
From a local hardware store (or the Internet), purchase for a few dollars a container of all-natural "technical boric acid," a powder safe enough to use around children, and spread it around the walls and corners inside your house. Then wait several weeks for the material to work and while waiting, notice that you're seeing fewer and fewer vermin.
(And unlike chemical pesticides, because of the way boric acid kills, roaches or other vermin can never become immune to it.)
Hire a pest control company for hundreds of dollars, and have one or more men wearing heavy clothes, boots, and sometimes respirators, carrying bulky and sometimes filthy spray tanks and wands invade your home, forcing you to quake in your boots at the prospect that your child (or pet) may come in contact, now or later, with some of the pesticide spray, foam, or other agents used. In fact, even if not physically touched with the hand (or paw or snout), your children, family, and pets will still come in contact with these chemical pesticides because they volatilize into the air and in residual amounts are inhaled. You can't escape it.
Which option do you prefer? The first, the natural one, is clearly the cheaper, easier, healthier, safer, and more effective. And this is precisely the case in many instances with the natural and organic approach to anything and everything in your life.
Exercising the first approach, you've spent barely a penny, and you've eliminated the need for an army of pest-control guys with masks, sprayers, and heavy boots from tromping all over your household--and from contaminating it with poisons that are synthetic, petroleum-based, in most cases minimally-tested, and certainly dangerous. By law, no pesticide manufacturer can claim their products as "safe."
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(More on boric acid: all of it comes from exactly the same source - the Mojave desert in California. It is mined and then ground either into granules or fine powder. Use the powder form for vermin control. Boric acid is also extremely effective against many other insects, including termites. Last: if kept dry, Boric Acid will never spoil or lose its strength. In searching for this product on the Internet, or purchasing it in your local hardware store (or pharmacy), ensure that you purchase technical boric acid for insect control, not medical-grade boric acid.)
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In your newfound endeavor toward health, safety, and organic living, exercise caution in selecting products and services. Specifically, you must guard against the practice of greenwashing, that is, representing a product or service as genuinely "green," (i.e. completely or almost completely safe for people and planet) when it isn't. For example, taking a petroleum-based or otherwise unhealthy product and repackaging it in a green bottle, or adding the word "green" to the product name, or changing one or two ingredients while retaining the same unsafe inert or other ingredients, does NOT suddenly make for, or otherwise constitute, a green product!
This pesticide company, while still selling and applying toxic pesticides, herbicides, and other chemicals to lawns and shrubs, has now changed its name to "TruGreen." They've dropped ChemLawn from their public company name. If it were honest and accurate, it would have dropped "TruGreen" and remained simply ChemLawn. This is a text-book example of greenwashing, as detailed here.
Fortunately, many companies that perform healthy and safe organic lawn care have sprung up around the country. Here are some in North Jersey.)
This Colorado-based company sells a neat, modern line of dishwashing sponges and cloths that they assert are "all natural." However, some months ago I emailed Twist twice requesting the name and kind of adhesive used to join the separate layers of their Loofah Scrubby and Sponge Scrubby products, to help ascertain that they are, indeed, "all natural." To date, I've received no response, whatsoever, to either of my inquiries.
I'll take their silence as an implicit admission that, in fact, their products are not all-natural. Since they are claimed to be, however, this company presently stands accused, by me, of greenwashing.
A reasonable part of the critique of American culture and education is that we do not learn and practice critical thinking. In the modern world, given the sheer multitude of health choices we can and must make, generally, and equal number of choices in food and beverages, specifically, our inability to think critically can injure and even kill us. Generally, corporations are not looking out for our interests, and the government simply does not possess the resources to maintain parity with the continual explosion of new goods and services across all industrial sectors, especially food, beverages, and health items and services. Thus, we ourselves must look critically at every and all goods and services presented to us as healthy or helpful. Greenwashing is simply one kind of distortion that we must perceive and identify.
Whole Foods Market
In the opinion of this writer, an example of a distortion to be perceived and identified, though likely not deliberate, and that cannot really be considered greenwashing, concerns the natural supermarket chain Whole Foods Market. In my experience, there is simply no other place to shop, generally speaking: this chain and this chain alone seems most single-mindedly interested in offering the most pure and pristine products to the consumer, and seems to do so.
However, I recently realized (just this morning, in fact, 05-28-09) more lucidly than ever before that whole foods does not equate categorically or completely to healthy foods. The fact is, that along with an ocean of healthy foods and other items, Whole Foods sells a smaller ocean of unhealthy products. These include cookies, cakes, and all manner of sugary baked dessert items; every manner of bread, a high-carb item that is absolutely unhealthy; all manner of cheeses, a common food item that is acidic and unhealthy (especially for men, given the proven link between dairy products and prostate cancer); grain products both food and beverage of every conceivable variety, including such favorites as soy milk and rice-cakes, all of which are carb-loaded and thus extremely unhealthy; and even Whole Foods fish selection must be approached carefully, since their purported careful farming and selection process probably doesn't completely eliminate mercury and all other serious toxins commonly found in fish.
Moreover, on occasion I even find overtly suspect ingredients in products WF is selling: about two years ago it was selling cake dessert cups under their own brand name that actually contained the suspect refined sugar product called high fructose corn syrup, and the 7th Generation dishwashing liquid they carry contains sodium laureth sulfate, a foaming agent that many consider less than completely safe.
The point of this exercise is not to bash Whole Foods, which is presently the best market available for persons genuinely interested in maintaining health, but to point out that greenwashing is simply one form that mechanisms and processes supporting ill-health can take; there are others that we must actively use our minds to identify.
Happily, however, KeysToGoodHealth.love, this web site, will assist you in guarding against greenwashing, and indeed against every threat to complete health by advising you in regard to specific products and services, as well as threats or compromises that are harder to perceive because they are larger and more broad, or in some cases smaller and more subtle.
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KEYS TO GOOD HEALTH
Alright, brothers and sisters, with several pending, here are my specific keys to good health:
Three Initial Considerations. Looking specifically at the physiology, metabolism, and operation of the body, there are at least three essential parameters:
Glycemic Load. This refers to how quickly a given food or beverage causes your blood sugar to rise, and for how long. A candy bar, serving of potatoes, or slice of white bread will cause an unhealthy and unnatural rise and fast fall, while a serving of broccoli or baked chicken breast will not. The key to good health in this area is to select foods that are low-glycemic-load, because they will keep your blood sugar level fairly constant; that is, they will produce the least amount of fluctuation. Health benefits include: significantly reduced chance of diabetes, weight gain, and heart disease.
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Ph. This refers to the ratio between acidity and alkalinity in the body. The human body is meant to be slightly alkaline at about 7.35 to 7.45. The nearer you become to a condition of acidity, the more bodily breakdown and physical illness you will experience.
You must maintain a ratio of 80/20 in favor of alkaline foods and beverages such as vegetables, lettuce (not iceberg), and nuts. The 20% acidic items must be those that are otherwise healthy such as fish, turkey and shrimp. With the purchase a pH test kit you can test the pH of your own body; see, for example, FeelGoodFood.com.
If your pH is unbalanced, your body will have difficulty absorbing any supplements that you may take. Thus, for example, the benefits of the vitamin C, B complex, or E that you think you are receiving by buying and taking these supplements, will be illusory. Indeed, some health researchers and practitioners consider the maintenance of proper pH critical to health, and even assert that such attention can reverse or dramatically improve stubborn medical conditions such as buildup of arterial plaque and neuropathy. These individuals include the dynamic Robert O. Young, MD. His well-known series of books began with The Ph Miracle.
pH Health Tip
To help maintain your proper pH, as well as effect many serious health benefits such as reduce your chance of developing diabetes, enjoy water with freshly-squeezed lemon juice stirred in as your morning breakfast beverage, instead of sugary orange juice. Lemon, though tart to the tongue, is actually very alkalizing once in the body. If you use a fresh lemon (preferably organic) and excellent-quality water such as Mountain Valley Spring Water, in a glass not plastic bottle, as well perhaps as a small spoonful of ice, you'll have fashioned a refreshing and indeed delicious, as well as very healthy, start to your day.
The notion that orange juice is a healthy beverage is a fiction. In relative terms: a glass of orange juice is healthier than a glass of soda or alcohol, but in absolute terms a glass of orange juice is actually a downright dangerous drink, because, like all fruit juices, it's really nothing more than an intensely concentrated quantity of fructose, ingestion of which will do little more than initiate the pancreatic-insulin process that usually leads, if ingestion of such high-sugar foods and beverages continues, to maladies like diabetes. Drinking the orange juice on an empty stomach is even worse.
The vitamin C content of orange juice is very healthy, but not delivered in this liquid Trojan horse. Get your vitamin C elsewhere, preferably through vegetables like broccoli.
Toxic Load. An absolutely key parameter and gauge of human health is your "toxic load," also called "bio-accumulation." The accumulated amounts of the many toxic agents from "modern living" produces a toxic load in us that our bodies simply have not evolved to, and indeed cannot, handle, hence, illness occurs. The real solution, as challenging as it may be, is to "go primitive," as much as possible. This is the message of pioneering health researcher Hulda R. Clark. Much, though not all, of my perspective on health finds its roots in the thinking of Dr. Clark and the notion of "primitivism."
Assume that you're already sick. ...which you likely are. Assume that you already have cancer or another major disease. This Key may sound morbid, but if you exist in the modern world and live the average Western lifestyle, characterized as it is in large part by poor or mediocre diet, high-stress, and little exercise, you likely will develop such a disease sooner or later, and are certainly already laying the foundation for it within your physical self. It is thus to your advantage to assume that you already have such a major illness, so that you may be inspired (or frightened) into making the kind of drastic health changes in your lifestyle that are usually only seriously undertaken when grave illness is actually and conclusively detected.
If you think about it, this is a very shrewd Key. After reading this entire web site, it will probably make more sense to you.
Seek out Holistic Health Care. Most standard medical practitioners are medical doctors. They have the initials "M.D." after their name, and receive standard medical training. This training, though more progressive than before, still tends to focus on symptoms rather than underlying causes, and therefore still tends to emphasize short-term steps such as surgery, drugs, and other profit-centered commercial modes of redress of symptoms.
In contrast, in addressing your malady or symptoms, whatever they may be at various times throughout your lifetime, I recommend that prior to seeking standard allopathic care you seek naturopathic care. Naturopathic physicians receive essentially the same medical education as allopathic physicians although without surgical training. However, naturopathic doctors do receive substantial training in nutrition, which can make all the difference in the world for both your general state of health, and effective solutions to specific symptoms and maladies you may have.
I have compiled a list of naturopathic doctors for North Jersey, N.J. residents.
Air. This site will spend a fair amount of time on the subject of air, as the provision of clean air is the first order of business for human beings; job #1. In fact, of all the material requirements for human existence, air is the most essential: you can exist for weeks without water, months without food, and years without clothing or shelter. But how long will you last without air? An extremely practiced breather, such as a scuba diver, athlete, or escape artist, might last for 30 minutes or so. Most human beings, however, will expire within minutes without air.
Accordingly, air is vital for survival, and completely clean and pure air is vital for healthy survival; thus is it absolutely essential to avoid:
Breathing polluted air, especially areas and pockets of air known to be especially polluted.
Contributing to the further pollution of the air around us.
What Exactly is Air Pollution
We have heard the phrase "air pollution" so many times that we are inured to it; meaning, we have become desensitized. It no longer strikes us as a subject for alarm or special concern.
However, the existing and indeed continuing pollution of our vital air supply around us should indeed cause alarm. Exactly what is in polluted air? What exactly is it that we're breathing into our bodies? In fact, polluted air may contain many things, including:
Particles of automobile tires and parts, and brake dust.
Particles of asphalt and other decaying and broken roadway materials.
Particles of animal feces.
Particles of decomposing animals (i.e. roadkill).
Parts of decomposing insects.
Vehicle exhaust from gasoline internal combustion engines (from motor vehicles, lawn mowers, and leaf blowers).
Airborne discharge, including gases and particulates, from industrial smokestacks.
Chemical contamination of air from use of pesticides and herbicides, whether applied commercially by companies like TruGreen/ChemLawn, or by individual homeowners using hand sprayers or small spray bottles purchased at stores like Home Depot.
Fireplaces and wood-burning stoves, especially those that are poorly designed or implemented, or where the homeowner is unacquainted with the proper materials to burn and precisely how to burn them.
...and all manner of other pathogens and particulates.
The American Lung Association states:
In addition to the six pollutants for which air quality standards have been set, toxic air pollution, also referred to as hazardous air pollution, consists of those substances in the air which are known or suspected to cause cancer, genetic mutation, birth defects or other serious illnesses in people even at relatively low exposure levels.
Toxic and cancer-causing chemicals can be inhaled directly or carried by small particles into the lungs. Millions of pounds of these chemicals are emitted into the air over our nation every year by motor vehicles and by both large and small industry.
Toxic pollutants from all these sources enter our air supply and contaminate it, remaining there for long periods of time, often suspended on floating droplets of moisture. This polluted air then enters your lungs where its component parts are transported throughout your body via your bloodstream to every part of your body, and causes further injury and deterioration to every cell in your body and brain. The harm is worse for the elderly and the young.
I write above not injury, but further injury, because the fact is that your body has likely already suffered significant damage from the combination of environmental toxins, lifestyle choices, stress, and genetic irregularities.
And remember: you can't see air pollution. But, like gravity, we know it's there.
Among the most pernicious elements that comprise polluted air are what are called fine particulates. These near-invisible particles nestle deep within the lungs and can cause a range of serious damage. Of these killing particles, the United States Environmental protection Agency states:
- Fine particles (less than 2.5 micrometers) often come from fuel combustion, power plants, and diesel buses and trucks.
- These fine particles are so small that several thousand of them could fit on the period at the end of this sentence.
- They are of health concern because they easily reach the deepest recesses of the lungs.
Batteries of scientific studies have linked particulate matter, especially fine particles (alone or in combination with other air pollutants), with a series of significant health problems, including:
- Premature death
- Respiratory related hospital admissions and emergency room visits
- Aggravated asthma
- Acute respiratory symptoms, including aggravated coughing and difficult or painful breathing
- Chronic bronchitis
- Decreased lung function that can be experienced as shortness of breath, and
- Work and school absences.
Who is Most at Risk from Exposure to Fine Particulates?
- The average adult breathes 13,000 liters of air per day; children breathe 50 percent more air per pound of body weight than adults.
- Because children's respiratory systems are still developing, they are more susceptible to environmental threats than healthy adults.
- Exposure to fine particles is associated with increased frequency of childhood illnesses, which are of concern both in the short run, and for the future development of healthy lungs in the affected children.
- Fine particles are also associated with increased respiratory symptoms and reduced lung function in children, including symptoms such as aggravated coughing and difficulty or pain in breathing. These can result in school absences and limitations in normal childhood activities.
Asthmatics and Asthmatic Children
- More and more people are being diagnosed with asthma every year. Fourteen Americans die every day from asthma, a rate three times greater than just 20 years ago. Children make up 25 percent of the population, but comprise 40 percent of all asthma cases.
- Breathing fine particles, alone or in combination with other pollutants, can aggravate asthma, causing greater use of medication and resulting in more medical treatment and hospital visits.
- Studies estimate that tens of thousands of elderly people die prematurely each year from exposure to ambient levels of fine particles.
- Studies also indicate that exposure to fine particles is associated with thousands of hospital admissions each year. Many of these hospital admissions are elderly people suffering from lung or heart disease.
Individuals with Preexisting Heart or Lung Disease
Breathing fine particles can also adversely affect individuals with heart disease, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis by causing additional medical treatment. Inhaling fine particulate matter has been attributed to increased hospital admissions, emergency room visits and premature death among sensitive populations.
I urge you to read the complete EPA document.
More on Children
Regarding the health of children, specifically the very young, consider this article regarding exposure to ultrafine particulates:
Infant Inhalation Of Ultrafine Air Pollution Linked To Adult Lung Disease
ScienceDaily (July 23, 2009) — Stephania Cormier, PhD, Associate Professor of Pharmacology at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans, has shown for the first time that early exposure to environmentally persistent free radicals (present in airborne ultrafine particulate matter) affects long-term lung function. She recently presented her latest research data at the 11th International Congress on Combustion By-Products and Their Health Effects at the Environmental Protection Agency Conference Center in Research Triangle Park, N.C.
To combat particulates, fine particulates, and ultra-fine particulates, it is wise and efficient to take proper steps to prevent their entry into your home or place of business in the first place, through such steps as 1.) avoidance of unnecessary equipment such as the gas-powered leafblower and lawnmower around your home or place of business, as described below, and 2.) secondarily, emplacement of proper matting inside and outside each entryway to your home.
Essential as well, however, are steps to rid your home of these minute particles once they have entered. You must vacuum regularly, for example, and do so using not merely a vacuum with a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Arrestor) filter, but a HEPA "sealed system." A vacuum cleaner with a HEPA sealed system incorporates a continous gasket or other technical means to contain all particulates within the vacuum cleaner body. In contrast, a non-sealed system vacuum cleaner permits the escape of particulates back into your indoor environment, where you, your children, parents, grandparents, visitors, and pets may breathe them in. Sealed system HEPA vacuum cleaners are more expensive than standard cleaners but absolutely necessary, especially if children or elderly persons reside in your home or frequent your place of business. These two groups are considered "susceptible" populations.
Miele is considered a high-quality manufacturer of HEPA sealed system vacuum cleaners, including their models S5182 and S168. They sometimes refer to their particular HEPA sealed system as their "clean air system."
DEATH BY LEAFBLOWER
The ubiquitous leafblower, more accurately called a dustblower or even dust weapon, as explained below, is a serious and significant contributor to both noise and air pollution, including fine particulates. This fiendish device produces clouds of airborne dust and debris, often invisible, shown to contain any number of the hazardous elements, above, with one injurious addition: it shoots the entire toxic stew into the air, and does so at hyper-speeds of over 240 mph in some cases, depending on model. Imagine the force and velocity (i.e. speed) of a firehose, using air not water, and you'll have the idea.
I encourage your purchase, for $19.95, of NOISE: Nowhere to Run, Nowhere to Hide. The Anti-Noise, Anti-Leafblower Handbook. This book includes my illuminating essay "Leafblower as Assault Weapon," which will reveal the true character of the so-called "leaf" blower, and likely confirm your suspicion regarding just how extremely dangerous this cannon masquerading as lawn equipment can be.
Our air is polluted, causing injury and death, and the unwitting and uninformed collusion between your friendly neighborhood landscaper and his customers--is this you--is partially to blame. The Handbook, above, is a highly credible resource describing and documenting the real harms done to children, the elderly, and indeed everyone else including the landscapers themselves, through use of this brutal and obnoxious device. This is why over 400 towns and municipalities across America have either restricted use of these devices, or banned them outright. What is required, however, is a coordinated national response and strategy for these devices of literal death. If there is leafblower use on or around your property, it is imperative that you click and read this material.
Larry Landscaper, MD
Is your landscaper's name "Larry Landscaper, MD"? Or even "Larry Landscaper, PhD"?
Landscapers possess expertise in landscaping--not health. The fertilizers, chemicals, or other products they apply to your property are simply the products commonly available to them in the marketplace, of which the average landscaper knows absolutely nothing. Including their short and long-term health effects. They are likewise ignorant of the health effects of driving massive toxic clouds, often invisible, into your air with their leafblowers, as well as the health effects of your--and for that matter, their--exposure to thousands of hours, over time, of deafening leafblower noise. Therefore, until you see the annotation "MD" or "PhD" at the end of your landscaper's name, you'd better look elsewhere for relevant health information.
Such knowledge is the province of health researchers, a smattering of doctors and other health professionals, and public health educators, like me. If you wish to prevent injury to your family, you must make the acquisition of this knowledge your concern, as well. It's up to you to investigate the effects of the machines and methods your landscaper uses, for caveat emptor, or, "let the buyer beware," applies not just to the purchase of products, but services such as landscaping, as well.
For the physical and psychological health of you, your family, and the neighbors around you, some of whom likely don't want the hyper-loud wall of noise produced by a leafblower force-fed into their homes, it is imperative that you elect for use of traditional tools and implements such as the simple rake and broom. These are reliable and effective; they've worked for thousands of years and they work today. If your landscaper balks at the requested change, find another landscaper. Or do the work yourself with your family--yard work makes a great wholesome weekend activity for the entire family: it's engaging, healthful, enhances togetherness, and over time, you'll save a small fortune in landscaping costs. You can buy your next car with the money you'll save.
How Bad Can it Be
According to the online Clean Lawn Calculator at CleanAirLawnCare.com, a typical New Jersey lawn requires approximately 30 mows per season. Assuming this is done with the standard gas-powered equipment that essentially all landscapers use, on a typical 1000 square foot lawn (i.e. small-to-medium sized) in addition to a cut lawn and blown leaves, which you want, what you'll also get, which you don't want, is:
The introduction into your air, hence partially into the lungs, bodies, and brains of you and your family, of just under 20 pounds of air pollution (equivalent to the amount of air pollution produced by driving a motor vehicle 600 miles).
A further incremental amount of noise pollution that further erodes and impairs the hearing capacity of you and your family, each and every time this loud equipment is used. This permanent loss of hearing occurs whether you consciously feel the noise "bothering" you, or not.
In contrast, use of manual tools brings both of these numbers down to just about zero!
(I write "just about" zero because even rakes, brooms, and push mowers likely generate some amount of pollution in their manufacture, shipping, and storage. However, production of this pollution occurs on a one-time basis: once your rake, broom, and push mower is manufactured and purchased by you or your landscaper, they produce no further pollution. Power equipment, by contrast, such as gas mowers and leaf blowers produce massive amounts of pollution each and every time they're used, and as you know, during the Summer they are in constant use all season long.)
In fact, use of traditional tools is also an official recommendation of the American Lung Association:
"Use hand-powered or electric lawn care equipment rather than gasoline-powered. Two-stroke engines like lawnmowers and blowers often have no pollution control devices and can pollute the air even more than cars."
Note, however, that from the dual standpoints of air pollution and noise, electric lawn care equipment (which most landscapers don't use anyway) isn't that much better than gas-powered: the equivalent amount of air pollution produced would still be over 11 pounds (equivalent to driving a motor vehicle over 255 miles). Moreover, even electric equipment is noisy. In fact, in my experience--my next door neighbor uses an electric leaf blower--though electric equipment is somewhat more quiet, it brings with it its own unique kind of sonic (i.e. sound-related) annoyance: instead of the massive barrage of medium-low pitched noise typically produced by a gas mower or leaf blower, you are subject to the irritating high-pitched whine characteristic of electric equipment. In concert with the amount of pollution and depletion of natural resources required to manufacture, ship, and store these electric tools in the first place, I don't consider them much of an improvement over their gas-powered cousins.
Yes, please use, or request your landscaper use electric equipment over gas-powered, as they are somewhat quieter. But the optimal solution that simply can't be beat in any regard remains manual tools: the rake, the broom, and the reel (i.e. push) hand mower that my grandfather used, your grandfather used, and in fact all the grandfathers before them have used since the dawn of time. And guess what, Brothers and Sisters? The world then was much simpler, quieter, cleaner, greener, and healthier!
Exactly the kind of world that so many of us are trying so desperately to find again!
Small Bottle, Big Harm
In using a spray bottle of pesticide, herbicide, or fungicide, a homeowner might think to themselves: "I'm only using a small spray bottle of Weed-B-Gon, Roundup, or a similar product. And while applying I have my kids stand ten feet away. What's the harm?"
Keeping children and pets away from your application area is a wise precaution to avoid acute exposure. However, such a step taken in isolation step misses the larger and equally important point.
To such homeowners I ask: Do you think you are the only person using a small spray bottle of this toxic material? Thousands of people in your community alone are using the same toxic material, the net result being a massive introduction into the air (and soil and water) of toxic airborne material, generally invisible to the naked eye. Of course, this airborne material then mixes with other air pollutants such as exhaust components from cars, trucks, planes, lawn mowers, and leaf blowers, producing an ambient toxic brew that we'll breathe every moment of every day, contributing significantly to the breakdown of the bodies of adults and the stunted or stilted development of the bodies of children. Moreover, in both cases the stage will be set for the development of future disease processes such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, stroke or other heart disease, and various cancers, unavoidable when the human body is attacked over a lifetime by an army of foreign elements against which it has not evolved, and thus for which it is not prepared.
In fact, a female neighbor in our North Jersey community recently succumbed to leukemia, an especially devastating cancer, and I just learned that the mother of a close friend of my sister has just been diagnosed with leukemia, as well.
Brothers and sisters, what I'm describing here and throughout this website is a reality that is nothing less than a toxic onslaught completely removed from anything the human body has evolved to negotiate or process. All the vitamin supplements, anti-oxidants, aerobic exercises, air-purifiers, or HEPA vacuum cleaners in the world will not save you under such conditions.
You Can Run, But You Can't Hide
Nor will going indoors protect you. Study after study shows that pollutants outside your house always become pollutants inside your house. Windows, doors, and the bottom of your shoes are common gateways for the entry of these toxins into your home. Moreover, the common use of toxic cleaning materials and other chemical agents inside your home produces an independent source of indoor pollution, apart from the toxins that enter your home from outside.
What happens, you may wonder, when all these contaminants combine in the same environmental space, say, inside your home?
The disturbing answer is that no one really knows. Answers to such questions are so fragmented as to be essentially irrelevant, though some limited studies have been done and we do know that chemicals in combination often produce greater harm than chemicals alone. Industry does not research such questions because it is costly and hurts profits, and the answers it finds could further hurt profits if new or existing product formulations are found hazardous and must be eliminated or changed.
Government, for its part, does not and cannot research such questions properly because calculating the harm matrix of the thousands of chemicals that exist as well as new ones that are continually introduced would make such a project time-and-cost prohibitive. There simply wouldn't be enough tax revenue to support it. Moreover, as we know, government can regulate industry to a point but beyond that commerce tends to suffer, ultimately contributing to recessions and other economic slumps.
What You Can Do
Despite its critical importance, a clean supply of air is not the reality for much of this country and planet. However, there are steps you can take in spheres personal and political to save yourself, your family, and your planet; you must scrutinize your own life and lifestyle to determine where your decisions are contributing to an increased deposit of air pollution directly into your own immediate breathable air space. Many of these steps are straightforward, and are discussed and advocated at this website. For example:
Think about where you live. If you live in an area of high vehicular traffic or near one or more factories, for example, secure an air-quality report and based, in part, on its findings seriously consider moving. It stands to reason that residence in such areas will expose you to the higher level of air pollution that likely exists there. Not good. In fact, if you live in an area of high vehicular traffic you shouldn't even exercise, according to an official recommendation of the American Lung Association: "Always avoid exercising near high traffic areas."
Are you operating, or paying someone else to operate, a gas-powered lawnmower and leafblower on a regular basis on your property? If so, you are responsible for the regular delivery of a large quantity of toxic and highly injurious pollution directly into your immediate environment. Switch completely, or insist that your landscaper switch, to near-zero-polluting manual tools such as the traditional rake, broom, and manual "reel" (i.e. push) mower.
In fact, this is also an official recommendation of the American Lung Association:
"Use hand-powered or electric lawn care equipment rather than gasoline-powered. Two-stroke engines like lawnmowers and blowers often have no pollution control devices and can pollute the air even more than cars."
This web site spends a fair amount of space on this important point, below and elsewhere, since gas-powered lawn equipment is so commonly accepted and widely used, yet so gravely damaging to both our lungs and our hearing.
Minimal Mixed Use (MMU)
In deference to professional landscapers who may be reluctant or unwilling to use manual tools as they assert that such use will adversely affect their productivity, there is a compromise manner of working that I call Minimal Mixed Use (MMU) (pending).
What most people don't realize or think about is that landscapers and lawn-cutting companies follow the philosophy of "blow-and-go": they try very hard to complete each job as fast as humanly possible in order to get to the next, and to accomplish this, they typically use crude, over-reaching, and clearly injurious tools and techniques, like mega-loud and polluting gas-engine blowers and lawn-mowers. Using what is essentially a "brute-force" method of lawn care, landscapers and lawn-cutting companies operate according to a single, exclusive goal--their own efficiency. Clearly and obviously, they do NOT factor the health of you and your family into their equation. You must do this--they do not.
Are you driving a car when you could be using mass transportation? Are you and your local co-workers driving four separate cars to work, when as a group you could be car-pooling with just one vehicle?
Are you pregnant? Learn how the numerous pollutants in the air around you, including those you can control such as those emitted from
gas-powered lawn equipment, will end up in your baby making your infant what is called a pre-polluted baby.
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Protecting Yourself from your Neighbor's Construction or Renovation
If a nearby neighbor is planning a home improvement project of any size, such as expanding their home in the form of an addition or similar project, the noise and airborne dust, including its particulates and ultra-fine particulates, will likely adversely affect you and your family, especially if the latter includes children, elderly, or those with a compromised immune or lung function. To safeguard your family, yourself, and your possessions including your home, itself, it is critical to take the correct steps.
Water. The human body is mostly water, and the human brain is overwhelmingly made up of water. Yet, through physical emission mechanisms such as urination and perspiration your body continually loses its water. Thus, it is imperative that you continually replenish this supply of water; in other words, you must drink a lot of water each day. A common rule of thumb regarding quantity is that about eight, eight-ounce glasses must be drank daily. Without an adequate quantity of water all bodily systems are affected, from the brain to the kidneys.
However, the quality of your water is also vital for health; the water must be completely pure and chemical-free. Many municipal and other water systems use chlorine to remove water-borne bacteria and other hazardous agents; however, this approach is a definite compromise as chlorine, itself, is extremely toxic. Thus, if your water arrives at your tap chlorinated, you must purchase one or more high-quality water filtration devices for your home to remove the chlorine, as well as ensure purity in regard to other possible water-borne hazards. My research and personal experience leads me to recommend a Multi-Pure filter for drinking water. Get the best one you can afford; it's a one-time purchase but one that will offer continuing critical protection to you and your family. New Jersey residents are advised to purchase the unit offering arsenic protection, as there is arsenic in the ground and/or water in this state.
For water on the road pour some of your home-filtered water into a glass bottle and take it with you.
In purchasing bottled water, do not purchase any variety that comes in a plastic bottle, even plastic declared "bisphenol-free"; only glass is acceptable as a bottle material. Glass is inert, which means that its molecules will not interact with your water in any way, and nothing will leach into, or otherwise contaminate, your water.
Do not routinely drink distilled water, as it will remove, or "leach" the minerals including vital calcium from your body.
Note that an expensive filter like the Multi-Pure will remove the taste and smell of chlorine but not chlorine, itself, or its by-products. Thus, even with such a high-quality filter, it remains important to obtain a part of your water supply in the form of spring water in glass bottles. I am partial to the Mountain Valley brand, which I purchase at my local Whole Foods Market. Pending is updated information on premium-quality water filtration devices that will filter chlorine.
If you wish to better understand the threats to our water supply, especially the set of bizarre, disturbing, and little-understood brand new threats, I strongly recommend a viewing of the recent Frontline documentary entitled Poisoned Waters, with Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Hedrick Smith.
Of ingested chlorinated water, the March of Dimes states:
"In recent years, media reports have raised concerns about possible pregnancy risks from by-products of chlorinated drinking water. Chlorine is added to drinking water to kill disease-causing microbes. However, when chlorine combines with other materials in water, it forms chloroform and related chemicals called trihalomethanes. The level of these chemicals in water supplies varies. A few studies suggest that the risk of miscarriage and poor fetal growth may be increased when levels of these chemicals are high, while other studies have not found an increased risk. Scientists continue to study the safety of these chemicals during pregnancy. Until we know more, pregnant women who are concerned about chlorine may choose to drink bottled water."
Showering and Bathing
It is also essential that you filter your shower water, as far greater quantities of chlorine are inhaled during a shower than are ingested through the drinking of water. For this purpose I recommend the Aquasana model 4100, which is what I purchased after my usual research, for my own family.
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Sleep. I'm actually embarrassed as I sit here starting to pen this entry: proper sleep is one of the first elements of health to suffer in our "modern" world; it is superficially abandoned in the crush of things to do, people to see, work to perform, and families to manage. We also suffer sleep-deprivation in the form of no sleep, or poor-quality sleep, even if we nominally have the hours available to sleep, because we're worried, in many cases over issues of economics or money. And the economic recession we're now experiencing has only intensified this pernicious phenomenon.
Many of us have heard it a thousand times: proper sleep is essential to health, and sleep-deprivation is a many-headed snake of maladies and health disturbances. Yet, study after study reveals that Americans and others remain sleep-deprived: the home page of the National Sleep Foundation states: "According to the National Sleep Foundation's 2009 Sleep in America poll, one-third of Americans are losing sleep over the state of the U.S. economy and other personal financial concerns."
The human body has evolved to sleep at or just shortly after darkness falls, and wake with the sun. Such a pattern ensures proper repair and rejuvenation of the body, including the critical process of melatonin production. I note that many of you are likely laughing heartily at the sheer seeming impossibility of this proposition in the modern world. It's an immutable physiological and metabolic fact, however, and thus may we realize that in this regard the light bulb is not our friend.
Many of the health problems outlined at this website have an economic root; they occur because of the way our social and economic system operates, in concert with consumer choice as it exists and is understood. Sleep deprivation, in particular, is a problem that reveals its economic root most clearly: we can all see that the pace of life, driven by the increased pace and uncertainty of work, facilitates lack of sleep.
Having written this, it is also true that we must work as we can to intelligently and creatively structure our lives and family lives to allow for a proper eight-hour period of sleep every night. Such sleep is a Key to Good Health; there is simply no way around it.
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Stress. It is essential that you avoid stress, especially prolonged stress. The proscriptions at this website against pesticides, herbicides, and other chemicals in your food as well as your living environment notwithstanding, and without eviscerating the absolute importance of said proscriptions, I want to inform and caution you that, in fact, one of the most harmful chemicals to suffer exposure from long-term is cortisol. Some of you may be familiar with this natural metabolic chemical and already understand where I'm going here: cortisol is a stress chemical, produced along with adrenalin during periods of stress. Stress, whether brief or prolonged, summons these chemicals; however, brief periods of stress are tolerated by the body and afterward stress hormone production returns to normal. Evolution has prepared us for short periods of stress, even if intense.
Prolonged stress, however, is another matter entirely. Our physical self has not evolved to negotiate stress of this duration, so after a period of prolonged stress, especially if it continues unabated, our bodies begin to break down, producing a wide range of potential symptoms. One such symptom, by the way, is what is termed "hormonal weight gain": weight-loss efforts will fail while under continuing stress since, as research shows, excess cortisol production keeps the body heavy.
Accordingly, before you allow yourself to get too stressed over anything, remember that the immediate stimuli that you find stressful, is probably less harmful to you than the stress chemical cortisol that you are producing right now, as you sit here stressed.
A life without sustained stress, especially of the emotional variety, is fundamental to health. Thus, it is imperative that you begin working immediately to buffer and ameliorate your symptoms of stress through techniques such as meditation, yoga, listening to music, exercise including the aerobic variety, generally relaxing activities such as painting or sculpting, and deep-relaxation activities such as sauna or massage.
Regarding music, it is now shown to effectively relieve stress; indeed, it may be that music predates speech among humans. Music as a resource for stress-relief may be fast or loud to induce movement such as gyrating or dancing, or slow or quiet to soothe.
Additionally, I urge your immediate viewing of the disturbing but highly informational film by Stanford Neuro-Biologist Robert Sapolsky called Stress: Portrait of a Killer, whose narrative illustrates the true destructive character of prolonged stress; what it does to human beings and how.
While engaging in stress-relief activities such as those listed above, it is of critical importance that you make persistent efforts to eradicate your particular stress/es at their root. However, don't allow these efforts to themselves become a source of stress.
Last, I point out that, since so much of our stress comes from other human beings, in the actions they take or fail to take that impact our happiness and welfare, in their sensitivity to our needs or lack of same, love remains our most potent, realistic, and long-term antidote to all forms of stress, and retains its status as one of my two very last, and most important, Keys to Good Health.
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Hypertension. Known as the "silent killer" because it often generates no symptoms, hypertension, commonly called high blood pressure, is the number one risk factor for strokes, and several other very serious illnesses, and can be fatal. There are two forms of hypertension, essential and secondary; the former being its principal form. To avoid essential hypertension you'll have to take all or some of the following steps:
Reduce stress, salt, and weight.
Reduce or eliminate alcohol consumption and smoking.
Avoid diabetes, which can lead to hypertension, by reducing or eliminating intake of sugar and carbohydrates, and increasing exercise.
Increase your water intake.
Consult your physician.
Food, "Paleo." Without question, the most healthful dietary regimen for modern human beings consists of the same food consumed by "Paleolithic" human beings 1,000,000 or more years ago. These foods groups are:
Vegetables (non-legume and non-starchy). Ancient vegetables were considered "wild" and were more nutritious.
Fruit (only berries and other limited fruit as eaten by our Paleolithic ancestors).
A bit of occasional honey.
The beverage would simply be water, and perhaps the juice of berries and other limited fruit as eaten by our Paleolithic ancestors.
And of course, this dietary regimen would not exist in isolation, but with continual daily exercise and movement of the body, the breathing of clean air, and the absence of sustained stress.
This is the dietary and lifestyle regimen that has allowed us to survive and indeed flourish as a species over the long arc of the millions of years that we've existed, and these are the foods that our bodies remain acclimated to, today. Any other food or beverage item introduced into the body confuses the body. And then sickens it. It is simply a question of evolution.
In modern lingo we call this approach to eating the "Paleo" (or "caveman") diet.
In contrast, the foodstuffs so ubiquitous today, those made from grains, dairy products, legumes, and of course sugar, run counter to the Paleo foods that we've consumed as a species over our long history. In fact, these unhealthy foods only entered our diet a mere 10,000 years ago--not enough time, it is thought, to modify our evolutionary physiology.
Accordingly, keep away from these foods. Make the commitment and take the time to begin a careful and permanent transition to a Paleo dietary regimen, the "Paleo diet."
You might begin with the classic text by Dr. Loren Cordain that helped start the Paleo nutrition movement.
Food, Pure. Eat food that is as pure as possible. Buy as many of your groceries organic--not just fruits and vegetables--as possible, especially foods like cheese and coffee that are known to contain high levels of pesticide residues.
Avoid high fructose corn syrup, which is considered inimical to the health of the body, and hydrogenated oils (i.e. "trans fat"), which are firmly understood as the worst, most hazardous substance you can put into your body. Trans fat is responsible for widespread coronary disease and death; it should be avoided like the plague, no matter the amount present in a given food.
Simply put: keep the chemicals out of your food.
The "Food" of Today
Not only must our food choices conform to those above, that are the product of our evolutionary programming, but, again, like the diet of our Paleolithic ancestors, the foods and beverages we consume must be pure.
As regards this second criterion, however, what is the "food" of today? The unfortunate reality is that the peach, tomato, potato, cut of meat or slab of fish you hold in your hand today is more an artificial and engineered creation of the laboratory, than the nutritious foodstuff from nature that you think it is, and that it's been since the dawn of humankind. The only way around this troubling latter-day distortion is to consistently and comprehensively purchase food and beverages labeled USDA Organic. Conventional, non-organic food today is subject variously, increasingly, and indeed commonly to:
Residues of pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, hormones, and other harmful chemical elements.
(Do you believe that the tomato you just sliced for your child was picked red on the vine? No. It's red because in the truck on the way to market it was gassed with a synthetic chemical that turned it red.)
Artificial ingredients of every description and variety, including preservatives, artificial colors, and artificial sweeteners. Some of these component ingredients (such as Monosodium Glutamate or MSG, for example) are "excito-toxins," substances that damage the brain and cause other ill-effects, as well.
MSG can occur in foods in a variety of guises. The ingredient list for a given food may not include MSG, but it may be there.
Inferior nutritional value relative to the food of years ago, because of depleted soils.
Contamination or composition that causes disruption of your endocrine system.
(Worse, the endocrine-disrupting character of many chemicals can't even be assessed because, as The Endocrine Society asserts in its new report: "...for many chemicals in use today, no data exist on their EDC activity due to a scarcity of rigorous scientific testing.")
Mimicking of the female hormone estrogen.
Leaching of various toxic elements such as bisphenol-A from food or beverage containers into the food or beverages they hold.
The newest threat to our food and health: nanotechnology. This word describes techniques and materials used to manipulate matter at its smallest and perhaps most fundamental level, that of atoms. This is generally done to effect a product enhancement of some kind, such as towels that dry faster after laundering, or shirts more resistant to staining from perspiration.
I've just begun to research this brand-new field, but as regards food my preliminary understanding is that nano-technological manipulation is being used in food packaging, but not yet food, itself. Note that, in yet another reason to confine food purchases to organic, companies that sell organic food are less likely to package it in nano-tech materials. Personally, I scrupulously avoid all products, regardless of category, that incorporate nano-tech materials. If I'm unsure, I call or email the manufacturer to ask.
One quick tip-off: if a product has the word "silver" in its title or product description, it has likely been engineered using nano-technology. Keep away.
In short, the "food" of today (and often its packaging) is largely an unnatural, engineered, artificial creation that can, will, and is wreaking havoc, sometimes overt, often subtle, on every system of your body, resulting in discernible disease of many kinds. This is most dramatically and recently evidenced, for example, in the disturbing rise we're seeing in ADHD, asthma, autism, cancer, diabetes, Parkinson's disease, and Alzheimer's disease. In fact, almost half of the U.S. population is struggling under some form of chronic disease. Moreover, why is it that the United States has the highest cancer rate in the world?
All food that you put into your body must be organic, preferably USDA-certified. This will dramatically reduce your exposure to the pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics and other hazardous agents almost always found in non-organic food, and prevent them from contaminating your body and brain and increasing your toxic load. But purchase of organic foods will also ensure that your food has not been subject to genetic modification (GMOs) or irradiation, both of which are techniques that are new, artificial, and essentially untested--we're the unwitting test demographic population. By law in the United States, foods certified as organic cannot be genetically engineered or irradiated; all other foods can and by law do NOT have to include this fact on their label! Thus, any non-organic food or beverage you or your loved ones put into their mouths makes you, and them, guinea pigs for the Monsanto corporation and other food producers heavily involved with the genetic manipulation of food. This is absolutely foolhardy, as genetic engineering as a food modification technique is relatively new, and thus unproven (it can also strike one as somewhat "unnatural").
80% of all corn and soybeans in the United States is genetically engineered. Thus, any time you drink a Coke or Pepsi, both of which contain high fructose corn syrup made from corn, or consume any food or beverage so-containing, you are permitting a genetically engineered ingredient to enter your body.
Is this safe?
Who knows. Personally, I don't do it, and I don't allow my family to do it.
Do you really want to eat an apple that contains a fish gene, for example? Then purchase only organic food, preferably USDA certified organic.
Against Organic Food
In conversation about food and nutrition I sometimes encounter people who assert, often in anger or agitation, that they "don't believe in organic." This point of view is completely mistaken, with serious health implications for its bearer. It is ground in some or all of these factors:
Lack of knowledge about the present severe degree of compromise of our food supply.
Anger and resentment at the higher cost of organic food.
Lack of concern about building and maintaining good health.
Regarding #2, cost: organic food is often more expensive; sometimes much more. Customers of Whole Foods Market, for example, a group that includes this writer, conclude a shopping trip there holding a notoriously smaller shopping bag for the amount of money spent.
Pricing variability based on demand, quality, or other factors is characteristic of the normal operation of the free-enterprise system, or capitalism; all Americans, and most of the rest of the world, presently exist under this system. This variability routinely includes, for example, higher prices charged for 1.) products of any kind perceived as premium, 2.) products that in fact are premium, such as organic food, and 3.) products considered non-premium but in high demand, such as red roses on Valentine's Day. To wit, I recall my initial incredulity some years ago upon observing that red roses sold on, and just before, Valentine's Day were significantly higher in cost relative to any other time of year.
Accordingly, I recommend that you modulate your anger and resentment at higher prices for better-quality food in accord with present-day economic reality. Don't allow these feelings, comprehensible as they are, to compromise your health by creating an unjustified bias against organic food, itself. Indeed, ensure that as much of your food supply as possible is organic, preferably USDA-certified organic.
Some individuals may be especially opposed to, or otherwise disturbed by, this economic phenomenon of capitalism whereby pricing is variable depending on how much money the seller thinks he can extract from the consumer in the marketplace at a given time, or in a given circumstance. If you are such a person, I suggest that you acquaint yourself with the perspective, principles, and program for change of BROTHERHOOD OF MAN, which is a project that seeks to replace capitalism with a new kind of social and economic system informed by love and cooperation, not greed and an economic imperative to sell.
You'd Better Sit Down for This
Do you really imagine that purchase of organic foods and beverages is unnecessary for you and your family?
What would you say if I told you that:
Fruit juice, ubiquitously consumed by children, contains significant levels of arsenic and lead?
Popular brands of chicken, such as Perdue, contained arsenic until just recently?
The ground beef contained in the hamburger that you purchase for your children's "happy" consumption, from McDonald's, Burger King, and others, is of such poor quality that it is treated with ammonia gas?
And that the reason that it is so treated is the attempt to eradicate the potentially deadly e coli organisms that it often contains?
And that, in fact, even this ammonia treatment often fails to eradicate the deadly pathogen?
(This is in addition to the deadly trans-fat, and other injurious ingredients in such food.)
You needn't take my word for any of this. Simply conduct your own research and you'll learn quickly enough that it's all true. Here is a brand new article fom Consumer Reports magazine under the heading Food Safety:
New bill would limit arsenic and lead in juices
Feb 8, 2012 5:35 PM
A House bill introduced today aims to limit levels of arsenic and lead in fruit juices. When the bill was announced, the sponsors cited Consumer Reports’ investigation into the issue, which found high levels of arsenic and lead in the juices we tested.
While federal limits exist for arsenic and lead levels allowed in bottled and public drinking water, there are no limits defined for juices, a mainstay of many children’s diets, putting them at unnecessary risk for serious health problems, including several forms of cancer.
The proposed Apple-Juice Act of 2012 was introduced by Congressman Frank Pallone Jr., (D-NJ) and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), and calls on the Food and Drug Administration to establish standards for arsenic and lead in fruit juices in two years time.
For our investigative report, we tested 88 samples of apple juice and grape juice for lead and arsenic. We found that roughly 10 percent of the samples, from five brands, had total arsenic levels that exceeded federal drinking-water standards of 10 parts per billion (ppb) and 25 percent of the samples had lead levels higher than the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) bottled-water limit of 5 ppb. Most of the arsenic detected in Consumer Reports’ tests was a type known as inorganic, a human carcinogen.
Based on our juice test results and other evidence from our investigation, Consumers Union, the advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, had previously urged the FDA to set a standard of 3 ppb for total arsenic and 5 ppb for lead in apple and grape juice. Consumers Union supports the proposed bill. “This bill will go a long way toward protecting the public, especially children, from exposure to these toxins,” said Ami Gadhia, Senior Policy Counsel for Consumers Union.
For more information you can see our full report Arsenic in your juice: How much is too much? Federal limits don’t exist, plus you can download a pdf of our complete test results, as well as watch our video below.
Controversy over arsenic in apple juice made headlines as the 2011 school year began when Mehmet Oz, M.D., host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” told viewers that tests he’d commissioned found 10 of three dozen apple-juice samples with total arsenic levels exceeding 10 ppb. Around that time, the FDA reassured consumers about the safety of apple juice, claiming that most arsenic in juices and other foods is of the organic type and “essentially harmless.”
The FDA has since revised information on its website to include the following: “Some scientific studies have shown that two forms of organic arsenic found in apple juice could also be harmful, and because of this, the FDA counts these two forms of organic arsenic in with the overall content for inorganic arsenic.”
Food vendors such as McDonald's and Burger King, that depend on sales of relatively low-cost meals, seek what is called the "least cost" option from their suppliers, referring to ground beef and other ingredients of the least possible cost. Meat purveyors thus produce a very low-cost meat product casually called "pink slime." It is a pinkish ground beef treated with ammonia gas, and routinely supplied to school cafeterias and fast-food outlets. You, your children, and for that matter, I, have all unwittingly eaten this garbage. Are you still eating it?
This information is contained in the forthcoming book on the processed food industry by writer and researcher Michael Moss. The inescapable conclusion, the "bottom line," as it were, is that the food supply in America, and many other parts of the world, is often suspect.
Standard frying is a harmful cooking method as it creates trans fat and free radicals. Occasional grilling is acceptable provided lean meat is used and doesn't drip much on the hot coals or into the flames.
Moreover, food must not be cooked using artificial methods such as microwaving. Cooking using microwaves changes the molecular structure of food, reduces its nutritional value, and introduces injurious elements such as acrylamides into the food. Search this home page for further information on microwaving. Food must be cooked using standard, tried-and-true heating and cooking methods such as steaming, baking, broiling, roasting, boiling, or stir-frying. The most healthful methods are considered to be those using low heat, such as steaming, boiling, poaching, and crock-potting.
In fact, my further research indicates that even standard baking can produce toxic acrylamides within food if the foodstuff is a carb such as bread, especially if the top is browned. Similarly, toasted bread produces this carcinogen, as well. The astute among you may have already realized that the formation of this little-known toxin is further confirmation that human beings have not evolved to consume carbohydrate-based foods, and thus should not be eating them. I realize that the baking of bread and similar items has been turned into a high art over thousands of years, and does, indeed, have what seems like a long history in the human diet. However, the development of great refinement and expertise in cooking a poison, and many years of doing so, doesn't change the status of that poison. In the case of bread, it's been consumed by humans for thousands of years, and not consumed by them for many millions of years. Which pattern of consumption is the body likely better acclimated to?
Again, the Paleo diet, described above, is the only healthful one for human beings.
Refrain from use of all vegetable oils, including Canola oil, as they are harmful. Olive oil is a healthy option for medium-temperature cooking.
How about Chinese Tonight
Chinese Food as sold in America, as delicious as it often is, is usually cooked using vegetable oil, thus actually according it the status of an unhealthy, not healthy, food. Moreover, some Chinese food items such as egg rolls and shrimp toast are fried, thus introducing trans-fat into the food and making it extremely unhealthy. Last, some Chinese restaurants actually take their freshly-prepared, piping hot food and place it into plastic containers for take out, thus potentially introducing BPA or other potentially hazardous chemicals from the plastic into the food.
Moreover, two different Chinese restaurants in the Northern New Jersey area told me that the brown sauce that is part of many of their dishes may indeed contain Monosodium Glutamate or MSG, though these (and many other) Chinese restaurants bill their menu as containing as "No MSG." They tell me that they actually cannot be sure whether this hazardous ingredient is present or not, since the suppliers of the brown sauce don't tell them. In all, then, ordering from a Chinese restaurant can be quite the nutritional wild ride, and not a oasis of healthy food as commonly perceived.
Only with knowledge, care, and discipline can ordering Chinese comprise a nutritionally satisfactory meal.
Avoid purchase or use of standard wood cutting boards or similar wood products as ubiquitously sold at department, big box, and cooking supply stores, since such boards are coated with mineral oil. In a telephone conversation of July 24, 2009, Tom Sullivan, owner of Totally Bamboo, manufacturer of bamboo cutting boards, corroborated what I already knew: mineral oil is, in fact, a petroleum-based product that is actually a highly refined version of motor oil.
Mr. Sullivan states, for example, that his boards are oiled before shipping using a common "pharmaceutical-grade mineral oil."
Some cutting boards, when new, are quite wet with mineral oil; I had this experience with a large board that I purchased from The Container Store. Needless to say, I returned this item. However, even boards not dripping with mineral oil are still coated with it. Don't allow even residual amounts of any petroleum-based product in contact with your food. Instead, search the Net for cutting boards coated with vegetable or bees-waxed-based protectants; walnut oil is common. Such boards are available, usually from small independent woodworking shops.
Food Packaging & Transportation
I will begin this new section by advising your unwavering adherence to what I term the "OIG Principle": Organic in Glass. Purchasing coconut oil? Mustard? Pickles? Peppers? (You're name is not Peter, is it?) Exercise an aggressive bias toward products that are organic, preferably USDA-certified organic, and come in a glass jar or bottle, not plastic. Get plastic, even plastic declared "bisphenol-free" or "PVC-free" out of your home, car, and life as much as possible, especially as regards your food and beverage preparation and storage.
Only glass (or other selected natural materials such as ceramic or stoneware) is acceptable as a food or beverage storage material since it is inert, which means that its molecules will not interact with your foodstuff or beverage in any way, so nothing will leach into, or otherwise contaminate, them. Storage in metal cans is problematic since lead can linings have been identified as a cause of endocrine disruption, a serious health concern cited under this topic, above.
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Healthy Meal. All things considered, a genuinely healthy meal would be something like this: a plate of USDA-certified organic vegetables, often green, with a small piece of uncontaminated fish or other seafood as a side item. Your beverage would be pure water, filtered with your own high-quality filter or occasional water purchased in a glass bottle from a trusted spring, that you have researched. For dessert afterward, you might have a few USDA-certified organic blueberries, sometimes with a small dollop of whipped cream topping made from USDA-certified organic heavy whipping cream.
And understand that food is not supposed to be easy to eat, nor is it supposed to taste especially good. Insofar as the food of today is easy to eat, it's because it's processed, sometimes highly processed. Insofar as the food of today tastes good, often delicious, it's also because it's processed, and additionally, because it's loaded with sugar.
Sugar is a poison.
I recently came across the fundamental rules for healthy eating expressed in a cute and concise admonition. Michael Pollan asserts in the opening line to the introduction to his new book In Defense of Food:
"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."
Beverages. My present understanding is that there are four and only four basic beverages or beverage groups that can be healthfully introduced into the human body:
Water. The water must come from a spring or other natural source that is completely uncontaminated, including contamination by chlorine, chlorine by-products, and chemicals present in plastic bottles, or from a municipal water source, such as the tap in your home or business, provided that you have an extremely high quality, which usually means very expensive, water filtration system that leaves the water pristine, in accord with the aforementioned requirement.
Spring water, if not directly from the ground, must be purchased in a glass bottle from a trusted spring or other natural source that you have researched.
Water, Flavored. The flavoring must be natural, fresh, and organic. For example, squeezing fresh lemon juice from an organic lemon into your water is extremely healthy and in fact gives the water a lemonade taste. Add crushed ice, pour into a tall clear glass and enjoy.
The freshly squeezed organic lemon will help heal your liver, a vital organ charged with filtering toxins from your body (maintaining proper weight also greatly benefits the liver).
Vegetable Juice, freshly juiced or squeezed. Vegetable juices from non-starchy, organic vegetables is healthy (in contrast, fruit juice of any kind is unhealthy, as the sugar content of most fruit is much too high). Vegetable juice can be made in combination using different vegetables, or you can juice just one vegetable.
Tea, organic, preferably unsweetened, hot or cold, with no milk whether dairy or soy. The only acceptable sweetener is a touch of honey, raw and organic. I do not refer here to herb tea.
Tea is an ancient drink considered especially healthful.
Soy milk is an unhealthy drink, just as the soybeans from which it derives is an unhealthy food. I have yet to research coconut water or milk, and almond milk, although I can already assert my displeasure with their packaging, which is almost always paper of some kind, not glass. One must always seek OIG products: Organic, in Glass, as described in my last Key, above.
Coffee. Assertions about the health benefits of coffee are coming fast and furious; one apparently credible study even concludes that coffee is a powerful anti-Alzheimers agent. Yet assertions as to the unhealthfulness of coffee remain, continuing to cloud my assessment of this ubiquitous hot beverage. Additionally, coffee is generally consumed with milk, which itself is an unhealthy beverage from the Paleo perspective.
Red Wine. There is no alcoholic beverage, including the much-touted red wine, that can be claimed as absolutely healthy, since all alcohol is considered a carcinogen.
Note, moreover, that all non-organic red wine contains sulfites as preservatives, which can irritate some individuals with allergies.
If you are to consume either or both of these two beverages, they must be organic, and consumed in moderation. Red wine, especially, must be consumed in moderation, and if it is indeed organic, exercise caution since it will contain no preservatives, and unpreserved wine is notorious for very fast spoilage. In my limited experience, a brand new bottle of such wine can spoil in a day or two.
This phenomenon of foods or beverages that can simultaneously help and hurt is an excellent example of the health complexity that we must understand and adjudicate, as prescribed by Key to Good Health Negotiating Complexity, discussed below.
Weight. It is imperative that you maintain a proper weight, as an overweight condition will produce manifold symptoms and deleterious bodily conditions ranging from dementia, to cancer, to diabetes, to heart disease, to such conditions as degeneration of the knees and ankles. Many of these maladies are cited and discussed individually at this website.
Moreover, if you suffer an overweight condition and are of middle age, medical research now concludes that you are at substantially greater risk for the big four just mentioned: cancer, coronary disease, diabetes, and dementia; you are setting yourself up for these four maladies, each of them potentially fatal. Just yesterday (May 03, 2011), I heard about the newest indicator in this regard, a significant study just concluded in Norway that established that an overweight condition in middle age increases the chance of developing dementia by 80%. Eighty percent!
Thus, while being overweight is often treated with merely moderate seriousness in the media, overweight individuals are often seen or characterized as "happy" or "jolly," and male comedians such as the late John Candy often use their heavy appearance as a visual comedic device, being overweight is actually an extremely serious condition, as it constitutes a substantial risk factor for a quadrangle of major diseases, not to mention a raft of other problems such as weakened knees and ankles.
Weight control, specifically, and healthy eating, generally, can be created and enhanced through various mechanisms. First, for example, the last few years has seen the popular introduction of the Buddhist principle of "mindful eating." This refers to the practice of slowly, or at least deliberately, selecting the food you'll eat, and not just eating whatever happens to be in front of you, or what is easy or convenient to eat, or looks superficially appealing. Indeed, mindful eating requires that you actually think about what you're about to eat, and whether you should or indeed really do want to eat it:
"Do I really want to eat this Big Mac, french fries, and large soda?"
"Is eating this container of ice cream really going to help me in my life?"
Mindful eating also includes the practice of eating slowly, or at least consciously, once you deliberately and thoughtfully select your food. This way, you genuinely enjoy the experience, and can stop when finished, satisfied, without reaching for another portion.
Additionally, apart from the specific techniques of mindful eating, the objectives of healthy eating and weight loss may also be somewhat easier if you bear the following dicta in mind at all times, especially mealtimes:
"Eat for survival, not sensation."
And a related sentiment is expressed in this adage:
"Eat to live, don't live to eat."
The first prescription above instructs you to eat to survive, rather than to eat to indulge yourself in the often extravagantly delicious taste of food. This issue of the taste of food is more important than ever in regard to health generally and issues of obesity and weight loss specifically, since the food companies of today are more adept than ever at manipulating food to maximize its hyper-delicious, and thus addictive, character.
Don't fall for it!
THE REAL KEY TO WEIGHT LOSS
In the opinion of this writer, a key part of effective weight loss actually first involves not a shift in your food supply, but a change in your lifestyle, especially your daily activities and self-image. You must deliberately change such elements as:
The way you see yourself. Your self-image.
The daily activities you choose for yourself to provide stress relief.
The daily activities you choose for yourself to provide pleasure.
What your real goals in life are. Do you have any?
The people you associate with, since they usually have a strong influence on what you eat.
Eating is at once a source of pleasure and a stress release. If you can manage to find one or more alternative activities whose level of pleasure and stress release is greater or stronger than provided by eating, you will find yourself gravitating toward these other activities. These activities can include anything from playing the guitar, to coaching a local softball team, to yoga and meditation, to painting or sculpting, to hiking, to more frequent lovemaking with your spouse.
In other words, learn about every possible human activity. Over a period of time, try as many as you can. Give each a genuine chance. Determine which activities seem to provide a stronger attraction than eating. Once you discover this, you'll find that your weight loss efforts no longer require as much effort.
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Food, Quality. Most commercially advertised and available food is garbage, in other words, is of very poor nutritional quality. For example, do you often eat McDonald's food, or white bread? Then you're in big trouble. Packaged or canned food? Big trouble, again.
In fact, believe it or not, if you eat bread of any kind you're in trouble, as we humans did not evolve consuming grains; thus, the human body cannot properly process them.
Indeed, as explained throughout this page and site, much of the food we grew up with in the United States and similar societies, even the food our mothers asserted was good for us, is actually not healthful.
This phrase generally describes chain restaurants that offer rapidly-prepared and served meals usually made from relatively unhealthy ingredients, and/or the food, itself. Restaurants such as McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy's, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and White Castle are understood to fall under this category.
One such unhealthy ingredient is trans fat, or hydrogenated oil. Trans fat is an artificial fat used to enhance taste and extend shelf life; it despoils the body and brain, and is considered a major cause of coronary disease, and just about the most unhealthful substance in existence short of drinking arsenic. Trans fat is considered far more dangerous than even saturated fat. Its commercial use is banned in New York City.
The problem is that most fast food contains trans fat, and in significant amounts. In the northeastern United States, for example, many people find the diminutive White Castle hamburger delicious and hard to resist. However, aside from the fat, saturated fat, salt, food dye, refined white flour, genetically-engineered components, and pesticide and antibiotic residues present in each White Castle hamburger, each one also contains .5 gram of trans fat. Thus, if you're a typical hungry male consuming, say, six of these hamburgers per visit to this restaurant, White Castle--with your consent--is introducing a full three grams of poisonous, nay, lethal, trans fat into your body. If you reproduce this behavior once a week, you are consuming 12 full grams of trans fat per 30 day period, for a total of 144 grams per year. If you visit White Castle even more frequently, your projection and health effect will be even more dire. You can and should do the calculation, while avoiding White Castle like the plague. Indeed, its food is a plague.
I've been in communication with White Castle corporation about this situation and thus far all they state is that they're not making changes because people expect a certain "flavor profile" from White Castle food that must be maintained.
"Flavor profile"? What about the health profile of their customers consuming this "food"? What about the children consuming these products?
After an extended delay, White Castle corporation did respond to my first email that exhorted them to remove the trans fat from their food, at least from their basic hamburger. My second email has thus far gone unanswered. Time permitting, I will reproduce both letters with their responses, here.
McDonalds and Burger King burgers also contain trans fat, the former much worse than the latter. A McDonalds meal typical for a hungry adult male consisting, say, of one Big Mac and one Quarter Pounder with Cheese, would introduce a full three grams of trans fat into the body.
Nor should you fall for the "Eat Fresh" propaganda of Subway restaurants. Every roll they sell for a sub sandwich contains Azodicarbonamide, a chemical banned across Europe and in Australia, and carrying a stiff penalty in Singapore [Note: Subway has claimed it is or will remove this chemical from its products]. The refined white flour roll that is part of a White Castle ham or cheeseburger, or egg or chicken sandwich still contains, as of September 2015, azodicarbonamide, as well as a host of other toxic ingredients. Selling such an iconic and delectable burger, this chain in particular should, in my opinion, be ashamed of itself.
Continuing, bread is foreign to the human body, anyway, and is especially unhealthy in its refined form such as in a sub roll. Additionally, any cured meat such as ham in your Subway sandwich will contain a preservative such as Sodium Nitrite, which is a proven carcinogen.
The short-term solution is simply to food shop carefully in a health-oriented store such as Whole Foods, then prepare your own meals at home. If you want to dine out, visit a Whole Foods Cafe, or find a similarly health-oriented restaurant in your area. There aren't that many--good luck.
America Dies on Dunkin'
This is my more brutally realistic play on the Dunkin' (formerly Dunkin' Donuts) promotional brand tagline, "America Runs on Dunkin'."
Dunkin' is a ubiquitous national and international food vendor, specializing in coffee and related hot and cold beverages, donuts, bagels and similar bread-related items, and an assortment of light, cooked meals. It's products remain very popular in America.
This "food," like all junk food, is laden with just about every manner of unhealthy, deleterious ingredient, starting with refined white flour, which is the grain base of just about every Dunkin' product. Unless I'm mistaken, the Dunkin' web site lists nutrition information, but no ingredients--I checked twice--so ascertaining exactly what you're consuming is difficult. Frankly, were I peddling such a motley assortment of garbage ingredients in my products, I'd probably keep them under wraps, as well.
I assure you that anyone "running" on Dunkin', that is, consuming its products regularly and, moreover, depending on them for sustainance, will be sickly and then dead soon enough. It is imitation food like this that is largely responsible for the physical and mental decline of America, and nations that emulate her.
Drawn to that Dunkin' croissant because you perceive it as light and healthy, relative to, say, white bread or a Kaiser roll? Think again. According to Fooducate.com, the ingredients in this "food," item, the Dunkin' plain croissant, that my own 88 year old Mother--until now--has eaten and enjoyed on a regular basis, are:
Dough: Enriched Wheat Flour (Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Ascorbic Acid, Enzymes, Folic Acid), Water, Margarine [(Palm Oil, Modified Palm Oil, Canola Oil), Water, Sugar, Monoglycerides, Soy Lecithin, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative), Citric Acid, Artificial Flavor, Beta Carotene (Color), Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D], Sugar, Contains less than 2% of the following: Yeast, Dough Conditioner (Wheat Flour, DATEM, Ascorbic Acid, Enzymes), Salt, Wheat Gluten, Dextrose, Natural and Artificial Flavor; Glaze: Fructose, Corn Syrup Solids, Sodium Caseinate (a milk derivative), Locust Bean Gum, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Soybean and/or Canola Oil, Soy Lecithin, Sodium Bicarbonate.
The item contains multiple GMO sources; multiple sources of sugar; artificial flavor; preservatives, and worst of all trans fat--this is what America is "runnin" on.
Calcium. This is a mineral essential for the creation and maintenance of proper bone health and density, and other essential bodily functions; also important in its role in helping keep the body properly alkaline. The problem of inadequate calcium is not merely, or perhaps even usually, one of inadequate calcium intake, but of loss of your existing calcium stores.
If you are in the habit of drinking soda, for example, you are continually depleting your calcium store. Soda is one of the most acidic items you can put into your body. If your bodily alkaline reserves are insufficient the body will attempt to balance the acidity you've introduced by taking calcium elsewhere, typically from your bones and teeth.
Carbohydrate. This is the one food group absolutely superfluous to the body. Your body requires that you ingest protein and fat, but does not require that you eat a stitch of carbohydrate. Any carbs required will be synthesized in the body from other substances. For a number of reasons, eating carbs will simply make you fat, acidic, and over time, sick.
For example, did you know that cooking any carbohydrate (i.e. "starch") in any manner save boiling or grilling produces the proven carcinogen acrylamide?
(car sin' o gen, or cancer-causing agent)
Thus, the toxin acrylamide is present in all baked goods, including the holy grail of most mealtimes....bread. Moreover, if you prefer your bread toasted you are ingesting even higher levels of this poison.
Advantages Of A Controlled Carbohydrate Lifestyle (CCL):
Keeps you thin (because in the absence of carbs your body burns fat, in what is called the ketogenic response).
Helps prevent diabetes (because your sugar intake is low).
Helps keeps your skin healthy (because your sugar intake is low).
Helps keep your teeth healthy (because your sugar intake is low).
Foods eaten (meat, fish, eggs, salad, etc.) tend to be fresh foods, which are much healthier than processed foods.
Lack of carbs consumed provides no food for yeasts and other microorganisms in the body, or for cancers.
Ala' the latest research findings, even in a CCL your principle food component must be vegetables (65%), then meat (35%).
Watch your protein intake: not too much. Choose eggs over meat. Choose vegetables over eggs.
Meat and fish are acidic, while the body prefers an alkaline environment.
Dr. Robert Atkins (the "Atkins Diet") states that a high fat diet is OK, while the paleo diet calls for lean meat only, ala' the diet of our ancestors. Dr. David Perlmutter (nutritional neurologist) and others proscribe saturated fat as bad for the brain.
This writer advises USDA organic, lean meats only.
Dr. Atkins proscribes milk because of its carbs; the paleo diet proscribes milk because our ancestors did not consume it.
This writer proscribes it for these reasons, and because it contains sugar, and contributes to prostate cancer in men, amongst other possible problems.
Remember: carbohydrate is a nonessential food group!
Fruits and Vegetables. Let's take these one at a time. Fruit, in fact, is not good for you. It is generally much too high in sugar (fructose, in this case), one of the most foreign, potent, and toxic substances you can put into your body, to be considered a healthy food. Vegetables, by contrast, are excellent for you. In eating them, eat a wide variety of colors and types; refrain, however, from starchy veggies such as carrots and potatoes, as they are too high in carbohydrate, and in the case of potatoes, carry a high glycemic load (i.e. they raise your blood sugar too high, too fast), and are acid-forming.
Blueberries, called "brainberries" by some, is one of the few fruits I can recommend in good conscience, as they are extremely high in anti-oxidant value and are thus considered especially fortifying and healthful for body and brain.
Sugar. How are you faring in your battle with this toxin? If you're unaware of this battle, you've already lost it.
In fact, regarding this popular and ubiquitous foodstuff, let me be explicit. This material in most of its forms is such a pernicious agent, a poison, in fact, that you must consciously avoid it like the plague. Sugar may taste wonderful, and indeed our culinary arts both high and low have fashioned a multiplicity of ways in which to utilize it deliciously in food; however, make no mistake: sugar is poison to the body. Repeat: sugar is poison, and you must resist its siren song. Moreover, in delightful congruence with the principle that bad things often go together, foods high in sugar are almost always high in carbohydrate, as well, another food group that is deleterious to the body. This website will repeat the point, and the reality behind it, that consumption of sugar and carbohydrate is a principal contributor to the development of diabetes--and many other maladies.
This is also why the oft-repeated admonition that for good health we must "eat a lot of fruits and vegetables" is incorrect. Yes, the latter should be consumed in gross, especially in their green, low-sugar, low-carbohydrate forms, avoiding their high-carb, high-sugar varieties such as carrots and corn. The former, however, fruit, should generally be avoided as fructose is a form of sugar! Hint: any food component ending in "--ose," such as sucrose, fructose, lactose, dextrose, or maltose, is sugar! Some health authorities assert that because fructose is absorbed slowly by the body it is a more benign form of sugar. However, not all health authorities subscribe to this notion, and I don't. The fact is, our ancient ancestors did not consume much fruit; thus, we shouldn't, either, as the human body has not fully and properly evolved to process such sweet items.
Recall that for most of our history on this planet, our species consumed little sugar. This is why ancient skeletons often reveal teeth and bones that are large, well-developed, and rock solid. Did they have toothbrushes back then? Toothpaste? How then did our ancestors manage to suffer neither tooth decay nor bone loss?
The answer is straightforward: their diet contained nothing in the first place to erode their teeth or destroy their bones. In short, their diet contained no sugar.
Weaning yourself off of sugar will take time, as your body has likely become dependent on it, especially in view of its physically and psychologically addictive properties. It can be done, however! As I sit here at this moment composing this content, I have next to me a cup of USDA organic loose-leaf black tea (Rishi brand), containing nothing but a small amount of USDA organic whole milk (I'm working toward avoiding the milk, as well, which is unhealthy especially in its nonorganic version). There is no added sweetener of any kind in this cup of tea. I write "added" sweetener because, let us remember, the milk itself contains sugar in the form of lactose. Thus, weaning yourself off of added sweetener in your tea or coffee is not a bad way to begin, as your milk content will still add sweetness to the beverage.
Additionally, and amazingly, over the last few days my taste buds have apparently further evolved such that I now find that I can even consume my bowl of regular-variety (i.e. unsweetened) Cream-of-Wheat with no added sweetener. Previously, I'd spoon in or drizzle on a quantity of honey (a very bad idea from a health standpoint). You see, the retraining of my taste buds is progressing. Friends, you can, and must, take the time and expend the effort to accomplish this same thing.
Whether white table sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup, or even honey refined or raw, avoid sugar like the plague, and you'll preserve and strengthen the integrity of your body and state of health.
(Note: Cream-of-Wheat, even in its regular, unsweetened variety, cannot be considered a healthy food; it contains one or more questionable preservatives, and worse, rates very high in glycemic load. I'm looking for an alternative, myself, and will post that information here for you.
Update, May 2010: I have discontinued consumption of Cream-of-Wheat; nor do I seek an alternative, for all grain-based cereals hot and cold, and indeed all grain products of any sort, are unhealthy.)
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Dairy Products. In fact, they are not healthy, but generally unhealthy. They cause weight gain and, in men, a strong link has been established between consumption of dairy products, and prostate cancer: IGF-1, or insulin growth factor naturally occurs in human and in cow's milk; however, this agent in the human body accelerates malignant cell growth. A 1998 study in the prestigious journal Science showed that men who had the highest blood levels of IGF-I had more than four times the risk of prostate cancer compared to those with the lowest levels.
Elevated IGF-I levels are also linked, though less clearly, with breast cancer. Moreover, milk, in its homogenized and pasteurized form, is a highly acid-forming food. Last, for now, it is said that milk, though a low-GI food, still causes a spike in insulin production, helping to cause diabetes.
Thus, to avoid diabetes and especially prostate cancer, avoid all dairy products.
Think about it: why would you, a human, drink the nursing fluid of a four-legged animal?
Chemicals, External. I refer to the inside of your body, including your brain, as your interior or internal environment; the food and eating recommendations above are intended to help keep this internal environment clean and healthy.
However, you must also keep chemicals out of your exterior or external environment, as well, meaning inside your home and around your property; in other words, all the spaces and areas outside of, or exterior to, your body. It is extremely important, for example, to choose organic lawncare rather than standard commercial pesticide and herbicide treatments. And to elect for organic pest control for indoor pests, not the usual pesticides used by the average pest-control company.
In The Hundred Year Lie - How Food and Medicine are Destroying Your Health, author Randall Fitzgerald asks:
Why are studies showing that 12% of American couples are unable to conceive?
Why are studies showing that the number of children being born with both male and female sex organs tripled in the last decade?
Why is the incidence of testicular cancer in 2000 four times higher than 1950?
Why are more and more men seeking breast-reduction surgery as a result of drinking tap water?
Why is the U.S. spending more than twice as much on health care than any other industrialized nation?
Break on Through to the Other Side
Remember, friends: all the chemicals that you permit into your external environment slowly cross those loose barriers and infiltrate into your internal environment--your body and brain. For example, the synthetic pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, or fertilizers applied to your lawn and garden by you or your "lawn care" company do NOT stay on your lawn! All research shows that these chemical agents "volatilize" (i.e. vaporize or become airborne) into the air where you breathe them in, they cling to the bottom of your shoes where you track them into your home, and your children and pets routinely come in contact with them if they walk on, lie on, or touch the lawn or the ground. Then, when your child eats their ice-cream cone, or your dog or cat licks their paws, they've just contaminated their bodies yet one more time with a residual amount of one or more chemicals that are likely toxic (especially to a child).
In concert with all the other toxins and pollutants your children will breathe in, ingest, or otherwise come in contact with during their childhoods and over their lifetimes, their "toxic load" (see above) will become heavy and the stage will thus be set for illness now or later, notably in the form of various cancers, asthmas, and other serious maladies.
Role of Chemicals in Obesity
In fact, believe it or not, bleeding-edge research now shows that chemical exposures large or small may even play a significant role in the development of obesity: it is now thought that lack of exercise and poor diet alone cannot and do not explain the worldwide explosion in obesity, and that exposure to certain chemicals in the environment play an important role. These chemicals identified to play such a role are being called obesogens.
Friends, studies show that the average American carries between 200 and 500 synthetic chemicals in their bodies, that should most certainly not be there. Don't permit any of this foolishness in your family.
...is a phrase that should heretofore be removed from your vocabulary. The standard chemical used by most dry cleaners is the toxic material known as PERC. However, the cleaning industry is in major transition, with about four or five new, alternative cleaning materials and technologies available for some time now. The safest and most pure is simply called wet cleaning:
Wet cleaning is a cleaning process for clothing that uses sophisticated, computer-controlled machines to gently launder with water and biodegradable solvents, or detergents. Standard dry cleaning solvents are not used. There are no hydrocarbon, silicone, or CO2 methods used, whatsoever.
Accordingly, seek a cleaner in your area who uses this process, exclusively. Refrain, if possible, from OXXO and Green Apple cleaning establishments, as they use silicone, and CO2 methods, respectively, which are less safe than wet cleaning.
In North Jersey, N.J., Mason Cleaners in the city of Dumont does wet cleaning, exclusively. Jin Jang and his wife own the establishment. Jin also assures me that his establishment requires no pest controlling, and thus he does none. This is important, to ensure that freshly-laundered clothing that is now pristine, having been cleaned using the most healthy process possible, is not subsequently contaminated in any way, or to any degree, by pesticide residues present in the air, or on the floor or other surface inside the cleaning facility. In fact, given that wet-cleaned clothing must actually hang in the open air for about 48 hours to dry, air quality is indeed important.
I believe that Corde Cleaners in Ridgewood, N.J. also uses the wet cleaning process, exclusively, although I have not yet confirmed this.
Dr. Greene, M.D.
All material below was culled from Dr. Greene's web page.
Dr. Greene, a graduate of Princeton University, father of four, and founder of DrGreene.com, a website that the American Medical Association praises as "the pioneer physician Web site" on the Internet, states of the 2003 Body Burden report:
"This study features the largest number of chemicals ever tested for in the same group of people - 210 chemicals were tested. The results were staggering - each participant tested positive for an average of 53 known human carcinogens, 55 chemicals known to cause birth defects or developmental delays, and a host of other chemicals. Each participant tested positive for chemicals that damage the brain or nervous system, that weaken the immune system, and chemicals that cause reproductive abnormalities. Perhaps most disturbing: these 210 chemicals tested represent only a small fraction of people's exposure. More than 500 chemicals are used in the U.S. as active ingredients in pesticides alone. More than 3,200 chemicals are regularly added to foods. More than 2000 new chemicals are registered for use in the U.S. each year - most with no safety testing.
Combinations of chemicals can be far more damaging than individual exposures. We do know that just as drug-drug interactions can cause serious side effects, chemical-chemical interactions can multiply the risks. For example:
This Body Burden Report shows PCBs and dioxin in the same people. These often appear together - even in breast milk. Researchers looked at liver damage caused by the two. By themselves, the PCBs caused no liver damage. Dioxin did cause some. But mixed together, the two chemicals produced 400 times the damage of the dioxin alone. (Van Birgelen, A.P.J.M., et al. Environmental Health Perspectives (1996) 104:550-557.)
Some pesticides in common use can act like the female sex hormone estrogen. Researchers at Tufts University School of Medicine measured the effects of 10 such pesticides. Taken one at a time, they had no measurable effect on human tissue. But when different combinations were tested, these same low levels of pesticides now showed a strong estrogen effect. (Soto, A. et al. Environmental Health Perspectives (1994) 102: 380-383.)
Two commonly used pesticides, Aldicarb and Atrazine, are found in our food and our drinking water - and in our bodies. When tested individually at levels found in the groundwater in the U.S., they showed no adverse effects. But when combined - the way they are in the water - the combination produced immune system impairment. (Porter, W.P., et al. Toxicology and Industrial Health (1999) 15: 133-150.)
In short, the Body Burden study reminds me of a smoke detector or a carbon monoxide alarm - alerting us to a silent but serious danger, hopefully in time to wake us from our sleep. This study leaves no doubt about the pervasive pollution of our bodies with large numbers of toxic chemicals in combination, most of which didn't even exist when my parents were born."
Yikes. Before proceeding further, please ensure that you have read my brief but very important introductory section Chemicals, above. Then, read my Lawn, Garden, & Pest page, so as not to inadvertently injure yourself, your family, children, pets, neighbors, or your environment with standard lawn care materials and methods, all of which are toxic.
Concrete steps and resources for protection of family and kids in North Jersey, N.J. is here.
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Skin. Another issue of chemicals. Since anything you apply to your skin (which includes your scalp) will be absorbed into your body, don't apply anything you wouldn't put into your mouth and eat! To moisture your skin or condition your hair, for example, use pure organic coconut oil, not a commercial moisturizer or hair conditioner (the only exception that I'm aware of is the Aubrey Organics brand; their products contain only genuinely natural ingredients).
Cleaning & Dusting. Maintaining a home, work, and automobile environment that is clean and dust-free will help protect you from germs, bacteria, viruses, illness, and a compromised state of health. Make sure, however, to use cleaning agents and materials that, while effective, are non-toxic or reasonably so.Please see the KEYS TO GOOD HEALTH Floor Care InfoCenter.
Handwashing. This is one of the most fundamental, important, and effective keys to good health. Frequent handwashing, done properly, especially before eating, after using the toilet, and after engaging in dirty or unhygienic work or other activity, will protect you from a number of nasty germs, bacteria, and viruses.
Proper handwashing involves first wetting the hands, lathering them well all over including fingers and fingertips, then scrubbing a bit with your fingers, especially under your nails for thirty seconds or so. Then rinse while continuing to use mechanical action (i.e. scrubbing).
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Harm Complex. Bear in mind that the complexity of what I refer to as the "harm complex" of our modern world is such that ignoring issues of health can injure you in completely unanticipated ways. For example, did you know that, according to at least one health researcher, Dr. Sherri Tenpenny, DO, individuals exposed to the influenza virus who have had previous exposure to the carcinogen Dioxin, have an increased chance of death? The virus and the chemical form a pernicious synergy. Or did you know that smoking a cigarette at the same time you enjoy your ham sandwich, hot dog, or bacon causes the formation of a carcinogenic agent in your stomach called a nitrosamine?
This is one important reason that it's extremely important to err on the side of caution in regard to use of pesticides and other chemicals in your environment, in your food, and indeed in regard to the various other health issues delineated at this web site. Since there are always environmental, genetic, commercial, and other factors we don't, and oftentimes can't, know about, be very conservative in guarding the health of you and your family!
Negotiating Complexity. The health options, perspectives, and information abounding today are exploding, and assessing and adjudicating them can be difficult. What is the healthiest way to eat? To supplement? To exercise? To relax? To believe? Indeed, simply, to live? Yet we must learn to negotiate this complexity if we are to achieve a measure of health, and peace-of-mind.
Here are a few examples of this health complexity:
Spinach as a dark-colored vegetable is considered extremely healthy, especially given it's high calcium content which would seem beneficial to bones. Yet spinach also contains oxylates, which are seen as detrimental to bone health.
Fruit is considered healthy because it contains a wide variety of salubrious vitamins, minerals, and other components such as phyto-nutrients, and because it helps maintain the alkalinity of the body. However, fruit is also high in sugar, which is most decidedly unhealthy.
The lycopene content in tomatoes is understood as a potent anti-carcinogen, yet as a member of the nightshade family, tomatoes, red peppers, and eggplant can aggravate existing arthritis conditions.
Red wine, now praised for its health benefits when consumed in moderation, is specifically understood as beneficial to the heart, and even said to help prevent prostate enlargement (and cancer?) in men. Yet all alcohol is understood to be carcinogenic; that is, cancer-causing.
Moreover, and perhaps somewhat secondarily for most people: the sulfites in red wine used as preservatives can be problematic for people with allergies. Last, most red wine is not organic, which means it will contain a trace amount of pesticides.
The Mayo Clinic at MayoClinic.com states the following, in clear illustration of the complexity regarding consumption of red wine:
"Red wine's potential heart-health benefits look promising. Those who drink moderate amounts of alcohol, including red wine, seem to have a lower risk of heart disease. However, more research is needed before we know whether red wine is better for your heart than are other forms of alcohol, such as beer or spirits.
Neither the American Heart Association nor the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommend that you start drinking alcohol just to prevent heart disease. Alcohol can be addictive and is associated with other health issues.
Drinking too much increases your risk of high blood pressure, high triglycerides, liver damage, obesity, certain types of cancer, accidents and other problems. In addition, even small amounts of alcohol can cause cardiomyopathy - weakened heart muscle - causing symptoms of heart failure in some people. If you have heart failure or a weak heart, you should avoid alcohol completely. If you take aspirin daily, you should avoid or limit alcohol, depending on your doctor's advice. You also shouldn't drink alcohol if you're pregnant."
Begin negotiating complexity when ready!
Get Checked & Tested. If you suspect that you have a malady, disease, illness, or disorder, get checked immediately; don't wait. Why? Because procrastination itself is a risk factor! Meaning, if you wait to treat a health problem, the waiting itself acts as an exacerbating agent that increases your risk of harm.
While some screening has been contentious such as that for breast cancer, much other screening is accepted as critical to prevent disease or dramatically reduce its severity, such as colo-rectal testing to prevent or intercept colon cancer. Early detection of cancers and other serious maladies can dramatically increase survival rates. Indeed, the principal "Early detection is the cure" is sound.
And in medical consultation, don't be afraid to visit three, four, five, or even more doctors until you find a perspective and diagnosis that makes sense to you, given your particular circumstance and symptomatology.
Basic testing that all Americans should undergo includes:
Exercise. The human body has not evolved to be sedentary; indeed, our primitive ancestors were continually walking, running, and climbing, chasing animals or being chased by them. Chasing other beings similar to themselves, or being chased by them. The one thing our ancient ancestors did not do was sit in one place for hours on end. Thus, you must exercise at least several times a week. Walking is considered an excellent exercise.
Moreover, regular aerobic exercise is now understood as one of the most potent anti-Alzheimer's strategies, in part because it actually assists in the regrowth of neurons (i.e. brain cells). Dr. John J. Medina, a developmental molecular biologist focused on the genes involved in human brain development, writes at BrainRules.net:
Exercise improves cognition for two reasons:
Exercise increases oxygen flow into the brain, which reduces brain-bound free radicals. One of the most interesting findings of the past few decades is that an increase in oxygen is always accompanied by an uptick in mental sharpness.
Exercise acts directly on the molecular machinery of the brain itself. It increases neurons’ creation, survival, and resistance to damage and stress.
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Noise. Health officials and institutions, and the public, now recognize the distinct, dramatic, and documented danger of hazards ranging from tobacco-smoking, to basement radon, to improper hand-washing, to consumption of trans-fat. However, though its effects are pernicious and a substantial hazard for human health, our great overlooked health hazard thus far remains noise.
The fact is, however, that whether from car alarms, car horns (especially during early morning hours), rowdy late-night bars or clubs, airport and overhead air traffic, or with the advent of Spring, the noxious and alien tsunami of sound produced by gas-powered lawnmowers and leafblowers, loud or simply unwanted noise is one of the most injurious and painful stimuli we experience. It is one of our most potent stressors. As with most health hazards, children and the elderly are most affected, though noise is uniquely unpleasant and ultimately injurious to everyone.
In my personal experience, even the sound and vibration of a basketball bounced aggressively on hard asphalt has been an unintended form of torture. The degree of pain has increased proportionally to the number of players and the duration of play.
The League for the Hard of Hearing states:
Noise-induced hearing loss among children is a serious public concern and impacts on speech, language, cognitive, social and emotional development. The National Hearing Conservation Association reported that in a survey of 110 children, ages 6 to 14, the average noise level during the day was 90 decibels, about the level of city traffic. On the playground, these levels reached 115 decibels, similar to that of a noisy subway or rock music.
As early as 1972, David Lipscomb studied 1,000 sixth, ninth, and twelfth graders and found that 3.8% of sixth graders, 11% of ninth graders and 10.6% of twelfth graders failed the hearing screening. A follow-up study by David Lipscomb in 1972 studied the hearing of college freshmen and found that 32.9% of one group and 60.7% in a second group had a measurable high-frequency hearing loss. In a more recent study (1996), the League for the Hard of Hearing found that 10% of ninth graders failed a hearing screening and that these students had never before been identified as having hearing difficulties. Furthermore, their teachers reported that these students exhibited learning and behavior problems in the class.
Why should children, ninth-graders in fact, lose their hearing at such a young age? Will the one-in-ten ninth grader who will fail their hearing test at such a young age be your child? Hearing loss is sometimes irreversible--when it's gone, it's gone forever. Over the entire course of your lifetime and that of your children, neither you nor they will ever regain that lost hearing capacity, your natural birthright.
Moreover, Newsweek magazine writes in its May 2005 issue:
NEW YORK, May 29 -- More than 28 million Americans currently have some degree of hearing loss, from mild to severe, and the number is expected to soar in the coming years-reaching an astounding 78 million by 2030, Newsweek reports in its June 6 cover story (on newsstands Monday, May 30). While that looming surge is mostly a baby-boomer phenomenon, the threat of hearing loss--and the need for prevention--isn't limited to a single age group. One study estimates that as many as 5.2 million children in the U.S. between 6 and 19 have some hearing damage from amplified music and other sources. If they don't take steps to protect their hearing, the iPod Generation faces the same fate as the Woodstock Generation. Or worse, writes Senior Editor David Noonan.
"We're seeing hearing loss from noise develop at an earlier age than we used to," says Dr. Jennifer Derebery, immediate past president of the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. "It's a huge problem."
Keep it Down
Thus, to preserve your hearing and that of your children for a lifetime, it is imperative that you avoid loud, especially loud, or especially intrusive sounds; even sounds of moderate-high volume, if sustained, can damage hearing. Thus, for example, if your location receives much loud overhead jet plane traffic, you must move. If a rock band practices three doors away nightly, you must persuade them to relocate or dramatically reduce their volume. If your local landscaper uses loud lawnmowers or leafblowers regularly, you must speak to him and/or his clients, your neighbors, to attempt to dissuade them from use and acceptance of this kind of loud and polluting equipment. The safe equipment set for this kind of work is the traditional rake, broom, and "reel" (push) mower. In the latter course, you will inform your neighbors of the definite damage to everyone's hearing (including the landscaper's) this equipment is causing, and request that they instruct him to use manual tools, even if a higher fee must be charged.
(Not all lawn care companies charge a higher fee for use of traditional manual tools. Of those that do, the fee is oftentimes merely slightly higher--well offset by the health benefits. North Jersey residents please note that there is at least one area company that charges nothing extra to use superior traditional tools!)
In fact, use of traditional tools is also part of an official recommendation of the American Lung Association, since gas-powered equipment is not just gravely damaging to hearing, but to lungs and general health, as well:
"Use hand-powered or electric lawn care equipment rather than gasoline-powered. Two-stroke engines like lawnmowers and blowers often have no pollution control devices and can pollute the air even more than cars."
If push comes to shove because your present landscaper is unwilling to use the superior quiet manual tools, you must hire a new landscaper who is willing (Northern N.J. residents have their choice of these landscaping companies). Or, you might try to persuade your present landscaper to adopt the compromise protocol of Minimal Mixed Use.
Please click here for a more complete discussion of this issue, especially if a North Jersey resident.
Regardless of the kind of objectionable sound you wish to eliminate, approaching offending neighbors in concert with several other neighbors is usually more effective and persuasive than doing so alone. Additionally, besides your oral argument, make sure you present your neighbor with written literature, preferably from well-known, "official" organizations; this will A.) reinforce your message, and B.) help ensure the neighbor will not forget about the problem.
Mark your calendar for International Noise Awareness Day.
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Fields. There are various kinds of fields surrounding or even penetrating us that are likely harmful, and extremely harmful in some cases. Here are the specific dangers:
You must guard your home against "electrical pollution," or "dirty electricity," especially rooms used often or for long periods, such as bedrooms.
In the United States, for example, our electrical systems were apparently designed to produce and run safely on 60 Hz, but today the wiring inside our homes are contaminated with many other stray currents and fields. These dangerous fields are apparently reduced or eliminated via use of so-called GS filters.
"With the worldwide increased consumer demand of electricity, those who study electrical pollution maintain that the modern electrical environment is dangerous to human health. With the abundance of computers and other electrical appliances, exposure to “dirty” electricity has increased significantly. Researchers of electrical pollution explain that the current electricity distribution infrastructure cannot properly handle the increased electricity dependence and demand of modern appliances. Therefore, millions of people are being exposed to harmful electrical phenomena. The wires and transformers are not only delivering the juice to run electrical devices, but are also the carrier of dangerous high frequency currents.
Instances of health problems related to electrical pollution are not limited to Wisconsin or rural farm areas. Instances have been discovered all over the country and worldwide. According to Arthur Firstenberg and Susan Malloy, authors of the article “Electrical Sensitivity,” posted on latitudes.org, officials Near Fort Dix, New Jersey in a town called Brick, were trying to understand why eight out of every 1,000 children born in Brick since 1994 are autistic. Medical professionals could not figure out the cause of the significant cases of autism. A 750,000-watt Doppler weather radar instrument had been installed in 1994 in nearby Fort Dix. The authors of the article believe that the reason for the increased cases of autism is could possibly be attributed to electrical sensitivity to the emissions from the Doppler radar equipment."
Relatedly, I recommend against placing or storing food or beverage items near appliances, as the possibility exists, even if theoretical, that electromagnetic or other fields emanating from these appliances could change, even if subtly, the cellular or molecular composition of the food or beverage item. For example, if you're in the habit of keeping your tea canister or olive oil bottle next to the radio on your kitchen table, move these food items to a nearby shelf or otherwise away from the radio. Our ancient ancestors were not exposed to electrical fields of any kind, so the human body did not evolve to accommodate such fields, nor did they put food next to appliances, so our human food supply did not evolve to accommodate such fields or waves.
APRIL 07, 2011: I just read a brand new New York Times article cautioning that research into the possibility that cell phone radiation is harmful is ongoing; thus, it remains very important to use a headset with your cell phone, or secondarily, to transition to a bluetooth-based telephone and earpiece, as phones based on this technology produce lower emissions. Nor should you keep your phone in your pocket or otherwise close to your body: I don't want a beam of radiation penetrating my skull and brain, but neither do I want it penetrating my groin or any other part of my body.
I constantly see people with their cellphone plastered to their ear. I would often see one of my neighbors, for example, walking all around the front of her house in the morning with her phone stuck to her ear.
Don't these people ever pick up a newspaper?
I purchased my headset over a year ago at Radio Shack for about $29. Confirm that the headpiece contains no electronics, but is, in effect, simply a passive speaker and receiver. Ensure that your children, whose brains are still developing, have and are using a headset, and in the case of older teenagers, are doing so in a way that does not interfere with driving and other complex tasks. It is imperative that they pull over to make a call, especially while trying to juggle a headset.
Update, May 2011: Brand new international research continues to support the possibility that brain injury may result from use of a cell phone proximate to the head.
Wi-Fi energy, in part because it is pulsing energy, is thought even more harmful to the brain than standard cell phone energy, especially for children. It is thus imperative that such individuals be kept strictly away from use of, and exposure to, cell phone and Wi-Fi fields.
These myriad anomalous deviations from the way our species has evolved, especially in combination with each other, act as an invisible battering ram that buffets and attacks body and brain, and relentlessly drives their slow disintegration, thus facilitating disease of every kind.
For example, as alluded to, above, an emerging hypothesis is that Autism is caused by exposure to electromagnetic fields.
It it thus imperative that you take steps such as:
Buy a gaussmeter to test all areas in your home and workplace for each of the three relevant kinds of fields.
Recommended is the AlphaLab Tri-Field meter, 60Hz for U.S. use, as it easily measures each of the three relevant kinds of fields, and is relatively low-priced for such a comprehensive device. U.S. users will typically want the 60Hz model, catalog number #A150-60.
Don't ever hold a cell phone up to your ear. Use its speakerphone function, or a headset of the particular kind described above.
Keep AC-generating devices such as alarm clocks several feet from the body. Discontinue use of devices such as electric blankets that are specifically intended for close proximity to the body.
Keep children, and yourself too, away from Wi-Fi enabled devices and locations. Your local Wi-Fi-enabled internet cafe may be appealing and convenient, but it's destroying your brain. It's just not worth it.
Discontinue use of microwave ovens, since the use of microwave radiation to heat food is unnatural, and changes the molecular composition of food. Use of this cooking technology also contributes to the formation of toxins called acrylamides in food.
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Relaxation. Related to the Stress key, above, it is essential that you engage in regular sessions of deep relaxation; such equanimity is necessary for good general emotional and physical health. Ancient practices such as yoga or meditation are excellent for this purpose.
The practice of meditation, proven to have remarkable physical and psychological benefits, is a recommended activity, as it counters stress, assists in centering, and can facilitate deep calm. In fact, research shows that the meditative state is not merely one of deep relaxation, but an entirely distinct and self-contained state of consciousness, our sleeping and waking states being the other two. Meditation is understood to shift our brain wave state from beta to the slower and radically beneficial alpha state. Experienced practitioners can shift into even deeper wave states such as the next, which is theta.
Indeed, in Star Wars Episode V, Master Yoda instructs Luke Skywalker in the knowledge and insight regarding good and bad that can flow from a calm and relaxed state of mind:
LUKE: ...Is the dark side stronger?
YODA: No...no...no. Quicker, easier, more seductive.
LUKE: But how am I to know the good side from the bad?
YODA: You will know. When you are calm, at peace.
Yoga is also highly recommended, although the practice can actually cause serious injury, even death, if mispracticed. Injuries to the neck, in particular, can end with a devastating result. Be absolutely sure to discuss the possibility of serious injury with your Yoga instructor; if they are unacquainted with this kind of injury and other potential hazards of Yoga, or dismiss or discount such hazards, find another school or instructor. Moreover, many Yoga instructors receive only weeks of training; instead, seek an instructor with several years of training.
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Psychological Health. We must pay great attention to our psychological health.
The human organism does not merely include a physical body, but a mind and emotional system, as well. Some would go even further and posit that we include a "soul" or something like it. Perhaps, alternatively, it is more accurate to describe these things not as part of the body, but more as functions of the body; philosophical and theological debate will continue regarding whether these things are components of our bodies, or functions of our bodies, which is to say, whether such things as "mind" are things separate from body, or simply a function or activity of the body. Whatever the ultimate determination, if there ever is one, it is clear to most of us that these things, whatever their nature, must be nourished and kept in good health, possessing their own set of requirements for health. Thus are we familiar with phrases and the ideas behind them such as "mental health," "psychological health," "spiritual health," and "emotional health."
I will here use, properly, I think, the descriptive phrase "psychological health" as shorthand for psychological, emotional, and spiritual health, since arguably our emotional health (and our spiritual health if one adheres to this notion) ultimately comes from, or is entertained in, the mind. The point is that along with caring for the needs obvious to the physical body we must care for the needs of the mind and spirit. These needs will vary somewhat from individual to individual, but common elements probably include:
Career or trade, or other means of producing regular income, without which almost every element necessary for psychological and even physical health will be difficult to obtain.
Further, a career or trade or other means of producing regular income that is genuinely enjoyable for us, that provides some reasonable measure of self-actualization. meaning fulfillment of interests and congruity with our intellect, temperament, and personality.
Proper care of the physical body, itself, as without this the functions of our brain will be compromised and it is unlikely that psychological health will result.
- Relationship of support of some kind from other people. For most of us this will include the giving and receiving of love of a romantic variety.
Basic orientation of love from everyone around us. If we are in continual conflict with others any real measure of psychological health will likely not occur. Similarly, if we feel deeply that those around us, our community and larger society, maintain no care or concern for us at all, psychological health will likely elude us, too.
Persons of a religious orientation will likely include here one or more relevant considerations such as quality of their relationship with God, or degree to which they are genuinely and effectively living their professed religious principles.
Dementia and Alzheimer's Disease
Avoid Dementia and Alzheimer's Disease.
Protect the Earth. Were we to scrupulously follow all the guidelines, recommendations, and principals delineated at this website, we'd realize that we were, in fact, vigorously protecting Earth, our planetary home. However, I've listed this protection as its own Key to Health because 1.) some site visitors may expect to see it made explicit, and 2.) it is useful, and conceptually legitimate to describe not just the parts as these various Keys do, but the whole, as this Key does.
Mark your calendars for Earth Day, whose official date is April 22 every year. And note that many related events occur the weekend before the official date.
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"Love is the only satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence."
Love. This is one of the two most important Keys to Good Health.
-- Erich Fromm, 1956.
By "love," known in Greek as Agape, I refer neither to romantic love, nor love of family, friends, or God. I refer instead to the historical notion of the "love ethic," or "brotherly love," the most powerful and important, yet grossly misunderstood determinant not merely of human health, but of our very existence, itself.
The love ethic, or Agape, is not an emotional form of love we "fall into," but a generalized, unconditional love we practice toward everyone, a form which actually requires a commitment of will. Underappreciated and underutilized, it is arguably the most powerful social force available to humankind. The integration of the principle of Agape into our personal lives and the lives of our many global cultures and societies is essential. All good springs from love, all bad from its opposites. Revered and desirable values and behaviors rooted in the love ethic include compassion, empathy, patience, tolerance, understanding, courtesy, sensitivity, a general open-mindedness, cooperation, solicitude, respect, honesty, and the impulse to help people and alleviate suffering.
We do see acts of love occurring in our society, but as philosopher and social psychologist Erich Fromm points out, these acts usually occur randomly and sporadically, by single individuals, not by large numbers of people in any systematic way. This is because love of our neighbor (and ourselves) is only weakly and inconsistently encouraged, and more importantly, is not a formal part of the actual written rules of our social and economic system.
The love ethic, defined here, is the consideration of, and acting upon, the interests of other people, in more-or-less the same proportion as you consider (and usually act upon) your own interests. Indeed, many thinkers, philosophers, and spiritual leaders have considered love of neighbor the supreme human goal, or close to it. For example, K'ung Fu-tzu (Confucius) stated:
"Work for the good of others as you would work for your own good."
Moreover, the Christian faith is notable for the second great commandment of Christ, an explicit call for active love of neighbor stated as "Love thy neighbor as thyself." Those of the Jewish faith enjoy a similar if not identical obligation in the great instruction of Hillel the Elder, one of the most important figures in Jewish history, who stated:
"What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow man: this is the whole Law; the rest is the explanation."
(Babylonian Talmud, tractate Shabbat 31a)
Agape & Health
The most progressive and informed theories of, and perspectives on, human health and disease recognize the critical role of emotional health in both overall health, and specific disease states, of human beings. Central to this emotional well-being are satisfactory relationships with other people across all spheres of our lives: family, friends, co-workers, managers and "bosses" and others, as well, of course, as a satisfactory "relationship" with ourselves. Yet, what is the principal around and correlated to which exists such satisfaction? Obviously, love, whether in the form of kindness, courtesy, patience, forgiveness, economic consideration of one kind or another, or any of the manifold concrete manifestations love takes. Physical contact between people plays a significant role, as well, whether formally in healing techniques such as massage and accupressure, or in the simple human acts of embracing, placing a hand on a shoulder, or shaking hands.
From any scale or perspective of human health, love heals, unifies, and perfects our species, while nonlove or nonloving actions injure, fragment, and traumatize us.
Love as described here is relevant, indeed critical, to our health; indeed, to every dimension of our existence: without love we will find it difficult, if not impossible, to adhere to any set of health guidelines in the first place, including those delineated in the list, above. Comprehensive diligence in guarding one's health is a difficult and ongoing challenge, especially in a society ill-suited to, and, in fact, not designed for the preservation of health; we're not going to be able to successfully exercise such diligence if our physical and psychological resources are already strained by alienation or misery. Insofar as 1.) our society, generally, and our economic system, specifically, 2.) the people in our immediate personal, familial, and business environments, and, 3.) we, ourselves, do not display the active cooperation, sensitivity, and solicitude commonly thought of as representing love, we will be unhappy, unfulfilled, or anxious, conditions of mind that impede the diligence, focus, and awareness required to follow a stringent set of health guidelines. Thus, the necessity of love for health.
In fact, in concrete terms, love can be, should be, and ultimately must be our most potent healer and health preventive: on a broad economic scale, if the people running corporations loved you, they wouldn't be so quick to develop and market products that harm you. Of course, under capitalism if they stopped doing this the economy would grind to a halt, since continual selling is required to avoid economic collapse. Inter-personally, or socially, if your fellow humans loved you they wouldn't lie to you, insult you, or engage so readily and thoughtlessly in the manifold other transgressions that erode your happiness, equanimity, and mental health. Nor would we similarly transgress against them. And in love of self, if our love for ourselves were better developed we would be less willing to subject ourselves to injury from others, and from the injury, abuse, and lack of respect we often heap upon ourselves.
Those Closest to You
Your first locus of attention must be those individuals with whom you are in closest physical proximity, such as your neighbors, friends, co-workers, and family, because your close proximity to these groups of people makes them most susceptible to injurious actions you may be taking, whether deliberately or inadvertently.
In my own neighborhood, for example, car pool drivers for schoolchildren were in the habit of sounding their car and SUV horns during early morning hours, to alert their young charges and their families that their transport vehicle had arrived, and to hasten the production of the kids out the door and into the vehicle. This circus of early-morning car horns was waking me and my father, 81 at the time of this writing (now 84), and ill, many mornings. Luckily, however, these families are among the more civilized and sensitive in my neighborhood, and thus, once alerted to the consequences of their actions they changed their general practice. Happy Ending, and a possible example of the love ethic at work.
Brothers and Sisters, the fundamentals of love are simple. If someone tells you that something you're doing is hurting them--you stop doing it.
"Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can't help them, at least don't hurt them."
-- Dalai Lama
Accordingly, try every day, across every situation and circumstance, to love others, and to love yourself. Be sensitive: keep your antenna up for the pain, suffering, and dissatisfaction of others, and involve yourself to assist them. And do not wait for them to ask you for assistance; approach them and ask if they require it. Maintain this orientation toward all others, not just those in your family, social, or religious group.
Do the same for yourself: care for your own physical and psychological health, and request that others treat you with love, as well.
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Brotherhood of Man. The immutable reality is that a change in human health that is both A.) dramatic, and B.) permanent, can occur only upon our transition from capitalism, including its culture of ego, to the long dreamt-of Brotherhood of Man, a Classless, Moneyless, Needs-based, Love-assisted society, notated C.M.N.L., and pronounced: kuh myoon' ul, as in communal, reflecting or embodying the most elevated values of the traditional commune, creating a unitary society embodying a shared existential experience, informed by the behaviors of cooperation, sharing, patience, tolerance, mutual aid, and compassion, all rooted in Love and Brotherhood. Without such a new paradigm we will doubtless continue hurting each other, and ourselves, in ways large and small and thus, ill-health will most certainly continue.
This particular Key to Good Health may strike you as too "political" and thus appropriately or preferentially subject to dismissal or disregard. However, avoid this Key at your own peril, as it is one of my two most important Keys, since under our present global economic system, called "capitalism," all questions of health actually reduce quickly to questions of money, profit, and the way capitalism works.
In other words, if you really want to understand issues of health, you must understand issues of economics, that is, profit and money. In fact, inclusion of this particular Key is partially why this website can rightly claim to offer "the most powerful health analysis available." In my analysis, I get to the root causes of ill-health. In fact, the etymology of the word "radical" tells us that it means "get to the root of."
If you have found the rest of my data, information, commentary, and analysis at this website credible and compelling, do not disregard this Key, for it derives from the same value system, turn of mind, analytical ability, and power of intellect. This Key speaks to and builds on the assertion that two root causes for ill-health exist. Do not fear new, ill- or mis-understood information and analysis. Do not be afraid to begin flexing and developing heretofore unused intellectual muscles.
Capitalism is an economic system where A.) all companies are owned privately (i.e. owned by one person or a tiny group of people), and B.) operated not to meet the needs of society, but instead to produce profit (i.e. money) for those owners, as much money as possible, as fast as possible.
Indeed, the more astute among you, after reading through this site and the numerous and multifarious threats to health and safety it chronicles, may have realized:
Many societies, with the United States near top, do not hold health and safety as vital operating principals. Indeed, the economic system of capitalism was never designed for, nor meant to function in, this role.
Capitalism was specifically and singularly designed to produce profit (and other forms of compensation such as dividends). And in the modern world, capitalism has turned into global hyper-capitalism, where the imperative is to produce not merely profit, but as much profit as humanly possible, as fast as humanly possible. This is a problem because the only way profit is produced is through the interminable (i.e. never-ending) design, manufacture, and sale of products and services--wave upon wave upon wave of them, including and especially health-related products and services.
This is why so many health-related products and services are made available and aggressively advertised to us in the marketplace. The ultimate criterion for the creation of these things is not their genuine healthfulness--it couldn't be, or most ideas for new products and services would have to be abandoned--but their viability as profit-making vehicles. This is true whether the product in question is a pharmaceutical drug, laxative product, or air purifier, or a service such as heart bypass surgery, breast augmentation, or the provision of health insurance.
In sum, we are goaded into purchasing all manner of health-related products and services because this sector of the economy makes billions of dollars in profit through these purchases. Moreover, the really pernicious and less-understood aspect of this, is that the companies in this sector, as all companies under capitalism as a whole, must operate this way to produce this profit, because if they didn't, their sales would cease or slow, which would force them to shut down their factories and other business operations, lay off or fire their workers, and perhaps even declare bankruptcy.
These laid-off and terminated workers would then ultimately have little or no money to spend, and would thus purchase fewer products and services themselves, which would then cause slowdowns in many other industries, repeating the cycle and intensifying the problem. If the business as a whole went bankrupt, even greater waves of economic shock would occur as all the purchasing the company used to do from suppliers would cease, and those suppliers would themselves suffer a slowdown in sales, broadening or deepening and thus worsening the initial economic cascade.
Companies have no choice in this matter--if business slows they must lay off or even terminate workers, because they can't have workers in factories or offices pumping out products and services when there is no one to buy them, because keeping their factories going and workers working is costly for companies; if companies are expending money to continue operations with no revenue (i.e. money) coming in from the sale of their products and services, they'll go bankrupt.
And if nothing interrupted this downward cascade and it continued, it would affect more and more companies, and the final result would be--and indeed often is--an economic recession, or in the worst cases, an economic depression. In fact, one of the principal and most devastating flaws of capitalism is that it is unstable, and we thus continually see both Democratic and Republican politicians scurrying to try to compensate for the ill effects of this instability through legislation and other modifications to the system. Democrats generally believe that more government programs and public spending will bring stability to the system, while Republican politicians generally believe that lower taxes and less government regulation is the answer. They're both wrong, of course, as neither set of "solutions" tampers with the basic operation of capitalism.
And of course, all of this is a clear threat to health. As capitalism becomes increasingly global and cutthroat and jobs are lost or threatened, and workloads increase while wages remain low, stresses of all kinds increase, resulting in destructive behaviors, patterns, and pathologies of many kinds, including addictions and compulsions in regard to food, alcohol, illegal drugs, legal drugs, sex, aggression, violence, egotism, and many other things, as well as a rise in various forms of anxiety, and even actual mental illness of many kinds. Even the rate of marital failure increases, as is well-documented, contributing to the further breakup of the family.
Moreover, the reality of competition under capitalism means that companies must continually keep their eye on costs, keeping them as low as possible, because if costs are kept low, a given company can sell its products for less, helping to ensure that you'll buy from them and not their competitor. If the Burger King hamburger is .99 and the McDonald's hamburger is .79 and they're both perceived as equal in taste and any other factor the consumer values, it is likely that the consumer will buy the less expensive hamburger. Or the less expensive air purifier, or vitamin or mineral supplement, or bag of grass seed, or bicycle, or health insurance policy, or....
So, companies must keep their costs low. Since the greatest cost in running any business is labor (i.e. workers), companies are thus forced to keep your wages and benefits as low as possible--while forcing you to crank out as much work as possible. For companies in industries that are especially subject to competitive pressure, which under our modern hyper-capitalism means almost every industry, merely lowering wages and benefits is still not enough to lower costs; these companies must actually terminate (i.e. fire) workers, which they readily do. The remaining workers are then forced to pick up the slack, meaning they are forced to take on the work previously performed by their erstwhile (i.e. former) fellow-workers, in addition to their existing workload.
Has this happened to you?
This is also why workers increasingly find themselves replaced by robots and computers. These artificial work systems can perform almost continually with no need for wages, benefits, vacations, or break time; thus, it's a lot cheaper for a company to run a robot or computer than to run you. Trust me--no matter your job or industry, as soon as you can be replaced by a robot or automated computer system, you will be.
Will this be good for your health?
Another cost of doing business for companies are the expenditures required to keep their workplaces healthy and safe for their workers, and to keep our natural environment healthy and safe for all of us. But the imperative (i.e. absolute need) to keep costs low never goes away, so we routinely see corporations operate with little or even no regard for the health and safety of their own workers, or our natural environment. Recent examples include the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and the nuclear meltdown in Japan in concert with the recent tsunami, there. And we know that corporations have been polluting our air, water, and soil for years.
Pay close attention to the news--there is an interminable (i.e. never-ending) stream of examples of corporate disregard for health and safety. It simply happens all the time.
Without question, the most accurate, analytical, and penetrating way to understand the root causes of illness of almost every kind, is to understand them as principally including capitalism, itself.
Thus, one of our most unusual and misunderstood, yet critical, Keys to Good Health is the simple abolition of capitalism. We require a radical or dramatic shift in our mode of social operation or organization, including the kind of economic system we have, to recast our society as one under which health and safety are at the core of all social processes, including and especially the all-important operation of the economy. We require a dramatic change in our economic and social system, such that this kind of recast is actually made possible, because the society no longer operates under the sick, immoral, and indeed counterproductive rules of capitalism, as briefly and partially described, here.
Given that the lack of comprehensive emphasis on health and safety causes so many and varied a body of injury in America and indeed across the entire planet, such a recast in our human social and economic structure is legitimately understood as a powerful and indeed critical long-term Key to Good Health.
Indeed, once we possess and use this particular key, most of the other keys will likely become superfluous.
Moreover, even an initial study of the normal operation of capitalism reveals that its deficiencies pertain not merely to health and safety, but all areas of human society. Such a study reveals capitalism as the source, directly or indirectly, of most human problems, and an exacerbating factor in the rest; the deficiencies of capitalism in the area of health and safety represent just one of its many flaws.
Given the absolute import of human health to a happy and successful life for we humans, and given the clear cause-and-effect relationship between poor health and capitalism, I'm confident in asserting that the ultimate or parent cause of poor health, whether physical or mental, is capitalism, and capitalism, alone; not stress, poor diet, lack of exercise, nor one's genetic profile. A bold assertion, to be sure, but one that is readily defensible and utterly comprehensible once one knows the facts.
Accordingly, if you're an individual genuinely interested in understanding and practicing good health for yourself, and promoting it to others, you must work toward a dramatic shift in our basic mode of social organization, toward a new and better economic and social system that is in far greater sync with our present state of political, economic, technical, and social understanding.
Thomas Jefferson called for a revolution every 20 years--yet Capitalism is now about 600 years old. In fact, Humanity can now do far better than the unstable, rickety, wasteful, divisive, unhealthy, unfair, and indeed chaotic system of capitalism. Simply, we must transition to a democratic, needs-based, love-assisted, modern Cooperative Society.
In such a society, what is now understood as "economic activity" will occur to safely meet human needs and wants, not produce as much profit as possible, all the time, at all costs psychological, physical, spiritual, social, and environmental, for a tiny stratum of persons that own everything, as is presently the case with 21st century hyper-capitalism.
Neither money nor taxes would exist under a Cooperative System, as the old paradigm of "paying" for goods and services would be replaced by the new and more advanced Free Access paradigm. In sum: goods and services under the new system would be provided by the relevant industries as required by the populace. Everyone in the society would work, providing the goods and services that they and everyone else needed, thus enabling everyone free access to everything. The fundamental human need for food, clothing, housing, transportation, child-care, education, and health care for every single person would be met, with remaining resources allocated toward "luxury" or other kinds of goods and services, as democratically decided.
And as some of you may be realizing at this very moment as you read this, upon the advent of this new kind of system 95% of the most pernicious and intractible problems of modern-day capitalist society would simply disappear in one fell swoop. We'd say a permanent and comprehensive Goodbye to hunger, homelessness, lack of child care, lack of transportation, unaffordable education, and unaffordable health care, as well as the social and economic conditions that overwhelmingly make us ill in the first place. And needless to say, once this 1st-tier set of problems is permanently and completely eliminated, the entire group of 2nd-tier problems that flow from the 1st-tier would obviously disappear, as well, including alchohol, narcotic, and every other kind of addiction, compulsive behaviors, mental illness, undue aggression and violence, crime of essentially every kind, and even marital breakup and family breakdown.
Moreover, with competition, the profit imperative, and private funding of industry gone, there would no longer be an economic disincentive to skimp on health and safety in the areas of food, working conditions, or any other sphere of society. In all, a society of this kind would be far more elegant than the chaos and anarchy of capitalism could ever be, and obviously far more moral, as well.
In a Cooperative Society the "love ethic" will serve as the behavioro-emotional glue that lubricates and optimizes all human relations and relationships, thus helping 1.) to ensure the practical success of the new social system, and 2.) shape it into the revered and long-sought "Brotherhood of Man."
Indeed, this is one way to understand the objective under discussion: establishment, finally, of the "Brotherhood of Man" dreamt and spoken of through the ages.
(A modern description of this notion might be the "brother-and-sisterhood of humanity").
Under such a Love-oriented system, the manifold assaults to our personal and environmental health, as chronicled in part at this website, simply could not occur, for their root causes 1.) capitalism and 2.) egoism would be "built-out" of the system from its very inception, beginning with its Constitution and other founding documents.
Capitalism would be formally and officially replaced by a cooperative economic system, and egoism would be similarly replaced by Love. Thus do the Keys to Good Health actually and ultimately reduce to the Key to Good Health, and thus would we take the next, and indeed, final, quantum leap in our evolution and progress as a species and human family. And in the process resolve, indeed prevent, the health problems of we and our progeny as dramatically and permanently as our human species ever could.
LOVE ETHIC: Learn the Ancient Principle of Brotherly Love, the Most Powerful Force Available to Humankind
BROTHERHOOD OF MAN
CONTACT & COPYRIGHT
I am Vincent Frank De Benedetto, writer, thinker, activist, and author of this Internet project and resource, KEYS TO GOOD HEALTH.
I am a philosopher,
New York Times-published writer,
Health Educator & Thinker,
Personal Life Counselor,
Silence Activist, former Community Relations & anti-Leafblower Expert for, and charter member of the North Jersey chapter of, Noise Free America, a national organization, and a continuing family Caregiver.
I have a B.A. in Philosophy from Seton Hall University. A growing brand, search my full name as presented for my complete online corpus (i.e. the parts of my developing body of work, a multipart project, so far presented on the Internet). I am available for paid writing or research.
Contact me via email at OneHumanFamily @ fastmail.net. In addressing your email, omit each space shown here before and after the "@" sign.
All material penned here at KEYS TO GOOD HEALTH, the Internet health resource at which you presently reside, including my essay Leafblower as Assault Weapon, and all original concepts and terminology, is strictly copyrighted.
Material may be excerpted A.) without modification, and B.) provided full attribution is provided, including this website address.
Free. As you can see, I charge no money for provision of the considerable amount of high-quality health information at this website. This website is a free resource provided you.
This site comprises a net loss in terms of my time and money, and some of the time diverted here would undoubtedly have gone to further care for my father, 87, who suffers a serious decline in cognition, and other aspects of his health.
Donation. If you have found KEYS TO GOOD HEALTH, this Internet resource, useful, in whole or part, please show your appreciation or gratitude through a donation. A cash donation to me personally would be helpful and appreciated: this site requires money, and a significant amount of time, neither of which I have to spare, given the gross difficulty and sheer complexity of my life at present. This site really shouldn't even exist. To donate, please click the PayPal button, below. And thanks!
Integrity of information. In no case do I receive a commission or anything else from recommendation of products or services mentioned at this website, I research, write, and present you with a pure internet health resource completely free from commercial intrusion or influence of any kind. Specifically, I simply will not and do not trade dishonesty for money. Thus, this site is characterized by complete and uncompromising integrity of information and you are the beneficiary.
This integrity remains my overarching concern; indeed, accuracy of content is one of the chief calling cards of this website in the first place. The moment that such accuracy erodes in even the slightest measure is the moment that my online content nudges ahead to become just like everyone else's. Moreover, such transgressions would constitute a violation of the love ethic that informs this website.
Save Your Money. Love of others and self is the principal required element in your effort to become and remain healthy; accordingly, no good or service that you can purchase will be conclusive in achieving your goal of full health. Insofar as this is true, then, exercise a measure of restraint in your zeal to purchase. Save your money.
There are, however, two exceptions to this guideline where careful selection and purchase of a good or service is necessary, required, or wise: first, those goods or services whose aim and purpose is to assist you in the elevation of your moral, spiritual, psychological, or emotional capacity and bearing, necessary to lead you to a more full, deep, and satisfying ability to love. This would likely include such items as key books on brotherly love (e.g. The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm) or educational materials and supplies for practice of such deep relaxation and centering activities as meditation.
The second exception to the "Save Your Money" rule is that group of goods and services that can play a vital supporting role in maintaining physical and emotional health, while you work to create a more love-centered existence. This might include cleansing kits, vitamin, mineral, and other supplements, organic foods, or chemical-free shampoo.
HONcode. Time permitting, I'd apply for HONcode certification, which would formally indicate site compliance with objective third-party standards of legitimacy and credibility of health information.
Time, however, does not permit. I believe, however, that the credibility of the content at this site stands on its own already.
Free Booklet. My free eleven page introductory booklet is intended to persuade people to visit www.KeysToGoodHealth.love, the website you are now reading. Especially relevant for Spring and Summer, the booklet also introduces the reader to instruction in how to maintain a lawn and garden that is green and beautiful, without slowly poisoning family, children, pets, and neighbors.
If you value the content and message of KeysToGoodHealth.love, this website, and wish to show friends, family, neighbors, co-workers or others the value of, and path to this Internet resource, simply download this short Microsoft Word-formatted booklet. Then, print its pages, staple them together, and distribute.
The booklet is also useful if you, yourself, desire a very short-and-sweet introduction to the basic health content and perspectives contained at this website.
History. KEYS TO GOOD HEALTH now celebrates its 8 Year Anniversary, as it went live on 03-09-09! In truth, my health and nutrition knowledge well exceeds that which this site so far includes.
Pending Keys. Numerous topics have yet to be addressed, here. Additional pending Keys to Good Health include: social contact; earning income; cleansing or detox of the body; "estrogen dominance," an extremely serious and growing health problem; and of course, remaining healthy to avoid contact with doctors and hospitals in the first place.
Visit this site often for critical health updates.