Vitamin A and the Brain
The most important conclusion of Dr. Price’s research is that the fat-soluble vitamins A and D are key to human development and optimal health. In spite of the many voices urging lowfat and vegetarian diets, modern scientists have actually corroborated Price’s conclusions in many studies. The most recent was performed by the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, located in San Diego, California. Scientists found that removing vitamin A from the diets of mice diminishes chemical changes in the brain considered the hallmarks of learning and memory. Lack of vitamin A interferes with optimal function of the hippocampus, the main seat of learning. Earlier work indicated that mice born without receptors for vitamin A in the hippocampus performed under par in standardized learning tests. When vitamin A is added back to the diets of the mice, the impairment is reversed (although the researchers have not yet determined whether removal of vitamin A during embryonic development leads to permanent learning disabilities.) These studies confirm what we have been saying all along—that children need cod liver oil, organ meats, butter from grass fed cows and other foods rich in vitamin A in utero and throughout their growing years, not only for optimal physical development but also for the kind of mental development that yields human beings who can learn quickly and think clearly. (The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, San Diego, California)
Shots in the Dark
In order to comply with compulsory vaccination laws, children get more than 30 shots before entering school in most states. Side effects, including everything from crippling meningitis to autism, are soaring. The situation has become so serious that the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons recently voted unanimously for a moratorium on vaccine mandates. In other words, these doctors believe that vaccines should be optional. Vaccinations should be based on decisions made by fully informed parents, and not imposed by health officials zealous to comply with unwise vaccine laws. (The Washington Times 11/14/00)
Beware of Orange Juice
If you listened to the FDA, you’d eat everything fully cooked. Unpasteurized milk was demonized decades ago. More recent is the campaign to make you afraid of raw eggs. The latest scare tactics are being waged against unpasteurized orange juice. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that it has linked more than 500 cases of salmonella infection over the past 16 months, including one death, to unpasteurized orange juice. (US News & World Report, 9/25/00) The result is that fresh juice is no longer available in the stores, a move that has certainly pleased the soft drink companies. Why? Because most processed juice sales are controlled by Coca-Cola (owners of Minute Maid) or PepsiCo (owners of Tropicana). What the consumer is not hearing is the bad news about processed orange juice, which often contains heat-resistant fungi and pressure-resistant E coli. (International Journal of Food Science Technology, 10/95 ) Mutagenic and cytotoxic fractions have also been found in heat- and acid-treated orange juice. (Food Chemistry, 1989, 31:(4):289-294.)
Having made the case that unpasteurized juice is unhealthy, the big beverage companies are now using health claims as they battle each other for market share. PepsiCo recently got approval from the FDA for a health claim that links the mineral potassium, found naturally in orange juice, to reduced risk of high blood pressure and stroke. Their Tropicana brand will be the first to post a heart-shaped logo on the label. Coca-Cola’s Minute Maid launched two new versions of its orange juice: a chilled low-acid orange juice and orange juice fortified with vitamins C and E, plus zinc, a combination claimed to support immune function. Consumers need to be cautious about such claims. Adding synthetic nutrients to fractionated, processed foods is unlikely to be an effective way to combat disease. If you want a glass of orange juice, use organic oranges and squeeze your own.
The presidential election may have been close but the results of fluoridation referenda were more emphatic. Fourteen US communities said No to fluoridation, while 9 communities voted Yes. Voting No were Wooster, OH; Ozark, MO; Ithaca, NY; Pequannock, NJ; Brattleboro, VT; Wenatchee and Spokane, WA; Logan City, Smithfield City, Providence City, Hyrum City, River Heights and Nibly City, UT; and Springfield, AR. Two Canadian cities—Squamish and Ste. Genevieve—also rejected fluoridation. Expect more thyroid problems in Davis County and Salt Lake County, UT; Sunnyvale, CA; Leavenworth, KS; North Attleboro, MA; Gilbert AZ; Las Vegas, NV; San Antonio, TX; and Abilene, TX where citizens said it was OK to fluoridate.
Wild Horses, Wild Diets
On October 23, PBS aired a show about the wild horses of Mongolia. Host Julia Roberts noted the general good health of the nomads and camera shots revealed broad round faces with pretty straight teeth and complexions to dream of. There is nothing lowfat about their diet, which is based on mare’s milk and all the things they make out of it—cheese, whey and yoghurt. They also eat lots of lamb fat. This healthy diet is high in fat from grass-fed animals, and rich in minerals—just like all the other healthy diets that Price discovered during his world travels.
It’s a Scream—Ketchup that’s Green
The latest funny food to hit the marketplace is green ketchup, an invention by the food engineers at H. J. Heinz. In development for nearly a year, the green ketchup is aimed squarely at children. It comes in a softer, “child-friendly” bottle which lets kids draw or write on their food, decorate each French fry and make patterns on their burgers. Red ketchup is also being sold in the new bottle. “It’s the first step in making ketchup fun,” said a Heinz spokesman, who did not rule out other colors in the future. What makes the new ketchup green is Yellow No 5 (associated with Attention Deficit Disorder) and Blue No. 1 Aluminum Lake. (Aluminum ties up magnesium and has been associated with Alzheimer’s disease and kidney problems.) Then there are all those other ingredients in ketchup not fit for man nor beast, including high fructose corn syrup and “natural flavors,” a source of MSG. Another thing: the only way to make ketchup green is to get rid of the red color first, which makes us wonder whether they started with tomatoes bleached white. (New York Times 10/22/00)
Founded in 1962, Wal-Mart’s annual sales are expected to surpass those of General Motors by the end of the year. Using a combination of cost-cutting tactics that include reliance on imported goods, a nonunion work force and town-center-wrecking suburban superstores, the company has captured over 6 percent of all retail sales in the US. In 1987, Wal-Mart started selling groceries and is now close to claiming 10 percent of all grocery-chain sales. That means the same cost-cutting for food that has been applied to other consumer goods, and an even smaller margin for farmers. Many local groups have formed to protest the company’s practices, but their effectiveness has been slight. (The New York Times 10/22/00) There is only one way to bring down the industry dinosaurs like Wal-Mart and their cost-cutting suppliers, and that is to refuse to give them your shopping dollars. Instead, join a CSA, patronize small shops and buy from the advertisers in Wise Traditions. When enough consumers change their buying habits, we’ll see the disappearance of the mega-stores that destroy town centers, litter the landscape and profit from cheap processed foods.
While McDonald’s builds five more outlets per day, and processed soy makes inroads into traditional diets, the Slow Food movement garners support throughout the world. In 14 years, the society has picked up 70,000 members in 45 countries. Recently, many wonderful and traditional slow foods were exhibited at the Salone del Gusto food fair in Turin, including apples that grow on unpruned trees on mountain peaks in Italy, goat prosciutto, autumnal ice wine from Slovenia, Sardinian beef, Sicilian peaches and many delicious cheeses from grass-fed animals. (Wall Street Journal, 11/2/00)
Vending machines selling soft drinks are a fixture in today’s high schools. School officials argue that such contracts bring in much needed funds for sports programs. But a recent study published in Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine (vol 154, page 610) revealed that school girls who drink cola are five times as likely to suffer bone fractures as girls who don’t. Grace Wyshak, leader of the study, said it was unclear whether the phosphoric acid in cola drinks weakens the bones, or whether the problems occur because cola drinkers consume less milk. She made no mention of concentrated sweeteners and caffeine, which may also affect the bones. There is probably no better example of what’s wrong with today’s materialistic attitudes than school boards’ acceptance of cash for vending machines, which amounts to a sellout of the birthright of thousands of growing children for a mess of soda. Not only will more bones be broken in cola-funded sports programs, but other problems loom—arthritis, osteoporosis, fatigue and infertility.
Pink Disease was first report by doctors in Australia in the 1880s. Young children aged between six and 18 months came to hospitals with anorexia, peeling bright pink skin, their gums inflamed and their hands the color of raw beef. The disease caused great suffering and as many as one-third died. According to medical fashion, the disease was blamed on a virus, although some doctors believed that it was caused by nutritional deficiencies. Yet the “virus” struck only children, never adults, and the disease occurred frequently in children from well-fed families. According to Dr. Ann Dally, a medical historian, clues to the real cause were there for anyone who took the trouble to look. The symptoms of pink disease bore many similarities to that of mercury poisoning—depression, loss of appetite and inflamed gums. In 1845, a researcher at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital found high concentrations of mercury in the urine of a child with the disease. The culprit was neither diet nor a virus but calomel-based teething powders, which were rich in mercury. The theory that mercury poisoning caused Pink Disease was gradually accepted, but with resistance, “particularly by older men and those in powerful positions.” Eventually manufacturers voluntarily withdrew the product. (The Sunday Telegraph 10/19/97) How many other theories need to die before real progress in medicine can be achieved? We’ll name a few: the theory that cholesterol and saturated fat cause heart disease; the theory that fluoride prevents tooth decay; and the theory that humans can be nourished by synthetic vitamins added to processed foods.
No More Sacred Cows
Not content with their marketing campaign in America, soy promoters have turned their attention to the continent of India, a nation that holds the cow sacred and that has depended on milk products for its animal protein and fat for thousands of years. Medical leaders in India are now warning Indians about the dangers of milk, claiming that 50 to 90 percent of Indians are lactose intolerant! Soy consumption is also promoted as a way to ward off heart disease and cancer. “The World Health Organization predicts that heart disease will double and cancer rates will triple in India by 2015,” says Neal Barnard, head of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). “The time to find healthy alternatives to dairy is right now.” Parents are also being warned that milk in India contains many pesticide residues. “Parents who unknowingly purchase chemical milk may be poisoning their children,” says Dr. Barnard. Dr. Barnard’s scare tactics have prompted the Indian medical community to follow the example of the American Academy of Pediatrics by recommending against feeding milk to infants less than a year old. Professor Dr. S. R. Naik, head to the Department of gastroenterology at the Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences believes that there is no safe age to begin drinking cow and buffalo milk. “I would surely welcome soya milk as a superior nutritional and healthy product to replace milk for everyone,” he says. Demand for soy milk is so high that physicians complain of shortages. “I heard the same complaint at every institution. We need soya milk, but we can’t get it,” says Dr. Barnard. Protein Technologies International to the rescue! (www.indiaserver.com)
Combating Pests without Pesticides
Farmers in China have eliminated devastating rice blast fungus in their rice crops by planting a mixture of two different rices together. Yields were doubled by planting fungus-resistant standard rice together with sticky rice, which is highly susceptible, in alternate rows. Work is ongoing to develop similar combinations for barley and coffee. In the Pacific Northwest, an increasing number of farmers are using mixtures of wheat to increase yields and cut down on disease. Researchers say the study’s implications extend to prairies, rainforests and other natural ecosystems. This research confirms an old adage, namely that there are no problems without solutions. . . and most of the solutions are simple. (New York Times, 8/22/00)
More Lowfat Hype for Kids
A recent Finnish study on children’s diets received headline coverage. Researchers divided 496 children into two groups. The parents in one group were asked to put their youngsters on a lowfat diet, with a goal of limiting fat to no more than 30-35 percent of calories. Specific recommendations included nonfat milk after the children were weaned and the addition of 2-3 teaspoons soft margarine or canola to their food until they reached 2 years of age. The parents of the children in the other group were advised to give them cow’s milk containing at least 1.9 percent fat starting at age 1, but otherwise received no specific guidelines on fat intake. At age five, children on a “reduced-fat” diet and those on the “regular” diet performed similarly on tests of speech, language, motor functioning and visual skills. “Study Finds No Neurological Harm in Young Kids’ Lowfat Diets,” said the headlines. (Associated Press 8/22/00) But the fine print revealed that the difference in fat consumption for the two groups was no more than 3 percent. And neither of the two groups was compared with children who were given a truly adequate diet, one containing lots of quality dairy fat and cod liver oil. The recent decline in test scores and great increase in learning disabilities tells us that modern diets—either lowfat diets or diets in which vegetable oils are substituted for animal fats—have tragic effects on the neurological development of our children.