Broth to the Rescue
My dad decided many years ago to ignore the medical professions since he could get no answers from them when he started experiencing digestive problems. He submitted to many tests that merely told him he didn’t have cancer. Being stoical by temperament, he dismissed them and also tried to ignore his physical difficulties as well. My sister, who is a doctor, became increasingly alarmed by his anemia and other symptoms. So perhaps it was divine intervention when he collapsed outdoors early last spring and my mother rushed him to the hospital. Unfortunately, once there his condition deteriorated rapidly because of (yet again) a misdiagnosis and consequent mistreatment. When they stuck him for IV’s and he wouldn’t stop bleeding, my sister flew in from Annapolis certain his treatment was all wrong. The afternoon she arrived she called me to come immediately as she wasn’t sure whether he would last much longer. Somehow, in the next couple of hours, we came up with the idea of celiac disease, my sister “fired” the admitting physician, got somebody else to at least tentatively agree with her and administer vitamin K. Dad stopped bleeding (after more than two days and three transfusions) in half an hour. Meanwhile, I was speeding to rural Michigan with 2 coolers full of 24 quarts of fish and chicken bone broths (which I had made the previous winter).
When I tell people about bone broths, they tend to look at me indulgently, as if some “nice soup” might be pleasant and comforting, but certainly no more. But if you had seen my shrunken, grey-skinned, frighteningly skinny dad lying in a hospital bed (after the bleeding had stopped, after another transfusion!) and then seen him again only three days later, you would have been stunned. While my sister had had to assert herself with her medical colleagues (and violate all sorts of fraternity etiquette), I was busy running interference with the nurses, who were bringing my dad the worst crap to see if he could handle foods (fake ice cream, etc.). I insisted on the broths, four or five times per day. By the second day, Dad claimed he was hungry! More broths followed and a lecture from my sister regarding the absence of villi in the upper intestine and what that means for digestion. That night we brought him some lamb patties and a bit of mashed potato with butter. I can still see the pleasure on his face.
Meanwhile, the earlier-deposed doctor was making noises about keeping my dad hospitalized longer, on an IV with occasional feeding of fake ice cream, sweet fake yoghurt and coffee! Luckily, we kept that stuff away from him as we were delivering our hot meals regularly. By the end of the third day, Dad wanted to go home. The doctor actually came in and shouted at him at length and so Dad found out how to discharge himself and called us to come pick him up the next morning.
Since then he has gained 15 pounds, is no longer anemic (after years!), has normal levels of vitamin B12 and normal levels of blood-clotting factor. Without supplementation! He’s absorbing nutrients from food. Of course, I wish I could get him to take cod liver oil, but at least he’s eating liver from organic beef. My mom has mastered the bone broths and proper preparation of grains. His energy level is high and he’s physically very active. It only breaks my heart that my handsome dad is bent from osteoporosis and splayed ribs and has lost many teeth, caused by years of malabsorption and malnourishment. All of this, if understood in time, could have been prevented.
Ann Arbor, MI
It Starts with the Soil
The genetics of all breeds of cows have been dramatically “improved” to produce more milk. More milk production then mandates increased levels of feeds and nutrition. I seriously question whether today’s high producing dairy animals, especially the Holstein breed, can maintain their health and continue to produce a nutritious milk product on grass alone.
All the soils of America have been degraded by cropping and grazing. Adequate levels of manure and fertilizers have not been returned to maintain necessary soil fertility on most American farmland. Consequently, if a dairy farmer grazes his cows on nutrient deficient soils, then his cows will have health problems and a reduced life span. Milk production on soils that have been degraded and run down through generations of mining the minerals out by grazing and cropping will produce a less nutritious milk and milk product also.
The underlying crisis facing food production in the world is the reality of worn out and degraded soils. Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not opposes to grazing, but to view grazing as a panacea is too simplistic.
Heron Lake, MN
Editor’s Response: We agree that good health begins with healthy soil, although some breeds of cows may never be able to adjust to grass-feeding. Soil improvement is not an insurmountable problem. Read on.
Good Land Management
We have been trying to farm and ranch by practicing Holistic Management since the mid-1980s. The improvements we have enjoyed through well managed grazing, both in the soil and financially, have not gone unnoticed. We have been, and still are, publicly and verbally condemned by many individuals, including scientists. However, the list of universities that have been to our door in a positive way includes over half the land grant colleges in the US. I have been verbally condemned by those same individuals whenever I am invited to submit papers for presentation and publication. Both Dr. Jimmy Richardson, soils scientist at NDSU, and Dr. Deb Stienner, Ohio State, have used our data at world conferences.
The per-hour water infiltration rate capability on our grazing land has gone up over 600 percent. From under 0.8 inches per hour infiltration capability in 1982 to over 6.5 inches infiltration rate capability per hour, confirmed by government measurements in 1999. We have very little surface runoff anymore. The water that does run off runs clear.
Our native prairie grass plant root structure is now penetrating over 6 to 12 feet of depth, with a lot more plant diversity, instead of maybe at most 18 inches. In that sense we are using more real estate.
Our beef stock annual cost for mineral supplements has dropped to 80 cents per head per year. Twenty years ago we paid $10 per cow/calf whicvh, allowing for inflation, would probably be three times higher today
Our health maintenance herd costs have dropped to include just the mandatory vaccinations required by law. These are Bangs vaccinations and blackleg/malignant edema vaccinations which add up to a onetime $1.50 per head for the life of the animal. This compares to over $20 per head per year for most of the US.
We have been trying to apply what we learn by observing plant and soil relationships on our improved native prairie to our cropland. Our cropland soil organic levels have climbed to a range of 3.6 to 4.4 percent. Doesn’t seem like much but we started with 0.8 to 1.5 percent range of organic levels. Very good native prairie is in the range of 5 to 8 percent organic levels for our mid short grass. We have greatly reduced the capital needed for commercial fertilizer and chemicals. With healthier soil we have healthier plants that are less prone to stress and disease.
Thank you to the Weston A. Price Foundation for opening my eyes on how to further our Quality of Life from our fertile grasslands to the kitchen table, which is the center our home.
Turtle Lake, ND
Fluoride and Criminal Behavior
Recently a series of significant and masterful studies of criminal behavior, lead poisoning and alcohol and drug abuse have been correlated with the addition of fluorosilicic acid and sodium fluorosilicate to water supplies (Masters and Coplan, Social Science Information 38:591-624, 1999). These compounds are used to add fluoride to water supplies in over 90 percent of communities using water fluoridation in the United States. The blood lead levels of children are higher in Massachusetts communities where silicofluorides are used for fluoridation, compared with communities where sodium fluoride is used. Silicofluorides seem to increase absorption of lead, manganese and other heavy metal toxins. Increased blood lead levels are correlated with alcohol and drug abuse and higher crime rates in communities across America (Masters and Coplan, International Journal of Environmental Studies 56:435-449, 1999).
From their multifactorial approach, Masters and Coplan conclude, “When otherwise unexplained geographical and historical differences in rates of crime are analyzed from this perspective, environmental pollution and the use of silicofluorides in water treatment seemed to play a critical role in triggering social dysfunction.” These findings help to explain why the United States has crime rates that are much higher than those of other industrialized nations, (most of which do not fluoridate their water) and why some US cities have more violent crime than others.
The authors of these studies are highly qualified to comment on the possible connection between fluoridation of water with silicofluorides and effects on lead absorption and behavior. Roger Masters is Professor of Government at Dartmouth College and Myron Coplan is retired vice president for chemical engineering, Alban International, Inc.
Kilmer S. McCully, MD
All Raw Not All Right
I am 30 years old and was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome four years ago. In an attempt to restore my health I was perusing a number of dietary changes and natural health practices. In the summer of 1998, I discovered the “raw-vegan” diet. With promises of improved health, my husband and I dove right in and were trying to eat 100 percent of our new vegan diet uncooked. I never wanted to admit it, but we never felt very satisfied. We would be hungry again soon after a meal and yet we struggled to get down large quantities of this food which had taken so much time and energy to prepare.
We were part of a raw food group and on the surface everyone else seemed to feel satisfied and claimed that their health and energy was much improved on the diet. It was like this exclusive club and we feared for the rest of the enzyme-depleted, unenlightened world. I never expressed my sense of dissatisfaction because I just assumed that we would get used to it or that we weren’t doing enough of something and I would eventually get it “right.” In truth, we went out to eat as often as possible because it gave us a good excuse to cheat. We were not alone in this. I know people really struggled to stay on this restricted diet. I felt such anxiety, constant guilt and a sense of failing. We were not enjoying our food. Eating became all about doing it just because it was “good for us.” Other times I just wouldn’t eat at all because something “raw” wasn’t easily available. This is not a pleasant way to live!
Then some friends in the raw foods group introduced us to the Weston A. Price Foundation and information about traditional foods. They had eaten all raw for several years and were beginning to feel concerned about some of the things they saw happening to their health and energy levels. We listened to some tapes and read Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. The information rang true and, even better, the food was so appealing. We were excited–it felt a bit like being set free.
I began paying more attention to the levels of and energy and wellness in the people I knew within the natural health community. I realized again and again how those with the most vitality not only ate some of their food cooked, but NONE of them were vegetarians. Among the raw foodists we know, I didn’t find anywhere near that level of vitality. I am more convinced than ever that an energetic life-style cannot be sustained with the all-raw diet and I fear for the children produced under such circumstances.
I am so thankful for the path we are on now. I feel more peaceful than ever about our good choices. Best of all, we are so thoroughly enjoying our food. We rarely go out to eat and when we do, we almost always decide that the food is much better at home. I am getting stronger and stronger and am confident through the grace of God that I will completely regain my health. Thanks to all of you at the Weston A. Price Foundation for spreading the truth, for demystifying the myths and for making the information available. Keep up the good work!
Beating the Odds
Nearly two years ago, at the age of 49, I was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer with secondary bone and liver metastases. I was given no more than 60-90 days survival at the time. As you can see I’m still here and very much healthier than I was at the time of the original prognosis.
How? I changed my diet to totally exclude ALL processed foods in every form. I eat only fresh local fruits and vegetables and, whenever possible, home-reared (non commercial) meats. Stocks, soups and breads are all homemade. The cooking style is typically British with casseroles such as ox tail soup, Lancashire hot pot, steak and kidney pies and suet puddings in the winter months. There are, however, the occasional Asian or Oriental meals. Each meal always includes a good mix of raw fruits and vegetables.
The proof in the pudding (excuse the pun)–a healthy diet really works. There is nothing “modern” in my diet such as soy foods or margarine. There are no aluminium cooking utensils and no nonstick pans, only cast iron and steel. The microwave went in the dustbin (trash can) more than one year ago. I’ve relied on cooking methods and diet the same as my mother and grandmother used. All in all my diet is very much on the lines recommended by your foundation.
In addition, a biological dentist removed my amalgam dental fillings and put me on a mercury detoxification program.
As recently as last week my General Practitioner actually described me as a walking miracle; we’ll see if he is right! What has helped immensely is that I managed to mix both alternative and conventional medicine.
David A. Galsworthy
Stories We Like to Hear
After taking cod liver oil and smearing iodine on my arm for two weeks, I had a normal menstruation, having gone well over a year without. (I’m 52.) While this may be coincidence, I believe it is a sign of better health, having had amazing effects from taking evening primrose oil and salmon oil, also within short periods of beginning or increasing these products. I was celebrating menopause, yet, I also celebrate this change.
I never missed butter when I gave up dairy foods nearly 10 years ago, so I’m amazed at the pleasure I derive from its flavor and texture, now that I trust its importance in my diet. I now realize how little butter I had growing up in a world of margarine. I only began using butter when I developed an enthusiastic interest in cooking, in my early thirties. Thanks for your fascinating and clearly helpful ideas.
Northern VA CFS Support Group
There are so many opinions about what constitutes a healthy diet. Let’s get two things straight: 1) doctors receive next to zero training in nutrition and 2) the field of nutritional science has been firmly in the grips of the food processing industry almost since the day of its founding. Therefore, to seek the opinions of people in these professions about food is at best a dubious undertaking.
A close friend of mine was recently discharged from the hospital after a heart attack with a list of “recommended foods” (not suggested, mind you, recommended) that included jelly beans, hard candy, sugar, margarine, white bread and other garbage I wouldn’t feed to a dog. The source of this nutritional wisdom? Yale University.
The infamous Nutrition Foundation, Inc., which managed for decades to prevent any discussion of the disastrous effects of sugar on health–a banned topic in the mainstream, ad-supported media–was a front group controlled by none other than Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Nestlé, the American Sugar Refining Company, Curtis Candy Co., General Foods, General Mills, Pet Milk Co. and Sunshine Biscuits–a total of 45 different food manufacturers for whom white sugar is an essential ingredient in their products.
Industry front groups like the bogus and well funded Nutrition Foundation have set and continue to set the agenda for nutritional education and research. Other examples of profound corruption in this field over the decades could fill several books.
What most nutrition writers fail to mention in their pseudo-informed discussions of diet is the profound difference between food and manufactured food, euphemistically referred to as “packaged food.” The fact is that much of what people eat today is not food! Certainly not by the standards of our ancestors, and a lot of it simply would not or could not exist were it not for chemical factories, heavy advertising, public ignorance, the silence of the medical and nutrition professions, and subverted governmental agencies like the FDA.
Let’s take the example of margarine. The raw material for margarine is rancid cottonseed, rape seed or soybean oil which is steam-cleaned to remove its odor, bleached to remove its gray color, dyed yellow and flavored to approximate the taste of butter. And this is what is being promoted as the healthy alternative to butter! One thing for sure, it is cheaper–and exponentially more profitable–to produce this crap than it is to produce real butter, a miraculous substance that has nourished hardy traditional societies for centuries, from Tibet to Africa to Mongolia.
Other staples, like bread and soup and even milk itself, have undergone similar nightmarish transformations at the hands of the food manufacturing industry.
The traditional diet eaten in Mediterranean countries that so many food fadists are excited about these days can be summed up in four words: they eat real food. Remember the head scratching that went on a few years ago when it was discovered that the French ate far more animal fats than we do, yet have less heart disease? Was it their life-style? Was it their red wine? Again, the answer is simple: they eat real food. (Or at least, they used to before we started shoving McDonald’s down their throats.)
The issue of real food will never be raised in the mass media or taken up by government agencies or exposed by professionals who are the products of food industry-controlled educational programs. The wealth and power of this industry has these toothless watchdogs firmly on a leash.
Consider this: Together, Coke and Pepsi spend over HALF A BILLION dollars each year promoting their products. There is no equivalent effort to expose the effects of manufactured food on human health.
One last point. Manufactured food not only poisons us and our children, it also drives good farmers out of business, making us more dependent on the adulterators. It’s a vicious cycle that we in the Hudson Valley can and should stop. What a tragedy it is that so many of the Valley’s fine dairy farms have been driven out of business by big business, which has substituted cheap adulterated products for the highly nourishing ones that sustained large sections of humanity successfully from Africa to Europe to West Asia. Sad facts: US kids drink twice as much soda pop as milk, and margarine is now a bigger seller than butter. It’s time to get “unconfused” about food, start restoring it to its proper places in our lives, and cut our dependence on the “experts” who have led us into this mess.
More Fishy Business
Thank you so much for running an article on the problems of fish farming. I have been concerned that we are getting poor quality food from farmed salmon, and your article has only strengthened this concern.
About 25 years ago I worked on a salmon farm in Norway. Things were different then since the industry was only just starting. The salmon were all held in floating pens at the mouth of a fjord. Fresh water was constantly flowing through the large mesh nets making up the sides of the pens, so the fish experienced something close to natural conditions. No artificial red coloring agent was added to their diet. Instead salt water crayfish (called “reke” in Norwegian) were ground up and added to the fish feed. The feed had no grains, fillers or chemical additives. We simply ground up ocean fish and scattered the feed over the watery surface of the pens. It sounds as though efficiency and greed have taken over the industry since then, not to mention the problems of pollution and the danger of interbreeding with wild stock.
For about a year now I have only eaten wild salmon from Alaska. Your advice could not have been more timely.
El Rito, NM
Preparing for the Worst
Many women are afraid of their first mammogram, but there is no need to worry. By taking a few minutes each day for a week preceding the exam and doing the following exercises, you will be totally prepared for the test and, best of all, you can do these simple exercises right in your home.
EXERCISE ONE: Open your refrigerator door and insert one breast in door. Shut as hard as possible and lean on the door for good measure. Hold that position for five seconds.
EXERCISE TWO: Visit your garage at 3 AM when the temperature of the cement floor is just perfect. Take off all your clothes and lie comfortably on the floor with one breast wedged under the rear tire of the car. Ask a friend to slowly back the car up until your breast is sufficiently flattened and chilled. Turn over and repeat with the other breast.
EXERCISE THREE: Freeze two metal bookends overnight. Strip to the waist. Invite a stranger into the room. Press the bookends against one of your breasts. Smash the bookends together as hard as you can. Set up an appointment with the stranger to meet next year and do it again.
Los Angeles, CA
Editor’s Response: Thanks for this laugh! Please read our article “Mammography Madness.”
Estrogen and the Bones
Thank you for informing your readers in your last issue about the many side effects of estrogen that I have uncovered. Yet many women are worried about osteoporosis and are considering estrogen replacement therapy as a way of protecting their bones. Then here is one important study you will want to look into: Kassem, M et al, “Potential mechanism of estrogen-mediated decrease in bone formation,” Proceedings of the Association of American Physicians, Mar 1996 108(2):155-64.
Yes, you read that correctly. . . “Estrogen-mediated decrease in bone formation.” The fact is (as is clearly shown in the scientific literature) that the truth is not only different from what we are led to believe, but the exact opposite of the propaganda we have been fed. Another study found that estrogen was associated both with thinning skin and with decreased bone mass in older women (Bauer, et al, “Skin thickness, estrogen use and bone mass in older women,” Menopause 1991 9(3):131-136).
Another study demonstrated a direct damaging affect of prolactin on the bone (Schlechte, et al, “Bone density in amenorrheic women with and without hyper prolactinemia,” Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 1983, 56:1120). Estrogen is a primary stimulus to prolactin production. (Dannies, “Control of prolactin production by estrogen,” Chapter 9 in Biochemical Actions of Hormones I, 1985, Academic Press.)
Prolactin is a stress hormone produced by the pituitary which many studies have shown causes osteoporosis. Furthermore, many studies also show that estrogen promotes the secretion of prolactin. These studies make it clear that something that increases another thing that causes osteoporosis can not possibly prevent osteoporosis.
How can the pharmaceutical establishment get away with promoting estrogen as a protection against osteoporosis when research clearly shows that the opposite is true? They have spent zillions of dollars in a propaganda campaign that is entirely based on a half-truth (evidence which was subsequently proved to be false, showing a damaging, not a protective role of estrogen–but which was then quickly replaced by another half truth on which they still base their dishonest claim).
The original half-truth employed by the estrogen propaganda machine was the discovery forty or more years ago that estrogen can cause a positive calcium balance–in other words, retaining some of a calcium test dose, rather than dumping it all into the bowel and kidneys for secretion. The estrogen promoters argued that this fact showed that the retained calcium was being stored in bone. But very quickly endocrine physiologists showed that estrogen causes the retention of calcium by soft tissues, not by bone. The accumulation of calcium in soft tissues is, of course, an accurate marker of stress and aging. (In other words estrogen just makes you old–as expressed in sclerotic calcium deposits all through the body.)
This set the estrogen-promoters scrambling to suppress the nasty little details about calcium retention, and frantically look for another excuse to peddle estrogen as a protector against osteoporosis. They seized upon another discovery–namely, that estrogen can reduce the activity of osteoclasts, the cells that continuously break down bone in their compliementary and cooperative role to osteoblasts, the cells that then rebuild the bone.
It is important to understand that there are two types of cells continuously at work in bones, making bone a dynamic, continuously evolving living tissue. There is one type of cell that continuously breaks down bone structure, while the other type of cell continuously rebuilds it, and the two are in constant balance. As I have pointed out, estrogen is a destructive stress hormone that interferes with the normal function of many types of cells. One of the cell types whose function estrogen particularly destroys is the osteoclasts–the cells that tear down bone. As it turns out, estrogen is more destructive to the osteoclasts than it is to the osteoblasts.
The estrogen peddlers seized on this fact and began to promote it as proof that estrogen was good for the bones. But estrogen does nothing to help rebuild the bone. It merely slows down and destroys the balance of the normal remolding process of bone.
But the estrogen-promoters now had their half-truth on which they could base their case for estrogen. Now that they could say (with tongue in cheek) that estrogen “prevents bone loss.” Never again did they mention the original half-truth about estrogen promoting a positive calcium balance. Positive calcium balance had been the essence of the first argument for using estrogen to prevent osteoporosis–but when it was recognized by everyone that calcium wasn’t being stored in the bones as a result of estrogen, it was convenient for the estrogen industry to forget all about the positive calcium balance produced by estrogen since it really meant that estrogen was causing aging, tissue damage and degeneration.
The truth is that there is only scant research showing that estrogen slows bone loss, and none that it rebuilds bone. Furthermore the studies purporting to show benefits resulting from estrogen were done using the Dexa method of measuring bone density.
An interesting study showing the poor validity of Dexa was published in 1997 (Schneider and Reiners, “Dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry for bone density can lead to false conclusions about bone mineral content, because of alterations in tissue fat or water content,” Journal of the American Medical Association, 1997 277(1):23). This study showed that the influence of fat distribution on bone mass measurements with Dexa can range up to 10 percent error per two centimeters of fat. It also showed a tremendous variability in bone mass measurement due to changes in fluid retention. As one of the most immediate effects on a woman’s body of estrogen replacement therapy is increased body fat and fluid retention, the Dexa measurement will show that her density number is improved. . .
Bone density actually begins decreasing during early adulthood and progresses steadily until a woman reaches her mid 40’s, when progesterone levels typically start to drop, at which point the rate of mineral loss accelerates. Between the ages of 21 and 40 there is considerable increase in women’s estrogen production. However, bone loss has been shown to actually begin around the age of 23 and progresses through the years when estrogen levels are actually rising. In fact, most women lose two-thirds of the bone loss that they are ultimately going to lose in their life before they even reach menopause. So you can see how absurd it is to blame menopause-related hormone changes for osteoporosis.
Guy Schenker, DC
Editor’s Response: Dr. Schenker is in private practice and writes the Nutri-Spec Newsletter, published monthly. (800) 736-4320.