Every Wise Woman

Real Food, Real Health, Real Birth

Filtering by Tag: Medical Politics

Radically Natural POV: Beware Flu Shot Pushers!

A few weeks ago, during a drive home from a visit to the coast, we stopped at a Rite Aid so my kids could use the bathroom (yes, I weary of roadtrip gas station bathroom stops).  The available facilities in this store were the employee bathrooms in the back stocking area...you know, behind the double doors ominously marked "Employees ONLY."  As we passed through the doors and walked toward the bathroom hallway, I noticed the following sign:

Ah, the winter "flu shot" vaccine push begins.  And apparently, pharmacies have a quota to fill.  The vaccine industry is a money-making machine, and the Wall Street Journal claims that "pharmacies could use a sales boost," explaining why the stores are rolling out the shots earlier this year.

Traditionally, influenza-vaccination season started in October. Last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended the timing be moved up by a month. Now, the shots are available before Labor Day, mixing it up with suntan lotion and back-to-school supplies. ... The hope is that customers will stop in for a flu shot and pick up shampoo or a gallon of milk.

Certainly by now you have heard and read about the dangers of the non-evidence-based flu shot: its lack of efficacy (ie the "one shot protects from a cornucopia of viral strains" fallacy, and the immunity conferring fallacy), and its damaging effect upon your natural immune system.  Your best bet during flu season is to stay well nourished with Real Food (particularly traditional healing foods like broths and probiotic foods, as well as foods rich in vitamin D and A, like cod liver oil), and to use real botanical medicine (both prophylactically, like elder and echinacea, as well as a variety of illness remedies).

Or, you could trust the illustrious CDC.  Yes, a new chapter of the vaccine controversy became prominent in late August after CDC scientist William Thompson came forward, admitting that the CDC has suppressed data showing a link between autism and vaccines.  The CDC is one of the medical industry's loudest voices in the virulent decrying of doctors and scientists who have for many years questioned vaccine safety and efficacy.

But you can climb that mountain of research.  The question we all should be asking is why these shots are being pushed so aggressively.

To learn more, check out the links below.  

Why We Refuse Vaccination (My research paper)

Protecting Our Children from Fear-Based Medicine

A Shot Never Worth Taking (Kelly Brogan, MD)

10 Reasons Flu Shots Are Dangerous
Drug Stores Get an Early Start Pushing Flu Shots (WSJ)
Autism Vaccine CoverUp Snowballs (Updates of recent CDC Whistleblower Scandal)
CDC Whistleblower Calls on Congress to Intervene ("I have a boss who is asking me to lie!")
Vaccine-Autism Fraud Revealed

Radically Natural Remedies for Winter Ick

EWW Ailment Treatments List

Vaccination and the "Scientific Method"

I read this week one of the most succinct, thoroughly researched presentations on the continually raging vaccine controversy.  I wish I had written it!  LOL 

The author highlighted numerous important aspects of this issue, including individual rights, medical efficacy and scientific veracity.  She echoed sentiments and research I have presented, and she emphasized a key component to the controversy: the illegitimate "scientific method" used in vaccine safety trials.  The double-blind placebo controlled trial is the empirical standard of medical science.  But vaccine trials don't use this method.  

You see, vaccines are not research effective because they are not subjected to double-blind placebo controlled studies using a saline solution that is the standard for evidence-based medicine. Vaccinations are tested against other vaccinations, adjuvants, and complex vaccinations – this not only yields inaccurate results but altered and inaccurate safety data. How can you know if something is truly safe if it is not tested against a placebo? -- Megan Heimer, Livingwhole.org
It seems to me that even people who trust that pharma companies are using honest, objective scientific methodology to test their drugs (I am not one of those people) would assent to the falsity of the vaccine safety test methods.  Other drugs are not (supposed to be) tested thus.

Some people might agree with the unscientific vaccine testing protocol, excusing it by saying it would be "unethical" to withhold a "necessary" medicine from a child (I read this in the comments section on Megan's post).  Hmmmm...are vaccines truly necessary?  The jury is certainly out on that one.  Consider that there are thousands of unvaccinated children in this country alone...many of them by parental choice...not to mention the unvaccinated adults.  No child died after a well-check from not receiving a vaccine, but children have died after receiving their vaccines.  I do not believe it is acutely life threatening to withhold a vaccine, so a legitimate study, even a short-term acute reaction study, could certainly be done.  

Kudos to Megan for her Response to Eliminating Vaccine Exemptions!  

Radically Natural POV: The Cancer Culture

“Everyone should know that the ‘war on cancer’ is largely a fraud.‘ — Nobel prize winner Linus Pauling, biochemist and father of vitamin C therapy

In my experience, one of the most controversial and contentious health topics aside from vaccination is cancer treatment. A growing number of holistically minded doctors, as well as the public, are beginning to question the efficacy and scrupulousness of the cancer industry’s approach to this disease. The cancer industry has collected billions of dollars for decades, yet has offered no cure to cancer. A five year remission rate is not a cure. That’s the best assurance that the cancer industry offers. But it isn’t a cure.

There are doctors and healing practitioners curing cancer...as in eradicating it. They are not the norm and they largely are not practicing within “the system.” Because of medical politics and FDA witch hunt corruption, these practitioners are practicing largely outside the United States. And because of the grand racket that is the health insurance industry, your carrier doesn’t cover these doctors and their clinics or pay for the treatments that cure. The medical industry at large does not acknowledge or promote the truth that cancer can be cured, does not accept or encourage non-industry cures. Corrupt parties within the industry have worked tirelessly to suppress cures, even those offered by medical research scientists.

Courageous doctors, herbalists and natural healers have helped countless people to heal from cancer, without applying poison treatments that damage the body. One of the cancer industry’s most effective spins is its use of the phrase, “died of cancer.” In reality, many people die of chemo rather than cancer. The body expires because of organ failure due to the cancer treatment, not the actual presence of cancer. I have no doubt that conventional cancer treatments have helped some people. I know there are research scientists and caring doctors, honestly attempting to solve the cancer riddle, that have contributed to advances in care.  How frustrated they must be if shut down or hindered in their quests.  Yet despite the efforts of well-meaning doctors, the lead-footed, heavy-handed, profit-minded medical establishment and its cronies are not fostering an honest war on cancer.  Because cancer can be cured...it is being cured, and the cures often are shamefully simple.  Ergo, I share the view that the cancer industry kills more people than it genuinely cures. I also concur with the belief that cancer is a symptom of a far more insidious systemic malfunction. And successful healing requires more than attacking and controlling cancer cells. We all suffer cellular mutation, we are all exposed to environmental toxins. Why do some people develop cancer while others do not? Is this really a genetics game? Is there no link between lifestyle and cancer?  Why do some people have healthy, active antioncogenes, but other people suffer antioncogene mutation?

You must do your own research, be convicted of your own understanding of truth. But I’ll give you a hint. People aren’t a victim of their genetics as much as they are of what they choose to put into their bodies. And one can’t chug soda and chow industrial food without compunction, then turn to conventional doctors solely offering pharmaceutical treatments, and hope to beat this disease that they somehow arbitrarily fell victim to. (Yes, I’m being sarcastic.) Truth can be stunningly unpopular, not to mention dangerous; of course, verity varies depending upon who is sharing and why. Understanding how we ended up here, a culture riddled with cancer, is key to unlocking the truth of cure.

The cancer industry operates a fear-based paradigm that results in a public willing to accept poisonous treatments that may only extend lifespan for a few years, during which time their bodies are ravaged with secondary illnesses and failures resulting from the treatment regimen. Is this option really better than discovering and pursuing alternatives? Legitimate healing treatment alternatives known to work, and to free even people diagnosed as terminal?  Why is it so terrible that the public be given the truth (with unimpeded research to back it up) that something as simple as vitamin C can ravage cancer cells?

A dear friend of ours found out a few years ago that he had prostate cancer. Rather than follow the lockstep of modern American oncology, he researched other options. He decided to pursue care at a cancer clinic outside the system (and thereby, as a result of FDA witch hunt practices, outside the United States). After his initial exams, the doctor told him (I’m paraphrasing): “It’s not the cancer I’m worried about, we can cure the cancer. It’s your liver I’m worried about.” The doctor told our friend a basic truth: People with healthy livers don’t get cancer.

[Our friend was cured by the treatments he received, which did not include chemo, radiation, or surgery.]

Somehow, despite living in the information age, our culture suffers massive misunderstandings regarding what is scientific, what is needful, what is appropriate, what is helpful. (Propaganda is a powerful tool.) We must redefine our vernacular. The public has fallen prey to a grave misconception that pharmaceutical medicine is “scientific” and everything else is wacko. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Even truth-seeking, free-thinking MDs will tell you so. Our scientific vernacular needs to be reformed to comply with evidence-based veracity...science may have been hijacked by moneyed interests, but empirical science is owned by no corporation, nor government entity, and can be pursued independently and honestly by concerned people anywhere...wearing white coats or tie dyed skirts.

 Medical politics has resulted in suppression of cures, and oppression of scientists and healers working for genuine cure, wherever it is found.   The story of Stanislaw Burzynski is disturbing, to say the least.  The FDA has spent millions of dollars attempting to shut down the research and work of this pioneering doctor who is actually curing people.  But this is not the only tale of FDA corruption out of control.  The late Dr. Emanuel Revici, a dedicated and tireless doctor whose methods reversed cancer in numerous patients, a man considered a genius by his contemporaries (reportedly by even Albert Einstein), a scientist who published his finding in medical journals, was routinely ignored, harassed, reviled, smeared and sued by various arms of the cancer industry, including the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute.  Let's not even get into Gerson and suppression of his cures and nontoxic, non-deadly approach to healing cancer.  The cancer industry routinely “discredits” cures known to work, perhaps because they are not profitable, perhaps because they threaten the status quo. But how many genuine cures does the industry offer? When the emperor has no clothes, yet keeps attacking so-called “errors” in other designs, perhaps the public should question the emperor.

The following is a transcript excerpt from a 1994 broadcast of the Laura Lee radio show in which she interviewed Ralph Moss, PhD, a leading voice exposing the dark side of the cancer industry, and a prolific author and consultant for integrative oncology. Moss evidenced cancer research corruption while working in the PR department of Sloane Kettering in the late 1970s. His attempt to expose the truth cost him his job.

“Twenty years ago I was hired at Memorial Sloane Kettering (MSK) cancer centre in New York as the science writer, later promoted to assistant director of public affairs. Shortly after I went to work there I went to visit an elderly Japanese scientist, Kanematsu Sugiura, who astonished me when he told me he was working on Laetrile (B17). At the time it was the most controversial thing in cancer...reputed to be a cure for cancer. We in public affairs were giving out statements that Laetrile was worthless, it was quackery, and people should not abandon proven therapies. I was astonished that our most distinguished scientist would be bothering with something like this, and I said why are you doing this if it does not work. He took down lab books and showed me that in fact Laetrile is dramatically effective in stopping the spread of cancer. The animals were genetically programmed to get breast cancer and about 80 - 90% of them normally get spread of the cancer from the breast to the lungs, which is a common route in humans, also for how people die of breast cancer, and instead when they gave the animals Laetrile by injection only 10-20% of them got lung metastases. And these facts were verified by many people, including the pathology department.

We were finding this and yet we in public affairs were told to issue statements to the exact opposite of what we were finding scientifically, and as the years went by I got more wrapped up in this thing and three years later I said all this in my own press conference, and was fired the next day, ‘for failing to carry out his most basic job responsibility:’ i.e. to lie to the public what goes on in cancer research.”

A scared public, not armed with well-rounded information and confidence in legitimate alternative treatments, is easily led by corrupt government agencies and medical industry parties more interested in profit than in cure. A common misconception, promoted by members within the cancer industry and its PR campaigns, is that natural/alternative treatments for cancer are dangerous and only for fools. Misinformation campaigns coming out of events like the self-mutilation of Angelina Jolie and the death of Steve Jobs help to perpetuate such myths. The Jobs story in particular has received much attention and suffered speculation and spin.

I don’t know exactly why Steve Jobs died. I don’t know what treatment regimens he underwent in his pursuit to achieve health. In light of how private the man was, none of us is likely to know the entirety of his actions and his motivations. But considering the pieces of the puzzle that we do have, it is inaccurate to blame his death on the pursuit of “natural” cancer treatments. In fact, Jobs underwent typical cure regimens: surgery and radiation. His treatments may have been “unorthodox” in that they took him outside the conventional American medical system, but they were not unorthodox in the sense of conventional cancer treatment offerings...they still included surgery and radiation (and reportedly chemo).

Notoriously private about his health and his life, Jobs admitted to a 2004 surgery during a commencement speech at Stanford in 2005. In 2009, Jobs reportedly had a liver transplant. While Jobs did not speak publicly about receiving chemo, he was seen at the Stanford Cancer Center in Palo Alto, which may indicate he was receiving treatment there. Jerry York, a reporter for Fortune magazine, revealed after Jobs’ death that Jobs received radiation treatments in Switzerland. (See CNN articles referenced below for more information.) Surgeries, chemo, radiation and organ transplants are certainly not “natural” cancer treatments; blaming unconventional cancer treatments for Jobs’ death is simply unfounded and irresponsible.

For individuals willing to step “outside the box;” willing to research unconventional options; willing to use practitioners, treatments and clinics not dubbed acceptable by the establishment, answers abound. Those cures (like laetrile, which can stop cancer’s spread) that the establishment claims are rubbish are actually helping to heal people of cancer. Well-meaning doctors and researchers are working within the industry, but change is outrageously slow in coming. Overturning corruption and profit- and control-based stinking thinking could take decades. We must demand change by questioning and pursuing options not offered by the system. We must be the change we desire.

I am troubled when people make health care decisions based solely upon financial reasons. If their health insurance carrier won’t pay for a particular practitioner or treatment, they don’t pursue it. They stay within the system, and many times they suffer for it. How much is your health worth? Perhaps it would behoove us to drop insurance altogether rather than be victimized by its limited (by design) choices. Sadly, this is a perfect example of “you get what you pay for.” The best care is usually not the commonly provided conventional care.

Everyone is entitled to his own opinion and has the right to make his own decisions. You must be comfortable with your health practices and pursuits. You deserve genuine care, not false offers of limited healing. Please, before you jump on the bandwagon driven by the cancer industry and criticize practices not endorsed by the powers that be, research the alternatives. At the very least, read Ralph Moss's The Cancer Industry before making any decisions. Read the accounts revealing the underbelly of this powerful, profitable industry, and look honestly at the other options and research available within and without the conventional medical realm. I truly hope you don’t personally need this information, but it could save your life or the life of someone you love.

Check back soon for a related book giveaway!

For More Information

The Politics of Cancer by Samuel Epstein

A Holistic Approach to Cancer  Dr. Tom Cowan

The Gerson Institute

Winners of Deep Nutrition Giveaway and a Disclaimer

Thanks to all of you who participated in the Radical Reading Room Deep Nutrition giveaway.  The winners, Katy and Sarah, will receive their books soon.

Someone this week rightly pointed out to me that Sally Fallon, in the Fall 2012 issue of Wise Traditions, the WAPF journal, gave a reluctant thumbs down to Shanahan's book with a lengthy critique.  I've read Fallon's critique and I do agree with some of her concerns, but not all.  When I read Deep Nutrition, I certainly didn't agree with every point or assertion Shanahan made, but I don't agree with everything Fallon says, either.  Few of us will agree with 100% of what we read, no matter the source.  That's why we need to read many books on a topic to build a body of knowledge, rather than relying on one or two sources.  Overall, I think both WAPF and Shanahan (and other traditional nutrition authors) have wonderful information to share with the public about how to nourish ourselves and be well.

I do just want to address one flaw in Shanahan's book that Fallon points out...Shanahan recommends that if you cannot get raw grass-fed milk, it's OK to drink pasteurized commercial milk.  This is absolutely bad advice.  But then, even Fallon says in Nourishing Traditions that if you can't get raw grass-fed milk that it's OK to buy pasteurized milk for culturing or whole milk yogurt.  I can't agree with that wholeheartedly. (More on that below.)  If you do not have access to raw grass-fed milk, you should not drink any milk at all.  Commercial dairy is dangerous for health and development.  More than any other food, cow's milk is highly sensitizing and leads to autoimmune and hormonal disorders.  Industrial pasteurized milk is deleterious; aside from the major problems with its calcium and protein content, commercial milk sources will be coming from drugged, grain-fed cows and is full of synthetic vitamins (like liver toxin D2) and deodorizers; the milk fat is destroyed and rendered indigestible by homogenization.  Commercial dairy cows are not fed a healthy, natural diet, nor always treated humanely.  We should not in any way support the industry.  Commercial dairy, even Organic, is bad news and should be avoided. (Remember, most Organic milk comes from grain-fed confinement operations and is ultra-pasteurized, making it ultra-dead and ultra-indigestible.)

I also agree with Fallon that Shanahan shouldn't be including soy as part of a healthy diet, and that some of her nutrient information seems contradictory or incomplete.  I think Fallon's criticism of the images used in Shanahan's book is a bit too picky.  The pictures help to illustrate the points that are being made and I feel they do it well.  Not every photo was of a celebrity, and Shanahan is a young woman appealing to a crowd familiar with pop culture, so the choices didn't seem too odd.  Also, to the criticism that Shanahan should have used Price's photos to illustrate her points and mentioned Price and his work more, I want to offer a conjecture.  As a fellow writer, and I'm really just guessing here, I can imagine that Shanahan wanted to put a unique spin on the material...to make Deep Nutrition her own fresh work.  It seems to me that she does build upon Price's foundation and others who have helped to pioneer the truth about traditional nutrition, but she doesn't speak extensively about them, nor copy them.

I do not necessarily agree with Fallon's criticism of Shanahan's genetics assertions and her message that we can re-establish good health through traditional foods.  I have experienced and witnessed many instances of correcting chronic illness and autoimmune disorders through significant lifestyle and dietary changes.  I have personally experienced a mild version "second sibling syndrome" with my second child, but through a dedicated nourishing diet and toxin-free lifestyle, the trend was reversed with our third.  

I will never claim to know how much of our genetics we can change, how many alterations we can make in our children's anatomy and physiology, and how quickly it can be done.  But I am certain that none of us understands completely the potential of powerful traditional foods and herbs on our health and our future children's health.  The human body is a wonderfully designed organism that has incredible rejuvenating powers when treated correctly.  No scientist on earth understands all there is to know about our bodies.  The more we think we understand all the "science," the more we realize we have much to learn.  

No author, no scientist, no healer is perfect.  We are always learning and growing.  Perhaps Shanahan will rework her message and her advice in future writings.  But in the end, she is a staunch supporter of the traditional foods movement, as is Fallon, and I think we can all benefit from reading and studying and sifting all these materials.  Ultimately, we're on the same team and we need to work together.

Enough said, time to close.  I will be taking some time away from the blog as I work through some personal needs.  I may write sporadically or not at all for a little while.  I hope you all enjoy a healthy and happy winter.  It would be so nice to hibernate and awake to a world where truth was valued over PR and profit, where Monsanto was outlawed and people would stop believing the rubbish that GMOs are safe and needed to "feed the world," where vaccine pushers were jailed instead of raw milk sellers, and where armed thugs (aka government agents) no longer threaten good citizens with force (like Real Food farmers) yet tell the public we don't need the right to defend ourselves against aggression.  [If you haven't done so yet, please watch Farmageddon...it's a troubling eye opener.]

Well, a girl can dream.

Brief discussion on pasteurized yogurt and butter.  I know that my position on milk seems hardcore, and I understand that people feel they need to compromise at times.  Because I have repeatedly seen and studied the serious health detriments caused by commercial milk, I cannot emphasize enough that the milk you choose to drink and feed your children is the most important food decision you will make.  When it comes to drinking milk, only raw grass-fed should be chosen, as discussed above (with links).  

Butter and yogurt are a slightly different discussion, and deserve their own post, but not today, LOL.  

Eating pasteurized butter is not quite as dangerous as drinking pasteurized milk, but source matters.  Butter is almost entirely fat, which negates the problem of industrial milk proteins.  But beware commercial butter made from homogenized milk (call companies and ask about the process), which greatly reduces the nutrients in the fat and its digestibility.  If you cannot buy raw grass-fed butter (California residents can mail order from Organic Pastures), just be sure to purchase pastured butter (such as Kerrygold or Organic Valley pastured).  Kerrygold butter claims that it is not homogenized and is minimally pasteurized.  Organic Valley also sells non-homogenized products.  If you are eating typical grocery store butter that is pale to nearly white, you are not consuming nutrients and are probably not consuming good fats.  

Yogurt is another potential can of worms.  Again, source and process matters.  Storebought yogurts are notorious for being bereft of live active probiotic cultures.  Most brands pasteurize after "culturing" (and even that process is questionable as to its efficacy), killing any beneficial bacteria.  We cannot rely on commercial yogurts to contain viable probiotics.  Any "benefit" you hope to achieve from cultured flora that may lessen the deleterious effects of the adulterated milk is nil.  Your best bet is to culture your own yogurt, particularly using a non-heat method.  You can purchase cultures from Cultures for Health; I recommend the Villi culture for raw yogurt.  Again, using industrial milk to make your yogurt will subject you to all the same problems that exist with that milk, so be aware of the potential downsides.  If you choose to purchase yogurt, avoid the low fat variety, and try to contact the company to get information on their probiotic culture source and their yogurt culturing process; only live active cultures will do you any good.  Even if your purchased yogurt carries that claim, call the company and do some homework.  Also, never eat yogurt (or any food) that contains added flavorings and colors...that's not food at all.

Radically Natural Reading Room: Deep Nutrition Giveaway

My readers likely understand by now that I am not fond of the conventional allopathic medical system. My years of study and experience in these realms have convinced me that the modern medical system may have useful diagnostic tools, but their hopelessly limited and sometimes fraudulent paradigm (fed by conventional medical school training) do not provide MDs with the necessary tools for understanding causality and providing cure. 

But every so often I encounter an “outside the box” enlightened unconventional doctor whose work I appreciate and recommend to others. Cate Shanahan is one such doctor. It is obvious that she refused to remain inside the limited paradigm her medical education provided. In her entertaining and easily accessible book, Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food, Shanahan explains, in layman’s terms, the science behind a truth I have been longing for our culture to accept: You can change your DNA. You are not the fatalistic victim of “set in stone” genetics as much as you are of the choices you make about what goes into your body. Shanahan shows how you “create and preserve genetic wealth.”

I believe Deep Nutrition is a basic primer on health, wellness, disease prevention and essential nutrition. Every American family should have a dogeared copy on the shelf. Because I am so encouraged by the wisdom and honest science that Shanahan has shared, I am giving away two copies (to two different readers) of Deep Nutrition in this month’s Reading Room installment. By way of introduction to Shanahan’s perspective on the medical industry and human wellness, I share an excerpt from her epilogue:

When I interviewed with the chief of family medicine at a large medical corporation on the West Coast he explained that, since he was part of a team of people who arranged for pharmaceutical companies to issue cash grants, he was in a position to offer me a particularly enticing salary.

“What are the grants for?” I asked.

“We have a quality improvement program that tracks physician prescribing patterns. We call it ‘quality’ but it’s really about money.”

And that’s all it’s about. It works like this. In his organization, any patient with LDL cholesterol over 100 is put on a cholesterol lowering medication. Any person with a blood pressure higher than 140/90 is put on a blood pressure medication. [my note: It’s important to understand that these “diagnostic” numbers have been lowered over the years so more prescriptions could be pushed. Read Selling Sickness.] Any person with “low bone density” is put on a bone-remodeling inhibitor. And so on. The doctors who prescribe the most get big bonuses. Those who prescribe the least get fired. With a hint of incredulousness in his voice he explained, “So far, every time we’ve asked for funding for our program, the drug companies give it to us.” If this is where healthcare is headed, then these hybrid physician/executives will instinctively turn their gaze to our children and invent more creative methods to bulldoze an entire generation into the bottomless pit of chronic disease.

Merck CEO Henry Gadsen’s 30-year-old dream was to make healthy people buy drugs they didn’t really need. But he was dreaming small. What I see happening now is more sinister, more profitable, and promises to have longer-lasting repercussions than merely creating diagnoses that lead to unnecessary prescriptions. What I see is a massive campaign of nutrition-related disinformation that has reordered our relationship with food and reprogrammed our physiologies. Industry has moved past selling sickness and learned how to create it. Whether by intent or simply fortuitous coincidence, today’s definition of a healthy diet enables corporations to sell us cheap, easily stored foods that will put more money in their pockets and more people in the hospital. By denying our bodies the foods of our ancestors and severing ourselves from our culinary traditions, we are changing our genes for the worse. Just as corporations have rewritten the genetic codes of fruits and vegetables to better suit their needs, they are now in effect doing the same things to us.

But there’s one thing they’ve overlooked. Fruits and vegetables can’t fight back. We can.

Exactly! Thank you Cate, for so succinctly and convincingly sharing your testimony of the truth about the fraudulent medical and food industries. I really enjoy reading a holistic-thinking MD with integrity! I hope Shanahan’s message will get through to the fence sitters who are still content to trust the conventional system.

Deep Nutrition covers a lot of excellent territory without overwhelming the reader. Shanahan explains the science of how your genes change (epigenetics) and she exposes the truth behind why we’ve ended up with distasteful genetic soup, and what we can do to alter it. Building on the pillar of traditional nourishing foods, Shanahan shows why good fat is your body’s best friend, why sugar is its enemy, and why calorie restriction is not the key to losing weight. She discusses nutrition and physical degeneration, skin and bone formation, and why our children are being robbed of healthy anatomical and physiological development. All moms should understand and embrace these truths, and will be fascinated and admonished by the facts of second sibling syndrome and more. Shanahan echoes the work of Price in his native physical degeneration studies, but her book is far more digestible for most readers. If you have desired to read Nutrition and Physical Degeneration (a must-read) but have not been able to do so, start with Shanahan’s Deep Nutrition.

Please use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter to win a copy of Deep Nutrition. Tell your friends. If I’ve set up the widget correctly, LOL, you’ll just need to answer a simple question. I will have Rafflecopter randomly select two winners at the end of the week. 

This post is linked to Kelly the Kitchen Kop's Real Food Wednesday Carnival.  Check it out!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Fat Is Your Friend!

I have had so many titles for this long-in-the-works article swimming about in my brain...
  • Lean Meat: The Scourge of the American Diet
  • Embrace Fat: Cholesterol Is Not the Enemy
  • Real Fat: The Essential Human Nutrient
  • When Bad "Science" Won't Die: The Lipid Lie
  • Fabulous Fat: The Beautiful Truth about a Fabulous Nutrient, Starring Cholesterol, Your Hormones' Best Friend!
(That last one seemed just a tad long, LOL!)

I desire to say so many things about fat. I want to share highlights from every book I have on the topic, but I know I cannot, lest this article be 20 feet long.  So let's see where this takes us.  I dedicate this article to the numerous people who have been on the receiving end of my gushing, "I love fat...everything you have been told is a lie" raves.  And it's true...everything we have been told about fat since the 1950s IS a lie.  Many honorable nutritionists and scientists have worked to reverse our fear of fat indoctrination.  I am grateful for their tireless efforts.

 I know many people have neither the time nor the resources to read all the books I recommend, so I will borrow from a couple of my current favorites to expound upon this necessary topic (my comments, peppered throughout the quotes, will appear in purple).

Fat is your friend.  Once again, with a little spin...Real Fat (from clean food sources) is your Best Friend...your body's most essential nutrient. Every system of your body needs good fat, and lots of it...from your hormones to your brain, your skin and joints to your heart. Fat never has been and never will be bad for you. An absence of this essential nutrient, however, will cripple and kill.  The message that fat is dangerous and should be avoided is based neither on science, nor history.  In fact, saturated fat is vital to your body's development and functioning...to your overall vitality and quality of life.

At this time of year, especially, I become frustrated by the holiday recipes vilifying fat: the "how to make low-fat versions of your holiday favorites" messages make me cringe.  Low-fat cookbooks and nutritional advice make me want to pull out my hair.  It's all so senseless and never was based on good science.  Like a dog with a bone, the government and modern health "experts" just won't let go of the public-duping, dishonest "fat is bad" message.

Let’s begin by first taking a look at how fat got such a bad rap. Then we’ll examine fat as the most essential, beneficial human nutrient.

Some fat myths:
  • Eating (real) fat makes you fat.
  • A low-fat diet protects your heart and helps you lose weight.
  • Fat (and its partner, cholesterol) clogs your arteries and causes heart disease.
  • Saturated fat is bad for you.
  • "Vegetable" fats are real fats, and they are good for you.

Debunking the Lipid Hypothesis

“The diet-heart hypothesis is the greatest scientific deception of this century, perhaps of any century.”  -- George Mann, American physician and scientist 

Medical and food politics are the enemies of Real Medicine and legitimate health care.  
Numerous authors, scientists, nutritionists and honest doctors have for years raised their voices in protest of the flawed “diet-heart hypothesis” (also called the lipid hypothesis) first proposed in 1953 by Ancel Keys.  Simply put, the lipid hypothesis is junk science, and it has been debunked.  We must put the final nail in the coffin of this erroneous but profitable lipid legend.

In her book, Put Your Heart in Your Mouth, neurologist and creator of the GAPS healing protocol Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride writes:

“Everybody has heard about cholesterol and dietary fats “clogging up your arteries” and “causing heart disease.” Even children have been told that cholesterol and fats are “bad.” For decades we have been “educated” in that direction by the popular media, advertisements and labels on our food. Doctors are also convinced: the prescription of cholesterol-lowering medication has steadily grown by more than 20% every year in the UK. The pharmaceutical powers are now working very hard on an ultimate goal: to put everybody, including our children, on “preventative” cholesterol-lowering medication."

McBride then poses the obligatory question:  How did we get here?

The answer is the lipid hypothesis put forth by Keys, who set out to prove that dietary fats cause heart disease. To support his hypothesis, Keys designed a diagram, showing the correlation of fat consumption and heart disease mortality in only six countries, selected out of the 22 countries for which data existed at that time. Keys’ diagram showed that heart disease deaths rose with increased fat consumption.

McBride:  “However, when all the remaining countries are added back to the diagram this correlation disappears. In fact, the diagram now shows that there is no correlation between fat consumption and dying from heart disease. Using Ancel Keys’ method, one can prove anything one likes. … It is completely baffling as to why on earth the scientific community at the time accepted this kind of “scientific evidence!” For whatever reason, it did! That is how the diet-heart hypothesis started its long life--from a deception.”

Despite its deceptive “built on air” science, Ancel Keys’ hypothesis was seized eagerly by politicians and the medical industry, and the dollars followed.

McBride:  “Institutions and laboratories were set up around the diet-heart hypothesis, thousands of people were employed and scientific grants were awarded to “prove” the hypothesis. The popular media followed by trumpeting the new “breakthrough.” Once politicians and the public had bought the idea, the researchers had to come up with science to fit the bill. … no other medical hypothesis has been researched so much! Hundreds of studies have been conducted around the world to prove that dietary fat and cholesterol are the causes of heart disease. The Chinese have an old saying: “Cut the feet to fit the shoes.” Proponents used their data selectively: they ignored the data that did not support the hypothesis and inflated and advertised the data that did. [Welcome to the medical industry’s version of the scientific method.] In the meantime, for every study that attempted to support the idea, honest studies were coming in from different countries proving it to be wrong. However the political and commercial machine was in motion, and it was not prepared to stop. [The birth of the vegetable fat industry, including heavy hitters soy, corn and canola, along with the boom to the pharmaceutical industry, was just too profitable to allow truth to get in the way.] As all this was going on, many renowned doctors and honest scientists, who had the training to analyze the accumulated scientific data for themselves, opposed and criticized the diet-heart hypothesis and the “science” conducted to support it.”

These truth crusaders included (you all know I'm no fan of the elitist view of the "expert MD," and the conventional medical establishment, but I share this list as proof of professional peer opposition to the lipid hypothesis):
  • Dr. Raymond Reiser (retired biochemistry professor at Texas Univ.)
  • Professor George Mann (retired professor of medicine and biochemistry at Vanderbilt Univ.)
  • Dr. Paul Rosch (president of American Institute of Stress, clinical professor of medicine and psychiatry at New York Medical College)
  • Dr. Mary Enig (international expert in lipid biochemistry, president of Maryland Nutritionists Association, consulting editor to Journal of the American College of Nutrition)
  • Dr. William Stehbens (professor at Department of Pathology, Wellington School of Medicine and director of Malaghan Institute of Medical Research in Wellington, New Zealand)
  • Dr. Ray Rosenman (cardiologist, retired director of cardiovascular research in the Health Sciences Program at SRI International in Menlo Park, CA and associate chief of medicine at Mt. Zion Hospital in San Francisco)
  • Dr. Russell Smith (American experimental psychologist, publisher of two reviews on scientific data of lipid hypothesis)
  • Professor Lars Werko (retired professor medicine at Sahlgren’s Hospital, Gothenburg, Sweden and head of the Swedish Council on Technology Assessment in Health Care)
  • Dr. Edward Pinckney (former co-editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association and author of The Cholesterol Controversy)
  • Dr. Uffe Ravnskov (most comprehensive professional review of lipid hypothesis published in The Cholesterol Myths)

In her excellent treatise and cookbook, Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, native Aussie chef Jennifer McLagan shares her perspective on the lipid hypothesis history:

"(In the 1950s) a theory was advanced suggesting that increased consumption of animal fat raised our cholesterol levels and resulted in heart disease. The link between cholesterol, saturated fat, and heart disease was only associative, not causal, and it did not account for the fact that some populations that eat diets high in animals fats don’t have high rates of heart disease. During the following two decades science failed to prove conclusively that there was any direct connection between eating saturated fats and developing heart disease, but the theory persisted. [Because it was PROFITABLE.] Then, in 1977, the theory gained widespread credence when the U.S. Congress endorsed it. Americans were urged by their government to reduce their fat intake...Thousands of years of human history showing the importance of animal fat in our diet were overlooked, and instead it was labeled the greasy killer. While many experts still promoted a diet including eggs, meat, and animal fat, their voices were drowned out by industry and science. “Low-fat” and “nonfat” became the new mantras...we obediently replaced the cholesterol-containing animal fats in our diet with new, manmade ones."

“oops! Everything I said about saturated fat was really about margarine.” — (Cate Shanahan) paraphrasing Ancel Keys

In her chapter on the lipid hypothesis (Good Fats and Bad: How the Cholesterol Theory Created a Sickness Epidemic), author of Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food, (unconventional) Dr. Cate Shanahan shares her summary of the birth of Ancel Keys’ lipid hypothesis:

“The father of the “diet-heart hypothesis” was not a cardiologist or even an MD. [Not that MDs or cardiologists are the only ones who can possess nutritional and pathophysiological wisdom...but she’s building up to a good point.] Keys had earned his PhD in the 1930s studying salt-water eels. His nutritional credentialing originated in the fact that, during WWII, the military assigned him to create the ready-to-eat meal that could be stored for years and shipped to millions of soldiers. Dr. Keys named his pocket-sized meal the K-ration, after himself. [And we’re supposed to take food advice from the father of mega-processed freeze-dried food?!] When the war was over, the Minnesota public health department hired Keys to study the problem of rising rates of heart attacks. [Maybe it had something to do with the rising use of environmental chemicals during and post-WWII? Maybe it was the proliferation of processed foods...including all those soldiers’ freeze-dried meals?  In fact, the assumption of a growing epidemic of heart disease is itself subject to criticism.  Was coronary heart disease rare before the 1920s?  Or were doctors and public health officials simply observing heart disease more often due to improving diagnostic technology?]

“At his first scientific meeting, he presented the idea that, in countries where people ate more animal fat, people died of heart disease more often, suggesting a possible causal relationship. But his statistical work was so sloppy that he was lambasted by his peers. Rather than cleaning up his act, Keys vowed vengeance: “I’ll show those guys.” More than anything else, it seems, Keys wanted everyone to think he single-handedly discovered the cause of heart disease. And so did the country’s margarine producers, who now had the perfect spokesperson. Though Keys‘ work failed to convince professional scientists (at least for the first decade or two), the margarine industry knew he still had a shot at convincing the man on the street. If the public thought butter and other animal fats would “clog their arteries,” they might buy margarine instead.

"A few years after the embarrassing performance in front of an audience capable of sniffing out misleading statistics, Keys was on TV laying out those same misleading statistics to a trusting public. The American Heart Association, which depends on large donations from the vegetable oil industry, jumped on the bandwagon with Keys. They took his sloppy statistics and ran, eventually convincing most doctors that “steak is a heart attack on a plate” and that margarine made from hydrogenated vegetable oils (full of trans fat) was healthy. Within a decade, grocery store shelves were loaded with ready-to-eat foods, and Americans were buying.

“By 1961, under increasing scientific scrutiny, Keys began to waver in his support for his own (now publicly accepted) diet-heart hypothesis. Scientists had pointed out Dr. Keys’ misleading use of scientific terms. In public, he denounced animal fat as the culprit behind the rising rates of heart attacks. But in his laboratory and human experiments, he didn’t use animal fat. His subjects were fed margarine made from partially hydrogenated vegetable oil. And what was in the margarine? Trans fat--a full 48%! To conclude from studies that used hydrogenated vegetable oil that animal fat causes heart disease is utterly nonsensical. Unfortunately, the public never heard the straight story."

And we are surprised?! So it goes…the never-ending story of how "scientists," the "medical" establishment, and the "food" industry amasses profits while shaping our food and health destinies. And the consequences of the perpetuation of the ridiculous lipid hypothesis?

Shanahan: “Prior to Keys’ campaign, people ate far more saturated fat and cholesterol-rich foods than we do today, but heart attacks were so rare they were almost unheard of. Over the past century, as butter consumption dropped to less than one quarter of what it was, vegetable oil consumption went up five-fold. …. Natural fat consumption: down. Processed fat consumption: up. Heart disease: up — way up. … At the dawn of the second millennium, heart disease is the number one cause of death in both men and women. Forget for a moment what the “experts” are saying and ask yourself what these trends suggest to your inner statistician. [yes...we are being asked to think for ourselves!]… What’s been dropping us like flies is not any upsurge in saturated fat consumption, but an upsurge in consumption of two major categories of pro-inflammatory foods: vegetable oils (a.k.a unnatural fats) and sugar. Cutting both from your diet will not only protect your heart, it will help protect you from all chronic diseases.”

I heartily echo Shanahan’s message: Nature doesn’t make bad fats. Laboratories do.

In his heavily researched, detailed tome dissecting the controversial politics of fat, carbs, obesity and chronic disease, Good Calories, Bad Calories, science journalist Gary Taubes shares the enlightening tale of President Dwight D. Eisenhower and his heart attacks.

"Eisenhower was assuredly among the best-chronicled heart attack survivors in history.  We know that he had no family history of heart disease, and no obvious risk factors after he quit smoking in 1949.  He exercised regularly; his weight remained close to the 172 pounds considered optimal for his height.  His blood pressure was only occasionally elevated.  His cholesterol was below normal: his last measurement before the attack...was 165 mg/dl, a level that heart-disease specialists today consider safe."

After his first heart attack, Eisenhower changed his diet...to a low-fat, low-cholesterol regimen.  His meals were cooked in soybean oil and margarine.  His weight began to creep up, so Eisenhower switched his breakfast fare from oatmeal and skim milk to melba toast and fruit.  Still frustrated with his weight, Eisenhower nixed breakfast and eschewed all fats, replacing them with corn oil.  His cholesterol continued to rise; Eisenhower's doctor regularly lied to him about his increasing cholesterol numbers.

Taubes:  "Eisenhower's cholesterol hit 259 just six days after University of Minnesota physiologist Ancel Keys made the cover of Time magazine, championing precisely the kind of supposedly heart-healthy diet on which Eisenhower had been losing his battle with cholesterol for five years.  It was two weeks later that the American Heart Association--prompted by Keys' force of will--published its first official endorsement of low-fat, low-cholesterol diets as a means to prevent heart disease. ... Eisenhower died of heart disease in 1969, age 78.  By then, he'd had another half-dozen heart attacks.

"From the inception of the diet-heart hypothesis in the early 1950s, those who argued that dietary fat caused heart disease accumulated the evidential equivalent of a mythology to support their belief.  These myths are still passed on faithfully to the present day."

However unjust, however detrimental the results to the generations that followed, fat was forever vilified by the lipid hypothesis: the flawed, falsified and debunked study that refuses to die. “Vegetable” oils and margarine (both fake foods linked to hormonal disruptions, obesity, heart disease and cancer) took the place of butter and saturated fat became a bogey man.

And we must ask and answer the crucial, yet simple question:  In the recent decades following the establishment of the lipid hypothesis, during a time when Americans eat less real fat than ever before...and more carbohydrates, are we healthier?  Are we experiencing significantly reduced rates of heart disease and other chronic maladies?  


Taubes: "Indeed, if the last few decades were considered a test of the fat-cholesterol hypothesis of heart disease, [which they of course should be, because that would be true science at work] the observation that the incidence of heart disease has not noticeably decreased could serve in any functioning scientific environment as compelling evidence that the hypothesis is wrong.  Throughout the world, on the other hand, the incidence of obesity and diabetes is increasing at an alarming rate."

Taubes' book is an intelligent, deeply researched study into the abuses of science that have created and perpetuated dietary myths, including the lipid hypothesis.  It is not an "easy" read, but it is a worthwhile one.  To get an overview of Taubes' work, listen to his conversations with Russ Roberts, host of EconTalk, a podcast produced by the Library of Economics and Liberty.

“And take you father and your households, and come unto me: and I will give you the good of the land of Egypt, and ye shall eat the fat of the land.”  Genesis 45:18

I love McLagan's Fat book.  In fact, I love her trio, which includes Fat; Bones: Recipes, History, and Lore; and Odd Bits: How to Cook the Rest of the Animal.  I fully intended last year to write a review of Fat, but (surprise, surprise) it never materialized.  I'll just work it in here, by sharing the highlights of her fabulous primer on fat.  Oh, and the recipes are wonderful, too!

McLagan's Fat chapters:

  • Butter: worth it
  • Pork fat: the king
  • Poultry fat: versatile and good for you
  • Beef and Lamb: overlooked but tasty

She covers each animal fat extensively, with instructions on how to make butter, render lard and duck fat, create confit and much more.  Her recipes cover the spectrum from sweet to savory, from biscuits to cassoulet.  No stone is left unturned.  The pages are lavish with beautiful photos and historical, culinary and nutritional tidbits.  

In her Introduction, A Matter of Fat, McLagan reminds us that:
  • All animal fats are not saturated.
  • Eating fat does not make us fat.
  • A low-fat diet is not good for us.
Types of fat

All fats are lipids (they don’t dissolve in water), and all fats are a combination of both saturated and unsaturated fatty acids.
  • Essential Fatty Acids (omega fatty acids) = not made by body, must be ingested
  • Saturated fatty acids = less vulnerable to heat and oxygen, don’t turn rancid easily
  • Monounsaturated fatty acids = softer than saturated fats at room temperature, almost as stable and slow to turn rancid. Most common MFA is oleic acid, found in pork and beef.
  • Polyunsaturated fatty acids = liquid at room temperature; very fragile, turn rancid quickly.
  • Trans fatty acids = except for naturally occurring conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), these are manmade solidified “fat,” created by adding hydrogen to polyunsaturated fat. CLA is a healthy nutrient that protects against cancer, heart disease, inflammation, high blood pressure, insulin resistance.  All other trans fats are manmade health scourges.
Cholesterol is NOT a fat; rather, it is a sterol (type of alcohol) found in animal protein. Our cell membranes and much of our brains are made of cholesterol. Cholesterol is the “mother hormone” and our vital organs need it to work; our bodies use cholesterol to repair themselves. Low cholesterol is linked with various diseases, depression, and increased risk of infection.  But we'll dig more into this wonderful sterol below.

McLagan:  “Every cell in our body needs fat, our brain and hormones rely on fat to function, and fat supports our immune system, fights disease, and protects our liver. Fat promotes good skin and healthy hair, and it regulates our digestive system and leaves us feeling sated. Yet after more than 30 years of reducing our intake of animal fats, we are not healthier, but only heavier. Diets low in fat leave people hungry, depressed, and prone to weight gain and illness. We reduced the animal fat in our diet but increased our intake of sugars and other refined carbohydrates, then were surprised when we got fat. We shouldn’t have been.”

Traditional, accepted wisdom was that fat and protein were satisfying, nourishing, filling foods and that starches and sugar made people fat. Animals are fattened by grain feeding...the same applies to humans.

McLagan:  “Fat is the body’s preferred fuel, providing us with more than twice the amount of energy as the same quantity of carbohydrates and protein. It helps the body to absorb nutrients, calcium, and the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. Fat and protein are found together in nature because it’s the fat that helps us digest the protein, so it makes good sense to eat a well-marbled steak, or a roast chicken with crispy skin. Because fat is digested slowly, eating it leaves us feeling sated, and we’re less likely to snack between meals. Eat the right fats and you’ll probably lose weight! And, as we all know, fat tastes good.”

“For millennia people have known how to make their food. They have understood animals and what to do with them, have cooked with the seasons and had a farmer’s knowledge of the way the planet works. They have preserved traditions of preparing food, handed down through generations, and have come to know them as expressions of their families. People don’t have this kind of knowledge today, even though it seems as fundamental as the earth.” -- Bill Buford, author and journalist

Fat is critical to the flavor of our food, because the flavor of meat is in the fat. As McLagan reminds us, “Many aromas and flavors are soluble only in fat, so unless you use fat in your cooking, they are not released.”  Without marbling, meat has little flavor and becomes dry and tough when cooked.  And, honestly, who doesn't adore slathering warm bread with real butter?  Mmmmmm.....

After the educational introduction, McLagan's book is broken down into four sections, regaling the qualities of and sharing recipes starring: butter, pork fat, poultry fat, and beef and lamb fat.

Aside from its wonderful flavor and delightfully creamy texture, butter is an incredibly healthy food. A saturated fat, butter is composed of short- and medium-chain fatty acids, which are easy to process by our body...they are not stored as fat (unlike long-chain fatty acids), but used for energy. Butter contains lauric and butyric acids, which boost immunity; stearic and palmitic acids, which lower LDL cholesterol; fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K (especially in pastured butter), copper, zinc, chromium, selenium, iodine, and lecithin.  Butter’s complex flavor and its texture are influenced by the breed of cow, its diet, and the season. For pastured butter, spring and early summer will produce a deeper yellow butter (carotenes in the grass) that has a stronger flavor. Winter butter is paler and milder in taste because the cows are supplemented with silage.

Pork fat (including lard) is useful in the kitchen and incredibly nourishing. Pork fat, like all fats, is a mixture of saturated, polyunsatruated, and monounsaturated fatty acids. While the fat forms vary by breed and diet of the pig, the majority of pork fat is monounsaturated, specifically oleic acid in addition to palmitoleic fatty acid (which has antimicrobial properties).  Pork fat’s saturated fatty acids are stearic acid, which converts to oleic acid in our body, and palmitic acid...both lower “bad” cholesterol. Pork fat does not oxidize or become rancid easily, and remains stable when heated. Additionally, pastured lard is an excellent source of vitamin D.

McLagan similarly sings the praises of poultry fat and beef and lamb fat, which contain similar nutrient profiles to butter and lard. Foie gras, french for “fat liver,” is made from the enlarged liver of duck or geese. Well-prepared foie gras is smooth and silky, and contains the beneficial nutrients of liver: it is rich in B vitamins, copper, iron and iodine.  Grass-fed beef and lamb are particularly rich in both CLA and omega-3 fatty acids. Beef bone marrow is of particular nutritional interest, as it contains body-building collagen, iron, phosphorous, vitamin A, thiamin and niacin.

I highly recommend McLagan's book(s) and encourage you to add them, especially Fat, to your collection.

"If you're afraid of butter, use cream."  -- Julia Child, American culinary icon

Good fats vs. Bad fats

As a result of the diet-heart hypothesis takeover, people reduced their intake of animal fats and vastly increased their consumption of manmade fats, particularly hydrogenated trans fats. These substances are not easily processed by the body and are stored as fat, rather than used as energy. These manmade fats increase “bad” LDL cholesterol and decrease “good” HDL cholesterol, as well as interfere with insulin production.  There is no such thing as a safe manmade trans fat...nor a safe "vegetable" fat.

Polyunsaturated fats, another popular “anti-animal fat” option, are highly unstable, oxidizing quickly. Oxidized fat damages our DNA.  Polyunsaturated fats suppress our immune system, and severely imbalance our omega-6 to omega-3 ratio, causing an excess of omega-6 in our bodies (which inhibits absorption of omega-3). High levels of omega-6 lead to cancer, heart disease, liver damage, brain chemistry disorders, weight gain, immune malfunction, digestive malfunction, and reproductive malfunction. Grain-fed animals are higher in omega-6, while pastured animals are a good source of omega-3.

Good fats are Real Fats, and they include all animal fat (especially saturated fats), nuts, and fruit oils:
  • Egg yolks
  • Avocados
  • Olives
  • Nuts
  • Grass-fed, raw milk (with its cream)
  • Coconut
  • Palm
  • Butter
  • Lard
  • Fatty fish (especially cold-water species like salmon and sardines)
  • Red meat
  • Pork (especially bacon)
  • Poultry (especially duck and goose)

Bad fats are everything else, which leaves "vegetable" fats...all the commercial, laboratory-produced, manmade fats, liquid or hydrogenated (especially corn, canola, and soy). These “fats” do not exist naturally; they are neither nutritious nor stable. They are chemically processed and easily oxidize and become rancid, producing ravaging, inflammatory, carcinogenic free radicals.

“Fat” that requires heavy technical processing is not good fat. “Fat” that is designed and created in a laboratory is not good fat (nor is it Real Food).

A diet deficient in the regular consumption of good fats, particularly animal fats, leads to:
  • Brain chemistry disorders (OCD, depression, anxiety, bipolar, schizophrenia, memory loss, etc.)
  • Multiple Sclerosis (a disintegration of the myelin sheath, which requires fat/cholesterol)
  • Leaky gut syndrome (your intestinal lining requires fat for stability)
  • Malnourishment (from poor vitamin absorption)
  • Infertility (and other hormonal imbalance maladies)
  • Increased cancer risk (omega-3 can slow tumor and cancer cell growth)
  • Heart disease and high cholesterol (low-fat diets reduce HDL)
  • Etc.....
On the other hand, real fats (principally saturated fats):
  • Protect your heart (reduces lipoprotein, which increases heart attack risk)
  • Build your cell membranes
  • Build your hormones
  • Act as a carrier for vitamins A, D, E, K
  • Build your bones (calcium requires saturated fat to be incorporated into bone)
  • Protect your liver from toxins
  • Improve lung function (lung lining is composed of saturated fat)
  • Improve gut function (intestinal lining is composed of saturated fat)
  • Strengthen white blood cells

Cholesterol Is Not the Enemy
"The idea that too much animal fat and high cholesterol are dangerous to your heart and vessels is nothing but a myth."  -- Uffe Ravnskov

Dr. Uffe Ravnskov, in his ground-breaking comprehensive critique of the lipid hypothesis, The Cholesterol Myths, tears down the myriad myths produced by Keys’ outrageously popular bad science, including:
  • High-fat foods cause heart disease.
  • High cholesterol causes heart disease.
  • High-fat foods raise blood cholesterol.
  • Cholesterol blocks arteries.
  • Animal studies prove the diet-heart idea.
  • Lowering your cholesterol will lengthen your life.
  • Polyunsaturated oils are good for you.
  • The cholesterol campaign is based on good science.
  • All scientists support the diet-heart idea.

Alzheimer’s? Infertility? Heart disease? Auto-immune disorders? Immunity malfunctions? Brain chemistry disorders? You can thank your fear of fat and cholesterol-lowering diet and drugs. In fact, dreading and disparaging food sources of cholesterol is rather imprudent, considering that the body produces about 85% of its own blood cholesterol.

Not only is cholesterol NOT the villain we have been led to believe, it is a vital nutrient, essential to the proper and vibrant functioning of our bodies. Every cell of every organ in our bodies has cholesterol in its structure. Cholesterol is a vital part of cell membrane composition and it helps our cells communicate.

Our brains simply cannot develop or function properly without regular consumption of brain-building fats, including cholesterol (not technically a fat, but a sterol), lecithin, choline, and especially saturated fats. Our brain and nervous system is cholesterol-rich; 25% of our bodies’ cholesterol stores go to the brain. The fatty substance, myelin, which is a primary material in our brain and nervous system, is 20% cholesterol. The myelin sheath coats every nerve cell and nerve fiber. The breakdown of the myelin sheath results in the devastating illness, multiple sclerosis. Synapse formation in the brain, affecting brain cell communication and memory centers, depends heavily on cholesterol (memory loss is a side effect of cholesterol-lowering drugs). A developing baby’s brain and eyes require large amounts of cholesterol.

Our hormones will not function without cholesterol. Known as the “mother hormone,” cholesterol is crucial to the endocrine system...particularly our adrenals and sex glands, which produce our steroid hormones. All steroid hormones are made from cholesterol. Steroid hormones regulate vital bodily functions, including metabolism, energy production, mineral assimilation, brain, muscle and bone formation, fertility, and brain chemistry. Adrenal fatigue is a common problem in our modern, multitasking, over-stressed society. [A typical “side effect” for men on cholesterol-lowering drugs is decreased testosterone (and other steroid hormone) production.]

The human liver regulates blood cholesterol and uses cholesterol to create bile, which is the substance that allows us to digest and absorb fats and fat-soluble vitamins. Without good bile production, we cannot properly absorb and assimilate vitamins A, D, E, and K. In fact, cholesterol-rich foods and sunlight are our best sources of vitamin D. Because of our desperate need for this fat-soluble vitamin, we can thank cholesterol for helping us to build and maintain healthy bones, as well as protecting us from cancer, inflammatory disorders, brain chemistry imbalances, heart disease, osteoarthritis, auto-immune diseases, poor immunity, obesity, and diabetes.

So why do cholesterol levels vary from person to person and season or time of day? Why do cholesterol levels soar after surgery or when we have an infection? The answer is simple: cholesterol is one of the body’s healing agents. When healing needs to occur, the liver produces cholesterol and sends it to the site of damage.

Let’s look a bit at the myth that cholesterol cause arterial and heart disease. McBride explains by examining blood vessel structure and physiology. The inside of the vessel walls are covered by a layer of endothelium cells, which are attacked by any damaging agent to which we are exposed. 

McBride:  “Whether it is a toxic chemical, an infectious organism, a free radical or anting else, once it is in the blood, what is it going to attack first? The endothelium, of course. The endothelium immediately sends a message to the liver. Whenever our liver receives a signal that a wound has been inflicted upon the endothelium somewhere in our vascular system, it gets into gear and sends cholesterol to the site of the damage in a shuttle, called LDL (low-density lipoprotein). Because this cholesterol travels from the liver to the wound in the form of LDL, our “science, in its wisdom, called LDL a “bad” cholesterol. When the wound heals and the cholesterol is removed, it travels back to the liver in the form of HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol. Because this cholesterol travels away from the artery back to the liver, our misguided “science” called it “good” cholesterol. This is like calling an ambulance traveling from the base to the patient, a “bad ambulance,” and the one traveling from the patient back to the base, a “good ambulance.

“Why does the liver send cholesterol to the site of the injury? Because the body cannot clear the infection, remove toxic elements or heal the wound without cholesterol and fats. Any healing involves the birth, growth and functioning of thousands of cells: immune cells, endothelial cells and many others. As these cells, to a considerable degree, are made out of cholesterol and fats, they cannot be born and grow without a good supply of these substances. … Scar tissue in the body contains good amounts of cholesterol. … Cholesterol acts as an antioxidant in the body, dealing with the free radical damage. … When we have surgery, our tissues are cut and many small arteries, veins and capillaries get damaged. The liver receives a very strong signal from this damage, so it floods the body with LDL cholesterol to clean and heal every little wound in our blood vessels. … After dental treatment, in addition to the damage to the tissues, a lot of bacteria from the tooth and the gums finish up in the blood, attacking the inside walls of our blood vessels. The liver gets a strong signal from that damage and produces lots of healing cholesterol to deal with it, so the blood cholesterol goes up. The same thing happens when we have an infection — LDL cholesterol goes up to deal with the bacterial or viral attack. Apart from the endothelium, our immune cells need cholesterol to function and to heal themselves after the fight with the infection. Our stress hormones are made out of cholesterol … Stressful situations increase our blood cholesterol levels because cholesterol is being sent to the adrenal glands for stress hormone production. In short, when we have a high blood cholesterol level it means that the body is dealing with some damage.”

Understanding the action of the cardiovascular endothelial cells and their relationship to cholesterol, as well as the functions and traveling route of LDL and HDL, begs the question: Why are some people suffering increased endothelial damage and therefore increased cholesterol activity? I think the answer is simple. Those people are introducing malevolent substances into their blood streams (such as chemical pollutants in the form of drugs or processed/industrial foods), causing the damage that spurs the healing cholesterol response. Instead of blaming LDL levels, the sufferers should stop abusing their bodies with the toxic substances ravaging their blood vessels. 

 Clearly, stress also plays a part in raising cholesterol levels, and should not be ignored as a significant culprit in health maladies.  Additionally, dehydration is a significant factor in heightened cholesterol levels. When the body becomes dehydrated, cells become dehydrated and begin to weaken. This signals the production of cholesterol to repair and hold the cell walls together. Lowering cholesterol can be as simple as increasing your daily water intake: aim for 1 oz. pure water for every pound you weigh.

In Good Calories, Bad Calories, Taubes reveals what I believe is a fascinating paradox.  Ancel Keys, the man who gave us the blight that is the lipid hypothesis, originally established that there was no link between cholesterol and heart disease.  As Taubes explains, "In 1937, two Columbia University biochemists, David Rittenberg and Rudolph Schoenheimer, demonstrated that the cholesterol we eat has very little effect on the amount of cholesterol in our blood.  When Keys fed men for months at a time on diets either high or low in cholesterol, it made no difference to their cholesterol levels.  As a result, Keys insisted that dietary cholesterol had little relevance to heart disease."  Yet Keys would go forward in his attempt to substantiate his diet-heart hypothesis, fingering fat as the culprit in cardio ailments.

Taubes:  "Ironically, some of the most reliable facts about the diet-heart hypothesis have been consistently ignored by public-health authorities because they complicated the message, and the least reliable findings were adopted because they didn't.  Dietary cholesterol, for instance, has an insignificant effect on blood cholesterol. ... Nonetheless, the advice to eat less cholesterol--avoiding egg yolks, for instance--remains gospel."

A fuller understanding of the hows and whys of cholesterol production and functions does spur various cogitations. One begins to wonder, why all the fuss over “high” cholesterol? How high is too high? And why aren't doctors asking, how low is too low?

Studying the anti-lipid hypothesis evidence makes it clear that cholesterol is not the cardio killer that we’ve been led to believe. Ravnskov points out that the coronary artery studies hoping to prove that high cholesterol levels cause atherosclerosis actually showed an increase in sclerosis in patients with low cholesterol. Repeated studies confirmed that cholesterol levels were unimportant in determining increased atherosclerosis risk.

Ravnskov: “The fact that coronary atherosclerosis gets worse just as fast or faster when cholesterol goes down as when it goes up, the opposite of exposure-response, should have led scientists to question the whole diet-heart idea. But nobody did. … Isn’t it much more likely that something else causes atherosclerosis than cholesterol? Something that may vary between the arteries, such as blood pressure. … For instance, the tension of the coronary vessels, but not necessarily of other vessels, increases significantly when we are mentally stressed. … That people with low cholesterol become just as sclerotic as people with high cholesterol is, of course, a devastating blow to the diet-heart idea. But the names of Lande, Sperry, Paterson, and Mathur (researchers) are absent in the hundreds of papers and books that the proponents publish every year.”

"We've got a drug for that."  -- (me) paraphrasing the pharmaceutical and medical industry

The dangers of cholesterol are a myth, but the dangers of cholesterol-lowering (statin) drugs are very real and include:

  • Decreased hormone production
  • Impaired male sexual function (see above)
  • Depletion of CoQ10 (a necessary cardiovascular and muscular nutrient)
  • Muscle pain (see above)
  • Memory loss
  • Depression (likely related to decreased hormone production)
  • Anemia
  • Liver dysfunction
  • Pancreatitis (inflammation of pancreas)
  • Immune depression
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Neuropathy (pain resulting from nerve damage in peripheral nervous system)
  • Heart failure (can you say irony? This side effect related to depleted CoQ10)
Fat and cholesterol are more than good for you...they are crucial to your physical development and well-being. Fat consumption affects brain development, vibrancy and longevity, skin development and elasticity, heart health, joint health, hormone development and regulation, intestinal lining integrity, and more.

Good Fat Does Not Make You Fat

Obesity is a plague of modern living.  The blame fingers seem constantly to be moving, pointing one way and then another.  "Fad diets" have been part of our collective conscious for decades.  The prevalent desire to lose weight drives a profitable diet and exercise industry.  The medical and food industries have a stake in this game as well.  "Low fat" and "low calorie" foods have an incredible market share of the offerings on grocery store shelves.  So it should come as no surprise that weight-loss dietary advice that would undermine profits of companies touting "conventional wisdom" will be routinely lambasted and ridiculed.  An entire food industry has grown around the proliferation of "vegetable" oils and cereal grains.  Ergo, the food politics of dietary principles are highly controversial.

But how many Americans are aware that the low-carb, high-protein weight-loss regimen is centuries old?  From the mid-1800s, French doctors identified the solution to obesity as a diet restricted in sugars and starches.  By the time the Atkins revolution was introduced in America in the 1970s, the "low-carb to lose weight" concept had been tried and proven by practitioners and people who were willing to look to nature, history and evidence-based traditions for answers to the obesity puzzle.

Until the 1970s in America, it was conventional wisdom that starches and sugars led to weight gain. But coming on the heels of the AMA and AHA fully endorsing the lipid hypothesis and advocating a low-fat diet to combat heart disease, we saw the birth of the low-fat, high-carb diet to control weight.  Despite mounds of evidence to the contrary, the low-fat diet craze was born, gained momentum, and mushroomed.  We are living with the reality today that the low-fat myth is an idea that dies hard.

Taubes: "Despite the depth and certainty of our faith that saturated fat is the nutritional bane of our lives and that obesity is caused by overeating and sedentary behavior, there has always been copious evidence to suggest that those assumptions are incorrect, and that evidence is continuing to mount.

"It is possible that obesity, diabetes, and heart disease all share a single, underlying cause.  The surge in obesity and diabetes occurred as the population was being bombarded with the message that dietary fat is dangerous and that carbohydrates are good for the heart and for weight control. ... [William Harland, former associate director of the Office of Disease Prevention at the National Institutes of Health] told me that public-health experts like himself assumed that if they advised all Americans to eat less fat, with its densely packed calories, weights would go down.  'What we see instead,' he said, 'is actually weights have gone up, the portion sizes have gone up, the amount we eat has gone up.' ... If 150 years of anecdotal evidence and observation suggest that carbohydrates are uniquely fattening, it would be unjustifiable scientifically to reject that hypothesis without compelling evidence to the contrary.  Such evidence does not exist."

In the vein of WAPF, Taubes shares that decades of evidence regarding chronic disease and obesity, collected by missionaries and doctors studying isolated populations living traditional lifestyles/diets, indicates that "diseases of civilization" were rare before the introduction of processed carbohydrates.  Taubes also points out that our society has fully accepted the non-evidence-based idea that dietary fat, calories, fiber and physical activity are the critical variables in obesity and disease.  Medical research, however, has revealed a "web of physiological mechanisms and phenomena involving the singular effect of carbohydrates on blood sugar and on insulin, and the effect of blood sugar and insulin, in turn, on cells, arteries, tissues, and other hormones."

So just to put the final nail in the "fear of fat" coffin, believe me when I tell you that consuming good fats will not make you fat; in fact, the opposite is true. Most people lose weight when increasing fat consumption (and consecutively decreasing sugar consumption).  Good fat is an excellent energy source: it is dense and easily converted by the body into energy.  

Remember pork fat (lard) and its oleic acid content?  Oleic acid is one of the reasons that fat doesn't make you fat.  Besides containing medium-chain fatty acids that are easily absorbed and converted into energy, oleic acid begins production of oleoylethanolamide (OEA), which gets absorbed into nerve endings.  Once there, the OEA tells your body that it is full.  This is one of the excellent side effects of fat consumption...satiety.  Oleic acid is found in other animal fats, as well as in olive and nut oils.

Omega-3 fatty acids assist in burning fat because they tell your body to more effectively use the hormone leptin.  Leptin helps to suppress your appetite, rev your metabolism (by increasing thyroid output), and tell your body to burn fat for energy.  Medium-chain triglycerides (a type of medium-chain fatty acid) are quickly broken down by the body and converted into energy.  Fewer MCTs are converted to fat than are long-chain fatty acids.

 An MCT, coconut oil is a particularly potent weight loss agent. Rich in those easily digested, "instant energy" medium-chain fatty acids, coconut oil increases metabolism and encourages ketosis (the process that helps to burn glycogen stores).  Other MCTs are milk fat and palm oil.

Manmade fats (especially trans fats), however, can make you fat.  Your body cannot process these fake fats and they will accumulate as toxic deposits.  These bad fats become stored fat and produce inflammation (sometimes you aren't registering "fat" on the scale, but swelling).

How you consume your fats matters, too.  As Mark at Mark's Daily Apple remind us, "Fat is very satiating, especially when paired with low-carb eating. Dietary fat in the presence of large amounts of dietary carbohydrates can make it difficult to access fat for energy, while dietary fat in the presence of low levels of dietary carbohydrates makes it easier to access fat for energy. studies have shown that low-carb, high-fat diets not only reduce weight, they also retain or even increase lean mass. That means it’s fat that’s being lost (rather than the nebulous “weight”), which is what we’re ultimately after."

It is difficult to overeat fat. Because of its dense, filling effect, fat effectively signals your body’s satiation impulse. You are more likely to become ill before you can consume enough real fat calories to actually gain weight.  Healthy fats, including saturated animal fats, are easily processed and used for energy.

I will leave you with these important mantras to memorize:

  • Fat is the most essential human nutrient.
  • Good fats are great for you.
  • Cholesterol is not your enemy...it is a magnificent ally.
  • Real Fat doesn’t make you fat...sugar and fake fat does.
Now go and enjoy some brain-building, hormone-producing, heart-protecting, gut-healing, delicious fat!  And forget the fear, banish the guilt!  To your health!

For more information

Coconut oil burns fat

The myth of the low-fat diet

WAPF examines good vs. bad fats

Seven reasons to eat more saturated fat

Why a high-fat diet is healthy and safe

A holistic approach to cancer (your body needs more fat)

Pasta, not bacon, makes you fat

Myths and truths about nutrition

EconTalk podcast archive: Gary Taubes

The last days of the low-fat diet fad

Vegatable oils: The "refining" of our health

Toxic effects of vegetable oils

Why you should never eat vegetable oil

The truth about cholesterol

WAPF Truths and Myths about cholesterol

Cholesterol Con

Ravnskov's Cholesterol Myths

Low cholesterol is NOT good for you

Statin drug dangers

WAPF Dangers of Statin Drugs

Natural News Statin drug info

Check out this great graphic from Massive Health about how carbs are killing you.

ACOG Continues to Wage War Against Birth Freedoms

My ire was kindled this week by information shared in a news email I received from the Citizens for Midwifery:

ACOG Rejects the Ethic That Autonomy Is a Fundamental Human Right

The newsletter describes yet another attack by the ACOG (American College of Gynecology) on homebirth and patient-centered pregnancy care in the United States.  An October 2012 article in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology outlines the faulty ACOG position.  The article actually coaches OBs on how to counteract the "resurgence" of homebirths, and on how to deal with mothers who express a desire to birth at home.

CFM summarizes the issue well:
The attack is based on poor research and runs roughshod over established rights to bodily integrity. 
This article was “Presented at European Congress of Perinatal Medicine, Paris, France, June 13, 2012.”  So not only does the article attack home birth, it also represents an attempt to “export” to the rest of the world a position that the obstetric profession, not mothers, should have the final decision on birth, at a time when that isn’t even legally defensible here in the United States.   
The primary author, a Fellow of ACOG, faculty member at Cornell University Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, should be aware of American jurisprudence supporting patient autonomy and right to informed consent.  We can also assume that he is aware that systems of midwife attended homebirth are well established and integrated into the health delivery systems of many European countries.  And yet, it is the decision of the 2010 European Court of Human Rights case that seems to have prompted this "critical evaluation."  This was a case where obstetrician, Agnes Gereb, was imprisoned for attending home births in Hungary.  Her story is told in the movie “Freedom for Birth,” produced by One World Birth.
The authors’ conclusions are the height of hubris: “We urge obstetricians, other concerned physicians, midwives and other obstetric providers, and their professional associations to eschew rights-based reductionism in the ethics of planned home birth and replace rights-based reductionism with an ethics based on professional responsibility.”  In other words, reject the ethic that autonomy is a fundamental human right.  
Fiduciary responsibility is, by definition, putting the needs of the patient first.  If fiduciary responsibility was the same as professional responsibility, this would not be an either/or proposition.  The author defines professional responsibility as a model of decision making where “the patient has the right to select from medically reasonable alternatives.”  Who gets to decide what is reasonable?  Why, the obstetrician, of course.  And if the patient opts for an alternative the obstetrician has not deemed reasonable, then the obstetrician is justified in placing the “rights of the fetus” ahead of the rights of the first patient (the mother), although what is actually being asserted is the obstetrician’s own agenda over the rights of his/her patient. 
Buried in this article, and lost in the conclusion, is one very true statement: “The first professional responsibility of obstetricians is to ensure that hospital delivery is safe, respectful, and compassionate.” The author goes on to describe what that needs to look like, and in an easily overlooked fashion concedes that hospitals aren’t always safe places either.  In fact, both infant and maternal mortality are on the rise in the United States, at a time when hospitals have a near monopoly on birth.  
This failing falls squarely at the feet of ACOG and the collective actions of its Fellows, which calls to mind this quote:
“ACOG no longer has the moral authority to set standards in maternity care…. It has made too many self-aggrandizing and self-protective recommendations (e.g. against home birth, videotaping birth, and VBAC) that limit the freedom of American women and families.” (M. Wagner, Born In The USA, 2006, University of California Press, p. 32)
Overlooking this reality completely, the author also overlooks the most reliable research on the safety of home birth, while noting that ACOG “accepts the findings of Wax et al,” a thoroughly discredited piece of published research that does not stand as prima fascia evidence against the safety of home birth.  Even Amy Tuteur (no friend to home birth) says this AJOG article is “poorly researched, relies on bad studies and is woefully paternalistic.” 
One contradiction stands out as the authors call for “safe, respectful, and compassionate” hospital delivery.  No hospital birth can be truly respectful if the birth is happening in the hospital because the physician disrespects the woman’s right to an alternative and has rigged the system to eliminate access to all legal alternatives.

This is quintessential ACOG behavior, displayed regularly in the war on Real Birth.  The ACOG's desire to eradicate homebirth is not only fear-based, bad "medicine," it is an assault on our fundamental human rights to make our own life and health decisions.  Pregnancy is not an ailment and birth is not an emergency medical condition.  Anything less than autonomy in this realm (just as in the ream of food choices) is nanny state tyranny.  We are not wards of the government or the food and medical industries.  

We are free, thinking beings; our health and well-being choices belong to us alone. Contrary to ACOG propaganda, homebirths are not the bogey man OBs would have you believe.  Hospital births routinely end undesirably to some degree for mother and/or baby; such is the cost of unnatural, profit- and policy-driven interventions.  The majority of homebirths are beautiful, natural, empowering, spiritually enriching, safe experiences.  (Can we say the same for the industrial birth system?)  Whether at home or in hospital, even in the most blessed of circumstances, unhappy twists can occur.  Such is reality.  But the rare instance of undesirable outcomes certainly does not justify the vilification and outlawing of mankind's successful historical, traditional birthplace: the home.  If that is to be the case, the same measuring stick must be applied to the birth industry itself and hospital births must come under fire.

The fact is that we do not need (nor should we desire) to be protected from ourselves, especially not by the medical industry.  Doctors, of any persuasion, are to be our consultants IF we desire their input...they are not our dictators.  It is neither logical, nor reasonable, to allow the exception (women who suffer pregnancy complications) to define the rule (normal birth).  

Yet, the non-evidentiary technocratic model of birth rules the day.  And the "little gods" in white coats are not content to wield their power over the women who volunteer for their regime.  These practitioners of overplayed intervention seek to exert political power over us all, working to ban the practice of traditional midwifery and homebirth.  Just like Monsanto, the power-hungry conventional birth industry OBs are not content with their market share...they desire to annihilate the competition.

We can fight to stem this tide.  Check out the Citizens for Midwifery website to learn more and see what you can do to help.

Laboring Under Delusions: How Fear Facilitates Our Broken Birth Culture

I am glowing this week, as I just discovered I am pregnant with whom we hope will be child number four. I have a history of infertility and miscarriages, along with debilitating nausea and vomiting that lasts the entire gestation, so each pregnancy is met with prayerful anticipation. My births, however, have been wonderful, natural, empowering events...that necessitated commitment, preparation and hard work on my part. And I can promise you, Ladies, home waterbirths are every bit as wonderful as you’ve heard. I’ve had a land birth and I’ve had waterbirths...and you couldn’t pay me to give birth out of the water. They don’t call it the “aqua”dural for nothing! (Check out the myriad advantages of waterbirths for Mom and baby at the Waterbirth International website.)

So, on the heels of my positive pregnancy test, I wanted to resurrect and consolidate some essays I’ve penned previously on my passionate concern for our broken birth culture. I’d like to take some time to share my heartfelt conviction regarding the damage being perpetrated upon women and their babies as a result of our technocratic, fear-based, factory birth system.

We’ve all seen the quintessential cinematic or television portrayal of birth: Surrounded by monitors and equipment in a brightly lit room, a screaming woman lies in a hospital bed, begging for drugs. The room bustles with nurses and an OB or two, the scene is rife with panic. Someone yells, “PUSH!” or “I see a head!” in a voice edged with terror that should be reserved only for a devastating catastrophe like an impending Tsunami wave about to engulf an entire village. What drama! What trauma! What rubbish! But this is the typical version of birth we serve to society. The message is that birth is damaging, dangerous and an event to be feared.

The fear of birth is the beginning of intervention disaster. Our culture (the industrialized world, primarily the United States) teaches women to fear birth. Fear is paralyzing...it is powerful...it is profitable. Fearful parents are more easily led down the lockstep of “standard procedure” interventions. A fearful woman in pain has trouble making wise decisions. So much of birth is a mental exercise. Just like an athlete, you must “get your head in the game.” Attitude has a significant impact on outcomes. An attitude of fear debilitates. An attitude of peace, understanding, acceptance and a sound mind empowers. Fear-based decisions are faulty decisions. When you fear or fight the pain of birth, the laborious activity of birth, you impair your body’s natural ability to work with the baby and the process to achieve a positive outcome. Women who do not fear birth, who have not been indoctrinated to do so, who do not fight or interfere with the process, have much higher likelihoods of positive, natural results. What you believe about your body and your ability to birth has a tremendous impact on your birth outcome. Attitude is one of the most crucial elements to a successful birth.

Our modern birth system is a technocratic system. A technocracy is a society controlled by an elite of technical experts. Much of our society, including the entire medical industry, is technocratic. In the pregnancy/birth realm, the technocratic model defines the female body as broken...a compilation of defective parts that creates a dysfunctional reproductive process necessitating medical and technological intervention. This could not be further from the truth! Our bodies were designed for birth. The female body is not inferior and every human body is a wonderful, incredible organism of holistically integrated members.

“Anybody in obstetrics who shows a human interest in patients is not respected. What is respected is interest in machines.”
— Rick Walters MD, February 1986
We exist within a broken birth culture. We are told we cannot birth on our own. We are told that pregnancy is an illness and birth is dangerous. We are told that we are broken and we believe the lie. We are told that we need to be saved from ourselves when neither evidence nor experience supports that claim. Even women who desire and pursue “natural birth” often operate with ingrained presuppositions fed to us by the industry. The majority of women (and men, too) labor under a (sometimes subconscious) fear of the process, “giving ear to the voices of doctors, tests and technology that assert birth is dangerous and needs highly skilled assistance ‘just in case something goes wrong.’" (quote from Anne Frye, CPM, prominent midwifery educator)  That fear is unnatural...it is something in which our society has been indoctrinated over many decades. The assertion that hospital births are the safe option and that homebirths are risky is simply fallacious. An honest assessment of the evidence-based data refutes that claim. We must stop the hypermedicalization of birth (to borrow a phrase from the great birth liberator Ina May Gaskin).  There is no such thing as a safe drug, nor a risk-free surgery.  Both carry side effects and complications that corrupt our bodies.

“I’ve always had a special place in my heart for those women who choose home birth. The reason for this is that these women trust themselves more than doctors and hospitals.”
— Christiane Northrup MD, Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom
If you are one of the five percent of women who has a legitimate physiological/anatomical difficulty/malfunction that precludes you from normal birth, that necessitates medicalized birth, you have my genuine sympathies and my respect for battling your impediment and bringing your baby into the world. You are the minority...the rare exception...for whom the protocol of emergency/technological birth measures are prescribed. But for the industry to apply that paradigm to the rest of us...to seek the medicalization and enforced technological protocol for all normal birth...is criminal. Normal birth is NOT a medical event.

OBs who desire to normalize “abdominal” birth have completely lost touch with the reality of the human form and its natural function. There is no such thing as abdominal birth (aka cesarean section) without the risk-bearing tools of the factory birth system. A c-section is not a birth process at all...its “intent” is to be an emergency, last ditch effort. To elevate the c-section to a place of normalization along with natural vaginal birth borders on insanity. A c-section is an invasive surgery, not a birth. A woman is restrained to a table, she (and consequently her baby) is drugged, and her abdomen is sliced open, her internal tissues, musculature and an organ cut into, and her baby forcefully removed. As a genuine lifesaving, RARE procedure, we can accept such a violation. But let us never accept or promote it as an elective, normal birth option. Christiane Northrup, in her book, Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom, describes OBs that believe the c-section model to be the preferred baby delivery system. These doctors, at best, are deluded. According to their paradigm, it’s nothing short of miraculous that the human race made it to the 20th century.

“We do not see childbirth in many obstetric units now. What we see resembles childbirth as much as artificial insemination resembles sexual intercourse.”
— Ronald Laing, Psychiatrist
The industry seems blind to the fact that women have been populating the earth into the billions for millennia before the medicalization of birth. To claim that birth can only be safe and successful as a result of our modern, technocratic system is both arrogant and ignorant. The United States boasts the most technological birth system in the world, yet suffers one of the worst infant and maternal mortality rates in the developed world.  In California alone, the maternal death rate tripled between 1996 and 2006.  Nationally, cesarean sections are a significant factor in maternal death.  And rather than doing some serious self-reflection, the ACOG spends its time and resources vilifying homebirth. Even the CNM paradigm has shifted through the years to become aligned with the ACOG version of reality. So many CNMs now are just mini-OBs. Some know very little about botanical and nutritional therapies and do not advocate the complete pursuit of the instinctive, unfettered birth process.  I recently heard a student CNM rail against homebirths, saying she would never support a woman’s desire to birth outside the hospital system. “Babies die at home!” she said. Well, it is rare, yet sadly, it can happen. I grant you, life can be harsh. We despair to see a baby die in any environment. Bad things can happen, sometimes out of our control. But let us not be ignorant of the facts. Babies die in hospital births. Moms die in hospital births. Why does mainstream media neglect to seriously report the plight of maternal deaths as a result of the hospital birth system?

Hospital L&D protocols and procedures create a cascade of interventions that routinely results in harm (from mild to severe) to mothers and babies. The typical crisis outcome is the c-section, which accounts for 33% of births nationally (some states are at 40% and some hospitals are at 50%).  Too often, the hospital instigates the cascade of events and policies (epidurals, pitocin, fetal monitoring, mom in bed, etc.) that leads to birth complications, ends in a risky surgical delivery, and later the OBs thump their chests, claiming to have "saved" you and your baby. Well, it's partly true...they did save you...they saved you from the harm they caused you, significantly adding complications to you and your baby's birth and postpartum recovery. Yet the birth industry "experts" profess that they are providing the best, safest care...that they are protecting you. From what is the ACOG so desirous to protect women and babies? Peaceful, empowering, health-promoting, drug-free vaginal births? The fear-based, “broken body” paradigm causes industry practitioners and protocol makers to see every pregnancy as an illness and every birth as a disaster waiting to happen. They foolishly apply a (profitable) “one-size-fits-all” approach and work to convince all of us that it is sound practice. The industry needs to take a step back and begin to accept and practice what I believe is an essential, needful mantra: “Just because you CAN doesn’t mean you SHOULD!”

The birth industry applies the emergency procedure approach necessary for only five percent of women to all pregnant women. They treat all infants at birth like the endangered babies of drug-using, disease-riddled mothers. These presuppositions determine hospital birth policy. When was the last time you knew a pregnant mom who had gonorrhea? Not common. Yet the industry has made it standard treatment to fill ALL newborn’s eyes with chemical gunk to "protect" from that disease. How many moms do you know who are prostitutes or IV drug addicts?  Not too many?  Yet industry policy is to vaccinate ALL newborns for Hepatitis B.  The industry’s policies are not evidence-based necessities. The ACOG-driven policy of punishing midwives...of vilifying, outlawing and delegitimizing homebirth...does not stand on evidence-based science; it can only be compelled by profit and/or a desire for control and conformity. The ACOG stands ready with PR pitbulls and regulatory buddies to attack the moment they perceive (or design stories of) anything going awry in the homebirth realm. But where is that fire in the belly for publicizing and prosecuting those responsible in the hospital system when babies and mothers are harmed...even killed...by their interventions and procedures?!

“Birth matters. It matters because it is the way we all begin our lives outside of our source, our mothers’ bodies. It’s the means through which we enter and feel our first impression of the wider world. For each mother, it is an event that shakes and shapes her to her innermost core. Women’s perceptions about their bodies and their babies’ capabilities will be deeply influenced by the care they receive around the time of birth.”
— Ina May Gaskin, CPM, Birth Matters
The birth industry operates with a factory widget approach. Because of this flawed technocratic paradigm, the OB system sorely lacks good prenatal care. Good prenatal care involves a genuine relationship (including quality and quantity time spent) between the pregnant mother and her chosen support practitioner...it is more than tests and technological monitoring. It is not common for OBs...or even many CNMs, sadly...to educate women about how to be truly healthy during their pregnancy and to prepare for their best possible birth outcome (nutrition, exercise, herbs, lifestyle, etc). Birth industry practitioners don't tell women about the wonderful red raspberry leaf that strengthens, tones, then repairs the uterus, and helps to alleviate postpartum depression. They don't teach women about how to avoid posterior baby positioning that leads to labor complications (even c-sections), and what you can do to rotate a posterior baby before/during birth. They don't teach women about the optimum exercises and practices for birth preparation, nor do they encourage women to move into and explore the best birthing positions during labor/birth. In general, typical OB care includes vast unnecessary (and problematic) technological interventions, viewing all women the same, giving them all the standard protocol...it is the factory approach to childbearing, and it doesn't work. This birth culture disempowers women, keeps them disconnected from their bodies, babies and the birth process...it keeps women steeped in fear and self-doubt...and it perpetuates the lies to the next generations.

“The gap between actual obstetric practices in the Unites States and what scientific evidence indicates obstetric practices should be continues and will be slow to change until there is sufficient pressure—from women, scientists, politicians, and the media—to force more evidence-based practices.”
— Marsden Wagner MD, Born in the USA

Any perspective, finding or practice outside the established accepted industry norm is routinely vilified, slandered, mocked, or suppressed. If you don't walk to their beat, you're out of line. The minute someone questions "conventional wisdom" and it gets big enough to make ripples, the hounds are released. It's so typical and common that it's humorous. Someone comes close to rocking the boat and the PR dogs bark out their mantra..."that cannot be proven," "that is unsafe," "that is not approved." And when the establishment gets caught with dirty hands, caught in deceptions, caught altering results, caught with egg on their faces, the response is first silence, then more mud-slinging at those who are outside the box...the hounds just shout their mantras louder: "Unproven, dangerous, unproven, dangerous! We are the only truth, we are your only hope." As if saying it will guarantee their continued stranglehold on society. 

In 2007/8, there sprang forth a handful of exposes on the birth industry, including Ricki Lake's documentary The Business of Being Born, Jennifer Block's book Pushed and Marsden Wagner's book Born in the U.S.A.  Their message was neither new nor revolutionary (the flawed technocratic, medicalized, for-profit American birth model is rife with problems), but perhaps it was the frequency or consolidation of the voices that created ripples in the sea of public consciousness. As a result, growing numbers of women began to question the "party line" and sought alternatives. My friend, a licenced midwife in California, told me that she had never busier. As the seedlings of this rogue enlightenment nudged their way to the light of day, the threatened status quo responded in typical form to squash any growing opposition. The ACOG came out with its bald-faced lie...um, I mean statement...that homebirths are dangerous. This was followed by a bout of propaganda in which news outlets ran stories about the horrors of out-of-hospital births. My then-pregnant, homebirthing friend told me, with infuriated passion, "It makes me so angry that I want to go outside, squat in my front yard and just push this baby out!" My sentiments exactly! 

After a significant study was published in 2009 that showed planned homebirths with professional midwives were "just as safe as hospital births," the ACOG released more negative press, decrying homebirth. This kind of defensive fear-mongering flies in the face of the historical facts regarding the safety and desirability of the age-old natural birthplace...the home. As the interest in homebirth and empowered choice has grown, so has the establishment's mud-slinging. The message is clear...you cannot birth without us. The birth industry chants this disinformation as loudly as it can, using various mediums to do so (including popular television series, corporate media "news reporting," advertising, control of the medical journals, etc.).

“Women were...telling me they’d felt tremendous pressure from their medical providers to go against instinct and research—to induce labor, to schedule a cesarean, to lie back during labor when every cell in their body felt like moving. Women are supposed to push their babies out; instead, they felt they were being pushed around.”
— Jennifer Block, Pushed
One of the most irksome segments for me in The Business of Being Born was the OB interviewee who likened homebirth to driving without wearing a seatbelt. Not quite! Driving without a seatbelt in the birth realm is a couple who refuses to become informed consumers. It is a mama-to-be who doesn’t take advantage of the essential therapeutic modalities (like botanical medicine, chiropractic care, acupuncture, exercise and nourishing diet) that create a healthy baby and positive birth outcome. I’m turning the tables on the OB’s statement. Homebirth is akin to driving without a seatbelt? Nonsense.  Let's use an analogy to describe the risks women take when they enter the hospital birth industry. That scenario is akin to a woman being tranquilized, strapped into a straight jacket, shoved into a giant hamster ball and pushed toward a cliff.

The system says, “You can’t do it.” The system says, “Our way is the only way. Our drugs are safe...this procedure is necessary...you have no alternatives...those other options are dangerous, unproven, ineffective, blah, blah, blah. Trust us. Believe us. Obey us.” We listen to the voices and we make ourselves victims.  Why do we listen to the lies?  Truly, there is no substitute for the care of a well-trained, knowledgeable midwife (literally "with woman").  The birth industry cannot offer you anything that comes close.  The birth industry's drugs carry significant risks to mother and baby. Epidurals are anesthetics derived from the Caine family of drugs, such as bupivicaine (a relative of cocaine), and are often combined with opioids and narcotics.  These drugs are certainly not benign; neither is pitocin (which is not even approved for elective inductions). The birth industry's standard protocols (such as constant electronic fetal monitoring
) do not facilitate the birth process, have not been proven to improve outcomes, and often lead to unnecessary and undesirable complications. Babies are negatively impacted by drugs and procedures used during hospital births...a possibility that is avoided with homebirth.  The placenta is not an impenetrable fortress through which no toxins pass.  Women understand this instinctively and work during pregnancy to protect their babies from drugs and toxins.  So why would we expose our babies to a dose of extraordinarily potent and toxic drugs during birth?

Fundamentally, it is a distrust of our bodies that makes us vulnerable to the factory system. Why do we listen? Our bodies DO work...it is a rare event that they need medical help.  We need to understand that good midwives can alleviate many undesirable acute situations that could emerge during birth at home (such as shoulder dystocia or neonatal resuscitation).  Midwives also know to recognize the signs of impending complications (both prenatally and during labor) and seek help if necessary.  But above all, midwives RESPECT and support a woman's choices in pursuing her best birth.  We need to redesign our paradigm.  We need NOT be led by fear and expect undesirable outcomes.  Expect success, work for it, and you will be amazed at the results.

As a society, we choose how young women view birth...either with fear, or with awe and confidence. The tragic irony is that for all our modern female liberation and empowerment, American women allow themselves to fall prey to the patriarchal technocratic baby delivery system that is founded on the erroneous belief that our bodies are flawed and broken and that we need to be saved from ourselves. We allow ourselves to be abused by a misuse of technology. As a culture, how far will we stray from the natural processes of life? How long will we continue to disempower women in this most natural feminine realm? Why are we allowing them to destroy our right to choose how to birth our babies? How many of you know a woman (perhaps yourself) who regrets her industrial birth outcome? How many of you know someone, mama or baby, altered or harmed by the standard procedures? Ladies, if you want to be empowered, start by taking back birth! Our daughters need not be victims of this system. We have the power to change the factory birth model and our cultural attitude...one birth at a time.

For citations, statistics and information:

The Technocratic Model of Birth

Differences Between Technocratic and Holistic Models of Care
Birth "attacks" against women
BMJ Study:  Outcomes of Planned Homebirths with CPMs
Canadian Study: Planned Homebirths Safe
The Rituals of American Hospital Birth
Midwifery Today Responds to ACOG Homebirth "Study"
Technology in Birth: First Do No Harm
The Truth About Epidurals
Risks of Epidurals
Epidural Epidemic
The Truth About Pitocin
Cesarean Rates and Information
Benefits of Waterbirth
Medication During Pregnancy Causes Fetal Damage
US Infant Mortality Rates
Deadly Delivery: Amnesty International Report
The Safe Motherhood Project
Maternal Death Rates Linked to C-Sections
Risks of High-Tech Births
Wombecology by Michael Odent
Ina May Gaskin
Midwifery Today

Pushed: The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care by Jennifer Block

Born in the USA: How a Broken Maternity System Must Be Fixed to Put Women and Children First by Marsden Wagner
Birth as an American Rite of Passage: Second Edition by Robbie Davis Floyd
Birth Models That Work by Robbie Davis Floyd
Obstetric Myths Versus Research Realities: A Guide to the Medical Literature by Henci Goer
The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer
Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
Birth Matters: A Midwife's Manifesta by Ina May Gaskin
Birth without Violence by Frederick LeBoyer
Childbirth without Fear by Grantly Dick Read
Gentle Birth Choices by Barbara Harper
Birthing Normally by Gayle Peterson
Expecting Trouble: What Expectant Parents Should Know About Prenatal Care in America by Thomas Strong

Protecting Our Children from Fear-Based Medicine and Vaccine Damage

I have long been a skeptic of the modern medical establishment's paradigm and practices.  Because I am wired to question and contradict the status quo, it was natural for me to eject from a broken medical system.  I believe the modern allopathic system is irrevocably flawed; I do not trust drug companies or the institutions and doctors over whom they hold sway.

Before my children were born, I determined I would never vaccinate any of them.  I had studied and queried enough to know that the fear-based vaccination agenda would not be a part of our lives.  At that time, my position was somewhat unusual...much more so than now.  Because of the wealth of information being quickly disseminated in our society today, growing numbers of concerned parents have begun to question the sanity of the vaccine program. 

The vaccine debate is certainly heated, with powerful, collusive interests propagating the tale that there is nothing to fear, nothing to question, nothing to reject.  Despite continued loss of support by parents and doctors alike, despite continuing evidence that tells a different story, the vaccine industry uses its clout to proliferate the myth that vaccines are safe, efficacious and necessary.  Saying something loudly over and over and over does not make the thing true.  Forcing a paradigm and a procedure upon the public because you have the power to do so does not make that paradigm and procedure legitimate.  The popular answer is not by default the correct answer.  And making health decisions based solely upon the advice of drug manufacturers and the doctors who trust them is not informed consumerism.

I am encouraged as I see parents rightly questioning fear-based medicine...as they adopt a willingness to take personal responsibility for their children's health, to educate themselves outside the established box, to stand against medical bullying...so they can make informed decisions based on knowledge and conviction.  Freedom of choice is a key aspect to creating and preserving health and wellness.  People seem to have forgotten that the modern medical industry is a service provider offering one approach.  Too many MDs perceive and present themselves as little gods in white coats offering the best and the most appropriate treatment for all that ails us.  This premise is fundamentally false, based on faulty education and cultivated by an extraordinarily powerful and profitable technocratic, drug-based industry.

The medical industry, in collaboration with governmental regulatory agencies, has time and again exhibited its inclination to control our health choices.  Whether someone desires to participate in the modern medical system should be an act of will, not the result of coercion.  And when persons determine to seek assistance from any medical practitioner, they should remember that the power lies with the consumer.  We write the checks, they work for us!

When I exercised my freedom of choice all those years ago, determining to direct the health and development of my children outside the established medical system, I wrote a paper summarizing my decision.  Since that time, the vaccination issue has continued to expand, with new information regularly appearing on the scene.  What follows is the link to my treatise on vaccine refusal (with a bibliography of links and resources), as well as links to recently appearing vaccine news and some of my favorite vaccine information sources.  

Food Freedoms and Parental Rights Fall Prey to Tyranny and Greed

Yes, once again the little dictators are out of control...trampling our inalienable, fundamental, natural rights; running roughshod over our personal freedoms.  Read on for this week's "tyranny in review."

Pastured Pork Comes Under the Gun

As reported by the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, "In a brazen power grab threatening the livelihood of hundreds of small farmers, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is using the state Invasive Species Act to expand its jurisdiction beyond hunting and fishing to farming operations. On April 1, 2012 an Invasive Species Order (ISO) that DNR issued in December 2010 prohibiting the possession of a number of different types breeds of swine will go into effect." (emphasis mine)

And from Hartke Online: "The Michigan Pork Producers Association is endorsing a radical move on the part of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The DNR has declared feral pigs an “invasive species.” Under its interpretation any domestic pig can be considered feral. The DNR is putting fine-dining chefs and the farmers who supply them on notice. Heritage breed pigs may soon be off the menu, and prohibited on pasture-based farms. Also affected will be the many Michigan families who choose to buy humanely raised meat for their family table." (emphasis mine)

This is nothing more than an attack on pasture-based clean food farmers.  Well, it is more...  This is also an attack on consumer choice--on your ability to purchase clean food from small, responsible, humane, healthy farms.  Once again, the dirty food industry (in this case, the pork industry) is vying for complete control of consumer choices and is using the government to accomplish its agenda.  The Michigan DNR does not even have jurisdiction over farming operations!  Naturally raised heritage-breed pigs are already a rarity in this country.  If Michigan has its way, those numbers will continue to decline.  Which other states will use this as precedent and follow suit?  First it's the natural, historical, free-range, pastured pigs.  What's next?  Jersey cows?!

Dominoes by whoaitsfrancesca
This may seem like a small issue to anyone not living in Michigan or anyone not eating pastured pork.  But little things breed big things.  It only takes one domino to topple the entire structure.  Those of us who have raised or are raising pastured, heritage breed pigs know exactly what is at risk.  Heritage breed pigs can be difficult to procure and quite expensive (certain breeding pairs, such as the Mangalitsas, can cost as high as $3,000).  Anyone who cares about Real Food freedom and consumer choice; anyone who understands the essential need to keep community, pasture-based farms in business; and anyone who desires to consume healthy lard should be very concerned about this potential threat.

Heritage breed, as defined by The American Livestock Breeds Conservatory, "typically means the traditional livestock breeds that were raised by our forefathers. These are the breeds of a bygone era, before industrial agriculture became a mainstream practice. These breeds were carefully selected and bred over time to develop traits that made them well-adapted to the local environment and they thrived under farming practices and cultural conditions that are very different from those found in modern agriculture."

Historical breeds have not been manipulated for the CAFO industry.  Heritage pigs retain their natural traits and instincts, are better mothers (unlike their unnatural CAFO-reared cousins who have a reputation for smothering to death their young), and are better adapted to living outside, foraging, and thriving on pasture.  For a pastured pig, diet includes anything growing on top of and under the ground.  Pigs are amazing plow-snouted, digging "machines" and will unearth and devour all types of roots.  As Joel Salatin points out, the natural pig is a fantastic friend to the farmer or anyone who needs to have ground turned over (even stumps removed).  This exercise, exposure to sunshine and fresh air, and vegetative diet produces healthy pork and lard, the king of fats.

Elvis, a Tamworth from Bone Dry Ridge Farm, WA
Last year, my husband decided to raise two heritage-breed Tamworth pigs on our little "homestead."  I can assure you they are neither feral nor dangerous, but they are far removed from modern industrial confinement pigs.  Tamworths, nicknamed the Irish Grazer for their propensity to thrive so well on free-range pastures, make great bacon.  Our pigs lived happily outside on pasture, rooting to their hearts' content, and were fed only organic, raw veggie and fruit scraps, and select organic (mostly sprouted) grains (no soy or corn).  The Tamworths provided our first exposure to rearing, butchering and eating our own clean pork.  It was even the first time in my life that I had prepared pork...and it has been delicious!  I rarely ate pork through the years because of my concern about the health and safety of commercial pork products; anytime I ate industrial pork through the years, I suffered terrible GI distress.  I have found the reverse to be true while consuming our pastured pork...I feel wonderfully satiated and suffer no adverse affects from eating our pigs.  Industrial pork is an unhealthy food riddled with problems of toxicity.  Pastured pork, however, fed its proper raw diet and raised outside in sunshine with earth to turn, plants to eat, and room to roam, is a fantastic food.

The best part of raising our own pigs was the opportunity to render the lard.  Pastured lard is the second richest source of vitamin D.  Clean, organic, pastured

Michigan farmer Mark Baker of Baker's Green Acres farm, who raises a rare breed of pig that he sells to fine chefs and artisan charcuterie producers, has filed a lawsuit to stop the implementation of the onerous and illegitimate ISO.  Baker's Mangalitsa hogs (yes, those $3,000 pigs), considered by many to be the consummate gourmet pork, would come under threat...as would any heritage breed pigs on any farm.  As Baker notes in his complaint, "close examination of the wording of the ISO reveals that it outlaws the entire pig species, then makes an exception for pigs involved in ‘domestic hog production."

As a result of this unjustifiable, despotic move, Michigan pasture-based clean food pig farmers could lose their entire herds.  Confused and upset farmers demanded a meeting with DNR.  The farmers, some of whom had driven more than six hours to get to the meeting, were met by armed men, one wearing a Kevlar jacket, that were sent to "monitor the proceedings."  The farmers were given a six-minute presentation, after which the DNR refused to take questions.  Wow!  Totalitarian tactics and armed men?  What kind of threat did they expect to encounter?!  What's the message here?  "Comply or be silenced?"

Is this for real?  Sadly, it's not the stuff of Orwellian story telling...it is happening right now, right in our "land of the free."  Please read the truth for yourself and please contact Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, demanding (er, I mean, encouraging) that he repeal the ridiculous and fraudulent DNR ISO that will take effect April 1.  Also, please consider joining the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund and even supporting farmer Mark Baker in his fight against the Michigan DNR.

Related links:
Newborn Kidnapped by Social Workers and Hospital Staff, Mom Tossed Out
As reported by NaturalNews, " Another shocking case of tyrannical, overzealous social workers and hospital staff has unfolded in Pennsylvania, where a mom who just gave birth in an ambulance to a healthy baby girl was threatened by a government social worker and accused of not allowing her child to receive "medical treatment." (A claim which is factually false.) In reality, the new mom, exhausting from giving birth in an ambulance, was merely asking questions and trying to determine how her newborn daughter was being treated by hospital staff."

After being bullied and threatened (and remember, the woman had just birthed her daughter) for noncompliance, Jodi Ferris was thrown out of the Hershey, PA hospital and her baby was vaccinated against her parents' wishes.  Of what crime were this baby's parents being accused?  What abuse had they perpetrated against their newborn daughter to warrant CPS and police intrusion and action?  This baby, minutes old, was seized and kept from her parents and violated by the medical establishment because her mother dared to question the system and refused consent for a vaccination.  Read it and weep!  That's a crime worthy of losing our children over now!  Absolute insanity.

Ferris is a homeschooling mother in a state known for its onerous interference and regulation.  She is a homebirthing mother (if only she had remained at home to birth her child, as originally planned...) in an age of the "one size fits all" medical system.  Independent thought and action has become an increasingly unpopular and threatening "subculture" in America.  As Ferris's story reveals, individuals pursuing an alternative path fall under the ire of the technocratic, profit-mad hospital "birth" machine.  My midwife sees clients who (for whatever reason) transport to the hospital come under fire and harassment, even threatened for noncompliance.  It is a mournful and not uncommon scenario.  These abuses of power by government workers and the unnecessary, unsafe interventions and personal violations by the medical establishment seem to be par for the course in America today.  We are a nation run by bullies, fueled by corporations and industries with limitless financial and political power.  They want absolute control and we are meant to obey.

What's the message here?  "Some woman planned to give birth to her baby without our technocratic interference? How dare she!  Some parent refuses our vaccinations...inconceivable!  We must make an example of them."  The medical elite is ready to punish you for ejecting yourself outside the system.  Personal freedom?  Not on their watch.  It's like a life-sized medical mafia version of "whack-a-mole" perpetrated against nonconformists who step outside the box.  The medical industry has set its agenda and determined what is acceptable for you and your children.  The message is clear:  Disobey at your own risk.  

I do not believe for one minute that the hospital's actions were spurred by malpractice concerns.  This is about control and conformity...the program may not be breached.  Myriad individuals regularly refuse coercive medical procedures and their desires and rights are being disregarded and encroached upon.  Would it make a difference if every nonconformist who ends up pitted against a doctor, nurse or hospital worker played a stronger hand?  "I'm the consumer...I write the checks.  You are the service provider, you work for me!  This is my body (or my baby/child) and I do not consent to your intrusions, drugs and/or procedures.  Anything short of compliance to my wishes is an assault and I will call the police and my lawyer."  That's the way it should work.  Does it?  Will it?  Could it?  One can only hope.....

Thankfully, lawyers from HSLDA (vigilant defenders of homeschooling and parental rights) are determined to fight this case on behalf of the Ferris family.  Let us all hope and pray that the case is won and sets new precedent protecting parental rights for us all.  Please consider contributing to HSLDA for this cause, as it is a donations-based organization whose lawyers do not charge client fees. 

Related links:
These disturbing stories strike a personal chord, as mine is a homesteading, heritage-animal raising, homeschooling, homebirthing family.  I hope you all are as outraged and concerned as I...together, we can resist and perhaps even turn the tide.

News You Should Know

As I have been unable to devote any significant time to writing this month, I wanted to share some news items that have caught my attention and are (I believe) worthy of contemplation.  (Thanks to my valued contacts for their contributions...you know who you are.)

First up, we have a heart surgeon telling the public that the fear of fat so aggressively promoted by the establishment is a big, fat lie.  (And all the WAPF acolytes say: "We could have told you that!"  Nevertheless, it's good to see this truth getting more press.)  "The injury and inflammation in our blood vessels is caused by the low fat diet recommended for years by mainstream medicine."  Read more about What Really Causes Heart Disease.

Next, we have our infamous FDA considering the release of multiple pharmaceuticals into the "over-the-counter" category.  (How considerate!...making it easier for the masses to drug themselves further into chronic toxicity and not apply true healing cures.  I mean, we certainly wouldn't want people to continue seeking natural alternatives to prescription drugs.  Snark warning...oops, too late.)

Next, take a look at the beautiful truth about vitamin C and whooping cough.

Next, a cautionary tale for any parent who is concerned about vaccination (and you should be) and believes the government and doctors do NOT have the right (and they don't) to vaccinate your children without your consent.

And while we're talking about your rights to avoid the harms caused by vaccination, here's a great essay by Dr. Russell Blaylock on mandatory vaccination.  Blaylock is an outspoken neurosurgeon who works to warn the public about the dangers of vaccination. 

Next, read about how babies are harmed by their mothers' use of antidepressants.

Finally, here's an informative graphic look at the uselessness of the TSA's cancer machines (aka "body scanners").  (One caveat:  I don't agree with the downplayed stats of the cancer risk...otherwise, I enjoyed this map of the insanity that is the TSA and its unethical, immoral and illegal "grope and pillage" tactics.)

TSA Waste
Created by: Online Criminal Justice Degree

Well, that's it for now...I may come back later and add more as the cobwebs clear from the little grey cells.  My final thought for the day:  I don't take health advice from the government or the mainstream medical industry.  I hope you don't either.  Until next time, be well, stay informed and become your own expert!

The Ugly Facts on Medical Lobbyists

I know...I'm breaking my own hiatus...but I just couldn't help it.  The following alert from Mercola is too important for me to ignore; it's the kind of thing I feel compelled to share.  I will not elaborate on it, nor will I copy it in entirety here.  I ask you to go to the link, read the article and watch the clips for yourself.  And please share this with others.

Medical Lobbyists Stealing Your Freedom

[Once again, I want to say that I am not in exact agreement with everything Mercola says and does. But overall, I think he provides an important service to the public by way of his health information and alerts. I appreciate his zeal and his concern for sharing and warning as much as he does, so I can overlook some of his more conventional views and somewhat pushy selling strategies.]

My aversion for the conventional medical system and our political system is kindled by the information shared in Mercola's latest post.

A few highlights (quoted from Mercola's article):

"The pharmaceutical industry is the BIGGEST political lobby in the US. There should be no doubt about the power the drug industry wields in shaping the U.S. health care system, and political lobbying is one of the primary reasons why the drug companies are controlling nearly the entire the health industry. 
In just one decade, from 1998 to 2008, the pharmaceutical industry alone spent $1.5 BILLION on lobbying for legislative favors and tax breaks.

Is it any wonder that so few of our laws make sense anymore?

The pharmaceutical industry's power and influence over government, the field of conventional medicine, and your mind through massive marketing efforts, is in a class of its own. It's just that most people don't realize the staggering magnitude of their financial influence, and therefore are blinded and deceived by the manipulated perception that the industry is "helping mankind."  (emphasis mine...I could not say it better myself.)

Lobbyists often craft purposefully nebulous language to change the US code to specific ends of industry, and these amendments are then snuck into various bills, which no one read before passing.

...the revolving door between the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and various drug companies and other industries...has done untold damage to public health and health freedom. It is very common for high-ranking FDA officials to get lucrative consulting positions with the drug companies after they quit.  (emphasis mine)
The converse is also very common. Federal officials can get paid millions by the drug companies before they make the switch over to the FDA..."

Enough said...and yet, somehow, it's not enough...there is so much more in this realm that it makes one's head spin.  But for now, this is enough.  I'm going back on break to cogitate and tackle some heretofore neglected essentials.  I leave you with an appeal:  get riled and motivated to effect change in our culture.  Sowing seeds of doubt about the "powers that be" and encouraging questions regarding the status quo are a great place to begin.

I missed this one...my husband pointed out (with a grimace) the irony of the last few seconds of the 60 minutes video.  "Brought to you by Lipitor."  It just never ends...even the journalists (I use that term very loosely) are beholden to the drug companies.

The War Rages...Please Fight for Real Milk and Your Health Rights

I know I said the next few posts were going back to topics other than Real Food, but this is too important to ignore.  I am irate...and as such, will keep my vociferations as brief as possible.  I am utterly disgusted with the latest governmental raw milk witch hunt.  I apologize in advance, but this is going to be rant-like...you've been warned.

Yesterday the CA Dept. of Food and Ag. shut down Organic Pasture's raw milk operation with allegations that five children were infected by e. coli that was "suspected" to come from OP milk.  Samples of the milk that those children consumed have tested negative for e. coli.  Read more here:

Organic Pastures News Release

ABC Fresno Report

This is a war, my friends.  Our government, based on nothing more than corporate interests, wants to deny you access to raw milk.  The fear-mongering is becoming more intense, the allegations and intrusions more vigorous.  For years, these battles have been raging; the Real Food "little guys" have been fighting goliath...it isn't getting any easier, and it isn't going away.  

This is not the first time Organic Pastures has been under the gun with governmental agencies.  The grass-based raw dairy weathered the storm five years ago when falsely accused of selling milk infected with malevolent e. coli.  And in 2009, the FDA tried to get California to shut down OP permanently.  It isn't enough that our government has already banned interstate sales of real milk...the goal is to eradicate raw milk sales altogether.

The powers that be want absolute control over our lives, our choices...and they will cheat and lie to achieve that end.  The corrupt, meddling industrial food and medical interests (led by the FDA and its state agency cronies) will stop at nothing to achieve its goals.  This is an outrage, because the FDA operates as a power unto itself...untouchable...using its authority to change the rights of every American.  For these unelected "regulatory" agencies to exert such control is anathema to the very foundations of this country's originally established governmental system.  These agency actions are a violation of our rights in every way.

Why am I so upset?  Is it really such a big deal?  OP will win this skirmish, too, right?  In my mind, this is not a small affair.  It is another fissure in our already crumbling personal freedom fortress.  Certainly we have no guarantee that right will win the day...it simply does not work that way anymore in our overblown, corporate-run government.  The "agents of regulation" are not on our side.

Raw milk is not the only victim of the FDA's wrath.  The agency is currently working on another way to considerably limit public access to supplements.  Again, this particular fight is not new, just increasingly ugly.  Our freedom of choice...and the ability of the free market to operate...will be significantly diminished if the FDA enacts its proposed revised guidelines for "new dietary ingredients" (NDI).  

Currently, our access to supplements is protected primarily by the 1994 Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA).  But if the FDA has its way, bringing to market any new ingredient (since 1994) will be so onerously expensive for companies that very few could be able to do so.  Except, of course...drumroll please...pharmaceutical companies.  Ah, I didn't really expect you to be surprised.  I know it shouldn't, but the cronyism never ceases to amaze me.  If you do not already understand the depths of depravity in the pharmaceutical industry, I regret my inability to enlighten you now.  Suffice it to say that it will not be a good thing when pharmaceutical companies have unmitigated control...and they desire nothing less.

Please visit the Alliance for Natural Health to learn more about this threat to your health freedom and what actions you can take against yet another draconian FDA move.

So, I come to the end of today's fulmination.  We see raging before us the war on personal freedom, on food freedom, on health freedom.  What can we do?  I'm not sure...it seems we now have so little power and control over our own fates in this country.  Will contacting congressional members really stem the tide of these and future violations?  Considering the corruption deeply embedded in our government, I put no trust in the system.  But we must fight...raise our voices, refuse to comply...be awake, aware, contend against complacency.

I am a tiny voice...truly insignificant in this realm.  But I am contributing my voice and entreating you to care, to learn and to fight.

It's All About Trust

I had planned to write a richly referenced treatise on the failures and corruption of the modern medical industry, but as I contemplated the necessary content and examined my purpose in sharing it, a broader message formulated in my mind.  Trust.  Simple word, complex concept.  Blind trust...earned trust...full trust, no trust.  So many facets.

Outside the friends and family who may visit me here, I am an ambiguity.  You don't know me.  Why should you trust me?  I could be a complete lunatic with some smooth phraseology and a nice book list.  I'm not, but you don't know that.  LOL  (This reminds me of a conversation I had with my hubby about "credibility stock."  When I advise someone on a course of treatment or dietary change and they see positive improvement or healing occur, he tells me my "credibility stock" soars.  Nice visual.)

So it causes thoughtful pause...whom do we trust and why?  Whom should we trust and how do we know?  Instead of force-feeding you my point of view, I want to cause you to think...to question.  I want you to dig, to learn, to formulate healthy skepticisms and a nose for half-truths.  For those already in my camp, this message is nothing new.  And I am not in the business of converting staunch objectors...I have neither the time nor the emotional bandwidth to do so.  My message is perhaps most apropos for the seekers.

When it comes to health problems, illness and disease, people often seek "alternatives" after modern medicine has failed them.  These seekers have begun to see a fundamental truth:  modern medicine will continue to fail because it is not a system of healing that can create wellness.  How often do you consult with a conventionally trained doctor that considers your ailment in light of your holistic physiological system and teaches you how to change your lifestyle and diet to create wellness?  How often do they encourage you to learn and take responsibility for your own health so that you do not need them?  How often do they help you to identify the core cause of your chronic illness/ailment and teach you how to achieve healing? How often do they tell you to eschew chemicals and toxins (including drugs), eat Real Food (including saturated fats from pastured animals), spend time outside in direct sunlight without sunscreen, drink the correct amount of water, consume sea salt generously, and reduce your EMF exposure?  How often do they prescribe pure botanical medicine that actually heal bodily systems and boost immunity?  How often do they advise you to cleanse and restore your liver and then teach you how to do it?  How often do they tell you that cancer can be healed...and without toxins? or tell you how to live and eat to avoid getting cancer?  How often do those doctors do much more than "diagnose" and prescribe pharmaceuticals to affect symptomatology?  Drugs don't cure disease.  The drug industry has no vested interest in curing anyone of anything.  Medical mistakes, including prescription drugs kill around 780,000 people annually.*  But I digress......

When you consider the medical establishment and its practices, you should be asking some simple but fundamental questions.  [If it isn't already painfully obvious, I should point out that I will be using "we" to represent our collective modern society.]  Why do we blindly trust doctors (MDs); why do we accept them as the "gods" in the white coats?  Why do we believe that they "know best" and have the answers?  How did the modern allopathic medical system become the dominant option...the authoritative voice...on the medical landscape?  Is their science supreme?  Are their theories and modalities correct?  How and in what are said doctors educated...by whom and why?  How are drugs and procedures tested and approved...and by whom?  Whose interests are served in the outcome?  Are the outcomes honest?  Is the modern medical industry truly a trustworthy system?

I could answer all these questions for you, but it would spoil your fun.  Do your own digging...seek truth and be not afraid of the answers you may find.  As you search, consider this:  Are we, in our technocratic age, so arrogant as to believe that only in the last 100 years of human history we have "gotten it all right?"  I argue that millennia of human history tells us otherwise.

I will close with an anecdote (which, of course, will contain another question).  I encountered someone who came to me for advice in dealing with a significant medical issue.  She was not completely comfortable with the pharmaceutical approach recommended to her by the MD and I took the time to discuss with her the very real dangers of the drug offered to her, as well as to prescribe some herbal and nutritional therapies.  When I told her the history and effects of said drug, she became wide-eyed, somewhat incredulous, and replied, "Oh, but they (the FDA) would never allow that to be given to people if it were dangerous!"  I was so astounded at such naivete that I could not immediately reply.  But her comment typifies an all-too-common mentality of blind trust in the medical establishment and its regulatory agencies.  My new reply, which I must practice, lest I be caught off-guard again in future, is, "Why would you assume such a thing?"

And I will leave you with that thought...or this one:  Why would you...why do you...assume the status quo is the only acceptable route?  Why do you trust the modern medical establishment?  I suggest that before you continue to do so with any level of comfort, that you do some homework.  After that, once you have unearthed what lies beneath well-crafted PR and cleared through the smoke and mirrors, if you still want to place your trust completely in the existing dominant system, just be sure it is earned trust...not blind trust.

For more information on these topics, please watch my Library and Links tabs (which will be compiled as quickly as possible in the next weeks).


EWWHerbals                                                                              "Every wise woman builds her house..."  Proverbs 14:1

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