Archive for February, 2018

Practice Civility for Health

February 26, 2018

Many of us are on edge, knowing that our actions today will determine how viable Earth will be for generations to come.

Horrific events joggle us awake as we try to make sense of how they could possibly happen. Initially the finger of blame points to one possible cause: an inanimate gun. Yet a closer look finds many causes leading up to the choice to retaliate with guns. We learn that it is not just lax gun laws but perhaps lack of follow up for child abuse or domestic violence problems, school bullying, mental health problems, and general lack of good will that will not be resolved even when safer gun laws are put in place. Gun laws are just step one.

We are horrified when 17 lives are snuffed out at random, yet when children are singly mistreated, neglected, or ignored one at a time for years, where is our concern? Nikolas Cruz gave out plentiful danger signals that appear to have been largely ignored.

We do have a big job to do. Our country was founded on the genocide of one people and the enslavement of another. We still have to figure out what it means to be civil people, and commit ourselves to making civility happen.

Civility means respecting people who are different than you or I. Evidence of civility includes attributes of cooperation, tolerance, acceptance, inclusiveness, kindness, inviting and sharing different opinions, courtesy, patience, and ….  We do know what makes us feel good and connected.

George Washington had 110 Rules for Civil Behavior. Henry James shortened his list to the three things in human life that are important: 1. Be kind. 2 Be kind and 3 Be kind. PM Forni has 25 rules in his book, The Civility Solution: What to do when people are rude. The lists are all on the internet if you like lists. Kurt Vonnegut, who survived the WWII US bombing of Dresden as a POW, spent the rest of his life working the James’ plea, “You’ve Got to be Kind!” into his writing.

Inclusivity is one of our greatest challenges: to find ways to help others to fit in, to belong. Most of us have felt left out at some point in life and we know what kind of resentment and insecure feelings come  with feeling left out. Most of us have also left people out at other times, unaware of our need to retaliate.

As our world becomes one community, tightly connected by transport and communication, we each need to take a sober look at how we give respect to others who are different than we are and be open to changing our own behavior as participants in the global community.


Let’s Put an End to the Flu!

February 13, 2018

Flu infections continue to plague NH folks. We know that new viruses will continue to be passed around as world travel increases. Our best defense is a strong immune system. Vitamin C has long been credited as an important defense against viruses. The best way to build up Vitamin C in our cells is not to run out and buy megadoses of Vitamin C at the health counter. Our best protection is to limit our sugar consumption. Here’s why.

In the 1970’s, John T. A. Ely, a professor of orthomolecular medicine, UW, discovered the ‘Glucose Ascorbate Antagonism Theory’ (Googlable). He found that elevated glucose levels restrict Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) from entering cells. Yet, white blood cells need Vitamin C to oxidize and destroy pathogens. This is the prime reason we need to limit consumption of sugar when we have colds or flu, or if we have any hope of strengthening our immune systems.

It makes no sense to simply eat lots of leafy greens, bright vegetables and fruits or Vitamin pills if the Vitamin C they carry can’t make it into our cells because we are taking in so much added sugar.

Sodas, ice cream, juices with sugar added will simply open the highway for flu to proliferate. It is annoying to have to constantly read labels, especially when sugar has so many names. If you google, ‘other names for sugar’, you’ll bring up 56 other names. Water is our best drink.

Another problem with added sugar is that it lacks the other vitamins and minerals that whole foods contain. You do not have to be a gourmet cook to put together delicious and nourishing meals. A meal can be as simple as slicing up a variety of vegetables according to density: carrots, potato, onion, broccoli, cauliflower, red pepper, squash, garlic, (and any bright vegetables you have on hand), sprinkle them with a little olive oil, rosemary or other herbs, salt and pepper, and bake it at 375 for 40 minutes.

You may want to adjust cooking time or size of cut-up vegetables. The internet has plenty of ideas and your household will have preferences. Healthy eating does not need to be complicated. The simpler, the better. Soups, when dealing with flu, can be as simple as lightly cooked zucchini and string beans put through the blender with a little nutmeg, salt and pepper.

The idea is for us to add something new that is rich in Vitamin C without added sugar, so that our bodies can absorb it and build up our immune system defenses.

As we are exposed or predisposed to the variety of illnesses around, those illnesses can provide us with momentum to clean up our sugar act, protect our water supply, and discover delicious whole healing foods, and put an end to the flu.

Funding Effects of Sugar Research

February 10, 2018

A reader, who states he is a professional in the food industry, questioned my competence to speak forthrightly about sugar in my most recent column, ‘Shape Up and Beat the Flu!’

My credentials began to accrue as a child when my farm-raised mother announced, “Our family cannot afford to be sick!” Therefore, we had to eat what was put in front of us and clean our plates. At the first sign of a sore throat we were to up our consumption of water and gargle with warm salt water. If we needed a day or two in bed, we were plied with plenty of vegetable soup. I raise my 3 children with the same philosophy. Soda was something we had on picnics.

I am a retired psychiatric nurse practitioner with additional graduate studies in Eastern Philosophy which included the Ayurvedic Medical System. Ayurveda considers the digestive tract the root of health or illness, depending on what we eat.

There have been studies on the effect of sugar consumption on our health. The earliest one I read was John Rudkins 1972 book, Pure, White, and Deadly. Rudkins was a British Medical Doctor and Nutritional Scientist. The food industry trashed his book, but the book has survived. A 1973 study at Loma Linda University looked at why simple sugars but not complex carbohydrates (found in fruits and vegetables) adversely affected the immune system.

Marion Nestle, NYU professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health, and Cristin Kearns, assistant professor UCSF School of Dentistry both have documented research on the subject.

Anyone can Google, ‘Funding Effects of Sugar Research’ and read the sad history of researchers paid by the sugar industry to suppress bona fide research and blame fats for the rise in cardiac disease and to promote sugar consumption.

The reason more research has not been published to warn the general public is that traditionally, Land Grant universities funded such research. Currently, food and chemical companies fund university research with the stipulation that they review and reject studies adverse to their industry. Only recently have other sources stepped forward to fund needed research, with no strings attached to the outcomes.

There is something to that farm-raised fresh food that we yearn for today as we look for farm stands to reopen this year.