The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It

Posts tagged ‘nutrition’


I was bad, really bad.  Perhaps the more appropriate term is lazy.  Although I again have the three goldens with Gracie and me, I didn’t have the energy yesterday to bake the dog biscuits that they love.  And to make matters worse, I was nearly out of the other little goodies that they get each morning when we come back from the park.

It was too early to stop by Pet Smart to pick up a stash, so I stopped at my local supermarket to see what they had in stock.  Well, they had the treats I normally include as part of the kids’ morning mix, but they were significantly more expensive than at Pet Smart.  So I looked for a short term alternative on the shelf and found one.  As they were on sale they were quite inexpensive and appeared to contain a preponderance of natural ingredients.

As with products I buy for my own consumption, I checked to see whether they were made in the U. S. A. or if, like so much in the pet food department, were a product of China.  I looked all over the package but was unable to find the country of origin listed.  The only statement was that they were “distributed by Del Monte Foods’ Pet Division”.  The term “distributed” led me to believe that they probably were not made here.

When we returned home, (the kids patiently sat in the car waiting for me to get them their goodies), I called the number listed on the package to speak with Del Monte’s customer service department.  The young lady in New Jersey was very helpful and assured me that this product was indeed made in the USA.  And that’s when I learned something.

I’m not sure what law Congress passed that applies, but as my contact at Del Monte put it, “Only products which are made in foreign countries must indicate the country of origin on the packaging.  If you see a product with no indication of where it is made, you can rest assured that it was produced here.”

I wished I had known that earlier as it would have saved me five minutes scrutinizing the package and the time it took to call her and for her to answer my question.  I did suggest that since there is a lot of printing on the package, it might be helpful to the consumer if they simply added the statement, “Made in the USA” to the package, removing any question from the mind of the consumer who cares about that sort of thing.

She agreed and said she would “Pass that suggestion along.”

Well, the good news is that the kids liked their new treats.  And the better news is that I got motivated to bake them two batches of their biscuits.  That is good news for them and for me.  (I have gotten in the habit of eating a couple of them every morning for breakfast).

Don’t laugh.  They are not as hard as Milk Bone biscuits.  In fact, they have the consistency of scones.  And all of us find them rather tasty.  They go very nicely with my morning coffee – and I’m looking forward to breakfast tomorrow morning now that I’ve laid in a new supply.

For those of you who have companion dogs, I have included the recipe below.  If your dogs are like this pack, they will love them – and you may as well.


Dry Ingredients

1/2 cup of original Oat Meal flakes

1/2 cup of yellow or blue Corn Meal

2   cups of flour (I use equal parts of garbanzo, barley, brown rice and whole wheat flours).

1   Tbsp. of Toasted Wheat Germ

1    Tbsp. of Toasted Sunflower Seeds (unsalted)

In a medium mixing bowl, stir together all ingredients until thoroughly blended

Wet Ingredients

1/2 cup of filtered water

1/2 cup of oil (Safflower preferred)

2  large eggs or 1 jumbo egg

1 Tbsp. of pure vanilla extract

2 Tbsps. of honey

3 Tbsps. of chunky peanut butter (almond or pecan butter make a nice variation)

In a large mixing bowl with a wire whisk blend all wet ingredients thoroughly.  Add dry ingredients and blend until all liquid is absorbed.

Turn out dough on a wooden board and form into a ball.  Roll out until about 1/2 inch in thickness and cut into shapes.

On a lightly greased baking sheet place cut out biscuits and bake in a 400 degree oven for twenty minutes.  (I normally make two batches at a time and exchange the baking sheets from one level of the oven to the other after 10 minutes so that they bake evenly).  Turn oven off.

Let rest in the oven (door ajar) for another 10 minutes.  Put trays on a wire rack to cool.  Store in air tight containers.

(I have no idea how long the shelf life of these biscuits is because two batches only last us about three days).

“Bone Appetit!”


People go into business for an opportunity to better themselves and their families.  I believe it would be fair to say that no one develops a business plan which is designed to guarantee failure.  But sometimes that happens.

Consider the company that manufactured horse-drawn carriages.  Things are going along nicely, the company offers a quality product at a good price – and then along comes Henry Ford with that darn horseless carriage thing.  All of a sudden a thriving business becomes a thing of the past.

If the business of medicine truly had our welfare at heart, it should be encouraging us to use their services as little as possible.  A well-crafted wellness system would mean that we would rely on their expertise in the case of accidents, congenital conditions, some surgical repair work and very little else.

I realize that this will sound bizarre if you have the mindset that every time you have a sniffle you need to consult the man in the white coat with the stethoscope.  But let me offer an example from one medical discipline which nearly put itself out of business.  It’s called Dentistry.

As a child I remember going to the dentist in order to have a cavity filled.  I still remember the sound as the pulleys turned the drill – that horrible screeching sound followed by the smell of burning calcium as the head made it’s way into my tooth.  Like most people, I viewed a trip to the dentist’s office as an excursion into horror.  We consulted the dentist because we had a problem – much in the same way we go to see the doctor today.

But dentistry evolved.  It turned from being a reactive profession to a proactive one.  It learned that we could easily prevent many of the problems that people of my generation experienced through a regular regimen:  brushing, flossing, regular cleanings and checkups.  Much of the practice today consists of routine maintenance and cosmetic procedures.

The number of cavities which are treated, thanks to these preventive steps, have declined by nearly 80% since I was a child.   That’s good news for patients – not such good news for dentists.  But they have adapted to the effects of their own good work and most of us are smart enough to see the dentist at least twice a year for our regular checkups and cleanings – and perhaps an occasional tooth whitening.

So if a proactive approach to dental health seems effective, why is it that medicine has not adapted the same strategy?  I can only conclude that there are two reasons for this.  The first is hubris and the second is money.

The fundamental premise of our approach to healthcare is to wait until a problem develops and then attempt to correct it.  It is the exact opposite of what dental science realized was the most effective way to deal with dental disease – avoid it in the first place.

Then we treat the condition with a primary emphasis on doling out drugs, 90% of which do nothing  to address the underlying condition but merely treat the symptoms of the condition – and most of which have side effects that are as hazardous to our health as the disease for which we sought treatment.

I suspect that if you were to ask anyone who is on a “drug therapy regimen” if they would prefer treating their symptoms or getting rid of the disease for which they are taking them, they would universally opt for the latter.  But that is not what modern allopathic medicine provides.

So where does hubris come in?  It begins with that little prescription pad that sits on your doctor’s desk.  Only she can put down the magic words that will enable you to start on a life of servitude to the pharmaceutical industry.  That gives your doctor a great deal of power which most of us lack.

As to the subject of money – there is no question that the root cause of many of our economic woes are generated by our healthcare system.  Medicare and Medicaid are rapidly moving us to the brink of insolvency.  That is not my opinion but rather the consensus of virtually everyone familiar with the subject.

There are many who want to attack the symptoms of the problem by reducing the massive amount of fraud in the system and that is a good first step.  But that is merely a temporary fix applied to a system that is based on an illogical premise.  The concept of waiting for disease to develop and then trying to treat it rather than the proactive approach of avoiding it in the first place simply doesn’t make sense – unless you’re a pharmaceutical company.

What would happen if we turned our emphasis to education and to implementing policies which would encourage people to eat nutritious meals, to engage in a regular program of healthful exercise and to avoid doing things that have been shown to be harmful to our health?

What would happen if our public schools only provided healthful choices in their cafeterias for our children at lunch?

What would happen if each of us took primary responsibility for our health and well-being?

I believe the answer is that over time, we could greatly improve our health and avoid many of the conditions with which we burden the medical system.   We would need fewer doctors and fewer hospitals and fewer pharmaceuticals.  And we would need to worry less about figuring out a way to pay for all of them.

Of course, the key to all of this is our assumption of personal responsibility.  There doesn’t seem to be a lot of that going around in America today.  We all have excuses which are mouthed by our political leaders and the man on the street.

Rather than embark on a long-term program of self-improvement we prefer the quick fix of popping a pill and thinking we will wake up the next morning looking glamorous and muscle-bound.  Check out the infomercials on early morning television if you question the truth of that assertion.

Is there a way to begin on the road to wellness?

As a starting point, what if we got a rebate from our insurance company if we took an annual physical?  What if we received a rate quotation from our insurer based on our personal use of the system – the more use the higher the premium and vice versa?  What if the government subsidized nutritious foods reducing their cost and making them more appealing financially to the consumer – and taxed foods which were highly processed and contain little nutritional value?

(I do hate the thought of governmental involvement but they are already involved.  At least we could redirect the efforts of some in the bureaucracy to something that would have long-term benefits).

There is a specific reason I began this post by talking about the advent of automobiles – because, like cars, our bodies are machines – though far less durable.

If we are negligent in our driving practices, exceed the speed limit, breeze through red lights or fail to maintain our vehicles properly, we are far more likely to be involved in an accident.  We know this is staistically true.

If you have ever had a driver hit your car you know what ensues from that incident.  You have to deal with claims adjustors, drive your car to a body shop, pay a deductible and rent a car.  All of this is a hassle which could so easily be avoided.

In most cases, your car can be repaired.  If the damage is too severe your insurer will “total” the car and then you have to deal with finding a replacement.  And herein lies the difference between our car machines and our body machines.  Bodies are one to a customer.

Dentistry has proven that prevention is far more cost-efficient than treatment.  And it’s a lot more comfortable for the patient.

Isn’t it time that the medical establishment and the government got on the bandwagon?


I have discussed my ineptitude at being able to grow anything previously.  (Of course, with my luck tumors are probably not included in that list).  But the one thing that grows here in the Las Vegas desert without any benefit from humankind seems to be rosemary.  I actually have three large bushes of this wonderful herb growing in the back yard.  And I love using it in cooking.

These three bushes are more prolific than anything I have ever seen.  They keep growing and growing – and I keep trimming them back to add to the compost bin.  But I thought I would try my hand at taking the leaves and preserving them for future use.

I Goggled “How to dry rosemary” and read a number of the posts.  It seemed as though this would be a task that I could accomplish.  Every one of the entries suggested that I gather together a number of bunches of this delightful herb and bind them together with string and then hang them for a few weeks to allow them to dry.  I thought that I could accomplish this – but I had no string.

I was late taking the kids to the dog park this morning – I blame it all on Daylight Savings Time – but I thought that on the way back I would stop and purchase the one item I was missing – namely, the string.

As a kid I loved comics.  Many of my classmates and I knew the day that the next edition of Superman or Little Lulu would be available at the massive sum of ten cents per edition.  My favorite, however was Donald Duck.  I truly enjoyed the interaction between Donald and his three nephews.  But I especially enjoyed those episodes which included Donald’s parsimonious Uncle Scrooge.

I remember one such publication where Uncle Scrooge and his financial rival (whose name I have long since forgotten) got into a contest to determine who was the wealthier of the two.  These two added up all their financial assets – stocks, bonds, etc. and found that they were exactly equal in the wealth they had both accumulated.  This contest came down to one thing – which of them had accumulated more string.

Both of the combatants had a huge ball of string which they had accrued.This was the accumulation of all the string which had wrapped packages which they had received over the years.  As they unrolled their respective treasures – Uncle Scrooge won the battle – by a mere matter of an inch.  Who knew that string was such a priceless treasure?

In my personal quest for some string to accomplish my task of drying the rosemary branches I had pruned I first went to my local grocery store.   I asked the customer service person on duty where I might find it.  She directed me to Aisle 17 – but, alas no string was to be found.

I went to a second grocery store and then a third – same result.  String was scarcer than an honest politician in Washington.  But I was not deterred in my efforts to find string for my rosemary project.

I went to Office Depot – and after a substantial search (aided by several of the store personnel) I found a little packet of string.  Two hundred feet of the stuff was available for $6.80.  I was staggered at the cost and decided that was totally out of line.  Besides, I needed only about four or five feet of this commodity and thought that I could do better.

I finally realized what a treasure Uncle Scrooge had – and what a wise person he was to have saved all those little scraps that had come with the packages he had received.

I went to a local dollar store.  They had something that might have done the job – but it was too thick in my estimation.  So I continued in my pursuit of string.  This had now become a quest – a mission at which I was unwilling to fail.

On the way home I decided I might check one of the local craft stores, Michaels.  If they didn’t have string who would?  But they didn’t.  However, as I wandered from aisle to aisle I found something that would be an effective substitute.  It was a cotton knitting yarn – one hundred yards for a mere $1.37.   It was available in a variety of colors – but being a sort of vanilla person I opted for the white.

In between visits to the dog park I began bunching the rosemary and hanging it as was suggested in the various posts I read.  I have two more bushes to clip – so I think that dried rosemary will be plentiful in the house and I would be happy to send some to any visitors to this post.

But I now have a great idea for a new business.  If two hundred feet of flimsy string sells for $6.80, I think I should investigate going into the “string business”.  I thought to myself that with all the brushings that the puppies get I could add a boutique twist to the business.

Rather than use cotton thread, I could use dog hair.  No cost – other than the labor of removing it from their bodies – and it would come in a wonderful golden color.

So now I’m looking into finding spinning wheels to accomplish my new found interest.

Nature is amazing.  To think that out of  a simple thing such as drying rosemary a whole new business venture could be launched.  And it is all because the rosemary made me do it.


Although I generally avoid using the word, “assumption” I am going to break my own rule and risk employing it.  Here is the assumption with which I’m going to begin:

“If those American readers who are viewing this post could do something that would improve the financial well-being and health of their country (and ultimately themselves) they would, if capable of it, do it and do it willingly.”

I believe it would be fair to categorize those citizens who actively tried to heal America’s wounds as “patriotic.”  And if that spirit of working for the common good had the additional benefit of improved personal health wouldn’t that be a bandwagon which we all wanted to board?

Whether you are a Democrat, Republican, Independent, Libertarian or unsure what your political affiliation is, there is one thing on which everyone seems to agree.  The costs of our medical industry are totally out of control and are one of the major sources of our financial malaise.  Sadly, these costs are only expected to get worse and to do so at a faster rate than we have already seen.  The unfunded liabilities for Medicare are at least twice the amount of our stated national debt.

I was the fortunate beneficiary of another person’s illness.  That person happened to be my mother.  As I described in a very early post, mom had a condition as a child which the medical industry was unable to treat – an illness that they called “pernicious anemia.”  In pure desperation and for love of her child my grandmother sought out alternate ways to address this disease since medicine had no answers.

She found a “health food store”- the first one in New York City – whose owner gave my grandmother a dietary prescription to remedy mom’s condition.  (By the way, she provided this advice free of charge and sold my grandmother nothing from her store).  Well, the “cure” worked – and it changed both my grandmother’s and mother’s way of looking at illness.  Rather than focusing on curing illness after it had struck, they began looking at doing things that were healthful so that it could be avoided.  For mom this was a life-long undertaking.

One day I remember mom came home with a new book.  It was entitled, “The Happy Hunzas.”  (I just had confirmation that the world of the Hunza people is generally unfamiliar to most of us because as I was typing this, the ever-so-annoying feature of the Microsoft word processing program I am using underlined the word in red – suggesting that I wanted to really type Honda).

Picture this – a community of people living in the Himalayas where the people are free of disease and where a minimal life expectation is 110 years of age with many living as long as 140 years.  There are no drug stores in the Hunza community.  There is no need for them.

As early as 1920 a British physician conducted extensive tests on laboratory animals whom he fed the diet that the Hunzakut people consumed.  Amazingly, those animals who were fed that diet for what would be the human equivalent of 45 years showed no signs of any disease.  None.  The other test group was fed the nutritional equivalent of the typical lower-class Englishman.  This group exhibited all the diseases that their human counterparts experienced.

There is one more interesting (and disturbing) bit of information that I should convey to you.  That lower-class English diet, as poor as it was, had more nutritional value than what we Americans typically consume today.

At the end of this post I attached an article that describes the state of American chronic illness and goes into detail on the life-style of the Hunzakut people as well the experiments that were conducted based on their diet.  It is a relatively lengthy article but one that is well worth reading for those who want to consider ways to improve their personal health.

How does all this relate to patriotism?  Well, what if we all began eating more healthful foods?  What if, as a result, we needed to rely less on medical “cures” because we avoided the diseases in the first place?  How much could we reduce the amount of money that we annually pour into the medical industry – whether we pay it personally or we pay it through Medicare?  What would be the impact on slowing down or even reversing this monster sucking the life-blood out of our economy?

What if, over time, we were because of our new, healthful life-style able to increase the minimum expected life-span to 100 years of age and had more vim and vitality?  We could work longer and increase the minimum retirement age to 80 – thus bailing out Social Security.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s almost always more effective to avoid a problem than it is trying to fix it.  I apply that same logic to health and well-being.  It seems to me that is the patriotic thing to do.

Take A Hint From the Hunzas:
Diet Is Key to Health, Vitality

by Dr. Lynn Hardy, N.D.
Director or the Global Institute For Alternative Medicine
Americans are sicker than ever! This is not my personal opinion but an undisputable fact. After examining the latest statistics and health forecasts, I am horrified about the future that lies before us. Even though most are preoccupied, and rightfully so, with the threat of terrorist attacks and other potential dangers, the phenomenon I’ll be discussing also demands our immediate attention. Ending the atrocities of the world will not be enough to ensure a positive future for mankind. We must work just as hard to put a stop to the total deterioration of our food, water, and environment.
Based on scientific literature and the latest research, I will try to shine a light on the rapidly deteriorating state of health in America in contrast to a nation that has unwittingly discovered the secrets of supreme health and longevity.
The land of the sick
The United States, and on a smaller scale Europe, is being propelled towards total disaster through the deliberate poisoning of our most essential basic need – our food. Within the last hundred years food manufacturers, through their clever and aggressive marketing, have completely changed the way we look at food. In fact, they’ve been so successful in their campaign that people actually believe they’re getting a healthy nutritious meal when they devour a McDonald’s or Burger King hamburger. They don’t realize that what they’re actually eating is almost completely deficient of any nutrients and full of harmful ingredients. These junk foods don’t nourish the body in any way – as food should – they just barely keep the person from starving. (I mean this in a nutritional sense because the obese humans these foods produce look far from starved!) The situation has become so critical that the majority of people simply dismiss those of us fighting for clean food, water, and air as blind fanatics. Paradoxically, supermarkets are actually starting to devote a tiny little section to so called “Health Food”. But then what exactly are they selling in the remaining 99% of the store, “Sick Food”? My answer is “yes” and I will go on to prove my point and risk being called a fanatic or an idealist.
But am I, in fact, being fanatic when the latest statistics show that every second American is chronically ill? How could we have let things get so out of hand?
Partnership for Solutions, a new initiative of Johns Hopkins University and The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, collects health statistics and calculates future projections. (See They define “chronic illness” the following way:
“A chronic condition lasts a year or longer, limits what one can do and may require ongoing care. More than 125 million Americans have at least one chronic condition and 60 million have more than one condition. Examples of chronic conditions are diabetes, cancer, glaucoma and heart disease.
“The number of people with chronic conditions is growing at an alarming rate. In 2000, 20 million more people had one or more chronic conditions than the number originally estimated in 1996. By the year 2020, 25% of the American population will be living with multiple chronic conditions, and costs for managing these conditions will reach $1.07 trillion… The number of people with chronic conditions is projected to increase from 125 million in 2000 to 171 million in the year 2030.”1
These statistics are not only frightening but rather shocking as well! And even though data about the prevalence of chronic illness is available in many health publications, most people are simply not aware of it.
What’s even more disturbing is that the average age of the “chronically ill” is on a constant decline. Nearly half are under the age of 45 and a staggering 15 percent of those are children. Millions of little ones are suffering from diabetes, asthma, developmental disabilities, cancer and other disorders. Unfortunately, this is just the beginning.
Asthma is the most common chronic disease of childhood, affecting an estimated 5 million children. Among the population, children now have the highest rate of asthma, and the numbers have increased 92% over the past decade. A growing number of children are also developing Type II (adult-onset) diabetes, which was primarily found only in adults. Millions of young ones are being medicated for Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) for their inability to concentrate. Cancer is still the leading cause of disease-related deaths in children under 15.
Along with countless others, all of the above-mentioned chronic conditions can be blamed on our polluted air and water, and the nutritionally deprived, chemically poisoned food we eat. Simply stated, if we were to eliminate these toxins from our lives we would not develop asthma, diabetes, ADD, cancer, etc. Thus, does this mother who works so hard to fight for clean air, water and food for her child still seem like a fanatic? Or to phrase it in a different way: What can we say about the ignorance of the person who disregards the above statistics and continues to poison herself and her children on a daily basis?
Unfortunately, our modern health care system (or “sick care system” as my husband calls it) does not really believe in the health-preserving power nutrition plays in our lives. Instead, conventional medicine often blames heredity for diseases, which actually serves two purposes: It frees the industry from any liability and deems the patient helpless and not responsible for his own health (or lack thereof). After all, anyone can change the way they eat, but we can’t do anything about our genes! This is a very convenient and profitable standpoint. But as luck would have it, I have concrete evidence of what happens to a nation if it doesn’t eat, drink and breathe garbage. I will now present this “other side of the coin” to the reader, so that the truth can be seen once and for all!
The land of vitality – the Hunza Valley
In India during the 1920s, British researcher Sir Robert McCarrison conducted one of the most eye-opening experiments relative to the correlation between diet and health. Dr. McCarrison spent many years in the Himalayan Mountains including the picturesque Hunza Valley. This magical fairytale-like place is found between the borders of China, India, Pakistan and Russia at nearly 8000 ft. The natives of this valley, the Hunzakuts, captured Dr. McCarrison’s attention because of the their excellent health and extremely long lifespan.
“In these Himalayan Mountains is Hunza; a country slightly more than a hundred miles long and perhaps just as wide, containing approximately thirty thousand inhabitants,” writes Dr. Jay F. Hoffman, the author of the book Hunza – Secrets Of The World’s Healthiest And Oldest Living People, published in 1960. Dr. Hoffman was sent to Hunza under the auspices of the National Geriatrics Society.
“Here the people lived to be 100, 110, 120, and occasionally as much as 140 years of age. Here lies the real Fountain of Youth – probably the only one in the world… Hunza land is truly a Utopia if ever there was one. Just think of this! Here is a land where people do not have our common diseases, such as heart ailments, cancer, arthritis, high blood pressure, diabetes, tuberculosis, hay fever, asthma, liver trouble, gall bladder trouble, constipation or many other ailments the plague the rest of the world. Moreover, there are no hospitals, no insane asylums, no drug stores, no saloons, no tobacco stores, no police, no jails, no crimes, no murders, and no beggars.”2
Any westerner who stepped foot on the tiny land of this friendly nation couldn’t stop raving about their good nature, outstanding hospitality, not to mention the physical strength and stamina of their men. ” My own experience provides an example of a race unsurpassed in perfection of physique and in freedom from disease in general.” Wrote Dr. McCarrison about the Hunzkuts. “Amongst these people the span of life is extraordinarily long… During the period of my association with these people I never saw a case of asthenic dyspepsia, of gastric or duodenal ulcer, of appendicitis, of mucous colitis, of cancer.”3
Not only are the Hunza people immune to serious diseases they are also spared the discomfort of commonplace conditions such as the cold or the flu. Dr. McCarrison, who specialized in nutritional diseases, was determined to learn their secret. The opportunity arose in 1927 when he was appointed the Director of Nutrition Research in India. Along with his designation he also received a well-equipped laboratory and qualified assistants.
The Doctor designed a whole series of experiments to determine how big of a role the Hunzakuts’ diet plays in their supreme health and longevity. In the first experiment 1189 albino rats were fed the Hunza diet right from birth. This consisted of whole meal flatbread with a pat of fresh butter, sprouted legumes, fresh raw carrots and cabbage, unboiled whole milk, and once a week a tiny portion of meat and bones. Plenty of water was provided for drinking and bathing. The only thing the rats did not receive was fruit, which the Hunza people ate a great deal of.
No diseases, no death
The rats were fed this diet for 27 months, which would be the equivalent of approximately 45 human years. The rats were killed, and thoroughly examined at all stages leading up to 27 months. Remarkably, no trace of any disease could be found in their bodies! This astonishing consequence could best be explained through Dr. McCarrison’s words as he described his findings during a lecture at the College of Surgeons in 1931:
“During the past two and a quarter years there has been no case of illness in this ‘universe’ of albino rats, no death from natural causes in the adult stock, and, but for a few accidental deaths, no infantile mortality. Both clinically and at post-mortem examination this stock has been shown to be remarkably free from disease. It may be that some of them have cryptic disease of one kind or another, but, if so, I have failed to find either clinical or macroscopical evidence of it.”
These results were truly staggering. But sadly, they did not have any real impact on the physicians present, whom, much like the doctors of today, have a greater understanding of disease than the lack thereof. There wasn’t a sudden surge of articles and books propagating the Hunza diet and the avoidance of white rice, white flour, sugar and for the most part, meat. Their meals don’t consist of pre-cooked, over-processed, and nutritionally devoid industrial chemicals – like the average American’s. Instead, they enjoy locally grown organic fruit, vegetables, unprocessed fresh milk products, and green or whole grains.
As a follow up to his earlier experiment, Dr. McCarrison duplicated in his laboratory the low quality diet of a poor rural region of India. During this larger-scale experiment, 2243 rats were fed a diet deficient of vitamins, minerals and other important nutrients. The animal results matched the physical condition of the millions of people living in this region: Both groups developed diseases in every organ they possessed.
Diet and behavior
The most disturbing discovery of Dr. McCarrison was to come. In a later experiment, he set out to learn how the rats would react to the diet of the poorer class of England. This consisted of white bread, margarine, sweetened tea, boiled vegetables, and cheap canned meats and jams. On this diet, not only did the rats not thrive physically, but they actually developed nervous disorders before things went from bad to worse: “They were nervous,” writes the doctor, “and opt to bite their attendants; they lived unhappily together, and by the 16th day of the experiment they began to kill and eat the weaker ones amongst them.”
Shockingly, this diet of the lower-class English in the 1930s actually had a much greater nutrient value than the “food” the majority of well-to-do Americans stuff themselves with today.
The Hunza people did not become a household name, even though they unintentionally came to possess the mental and practical skills needed to live long, joyous and disease-free lives. Of course, most of us are not able to move to the mountains and grow our own food but we can still learn a lot from this noble, peaceful and healthy nation. We can definitely start restoring our health by modifying our food selections and by drinking pure filtered water. Staying away from dead processed foods and turning towards natural, fresh, organically grown fruit and vegetables as much as possible is a good rule of thumb for everyone, regardless of his state of health. If enough people started demanding quality foods the food industry would have no choice but to alter its manufacturing processes and start supplying us with truly nutritious options instead of the falsely labeled junk we’re subjected to. But since I can’t foresee that day anytime in the near future, we all need to take responsibility for our own health and educate ourselves the best we can about the importance of nutrition.
1 Partnership for Solutions: Projection of Chronic Illness Prevalence and Cost Inflation. A project of John Hopkins University and The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
2 Dr. Jay M. Hoffman: Hunza, Secrets Of The World’s Healthiest And Oldest Living People. New Win Publishing.
3 J.I. Rodale: The Healthy Hunza. Rodale Press
Dr. Hardy is a board certified Naturopathic Doctor and a Certified Nutritional Consultant. She studied nutrition at the Packard School of Nutrition in Sudbury, ON and began her N.D. education at Seneca College in Toronto, Canada. She continued her education and obtained her N.D. diploma in the United States. She is an active member of the American Naturopathic Medical Association, the American Association for Nutritional Consultants, the American Association of Drugless Practitioners, and the American Holistic Health Association. Her health articles have appeared in dozens of publications in nine different languages. Her expertise and experience includes designing custom dietary formulas, researching and evaluating new health products, and educating employees in the natural health industry. For contact or other information, visit Global Institute for Alternative Medicine


There’s good news.  No more “pink slime” is going into the burgers at McDonald’s.  Hip Hip Hooray!

I’m glad that I gave up eating there 25 years ago.  (See this earlier post).

Read more on this development here:


I wish this were one of those warm and fuzzy pieces that so many of you seem to like reading as much as I enjoy writing. It isn’t. I offer this disclaimer so that if that’s the kind of piece you’re in the mood for perhaps you might return to this post at a later time.

There is probably no one in this country who hasn’t taken a position or doesn’t hold a view on Obamacare. I’m still trying to wade through all two thousand plus pages of it so that I can come to an informed judgment. Apparently, not all of our lawmakers have my diligence.

When I called my Congresswoman’s office to ask several questions about it, one of her staff said that she probably wouldn’t be able to answer my questions “just yet” since the Congresswoman hadn’t read it herself. (She had voted to pass the bill three days earlier).

It makes me wonder – is this any way to run a country?

The sad answer to that question is that’s apparently what our citizens will settle for in their elected officials. Having demonstrated that she could vote on legislation without bothering to examine its contents, this Congresswoman is planning on a November run for the Senate from the great state of Nevada. She’ll probably win. But to return to our subject …

On the surface, who would oppose something that is supposed to extend health coverage to more people? Only the most cold-hearted of us would say, “Hey, if they can’t afford to see the doctor they’re probably worthless people anyway – let them die. It’s just less trash that we have to worry about.” I don’t know anyone with that mindset – and I hope not to meet any in the future.

As I see it, there is an inherent flaw in our present system which is only extended further in this bill. That flaw is that our healthcare system is reactive rather than pro-active. We wait until we are ill – and then we tax the system to the best of our abilities with doctor’s appointments and an addiction to prescription drugs heaping yet more stress and expense on an already stressed out system.

If we placed our focus on staying well rather than trying to manage the symptoms of the diseases we have brought upon ourselves, we would not only have a better and far less expensive healthcare system but we would be a far healthier nation.

This may surprise you – but this thinking is not completely alien to those in power in government. To support my thesis, I point to the excise taxes that are levied on cigarettes.

Government at both the federal and state level place an excise tax on each pack of cigarettes that is sold in the country. The theory behind the tax is that cigarette smoking is an unhealthy behavior and by taxing it we discourage people from engaging in it.

That sounds like a reasonable theory to me and I was curious to learn how many packs of cigarettes were sold annually. Unfortunately, I was unable to find the statistic for the entire United States. However, I was able to find a listing of the amount of excise taxes that each state collected on cigarettes (the most recent data being for 2009).

By dividing each state’s revenues by the amount of its per pack excise tax I was able to calculate the total number of packs sold in each of the fifty states and the District of Columbia and thus arrive at a nationwide total.

Just as a point of information, the excise tax rate ranged from a low of $.30 per pack in Virginia to a high of $4.35 a pack in New York. In addition to the excise tax, smokers pay the going sales tax rate on their purchases (including sales tax on the excise tax) – and some municipalities have yet an additional excise tax that they levy. The following numbers do not include these additional revenues.

Here’s what the states reported and what the Federal government received from its imposition of the $1.01 Federal Excise Tax per pack of cigarettes:

$14,493,944,400 Federal Excise Tax Revenue

$17,157,014,000 State Excise Tax Revenue

The grand total is $31,650,958,400 of excise tax revenue per year. (If you get lost in large numbers as I do – that’s over $31.6 billion a year).

As I said earlier, the theory behind imposing this tax is that by making smoking more expensive we make it less affordable. That kind of thinking is exactly consistent with my position that we should discourage unhealthy behavior and encourage healthy alternatives.

Of course, logic would suggest that if you carried this to its ultimate conclusion, Uncle Sam could raise the excise tax to twenty dollars a pack and then lung cancer and emphysema would be diseases that only the rich could enjoy. But then we would need to begin a conversation on unequal accessibility to illness. (Or we could just blame it on Bush).

We know that smoking results in nasty medical conditions. But in fairness to those of you who smoke, in the thirty or so years before those have developed, you will have collectively contributed over $1 trillion in excise taxes to society to help pay for the care you will undoubtedly require.

Let’s look at another life-style choice which has now surpassed the cost of treating those who are long-term smokers. That condition is overweight and obesity. According to the NIH, sixty-two percent of us fall into one of those categories. That’s not a good thing.

While not the sole cause, there is no doubt that our national addiction to sugar is a contributing factor. We sprinkle it on our morning cereal (if it hasn’t already been done for us by the manufacturer), we find it in our chocolate bar snacks, and it is present in large quantities in the soda (pop to some of you) which we consume with abandon.

Study after study has shown that consuming refined white sugar has serious long-term implications for our health. Yet sugar, one of the major contributors to our becoming a nation of fatties and diabetics, is considered food – whether we purchase it in five pound bags or pick it up in a six or twelve pack of soda or at the drive through window. Why have we not applied the same good logic to sugar which we apply to cigarettes?

The obvious answer is that the backlash from those who are soda-addicted would be enormous. I don’t know how many of us drink soda either regularly or infrequently but we do know that only about sixteen percent of us currently smoke. I suspect the number of us who regularly consume soda is probably five times that number. But if we formulate policies based on voter appeal rather than rationality, we are ultimately signing our own death warrants.

I commend New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg for raising this issue and proposing a “sugar tax.” I consider him a statesman rather than a politician. But even to those who represent us in government who are career politicians, I would appeal to you to think about doing the right thing for your constituents – while they’re still healthy enough to get out and vote for your re-election.

An obvious first step would be to include only healthful alternatives in our public school cafeterias. If we start learning good eating habits as children, we are far more likely to hold on to those habits as adults. Who knows – maybe some of these kids can take home what they’ve learned and teach their parents how to eat better.

Of course, if each of us took responsibility for his or her own life and health, I wouldn’t be writing this post.  And in its place I could have put up one of those warm and fuzzy pieces that you like to read and I like to write.

I invite your thoughts and comments.


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