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October 2005 after the first frost and summer grasses had turned brown.  The growth of winter grasses was delayed by the drought.

Columns

This is the Home Page for our quick-read nutritional health column for regional newspapers. If you have a local publication that might want to carry it, let us know or pass the link onto them.

Too Scientific?

Column #196

Can discussions and recommendations surrounding nutrition and diets be too scientific? A recent article posted online by Precision Nutrition (PN) addressed that very topic. PN is a Personal Coaching, Professional Education service that coaches people in their desire to overcome health issues. They are very scientific, but they are also well aware of the many additional and varied steps that are required by individuals in the practical application of nutritional science.

I’m more of a commentator and reporter than a scientist in the trenches or a health coach. In that capacity my focus is based on food chemistry, what bodies require, how bodies react, how the best foods are raised, and how we can protect agriculture and food processors from ridiculous laws and myths. Only marginally do I comment on sleep, exercise, stress management, and the myriad of personal differences that saddle us all. My narrow nutritional focus is heavily based on science. I also have considerable ranching experience which is why I comment on misguided beliefs we are all subjected to these days. Therefore all too often my comments are not politically correct and readers outside the center of the bell curve can get upset.

We Need Inflammation, but . . .

Column #195

Inflammation is both a cure and a curse. All of us have experienced it at one time or another. As part of our body’s immune response, it’s necessary for healing and that literally makes it essential for survival. But lingering inflammation is something else and it is the most significant cause of death in the world.

The clinical names for inflammation are either “acute” or “chronic.” Acute refers to responses to bacterial infections, viruses, injuries, and medical operations. Chronic inflammation is a persistent autoimmune disease that plays a central role in rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, asthma, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, allergies, and even Alzheimer’s.

Symptoms of acute inflammation progress quickly and, in a short period of time, can become severe. In addition to the symptoms from an infection or injury, such as having a runny nose or a bleeding cut, one will also feel pain and/or some irritation as damaged areas turn red, swollen, and become warmer. The pain or discomfort associated with noticeable inflammation occurs when the body’s arteries expand in order to supply more blood to the damaged region. Also fluid and proteins are increased in the infected areas as the body releases a type of white blood cell called a neutrophil.

OneNYC 2050 . . . What?????

Column #194

In honor of Earth Day, April 22, 2019, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that New York City has its own Green New Deal which he calls “OneNYC 2050.” His office described it as “a bold and audacious plan to attack global warming on all fronts.”

Of course OneNYC 2050 will not impact climate change on a global scale. It’s more focused on changing lifestyles and infrastructures in the City with an objective of reducing emissions 30% by the year 2030. And that’s not its only goal. NYC’s Green New Deal is “structured” to solve income inequality, generate tens of thousands of good-paying jobs, retrofit buildings, provide better healthcare, and increase the usage of renewable energy.

Now I’m not opposed to progress and I’ve spent decades striving to be a better steward of the environment. Most ranchers and farmers are like that too because they want to be more sustainable with each generation. And, of course, what the people in the City do is their own business. But I see some aspects of NYC’s plan that will not benefit the health of its citizens--especially underprivileged children. In that regard its “plan” becomes everyone’s business.

Meet the Carnivores

Column #193

In a 2017 column titled “Science or Belief” I stated that “Man cannot only survive but thrive eating a diet of only meat.” That statement was based on the nutritional characteristics of grass-fed meats and the knowledge that the green leaf is the foundation food for all animal life. Of course, in this day and age nearly everyone (especially medical personnel) thinks the idea is preposterous. But is it?

I’m only aware of one controlled study where subjects ate meat and nothing but meat for a year. The results were published in 1930 in a report titled “Prolonged Meat Diets with a Study of Kidney Function and Ketosis.” Dr. Vilhjalmur Stefansson, one of the two participants in the study, had spent more than 11 years in arctic exploration. For nine years he said he had lived almost exclusively on meat. But like today, back then there were doubters.

In spite of the today’s widespread belief that eating just a little meat is detrimental to one’s health, there’s actually a growing number of people who call themselves “carnivores.” They are dedicated “health nuts” who eat nothing but meat in order to improve their health. Let me introduce four of them.

Microwave Nutrition Quiz

Column #192

Which cooking method is best for retaining nutrients in broccoli?
1. Boiling broccoli in a pot of water on a stove?
2. Heating broccoli in covered glass bowl in a microwave?

What’s best for your health?
1. Frying bacon in a steel skillet?
2. Cooking bacon in a microwave?

Which method is more energy efficient?
1. Heating up leftovers in a covered container in the oven?
2. Heating up leftovers in a covered glass bowl in the microwave?

Climate-Friendly Food

Column #191

Frank M. Mitloehner, a professor at the University of California, Davis, is on a mission. He’s constantly promoting climate friendly foods and explaining where meat products rank in terms of friendliness. As an Air Quality Extension Specialist he knows how to make a very compelling pitch, but should we listen to him?

I was reading an article he wrote and its first link was to an article from Fortune Magazine titled “How Your Diet Can Save the Planet.” You get the drift of that article from this quote: “Conscious consumers are making the world a better place by following the three ‘R’s of eating: ‘reducing’ and ‘replacing’ consumption of animal products and ‘refining’ our diets by choosing products from sources that adhere to higher animal welfare standards. These types of ideas have become mainstream.”

Yes, for meat producers that’s disturbing rhetoric especially from a mainstream business magazine. But did I mention that instead of being a wild-eyed, frizzy haired PETA fan, Dr. Mitloehner is a Professor of Animal Science? Now do I have your attention? Well, Dr. Mitloehner is a man to reckon with because of instead participating in a lot of frenzied arm waving while spouting scaremongering anti-meat stories like the one in Fortune Magazine, he is heavily science based. In the end, I thought his story was very compelling and we should all take notice.

Protecting Minority Rights

Column #190

Farm and ranch families make up about 2% our nation’s population. Yet they own more total acreage than do all urban land owners. Many of them reside in states that have very small populations. For this reason, as a tiny minority little understood by the urban majority, they are frequently running scared.

The same can be said for any minority that does not receive overwhelming support from the majority. There’s a modern saying, that in part, says democracy is “two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch.” It vividly describes the primary concern our Founding Fathers had after winning the War of Independence in 1783. How could they structure a government of the people and for the people so that it protected the rights of minorities? How could they protect the rights of small states versus large states? How could they protect the rights of citizens in low density population centers versus those in the large metropolitan areas? How could they protect the weak versus the powerful?

Are Lectins Natural Insecticides?

Column #189

Lectins are controversial. There’s research and many opinions on both sides of the isle about the health risks from eating foods high in lectins. Consequently because of strong opinions for and against, even the middle ground can bring on reader outrage.

In the health food industry there’s one relatively famous individual who has made lectins a big business. Dr. Steven Gundry has produced many books and online videos with warnings about consuming foods high in lectins. He believes that lectins are linked to diabetes, aching joints, Parkinson’s disease, depression, IBS, infertility, cancer, baldness, brain fog, weight gain obesity, high blood pressure, “bad” cholesterol, inflammation, autoimmune diseases (celiac disease, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis), and many other serious medical conditions including heart disease. He has also developed quite a business selling his expensive “lectin blocker” supplement.

Dirty Electricity

Column #188

Dirty Electricity

A reader responded to my “5G Radiation” column and recommended a book: “Dirty Electricity: Electrification and the Diseases of Civilization” by Samuel Milham, MD MPH. It’s only 100 pages but it definitely adds to the discussion about radiation from electromagnetic fields (EMF) beyond what many of us would normally consider.

Everyone is aware of radiation from radioactive elements, x-rays, cell phones, tanning booths, older microwaves, ultraviolet sun rays, and high tension electric power lines. But when it comes to EMFs there’s more, much more and often it’s right inside your house in the form of extra frequencies piggybacking into your home on your regular 60 cycle 110 voltage where it radiates into your living environment. Since animal bodies are electrical, these stray frequencies can interact with bodily functions and cause diseases, especially cancer.

The three main types of EMFs are magnetic fields, electric fields, and radio frequency (RF) fields. Power lines, electrical wiring, lights, appliances, and most other electrical devices are common sources of magnetic fields. All have been linked to biological effects.

Does Cholesterol or Inflammation Cause CHD?

Column #187

What came first, the chicken or the egg? While we ponder that question another egg scare is back in the news. A report from Northwestern Medicine finds that adults who ate several eggs per week with additional high amounts of dietary cholesterol had a significantly higher risk of cardiovascular disease and death from any cause.

Like many studies this one was flawed because it lacked controls. The analysts did interview nearly 30,000 racially and ethnically diverse adults between 1985 and 2016. But only during the initial visit did they establish the dietary habits of each participant. That was accomplished by filling out an extensive questionnaire based on what a participant remembered eating during the previous month or year. The study lasted 31 years with a median of 17.5 years for all participants. During the study the group experienced 5,400 cardiovascular events and 6,132 deaths from any cause.