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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.

Coronavirus Immunity

Column #235

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) virus is a highly contagious and deadly virus for which there is no known cure and no vaccine. Coronaviruses make up a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. Rarely do animal coronaviruses infect people and then spread between people. But COVID-19 does.

What makes this virus so dangerous is that when people are infected only their personal immunity stands between them and death. This is why our personal immunity is so critically important and knowing how to keep it in tiptop shape should be on everyone’s bucket list. But first, some background.1

Social-Media Micro Influencers

Column #234

Do your health food information sources provide sound, fundamentally researched information or are they simply advertising messengers? There are four basic media types: print, broadcast, outdoor, and Internet. In many cases it’s really easy to pick out their advertisements. But in an appalling number of cases presentations are advertisements pretending to be news, announcements, or heartfelt advice. Often these deceptive advertisements aren’t truthful. Sure, they use motivating keywords and half truths but messages like that can be very misleading.

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of marketing/advertising messages bombarding us daily. As an example I’ll briefly mention politics because, just like health food, it’s a contentious topic of interest.

You’ve Been Lied to: Methane & Cows

Column #233

The story about cows causing global warming by belching methane gas is just one of the lies being told by the activists that pound the don't-eat-meat drum. The list of detractors also includes the plant-based “imitation meat” companies. To me, other than their message being a slower death, their malicious and ignorant messages are just like Jim Jones telling his followers to “drink the cool aid.”

Carbon is a natural element on Earth and elsewhere in the universe. Earth’s carbon load has been the same since the Earth formed. Over time, the carbon atoms relocated and recombined over and over again. This constant shifting resulted in major changes to the Earth’s atmosphere, biosphere, and surface.

The Earth started as a ball of hot gases, then, after the Earth cooled, a solid crust developed as well as a primitive atmosphere. More carbon dioxide (CO2) was released to the atmosphere through volcanic eruptions. Then biological activities began developing, evolving, and expanding. As biological production exploded over the last billion years, much of the atmospheric CO2 was absorbed by plants and animals and buried in ocean sediments.1

Omega-3 EFAs & Being GREEN

Column #232

It was 222 years ago when Thomas Robert Malthus published his economic theories that scared the pants off everyone. What he famously predicted, which was based on his sound logic, was that the improving living standards of that era would inevitably be reversed as the geometric growth of the world’s population would be restricted by arithmetically growing food production. In other words the world’s human population was going to outgrow its food production and end up poverty stricken.1 2

The elders in our society are quite used to the demagoguery regarding the end of life as we know it. In the 1950s it was the certainty of nuclear war with Russia. In the 1970s there were predictions that oil would soon be priceless because the world’s petroleum reserves were rapidly being depleted. It was said that America would never again be able to produce enough fossil fuel to satisfy its own needs. The same end-of-oil argument surfaced again in 2000. Ironically, both times many geologists were saying there’s a lot more oil yet to be discovered. Today, there’s an oil glut!3

Also in the 1970s, because the world’s temperature had flatlined for 40 years, many mainstream media outlets were publicizing fears of global cooling. That really worried people because fossil fuel was a rapidly disappearing resource and colder temperatures would reduce food production. Yes, the media had people worried sick about global cooling while at the same time the majority of climatologists were actually predicting a continuation of the global warming trend that dated back to 1880. By 2019 the world’s average temperature was about 1.7°F higher than in the 1970s.4 5

Organ Meats = Abundant Nutrients

Column #231

For the most part Americans do not care for naturally strong-flavored food. What they prefer is naturally sweet food or naturally bland food they can doctor up to their liking. They are literally hooked on flavorings (spices, herbs, salt, sweeteners) and crunch. Therefore they’re often turned off when tasting naturally strong-flavored foods (for instance grass-fed or Omega-3 meats, seafood, kale, collards, and such) which taste testers say are gamy, grassy, fishy flavored.1 2

What people don’t understand is that bland foods are not only light on nutrients but often their nutrients aren’t properly balanced for optimal human body function. Of course the vast majority of Americans don’t really care about that. They just assume that a balanced diet of bland food (smothered with flavorings) will eventually provide all the nutrients their bodies require. Unfortunately, as documented by our country’s epidemic of chronic diseases, that so-called “balanced diet” approach doesn’t work.

Why Meat is Best for CVD

Column #230

If we ask 100 people to name the healthiest food groups, what will they say? I don’t think it will matter what they prefer to eat or what they eat most of the time, my bet is 99% of them will name fruit and vegetables followed by whole grains as the healthiest food groups. Protein and dairy will round out their list but with an emphasis on very lean, low fat, and small portions. Most will also agree that lowering sugar and salt consumption is important. Surprisingly, that’s basically what the Mayo Clinic recommends.1

What folks will not suggest is meat first. When they do suggest meat it will most likely be limited to three-ounce portions. In other words, meat and animal fat must be feared. If you asked if they’d recommend meat to someone with Cardiovascular Disease (CVD), I bet most would say no. But that’s not how Dr. Pavel Grasgruber, a sports scientist from Masaryk University in the Czech Republic, would answer. He and his team of researchers published a report in 2016 titled: “Food Consumption and the Actual Statistics of Cardiovascular Diseases.” In it they show why statistically meat is best!2

They studied 62 food items that were compared with five CVD indicators involving participants in 42 European countries. Also studied were health expenditure, smoking, body mass index and the historical stability of results.

Now, are you sitting down?

Obesity, HF, Drugs, Keto Chemistry

Column #229

Seeking an easy way out doesn’t work with health. It’s up to each individual to not only learn the appropriate steps, but to actually take the appropriate steps. Unfortunately our society is structured against being successful in both endeavors. The big roadblocks are social norms, the pop-a-pill mentality, and general ignorance in the medical community, media, and schools. So if you want to be healthier, which includes having the appropriate weight for your body type, this column is for you.

I recently received a report by Dr. Parag Goyal, et al. that’s certainly a cautionary tale. It found that an array of commonly prescribed medications that exacerbate heart failure (HF) is often continued or even initiated following a HF hospitalization.1

Of course it’s rather difficult to believe that medical doctors treating HF patients would prescribe drugs that could actually exacerbate HF. But apparently it’s happening. The “investigators analyzed the use of major HF-exacerbating medications, both at hospital admission and at discharge, in more than 500 older adults hospitalized for HF during more than 700 hospital admissions.” Their findings were not heart warming.

What Are We Missing?

Column #228

Do you ever wonder what cavemen cherished 100,000 years ago? Emotionally they differed little from us today. They were intelligent and had learned how to communicate with speech. Art, music, and ceremonies were part of their tight-nit social structures. Of course, there is probably little about their lives we could relate to today other than sex and sleep. Most other aspects of their lives were totally different, not just in tools and toys, but in terms of loyalty and dependence on family members and the tribe.1

I imagine that prehistoric man’s primary focus was on having enough to eat and staying alive. Consequently, knowing how to hunt, gather food, and store food were critical skills. Additionally, making hunting tools, meat processing instruments, cooking implements, and fire were skills everyone had to acquire. Humans also required shelter and clothing which were not available like today. Obviously human survival in prehistoric times depended on skills we no longer have today.2

The Clickbait Age

Column #227

We live in the clickbait age. Advertisers, journalists, and editors know that people who get their news via constantly-shifting social media, rarely read complete articles; they glance at a headline and apply confirmation bias to it. If the headline echoes a view they support, these attention-challenged readers will give the thumbs up. If they don’t like the headline, they give it a thumb down with a hostile comment.1

Of course consumers may do as they wish, but all too often the headline itself actually gives an impression that masks the true story. In the health food industry the true story is based on biology, chemistry, and other mundane, complex, and very boring sciences that can make economics sound exciting. Unfortunately most of the news regarding health food is in the form of sensational headlines and politically correct, emotion generating schmooze. This is why I believe the most deceptive actors in the food industry are in the health food business.

’Tis a Changing Season

Column $226

Like many events, even holidays can change over time and Christmas is one that has changed.1

It wasn’t until AD 336 that Christians officially celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ on December 25. Ironically, in Biblical times deaths were remembered more often than births were celebrated. Birthdays were not considered important. That may explain why celebrating Jesus’s birth took centuries rather than decades to become a Christian celebration.2

Biblical scholars say it’s highly unlikely that December 25 was Jesus’s actual date of birth. Apparently the date was selected to coincide with pagan winter festivals and the Jewish Festival of Lights, Hanukkah. That way it was more inclusive and Jesus was Jewish.