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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. If you have a local newspaper that might want to carry it, let us know or pass the link onto them. Also, don't be shy about sharing our columns with friends.

Five More Pounds

Column #250

On April 6, 2020, Reuters introduced a story this way: “The pandemic is encouraging people to give in to baser temptations. Porn, booze, tobacco, weed and chocolate consumption is rising. It’s perhaps understandable: Even the WHO reckons stress needs to be managed. But excesses now will only add to a bleaker and costlier future.”1

Then there is this recent “study” commissioned by Naked Nutrition, a firm that sells dietary supplements. It used an online questionnaire to survey 2,000 Americans and reported that at least half said they would never get their pre-corona body back.2

According to the answers they received, “The average American has put on an extra five pounds since the pandemic started, and close to two-thirds said that COVID-19 has completely messed up their plans for a healthy lifestyle in 2020.” They say weight gain is not due to just exercising less. It’s being caused mostly by unhealthy habits including more pizza, more alcohol, and more carbs. That’s in spite of 54% of the respondents saying they are eating lots of vegetables and 46% are eating more protein.

For Pleasure or Survival

Column #249

What’s your focus when it comes to eating? Do you seek pleasure or is survival your primary objective?

Holidays, similar to Memorial Day, give me an opportunity to witness and experience (minimally) what others eat. For most of my early life I never gave food much of a thought. I believed that my body could synthesize whatever it needed from whatever I ate.

Wow, was I ignorant or what? The meaning of the word “essential” hadn’t fully registered!1

My beliefs were not supported by my mother. She was a disciple of the USDA food pyramid which was almost identical to today’s My Plate. I thought she was a little ridiculous about her diet because I couldn’t see any relative differences in the health of my parents and others. In addition my mother had a long-list of chronic diseases and the talk was our parents’ plight would soon be ours, just as my parents’ plights followed in the footsteps of their parents.

Clean Air

Column #248

It’s amazing that in response to the COVID-19 pandemic our best and brightest medical types decided Americans should stop working and hole-up in their homes and not venture outside. They did that, yet historically, being outside has proven to be more beneficial for overall health.

Vitamin D is known for improving immunity and we get it from exposure to the sun. That’s why a research team from Northwestern University studied the vitamin D data from hospitals and clinics across China, France, Germany, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom (UK), and United States. They concluded that patients from countries with high COVID-19 mortality rates had lower levels of vitamin D compared to patients in countries that were not as severely affected.1

Opening and Forgetting?

Column #247

Bringing back the American economy is going to be very interesting for those of us who closely follow history, finance, and business in general. The country has navigated an unprecedented shutdown which makes the opening itself unprecedented. The shutdown caused huge shifts in economic activity, benefiting some sectors while destroying others. Few in the middle were left unchanged. This means the swing back will also be disruptive with additional winners and losers.

America’s food machine has been delivering one billion meals a day to the American public for many years now. It doesn’t happen by government decree, but by the grace of private enterprise. It’s been so efficient that Americans spend a smaller percentage of their take-home pay on food than the citizens of any other country on earth. Its efficiency is one reason why it’s not highly flexible. It’s a system in constant motion that’s choreographed with a maze of contracts for volume and time that service individuals, institutions, restaurants, the military, and many foreign countries. It’s an incredibly complex system that involves nearly every industry in the country and even some that left long ago for foreign shores.1

Being Prudent

Column #246

I remember a client from 1970 whose inheritance had been placed in a trust. He wanted to convert his inheritance from dollar-denominated assets into pre-1933 gold bullion coins that traded legally for about a 10% premium over the $35 gold price. At that time gold was the same price as it was in 1934 while the purchasing power of the dollar had declined significantly since that year. There were also structural financial pressures (savings and loans had borrowed short and lent long) that contributed to a very bullish environment for gold.

Two years earlier a two-tiered gold market had been established. Central banks traded gold on one tier at a fixed $35 price and on the other tier the gold price fluctuated up and down with supply and demand. In 1970, to prevent the gold price from dropping below $35, the primary central banks that dealt in gold agreed to buy gold on the free market at $35. Thus was born the only investment I’ve ever known that had a guaranteed floor but an unlimited ceiling. Obviously changing times had made gold a very appealing investment in 1970.1

Pay Attention

Column $245

February 21, 2020 was the date of my first COVID-19 column. That was exactly ten weeks ago. In that column I emphasized the importance of building immunity as the primary defense against the virus. I also reminded everyone that building immunity is not a quick fix in that it takes ten weeks for significant improvement. But I wonder, how many people have been paying attention?1 2

More people than normal have been shopping the online meat stores during these pandemic times. Some found the grass-fed outfits and some even discovered that there is such a thing as Omega-3 meats. In so doing some of them has been exposed, in varying degrees, to the Omega-3 story. Yet still way too few consumers actually understand it. For sure there are some hardcore nutrition types who have been studying the actual science behind biology and nutrition for many years. They not only understand EFAs but live the science in spades. They do not need reminders.

Ted's Rant

Column #244

A lot of folks are nuts out there. We have these political leaders telling us they are following science, yet what they “don’t know” about science would fill all of the science books in print. Then we have the media which is more interested in spreading terror and taking statements out of context to make sensible people look stupid and themselves look holier than thou. What about social media censorship, over zealous cops, busybodies who call the authorities to stop their neighbors from walking in a park, a tech industry that wants to track our every movement, and crybabies who expect immediate gratification of a brand-new need from a very huge, complicated, diverse production system?

For certain I’m not being politically correct when I point out that there’s even some politicians and mega billionaires out there who are trying to make things worse in order to make themselves look more caring. These out-of-touch, manipulative, moronic elitists are so disgusting it’s sickening. Yes, and that includes Bill Gates who thinks meat is not a fit food for mankind. He believes that highly processed vegan meats are best.1

What is Health?

Column #243

Most people believe they’re healthy. Sure, many know they’re overweight and have a few issues, but since they aren’t on life support they assume they’re in very good health. They exercise, eat organic, take vitamins, get proper sleep, work hard, and even do a little mediation. But those actions can be undermined to the point where they are meaningless. So, are most people actually healthy?

In most cases they’re not even close. Too many people are almost like the walking dead. America, as well as most countries these days, is filled with the walking dead. That’s why the COVID-19 virus (and the seasonal flu bug) takes so many lives. People with a major illness, pathology, or comorbidity like heart disease, diabetes, a history of cancer, obesity, or asthma are almost certain to die if they come down with COVID-19 or even the flu. Maybe the worst comorbidity is obesity because that’s when COVID-19 takes the lives of young, middle-aged, and old alike!1

Going Forward It’s Immunity

Column #242

We can see the light at the end of the tunnel. In about three weeks the shutdown should come to an end even though the virus won’t be defeated. Some politicians and certainly most MSM outlets will probably moan, groan, and criticize about it being too early. Unfortunately, the politicians and reporters that complain have no grasp of the true cost of the shutdowns, or they’re playing politics, or both.

In over too many decades of watching politicians, I’ve concluded that most of them are better political hacks than they are leaders in a dynamic society. On top of that many are challenged when it comes to economics and business. You know the ones, they set up perks for themselves that exceed anything the rest of us can afford who slug it out in the “free” market. They vote themselves steady paychecks, generous retirements, expensive healthcare, large well-paid staffs, gyms, and much, much more. Then they can’t pass any legislation unless it’s loaded with pork for their district and/or friends. They are the pigs in “Animal Farm.”

Having Doubts

Column #241

Social distancing works. The difference it can make in the spread of a contagious virus can be staggering. With a 75% reduction in social exposure an infected person will infect 2.5 people in 30 days. With a 50% reduction in social exposure an infected person will infect 75 people in 30 days. With no social distancing an infected person will infect 450 people in 30 days. For this reason everyone must do their best to practice social distancing.1

The reason social distancing is so important today is that it’s buying time for our unprepared healthcare system. Exponentially more protective gear, ventilators, and tests will be available two to three weeks from now than today. We’ll also be a little closer to a vaccine and maybe we’ll know by then if the antimalarial drugs (hydroxychloroquine sulfate and chloroquine phosphate) safely kill the virus in critically ill COVID-19 patients. Scientists are already saying that "What used to take years we’re doing in weeks.” Obviously it’s a constantly changing situation regarding the virus.

But the shutdowns are pushing the limits elsewhere. The financial and psychological strain caused by shuttered businesses may soon be far worse than the disease itself. Every day that the shutdowns continue the financial and psychological strain becomes more dire. America has to get back to work relatively soon.