The meaning of life and choosing ways to live the most full life are perplexing problems that have confused most of us. Physical health is critical. With it all other possibilities spring forward, and without it we are consumed by our own misfortune and agony.
Given health, understanding then what we can and can-not expect from life is very important. If we quixotically pursue some Pollyanna-ish ideal, we will be forever frustrated, assume we are somehow deficient, and never achieve true happiness and contentedness.
Unfortunately, the modern world would have us all chasing unattainable dreams. We are led to believe that things come easily, that we can avoid unpleasantness, immediate gratification is only a few dollars away, and if you jump through the hoops of going to school, obtaining a career, getting married, and having children, you will live happily ever after.
The media pushes “ideal” lives in our faces daily. We see those who appear to be physically perfect and hear about the lives of those who apparently don’t worry, are certain of their life’s course, always have fulfilling love and companionship, are secure in themselves and seem to have abolished all negative aspects of life. Then commerce exploits these fantasies by making us believe that their products will help us achieve these idealistic goals. Bodies are reshaped with silicone, closets bulge with every new fashion, impoverished ghetto children wear $150 sneakers and zillionaires surround themselves with the best that money can buy in an endless glut. But as life marches on, we find that an idealistic life is not our life. We make mistakes, we hate to take risks, we are uncertain, financial security seems distant, there isn’t time to interact properly with those we love, our face has a new wrinkle, our hairline is receding, problems continue to mount and we do not feel as though we are gaining more control as life moves on, but rather losing it. When we contrast this life against the ideal which we are led to believe we can achieve, we feel failure, hopeless and cast outside “normalcy.” The end result can be bitterness, social alienation, and a loss of mental health. All because we are chasing a fantasy, an unreal mythology about how life should be rather than how it is. This is the reality:
· All life has pain, difficulty and failure. (Notice even superheroes like Bill Cosby, Carol 0’Conner, OJ Simpson, and Bill Clinton.) · The future cannot be programmed; it is uncertain.
· Any accomplishment requires hard work and dedication.
· You are not special.
· No matter what you do, you cannot avoid the above.
· This will never change.
Although as youngsters and young adults we would like to believe that we will be able to carve out a perfect life for ourselves, this just does not happen. Life is an unfolding, unpredictable process. We can’t perfect it and then get it to stand still. Although all of us would like to hold some experiences forever, such as the love of a young child, winning a tournament, receiving a scholastic honor, being in love, enjoying a comedy, good mutual friendships - and while we’re saving all these things at the same time be able to - remove the pain from the loss of a loved one, the anguish of illness, the loss of a critical game or rejection by another... these are all part and parcel of being alive. Life is a flow of events, a never-ending succession of changes. Although we may attempt to deny this and work against it because it makes life not predictable, we will not succeed. Nevertheless, we don’t want to feel insignificant, out of control. We want to think that we can perfect our world and create a life of perfect order and ease, free of discomfort and uncertainty. Sorry, it just can’t be done. If we continue to chase after that windmill, we will be forever disappointed. Better to accept the reality. If we know we will be faced with the unexpected, then this philosophy will arm us so that we will not be unduly surprised. Much better to label events as failures, tragedy, successes or happiness and see it for what it is, as a momentary event that will be replaced with yet another. By not being consumed by events which we hope will continue forever, we can rise above them and look forward to life’s new surprises. When life is seen as a process, a series of events over which we may not have control, and yet also choices over which we do, we become in touch with reality. When we do that we have the best chance of mental and physical health.
If you are starving, all you can think about is food. It preoccupies your mind and your every activity. Once you have food, you think about shelter and clothing. Then you think about social contact. Once you have these things you think about leisure, the arts and philosophy. Once you have leisure and security you think about retaining your health, not dying, and making a better world.
To get to this latter point in our modern world is not too difficult, provided we have the economic resources. But remove sustenance through something like a great depression, devaluation of the dollar or a crashing stock market and no one will be thinking about a better world and health. We will retrogress to day-today, dog-eat-dog survival mechanisms.
As our society continues to remove itself from its resources and increasingly becomes dependent on infrastructure, government and monetary systems, our susceptibility to such tragedy increases logarithmically.
I am no economist, but it certainly appears to me that America, the hinge pin for world economics, is a gigantic bubble being stretched to its very limits. Our money is no longer backed by any real value, but is simply created by a printing press. Our debt far exceeds, by trillions of dollars, our country’s entire resources. We are bankrupt but have not yet been declared in default. The U.S. economy was once firmly rooted in productivity. At the turn of the century America was great because of its agriculture. Then it was great because of its manufacturing. Now with the farm-based economy gone and manufacturing pretty much all moved offshore, we are left with entertainment and investment hocus pocus as practically our most significant products.
People en masse are flocking to the financial markets in hopes of becoming rich as they perceive everyone else is... by doing nothing. Understandably so: Why get left behind during the great bull market which most financial forecasters say can continue indefinitely?
I’ve tried a few modest forays after the bull. I seem to have the ability to single-handedly affect the market. When I get in on something that is going up, or I’m told by experts is a sure bet to do so, as soon as I put my money in it does the opposite. You could get rich by doing the opposite of whatever investing I do. But this is not about crying over my spilled milk. The little lessons I have learned have given me pause and caused me to reflect more objectively on what is really going on. Stocks are far overvalued - more so than at any time in history - equity mutual funds have exploded, investment clubs are everywhere, clever derivatives abound, mergers and acquisitions are at record levels, foreign debt is stratospheric, and public euphoria and confidence are at an all time high.
But here’s a rule of thumb that is practically always true regarding speculation about anything: When the majority are doing it or believing it figure it’s wrong and do the exact opposite. If you put your life savings or your hard-earned retirement money into an investment over which you really have no control, you make yourself extremely vulnerable to catastrophe. Notice in the recent downturns in the market that just when it looked like the bottom might fall out, certain large investors came in and bought up stocks at the new lower prices. There are some who believe, with good evidence, that our government and large financial institutions have a way of manipulating the market in such a way that we are sucked into pouring our hard earned monies into it, but then it is ultimately manipulated such that we lose and the big guys win. Whether this is true or not I have no way of knowing, but I don’t like the loss of control and vulnerability such investing brings. Neither should you. There are many, many triggers that could result in an almost instantaneous financial meltdown in this country, the likes of which the world has never experienced before. The triggers could be such things as Arab nations all of a sudden refusing to sell oil to the U. S., or the sudden devaluation of the U.S. dollar against foreign currencies, or panic over collapse of Social Security or Medicare, a sudden increase in taxes, impeachment proceedings against the President and/or Vice President, the resurgence of Communism, an assassination, an Israeli/Arab war, etc., etc. All of these things could strike fear into the financial markets and result in its sudden collapse. Since the markets are no longer based upon real value, but rather emotion, emotion can bring them down in a wink.
When this happens, don’t assume you are going to be able to call the mutual fund 800 number to get your money back. The lines will be busy and by the time you have a chance to do something about it, it will be too late. The instancy of computer transactions can make the free fall in stock value almost instantaneous - leaving you practically no chance to respond and save yourself. Do yourself a favor and do all the reading you can from those who are bearish on the market and take a pessimistic view toward our economic future. Once you do this you will be sufficiently sobered to again take a more prudent approach toward your financial future.
My review of this leads me to believe that the arguments from the pessimists are far more compelling than the optimists who are entrusting their and our future to greed and euphoria.
One newsletter author writes, “If you still have anything in the stock market you are getting your red light warning: GET OUT NOW... ‘Trading for the long haul’ will prove to be the five most costly words ever brainwashed into an investor’s psyche. The market is going to crash into the biggest bear market ever seen and plunge for ten years. The market will not get back to present valuations in our lifetime.” Perhaps the best attitude we should take during this time of uncertainty, when our economy may indeed be teetering on the brink of disaster, is to think about what we can do to preserve what we have, rather than be pulling the handles on slot machines in an attempt to make a fortune.
The advice from the bear/pessimists includes getting yourself out of debt as much as possible, getting out of the stock market and all mutual funds, and investing in precious metals and foreign currencies.
If you go to a financial advisor and tell them that you want to preserve what you have without having your money based entirely in the dollar or in the markets, they should be able to give you the appropriate advice. You may have to search for the right person, however, because brokers make money from optimism, not pessimism.
This topic may seem a little afield from that of health, but if you will stop to think what would happen to your life if all of a sudden your financial security was gone, you would realize that the pursuit of health can only follow having our basic survival needs met, which are only possible in our modern world by maintaining our financial stability.
Please think long and hard before continuing to invest in or leave your hard earned security in today’s precarious financial institutions. Reference:
The Wall Street Underground, October 1997:16
GREENING THE WINTER
So, now you’re all tucked in for the cold winter season. The storm windows are on, all the drafty holes are plugged, the furnace is blowing and the fireplace crackling. Sorry, I’ve got to spoil this cozy little picture. But I’ll offer some remedies as well. The modern home and office environment are anything but pristine. Here are some of the things present in the indoor environment in high concentrations during the winter season: tobacco smoke; microbial contaminants; outside air pollutants; dust from wood, carpets and paper; chemicals from carbonless forms; molds in the ventilation system; formaldehyde in carpet adhesives; ozone, particles created by copy machines; fumes from paints, woods, oils and gasoline, rubber, office furniture, plastics, dyes, benzene, nitrobenzene, phenol, cyclohexane, cumene, maleic anhydride, detergent alkylate from nylons, pesticides, adhesives, laminates, coatings, inks, paints, varnishes and moldings; human bioeffluents (byproducts from biochemical processes) such as carbon monoxide, hydrogen, methane, alcohol, phenols, methyl indole, aIdehydes, ammonia, hydrogen sulphide, volatile fatty acids, mercaptans, nitrogen oxide, acetone, ethyl alcohol, methyl alcohol and ethyl acetate; and various other volatile organic compounds from sources such as adhesives, carpeting, caulking compounds, computer terminals, duplicating machines, microfiche developers, ovens, kerosene and gas heaters, paints, stains, varnishes, paper, particle board, laser printers, tile, linoleum, wall coverings and typewriter correction fluid.
But all is not lost. For one thing, try to use nontoxic materials when building, renovating and refurbishing the home. We live with more than 70,000 chemicals in the home environment. The average carpet releases more than 60 chemicals into the air, some for a few days and some for as long as 15 years. The average paint has 20 chemicals that also gas off for days or months. In spite of the cold, open the windows as often as it is possible to do so. Some people even run a tube from the outside over the head of the bed (assuming outside air is better than inside air) to permit fresh air breathing during important sleep time.
Another very helpful remedy is to green the inside of the home with clean air plants.
There are over 50 houseplants capable of cleaning the air. Each plant seems to have a specific affinity for detoxifving different environmental impurities.
Remember that plants are living, breathing creatures. They are not static, but rather dynamic organisms that pull air in and release healthful oxygen.
Here is a partial list of plants which are beneficial in cleaning the indoor environment:
· Aglaonema (Chinese Evergreen)
· Aloe Vera (Medicine Plant)
· Chamaedorea (Bamboo Palm)
· Chiorophytum (Spider Plant)
· Chrysanthemum (Mum)
· Dracaena deremensis (Janet Craig)
· Dracaenafragrans massangeana (Corn Plant)
· Dracaena marginata (Madagascar Dragon Tree)
· Gerbera jamesonii (Gerbera Daisy)
· Hedera helix (English Ivy)
· Musa (Banana)
· PepperomiaPhilodendron cordatum (Heart-leaf Philodendron)
· Philodendron pertusum (Split-leaf Philodendron)
· Pothos (Devil’s Ivy) · Sanseveria (Snake Plant)
· Schefflera (Umbrella Plant)
· Spathiphylium (Peace Lily)
· Syngonium (Arro~Nhead Plant)
For further help in greening and detoxifying the indoor environment, see the references cited.
How To Grow Fresh Air: 50 Houseplants that Purify Your Home or Office, by Dr. B.C. Wolverton, Penguin Books, 1997
B.C. Wolverton, PhD, Wolverton Environmental Serv Inc, 514 Pine Grove Road, Picayune, MS, 39466-9007 601-799-3807
The Inside Story: A Guide to Indoor Air Quality, by the Air Quality Information Clearing Rouse, 800-438-4318
Air Pollution in Your Home, The American Lung Association, 800-LUNG-USA
American College of Occupational Environmental Medicine, 55 W Seegers Rd, Arlington, IL 60005, 7082286850
Human Ecology Action League. P0 Box 49126, Atlanta GA 30359, 404-248-1898
SELENIUM AND CANCER
The mineral selenium is low in some soils and high in others. There is an increased risk of total cancers where people are eating foods from soil that is low in selenium. Correlation of low selenium in crops has been shown with increased risk of lung, colon, rectum, bladder, esophagus, breast, ovary and cervical cancers.
In a multi-center, double-blinded study, 1.312 patients were enrolled to test the effectiveness of 200 mcg of selenium compared to placebo for a period of almost five years. In those taking the selenium supplement, no signs of toxicity occurred, but there was a significant decrease in total cancer incidence and mortality.
Organically complexed selenium is a part of Wysong RDA™ and Optimal™ vitamin/mineral supplements at a level of 200 mcg, and also Wysong Diets animal foods.
Journal of the American Medical Association, l996;276:1957-1963
ANTIOXIDANTS AND DNA REPAIR
Although the DNA contained in cells is responsible for blueprinting all of life’s processes, it is highly complex and fragile. As I discuss in my book, The Creation-Evolution Controversy, the DNA within a single cell contains the equivalent of 100 million pages of Encyclopedia Brittanica. But if pages of an encyclopedia were removed or the letters on a page were scrambled, useful information would be destroyed. So too does such damage to DNA cause problems in life’s blueprint master information molecule. Changes in the DNA are called mutations. This can be caused by a variety of high energy radiations such as x-rays, cosmic rays, UV light, as well as a host of chemicals. It is estimated by some biologists that such damage is occurring to every cell in our body at a rate of 10,000 times daily.
Fortunately, the body has a complex repair system that quickly carves out the damaged molecular words, sentences or paragraphs in the DNA code and replaces them with the original sequence. If this DNA repair mechanism does not perform properly, then the damage will remain - resulting in a weakness, a susceptibility, a disease in one form or another, or the accumulated effect of such damage creates an acceleration of the aging process.
Research has shown that the premier antioxidant vitamins C, E and beta carotene are capable of decreasing oxidative damage to genetic material, as well as repairing mechanisms. In a study of the genetic stability of immune cells in smokers, it was found that those who consumed these antioxidant vitamins. experienced almost a 40% decrease in DNA damage.
Yet another evidence in behalf of consuming fresh, raw, antioxidant and vitamin-rich foods daily and supplementing with the important anti6xidant nutrients such as in Wysong Food A.C.ETM (a food-derived-only concentrated source of vitamins A, C and E) or Spectrox™ (a more concentrated formula of vitamins A, C and E ,plus a spectrum of other antioxidants). Reference:
Cancer Research, 1996;56: 1291-1295
LOSE HOPE, HAVE A STROKE
In the pages of the Health Letter I have repeatedly emphasized the need to arrange one’s life such that you feel you have control over your destiny. Feelings of helplessness, hopelessness and victimization are not only depressing, but have a serious impact on physical health In further proof of this, a recent study demonstrated that feelings of hopelessness can actually accelerate the development of atherosclerotic plaque in the carotid arteries.
These are the arteries that move blood from the heart up the neck and feed the brain. When they become sufficiently damaged, stroke can result.
Men with high feelings of hopelessness develop atherosclerosis in these arteries 20% faster than those with modest scores for negative feelings. The risk resulting from hopelessness is, therefore, essentially the same as if you were a pack-a-day smoker.
Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, 1997:17
FEED INFANT FORMULA AND PLAY HORMONE ROULETTE
Soybeans have relatively high levels of phyto-estrogens which are estrogenic compounds that mimic the estrogenic female hormones. Although dietary phyto-estrogens may be of benefit to adult women in counteracting an increasing environmental load of estrogenic substances, they may have an adverse impact on a developing infant.
Infants consuming soy-based formulas may be taking in concentrations of hormones up to 22,000 times higher than estrogens normally in their blood.. Might this be predisposing infants to hormone related maladies later in F life, such as breast and uterine cancer, as well as reproductive and menstrual aberrations? Might they be affecting the secondary sexual characteristics (and preferences) of males? These are certainly worthy questions as we see female reproductive and hormone disturbances and same-sex preferences on a steep rise.
The correct food for infants is breast milk. Nothing more, nothing less. The evidence is so overwhelming in support of this obvious truth that it should not even be a subject of debate.
The Lancet, July 5, 1997:23-27
RICE BRAN OIL FOR HEART DISEASE
The oil in rice bran contains forms of vitamin E called tocotrienols. These are chemically similar to alpha-tocopherol (conventional vitamin E) but contain three unsaturated bonds in the side chain as shown on the following page. This important difference however, makes the tocotrienols extremely important nutritionally.
Research has demonstrated that they can reduce total and LDL cholesterol, provide even greater antioxidant protection than alpha-tocopherol and decrease inflammatory thromboxane production. (See my book, Lipid Nutrition – Understanding Fats and oils in health and disease, for an explanation of how thromboxanes are important in cardiovascular health.) The research supporting the antioxidant benefits ofalpha4ocopherol (conventional natural vitamin E) is staggering. Therefore, when research has shown that the tocotrienol is as much as 60 times more potent in antioxidant activity, this is something to pay attention to.
One of the mechanisms by which tocotrienols decrease cholesterol is by inhibiting HMG-CoA reductase (again see my book, Lipid Nutrition, for a description of this). Then, by inhibiting thromboxane production, platelet coagulation is decreased, which in turn decreases the chance of clot formation in blood vessels.
I have been following research on the tocotrienols now for several years and am convinced of their potential benefits and safety and, therefore, will be including them in our EFA fatty acid supplements. They are also present in our animal foods containing whole brown rice, such as Wysong Synorgon™
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1991;53.:1021S-1026S
Free Radical Biol Med, 1991; 10:263-75
Nutritional Biochemistry, 1 997;8:290-98
Vitamin E in Realth and Disease, by AA Qureshi, 1993, Marcel Dekker; pp 247-267
PORIM International Palm Oil Congress, September 23, 1996:152-160
Free Radical Biol Med, 1991;l0:263-275
VITAMIN D AND ATHEROSCLEROSIS
Vitamin D can be consumed in the diet, for example in milk and meats, but is primarily produced in the skin by the action of sunlight. It has long been assumed that increasing levels of vitamin D would increase the rate of calcium deposition not only in bones, but in soft tissues as can occur when atherosclerotic plaques occur in arteries.
New research, however, has shown that it is low levels of vitamin D that result in calcium deposition and atherosclerotic plaque, unlike that which occurs in bones where low levels of vitamin D can decrease the calcium density in bones.
This points to the need, particularly during the winter months, to be sure the skin is exposed to sunlight at every opportunity, and also that foods are selected which are high in vitamin D. Vitamin D supplements should be seriously considered if either of the above two are lacking.
Circulation, September 1997:1755-60
Seborrheic dermititis is a common skin condition in humans and animals. It is associated with excessive oiliness of the skin, scaling. dandruff, infection and odor. The affected areas can form unsightly yellowish scaly bumps and patches.
It is argued by some that the condition is a result of impaired fatty acid metabolism triggered by improper nutrition, including a deficiency in D vitamins. Therapy for humans and animals should include:
1) Essential fatty acid supplementation (Wysong EFA™ and Marine Lipids™).
2) H~Biotic™ for humans and Pet Inoculant™ for animals to provide proper intestinal flora which can synthesize B vitamins.
3) Wysong Optimal™ or RDA™ multi vitamin and mineral.
4) Antioxidant nutrients (Wysong Food ACE™ or Spectrox™).
5) Topical application of a vitamin B6 cream composed of 50 mg of vitamin B6 in 1 gram of water soluble base. Ask your pharmacist to compound this, or if he can’t call 1-800-927-4227 at thc Academy of Compounding Pharmacists to find one who can. Reference:
Health Counselor, June 1997: 53