Dr. R. L. Wysong
May 1990
Earth Friendly Children
    Recently my youngest boy brought home a work page from his first grade class. It was called “Caring for the Earth.”  The problem was:  “Pete wants to do his part to keep the earth in good shape.  Put a check next to the things he can do to help the Earth.   Put an X next to those things that won’t really help the Earth.”   Number one was take out the trash, number two was fill the tub only part of the way when he takes a bath, number three was plant a garden, number 4 was use both sides of a piece of paper, number 5 was help his father do the dishes, number 6 was make a bird feeder.  This was on a nice mimeographed sheet showing Pete out in the garden planting corn and tomatoes in a nice country setting.  What a delight it was to see the schools taking part in helping children to understand more about our fragile world.   As I look back through my schooling, I can’t remember anything in any class that ever spoke to the environmental issues that have crashed in upon us in the last decade. About the only thing I can remember having anything to do with taking care of the earth was legislation making it a crime to throw trash out of car windows.  But this was only done as a beautification program and had nothing to do with environmental responsibility.  Seeing this sort of awareness occurring in schools from grade school up, plus a whole bunch of other things occurring, and in particular increased general awareness, make it not so pollyannish to have real hope for the future.
Pesticide Overflow
    Only 1% of the approximately 1 billion pounds of pesticides used on food products per year reaches their insect targets.   That means that 99% of this billion pounds simply is waste spilled into our environment.
        Acres, 5/90;4.
World Population
    Present world population is 5.2 billion and is expected to increase to 82 billion by the year 2020.  Underdeveloped countries are anticipated to contribute 93% of this total increase.  There is little doubt that we are entering a time when cooperation and rational resolution of world problems must be placed as top priorities for the world community.
Water Drinking
    The admonition to drink several glasses of water a day is often given in the same breath as advice to eat from the four food groups and to visit your physician yearly for a check-up.
    An article in Parade Magazine by Dr. Perry, a chiropractor, states that an average person should drink a minimum of 8 to 10 eight ounce glasses of water a day.  Another formula is ½ ounce per pound of body weight daily.  If you were not active, that would be 10 eight-ounce glasses if you weigh 160 pounds.  Two-thirds of an ounce per pound is the recommendation if you’re athletic, that would be 13 to 14 glasses a day at the same weight of 160 pounds.
    This is an incredible amount of water to have to gulp down during the course of a day.  There is little doubt that we do need water, it is a critical physiological component of our bodies, which are comprised of about 70% water.  But this recommendation that we drink these amounts of water without thirst telling us we need it must be suspicioned.  It seems that every other physiological need or function we have is best maintained by responding to the body’s call.  We sleep because we feel sleepy, we eat because we’re hungry, we eliminate because we need to eliminate, we drink when we are thirsty.  If we are force feeding more liquids than our body is calling for, then this must create stress on the digestive tract and the kidneys and the urinary system.
    It is not clear when such recommendations for drinking water are made where these facts come from or how they are supported by controlled study.  Maybe this information exists but we have not been able to come across it in our research yet, we just imply come across claims.
    Probably more important than how much we drink, is what we drink.  Modern water supplies, be they from municipal sources or wells, are now highly suspect.  Chlorine used in drinking water is suspect.  Halogenated by-products resulting from chlorination are known to be carcinogenic with chlorinated water showing direct links to bladder cancer specifically.   Chlorinated water may also block iodine uptake leading to hypothyroidism.   Much drinking water contains high levels of lead, over 60 pesticides have been found in some water supplies, the EPA has identified over 700 pollutants in drinking water, fluorides are also suspect as having a role in cancer, fluoridation also tends to concentrate the aluminum from cookware and aluminum is linked to Alzheimer’s disease.   Certainly these are all considerations in drinking moderate thirst-provocated amounts of water let alone drinking 10 or 12 or 14 glasses a day which will greatly increase our exposure to these hazards.
    So how much is enough water?   Probably the safest bet is to let your body tell you.  There are some instances, however, where drinking water before thirst hits may indeed to helpful and that would include drinking before a fairly intensive workout say an 8 ounce glass of water 15 minutes to a half an hour before a workout and being sure to drink sufficient amounts to meet your thirst requirements afterwards.  Research has shown that performance and stamina can be increased by doing this. 
        Parade, October 22, 1989.
Health Care – A Growth Industry
    In our small community here in Michigan, it seems that the primary construction projects are in one way or another related to health care.  New large multi-person dental complexes, multi-million dollar expansions of the hospital, 24 hour chain quick medical clinics, large multi-story private medical complexes dot our landscape.
    This is evidently not unique to us here since medical care expenditures now ½ trillion dollars or 11.1% of the gross national product.  Medical care in the last decade or so has exceeded inflation by over 80% and Medicare and Medicaid groups have grown from 70 billion in 1982 to 111 billion in 1987.
    These expenditures will likely increase unless there is a dramatic paradigm shift away from the emphasis on after-the-fact crisis care intervention.  Additionally, life expectancy is believed to increase to 82 years for women and about 74 years for men by the year 2020.  With things as they are, in the first half of the 21st century, dementia might inflict 28% or more of the senior population and hip fractures might well exceed 800,000 per year in the geriatric population.
    We have discussed before in the review how that longevity, the actual potential for length of life has not increased, but rather life expectancy is increasing primarily as a result of reduction in childhood deaths which are in turn a result not of crisis care intervention, but as a result of more soft factors such as better food distribution and better hygiene.
    As the population’s average age increases, the rate of chronic degenerative disease will also increase proportionally since its main target is the elderly.
    The question reasonably asked is, are we living longer and feeling worse or is the ½ trillion dollars spent per year truly bettering the human condition?
    It appears that other than in the pyrotechnics of emergency care medicine where modern technology can indeed influence outcome in some cases in dramatic ways, the human condition is not being bettered.   If it is not, then perhaps the basic approach to health care needs to be reexamined.
    Just as the rising environmental consciousness is getting people to be more introspective and take control of their own life, so too must the same reasoning be applied to the ecology of the body.   The parallel, when you think about it, is quite remarkable, if not exact.   Simple mindless, short-sighted consumption of the body’s resources is no different than the mindless, short-sighted consumption of the Earth’s resources.   Allow others to care for your body and expect the worst.  Allow others to care for the Earth and expect the worst.  Pollute the body and disease results and life is threatened.  Pollute the body and disease results and life is threatened. 
    Taking control of our own health destiny, doing things now that result in health later, adopting the far-sighted approach to personal care is ultimately the only answer there can be to bringing to humans and animals the fullness of their health potential.
        Health AFF., 1988;5:124-136.
        JAMA, May 2, 1990;263:17:2335.
Fluoride's Questionable Value
    Does or does not fluoride addition to public water supplies decrease dental disease?  Or is the introduction of fluoride in our water a threat to our health?  this is a controversy which has always existed since the first proposal for introducing fluoride into drinking water.  But the issue is particularly heating up of late.  The reason is that increasing evidence suggesting that chronic fluoride intake may increase the incidence of certain cancers, and other evidence, argues that there is no difference in the dental carie rate in areas which are fluoridated as opposed to those which are not.  In 1986, Nature reported a study of 8 countries demonstrating that there was no clear positive effect of fluoride treated drinking water.
    In some countries, fluoridated water has been banned, such Austria, Denmark, France, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Yugoslavia, Spain, and the Netherlands.  This was done out of the concern over the possible toxicity of fluorides and also the disputable evidence regarding its usefulness.
    It may be that the decreased levels of dental caries that have occurred concomitantly with the introduction of fluoride are not associated.  Evidence indicates that the decline in dental caries has occurred in areas where fluoride was used.  This is a similar situation to crediting the drop in Scarlet Fever with the introduction of penicillin when 90 plus percent of the incidences of Scarlet Fever had dropped before penicillin was every used.  Similar evaluations can be made of diphtheria, influenza, measles, tuberculosis, polio, typhoid, pneumonia, and whooping cough.   In other words, as Renee Dubois has said, “When the tide is receding from the beach it is easy to have the illusion that one can empty the ocean by removing water with a pail.”  In other words, if disease is almost at the bottom of the hill on a declining slope of an incidence curve, it is easy to suggest that cure after the majority of the decline has already occurred is due to some intervention.
        Newsweek, Feb. 5, 1990;4.
Behavior and Breast Cancer
    A recent study reported in Lancet demonstrated a correlation between psychosocial factors and hormone receptor status in primary breast cancer patients. The study showed that those patients with estrogen and/or progesterone receptor positive tumors were better adjusted psychosocially than those with negative receptor status.
    The prognostic value of hormone receptors is still controversial so looking at only the data available it may be difficult to associate benefit or harm to the presence of absence of receptors.  However, if evidence elsewhere is taken into consideration whereby it is demonstrated that individuals more psychosocially adapted are more healthy, it would appear that since positive receptor status is associated with better psychosocial adaptation that positive receptors may mean a more optimistic outcome.
    For now, identifying receptor status is of benefit in determining whether a patient is more likely to respond to adjuvant chemotherapy or from Tamoxifen therapy if they are receptor positive.
    This is just another example of the importance of the mind-body connection.  That we are not simply an assemblage of mechanical parts unrelated to our persona.  Mammary cancer has risen 2% per year since 1960 and now 1 in every 10 women in the United States will get the disease at some time in their life.  The approach to breast cancer through treatment, however, has not been rewarding.  One therapy after another has been introduced over the past 20 years and yet no overall decrease in age-adjusted mortality in any large populations, in any country has occurred.  In fact, mortality is increasing at the rate of about 2% per year.  There are definite correlations between diet and breast cancer particularly high fats of the bad  kind we have talked about before in the Review such as imbalanced omega 6 and omega 3, and oxidized lipids.  It is also known that there is likely a correlation between a mother’s risk and the status of health during the peri and post menarcheal periods.  Now the link between psychosocial adaptation and an important physiological component, hormone receptors, demonstrate the importance of a preventative and holistic approach to health.
        Science News, April 21, 1990;245.
        Bailliere’s clinical oncology, 1988;2:1-57.
        The Lancet, 335:931.
Tortilla Chip Danger
    Minutes after a 63-year-old woman consumed a tortilla chip, she experienced retro sternal pain and vomited blood.   This recent report in the New England Journal of Medicine goes on to say that upon examination, she was in extreme pain, spitting blood and was found to have a large five-centimeter laceration upon fiber optic esophagoscopy.  The patient’s stomach contained a large amount of clotted blood and she began to run a fever.   There was some pleural effusion although the esophagography revealed that there was no perforation from the esophageal laceration.  The patient received antibiotics and antiinflammatories and subsequently became afebrile.  She received blood transfusions and eventually went home on the sixth day after hospitalization although she was still unable to swallow solid food painlessly.  Six weeks later, esophagoscopy revealed only a small scar in the distil esophagus.
    The reporting physician indicated that he was easily able to produce tears with tortilla chips in the esophagus from autopsy specimens.
    This individual had a full upper denture, which can predispose to food impaction or other swallowing abnormalities as described here where evidently a large piece of tortilla chip was swallowed unchewed.
    This is just another in our series of if it can happen, it will.  It is also a lesson in making sure food is chewed thoroughly and do what is necessary to keep your natural teeth throughout your adult life.
        The New England Journal of Medicine, May 10, 1990;222:1399.
Microwave Dangers
    There is yet another microwave danger, adding to the possibility of bums or food poisoning. With approximately three out of four homes having a microwave in regular use, many uneasy jokes about “nuking” food and the like can be heard. People generally don’t completely trust their microwave and what it may be doing to them. But, in our fast food convenience-oriented society. they have quickly become something we would be loathe to live without.
    Information discussed in a recent Nutrition Action Health Letter has to do with the containers, packages and products we use with our microwaving which are largely exempt from any government regulation. The plastics, cling-wraps, special “browning” packages and even the cookware which is supposed to be “microwave-safe” all pose potential health threats. Since microwaves can’t brown or crisp foods, the packaging itself for microwave pizzas, french fries. popcorn, etc. has to do the browning, crisping and “frying” action rather than the oven. This is called “heat-susceptor” packaging, the heat susceptors are thin, gray strips or disks of metallized plastic which absorb the microwave energy, get very hot and act like a tiny frying pan in the oven. With microwave pizza, the entire silver surface on which the pizza sits is heat susceptor material. Microwave waffles are inserted into a box lined with the silver gray heat susceptor material. The problem is that the FDA, which is supposed to approve all substances which go into food and packages, only tested the heat susceptor packaging to 300 degrees. What they didn’t anticipate was that the susceptors can reach 500 degrees in the microwave, and this is when chemicals migrate out of the susceptors and into the foods. In fact, in 1988, tests on corn oil showed every test package releasing chemicals into the oil within three minutes of microwave cooking time. Not only do the susceptors themselves break down, but so do other components of the packaging, including the adhesives used to hold them together. Even though the adhesives used in food packaging are required by the FDA to have a “functional barrier” between them and the food, through which the adhesives are not supposed to be able to pass, these don’t work under high heat conditions. The adhesives do get into the food, and an FDA chemist, Les Borodinsky. calls these adhesives a “real witches brew” with their traces of benzene, toluene and xylene which are all known or highly suspected carcinogens. And what about all the chemicals the FDA hasn’t looked into yet which are components of the packaging used in microwaves?
    Now many foods are being packaged in “dual ovenable” trays, designed to be used either in the microwave oven or-a conventional oven. These dual ovenables don’t contain heat susceptors, but tests show that they do have many substances which migrate into the food, mainly in conventional ovens. The chemicals in food from a dual ovenable package warmed in a conventional oven compare quite directly with those found in microwaved foods from heat susceptor packaging. Here the recommendation would be to transfer all foods into glass cookware before baking in a conventional oven.
    The plastic or cling wraps we use daily are also suspect. A British government study in 1987 showed that plasticizing chemicals from PVC wraps migrated into fatty foods not only during microwave cooking, but also at room temperatures and even at refrigerator temperatures. The longer the wrap was in contact with fatty foods, and the higher the temperature, the more DEHA (di-(2-ethylhexyl) adipate) there was in the food. The highest levels are found in real fatty foods such as pork spare ribs which were microwaved touching the wrap. But even fatty foods such as sausage and ham which were simply wrapped but not microwaved contained elevated levels of DEHA. Levels seemed unaltered in non-fatty foods such as fruits and vegetables, however. The recommendation here would be to decrease the consumption of fatty foods, first of all, and then certainly not to let your plastic or PVC wraps come in contact with the food during storage or microwaving. How bad is DEHA? Well, no one knows for sure, but the National Toxicology Program found that-it causes cancer in mice, but not rats No one is saying whether it causes cancer in humans. We do know that it permeates our food supply, however, since so many fresh foods found in grocery stores seem to be packaged in it—from fruits to packaged meats—so the plasticizer probably ends up on the surface of these foods, even permeating the fatty meats.
    Remember also that the old margarine tubs or yogurt containers you grab quickly to warm your leftovers in are not at all tested for microwave safety. They are designed to hold cold foods, not hot, and they release a variety of chemicals into foods when microwaved. Even the “microwave safe” or “microwaveable” cookware you use is untested. So far, it has been up to the manufacturer to test their own products because the FDA does not regulate containers, because of something called the “housewares exemption” set up in the 1950’s. This set forth that the FDA had jurisdiction over packaging used commercially, but not that which is used for cooking and eating in the home. However, as long ago as 1974 the FDA realized that this was not a prudent position, since at the most critical stage of food processing, with high heat added immediately before being eaten, was when there would be the most risk for significant amounts of harmful additives entering the foods from the packaging. So the FDA proposed getting rid of the policy, but 16 years later it still stands, waiting to be “finalized,” as they say. For now, without government intervention and control. we simply have to take the word of the companies producing the food packaging products.
    As for cooking, make sure there is no contact between foods and plastic-type wraps, or better yet use glass covers and glass cookware. Even better yet, return as much as possible to the non-cooked, whole, raw diet and avoid cooking as much as possible. Poor old dead horse, we just keep beating him.
Filtering Scientific Information
    As inappropriate as it seems information that passes to not only the public, but to the scientific community is filtered primarily through the mechanism of journal peer review. It would seem that any substantiated information or reasonable arguments should be presented to the scientific community particularly to encourage fresh thinking and innovation.
Unfortunately this is not the case.  Instead editors and referees take it upon themselves to carefully scrutinize materials according to their personal standards of quality rather than serving as agents for the dissemination of potentially useful information.  This is not to say that it is not important that scientific information be scrutinized to eliminate fraud and error as much as possible.   Even with the rigorous methods used to screen articles published in recognized scientific journals, fraud invariably creeps through and so does error. 
    An excellent series of articles in a recent Journal of the American Medical Association demonstrates the merits as well as the difficulties in the modern peer review process.  They examine who peer reviewers are, how that there is broad variations in methods of review between different journals, and how that if a  peer reviewer him or herself has an article rejected or accepted it affects how they subsequently screen papers they are responsible for reviewing, bias (3 articles are written on that topic alone), fraudulent publication and the inadequately of removing this material from literature following exposure, further how that retracted or fraudulent material continues to be cited for years later, conflict of interest by peer reviewers and how that the modern peer review process suppresses innovation creates stirring food for thought for those who believe what appears in a scientific journal is cold hard truth.
    I’ve mentioned before how that it is virtually impossible for a person or small company to introduce a medical product, device or procedure without considerable funding.  FDA control of the introduction of new medical ideas is simply an extreme example of what occurs in medical journals themselves.  Millions of dollars are required to validate , according to FDA guidelines, a new pharmaceutical product. Thus, the ultimate goal of a public protector such as the FDA is only partially served by its focused attempt to force proof of safety and efficacy.  But as we continually mention in the Review, even these extraordinary efforts are inadequate since drugs and procedures continue to slip through that are neither safe nor effective.  The other half of the responsibility of a public protector is to be sure mew healing possibilities are presented to the public.  But instead. Innovation is by and large suppressed.  Natural products which can not be patented do not justify fronting the money necessary to test  them since once the proof is established the product would be available for anybody to sell.  The company funding the research would not be able to recover its costs.  Additionally, as I said, if the company is not large enough to fund the studies required, the studies are not done, approval is not given and if the procedure or product is used it is then viewed by those in the medial community as quackery.  It is a difficult dilemma but it seems that public interests are best served by openness, a free medical marketplace and the exercise of caveat emptor by an informed public.
    As I said, the control of the introduction of new medical products is simply a gaudy reflection of what is occurring in the journals.  When one submits findings to journals they can be guaranteed rejection unless considerable funding is available to create the studies and analyses required by journal reviewers.
    Significant scientific information is known to have been rejected if not suppressed by the modern review process.   For example, Glick and other’s work on the identification of B lymphocytes as separate identities was rejected by leading journals, Krebs article on the citric acid cycle considered by many to be the most important singly article in modern bio-chemistry was initially rejected.  The history of science is filled with thwarted discoveries.   If the discovery is not adequately publicized it simply will not be adapted into current scientific thought.  We can be absolutely sure that there is a bounty of information that is presently available and has been available for some time which could offer many benefits to the public which is simply suppressed for reasons other than whether the information is valid or might benefit the public.
    An editor for the journal Medical Hypothesis said, “In all that is said and written about peer review, quality control appears overwhelmingly important and the encouragement of innovation receives little attention.  That is the recipe for failure.”  He goes on to argue that the obsession with quality of and article has essentially destroyed innovation and has set back scientific and medical progress.
    He mentions for example that there are five major types of drugs used in modern psychiatry.  All five classes were discovered prior to 1960.  Although it is true come variance of these have been introduced, the basic classes remain the same.      The primary reason for the standstill is simply the suppression of innovation in medical journals.   If new discoveries are not welcomed in accepted scientific publications, advance will come only with great difficulty.
    The editor further stated that lithium is one of the most successful of all the psychiatric drugs yet the modern peer review practices would have blocked its introduction.  Kade, the discoverer of the product, worked under primitive conditions and was insufficiently funded to produce controlled data which would be accepted by modern editors.  Thus today’s quality rather than innovation centered journals would have prevented the introduction of this compound which if properly used is one of the few drugs to be capable of actually bringing about true normalization of behavior affected individuals.  This one example represents likely the tip of the iceberg.  There has always been tension in science between those who emphasize originality, creativity, and profundity and those on the other hand who wish to emphasize accuracy and reliability.  The two horses are both necessary for good information, but accuracy and reliability without creativity and innovation is pretty much worthless and can throw us into the dark ages.
    I recently had a first hand experience with the process.  I wrote an article entitled, “The Myth of the 100% Complete Manufactured Diet” which was an 18-page article with 37 scientific references which I submitted to a peer viewed journal.  The journal sent the article out to three reviewers.  The reviewers each critiqued the article and made the recommendations as to whether it should be published or not.  Two of the reviewers felt the article should be burned and the other felt it should be published.
    The article is available in the Wysong Library.  In essence I was trying to demonstrate how that it is impossible for our current stage of knowledge to create any product which is processed and claim it to be 100% complete.  The basic flaw is that we do not yet know what 100% nutritional complete is.  Information is constantly changing and no one can be absolutely sure what nutrient in what form should be fed to which person or animals to give absolute insurance of nutritional health.  Since we do not have 100% knowledge, how can a 100% claim be made?  In any case, I went through a variety of arguments which I felt were all overwhelmingly logical (of course) and I supplied documentation for any specific facts I alluded to.
    I was literally shocked by the tone of the first two reviewers who seemed actually hostile.  As I thought about this, these were probably professional Nutritionists, some of whom are known to have the hair stand up on the back of their neck if anyone would dare suggest that they are not capable of creating a 100% complete diet.  One reviewer began his critique by condemning me because he had not seen me at any meeting he has attended.  He also took issue with the fact that I did not outline my credentials to justify my expressing an opinion on the subject.  Another one of the reviewers, who is evidently familiar with some of our activities in creating some processed food products, attempted to argue that I was, therefore, prejudiced in my presentation of the article.  But the thesis of the article was that all processed foods could not claim 100% completeness.       Therefore, the reviewers logic would go like this.   This is the absurd syllogism?
    1.       My article argues that the 100% complete processed diet is not possible.
    2.       I have produced a processed diet.
    3.       Therefore, my paper is self serving.
    His prejudice was so profound, he could not see through to the fact that my paper would as well argue against our claiming our processed foods could be 100% complete also. 
    In any case, I have gone back and forth with the editor and the anonymous reviewers, but it is unlikely that it will be published through this particular journal.  Now I don’t want you to think the purpose of this topic is just for me to cry in my beer.  Why should I care if those dirty rotten editors rejected my revolutionary senunal article.  Just kidding, anyway it made me well aware that information we read in journals is vigorously filtered and even though results may lead us to certain beneficial conclusions here and there, as we survey journals we can be assured that this information is highly incomplete and that we are only receiving a fraction of the information that is available. 
    The only way truth will ever be approached is if there is the free flow of information and people are able to evaluate all the data and reason on it.  From there, progress can occur.  As the system of peer review is going, now we are simply narrowing the field of information, discouraging innovation and creativity and making it possible only for those in financially elite positions to be able to produce discovery.
    The discouragement of authors and the suppression of innovation, works against the creative process.  As Francis Bacon said in 1621, “The human intellect is more moved and excited by affirmatives than by negatives.”
    Understanding this restricted process in traditional scientific journals should make us more receptive to gathering information from sources outside these channels.  Since many discoverers and authors are thwarted from revealing their information through these channels, they are forced into the less prestigious and even lay publications.
    I don’t know about you, but I trust my ability to evaluate information to form conclusions so long as I am given free access to all the information.  As it stands now, we are not as individuals granted that trust, but rather, arbitrarily appointed or self appointed judges in the form editors and reviewers become the filters for information you and I get to be exposed to.
        JAMA 263:10.
Raw Nut Recipe
    I want to periodically give you some recipes for the preparation of raw foods at home.  Nuts, such as pecans (which is actually the pit of a fruit), brazils (actually a seed, which is very high in 5 amino acids such as methionine and cystine which are low in legumes such as soy - good additions to common vegetation based diets), walnuts, and others, are usually eaten as snacks or treats sometimes roasted, in oil or not, and often lightly salted.  They are indeed nutritional in this form, but as we have talked about in previous reviews, as they are roasted, as the oils are heated, a variety of wondrous things happen to the biochemical quality of the contained nutrients.
    Here is an idea for how to consume nuts in their raw form with all of their unaltered nutritional value.  Buy organic nuts if you can.  Put the nuts in water that is double the volume of the nuts and allow them to soak for about a day or even two.  During this day or two, keep pouring the water off, say two to three times per day, and replacing it with fresh water.   As you pour the water off, you will notice that the water is dark brown in color and will lighten after several hours.  The water is removing much of the bitterness from the coating of the raw nut.  Adding a little hydrogen peroxide to the soak water will also inhibit mold growth.  See the Hydropure brochure in the Wysong Library.   After a day or two of soaking, simply remove the water and store the nuts in the refrigerator.  They can then be used as snacks, try adding them to sandwiches, or in any kind of cooked product, chopped up in cereal, and so forth.  After they have soaked much of the bitterness is gone, they become much more tender and sweeter and more easily digested.  Nuts are good sources of protein, minerals, and lipids and can provide fairly high levels of fatty acids of the omega 3 family.  Try to prepare the nuts frequently so they are not being stored for long periods of time after they have been soaked.  Remember time is the enemy of nutritional value.
Life and Death Decisions
    There is growing moral dilemma unique to our time: the ability of doctors to save patients when saving them may not be the right thing to do—not morally right, not right for society, not right for the family, not right for the patients themselves.  Young physicians often make these larger-than-life-and-death decisions, often by themselves but sometimes with hastily called smaller conferences or scheduled hospital ethics committee meetings. In some cases the decision making travels even as far as the U.S. Supreme Court, which will hear for example the case of the parents of a comatose 32-year-old Missouri woman who want to withdraw the feeding tube that is keeping her alive.  Another mother has watched her daughter-continue in a coma for eight years yet states “I know the only way Kimmy will get better is by a miracle, and I’m probably not going to get one, but I cannot starve my child.” Which parent is right? And even if the Supreme Court “tells” us, “decides” for us, does that settle it? In this field, increasingly sophisticated technology is something of a mixed blessing. making it easier for doctors to save lives, but far more difficult to convince patients and families - and maybe even themselves—that it is an appropriate time to let a patient die.      Not all their years in medical school nor all our combined years of living experience can prepare us well for such ethical dilemmas.
    Dr. Wolf, a neurosurgeon, said about one patient who had fallen several hours earlier, sustaining brain injury and losing most neurological function: “I could have operated and revived her. But for what outcome? It was more fair to her to do nothing, not to operate. l can’t operate merely because l have the ability or the right.” In this case the family agreed and the ventilator that was keeping the patient alive was removed. 
    Another physician, a mother herself, says “I can consult colleagues, but ultimately I have to make the decision. To simply present the facts to the family and ask them to decide is not fair. These are medical decisions. I don’t want families to have any doubt. Doctors’ and nurses’ lives will go on, but parents have to live with the decision for the rest of their lives.”
    Dr. Henry Silverman runs the medical intensive-care unit at Johns Hopkins and spends a good deal of his time trying to persuade people to face dying. Most patients in his unit are suffering from multiple organ failure, and families are still asking the doctors to “do everything” to revive the patient. Despite tubes for ventilation and tubes for feeding and catheters in bladder and veins—many families still want CPR performed if the heart stops. Dr. Silverman says there is a big difference between someone whose heart stops because he’s dying and someone who dies because his heart stops. He is worried that because of society’s general horror about death, patients are becoming prisoners and physicians the servants of technology. Now that we all understand the marvels of modern medicine and technology, we need to understand that in many cases technology is only prolonging death.  “We aren’t letting people die any more. We have people occupying beds who don’t need to be there , people who will never recover no matter what we do.  It seems that no one dies at home any more.”  Technology is being used not to cure but simply to extend the hospital stay.  The choices seem endless for terminal patients and for patients with severe injuries, sometimes even weeks after an accident or weeks into hospitalization there are choices to be mode: If the kidneys fail, should dialysis be started? If the blood pressure drops, should medications be given to support it? Should the respirator stay, be turned down gradually, or be withdrawn? Many doctors are not “playing God” as they are often accused, but are asking families to consider letting patients go peacefully and not with tubes, machines, and violent CPR procedures as port of their final days.
    These are tragic events for those involved. And unfortunately as life passes us by, a high percentage of us will be faced with similar dilemmas. These tragic stories represent the best and the worst of medicine. They represent the best from the standpoint that modern technology does have tremendous capabilities in terms of alleviating pain and suffering and assisting the life process.     It represents the worst in that we can become prisoners of this technology and suffer more than if it were not present.
    This captivity is born both out of desire - desire on the part of the physician to heal and save lives, desire on the part of the patient’s family to see a miracle.  But also out of the misconception that technology is the maker of  miracles.  We are led to believe that when ill, we get better because or intervention, because of technology, because of professional expertise rather than because of resources within the body itself. Thus we the public and the professional medical practitioner are led down a primrose path believing that any cure is possible with a new discovery just around the corner in a research laboratory somewhere
    The objective of medicine is not intervention but humaneness. Humaneness toward the patient, humaneness toward the friends and family who are left behind to live with the choices to at had been made. 
    The priority given to the sanctity of metabolic viability as opposed to conscience happy living and the misconception particularly by the public that hospitals are places where miracles occur will continue to make these life and death tragedies even more tragic.
    What really is to blame for the accelerating destruction of tropical forests? According to the April 1990 issue of Scientific American, government policies are largely at the root of the problem. Most of us are well aware that the forests are disappearing at the rate of tens of thousands of square miles per year, driving countless plant and animal species to extinction and likely significantly affecting world climate. Commercial logging and conversion of forested areas to cattle ranches are usually blamed. But the data recently collected by the World Resources Institute indicates that both of these are largely the result of government policies—many policies borne of a short-term and shortsighted need to help with the economic pressures afflicting these underdeveloped countries.
    In the majority of the developing countries, the governments control at least 80% of the forests and they can’t put a value on them above what they feel is their obligation to develop their countries’ economic strength. In many cases, finding themselves and their people in economic traps, the governments are short-sightedly selling out their rainforests and other natural resources for a relative song, often to foreign enterprises who are taking advantage of the position they perceive the poorer country to be in. Many of the governments are not capable of follow up after the fact, either, and don’t properly supervise or manage the actual deforestation work. Thus they may collect royalties on only part of what was taken; the loggers may work beyond designated areas into protected areas or national parks; and in some confused countries such as Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines, the areas under concession actually exceed the total area of production forest. Unable to invest enough in stewardship and management of the forests, the governments are sacrificing twice – taking so little for their forests in the first place and then losing again when the hectares they didn’t intend to lose are exploited or damaged as well.
    This is a sad scenario.   Whether the blame is pointed at the government seeking shortsighted relief for economically blighted populations or the blame goes to richer nations making a market for exotic timber or cheap hamburgers.  The rainforest nations are not willing to take all the blame and point to the fact that more developed countries sometime in their past deforested virgin wildernesses, including the U. S., of course.
    No early answer but the attention this is receiving is surely the beginning of the solution.
    If you have some bare land plant some trees to help reverse the earth’s tree debt.
        Scientific American, April 1990
A Greener Tomorrow?
    Some countries are doing great things to make our planet a salvageable thing. Briefly let me share some of them with you in a nutshell, so that you can appreciate how global this has become. I will just here briefly mention ideas and early plans and programs which some countries are beginning with.
    Czechoslovakia’s new president, in his New Year’s Day address to the nation, said, “We have laid waste to our soil and the rivers and the forests that our forefathers bequeathed to us, and we have the worst environment in the whole of Europe today.      The previous regime, armed with an arrogant and intolerant ideology, denigrated man into a production force and nature into a production tool. In this way it attacked their very essence and the relationship between them.”
    Sweden, suffering in their small country from a loss of the reputation for a clean and beautiful place to live and visit, and realizing that much of the sulfur dioxide that falls in their acid rain is coming from Eastern Europe, has announced that it will provide Poland with over $45 million in environmental aid over the next three years.
    The Soviet government, in an effort to get advice on improving their energy efficiency in order to help reduce global warming, is consulting with the Natural Resources Defense Council in New York and the Rocky Mountain Institute of Old Snowmoss, Colorado.
    In a unique combined effort, the Swedish and Soviet paper and pulp industries recently proposed a cooperative plan to help reduce pollution entering the Baltic Sea. Sweden will be donating pollution control technology for Soviet mills in exchange for Soviet natural gas and pulp.
    Our Congress recently passed legislation which allocates $40 million in environmental assistance for Poland and Hungary, which isn’t much in light of the massive environmental problems in these countries, but nevertheless is an important step.
Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden have announced plans to set up an investment company which will fund joint environmental ventures in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.
    East and West Germany recently initiated a three year pollution control program which Includes the purchase of advanced cool burning technology for East German power plants and the installation of a water purification system for a chemical plant in Leipzig which is currently polluting two major rivers.
    Norway is currently working on a plan whereby they will donate .1 percent of their gross national product to an envisioned international climate fund. They are pledging to bring carbon dioxide emissions down to the 1989 level by the year 2,000; energy use will be reduced through higher taxes and new goals for building regulations and urban land use. They also plan on phasing out the use of halons and chlorofluorocarbons by 1995.
    Australia has an ambitious plan as well. A coalition of farmers and environmentalists, seeing the widespread land degradation, pushed the government to develop a comprehensive program. With-the beaches at Sydney polluted, and -river water undrinkable, Prime Minister Hawke has called for a decade of “Land Care” including new tax policies and programs to encourage soil conservation and tree planting. If it goes well and the program is fully implemented, among other things every Australian will, in effect, plant and care for 60 trees over the next decade.
    The Netherlands hopes to soon lose its reputation for being one of the most polluted countries in Western Europe. They have a national environmental plan which calls for altering taxes, moving increasingly to bicycles and trains instead of cars, forcing industry to reduce their air pollutant and carbon dioxide emissions, and cutting the nitrogen and phosphorous pollution in rivers in half by 1995. During the next four years, the Government will screen 500 chemicals for potential health risks. This is an especially serious program with uncompromising standards and timetables.
    There is great hope that the new East-West cooperation can promise to be a tremendous boost to the environment, but at the same time this new spirit of cooperation, it is feared by some, may lead to a massive birth of many joint economic ventures not aimed primarily toward the environment but more toward strictly economics. Without a doubt, however, we can see that there is global involvement and the snowball effect is taking over.  Soon countries with no environmental conscience will be sticking out like the sore thumbs that they are.   These are great signs!
        World Watch, March/April 1990