Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Attack on All Things Natural: Undermining Health

It has been a rough few weeks for all things natural with back to back scientific studies and lay articles undermining the value of eating organic foods, taking omega 3 supplements, and questioning the benefits of the Paleo-diet.

NYTimes: Sanford Scientists Cast Doubt on Advantages of Organic Meat and Produce
Huffington Post: Organic Food is Not Healthier Than Conventional Produce: Study

"After an extensive examination of four decades of research comparing organic and conventional food...they concluded that fruits and vegetables labeled organic were, on average, no more nutritious than their conventional counterparts, which tend to be far less expensive. Nor were they any less likely to be contaminated by dangerous bacteria like E. coli. The researcher also found no obvious health advantages to organic meats."

NYTimes: Weighing the Evidence on Fish Oils for Heart Health

"People who put their faith in fish oils supplements may want to reconsider. A new analysis of the evidence casts doubt on the widely touted notion that the pills can prevent heart attacks in people at risk of cardiovascular disease.

Huffington Post: Paleo Diet: Healthy or a Hoax

"Does the Paleo Diet really lower cholesterol and help with many of the conditions that lead to metabolic syndrome? On insofar as they cut out sugary, fatty, and processed foods. But you can do that without eliminating whole food groups or imitating the eating patterns--most likely dictated by food scarcity--of pre-agrarian ancestors.''



As for eating organic verses non-organic conventional foods: 

The argument for eating organic foods has NOT centered so much around what nutrients are in the foods, but rather on:
     1. What is NOT in the food: as much pesticide residue and antibiotics which are harmful to all of us,        especially pregnant women and developing fetuses.
     2. Growing food organically is better for the environment. It is sustainable agriculture that enhances the soil rather than poisons it with toxic pesticides, fertilizers, and antibiotics; all of which ultimately enter into, and contaminate, the ground and drinking water becoming a secondary source of chronic toxic exposure.


In addition, organic farming does not use genetically modified seeds which:

     1. are creating crop mono-cultures more prone to plague
     2. make it illegal for farmers to harvest seed, making them dependent on Monsanto to buy seeds every year.                 (NOTE: make sure to click on and read the Monsanto link--an eye opener!)
     3. along with the pesticides, fertilizers, antibiotics, are creating adaptation strains of super antibiotic-resistant bacteria and crop super pests.


As for taking Omega3 (DHA) supplements for health:

The biggest flaw with this article is that it addresses the Omega3 fish oils from the allopathic perspective; like a medication--a specific treatment for a specific problem. 

"They found insufficient evidence of a protective effect against future cardiovascular events in the large number of heart patients who were studied."

...a typical blanket conclusion for research from a paradigm of care centered on fighting disease, rather than adding and nurturing health.

This completely misses the point of Omega3 supplementation.


DHA plays many important roles in the human body, that we know of. Its presence in the brain, nerves, synapses, and eyes are vital to their very structure and healthy functioning. In the mitochondria it serves as a source of fuel. The body also uses fatty acids as the starting material for special chemicals called prostaglandins, which are important in a whole array of body functions...among other things.

Omega3's are essential fatty acids; meaning that the body does not synthesize them, and that they have to come from dietary sources. As recently as 50 years ago, we would eat land and sea-based animals that grew in their natural habitats and green things (grasses and algae), from which they would get their Omega3's and, in turn, would pass them onto us when we ate them. It turns out that all animals are what they eat. Today, almost all livestock and fish are fed corn. So, they are deficient in Omega3's, and we are no longer getting what we need from them in our diets. Therefore, supplementation is essential to support good health.


As for the Paleo diet:

This unfortunate article also takes the allopathic approach, insanely obsesses with lowering cholesterol, as if that was a cure-all. And, it implies that the primary purpose of the Paleo diet is weight loss. 

As the  article correctly states: "the Paleo diet (also known as the (Paleolithic) "caveman diet") prescribes a pattern of eating that mirrors the way your ancestors ate way-back in the day...a hunter-gatherer diet of meat, fish, fruits and vegetables (and nuts, seeds and water)."

The reason to follow this hunterer-gatherer diet is that our genes have not changed (evolved) in 43,000 and are still consistent with those of our Paleolithic ancestors. As such, our genetic requirements for a healthy life match theirs, both in terms of what we eat (diet) and how much exercise we need.

The reason to minimize, or eliminate, dairy and grains--wheat, corn, and rice--are because these were not added to our diets until about 10,000 years ago, with the beginning of agriculture. Our genes have not yet caught up to eating and digesting these foods, making them the most highly allergic foods that we eat. These food allergies cause all kinds of misdiagnosed and un-diagnosed problems, often leading to cascades of unnecessary, invasive, and dangerous medical tests, procedures and medications. 

The reasons to eliminate processed chemical foods (masquerading as food) and sugars, are obvious.

Articles such as these are dangerous to our health. Their dismissive and patronizing tone belies their bias against all things natural and their reverence for medical/corporate science. They contribute to the confusion about health that only serves to undermine our belief in our true innate capacity for health, and our ability and will to nurture it with all things natural.

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