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Missive #56

A picaresque novel of the American West in 1803. An historical comedy about two bumbling botanists sent into the southern wilderness by Thomas Jefferson to look for something that isn’t there. I would classify this book as being a historical parody. It is one of about an half dozen of Kunstler’s books that were out of print. This one has been brought back to life maybe I can find the others. It is a fun read! A novel in the spirit of Lewis and Clark (who make cameo appearences). Replete with wild Indians, river pirates, the kidnapped son of King Louis XVI, the lost colony of Roanoke, and much more. A non-stop romp full of life and humor and the sensibility of early America.

This is becoming a much discussed topic almost everywhere except by the US Media. When the SHF the Media’s excuse for not saying anything will be that no one could have known it was coming.

The US dollar is a debt based currency. If you look at the debt of the United States, it’s significantly higher than its annual GDP. It is going to lead to problems in terms of how you value the US dollar when faced with a debt larger than our own production. That is going to spur arguments around the US dollar value … The US owes a lot of countries a lot of money, the viability and the sustainability of that is going to be called into increasing question. — Chris Devonshire-Ellis: Founder of Dezan Shira & Associates and Chairman of the firms International Board of Equity Partners & Directors; and is the Managing Director of Asia Briefing publications.

The Medical Community, Atkins, and Denial, or
It’s All About Money
By John Ross

Copyright 2004 by John Ross. Electronic reproduction of this article freely permitted provided it is reproduced in its entirety with attribution given.

I had a checkup last week and my doctor read me the riot act about my weight.  He basically told me to have smaller portions, eat less fat, and to come back in three months with blood work done.

            Of all the people I’ve known personally who have been overweight, lost their excess pounds, and kept them off, perhaps 90% of them have done it with the Atkins (carbohydrate-restricted) diet. Yet this diet has been denounced by almost all medical professionals and other people who should know better.  Logic and deductive reasoning seem to depart when medical professionals advise us on what to eat. 

            I went to get my cholesterol, triglycerides, and liver function tested to get baseline numbers.  The technician gave me the results: much too high, as expected, but Ted Kennedy would sell his soul (if he had one) for my liver.  Then he handed me some literature on how to reduce my cholesterol and have a healthier heart.  The list of eat/don’t eat foods was almost exactly the opposite of those on the Atkins diet.  Bacon, hamburger, steak, sausage, macadamia nuts, cheese, butter, cream, and eggs were all on the “don’t eat” list, while skim milk, juices, breads, cereal, rice, and pasta were on the “eat often” list.

            I have no medical training, but I read a lot.  Here are some facts: Pathology as a discipline came into its own starting in the late 19th century, yet coronary artery disease was so rare it was never even mentioned during this period, despite the fact that a coronary occlusion is visible to the naked eye.  The first published study of heart disease (comprising four cases!) was done in 1912, roughly two decades after Americans started consuming large quantities of refined sugar (in the form of sugared cola soft drinks that became popular starting in 1892) and large quantities of the refined flour that had been developed at about the same time.

            Heart disease is, I believe, currently our nation’s biggest killer.  Yet it basically didn’t exist as recently as a hundred years ago.  You might say it’s because we’re more sedentary now.  Yes, we may be more sedentary as a group, but you can’t tell me that no rich people in 1900 were sedentary.  And well-off people (of which there were several million in late 19th century America) have always eaten, by choice, tremendous quantities of animal food: Beef, pork, poultry, eggs, butter, and lard.  Eating lots of fat didn’t make you fat or give you heart disease a hundred years ago, so why is the establishment so dead set on saying it does now?  In my opinion, the likeliest explanation for that is money.

            Remember the tedious Little House series of books you read in grade school by Laura Ingalls Wilder, that were later made into an equally tedious TV series with Michael Landon?  One thing that always struck me as a kid was how much time and effort people in those days spent doing things like tapping trees to get the sap to make a little bit of maple syrup.  Contrast that with our current situation: A person with no special skills can knock on doors in my neighborhood and make $8 an hour doing basic yardwork. In 90 minutes, he will have enough money to go down to the local Sam’s Club or Costco and buy fifty pounds of refined white sugar.  Refined flour is even less. With modern production methods, that’s how cheap the stuff has become. 

            Soft drinks, breads, pastas, crackers, cookies, and other junk food cost next to nothing to make—the expense is in advertising and distribution.  Generic soft drinks like the “Sam’s Choice” brand sold at Wal-Mart sell for a fraction of what you pay for name brands, even though the actual raw ingredients in both types (corn syrup, water, flavorings and color) are the same.  This tells you the actual ingredient cost is tiny.  That fifty pound bag of sugar I mentioned before would be enough for six hundred twelve-ounce cans of Coke (that’s two cents a can)—if they used sugar.  They don’t—they use corn syrup, which is even cheaper.

            Contrast this with meat.  It sells by the pound—period. You may get a slight discount if you buy a lot, but there’s no way to take a few cents worth of meat and turn it into something the supermarket can put on the shelf for a dollar or two, like they can with flour and sugar.  Go into a supermarket and walk around, reading labels.  You will see entire aisles where you can eat nothing if you want to restrict carbs. 

            For millions of years (a million years is about 50,000 generations) man’s diet consisted of animals he could kill and plants he could find.  Obesity and coronary artery disease basically did not exist.  In 1828, American per capita sugar consumption had risen to 12 pounds a year, but coronary disease still did not exist.  By the early 1900s, the level was around 100 pounds a year, consumption of refined flour was way up, and coronary disease was starting to appear.  Sugar and high fructose corn syrup consumption is now over 150 pounds a year, along with lots of refined flour in breads and pastas.  These figures come from the USDA.

            We were healthy on a high fat, high protein, low carb diet for more than 50,000 generations, then in six generations we go to a diet loaded with carbohydrates, we encounter an epidemic of obesity and heart disease, and our doctors tell us to… reduce our fat consumption. 

            My mother’s doctor, now retired, recently lost weight, lowered his cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure, raised his HDL “good” cholesterol, and felt much better on the Atkins diet, and he now recommends it.  He says other doctors are coming around.

            Like Galileo, Dr. Atkins had to wait until he was dead to get the approval of his peers.

            I started the Atkins “induction” diet a week ago.  Meals consist of steak, chicken, bacon, sausage, hamburger, cheese, eggs, butter, lettuce, oil, vinegar, and lots of water.  I eat any of these foods whenever I get even a little hungry.  A week isn’t much, and maybe it’s all water, but I’m down eight pounds, have lots more energy, and need less sleep.  

            I’ll keep you posted on how the numbers progress.  Right now there’s a bacon-wrapped filet in the kitchen with my name on it.

  John Ross 9/17/2004

NOTE: John had a stroke in 2000 from which he recovered.

3 thoughts on “Missive #56”

  1. I too have done a lot of reading on diets and have tried different ‘methods’ of eating. 50 years ago I was a vegetarian for 8 years, yet when I try that method now I feel lethargic and hungry most of the time, along with indigestion after eating grains.

    The times I have tried high fat, high protein, low carb methods I feel much better, enough to notice the difference.

    A book not liked by many doctors was written by one. The Blood Type Diet … when I follow that I feel the best. It is not strict but along the lines closest to the high protein, high fat and low carbs.

  2. I have become a flexitarian during the past 3-4 years but now rarely eat fish. It has been some years now since I have eaten any meat.
    The reason for my diet has been a search for one that will reduce my low level chronic inflammation that leads to psoriasis ‘flares’. A lot of grains, vegetables (not nightshade vegetables) and fruit (berries). Totally avoiding dairy products.
    I seem to have hit upon a diet that does reduce the inflammation and have experienced a weight loss as a by product.

    In my opinion people are different so they need to eat different diets to lose weight; but portion control is probably the most important thing for any diet.

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