Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Healthiness: Sensing and reacting, Stressing - relaxing, Growing and Healing

The Hierarchy of Healthiness contains the components of healthiness, from genetics, through nutrients, cells, tissues, organs, body, mind, spirit and community.  Any of the components might be deficient or excessive - not in optimal health - and possibly leading to illness. The hierarchy of health defined the primary physical elements of health and thus the primary disciplines of the study of healthiness. Combining each of the primary disciplines in pairs created a comprehensive list of the secondary disciplines of healthiness.

Of course healthiness is not just about components.  Our bodies are moving, breathing, living things.  Many processes and functions are under-way at any single instant.  Some of those are slow moving - and some very rapid.

Sensing, feeling and reacting; growth and healing; and stressing and relaxing are all aspects of healthiness.  Each can be enhanced or repressed through personal choice.  Each can result in illness when deficiencies or excesses are present.

In the blog post What is PAIN?, I discussed the concept that pain is required for health, and that a deficiency of pain is as much an illness as an excess of pain. Pain is a process enabled by the nervous tissues, the nervous system, which can be repressed or enhanced by the body or the mind, in reaction to external, or sometimes internal stimuli.

We need to explore the Hierarchy of Healthiness to find many more aspects of healthy processes and the illnesses associated with their deficiencies or excesses. Some examples:

Genetics: The main processes of genetics in a person come from the activation, repression and modulation of genes and the reproduction of new cells.  As each new cell is created, the processes attempt to create the appropriate cell type for the environment - new heart muscle, new gum tissue cells, or new liver cells. Deficiencies in the genetic processes of cell reproduction result in faulty, damaged cells that do not function or reproduce.  Sometimes it can result in cells that are cancerous and reproduce in excess, out of control and without healthy function. Growth and healing are the result of our genetic processes in action and both can become deficient or excessive. 

Cells: Our bodies contain over 200 of different cell types, each with different purposes and processes. Red blood cells take oxygen from the air and distribute it throughout the body.  Anaemia can be a deficiency in the ability of these cells to carry oxygen - or a deficiency in the quantity of cells.  White blood cells carry out the functions of the immune system attacking foreign cells.  This process can become excessive when the cells attack your own cells instead. With over 200 different types of cells, many involved in multiple processes, we start to see how rich and complex the balances of healthiness are. 

Tissues: Each tissue serves many functions and processes that are part of our healthiness. Nervous tissues are essential to our sensations, from feeling through seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, balancing, to pain and thinking and intuition. Deficiencies in nervous tissues can result in deficiencies in each of the senses, deficiencies in our abilities to sense pain - to deficiencies in functions of the mind.  Excesses of nervous tissue can result in over-sensitivity, excessive pain, hyper-awareness or worse.  Each tissue type is involved in many healthy processes that can be deficient or excessive. 

Organs: Most organs serve multiple purposes or functions.  Each process can be deficient or excessive.  The heartbeat alone can be deficient, excessive, erratic, in many different ways.  In most cases, these imbalances are not serious enough to be diagnosed as an illness - they are simply deviations from optimal healthiness. Our hearing might be deficient, healthy or excessive - distracting us from irrelevant or non-existent noises. Each healthy process can be deficient or excessive to create an illness. 

Systems: the digestive system is probably our most complex system, due to the number of foreign organisms involved and the process balances involved can change from hour to hour, day to day and over long periods of time.  Our nervous system gives rise to the complexities of all senses as well as our mind.  Our immune system is a complex interaction of many body components and processes. It can be difficult to tell if your immune system is mildly deficient. AIDS was not initially diagnosed as an immune system illness. Over-active immune systems, for example in reaction to peanut allergy - can cause  rapid death. 

Body: our bodies require stress and exercise to keep healthy, and to encourage and enable growth and healing.  We also require relaxation and sleep to allow rebuilding and re-balancing. Move it or lose it applies to all aspects of health - when it stops moving, it's near death. The healthiness challenge is to know what types of movement are best for your health - and to be certain you don't overdo it.  With many healthiness processes - the perfect balance is not a mid-point, but a combination of alternating stresses and de-stresses. 

Mind: as with the body - the mind operates with a use it or lose it principle.  Exercising your mental processes creates and improves healthiness.  Rest is also required to facilitate consolidation and rejuvenation. Many of our mental processes can become illnesses in deficiency or in excess.  Thinking is good, but not too much.  Not thinking can be fatal. 

Spirit: a healthy spirit is a balanced spirit. It adjusts your attitude when problems arise - and gives you support.  It keeps you stable in unstable situations. An unbalanced spirit can result in depression, or manic states. 

Community: a healthy community supports you when you can't support yourself.  And if your community is healthy - you support it as well.  Communities also provide ability for people to accomplish things that could not be accomplished by any single person.  We each belong to many communities - with many different functions and processes.  In our communities - we have an opportunity to create goals, functions and processes that provide healthiness for all. However, communities can also be about rules, which may be deficient or excessive - resulting in unhealthy communities. We all rebel against rules sometimes - we need to understand, support and develop communities that enhance our healthiness and to recognize communities that detract from it.

 In the post The concepts of Illness and Disease we noted that an illness is "a condition of the living animal or plant or one of its part that impairs normal functioning".  The key is that illness 'impairs normal functioning' - the body has many variations in cells, tissues, organs, etc. that are in the normal range.  An illness exists when functioning is impaired. 
An unhealthiness begins as you move from the perfectly healthy state towards the excess or deficiency state.  Symptoms may appear anywhere along the range.  In general, symptoms indicate unhealthiness. However, a single symptom does not indicate a medical condition. By the time a medical condition is reached - many symptoms appear.

A doctor will not diagnose an illness unless specific criteria are met, eg. the illness must cross a well defined line between healthiness and illness.  

All of the functions and processes in our bodies, minds and communities, in the entire hierarchy of our healthiness can move from healthy to unhealthy and back again - without a diagnosable illness. 

If we are to move towards optimal healthiness - we need to better understand unhealthiness, and work to keep each health factor in the healthy range, if possible in the optimal range. However, as we can see now, our list of health balances has grown so tall and so detailed that we will need computers to provide useful analysis. The role of doctors - in the field of healhtiness, might be to interpret the results from computer analysis.

Our medical systems currently attempt to provide solutions by understanding illness. In many cases - and when illness clearly exits - this can be a very effective approach.  

However, this approach, studying illness, fails when it encounters unhealthiness that does not meet the criteria for illness.  And it fails badly when it encounters complex unhealthinesses that present many, gradually worsening symptoms as the patient slides down from healthy to unhealthy.  Some 'chronic illnesses' are actually complex unhealthinesses.  However, we don't study unhealthiness with the rigour that we study illness - so we cannot understand those illnesses. 

When we learn to study healthiness and unhealthiness more effectively - some illnesses that cannot be understood by the medical approach will become clear. 

As we learn more about our healthy processes, how they interact, and what choices we have in their regard - we will move more towards health freedom and the attainment of optimal health.

yours in health, tracy
Tracy is the author of two book about healthicine: 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

What is Health Freedom?

Do you understand health freedom?  Does anyone understand health freedom?  Health Freedom has become a buzzword used by many websites.  Do any of them know what they are talking about?


Most of them have no concept, much less a definition of health.  Most, possibly all of them are talking about Medical Freedoms, not Health Freedoms.  Many of them have their own agendas - which have little to do with health freedom. Sales of products or treatments.  Political agendas.  etc.

I've been cruising the web again, checking out sites and blogs claiming to represent "Health Freedom".  Pity none of them has a copy of the dictionary. Here's my review of Google's top list.

http://www.cchfreedom.org/ - Citizens Council for Health Freedom: Securing Health Freedom for All
Their website says:
About: CCHF is a free-market resource for designing the future of health care.
me - Health Care is not health.  Health care is 'sick care'.  
In October 2010, the organization changed its name from Citizens' Council on Health Care (CCHC) to Citizens' Council for Health Freedom (CCHF).
me - eg. Health Freedom sounds more jazzy than Health Care, so let's use that instead.
Their Mission: CCHF supports patient and doctor freedom, medical innovation, and the right of citizens to a confidential patient-doctor relationship.
me - clearly Citizens Council for Health Freedom sees themselves as carrying the banner for 'medical freedom'. But they are wrong.  Medicine is a subset of health - and CCHF knows nothing about health, only about politics and medicine.
What is the true mission of CCHF?  In their list of goals you will find tax issues and government mentioned in three of 10 goals.  Free markets, market competition, private insurance in three of ten goals. You will not find a single goal that directly respects your right to make health decisions.

http://www.forhealthfreedom.org/  The Institute for Health Freedom (IHF) Has Dissolved and Transferred its Health Freedom Watch Newsletter to CCHF .  
me. their goals are also more to do with politics than with health, or freedom. 

http://www.healthfreedomrights.com/ - Health Freedom Rights

Dr. Robin Falkov  - Doctor of Oriental Medicine appears to be a well meaning medical practitioner who publishes many important ideas about health freedom. However, it is clear that the site uses a few ideas related to health freedom to attract attention and sell medical services, as well as AquaSana water treatment, healing with light and Nature-Clean Ozone.  No health here, only illness. Freedom for those who have a few bucks to spend.

http://www.healthfreedomexpo.com/site/ - Health Freedom Expo
March 2-4 2012 at the Long Beach Convention Centre, the Health Freedom Expo.  Interesting. Very interesting. This Expo appears to bring together many people who are working for some aspects of health freedom. It is, of course, driven by marketing and products.  It is an Exposition.  eg. the people who present the Health Freedom Expo are not fighting for your health freedoms, they are charging people to present at and to attend their Expo.  Their goal is to make money from the concept of Health Freedom.
Of course most of the presenters are providing medical alternatives, not health alternatives. If you want to see a lot of new products and ideas - this may interest you.  If you want to participate in some serious discussions of health, and how health differs from illness, and health freedom - and the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of healthiness, you may need to look elsewhere.

http://healthfreedoms.org/ - Health Freedom Alliance
The Health Freedom Alliance appears to be a well meaning site bringing our attention to many assaults on health freedom in the USA.  However, there is no concept of health - separate from illness. How can you truly support health freedom if you cannot define health? There is no central thread. Even their post The Medical Paradigm Is Fatally Flawed - starts out with a great title, but fails to identify the correct alternative.   We need a health paradigm, not a medical paradigm. 

http://www.nationalhealthfreedom.org/ - National Health Freedom Action
Promoting life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  They messed up on the last word.  Of course it should read: Everyone as a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of healthiness. http://www.personalhealthfreedom.blogspot.com/p/subject-index.html
Their mission:  "To promote access to all health care information, services, treatments and products..."
Of course they mean 'medical care', thus they mean 'medical freedom'.  Health freedom sounds better, but is much more challenging.

.... and so it goes...

It seems many organizations have adopted a `Health Freedom` to their name because it`s good publicity for their cause.  But their cause is not Health Freedom. Virtually every so called "Heath Freedom" organization makes the same errors

1. Medical freedom is not health freedom.
2. Medicine and medical treatments are not health.
3. Hidden agendas (product sales, lower taxes, promoting specific treatments) are not health freedom.
4. Random examples of excesses against medical freedom, or freedom in general do not make a platform for health freedom.

If we are to fight for health freedom, we need to understand health.

If we are to fight for health freedom, we need to understand freedom.

It's not easy.

Personal Health Freedom is about trying to understand health.  Illness and treatment is a subset of health.  A very small subset.  Most of the time, we are healthy. Most of the time - we could be healthier. Some of us are healthier when we are sick - than some others are when they are healthy.  But health is not measured - so we don`t know. Understanding health is probably more complicated than understanding medicine. When a doctor is doing medical work - the goal is clear.  Prevent, diagnose, treat or cure a specific illness.  What is the goal when you are trying to understand as opposed to treating.  What is the goal when you are trying to 'improve overall healthiness' instead of trying to 'minimize a specific illness'?

If we don`t understand health - we cannot recognize the chains we are carrying, much less fight them.

Personal Health Freedom is also about trying to understand freedom in the context of health.  Freedom is not some simple concept that is easily understood or explained.  It needs to be explored.

That's what I'm trying to do with this blog. It you want to help us all understand healthiness, drop me a note.  I'd love to hear from you.

To your health, tracy

Tracy is the author of two book about healthicine: 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Healthicine: The Art and Science of Healthing

Healthicine is the art and science of healthing. The study and practice of health and healthiness.

Healthing, optimizing your health, is personal first, and then extends to your communities - your family, friends and any other community of which you are a member or have an interest.

Medicine is the art and science of healing. The study and practice of treating disease. Medicine is severely restricted in our western society. It is illegal to practice medicine without a license.

Healthicine is a superset of medicine, and includes the field of medicine. Medicine is only a small part of health and healthiness.

This diagram represents the field of healthicine including the field of medicine.

Healthiness is about balance.  For each essential nutrient, we must balance our intake in the healthy range. The RDA (Reference Daily Intake) and the UL (Upper Intake) are numbers identified by the FDA as points where imbalance starts to occur. If the imbalance becomes excessive - we might develop a medical condition. At which point, we may require medicine, the art and science of healing - to recover.

Your personal healthicine starts as your personal health freedoms. As we move to the borders of the healthicine range - our health becomes so unbalanced that we may require assistance to recover. And if we go farther, it is possible to tip - and break some aspect of our health - to the point where we might never recover completely.

There are thousands of balances in healthicine. The hierarchy of health provides a foundation to identify many of those balances.  Balanced nutrition is one area - consisting of hundreds of essential and non-essential nutrients.  We also seek a balance of healthy cells, tissues, organs and bodily systems.  And also balanced healthy body, mind and spirit.  And balanced, healthy communities. There are balances in things - and in processes.  We need to balance our Vitamin C intake - and we also need to balance our sleep and our exercise to optimize health.

Our bodies are remarkably good at compensating for imbalances. If the right leg is weaker than the left leg, in most cases - we can still walk.  A bit wobbly, but still mobile. If the right leg is broken due to excess of physical stress - we might hobble, maybe with crutches, until it heals, straight or not.  If it heals crooked - our muscles can develop to compensate and help balance  or at least facilitate walking.

Illness is defined where one or more of our healthicine balances tips so far - deficient or excessive, that a diagnosable medical problem arises.  If this happens because of a single imbalance (a primary illness) - it might be simple to identify and treat.  In may cases, our illness is the result of multiple imbalances in the healthicine (a complex or compound illness) - making it more difficult to identify causality, and more difficult to treat.

As a result of this complexity - medicine often resorts to treating symptoms.  A technique that can be more expeditious and effective than trying to identify the cause of illness. Many similar illnesses can be effectively treated with similar techniques - without specific reference to the underlying cause or imbalance. For some illnesses - a broken leg is one example, examining the underlying cause is only useful for prevention of future incidents, but of little use in treatment.

There are many healthicine balances outside of the hierarchy of health.

One of the most important is exercise.  Our bodies don't just exist - they move.  Health is facilitated by and depends on movement and activity.  A balance of exercise makes us healthier. A deficiency of exercise makes us unhealthy - as can an excess of exercise.  Of course the FDA does not provide an RDA or UL for exercise - it's much more personal.

Many healthicine balances appear to NOT have a minimum, or a maximum, or the minimum or maximum is so unlikely and infrequent that it can generally be ignored.

Some healthicine balances have a very wide balance point. The healthy range of Vitamin C, according to the FDA, is from 90 mg per day (the RDA) to 2000 mg per day (the UL).  An upper limit of more than 20 times larger than the minimum.

Most healthicine balances have an optimum range.  One of the challenges for the science of healthiness, is to determine most important health balances and identify their optimal ranges.

Some healthicine balances are maintained by the body - in absence of daily attention.  Vitamin A is stored in the liver, and you can stop consuming Vitamin A for many days without significant impact on your health.   Vitamin C, on the other hand, is not stored - and it is important to maintain an adequate daily intake, or suffer health consequences.

What is the optimal intake of Vitamin C?  Of protein?  Of essential fats?   What is the optimal amount of exercise? We don't know. What is the optimal composition of healthy blood?  Healthy muscle tissue? Do we know? Is a specific health balance best attended to daily?  Weekly?  Monthly?  Annually? Or at specific times in our lifetime?

Of course health consequences from a minor deficiency of a single nutrient, over a small period of time, are typically very small. Your body might in many cases, recover when the balance is restored. If your consumption of Vitamin C is zero for many days - you are unlikely to notice any difference.  Only a few nutrients, most notably oxygen and water - can have a severe effect from small periods of absence.

We have spent centuries studying medicine, and comparatively, scant few moments on the science of healthiness. I believe some of the intractable problems of medicine arise because we are treating them with medicine - when the preventative nature of healthicine is a more appropriate approach.

It's time to look more closely, thoroughly, deeply into the art and science of health.

You have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of healthiness. You have a right to healthicine.

yours in health, tracy
Personal Health Freedom

This post has been revised as of Feb 21, 2012 from the original posting of December 3, 2011.
Tracy is the author of two book about healthicine: 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Monsanto: how cheap food makes us all poor

I've seen a lot of posts telling us how bad Monsanto is and I tend to agree with them. Here's one view of the history of Monsanto: The World According to Monsanto part 1 of 10.

However, I wanted to take a look at Monsanto from a health point of view.  Monsanto supports a foundation called "Food Health and Hope" - is that their goal?

It seems like Monsanto's goal is world domination - and they are well on their way.  As the saying goes, "Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely".  Monsanto has absolute power over most of our farmers. Monsanto plays a mean game of monopoly.  At present, they own virtually all of the worthwhile properties (seeds). 1995-2005 Monsanto acquired over 50 seed companies. Farmers with their own seeds in the Americas are rapidly surrounded and isolated. Monsanto decides which seeds to sell - only GMO seeds. All of the farmers are issued 'go to Jail' cards as soon as they purchase a single crop. Not only that, the best pesticide for your Monsanto seeds is...  you guessed it, a Monsanto pesticide. And a Monsanto weed killer.  Monsanto doesn't participate in the community chest, they collect all of the taxes (they call them profits, but when there are no competitors - profits are just another name for taxes). There are no more free parking cards. They might as well own the utilities, and run the government, and they've bought up all the 'get out of jail free' cards.  If a farmer goes bankrupt - can go to "Food, Health and Hope" - more likely hope and hades. The food?  It's  all Monsanto food.  Food that insects won't eat, with extra pesticides and herbicides added for good measure.

What is the Monsanto Pledge?  Is it: Food Health and Hope, as suggested in the above documentary? Nope: http://www.monsanto.com/whoweare/Pages/monsanto-pledge.aspx

The Monsanto Pledge says nothing about food, nutrition, or health (that's the so called "Food Health Hope Foundation", supported by Monsanto.  Monsanto's real pledge has little to say about farmers, and nothing about food consumers.  Pledge: Integrity, Dialogue, Transparency, and Sharing. The more I learn about them, I think their pledge should be lies, lies, lies and lies written by lawyers, lawyers, lawyers and lawyers.

Monsanto "We will use sound and innovative science and thoughtful and effective stewardship to deliver high-quality products that are beneficial to our customers and to the environment."  Their customers are 'farmers', and 'food producers'. You, the consumer, are not their customer. Sound innovative science?  No.  Patents, yes.

What is Monsanto all about? "Producing more, conserving more, improving lives, THAT's SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE, AND THAT'S WHAT MONSANTO IS ALL ABOUT" - taken directly from their website.  Is it true?

Let's look at their corn: "For farmers today, it’s all about getting the most yield out of every acre of corn, while using as few inputs as possible. Monsanto’s corn traits help farmers do this by providing cutting-edge technology that protects the plant’s yield."

The highest quantity, with lowest input. What about quality?  Of course it's high quality, but... Quality for transportation?  Quality for storage?  What about health?  For optimal health - we need, many different types of corn.  Monsanto offers four different types of corn seeds, here they are, with the first sentence of their description, taken from the Monsanto web-page:

Genuity SmartStax RIB Completeis the industry’s first single-bag refuge solution for U.S. farmers in the Corn Belt. It provides growers with the broadest spectrum of insect control above the ground (corn earworm, fall army worm, etc) and below the ground

Genuity® VT Double PRO® RIB Complete™: The second Genuity RIB Complete product to market is a blend of 95 percent Genuity® VT Double PRO® and 5 percent refuge seed, delivering the lowest refuge in the corn-growing area* for above-ground insect protection.

Genuity® VT Double PRO®: Tailored for above-ground only insect protection, including corn earworm and fall -armyworm control.

Genuity® VT Triple PRO®: The industry’s first dual mode-of-action above-ground insect protection in corn which is stacked with below-ground insect protection and Roundup Ready 2® Technology.

All four brands of corn offered by Monsanto list 'insect protection' as their most valuable quality. Not one of the corns lists anything about the health or nutrient value of the corn produced.  And of course nothing about the varieties provided because there is no variety.  All four are GMO corns.  Monsanto owns the patent.  Presumably, Monsanto owns seeds to hundreds of different types of corn - but they don't sell them - they certainly don't market them.

None of us want corn that is damaged by insects.  But... do you want corn that is so unhealthy that most insects will turn away from it, or die if they eat it? We don't want corn mixed with weed seeds.  But do we want corn grown in a field that was burned to death by chemicals - while our so called 'corn' grew and matured?

Or do we want corn that is optimized for our health? Which may mean, by the way, that it is also optimized for the health of insects who also like corn?  In a field that is so healthy it grows many different kinds of weeds - and complimentary crops as well.

Or do we want choices?  There are over 100 different varieties of corn in Mexico.  Monsanto wants to limit us to four patented corn seeds.

Why do we need choices? 

If you visit the rainforest, you will see many plants that have a few small holes in their leaves.  Why?  Each plant produces a different insect toxin - to ensure that insects don't consume the plant.  The insects have learned that the healthiest way is to eat a bit of many different plants.  Because if they eat a single plant - the toxins will kill them.

It's the same with all food.  Expecially food designed with specific toxins genetically built in, or applied.  The same toxin, over and over - is a danger to health.  A potential killer.

Monsanto wants to help the farmers produce higher yields, with lower inputs - and lower risk of insect damage.  They may believe this results in lower cost food for all. With cheaper food - even the poor can afford to buy Monsanto's corn.  Monsanto wants to kill all of the weeds, but not the corn - so you get cheaper corn.

Cheap food is cheap.  Less expensive food does not help the poor to buy food.  It only restricts the choices of those who want to pay for healthier food.  It makes us all poor.

An apple a day keeps the doctor away.  A different apple each day is the healthiest way.

What's the best apple?  Mac?  Fuji?  Crabapples? Granny Smith?

There is no 'best apple', until you define your goals. The best apple for shipping?  The best apple for storage? The brightest coloured apple?  The best tasting apple?

The healthiest apple?

We can measure which is best for shipping and storage.  We can collect opinions on the best tasting, or the brightest colour.

But we cannot find the healthiest apple. All foods contain nutrients and toxins.  Which apple has the most nutrients?  The most anti-oxidants?  The best anti-oxidants? The fewest toxins?  The least damaging toxins?

The healthiest apple, is a different apple every day - to maximize nutrient exposure and minimize toxin exposure.

For health, we not only need freedom of choice - we need variety, freedom to choose.

Which is the healthiest wheat?  Which is the healthiest corn?  Which is the healthiest rice?  There is no healthiest. What is the healthiest?  Variety!   Choice!

Monsanto wants to produce the best wheat - so that all farmers will buy their wheat seeds.  The best corn, so that all farmers will buy their corn seeds. The best rice - so that all farmers will buy "the best rice seeds". The best wheat, rice and corn for the farmers. Not the best for your health. They also want to produce the best pesticides.  For their best wheat, rice, corn, etc.  Certainly not the best for you, the consumer.

Monsanto's best corn is a single GMO corn or a few GMO corns.  Patented corns. For health, we need many types of corn.  The best wheat is only one wheat - we need many types of wheat for health.

Monsanto may have an important goal.  By helping farmers to produce the best crops - with least cost and risk - they can lower the price of foods.  Everyone will benefit, especially the poor - from lower cost food.

Or will they?  Does lower cost of food mean the poor can buy food?

No.  It simply means 'poorer food'.  Does it make the poor people rich? No, it makes us all poor. People who can afford to buy food have only one choice.  Monsanto food.

Even Monsanto's President, Vice Presidents, and Board Members can only buy Monsanto cakes, Monsanto cookies, Monsanto popcorn - with Monsanto pesticides for themselves and their families.  Because Monsanto sells all the seeds, a few at a time.... Unless they move to a country where GMO foods are banned.

Monsanto's mono-culture makes our foods less diverse and less healthy.  Monsonto's monopoly game is a killer. They are playing for keeps - not realizing that they are playing against everyone, even their own families.

Are GMOs dangerous? Are GMOs more toxic than other foods?  Monsanto designs foods that are more toxic - of course they don't use the word toxic, they use words like 'insect protection'.  By definition, GMOs are not more toxic, but in general money spent to Genetically Modify a food is only spent with the aim of monopolizing the market.  Eg. limiting your personal choice.

GMO's are technically and certainly the most dangerous corn if they are the only corn available.

GMOs are designed to limit choice, to limit freedom. Is barring GMO the solution?  It is only one step.

Many corporations, from MacDonald's to Colgate, to Monsanto - grow by limiting choice.  They provide consistency - claiming to provide quality. They want all of the shelf space, food space, seed space - your health is not one of their objectives. Your health is your objective.

True quality means diversity and choice. Personal Health Freedom is all about choice.  You cannot have choice if all you can choose is more of the same.

Are Monsanto's foods 'frankenfoods'?  Toxic foods?  I don't know.  But I know that if your only choice is the same food every day, even the same apple every day - you will not attain optimal health - but you will attain optimal toxic levels for that apple.

No 'fake differences' not fake choices.  As noted in my Toothpaste Rant post - when you have a choice of 50 different flavours of toothpaste, each of which has the same 'active ingredients', but different 'flavours' - you have no choice. You have only a false choice, but no healthy choice.

What can we do? Should we ban GMOs? Maybe we should ban seed patents?  Then we might not need to ban GMOs. GMOs are a symptom of a larger problem.  Our corporate culture, bent on maximizing profit, delivering the lowest price food, has no respect for healthiness.  And no health goals.  We don't pay for health when we pay for food. We know that most of us would rather pay for quantity than quality.  So that's what we get.  That's what Monsanto, and MacDonalds, and other corporations provide.

To be honest - I don't know what we can do.  But I do know that we need more choices, and more freedom to choose.

Monsanto wants to limit our choice to their seeds. That's why I'm against Monsanto.  I'm about Personal Health Freedom.

Monsanto is not about people - it's not even about farmers.  It's not about communities - Monsanto is absolutely against any community that might oppose their goals. Monsanto is not about healthiness - it's about quantity.  Monsanto is not about freedom of choice. Monsanto is about their products. About maximizing their sales and profit.

Monsanto wants to sell us cheap food, the highest quantity at the lowest price.

Cheap foods make us all poor.  Rich food has many sources, many varieties.  It's not necessarily expensive - but it is not cheap.

You have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of healthiness. You have a right to choices.

yours in health,
Tracy is the author of two book about healthicine: 

ps. If you enjoy my posts, please share - and you might LIKE my facebook page

This post has been reposted by the Waking Times

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

What is Cancer? A new theory emerges.

Last October, I wrote the post: I won't donate to a Cure for Cancer, which raised a storm of comments on Facebook. Unfortunately, most of the Facebook comments missed the point and got into an unrelated discussion - about the value of cancer fundraising organizations.

My point, in the article, was simple: I don't believe in a cure for cancer.

That concept seemed a bit hard for most people to grasp.

Now, an article by P C W Davies and C H Lineweaver, published in the journal of Physical Biology provides some interesting information, and suggests a new way of looking at cancer. This article is a very interesting read if you want some deep thoughts about cancers and how they function.

carcinogenesis is here seen as a process of de-speciation, a radical lack of differentiation back towards the ancestral proto-cell. If this is true, given the right (or wrong) conditions, normal cells may regress to a more primitive, far more individualistic cell phenotype in an attempt to survive (if not thrive) within the biochemical/bioenergetic adversities characteristic of the sickened, cancer-prone body. 

Reported in GreenMedInfo:  http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/cancer-ancient-survival-program-unmasked  .. GreenMedInfo.com is a very comprehensive site that "provides free and convenient access to the biomedical research on the therapeutic value of natural substances and modalities in disease prevention and treatment."

Green Med goes on to suggest that our conventional cancer treatments may actually force cancerous cells to become more 'primitive', resulting in a more tenacious cancer.


I believe, and I believe it is supported by the research paper, that cancer is caused by poor or unhealthy biological terrain.

"Biological terrain" is the matter in your body that does not consist of live cells.  It consists of dead cells, and other soil like materials.  The study of biological terrain is in its infancy - and has never been taken seriously by medical science since . At present, Wikipedia says:

"The biological terrain assessment or BTA is a set of tests used to measure the pH, resistivity, and redox of a person's urine, blood, and saliva. The usefulness of the test is debatable. It is often associated with homeopathy and holistic health."

The above tests are pretty basic and tell only a very small amount about the health of your biological terrain.  You might compare them to taking someone's pulse, blood pressure, respiration rate and body temperature.  Useful to tell if someone has serious health problems - but not at all useful to take any positive actions, unless there is an emergency situation.  There is much more to biological terrain - most of which is not studied by the medical community - even when they are studying it.

Much of the research on cancer has suggested that cancerous cells are 'genetically damaged' cells that grow uncontrollably.  This research paper suggests a reverse concept - that cancer cells are not damaged to create new, uncontrollable cells, rather they are cells that revert to a 'pre-animal' state when stressed by their biological terrain, although the authors never actually use the words 'biological terrain'.

Many cancers might develop or grow as a result of unhealthy terrain, AKA 'bad soil' - the stuff between cells, and the nutrients that our cells consume.  Every day our body grows new cells - and if the body is toxic, we cannot grow healthy new cells. If cancer cells develop, an unhealthy biological terrain will help them to flourish.   This new research suggests that cancers develop from unhealthy terrain, where cells are forced to revert to genetic programs of more primitive times in order to survive.

Fighting this type of cancer with chemotherapy ignores the real problem and fights the symptoms (the cancerous cells) instead.  Treating the symptoms, not the cause. If the cause of cancer is poor quality of the patient's biological terrain - then chemotherapy and radiation can only makes it worse - because they make the biological terrain less healthy.  No wonder we worry that cancers might spread, or 'recur' - if our cancer therapies create an environment that produces cancerous cells.

Unfortunately, the authors of the article, P C W Davies and C H Lineweaver, do not appear to recognize biological terrain either  - even though their article talks indirectly about the terrain, they never use the word. They say: "The genetic or epigenetic mutations that open up access to pre-existing adaptations can be caused by chronic inflammation, viral infections or other environmental causes" describing the biological terrain, without using the words biological terrain. They also state and give a reference to support, that cancer's preferred habitat is low PH, again without reference to the word biological terrain.

They go on to suggest that their research might give us 'new ways to fight cancerous cells'. And they may be well on the way to some revolutionary new concepts in the battle against cancer once it develops.

But they ignore the opportunities to stop cancers before the develop, by creating health and more healthy terrain in our bodies.

I believe that when we can measure the healthiness of someone's flesh, or biological terrain, then we can:

a) clearly establish what illnesses arise from different levels of healthiness or unhealthiness in the terrain
b) develop, test and study ways to make the terrain more healthy
c) treat illnesses that are triggered or encouraged by unhealthy terrain
d) truly prevent those illnesses, by detecting and correcting poor terrain health before the illness arises.

Our medical sciences treat our bodies like a farmer who never checks his soil - only tries to change the seed, fertilizer and pesticide. And wonders why his crop fails again and again.

This report may be a huge step forward in the understanding of cancers. Time will tell.  But we need a lot more work to prevent cancers.  With cancer - I believe understanding and prevention will prove much more powerful than a cure.

That's why I don't believe in the search for a cure - it diverts our attention from the real solutions. But of course, if I was diagnosed with cancer tomorrow - I would be searching for a cure.

to your health, tracy
Tracy is the author of two book about healthicine: 


Saturday, February 4, 2012

Healthy Spirituality vs Broken Spirits, Broken Hearts and Shattered Egos

A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones. Proverbs 17:22.

How big is the difference between a broken heart, a broken spirit and a crushed ego? From the health perspective - what is 'Spirit'? What is spirituality?  How can we recognize or measure the healthiness of someone's spirit?

In the Hierarchy of Healthiness the body is defined by its physical presence.  The mind houses the rational processes we use to plan and execute specific actions; calculation, memory and possibly intuition. Each new level requires the levels below - but rises above them all to create a distinct new entity. The body exists, by itself, above the structures of your organs, systems, tissues, cells, etc.

Your spirit exists above the physical mind and the body. The body might be damaged, the mind might be stressed - while the spirit prevails. Or your spirit might be crushed while the body carries on like an automaton.

The Hierarchy of Health 'Spirit', consists of your spirit, your spirituality, your ego and your personality. Your creative and artistic spirit. Your 'heart', as in 'a broken heart', and also as in 'you've  gotta have heart', is part of your spirit, not part of your body.

Communal aspects of spirituality are in the next layer of the hierarchy: team spirit, community spirit, etc. are in the layer Community Healthiness.

When does our spirit develop?  Do adult dogs have 'spirit'?  I suspect the answer is yes, but they do not have 'spirituality'. Dogs can be playful, bordering on creativity. They may have spirituality in the sense of being comfortable their place in life, but not in 'knowing their purpose', nor 'understanding the meaning of life'.

Spirit healthiness is a measurement of the health status of a person's spirit and spirituality. 

Can we measure the health status of someone's spirit? of their spirituality?

Physical strength is measured by what we can carry; spiritual by what we can bear. An interesting quotation, source unknown, that deserves further thought. Sometimes we can hardly bear to listen to, much less enjoy, the noise of children - other times the roar of traffic is easily ignored. Our spirit strength waxes and wanes as do our physical and mental strengths.

How can we tell if someone has an unhealthy spirit? 

Playfulness; creativity; artistic is an interesting dimension.  Many great works of art are created by people with troubled spirits.  But many are created by people who are spiritually comfortable - and have time to relax and explore their artist spirits. When very creative people have troubled spirits - they might channel their energies into their art.  Sometimes people may channel their troubled spirits into risk and destruction, or self harm.  Suicide might not exist if we didn't have a spirit to be troubled.

Music can sooth the spirit.  Or lift your spirits.  Even sad music can make you feel better - as discussed in a previous post: Is Listening to the Blues Healthy? Great music might be created by a contented spirit, a forlorn spirit, or a troubled spirit - and it can be enjoyed by all.

The Spirituality Index of Well-Being: A New Instrument for Health-Related Quality-of-Life Research
was presented by Timothy P. Daaleman, DO1 and Bruce B. Frey, PhD2 in 2002. The survey asks:
Which statement best describes your feelings and choices?
Strongly Agree 1 Agree 2 Neither Agree nor Disagree 3 Disagree 4 Strongly Disagree 5
 1. There is not much I can do to help myself.
 2. Often, there is no way I can complete what I have started.
 3. I can’t begin to understand my problems.
 4. I am overwhelmed when I have personal difficulties and problems.
 5. I don’t know how to begin to solve my problems.
 6. There is not much I can do to make a difference in my life.
 7. I haven’t found my life’s purpose yet.
 8. I don’t know who I am, where I came from, or where I am going.
 9. I have a lack of purpose in my life.
10. In this world, I don’t know where I fit in.
11. I am far from understanding the meaning of life.
12. There is a great void in my life at this time.

Questions 1 to 6 are primarily about 'spirit', although 4 and 5 are also about the ego.  Questions numbered 7 to 12 are about spirituality. Questions 7 and 9 are almost the same question.

The test is a powerful tool to measure spirit and spirituality of people who are ill.  It gives a useful number for a measurement of spiritual health.  The two sets of questions can give separate numbers to rate spirit separate from spirituality. It is not a tool to measure ego healthiness - as there are no direct questions to the ego.  I do wonder if it is possible to distinguish between a healthy and an unhealthy ego, especially by asking questions of the subject.

The weakness of this test - for measuring healthiness - is clear when we realize that all of the questions are negative. This measurement instrument was, like most so-called 'health measurements' developed in a clinical setting to measure the spirituality of people who are ill.  In fact it does not measure 'spirtual well being', rather each question measures 'spiritual weakness' (or illness), with the assumption that the opposite of illness is wellness.

The measurement of spirituality is made more complex by the presence of an objective, v.s. the subjective observer.  Someone might rate themselves very highly, or very low, on these scales - but their family, or their physician might give them a different rating.  Physical attributes like blood pressure and pulse can be measured accurately by a machine.  Attributes of spirituality are much more difficult to measure objectively.

There is also the ego.  Many religions and philosophies suggest that the ego is opposed to the true spirit and to spirituality.  eg. To become truly spiritual you must lose a large part of your ego. Someone with a forceful ego might rate their spiritual healthiness much higher than someone with a healthy self image and ego.

Does spirituality arise from having a purpose in life? from understanding the meaning of life? from feeling 'complete' in our lives? Or is there something more to spirituality?

Can you improve your spirit health? The things you do to improve your spirit healthiness might depend...  Are you relatively healthy in mind, body and spirit - and you want to improve your spiritual health?  In this situation, the recommended prescription is often solitude, quiet, fasting, meditation, etc. But if you are ill and you have a poor spirit, a more effective prescription might be involvement in family activities, yes - noise of children, and food - preferably with family or friends. This suggests that measuring the healthiness of our spirit is not effective in isolation from other aspects of health.

At what age do we begin to develop the spirituality aspect of our spirit?

Loevinger's stages of ego development traces development from birth (pre-ego) to the rarely attained 9th integrated ego stage, where the subject is at peace with inner conflicts. Erikson's stages of psychosocial development trace through stages of hope, will, purpose, competence, identity, love, care to wisdom. Carl Jung classified Psychological Types into eight categories by first classifying perception into sensation vs. intuition, judging into thinking and feeling - and then mapping them against introvert and extrovert mental types. Note: Jung does not pass judgement, classifying one category over another he simply groups people into different categories based on some aspects of their spirit.

We might look at each of the classification criteria and measure it on a scale of deficient - healthy - excessive.  For example an introvert might be healthy, or so introverted as to be a hermit, or hardly introverted at all.  Of course introvert deficiency is not a negative, but excessive introversion might be a health problem.

How can we measure spirit healthiness?

First, we can enumerate some attributes of the spirit for measurement. The 12 questions from Daaleman and Frey provide some suggestions. Each question measures some aspect of the spirit.  However, as noted - they are worded to measure only 'negative' aspects of the spirit. |

Illness arises from deficiency or excess.  Healthiness is the large or small 'normal' area between deficiency and excess.  If we re-word the concepts of these questions into a scale that measures deficiency and excess, we have something like:

1. Ability to look after self.  Deficient - not able to look after self. Healthy - able to look after self most of the time.  Excessive - not able to ask for or accept assistance when required.
2. Ability to complete tasks.  Deficient - not able to complete most task that are started (may indicate tendency to start too many tasks or tasks that are too challenging).  Healthy - normally able to complete tasks that are started.  Excessive - never takes on challenges that present risk of failure.
3. Able to understand own problems. Deficient - not able to understand own problems.  Healthy - has a normal understanding of own problems. Excessive - understands everything about themselves (or claims to).
4. Dealing with personal difficulties and challenges. Overwhelmed - Healthy - denial.
5. Confident when new problems encountered. Unsure, indecisive - Healthy - overconfident.
6. Able to plan for the future. Impulsive - Healthy - anal retentive.
7. Comfortable with role in life. Unhappy - Healthy - lazy.
8. Know thyself. Confused about self - Healthy - arrogance or excessive pride.
9. Have a purpose in life. Lost - Healthy - driven.
10. Know place in society. Submissive - Healthy - defiant.
11. Understand the meaning of life. childlike - Healthy - philosopher
12. Feel complete and whole. insecure - Healthy - complacent

I'm not saying these are the best questions to measure spirituality healthiness.  At this time they may be the best we have. We can work on something better.  What are the most important dimensions of spirituality?  Are some more important than others?

There might always be disagreement about what the spirit is, and what is not part of the spirit.  In the context of the Hierarchy of Healthiness we can define spirit clearly for specific purposes.  Spirit Healthiness encompasses all of the aspects of people that are at a higher level than the body and mind - and at a lower level than those attributed to communities of people.  Introversion, intuition, purpose, understanding, compassion - these are all aspects of the spirit.  Each can be healthy - in the normal range - or not.  If we can attain that goal, we might attempt to 'optimize' spirit health - a much more challenging goal.

Our spirit healthiness scores can change over time as we mature, grow older and age - and as a result of life circumstances.

Keep your spirits up, tracy

Tracy is the author of two book about healthicine: