Thursday, March 29, 2012

If it kills a bug, it's a drug. Put it on the label.

Food labelling is a controversial subject.  It shouldn't be. If it's in the food, put it on the label. 

More important, if it's a poison - it should be on the label.  What foods contain poisons?  There are two main types of poisons in foods.  Pesticides and herbicides. Many foods today are grown with pesticides to keep bugs from eating the crop.  The pesticides kill the bugs. GMO foods are designed with 'built in' pesticides to kill bugs. Many foods are grown with herbicides so the farmers don't have to weed. We get cheaper food. I believe cheap food makes us all poor. 

I like an occasional glass of beer. But I'm fussy, for a reason.  I used to think that beer gave me headaches. I was never a big drinker, but if I did drink two bottles of beer in an evening, I would be sick for a day or two. Then I discovered real beer.  Beer with all of the ingredients on the label.  I still don't drink more than 2 bottles in an evening, but I don't get headaches any more. 

A bit of investigation revealed the fact that beer manufacturers, read 'big companies that make beer' have a long list of ingredients they don't need to put on the label. Then I started to learn about beer that puts all of the ingredients on the label and limits the ingredients to water, hops, malt and yeast. I learned that if I only drink beer that meets those simple criteria, I don't get headaches. I started paying more attention to labels.  I read labels a lot nowadays.  But I'm often frustrated.  I know that there are many 'chemicals' included in or on foods that are not on the label.  And they are not required on the label.  What's up with that? 

Let's begin with toxins.  Drugs. How many foods have drugs in them - but not on the label?  It's actually difficult to tell. There are lots of chemicals that are 'not required' to be on the label.  And it gets worse.

What is a toxin in food?  It's designed to kill bugs. Bacterial, or perhaps real bugs. To prevent them from eating the food, multiplying and give us health problems.  Or perhaps, to prevent them from eating the crop - and giving the farmer less produce or poorer quality produce. 

The problem is that toxins in, or on food - come back to us.  And they are toxic to us too, although generally we don't know 'how toxic'.  It probably depends.  Eg. Some chemicals are more toxic to some people, than to other people. It depends how much you eat at one sitting and how much you eat over a long time period. 

But, if it's not on the label, how can you know?  If it's not on the label, how can you choose? 

Isn't it a bit strange that the label tells me how much fat, how much protein, how much carbohydrate, etc. but it doesn't tell me what, and how much, of each toxin is contained in the food? 

It gets worse.  

Many foods are grown using toxic pesticides and herbicides.   Not on the label.  Why should I search for 'organic' food, not knowing what I'm going to get?  I want to be told what I'm going to get.  If an apple was treated with a pesticide - I want to know.  So, it's difficult to label every apple. Find a way. Put the label on display and let me take it home, or let me take a picture. 

And some foods are designed with pesticides built in.  Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) foods are often designed with pesticides built in - to keep the bugs of the field from eating them.  But that means we eat the pesticides instead.  I want the right to choose between healthy bugs and unhealthy pesticides. I can't choose if I don't know. 

Many of the foods in grocery stores are 'processed foods'.  If a processed food is made with a pesticide treated apple - it should be on the label.  If a processed food is made with a Genetically Modified food - put that information on the label. What's the good of buying 'organic' apples, if the apple turnover is not required to list the ingredients? How can I buy healthy cornflakes if I can't choose those that are not GMO cornflakes?  Do cornflakes manufacturers have the guts to tell the truth?  Not yet. 

Many foods in grocery stores are treated with preservatives to ensure a long shelf life. But that means I eat lots of preservatives.  Are they healthy?

If it kills a bug, it's a drug. We need pesticide, herbicide, preservative, and GMO labels to enable our rights to health freedom.

How can you have health freedom if you don't know what you are eating? Freedom requires accurate, complete food labeling - to enable healthy decisions, healthy choices. 

Everyone has a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of healthiness.  That starts with a right to information about the foods we are buying. 
Tracy is the author of two book about healthicine: 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Is the glass half full, or half empty? Is your health half full or half empty?

Is the glass half full, or half empty? The question has been debated forever, even though the answer is obvious.  The engineers are wrong, as usual, when they say "The glass is twice as large as it needs to be."

The pessimists say it's half empty?  The optimists say it's half full? Is there any truth to be found?

Yes.  But it is necessary to step to the side, and take in a wider view of the situation.  It's really simple. Easy.

If you are filling it up, it's half full.

If you are drinking it down, it's half empty.

Full, and empty are not states independent of action. They are judgements, based on actions and intention.

Is your health half full?  Or half empty.

When you are filling it up - it's half full.  When you are drinking it down, it's half empty.

In fact we are often filling our health glass, and we are often emptying it. Sometimes both at the same time.  Is that so strange?   Exercise builds our muscles, exposes us to risk of excess stress, depletes our energy and temporarily dehydrates us.

Healthiness is about balance.

There are many glasses of health.  Genetics, nutrition, cells, tissues, organs, systems, bodies, minds, spirits and communities.  Each area has many individual health factors and health processes.  It is no simple task to maintain your health - to ensure your glasses are being filled up - and to enjoy your healthiness - to use the health that you have wisely.

Optimizing your healthiness is even more complex - and there is little research to fall back on. You are, for a large part, on your own. Doctors study illness - few make serious studies of healthiness.

If one factor is way too full, in excess, you have an unhealthiness of excess - more serious and you have an illness. An illness of excess.

If one is way too empty, deficient, you have an unhealthiness of deficiency, more serious and you have an illness of deficiency.

All illness arises from deficiencies (too empty) and excesses (too full). 

Health is not static.  If you leave a half glass of water alone for a while, it will evaporate.  You can only keep it half full by constantly filling it up -- but not too much.. And so it is with health.

If you fill it too full - it may spill over.  If you are too full of good things, you and your health can fall down as a result. Most, possibly all nutrients become toxic if you have too much.  Too much exercise can result in excess stress or injury. Too strong a spirit can overwhelm the health of your communities.

Is your health glass half full? or half empty?  No matter.  What matters is that you keep working to keep yourself healthy.  And enjoying your healthiness.

You have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of healthiness.  You have a right to pursue health, and to use your health.

to your health, tracy
ps. If no-one is filling the glass, and no-one is emptying the glass, then the glass, like a Buddhist Monk, is at one-half with itself.

Tracy is the author of two book about healthicine: 

Monday, March 12, 2012

What is a drug?

In the USA, the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act defines a drug as : (1) a substance recognized in an official pharmacopoeia or formulary (2) : a substance intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease (3) : a substance other than food intended to affect the structure or function of the body (4) : a substance intended for use as a component of a medicine but not a device or a component, part, or accessory of a device.

The FDA says: "The legal difference between a cosmetic and a drug is determined by a product's intended use."  

In Canada, the Food and Drug Act defines a drug as: 
“drug” includes any substance or mixture of substances manufactured, sold or represented for use in
(a) the diagnosis, treatment, mitigation or prevention of a disease, disorder or abnormal physical state, or its symptoms, in human beings or animals,
(b) restoring, correcting or modifying organic functions in human beings or animals

The European Union  DIRECTIVE 2001/83/E defines a 'medicinal product' as: 
(a) Any substance or combination of substances presented as having properties for treating or preventing disease in human beings; or
(b) Any substance or combination of substances which may be used in or administered to human beings either with a view to restoring, correcting or modifying physiological functions by exerting a pharmacological, immunological or metabolic action, or to making a medical diagnosis.

What's wrong with this picture? 

It seems to say that the difference between a drug, and a non-drug depends on the use.  But if you read more carefully, that's not what it says.  It really says, in simple English:

"The difference between a drug, and a non-drug is defined by the way the product is marketed." (intended for use, sold or represented for use in, presented as having properties for). 

If it looks like a drug, and walks like a drug and talks like a drug - it makes no difference at all. It's not a drug until the paperwork is done.

But if the marketing paperwork to the government says: 
in the USA: "a substance intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease"
in Canada: "substances manufactured, sold or represented for use in
(a) the diagnosis, treatment, mitigation or prevention of a disease, disorder or abnormal physical state, or its symptoms"
in the European Union: "presented as having properties for treating or preventing disease in human beings".

If the marketing department says it can be used to diagnose, cure, mitigate, treat or prevent disease, - it is a drug. That is the only requirement for a drug.  Thus, everything and anything can be a drug - if it is marketed as a drug.  Of course it must pass some significant paperwork hurdles - but these are easily managed by large corporations and their lawyers. 

Note: to create a drug in any of these countries, it is not necessary for the drug to be particularly effective, nor for the scientific or medical community to believe that the drug is effective.  Nor is it necessary for the drug to be safe in all situations.  It is only necessary to pass the paperwork tests. Government offices cannot and do not pass judgement on the efficacy of any drug application.  Governments pass judgement on the paperwork. Many new drugs cannot truly be tested for effectiveness, nor safety, on the general population until after they are in public use for many years, possibly even decades. 

It is easily seen that one of the problems with the USFDA, Health Canada, and European Unions definition of a drug is that there is little said about what is 'not a drug'. Almost everything can be defined as a drug.  

This has lead people to ask if water is a drug - because it can be marketed to prevent and cure dehydration (they failed due to the fact their the paperwork was not completed correctly). And it lead me to blog that the wind is my drug, because I claim it makes me feel better.

We need a different definition of a drug.  

Wikipedia says: "A drug, broadly speaking, is any substance that, when absorbed into the body of a living organism, alters normal bodily function. There is no single, precise definition, as there are different meanings in drug control law, government regulations, medicine, and colloquial usage."

Webster's Dictionary says: "a substance used as a medication or in the preparation of medication".  

We need a definition of DRUG, from a health viewpoint. 

Is there a simple way to delineate between drugs and non-drugs from a health viewpoint.  A definition not depending on a marketing department.  Rather a definition that depends on science and facts about our health and healthiness.

The first thing we should recognize about drugs is that they are almost all toxic by design. Drugs are designed to throw your health system off balance, to counter the imbalance of your illness, not to create health. You need a prescription for drugs because they are toxic.

If we want to define drugs, we need a way to separate the things we consume, through our mouth and other orifices, including our skin, into drugs - and not drugs. All three of the official government definitions make no such distinction.  Everything is a drug.  Everything should be regulated as a drug.  This is, frankly, a ridiculous situation.

Can we define drugs in a useful fashion?  Can we define non-drugs?

A healthicine is a substance that has a direct effect on the balances of healthiness. Healthicines are non-drugs. That effect might be positive, or if the healthicine is deficient or excessive - it will be a negative effect.

A drug is a substance that has an effect on illness.  Drugs have an indirect, usually negative effect on the balances of healthiness. This negative effect is designed to throw the illness off balance and allow your body to heal.  Or sometimes the illness is designed to simply trick your body into 'feeling healthy', by minimizing symptoms. 

Water is not a drug. If you are dehydrated, water still cannot be a drug.  Water cures dehydration, or it restores the balance of hydration - but it is not a drug. Water is necessary for healthiness.  A deficiency or an excess results in an illness and possibly death.

Can we extend this distinction to other substances - it gets a bit more complicated. If you have a Vitamin C deficiency, taking Vitamin C to 'treat' the deficiency is not taking a drug - any more than eating oranges is taking a drug.

Vitamin C can also be used as an injection to treat a serious inflammation.  In that case the Vitamin C is not addressing a normal Vitamin C deficiency, it is being used to tackle a health problem that is best treated by an excess of Vitamin C. Vitamin C has a negative effect on the problem - the inflammation - note, inflammation is normally a healthy response to stress. Administering an excess of Vitamin C, or any substance, for a therapeutic effect separate from the Vitamin C health balance, is administering a drug.

Is this a clear dividing line?  Maybe, maybe not.  The government definition of drugs for sale needs to be a clear, black and white, legal definition.  But the definition of drugs for health, and for personal healthiness, has many shades of grey, ranging from black to white and every shade in-between, possibly even different colours.

A healthy definition of ''drug" needs to be open to dispute and discussion. The government definition is like a proclamation from God, there is not room for argument, not way to dispute the decision. This is not a healthy definition. It is not a democratic definition. It is not a 'freedom' definition.  I believe in Personal Health Freedom.  The freedom to differ.

All illness and disease are be caused by an imbalance, a deficiency or excess of genetics, nutrition, parasites, toxins, stress, growth (including healing and immune systems) - or a combination thereof.

A drug is always an excess. In most cases, if you are healthy, a drug is toxic to some aspect of your health. You need a prescription - a doctor must sign that you 'need the drug'. When you are ill, the drug may have a beneficial effect. By design. Drugs are not designed to fix health imbalances. Drugs are not nutrients. Drugs are not designed to cure - they are designed to create an 'opposing imbalance' so that your body can heal.

All drugs have 'side effects'.  Why is that?  Because all drugs are toxins - they have toxic effects.  If they didn't have toxic effects, they would have no effect at all.  In some cases, the toxic effects are intended.  That's the 'design' of drugs. But in many cases the toxic effects are unintended, or even unknown. Generally unknown until many people fall ill or die. Mercola tells us that drugs kill more people than car accidents in the USA. 

Are some drugs worthwhile?  Are some drugs the 'best treatment'?  Yes.  Of course. If you have a bacterial infection, the best treatment might be a toxin that kills the bacteria, but has minimal effect on your health and healthy cells.  An anti-biotic.  However,  most, possibly all antibiotics kill some healthy cells as well. 

We need to search for health, not illness. We need to search for 'heals', not 'cures'.  We need honesty and openness about treatments; to measure which treatments have the best effect on any illness, not which is the 'latest (untested on the public at large) drug'. 

New drugs have the most potential for danger. We need a health paradigm, not an illness paradigm. We need a healthicine paradigm, not a drug paradigm

Yours in health, tracy

Tracy is the author of two book about healthicine: 

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Why all Drugs have Side Effects.

When some people develop a serious illnesses, they try dietary changes - organic, non-processed foods, herbs and possibly supplements.  These attempts are generally random, not directed to specific nutrient or dietary needs.  Our dietary needs for optimal healthiness are poorly studied and poorly understood. Guesswork is often the best an individual can do to avoid the drug paradigm and side effects. If there is no solid diagnosis, or no clearly successful treatment, a doctor might say 'try this prescription, and see if it helps'.

Don't get me wrong.  If you have an illness that is best treated by drugs - I'm all for them.  But if you have an illness that is best treated by healthicines - a drug can only make it worse.

What are medicines? Medicines are used to treat illness. Medicines are defined as drugs.

Medicines generally work against the illness.  If you have an infection (an excessive growth of bacteria) - an antibiotic works to kill the bacteria. If you have a fracture, medicine works to reduce the excess pain and possibly inflammation until it heals.  If you have a cold, medicines work to reduce the symptoms of the cold, your body does the rest.

Medicines help us to live with the illness (reducing symptoms), or by countering imbalances that are excessive: bacteria, viruses, toxins, etc.

Healthicines are used to treat unhealthiness. Medicines do not work against nutritional deficiencies, for example.  If they do reduce symptoms of a deficiency - drugs can make it worse by making it tolerable.

As we saw in the blog: The truth about milk: raw? or pasteurized? we can take a healthiness view of illness, or a medical view.  The medical view is a very sharp tool, designed to diagnose and treat illness.  The healthiness view is a different view, appropriate to improve health balances.

Drugs do not directly counter unhealthiness - they work by changing the illness, often in an effort to facilitate healing.  If you are suffering from an infection, an anti-biotic attempts to kill the dangerous bacteria, leaving your body to heal. Of course antibiotics also kill helpful body cells, resulting in a shifted, or new illness that requires healing.

As a result, all drugs have side effects.  They move your illness, or your healthiness sideways, sometimes even backwards - not towards healthiness.  This is done in the hope that the 'new state of illness' is less severe, or sufficiently different, or perhaps more diffused, that your body can recover and heal more easily.  Antibiotics kill many non-human cells, both beneficial and harmful. Your healthiness is damaged as the illness is attacked.

What are healthicines? Healthicine is the art and science of creating and improving healthiness.

Healthicines are used to improve healthiness. Healthicines are used to treat unhealthiness.

As shown in the diagram, healthicines move directly towards health.  If you are suffering from scurvy, consuming Vitamin C will re-balance your health.  You need to consume Vitamin C to rebalance. If an illness is caused by a nutrient imbalance, a drug might treat the 'symptoms', but it does not treat the cause. This may result in a more serious illness because the cause continues to cause illness.

If you are suffering from arthritis - exercise might be the most appropriate healthicine. Drugs that make the arthritis pain bearable can only be beneficial if combined with exercise to lubricate the joint and promote healing.  Otherwise, drugs will simply lead to a more severe illness - although with less pain.

Some illnesses are well treated by drugs.  Some illnesses are best treated by healthicines. Some are best treated by a combination of healthicines and drugs. What is the true percentage? We don't know.

How many illnesses are caused by nutritional deficiencies or imbalances?  We don't know.

Illness is caused by an imbalance, a deficiency or an excess so severe that it results in a medical condition. An unhealthiness can be a minor health imbalance, or severe enough to be diagnosed as an illness. There are many different deficiencies or excesses that can cause illness. Deficiencies and excesses in nutrients can result in illnesses from scurvy (Vitamin C) to obesity (sugar).  Deficiencies and excesses of exercise can result in flaccid muscles or torn ligaments. Deficiencies or excesses in your immune system can result in more serious colds and flu to autoimmune diseases.

We know that many illnesses are caused by severe single nutrient deficiencies.  We know, for example that scurvy is caused by a severe deficiency of Vitamin C. But we have very little understanding of what illnesses might be caused by a long term, minor deficiency of Vitamin C.  I suspect your doctor will diagnose them as 'old age'.

What illnesses might be caused by combinations of nutritional deficiencies.  Can we name one?  I can't think of one. And I find that very, very strange.  There are over 100 known 'essential nutrients' for the human body.  Given huge variations in diet over the planet, through different cultural groups and over time with individuals - there is huge potential for many combinations of nutrient deficiency. Can we name a single illness that is caused by a minor long term deficiency of TWO essential nutrients?

What might be the result of a prolonged deficiency of Vitamin A, a prolonged minor deficiency of omega 3, and a long term minor deficiency of Vitamin C?

What is the cause of age related macular degeneration? It is almost certainly the result of long term nutritional deficiencies or excesses.  What about other degenerative diseases?  Drug companies are busy searching for medicines, but few are studying or searching for healthicines.

Given the number of essential nutrients - over 100, the number of combinations of two nutrient deficiencies that might occur together is over 10,000.  Many nutritional deficiencies are uncommon in Western societies.  But many are common. According to the USDA's Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals - 60 percent of males do not meet the RDA minimum for Vitamin A; 64 percent do not meet the RDA minimum for Vitamin E; over 50 percent do not meet the RDA minimum for Vitamin B6, and so on....

We don't know what illnesses, or what symptoms might be caused by these, and other deficiencies.  But they should not be treated by medicines.  They can only be treated by healthicines.  By ensuring that people meet their nutritional needs.

You may have noticed the recent flurries of press regarding Vitamin D.  It seems Vitamin D prevents many illnesses - and most of us are not consuming enough Vitamin D.  But the press treats Vitamin D as if it was a medicine.  It is not - it is an essential nutrient, Vitamin D is a healthicine.

If you consume a medicine to solve a healthicine problem - the problem can only get worse. You cannot treat a Vitamin D deficiency by taking a different drug. You can only cure it by getting enough sunshine, or enough Vitamin D in your diet. Healthicine.

Today, 'healthicine' is not a word. Medicine is the science or practice of the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease.  Medicines are drugs that you take to treat or cure illness.

The entire focus of our so called 'health systems' is on medicines.  We need to study healthicines more thoroughly if we are to attain optimal health.

Why don't we know what unhealthinesses are best treated by healthicines?  Healthicines do not have side effects. Because they treat the unhealthiness directly - they simply have health effects. 

You have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of healthiness. You have a right to information about healthicines and medicines. You have a right to choose, but choice is best assisted by information.

yours in health,

ps. If you enjoy my posts, please share - and you might LIKE my facebook page
Tracy is the author of two book about healthicine: 

Friday, March 9, 2012

A Picture of Health

Medicine is defined, by Wikipedia, as 'the science and art of healing'.  Wrong as usual.  The body heals.  Medicine is the science and art of preventing, diagnosing and treating illness.  If the illness is treated properly - the body heals.  Medicine turns to the next problem.

In many cases, when you visit a doctor, you are given a prescription and told "try this, and let me know how it works".  There is little art, no science with regards to healing. Take the drugs and hope your body heals.

Healthicine is the art and science of healthiness.  After you leave the doctor's office, after you take the prescription, after you are 'healthy' according to the doctor (eg. not sick), you can still benefit from the art and science of healthiness.

This diagram shows the relationship between medicine and healthicine.  Medicine is to the left of  the red line of diagnosis. Once an illness is diagnosed, medical techniques are used in an attempt to treat the 'illness'.  These technique is not always appropriate.

Some illnesses strike from external sources - bacteria, bullets, toxins and viruses.

But many illnesses are the result of declining healthiness. In these cases, a medicine is not the best solution, not an appropriate option.

Healthicine is the entire study of healthiness from perfect health to illness and death. Medicine is a small
subset of healthicine.

In most cases, medicine is not required. Most of the time, you are not sick.  But you can always be healthier. In many cases, medicine is not appropriate. Sometimes, when you are sick, it is because your health has deteriorated to the point where an illness is diagnosed. Medicines are constrained by diagnosis. Diagnosis is an artificial constraint designed to protect the interests of doctors, and marketed to protect the interests of patients.

It is clear that if your unhealthiness is to the right of the diagnostic threshold - you don't need medicines, you need healthicines.  In many cases, when your health is to the left of the diagnostic threshold - healthicines are still the most effective approach. But healthicines are seldom prescribed for illness, just medicines.

Many fields of medicine, and many drug manufacturers, are trying to move the 'diagnostic threshold' to the right, so that drugs can be prescribed earlier. Attempts to 'find cancer earlier' are a common example.  Moving the diagnostic threshold is presented as a 'preventative technique', but it often leads to an increase in 'false positive' diagnoses.  It also leads to the use of drugs, when healthicines are required.

We need to examine the diagnostic threshold more scientifically.  If an illness is really an unhealthiness - maybe the diagnostic threshold should move to the left for that illness. Or we need to examine treatment alternatives more scientifically.   No matter where the diagnostic threshold resides, we need to study all of the alternatives, and continually test the most effective ones - not just the 'latest new drug'.

We use drugs to treat diagnosed illness.

We use healthicines to improve our healthiness.   To reverse unhealthiness.

We need scientific studies of the differences between illness and unhealthiness.  We need to choose the best alternative for every illness and unhealthiness, and keep improving our choices.  We need the freedom to choose - and the ability to study and document choices and results.
You have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of healthiness,

Tracy is the author of two book about healthicine: 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Monsanto: Paving the Road to Hell?

"The road to hell is paved with good intentions" (1855 H. G. Bohn Hand-Book of Proverbs 514)

Monsanto is paving our planet with pesticides, herbicides and genetically modified plants that are able to grow on this toxic desert. Are they setting us up for disaster?

“The nation that destroys its soil, destroys itself.” --- Franklin Delano Roosevelt

According to research, posted on

"Ever since Monsanto developed, marketed and patented the glyphosate molecule -- Roundup(®) herbicide’s active ingredient -- beginning in the early 70’s, a substantial and ever-growing portion of the earth’s arable surface has been transformed into an environmental and human health experiment, of unprecedented scale."

"Glyphosate is now contaminating vast subterranean stretches of groundwater "

I previously blogged that Monsanto's monocultures result in cheap foods - and that makes us all poor:

And now it seems that we are making the earth poor as well.

Monsanto executives believe they are working with good intentions - to produce inexpensive foods, to grow their company, to produce and sell effective pesticides and herbicides.  But instead they are helping farmers produce cheap foods, using pesticides and herbicides that severely damage our planet and our health. They are making their own foods toxic, and their own planet toxic. Our planet.

Read GreenMedInfo's article on Monsanto here:

You can to learn more about health, healthiness and healthicine on my blog:

you have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of healthiness,
Tracy is the author of two book about healthicine: 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The truth about milk: raw? or pasteurized?

The debate over raw milk, like many health debates is typically presented in black and white. A healthy debate would have many more colours.

Raw milk is healthier - says one side.  Pasteurizing milk destroys much of the nutritional value of milk.

Pasteurized milk is safer says the other, and just as healthy.  The US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention has demonstrated that raw milk is unsafe, compared to pasteurized milk.

This is a classical case of the medical approach vs the alternative health approach. Perhaps more 'classical' than we might like to admit. The medical establishment wants to put an arrow in raw milk.  And the alternative health establishment insists that raw milk is healthy, while pasteurized milk is damaged and unhealthy.

Remember, 'alternative health' is not really about health, it is about alternative medicine.

Each side has a very narrow point of view.  X is bad. Y is bad.  Both sides are using the medical viewpoint. Traditional medicine vs alternative medicine. Look for bad things.  Look for illness, causes of illness.  Look for things that prevent or cure bad things. A medical viewpoint focuses attention on illness - to force a decision. It is a powerful tool against illness.

But it is not a view to build healthiness.

What is a healthy view?  How does a healthy view compare to a medical view?

We need healthy view to understand and pursue healthiness.

The medical view focusses attention on illness in order to diagnose, treat
cure and prevent illness.  This is a powerful view with regard to illness but not appropriate for understanding and learning about healthiness.

In theory, the healthy view and the medical view see the same information - the same milk in this case. But they see from different points of view. The medical view sees illness. Medical practitioners, conventional and alternative, spend their lives looking at people who are ill, trying to make them better.

The medical view often comes to conflicting conclusions as the focus jumps from one illness to another. A factor that seems to 'prevent' one illness can easily shift health balances towards another illness.

A healthy view, on the other hand, examines how we enable healthy genetics, create healthy cells, how they create healthy tissues and organs, resulting in healthy systems and bodies.  Healthy bodies, minds, spirits and communities provide a feedback loop that continues to improve healthiness while minimizing conflict.

People who are not ill - and want to be healthier require a healthy viewpoint for healthy decision making.

What are the health questions? There are many more - oriented towards health, not towards illness. Does milk improve the healthiness of your cells, your tissues, your organs, your body?

Is milk essential, or is milk the optimal food - for babies?  for children?  for teens? for adults?  for seniors? We know that milk is not a vitamin.  It is not essential to health, like Vitamin C or specific fats or proteins.

We know that human milk can be a near optimal food for babies.  In most mammals, milk is not consumed once a baby is weaned.

We don't know if milk is a healthy food for teens, adults, seniors. Why don't we know?  Because we study medicine very thoroughly, but we don't study healthiness.

Is milk healthy?  Is pasteurized milk healthy or unhealthy? Is raw milk healthy or unhealthy (assuming it is not tainted). Is milk actually good for you? Do you need milk for health? What are the truths about milk?

Do we need milk? The answer is clearly no.  Milk is not required for health.  We can get the nutrients that are in milk in many different foods. Consumption of milk, processed or raw is not necessary - it is a health choice - your choice, to consume milk or not.

Does drinking milk make you healthier?  The evidence shows that the answer clearly is 'sometimes yes, sometimes no'.  We know that illness is caused by a deficiency, or an excess.  How much milk is 'excessive'? How much milk does it take to cause unhealthiness?

We need the right to choose.  We need information to support our choices.

Will we ever know the truth about milk?  Which is healthier, raw milk, or pasteurized milk?  I suspect we will never know.  Pasteurized milk fits our marketing practices.  It has a long shelf life.  It's dead, so it doesn't spoil for a very long time.  It has a 'minimum risk' profile - more important to sales than a 'maximize health' profile. There is huge incentive for corporations who sell milk to sell pasteurized milk. No research is necessary.

Raw milk?  No big corporations care. Individual people care, but they don't sell milk to the super stores. And they can't buy milk in super stores There is no financial incentive to do true research into raw milk - or into the healthiness of milk.

If you want raw milk - you need to buy a cow.

You have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of healthiness. You have a right to information, and choices.
Tracy is the author of two book about healthicine: 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Healthiness: Balances in Motion

The hierarchy of health is a hierarchical view of the major components of healthiness from genetics, thru cells, tissues organs, etc. to community.

Each element in the hierarchy has many health components and sub-components as well as processes and sub-processes.  For each major component, sub-component, process and sub-process, there are healthy balances - and possibly deficiencies or excesses.  Serious deficiencies or excesses result in illness.

We can represent the comprehensive overall view of someone's healthiness with a very, very tall spinning top with the health factors as spindles. Many of your health factors are in balance and the top spins healthily.

Maybe you don't get enough Vitamin C - that health factor would show as a minor deficiency, creating a slight wobble. If your thyroid gland is slightly over-active, you have a minor excessiveness creating another minor wobble in your health balance.

If you have an serious deficiency, then the bar is farther to the outside - demonstrating that your health in that area is more off balance.  A similar bar appears when you have a seriously excessive health factor.

Here is a hypothetical Health Balance for Nutrients - only a few nutrients are shown.

The diagram might be a result of the following data:

Vitamin A - blood test shows healthy levels of Vitamin A.  Dietary analysis shows healthy intake of Vitamin A and Vitamin A precursors.

Vitamin B12 - blood test shows healthy levels of Vitamin B12.

Vitamin C - dietary analysis indicates that the subject sometimes meets the daily requirements for Vitamin C, but often falls below the RDI minimum for several days in a row.

Water - dietary analysis indicates that the subject consumes slightly more than the normal amount of water per day. This may indicate health deficiencies in other areas.

Omega 3 - dietary Analysis indicates that the subject does not consume sufficient levels of Omega 3 for optimal healthiness.

Calories - dietary analysis indicates that the subject consumes not just more calories than are required, but sufficient excess that healthiness declines.

When we map the healthiness, deficiencies and excesses onto a spinning top - we can see that each will create a wobble in your healthiness.  Some more than others. Our medical systems are quite experienced in measuring illness caused by dietary deficiencies and excesses.  But do little to measure how healthiness is affected. Our bodies are quite good at re-balancing.  We feel healthy.  Our doctor says we are healthy. It's easy to ignore small unhealthinesses when we "feel healthy".  Sometimes our bodies create an unhealthiness to balance another unhealthiness.  Sometimes we take unhealthy drugs to counter-balance an unhealthiness.

With the Health Top, we can display healthiness for very specific health factors.

To chart the health a more complex health factor, of someone's diet for example, it is necessary to combine the bars for nutritional elements to create an overall bar for nutrition.  In this case the health top may be required to represent deficiencies and excesses for diet in the summary bar.  You might be deficient in Vitamin C, Essential Oils, and Vitamin D, while you are consuming an excess of calories.   A combined or summary bar would show a health factor that is both deficient and excessive.  The details must be examined to see what changes might be effective.

How are the many nutritional factors combined to create a summary bar for nutrition?  It's very complex.  Complex is not impossible - but I believe it can only be done by a computer analysis technique that can evolve over time.

There are over 100 nutrients that are essential to health.  We have no information at present that helps us to compare one deficiency to another and create a useful summary. At present, we can only assume that all are of equal value until we learn more.  Remember - health is different from illness.  Healthiness changes slowly.  Illness can proceed slowly or quickly.  Measurements of healthiness are less critical than measurements of illness.

It gets more complicated.  There may be essential nutrients that we don't know about. Some people might have more essential nutrients than others.  Our essential nutrients for health might change as we grow, mature and age. Understanding healthiness is a complex puzzle. It's much easier to understand illness - most of the time.

But that's no reason to give up.

To create a Top Diagram of Healthiness for the elements in the Hierarchy of Healthiness, we need to measure as many elements as possible and combine them to create summaries for each element in the hierarchy. The truth is - we don't know how many elements there are. Does this matter?

We might never create a perfect diagram of healthiness - but each diagram is better than none - and every diagram can be used to create a better version. Let's start with a simple diagram for nutrition.  Each nutritional health measurement that is made provides information about the overall nutritional balance.

Some measurements are more useful than others.  For example, the measurements on the USDA's food plate are almost totally useless to measure healthiness.  Did you consume 2 cups of fruit a day - is the USDA measurement for health.  But 1 banana counts as 1 cup of fruit, as does 1 cup of 100 percent juice of any fruit. Notwithstanding the fact that it is almost impossible to buy 100 percent juice - 1 banana has vastly different nutritional properties than 1 cup of apple juice. The RDI for Vitamin C is 60 mg per day - this is the minimum to avoid deficiency.  If you eat one large apple a day, the USDA recommendation for fruit, as your source of Vitamin C - you will be deficient every day. Two McIntosh apples will provide about 10 mg of Vitamin C. Two bananas a day provides less than half the RDI requirement. It is extremely difficult - probably impossible - to meet your health needs, for optimal health, using the food plate.

Is there a reason to measure healthiness this thoroughly?

I see two major reasons.

First - to optimize, or facilitate optimal healthiness in individuals.  Most of us, as well as our doctors, have only a vague idea of our level of healthiness.  The more measurements we can take that truly measure healthiness - the more opportunities we have to improve our personal healthiness. Remember that healthiness measurements are not 'immediate' - they are measurements over time. Illness can strike fast.  Healthiness does not 'strike'.  It is a measurement of your overall state of health.  Today, we try to guess which unhealthiness is most critical - do I need to lose weight?  Do I need more vitamins? Minerals?  Do I need to exercise more?  As we develop and study the measurement of healthiness, we will gain more understanding of the importance of different factors in individual cases. We will learn more over time, taking our understanding to a new level, and then moving beyond that level.

Second: if we are to learn more about healthicine - the study of healthiness, including illness - we need to measure and track healthiness in a comprehensive fashion. This type of measurement can lead to many insights that cannot be attained by looking solely at illness.

There may be some illnesses, or syndromes, that only appear when a specific set of unhealthiness conditions is met.  It is easy to imagine someone who has 10 or 20 or 30 low level deficiencies or excesses, but does not have a specific illness.

In a previous blog titled "Are you sick? Or Just Unhealthy" we met Alice and Zizi.  Both are 'relatively healthy' according to their doctors.  But Alice gets many colds a year - and Zizi gets almost none.  Alice's colds have severe symptoms and last a long time.  Zizi's colds have few symptoms and last only a short time.  There are many Alice's and Zizi's in our medical system - and they are all treated pretty much the same.  Medicines when they are diagnosed as sick.  Nothing when they are diagnosed as healthy.

When we begin to measure healthiness effectively, we will learn that Alice and Zizi are very different.  Zizi might be 'very healthy', with few imbalances.  Alice, somewhat healthy, but with many health imbalances.  Which imbalances lead to an 'Alice'?  We can learn when we begin to measure healthiness.

Healthiness is not a single state.  It is not a binary condition, where you are either healthy or not healthy.  Our bodies are alive and in motion.  Healthiness is about the many balances that are in motion in our bodies as we live, grow, heal, spin, and eventually die. To truly study health we must study all of our healthiness, not just our illnesses.

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

to your health, tracy

Tracy is the author of two book about healthicine: