Archive for May, 2006

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I am not deficient

May 29, 2006

I should mention that the results of a second blood test came back and I am not deficient.For the uninitiated, I previously thought, courtesy of the medical profession, that I might be deficient in Intrinsic Factor (stuff made by the stomach that helps up-take of Vitamin B12). Anyway it turns out I’m not which is good really, otherwise it means I would have a problem with my immune system, and a problem with doctors wanting to jab me with needles.

The reason I am short on Vitamin B12 must be to do with my diet. The doctor was convinced I was eating enough meat – roughly two times a week – to provide adequate B12, I pointed out that I was having virutually no dairy or eggs but he was still sure the problem was not my diet. All I can conclude is that meat from cows raised on conventional fertiliser-fed grass is even more nutritionally deficient than originally thought.

Anyways, in our house we are working on improving our diets (for this and other reasons). Karen is expermenting with sour dough and I have tracked down a farmer who is happy to sell us whole milk. We pay him less than half what we would pay for un-wholey milk in a shop and he gets, I dunno, lot’s more than the dairy company would pay him. Turns out in New Zealand that a farmer can sell 5 litres per person, per day, from the farm. We’re going to get our first delivery this afternoon.

Oh yes, and we’re working on finding recipes for making liver palatable so I can send those B12 levels through the roof.

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Good news for once

May 22, 2006

From The Times Online comes this article

Margot Sunderland, director of education at the Centre for Child Mental Health in London, says the practice, known as “co-sleeping”, makes children more likely to grow up as calm, healthy adults.

Isn’t that a nice surprise?

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Miracle of Modern Medicince

May 18, 2006

It is a characteristic of our abusive culture to blame the victim and so it should be no surprise that the medical establishment which must, by definition, be inherently abusive ends up giving it’s patients the message that they are to blame for their predicament. 

The fact that the system of conventional medicine only wants a solution that involves a saleable drug and therefore is not interested in finding the root cause of the problem is never mentioned. Neither is the fact that they need to blame you for your poor health because the truth is too challenging for the rest of the establishment. 

Combine this with the current ‘fad’ of genetic medicine where scientists think they will help make people better by fixing their faulty genes (although so far they have only killed people) and everyone I talk to lately is left with the impression that their chronic health problem is their own stoopid fault. 

I have a Vitamin B12 deficiency. What causes it? “Well it might be that the cells in the stomach that should produce a substance that aids the uptake of vitamin B12 aren’t doing their job”. Why aren’t they? “Well, the immune system is attacking these cells”. Why is the immune system doing that? “It’s an automimmune problem.” Yes but why do I have that problem. “We don’t know”. 

I have cancer (figuratively speaking). What causes it? “Don’t know – but here’s some mustard gas to destroy the cancer.” 

I have a heart problem (figuratively speaking). “Oh yes, we know about that, it’s caused by a little muscle at the back of the heart malfunctioning.” Why does it malfunction?. Oh, well we don’t know why that happens but here’s a very expensive drug that will suppress the muscle. Only thing is it has a side effect of giving thyroid problems, but don’t worry we have a drug that will suppress the thyroid problem.” Any side effects with that? “Um yes, it causes your heart to malfunction” 

Fabulous. These are real examples that have been happening around me lately. Having written it out like that I now understand why there is the current obsession with genetics. A health system that can’t see the patient as a whole and always needs to find a patentable solution to health problems can’t ever get to the bottom of chronic illness so it needs to be able to blame genetics for our ill health otherwise it would have to own up to it’s own ignorance. What they will turn to when gene therapy fails I can only guess – maybe nano-medicine? 

Now it is true that people are genetically predisposed to certain types of chronic health complaints but this predisposition is merely the indication of their body’s weakest link. Their/Your/My problem is that the body and it’s systems are generally run down and/or overloaded with toxins and like a chain the weakest link shows signs of stress first. 

If a conventional doctor were to examine a broken chain they would zero in on the broken link, examine and test it, determine that the link was deficient in some way and decide that it should be remade with greater tensile strength or some such so it could be put back out to work. Because the load on the chain was too great for it’s abilities in the first place all that will happen is that he chain will just break somewhere lese. And the doctor who thinks he ‘fixed’ the first problem will come in to fix the next one, never stopping to assess the overall situation where he might see that there is just too much stress on the patient and that they need to take the load off their bodies. 

After the discovery of my own deficient state last week I was talking to a friend and she has been told that she has a chronic health problem, the doctors don’t know specifically what causes but say that ‘it is a genetic problem’. She’s been made to feel like she is the problem, not her environment, even though environmental causes are positively screaming at us for attention at the moment. 

Is it pure coincidence that allopathic medicine which rose to the top of the pile because of it’s ability to serve our abusive empire culture ends blaming the patient for their state of health?  Occasionally you do get an explanation such as ‘you don’t eat enough fruit and veges’ and while it’s true that we choose what we put in our mouths what is never mentioned is the huge efforts made by advertising and our highly pressured culture to affect the choices we make.  In short the explanation serves to increase the blame. 

If the medical establishment was honest they would say “We don’t really know what causes chronic health problems so we’ll just make the symptoms go away with these expensive drugs. Other symptoms will eventually return along with symptoms caused by the drug itself but really we don’t know why the body gets sick and to be honest we don’t want to know because the current system is doing the job it’s supposed to. That’s the job whereby we increase our status and wealth whilst keeping you (and ourselves) ignorant of information that would empower you to improve your health for free.

Needless to say the media aids and abets this process in it’s demonising of alternative medicine and the promotion of the mainstream form. Is it a conspiracy?  No.  Just business as usual in a well functioning system of empire.

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Synchronous Food 2

May 11, 2006

In a previous post I talked about how a recent posting on Heretic Fig seemed to have been purpose made for issues we’ve been discussing in this household but as it turns out it was only the beginning in a series of coincidences.

On Monday I was told by my doctor that I am deficient in Vitamin B12.  Naturally I took this as well as any relatively young and seemingly healthy person would. I was pissed off, I was upset, I was fractious. (Compare to the Steven’s reprinted comments in the Heretic Fig posting).

I tried denial but that didn’t work. Then I tried research and that made things worse. Then I went to the Weston Price website where things finally got a bit better.

Up until now health issues were always something that happened to other people. My role was to be the fit healthy one who helped everyone else out so it was a bit of a blow to discover there was something wrong with me – that I was deficient. At least that’s the way conventional medicine makes you feel with it’s lack of understanding about the causes of illness. I, the patient, was deficient and my doctor (who is a nice chap) will give me a little something that can fix me up – since clearly I’m incapable of doing so myself.

I had had a blood test a week earlier at the suggestion of my doctor for no other reason than it had been 5 years since the previous one. Then he called me in for another appointment to break the news. I was deficient and would need Vitamin B12 injections – possibly for ever. Certainly some of the symptoms seemed to fit, such as tired and grumpy, something I’m sure my family would happily confirm.

My research turned up even more disturbing information. Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to nerve and neurological disorders. Clearly a bit of grumpiness was only the beginning.

I was surprised to discover that a vegan diet could lead to Vitamin B12 deficiency but not the that the modern diet can also do the same. I learned that Vitamin B12 shots could improve the mental functioning of the elderly and also that an un checked deficiency can lead to “mood disorders; dementia; paranoid psychosis; and violent behavior”.

Then came the next coincidence. Ran posted a link to this article by George Monbiot about the link between diet and criminal behaviour. I had a look and there it was; Vitamin B12 listed as one of the common deficient nutrients in chronic offenders.

Where George Monbiot leaves this story and where it really needs to go is that simply having shots or increasing the amount of B12 in your diet may not be enough of a solution for those of us with chronic offender status.

I have had another blood test, this time to see if my stomach is able to produce a protein called ‘Intrinsic Factor’ which is required for the ‘normal intestinal absorption’ of Vitamin A. If there is no intrinsic factor present it will mean that I have an autoimmune problem which is causing my immune system to attack the cells in my stomach that produce intrinsic factor and that I am an even bigger failure as a human being. Conventional medicine does not know what causes the immune system to attack these particular cells and probably doesn’t care because having me on shots for the rest of my life makes good business sense.

If they did care they would want to know the iddy-biddy details of why the system attacks those particular cells so they could make a drug to stop that specific event from happening. On the other hand, from the good folk at the Weston Price site I have learned that Vitamin A will generally improve the functioning of the immune system and in theory this should stop the cell-attack, prevent other auto-immune dysfunction and generally save me from ever having to go back to my doctor again. Clearly the people at the Weston Price aren’t very business minded and don’t understand the importance of repeat business. They’ll never get rich this way.

I’ve just has an email from Debbie who runs Diet-net in New Zealand which is an information site working in the same area as the Weston Price site. She has suggested I should check out gluten intolerance as a possible problem  as well.

The upshot is that although a junk food diet is bad, dropping the junk food won’t be enough because the real problem is our grain based diet. I probably need to start eating like my ancestors did and to learn to love liver which is chock full of Vitamin B12, vitamin A and an unidentified anti-fatigue factor. Apparently some cultures so prized the liver for it’s great qualities that it wasn’t allowed to be touched by human hand before consumption. It was eaten raw straight off the spear. All I need now is a spear salesman and I’ll be on my way.

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Synchronous Food

May 6, 2006

Synchronous Food

Heretic Fig has had some long gaps between posting lately but it’s been worth the wait for the most recent post. In one of those synchronous moments that are just plain helpful Joy has hit upon a subject that we’re just working our way into this week at our place.

…these days the milk and meat we consume are such perversions of real milk and real meat. the value of genuine animal products in the human diet is the most radical and yet unequivocal health information you will ever get your head around. if you are currently ill in any way, save yourself a lot of time and money and start there.

Exactly the confirmation we needed to hear. I’ll report back as results at our place come to hand.

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How to be the perfect parent – rewrite 975

May 5, 2006

I’ve been way too busy over the last couple of months and consequently have a lot that is waiting to go onto the blog. Some time back Tom sent me a chapter out of a book called “Tribal Epistemologies: Essays of Anthropologies”. The chapter is “Preconquest Consciousness” by E Richard Sorenson and although I’ve barely had time to dip into it it’s already given a lot of food for thought. You can probably tell from the title that it’s an academic text – it is hoever pretty readable and certainly well worth it.

The Continuum Concept by Jean Liedloff completely altered my expectations about parenting. Her observations of the Yequana tribe showed the possibilities for human life and childhood and it no longer seemed a mere pipe-dream to raise emotionally healthy children. I think I unwittingly assumed that if we parented our children Yequana-style we would get Yequana-like children and for a time this seemed to actually be happening. The ‘terrible-twos’ passed with relative ease and we were feeling pretty smug about our parenting choices.

It was after that however that the wheels seemed to fall off and I realise now that what conventional child-rearing does with the terrible-wos is essentially break the child in. This means that this period is a bit of a war zone but things settle down soon after because the child’s spirit has been broken and they have sort of ‘given up’. What we elected to do was to allow our child to determine her own agenda, which she does, it’s just that the immediate consequences of that choice are not as easy to live with as the beat-them-down approach.

Aside from the fact that the western world has all sorts of one-off, precious and not-to-be broken items that are not available to a child living a stone-age life (always plenty of sticks and stones to go around in any village) our children are still more likely to be prone to fits of jealous rage and other forms of kicking and screaming because they’re being raised by, well, us.

Thus I came to the conclusion that the major impediment to a healthy childhood in civilisation was the civilised people. Or more pointedly; the major impediment to my child having a healthy childhood was me.

This sounds a bit demoralising but I eventually became relatively comfortable with it. It seemed to fit in with the old seven generation curse concept. If my generation starts working on the problem now then each successive generation will get stronger until eventually there comes a generation that has completely shaken off the psychoses that we all suffer from. Although I’m well aware that we might have to leave civilisation behind to fully achieve this I was pleased to be at least starting the process and was looking forward to making things, if not perfect, then at least better for my kids.

‘Preconquest Consciousness’ has however pushed me to reconsider things slightly. I now realise that my feelings of failure were a result of a cultural expectation that children should always be content and joyful (but quiet!) and that my job was to make sure they were that way at all times. I was kind of aware that children should be allowed to express their negative emotions but I was still working on the assumption that the level of upset in my child was a gauge of my failure as a parent.

In actual fact civilisation is a pretty insane environment to be raising children and we shouldn’t be the least bit surprised when these undeveloped humans indulge in a bit of kicking and screaming at the way life is treating them. More to the point childhood is the place where we help them learn to cope with world they will eventually have to live in unaided. Needless to say suppressing their feelings about that world is exactly the wrong way to go about it .

I found it very sad when I first noticed that my eldest daughter was becoming watchful and wary – no longer living in that joyous moment to moment way that infants and toddlers do and I miss that little person – especially, as Sorensen, points out, living totally in the moment seems to be the way that truly happy stone age people exist – it seemed like another sign of my failure as a parent.

But something Sorensen writes on his way to analysing un-civilised life has altered that;

Any form of subjugation, even those barriers to freedom imposed by private property, are the kiss of death to this type of life. Though durable and self-repairing in isolation, the unconditional open trust this way of life requires shrivels with alarming speed when faced with harsh emotions or coercion. Deceit, hostility, and selfishness when only episodic temporarily benumb intuitive rapport. When such conditions come to stay and no escape is possible, intuitive rapport disintegrates within a brutally disorienting period of existential trauma and anomie. With no other models about except those of conquerors, a `savage-savage’ emerges from the wreckage of a once ‘noble-savage’.

He also writes;

Preconquest regions were often fringed by intervening zones of mayhem and disorder, induding warfare, piracy, extravagant sexuality, and brigandage. Getting through to them was often dangerous.

because

Where preconquest populations were unrelentingly besieged by harsh conquistadorial demands, intuitive rapport sometimes suddenly give way en masse, precipitating a period of acute existential crisis. Arising from such crises was the `savage-savage’ who caused much of the mayhem and disorder seen in those disturbed and dangerous zones that so often barricaded entrance to remnant preconquest areas.

This is the passage that has caused my rethink about how parenting should work out. If for arguments sake I was to actually succeed in providing a Yeuana style childhood for my kids (the littlest of which has just banged me on the head with a pole btw) I would actually be doing them a massive disservice. They would be totally unprepared for coping with adult life in civilisation – I would in effect be laying the ground work for the emergence of a ‘savage-savage’.

A little wariness is required for civilised life and an element of self control, which is made hard to acheive by having long-buried grievances from childhood, is also required. Realising that is not enough though. We have to take it a step further and help our children learn appropriate ways of dealing with negative experiences otherwise they will turn out as exactly the foot-soldiers that civilisation is looking for. It can’t be prescriptive help though quite often out kids just need to be given the space to learn to deal with these things by themselves. This, it turns out somewhat ironically, is what the Yequana do when faced with a civilised individual in need of therapy.

This then is probably the key thing for me to take away from all this, that my job as a father is to help my kids deal appropriately with their negative experiences and emotions – something I’m not terribly good at to tell the truth. In this context a bit of kicking and screaming in someone who is not yet fully developed should be seen as a perfectly normal aspect of child development – even if slightly embarrassing at the supermarket.

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Music is the new Village

May 4, 2006

I’m not sure if I’m right about this but I suspect that the music we listen to is an attempt to fill the void created by our missing tribe. If the house is empty I often try to fill it up by putting a CD on. Not only does it replace the music that would be present amongst a tribe but it provides a background of human interaction that should be present in all out lives.It’s also the closest a lot of us will get to jamming which seems to be a special kind of trip that only musicians go on. I suspect it enables a group of souls to interact at a level that our civilised defenses usually don’t allow. A musician friend of mine once let me, with my fledgling and suspect musical skills, jam with him – for a brief moment I was actually in the music just going where ever the moment took us. It didn’t last long and it will probably never happen again.

Apart from that one-off event, the nearest I can normally get to a musical trip is going to see a live band, which is pretty good or listening to a CD which is ‘not bad’ or listening to commerical radio which is a usually pretty bad – typically the commercial process has watered down all the good stuff and these days radio transmits emotion about as well as it transmits smells. Unfortunately this sorry excuse for anything useful or good is the closest a lot of people get to having a tribe these days.