Hallelujah Diet

As I have written previously, my wife and I were (and arguably she still is) Christian. As such, we proved vulnerable to a scam known as the Hallelujah Diet, the creation of a 79 year old Baptist preacher  turned fad diet creator named George Malkmus. When my wife was very seriously ill, she sought the advice and counsel of Tim and Anita Koch at the Hallelujah Acres center in Lake Lure, NC. We spent a great deal of money to send her to that place, and for a time, we faithfully followed their advice.

In my view (and I think my wife agrees, although she is welcome to comment), the Hallelujah Diet made her condition worse, not better. Probably most of the wasting that occurred in her could have been avoided if she had not been advised to eat such a radically low calorie / low fat diet. And worse, the advice got even more damaging and harmful the more serious her got. It’s kind of like these people can’t figure out the definition of Einsteinian Insanity: Not only do they want you to keep doing the same thing when it’s not helping, and you are getting worse, they want you to do it even more! Thus, when she started getting a lot of nausea, lightheadedness, etc., they advised her to reduce her calorie intake even further, and limit her diet entirely to juice!

Probably the worst effect of things like the Hallelujah Diet is that it distracts you from the real issue: In this case Seratonin Syndrome. We spent huge amounts of wasted time, money and stress chasing a dietary solution, when the answer was there all along in my wife’s meds!

I told my wife that I don’t just want to sue these people: I want to go down to Lake Lure, NC and put my foot up their ass. However, I will calm down eventually.

More later.

Bug Poop

I have made an amazing discovery. I have discovered soil.

I bought a composter. The one I use is from Lowe’s. I had the opportunity to purchase a simple, box-like affair, but as usual, I went for the gusto. I bought a self-turning composter. Very cool!

I started composting my family’s vegetative waste. Since my wife and I are now juicing heavily (more on this later), we are generating vast amounts of pulp from juicing. Thus, composting was really the only reasonable solution. So I started putting stuff into the composter, and then made regular trips to the composter to add material, and check on the progress. In the process of doing this, I discovered what soil is.

It’s mostly bug poop.

Technically, bug poop in soil is called frass. Compost is almost entirely made up of frass eventually (as well as the waste products of various other critters like fungus, mold, etc.). Soil is a mixture of compost and fine rocky material, basically sand or clay.

It’s really interesting (although rather gross) to watch waste material from human food production turn into compost. Eventually, all of the green, orange and other colors turn to a deep brown, almost black. There is a lot of fiber in my compost. This makes it a bit stringy. But it works extremely well at growing plants. Wow! Do plants ever like bug poop.

Which gets to my point of discovering soil: Every human on the planet has the responsibility to create and nurture a certain amount of soil. There is no escaping from this requirement: We must all eat. In the process of consuming food, we are effectively (either directly or indirectly) using soil. There is no other place (other than hydroponics of course) where food can come from.

The problem with soil is that it must be maintained. There are only two ways to keep soil fertile: Either use compost (or manure with is just another form of poop) to enrich the soil, or else use chemical fertilizers. We all know where that leads.

In the end, the conclusion is clear: Either we are all going to eat food grown in dead soil with a chemical fertilizer keeping it alive, or else we are going to have to make a lot of bug poop. We either hire someone else (a farmer) to do this for us, or we do it ourselves. Historically, in my life, I have been a soil hirer: I have bought my tomatoes at the grocery store. Now, I am going to grow them.

I actually have to. What else can I possibly do with all of that compost?

More later.

Sweet Poison

Anyone who hangs around me long enough has probably heard me recount a radio piece I heard on NPR. I am kind of an NPR fanatic. You know, sustaining donor and all that. So yesterday, I was rapping with my wife and I brought up this piece on sugar featuring Dr. Robert Lustig on Diane Rehm’s show. The whole gist of the show was about how hopeless it is to fight against obesity when you are eating a diet which is high in sugar.

Which gets into the whole diet thing, of course. You have to understand that I have struggled with obesity my entire life. My parents where both obese. My siblings were both heavy and struggled with weight issues growing up. And so forth. Of course, growing up in the 60s as we did, we ate a horrifically unhealthy diet. Including huge quantities of sugar, especially in the form of soft drinks.

Which gets back to Dr. Lustig. While I disagreed with Dr. Lustig on some points (performing stomach stapling surgery on children being one such point), he did make some other points with which I am in violent agreement. One of these was the way our bodies work with sugar and the flavor sweet.

Basically, if you want to get a baby to eat a salty or tart food, you must introduce it to the baby on average 13 times, and he or she may or may not ever accept it. A sweet food is accepted by babies immediately. Apparently, we are instinctively programed to like to eat sweet foods. According to Dr. Lustig this is because our bodies are designed to recognize anything sweet as safe to eat. Although Dr. Lustig did not point out why this is the case, I can reach into my Anthropology background, and give a very good guess: When plants include sugar in their fruit, they do so because they want animals like humans to pick them, eat them and cast the seeds in their stool. Many, many plants reproduce in this manner. Obviously, making the fruit poison would be counterproductive to the plants survival. For this reason, sweet food is always safe to eat in nature.

Enter the food industry. Dr. Lustig points out that foods like high fructose corn syrup defeat our biological programming: This food is sweet but it is definitely not safe to eat. Instead, in the long term, as can be seen in my own life, it is poison. Even the food industry knows this. But they continue to market this dangerous but wildly profitable food to the public.

I have read and studied so much on diet and nutrition that I figure I probably deserve an advanced degree by now. I have at least read the books on all of the major diet programs, and I have been on most of them. This includes Atkins, Priticin, Ornish, MacDougal, Sears, Fuhrman, etc. In my experience, these guys disagree on almost everything: Some say you should eat a diet low in carbohydrates and high in protein and fat. Others maintain just the opposite: You should eat a diet high in carbohydrates and very low in protein (especially animal protein) and fat. But on one thing all of these guys agree, and that is about sugar, and especially soft drinks.

Everyone in the entire diet and nutrition field (with the exception of shills from the food industry) agree that high sugar foods like soft drinks and heavily processed snack foods are effectively killing us, and are telling everyone this including the food industry. In the process, the entire raft of human diseases that plague us at this point in history (diabetes, arthritis, auto-immunity, etc.) are consuming all of our wealth. You get the idea: Basically we are looking at the end of our civilization if we don’t change our ways.

This is a classic example of why Capitalism does not always work out to our advantage: The food industry has a strong financial incentive to produce and sell very profitable foods like high sugar soft drinks and snack foods. But these foods have a cost and that cost is very, very high. We must fix this somehow if we intend to survive.

More later.