Friday, December 21, 2012

Nutrition and Behavior - a neglected link?

Excerpted from my Christmas letter for this holiday season:

Now violence has intruded itself into our holiday season, and we are led to wonder what prompts such vicious behavior. All sorts of causes are cited, but some important ones are overlooked or ignored.
  • Barb Stitt, probation officer, in her book, Food & Behavior: a Natural Connection, relates how the behavior of probationers turned around when she improved their nutrition, emphasizing vitamin B complex. Too many nutritionally deficient, refined foods (junk food) leads to a 'jumpy' brain, prone to violent outbursts.
  • Dr. Stitt worked with a school in Wisconsin to improve the school meals which resulted in a remarkable improvement in student behavior.
  • Several experts have highlighted the importance of adequate omega-3 essential fats for brain health, as they are a major component of brain tissue, but many folks are short on omega-3s and long on omega-6 fat, which crowd out the omega-3's. Bizarre behavioral problems can result.
  • An article by Kevin Drum in the latest issue of Mother Jones details the close correlation between leaded gasoline and crime some twenty years later when the children exposed to lead grow to be troubled young adults. He asserts that the fall in crime in recent years is related to the earlier outlawing of leaded gas, but he feels that investing in cleaning up the remaining environmental lead contamination would be a worthwhile investment.
  • And the new kid on the block, vitamin K2, very essential for brain health (& heart health, bone health, etc.). And where is it found? Pasture-raised eggs, butter, lard & meat, especially liver, the very foods our health authorities have been demonizing! See Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox for the details. All you folks taking supplemental calcium and vitamin D need to read this!
  • And now I read of another neglected and easily corrected deficiency that can cause really strange behavior - Could It Be B12? - a serious, often hidden, and neglected deficiency!
  • There are more links on my website,, about the nutrition behavior connection - find 'violence' on the site map and follow the link. Be aware that good nutrition and detoxification are far more important than medications, guns, more police, or more prisons to end these irrational behaviors.
 Why is it that with all the talk of guns, gun control, prisons, and whatever to attack the problem of violence, there is so little recognition that some well planned, inexpensive supplements might calm the troubled mind? Why are we so reluctant to acknowledge that the highly processed junk foods that constitute the typical diet of too many Americans might be contributing to the problem? Could it be that profits and sales are more important than health and a tranquil society? After all, if we all started eating real food and got truly healthy, there are several industries that would suffer decline!

I'd like to close with a quote from Jurriaan Kamp, Editor of The Intelligent Optimist  

"Please take a moment with me to direct your love to not just the young victims of the overwhelmingly painful massacre at the school in Connecticut and their families, but to all people who live in challenging, sad and painful circumstances in our world. Anyone can turn into a gunman if s/he is feeling left out, disconnected and lost. A gunman shames us all. Let's make sure that we take care of all our sisters and brothers.
"Let's focus on a world that we do want to create and live in. Let's ignore the media that will spread ever more fear with their reporting.
"We need CHANGE. We long for PEACE. So let's think PEACE. Let's dream PEACE.  Let's do PEACE. Every day. Let's feed our minds and souls with possibility.
This very touching poem by by Cameo Smith, Mt. Wolf, PA, exemplifies the possibilities - Prayer for Newtown


Saturday, August 25, 2012

I don't understand why....

I don't understand why folks are so enamored of Paul Ryan! I appears to me that he stands for demolishing the safety nets that are a hallmark of a civilized society, while using the army as a substitute safety net (do we need more foreign adventures?), and coddling the rich, who take advantage of our public services (public education, infrastructure, safety personnel, etc.) while avoiding paying taxes in every way they can.  Are they going to use their billions to repair our roads and bridges, or hire our public servants, such as teachers and policemen?
Yes, we have too many regulations, but do we need to shut down everything that protects us from the predatory nature of big for-profit corporations?

Does that mean we let industry continue to contribute to global warming, environmental disasters, and  lousy food & health systems?

Why have we gotten to the point where some wealthy people appear to be trying to buy the election to protect their often ill-gotten gains?

Why are the airwaves filled with innuendo and out-right lies meant to instill fear in the heart of the gullible masses?

I'm sorry, but the Republicans have turned me off completely with their kowtowing to the right wingers (who seem to have their brains screwed on backwards), with their racist determination to undermine Obama since the day he was elected, and their refusal to compromise for the good of the country. seems to me to have a much better handle on putting our country back on the right path - See Prosperity Economics: Building an Economy for All

Friday, August 24, 2012

Plus-size America: What to do?

We will not solve the obesity problem in America until we stop kowtowing to the food and ag industries and change the USDA Dietary Guidelines, which currently tell us to eat lots of grains, half of which can be refined, and which certainly contribute to obesity. They also advise a low fat diet with lean meat and skim milk, which leaves you hungry and seeking all those fattening grains, and ignores the evidence that kids that drink whole milk are slimmer. Then they recommend 'oils,' including your modern polyunsaturated vegetable oils, which provide too much pro-inflammatory omega-6 fats and are often damaged by the processing which makes them unhealthy. There is little mention of real butter, which provides an excellent source of real vitamin A and contains butyric acid that improves insulin sensitivity. They perpetuate the myth that saturated fat promotes heart disease, when good, unbiased evidence shows that is not true. They perpetuate the myth that fat is fattening because it is concentrated calories, ignoring the evidence that it is really carbohydrates that promote obesity and diabetes, especially if they are refined (3 slices of white bread a day is okay for kids over 14). These are the guidelines that govern school lunches, and apparently guide the processed food industry! Is it any wonder we're raising a generation of fat kids!

Lest you think I'm crazy, here are a number of supporting links (below). Fortunately many health professionals are beginning to catch on.

Kris, the retired and reformed dietitian

Adele Hite, RD, on failure of Dietary Guidelines:

What Really Makes Us Fat

Saturated fat is vital to human health

24 Reasons the 2010 Dietary Guidelines are wrong about cholesterol, saturated fat, and carbohydrates

Healthy Nation Coalition -

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Comment on the Nutrition Standards of the School Lunch Program

Open letter to the folks at Slow Food USA Time-for-Lunch:

Dear Time-for-Lunch,
Folks at Slow Food USA must surely be aware that the Nutrition Standards for the School Lunch Program are a recipe for obesity and diabetes, with their emphasis on grains and skim milk, and the misguided limits on saturated fat and salt.
I don't know how we push for healthier school lunches when the guidelines are stacked against good health. Juice, dry cereal and skim milk fit the guidelines, but are sure to lead to crashing blood sugars a couple hours later, and fat storage of all those excess carbs. By lunch kids are famished after their low fat breakfast, but the unbuttered, unsalted veggies have little appeal, and the nutrients are poorly absorbed without the good fats, vitamins, and minerals in butter and other traditional natural fats. And of course all those grains are raising blood sugars and storing fat, leading to obesity and diabetes. This is well known science - all the carbs (modern wheat is worse - cause raised blood sugar and insulin. Insulin is the fat storing hormone, which blocks fat burning.

Why do we ignore the fact that butter, eggs, and whole milk have nourished people well over the ages, but childhood obesity and diabetes have become a problem only in recent years since the guidelines mandated low fat meals, or encouraged meals that are too high in pro-inflammatory omega-6 oils.

Why do we ignore the evidence that children who drink whole milk tend to be slimmer than those who drink skim milk?

Why do we continue to ignore the evidence that saturated fat does not cause disease? and

Time for Lunch will not succeed in its goal of seeing healthier children until we convince our legislators to change the goals. More and more health professionals are seeing the light. See Now we just need to get the public health officials on board.

The future of our country is at stake!

Kris Johnson, retired and reformed dietitian, Slow Food member

"Tragically, a growing body of evidence suggests that the bizarre and increasingly common behavioral problems among young children and teen-agers are related to the combined effects of high sugar intakes and the virtual absence of omega-3 essential fatty acids in the American diet."
The Modern Nutritional Diseases, and How to Prevent Them -
Heart Disease, Stroke, Type-2 Diabetes, Obesity, Cancer
, page 199
by Alice and Fred Ottoboni, public health professionals

Friday, March 2, 2012

I'm a schizophrenic Progressive

A January 16th column in the Toledo Blade by Charles Krauthammer on the resurgence of libertarianism, lead me to conclude that I am a schizophrenic Progressive - torn between liberalism and libertarianism. Right wingers' focus on 'rights' of the unborn and marriage are certainly not libertarian. Their emphasis on cutting taxes and government seems to reflect greed and selfishness more than any concern for the common good, in spite of their claim to be Christian. I'm afraid I see right wing ideas leading down the path to serfdom, as the rich become ever more powerful and the poor become poorer. On the other hand Democrats need to learn from libertarians that reams of regulations are not the answer to a healthier, happier, more productive society.

The current USDA goal of eliminating access to raw milk by 2020 is but one example of regulatory overkill. Never mind that good quality raw milk has nourished millions of people around the world for thousands of year, and there are currently better that 8 million raw milk drinkers in this country with no evidence that it is more dangerous than all the other things on our grocery store shelves.

The book, 'Everything I Want to Do is Illegal,' written by one of the smartest ecological farmers in this country, Joel Salatin, details a host of other ridiculous, job-killing regulations that add nothing to the safety or health of our food supply. I can see the influence of powerful corporations behind much of this over-regulation, designed to kill small businesses and cut the competition, whichever party is in power, and then the bureaucrats become control freaks. Is either party willing to cut the corporate purse strings, resist corrupt corporate influence, and do what we really need to do to make this a better world?

A few examples of adverse corporate influence:

Dairy Industry
The government war on raw milk is an attack against food freedom
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger

Meat Industry
Everything I want to do is Illegal - War Stories from the Local Food Front

Ag/Food industries
The Farm Bill: Better Food Starts Here

Drug Industry
Ex-Pharma Sales Reps Speaks Out - Pharma Not in Business of Health, Healing, Cures, Wellness

GMO Industry
Scientist finding many negative impacts of Roundup Ready GM crops

Trust Us, We're Experts! How Industry Manipulates Science and Gambles with Your Future

There are more examples on my website