Have you ever wondered why there are so many causes, events, and fund-raising efforts going on for various diseases and disorders? Since I was a child, I have watched campaigns go on for these causes, and wondered why progress never seems to be made. Even when I was younger and pretty unaware of health, I puzzled over these fund-raising events and wondered whether the efforts were doing anything to cure disease.
Increasing rates for conditions like obesity, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes are at the forefront of dialog and efforts in health communities worldwide. According to the following sources, these conditions are either increasing or not improving:
This New York Times article reports that cancer rates have been dropping since the 1990s from where they were in the 1970s, and the reason for the decline in diseases is attributed to prevention, early detection such as via mammograms and colonoscopies, and people abandoning poor lifestyle choices such as smoking. But do those activities really have a significant impact on health problems?
When we hear people talk about prevention, we don’t hear enough dedicated or serious discussions of how the food we eat or the products we use can affect our propensity to develop disease. Most of the topics center around eating lower-fat and lower-cholesterol foods, eating more vegetables and fruits, and more whole grains.
Very little of what people talk about in health communities takes into consideration the sources of our food, the quality of the food being eaten, and the fact that fats and cholesterol actually play a major role in the prevention of disease. And we certainly don’t hear much about personal care, household, commercial, and other products might alter the ability of our bodies to ward off disease and illness.
Nutrient deficiencies and how it affects health
If what we eat and nutrient-depletion isn’t an issue as so many people claim (or, as it is often absent from conversations about health), consider the following information about Vitamins A, D, and K:
This recent article from AOL News reveals that sunscreen may actually be increasing cancer rates, rather than preventing them. This idea goes against conventional ideas about wearing sunscreen – something we’ve been told for decades as the most important defense against sunburns and skin damage that can lead to skin cancer.
The article focuses on the main suspect of the believed reason for increase in skin cancer – the products reviewed contain high levels o f Vitamin A (used as an antioxidant). For years doctors have warned patients about the risks of “overdosing” on various nutrients such as Vitamins A and D. And yet recently, we’ve been hearing media reports telling us that Vitamin D is vital to health. And it’s true. Vitamin D is critical to immune, bone, cardiovascular health.
Both Vitamin A and D are fat-soluble vitamins. That means in order for the body to properly absorb them, healthy animal fat must be present in the diet. Did you know that synthetic Vitamin D and naturally-occurring Vitamin D are not the same substance, and that when an individual takes too much synthetic Vitamin D, levels in the body can become toxic?
The same cannot be said about proper levels of naturally-occurring Vitamin D from the sun and from healthy foods such as fermented cod liver oil, dairy products, and meats and fats from healthy, grass-fed animals on pasture. The other critical component to health that is rarely mentioned is Vitamin K, which works synergistically with Vitamins A and D. According to the Weston A. Price Foundation, “Vitamins A and D tell cells to make certain proteins; after the cellular enzymes make these proteins, they are activated by vitamin K. This synergy explains reports of toxicity from taking vitamins A, D or K in isolation. All three of these nutrients must come together in the diet or the body will develop deficiencies in the missing activators.”
According to the Vitamin D Council, the United States is experiencing a major deficiency in Vitamin D. If you are deficient in Magnesium, Vitamin D deficiencies can become acute. In our country, 57 percent of medical inpatients suffer from this deficiency, and 58 million American children are also deficient in this nutrient.
Modern diets don’t come close to including these important combinations of real nutrients that fight disease and illness. If we are so grossly deficient in these nutrients, just stop and think how many other nutrients we might be lacking in our diets and the real impact this has on health.
Why fundraising for disease doesn’t pay off for those who actually need it
What exactly are the goals of organizations trying to raise money for disease prevention and research? Let’s take a look at some of the organizations putting their efforts toward “curing disease”:
Susan G. Komen Foundation: their efforts are far-reaching and massive. In many major cities, you will see ads for “Race for the Cure”. There are calls for donations everywhere. And where does the money go? Money to put toward more research and drug development, and procedures that are supposed to cure cancer. How exactly is this accomplishing the goal of finding a cure? Surely, if we keep throwing money at this problem, someday a cure will be found and people will no longer have to suffer from cancer, right?
This year, Susan G. Komen formed a partnership with KFC to sell chicken in their Buckets for the Cure campaign, with part of the proceeds from the buckets going toward cancer research (a total of 50 cents per bucket to cancer research). The basic concept is quite laughable, but millions and millions of people are buying into this cause. Their goal? Raise 8.5 million from the sales of fried chicken.
What a brilliant public relations move this is for KFC, who sells industrial food to billions of people. No doubt, they will get a lot of credit for this from the mainstream media, medical and health authorities, and other influential entities. KFC will sell more chicken and everyone will “feel good” knowing they are supporting cancer research. So when you buy buckets of chicken from KFC, your hard-earned money is going towards supporting a corporation selling toxic food-like substances to the masses under the guiles of supporting health. It’s really quite ironic, isn’t it?
It’s not too surprising that KFC is involved in a scheme like this, they are first and foremost a corporation with a primary purpose to make money. But it’s quite another matter entirely that the Susan G. Komen Foundation has allowed their name to be used in conjunction with such an effort to sell crap food under the auspice of raising money to cure a fatal disease.
Diabetes has a similar movement with The American Diabetes Foundation at the helm, and you will see organizations and fund-raising events going on annually in many regions to raise money to combat this disease.
Their web site provides many statistics and numbers of people who get the disease. But the web site has absolutely nothing about prevention of the disease other than to donate money for research, and provides a link to another page, Stop Diabetes where you can add your name to a list of people who want to stop this disease. People are working night and day to maintain this web site and generate names, and request donations to stop a disease that is essentially caused by poor eating habits.
And are cures being found? Just how much money do we have to donate, fund-raise, and collect to find a cure for these diseases? I propose that these organizations and fund-raising efforts are not doing the job they are intended to perform – that the money being generated from these causes goes to fund more research for drugs, procedures and surgery to combat these health issues. What evidence are we actually seeing that this is working? Do people who receive drugs and surgery for cancer, multiple sclerosis, Diabetes, and other chronic and terminal illnesses really receive benefit and recover?
The results from an inquiry by the Department of Radiation Oncology, Northern Sydney Cancer Centre, Australia, into the contribution of chemotherapy to 5-year survival in 22 major adult malignancies, revealed a shocking statistic: The overall contribution of curative and adjuvant cytotoxic chemotherapy to 5-year survival in adults was estimated to be 2.3% in Australia and 2.1% in the USA.” [Royal North Shore Hospital Clin Oncol (R Coll Radiol) 2005 Jun;17(4):294.]
Allergies and asthma
There are even organizations that raise money and awareness for asthma and allergies. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation has a web site with all types of resources and information on becoming an activist for these health issues. There is an entire page devoted to information about new laws, petitions, and the latest news in activism for these issues. Guess what you won’t find there – any information about how the industrial food system or substances in the environment might be contributing to these issues. No prevention, no proactive measures are mentioned. There is, however, plenty of information and discussion about “treatments” and “management” programs for asthma and allergies.
The World Allergy Organization has a long list of important doctors, scientists, and university professors leading the board of directors. There are also forums, conferences, and regular meetings going on to discuss the topics of allergies. Basically, a lot of money, effort, and scientific research going to find a “cure”, but no mention of the real cause. I guess somehow the people running this organization assume that people can continue eating toxic food and being exposed to toxins in the environment, and the day a miracle cure is found, the world will be “saved”.
What’s the solution?
Although I won’t claim that there is any absolute cure for any disease, I know from my own experience, my own research, and the testimony of others that a healthy lifestyle with a diet full of real foods certainly will go a long stride to help prevent and avoid disease.
Before I eliminated processed foods from my diet, I had many health problems that plagued me on a daily basis. All the drugs that were prescribed to me never helped my situation, and in many cases, made problems worse. By the time I saw a nutritional therapist I was desperate for help. She told me if I hadn’t changed the way I ate I was headed for cancer and other degenerative disease. She was seeing hundreds and hundreds of clients who were in the same condition.
I know one thing for certain – medication doesn’t prevent disease. Medications are man-made substances from laboratories that are intended to eliminate symptoms that occur because of some problem in the body – often caused by some type of deficiency. Drugs also have a long list of side-effects. On the opposite end of the spectrum, food contains naturally-occurring nutrients that keep body functions in optimal states to prevent disease from starting in the first place. Real food heals and has no side-effects.
Can the same can also be said for many natural treatments? Even though they might be better for people than toxic medications, is the root cause of the problem actually being addressed? Can an herbal treatment, homeopathic treatment, or “natural treatment” like acupuncture or chiropractic care actually “cure” a disease or ailment?
In some instances, I believe a natural treatment can aid in the body healing itself. But if the body lacks the foundational means to generate healing because of a deficiency, or if it is overloaded with toxins – for example, as in problems with the digestive tract (which is the foundation for all health), a treatment, whether complimentary or allopathic, is probably not going to solve the problem. I know this first hand because I have taken both, and my general experience is that if my diet is poor, no amount of “treatments” is going to make my problem go away.
Here’s example: when the body’s largest digestive organ – the liver and its auxillary organ, the gallbladder – become filled with toxins and rendered unable to keep the body healthy, drugs definitely don’t help, and natural treatments may or may not work. If your liver and gallbladder are full of stones and toxins from a poor lifestyle (one of the main culprits of disease in the body), the answer lies in a detoxification regimen that will eliminate stones and toxins from these organs. The liver and gallbladder have a major job of keeping your health in optimal condition because they process everything you eat. Your healthy diet will only help your body so much and you will only be able to absorb a certain amount of what you eat if you have liver and gallbladder stones in your body.
When we begin to understand the origins of disease and what causes them to occur, we can understand how to preserve and maintain health. No amount of fund-raising, research, or new drug development will accomplish this task.
Who is ultimately responsible for your health?
Modern medical wisdom tells us that we should place our health in the hands of doctors, nurses, and other health professionals like dietitians, scientists, fitness instructors, and personal trainers. Do you feel as though the advice you’ve been given by people in these fields has improved your health? Why or why not? When you are prescribed medications for health problems, do these drugs make your problems go away, or do you find that you don’t get the results you want?
Many people have experienced frustration and lack of solutions while under the care of conventional medical professionals. What about when you have taken decisions regarding your health into your own hands? Have you had better results?
How many billions and billions of dollars have people raised in the name of research and funding to “cure” diseases and ailments, and just how much more money do we need to raise to find a miracle drug or “cure” for the diseases that plague us? Is it possible that no magical cure exists, but that what we really need to do is to employ prevention and preventative measures in our viewpoints and daily habits toward keeping ourselves healthy?
There is no such thing as perfect health, but by living a healthy lifestyle and putting things in and on our bodies that are as natural as possible, we can go a long way toward keeping ourselves from experiencing the massive disease rates as we do in modern society.
Want more information on how diet and food can affect your health?
This post is part of Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesdays Carnival. Please visit her site and read all the other great real food posts there.