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November 19, 2007

Nature Knows Best: An Opinion and Review

(Please note, for legal purposes, I must mention that all views expressed in this article are opinions and do not reflect the official opinion of the American Medical Association or the FDA).

Since I live in Arizona, it was a relatively simple matter for me to attend the seminar in Tucson which was recently offered by Health Ranger, Mike Adams of www.NewsTarget.com. The title of the seminar was Nutrition Secrets for Reversing Disease and Maximizing Health and featured Adams as well as a very energetic and well-researched guest: David Rain, an avid Raw Food Enthusiast, juicer and creator of the website, www.juicefeasting.com.

It was very refreshing to see a packed audience listening intently to a lecture that discussed the individual empowerment and simple truths to be found in nature. Flanking Adams on either side of the stage were baskets of raw vegetables which he would point to at various times during the seminar to remind us that those baskets held the "medicines" - in his opinion - which returned him to vibrant health from the edge of obesity and diabetes. The message was clear: those baskets also held the potential to boost or return the health of most of us. This is a message rarely conveyed in today's world filled with purported "wonder" drugs. Today, all we need, it seems, is a signature on a prescription pad, and we are suddenly transported to the magical world of cures in a pill -- so what if they come with a list of side effects a mile long?

Adams also pointed out the irony of schools that are labeled "drug-free zones" but contain 25% of students on Ritalin, a stimulant which can cause - according to the FDA's own records - increased heart rate and blood pressure and even sudden death in people who already have heart problems or defects. A memorable quote from the day was "However, if you made Ritalin in your trailer...", the implication being that the FDA legalized a very dangerous drug for use on our children, and since it was approved for use by the FDA, it was socially acceptable. If, on the other hand, we manufactured it ourselves, like bathroom gin or crack, the same substance would probably be banned and the people who made it would be considered social pariahs.

Another irony pointed out was that people are being fed a diet almost completely devoid of nutrients but at the same time, many people in this country are unable to get access to health care. This creates a downward spiral of illness and disease for many, without hope of escaping such a trap. With 44% of people in America currently without health insurance, it is no wonder that health care is a key subject in today's political debates.

In order to better illustrate the dead, non-nutritive nature of our food, Adams called upon David Rain and challenged him to a Junk Food Face-Off, where the two health enthusiasts had each separately purchased the worst food that they could find from the supermarket to see who could find the most chemical-ridden, nutritive-devoid food items. Adams only half-joked when he said that in looking for the most toxic foods that he could find, all he had to do was to look for kid foods. I think that this is truly a tragic state of affairs. We're not only poisoning ourselves but the future. The Feingold Association, mentioned in Sweet Remedy, discusses in detail the problems with the food supply of our youth and the miraculous results that they have witnessed when children are put on The Feingold Program. For more information, go to the website: www.feingold.org.

Although The Health Ranger did unveil a nauseating, colorful array of questionable foods, including one which carried a warning not to consume more than one in a single sitting and that "sensitive people should avoid consuming the product altogether", David Rain stole the show and won the Face-Off by performing a feat which he credited to Jack LaLane. Rain stretched the rules slightly by going to a popular fast food restaurant, rather than getting the items at the supermarket; however, the effect was well worth it. Taking a glass bowl, Rain emptied the contents of his fast food bag one by one into the bowl, mashing them up as he went along. The aroma was almost nauseatingly overpowering as he first dumped a double cheeseburger into the bowl, followed by french fries, a fruit pie and a large soda. After he had sufficiently blended the ingredients, he topped off "the meal" with a strawberry shake. This graphic demonstration revealed how we abuse our stomachs and our bodies.

Rain went on to give a detailed description of "Juice Feasting" which he says can safely be followed for 92 days. Juice Feasting is very similar to a regular juice fast, except that the juicer consumes more juice: 10-15 pounds of raw, juiced vegetables per day. I was very glad to hear Adams mention that people can also do very well without going to such a juicing extreme. Personally, I was a little bit concerned with the lack of protein over such an extended period, but Rain was very enthusiastic and considers eating "an act of love". I agree with this idea entirely. We have become so solitary in our eating habits, often consuming our meals in front of the television set instead of connecting with our loved ones and contemplating the rich bounty of our food and the gift of health that it can bring.

As a culture, the west is predominantly portrayed - even in our own media - as allopathic worshippers and as a growing population of surprised ill people whose sicknesses are mere chance. Adams rattled off some rather frightening statistics: 25% of our GDP in America is currently spent on healthcare and 400,000 deaths result from cancer each year. He made a very important point in that we, as a people, are enamored with labels, such as "I am Diabetic" or "I am a Multiple Sclerosis Victim" (notice the upper case). We are becoming obsessed with the idea of defining ourselves by our illnesses. These labels do not define us. We are much more multi-faceted than that, and our bodies naturally, intuitively want and work to create good health. By defining ourselves by the labels of diseases, we give them form and substance, and provide them with the opportunity to take over our lives. Fear has become our dominant emotion, and that emotion is debilitating. Thirty years ago, people lived in defiance against their afflictions. Living and enjoying life was tantamount, next to loving the important people in their lives. Today, we are a nation obsessed with the blood pressure monitor and mammogram, as we hurry though our days, living in constant fear of test results. We are afraid of Tommy's third grade classmates. Have they been vaccinated? Is there another Columbine awaiting him in a few years? Could he become deathly ill with MRSA? Will someone take a knife to school and somehow circumvent the metal detectors?

Both Adams and Rain provided a message with a happily upbeat and proactive twist, unusual in today's fearful society. Having both returned to health from illness, Adams from diabetes and obesity and Rain from obesity and acid reflux disease, both today are vibrant and alive and filled with a strong desire to share what they have learned with the world. Ultimately, both conveyed a message of hope, community and love.

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