Looking Into Your Natural Medicine Cabinet

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It seems like everyone I know is publishing a book these days.  Which is great.  We can never have too many good books on health and healing, since, it seems to me, that that is the most important topic we could spend our time exploring.

The new book in question right now is Your Natural Medicine Cabinet, but Burke Lennihan.  It has a publication date of September 1, 2012, but it is available for purchase today.

What sets this book apart from others on similar topics is that, while this book is certainly homeopathy-centric, it is not limited just to homeopathic remedies.  Other therapies related to homeopathy, notably Bach Remedies and cell salts, are also considered, as are supplements and herbal remedies.

In other words, Your Natural Medicine Cabinet takes a more general, naturopathic approach to family health care.

 


The book is well written, well researched and very well organized.  Everything is according to diagnosis, with conditions listed alphabetically and treatments outlined for each condition.

So it should be very useful for many common household emergencies.  With one proviso:  you should never wait until the emergency to read the book.  Spend time with it when you get it. Absorb it, consider it.  Then, when the emergency comes and your husband has a toothache in the middle of the night, or you baby has a fever at 2:00 a.m., you will be much more centered and focussed in your reaction and much more helpful to your loved one.

One question, though.  Should I be bitter than, in listing her favorite books on homeopathy, Dana Ullman and Miranda Castro get the lion’s share, with Amy Lansky and Judyth Reichenber-Ullman also on the page, but none of my books are mentioned?  Surely not.  No.  Certainly not.

Juicy Juicy

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I guess that it should not surprise me that I haven’t written as much about my experiences on the month-long journey of the juice fast as I’d intended to. The days have caught up with me. I’m surprised to look at the calendar and see only one more day left of fasting. I was on the phone with my naturopath two days ago, checking in with her, and going over some of the foods that I will be using as I start my raw diet for the next ninety days.

While I have done juice fasts before (I have habitually done juice fasts in the high heat of August every year, fasting as briefly as three days or for as long as the entire month, depending upon the year, my schedule and the way my body feels), I have never attempted a raw diet—vegetarian, yes, raw, no—before and needed some guidance.

I was pleased to hear from her that perfection is not required in a raw diet, that only about 80% of the foods need to be strictly raw and that I was allowed, for instance, brown rice (which I love) and baked tofu (ditto) while on the diet. I feel that with these allowances, and with the occasional baked sweet potato, I’ll be able to make the diet work, especially with the help of books like Raw Food Made Easy by Jennifer Cornbleet and Ani’s Raw Food Essentials by Ani Phyo to help offer food plans, great recipes and, perhaps most important, composed shopping lists for staple foods.

But I digress: the juice fast.

The who/what/when/where/how of it. The thing in life that I have found easiest and hardest, both at the same time.

The first thing you need to know about juice fasts is that you are not really fasting at all. You are flooding your body with every nutrient it needs, in a form in which it need not be digested, only absorbed directly so that every ounce of the goodness is easily used by your body. You will be amazed by the lack of waste. Your body will use everything you give it if your juice is well-composed. And the energy (and a great deal of energy it is) that your body usually uses for digestion is instead used to heal that which needs healing.

Thus, after a juice fast, I have been told by a dental assistant that I had the healthiest gums she’d ever seen. I have had my blood tested before and after juice fasts to prove that the process of fasting has a dynamic influence over everything, from high blood pressure to cholesterol to blood sugar.

Everything comes into balance; the body heals itself. This is the blessing of the juice fast.

Along with the complete detoxification that also takes place. Using only pure organic juice allows the body to flush out all that it is holding in. The bowels detoxify. (I leave that process to your imagination. I will only say that that part of the fast—the first ten days or so—is unpleasant.) The body breaks down fat that is has hurriedly stored, in which it places excess sugars, uric acid, etc. (Also no fun, but the way you feel after it has been broken down and the toxins flushed away is well worth it.)

The process of detox can be harsh; the person fasting may need to use probiotics to support this phase and may also need to use a source of protein (I use brown rice protein powder) to supplement the juice in order to keep strength up. Once the detox phase passes (you can see it pass by watching your tongue, which will at first be thickly coated and later a clean pink as the toxins leave your system), the fast becomes pleasant.

I have never experienced actual hunger while on the fast. Because I make sure that I have plenty of juice at all times. I make sure I am satisfied; so what I miss is not actually eating but chewing. There is something in the act of chewing that is pleasurable. Believe me, you miss it when it’s gone.

To give you some general information about juice fasts, it’s important, right up front, to point out that they should always be undertaken with the agreement of and supervision of your health care professional. Like anything else that dynamically impacts health, they should never be done in secret. (It always amazes me how many Americans feel that their health care professional should be able to help them, even though they keep secrets form them, go to other doctors to get other pills that they want that they never mention to their primary care doctor. They abuse the trust that exists between themselves and their doctors and then get angry when that doctor can’t help them to get well.)

Once you’ve set up the terms of the fast (and, as I’ve said, they can be as brief as three days or as long as thirty—after thirty days, the body may begin to digest muscle as well as fat, and we don’t want that, so thirty days is the absolute limit, even though I tend to feel, after three weeks in, as if I could fast endlessly, which is when my naturopath steps in and tells me to stop), you begin to prepare yourself for it.

First, you need a proper juicer. There are many on the market. Over the years, I have come to the conclusion that Breville makes the best juicers. They are expensive, but they have strong motors that last a long time, sharp blades and, best of all, wide mouths that all whole apples to pass into the machine without needing to be chopped. You can do the research for yourself; there are many fine juicers on the market. But one tip: don’t bother with those under a hundred dollars. They never work right and break immediately under constant use (and during the fast they will be used constantly).

Find the juicer that is right for you and order it. While you are waiting for it to arrive, begin to prepare yourself for the fast. You can’t just start fasting, you must allow your body to slowly prepare itself.

You do this by dropping specific foods over the days. Stop meat first, then the rest of animal proteins (dairy, eggs and the like), then stop with any processed foods, like catsup, and then stop with the carbs, like rice or wheat, and then slowly winnow down off vegetables and fruit alike until you are ready to let go completely. I take a week to do this. (On the other end of the fast, you have to do the exact same thing and add foods in slowly, slowly to allow your body to adjust.)

Then, juicer in hand, you begin. Over the years, I have always used a full array of fruits and vegetables when I’ve fasted. I would make “meal” juices of vegetables and “snack” juices out of fruit.

This time, I decided to do a much stricter fast. One that involved only green vegetables. So I was juicing kale, Swiss chard, cucumber, zucchini, celery, cabbage, parsley, watercress, and the like. For fun, I occasionally threw in carrots (too much sugar for this fast, so I limited them), tomatoes, and radishes.

What I have found is that the juice fast that involves fruit juices in easier and more fun, with its balance of sweet and savory juice, but the fast like the one I am on now, the fast involving green vegetables only is deeper and far more powerful. I’ve lost more weight on this fast than I have on any other. It also has cut through bloating, and given me a deeper sense of detoxification as well. I recommend it, although it is a more difficult fast.

In fact, as I look over the last paragraph, I see that I (subconsciously?) omitted broccoli from the list of things I juiced. Perhaps because I’ve found broccoli juice to be the single worst taste I’ve ever had on my tongue. And yet, broccoli is such a powerfully healing food, it is needed to be included in the juice. (By all means, mix some coconut water—you can find raw coconut water if you are a stickler—and some green tea into the juice to cut it and give it a sweeter, more pleasant flavor.)

I make three juices a day and I make about 30 to 40 fluid ounces at a time. This is a lot of juice, several glasses per juicing. But in this way, as I’ve said, I never experience hunger.

It is important that you drink the juice within fifteen or twenty minutes of juicing for best benefit, but, as we live in an imperfect world in which we tend to be running around all the time, it is possible to keep juice for a few hours. It won’t be as good as it would have been in the first few minutes, but what can you do? Just keep it in a closed, opaque container, like a water bottle. Don’t let the air get to it, or the juice will oxidize like an apple that has had its skin removed. Nothing will kill the benefit of the juice faster than contact with air. And make sure the container is opaque to keep it away from sunlight as well. Finally, keep it cold. Either in a hamper, like you’d use on a picnic—I know people who keep these in their trunks to protect their juice during the workday—or the refrigerator.

Finally, there is one other aspect of the juice fast that I want to mention: time.

You will find that, during the fast, you have so much more of it. You don’t take hours a day to prepare food. You don’t take more hours to eat it. When on the fast, I find that I have more time for myself and my thoughts than at any other time. And this is great, because I also find that, during the fast, while my body heals, my mind and spirit do also. In taking the time to slow down, to rest (and you do have to rest as much as possible as you simply will not have all the energy that you regularly do and because rest is key to the healing process), issues that have been as or more toxic to the body than sugar, flour, etc, will also be washed away. The fast brings a mental and spiritual clarity as well as physical.

As I said in the beginning of this post, I was talking to my naturopath the other day to help set up the plan for the days ahead when I step away from fasting (which is, strangely akin to going away to a health spa, even if you are at home in your own bed, kitchen, etc) and return to eating.

What I haven’t shared as yet is what I said to her. I told her that, since beginning my fast, I’ve been sleeping deeply, drinking in sleep. I’ve awakened energized, where I usually awaken to find myself still exhausted. I’ve lost weight—about twenty-five pounds so far. All bloat is gone. My feet have bones showing. My chin has reappeared and the shape of my face has changed from round to the oblong thing that is was twenty years ago. My skin is clearer and the texture of it has changed. My energy is up—in the last week or so of the fast, it always amazes me how much energy that I have in spite of not having had a solid meal in weeks.

My naturopath said to me, “You sound so good.” She sounded very pleased. Then I thanked her for her help and said that she had quite literally given me my life back. The arthritic pains that trouble me constantly have fades. My joints are fluid. My feet don’t hurt. I now have dropped two pants sizes and one shoe size. I’ve even dropped as ring size. Best of all, I look and feel younger, rejuvenated.

“The only thing that worries me,” I said to my doctor, “Is where I will be in five years. Will I be able to keep this up?”

“As long as you know me you will,” she answered.

I found this very comforting.

Starting Over from Scratch

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For me, it all started with numbers. I disliked all the numbers associated with me. My age. My blood pressure. My blood sugar. The waist size on my pants. My shoe size. All of them described someone older than I, sicker than I, more restricted by life than I. Over time, it came to seem as if gravity were pushing me down more than others.

So I decided to make a change.

I have been doing juice fasts every year for years now. Always in the high heat of August, when it feels so good to drink down the cool juice and then to sit outdoors, catching what breezes I can.

Sometimes the fasts are as brief as three days, just enough for a little detox and a little rest. Other times they can last a full thirty days, a period of time in which I can reassess, decide what aspects of life are working for me and which ones are not. It is a time to reassess work, relationships, and, most important, lifestyle choices—food, locale, etc.

Last August, I had set out to do a full thirty days. And I was nearly there. On day twenty-eight, Hurricane Irene swept up the East coast and walloped the state of Connecticut. We were without power for days. And, with no power, I had no juicer. Our excellent health food store, New Morning, was closed. Everything was closed. Trees were down everywhere, roads were flooded. Radio stations disappeared. The batteries on our old radio failed and stores were closed. So we went without.

In short, that fast ended abruptly.

One day I was juicing carrots, zucchini and cucumber. The next I was baling out the basement.

And after that we ate what food we had. Canned things. Bottled things. Crackers with peanut butter. Not the usual ending of the fast. I had intended to move onto raw foods for a time to continue losing weight and cleansing my body. But Irene changed my mind. Within two weeks it was as if the fast had never happened.

So, I’m on to the next fast now. To change those numbers. And I pray this time for a soft landing.

It was a funny thing that motivated me this time. It was a picture that I saw on Facebook. It has been all over the Internet by now, I’m sure, but I’ll post it here:

This bloated possum serves as the "Before" image for my juice fast

It’s a possum you broke into a bakery in Australia. You can see from the hole in the back of the box that he was a good bit smaller when he chewed his way into the box then he was when he finished eating. Image what the little guy must have thought when he got into that box. I’m sure he smelled the pastry, and so he had a clue as to what was ahead. But to find so many! And so many flavors! He apparently ate all night until he not only was too swollen to get back out of the box, but even to move.

Take a close look at the picture. His expression tells the whole story.

So I saw this picture and, at first, laughed. It is funny. (I just hope that the people who had the sense of humor to take the picture also had the sense of humor to let the poor thing go.) But then I began to identify with the animal. I realized that I look like that too many nights after too many dinners. That could be me on the couch instead of the possum in the box. And, like the possum, my own discomfort, my own bad numbers (aside from age) were those that I earned from my own bad choices.

So I have decided to make a good choice for a change and to decide to go on a juice fast as a means of starting from scratch. If you’ve never experienced a juice fast, it is an amazing thing. A time of detox, which can be quite difficult, followed by a time of rest and reflection that can yield powerful results if you let it. And then, at the end, there is a time of joy, as your being feels charged with energy and healed from within. It it, as I say both a difficult thing that requires determination and a wonderful, powerful tool for healing.

Last summer, I mentioned my juice fast in passing here at Psora Psora Psora, as a bit of an amuse bouche. This time, as the stakes are higher, I intend to write in more detail, giving notes on how to do a juice fast safely and effectively. Even with a nod to giving some recipes for specific juices. (Hint: lots of carrots are involved.)

There’s nothing that I can think of in life, short of joining the witness protection program, that can give you a fresh start like a juice fast. I hope that, as you read these entries, you come to agree.

Oprah, Isaac Newton, Homeopathy & Me

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Like most of the rest of the American public that enjoys the freedom to watch television in the middle of a workday afternoon, I recently watched the last three episodes of “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” the two-part special featuring a twenty-five year assortment of topics and guests and the final, quiet, Johnny-Carson-inspired last show.

In that last show, Oprah told us that she wanted to leave with us a few of the principles that guide her life.  It was one of these principles that made me sit up and take notice.

Because this was the first time in all these years that I was aware that Oprah and I had something—or someone—in common.  And that someone is Isaac Newton and the something his Third Law of Motion.

Now I have to admit that I usually take a break at four in the afternoon in order to watch Judge Judy enact her Senior Rage against those who allow themselves to be foolishly placed in her power by her television production staff, so the switch to Oprah, with my usual cup of tea, was not so unusual in terms of time period, just in terms of content (the lack of yelling “Stand Up!” was amazing).

About a third of the way into the show—just as I was quite honestly considering taking a look to see who Judy was hectoring that afternoon—Oprah suddenly mentioned Newton, in a manner similar to the way that I have brought in up in my classes over the past twenty or so years.  She used Isaac Newton to explain the spiritual concept of Karma.

Before showing a great clip from the film “The Color Purple” in which Celie finally stands up to her abusive husband Mister and tells him, “All that you have done to me you have already done to yourself,” Oprah explained that, as a universal principle, Newton’s Third Law can be applied to everything in our universe—applied to our own lives and how they work as well.

At that moment, I thought of another moment a long time ago, in which I finally understood homeopathy on a fundamental level when I realized that it is the embodiment of Newton’s Third Law—that it is the Third Law applied to medicine.

The great thing about using Newton as a learning tool, is that he comes already loaded in the hard drive of all our brains.  Whether we remember the year in school in which we learned it or not and whether we remember that it is called Newton’s Third Law of Motion or not, we all know it by heart:  “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

Every time I bring it up in class, I start by giving them the first part of the statement.  I say, “For every action there is,” and I’ve yet to meet a student yet who does not fill in the second half of the equation, “an equal and opposite action.”

Then I simply tell them that, if they understand that, they already understand homeopathy.  Because the First Law of Cure states the same thing:  “Like cures like.”

Homeopathy, you see, is the only form of medicine that works by Newton’s principle, that works WITH the laws governing our universe and our bodies.

Allopathic medicine works in direct opposition to Newton’s law.

Think about it.

If you have a patient who is ill and if you can picture that sick patient as swinging on a pendulum from a place marked “Health” to a place marked “Illness,” then that patient is swinging from Health to Illness.  The allopath, because he gives medicines that work in opposition to the symptoms that the patient is experiencing naturally in his illness (he gives, for instance, a medicine that dries up the sinuses to the patient with a cold or allergies and gives a medicine that puts a patient to sleep for the patient with insomnia, etc.) gives the patient a potent (and some would say toxic, but let’s worry about that another day) medicine that sends that patient abruptly swinging the other way.

This is the honeymoon period of the allopathic dose.  For a time, the allopath’s medication allows the patient to pretend that he is not ill, as the medicine, through its direct and primary action suppresses the patient’s symptoms of illness.  It is important to note that, of course, they are still there, the medicine in no way has cured the cold or the insomnia, only allowed the patient to not have to feel them for a brief period of time.

But then something happens, that equal and opposite reaction.  And the honeymoon period ends.  Because the body reacts to the medicine and, again, sends the patients swinging in the opposite direction—this time toward illness.  And the patient is left with a choice:  keep taking the medicine, often in greater and greater doses in order to achieve the same result (because the body will continue to counter the action of the medicine, in keeping with that Third Law of Newton’s) or experience an even more powerful form of the illness that has been created by working AGAINST the equal and opposite action.

On the other hand, homeopathy works completely in keeping with Newton’s principle:  when you give a homeopathic remedy, you are COUNTING ON the equal and opposite reaction in order for the healing to take place.  Homeopathic treatments are based in the concept that the body will heal itself—that in all cases of medical treatment, the purpose of the medicine is to assist the body in healing itself and not to take over the self-healing task from the body (another important topic for another day).

So homeopathic treatments work like this:  The first or primary action of the remedy is actually to continue the patient’s arc INTO illness.  This is why so many homeopathic treatments begin with an aggravation.  Because the remedy given will, in a totally well person, create the symptoms that the patient is experiencing naturally (already all on his own), then the remedy will actually enhance the symptoms and, in doing so, will alert the immune system that a more powerful response is needed than had been planned for.  In this way, the homeopathic treatment actually assists and enhances the immune response.

The equal and opposite reaction in this case is for the body’s immune function (Vital Force for all the Vitalists out there) to push back against the symptoms associated both with the illness and with the remedy (that acts in a manner just like the illness—remember:  Like Cures Like) and, in doing so, bring about a healing response.

Unlike the allopathic treatment in which the symptoms are suppressed and hidden for a time, the patient numbed to his own pain and suffering, in the homeopathic treatment the symptoms are removed, not by the action of the remedy, but by the body’s own healing mechanism, which has been assisted by the remedy’s potency.  How good is that?  How elegant and how in keeping with the way in which we heal?

Given that Oprah can make the leap to see karma as the expression of Newton’s Third Law, I live in hope that one day she will see how homeopathy is the embodiment of that law in terms of health and healing.  And then, on that day, homeopathy will gain its greatest advocate.

May that day come soon.

Homeopathy, Skeptics & Chinese Food: A Placebo Effect Cul De Sac, Featuring Tina Fey & Her New Book, Bossypants

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When I am not busy trying to make the world safe for homeopathy, I am often busy reading books and reviewing them for the New York Journal of Books—and, in doing so, I am busy trying to make the world safe for readers as well.

In the book I am now reading for my next review, Bossypants by Tina Fey, I came upon a short chapter that resonated with me.  Called “I Don’t Care If You Like It,” the chapter had to do with the concept of whether it is right or wrong for women to be comedians.  But there was something in the universality of people having the right to do or think as they like that hit close to home with me.  So I thought I’d share it with you.

First a few chapters from Bossypants:

“Amy Poehler was new to SNL and we were all crowded into the seventeenth-floor writers’ room, waiting for the Wednesday read-through to start.  There were always a lot of noisy ‘comedy bits’ going on in that room.  Any was in the middle of some such nonsense with Seth Meyers across the table, and she did something vulgar as a joke.  I can’t remember what it was exactly, except it was dirty and loud and ‘unladylike.’

“Jimmy Fallon, who was arguably the star of the show at the time, turned to her and in a faux-squeamish voice said, ‘Stop that!  It’s not cute!  I don’t like it.’

“Amy dropped what she was doing, went black in the eyes for a second, and wheeled around on him.  ‘I don’t fucking care if you like it.’  Jimmy was visibly startled.  Amy went right back to enjoying her ridiculous bit.  (I should make it clear that Jimmy and Amy are very good friends and there was never any real beef between them.  Insert penis joke here.)

“With that exchange, a cosmic shift took place.  Amy made it clear that she wasn’t there to be cute.  She wasn’t there to play wives and girlfriends in the boys’ scenes.  She was there because she wanted to do what she wanted to do and she did not fucking care if you like it.

“I was so happy.  Weirdly, I remember thinking, ‘My friend is here!  My friend is here!’ Even though things had been going great for me on the show, with Amy there, I felt less alone.

“I  think of this whenever someone says to me, ‘Jerry Lewis says women aren’t funny,’ or ‘Christopher Hitchens says women aren’t funny,’ or ‘Rick Felderman says women aren’t funny…Do you have anything to say to that?’

“Yes.  We don’t fucking care if you like it.

“I don’t say it out loud, of course, because Jerry Lewis is a great philanthropist, Hitchens is very sick, and the third guy I made up.

“Unless one of these men is my boss, which none of them is, it’s irrelevant.  My hat goes off to them.  It is an impressively arrogant move to conclude that just because you don’t like something, it is empirically not good.  I don’t like Chinese food, but I don’t write articles trying to prove it doesn’t exist.”

Which all goes to show that cosmic shifts can happen anywhere, any time.  They can happen while reading the next book that you are to review.

So thanks Tina Fey for setting me straight, for letting me see just how arrogant it is of the Skeptics to not only decide that homeopathy is not for them, but to also take the next step and, like Chinese food, start writing articles and making videos announcing that it does not exist.

If I have had not just one but multiple healings through the use of homeopathy, then, say the Skeptics, either it was all a coincidence and my symptoms were going to go away anyway, or I am just too much of an idiot to know that I have been tricked and fooled, again and again.  Because I am ssssoooooooooo easily lead that I can believe that I have been healing just because someone waves a wand at me and says that I have been healed.  (Funny how that never seems to work with allopathic drugs, no matter how many wands are waved and now matter how much I believe in them as well.  But placebo effect is a wacky old thing, it just comes and goes, comes and goes…)

So let me say this to the Skeptics (and, by the word Skeptic, let me note that I am not addressing those who are generically skeptical, those who are actually asking questions with the intent of getting answers, no I am addressing those who have more formally named themselves Skeptics and who have made it their business to be more or less the medicine police for a world that neither needs not wants such a service), in Tina Fey’s vernacular, when it comes to homeopathy, those of us who have spent our lives studying it, practicing it and/or being treated by it “don’t fucking care if you like it.”

You can take it or leave it.  As can I.  And I choose to keep it.  I choose to continue being treated by it, and writing about it, and studying it and seeing to it that it remains a legal form of medical treatment in my own country and in countries around the world.

Because this is where you really make me mad, Skeptics, when you don’t just satisfy yourself stamping your feet and shouting.  When you take it upon yourself to try and see to it that the laws change and that I no longer have the right to have the medical treatment of my preference.  And that is where you are making your mistake, Skeptics.  You should have stuck with your phony “Oh, look I overdosed by taking homeopathic remedies incorrectly in a way that would never actually cause an overdose for a homeopathic remedy, although, were it an allopathic drug, it likely would have killed me!” videos.  Because when you seek to take away my legal rights, you get me mad.  And millions of others just like me.

You see, people don’t like being told what to do, especially by an arrogant group of loudmouths.  You may get some media attention just for the novelty of it all, but I think that you will find that, in trying to drive homeopathy into the ocean, you actually get many people who have no intention of actually taking homeopathy themselves, upset enough to see to it that your measures don’t work.

Why?

Because just like Tina Fey, millions of people agree that “just because you Skeptics don’t like something, does not mean that it is empirically not good.”

And we don’t have to convince you of anything.  We don’t have to prove a damned thing to you.  And we have the right to choose when it comes to our own medical care–not you, never you.  Honestly, and we mean this from our holistic little hearts, we just don’t fucking care if you don’t like it.

Homeopathy exists.  And homeopathy is loved by millions.  Just like Chinese food.

From Educator to Activist

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I feel that I am undergoing a change.  Something that maybe has been happening in the background while I have been busy doing other things.

I think that the way I view myself in terms of homeopathy and the global homeopathic community is changing.  Not because I had intended it to, or even wanted it to, but because it has to.

Those who have been reading this blog are aware that I have been studying homeopathy for thirty years now, teaching the principles that guide its practice for twenty-five and authoring books, educational materials, articles, blogs and tweets for years as well.

Until now I have done all this for a very simple reason:  for the love of homeopathy.  As anyone else who does this sort of work will tell you, you don’t do it for the money.  With eight books in print and the next one coming out this spring, I can honestly tell you that being an author on the subject of homeopathy is one step up from being a Match girl on New Year’s Eve.

Now, however, at the moment in my life in which I thought I would lie back and rest a bit, at the moment at which many of my fellows retire or semi-retire, I have instead decided that there is simply too much work to do for me to rest on my laurels.  Although all the books I have written are still in print, and while there is a great deal that I have written on the subject of homeopathy that can speak for me when I am not around, the new truth of the situation is that new forces have arisen and that, in answer to those forces, I feel the need to not only NOT be quiet and turn to my iPad for comfort as I wile away the afternoon playing Angry Birds, but instead to get a great deal louder in sharing with the world or what little part of it I am capable of reaching, the reasons why I love homeopathy and the reasons why I believe with my whole heart that it must remain a legal alternative therapy to standardized allopathic medicine.

I keep telling others in the global homeopathic community that it is time to make some noise.  Indeed, high time that we shouted down those who seem to feel that it is their right to control the conversation concerning health care, just as they seem to feel the need to control control control in general…

It has occurred to me over these past weeks that if I am unwilling to stand up and be heard myself, I have no right to ask the same of others.  So, change is in the air.  A cranky old man who was once a homeopathic author and educator now wishes that his legacy be that he became a homeopathic activist.  The who what when where and how of that remains to be seen.  But you may expect from me more blogs, more books (two more in the pipeline, with more to come after that), more organizations, more media work and, in general, more noise.

And I’m just a tiny part of a big effort.  The era of holistic activism has begun.

 

All Meat

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Like everyone else, I was somewhat taken aback recently over the news of the legal case filed against Taco Bell claiming that only 65% of the substance in TB’s foodstuffs that were identified as being meat were actually comprised of meat.  The other 35% was made up of a vegetable mush that was mixed with the meat to extend the amount of what might jokingly be called food before it was tucked neatly into its happy yellow taco.

 

Now, my first response in reading this was the somewhat ironic feeling that perhaps Taco Bell isn’t as bad for you as I thought it was and that perhaps some cruel vegan, who had infiltrated the hierarchy of the Taco Bell empire had managed to work some actual vegetable matter (other than the lettuce and tomato) into TB’s meals.

 

But then I read another article somewhere.  And how I hate that–the somewhere of it all.  I usually reserve my tirades for things that I can at least link to from here at Psora, Psora, Psora, if not present for you right here.  But this time it is the vague “I read it somewhere” that will have to do.  And, at least I have the Taco Bell case itself to fall back on if I have to.  (For those of you who are not up to date on the Taco Bell case, try looking at this link here for an article posted this month from the Los Angeles Times,  or this link here for a statement from Taco Bell headquarters (while watching the video statement, please note just how healthy Taco Bell’s president looks–he’s obviously been eating the tacos himself), or, finally, this link, which I thought addressed the issue rather well.

 

Back to my original point, which had more to do with the bastardization of language and our resultant distrust of nearly everyone and everything, than with Taco Bell and its bastardization of its taco “meat.”  (Although, as someone who attempts to avoid wheat, I find it outrageous that taco bell can legally be allowed to use wheat as an “extender” in what is traditionally thought of as a gluten-free product, a taco.)

 

And my original point had to do specifically with the term “All Meat.”  In the mystery article I read and then misplaced, it was stated that, when the term “all meat” is used in any restaurant’s advertising, such as McDonald’s famous “two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun,”  that only 70% of the meat-containing substance needs to be actual meat.  Which certainly wrinkles up my aged forehead as I ponder the nu-speak meaning of “all.”

 

As I learned it, the word “all” meant:  “used to refer to the whole quantity or extent of a particular group or thing,” as the word is defined in the dictionary that is embedded in my Mac’s Snow-Leopard-addled brain.  In other words, all used to mean “every bit of,” that no part or subset of something was put aside, but the entirety of an object or group was included.

 

But in this new world of austerity and downsizing, “all” now seems to mean “around 70%.”  In other words, when considering what we mean with we refer to “all” of something, about three quarters is good enough for government work.  And in using the term “government work,” I am indeed pointing fingers.  Because it is our government that those wise men and women who make it up, who are allowing for these strange and subtle changes in our language that is shifting our day-to-day speech from English to nu-speak whether we like it or not.

 

And the biggest trouble with this switch is that nu-speak does not come with a dictionary built in, as my computer did.  No, we are left to discover for ourselves what the restaurant world means when it says, “all meat.”  And in the same way, we are left to wonder over the meaning of our credit card statements (Want to leave that in the dust?  Publish a few books and then try to figure out the royalty statements that your publisher sends you.), our tax forms, and every single advertisement on television, in print, on radio or on the internet that has small print or quickly spoken words incorporated.  In other words, when they are using simple words spoken in English to tell you something, or, especially, to sell you something, it is up to you to figure out why and how they are lying…

 

How did we get this way?  How did we let the “all” fall out of all, the way air slips out of a tire?  Don’t even try to tell me that it was Bill Clinton’s fault for asking what the meaning of “is” is.  It goes so much deeper than that…

 

Let’s look to the lobbyists, those fine folk whose job it is to represent the viewpoint of one paying customer to your representatives in government, whether that customer represents your point of view or not (and, in cases such as the misrepresentation of the contents of a simple meal, it is highly likely that they are not), and I think we will find the creators of nu-speak.  The water carriers for these lobbyists are, of course, our representatives themselves, who all too often sell your human rights and mine to the highest bidder.  In this case, they have literally sold our language out from under us so that a term as simple as “all” has taken on a new legal meaning.

 

It Taco Bell wins its case, something more than all beef tacos at low, low prices will be lost.  Our language will be lost.  And with it will be our ability to communicate, to understand and be understood.  Language only works is can all agree on the meaning of the words.  If your version of the meaning of the word “left” is what I consider to be “right” then we are going to have trouble driving on the same road.  And if businesses are continued to be allowed to change the meaning of a word as simple as “all” in order to make a few cents more profit on each of their products, then how far away are we from the day when we have all been so manipulated so often by the misuse and bastardization of our language that we can no longer believe anything that anyone is saying.  There’s more at stake than meat here, boys, there’s a deep and profound course correction that is needed for the sake of us all.  And, by “all” I mean more than 70%.

 

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