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.

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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.

Getting Healthy, Getting Free

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A friend from LinkedIn and a colleague in the community of alternative medicine, Brenda Vanta, MD, recently sent me a copy of her first book, called Free from Health, Relationship and Money Hiccups: An Easy and Effective Solution.

I’ve read the book and wanted to help spread the word about it.

While the “easy” in the subtitle may be a relative turn, the book does offer information on various methods by which we can all become both more whole and more healthy. Brenda Vanta has developed an exercise she calls “Stage Technique” that seems a very useful tool for the average person to use to free himself or herself of emotional/mental/energistic blocks. Blocks that keep us from attaining the level of health (and in the terms of this book, health = freedom) that we might otherwise enjoy.

I think that book well titled, in that it is all about the ways in which we can be set free. And I recommend that book to anyone who would like a basic primer on healing and how it takes place.

Free is available both in print and e-book forms, and both may be found at Amazon. The cost of the e-book is just $5.98 in Kindle format, and $10 for the print format. I hope you’ll take a look.

A little book on a great big topic

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.

Open Letter: Adam, Sam & Rhys

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Well, the Flying Monkeys have come and gone.  And, funnily enough, they have decided that they like being called Flying Monkeys.  I think that’s because it stirs up happy memoirs of the Wizard of Oz.  All well and good.  Might as well be called Flying Monkeys as trolls.  Long may you fly, guys, have fun.

Here’s what I learned as a result of their “visit.”  First, that they tend to arrive en masse and see if they can intimidate and, if they fail to do so, they move right on to the next target.  (I read one Tweet that said that arguing with me was like arguing with an evangelist and advised his readers to “move on.”)  Oh, well.

Second, I learned that, in spite of the fact that they make a remarkable amount of noise, they have very little to say.

I did have some brief discussions with a few of them–those who weren’t just posting complaints or pejoratives without even bothering to read my actual blog–before they left.  I want to post here my comments to two of them, as they reflect my reasons for feeling disappointed in my experience in meeting them.  It doesn’t have to do with whether or not they are dedicated.  They are remarkably dedicated.  It doesn’t have to do with whether or not they are bright.  From my brief experience of them, the majority seem very bright.  Rather, it has to do with their actual life experience or lack of same.  From what I read in their comments, they seem remarkably naive.

In an answer to a comment from Sam, perhaps the most intelligent and thoughtful of the bunch, I wrote:

In all honesty, one of the things I have against debate (and, let me say this as an ex-debater is school, and a rather good one, especially when I was allowed to close the deal) is that it really only reflects manipulation of book learning. Of research. If there is one thing that I have learned in studying healing and health for three decades is that there is a huge gulf between what we learn philosophically, learn from books, and what we learn from life. Clinical experience trumps anything. Ask any doctor. What interested me were your actual ideas, were the things that you learned in your life, not the things that you have been trained to think by medical studies or by internet sites. That is why the Flying Monkeys bore me. They have nothing to say that comes from their own unique intellect and their own experience of life. It’s all, “you’re just taking water!” and never anything that requires direct experience or real thought and conclusions. I know that you consider all this anecdotal, and yet, I tell you, Sam, there is great importance in learning from actual experience and not from some study that will be overturned by another study in six weeks or six years. The things you learn yourself shape your reality. The things you learn from books and cling to become your “reality.” That’s the difference and that is largely why I don’t want this site to turn into a place of debate. Not because I hate free speech, but because, like that dreaded teacher who gave essay tests, I want to know what people really think–I don’t want them just to spit back what they have learned as if it were fact.

This links directly with something that I wrote to another commenter, one named Adam, who has written me several posts, all of which do two things.  First, they tell me what I am doing wrong.  Second, they ask for evidence of everything I say.  To him I wrote:

Here’s my wishful thinking, Adam. That you would do some research yourself. That you, as a thinking, reasoning person, would stop asking other people to do the work that you need to do. You want to know if homeopathy works as I say it does, do some real research, beyond just looking at a couple of web sites that have pre-digested the material for you. There are hundreds of books out there on both sides of the issue. Read them. I have. Go to interview a few homeopaths of different sorts with different levels of training. i have. Discuss the matter not with the Skeptics but with different allopaths. I have. You may be shocked to find that many of them are actually quite open to homeopathy and understand that the principles by which they, allopaths, treat conditions like chronic allergies are pure homeopathy. Talk to patients on all sides of the issue, listen to what they have to say.

You keep asking me to do the work that you need to do. If you are REALLY interested in medicine, in what works and why and for who and when it works and why it fails to work, then it is not enough for you to simply stand tapping your foot and asking me for evidence. You and SkepticCanary are guilty of the same thing and that is that you ask questions but you aren’t really interested in the answers. You won’t be until you become true skeptics. True Skeptics are people who doubt and are looking for reasons why they should or should not move from a place of doubt and believe or disbelieve. True skeptics don’t ask others to do their thinking or experiencing for them, they do it for themselves. Why is it that you have near infinite time and energy to come and ask me and ask many, many others the same tired questions, but you don’t have the time to do the research for yourselves? Adam, why don’t you take it upon yourself to spend the next year, or five years, or thirty years, as I have done, looking into the matter. Then why don’t you come back and tell us all that you found out. THEN I would be truly fascinated in hearing what you have learned.

To date, you have shared nothing of yourself with me, told me nothing of why you believe as you do. Instead, you repeat what has been repeated in exactly the same way again and again. How refreshing it would be if you were to actually show your humanity, reveal the Truth about health and healing as you believe it do be and allow yourself to enter into a discussion instead appearing, stamping your foot and then running away again. But I guess that that’s REALLY just wishful thinking.

Guys, my point is this:  if this really matters to you, if you are really concerned about medicine and about keeping medicine as safe and effective as possible–and by this I mean all medicine, not just allopathic or homeopathic–then you have not yet begun to do any of your homework.  Along with the Lancet study, which I am quite sure you can quote and recite to yourself a bedtime like a prayer, you need to read other studies.  Studies that have differing conclusions.  As I suggested to one of you who wanted me to explain to him how homeopathic remedies are made in factories by homeopathic firms, you need to contact Boiron and other pharma firms and ask questions, dig for answers.  Then you need to have actual experience of all sides of the issue, by researching as I suggest above.

No teacher would let you use Wikipedia as a source material for a test.  In the same way, the internet, entertaining as it is, is not a good platform for education.  Too much bad information.  To much slanted information.  So I don’t expect you to listen to anything that I write here.  Hell, from my experience of you, you don’t even bother to read anything I’ve written here.  You just comment and condemn, but don’t actually read or think.  So don’t, by all means, take my word for any of this.  Do the work yourselves.  Make yourselves truly responsible for finding out the facts.  Discover for yourselves the difference between homeopathy and allopathy and what is good and bad about each.  Neither is perfect, both have something to offer.  In the same way, try to figure out the difference between healing and curing. And about the fundamental meaning of the word “medicine.”  You will have to go way, way back to do that.  You will have to study the history of medicine.

If I can recommend a book on the subject–you all tend to get hostile when I recommend books, but this one is really good–I suggest you get your hands on Doctors, A History of Medicine by a brilliant man named Sherwin Nuland.  He is a professor  of clinical surgery at Yale University here in Connecticut.  So he’s no slouch in the education department.  And while he is an allopath, he is an amazingly insightful and intelligent writer.  I think that this book would be not only of great interest to you, but of great value as well.  Nuland has written several good books, including The Wisdom of the Body.  I strongly suggest that you read them all.

I close by suggesting that, while you have much to say, in all truth, at the present moment, you, my Flying Monkeys, have little to offer.  You need life experience in order for your arguments to carry weight.  At present you only amuse and annoy, depending upon the level of the melodrama.  To truly make a difference, you will have to each INDIVIDUALLY climb a mountain in life, explore all sides of the issue, not just the one that you hope is right.  Once you have done this, once you actually and individually have something to say on any of these inter-related subjects, then I hope you will fly back for a visit.  I’ll be here, blogging and waiting…