Do You Believe There Is A Wellness Conspiracy?

What do you know about the relation between the FDA and BIG PHARMA? Just to make certain there is no misunderstanding BIG PHARMA refers to the pharmaceutical industry and of course the FDA is our Food and Drug Administration. The intent of this article is to expose how the organization charged with protecting the public.  From tainted food products. Drugs that have not been tested in accordance to specific regulations. Vitamin and food supplements singled out as falsely harmful and much more.

How has it been possible for harmful drugs like Vioxx to be on the market responsible for 55,000 deaths? Add to that Lipitor, Crestor,Yaz, Lyrica, Humira, Chantix, Ambien, Tamoxifen, Boniva, Premarin, are some of the most dangerous drugs still in the market. Ten years ago FDA listed bone drugs like Boniva, Fosamax and Actonel as being unapproved. Now these same dangerous drugs are being issued with user warnings. All the possible side effects are listed, passing the risk to the public. Most would never imagine the FDA would allow something potentially lethal available to the public. Guess again!

Tamoxifen is made by AstraZenaca. This is the company that founded Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Over the years this has grown to a national campaign, observed in October and recognized by a pink ribbon. Started in 1985 it has grown in momentum. So what’s the dirty secret behind this drug? AstraZenaca is the same company that makes carcinogenic agrochemicals that cause breast cancer! The original safety studies were shown to be riddled with scientific flaws.

Still Doctors, or it might be fair to say “quacks,” continue to recommend this drug to women for prevention of breast cancer! Originally FDA declined the claim made for breast cancer prevention. Now fast forward 10 years and the story changes. It becomes the risk of the customer. Worse yet are life threatening blood clots, strokes or endometrial cancers. Does any of this make sense?

Well it does if you realize that BIG PHARMA and the FDA have figured out a way to deal! By transferring the risk to customers both FDA and BIG PHARMA generally dodge the bullet. You on the other hand are left at risk! Where is that fair? The very government entity under Health and Human Services charged with protecting the consumer, knowingly puts you in the path of danger.

Statement of FDA Mission 

FDA is responsible for protecting the public health by assuring the safety, efficacy and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, medical devices, our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation. 

FDA is also responsible for advancing the public health by helping to speed innovations that make medicines more effective, safer, and more affordable and by helping the public get the accurate, science-based information they need to use medicines and foods to maintain and improve their health. FDA also has responsibility for regulating the manufacturing, marketing and distribution of tobacco products to protect the public health and to reduce tobacco use by minors.

Responsible for protecting the public, when they transfer the risk to you? That doesn’t work. Here’s the real bottom line between BIG PHARMA and the FDA. Drugs have to use synthetically produced molecules in order to get a patent. Anything natural doesn’t qualify. So to get a patented product through the FDA process the cost is estimated at about $1 billion on the average. That also depends on having the right people in place. Lots of cronyism, spreading money around, making certain studies only show favorable results. All this and more go into getting a drug approved. In other words a huge cost has to be recuperated. It’s all about money.

Who do you think supply all the drugs and medicines to Medicare, Medicaid, Veterans Hospitals, Social Security, Military Medical Installations, Obamacare, the list goes on? The Government is the largest customer and has basically set BIG PHARMA up as it’s sole supplier. As such it is in the interest of Gov. to pretty much look the other way. The perception is that there will always be what is termed “collateral damage” that is acceptable. Or so it seems, as lethal drugs are knowingly allowed in the marketplace! There is no oversight on drugs, even though the mission statement for FDA leads you to believe otherwise.

So even though Congress has demanded the FDA tighten up their act, FDA has basically resisted with no enforcement of any demands made. They have been permitted to use the excuse that to divulge information about dangerous drugs and procedures could create panic in our society. Fear of political reprisal has kept Congress at bay.

It might be easier to say what FDA doesn’t do, than what it does. In short, they do not demonstrate anything the represents the best interests of the public. The very things that should never be approved are. The exact opposite is also the case. Things like organic foods and natural dietary supplements should be approved without question for the most part. Instead they are not only denied any sort of approval, even if approved they are then classified as a drug.

BIG PHARMA wants no competition from anything they can’t control, and they can only create “fake news” about something they have no control over. As long as they have control over FDA, it’s not hard to stay in control. Claiming that natural herbs, supplements like Omega3 Fish Oil, and organic anything can have adverse effects on you health. Nearly every drug on the market has a natural equivalent. You won’t hear about it, and the mainstream media won’t report on it.

While supplements have become a big business, they are not without the unscrupulous. What’s amazing is when an entity like  NBC News attempts to make you believe that BIG PHARMA makes all the same Natural Remedies as many buy from brands like Nature’s Bounty or Sundown. As mentioned above, a drug is patented, requiring it to be synthetic molecules. A natural product can not have a patent, which prohibits the insane markups charged for drugs.

When Merck began to get sued for Vioxx, they ended up with settlements of over $4.6 billion. A portion was paid by insurance, so no real loss there. The rest can easily be taken as a tax writeoff. With over $1,429,525,856.36 in sales for 2015 just to the government, what’s a few billion spread out over time. A global company like Merck posted earnings of over $39 billion for 2016, with anticipation of $40 billion for 2017. This is just one.

The top 10 drug companies for 2016 by rank are;

  1. Johnson & Johnson
  2. Bayer
  3. Novartis
  4. Pfizer
  5. Roche
  6. Merck
  7. Sanofi Genzyme
  8. Gilead
  9. AstraZeneca
  10. GlaxoSmithKline

As you can see Merck is right in the middle. So take what they do and simply multiply that by 10. Then consider there are over 202 drug companies worldwide. That’s just those big enough to have articles in Wikipedia, so there are more. How many of those do business in the U.S.? As many as can!

The bottom line is simple. No one is guarding the hen house! Even the CDC treads lightly, using some of the same excuses as the FDA. Public panic. So let’s not get started on such things as vaccines. That’s a whole different story.

Keep in mind when it comes to your health and safety, the last place you want to look is where we have always thought was the only place to look. One place to look for ongoing information about the challenges to your health, is

Are You On The Right Menu From Fast Food To Whole Foods?

Over the years I have written about many issues concerning health, from Omega 3 Fish Oil from New Zealand, to the benefits of dark chocolate, the amazing cancer killing properties of the fruit known as Guanabana, to an herbal product known as Protandim.

I have read some amazing information by Dr. William Davis about how wheat has been hybridized to become addictive in our body system in his book, Wheat Belly. Research has been done on countless claims by those wanting to sell the latest diet fads. Always on the lookout for the “magic pill” that would change health and life expectancy for all, only to get smacked in the face with the truth. The “magic pill” is us!

There is an invisible war going on out there, as Al Davis says in his newest eBook, The Diet Fallacies, which can be found on Amazon (currently a free download if you hurry). He speaks about how we have been, in my words, sold down the river by our own government and the BIG FOOD industry.

It’s no secret for those who care to research what government entities such as the USDA are really responsible for. Follow this link to just one article that will start you on a research path to uncover what not just this government agency, but the FDA and others as well REALLY do…or don’t.

In short, what you will discover is our government is more interested in business than our nation’s health. Rather than agree to force producers to label foods containing GMO’s, there’s reason to believe a collaboration exists to keep this hidden. It is clearly known by those companies producing Genetically Modified Organisms that any food containing these artificial sources would be shunned by the public, drastically cutting into massive profits.

Many tests have been done on fast food products, showing that even the bugs don’t like it, even if humans consume massive amounts of it. That sort of puts the bugs on a greater intellectual level with humans on that score.

Whether it’s the sugar, artificial sweeteners, salt, and modified fat sources, it all contributes to the general populaces food addiction, or at the very least food dysfunction. No matter what label you apply, it is clearly visible in the visual epidemic of obesity in the American populace, from adults to their children.

The Diet Fallacies: Change Your Diet, Change Your Weight, End Food Cravings, and Transform Your Life! One of the best sources of where to get more information about Whole Foods is Kaiser Premanente. Al mentioned this in his book, and Kaiser is the largest managed care organization in the U.S. With over 10.1 million members in their health plan, and recommending changing food consumption to Whole Foods, it gives cause to find out why.

Kaiser offers two booklets on adopting Plant-Based eating you can download from their website. An interesting quote found in one of those booklets by author Michael Pollan says, “If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don’t!” Kaiser obviously endorses such thinking as they strongly support this mindset of Whole Food eating.

Just research “whole food eating” in Google and you’ll pull up over 7 million links on the topic. Granted that in and of itself does not create an endorsement, rather lends some food for thought. The cure for health may be found in all those things you have resisting eating. We need to go back to the days when spinach was popular and Popeye was a hero.

Growing some of our own herbs and veggies in the back yard or flower pots on the balcony is not such a harebrained idea after all, and it’s not just doable but economic. The price of Baby Spinach or Chives at the grocery are ridiculous!

We used to eat whole foods 60 years ago. How did we change? Like always, it was gradual. Just like boiling a frog. You don’t throw it into a kettle of boiling water. As a populace we waded into cool waters and it seemed safe. By the time we discovered otherwise we were hooked. Are we smarter than the frog? Time will tell.

I’ve got some organic strawberry/papaya/raspberry juice calling my name! Later.

Can Coffee Aroma Have Stronger Impact Than The Brew Itself?

Coffee aroma is the most important part or characteristic of Specialty Coffee. You may not realize it, but there are over 800 aromatic compounds present that can affect aroma. Even though you may be totally unaware at a conscious level of any of these compounds, your tongue, and nose are fully in the game!

Even Instant Coffee has flavor nuances, but they are drastically reduced to somewhere around 150 compounds, because of the process the coffee goes through on it’s way to becoming the end product.

“Wake up and smell the coffee,” is considerably more than just a cute advertising slogan. Proof of that may come from a study done recently and some interesting discoveries about that “coffee smell.” Read on.

Can you imagine that just the smell of coffee in the morning can act like an alarm to your brain? Not a bad way to wake up, and not a drop of caffeine in your system yet.

A recent study tried testing on how drinking and smelling coffee might impact proteins and genes in the brain. Now this has yet to be tested other than in theory on people, as sleep deprived lab rats were the subjects. It may be cause to consider if they even like coffee?

So the idea was to test this out on rats that were stressed, compared to other stressed and non-stress rats, and see if this provided any clue to positive effects. While the study showed there were varied levels of activity in 17 genes, plus some calming activity, it doesn’t seem to imply much else. Read the results on the study from WebMD.

So what’s the take here? Does it or doesn’t it have some sort of positive impact on our brains? I can imagine there are many who might choose to sniff the beans in the morning to avoid caffeine intake.

20140514_164851
I’m sniffin’ AND drinkin”!

There are many things you could sniff that might perk you up better than coffee, but most of them are illegal. Not only that they tend to get very expensive and are more habit forming than the brown brew. It is doubtful that trip to the coffee machine or local coffee stop/shop is going to disappear in favor of sniffing the stuff. Some things just never change. But didn’t they say the same about things like video games and iPods?

One thing is for sure. That aroma nearly always succeeds in provoking the need for a fix! So if the smell doesn’t do it go for the gusto. No not beer, as that term tends to imply. Caffeine has many friends, and the delivery method is far more pleasing than most.

Consider all things associated with coffee, as to where you get it, the atmosphere, flavors if you like, pastries, a perk you up, a great chance to get someone to remove the earphones and actually talk. This brew above all else tends to be a great starter of conversations.

Now I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time imagining going to a coffee shop, or even brewing some automatically first thing in the A.M. just to see if I can get bouncing from the aroma alone. That to me could classify as a sinful waste to not drink it!

So give your brain credit for knowing what’s good for it, and encouraging you to follow those instincts. Drink it, smell it, or both.

I wonder if ground is better than whole bean?

When Is Writing Not Writing?

A deadline for an article for a magazine is fast approaching and your 500 word piece is not finished. Worse yet, it’s on a topic that you’re really stuck on.

An editor has really trashed your piece, in your opinion, and changed it into something barely recognizable, and now it’s in print.

A client asked you do to a piece about their homesteading adventure, making sure to include points they had included, and it has to read like they wrote it.

Where is the freedom to write from the heart when you encounter projects like this? Being induced to write in a particular voice or format that is not natural does not seem like writing to me. Of course, who said I was the ultimate authority? In this case just speaking from my heart.

The times I have looked at the “rules” for submitting a piece to a particular magazine or request by a client, immediately put the wall up. As soon as some limitation is in place, originality goes out the window. I have a voice, and simply am unable to imagine not writing freely, without constraints. I’ve done the other and it was an effort, and not a labor of love. There were a lot of words typed out following predetermined formats. No thanks. Not again.

I love to read, and have had the privilege to read some of the classics, many works of fiction, along with those some call “self help” books. Hemingway, Zane Grey, Pearl Buck, James Michener, Isaac Asimov, Napoleon Hill, to name just a few of more than 500 titles by these and others in my digital library. The small books that hold giant truths by the likes of James Allen. Others somewhat obscure, full of mystery by Wallace Wattles. They all have something to say.

Some hide behind pseudonyms and pen names, for reasons I’m not entirely sure of, but all have subjects dear to their hearts they want to share with the world. Whether stories of life, incredible challenges, side-splitting humor, or looks into the far future. Accounts produced from minds looking for that freedom to express, expand, motivate and illuminate.

While writing to satisfy others is still called writing, somehow for me this would be the same as a 9 to 5 job compared to the freedom of roaming the expanse of a vast mountain range. One sees walls while another sees all the senses can capture. I’m not sure how that can compare, yet for some perhaps it does.

I love to include photos and even videos with my writing. Facts seem to bear out that images are still worth at least 1000 words. That may be a good experiment, to choose a picture and then see if I can come up with that many.

Then there are the poems to narrate with a musical background. While it may not be a song per se, depending on how you hear it could make the difference. Musical writing, not songs but poems with multiple rhythms.

Here I must confess being influenced by a very popular poet of the ‘60s, by name of Rod McKuen. His works with Anita Kerr and the San Sebastian Strings produced The Earth, The Sky and The Sea albums. Awesome examples of poetry put to music. Since that time I have wanted to do something similar, and have managed to record three so far.20150212_104833

Digital applications today make it possible to do right from home. In case you’ve missed those, here are the links. Clouds, Let’s Go Flying!, and Echo’s In The Present. I make no claims to be a Rod McKuen, it’s just my first attempt at something I felt then, and now, a beautiful way to do poetry.

We still marvel at the power of words to move us in ways delightful, surprising, emotional and joyful. An intimate sharing of my heart, hopefully to touch yours uniquely.

Is There Really A Super Food Or Just Super Fools?

What is a Super Food anyway? Do they have muscles or can they fly? As a food does it give you super powers? What makes it super to other foods? Is it just a marketing ploy to charge more for it? Can this be yet another example of just hype?

For 40+ years I have searched for that magic potion that would address the physical ills of humanity. It started with Shaklee Products in Texas back in the ‘70s, and includes AMWAY, Tahitian Noni, Herbalife, Melaleuca, Xango,Natures Sunshine, NuSkin, doTerra, Omnilife, Life Vantage, and likely a few more that have long since been forgotten.

In each and every instance I was convinced the health products above all else were the answer. I took them, drank them, swallowed pills, certain I had discovered the answer to human health. If you could swallow it, then it wouldn’t matter that you ate crappy fast food and basically did everything to damage your health. This was the cleanse all, repair all.

In all those years since 1975, I have found one product that actually worked. Or at least it seems to have done what it claimed. I’m still out to lunch as whether of not the product worked, or it was something else. What I do know is I no longer suffer from acid reflux, or the beginnings of gout and arthritic pains. These disappeared wishing weeks of taking a product named Protandim.

I still have to support this product, simply because it is the ONLY one that has been “peer reviewed” over 15 times which can be found in the National Institutes Library of Health Reviews at pubmed.gov.

I freely admit that each and every time for a short period, these various products seemed to be improving my health. The one I got the most benefit from never phased my significant other. Her diabetes and other health issues remained unchanged. None made my hair grow back or clearly increased my energy level. In fact, at one point some of the Shaklee products actually caused me to become hyper-active. More likely me than the products, but it’s hard to say.

So what’s the point here? Do they work or not? And this is where it gets back to something basic I have covered in other articles. Remember the placebo effect, and how the mind and a persons desire to believe is actually what made the difference? Are these products any different? Is it possible we are really victims of our own minds ability to make the difference and not the product?

Grapes are one of those foods that contain an abundance of what are called antioxidants. These are the rust inhibitors that wage war against the free radicals that with age, slowly rust out our bodies from the inside out. While our bodies produce greater amounts of the antioxidants when we are younger, age begins to reduce this and we all know the result. So anything that can reverse this process has the potential to be the fabled “Fountain of Youth!”

Scientifically years and lives have been dedicated to discovering such a product. Protandim has been studied by the best making every effort to disprove it’s seeming ability to do what no other has.

I was talking about grapes, and how they possess the same antioxidant quality found in a pill. The only problem is you would need to consume about 18 pounds of grapes everyday to equal the amount of antioxidants in this pill. That many grapes on a consistent basis just isn’t going to happen.

So is it the pill, or the peer reviews? Is it the amazing combination of 5 herbs into a pill, or the powerful impact of seeming proof that it can do what is claimed? This information, much like that given to a group involved in a double blind study where placebos are involved, could be strong enough to convince the mind to do the work instead of the pill.

This idea has not escaped the medical profession nor manufacturers of drugs and OTC cures. Recent studies have exposed that a huge majority of patients diagnosed with depression, have been receiving placebos, and their depression is held in check. The medications are not cheap, and the pharmaceutical companies will stop at nothing to keep that away from public knowledge.

So here’s another example of the mind being used against us. The questions is, are there really super foods or just super fools? There are many foods that we should be eating, and none of them are processed or pasteurized! Maybe the real super foods are simply those that are natural and organic. Although “natural” has been horribly misused, and even organic has lost it’s value now that the USDA has become the so called watchdog and certifier. They aren’t a watchdog and they don’t follow up on certification inspections.

So what has happened. Once again it comes down to a question of convenience to consumers, looking for the fast fix. It’s just easier to swallow whatever, instead of taking the care and time to eat right. So business paid attention and we have health in a bottle.

That allows the end user to believe it makes no difference when they eat all the foods which make them unhealthy. The feeling is that the “pill” will magically reverse unhealthy trends happening in the body, but it doesn’t.

So you are the resource that makes the difference. However you use your mind, it always works according to the input.

Are You Really Sick Or Just Think You Are?

You’ve read about all the latest illnesses, viruses, diseases, and for every one there is a drug. The media uses every resource to inundate your mind, first with the sickness, then with the “cure.” Pretty soon every time you sniffle, have a stomach cramp, a headache or nausea, you start wondering which of those problems you have.

Does it occur to you that maybe you’re not sick with anything at all, other than the imagination of a brainwashed mind? Companies pay billions for advertising, and for what? Just so viewers see pretty pictures and anything from cartoons to classy 30 second productions? Which by the way, have no impact on the viewers according to Ad companies trying to dodge bullets that their ads are corrupting young lives or responsible for dysfunctional behavior.

James Vicary added subliminal messages to a movie titled “Picnic” in 1957. It suggested “Hungry? Eat More Popcorn. Drink Coca Cola.” Supposedly sales for both items rose substantially. Then in 1962, a startling confession was made. Here is the quote.

“In 1962 Vicary suddenly confesses that he fabricated the results of his experiment… Why would someone discredit himself in such a way and lose his dignity and credibility? It’s obvious that he was paid to do so by those who use subliminal messages to manipulate you. Remember the quote from “Usual Suspect” : The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist… That’s exactly the trick they are trying to pull, I.E. convincing the world that subliminal technique does not work.” Read the rest on this item here.

Time has proven it does. Here’s another link to some interesting facts about this source of manipulation. It’s no joke, but you’d think it was as the general attitude by viewers is it doesn’t work. While statistics can be manipulated like any other report, sales of particular products following such advertising have always been followed by increased sales.

Convinced yet? Read on.

The idea here is to help you understand how you are allowing your thinking to be controlled and manipulated to do, think, feel and act in ways that are programmed. A logical, reasonable, thinking person would never knowingly, willingly allow themselves to be manipulated the way multitudes are today. What is happening is worse than the tale of the Pied Piper! Political ads are some of the most devious. Food ads spend more money than any other product, and the U.S. has the obesity to prove it!

So let’s take this back to health, mental as well as physical. Whether you believe it or not, you are being told what to eat, how to get sick, and and the way you should live your life. The average viewer watches 5 hours daily, and is submitted to roughly 281 ads during those 5 hours. Add that for the 7 days and it comes to nearly 2000 brainwashing exposures weekly.

Now repetition is powerful. Don’t think so. “Just do it!” “Got Milk?” “Tastes great. Less filling.” “Good to the last drop.” “Melts in your mouth, not in your hands.” Those are just a few and chances are you know everyone of them by heart. So don’t say it doesn’t work. If you habitually buy any of those products, then the point is made.

So is this starting to sink in, or do I need to repeat it some more? The question is, are you sick, or just think you are? Sounds silly, right? How about diabolical? Can you make yourself sick? Better yet, can you “think” yourself sick?

An earlier article reveals the power of the placebo effect. What is the placebo effect other than the mind’s ability to strongly believe in something? If because of repetition you begin to strongly believe you are sick, what do you suppose is going to happen? If you also strongly believe due to repetition that the drug related to your illness is going to make you better, what happens next?

Now here’s the billion dollar question. What would happen if the opposite were true? You were getting constant repeated messages that you are healthy, happy, peaceful, content. These messages were greeting you 2000 times weekly. How would your life be different? Is this getting through?

Your mind, mine, have all been subjected to hijacking. Some are more susceptible than others. Others are just too stubborn to let the messages come through. But wait! Are those the ones who are healthy? Think about the ones you know to be somewhat rebellious. There may be a hint.

One of the most amazing accounts focused on the power of the mind and thought, is a book titled “The Intention Experiment” by Lynn McTaggart. 51bxPCmxwCL._SX316_BO1,204,203,200_Perhaps the most flabbergasting  part of this book are the scientific experiments, to show the power of just thought. You may not become a believer, but it will definitely give you a feast for thought.

In the end, whether you choose to think yourself sick or otherwise, it will be your thinking, or someone doing it for you. What do you willingly choose?

I wonder what hidden messages are really in the instrumental music I’m listening to in the background? Since it is on more hours of the day than the shows, they must be good. Maybe music really is what makes the world go round! No wait, I think that was love. They are both in my mind. What’s in yours?

Is It About You Or Was It Ever?

Selfish? Self centered? Narrow minded? It’s my party or it’s not? It’s about you but really about me? Why should I change to please someone else? Is it possible I’m misunderstanding or just misunderstood? Why doesn’t anyone care about what I want? How could everyone be so mean?

Yes, ego is in full swing above. This really leaves no one out because ego is not selective. Everyone has some. It’s just that some who are super insecure go overboard. Were they raised that way? Insecurity happens for many reasons, and possibly no reason at all.

Consider the drop dead beauty who thinks she’s ugly. The genius  that doesn’t think he’s smart. The 6 ft. tall girl who thinks she’s too tall and slouches to be shorter. The “nerd” afraid to show what he really knows. Each one with a huge mental block to the truth.

The opposite side of that spectrum is the super jock who thinks the world revolves around him. How about spoiled rich girl who thinks it’s all about money. Or “know it all” who is obnoxious. There’s the “Drama Queen” who lives to create disturbance and unrest to draw attention to herself for fear she’s really unimportant. More instances of those who try to hide behind a shield to mask their fear of not measuring up.

You know them and so do I. What do you do? Ego is in charge and the illusion of being something they are not overpowers logic, reason and being in the moment. It’s worse especially, if they happen to be family or close friends? Ahh, now this gets down to where the rubber meets the road. The attitudes, and all the other issues create real challenges, many times resulting in estrangements that can last years. In some cases lifetimes, and all over illusions that being right makes one superior over another.

That’s the thing about ego, and the illusion it can create that if you can make someone else appear inferior in your mind, then it elevates you to a higher level. The problem is it’s only in your mind, and since it is an illusion that means it’s not even real. Yet lives have been changed for the worse because of this living in some sort of fantasiacal world that doesn’t exist.

There are those who choose to live in that world rather than in the here and now. The drama is created in each of these lives based on illusions and fantasy, rather than enjoy real life in the real world. Those who number in this category are in the majority as most spend far more time living in the past than present.

Is there a chance they know who they are? In order for that to happen a dose of reality would have to break through the illusion. Then another dose to expose the ego. When one can actually face the fact of an ego, a huge battle has been won, but it’s just the beginning. Once that ego is exposed the lie of it’s power will fight to maintain control.

Being in the present moment is like recovery from an addiction. It’s minute by minute, day by day. Rather than one day at a time it’s one moment at a time. As with most addicts, the large majority will deny there is any issue with ego. Those who do discover they are wrapped up in it, will do what many do. Discover it’s easy to change, just easier not to, and continue living in another world.

I can attest to all of this, having been one of those caught up in that illusion for many years. Breaking free is the same as any addiction, in that it is a daily action to remain in the moment and not slip back to the past.

Have I mended all those holes created from the past? What is past is dead, and only now has the chance to be changed. There is still residue that remains in the present, like something in my eye that obscures my vision I can’t quite seem to get out. Being able to see, just not as well as I could. I’m still a work in progress, of which there is acute awareness.Cuicocha-2013-15 18

So is it about me or was it ever is a fair question. The honest answer is it’s about life and learning how to live it. There seems to be far more time spent as student than teacher. Knowing who, what, and whose I am. Being. In the end, that is the best thing, rather than just existing. There is a purpose for me, and a large part of that is being accomplished writing. So I write, as it helps to keep me in the now.

There are those who have no problem in dishing out the drama, but don’t have the courage to even consider that they have an ego, or that it is their worst enemy. Many have a hard time distinguishing between ego and pride.

Ego is that mindset, the feeling of being superior to others. It starts in the mind, very likely as a protection mode, but has no touch with reality. An example again may be a person who grew up with very basic necessities and was made to feel shame at some point. It may have even been in adult life due to circumstances surrounding being fired from a job, a divorce, an experience that was a jolt to their person.

Such an experience creates real fear when finances or a sense of security are threatened. Some might make a decision that they are never going to let this happen again, and take steps to build a life that is the opposite of what was.

Perhaps they do this by beginning to associate with those who are financially better off. Then there is the imitation of a lifestyle using brand names, expensive perfumes, clothes, restaurants, and affectations such as only drinking gourmet whatever, going to the best concerts or musicals.

Of course none of this matters if everyone within hearing doesn’t know, so all effort is made to make certain names are dropped, brands and labels shown, restaurants named and who with. This is defined as arrogance. Ego can never say “sorry.”

Pride quite simply is the satisfaction of a job well done. It is the encouraging and motivation factor to seek to do better, never accepting mediocre. The accomplishment is shared, and in humility, never puffing up ones self at the expense of another.

It is all too common that the person who actually is well off financially, never has to resort to such behavior. The one who has the “connections,” usually doesn’t divulge them. It is very likely they are not insecure and have no need. However, it can clearly be seen that wealth is no insulator to insecurity. J. Paul Getty had it all, yet his suicide clearly showed he was not secure with it.

It may be the worst sort of addiction, as it requires somewhat the same efforts to deal with it. The ego requires feeding, and is never satisfied, exactly like a drug or any addiction. Once the ego is exposed there is hope, but that individual must come to the point that they are out of options for satisfaction.

A great book on the subject is A New Earth by Eckhardt Tolle. It’s a great read, and one that has been worth re-reading 5 times. Am I egoless? Probably not, but it doesn’t get fed so is probably starving!

Can You Go Coffee Free From 3 Cups To “0” For 30 Days?

Is coffee really addictive? Is caffeine as addictive as say, nicotine? What about alcohol? Can people addicted to coffee break the addiction? How hard is it to detox from caffeine? Would someone wanting to have detox caffeine have to go through a rehab program? Could this be you? Well…could it? Yours truly is going to take on a 30 day detox, so read on!

So how’s life sans coffee you ask? Well, you haven’t asked but I’m going to tell you anyway. You’d be surprised to say the least. Now obviously I can’t speak for anyone else that has ever done this insane challenge (better not let my wife see that) but for me it has been a breeze.

So far 15 days without that daily infusion of java! I am as calm as anything you could imagine, such as an iceberg, or a mountain. No heebie-jeebies, shakes or biting fingernails because I’m having caffeine withdrawal. That was rather mild by comparison to previous experiences.

So once again it is this weird sensation that I don’t need this like there was an addiction. That’s always the way it has been in the past as well. That’s sorta refreshing to know, that this is a take it or leave it scenario. There is an adamant determination to return to my fav beverage once June 1st shows up on the calendar!

In fact I just could make a big todo about it, like shooting off fireworks or some such activity to celebrate. Setting off the car alarm would surely draw some attention in the neighborhood. Of course they have no idea what I’m doing. Maybe I could drum up some support (as though I needed it) for my solitary endeavor.

I really feel like my cartoon character created for a website I had called “I Gotta Have Coffee.” I’ll post the photo of the drawing, or better yet the logo as it is much better. Ben was having a real problem without the “bean!” I really can’t relate, but I’m sure there are those who can.

Usually there have been some rather uncomfortable aches for a day or two in the past when detoxing, but the only thing experienced this time was an unusual muscular ache in my upper chest. Yeah, I know what you’re thinkin’ and it wasn’t angina, or anxiety pains! It kinda had me wonderin’ too, but then it occurred as to what it was.

What has been the most interesting through all this effort to bring my blood pressure under control naturally, was a huge change in our food regimen. It has nearly gotten to a vegetarian status, but what that means in the end is maybe 12 ozs. of any meat per week.

OK, I know what you’re waiting for and here it is. Today my BP was 147/74. It has been averaging over 150 for systolic and the mid 70’s for diastolic. The diastolic had been climbing up to the high 70’s and over, so it’s still “out to lunch” as to what things will look like at the end of the month.

So here it comes. The good news is…IT AIN”T THE COFFEE! Or at least it doesn’t look like the culprit at this juncture of things. Oh there is joy in Mudville today! My name will be “mud” if this doesn’t turn out the way I expect, and there will be no “mud” in my cup! Because the Dr. wants to put me on medication to bring the BP under control. His challenge is that I refuse medicine!

So for all those hanging by their fingernails, anxiously awaiting to see the results of my singular experiment, it’s lookin’ good for the coffee! Stay tuned for the next installment!

OK, next installment.

My BP was not significantly affected by one month of no coffee. That comes as no surprise as there has never been any significant study that could relate the two. Many have tried, and there have been many flawed studies that made that claim, only to not hold up in the end.

So if I were to leave it there, some of you wanting to know about the BP and if anything worked, I’ll bring you up to date.

In 2014, after moving to the mountains, we both went on a new food regimen. No carbs, no dairy and no processed sugar. Fair to say this was under a Dr.’s suggestion, not orders…per say. Now for someone who loves fresh baked bread this was a real challenge, but complete abstinence for life was not the issue.

This also included no coffee (again?) for the duration of this change in food. Being borderline diabetic there were two challenges here. Lower BP and lower A1C. Long story short, both intents of lowering the numbers, not to mention weight, were totally successful.

Now, does that mean I could go back to my coffee? Absolutely! While the Dr. never had an issue with the coffee other than it prompted the desire to eat, it was not the culprit with any of the issues at risk.

The good news is I have completely cut rice, potatoes and pasta out of my diet. Don’t miss them at all. Coffee is back to three or four cups daily. BP is still under control and A1C which is just under the magic number of 6.

The main thing is the detox that came along with no coffee, again, was nearly non-existent. I kept waiting for the familiar symptoms of detox, but there was just nothing. No headaches, no muscular discomfort, just nothing. I have no idea if it had something to do with walking two miles plus daily at an altitude of 10,000 ft. or not. All I do know is it was painless.

So what’s the objective of this story? It was mainly about detoxing from coffee and whether or not the “coffee/caffeine” addiction was serious. By now it should be apparent that it depends.

Some people have less tolerance fro caffeine than others. Drinking a cup of coffee just before bed would keep some up all night, while others would not be fazed at all. The latter would be me. So as always, everyone is different.

Most importantly, caffeine is hardly as addictive as those other items mentioned at the beginning of this article. Yes the detoxing for some can be uncomfortable for two or even three days, but then it’s over.

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The “empty cup” is the best cup because now it can be refilled!

Doing the coffee detox is really a good thing, as it allows your body to rid itself of any unwanted toxins. Is caffeine life threatening? Not according to the most recent health studies. That’s something your need to evaluate for yourself.
So enjoy your coffee guilt free. Know that you’re not harming your body, rather again, according to current studies, it’s quite the opposite! Here’s lookin’ at the bottom of the cup!

Why Does The I.C.O. Matter To Your Cup Of Coffee?

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Another international organization of dubious use. Who needs or wants another, especially when it has to do with coffee? Are you beginning to get overwhelmed with all the coffee “propaganda” hitting the news on a regular basis? There was a time when not much good was being said and coffee’s name was somewhat “muddy.” My how things have changed. Why is that?

Enter the International Coffee Organization, founded back in 1963 with the assistance of the United Nations, brought the coffee producing countries into agreement pertaining to export quotas. Why quotas? The help maintain a stable and less volatile  price in the commodities market.

During the WWII Brazil and all Latin producing countries were cut off from the European market. It was feared that Brazil might side with Germany if they could not find an outlet for their massive production. Because of this an agreement was reached which established quotas for all of the producers in Latin America. This mollified Brazil and some order was established in the coffee market.

Fast forward to 1962, years after the war, and these same quotas were no longer valid as the European Market was now open. At this point an International Coffee Agreement was created, which then led to the creation of the International Coffee Organization, responsible for overseeing the ICA rules and regulations.

The Untied States, being the largest consumer and importer of the worlds coffee was obviously a part of this, with a great deal of influence in the goings on of the two organizations. A five year contract was established, and from 1963 to 1989 it was continuously renewed.

However, in 1989 Brazil felt their production and exports could do better than the quotas assigned to them, and in the subsequent meetings was unwilling to agree on current limits. As such, a new contract was not established and coffee prices felt this almost immediately.

The U.S., now confident that Brazil was no threat in terms of siding with Russia, pulled out of the ICO in 1993. Since this was the one largest importers of coffee the effect was felt immediately, and coffee prices went sliding downward.

The roasters, suppliers, importers, buyers, were not the ones who felt this compared to the farmers. By 2001 coffee prices were at their lowest of more than 30 years. Many reasons are speculated, but the most probable has to do with Vietnam becoming the second largest producer and exporter of Robusta.

Added to this is the abundant supply with a sluggish demand, so in simple terms there is no export or productions quotas anymore. These were difficult to enforce and police in the past, and the present is no exception.

This would be similar to what goes on in any retail market, where the more businesses that enter into a geographical area continue splitting up the proverbial “pie” until it becomes non-profitable. As long as there is no agreement on production and export quotas the plight for coffee farmers continues.

What’s worse, the very real possibility that this will begin to have a negative effect on producers who will change to other cash crops that will provide a living already has an inroad. Producers cannot continue to invest in a loosing proposition.

The major roasters will not pay a fair wage, and yet charge exorbitant prices at the retail level. Green coffee they pay $.67 a lb. for is commonly sold for $12-15. Anyone can do the math. Starbucks may be the greatest abuser as they have retail locations around the world, allowing them to bypass so many of the “middlemen” in the coffee industry.

You can bet they will make a convincing sounding case for their abuse, and show how they benefit producers in Ethiopia by creating a ready market for their production. However, if the buying prices are below production prices, where’s the advantage? Starbucks nicely sidesteps answering such questions, blaming the inefficiencies on poor management among others.

So, how does this affect you, the ultimate coffee consumer? There’s a better than even chance that you already think coffee is expensive. Consider it has absolutely nothing to do with supply, but the ability of roasters to control the retail market.

The ICO still exists, but it begs the question as to why? It doesn’t seem to offer any control as in the past, leaving the price of coffee up to the commodity brokers and the market. Does the market want to see prices increase? Since they are the ones controlling it, so that would seem to be a “no!”

So enjoy your cup of coffee, yet keep in mind what a farmer living in a 3rd world country, cultivating maybe 20 acres of land with coffee, who has a family and knows no other way of life, depends on a once a year income and lacks enough to even send all his children to school.

The impact is felt at all levels, since there is no income there is no spending, so even the schools lack the revenue to provide supplies. Countries like Ethiopia based 80% of the GNP on coffee, and it employs some 15 million people along the chain.

Consumers make the difference, or at least they can. Will they? Will you? I can’t tell you want to do, or how effective it will be. The fact remains that consumers changed the marketplace for organics simply by their purchases. Looking for coffee with the International Fair Trade or (FLO) logo at least is a start. This is not to be confused with Fair Trade USA. Follow those links to learn more.

This organization (FLO) works with farmers to help them create a fund that is available when harvests are bad and/or prices are low. The farmers subsidize themselves and are not dependent on governments or international handouts. So buying these coffees and other products is one of the ways you help.

So why does the ICO matter to your cup of coffee? After reading this article you should be able to come to your own conclusion. As for this writer, I’m looking for International Fair Trade Certification for starters.

Is Your Coffee Really A Diuretic Or Is This False Information?

Do you really believe after all these years of hearing bad things about coffee, that suddenly it has somehow become the “good guy?” How is it that now we see scads of information making all sorts of claims about the positive benefits of coffee? Why back in the ‘90s it was being linked to cancer, and now it’s being linked to help reduce the possibility of certain cancers as well as Alzheimers. So what do you believe. Even more, WHO do you believe?

rue de la Vierge

Well, as a matter of fact “rust inhibitor” is alive and well in coffee. Ok, so it really means “antioxidants” in coffee are abundant. In fact, there are more of these microscopic warriors against oxidation and inflammation in the body from the husk of the coffee cherry.

The bright red coffee cherry husk has been said to contain as many as 100 times the amount of antioxidants as in coffee itself. As a result, you would think some holistic company would jump all over this and start peddling the coffee cherry husks as a “super antioxidant!”

Sadly, at this time in history, most get used for fertilizer and mulch around the coffee trees. Makes sense when you think about it, since this avoids the need for chemical fertilizer.

The most up to date studies seem to provide strong evidence that at least three cups of coffee daily can have a positive impact in your body helping to defend against several diseases. The only caution here is discovery of who actually has contracted these studies. Those independent of the coffee industry would be the most credible, so due diligence is in order.

Several links have been included for your review to see just how credible this information is according to the relative independence of the study.

Note: *** indicates an interesting disclaimer of the entity contracting the study done by the University of Birmingham in England, and published in PLOS 1. This is a peer reviewed research article, which simply means it has been reviewed diligently in the attempt to refute claims made, which in this case the positive results were published.

http://www.onemedical.com/blog/newsworthy/10-healthy-reasons-to-drink-coffee-2/

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/features/the-good-news-about-coffee-901665.html

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/01/13/262175623/coffee-myth-busting-cup-of-joe-may-help-hydration-and-memory

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/caffeinated-drinks/faq-20057965

***http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0084154

Funding: Funding for this study was provided by the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee (ISIC). ISIC is a non-profit organization, devoted to the study and disclosure of science related to coffee and health. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

As noted earlier in this information, the study made in 1928 that first made the claim of coffee having a diuretic impact in the body, has been the basis of all claims to that effect since. So this is what has created the interest to see if the facts support the claim.

So it certainly gives cause for coffee lovers to rejoice on many fronts. It also supports why those consumers of several cups of java have really never displayed signs of dehydration, when copious amounts of water were never consumed to supposedly offset the diuretic effect.

As an added testimony, the writer can attest to a daily habit of at least three cups of freshly ground, individually brewed cups of coffee during the last twelve years, with no where near as much water. Furthermore, coffee has been a daily habit during a period spanning nearly 60 years, with little regard for water. It can clearly be stated that the recommended 8 glasses of water daily have never be observed! Consider that for what it’s worth.

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Alan indulging his daily habit!

Current health indicates no diabetes, normal levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL, HDL, with a slightly elevated A1C that is now under control and has absolutely nothing to do with coffee. Current weight is 162 for a 5’ 7” frame.

Bottom line, personal experience would certainly seem to support this claim of coffee not being the diuretic as as been claimed for decades. Yet as all physical makeups are different, your experience may be unique.

The real bottom line leads back to the anti-oxidants in coffee, which can now be added to the hydrating aspect as well. Who would have thought coffee could have ever become a “health drink?” Let the facts speak for themselves. It seems they have.